Funny Book Goldmine!

Morning gang.  Its Sunday, April 29, 2012, its review day, and this is The Side.  As you noticed there was no update on Friday.  I was very tired the tale end of the week, and just couldn't find the time and energy to sit down and write.  Hit the wall, as it were.  Has absolutely nothing to do with NetFlix now having TRANSFORMERS and G.I.JOE cartoon available for streaming now.


In recent months, I've railed against things like stupid variant covers, and rebooting entire comic book lines just In the hopes of bringing in new readers.  It does seem like sensationalism is being pushed instead of good stories sometimes.  Its very frustrating for me seeing the same silliness that absolutely did not work well twenty years ago being repeated now.  This brings us to THE GOON #39, which is an issue that is sure to be a collector's item because its the book that guarantees Eric Powell won't be working for DC or Marvel for a while.  The last two issues of this comic have dealt with some serious stuff and struck emotional chords.  Not this time.  Oh no.  This issue is on big brutal mockery of every stupid thing certain larger companies have been doing to whore themselves to the media and the masses.  Changing origins, changing costumes, gratuitous pantie shots, big gay kissin', characters dying repeatedly and more is all wrapped up in one nice neat little package for use to laugh at.  This was my read of the week.

ANGEL AND FAITH #9 wraps up our heroes encounter with Druscilla who is now sane.  She had gotten a hold of a demon which can take trauma out of you.  You still have the memories, but you don't feel anything about them.  This issue is a serious throwback to the old TV series, but in a really good way.  It used to be Whedon and his writing staff would have a monster with some specific ability and that would be a plot device for a type of statement about humanity.  That's what we have here.  Having our pasts and caring about them is what makes us who we are today for better or worse.  We definitely get both sides of the coin here as on one hand you have Druscilla whose trauma drove her mad.  On the flip side, you have Faith who long time fans have seen go through a huge and tough character arc filled the guilt and trauma and come out the other side a hero.  I had been on board with this book, and liked it well enough, but the wrap up to this story really made it shine.  I wasn't expecting it, but I should have as Christos Gage really knows his knows his way around these characters.  Great stuff.

This brings us to THE ACTIVITY #3#5.  I can't review #4 because its classified.  That and I didn't get it in, which I'm hoping to remedy soon.  I said in my review of the first two issues that this comic is filling the hole in my soul left by an absence of QUEEN AND COUNTRY stuff.  These two issues really put a point on that because both series are spy-fi, but neither is stupid spy-fi.  There's no gratuitous action.  There's no guarantee of success.  This isn't James Bond with buckets of gadget saving the world in a tuxedo.  Issue 3 gives us an insight as to some of what happens when an operation goes completing tango uniform.  You don't get all the details, and good on Edmondson for that, because the story isn't about the operation itself.  You get a lot of information about the resumés of the characters, and you see how they handle it when things go bad.  They aren't larger than life, and this really grounded the characters for me.  It did get a little heavy-handed with the "war is failure" bit, but I understand it since if these guys do their jobs right then wars don't get started.  Issue five has our team in a Thailand prison getting interrogated.   You also get more of Weatherman's history and how he was brought into the team.  Again Edmondson doesn't throw in every last detail, because you don't need them all.  This is a comic for intelligent readers who are capable of filling in the blanks for themselves.  This way a storyline which could have been stretched out for two or three issues can be wrapped up neatly into one issue with no filler and we don't really lose anything.  Its compressed storytelling that moves fast, kinda like GLOBAL FREQUENCY in that regard.  The ruslt is a comic that you can pick up from any issue and be fully up to speed.  I'm loving this comic.


I was clicking through the radio stations and actually caught this tune.  Ain't nothin' like Jerry Reed.

That'll put a spring in your step, or at least make a fella feel better about his current situation.  See y'all Wednesday.

Friedrich Frowns Upon Facebook Frakker

Its Wednesday, April 26, 2012, I won't be getting my comic today, and this is The Side.  the single dad thing continues and that means taking the kids to gymnastics on Wednesday as opposed to hitting the comic shop like a proper nerd.  Not enough time to do both.    Ah well.  So, no reviews until Sunday again.  Thanks for the patience.


Oh, I am loving this one.

If you've been online for more than five minutes, you've probably heard the horror stories of women getting pictures sent to them that nobody wants to see.  There's been a few cases of well-known guys getting busted for it, like Brett Farve and Anthony Wiener (the name along selling the joke).  Kidding aside, its one of those things that I do worry about having daughters who know about computers and a little about the internet.  Its one of the reasons I don't want them to ever have a Facebook account.  Some pervs start fixating on a girl and then the messages and inappropriate stuff start getting sent to the girl.  Its flat out harassment and its one of the reasons we've got the Government trying to regulate the internet.

The problem is that the people in the government barely have a clue as to how things work on the internet.

People that are online, and don't take shit, know how to handle these sorts of things.  This brings us to Ariane Friedrich.  She's an athlete from Germany who will most likely be competing in the high jump at the Olympics this year.  She's an attractive woman, and I'm certain she has quite a few admirers.  However, one of them got all stalkery on her.  Used to be a proper stalker would follow you around and leave notes and dead roses on your doorstep.  Nowadays, they send pictures of their junk.

