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Terms and Conditions-Part 11

The next site comic, and Patreon comic are fairly long. The site comic is over 20 panels, and it's a pretty big info-dump in terms of the story. I've been slaving on it for several days now, and I'm shooting for Tuesday (25th) to have it up. Here's a preview:

157 thoughts on “Terms and Conditions-Part 11

    1. Goddamn it, I thought I would get first this time! And how the hell does David know Nena; and when the hell did Durkin become Spider-Man!?! These questions must be answered!

      1. … on second thought, given the reaction to David on the previous page and the stuff he pulled on this page, “The Chesst Master” would also work as a name for him.

    1. Considering Rusche’s musical theme tendencies, I think I’d have to go with Heartbreaker over Heart Melter, even if we haven’t seen him break any hearts yet.

        1. I thought that was earlier than Rusche’s normal era for songs, but looking it up it looks like it’s from ’71, so it fits.

          Though also Rocky Horror Picture Show is from ’75, so there are certainly a lot of possible titles for characters from that. I’m going to say “Time Warp” & Sword of Damocles seem like the best two for that, though I could see someone ending up as “Rose Tint.” Granted, the reason that came to mind was that Rebecca seems to be currently channeling “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me.”

          But for my vote for David’s title, I think I’ll have to go with a 1985 Weird Al song and nickname him “Lunch.”

        2. Outside of “RHPS” and it’s supposed resurgence on Fox, what if Gravatarless was referring to Sammy Davis Jr.?

          And about Lunch, I see what you did there.

        3. What I saw was original was for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie released in ’71, the most famous recording is the one you mention and was in ’72, so no less fair than original.

        4. Whoa, wait a second. I know that I love tangents as much as the next guy, but I try to leave bread crumbs. You just went from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to the first Willy Wonka movie. So, I’m just going to say that I’m confused. And that I’m confused outright.

        5. @Mr. Blue: I was referring to the Willy Wonka song; TOG was saying he wasn’t sure my song choice would work at first, but later confirmed other songs from the 70’s were already used.
          I would really love to see someone smack Rebecca upside the head and tell her, “Snap out of it, and stop looking directly at him. When you gaze into the abs, the abs gaze back into you!”

        6. Actually my mistake was slightly different. I thought The Candy Man originated in the 50’s. It just sounds like a 50’s style song to me.

  1. Also, just noticed Rebecca trying to take off David’s pants, if they were alone she would faze them off. Girl is bold.

    1. It would be nice to say something like, “She’s been blinded by the light.”

      But she’s got washboard fever. Damn, there’s another song statement. Washboard Fever.

      Not to be confused with dishpan hand malady.

  2. Are those Blind Guy’s glasses that GG has? I wonder her purpose with those.

    Also interesting that the paper was written to Nena. Makes me wonder if Blind Guy’s got a power that let him quickly write it after confronted and put into candy (or Larathiel’s psychic paper idea) or if he knew what he was walking into before he got to the apartment.

    If the paperclip is a bug of his as some have suggested, he might’ve heard Tired Guy talking about finding it and have been prepared for this ambush.

    1. I’m going to practise writing the letter without looking. I’m thinking that he found the edges of the paper, and then wrote on the paper.

      So now, there is a new theory to why David was sniffing around. He was attempting to protect the girls from Tired Guy.

        1. He’s shown evidence of some degree of perception that most sighted people would use their eyes for. We don’t know if that’s normal vision, some kind of psychic sense, super hearing, heightened senses for air currents moving, or what.

          Also, as I understand it, a person can be legally blind and still be able to see general outline-type shapes of people who’re a few feet away. I’m personally leaning towards him being either not as blind as he pretends or having some other sense being nearly as good.

        2. I knew some one who was ‘legally blind’ and unable to drive but allowed a cane or eye dog. But he didn’t have a can, glasses or dog and could see well enough to play video games so their is a lot of flex to the legal definition of blind.

