When I first started doing SUPERHERO ACADEMY ON BLOG TALK RADIO we had a weekly feature called THE DROP ZONE  where each week I would share my weight loss (or gain) and thereby hold myself accountable to my listeners to actually keep on my diet.
Then life went a little crazy (mixed up schedules/moving/family issues) and we lost half our show time (forcing the streamlining of the program) and the DROP ZONE
As of October 1st, that has all changed.
I am embarking on a one year fitness experiment designed to take me from couch potato to spud muffin (pun intended) and I wont be doing it alone.
Joining me on this adventure thus far are Midnight Detective, Skyman, Levionne Clay,  and Silver Sentinel…Valerie Finnegan of Heroes Fallen Studios, and a few others have also joined in to show support for the rest of us…there are a some who have been invited but have not officially signed on yet…AND I am issuing an open invitation to anyone else who wants lose weight and get into shape to join us.
This program is based loosely on military basic training.  We have a thirteen week pre-basic schedule, a thirteen week intense shape up, and a 26 week advanced training to reach our ultimate fitness goals.
The plan is set up using weekly benchmarks.  Each week we have a set of goals that we are working toward being able to achieve by the end of the week.  For example if your Benchmark on Sunday is 10 push ups then you have to be able to do 10 push ups by Saturday of that week in order to pass the benchmark for that week.  If you dont make it, you dont stop there…you just work toward the next week’s goal.  Everything progresses in small steps so it shouldn’t be that difficult.
The reason for using this system instead of a daily “do this” kind of workout is because we are all different.  We have different strengths and weaknesses and we will have different challenges to overcome as we go through this.  I already know that
chin ups are a problem for me, so I will have to tailor my training to compensate for that or I will not be able to make the grade in that area.
I’ll be keeping a food and training log and sharing the highlights of it on the CROSSFIRE ACADEMY FOR SUPERHEROES blog…and encouraging the others to share their victories there as we progress.  We will also be sharing training tips, new exercises, and much more on the blog as we move forward with this.
And I will be keeping a group weight lost tally there as well…I might even do some sort of funky pie chart or bar graph to show our success.
I have even enlisted the aid of our resident personal trainers Flora V Arbor and Amazonia to assist us with any problem areas we may encounter along the way…and we couldn’t ask for better coaches.
SO…if you are one of the RLSH communities “heavy hitters” and you want to give this a try then please feel free to join us…we launched October 1st.   You’ll need your list of weekly goals so message me and I’ll send you the full one year list of benchmarks.
In the meantime, here is the first quarter (pre-basic) training schedule for anyone that wants to get started right away.

