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If you insist..

Wacom tablets are such temperamental things. For some reason around 9 or so, I was half way through these backgrounds and mine wonked out. If you're not familiar, you need three things to happen to make art. 1) The screen to turn on to see what you're drawing 2) The tablet to register the pen is touching it 3) The pressure sensitivities to be recognized. The first one always happens, but I've had issues with the other two. I've noticed it's typically after a Windows update, curiously enough. Usually a restart will kick number 2 into gear, but the last one is the killer. Was yesterday. I still haven't gotten the tablet to register the different pressures I'm putting on the pen, but atleast it knows it's there now. What you get instead, is no flow-in-and-out of line thickness. Thick to thin, or vise versa. You just get what would be a full size of whatever brush. Like you're just mashing the pen against the screen at full force. So it's a blob of ugliness everytime. I ended up having to mouse most of these backgrounds, or outlining something and use the stroke command, which will draw a line for me. This has all happened in the past sporadically, but not for half a day. And it's usually remedied by restarting the Wacom services in Windows, or just powering down for a period. Four power downs later and I'm still stumped. I'm not the only one though. There are plenty of forums listing the same issues. Updates just vaporize my Wacom settings. When I finally did the Windows 10 update (which is a whole other story,) it wiped everything from Wacom. My settings, my preferences, my hot buttons, the help desk crap, the on-screen menus. I have no idea what Windows issue is with Wacom, or why the two seem to conflict, but it's aggravating. No worries, though. I'll figure it out. Storywise, I like this current scenario. You don't have to be burned often. Just with enough intensity. And say what you will in terms of motives.. Ellie is employee of the month. Lastly, for anyone who hasn't had the ability to join us on Patreon, all of the Pumpkin-Quinn storyline is now on the main site (here.) You can go to the archives page and see the full listing, marked accordingly. story one Be sure to read it all, since it will be important to the next chapter. Patreon is currently in the middle of the next story which is the resolution to the Quinn-Eagan-crush.. thing... YAY! As always: Patreon is viewable for only $2.00 per month, and located HERE. UPDATE: I finally got my tablet working correctly. Unfortunately I am stupid behind on this next comic. I gotta not be overly optimistic like I usually am with my ability to finish these up. So, with my normal apologies, next comic will have to be Monday. Next Patreon, however, will be up today. Plowing through backgrounds now. Again, sorry. It sucks. I'm annoyed... but I'm also well past rushing my comics anymore and posting work I think is subpar. I'd rather post what I intend my comic to look like, and nothing less. I'd hate to George Lucas these later.

217 thoughts on “If you insist..

        1. I think something different for each limb. If I recall correctly the left arm is peanut butter, the right arm is saran wrap, the right leg is toothpaste, and the left leg is clearcoat (three layers).

    1. Oh yeah. Being there is not a hard thing to be.

      “This situation is like sitting in a small, dimly lit room on a wobbly stool with a wobbly table and a bottle of unmarked fluid on the table. Every movement shakes both the table and the stool. There’s nothing saying that that bottle is full of nitroglycerine or hydrochloric acid or even liquid sodium that will explode on contact with air. That could just be a delightfully tasty beverage or a nice perfume. But I know what could happen if that liquid turns out to be explosive or caustic, and so I’m just going to sit here, with that bottle, and try very hard not to jostle anything until I can find a way OUT of this horrible room.”

      1. There is one way to know that the bottle is NOT nitroglycerin. The number of legs on the stool. If greater than one, than you don’t have to worry about the boom.

  1. We are coming into two things, the last week of the month, under 100 on TWC and an epic miniseries of the X-Files. Ok ok, three things.

    We are at level 96. We need to kick this voting into a higher gear in order to saturate the TWC at or helow rank 40 to prepare for the March Madness tournament. And hope to G-d we don’t go up against Stand Still. Stay Silent. in the first round. We would be swamped. It would be a good fight, but their numbers would outright overwhelm us.

    Let’s do it.

        1. If it’s any help, at least one person who came over to check out SS after the epic battle with SSSS is still here and voting.

    1. Okay. It’s the end of the month people. We at this time at 13:41 central standard time by the computer clock were able to vote SHOTGUN SHUFFLE into the top 80. We are listed as 78th in rank according to the votes on TWC (Top Web Comics) with 1,150 votes over 31 days. This translates to a firm 31 votes per day.

      However, we are severely short. Of the 137 TWC members who have put SHOTGUN SHUFFLE on their favorite list. This is only a supposed showing of 22 percent of those individuals, if those individuals have indeed voted. There is no information on the voting break down other than the total accumulated votes, and the number of days per month.

