WINNING and losing

Blah. Its Wednesday, November 30, 2011, I'm needing some caffeine and this is The Side. had a nasty headache all day Sunday. Monday I had the headache hangover and felt like i was walking through cement all day. I'm still feeling out of sorts. However, there is work to be done, and work doesn't wait until you feel like doing it.

Neither does a blog.

Well, OK, yeah it does, but its a lot more dramatic if it didn't.


Competition is a good thing. While some people can get too into it, if pursued in a healthy manner in can serve to bring out the best in people. It can drive them to try harder. People like to be the best. I played sports growing up, mainly Soccer. I've trained in Karate since I was a kid. I've gotten plenty of first place trophies. I've come in dead last. I've been part of soccer teams that won their league championships, and I've been on teams that never won a single game. I was even in a bowling league and my team won the championship. I've been a loser, and I've been a winner.

Winning doesn't suck.

But its really easy to not like winners. And that has me wondering about the blow back from a really lopsided basketball game. Here's the quick version. Two middle school teams were in a basketball tournament. One school is bigger and is really talented. The other is kinda lucky to be able to field a team. The bigger school broke out to big lead very quickly. The coach pulled out the starting players. By half time the score was 70-0. The coach told his team to stop playing defense to give the other team a chance to score some points. The end score was 100-2. Now there's talk that the winning team might be forced to forfeit their season, because they won by such a huge score.

So, the message is: do your best, unless you're a lot better than that other person then you better not or you can't play anymore.

This is stupid. I deal with kids and competition. In the dojo the main competition is against yourself, and making yourself as good as you can be. When the gloves go on, we are training each other and trying to push each other to become better. If i have a brown belt fighting a white belt, then that brown belt controls his skills and techniques fighting down to a lower level but still pushing that lower ranked student. In open tournaments students are separated by rank and age. You go out, give it everything you've got and see what happens.

For years I fought one particular guy on the local tournament circuit. It seems like whenever we were in the same tournament we'd be matched against each other in round one. He nearly always beat me. He's a very good fighter, and excellent at point fighting. Every year, I'd just have to try harder. The last time we fought each other, I still lost, but everyone who saw that fight applauded. We were to the point that there was nothing left to prove to each other. We both knew and respected each other. There was only the application of our techniques and a demonstration of control and precision that impressed those around us. He made me a better fighter.

A sensei in the dojo is a lot like a coach. When I watch my students its my duty to point out mistakes and also the things they did right. The whole point is to make the kids better. When they compete, I'm thrilled if they win, but just as proud of them when they and if they don't, because they still went out there and gave it their all.

The focus in the instance of the basketball game is in the wrong place. The team that won did so because they were flat out better than the other team. That other team deserves the credit in going out there as underdogs and competing and doing their best. Hopefully the coaches will be able to use the experience to teach the team a few things and make a better team of them.

I know people seem to like to punish winners. It can't be "fair" that someone wins so big. That's life. If you want "fair" go play Candyland.


A fair fight? That would be the one I win.

That's it for me me. See y'all Friday.

Drawing to a close

Its Sunday, November 27, 2011, the end is drawing near, for my beard anyways, and this is The Side. Yes indeed, I did the whole "No Shave November" bit, and while I've gotten quite a few compliments about my chin whiskers I'm ready for it to go. Indeed, I am looking manlier than ever, but it feels like I'm wearing a mask, and while masks are great, its nice to take them off too.

That and the amount of grey in there is making me look and feel a bit old.


There are somethings that we wish would go on forever. Four of these I kind of wish could. One of them could go away and never ever come back and I'd be a happy camper. Still, its tough giving some things a proper send off. So, for any of those producers out there who might need a little ghost writing done, I've got your back!

In the finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY it is discovered that Penny is really a Russian spy and the entirety of the time she'd been involved in Leonard and Sheldon's lives she had been reporting back to her superiors and subverting the scientists' efforts. Sheldon puts the pieces into place noting that Penny has always had an amazingly sharp memory. Paranoia sets in as Sheldon tries desperately to reveal Penny's real motives without tipping his hand. Its spy versus nerd until Sheldon finally confronts Penny, only to discover that the entire thing was ruse to lure Sheldon to his surprise birthday party. Leonard finally proposes to Penny. The episode ends with Penny reporting to the Russians that everything is going according to plan.

THE WALKING DEAD concludes with Rick waking up from his coma only to discover that the entire zombie apocalypse had been a dream. This is immediately followed by every fan around the world simultaneously wailing and gnashing their teeth.

