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More editorials --    Sadly, still no more new Rugg, though I still insist I haven't given up on it yet!

I do, however, have two more editorial cartoons. One was based off a local issue that dealt with the subject of potential misuse of tasers by police, while the other is a fairly generic national issue, concerning the reelection of "President" Bush (I saw somebody putting quotes around his title, and thought it was funny, so henceforth, this is the only way I'll ever address the fellow by title from now on).

Probably going to be another editorial cartoon coming up shortly, if things go as they usually do.
Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 01.28.2005  

Winter break --    Been very busy the last month or so, but now the quarter's over so that means I'm free from getting stomped by classes. At least for a few weeks.

That means I might have enough time to get some more Rugg cartoons done, if I can squeeze it in in between some other cartoons I have to have ready by the beginning of next quarter, that is. Keep an eye on the site just in case.

In the meantime, I have four weeks worth of editorial cartoons to share. I probably would've kept up with posting them even though I didn't have much else to share, except the two following the election cartoon were really bad, so I got kind of discouraged from keeping up with them. Here's one and here's the other. Here's the corresponding Western Front article for the first cartoon, and here's the article for the second, though in the case of the latter the angle my cartoon explored was only briefly mentioned in the article's text.

The other two cartoons are better drawn and more on-target, no pun intended. I'm much happier with how they turned out, though the Front's printouts in both cases were a little darker than I was hoping they'd be. The first deals with Target banning the Salvation Army bell-ringers from standing in front of their stores, and is particularly notable in that my editor apparently felt it was necessary to add the text "Parody-Not meant to be taken seriously" underneath. Well y'know what? I DID mean for it to be taken seriously! So take that, heartless multinational corporation! The Seattle PI's David Horsey also addressed this topic recently. Bet he didn't get his message undercut by the paper! The last one I drew for the quarter has me beginning to try to loosen up more using the nib instead of the brush for non-major strokes. This is something I hope to continue and get better at during next quarter, especially after being quite a bit wowed by a student cartoonist from Alabama named Joe Blythe (warning, last link is image intensive). Here's the article that goes with this cartoon, by the way.

Like I said, I'll try to get some new cartoons done here while I'm on break, if not beyond that. Obviously I kinda wrote myself into a corner with this last storyline... though I know how I want to end it, I'm not quite sure how to get there yet.

Bye for now.
Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 12.12.2004  

Election Day editorial cartoon --    Well, here's the new cartoon. I was trying to emulate the eminent 19th-century book illustrator Sir John Tennial with this one, for obvious reasons.

It's a little past 1 AM here as I write this and as it stands now, it looks like chances are Bush is going to be re-elected.

Now, as is probably pretty clear from the cartoon, I thought both candidates would make pretty lousy Presidents, but the thing is, one of them already has a Presidential record, and the other one doesn't. The fact that more voters apparently seem to approve of Bush's record just goes to prove once again that America is populated with more idiots than non.

In any case, I, for one, refuse to recognize the authority of a second Bush Administration. As far as I'm concerned, Bush and Cheney, and especially Ashcroft--their titles are meaningless to me.

Granted, the chances of me supporting Kerry were pretty slim too... but the difference is, he at least would've had a little grace period. Bush used that up a long, long time ago, which should be obvious to anyone with a 2nd-grade education or better.

I suppose this doesn't really mean much. It's mostly figurative. There are a few specific things I would like to comment on, though:

I will not support this President militarily, and I probably wouldn't've supported Kerry in that way either. Aside from the fact that I'd make a lousy soldier, I would still sooner see Bush dead than defend him. And I'm sorry to say that, in a way, because aside from the danger he poses to the country and the rest of the world, I still think he's otherwise probably a pretty good guy who wants to do what's best for everyone. It's just that, well, he's incompetent. And the people he's friends with are evil. Defending Bush is the same as defending them, and I will never do it.

