Tuesday, November 29, 2005

High School Hockey

I had a fun time today researching the high school hockey habits of today’s Toronto youth. They have hockey here in Tucson with the University of Arizona Icecats, but it is an odd thing. The Icecats have to travel great distances to get to some of their away games. Mainly reaction posts from Jeremy today, although I must thank Adrianne_p for hand-delivering some great Alexandra Love snark in the Meta for me to use as Jeremy.

The payoff for having the good constable laid up in Mtigwaki came today as schmoosie rose up and reminded me why it is I like her posts so much. It was a joy to read her Liz characterization and rage. The good constable is testing me though. His speech patterns and his politeness make him difficult to write for snark.

Also thanks to the always superb qnjones for the Agnes Dingle and Ned Tanner snark we wrote together. This has been an interesting experiment and I am quite pleased with the results. I know what qnjones will post, but then again I don’t; so there is an element of surprise in it for me that is a little different than the usual stuff.

As for tomorrow’s strip, I am currently stumped. I will have to think on that one. The obvious target is the final panel’s misshapen April, but I am not sure I want to go that direction again for snarking.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Jeremy Jones is one Ugly Boy

I decided to riff off the suddenly changed appearance of Jeremy Jones from the last time he appeared in July. Such a drastic physical change is not all that uncommon for boys his age. My nephew is in Grade 9. When I saw him over Thanksgiving for the first time since last Thanksgiving, he had grown 4 inches, his voice changed, he gained 20 pounds, and his attitude had definitely altered from friendly to surly. The best part was that he had also gotten his first gray hair at 14, 2 years before his father had gotten his first gray hair at age 16.

Today’s strip had April actually being friendly toward the newly christened “Rebeccah”. Of course that friendly face was a mask for the bitter resentment April displays in tomorrow’s strip. We still don’t have any clue as to whether or not this strip is going to lead to the Sunday colour strip prediction of Rebeccah calling April fat. My guess is not, which is unfortunate, because we only have April’s word Becky actually did that and we cannot tell if it is a gross overreaction by April to something Becky said. I hope Eva shows up somewhere in this sequence. Otherwise, I am going to wonder why she was even introduced.

The good constable is back in Mtigwaki again. I am working on getting some good snark out of Paul Wright, but I have interpreted him as such a straight arrow, this may be difficult (I mean it’s a challenge.). That interpretation came from the way he handled Elly, during her visit to his workplace, in which he was very polite to her. I am taking the position that the Anishinabek people might resent him taking up with Elizabeth. A quick google around has shown me that the Anishinabek have a big concern about intermarriage diluting their ways and customs. I have a hard time imagining a guy as attractively drawn as Paul Wright not being able to settle with an Anishinabek woman, if he so chose. I am afraid to go too far into this, because Lynn Johnston is certain to address it. The posts so far are just going to explain that the problem exists.

Mr. Howard Kelpfroth himself is still a dog. The marvelous qnjones is weaving together a tale based on our notes to each other. I am delighted to see what she does with it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Vacation Over

We got back from Thanksgiving vacation today. We arrived at my step-mom and dad’s house late, late Wednesday. On Thursday, my step-mom’s mother went into a coma. On Friday, she passed. My step-mom’s dad passed away 3 ½ weeks ago. The visit was as pleasant as could be expected, given the circumstances.

Meanwhile back at the ARB. I have seen Sunday’s strip and Monday’s strip and do not know what to make of it. On Sunday, April reports Becky’s most vicious assault against her with being called “fat” and on Monday, April and Becky are getting along pretty well and all our fears appear to have been for naught. Maybe things will develop in the middle of the week. In the meantime, my character of Jeremy has fallen prey to the rapid aging of the Foobiverse, looking like he is about 40 years old now. I predict there will be much Jeremy angst in the next several days, depending on how consistently he is portrayed at that age. Adrianne_p covered both her Alexandra Love character and Jeremy Jones during my absence. A big thank you to Adrianne_p for a superb job.

The good constable has returned from his undercover mission with an injury and plans to heal up in Mtigwaki. I am looking forward to posting a little Mtigwaki snark with the always inspirational schmoosie.

Howard the dog. Back from London, Ontario with tales to tell, only with the inestimable qnjones at the reigns this time. I am so glad she tolerated my humble Becky posts in her absence.

I do have a question for schmoosie about Brenda Starr. Once Howard turns human, he is set to start a romantic relationship with Fiona Brass. How would you recommend we write Brenda Starr out of Howard’s life? He proposes and she turns him down? Or some other means?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

OMG. It’s Shannon Again

We had a good time making fun of “Shannon the vengeful” today and I am sad I am going to miss out on “Shannon the lustful” snark. I will read it when I come back. I hope the posters on April’s Real Blog are unmercifully, but humourously brutal to the current storyline. Let’s hope Shannon visits the 5 other deadly sins. Since April and Shannon are bonding over lust, I think we have officially established Shannon as the new best friend. I am disappointed. I was hoping it would be Eva.

