Funnybook Tango!

Whew.  It's Friday, March 30, 2012, I'm a self imposed deadline beatin' motherfrakker and this is The Side.  Had to pick the kids up after work on Wednesday as The Missus had a doctor's appointment.  Work ran a little long, but I got them and made it all the way across town for their gymnastics class and they were only a few minutes late.   But that meant I couldn't pick up my comics on Wednesday.

So I got them yesterday between after work.  Still got to Karate on time.  Got them read.  Banged out the reviews, and here we are.  LIKE A BOSS!

Thus is my commitment to you.

Also this will probably the only time I use the phrase "like a boss" in reference to myself.


THE WALKING DEAD #95 is part three of "A Larger World" and I'm finding out exactly how apt a title this is.  Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Glenn, and Carl (who didn't stay in the house this time either) have gone with Paul to see the settlement he's from.  There's still a lot of trust issues Rick's having with the entire situation.  We get only the tiniest view of things at the hilltop before learning that the place has its own drama going on.  Our cast of survivors have found themselves in someone else's story, and it seems like they're arriving as things are coming to a head.  Its become obvious that just because there are other groups that have found means to survive and somewhat thrive life its still very treacherous.  This book continues on a very interesting path as far as being a study of society.  Very came into the series as society was in mid-crumble.  Now we're well on the way of seeing it rebuilding.  The groups of survivors are very much like tribes, and now that we've gotten to a point of having a successful tribe, we're into seeing how these tribes deal with each other.  This story arc is seriously picking up steam on the way to issue 100 and I'm very eager to see what's coming.

MORNING GLORIES #17 revolves around Jade and Ike.  You get a lot of backstory on Jade.  The book continues to give pieces to the puzzle that is the story, but for the life of me I still haven't figured out the shape of it.  There's a continues sense of "this whole thing makes sense somehow".  Everything feels significant, but its a mystery as to how it all fits.  That's probably why I'm incredibly hooked on this book.  This issue in particular centers around Jade and Ike talking.  No huge danger to them.  No direct threats.  Just two interesting characters having an incredibly interesting conversation.  The dialogue is word porn on a Whedonesque scale.  This book really isn't for everybody, and I know some people with excellent taste who just don't like it, however this issue is exactly why I'm on board.  Not only is the puzzle hooking me in, but these characters are so great to watch.  If you haven't read this comic, give this issue a look.  If you dig these characters, you're just getting a small dose of how god this title is.

ANGEL AND FAITH #8 is solid stuff.  Drusilla has returned and is surprisingly sane.  She has a way for people/vampires/whatever to away with painful emotions.  This is the same time as Faith's father returns to cause Faith some trouble.  We have Nadira dealing with survivor's guilt over losing her fellow Slayers to Pearl and Nash.  Faith is dealing with some nasty "daddy issues".  On the surface it seems like Drusilla is offering a great fix, but there's always a catch to things like this.  I've got some ideas as to where this is heading, but lately things have been going in unexpected directions with the "Buffy-verse".  Solid issue, and keeping me on board.


I wish I was classy enough to dance like this.

That's going to be it for me today.  I'll likely be talking about Batman on Sunday.  Be prepared.

Gettin' my church on.

Boingy boingy boingy!  Its Wednesday, March 28, 2012, every day I'm shuffling, and this is The Side.  I almost made it home yesterday.  One of the things you have to accept about the Tidewater area is that you're going to have to cross a bridge to get just about anywhere.  Unfortunately for me, the bridge that is the most direct way between my home and where I work is being replaced so I have to detour around into what is usually nasty traffic.  I managed to get through the nasty traffic, over the bridge I have to take.  I'm free and clear, and inside five minutes of the house, then the cell phone rings.

"The girls and I on on a play date, why don't you come meet us."

She didn't know I had already passed where they were, but I turned around and headed back into the traffic to go see my kids bounce around one of those inflatable places.  I still think those joints should all have big couches with a waitstaff bringing parents mimosas.


I came up in the church I teach Karate at.  Back them the majority of my family attended that church.  My best friends were at that church.  The Pastor was a really great guy who I thought a lot of.  It was a really pleasant experience for me.  Times changed.  Pastors get reassigned to different churches.  Folks get older and move away.