Now, there's legislation in this country giving women options for dealing with stuff like this.  It varies from State to State.  Some places have fines.  Other places even have jail time.  This this involves pressing charges and having to go through a whole bunch of paperwork.  Got to make sure the paper trail is sound and that you've got evidence and all that.

Friedrich is a busy woman.  She doesn't have time for that crap!  So, she outed the dude!  She posted the guy's name and e-mail address right on her Facebook page.  Now, there's a big old tizzy about her not handling this in the "proper" fashion, and due process.

Screw that.  This moron was dumb enough to send dick pix to woman who didn't want them, and she knew his name.  No need for the courts to get involved here.  This guy has been thrown directly into the court of public perception, and that's one harsh jury.  I do love how she handled it.

While there are a lot of good intentions about internet safety, a lot of what's being proposed is overkill.  Its people with a particular paradigm that can't be applied nice and neat to communications and interpersonal relationships of the 21st century.  Really, with a lot of these cases, it can be handled fairly simply: don't take any shit, and if the pervos can't keep it to themselves, then share it with everybody.


Girls that jump are awesome and so are girls that run.

Alright, I'm off to the ratrace.  See y'all Friday.

Variation of a Zombie is still a Zombie

Its Sunday, April 22, 2012, if you're one of the every fifth people who click on this block you get to see the variant pictures, and this is The Side.  I got into it over variant covers with some people this week.  I've seen how ridiculous it can be.  I was around in the early 90s when it was completely out of control.  Now many of the books with the super elaborate covers that collector's though would be worth something one day are found in dollar bin in comic shops right next to the same comics that didn't have the fancy pants variant.

Its one thing if a comic has a variant cover by a different artist.  When INFINITE CRISIS  came out years ago Jim Lee did the covers and George Perez did the variant covers.  I sought out the variants because I'm a big fan of George Perez's artwork.  I certainly didn't buy two copies of the same book.  I can even understand seeing two covers by different artists and really loving the artwork on both covers, and buying both if you're unable to choose.

But this business Marvel's doing with not coloring parts of the cover and calling it a variant.  That's so freaking sketchy.  I've got to wonder where they came up with such an idea..


Head Suit: "OK men, our movie franchises are a hot ticket right now, but need a good sales boost on our comics.  Ideas?"

Suit #1: "Make the best books we possibly can and hope readers and the market recognize this?"

Head Suit: "You're fired."

Suit #2: "I've got it!  Variant covers!"

Suit #3: "We tried that back in the 90s.  About the same time our bankruptcy attorney gave us our frequent filer card."

Suit #2: "No, no!  It'll work this time!  We've got Disney money backing us!  Mickey Mouse cheddar, baby!"

Head Suit: "No, we're not going to use the Disney money to fall back on, but still this variant cover idea might have legs."

Suit #2: "Sure.  We'll hit the nostalgia factor.  If those guys across the street can bring back Barry Allen and get people to actually buy a book starring him after he's been gone for twenty-five years, I think we can run with such an old school gimmick.  Its been twenty years, so its about time again."

Suit #4: "Are we going with the card stock, foil embossed covers with the holograms again?"

Suit #3: "Hold it.  You've got to remember that we're still in a recession.  Those bells and whistles will up the cover price.  Money's tight and there's a lot of readers who won't pay too much more than they already do for one book."

Head Suit: "Yes, we need something that won't up the cover price much, if at all."

((Insert hours of pondering here.))

Suit #4:  "What if we don't color part of the cover?"

Suit #3:  "What?"

Suit #4:  "Yeah, we'll not color a certain character on the cover."

Head Suit: "Oooo, I wonder how much we'll save in ink?"

Suit #3: "Probably not much, sir."

Suit #2: "Hey!  Maybe we can get a kickback from Crayola, since someone will have to color those missing parts."

Head Suit: "Excellent thinking!  Good work, gentlemen!  Pie and hookers all around!"


THE WALKING DEAD #96 concludes the "A Larger World" storyline which is pretty pivotal.  At the end of the last issue Rick was forced to kill a member of the Hilltop community in self defense.  This issue we get a better idea of what Hilltop has to deal with, but its from description rather then Kirkman just dumping action on us.  Hilltop has enemies.  Rick and the others need what Hilltop has to offer in terms of supplies and food.  Hilltop needs what Rick and others can provide by way of strength.  This is so very fascinating from an anthropological point of view.  We're seeing how countries are made.  These tribes have formed a network to help each other.  Now Rick's tribe has joined and we see what their contribution will be.  How its going to work out is anyone's guess, but most likely Hilltop's enemies are going to have to deal with a very determined Rick Grimes as we approach issue #100 of the series.