I feel safe in letting Becky leave on her trip, the same as I am leaving on my trip. I don’t think Becky will be back this week in the strip. There is a possibility that Becky may reappear for Shannon to defend April against evil Becky. If that happens, I hope it will be late in the week. Got that Lynn?

Jeremy is staying in town. He is fair game for any to torture, maim, etc. Adrianne_p should feel free to pursue the Jeremy / Alexandra Love story with impunity.

Gerald is also staying in town, but I have officially handed him back to qnjones, so if you don’t make any major Gerald deviations, I am sure she would appreciate it.

The good constable is going undercover. I hope I left enough controversy in my wake to provide schmoosie some good posts for Liz angst in his absence, you know the “my last words to him were harsh and now he is in danger and may never know my true feelings” stuff. Schmoosie is usually very good with the character development, so I look forward to seeing what she does with it.

I hope each of you in the States has a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel. See you when I get back.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Is Shannon the new Best Friend?

Constable Paul Wright is in Mtigwaki today and tomorrow. I went back through the strips involving Jesse Mukwa and saw that his primary obsession with Liz is that he is afraid she will leave. I know we have been playing that up on the ARB as his being in love with Liz, but there may be something more to it. I was thinking 2 things. (1) the previous teacher to Liz was so horrible that Jesse is afraid she might come back or someone worse, if Liz leaves. (2) Liz represents a mother figure for Jesse. Jesse’s mother was mentioned in one strip, but to my knowledge, only Jesse’s aunt Margaret has made an appearance. There may be something going on with his mom, where he is drawn more deeply to Liz. Given these 2 thoughts, I opted to have Paul explain to Jesse that nobody was leaving. While I was investigating the Ontario Provincial Police, I found a spot on their website that talked about detachments and their durations. In this spot, the detachments near to Toronto and that part of Ontario had no durations listed. The detachments in the Northwest and Northeast all had mandatory durations. It said that you do not get to pick you assignment in the OPP until you had served a duration in a place you did not pick. In the detachment closest to the presumed position of Mtigwaki, the duration was 6 years. So, I picked this time for Paul Wright. Not knowing how old he is or when he started OPP, Paul Wright could be close to finishing his duration or not. I doubt Lynn will research it. She can’t even make Shannon the same height from panel to panel.

Jeremy Jones. Nothing much today. I don’t want to involve him in anything spectacular, since I will very busy doing vacation preparation tomorrow.

Becky McGuire. Judging from the Tuesday strip, I think that Becky can safely leave on Wednesday for her trip to turn Howard human. I intended Becky to lead Howard over to Connie Poirier’s for some Connie snark, but I could not find any inspiration. I poured over the monthly letters and it was all, “I drank coffee with Connie. Connie and I went jogging.” It doesn’t look like Connie has done anything interesting since Lawrence announced he was gay. I wanted to do something with Sera the dog and Doris Day, but I couldn’t make it work.

Gerald. The strip today made Gerald’s work easy. If April were to use some 1920s phrase every day, the Gerald snark would write itself.

Tomorrow’s strip. Shannon…is…the…best…friend? Good…God…no. I went back to the strip where April rescued Shannon in the card shop and realized that Monday/Tuesday strips are basically a replay of that with Becky playing the insensitive villain both times. In both cases, Becky judges April’s looks and April gets upset. In both cases, Shannon comforts April. The big difference this time is that April does not help out Shannon to show she is deserving of Shannon’s comfort. This time, April is a little condescending to Shannon, when she tried to comfort April. Given that attitude, I would be surprised if Shannon…is…the…best…friend. Maybe it’s time for a life lesson from Elly about Shannon. After that, the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dogs Will Eat Anything

At least that is what I was told growing up. Dogs are incredibly easier to poison, because they wolf down their food without tasting or smelling it. It’s not really true. I have seen finicky dogs before, but I decided to leverage off this belief for Howard’s visit to Grandpa Jim as a dog. So, Howard the dog just continues to eat as much Havarti cheese as Grandpa Jim puts in front of him, until he feigns death in order to stop him. To give proper credit, the service dog idea and working for Grandpa Jim came from qnjones, in the material she left before she went on vacation.

The extra added element came from adrianne_p, who posted as Alexandra Love that she wanted to meet Howard the dog. So, I decided to start off instead of with Becky posting about Howard going to Grandpa Jim, but with Jeremy posting after the fact. I was very amused by the idea that Howard, in pretending to be dead, would roll on his back and stick his legs straight up in the air, which is sort of how beetles die, but not dogs. Unfortunately, I have been witness to dog’s dying before and am familiar with what a dead dog’s body actually looks like. I don’t know why the beetles do that though. Whenever my boy sees a beetle in its death throes, he is convinced that by rolling the beetle back onto his legs, they will recover, and they never do.

Gerald. No real activity today. I am enjoying rolling through a series of flower names as nicknames for April. qnjones version of Gerald used flower names, but I think I am going to push the limit a little. My favourite so far was “my little peony” which is similar to “my little pony”, the popular children’s toy.

