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1. Of Rafts and Feasts


In remembrance, 
       I find thanksgiving.
In remembrance, I find a feast.

It's in big things, like remembering
rough stones that have lined my journey,
and seeing them smooth some of my sharp edges.
Like the poets, I count the ways.

I count that it's been over one year since I had a stroke
and heart surgery,
and here I am,
heart-strong and feet-steady.
Playing soccer.
When I remember, there are skeins of thanksgiving
woven into this heart.

Six months since Winnie’s leg, the worrisome spot,
the relieving news, the surgery. 
There are not enough words for this kind of thanksgiving.

This is life. There will be stormy days for all of us.
But remembrance is my feast.
thankfulness is my life raft.

I find thankfulness indeed when I count the big things.
And I find joy in the small.
 
Like when the wind pulls umbrellas
and makes us think, just for a moment, that we might fly.

Or in gathering leaves.
Reading books.
Lighting candles.
Twirling till we’re dizzy.

Holding hands.
Hugs.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.
I am thankful for you.
Thankful that we share this earth,
with all of our colorful, quirky differences.
What a feast!






Books!

Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson, ill. by Pamela Dalton
Pilgrim Cat by Carol Antoinette Peacock, ill. by Doris Ettlinger
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Psalm 23 illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
 



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2. A5 Scribble of Epicness

Another bit of watercolour tomfoolery.
Kind of at the limits of my (failing) vision and brush tip at the teeny size- guys face is less than 1cm.


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3. BOBBEE BEE:NO JUSTICE; NO PEACE!!

When someone comes at you with a gun, despite the fact that you’ve done nothing, he tells you, suffer peacefully. Pray for those who use you despitefully. Be long-suffering. And how long can you suffer after suffering for four hundred years?”Malcolm X: The White Man sold your history(1962)


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4. Earth to YA, Part 1: Environmental Ethics and the Young Adult Author

Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of distress about the destruction of wild places, and my own part in that. I wonder if my new book is worth the trees it’s going to be printed on. I wonder if all the writing and publishing advice I’ve posted here over the years has done nothing but validate the smash and grab mentality that dominates our culture—get the book deal, get the movie deal, ten easy steps, let’s go! I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be successful, as an author or in any career, and the more I think about it, the louder the words of David W. Orr repeat themselves in my head:

The truth is that without significant precautions, education can equip people merely to be more efficient vandals of the earth.”

            In other words, the “success” for which we educate young people and to which we ourselves aspire is associated with exponentially higher levels of environmental destruction. And that really sucks.
            If you are a “successful” real estate developer, you bulldoze far more acres of forest or wetland than an unsuccessful one.
            If you are a “successful” YA author, you might take dozens of flights, sleep in dozens of corporate hotels, cause the production of thousands or even millions of junky tote bags, action figures, DVDs, pens, bookmarks, and other “swag” which will eventually end up in a landfill.
As authors, our motivation is to make friends with Barnes and Noble, not express distress at the way our landscapes have been turned into shopping malls. We’re supposed to be flattered if our publishers fly us places or go to the expense of making promotional materials, not perturbed at the waste it represents.
We talk about our responsibility to young readers, and the important work we do in reaching out to teens who are dealing with bullying, depression, eating disorders and rape—but too often we give a free pass to the consumer culture that turns even the most sincere among us into vandals. We leave it unquestioned. Or we don’t recognize the urgency of questioning it at all.
            My goal is not to make people feel guilty, or throw cold water on anybody’s success. On the contrary, I want to point out a fabulous opportunity.
Our books have the potential to influence generations of readers, and if we give them characters who love the wild earth, who reject the system that ties success to vandalism, who question and resist the destructive culture they’ve inherited—and not only in the context of flashy dystopias, but in contemporary fiction too—our world might have a chance.
And as role models for future generations of writers, we YA authors have a responsibility to challenge the culture we will eventually hand down to them, whether that means resisting cover whitewashing, rejecting wasteful practices in the publishing industry, or writing stories that provoke teens to fight for what really matters.

            Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be using this space to conduct a survey on Young Adult literature and the earth. 
             Let's just hope it's not successful.

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5. Artist of the Day: Vincent Djinda

Today we look at the work of Vincent Djinda, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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6. Job Openings: Indiana University, Boulder Media, Buck, JibJab, Nitrogen, Copernicus & More

Are you hunting for a great animation job? The Cartoon Brew Job Board is the ideal place to look for your next gig.

