Going up, I was big fan of professional wrestling.  I don't really watch it anymore.  I stopped being interested in WWE long ago when the storylines were being pushed too far for my liking and I wasn't seeing enough action.  One guy that I've heard about a lot is Phil Brooks AKA CM Punk.  I saw a match or two of his.  He's a very talented performer.  

Recently he parted ways with the WWE.  To many people's surprise he's been signed to the UFC.  Keep in mind he's never been in a MMA match.  He's 36 years old which is a bit old to be entering this.  The UFC is the biggest promotion in MMA.  There's a lot of people balking at this.

I'm not one of them.

Dana White was asked why he signed Brooks, and he answered.  It boils down to this is a dream of Brooks who is a legit martial artist and he doesn't have enough time on the clock to work his way up through the amateurs.  Brooks gets to live his dream and get paid.  The UFC gets a ratings boost and Brooks' fanbase will be checking out his fights, so there's the potential to gain new fans.  Brooks brings more to the table than fighting ability, and these are things that are well established.  If he does well in the Octagon then that's even better.

This is a win all the way around for all involved.  Is it fair that Brooks gets in when there's other fighters who have been working their butts off to get noticed?  No, its not.  Still, White and the UFC doing something like this generate interest and revenue which keeps the organization going, and keeps them around so there's a platform for these fights to work towards.

I'm looking forward to watching Brooks fight, and wish him well.  Its going to be a tough road for him as his likely weight classes are packed with great fighters.  The last pro-wrestler to enter UFC was Brock Lesnar who did indeed win the championship, but the heavyweight division was a little light when he did it.  We'll see what happens.

I've become that guy?

I was gone for a while, but I'm back now.  Spent Thanksgiving up on the mountain.  Did some training.  Worked on issue 2 of A-DAY PLUS.  Ate some turkey.  Finally saw BIG HERO 6.  Dealt with one of the loinspawn getting sick.  I stayed pretty unplugged from things as I was sick of hearing about Ferguson and people just being completely stupid about it, especially the pricks in the media fanning the flames for ratings.

Upon returning, I discover that there a trailer for the impending STAR WARS movie that's been put forth.  There people that are really excited.  There's people who are saying things about a lightsaber.  Some folks seem concerned about a black Stormtrooper, and I think the main cause for concern is that they can't refer to him as an "African-American Stormtrooper" as Africa did not exist long ago in a galaxy far, far away, and their little PC brains are melting over it.

I haven't watched the trailer.  I thought about watching the trailer.  I like STAR WARS.  I've seen all the movies in the theaters.  I remember back when I had cable and sometimes USA would run the trilogy on a Sunday afternoon, and upon discovering this that's pretty much the whole afternoon right there.  Seriously, the only decision to be made after that is proper snack choices.  So, I should be excited about this new trailer, right?

I just can't do it.

I can't muster up any more excitement for anything STAR WARS anymore.  I had some excitement for the prequels being released.  For my excitement I was given Jar Jar Binks and some other miserable stuff.  Sure, there were a few high points.  Darth Maul was cool.  Yoda kicking ass was awesome.  And that third movie had... had... um... OK, the third one really sucked.

I really don't want to be that old codger who just sticks with the old movies that he loves and scoffs at the new ones, but I just can't muster up a single fuck to give about this new movie.

Have I become a bad nerd?

Three Bullets

For those of you new to the experience that is me, I spend most of my work time fixing beach houses.

There was a party at a beach house this past weekend and someone decided it would be a good idea to start shooting.  This was a 21st birthday party.  I know this because everyone was either thrown out of the house or arrested promptly after the shooting and the birthday items were left behind alone with the ton of empty booze bottles, some clothes (including a set of hot lavender, stripper pumps), and general trash.

No one was injured by the gunfire.  Since I was one of the guys doing repairs I got to see the damage.  Three bullets were fired from the street into the house.  This is easily deduced by the entry and exit damage in the various walls, and the angles in which these holes line up.  I have some theories as to the order in which the bullets struck the house (I think they were fired from a vehicle driving away, but that's my speculation.), but I'll just discuss the damage caused.

