Monday, April 27, 2015

Go Fund Thyself

We live in an age of crowdfunding - where art projects and new technology and even this guy's potato salad can happen because of we the people... and our wallets. And what some see as a viable way of helping dreamers create great new things, others see as the digital equivalent of begging on the Internet's street corner.

First there was Kickstarter. Then IndieGoGo. But those required an actual project to be funded, which was a huge bummer. Thankfully now there's GoFundMe, where people can ask for money for any personal reason at all. Or... no reason! You can just ask for money because you damn well feel like it!

Now don't get us wrong. We appreciate crowdsourcing for the sake of art and technology and what have you, and have not only held our own Kickstarter campaign in the past but contributed towards the Kickstarters/IndieGoGos of others. We also understand when a huge crisis arises, like when someone gets in an accident that wasn't their fault and ends up with $100,000 worth of medical bills, so they post a GoFundMe for help.

Unfortunately, your average GoFundMe is not like that. Instead, it's shit like this:

"OMG you guys, the mary-joo-wannas has made life hard! Now my son will never get that chicken he's always had his eye on!"

Wait, what?

Believe it or not, that's posted from a real life GoFundMe, from a woman asking for $10,000 because her husband doesn't make enough money to buy them a different house and life is hard. Frankly, we think it's ridiculous that people can get away with this. And we think it's even more ridiculous that people will fork over money for sob stories just like this.

And really, this lady isn't the only one. People are on GoFundMe right now asking for $20,000 for an island vacation. Or $50,000 so they can have a Disney princess wedding. Or even just $8,000 so they can "finally realize their dream" of owning a motorcycle.

So today, we decided to take action. Yes, that's right, we decided... to make our own GoFundMe campaign! I mean, why not? Life is hard and we could definitely use some free cash from you stupid bastards errr, you lovely Internet people!

So go check it out. It's fully illustrated and everything. And please... give with your hearts, but above all, give with your wallets. Because life is hard and we obviously need your money much more than you do. And hey, if we suck enough of your money out of you, you can start your own GoFundMe! It's the fun(d) that never ends!

Note: we posted this as backhanded satire, so please don't donate to our GoFundMe! It's just a joke at GoFundMe's expense and we really don't want donations. If you want to support us, go visit our bookstore or buy us a beer next time you're in Denver.

Cheers and stay classy, friends,

Beer: Great Basin Wild Horse Ale
Music: The Kooks

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Didn't Like You

When I first met you, Jonathan, I didn't like you. I didn't like the way you acted. I didn't like the way you looked. I didn't like the way you looked at me.

I didn't want a chihuahua in my life.

I was told you were supposed to be a yappy little purse dog that bit ankles and shredded slippers. I was told you would be 5 lbs of teeth and shaking and pure hatred...

But surprisingly, you weren't. You just kinda sat there at first. And stared at me. And I couldn't figure out if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Some days I thought you were trying to figure me out. Other days I just thought you were silently plotting my death.

I still didn't like you.

You have dopey little Yoda ears, and Cheech and Chong eyes that make you look like you're high all the time, and you can't even jump onto the couch without assistance. You're essentially a cat without any of the perks of having a cat.

I married into you, and I made sure to tell everyone you were my wife's dog, because surely a man such as I would never be seen in public with this shivering 5 lb paperweight. And a chihuahua named Jonathan, at that! Could your mother have picked a more ridiculous name?

But still, we had to get along. We had to work things out for the sake of the marriage. And since you can't speak English and I can't speak chihuahua, we've had to coexist in complete silence, speaking only through our actions. And through that, I've actually come to learn a few things about you.

You've taught me that you like dancing. Like, when a really good song starts playing and I start dancing around like an idiot, your tail starts wagging and you start dancing along with me... well, as much so as an anorexic rat-dog can.

(And I guess anyone who doesn't judge me for dancing in my underwear in the living room can't entirely be terrible...)

You've taught me how to relax. You've taught me to take things slow. You've shown me that sometimes a few extra Zs are more important than rushing and stressing and getting yourself into a worry over something that can be dealt with later.