      However, if we were able to get one vote per day from all of the TWC members who have put SHOTGUN SHUFFLE on their list, then that should translate to a vote tally minimum of 4,247 votes, which would in turn suggest a firm number thirteen slot on the list this month.

      1. I can’t really picture him going full Taxi Driver though I suppose it’s possible. It’s more along the lines of how in my opinion Ellie has now crossed a line. She is now emotionally invested in this “date” which means by extension that’s she’s hypocritically leading him on. To prove that she’s not there to lie and scam him she’s just doubled down on the lying. Or she’ll actually start dating him.. Both scenarios don’t have much chance of ending well for either of them.

        1. Rusche said Ellie was going to have two serious relationships through the whole comic. First one starting this chapter or next, other one would be in major arc two. I was taking the Royal Buckinghams picture, which I believe was intended to be Pumpkin’s birthday party, as an indicator that Blind Guy was going to be Ellie’s first serious relationship.

          I think her holding on to him not being interested and going with a, “just a little company for the afternoon and then goodbye” route would make sense. On the other hand I was expecting her to go yell at Nena rather than come back at this guy, so my guessing is quite possibly far from the mark.

        2. Honestly, they are both really jaded people at this point for different (and valid) reasons.

          A “date” where both of them are open and human for an afternoon, after putting it out there that they are both exactly that, is pretty adult. Further, it could go somewhere if they both get over their cynicism a bit. The only problem then will be that Ellie will be doing something in her job that she isn’t supposed to. Which, to be fair, should mean next to nothing to her at this point aside from a paycheck.

        3. That’s the problem though, she needs the money from this job and actually getting in a for real relationship will either end in heartache because she can’t dedicate enough time to it to make it work (or he figures out all her time is devoted to perpetuating the scam he just accused of her being involved in.

          OR

          She loses her new job and heartache ensues when Quinn attacks her her with a blender or something.

        4. Joking or do you seriously not know the glory of trooper TR-8R and his traitor stick?

          Also, we can’t have TWO TR-8R! That’s not how this works!

        1. From the stance of her actions being part of a sort of scam, it doesn’t.

          From the stance of this guy and the degree he likely cares if his brother, who’s refusing to listen to what he wants with this whole dating site thing, loses money on something he finds not only useless but also irritating…well that might make a difference as to how much this guy cares on the refund.

        2. Ah, I follow you. Yeah, I imagine he wouldn’t care about the money if he found out. He’d probably be too distracted by the fact that he despite giving this woman an easy and respectful out of doing anything date related, she still went that extra mile to give him a nice little mindf*!k. Also, by “sort of scam,” I think you mean, a 100% no question scam.
          I don’t comment terribly often, but this comic pulled me in. I’m finding it very hard to root for the protagonist, right now.

        3. Good. I always remember the lyrics from Blue’s Traveler “Of a bad play where the heroes are right
          And nobody thinks or expects too much”

        4. I’m enjoying the depth of your characters very much, Rusche. It’s the audience that sometimes baffles me and get’s the conversation rolling.
          (Ellie takes job leading men on for money) Fan Comment: Well, it’s not reaaaaally a scam, per se… maybe this 37 year old dick of a guy will learn a thing or two from her and her wisdom.
          (Ellie blackmails Caleb for everything she can get, despite his established innocence in the matter.) Fan Comment: Yeah, Ellie! Drain him for every penny you can get!
          (Ellie eats all of Quinn’s food. Quinn gets mad) Fan Comment: Geez, why is Quinn such a b!tch? Ellie just wanted all of her food…)
          Your ability to create complex characters keeps bringing me back here, and occasionally has me feeling as though I live in opposite world when it comes to interpretation. A sign of a great work. Keep it up. Also, your art work is sublime.

        5. I wouldn’t say “a 100% scam” because that seems too eager. I’ll accept that “a type of scam” would’ve been clearer than “a sort of scam” (i.e. I wasn’t grouping sort & of in my mind).

          The story is much better for characters not being perfect. I think I’ve been caught by surprise with overestimating Pumpkin maturity-wise a bit more often than Ellie (though a lot of those comments are on Patreon rather than here).

          The combination of context and different people doing some of the commenting at times, along with the breadth of cognitive mistakes common in humanity, seems like a general explanation of the differences to me.

          For two of your example attitudes simply looking at framing the context is enough.

          Ellie’s current job, while a bad idea in general, dishonest, and something she’s trying to kid herself about being dishonest, it’s also seeing her coming out of desperation and being out of work, so sympathy for her is stronger (i.e. stealing to feed children-direction paradigm).

