Having Faith in an Angel

Brick not hit back. Its Sunday, October 2. 2011, my hand is a little sore, and this is The Side. Our annual karate demo went very well. I possibly may be getting some new students out of it which is kind of the point. Well, mostly we do the show to have fun and show off, but its pretty much the only real advertising we do all year aside from word of mouth. That and it livens up the annual church bazaar a bit.

This year we added in a bit a brick breaking. One of my students had some patio pavers that he wanted to get rid off. Seems about one in about every six of them are pretty damn stubborn, and sure enough it was the one I got on my stack. I blasted the thing twice and it wouldn't go. It does kind of work out though as that was the only unsuccessful break. It shows that it is a difficult thing to do, which it is. Fortunately I smashed the other brick fairly convincingly, and we've got that on tape.

Words of wisdom for martial artists: if you're going to break bricks, make sure you get some form of photographic evidence. That way, you never have to do it again.


Let's start off with ANGEL ND FAITH #2. Angel's on a mission to resurrect Rupert Giles and Faith is hoping to keep him from going off the the rails. Resurrection in the "Buffy-verse" nearly never goes well. Typically you end up with a zombie. So, bringing Giles back, especially in a world without magic is a pretty talk order. It does look like our favorite vampire with a massive forehead has a plan to pull it off, and its actually got a shot. Lurking in the wings however are Nash and Pearl who worked with Angel during his "Twilight" possession. This issue works very well. Issue one let us know who the players are and bridged us over from BUFFY SEASON 8. Here we see exactly where everyone is on the chessboard and get a good glimpse at what the plan is. It plays off a very good episode from ANGEL season 1, so we have good link back to the old TV show. Where the book shines is how well it handles Faith. There's been two people that have really looked out for her on her road to redemption and one of them is trying to bring the other back to life. She knows its nuts and probably a really bad idea, but she's in it because she's got Angel's back and what if there's an off chance he can pull it off. Very good stuff.

RED KNIGHT #2 hit this week. I'm torn on it. Justin Cristelli has set up an interesting story. We have a vigilante operating in Norfolk. Norfolk is a bit of an underworld hub city here in that its where to go for super villains to lay low or to get their ducks in a row before moving on. It pretty well written. My gripe is the art, and I hate griping about art. JC Grande isn't afraid to go after tough shots, interesting page layouts, and varying camera angles. In fact, he handles it like a boss. The big problem is lack of grays. He doesn't vary his line weight and and there's no grayscale at all. It makes everything sit on the page and the only time something really jumps out is when there's something black on it. It makes me have to work at what i need to be looking it as opposed to having my eye naturally drawn there. He's obviously not afraid to detail out a page, which is impressive, so I fully believe that once he gets his grey on the pages will be really eye-popping. So, pretty good stuff and worth checking out, but still has room for improvement.


Yes, its true I hardly ever put a hip-hop song in my music section. This is because I can't get behind what the majority of hip-hop songs are talking about. Note I said "majority" and not "totality".

That's it for me today. I think its time for some Advil, coffee, and SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS on Netflix. See y'all Wednesday.

Sheldon Cooper is a Stud

BAZINGA! Its Friday, September 30, 2011, I'm in a hot dense state, and this is The Side. I'm currently still attempting to get my bathroom in proper working order. It seems properly sweating a fitting that's attached to a horizontal pipe is impossible if you're me. For a guy who fixes stuff all the time at work, one would think I could fix stuff in my own house.

It would seem that one would be wrong.


OK, I'm getting my rant on, so hang on to your socks. See that image there? That is from a webcomic that I'm a big fan of called OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS. The premise is simple. The guy who does the comic works in a comic shop and he does little comics of some of the customers and the stuff that spews from their faces. Now, this particular cartoon is just amazing in that someone actually said that. Someone actually uttered that insane statement. What's even more crazy was the comments that were agreeing with the loon that said it!

For those who don't know, "black face" was when white performers were made up to "look black" for shows, and pretty much played up a bunch of stereotypes. We are talking as racist as the day is long here. So black face is racist, and with the allegation in this cartoon, from the guy saying it and those agreeing him, is it possible doing something against a nerd is somehow racist?

Its really enough to make your head explode sometimes.

OF COURSE IT ISN'T RACIST!! Nerds aren't a race! They aren't even a culture. Our definition of a nerd has changed over the years. Its borderline subjective. I'm a nerd. I've read comic books since I was three. Given a chance I'll play video games and watch cartoons all the live long day. I can interject Batman into damn near any conversation I have. I didn't get that way by birth, unless there's nerd DNA that we haven't discovered yet. It has nothing to do with where I was born. Its my hobbies. That's it. Somehow, society has decreed that my hobbies have branded me a nerd. Actually, its not so much society, as it is my peers when I was a kid. A person who is a nerd made a choice somewhere in their life to pursue a particular interest that his or her peers deemed nerdy. They can also stop pursuing that interest. A person can not just take up an ethnicity no matter how much some people try.

And these people are ticked at THE BIG BANG THEORY? Really? Have they never watched television ever or am I just that freaking old? They think that show is "nerd racism"? How about HEAD OF THE CLASS? That's right, I'm going back about 25 years for this one. Let's look at the king nerd on that show: Arvid. Rocks a pocket protector and big ol' thick framed glasses. Skinny dude who was good at math and science. Couldn't get a hooker if he was waving hundred dollar bills. This guy had zero social skills, but he was smart. Sure he was made fun of in nearly every episode, but that was wrong and we all had to learn to accept each other for what makes us special. Thank God Howard Hesseman and Billy Connolly were there or that show would have been damn near unwatchable.