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7. Prim Kitty


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8. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Leslie Stein

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Artist/musician/bartender/comics brew-master Leslie Stein has been making comics since the early 2000’s. She started making her comics by cutting & pasting construction paper into colorful silhouettes. Her work has continued to morph, and evolve over the years. Today, you can see how she’s broken down her characters, and stories into minimal line work, expressive colors, and animated typography!

Leslie Stein began self-publishing her personal anthology Eye of the Majestic Creature in 2004. The series stars her cartoon alter ego Larrybear(along with a colorful cast of characters based off of real life friends), and has transformed over the years from mostly fictional stories to semi-autobiographical stories, today.

Fantagraphics Books has published two collections of Stein’s comics, and is publishing a collection of her Diary Comics in 2015.

You can read new, regularly updated Diary Comics on Leslie’s tumblr site here, and VICE features a weekly comic by her, as well.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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9. Me-Time

I need some me-time,
Let things be-time,
Burden-free-time
To unwind.

But such flee-time,
Absentee-time,
Filled with glee-time
I can’t find.

So my plea, time,
Please agree, time;
Or you’ll see, time,
I’ll lose my mind.

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10. Book Review- The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Title: The Mirror Empire
Author: Kameron Hurley
Series:  Worldbreaker Saga #1
Published:  26 August 2014 by Angry Robot
Length: 569 pages
Warnings: semigraphic sex, assault, graphic gore
Source: Netgalley
Other info: Hurley has written many things, like God’s War and We Have Always Fought.
Summary : On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.
As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.
In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.
Review: Two worlds exist, mirrors of each other, and two versions of people exist, one in each world. Doorways can be opened between them, but you can only cross into the other world if your double in that one is dead. In one world, the Kai, the leader of the magic workers,Kirana, dies mysteriously, leaving her ungifted brother Ahkio  to take her place. In another story line, Lilia was pushed through a door to escape death. Many other stories weave together to form the story of this mirror empire.
I read this because Kameron Hurley's  blog posts are really good and Angry Robot had this on offer from Netgalley and I'd heard of really good diversity  and so I read this.
I haven't read high fantasy for some time,I think, and it shows. I did infer lots of things about this world  and my head picture is probably completely different to Hurley's.
I also think I missed something crucial as to how everything fits together in terms of plotlines. There's Zezeli,an army captain, who goes campaigning and then.has to find her husband Anavha (who we followed for a bit then I think we stopped following him which was sad because I liked him). Other characters I liked include Roh, Ahkio, Taigan, Gian and many others. Most of the main characters really.  They were all developed, and their stories were intriguing and I wanted to carry on reading about them despite me not fully understanding the links between them all.
The worlds are well developed. Polyamory and female led relationships and strong belief in magic and a  coherent magic system can be found, and settings range from army camps to cities to frozen areas.
The writing is descriptive, even in the very gory areas. It felt like  a long book, but it didn't feel slow. i didn't want this book to end!
characters' storylines clearly overlap in places, but in others, it felt like we were just following someone without it feeding in to a main thing.  I didn't mind, because the small plots were well written and interesting, but I would like to see more convergence in any future novels.


Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book I enjoyed for its characters' individual plots, despite them not all coming together.


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11. The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain


Three children...and ​then there were two.  All was hush, hush about how that happened, and Riley didn't find out why until after both her parents had passed away.

As Riley was cleaning out her parents' home, talking to different neighbors, and talking to folks her father had left things to in his will, she had her share of surprises and shocking revelations.

THE SILENT SISTER has twists that keep you turning the pages as you learn of  secrets that had been kept for years and secrets that only a few folks knew about. How could anyone keep a secret like that?  How could anyone live his/her entire life worrying that the secret might accidentally be revealed?

The characters were well developed, but a lot of them were unlikeable.  Riley was a likeable character because she had to deal with everything, and she was  the character that had to deal with these​ secrets alone.  Danny, her brother, was not likeable at all.  He was too unpredictable.  Riley's parents were not active characters and to me not likeable​, but they, especially her father, carried the storyline and its suspense. 

I always enjoy Ms. Chamberlain's books, and this was no exception.  THE SILENT SISTER is an intriguing read with a ​perfec​t ​​title and a storyline filled with riveting ​incidents that were divulged. 

The secrets, the betrayal, and the ending are superb.  Don't miss reading THE SILENT SISTER.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.​



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12. Happy Thanksgiving!

Some Thanksgiving colors... cranberry sauce a bubbling. I'm thankful I have so many online friends, old and new.

