Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 6 Rewritten: Imp Madness and Can Openers

Introduction / Schedule <- outdated

Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 >

Act 2, Part 3 of 5

Pages 429-561 (MSPA: 2329-2461)

Link to old version

Again, I don’t have any good ideas for a new post title so I’m using the old one.
I considered “The Can Opener Dilemma” but then I realized that’s just a discount version of the old title.

My week without writing Homestuck posts was pretty nice, now back to business. I worked on some cool projects, but not the ones I originally intended to work on. And read some books. And also wrote this post over the course of one weekend.

Oh God dammit, that’s just what you need. More baked goods.

“thats classic john though he doesnt get pissed about anything except for the absolute dumbest shit” —Dave Strider

Where we left off, John was punched cold in the face by the revelation that he is not going to save the world. This massive twist caused John to go full circle, all the way back to freaking out just because he’s a little overexposed to baked goods. Whenever John has a mental breakdown or is upset by something, he finds something mundane and takes out all his anger on it.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate what Rose is sitting on.
Let’s also take a moment to appreciate Rose in general.

Perhaps you will take this spare moment to contemplate the Nannasprite’s strange tale. 

Yeah, still have no idea how Rose heard every word of Nannasprite’s story just like John did. I guess it’s not an important detail; sprites do whatever the story wants them to.

It may also behoove you to record your thoughts on these developments in your GameFaqs walkthrough/journal. It can be hard finding time to update it. In fact, you’re not even sure where you found the time to write what’s already there!

I think it makes perfect sense in Homestuck’s world that Rose can write massive walls of text no matter what constraints she’s facing. By questioning Rose’s ability to write this much, this passage is breaking some form of the fourth wall. If I had to choose one form of fourth wall it’s breaking, it would be the second fourth wall. This system of various fourth walls isn’t actually that complicated; the only important parts are the first fourth wall (the media vs. the audience) and the second fourth wall (the kids as playable characters vs. the kids as regular people).

For more rambles: starting in Act 3, I will discuss how villains in Homestuck connect to and break the first fourth wall based on a snippet of Hussie’s book commentary. As for the second fourth wall, Rose’s character is all about screwing with that wall. Now the third fourth wall (the wall between paradox space and Hussiespace), Jade is the only character other than Hussie’s self-insert that’s connected to it at all.

… What’s that look on your face? Are you telling me there’s another character with mind control powers who also messes with multiple fourth walls? One that has a contentious relationship with Hussie’s self-insert (and pretty much everyone for that matter)? Haha, you. Let’s talk about her another time, OK? I’d rather focus on important characters.

I suspect stuffing your face with a pillow wasn’t really “Rose’s” thing just yet.

I’m reading the book commentary along with this and OH MY GOD HUSSIE DID YOU JUST READ MY MIND OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

Notice how the game engine is flexible enough to switch between speaking in first person and second person voice. It will refer to the character as “you” most of the time, but will refer to him as “John” when the guy who is typing (WV) insists on addressing John directly. At that point, the “you” becomes the one who is typing, and John is just John. This metalogic is perforating one of the walls, but it’s hard to say which one. It is perhaps a wall that is shaped like a fractal, existing somewhere between the 3rd and the 4th.




2021 EDIT: In the interest of preservation, I’ve left the paragraphs above unedited. Though I haven’t edited much else in this post either.

Oh hey it’s John flipping the bird at WV who was ordering him to get cookies.

Hey WV, maybe it’s not the best idea to hassle someone in the middle of a mental breakdown?

to make Karkat a good character again
please Hussie? I know you have it in there somewhere…

This breakdown transitions us to a peek at WV, who slipped his finger and accidentally turned off caps lock. I have two things to talk about here.

First off, typos in Homestuck are a funny phenomenon. Typos as in characters making typos and acknowledging them, not the occasional actual errors in the comic. In real life, when talking to people online you’ll probably slip your fingers and accidentally misspell words quite a few times. But in Homestuck, typos are only done when used for a plot point (doesn’t have to be a big one, Jegus started out as a typo on Dave’s part) or when a character is drunk. In this case, WV’s accidental pressing of caps lock brings us to the second thing I want to talk about.