Week 1: October 1-7
Push ups, Sit ups, & Jumping Jacks – as many as you can do for 30 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes
Week 2: October 8-14
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks, & Crunches – as many as you can do for 30 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes, jog or run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute
Week 3: October 15-21
Push ups, Sit ups, & Jumping Jacks – as many as you can do for 45 seconds
Crunches and Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) – as many as you can do for 30 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes, jog or run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute
Week 4:  October 22-28
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks, & Crunches – as many as you can do for 45 seconds
Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks), & Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 30 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes, jog or run for 1 minute 30 seconds, walk for 2 minutes
Week 5:  October 29-November 4
Push ups, Sit ups, & Jumping Jacks – as many as you can do for 1 minute
Crunches and Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) – as many as you can do for 45 seconds
Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 30 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes, jog or run for 2 minutes, walk for 3 minutes
Week 6: November 5-11
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks & Crunches – as many as you can do for 1  minute
Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) and Chin Ups- as many as you can do for 45 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes, jog or run for 2 minutes, walk for 4 minutes
Week 7: November 12-18
Push ups, Sit ups, & Jumping Jacks – as many as you can do for 1 minute 15 seconds
Crunches and Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) – as many as you can do for 1 minute
Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 45 seconds
Walk for 5 minutes, jog or run for 2 minutes, walk for 5 minutes
Week 8:  November 19-25
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks & Crunches – as many as you can do for 1 minute 15 seconds Flutter Kicks
(or Reverse Flutter Kicks) & Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 1 minute
Run 1/4 mile (walk before and after)
Week 9: November 26 – December 2
Push ups, Sit ups, &Jumping Jacks – as many as you can do for 1 minute 30 seconds
Crunches & Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) – as many as you can do for 1 minute 15 seconds
Chin Ups – as many as you can do for one minute
Run 1/4 mile (walk before and after)
Week 10:  December 3-9
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks, & Crunches – as many as you can do for 1 minute 30 seconds
Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) & Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 1 minute 15 seconds
Run 1/2 mile (walk before and after)
Week 11:  December 10-16
Push ups, Sit ups, & Jumping Jacks – as many as you can do for 1 minute 45 seconds
Crunches & Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks) & Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 1 minute 30 seconds
Run 1/2 mile (walk before and after)
Week 12: December 17-23
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks, Crunches & Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks)
& Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 1 minute 45 seconds
Run 3/4 mile (walk before and after)
Week 13: December 24-30
Push ups, Sit ups, Jumping Jacks, Crunches & Flutter Kicks (or Reverse Flutter Kicks)
& Chin Ups – as many as you can do for 2 minutes
Run 3/4 mile (walk before and after)
These are the basic exercises we will be doing for our weekly benchmarks.  Other exercises will be added to help us reach the goals each week, but these are the ones we are testing ourselves with.
Lie chest-down with your hands at shoulder level, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, your feet together and parallel to each other.
Look forward rather than down at the floor. The first contact you make with the floor with any part of the face should be your chin, not your nose.
Keep your legs straight and your toes tucked under your feet.
Straighten your arms as you push your body up off the floor. Keep your palms fixed at the same position and keep your body straight. Try not to bend or arch your upper or lower back as you push up.
Exhale as your arms straighten out.
Pause for a moment.
Lower your body slowly towards the floor. Bend your arms and keep your palms in fixed position. Keep body straight and feet together.
Lower body until chest almost touches the floor. Try not to bend your back. Keep your knees off the floor, and inhale as you bend your arms.
Pause for a moment. Begin straightening your arms for a second push-up. Exhale as you raise your body.
Lie on the ground with your back to the floor.
Bend your knees into a 90 degree angle, but keep your feet on the floor.
Place your hands across your chest. Make sure to keep them there throughout the duration of the exercise.
Using your abdominal muscles, raise your upper body completely off the ground. At the peak height of the exercise, only your feet and buttocks should be touching the
Lower your upper body back to the original position.
Perform this movement in a slow and controlled manner.
Stand with your arms at your sides. Be sure your feet are straight and close together.
Hold your head straight, but in a comfortable position to avoid strain.
Bend your knees. Jump up while spreading your arms and legs at the same time. Lift your arms to your ears and open your feet to a little wider than shoulder width. This should all be done in a fast fluid movement.
Clap or touch your hands above your head. As you return from jumping up bring your arms back down to your sides and at the same time bring your feet back together.
Continue with as many jumping jack repetitions as you can do.
Reach up and grip the bar with your palms facing toward you. The bar should sit close to your fingers, rather than in the center of the palm of your hand.
Lift your feet off the ground so you are hanging from the bar with your arms fully extended. Keep your legs bent and your feet crossed.
Take a deep breath and pull yourself up toward the bar by bending your arms. Lead with your chest and keep your shoulders back.
Drive your elbows toward the floor until your chin is just above the bar.
Lower your body slowly to the original hanging position in one controlled movement by straightening your arms and keeping your legs slightly bent.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of you.
Lie on an exercise mat rather than a hard floor to prevent back strain.
Position your feet as wide as your hips.
Place your hands behind your head so that your thumbs are tucked behind your ears.
Hold your elbows slightly out to the sides and keep your chin pointing upward.
Curl up and forward so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor.
Make sure you’re not pulling your head forward with your hands. If your chin is making contact with your chest, the abdominal muscles aren’t being used in the exercise.
Pause for a moment. Lift your head up enough so that your middle and lower back stay on the floor. Squeeze your abdominals as you pause.
Slowly lower your head, neck and shoulder blades to starting position.
Keep your knees bent, your feet in the same position and your back straight throughout the entire exercise.
Lie flat on your back, with your arms resting palm-down by your sides.
Lift your heels about six inches off of the floor. Keep your legs fully extended, with a slight bend in your knees.
Now, quickly move your legs up and down, alternating in small, rapid and scissor-like motions – as one leg goes up, the other comes down. Use your arms to stabilize you, but keep your lower back flat against the ground as best as you can.
Continue these motions for 5-10 seconds per rep. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted throughout the exercise – they should be doing most of the work.
Lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you palms down.
Lift your hands and feet approximately 4-6 inches from the ground supporting all your weight on your abdomen.
Move your hands and feet up and down, alternating in small, rapid and scissor-like motions – as one arm/leg goes up, the other comes down.
Continue these motions for 5-10 seconds per rep. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted throughout the exercise.
This can be walking in place, treadmill, or on the track. Walking should be quick time (standard marching pace – 120 steps per minute) and running should be double time (180 steps per minute).    Walk/run will be based on time for the first few weeks and will change to a distance goal as time progresses.  The idea is to be ready for a one mile run by the time we start our “basic training” in January.
There you have it..the first quarter of the RLSH ONE YEAR FITNESS CHALLENGE
Everybody go ahead and weigh in.  Record your weight in your journal or wherever, and if you’re brave enough, share it with us at http://thecrossfireacademy.blogspot.com/ .