Another issue that I think might have immediate consequences in 2005 is a national sales tax. Bush has expressed interest in eliminating the income tax and paying for this by instituting a national sales tax, despite the fact that this tax would probably have to be between 21-36 cents on the dollar (and that's BEFORE you factor in state sales taxes).

Now, I don't know for sure if Bush is actually going to try to push this through, because it has been correctly pointed out the backlash wouldn't just be big, it'd be frightening, but this is another thing I wouldn't support, regardless of who's President come January. Both because I'm opposed to it, and because I can't. My skills as a cartoonist pay below poverty-level pittence at this point (my Western Front work is about $8-10 dollars a week, which works out to roughly $2 dollars an hour), and if something doesn't change soon I'm going to be in serious trouble even without a new national sales tax to deal with.

I didn't want to become an artist, a writer, and a cartoonist to make money. I did it because for my whole life, these are the only things I've been consistently really good at, the only things people have always told me I'm good at, and the only things I really enjoy doing, and plus, I feel like I can maybe do something really good for the rest of the world with it if I continue to plug away at it. I'm beyond the point of no return, before which I'd be able to permenantly switch to doing something else.

I won't trade this for any other job that makes it impossible for me to continue to do this.

I won't allow the President to pit himself and his policies, whoever he is and whatever they may be, against that. To give up now on what I'm doing would be a betrayal against myself. No person, as far as I'm concerned, should be put in the position of either betraying himself, or his country, though the choice should be clear to anyone, particularly when the country appears to be going down the political tubes.

So anyway, I won't cheer for Kerry here yet, but what I will cheer for is NOT Bush, NOT Cheney, and DEFINITELY NOT Ashcroft, the latter two being perhaps the most dangerous men in America, the latter two already well deserving of grave punishments indeed, for everything they've done in the last four years, and all the worse things they'd be bound to do in an additional four.

If by some miracle they are unseated in the next 11 days (right now this is how long the news is saying it will be before we know who won Ohio), I'll be very glad, to at least have a temporary repreive from worry.

But I'm not optimistic.
Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 11.03.2004  

More editorial cartoons --    Goodness! Has it already been 3 weeks since the last update to even the news? Indeed, it has.

The time has just flown by! Sorry to say, I still haven't had time to work on the next Rugg cartoon.

I have, however, kept up with my editorial cartoons in the The Western Front, seeing as I don't have a choice in the matter. That means I have three more to share with those of you who don't also go to school here and therefore won't get to see them in the paper.

The first since the last update is pretty self explanatory. The next one didn't turn out too well... it looks very cramped and poorly organized. Plus the joke is pretty un-funny.

The most recent one has turned out the best so far, though I do with that circle weren't quite as sharp and clear as it is. The joke probably takes some explanation. Here's a news story on what the editorial topic was.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 10.26.2004  

Editorial cartoons and such --    Been a while since I've updated this place.

The website is still broken because of the stupid giant advertisements. I encourage those of you who are still sticking around NOT to support any advertisers who use the giant banners. That'll show 'em. Not that I really think anyone follows those things from here anyway.

But hey, that's not what this news post is about.

As I said in the last update, I'm doing editorial cartoons for Western's student newspaper, The Western Front. So far, I've done two. I know it doesn't really make up for the lack of new Rugg cartoons here, but I thought I'd share them just the same. It's something, after all.

Here's the first, dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent restructuring of Russia's government. Here's the other, dealing with last Thursday's American Presidential debate.

Anyhow, I'll probably link to my next editorial cartoon next week. No idea what the topic will be, since I don't usually know until less than 24 hours before it's due at the press room (my deadline these past two weeks has been Monday at 3PM, with my cartoon being printed on the corresponding Tuesday).

Bye for now.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 10.08.2004  

Bleh --    Yeesh, this was a really bad month for Rugg.

First, I got even more lazy about updating than usual. Then Keenspace changed their banner ad-code in such a way that it broke my website (along with several other people's, or so I've heard). To top it off, the already-late comic displayed above was made even later by me having to move back over to Bellingham and go through class registration madness again. Even now, it hasn't all quite settled down yet.

