Monday, March 23, 2020

SCPs for COVID-19

SCPs May Not Comply with Social Distancing:
(Because fear of imaginary things is so much more fun than fear of real things)

As contagion spreads throughout the world, and we hunker down in our apartment, pathetically bickering with one another and eyeing our diminishing stock of toilet paper, it is amusing to think about fictional threats.

I had been unsuccessfully trying to understand my sons’ interest in SCPs for quite a while before the current pandemic.

As usual in these sorts of posts: either your eyes have just rolled up in your head because how slow can this old napkin lady be?  or, you don’t have the vaguest idea what an SCP is and are pretty sure you don’t want or need to know. 
But to soldier on, despite your reasonable reservations: 
As far as I can tell, the SCP thing is a more recent instance of the online “Creepypasta” phenomenon: scary stories based in a basic organizing concept, collaboratively posted online by many people.

For the sake of expediency, I will quote from the knowyourmeme page: “SCP is a creative writing wiki centered around documenting descriptions and containment procedures of fictional objects and entities that are considered scientific anomalies and often pose a threat to society or the personnel containing it. Every entity has its own entry is labeled with a number, with "SCP" as a prefix”

SCP-049 resembles a medieval plague doctor, though the clothing and mask are somehow part of the entity’s physical body. Sadly, we can’t grow our own masks to prevent COVID-2.

SCP-096, or “Shy Guy” on the right, is often pictured with a huge gaping, muti-toothed maw. So he needs an extra large 3M mask.  I won’t attempt to detail his characteristics here, but it seems he is compelled to kill anyone who catches a glimpse of his face (even, perplexingly, represented in a photograph.... but drawings are ok- so we are safe!) 

Perhaps Shy Guy is enjoying all the social distancing.

Cupcake with Cthulhu and Godzilla

Belated Birthday Napkin:

Assessing my kids’ tastes grows ever more challenging. The day when I was sure that drawing Batman and Lightning McQueen on a napkin would be satisfying to someone have definitely passed...(which is not to say that the four year old recipient of that napkin would not have given me extensive notes on how I could have done a better job)

Selecting gifts for the recent 17th birthday definitely presented a challenge as well. I picked out a couple of t-shirts, though I was concerned that they would be deemed hopelessly uncool. 
But one of the two, featuring a fight poster proclaiming a match between Godzilla and Cthulhu was deemed “actually sort of fire” by the recipient, and he even wore it for his birthday party.  The other one hasn’t been worn and will go unmentioned here.

To go with the T-shirt, here is the napkin.
Will they fight over the cupcake? I made 96 mini cupcakes for the party and we still have an appalling number left a week maybe not.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Presidential Tanning

Four Tan Men:
(Happy Presidents Day)

I gather from a few minutes of online research that today’s school holiday originated as George Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd), later included Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th)...and was finally codified into a federal holiday by Richard Nixon’s executive order, passing all of the provisions of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971. 

In other words, an opportunity to draw our current executive in chief with some of his holiday-related predecessors.

I notice the color photos of Richard Nixon available online seem to suggest that he was often a well tanned man. (The days of Kodachrome film perhaps?)

One can only guess that in the days before electric lights, Presidents Washington and Lincoln got enough outdoor time to maintain their healthy complexions. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentines 2020

We Ship Baby Yoda and Pikachu for Valentines Day:

I really aspired to coming up with something less predictable than this, but predictable was the best I could do today.

Our son commented that there might be a lot of romantic fan fic out there about these two. I cannot confirm or deny.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Wilfred Warrior

Still the Internet’s Reigning Apex Predator

We don’t live with a cat. After many years of cohabitation with felines, I may have a special place in my heart that is lined with hairballs and clawed funiture, but my sons don’t. 

But they still appreciate online cats. Because...  apparently everyone does. Our older son has shown me innumerable cat memes and vines, including recently one of his favorites from 2018 featuring internet famous cat Wilfred and actor Michael Rappaport.

I think it was the author of “The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World,” Abigail Tucker who explained that cats combine three persuasive qualities: Their giant forward facing eyes remind us of cute babies. But the same facial structure also suggests their predatory name. And cats are not facially emotive like dogs, so they present us with a blank surface on which to project our emotions....and memes.

And who better combines the triumvirate of cuteness, menace and blankness than internet famous cat, Wilfred? The Chinchilla Persian’s social media presence is what you might expect from a feline with 1.2 million followers: pictures and videos of Winfred, lapping water, sitting various places, riding in the car, being taken shopping...

....all the while, projecting an existentially destabilizing, double Eye of Sauron-like, baleful, yet blank, judging gaze over all of humanity. 

Michael Rapport’s YouTube video where he profanely and hysterically exclaims over a video of Wilfred, well, just sitting blankly in a backyard, comedically underlines the potential threat of that unblinking saucer eyed stare. 

According to Rappaport, YouTube took the video down because of “cat shaming.”

Or because it is not wise to make fun of your predator. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Bass and Norton

“A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle”...
But a Striped Bass might need a Norton, no?