    2. He is an oracle. He can “see” what’s about to happen, and react as if he could actually see. Better, even, because he knows hidden things. It isn’t perfect, but in the short term, very effective.

      Your reading assignment on this topic: Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert.

        1. Also not impossible. However, if that’s all he has it definitely seems to a superhero-like degree.

          With him being Tarra’s science & experiment buddy and cleanup crew, I doubt that’s ALL he has. It could still certainly be a big part of what he’s doing here, though.

      1. I did, I also noticed that the girl who walks through walls is actively undressing Blind Guy. It’s kind of creepy.

  3. Someone needs to tell the director that GG needs to quit breaking the fourth wall. She’s more creepy than (fill in the blank) in a (fill in the blank) at (fill in the blank) o’clock. .

    1. Nice response.

      As an argument for Blind Guy being able to have good penmanship, you did establish that he lost his sight in an accident, so he would’ve been able to see to learn to write. He also was presumably spending time with Tarra at the time of the accident, so he could’ve asked her (or another friend/associate) for opinions while attempting to help train himself.

      There’s also that I don’t recall if it was established if he had a TA assist in grading or not, but we did see “See Me” along with an F written and underlined on Pumpkin’s paper in comic OHCRAPOHCRAP (current post date October 22, 2009). So I’m not clear that this is even the first instance of his handwriting, and underlining the words & not writing through them definitely shows additional control.

      1. He could have just asked the guy at the chocolatier to do it. Damn. Now I want to go to a chocolatier.

        Mr. Comic Artist Person, I take exception to your flagrant misuse of chocolate, and I demand satisfaction! *gloveslap*

      2. It was stated in the comments for ‘OHCRAPOHCRAP’ that he has a teacher’s aid.

        I’m also pretty sure it’s been stated that his vision is why he has students read their reports out loud.

        1. Correct you are, I should’ve scrolled down.

          I think, if you had the general ability, writing with poor vision would seem like it would be easier than reading. If you know what you want to write and what you’ve already written, you really only need the contrast of where there is already writing versus where there is not. Granted, it’d take more concentration than it would if you could see clearly, but seems doable to train yourself to do. Reading seems much harder as you have to determine things about the shape of each letter, and while you could always mandate a specific font, that still seems like it’d be more difficult than just being aware of what’s written and what’s blank.

    2. I think more unrealistic than a blind person (who lost his sight in a recent accident) writing legibly (staying within lines might be an issue, but the note isn’t on lined paper), is a blind man shaving his chest.

      1. Well, if Mr. Stevens was a prolific bicyclist, riding in marathons and such, then that would explain it, and possibly why he might like it that way.

        Also, Nair.

        1. Just wondering if you have been watching the Paralympics down in Rio recently. If it isn’t there, I know that I’ve seen something about blind bicyclists training for the games.

        2. I seem to recall at least one blind cyclist who regularly does the Round Lake Taupo race (160km/100mi) & who does the whole thing with a training partner beside him, occasionally drafting off him, but not taking the lead in a peloton.

        3. There’s a blind bike racer who has some sort of clicker gizmo on his wheel, like a high tech card in the spokes, who claims the clicking allows him to navigate like echolocation.

    1. In that vein, I don’t think we’ve seen Quinn’s mom’s face yet in-comic, and D52’s map had Quinn, her brother, & her father but not her mother.

      It’s definitely a possibility.

      1. I didn’t even think of that, but it makes sense. And might explain why Quinn’s brother could end up in one of the two remaining blank spots at the top of the cast page.

        1. We actually know that’s going to be Quinn’s brother. Rusche gave us a vote choice while people were still sore about Gump Wars where one choice was Ellie in a low neckline with a fat guy & Danny in the background and the other choice was someone who looked like they were dressed up like Indiana Jones with Quinn’s brother near him and I think maybe Yoda (presumably it was Quinn’s brother in a wax museum or a dream or a costume party). Rusche said that the vote determined what happened first versus later in the story and each vote would introduce a different member for the cast page. Ellie’s boobs & being gunshy about an Indiana Jones/Star Wars subplot won so we got Danny on the cast page and know that Quinn’s brother is one of the remaining figures (and since Vu’s name is present with no description, we know she’s the final one).