The first bullet struck the railing around the second floor deck.  All the bullets were grouped in this area, so the shooter seemed to be aiming at someone or something specific.  The bullet went through the wood railing and then went through a wood shutter, and then the wall behind it entering the house.  It came into a bedroom near the corner and with the angle of fire entered another wall.  There's a set of stairs on the opposite side of the wall and bullet was stopped there.  So, one hole in a railing, one pierced shutter, two holes in the interior walls.

Our next bullet entered the same bedroom through the window.  It crossed the room and grazed the door to the bathroom and then pierced a bathroom wall entering the closet to the bedroom.  The bullet then was stopped by the opposing wall of the closet.  One broken window, one damaged door, one hole in the bathroom, and two in the closet.

The final bullet was the real winner.  It pierced a different wooden shutter on its way in.  It crossed the bedroom and pierced a wall to enter that previously mentioned closet.  It crossed the closet to pierce the wall and enter another bedroom.  The bedroom had a sliding, glass door which had to be open because the bullet traveled outside, and with much of its velocity stripped by going through three walls landed the backyard of the property behind the house.  Now, as the bullet traveled through the bedroom wall into the closet, it hit a water line.  Remember, this is the second floor.  The reclaimed hardwood floor is damaged.  The there's probably going to be new carpet installed.  The ceiling on the first floor in destroyed.  The very nice pool table is damaged.  Six holes and a whole lot of damage.

This may be heading for five figures.  Its a very nice house.

The person who rented the house was not present.  Seems they rented it so the birthday person could have fun with their friends.

Let this be a lesson.  People are going to party on their 21st birthday (unless you're me because my 21st birthday was lame), but if you think its a good idea to yet someone have a huge party on your dime and you're not going to be there, you're just asking for trouble.  The person who rented that house is on the hook for the bill, unless they find the shooter, and even then this doesn't look good for the renter at all.

They certainly aren't getting their deposit back.

The Flash Premiers

I didn't like it.  Seriously.  I don't like that they dumbed down Barry Allen.  They already did the "my love interest is the daughter of a police officer" bit on Arrow.  Oh and Geoff Johns is involved so, of course, there has to be a dead parent.  And putting a Thawne on the police as a foreshadowing of a potential bad guy HAS BEEN DONE TO DEATH!!!

Come on!

They were doing that back on the first season of SMALLVILLE.  They going to try to make us like this guy and all us good little nerdlings are going to wonder when he's going to go bad.  All us hardcore nerdlings are going to speculate if he's Barry's twin brother or from the future.  Some of us will speculate if Iris is from the future.

And damn it all anyways, I love you Tom Cavanagh.  I do.  I loved you on ED.  I loved you on SCRUBS.  I thought to myself, "he's a scientist, I can get behind this".  Nope!  Just miserable.  The cheery guy was annoying as hell.  The mopey girl was a complete downer.  I'm sorry her fiancé got killed in an accident nine months ago, but YOU STILL DON'T SMILE AT ALL?!

Thank God AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. was on after that, so I could wrap my TV viewing up on a better note.

Um... that's on when?

OK, the local TV station has been advertising that its going to be showing episodes of THE WALKING DEAD.  I was a bit surprised because I though the rule of thumb for a show to go into syndication was that it needed to have about a hundred episodes under its belt.  I remember it was a big deal when BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER hit 100 episodes because they could go into syndication.  It does seem like the rules have changed a bit.  It has been a good ten years since I last took note of the subject.

So, THE WALKING DEAD is coming to WTVZ channel 33.  I read and love the comic.  I've watched the first season of the AMC TV show on Netflix.  I did not really like it.  I'm not saying it was a bad show or anything like that.  Its very well done.  I just have a very strong attachment to comic books as a medium and I just really prefer the comics.  I'm not planning on watching the show, but its nice that another comic book related program will be on.

I opened up the newspaper, because I try to keep up with Luann in the funny pages, and there's the TV listings.  Its debuting tonight at 8, and they're showing two episodes.  Apparently this is going to be the norm on Wednesdays.  This is taking over from showing double episodes of HOUSE.  

OK, I know HOUSE can be pretty graphic at times and I certainly wouldn't let the kids watch it, but isn't THE WALKING DEAD a bit rough to be showing at 8 on network TV? 

Did I get old or something?  I'm not saying they should just show re-runs of family friendly sit-coms in that time slot.  I did like watching AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and SUPERNATURAL when it was on at that time slot.  Still, the first season I saw of THE WALKING DEAD was really hard viewing at times.  I figure they'll edit some of the really graphic parts.