THE SHADOW #1 kicks off Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell's take on the classic pulp character.  I'm a fan of The Shadow.  I loved the Alec Baldwin flick.  I still catch an occasional episode of the old radio show when the local high school radio station plays them.  Ennis pulls no punches here. I love WWII comics, but haven't seen anything of his concerning anything from the Pacific Theater.  The book opens with details of japan's brutal assaults on China.  I'm not sure how much of it is accurate, but when it comes to WWII stuff Ennis tends to be very well researched.  Ennis's version of The Shadow is a gun toting, avenging mystic, who seems very cold.  Then we see him as being very smooth and debonair as Lamont Cranston.  I wasn't really thrilled with how he acted towards Margo Lane, however that was only one scene and I'm thinking she's one that'll be holding her own.  I find this version of The Shadow not very likable, but still entertaining.  I do like Ennis as a writer, and he's good at writing characters which aren't terribly likable, but still sympathetic.  Haven't seen it here yet, but its just the first issue and we'll see how it goes.

THE ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #2 gives us another trio of really great stories.  This book has an excellent balance to it.  We start off with a harrowing tale from the battlefield of WWII.  Then its over to a fun little story with Cliff checking up on Betty while she's filming a movie.  The last one is a great story from the one and only Walt Simonson with a charming little story.  I do get a kick out of this book.  We're treated to all these different takes of the same character by all these really talented writers and artists.  Even with all the differences in the story styles, its still all obviously the Rocketeer.  Great read.

RAGEMOOR #2 is just flat out freaky.  I've read my fair share of really weird and disturbing comics, but this one has got to be up there in the ranks.  It bangs about with the subtlety of a tire iron right to the face.  The setting is just so intentionally horrendous, and Master Herbert tries to rail against it this issue for what happened to Anoria last issue.  It just goes horribly and I have to wonder how on earth he and Bodrick the butler have survived so long in there.  The answer is that the castle tolerates them and you don't screw with the castle.  The creatures inhabiting the place are just so weird and freak that i have difficulty fathoming how the pieces of the puzzle fit.  We know from the first issue how the castle was built, and how over time developed some sort of life of its own.  Its almost like it is some Gothic, Lovecraftian entity that has all these little things growing in it like bacteria.  Read it if you feel like getting weirdly creeped out.


Caught this tune on the radio yesterday.  I dug it.

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

Nozz = Comic Book Hipster?

Where's the coffee?  Its Friday, April 20, 2012, I'm freaking beat, and this is The Side.  The Missus is still with her family, and I'm still on the single dad patrol.  Very exhausting.  This has also prevented me from getting by the comic shop, so yet again, the reviews will be on Sunday, that is if there's anything waiting for me.

Hey, speaking of ye olde comic shoppe.


I was at Kings last Saturday picking up my comics, and the owner's son was chilling out behind the counter on some downtime between rounds of the Saturday Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament.  He expressed his surprised that I wasn't picking up the latest AVENGERS VERSUS X-MEN issue.  I told him I wasn't a Marvel reader.

"How can you be a Comic Book Hipster and not be reading Marvel?"

I thought you couldn't be a comic book hipster if you did read Marvel.  I figured that a comic book hipster was pretty much one and the same as the "indier than thou" crowd.  I was actually worried about being lumped into that group with my reading stuffs lately.  No, I haven't been reading Marvel for years.  I did give them a shot again with FF on the advice of some valued friends, but it just wasn't for me.  I stopped reading DC, and that wasn't so much me leaving DC Comics as DC Comics leaving me.  My reading currently consists mostly of books from Dark Horse and Image.  And for anyone reading this and thinking "well those are indy companies" you haven't been paying attention.  Dark Horse has major franchises like STAR WARS and BUFFY, as well as HELLBOY.  If you've had multiple books from your company be made into movies, you're no longer indy.  Image has THE WALKING DEAD.  That's just about the hottest show on TV.  There's no more "Big Two", its the "Big Four" now.  Has been for a long time.

So, I'm not in the "indier than thou" crowd, but am I a comic book hipster?  I have enough of a knowledge base of comics that I feel confident that I could teach an undergraduate course on the subject.  Still, the term "comic book hipster" conjures a certain image in mind.  Skinny jeans, and knit hats.  T-shirts of comics that either people haven't heard of or ones that people had and that were made into movies,but the person wearing it will be quick to point out that he was into that book before everyone else.  Glasses that are big and black that make sure to let people know that this individual reads a lot.  They must read a lot.  Look at the size of their glasses, for cryin' out loud.  They look down their noses at anyone who dares to read a comic they find unworthy of their interest.  Its kinda like fanboys who leveled up.

Stopping to consider my current self in relevance to my notion of a comic book hipster, I don't think I fit.  My glasses aren't thick enough.  I sure as hell don't wear skinny jeans.  Actually, I'm usually wearing my work clothes, and those have been through hell and back on my construction job.

