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37176. Holiday Gift Guide Day 24 - RedEnvelope.com Review & Giveaway

Holiday Gift Guide Day 24 - RedEnvelope.com Tree of Enchantment Oil Lamp

When I was searching for Christmas Gifts at RedEnvelope.com, I found a lot of things that I would love to get myself, or give to someone else.  My mom would love this jewelry tree, and this cake pan would be perfect for my sister.




Then I saw these.


The globe shape and the bright vibrant swirly colors immediately caught my eye.  Then I looked at the name and saw that the mouth blown glass that I was admiring was actually an oil lamp.  I was even more intrigued.

The Tree of Enchantment Oil Lamp retails for $49 and comes in two different styles, Love and Family.  Each lamp is made from recycled glass and has a single tree in the middle of the glass and leaves around the top.  It is 6" in diameter and comes with a fiberglass wick.  It does not however come with the paraffin oil it burns.

Because each oil lamp is created separately, no two are alike.  Here is mine



To Buy - Because it doesn't come with the oil I haven't actually tried it as a lamp. But it really is beautiful and makes a great decorative art piece.

To Win - RedEnvelope is giving a $50 Gift Code to one of you!  To Enter complete Any of the Entries on the Rafflecopter form Below!

*Note* Javascript must be enabled to view the form. If you are on the main page of my website, you may have to click read more to see the form.



You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.





I received a product to review from the above company or their PR Agency. Opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own - I was not influenced in any way. I received no monetary compensation for this post. By entering this

1 Comments on Holiday Gift Guide Day 24 - RedEnvelope.com Review & Giveaway, last added: 11/26/2011
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37177. Illustration Friday: Round

I've been drawing lots of birds this week. Meet Burly Bird (on the left). I haven't named the little guy yet.

10 Comments on Illustration Friday: Round, last added: 11/29/2011
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37178. Procrastination - a post from early in the month


Puttingit 2 Comments on Procrastination - a post from early in the month, last added: 11/28/2011
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37179. Two Quick Newsy-Type Notes

I don’t tend to cover news items here at 7-Imp. I leave that to other bloggers, who are particularly good at rounding up the newsy-type notes, but here are two quick ones for today, ones I feel are important for various reasons:

1) The documentary film Library of the Early Mind is now available for digital download through the film’s site, and DVDs will be available through the site on December 1. The film’s producers, Edward J. Delaney and Steven Withrow, are now accepting reservations here.

If you haven’t seen this informative documentary, now’s your chance.

2) Author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka will be hosting the 2nd annual auction for the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships. The auction will go live on Monday morning at 10 am EST. I love the very idea of this scholarship: Jarrett created it in memory of his grandparents, who raised him. Given at the Worcester Art Museum, they provide tuition to underprivileged children who are in unique familial situations. The below video explains more about the purpose of the scholarship:

This year, Jarrett has four items up for bid:

A full-color, acrylic portrait on canvas of Lunch Lady and Betty:

(more…)

1 Comments on Two Quick Newsy-Type Notes, last added: 11/26/2011
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37180. Illustrator Saturday – Christina Forshay

Christina Forshay was born and raised in sunny California, where she lives with her amazing husband and the two cutest kids in the world!

Of course, as a child she could be found drawing, coloring and admiring her grand collection of crayons.

Christina graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration in 2002. Since then, she has been proudly working as an illustrator for the children’s market.

Cover of Christina’s book titled, The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare (Albert Whitman & Sons, 2011)

Here is Christina’s Process with her new book:

So, the first step to working on the first picture book I illustrated, The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare, (Albert Whitman & Sons, 2011) was to read through the manuscript and jot down some initial notes and ideas. I was also sent a PDF from the art director of the layout of the book that had the text and some notes for each spread. That made it somewhat easier for me, as figuring out where the page turns will go seems to be half of the initial battle in terms of the flow and continuity of a picture book. I printed out the pdf in a smaller format and cut and paste the pages to form a miniature version of the book so that I would have something tactile to hold, and pages to turn. I kept this right in front of me on my desk every day. This really helped me along the way to bridge the gap between the written word and how I envisioned the final book would look .