        2. Also I remembered wrong. I just went to check and there is an unknown woman’s picture next to General Nicks. By placement I think Quinn’s mom seems likely, though it could be a second wife or something instead. Nena could easily still be an aunt or something (or maybe even a time traveling future Quinn, we already have one time traveler after all).

          I need to remember to verify my memory more often.

        3. Well. A time traveling Quinn could explain her animosity at Ellie being hired by Tired Guy. But something kind of tells me that Ian and Quinn ride off into the sunset in pursuit of a cure for freckles on dolphins.

  4. Man, it feels like things have gotten weird.

    Not to naysay or anything, the comic is still great and Rusche’s art seems to improve almost from post to post, but I do find myself missing the slice-of-life stuff (with occasional fits of absurdity) that was the focus before.

    Anyone know what I mean? I dunno, maybe it’s just exacerbated by the IRL stuff he’s been going through that’s interfered with the stream of new pages. Girl Genius fans went through a similar problem, I think; the Castle Heterodyne section was actually a lot of fun, but people also got very tired of it because it went on for a period of IRL *years.*

    Well, nothing wrong with it either way. I’m still gonna read, so Rusche, you just write what you want to write.

    1. I think Shotgun Shuffle first got weird during the Christmas shopping arc, since that was the first time that the comic strayed into fantasy setting. That was definitely a “…what?” moment for me, at least. But by this point in the story we’re aware that there are some powerful beings in the universe, so it feels like the comic’s expanding on the lore of this group of characters rather than getting even weirder.

      1. You’re right, I just think I might have preferred it if the Christmas arc were a one-off bit of craziness rather than something that would expand out like this.

        Like I said, just waiting to see where it goes, I guess.

        1. I think the chances of Black Friday being a one off were nearly zero. The introduction of Sister X/Future Tarra with an explanation that Tarra’s experiments lead to her getting cancer & a double mastectomy, Anise cuts her hair, Juniper costs her an eye, Ellie appears to massively change her emotional outlook (speech bubble change), & Cinn does something unknown (I’m guessing birthmark -> X change). That’s a whopper of a foreshadow for various future events. (reference for all of this is author post under comic Nightmare Fuel, current post date April 13, 2014).

          We also have the ratches, and the mention (in author post of comic Ratches, current post date October 11, 2013), that the third major arc for the comic branches off from how things were going horrible at O’Jacks with the ratches.

          Also Rusche mentioned that there’s a character we haven’t seen yet named Wondering Girl who’s just as out there as Tarra (if in more subtle ways).

          So I think slice of life with interruptions of the bizarre is to be expected.

    2. I brought this up back during the Black Friday arc, but it’s been long enough I may as well say it again…
      The one issue I’ve warned about is this webcomic does not set up the reader with the right expectations about its realism. To put that in simpler terms…
      This webcomic has the realism of early seasons of The Simpsons, but it’s set up so you think it’s only slightly, temporarily unrealistic when jokes call for it.
      One episode of The Simpsons might be about something as mundane as bad grades and grounded in reality, while the episode immediately following it could be about alien invaders or magic curses and be wildly unrealistic. The fact Shotgun Shuffle works like that isn’t at issue. The problem is Shotgun Shuffle is described as slice-of-life on TWC and it’s set up like slightly-above-normal slice-if-life for years. The only clue things are amiss with that setup are the Ratches an Tarra snapping Kevin’s neck, both of which could be chalked up to one-shot jokes.
      The pacing of the plot, if Shotgun Shuffle was an animated series, would make the zaniness of Black Friday start in what would be the 7th episode of season 1. It’s not animated, though, so Black Friday actually happens in the 4th year of the webcomic. The sudden shift was very jarring.
      The webcomic is great and I’m still a super fan of it, but it definitely does not prepare the reader for the Simpsons-level of realism-shifts.