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13. Oscar-Contender Signe Baumane On Why Animation Beats Live-Action for Some Stories

Signe Baumane talks about why animation was a better choice than live-action for her feature film debut "Rocks in My Pockets."

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14. Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear | Book Review

A beautifully illustrated book about food, togetherness, and the unique world of childhood.

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15. Mort & Phil Will Take on ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ in Spain This Weekend

There's a fascinating box office match-up brewing in Spain this weekend between DreamWorks Animation's "Penguins of Madagascar" and the homegrown Spanish CGI feature "Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo."

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16. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

I hope your tables are crowded with the people you love, and your plates are full of delicious dishes. May a Thanksgiving Turkey arrive in time for cleanup duty.  On Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday, may you find outstanding deals and rarely need to plop down any dollars, euros, or other currency. And on Saturday, may The Ohio State University surpass the 20 point lead they currently have over the University of Michigan. Whomever decides those leads will find they are wrong when the spread is closer. This rivalry will kick butt until the final bell, buzzer, or whistle blows.

Mostly, have  a joyful holiday weekend.

Quick note: I am still in the rehab hospital, but the hip aspiration (after four cancellations), was finally performed. The collected fluid looked good, but could still grow on one of those red plastic dishes, keeping me in this place another 8 weeks. There are a couple of other problems sticking their ugly heads up, yet the doctors are top-notch and all the problems will be gone before a new hip arrives. Mostly, they make me tired, frustrated, and missing home more than ever. But I have faith that once my surgeon returns next week, the news will be good and a new hip will find its way to me the following week. It looks like I will make it home by the first of the year, though I am going to work hard to make that sooner. I would love to be home for Christmas. I think I will make myself a ring/chain calendar to help get through the remaining days.

Have a Wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving!

[Picture a beautiful turkey here. I do not have access to a scanner.]


Filed under: Children's Books

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17. Thanksgiving

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18. How to Steal a Dog Movie Pics AGAIN (but these are great)


The cast and director






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19. French best of the year lists

       There's already been a flood of US/UK 'best of the year' (and the like) lists, but these aren't nearly as popular (or premature) abroad.
       One that's been around for a while is Lire's top twenty -- the best book in a variety of categories -- and they've now announced Le palmarès des 20 meilleurs livres de l'année selon la rédaction de Lire.
       Their book of the year is Limonov-author Emmanuel Carrère's Le Royaume (about which I continue to harbor doubts -- but it looks like I'll have to have a look at it, when/if I can get my hands on a copy; see also the P.O.L. publicity page).
       They named James Salter's All That Is the best foreign novel (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), and Nii Ayikwei Parkes' Tail of the Blue Bird was named best foreign first novel. A Tanizaki was named best audiobook ....

       Le Point is the other periodical out with a(n early) top-of-the-year list -- again headed by the Carrère: Le palmarès "Le Point" des 25 livres de l'année. Salter makes their top 25, too (as does Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch -- a best foreign novel finalist on Lire's list). Of course, Hillary Clinton's Mémoires make Le Point's top-25 too, so .... forget that ?

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20. What Makes Your Protagonist Interesting?

What makes your protagonist interesting? Sparkling blue eyes? Rippling muscles? Brains? Money? Clothes?

Let's reword that. What makes a real flesh-and-blood person interesting? All of the things I mentioned above could be part of what draws your attention in the first place, but they aren't what holds your attention.

Just like a real person, the most important thing about your protagonist is that you have to care about him. I don't mean you have to like him. Many of the great protagonists aren't particularly likable. Ignatius J. Reilly, Holden Caulfield, Jay Gatsby, Scarlett O'Hara, Hamlet, Humbert Humbert and countless others are deeply flawed, sometimes to point of being straight-up unlikable. But the authors make us care about them. There has to be something sympathetic in the way even "bad" characters are portrayed, so we want to stick with them for a few hundred pages.

Some of the things that make a flawed character sympathetic are described below.

Action
A character who is not very active quickly becomes boring. A protagonist needs to protag. The things that happen in the story have to largely be due to her own actions. Maybe she makes the wrong choices, but those choices raise the stakes. We might not like the character's choices, but we want to know how she is going to get out of her predicament, or whether she even will. She can win or lose, but she has to put herself into situations that draw us in, and then through her own actions, get out of them or deepen the peril. When your main character is always a victim and relies heavily on others to solve her problems, she's not likely to be very interesting, or to grow (or fall) during the course of the story.

