Friday, April 28, 2017

Theo the Puppy


Dog with a Vlog:

Lance Stewart's new puppy Theo already has 285,000 followers on Instagram. 
Perhaps he should have his own YouTube channel to let his viewers know HOW HE'LL PRANK THOSE HUMANS.

(We're working on a series of internet famous dogs on napkins for my seriously dog-deprived son.)

In hindsight, I think I was trying to tune out the fact that our sons were watching a good deal of "vlogs" by social media personalities like Lance Stewart. 

You don't know who Lance Stewart is? 
(I am looking at you, Grandma. Mostly because you are the only person who I can safely assume will be reading this)

Mr. Stewart is a social media personality who has accrued almost 3 million followers on YouTube with engaging content like "LIQUID ASS PRANK GONE TERRIBLY WRONG" and "MY GIRLFRIEND SHOWS HER NIPPLES ON CAMERA?!" He is by all accounts a millionaire at age 20. 

The two vlog titles I have selected perhaps convey the wrong impression. Lance and his crew may be prurient, juvenile, and regressive on gender politics, but they are not terribly offensive. They shop at the mall, hang out at the gym, eat in restaurants and prank one another and their annoyed, but mostly compliant family members. And most importantly, they have a puppy.

From my curmudgeonly, geriatric perspective- as a person who grew up in the days when television and movies were scripted and performed by highly compensated professionals- this stuff is deeply, profoundly, and mind bogglingly, boring.

But Lance certainly does not care what I think. Nor do his millions of followers who count both of my sons among their enthusiastic ranks.  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dark Souls-like Character


When bedtime is announced to our two sons, the real festivities commence. There are usually costumes and epic battles involved. This guy was based on one such bedtime get-up. 

The actual, real world outfit involved a knee baring fleece bathrobe, a teal silk scarf, and plastic Dark Vader gloves, 

But no matter. Our sons intention was to invoke the mysterious and powerful sort of personage that I tried to capture here. 

...the sort of personage who might appear in Dark Souls III.

Or who could easily vanquish a ten year old brother in glorious, heroic battle somewhere in the time between tooth brushing and changing into pajamas.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Guppy Puppy and Lion Cub


Unattainable Pets:

Two pets that my pet-deprived son would really like to have live at our house:

Guppy the pug of YouTube and instagram fame and/or a lion.
Equally impossible wishes for me to fulfill, but at least I drew them on a napkin.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Donnie Darko Inspired Creepy Bunny Mask


It's Easter, why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

I have very fond memories of "Donnie Darko," and have considered whether it might be a movie that my sons would enjoy watching. I revisited it on my iPhone a few months back and came to the conclusion that it would definitely appeal to them, but that, for a variety of reasons, they were still too young for it.

But they are not too young for creepy bunny images on Easter. 
In fact, recently my younger son wanted me to buy him a scary bunny mask. 
Once again, he gets the poor substitute of a napkin. 

Happy Easter From the Giant Stuffed Bunny


Size matters:

Our son saw a 93" stuffed bear, apparently available for sale at Costco on someone's YouTube vlog, and expressed the opinion that we definitely needed to buy one. He offered to store it in his room. I estimate that it would occupy about 33% of the space in there.

I am pretty sure that we are already overwhelmed by objects that are not exactly, as the famous Japanese declutterer Marie Kondo would say, "sparking joy." I have often joked, unhumorously while picking up the 15th Nerf weapon that I have tripped over during a day, that we are ready to appear on an episode of "Hoarders."

So, no giant styrofoam filled bear from Costco for my poor deprived son, despite the fact that it would definitely spark joy.

I drew him with a 93" Costco style stuffed bunny instead. (I don't think they have these for sale there, although my son tells me that there are other varieties of bear)

He was not impressed with the napkin alternative.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gipsy Danger, Godzilla, Kong & Megazord


What do giant characters do when they hang out?

My sons are anticipating more movies and more team-ups between #megafauna #megazord and #megamech

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Godzilla in the Kitchen


Sometimes I Scare Myself

We have a rubber Godzilla mask left over from last Halloween. It sees a bit of use now and then.
Our younger son was creeping around in the kitchen while wearing it, and there was something...well...quite creepy about the performance. I would not care to go to the kitchen in the middle of the night and spot that sort of thing peeking around the cabinets. He creeped himself out also, so to speak.

