<> Relationship Maintenance
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On top of everything else going on in my life, I had a kidney stone this week. In honor of this, I declare that every glass shown on this page is full of water. You should probably drink more of it too if you don’t want one. And believe me when I say you don’t want one; the only safeword that pain respects is “morphine”.

(Book text excerpted from The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy; I believe two pages of a novel constitutes fair use.)

<> Lossy Decompression
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Looks like I’m getting back on track – I’ve got rough script for at least the next two pages of Rita1’s side, maybe three or four depending on how I pace the visuals, and an idea of where Rita2 and Barrett2’s conversation goes. Will Rita2’s wisecrack defuse Barrett’s mood, or make it worse?

Working in two stories at once like this is an interesting challenge. I find that usually one narrative or the other leads the page, and the other is written around it – sometimes in harmony, sometimes in counterpoint. This time Carol’s question was the first thing written, with the staccato overlaps of Barrett2 and Rita2’s argument coming in second; in other pages, it’s been the lower half that needs to be written or drawn first. I think Rita1 comes first a little more often than Rita2 but I’m not entirely sure, I haven’t been keeping any statistics on this!

<> SIG_TERM caught, ignoring…
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Sorry about the wait on this one, folks. This was sitting around like 80% done for most of last week while I ran around like crazy getting ready to do Foolscap – which went very well – and my first paying performance of my “Still Alive” striptease. Which also went amazingly well, the full house loved it and all the rest of the nerdy acts in the show!

Edit: Aaaand I decided to make a lot of the breaking glass solid white instead of white outlines, it reads a lot better that way. Shift-reload if you still see it as outlines. I decided to do this while reading the second collected volume of Jeff Smith’s RASL, which is an awesome SF comic about multiple realities that you really, really should be reading if you like “Rita”.

<> We Must Perform A Quirkafleeg
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The title of this page comes from a cryptically-named room in “Jet Set Willy”, which in itself took the title from a line of dialogue in ‘The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’.

(I do not recommend actually trying to play Jet Set Willy unless you have armed yourself with an array of cheat codes – like most 8-bit action-adventure games, it’s punishingly difficult. That’s just what floated up from the back of my brain when I looked at the ‘title’ field of Comicpress’ upload screen.)

People who have suffered through my spotty update schedule in the past month or so will be glad to know that I currently have rough layouts and dialogue for the next SIX pages, with notes in my sketchbook for three more. This should hopefully make it easier for me to get back on some kind of schedule, even though my life’s been delightfully busy of late!

Oh! And also I feel I should mention that if you’re reading this comic via RSS feeds, you should come look at it in the actual website now and then – there are certain things that you really can’t see if this is getting shown on a bright background.

<> ls -al ~rita
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“Sandbenders” is a William Gibson reference – in Idoru, they’re a company that takes commodity components and puts them in a really beautiful package, with a pretty OS. Hand-carved cases, semi-precious stones for the buttons.

I’m debating if I want to explain this anywhere in the story or not. Probably just having Carol refer to her Sandbenders on-camera again will be enough to say “this is the company that makes her computer”.

<> Protocol Mismatch
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Ye gods this page took forever to work out. It didn’t help that a lot of my “work on Rita” time this week was spent on putting together some packages of it to ship off to a few publishers – having the Tarot deck get international distribution really spoilt me on all the hassles of self-publishing, and I want to do more stuff that way!

Meanwhile in the “when can I be like Rita1” news, check out this video of Boston Dynamics’ new bipedal robot.

<> A Thousand Pardons!
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I decided to make the Panopticon a little less subtle in this page. Please let me know if you can see it – monitors vary a lot!

And hooray for actually getting two pages out this week.

If you’re wondering where “gongoozling” for “operating a warp drive” comes from, well, my exes had this running joke about the “Postfurry Solar System” – a lightly-sketched sci-fi setting full of media-terrorist Martian tigers, politely communist blue Mooncats, glamazon bunnies on Venus, mind-controlling squid on Saturn, etc, etc. When I started going out with them, I of course needed a comic-opera space animal caricature or two as well, and thus were born the bipolar raccoons of Mercury and the cheerfully sideways robot spiders of the asteroid belt. They are generally considered kind of insane; they like to blow themselves up for fun now and then, and are pretty much the only users of the warp drive known as the “gongoozler”. Which… does things… …to your brain if you use it, and has a tendency to occasionally make you vanish entirely instead of going where you want to. Especially if you’re in a gravity well.

…Does “warping too deep in a gravity well is hazardous to your health” have a page on TVTropes by now? Why yes, yes it does. (Warning: TVTropes.)

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This comic is finished; you may want to check out some of my other comics as well.