And as someone who suffers with depression, you've taught me how to fight off the sadness and the loneliness that sometimes creeps into the corners of my mind, and this too you've done without saying a word. You don't have to. But if you did, I bet you'd only have to say three words. And no, they're not the ever-cheesy "I love you."

...But I still don't like you.

After all, you're just a shaky little twerp that runs to my lap, trembling in fear when a strong gust of wind blasts through the window, and I'm the asshole that tells you it's just your real dad coming to take you away... even if I'm hugging you back as I say it.

I've joked more times than I care to remember about how easy it'd be to punt you like a football, or flush you down the toilet, or drop you out the window and let a strong breeze just carry you away. But I've never really meant it. I never really wanted you gone.

I came downstairs to check on you this morning, and you were laying on your favorite bed, refusing to move even as I told you it was time for a walk. Your eyes wouldn't open. I thought you were just being lazy.

But you were gone.

You came into my life, you shared your personality with me, you helped me through hard times, and then you left, all without saying a single word. And even if we never had a method in which to verbally communicate what we meant to one another, I can only hope that you felt it through my actions. That you felt safe. Cared for. Happy. And I hope and pray that up until your last breath you knew with every fiber of your being that I didn't like you.

I loved you.

And I'm gonna miss you like fucking crazy.


Regular posting will resume next week. Please excuse my absence around the blogosphere this week. I just need a little time for myself. Not to be alone. Just to be by myself.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Answering Questions and Pummeling Babies

You know the drill. Two weeks ago we asked you to ask us anything. So you did. You really did. Last week we made a sad attempt at shoveling answers out of the mountain of questions you asked us, and this week we're gonna answer some more. So let's hop to it.

Misha: I'm digging the new look. What inspired the pictures?

A few people asked about this, and we assume you mean our awesome new banner. We designed it that way because it's all about what you're gonna get here.

It has the two of us looking our (not) finest, it has a book with a page bitten off (we wrote a kickass zombie novel that's gotten nothing but praise), beer, pets that are assholes, drunken shenanigans (passed out guy), the unexpected (demon spying on us while smoking a cig), and gross misinformation, which you may remember from our killer guide to the female body aka the vagina is a scary cow monster.

But above all, it gives you no right to complain if you read our comics, because when you load up the website there's a baby getting punched right in the face, front and center. When you visit ABftS you know EXACTLY what you're getting into.

So hello, you sick bastards. Just know you're all in good company.

Jo Henderson: How old are the pair of you? And which one is a minister?

The pair of us is 62 years old... but individually we're each 31. Mentally we're 8 years old, and we still get carded for rated R movies, so on most days I guess we look (and act) like overgrown teenagers. And Bryan is indeed an ordained minister, so if you ever need a wedding or a baptism or an exorcism... you know where to find us.

Cherdo: What's up with Downton Abbey - next season is their last one? I'll bet you guys are crushed, too.

Brandon: I've never watched it. Isn't it like the British version of Jersey Shore or something? God, I bet English Snookie is one silly little twat...
Bryan: Uh, actually, I know all about this show because I watch it... with the wife. That's my totally valid excuse for viewing. And hey, better to go out on top than fizzle out by beating everyone's storylines to death. Plus, as Maggie Smith said of her character, Granny: "I think she must be about 110 by now."

Cherdo: Do you like to travel? How far away from home sweet home have you ventured?

Brandon: I am what you might call "deathly afraid" of man-made flying machines. So, no, I don't really like to travel. I do, however, force myself to do it, which usually means spending too much money drinking airport booze beforehand and reaching my destination with the beginnings of a midday hangover. The farthest I've ventured from home (yet) is glorious Cancun, Mexico, where the herpes flows like wine, and your bellboy will sell you any drug you want...and then threaten to report you to la policia unless you give him back those drugs, along with all of your money.
Bryan: What he said. Something about the possibility of plunging 40,000 feet to my death inside a sardine can packed full of people makes me require mass amounts of alcohol before boarding. But I still do it. Farthest I've ever gone was Thailand, where I trained Muay Thai kickboxing AND sang karaoke with a major general of the Thai army. He's better at a left hook than he is at singing a hook, but it was still a pretty incredible experience.

Oh, and to reiterate from both of us... fuck flying. As we posted before, everything about flying is awful.

Cherdo: Do you have any pets?

