Homestuck post series 5th anniversary post

I just realized that two days ago was the fifth anniversary of my Homestuck blog post series. I’m not surprised I missed the date this year, because I haven’t been thinking about Homestuck much as of late. Instead, I’ve been working hard on making SRB2 8-bit covers, binge watching through Phineas and Ferb which I forgot for something like five years how much I liked, and doing a semester of almost entirely online classes (as in, one of the classes has in-person exams but that’s it) while I go to campus for work.

As important as Homestuck is to me, I don’t really feel like doing a heartfelt speech about it today. Instead, I’ll say that my Homestuck post series will resume when that fan project I’ve mentioned before of a definitive way to read Homestuck as originally intended is released. I was just talking about that project with the person running it today, which reminded me I had missed the post series’ fifth anniversary. Technically speaking, it is the fifth anniversary of the release of the series’ first post, but I consider the post series’ anniversary to be the release of the introduction post two days before that. Although I really don’t care for Homestuck^2 or whatever other Homestuck media is being made, I am greatly looking forward to this new way to read Homestuck as originally intended.

It’s a little awkward that my post series is on hiatus right before the last post before the Gigapause, but I guess that’s just how it is. My personal Gigapause with those posts was the one from February 2017 to December 2018 anyway and it’s highly unlikely I’ll have another pause anywhere near that big before I finish my Homestuck posts.

Homestuck post series update: The Imminent Personal Gigapause

It’s been over a month since my last Homestuck post, so I figured it was a good idea to post an update on those posts while I’m on a week-long trip to Vermont, a state I’m legally allowed to stay in during this bizarre as hell year. I’ll keep things simple and to the point: I will release one more Homestuck post during or shortly after this vacation (the final part of A6A6I2 before Homestuck started the year-long Gigapause), and then put my Homestuck post series on an indefinite hiatus. It’s thematically fitting to do a pause corresponding with one of Homestuck’s pauses, and I’ll be as transparent as possible about why I’ve chosen to do this hiatus.1

DISCLAIMER: I do not have any insider knowledge about Homestuck media whatsoever, unless you count some fan music. When I say “as transparent as possible”, I simply mean that I don’t normally like publicly talking about Homestuck fandom drama.

A few weeks ago (I think it was?), a series of email exchanges between Andrew Hussie, an anonymous figure who I think was one of Hussie’s friends, and two staff members of the controversial Homestuck Unofficial Discord Server (which I’ve been a longtime on-and-off member of) was publicly posted and led to a lot of discourse. Those were the email exchanges that led ownership of the Discord server and corresponding subreddit to be transferred from a controversial figure (Makin) to a less controversial one (Drew Linky), and featured heavy discussion of a controversial figure who was heavily involved in Homestuck’s recent media named Kate Mitchell.

I won’t beat around the bush here: reading what Hussie had to say in those email exchanges downright sickened me. Although I respect the end result of that discussion (Drew becoming the new owner of the Discord server and a “peace pledge” of sorts), it still was a rough experience reading the conversations that led to that result. If you want to see what he had to say, you can probably easily find it yourself, but be warned: it’s extremely draining. Shortly after reading some of those email exchanges, I left the server out of disgust with Homestuck’s current state, not because I think Hussie’s group of friends was in the right or anything (though there is no denying that other sides of the Homestuck community have also made mistakes), but just because I don’t want to hear about this drama anymore. I love Homestuck to death, but I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point regarding caring about its current franchise and I don’t want my perception of this wonderful work of media tarnished any longer—not for a long time, at least.

The only reason I’m not putting my Homestuck post series on hiatus right now instead of later is because it would be so thematically fitting for me to do a hiatus corresponding with Homestuck’s Gigapause. For now, I’ll try to keep this blog updated with posts about other topics, if those come to mind. Maybe I could post about music more often?

A few words about this Homestuck^2 thing

I have absolutely no idea what to say about this new Homestuck continuation thing that just dropped today in celebration of [S] Cascade’s eighth anniversary, other than the following: whatever it turns out to be, unless it somehow turns out to be ABYSMALLY bad, I will include Homestuck^2 in my Homestuck blog post series right after the epilogues, which will themselves be right after the Snapchat credits which came out exactly three years ago today.

