Sunday, August 31, 2014
And one last poorly executed iteration of the napkins replacing faces concept before we return to our regularly scheduled schoolday napkin programming.
The kids are each sporting the face of their favorite monster: Archer has a specific Predator named Dark from the "Alien vs. Predator" game, while Ansel has a non-trademarked red eyed "Devil Wolf" of his own design.
They are holding monster faces in bed, because...well...more often than not...they are monsters at bedtime.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Due to a cancelled vacation and a sick parent, we are festering at home this weekend watching too much TV. To be more specific: we are watching too many Minecraft Youtube videos mirrored on the TV.
Rewatching "Pacific Rim" last evening was a welcome respite for me from "mod showcases." This is not to say that I do not continue to marvel at the appeal of those mod videos. If we think about the vast sums of money necessary to create a film like "Pacific Rim" versus the minimal overhead involved in a Minecraft mod showcase, and then consider that my sons seem to find the two equally compelling....I'm not really sure what my point is...perhaps I am coming down with something also...
But there are hundreds of Minecraft mod videos available to watch right now, while we will be waiting impatiently for a long time for the "Attack on Titan" movie and the sequel to "Pacific Rim."
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
"Attack on Titan" and "Titanfall" seemed like an obvious combination that we were going to have to get around to sometime.
These two games allow a player to not only maneuver in three dimensional space while fighting against Titans but also to inhabit those Titans.
My poor sons are still horribly deprived of access to "Titanfall" as it is a M rated game, but they have been playing the "Attack on Titan" tribute game.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Ansel is quite fond of the first feature length LEGO movie from long ago in 2010, but viewing it again does make the more recent "LEGO Movie" look much better by comparison.
The strawberry does not appear in the movie.
Here's a link to a really old Clutch Powers' image featuring the destruction of broccoli.
Here's a link to a really old Clutch Powers' image featuring the destruction of broccoli.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Tourist trapped: The kids in the Toy R Us in Times Square.
Who goes to Times Square in August?
Apparently we do. There were extenuating circumstances that brought us to the Toys R Us two days in a row, but I can't say that they really constituted a valid excuse.
Since I knew we were going to return the next day, I thought why not do a couple of portraits overnight so I could torture the kids on the second visit?...And that way I could be extra sleep deprived while navigating the seething masses of tourists.
I completely failed to match the green of the Hulk's LEGOs. I should have posed them in front of the animatronic dinosaur instead.
They were much more enthusiastic about posing for this one. If only I had known ahead of time that there would be a Predator among the bedraggled Elmos and Spider-men...
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Ansel just completed an intensive six week tutoring program which was staffed by six unfailingly positive, supportive, professional, and not incidentally as far as my son is concerned, extremely attractive young women. I can barely get Ansel to look at a few flash cards with me without all sorts of pain and suffering and maybe even the shedding of blood. They, however, were able to effect a miraculous transformation in his reading skills.
The question of what sort of token to give these exemplary young women to indicate our appreciation for their hard work was one for which I could not really find a satisfactory answer.
Thus, among other things, this "Thank You Napkin" happened. I had to make six prints of it, as there was no way that I was gong to manage to produce six individual napkins.
Although had I done six napkins, perhaps the practice might have led to one satisfactory portrait of Ansel. As it was, I made my son look a bit like a pasty faced, annoyed old lady (a much more apt description of myself).
But it's bright, isn't it?
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Perhaps you are an older adult who does not have a child. (If so, it is unlikely that you would be reading these words, but stranger things have happened online certainly)... At any rate, in that case, you might not be aware of the phenomenon that is Minecraft, or of the professional category that is "Youtuber."
At the center of the overlapping categories of Minecraft and Youtubing ("Youtubering"?) is Dan of TDM. He is certainly not the only one, and not even the most popular (with only around 3 million subscribers and over 1 billion views) but he is one of my kids' favorites. They claim to have watched all of his videos. I hope this is not an accurate statement as it would be a damning commentary on my parenting.
To return to the hypothetical person who does not already follow The Diamond Minecart: You might ask what does this man Dan do to earn the eyeballs of over three million people? He plays the Minecraft video game in all of its amazing variations, while narrating his progress.
Minecraft is a "sandbox" game which is open to endless modification and specialization by its players. Dan demonstrates various "Mods." Among them: "Flying Cows," "Grand Theft Auto," "Super Mario World, and, more disturbingly, "New Girlfriends!" He is often accompanied by a "villager," Dr. Trayaurus. Trayaurus is mostly a mindless AI, but Dan uses him as a sidekick and comic foil.
The endless watching of videos of other people playing video games seemed odd and inexplicable to me back when my sons first started doing so. I still have moments of disbelief that the kids who cannot bear to sit through a few minutes of expository dialogue in a movie can spend hours listening to Dan as he narrates an activity in Minecraft, often something not exactly gripping like building a swimming pool.
I have to note that Dan is my personal favorite of the Minecraft Youtubers. He is relentlessly upbeat, his British accent is soothing, and he does not scream expletives when he gets killed by a Creeper.
Friday, August 15, 2014
....Or, if my sons were to title it: More documentation of child abuse in Brooklyn.
Archer and Ansel were most unhappy to be roped into participating in my profile picture update. And I did not even have the good grace to offer a new toy or more screen time as an enticement for cooperation.
But at my advanced age and chronically sleep deprived state, really the best thing I can do to improve a photo of myself is to put a cute child or two in it, preferably in front of me.
I couldn't quite manage to get them in front here. Orchestrating this picture was harder than usual, as I couldn't see what was going on, and the kids were too busy expressing their disapproval to tell me whether the phone was pointed in the right general direction or not.
Perhaps it was just as well that I couldn't see myself. I certainly photograph better in marker than in person. Fortuitously, it's pretty much impossible to capture the things that happen to one's neck after age 45 on a napkin.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
"Attack on Titan" is a licensing opportunity as of yet untapped by the LEGO corporation.
My sons were displeased to hear that this drawing was not based on a presently available product.
LEGO minifigures and their constituent parts are constantly underfoot in our house, causing me significant physical pain, no doubt akin to that which the survey corps cause to the colossal titan. At least they cannot reach the nape of my neck yet.
Archer told me this drawing would have been cooler if only I had included the clouds of exhaust coming out of the back of the "3D maneuver gear," but there are no revisions on napkins.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Fairytale team-up: Beast Master Goldilocks, Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer and Red Riding Hood the Zombie Hunter.
The kids were quite excited about Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen's graphic novel, "Pinocchio Vampire Slayer."
Somehow Ansel has made it to the ripe old age of seven without having ever seen the classic Disney movie version of the story, so many of the jokes had to be explained to him. Perhaps it had something to do with having an older brother who had moved on to more "mature" and contemporary fare by the time he was ready for Classic children's movies.
But last night, this big brother told him that he had to watch the movie today so that he could appreciate the book fully. Archer said, and I quote, "It's a classic movie of American culture- like 'Independence Day.' You really have to see it. And it has all sorts of stuff like smoking and drinking!!"
The promise of drinking and smoking was not enough to sell the movie today. Ansel was also unimpressed by the two girls pictured on the napkin, and particularly did not like Red Riding Hood's basket, even after I filled it with very unQuaker grenades.
But they are looking forward to finishing the book tonight.
Friday, August 8, 2014
Wade Wilson delivers some fruit justice, but is seriously upstaged by a giant strawberry.
Of course my sons like Deadpool. He's a sarcastic, inappropriate anti-hero, who-thanks to his "healing factor''-survives being constantly shot, disemboweled, and decapitated. And he has a lot of weapons.
Needless to say, Mr Wilson and lunch at a Quaker school don't mix well, so his napkin appearances have been limited. I am guessing that most of the lower school teachers haven't read "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe" (and for the record, neither have my sons) so perhaps they would not appreciate just how unQuaker he is.
And it is August, so this napkin is just for the "bank"-( the stack of napkins that sits on the microwave as possible replacements on those school mornings when whatever I've drawn the night proves to be too uncool for school) so it's not going anywhere right away.
I gave Deadpool's sword the strawberry pacification treatment...probably because I knew I was going to enjoy drawing the fruit more than Deadpool himself. Can you tell? You can see the disturbing number of napkins featuring strawberries stuck on various weapons at this link.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I've never been very good with perspective. Despite being the occasionally proud recipient of a couple of degrees in visual art, I missed some basic lessons in that area.
For this reason, I am rather uncomfortable drawing LEGO minifigures. The fact that they are very small and made of plastic may be contributing factors also.
The makers of "The LEGO Movie" solved the problem of how to render minifigures in an appealing way by lighting them beautifully and making their surfaces more textural and idiosyncratic than they actually are.
I tried to emulate "The LEGO Movie" style here in this drawing of Ansel's latest "custom" minifigure. (In this case, "custom" means he put it together himself from dismembered characters)
But I was too busy trying to keep my lousy perspective from making the legs pop out of line to really do too much with the light or texture.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Groot the bipedal tree offers some of the sweetest moments of the Guardians movie. (Some might even describe these moments as insipid, but we are going to go with sweet) Groot is a perfect all purpose sidekick: he doesn't monopolize the dialogue, is full of hidden talents and is good hearted and selfless. He 's Chewbacca and R2D2 rolled into one very vaguely Vin Dieselish package.
Midway through the movie, he offers a young girl a flower that he has grown on his palm. I thought if he can grow flowers and emit sparkly motes of light, why not healthy lunch foods?
While they are fans of Groot, my sons were not so impressed by this concept. Like all self-respecting cool children, they prefer to pretend that they hate broccoli,.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Sarcastic, merchandisable talking animals share a disapproving moment.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" opened last Friday, and seeing it over this weekend was not optional. It certainly lived up to its press as far as our sons were concerned.
That is to say: there was a snarky talking raccoon, and he did have a big gun. As a bonus: there were a lot of explosions and a dancing plant. There was also a bunch of other stuff that prompted my younger son to plaintively ask several times, "when is this going to be over?" Nevertheless, by the dancing plant at the end, both kids were both ready for the sequel.
And Grumpy Cat? While the kids do find him amusing, I have to admit that he is more my fixation than theirs. Why are sarcastic animals so appealing? And so lucrative?
Friday, August 1, 2014
An obvious mash-up that we could not resist.
We are now on the 12th volume of "Attack on Titan." Our older son would happily read another 12 volumes if they were available.
The Teen Titans are not so high on the list of popular shows at the moment, but Robin never completely loses his appeal.
I suppose that if this were a genuine mash-up of the two shows, Robin and company should be naked, but I just could not even try to imagine that.