Tag Archives: diner

The Empress

The Empress, drawn at Megabites.
The Empress, drawn at Megabites.

At Megabites for the Usual

Back to the familiar diner routine and napkin doodling!

Yesterday, I felt the need to veg out on the couch in my PJs, read a book and some blogs, drink hot chocolate and do absolutely nothing related to art. That’s not entirely true though. When I accidentally woke up at 4:30am and saw how the light was in my apartment, I started to take abstract photos for my next photography assignment. Then, I went back to sleep and vegged.

I think downtime is important though. Today, after my usual Earl Grey tea and breakfast at Megabites, I took a stroll to the Brooklyn Flea Market on Lafayette Avenue. It has become a popular destination for foodies (plenty of artisan food stands), antique collectors, and clever things made by local New York artists. For me, it was a great place to get inspiration for interesting abstract photography shots.

So, if you are ever in the Downtown Brooklyn area (5-10 minute walk from Atlantic Terminal), go check it out. Click HERE for more info on it.

Enjoy your Saturday strolls and don’t forget your sharpies!


The Brooklyn Doodle

Being Visible

We pass the time of day to forget how time passes.

-Hipolito, from the movie, Amelie

I pass my time doodling on napkins in diners, cafes, or pubs while drinking tea or whatnot. It’s my thing. It’s how I pass the time. It’s how I can freely be myself without worrying if I said the wrong thing or had the appropriate emotional response to the people and events around me. It feels like my own private sanctuary where I can get lost, put myself in a trance, and be present to my life as it happens in a peaceful way.

Every now and then, I like to share my doodling ruminations but am unsure how to do it. That’s why I take pictures of it and have started this blog. I have been doodling on napkins long before I started this blog. I didn’t keep all of my napkin drawings though and I left them behind with the money for my check. The finished product was not always as important as journey of drawing.

Today, something unexpected happened that reminded me of the movie, Amelie. In the French film, the main protagonist is a waitress who secretly does kindnesses for the people she encounters silently everyday. For instance, she takes a quote from the book written by one of her regulars, Hipolito (who thinks he’s a failed writer), and creates a bit of graffiti with it on the side of a wall that he passes every day. You can tell it means the world to the writer who feels heard.

So, I’m doodling on my napkin when the two waitresses at my favorite diner, Mega Bites, which is on DeKalb Ave. near the (Saturday) Brooklyn Flea market, approach me. Apparently, my aunt had come in earlier that morning and told them how I won a photography competition through an organization called Bicycle Utopia for the Am I Invisible? Bicycle Photography Competition. I was one of five winners to win $200 for my photograph. Here’s the link to the site. You have to click through to find my photo: Bicycle Utopia.

Anyway, the two ladies told me that they heard from my aunt that I have a blog on my napkin doodles. They wanted to show me that they have been collecting my napkin doodles all year. I was completely moved by this and asked if I could take their photo with the collection for my blog and they agreed. Here they are!


So, I guess if anyone decides to venture into Brooklyn, visit them. If you ask to see the collection of my napkin doodles, they have a bunch of them. Some of them, I had completely forgotten I’ve drawn. To see them all together like that makes me feel like I have passed my time well with my morning tea and the universe took care of the sharing of my doodles. I felt like the Hipolito.

Once again, I will share this week’s napkin doodle and encourage you to do the same with your art, your passions, your life’s drum. Share who you are.


Enjoy Spring! Get inspired by nature! Doodle and share!




Music Muse for Art

Music Muse for Art

Went to my usual diner for a cup of Earl Grey tea and picked up my Sharpie to doodle on yet another napkin. Realized that this particular diner had music that inspired my doodling so I finally asked what was playing. So, look up Solander’s “All Opportunities” and that’s my muse.

Challenges to Our Identity

“Fighting for identity is something very much in my life.” -Ang Lee

Was thinking quite a bit about how identity is formed. Are we born with it? Is our nature predestined? Are we a product of our environment? How much do we change over the expanse of our lives? What part of us remains the core of who we are throughout our lifespans? Does the core of our being culminate into one style? As a creative human being, I would like to believe that we allow for change and experimentation. I took a chance with the zentangle style once again. Not my usual process of creating but I found it meditative for several hours. I don’t think it would have endured a napkin. Drew this in East New York, Brooklyn during my lunch break. 


This question concerning identity stems from some observations I had while walking the half mile from the subway to my current school. I am the equivalent to a substitute teacher. Some teens were walking ahead of me and greeted each other with a very intricate handshake. Sadly, this type of handshake is not a new phenomenon for me since you see a lot of things after teaching for ten years. Confirming my suspicions, a teen admitted to being part of a gang of over 200 members. I won’t go into what has been said about the violent initiation of a potential gang member but the idea of seeking out a gang made me question the whole notion of identity for several days. For what purposes might a person relinquish their personal identity for the larger identity of a group (or gang)? Survival? Belonging? Or perhaps it was an idea cultivated by family and friends, like a religious ideology or philosophy for living?

I continue to walk to my school and notice another teenage girl wearing a hijab and a long black skirt. She walks very quickly and takes a deep breath when construction workers reroute our walk to the other side of the street. That side of the street has many students who are not rushing to school, hanging out in groups, some play fighting. I turned to her, smiled and said, “We’ll get through it.” She followed me through with my belief that my identity as a teacher might act a shield. It did. I learned that some students have challenged her walk to and from school. I imagine she might think that to snitch on them (annoying word) would mean that she would have to eventually confront those who challenge her personal identity, perhaps strengthened by her religious identity. We all wear our identity armor.

I relayed the situation to an adult whom I know lives in the area. She felt the teenage girl would need to toughen up, speak up, maybe even fight back rather than attempt to stay under the radar “in this neighborhood.” Ironically, I was working as the teacher in charge of the suspension room that day. The room has the usual posters about the nature of bullying. All of them send a message to the students to not be a bully, not to fight, not to speak up and, yet, perhaps they were taught, that’s how you survive in this neighborhood, by some well meaning adult. It seemed like a Catch 22 for most teens. Fight to survive and then be incarcerated when you do! It does not seem just to me.

As I move on to my next school, I wonder about the quiet girl. I hope the construction is done and that she can continue to walk to school under the radar. As violent as I think as it may be for a person to join a gang, I think keeping your personal identity under the norms of your dysfunctional environment may be the toughest fight one may have to face. That fight would be worth it.

Going back to my napkin drawings…

Here’s a frazzled owl who endured quite a tough winter. Went for a walk up 7th Avenue in Park Slope to Lincoln Pl. and found the best French-Hungarian café called Café Dada for a late brunch this morning. I liked the name of the place. Dadaism was an avant-garde art movement that formed due to the negative reaction to WWI. Perhaps my frazzled bird is a homage to the Dadaists and dealing with my own reactions to the unspoken wars going on between some teens in Brooklyn. Peace!