Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Every Day is Random Thursday

Even Tuesday. Especially Tuesday.

I'm feeling pretty restless these days. Like I've wasted too much time, I've let too much pass me by, I haven't appreciated life the way I should have for too long and now my body and mind are trying to compensate for it. So now I can't seem to sit still for very long. Even when I'm being productive, like writing or drawing, I'm constantly fidgeting and need to regularly get up and move. I don't know if I've always been like this, but it feels more pronounced these days.

(One benefit of this is that the chin-up bar I bought a few months ago is turning out to be a terrific investment. I don't know if it shows yet, but I think it's making a difference.)

I got my stitches out on Sunday afternoon, so Operation: Terrible Beard is now officially at an end. That night I had a date with an electric trimmer, and went from this...

...to this:

Much better, I think? Maybe? I won't lie, I was actually starting to like it a bit toward the end there, but I don't think the look works for me.

Zip-lining seems to be cancelled, unfortunately. On Saturday afternoon, I drove with my pal Luke out to the canyon where they do it. We arrived just after 5:00, only to discover that they stop doing the zip line an hour before they actually close (which is 6:00). This is a fact they neither advertise nor share on their website. I called earlier at 1:30 to confirm, but they didn't pick up the phone and didn't bother to return my message in the 3 1/2 hours in between. When we arrived, the woman working there just gave me a blank stare with zero sympathy or apology. So I was pretty frustrated.

I called back the next day to try to talk to someone else about it (and to see if they'd cut me a deal, considering the time and gas money wasted to get out there), but again nobody picked up the phone, and two days later, nobody's bothered to return my second message. It's truly awful customer service, and that kind of thing bothers me a lot. I really want to go zip-lining, but now I don't want to give this business any of my money - and they're the only game in town, so I may have to put this plan on the back-burner until I find another opportunity elsewhere.

(My mind's already running in different directions, though. If zip-lining is off the table for now, I'm starting to think about skydiving instead.)

Since we had driven out there, though, we decided to make the most of a bad situation and check out Ouimet Canyon instead. Which was sort of funny, as Luke isn't too fond of heights and I absolutely love them. I think that comes across pretty well in these pictures:

Luke - Ouimet Canyon Self - Ouimet Canyon

(I wear that shirt a lot, don't I?)

I didn't get a new comic done for Monday, but for my update I instead went through my backup hard drive and found the original character sketches I drew for "Hereafter" back in 2005. Take a look:

Always interesting to look back at stuff like this. I've definitely improved a bit since then.

I've posted a number of pictures of Logan lately, so here are a few of Maya:

Maya - Waiting

Maya - Grass

She is also the best.

Not much else to say at the moment, so I leave you with a song introduced to me by my good friend Mike:

I should hit him up for new music more often. I don't think he's ever steered me wrong.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Operation: Terrible Beard

The last few days have been a bit busy/stressful, so I haven't had much time for updates. Just a quick one today. I'll likely be getting the stitches out tomorrow, and thus be able to shave again, so I figured I'd post the final results of Operation: Terrible Beard.

So yeah - kind of nothing special, really. Fortunately, it didn't get a chance to get out of control. But I will say, I truly loathe the mustache part, so I've been shaving that off pretty much daily - resulting in the rest looking a little "My First Amish Beard" for my tastes.

And this...

...is just not a good look for me. Probably for the best I'm shutting this down.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It's not even close to Random Thursday, but I'm feeling random anyway, so here goes.

- Jack Layton's death has affected me quite a bit in the last few days. I liked him a lot as a politician and more recently came to consider him a bit of a personal role model, and since yesterday his last words have been constantly on my mind. He had it down - that's the way to live, that's the way to do politics, and we shouldn't forget it. I said all I needed to say in my last post, really, but it felt worth acknowledging one more time.

There's going to be a memorial service for him in town this Thursday. I think I'll go.

- What's Awesome: I'm feeling more verve in me lately. I hope it's not a passing thing, because I like feeling like this. A bonus is, I don't find myself really worrying about other peoples' opinions of me or my life - not that I get a lot of negative opinions, really - but instead I'm trusting my own mind more than I feel I used to. Good stuff.

- I can't (or shouldn't) shave until the stitches are out, so for this week, Operation: Terrible Beard is a go!

Not much to see so far, though. I don't grow the best facial hair anyway - it's pretty light in colour for starters, and due to my two three chin scars, it doesn't come in as full in the middle. But this might be fun for a little while.

- Here's a picture of Logan doing his signature "broken legs" routine:

Logan - "Broken Legs" Routine

He drags himself along the carpet with his back legs totally motionless. (And yes, I know what he's really doing. I don't care; he's the best.)