After a few days spent mulling over the manuscript, gathering my thoughts and creating small, scribbly sketches, I began working on character design and development for the two main characters. Here is one of first pages I sent the art director of how I envisioned the hare.

The Art Director thought he needed to head in a more “hip and cosmopolitan” direction, so I trolled the internet looking for inspiration. I sent Nick (the Art Director) this image I found on a certain “hip” clothing store’s website and he agreed that this was the direction we should go.

So, that is how we ended up with the final look for Hare.

Once the character designs were finalized, it was time to move to the sketches for the spread. Though I work digitally for the final paintings these days, my sketches are mostly done pencil on paper and then scanned in.

I started very small on a sheet of paper with thumbnail size sketches that are approximately 1” by 2” each. These thumbnails are proportionally correct in size to the final artwork size. As you can see, these are super messy, but contain the essential large shapes and fig

5 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Christina Forshay, last added: 11/29/2011
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37181. Programming Idea: Retro Gaming

Quick and crazy thoughts this lovely Saturday morn.

My library system has this kind of neat website where they can highlight different events on the main page.  I was glancing there the other day and noticed something.  One of the programs there was listed as “Retro Gaming”.

Instantly I could see it.  The library purchases some old Nintendo NES consoles (gigantic game cartridges and all), some Atari, and maybe a ColecoVision if they’re feeling cheeky.  You get a bunch of old classic games and then have the teens play them.  I guarantee they’d be fascinated.  Heck, at this point in time they’d probably figure it was a history lesson . . . and they’d be right.

As it turned out, my library was talking about chess and checkers and those kinds of “retro games”.  But I’m rather enthralled with my version.  My husband pointed out that you could just link to old games on the internet and get them that way, but there’s something so much better about having the original joysticks and whatever the heck that ColecoVision device was called.  Many of you guys work in library systems.  Tell it to me true then . . . has anyone ever heard of a library system doing this before?

10 Comments on Programming Idea: Retro Gaming, last added: 11/29/2011
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37182. IF: Round

I thought this old illustration would work well for today's Illustration Friday topic and be oh-so appropriate for the upcoming holiday season:
I painted an early version of this image in art school and then re-painted it shortly after I graduated. Looking at it now I can only think how much better it would look if I re-painted it yet again. It's kind of fun (and occasionally painful) to look back at old work and see where you've improved (and where you still need some work!). This painting had a brief life some years ago as a greeting card for a charity card company and it's been more recently revived as a greeting card once again in my CafePress shop. Need Christmas cards? Get them here!

5 Comments on IF: Round, last added: 11/28/2011
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37183. Wish. Dream. Plan. Goal. Guts.


Recently, a long-held goal of mine came to fruition.



I've worked a long time for this.



It is a happy moment to celebrate.


Horray! Okay... Now, let's get real.
I'm at the base of Everest. I've gained a ticket to entry (yay!). But now, there is brand new, large and gigantic mountain to climb. Because with each goal reached, there are 100 new ones to conquer.



(But that's what it's all about, isn't it?)

...Here I go!

2 Comments on Wish. Dream. Plan. Goal. Guts., last added: 11/28/2011
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37184. Young Adult Giveaway Hop - Jan. 27th to 31st



Young Adult Giveaway Hop
January 27th to 31st
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Down the Rabbit Hole



Hop Rules:


  • Each participating blog will host a giveaway on their site.
  • The giveaway must be for a young adult book.
  • No more than 4 possible entries per person.
  • Offering a Gift Card or a young adult book of choice is ok.
  • You do not have to be a young adult review blog to participate. Any family friendly blog or site is welcome to join.