          For reactions to them being filmed, we have Danny spending money like water and then seeming to set up the site when Ellie seems to turn him down for good and making tens of thousands of dollars violating their privacy, so nothing sets up sympathy for Danny (or Caleb until things are more settled). So we just have victimization for some characters, which fairly naturally stirred up more of a “smite the evildooer” attitude, and people wanting them to get bankrupted were also advocating Ellie & Quinn visit them with physical violence, so it was really just shifting the revenge desire. Personally I found some of the changing attitudes regarding Caleb interesting for that part of the story.

        6. You really do have to factor in the hard sell also. Not only was she fairly desperate for a job, but the propagandist made it sound like she was just an awesome and unique individual who would be accomplishing something wonderful. It’s hard to resist intense flattery and being told you’re doing something unique and tremendous.

          It’s very easy at that point to rationalize why you’re not really doing anything bad. As sour as Quinn can be, she was not entirely wrong by describing it as being an emotional prostitute.

          Anyway, I think this is the kind of mistake that’s easy to see from the outside. But very nearly the only way for Ellie to learn not to be taken in by the hard sell is in hindsight. One day — probably not too long from now — she’ll look back at her decision to take this job and say, “What was I thinking?” And if she’s smart enough, she’ll learn to watch out for flattery and grand promises when you’re offered a choice to do something questionable.

          Generally, you’re supposed to like the protagonist. But all that’s really required for a story to draw you in is that you sympathize with the protagonist.

          As for the other situation, Caleb may not have been directly guilty, but Danny was, and Caleb was really in danger of jail himself. At the very least, he could have spent a long time under investigation, trying to convince the police and prosecutors that he didn’t know what Danny was doing. And he might still have been held responsible. Under the circumstances, he got out of it without too much pain. And there’s certainly no denying that someone owed Quinn and Ellie compensation. Besides, a lot of the money Caleb had to spend came from the exploitation of Quinn and Ellie in the first place.

          It would also be asking a lot for Quinn and Ellie to take his word that he not only knew nothing about it, but would have stopped it if he had known. He was making good money off the exploitation, and it would be easy to pretend innocence while pocketing the profit. I think Ellie did finally believe him, but did Quinn?

          It would be very nice if there was a wise and moral voice who could explain to Ellie where she went wrong, but this is not “Leave it to Beaver.” She’s 19, which is old enough to be considered an adult, but young enough to keep making children’s mistakes. She’ll have to figure it out on her own.

        7. Ellie’s a hot young blonde with enormous boobs. I think she’s used to flattery and people making a big deal about her to get her to do something. I really think the hard sell had an impact due to the fact that she was desperate for a job and this fell in her lap. She wanted to be convinced, which made her more open to the argument.

          I’ve got nothing against Caleb. I generally like him as a character. He’s probably second after Ian in my book for male characters in the respect category for me (Blind Guy’s too much of a stalker to top him for me). I was primarily pointing him out as I thought the evolution of commenters’ opinions about him was more interesting than some of the differences seen with Ellie.

    1. The same thing she does every time she sees a squirrel. Or a cat. Or a cockatoo, snake, or any other animal by itself.

      She’s FEEDING it.

  2. Wacom fix:
    Start: Search “Run”
    Type: “services.msc”
    Wacom Consumer Service
    Click “Stop” Then “Start”

    or at least that’s what i have to do whenever my tablet pen is being picky

      1. Sometimes things don’t do full restarts when told to restart. It’s possible that a stop, or maybe a stop and waiting a few seconds before start, can give different results.

        I’ve seen an application which would consistently and repeatably fail if you rebooted a machine but succeed when you powered it off, waited 15 seconds, and powered it on. No one had any explanation for that, but it was an easily testable result. That irritated the crap out of me, because the possibility of some residual data in RAM not being cleared is the only sane difference I can come up with, and it should’ve assumed that data was useless and overwritten on reboot anyway.

  3. He said “check out a filming” not “check out a film”. Unless this is slang I haven’t heard, or a typo, he just invited her to see a movie being made. Not see a movie in a theater.

    Also, knw it. Not an asshole, just depressed by failure with the opposite gender….we know our own.

      1. The question I see if whether or not she connects with him due to mutual frustration with dating. I know people who have wound up in successful relations with less in common.

        1. From Wikipedia: “Because of its height above the emerald-green Gulf waters, length of continuous travel, location in a warm-weather state, and modern architectural design, it is a popular spot for filming automobile commercials”

          Depressed about Dating Guy works on car commercials perhaps?

        2. Ellie has demonstrated marketing chops already. She’s got the basics of like a year into a two-year degree already just from some really impressive observations.

        3. If I were a passable artist, I’d reply to this comment with a picture of Ellie working in a butcher shop.

        4. My prediction is a fake relationship to get the family off his back. Though something is going to need to be introduced to make it motivating for her besides altruism.