- I've made tentative plans to go zip-lining this weekend. But "tentative" just won't do - it's too unsure for me. Let's lock it down!

- Nobody's really taken the bait on this whole "Ask/Tell Me Anything" thing - what gives!?

- It's a few years old now, but damn do I love this video (and song):

Okay, that's all I feel like spilling out for now. Later, Internet!

Monday, August 22, 2011

RIP Jack

Jack Layton died today at the age of 61. I found out shortly after arriving at work this morning, and hearing the news was like a punch in the stomach.

I'm still reeling from it, to be honest. Jack was a true inspiration. He was a source of kindness and optimism, a hard-working, dedicated leader, and a man you couldn't help but like. We were lucky to have him, and he'll be greatly missed.

My condolences to Jack's family and loved ones. It may sound strange to say about a man I've never met, but it really feels like we've all lost a friend today.

Update: Jack Layton prepared a letter to be released in the event of his passing, which has been posted online. It's very moving, but I felt like sharing his final comments in particular:

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."

I can't think of a better final message to leave the world. Beautiful. Thank you, Jack.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ask/Tell Me Anything

I've just joined up with Formspring, an "ask/tell" feature that lets people ask each other questions anonymously. I try to be a very open, honest guy in general, so I figured it'd be a cool little experiment.

My profile is here, and I've added a widget to the sidebar of the blog as well. Consider this an open invitation - feel free to ask me any question, and I'll answer it (though I maintain the right to sidestep anything jerky).

On that note, I've opened up anonymous comments on the blog. Consider this post a free space to tell me anything, anonymously if you like. Hit me up with some honesty!


The things I do to myself.

Short story... shorter: I walked to my folks' yesterday for a swim and brought Logan along to visit in the back yard. On the way back, we were crossing a small street. Now, I've been teaching Logan to cross streets quickly because I'm an overprotective "puppy parent", and this time he decided to bolt. I was hanging on tight to his leash, and, as I ran with him, tripped over a curb and landed chin-first on the end of someone's driveway, splitting my chin open and cutting up my right knee and a few fingers on my left hand in the process. Funny part is, I feel like I subconsciously let it happen that way - after all, Logan didn't get away from me and my drawing hand was unscathed.

I got up, dusted myself off, walked the rest of the way home (stopping to chat and joke about it with a few neighbours while bleeding out of my chin), brought Logan in and gave him a dental bone, and called my mom for a ride to the hospital to get stitched up - I would have driven myself, but I had to hold gauze up to my chin to avoid bleeding all over the place. I spent most of the car ride and the wait at the hospital just laughing about it - I honestly hope someone saw my little faceplant, because it must have been hilarious.

It wasn't that bad, all said. According to the doctor, it was only a gash about an inch long and half an inch wide, but compared to the two other times I split my chin open (when I was a kid), it was pretty minor. I was only in the ER for an hour and a half, and everyone there was super nice and helpful - some people can complain about socialized medical care all they want, but I got good, quick care and didn't leave with a bill, so I've never been happier with the system. After I got stitched up and got a tetanus booster, I thanked the doctor and nurses profusely and left smiling. Not a bad experience.

For the hell of it, here are a few pictures. Click to embiggen!

If you look closely, you can make out my previous chin scars. Let's just call this one "completing the hat trick".

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Recent Purchases

I'll write more later, but for now here's a photo update of some of the things I've bought recently. (Don't know how interesting this'll be for anyone who's not me, but whatever!)

First, the nerdy/awesome stuff:


From over the past three months or so - Talking Bender, Mega Man model kit, and a Scott Pilgrim figure. Totally awesome. I try not to buy too much stuff like this these days, but I couldn't resist. I've got some older stuff in a box that I think I'll sell off soon. Seems like a solid plan: every time I buy something fun-but-unnecessary, try to sell an old one I don't really want anymore.

Today's big impulse buy:

Bar Stools

Red bar stools! I've wanted something like this for ages, and since I've been without a legitimate dinner table setup for a while, I grabbed these when I saw they were on sale. Pretty awesome - goes with my whole "red furniture/appliances/etc in the kitchen" deal. (Though now I'll probably have to replace those blue curtains.) No table yet, but I'm keeping my eyes open for something that matches.

Today's cheap deal:

Pepper Bat

Baseball bat pepper mill! Five bucks. Couldn't say no to that.

Good Morning, Internet

This is what 9:34 AM looks like:

But never mind the narcissism! I'm planning my weekend and trying to fit everything in - some social plans I've made, on top of getting Monday's comic done, potentially zip-lining if the stars align, and hopefully writing some actual content for the blog. Right now, I'm waiting for Logan to stop being lazy so I can take him for a walk and then go to breakfast. Kind of a charmed life, I'm not gonna lie.

