Category Archives: family

Road Trip Memorabilia

The day before we left on our epic Grand Canyon adventure, I was at Target looking for things to entertain kids when a thought occurred to me. The Man doesn’t use printed maps anymore, depending entirely on his phone for directions, so I thought it would be fun for the kids to buy a state map and mark our route on it as we traveled. It could provide a sense of perspective that you don’t get from a 5.7 inch diagonal display (The Man is a fan of his ZMAX phablet).

But what would we do with this map afterward? Would its destiny be to moulder amongst other forgotten relics of road trips past?

Perhaps influenced by my Trickster’s Hat experiments, I had another idea. I saved up all the ephemera from the trip (national park handouts and such) and printed out a couple dozen photos. (When was the last time I printed out photos? Maybe 2006! We didn’t even print our wedding pictures.) Then I mounted the photos on the map.

6 days of no holds barred sightseeing, compressed into a single rectangle.

6 days of no holds barred sightseeing, compressed into a single rectangle.

As it turned out, there wasn’t room for the ephemera. There were empty spaces, but none big enough for the inset maps or other things. Instead, I printed out a second round of photos with small details like flowers, petroglyphs, and animals, and added them like marginalia.

Close up on (most of) the route.

Close up on (most of) the route.

Then I remarked the route, color-coding it by day so you can easily see where we drove on each leg of the journey. We were gone for 6 days, which allowed me to make the color code a rainbow. Then I bordered each photo with the corresponding color so you can easily see on which day any particular image was taken.

Use this product to stick things to paper.

Use this product to stick things to paper.

This project is perhaps a bit craftier (rather than artier) than the stuff I usually do. As evidence, I present this glue product. I wasn’t sure what to use, so I asked the Cat, who is an accomplished scrapbooker. She recommended this stuff, which is a very sticky glue loosely affiliated with a waxy tape. You just run the device over the thing you wish to glue and the glue transfers effortlessly from the tape to your picture, and doesn’t wrinkle the paper like some glue does.

You have to be careful because it is extremely sticky. If you run the device over a spot you’ve already gotten glue on, it can jam the works; and once you place your image, it’s pretty difficult to get it back up again, so you need to get it right the first time.

I had the map professionally framed, because it’s a weird size and there was no way I could buy a frame off the rack. Although lately I wonder if I ought to learn how to frame things myself. They mounted it and made it look quite professional, and I picked it up this afternoon. The kids loved it. The framers loved it too.

Detail from days 5 and 6: hiking Boyton Canyon and the Sinagua ruins near Sedona.

Detail from days 5 and 6: hiking Boyton Canyon and the Sinagua ruins near Sedona.

 

My Sister and Brother-in-Law Look to the Future

My future brother-in-law is the only man my sister has ever brought to a family gathering. It was my wedding, and I’m glad they got engaged, because he’s in the family photos, and it would have been awkward otherwise.

Those hats!

Those hats!

I took the source photo a few days after the wedding. In fact, this is another section of the image used for the “My Nephew Goes Wading” drawing. A rather rich image!

A few weeks ago we went back to that place and The Man took some magical photos of the girl sliding down the dam. Might be another cool design.

I printed 50 of these and sent them to sissy for an engagement present. I’m uncertain as to whether she’s received them or not, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read QWERTYvsDvorak or check Facebook on a regular basis, so it can probably remain a surprise. I hope she likes them!

I think I’m coming to the end of my infatuation with this style. Although it was obviously insane, I started a huge painting based on a really complex image; after a week, it’s maybe 15% finished, and my thumb is all messed up and who knows if I’ll ever be able to wield a stylus again.

I hope yes.

For now I’m wearing the brace and typing slowly, with 9 fingers.

Dragon Comics 19

Any day you can use the word "homunculi" is a good day.

Any day you can use the word “homunculi” is a good day. Plus, pile of flaming monsters. 

In reality, the Boy and the Girl are actually ridiculously well-behaved. Sometimes I try to encourage them to misbehave just because it seems unnatural to me that children should be so well-mannered and so little trouble. However, they are so good that they won’t be bad even when I tell them to. They cheerfully execute chores with no grumbling or backtalk and very little procrastination.

When I was little, though, this was pretty much my attitude. Why should I slave away for my parents? Taking care of us was my mom’s job, after all; I shouldn’t have to do it for her. Also, I really liked playing with fire.

So in this case, it’s my thoughts coming out of the kids’ mouths, except for the part where the Girl says, “EW!” That is something she would really say. I doubt either of them are familiar with the word, “homunculi,” or the implications of “working for The Man.”

Since we’re talking about comics, I just read the best novel anybody ever wrote about writing comics.