And some folks pass away.

I have a large family, and it seems that the only time we all get together is for funerals.  So, when the church that so many of us attended back in the day dedicated the new pew cushions in honor of my uncle who passed away last year, it was really great that so many of us were able to come back to the church.

I remember sitting down by the alter for "children's time" as a kid.  Last Sunday, I got to see my kids down in the same spot along with my nieces and little cousins.  My cousin Dustin who often had a spot right next to  is now a Pastor himself and delivered the sermon.

Then, as good Methodists, it was time for the pot luck lunch.  Pastor Penny said that Uncle Buddy's family were going to get to go first, at which point I, knowing my family well, added "There won't be any food left."  Wasn't uncommon for someone to pipe up with some goofy comment in church and it usually came from someone in my family.  Traditions are important, don't ya know.

I ran into my Dustin in line and we got a glance at the food for the pot luck.  I remarked that I had a chat with a friend who is an atheist who asked me what sets Methodists apart from other branches of Christianity.    "We have better pot lucks."

And without missing a beat, Dustin responded, "And we'll talk to you in the ABC store."

Dustin's son quickly got a hold of me to look over his latest cartooning efforts.  He's on the right track, so I gave him a critique and few pointers.  This was in between chowing down on some incredible food and don't even get me started on the desserts.  Pretty sure a put on a few pounds.

There's these times that strike just the right amount of nostalgia and yet give us a great appreciation for growing up and seeing the wonderful things that come from potential.  Giggly kids meeting people and finding out that they're family.  Seeing a next generation hanging out with each other just like their folks used to in the same place.

It was a get together for a great reason and a lot of fun, before we all had to scamper off to meetings and birthday parties and the like.  It was a really great day.

And congratulation to Salem United Methodist Church because after 150 years they finally got cushions for the pews.


Was watching CELEBRITY APPRENTICE and saw one contestant "singing" and sounding horrible and them a producer turned it into something listenable.  Them I heard some of the other contestants singing without a fancy producer and just sounding great.  When you need someone else to make you sound good, you probably shouldn't have a singing career.  Here's some guys who keep it real.

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

Let's Talk About Carl

Egad.  Its Sunday, March 25, 2012, I should got back to bed, and this is The Side.  I have a real problem with being stupid about sleep.  I don't get a lot of time to myself with the Missus and the Kids, so when they're all in bed that the time I get to watch whatever I want to on TV.  This leads me to doing stupid things like not getting to bed until midnight and then still getting up at six in the morning because I have to work or, in the case of today, I want a bit more time to myself in the morning before anyone else gets up.

That said, I really shouldn't have stayed up to watch BATTLE ROYALE last night.  Definitely ready for some coffee.  An IV of it would be nice.


THE WALKING DEAD wrapped up its second season on AMC last weekend.  There's quite a few people who are upset a bit about one thing in particular on the show: Carl Grimes still lives.  The "KillCarl" hashtag on Twitter has gained a lot of steam and it seems that there's quite a few folks who don't like the character and are just waiting for him to die.

Its plainly apparent that these people have never read the comic.  That's not really bothersome because I've learned long ago that just because an intellectual property that originates from comic books hits big on TV or at the movies people still won't go and pick up the comics unless they already read comics.  I know that sounds horribly pessimistic but that's just how it is.  The trades are easily available at decent comic shops and bookstores, but still fans of the TV show will sit patiently for months waiting for the next season.  I only get seriously irked when I get the "kill Carl already" crap from someone who I know hasn't read the comics but will get all snotty about THE HUNGER GAMES or  HARRY POTTER and say "The books are so much better".

For those of you who are in that category, let me break this down for you.  Carl Grimes is the toughest kid ever.  You want to see some incredible character development?  Carry your sorry asses down to a comic shop, grab some TWD trades and read.  What sucks is I could give example, after example, after example as to why Carl is a really awesome character and crucial to TWD, but I'd be giving away too many spoilers.

As it stands on the AMC show, the group has left the farm, albeit in much different conditions than in the book. I know that The Governor has been cast for season 3.  I can easily speculate as to where season three will end off, which will be crunching a lot of the comics into one season.  Now, the serious event in the comics that I think will end season 3 of the series was in the comics the start of the serious character development of Carl.  this kinda stinks because we'll be in for another whole season of fan-dumb bitching and moaning about how the show needs to kill Carl off.