Please mark your calendars. A reminder email will be sent out about a week before the hop starts.


To enter please add your blog to the linky with your shipping information in parenthesis after your blog name.

If you have any questions email me toobusyreading-at-gmaildotcom


1 Comments on Young Adult Giveaway Hop - Jan. 27th to 31st, last added: 11/27/2011
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37185. This Week for Writers 11/25/11: Our Favorite Articles and Blog Posts

Happy post-Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a wonderful day, including those of you non-American visitors who didn't overdose on turkey and pie yesterday.

We're still struggling a little bit with the Google+ thing, so this week's list is in a slightly different format. We'd love feedback. What do you like about the format? What would you like to see us change?

And we have a special treat! This week's WOW Wednesday Post was from Inara Scott, so we have a giveaway of the first book in her Delcroix Academy series. Enter by 12/1 for a chance to win. The form is at the bottom of this post.

The Candidates (Delcroix Academy, #1)Bad things usually happen when Danica Lewis sees someone threatening one of her friends. That's why she does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, her days of living under the radar may be over.

At Delcroix, everyone treats Dancia like she's special. Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome. And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.

And the winner of last week's giveaway is: Ruth Setton. Congrats, Ruth! :D
Clara's Favorites
37186.


A re-post, but aren't all zombies "do overs" ????



1 Comments on , last added: 11/28/2011
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37187. Jabberwocky Cinematic


Jabberwocky - Game Cinematic (unreleased)

This is a cinematic for a video game that I pitched at the studio I used to work for. It was fun coming up with the characters and story. Unfortunately the game has been shelved. I have been hesitant to post this, but it's all over the web now so I may as well, right? Perhaps some day it will see the light of day again. I hope it will. I loved working on it.

8 Comments on Jabberwocky Cinematic, last added: 11/28/2011
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37188. In brief

Where have I been? At home (sewing, cooking, cleaning, homework help), out in the world (running, running errands) and back home again (hosting, more of the above). I'm awash in gerunds.

I posted seven Etsy listings today, including this King Winter, Snow Queen, and Snow Child set, and a Green Yuletide Angel. I've been working at this cottage industry for over two years, and I still am surprised that the activities taking photographs, tweaking of the photographs, and listing the dolls take about as long as the creation of the dolls themselves.

Incidentally (Natural Kids Team related), I read a new-to-me version of Tolstoy's "The Turnip" called Hugin and his Carrot, posted by fellow Natural Kids Team member SuperSkivvies. It has a song! I don't know the tune to the song, but I will find out. I have ways.



2 Comments on In brief, last added: 11/26/2011
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37189. Tiffany-Mae or TM? by Keren David


Mary Ann did it. So did Charlotte, Emily and Anne.  But why do some of us?
Heathcliff, in the new film of Wuthering Heights
Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Eliot. The Bronte sisters adopted male pseudonyms too. They lived in an age where women were denied the vote, were barred from most professions, and, until 1870 if married, could not own. So it is not surprising that they disguised their gender when presenting their work to the world, especially when the work contains darkly sexual undertones, as does Wuthering Heights.
But now, we’re past all that, aren’t we? Feminism has fought important battles. We’ve had a woman prime minister (soon to be lionised in a new film), we can do any job. We are often the highest earner in the family, we own property, we speak our minds.
Of course there is a long history of authors, both male and female, using pen names and initials, and it was particularly popular in the 1930s,40s and 50s. D H Laurence was not hiding his gender, and nor was C S Lewis.  But the practice waned in the less formal Sixties, and with the rise of feminism in the 1970s, one might expect that it  would die out. It did not.
JK Rowling giving evidence this week
The most famous recent example, of course, is JK Rowling. Read some accounts and her publisher ‘insisted’ that she dropped Joanne or the more neutral ‘Jo’ for JK in order to attract boy readers. Other reports suggest that she and her publisher agreed on the strategy, but again for the same reason. Watching her give evidence this week  to the Leveson  Inquiry, I wondered if there was another explanation. I was struck by her concern, even right at the start of her career, for her privacy and for that of her children. Maybe adopting initials felt like a good way of preserving her own identity, even before her magnificent success.
But the result, I think, has been the growth of a myth that women authors have to ‘do a JK’ to avoid being shunned by boys. I was talking to a YA writer the other day, and she told me that the first ‘boy’s’ book she wrote came with a suggestion from her publisher's marketing department that she adopt initials -  even though her first books were written, very successfully, under her own name. She refused. 
16 Comments on Tiffany-Mae or TM? by Keren David, last added: 11/28/2011
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37190. Those NESCBWI Blogs I Was Talking About

