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Gold Dust Woman

147 thoughts on “Gold Dust Woman

    1. You’ve got to face your mistakes eventually. It’ll make you stronger, though you’ll probably really want to not be sober afterward.

    1. Aha! Ahh Juniper Juniper, I think you’re about to find out that Not Mine is only rumour’ed to bend that way!

        1. Where is this silhouette of Anise at? Outside of them looking directly at each other, or the pushin twosome shoving these two at each other, I don’t see a reason for them to look at each other until Mr. Grey et al., leave the store. With perhaps someone shoving bags at Mr. Rainbow.

        1. So… this is the dining room…

          I loved that movie. I need to find it on DVD or something, my VHS copy wore out long ago.

      1. Agreed. I’m guessing it’ll be at least partially taken, as Rusche had previously stated that the Quinn-Juniper meeting wouldn’t be a Battle Royale and that Quinn’s fury would be deflated by the meeting.

  1. Oh, shit……

    This isn’t going to be pretty.

    At least Quinn in prepared for the “discount haircut” tactic the sisters all use.

    I’m gonna go get some popcorn…

    1. Sorry, but unless I missed something this may be Quinn’s first time meeting Juniper. Or at least the first time meeting her after finding out she’s Ellie’s sister the one who really stole her boyfriend.

      Up until now, Quinn was eating with the family, then shopping with Ellie. Juniper was waiting at the mall, then shopping with Ginger and the rejects.

      Really, I don’t think Quinn even really realizes that Juniper is the ‘man-stealing slut’ and all that.

      But Juniper? I think she may be getting ready to mention the whole ‘boyfriend’ thing, and maybe even apologize. The mood seems a bit too pensive for the next strip to boil down to something completely wacky.

      1. Oooh, I guess I didn’t get it after all. I thought the title was a reference to Rumours, and Not Mine rumored to be Ellie’s ‘girlfriend’. But now that I read your take, I kind of agree with it more.

      2. True that Missrss. J. (I don’t know how to use these three and I forget, except that I know that you ain’t a Mr.(sorry)) Quinn should be smart enough to know that only the family have the birthmarks. Foreshadowing has the birthmarks hidden, so, we may just get two women who look at each other like one of those comedy routines. Left looks at right, looks away; Right looks at left, turns away. Left waves away smoke from right. Right looks at left, looks forward, blows smoke. Left, stares moodily out at the coming sunrise, looks left. Right looks right.

        Commotion in the store brings their attention to the exit doors, then to the glass right behind the two (unless they’re in front of the doors). Left’s reflection is in the left door, with Right’s reflection in the right door.

        Just before the door opens to reveal a defeated T– Mr. Redhead, Mr. Yellowish-Red, Mr. Grey and Mr. Lavender. Left looks at reflection in right door, then eyes narrow on the birthmarks.

        a beat goes by as the doors open.

        A cricket chirps in the distance while a church bell goes off for morning mass somewhere in the distance.

        Alfred Hitchcock enters the behind his glass with the caricature on the pane in silhouette. “Good evening, or morning as I should say. It is a rather remarkable shade of red in the sky which brings to mind a device used by sailor at sea.

        Red at night, Sailor’s Delight.
        Red at morn, Sailor’s take warn.

        We shall soon see for whom the bells toll, but soon, a catfight that I don’t know if it shall even commence. But first, an announcement from our sponsors.

        1. Okay, I take it back. Quinn does have some idea what Juniper would look like. But I don’t think that it’d be a direct memory. Not until she saw the family birthmark. I mean, she was told “dishwater flavored bird’s nest for hair.”

        2. Recall that Juniper & Ginger have a resemblance that Ellie is not part of. Also, since 5th grade apparently part of the recognition criteria for Ellie was “bigger boobs than me” so even without Rusche’s comment I would’ve bet she wouldn’t have guessed the family resemblance (aside from the under-eye letters, of course).

  2. I brought the beer an tailgating stuff oh an the babyoil an inflatable pool for them to “discuss” the drunk one stealing not mines boyfriend back in hs.

    1. I’ll bring the brats!! Can’t have tailgating while watching a epic confrontation without bratwurst! What does everyone else want? If this isn’t going to be an epic confrontation at least we will have food!

      1. I can’t decide. Chocolate or vanilla pudding for the mud. Or maybe just brownie batter mix. At least I have two boxes of chocolate chips, semisweet, Hershey’s for this mess.