It’s not drawn on a napkin, I am sorry to report. But the needed man in question does not need another napkin.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Pennywise, Joker, and Birthday Child

Birthday Child with the Imaginary Uncles He Didn’t Know He Wanted at the Time

One of our kids just had a significant birthday, marking his transition into official teenhood.

The birthday elicited reminiscing about his receding youth. We spent some time looking at a disk of photos from kindergarten. (Though it was challenging- at this point, we only have one ancient computer in the house that has a disk drive)

For the birthday napkin- and to thwart facial recognition software-I thought I would draw him as a five year old. He is posed with two of his favorite characters from the present day...because violent and horror themed characters hanging around a small child is quite amusing to snarky teens. 

I’m pretty sure he was familiar with the Batman Animated version of the Joker as a five year old, but fortunately Pennywise was not present in any format. 

Sadly, the Nightwing t-shirt doesn’t fit anymore. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Baby Yoda and Geralt of Rivia

The Child as the Child Surprise in the Bathtub:

Last week I thought it was time to be done with Baby Yoda napkins, but then I watched some of Netflix’s The Witcher, featuring the plot point of “The Law of Surprise” which becomes “The Child Surprise,” and suddenly “The Child” from the Mandalorian popped back into my mind. 

The Witcher show, the Witcher game and Witcher memes have all been in circulation at our house lately. I initially had some difficulty watching Henry Cavill grumbling in a dirty white hairpiece, but eventually succumbed to the sublime ridiculousness of it all. 

And there ‘s not one, but two! bathtub scenes in the course of one season! Strangely, bathing seems to be a thing in fantasy video games. I often find our older son’s avatars in some sort of undressed state in a bath while recuperating between bouts of dueling and pillaging.  Apparently Geralt the Witcher also sits in a bathtub in his game. But he does not have Superman’s body. 

While looking for source material for this image, I particularly enjoyed watching a video clip of a slightly less chiseled Mr. Cavill on a talk show couch, explaining how he severely dehydrated himself for days to make his muscles look better before these scenes.

So if I were going to draw Geralt, I felt I had to put him in a bath. The fact that he is shirtless, of course “makes it one hundred times worse!” according to our younger son. 

Mission accomplished, I think.

Our son did add that it was not as bad as the previous “Boob Yoda” napkin. (Wonder Woman armor with Baby Yoda breast plates) 
I have to point out that “Boob Yoda” has been marginally more liked than many of our other recent napkins.

And I think it definitely should be a hashtag:
But then there’s the “booby” oda problem.
Now I’ve really made my kids uncomfortable.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Decade Ago in Napkins

Napkins from 2010 or before:

I have to admit the  exact dates are a bit imprecise before 2011 when I started posting them at 

Before that, used napkins were collected in cardboard boxes and the kids spread them around the house when they waxed nostalgic and wanted to revisit their fixations of years, or months, past. 

I started drawing for the first kid in 2006, and there were maybe three or four years of just Sharpie, mostly black, with some special efforts in Sharpie colors. 

By the time the second child was added to the program in 2009, I had caved in to the pressure for more color.

Then there was the pressure to fill in the whole napkin and have multiple characters.

Napkins with too much white space were perceived as shirking. And god forbid if one kid’s napkin had less white space than the other- that was a blatant case of favoritism. 

While the napkins did return home most often, they were improved by selective crumpling and applications of yogurt and catsup.

Eventually I graduated to more expensive art markers that allowed a wider palette and faster coverage of the surface. 

And eventually the kids stopped using them as, well, napkins.

My younger son looked at the image of the sand person napkin tonight and told me my drawing has improved a lot. While this is true, these truly daily napkins back from the early days with a six year old and a two year old were only drawn at night after the kids were in bed in the midst of multiple other domestic chores including of course, the packing of a nutritious lunch (so nutritious!)

So, my time was rather limited, and the finessing of sand person fingers was not a priority.

But yes, I do draw better after 13 years of napkins, it is true. 

Baby Yoda Breastplate

Cringeworthy Pop Culture Combination:
(which seemed obvious to me... but my son promises we will lose even more followers than usual)

Now that I am more or less liberated from trying to make a small child happy at a school lunch by drawing on a napkin, I can focus on producing napkins that make adolescents cringe. 
Cringing is a term that is definitely compelling to the contemporary adolescent mind, compelling in a way that I can’t quite grasp. 

One of our sons eagerly follows “make me suffer” on reddit, which is definitely a cringe fest.

But nothing makes one suffer more than the embarrassing behavior of one’s parents during one’s adolescence. 

But, beyond tormenting my sons: let me be honest, when I saw the promotional materials for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, featuring this fetishized, neon, 80’s style, close-up of the breastplate of her “Eagle Armor,” the universe whispered “Baby Yoda” in my ear. 

My apologies. Unfollow at will.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Mandalorian Menorah

Happy 8th Night of Hanukkah 
(Somehow I forgot to post this on the actual night)
There were a couple Baby Yoda Christmas themed napkins, so I thought we ought to represent other holidays. 

