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20/20 Part II

Winner for November's random Drawing-drawing is Andrew M. from St. Louis. Congrats Andrew. I'll have Decembers giveaways available shortly.

160 thoughts on “20/20 Part II

    1. I’m not so sure.

      Pumpkin might be the most stable of the Buckingham sisters, and has shown flashes of also being the sharpest among them. Mom is working off of Ginger (who left home to get married and become a mom, apparently), Tarra (who would have been inevitably successful under all circumstances) and a progressive stream of fuckups as reference material, and I’m in no way certain that Pumpkin is really fit to be lumped into that group.

      I’m inclined to believe that Rosemary’s mother sense is, through long and harsh experience, overtuned here with regards to Pumpkin. I’m also inclined to believe that Pumpkin is sharp enough to recognize both that Kat is interested in a more-than-friends relationship and, crucially, doesn’t seem terribly interested in such.

      I think she’s driven, more so than any of the other Buckingham sisters besides Tarra, and I think that she’s more focused on her career in the cosplay-ish industry than she is on anything else.

      1. One difficulty in judging someone who’s more mature than the average for their age is that you can easily overlook where they hit the norm (which they will someplace). While I’m still of the opinion that Pumpkin is in control here and will be sensible, it can be bad to overestimate. Rosemary’s rule here is also an indicator to Pumpkin that there’s a concern. Considering that everyone I’ve ever known who was last in a long line of siblings has said the parents’ attitudes were along the lines of, “Knife juggling? Sure. You need a whetstone?” I think Rosemary’s concern may be an important communication to Pumpkin. I’m also glad to see Pumpkin not trying to circumvent it.

        I also think this is a point that there are enough warning signs from Katrina that Pumpkin should hopefully see some of them. However, I think it’s a useful data point on both sides that working over IM/video chat didn’t come up from either one. I suspect Katrina wants the in-person time, and Pumpkin isn’t enthusiastic if it won’t directly lead to cosplay enhancement and is quite content to allow parental restrictions to be an excuse.

        1. I suspect that you are correct, and that Pumpkin does know better than her sisters ever did. I feel that she might just be the most mature of the sisters at that 15 – 16.

        2. It’s not the maturity level of the child, it is the experience level… and a person focusing on career issues may not see the potential for danger; after all she will be at home…. nope my D.A.D.D senses are a tingle; Kat must go.

        3. Experience level is important, but it plays a similar role as maturity. I’d actually argue that maturity is the result of experience (if sometimes others’ experience that is witnessed when the kid is lucky and perceptive, rather than their own bad luck). It’s just that a child more mature than average for their age will still have gaps.

          Danger underestimation is quite possibly the most likely maturity gap for teenagers, though.

          However, I think Rosemary learned the proper lesson with Ginger here and is trying to observe and protect without stifling. Katrina is a potential danger that Pumpkin may very well be underestimating, but quite frankly Pumpkin needs to learn to deal with various types of predators anyway (all kids do). Supervised exposure will give Rosemary the ability to step in if needed and if not privately point things out to Pumpkin and cause pressure on Katrina that may help Pumpkin notice more signs, which will help Pumpkin deal with predators after she’s out on her own. It’s also a test in how much Rosemary can trust Pumpkin, a test of trust that I think we all expect Rosemary to verify.

      2. I don’t know…while I do agree with your opinion of Pumpkin (being far more mature than her other sisters at her age), she’s still a child. And I’m going to give Kat the benefit of the doubt here, let’s say she *doesn’t* have ulterior motives…it’s still weird and creepy. Especially when you realize that the far younger Pumpkin is far more emotionally mature than Kat is.

        I don’t have kids, but if I did, I’d also be concerned with this Kat character. She’s not emotionally stable enough to be hanging out so often with an impressionable teenager, regardless of how intelligent that teenage may be. Hell, she’s supposed to be an adult and she’s the one hiding from the parents? That doesn’t scream healthy. And would only further my distrust of her, if I were the parent.