And let's not stop there, how about some SAVED BY THE BELL. Remember Screech? Y'know, before the sex tape. He was everyone's pal all the while they made fun of him every time he opened his mouth. The girl he liked treated him like dirt. His best friend treated him like a flunky. There was the near endless name calling by the cooler kids. Still, there he was. Lovable old Screech, there for people to step on until they needed him or it was an episode in which the moral of the story involved being nice to nerds.

Now let's contrast those characters against the king nerd of THE BIG BANG THEORY: Sheldon Cooper. He holds two doctorates, and is likely the smartest person in any room he walks into. He's eccentric, not caring much for the social hoops we all jump through. His confidence and manner has attracted numerous women to him, and had he an interest in it, he'd be laying pipe like a master plumber. He's uncompromising in his beliefs and will argue you into the ground if you have the slightest intellectual chink in your armor. He's also lived in the Arctic for three months performing an experiment, which is actually pretty bad ass. Yes, he enjoys his comics and sci-fi. If he's the new face of a what a nerd is, then we've come a long way.

And there was a comment that the cast of the show was at Comic-con and got boos from the crowd when they didn't know what a Tardis was. Let's just assume that's true, because I don't feel like hunting down proof. People are upset that actors are acting? "They're playing nerds on TV! How can they not be nerds in real life?!" That's completely stupid. That's like being pissed off because Chris Hemsworth doesn't really have a magic hammer that can call down lightning.Its pretty good acting too since Jim Parson's has received two Emmies for playing Sheldon Cooper.

So for those who are ticked that THE BIG BANG THEORY isn't showing nerds in a more favorable light, shove it. That show depicts nerds completely awesome in comparison with damn near every other sit-com ever. And for those who are even attempting to equate treatment of nerds with racism, I want to hit you in the face with brick. It may or may not knock any sense into you, but I'll feel a hell of a lot better. Grow up and get some perspective, you idiots.

End rant. And I'm going to watch that show as soon as I get home from work today.


Kickin' it L 7 style.

That's it for me today. Doing a Karate Demo at the Church's annual Bazaar, in which I've bribed people with buying them homemade ice cream. The show should last about 20 minutes. See, if it was store bought it would only last 5. You can get a lot more from people with homemade.

Leaving the costumes on

Boom-chika-boom! Its Wednesday, September 28, 2011, sex sells, unless you're kinda nasty looking and need a bath, then you're going to have a hard time finding a buyer, and this is The Side. Yeah, when I don't put my thoughts about comics on the website I do comic reviews for due to not wanting to possibly dent business, then there's something really wrong. Of course it might even get a little sales bump considering there some folks who would buy the issues in question curious as to whether or not things are as rotten as I make them out to be.

They are.


Yep, more stuff coming out of the DC reboot that's getting some buzz, and not very good buzz. It seems some of the writers are a bit confused as to how to portray women who are confident in their sexuality without making them out to be Slutty McSlutsluts. This got kicked up due to RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 and CATWOMAN #1. I wasn't expecting much form the Red Hood book as it looked like they just threw three characters together and are trying to make a go of it. I do raise an eyebrow about Catwoman. She's the modern superhero genre's first femme fatale. The character is important. She's strong, independent, and sexy. Yes, she's a 'bad guy', but that just makes her relationship with Batman that much more interesting.

When they ended CATWOMAN #1 with a sex scene like something I would expect from bad fan art, I could only shake my head. Judd Winick is known for including quite a bit of sex in his comics. THE OUTSIDERS had someone hopping into the sack with someone nearly every issue. There's nothing wrong with sex in a superhero comic, but there's a certain way to handle it.

Before the reboot, it was obvious that there was a sexual relationship between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. In BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 there a scene in a luxury hotel in which they get a little downtime, and its obvious that the two of them have a little fun, but its not blatantly shown. It wasn't in your face. A good writer knows when to let the reader's imagination fill in the blanks. That scene was sexy without being smutty. Yes, there was Selina wearing her unmentionables and a pair of boots with a bottle of champagne. This was after the same issue showed her and Batman team up to take on a bunch of goons and a giant robot. The tone had already been set that this book is about the awesome. Conversely, CATWOMAN's tone seems to be about sex. The opening pages don't even show her face. They focus more on sexualizing the character with images of her not quite dressed so the first thing you know about this character upon opening the comic is that she wears a red bra under her costume.

The mockery has already begun in earnest. There's also been a little flap about the comic catering to the "lowest comic denominator", and I wouldn't go that far, but even though I'm not purchasing the DC reboot, I expected them to have some higher standards as to what gets on the page. I seriously doubt that when the guys making this book were putting it together they were thinking to themselves about how to best portray an attractive female who is strong, confident, and comfortable with her sexuality.

But that was the theme last week, as RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 didn't do much to win over certain demographics. There was a very powerful piece which I have to link to a screen capture of because Felicia Day caught sight of it, and when she tells people to check something out online, that something had better have some damn good servers. Kids still read comics. Kids care about these characters. Kids grow up and buy things. DC wanted new readers, but it seems they only wanted new readers 18 and up. At first I thought the issue with Starfire was just a shame and a waste of a character. I hadn't even factored in all the kids who loved her on the old TEEN TITANS cartoon show and heard that their favorite superhero is in a new comic. The discussion in that piece I linked to is powerful stuff, and I highly suggest reading it.

Just when i thought the reboot might now be so bad DC keeps letting me know they aren't interested in my business.


Its attack of the super group, because something in this post should be about something super.

That's it for me. Time to make the doughnuts! See y'all Friday.

Facetime with Plus Space

Its Sunday, September 25, 2011, I'm going to lay some pipe, and this is The Side. Had a plumbing problem in the Nozz Compound involving minor flooding. I managed to stop the problem, but now I have to attempt to make the bathroom fully functional again. This is stretching the limits of my plumbing ability. Frankly, all I really know about plumbing is that shit rolls downhill and quitting time is five o'clock.

But before I possibly make a bad situation worse, let's see what's going on with things.


This has been a busy week in social media. Facebook is making a bunch of changes, which don't affect me because I'm not on Facebook. A lot of the changes have already started rolling out. The users aren't too pleased about it, but there may be a bit of resisting change for the sake of resisting change in play.

Phillip DeFranco gave a pretty thorough rundown of what users are in store for with the new Facebook.

Now to me, this all sounds horrendous. It just sounds like one big confusing mess. However, the focus still seems to be on what Facebook's main goal has always been: putting information about yourself out there to share with people. Also, looking at the screen shots of what's in store and having seen what the pages look like now, it just looks too jumbled. There's a lot going on here. Whether its too much or not remains to be seen.

The timing is also very interesting in that Google+ went public this week. Its still in beta testing mode, but its fully functional. Its neat and clean. The focus is on sharing information and discussion. Whether or not that information is personal or news stories, or just fun bits from the web depends on the user. They also have games now and that's in its own little section so you don't have a bunch of game notifications clogging up your streams.

There's been a lot of people I've seen on G+ who also have Facebook accounts noting that since G+ came into existence that Facebook has been tweeking things in a way that seemed like they were trying to mimic G+. Mark Zuckerberg does indeed have a G+ account so he knows exactly what G+ has to offer. Whether the allegations of ripping off G+ have any meat to them is anyone's guess at this point.

I've made my call as to which site I'm going to be on. I don't think that many people who casually use social media are going to use both. That said, we'll see what happens. Is Facebook going to get turned into MySpace, or will Google+ not catch on like many people think it will?

That asked, I'm going to get ready to see the results of this month's G+ grand Prix championship.


THE RED WING #3 was on the stands this week. Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra continue their time travel story with some new wrinkles to things. This continues to be an idea driven story as opposed to a character driven one. Time travel is based upon ascending vibrations, and considering time as a stacked model. Time lines are vertical. But we have have people diving backwards through time and doing things. As opposed to many other time travel stories, altering things in the past has no affect on the present. It merely creates an alternate time stack. We learn here that it is also possible to move horizontally through the stacks, which is the equivalent here of moving through parallel dimensions. This is not he only idea in play here, as we are also dealing with the condition of the present and whose fault that is. So, in the "present" (which is the future relative to us) Dom, Val, and Maye are pilots dealing with an attack from a foe which is still very loosely defined. Meanwhile Dom's father is the prisoner of Dom from possibly "the future" or possibly a different "present". prisoner taking Dom seems to have thrown in with and is leading the enemy that pilot Dom is facing with Val and Maye. He's also ready to blame the present on the past, which is a big issue here. The enemy forces seem to be pillaging and destroying various points in the past, and taking whatever they can. It seems their motivation is 'our parents didn't do right to make the present good so we'll go back and take whatever we can to make the present good, and screw the past because its their fault the present sucks'. This proves my long standing believe that whiny, self-centered jerks shouldn't have time travel technology. We're on issue 3 of 4 and I've got no clue how Hickman is going to wrap this thing up in only one more issue. I can't recommend this title for everyone because it seems like you need to be a theoretical physicist to keep this thing straight. Dealing with time travel issues is tricky enough, but over-laying parallel dimension theory with such an odd turn on time travel theory is about enough to cook a few brain cells. Its definitely different, so if you like different, and enjoy having your brain kicked sideways, give it a read.


There's cool, then there's cool, and then there's Chris Isaak.

What? Did you think I was going to post that "I want to fall in love" song? That ain't happening. That's it for me for today. I've got a hot date with blow torch. Got to sweat a nipple onto a pipe. Technical jargon can sound kinda dirty sometimes. If i don't burn the house down, I'll see y'all Wednesday.

Insert "Bunky" joke here

I feel thuper! Its Friday, September 23, 2011, thanks for asking, and this is The Side. Spent some quality time under a house fixing insulation that wasn't installed properly by another contractor on a house that's suppose to close today. Time crunch, couldn't get the person who did the original work in time, under I go.

Its unpleasant to work with that stuff. The fiberglass insulation itches something fierce. Being the crawl space isn't fun and even if you don't have claustrophobia, being down there is nearly enough to make you want to start. But the job is done, and while it was pretty unpleasant I can't really complain because first off I was working and right now, working is a very good thing.

Also it being a vacant house with newly renovated bathrooms and nice showers to choose from after the ordeal was a bit of luxury.


The DC reboot is in full swing. The new #1 issues are steadily rolling out. I haven't been buying any of them, but a few have ended up in my pull box. Joey at Comic Kings has been very happy when I told him I didn't want them, as he had a serious run of people who came in at the last minute asking for the books. You can't pre-order books a week in advance. If you didn't know that before, you do now. So even with ordering a lot of extra books, he's still a little short. Seems that people will still show up for first issues. The real question is, will they show up for subsequent issues.

There's been a lot of talk about diversity with the characters. Its not just white guys on parade anymore. Although there's still a bit of fanboyism that's in the way. Hal Jordan is still Green Lantern, even though John Stewart has a strong following thanks to the old JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED cartoon. If DC wanted to really impress me with their push for diversity they'd have made John the main Green Lantern. It might almost make up their their notion that diversity is good unless we're talking about paraplegic women.

