Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Raccoon Looks Like Batboy, or "I'm gonna live blog this alphabet." (Life With Unicorns)

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It's 11:37 a.m. as I start this.  Mr Bunches likes to write the alphabet and have me draw a picture to go with it; he names the picture.  So here's today's, with selected comments.

A is For Astronaut

Note that he is old-fashioned (astronauts are old-fashioned!) in that he is attached to his spaceship by a cord. Newfangled astronauts use jetpacks, and probably don't get that close to Saturn.

B Is For Ball.

Me: "What kind of ball."

Mr Bunches: "A soccer ball."

Me: "Okay.

Him: "It has hexagons."

Me: *realizes he is drawing pentagons.*

C is For Cookie:

There's a blog I liked called "Fastest Possible Drawings Of Everything," which had just what that sounded like: pictures like this, quick sketches of something. One thing I liked about it was that they'd talk about what has to be in a picture of something to make it that picture.  Like chocolate chips in a cookie picture.  There are a million kinds of cookies, most of which could be drawn as a circle. Putting chips into it makes it a cookie, as opposed to a pie or moon or egg or something. 

D Is For Dog:

E Is For Elephant:

As I draw about 6 or 7 or 8 alphabets a week, I am trying to develop my own style. So my animals almost always have a smile, and almost always that smile is on one side of their face.  I have also started drawing all my animals with very short legs, because I like the way that looks. 

If you are going to do a smiley face on an animal, you have to think carefully about where you place that smile; put it in the wrong spot and it looks weird.

F Is For Fish:

Originally mistaken for a number "7", the fin was given striations that show this fish is not numbered.

G Is For Grapes

I Is For Insect

"Can you draw a spider, Daddy? Can the insect be a spider?" Nobody tell Neil DeGrasse Tyson, please.

I was requested to make him smile AFTER the eyes and fangs. Hence: "Look,he's mean and happy."

J Is For Jacket

K Is For Kite

There is enough wind to keep the string taut, but not enough to really ruffle the tail.

L Is For Lobster

I have lived 45 years, 3 months, 3 days, and about 8 hours, 14 minutes, and I have just drawn my first lobster in all that time.

M Is For Moose

By way of comparison, I've probably drawn 20, 25 moose in my lifetime.

N Is For Noodles:

"The noodles go in the esophagus."

This has been your biology minute.

O Is For Ostriches

You can tell they are not flamingos because they're not standing on one leg.  

P is For Pants.

Nailed it.

Q Is For Quilt

At this point, by the way, Mr Bunches is aware that I'm blogging this.  He likes watching me take the picture and then seeing it appear in the draft of the post.

Drawing Tips From The Pros:  Just as Disney animators sometimes used the same scene over, simply drawing over the characters, a quilt is a map that has an added thickness, while a map is simply a quilt with continents on it.

R Is For Raccoon.

"Wow, Daddy, that's cool." -- ACTUAL QUOTE.

This job is not without its hazards, which include not knowing how to draw a raccoon that doesn't look like a turtle, and also not being 100% sure whether there are 1 or 2 c's in raccoon but having to make the call when Mr Bunches writes it. Turns out that's how it's spelled.

S Is For Soap

I wrote "soap" on the bar to make clear that this wasn't just any old bar of something that was exploding.  THOSE ARE SUDS.  

T Is For Turtle:

Here is how that went, verbatim: 

Mr Bunches: Can you draw a turtle, Daddy? Can you make him sad? Look, he's sad. Oh, you drew a fat turtle. He's sad.

Me: Is he sad because he's fat?

Mr Bunches: Yeah.

Seven years old and he''s fat-shaming a turtle.  I blame society.

Also, I'm not sure turtles CAN be fat. Can they? I've never seen a fat turtle. And yet they never exercise. I think I'm on to something here.

U Is For Umbrella:

V Is For Vegetable:

There are three vegetables! The blobby one is lettuce. I should've put a smiley face on it.

W Is For Whale:

Mr Bunches: He is a mommy whale.

Me: *draws false eyelashes on the whale* SHE is a mommy whale.

Mr Bunches: They live in the deep ocean.

I just naturally assumed that Mommy Whales would want to look their nicest before going out for a night of eating krill and perhaps some dancing.

X Is For Xylophone

Here is a true story about X: Mr Bunches, who loves the alphabet almost as much as he loves jets or parts of the body, has a bunch of alphabet books. One of them has these really elaborate pictures in which each picture has like 200+ things starting with that letter in them.  There's no list or names or anything; you just have to try to guess at what the things are that begin with that letter.

I was reading this book one night with Mr F, and we got to X, and Mr Bunches came over to see what we were doing.  As Mr F and I were pointing to the X things like "X-ray" or "Xylophone," Mr Bunches pointed at the swordfish and said:


I said: What?

He said Xiphias.

I said: Swordfish (not even sure why it was in "X".)

He insisted it was Xiphias.

I later looked it up and it turns out the scientific name for a swordfish is xiphias gladius.

Y Is For Yogurt

One night I got out the last yogurt from the refrigerator and ate it for dessert after dinner.