Over two weeks ago I announced my plan to visit all the New England Society of Children's Book Writer and Illustrator blogs listed at the organization's website. And here I am finally getting to a couple more.

I sort of know Jeannine Atkins (we're Facebook "friends"), who blogs at Views From a Window Seat. Hers is another blog that portrays a person living a real writer's life. She submits, she teaches, she attends literary festivals. And you can read about all that activity at Window Seat.

Nandini Bajpai has published short form work, which interests me, since I dabble in that kind of writing, myself. Interesting material from her recent posts: her experience with NaNoWriMo and her part in what she describes as a "Big Fat Indian Wedding."

2 Comments on Those NESCBWI Blogs I Was Talking About, last added: 11/26/2011
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37191. Julia's Christening & First Thanksgiving

I've had a busy few weeks. That's why I haven't been posting much lately. My granddaughter was baptized on November 13th. I was away in Chicago for a few days last week for the 2011 NCTE Annual Convention. Upon my return home, I had to get cracking with preparations for Thanksgiving. I hosted my family this year in my "new" dining room.

I have also experienced some major computer problems recently. My computer was with the techs for a few days. Then...I still had some problems with it after I brought it home. The following morning, I couldn't connect to the Internet. I think I've finally solved my connectivity problem. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

We definitely had a Thanksgiving to remember. We were joined by our newest family member--my adorable granddaughter Julia Anna who was born in early August. She was smiling and in a really good mood. She was the hit of the party!

Some Christening Photos
(Julia wore my daughter Sara's christening gown.)
 

Thanksgiving at My House
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37192. DreamPage…How I start my day


Tagged: Allen Capoferri, Art, Illustration, sketchbook, sketchbook drawing

8 Comments on DreamPage…How I start my day, last added: 11/29/2011
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37193. Things I learned from my mother

A few posts back, I wrote about my father. Today, I share about my mother.

My mother has a name that she does not like. I'd tell you what it is, but then I'd have to kill you. Well, she ever found out, she'd kill me. Suffice it to say, she was named after two relatives, both of whom died young and tragically. More about that in a moment.

When Mom was a child she was very sickly. She missed an entire year of school due to asthma and persistent pneumonia. She learned to love stories. She read a lot of books, and she acted out stories with figures on the covers of bed. One time when I was little, I found a tiny ivory dominoes set. She casually remarked, "Oh yeah. Some relatives brought it when they came to see me before I died."

She's 81 now, so I guess she showed them. She grew up poor on a farm. Her father figured she went to school on the bus and she could come home on the bus. She had an aunt who lived in town and taught piano and elocution. She stayed with her aunt so she could do things after school.

She took Spanish in high school,and when the teacher assigned Spanish names, she called my mom Enrique. Soon the kids were calling her Rickey, and Rickey she has been ever since. She used this opportunity to reinvent herself. She was no longer a sickly child; she was an intelligent, adventurous, young woman.

She headed off to Texas Tech University, where she studied Journalism with a minor in Spanish, gaining her degree in 1949. She wrote for the school paper, and was nominated as a campus beauty queen. She modeled for (tasteful) photographs. When you think of how few women when to college back then, it's pretty impressive that she earned a degree.