        5. I’m hoping either he winds up in a real relationship with Ellie or at least winds up with renewed confidence that finding someone who likes him is possible. Could just be cuz I identify with him though.

        6. You mean winds up in a good relationship where he lets his guard down, then gets a message from ‘Ellie’ that she’s not interested, courtesy of Nena, right?

        7. That happens, sitcom hijinks ensue, relationship happens.

          Ellie gets his phone number and goes behind their backs.

          Lots of possibilities.

        8. They get into a good relationship, all seems great and it get’s serious, then one day he sees her ‘on the job’, dating another guy.

        9. Strippers date. Also, I feel like Ellie is in a place where.if she thought something, or someone, would make her happy she would remove obstacles that are easily replaced….like a job she doesn’t like.

        10. I agree strippers date, but I’m guessing their respective boyfriends either do know, or would want to know that the stripper is a stripper.

        11. Gone too deep. Can’t reply to you directly!

          Ic they do connect and like each other relationship wise either Ellie would be mature enough to explain her job and he’d understand, she’d explain and he’d freak out, she’d keep it secret and he’d freak out, she’d keep it secret and he’d find out but be fine after an explanation, or something other set up entirely.

        12. We’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole. :)

          I sometimes feel Ellie gets too much credit for being wise and mature. This is one of those times. I can’t help but feel a mature person wouldn’t be in this situation.

        13. If she goes behind D52’s backs to get his phone number, she’d also tell him to ignore a negative message from her account. That or she’d have to explain the whole gig after his brother got Nena’s message. Either way, he’d know. She’s likely to figure that out.

          Ellie’s not mature. She’s reasonably smart, and she has a bit more wisdom than she might otherwise have from seeing the actions of her older and twin sister getting into scrapes, which can add some amount of wisdom. Past that she’s naive and lacking some of the wisdom of personal experience rather than observation (so missing more of the small things). Maturity-wise, if you control for accepting need to get a job and accepting that jobs without formal education or experience are frequently far from fun, she’s within one standard deviation of the mean for her age (all the college freshmen who haven’t even considered that sort of thing and are completely sponsored by Mom & Dad would possibly put her up to two standard deviations).

          I think the main thing is a lot of people tend to want to see the best in real people and fictional characters they like, so people make more optimistic predictions.

        14. I think I follow you, That One Guy. However, I’m not even factoring in whether a low skill job is fun or not. When I was 16 through 24, I was a food court worker, a janitor, an ambulance sanitizer (gross,) and a night shift shelf restocker. None of which were fun, but at no time was the core of the job to manipulate people emotionally. I agree on wanting to see the best in real and fictional people, but I’m not sure why I’m supposed to like the main character right now.

        15. The thing about jobs not being fun was a comment about Ellie’s reaction to her job as a cashier, along with what I’ve seen and heard from a younger cousin and some others in their late teens & early twenties. I was mentioning it as a life lesson that she’s recognized and rationally accepted, at least (learned might be a bit too strong of a description).

          You’re supposed to react to the story however you see fit. You likely either have less “inertia” to your character affection towards Ellie or had less to begin with than some others here. We all react differently to these things. Another part of that is experience, where the closer a situation reminds us of something real life tends to shape our sympathy and side-drawing. Just normal interpersonal differences.

          As a side note, I like to argue, but don’t consider arguing to be a hostile endeavor so some people consider “argue” to be not quite the correct word (I don’t like “debate” because it seems too formal). I’ve always found it useful and interesting to attempt to follow conflicting thought processes, hence I like to expand them and try to look where they lead. So I frequently try to play devil’s advocate in ways that I think won’t escalate anger and piss people off (note the word “think” as I know I don’t always succeed).

        16. No hostility taken or intended. We’re all friends here. As another credit to Rusche, this is the only webcomic I’ve ever felt the desire to comment on.

        17. Same here. I’ve been reading for a while now, but last comic was the first time I commented and I have this feeling it’s gonna be a regular thing.

        18. @SnackNStack – Just wanted to make sure. I’d noticed I’d replied to a large number of your comments and getting tone correct for the written word is always dicey.

          @Stormchaser – Welcome to the club.

        19. Would he even get the rejection letter? He didn’t say the account had been relinquished to his care.

        20. I guess that would depend on if he and his brother talk. Based on what he’s said the last comic strip or two, and that they’re in the situation they are in, I would say that they do.

          This entire mini-battle Ellie has now chosen to fight is built on a house of cards.

        21. You should have been around for the Thanksgiving arc. We came up with one real gem:

          “Cinnamon’s Law is like Cinnamon’s love. Blunt, and frequently administered.”