I’ve kind of put this blog on the backburner lately, partly due to schoolwork. Hopefully I’ll finish reformatting my old posts probably in November or so? And make new Homestuck posts too probably.

Pesterquest Vol. 4 (The Loneliest Girl in the World): Review and Analysis

hell. fucking. YES!!!!!!

If you’ve been following Homestuck/Hiveswap news in the past month, you’re probably aware of Pesterquest, a visual novel series following up the Hiveswap Friendsim with the MSPA Reader meeting the cast of Homestuck itself. I didn’t write any blog posts about the first few installments (John, Rose, and Dave) because there wasn’t much to say about them: they were decently written but unremarkable aside from a few moments. The most recent installment, however, focuses on Jade Harley and totally blew away my expectations!!! I was excited for Jade’s route the moment I heard someone say it was written by a major fan of her character, especially considering that Jade’s screen time in the epilogues was extremely disappointing, and it was well worth getting hyped for. I’ll go through the route in order of the bad endings, followed by the good ending, in roughly the same style as my numbered Homestuck blog posts. The dialogue has been transcribed by yours truly.

Continue reading

Homestuck Mini(?)-Post: In Defense of Act 6 Act 1

This isn’t really a mini-post at all; it’s pretty much a full blown essay. My Homestuck posts are still on a short pause, but I have an announcement post planned for Friday!

Late in Act 4 I fell behind in the Homestuck community reread and made my own blog posts instead. But in the past few days, when the reread went through Act 6 Act 1, I decided to join in again and share my thoughts.

It’s no secret that the early Act 6 acts with the alpha kids are polarizing. Some people like those acts, some people can’t stand them. Rereading the first of those acts, my feelings are more positive than negative but I do have some issues. What follows is a rundown of my thoughts on this act; skip to the end if you want it briefly summarized.

Note in advance: I still stand by most of what I said in my Act 6 Act 1 posts from 2016 (Part 60 / Part 61 / Part 62 / Part 63). Feel free to refer back to those for more detail. 


INTRO

Overall, Act 6 Act 1 is a remix of Act 1 done a bit more in the style of Act 5 Act 2. While Homestuck itself opened with a single introductory page, Act 6 opens with a big flash teasing our four new heroes and their new alien friend; I absolutely love that flash and it still gives me chills. After Jane and Jake are introduced we get a character select screen, where you can start with Jane or start with Jake. This time I started with Jane, then did Jake.

SELECTION SCREEN: JANE

Jane’s half of the selection screen is a bit like John exploring his bedroom, but without any of the captchalogue nonsense and modernized in many other ways. A whole different kind of nonsense is shown in Jane’s half: she is shown to be badly brainwashed by the Condesce, who has led her to believe Betty Crocker is just a friendly company that makes super awesome technology and the hyped up game of Sburb.

Jane has three pesterlogs in her selection screen:

  • One with Jake which is mostly filler and some hints at plot stuff. Kind of boring and reads way better from Jake’s perspective.
  • One with Calliope which is also mostly filler and some hints at plot stuff. Again a little boring but it works because it’s a brand new character’s debut.
  • One with Roxy which is incredibly fun and hilarious, setting us up for a brand new character readers will surely be excited to meet and with some actually exciting plot stuff. Is it any wonder Roxy is everyone’s waifu?

General thoughts on these pesterlogs: My biggest issue with the Act 6 Act 1 pesterlogs is that they tend to start with a bunch of general nonsense, setting the rough tone of the characters’ personalities. It wasn’t really much of a problem that the Act 1 pesterlogs were short; the characters were set up in a perfectly fine and enjoyable way. And this is a case where if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

SELECTION SCREEN: JAKE

Jake’s half of the selection screen is more interesting than Jane’s (who would have guessed?). We get a much more subdued and lonely spin on Jade’s magical home life and it’s surprisingly well done. The narration also doesn’t take long to establish how the bunny mission goes from Jake’s perspective, which also works really well. I’m pretty happy the story gets that arc out of the way early on; it only makes sense to do it now rather than pretending it’s a big mystery.