Maybe I'm just a bit surprised, and making more of this than it really is.  Just seems a bit early in the evening for hardcore horror.

A-Day Plus is coming... with your help!

Hey guys.  I've been working the last few months on a new comic: A-Day Plus.  Four extinction events hit the earth on the same day and hilarity ensues.  The first issue is all done, but I'm needing a bit of help with print costs  as such  I've got a Kickstarter running!

Check out the page.  If you're having trouble navigating through the video link, here's another one for you!  CLICK HERE!

Thanks again, and spread the word.

Lead Up to Avengers Shake Up.

If you've been paying attention to internet "news" about comics you may have seen everyone browning their trousers over a woman being Thor and a black guy being Captain America.  There's been calls of torches and pitchforks and all the typical internet stupidity that one would see from those outraged about comics that they don't read.

For those who saw these stories and are curious about what is going on and haven't been keeping up with the books, the whole thing is revolving around a storyline that Jonathan Hickman has been doing.  There's going to be a time jump, and what's the point of the time jump if everyone is exactly as they are now.  So, we get to see some fun change ups.

The problem is that this is getting some interest from people who haven't been reading the Avengers books and its honestly a lot to catch up on.  So, here's a really horrible recount of everything.

Illuminati: "We be the smart dudes that make big heavy choices, and don't tell no one."

Black Panther: "A parallel Earth almost crashed into us!  What's up with that?"

Illuminati: "We don't know.  Join our club?"

Black Panther: "OK."

Reed Richards:"The multiverse is dying.  We're all screwed."

Ironman: "We got this."

Reed Richards: "Another parallel Earth!"

Illuminati: "Get the Infinity Gauntlet!  Who's gonna use it?"

Ironman: "Get Steve to do it!"

Infinity Gauntlet goes blooey.

Namor: "You dumb-ass!  You wrecked our Gauntlet!"

Ironman: "We may have to blow up the parallel Earths to save ours."

Cap: "Not cool!"

Ironman: "Gotta do it."

Cap: "Don't be a dick."

Ironman: "You're out of the club.  Enjoy your mindwipe."


Ironman: "Hey Steve, help me build a really awesome Avengers team."

Cap: "OK."

Weird stuff happens on Mars.

Weird stuff happens of Earth.

Spider-man gets turned into a douche.

White Event.  Cause New Universe is cool.

Thanos: "Child support sucks!  Killin' all my bastards!"

Ironman: "Something is kicking everyone's ass in space and is heading this way."

Cap: "We'll go help!"

Thanos: "The Avengers have split!  Let's wreck their shit!  Is my Gauntlet here?"

"Its busted, but the Time Gem may be around."

Thanos: "Cool.  Go find it while we're here."

Gladiator: "The Builders are dicks.  We're gonna kick their asses."

Cap: "We'll help."

Gladiator: "Whatever."


Gladiator: "Oh shit!  The Builders are dicks and are kicking our asses!"

Cap: "OK, I've got this."

Namor: "Black Panther is a dick and has your Time Gem.  Go kick his ass."

Thanos: "Hey, BP, all your base belong to me.  Now, where's my kid?"

Black Bolt: "You're a dick!"

Thanos: "Screw you!  Gimme my kid!"

Black Bolt: "Terrigen bomb!  Suck it, you purple-faced douche!"

Thanos: "Dick."

Gladiator: "Thanks for kicking the Builder's asses.  Thanos done took your planet."

Cap: "Well, guess we gotta kick his ass too."

Gladiator: "Got your back, homie!"

Thanos: "Gonna kill my kid."

Thane (Thanos's kid): "Nope."

Ironman: "More parallel Earth keep wrecking each other and some of them have people on them."

Reed Richards: "We got a bomb."

Hulk: "I know what you've been up to."

Ironman: "Join our club."

Hulk: "OK."

Reed Richards: "Here comes another Earth."

Ironman: "We gotta destroy it."

Dudes from parallel Earth: "Not cool!  Y'all are dicks!"

Doctor Strange loses his shit.

Illuminati: "We really don't want to kill a bunch of people to save everyone."

Namor: "Y'all are pussies.  Imperius Rex, bitches!"

Parallel Earth go boom.

Illuminati: "Not cool, Namor!  You're a dick."