My dad wanted to marry her right away, but she didn't want to go straight from her father's house to her husband's house, so she took a job in Kansas, working for a newspaper.

They married in 1950, and Mom applied for jobs with advertising agencies. One of them required sample work and was very interested, until they figured out Rickey was a girl. She ended up working as an assistant.

When my oldest brother was born, she stayed home, as women in the fifties did. But she was not willing to be ONLY a stay at home mom. She became involved in politics, serving as precinct and county chair for the Republican party. She dressed me in a play suit with an elephant appliqued on the front. I knew about voting when I was tiny - I went with her while she served as a poll worker. I enjoyed these times, and learned how to behave and deal with adults other than my parents very early.


She served as treasurer for the church women's organization for several years. During that time, the group put on an annual bizarre and fed everyone in town. It required a lot of organization and a lot of financial bookkeeping.

When Dad decided to be a weekend rancher, Mom was right out there, helping to vaccinate the calves.

She reared three successful children, and when I was in high school, went back to work. She managed a Hallmark store, and enjoyed selecting the decorative items to stock.

When I was in a bad car wreck and Dad had heart surgery, she worked herself silly waiting on us and caring for us. When some visitors from our church came to visit, one said, "I came here to cheer you up, but when I saw the love and care in this family, it made me feel happier."

Mom cared for both my little ones while I worked. When my husband had heart surgery, she came to our house every night and either bathed the children or made dinner. I don't know how we would have made it through that time without her help.

When her father died and her mother was left alone on the farm, she took her into her home and cared for her until her death.

I learned the following things from my mother:

Don't accept a negative fate. You can make yourself into what you want to be.

Education is impor

2 Comments on Things I learned from my mother, last added: 11/28/2011
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37194. Illustration friday - 'round'

New work done last week - I thought this one fitted the topic for illustration Friday perfectly - 'round'.

7 Comments on Illustration friday - 'round', last added: 11/29/2011
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37195. Bono Wants You to Come Home for Christmas

1 Comments on Bono Wants You to Come Home for Christmas, last added: 11/28/2011
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37196. Illustration Friday: Round

12 Comments on Illustration Friday: Round, last added: 11/28/2011
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37197. let's chat


I love it when I get to see designs I've done used in fun, clever ways, like in the above greeting card design from the latest issue of 365 cards. I illustrated the retro phone as a stamp design for A Muse Studio a few years ago and seeing it again made me realize how much I like it. I particularly like the way card designer, Carly Robertson used it here. Love the little twinkle sticker in the center of the dial! and Let's Chat is the perfect wording to go with it.

3 Comments on let's chat, last added: 11/28/2011
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37198. Christmas in Harmony

Christmas in Harmony. Philip Gulley. 2002. HarperCollins. 96 pages.

My first memory of Christmas was in 1966. I was five years old and standing in line at Kivett's Five and Dime with my mother and brother, Roger, waiting to see Santa Claus, who looked suspiciously like Bud Matthews, the man in our town who did odd jobs. He smelled like Bud Matthews, too--a blend of Granger pipe tobacco, Old Spice aftershave, and sawdust.

I enjoyed this novella by Philip Gulley. My first introduction to Harmony was Home to Harmony. Home to Harmony is more a collection of short stories about one town--one community, one church--than it is a traditional novel. It introduces readers to some wonderfully eccentric (quirky) characters in a small town. Christmas in Harmony is a novella set within that community of characters. If you haven't met these characters yet, this book is a good place to start. Especially if you are looking for cozy-type Christmas stories. Not that the book is too sweet--far from it! It's very funny, in places, as different members in the congregation have strong opinions on how to have the right Christmas Eve service. One member STRONGLY believing that they should try something new, a progressive live nativity scene, where members drive through town stopping at each place on the map. (One house for the sheep, one house for the shepherds, one house for the wise men, one house for Mary and Joseph, etc. The last stop being of course the place where you find the cocoa and cookies.) Others want a more traditional service--the reading of the nativity in Luke followed by cookies in the basement, I believe. So along with the tension of the present Christmas, there are remembrances of former Christmases. Stories about Christmas trees, shopping, seeing Santa, etc.