(Random Thought: I think one of the funnier parts about having a dog is that you're pretty much constantly finding dog treats in clothes pockets. Last night, I fell asleep with two peanut butter-flavoured treats in my pyjama-pants pockets. But I wonder if this happens to everyone, or maybe it's just me?)

So what are your plans for the weekend?

Goodnight, Internet

Too tired for real content. Maybe tomorrow. For now, here's a picture of me and my best buddy:

Me and My Buddy

(He seems super happy about it!)

Now I'm gonna sleep for 10 hours straight.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Note: I used to have two blogs running, this one and one devoted to posting sketches (called "BrySketch"). I hadn't updated either in ages, until this little mental/emotional shift I've been embracing for a while now provoked me to start updating here like a goddamn lunatic.

Since I'd been so sporadic - especially with the sketch blog - it seemed silly to keep them both up separately. So I've folded them together into one blog (this one) and will just post everything I feel like posting here from now on. No organization required - you can consider this blog a shotgun blast of Bryness from here on out.

The old sketches should all appear in this blog's archives, under the label sketches.

Something else later? Hey you bet.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Thursday

Today is Random Thursday, where I'm going to just post a bunch of random stuff I've done, plan to do, or am thinking about. Join me in this endeavour, won't you?

I've got the urge to go zip-lining. Probably this weekend. I've wanted to do it for a long time, and I'm sick of putting things off. To hell with it, I want to do it, so I'm gonna do it! I'll update afterward - maybe with video!?

Steadily over the course of the year, I've been gravitating more to bright colours of all kinds. I'm waging my own personal war on the boring and the bland. It's a worthy fight.

I didn't have time to make a new comic for today, unfortunately, but I did draw/ink a bit of filler art that I'm pretty happy with - Athena after an all-night gaming session:

Welcome to Hereafter - Zonked
(I, meanwhile, don't even remember when I last had time to play games. I feel surprisingly okay about this!)

A bit of dialogue from "Angel", one of my all-time favourite shows, that I've had swimming through my head for a while now:
Lorne: It's called a moment of clarity, my lamb, and you've just had one. Sort of appalling, ain't it, to see just exactly where you've gotten yourself?
Angel: I don't know how to get back.
Lorne the Host: Well, that's just the thing. You don't. You go on to the new place. Whatever that is.
I've always liked that.

This is my dog:

Logan - Wild Green Yonder

His name is Logan. He's the best.

Further evidence:

Logan - All Smiles

See? The best.

And once again, some Mother Mother:

Change - inner change in particular - seems to be my "theme" of late. And hey, turns out it really is the only constant - I've come to accept that more and more. Here's to changing, and growing, on your own terms!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Community's Freaks and Geeks

For those who watch Community (and those who don't, get the hell on that already):

That's Childish Gambino's "Freaks and Geeks" mashed up with clips from Community - Gambino being Donald Glover from the show. And man, there is an impressive amount of really specific, literal stuff cut in there. Well-done.

(Via @danharmon)

Here's an acoustic version of the song, with Ludwig Goransson (the composer from Community) on guitar.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Resolution Checkpoint

Seven months ago, I wrote a "New Year's resolutions" post about the parts of my life I wanted to work on and the goals to continue pursuing. Since I've been a bit reflective and analytic lately, I thought I'd take a look back and see how far I feel I've come since. Let's count 'em down:

I want to continue to change some of my attitudes. I feel that I've become a much more optimistic, positive person than I used to be, but I still have some ways to go. More than ever I believe that negativity and cynicism are huge roadblocks for personal growth. They're a crutch, one that's held me back for too much of my life, and I can't let myself fall back on that again. I don't even want to be in the frame of mind where it could be an option.
Checkaroonie. Despite a few speed bumps, I feel I've stayed on track here. Moreso, it feels very much like this has become my "default" mindset, and less of something I need to work toward.

Related to the last one: I want to be less judgmental. I have strong opinions about a lot of things. That's fine. That's not changing. But I need to know when to cool off and where to draw the line. I want to become more understanding of others' perspectives, even if I can't agree or personally relate to them. I can have strong opinions and confidence in my beliefs without being arrogant or self-righteous, or potentially alienating others.
Granted, I'm only human (for now), but I think I've made real strides here. I mean, I feel I already had been getting better at this over the years just by experiencing life and challenging my perceptions like most people do (or should do), but lately it feels like a much more conscious effort on my part to remove myself from my own perspective and to try to understand others' situations and viewpoints, even if I don't agree with them. I feel that I have more empathy and understanding than I used to. It's neat.

I really need to read more books. Actual books. Of all kinds. (In fact, please recommend me some.)
This is semi-successful so far. I've read a few books since July, for example, but I haven't had a lot of free time to really invest in heavy reading. But I'm being productive, so I'm fine with that for now.