Fine, let's look at where the show in right now.  Rick, the main character, has one main focus: keeping everyone alive thus protecting his family.  Its completely nuts that so many people who profess their love for the show and for Rick Grimes want to remove one of his main motivations as a character.  At this point Rick's big job is protect Carl.  People keep griping about how Carl keeps getting told to "stay in the house", but that's parents trying to protect their child.  It blows my mind that there's so many people who love a character, but want desperately to see him totally fail at his main objective.  It seems remarkably stupid.

I think there's a disconnect with some people as to what they think TWD is, and what it actually is.  Some folks are thinking this is a typical zombie thing in which there's tons of zombies, they gets killed horribly by the dwindling survivors, and one or two people make it out to escape to somewhere.  The thing is TWD takes place after that.  The people have escaped their own little horror movies.  They got out of the cities.  TWD is about the people who got through the horror movie only to discover that the movie doesn't end.  Its not about killing zombies, its about doing what it takes to survive in a harsh world where you're not on top of the food chain.  They have to work to find food and water.  Safe shelter is something to fight for.  Trust is something earned and cherished.  This whole thing is about people doing their best just to live.

Carl Grimes is a character with a unique perspective, and a valuable one.  He's the last kid standing in all this, and he knows what's up.  Like any kid, he's struggling with growing up.  He's knows there's danger, and as much as his parents try to protect him he wants to help and be a man whether he's ready to be or not.    Losing this character before he really gets a chance to bloom would be a complete shame.  My big regret is with the loss of Sophia there won't be any of those really amazing moments between the two characters that readers of the comics have been treated to.

So for everyone hoping Carl gets bumped off: go read the comics.


Of course when posting about THE WALKING DEAD we have to have a song from The Kingston Trio.

That's it for today, I'm going to make some coffee.  For those who read Friday's post, continued prayers and well wishes are much appreciated for my mother-in-law who is having a significant health scare right now.  Thanks again, and we'll see y'all Wednesday.

Comics and Perspective

Its Friday, March 23, 2012, and this is the Side.  Y'know, many of us go through our days thinking we're the stars of our own little shows and that somehow things are just revolving around us.  I spent yesterday tired, and kinda irked at the lady at the convenience store around the corner that for whatever reason refuses to listen to me and simply goes along her overly pleasant business.

Then I find out that my mother-in-law was in a car accident, and when they gave her a CAT scan in the ER they found something.  This led to an MRI and without going into too much detail she'll be seeing an oncologist today.  Perspective.


THE GOON #38 tells us the story of Kizzie The Iron Maiden, a woman with strong ties to The Goon.  This is an excellent read telling the story of a plain, but strong, woman with big dreams but stuck in a small town.  Its a very thoughtful piece and while you get to see Kizzie achieve her dreams on some level you really get smacked in the face with how tough a life this woman has.  Its a really good character study.  Typically this is one of those comics that is a hoot and half, but this issue is one that shows that Eric Powell can do a lot more than deliver laughs and creepiness.  He really knows how to hand good human drama as well.

HEART #4 wraps up the series from Blair Butler and Kevin Mellon.  In the previous three issues we watched Rooster rising up through the ranks and it looked like he was poised to make a run at the welterweight belt.  This issue shows how he deals with getting stopped cold and sees that his dream of MMA glory isn't going to happen.  In short be see a cocky young fighter grow up.  I've been a fan of MMA for a long time and this is a story I've seen play out repeatedly.  You see some young up-and-comer and he's the next big thing.  Everyone figures he's going to be huge one day.  Then he suffers a tough loss and he's just not the same.  Its not a matter of injury, its a matter of psychology.  They're getting in deeper waters and its tougher, and while they've still got the guts to get in the cage they start playing things a little more cautiously.  They go from contender to gatekeeper.  This is a really gutsy story for Butler to tell.  It would have been so easy for her to go the easy route and have Rooster overcome his tough loss come back and win the belt.  She definitely didn't go the easy route and as a result, she made an excellent story that really rings true.