We both have goddamn animal farms. It's ludicrous. Vacuums wish for death when we buy them. Brandon has 2 cats and 2 dogs, and not to be outdone, Bryan has 4 dogs, 2 cats, and enough shed pet hair to form another animal entirely.

Cherdo: What is your FAVORITE joke of all time? Spit it out.

Brandon: World peace. Too dark? Too real, ISIS?
Bryan: A woman's checking out at the grocery store. On the conveyor belt she has a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, 3 bell peppers, 2 tomatoes, half a watermelon, and a box of crackers. A man gets behind her in line, looks at her items, and then looks at her and says "I bet you $10 you're single."

The woman says, "Why yes, actually, I am single. But none of these items would seem to indicate that. How did you know I'm single?" And the man says, "Because you're ugly as fuck."

Spacerguy: Do either of you watch Star Trek or Star Wars and if so which is your favorite and why?

Both of us have watched almost all of the flavors of Star Trek at some point or another and we've seen all of the Star Wars movies, but I don't know if you can really call us fans. We're more into sci-fi like Doctor Who. We do like to read sci-fi, though, and we even wrote a sci-fi novelette. But we'll probably not be attending any Star Wars conventions.

S.K. Anthony: What are your tips to get the best and sexiest Twerks? :P

Based on the little sarcastic face at the end I'm assuming this is a joke question, but you know what? We're going to answer it seriously anyway. The key is to really put your butt into it. Lead with the butt. Follow it. Trust it. Let it be your spiritual guide. Whatever you do, don't twerk with the back. You'll end up looking like a cat that's about to projectile vomit.

Katy Anders: Have you ever considered changing this into a single theme blog - like a mommy blog or a music news page or a blog that takes on controversial contemporary political issues?

No, if only because it's fun not to have to commit to any single theme. We can post about whatever the hell we want, and that sweet freedom is priceless. Besides, we don't like most modern mainstream music and neither of us has a decent set of tits, so the mommy blog theme or the music news theme probably isn't gonna happen any time soon.

Now, speaking of controversial contemporary political issues...

Bob G. (we're answering half of your Qs today): Politics - yes, no, or WTF?

Thank God you left in that third answer, because we're more along the lines of WTF? Many people say "we're proud conservatives!" and other people say "we're proud liberals!" and we say "fuck you, we hate all of you. Now get off my goddamn front step because I'm not going to vote for you anyway, you slimy back-alley Washington prostitutes."

In other words, we don't care much for politics. Which is why we don't gripe about it around here. But if you want us to be topical and relevant, then here's a politically-themed comic. See, Rand Paul just recently announced he's going to run for president, and you can support his campaign by buying stupid shit in his webstore. Hurray for us all...

I don't think we have to tell you that anyone who wears Rand Paul flip flops can go jump off a bridge into piranha infested waters. But the same goes for anyone who buys a Hillary Clinton fanny pack or Ted Cruz Crocs. We can't stand any of you... equally.

Bob G: Any personal "foibles" you care to share?

My friend, our blog is a weekly look into our daily foibles. We can't think of a single foible we haven't posted yet, and if we do, rest assured it'll be cartoonized. Making fun of the flip-flop wearing mop-head that is Rand Paul is fun and all, but making fun of ourselves is even more fun.

So stay tuned for next week when we take a brief break from answering your questions to bring you the tale of how a popular crowdfunding site led us to poverty, depravity, and even murder.

Cheers and stay classy, friends,
Brandon and Bryan

Music: Alexisonfire
Beer: Joseph James Hop Box

Monday, April 6, 2015

We Answer Everything... Kinda!

Last week we asked you to ask us anything. We... instantly regret that. You asked us over 120 questions in less than one week's time, meaning we've really got our work cut out for us. And this will end up being a few posts. But we promised you answers, so here we go. Let's get Part One started (questions are answered at random):

Debra: Which movie stars will portray you in the mega-blockbuster super hit movie Hollywood will make of your blog? Casting suggestions for other blog characters also welcome.

For Brandon, definitely a younger, pre-prison Robert Downey Jr. And let's just say that Bryan's been mistaken for Channing Tatum more times than he can count.*

*Because Bryan can't actually count

Also the part of Bryan's awesome Mexican wife (or Mexiwife, for short) would clearly be played by Salma Hayek... because... uh, she's hot?

