Friday, February 1, 2013

Brysketch: Donatello

Well! I haven't done this in a while. My increasingly-limited free time mostly goes to drawing new comics, but lately I feel the urge to draw other things as well. So today it's Donatello, who might just be my favourite Ninja Turtle now!? (Because which Ninja Turtle you relate to is an important life question, after all.)

First up, here's the basic inked version:

And here's the quickly-coloured version:, fill tool quick. (Colouring is something I need to practice.)

I'm mostly happy with it! Not quite as good as it could have been, but far from the worst thing I've drawn. Time permitting, I may do the other three TMNT in the same style.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Picks

I liked some things in 2012. And here they are!

Song: Comeback Kid - Sleigh Bells

If 2011 was the year life gave me a bit of a kick in the teeth, then continued on as I got optimistic and began to climb my way out of the hole I was in, then 2012 is the year I emerged from it entirely. Hard work paid off, real happiness stopped eluding me, and I felt more complete and comfortable in my own skin than ever before - but with a deep understanding that the work's never done and that I can't ever rest on my laurels. So the title/chorus alone have some resonance with me, but the song itself is something that keeps sucking me in - that aggressive beat and sweet vocals are a killer mix, it's super catchy, and has a message that really hits home. As far as capturing how I felt for most of 2012 - optimistic and persistent, but with a sharpened edge - this makes a hell of a soundtrack.

Also: Bad Religion - Frank Ocean, Closer - Tegan and Sara, Love Interruption - Jack White (featuring Ruby Amanfu), Let's Fall in Love - Mother Mother, King and Lionheart - Of Monsters and Men

Comic: "Prophet" - Brandon Graham/Simon Roy/Farel Dalrymple/Giannis Milonogiannis

Rob Liefeld has a certain... unfavorable reputation, let's say, amongst some comic readers, perfectly representing to many the style-over-substance excesses of the dark '90s that the 2000s tried so hard to live down. "Prophet" was one of the books in his Extreme Studios stable to be given a ground-up reimagining from up-and-coming visionaries, and perhaps its success hints at Liefeld's true calling - setting up the pins for others to knock down.

"Prophet" is an intense, unforgiving, and hugely imaginative sci-fi epic that drops the reader in the middle of a violent, truly alien universe and expects them to keep up. The series is low on emotion - its future is a particularly brutal one - but it's damned enthralling to read, and the skills on display here could be game-changing. Full-force weirdness in the best possible way, and sure to be looked back on as a modern classic.

Also: Saga - Bryan K Vaughan/Fiona Staples, The Massive - Brian Wood/Kristian Donaldson/Garry Brown, Hawkeye - Matt Fraction/David Aja/Javier Pulido, Mind MGMT - Matt Kindt, Angel & Faith - Christos Gage/Rebekah Isaacs/Chris Samnee

Show: Sherlock (BBC)

Note: I left Doctor Who off this list because I love Doctor Who on a level beyond that of other television and probably can't compare it fairly to anything else. So yeah.

The world is getting a lot of Sherlock Holmes these days, but this series stands head and shoulders above the rest by actually being every bit as sharp and clever as the great detective himself. The second season picks up directly after the first season's cliffhanger ending, and the ride, though short (each season consists of three movie-length episodes) delivers some of the most thrilling, challenging and rewarding television being made today. But what really locks this choice down was that amazing, intense, heartbreaking finale, and that one last mystery that's going to simmer in my brain until we're lucky enough to get more.

(Though I'm pretty sure I've solved it... but if I can count on any show to surprise and impress me, it's this one.)

Also: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Community, Girls, Parks and Recreation

Movie: ParaNorman

Okay, full disclosure - I didn't get out to see many movies this year. There are a ton I've been wanting to see, but a really full schedule kept me delaying seeing them until most were out of theatres. So keep that in mind.

But I loved ParaNorman. Which isn't surprising, because this is a movie pretty much made for me specifically - I'm a sucker for stories about "outsider" kids, paranormal plots (especially ones with a sharp sense of humour) and stop-motion animation. And the animation here is absolutely stunning. But what impressed me the most was the story and its themes, with a script that wasn't afraid to go to some dark, surprisingly thoughtful and mature places without for a second treating its intended audience -- y'know, kids -- like they can't handle it.

(And hey, zombies!)

Also: The Cabin in the Woods, The Dark Knight Rises, Wreck-It Ralph, The Avengers

Dying to See: Argo, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Skyfall, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Frankenweenie, Safety Not Guaranteed

Game: Batman: Arkham City (Game of the Year Edition)

Not only is Batman: Arkham City the best game I played in 2012, I think it's the only game I played in 2012. And even then, I've only played a a little of it so far. And it's also a rerelease of a game that came out in 2011, so it doesn't even really count for a "best of 2012" list anyway. uh, never mind. (It's good, though!)

So, how about you? Anything from 2012 that you particularly loved?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Hello, Internet. What are you up to? What's amazing and fun and exciting and basically making you feel alive and optimistic and ready for a bright shiny new year!?