hero_capes_2A few months back I was honored to have an interview with some amazing people from a charity called HEART HEROES.   (You can listen to the interview at the link below.)
These folks are doing something simple, yet powerful.   They provide custom superhero capes for children with congential heart disease. These capes help the kids to find their inner hero and gain the courage they need to face the surgeries and other issues that plague them in their day-to-day lives.
At the beginning of 2011, they had given out over 200 capes.  However, they still had a waiting list of over 200 more kids who needed capes but could not afford to send them yet.
So I had an idea.
We have decided to take the path of being a real life superhero…why dont we take this side path and help these little ones who need help finding their own inner heroes.
What I am proposing is a pledge drive. Each hero…or villain…or citizen…or Wal-Martian being…or whatever…that reads this, please search your soul and see if you can help out by donating to this cause. The cost to purchase and ship one cape is $25. Thats not much to give the gift of hope and courage to a child in need. How many capes do you think you could provide to HEART HEROES in the year of 2011?
I would like to see us step up and provide enough capes to overcome their backlog, and possibly even provide enough to see that they dont get behind again. If we use their numbers from 2010, we can estimate a need of 400 capes plus the 200 they need already…thats 600 capes heroes…I believe we can do it?
I have  personally pledged to provide at least 6 capes to HEART HEROES in 2011…I will do more as I am able. Who will join me in this mission? Add your name to the list and lets see how fast we can reach 600 capes for 600 little heroes!
Another friend has pledged a portion of the income from her online business toward this cause.
Donations can be made at your discretion – be it weekly, monthly, or one lump sum – and should be sent to HEART HEROES directly…just follow the link below.

On Patrol San Diego

The Guardian
As a member of the community, patrolling San Diego from the shadows, I as the Guardian and our Street Team are now blogging to keep you, our neighbors, “in the know” regarding matters of security and patrol.
Feel free to join our Street Team, whether costumed or not, and make a positive difference.

NYC RLSH Patrol 12/10/10

Blindside, Samaritan, Zero(Z), Three, Dark Guardian

Blindside, Samaritan, Zero(Z), Three, Dark Guardian

Went out this weekend with Zero aka Z, Three, Blindside, Samaritan, Peter Tangen, and a reporter and photographer from a magazine. We went out to Washington Square Park on Friday night; the park has a history of being a haven for drug dealers. I have been out in the park, taking on the drug dealers for a few years now.
Samaritan had walked through the park before meeting up with the rest of us and was offered drugs by two dealers. I like to get confirmation of who is selling drugs and what they are selling before I take action in the park. I got ready to go undercover, wearing my bullet and stab proof vest and a wired microphone under my jacket.  I walked through the park with Peter a good distance behind me with a camera. The drug dealer approached me and began mumbling something to me. I looked over and said, “what’s up”? He asked if I wanted to smoke. I asked him what he had. He said, “nickel or dime bag”? I then asked what else he had. He said I would need to pay a buck or $150. I asked him again what he had. He responded, “I got eight balls, but it will cost you, you got to spend to get”. I said I would have to check with a friend and see if I can get the money and walked away outside of the park.
After I walked away he spotted the cameras. He walked back over to me outside the park. I was standing with the people from the magazine. He asked if we were filming him. I said, no my friend is a photographer and he always has his camera. The drug dealer then threatened to break the cameras if we were filming him. The dealer has shown to be dealing some serious drugs and now to be confrontational and violent.
The drug dealer went back into the park where; Peter, Zero, and Three were, and began to confront them. Both Blindside and Samaritan were across the park keeping an eye out, in case the situation would have escalated.While the dealer was nearby Peter, Zero, and Three, I then approached a police officer. I told him that there was drug dealer in the park and that I had audio and video of him dealing. The officer said that I had to send it over to the narcotics division. I told him that the dealers were over by my friends. He asked if I was worried about an altercation, and I said yes. After the police officer finished writing a ticket, he came over. The officer asked us what was going on. The dealer started rambling about being filmed, and that we needed permission to do so if it was for commercial filming. He continued to ramble on about it. I got pissed and said, “you are dealing drugs out here and can not do that”! The cop informed him that we could film whatever we want, and that he can not keep dealing out there. The dealer did not respond and kept rambling on about commercial filming. The cop left and we stayed in the park. The dealer kept going on about filming and I yelled at him, “you know what we are going to do , send this over to narcotics”! He responded, “do I look fu**ing scared”? We had an exchange of words, and I told Peter to keep the camera on this scumbag. I yelled at him,” sell your drugs now”. At this point, we were not ready to let this situation go, so myself and Z got our gear on and, the rest of the group joined to patrol the park, with flashlights and cameras. When everyone came together the dealers got scared. We managed to take the park, and the dealers slowly left. I shined my light on a few of them, mouthed off a bit, and they all eventually left.
After being there for a while about 5 cops came into the park. They did not bother us, they were actually very cool and told us to stay safe. We left the park in their hands and went off to do homeless outreach. We did not come across many homeless, hopefully this was because they had places to say. We did give out some blankets and supplies to a few people, which was good.