As for the good constable, no smut today, but a lot of food analogies and native legend lore. Made me hungry just to write it. With Paul Wright, I am working closely to follow the lead coming from the excellent writing of schmooooo posting as Liz. Liz moved away from smut and as a consequence so does the good constable. Monday is coming for Paul Wright and so I am looking forward to some good character development with him in Mtigwaki.

Monday’s strip. {swear word} I can’t believe another week of zits jokes. Plus here I am posting for Becky McGuire in lieu of qnjones, who would not want to miss this. Becky has clearly taken a turn towards being mean to April. This is an obvious lead-in to Eva becoming the replacement Becky, since April has already stated that both Eva and Becky have good skin. I see now that was probably not a coincidence. My prediction: Eva will defend April against Becky or at least comfort April in her moments of despair from her zittiness. My plan was for Becky and Howard to travel when I did, but that may not be possible considering the path the strip is taking. Maybe, Becky could announce her plans to travel on the weekend after school is out, and then stop posting on Wednesday in anger over her fight with April. That might work. adrianne_p has picked up posting for Eva and none too soon, it would appear.

Can't tell the Characters Without a Cue Card

I was writing love stuff for Becky and Duncan today. I don’t think I ever have written the feminine perspective about love before. It’s kind of eerie. I am gradually pushing through the material I spoke with to qnjones about Becky before she went on vacation. I hope I can get through it before I leave.

The Gerald / April dinner. Typically with this situation, Gerald’s father is a man who speaks nonstop about sex. But aprilp_katje had set up the dinner as a way for April to get acquainted with Gerald’s mom at her request. So, I tried to take that a different route, with Gerald’s mom being more interested in Gerald’s future than his sex life. With luck, aprilp_katje will post April reactions.

Jeremy. Adrianne_p posted that she had a conversation in mind for Jeremy and Alexandra Love, but she wanted me to finish up their date. I tried to do that and leave enough loose ends for Adrianne_p to post Alexandra’s perspective on the date.

Constable Paul Wright. Still writing his secret smut. Otherwise biding his time until he gets together with Liz on Monday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Suddenly on Roseanne, a new Becky

qnjones is going on Thanksgiving vacation starting today and I will be going on vacation starting next Wednesday. In between times, the lovely qnjones has asked me to step in as Becky to work the Becky / Howard the dog storyline, for which I had previously been providing storylines, while the always funny qnjones did the hard writing. So, as on the Roseanne TV show, a new Becky will appear, who will be like Becky, but not really like Becky. I will try to imitate qnjones’ writing style as well as I can. Please forgive me for any mistakes I make. On Wednesday, Becky and Howard will take a little trip and qnjones may drop in from time to time to say how the trip is going, if she can. We should be back on Sunday to finish this baby out.

The good constable is going to make an appearance in Mtigwaki on Monday and Tuesday for some Mtigwaki snark. I think he will be going on an undercover assignment while I am on vacation. I hope it will give schmooooo a good chance to emote. schmooooo has been posting great stuff lately. I look forward to seeing what she will do with that.

Jeremy. Who knows? adrianne_p has posted a letter from Alexandra Love in the Meta Blog, to which Jeremy has responded in the Real Blog. An impending Maple Leafs game looms for them, if adrianne_p is in good enough health to do it. If not, that’s OK. I hate it that adrianne_p is sick, but it happens to everyone and all I can do from here is to pray for her good health. I don’t plan to do anything with Jeremy over my vacation, so other ARB posters can feel free to abuse him as much as they want while I am gone.

As for the strip, Saturday’s strip shows that the entire zit sequence was for the stupendous purpose of having a zit sequence. Gone are the days when zits brought people together, like when the Mike zit brought Gordon and Tracey together. Unfortunately April appears to still have lost her cleavage and is still shorter. I don’t know if the ARB can do much more on this subject. We have done some terrific snark on the artistic shortcomings of this strip plotline, but after awhile you just want to start screaming at Lynn to make her characters’ appearance look the same from day to day. Even Dilbert does a better job than this and Scott Adams has acknowledged he is not much of an artist.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Translation Terrors

We are now translating the Paul / Elizabeth material in the Meta. My little secret messages are not so secret anymore. I am so surprised at my own prudishness. I was not quite ready to get past the lusty stage of the relationship with Paul and Elizabeth to the lovey-dovey stuff. They’ve only been together twice, after all. But the messages have an entirely different feel to them, when I write a translation and post it. So, if schmoosie goes to mush, Paul will follow. I wonder if I can rhyme in Ojibwe.

Jeremy. Nothing really today. He noticed April’s hair looked nice, which I actually thought it did in the strip for a change. Friday is going to be a bear. April has regressed back into a little girl who is rocked by her mommy. Jeremy will just be shocked, because frankly I am shocked too. Otherwise Jeremy is basically dormant until poor adrianne_p recovers from her illness. Get better, adrianne_p. I miss posting with you.