Jake has four pesterlogs in his selection screen:

  • One with Calliope which gets a lot of nonsense out of the way fast and has more plot hints. Still does get kind of rambly though.
  • One with Dirk, no wait, his auto-responder. Probably the most stupidly rambly of them all, mostly tolerable because the whole pesterlog is pretty much a ruse.
  • One with Jane that we already saw from Jane’s perspective. As I said before, it reads better from Jake’s perspective because the rambly opening seems a bit less out of place and it’s a little more enticing seeing Jane vaguely describe mysteries from Jake’s perspective rather than her own perspective.
  • A second one with Dirk’s responder. This time it’s actually useful to the plot and interesting to read. It also shows some parallels between Dave’s relationship with Bro and Jake’s relationships with Dirk’s splinters.

In this short reread, I wanted to see if Act 6 Act 1 read better from Jane’s perspective first instead of Jake’s perspective. Now I know that the answer is Jake. Jake’s pages give Act 6 a strong start with some plot stuff tying back to earlier acts and ruses involving Dirk; Jane’s pages are more laid back and seem harmless after reading Jake’s. If you start with Jane, you’re more likely to think “oh my god this is so boring” in her half.

General thoughts on the guardian traits: A lot of what we learn about the alpha kids and their ancestors is extrapolations from the beta kids’ guardians and their traits. Act 6 Act 1 is weird in that regard, both in Jane and Jake’s parts; it’s loaded up with early installment weirdness. In those pages, the author chooses guardian and beta kid traits to call back to, and some of them work while others don’t. If you want specific examples, just reread the act yourself. I don’t want this post to get even more rambly than it already is.

THE FOREBODING DREAM

The next big thing that happens is a pesterlog between Jane and Jake, where she recounts a foreboding dream where Prospitians gathered around holding a funeral for Jake’s dream self. The surprise factor in this scene, as well as the message it gives, is worth analyzing.

A player’s dream self being dead in advance isn’t normally something that just happens. You can’t do that, you just can’t. Prospit and Derse both follow strict rules which are always followed without questioning. What factor could have possibly caused these rules to be thrown out the window?

I bet many readers did not expect the Condesce to be behind these rules getting broken. Jack Noir is the one carapacian who isn’t afraid to break rules, but is always held in check by the black queen. With the queen usurped, everything breaks loose; for more discussion on this topic, check out this post.

Jane thinks the dream was supposed to warn her of something, but she wasn’t sure what. It’s our very first clue to readers that things are going to go even more off the rails than ever before.

SETTING THE STAGE ON JAKE’S ISLAND

As Jake explores his island, everything we knew about Jade’s home life is beautifully subverted. His house was destroyed, with only his room and the small area below remaining; his island is a dark forested area, filled with replications of the trolls’ lusii. I think these scenes are a highlight of this act: it puts a new twist on Jade’s magical life on an island and brings back the lusii in a magnificently unusal way. 

Jake’s following conversation with Roxy is pretty cool too; a decent mix of character stuff and plot stuff. Roxy’s use of troll terminology is a subtle hint that she lives in the future, which I kind of wish was done more often rather than coming across as early installment weirdness here.

JANE’S FINAL(?) MOMENTS

Jane and Jake both have robot pseudo-guardians that I consider to count as Dirk’s splinters. Jake has Brobot who does much more later on. Jane has Lil’ Sebastian who creates a mess in the house. Jane’s conversation with Dirk (finally, the actual Dirk!) is super fun and balances characterization with plot discussion, plus a quick look into Dave’s adult self; a very strong start for Dirk’s character.

Jane’s echo of the nonsense where John (with Rose’s help) messes up his house is quite an oddity. The antics in the early acts were just the kids playing Sburb, but the antics in this act are Jane making a fool of herself trying to leave her home. It’s a much more literal interpretation of the title “Homestuck” than before.

The end of this act is super interesting to me. It’s an echo of the end of Act 1 in a way as direct as possible: a surprise explosion that, to our knowledge, would kill our new hero. In both cases, we have no idea how the victim could possibly have survived.

The Hussiebot interlude following this act is just as hilarious as I remember it being but I’d count it more as Act 6 Intermission 1 so I won’t talk about it here.


Strong points: Three of the four protagonists are engaging to read and follow.* The twists upon the early acts are surprising and subvert many expectations. And lots of cool mysteries are teased.