    3. Honestly, the plot is so convoluted I’m no longer sure what’s even going on. I just keep reading because the art is awesome. The blind guy is a teacher who gives Ellie some good advice but apparently he’s also a ninja or superhero the cranky apartment-building owner wants dead and sets Ellie up with a demeaning job in order to get them on a date except now there’s a dozen supervillains willing and ready to kill him? Why? Who knows? He’s on first base, lets ask him. Who, why? No, Why is in the outfield! Outfield, WTF? I just want to know what’s going on! Oh, What’s at second, go ask him! Ask Who? No, I’m Who, you need to go to second base to ask What…

      This is not even Simpsons level disparity. This is Felix the cat on a bad acid trip level confusion. I mean, it’s definitely bad when an archive dive doesn’t clear up plot progression.

      But I do love the art. I only wish it accompanied a plot that made a form of sense.

      1. And you win the interwebs for Tuesday, November 35th, with the reference material to not only “Rain Man” but for Abbott and Costello. And on top of that, you also win for the reference for not only the first cartoon character to be transmitted electronically via TV, but to reference a cat besides McFatFat.

  5. LOL looked like he was fighting 3 mortal kombat characters…scorpion,jax….not sure about the 3rd but its there….lol and what she said there “we’d make cute babies” lol she’s flirting while killing him lol…and yet somehow he managed to sweet talk one of his attackers …and we STILL don’t know why their attacking him lol

      1. the plural of ninja is , surprisingly, ninja.
        like zebra.

        I’m wondering if the collective term would be a Stealth of Ninja, that’d be cool. it’s probably not, tho.

  6. Dark chocolate is clearly the superior form of chocolate. Don’t even speak of white chocolate which is not really chocolate at all, white chocolate is the anti-Elvis of chocolate.

    1. there’s white chocolate, and confectioner’s white. Don’t think of confectioner’s white as chocolate. it isn’t. White chocolate, however, is.

    1. I’m starting to wonder what’s up with Rebecca. There are like six dudes in that apartment right now and she has made passes at a third of them in the space of about twenty minutes.

      I believe the current phrase to express that is “Damn, Rebecca, you thirsty!”. But then, I can’t be sure. I’m in my thirties, you know.

      1. She definitely didn’t instigate things with Merrick, but was talked into it, so I wouldn’t say she made a pass at him so much as agreed or was talked into it after he made a pass at her. I also think “make a pass” is a bit too mild for her reaction to David here.

        I was actually kinda’ wondering if Merrick’s use of Wilf’s glasses or some substance he might’ve handed her under false pretenses or getting interrupted earlier are having an impact on Rebecca behaviorally here, or if she’d be this way cold out of the gate.

    1. I guess he knew who would be waiting for him at the apartment when he went there.
      This implies that he has been investigating “tired guy” and his crew at some point.
      Maybe he and Nena have crossed paths before and he found out she was working for him.

      we will have to keep reading and find out :)

  7. If all he brought was chocolate to this, the it implies that he was aware of who/what he would be facing.

    Always respect the calm person in a fight. Specially if they knew it was coming.

    David’s got this, and he knows it.

    I look forward to seeing how.

    Thanks Rusche, for your storytelling in purty pitchers so’s us’n can faller along.

    PS. Regarding the molestation of David… anyone ever seen a woman’s biological alarm go off?


  8. Well, Rebecca ain’t wrong. In all likelihood they WOULD make pretty dang cute babies. Buuuuuut attack molestation is kinda sorta maybe a pretty serious crime and now I’m wondering if Rebecca is a registered sex offender or not.

    1. As I commented above, I was wondering if this is Rebecca as she is or if Merrick’s use of Wilf’s sunglasses on her (or handing her something he claimed was Slow Jamz but maybe had something else mixed in) may have her in an altered state right now.