    1. It took me 3 or 4 different readings of this to come to this idea, too.

      Actually, if you think about it, it is a very devious, clever way to get the girl to drop her defenses; to see him as “harmless, not looking for romance, not a threat to you” kind of schlub before taking advantage of the situation.

      Ellie, if he says “God no!” to Jurassic Universe and offers a romantic comedy, it could still be a trap.
      Keep your defenses up.

      BTW, where is our vampire chaperone hiding on these dates?

        1. [Resisting temptation to go back and see if there are fangs in the shadows of previous dates]

      1. “Drop her defenses”? “taking advantage of”… What exactly do you think is going on here?

        Dating isn’t a tower defense game.

        1. Considering dating as a tower defense game gave me a lot of amusing mental pictures.

          “What am I wearing? I don’t know, I’m just an 8-bit pixelated character with three animations to simulate marching!”

          “Just a little longer to get to the Earmuff tower, and maybe I’ll have the Chocolate tower updated to a Blind Russian dispensing tower by the time we get there!”

    1. If he’s taking her along on something he was going to do anyway, he may not be wasting any significant amount of time.

      1. True, but he just got a sermon on needing to give people a chance by someone who is supposed to do nothing more than string him along, then drop him. There’s a few minutes right there, and they’ve only know each other a few minutes. So far, statistically, the time wasting is considerable. I’ll hold out for more data points, though.

        1. The screen time has been wasted, but this comic could either lead to complete time waste or be the start of a swift kick helpful for the guy.

          I’ll freely admit that I’m overly fond of the swift kick method for learning and discovery, so I may be overvaluing that possibility.

        2. He’s been single for a decade.

          I’m guessing he artfully dodged all the swift kicks aimed at him and this is a last chance, million-to-one odds hail Mary effort.

          But it just might work.

        3. A numb butt can’t completely shield you from the swiftest of kicks as you’ll still stumble.

          I’m going to have to vote artful dodge here.

          Also I’d forgotten the phrase “artful dodge” and appreciate being reminded of its existence.

      1. Because admitting to/downgrading the ad hominem attack forces your opponent to address the idea you’ve presented rather than just attacking the person.
        It’s an absolutely wonderful way to bypass a major attempt by defenders of bad ideas to reduce the credibility of those who have called the idea out as being bad.

        1. I generally aim for dewinding their sails rather than forcing to the meat of an argument.

          If I want to argue with someone being a bit hostile I’m more likely to leave irrationalities alone until it’s convenient to point them out. I’m also enough of an ass that I like to appear to follow (but really more lead) spotty logic or attacks into absurdity.

  4. I would say it’s more Wacom’s issue with Windows than vice versa. They are slow to update their drivers, and make API calls that Windows doesn’t like. Wacom needs to work with Windows, than the other way around, but they don’t care once the tablet has been sold.

    1. With Microsoft enforcing a continuous update schedule on everyone, I’m going to be much more likely to blame Microsoft than the hardware manufacturers than I was in the past. That’s actually ~30% of the reason that Windows 10 convinced me to never upgrade past 7 (the other ~70% is what they said about never updating the Windows version past 10, but instead periodically calling hardware “too old to receive any more security updates, update your hardware”).

      1. Is Win 10 really worth it, or just a method to increased spying of everything that a person does by either manufacturer, NGO, Gov, UN, UFO, IFO, IPO, ABC, 123.

        1. If you want to use a computer and connect it to the Internet, you should use an OS that receives security updates. At some point Win 7 & Win 8 will no longer receive updates (It’s been announced, but I don’t recall specifically, I’m thinking 2020 for Win7 for some reason).

          Easiest solution, and the one I’ll use for some games, is to keep my Win7 boxes around and yank the network cable. I’ll use other systems and USB drives to get things from the Internet when/if needed.

          Mac ties their licenses to their hardware, so you can’t legally install Mac OS X to an old Win box.

          Alternately, you could switch to a free *NIX variant (such as a Linux distro or one of the BSDs, which will be my future Internet-connected systems), but those only run Windows programs through an emulation layer (WINE), so you may or may not be able to manage with those if you need apps not written for them (Mac is the same way, but there’s a lot more commercial software written native for Mac than free *NIX variants). Happily, Valve has decided to make their SteamBox console built upon Debian Linux, so they’re actually somewhere between supporting and pushing games running native on Linux, so that’ll help a lot of people avoid Windows (look at the Linux catalog on Steam or GOG and it’s pretty sizable).

          It’s possible that the ReactOS project will be far enough along at that point that it could be used instead, but it’s in alpha so security patches aren’t even really a thought yet, so not so much where security is concerned.