        1. We looked into what it would take to fill up a kiddie pool with pudding in college. Sadly it was much less economical than we’d hoped.

          I still have the kiddie pool, still in an unopened box, somewhere around here.

        2. That was indeed our inspiration, but we found that $240 wouldn’t have bought nearly as much as we’d hoped.

        3. Is this pudding being made from scratch, or is it being made from a mix? If we were close to a dairy and chicken farm, the only outlying costs would then be cornstarch, sugar and flavorings. But then, I’d go out and buy twenty pounds of bananas for the flavorings, but then, we could just go to Rusche’s back yard to get the banana tree I planted there just now twenty six years ago.

        4. @Steve – We weren’t counting on enough of the innocent bystanders to witness what we’d wrought to recognize the reference to account for inflation. Also, we were poor college students.

          We considered pre-made versus making it ourselves, but we figured the labor with the facilities available in the dorm kitchen (one stove, and labor price at minimum wage) considering the box mixes. At that rate, $240 wouldn’t have made a sufficient amount of pudding to be worth it.

          Also, to boog below, we wouldn’t have said ladies weren’t welcome to partake in shenanigans regarding pudding, but they would’ve damn well had to wait in line. Our goal was humorous amusement and if we’d sunk $240 on it, we were going to go for the humor.

        5. Sorry, I was just concerned that female readers might be put off after some (not all) of the comments above. To be fair, my comment was in before the discussion turned towards the cost and logistics of pudding – a topic I find to be very intriguing, actually, given the volatility of such a market – and was rather due to the idea that while anticipating another cat fight is quite understandable, calling out of nowhere for Quinn and Juniper to settle their dispute in a kiddie pool filled with some lubricious liquid, be it pudding or baby oil, while a group of men watch and drink beer from their tailgates might be getting a little carried away. I mean, I’m a dude so obviously that was exactly what I pictured in my mind just after seeing two chicks standing next to each other on the same page, but you can certainly understand how advertising such a thought outright could easily make females in the vicinity a tad bit uncomfortable, no?

          But it was all humorous amusement I guess, so that makes it okay. I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s party or anything – just wanted the ladies to know they were still welcome here, despite the climate.

        6. I knew that there was absurdity in your suggestion. I mean, what trope is there that doesn’t lead to two women in a kiddie pool of lubricious liquid foodstuffs.

          But come on,

          Everyone loves Jell-O,

          don’t they?

        7. After determining a kiddy pool full of pudding was beyond our means, we didn’t look into the Jello. Also, there are a lot more logistical issues for the Jello that make that much more of a pain to pull off.

          @boog – I recognized your gist and could see where you were coming from. I just wanted to clarify my intentions with that much pudding were strictly humorous.

        8. Mr. Blue just is curious, but did you do cost comparisons between brand names, unknown names and generics as well as bulk purchases from a supplier instead of just retail alone?

          And for the Jell-O, well, sheet metal, folded into a giant mixing tub, put on the surface of a skating rink, left overnight and mixed on the day that the rink is closed, or just wait for winter to appear and utilize the free refrigeration provided by Mother Nature. But then, you’d still need the boiling water, and solid water to chill the mixture down into the gelatinous mass, right?

          Argh, how much did it cost when you guys figured it out?

        9. and how many of you goofballs went to school together??!?!?!?!?!?!?!

          With the aforemention Rusche, Blackford, Richard removed from that equation. Is Ian based on a real person, and has he shown up yet?

        10. @That one guy – Understood, and to reiterate: my original comment (below) was prior to you entering the discussion and not directed at your college antics or pudding troubles, so no need to clarify.

        11. Since we were going with $240, what we did was try to figure feasibility for could we get enough pudding to be amusing with that amount of money. As we weren’t going for pudding wrestling, but a joke, we wanted a big pile of pudding at least three feet high and ideally at least five foot diameter at the base (preferably more in both dimensions). Which also would’ve required rather thick pudding and/or colder weather than we were planning for.

          It might’ve been possible if we spent all $240 on the boxed pudding, but the time to make all that for three to five people even if we did commandeer several other dorms kitchen areas was more than the joke was worth. Also we didn’t think we’d have the fridge space for it either.

          As for Jello feasibility with swimming pools, I’ve heard that they’re generally a bit too warm for the Jello to set up and the most you could get is a runny slime. Now I’m taking fourth-hand information on that, I haven’t looked into it myself, so I could certainly be wrong.

