Friday, December 30, 2005

A Miserable Vacation

The last few years, we have been traveling to visit my wife’s relatives over Christmas. Both her mom and her step-dad and her dad and her step-mom live in the same town, so it is a convenient time to drive it. We can take Ye Olde mini-van and usually have enough space to carry back the bounty of grandparent lavishing on the grandkids. Most times, it has been fun. However, not this Christmas. My wife’s parents have finally reached that age where they seem to be no longer really interested in playing with their grandkids, and are more interested in watching NFL or bowl games nonstop or going into a back room and reading a book than visiting with their grandkids they only get to see 2 times a year. My wife and I ended up in this odd situation of having to suggest or encourage her parents to do things with them. I say it is odd, because we have never had to do this in the past.

To make matters worse, my daughter got sick with a cough, infected the rest of my family, and, due to the sleeping accommodations (sleeping on couches and the floor), the fact my wife’s step-dad gets up and wanders around all night, the fact that this set of grandparents decided over Christmas to purchase a 6-week-old puppy who howled all night long; we were having trouble getting the rest at night necessary to recover. This set of parents with whom we were staying surprised us by informing us that we had to leave earlier than we had planned, that they would be going to Florida from here on out for every Christmas to come, and then had the audacity to complain that we had not spent enough time with them (as opposed to the other grandparents) over the holiday.

After a long and grueling ride home, in which my daughter, literally coughed the entire ride (including when she was sleeping), the doctor informed us that she had pneumonia. My wife tells me that this will be the last Christmas we are traveling to visit her parents. This is disappointing. I am very big on trying to maintain familial relationships, because my parents were very poor at it and I wanted to do better by my kids than they did. However, I can see the point of not traveling, when the reception was as cold as it turned out to be this year.

It is with this in mind that I viewed today and tomorrow’s For Better or For Worse strip. I remember, at one point, the Pattersons complained mightily that Mike, Dee and the kids had agreed to spend time with Mira and Wilf over the holidays and how they were painted as pure evil because of it. Since that time, at every single occasion, Mike, Dee, and the kids; Mira and Wilf are at the Patterson house. I wonder when Mike and Dee will declare their independence and start doing holidays in their own place and no longer trot off to Elly and John’s place for everything. Well, probably never, since Mike and Dee are scheduled to take over their place. Once that happens though, will the Patterson holidays be at Mike and Dee’s, since they will have the Patterson homestead, or at Elly and John’s?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Elizabeth Attracts Freaks

There was always a questionable aspect to Constable Paul Wright insomuch as he would be willing to drive 8-10 hours to deliver glasses to a girl, just so he could meet her. Many of the boards talking about For Better or For Worse mentioned that it made him seem like a stalker. In tomorrow's strip, it turns out that this observation was correct. I tried to paint him as better than actually is coming off in the stirp.

Trip got temporarily postponed as we had a car checked out for car trouble. I expect to be leaving on Thursday now, or late Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Getting Ready For Yet Another Vacation

We are traveling to visit my wife’s relatives in Texas this time. Her mom has been undergoing chemotherapy and called one day this week to ask us to vary our time of arrival depending on how she was feeling. Then she called today and said she was feeling better. So, I am not sure if we are leaving Wednesday or Thursday. When it happens we will be gone for at a least a week with a yet-to-be determined return date. Sometime before New Years Eve, is all I know for certain.

I think qnjones has some parties scheduled for Becky and Jeremy later on in the week, and I am afraid she will have to post those on her own. It is Mary Worth and Zits, so the tricky part will be to cover areas that we did not cover before on those strips.

I don’t really have any plans for Constable Paul Wright, Jeremy Jones, or Howard to do go anywhere to explain their absence from posting. As always, my fellow April’s Real Blog posters are hereby allowed to do with them whatever they want, including post as them, if they so desire. Just don’t kill them off.

Tomorrow’s strip shows that things are really starting to pop in the Foobiverse again (and I don’t mean zits) with Lynn finally addressing hanging plotlines with Warren and Paul. I hate to go running off when things start happening with one of my characters. It doesn’t happen too often since I have pretty obscure ones, and I don’t like to miss out. I am disappointed that the Paul / Liz romance is not going the way I hoped. Liz’s willingness to screw over her possible future with Paul in favor of her helicopter ride with the more glamourous and gone for the last 1 ½ years Warren pretty much tells me that Paul is toast.

