Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zen Dog made me do it

I wanted to share an artist that I've been loving lately. 

The new year hit, and with it came a wave of thoughts about life. Where's mine going? What will this year bring? What are my goals for 2011 and WHAT THE HELL WHO ATE ALL THE THIN MINTS IN MY DESK?

I remembered my sister (who has a knack for finding beautiful, inspirational art) talking about Edward Moncton, a British artist who seems to really get life. On a particularly stressful day, I found his website and discovered loads of pieces that blew me away. 

His drawings are simple, witty, to the point. Some carry messages and reminders about life.

Some of his pieces have absolutely no message about life, but are super fun. They also may leave you scratching your head, wondering what in the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on. This I consider a good thing.


My favorite of his work is Zen Dog. Zen Dog is who you want to be. Floating in a tiny watercraft, not a care in the world. He doesn't know what the year's going to bring - but does he care? Nope! Zen Dog just takes whatever's tossed his way and enjoys. While exploring Monkton's website I vowed Zen Dog would be my mascot for 2011. I was so serious about this, I made him the desktop on my work computer. That, my friends, is commitment.  

Now, I don't feel bad about anything. Made a bad decision after a few too many? Zen Dog wouldn't sweat it. Deadline fast approaching and inspiration still far away? Zen Dog would scoff at that kind of stress. He doesn't think about the future. Doesn't have a savings account or a weekly meal plan. And just look at those glasses. You just know he's surfin' the wave, ridin' the groove of a life with no worries. Dude.  

Before you get all anxiety-ridden and blotchy, stop and think for a minute: What would Zen Dog do?  WWZDD? Chances are, he doesn't yell at his kids, pop a Lorazepam, or eat an entire jar of cake icing when things get rough.  

He floats along, cool as a cucumber. He enjoys the ride.  

We could all stand to be a little more like Zen Dog. 

My new hero.

(View Edward Monkton's website HERE.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to annoy a four-year-old: a tutorial

This holiday, I got to spend lots of time with my niece Mikenah. In an attempt to capture her being her usual charming, witty, hilarious self, I turned the camera on and started asking questions.  

It was only when I played the video back I realized how irritating I sound. If you want to annoy your four-year-old (any-year-old, really) niece, nephew, daughter, son, brother's best friend Bob, here are some handy tips.  

1. Ask LOTS of questions when the subject would CLEARLY be doing something (ANYTHING!) else. Like watching Dora. Or checking out Christmas presents under the tree. Or having eight cavities filled. SIMULTANEOUSLY.

2. Make sure the questions are really hard to answer, then keep pressing the subject for an explanation. "How does Santa fly," is a particularly good one. "What is your purpose in life," and "Why do bad things happen to good people," are acceptable too.  

3. Repeat everything the subject says, in question form. For example: 
Subject: Auntie Kate, you're the most irritating person I've ever met.
Auntie Kate: I'm the most irritating person you've ever MET?? COOL!  

4. When the subject appears to be at the end of his/her leash, when veins are popping out of his/her head and eyes are twitching, ask said subject to sing. Preferably a Christmas song. If necessary, bribe subject with hot chocolate. Continue to ask pressing questions until subject kills you with a single look.

5. At the end of the day, when things are quiet and you've had just enough eggnog to almost put you to sleep, ask subject who her favorite Auntie is. Tell him/her she has to pick one. And be honest. He/she can't say all three. Because Auntie said so. Become pouty and sad when he/she doesn't pick you.  

Just because I care so much, here's the accompanying instructional video. If you get the look I did in the last frame, you've done something right.

How to be an annoying Auntie: a tutorial from Kate McLaren on Vimeo.

Go forth, spread the annoyance like wildfire. Good luck.