It's pretty easy to measure your life in calendar years, especially if your birthday rolls close to the end or beginning of one (which is the case with me). And 2012 has been a very good year for me. Probably the best yet. I've kept working hard, have been lucky enough to get a little attention for it, and generally lead a charmed little life with a good circle of friends and family, an amazing girlfriend, an amazing dog, and with some awesome things on the horizon to plan for and look forward to. (Gotta take a minute to appreciate that.)

I've been basically reading this over and over for the past few days. Cracked is a pretty great site overall, and a big part of what makes it great is that every-so-often article they'll publish that really jolts you awake and hits home in a personal way (John Cheese's columns are amazing for this), and for me, this was one of them. I read through this, realizing I've come a long way, realizing I've got a long way to go, as always, because that's life and you can't ever stop moving forward and growing and getting better or else what's the point, right!? (ahem.)

It makes some damn good arguments. I've had pride in myself for being "nice" in the past, even though it means very little to be "nice" if you're not doing something good/worthwhile or bettering yourself and others in some way, and even "nice" people can be selfish, thoughtless jerks deep down underneath that outward layer of "nice". (I will stop saying "nice" soon, I promise.)

I've learned a lot of things the hard way. It's the best way to learn anything. I've tried to put myself out there and received nothing in return. I've been judged, mistreated and disrespected by people I've cared about after trying to do well by them. I've been on the other side of that as well, though (which I'm not proud of) and I understand the mindset - where it's all about what other people can do for you, and rarely (or never) what you can do for them. And you can get away with that for a long time by being "nice", but I believe/hope that eventually people will see through that and simple self-respect won't allow them to tolerate it anymore.

(And the great part of that is, if you're doing it right, self-respect forces you to demand more of yourself first and foremost - not just others.)

So yeah. On the cusp of the new year, this is where I stand. I'm better than I was. I want to be better than I am. And I'm super, amazingly thankful for all the help, support and friendship I have, all the understanding, that makes that whole journey so much easier.

I'm ready for you, 2013.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sanity Prevails

Two-term President Barack Obama. Deal with it.

So. President Barack Obama, for a second term. Gotta say, I'm relieved.

I don't claim that he's perfect, but he's been a good president. There are several things I wish he'd have done differently in his first term, but in fairness, he's accomplished a lot more than many want to give him credit for, and in the big picture he's kicked off a lot of positive change. Also, thankfully, this victory ensures that certain conservatives can't so easily marginalize him the way they did Jimmy Carter. (And my gods, do they want to!)

But here we are. He's got a damn lot of hard work ahead of him, and I sure don't envy him in that, but this is the best result I could have hoped for.

And while I'm happy Obama won (and I very much am), my four favourite things about last night's results are:

1) The crazies were slapped down. Specifically: misogynistic, anti-equality voices in the Republican party, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, lost definitively in their races. And that sends a serious message: if the GOP wants to survive, they're going to need to adapt, and soon. The hard-right, socially-conservative base wasn't enough to win the presidency, and it proved a massive liability with the female, youth and minority voters that came out to re-elect Obama. This was a huge victory for the diverse electorate of today. To win, you can't just appeal to the straight, white, male voters. Not anymore. That's huge. That's fantastic.

2) It's also a victory for facts and reality - two very simple things that have been under attack of late. Conservatives lambasted New York Times statistician Nate Silver for his projections forecasting a solid Obama victory... and his projections turned out to be right. Many conservative pundits predicted a Romney "landslide"... and instead Obama won by a comfortable margin. Romney himself was so confident he would win, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that he didn't bother preparing a concession speech... and he lost. Bill Maher often talks about a "conservative bubble" among those who get their information purely from biased sources (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc.) and construct their own narrative that ignores the realities around them. Stone-cold reality and facts just burst that bubble.

3) The super-rich Republican elites, who poured an absolute ton of their money into Romney's campaign, lost hard. For their massive investments, they get nothing. I admit, I'm partly happy about this out of sheer pettiness, but also because it says that, when the people are aware, involved, and use their right to vote, the fat cats can't simply buy the presidency.

4) Mitt Romney will not be the president (at least not any time soon). Say what you will about Obama, but nothing changes the fact that Romney is a chronic, proven liar, out of touch with the people, and entirely unfit for the office of the President of the United States. Bullet: dodged.

We're not living in a perfect world, and an Obama victory in itself doesn't fix the many (many) problems facing the United States. Not by a long shot. Change takes time, and a lot of it. But in my own opinion, the American people decided to keep moving in the right direction.

In short, what Jian Ghomeshi said.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween. (Again.)

Halloween has come again, my friends. Only a handful of hours left, so you grab hold and enjoy them while you can. (I take Halloween very seriously, it's a whole thing.)

Had a good time again this year! Which is The Plan, it's always The Plan, but you have to appreciate it when it goes off without a hitch.