        And it’s not like her mother banned her completely. Still allowing the weekends and such, with supervision. That’s more than I’d be comfortable doing. Like I said, even if you remove all ulterior motives from Kat and accept that she’s just there for the friendship….she’s still not a healthy influence on…anyone, really.

        1. Not to mention the fact that she keeps bringing up arguments of sexual predation. In what way could someone saying their mother senses were tingling sound perverted except to someone who is projecting their own perversion?

    2. Well! Here’s how it would go in my house: SWMBO, not able to leave work early, would ask me to check the house between three and six for strangers; youngest would have a visitor unknown to me in attendance, but banned by SWMBO, I would exercise my shotgun, shovel & fenced backyard philosophy… Al tho I’m guessing since Herb is Chief he has additional resources available; or if Rosey wants it handled just amongst the girls since Cinnamon is still (AFAIK) in residence perhaps the sisters will assist in the surveillance. Either way Kat has to go!

      1. Cinn, having no mental filter, wouldn’t really be able to help being part of surveillance even if she wanted to (which she probably wouldn’t unless she wanted to bribe Pumpkin). However, she did have the job tormenting kids at the arcade, so I’d assume she’d be likely on a later shift anyway (maybe off two weekdays to work weekends, though).

        1. ahhh I thought she had lost that job… in review she lost the boyfriend/apt… ok Herb is up and if my reactions are similar to his reactions Kat may be in for a sharp awakening on “dealing” with parents!

        2. I wouldn’t put it past Rosemary to go a covert camera route. As a police chief, it wouldn’t actually be that odd for them to have an alarm system with cameras anyway (even if relatively low crime area, he’d at least be higher risk of vandalism from people pissed about one thing or another and not too bright), so it’s quite plausible for the cameras to already be in place. I believe some alarm systems have the ability for smartphone alerts to things like exterior doors opening too, which would let Rosemary just check cameras when the exterior door opens.

        3. I actually have a set-up like that at our place, so yeah, good call. And in reviewing the feature set, I can set it to call between certain times if the system detects a visitor, so in Rusches world it probably has even better capabilities….

        4. I agree that she may very well be going that route, what with the knowledge that at least 1/2 of her daughters are sexually active.

          No spoilers alert. Rest of message terminated.

        1. She Who Must Be Obeyed, my wife, pronounced Swimbo or yes dear. From a BBC tv series called Rumpole Of The Bailey I watched in college. Mom would be SWMABO or She Who Must Always Be Obeyed.

    3. While the mother definitely seems to be in the right this time, I believe diffusing the Kat situation is something that Pumpkin has to handle herself.

      And by “handle”, I mean “utterly destroy the Neo-Progressivist trash”.

    1. Not only that, but carefully targeted and balanced. “I trust you. I don’t trust her. So I’ll make a rule that demonstrates both. I trust you to abide by the rule that your time with her is supervised.” And she’s rewarded with Pumpkin accepting the reasonable restriction. Kat isn’t going to be able to make a move with Rosemary in the house, or if she does, well, Kat will be toast.

      By learning her own lesson, Rosemary avoids making a rule so hard-and-fast that Pumpkin has to break it in order to have a social life with friends of her own choosing. Well done, Rosemary, well done.

  1. …wait. “We’ve gotta finish our fanfic”?

    …that’s what Skype and email are for. Something is rotten in Lakeland.

    1. I’m not smelling that. Not yet anyway. Kat is into visual media. Pumpkin is into visual media. They are probably collaborating on a visual (think youtube) media to tell a fanfic story… So, Kat would be helping Pumpkin with her clothes and makeup….oh. ;)

      1. A fanfic is almost always written and usually terrible. Also, I wouldn’t call wigs and makeup “visual media” and liken them to creating videos. I can carve and sculpt, but if you asked me to draw something simple I’d probably start a fire on accident.

