Go Ask Daddy About Paint Erasers, Ballpark Franks, and Dad’s Feeble Shot at Home Makeovers


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photo credit: id-iom Clone trooper slate via photopin (license)

Once a year, I become a graffiti artist.

GAD GRAPHICNot just me. The whole family gets involved. We brashly head to Wal-Mart in search of the cheapest cans we can get (because, budget), and go about our business, in broad daylight. They know we’re coming. Let them try to stop us.

How’s that for bad-ass?

I’ll do it twice more, this November and next, and nothing will happen to me. It’s not a gang logo on the side of a train car, actually. It’s the rock, at my kids’ school. I don’t get to help every year, but I love it when I get to.

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Grace’s latest rock in progress looked for a minute like a monster hiding in a doughnut hole. Or maybe I just see doughnuts everywhere.

(Graffiti stories aren’t easy to come by for a Chicano kid who grew up in a white neighborhood, it turns out.)

And this week’s Go Ask Daddy leads off with a spray-paint inquiry. I had to dig deep and stretch far for this one. But maybe that’s a good thing. I’m not out of the woods, yet. Now I wonder why my kids are asking about spray-paint-proof surfaces.

1. Is there a spray-paint-proof surface?

Sherwin-Williams sells a product it claims will help customers “solve graffiti problems.”

It’s a siloxane surface that protects against spray paint and permanent markers. Everything 2 feet off the ground within 23 nautical miles of a toddler ought to be coated in the stuff.

Spray paint and markers wipe away with hand-wiping and pressure washing – no need for harsh chemicals.

Graffiti isn’t always evil. It’s part of a sub-culture, and it can become art. Check out images on this Pinterest board. And who could forget this scene from Naked Gun?

2. What is a select team?

The writing is on the wall for this one.

Players try out for a select soccer team. They’re chosen to fill a roster, and nothing is guaranteed. A rec team, by contrast, is designed to give each player a learning experience and equitable playing time. U.S. Youth Soccer recommends select play should begin at U13.

Kids at that level seem to either play more competitively or stay home to watch SpongeBob Squarepants. They’re further divided into Challenge and Classic. Challenge rates at the top. I was awful at remembering which my teams were.

I never coached Challenge, but I’d like to think I could coach a little Classic now and then.

3. Why do they call them hot dogs if they’re made of pigs?

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photo credit: Mr Jaded via photopin cc

I tried to reference the PETA site to answer this question but had to X out.

I got down to the third or fourth photograph, and I knew where it was going. I don’t want to undermine concerns of animal cruelty or the work PETA does, but for this question … I just need to know why they’re called hot dogs. No politics, no protests. Just, history.

[Learn all you wanted to know about hot dogs (from a non-activist perspective) here]

According to hotdog.org (It exists!), folks have chomped hot dogs since the ninth Century B.C. They’re mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, in the passage that tells about the Cleveland Browns’ last winning record. Who actually called them hot dogs first is up for debate.

Was it from a vendor at the New York Polo Grounds who shouted “They’re red hot! Get them while they’re red-hot!” as he sold what was known as dachshund sausages? Did it come from a New York Journal cartoon depicting the tasty treats as barking dogs?

My favorite theory: Dog wagons, an 1894 precursor to the modern-day taco truck, sold hot dogs on the Yale campus. The name for Yale sausage snacks – hot dogs – was a nod to the uncertain nature of which animal gave up its life to fit in your bun.

4. Don’t you catch catfish when you go fly fishing?

It’s possible – but I’ve always equated trout fishing with flies.

I took a fly-fishing course in middle school. I had a blast. I made things called woolly buggers. They’re a thing! This dude, though, catches channel cats while fly-fishing. It takes strong line (7 weight) on a fishing rod that can bend but not break during the fight.

Catfish don’t care how pretty your presentation is when you cast. They just see something yummy and eat it. You know, like your dad, with a box of graham crackers.

5. Does dark paint make a room look bigger?

Actually, it’s the opposite effect.

