Target: Kids?

Urp.  Its Wednesday, January 25, 2012, its all my fault, and this is The Side.  Grabbed a drink yesterday morning from the market.  The market has a deli which is pretty much the only lunch option in Sandbridge.  I asked what the special was going to be that day.  The lady asked me what I wanted.  I said hamburgers, because I miss burger day all the time.

Fast forward through me shoveling wet sand for hours.  I head up to the market to grab another drink and a bit to eat.  Sure enough the special was hamburgers.  Big old quarter pounders.  Guy in line in front of me looked at it and said, "Burgers, hunh?"

And then the lady behind the counter replied "That's right..." Then she pointed right at me, "... AND ITS ALL HIS FAULT!"


This story broke late last week, and when I posted the news story on G+ it led to a few good and pretty heated discussion.  Its about the parents who finally revealed the gender of their five year old.  They parents are all about keeping things gender neutral under the pretense that they don't want their child stifled by gender roles.  On the surface it sounds all enlightened and well meaning.  Really, its something really despicable.

This is a case of parents using their child to push their agenda.

Let's be plain: there's nothing wrong with a little boy having an interest in things that society typically considers a girl's thing, and vice versa.  I've got a little girl who loves trains, Legos, super heroes, and thinks Jackie Chan is really cool.  Got another little girl who like dolls and her little tea set.  That's how they roll.  So if this little boy wants to play with a doll, it seems a little weird to me, but that's how he rolls, and he's not hurting anybody.

But here we have parents who are encouraging the boy to play with dolls, as long as it isn't a Barbie, because she's "horrible".  And they're oh so happy to put him in dresses and a tutu.  I really wonder how much is this kid's choice, or are his folks coaching him into cross dressing.  He's not allowed to wear "hyper masculine" things like shirts with skulls, or cargo pants.

I really need someone to explain the cargo pants thing to me.  Those are "hyper masculine"?  What?

Now the kid's gender is revealed because he's going to school.  Here's the part that really is telling.  They're sending the kid to a school that requires uniforms.  So they're having the boy wear boy's pants, but a girl's shirt.  So, they're looking to have things their way even thought the rules are specific.

The parents are using the boy to make a statement.  Just like when those parents sent their poor kid to confront Michelle Bachmann.  Sure, Bachmann is a kook, but you don't coach your child to confront people like that and then send them out in front of a camera for that "gotcha" moment.  I don't care if you've got he best point in the world.  You could be advocating protecting kittens.  YOU DON'T PUT A BULLSEYE ON YOUR CHILD AND SEND THEM OUT IN PUBLIC JUST TO MAKE A POINT!

I want to say I can't believe that some people are this self absorbed, but here we are again.

We have societal norms.  Those do need to get challenged from time to time.  Some people, like these idiot parents, think there won't be a blowback against a kid.  This is failing to consider all of the other kids, not to mention a serious nutters who have no qualms about hurting a child.  Standing out can easily make you a target of unpleasantness.  As a parent you have to teach your child about the world, and society so they can eventually find his or her own place in it.

Let's say hypothetically that this little boy just likes dolls and dresses all on his own without being pushed in that direction by his parents.  The parents should let the boy know that there's nothing wrong with it, but other little boys don't do that, so wearing a dress out in public might not be a good idea.

Now, I'm sure there are people who are upset by this, and aren't happy with me not going along with the gender neutral thing.  There are those people who view gender roles as a "box" which confines a person, and who would want to do that to a child?  Those boxes label "boy" and "girl" are very large and have plenty of room and company.  That gender neutral box is very small and the label is easily mistaken for one that says "freak".  Kids are going to like what they like, and in couple years they'll like something else.

If those parents really gave a damn about letting their child enjoy what he wants to enjoy then those rules about "hyper masculine" things and barbie wouldn't be their.  I just hope those hypocrites have the money for the mountains of therapy this poor kid will need later.


Couldn't resist.  Well, I could have, but I thought it was funny.

That's it for me. I'll see y'all Friday.

Killers, Thrillers, and Chillers

Here we go!  Its Sunday, January 22, 2012, got a bunch of stuff for you today, and this is The Side.  Yeah, I'm a bit video heavy today, but I've got some cool movie trailers for you, and of course our music section.  I'm actually haven't a pretty good weekend.  No blood (at least not mine), not much drama, kids seem to be feeling a little better, I'm not rushing to bang this out.  

I'm almost scared I'm jinxing myself.  Ah well.  Let's dive in.


