gisele...a request?

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Postby dionysus on Wed Aug 08, 2001 12:31 am

I am bitterly unhappy. Mainly because I come back and find myself strangley visiting CCS when I'm not going to entertain myself any more than looking at the artwork. I mean, if I was really serious about art, I'd go down to the Seattle Museum and poke around the exhibits.<P>Request 1: Script the damn thing out.
Request 2: Get rid of those cute little tilty-head things. It's almost as cloyingly sweet as the bug-eyed supersized heads. Works in anime. Doesn't work here.
Request 3: Improve the writing. For Christ's sake, improve the writing! Write it out. Where's it going? Where's it been? Where might the nice big gaping plot holes be? You've got lots of creative talent, but this is crutching here, babe.<P>Request 4: If you're burned out from comics, as you indicated with CCS, drop it and do something else that doesn't make you feel like you've got a full-time gig. Do what makes you happy, but unless you have the time to dedicate to your work, DON'T DO IT! You may have people who do the insane fandom thing, but the reality is, your work won't be taken seriously in any medium until you lock in and decide that this is what you want with your life.<P>Request 5: Story. Disjointed it. Sometimes a while back. Think. Painful red. Read this color. Interest. Ow.<P>I know I'm going to get jumped in the forum. "Gisele, don't listen to the troll!" The artwork is fantastic (just PLEASE for the love of my eyes, STOP doing that annoying 'hand up and tilted head' you love to do when your characters are talking), but, darlin', you're better than this. If you can't write a story, find someone who can without making it insanely saccharine.<P>Keep the faith.
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Postby Guest on Wed Aug 08, 2001 2:13 am

You know, I like you? You manage to make your point about how you think the comic can be improved without resorting to trollish tactics (psychoanalyzing, personal flames, insulting the readers, etc.).<P>I commend you and would recommend Geisle take your words to heart even if I don't believe in them myself. And that's the best compliment I can give you.
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Postby greenrd on Wed Aug 08, 2001 5:53 am

I don't agree. It's a comic strip, for Pete's sake - it doesn't have to be Shakespeare. Half the fun is wondering what's going to happen next (which doesn't happen the same way with books etc.), and smiling at the wit and the gorgeous artwork. CCS is just fine as it is!<P><< <i>your work won't be taken seriously in any medium until you lock in and decide that this is what you want with your life.
</i> >><P>Unless you know Gisele personally, I think you might be making too many assumptions here. What if Gisele is just doing CCS for the pure fun of it, and is perfectly happy with the recognition she's getting right now? I don't think the vast majority of her regular readers - which probably number in the thousands, judging by the top sites list - would agree with your implication that her work is not good enough to be taken seriously.<P>Lastly, it might have been kinder to Gisele to post such a negative comment as a private email, rather than post it here for all the world to see! Especially considering that you must have known that she won't be here to defend herself for a whole week! Just my 2p.
<p>[This message has been edited by greenrd (edited 08-08-2001).]
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Postby TCampbell on Wed Aug 08, 2001 7:02 am

Well, this is one of those tests, isn't it? Those who've been around these forums for a while know that I'm a strong believer in taking the criticism you're dealt... though I have to agree that such things are more effective by e-mail than by forums...<P>I also agree with Roscoe that you've managed to keep it civil and that is praiseworthy. So let's start with the easiest stuff and work our way up...<P>I don't have much to say about Gisele's "tilty heads." It just seems to be a mannerism of hers to me, like a Southern accent, but I could be wrong and I doubt my opinion on this one matters much.<P>I tend to be a lot more of an advance planner than Gisele, who likes to switch gears every couple of months or so. I didn't know until Tuesday of last week that we were going to be doing "poetry week" this time around. <P>VADO DOES have a script and a plan... and so should CCS's next story...<P>Gisele and I will be returning to the CCS characters after VADO wraps up (it's about halfway through). I'm pushing for a longer, more-planned-out storyline that cuts right to some of the common themes that I think have been part of COOL CAT STUDIO from the very beginning. I am, needless to say, QUITE excited about this one... and GIsele seems on board.<P>However... there has never been any doubt between us that this is Gisele's strip. She has surprised me before now, forcing me to toss elaborate plans... but such decisions are hers to make, and I support her unconditionally.<P>Finally, the writing criticism... nothing new on the CCS board, I guess... <P>(Whininess deleted. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> To summarize: )<P>Sorry the last few scripts haven't floated your boat, but it isn't due to a lack of commitment or trying on our part. Gisele works a full-time job as a graphic designer and stays up all hours to do the strip. That exhausting pace goes a long way toward explaining these sudden shifts in scheduling.<P>Without more detail (what is it that's "saccharine" about sadistic kidnappers or Jeremy's dangerous fantasies?), I can't really grow much from the criticism. You're welcome to send me more at tcampbell1000@hotmail.com... and you can e-mail Gisele directly too, at coolcatstudio@yahoo.com.<P>But for those who simply want a more-mapped-out story, hang around. VADO DOES have a plan... and the story after it, which returns to the Studio, has a BIG plan.<p>[This message has been edited by T Campbell (edited 08-09-2001).]
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Postby Steve-o on Fri Aug 10, 2001 5:00 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dionysus:
<B>CCS started out in the same vein and then went to...something else.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>This has been my problem with the series since the beginning of the Michael thing. But I stuck it out, and gave it a chance, I'm still giving it a chance, and I'm finding it harder every week to keep giving it a chance.<P>See, I got sucked into CCS because of the complicated interpersonal story lines. Because the characters were consistent and wacky enough to be interesting. <P>Then suddenly they're not consistent, they're aliens, and clones, and now super-spy private detectives from the high school dimension??<P>It's getting harder and harder to swallow and I miss the old CCS. Get rid of these new characters, they're too 1-dimensional.<P>
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Postby TCampbell on Fri Aug 10, 2001 8:33 am