I am enjoying reading Philip Gulley, for the most part, and this novella would make a great introduction if you are in a seasonal mood.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 Comments on Christmas in Harmony, last added: 11/27/2011
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37199. Catching Up With Iron Man and Thor, Post-Fear Itself

As you’ve doubtless heard by now, Marvel followed up the Fear Itself event mini-series with issues 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3.  Let’s be kind and say the reception to these issues was mixed, at best.  If you’re like me, those “point” issues put some titles on probation.  Let’s see what happened with the set up.  Spoilers ahead.

7.1 was the Captain America issue.  It was a cheap “Bucky isn’t dead, after all” revival set up to springboard to the Winter Soldier series.  I’m very curious whether this was planned all along or this is a retcon.  Either way, it doesn’t effect the Captain America series.

portrait xlarge Catching Up With Iron Man and Thor, Post Fear Itself7.2 was the Thor issue.  Thor died in Fear Itself.  You might be saying to yourself, “if a major hero like Thor died, why wasn’t this a bigger deal and why wasn’t I reading about it in the mainstream media?”  Either the mainstream media has gotten a clue about how short-lived superhero deaths tend to be or something’s up.  Suddenly, there’s a new thunder god to replace Thor in the pantheon.  And magically, everyone remembers this new thundergod as having done all of Thor’s adventures.  The magical power of stories and all that jazz.  Or, the worst elements of the Sentry and One More Day, should you be less charitable.

Over in Thor #8, things pick up right where 7.2 left off.  Odin has taken his dead brother’s body back to Asgard and locked everyone out of the 9 worlds, so you’ve got a few trolls and such wandering around on Earth.  Interestingly, there _is_ one person that realizes the new thunder god is not the original.  And that person is Loki, who goes about trying to figure out what happened.  Towards the end of the issue, we have appearances by a couple Lee/Kirby era Thor characters and find out that the new thundergod is not what he seems.  We also find out that dead for a god is probably not the same thing as dead for a mortal.  There’s at least one layer of red herring from 7.2, possibly more.  Basically, Fraction is going somewhere with this and had all this come out in a double-sized , there might have been less rolling of eyes.  I’m not issuing a free pass on the story arc just yet, but I was very close to dropping Thor based on Fear Itself 7.2.  I’m not dropping it yet.

portrait medium Catching Up With Iron Man and Thor, Post Fear Itself7.3 was the Iron Man issue and another one where the first words that come to mind are “One More Day.”  In a nutshell, Odin undoes the death and destruction in Paris and Tony Stark ruminates on whether or not he should kill the Grey Gargoyle for killing everyone in Paris when he was possessed and part of “The Chosen.”  I can see where Fraction was trying to go with this, interspersing some cleaning up of the scope of destruction with some moralizing and soul searching.  The conundrum was supposed to be that they couldn’t charge the Gargoyle with mass murder/genocide if everyone came back to life.  The problem with the execution of this is you can’t wonder whether you should hold him responsible when you’re saying nobody blames The Thing for being possessed.  Massive internal logic flaw.  This whole thing felt like somebody decided the scope of

11 Comments on Catching Up With Iron Man and Thor, Post-Fear Itself, last added: 11/28/2011
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37200. Some thoughts…

For kids, the very act of living is the act of challenging, questioning, shouting. Children are radicals.  They say what they think.  They expect the world to be fair and equal and they push against it when it isn’t. They think that if they yell loud enough, for long enough, they can make people listen.  They are not always “on message” but they mean what they say, and if you listen to them, you’ll learn something.

2 Comments on Some thoughts…, last added: 11/28/2011
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