Haven't had a chance to get to the theaters in quite a while.  Fortunately, I've got Netflix and a Wii.  Been watching some great flicks with the Missus.  Been really digging some foreign movies section.  Here's a couple we checked out this week.

BANLIEUE 13: ULTIMATUM is set two years after the first film.  Yeah, we have or fun calling the French a bunch of cheese eating, surrender monkeys, but this film is completely badass.  Damien and Leito team up again to keep a crooked politician from setting into motion events that would destroy the district and kill a lot of people.  The Parkour scenes stole the show in the first film, and that gets toned down this time in favor of hard hitting martial arts choreography.  They really do it right here going with the Asian approach to fight cinematography and pulling back with limited cuts to let the viewers really see the choreography and showcase the work the actors and stunt crew put in.  The story has a hole or two in there, but for the most part its really good.  The main bad guy manipulates everything masterfully.  There were plenty of times I had to just sit back, slack jawed and take in how amazingly screwed up this guy's plans were.  Really good performances all around.  Not as visually over the top as the original, but more than makes up for it with a really tight story.

BKO: BANGKOK KNOCKOUT was a really pleasant surprise.  For the moment I saw that it was from the same production company they gave us ONG BAK and CHOCOLATE I knew I was in for a treat.  I crew of young martial artists are hoping for a shot at fame in Hollywood, but what they get is kidnapped and put through a gauntlet of vicious fighters so high rollers can bet on them.  This was a really martial arts thriller.  I was on the edge of my seat worried about these kids.  The thugs range from muay thai fights, to guy that seems more like an animal than human, and even a guy right out of a slasher flick.  The fight scenes are off the charts.  The crew of fighters specialize in parkour, muay thai, kung fu and capoiera.  The action is as beautiful to watch as it is brutal.  Plenty of twists and turns for the more story minded.  Loved this movie.


MORNING GLORIES #15 is on deck this go around.  Gym class continues as Zoe, Hunter, and Jun continue trying to navigate the Woodrun.  So while things go fairly poorly for the students we get plenty on flashbacks continuing to let us in on Zoe's past.  I'm very intrigued by this story because its focusing on Zoe. Yes there's more to all the characters here than meets the eye, but Zoe is such a random factor.  On one hand she's dived right in to help save Jade, and she saves Hunter in this issue.  But on the other hand she's got that pesky habit of stabbing people to death with large knives.  She's really hard to get a bead on.  I love that because early on it was so easy to write her off as a hot Indian Slutty McSlutslut who gets by on batting her eyelashes and excellent bra selection.  That seems to be the middle ground between the altruistic girl who peeks out every-so-often and the stone cold killer.  She's really a fascinating character.  The over all story doesn't give us much more insight as to everything that's going on.  There's a trap that seems specially designed for Hunter, or possibly he's not the only person with his condition.  I do think there's a puzzle piece in here somewhere, but figuring out exactly what it is, and where it fits is the tricky part.  As always with this book, its one big load of screwed up with a psycho chaser.  Love it.


This guy's voice reminds me a lot of Sting's.  The singer, not the wrestler.  The tune has been getting a lot of air play here locally.  I dig it.

That's going to be it for me today.  Feels like I've got my mojo working, so we'll see how long I can keep it going.  See y'all Wednesday.

Prepare for PAIN!

Blarg.  Its Friday, January 20, 2012, there's possibly irony at work, and this is The Side.  I say this because about two days after my brother kicks off his blog about cars, I spend two and a half hours trying to get home from work.  Sure, I had to stop and pick up my new glasses, but that was (under normal circumstances) five minutes out of my way, and I spent less than that in the store itself. St00pid traffic is st00pid.

Oh, and if you want to check out my brother's vehicular type blog, go here.  Its good stuff.


Black belt testing is coming up.  Four students are going for it.  Two of them I've been training for years.  One of them started out as mine, but once I trasferred the YMCA program over to Bill he because her main instructor.  The last person came to us because we were training his son and he decided to jump in himself.  The young lady with be fine as she is an excellent baker and understands how to bribe senseis with brownies.  She's learned well.  The older fellow is a tough customer and should be fine.  The boys from my program are really in for it.  

They're both teens.  Both of then started off in my kids program and advanced to the adult class once they turned 13.  We introduced ourselves in the time honored manner of drills and sparring.  They got to meet everyone in the adult class, and by "meet" I mean they fought them.  Yes it seems cruel and horrible for a bunch of people to put on gloves and terrify 13 year olds in pugilistic fashion, but its Karate.  That's just how it works.

