Monday, September 9, 2019

Back to School Napkin Portraits


Back to School Portrait:

It’s been a difficult end of summer around here. 
The summer itself was mostly filled with probably age-appropriate, incessant rejection of parental authority. This independence from authority primarily manifested as a refusal to attend to basic personal hygiene, and balking at the idea of going outside or engaging in any physical activity beside walking from the couch to the bedroom. ...And also rejecting any well-meant suggestions (ok, this is sometimes described as nagging by the recipients of the well-meant suggestions) that it might perhaps be wise to complete some of the enormous summer homework assignment a bit in advance of the weekend immediately before school. 
But this evening, I am focusing on the recently popular topic of gratitude, and reminding myself how nice it is to have the kids around now, and how much I will miss them in the future when I can’t nag them in such close proximity...and can’t spectate on the failure of my nagging quite so easily.

The following images are of the napkins without the kids, and an example of what happens after a stressful 2 minutes of posing for mom.

One can see many more instances of napkin portraits on the blog from many years past, but this is our first solidly profile view, so that is marginally notable. 

(See the all the napkin portraits over the years here:)






Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pug Nefarious


Pug Nefarious:

We’ve always been big fans of “Gladstone’s School for World Conquerers” by Armand Villavert and Mark Andrew Smith.

 “Kid Nefarious” One Shot is in its final hours on kickstarter now. 

Please consider funding, we did, and are fervently hoping that it reaches its goal and gets published!


You can also see the rest of our canine cosplay series from 2012-13:
Including the Skull Brothers as dogs, (also from Gladstone’s) Raven the Weimaraner, Starfire the Dachshund, Nightwing the Hound, Kid Flash the Italian Greyhound, and a disturbing number of many more. One can assess whether my Nefarious or Pug napkin drawing skills have improved over the last six years.

Or there’s always the Animal Cosplay series, if you are really looking to waste some time (Nintendo cosplay for cats!)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Aftermath of Area 51 Raid


What One Does to Relax After the Area 51 Raid:

I rely on my sons to keep me up to date on upcoming important cultural events like the “plan” to storm Area 51.... to liberate the aliens the government is hiding therein. 

I don’t think we will be attending, back to school and all, and so hear all the flights and hotels are already booked solid....but it was entertaining to think about what aliens we might be interested in bringing home:

Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, an Ewok, and the later day Ewok- a Porg, Gizmo from Gremlins, and one of the childlike but deadly aliens from Galaxy Quest....and a red panda, just because my son would really like to have one as a pet.

And what would you do once you brought all those cool aliens (and panda) home? 

Watch youtube on your iPad on the couch while wearing your skeleton onesie, of course. 

Our son was quite concerned that the Daily Napkins followers would not be familiar with Galaxy Quest or Gremlins, released in 1999, and 1984 respectively (ouch)
But he had seen both long ago, so I am going to assume some of the rest of our audience might have also.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fat Raccoon


Every Gamer’s Ideal Companion:
The Joy of a Fat Raccoon.

Our younger son has been fantasizing about how cool it would be to have a pet raccoon...a FAT pet raccoon.  Fatness in a pet trash panda might in fact be inevitable, I suppose?

I gather there are some raccoon videos going around recently. Something about one trying to grab food off a kitchen counter and instead spilling a bowl of water on its own head. And fat animals appear to be endlessly compelling. I don’t think we will try to unpack the reasons for this here.

What I might have failed to mention previously here, is that a few years back we did have a very sizable raccoon in our urban Brooklyn yard. Actually it presented itself perched rather assertively on the top of our roll down gate, very unconcerned with humans, even if they were hoping up and down and pointing at it. That raccoon was clearly not pet material, and in fact its potential ongoing presence in our woodpile made the boys quite leery of going out in the yard to fetch firewood....ever. 

But if you had a pet raccoon that would sit on your desk between the PlayStation and pc.... 
You would definitely feed it leftover pizza, wouldn’t you? 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Selfie with Kids



Unexplained, Yet Pathetically Obvious:

I cannot really offer a reasonable justification for this drawing. It’s source was mostly a formal game, but once I fit the pieces together, I felt immediately apologetic.

But whatever the quality of the drawing, it might say too much about how my summer is going so far.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Red, White and Blue Day


Happy Red, White and Blue Day!

July 4th would have been a good day to see “Spider-man: Far From Home”
But we had already seen it on the third.