Howard as a dog. I give qnjones a creaky, little plot outline and she fills in the details in her own fantastic style. One day into it and it is a blast. Sorry folks who don’t like Howard as a dog, but it may take me awhile to get tired of this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

April Through the Looking Glass

Thanks to the inexplicable non-reversing zits in the today’s strip mirror image, we were able to play that into a very fun day on April’s Real Blog with the introduction of April Patterson’s mirror self. It’s not an original idea, I admit, but it is highly unusual for the strip to get such details so wrong, particularly when the whole story arc revolves around zits and does not appear to be going anywhere else. In Thursday’s strip, April does her Duncan imitation because of zits. Sigh. When such are the strips, you takes your snark where you gets it.

The best part of it was that at the end of the mirror April story, it allowed me to focus Jeremy a little on what he wants in life, that being Alexandra Love. In the previous days’ postings, Adrianne_p and I did a little he-said, she-said sequence where Adrianne_p’s Alexandra Love told a nearly completely different story from the one that Jeremy had told about the same situation. They were so different that I was unable to reconcile the differences into a coherent storyline from the two perspectives, as I have been able to do in the past. I just couldn’t do it without Jeremy admitting he made up most of his story. The Jeremy of the strips is notorious for saying truthful things in an obnoxious manner. In his last appearance he enjoyed pointing out to April that Becky was going to break up their band, before Becky had actually said anything about it. There was also another strip sequence where Jeremy sat outside the room where 4-Evah was practicing. This marked him as a loner with no friends. Therein lays my themes for Jeremy: 1. He has poor social skills. 2. He is obnoxious. 3. He does not lie. Given those themes, it was impossible for me to have Jeremy admit that he lied in telling his story about Alexandra, because by my view of Jeremy, he always tells the truth. However, because he so desires to be with Alexandra, he cannot call her a liar. He’s smart enough to know that would not work. So, Jeremy has to skirt the he-said, she-said issue, play the victim, and try to appeal to the possibility that Alexandra actually likes him enough to back down. Today, Jeremy laid it out for Alexandra that in no uncertain terms he wants to be her boyfriend. The next fun part is to see how Adrianne_p reacts.

As far as the other characters go, Howard Kelpfroth has now come back as a black Newfoundland dog, currently in the custody of Becky McGuire. This gives qnjones so many possibilities for humour. I am reminded of the original Shaggy Dog movie, where the younger brother upon discovering that his older brother has turned into a dog, starts treating him like a pet he always wanted. There’s no telling what qnjones will do with Becky in the same situation, as her Becky is a lot sneakier than a Disney movie character. I am anxious to read it. I received many suggestions for future Howard stories yesterday. I want to thank each and every one of you for supplying me with so many story possibilities. It will take awhile to work through them all, so don’t be impatient.

Constable Paul Wright. His Ojibwe conversations get more and more explicit each day and schmoosie posting as Liz has been matching me and raising the ante each time. My poor little Freelang translator is smoldering after I read each new post. It’s a challenge to keep up with schmoosie in being naughty. In the meantime, my researches of the Ontario Provincial Police show that revolving work shifts are standard procedure. In real life, there is a good chance that the constable would not be able to get off work on weekends, when Liz is off. So, his next trip to Mtigwaki is scheduled for Monday. This will give him a chance to interplay with the Mtigwaki characters a little and do something different with Liz than long distance love letters, which are by necessity a staple of his posts. If they ever bring the good constable back in the strip and explore his life or his police partner a little, then Liz could visit him and do some snark in that area.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Howard on Hiatus

I am looking for a new direction for Howard. My thoughts are these and I am soliciting comments and suggestions:

1. Romance:

a. Howard proposes to Brenda Starr.
b. Howard dumps Brenda Starr and starts an affair with Becky’s mom.
c. Howard dumps Brenda Starr and starts a romance with one of the gay characters.

2. Howard has somehow been altered by Lynn Johnston. He is now a:

a. Teenage boy
b. Teenage girl
c. Dog
d. Cat
e. Rabbit
f. Old man
g. Old woman
h. A man with a beard
i. Some other bizarre or unusual thing

3. Job:

a. Howard is back at Mayes restaurant
b. Howard starts work at Portrait magazine
c. Howard works with Marjee Mahaha.
d. Something else.

Friday, November 11, 2005

April’s Real Blog Deleted Scene

I had planned this one for today but circumstances are such that I cannot use it in April’s Real Blog. I decided to share it with you here instead. I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.