Human Trafficking

To begin to help in the struggle against human trafficking, we need to understand it.
Want to help? Need to learn how to help? Look here:
U.S. State Department: Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
How You Can Help (Adapted from US State Department & Humantrafficking.org)
General Information
Tips for Recognizing Victims of Trafficking
* Understand the different forms of trafficking: labor or sex trafficking
* Visible Indicators of Trafficking
* Understand the profile of a trafficked person
* Health Characteristics of a Trafficked Person
* Signs that a person is being held as a slave
* Questions to ask if you suspect you are in the presence of a trafficking victim

Different forms of trafficking
Sex Trafficking

Victims of sex trafficking are often found in the streets or working in establishments that offer commercial sex acts, i.e. brothels, strip clubs, pornography production houses. Such establishments may operate under the guise of:
* Massage parlors
* Escort services
* Adult bookstores
* Modeling studios
* Bars/strip clubs
Labor Trafficking
People forced into indentured servitude can be found in:
* Sweatshops (where abusive labor standards are present)
* Commercial agricultural situations (fields, processing plants, canneries)
* Domestic situations (maids, nannies)
* Construction sites (particularly if public access is denied)
* Restaurant and custodial work.
How Do People Get Trapped Into Sex or Labor Trafficking?
No one volunteers to be exploited. Traffickers frequently recruit people through fraudulent advertisements promising legitimate jobs as hostesses, domestics, or work in the agricultural industry. Trafficking victims of all kinds come from rural, suburban, and urban settings.
There are signs when commercial establishments are holding people against their will.

Visible Indicators of Trafficking
Visible Indicators May Include:

* Heavy security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.
* Victims live at the same premises as the brothel or work site or are driven between quarters and “work” by a guard. For labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.
* Victims are kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment; trafficker may act as a translator.
* High foot traffic especially for brothels where there may be trafficked women indicated often by a stream of men arriving and leaving the premises.
Trafficking victims are kept in bondage through a combination of fear, intimidation, abuse, and psychological controls. While each victim will have a different experience, they share common threads that may signify a life of indentured servitude.
Trafficking victims live a life marked by abuse, betrayal of their basic human rights, and control under their trafficker. The following indicators in and of themselves may not be enough to meet the legal standard for trafficking, but they indicate that a victim is controlled by someone else and, accordingly, the situation should be further investigated.
Profile of a Trafficked Person
What Is the Profile of a Trafficking Victim?

Most trafficking victims will not readily volunteer information about their status because of fear and abuse they have suffered at the hands of their trafficker. They may also be reluctant to come forward with information from despair, discouragement, and a sense that there are no viable options to escape their situation. Even if pressed, they may not identify themselves as someone held in bondage for fear of retribution to themselves or family members. However, there are indicators that often point to a person held in a slavery condition. They include:
1. Health Characteristics of a Trafficked Person:
Trafficked individuals may be treated as disposable possessions without much attention given to their mental or physical health. Accordingly, some of the health problems that may be evident in a victim include:
* Malnutrition, dehydration or poor personal hygiene
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Signs of rape or sexual abuse
* Bruising, broken bones, or other signs of untreated medical problems
* Critical illnesses including diabetes, cancer or heart disease
* Post-traumatic stress or psychological disorders
2. Other Important Signs:
In addition to some of the obvious physical and mental indicators of trafficking, there are other signs that an individual is being controlled by someone else. Red flags should go up for police or aid workers who notice any of the following during an intake. The individual:
* Does not hold his/her own identity or travel documents
* Suffers from verbal or psychological abuse designed to intimidate, degrade and frighten the individual
* Has a trafficker or pimp who controls all the money, victim will have very little or no pocket money
Questions to ask if you suspect you are in the presence of a trafficking victim
Screening Questions

1. Is the person free to leave the work site?
2. Is the person physically, sexually or psychologically abused?
3. Does the person have a passport or valid I.D. card and is he/she in possession of such documents?
4. What is the pay and conditions of employment?
5. Does the person live at home or at/near the work site?
6. How did the individual arrive to this destination if the suspected victim is a foreign national?
7. Has the person or a family member of this person been threatened?
8. Does the person fear that something bad will happen to him or her, or to a family member, if he/she leaves the job?
Anyone can report suspected trafficking cases. If the victim is under 18, U.S. professionals who work in law enforcement, health care, social care, mental health, and education are mandated to report such cases. Through a grass-roots community-wide effort and public awareness campaign, more professionals on the front line can readily identify the trafficking victim and have him/her treated accordingly.
This story was brought to my attention by Midnite Detective. NPR interviewed two girls who had been abducted and forced into prostitution.

