Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Large Small Dog

Boy with Appropriately Sized Small Dog:
(Could it be "Small Dog Syndrome"?)

My younger son desperately wants a dog. I might have mentioned this a few dozen times before. I do feel myself weakening on this issue, but his slightly dog-allergic father is firm.

But our son and I discuss the hypothetical dog that we might have if Dad relents....well...pretty much every time we pass a dog on the street.

And since we live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where there might be at least two dogs for every human, that means dog discussion is a constant.

My catchphrase for dog criteria is basically "small, quiet and washable." My son is not very convinced that smallness and washability are desirable characteristics. Mostly what he wants is something big and furry...Or a Pug.

Every time we pass a dog, he asks me to assess that particular dog's viability...Is it too large? Too hairy? Too poorly behaved?

The fact that I might have just told him that a beagle we recently passed was too large will not stop him from asking me about a much larger, furrier Husky one block later.
I'll admit that I often feel myself running out of patience for this hypothetical dog conversation, particularly as he is always lobbying for more size and more fur on this animal that we can't have anyway.

I suppose I should be grateful that the tone of the conversation is mostly civil. He and his brother have been fighting loudly and bitterly about a hypothetical PlayStation for months. Who will get to play what game and when on this device that we don't own...

And Dad might prove to be allergic to the PlayStation also....

(The dog on the napkin is a "Chug" a combination of a Pug and a Chihuahua...a dog that might be small enough...but still be a pug, sort of.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Batman and the other Men


For #BatmanDay2016 :

The Dark Knight surrounded by other aspiring men:
Clockwise from top right: Ratman, Fatman, Gnatman, Catman, Spratman & Flatman.

Here's a link to last year's Batman Day napkin... arguably more successful...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Usagi Yojimbo and Predator with Bunny Ears

The latest three issue series of Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai's long running Rabbit Ronin comic featured a bad guy wielding Predator-like claws. This was of course very exciting to the kids at our house.  They were big Usagi fans in past years.  We have every one of the various paperback compilations. And there are many.  Usagi was somewhat out of favor for a while, and I even started to consider letting our subscription to the comic lapse.

He seems to be popular again, however, even if there wasn't a really Predator in feudal Japan.  I am relieved, as I enjoy the series myself.

Usagi has fought aliens and has had crossover issues with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so the appearance of aliens with blades in the comic is not totally out of the question.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Couch Potatoes with WWE Custom Avatars

School starts next week. In view of this impending doom, our sons' preferred activity is holding down the couch while staring at a screen. While I am philosophically against extended periods of this sort of thing, knowing that they will soon be unable to drive me crazy with the excessive watching of utterly inane youtube videos has mellowed me out a bit this week.

They have also been testing the limits of my sanity with the WWE 2K16 game on the X box. Let's just say that being able to bash one's brother repeatedly on his virtual head with a metal folding chair prompts excessive glee.

Much time was invested (when they should have been getting ready for bed) carefully crafting their avatars, which are rather appropriate for each of them.

They were pretty enthusiastic about me drawing their WWE 2K16 avatars... But definitely not interested in interrupting their viewing of YouTube videos long enough to pose with them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pug Pilot from "Shooty Skies"

My Pug Pilot looks rather morose and does not convey my sons' intense appreciation for the "Shooty Skies" game.

Maybe he's just really uncomfortable stuffed into that little plane.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Family of Pinheads

Family of pinheads:

Still need to work on this one a bit.
It's been a very difficult summer.
Can you tell?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Terraria Avatar with "Steampunk Wings" and Inappropriately Colored Weapon

Terraria Avatars

I have been quite remiss about posting napkins this summer. There have been fewer new ones of course, as we have been working off of the backlog from the school year. And, I have been busy obsessing about my health, the kids'  health and about food.  This is all probably a story for another day and another venue.

But I am going to try to post a few that have gone undigitized over the last month or so.

