Friday, June 21, 2013

Doodling the Looking Glass of Date Night

Work-a-Doodle: The Looking Glass Edition

Every so often I'll get an idea stuck in my head and the only way to get it unstuck is to get it out in the open is to write something or draw it. That was the case with Alice of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland after an episode of Warehouse 13 (seriously, watch this show, it's great) where that character played heavily in the events. There's also a trend toward depicting these staple fantasy characters in as sexualized a manner as possible. Zenescope comics is hugely guilty of this. That said I enjoyed doodling a kind of naughty take on Alice, and I had a lot of fun drawing the Hatter. 

This page of doodles was, understandably, tucked under my keyboard at work for a while. 

It's also a good example of why I will never, ever hand-letter Geek Speak. 

Night of Dates: The Date of Nights

There are many, many good things about being a parent. When you make the choice to be responsible for the rearing of a new human being, there are many rewarding things about the process. Other people you know who have kids of their on will tip you off to a few of them, but most will be a surprise. It's kind of like the world's longest special edition DVD with limitless Easter eggs. Yes, even longer than Lord of the Rings.

As rewarding as being a parent can be there are some down sides. One of the biggest of which is you and your partner will suddenly find it very difficult to spend quality, offspring-free time together. Part of it is just the demands of raising a kid, part of it is that you don't want to leave your precious little ones with a stranger because something could happen. Used here stranger has a somewhat looser definition. It could mean a baby sitter referred to you by a friend who has a degree in early child development psychology, a list of references as long as Uma Thurman's legs, and has so many connections in the intelligence community she could make a phone call and have anyone who looked at your child the wrong way found, bagged, and shipped to a hole in the ground somewhere in Cuba.

Stranger could also mean someone you've know for almost twenty years and his wife.

Which brings us to the Saturday before Father's day. Mildly Sensational and I have had some...trouble...getting out to spend time with each other. Put another way, we haven't had a date night since our anniversary last year, which puts it at about eleven months. We're not shut-ins, we do get out, but when we do, it's with our daughter in tow. Our friends love our daughter, and we love seeing her interact with them and how that changes as she gets older. Even so, we occasionally find ourselves longing for the opportunity to sit down to a meal without a two year old going all Helen Keller up in our business.

The day before Father's Day I worked with our good friends (and guest stars in this blog) Tea Leaf and Celluloid Girl and arranged for them to watch Veronica while Mildly Sensational and I did something exciting and adventurous! We went to dinner and a movie!

Before leaving we armed Tea and Celluloid with Disney movies, snacks, her favorite toys and walked them through her routine. Then we walked out the door. We hadn't made it ten steps before Little Wonder (Normal Guy and Mildly Sensational made a Little Wonder, get it?...never mind) started banging on the screen door, crying, and yelling, "MOMMY! DADDY! MOMMY!" We paused for a moment. Then we walked faster. I may never get skid marks off the garage floor where the tires squealed as I peeled out. Seriously it was heart-wrenching, but we trusted our friends to be able to handle the situation. Even if her distress turned out to be more than they could handle on their own, we knew Marlin and Dory from Little Nemo were standing by to make the assist.

It took us only about twenty minutes to get to the Glendale Galleria where we walked under a big sign that said Pacific Cinema 18 or something similar. I promptly went to the ticket counter positioned under a sign proclaiming show times for all the movies currently playing at the Pacific Cinema 18 to get our movie tickets. I smiled and exchanged pleasantries with the girl behind the counter who was wearing a shirt that said Pacific Cinema. Then I reached into my wallet pulled out my AMC gift card and handed it to her. Then stood a little perplexed when she said she couldn't use it. Then felt phenomenally fucking stupid when someone probably half my age had to explain the card was for AMC and, being Pacific Cinema, the couldn't accept it.

As it turns out they do accept money and we were able to get our tickets without further incident.

The movie we were seeing was Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was incredible. It borrowed heavily from some
moments in the original series, and especially from one of the original movie adaptations, but it put enough of a fresh spin on the characters and the story points to make it feel completely original. The movie has been reviewed to death so I'm not going to beat that particular expired equine, but I am going to write another post later about Star Trek in general. It will make you cry. I promise.

After the movie we went to the Granville Cafe in Glendale. It's an easy walk from the movie theater, and the incredible. The crowds at the mall were nuts. Not the worst I've seen, but a seriously claustrophobic person might still have dived into the fountain at the center of the green to get away from the crushing throngs. Everywhere within the Galleria you could think to eat was packed to capacity and people were waiting around outside, eyeing the young, elderly, and infirm with open hunger.

Just around the corner from that was a Granville Cafe shaped oasis of sanity.

We were seated almost right away on entering and ordered our drinks and an appetizer. An appetizer wouldn't be necessary, ordinarily, but Mildly Sensational is working on Little Wonder Mark II. The calorie demands of pregnancy are unreal, so after sitting through an entire movie she was starting to get a bit of a predatory look. Fortunately it was nothing sweet potato fries couldn't fix. Dinner took a while to get to us, so the restaurant offered to comp either dessert, or the appetizer; a crazy generous gesture that was unnecessary as we had been enjoying the first real opportunity to talk that we'd had in a year.

The food was terrific. My steak was perfect, and their wasabi mashed potatoes are one of life's true pleasures. We did get dessert this time, and I enjoyed the hell out of a slice of lemon drop cheesecake and bruleed lemon slices (which I could eat like potato chips, seriously, give me a bag of them already).

All too soon it was time to head back. Much to our delight when we returned home our friends still had their sanity and hadn't put on diapers of their own in an act of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." They reported nothing out of the ordinary and left while our daughter watched some Disney cartoons they'd found on Netflix.

As a parent you forget all too soon the simple joy of being with someone. I'm glad we had the opportunity for a reminder of the things that make us work so well.

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