When I was in university, I met this girl in the college choir, and asked her out. She accepted and as we were on the date, she explained to me that she had a boyfriend. I hate when that happens, and I cannot tell how many times it has happened to me that on a first date the girl tells me about her boyfriend. During the brief moments in my life when I had a girlfriend, I would never have even agreed to go out with another woman. Nevertheless, that it what she told me. Now the odd part was that while we were on the date, she gave me certain subtle encouragements that told me that she was interested in my pursuing her, even though she had this boyfriend. He was studying at some university in Russia for the semester and she hinted that she thought he was also interested in some other girl he knew from his hometown. For reasons I do not fully comprehend (I was stupid beyond belief), I continued dating this woman, hoping that one day she would tell me I was her boyfriend. That day did not occur. In fact, quite the opposite. When I pressed her on the point, she told me that she would choose him over me and then we stopped dating. Now, here is the funny part. It turned out that this guy was never actually her boyfriend. He was just a guy that this girl liked and so she told people that he was her boyfriend. Since he was in Russia there was no way he could deny her story. The next semester, she came up to me and told me how her boyfriend came back from Russia and told her that his real girlfriend was this girl he had been dating from his hometown. Then after telling me this story, this girl wanted me to ask her out, and she got really angry when I didn’t. It gets better. She started staging make out sessions with guys, where she knew I would see her kissing on the other guy as I was passing between classes, as some sort of bizarre revenge. This is made even more bizarre by the fact that when I was dating her, she refused to kiss me, out of loyalty to her nonexistent boyfriend. The definition of loser: When the woman you are dating throws you over for an imaginary boyfriend.

This is the story I thought about when I read tomorrow’s strip. Liz tells the good constable, “I keep in touch with my ex-boyfriend Warren, but it means nothing. I haven’t seen him since I graduated university.” The good constable is going to feel like a loser, when he finds out Liz has been carrying a torch for Warren all this time.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Biker Barbershop

Today. qnjones posted about Becky’s father’s barbershop quartet missing a tenor, which I interpreted as a big hint for Howard to sing barbershop, since he is a tenor. I was more amused by the idea of Becky being the tenor and set up the barbershop competition, which I think was just one more level of absurdity to the idea that biker gangs would even have barbershop quartets.

I also liked the idea that Dr. Everett Callahan and qnjones’ invented character Jean-Jacques Foutre might compete for Howard’s attentions. So, I laid the groundwork for that today.

Jeremy and Alexandra are resolving the “Jeremy has a job, so he can’t devote his full attention on me.” problem. I must compliment Adrianne_p for coming up with the idea. That is a very realistic situation for 14-year-olds who have little to no concept that things do not revolve around them. I knew a guy in high school who gave up a scholarship to a college because his younger girlfriend complained that it would put him too far away from her. Then she broke up with him a year later. He was not a very happy fellow after that, but he should have known better.

Oh, and Howard had to throw in some Grandpa Jim snark, so he wouldn’t feel left out, since he was the focus of the strip today.

Tomorrow’s strip: After over a month of zits and vacuums, the good constable returns (well he is mentioned at least). I am royally ticked off he is not going to get to confront Anthony, but I suppose that is a realistic situation considering his work. His parents’ location in White River, means that his detachment must be modeled on the one in nearby Marathon, which is the model that I had been using for Otter County. I was happy to see that.

Working with Marjee

Events today. Howard takes the job as shampoo girl with Marjee Mahaha. This could be an interesting turn of events, since aprilp_katje, who posts as Marjee, will likely be doing a lot more posts as Marjee than she normally does in order to be in on whatever action Howard creates in the hair salon. Plus, there is the element that Marjee and Howard had a one-night stand some time back and Marjee believes in free love. I am looking forward to seeing what aprilp_katje does with these circumstances, particularly since it was her idea that Howard work there in the first place.

The second part is Howard is on his date with Dr. Everett Callahan. qnjones posting as Becky provided dating advice for Howard with respect to his behaviour on the date with Everett. Of course, Howard is going to go all the way on the first date, so it will be interesting to see why it was that Becky gave the advice in the first place. Also, Dr. Callahan as romantic interest was one of the ideas submitted by my fellow ARB posters, when they suggested the good doctor as a romantic interest for Howard, over a month ago. I know. I know. I am slow getting to these ideas. However, I am in no hurry.

Tomorow: The return of grandpa Jim snark.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Vacuuming Day 5

We started off the day going to Krystle’s Kakes & Pies. The character of Howard cannot possibly go back to work for Krystle after she raped him using the werewolf pheromone last week. He has some sense of pride. So I had to contrive a reason for her rejecting his application for employment. I resorted to Dr. Ted again. Weak writing I know, but it fit too well with the events that had most recently occurred in April’s Real Blog.

Then aprilp_katje suggested that Howard work in her dad’s medical building. qnjones used the building name Mefait when she had Howard and Becky go there last, and I foolishly tried to verify that this was the correct name hoping I wouldn’t find anything to contradict it. Of course I did and Mefait wasn’t the correct name. I was hoping that nobody had ever mentioned it in the strip or the letters. Oh well. I am somewhat obsessive about making those kinds of details match in April’s Real Blog, so there you go. In any case, because I had just used the Dr. Ted excuse before with Krystle McGuire, I naturally could not have Howard working in his building. However, I decided that Howard would go through a series of interviews for the job, which would allow him to snark things other than Dr. Ted, of whom I have grown extremely tired.

In looking for things about which to snark Dr. P that had not already been covered so marvelously by qnjones before me, I noticed that Dr. P had rambled on in the November monthly letter about talking to his associate about expanding the business, but then said absolutely nothing on the idea in the December monthly letter. So, I decided to make Dr. P have a little attention span problem.