The road to getting a black belt is different in different school.  Some places are unfortunately all about the money, so if you stroke out a big enough check, you'll make it sooner or later.  So places are more form oriented so if you can preform the forms to a certain proficiency then you'll move up through the ranks.  Many are technical in the requirement.  There's a time factor for seasoning the students.  They have to have a grip on specific techniques and forms to advance.

The tow kids I've got going for it are a couple of spicy meatballs.  This is coming up on the end of a years long hazing ritual.  We've slapped them around.  Made fun of them.  Given them colorful nicknames.  One student recently had to explain why he someone how got a rug burn on his forehead when he train in the room with a tiled floor.  Don't know if his buddies at school noticed it, because there's no explaining away a rug burn on your forehead to your buddies when you're 14 years old.  The other recently took a knee to the forehead.  But it was his head and in his case not a vital target.

Mocking them aside.  We are talking about a 16 year old kid who has gone toe-to-toe with with adults buck larger than him and has developed power and ridiculously quick punching and kicking speed.  We're also talking about a really cagey 14 year old with a ton of tricks up his sleeve and the ability to nail the nerve cluster under the arm given anything resembling an opportunity.  This is also the same kid who waged war against a conga line of students at the beach last spring.  Freaked his folks out pretty good.

What we do is push these students.  The ones that persevere the training gain insight into themselves.  I looked at a couple of brown belts in the kids class who had a particularly memorable time getting those brown belts.

"Was that test the hardest thing you've done so far?"

"Yeah."  They both answered.  But they're both about 10, so the scope of hard things they've had to do is limited.

"Everything else seem a bit easier after that?"

You gain confidence in your own ability to get through things.  You don't give up nearly as easily.  "I survived that particularly gnarly test/class/seminar, and I can deal with this."  Getting a black belt in my program takes guts above all else.

And of course we'll be examining the guts of some students fairly soon as we splatter them all over the dojo.

But not the girl.  She makes brownies.


No, I'm not going to play "Kung-fu Fighting".  That's never going to happen on here.  Its like a rule of something.  Instead, enjoy a really underrated Dire Straights tune.

That's it for me. Moved a literal ton of sand yesterday with shovel, so hopefully I'll have an easy day today. While I'm dreaming, I'd like a pony. See y'all Sunday.

Under Pressure

Its Wednesday, January 18, 2012, things are in chaos, and this is the Side.  It doesn't take much to throw things off.  In my case this week, its a sick kid.  Sick kid can't go to school.  If sick kids can't go to school then the Missus can't handle things she needs to handle without a bit of outside help.  Then I get a phone call requesting help.  The problem with that is I am needed at work.  The boss is very understanding, however one does not want to push things to see how understanding one's boss really is.  So this guy here has to hustle to make try to make sure everything that needs to happen actually happens.  Something is going to fall down somewhere.  Someone is going to get let down.  That's a hard pill to swallow.  You have to minimize the damage as best you can.  That's tricky because the situation induces stress and under stress it becomes easy to make a mistake.  Then you're in a big spiral of it sucks to be you, which is best avoided.  Currently, I'm not in that spiral, but I sure can see the event horizon of it.

So, I don't have much to sound off on right now.  Yeah, there's a bunch of stuff going down with the horrible SOPA and PIPA bills.  If you haven't contacted your representative yet about them, you really should and tell them not to vote for it.

I'm going to wrap this up for today because I'm currently just spinning my metal wheels, much like that hamster in Sunday's post.  I do have an appropriate tune for today though.

That's a wrap for me today.  See y'all Friday.

I'm a Sexist Pig!

OINK!  It's Sunday, January 15, 2011, I is ashamed, and this is The Side.  Nobody's perfect, and boy, I sure ain't.  Yes, there's often plenty of typos in here.  Yeah, I've had times in which I haven't posted when I said I was going to post.  This week I had a serious headdesk moment.


Last go around I raved and raved about HEART  from Image Comics.  I poured over the first first three issues and took in the whole book.  Loved every bit of it and its a really great book.  Its also the first comic from Blair Butler and I noted this saying that this book is his first outing as a writer.  Well, I got a comment on the Comic Kings website:

Not to be that guy, but… Blair Butler is a lady. Other than that, great review. I’ll have to pick up “Heart.”
Oh, he's so totally that guy.

GAH!  It never occurred to me that Blair Butler is a woman.  I've only know one person named "Blair" and he was a dude.  There's that there Blair Underwood actor fella, he's a dude.  The only "Blair" I know of that's a who was on THE FACTS OF LIFE.  I even read an interview with Butler that was featured in one of the comics.  Still had no clue she was a she.