Part of me feels I should just stay quiet at this point... a lot of these are concerns that only Gisele can answer properly. But there are a few things I should say:<P>Both this week and the next are a partial answer to those who miss the old CCS. <P>More is coming.<P>Thanks for writing some more on this, guys. It firms up my feelings about where *I* want the next story to go, at least. (Can't speak for Gisele, she's not here.) You'll be glad to know it's a return to semi-traditional CCS: minimal non-realism, the classic troupe of characters, and plenty of artistry, everyday life, and sexuality. Look for it in about two months as VADO wraps up.<P>You will NEVER catch me saying that the limitations of comics (a form, not a genre) are why my work isn't better. Whatever else I do, I do not blame my tools. Nor am I particularly interested in seeing what I can "get away with." I *am* doing a comic that's historical nonfiction, and I expect it to go under intense scrutiny.<P>And no, I'm NOT content. Online comics are an end in themselves to me, not just a stepping-stone to print... but there's a greatness that I imagine the work reaching, and it's not there yet. <P>I realize this leaves some of your concerns unanswered, but at this point I really have to yield the mike to Gisele, who is, in the end, the one who runs the strip... as soon as she returns from vacation.
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Postby dionysus on Fri Aug 10, 2001 8:56 am

I did, actually, write to Gisele a while back with criticism for the strip. I understand the limitations of the genre, and also the stuff you can get away with in a comic that you cannot in any other format (people who read comics are a little more gullibly forgiving than those who read historical nonfiction). T. Campbell's work with Fans, for me, works on a level with the Bone series and the original version of "Liberty Meadows" with the variety of characters. CCS started out in the same vein and then went to...something else.<P>Believe me, I get the "work full-time and do this" thing. I run a weekend DJ service, have three full-length novels in varying stages of completeness, and am currently working full-time as a professional writer. If you logged my hours, I'd bet I do about 90 hours a week of solid work, 45 or so of those without the comfort of my work robe. But if I tell my editor or my clients, "Well, I work full-time, so the music is a little off tonight, and I'm really sorry, but I know you wanted to hear country, but I'm in more of a Bif Naked Mood", I don't get repeats. Vado vs CCS has improved in the writing, but it's still got those little things that wouldn't make me pick up a copy in the comics store, regardless of whether or not I wanted to support Campbell and Legace. The Muse is a jealous, bitter bitch from the Ninth Circle of Hell, and she hogs your time. You want to be good? Hug her, sleep with her, buy her Armani and Prada and tell her she's the only one for you. Ignore her, and you delve into the warm, soothing waters of mediocrity.<P>That's basically what I'm saying. Campbell has good storyboarding, Gisele has good artwork, and you could make it on a professional level with some of the comicing greats. You just seem to be content to be where you are.
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Postby Asha on Sat Aug 11, 2001 2:11 am

If you find it hard to give it a chance, then just stop reading it. I don't know what's so hard about that.<P>CCS is Ms. Gisele's creation. She does whatever she wants with it, and if that means aliens and clones, whee!<P>I heart Cool Cat Studio.
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Postby Steve-o on Sun Aug 12, 2001 12:19 am