We do have new gay heroes too! That should be good, but when I hear people talking about Bunker, I'm having my doubts. I have no problems with gay characters. Greg Rucka created some really great ones. The thing that has me worried is reading Brett Booth tweet that:
We’re trying to make being gay a part of who he is, your gaydar should be pinged right off the bat:)

OK, that's a pretty poorly phrased statement. Your sexuality is a part of who you are. Its not difficult to make being gay a part of who a character is. If that character is romantically attracted to other characters of his or her same gender, then they are pretty much gay. Now, what I'm really, really, REALLY hoping that he doesn't mean that being gay is going to be this characters defining characteristic. This is partly due to this character being on the Teen Titans and defining teenage characters by their sexuality just isn't a good idea. Moreso, defining any character by their sexuality is a bad idea. Is Bunker's (Whose dumb idea was that name? Why don't you just set the ball on the tee?) main motivation for everything he does going to center around him being gay?

I'm not saying that having an openly gay character is a bad idea. I'm not saying that having an openly gay character in the Teen Titans is a bad idea. In fact, its a great idea because it opens the door to having great stories addressing issues of prejudice. Much like Chris Claremont's 80's UNCANNY X-MEN run used the genre to look at prejudice. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that we're going to have the same thoughtful and nuanced approach to the issue here. When I think of a character like Tommy Jagger, who was gay, I don't just think "Oh, he's gay." No, I think about what a great character he was and how much I could relate to him. I looked forward to reading comics with him in them. He wasn't there to be in my face to make me think about diversity, but the way the entire Rucka CHECKMATE series was written you accepted diversity because everyone brought something awesome to the table.

So the question is: Will Bunker bring something to the table that fans and readers can appreciate, or will he be there to pander to one group of people for the sake of being "diverse"? I'm really hoping its the former, but unfortunately I'm having serious doubts.


Because gay dudes are hardcore, yo!

That's all for me today. Looks like its going to be a soggy weekend again, but I'll still see y'all Sunday.

Lies, Hate, and Batman

To the Bat-pole! Its Wednesday, September 21, 2011, good-bye Summer, and this is The Side! Months ago I walked into a Chik-fil-a and was asked for my name to go with my order. That's happening more and more in quick service type places. So I gave my name as "Bruce Wayne", because I could. I figured I'd just cycle through the Justice League secret identities for a while.

But the next time I went into that store I got a "Hey, its Bruce Wayne!" Now I'm known as Bruce Wayne there. Let that be a lesson for you people. If you're going to pick a fake name, you need to be ready to commit to it.

One of my Karate students tried going into that Chik-fil-a and claimed his name was "Bruce Wayne". They just looked at him and said "You're not Bruce Wayne."



I was accused of spreading hate speech over the weekend. What did I do to receive such an accusation? I made fun of Al Gore. Now, you're probably thinking that those must have been some really brutal jokes to be called hate speech. Actually, they weren't. I mentioned that for someone who is so concerned with the environment its funny that his house uses more power than about thirty other houses in his state. I also said that the private jet he flies around in must run on fairy dust. I also said its pretty funny that he's such a proponent of buying "carbon credits" to offset energy usage, and he owns the company that sells carbon credits. I pointed out the truth. That was hate speech.

At least, it was considered hate speech by one moron who was an Al Gore supporter, and couldn't come up with an effective counterpoint. I informed him that you can't call something "hate speech" simply because you don't agree with it. He insisted I was still spreading hate speech. I told him to specifically point out where I had spewed the alleged hate speech. That ended things because he couldn't. It would be a whole other matter if I had started slinging slurs about his ethnicity or religion. I didn't. I pointed out his hypocrisy which is a matter of public record.

This is intellectual bullying, which is a funny thing to call it because it requires the mental capacity and debate skills of a ten year old. If you can't defeat the argument, you must vilify the person making it. The goal is to make the person making the point out to be a bad person and therefore turn opinion against their the point. If Hitler told you it was a nice day, your gut reaction would be to disagree because he's a bad person.

This is an old game in political topics. How many times have you heard that talk radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity were racist and spread hate speech? There are people who have actually taken these claims at face value. I listen to a lot of talk radio because I spend quite a bit of time driving around. I've never heard either of these people say anything racist. The hate speech allegation is the same as the one was levied against me this weekend. There are people who don't want to hear what they have to say and cannot come up with an effective counterpoint, so they try to vilify them.

A high school kid was told he was racist by another student because he thought that Barack Obama wasn't a very good President. The student said calmly and intelligently that he disagreed with the President's policies. Still he was called a 'racist'. I don't like the President's policies. I think he's wanting to take the country in the wrong direction. I'm looking forward to voting against him and hopefully getting him out of office next year. None of this has anything whatsoever to do with skin color. You can call me a racist for stating any of it, but that only makes you intellectually inferior and a flat out liar.

I've seen hate. Its nasty. There are things that I do hate, but there's a whole lot of justification for it. I don't hate people for simply having a different opinion than me. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, although not their own facts, but that's a rant for another time.


This hater is gonna hate!!

Don't hate me because I have to go! See y'all Friday!


That's right, we're not done with her yet. Its Sunday, September 18, 2011, and because you expect it, this is The Side. It rained nearly all day yesterday, which was kind of nice. It brought the current battle to a bit of a halt. Seems a hive of yellowjackets or hornets or something has got themselves a bit of nest next to the front porch and underground. I hit them with multiple cans of horrible chemicals but time is going to tell me with worked. One of the little bastards already stung the Missus. That affront shall not stand.


Its hard to go into anything without expectations. When you're telling stories you have to decide whether its going to be better to meet the expectations of an audience or surprise them. There's benefits to both options, but if you do nothing but meet expectations things are going to get boring and stale. You run the risk of losing the audience. I'm not talking about quality. If you have a reputation of doing quality work, that's an expectation that you're going to want to try to achieve every time. I'm talking about the type of work that you do. You can't just plug stuff into the same formula over and over and over. You don't grow that way.