I do have a habit of being snarky towards some of the things I don't like.  I got a little heat because after getting a description of the X-Men storyline "The Messiah Complex" I said it sounded really stupid and I wouldn't bother reading it.  Sure, that sounds like me being a prick, but I can't really get excited about a book, no matter how glowingly someone describes it, if the entire premise sounds dumb to me.  My friends convinced me to give FF a try due to their knowledge that an issue of THE FANTASTIC FOUR was one of the first ones I every got, and that there were going to be interesting directions explored in the comic in that it was super-heroes through a nearly pure sci-fi prism, which is how I like my Fantastic Four.  Sure, I didn't like the issue I bought, but at least my friends made a proper sale of it.  The bit about "Messiah Complex" tying into all these other "event" stories isn't a selling point either.

"It ties directly into HOUSE OF M."

"What?  So, I have to read that too?"

That's not being a snotty comic book hipster so much as being a guy who really doesn't want to track down comics that don't sound interesting and read them.  There's too much other interesting stuff that I want to read but haven't had the chance.

Is there a bit too much of "we're the cool comic book reading guys" going on here?  Is it like when the guys on THE BIG BANG THEORY call someone else a "dork"?  You do see it sometimes, but really a nerd calling a nerd "nerd" is just stupid.  I do revel in my fantasy of seeing the guys from Comic Kings throwing down with the crew from Local Heroes like a geek version of the Sharks and Jets, with Mike Federali writing the entire score to this nerd gang musical.

So, I'm not a comic book hipster, and definitely not a fan boy.  I'm not "indier than thou" either.  Fine by me.  I've had enough stupid labels stuck to me over the years.

I'm just bummed that "Lord Nozz, Prince of Pain" never stuck.


What?  You sayin' that just because a guy is a level 30 alchemist that he can't serve some shit?

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


Alright, your filthy spawn campers.  Its Wednesday, April 18, 2012, I've been fragged, and this is The Side. Some days, you just have to get out of your comfort zone, and this week I did so with some gaming.  Been a good stress release what with having to do the single dad thing while the Missus is tending to her family.

Yes, apparently I release stress by swearing at my computer screen, and attempting to Force choke people across the internet.


Got word about a free game online, TRIBES ASCEND.  Well, I like free so I looked into it a bit.  This is a really well done game.  I don't really play first person shooter games, but it was a lot of fun.  It handled nicely.  The graphics and sounds were good stuff.  Its pretty straight forward.  Get on a team, go out, shoot a bunch of people until your team wins.

The really neat part is that its free.  We've all played free games online, and the highest quality you're likely to see is something like ANGRY BIRDS.  This was different.  This was like a game that I'd expect to pay money for.  I went over to there site and there was the button for the free download.  Took a bit of time, but there was nothing sketchy about it.  I loaded it up, and started looking through the menu once I set up the account.

Here's where it gets good.  You can unlock all sorts of upgrades and new character classes with experience points that you earn or you can pay to upgrade your account and purchase all sorts of upgrades.  You also get added experience points for getting friends to get the game.  This paradigm for money making on free games isn't new.  Often you can purchase exclusive content from the site offering the game and money gets kicked back over to the game makers.  TRIBES ASCEND isn't being offered through any social website like Facebook or Google Plus.  It stands on its own.  So this may be the start of a major shift in the paradigm of how video games are marketed.  Multi-player games online aren't new, but often you pay to get the game, and you pay for membership to the online portion of the game.  This is different.  This is getting the game downloaded to as many people as possible, because there'll be people out there who will fork out the cash for better gear to blow folks up.  Its a very clever idea.  Plays off of gamers' competitive spirit, and gives them just what they want.

And yes indeed I played the game.  I'm absolutely horrible at it.  I chose the Pathfinder class as they're faster, and if worse came to worse, I figured I could run away screaming as more experienced gamers attempted to pick me off.  I did the tutorials and did alright with them.  I still don't have a good feel for some of the finer points, but it was time to jump in.

Went into a "Deathmatch" in which two teams of about 15 each go after each other and victory comes when the other team loses 99 lives.  I would like to take this time to apologize to the teams I was on as the losses in battle could very easily been all my fault.

I sucked at this.

No kidding, during one match I got ganked nine times.  It tells you who got you and what weapon they used.  Five times the message read "SUICIDE", and I endevored to find that sum'bitch with the screen name "Suicide" and then it dawned on me that I was an idiot and really needed to watch where I aim my weapon.

I did have a shining moment in that in a Deathmatch the first person that gets ganked spawns a flag and whoever has the flag gets double points or some such.  Well, I slid down a slope and caught sight of the flag holder and he wasn't facing me as he had a swarm of guys after him.  I can't hit the broad side of a barn in these games, but sure enough a popped off a shot and got him.  A little achievement metal appeared for bagging the flag bearer and I reveled in my n00bish glee.  My team was up by about 20 lives and on its way to a win.  Then I lost connection with the server and got booted.

I was way more pissed than I should have been.

I've played it a couple more times now and again.  Its fun.  I won't be dropping any cash on it though considering how tight money is now.  Still, I'm happy running around, getting in the occasional lucky shot, and upgrading my stuff when i get enough experience.

Bottom line: TRIBES ASCEND is a hell of a good time for broke clowns like me who like to shoot stuff.


Speaking of shooting things.

That'll do it for me today.  Off to work.  See you guys Friday.