That's really easy for you to say, but I doubt very much that Gisele takes that attitude.<P>Although I'm not a mind reader, I've always gotten the impression that Gisele actually gives a flip about her readers and I don't think "If you don't like it, buzz off" would be her answer. <P>Besides, is this forum only open to praise? If that's the case I just might take you up on your suggestion Asha.
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Postby Asha on Sun Aug 12, 2001 3:56 am

But still, it's what SHE wants to do. A lot of people like it as it is, and she can't satisfy everyone.
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Postby Gisele Lagace on Sun Aug 12, 2001 5:28 am

Well, I'm back from vacation. Part of me tells me I shouldn't bother with answering to some of this but the other part tells me I should...anyway, here goes.<P><B>Request 1: Script the damn thing out.</B><P>Well, VADO is all scripted out and the next CCS story will be too....and so on.<P>
<B>Request 2: Get rid of those cute little tilty-head things. It's almost as cloyingly sweet as the bug-eyed supersized heads. Works in anime. Doesn't work here.</B><P>This is just plain stupid. That's like asking Eddy Van Halen to stop doing hammer-ons while he does a guitar solo. I'm not saying they'll always be there, all I'm saying is that as long as I feel like doing them - I will.<P>
<B>Request 3: Improve the writing. For Christ's sake, improve the writing! Write it out. Where's it going? Where's it been? Where might the nice big gaping plot holes be? You've got lots of creative talent, but this is crutching here, babe.</B><P>I was taking everything pretty well until you called me "babe". Next time you criticize me - don't call me "babe".<P>Anyway, I believe we've written some nice stuff up to now. If it's not to your liking...well...I don't know what to tell you. All I know is that CCS is my first attempt at writing comic strips/comic books and it's a constant learning process. I'm pretty proud of what I've achieved up to now.<P>I'm also very happy to have T Campbell on board. We have great plans...<P>
<B>Request 4: If you're burned out from comics, as you indicated with CCS, drop it and do something else that doesn't make you feel like you've got a full-time gig. Do what makes you happy, but unless you have the time to dedicate to your work, DON'T DO IT! You may have people who do the insane fandom thing, but the reality is, your work won't be taken seriously in any medium until you lock in and decide that this is what you want with your life.</B><P>What makes you think I'm unhappy? Just because I took a break from CCS, doesn't mean I'm unhappy.<P>I'm a creative person and if I was stuck doing "just" CCS for the rest of my life - then, I'd be unhappy. I'm doing VADO 'cause I want to and I'll probably do other strips as well. It's by doing other projects that I'll improve as an artist and as a writer.<P>I don't have a lot of cartooning under my belt. If you think I do...well...I don't. I used to be a full-time musician before this.<P>
<B>Believe me, I get the "work full-time and do this" thing. I run a weekend DJ service, have three full-length novels in varying stages of completeness, and am currently working full-time as a professional writer. If you logged my hours, I'd bet I do about 90 hours a week of solid work, 45 or so of those without the comfort of my work robe. But if I tell my editor or my clients, "Well, I work full-time, so the music is a little off tonight, and I'm really sorry, but I know you wanted to hear country, but I'm in more of a Bif Naked Mood", I don't get repeats.</B><P>Are you married? I don't know about anybody else but if I spent that much time working - I'd be single. I work 40 hours a week as a graphic artist to pay the bills and I work about 20 hours a week (at night with no pay) at cartooning. The rest of my time is spent bodybuilding (that's a good 5 hours a week right there) and just enjoying life with my boyfriend.<P>If I spent more time than this on cartooning - my relationship or my health would suffer.<P>I really don't know why I'm telling you this. I really shouldn't have to explain myself. I do CCS and cartooning as a hobby and that's all there is to it. If, one day, I feel it should be more than that - well, it will.<P>For those of you who think I'm slacking off lately or am unhappy because I only do 2 strips a week, well, that's not the case. I'm working as hard as ever on the printed CCS comic books <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"><P>
<B>That's basically what I'm saying. Campbell has good storyboarding, Gisele has good artwork, and you could make it on a professional level with some of the comicing greats. You just seem to be content to be where you are.</B><P>Trust me when I say that we're not content to be where we are. Give us a bit more time and you'll see...<P>I know you mean well, Dionysys, so please forgive me if anything I said here offended you.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Gisele Lagace (edited 08-12-2001).]
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Postby Mutttley on Mon Aug 13, 2001 1:18 am

