Spooky Season Bonus: The Monster Box of Monsters!

He’s so cute I would give him all my candy 😍

I honestly cannot tell you what the Monster Box is all about. The front office staff just asked me to make this for the PTA. They wanted a large box that looked like a monster and you could put candy in the mouth. They did not explain anything beyond that. I gather someone saw a similar project on Pinterest or something. I will have to go to the Fall Festival to divine the true meaning of the Monster Box.

Getting the box was a bit of a chore, and then I had to rebuild it because it didn’t have a bottom, and the top was kind of weird. After I cut the mouth I realized that they wouldn’t have any good way to get the candy OUT of the box, so I cut another access panel in the back. Then I made it look like the monster was wearing novelty underpants.

If I had to do it again, I would do a lot of this differently. I’m not use to working in 3 dimensions or with cardboard.

This project took about 7 hours, and used 1 1/2 bottles of Elmer’s glue. There was also a lot of tape involved and a little of my special bookbinding plastic adhesive. I might go back and hit the horns with the hot glue gun just to be sure. They are the number one thing I would do differently if I did this again. I’m not sure they’re stable.

Happy Halloween Season!

The “G” in Gila is pronounced like an “H” in case you were wondering.

Hooray! Halloween! I’m definitely one of those people who believes the entire month of October is intended to build up to Halloween. In fact, I made this one at the end of September, and I think I did an excellent job of creating something that suited the entire autumn and can stick around until after All Souls’. I love how the entire design came out (even though I made mistakes with my own font) and may try to preserve it when I swap it out for my holiday design. I was thinking about making it all summer! If only I had also been thinking about all my fancy, patterned scissors, I could have save myself a lot of time cutting it out.

Gila monsters are venomous lizards, one of two venomous lizards that live in the region. They are not super interested in biting humans. In fact, The Man and I once attended a lecture about venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert, and the herpetologist delivering it asserted that there is a profile of the sort of person who gets bit by a Gila monster, and that nobody who doesn’t fit this profile ever turns up at the ER looking for help for Gila monster bites. The profile is thus: a young man, between the ages of 20 and 40, heavily tattooed, under the influence of alcohol. This tells you a lot about how dangerous Gila monsters are: not at all, unless you are the kind of idiot who gets drunk and harasses native fauna.

They literally have “monster” in the name. Why would you pick it up?

At any rate, their bite is only mildly neurotoxic and there are no recorded cases of death by Gila monster, although I gather it’s not exactly a fun experience either. I’ve lived here 17 years and never seen one in the wild.

Happy Birthday, Sissy!

Buzz Buzz!

Today is my little sister’s birthday! I usually think about sending her something at the beginning of the month, and then don’t think about it again until it’s too late (she doesn’t live in the States so I have to plan ahead to get it there on time), but this time I remembered at the exact right moment. Well, a bit late. But I had a few moments, and some collaged bits, and I used the materials at hand to make something new.

Not sure why I chose to photograph it when it was still wet. It was dry when I mailed it but I didn’t take more photos. Also there’s a couple lines missing, which I forgot to ink. Anyway, on the inside it says, “I hope your birthday will BEE SWEET,” because my sister seems really obsessed with animal puns these days.

I hope she likes it. Or at least appreciates the effort.

Fly Away

I guess it speaks for itself. Or it’s quiet for itself.

They gave me another bulletin board so I made this monach butterfly, which is a good choice for autumn in the desert. The monarchs breed here, especially if there is enough rain, and they are also thematically appropriate for Dia de los Muertos. There are people who attend the All Souls’ Procession dressed as monarchs, or in costumes covered with hundreds of (replica) monarchs.

I couldn’t think of a good tag or phrase or anything. Kept meaning to come back to it but I’ve moved on and I guess it’s fine by itself.

If you know me, you might know that I have a psychologically difficult time with the autumn in general. It’s nice to hold on to symbols like this.

Around the time I made this butterfly, some guy who didn’t know anything about seeking asylum in the US but felt compelled to make some ridiculous marks about it nonetheless boxed himself into a corner during an online discussion about the subject and, unable to make a cogent argument, resorted to looking at my profile and then, I guess, attempting to insult me personally. One of his remarks was, “I work for a living,” presumably meaning that art is not work. Even though I spend between 4 and 17 hours on every single on of these ephemeral paper works, and my back and hands hurt when I am done, and I have to take breaks due to the sheer amount of pain I’m in.