April: Mom I just got home from school. I met this nice girl named Eva on the school bus. Who’s that?
Elly: I held auditions for your new best friend and this is the friend I have selected.
April: Mooom! I don’t need a new best friend and I especially don’t need a new best friend that you picked.
Elly: Don’t be rude to our guest April. I would like to introduce you to O. Ranga Tan, your new best friend and her trainer, Kip.
Kip: G’day.
April: Mooom! That’s a monkey in a diaper and a dress, wearing its hair in a bun! I can’t be best friends with a monkey.
Elly: April, I’m surprised at your racism. You can tell by Ranga’s last name, she is obviously an Oriental with a little extra hair. I am sure that you will learn so much from her by being her friend, with my guidance, of course.
Ranga: {monkey noises}
Elly: See. Ranga likes you. She likes your choice of shoes. Say, “Thank you.”
April: Mom. This monkey is trying to eat my shoes.
Elly: April. It is rude not to say “Thank you” when you get a compliment.
April: Thank you Ranga for ruining my favourite shoes.
Elly: That’s much better, April.
Ranga: {monkey noises}
Elly: See. Ranga is trying to teach you math by counting on her fingers. I think she must be saying, “Math is interesting this year, isn’t it.”
April: Mom. The monkey isn’t saying that. You got that from the educational promotion ad on TV, just like everyone else at school. It is so not funny when you say it.
Ranga: {monkey noises}
Elly: See. Ranga likes you. She likes your choice of hair clip. Say, “Thank you.”
April: Mom. This monkey is picking through my hair looking for bugs. Eww!! Get off monkey!
Elly: April. I thought I just told you this. It is rude not to say “Thank you” when you get a compliment.
Kip: Down Ranga! Down!
April: Mom. The monkey is on the cabinet breaking your dishes.
Elly: Nonsense. Ranga is trying to show you proper dinner etiquette and is getting a little upset at your lack of attention.
Kip: Put those down Ranga! Down!
April: Mom. The monkey is digging into its diaper and throwing stuff. Eww!!
Elly: Nonsense. Ranga is trying to show you the importance of good hygiene.
Kip: Keep that diaper on Ranga! On!
April: Mom. The monkey is grabbing your muffins and latte!
Elly: {Gasp} Where’s my frying pan? {Grabs it}
{Many sounds of clanging and a monkey falling unconscious on the floor}
April: So what do you think of Ranga now?
Elly: Ranga has reminded me of a very important lesson.
April: What’s that?
Elly: A girl’s always got to protect her muffins. Now tell me about Eva. Does she wear her hair in a bun?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I Guess Jeremy’s Not the Only One Who Can Screw Up

I ticked off aprilp_katje today with my Howard post of the Elly Patterson audition for a new best friend for April. I thought it was pretty funny at the time, but I guess the post was too Meta-ish to play out. I had in my mind the movie Sixteen Candles where Molly Ringwald’s character is saddled with an over-the-top Japanese stereotype played by Gedde Watanabe. I imagined April as Molly and the Elly chosen best friend as Gedde, except the over-the-top part would be every possible permutation of Ellyism manifested in a single person. It was motivated by the idea, “What kind of person would Elly pick for April’s best friend.” Oh well. Sometimes jokes misfire and tick people off.

Jeremy got his head whacked again. Jeremy abuse is always good, and I enjoy playing off of Adrianne for this. She has been hinting at a date for them, so we will see if this happens.

The good constable posted more disguised love stuff to Liz tonight. I have suggested a kayaking date for them, which will put them off of the ARB for awhile and describing the date after it is over. I hope that’s not a problem with schmoosie, who posts as Liz.

Not a big creative day for me. I mainly enjoyed watching qnjones fire on all cylinders with her Ted / Krystle posts.

Tomorrow: Zit jokes and the new best friend’s name is Eva, which means possibly some Latina in her background.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Chicken Wraps

In my mind, today’s series of posts were a model for April’s Real Blog posting. A story goes on, but the overriding theme of most of the posting is the daily strip. One chicken wrap snark after another. It was great. My only regret was that no one described Elly Patterson and the Special Ad Hoc Advisory Hearing on the Question of School Lunch for April Patterson. I put a very oblique reference in Howard’s Elly / Connie dinner by having her say that she had to go to the school to get a chicken wrap since April didn’t give one to Beatrice. Maybe tomorrow a brave soul will stride forward and take the challenge.

The romances are pushing along. Jeremy got kissed and slapped. Whoo hoo! schmoosie who posts as Liz indicated in comments that she wanted to be pursued, so Paul Wright was a little more romantic in tonight’s posts. Howard has a date with Brenda Starr and Dr. McCauley/ay on Monday morning. Kinky.

In tomorrow’s strip, the new friend/Becky replacement has arrived and she admires April’s hand-me-downs. Becky was portrayed as a girl who had all the best things of life (except married parents) in the strip. I think that Lynn is trying to set this new girl up as being as different from Becky as possible. She’s dark. She does not have nice stuff. And she is probably not named Alexandra Love, whom I cannot recollect if she has described her skin colour. I am calling her as a Duncan love interest, so that there will be double-dates and maybe even a replacement for Becky in the new-and-improved 4-Evah. If this proves to be the case, then making Jeremy Jones Becky’s roadie was just to get him out of the way as a potential Becky replacement in the band. Watch out Becky and April, here she comes, justa sittin’ on the bus, singing “Do I Do I Like Your Hair Clip”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Rescue

Jeremy Jones – Today we continued taking cues from Adrianne_p posting as Alexandra Love and aprilp_katje for the teenage awkward love story between Alexandra and Jeremy. I’m in no hurry on this one, so I am more than happy to play off of those two. I have no idea where Adrianne_p is going with it, if she plans for the relationship to be long-lasting or not. I’m just along for the ride and the scenery is great.