Finally a Real Life Superhero

Illustration by Peter Tangen

Illustration by Peter Tangen

Originally posted: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5947490/finally_a_real_life_superhero.html?cat=49
By Chris Ware
This is one of the most amazing stories you will eve hear. You probably will not believe it. I can’t blame you for questioning it but it is all true. The world now has its very own real life flesh and blood superhero. This new superhero has arrived in Monrovia the capital of Liberia in Africa.
Lion Heart has been protecting the people in Monrovia and the surrounding villages for the last few weeks now. Lion Heart is involved in a number of different things. Most of what Lion Heart does is educate the local people. He does not teach them to read or write but he teaches them things they do not know that can save their life.
In many rural African villages people do not know they should boil their water before drinking the water they get from local streams. This is one of the largest causes of death in the world. He lets them know about this and they are now less likely to get sick and die. The children are the most likely to die from problems caused by drinking bad water.
Other things that seem simple the local villagers do not know. The sanitation conditions are terrible. Many families have sick members living with them and they do not know to cover their mouth when they cough. They will even eat and drink using the same cup and utensils as a sick person.
Some of the information he gives has been able to literally save the life of a person who was dying. Health related information is not the only information that he gives though. He also teaches about human trafficking so people will not be fooled and sent into slavery.
Over the last few weeks he has learned many things and found more problems and more solutions. He continues to improve what he has already been doing.
Lion Heart also has a small following. All the people he visits are told to teach others. Many teach family, friends, and some even teach the entire village they live in. A few people have even been taught by Lion Heart how they can help others too and are now doing the same things he is.
While it might be odd for an adult to run around in a cape and mask what he is doing is a great thing. There is no telling how many lives he will affect by what he is doing. It is likely we will be hearing more about this superhero soon.

Edmonds Man Receives Superhero Award

dsc047161Originally posted: http://www.komonews.com/younews/103489809.html
Posted on: Sep 21, 2010 at 5:37 PM PDT
Channel: Off the Wall
Location: Portland, OR
Tags: superhero Race for the Cure real-life superheroes Zetaman Civitron charity award
A.J. Roberts of Edmonds, WA received the Civic Hero Award from the Committee for Real Life Superheroes. He was awarded it at Superheroes Anonymous 4, an annual meeting of real-life superheroes, for his “Exceptional contribution for the Susan G. Komen ‘Race for the Cure’ 2010.” The award is signed by Zetaman of Portland and Civitron of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The Violation of Healthy Distance