          At that point, if none of the above will work, you need Win 10. Additionally some amount of future software will likely run on Win 10 but not previous versions of Win. You also have the expiration of security patches being based upon your hardware, so you’ll have to buy a new computer (or substantially build/upgrade your current one) or be in the same boat again at periodic intervals.

          As for the spying part, MS just updates terms of service for odd things you need to force you to give them your permission anyway, and a lot of the privacy intrusions of Win 10 were apparently ported to Win 7 & 8 too, and if you install all recommended updates you probably already installed them. I have a list of some updates to check for, but I’ve been lazy on running them all down.

          As for spying from government agencies, it’s my firm belief that if the NSA wanted to come after me full force, they’d be able to do things I would’ve believed were impossible and safe. So there’s no point worrying about that, I just take comfort in not being that important for being generally benign as far as the US gov goes and try to avoid being a low hanging fruit for people out to assemble a botnet.

  5. I really like how Ellie handled that, pointing out the fact younger women are usually pegged as troublemakers?
    I love how much she’s grown as the comic has progressed…
    Dare I say i’m proud of her?

    1. She has indeed grown… to professional relationship con-artist. She may have a point, but she certainly shouldn’t be the one making it.

      1. This guy seems to me like the first one of the whole bunch that she might actually be able to have a positive impact on.

        He doesn’t want anything to go anywhere so rejection isn’t a big deal. He also introduced a topic she can point out and debate with him and get him to talk it through a bit with someone with a fresh perspective, possibly making points he didn’t consider and/or help him with arguments to get his family to back off.

        1. Assuming they can get past the inevitable “Look, I was just in this to scam you for my boss, but I honestly, really do like you” phase, I agree. Also, maybe, just maybe, he could potentially have a positive impact on her.

        2. She only needs to get past scamming him if the relationship would continue. If conversations on the date help him sort some things out in his own mind or give him argument ideas to get his family to accept his decision or all manner of other ways that transient things can make big impacts on us, then he can benefit without being the wiser on the true nature of the date.

          Ellie definitely has a lot to learn, so there are quite possibly things she can learn from this guy as well.

        3. We don’t know that real-life James got scammed like this, so there’s no telling what Ellie’s scam might do when comic James meeting comic Jessica-equivalent (since I don’t know that she’s been introduced or if she exists in this universe, not sure if she’d have a different name or not).

        4. James Blackford in-comic (friend of Ian & Richard from much earlier and Ellie’s first date in this job) is, to some degree, modeled after Rusche’s real-life friend by the same name. James’ wife Jessica has been helping Rusche with this website as long as I’ve been reading it and has recently started doing coloring too (see the copyright line on the comic).

          To the best of my knowledge, Jessica hasn’t appeared in the comic as a regular character yet and I don’t know if Rusche has mentioned anything about her being in the cast in the future or if all of comic-James’ interactions are intended to be pre-Jessica.

        5. Yes, but usually he leaves some anonymity regarding the specifics of the people he knew, so I’m not sure how likely it would be for him to include a real instance from his friend James’ life tied to comic James, unless real-life James specifically wanted/requested it.

  6. Of course, what our boy doesn’t realize is that, if Ellie actually WERE a villainess full of malicious intent, she’d also be denying it just as vociferously as Ellie herself is.

    1. I don’t think he can get to his current point without enough jaded merit badges to have that firmly in mind.

  7. Hilarious. So we have two people who don’t want to go out on a date, who have guilted each other into going out on a date!

    Maybe they are made for each other after all, seeing as how good they are at pushing the other person’s button. Either that, or they will kill each other.

    1. That’s the next one. We had world, system, galaxy, universe, and then we get to omniverse. I honestly don’t know where we’ll go from there.

        1. We could probably squeeze it in between universe & omniverse (I was working quickly when I posted earlier)

  8. If genders were swapped for this conversation, I think less than half of the male population would be able to avoid adding a stage evil mastermind laugh at the end of the top row of panels.

    Well, I’d have a hard time not throwing an evil laugh in anyway.

    1. Sooo. If Ellie said his lines, and green said hers, what would the title of the movie become?

      My suggestion: The dark side of the notebook. A Nicholas Sparks/Michael Bay production of an action chick flick featuring exploding tea cakes and military style boy cut shorts for girls who live life to the fullest, but don’t know how to share their emotions with boys unless there is an Interspecies firefight going on where the history teacher dies after giving a luncheon.

        1. Sadly the Star System either freezes Ham Sandwich out with a Cold Shoulder or Ham Sandwich manages to get in close and gets burned.

