What sharp teeth you have….


I’ve cheated again and given you a digital drawing instead of a “real” one. This is, however, what’s been occupying most of my time for the past few days … also, I had planned to post a mongoose and bee-eater I’d drawn but I forgot to photograph them. The bee-eater went to a co-worker who of late has been oddly plagued by bees and their kin (I’m not helping by having my office supplies in a mug with bees on it, right next to her desk). The mongoose went to another desk, for someone who was similarly inundated with spiders (I couldn’t think of any analogous dedicated spider-eaters, and mongooses have the added benefit of being non-picky invertebrate-gobblers and great with snakes to boot).

Oh right, I should explain the drawing that’s actually here.

I was basically thinking of variants on “hood” for a cobra drawing, and then I discovered that cobras come in red. Fantastic news as that is in its own right (it’s a lovely color), it was also quite helpful for the “red riding hood” angle. There’s some artistic license going on here, obviously, but the inspiration is the Red Spitting Cobra, Naja pallida. They do not typically live in the woods (or inhabit picnic baskets, or have any way to move a picnic basket while sitting in it), but see previous sentence. To be fair, Little Red Riding Hood didn’t typically live in the woods either, and there are definitely some weird plot holes in that story.

I had the design thought up most of the way before I even found what manner of cobra I was dealing with — knowing that it’s a species that spits at its assailants makes this picture so much better, in my opinion. Regular cobra, you’re looking at a wolf that freaked out and ran because he wasn’t quite charmed to meet a snake in a basket. Spitting cobra? That’s right, Little Red Hood decided to spit in Big Bad’s eye and sent him scrambling. I’m not sure I quite succeeded in telling the wolf’s side of the story with the transition from walking to running prints (I’m rubbish at drawing animal tracks), but showing him running off in the distance seemed — much as Gary Larson fretted with that “Dog Threat Letters” comic — a little redundant since the prints are there.

I overthink these things, I know. But hey — somebody has to. Right? No? Oh well, that’s never stopped me.

You’ll find a god in every golden cloister….


Okay yeah, this was a last-minute one. See, I got distracted by the internet again.

It started out normally enough: I was about a decade overdue to look up the song “One Night in Bangkok,” whose tune I knew but whose words were basically “One night in Bangkok makes la la man la laaa; lalalalalalaaaa” in my memory-banks. Now, I’ve had the internet for a while, and — while lyrics sites have mysteriously not really improved since I was 13 — it’s become pretty much second nature to do a quick web search when I realize I don’t know the words to a song I enjoy or find interesting or just heard once in a Walmart. Somehow, One Night in Bangkok has managed to escape this treatment until now. And now, well … MIND BLOWN.

Not because of the lyrics themselves (which are admittedly funnier than I’d expected), but the string of revelations that followed finding the lyrics. It’s a song about chess! There was a musical about chess! It was called Chess! I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS MUSICAL, even though everyone has heard “Bangkok”! That song was written by ABBA (more or less)! Murray Head is Anthony Head’s big brother! “One Night in Bangkok” counts as rap! I SHOULD KNOW ALL OR AT LEAST SOME OF THESE THINGS!

Anyhow, this led me off on two time-consuming tangents: digging up cast versions of the song because they existed, while wanting to rewatch season 3 of Buffy because Band Candy (among others, but there was a rather amusingly lip-synched live version of Bangkok where Murray’s strutting and hair-mussing — maybe, like the accent, he figures it’s What Americans Do? — reminds me of Ripper’s … well, strutting and hair-mussing, in that episode). Eventually I decided to put the song to rest by drawing it. That’s how we scribbly people deal with these things.

But I’m a scribbly person who draws animals (and has never seen Thailand) so naturally I wound up with … cats. Regionally-appropriate-ish cats, to be sure (an American Shorthair, natch, along with some shadowy Oriental Shorthairs/Longhairs, a poorly-drawn last-minute Korat, a Siamese or two, a Burmese and a Bombay), but yeah. Still cats. The American is wearing a ridiculously oversized chess piece on his collar, but hey, rappers are supposed to have crazy jewelry. Some random blobby pieces of architecture and a tiger version of a scary statue are in the background, and … really that’s about it. Cats seemed appropriate (that is, marginally less inappropriate than the myriad other arbitrary animal species I could have used) due to their general behavior and that punny line about queens (female cats are still called queens, right?).

So … my apologies to Thailand and music, I guess?