Remember, kids, before he was your favorite snarky superhero, Robert Downey Jr. was a heroin addict who was in and out of prison and we all just kinda forgot about it!

Fang (who hit us with a machine gun barrage of questions): All-time favorite beer? All-time favorite beer I can probably get over here in the Netherlands?

We... have no idea what's available over in the Netherlands. I mean, do you guys even have craft beer, or do you just mash grain with rocks in your grass hut and then let it ferment in brown river water?

Kidding, kidding! We assume you want something more than just "Heineken" or "Amstel."

Our favorite beer changes with each passing day and each passing hangover, but if you have any access to any kind of Lagunitas or any kind of Deschutes. they make some pretty damn tasty beers. Lagunitas Sucks is probably one of Bryan's favorite beers of all time, and Deschutes Mirror Pond is a good go-to beer for both of us.

A lot of craft beer snobs (and by that we mean hipsters) will tell you that the only good beer is some hoppy, nasty, bitter beer that tastes like wheat-flavored gasoline. And they grimace painfully through every last sip pretending that it's actually good. Don't be that guy. He's an asshole, and he's only lying to himself.

Fang: aBftS meetup when?

As soon as we get enough people in Colorado who want to meet up with us. Usually those are just called book signings. Or Alcoholics Anonymous. Or an intervention.

Fang: Ever considered going for a more traditional webcomic format (ie actual comic pages instead of images surrounded by text (or even smaller pages surrounded by shorter texts))? If yes, what made you not go that route (aside from the obvious "so much work" argument)?

Actually, that's not more work, we just think it's boring. It's less personal. We both read a ton of web comics, and yet we probably can't tell you a single thing about the majority of their authors. You go read their 3 or 6 panel comic, you chuckle, you leave the page. That's it.

We like being able to mix comics with words, and we like letting people have a sneak peek into our lives. What we do. What we think. And we like interacting with our readers via the comments. Hearing what they think. What they do. We just don't think we'd get that same kind of personal interaction with a straight up web comic.

Besides, we're writers first and cartoonists second. And if people can't be bothered to read the words on our blog, then they're damn well not gonna be bothered to read our books.

Fang: Think you could go a month without body-horror humor in your comics?

Fang: If I ever happen to be near you (wherever that may be), mind if I drop by?

If "near" means "in my back yard" I would probably advise against that unless you're a fan of flying buckshot. But if you're in town, give a shout! In the four years we've been blogging we've never gotten the chance to meet a fellow blogger. We've had a few attempts, but plans fell through. We need to change that.

Maybe people are just terrified of the thought of us turning them into a comic and posting about it.

Fang: Y'all ever tried programming? You should!

Brandon: Yes! I successfully programmed my coffee pot just this morning!
Bryan: Like John Wick, I have internal programming that says that if anyone kicks my dog, it'll unleash my trained assassin skills and lead me on a bloody rampage. Oh, also, I used to program my own video games in high school in a very archaic language called Q-Basic, but the memory space in my brain devoted to that particular skill was replaced with John Wick's kung fu grip and icy stare.

Fang: Which do you prefer, dogs or cats? And why is it dogs?

Brandon: I prefer dogs because if any of my cats were the size of my dogs I know they'd happily devour me.
Bryan: You might think that because of the John Wick answer it's dogs, but you would be wrong. My cats have never once projectile diarrhea'd on me, shat on the carpet, puked and ate it, or rolled around in literal garbage, so the cats pretty much win by default.

Fang: As a hobbyist writer, what is a good place/way to get broad constructive feedback on drafts?

Find a writing group. Meet with them. If they're twats, move along. If they're cool, read their stuff. If their stuff sucks more than yours does, move along. Don't go to a writing group looking to be the all star, because that just means no one will be able to help you improve. Surround yourself with those who are better than you. They'll help you learn, and that beats a cute little pat on the back any day.

Fang: Opinions on the modern short attention span culture? Do/did you take this into consideration when setting up the blog/its posts? Relatedly, have you ever sacrificed quality to reach a wider audience?