Constable Paul Wright – I did a little research today on the Ontario Provincial Police. One of the websites had their salaries listed. It was interesting to note that from the 1st year to their 3rd year the salaries multiply by about 3 times. They must have a lot of people quit in the first 3 years. If you can make it to the 3rd year, they make about $60K annually. This is probably not too bad for Northwest Ontario.

I had the good constable “rescue” Becky McGuire from being stuck in the trunk of Dr. Ted McCauley’s car. When qnjones wrote that she was in the trunk, my parenting alarm bells went off, and it provided a good reentrance for Paul Wright.

Howard Kelpfroth – Major post of the day was recounting the dinner between Krystle McGuire and Dr. Ted McCauley. Interesting things to note were that Ted McCauley’s last name is inconsistently spelled on the For Better or For Worse website. Sometimes it is McCaulay and sometimes it is McCauley. I tried to write Krystle as crass as I could, since that is the way that qnjones writes her. I don’t think I quite captured qnjones’ flavour for Krystle, but hopefully it was acceptable.

I had an interesting time researching the good doctor Ted. He is mentioned in a number of John Patterson’s monthly letters, which is good, since John doesn’t mention anyone else as a friend. The interesting thing was reading all the notes about Ted from the Elly monthly letters back-to-back. Elly has got the hots for Ted McCauley. She talks about him being handsome, she is jealous of him taking trips to foreign countries with female companions, she compares his personality to John’s (not favourably) and says that he and John are opposites, she says that Ted should have pursued Connie, and mentions that Ted has a fleet of sports cars compared to only one with John. Reading them like that took me completely by surprise. No wonder John doesn’t get any sex. Elly is holding out for Ted. Prediction: Elly sets up Ted with Moira or Beatrice.

Tomorrow: Evil April has arrived and threatens the city’s supply of chicken wraps.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Constable has Arrived

Jeremy Jones

I friend of mine has gotten a pen, that when you press a button, plays quotations from the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Seeing that gave me inspiration to use with Jeremy in posting his romance with the delightfully quirky Alexandra Love, posted by Adrianne_p. Tomorrow, we get to explore country western music via Jeremy Jones’ father’s band. The strip only said he played country western music, so anything goes as far as country western music selections real or imagined. I am going to try to channel teenage awkward romance as well as I can for this story. It will fit well with Jeremy, who has, up-to-this-time only been involved with very aggressive girls. In case you are interested, that was pretty much how I was in high school. I was so shy, that my only girlfriends were extremely aggressive.

Howard Kelpfroth

When I originally posted the Howard meets Ardith Narayan story some weeks back, I had mistakenly supposed that Ardith was Indian (as in from the country India), because I googled and found several Indians with that last name. A kind anonymous person posted to my Blog and said that Ardith was actually Armenian, which actually made a lot more sense. As it turns out Narayan is also a popular name in Armenia. Armenia’s national religion is Christianity and would assimilate well into the Foobiverse. Plus Ardith style of dress was not Indian. The post today was to allow Howard to correct this error, maybe inspire the mysterious Ardith poster to return, and to put things to rights with discrepancies between the November grandpa Jim monthly letter and what had been posted in April’s Real Blog. Part of this had to do with restoring grandpa Jim’s Dixie visiting privileges. Unfortunately, this upset aprilp_katje. Hopefully she can forgive me. Someday. Sob!!

As I went to the For Better or For Worse website to look at grandpa Jim’s monthly letter for snarking, the Remembrance Day tribute via grandpa Jim’s fake war record was prominently displayed. So I decided to add it to the list. The web page listed RCAF Squadron No.408, a real WW II squadron, as Jim’s, which was probably a mistake. There are quite a few websites that have detailed histories about that squadron, and I honestly do not know why they were not researched in creating the web page for grandpa Jim. I also found it very curious that in a web page devoted to Remembrance Day that the text would focus almost exclusively on the Jim and Marion story. So, I picked apart the inaccuracy of this, and had grandpa Jim fart a lot because of eating Brussels sprouts to alleviate the boredom of the historical text.

Constable Paul Wright

In today’s strip, Elly and Connie are chatting at a time clearly past the point where the good constable has finished his visit with Liz, but then in Tuesday’s strip, Elly drops the bombshell that Liz has been seeing boys in Spruce Narrows (maybe our truth-telling native, hmm?) I left it open as to whether they would meet again in the post, so schmoosie who posts as Liz can come up with things for them to do. Schmoosie said a long time ago, that she really missed the native Americans she knew in New Mexico. So, this is an open invitation for her to write about any activities she remembers with those people as dates for Liz and the good constable.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Howard = Stepdad ?

In April’s Real Blog, qnjones posting as Becky suggested the possibility that Howard become her step-father by marrying her mother. By my rules of posting, which is that I try to make my posts match the comic strip For Better or For Worse, this idea would never work, as Becky’s parents are in the middle of a divorce, which cannot happen until the parents have been separated for a year. It raised an interesting question with the way I have been portraying Howard, the gay man. I have had him fall madly in love with Brenda Starr on the premise that Brenda is a gay icon, like Judy Garland, etc. Having established that Howard has been intimate and so enamored with Brenda does take away from the idea that Howard is gay. I will see if I can work a little more gayness back into Howard, but still keeping the relationship with Brenda Starr going for as long as schmoosie cares to post as Brenda.