Namor: "Whatever."


Namor: "Got me me a new crew.  Gonna wreck some stuff."

Cap: "I remember now!  Tony is a dick!"

Ironman: "Chill!"

Cap: "You're a dick, and I'm gonna kick your ass!"

Time Gem.

Time travel things.  

Cap gets back.

Cap: "Ironman is a dick and so are the rest of the Illuminati.  We're gonna kick their asses."

Illuminati: "Oh shit!"

And that's pretty much where we're at going into the next issues.  Its going to jump ahead about eight months and the separate titles will be catching up over the next eight months.  If you want you can go ahead and hunt down the trades to get a better idea of everything that's going on.  Its good reading.

Have fun.

Death to the pizza man!

Here's a little something that's been making the rounds.

Seen this pop up a few times on the fringes of my social media streams.  This is supposedly a quote from the head guy of Papa John's pizza.  I say 'supposedly' because despite my requesting proof that he actually said this no one has been able to provide any.  No one's posted a video clip or a link to a reliable source.  So, we have a "quote" attributed to a businessman with no proof whatsoever, but its attached to one of those demotivational posters, so it must be legit, right?

I'm doubting anyone actually said this because "excessive profits" is a term only used by pinheads who don't like successful people.  These folks are out there, obviously.  They labor their lives under the assumption that if someone is successful then they must have done something horrible to be so.  Its pretty much jealousy.  Its the sort of simple-mindedness that leads to people making such images an posting them in the internet for the like-minded dimwits to "like", "plus", retweet, and share.

Of course the image fails under any sort of objectionable scrutiny.  Replace the term "excessive profits" with " success".  A business owner is under no obligation to share profits with workers.  They took the risk.  They paid the wages.  They rear the rewards.  They can use those profits to expand their business and create new jobs.  They can offer raises and/or bonuses to staff.  They can keep the money and do things like buy beach houses which need maintenance and keep certain hammer-swinging, karate-teaching, comic-drawing goons gainfully employed and letting them pay their mortgages.  So, no, trickle down economics is not debunked in any way shape of form by this.

But the jealous folks are still going to try to make their point.  Frankly, it just make me want to get a pizza.  But a recent post led to personal attacks against the Papa John's fella and it seems like the biggest beef the rabble can come up with is that the guy doesn't like the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare).  Can't say as I blame him as most business owners don't think to kindly of the Government telling them what sort of benefits they better provide and they had better be ready to pay through the nose for it.  Then again, I doubt the people who are railing against pizza guy have ever had to make a payroll.

But here's where it got ridiculous and I had to copy this gem.

This bastard admitted he would rather fire people than give them health care by reducing his profit margin or requesting a few cents more per pizza.   
If this was the French Revolution people would be oiling guillotines over statements like that. 
So the answer to business practices that we don't like is decapitation?  And the pizza guy is the bastard here?

First up, the guy who made the comment seems to have no idea what the French Revolution was actually about.  Here's a summary.

Did you watch all three parts?

Done yet?


So, the guy who made the comment somehow thinks that a person not charging more for food would be at risk of getting his head chopped off during the french Revolution in which the biggest problems of the time were people starving and national debt?  Really?  Because it seemed like a lot of problems were caused the a government not being able to get its crap together, over-reaching horribly, and people being so desperate to eat that they lashed out.

Quick note: revolutions tend to happen when people can't eat.  Keep that in mind the next time you read a news story about how much the government spends on food stamps.

But let's circles this all back together.

We have people who think they are smart due to them talking in too many echo chambers.  They have their romantic ideal about how things should work and instead of espousing why their ideas are good they tear down everyone who doesn't agree with them.  They talk of intelligence while taking leave of their reason.  The speak of compassion while wishing for horrible things to happen to those they don't like.  Fortunately, while they think they are a majority, they really aren't.

So, the lesson for today is simple: work hard and smart.  Don't be afraid of being a success.  There will always be those who don't like you because you succeed where they do not.  You can't let them stop you from achieving your dreams.

Be good.

And eat more pizza.

Comic review: 41 vol. 2 #1

That's right.  Its signed.  You wish you were me.
It has returned!  Bob Frantz is back with another tale from the post apocalyptic world of 41.  Its been 41 years after a meteor strike wiped out nearly everything and mankind is working to claw its way back.  In the first volume we got a paramilitary squad.  This time, we shift gears with a new cast, new story, and a new artist.