Anyone who tells you differently is telling fish tales. Light walls tend to extend a room. Dark colors absorb light, which shrinks the room in one’s eye. Unless the graffiti art side of you takes over, and you spray paint a stormtrooper in the area.

Then it could be big as the Death Star.

Try natural light, decluttering or optimal mirror placement to make a room look bigger. Multi-functional furniture helps, as does furniture placement. If in doubt, just borrow a can of that gold spray paint from the garage, shake it up, and have a go.

Better do it before November, though. Apparently, my bad-assness has an expiration date.

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23 Replies to “Go Ask Daddy About Paint Erasers, Ballpark Franks, and Dad’s Feeble Shot at Home Makeovers”

  1. Great questions! Even better answers! I could certainly use some of that spray paint proof material on the walls of my house. Not for paint, of course, but for food and dirt. I’m still not sure why there’s a footprint 4 feet up the wall.

    1. Thanks, dude. It was a tough crop this time around, to get into without stretching properly.

      Everything kids come in contact with ought to come with some sort of everything-proof finish.

      I think you should write a post containing theories of how the footprint got up 2 feet on your wall!

    1. Me either – the permanence of it all, so much pressure, you know? The challenge of Go Ask Daddy is that these questions can come from any direction, with varying degrees of absurdity and brilliance.

      It all fits in … somehow, and only Yahweh knows how.

  2. I never knew the rock painting was a thing until I moved to NC. Do other places do this? Why do all of the schools have a big rock?

    1. Maybe it’s a Carolina thing, Dara. I just put the question up on Facebook and will report my findings in the next Go Ask Daddy post. (Early return says they do it in Michigan!)

      It’s a little known fact that rocks are outside all schools in Michigan and North Carolina as part of a grant from the R&B group Sly and the Family Stone.

  3. Love Grace’s rock graffiti! It’s not just you – that definitely looks like a donut! Your post reminded me of this amusing bit by a British poet and blogger who I follow (also about graffiti). If you have a chance to check it out, it’s mainly pictures, and pretty comical (though I must admit, I have a rather wry sense of humor). https://cityjackdaw.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/a-year-long-duel-in-red-frame-by-frame/

    P.S. Poor Browns!

    P.P.S. There was an exhibit of Grandma Moses’s artwork that traveled through our town a year or two ago. She was an inspiration! To look at her paintings, I wouldn’t say that she was particularly talented, but she created because she loved to create, and she did so from a place of joy and love of life, and practically the whole world fell in love with her work. For a recovering perfectionist like me, there was so much to learn from her example.

    1. That’s war paint, for sure, in that post! Very entertaining.

      Yes, poor, poor Browns. At least they have the Cavaliers. And Indians.

      Creating for the love of creating should inspire us all, right Lu? We can learn so much from Grandma Moses about the joyous parts of simply being alive.

  4. Just the fact that you mentioned Death Star with paint made this Star Wars girl smile as I never would have thought to use that reference for something as simple as paint, but damn it sure worked 😉

  5. My hot dogs are actually turkey dogs. At least omg I hope.
    Some graffiti is truly amazing. It can be an art form for sure. And I can verify that dark paint indeed makes your master bedroom look a cave (or the inside of an army tent if it’s camouflage puke green), and no matter how much your manly husband protests about your two selections of Sea Foam and Spring Leaf, you should throw that stuff on your walls.

    1. Unless you see the turkey headed to execution, Rore …

      Some graffiti is art, and other of it is just a mess, such as the scribbles they sometimes spray on a local disc golf course I frequent.

      We men are fine with Sea Foam and Spring Leaf – if you’re okay with us calling it Green and Green.

      1. One of those is blue sir. LOL
        and yes, my hubby only knows about 6 colours (over the the primary ones) pink, orange, white, black and khaki (which basically covers anything beige to green to camouflage. it’s all khaki.) I once told him I liked the persimmon shade for the kitchen and I am sure his head actually swirled around.

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