The second thing I want to talk about is shown above: WV pressing caps lock opens a capsule with food inside. This is a very minor pattern that the author seems to have had fun playing with: puns based on the names of keys on the keyboard. It’s a bit similar to the kids’ fetch modi based on data structures; one can see it as that pattern being subtly replicated in the exiles’ arc, but with something that the average person is more likely to understand.

If you’re intrigued by Rose’s character, maybe give cool and new web comic a read?
There’s really no character in Homestuck quite like Rose.

This next bit of Rose’s walkthrough is more of what we had before: a gigantic wall of words that’s completely useless to anyone left on Earth but a priceless resource for a group of alien kids.

It does have some interesting bits this time around. Rose deduces that her session of Sburb isn’t just two players, but rather a quartet of players. Clues in Nanna’s exposition, both in text and in visuals, add up to that conclusion. Patient readers willing to slog through Rose’s words get rewarded with some extra clarification. And that extra clarification invites a gigantic load of questions that these more patient readers would surely brim with ideas on.

This unfinished bit at the end is so funny to me. Not sure what to say about it, other than that I can’t imagine any other work of media where such a thing could exist. “But perhaps you don’t need to know any of this” is a brilliantly constructed phrase that I couldn’t imagine in anything other than a draft of Rose’s writing. On both sides of the scratch, I like to think that drafts of Complacency of the Learned are full of oddball phrases like this.

Through asking the “player” to leave her alone, Rose again breaks the second fourth wall. Wait, maybe it’s actually just the first fourth wall. Hussie you’re reading this, right? Be glad I supplied you with an easy-to-use wall nomenclature.

… Oh who am I kidding. I’m shouting into the void here, as usual.

Moving on, next we have the very first flashback scene in the comic. It takes place months in the past, on Rose’s birthday. An unwritten rule of Homestuck storytelling goes like this: if it’s not John’s birthday, then it better be someone else’s birthday or we’re not going to show it.

Something is different about Rose’s room, and not just the lighting. Where’s her mess of purple clothes and knitting supplies? 

Hussie said in his book commentary that Rose and Jade’s text colors look weird together, and I think I agree with him.
There’s just something off-putting about a wall of purple and green text compared to, say, red and blue, or blue and green.

As shown here, Rose got knitting supplies as a birthday present from John. Not enough people appreciate how much John has done to benefit his friends. As with John’s present to Dave, this present is touched upon here and then revisited when we read John’s letter to her.

On this page, we get the first of rather few Rose/Jade pesterlogs. Some people theorize that Rose and Jade don’t actually like each other all that much, or at least have the weakest friendship out of any pair of beta kids. Those theories make a lot of sense to me and thanks to them, I buy into this idea that Rose and Jade aren’t really friends. There’s a really good Reddit post theorizing about Rose and Jade’s relationship; read that and then go on. Most of my analysis of this pesterlog is inspired by that Reddit post.

GG: hi happy birthday rose!!! ❤ 
TT: Hello, and thanks. 
GG: did you get johns present yet? 
TT: I just opened it this very moment. What a stunning coincidence you would ask about it now. I am stunned. 
GG: yeah i know!! 
GG: what will you make with it? 
TT: And who said it was something from which something else could be made? 
GG: well john did tell me what it was duh….. 
TT: I suppose I’ll take a stab at learning the craft. 
TT: It’s the least I can do in response to the subtle dig concealed in his gesture. 
TT: He often tells me I “need a new hobby” when I make perfectly reasonable analytical remarks. 
GG: oh but rose i dont think he meant anything like that by it!! 
GG: you see not everybody always means the opposite of what they say the way you and dave always do 

It’s already clear that Rose doesn’t roll off Jade well. John is easygoing around Jade, while Dave opens up an inner flirty self with her around. It’s hard to call Rose and Jade “friends” though. They both seem to find each other a bit weird and annoying. The comic doesn’t even talk much about what they think of each other; it just roughly shows them not really getting along. How little their relationship is looked at says just as much as when their relationship is looked at.

