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Basically a piece of Zodiac fan art.

There's art behind this cut )

His name always intrigued me, so I've placed him in the center of a wheel bearing the glyphs for the signs of the Zodiac, because it seemed a fun visual pun to make. I decided to present this wheel as the Wheel of Fortune from the Rider-Waite tarot. Anubis has been replaced with Randy, because it felt right. Alistair is in the place of the Sphinx because, well, he's a cat. The sphinx's sword has been replaced with a flag topped by a cup, because Alistair seems more likely to belong to the suit of cups than swords. The flag itself is a horrible, horrible pun that [ profile] morgan1 makes whenever we listen to the Carmina Burana or when she wants Sushi. The Evangelists have all been replaced by Newshounds cast members who have met Zodiac. Like the evangelists, each is recording the scene. Della illuminates it with a Radio Shack flashlight so that Kevin can film it. Above, Renata writes copy while Rochelle reports.

What Waite might say it means
Chance favors the querant. You will break a major story, and possibly mediate peace between warring factions. At the very least, you can look forward to tuna sashimi.

Chance is aligned against the querant. You will be manacled by your followers, alpha-rolled by someone's pet, and banished to the wilderness where you will be intimidated by squirrels. At the very least, the tuna salad at your favorite sandwich shop has been sitting out too long; if you order it you will get botulism.

NOTE: I made that stuff up. Newshounds Fan Art should not be used for divination. In fact divination is a bad idea generally: just look at US Foreign Policy!

The line art is Technical Pen on Bristol. This was scanned and printed on to Copic Marker Paper and then colored with Copic markers.
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Inspired by Thomas' concerns that Newshounds might become to Soap-Opera-ish.

Renata walks in to a high end restaurant and joins Hal O'Peridol at a table.

Hal: Oh Renata, I'm so glad you could come.

Renata: Yes, we need to talk.

Hal: I love you so.

Renata: I love you too Hal.

Hal: You don't know how long I've waited to hear you say that.

Renata: You've waited all your life Hal, and finally I've said it.

Hal: Oh Renata!

Renata: After all, what kind of mother would let her son grow up and never tell him she loves him?

Hal: What? You're my . . . mother?

Renata: Yes Hal.

Hal: How come you never told me?

Renata: I only just remembered . . . after the car crash with Rochelle. You see, it happened the year I had amnesia.

Hal: You had amnesia for a whole year?

Renata: Yes, and I've only just now remembered what happened. I spent that year on a vessel in the merchant marine.

Hal: And my father?

Renata: Dead.

Hal: But who was it?

Renata: It could have been anyone on that ship Hal. It's no wonder I couldn't remember that year, I was repressing it.

Hal: So how do you know my father is dead?

Renata: Well, when the two blue whales struck the boat, you and I were the sole survivors, everyone else was shark chum.

Hal: Hold it, we were both in a shipwreck? Why don't I remember this?

Renata: You were just a poor, naked, blind pup. I curled up around you on a piece of wood from the ship to keep you warm.

Hal: So how did we become separated?

Renata: After the coast guard rescued us we were taken to the pound. As soon as you were weaned, they took you from me. You were adopted by the CEO/Owner of Sunflower Chemical. I was sad to see you go, but a mother couldn't ask for a better life for her son.

Hal: So why didn't you remember any of this?

Renata: Just as I was waving goodbye to you, a bag of IAMS Special Diet fell on my head causing me to remember my real identity and forget the year I spent as an amnesiac.

Hal: So my love for you has just been . . .

Renata: That's right Hal, an Oedipus Complex. Now go find a nice girl to marry and give me grandkids!

2003 Redux.

Jan. 1st, 2004 09:16 pm
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Today as I was leaving work I cleared my desk of the papers and vessels that accumulated over the past three days, so that I would have a clean desk to come into come Monday. A year ago today I performed a similar task, but for a different reason: It was the last day of my assignment to a food processing company, and it was my final clearing out of my stuff. On December 31 2002 I donned my coat, shut the lights, and stepped off the precipice into an uncertain future. 2003 brought me another six months of unemployment, with a brief stint at a construction design company for flavor. Finally, in July, I landed where I am now - a health insurance loss control company. It's not my ideal place, but cleaning a desk I would be coming back to in 2004 was certainly an improvement over last year's leap at the abyss. So I am grateful to have four days off in which I can relax rather than too many days off filled with anxiety.

2003 was a strange year for that. When [ profile] morgan1 and I tilled the ground and planted our tomato seedlings, zucchini seedling and leek sprouts in the spring, we had no idea if we would still be on this land in the fall to taste those home-grown tomatoes, Zucchini and full grown leeks. She had been laid off two days before Christmas, 2002. After passing seven anxiety ridden months coming up with all sorts of contingency plans, though, we each stumbled into our current jobs; the home grown tomatoes found their way into salads, appetizers, and Morgan and I. (Mostly Morgan; her love of tomatoes is immoderate, perhaps even a little intemperate). The leeks were roasted, braised and stewed for many a Shabbat dinner, and even put in a curtain call in the stuffing at Thanksgiving. The zucchini met a similar fate, spending much of the summer being grilled and served with vinagrette alongside tuna steaks and cod fillets. It too made an appearance, as zucchini bread, on the Thanksgiving table, having been sliced and frozen expressly for the purpose. That's important to us, having produce from the garden on our table at Thanksgiving. Especially so since this year was so difficult that planting the garden was a tremendous leap of faith. But it doesn't end there, for tonight we will be sipping sparkling cider made from the pitted fruit of our senescent Bartlett pear tree. Our land has been kind to us, and we have escaped being cloven from it.