Mr Bunches came over and said "Are you eating yogurt?" I said I was, and in fact I had just finished it.

"Can I have some yogurt?" he asked.

I need to point out that he eats yogurt about three times a year, and that this particular yogurt had been in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks untouched, but neither of those true facts in anyway alleviates the stabbing pang of guilt I get every single time the word "yogurt" is uttered, and that is why I no longer eat the last of anything in our house.

Z Is For Zebra:

Here's another thing you never think about, or at least I never think about: What kinds of tails do animals have? I think I got the zebra tail right but I went back and looked at moose and I'm pretty sure that one's wrong, as they are the same tail.  And before you congratulate yourself on knowing what kinds of tails a moose or zebra has, answer this: What kind of tail does a yak have?

Time is 12:31 p.m.  Whew.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sexy Non Sequiturs (Me, Annotated)

Thanks to Robin, at Your Daily Dose, I'm not putting Me, Annotated posts on their own blog anymore. These are old posts, photos, etc., that I'm taking a fresh look at.

PWNST, or Pictures With Non Sequitur Titles, also used to have their own spot, until I realized that nobody was looking at them there, either.  Today's picture is:

Once in a while is actually pretty often, depending on how many whiles there are in a life.

Yesterday, I took the boys on a trip to "Crazy Frank's," which is a store I've driven by numerous times over the past 20 years or so, this store with these big billboards which feature misspelled words and promise that you can save lots of money and I always wanted to stop there but never did.

April is cold so far, and brownish-drab, and yesterday promised a high of 52 degrees, so I hadn't planned anything outside, and it seemed a good day to go to "Crazy Frank's," so we did.  Mr Bunches seemed intrigued, asking me what "Crazy Frank's" was (Mr F simply watched his videos on the computer), and after we got done fiddling around at the office where we go most Saturday mornings, we hopped in the car and drove there.

"Crazy Frank's" is a flea market, it turns out: a combination of Goodwill and an antiques store, and there was some neat stuff there -- vintage, mint-condition Star Wars toys, for example, and I was tempted to get Mr Bunches the AT-AT toy he wanted but it wasn't in great condition and WAS $30, so I nixed that (and the related vintage toy spaceship that I thought wouldn't work.)

After that, we went into downtown Mineral Point to check it out; it's one of those places where there are art stores and old-fashioned storefronts and fancy candy shops, although it has a half-finished feel to it.

We walked up and down High Street there, and stopped in their refurbished library, and bought some candy, and looked at the Art Park, and then took a different way home, stopping at the scenic overlook where you can walk a footbridge across the highway and watch the cars go below you before going to a lookout spot where you could see rolling hills and rocky escarpments and off in the distance, the futuristic space-shuttle-esque outcropping of Frank Lloyd Wright's "House On The Rock," which features prominently in Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

The boys liked Mineral Point, but got tired.  They loved the bridge and scenic overlook, running back and forth to watch cars and climbing on rocks and looking out to see farms, which haven't yet turned green, either -- whereas fall in Wisconsin, after the leaves are down, has a feel of "job well done", like a house that's been cleaned up after a party before you go to bed, spring at this stage has the feel of a construction site before it gets interesting, just a dirt hole and a bunch of garbage that doesn't look like supplies yet -- and the boys got burrs on their pants, and had their hair tousled by the wind. The sun had grown warm, the sky was a flawless blue, and everywhere I looked there were old-fashioned buildings and interesting sculptures and beautifully twisted trees and distant landmarks and smiling boys running.

My camera, which is my phone, had run out of power early into this trip, and I got no pictures of 75% of the day, which worries me.

It worries me because that PWNST up there? I remember that day.  It's a picture of the railing outside Wisconsin's Capitol building, and we go there all the time in the summer. I can remember taking the boys there that particular day, and walking over the lawn of the building, and inside, where Mr Bunches and Mr F looked into the Liberty Bell replica, and going up to the observation deck where we walked around and looked down at the Farmer's Market that's on Capitol Square every Saturday in the summer.

I remember that day even though it was years ago, because I have that picture (and some others, of course, but even that relatively nondescript picture works).

I can't remember anything before second grade in my life, at all.  I can barely remember huge swathes of high school, law school, and many eras of my life.  They've faded away and it may be that they're not there in my mind, at all, anymore.

I hate forgetting.  Even the tiniest moments of life can be so wonderful that I don't want to forget them, and yesterday wasn't a tiny moment at all.  It was a great day, full of things I'll want to remember, and now I'm worried that I won't, that someday that day will be gone, like most of my 7th grade and much of the year 1993 and others.

It affected me so much that I came home and spent a half-hour looking at cameras online, trying to figure out if I could afford to buy one to replace my phone, which loses power to quickly and which I can't upgrade for free for six months.  SIX MONTHS. A lifetime can happen in six months and it bothers me to think that 10 years from now I might not remember April-October, 2014, at all.

I still had a fun day, but always in the back of my mind was that fear that I would one day not be able to remember this day.  I never worry about much, at all, and I don't worry in particular about death, at all.  I worry about forgetting, which seems somehow to me worse.