These two were specific requests that I draw "realistic" versions of the kids' personal avatars in the game Terraria.  Terraria is a fairly low detail, 8 bit sort of game, visually speaking.  While the bosses, NPCs and other characters and costumes are many and creatively conceived and named, there is not a lot of realistic detail available.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of these two avatars from the game itself... but suffice it to say, I exercised a good bit of creative license.  These two napkins HAD to be completed simultaneously, as, OBVIOUSLY, one kids could not take an avatar napkin to camp while the other kid went without... so these were drawn in perhaps one third the time that I might usually spend on a napkin, so they are what they are...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Portrait Test Shot

Napkin Selfie?

I usually try to do napkin portraits of myself and the kids sometime near the end of the summer.
This set isn't going so well so far. I find my facial expression on this one somewhat troubling.

I asked my younger son to help me line things up and take a snapshot of the thing in progress.

It did not occur to him that my napkin face should be anywhere near the center of the frame.

Upon further reflection, and given my demeanor on the drawing, I think his sense of composition was perfect.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Moody Doomsday from "Batman V Superman"

Batman V Superman was available on pay per view. So, we had to watch it again.

This was another napkin produced very quickly in the morning  before camp. Not being able to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night any more is really cramping my style.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Charmander Rides the G

Pokemon: Unsafe at any speed underground in NYC

We somehow managed to dodge it for a while, but Pokemon Go obsession has finally seized our older son.  The younger one is not all that interested in the game itself, but is amenable to reigniting the general obsession with things Pokemon. Thus we have the two napkins picturing each of the kids' favorite Pokemon of the moment. The younger requested Charmander, and the older, Wigglytuff.

I inserted them into our morning subway commute to summer camp.

The MTA is clearly concerned about the safety of people playing the game in the subway. As am I of course. While a game that actually encourages our older child to put his pants on and leave the house is not a thing to be scoffed at, I am worried about his inattention to the surrounding real world.  Below is the MTA poster telling commuters to not fall onto the tracks while trying to catch Pikachu.... or maybe not to try to save Pikachu from a certain and horrible death by subway train....

 These napkins were rather casually executed, Due to health issues, my staying up late privileges have been permanently suspended, probably permanently. I pretty much have to go to bed at the same time as my kids, minus some hurried lunch packing and laundry doing. A two napkin evening is definitely a thing of the past, so I had a hard time finishing these two in the morning while we were trying to get out the door for camp.

Wigglytuff at the Metropolitan Stop

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pug in YOLO Cap Poses in Front of Mr. Robot Poster

YAOYO: You're only young once. 
But you can always be a Pug.

There is a yearly summer event in our Brooklyn neighborhood called the Giglio Feast in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The celebration hails from a small town in Italy where most of the area's original inhabitant emigrated from. (Now they have been replaced by hipsters with parents wealthy enough to cosign their condominium mortgages.) 

The Feast includes engaging cultural elements like an enormous saint-encrusted totem which is danced down the street on the shoulders of a crowd of red hatted Italian men. 

In addition to the charming cultural event, it's also just a standard New York City carnival replete with the usual potentially intestine-devastating food, overpriced rides that have clearly seen better days, fixed games, and merchants of mostly reflective junk. 

Our kids have always loved going to the Feast, and start clamoring to be taken as soon as they see the trailers arrive for set up at the beginning of July. Before it has even opened, they are arguing that we should visit multiple times this year. It always seems that last year they did not get enough opportunities to win a dirty stuffed animal with twenty dollars worth of ping pong ball tossing, dart throwing, or water pistol squirting. 

Let me be honest, just in case it is not already clear. I don't like the carnival aspect of the Feast for many of the obvious reasons. My most significant gripe, however, is that I really do not enjoy my interactions with the carnival workers (is the term "carnie" considered derogatory? Or am I confusing it with other "y"/"ie" ending slangy descriptions of people?) 

The endless shouting at "Mommy"  to throw money away on my children's behalf somehow bothers me more than it should. Not to mention the intense pressuring that is rolled out should we actually stop in front of any game to consider it.