TT: So, shall I expect a green package dropped to my house via airmail from whatever screwball cranny of the globe you’re tucked into? 
GG: err……. 
GG: no 😦 
GG: sorry but you are sort of hard shop for <_< 

Jade mostly acts the same to Rose as she does to John and Dave, but this line that Rose is “hard [to] shop for” shows that she doesn’t know Rose as well as she does the other two. Just a tiny hint at this lack of friendship from Jade’s perspective.

GG: besides i have something for you today that i think you will like better than some thing in a box! 
TT: Oh? 
GG: it is a tip!!!! 
TT: This is already intriguing enough to compensate for the grave scarcity of lavish gifts parachuting from the sky. Please go on. 
GG: did you have a pet a long time ago that died? 
TT: Yes. 
GG: ok well how did you feel about your cat, did you love him a lot? 
TT: “ok well”, I didn’t mention it was a cat, or that it was a male. Let’s pretend I’m surprised and you’re embarrassed and move on. 

Rose would never mockingly say “ok well” to John or Dave. Also, she seems to be long over playing along with Jade’s confusing nonsense. At this point, she sees Jade as just a confusing kid who tells her confusing things.

“ok well”, in all fairness this scene is a flashback, before Rose became a passionate knitter. One could speculate that Rose and Jade’s friendship improved past this point and this flashback scene is just back before they could be called “friends”. But their further conversations are just as cold as this one. If I notice any differences in Rose and Jade’s later conversations, I’ll be sure to compare them against this one.

TT: To answer your question, I would describe my feelings toward the animal as lukewarm. 
GG: ummmmm ok…. 
GG: thats fine!!! 
GG: it doesnt really matter i think, just….. 

Rose gives a characteristically cold response to Jade’s question and she is taken aback, stuttering for a moment before her next point. That’s another thing Rose is much less likely to do around John or Dave. She’s formed a deeper friendship with those two beyond her cold exterior, but not with Jade. It’s very unusual for Jade to be caught off guard like this when giving her friends bits of advice.

With this Rose/Jade relationship analysis mostly done, I can now analyze the wham line that immediately follows:

GG: what if someone told you you could play a game that would bring him back to life? 

This line alone carries a great deal of importance to the story. It is our very first indication that Jade isn’t just some goofy kid that knows the future: she is behind much more than we had realized. I’ve said plenty in prior posts that a common theme of the early acts is that the kids are all stuck in their little bubbles rather than the outside world. It only makes sense that Jade, the oddball among their group of friends, is behind how they started this whole adventure; their story confines everything to those four whenever possible. I’ll revisit this thought when we learn through a letter from John that Jade is the one who got their group of friends together.

TT: If someone told me that, I would regard the remark with a great deal of skepticism. 
TT: If that someone was you, on the other hand, then I would have to ask preemptively: 
TT: Is that someone you? 
GG: yes that someone is me!!!!!!!! 
GG: i just thought you might find it interesting 
TT: So what is this game? 
GG: oh i dont know 
GG: im just saying is all 
GG: i think youll hear about it later and maybe you can talk to john and dave about it 
GG: they are way more into all that stuff than i am!!!! 
TT: I’ll see what the word on the street is about it. In due time. 

This conversation shows an early hint at how predestination tends to work in Homestuck. When something is predestined, the story’s forces nudge things in the right direction; just barely enough to fulfill what’s supposed to happen. The subtlety of predestination’s forces helps make the story more engaging and complex, even if it might make more sense for predestination to be straightforward.

TT: For now I should probably order a copy of Knitting for Assholes. It would be a shame if I ran late with John’s present. 

This last line is one last indication that Rose and Jade don’t mesh well. Dave would snark about how horrible the “for Assholes” books are, while John would chat about his programming books in that series. Jade just doesn’t have anything she can add to that.

It’s also an indication that whatever Rose’s present to John is, it involves some form of knitting.