Deanna snark was directly derived from her December monthly letter with her being obsessive about cleanliness. All the items mentioned in the Deanna snark in her inspecting and asking questions of Howard are taken directly from the December monthly letter. The sauerkraut is a reference to an earlier Deanna snark from qnjones on the Howard and Becky visit to Deanna where sauerkraut helps prevent the flu or something like that.

Dr. Everett Callahan came into play because sometime back I asked for suggestions on what to do with Howard, and the good doctor was mentioned as a romantic interest. In this case, Everett’s dialogue is mainly pulled out of his dialogue from the 3 daily strips he was in. I decided to do that one in script form to intentionally contrast Everett’s style of speech with Howard’s.

Finally, Howard is not hired due to Dr. McCauley. I thought that would be the end of that until qnjones challenged my writing skills by having Dr. McCauley kidnapped for a second time. Shortly after I read this post, I had to go do a concert. When I came back there was all this slumber party dialogue. I was a little jealous, because I have no female characters who could have participated. It was clear my fellow ARB posters were trying to get Jeremy involved, which I thought was very nice of them to include me. Unfortunately, I was singing at the time and missed it. Oh well. Can’t be on the computer all the time.

After getting home, I decided to return qnjones’ challenge back to her by turning Dr. McCauley into a made man, a term I learned from watching the movie Goodfellas. Just to let you know, if anyone touches a made man, no matter what he's done, it's like an act of war against the family he's associated with. You can only kill him if you have permission from the top levels of the organization. We have tied Dr. McCauley into having criminal dealings so many times, this designation did not seem farfetched to me. Hopefully this will add a new dimension to the Krystle/Thorvald/Dr. Ted triangle to test qnjones’ writing abilities. Plus I enjoyed doing the running joke on the schnitzel torture one more time.

Tomorrow: aprilp_katje suggested as Marjee Mahaha that Howard work for her as a shampoo girl. I liked this suggestion, because it was different from the things Howard had been doing before. In the strip, we see an almost an exact duplicate ending to one to the Sunday strips in the archives to which aprilp_katje provided a link in her Blog today. That in itself, should lead us to some nice snark.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Vacuuming Day 4

We have gotten to the point where we are barely trying to snark the daily strip. I had Jeremy mention a dust cloud over the Patterson house, but that was about as much as I could do with this one.

As far as personal stories go, I have run out of amusing vacuuming stories. So, let's talk about something else.

In the previous day’s installment, Howard and Becky had broken into the Forsythe home to replace Gerald’s medicine with saline solution in order to return him to normal. The flaw in this plan is of course that unless Howard and Becky are willing to do this over and over again, every time the prescription is renewed, then it would not solve the problem. The second part of the solution was to clue in Dr. Forsythe and have him do it. That avoided having to do repeat break-ins. Then in an astonishing turn of events, qnjones posted her Becky talking to Dr. Schlanger who ordered a hit on Dr. Ted McCauley (the steroid prescriber) by the Israeli mob in order to solve the problem and this did not seem to disturb Becky very much.

We have already established that Gordon and Tracey Mayes, mainly Tracey, run the mob action in the town and Dr. Ted McCauley is a part of their family. The thought that first occurred to me was to have Gordon and Tracey meet with the Israeli mob to negotiate Dr. McCauley’s release. I had a vision in my mind of a meeting between the German clothes-clad Mayes and the Israelis. But I wasn’t fast enough and qnjones had McCauley unceremoniously dumped at Krystle’s Kakes and Pies. Then in an even more amazing turn of events, qnjones had Becky tell Dr. Ted that she was responsible for his kidnapping and beating, and threatened to do it again if he crossed her. Then to top that off, qnjones Becky calls up Gordon Mayes, who surprisingly confesses to Becky to having been involved in Dr. Ted’s release by torturing his friends. Following up this series of posts led me to some questions:

The first question that occurred to me was, “Why were these adults taking all this abuse from a 14-year-old girl singer?” The answer is, “They wouldn’t.” The second question was, “What would happen if there was an Israeli mob invasion of Milborough?” Well Gordon and Tracey would handle it, of course, and send a strong message back to the Israeli mob, that it was not worth it for them to invade. The third question was, “What would the adults do to gain retribution against Becky?” Well, I didn’t want to go down that path, because the whole situation was getting too dark anyway. It was easier to let Howard take the fall for Becky by losing his job, to get some sense of retribution, even if it is only Becky guilt feelings.

Tomorrow: Howard goes job-hunting. In the strip, one of the most horrifying images to ever appear in a newspaper comics section.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Vacuuming Day 3

It looks like we are continuing the nonstop excitement of vacuuming for yet a 4th day tomorrow. I must say that if Lynn is attempting to bore us to death, she is doing an excellent job.

The first vacuum I owned for myself, I purchased when I was just out of college. It was a portable vacuum with many attachments. I loved that vacuum. There were attachments that could get you suction in almost every place imaginable (keep your mind out of the gutter). Alas, the vacuum met a tragic fate. Shortly after I got married, my wife loaned the vacuum to her step-sister-in-law and it never returned. From that point on I have had to live with vacuums that I have not chosen myself and spots in the house that will never again receive the suction of a vacuum. You know you never forget your first vacuum. The one we have now is an Oreck. Good suction. Piss poor attachments.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Vacuuming Day 2

I was incredulous that the vacuuming continued today in For Better or For Worse comic strip and is in fact in tomorrow’s strip. I fear we will be vacuuming all week. I thought for sure this was a lead-in to “Our House is Too Large, We Should Move”, but it appears so far to be genuinely trying to wring humour out of a joke that had been done before and better in an earlier For Better or For Worse strip, i.e. dogs don’t like vacuum cleaners or maybe cranky middle-aged women don’t like dogs who don’t like vacuum cleaners.

Personally I like a good vacuum. It was the first chore my kids could do around the house and actually wanted to do. Not so much now that they are older, but when they were young, it was hot stuff. When I run the vacuum, I can use it to chase after them going after their toes, which they find delightful and I enjoy also. If had a dog barking at the vacuum, you can rest assured I would be heading that vacuum right for that dog. When we had cats, they were especially fun, because cats are usually so skittish. We had one cat that liked the vacuum, and you could actually apply a mild suction to its body, which it really seemed to like, for some reason. It still shed though, no matter how much you vacuumed it. As it turned out, I married a woman with animal allergies, so the furry pet owning part of my life is over. It’s just not as much fun running a vacuum around fish in a tank.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Feeding the ARB

I spent the day today, feeding storylines to my fellow April’s Real Blog posters.
For phatsmacky who occasionally posts as Mike, a possible story on interviewing Becky after the prison riot.
For qnjones who posts as Becky, storylines on exposure in the press, a milk commercial for Québec, the interview by Mike.
For aprilp_katje who posts as April, storyline involving Elly’s motivation for not vacuuming, Howard’s vacuuming for her mom, and her father’s obsession with toolkits and gift-matching.
For adrianne_p who posts as Alexandra Love, a suggested hockey game and study session.
Tomorrow’s strip: OK. We may have found a story topic that is in fact, duller than zits. That is vacuuming. Congratulations Lynn. After we finish with vacuuming, I predict a week of April watching moss grow.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

There’s a Riot Goin’ on Right Now!

I started off the day thinking an escalating battle of snow forts between Mike and John would cause a minor snarkfest. Well, I was right about the minor part. Fortunately, I did not have a lot of time for posting today, so when qnjones dropped her (the prison gig is today, are you ready, Jeremy?), I could easily pretend that Jeremy had spent the day traveling to the LeClerc Institute in Quebec. I have no idea if the LeClerc Institute actually exists in Quebec. Googling gets me a LeClerc Institute, but not in Quebec. There is also a Leclercville in Quebec, so I did not know if this is the reference. Based on Leclercville, it is about an 8 hours’ drive from Toronto. So, I went with that. The tricky part is that I know that the prison would not have allowed cell phones inside, so a prison gig posts would have to occur afterwards. I got bored with that and decided to go with a prison riot. Of the prison riots I researched, the common characteristics were very poor guards, overcrowding, mistreatment and frequently a complaint about the food. I decided to go with the food, since the other choices were a little too controversial for April’s Real Blog. What you, the casual reader of this Blog do not know, is that qnjones and I were looking for some ways to do some joint posts, since we enjoyed the Howard the dog story so much. However, unlike the Howard the dog story, these posts were entirely uncoordinated between us. I look forward to our next collaboration.

Tomorrow’s strip: Perhaps the most incompetent vacuuming I have ever seen. My 8-year-old doesn’t crawl on her hands and knees to operate a vacuum.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Under the Christmas Crunch

It has been very busy for me today. Cub Scouts from 9-4, Brownies from 1-3, church choir practice from 9:30-11:30. The Christmas rush is really upon me. I have a concert tomorrow and then 3 concerts next weekend. I predict it will have an effect on the number of posts I can do. So, don’t plan anything big with Jeremy or Howard unless you are willing to carry the load.

Howard. Today the always challenging qnjones dropped a line about Howard and Becky’s mom in bed together the previous night and Howard howling for 2 hours at a pitch not able to be shut out by earplugs. This produced quite a conundrum for me. Howard and Becky have been buds for a long time, and I have been intentionally avoiding hooking Howard up with Becky’s mom, on the premise that it would ruin Howard’s relationship with Becky, i.e. Becky treating Howard as a parent and not as an equal. So, I concocted this pheromone that would work on werewolves also working on recently changed from a dog Howard. In this fashion, Howard has hooked up with Becky’s mom, but did it completely against his will. Hopefully that will allow the relationship to be preserved somewhat.

Jeremy is in love with Alexandra. There were many posts about Gerald wanting to marry April in April’s Real Blog today, so I felt it was appropriate for Jeremy to chime in on his feelings for Alexandra going in a different direction than Gerald’s. Jeremy has always liked Alexandra a little more than Alexandra has liked Jeremy, and that should add a little extra dimension to their relationship. I am interested in seeing how adrianne_p plays with it. So far, a little distancing which is great.

Tomorrow’s strip: Oh this plays in so well with qnjones’ posts as Gerald today talking about John Patterson or I should say Pat Johnerson, not getting any sex. They are just handing us the snark for this one, gift-wrapped and on a silver platter.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Howard on Pheromones

My mother used to breed Irish setters when I was young. I remember vividly, when we had the in-heat Irish setter mom in our garage, every single dog in our neighbourhood was outside our house, scratching and whining. By neighbourhood, I mean a good square mile. I knew all the dogs owned by the other kids in the neighbourhood, and they were all there. Humans are attracted to each other off of visual cues, the same way as birds. I have often wondered how our society would be if we operated like the dogs do. What would it be like, if when any woman’s body said it was time to mate, the scent would go out, and you would have no choice but to quit whatever you were doing and pursue that woman until someone had impregnated her? With this in mind, I tried to show this perspective from Howard remembering his dog days.

Fiona Brass. Someone suggested Howard have a relationship with Fiona Brass, when I solicited suggestions from 3 weeks ago on this Blog. I cannot think of any person in the Foobiverse less attractive than Fiona. I originally started with the idea of them dating, but then thought an engagement would be funnier. When I think about them kissing, I was reminded of the old movie Harold and Maude, except those actors are more glamourous than Howard and Fiona. Anyway, the ARB posters tried to talk Howard out of it. I had great fun countering each of the arguments with dog-related answers.

Today, Jeremy Jones was mainly a catalyst for the “April tries out as a cheerleader idea.” I enjoyed making up cheers that riffed off the school name of R.P. Boire, where “boire” is French for “to drink.” The masterstroke of this story was adrianne_p’s mention that April is wearing thong underwear. Things took off from there. A lot of good posts by the posters at April’s Real Blog.

Tomorrow’s strip: Why April likes suck-ups.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

As the Dog Turns

Aprilp_katje surprised me this morning, by refusing to snark the Becky / April book report interchange and replacing it with a snark on the Laura Cruikshank page that appeared on the For Better or For Worse website. I say I was surprised, because I completely understood why aprilp_katje refused to snark the prior day’s zit strip. I found it very difficult to snark that one myself (see yesterday’s blog). But the Becky / April confrontation was loaded with snarkable material and it felt odd snarking it without aprilp_katje’s addressing it initially, as if I were somehow violating a sacred trust to wait for her. I hope I have not offended her by doing so. Laura Cruikshank was out of the reach of Jeremy Jones or Howard, because they had never interacted with her. Howard is too busy chasing squirrels to be involved with introducing himself, and Jeremy Jones just wouldn’t do that sort of thing. It is actually strange that I wrote that last sentence.

In the life of Howard, we have pushed onto 2 suggestions from 3 weeks ago. One is that Howard has a relationship with Fiona Brass. Two is that Howard works as a janitor. The references to the Mayes Midtown Motors restaurant being ignored are references to the December letter from Mike Patterson on the For Better or For Worse website, insomuch as Mike fails to mention the restaurant at all, while he mentions both the garage and the car sales lot. I wonder if Lynn realizes that the restaurant still exists. Personally I think it is a great idea to have a restaurant near a car repair place. There is a local Goodyear that I used for car repair that is right next to a restaurant, and I frequently walk over and eat there while waiting for my car to be repaired.

Jeremy Jones did mainly reaction posts today and many of my fellow April’s Real Blog posters gave him some great feeds. I got the start time of the hockey game time right tonight. Whoo hoo! The NHL plays games pretty much every day, so I think it is entirely possible that Jeremy and Alexandra can make a habit of studying/watching hockey/kissing & etc. while at Jeremy’s house where they would not have the oversight of Alexandra’s parents. Whether or not Jeremy has gotten to 2nd base, 3rd base, or home plate w/Alexandra; I think I will leave up to the imagination. Adrianne_p put up an Alexandra icon over on the Alex & Eva website. If Alexandra looks like that, Jeremy is totally and completely in love and can’t believe how lucky he is to be with a girl that is not only hott, but also likes sports—the perfect girlfriend, from a teenage boy’s perspective.

Tomorrow’s strip: Much to my surprise, April lets Becky copy at least part of her work. I find this reversal quite surprising. I have, from time to time, noticed strips that appear to be reactions to the fans. For example, the appearance of Paul Wright, when the strip fails to endear Anthony to the readers. This is another one of those situations. April really laid into Becky in the September, beginning of the school year strips. As near as I can tell from reading the discussion board comments, not only did the fans not rally behind April, but Becky gained sympathy. Now Becky is being painted more and more as a villain, and April is playing the victim somewhat (you still have the witch line). I think someone is working hard now to try to get sympathy for April. If only they weren’t so incompetent at it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Anonymous Poster Snark

We had one of those anonymous posters that took us to task for mistreating Shannon. As usual, when I get those kinds of criticisms, I have to examine what I have done to deserve the critique. As it turned out, I was actually fairly satisfied with my treatment of Shannon and found little of merit to the criticism with respect to my own posts. Of course, this meant that Shannon was my focus for the day’s snark with a particular emphasis on phrases used by the anonymous poster. Part 1 was pointing out how Justin, the e-mail reading program would actually handle April’s poorly punctuated e-mail that used some netspeak terms in it. Part 2 had to do with the mysterious magazine that appeared beside Shannon in the last panel. I think it was a very subtle way for us to be told that Shannon is Jewish.

Howard the dog turned back to Howard the man today after 3 weeks off. I must admit that I didn’t really miss him. I was having too much fun throwing out ideas to the incomparable qnjones to post as Becky for Howard. I will miss doing that. I wonder how many people guessed that the true love would be Becky. I tried to toss in red herrings as Jeremy, but I don't know if I fooled anyone. Anyway, I got several suggestions for new directions in which to take Howard from 3 weeks ago on this Blog, so now it will be time to run through those to see if I can get excited about Howard again. First off is Howard adjusting to being back as a man. I am likely to milk that joke for awhile. Watch out!

Tomorrow’s strip: A test for qnjones as Becky and aprilp_katje as April. This is pretty blatant Becky / April hate and I know that April is not going to let Becky copy that book report, so it is going to be even more Becky / April hate in the following strips on Friday and Saturday. I predict Shannon to rescue April by tweaking Becky’s ear.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Snarking When There’s Nothing To Snark

Snark on today’s strip was difficult. I ended up snarking about the voice heard round Milborough, since April’s final panel cry was in probably the biggest letters I have seen in the For Better or For Worse comic strip. Not too funny, but what can I say? Lynn has to at least throw me a bone.

Instead I was handed a storyline involving our favourite special needs girl, Shannon Lake. adrianne_p posting as both Eva and Alexandra basically gift-wrapped me a story about Shannon attacking Jeremy for removing posters of her artwork. Thanks adrianne_p. Shannon Lake is such an easy target, because we have not snarked her a lot in the past and because Lynn keeps on handing us new quirks in her personality. Shannon shows up again in tomorrow’s strip, so I expect more Shannon snarking.

The second story handed me was by qnjones posting as Becky, who asked Jeremy to accompany her to Lilliput’s for the continuing story of Howard the Dog trying to find his true love. It was not anyone in Lilliput’s, which I hope was not a surprise to anyone. This was a trickier one to write, because qnjones filled in such details with lead-off snark and Jeremy was in the presence of Becky for the whole story. Consequently, it was difficult to add anything without seriously deviating from the story described by qnjones.

Tomorrow: Shannon Lake, e-mail addict

Monday, December 05, 2005

This Time the Blogger Stopped the Snark

I don’t have a lot to say this time around. In one of the panels on today’s strip, April suddenly developed Becky’s jawline, nose and a couple of freckles, which were intended to be new pimples. I had Becky waking up from a dream with the reverse of April’s appearance, having adopted those same characteristics of April’s and quoting from the strip. The idea was that Becky and April would be passing physical characteristics back and forth. Nobody got it. Ka-Thump on the back of the head for that snark. It’s too bad. I was getting ready to run with an April and Becky’ bodies / personalities are slowly switching places story.

The rest of the day was spent having Jeremy alternatively being tortured by Shannon Lake or by Alexandra Love. Months ago, when Becky and Jeremy broke up and Becky was (almost) placed into in-school suspension, I established the in-school suspension supervisor, Ms. Conasse, that I was delighted to have return today, since I was unable to write a series of Becky in in-school suspension stuff back then. After completing that snark, I was ready to launch into Jeremy / Alexandra reconciliation, when the Blogger stopped working. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Kudos on this Blog to the excellent qnjones, who deserves much love this time for really fleshing out what was really from me just a series of outlines for possible persons for Howard the dog to kiss. She really went all out on her Deanna snark in particular.

Tomorrow’s strip: Lynn, have mercy on me. Zits again. I am going to have to look hard at this strip to find something snarkable, that is not zits. I have taken an anti-zit pledge for all future snark.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Tough weekend for me

This weekend, I did 3 performances of Handel’s Messiah, did the usual church choir stuff and my daughter had her 8th birthday party. It was pretty busy and I did not have the usual time to devote to doing posts for April’s Real Blog. Today’s strip was particularly uneventful. I thought about snarking all the unusual products seen in the strip, but I went for the Kortney Krelbutz face in the last panel instead. I had planned to do the Mike Patterson workshop snark tomorrow night, but realized I have another choir rehearsal after work tomorrow night, so tonight would be better. I was just getting into it, when the Mrs. informed me that my daughter wanted to go to Red Lobster for dinner, since it was still her birthday weekend. So we went and the place was completely jam-packed. We had a hard time finding a parking space and when we got in, there was a long wait to get a table. By the time I got back, there was the mysterious comment withdrawn on this Blog. In the past, when I have gotten see the comments to my Blog before they were withdrawn, it usually meant that there was a nasty one that the author thought better about writing after they calmed down. So, I am guessing, I pissed someone off. Who knows, since I didn’t see this one before it disappeared? Anyway, I got really confused when I got back.

qnjones had put together a marvelous series of posts involving Howard the dog, but added in items about Gerald Forsythe attending the Knuckles McGee birthday party at Rebeccah’s dad’s halfway house, when Gerald was with April working on a geography group project. Then there was also a comment about Jeremy missing the party also. It could have been qnjones messing with my mind, but the other possibility is that qnjones skimmed the April posts, my Jeremy posts and the Alexandra Love posts about the evening activities and did not take in the fact that they were elsewhere. So, I put stuff in the Jeremy post to cover that and added in a post as Charmaine Lebuke, group working partner to cover the Gerald part. Yes, that was me. I couldn’t figure out a way for Jeremy to cover it and the idea of posting Charmaine’s opposing opinion to aprilp_katje’s April posts was irresistible. aprilp_katje referenced Elly’s teaching April how to do a proper research project from the strips last year, which I then liberally quoted, changing a few words here and there. The funny part about that strip was that Elly was drawing maps and collecting pictures for a research essay. It matched geography so well it was freaky. Also, the funny part was that the strip made a joke about Elly doing a lot of April’s project for her. I could not help but to use that against poor April. I hope aprilp_katje can forgive me. Anyway, I hope I met the qnjones challenge from her Becky and Gerald posts, but I fear I may have missed her point entirely.

The other interesting element was adrianne_p’s desire for Alexandra Love to become angry with Jeremy after realizing what she had missed between him and Shannon Lake at the hockey game from her being so engrossed in it. The whole scenario reminded me of a time when my former girlfriend and I went to a cast party for a production of Camelot. The party was at a flamboyantly homosexual man’s house, who played the role of Mordred in the musical. While I was at the party sitting with my girlfriend, he started thrusting his hips and licking his lips at me, because he had become quite drunk and as people sometimes do when they are drunk, they forget any kind of sense of decorum. After we left the party, I mentioned the man to my girlfriend and she said, “Oh yes. He was flirting with me all through the party.” In any case, my plan had been to engage the other ARB posters to snark Michael Patterson writing, but that idea fell through. I suppose they were all waiting for me to get back from dinner and then went to bed when it took so long. Ah, the joys of being on west coast time. I got a little snark in on Mike, but the altercation with Alexandra actually played out better, since I found it very easy to get Jeremy’s mom into it, with the cheating man angle. I did set Eva up with the comment from Elly’s monthly letter about “commitment.” It seemed to fit well with the tone of the story and established a little personality difference between Eva and Alexandra at least with respect to how they deal with Jeremy. The problem with Mike writing snark, is that you have to rely on the monthly letters because there is virtually nothing in the strip, and you just can’t go any further back than the most recent monthly letter for that to work. I had ideas of having Mike suggest writing topics of evil downstairs neighbours or April murdering Farley or bad pharmacists, but we have just beaten those topics into the ground. So, adrianne_p’s suggestion worked out nicely for the writing topic. I should mention that the Muppet version of the Elves and Shoemaker was Elvis and the Shoemaker.

Tomorrow’s strip. The zits are back and I am not snarking them, even though there are more of them and some of them look like freckles, so April may be transforming into Becky. Not snarking it. Nope. Not doing it. Ironically, compared to last year’s proper essay lecture by Elly, referenced in today’s ARB comments, Elly is actually interrupting a seemingly productive April.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Snarked out on Zits

I could tell I was snarked out on zits today. No ideas were coming. I resorted to Shannon Lake snark again. She is imminently snarkable and I have not tired of her yet. Adrianne_p has introduced a running joke with Jeremy and Alexandra Love where Jeremy gets upset and vents about it. For some reason, this gets Alexandra Love excited. So Jeremy will be venting for awhile until Adrianne_p tells me she is sick of it.

The lecture workshops r: It's Raining Outside--They Say It's Global Warming, Writing The Great Canadian Novel, Marriage Counseling For The Career Woman, How To Be A Silent Partner In A Financial Successful Startup Business, & English Assignments. How To Outline The Problem. Jeremy will be going with his mom. Let me know if you want your character to come, too.

Howard the dog is still not human, but he is slowly but surely kissing everyone in the Foobiverse. More to come.

Shannon the Slut

Today’s posts as Jeremy keyed off of the incredibly short skirt Shannon Lake was wearing in today’s strip. In the prior strips she was wearing a knee length skirt. Shannon is showing leg for some reason, and I decided that Shannon wanted some things that Justin, the computer program, couldn’t give her. In this case, Jeremy. Shannon is so aggressive with April in the strips; I decided that she could be even more aggressive with Jeremy.

The good Constable has returned back to Otter County. I was not inspired to do any more Mtigwaki-based snark with him today after 3 days of it. Don’t worry, he’ll be back to Mtigwaki soon enough.

Howard the dog is in the more than capable hands of qnjones still, but that story is getting close to drawing to a close with their arrival at Brenda Starr’s house. It has been interesting working with qnjones on this story. I make these suggestions of things that can be done, and she blows them up to fantastic snarking proportions. It will be a little sad for me when Howard turns to man again, and not just because he won’t have clean teeth and nice hair.

Tomorrow’s strip: More zits and Shannon. Shannon is putting on her coat and April already has one on, so maybe this is a sign that this storyline is coming to an end as they leave school. Let’s hope so.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Paul AKA Constable Wright and the December Monthly Letters

I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the December monthly letters fit with what schmoosie and I had been doing with Paul and Elizabeth. They e-mail daily, he visits when he has time off, they are dating, they have been harassed by the Mtigwakians, they spend time alone in Elizabeth’s apartment to get “privacy.” Paul will have to start writing letters by snail mail. I lifted off of a qnjones Becky statement about “hiking” the English word frequently listed as the translation for mazhiwe, which actually means sexual intercourse. It occurred to me that since we have had Jesse Mukwa post on April’s Real Blog, he would see the Elizabeth and Paul messages and seek a translation, which would then be spread across the whole village of Mtigwaki. Embarrassment about this will cause ARB Paul to start writing steamy snail mail letters instead and leave the ARB posts cleaner and more romantic. Paul also has family in Mtigwaki, to which I will just refer as “family” for the immediate future. It is not likely to be anyone in his immediate family, but I will leave it generic, just in case a strip mentions it more specifically. Also, the Elly monthly letter made a point that Liz was coming home for Christmas after all, since a prior strip had Elly saying she was not. In my mind, this almost assuredly means that Paul is coming to Milborough for Christmas. This is not terribly practical. Most of the police I know, work like dogs over the Christmas holidays. It is a high crime time. But we shall see what happens.

Jeremy did reaction posts today. He was not mentioned at all in any of the monthly letters. I think the most surprising nonmention was Shannon, who has been dominating the last several days of strips, including the one coming up tomorrow. It was so odd to get all this Eva stuff in the letters, and only Shannon in the strips.

Howard Kelpfroth is slowly but surely kissing everyone in the Foobiverse, which was one of my dreams for him. I suggested to qnjones a little snark about John Patterson and Mike’s letter about him being over at Gordon’s garage when Howie comes to visit and she knocked me flat on the ground with a spot-on snark on the John and Mike letters. qnjones is amazing.

Tomorrow’s strip: April and Shannon hold a pity party…again. 3 weeks of misery. When will this “I have zits and / or feel sorry for me”strip story end? Bring on Eva, I say. Bring on Eva. I want to see matchmaker April, nervous Duncan and commitment-phobe Eva.

Bad Teacher and Lost Jeremy

Aside from the astonishing revelation that teachers can ruin the very subject they teach, today gave us almost nothing upon which to snark. I suppose there was a certain degree of astonishment after having had so many uplifting strips about the importance of teachers that Lynn would actually put one in that showed them in a different light.

Jeremy Jones was doing pretty much just reaction posts today until the always challenging Adrianne_p posted in the Meta how she would like Alexandra portrayed watching the TV program Lost, and in particular posting how Alexandra does not like a character on the show, by viewing comments she made to a board that talks about Lost. I have never seen this show and so the comments made on the other board were so much gobbledy-gook to me, because they were inside jokes and references to things seen on the show I had not seen. I was checking out Lost links and at the time nobody had posted an episode summary for tonight’s show. So, I researched the show and made some guesses. Hopefully it was a decent post, but who knows?

The good constable is getting better and went for a dinner date with Liz, only to be interrupted by Billy Strongblood. I jumped back into the 7 fires prophecy thing. I did not realize the first time I found this description, how really important this story is. Apparently, a long time ago, before the whites came to the Americas; there was this story about the prophets of the 7 fires who predicted the coming of the whites and the destruction of the natives’ way of living. The meaning of the prophecies is argued on several websites, because the final prophecy is that from the light-skins and the natives a new race will emerge. I tried to make this the focal point for Billy Strongblood and Paul Wright’s conversation without going into it too much, otherwise it will be a tremendous bore. The more I post as Paul Wright, the more I realize that he is essentially a man to provide love and conflict for Liz. The fact he is willing to travel hours to meet a girl he has only seen in a photograph indicates his need for a relationship. The fact he is a policemen who treated Elly with extreme patience and politeness, says he is a straight arrow, law-abiding kind of guy. The fact he referenced his grandfather in talking to Liz says he respects his elders and the traditions of his people. There is nothing wrong with the guy that I can see, except for being a little desperate to meet a woman. So, I am using him to push schmoosie a bit, posting as Liz—to put her into those situations of love and conflict, so she has a chance to portray Liz as more than wet rag or a limp biscuit.

Howard Kelpfroth. The solution to his return was written up by the fantastic qnjones tonight, with references to Sleeping Beauty, whom I did get to meet at Disneyland, by the way. There is a restaurant there where all the princesses come to each table for photographs and autographs. I asked her if she could recommend a mattress. She said I would have to ask the fairies, since they created her mattress with fairy magic. That was a pretty good answer.

Tomorrow’s strip is zits yet again and pity for the poor skinny girl who wishes she had curves like fat April. (Well Rebeccah called her fat, or so April says.) Yes, in the days of Paris Hilton, there is actually a teenage girl who doesn’t want to be skinny. Riiiight!