Conrad has Taste

Whew.  Its Sunday, April 15, 2012, made it through the week, and this is The Side.  yeah, it was a tough one this week, and I'm glad to have a morning where the main thing I've got to worry about is blowing on my coffee to get it the right temperature.  Sure I've got another week of exhaustion ahead of me, but its those little respites that let us keep going.

That includes doing stuff like reading some comics.


Starting off with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 9 #8 in which we deal with Buffy not being pregnant, but being a robot.  I know those two things are often confusing.  Buffy and Spike confront Andrew about her being a robot, because, of course, it had to be Andrew.  Detective Dowling is also dealing with the nasty death of his partner during the zompire attack.  He's not coping well at all, and that's actually refreshing.  Very often in the Buffy-verse we see characters adapt to dealing with supernatural threats a bit too easily.  This character is a capable police detective and had knowledge of the existence of the supernatural things that go on, and was still incredibly shaken in the aftermath of losing someone to them and having to fight for his life.  I'd been having trouble remember the guy's name, but the character really stood out issue.  There's also a disturbing little bit with Xander that has me fairly creeped out as to possible directions they may make with the character.  This is made creepier by by a bit of possible fore-shadowing from season six of the TV show.  But, this season has taken turns that I haven't been very comfortable with, but has given interesting payoffs once the story worked out.  The main story itself is taking a neat path of its own.  Cliff Richards steps in on pencils and does a great job.  All and all, a decent read.  This story has me engaged.

Moving on to the comic that AMC just optioned to make a show of THIEF OF THIEVES #3.  We meet Special Agent Cohen, the beautiful FBI agent who is determined to catch Conrad.  Oh man, this book was just great.  Nick Spenser just worked this whole issue masterfully.  The back and forth between Conrad and Cohen was absolutely brilliant.  This book is just scene after scene of brilliantly dialogued, well paced storytelling.  Shawn Martinbrough continues to shine with his elegant noir style.  This issue does a great job of letting us know exactly where Conrad stands with the law, as well as giving us a glimpse of some of history in relation to Cohen and her investigation.  We actually don't see much of Conrad in this issue after the opening scene, but Cohan is a great character to follow around.  The book is low on action, but there's still a ton of things going on that kept me riveted.  Do yourself a favor, go out and buy this book.


There was a huge reveal this month in THIEF OF THIEVES: Conrad is a Zevon fan.

Figured that one was appropriate for old Conrad.  OK, I'm off to take a couple rotten kids to the circus.  I'll see y'all Wednesday.

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

Its Friday, April 13, 2012, I'm not buying that Friday the 13th crap, but ask me again at the end of the day, and this is The Side.  This has been one helluva week.  The Missus is in Kansas trying to help her ailing mother.  I'm lucky in that I've got family and good friends to watch the kids while I work.  This hasn't been very easy.

My time of getting my thoughts together and having some quiet time in the car on my commute are gone.  I'm having to roust the poor kids out of bed early and get them dressed and in the car to get to the very nice lady that's watching them and then try to make it to work on time.  So far, I've been doing pretty well at it.  Picking them up after work has gone alright, but with their gymnastics class, and my karate class I haven't gotten by the comic shop.  Maybe tomorrow if I'm lucky.

Its really not so bad as everything is still getting done.  I'm just pretty tired.  Haven't been sleeping too well, but that's pretty much just stress, and to be expected.  I'm not about to beg the Missus to come home because I know she's needed there and I'm glad she was able to get out there.

I was thinking about taking off Saturday, if only to give the kids a break from having to get up so early, but that's likely not in the cards now.  Had an accident on Tuesday, which left the bossman with an arm broken in three places.  He took a fall off a step ladder when part of the deck we were demolishing decided to fall the wrong way and punt the ladder out from under him.  Fortunately he landed on sand, but it was still enough to bust the arm.  Now I'm the muscle for the team.  That's definitely not good.

He sat there for a while on the tailgate of his truck.

"Man.  My ribs hurt.  My arm hurts.  My ankle hurts."

"You know what really sucks?"

"What's that?"

"I have a splinter."

Yeah, I was being a dick to lighten the mood a little, and it worked a bit.  What's kinda galling is that one of our clients has been calling and trying to get his deck replaced in a rush.  He knows my buddy's arm is busted too.  Not sure what he's expecting.  I know we're going to slow down a bit, and that deck replacement is a big job.  Too big right now.  Guy is either going to have to wait or get someone else to do it.  The deck replacement we're doing now is tough enough, and its simple by comparison.

Here's the part that gets me: I know there's a lot of things going on that affect me, but aren't directed right at me.  The mother-in-law is very ill, so i have to span the gap to keep things maintained here.  My buddy broke his arm, so I'm going to have to really be on my game at work.  Its tough, but its understandable.  These are people i care about and that have watched out for me a lot over the years.  I've got no problem at all doing whatever I've got to do to help out.  It just galls me that we're got a client that we've done work for for years and has always seemed real buddy-buddy with us, and now its like he doesn't care that there's an injury, when are we starting his project.

