My younger son has developed the habit of telling me that he "needs to boost oxytocin" when he wants a hug, like when he is stressed out on the way to school in the morning.
The closest thing we've had to a pet recently was a slug I brought home on a bunch of radishes from the local farmers market. Much to my husband's dismay, I managed to keep it alive for a week on a steady diet of fresh organic radish leaves.
I may have been overinvested in the welfare of the slug.
But eating all the extra radishes was probably not bad for the rest of us.
I neglected to post this one back on October 20th, although if was just a black and white drawing then.
“I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine.”
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 31
This one was based on a moment of brotherly togetherness while waiting to see the dentist last weekend.
If only those all teeth were brushed more conscientiously... Now that it is November 14th, I wish I could say that this last drawing is the end of Inktober, but yet I am still finishing the watercolor portions of a few previous images.
I would like to remind anyone who might possibly take an interest, that I did make it to day 25 and the theft of my phone before everything fell apart completely.
I never ever missed a night with the napkins, but now that I don’t stay up so late, things move so very much more slowly.
And strangely, as my sons mature into adolescence, they are not becoming less time consuming...or less toothsome.
“I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling”
Is it stress? Or just fear of vegetables?
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 29
I am constantly torn between wanting to shout at my kids to grow up, to be more responsible, to realize that they live an over privileged, over indulged, insulated life...and simultaneously seeing that they are completely overloaded and over stressed and not able to really enjoy their childhood.
(Yes, I remain far behind on this inktober thing...but still trying)
“What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?”
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 28
The day I after started this drawing, one of our kids was trying to deal with his life stress by being, shall we say, inappropriately over assertive. What had seemed like a humorous sketch when I started, seemed a bit less funny.
But a couple of days later, I have mostly regained my sense of humor.
“The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 27
Yes, it is October 31st today and this is drawing number 27.
While I was arguing with my younger son about his homework on the subway ride home late last week, an unsympathetic individual relieved me of my cellphone, and due to a terminally uncooperative series of computer and “cloud” backups, most of my data.
Several days, and over a dozen hours of Apple tech support later, I am pleased to report that I did not lose everything, although I did lose all of some things... but at least I know when most of our dental appointments are scheduled. Mostly.
So, back to finishing Inktober. I still have a few more drawings in the pipeline. And I have yet another appointment with Apple tomorrow. So more delays. It will be a bit of Inkvember, I fear.
This drawing was originally destined for National Pumpkin Day last week, but it seems equally appropriate today.
Happy Halloween! And maybe consider printing out the contents of your phone on paper....
"From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition"
(But don't let my parents know)
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 25
Did you know that because of their low nutrient diet, koalas sleep 20 hours a day? That they are "asocial" and "spend just 15 minutes a day on social behaviors." They also have the smallest brain in proportion to body weight of any mammal. Koalas are therefore definitely not innovative thinkers. According to Wikipedia, "when presented with plucked leaves on a flat surface, the animal cannot adapt to the change in its normal feeding routine and will not eat the leaves."
Perhaps those koalas were busy watching YouTube videos while reclining on the couch and were hoping if they remained motionless long enough their mother would heat the leaves up in the toaster oven and serve them?
But they are cute!
Are they still cute? I remember hearing that they were adorable, but when I look closely...
Who was I talking about?
Just kidding guys. I really just wanted to draw you with animal heads. Among other creatures, I considered birds and snakes, but nothing seemed more appropriate than Koalas.
"Pitiless as you have been towards me, I now see compassion in your eyes"
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 19
Doing reading homework on the train on the way home is pretty damn difficult...even for those who are not a tired, distractible 10 year old boy.
But I can't afford to be too sympathetic, or else, we will never be finished, and never get home.
It finally happened. I had a good run of 18 days of finished ink and watercolor drawings. this Inktober. But there is no way this one is going to get a color treatment tonight unless I stayed up extra late, and I am no longer allowed to do so.
So here it is as a monochrome. The fish was going to be a really lovely reddish orange to contrast with the florescent light of subway.
Please use your imagination to conjecture what a nice job I might have done with that.
Sadly, when I finish it later when I don't have a deadline, I will probably fuss over it and kill it.
"No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs."
Ha ha. Just kidding.
My younger son likes to rest his head on top of mine, driving his remarkably pointy chin into my skull. My older son is more interested in maintaining his own perspective and is presently less interested in denting the maternal cranium.
