January 31st, 2006

Tuesday, January 31

Well, I don't know what happened. I posted an update, and it hasn't shown up yet. Take 2:

Panel 1: Well, I don't remember speculation ever getting this far before. I'd say that's a good sign. However, Elly's agenda sounds like the kind of stuff people always SAY they'll do when they get a large block of time...and then they end up mostly just watching TV.

Panel 2: Ooh, is that a note of sarcasm in John's voice?

Panel 3: Or is he trying to corner her into admitting that retirement would be boring? I can kind of see his point, but not really, because if Elly really DID all those things she's talking about, it would take a long time before she'd run out of stuff to do. There are stages in life, and being in the contemplative stage doesn't HAVE to mean being idle and cranky like Grampa Jim.

Panel 4: Ah, so that is what he was getting at: witness the Smug, Closed-Eye Patterson Look. Anyway, I disagree. Retiremnet would not mean Elly would have to give up being a professional buttinski.

Panel 5: Exactly what many people here have been suggesting! Think Lynn'll go for it?

The thing is, though, Elly and John have switched sides on this issue since the first time they discussed retirement, back in 2003. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000422.php (Click for the next three strips.) I don't really get the last panel of that first linked strip, but the sequence comes down to John suggesting they scale back on their responsibilities, and Elly saying, "No, I'd die of boredom." More of that Laurel and Hardy routine howtheduck referenced, I guess.

Wednesday, February 1

Panel 1: Okay, okay, let's not get too hasty. Just because Moira is telling Elly that her services are no longer needed, does not mean that this is going anywhere. For one thing, she said "We think you should take some time off," which is easy enough for Elly to brush off. It'd be another matter entirely if she said, "Let's sit down and talk...No, I put the 'closed' sign on the door...Now, what would it take to get you to give me full managerial responsibilities...or even OWNERSHIP OF THE SHOP WHERE I'VE PAID A HELL OF A LOT MORE DUES THAN YOU?!"

Panel 2: Ooh, Elly's on her feet. I can already see Moira backing down, because who can deal with a Patterson going off the rails?

Panel 3: Yeah, what DO you mean? And where does this come from, when a panel ago, you looked like you were going to claw Moira's face off to defend your non-job?

Panel 4: AAAA! Gasp! :::clutches chest:::

I don't quite know what Bea means by that, either. But I will say, that's the beauty of her prior invisibility in the strip. We can't say this is out of character for her, because her character has never been established. So...Go Bea!

February retcons

Thursday is Groundhog Day. If Elly sees her nose's shadow, I guess we'll have six more weeks of zits an' vacuuming.

Meanwhile, the letters.

Elly: You know, the concept of "spring" cleaning is really outdated. Through the nineteenth century, yeah, I can see it, but nowadays, the time to deep clean is whenever it's necessary. And I've long been tired of these "The good thing about (something inconsequential) is (something else even more inconsequential)" comparisons.

Re: the info about Liz's school. Now, this is another of those things that Liz would just chirpily say white people can't understand, but I wonder how they manage that, with kids taking off like that, basically working school into their schedule instead of working their schedule around school. I understand that they need to fish, hunt, and all that stuff, but I hope they still keep pace with their schoolwork.

By "proper", I mean the method I prefer.

Of course. What else could you mean. And three exclamation points??? Who's the high schooler here? And rolling underwear? I can see rolling socks, but...

Rather than do the bookkeeping on site, I've been bringing it home and working late in the evening, which gives me more freedom during the day.

Freedom to do what? Eat more muffins?

John is starting to fidget, knowing that his workshop and his trains await him

Whaddya mean, await him? That's all he talks about now. What's left for his retirement -- he turns Pixar and conducts the Polar Express?

"Partner in grime"! Ooh, my sides!

John: More talk about winter and sun. Perhaps he and Elly are communicating more. And a one-week holiday awaits. Oh joy.

Our only worry is April. Leaving her in the custody of a friend shakes us up a bit - simply because we're not there to see (or think we see) what's going on.

What the heck does that bolded part mean? Still, it's good to see him FINALLY admitting that April is "a pretty good kid".

Elliot? Everett? Does John have two associates? And I wonder what will be IN that Valentine's basket. Heart-shaped boxes of floss, perhaps?

trying to win her hand! I don't know why we say that. One would hope to wind up with the whole girl. Ah, but I digress. Maybe not. I was talking about love and marriage.

I can't figure that one out. Anyway, enough about the Bushwhacker, and enough with the ass jokes.

Liz: She's not ready to say too much about Paul yet. Well, okay, but we could always be SHOWN, like IN THE STRIP.

Sigh. Paul really sounds like such an interesting character, too. Or rather, he seems like an interesting person. Maybe that's the problem: maybe it's easier to create a Mr. Wonderful personality for the sake of doing so than it is to have him talk and interact with other characters and still make it compelling. After all, the Eric sequences were fascinating to readers, because there was so much suspense: how far would he go before Liz caught on? Or would she catch on in time? Showing Mr. Wright being Mr. Right might just be flat.

YES, people change and move on! WHY is this SO F'ING DIFFICULT for Pattersons to accept?!

April: The comment about "one of the cheap girly stores at the mall" seems kind of jarring to me. When I was April's age, I didn't think of Claire's Boutique, which is presumably the kind of place she's talking about, as either of those things (even though they are). Instead, it was The Coolest Store Evah! With all the kind of stuff I like! And that I can afford! That denigrating, or at least blase, tone is the mark of an outsider, not a genuine teen.

And no, the button-up shirts are NOT flattering. Especially not to you. And again, I'm not sure someone April's age, in the year 2006, would think black nail polish was "weird". And the behavior pattern described in the third paragraph? S.O.P., darlin'. And a high-school kid would know that. That was just thrown in to show how conservative and sensible April is, I know it. Really, man. Instead of having her sit on a pedestal, looking down on all the other girls who act like normal teenagers, how about having her, I dunno, MEET NEW PEOPLE and EXPAND HER HORIZONS? Patronizing Shannon does not count as socialization.

But at least she has a date with John. And she and Gerald are still seeing each other? I thought she was hiding the horror of her zits from the world?

Mike: Starts right off talking about Martha. Paging Arnold Becker! And when, may I ask, did he go around talking like Chaucer? Holy retcon, Batman!

Four letter words are not allowed in our household. Well, certainly not the R-rated ones, or even the PG-13 ones, because that prevents Deanna from really venting on him. But beyond that, they're leaving out some others. Like "love". And "time".

I enjoy their expanding knowledge but am charmed by their childishness Hint, Mike: the word "but" separates phrases that have opposite meanings. As in, you like this, BUT you don't like that.

Yeah, what if, what if, what if. No, I don't think her kids would be yours. There's this business about DNA, for starters...I dunno. I'd like to think we're seeing an affair in the making, but it could just as easily be that Martha is a device for Mike to brag about how good he has it with his family he never sees. Any listening ear will do, as long as it's not Deanna's.

it took a conversation with someone from my past to help me re-evaluate my present. This present! Oh, what a gift it is.

What The Continental would sound like if he married and had kids.

Give some love on Valentine's Day. It won't cost you a thing!

So why don't you?

Deanna: All I can really say is that it is F'ING DEPRESSING to see how willingly she accepts her Cinderella-in-the-ashes role. Everything, EVERYTHING that happens in that household, not to mention whatever's going on with Mira, is her responsibility and hers alone. This. Is a sick. Relationship. And whaddya wanna bet that that Thursday arrangement never happens?

Well, beyond that...Cookie Monster and I were discussing the wedding-vow thing. He says that a real Bridezilla, the kind who has a meltdown because the flowers in the centerpieces are the wrong shade and clash with the tablecloths, just might hire someone to write the vows. I still say that if it came to that, they'd choose a poem, like Eliz. Barret Browning or something, not farm it out to a guy who writes about his mean neighbors. But even if he's right about that -- EULOGIES?! A ghost-written eulogy?! I can't wrap my mind around that.

Jim: Iris writes the letter again; that speaks volumes. Brandy makes the cranky old folks even more cranky. And she doesn't get to see her grandkids. My gosh, she's almost a Patterson.

Pets: I only skim them for the potential tidbits about the human characters. April is still taking guitar lessons. Glad to hear it; I would be so aggravated if she let John's anti-ambition propaganda get to her.