Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Walk Among The Spiders

Daddy Steve:  The calendar may say that spring is just around the corner, but the view out the window presents a far different reality.  It still looks a lot like winter where we live.

We're all eager to get outside, but we make do with what we have.  For Rolf and Paul, this means taking a little stroll around 'The Jungle': the kitchen window.  The two large spider plants do make it look a bit like a mini-jungle.  They're the only house plants that Daddy Steve has any success with.

Rolf is not a big fan of spiders, but Paul assures him that these spiders are nothing to be frightened of.

Rolf: Eeeek!  Spinnen!

Paul: Relax, Rolf, these spiders won't chase you around.  They the clean the air, too!

Rolf: Ah, dasis schön zu hören.
(Oh, that's nice to hear)

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Daddy Steve: My little intellectuals Patrick and Ravi have decided to form a literary discussion group.  They've named it the New Bloomsbury Group, after the famous English literary set.  I'm not sure just how much they actually know about the original Bloomsbury Group, although considering these two, probably a fair amount.  I think more than anything, they just liked the name.

Patrick: It all sounds rather posh, don't you think?
Ravi: Oh yes.  Definitely.

They spent a great deal of time crafting their mission statement.

Ravi: "Dedicated to fine literature, intriguing ideas, and other stuff."  How's that sound?
Patrick: Yes!  I like the 'other stuff' part.  Good idea to keep it open-ended.
Ravi: That's what I thought, too.

They next began organizing for their first meeting.

Ravi: So far the attendees are you and me, and Blake is interested, too.  Providing we talk about Harry Potter.
Patrick: Well, Harry Potter certainly is fine literature, with lots of intriguing ideas, and plenty of 'other stuff.'  We really could use at least one more person, though.  Three doesn't seem like much of a group.  Herbert will certainly attend.  He's a good listener, but he can be rather shy in groups.  What about Tyler or Mikko?
Ravi: I asked, but they said they were far too busy searching for a diamond mine in the basement.
PatrickAh.  Those two can be so illogical.  Perhaps Blake has some ideas.

Blake: Well, what about Frank?
Ravi: Do you really think Frank would be interested?
Blake: Oh, I think with the right enticements he could be.

Ravi: Hey Frank, we're wondering if you would like to take part in our little salon.
Frank: I don't need a haircut.
Patrick: It's a literary discussion group.
Frank: Oh.  You mean books and stuff?  Hmmm...I'm kinda busy.
Blake: Of course, there will be refreshments.
Frank: Well, why didn't you say so?  I think my social calendar has some free spots!

And so, at the inaugural meeting...

Ravi: So, Frank, what is your interpretation of the poem?  Frank?
Frank: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Blake: Frank's in a doughnut coma.
Patrick: It looks like we'll have to cut back on some of the 'other stuff.'

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Here Comes The Spider-Man!

Daddy Steve: I recently bought a really cute pair of Spider-Man sweatpants for the boys on eBay.  Frank was given the honor of wearing them first (wearing new clothes first is a very big deal here in Gregoropolis).  He was absolutely thrilled, and has spent the last three days singing the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon theme song non-stop...and I do mean non-stop.

Frank:  Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size
Catches thieves just like flies
Look out!
Here comes the Spider-Man

Frank may be quite tuneless as a singer, but he makes up for it in enthusiasm. And volume.

Frank: Is he strong?
Listen, bud
He's got radioactive blood
Can he swing from a thread?
Take a look overhead
Hey, there
There goes the Spider-Man

Anthony: What on earth is all the racket in here?!
John Martin: It's just Spider-Frank

He even made up a dance to go with his singing, which seems to consist of random flailing about.

Frank: In the chill of night
At the scene of a crime
Like a streak of light
He arrives just in time

Paul: Is Frank okay?
Rolf: ???

Frank: Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man
Wealth and fame
He's ignored
Action is his reward

Ravi: Well...that's different
Patrick: So illogical

We're all hoping that we will be saved by his short attention span, but so far that hasn't happened.

Frank: To him, life is great big bang-up
Whenever there's a hang-up
You'll find the Spider-Man

Ezra: How long will he keep this up?
Blake: It's painful to watch and listen to.
Benjamin Roy: Maybe that's how Spider-Man gets the bad guys to surrender.

Copyright: Lyrics©Original Writer and Publisher

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Green Eyes

Daddy Steve: There's something about green eyes.  To me, they have always seemed slightly mysterious, exotic, and beguiling.  Perhaps I was influenced by a song on a Jimmy Dorsey album that belonged to my grandparents.  I can remember listening to it as a child when we went to visit them..