So, it is tough right now, and yes I am a bit cranky, but hopefully I'll be able to sit down this weekend with a nice cup of coffee and some Eggo Waffles and all will be right with my world.


Just like the title said...

That's it for today.  I'll grab my comics and hopefully have some reviews by Sunday.  See y'all then.

Do it right

Its Wednesday, April 11, 2012, I'm tired and this The Side.  Nothing clever to open up with.  My buddy broke his arm at work yesterday, so I'm off and running to try to help out as best I can.


There was a really unfortunate incident last week.  Two guys were wrestling.  Neither of them had any real training.  The younger guy lucked into a rear naked choke.  The older didn't know how to react and was put under.  The younger didn't know what had happened and continued applying the hold.  His cousin never woke up.

Here's a quick word from two guys who know a lot about a rear naked choke.

What's important here applies to all martial arts.  Just because you see something that looks cool on TV or in a movie doesn't mean you should try it at home.  I cringe at footage of some of these dumb kids would watch WWE and go out in their backyards or go into their basements and decide to have their own rasslin' match.  Somebody goes getting hurt.  Sometimes there's even some pissed off parent who wants to blame WWE or the UFC or whatever because their kids did something ignorant or stupid.

This is coming form a guy who grew up doing stupid stuff like this.  I didn't emulate pro-wrestling, even though i did love watching it, but I had a steady stream of martial arts entertainment coming my way.  If there was a martial arts movie coming out, my Dad was more than happy to take me and my brother.  Unlike many families, there was a key difference between my brother and I, and the two cousins involved in the tragic incident the video talks about.

My brother and I had training.

Even better, that training came from my father, and experienced instructor, who was the one taking us to these movies or watching these TV shows with us.  He gave us a full appreciation for how dangerous those stunts were.  We knew how much a martial arts technique could hurt somebody.  I've been hit plenty of times during my training, and it hurts plenty even with the punches pulled.  Getting hit full steam is something I take very seriously whether I'm on the giving or receiving end.

Mixed martial Arts is one of the most popular sports right now.  Professional wrestling continues to be very popular as well.  These are both great, but if you're a fan of these thing, you need to really appreciate what those people in the ring do.  They train hard.  They know the risks.  They know their bodies.  They know what these techniques can do.  They know what it feels like to have a submission hold put on them.  Very important, they know when to tap out.  More important than that, they know when that other guy taps to let the hell go.

Safety is important, and part of that is getting the proper training from someone who knows what's up.  Sure there are the McDojos out there just looking to make a buck, but there's plenty of other schools and clubs that can give you a really good idea of the realities of hand-to-hand combat both for sport and protection.  If its worth doing, then its worth doing right.  Get the training.  At the very least go online and hunt down some resources detailing what these techniques do.  Better to be safe than be a news blurb.


Been listening to a lot of Midnight Oil lately, so now you will listen to Midnight Oil.

Blessings, and not being a prick about them

Happy Easter!  It's Sunday, April 8, 2012, its a weekend of miracles, and this is The Side.  There's one miracle that hit pretty close to home.


  An F-18 Hornet hit an apartment building just over a mile from my Mom's house.  Its mentioned in the article that three people were unaccounted for.  They've since been accounted for and are fine.  The roads are still blocked off quite a bit, with police on the scene keeping traffic directed.  The area that got hit is maybe a couple miles from the beach.  Its a heavily populate area and with the warm weather and Spring Break here the tourists are already here.  The schools were all out for the holiday.  Many places were off work.

The middle of the day on a day in which the kids are all home from school and most folks have the day off.  A jet hits an apartment building.  No one dies.


NAS Oceana, where the jet took off from, has been here since 1940.  That was back in the day when much of the area was farmland.  Since then the land has been heavily developed.  With the proximity to the ocean it became a desirable place to live.  Now we have many residents who complain about the noise from the jets.  I'm expecting there will be some grumblings about jets are taking off and going right over residential areas.  The fact of the matter is the residential areas have spread to surround the base over the years.  You here rumblings every time a jet crashes anywhere of "That could happen here."  "What are they doing to keep that from happening here."

There's no way to keep this from happening.  The last time this happened was 1986.  That's a helluva good track record, especially considering the frequency jets fly over the area.  Still, some people will be concerned for their safety.  My advice to them is to start looking for another place to live.  That base isn't going anywhere, and shouldn't have to.  It was here first.

Fortunately, the pilots were able to dump their fuel before impact, otherwise the destruction would have immense.  My town has a lot to be thankful for this Easter weekend.


I like this holiday a lot.  Lots of family time.  Easy access to Peeps.  But it seems with any holiday there's going to be people bitching and moaning about it, because perish forbid we just calm down and let folks enjoy something.

On one side, you have the hardcore Christians that are against a lot of the traditions that have been associated with the Holiday.  The reason for the holiday is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Some folks have even just started referring to it as Resurrection Day as opposed to Easter.  So, the traditions that have their roots in the Pagan holidays but got absorbed into the Christian holiday are now a big no-no.