    1. I think it’s a side effect of the fact that Ellie is the main character (or at least shares top billing) of the comic and has yet to even be in the hint of a relationship (well maybe Danny was a possibility early on but I think his horribleness was foreshadowed well enough that this ship never gained any momentum). The fact that Quinn may be moving forward with Ian is making even the Ellie/Quinn shippers lose steam. So some fans are getting desperate to ship Ellie with ANYONE is the point I’m trying to make.

        1. Avatar roulette appears to be based upon your e-mail address if you specify one, and if not, then it’s based upon your provided name. Changing spelling, character case, spacing, etc all potentially change your avatars.

          Periodically Rusche uploads a new batch and we all end up with new ones. This is my third one since I started commenting here (my first was last panel of 100% Hamster Powered with Quinn holding Ellie’s mouth, second was Tired Guy’s avatar picture in Cast page description, which comes from third panel of Guy vs Guy). Considering those past two plus the current Wall Outlet cam Ellie from The Chain Part X, I think I’ve gotten pretty good rolls of the dice.

        2. So, do I get an ugly avatar of an unpopular character due to my alpha-numeric moniker? I guess I could have gone with PK-420, but that might get me something even worse.

          Too bad I can’t pick my own.

        3. I think it’s a builtin WordPress feature that it’ll just turn the string to a number somehow (quite possibly just adding all the character values) and then rounds to the range of how many avatars are there and that’s the one you get. I can’t remember the specific comics, but there were a few where people experimented a lot with slightly different names and no e-mail and you can see how they all came out different. So you’d have a different avatar if you used a capital Z or put spaces between all characters or added an additional leading zero or most any new string (that is unless you specified an e-mail address, then you’d need to tweak that to alter your avatar).

          A lot of people like Quinn. You’ve just got barely-awake-Quinn-about-to-be-startled-in-her-underwear .

          If you set a gravatar to an e-mail that you specify, it’ll use that. Personally I just prefer to leave it to chance.

        4. And I constantly forget you haven’t gotten one set. And even more so regularily wonder about your comments on Datachasers not showing an avatar.

          My brain sometimes gets stupid like that. Not its fault, I tend to encourage it.

        5. It’s the part of me that likes anonymity. I don’t like the idea of an avatar, even one I like, following me around at any site I might feel like commenting on. If you ever see a That One Guy commenting with a gravatar, that’s definitely not me.

          Though to be honest, I think only this site ever gets a valid e-mail out of me for commenting. I tend to put something invalid in at other sites.

        6. Not really. The roulette works based on the spelling of the name without the email address. The email address will register a particular icon, but will have the same icon for that email regardless of the spelling of the user name.

        7. I’m fairly sure it’s based upon a string and uses e-mail if present and uses name if no e-mail is specified.

          At least it’s seemed that people specifying e-mail can change their user name with no avatar change.

  9. Wait, isn’t she being a villain with malicious intent just because she showed up only to keep him on the dating site paying money for something that didn’t work for him anyways? :p

  10. *Me coming back for the first time in a month*
    Me: Okay me, YOU WILL NOT get a crush on Ellie when you see her
    *sees her in that gorgeous outfit*
    Me: OH FUUUUUUUU-

    1. I agree, and yet from the job description Tired Guy gave her, this is exactly the type of guy she’s supposed to be helping believe in themselves again or whatever nonsense she was fed. So, I suppose I can see why she would push a little here. I mean, it’s still a terrible job, and a terrible thing to do to others, and all it should lead to is eventually stringing on a nice guy and then crushing him once it becomes found out, and that should theoretically make him even more jaded and Ellie should end up feeling terrible about it, and everyone should be miserable except Tired Guy who gets what he wants in both dating site income and whatever the heck he wants in the apartment, but your guess is as good as mine.

  11. I really don’t like this guy… almost as much as I dislike Tired Guy for putting her through this.

    Isn’t her payment the date swag that she doesn’t even want?

    1. I was under the impression she was going to be receiving a paycheck, cash under the table, maybe a preloaded AmEx or something. I think Ellie’s under the same impression. I don’t know it was ever completely spelled out, though. If this date or the next one is the whole reason that Tired Guy wanted her doing this, he may very well try gypping her that way.

        1. He’s not being disrespectful, just bluntly honest. He’s of the opinion that this is the real deal and he knows the age thing doesn’t work. He’s also not going to immediately forget she turned in a huff after her called her out on her profile issues.

        2. I wouldn’t say he’s being rude. Ellie’s the one in the wrong here. She’s upset that someone finally saw past her boobs and it frustrates her. She’s so used to guys being at her beck and call and when this guy doesn’t do that she’s pissed? She didn’t even want to go on this date to begin with.