I felt like there needed to be a Spidey popsicle to go with the Bomb Pop.  My younger son helpfully points out that Spider-man, in all of his iterations, never has blue around his eyes like the popsicle. But I did not design the popsicle, just copied it off google images. 

As to why Uncle Sam is giving Peter that weird look...I leave that to your imagination. 

As to why I am seem unable to draw fingers today...can’t explain that either.

Following images are Fourth of July napkins from days past, 2017-2014. I left out the bomb pops, since we just revisited those. Don’t know if any sharks or dinosaurs competed in the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest this year...or if the fireworks will be launched from a Kaiju tonite...but here’s hoping.

Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Happy Bomb Pop Day/ Throwback Thursday



Happy Last Thursday in June
(It’s National Bomb Pop Day,
Did you know?)

Unfortunately there is no fresh napkin for this year’s observance of this important holiday, so we are revisiting some from days past.

Deadpool was sucking food coloring through his mask back in 2017.
The Minions were offering a treat to Thanos the same year.
....And then to a Tyrannosaurus in 2015.
The Velociraptors date from last summer, but they are out of chronological order because I forgot about them.
And the Predator and Alien were celebrating the Fourth of July with Uncle Sam way back in 2013.

Our kids aren’t much interested in Bomb Pops these days. 

It’s hard to eat one in front of the PlayStation. 



 

 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Selfie Day Napkin




Happy National Selfie Day:

There hadn’t been a napkin selfie for a while. 

Today I felt like maybe my eyebrows were the most relevant part of my real face.

Following is the napkin solo, photographed in more flattering light. today

(Somehow forgot that lumpy napkins don’t look good when lit from above... perhaps the same is true for me)

You can see the previous selfies at: 
https://ninaslevy.blogspot.com/search/label/Selfie?m=1

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Kaiju Baby Shark Challenge


God-zil-la, doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo

Ok, so I did have to ask my kids to explain the “Baby Shark Challenge” phenomena to me. I had somehow missed out on the international, egregious ear-worm that is the Baby Shark song.

You are now either shocked by my amazing ignorance, or don’t know what the hell I am talking about (hi Grandma!).

I suspect most who are still reading (besides my aforementioned, endlessly indulgent mother) can’t stand to slog through my explanation of the Baby Shark juggernaut. 

But the bare facts according to Wikipedia:
(Everyone else just skip past the bullet points if you haven’t already stopped reading)

* The point of origin was maybe a campfire song with no particular author, but the song usually had colorful verses including dismemberment by shark, attempted CPR, death and the meeting of Jesus.

* Pink Fong released a child friendly version on @YouTube kids on November 25, 2015 and, “as of May 2019 this version has garnered over 2.8 billion views on YouTube, while all videos related to Pinkfong's song approach 5 billion views, making it the most-viewed educational video phenomenon of all time” (“educational”?)

* "Baby Shark" broke into the Billboard Top 100 at #32 during the week of January 7, 2019

* “Due to its popularity, this version of the song has spurred an online dance craze (sometimes referred to as Baby Shark Challenge) cited as ‘the next big thing after the domination of Gangnam Style’”

When debating which characters to draw making the Baby Shark Challenge dance moves, it seemed inevitable to me that it had to be giant monsters.  The most popular giant monsters of the moment are of course those in the recent Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie.

My son, Kaiju fan that he is, told me this drawing was ok... but that if I revealed the Baby Shark theme, we would immediately lose a lot of followers.
But I am afraid, that almost 10,000 departed Instagram followers later, (yes, we were once at 29,000 plus on that platform) it’s too late for me to start strategizing about social media popularity now.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother’s Day


It’s been a challenging day here, I just finished yelling at one kid, and am now torturing another by making him belatedly write a paper due tomorrow. 

There’s not been enough time for me to draw anything...or to feel like an even marginally competent parent.

So, in honor of Mother’s Day: here is a throwback napkin from 5 years ago....from back when seeing them asleep was just such a relief.

I was always annoyed as helpful strangers would approach me when the kids were tiny and offer me the unsolicited advice that I really should enjoy them while they were young because things were going to become more difficult later and I was going to miss the simplicity of dealing with small children and babies.

This sort of comment was usually offered, say, when I was poorly managing the temper tantrum of a hysterical four year old on a crowded rush hour subway platform while wearing a screaming infant with a full diaper strapped to my chest. 