The problematic new Keenspace adcode is what bugs me the most, though. My html is still absolutely perfect, clean-as-a-whistle. A run-through in BBEdit's syntax checker still yields no errors. However, something in the new ad code breaks the site when it gets inserted in there. I don't know if the adcode is sloppy, or if it's just because it's now got dimensions fixed for those terrible, eyesorrific giant 786-by-90 pixel banner ads (as opposed to the usual 486-by-60 pixel ads). I suspsect it's actually a little from column A, and a little from column B.

I've noticed the new ad-code is much more efficient than the old ad-code was, but, y'know what? That doesn't help much if it constantly breaks websites, now, does it?

The long and the short of it is, the source of the problem isn't on my end; it's on Keenspace's end. So there's nothing I can do to fix it, short of placing a little script that modifies the ad-code after it gets processed and inserted or something; so the site will, unfortunately, continue to remain busted until I design a whole new one from scratch. And to be honest, I'm still kind of wondering if it's even possible to design a site that uses this new ad-code in a way that doesn't result in everything looking pretty clunky and slapdash. At least with the old ad-code, you could conceivably write a script that read what size of ad was going to be displayed and then rearranged the rest of the site to accomodate it. Not so with this new, more "efficient" ad-code!

In any case, it'll be a while before I can put something new together. I'm going to start drawing editorial cartoons for Western's main newspaper, the Western Front, next week, so depending on how long it takes me to adjust to that and how difficult that adjustment is it could potentially cut into my ability to even finish new cartoons for awhile. I might post some of editorial pieces in the meantime, but, well, it just won't be the same. Plus, I don't know how I'd do it without disrupting the current storyline.

My birthday was two days ago, by the way.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 09.25.2004  

Sort of an update --    ...but not really.

Those few of you who read my comic regularly (you are a very small, but very precious number) will notice that while the comic currently up isn't new, it's a reattempt at last update's comic, which I guess makes this sort of a half-update or something. I don't really like to do this sort of thing too often (it's highly unprofessional), but I was so unsatisfied with how the artwork turned out (the clouds in a few panels, particularly) that I just had to give it another go and make it look better, especially considering that this particular strip needed at least decent artwork to prop up the ho-hum joke.

I think this takes care of it pretty nicely. Now the clouds look more like snow-clouds, like they're supposed to, and less like animal intestines. Plus the dialogue's a little easier to read and a little closer to what I originally wanted it to say. The first panel still has a problem with characters not really looking at each other while talking to each other, and the last panel still doesn't look quite right in a few places, but I think this time it's at least above reproach.

By the way, Rugg turned two years old on August 2nd. Two years, and still hardly any non-other-cartoonists that don't know me or someone in my family personally even know this comic exists! Sigh... well, maybe it'll pick up by the end of year three.

Those of you who do know this comic exists could help that effort a little bit by voting for it on, say, the Buzzcomix Top 100 list. C'mon, do it as a birthday favor for the strip, pretty-please?

Also, a pair of some other members of the online comics community got some nice news recently: Tauhid Bondia of Spells & Whistles and his partner Erik McCurdy (of various projects) are presently sealing the sale of a collaboritive comic to Universal Press Syndicate's web division, with the additional possibility of being upgraded to print if the strip proves popular enough! Lucky guys! They're both talented, and they deserve it. The only unfortunate thing is that it might interrupt their other cartoons indefinitely, but that's a small price to pay to be able to call yourself a professional!

Drop by Tauhid's forum and give them some congratulations, if you please.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 08.16.2004  

Hey, I invented that!! --    Sorry about this newest comic. Not only is it late by a few days, it's also pretty crummy. That's what you get with a cliffhanger where the main joke is in the second part, I guess (the crumminess, I mean... there's no good excuse for the lateness).

Anyway, a late comic's not really a reason to make a whole news post, so that's not why I'm doing it. Here's why this is here:

Recently it's come to my attention that a company in Vancouver, British Columbia has started selling women's/girls' t-shirts with words and phrases printed across the chest in braille. This discovery kinda burned me because a while back, this exact thing was something I came up with as a recurring joke between some of my college friends and me, the punchline of the joke being pretty obvious and part of the idea being the statement, "I'll bet I could sell these and make some pretty good money off of them."

This company in Vancouver is selling them for $37 dollars apiece; not bad, for the seller (although I've always felt most designer t-shirts are horrendously overpriced, and these aren't an exception). And these things are getting press attention. I SURE COULD USE THE KIND OF MONEY THAT'LL PROBABLY BRING IN.

And I know what you're thinking, "The joke itself is so obvious, lots of people have probably thought of it before and this is surely a coincidence." I'll concede a 100% on the former point; the joke is pretty obvious. The latter is a little fuzzier to me, though, mainly because Vancouver is 60 miles north of Bellingham, where I go to college, and the first major city on the highway if you head in that direction starting from Bellingham. I came up with this a long time ago, and they just started selling these things. Still a coincidence? Probably, but I'm just saying... of all the places in all the world where people could've had the same idea, Vancouver's proximity to where I was is pretty freakish.

Besides, that's only part of the reason it bothered me. The other part is that their handling of the concept has been hopelessly trite and blockheaded, printing cheap, uncreative "naughty girl" phrases in the braille that do nothing to really take advantage of the main idea of the joke.

So, in conclusion to this long news post, I was so unhappy about this I wrote another short story, this one based on this whole situation. I thought about sharing it to make up for the late, crummy cartoon, but I wanted to get some comments from my writing contemporary and confidant before making it available for public consumption.

Perhaps it'll show up in the next news post. And hopefully the next few cartoons won't be as bad as the latest one, hmm?

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 07.16.2004  

Independence Day --    It's the Fourth of July! As with most holidays, I'm in the middle of a storyline so I didn't do a special holiday-themed comic, and there's no new comic 'til tomorrow, but I did write a short story that has something to do with the holiday yesterday, so I thought I'd share that!

It's called The Best Fourth of July Ever!  You can read it by clicking here. I guess you'd class it as science-fiction, since it's set hundreds of years in the future, but aside from when the story takes place there aren't really any other science-fictiony elements to it. And even though the story has something to do with the Fourth of July holiday and fireworks and stuff, that's pretty much where the holiday relationship ends. If you read the story and like it, do me a patriotic favor and vote for my comic on any of those various voting sites over there. And if you don't like the story... vote for my comic anyway.

And then you can come back tomorrow when there's a new comic, read that, and vote for Rugg again!

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 07.04.2004  

Rugg returns to a twice-weekly schedule --    Finals took longer than I thought they would, as did moving all my stuff out of my dorm room and back into my house (the latter taking longer than anticipated because I had to install a new shelf in my room before I'd have space to bring my drafting table back in). Part of moving back into my room at home is going to include cleaning out and reorganizing my closet, which is probably going to take awhile, but enough about that.

However, I don't have school stuff to do any more, and all it's finally summer, so I'm gonna try to commit to a twice-a-week schedule again. If things go really well, maybe I can get back to three times a week like I used to do! Updates are still gonna be on random days, though, 'cause I'm just like that and it suits the cartoon.

Speaking of updates, here's a new comic, about two weeks late. Nothin' short of a global disaster or something happening to incapacitate me is gonna stop the next one from following it up before the week's out either. This time I can guarantee it for sure because it's practically finished already.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 06.16.2004  

Finals week --    Holy smokes! I've been so swamped with homework the past two weeks in preparation for finals week at Western, which is next week, that I COMPLETELY forgot about Rugg this week!

I finish up with my finals by Tuesday evening, and after that, I'm pretty much totally free, so next week I'm going to try and make up for it by doing two cartoons instead of one.

See ya then.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 06.04.2004  

Fanart update --    Aha! Ask and you shall receive. Looks like commenting on my loss of McBean's fanart in the last update was a good idea. Apparently he saw my comments and sent another copy of the lost fanart to me, along with a little guest comic. The guest comic, by the way, makes about as much sense as the cartoon does when I make it.

