Groot, Rocket, and why it’s cool that Chris Pratt’s a thief

When previews first started airing for Guardians of the Galaxy, I don’t know that there was anyone more skeptical than I.

Talking raccoons? Fighting trees? Ugh, Marvel, I thought, please just stick to human (or at the very least, humanoid) superheroes.

My husband, then my boyfriend (wow, has it really been that long?), had more hope. And I let him convince me to go see the movie, but mostly just because I was (am) an avid Parks and Rec and Doctor Who fan, and hence I was eaten up with curiosity about Chris Pratt’s and Karen Gillan’s roles. Andy Dwyer as an action hero? Amy Pond as a supervillain? That, I had to admit, was pretty intriguing. But I was still prepared to hate the talking raccoon.

I don’t know that I could have been more wrong about my initial reaction to the previews.

Rocket

Rocket Raccoon

Chris Pratt was a striking yet still hilarious departure from Andy Dwyer; Karen Gillan was masterful in all her bald, blue, black-eyed glory; and miracle of all miracles, I was even won over by the talking raccoon. I did not see that coming.

Groot

I AM GROOT

But my favorite thing about the movie has nothing to do with the movie itself.

My favorite thing about Guardians of the Galaxy is that Chris Pratt stole his costume from the set of the film and kept it so that as Star-Lord, he could visit sick kids in hospitals. As I did a little background reading on Guardians before writing this post, I came across that fact on IMDb. And apparently I’m too skeptical about a lot of things (I’m realizing as I write this), because I definitely did not believe that at first.

So I decided to fact-check it, gearing myself up for it to be a cute but groundless rumor, and I found two things. One, a whole bunch of people were writing about it, and two, it was corroborated by valid sources. Not the least of which was, ya know, an actual interview with Chris Pratt himself.

So now anytime I think of Guardians of the Galaxy, I think of little ones in hospitals getting to see the actual Star-Lord. I think of their eyes lighting up, and their smiles radiating joy. I think of the needles and tubes not hurting quite so bad, just for a moment. And I’m not gonna lie—that gets me a little choked up.

Honestly, knowing all this, I’d probably go see the sequel they’re filming now, just to support Star-Lord. Even if I’d ended up hating the talking raccoon.

Bear Necessities: drawings from and thoughts on The Jungle Book, old and new

Even as a little girl, I harbored severe doubts about the veracity of Doctor Dolittle. I don’t know, but the idea that some guy’s pet parrot decided she could teach him the languages of all the animals, which conveniently no parrot had ever revealed to a human in the history of humans owning parrots—just seemed a touch fishy to me.

IMG_3298

Bill Murray’s Baloo from the 2016 Jungle Book; a pencil sketch

But The Jungle Book! Now there was a masterpiece. Secretly I wished I’d been found as a baby by a benevolent panther, too, to be turned over to a pack of wolves. Because if you were raised by wolves, nurtured in the heart of the jungle your whole childhood, not only should you certainly be able to speak with animals, but—well—how could you not be able to speak with animals?

The very foolproofness of the story was its beauty. Mowgli was my hero. The wolves were my champions. Bagheera was kind of a killjoy but honestly a hero too, because he was pretty crucial to saving Mowgli’s life and whatnot.

IMG_1175

a pen drawing of Hathi, Jr., the little elephant form the 1967 Jungle Book

And Baloo! Super fun but also startlingly fierce when rubber met proverbial road—he was the whole package. Plus he seemed like he’d be the best to cuddle with, and Mowgli would never have to worry about being chilly in the rain wearing nothing but those red underwear, because he could just curl up with a giant bear, warm and furry and his best friend.

Man, I wished so hard I could live in the jungle and be brave enough to fight Shere Khan.

IMG_1714

a pen sketch of Bagheera from the 1967 Jungle Book

A couple days ago, as I sat in a cinema watching The Jungle Book, I felt myself wishing that again in spite of myself. In spite of adulthood, in spite of the knowledge that, sadly, even growing up with wolves wouldn’t allow a person to actually engage in rational conversation with animals (…right?).

And that’s why I think the new Jungle Book is a masterpiece, too.

ShereKhan

a rough sketch of Shere Khan from over a year ago, when I was still signing my drawings as Randi Bouck

Disney drawings: Flash, Clawhauser, and my big complaint against Zootopia 

“But what if you don’t even like the movie?” my husband asked me recently.

He’d caught me drawing the sloth Flash the day before Zootopia premiered.