This isn't like that whole Lady Gaga thing in which the song gets played, you ask "What the fuck is this garbage?", and then you she a picture of Gaga, and you ask "What the fuck is that?"  And it seems obvious that  that we're dealing with a Boy George type thing and its a cross dresser.  But then they are claims that its a woman and you're stuck wondering "pre or post op".  This is totally different.

Its also not the first time I've made this mistake.  I spent months thinking Taylor Swift was a guy.  People kept talking about how amazing Taylor Swift is and I'm wandering around half wondering who is he?  He's certainly got a cool name.  I was curious, but not curious enough to bother Googling Swift.  Then I saw a magazine cover with a gorgeous girl on it and in big bold letters it said "Taylor Swift".  I'm looking at the magazine thinking to myself, well I guess this guy must be popular to be the lead story in this magazine.  Then the realization slowly crept in that Taylor Swift was the gorgeous girl on the cover.

This is even worse.  Yes, Butler wasn't even a blip on my radar before Wednesday.  I just knew there was an MMA comic out there that I wanted to check out.  I had no clue that she was the girl on the cover of that one issue of BOOSTER GOLD.  Usually when there's a writer I don't know very well, but their stuff blows me away like HEART did, I do a bit of research.  Sure, my schedule has been pretty jam packed this week, but I could have at least checked out her website which was listed in the comic.

And its worse because I'm all for more women getting into the comic industry.  Now one throws her hat in the ring and I think she's a he.  I even read back through the comic armed with this new knowledge.  The comic is from the viewpoint of an up and coming MMA fighter.  Butler absolutely nails it.  I would have thought that this comic was written by an MMA fighter.  I don't expect women writers to write about hearts and unicorns and crap.  I've ready plenty of hardcore stories from Gail Simone.  Carla Speed McNeil's FINDER is still one of the best comics you probably aren't reading.  I feel like a freaking hypocrite because it never dawned on me that the writer of comic that it brutal and honest about the stuff an MMA fighter goes through and is so pumped with adrenaline could have been written by a woman.  I wouldn't blame Blair Butler one bit for wanting to kick my ass.  Right now, I want to kick my own ass.

So, I want to apologize to Blair Butler, who isn't a guy.  She's a woman who writes really awesome comics.  And if you haven't picked up HEART yet, you suck nearly as bad as I do.


Rough weekend, but I did get to hear some really good music yesterday.

That's it for me this go around. Hope you enjoyed my tale of being a stupid sexist jerk, as well as the video with the cute little hamster. See y'all Wednesday, at which point I'll try to be a better person.

Funny Book Beatdown

Hey howdy, buckaroos!  Its Friday, January 13, 2012, eek, bad luck, and all that crap, and this is The Side.  Not terribly concerned with the whole Friday the 13th being bad luck.  If memory serves I've tended to have good days on Friday the 13th.  The only thing that concerns me is being a bit off schedule as far as my weekly rhythm.  Had a couple of short days at work which is kinda nice because I got to spend a bit of time with the kids.  Still, it feels weird because today feels more like a Tuesday than a Friday.

Next thing you know I'll be trying to go buy comics tomorrow.  Completely unnecessary since I got them already.


Snagged HEART #1-3 and got my doors blown off.  ATTACK OF THE SHOW's Blair Butler makes his comic writing debut and he hits on all cylinders.  Yes, I am absolutely biased.  Its a comic about an MMA fighter, and I love MMA.  The story follows Oren Redmond, a young guy who really has nothing going on and gets into MMA.  We see him in the beginning of the story as a guy working in an office and hating it.  His brother is an MMA fighter because he grew up wrestling and wanted to keep doing it.  Oren decides to give it a shot.  At this point you'd typically see the story take a turn in which Oren turns out to be insanely talented, and learns super secret techniques from his sensei and everyone is blown away by him.  Not this time, Butler keeps it real.  You see Oren's head in the trash can on day one puking his guts out.  You see him getting the crap kicked out of him.  He keeps going because he's feeling pretty good about this.  He feels like he's earning his rest at night.  Slowly but surely he gets better.  He gets in shape.  He figures out he has a sucky ground game.  The coaches keep working him and he starts getting amateur fights.  He does well and starts getting pro fights.  Its not all glamour.  There's a great scene in which he's working to cut weight, and the reader gets to know exactly how much it sucks.  Oren also does stupid stuff like blowing money on tattoos.  He's a likable, but not perfect character.  Kevin Mellon blows me away here.  His art is spot on.  Its dynamic and still very technical.  Its easy to draw a guy throwing a punch.  Its not easy to draw a guy locking in a kimura from his back.    Even the little things like giving the fighters' stats and listing their entrance music really made this book sing.  This book is a gem.  If you've never seen anything MMA and want to get an idea of what's up this book is a brilliant introduction.  Also, if you've got a friend who loves MMA but isn't really into comics, let them check it out.  I'm betting they'll dig it.