Wit
A clever character who pulls us along with his unusual or profound way of thinking, his humor, and the unique way he looks at the world can make us care about him, even if his actions aren't always (or ever) admirable.

Relatable Problems
Yeah, OK, your readers might never be expected to slay the dragon, defeat the evil wizard C'na'ard, and make the world safe for the Nine Peoples of Gerkin, but they will care more about your protagonist if he has to face problems they can relate to. Disloyalty, unrequited love, school or work or family that create problems, dealing with a world that is too big to handle, and many other problems can be worked into your story, problems your reader does have to face. If we relate to your character's issues, we care more about spending hours looking at the world through his eyes, watching

Strength of Character

Your character should always take a stand. She should have a goal and do whatever she needs to do to accomplish the goal. The character's journey doesn't need to be a straight line. In fact, it shouldn't be. But it should trend in a general direction defined by her values, whether the reader (or writer) shares the values or not. Her actions don't have to be predictable, but when we get to the end of the story, we should be able to look back and see that the characters actions were consistent with her values.

Vulnerability
We have to believe your character can fail. There are so many books, well-reviewed books, that have disappointed me because I never believed the protagonist was in peril. This tends to be a problem in YA fantasy, especially. A "Chosen One" character who is destined to defeat evil is not going to lose, and in some stories, the possibility of failure is never seriously raised. Every dangerous situation is easily defused without any serious peril. The character is perfect for the situation, and, well, let's face it: perfection is not very interesting. While it is unlikely that the protagonist is going to die, failure needs to be around every corner. The odds need to be against him. Death might not be a likely result, but it doesn't hurt if it does seem possible. Failure, however, might be worse than death, and with rising peril and a real likelihood of failure, we can't help but stay interested. It's like the proverbial train wreck we can't stop gawking at.


If your character creates the story through her actions, views the world through somewhat familiar eyes but in a unique and interesting way, is in real danger of failure or worse, and acts in a consistent-but-sometimes-surprising way, we'll be drawn into her world and her life, even if we don't always like her.

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21. Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.
Writing
In a collection like this, an anthology with multiple authors, it's only natural that some really hit the mark and some fell a little short.  In terms of writing, I think the best I can say is that it totally lives up to the premise of providing heartwarmingly romantic YA short stories.  With the exception of Laini Taylor's story "The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer", which was a gorgeous fairy tale with a literary bent that I wouldn't find out of place in a more adult collection, I think this was light and fun and fluffy, but not much in the way of depth.  And, honestly, when you're writing YA short stories, particularly with the stipulation that they be both romantic and heartwarming, I think authors are somewhat limited stylistically.  With an average of 22 pages to introduce characters, make them sympathetic, and have them fall in love with some ounce of believability, there's just not much room for showing off your chops, right?  That said...

Entertainment Value
I loved it.  I totally and completely ate this up.  I read it after reading Lindsay Hunter's Ugly Girls, which wins the award for most depressing book ever.  In light of that, I absolutely devoured this one and loved every fluffy, fun, snuggly moment of holiday romance.  Some favorites, besides Taylor's include Rainbow Rowell's "Midnights", Stephanie Perkins "It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown", and Gayle Foreman's "What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth".  No huge surprises there: the authors whose full-length works I find delightful wrote equally delightful and fun short stories.

I also feel like I can't not mention Laini Taylor's story again here.  Not only was she the most successful in terms of really showing off her writing chops, her story was my favorite overall in terms of entertainment.  She's really created a magical world that I wanted to stay in.  I was sad that it had to be as short as it was for the collection - it's a story I'd enjoy reading as a novel and a world that I'd love to see more of in the future.

Overall
I almost want to go back and delete everything I wrote about the writing of this because I don't want anyone to be confused about the fact that I think this book is completely successful and worth reading.  It's necessarily limited in terms of how much the authors can show off, but that doesn't mean it' not charming and magical and everything fun about Christmas.  If you're into YA, if you like romance anthologies, or if you just need some holiday fluff, you need to read this one.  It was a blast.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.


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22. SAV5 vector presets experiments


Experimenting with various vector based presets
looking for both a natural media appearance and something different

The detail here shows off a few of the presets effects




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23. I Am Away!

In my mind anyway.  Totally and utterly exhausted with comics.  Face Book tells me I've reached a new milestone -"100 Likes".  I'd much prefer 100 sales.

Might be back who knows.