Throwback Thu– Sa– oh, who cares


Not saying or doing much tonight — tomorrow’s the Big Day, library opening after two years moving/renovating/camping out in a cramped former Hastings building in a strip mall. I know that “Oh, what will I WEAR?” is not the kind of dilemma one pictures with relation to hanging out in the youth department wrangling over-excited six-year-olds who work up enough speed to slingshot out of their parents’ orbit (and let’s not mention the possibility/likelihood of vomit on our new carpets), but … well, it’s still kind of like a party. And it’s early autumn in the Midwest of course, so I have to dress for the potential 70-ish degrees during the day, just under 50 degrees as it gets late/overcast, 70-ish degrees again while indoors (but running around this time), possible rain, AND a kind-of party.

I’ll just add my black socks with the lightning bolts on the sides to a regular outfit and call it a day.

As for this picture, this is an older (circa 2010 I think, actually not long before I started working at the library) drawing from one of my periodic “DRAGONS! BUGS! DRAGONBUGS!” spells. I have a spidery-looking one too that I may have to drag out if I continue to not get anything else done. I have four in all, I think (five if you count the loon, but let’s not), and I just rediscovered the digital copies of three of them — in a folder-within-a-folder from when I was even more poorly organized — which was a nice surprise. I’m making fancy digital backgrounds for them so my Drawn @ Random Zazzle store can get a little color; it’s been largely black and white up till now. Of course, the base price for prints (even if I were to leave off my royalty entirely) is insane so I don’t anticipate actually selling any of those. They brighten the place up though.

What I remember most vividly about this drawing is that I messed up the black somewhere and — well, it’s black, there’s not much coming back from a mistake in black pencil when your only other main color is *yellow.* Oh, yellow, I love you and all but you’re just terrible about getting smeared with other colors and then smudging them around later. Well, that time someone sharpened a black eyeliner pencil in my electric sharpener and didn’t clean it up afterward wasn’t really your fault, but you’ve had your moments nonetheless. Let me tell you, remembering about those little blue fuzzy bits on the hindwings really improved my mood, because I was getting royally sick of black and yellow.

And someone just uttered the phrase “anime Rapture movie” to me, and even in context I have no idea what is going on with that. I guess that’s as good a note as any to end on.

He doesn’t bite, and he doesn’t squeal…


I was going to whip up a quick 10-minute drawing for tonight, but then I decided to add color and “fur,” and it wound up being more like 40 minutes. Oops. Here’s a little hammie, reminiscent of the ones I had when I was young. Those little guys were endlessly amusing, especially the old doddering ones that seemed especially eccentric. I had one that was allowed to roam free in the room because she always went back into her cage if it was open (and always escaped anyhow otherwise). She managed to get stepped on a couple times (never by me, I’ll note), but really didn’t seem any worse for the wear, living longer than any of her relatives in the end. She also had an amped-up version of the hamster’s love of hoarding — some time after her death, we discovered a huge larder of seeds she’d stashed in a rarely-used dollhouse beneath my dresser. She also once attempted to take a huge, admittedly tasty-looking red button home and hide it in her nest, but I gently dissuaded her.

Somehow I managed to name two of my rodents — I later received three mice somewhat against my will — after Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, despite never having watched more than the tail end of an episode at that time. It was Too Grown Up for me, and I certainly didn’t spend much time thinking about the few character names I did know, and yet I ended up with Buffy the blonde hamster and Willow the shy (though, for what it’s worth, not redhead) mouse. Buffy’s siblings were rather warlike, though I felt Buffy herself was something of a peacekeeper. She did wind up with an alley-cat-style notch in her ear as a mark of her exploits; if she’d been her sister Tawny she’d have had three of them to match Gellar’s piercings, but apparently coincidence will only go so far. (And if you’re wondering, yes, they were just named for their colors — Tawny was yellow-gold like the others, and Buffy was a fairer buff-cream shade.)

This drawing isn’t really based on any of those, though. He’s a sturdier fellow, while the females (aside from the beloved teddy-bear-like Pumpkin) tended to be slight. He looks most like Winnie, a pleasant — if occasionally greasy — male who lived in admirable harmony with his chubby albino brother. I made them a hammock, which they ate, but I think they enjoyed it before (and probably while) they destroyed it.

Hamsters are massively destructive in so many directions; they chew through, shred up, dig under, drag around, and generally just completely eliminate whatever order you’d attempted to create in their tiny habitats to give you some sense of godlike power. They can, I discovered surprisingly soon, chew through both wire mesh and glass if you forget to make that impossible. They are built like smallish pieces of construction equipment and can overturn just about anything they can fit under, given enough time and boredom. If water can get through an opening, it is entirely possible a hamster can. If your fingers can get through, it is highly likely a hamster can. Hamsters will inexplicably chase cat toys. Hamsters will inexplicably chase *cats.* Do not let a hamster actually catch either of these things if you want to keep them.

I miss hamsters. Hamsters are fun.