This starts off as an old school kung-fu theater revenge story with a sci-fi twist.  Human experimentation led to a martial artist becoming very powerful, but the same experiment ended up wrecking his body.  Now widowed, he has trained his young son to get revenge.  Its not clear whether the boy also underwent experimentation, but the entire town they were from did so that would easily explain this kid's level of bad-assery.  This level of bad-assery comes in quite handy as Elroy, the big bad responsible for the human experiments and other hoorible type things, has a bunch of armed guards ready to take out the kid and his old man.

I really like that Frantz is taking the opportunity to explore something entirely different in this book.  The feel of it is entirely different, and in a good way.  It keeps the world of 41 fresh and exciting.  Also with the focus being on just two main characters instead of a whole team its easier to jump on board with this new series.  The artwork by Hoyt Silva is a big departure from the previous artist.  Its a bit more cartoony, which may seem off-putting considering how harsh much of the action is, but then again people complained about Steve Rolston's artwork being too cartoony for QUEEN AND COUNTRY and it only won an Eisner.

Glad to have more of the series coming out, and am excited to see where this story goes.  Check out more about this at the offical site!

Wait, I'm a what now?

Last weekend there was a Dai Nippon Butoku Kai Kensho Kai event in town, and we were fielding a team for the event.  These events serve to give training, demonstrations of skill, and also serve as a tribute to those members of the DNBK who have passed on.  There is also rank testing done at these events.
Train 'em young!

I am not the head of our group in DNBK.  That's my long time friend in, Bill Sensei.  Our group was going to have eight of us and we prepared our demo.  I wasn't able to make many of the practices, but I knew what we were going to do and it was no problem filling my spot.  One of our team was also certifying for the rank of Ni dan (second degree black belt).

The unusally nasty weather this winter altered our guy's mid-term schedule in college so he was unable to make the event.  Bill Sensei was going to find out how we would procede with that once we got to the event.  That was the first problem.

The second problem came on Friday evening when we found out Bill Sensei was on the way to hospital with bad abdominal pains.  It became evident that we were now down to six and our head man was not one of them.  I then looked at his daughter (one of the remaining six) and declared her to be in charge.  She declared me to be in charge.  After a grueling bettle of rock-paper-scissors it was determined that I was in charge.  (I was going to be in charge anyways, but it was fun to pick on her.)

Saturday was just a meet and greet bit with a viewing of footage from an event in England and dinner.  Upon arrival, I ran into Zingg Sensei who I hadn't seen in six or seven years.  We adjourned to a room to wait and traded some stories, and caught up.  Then came time to watch the footage.  We got a speech from Hanshi Hamada.  So far, so good.

Then it was time to eat and the team leaders were to have dinner with Hanshi.  Well, that was when I had to break the news that Bill was sick and I was standing in for him and Anthony.  Seemed like it wasn't that big of a deal, and they sent me on into the dinner with the rest of the leadership.  I spent the time trading stories with folks and trying to be as pleasant as possible.  I was feeling like the little kid suddenly being put at the adult table.  Still, it seemed to go alright.

On Sunday, that was when things were going to get physical.  These events are big on protocol and ceremony.  They are also very loud and spirited.  We warm up by rushing across the gym at each other screaming like maniacs and hoping not to crash headlong into someone.  Its actually a lot of fun.  Then came our demonstration.  Every team did one.  It then became obvious that Hanshi was aware of Bill's absense was was aware that I was replacing him for the day.  The demo went fine, but I think we were expected to make it a bit longer.  We're used to having tight time constraints and being as quick and to the point as possible.  We'll plan for that next time.

The rest to demos were really fun to watch and after a brief break, mats were rolled out for the Aikido and Jui-Jitsu demonstrations.  After those were over, names started to get called.

I mentioned before that Anthony was supposed to be going for Nidan and couldn't make it.  I said I would stand in for him.  His father was with our team, but is recovering from shoulder surgury, so he's a bit limited.  Now, when I certified I got freaking destroyed.  River of sweat, and a couple of blank spots in my memory.  Last time we had guys from our group get certified, the demonstration we did was the test and it was no problem.  I figured since we were in the first crop of our guys to get certified that we really need to prove ourselves and now it wouldn't be so bad.