After this flashback we switch back to Dave, and his “stepping outside with vivid poetry and a misattributed quote” flash is really worth analyzing. His location is purportedly Houston, Texas but only marginally resembles what it looks like in real life. The title of Homestuck is more obvious than ever here: as far as Dave’s concerned, he doesn’t live in an awesome, bustling city, just a sea of generic apartments that look exactly like his.

This discussion reminds me of Sollux’s home, which is a troll replication of Dave’s complete with a city of identical buildings. Maybe Sollux’s hometown is an accurate representation of how Dave perceives the city of Houston? Or maybe it’s actually a colorful city and Sollux just can’t see it that way? Hiveswap definitely seems to give us a more colorful representation of Alternia than the comic proper does.

Next we see this orange swirly arc symbol, reflected in Dave’s shades. Unlike John and Rose’s meteor pictures, this is an arc symbol that expands way beyond the early acts; it’s mirrored in the trolls’ and especially the cherubs’ storylines.

The opposite of irony, summarized in one picture.

What’s the first thing we see when Dave enters his living room? It’s uh…

What the hell is that?

Oh, haha, that’s right! It’s just a cute and silly little Mr. T puppet! It’s even handcuffed to an equally cute and silly Chuck Norris puppet!!!

The escalation in weirdness is obvious once again. John entering his living room was simple, Rose entering her living room was more unusual with a sudden appearance of a giant wizard statue, and Dave’s living room throws away everything we thought we knew by with whatever the hell these puppets are supposed to be. They’re ten levels of irony or something? Dave’s bro definitely doesn’t have any sort of strange problem or fetish.

Keep in mind that Bro Strider really is obsessed with being ironic, as Dirk’s character indicates. Just not quite in the way Dave thinks. And his puppets are completely unironic.

As Dave explores further, we see a mess of video game controllers, wires, Game Bro magazines, and some nude puppets. The way the guardians’ collections are distributed get more and more extreme for each of the beta kids. Puppets are littered all around this guy’s house for some reason.

Note the wizard puppet on the top right.
Were Roxy and Dirk longtime friends in this universe?

The video game pause screen on Dave’s TV corresponds to the Hi-C commercial that played on John’s TV. Again, the TV shows something more eccentric and over the top this time around.

Lil’ Cal suddenly appears! Dave is caught off guard but immediately convinces himself everything’s cool. His guardian’s entrance is yet another thing done in the strangest way that isn’t an outright pattern breaker.

Most of the video games I played as a kid were just as garbage as this.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Who needs Mario and Zelda???

Every so often, the story will take a moment to parody video games through in-story video games (Sburb doesn’t count), not the comic’s usual interface. And those scenes are quite the treasure. It’s so funny seeing Hussie show his perception of what old mediocre video games are like, just like with old mediocre movies. I connect to being inundated in old mediocre video games on a very personal level. Well, old mediocre video games and Sonic 2.

Dave takes a moment to give Cal a fistbump, and this panel somehow looks a bit endearing. Out of context it could be seen as him genuinely looking up to these wacky puppets.

Dave logs onto Bro’s computer, entering the password “lilcal”.

On the desktop is a hodgepodge of unnamed folders to store all the stuff he’s working on. No one can decipher his organization system but him. 

I think these folders might be a metaphor for how Dave perceives Bro vs. how he actually is. Dave thinks his guardian is ironic again and deliberately overcomplicates things, but my guess is that all these unnamed folders show that Bro is buried deep within his weird computer projects and doesn’t take care to organize things like a normal person. He can remember where everything is on his computer because he’s just that obsessive with maintaining his projects.

I miss the old Internet.
Well, who doesn’t?

The Complete Bullshit application is certainly a product of its time. Everything in it screams 2009 Internet. Today everything’s so much more confined to chat clients and social media sites.

Most of the websites in this window are about puppets and video games. The odd one out here is Skaianet’s website. It’s an early hint for attentive readers that the guardians know more than they let on and were secretly involved with Sburb, which is expanded on when Rose explores the Skaianet lab.