Since its been a Sarah Michelle Gellar week, she's going to be our example. When we think of her there's one role that she played that springs to mind: Buffy Summers. Its easy to equate the two. She wasn't the first actress to play the role, but she played it for seven seasons on television. The show was the premier show of a network and spawned a spin off. It had legions of fans. She won awards for the role, and received a ton of nominations for other awards. We equate the actress with the role and vice versa. When you envision Buffy Summers she looks like Gellar. When you think of Gellar in a role, you expect someone tough, funny, and heroic. Not too shabby for an actor.

She then proceeded to deliver the goods to the fans of her show, but she player smart and branched out a bit. She got noticed for many different reasons for the movie CRUEL INTENTIONS. Most notably she had a steam on screen kiss with another actress, Selma Blair. I don't make the claim that that's the most notable thing about that role because I'm a big old perv who likes watching hot girls kiss. That kiss won an MTV movie award. It surprised people a bit, and folks took notice. She won best female performance at the same awards show and was nominated for "best villain". Gellar played against type here. The role called for her to be manipulative and overtly sexual. These are two traits you don't think of when you think about Buffy Summers. She pulled the role off masterfully. If you went into that movie expecting to see the same role from her as she played on TV, then you were in for a surprise and, probably, a bit of a shock.

What she was doing there was showing range. It was a different role, with different challenges to it. By meeting those challenges, she helped herself avoid being typecast.

The fact that she drastically changed genres worked for her advantage. Nobody expected her to kick an undead creature in CRUEL INTENTIONS. However, other movies she made were in the horror genre, and she was rather forgettable in them. In the movie I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER she was second fiddle to Jennifer Love Hewitt playing "hot girl in the movie who will eventually die horribly". Even worst was SCREAM 2 in which she played "random sorority person who dies horribly". I watched both these movies, and was sitting in the theater expecting her character to kick a bit of butt. I was placing the expectations I had of Buffy onto these characters. That's not to say that all of the horror movies she started in were suddenly equated to Buffy expectations. After the TV show had wrapped, her next role was in THE GRUDGE which was a horror/suspense piece but the tone and performance was so very different that she managed to put away the expectations we had of her and move on.

She's also been smart enough to do a couple of movies aimed at much younger audiences with the SCOOBY-DOO movies. I'm not going to sit here and rave about these as I skipped them entirely. I'm not a huge Scooby-Doo fan aside from the shows first season. But again, she branched out a little bit playing to a different audience. This audience wouldn't know her as Buffy, although their parents probably would. Again, she played a character in a supernatural adventure piece, and she played it to the fans not only of the old cartoon show, but from the previews the character had a few martial arts moves as a nod to her role as Buffy Summers. This is using the audience's expections to give them a wink. It acknowledges the expectations even if its not playing totally to them.

Its been a Sarah Michelle Gellar week, not because of the weird dream I had a few nights ago in which I was married to her, but because of her new TV show, RINGER, which debuted this week, and I previously reviewed. The actress is returning to television after the birth of her daughter to a show on the network that made her a huge star. Expectations were already in place from the first advertisements. The thing is that we couldn't be exactly sure what to expect because with the nature of the show and the events of the premier episode the network, wisely, didn't want to give too much away. I did go in with expectations, however my expectations didn't include her shoving pieces of wood through the bumpy-faced undead and delivering kung-fu kicks. I expected her to turn in a good performance and be watchable in the role. She did that times two with her portraying very different twin sisters.

I approach expectations as a writer. I'm no actor. I'm a ham with a lot of cheese, but no actor. But the type of expectation that an audience has of me as a writer and cartoonist are the same as type of expectations that they have of an actor. We're both there to try to deliver a, hopefully, good and memorably story/performance. Both walk a fine line of trying to give people what they want, and try to give them something they wouldn't expect from us, but will still like.

I'm struggling with it, but it looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar's got it all figured out.


What would you do for a girl like SMG... aside blog about her for a week?

That's it for me today. I've actually had the weekend off and have been enjoying a bit of recuperation time. I'm going to be getting back to that and I'll see y'all Wednesday.

Buffy Gives Me Mojo

Fire bad. Tree pretty. Its Friday, September 16, 2011, the w00tness is upon me, and this is The Side. Its hard to turn things around sometimes. It could be a change of events, or just your attitude. When you're bummed out it can be pretty tough to feel like you've gotten your Mojo back. Got a buddy of mine who makes YouTube videos. He hasn't made one in a while, and I asked him if everything was alright. Things seem fine, but he aid he's lost his Mojo.

Getting your Mojo is really tough. You're out of your groove. You feel lousy about it. It can lead to things just not going right. It can easily spiral into feeling depressed. I'm not talking the clinical kind, but a real funk, and because of that funk its even harder to get you Mojo back. It might not even be entirely on you. You may have gotten some news, or found something out that threw you out of balance.

Best thing to do is to start small. Just do something that you can handle, even if its inconsequential like cleaning your place up. Accomplish something that you can say, "Hey, got it done and it looks good." It gives you a feeling of pride, even if its small. Repeat as necessary until you're ready to get bigger stuff done.

I was having the same problem this week. Tuesday, I was pretty much all done mentally and emotionally. I still had to work though, so I focused on that. Mistakes at work were part of the problem, so I focused on doing the best I could at work. It wasn't great. I wasn't perfect. Still, I didn't royally screw up. Next day, worked hard and made stuff happen. Yesterday, more of the same and ran a good karate class.

Today, I'm sore as all hell physically, but mentally and emotionally, I feel pretty damn good. I've got my Mojo workin', and am ready to roll.