SUPERNATURAL comes to an end in their final season when the Winchester boys find themselves up against C'Thulu. Its pretty much a descent into madness, which isn't anything new to the show, but the in an unexpected twist, Sam and Dean actually get along for the entire season. This is completely groundbreaking for the show. The series ends with Dean reciting a spell from the Necronomicon, but he messes the words up and sends himself and Sam to another dimension where both of them have chainsaws for hands.

In the new final installment of the TWILIGHT series, it vampire guy (played by that weird looking dude in the movie) and the werewolf guy (played by the former Shark Boy in the movie) reveal that they were sitting around watching IN THE COMPANY OF MEN and thought Aaron Eckhart was a complete boss in that film. They went to find a really stupid girl to do the same thing to, and everything just got really, really out of hand from there. Both guys get the heck out of dodge. The stupid girl then spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out what she's going to do with her half vampire kid and thinking community college would have been a much better idea than trying to live out her gothic fantasy.

And finally, CASTLE wraps up when Castle and Beckett begin to penetrate the whole conspiracy behind who tried to take out Beckett with the sniper rifle. The person responsible hired the serial strangler that got away from Castle and Ryan to lead Castle through a series of challenges testing his deductive powers to save people. Meanwhile, this is all a ruse while the figurative noose tightens around Beckett. She's in the cross-hairs and knows it, but the team can't stop those behind that and keep up with supporting Castle against the killer. Castle breaks ranks and ditches the others for a lone confrontation with the killer, freeing Ryan and Espesito up to aid Beckett in taking down the people who tried to kill her. Castle has a whole Holmes/Moriarty battle thing and if he survives finally get together with Beckett. He also gets made an honorary police captain, because its Nathan Fillion and he'll always be a captain to us.


Let's keep it simple today.

That's all from me for today. I'll see y'all Wednesday.

Turkey's on Ice.

Its Friday, November 25, 2011, BLACK FRIDAY, which i don't think is considered racist yet, and this is The Side. I actually still feel full from yesterday. Food was great. The Missus is a hell of a cook. Watched DUTCH last night. Most of the entertainment came during the day when I stopped in at NWA HQ to say howdy as John was deep frying some turkeys. His cell phone rang, which was answered with John blast his turkey caller into the phone. So the caller got to hear an automated gobble as we yelled in the background.

"He's getting away! Darren, tackle him!"

"OW! It freaking pecked me!"

"Dinner's in a couple hours! Get his feathers off!"

"I'll wring his neck!"


I only got one book this week, and fortunately for me it was USAGI YOBIMBO #142. "Ice Runners" is a stand alone story in which Usagi comes across delivery men besieged by bandits. They're delivering ice as a tribute for a lord from the lord of their clan. This isn't easy since its the dead of summer. Lots of things at play here. Making the delivery in those conditions alone is difficult enough. Even being a delivery person for a lord in and of itself was treacherous. The political aspects here are also a factor. If the ice is delivered Lord Ito will gain favor and honor. If the runners fail, then he's in a position to be disgraced by a competing lord. There's also a good chance that the bandits may be agents of the competing lord. Usagi offers his aid, especially once he learns the runners are from Lord Ito. You really get the sense of how important the honor of the clan is to the runners. I do have to wonder about men who did stuff like this back in history. Right now, the U.S. Postal Service is looking to cut back on deliveries due to financial reasons. This story gave me a bit more appreciation for how easily things can be delivered. As always, elegant storytelling from Stan Sakai with a great story and beautiful art.


These guys have come a long way from the Dude Ranch.

That's it for me. No shopping for this guy because I like to wait for the week before Christmas before I get started on such things. However, there is a hardwood floor that needs putting down, so off to work for me. See y'all Sunday.

Got your ears on?

Here we go. Its Wednesday, November 23, 2011, I'm preparing for turkey, and this is the The Side. Yep, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Its one of my favorite holidays. I will be in town for it still year. As much as I'd like to be heading up to see my dad in West Virginia, that's a pretty expensive trip. Hopefully next year.

As for what I'm thankful for, I've still got a roof over my head. Been a tough year at the Nozz Compound, but we're still hanging in there.


Its been an interesting week so far as there's been a bunch of cases of people listening. This shouldn't seem like such a big deal, but often it seems like everyone is so wrapped up in their own stuff that hearing someone else, and actually doing something seems kind of weird, but very cool.