Interestingly, some of the Complete Bullshit tabs relate to SBaHJ and Dave’s other work, as shown here. It’s stated that Dave and Bro keeps tabs on each other’s creative work; Bro might even show a bit of fondness for Dave’s work. If the comic went just a tad different, more positive aspects of Dave and Bro’s relationship could have been explored and reflected on. There’s just a few hints that adult Dirk might even be proud of his son/brother, shown in obtuse ways. But rather than expanding on this idea directly, any hints of proudness are taken away from adult Dirk and moved into teenage Dirk. And this method of transferring characters actually works well and makes for good scenes, even if it neglects hints of positivity on Dave’s side of things.

The chatbots mirror the businessmen in Dad Egbert’s Serious Business app.
It’s only natural that in Dave’s case, they aren’t real people.

When we check out one of Bro’s websites, it’s clear that he puts unfathomable amounts of work into making money from these puppets. He programs chatbots and puts together elaborate videos, all to get people mysteriously transfixed on puppet ass. Business as usual in the Homestuck world, yeah it makes perfect sense.

The bucket on top of the door is the most efficient way possible to establish what point in time we’re at.

Dave gets creeped out a bit by these puppets, so he pesters John to ease his nerves, saying that puppets are cool and awesome as usual. Poor John is on the receiving end of Dave’s hidden nervous breakdown, all just because Dave loves him. Or he would be if he wasn’t totally distracted by a bucket.

Dave and Rose’s conversation about puppets doesn’t read much differently from Dave’s perspective. It’s a foregone conclusion that Dave is in denial about the puppets, and now we see firsthand that Dave will freely disclose the truth to Rose but not to John.

TG: i mean dont get me wrong i think its cool and all 
TG: the semi-ironic puppet thing or whatever 
TG: or semi-semi ironic 
TG: man i dont even know 
TG: im just starting to think some of this shit is going a little far and its kind of fucked up 
TT: I’ve seen his websites. 
TT: I like them. 
TG: haha yeah well YOU WOULD 

Oh yeah, this passage still exists. It’s now more clear than ever that Rose would have loved to be raised by this weirdo just as much as Dave would like to have a mother. The book commentary even remarks as such:

Rose likes bro’s puppet porn sites. It’s almost like they would have similar styles and would get along pretty well if bro was her age. Oh well, that’s the end of that fruitless hypothetical reverie.

The Acts 1-3 books were made before Homestuck ended, and as such a few of Hussie’s plans that didn’t come to be leak out a bit. It’s so obvious that he intended Rose and Dirk to have a conversation but sort of canned it near the end, after the retcon happened and after he decided not to have any more dialogue after Collide.

… Please tell me Hussie still remembers how to write these characters. Not like how painfully out-of-character Karkat was near the end. I need my Rose/Dirk conversation already!!!

TG: oh man i wish lil cal wouldnt look at me like that 
TG: with those dead eyes jesus 
TG: sometimes i dream that hes real and hes talking to me and i wake up in a cold sweat and basically flip the fuck out 

This bit of information about Dave’s dreams could have been easily written as narration rather than a pesterlog. It’s a surprisingly good choice to put it in a pesterlog, emphasizing that he’s leaking things to Rose that we aren’t supposed to know yet. But now we know and there’s no going back.

“Seconds in the future, but not many…” establishes that Dave is almost caught up with the present.

Rose deploys the Punch Designix and I’m still burnt out on discussing Sburb mechanics. I’ve already gone over the important stuff anyway.

The imp pogo ride is another one of those early attempts at interactive pages that doesn’t accomplish much.
As before, it’s a necessary part of Hussie finding a form of interactive pages that works with the story.

After a short weird mini-game where we play as an imp on John’s pogo ride, Rose drops the piano and kills the imp. I’ve always found the piano’s destruction to be a deeply upsetting scene, especially with John’s reaction.

TT: You’ll need to pick up the spoils in person. I can’t interact with the grist. 
EB: so… 
EB: that means i have to go out the back door? 
TT: Yes. Is there a problem? 
EB: well it may sound dumb, but i was hoping to avoid nanna and her spooky ghost cookies. 
TT: You’re right, that does sound dumb. 