Today is the first day of Inktober, a yearly "art challenge" where one is supposed to make a drawing in ink every day. I embraced it last year mostly as an opportunity to make a series of drawings that were NOT on napkins. Not that the napkins are not executed in ink, but it's not traditional ink.
The drawing series last year ended up being mostly about my then fairly recent travels in the world of "alternative" health and wellness filtered through my longer term interest in representing fragmentation and discomfort with the body.
I managed to scare away at least 500 followers a week on the Daily Napkins Instagram account during Inktober 2016. The drawings were definitely not popular with those who were expecting to see images of pugs dressed as batman rendered on napkins
I've been having trouble identifying a theme for the year's drawings. I am afraid they will be no more popular than last year.
I think I will spare everyone (and myself) an explanation this evening.
For the moment, I think I will just offer the information that this is a drawing of my younger son and a Jiffy Pop Popcorn foil. The term "Hideous Progeny" comes from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
I do promise not to entirely neglect the napkin enterprise during the month.
Yes, it is true, I was required to escort four 14 year olds to a screening of "IT" over the holiday weekend.
Since the birth of our first son, I have seen a great many movies that I would not have chosen for myself. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Sometimes not.
My greatest hope for "IT" was that it would freak out our older son enough to keep him from sneaking out to our darkened living room in the middle of the night to check Instagram.
The attitude at our local theater seemed to indicate that the movie was genuinely disturbing: there were signs posted on all the entrance doors stating that absolutely no one under 12 would be allowed in even with parental escort. And the ticket seller informed me that I couldn't just buy the adolescents' tickets. I had to be sure to sit right next to them.
Having survived the screening, I can report that it was not much more scary than say something like the preview for "Lights Out," or "Annabelle." Nor was it effective at curbing the desire for midnight teenage social media updates.
Sadly, unlike many other movies that I have seen with my kids, I did not find it possible to doze during it. Maybe that is a compliment. But I'm afraid it had more to do with the "jump scares" liberally distributed throughout.
I suppose, geriatric that I am, I might prefer horror movies where there is more suggestive build-up and less actual gory mayhem. Once you've gnawed a small child's arm off in the opening scene, where can you go from there?
On this napkin, I am imagining a more civilized visit with evil. Because who is more civilized than Alfred? (I was aiming for the Jeremy Irons "Batman V Superman incarnation of Alfred, if that needs to be said, which it unfortunately does)
And there was that dumb thing about them both having "Penny" in their names.
But did Alfred make the frosted red balloon and batarang sugar cookies? Or maybe Pennywise brought them as a thoughtful hostess gift?
My son has been wishing for a munchkin cat lately...
Why not a munchkin sphynx?...
And a hairless rat
And a crested dog?
Who could be allergic to this crew?
My son was not impressed (to say the least) by the idea of pets without fur.
But I find the idea of a hairless cat perhaps less troubling than a cat with short legs.
Having cohabited with felines for many years before I married an allergic man, my considered opinion is that the average feline is at least as attached to being able to leap on to the kitchen counter as he or she is to being furry.
But who knows. None of these animals will be living in our house anytime soon.
Perhaps a well known YouTube personality has a eye tattoo on his hand that our younger son admires. I am not at liberty to comment on the source.
I can report, based on a few minutes of googling, that there sure are a lot of eye tattoos out there, and that many of them are on hands, and quite a few reference the Egyptian Eye of Horus.
My rendition here is much more portrait than realistic tattoo depiction. And I am certainly not encouraging permanent ink for 10 year olds.... Although at this point in our relationship, if I did not want my kids to get inked, the most strategic thing I could do would be to strongly encourage them to get many prominent tattoos.
The younger set takes on The Elder Scrolls and Spyro the Dragon faces the Dovahkiin
Our sons might be too old for Skylanders, and technically too young for Skyrim.
But we are all pretty confused at this point about what is age appropriate.
Our older son claims that he has been playing Skyrim in a mod that turns all the dragons into Thomas the Tank Engine, but I have not personally observed this.
If there is one for Thomas, there should definitely be a Skylanders mod for the Elder Scrolls, but I don't know if such a thing exists. Although purple Spyro would seem to be the Barney of the Skyrim dragon universe. I considered drawing the "Dark Spyro" version of the character, where he looks more serious in black and silver.