But, let me wrap this up quickly as you are certainly wondering what this has to do with a pug wearing a hat... Suffice it to say that the problem was easily solved this year, possibly never to return.

I decided that the kids were definitely old enough to manage their own currency this time. I made this assessment despite the fact that they are not good in crowds and are also remarkably poor at holding onto paper money in a discrete fashion. I thought it likely that the cash would be taken off of them before they even had a chance to spend it, but decided it was well worth the risk.

On the way over, I handed them each some bills and explained they could spend it however they wished, but that there would be no more forthcoming. 

Actually holding the money themselves instantly sucked all of the joy out of the carnival for them. Suddenly, they concluded that the food and the rides were overpriced, and that the games were a waste of money because they were fixed. 

Of course, I had been making this argument for years, but had been unpersuasive when the money seemed to be coming out of (to their minds) a potentially endless fount in mom's backpack. 

They did each play the try to toss the ball into a bucket game once because the supposed prize was a PlayStation 4 and that was too entrancing to completely bypass. Mysteriously, it was ever so easy to put the ball in the bucket during the "demonstration throw" but then totally impossible to keep it from bouncing back out when they were playing for the actual prize. In the past, they never believed me when I told them that this game in particular was obviously fixed. But this year, they were convinced after spending only $5.

And the game operators were much less obnoxious about trying to take money directly away from children, so the whole experience was much less stressful for me.

Less fun for the kids of course.

But I feel I've done my job as a parent when I've managed to suck the joy out of something for my kids. Just kidding.

They did not, however, take the remaining cash home and put it into their college fund. They pooled their remaining bills and bought the silly "YOLO" hat ("you only live once"- if that needs explanation) for the younger kid. 

On the way to camp wearing the hat, he posed in front of the Christian Slater poster on the subway platform. It seemed like a napkin worthy juxtaposition....as long as his face was replaced by that of a pug.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rowan and Slimer from "Ghostbusters 2016" with Strawberries for Lunch

We've clearly been seeing too many movies lately as I have been subjected to the latest "Ice Age" trailer three times now. Each viewing is made more unbearable by the knowledge that soon I will actually have to sit through the movie itself.

Albeit the antics of Ray Romano the wooly mammoth were pleasant compared to the totally over the top abusive trailer for the horror movie "Lights Out." It managed to be patently obvious and horribly terrifying at the same time. I dread dealing with the kids and their brand new fear of the dark at bedtime later tonight. I guess the people who paired that trailer with a 1pm Sunday show of "Ghostbusters" were thinking that there weren't going to be any kids in the audience? There were many who were considerably younger than mine.

"Ghostbusters" itself was, as my older son judged, "surprisingly not crappy." While not outrageously fantastic, it was pleasant to watch adult women being funny, and I would certainly rather watch it five times than sit through an "Ice Age" sequel once... Not that I will get to choose.

My sons didn't make the Chris Helmsworth is Thor connection until the credit sequence.

Snowball from "The Secret Life of Pets"

It seemed unlikely that we could miss seeing "The Secret Life of Pets" in a theater. But then, the kids had not wanted to see "Zootopia." Both movies feature cute bunny characters.

Of course the cute bunny in "The Secret Life of Pets" voiced by Kevin Hart is a loopy, over the top, homicidal criminal, while the "Zootopia" bunny is a mild mannered police officer. It is not hard to discern why our sons were more interested in "Pets"

After seeing the movie last weekend, my older son did offer the criticism that it would have been much improved if the crazy bunny had been able to swear. Perhaps the same could be said of Louis CK's character as well.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Flowey from Undertale

"I'll kill everything you love to eat for lunch" 

One kid had a Sans napkin, so the other needed Flowey.
Flowey starts out as a rather ingratiating flower with a face and later morphs into a more horrific form, particularly if you cross him. The line in the game is "I'll kill everyone you love."
Not sure how he does that without arms. 

Friday, July 8, 2016