Towards the end of Act 1, Rose tries to decipher John’s motives when he snuck around and carelessly messed with his dad’s possessions, leading to some very strange pesterlogs. This idea returns here, but this time John too admits it sounds dumb to sneak around to avoid baked goods. Or maybe he only knows Rose thinks it’s dumb. Unlike Jade, John has an unbreakably strong bond with Rose.

Since Rose isn’t a force of predestination, she understands and caters to John’s strange issues. This leads to creative uses of Sburb mechanics which I always love.

EB: well, what are you building? 
TT: Stairs. 
TT: They are fairly expensive actually. 
EB: oh man… 
EB: i could have warned you about stairs, rose! 

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The first ever SBaHJ reference used in-comic. I discussed the role of SBaHJ in the story last post, but I think I have some new insight to share. John is the obvious uniting force of the kids through seeing the best in everyone despite their weirdnesses, while Dave is another strong uniting force because all three enjoy making memes out of his comics. John and Dave both know how to get along with everyone. I think it makes sense that Rose and Jade, the only pair of characters that doesn’t involve the “uniting force” characters, don’t have anything resembling a strong relationship.

TT: Consider me fully briefed on the matter of stairs. 
TT: Now if you don’t mind, it’s hard enough to concentrate on this without immersing ourselves in Strider’s non sequitur. 
EB: did you know he thinks puppets are cool? 
TT: Does he? 
EB: he’s so dumb!! 

John is actually aware Dave is in denial. He just doesn’t know that he’s aware. Just one of many cases where John doesn’t fully know something about himself.

John looks under his sink, which hasn’t been done before. It’s probably a bit unexpected that under there are no hilarious clowns, just a bunch of shaving cream. I’m not sure to what degree this is an intentional hint at his dad’s true nature; shaving cream is a running gag in the comic after all. This page definitely establishes the shaving cream gag and may or may not establish his father’s hidden depths.

I already explained last post that sprite powers are whatever the story wants. No need to repeat that.

John’s living room is now a giant mess of imps. Not much to say about this and probably most of the fighting scenes, other than that I find the crazy art with imps messing around to be very fun and charming.

John fighting the imps in his room is super fun and goofy. Maybe I’ll have more to say about it as he alchemizes cooler weapons.

> well done, john. polite congratulations.

For some reason you feel a sense of positive reinforcement. Wherever that feeling is coming from, it sure is a welcome change from your erratic moods earlier.

Through this time, WV has given John polite lowercase commands thanks to his book of human etiquette. These commands are phrased strangely, with terms like “sir boy”. But the etiquette WV learned worked perfectly! Hussie speculates in his book commentary that the etiquette book was written by a carapacian, which makes sense because this method of politeness is mechanical but does exactly what it needs to.

More creative use of game mechanics. Lifting the safe up this high really catches you by surprise.

In a small funny moment, WV’s commands lead John to wonder where he can find a can opener. Exile commands messing with people’s heads is so much fun, I wish it was done more often. It culminates in the scene with AR commanding Dave, which is one of the most side-splitting parts of the entire comic.

When we peek into WV’s book on politeness, I can see why Hussie imagined a carapacian wrote it. It’s the most obtuse and technical thing we’ve seen yet.

Rose’s walkthrough continues with a series of screencaps. A few of them have interesting bits:

This screencap is useful to those that may not have explored every nook and cranny of the walkaround game. It answers the question of how John still has electricity in a way slightly more explicit than before. It’s interesting that the author felt the need to clarify how John’s house is still powered.

Most of the other screencaps are recapping what we saw from John’s perspective, but narrated in Rose’s style. This one above is odd though. It teases the mystery of John’s father and touches on narrative weirdness, where Rose is only allowed to see what John has seen. Rose is crazy quick to catch that their game is playing off of narrative tropes and what’s logical in a story. And boy does she screw with everything about that idea.

At this point the pattern’s obvious: Rose drops John’s possessions around the house to kill imps. These two panels take advantage of how obvious it is: we don’t need to see the Sburb cursor drop the shelf of clowns, and as an added bonus, this lack of cursor conveys that John is distracted by can opener antics.

The velvet pillow is under Rose’s chin now.
How endearing.