Sasha dolls with green eyes do turn up occasionally, although they were never originally made that way.  They seem to date mostly from the 1973-74 period, and were the product of unstable pigments in the brown eye-paint combined with years of exposure to sunlight.  It's similar to the process that causes pink lips to fade to a putty color.  While some collectors may consider green eyes to be a defect, I like to think of them as a happy accident.

I searched quite a while for a nice green-eyed boy to come live at Gregoropolis, and late last year I finally found him (Paul was supposed to be the last doll of 2017, but things don't always work out as planned...).  His name is Gavin, which I happen to think is a good name for a green-eyed boy.  He is a pumpkin-stringed boy from 1973-74 and generally in good shape, although he does have some scrapes and scratches that come from having lived a life.  His hair is good and not falling out at all, although it was very unruly when he arrived--it's straight and springy, and tends to want to stand straight up.  Most importantly, his eyes had turned a soft green color and not the rather harsh yellow-green hue that some dolls unfortunately develop.

Gavin's arrival, with wild hair.  The only clothing he had left was his denim trousers.

I gave Gavin a good 'welcome home' cleanup, and then shampooed his hair in an attempt to tame it down.  After washing, I started to dry it with the hair dryer on its 'no heat' setting but could see that it just wanted to spring back up again.  I put a hairnet on him and set him in front of a fan to finish drying.  His hair turned out well! It still leans towards unruly, but I have him wearing a sporty cap to work on that.

Shampoo time.  Not a single hair was lost!

After the wash.  Already springing up again!

Gavin: Oh, the indignity!

Next step: the eyebrows.  Green eyes are handsome; green eyebrows, not so much.  I've had some experience with acrylic paints, so I thought I would give them a try.  I started practicing blending paint in order to achieve the 'perfect' shade of brown.  Eventually I realized that it wasn't rocket science, and that any number of shades would work well.  Then it was just a matter of painting them on.  I wanted him to have the same style of eyebrows he originally had, so I didn't try any fancy NP stuff.  I think the best approach is to work quickly and not fuss over them too much.  They probably could have been just a bit more tapered, but overall I am happy with the result.

Miguel: Why is Daddy Steve painting all these caterpillars?
Sasha: He has mysterious ways.

New eyebrows!  I think they look similar to those of my 1972 boy, John Martin.

So here's Gavin: Gregoropolis' only green-eyed boy.  I think he has a suave, urbane personality.  Perhaps he'll have his own Big Band someday.

Practicing for his Green Eyes solo.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Daddy Steve: We've just experienced a small crisis here in Gregoropolis.  Charles's pet frog, Hopalong, escaped from his frogararium!  Someone left the cover open and out he hopped!  Naturally, Charles was distraught...

Charles: >sniff, sniff<   He's gone forever!  >sob!<
Kaveh: Don't worry, we'll find him.
Sasha: He couldn't have gone far.

We searched the entire house.  We searched high...

Robin: He's not up here, but there is a lot of dust!
Daddy John: >Ahem<  Yes, thank you, Robin.

We searched low...

Blake: Do you see anything?
Bowie: No, just some old phone books.

We searched some rather unlikely places...

Frank: Nothing but crumbs.

Until Patrick and Ravi provided some excellent advice.

Patrick: We need to start thinking like a frog.
Ravi: Yes!  Where would a frog go?

Indeed, where in the house would an amphibian go?  One room comes to mind...

...And that's exactly where we found him.  Of course, since we're an all-guy household, we left the lid up.  

Luckily for us, Anthony sprung into action...

...And saved the day.

Anthony: Gotcha!

Hopalong is now safely back in his home where he will no doubt reminisce about his big adventure for a long time to come.

Charles: You gave me quite a scare!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

Daddy Steve: On behalf of all the Gregoropolis boys, Sebastian, Giancarlo, and Luke wish all of you a happy Valentine's Day!

...and send you a 'virtual' bouquet!

Friday, February 9, 2018


Daddy Steve: Ever since Mikko and Tyler received a pair of roller blades for Christmas, they've been just dying to try them out.

Mikko: Why do we have to wait until the weather is nice?  There's plenty of room here in the house.

Of course, skating around on a level floor is far too sedate for our two daredevils.

Tyler: This is going to be awesome!
Mikko: I know!

Anthony quickly put a stop to their reckless scheme.

Anthony: You two are going to hurt yourselves and then we'll have to mail you down to Dr. Pat.  If you're going to try all kinds of crazy stunts, then we have to buy padding for you first.
Mikko & Tyler: Awwwwwwwww

Because patience is not in their nature, they soon hatched a plan...

Mikko: I know where we can get padding right now!
Tyler: Do tell.

Robin: Hey, where did all the sofa cushions go?

Mikko: Geronimo!
Tyler: Whoo-hoo!