So let's roll with a comic review.


Its a Sarah Michelle Gellar kinda week as on the heel of the very cool RINGER debut, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON NINE #1 hits the stands. I won't lie, I wasn't thrilled with how Season Eight wrapped up, but ANGEL AND FAITH #1 was pretty good so I figured I'd give this a shot. I wasn't disappointed as Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty give us the return of... wait for it... Drunk Buffy. She didn't turn into a cave person this time, but Buffy Summers just can't hold her booze. No monster killing this issue, but we do catch up with the cast following the events of Season Eight as the issue splits between flashbacks of a Party at Buffy's new apartment and her dealing with one opponent that's truly her match: a vicious hangover. We do meet a couple of new cast members with Buffy's apartment-mates: Anaheed and Tumble. They both seem very nice, so I'm calling it now, I think one of them is possibly eeeeevil. Betting on Tumble with his not getting up off the couchness. There are a few things afoot that should play out something nasty down the road. Last season, Buffy severed Earth's connection to magic. There's still monsters and Slayers, but there will be no new Slayers, and magic users like Willow now have no juice. But there's some things that are being held by magic, and it looks like they're getting loose. I'm all in for this new season to see where it goes. This issue was a lot of fun, and the comic stopped being fun for a little while. Glad its back and glad its good.


It felt like a Foo Fighters kinda morning, so I'm going with it.

You guys have a good weekend. Hope your Mojo is workin' for you. See y'all Sunday.

One of those Boobs is a Ringer

Ouch. Its Wednesday, September 14, 2011, I'm finally figuring out what day it is, and this is The Side. Not been a good week so far. I've been off my game, but I'm pretty sure I'm on the road to getting it back. That road included a demolition job. I haven't been this sore in quite a while. Pulling up a subfloor that has urine-rusted nails in it isn't terribly good for one's temperament.

Still, just happy to be working at this point.


The CW network has been pushing RINGER for a while now. Its Sarah Michelle Gellar's big return to TV, and she was the CW's big "IT" girl back when the network was the WB and she was Buffy. The ads looked interesting enough, and there's not much on nowadays to catch my interest. I tuned in and hoped it would at least be passable.

It started off well enough. We meet Bridget and she's pretty interesting. She in AA and also the witness protection program. She witnessed a murder, and the guy that did it has no qualms about offing her too. She runs to go see her twin sister, Siobhan. Gellar plays both roles and does a pretty good job of it. She's making me forget about Buffy and showing some pretty decent acting chops.

Then we get to the boat scene. I nearly changed the channel.

This was some really shoddy production work. It was obvious as a boulder in the driveway that it was shot against a green screen. The wind and splashing water looked like the effects on the Universal Studios tour I went on years ago. It was pretty lame stuff.

Then the bottom dropped out. This show shifted gears like a gangbuster. Double blinds, missing people, FBI agents, affairs, holy crap!! The next thing I know I've going about a dozen questions as to what the hell is really going on and I'm riveted to the show. Everybody's got an angle and you've got no clue which way they're coming from. The only one that we can get a solid fix on is Bridget. As least we've got a solid idea about here. She's on the run from a killer and the only place she's found where she can hide may be even more dangerous than where she was in the first place. I wasn't ready for this at all.

I don't know how long they are going to be able to keep this level of suspense up, but they've got a regular viewer here who is fully on-board for this ride.


I like boobs. I like legs, butts, eyes, the whole nine yards. However, today I'm going to talk about boobs, because of something stupid: "Booberday". There's an internet meme called "Caturday" in which on Saturday people will post funny and/or cute pictures of cats. Well, now someone is trying to make "Booberday" a thing in which on Saturday people post pictures of boobs and cleavage. Now, you're probably thinking, "Hey, this is the internet. If that's what you're supposed to do on 'Booberday', then isn't everyday 'Booberday'?" Technically, yes, but the difference between Booberday and every other day on the internet, you're supposed to post pictures of boobs and cleavage to help fight breast cancer.

If any of you heard that and was wondering what that sound was, that was the sound of my head bouncing off my desk at the stupidity of having to type that last sentence.

Yep. Kinda a dull thud.

By know most of us are aware of the "Save the Ta-Tas" campaign with the slogan on pink t-shirts and wrist bands and such. Purchasing these items sends a direct donation to a reputable breast cancer research fund. Yes, its a bit irreverent, but we know what the cause is and we know where the money is going. So we have a cheeky slogan as opposed to some guy saying we should post cleavage and boob pictures every Saturday. I seriously doubt to the Booberday stunt is going to raise any money that could be considered significant. But then a bunch of people who like boobs and cleavage will get to see pictures of boobs and cleavage.

Yes, there is something to be said for using a spectacle to draw attention to something important. However, if everyone is paying attention to the spectacle without giving a damn about that something important then you've pretty much failed in you mission.


I love everything about this video. The seamless transition from studio to live tracks is awesome.

That's it for me. Time to make the do-nuts. I mean that figuratively of course. If I made actual do-nuts for a living my quest to get back in fighting shape would be doomed. See y'all Friday.

Reviews and Rememberance

Its Sunday, September 11, 2011, and this is The Side. Been a few weeks since I've posted a Sunday update. Its also been a while since I did a comic review. Let's get to it.


I was on a roof when it happened. I had a rope tied around my waist with a guy sitting at the peak of the roof hanging onto the other end of the rope as I was power washing the shingles. This was the second time I was up there because the stains just weren't coming out, and I was redoing the stupid job. It was even goofier in that when I asked the lady who lived there if she wanted to come out and look at it after I was done, she told me it wouldn't do any good because she was legally blind and would barely be able to see the roof from the ground. Made me wonder why I had to go out there and redo the job. So I called my pal, Brian, to tell him how insanely stupid the situation was and before I could say much of anything he asked me if I had heard what was going on.