          At this time, I’m not aware of knowing any of the commenters here in real life.

        1. From above youtube link, published on 5/16/12
          – – – – – – – – – – – – –
          GOLD DUST WOMAN lyrics
          – – – – – – – – – – – – –

          Rock on, gold dust woman
          Take your silver spoon, dig your grave
          Heartless challenge
          Pick your path and I’ll pray

          Wake up in the mornin’
          See your sunrise, loves go down
          Lousy lovers pick their prey
          But they never cry out loud, cry out

          Ooh, did she make you cry, make you break down
          Shatter your illusions of love?
          And is it over now, do you know how?
          Pick up the pieces and go home

          Rock on ancient queen
          Follow those who pale in your shadow
          Rulers make bad lovers
          You better put your kingdom up for sale, up for sale

          Ooh, did she make you cry, make you break down
          Shatter your illusions of love?
          And is it over now, do you know how?
          Pickup the pieces and go home
          Well did she make you cry, make you break down
          Shatter your illusions of love?
          And now tell me, is it over now, do you know how?
          Pickup the pieces and go home, go home, go home

          Hey, shadow of woman, black widow
          Hey, shadow of woman, dark woman
          Hmm, pale shadow of woman
          Hmm, black widow
          Pale shadow whose dark eyes glow
          Dark woman

      1. I’m seeing admission of guilt, but not necessarily redemption.

        There’s an implication of change for the better as part of redemption, not just recognition of failings. I see Juniper being willing to recognize and admit her mistake, but not so much change.

        1. Actually “mistake” is a bad word. Make that “action with some degree of negative consequences.” Mistake might be too strong a word.

        2. That’s the thing, I think Juniper realizes all that she has done, and greatly regrets it; however, she feels it has been too far gone to make any change, and that Quinn, being kinda like a place where it all began, will be the first step of her coming around to bettering herself. If something that old and far gone can be mended, then so too maybe she can make other changes. Just my take.

        3. I agree on the regret, but I don’t think she wants to change who she is as a person in ways that she would need to in order to improve her lot in life, and I think she’s fully aware of that.

        4. I know it’s kinda late to speculate on this, but I don’t think we’ve seen a lot of regret from Juniper. If she’s said something, it wasn’t in a comic I’ve seen. Now, someone CAN have misgivings about something, even though they don’t believe it was their fault, or a mistake. Example- If you said you wanted to get this brand new movie that you’ve been waiting forever for, and I ended up getting the last copy at a store, you’d be really pissed at me. I might feel bad- might have had some misgivings about it, but I’m not “sorry.” I got the movie I wanted, and even though you may have wanted it more, you should’ve preordered the movie like I did.
          Or as a second example…
          I have the movie you want, and you’re pretty much beggin to watch it, and I say no- I’m savin it for my sweet ass block party. I tell you you can watch it then, but you’re pissed off about it, because you know you’ll never be able to hear the movie over the noise of a block party. But you’ll try to. You’ll watch the movie, but not hear a damn thing, so by the time I finally lend it to you, you’ve already SEEN the movie, but seein AND hearing it has a lessened effect now. If you were to explain that whole business to me after the party (which was kick ass, by the way! :D), I might feel kinda bad for you, might have some misgivings, but I won’t feel like it was my fault.

          Just the same, I don’t think Juniper is going to be a penitent woman over this. Though…. that glance she gives Quinn is kinda sad…

  3. Not sure whether to take that as “should I hit on her?” or “should I make a thoughtless remark and get yelled at by her?”

    1. The regret is probably just a side effect of the hangover.

      I guess she could be worried about her own short term prospects and regretting that her decisions led to this, but I don’t think she’s too concerned about Quinn’s feelings otherwise.

      1. I’m not seeing regret, but I am seeing an, “I should apologize” thought. I think she definitely recognizes Quinn, knows she’s Ellie’s roommate, and does see the consequences of the Zane thing as negatives in her own life.

        Also, considering that it was strongly implied that she crashes at various friends’ places for a place to sleep, she may have the selfish motive of trying to open up another possible place she could crash for a night if she’s on the outs with the friend she’s crashing with more regularly at the time.

        1. I have to ask, where is everyone getting these insights. I can understand the irony that we have that they have no idea who each other are at the moment.