I've been trying to post this for a day, but the Keen boards have been unwilling to let me connect to them until now.<P>One thing I have always liked about CCS is that it's a bit more "grown-up" than most webcomics.<P>To remind myself, I worked through the archives. Smiled a lot, laughed quite a bit too. Situations that I could identify with, deftly turned and humourously resolved in a few frames. And there is some very effective humour, produced by the inspired combination of good timing, textual and visual elements. Some examples of what worked for me: -<P><A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000331.html" TARGET=_blank>Mike goes tounge-tied at Liz</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000628.html" TARGET=_blank>Belinda goes giggley at Tony </A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000802.html" TARGET=_blank>Lets go home</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000814.html" TARGET=_blank>Shirtless Jeremy</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000906.html" TARGET=_blank>Soooo - you like plus sized ladies?</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000915.html" TARGET=_blank>Boy, did that ever come out the wrong way</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20000929.html" TARGET=_blank>Just testing</A><P>Moving to a free-er layout with pov changes and closeups from <A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20001120.html" TARGET=_blank>here</A> onwards
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20001127.html" TARGET=_blank>Liz, determined (a very striking page)</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20001204.html" TARGET=_blank>Oooh, that must've hurt</A>
<A HREF="http://www.coolcatstudio.com/d/20010217.html" TARGET=_blank>The Drac appears</A><P>Since the end of "Free Spirits" things have got a little disjointed. Guest strips, then a closure of the "Alien Abduction" story that I found unsatisfactory. The regularity of the strip has gone, and a lot of the audience with it, I suspect (look how quiet this board is).<P>The work for the print comic must have been taken away a lot of your time recently, Gisele. Nevertheless, the online strip seems to be idling, or at best in low gear right now. <P>I'm reluctant to criticise harshly, since CCS is something I get for free, but I would have to say that what's lacking is the "feel" of the strip (for want of a better word, and God knows I could use one).<P>I wonder what other people's favourite pages from the strip are? <P>Mutttley<p>[This message has been edited by Mutttley (edited 08-13-2001).]
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Postby Gisele Lagace on Mon Aug 13, 2001 4:14 am

<B>Since the end of "Free Spirits" things have got a little disjointed. Guest strips, then a closure of the "Alien Abduction" story that I found unsatisfactory. The regularity of the strip has gone, and a lot of the audience with it, I suspect (look how quiet this board is).</B><P>The guest strips were there to fill in the gap while I was taking some time off to live a little. I'm sorry you didn't like the "alien abduction" story. I know it wasn't the greatest but there were "some" good pages in there.<P>As for my audience, most of them seem to still be visiting. I have close to 6000 hits a day and since this site isn't updating every day - that's not bad. I won't lie to you and say that I used to hit close to 8000 hits day, but that was in the middle of the Winter when schools are opened. Summer is usually not as good since most are on vacation and etc...<P>I wouldn't judge how many hits a site gets just by how active its forum is. There are sites on Keenspot that have more active forums than CCS but have less hits than CCS. If I was more active in here, the forums might pick up but I just don't have the time.<P>
<B>The work for the print comic must have been taken away a lot of your time recently, Gisele. Nevertheless, the online strip seems to be idling, or at best in low gear right now.</B><P>Well, there won't be as many strips posted on the web since the print comic "is" taking some of my time. If I was making a bit of money with the strip on the web, I might of refused to do the print comic, but as it is, the print comic might be the only way to make a few bucks. <P>CCS is in low gear on the web right now but it's quite active for me as I'm working on the print comics.<P>VADO is what's active right now on the web and I'm enjoying it a lot. You can't compare VADO to CCS, it's not the same strip.<P>
<B>I'm reluctant to criticise harshly, since CCS is something I get for free, but I would have to say that what's lacking is the "feel" of the strip (for want of a better word, and God knows I could use one).</B><P>I believe what threw some of you off was the alien abduction story. It's understandable. Maybe I shouldn't of gone there...but since I did, I did have to complete what I started. I tried my best not to make it a "super hero" story and I believe I kept it as true to life as possible.<P>The upcoming CCS stories will be more like what you used to see in CCS. Expect to see some of it late September on the web and in the print comics starting in November.<p>[This message has been edited by Gisele Lagace (edited 08-13-2001).]
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Postby Steve-o on Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:52 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Asha:
<B>But still, it's what SHE wants to do. A lot of people like it as it is, and she can't satisfy everyone.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Again, what's your point? Are you saying that people who don't like the current incarnation of the strip aren't welcome to post about it in the forum?
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Postby Mutttley on Tue Aug 14, 2001 3:31 am