Ah, memories.

It’s doubtful that my parenting has improved much in the intervening years, but our sons have matured despite my failings. 

And I don’t wish that they were still tiny....

(....and totally unwilling to sleep.)

Happy Mother’s Day!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Rancor and Godzilla for May The Fourth


Lovable Monsters:


The Rancor has his fans, though perhaps not as many as Godzilla. 


There are certainly other creatures in the Star Wars universe who are closer in size to the ever enlarging Kaiju....and I considered drawing them... 

But maybe I just wanted to draw a Rancor holding claws with Godzilla.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Egg and Boy Chicks


For Easter:
Eggs, Boy-Chicks, Memes,
...& Chick Culling

(You might want to stop reading right now)

As previously mentioned, we’ve been working on a series on internet memes, their importance to our sons, & of course, my basic ignorance. 

Easter seemed like the day to tackle the “World Record Egg,” aka the most liked post ever on Instagram (over 53 million now), & most liked post on any social platform (according to Wikipedia).

And I would have missed it all at the time (January 2019 and onward)  if it weren’t for my sons diligently keeping me up to date.

Apparently the egg’s popularity was not born of pop cultural happenstance, but was initially engineered by select individuals as a challenge to the popularity of Ms Jenner’s picture featuring her daughter. (A mere 18 million likes!)

There were various thoughts and opinions about the egg phenomenon. Was it a triumph of community over celebrity?...populism over consumerism?

Though I don’t think he really had an opinion about any of the above topics, our younger son was definitely an enthusiastic 
egg fan at the time.

Who does not like an egg, after all? Particularly in an iconic, @shutterstock style image?

But let us think further about eggs today on Easter. 

They are pretty ubiquitous. Yes, there’s debate about their nutritional benefits. I had, however, come to the tenuous conclusion that feeding my sons “Pastured, Organic-fed” eggs was better than say Fruit Loops or bagels. Those damn expensive eggs were laid by happy hens, who frolicked on grass, eating delicious bugs, after all....

But like all things diet-, parenting-, environmental-, internet-related: 
Beware.

Even the production of virtuous eggs does not require more than a small handful of male chicks. 

Google “chick culling,” I dare you. Or don’t, & leave with the tidbit that live “maceration” is the destination for male chicks in the U.S.


I am the caretaker of two young male creatures ....for whom I prepare scrambled eggs...

Guiltily.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Clay Head


It’s Never Too Late to Illustrate a Basic Incompetence:
(Definitely not a napkin)

A good deal of my work in sculpture and photography used to feature myself as source material. I was available, free, and not offended if I cut off my head and sat on it.  

Now that I am working my status as a crone, strangely, I find dealing with my own image in sculpture more troubling. (Yes. Vanity! Who knew?)

But last semester, I asked the artists in my class at the New York Academy of Art last semester to work on self portraits, and it made me think that it was time to impose the same assignment on myself.

In class, I argued that self portraits were an interesting topic both in the context of art history (mostly in 2D work of course) and contemporary selfie culture....and of course an interesting formal and practical challenge.  

I’m not sure I would give that assignment again, however. Self-source materials, i.e. photos, are always lousy and frustrating compared to working from a live model, and maybe not an extra challenge that you need in a classroom context. And then there is the potential awkwardness of discussing the sculptor’s face in critiques: “I think your face is more asymmetrical, and is more full here” Well, I didn’t say that to anyone. If anything, all participants were more attractive than their self-portraits. Wish I could say the same for myself.

I have always felt that I had a better opinion of my sculpting ability in the past. Whatever the current piece I am working on always seems to suck the most...but this one is a particularly uninspiring moment. 

I used to say that I was a better sculptor than I was a teacher. But now I am wondering a bit if I was talking a better game than I’m playing.

This head is mostly just a test. I am using an unfriendly clay that I am not used to, and working hollow without an armature, which is something I haven’t done in a very long time.

I can only say that it isn’t done, and I have a nefarious plan to cave the face in as part of another project....so it may not matter exactly how I finish arranging my jowls. 

Does that help?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

I Identify as a Flying Attack Unicorn


Continuing the meme series, for National Unicorn Day:

While my feelings about my sons’ developing gender politics are ambivalent, (“Mom, is the wage gap a REAL thing?”) I do understand that they are growing up in an entirely different landscape than the one I experienced long ago when I was a young cishet person.

