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.