And then my name got called out to head out on the mat.

I then felt a burning desire to kill Anthony for not being there.

I yelled "HAI!" and hauled ass out to where I was directed.  A black belt with a rubber kife was placed in front of me.  We both knelt to formal seize sitting position.  Hanshi explained what we were going to do and managed to mention "seppuku" which would be the moment a sane person would have jumped up and fled.  However, I wasn't there to be sane.  I was there to stand in for those who could not be there.  The exercise commenced.  The guy lunged at me with both of us kneeling with the knife.  This happened twice, for the warm up.  Then they put him behind me to lunge at me from behind whenever he wanted to.  I had to defend.  I'm pretty sure I got killed about a doxen time.  I may have survived twice.  Maybe.  I don't have an excuse.  I could hear him breathing behind me, and had a split second warning of when he was coming.  It wasn't enough, so obviously I need to train harder.

Eventually (after dying repeatedly), Hanshi walked by and tapped me on the shoulder and told me "Its over." and I'm think, "Yeah, it sure is."  This is called "receiving the knowledge".  Then I got a rubber knife, along with everyone else who had spent the last few minutes getting stabbed horribly, and we all found partners to share the lasson with.  I found a fairly big guy, we knelt, and I attacked him repeatedly, but from the front.  He did great, but did slip and slug me a couple times.  His eyes would get big, but before he could apologize, I'd smile and nod, and tell him good job.  He did pull the punches, so no harm done.  I did get him with the knife once and he paused.  I told him "Even if I stab you, strike.  Karatemen die fighting."  He smiled.  He liked that.  We were both really enjoying ourselves now.

That being over, we got back to our groups.  Zingg asked me "How many times did you die?"  

"Think I survived two of them.  Three if there's a hospital close by."

So we're back in our lines by groups.  I'm in front of our line.  People are getting called out for individual achievements and my name is called.  This I expect.  I run out and take my place.  I go down on one knee and take a good long look at the floor.  This is familiar territory.  This where he awards ranks.  Hanshi will tap you with his sword, shinai, or bokken and you get your rank.  He gets to me.  Now, I'm expecting him to call my name, say I'm representing for Anthony, and give me the tap for Ni Dan.  Nope.

"Marty Nozzarella, RENSHI!"

Renshi is a samurai title.  Its at this point that I want to raise my head and tell him there's been some sort of mistake, but he's got a stick in his hand, having your head come up can be very dangerous.  This is a huge honor!  How can they not know that I'm a knuckle-dragging moron?!  Has there been a clerical error somewhere?

It really did take a while for me to process this whole thing.  I was not persuing getting a title.  I was caught completely flatfooted.  My cousin, who is a Kyoshi (next level up from Renshi), says its something I deserve.  I called my father, and he said it was something I deserve.  I don't see it myself, but I've always viewed myself as labor and not management.  Dad did say its better to asked to the big table than to sit at the big table and be asked to leave.

To my knowledge, no one put me up to be given the title.  The word "samurai" means "one who serves".  As mear as I can figure it was my willingness to stand in for Bill and Anthony at the last minute and be of service to them and our team that got me the title.

I think I'm still processing this a bit.

I think the best processing is going to be more training.    

Aspiring to laziness

I posted before about the price we must pay for knowledge.  There's quite a few people who don't like paying the price for much of anything.  In fact they think everything would be much better if we didn't have to earn a living at all.

Let's consider that phrase for a moment, "earning a living".  It mean working so that you have the means to support yourself.  You're able to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly.  It may not be much.  You might be sharing a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment with three other people, and be chowing down on some of that glorious Top Ramen; but you're surviving.  Lots of people start out that way.  They get a job, which may not be great, but it keeps money coming in.  Then eventually, and hopefully they can work their way up to the point where they don't need the three roommates.  Maybe even have a bit of money stashed away in savings.

There are those however who think this concept is completely horrible.  Legislation has been seriously considered in some countries to pay people a minimum wage just for existing.  The notion is that people are happier when they don't have worry about paying their bills.  Happier people are more productive.

Yeah, right.

While there are some people who use their free time for self improvement and community works, we live in the era of Netflix, weed being legalized, and free internet porn.  There's a lot of people who if they didn't have to work they wouldn't be doing anything at all.  I lived at the beach for years.  I worked in a little bar.  I've seen these people.  They only want enough money to pay bills and have some left over for booze and drugs.  If they didn't have to pay bills that would just mean more money for booze and drugs.