RAGEMOOR #1 is a narrative that I would have expected straight out of Doctor Bob Geary's Gothic Literature course from my time at JMU.  This book is creepy and that eerie feeling of the numinous is felt in every page.  This is a serious horror book.  The black and white is perfect for helping to set the tone of dreariness and desperation.  We get the classic notes of the solemn man warning his visitors of the place's evil and how they really should not stay, and of course they don't listen.  Herbert is the caretaker/owner of the castle Ragemoor and gives the twisted history of the place.  He seems like a very noble fellow placed in a horrible situation he can't escape.  I'm greatly looking forward to see how this story continues.

Throwing things in reverse we have THIEF OF THIEVES #1.  Yes, I know I reviewed the second issue last week, and no, this isn't some bizarre Hickman-esque time travel thingy.  I couldn't get my hands on issue one previously but now have a hold of a second printing.  Issue two showed us a lot of the reasons why Redmond left the life of a thief.  The first issue we get the lead up to him announcing his retirement.  We also get to see how he met his assistant, Celia, and a good look at his last job.  This is a really great book.  Very clever writing, and top-notch artwork.  Both the issues at are out are solidly character driven and not heavy on the action, but reward patient readers with a great story about a very interesting character.

ROCKETEER ADVENTURES vol 2 #1 features a trio of really fun stories.  Marc Guggenheim and Sandy Plunkett start of with a great story of how folks deal with a vigilante who falls out of the sky and into their lives.  Peter David and Bill Sienkiewicz follow up with a great parody story in which The Rocketeer gets more than a little "Daffy".  The brilliant Stan Sakai rounds things out with a fun little story that gives a smiling homage to another hero we know well for flying around.  All this and a great pin-up from Arthur Adams.  Great comic and lots of fun not just for fans of The Rocketter, but anyone who wants to sit down for a read.


Can't say as I'm feeling overly "RAWR" today, so I'm going to keep things mellow.

That;s going to be it for today.  Any prayers and well wishes for my mother-in-law, the Missus and the whole family are greatly appreciated.  Thank you, and see y'all Sunday.

Ninjas from Space?

COWABUNGA!  Its Wednesday, March 21, 2012, I'm shocked spell-check doesn't recognize 'cowabunga', and this is The Side.  Yes, I know I'm on the record as not thinking much of the ninja fad.  I bought into it when I was 11.  I grew up.  I have a much better pool of knowledge as to martial arts and what ninja actually were.

That said, I still have a couple of soft spots on ninja-fanboyism: Sho Kosugi flicks, the whole Storm Shadow/Snake-Eyes thing from the Larry Hama comics, and the TMNT.


Well, it seem something else from my childhood is getting the big screen treatment.

That's right, Michael Bay is going to make a movie about aliens coming to earth and call it "Ninja Turtles" in hopes that all the people who actually know about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will just not notice and go shill out a bunch of money.  This brings us back to the fun topic of adaptations.  I'm OK with changes being made to certain parts of stories for the sake f updating things or making a smoother transition from one medium to another.  When the TMNT made the transition to a cartoon there were a lot of changes from the original comic.  It was made much more kid friendly, and the kids loved it.  Then there was the live action movie and that was a bit of a middle ground between the kid friendly cartoon and the grittier comic.  I'm a big fan of the first movie myself.  Both the cartoon and the movie kept essential parts of the original story.

The thing with TMNT is it was a parody of a lot of Frank Miller's stuff from the 80s.  The origin of the turtles getting mutated spoofed marvel's Daredevil's origin.  From there it took its own path with some fun sci-fi and gritty street level stories.  There's lots of room to play with story elements.  However, with all the many different adaptations the origin has always been four turtles get mutated into a humanoid form and are mentored by a mutated rat in the ways of ninjitsu in order to get revenge against The Shedder.  This concept that Bay is proposing is completely off the reservation.  This is along the lines of that THE KARATE KID movie that came out last year that had absolutely no karate in it.

People are ticked.  Fans are already speaking out.  I even came across one guy who put forth this little gem:
 The real problems come with corp greed. They take 1 story line and keep it going, and going, and going.. They also DONT finish most of these comics. Even TMNT, Fantastic4 and hulk, and all the rest, are only designed for kids and short lived.

