Rats! Episode 118 – Get busy!


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Once upon a time, a very looooooooong time ago, I was the scholastics sergeant for my company. I was also the scholastics corporal and the scholastics officer, which meant I spent 3 years straight doing study checks. Yay.

You would not believe how many engineering majors with ROTC scholarships switch to history majors midway through their freshman year. Or maybe you would, especially if you were either a scholastics officer or an engineering major. I could never figure out why kids who were so smart would suddenly think they could quit studying once they were in college.

Rats! Episode 117 – Getting it right yet?

Rats! webcomic

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Oy! I missed last week’s post. I apologize. I’m in the midst of Girl Scout cookie season right now, and I’m also in the midst of my busiest season for work, so it gets a little hard to keep up with everything.

A quick explanation for the above. The upper classman character is named “Ratt” because at one time he was a rat. In fact, he was the original rat in “Rats!” But rats don’t always stay rats, and so he became an upper classman. So if you were confused about the name, there ya go!

I’m going to eat dinner now. Girl Scout cookie season is exhausting, so I need to keep my strength up.

Rats! Episode 116 – Taking care of everyone but yourself

Rats! webcomic

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Alas, this happens all too often. You get put in charge of a bunch of other people and you forget to take care of yourself. It happens to me even now. I’ve got so much going on with my oldest daughter’s Girl Scout troop (for which I am the troop leader) that I sometimes forget the things I need to do for the youngest’s Girl Scout troop. Thankfully, her troop leaders know what I’m dealing with, and they take good care of the kiddo. Still, I could kick myself for having forgotten to send in Valentines for the last Daisy troop meeting. *Sigh*

I’m sick this week. Came down with a nasty case of the flu on Monday night. I spent all day yesterday on the couch or in bed, dealing with a skull-splitting headache, joint pains, and congestion. The headache was the worst of it, but that seems to have died down a bit now. I tried to call the physical therapist this morning to let them know I wasn’t coming in because I was sick, but they called me first to let me know they had to cancel because the physical therapist was sick. So that worked out.  Now I plan to take it easy today, get back on the couch to watch whatever is playing on USA or crawl back into bed to watch anime on my iPad. I must have watched 4 episodes of “Occult Academy” last night on Crunchy Roll. I say must have, because I can’t quite recall anything beyond a pounding headache.

In any event, have fun today and don’t catch the flu! Trust me, flu sucks.

Rats! Episode 115 – How to prevent mistakes


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The only way to ensure people don’t make mistakes is to make sure they can’t do anything at all!

My right knee is slowly improving. I still have to go to physical therapy three times a week and it’s exhausting as well as time-consuming. It’s also Girl Scout cookie season, and of course every weekend between now and the end of the school year I have some sort of Girl Scout event to participate in or run. It’s crazy, but it’s also fun.

I’ll do my best to keep up with the blog schedule. I think starting this Friday I’ll start posting current works in progress. No guarantees on that because I’ve got a lot on my plate this week, but I think I should be able to put up something Friday morning. See you then!

Rats! Episode 113 – With Great Responsibility Comes Great Headaches

Rats! webcomic

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I still remember the name of the guy who was the head new cadet for my group – Don Shannon. He came into the VTCC as a sophomore and was an engineering student. Don was both responsible, reliable, and incredibly snarky/funny. He knew the whole “rat” process was just a mind game and he had fun with it, I think. Although I can remember this one time when all the rats had to gather in one room in the company area to get ready for SRC (Supper Roll Call), so we could march out together to evening formation. Only evening formation got cancelled, which annoyed Don because he’d gone to all the trouble to make sure we were all there, our uniforms looked good, etc. So Don started swearing and ranting and stomping around the room, and right in the middle of it all, the company commander walked in. All the rest of us immediately snapped to attention but Don was so busy swearing, he didn’t even notice until he turned around and came face to face with the CO. And THEN he immediately snapped to attention like the rest of us. The CO thought the whole thing was pretty funny, so he let Don off the hook, but after he left the room, Don turned to the rest of us and said, “And not one of you morons could tell me that the CO was in the room?!”

Poor Don. But he did an excellent job as head new cadet!