My costume this year.

...which was actually part of a couples' costume with my Special Lady.

For those not in The Know, we went as recently-departed Doctor Who companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, as pictured here.

Basically, whoever got the reference totally loved it, and they still worked as separate costumes for those who didn't. Not a bad plan.

(Though I did have some drunk bros yelling "SPARTA" at me, I managed to stop myself from correcting them.)

Even Logan had a costume!

...which stayed on him for about 64 seconds before it was clear he wasn't having it, but at least we got a picture. My little devil.

Got up this morning intending to get all Romaned up for work, but that extra 15 minutes of sleep was entirely too tempting, so I managed to slap together a simpler costume: Business Casual Luigi.

It went over pretty well.

And that's basically a wrap on one more installment of The Best Holiday Ever, You Guys, Seriously. I bought too much candy for tonight, so I'm gonna be generous. The theme for the night is "Contributing to the Child Obesity Epidemic".

Have a damn good Halloween, my friends.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Almost Here.

It's almost here.

It's almost here!

I mean, okay, I say it every year. But seriously... Halloween is the best.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going

I think it's important to reminisce every now and then. Not too often. The past is gone and that's a good thing, ultimately. But just a quick look back, a peek at the view below you, to see where you stood then and where you stand now. It's weird to think of myself even two years ago. I'm not that person anymore, not in the ways that count. I'm not "finished" yet, not by any means, but there are some things about living that I understand now in a way I never used to. There are things I said and did that make me shudder with embarrassment (just as I'm sure I'll wince when I read this after I hit 30).

If I didn't have Very Serious Opinions on the topic of time travel, I'd almost wish I could go back to tell my younger self a few things. Like that adulthood isn't something to be feared or fought. Getting older doesn't mean you have to give up the things you love, and it doesn't mean you have to slow down and get boring - you just have to accept new responsibilities (to yourself and others), learn to be self-reliant (and reliable!) and hold yourself to an ever-higher standard. It's harder, but the rewards are worth it. You learn how to manage real freedom and responsibility, and the essential balance between them.

You get to make choices. Real, big, awesome choices. And each one comes with consequences, with sacrifices, pleasures, freedoms and responsibilities. On some level I always recognized this, but actually feeling it all, the positive along with the negative, is something else. Everything you do has an impact, small or large, on the people and the community around you. Your pleasure may come at the price of another's pain, or your fortune directly from another's expense. And part of being an adult - probably the most important part - is honestly accepting responsibility for the results of your choices. Sometimes that means you have to look at yourself in an ugly light and make some hard decisions about who you are and who you want to be. Sometimes that means having to choose doing what you feel is right over being "nice" or being liked. That decision is yours, and so are the consequences - and you have to own them.

Everyone learns these things at a different rate - some are born into privilege, in a bubble. Others are born into struggle and responsibility from a young age and need to grow quickly just as a matter of survival. I was always pretty fortunate - we weren't rich, but I grew up living in a comfortable zone that a lot of other people don't get. And I'm much further from rich now, but I still automatically benefit every day from a lot of things based solely on what I am: my colour, my gender, my orientation. And in the past (and I'm going back way further than a few years now) it was easy to just live in that bubble and feel like my own little struggles and feelings were big and real and important, but I can't do that anymore. You have to step out of it - even if you can never understand first-hand other peoples' struggles and experiences, you at least have to do your best to try, to be conscious of reality beyond your own perceptions.

Ultimately everyone has to learn this stuff and there are no excuses not to. Right?

I used to have a hard time with change. My biggest, most crippling fear was always rejection. I avoided a lot of risks because of that fear, and as a result often let my life get stagnant. The mere thought of losing people - even "just" acquaintances - was a dull ache I couldn't chase away. I would react to change with deep mourning - even if I kept it hidden inside. I couldn't let go. Like an emotional hoarder. In my mind, people and things in my life had to stay there, purely for my own selfish needs, even if there was nothing left to keep. When people didn't "get" me it felt like a slight, or a personal failing. All of it, eating away at me always.

But now, mostly, I think, I hope, I seem to get and accept that no one thing or person or whatever is made for everyone. People may not enjoy or like who I am or what I do for valid personal reasons that I have no control over, and that's fine. It has no effect on me. It's out of my hands and not worth my energy worrying about. (And at times I may worry about it anyway, but I try to push it aside.)

I've even effectively let people fall out of my life on several occasions. I've abandoned interests, hobbies, mindsets, outright. Not with any malice - it's either because I've realized I have no real connection with them anymore, or because they've had a negative impact on my emotional state and/or sense of well-being that I could no longer accept or justify. And there's nothing wrong with that, at all. Sometimes you outgrow people, things or situations. Or you both grow in separate directions - however you look at it. (Though there are a lot of people I just plain haven't kept in touch with well, which is a different thing entirely.)

And that gnawing feeling? That doesn't really get to me anymore. Because sometimes what comes next, and who you'll be next, is so much better.