Jeremy Jones began his initial overtures to Adrianne_p’s Alexandra Love. Adrianne_p has been doing an excellent job establishing this character, and it will be interested in seeing if the socially awkward Jeremy Jones can actually do a romance without messing it up.

Monday’s strip jumped to post-Liz / Paul action, so the time is right for Constable Paul Wright to appear. He works the night shift, so that is when he will likely post.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Pastry Testers Gone Wild

I was really busy on the domestic front today and the always beneficent qnjones, kindly took the lead on the Howard and Becky participate in a pastry taste-testing exercise. qnjones broke her post up into 2 parts and no doubt, was expecting me as Howard to post inbetween the 2. That had been my intent and I was on the verge of doing just that, when the 2nd part showed up and I had to start doing revisions to the stuff that I was writing. The joys of posting on the ARB. The subject was little difficult to make light of this time, because in this story Anne Nichols is actually trying to kill her husband in revenge for his infidelities. I could see in her second post, qnjones was trying to take Anne Nichols back off that stance and probably had come to the same conclusion that I had about the subject matter.

There were several delightful holes that qnjones left me in her 2 posts for me to fill, like we are posting this to April, but the story involves her mother and father, so where is April while this is going on? I left a little spot for aprilp_katje to expound upon, should she care to do so.

Coming up:

Sunday: Howard and April and their big "date." Then off to Becky’s house for a party. Weekends are difficult for me to take the lead until my kids are in bed. I will try to start this one off, but you other ARB posters may have to continue on temporarily without me. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Toronto Little Dinner Theatre

Just before 5 pm, schmoosie as Liz posted the part about April being pregnant, and I was suddenly rushing to get a post in that April had already been picked up by Jeremy’s mom. After that, I took the lead with Jeremy posting the plot on seeing the play. I planned to keep everything per the actual real time, but family matters interrupted and I had to leave to come back and do clean up. This little outing turned out nicely. The posting all around was fantastically funny and I got to do my Shakespeare/Mike jokes.

On Saturday, Constable Paul Wright is going to walk Liz home. I still do not know if this is the conclusion of the day, or if next week, the walk home will be portrayed. I will hold out until I know the day is done, and then the good constable will start posting. In the Saturday strip, we have the first indication that the weekday colourists are not wrong, as Paul uses an Ojibway word for grandfather.

Coming up:
Becky and Howard host Anne and Steve Nichols and Krystle McGuire at Krystle’s Kakes and Pies. Will Steve come out in one piece? A note to qnjones. This is scheduled to begin at 2 pm Eastern, and there is a good chance that I will not be able to get to the computer at this time. I just found out my boy is in a chess tournament. So take the lead, and I will do the clean up on whatever situation you put Howard into.
Sunday: Howard and April go to the prom, I mean Becky’s house for a party. Will Jeremy Duncan and the Zits crowd show up? Who knows?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Constable Paul Wright

The good constable has arrived and schmoosie has done some fine posting as Liz on her initial impressions of him. On some of the For Better or For Worse message boards, there is some issue as to whether he is native or not, since you cannot trust the weekday colourists. The colourists I have seen so far have been pretty consistent in giving Paul Wright native skin colouring, so I suspect that there is some guideline given on how to do that from Lynn and her minions. I will post as Paul Wright soon, but I am waiting for his meeting with Liz to go far enough to make sure that she doesn’t go running in terror from him.

As for Howard, he has made his first foray into Monthly Letter snark taking on the overall theme of the monthly letters, which seemed to be “Criticize April month.” Except for Mike and Dee, every letter jumped all over her. Even grandpa Jim had a few not-so-nice comments about her. I particularly enjoyed picking up on Elly’s use of Liz and Mike to translate April for her. I fear some of the Mike translation may have been a little too harsh to be funny. The references to the car crash with Mike occurred some years back, when Mike and Gordon Mayes got into the car and crashed it in the driveway. The Liz reference to bar hopping was when she and Anthony went to a bar and then told Elly about it, who freaked out. I thought those points would be a good contrast to April’s overly criticized behaviour. April is mild compared to Mike and Liz, and yet, somehow she is worse. What this means, of course, is that we are probably going to get some April misbehaviour in the strips, when she next appears. Let’s hope so. There’s got to be a reason for all this criticism.

Jeremy Jones got into a little verbal conversation with the poster for Jeremy Duncan from the comic strip Zits. I presume that poster was Adrianne_p, from the comments she left in the Love threat on the Meta. That was fun. I hope Jeremy Duncan shows up again.