      I see either as being possible, as we don’t know the bleedover effect of Wilf’s glasses (and for duration it took Ellie a week to quit on the dating, and then only after a separate big blowup).

    1. It’s a legitimate martial arts move. She’s got him in a pantslock.

      Also, I find it interesting that Nena The Doomsayer is speaking up to help determine David’s fate. Could this be her special ability? What she says will affect what happens to people? Doom, while having strong associations with death, can also just mean one’s future or something difficult to be faced.

      1. Yeah I think thats how Bruce Lee beat Chuck Norris….Chuck’s pants fell around his ankles and Bruce took him out with the one inch punch…

        1. Chuck’s beard would never let his pants fall down. It would have grown three sizes that instant and grabbed the pants back up, checking the proper placement of the skivvies and pants on the waist. Re adjusting and securing the belt back where it was before grabbing an overhead beard hold and hoisting Chuck out of reach of Bruce’s punch while pinching Chuck’s nerve to do one of his flying boots to the head.

        2. Chuck Norris had his ass handed to him by Bruce Lee and you know it….Chuck’s didn’t even have a beard yet….let this Chuck Norris meme die already….he was a punk ass compared to Bruce Lee….

        3. To be fair, the Mr T facts meme was always much more irritating. It didn’t take long for new and interesting ways to fit “pity the fool” into jokes to become harder and harder to come up with and become quite strained.

          The Chuck Norris ones had some beard or roundhouse kick bits thrown in, but were otherwise more generic and if anything reminded me of the Bill Brasky sketches on SNL from back in the day (and if you’re not familiar with those, I highly recommend them).

  9. The perfect man for the perfect sister?
    For some reason (i think it’s the eyes/expression) he reminds me of Caleb in the last panel.
    And now to re-lurk.

  10. Just a quick poll. How many people think that the author was being self descriptive in the description of David Stevens?

    Left – You agree that the author is attempting to be self descriptive in describing Mr. David Stevens.

    Right – You disagree, and also took a left turn at Albuquerque in attempting to get to 144 Hibiscus Lane.

    1. You DARE contradict the FAQ? That’s like posting “FIRST” 3 comics in a row. It’s heathen-talk. I hope you enjoyed being flayed!

  11. OK, I LITERALLY have no idea what’s going on in this comic strip. Suddenly we shift away from the main character…for what now?

    1. It’s a piece of a very large puzzle that’ll likely take over a decade before we have enough pieces to put much together about the puzzle.

      Rusche said that the third major arc will start back towards the end of Ellie’s career at O’Jack’s and will take place somewhat concurrently with the rest of the story. My suspicion is that we’re going to get a lot of pieces about backstory in the first two arcs that won’t get tied together in fullness until we get to the third, as we’ll see some of the same events from different characters.

      The big question I have is how much Rusche will dole out the puzzle pieces in similar areas so we get some ideas about what’s going on or if we’ll be commonly getting pieces from opposite sides of the picture and not have a good way of piecing them together until late in the game. I’m guessing some of each.

        1. Is that the end of the first major arc or the end of the whole story?

          There’s a year and a half time jump in the first arc and that’s after Pumpkin’s 15th birthday, so we know she’ll be 17.5 still in arc 1. That leaves not a lot of time to get through the rest of arc 1 and the whole of arc 2 unless Pumpkin takes time off before going to college. I know arc 3 goes parallel to the others, but as far as we know arc 2 still uses clock time.

        2. It was alluded to by the author that the end of the entire story is when Pumpkin goes off to college. I’d have to find it, but at the present time, my home router is suffering a mental breakdown in that it refuses to acknowldege my replacement cell phone. My first thought was WTH? I researched 802.11 and quickly surmised that the router should work with the new phone even if the 802.11 was souped up to current technologies. Yet, they both refuse to talk to each other.