        1. skype does have video capability, and you can focus a camera on a piece of paper just as easily as on your face (assuming it’s not laptop builtin camera, but Ellie was using a mouse with an LCD screen as opposed to a laptop at the beginning of the comic).

          I think lack of online suggestion is potentially rotten on Kat’s side, but as I stated above, I also think it’s a telling bit about Pumpkin’s enthusiasm that she didn’t suggest it.

        2. I think I saw some of those on sale 8 months and two days ago. They were gone by the next day, though.

  2. Oof! I was trying to hold off on judging Kat too harshly, but fanficking with a minor…? Sounds like she’s trying to ‘ship hersellf with Pumpkin if you ask me.

        1. While I feel that Kat had been loading up on the ammunition, she still is looking at shoving her foot over the lips, past her teeth and however else the phrase goes to where she’ll be dining on little piggies drenched in athlete’s foot.

    1. Well, fanfic isn’t absolutely required to be slash, it could be a PG-13 level topic.

      As for judging, my gut already says she’s dirty. However if it was true formal judgment, I’d agree with General ‘Buck’ Turgidson (what can I say, I’m a fan of that movie).

      To me it’s a level thing. Gut is enough for Herb and Rosemary to take steps to protect Pumpkin, but significantly more would be needed before it would be appropriate for going legal channels (or request Tarra for the loan of an Eldritch God) to stop things.

        1. Sure, we saw that, but I don’t think Pumpkin would lend Rosemary any forces of nature or such to get rid of Kat.

        2. If Kat is in their home without permission of the homeowner there may BE grounds for legal action to prevent her from coming bac;. mix in the association with the minor daughter and that might harden the course of action; I’m not familiar with the legalities of Lakeland.

        3. Well, it’s certainly trespassing. When you put trespassing to spend time with a minor child whose guardians prohibited that, that’s enough for legal action even if its a non-custodial relative. So absolutely for Kat too. Herb would be familiar with how to get it filed and whatnot too, so I’d say no problems there.

          So yes, I agree that qualifies as “significantly more”.

      1. Considering Pumpkin is a fan of the in-universe Shotgun Shuffle comic, Kat’s probably driving a slash version called Gunshot Gaffle. She’ll be having Elize and Queen in a relationship, threatened by the arrival of a new girl named Katie Sue.

        1. It’s a pet peeve of mine that our society chose the word “equality” for something that’s much closer to the mathematical definition of “equivalence”. I often find myself conflicted about the best way to communicate “what you mean when you say equality even though that’s obviously not correct for the mathematical definition of the word but you’ll start a witch hunt about me being sexist/racist/????ist if I don’t use your word and try to use a better one,” though.

    2. When Kat said she could sneak over and be out without the mom knowing, that was exactly my first thought. Kat didn’t want her business partner taking Pumpkin home, because Kat wanted Pumpkin.

  3. Kat somehow thinks Rosemary won’t be on her guard. Kat may get into some real shit. Who wants to be mama may pop home early sometime just to be on the safe side?

      1. We all Kickstarted a Webcomic Time Machine project, so we can all read ahead.

        But even though we’ve already read them, you still have to make the comics or you’ll break time and Hitler will win.

        1. That was several months before the reveal with very few breadcrumbs at discovery. This is much nearer term and more expected. From a throwing things stance, I’d say this is a moldy powdered sugar donut at most.

        2. My Kickstarter reward for funding the time machine was I got to spit in the face of Causality. It was awesome. Would step on prehistoric butterfly again. 10/10

        3. Funny. I had an appointment to describe the first thing I’d use a time machine for. I was all geared up for it and then they canceled at the last minute. But the funny thing is, all the little things they said that could have only come from me…
          Oh, well. I’ll just wait for the next time-machine fundraiser for my world domination plans.

        4. *crumples his plans for a DeLorean time machine Kickstarter, throws them on the ground, and stalks away, muttering blackly about that neighbor boy who’s constantly shrieking about how “heavy” things are.”