Cat-Tharsis went from concept to reality this year too. Much of my time unemployed was spent developing the concept, developing my artwork (which still bites, but has been improving) and developing the software that runs the site. I thank [ profile] kevinjdog and [ profile] rain_luong for the inspiration, [ profile] morgan1 for all the help with world building and artistic guidance, and Unit423 of If Then Else for the advice and encouragement. And I further thank [ profile] kevinjdog for a variety of opportunities to exercise my creative faculties. They've really kept the juices flowing.

What really got Cat-Tharsis out of development and onto the web was the need to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Morgan's cat Rodent Baby. When I drew this strip I knew I had to display it, so that was the impetus for going live. Rodent was a high strung little cat, bound to hiss, growl, and spit at every tomcat she's met, but very loving and even a bit needy. Morgan had Rodent longer than she's had any other creature currently living with her, myself included, so the loss was, indeed, profound. Rodent herself seemed content to go, and, we think, has even given her blessing to the kitten, Maeve, that came into our lives in October.

All in all this has been a year of want and of bounty, of death and of life, of turning corners, renegotiating old friendships and forging new ones. I can't really say I'm sorry to see it goes, but I'm curious what the new one will bring; I am greeting it with greater hope than I've had in a while.
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When [ profile] morgan1 and I first met back in the day when DOS 5.0 was new and Windows was still at version 3.0 and not ready for prime time (not that it ever would be), I made a trip to New York at Christmastime to do some grunt work for my mother. While I was there, I picked up some Lox and Bagels (both of which were unheard of in Binghamton in those days) as well as Morgan's Christmas presents (a Folkways recording of Goethe's Faust and John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces). She, in the meantime, had picked up a Droste (now Terry's) Chocolate Orange and baked some from-scratch bagels and muffins.

Ever since then it has been our tradition to eat Bagels and Lox and a Chocolate Orange at Christmas time, and so we did this morning. We also exchanged gifts which meant an Easel for her (she paints) and a 36-Marker set of COPIC Sketch Markers for me (I turn innocent pieces of Bristol into horrendous messes). We spent much of the morning playing with our gifts, and after a few hours mucking about and our breakfast, I settled down to execute a concept that has been knocking about my brain ever since I noticed that Thomas Dye's "Ferris" and D.C. Simpson's "Millie" have similar fashion sense.

Ozy & Millie/Newshounds Fan Art behind this cut )

I'm very happy with the color on the characters, the background colors in the spotlit region or OK, but the rest of the ground colors are a bit streaky in places. However, unlike with the water based markers, these have the potential to deliver a smooth ground. I achieved it in some places, not so much in others, but I am, overall, really happy with the way this came out considering how unskilled I am.

I hope you are all having joys of your own this Holiday Season.

[Edit: After some experimentation with a Prisma Colorless Blender and a less ginger application of color, I was able to abate some of the streakage. Also, a couple of friends stopped by to drop off some gifts for us. We really weren't expecting them, or anything from them, but fortunately we had a few goodies knocking about that we were able to reciprocate with. Thank God we are now in a position where a bit of surplus is a possibility, it was not so last year.]
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After an evening of kitten dreidel with [ profile] morgan1 and Maeve, followed by bedecking our house with the festoonery of the hap-happiest time of the year, I decided to give Cat-Tharsis' web site a facelift. I've done all the work on the staging server, and am planning to publish the changes to the production server no later than New Year's day (and possibly quite a bit sooner).

The major problems I wanted to address with the existing site had to do with usability. Specifically, visitors could not discover the links, news, feedback form, or other apparatus without scrolling down past the comic. In order to address this I made a fresh set of menu and navigation images that are significantly smaller than and way less clunky than what I had before, and arrayed them in 40 pixel tall bands above and below the comic; a style inspired by [ profile] kevinjdog's Newshounds layout. Another problem I want to solve is the way my links stay trapped in the frameset my domain name registrar uses to hide my site's internal structure. I think I just discovered how to do this, and I will experiment with it tomorrow.

I'm pretty happy with the new look and feel, most users will encounter the the entire apparatus without need for scrolling. My hope is that if visitors can actually find my feedback form, they might actually drop me a note. I have been wondering about providing a forum, but I don't want to do it if it's going to be moribund. Getting some feedback from users would help me determine whether there is enough interest to warrant it.

And now, the timer having turned off our holiday display, I shall away to bed, where great story ideas will come that I will not have the wherewithal to write down and which I will forget by morning.
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Mantra and Regime Change were sitting in my mailbox upon my return home last night. Plowed through much of Mantra. It is like reading a graphic novel, and an ambitious one at that. Plot lines run in counterpoint, touching here and there.

I was most struck by Wolfram's strength of character in the bomb-sniffing dog story. He displayed incredible intestinal fortitude, especially when Bully Runyon went off the deep end.

In short, Newshound is even more powerful when you don't have to wait for your browser to time out connecting to between strips.
richardf8: (Default)
Screened until you approve it for release. Feel free to put it on the NewsHounds site if you wish, but really its for you and the posters to your LJ who took issue when you said you'd never be a household name like . . . Davis.

So without further adieu, here is every Newshounds Fan's worst nightmare (yes, worse than Mark V):

richardf8: (Default)
. . .And for Sam and Alistair, there was the Ann Coulter/Al Franken BattleBots playset. . .
richardf8: (Default)
I don't know if any of your news sources carry Lalo Alcaraz's strip La Cucaracha, but I thought that today's would surely bring a smile to your face.
richardf8: (Default)
Well, thanks to the hospitality of kevinjdog, I now have a live journal. Most likely, I will use it as a soapbox for some of my political ranting, which tends to be left of center and right of left. Since the hour is late, I will leave this first post at that.

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