Thanks for responding, Bean! This time I won't lose the fanart!

The latest cartoon, in the grand tradition of me being undependable, has again been late. To make matters worse, it's not very funny, and the artwork's not only not very good, but derivative (some of you might notice Steve's expression in panel 2 is almost a direct quotation of a particular Calvin & Hobbes strip in the Revenge Of The Baby-Sat collection). It's really just the lead-in for a new storyline, and I try to make those good, but sometimes it just doesn't work. I promise the next one will be better.

Anyway, I don't know about the rest of you, but I have got to see this movie.

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 05.17.2004  

How unexpected! --    Well, what do you know? It's not often I look in my mailbox and find fanart... in fact, this is only the second time it's happened in the past year+... but that's exactly what I got this weekend, so I thought I'd share it with the rest of you. The artist is Sean Murphy, and I actually wanted to link to his own cartoon but, er... he didn't include a URL in his email.

As stated, this is actually the second time I've gotten fanart... the first was a little sketch I got from McBean at Paragon Fishing a long time ago... however, it was lost when my email archive was vaporized. McBean, if you're reading this and still have that sketch, you can go ahead and send it along back to me if you like and I'll put a link to it here.

That's all for now!

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 04.28.2004  

Hey, Ian! --    Well, I certainly got a nice surprise to report along with this latest update!

It seems Ian, the artist who created and draws Machall, gave me a plug in his news the other day. Now, Machall's one of the better comics on the Web (probably one of the only online comics I ever read that frequently revolves around the videogames and college slackers thing, and certainly one of few standout titles in that overcrowded genre), as I doubt I need to explain as, well... if you're familiar with Rugg, you're almost certainly familiar with Machall. Needless to say, Ian's got a reputation for excellent artwork, especially in the coloring department, and it's well-deserved.

Ian and I go way back (at least, online), to the old Bungie.org hotline server, back before the formerly-great Bungie Software eagerly sold themselves into slavery under the enemy (in case you can't tell, I'm still bitter, folks, and seem to be one of very few who showed true loyalty to the company's old direction by turning my back on their new one). Like a lot of other old regulars there, I was talking with him back before Machall even existed. Come to think of it, I might've been the first person there to see what eventually became Machall...

Anyway, I hadn't really communicated with him for a long time, so about half a year ago, I sent him an email or two to see what he was up to lately besides the obvious stuff, and just to say hello (I'm sure there was more to it than that, of course, but my email archive from that period was lost in my drive failure).

Apparently, what Ian was up to was being busy. VERY busy. 6-month-email-backlog busy. To be honest, I was kind of starting to wonder if he'd just blown me off after about 2 or 3 months went by with no response, but being a little familiar with Ian's habits with regard to taking on numerous demanding projects all the time, I can certainly see how he could get so busy that he'd have 6 months of messages build up in his inbox.

Case in point, one of the first things he did at B.org was make a Marathon scenario called Marathon RED... all by himself. Granted, the terminals could've used a little more editing and the sprites had an ID-like lack of color to them, but still, that is practically an UNHEARD of amount of work for a single person to do, and as such, is very, very impressive. Plus, his custom Marine sprites were awesome.

You should all be reading Machall, if not for Matt's writing (which is easily the best in the entire genre, by the way), then for Ian's often-imitated but never-duplicated artwork. And you should all keep an eye out for anything he does in the future, because you can bet it'll be good.

Ian, it was great getting a reply from you (not to mention hundreds of new visitors, for at least a couple of days, anyway)! In case you're reading this, if you ever want to chat, drop me a line one of these days and maybe we can meet up on B.org's successor or an IRC channel somewhere or something, because it'd be even better to talk about stuff in real-time again, just like the good ol' days!

And don't feel bad about having trouble doing 3 new comics a week. I can barely manage 2, and mine don't look nearly as good as yours!

Posted by Terrence Nowicki on 03.25.2004  
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