Moving from realism to fantasy let's head over to Dark Horse for BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON NINE #5.  Buffy's having weird Slayer dreams and those of use who have been following the Buffy-verse for a while know that these tend to set the tone for things.  There's buckets of things that go down in this book.  Huge reveal at the end.  Its really hard not to drop spoilers because of the extreme Oscar Mike Golf factor.  This is really a set up issue in which we're getting some pretty significant plot beginnings to plot threads that we'll most likely be following for the majority of season nine.  We get an inkling of a possibility of reconnecting earth to magic as well as huge personal changes for Buffy.  Karl Molina (FRAY) guest pencils, and I love his stuff.  I'm really excited to see where this season is going now.

Let's stick with vampirey type stuff with THE STRAIN #2.  This is a really nasty story.  The vampires here are pretty disgusting.  These are the complete anti-Twilight vampires.  Nothing even remotely sexy here.  Still, its a good story.  You've got to be a patient reader here because the vampirism pandemic is only just beginning.  There's no huge body count let, but things are still just just beginning.  Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and the others at the C.D.C. are still trying to get a handle on just what happened on the flight, and the three survivors aren't any help.  The mystery is deepening for them, but we get a peek of the horror that's coming.  The creepiness of this book is building, so if you love horror, you'll love this.

We wrap up this week with DARK MATTER #1.  This is a nifty little sci-fi mystery.  Six people wake up on a spaceship with no memories of who they are or how they got there.  They look for answers and fight a robot.  For a first issue, its pretty straight forward.  The set up isn't anything really fresh, but its handled well enough.  Each character seems to have their own skill sets that they're discovering.  Its not bad at all, but hasn't really hooked me.  It is good enough that I'm going to follow along for a bit and see where it leads.


Let's use one of Rooster's entrance music songs.

That's it for me today. Have a good weekend even if it feels like the middle of the week. See y'all Sunday.

Student Bodies

I'm trapped!  Its Wednesday, January 10, 2012, there's no way out, and this is the Side.  OK, right now I'm not actually trapped, but I was yesterday.  Sandbridge has one road in and out unless there's an emergency and they allow people to go through the adjacent Naval Base.  Well, when a truck decided to go off the road and it took wreckers and firetrucks to clear everything, I was pretty much stranded for a bit.

I did get out in time to pick up my daughters.  This led to a discovery of an hours long black out affecting a good chunk of Virginia Beach.  Another truck had backed into a power pole, breaking it.  The pole then fell on the truck.  The power had been off for about four hours by the time I got out of Sandbridge.

I retrieved the kids, the sun is setting.  I grab a couple of Happy meals because its going to be just about bedtime by the time we get home.  Sure enough a school bus got in an accident tying up the entire area.  We finally got out of that, and were amid the blackened stores when I heard two voices from the back seat.

"Daddy, I have to pee."

"Me too."

That was a tough commute.


Stuff is afoot and with some kids in schools.  It is some pretty stunning stuff, but what gets me more is how their parents are dealing with thing.

First up is the case of the eighth grader getting shot by police.  The eight grader was wielding a pellet gun.  Officers told him to put it down.  He didn't and he got shot.  Now, here's the breakdown.  This kid was 15 and in the eighth grade.  Probably not good at following directions.  I've seen a picture of the pellet gun in question, and it is easily mistakable for a real gun.  Witnesses heard the boy being told to put the gun down.  He was shot twice in the torso.  Two officers were involved.  I don't know if each officer shot once, or if one fired both shots.

The boy was given an order to put down the gun.  When a police officer tells you to put down a weapon, you damn well better put down the weapon.  Officers are trained to aim center mass.  That's exactly what they did.  I fell really bad for the officers, because they have to live with what happened.  that's some rough baggage.

There's been some serious blowback from a lot of stupid people.  Some people are asking why the officers didn't shot the gun out of his hand, or just wound him.  The answer is simple: THIS IS REAL LIFE, AND NOT A TV SHOW.  If I'm armed and someone is pointing a gun at me and aiming for the biggest target and that is the torso.  The fancy shooting we see in the movies and on TV is Hollywood make-believe.  Then there are those people who are demanding to know why the officers didn't use non-lethal methods to subdue the boy.  The range they were at has not been made clear so it may not have been in a good tazer range.  It was too far for pepper spray or other gas weapons, and those are not what you are going to us when suddenly you are faced with someone with a gun.  You pop smoke and you'll be eating lead before they even start coughing.