        3. In reference to conversations above, I’d like to point out that attitudes towards cynical guy are a good example of our divergence of opinion even without someone being a main character.

          We know very little about him, yet we’re interpreting him in quite different ways.

          Personally I think it’s a combo of our own past experiences and what we do and don’t like dealing with. I know I’m overly prone to a projection bias at times, and the way I’m interpreting him is within bounds that I may consider this another example once we find out more about him.

        4. I want to get clarification on what you mean by “even without someone being a main character.” I think we’re on the same page, but what I was getting at the other day was a pattern of viewers supporting Ellie in whatever she does BECAUSE she’s the main character. Sort of a “the protagonist can do no wrong” viewpoint I thought I was seeing from much of the fan base that honestly troubled me a little.

        5. I was more referring to the divergence of interpretations that we’re coming up with for this new guy. The part about him not being a main character is currently circumstantial and we don’t know that he won’t become one, but as of now, he’s relatively unknown.

          I do think there’s a little bit of a benefit of the doubt for the protagonist, primarily due to readers becoming emotionally invested in the story leads to some degree of emotional investment for characters and making excuses from that.

          However, I think more of what I see is all of us viewing characters based upon casting them as similar to people we know in real life or other fictional characters we know better, so the things that haven’t come up yet we fill in from that source. For example, a guy I work with once told me that two or three women he’d been very close [platonic] friends with in his past had gotten to sufficiently dire straights financially that they did occasionally supplement their income by occasional prostitution. If someone had a good friend who’d gotten to that situation, then looking at Ellie’s current job could lead a person to see her as a desperate girl being taken advantage of. On the other hand, if the person that she reminds someone of is that hot girl who’d use guys for what she wanted and tossed them aside (and you or a good friend was one of those tossed aside, and likely stepped on, guys), then it’s more likely to see her current job as another baby step towards pure evil.

          Personally I see her as desperate, naive, and fiercely trying to lie to herself about this current job. I pity her a bit more than I’m irritated with her about this current job (which I do think is morally wrong), but quite likely that’s due to having occasions of money being tight more than I’ve had girls chew me up and spit me out. Additionally I’ve seen some younger people who just haven’t seemed to understand when they needed to grow up very easily, so the sympathy melded with swift kick desires are relatively strong in the way I view her as well.

        6. I’m not sure what defines a main character and a supporting lead character. All I know is she seems to be the one we follow around the most. If she is just a supporting lead character, or a leading support character, whom is she supporting? Quinn? Herb? Caleb? I can get behind making them the central characters.

        7. As I recall, Ellie & Quinn are the main characters for major story arc 1. They will NOT be main characters for major story arc 3 (but KK will apparently be one). I don’t recall if major story arc 2 was mentioned, but I’m fairly certain Ellie will still play a big part in it.

  12. So, I dig that Ellie is busty and that’s been a plot point a few times and that’s fine and everything; I enjoy jubblies. But am I the only who thinks it’s getting a little out of hand?
    So to speak.
    Those have got to be about 20% her total body mass. She’s basically Jessica Rabbit in a few of these panels.
    It’s kind of distracting, and maybe not in a good way?

    Also, I don’t like green shirt guy.
    *rolls the avatar dice*

    1. Couldn’t say they’ve gotten bigger for some time now. They definitely changed with the art in general. But when you look at the first few pages, it’s not really as if they were smaller then. It just wasn’t all that obvious, because the heads were bigger.

    2. I don’t think they get bigger so much as it’s a combo of art style changes (as Lukkai mentioned) and the fact that Rusche likes experimenting with his art, and some experiments can leave proportions a bit off. Just look above and see that Ellie isn’t standing the same way from the same angle in any of the panels where she’s shown (and cynical guy only in the first two).

      The last panel kinda jumps out at me as Rusche pushing himself a bit. Proportions seem fine, but it shows Ellie in what seems to me like a posture that I pass through probably at least once every 15 minutes while awake, but that artists rarely try to draw because it skews perspectives a bit and makes it a bit more difficult to pull off and usually can be easily avoided.

    3. I’ll gladly accept one or two complain about how big she is over the sea of complain we would get if she get shrink down.

      1. No, no, no. That’s going to be Tarra, not Ellie, who finds herself “downsized”. Unless she heeded her own warning in time, anyway.

  13. How about “Universal Dinosaur”?

    It’s about a genetically enhanced dinosaur super-soldier. It stars Jean Clawed Van Damme.

    1. Three hours in for a 29 day month. Five (5) votes to put SHOTGUN SHUFFLE in the 100th spot. 03:19 02/01/2016. Let’s see if every one who reads today, votes for us as well.

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