I think the most high profile case was this past weekend when Mila Kunis went to the Marine Corps Ball with a Marine who asked her. I almost types 'had the guts to ask her', but that would be redundant, because he's a Marine. Of course he has guts. That's one of the really cool things about social media in that growing up when there was a big star, like Kunis, it seemed impossible for a regular person to contact them and get a real response. Sure, you could send fan letters and the like, but you always had that feeling that your letter was just one in a huge pile and might not even get read.

But now, I person can make a video, or send a tweet, and if the celebrity can see it and respond. In the case of the marine, the video went viral and word about it got to Kunis. She agreed to go and was good on her word. There were a couple of pictures taken, but she didn't turn it into some big publicity stunt. She looked very classy. I was going to hunt down a sexy picture of her from some photo shoot to put on there, but it seemed lame to do that when talking about a lady doing something classy. That and the fact all she has to do is smile to look sexy.

What's even cooler is when an institution listens to you. I got a dose of this when I went to the bank this week. The credit union I belong to has been expanding and opening new branches, which they've been really needing to do. They have one right up the road from the church I teach at now. Very convenient, however you couldn't see the tellers. They had these little booth things with a video screen and phone and the transaction was handled via a vacuum tube. One my first visit I asked about this, and was told it was for security reasons. I understood that. This set up made it very difficult to rob the place. Still, I didn't like this set up at all. If I'm giving someone my paycheck, I want to be able to see them. That and the area is a very low crime area, so the extra security precautions seemed a little silly. I still went to that branch, because of the location, and time and gas are precious things.

On Monday I went in right behind an old fella. We got to where we were to line up and the little booths were gone. Over the weekend, they had remodeled and there were three tellers behind the counter. The old fella and I were looking at each other and we were just stunned. What finery was this? I was kinda operating under the suspicion that they were really using the other set up because tellers didn't like to wear pants. To the side of the line was a veggie platter and other assorted snacks and goodies under a banner that read: "You spoke. We listened."

It absolutely made my day.

Cool things can happen when you speak clearly and reasonably. No need for protests and stupid stuff like that Occupy tomfoolery. You don't need a giant rabble around you.

Sometimes you just need a good point and the guts to express it.


Decent band. here's a song of there's that doesn't get played nearly enough.

Alright, gang. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving. If you're traveling, stay safe. We'll see y'all back here Friday.

Dead Swiss Glory

Howdy! Its Sunday, November 20, 2011, I'm beat for no good reason, and this is The Side. I really wish I was tired from going to watch the fights last night. I read that Hendo and Shogun went all out, and the Silva/Le fight was incredibly exciting. I was already exhausted last night, so I probably would have passed out driving if I had gone to watch them, and then there'd be nothing for you to read this morning.

Hey, speaking of reading...


For anyone who is looking to me to tell them what to think about the new JUSTICE LEAGUE book. Stop looking. I don't read it. I do however keep up on it via the handy-dandy abridged version.

MORNING GLORIES #14 is the perfect comic for you if you think your high school is or was the worst place on Earth. This book continues on with its touching after-school special teen drama. Hunter is still upset that Casey told him they should just be friends. Casey feels really bad about hurting Hunter's feelings. Then there's Zoe, who is trying to put on a brave face, but the girls on the cheerleading squad are saying really nasty things about her, especially concerning the three dead people. But all that's OK, because its time for P.E.! That's right, good old gym class where a stressed out student can blow off some steam. Of course, when the faculty have tried repeatedly to kill you, weird stuff happens at every turn, god only knows what the hell is going on in the basement, and a psychic woman seems to be predicting all this from the Puritan days as the man she loves is being pressed to death in front of her, a jog through the woods may not go as well as one would hope. Things get weird of Hunter, Zoe, and Jun real quick. This book is completely freaking nuts. I mean that in the best way possible.

We jump ahead a few weeks in THE WALKING DEAD #91. The last storyline caught some flack for being "slow", but its still been very good reading. The uprising got quelled and Nicholas is in seeming good standing with everyone, although they're still kinda keeping an eye on him. Abraham doesn't seem too happy with not being in charge, and that's scary. If he turns on Rick its going to get ugly. The food supply is dwindling and that's bad in the dead of winter. Carl's adjusting to his injury as best he can, and we get a very good little scene between him and Sophia. Its fascinating to see how these kids cope with the ending of civilization as we know it. We also get the big fallout from the Rick/Andrea kiss. Those who didn't like the previous story might have some gripes here with it being slow, but the last two pages promises something on the horizon. This book is incredibly consistent in its quality. Kirkman writes the hell out of it and Charlie Adlard's art is just amazing. Great book.