Not everyone has the self-motivation to succeed in this world.  By succeed, I mean support yourself.  If it wasn't for hunger and a firm desire not to sleep in one's car a lot of people wouldn't work at all.

Then there's those who say if a person does not want to work then they shouldn't.  They can go write poetry or something.  That's ridiculous.  They have this pipedream about some person being freed from the shackles of employment and being the new Thoreau.  The reality is Thoreau was writing about the beauty of a simple life because he was mooching of his friends, and if you're doing that then you better be expressing the greatness of simplicity.

This isn't anything new.  People throughout history have been trying to build a better economic mousetrap.  Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto because he was lazy dope who wanted the government to pay his bills.  He was so lazy he didn't even finish writing the stupid thing.

My old boss tried convincing us that if we just worked four ten-hour days then we could have three day weekends all the time.  Sounds great, but we were roofers.  You work two ten hour days doing that and you're ready to croak.  And that's when the temperture is decent.

Money to live is motivation to get people to do jobs that no one else wants to do.  Nobody goes into roofing because it looks like fun.  How about sewage treatment?  Road paving?  I don't go out six days a week to build, destroy, paint, replace, lift, load, dismantle, bleed, cough, and everything else I do on the regular because I really enjoy back aches and sore knees.  I do it because there's money to be made, and I've allied myself with men who watch out for me and I'll damn sure do whatever I can to look after their best interests.  We get things done because we don't want to eek out a living, but we want good lives for ourselves and our families.

And we'd give it up if we suddenly didn't have to do it anymore.

But then, who would do it?

This world functions because there's one truth that we cannot escape: we have to earn our way through it a dime at a time.  In earning our way through it the world keep turning.  Money makes the world go round, and our sweat is the lubricant.  Take that away, and watch it all grind to halt.

Story of a Fight

I've recently called it quits in tournament competitions as far as my Karate goes.  That isn't any sort of slam again tournaments.  I still love competing.  However, after a while there's a time when you need to step aside, let others have their fun and go on to helping judge these events.  I did go out on top as I won the forms grand championship at the last tournament I entered.  I stopped entering kumite competitions years ago as I've had my share of concussions and bruised ribs, which makes it hard for me to work.  

I'm a bird!
I'm considered the guy to beat in these tournaments in my division.  This isn't something that happened over night.  I haven't had some epic long reign as a champ.  I spent years and year and years competing and pushing myself to try to just make it into the top four.  Over time, I started to regularly make it into the top four.  Eventually, I started winning.  

I listened to judges when they gave me advice.  Some was good.  Some not so much.  I finally hit upon what worked for me and its something that helps my karate training even outside of competition.

Kata tells a story.  A story about a fight.  People like stories, and that includes judges.

I don't add theatrics to my forms.  I don't wear fancy dan outfits.  I do my form and perform it as if I was demonstrating what happened in a battle.  You have to make yourself the star of your own little movie in these competitions.  I do everything I can to breathe life into the form.

Well, that's great for showing off (which I like to do), but what about real training?

If you want to tell a story you have to know how to speak.  You need vocabulary.  You need context.  If you don't know what the words mean or how to use them properly you end up sounding like a dope.

Children learn to speak by listening to others.  They imitate what they hear.  Much like new karate students learn their basics by imitating their instructor.  They get the basic movements.

Later children learn what the words mean.  Usually they do so by asking, "What does ____ mean?"  That's the question many karateka fail to ask.  What does this move mean?  That's the start of bunkai, application of techniques.

You memorize every move of every kata.  You can perform every technique just fine, and still have mediocre or even awful kata.  Knowing what the move is doing, even if its the most basic application, taking out any tuite or kyusho jitsu, will improve that kata.

Not what you're going for.
Block means get that technique out there like your life depends on it.  Punch means drive that fist like you're needing to drop that person in front of you.  It doesn't mean flop your arms around like overboiled Top Ramen.

Then you work your way into context and putting together the moves in your forms like they were designed.  This gives you a better understanding over what you're doing.  Having a good sense of context let's you tell a better story.  There's nuance involved.  The applications and techniques get a lot more interesting and it shows.