The parents of the boy are really leading the charge here.  I fully understand where they are coming from.  Their boy snapped, made some horrible decisions, and is now dead.  These parents are angry and grieving. They want answers.  They want someone to blame.  There very well might not be anyone to blame.  Its tragic.  The parents are wrong trying to go after the police for this, but I can't judge them too harshly.  They've lost their son.

So we have a set of parents who really want to see the best of their child that they've lost.  Its put blinders on them a bit.  On the other hand we have a case of parents who seem to want everyone to see all there is to see of their child and are willing to court to make it so.

Sydney Spies is all ticked off that her school yearbook won't use the picture here.  The girl is 18, so for my pervo readers, you needn't feel too horrible about yourselves this time around.  Yep, this girl wanted to use this picture for her senior picture.  She's an aspiring model and all that.  The yearbook staff shot it down.  The reason: they have standards.  There's awards for yearbooks, and this school has won a few for theirs.  They put out a quality, award winning yearbook, so they weren't exactly thrilled with the notion of a senior wanting to look like a Slutty McSlutslut in there.

The school administration backed the yearbook staff.  Then the parents pitched a fit saying that the school was infringing on their daughter's right to Freedom of Expression.

I want to smack the living fuck out of these people.

What really sucks is that since the administration of a public school backed the yearbook staff's decision Colorado's law about schools not infringing on Freedom of Expression can be used to make the staff use the picture.  The parents are actually taking this to court.  They have to be completely off the rails.  They want pictures of their daughter in suggestive poses wearing some sexy clothes for the her senior portrait?  I remember my senior picture.  All us guys put on tux jackets.  We had these little clip on shirt things and bow ties.  The girls had these nice wraps that they put on.  We looked classy.  It was actually a decent picture of me (after the air brushing), and those are hard to come by.  So I really don't get why they'd even be allowing her to even try to use these pictures in the yearbook.  I know she's legal, but its still creepy.  

If she was going to put those photos in her modelling portfolio, that's fine.  That's her portfolio.  That's her business.  Her now, her and her idiot parents are looking to impose their will upon the yearbook staff.  Forget what they want.  Forget that they're trying to put out the best product possible.  Forget their offer to compromise and let the picture run in the advertisement section of the book.  Now you've got an attention whore and her folks (and I doubt that apple fell far from the tree) getting national exposure on the news.

People wonder what the hell is wrong with kids nowadays, but I have to say, I'm wondering what's wrong with the parents.  Kids make bad choices, it happens every day.  It happens due to lack of experience at this thing called life.  They're developing something called judgement, and until they've got that down, they need parents to look out for them and let them know when they're making bad choices.  With the first case the parents didn't have much warning that something was going to go wrong, but defending their deceased son by placing blame on the police is a mistake.  In the case of Spies, those parents are borderline creepy, and anyone who is willing to go to court to defend their daughter's whims is flat out bad parenting.

I'm taking a lot of note, because I know full well I'm going to have my hands full once my loin-spawn reach their teens.  One thing all parents should know: kids are kinda stupid.  Even the smart ones are kind of stupid.  They make bad choices from time to time.  You've got to tell them when they do.


Everyone hopes their kids will end up alright.  Doesn't happen by itself.

That'll do it for me today. See y'all Friday.

Thugs and Socky Choppin'

Look out below!  Its Sunday, January 8, 2012, the sky is falling, and this is The Side.  Well, the sky isn't really falling, but my boss was yesterday.  The walkboard he was on went out from under him and dumped him ten feet to the cement below.  He crushed a caulk gun under his foot, which probably broke his foot.  It was one of those orange caulk guns, and for those who haven't seen them, they don't crush very easily.  Scared the hell out of me, but surprisingly, he was up and about and couple minutes later back on the reset walkboard hanging up siding.

Falls happen fast.  I train my students on how to take a fall, and I think every martial arts school should.  I had a ladder go out from under me years ago and hairline fractured my heel.  Still is tender when I hit it just the right way.  I landed feet first on a ladder rung which is what caused it.  They say its not the fall the gets you, its the sudden stop.  Sometimes, the sudden stop is manageable, but that stuff you land on is a bitch.


Got something new and something old for you this week.