I need to create more, and possibly consume less. This one's tricky, because pop culture is a huge part of my life, and I don't want that to change. I will always be consuming a lot of comics, movies, television, music, games, etc... But I need to work harder to match my consumption with creation. I'm doing better with this already, I just need to keep at it.
I don't think I'm consuming less, but I'm creating more for sure. I've stayed (mostly) on a regular schedule with Welcome to Hereafter, despite a little hiatus - but during that time I was dealing with personal issues and hitting a turning point and had other things I was prioritizing, so I'm not really counting that against myself. I'm back to it in a big way now, so I think I'm doing well here.

Related to the last one: I want to branch out and connect with other people doing creative, interesting things. I want to meet people with similar interests. I want to collaborate, talk about ideas, influences, and hopefully learn a few things.
Big no on this one. I've been good at keeping on track with my own endeavours, and I feel I've "learned by doing" a fair bit, but I haven't really branched out much at all. Something to keep on the list.

Perhaps most importantly, I need to put more effort into staying involved in the lives of the people I care about. Many/most of them live in different places than I do right now, but that's never an excuse, is it? I go through spurts of sending lots of emails, then I'll get busy and distracted. The former's understandable, the latter isn't.
I was pretty terrible at this for a while there - again, when I was dealing with personal issues and adjusting to several major changes in my life - but I've bounced back lately and am putting in more of an effort. Not all the way there yet, but I'm getting better, I think. Half marks?

All said, not too shabby.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This One's Optimistic

Back to the Drawing Board

Good (late) morning, Internet! It's a lovely day, at least in my corner of the world, and I feel like babbling at you. Take it or leave it!

I've had some really great conversations lately with those closest to me. Very productive, open and honest, in the way that only real trust and closeness can produce. It's a good feeling.

I wrote a bit the other day alluding to how I've changed in the past year. I thought about it a little more, and this is the crux of it, I think:

Some time ago, I made the deliberate choice to embrace optimism as my personal philosophy (though actually, perhaps optimalism is more accurate/specific to how I feel). It's how I've always wanted to be, deep down, even though I often had trouble following through on it. I truly believe that negativity and pessimism are addictive, toxic influences. My personal experiences tell me that they hold your whole life hostage, eat away at your mind and make you almost inescapably miserable - you can attempt to distract yourself, but ultimately, if you're stuck in that negative frame of mind, you're gonna wind up straight back in the gloom eventually. I'd been through that too many times, but fortunately I got to a point where I had that "moment of clarity" and realized how much I hated being that person. Who I used to be, I now recognize, was weak, afraid and insecure. So I changed.

So who am I now? This is gonna be rambly, but here it is: I'm being open and honest with myself and others - not that I was dishonest before by any stretch, but I'm much more aware of my own thoughts and feelings than I used to be, which makes it all easier. I'm living without doubt. I no longer hang my strength on other people or other things; I'm fighting those urges, I've learned from my bad bets, and I've reinvested it all in myself. I'm looking to the future. No dwelling. No "what ifs". No vicious cycles of regret and doubt and over-thinking everything. No passivity or avoidance - If life gives me trouble, I want to confront it head-on, on my terms, because I have to elevate above it rather than be dragged down into it. That's how I feel - I just hope it makes sense. ;)

To be honest, I haven't had the most enjoyable week. My website was hacked, I've had some personal stresses, and a laundry disaster involving a kerosene lamp. But I dealt with it all, learned a few things for next time, and now I'm moving forward. Because that's what I'm doing now, and it's working out, friends.

Okay, enough rambling. Because I'm on a Mother Mother kick, I leave you with this:

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Photo by Melanie Godecki

What a difference half a year makes.

Since I last updated, my life has changed in some significant ways, and while I've opened up about them to some of my closest friends and family, I've chosen to be pretty tight-lipped about it online. Lately, however, I've been feeling very introspective about the ways I've changed and continue to change, reflective about who/where I used to be, and appreciative of where I am now, mentally and emotionally. I'm sure it all sounds corny, but y'know, deal with it. ;)

I've been writing a bit about all this, getting the thoughts and feelings that I've had swimming through my head for some time out of my head and into words - stuff I've worked internally already, but haven't really "let out". I'm debating sharing some of it, but I'm not convinced that's a good idea. I'm usually pretty open about my feelings and opinions, and I don't feel I have anything to hide, but I have some hesitance, so... I'll have to think about it. (I realize this is all incredibly vague, but the important part is that I feel I'm in a much stronger, more self-secure, happy and confident place right now than I've ever been before.)

So yes. Maybe I'll write again soon. If not about this, then about something else. But for now, I leave you with a song: