Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hamster in "Mouse Guard" Style

Ansel's love of things rodent related made me think that perhaps it was time to reread David Petersen's "Mouse Guard" graphic novels about warrior "swordsmice" in a medieval world.

Ten pages in, Ansel announced that we would be reading the entire series immediately.  He requested that Fluffy should be done up Guard style.  I had to sheath the sword for Quaker lunch.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hamster and Komodo Dragon With Cookies

Our sons are entranced by the idea of Komodo dragons.  I'm not sure the reality would be so appealing.  Our older son did a class project on Komodos last year and is still a self-proclaimed authority. His younger brother's interest was suddenly revived yesterday, leading to a request.

I felt inexplicably compelled to include Fluffy. Briefly, I contemplated some sort of lion taming pose, taking advantage of the often pictured gaping Komodo maw, but decided I did not want to be accused of imperiling the celebrity Hamster.

I posed Fluffy away from the Dragon maw, and gave her a vegetarian food offering to hold, trying to keep her from looking too much like a tasty morsel herself.

Below, a gaping Komodo, ready to swallow a Hamster and then some.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Axe Cop, Battlepug and Dr. McNinja

"Why must I be plagued by these ridiculous animals?'

We've been catching up on several web comics that we follow during bedtime reading over the last couple of nights.  
Axe Cop, Battlepug, and Dr. McNinja all embrace the ridiculous and often include "inappropriate" content... making them particularly delightful as far as our sons are concerned.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Minecraft Creeper Shirt

Our younger son has been wearing the same Skylanders shirt every day for months.  Unfortunately the shirt in question started out with white sleeves.  Recently, I've  had to resort to soaking these sleeves in bleach and stain remover every night, to the point where they have become frayed and almost translucent.  Of course, they are a frayed translucent dark grey, with select brown and black spots.

I'm just working up to saying that I am really enthusiastic about this child wearing another shirt....Even if I did not do a fantastic job of painting the creeper on the front. I was trying avoid covering the entire front of the shirt with stiff paint, but the result was crinkly distortion.

He wore it today.  But will he ever wear it again?

Hamster Rocker

More Fluffy, I am afraid.

While the pet hamster at school continues to be endlessly compelling, Ansel has been making some conversation about how it is time to retire the hamster napkin series.

Hamster napkins, however, are a good fallback when I don't get a request the night before.
And I don't see how we are going to be able to have a real live hamster of our own any time soon, so the napkins are a lame attempt at compensation.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Extreme Hamster Skiing

Fluffy the first grade hamster sets a bad example by skiing off a cliff while not wearing a hat:

The cold snap continues here in Brooklyn... and yes, I know it is much colder in other places right now.  But many people in NYC, my sons included, are able to exist much of the time in a state of almost complete denial about the realities of winter.  Not so much when the wind chill is well below freezing, however.

So, in honor of our recent struggles with the wearing of snow pants, gloves and boots: Fluffy is engaging in another exciting cold weather activity today.

While missing a hat, she is wearing gloves and a snow suit.  And she is considerably more furry than the average first grade boy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hamster Chainsaw Ice Sculpting

Returning to the secret life of Fluffy, 1st grade pet hamster:

In the midst of a stretch of very cold weather here in New York, it seemed appropriate that Fluffy should engage in some seasonally appropriate activities.  I considered ski jumping, but was daunted by the prospect of stuffing the rodent into the spandex suit.  I figured the chainsaw would make this image suitably edgy and masculine enough for my 6 year old son.

Maybe ice hockey next time.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Nut Job"s Raccoon With "Lego Movie"s Bad Cop

Liam Neeson voices the bad guys:

Today's lunch has another "Nut Job"/"Lego Movie" pair based on the voice talent and character similarity. 

It was late and I was tired from struggling with the weather and children temporarily driven insane by their hatred for snow pants, hats, gloves and all things outerwear, so I didn't really have a clear plan for what these two evil doers are up to.

Perhaps they are discussing world domination....or how best to dispose of characters voiced by Will Arnett.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"The Nut Job"s Surly with "Lego Movie"s Batman

Snarky characters voiced by Will Arnett bicker over a cashew:

We saw "The Nut Job" over the weekend, was an animated movie for kids and it had a dog in it, and it was in theaters.  It certainly lived up to its promise of being an animated movie for kids with a dog in it. 

The highlight of the outing for Ansel and his friend might have been playing in the theater lobby with a revolving display for the LEGO Movie where one could swap the head, torso and legs of the minifigure characters. 

I am hoping that The LEGO Movie will be a bit more than just an animated movie for kids playing in a theater (but maybe no dogs!)...but we will have to see it no matter the quality.

And,  Surly the fairly unlikeable main character of "The Nut Job" and the latest LEGO incarnation of the Dark Knight share a sort of sarcastic, cooler-than-thou quality that made it seem necessary to me that they appear on the same napkin.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hamster Hunger Games

I think we might be reaching the end of the secret life of Fluffy series.  

But there have been murmurings  from Ansel's female classmates that my portrayals of the female rodent have not been, well, feminine enough.  Ansel told me, disgusted, that there had been questions as to why there had not been a princess hamster.  I was rather allergic to the princess theme myself back in my own lower school days... although I hope that I did not display the hysterical disgust that my proto misogynist sons often offer up. 

With the long holiday weekend to mull over what sort of character would appeal both to my masculine violence focused son and his princessy classmates, the best I could come up with was Katniss. 

We have not seen the movie.... nor do my sons want to see it, but they are of course aware of the promotional campaign and of other kids' interest.  

Ansel was not impressed with the napkin.  Archer's playdate guest today found the idea that I had "turned Katniss into a rat" pretty amusing, but not quite in the way I might have hoped.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hamster RoboCop

RoboFluffy: The first grade hamster cosplays as the Robo Remake:

We had the pleasure of viewing the preview for RoboCop 2014 recently. I'm pretty sure that this PG 13 rated movie was not made specifically for 6 and 10 year old boys...but perhaps the trailer was...

I had some obvious difficulty altering the suit to accommodate the hamster physique. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hamster Astronaut in Orbit

Fluffy, First Grade Class Hamster orbits the earth.

Hopefully, she's just fixing the Hubble and not up there looking for George Clooney.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hamster Skateboards Icelandic Highway

What does Ben Stiller have in common with a hamster?  More from the secret life of Fluffy, first grade pet.

I haven't taken the kids to see "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."  Despite all of the CGI adventures, I'm afraid it would be too talky and too adult.  But they certainly have seen the ad campaign featuring Mr. Stiller longboarding picturesquely in Iceland. 

I'm afraid my rodent version of the image is not nearly as punchy or lovely as the original.  Ben Stiller has a beautifully glowing right ear which I somehow could not manage on the napkin.

But an animal on a skateboard is almost always a hit with 6 year olds. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Extreme Hamster Windsurfing

The Secret Life of Fluffy, First Grade Hamster:

At this morning's drop off, one of Ansel's female classmates asked me why Fluffy was "dressed like a boy" on the napkins.  I said, "Well, I don't see why a girl hamster can't wear a suit like James Bond."  As the angry feminist mother of two boys, my feelings on this topic are various.  Ansel would certain protest any stereotypically girly outfits or accessories for this rodent.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hamster Bond in Skyfall Poster

Double "O" Fluffy:  The series on the secret life of the first grade's pet hamster Fluffy continues.

Last week the request came from my son's class that the hamster should be done up as James Bond.  It seemed rather unclear just what James Bond means to 6 year olds at a Quaker school.  Since weapons and scantily clad women as accessories were out, (Fluffy is a female hamster after all) I settled on a "Skyfall" poster knockoff with a carrot instead of a gun.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Skydiving Hamster in Wingsuit

Fluffy, first grade hamster, skydives while wearing a "wing suit" today.

I'm pretty sure that when Ansel asked for a wing suit, he was thinking of the one on display on Hiccup in the trailer for the "How to Train Your Dragon" and not something in orange ripstop. Nonetheless, I thought the dark brown rodent really needed something bright that would stand out against the sky and landscape.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fluffy, Class Hamster and Mech Pilot

Fluffy, first grade class pet, and off hours secret agent (see January 7th's napkin) appears in the high tech cockpit of a giant mech on today's napkin.

Mech interior concept liberally and gratefully plagiarized from "MechWarrior:Living Legends" concept by Alex Iglesias.  (See original here).