If you are asking yourself if the previous sentence has a typo in it, then you might be late to the gender nomenclature party. My son has high school friends who use “they” or “hir” as their pronoun. The school addresses teacher reports in the 2nd person (“You wrote a good essay”) to avoid inadvertently using an inappropriate pronoun.

We’ve come a long way on the topic of gender and self determination...Well, not universally of course... But the conversation is certainly out there for everyone to see and participate in, complain about, or make fun of through memes. 

One such gender-discomfort meme is  “I Identify as an Attack Helicopter.”  According to knowyourmeme.com, this one parodies “absurd gender and sexual identification posts often found on forums and blogging sites, most notably Tumblr.”

While I have some serious misgivings about the appeal of backlash memes, (particularly to my sons)....it is a confusing time for many, and we do have stuff to process....Humor could help...maybe.

At any rate, while I can’t really support the Attack Helicopter Meme, I find the spin-off than my son favored: “I identify as a flying attack unicorn” to be more charming. 

Because. Unicorns. Why not?

In this drawing, unfortunately, I did not do said unicorn justice. I was thinking that maybe it should be helicopter/robot-like, but, giving my poor skill at rendering mechanical objects, this was not a wise choice

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

that moment when ur doge


such doge
much homework
very stress
must scroll

Like most internet memes, I was completely unaware of the Doge meme iceberg, while being slightly annoyed by the tiny bit that my sons kept mentioning.  

A couple of years back, every time we passed a smallish, beige-ish dog, we would have to avidly discuss whether that was a ‘doge’ or not. It was finally made clear to me that a doge was a Shiba Inu...maybe.  But why was this so so compelling and important?

Again, like all things internet meme, I have read the exhaustive history, but am still sort of befuddled on the real why beyond the obvious “dogs are funny” and “it is amusing to imagine that they speak pidgin English.”

To attempt a brief summary of some bullet points from @knowyourmeme:
🐕The use of the term ‘doge’ for dog dates back to a 2005 puppet show video

🐕Pictures of a particular Shiba Inu were posted on a personal blog by @kabosumama (her present handle on instagram) back in 2010. 

🐕The meme spread in various forms and various dogs on Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan from 2010 onwards

🐕In 2013, YouTube inserted a feature that shifted text to brightly colored comic sans font when the search term ‘doge meme’ was used. Many of the doge images feature short words and pidgin phrases superimposed like ‘wow,’ ‘so hip,’ ‘very internet meme,’ ‘such wisdom.’

🐕Reports of the original doge’s death in 2017 were a hoax, but were very popular, and no doubt increased the meme’s popularity.

🐕Also in 2017, Dogecoin was introduced as a satirical cryptocurrency. At its height, one Dogecoin was worth $400.80. At last report, they are worth $0.00322634 each. 

🐕Enough?

For our part, we have a bit of a history with dogs’ heads on children. (Take that face recognition software.)

And the classic side-eye doge expression seemed appropriate for “That Moment When Your Mom Sees You Scrolling When You Should Be Doing Homework.’

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Goose and Toothless


But would Dad be allergic to the Flerkin?

Yes, we saw “How To Train Your Dragon:The Hidden World” and “Captain Marvel”

How could we not?

The HTTYD franchise presents a marvelously compelling fantasy of the ultimate pet: Very intelligent, powerful, rideable, flying and breathing fire. So much better than your average dog, cat or even horse.

The only other things we could look for in the ultimate pet might be hidden tentacles and a pocket dimension. 

Goose the Cat/ Flerkin in “Captain Marvel” certainly did not disappoint. 

If you live with a cat and you haven’t seen the movie yet, I can only advise you to be sure to hang around for the post credit scene. 

Sadly, our house does not have accommodations for dragons or felines, but we could sure use a pocket dimension.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

All Star


Some 
Body Once Told Me
The World Was Going Roll Me
(I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.)

I had a reasonably good opinion of my own intelligence once. There was some outside corroboration- I did quite well in school. My academic success was very much a triumph of drudgery rather than of innate intelligence. But if one drudges long and hard enough, one can mostly outrun the fear of being outed as a secret dummy.

Maybe until you have kids. Or at least until you have my kids.

The fact that I had a 4.0 GPA in college is now at best a surprising and amusing anecdote.  The ability to perform well in school has been a pretty useless skill in my adult life.

You might think that I could at least help my kids excel at school: help them proofread their papers, share tips on how to study for tests, suggest how to budget their time, etc.?

No. No. No. 
Absolutely not. 

I might even have an inverse effect when it comes to fostering academic prowess in my own offspring. 

You no doubt are wondering what this has to do with the napkin. Maybe not much. But to continue:

Like all things meme related, I was slightly confused when I noticed a year or two ago that my that my older son was repeatedly singing the opening lines to Smash Mouth’s 1999 song “All Star.” I was perplexed at the time, as I was pretty sure the song dated from before his birth. I don’t think I even recalled its use in the opening credits of the first Shrek movie- also released before his birth. 

As usual, I though this repeated singing of the song snippet was a sort of special torture he had cooked up for the adults in the house.

...but no, I discovered later, it was everywhere online.

This “All Star” / Shrek meme is a decade long, deep dark rabbit hole...which is actually a rabbit warren of significant proportions. I can’t even begin to explain it here.
(Go to https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/all-star?full=1 if you desire an overview)

But one particular iteration is the “Somebody Once Told Me” photo meme. In the first movie, Shrek throws open the door and bursts out of his outhouse, just as this line plays. 

The related memes feature two images with the text split between “Some/body once told me”  The second image is often something  surprising, upsetting and/or funny that is suddenly revealed from behind a door. Many of them are just variations on how funny it is when things go wrong for other people: falling down, blowing up, spilling something, generally getting clobbered in a demeaning way. 

In summary, the people rolling me have definitely burst out of my own personal outhouse. But I can only say, “get your game on, go play”

Cringe.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Attack of the Shaggy Meme


Stoner vs Kaiju and Saiyan

As I may have mentioned more than once in past posts, the Cerberus at the gates to my personal hell probably has three Scooby Doo heads. While I disliked the entire show during my own childhood, I was particularly unfond of the talking dog and his scraggly chinned, BFF-in-binge eating, Shaggy.

And during the last 15 or so years of parenting, I have felt like there is always a new Scooby Doo movie or TV show sneaking up on me while my back is turned. I wouldn’t say that our kids are major Scooby and Shaggy fans, but their appreciation for the pair has tested my patience on many occasions.

But until recently, I had no idea how Shaggy had been proliferating out of control in the world of online memes. In these memes, the joke is that he is amazingly powerful.

The genesis of online memes can often be random or mysterious, but All Powerful Shaggy has a couple precursors that are easy to spot.

I’ll assume we all know that Shaggy is usually a wimpy, fearful whiner, frequently manipulated into acting as ghoul-bait by promises of food...often dog food. 

But in “Scooby Doo!: Legend of the Phantosaur,” the 16th direct to video movie in the franchise (you read that right: 16th and it was only 2011) Shaggy is hypnotized to become a motorcycle-riding, bar-brawl-winning badass whenever he hears the word “bad.” 

In the earlier 2004 live action “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” there was a memorable scene where Shaggy and Scooby consumed a fridge full of transformative potions, culminating in a ridiculously “buff” super muscly version of Shaggy. (This came immediately after the Shaggy with breasts and a crop top. But the less said about that, the better.)

Perhaps the availability of these source materials made it possible for Shaggy to become the new version of the “Chuck Norris facts” meme.  Chuck Norris facts, as helpfully explained on knowyourmeme.com are, “a series of satirical factoids and hyperbolic claims that characterize the American celebrity martial artist and actor as an extremely tough, virile and alpha-male archetype.” The meme originated in 2005, and lasted a long while. 

For instance: “When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket.”

The Shaggy memes are usually more extreme than even the Chuck Norris facts.

In early 2019, it was popular to declare that Shaggy was actually an all powerful god who could end entire universes using only a small percentage of his powers- i.e. “Shaggy was responsible for the Big Bang while using only 14% of his power.”

Shaggy’s memed all-powerfulness also has anime/ manga inflection to it. He has recently appeared as a modded- in character in the game “Jump Force.” 

Previously some 270,000 people had signed an online petition to have Shaggy added in to the latest version of Mortal Kombat, so clearly the desire to see Shaggy fight is shared by more than just a handful of gamers. 

On this napkin, Shaggy is knocking down Goku, one of the superhuman fighters from Dragon Ball, having already trounced Godzilla. 

I would have liked to include a few more antagonists: Thanos? Darkseid? King Ghidora?
But let’s face it, just Goku and Godzilla were challenge enough.