Always nice to see a band from my hometown making some waves. There's been so many bands from around here that have been absolutely amazing and were good enough to be big national acts, but never were. Locals who follow music here know Luther's Fall, and everyone close to my my age remember the Waxing Poetics. Let's see how far these guys get, because they definitely have the chops to go far.

That's it for me today. I'll be seeing y'all Wednesday.

Boys will be girls?

Wasabi? Its Friday, November 18, 2011, I'm going to get beat up tonight, and this is The Side. I'm holding a women's self defense class tonight. These are one night crash courses which usually include me ending up very sore for the next few days. The things I do for a good cause. Ah well, I could certainly use the karma.


Anderson Cooper was talking to family on his show that are raising their six year old son as a girl. I didn't see the actual show because there's no power on earth that could make me sit down to watch Anderson Cooper's show. However, this show got some new traction because apparently its like a Transgender Memorial Week or some such. The Missus is actually the one who spotted this story, and it caught her eye because the kid was being picked on for being a boy who brought a princess backpack to school. Of course the solution was simple, raise the boy as a girl.

Does this mean that if a child likes something that we typically consider to be preferred by the opposite gender that this kid is transgender? Is my daughter transgender because she's a little tomboy and likes Spider-man and Ironman stuff and refuses to wear cute, "girly" clothes?

Perhaps, and this is just me going out on the limb here, its just a phase and the kid will grow out of it. My kids are four. The kid on the Cooper TV show was six. Kids change. They can be totally into something one week and the next its something different. What these parents are doing to their kids is completely nuts. All this is going to lead to is serious therapy down the road. I'm not talking about teenagers or older who have done some serious introspection and seen therapists. They know what and how they feel. They can hopefully articulate it. I'm talking about pre-sexual kids.

What happens when they get older and hit puberty? Let's leave the complications of what could happen in a public school out for right now, because it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to realize the special hell that would be. Let's say this little boy who is now being raised as a girl gets older and starts liking girls. Does that make him a transgender lesbian, or just a straight guy who maybe likes to wear a dress on occasion? I do hear the air flow this those is quite nice. Back to topic, once you slap this label on a kid, its not something you can take off easy peasy.

It just seems like some people have lost their marbles when it comes to gender roles. There's couples who are actively trying to keep everything "gender neutral". There's been couple who give little boys dolls for whatever reason. There's been this weird movement to try to make guys more "sensitive". So if there's a little boy who actually likes some things girls like he's supposed to be treated like a girl? That's stupid. The Missus actually looked at a few stories about transgender kids and the vast majority of them were little boys who were going to be raised as girls.

I know transgenderism is the vogue cause right now with Lady Gaga rambling on about it and Chaz Bono being on Dancing with the Stars. Chaz Bono is an adult and can make his own decisions. Lady Gaga is a vapid caricature who shouldn't be asked about her opinion on anything aside from piano playing. Leave the kids out of it. People want to say that they're wanting these kids to be able to just be themselves. Bullshit. They're slapping a label on kids because they can't grasp the concept of just letting kids like what they like, and that's just flat out wrong.


Yeah, they editted this version. Damned Vevo.

That's the ballgame for today. Have a good weekend and I'll see y'all Sunday.

Go, Ninjago!

Good morning, spawn campers! Its Wednesday, November 16, 2011, I have a mighty beard, and this is The Side. Yes indeedy, I'm doing the No Shave November, which is very useful in reminding me why I like to remain clean shaven. Yes, I am talking about my face, you pervos. Its pretty much the consensus that I do indeed look good with a beard. It is nice to not have to deal with keep my face shaved, because like most dudes, I don't like going through the hassle. The itching that tends to go along with growing a beard doesn't really bother me. Still, it feels like I'm wearing a mask and its not really me. Oh well, we're past the half way point in the month, so I'll be staying ruggedly good-looking for a couple weeks yet.

In other news, I've been asked to review something that isn't software, or a pheromone based cologne. Its early review time. PARTY!


Having two little rugrats who like comics, I'm always on the lookout for something that they might like. So, when I was asked to check out the LEGO NINJAGO graphic novel, I jumped at the chance. Its from Papercutz, the same company that's released the SMURFS comics, so that's got my attention. Before reading this I had no clue about anything with Lego's Ninjago line of toys. In fact, those who know me know that my stance is mostly anti-ninja. This book already had an uphill battle ahead of it in winning me over.