They also instill the idea/thought that the GOOD always wins. and that ISNT the reality. from the bible stories to comic books, its programmed into us, to be NICE/FAIR...but the corps are anything but..nice or fair.

Nice to see some goof has taken a break from occupying something to let us all know that all them there comic books are just for kids and greedy corporations are out to make a profit.  Dick.

There's plenty of room for many different adaptations of intellectual properties.  Take this lunacy for example:

Looks like Joel Schumacher's wet dream.  However, that's still Batman.  That's a perfectly fine adaptation of the property.  This isn't a case of someone trying to pass something off as a thing that's very familiar to us and saying, "Don't worry, I'm changing almost everything entirely, but you'll still love it because its still what you loved as a kid."

So, I'm completely out on this one, and its for the same reason I refuse to watch that THE KARATE KID movie.  This is insulting to my pop culture intelligence.  These aren't the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and should be trying to pretend to be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just to try to get Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans to support it.  I don't care how good this ends up being.  I feel like someone is trying to pull a fast one, and they won't be doing it to me.  There's plenty of other movies for me to be excited about.


Yeah, we're sticking with the theme.

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

Tournament Time

OSU!  Its Sunday, March 18, 2012, I'm feeling quite proud, and this is The Side.  Things have been afoot during my absence from the internet, and one of them paid off pretty big yesterday.  No i didn't come up with a way to make gallons of green beer.


As I mentioned previously, yesterday was the Petersburg Karate Open.  I try to compete every year, and I encourage my students to do so as well.  Its a very well run tournament and over the years the promoter has gotten to know me.  Thanks me personally for coming every year and for bringing what students I can.  He even asks me how my dad is doing, since he hasn't been able to make it as often since retiring to West Virginia.  Lewis Clay Sensei is a quality guy.

I didn't win big this year in kata (empty hand forms)  or weapons.  In fact I didn't even place this in the top four this year.  This actually surprised a few other competitors.  My forms were strong and I executed well, however there were a bunch of other people that did too.  It wasn't bad judging, its just the pool of competition was a deep on this year.  No whining from me, I'll just have to try harder next go around.  And yes, that is a picture of me from last year's tournament.  Maybe I should have kept the beard, I did better then.

We had four other competitors from our group this year.  It was their first time at a tournament for each of them.  The two boys both did kata only, which I encouraged since they had not seen kumite (fighting) at an open tournament and its really a good idea to see it before you jump in.  Both of their divisions were pretty stacked and the odds were against them.  They performed well, but didn't make the top four.  I'm proud of both of them.

Then there were the girls.  The fairer sex.  Dainty, delicate, little flowers.

Yeah.  Right.

The little yellow belt that went is indeed a pretty little girl with long blonde hair.  Then she bows onto the floor and becomes a powerhouse.  She didn't make the top four in kata, but I'm sure she very close.  Her kata division was huge and there was a lot of talent in it.  Then she got to the kumite.  In forms divisions at this tournament, boys and girls compete together.  For kumite they are split up.  This little girl has no problem at all fighting whoever we put in front in her.  She's got three brothers, so she's high speed and low drag all the way.  I passed by her on my way out of my right as she sat with her bright pink sparring gear on at the edge of her ring waiting to see who would be paired up first.  I whisper a couple last minute instructions and words of encouragement to her as I passed.

That kid took her first opponent apart.  Then the next one.  Then the next one.  Next thing she knows there a first place trophy in front of her.  She took those other girls apart like a math problem.  She calmly determined their strategies, worked out the simplest counter, and started racking up points.  The whole time she had a look on her face like she was reading a slightly dull book.  I asked her afterwards if she thought she would win first place.

"Yeah.  I'm pretty good at kumite."

Not bragging, just a matter of fact assessment of her own abilities and the confidence to go out and do what she does best.

She wasn't the only girl we had out there.  During my absence from the internet one of my twin daughters took up the training.  She just turned five, so she's not all hardcore yet and its mostly for fun.  She said she wanted to compete.  She wanted a trophy like the kind daddy's got in the garage.  I told her to practice and she was a bit unsure as to the concept of training for a tournament and both me kids are headstrong little things.  She doesn't fight yet, so I let her go out to do kata.  I managed to slip away from my events long enough to see her.  The Missus was a nervous wreck.  The center judge was Preston Rogers Sensei who is very well known here in Virginia, and he was absolutely amazing in dealing with those little kids.

I got to see my daughter tie for second place, and she performed well in the tie breaker, but got edged out.  Still she's got her very own third place trophy with has barely left her hands since she got it.  Its on her nightstand as I type this.  The Missus called my father who called me last night, he's quite proud.

She didn't practice as much as she should have, but she did work for it.  She went out and behaved well, and did her best.  She performed strongly and that got her, finally, a trophy of her very own.  Yes I know trophies aren't the most important thing in the world, but she's now seen what hard work can earn you, and that's a pretty big deal.

So I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get a trophy myself, but that's nothing compared to how proud I am of those kids.


Asian Terminator Skateboard FAIL!  Yeah, you read that right.

That's it for me this go-around.  I've got more practicing to do since the next tournament is in June.  For now though, I'll see Y'all Wednesday.

Sneaks and Creeps

Good Morning, Spawn Campers.  It's March 16, 2012, the Ides haves passed, two days ago was time for Pi, and tomorrow maybe some green pie, and this is The Side.  Does it seem weird to anyone else that every other day seems like a "holiday" and every month is designated as a time that we're supposed to be aware of something.  Yesterday was of interest due to Julius Caesar, so there's historic context their.  The day before was amusing due to a specific number important to mathematics.  Tomorrow is an Irish holiday which proper drunks refer to as "amateur night".  I'm sure today is probably supposed to be recognized as something specific, but really, who cares?

There's too much of it and these stupid things have already started to overlap.  The worst culprit is April 20th.  Had someone at the bar I worked at ask me if I was going to celebrate 4/20 and I told them absolutely not and that the person who instigated the holocaust is not a person to be celebrated.  They weren't sure what I was talking, because they were stupid.  I told them that April 20th was Adolf Hitler's birthday.  They tried to argue that it was the pot smokers holiday or something to that effect.

It was that point that I told them they really should put the bong down and pick up a book.


There's a void in my existence which is left because I can't get new QUEEN AND COUNTRY stuff on a regular basis.  I'm on the verge of sending Greg Rucka an e-mail begging for such.  I sit wishing the THE SANDBAGGERS DVD collection wasn't so expensive.  Fortunately for me Nathan Edmonson and Mitch Gerads have heard my pleas and THE ACTIVITY #1 and #2 are in my hot little hands.  Yes, I am a bit late to the game on this one, but I'm so glad I got a hold of it.  This is some really outstanding Spy-Fi.  Its not too over the top.  The operatives have some great gear, but no jet packs or tricked out Aston Martins.  These are top tier professions who handle problems for the CIA and other intelligence outfits.  If a job goes a it wrong or there details or evidence that needs taken care of, these are the people that go in.  The story is mostly mission driven, but the cast is very cool.  We get scant bits as to their personal lives or lack thereof, but they all seem very likable.  Don't go in expecting explosions on every other page or high drama.  Do expect to see people who are very good at what they do beings very good at doing it.  The art is phenomenal.  The writing is sharp.  this is the kind of book that could easily be over written, but Edmonson seems to really know when to stop and let Gerads handle the storytelling.  This is a really great collaboration.  I highly recommend this one.

I missed the first issue, but I did get THIEF OF THIEVES #2.  I dig Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer so that alone sold me.  I wasn't let down.  This book also isn't over the top action, but is a really great character driven work about an incredible thief who is looking go go straight and get his family back.  Shawn Martinbrough is the perfect artist for this project.  I was a big fan of his work with Greg Rucka on their run in DETECTIVE COMICS for DC.  His noir style is incredibly grounded and in a book like this in which the expressions on people's faces have as much impact as the bullets fired, his mastery of these subtle things is crucial.  Even though I missed the first issue I feel like I'm mostly up to speed on the important things.  That's great, because usually is you miss the first issue you're lost.  Nice to see a smart comic that accessible.  This book made me care a bit about the main character Conrad, and while we don't have all the pieces to the puzzle that's his life I find myself hoping he can put it all back together.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 9 #7 continues "On Your Own" which deals with Buffy's pregnancy.  Kinda of a weird title to the story since all she's done is go to get support from her friends.  Her plans go awry when the police officer who's been trying really hard to establish himself as a character runs into a nest of "zompires", who are some of the most un-sparkly vampires ever, and Buffy, Spike, and is his alien bug piloted spaceship fly to the rescue.  As much as I want to ask why in the blue frak Spike has a spaceship with a bunch of giant alien bugs that serve him and speak English, I've decide that this is just a monumentally weird thing that I approve of.  There's a twist ending on this one that is also monumentally weird, which I'm going to approve of for the moment based solely on monumental weirdness.  This "season" of Buffy has been pretty oddball, but after the overly epic epiciness of the previous "season" I'll take oddball.  I was a bit put off by Buffy's decision to terminate her pregnancy, and I did briefly consider bailing on the book, however this issue made me glad that I hung in there.