It was a legitimate question, but after having seen the movie four times, I can now confirm there was not a problem there.

Flash

Flash, Flash, Hundred-yard Dash

Naturally, I wasn’t the only one pleased with Zootopia. My good friend Mollie requested that I draw the lovable, Gazelle-adoring, donut-obsessed police officer cheetah Benjamin Clawhauser. (Did you know he has a Mickey-shaped spot hiding on his right cheek?)

Clawhauser

“Oh, THERE you went, you lil’ dickens!” -Benjamin Clawhauser

So yeah, Zootopia is pretty great. (A 98% on Rotten Tomatoes says that’s a pretty universal opinion.) I will say it isn’t without its flaws, though.

Well, one flaw in particular.

One of Zootopia’s strongest points is its insistence that anyone truly can be anything. The film is a fanciful, forceful masterpiece on defying limits, shattering stereotypes, and silencing prejudice.

But there’s one flaw in that grand anthem. Among the foxes, rabbits, mice, weasels, sheep, lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), otters, jaguars, cheetahs, and Cape buffalo championing the film’s cause through their various roles, there is

not

one

hedgehog.

Thought to be rodents (they’re not) and commonly considered to just be smaller but equally dangerous porcupines (with whom they share no relation whatsoever)—friendly, bashful hedgehogs are among the most misunderstood creatures in the world.

And a porcupine gets a part in the movie crossing a busy street in front of the male lead, but there’s nary a hedgehog to be found.

Alas, Disney. Alas, Zootopia.

Maybe have a hedgehog or two in the sequel, ok?

happy birthday, hedgehog

Yesterday our baby hedgehog turned one. But don’t worry, we’re not the kind of people to buy a pink candle at Target. For a hedgehog. Come on now.

Oh, wait. Apparently we are.

IMG_3118

April, one whole year old.

But at least I’m not the kind of person to write a sappy love post to a baby hedgehog as if she were my child. If I were, though, I’d probably say something like—

Dear April,

It’s been a good year.

I remember waiting for you to be born. And we thought you were going to be a boy and we were going to call you George. And when our friends asked us why, we didn’t have an answer except that it would be funny to have a gentleman hedgehog named George.

But then you were born, and there was no boy hedgehog. Just you. And we decided you were ours, and we would call you April, and we didn’t even realize when we named you that you were born in April too (duh).

And most our friends thought we were insane for getting you because they didn’t realize the difference, yet, between hedgehogs and porcupines. And yes, it would have been insane for us to have a porcupine as a pet.

IMG_4906

April at seven weeks old, asleep in the palm of my hand.

You were tiny, and you kept falling abruptly asleep for a nap in the palm of my hand. You fit in the palm of my hand back then!

You ran around on your exercise wheel, and grew bigger and stronger, and then you braved a fifteen-hour trip from Texas to blizzarding Colorado, nestled in a warm shoebox in my lap. Hedgehogs aren’t really supposed to be able to do stuff like that, but you did anyway.

You don’t fit in the palm of my hand anymore, but that’s okay. You still run on your blue wheel, but only when it’s dark and you think we can’t see you. (By the way, we can hear it squeaking as it goes around and around. We do realize what you’re doing.) You still make us laugh with your tiny sneezes and your funny little panics and your passionate determination to SNIFF ALL THE THINGS.

Zach and I love you a lot.

Love,

Your female human.

So, yeah, that’s probably about what I’d say. But like I said, I’m not that kind of person.

Anywho, it’s been ten months since my last post, as WordPress so kindly keeps reminding me. Recently I had a conversation with a fellow hedgehog owner on Facebook, and I realized that hedgehog owners need each other. Which reminded me that this blog used to connect me with the hedgehog-owning (and the hedgehog-loving and the moderately-curious-about-hedgehogs) community.

Which, consequently, reminded me that I have also amassed an obscene number of drawings and doodles over the past ten months, and this blog used to connect me with the greater art community in general, as well.

Do I have anything worth sharing? I don’t know.

But I think, since the whirlwind of getting ready to get married, and then getting married, and then moving temporarily to Colorado right after getting married, has begun to calm a little, I think I’ll start sharing in the blogging community again. About my funny little girl hedgehog, about my struggles and failures and musings on my journey as an artist. (As well as, you know, artwork.)

So if you’re interested in any of that, or if you’re bored and need something to look at to pass the time, I’d be so honored if you’d put some coffee on and join me.

IMG_3004