The book is a solidly written piece. Going in with no knowledge of the Ninjago mythos, I got a quick and painless crash course in everything I needed to know. In fact, I've fairly confident that I can now execute some basic Spinjitzu techniques. The story itself from Greg Farshtey is nice and straight forward. The artwork by Paulo Henrique and Laurie E. Smith is well done and managed to bring a lot of life and character to the little Lego dudes running around. It's a simple book, but a fun one. After reading it, I'm completely comfortable in letting my little girls read it.

The big question is: will my little girls want to read it? As far as Legos go, their main experience with the line is the LEGO BATMAN game for the Wii. They love that. I showed them the book, and they eagerly flipped through it. They liked it. One of them wanted to take it to bed with her so she could read it a bit before bedtime. Of course, she couldn't because mean, old daddy has a review to write, so maybe tomorrow.

Bottom line: if you've got kids who like fun and action in their stories, then this is a great book for them.


Today, we're gonna party like its Windows 95!

That's a wrap for this go around. I'll see y'all Friday.

Buffy Enters The Octagon?

Hey gang! Its Sunday, November 13, 2011, I've got a ton of chores to do, and this is The Side. That's right kids, chores don't end when you grow up. They just get more in depth. Mowing the yard and cleaning your room, pail before fix the plumbing, sand down the floor, and fix the oven.

Oy vey.

Last post had a bit of traction and a lot of page views. Had a really great response over at Comic Kings. Maybe it was due to having picture of women all over the post. Well, I'm equal opportunity for my fans, so I've got a dude picture for ya, ladies!


The UFC made its network debut on Fox last night. Unfortunately they only showed on fight. I say unfortunately because Benson Henderson and Clay Guida also fought that night and put out three rounds that earned both fighters a standing ovation. However, Fox said they only wanted to air one fight, so Dana White delivered what they wanted. The heavyweight championship bout between two undefeated fighters. The result: Junior Dos Santos defeated Cain Velasquez and is the new champ.

There was a lot of build up on the one hour show, which is completely understandable. This is the first showing of the UFC on network TV. Yes, there have been other MMA promotions on network, but the UFC is the biggest MMA promotion out there. If you have someone who hasn't checked it out before and this was their first time they needed to know who these guys are and what exactly is going to be going down here. I think the broadcast did an excellent job of that.

For those of us that do follow MMA, these guys are no strangers. These are the two toughest heavyweights around. My buddies and I couldn't even make a prediction on this one. This is also extremely gutsy of Dana White, the UFC president. Both of these fighters are capable of ending a fight in 30 seconds. What if it turned into the Mike Tyson thing and everyone gets all eager for a big fight and its over in the blink of an eye?

The fight itself was a quick one, but it did last longer than 30 seconds. There was some feeling out going on with some hard striking. Dos Santos snapped a front kick into Velasquez, who countered with an immediate takedown attempt. Dos Santos expertly slipped out of the takedown attempt. Soon after Dos Santos threw a bomb right hand catching Velasquez right behind the ear and sending him to the floor. Dos Santos capitalized with some ground and pound and referee John McCarthy smartly stepped in when one of the blows made Velasquez's arms go limp. It was a brief fight, but a really great one.

Congratulation to Junior Dos Santos.


Only had one book this week, and fortunately it was a good one. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 9 #3 does what I like to see with a good Buffy story. Set things in motion, give you a good idea of where things are going, and then turn everything over in a very intelligent manner. There's a key move when doing this. If you add one piece of information that alters the context of everything you've read up until that point and it doesn't make everything before it pointless, then you've got a good turn around. We've been moving in a fun direction so far. There's vampires popping up that are more feral and stronger than usual. Bodies are being found all over the city. Something is after Buffy. Got it. Things got more interesting when Buffy meets a guy with the power to touch vampires are turn them back into humans. Of course, these humans died to become vampires, so they're dead. Still is pretty big news since the world has been cut off from magic. We get a bunch of answers as to what's been going on. The great thing is that these answers lead us to new interesting questions. I'm really liking this story, and combine that with great understanding and use of the characters are this book is a real winner.


Wait! You mean this song isn't really by Dingoes Ate My Baby!

I guess i better get on those chores I mentioned. See y'all Wednesday!

French morons picking a fight

RAGE! Its Friday, November 11, 2011, I'm ticked again, or is it as usual now, and this is the Side. Lot of 1s in today's day. Ah well.



I'm pretty ticked off today, and its all about people being stupid. A French magazine has decided to piss off Muslims. They're doing it because they say they have a right to. Worse, they're being praised for it.