        3. (Anon above was me failing to remember the browser I was on didn’t remember my credentials)

          Did you possibly set up more security settings than you remember on your router? For example MAC locking or is your routers one with the ‘quick “secure” auto-setup’ buttons that maybe locks things down for new devices if you don’t do the right secret handshake for that (normally just pushing the button)?

          You might try some known public wifis that worked in the past and/or look for an app like Wifi Analyzer to see what networks are visible.

    2. My question is this, who do you think is the lead character?

      Outside of Chris right now, we’re all in the dark about that. It was suggested that Quinn and Ellie are lead supporting characters.

  12. Has anyone thought that maybe he knew what she liked because he figured out she was behind the account that was talking to him on the dating site?

    1. Nah, that’s two different people. And unless Nina was watching 24/7 on the voyeur site, even still, Nina wouldn’t know enough to BS David about just what Ellie man like/not like. Besides, wouldn’t something like that entail the need for interpersonal conversations? Even if electronic?

    1. Around here we get the same amount of curiosity satisfied total at date X, just in larger, more satisfying chunks, at the cost of less certainty as to when said satisfaction will occur.

      Also Rusche tends towards optimistic estimates and sometimes has issues with perfectionist-related panel redos.

    2. We have learned to accept that Chris does not remember Hofstadter’s law. He thinks his art will be done on tuesday. It won’t. Many things will get in the way, such as being a dad, actually getting some sleep sometimes, or being a human being and not an advanced art making robot from the future.

      If Chris says tuesday, assume he meant friday then expect it on monday. It will be worth the wait.

      1. OCD is a terrible thing to have as a webcomic artist.
        As much as I love the story he’s telling, his obsession with every last line, every specific color palette and any slight deviation to his art is part of why this story will never make into syndicated comics in the newspaper (besides the fact that Ellie’s figure would drive most newspaper editors nuts trying to save room on the comic page for all of her glorious details!!). The pace required for a daily output would kill Chris’ soul.

        Many of my favorite webcomic artists have gone the same way – they’re so obsessed over the details and the storyline they burn themselves out (even Chris took a year and a half away to get his head straight before coming back to this). It’s alway my biggest worry: one day, the artist will say “F this, I’m done” and leave all of us fans hanging on wondering what we did wrong to make him leave us (kinda like the kid who gets lost/abandoned at the zoo by his parents, that sense of worry that you’ll never go home again never leaves you after years of therapy – trust me….). Just to name a few:

        CandiComics.com (hung it up this year)
        Angels2200 (www.janahoffmann.com/angel)
        Queen of Wands and Punch and Pie (same artist – Aerie)
        Dandy and Company
        College Roommates from Hell

        There’s too many to mention, but I’ll guess people get the point.
        We the faithful will keep the watch. And if the artist needs a week, or two or 52 to get his art together, we’ll still be waiting.

        1. Fully agree on burnout concern.

          As a side note though, Rusche did mention in a comment that the year and a half was more of a “life intruding” sort of thing with some severe issues separate from the comic. I didn’t actually find the comic until after that, though. I’m certainly glad he made it through.

        2. College Roomates from Hell is doing PowerNap. But I don’t know if that’s the writer or the artist.

          But on the year and a half thing, I thought that it was looking at the lack of funding and having to make hard life choices fueling the possibility of putting the strip to bed.

      2. Shotgun Shuffle is always worth the wait. And if it’s because Chris is out there being a good dad, I’m curious to see how the kids do in their class rankings.

        However, Chris is only 90 – 95% of the reason that I keep coming back, day after day, night after night. Slowly I turned, step by step. Okay, I forgot what it was and I just didn’t know how to segue into “Clowns to the left of me…” The comments, commenters and everybody else is the reason to come back. But that’s, wait.

        Writing 45%. Artwork 45%. Chris responding 5%. Jessica 2%. Wait, I’ve got to redo this.
        Writing 43%. Artwork 43%. Chris responding 6%. Jessica 3%. Let’s see. 43 plus 43 plus 6 plus 3. That’s 95. So everybody else is still 5%.

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