Dave isn’t quite caught up with the present yet. We’re at another pesterlog which makes no sense out of context. Hilarious from one side, horrifying from the other. It makes sense that it’s hilarious the first time around because it’s the second pesterlog lifted from Hussie’s real-life conversations.

TG: ok wait hold on why am i getting this stupid game for you 
TG: youre the one who should be wrist deep in puppet ass 
TT: What is the specific problem? 
TG: the problem is i am up to my goddamn neck in fucking puppet dong 
TT: You know you like the mannequin dick. Accept it. 
TG: i am enrobed in chafing, wriggling god fucking damned puppet pelvis 
TG: an obscenely long, coarse kermit cock is being dragged across my anguished face 
TT: Let’s put this into perspective. You put up with the puppet prostate because you love it. 
TT: Also, coarse is a good word. 
TG: you dont seem to harbor any sympathy for the fact that ive burrowed fuck deep into lively, fluffy muppet buttock 

This is gold. I have no idea how Hussie could have possibly had the idea to take some real conversation where he wrote down lengthy metaphors about puppet ass and then use his comic to make that conversation literal. It’s one of the most genius things he’s ever done.

TG: im whirling in the terrible cyclone at the epicenter of my own personal holocaust of twitching foam noses 
TG: its like a fucking apocalypse of perky proboscis here 
TG: like 
TG: the proboscalypse i guess 
TT: Are you going to start rapping about this? 
TG: what no 
TG: no listen 
TT: Prong of flesh bereft of home 
TT: Found solace ‘twixt a cleft of foam. 
TG: no oh jesus 
TT: Of apocalypse your thoughts eclipse 
TT: A painted pair of parted lips 
TT: That dare through kiss to stir the air 
TT: That teases tufts of orange hair. 
TT: And though faces flush in lovers’ fits, 
TT: Hands snug in plush as gloves befit. 

The humor is cranked up even more when Rose takes the role of the rapper. How could I have possibly forgotten that this is one of the best pesterlogs in all of Homestuck? It’s a great feeling when a character grows on you when rereading something, as is going on for me with Rose.

TG: ok dickinson if you can shut your perfumey trap for a half second 
TG: this is serious 
TG: i am just saying 
TG: if i see one more soft bulbous bottom being like 
TG: kind of jutting out and impudent or whatever 
TG: im gonna fly off the handle 
TG: im gonna do some sort of acrobatic fucking PIROUETTE off the handle and win like a medal or some shit 
TT: Then let’s hope there will be a squishy derriere somewhere below the handle to break your fall. 

And here’s the birth of the “acrobatic fucking pirouette” running gag. Every use of this gag from here on out isn’t there just for fun; it’s to deliberately call back to this moment and toy with it. Every time this moment is toyed with is worthy of its own merit.

Another case where Homestuck is a product of its time.
I’m glad warped text captchas aren’t much of a thing anymore. Though I fucking hate “select all images that contain ___” with a passion.

Here’s where we revisit captchalogue cards, specifically the “captcha” part. Many readers probably wonder why it’s called “captchalogue” at first and forget about it, but are then surprised to find the real reason for that word. I’m not surprised that according to the book commentary, Hussie planned the captcha feature from the start.

John may be airheaded sometimes, but he’s far from stupid. He quickly learns that this captcha mechanic is useful. I might even say he’s pretty good with computers but a little misguided in learning to code. Now when is he going to talk about programming with Roxy like Dave said he would? Come on Hussie, fulfilling these promises isn’t that hard.

Here’s a bit of book commentary I have something interesting to say about:

And now his Cirque du Soleil poster got creamed by a bathtub? That’s it, he’s grounded for life.

The first few Homestuck books were originally released around 2013, some point in early to mid Act 6. Hussie saying that John would be grounded for life reminds me of how Jane is grounded after messing with her house. I’ve already talked a lot about how Act 6 Act 1 is something of a modernized version of Act 1; considering Hussie’s use of the phrase “grounded for life”, I really think he modernized Act 1 largely on an unconscious level.