Weak points: The pesterlogs spend too much time with lengthy greetings and closings. Some of the guardian callbacks are forced and then left in the dust due to early installment weirdness. One of the four protagonists is not that engaging to read and follow.

* This also holds for the beta kids in the first two acts. Jade in the early acts is kind of a shit character.

Overall: Act 6 Act 1 isn’t as bad as people say but is certainly flawed in its presentation. I can understand people’s annoyances with it, but the positive aspects often aren’t appreciated.

Homestuck Mini-Post: A Revelation About Caliborn and Dirk Strider

Today I realized something about the best character in Homestuck that should have been obvious a long time ago.

Caliborn (the best character) always says that Dirk (also one of the best characters) is the only tolerable one of the alpha kids and his death doesn’t have to be as painful as the others. Until today, I took that literally, akin to Jack Noir’s relationship with his fellow Derse agents; that Caliborn despises Dirk, but less than the others. But now, it’s painfully obvious* that Caliborn is a major fan of Dirk and legitimately idolizes him. As much as Caliborn can’t stand the other three, he genuinely wants to be best friends with this guy.

* I keep using that phrase dammit

Caliborn was always a metaphor for people who read Homestuck and despise it, as was made clear in his debut. But deep down, Caliborn is also a metaphor for people who are fans in denial. He represents fans of something—not even necessarily Homestuck—who are embarrassed about it and very poorly hide it. Think of a guy that thinks he will be ostracized if he likes anime, and thus says that the one anime he really likes, maybe one many people consider to be trashy, “isn’t completely terrible”. That’s how Caliborn feels about Dirk.

EDIT (1/11/2019): I realized there’s something in the comic even more fitting to my analogy, especially the “trashy anime” part, than what I just mentioned. On this page, starting from Dirk’s line “Does your sister even know you’re into this sappy shipping stuff?”, Caliborn insists his interest is completely ironic; he could not more blatantly be a fan in denial.

A Homestuck fanfic that everyone should read

I’ve shilled Detective Pony and cool and new web comic, both ABSOLUTE MASTERWORKS, on this blog far too many times, but there’s a third Homestuck fanfiction that everyone who liked anything about the comic should read, that I never shilled on my blog until today. I hope it’s a suitable Christmas present for anyone following this blog.

Behold the glorious Roxy’s Threesome Addiction. As the title (and the content warning) suggests, the fanfic is not safe for work, but don’t let that scare you. I’m not normally into sexual fanfiction in the slightest, so that should indicate how good it is.

Roxy’s Threesome Addiction answers the question everyone (read: nobody) has been asking: what happens when stereotypical smut is written by someone that understands Homestuck character writing through and through? It’s absolutely hilarious, I can’t stress enough how much I love everything about. Every character’s personality (especially John and Dave, most prominently featured) is nailed perfectly; the only one that acts out of character is Roxy, which is excusable because as the title suggests, she has gotten into a crazy threesome addiction and the story revolves around this strange behavior.

The story starts with a level of adult content that is little more than people loosely discussing sex, but gradually becomes basically on the level of normal porn; if you read the story, it’s probably OK if you stop at whatever part makes you feel uncomfortable, like I did. But if you skip parts of it, there’s one part that you should read at all costs: the conversation at the start of Chapter 6 (aka Part 5). It’s too good. Really, I think you should man up and read the whole thing regardless, even if the sexual content is a bit much for one sitting. I can’t overstate how good it is.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Homestuck Mini-Post: About John Egbert and Shipping

NOTE: If you’re reading this, my Homestuck post series is back on hiatus until some time before 4/13/2019. Maybe you’re looking for post number 82, my latest post? More information on the pause can be found there.

I purposely scheduled this post a few days later than I actually wrote it, which was pretty much right after I released post 82.

Also I recently updated my post series’ introduction post again!


In the past few days, I’ve been rereading a lot of my old posts about Homestuck. One bad thing about the posts that really sticks out to me is my discussion of romantic relationships and foreshadowing thereof, which I kind of read through gritted teeth.