The break down is a french magazine decided to have cartoons of Muhammad in it, which Muslims don't like because they consider it idolatry. Crazy extremist Moslims decided to firebomb the magazine's office. The magazine then responded with putting another cartoon on its cover of what is possible Muhammad, but definitely a Muslim kissing a man to further tick people off. I'm sitting here thinking that the French haven't picked a fight with anyone since the French Revolution and maybe their economic problems are a lot worse than anyone thought.

This is the same type of stupidity that brought us Everyone Draw Muhammad Day, which I've talked about at length. Its abusing Freedom of Speech and freedom of Press. The part that's really stupid is that there are Muslims out there who are just living their lives and this offends them. This gives them a common ground with the crazy extremists. And the people at the magazine are complete douchebags. This is seriously the equivalent of putting out stuff against all of Christianity just to take a shot at the Westboro Baptist Church. They don't care about who they might offend, just as long as they offend someone.

Here's something that these morons, and many other morons don't want to admit: Freedom means responsibility. And when you shirk that responsibility, that's when you run the risk of that freedom being taken away. Can assholes protesting at soldier's funerals make people question the extent that we should have freedom of Speech? It does happen. Can these idiots at that magazine make people really wonder if having the freedom to offend people who haven't done anything to deserve it is worth it? Yeah, they can.

And then there's the real winners who are defending this. The first comment in the Gawker article i linked to posted a cartoon and dared Muslims to attack him. This is the mindset of the type of moron we're dealing with. They want nothing more than to count coup. But, of course, they're just looking to insult those "close minded" people who aren't enlightened enough to see things their way. "How could anyone be offended at a comic?"

How about a word?

What if I decided to start using the N-word in this blog? But I'm not directing it at all blacks. I'm just directing it at that black guy who threatened to shoot me for being the wrong color on his street and his buddies who thought that was funny. The other black people who I like shouldn't have a problem with it, right?

See the point yet?

I hope so, because there's a lot of people who don't.

Bottom line: that French magazine isn't ballsy, because being racist isn't ballsy. Its just stupid.


This dude really likes this song!

That's it for me today. Happy Veteran's Day, and thank you to everyone who has served our country. See y'all Sunday.

You want me to save the world AND look good doing it?

Howdy! Its Wednesday, November 9, 2011, my brain is still sorting through last nights episode of RINGER, and this is The Side. I'm going to be amazed if that show makes it to a second season. Its not that it isn't a great show. Its absolutely brilliant. However, they've managed to weave such an intricate web of deception between all these characters that its almost impossible for a new viewer to penetrate.

But, mna-o-man its fun to watch.


Something got brought up the other day, and it seems obvious, but no one seems to talk about it. I'm a big old nerd. I nerds it up like nobodies business. However, one thing that doesn't really affect me is comparing myself physically to the characters I read about. This does happen though, and its sometimes leading to serious problem: eating disorders.

In looking at how women are portrayed in superhero comics, its easy to see the problem. Artists often work to "idealize" how they are portrayed. Tiny waists, and plenty of curves are pretty common in the spandex crowd. Some artists take things further than others. Some have difficulty showing women of differing body types. It is obvious that it you have a woman who is a successful crime fighter then she will most likely have to be in top physical condition.

The problem is there's been a disconnect as to what a woman in top physical condition really looks like. That's one of the reasons there's such scrutiny over casting female superheros. We like it when the actors actually resemble the characters they're playing, but real women don't look like how women are portrayed in comics. Yes, there are some out there, but they absolutely aren't the norm.

If you're a guy and want a woman that looks like the one you read about in comics, its not going to happen. If that's the standard you are judging against, then you're standard is flat out messed up. This makes you part of the problem, but there's an easy solution. Take a good hard look in the mirror. Do you look like Bruce Wayne? It you put on a Batman costume right now, and not one of those padded things, could you pull it off convincingly? Probably not. And don't try saying to yourself that you could if you hit the gym and ate right. That's a lot for gym time, and while I'm all for people eating right and getting plenty of exercise, there's a little something called body type to consider. Some people are built trimmer than others. Some are stockier. It goes on, and its both genders.

Do I find the women in comics attractive? Some of them, yes. I've had my own comic book crushes over the years. When I was a kid I was a really big fan of Kitty Pryde, and the New Mutants. They were just a little older than me and I really liked how Chris Claremont wrote them. The artists didn't draw them as sexed up bombshells. I was attracted to the girls in those comics, and while they were attractively draw, it was more their characters that I liked.

I think about this more as a parent now, especially with daughters. They know about superheros. They know about the Justice League, and the Avengers, and the X-Men. However, when they see Wonder Woman, Wasp, or Storm in action they're don't seem to be thinking about how they look. They want them to see them doing awesome stuff. One of my girls only wants to wear clothes that are 'awesome'. If the shirt isn't 'awesome', she doesn't want to wear it. As a parent I have to keep an eye on what they're watching. When they're watching their favorite superheroes in action, its up to me and the missus to guide they're viewing a bit. We focus on the attributes of these characters that make them strong and noble.

So, of course I want my girls to Wonder Woman's grace, Kitty Pryde's guts, Oracle's brains and perseverance. I don't want them to think that they have to look like the sex up versions that some artist put out there.

I do feel bad for the women out there that see characters in comics, or some girl with freakish genetics and/or strategically placed silicone parading the goods around in a cosplay costume, and feel like they don't measure up. As far as your body goes I've always thought that if you're a healthy weight and can make your body do what you want it to do, then you're just fine. Unfortunately, there's still that matter of being happy with what you see in the mirror. If you're not happy with it, then there's plenty of healthy ways to make your body change and bit fitter. No, you don't have to go to extremes like a top flight athlete, or have a training regime like you'd imagine Black Canary would have.

And a lot of this is at the feet of the artists, and the higher ups that push these images. To those people I just have to say: I've seen real, beautiful women and they don't look like how some of you are depicting them.


Because anthropologically speaking, they're still drawing them wrong.

Time to hit the ground running. See y'all Friday.

Falling back to comics!

I AM RESTED! Its Sunday, November 6, 2011, I fell back, and this is The Side! I love this weekend. I get a whole extra hour to sleep. It used to be fun when I work at the bar and was telling everyone it was time to go. There'd always be at least one person who would try to say we'd be open an extra hour. The clocks actually roll back at 2AM (that's the facts, Jack!) and that was when the bar closes. One woman looked at me aghast and told me she had a whole limo of people coming. Too damn bad.

I never liked that annoying broad anyhow.


USAGI YOJIMBO #141 tops us off this week. This is a very significant issue because its the 200th issue of comic Stan Sakai has done. That puts him in a very elite spot that he shares only with Dave Sim with his work on CEREBUS. And the great this is, the book is just as enjoyable after all this time. The back cover features all 200 covers of the comics and is really neat stuff. On to the book itself, its a fun read. This issue is a stand alone but it touches back to the "Murder at the inn" story that wrapped up last issue. The bandit in that story kept talking about his brother and how tough and terrible he was. Seems the brother has taken over a town with his gang. There's also a neat bit here in that a sculpture in this town had a dream that the town would be rid of the bandits if he sculpted 200 little statues, called Jizo. By the end of the book the sculptor is asked if he would continue to make the Jizo since he completed 200, and he said he would as long as his hands let him. Here's to that.

THE GOON #36 pits The Goon and Frankie up against one of their toughest opponents yet: The Queen of Burlesque! The drinkin', smokin', strippin' machine! Roxi Dlite! Dlite is a real life burlesque performer and here she is guest starring. This was a hoot and a half. Ridiculous sex. Ridiculous violence. A bunch of laugh out loud moments. Its a goof caper story with a stolen knick knack. Eric Powell always knocks it out of the park. Its hard to give much detail because every time you turn the page, two things smack you right in the face: its wall-to-wall nuts, and its a really great comic.

The boys from Primal Paper are back with THE BAKU #1. Mike Fererali (THE SKYROCKET) teams up with Drew Moss for this one. This is flat out the best book Primal Paper has put out yet. Yes, I do have a soft spot for these because I know most of them. Yes, I do know Mike and Drew. I like Mike and Drew. Its hard to give a review on something from people you like especially when its not the best thing ever. Fortunately, I have no problems here. Mike's writing is his sharpest yet. Drew is probably one of the best artists you haven't heard of. This book is great. Its a supernatural western. The main character, Baku, reminds me a lot of Jaeger Ayers, from Carla Speed McNeil's FINDER. Baku isn't knock off though and has plenty of his own quirks. The first issue gives us a great introduction to the character and the world without reading like an instruction manual. Its fun and weird and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this series.

We'll wrap things up with an early review of 41 #4 which will be available this week. This is also from Primal Paper, and I did say that THE BAKU was the best book they've put out so far. This comic is one hell of a follow up. This is the best issue yet. It wraps up the ongoing story in brutal fashion. I'm reminded a bit of the anime feature X in which we have all these character pop up and is obvious that they all have their own stories and are interesting, but with what they're up against you know they don't have much of a chance. Still, if Bill and his crew are going down, they're going down swinging and with lots of company. The production on this comic has gone way up since issue 3. The book looks great. The writing by Bob Frantz is tight. There's still a couple of holes here and there that I have questions about, but they don't hold up the story at all. Its a last stand story for this arc's last issue, and it goes out in style. Great work.


That's right! I'm posting a song by a violinist! Because I'm classy, and tasteful, and shit.

That's a wrap for me. Hm, with all my extra rest, does that mean I don't need to brew an coffee?


See y'all Wednesday.

The Not So Great Divide

It's Friday, November 4, 2011, its my stepmother's birthday, and this is The Side. Hopefully the HITMAN volume 5 trade I ordered for her will get here soon.

I'm very tired right now.

I'm thinking today about the division of things, mainly groups of people. It seems like there's a lot of focus on it now. In many areas I'm all for it when we keep things in perspective. Splitting things up can bring about competition, which can be fun and enjoyable. The competition can be physical, mental, or emotional.

Physical competition is pretty obvious. We typically see it in sports. It gets the blood up, and pushes those competing to be the best person out there.

Mental competition also pushes folks. We see this in debates, spelling bees, chess matches, and any other intellectual pursuit that can involve more than one person. This is also good. It keeps the mind sharp.

Emotional competition is along the lines of being a fan of something. Let's say you're a Yankees fan. If your team is on the field you're invested at least a little bit emotionally. Well, there's someone else out there who's invested emotionally in whoever the Yanks are playing. Being passionate about something is good for the soul.

There's a flip side to all this. Competition can bring out a lot of bad stuff. people can cheat. They can do something to intentionally hurt someone. They can get so obsesses with winning that they hurt themselves. This happens when people forget something very important: they are part of a larger group.

That person cheering for the sports team that's playing against the team you love. You both love the same game.

That guy at the comic shop who loves Marvel Comics instead of DC. Guess what. You both love comics.

That guy I face in the ring when the gloves go on. He's there because he loves martial arts just like me. That's why the first thing we do is bow.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to focus so much on the divides in things that they do some really stupid stuff. There's no competition to see who is a better person. In that its when you start behaving like you're better than someone else because of some divide that separates you, you become a worse person.

Atheists that malign religious folks needlessly, and just as much a bunch of douchebags as those 'Christians' who tell people "You're going to hell" for not living their lives a certain way.

Anyone who assaults another person for being a fan of a particular sports team should get to spend time in cell to think about what they've done.

People standing around pointlessly in the streets because they're not as successful as they wish they were and someone else is doing well because they worked hard and got a little lucky are just being petty.

Calling somebody a "racist" simply for having a differing political view that has nothing to do with race at all simply because you want to tear down those people is pretty disgusting.

However, all this ranting probably will be forgotten fairly quickly by anyone who reads it. After all. Next year is an election year.


Heard these guys broke up.

See y'all Sunday.

Feet Were Smelt

Its Wednesday, Nevember 2, 2011, I was planning on catching them all, but that required a lot of effort, and this is The Side.

Halloween has come and gone. I've got a ton of left over candy, which is probably going to make dropping those few extra pounds a little difficult. The girls raked in quite a haul between the Halloween event at the Norfolk Zoo, the trunk-or-treat at their preschool, and running around the neighborhood.

The girls were Ash and Pikachu, and were a huge hit with all the little nerdlings that were out and about. We did run into a few other Pikachus at the zoo event at which point I looked at my daughter and told her, "Its time for a Pokémon battle."

She did run up to one of the other Pikachus, struck a battle pose and yelled "PikaCHUUUUUU!" I told her to use tail whip. The other kid went to correct me that I meant iron tail. I told him that my daughter hadn't leveled up that far yet.

It was at this point that a mother pulled her daughter away who had watched the whole thing saying "C'mon, they ain't really gonna fight."

That went down Sunday, and unfortunately Monday, the hat which my wife spent a day hand sewing and I hand painted the design on it to look like the hat Ash Ketchem wears got lost. This was the cause of high drama in the house. I turned the entire house over looking for it. It looked like Ray was going to have to go trick-or-treating with out it. She was actually out the door a few seconds when I found it.

I think my cry of "HA!" scared a few kids, but it was Halloween.


Sometimes, you just need a little Weezer.

I was planning on this being a lot longer, but I spent an entire evening trying to salvage a room of the house. This meant leaving work earlier than planned, so I'm now going into work earlier than planned. See y'all Friday.