        5. You people forgot to come back here in exactly 5 seconds. But, I did too. I forgot, what were we doing. I think that I had too much bubbles in my coffee a few strips ago.

        6. Oh sure. It’s all fun and games until Hitler comes back as a Tyrannosaur. This is where Jurassic Park sequel plots come from, people!

          (That’s right. I’m calling it: The genetically-modified dinosaur is Hitlersaurus Rex)

        7. Nah, he’s actually RIDING the tyrannosaurus, inside the Hollow Earth…

          …what, you mean you /haven’t/ seen the trailer for Iron Sky 2?!

      2. Son, you don’t know the kind of resources we fans got. We got eyes and ears everywhere. Even in your HEAD.

        Cool place, by the way. Love what you’ve done with the joyous moments of life.

        1. Not that I’m complaining, but I was wondering about the number of bears wearing tutus and monocles. I mean it’s definitely festive, just unexpected.

      1. I’m more interested to see Pumpkin’s reaction to Kat showing up when she shouldn’t. As for Kat doing so, I think it’s a matter of time and if it’s something central enough to the story for Rusche to show or just have Pumpkin or Rosemary mention in conversation with someone else.

        But I definitely see Rosemary showing up and finding Kat at her home (indoor or out) as referring her to go see her husband at work, so to speak.

        1. Which is why I don’t have Liberty Mass Insurance Causality Inc. Insurance. Chris would then be expected to continue having accident after accident after accident. The man can only legally own so many items of underwear before the store is forced to sell him items from their Victoria’s Royal secrets line of aristocratic girlfriend panties, with starch and no lace.

    1. Katrina…Hurricane homewrecker…wannabe. I think that storm shall be torn to bits before it has a chance to do any real damage.

  4. Hey Rusche, I just wanted to say I discovered Shotgun Shuffle the summer before last and spent one rather long night burning through the archives and I’ve been reading religiously ever since. Hard to say what my favorite webcomic is, but this is definitely in my top 3, and its the only one with comments from the author that I actually care about. All sides of your creativity are pretty dagum snazzy and improving.
    On a side note, I desperately want to just reach out and smack both Kat and Danny with a newspaper while shouting “No! No! Bad!”

    1. Well, if Danny keeps this up, Ellie might well emasculate him.
      And if Kat keeps this up, Rosemary may well defenestrate her.
      If Danny is outside serenading Ellie in his new falsetto when Kat is introduced to the upstairs exit, those two may get together.

      1. She’s also probably been ignoring Pumpkin’s request to see the latex workshop for quite a while too.

        @Tesla – I’d actually been assuming Katrina exudes horseradish.

        1. I considered sauerkraut, but I thought “sinus clearing” fit with Kat too well to use that over horseradish.

        2. Horseradish and Saurkraut hereby team up and drag you out behind the woodshed to leave you trapped with the Black Olive Brigade.

        3. Your JavaScript may be wonky. I generally leave JavaScript disabled and do have to enable it if I decide to use like on a comment.

    1. I think it’s really the age thing. If Ellie were Pumpkin’s twin instead and Danny’s behavior was identical, I think he’d be judged much worse and quite possibly been woken by police in the hotel between days of the con.

      I also think there’s a degree of familiarity breading greater tolerance for Danny’s type of sliminess. Danny’s general type of sliminess so far is the type that I think most of us can think of someone we went to high school with that it wouldn’t be surprising to hear he ended up that way. The result is you look at Danny and you feel like his threat is obvious and Ellie can’t miss it (and so far she hasn’t), but then you look at Katrina and the threat’s less obvious even if there are lots of red flags now and you hope Pumpkin’s noticed but there’s no conclusive evidence of that yet so that leads to a greater feeling of concern.

    2. Sometimes I think if an edit button were available I’d edit ~25% of my comments.

      So what are the medal equivalents for the Terribleness Olympics? I’m going with the Bronze equivalent is cyanide, Silver is rabid rat (still alive and biting when put around your neck), and I can’t decide if the Gold is made from spent nuclear reactor fuel rods or cesium.

      1. A ring of cesium in a thin, easily broken up glass shell that pretty much completely disintigrates upon the first heavier contact. (Upon which the cesium’s reaction will pretty much completely disintrigate the wearer’s neck and head, for any people not as fluent in chemistry. At least in most environments and especially if the award ceremony is being held in the puring rain.)

    3. Because Danny was never a creep. He was trying too hard to impress Ellie with money. There wasn’t any bullying or entitlement involved like you can see with Kat.

  5. So is this chapter going to be Pumpkin-heavy? Because I am totally fine with that. Though oddly I am starting to miss Quinn.

        1. Rusche: w00t!

          Mr. Blue: Yeah, I mean it’s not something she’d normally wear… but it was half-off…

    1. Keep talking like that and you might just be in luck, if you’re a meatless assclown anyway.

      (for those not quite getting the reference, see comic Let’s Review – 23 Aug 2013)

      1. Nah, if I were gonna get hung up on a fictional romance, it’d be with Anise. Quinn just reminds me of a few old friends of mine rolled into one. I was completely oblivious to why people didn’t like her (until I saw it explained) because I’m conditioned to tune out the forced hostility / cold outer shell thing.

        1. Somehow I think describing dates with Anise would have a lot in common with Tarra Facts (similar distance from Erf anyway).

  6. It’s bad that I kinda ship these two. I forgot for a while the age difference. ^^U I’ll just go back to my other, more legal, ships. *cough* EliieQuinn *cough*

  7. So Pumpkin really did tell Kat and Kat bailed. I kind of assumed that Pumpkin just didn’t tell her because she wanted to avoid confrontation between her mother and Kat. It’s amazing how Kat continues to drop in my estimation despite previously hitting what I had believed to be rock bottom.

    In other news… is that a slug boy plushie? I used to love Foxtrot.

        1. I thought it was an over-reliance on auto-corkboard.

          @Rusche – That’s a fantastic reason for a slug pillow and I 100% approve.

        2. Maybe it’s a portmanteau of “tweet” and “thwart”. Rosemary was so ahead of the game she blocked Kat before Kat even got a Twitter account.

          Rosemary is a total pro.

    1. I like that Pumpkin isn’t lying. She might know how to bend the rules, but she’s also respecting the important ones.

      Probably got that from watching Juniper and Cinnamon.

      1. I actually wonder if Pumpkin’s lying about this rule applying to Ashliii & Bubbles as well or not. Not that I’d hold that against her if it is a lie.

        I did add a point in Pumpkin’s direction that she hadn’t lied in the last comic where I’d been assuming she had been (i.e. not mentioning the request to Katrina).

        1. Well it doesn’t mean that Pumpkin can’t go out and see her two partners in crime. . Although, I was just about to remark on how strange that she’s the only one in the trio without a job but I forgot about the convention because I was looking forward to and searching for pics of Quinn in that purple dress.

          We voted on that people.

  8. Is it just me, or is Kat’s comment, “I don’t deal with parents” just the cherry on the douche-y sundae? Seems really…..immature. Friends and….more….come as a package deal with parents and any and all siblings.

    1. Agreed. She reminds me of some people who I knew who were very smug about how ‘worldly’ and ‘mature’ they were. Were very knowledgeable about the facts for one side of an argument, but were blindingly oblivious to the other side and not only couldn’t see any other point of view, they looked down on folks who held those views. Not sensing good things in the Kat department.

      1. Welcome to Tumblr.

        (Oh, there’s some good parts in it, but the “noticeable” parts? Yeah. They’re just like that. You should have seen some of the Epic Clueless rants regarding RWBY…)

    2. Actually got to defend Kat a little here. Well, not really defend, but…

      We don’t know the situation with her parents. But it might very well be that her relation to them is a rather bad one. And not necessarily of her own fault. Such a thing can shape someone to quite a degree. With her reluctance to meet her friends’s parents steming solely from her own borken relationship to hers.

      1. The most obvious possibility on these lines would be her parents being unsupportive, or even hostile, when she came out. If she’s also seen that happen with friends, it could easily add up to her literally thinking she’s trying to ‘protect’ Pumpkin from parental homophobia. Of course, if that’s the case, then she’s also undermining it by being creepy and possibly predatory.

      2. There’s no reason to think anything negative about Katrina regarding her stated negative relationship with her parents (you’re quite right, we have no idea about it). However, there is something very wrong about a person over the age of majority refusing to accept the restrictions the parents of a minor set for said minor.

        I do agree that it can be too easy to find one big glaring negative and throw a bunch of uncertainties as likely negatives along with it and that is a tendency to be guarded against.

  9. Aside from everything else, a part of me is kinda’ curious about Kat’s parents now that she mentions them that way (not that I’d think she’d refer to them respectfully or anything, just curious the flavor and sources of conflict). On the other hand, I’d much rather hear more from better characters instead.

  10. I don’t know what I am missing, but while I think Kat is a little hypocritical and feminist-y….why is everyone so sure that she is bad for Pumpkin and is a danger to her?

    1. It’s not her feminist nature. Pumpkin’s a bit feministy, shown in her reaction towards the other girls at the con. Nothing wrong with that. Kat, on the other hand…is maladjusted, spiteful and (if you read their convos) trying a bit too hard to push her opinions on someone far younger than her. It’s not really a healthy friendship there. Perhaps she has her reasons, we don’t know her backstory. Maybe it’s all justified in her eyes. But it’s beyond creepy to find someone much younger than you and claim “This is the only person I get along with”. Not to mention, being too cowardly to meet her parents, despite being the adult in this situation. That last part, especially.

      1. Kat is what I like to call a “Rule Master”. She makes lots of rules about everything. Some rules she tells people about, a lot. Others, are just in her head, but still expects people to obey them just the same. Others are not allowed to make rules that are in conflict with her rules, because that is against the rules. There are lots of logical gaps and loop holes, and she is exempt from any rule she chooses, because that is also a rule. She can change any rule, at any time, and everyone is expected to have followed the new rule in the past. She gets upset over people not following her rules, especially the secret ones, and this is part of her anger.

        1. When I speak of baseball bats, I refer to the metaphorical baseball bat describing the situation where the person pratfalls to a face-to-the-floor-FAIL situation. Kat is not only wielding the bat, she’s rented time in Louisville to make the prototype she’s going to put the beat down on herself.

        2. Ok. I can see that now. I usually give comic characters the benefit of the doubt unless they are VERY obviously evil….but yeah. I can see what you were saying now. Hmm. I don’t see this going well.

    2. Also, there’s a weirdly puritanical strain in the ol comments section. Not sex shaming per se, but more a bizarre determination that anyone who comes a courting must not ‘win’. It manifests differently with each suitor, but basically no one is good enough for our surrogate internet daughters.

      1. oh, you know that’s not true. If anything, internet comments are were “shipping” thrives! If the comments are so against this specific character…then maaaaaaaybe there’s something not quite right with this character ;)

        At least for now.

    3. Well, I found her quite irritating, but one turning point for me was when Rusche put in a comment that “Kat is to Pumpkin as Danny is to Ellie”. While I recognize that may be Kat being maladjusted and falling for Pumpkin as opposed to deliberately trying to be predatory, but it’s still very screwed up and very unhealthy.

  11. I get such a creeper vib from Kat. Maybe that’s why her partner at the con was insistent on her not bringing Pumpkin home.

  12. Now I’m just confused. Kat’s a year younger than I am, but this sort of behavior is more characteristic of a grade schooler around Pumpkin’s age, not an adult woman.

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