By the time I had the radio on it was clear that we were under attack. My father's house was close by, and we were heading there anyways to use the bathroom. My stepmother was home and had the TV on the news. My dad was part of an Air Force Reserve unit and was on base when it happened. I had heard what had happened, but the visual was still took me aback. The towers had fallen. The first image I saw was of the city from across the water. The cloud had engulfed much of the picture. My stepmother was very nervous. She wondered if my father would be activated and sent in. My brother was in the Air Force. We live in a military town. Our family and the families of everyone we know were going to be directly affected in some way.

I was still working, and my next stop was Norfolk. It wasn't lost on me that I was driving into one of the top strategic targets on the east coast. Essentially the top three are Washington, New York, and Norfolk. It was lunch time by the time we got there. We stopped to eat at Dog-n-Burger, which is a little grill joint that we liked a lot. It was a noisy joint with music playing and the staff and customers all chatting and carrying on. Not that day. The staff worked in silence as the new feed played in place of the normal music. Everyone ate quietly and listened. It was truly an eerie moment. The only other time that had happened was when the Cole was attacked.

I called my girlfriend's house even though I knew she'd be in class. Her housemate answered, which shocked me because he was a Navy guy. I asked what the hell he was doing home. It was his day off. He hadn't turned on the TV or the radio. He had no idea what was going on. That stunned the hell out of me.

The remainder of the day was spent painting a church. The thought of the events transpiring were stage front in my mind. We didn't know if the attacks were over. There was the chance that Norfolk could still be hit. Fear was trying very hard to take hold of me, but I kept working. The painting actually because sort of meditating.

That night I talked with my family members. My cousin was attending Columbia University at the time and we got confirmation that she was well away from everything and safe.

In the days that followed, we saw the locals here rally in support of the people that leapt into action to do what they could during the attacks. We rallied behind our troops who we knew were getting ready to go on the offensive to beat back the crazies that attacked our people. Of course there were a few hippy losers standing on street corners with their "War is Terrorism" crap signs pissing and moaning that our fighting forces were getting deployed. There's always going to be people who just don't get it, and think one big hug will solve the world's problems.

The world changed that day. America woke up to the fact that there's a group of people who would see us all dead just for how we live our lives. We were and are the enemy to a fanatical bastardization of a religion. There are still those people who say we'll never win this fight. They are right, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't fight. There will always be some group of crazies who want to kill people simply for not being just like them. Time and time again in history people have had to beat back the crazies. September 11, 2001 was when we got reminded of that.


Murders, deception, a hidden romance, and a really bad poet all get served up in USAGI YOJIMBO #140. This issue completes the "Murder at the Inn" two-parter, which has Usagi teaming up with Inspector Ishida. This is an old-school detective story here. We follow the Inspector and Usagi as they make a few discoveries and then its promptly on to the "parlor scene" in which the detective lays out the case before the suspects and reveals the guilty party. We're not talking about any great twists and turns on the genre here, but this story is done with such an exceptional elegance that its just a joy to read. Stan Sakai is a master cartoonist and you see this with every page. There's not a lot of sword swinging action, but this is a detective story first and foremost. Great read, and beautifully executed storytelling. I recommend this especially to young cartoonists who really want to see how to do things properly.

On to 50 Girls 50 #4, which kind of annoys me. It started out as a bit of a space cheesecake book. Last issue they dropped that angle, and went for straight space sci-fi. They're trying to continue that with this issue, and have succeeded a bit. Its not a bad issue, but its confusing. The story as contained in this issue is fairly clear, but everything around it isn't. I've seen this same group of women in every issue, but aside from Oskana, I couldn't begin to tell you any of their names. That's not just because I'm checking out their figures in their skin tight spacesuits. Its an ensemble cast, and one that is still new to readers. This book seriously needs some captions to let me know who these women are, and what they do. Also, despite the title telling me twice that there's 50 girls somewhere in this story, I still haven't seen them. I count, maybe, seven. And with all this stuff going on around Oskana and it being alluded to repeatedly that there's something really wrong with her, I have no clue what the deal with her is. Its not a bad book, but I feel like I'm watching a story unfold with no clue who the players are.


This song was the hotness, and was getting major radio time, but then the 9/11 attacks happened and the song went away because it seemed kinda wrong to laugh and kid around for a while.

That wraps up today. Please take a moment to think about those who sacrifice to keep us safe and maintain our freedom. Thanks, and I'll see y'all Wednesday.

Getting Back to Fighting Shape

Its Vader time! Its Friday, September 9, 2011, I'm back in the game, and this is The Side. This is why I hardly ever go on vacation. You take a few days off and go somewhere and it feels like you need a week to get everything back to normal. Still, it was nice to get up to the mountain and see my Dad and Stepmom. He's completed his post heart surgery rehab. I think the nurses were sick of cranking the tread mill up to top speed and maximum incline and him asking when they were going to do something hard.


There's a lot of things that suck about getting older. I'm currently dealing with one in particular: my metabolism. Growing up I always had the metabolic rate of a blast furnace, so I basically ate whatever I wanted without having to worry about my weight. Well, those days are over. There's also a particular habit I used to have that I've broken. Those who have put up with the habit for years and fairly glad to see it go, but it was one that benefited me. I used to pace. I mean seriously pace. I'm talking affect the airflow around me pace. I'd march in my little OCD circle for sometimes well over an hour as my mind ran wild extrapolating story ideas and considering projects. I could probably march from here to Tokyo with the amount of steps I've taken pacing. But that habit got broken, mainly because it annoyed the hell out of people. Unfortunately, pacing the floor as I did burned a lot of calories. Now that I'm not doing it, those calories are hanging around.

Its not really about the number on the scale. Never has been. Its more about making my body do what it needs to do. I am carrying around extra weight. Its not a lot. The guys still call me 'Slim'. But its harder to keep my energy level up when my cardiovascular conditioning isn't as sharp as it used to be and my body is having to work harder to carry the extra weight. I'm finding myself wanting to take an afternoon nap and being tired more. Strength-wise I'm alright, but my energy level has dropped significantly. Not good.

Time to change things up. I've been trying to participate more in karate class as opposed to just teaching it. That can be a tricky balance to find, but I'm working on it. The elliptical trainer has been moved from the garage back into the house, and on the nights I don't work out I'll be spending some more quality time with it. It is difficult to find time for these things. I don't have the extra scratch for a gym membership, and if I did I don't really have the time for it. I've got a job (thankfully) and a family at home. Fortunately, little changes lead to results. If I can fit in some time at night on the elliptical before grabbing a shower and hitting the sack, great. If I have the option of grabbing an apple versus a snack cake, I'm going to go for it. That part is hard, as I do loves me some snack cakes. There's also the added workouts with my neighbor on Sunday morning in which we get old-school in his back yard leaving me sore and sweaty before the rest of the family is out of bed.

I'm not looking for huge results. I'm not trying to set a weight goal. I just want to feel better physically, and have the energy to do the things I want to do.


It was either ROCKY clips or put on Jensen Ackles lip syncing. I may have chose poorly.

That's the ballgame for me this go around. Everyone enjoy your weekend and I'll see y'all Sunday.

Returned... physically

Hey, gang. I got back in last night from my little vacation to West Virginia. It was an uneventful trip, but that's what I was hoping for, so I'm pleased. However, my head still feels out of the game and my body is soft from lack of work and training. I'm also feeling quite disconnected from everything still, so I'm just throwing a little update up, and I'll be back to business as usual on Friday.



Alrighty then. Its Friday, September 2, 2011, I'm ready to go, and by 'go' I mean the heck outta Dodge, and this is The Side. Yeah, I know this post is a bit video heavy, but that's how we roll sometimes.

I attempted to us the new Blogger interface for this. Horrible experience. I'll be keeping the old interface for a while, thanks.


DC has officially kicked off its reboot with JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 this week. I haven't been to the comic shop, so I haven't picked it up. Oh, and there's another reason, I think this entire reboot thing is stupid, and don't intend to pick it up. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, here you go.

So while the video says "everything will be alright" after listing a ton of reasons why I'm not on board with this, it turns out everything is not alright and the word is getting around that this new Justice League book isn't very good at all. Its basically Batman meets Green Lantern. Batman's back to being a jerk. Hal Jordan is still a douche. They go try to beat up Superman, who is now a young douche, and that's about it. Meet the new DCU, where you can see the heroes try to beat each other up and posture in "badass" manners. Screw this. That's not even getting into some of these horrible designs. My kids can't even recognize these characters anymore.

I'm not totally against reboots and/or remakes. I think there's some things really important to consider when these are undertaken. Primarily, are you doing this for the right reason? If you truly believe that it needs to be done in order to create something better, then you're on the right intentional track. That's one of the main problems with the DC re-boot. They're trying to gain new readers, so its a stunt to gain money. Not good.

If you remain true to some key themes in the original work, you're probably on a good track as well. Its sort of the same rule has handling an adaption from one medium to another. Alterations are more readily forgiven if they keep the spirit of the original work.

What can be a problem is re-imagining a work. That's when you take a work and then put your own spin in it. A great example is the Mortal Kombat web series. Kevin Tancharoen re-imagined the concept and removed a lot of the mystical aspects of the storyline, but kept a bit of the fantastic nature. He made a video, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, and it was a huge hit with Mortal Kombat fans. It got the go ahead from Warner Brothers to do a web-series, but it had to get Ed Boon, one of the original game creators and current head dude of things Mortal Kombat, to give the final go ahead. Well, Tancharoen's vision pretty much got squashed, and the web series ended up being a series of videos telling the origins of various characters from the games. The videos were still very good, pretty much a let down from what Rebirth promised. That's with the exception of the "Raiden" episode, which really was a great video, and the best of the series.

Mortal Kombat is about two things: martial arts and brutal finishes. Tanchareon switched the other worldly characters with twisted serial killers, but maintained incredible martial arts fighting and a brutal edge to things in the Rebirth video. But his vision didn't get the go ahead, so we're kind of left to wonder how awesome his take on things really could have been. I would love to sit down with him and talk about it though.

It does really boil down to change. On one hand DC is trying to change what they have in order to gain fans, and the fans they have are backing away from it. On the other hand, you have a fan who made something great and generated a lot of buzz and new fans, but the original creator put the breaks on things and might have shut the door on something really promising.

I've done it too. My old comic NIGHT LIFE got a bit of a reboot because when I did the original comic in college it was much later on in the character's lives. I wanted to go back and start telling their stories from an earlier spot. Sure some things got altered a bit, but my abilities and sensibilities as a storyteller have changed quite a bit sense college.

Hitting the get "Do Over" button doesn't automatically make something bad. You just have to make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.


Here's something a bit different your ya: The Oakridge Boys covering The White Stripes.

That's all for me guys. I'm getting out of here for the weekend. I haven't visited my dad in far too long and decided kind of last minute to take a trip to the mountain to see him. I'll be back Tuesday, so definitely no Sunday update again, and possibly no update next Wednesday. Yes, yes, I'm a bad blogger. See y'all later, and enjoy your Labor Day weekend.