happy chinese new year!

Things I thought about doing in the blog today to celebrate Chinese New Year:

  • Say “Gong hey fat choy!” as we were taught in elementary school social studies, because that is how you say “Happy New Year” in Chinese.
  • Point out that it is correctly transliterated as “Kunghei fatchoy”, but that that the lessons of my determinedly English speaking elementary education weren’t that far off when it comes to pronouncing it.
  • And then point out that “Kunghei fatchoy!” actually means “happiness and prosperity” in Cantonese, but that it is listed as the second most popular Chinese New Year Greeting on the chinahighlights.com Happy Chinese New Year reference page.
  • Or I could tell David Letterman’s old joke about it now being the Year of the Monkey but I was still writing Sheep on my checks.
  • Then I thought about writing about my favorite kind of monkey and maybe posting some cool pictures of monkeys.
  • But I’m not sure what my favorite monkey is– maybe a Japanese snow monkey?  Or a colobus?  Or that big kind that hoots and yells?
  • [Edit] Actually, my favorite monkey is probably a baboon.
  • So maybe I would post some festive Chinese New Year decorations with monkeys on them, but Google Image Search came up with either serious ones or kiddie ones, not the classic Chinese buffet decorations I was looking for, with monkeys dressed in elaborate and colorful Chinese court dress.
  • And then I searched my own phone for pictures of monkeys, in case I had any that I had forgotten taking, and I found this picture of the new monkey switchplate* in the kitchen.  I picked this out on a whim at WalMart recently because I hated the old switchplate and really, everybody needs a switchplate in their kitchen with happy monkeys and flowers floating around on a lavender background.  monkeyswitchplate1-blogPlus, with their long eyelashes they are probably intended to be girl monkeys as opposed to the monkeys on most monkey switchplates which are boy monkeys more or less by default. Long live gender equality in America’s monkey switchplates!
  • Gong hey fat choy, everybody!

*”Monkey Switchplate” would be a great name for a band.  Or a comic.

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you know that stuff?


You know that stuff at the Chinese buffet?
That baked crab stuff?
Turns out that’s its proper name.

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drawing of the day color special: the wolf in the zen hoodie

drawingoftheday-colorspecial-zenhoodie-blogOK.  It’s becoming pretty clear that I am having a ridiculous amount of fun playing around with adding color to my drawings of the day.  So the Drawing of the Day Color Special is now officially a Thing.  In order to keep from spending an equally ridiculous amount of time having fun with my own personal coloring book, I have decided to put a time limit on each little project– they will be colored in fifteen minutes or less.  Maybe twenty minutes.  A half hour, tops.  (More serious drawing of the day based color projects, like the illustrations for stories like Christmas Wolves and Spider Time,  are of course excluded from these limits.)

Anyway, adding a bit of Carhartt orange to this little brushwork werewolf-in-a-hoodie only took about 17 minutes.  I don’t know where the Zen comes into it, except that getting intensely into inking with a brush always feels a little Zen to me.

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my internet idol

f63ce5055b37385d5a7acc36a01dde25This woman is my new internet idol.  I really like her earrings and her hat. The bird is pretty cool as well.

Seriously, wouldn’t it be awesome to befriend a giant eagle and have it like you enough to ride around on your head all day, glaring at photographers and no doubt flexing its mighty talons at anyone who approaches you with any hint of an attitude?  “No pets, you say? What are these ‘pets’ you speak of? I see no pets! I am the Grey Windrider! I go where I will, and if I choose to stand on my friend’s head here in the paint department at Menards, it is no concern of yours. Peasant.”

Yes, you could argue that she has her bird on a leash (or, more properly, on a jess) but there’s no way a mighty streak-feathered force of nature could be restrained by a mere piece of mint green polypropolene clothesline. The eagle is there because it wants to be.

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best of the drawing of the day: old friends

drawingoftheday-newnumber15-oldfriends-blogThese two are old friends of the blog, having appeared in at least three  previous Best of the Drawing of the Days* (more than any characters outside the Kekionga canon), and they are certainly old friends of my sketchbook, having occupied their own little corner of my interior landscape for years.  Not only does this drawing suggest that they are growing closer personally, but that as a pair they are drawing closer to that nebulous concept that is fictional reality:this looks an awful lot like a finished character design.  A story is definitely growing around them, and they may be perilously close to getting names.  This is a bit scary, because the story is quite different than anything I’ve worked with before.  Luckily, it does not seem to be in a hurry, so I hope that my courage will grow at the same rate.   Regardless, this may be the last appearance of these two as simply the nameless Angel and Devil of sketchbook world.

*Find them here, and here, and here, along with discussion of their origins, personalities, favorite beverages, and why they bear a passing surface resemblance to some famous characters from other comics.  This resemblance is only skin deep, however, so please do not sue me.

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hungarian pepper


Hungarian Pepper
(Hot Banana)
They possess a medium heat level.

(When the grocery store decides/that they need complete sentences/ and that the word “have”/ isn’t classy enough/poetry happens.)

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a very dire composition

dire composition 3-smallersquare-blogThere’s a rule of composition called “the Rule of Thirds”, which decrees that compositions divided into thirds, or which place the subject one third of the way across the frame, are more interesting than those divided in half or which place the subject in the center.  I normally am not a huge fan of this rule of composition, or any other rule, really.  If an image divides up the frame in an interesting way, or presents an interesting pattern of light and dark across the surface, and all the edges are under control and nothing is stuck on or cut off awkwardly, than it’s good enough and let’s get on with saying something about the subject.

But when I was cropping this photograph I noticed that it seemed to divide itself into thirds naturally, so I punched that up in the crop, and hey, there’s the Rule of Thirds.  Of course, you’d still have to decide which is the subject, the dire corgi or the row of bricks the neighborhood kids have colored with chalk.  But it works either way.  It’s a very dire composition.

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canada geese on ice


It’s warm for the first of February, but the Other Pond at the Tick Park is still frozen solid enough to hold a gaggle of Canada geese.


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and so it begins


Here’s a welcome sight on the last day of January. A long way to go yet, but it’s a start.

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hulk talk winter

The Hulk voice continues to break through the conventions of Hulk-ku into freer verse:

  • Hulk Talk Winter
  • Winter.
  • Hulk spend day suburbs.
  • Hulk see one more person
  • wear same black fuzzy jacket says “North Face”,
  • Hulk smash something.
  • Why not South Face?  East Face?
  • Why not blue? Red? Orange?
  • Why not green?
  • Green good color winter jacket.

(The author wants to point out that she is innocent on this one: the author may be a suburbanite, but at least she does not own The Exact Same Black Fleece and Nylon North Face Winter Jacket From The North Face Outlet At The Outlet Mall that more or less every second person at the shopping center was wearing this afternoon. Sheep.  Seriously.  Outlet mall sheep. The author’s fleece and nylon winter jacket is grey and brownish reddish purplish in a color the manufacturer calls “Rum Raisin”.)


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