— turntechGodhead [TG] changed his mood to RANCOROUS — 

TT: John, I’m about to throw a bath tub through your wall. 
TT: Watch out. 

Both Dave and Rose go a bit off the rails if they go long enough without talking to John.

This image above is interesting. It shows the hole in Dad’s room above the hole in John’s study. The gray colored area probably looks like simple shading at a glance, but if you look closely having reread the comic you can tell that the gray color hints more at what’s really inside that room. John and Rose discuss that mysterious room accordingly, with John unaware of what he’s in for.

It’s another copy of COLONEL SASSACRE’S DAUNTING TEXT OF MAGICAL FRIVOLITY AND PRACTICAL JAPERY. This one looks really old, perhaps an original printing. Could it be the same one involved with your grandmother’s unfortunate accident on that fateful day? DAD would never speak a word about it, but maybe NANNA wouldn’t be so tight-lipped?

You give it a cursory perusal. It appears to be similar to your reprinting, listing all the japes and chicanery you have come to know and love. You captchalogue it, thinking you may give it a closer look later. 

As with Bro’s Skaianet website, we get another hint that the guardians know more than they let on. We don’t know the story behind this book yet, but the narration slightly hints that some time travel is involved. A very subtle hint when reading for the first time; a slightly clearer hint when rereading.

On the other side of the scratch, Jane’s copy of Sassacre’s is abridged and clearly different from the copy John was born with. Helps her avoid coming to any conclusion that they are the same book or that any broader time travel is involved.

Can we stop and appreciate that in the Homestuck universe, giant books about shaving are a normal thing that exists?

The Fatherly Gent’s Shaving Almanac is locked inside that safe, which is all that’s needed to establish that John was meant to open this safe as a celebration of adulthood. Just because Mr. Egbert planned things out in advance doesn’t mean he knew anything close to the full picture.

It seems he has been collecting scraps from the news over the years. These articles go back decades.

Now THIS is a strong hint that Dad Egbert knows more than he lets on. If you’re rereading, you’ll quickly catch a pattern that the guardians all know bits and pieces of stuff about the game.

The most interesting part of these papers is the date on top: April 13, 199X. The date is enough to hint that these meteors relate to the game’s broader story, but not enough for us to know for a fact the story of John’s birth and Nanna’s death. One could say the same about the “[Betty] Crocker Facility Leveled” headline; a small hint that Crocker has broader relevance to the story beyond being a company John hates. All this foreshadows stuff the author had surely planned by this point. I’d guess that this was also around the time he planned out the kids’ family tree.

The note on the side of the wall tells us once again that John’s father knew secrets related to the story behind Sburb, but not everything about its true purpose. He probably read his mother’s note in the book and concluded from it that his son was meant to read it the moment he hit adulthood. As such, he added in newspapers explaining the story behind Nanna’s death, and also a shaving almanac. Dad’s idea that John would grow up to be strong enough to lift a heavy safe doesn’t make any sense until we see him easily lift a heavy safe. After that point, if you think back to John’s safe it’s clearer than ever that Dad Egbert had the strange idea that his son would grow up to be just like him.

Now the blank captchalogue card on the floor, I don’t think has much of a deep story behind it. If anything, I’d imagine it returns to the comic’s roots in riffing off of adventure games, hiding free blank cards in unexpected places with no explanation.

After the copy of Sassacre’s slays the imp, we get more RPG exaggerations in a series of three entities gaining levels: Colonel Sassacre levels up, the bathtub levels up, and the slain safe is carried to Vaulthalla. These are all very silly and I can tell Hussie had fun coming up with rung names. If you’ve ever wasted hours on TV Tropes, you’d know that the bit with Vaulthalla would qualify as a “big-lipped alligator moment”. But as the book commentary suggests, Vaulthalla doesn’t completely go to waste; this art style is quite clearly a proto-Alternia, which may or may not have been on a conscious level. 

Next a brand new teaser emerges: a creature much bigger and more fearsome than imps. I’m going to stop here.

See you next time as an obscenely long, coarse Kermit cock is dragged across Dave’s anguished face.

Next => Part 7: What Sword?

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