My son tells me that the reason that the Daily Napkins Instagram account loses dozens of followers a day is that, in addition to the napkins themselves, I don't post pictures of us just doing stuff. (I have other theories, but I will pass on them for now)

He makes this assessment based on his careful study of various YouTubers and their Instagram accounts. I don't follow these folks on either platform myself, but based on what I overhear during the videos, I gather there are a lot of "here we are at Walmart goofing off with the massage chairs" sort of images.

These Youtubers are celebrities (of a sort), and apparently people want to see pictures of their lunches or of them at Duane Reade, filling a prescription for Grandma. I am pretty certain this not the case for us. But my son hypothesizes that it might be otherwise.

So here is one of us is goofing off in the kitchen....on a napkin, wearing a mask.

I don't think it will solve our Instagram attrition problem. Not that maintaining our Instagram following should be a priority. Our previous popularity on Instagram was mostly accidental, and no doubt, undeserved.

But fun, nonetheless.

And below is an image of my son inserting himself while I was trying to photograph the napkin with my phone, providing another Instagram worthy image. Sort of. I prefer not to post too many pictures of my kids' faces here on the blog, so he is obligingly covering himself up.

Ready for Instagram?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Foolish Fitness / Extreme Sports Pug


In honor of my canine deprived younger son and of the beginning of "Canine Fitness Month"-
Yes, I recently signed onto the email announcement list for the National Day Calendar Website. Apparently, they cover designated National Months as well. 

Thus I have been made aware of important dates like "National Something on a Stick Day" and "National Decorating Month."

And it is April Fool's day. We did not need to receive an email to know that.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Slave Knight Gael from Dark Souls


It's been spring break for our son, so we saw a good deal of this guy at our house.

This napkin was a rather haphazard effort...as...well...it has been spring break, and I have been busy feeding and cleaning up after the spring breakers. They were engaged in important labors...like defeating Slave Knight Gael. 

I have to admit I am looking forward to the resumption of school.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Proposed Sidekicks for Doctor Who in Season 10


Just some suggestions...

Yes, I know that they have already announced who the co stars will be for Peter Capaldi's last season. We even saw the Christmas special.

This napkin post is rather delayed, I am afraid. We had the conversation about who should replace the dear departed Clara quite a while ago. The kids both thought that a new sidekick should be someone other than another young attractive Caucasian woman, but could not agree on what sort of person should be next. I have assembled a cast of their favorites as potential companions.

Doctor Who is not really on our sons' minds right now, but as the tenth season is coming up soon, I thought perhaps it was time to post this one.

My younger son was happy to point out some of the many drawing failings on this one. Deadpool is too small,  the pug in the foreground is awkwardly posed. And, he would like to add that pugs aren't necessarily his favorite dogs right this now.

This napkin is definitely more about quantity rather than quality. Back when I was drawing two napkins a night, I used to have a rule about no more than two characters at a time. It made a lot of sense.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Skull Island Style MegaPuppy for National Puppy Day


Were you aware that today is National Puppy Day?

And if one consults the National Day Registry website, one can discover the life-improving information that March 23rd is also National Chip and Dip Day, and National Near Miss Day (something to do with an asteroid that passed within 500,000 miles of the earth in a previous year)

And my personal favorite: it is National Melba Toast Day.

I seriously considered drawing a puppy sitting on an asteroid, dipping a piece of Melba Toast into a bowl of dip. But instead, I took the easy way out and copied a Skull Island movie poster, replacing King Kong with a rather creepy young Chihuahua.

Because a puppy, or at least the lack of a puppy for our younger son, is a monstrously large topic at our house.

For the record, our son is very much against Chihuahuas, and no doubt particularly against ugly Chihuahuas like the one I have incompetently drawn here. Perhaps I felt the perverse need to enlarge a very small dog.

....and if by some bizarre twist of fate, we are ever able to acquire a dog, I am afraid it would have to be "a punter" as I can't imagine that we could handle a large, furry one. Thus I always feel the need to lobby for small dog acceptance.

P.S. That says "PUPPY" up there instead of "KONG" if that needs to be pointed out.


Monday, March 20, 2017

King Kong 2017 and Godzilla 2014


Mega-Fauna Meet-up:

Would King Kong and Godzilla be able to see eye to eye?
After watching "Skull Island," we want to know.

There's clearly been a good bit of inflation since the first Kong movie in 1933 and the first Godzilla outing in 1954. According to Wikipedia, Kong started out somewhere in the 18-24 foot range, although director Merian C. Cooper originally envisioned him at 40-50 feet. His latest incarnation in "Skull Island" which, yes of course, we had to see, seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of  80-100 feet.

The first Godzilla was around 160 feet tall, so he could just peer over the 1950's Tokyo skyline. The 2014 version was closer to 350 feet so as to compete with contemporary skyscrapers.

There is Internet chatter about the two meeting up in a movie sometime in the future....if their size disparity could be reconciled.

As you can see, I did not worry overmuch about the relative size question. I was too busy trying to handle the "which of the many versions of each am I drawing?

A previous Kong/Godzilla encounter
where they seem to be equally, if awkwardly, matched:

The Nerdist has a good overview of the relative Godzilla at this link


Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Lucky Pug


‪You have to ask yourself:‬
‪Do I feel lucky? ‬
‪Well, do you, Pug?‬


My kids tell me the dog should have been holding a gun as well as a pot of gold.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Star Wars Poker Game



‪"The fear of loss (in poker) leads to the dark side." 
...or don't try to cheat Yoda...unless, perhaps, you are a poker playing dog.

I thought about updating the "Dogs Playing Poker" background to something more spaceship appropriate...or maybe Tatooine-appropriate... But decided to go with the classic red and green pseudo club-decor.

The "Dogs Playing Poker" painting was actually a whole series of paintings produced by one artist over a period of years around 1894-1907 for an advertising campaign for a cigar company. Or so says Wikipedia. This image is a bit of a combination of three of them. 

My younger son was the one who suggested the poker game. He now tells me that the drawing did not live up to his expectations. He thought that R2D2 and "Chopper" the contrary droid from "Star Wars Rebels," should have been the ones passing cards in the foreground, as they both have extendible arms. 

Oh well. Another missed opportunity.


a couple of the paintings:



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Vulture and Viking



Do Vultures make good pets for Vikings?

Vikings are the mascot of my younger son's school.
He wrote a report on Vultures last week.

Are these facts excuse enough for this image?  
Probably not.  
Without a doubt, I just wanted to draw a vulture...and a viking with a fun hat.

I asked my son to share an interesting vulture fact. He offered that they can be cannibals

I think we can do better than that: Apparently vultures urinate are on their own feet and legs, perhaps to cool off and to kill any bacteria or parasites they have picked up from carrion.

...or from unwashed Vikings.





Monday, March 6, 2017

Taotie from "The Great Wall" has an eye on the Dynamic Duo from "The LEGO Batman Movie"


Yes, we had to see both The LEGO Batman Movie and The Great Wall.

‪My son and  I disagree on who would have the upper hand‬....and which movie was better....although he loved both. 

He proclaimed the story of the mutant lizard swarm attacking Matt Damon and ancient China as the better of the two movies. No accounting for taste, even in one's own offspring. Probably the less I say about The Great Wall, the better. But it was not altogether unpleasant. And the lizard attackers, while bizarre and unconvincing, were ok because they were not really scary for 10 year old viewers...or at least not for my ten year old viewer. It is possible that my son might be more jaded than the average 10 year old American boy when it comes to movie monsters, but I don't think that is entirely the case.

It was mildly interesting that the Taotie lizards are very vaguely related to a real concept in Chinese historical iconography. Matt Damon not so much.

I can however, unreservedly recommend the LEGO Batman movie  for those who are invested in LEGO and/or Batman because of personal interest, or because they are closely related to people who are.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Snake Clowns


Snake Clowns: More frightening even than family.

It was of course inevitable that we would see the Batman LEGO movie. I was surprised that we were able to wait a couple weeks to do so. My younger son and I did have an opportunity to see it earlier, but his older brother forbade us to see it without him. (So the younger brother and I had to go see "The Great Wall" instead. More on that later...if I have the fortitude)

Lego Batman is definitely worth seeing if you have had excessive exposure to all things Batman and Lego. It has a fine sense of humar about the Venn diagram intersection between the two fandoms: Adult Fans of LEGO meets Underage Fans of The Dark Knight. The movie is full of jokes both for people young enough to play with plastic bricks and people old enough to remember that "The Condiment King" was a real DC villain. That said, my kids, DC connoisseurs that they are, were already aware of Condiment King, but they seem to have aged out of actually playing with their collection of 10,000 Legos.

One of their favorite moments in the movie was the scene where Alfred tells Bat/Bruce that he has to overcome his worst fear. Bruce shoots back, "Snakes??!!" Then, "Clowns??!!" And finally, "Snake Clowns!!!" Alfred is talking about the fear of being part of a family again, but Batman retorts, "No, it's Snake clowns! And it's your fault for putting that idea in my mind!"

My rendition of snake clowns was not particularly successful, probably overly influenced by my uncomfortable childhood relationship with Bozo the Clown on TV...but perhaps they are a little bit more frightening than the LEGO version?



Yoda, C3PO, R2D2 and Wicket


Group selfie of the short of stature held up by the metallic:

This particular group of characters was requested by a non relative looking for a picture for a three year old Star Wars fan.

My younger son and I discussed what would Yoda, C3PO, and an Ewok be doing if they were together? His suggestion was that they should all be playing poker like the dogs in the well known "Dogs Playing Poker" painting.  He was familiar with it because we had a napkin a couple of years ago that brought up the idea of that painting.

While I agreed that was definitely a potentially funny scenario- (is the Ewok cheating with extra cards? Or is R2 using his extension arm to hold the cards?) Poker seemed maybe not the right fit for the those under 5.

Recently, the group selfie has become my lazy fall-back explanation for any grouping of characters.

My son tells me I still need to draw his poker game idea with Yoda, Wicket and the two droids.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dark Souls Birthday Cake


Frosting on Fire:

My younger son was disappointed that my frosting application was, shall we say, a bit more "expressionistic" on his older brother's birthday cake. "I can hardly tell that is a knight!" he complained.

Dark frosting is not generally not a good thing. And even the "No taste" red frosting tastes pretty bad. Therefore, I was not optimistic about the "knight sitting by the Dark Souls bonfire" request for this cake which would necessitate both blackish and reddish frosting. 

I compromised by "crumb coating" the cake in white and then skim coating a thin layer of lip-staining dark blue, brown and grey over the top. I used as little red as possible for the fire and sword. 

I did not hear anyone at the party complain about the taste, but perhaps they were sparing my delicate feelings.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Presidents' Day?


Presidential Pyramid Scheme:

Both kids were home today so I was busy with feeding, cleaning and transporting activities, so this napkin suffered from lack of attention.

While I was drawing, I tried to sit down with my younger son and talk him through the various characters of the living former presidents and my memories and impressions of them, but we only made it to Bill Clinton before he completely lost patience with me. 

Frustrated, I said something about how he always thwarted my attempts to teach him something and feel proud of myself for being educational. I was trying to be funny, but was simultaneously rather pathetic.

He said helpfully, "Oh, don't worry Mom, I am proud of you anyway."

Happy Presidents Day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Attack on /of Trump


On the Eve of Presidents Day:

If you asked either of our sons to do an impression of President Trump, he would squint, purse his mouth, and then say, "We have to build a wall!" They are aware of other Trumpisms and policies, but the wall concept seems to upstage everything else.

In the wildly popular (in Japan) manga and anime series, "Attack on Titan," humans live in small cities surrounded by huge walls, attempting to shelter from huge, apparently irrational and monstrous, naked humanoids or "Titans" who roam the countryside beyond the walls, attempting to eat any regular sized humans they can get their giant hands on. Most of the human protagonists of the series are members of the Survey Corps, an elite fighting unit trained in physics-defying tactics to try to protect humanity from the overwhelming Titan threat.

The iconic image for the series in its print, film and television formats, is that of the largest of the Titans- "the Colossal Titan" looking over the suddenly insufficient wall, with the hero of the survey corps standing in the foreground, facing him.

So what does this have to do with Presidents' Day and Donald Trump?
Well, perhaps the wall is enough?

There's been a good bit of Trump as Titan in Japan apparently. And some memes involving Trump, the Attack on Titan wall and Mexico.

We debated who should be facing off against the colossal Trump on our napkin. The kids suggested the president of Mexico, but this seemed like an obvious and an unfortunate solution to me....and hard for me to convey in a drawing.

I felt like the problem inside the wall might be related to the problem outside the wall.

In "Attack on Titan," the situation is revealed to be more and more complicated as the series progresses. It turns out the politics of the wall are not at all clear cut and that the Titans and the humans inside the walls have more in common than our heroes believed at the beginning. The Titans turn out to be more than just irrational inhuman monsters who lack external genitalia. And regular humans can be inflated to Titan proportions.

President Trump has definitely made it clear that the contemporary American political landscape is more complicated and fraught that many (myself included) previously would have thought, and that threats might come from inside as well as outside...or as in "Attack on Titan" even from within the walls themselves.

Snow Day Judge


A belated napkin from our snow day last week:

Snow Goon with Nerf "The Judge" blaster that shoots many, many darts. (30 in groups of 3)

...because snow goons appreciate excess.

When my son suggested that I draw this particular weapon, he directed me to a couple of YouTube videos in which vloggers discuss a "leaked" snapshot of this not yet produced gun with the intensity and detail with which some might parse the Zapruder film or a grainy snapshot of Bigfoot.

Foolish me. I have only recently become able to say, or type, the word "vlogger" with a straight face, and now I have to get my mind around the concept that there are adults who professionally discuss hypothetical Nerf merchandise at great length and in great detail. And there are tens of thousands of people who watch them.

Previously, I had difficultly understanding why my sons, and thousands, if not millions, of other people wanted to endlessly watch a stranger play Minecraft on YouTube.

My sons frequently expand my aging mind to accept new concepts.
Mostly against my will.


Alien Loves Predator for Valentines Day


‪A classic for Valentines Day:
Alien Loves Predator...my kids love both....everyone loves candy. ‬

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nerf Dogs


We survived the birthday party melee.
Although we will be retrieving foam darts from corners of our apartment, probably until we move or they take me away to the long term care facility.

The napkin does not at all capture the nature of the situation. Way too calm, organized and quiet.
My son was also disappointed that this napkin did not feature specific, identifiable kids.

The guns had to be specific and identifiable. I knew that, but I shirked on the kid part, I admit it.
I had previously set the bar too high by drawing his friends in the school cafeteria as specific recognizable dogs.  This had resulted in endless bickering over who got to be which dog.

I'll admit, I was more distracted here by just getting several guns in the picture and not having my half-assed perspective be too distracting.  And I did not want to fight over who got to be a pug again.

Links to some other kids-with-dog-heads napkins below, where I paid more attention to who was which canine... but there were no guns or living rooms to draw.




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nerf Frosting


Nerf Regulator with Unregulated Blood Sugar:
(So much Nerf. So much frosting.)

Of course if you have a Nerf themed birthday party, you might have to buy more Nerf stuff to prepare. And then, of course, people might bring Nerf stuff as gifts.
And then, you might really have A LOT of Nerf stuff.
The birthday cake features the Regulator, a not yet released gun. Apparently it has significant new features which renders it an essential acquisition. And the cake also needed to include the profile of the birthday child wearing his signature blue hoodie.
I was a little out of practice on the manufacturing and frosting of cakes. My gluten, dairy and sugar privileges have been suspended, perhaps permanently...as have my staying up to 3 am to do things like squirt horrifying amounts of frosting on birthday cakes privileges. 
Not being able to stay up late to wallow in sugar, dairy and gluten (and to snack on frosting while squirting it) did make the fabrication of this cake a bit more challenging.
While I did not feel particularly good about the appearance of the cake, I am told that it tasted pretty good despite the excess frosting.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gwenforte from Adam Gidwitz's "The Inquisitor's Tale"


We've just finished reading  The Inquisitors Tale: Or Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog" during our commute to school. Adam Gidwitz's illuminated "Canterbury Tales" like story of three kids and a possibly ressurected greyhound who narrowly escape martyrdom in medieval France is a nice counterpoint for morning rush hour on the New York City subway.

It is a little passive aggressive to read out loud to your kid in a packed subway car. People who are reading their own books have huffily moved away from us on more than one occasion. But in the mornings, really, no one has anywhere to go if they don't appreciate my interpretation of the text. Most people are pretty tolerant, or at least do their best to ignore me. Or are wearing earbuds anyway.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Siborgi with Nerf Stampede


Nerf This:

We remain horribly dog deprived. The latest desirable combination is a Corgi Siberian Husky mix, known as a Siborgi, or less, creatively as a Horgi. The best I can do is draw dogs on napkins.  This particular dog would be too hairy and non hypoallergenic to contemplate, even if the boys' father were not allergic to furry pets, mentally and spiritually.

We seem to be Nerf deprived also...but this is a purely relative perspective as it seems impossible to own enough Nerf weaponry. Ever.

The gun this dog is wielding has been discontinued, but you could still buy one for a couple of hundred bucks.  Well worth it for the Nerf completist, I am sure.

The rectangularity of Nerf stuff is clearly not my drawing strong suit, but you would think I would be improving by now...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Troll in Chief


According to Wikipedia, Troll dolls were one of the biggest toy fads in the United States from 1963-65.  This was, remarkably enough, before my time. But these Trolls were around everywhere during my childhood... usually dirty and bedraggled and naked... They were all probably somewhere between 4 and 12 years old by then. I think it is safe to say that few  treat an old troll doll with care.

I did not like these dolls when I was a kid.  I found them disgusting and disturbing and did not understand why there were so many of them.


When you say "troll" now, most people do not think of ugly plastic dolls with excess hair.

My kids find the concept of online "trolling" to be very amusing. As does, apparently much of the population of the United States.

As a self-serious, so-called responsible adult, I find the idea of messing with things and people just for the joy of antagonism and disorder...well, annoying, if not downright dangerous.

Other people feel differently, of course. Perhaps they feel that disorder and conflict are an improvement.

My feelings about President Trump are not mild, and I find it extremely challenging to get my mind around why reasonable people would even want to watch him speak on TV, let alone elect him to be leader of the free world.

I am trying to understand, however. It is not useful...or reasonable...to dismiss a substantial part of the nation as stupid and/or crazy.

I found listening to the most recent episode of  This American Life, "The Revolution Starts at Noon" useful. The first segment was about "The Deploraball," a "party for trolls who say they memed Trump into the presidency." Self proclaimed trolls tried to explain what was positive about trolling and why it might be a compliment to call Donald Trump the "Troll in Chief."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nerf with Polar Bear


We have a birthday party coming up and it seems that spendy plastic devices that shoot foam darts are going to be the theme.

We once had a plastic bin in the living room that I labeled "weapons" to corral the Nerf collection. Now every container is full things with names like  "Elite Retaliator," "Rapidstrike," "Hailfire" or "Mega Rotofury." Ok, we don't have that last one, but I thought the name was especially nice. There really aren't other toys that require a bin.

Truly the proliferation and variation in the Nerf arsenal strikes admiration in a capitalist mind. There is always some new amazing variation that must be purchased! Actually, more like 14 variations. I imagine a warehouse full of busy designers cooking up new configurations.

Most birthday parties at our house evolve- or devolve, depending on your perspective- into an all out melee involving every foam weapon in the house. This particular party is distinctive only in that we are preparing for Nerf activities in advance. I have purchased a weapon that holds an astounding 144 darts at a time in preparation for a game of Nerf Marco Polo.

The mind boggles.

There was some sort of Pixel Gun related request for a picture of the soon to be birthday boy riding a polar bear.

Unfortunately, there will be no polar bears at the birthday party.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Giant Squid in Trump Lobby


Observing January 20th, 2017:
The Lobby of Trump Tower, New York. 
(Where global warming is definitely not real)

We've been busy with our own petty concerns today, so I have mostly observed a news blackout on national events. 

But we did notice that today was Inauguration Day.

While their take on presidential politics may not be very nuanced, global warming is definitely a political issue that motivates my kids. 

I am always happy to try to draw a giant squid. The lobby of Trump Tower was clearly too much for me. Not to mention trying to draw it under water.

I don't think I have ever personally been to this lobby, but I read that there was some issue about a public bench which used to sit along the wall on the right side of this pass-through. The bench was mandated as public space in return for additional air rights.

At some point, the bench was replaced by a counter for "The Trump Shop" which sells merchandise like the "Make America Great Again" hats and Trump souvenir teddy bears. Perhaps one might view this instance as a microcosmic instance of petty private gain prevailing over public good. Or not.

One could imagine that hats and teddy bears could be appealing to giant squid.

As I know all my readers here (all four or five of you who remain besides my mom) don't necessarily share our perspective on recent events, I will just leave it there.

Giant Squid are cool: 
We can all agree on that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pixel Gun Pets


Pixel Gun 3D continues to be a compelling, if fraught game for our sons.

I don't know much about the game besides the fact that it drives the kids to intense conflict.
But I gather that you can have various pets, including a Polar Bear, Unicorn and a Phoenix.

My sons corrected me, pointing out that the Dragon is not actually a pet, and he is very small. One can google "pixel gun pet dragon" and get results that seem to indicate otherwise.

But I guess you can't believe everything you see online.

Laurence from Bloodborne


Laurence from Bloodborne

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Holiday Paddle Boarding in Color


Paddle Boarding to Cambodia: An attempt at a compilation of my kids' winter break this year.
(Or at least to Paddle Boarding to Florida, my husband was in Cambodia, but he was motorcycling rather than paddle boarding)

For those not interested in slogging through the blather below. Briefly, clockwise from top left: the possibly terrifying bee, the lead stork from "Storks," my older son's Bloodborne character, "The Messengers" from Bloodborne, an unhappy resort worker dressed as an elf, a character from the movie "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," The "Door to Hell," Peter Cushing as Gran Moff Tarkin from the original "Star Wars" and "Rogue One" riding Mike the Headless Chicken, an unidentifiable paddle boarder who might be a relative-or not, an Ewok from "Return of the Jedi" and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia from the original Star Wars movie.

And now in further detail with more blather:

This image is maybe trying to be the alternative/pop culture history of our two weeks off from school.

Perhaps I should begin with the obvious: the boys and I were fortunate enough to spend some of the break in Florida. Among the recreational options were parasailing, jet skiing and paddle boarding. Being afraid of the sails and the skis, I pushed hard for the boards. They seemed like a relatively safe option that might work for most of us.

Results were definitely mixed. But the good news is that we all survived the experience. And I had the important opportunity to teach my older son that it is not nice to laugh loudly within earshot of strangers who are falling off of their stand up paddle boards. One should only enjoy the misfortune of others silently.

While my sons are no longer overtly obsessed with Star Wars, the viewing of Rogue One at the beginning of their break and the announcement of Princess Leia's, sorry, Carrie Fisher's, death, were major events, and therefore there are Star Wars characters on the paddle boards.

The kids were fairly pleased with Rogue One overall, noting with delight the cool subvarieties of storm trooper outfits and weapons. They were not so pleased by the CGI reanimation of the youthful Princess Leia at the end, pronouncing her brief appearance as "creepy and weird."

The reanimation of Peter Cushing as Gran Moff Tarkin, the one of the primary Death Star baddies from the first Star Wars movie, seemed more successful. He was on screen several times, and I spent the movie vaguely troubled about him, as I was pretty sure Mr. Cushing was deceased. And if not, damn, he looked unbelievably good for someone who had not been a young man back in 1977.

Obviously, despite my unease, I was not paying close attention. On further reflection, of course Tarkin was a CGI product, although clearly he had much more successfully crossed the uncanny valley than the reanimation of the young Miss Fisher.

Seeing the digital recreation of characters that I first met when I was ten in the company of my sons who are close to the same age (well, 9 and 13, for a little while longer) made me both nostalgic and sad. Of course Cushing and Fisher are now both late. Cushing died back in 1994 and was not someone I thought about all that much. I found myself strangely affected by Carrie Fisher's death. I guess I had been continuing to pay attention to her, even if I wasn't following her on Twitter. And she seemed awfully young. The kids were relieved to discover that she had already filmed her scenes for the next movie. They predicted that Leia will die in some sort of spaceship explosion...but with CGI, who knows.

Also paddle boarding is one of the young lovelies from "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" which our younger son insisted that I watch with him on the flight down to Florida. While he was completely ignorant of the original Jane Austen novel, he was very taken with the idea of attractive young ladies in fancy dresses slicing up the undead. The reality is of course that the movie was a bit slow for those who missed all of the Austen references and jokes. It was herky-jerky: Masterpiece Theater interspersed with episodes of armed combat and ghoulish mayhem. But we couldn't follow much of the dialogue on the plane anyway. We had tried to get through watching it during our last airplane trip many months ago. But, much to my dismay, my son declared that it had been too long, and we had to start over again and watch the thing in its entirety. One viewing would have been more than enough for me.

On the plane ride home, we watched "Storks" which is uncreatively represented by the seagull-ressembling stork on the upper right of the drawing. As fast as I am concerned, the less said about that movie the better. But I notice that it ranks much higher on Rotten Tomatoes than "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," so perhaps I should not be too harsh.

The PS4 game "Bloodborne" dominated our trip, much as my son's avatar does the foreground of this image. His entire carry on bag was monopolized by the PS4 itself and related paraphernalia. I had originally floated the idea of traveling with the game platform back when I thought I might be taking the kids to California over the holidays to cool their heels at an alternative medical center for a couple of weeks while I tried to beat back my psoriasis through an extended of not eating.

Fortunately, that was not necessary as I had already done enough not eating at home, and we headed off for a much less alternative trip with grandparents and food. But the concept of bringing the kids' joint Christmas/Hanukkah present remained.

Once the hotel had kindly provided us with our very own supplemental hotspot, so their kids could bathe in extra electromagnetic in their bedroom, the elder boy was able to talk to and play with his New York friends online in Bloodborne.

Of course this made every other activity instantly uncompelling in comparison. Any outing, even to beach or pool, had to be forcefully parentally mandated. I was not surprised that, for my adolescent son, a dark room with virtual friends trumps outdoor sunshine and actual family every time, but it does make me tired.

I am not sure what function the toothy, top-hatted skeletal "Messengers" perform in Bloodborne, but here one of them is holding the one intact conch shell that we found on the beach.

As we were in Florida over Christmas, we were able to partake of the resort's holiday activities, which seemed to all include the wearing of red and green "elf hats." Everybody got one, or several, if necessary. And many of the resort employees were somewhat unfortunately dressed as elves from head to toe. The elf hat wearer in the drawing is only visible from the shoulders up, so we can't tell whether he is sweating in an ill fitting zip-up polyester elf costume or not.

I think we got into the topic of Mike, the very famous headless chicken because of a comment about someone running around like decapitated poultry. I suspect that the comment may have been made by an adult and aimed at a child, but I cannot remember for certain. We ended up talking for quite a while about how Mike lived without his head for almost two years. He earned his beheader a good bit of money on the sideshow circuit. It is an amusing story, if you have not already wasted enough time reading to this point.

Behind Mike is something known as "the door to hell."  I don't remember the original source of that conversation, although I do recall that we had also discussed long burning tire fires in general and the one on the Simpsons in particular. Our sons are veritable fonts of information courtesy of their YouTube viewing habits, they are well caught up on topics like "Amazing Things You Won't Believe." These videos cover topics ranging from people with bizarre medical conditions or talents, spectacular natural disasters, or people who have bathtubs or bunkbeds built to resemble famous movie characters or sets.  And an enormous flaming sinkhole in Turkmenistan that has been burning for over 40 years, apparently, as they were both quite well informed about it.

The bee is looming in the foreground because my sons have an intense irrational aversion to bees and wasps. (Sorry for outing you as bee phobes online, kids, but I am pretty sure no one but you and your grandmother has actually read this far). I am not sure how this happened. Neither of them has ever been stung. We came across a very wet and bedraggled bee on the beach in Florida. I offered the usual parental admonishment to leave it alone and it will not bother you....even more so in this case, and this particular bee was busy being soggy. I then walked away. Later, I began to suspect that something bad might have happened to this bee, perhaps involving my sons and some sand. They are not talking, particularly after I delivered a lecture about the importance of bees for pollination and the future survival of the human race.

I think that pretty much covers it.  I skipped the Ewok who is lurking on the paddle board behind Leia, but I don't thing anyone needs to read more.


Back to the napkins....

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Holiday Paddle Boarding


A compilation of our Winter Break... sort of.

I am going to work on explaining this tomorrow... or maybe even on finishing it.  That poor bee is missing a leg.  Although, that may well have been the case by the time my kids got done with him....

Holiday Card 2016


 I usually try obscure the kids' faces somehow to foil face recognition software...and to make them more willing to participate.

But never before have the results been so creepy.

The card's text said something about how "we see a sweet holiday ahead for you" 
But I don't think anyone was fooled.