The Easter Bunny, coloring eggs, candy in a basket, etc. pretty much got pulled in to make the holiday more palatable to non-Christians.  They're harmless, and fun.  As a Christian, I'm not a fan of being so narrow mindedly centered on the religion that the fellowship gets neglected.  Fellowship is important.  Its what makes churches grow.  Its what supports the faithful.  Yes, teach about the Resurrection and give thanks, but let your kids have those chocolate bunnies and hunt some Easter Eggs.  Its fun and we could all do with a bit more fun in our lives.

Then there's the other side the coin, and that's the non-believers that take great delight in being douchebags about it.  To them, today is "Zombie Jesus Day", and it doesn't matter if its tasteless, they get a giggle out of it.  Having faith is something to be ridiculed to them, and mocked at every turn.  Its not enough to just not celebrate the holiday and go about their business.  They make their jokes, and it doesn't matter if some people find it offensive, because those people obviously need to learn how to take a joke better.

This of course isn't the case when they perceive any sort of offensive or violation to their lack of belief, then its time to grab the torches and pitchforks and scream about "Separation of Church and State", and quote Nietzsche to make themselves feel smarter and better about themselves.

Those people fail to realize that they're nowhere near as clever as they like to think they are, and that they'd get a lot more respect for themselves by respecting others.

So, once more: everybody calm down, and have a Happy Easter.

 P.S. Don't be a dick.


I really hate Contemporary Christian Music.  You want to hear the real deal?  Let's take it to the Delta.


Hope everyone has a great Easter.  Enjoy it.  The Missus is still in Kansas, and continued prayers and well wishes for her mother are always appreciated.  Thanks again and see y'all Wednesday (hopefully).

Bloggus Interruptus

There's a lot of stuff going on in the Nozz compound currently.  I mentioned previously that the Missus's mother was having a serious health scare, and things have not gone well.  The Missus will be travelling out to Kansas to  see her family and offer what help she can with the situation.  Continued prayers and well wishes are very much appreciated.

I'll be in single dad mode for the time being.  I'm very fortunate that the support group of friends and family we have are stepping up to help me with taking care of the girls so I can continue to work without losing too much time.  I'm also extremely fortunate to have a very understanding boss.  So, there'll be no more get up, bounce around online for a little bit and head out the door.  It'll be more like get up, check e-mail, get the kids up, get them ready to go, take them to who will be watching them that day for me, and then go to work.

With that out there, there'll probably be some times when I miss a blog post.  As it is there were no comics for me to review today, so I had a great big plate of nothing to offer.  Kinda hard to sound off on some news thing or current event when the only thing on my mind has been "OK, what do I have to do to get the family through this?"  

So, thank you guys for your patience.  I probably will have a post for you on Sunday, so I'll see y'all then.

"Only a ninja can stop a Ninja"

Howdy.  Its Wednesday, April 4, 2012, I'm tired, and this is The Side.  Lots of stuff is going on and the days are kinda weird here, so here's a little ranty for you.


I really don't like ninjas very much.  I have to wonder if I'm wrong in this sometimes, since everyone else seems to like ninjas.  There is the chance that I am right in my disdain of them and everyone else is wrong.  So, of course I'm going with that.

Going up in a martial arts household, ninjas were something we learned about.  The house was stocked with martial arts reference books, and there were a few about Ninjas.  Most of them bullshit, but there were a few reliable ones scattered among the fluff.  Ninja were spies back in Japan.  Most of them were women who would use their feminine wiles to get information or, in the case of having an assassination assignment, get the target to drop their guard.  They often disguised themselves so the black outfit many of us know from the movies is pretty much just for the movies.  They did use weapons, traps, and poisons, but weren't really that great when it comes to fighting.

Nowadays, everyone's a ninja.  Do something sneaky or clever?  You're a ninja.  Can perform an acrobatic feat?  You're a ninja.  Actually have some fighting skill and/or training?  You're a ninja.  Can eat a pack of 20 Chicken McNuggets by yourself with horking them all up later?  You're a freaking ninja.

I saw a bunch of ninja flicks back in the day.  REVENGE OF THE NINJA, NINJA 3: THE DOMINATION (which isn't nearly as dirty as it sounds), and the AMERICAN NINJA series.  Pretty much a ton of chop socky BS which kids ate up.  Then the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES hit big with the kiddie cartoon show, with most of them using Okinawan Kobudo weaponry, and using it the wrong way in most cases.  There was the NINJA GAIDEN video game series.  Ninjas everywhere.  Thanks a heap, Sho Kosugi.

Fast forward and we have the NARUTO comic from Japan which became an animated series and the youngster here ate up.  In this series being a ninja means you have some sort of superpower and you're aspiring to be a great warrior.  I have to give this series some begrudging props for not caring at all what ninjas actually were and did and just inserting the name into an intricate continuity to make big sales.

Now there's the game "ninja" which involves goofy looking poses and hand slapping.  I hate this game with a fiery passion since a number of my karate students would rather play it than practice their kata and waza.