Gisele,
Sorry, I wasn't clear: I meant no criticism of your vacation, and fully support the need to get away and refresh yourself. I don't work anything like as hard a schedule as you, and I need to get away to the hills every so often and have a complete change.<P>I was very impressed with the artwork for the conclusion of "alien abduction", the move to "inset frames over backgrounds", and the pages flowed much more strongly and drew the viewer in. For me, as an SF fan, the resolution was just too "B-movie".<P>I'm very glad the basic audience is still faithful, and only the noisy blighters like me have become less evident <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> If the base support is still there I'm in less danger of losing the pleasure I get from your work.<P>L'Agence VADO is still in its early days, from my point of view, and its too early for me to form a balanced opinion. I'm a little unclear how Valerie and Don come to be a partnership, and I have to supress my antipathy to the "College Days" setting (I'm not American, and the preponderance of college settings for webcomics is very wearing after a while). I can see flashes of humour coming through again, and I'm impatient to know what Valerie's "magic" consists of.<P>It is very easy to view Nadine as heartless, to say that she should have cared more for her child. But, I suspect that viewing the dilemma as a dispassionate observer is very different from actually being in Nadine's shoes; something that in any case I could never truly understand. Could it be that Nadine now bitterly regrets giving her baby away, and is prepared to do anything that will help her get closer to Rachel?<P>I know that when my son was born I felt no instant bond with him, no deep emotional attachment, and it worried me to death. It needn't have: soon afterwards he smiled at me, and that was it. He is now truly my pride and joy.<P>Mutttley
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Postby jack2 on Mon Aug 20, 2001 1:30 am

Don't listen to the critics Gisele!!!!<P>CCS is as good as ever now, and I should know because I just started paying attention! Although those poems the other week were slightly unsettling...<P>------------------
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Postby Jamie on Mon Aug 20, 2001 3:13 am

As story is more important than art, character is more important than story. The character is the foundation that makes everything else possible. You can have a good story, but it will still lack without an interesting character. The opposite is of course true. A good character can save a mediocre story. CCS has both good story and characters. <P>What is happening is that CCS is growing and Giesele is experimenting. You have to grow and change to be satisfied w/ any art form or it gets boring. The problem w/ growing and experimenting is that it won
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Postby Freemage on Wed Aug 29, 2001 11:37 am

New timer on this board....<P>I hadn't written before because I didn't have a whole lot to say that wouldn't have amounted to "good job"!<P>But now....<P>Okay, this is still going to be a "good job" post. But more to the point, it's going to be a "Better job!" post.<P>The artwork on the strip's last few pages has been... stunning, from the shading on Bones in that last panel onward. It's clear that, as good as you are, Giselle, we're just going to keep getting better stuff from you.<P>One the writing side, VADO is proving to be compelling--and not quite as disjointed as the alien plotline was. It wasn't so much that the latter was bad--but a lot of the time, I felt like there was a page missing, where we were just assumed to know what happened between. So far, the current plotline has avoided that; to both of you, I urge this to continue; if it takes two pages to effectively convey the information you need to give us, take two pages, and break the schedule.<P>Oh, and "poetry week" was... *Shiver*
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Postby Freemage on Fri Aug 31, 2001 4:32 am

Well, I liked the ideas in it; I just wanted about five more pages interspersed--the pacing was just a little faster than I was comfortable with.<p>[This message has been edited by Freemage (edited 08-31-2001).]
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Postby Maritza Campos on Fri Aug 31, 2001 11:36 am

Aaaaw. I *liked* the aliens storyline.<P>Maritza
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Postby Rodent of Unusual Size on Sat Sep 01, 2001 7:24 am

Well, mmm, the initial green-glowing-hands
bit caught me off guard. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/eek.gif"> And when
Australia started figuring in I was
intrigued. But I must confess that I, too,
found the introduction of the aliens
and the rapid conclusion of the story
a little off-putting. Other than that
I think the strip is great and has been
all along. Just FWIW..
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Postby AntiEntropy on Wed Sep 05, 2001 6:44 am

(Say ROUS, I didn't think you existed <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"> )<P>Hey, my <I>only</I> complaint is the consistancy of posting the strips, and I figure, you get what you pay for.<P>(I've bought my year's subscription, how about you?)<P>-----
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Postby Rodent of Unusual Size on Thu Sep 06, 2001 5:51 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>(Say ROUS, I didn't think you existed )<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Bwahahaha!! Um.<P>No, all my disposable income just went into
a new laptop to replace Major Decrepitude, my
old one. Besides, I do not know what you are
talking about. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> Subscription to what?
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Postby AntiEntropy on Thu Sep 06, 2001 6:32 am

Just click <a href=http://www.keenspot.com/comicbooks/coolcatstudio/>here</a>...
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Postby Rodent of Unusual Size on Fri Sep 07, 2001 4:45 am

Ah. Ta!
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