The Violation of Healthy Distance (and how it pertains to the RLSH community)
Individuals should have freedom to exist and express themselves in a community without fear of reprisal.
Optimally, communities function under an umbrella of mutual respect. There are personal boundaries one must observe to respect an individual’s privacy. There should be a concept of “healthy distance” in any on-line community. These are unenumerated rights and unspoken rules which should be acknowledge and followed.
Thankfully, these people constitute a good portion of the Real Life Super Hero community.
There are also individuals who have a diminished capacity to, or have chosen to have a diminished ability to, compartmentalize (similar to how people must learn to compartmentalize family life, work life, school life, etc. and then from that point prioritize). These individuals are unwilling or unable to some degree to draw a clear line between what transpires in the RLSH community and the line that separates it from other facets of real-life. This can be somewhat understandable, as people in the community can be very passionate about what they do, and for many it represents a great investment of time, and identifying as a Real suffuses multiple aspects of their lives. Often times, if this is the case, these individuals may in some cases take things too seriously or too personally, but at the bare minimum, they are able to interact with others with a modicum of decorum and tact within a relatively normative or expected spectrum.
There are also select individuals who associate with this community–somewhat on the fringe, and a relative minority, but who still known and walk amongst it even now–who can be observed to be problematic. Some people take it a step further–and not a step in a positive direction. They develop an unhealthy fixation on the community and/or individuals therein  There are no lines, no boundaries, no remorse, and no redemption. Either by merit of delusion/insanity, cowardice, compulsion, spite, hatred, jealousy, zealotry, or perversity–blind or uncaring of boundaries–they seek to invade other’s healthy distance, they seek to prey upon the weak, malign or harm individuals or groups, or ceaselessly and unrelentingly assail sound and rational ideologies, while promoting themselves, their weakness, or unsound ideologies. (My theory is some people lack emotional maturity or restraint, and have yet to be truly self-actualized. As often times there are no other areas of their life, and community becomes their life. But I digress… at least for now).
I know of a number of luminary individuals in the community, both past and present, who have been mistreated as such by these unscrupulous individuals, as well as a number of promising individuals who were chased off or decided to leave after being mistreated by the same unscrupulous individuals.
Violations of these boundaries which I have observed against individuals in the community include, but are not limited to:
? Acting in a manipulative or predatory manner, especially in respect to minors or individuals in a cognitively, emotionally, or psychologically compromised/disadvantaged state
?        Attempting to acquire information, such as IP address or phone number, by soliciting an email or phone call–wherein afterwords the call or email can be traced via ip trace, online services, web searches, caller id, etc.
?        Attempting to force someone to do something, especially when the consequence of refusal is potentially very disadvantageous to the individual
?        Banning or censoring, or threatening to ban or censor, an individual from a message board or forum without cause or provocation, or with the intent to manipulate or ply leverage (NOTE: Not so much a concern now, but a major problem during the earlier days of the RLSH community, where checks and balances did not exist and individuals’ fickleness and megalomania ran unchecked)
?        Being disingenuous (e.g. claiming someone else’s work as your own)
?        Bulling/Cyber-Bullying
?        Contacting someone or threatening to contact someone unsolicited in the real world (e.g., showing up at someone’s home or place of work)
?        Contacting someone unsolicited by telephone/text, or private (esp. “civilian”) e-mail, especially when said telephone or e-mail number was given without prior consent, and especially if the intent is to disquiet or disturb
?        Contacting someone via telephone while other unannounced parties are listening in without prior consent
?        Demanding someone’s attention, communication, or private contact information on the basis the individual owns, operates, or moderates a web site, service, message board, or forum, especially if said request is an attempt to circumvent a previous request for non-contact or is an attempt to disturb or disquiet
?        Disseminating personal information (name, phone number, email address, or personal records), even if such information is readily accessible, especially if such information is passed on to individuals whose intent is to harass the person in question
?        Distorting the truth, omitting the truth, or fabricating the truth (outright lying) to con, convince, or manipulate an individual, be they a member of the community or a representative from the media, or a group of individuals, especially if said deception makes the individual making said claims seem more credible, more enticing, more legitimate, more popular, etc. in the eyes of another individual, media or general public
?        Doing/threatening to do vandalism or causing/threatening to cause damage or outright destruction to one’s property
?        Gathering, archiving, or actively searching for personal information on individuals within the community, with the intent to use that information for leverage at a later time, either personally or via proxy
?        Harassment
?        Making private correspondence public without prior consent
?        Not observing etiquette and politeness within tolerable levels, especially when the intent is merely to bother or cause disruption
?        Publicly slandering someone via name calling, perpetuating unsavory character assignations, or spreading rumors/misinformation
?        Purposely instigating a fight between individuals, groups, message boards, or social/philosophical factions in hopes of causing a fall out or flame war
?        Recording a phone conversation without consent
?        Rejecting a person’s right to wish to disassociate with you should they ask you to leave them alone, be it directly via phone calls, text messages, e-mail, private messages, or publicly by continually referencing that individual or by making it obvious that an individual’s online activity is being persistently monitored or followed
?        Sending correspondence which is seeded with malware or spyware, especially if the intent is to cause harm to another person’s computer or gather personal information
?        Showing up at a gathering of peers in a public place unannounced (crashing) with the intent to disquiet or disturb, especially so if the individual refuses to leave if asked by the organizers), or if it is a general sentiment expressed by the body of individuals, or if select individuals have reason to be disturbed or disquieted (i.e. only being present somewhere to act in an obtrusive manner and harass that individual or group)
?        Stalking/Cyber-Stalking
?        Threatening someone’s spouse, family, or the sanctity of one’s home or workplace, or purposely engaging in an activity that would compromise someone’s career or personal relationships
?        Unwarranted sexual advances or inappropriate comments to that effect, especially with intent to demean or objectify
?        Using/threatening to use any form of unwarranted social/community leverage or other forms of coercion or manipulation
?        Using/threatening to use physical violence
?        Violating someone’s personal space, which includes unsolicited touching or tampering with one’s personal effects or personal space
The reasons why the above examples are improper behavior should be self-evident (especially since much of the above is illegal, if not immoral, and highly unheroic). Many people still choose to associate with these unscrupulous individuals. Some, because the unscrupulous parties in questions seek out new blood. The unscrupulous individuals misrepresent themselves as benevolent and helpful emissaries, seeking allies to buffer themselves against detractors (or possible future marks); as the new bloods are unaware of a person’s track record or history, the new bloods don’t know any better. Others in the community, out of a malformed sense of camaraderie and manipulation on the part of unscrupulous individuals, refuse to question aberrant actions, or accept whole cloth lies conjured up as justification. Some individuals in the community even accept these some of these individuals out of pity, as some unscrupulous individuals do such to fill voids in their life out of a parasitic need for attention. Some individuals in the community tolerate unscrupulous individuals in the community out of fear of reprisal, for in rejecting that individual they may bring down some wrath upon them, or by rejecting the unscrupulous individual it may seem like they are acting in defiance of the status quo.
Why I found I should post this:
My hope is that I can convince more people to be aware and exercise caution and discretion when engaging individuals before offering them their unrestricted access, confidence and trust. Individuals caught unaware will only empower these unscrupulous individuals and sustain their existence. Forearmed with knowledge, we can halt victimization in the community, and sap those few unscrupulous individuals of their strength as to make them a non-issue.
My hope is that you can avoid harm and heartache others have been subjected to, learn from the past, and look towards the future.
Be Well,
Phantom Zero
EDIT (9/19/10) Corollary Statements:
I realize I illustrated a number of bad behaviors above, but not how to avoid them or what to do about them. It is far from being a complete list. As follows, in no particular order:
? If you are aware that someone is acting in a predatory manner towards a minor or other disadvantaged individual, report it to a moderator (if a forum/message board), a complaints department (if a social networking site), or otherwise to the local law enforcement.  Even if they can’t take direct action based on evidence provided, it will go on record, so if such violations are serial behavior, the level of concern will be heightened.
?        Don’t arbitrarily call or email an individual, because there are ways to trace it back to you.
?        Don’t let someone victimize you by using leverage or blackmail. The most common threat against individuals I hear about in the community is having someone reveal their RLSH identity in their civilian life to members of their work, school, or family in an attempt to embarrass or threaten the stability of their normal lives. The threat of spreading a rumor about an individual has also been levied against members of the community.
?        If someone threatens to do damage to your property, or does damage to your property, log it with the local law enforcement.
?        While there are kind and good moderators on forums or message boards, the truth of the matter is that they are privately owned or operated, so what they say goes (even if you don’t like it). I’ve seen too many people worn thin by a bad experience on a message board and then carrying a torch of ire against that particular establishment. These sentiments end up festering, and people who share these negative opinions tend to cluster, causing mass disruption and social strife in a community that is geared towards helping individuals. If you have a problem, my suggestion is you just fold and move on and not cause that particular institution any more trouble/grief. In my opinion, it is better to interact on a site where there is private filtering so you control what content you see and who you interact with. (It should be noted that I have never been an active member of a forum or message board as a RLSH–solely based on my past experiences. Also, because it is a major investment of time.).
?        Give credit where credit is due. You’ll find that helping your fellow RLSH out strengthens the bonds within our community. In addition, try to be truthful and honest. Don’t try to garnish the truth or fabricate stories, as it makes you look disingenuous. Bullying is comprised of serial behavior where in “a more powerful individual or group emotionally, verbally and/or physically abuses those who are less powerful. Cyber-Bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.” Once again, if you are being bullied by a member of the community, report it to a moderator (if a forum/message board), a complaints department (if a social networking site), or otherwise tell someone in it who you trust.
?        If someone online shows up unsolicited in the real world, report it to your superior at work, to an authority or security agent at school, or to the local law enforcement.
?        If someone contacts you by telephone/text, or private (esp. “civilian”) e-mail, ask them where they got said information.  If it disturbs you, ask that they not call again. If they persist in calling after you’ve asked them to stop, request a copy of your phone records and take it to the local law enforcement, block the number, or change your number.
?        While information may be accessible easily, you shouldn’t arbitrarily spread it around. Make it a point not to put detailed information online, as even small bits of outdated info can help an individual trying to investigate you. There are people who will try to piece together information about you.
?        If someone codifies in you, assume (unless otherwise stated) that the information is private (be it a telephone conversation, an email, or a private message).
?        Some basic netiquette (modified from Wikipedia’s entry on netiquette): Avoid flame wars and spam. Avoid typing in all caps or grossly enlarging script. One’s posts in a public forum are public. Keep private posts and information private–this includes using BCC when addressing a large group of individuals in mass mail, and not sending mail to civilian or work accounts. If someone asks to be removed from an email thread, please respect their wishes. When someone makes a mistake, be kind about it. If it’s a minor error, you may not need to say anything. If you need to correct, address, or rebuke someone for someone, better to do it in private (via email or private message), as to minimize a person’s embarrassment, as doing it in public only provides a stage complete with audience for another person’s humiliation.
?        Avoid spreading information or rumors without confirming said information from he source or finding some other way to confirm the credibility of the received information. Often times, people will seed information with is purposely untrue in order to proliferate it through the community. Even though the information is not publicly broadcast, it finds a backdoor through this private rumor mill. Many people assume it is truth. In this way, you act as a pawn in another person’s attempt to manipulate members of the community.
?        If someone asks you to leave them alone, leave them alone.
?        Keep your virus scanning software, spybot software, firewall, and/or other protections up to date (for a list of downloads, see below).  Educate yourself in regards to net security.  Don’t open up suspicious attachments on emails, or even emails from a strange or unknown source. Don’t follow links from an untrusted source.
General Downloads
AVG Antivirus http://free.avg.com/us-en/download
Spybot Search and Destroy http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html
Malwarebytes http://www.malwarebytes.org/
Windows Defender http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/defender/default.mspx
ZoneAlarm http://www.zonealarm.com/
Add-Ons For Mozilla Firefox
Adblock Plus  https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865/
CookieCuller  https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/82/
CookieSafe https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2497/
FlashBlock https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/433/
NoScript  https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/722/
Note: The above advice is given in good conscience and good faith.  However, Phantom Zero takes no responsibility for the installation/misinstallation or use/misuse  of the above applications/software.  Any difficulties, problems, errors, or damages to one’s own or another’s  computer upon using/misusing the above are the sole responsibility of the installer/owner of the computer, and both Phantom Zero and the providers for these services (via their Terms of Use) hold themselves free of responsibility.
?        Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to: “unwanted, obsessive attention by individuals (and sometimes groups of people) to others.” Cyberstalking is defined as: “the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass.” Both are illegal in most jurisdictions. Archive any correspondence. Contact your local law enforcement.
As a side note, even though it does not pertain to the RLSH community per say (all though I know a lot of you have kids), if you are a parent and you have a minor who has access to a computer, consider parental monitoring and restriction software. Many phone companies also offer plans where in a child can call out/receive calls to a list of restricted numbers, block numbers relatively easily, set limits on calling time, texting, instant messaging, and/or have calling is heavily monitored.
Feel free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the above whole text (including this disclaimer) in bulletins, blogs, on social networks, message boards, forums, e-mails, so long as you attribute the above to Phantom Zero for re-use (but not in any way that suggests that Phantom Zero endorses you or your use of the work). You must also place a URL to link citing the initial posting so others may find the original work ( http://www.facebook.com/notes/phantomzero-rlsh/the-violation-of-boundaries-and-how-it-pertains-to-the-rlsh-community/14233386580973 ). This work may not be reproduced for non-commercial purposes. Please do not alter, transform, make derivative works which build upon this work, or dissect any part of this work as to have it taken out of context. No content from this post may be used for republication in periodicals, newspapers, magazines, or in news reports by the general media without express clearance from Phantom Zero. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from Phantom Zero.