But I decided if I were going to mash up the two games that Spyro should be in his more colorful, child friendly form.
School is coming up soon, and we are spending some quality time together as a family.
So that the kids will appreciate going back to school.
They are rarely impressed by my parenting lately.
But probably for not exactly the same reasons.
PS: I am still working on this one. It's really hard to compose a photo of yourself with the non selfie side of the phone. My sons each came in to look at me a few times while I was trying to take this shot, wondering what could possibly be taking me so long when there was food that I could have been serving them.
It is still not the composition that I had in mind, but coincidentally, my phone is no longer functioning as a camera...or as a phone for that matter... so I am done for the moment.
The canines convene. Could they be making a diss track?
(Another in our vlogger/internet famous dog series)
While I see it as my job to try to expose my kids to aspects of culture that they might miss or not appreciate otherwise, the exposure usually flows in the other direction and I end up trying to understand things that, well, I find challenging.
Let me be entirely honest: I am a woman who was born in the late 1960's. (I am ancient in online years) I attended a couple of institutions of higher learning that had very selective admissions processes. I might have considered myself to be at least an aspiring intellectual at some point.
So, this YouTube vlogging thing... I have to admit that I don't really have the resources to understand some of it.
Like the online gaming obsession, I try not to just completely dismiss the whole endeavor. The vloggers that my kids watch, seem, well... perhaps less mature and more materialistic than would be ideal....
Ok, yes, I understand that this is entertainment, not role modeling....with trips to the mall, "Prank your Bros," and "Look at my expensive car!" moments sprinkled throughout.
As to the squabbling, gossiping and dissing that goes on within the community of vloggers... Let's just say, that I don't have anything constructive to add here.
In preparation for making this drawing, I watched several "diss tracks" where one vlogger raps about how his former friend, brother, or significant other, is now uncool, unsexy, stupid, and just not as wonderful as his own sportscar owning self. Ok. Well, they are not clubbing baby seals or selling unnecessary pharmaceuticals to children, so why should I bother to disapprove?
But they have dogs!
Some of these folks have dogs who have millions of followers on Instagram. And who among us can disapprove of a cute dog with 2.6 million followers?
But maybe the dogs themselves might disapprove. Who knows?
I had some fantasies about how fun it would be to draw puppies posing in pseudo-rapper diss poses, posturing in front of their Rolls or Lamborghinis. But as usually, I was too busy just trying to accurately render the dogs in question: Kong, Apollo, and London. (Companions to Logan Paul, Jake Paul, Faze Banks and Alissa Violet if you are not among the following)
And here are all the relevant Instagram handles if you need to know more: @ourdoglondon @kongdasavage @apollothek9 @banks @alissaviolet
Of course my kids enjoy the short spoof movie "Kung Fury." We first watched it long ago when they were far too young for such things. A 1980's style rogue police officer develops fantastic martial arts powers, and travels back in time to kill Hitler, "Kung Führer" with a detour to a prehistoric era inhabited by fur-bikini clad Valkyries, a giant God Thor and velociraptors that shoot laser beams from their eyes. When he is told that he has landed in "the Viking Age" Kung Fury responds, "That explains the Laser Raptors!"
Laser Puppies seemed the appropriate response to Laser Raptors...though I did give some consideration to the possibility of Laser Sharks.
But Laser Puppies have appeared recently, and repeatedly, in the entertaining Disney XD animated series, "Star vs. the Forces of Evil." so this is not totally unexplored territory.
But our Laser Puppies are Pugs and French Bulldogs, not just any puppies.
"I should have been a pair of ragged claws..."
Or just one big claw and a happy dog on a beach...
We had a lovely trip to a friend's house out on Long Island last week.
We got to hang out with his dog and see thousands of lopsided fiddler crabs scuttling around furiously (fleeing from us of course) on the tidal beach.
Not that the dog and the crabs were the only highlights of the trip.
In all honesty, the dog was not pleased to be on the beach on that particular day. And the crabs didn't want to hang out with us any day, ever.
But they were the only two features of the trip that I could readily combine into a silly drawing that somehow seemed appropriate to me. (Maybe just me?)
Thanks so much for letting us stay at your cool house Alex!
Actual Atlantic Marsh Fiddler Crabs (Uca Pugnax):
From the web, demonstrating the one oversize "cheliped" on the males:
And from my video of the mass crab flight from the scary humans: