Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First Sign of the Foobacalypse

We all knew it was coming to For Better or For Worse. Michael Patterson and his novel could not be anything but overwhelming successful with little effort on his part. That is the way it has been with him and his family for ages now. It’s stupid but definitely snarkable. I started off the day thinking I was just going put in about 50 posts of Michael Patterson screaming different famous characters’ catchprases. I got 2 posts into it and while I was looking up catchphrases, I thought it was easier to have the other different famous characters do the catchphrases and write to Mike. The first couple of characters (Snagglepuss, Popeye the Sailor Man, He-Man, and Snoopy were all chosen for their catchphrases).

When I got to Snoopy, I realized one of his catch phrases was “It was a dark and stormy night” for Snoopy’s famous unfinished novel. I remember the sequences where Lucy van Pelt would offer Snoopy constructive criticism and Snoopy would adapt her comments into his material, usually with a joke. These sequences were adapted into a children’s book by Charles Schultz called Snoopy’s “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night”. It was published long after I stopped picking up Peanuts collection books, so I was unaware of it until I found a copy of it sitting in the my son’s physical therapist’s office. It was not a very good children’s book, but it made for some good reading for a long-time Peanuts fan. The interesting thing was that Charles Schultz, using Snoopy, was actually able to give his readers more of a feel for how novels are written than Lynn Johnston did with Michael Patterson’s current storyline. Snoopy’s novel was rejected and edited. Mike’s shows no signs of either. The funny part is that while Snoopy was never going to be taken seriously as an author and Michael Patterson is, Snoopy’s author showed a more realistic portrayal of the writing business.

Tomorrow’s monthly letters should be interesting because there is some disparity between the letters and strip over the story of Michael’s novel.

In the strip, on Christmas Eve Michael rescued his only 2 copies of his book he has been writing since September. There is no mention of publisher, or deadlines or anything of the sort like that. The impression you get is that Michael has submitted his book to a publisher and they sent back a contract one month later.

In the letters, Michael has been writing the book for over 16 months, but failed to mention it in his own monthly letters until September, when it showed up in the strip. He has been submitting chapters of his book all along to his publisher and they have been edited as he has been submitting them. On Christmas Eve, Michael only really rescued the final chapter of his book, as he had been sending each chapter to his mother and the publisher as a backup. He was due to deliver the completed novel in October, but the publisher extended the deadline because they knew Michael was “living” the story, i.e. fantasizing about Sheilagh 24 hours a day.

Those are 2 very different perspectives, but they are a really a moot point now. Michael got his $25,000 advance, so the next question is what he is going to do with it. We know ultimately, Michael will buy the house from Elly and John and they will move to the teeny-tiny train house with April. The problem now is Elizabeth. She could move into her own place, and I think we have seen some strips which would justify that move, but on the other hand, there is the whole business with Anthony Caine. If he proposes on Valentine’s Day, as many suspect, then I don’t see Elizabeth moving out of Sharon Park Drive until after her wedding day. But if she doesn’t move out, then that causes problems with Elly selling the house to Mike. As I see it, it could go in these directions:

1. Elly, John and April move out. Elizabeth stays in as a renter until she marries Anthony.
2. Elizabeth gets a place of her own until she gets married.
3. The actual house purchase is postponed for awhile, until the situation with Elizabeth is resolved.

What I think is Mike’s actual next move is to be strong-armed by his mother and wife to quit his job at Portrait Magazine, since he has proved he can make a living as an author and with his freelance work. I think the housing situation will not resolve itself until Elizabeth and Anthony have been dealt with.

Tomorrow’s strip: I suppose we will hear all about the likelihood of a first time novelist getting the right of first refusal from all the authors populating the various For Better or For Worse commenting boards. Clinically depressed and self-absorbed Elizabeth Patterson is unable to muster a congratulations for her brother. Robin Patterson remains hidden from view as we have still yet to see the entire house full of all the Pattersons. And much to my amazement, we actually see John Patterson holding a grandchild for 2 panels. I find that part more shocking than anything else. It’s one thing for Liz to be a selfish twit and Mike to be undeservedly successful, but John holding a grandchild? It’s unheard of, except in the FBoFW website pictures focusing on John.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From Worse to Better

On Today’s For Better or For Worse, the curious thing about Mike was why he was only looking for apartments in his old neighbourhood. The obvious answer is to try to revert to his old life as much as possible. Then I tried to find something to mention for Jeremy Jones and Howard Bunt, and they were more of a problem. I related Meredith’s question of when she was going home to an incident I made up in Jeremy’s life and basically said that Meredith’s situation was not unlike spending time with an alcoholic, womanizer, who screamed a lot.

I thought it was an amusing comparison, and researching the Meredith perspective I realized if Mike and Dee really wanted to keep things mainly the same for Merrie and Robin, Mike would be taking Meredith to her Jr. Kindergarten and Robin to Ardith Narayan’s place in Toronto on his way to work. It occurred to me that Meredith and Robin getting shunted off to Connie Poirier’s for ½ a day every day, would be even more confusion in their lives. Of course, this is yet another perspective not considered by Lynn Johnston in her plotting.

Howard’s story was mainly to point out the Michael was cheap and there was no way he was leaving Elly’s place, unless he was forced out.

Tomorrow’s strip: $25,000. That would be a nice 10% down on a $250,000 house. The extraordinary Patterson success finally lands on an actual Patterson for a change. You know in some respects, it’s too bad the strip is going to end in September, because we won’t be able to see April get all her university expenses paid for becoming a veterinarian, just because she’s a Patterson. Me personally, I am simply waiting for eeknight to unload on this one. I know of no one better to snark this one than he.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Home in Catatonia

In today’s For Better or For Worse, we see a bleak picture of Elizabeth as she comes to terms with what she has done to herself. Of course her eyes are not open enough so that she realizes the real reason she came to Milborough was to pursue Anthony Caine. The Q & Eh?! Section on the website lists the reason for Liz moving from Mtigwaki as:

She obtained a summer job in Mississauga for the summer of 2006 and lived there in an own apartment. In the fall of 2006, she got a full-time job in Milborough and moved home to her parents' house as a temporary measure until she can find her own place. She chose to move back to the South to be closer to her family.

This has been the reason Liz has perpetually stated, and yet there was that strip where Elizabeth’s reaction is clearly to the news that Anthony just got a divorce. Is that supposed to be something only we clever readers notice, or is the storyline truly that Elizabeth has fooled herself into believing she moved home to be closer to her family? We may never know.

I had a good time playing with the return of young Lizzy, as I presented and qnjones and aprilp_katje embellished. After all, if she is going to return to her childhood, then we might as well take it to ts extremes, which is one of the joys of snarking.

Tomorrow’s strip: No Lizzy, but Merrie reappears for the first time in weeks. I guess we are going down the route of more discussion about the fire and its effects. We know Mike isn’t moving out of the house, so I expect Lynn Johnston is going to reintroduce the idea of Elly and John moving out.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Scream Part MXM

Today’s For Better or For Worse was tough to snark from the outside-the-family perspective. All Jeremy and Howard could really say was: Elly was loud. That’s a joke they have done before whenever Elly screams at something. I tried to make it a little more interesting by having the dogs react.

The main thing I concentrated on was trying to snark the idea of a good marriage, which was presented in today’s strip, by pointing out that young Lizzie may need to practise up on her screaming, if she is going to make a marriage work. I had originally worked up a whole thing where John Patterson would remark that he hadn’t seen the children in 3 weeks and Mike would indicate that Deanna had taken them into hiding. But aprilp_katje’s Blog entry went for the grandkids pointing out Elly had a tantrum, which was also funny and not nearly as black as my stuff.

Lynn Johnston has used Elly temper as a means of humour for decades now, but usually it has been in a reasonable response to John needling her in his former chauvinistic self, or the kids making some unusually selfish demand. Today’s strip dumbfounded me that Elly was actually screaming due to a situation of her own making. It’s hard to find humour in it.

There was a lot of screaming this week, and Deanna and the kids were noticeable absent. If Deanna and the kids were exposed to this shrieking, they would probably be thinking twice about living with Elly and John. I remember when Mira Sobinski and Melville Kelpfroth were yelling at each other, it frightened Meredith, so I would imagine seeing April and Elly shriek at each other would have a similar effect. Frankly, I think it would make for a great strip to have Meredith or Robin shrinking in fear from a screaming Elly Patterson, and have her finally realize after 28 years the effect all her screaming would have had on her children. “Have my screams made my children so weak, they can’t face the world? Is this the reason they are all living with me now?” I don’t think it will happen. Lynn thinks hysterical shrieking is funny.

Tomorrow’s strip: Just when you don’t think Lynn can take Liz any lower, somehow Lynn Johnston managed to do it. In bed, wide-eyed, and holding her old stuffed bunny is the lowest I have seen Elizabeth Patterson in this comic strip, possibly in the entire run of this comic strip series.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I Bet He Still Likes You X3

In today’s For Better or For Worse, April functions in her usual role of pretending to be the overly-inquisitive younger sister who is overly-interested in her older sister’s love life. Even though we all appreciate April making fun of the close-mouthed Elizabeth Patterson, it makes me wonder why no one is similarly interested in April’s love life. When April first started dating Gerald, back in 2003, Elizabeth was interested in whom Gerald was, but after that time, no one seems to be interested in April and Gerald, including April and Gerald. They kiss once a year, but other than that, they have the passionate teenage instincts of a long-since-fallen log.

There wasn’t much I could do with that. So, I concentrated my efforts on a line aprilp_katje had thrown Mike that Elly Patterson was amazed Mike didn’t know the phrase “speed freak” and chuckled with April over Mike’s ignorance. I am not sure if this is the exact direction aprilp_katje wanted to go with it, but it obvious that (1) Elly would never make fun of Mike and (2) Elly would have no earthly idea of the drug user connotations of the term “speed freak.” After all, Elly and John huddle together in fear of dangerous information on the internet. So, I figured aprilp_katje was setting April up for a take down, and I was happy to oblige using Mike as the medium. It was a fun little sequence between me and aprilp_katje.

The only other thing around is the ongoing plotline between susannamoodie and the_berserker, which appears to be a sequence ultimately leading to their respective characters of Zandra Larson and Duncan Anderson breaking up. the_berserker hinted that April went into a bathroom after Zandra Larson who was upset over something, and of course my mind immediately flashed to the Gym Jam sequence, where April went in a bathroom after Becky McGuire. So, I used that for Jeremy to give April a little criticism.

Tomorrow’s strip: Proof of Elly’s martyr syndrome and the fact she doesn’t do all her screaming indoors.

Friday, January 26, 2007

There’s No Such Thing

In today’s For Better or For Worse, I had the joy of hunting on-line for advice on how to break up with someone gently, just so I could prove Elly was wrong. There were several and they all pretty much agreed with each other and oddly enough, they also agreed with what Paul Wright had planned to do with Elizabeth. I had originally planned to have each April’s Real Blog character recount his love life, so they could also refute or agree with Elly. As things often happen with April’s Real Blog, I feel the need to react to what aprilp_katje says in her Blog entry. The reference to speed freak eyes, set me off on a Mike tangent which concluded Constable Paul Wright was insane and stupid, which oddly enough, no one refuted. Jeremy Jones repeated his usual running joke that every girlfriend he has had has left a physical scar on him. Then I made Howard be the one who delineated the litany of romances he has had since being an April’s Real Blog character, since his romances were the most peculiar.

Tomorrow’s strip: Lynn Johnston seems to want to stretch the Elizabeth wedding choice as far as she can into the future. It will keep her readers guessing (not!), but should have the unfortunate side effect of not giving a decent Elizabeth and Anthony romance.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Mysterious Timeline of FOOB

Lynn Johnston has done this before in For Better or For Worse. She extended out the New Years’ Eve parties in 2004 and 2005 to monumental proportions. But when she did that, it was pretty evident what was going on. This time, the time line is even more confusing. We know it’s after Christmas and presumably before school started back on January 8 in Toronto. Liz leaves a day early with Warren and surprises Paul at Susan’s place; but strangely Gary and Vivian seem to have been ready for Liz’s early arrival, even though she didn’t warn them. This lends credence to my April’s Real Blog storyline that Gary Crane was the Mtigwaki informer of Warren Blackwood about which day Liz was planning to come to Mtigwaki and which day would be a day early. This is information which could not have been passed on by northern gossip. Probably only Gary, Vivian, Paul and maybe Jesse Mukwa knew what day Liz was to arrive. Gary’s cluing Liz in on the drive from the landing area to go look for Paul at Susan’s place is another clear indication of his intent.

On the other side of the house, in today’s strip, Elly seemed to be blissfully unaware of which day Liz was to return. Yes, Liz can’t call even her own mother to let her know when she is traveling. And April, who was described in the letters as occupying Liz’s room while she was gone, doesn’t seem to have done it, since she was busy complaining about having to sleep in the rec room. These sorts of inconsistencies drive us crazy at April’s Real Blog.

Tomorrow’s strip: It’s interesting to contrast this with the last Liz break-up and tears with Eric Chamberlain. In that situation, Liz went to Aunt Ruby for advice. Liz started blaming herself and wondering what she did to cause the situation and Aunt Ruby placed the blame squarely on Eric. We are not seeing that this time, so far. Lynn Johnston seems to be avoiding blaming Paul entirely, when Gary and Vivian Crane were on the scene. It will be interesting to see if Elly does, or if she focuses entirely on Liz’s emotional pain. Ironically, Elizabeth is now being comforted by a mother and a sister, who may never have been through a break-up before.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Poor, Crowded April

Today’s For Better or For Worse was a real sympathy-getter for April. It also, as a sideline, finally confirmed that Mira and Wilf Sobinski did do what was described in the January letters, about bringing lot of things over for Mike and Deanna. This would be considered an act of kindness, and in fact, that is how the January letters described it. But it would not do for us to see the Sobinskis in anything other than a bad light, so Lynn has April report today, the reason for her being overcrowded in the rec room, the biggest room in the whole house, is because of Mira Sobinski. Naturally I had Michael Patterson take charge of that storyline and snark the final bits of the January monthly letters I had left unsnarked, because I was uncertain if Mira’s kindness was a letters-only thing. For example, I have avoided having Michael ever say that his rescue of his novel was anything other than a rescue of the only copy; because the strip has never contradicted it. The letters contradict it, to make it seem like Mike is smarter about doing backups, but by doing so, they weaken the case for Mike risking his life for the sake of his novel. Clearly Lynn Johnston never intended it to be anything other Mike rescuing his only copy. Since that was the way that played out it in the strip, I was uncertain about what to do with Sobinski generosity until today.

I also felt the need to turn one character slightly against April and her rec room angst. I know in my house, my 9-year-old daughter would love nothing better than to spend the night downstairs sleeping in front of the television. If she were in April’s situation, she would be happy as a clam. So, I had dear, old Howard mention that camping out downstairs wasn’t that bad a thing.

The part about the structure of the Patterson house that confuses is me, is that the basement is not marked on the blueprint. Over on the FOOBiverse’s Journal, many assume the rec room is in the basement, when we have seen pictures of the basement, and that is where the central vac is located. So, the rec room is not down there. However confusing matters is April’s comment about it being colder in the rec room, in the January monthly letters, which wouldn’t be the case for a room on the main floor of the house. After all, Elly and John have their bedroom on the main floor of the house.

Tomorrow’s strip: All that sympathy for April suddenly disappears when Liz appears. Not only does Elly turn her focus on Liz, but we turn our focus away from April when she eyerolls a completely lack of sympathy for her sister and her most recent boyfriend breakup. Come on, April. You should care a little.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Elly Screams...Again

One of the things which is very consistent about Lynn Johnston, is her belief that having her main character of Elly Patterson, scream at people is funny. Moreso than any other joke in the strip, this one has been used over and over again for decades, usually with the effect that Elly gets her way, while other people shrink in fear of her wrath. So, I was very amused in today's For Better or For Worse to find April coping by looking at Elly's fillings instead of reacting. That was a nice way to dress up the repetition of this tedious joke.

My April's Real Blog characters also fell back on a standby gag, which is that everyone can hear Elly when she starts screaming. Boring. At least tomorrow, April breaks down. That should make for more interesting snark.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cat on the Head

Not a lot in today’s For Better or For Worse. We see the shtick with an animal jumping on other animal’s head and then running away. That joke is so tired; I have no idea why Lynn is repeating it again. Tomorrow’s strip is just the same, although April is mocking Elly’s screaming, which is a little different. This is the second time Elly has started shrieking at Shiimsa on the shelf, and I have no idea where it is going.

I am not sure if Elizabeth is even back from her trip to Mtigwaki yet. I am pretty sure that Elizabeth is going to cry on Elly’s shoulder or repeat the joke she did to Elly when Howard assaulted her, and she told her mom by listing a lot of things that happened, where “Paul was cheating on me” is mixed in there, and then adds something about burning some food, which gets Elly’s attention.

The oddest part about the combined family in the Sharon Park Drive house is that we see April, Mike, and Elizabeth; but Deanna and the kids are nowhere to be seen, aside from the Robin-eating-dog-food sequence. The real dynamic of family life all combined together would be more like what was described in the January Pets letter, where the kids are chasing all the animals to play with them. I wonder if all these times without the grandkids running about, they are really supposed to be over at Connie Poirier’s house. It’s hard to say. Lynn is going to her storytelling troublemakers of cat and April, when showing her actually having to deal with her grandchildren on a regularly basis would be much more fun. We have never seen Elly with one of her grandchildren misbehaving, and it would be very interesting to see their reaction, if Elly started screaming in their face, like she does to April in tomorrow’s strip.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Back from one trip and on to the next one

I came back from my business trip, and on Saturday, I get to do an overnight backpacking trip with my son for the Boy Scouts. It will be my son's first backpacking trip, and we are going up Mt. Lemmon to the Romero Pools, a few thousand feet up from the bottom of the mountain. It should be chilly. I have never actually spent the night outside when the weather was cold, so I anticipate suffering. I'll be back Sunday afternoon, so hopefully I can drop a few ARB posts in at that point when we are discussing the chore distribution in the now-combined Patterson household.

As for today's For Better or For Worse, Gary Crane practically points to Warren and says, "Love Him", which seems very odd. However, I have a plan to tie Warren and Gary's bizarre antics together, which I think will actually make sense in the context of the strip.

The Paul cheating sequence has been very confusing for me, and I have struggled to figure out what Lynn Johnston intended. I think this is what it is:

After Liz left Paul, he began cheating on Liz with Susan Dokis. For Susan Dokis, she was fully aware Paul was with Liz. I suspect she was playing the "Don't you wish your girlfriend was Ojibway like me?" with Paul. Paul was undecided and conflicted, because Liz does not share his culture and expects him to follow her blindly. In other words, Susan was like the mistress to married Paul, who understood Paul's need for secrecy to preserve his relationship with Liz. I know this part doesn't make complete sense, since Paul and Liz were not married, and all Paul really needed to do was call Liz up and call things off, but it's the only way I can get the next part to work.

Paul doesn't go to support Liz during the trial, because he is too busy with Susan. When the Spruce Narrows transfer goes through, Paul chooses to accept the transfer, and this is essentially his accepting Susan over Liz in the eyes of Gary and Vivian Crane. However, when Liz was coming to visit Mtigwaki, Paul's plan was to pretend he was not with Susan, even though he said that was not true. But Liz comes a day early and thanks to Gary's hints, finds Paul with Susan and realizes he has been cheating on her.

Paul is guilty, not so much because he cheated on Liz with Susan, but because he continued to pretend he was with Liz after he had started up with Susan. Susan is guilty because she cheated with Paul, even though she knew he was with Liz. The whole of Mtigwaki is guilty because they knew about the cheating and didn't tell Liz. However, Liz has apparently forgiven Mtigwaki, just not Susan and Paul.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Business trip

I will be on a business trip leaving this evening and returning late Thursday, so no posts from me until then. I do plan to do a Constable Paul Wright post when I return, which should correspond approximately with what should be his final appearance in the strip.

I discovered upon getting to work today that the fine folks in my company's IT division appear to have divined a way to keep me from seeing the pop-up window used for comments on April's Real Blog, unless others are getting

Error - Request forbidden

when they try it. This effectively means my comments will limited to those I can do at home, from here on out. It looks like the good constable is going to reappear on Thursday, fearing violence from Liz, and Liz officially tells him not only if he ever needs a friend, don't come to her, but she implies she also resents the other people in Mtigwaki not informing her. We won't see Liz in Mtigwaki again. Then Saturday, Warren reveals he knew about Paul and Susan all along and wanted to be there to pick up the pieces, and that's way offered to fly her in. Sleezy!

I had played Paul as going with Susan just before Liz arrived, in order to allow some of things to make more sense with his character as it had been previously portrayed. I am not sure what to do with him standing in the doorway and Susan cowering beside him. As for other people thinking Paul was already with Susan, I covered that in an earlier post where people presumed they were together because it was announced to the general Mtigwaki population he got his transfer to Spruce Narrows and I have already had him spending time with Susan. This would be the information Warren Blackwood would have picked up all the way over in freaking Vancouver about Paul and Susan--an obvious lie.

See you in 3 days.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Trouble with Transfers

Even with Monday’s For Better or For Worse available, it is difficult to make out exactly what was intended with Paul’s multiple transfers and what it meant when one of them was approved and the other one wasn’t. As near as I can tell, the timeline was this:

February – Paul applies for the Spruce Narrows transfer
May – Paul applies for the Toronto transfer
July – Paul drives Liz to Milborough
October – Liz visits Paul
December 7 – Paul gets a transfer approved to Spruce Narrows. Liz mentions she had been trying to call him.
January – Paul takes the Spruce Narrows transfer

The next question is: When in this timeline did the good constable start messing around with Susan Dokis?
a. Since Elizabeth did not have her job at the Glenallen School until just before September, it wouldn’t make sense for Paul to be messing around then, because he may have thought Liz might have to seek employment back in the North West
b. He looked awfully romantic with Liz in their October meeting, although the letters said that meeting was over Labour Day weekend in September.
c. The implication from Gary’s text on Monday is that Paul made the decision based on getting the transfer to Spruce Narrows.
d. Elly and John infer from Paul’s absence during the trial in November, he is not there for Liz.
e. Mike says, “Absence makes the heart go wander” September 16, but that’s Mike.

I would say Paul probably was with Chipper starting late November, when Elly and John made a comment about him.

The problem I had with April’s Real Blog version of the constable was once the transfer was announced, I assumed it had to be Toronto because, the idea it was Spruce Narrows instead is stupid. Paul would not have applied for Toronto at all, if he didn’t plan to go. And if he did apply to Toronto, he would cancel the application for Spruce Narrows. So, I played him as forgetful, on how he was forced to take the Spruce Narrows transfer which, from what I can tell about the OPP, would have been the case.

So, I retconned away my Paul posts on Toronto as him testing the waters with Liz, and tried to create a plausible reason why what Gary says on Monday would work.

Even Through My Tears, I Pun

It was a busy day today. The car battery went down as I was taking my kids to school, and my wife is currently in Memphis, so I had no backup. So, I spent quite a bit of time waiting for my car to be towed and fixed, so I could pick up my kids in time for school.

After that, we went to see Happily N’Ever After, an awful movie, with computer animation that looked like it had been taken from the 1980s. I was really glad I had knocked out my Constable Paul Wright snark at the beginning of the day.

The thing that struck me about today’s strip was the wordplay in the final column. This was such a stark contrast from the way things ended up in the Eric / Tina / Liz triangle. If you compare those strips with today’s, it makes the old strips seem like a masterpiece. One of things I like to do is read through all the other comments made by commentators, and then try to point out and do something different. In this case, I had Paul Wright realize he had made the right decision to leave Liz, when she dropped this little ditty in the middle of what should have grief and loss.

As for Michael Patterson, aprilp_katje mentioned casually that Mike and John had an "I told you so" song and dance, so naturally I was motivated to quote "I told you so" lines and rhyme them together.

Tomorrow, Sunday and Monday’s strips:

Liz works out her grief with Vivian, who basically tells her that everyone knew and nobody told her, in other words, they approve of Paul and Susan, and probably never approved of Liz and Paul. Gary takes it even further by giving Liz credit for bringing Paul and Susan together. It’s pretty insulting, but also well within the characters of Vivian and Gary. I read back through the old Gary and Vivian strips, and they go on and on about Mtigwaki culture and how wonderful life is there. However, I love the fact Gary quotes the Liz line about how it was “meant to happen” in talking about Susan and Paul. In the meantime, it ris idiculous that a woman who has spent much of her life in a place where it snows, doesn’t know how to handle boots

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Liz, Cheater Detective

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Elizabeth Patterson gets to redo the old Eric / Tina cheating scenario she did before. Warned by her mother and father that her boyfriend was no good, because he wasn’t there for her trial; warned by her brother that “absence makes the heart go wander”; and then warned by Gary Crane he was “with Susan”, like she was back in 2001 and 2002, Elizabeth ignored all the warnings (except for Gary’s). It makes sense she would ignore the other warnings because they appear stupid. It’s another lesson for Elizabeth to learn: Mom, Dad, and brother are always right, even when they seem so wrong.

I remember back in 2002, when Liz approached Tina’s place looking for Eric, she found them sitting on Tina’s chesterfield in sock feet watching television. This was damning enough, because of all the times we saw Liz relax when she was alone with Eric, which was pretty much none. I don’t know if Eric cheated before Liz got paranoid about what he was doing, or Liz got paranoid because of what Eric was doing. Those questions are lost in the annals of collections I do not have. However, what I do remember is Liz was able to convince Tina that Eric was cheating by saying, “Look at him!” It helped me realize that for Elizabeth Patterson, cheating wasn’t about having sex, or kissing, or hand-holding with another woman. Cheating was about spending time with another woman behind closed doors. Cheating was something which was clearly evident in someone’s facial expression.

So, when we saw the indictment of Constable Paul Wright, for simply being in the same place as Susan Dokis and having an unusual facial expression, it was perfectly in line with what we had seen from Liz before with Eric. When you are writing fiction, sometimes you don’t have to make sense with the real world, so long as you can maintain your own internal logic. Liz has the magical power to determine a cheater, when she confronts them with the other woman. It’s consistent and so snarkable.

Today was the day I wrote my Constable Paul Wright magnum opus on how he finds out all of Liz’s most recent actions (with references to the strip) were intended to get her together with Anthony Caine, and then ignores everyone of them out of his belief in Elizabeth. The way I have been playing the good constable is somewhat consistent with the strip, although I play him stupider a lot for comic effect. No matter what nonsense Liz threw him, he always accepted it. He’s the kind of guy who takes chances, like when he professed his love for Elizabeth after they had been dating for only 2 months. He is up front with his feelings to Liz. The idea he would suddenly turn dishonest with Elizabeth, when he had been so painfully honest before, did not sit well with me. For months, I have had Susan Dokis show Paul Wright all the things wrong with Liz, and hint broadly she was interested in him. For months, I have had Paul Wright be oblivious. I decided now would be the time to turn off the stupid when Susan does the one crucial thing which Elizabeth Patterson has not done once with the good constable in the year and 2 months they have been dating, which is to say, “I love you.” (Yes, qnjones, I know Liz said, "I do!" when Paul said, "I though you loved me!" That doesn't count, in my book.) By having this reversal on Paul’s part occur just before Liz arrived, it would also provide a decent excuse why he didn’t break things off with Liz the moment he started with Chipper.

Yes, Lynn Johnston, I am filling the personality change hole you put yourself in. You have portrayed Paul in his every appearance as being open and honest, to the point of being somewhat pathetic. A guy like that wouldn’t be able to cheat very long before he couldn’t take it any more and he told Liz about it.

Tomorrow’s strip: Everything is working out perfectly, so far. Of course on Saturday, Liz could have a conversation with Vivian Crane, which could mess the whole thing up. But as for today, Lynn could not have scripted it better. She must be reading my mind. Paul says, “It just happened” which means “it happened in the very recent past.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

With Susan

In today's For Better or For Worse, we see Gary Crane spill the beans on Paul and Susan with the phrase "with Susan." Elizabeth, amazingly, showed no sadness at all, but immediately leaped to thoughts of revenge. I remember years ago, when I dated a girl off-and-on for 3 1/2 years. The last year of the relationship was pretty awful, because she kept on breaking us up, and then calling the next day and saying she had made a big mistake and asked if we get back together again. I always said yes, until the last time. It's obvious to me now it wasn't going to last, but back then I persisted on, thinking things would get better. When we did break permanently, I was amazed how sad I felt, even though in many respects it was a relief to finally be free of the woman, and my inner demons which drove me to continue trying over and over again.

Back in 2002, when Liz was freeing herself from Eric Chamberlain, and sought revenge against him, it felt more realistic to me; because there had been several sequences of Liz trying to make the relationship work, and dealing with grief over her mistreatment by Eric, which occurred months before the revenge sequence took place. This time with Liz and Paul, I could hear Lynn saying, "I have less than 9 months. Let's go straight to revenge." Of course the problem with this is evident in the hundreds of comments being written in the FOOBiverse's Journal and many other places. Unlike the situation with Eric, where the readers might root for Liz to punch Eric, with Constable Paul Wright, they are actually rooting for him. The person who has been dishing out the cheating is Liz herself. By Liz standards, if you have spending time "with" another person, then you are cheating. And by those standards, she has been cheating with Anthony Caine and with Warren Blackwood.

I was quite pleased to read comments in the FOOBiverse's Journal which said that they regretted that this storyline would mean the loss of Constable Paul Wright posting on April's Real Blog, and threw a lot of really nice compliments out there. It did my ego quite a bit of good.

My problem now with the good constable is not determining if Paul and Liz will break up and Paul will not transfer his job. That seems to be pretty clear. What is not clear to me, is Susan Dokis' involvement in the situation. In other words, will Susan be surprised Paul has not already broken things off with Liz? Will Susan be aware that Paul got his transfer? I have been playing it as Susan knows all about the transfer and Paul is still involved with Liz, and she is trying to convince him to drop Liz and his transfer; but I may have to retcon that away if Lynn Johnston has decided to repeat the Tina / Liz / Eric situation where Susan and Liz will pummel Paul with their fists. In order for that to happen this must be the situation:

Susan thinks Paul has already broken up with Liz. She thinks Paul has given up his transfer to Toronto. The problem with this scenario is that it would be very hard for Paul to continue cheating with Chipper, if he moved to Toronto. The other problem is that Gary Crane seems to be very aware Paul is still officially with Liz, and it seems unlikely Chipper wouldn't know it too.

The other possibility, and the one I am going with, until I learn differently, is the from the original John Patterson letter description / prediction:

John's Letter, June 2006

Liz's young man sounds like he wants to stay in the bush! Too bad, when you fall in love with a certain tree, only to discover it has deep roots. My bet is that they will have to break up. Still, it really has been her first adult falling-in-love experience, and that is always good. You learn that it's about more than infatuation. It's about negotiating, and questioning what it is that your principles or wants really are. At first you think you can give up anything to be with that other person, but as the time wears on, the glow comes off, and chee, maybe you don't want to give up some of your comforts and things that are important to you, after all.

If I go with John's interpretation, then Susan is a part of Paul's root system and knows all about Paul's transfer and Liz. Susan's opinion is that she and Paul are together now, and the only thing left for them to do is to let Liz know and apologize for hurting her feelings. If the writing is good, then Liz will also realize the part she played in destroying the relationship with Paul and that those comforts John talked about really were more important to her than Paul Wright. The problem with this situation is I don't know how Liz can do her Jesse Mukwa visit, with the Suds and Chipper thing hanging over her head.

Liz Arrives. Terror Ensues

In today’s April’s Real Blog, aprilp_katje went so Meta, that she talked about being sick from what was going to happen, I think on the presumption we would know what she is talking about. But then I thought to myself, my characters wouldn’t know what she is talking about. So, I had my characters give alternate selections about what “inspecting” meant. I think it turned out well.

Tomorrow strip: Liz goes from happy to hateful in 3 panels, and I reintroduce Constable Paul Wright to the scene in April’s Real Blog.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eating Mice and Laying Eggs

Today’s For Better or For Worse was devilishly hard to snark today unless you could take the role of Warren (which aprilp_katje did in the Blog entry) or the role of Liz, normally handled by the currently sickly qnjones. There was the element of Warren with presumptions of Liz love, there was the incorrect identification of an eagle’s diet, and that was about it.

In tomorrow’s strip, Paul Wright was not there to confront Liz at the helicopter, so I am beginning to think when April told Liz that Paul wouldn’t like seeing her with Warren; it had less to do with a potential Paul Wright confrontation, and more to do with April identifying Warren’s intentions while Liz was overlooking them. Here’s the sequence:

1-3: Warren shows up and calls Liz pretty.
1-4: Warren offers her a trip, but calls the suggestion crazy.
1-5: Liz suspects something is up, but Warren denies, even as he thinks it.
1-6: April points out Warren’s intentions to Liz, who ignores her
1-8: Warren jumps on Liz saying the word “romantic”
1-9: Big hug from Warren and he leaves

Then Gary Crane drops the line about inspecting. So, Liz is going to Mtigwaki and there is something there Gary thinks she should inspect. We know Paul is with Susan, and we know Liz is going to find out and break up with him. The only questions are:

1. How does she find out?

a. She visits Susan and sees a more-than-friendly picture of her together with Paul mounted by the moose tapestry.
b. She catches them together doing the nasty.
c. Paul tells her.
d. Chipper invites Liz to be a bridesmaid for her wedding.
e. Phil Goulais is selling copies of the Chipper / Suds porn tape.
f. Jesse Mukwa tells her, and then he proposes to Liz.
g. Vivian Crane sits Liz down and gives a good talking to.
h. Someone else in Mtigwaki tells her.
i. She sees “Suds & Chipper 4evah & eva” carved on a tree.

2. Will Susan know Paul is still with Liz? In other words, is Paul = Eric?

3. Will Liz and Paul end their relationship amicably, or will she leave Mtigwaki in tears?

4. How will Paul get around the idea that he supposedly got his transfer?

a. He will say, “I got my transfer to Spruce Narrows. The one to Toronto will never come through. The OPP doesn’t want me to do traffic patrol.”
b. He will say, “I was just kidding about getting it.”
c. He will say, “I’ve changed my mind.”

Once Paul is out of the picture, Warren will confess his love for Liz and she will reject him too. In this fashion, with a short sequence of strips, we will see Liz knock out 2 of her 3 potential husbands. I know Warren was technically already out, but I am guessing Lynn Johnston wanted to knock him out again, just in case people weren’t paying attention to what happened over a year ago.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Robin and the Dogs Eat Alike

The best thing about today’s For Better or For Worse was that it worked very well with an ongoing April’s Real Blog subplot having to do with Deanna chaperoning April and Gerald on a date. That made the strip where April forgot she has done baby-sitting jobs for the last 4 years, and Robin forgot how to talk, go by a lot easier. At least the dogs were in character, and we are seeing some interaction between the Michael family and the Elly family.

The second best thing was that it switched the focus off the impending Liz / Mtigwaki disaster long enough for me to put up a Constable Paul Wright post, explaining his perspective as it will stand until Elizabeth arrives in Mtigwaki.

Tomorrow’s strip: Any thought that Warren was not still interested in Liz is flying out that helicopter window

Liz Sets Up Disaster

In today’s For Better or For Worse, Elizabeth leaves Milborough and sets up all the elements which will lead to a disaster with Paul next week. To review:

1. Paul will be unhappy Liz is with Warren again.
2. By coming early, Liz is going to surprise people, most likely Paul and Susan.

I would like to be upset with Liz’s change of character, but I must admit Lynn Johnston has been playing Liz this way for a long time. Even back in 2003, when Liz was practicing her dance moves with Dennis North in order to humiliate Anthony and Thérèse at their wedding, and Michael told her not to; ultimately it was Dennis North who pointed out Michael was right and Liz was wrong. See this strip:

Liz has had a long history of ignoring good advice from her family, and putting people into uncomfortable situations where they have every right to be very upset with her. Today’s strip was right in line with the Liz of the last 3 years, so I congratulate Lynn Johnston on consistent characterization.

One of the things I am looking forward to, when Liz goes to Mtigwaki, is another conversation with Vivian Crane. Vivian doesn’t pull any punches with Liz. You may remember she was the one who told Liz that by not signing her teaching contract, she was essentially saying she was leaving. She was the one who told Liz she needed to include Paul Wright in her plans for the future. And my favourite, she was the one who told Liz that she was basically a Southern Ontario city girl slumming in the Northwest and she did not belong in Mtigwaki. Harsh words, but I loved them.

Liz needs to have someone take her to task for her actions, and Vivian is the one to do it. I suspect Jesse Mukwa will be too caught up in gratitude and worship of Liz for visiting to poke much fun at Liz. So, it’s up to Vivian. I hope she takes Liz down and takes her down hard.

One thing I do fear is the change of character for Constable Paul Wright. We have seen nonsensical complaints about him from Mike, Elly and John; but the only thing we have actually seen from the good constable was that one thought balloon where he said he wouldn’t try very hard to get his transfer. Since he has gotten his transfer, then that makes this one thought balloon a moot point. Other than that, he has been the perfect boyfriend for Liz. He is open and honest, when she is closed and controlled. He is stable and doesn’t get angry, when he has every right to be; and Liz loses it when she can’t handle her cat. He is willing to follow her, even when she runs away. The man has just the right personality to be able to handle the erratic Liz. I have a feeling we are not going to see this man next week, but some other awful version of him, specifically designed to make us sympathize with Liz, when they break up.

Tomorrow’s strip: April feeds Robin dog food, in order to try to discipline him to not throw his food to the dogs. April is going to be one heck of an awful mother. Stick with pets, April.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Who is the “Dude”?

One of the more interesting weeks in the April / Anthony relationship was the week of July 29, 2002.

Liz meets with Anthony at Gordon’s place, and on July 31, 2002 tells Anthony, “I’m not dating anyone. I was, but you know how it is…I’m still pay for my mistakes. And you’re engaged.”

Years later reading this and the whole way things turned out, I found it very interesting that Liz is giving the impression that she considers Anthony’s marriage her penance for making the mistake of dropping things with Anthony Caine after high school and establishing the relationship with Eric Chamberlain.

On August 3, 2002; Anthony says something, which has not been mentioned since, which is “Thérèse is working for my dad.” During the whole Anthony / Thérèse relationship, we have seen nothing from Anthony’s parents and what their reaction to the whole situation is. If Anthony and Elizabeth are going to marry by September, 2007, then Lynn Johnston has a cause for bringing his parents into the strip.

There is some indication that Anthony’s father is fairly successful, because in the January 1, 2002 strip, Anthony and Elizabeth are at a New Year’s Eve party, where Anthony says, “These are all my dad’s business associates, Liz. No one would miss us if we left.”

Another reference to family is when Anthony visits Elizabeth just after the Howard attack, he says his mom is taking care of the baby, so he could take the time off and see Elizabeth.

Anthony’s mother can be seen kissing Anthony in the first panel of this strip of his wedding, and she looks like a female version of Anthony.

At the Françoise baby shower on March 28, 2005, in Panel 4, you can see Anthony’s mom again in the background.

Anthony’s mom clearly supports Anthony with the baby and the marriage, as you would expect a good mother to do (take note Elly Patterson), but she also takes the baby to allow Anthony to visit Elizabeth, from which you could infer a desire to support an Anthony / Elizabeth alliance. I don’t know where Anthony’s father stands, since he is not featured in any of these strips.

The whole reason I bring this up, is because of the mysterious “dude” whom Warren Blackwood is carrying to just north of Mtigwaki. I tried to think of someone who would have an impact on the plot, who might have mining interests. Going through characters in my head, I came up with Rhetta Blum’s dad (who I discounted, since he would have no story impact) and Anthony Caine’s dad, based on what has been presented about him, and because this might be an opportunity for Lynn to bring him into the picture.

If Anthony Caine’s dad is the “dude”, there is a veritable cornucopia of different perspectives which could come from the encounter:

1. There is a good chance Anthony’s dad was the primary reason Anthony proposed to Thérèse. Thérèse works for him, so she was probably hand-picked by Anthony’s dad as a suitable match for Anthony. Considering Thérèse was ambitious in her career goals, the other possibility is he picked Thérèse for his son, since Anthony seems to have little-to-no career ambition. He could be disappointed Thérèse had the affaire and left his son, particularly since she had the affaire with a co-worker, meaning someone else who works for Anthony’s dad.

2. Anthony doesn’t work for his dad. In fact, Anthony has the same basic job working for Gordon Mayes, he has had since he graduated high school, which means his university diploma amounted to nothing as far as career growth goes. Anthony got his job and his house, due to charity from Gordon Mayes, or so we assume. This strip from January 4, 2005 gives us a clue it might not have been Gordon. Originally, Thérèse was portrayed as excessively jealous of Elizabeth, and it turned out that jealousy was well-founded. But in this strip, Shawna-Marie Verano tells Elizabeth about how Thérèse was jealous of Tracey Mayes for spending so much time with Anthony. This was supposed to be proof Thérèse was unjustified in her jealousy, but now it seems odd. If Thérèse was right about Elizabeth, maybe she was right about Tracey too. If Anthony’s dad knows about this, then he may be upset his son messed around with Tracey and got his job and house, due to her influence. Anthony is unattractive, but Gordon is even more unattractive.

3. The first 2 items are too far entrenched into obscure, old strips to be practical. Lynn Johnston has nothing but praise for Anthony, despite his repugnant behaviour. So if the “dude” is Anthony’s dad, he is going to praise Anthony to Elizabeth. That way, while Warren is trying to talk love with Liz, Liz suddenly realizes it is Anthony she is in love with. Then upon arriving in Mtigwaki, she blows off Warren and Paul in favour of Anthony.

This is one of those predictions, I am pretty sure will not happen. The dude is most likely a nondescript nobody. I only keyed off it because Warren said “dude” in today’s strip as opposed to “business associate”. On the other hand, I also keyed off April using the word “surprise” and I am pretty sure there will be a surprise. Perhaps, “dude” shouldn’t be discounted either. We will probably find out on Monday.

Tomorrow’s strip: This is an interesting one. They are playing up the “Surprise” aspect, but also have April point out Paul will not be happy when Liz shows up with Warren. The “Surprise” part says Liz catches Paul with Susan. However, there are parts of that idea which just don’t work.

1. Helicopters are not quiet, and Mtigwaki is not big. Unless Warren is landing way outside town, I don’t see how Liz could arrive undetected by everyone in town.

2. Constable Paul Wright lives in Otter County and not Mtigwaki, so he shouldn’t be there, unless he was there in Mtigwaki for a different reason (like Susan).

3. If Liz caught Paul Wright with Susan, then it would screw up the rest of the visit, with Jesse Mukwa, because she would spend the whole time grieving over the loss of Paul.

4. If Paul Wright actually got his transfer to Toronto, which is what we have been led to believe, then it wouldn’t make sense for him to have a romantic relationship with Susan. I know an Eric Chamberlain-like scenario is possible, but job transfers are a lot harder to conceal than skipping ice hockey practices.

It could be that "Liz with Warren" is the straw that breaks the Constable’s back. If it is played as a slow anger, then Liz could do all her Mtigwaki visiting, and have the break-up just before she leaves to go back to Milborough. Liz’s January monthly letter said:

When I say "yes", it'll be because I know it's going to be a working, long-term partnership. The ceremony is secondary. Security and commitment come first!

I think these will be the issues raised. If Paul was secure and committed, then he would not question Liz’s loyalty to him in the face of Warren Blackwood. And also, let us not forget, Paul wasn't there for her during the trial.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Warren propositions Liz, April accepts

In today's For Better or For Worse, Warren offers to take Liz to Mtigwaki. For some reason, April seems to be in favor of this, which means she does not understand that to Warren, the helicopter ride is more than just a helicopter ride, or she simply prefers Warren. It also takes April off the pro-Anthony stance she had just before the trial started. If I am reading April correctly, her preferences for Liz are in this order: Warren, Anthony and finally Paul. John and Elly's order would be: Anthony, Warren and Paul (because Anthony got compliments, and Paul negative comments. They seemed to be ambivalent to Warren when they met him). I view Mike as following John and Elly's beliefs, but that opinion comes mainly from what Mike wrote in his monthly letters about Anthony, and not anything presented in the strip. From the strip, the only thing I get is that Mike expects Paul's "heart to wander."

The effect of the topic of discussion does remove my ability to post as Constable Paul Wright, since it is painfully obvious that Liz's early arrival in Mtigwaki is in order to surprise Paul. Therefore, Paul cannot know Liz is coming early and I cannot have him reading April's Real Blog where he would find that out.

Tomorrow's strip: We establish the new lecherous Warren, in an apparent imitation of Anthony Caine. It's too bad the writer couldn't take the time (as I have) to review the old Warren strips to keep him in character. But it is to be expected, since I am pretty sure when Constable Paul Wright shows up, he will also be out of character.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Time Keeps on Slipping into the Past

The on-line leaked January monthly letters for For Better or For Worse said Elizabeth was planning to travel to Mtigwaki a few days after the time when the letters were written (usually the 1st of the month), which is something which was also said in the December monthly letters. However in this strip from December 7, Liz says “Can you come here for Christmas?” She has a pause, and then Liz says, “Then…I’ll see you before New Year’s.” Based on tomorrow's strip, Paul's answer to Christmas was "No", so Liz continued on with her plans to visit Paul. Assuming this is true, then why are we seeing Elizabeth still at home on January 3?

The timeline of the daily strips as near as I can tell them is:

Monday, December 18 – Saturday, December, 23 + Monday, December 25 = The fire sequence all happened on Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 26 – Saturday, December 30 = The visit with Weed and Mike’s return all happened late on Christmas Day

Monday, January 1 – today = One or two days after Christmas, while Mike, Deanna, John and Elly are at work.

So, what we see for today's strip is not January 3, but December 27 or 28 and still before New Year's. If you look back at old New Years's Eve party strips, they go on for sometimes 2 weeks after the New Year, so this situation is not without precedent.

In December, 2005, Constable Paul Wright was very nervous about his relationship with Liz when he saw Warren, so this strip could build on that uncertainty. Lynn Johnston stretches her story lines with little hints and bits over years so this is a possibility.

What we have is:
1. In John's monthly letter, he claimed Paul was from the sticks and wouldn't be able to uproot to the South.
2. Paul himself said he was not going to try very hard for his transfer, even though he supposedly has done it.
3. Mike Patterson remarked about how absence makes the heart go wander, implying Paul is fooling around with Susan Dokis.
4. Elly and John hint that Paul is not as supportive of Liz as Anthony Caine.
5. April says that coming to Mtigwaki early will be a surprise.

Where Lynn Johnston wants this to go is an amicable breakup. If Liz ever goes back to Mtigwaki again, she can't have bad feelings about Paul and Susan Dokis, and she can't have her Mtigwaki visit end on a sour note. A fiery breakup, like what happened with Eric Chamberlain, would be more fun. Imagine Liz and Susan armed with frying pans and beating on Paul. I expect the actual ending will have lots of words, not many pictures, and will make very little sense.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


In today’s For Better or For Worse, April expressed the opinion that she would replace all her old stuff with new stuff, because she is not old enough to worry about the history of things.

That was the theme for all my posts today---to have each character point out things important to them or not, due to their history with the item. Mike points out that April’s bedroom furniture is now essentially expendable. Jeremy Jones agreed with April, citing his scarred body as all the history he needs. Howard Bunt talked about Becky and history, and of course the Kelpfroths, since they supposedly had a collection of war memorabilia.

With Constable Paul Wright, he was the voice for Liz and took her opinion to an extreme. He also launched into the story in the leaked letters about Liz going to visit Paul and Mtigwaki and when that was going to happen. With the arrival of Warren Blackwood in tomorrow’s strip, this throws thing out of whack for a Mtigwaki trip. Lynn Johnston has to devote at least to the end of the week on Warren. Now I am really interested in seeing the official January letters to see if they are edited from the ones we saw 2 weeks ago, to say the Mtigwaki trip is off.

I had Warren Blackwood engaged to Marjee Mahaha, because I was certain Warren would never show up again in the strip. I hope Warren’s engagement status does not come up. In fact, if Warren announced to Liz he was engaged to someone else, than that would be terrific. The possibility exists that Warren will fawn all over Liz, and indicate he is still interested; all of which would still work with being engaged to Marjee. After all, Liz has the amazing Patterson allure, which would bring Warren back in the first place after he was officially rejected a year ago.

The Return of the Blanket and Boredom

Today in For Better or For Worse, Lynn Johnston tries her best to make firefighters look good, with generosity over and above putting out fires. It was telling that the sequence we saw with the return of goods at personal inconvenience, with an attractive man, matched quite well to the Constable Paul Wright / Elizabeth Patterson meet cute back in November, 2005. It tells me that Lynn Johnston actually considered Paul Wright’s travel to Mtigwaki to be a gesture of personal kindness and not the act of a stalker. I had Constable Paul Wright draw the comparison by pointing out the areas of discord in the way the firefighter presented himself to April and how he called his employment and the good constable hinted broadly that there may have been something which happened at the fire to lead the firefighter to believe Deanna was unattached. And of course there was, with the whole scene of her holding her children together by herself, but I was unsuccessful in getting this point across.

Michael Patterson pointed out how washing the blanket was a nice thing to do, but pretty unnecessary due to Meredith not liking the way the blanket smelled. Believe it or not, we have gotten this from my daughter when laundry detergents have been switched. She can tell because the smell changed in her clothes.

Howard Bunt decided to do what I did, which was to look back a year to see what New Years Eve, 2006 was like in April’s Real Blog. There was a huge difference. There were many more participants, and even after everyone else went to bed, qnjones and I got into a posting fest over the Howard / Becky storyline which lasted until 4 am, EST. This year, my kids decided they were going to stay up late, and so I stayed up with them, occasionally taking a break to write posts. I did enjoy getting Howard and Jeremy Jones to both count down to New Years, as it was occurring on the Blog date and time stamp.

I had planned for a Jeremy / April / Jeremy’s future sis outing, but family things came up which pulled me away before it was finished. Sorry, aprilp_katje.

Tomorrow’s strip: April explains about insurance company cleanup crews. Yawn! Then April reminds Liz there is a 10 year gap between their ages. She has led the storyline to Liz, who doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to be packing to go to Mtigwaki, but maybe that will occur this week.