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24. ZOO DIARY: THANKSGIVING TURKEY's DILEMMA


ZOO DIARY –THANKSGIVING – TURKEY’s DILEMMA

 
SCENE: CITY ZOO

Thanksgiving eve. The zoo denizens are upset with the zoo directorate having not been included in the Thanksgiving celebrations

RAT

Once again, we’re not included in Thanksgiving festivities

ZEBRA

Did you really expect to? I mean, why should they? Who are we? Merely the tools in which they make money. That’s all - and how do they thank us? Closing the zoo for the day so we can’t even expect extra treats from visitors. This is so typically…human
 
SOUND: GOBBLE-GOBBLE… GOBBLE-GOBBLE….

RAT

What’s that noise?

ZEBRA

Noise? What noise? Are my stripes straight?

RAT

You don’t hear that?

ZEBRA

‘You are magnificent… Those teeth…those sparkling eyes…’

RAT

Maybe if you’d get your face away from that mirror and stop admiring yourself…

ZEBRA

A person has to make sure that he looks good from every angle. Being the sole representative of the zebra specie in this zoo comes with a responsibility. A daily body examination is necessary to ensure that all my black stripes are evenly spaced on my perfectly white skin. ‘Yesssss! Perfection personified!’

RAT

Far be it to burst your bubble, Zeeb…

ZEBRA

…I am not zeeb - or zebby - or zeeby-baby. I’m a zebra. Z-E-B-R-A!

RAT

Gotcha Zebby-boy – like I was sayin’ – the way that I see it, the stripe on your upper right leg doesn’t well…match the left

 ZEBRA

What?! You must be mistaken. It’s not possible… How could this be? I just checked it not two minutes ago and it was perfectly aligned

(MANNY, the boa constrictor slithers in)

Hey – how ‘ya doin’?

RAT

Manny – you’re out. Free. Did you eat lunch, yet?

ZEBRA

Yes Manny – I do hope they’ve fed you some nourishment. I mean, it’s important to keep up your strength. We don’t want you slithering around hungry looking for anybody, heh-heh…

RAT

That’s the last thing we want…being that we’re your friends and all…that is to say, we don’t want you to experience hunger pangs…

MANNY

As I remember, I had a nibble a month ago. Sure is quiet around here. No humans to knock on the glass of my enclosure

NOISE: GOBBLE-GOBBLE  GOBBLE-GOBBLE…

RAT

There it is again. Sounds familiar-like…

(a turkey suddenly drops down from a tree)

TURKEY

Save me!

ZEBRA

A tree chicken. Never knew chickens live in trees.

TURKEY

I am a turkey who requires sanctuary

RAT

Listen chicken…

TURKEY

…turkey…I am – um – an endangered specie. Yes – that’s it and am declaring myself on the extinct list thus requiring sanctuary

ZEBRA

You must be someone important judging by your extensive vocabulary. All cultured and important species have an extensive vocabulary – and a beautiful body, of course

 TURKEY

I am. In fact, I can state with absolute knowledge that I am number one on everyone’s hit list, today

MANNY
(slithering closer)

Well I for one, believe you. You do look very appealing – in an endangered species way of course

RAT

Wish we could help, turkey, but we live out in the open

ZEBRA

I could send a protest letter to the Zoos of America if that could assist you in any way

TURKEY

I am doomed!

MANNY
(slithering almost directly in front of TURKEY)

Well turkey – really feel for you, in the true sense of the word. I just happen to live inside in a huge glass enclosure that has lots of hiding places.  Why don’t you come back to my pit and check things out? I live alone and there’s nobody to bother or see us

TURKEY
That’s a very generous offer on your part –

MANNY

-          Manny –

TURKEY

Manny

MANNY

Anything for a friend in need.

(the two start to make their way to MANNY’s place)

(cont’d.) Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful, full body. I bet under all those feathers, you have nice firm flesh

TURKEY

The farmer takes good care of me. You can see for yourself when we get back to your pit.

 MANNY

Oh I intend to

TURKEY

Can I give you a hug?

MANNY

Later…when we’re alone…they’ll be plenty of hugging to go around…

0 Comments on ZOO DIARY: THANKSGIVING TURKEY's DILEMMA as of 11/26/2014 9:48:00 PM
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25. Just right

Trying another scribble with the whole "achieve result with no work" method.
Trying to not labour everything  is a bit hit and miss.
Obviously I'd like it to be "just right".
Expressions are alright.
M c Escher would be proud of the bed- but lets call it rustic.


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