This is strongest when I reread my discussions of foreshadowing ships involving John Egbert, the comic’s protagonist. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote all of that; now, I can definitely say there is no conceivable way John had genuine feelings for Rose or Vriska, nor is it very likely Hussie thought super far in advance to set him up with Roxy*. While it is fun to point out early instances that can be seen as ships that you like, it was incredibly misinformed of me to think of these instances as anything other than John not knowing what he’s talking about, and I kind of hate how biased I was in that regard, while denying anything about some of the more controversial ships. It is painfully obvious he doesn’t understand how romance works until maybe some time before he meets Roxy, and that is only because the comic blatantly sets them up as a pairing.

* Probably a fair bit in advance actually. But definitely nowhere near before any conception of Roxy existed.

The main point is: I take back at least 90% of what I said about things being foreshadowing for ships. Also I fully admit to being guilty of double standards in those posts. Maybe when I make the abridged edition, or deluxe edition, or whatever I want to call it, of my blog posts, I’ll scrub them of this bias. I won’t change the original posts, but instead not have as much bias in the new posts (or webpage? this really hasn’t been thought out yet).

Another update not really update about my Homestuck blog posts (more about my relationship with the comic)

Just a reminder that I still absolutely want to finish these posts someday! I think it would be a lot of fun to restart on the comic’s 10th anniversary (4/13/2019), but right now I have other random projects I’m getting carried away with.

Part of why I’m making this post is that going by my Twitter lately, it may seem like I have a “tsundere” relationship with Homestuck, where I hate on it but secretly still care about it a lot. And that’s partially true, but the “hate” part is really my grievances/annoyances with that weird Twitter community trending lately where everyone obsesses over nothing but fantrolls and the other absurdly mechanical stuff and just thinks they have the right to name themselves after a work of media which is, let’s say, special to me. I guess it doesn’t help that the author’s presence can be best described as follows: those who liked the actual comic written by a man with a stellar sense of humor are Jake English, Hussie is Dirk Strider, and Hussie’s cronies are Dirk’s splinters and alternate selves. I’ve had this analogy in my mind for a while but I’ve never been sure how to say it without sounding like a dork. I probably sound like even more of a dork here but at least my Blogger is a good place to vent things out.

I can’t stress enough that I think all the fantroll stuff should be given the name “Hiveswap” instead. Isn’t that what the friendsims call themselves? “Hiveswap Friendsim Vol. [x]”? But I guess those people aren’t the kind to care.

OK, what the hell am I saying, I absolutely have a love-hate relationship with Homestuck right now, I got to suck it up already. And I have a love-hate relationship with these blog posts too.

(I have a love-love relationship with the comic’s music though. Shame that online community only seems to care about those shitty song parodies.)

(Come back Hussie)

(Please)

Little did I know that I would finally resurrect my Homestuck post series the very next day

Homestuck Posts """Update"""

Lately I’ve been thinking again a little more about Homestuck than previously, and it almost seems like starting the posts again is an itch to scratch. Now if I had the motivation to keep doing it and didn’t already have a myriad of other distractions, I’d be updating this blog regularly again as we speak. I wanted to make an announcement on the post series’ third anniversary (9/18), but the date somehow flew over my head as I realized the next day so oops.

For now, at some point in the future I’ll probably update the page numbers for my Homestuck and Problem Sleuth posts to reference how they are on homestuck.com rather than the old MSPA website, though I think I’ll still keep the MSPA page numbers for archival’s sake. Other than that, it would be fun to start again on 10/25 or something, but I really don’t know if I can get back to it by that date or doze off again like I did with these posts’ anniversary.

I’ve always wanted to remake my old posts to make them actually have meaningful content, and while maybe if I finish this post series I could do the fabled full-out rewrite of my Homestuck posts, for now I really just want to pick up where I left off. It’s been over a year and a half long breather from these posts at this point, so I feel like my posts might not have the absurd ratio of time taken to pages covered that they did in the post series’ final months.

At the moment I’m writing this, I could just, in theory, just go ahead and get working on these posts. But the problem is, it’s almost midnight and I’m having serious trouble sleeping today, which is why I went about writing this post in the first place. It’s times like these where I feel kind of frustrated with myself and these ambitious projects.

EDIT: I’m going to start doing those edits right now actually because I can’t fucking sleep.