You know how I said the zompires in BUFFY were some of the most un-sparkly vampires ever?  Yeah, the vampires in THE STRAIN #4 are the most un-sparkly vampires ever.  Icky, nasty and disgusting.  These things are just outright creepy.  The outbreak is coming and the CDC is a bit behind the eightball.  The more they find out, the more disgusting these vampires seem to be.  I do really like this book because its so very different from a lot of the more popular vampire fiction that's out there.  They really do seem like diseased inhuman things.  While not for the faint of heart, this is a really well done horror comic and I'm really enjoying it, even though it does creep me out.


This tune gives me a sweet American Gothic vibe.  Kinda weird that the local alternative/modern rock station is playing the hell out of it, but I dig it.

Got the Petersburg Karate Open tomorrow and will be competing in the kata and weapons events.  Hopefully, I'll have some nice new big trophies to put in the garage.  I'll let y'all know Sunday.  See ya them.

Return of the Nozz

I'M BACK!  Its Wednesday, March 14, 2012, I've been gone for over a month, in case you haven't noticed, and this is The Side!  Yep, been over a month since my last post.  I've spent my time on an existential journey.  I was set upon by some weird odds and ends, which I at first though were just the randomness of life, but it ended up being a clandestine plot to destroy me.

I won't get into the details, but I ended up doing some intense meditation and combat training with a bunch of Neo-Shaolin Commando Cyber Monks, and spent about a week sitting in a cave.  I came out very enlightened and smelling kinda funky, but after a good hot shower, I returned to defeat the shadowy group of international high stakes gamblers who bet big bucks as to whether or not I'd snap and either die horribly, or go on a rampage and then die horribly.

I beat the tar out of their ring leader with a rabid ferret.

Fixed his little red wagon.  That prick.


The answer is: nowhere.  My computer has been hanging in there since 2003.  It still ran Windows XP.  Even with good anti-virus software even if I sneezed it would get a virus.  It finally got one I could do anything about.  So, it was time of a new one.  Finances weren't right so I had to wait.

I go online every day.  I check a few webcomics, mail, news, weather, and them I have my active accounts on Google+ and Twitter.  Then there's this blog.  The majority of the information I take in that doesn't involve actual experience comes from online.  So, I found myself suddenly cut off.  I was actually a little panicked for about a day.  Then I took a breath.  Cut off from the pool of people I frequently interact with online, the thoughts and notions that normally flow forth through the keyboard spent more time in my mind and formulated further.  Distractions lessened.  I found myself feeling a bit sharper mentally and able to focus more at work instead of pondering various news stories I had read that morning.

I read a bit more.  I watched more TV shows that I had been meaning to check out.  All and all, it was pretty nice.  Kinda of like a vacation from the internet.  Probably a good time for it as well since it is an election year and all the political BS is enough to make one's head hurt and its pretty much everywhere you look.

I'm not jumping fully back in again.  Expect more of a gradual process.  I'm still figuring out the new comp and its operating system.  I've still got to get the new printer/scanner up and running.  Also there's a big karate tournament this weekend and I've prepping for that.  

But yes, I am still alive, much to some of y'all's chagrin.


I considering throwing out some AC/DC "Back in Black" but just wasn't feelin' it.  Nothing against AC/DC but one must be in the proper mood for them.


That's a wrap for me.  Back to the business of reviewing comics on Friday.  See y'all then.