Still, can have full command over your language and have an interesting story to tell, but still tell a boring story.  Its in the delivery.  You can tell a simple story in an interesting manner.  This gets into breating life into the kata.  Placing yourself in the middle of that imaginary battle and performing the techniques as if it was a matter of life and death.

Doing this takes effort.  If you haven't broken a sweat doing your form, then you didn't do it hard enough.  I'm not talking about a form you are still learning, but the ones you have a good handle on.  The stories that you know.  The stronger you do your kata, the more you tell your story, the more likely you'll be able to call up the details of your story should the need arises.

Yes, that was a reference to self defense.

Now, go tell your stories.

I don't have a Brony name

Alright, for those who don't know, a "Brony" is a male fan of the MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC cartoon.  I have seen every episode of this cartoon available on Netflix.  I know the names of all the "mane six" ponies and a majority of the supporting cast.  I have a fairly good grip on the ongoing storyline and major events that have gone on in this show.  I have read most of the comics that IDW put out.  

So, am I a Brony?


I'm the father of two six year old girls.

Being a dad means you have to have a general knowledge of what your kids are into.  There will be a time later that they will keep their interests from me, and that's part of being a teenager.  For now, if they show an interest in something, I have to have an interest too.  I'm not one of those sit-com dads who are utterly clueless as to everything going on in their kids existence.  I do work a lot and am not the best dad in the world, but I do try to keep up.

Also, much of the programming aimed at kids is utterly horrible.  ADVENTURE TIME?  Are you kidding me?  McDonalds is giving out ADVENTURE TIME toys in Happy Meals!  That show should never be viewed by a little kid.  That show shouldn't be viewed by anyone, its terrible and falls right in with all the horrible crap coming down the pipe which acts like its supposed to be for kids but is really for teenagers and young adults.  So when I hear about this MY LITTLE PONY cartoon and people whose opinions I trust say its very good I watch it with my kids and see what they think and I, with the Missus, determine if its appropriate for them.

As a parent and a person who has enjoyed cartoons for his entire life, I can say that it is a high quality cartoon.  The animation is very done and very consistant.  The voice acting is high quality.  The stories are well written.  Every episode has a good message for the kids.  I can watch it without wanting to flee the room.  This show is of such a good quality that I am not surprised in the least that it has branched out from its initial target demographic.  Of all the things out there competing for my kids attention I'm glad that this and PHINEAS AND FERB have won out.

And I do know that there's a little fandom that's on the verge of sub-culture status going on.  I've made my jokes about it.  I've posted up little MLP images online because its ironic that a gnarly old Karate guy like me would do such things and hitting folks with unexpected things like that amuses me.  But, you won't catch me making the trip to Bronycon any time soon.

This past Christmas I has discovered that there's a My Little Pony collectible card game.  I asked about it and whether it would be suitable for my daughters.  Its mainly for kids ten and older, but there's nothing objectionable in there and younger kids had been picking it up.  I got the kids some starter decks.  They liked it.  I found out there were going to be tournaments at Comic Kings.  I took them up there.  They were easily the youngest kids there.  The majority of people there were guys in their late teens and early twenties. Full on Bronies.

Was it creepy?

At first I was a bit skeptical, but these young men took the girls under their wings.  Taught them about the game.  They were perfect gentlemen to my daughters.  One guy gave the girls at least 50 cards that he wasn't using to help them round out their decks.  They have a vested interest in new players, obviously, but they were genuinely very gracious and very helpful.

There is one guy who worries me a bit, not because he is creepy or inappropriate, but that I think he's taken his fandom into fan-dumb.  He's asked me if I have a Brony name, and he told me his which is how he wants to be referred to.  He's easily in his late teens.  I understand having a nickname.  Still, I get the feeling that he's just a little too into the scene and probably needs to get himself laid good and proper.

Still, I've been going down to the shop every weekend with the girls.  They likeplaying in the tournaments.  They asked me to play in it too, which I obliged them because I like a good card game and the game is pretty fun.  I did look up that whole Brony Name thing and it seems there charts and name generaters online.  I won't be adopting any of that.  

I'm glad that there's a quality show like this around for my kids and its OK if folks who aren't little girls like it too.  But seriously, walking around with an MLP t-shirt is fine, but talking to people in serious "ponyspeak" is something you just shouldn't do.

You can be a Brony without being that guy.