THE GOON #37 was on the stands this week.  This issue was very different than your typical GOON  comic. Sure there was a few laughs here and there, but the main subject was no laughing matter, and is actually an excellent gateway to look at a very interesting part of history.  The story itself is about a tragic fire in a factory whose owner is really a greedy bastard.  Its pretty much a sweatshop.  People died, and the survivors form a union to demand better conditions to work in.  The boss gets a bunch of corrupt cops and head busters on his side.  The union ladies get The Goon and Franky to back them.  Mayhem ensues.  There's a really brilliant horror twist at the end.  Now then, I am not a union supporter.  I've had some unpleasant run-ins with union folk in the past.  As they are now, its pretty much a racket, taking money from workers in exchange for protection and using the money for whatever the bosses want.  But let's look at the inspiration for the story, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911.  Heads up, clicking that link will take you to a very good article about the incident, but there are pictures, and they are really disturbing.  If you've got a kid looking over your shoulder, you'll probably want to send them away.  The events in the comic mirror the events of the 1911 fire quite a bit.  Back then there wasn't much regulation of business or real safety standards.  Workers needed unions for protection from exploitation.  And yes, there were thugs and head busters and connections to organized crime.  Back then you had unions really working to look out for workers as opposed to things like the Wisconsin bit where they demonized the Governor.  This comic didn't change my mind about unions at all, but it did make for a fascinating portal to look at a time most people today in America can barely think of. much less relate to.

That was the only book in my pull bag this week so I looked around the old comic bins to see if anything interesting popped up.  Sure enough I found RICHARD DRAGON KUNG-FU FIGHTER #1 from 1975. Richard Dragon has been a character of interest to me for quite a while.  He was one of, if not the, top martial artists in the DCU.  This may have changed with reboot.  I don't even know if he exists in the reboot.  Sure enough, there was his first appearance along with Bronze Tiger alias Ben Turner, who is referred to as Ben Stanley in the comic.  Not sure why the name was changed.  The book opened up with an ad featuring Batman and Robin stopping a mummy with Twinkies.  I'm pretty sure they could market Bat-Twinkies now and they would sell like hotcakes.  On to the comic itself.  We see how Richard Dragon seems Ben and the O-sensei.  His training is kind of glossed over and the story fast forwards to Richard and Ben leaving the sensei to go work for a clandestine operation that send them to take on slavers in the Sudan.  The art is classic stuff from Denny O'Neil, although he's working under the nom de plume Jim Dennis here.  There's a fun fictitious biography of "Jim Dennis" in the back of the book.  Now, you'll have to forgive me, because I'm horribly biased when it comes to martial arts.  I like accuracy.  The comic is called "Kung-Fu Fighter", but there's no Kung-Fu in the story.  There's no mention of Kung-Fu in the story.  They use a ton of Japanese Martial arts.  They have a sensei and not a sifu.  So, of course, I'm wailing and gnashing my teeth. The O-sesnsei is supposed to be an elite martial artist and teaches Richard and Ben everything he can in six years.  Yes, I did actually facepalm at that one.  Still, its a fun book, and you get to see two of the old DCU's top fighters back in the day.  As much as I griped about technical stuff in the book, it was still pretty cool to get my hands on it.


Tune from a 90s one hit wonder.  I dug it, and it still gets a bit of airplay around here.  No, I'm not saying my boss hit the ground like a cannonball either.

That'll do it for me this go around.  Going to go kick off this month G+ Grand Prix.  See y'all Wednesday.

You can do eeeet!

Hold it!  Its Friday, January 6, 2011, I'm making no sudden moves, and this is The Side.  The reason I'm making no sudden moves is pretty simple, my glasses are broken and they're ready to fall off my face at any given moment.  Not sure where the kids have hidden the duct tape, so fixing them is being delayed slightly.

Getting whacked in the melon by a ticked off 4 year old started the process.  Still it was a bad move to have them on during certain drills at the dojo the other night.  Note to martial arts type folks: guillotine chokes will render you unconscious and break your glasses.


Its often tough to keep a positive outlook on things when things aren't going you way.  One thing going wrong sucks, but is manageable.  However, when its one thing after another after another, its really easy to get really down on yourself.  That makes it hard to get back on the right track.

That's something I've really had to work hard on at my job.  I'm not perfect, nobody is, but my major flaw on the job is I'm not very fast at certain things.  I'm not milking jobs and goofing off.  I just do things a bit of a slower pace.  Somethings I can zip right through, but not everything.  When I go fast, that's when I often make mistakes.