My right knee is doing a lot better, though I use my crutches and knee brace from time to time, usually just when I’m really tired or I’m surrounded by a lot of screaming kids (i.e. any time I’m working with Girl Scouts). I have at least one more month of physical therapy, and another month after that before I can even think of going back to karate. However, I am doing much better and I climb that second set of stairs to get back into my office now, so blog posts should be on a regular schedule now.

Don’t forget, I will be at Marscon this weekend! I have a table in the dealers room and I will be doing several panels on webcomics and speculative fiction erotica and other topics! Be sure to stop by and see me if you’re there!

Rats! Episode 112 – Sorry we’ve been gone so long!

Rats! webcomic

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Hey everyone! I apologize for not posting a “Rats!” comic in the last two months. For those of you who don’t follow my other posts or webcomic, I tore the meniscus cartilage and the ACL in my right knee at the beginning of November during a training camp for Girl Scout volunteers. I had surgery to reconstruct the ACL and repair the meniscus a month later and have been recovering ever since. I can hobble around the house pretty well now, but still need a leg brace and crutches from time to time. And since my office, where I scan in all my webcomics, is up a second flight of stairs from the rest of the house, I have not been in there to work on scanning in the “Rats!” comics ever since I tore my ACL. I’ve been drawing the other webcomic, “The Adventures of Cynical Woman,” on my iPad, which was convenient while I was off my feet, but “Rats!” was drawn on paper back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it had to be scanned in. Now that I finally have the leg strength to get up and down that second flight of steps, I can finally get back to my office to do that.

Anyway, about this week’s episode. When I was a new cadet, every new cadet in my company was expected to take a fall for their buds. I know people took the blame for me when I screwed up, and I think I probably took the blame for others once or twice, though I can’t recall any specific details. The point was, whether or not you were at fault, you were going to be in trouble no matter what. That’s just what it meant to be a new cadet.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a new cadet now, but I remember it was pretty intense when I was in the VTCC. We had a cadet first sergeant who scared the hell out of me, and our XO was almost as bad. I think my squad sergeant had made it his goal in life to make me miserable, and there were a few sophomore cadets whom to this day I still despise for the way they treated me. But I survived it all, and dealing with those people taught me a lot about how to deal with other “difficult” people and scary situations later on in life.

Well, I’ve got to get some more stuff scanned in for another blog post, so I’ll sign off here. But if you were ever a new cadet in the VTCC, let me know what it was like!

Rats! Episode 111 – Do you love a gal in uniform?

Rats! webcomic

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I don’t know what it’s like for female cadets today, but way back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the upper quad…

Eh, actually I don’t know if this ever really was a problem at all. I had very little luck with dating, no matter if I wore the uniform or civvies. I was just not the kind of person who attracted a lot of dates. To this day I’m not quite sure how I caught the Hubster’s eye, but he’s still here twenty-some years later and he’s still happy to see me every day, so I must be doing something right.

But seeing this cartoon today makes me wonder. Do people love a gal in uniform? I did my master’s degree thesis on gender stereotypes and leadership roles in the military. Some of what I found in there suggested that the old roles of seductress, iron maiden, pet and mother still applied. Women had to fit on of these four roles to have a place in the military, otherwise they had no place at all. But a lot of what I found told me that women in the military weren’t running into these gender stereotypes all that often, so I have no conclusive evidence one way or the other on the subject. For my own part, when I was in the military, I was treated like a person, not a stereotype. I did my job to the best of my ability and the people around me treated me with respect. When I was in the Cadet Corps, I was treated as a geek, which I was, and I wasn’t all that popular, but that was no big shock to me because I was seen as a geek in high school and I was treated the same way there too. So, whatever.

If anybody currently in the VTCC, or anybody who was in the VTCC at any time, has any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them. Post comments here on the blog or email me. Thanks! Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Rats! Episode 110 – Fight the power?

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Some days you just want to rage at the machine… or, in this case, the Cadet Corps. Go for a jog and blow off the steam that way instead. It’s not worth the stick cards.

By the way, do you guys still do stick cards? I think I still have some tucked away in my closet somewhere.

Rats! Episode 109 – Strange life

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This is pretty much how I felt when I was a freshman at Virginia Tech. Me in my uniform, surrounded by all kinds of strange and weird people. Not that I wasn’t strange and weird myself, but these folks were a different kind of strange and weird, you know?