Coming up:
Friday: Jeremy Jones, his mom, his future dad, his future sister, April, Gerald and possibly Duncan (?) go to see Romie and Julie (Mike Patterson’s update on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) at the Toronto Little Dinner Theatre.
Saturday: Becky and Howard host Anne and Steve Nichols and Krystle McGuire at Krystle’s Kakes and Pies. Will Steve survive?
Sunday: Howard and April dress up for Tracey Mayes and then go to Becky’s house for a party, where Jeremy Duncan and the Zits crowd may show up. Some good opportunity for some Zits snark, if Jeremy shows.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Fight is Over

The April’s Real Blog fight between Jeremy and Becky ran from Thursday to Wednesday. A whole week. I think that’s a record, but of course, others may feel free to correct me with their accounts of longer fights that I don’t remember.

Today’s Mtigwaki strip was just a rehash of the stuff we had already seen in the previous 2 days. Howard’s snark about not seeing the North Star was a little lame, but the alternative was an Elizabeth/Polaris as Elvis takeoff that I just couldn’t get to work.

The Take Your Kid to School day did work. That was a marvelous suggestion by susannamoodie. Thanks for setting that up. Why isn’t she doing a character in the ARB? Anyway, the stories from all involved were terrific.

I had a good time with Jeremy at the sperm bank and worked on building his relationship with his future sister. Jeremy needs someone to talk to, since nobody else likes him. For my characters, the rest was setup for future snark.

We set up a party at Becky’s on Sunday to celebrate Howard’s new status of freedom. We set up a snarkfest on Michael Patterson’s version of Romeo and Juliet for Friday. I can’t wait for that. Reinterpreted scenes from the play keep popping in my head.

As for tomorrow, Constable Paul Wright has finally made his appearance, and it was so awkward. I can tell he is going to be a challenge to post and keep to his strip character. It's not going to make sense if he starts posting immediately, having just met Liz and consequently being unaware of this Blog. Maybe if the next strip shows a date of sorts or an exchange of information, then I can make it work. schmoosie, who posts as Liz does not need to wait to give her first impression of the good constable in her posts. Let's see what Lynn does with this.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November No Mention

After the October monthly letters on the For Better or For Worse website, mentioned that Howard should plead guilty, I was sure that the November ones would say that he had pleaded guilty. My policy for maintaining a character on April’s Real Blog is that I want to make the character match what appears in the strip or the monthly letters as much as possible. I like working within those constraints as a personal challenge.

All of my scenarios for dealing with the potential November letter outcome had to do with the Johnston Institute for Better Living concept created by schmoosie posting as Brenda Starr. If Howard went to jail, had a trial, or got off; all of those outcomes were going to be attributed to the Johnston Institute, with varying motives for doing it to him, mainly revolving around them being angry about the destruction of their GPS transmitters. However, the best of all possible worlds occurred, with no mention at all. I am taking this as a sign that Lynn Johnston and her minions are completely and totally done with Howard and he will never again see the light of day in either a strip or a monthly letter. I could be wrong, but this is my take on the matter. In light of that, I posted the Tracey Mayes – Howard conversation, where Howard is freed to go back to the Milborough Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Light Opera (I’ve missed the opera-related snarking) and he can travel again (which opens up snarking on people outside of Milborough again). Thanks Lynn for not putting my Howard in jail.

I have officially decided to pick up Jeremy Jones. It’s been over a month since I occasionally started posting as Jeremy, and nobody else has come forward to claim him, so I feel it is safe that I am not offending anyone by taking more than 1 character. Like Howard, Jeremy was not mentioned in the November monthly letters, which means that his mention in the April version of the October monthly letters was to show the reader that April and Becky really aren’t talking, and not to show that April might be developing an interest in Jeremy, which would have been more fun. Here in April’s Real Blog, we have steadfastly maintained that April and Becky are still friends, but this will be difficult to reconcile when Lynn introduces us to April’s new best girlfriend in the strip. The monthly letters just pounded that point home, so I know it is coming.

I am not certain who the new best friend will be. Lynn spent a lot of time last year developing Shannon Lake, and trying to show that she is just as good as everyone else. However, there was the scene where Shannon got lost in the card store that takes away from that. I don’t know how April would be able to treat Shannon as a confidant and equal, after having April treat Shannon as someone less competent that has to be helped to find her mother. Personally, I am hoping for a new character with a neat personality to appear. The Patterson kids usually have high school friends who are interesting to make a moral point, other friends who are generic ciphers and then a villain to convert to good. Mike’s friends Lawrence (gay interesting), Gordon (abused interesting), Brian Enjo (cipher), Rhetta (cipher) and Brad Luggsworth (villain). Liz’s friends Shawna Marie (cipher), Dawn (cipher), Anthony (bad marriage interesting) and Candace Halloran (villain). With April it is Gerald (cipher), Duncan (cipher), Becky (spoiled and slutty interesting) and Jeremy Jones (villain). Without Becky, April has no interesting friends, so she desperately needs someone. Please don’t be Shannon, unless she smokes.

With Jeremy, I haven’t quite gotten a feel for how to make him funny without doing a lot of the same style of writing that qnjones does so well as Becky. I need to get a blend of caustic and funny, instead of just caustic, which is mainly what he has been coming off as. I tried using a lot of abbreviations, but that just confused people. The October letters said he had a girlfriend, so I can work on putting that into effect.

Next up: Take Your Child to Work Day