But mistakes happen.  I get a bit of a stinkeye from the boss, rightfully so.  Then I try to do extra good to make up for things.  I start rushing.  Then its more mistakes because I'm getting ahead of myself.  Then the boss wonders why he keeps me around.

Had this happen yesterday, or at least the start of it.  his week has been a bit light on work, but things have been going smoothly.  Yesterday didn't start out too well.  I had to break metal, which I actually know how to do pretty well.  For those who don't know, "breaking" metal is using a big contraption to make bends in pieces of metal.  Yesterday I was creating metal pieces for going around a window.  These were rather complicated pieces to make, but I should have been able to handle it.

It took too long.  That and I messed up a couple of pieces and had to do them over.  Not good.  That wasn't the only thing we had to do yesterday.  I had put us behind.  The boss was less than pleased.  He doesn't yell, but I know when he's pissed.

This would be when I start going nuts trying to make up for it and try to crank out the pieces as fast as possible, and probably screw them up again putting us further behind.  I've done that too many times.  I got smart this go around.  I took a deep breath, and got back to work.  The pieces got made.  Boss was still a bit ticked, but the other things we had to do at the house were handled pretty quickly and very well.  I tried my best to keep a "can do" attitude.  The rest of the jobs that day went pretty well.

Keeping that attitude is important.  Its also very hard when you have things go wrong.  The more things go wrong, the harder it is to keep that mindset.  Once you lose it, its tough getting it back.  Having it is a big help though.  It keeps your spirits up and helps your confidence.  Both of those are important.  Sometimes i think that's why we really have weekends.  You need a couple days to get your head back on straight sometimes.

I didn't make much for New Year's resolutions.  The only one I really had was stay calm and handle my business.  Sounds simple, but could be harder then any of the previous goofy resolutions I've made.


Seemed sort of appropriate, and I realized that I'd never had Tina Turner in the music section.  Had to remedy that.

That's it for me today.  See y'all Sunday.


Clicky clicky.  Its Wednesday, January 4, 2012, Happy new Year, and this is The Side.  Gotta do this one quick because time is working against me.

Last week "Fingergate" hit Google+.  This is probably one of the sillier things that has popped into my peripheral lately.  One person changed his profile picture to an image of himself giving the finger.  This was deemed against Google+'s rules and the image was removed.  This was followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth about censorship and free speech.  Other people because posting pictures of themselves flipping the bird in protest.  Silly arguments were posted about "How could this be offensive?  Everyone on here is supposed to be over the age of 18."  The endgame was the person who started it vowed to continue posting pictures of himself giving the bird until he was banned.

Let's take this from the top.

Google+ is a free service and they have a terms of service agreement that you must agree to if you want to use it.  No one is making anyone use it, and the service is from a privately owned company.  As long as their terms of service doesn't violate the law of the land then the free speech argument is DOA.  They get to decide what can and can't be on their service.  If they decide they don't want funny pictures of cats on their site, then they have the right to make that rule and enforce it.

Another person who got caught up in the this told me that his issue was the haphazard enforcement of the rules.  This brings us to site moderation.  It seems there people out there who don't know how this works.  Fortunately, a very dear friend of mine (who I've been lousy about keeping in touch with) is a site moderator for a very large social website, and she gave me some insights as to how these things work.

Rule enforcement and moderation do not happen magically.  The moderators come online and they look at a queue of reports.  From there, they work their way through the queue as best they can, making judgement calls as to reports.  In some cases, moderators might come across a rule violation just by cruising through the site, but in the cases of big sites with a lot of content and users, they're going to work off of the queue.  So, if something does not get reported the chances of the moderators seeing it goes down dramatically.

Example: let's say we have two G+ users: Fred and Barney.  Fred has about 6 people in his circles.  Fred posts some hardcore porn pictures.  The Six people in his circles like hardcore porn and they don't report it or share it.  Fred gets away with a blatant rule violation.  Barney on the other hand has 500 people in his circles.  He posts a funny picture of someone mooning someone else.  All it takes is one person out of those 500 to report that picture, and its going in a queue for moderators to review.

So the guy, who really isn't a bad guy, who changed his profile picture of himself giving the bird for all to see, had at least one person in the many, many people in his circles who did indeed find the image offensive and reported it.  Not sure what happened in crusade to get banned, which is silly in and of itself.  Last I checked is account was still up and his profile image was bird-free.  Hopefully he came to his senses.


Looking through videos of The Walkmen for last weekend's post I came across this gem. Enjoy.    

 That's it for me. See y'all Friday.