So I'm asking you people: don't be part of the herd.  There are no more ninja.  There's maybe a handful of legitimate ninjitsu practitioners, and they're most likely rolling their eyes at the how bag of goofiness.  If you see a parkour runner doing his thing, don't call him a ninja.  If someone does something sneaky or subtle, don't call them a ninja.  And most of all, if you see me don't KARATE, don't call me a freaking ninja.

The Chicken McNugget thing though, you can go on ahead.  That's hardcore.


There is only one true ninja: Christopher Walken.  Deal with it.

You know I'm right.  See y'all Friday.

Everybody Be Batman Day?

Holy Blogging Dorks, Batman!  Its Sunday, April 1, 2012, I know better than to try to fool you people and this is The Side.  Time flies, especially when you work a lot.  By the time I had it figured out where February went, March had slipped by.  Of course, its easy to say that in hindsight since so much time is spent waiting.  I've waited for the big karate tournament.  Waited at stop lights.  Waited for building inspectors.  Waited to hear news about family members.  

All the times I wished things would hurry up, and then it all seems to have gone by so fast.

Guess you can get what you wish for.


Remember that picture from last week in which Batman got pulled over by the police?  It went viral, and made the rounds on news shows as a little something amusing.  Lots of folks got a good chuckle out of it.  I got a laugh too, because frankly, it was pretty funny.  The guy in question got pulled over because of the tags on the car, which weren't legal tags.  He didn't get a ticket because he had the proper tags in the car, so no problem.  No resisting arrest or anything like that.  Just some funny pictures, and probably a great story for the officers involved.  Imagine one of them getting home and having a kid ask how their day was.  Priceless.

Here's a bigger question: why was the guy dressed as Batman?  Because he's awesome.

His name is Lenny B. Robinson and as far as a lot of people are concerned, he's Batman.  He's a businessman who did quite well for himself and now he dresses up as Batman and drives a cool Bat-Lamborgini.  He spends about twenty-five thousand dollars a year on Batman stuff.  And he gives it to kids in hospitals.  Robinson has been doing this and visiting kids in his area's hospitals for a while now.  He's not a professional actor (some hospitals do have professional actors come in from time to time as various characters to help lift kids' spirits), he doesn't make anything for these appearances.  He says now that he feels almost a responsibility to do what he does.

A guy feels a responsibility to dress up like a bat and go out to try to make the world a better place.  Sound familiar?

There was a notion among the fanboys that was along the lines of "Batman is awesome because he could really exist".  What they were thinking was somebody could go and train themselves to become a crime fighter.  We've seen how that turns out.  So, the fanboys are, of course, morons.  However, time marches forward, and thanks to Grant Morrison, the dopes may have inadvertently been onto something.

Batman as a character has been open to a wide variety of interpretations.  Many writers have approached the character as being a complete prick, because it seems to many that equals "bad ass" somehow.  Morrison comes in at the near height of Bat-douchebaggery, and sits ol' Bruce in a cave for a month and after some hardcore meditation he comes out a better Batman.  He became a character that after crawling out of the river after a helicopter crash involving a fight with a person whom good have possibly been the devil himself, stopped to have a brief chat with a girl who was a hooker that he directed to get a good job at Wayne Enterprises, and tell her with a smile that he was glad it all worked out.  He was a stand up guy who found himself in a position to help others.

Here we are at the Idea of Batman.  Again, there's a ton of interpretations, and so many of them are completely valid.  This is because Batman represents humanity in the superhero genre.  That was the key to the entire years long "Once and Future Batman" epic Morrison wrote.  Batman is who he is because of his ties and connections with others.  Sure, the idea of Batman as ultimate bad ass is still valid, however the idea of Batman as a "decent bloke" (via Teatime Brutality) is also now a valid one.

On the heals of "The Once and Future Batman" came "Batman Incorporated" in which the idea of Batman went global.  We saw characters like Nightrunner using the mask so as to be a force for justice between the clashing Parisian Police and the citizens.  Even more educational is the example of Man-of-Bats, the Native American Batman who operates out of a little shack.  Any funding he gets and/or rises he passes on to the people who need it.  "It doesn't have to take millions, does it.  The idea works.  Batman on a budget."

I go into Chik-fil-a and make an order and they ask for my name and I always tell them "Bruce Wayne".  I've had a couple of kids do a double take.  I've had an old fella get an absolute kick out of the bit.  I'm not doing nearly as much good as Lenny Robinson.  I do wish I was in a position to do something like he does.  I sit and think about how much stupid and hateful stuff I've seen spring up on the internet like "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day", and wish I could do something positive in the spirit of Batman Incorporated.

Think about this: Everybody Be Batman Day.

People all over doing charity work, good deeds or whatever.  Mowing an elderly neighbor's lawn.  Reading to kids.  Volunteering.  And everybody wearing Batman shirts.  No patrolling the streets or crime fighting.   No politics.  No agendas other than making the world a little better.  Recognizing Batman as the funnybook representation of humanity by going out and being human.

Come on.  Who wouldn't want to be Batman for a day?


Sticking with the Batness.

That'll do it for me today.  Time for some coffee, and and Eggo waffles.  See y'all Wednesday.