It’s odd that someone thinks “I work for a living” is a flex. When I hear that comment, my thought is, “You’ve a slave to capitalism and you’re proud of it.” Nobody I know thinks that working is a flex; everyone I know would prefer not to work, or, at least, not to work under the fist of capitalism.

How much nicer would the world be if we divided all tasks into “essential” and “voluntary,” and then EVERYONE did SOME of the essential tasks. It’s not right that there are people who do nothing, or who only work for their own enrichment without contributing anything of value to the world, and then there are people who carry the whole weight and are barely compensated. It makes no sense, for example, that schoolteachers work full time, plus many unpaid hours, with little support, for little money. Nobody should have a classroom of 30 kids they have to manage by themselves 5 days a week. Everyone with the inclination and skills should participate in educating kids; this is one of the most important jobs there are. Nobody should work 40+ hours a week in a factory, or a fast food restaurant, or as a plumber (unless they really, really want to). We should all share the crappy jobs, and then we should all have ample time for the fun ones. Nobody should get rich playing football or designing couture gowns, but everyone should have the opportunity to play football or design couture gowns, in the hours that they’re not doing essential jobs. That should be what civilization is about.

It’s true that I don’t get paid a lot. But I do work. I work harder than a lot of people. And I make the world a nicer place for a lot of them. But I guess I make it a less nice place for certain unbearable people.

Age Is Relative

You can always set an example for your children. A bad example is still an example.

This comic is basically a Facebook status that I read many months back. The person who posted it gave me permission to turn it into a comic. The fact that the person who posted it is the wife and mother of these characters and not directly involved in the anecdote obviously doesn’t bother me at all.

Sonoran Switchplate

This one matches its environment.

That’s 4 down, 3 to go. I like this one better than the ones I did the other day. The green pens are still acting weird but at least I got the paint to flow out of them. Unfortunately, it flowed into a puddle, but I made it work, more or less.

This design fits with the other decoration on the wall near it. I think I’m going to move the zentangle into my office and make the one in the front a sunset landscape. And then the one in the den will match my ketubah. Not sure about the kitchen; you can barely see that switch to begin with.

anyway, this is how it looks where I live.

Folksy Switchplates

I’m an adult and this is my house.

Somewhat randomly, I decided to decorate some of my switchplates using these Artiqo Paint Pens The Man gave me a couple years back. Apparently, I hadn’t even opened the box yet because they were all still shrink wrapped. I really liked this product, which was easy to use and dried fast. My only complaint is that both the light green and dark green pens had a watery consistency. I suspect something about the green pigment degraded the paint. They were still usable but the color is not as smooth or bold.

The big zentangle one is the switch by the front door when you come in. The fish are for the bathroom (that glow-in-the-dark star was already stuck on there as part of a larger decorative scheme) and the rainbow mandala is for the bedroom. I was intentionally going for this imperfect folk art look so I wouldn’t get angry at myself when they didn’t come out perfect.

Plastic switchplates are like 79 cents so if I don’t like them I can just replace them. But I think I like them. I have 4 more switchplates I could decorate. I’m really thinking about painting giant mandalas on the walls—a big complex one in the living room and the sacred geometry chakra chart one in the bedroom—and this fits that aesthetic. Painting is just a whole megillah and not my strong suit, but I think I’m moving in that direction. I always hated the paint job in this house but, again, painting is a whole megillah.

These pens might be dangerous. They write on pretty much everything. Who knows what I’ll draw on next?

Back to School 2022

You’re a shooting star. That is what you are.

People kept telling me, “Welcome back,” and I’m like, “I never left.” This is the fourth project I worked on there over the summer. School starts Thursday but I won’t go back till next week.

I glued the K on upside down. It’s fine, I realize that, I just like things with strong foundations. I don’t like the idea that a letter might fall over under its own weight.

This one probably won’t stay up very long. The rainbows are construction paper, and the colors fade very fast. Plus I didn’t glue it very well. I would have made it more elaborate, but the humidity was brutal. I just couldn’t stand outside anymore.

In other news, the new office manager wants to give me control of two more bulletin boards! We’ll see how that goes. I’m hoping I can get kids to collaborate with me on one of them. It might be more work over all, but it might be less of certain kinds of work.

Also, in other news, the client who bought the giant fantasy mural has received it printed in its full scale 8 ft high and 30 ft long. They were kind enough to send me a photo of one small detail and it looks great. I’m really pleased with the work, and if you happen to go to burning man, you might get to see it in real life.