Positive Pessimism (Hope D.O.A. II)

The death of optimism seems more the result of a thousand cuts than one decisive blow! My crusade is to still promote being upbeat despite how downcast life experiences disproportionately become.
As mobile triage, I either stem the flow of motivation from aforementioned cuts or am busily walking wounded, succumbing to a stubborn refusal to succumb.
” Positive pessimism ” just popped in my head, a recurrent admission that rosy glasses aren’t needed to keep on keeping on while all around you is, stated undiplomatically, crap.
My real life superhero ( RLSH ) effort is a daily attempt expressing this notion to others as much as regular self-innoculation. Recession; family loss; shoving inert minds and associations out of ones personal orbit and more are pieces I maneuver ( as do you I suspect ) on this game board recently labeled positive pessimism while typing.
Whether our arc of life aims down hill or is on the upswing in a manner beyond immediate comprehension, as advocates of heroism the lions share of our effort has to be spent moving toward better days that even telescopic vision would be hard pressed to currently see.
Like many I wrestle with disgust; despair and more with a tenacity that would do Hulk Hogan proud. The villains in this real life plot are those manipulating prices; butchering opportunities and gleefully counting lives made miserable.
Whether we can ever contest them personally remains undetermined.
Our duty is to champion each other by first dragging champions from inside ourselves. Every past good deed and kind word was dress rehearsal for today’s bottomless bleakness. You’ve noticed that pessimism is carried along like uncomfortable luggage. I don’t deny its depressing presence, I’ve simply chosen to soldier on regardless- just like you!
Positive pessimism avoids the self-hypnosis of declaring the awful somehow appealing and reinterpreting bad things as magically good. Once called PMA or positive mental attitude, this method isn’t the one I’m currently promoting. As always, choose what works best for you.
I embrace current unpleasantness and carry it toward future joy. This is a work done by automatic pilot and delibate intention because when we, the heroism advocates, give up- who’s left?
Positive pessimism is the second stanza of my Hope D.O.A. theme because I strongly suggest we place despair in a chokehold and drag it along as we motivate others and ourselves. In this way, present pessimism and their origin eventually gives way to positivity needed to survive long odds.
That’s my theory for what it’s worth. Keep dreaming and making them real!
NADRA ENZI AKA CAPT. BLACK is a super rights activist promoting crime presentation and SELFdevelopment. http://www.captblack.info