Brandon: I think the internet is to blame, as well as the overabundance of shitty television. We know people are gradually getting too lazy to read words. It's why we started adding comics around here in the first place. It just so happens that Bryan happens to be damn good at it. And personally, we think it only adds to the quality. We'd never sacrifice quality for the sake of a wider audience. That's lame.
Bryan: Everything's broken up into fast-paced, bite-sized doses now. Look at this funny picture on Facebook. Now tweet a quick sentence on Twitter. Now watch this funny 1 minute clip on Youtube. Now read this 3 panel web comic. People are conditioning themselves to view entertainment in quick, instant gratification-sized chunks, which is destroying their attention span. I'm guilty of it too, which is why I disconnect the Internet when I write. Otherwise... I watch a whole lotta funny cat videos and write a whole lotta nothing.

Fang: What's something on your bucket list you think I should do too? (Yes, the answer is going on my bucket list.)

Stand up in front of 100+ people and give a presentation on something you're passionate about. Make sure you interact with the audience, and do take questions at the end. And above all, have fun with it. It's not only a great way to break out of your shell and confront the common fear of public speaking, but it can help rekindle your love for your chosen activity and remind you why you're doing it in the first place.

We try to do this at least once a year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh: What type of music do you like? Do you play any instruments? And what's the weirdest concert experience you've ever had?

We like Norwegian synthpop postcore funktronica. No, actually, we like just about anything, minus the watered down pop music you'll hear on the radio (sorry Katy Perry/Taylor Swift/The Biebs) and the very, very hickish flavor of country that's heavy on twang and possibly incest. And while Bryan can play a killer kazoo and Brandon has a knack for making armpit fart noises, neither of us are musically inclined. We'll leave that to the professionals.

Now, the weirdest concert experience...

Bryan: Hands down that was the opening band that didn't make any sense whatsoever. Imagine this: a rail thin guy with beady eyes, long hair, and a wifebeater, playing bongos, standing next to the most hipsterish looking drum player on the planet, clad in a Bob Saget dad sweater and swept-over hipster hairdo. But he's not even the weirdest one, because the keyboard player beside him is at least 60 years old, wearing red overalls and a red cap, and looks like sad, old, fat Super Mario.

And those still aren't even the weirdest members, because the guitar player looks like she's 12, which I pray she isn't because she's only wearing a leather jacket and you can see her underwear. There's also a man on stage, out of shape, hairy, and with a half mullet, wearing full make up. He doesn't actually do anything but 'vogue' on stage while the singer sings. And the singer, who has eyebrows that could put an eye out and is wearing a full body parachute that highlights her sad little triangle boobies, starts practically gargling the microphone as she shrieks. Not sings. Shrieks.

They're a band called Friends, apparently they've since disbanded (thank GOD) and they are without a doubt the weirdest and most awful concert-related experience I've ever had. The audience was dead silent when they performed, and after, I didn't see a single person go by their merch table.

Deb: OK, my question, is whether you ever compromised your humor because you were afraid of offending someone? I only ask because I appreciate how open you guys are and I love your style. Maybe it's because I'm a female but sometimes I think I can't say this or that for fear of crossing the line.

Damn, Deb, we love this question. And you know what? We don't ever hold back. Playing it safe never got anyone anywhere. Now, we don't intentionally set out to offend or be mean-spirited just for the sake of shock value. We just tell it like it is. We poke fun at everyone and everything, even ourselves, and we never try to be dicks about it. Because of that, we feel like most people can see our intentions and are less likely to fly off into a blind rage when we say something particularly offcolor.

Besides, no matter what you say, and no matter how you say it, there are always people who will find a way to get offended. Life's too short trying to chop your work down to please everybody, because the sad truth is that you can't, so you might as well have fun with it and cater to the people who like you for you.

Walking on eggshells is no way to live your life, even online, and we have no apologies for anything we've ever posted, nor will we ever pull a post down. We're proud of our work, we stand by it, and anyone who says otherwise can see the door.

Just like 'Murica doesn't negotiate with terrorists, we don't negotiate with assholes.

Source: from here.

Cheers and stay true to yourself, folks,
Brandon and Bryan

Music: NOT Friends
Beer: Mammoth Brewing IPA 395