Babies Groot and Yoda Celebrate 2020

Happy New Year:
One last Baby Yoda, with his predecessor, Baby Groot.

Not my best effort, but look at those cool glasses! It’s a good year for New Year’s eyewear.

Here’s to better drawing in 2020.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Homemade Wrapping Paper 2019

Homemade Wrapping Paper:
Does it redeem mediocre gifts?

Perhaps not this year, but I remain optimistic about the future.

This year I drew the kids wrestling with their heads replaced by animals. 

Why? You may ask. 
Because last year I drew zombie Santa, sharks, and animals wearing reindeer menorah those topics were already done.

I usually try to not leave too much time to make wrapping paper because then I fuss over it too much, which does not improve it, and is perhaps inappropriate for something that is meant to be crumpled and removed.

But this year I did not have time to make enough and things were unwrapped...and the paper I did make was not exactly up to the already very low wrapping paper standards....

But.....there’s always next year, right?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Santa Yoda

Merry Christmas 2019

I promised Baby Yoda wearing a ugly Hanukkah sweater this week, but Christmas was today, and we still have a few more days of Hanukkah to work with.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Happy Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

The Season To Be Jolly ‘Tis 
And apparently nothing cannot be improved by Baby Yoda

Next week: ‘The Child” wearing unattractive Hanukkah sweaters? 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Faux Furries in December

Some Faux Fur is More Faux Than Others:

It’s Faux Fur Friday
(The first Friday in December, according to the National Day Calendar)

I was thinking that we should have a napkin about upcoming December movies...the latest and much anticipate Star Wars saga finale is looming.... And then there is “Cats.” On the way to school in the morning, we squint in the glow of giant screens in the Union Square subway station,  playing clips from the Cats trailer.

When I suggested a furry team up of a Star Wars character and a Cats character, our younger son warned me that we would surely lose a lot of followers on Instagram.

That sounded like a challenge to me.

I picked Ian McKellen’s character, Gus, “the theater cat,” because Mr. McKellen has appeared in other movies the kids have seen. And his cat personage was perhaps not quite as disturbing as some of the others.

I always though Chewbacca’s lips were troubling.

But in this context, maybe not so much. 

(And, National “Kiss a Wookiee Day” is June 15th)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ok Boomer Baby Heads

“Ok Boomer”

I have to admit that in my basic boomerishness, I did not initially understand the intense appeal of this phrase for my kids. 

They enjoyed using it on one another. And of course it can be gleefully applied to any older person (parent) who might be trying to tell you something useful or offering any implied criticism. 
It is a verbal eye offhand dismissal of age and authority.

Of course our kids have been dismissive since toddlerhood. Arguably, even since infancy. 
I am not sure how we managed to produce such bizarrely empowered  small people. 

(Though I do have my theories about the difficulties of parenting without fear or the threat of physical pain in the toolkit....and then there’s the genetics of it. My husband and I used to often joke about where on the chromosome was the default no setting?) 

When both kids were quite young, strangers and educators often remarked on each one’s abilities to say no to adults. 

One son told his nursery school teacher that he could not do what she asked because he was too “dehydrated.” On another occasion, he could not comply because he was “too depressed.” She was quite effectively derailed by these statements. 

And they have always been particularly good at saying no to their parents. I am not sure what the evolutionary advantage of constantly verbally antagonizing one’s parents might be while one is still totally dependent upon them even for basic toileting and nourishment, but there is it.

In one memorable incident, as my husband was haranguing our younger son, age three or less, for some terrible toddler crime, our son replied casually, “Oh, take a shower, old man.” “Ok boomer” is an improvement I guess.

(These are the kids’ infant heads on their teenager bodies, if that needs to be said. We don’t own the shirts, but there seem to be widely available online)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Baby Yoda Thanksgiving Parade Ballon

Baby Yoda Crushes it as Thanksgiving Balloon:

(There wasn’t one in the parade as far as I know...but certainly it is only a matter of time before the internet demands representation.)

To be completely honest, we did not even watch the broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV. Our kids have always been rather uninterested in this New York tradition. 

However, it was really, really windy this morning, so I did spend a good bit of time reading online about the various giant character balloon accidents that have happened over the many decades of the parade’s history.  While there was only one incident serious enough to put someone into a coma- the Cat In The Hat was the offender- there have been many more mishaps that resulted in damage to streetlights, lost bystander teeth, damaged character dignity, and general panic and distress. 

The parade proceeded today despite the winds, but I heard that they held the balloons very close to the ground, practically on top of their armies of handlers. 

Certainly Baby Yoda would never hurt the rope holders or specatators, would he?

Late and very hurried napkin, (had to spend much of the day making the whole kitchen sticky with sweet potatoes) but Happy Thanksgiving  nonetheless!

And, last but certainly not least, our younger son deserves the concept credit- I was just going to draw baby Yoda riding a wild turkey....much less appropriate!