Archer, who kept me up most of the night and is staying home sick today, tells me that Ansel will not be pleased with this napkin because this is not the sort of mech cockpit that he and his brother like to imagine- that a more Iron Man style form-fitting suit is their preference.

Well...maybe Fluffy would like it better this way.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Desmond Pucket and Lio Pack a Zombie Head For Lunch

Mark Tatulli's cute but ghoulish comic strips featuring Lio (in green on the right) have long been popular with our older son. Tatulli's most recent book, "Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic" (Desmond is on the left) won our younger son over as well.

After all, who among us does not love the idea of an exploding zombie head?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fluffy, Class Hamster, As a Secret Agent

Fluffy, the very reclusive pet hamster in my younger son's first grade classroom, was unusually sociable yesterday morning.  Since Fluffy most often lurks uncooperatively inside a small wooden box while I am dropping Ansel off, I had not gotten a good-napkin worthy-look at the animal until yesterday.

We had trouble coming up with a theme for a Fluffy napkin last night, but a sort of G-Force Secret Agent incarnation was finally deemed acceptable.  Those G-Force rodents are Guinea Pigs, of course, a distinction that was initially lost on me, but I have been forced to improve my ability to identify different classes of rodents.

...One of the many educational perks of parenting.

 (That's a non violent grappling gun in the rodent's paw. I'm hoping that the teachers at my son's Quaker school appreciate the distinction.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Scribblenauts At Our House

Rarely are my sons drawn to an app or game that is age appropriate, and... dare I type the words?... educational.

Scribblenauts is one of the outstanding exceptions.  The game creates characters and objects based on the player's typed requests.  It is true that Archer loves it because he can ask for things like "Derringer" and actually get a specific sort of gun, so perhaps I should revise the age appropriate description.  But in a world that contains things like Grand Theft Auto (Archer is devastated that we will not let him play what he calls affectionately GTA) Scribblenauts looks really good to me.

Ansel is finally getting to the point that he can type in his own requests (with significant assistance) and the above characters hanging out around our couch are a few of his favorites:  The Grim Reaper riding a griffin, Anubis, the Minotaur (also summoned by "manbearpig") with the skeleton warrior on his back, and the Egyptian god Ra.  Lazy napkin decorator that I am, I neglected to draw one favorite, the "Antidisenstablishmentarian"(a guy in black with a red bandana over his face) who was riding a flying chimera.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dragon Riders of Brooklyn

The two kids on a large purple thing in preparation for the return to school tomorrow. 

It's not one of my better dragons...but it has been a long winter vacation, and I am grateful just to have survived.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Using "Fus Ro Dah" Against the Uruk-Hai

As is often the case, this napkin request required a bit more research than I would have liked.

The boys wanted to be depicted using a power move from the video game Skyrim on some of the bad guys from The Lord of the Rings universe.  I learned that the Uruk-Hai are a sort of Orc-like military evil creature (but not Orcs exactly) and that saying "Fus Ro Dah" is kind of like a beginner's force push for the "dragon born" within the game...essentially a way to flatten your deserving foes with only your voice....And what 10 or 6 year old boy does not hope to develop such a power?  It was also a bit of an internet meme back in 2011.  (See the link for some slightly funny videos if you missed it then and have nothing better to do now.)

Just for the record, neither child is playing Skyrim...but this does not stop the older one from researching the topic and bringing the younger one up to speed.  Their father and I did subject them to some of "The Return of the King" much against their will during a Lord of the Rings marathon broadcast on TV on New Year's Day.  By the end, they decided the movie wasn't all bad.  I am not sure how Archer came by the knowledge of the Uruk-Hai, but I am pretty sure it had something to do with LEGO sets and not Tolkien or Peter Jackson.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cardboard Teleport Time Machine with Time Vortex and Domo

Time travel in honor of the New Year:

The kids built themselves this vehicle out of a couple of leftover Christmas gift containing shipping boxes.  Neither of them has watched much "Doctor Who" but this does not mean they aren't interested in (and in Archer's case, a self proclaimed authority on) the topic of time vortexes.  I was instructed to draw them with Domo, their most recently acquired stuffed toy.

They had a long list of complaints about this one...Just a sampling: they were in the wrong positions in the box- (Archer was supposed to be driving, not Ansel), it was not "science-fictiony" enough, Domo was supposed to be in a "turret," Archer was supposed to look like a "Dark Elf"... and so on...