        2. Ellie was aware enough to recognize Ian. Cinn is dumb, but Juniper is not. There were yearbooks shown with Buckinghams 4-6 and Quinn. Juniper stole her boyfriend, and having a normal degree of brainpower unlike Cinn, most likely at least made the moderate effort to determine the appearance of the ex-girlfriends she’d stolen from to avoid them to try to remember them. If she really deserves her title, chances are she’s ran into a few she failed to remember and had to deal with those consequences, so motivation to remember others might be increased.

          Also, Ellie’s known this connection for months. If she told one sister, that could get to another and eventually back to Juniper even if she’s generally out of normal contact. Where I’m from, the public libraries keep copies of the high school yearbooks, so even if she didn’t remember what Quinn looked like, she could’ve probably walked in and looked it up.

          Note that there have been plenty of assumptions here that are valid for Rusche to throw out if he so chooses, however, this is, and the previous comics and comments from Rusche, are what lead me to my speculations.

        3. But isn’t that made on the assumption that the entirety of the female population of Misters Lavender and Not Mine staying in Lakeland to attend either class or just live out their after school lives after graduation?

          But then again, how many of the girls in LSHS had boyfriends who were in bands? If that was the rationale for Ju- Mr. Rainbow’s attraction to boys/men?

        4. There are lots of assumptions. I’m just giving some reasoning that goes along with my guesswork.

          My assumptions about people keeping in touch are more about the Buckingham sisters than the general population. Seven kids, six out of high school, and all live within reasonable commuting distance for visiting along with the way Rosemary’s sense of family seems to go make me think that the sisters do likely stay in touch with each other and pass along news, even the black sheep.

          Also, with Quinn not even recognizing that she went to high school with the guy she’s got a crush on, I’m considering her people recognition skills to be poor, at best.

        5. My cousins on Dad’s side of the family do that to a good degree of accuracy according to what we could assume about Rosemary’s family.

          Well, is it Ian that we think that she has the crush on? Because I think it is, and Ellie did say that the three of them at least went to the same school. And on top of that we’ve got Blackford there as well.

  4. “Hey, aren’t you-” “Yep.”

    “Wait, didn’t you used to date-” “Yyyyyep.”

    *really awkward*

    That’s about all I expect from this. Unless Cinn joins in. Then I expect blood and screaming and, in then end, someone losing some teeth.

    1. I can picture it going that way. I can also picture Cinnamon making it MUCH worse.

      “Aren’t you going to hit her now? She did steal your boyfriend. I’d hit her.”

      1. “I heard he cheated on you before you guys split. Everybody knew that. The whole school felt sorry for you. It must have sucked. Did it suck? I bet it sucked.”

        The funny thing is, I’m not entirely certain that Quinn or Juniper would be the one losing some teeth in this scenario.

        1. It would be hilarious if this happened, and Quinn and Juniper BOTH slugged Cinnamon. “Cinnamon’s Law” strikes again!

        2. Nothing brings families together, and buries the hatchet between old rivals, like a glass of Country Time Lemonade, a plate of Pepperidge Farms cookies, and punching Cinnamon Buckingham in the teeth.

        3. If anyone else made it to the end of Ted, I see Cinnamon as the blond on the bottom, getting wailed on.

        4. The tension in the air… you could cut it with a knife. Yikes.

          Also, all I can think of, when I hear “Pepperidge Farms Cookies”, is Rusche’s Walking Dead strips, with Hershel Greene, and the Milanos.

          Speaking of… where did the “Walking Dead” parodies go? The link basically 404s now. ;_;

        5. WHY is there not a LIKE option? I want to LIKE that comment so hard! I want to LIKE it so long and so hard that it has my electronic babies!

        6. This could go any number of ways, but I personally don’t even see Juni getting involved beyond maybe a comment or two. Not yet anyway.

          I’ve been dancing around my prediction, so I’ll be more specific: I think Quinn is going to murder Cinnamon. Now, let us watch and be entertained.

        7. I’m pretty sure if Cinn tried that, Quinn would start attacking her, Juniper would try to stop her and mention something Sister Council-ish, Quinn would reply with a “Screw that, she deserves it and I want to administer it myself this time, get out of my way and all is forgiven,” and Juniper replying with general assent but asserting her right to hit Cinn too.

          Maybe I’m overestimating the degree Juniper’s hangover has worn off, though.

          In all seriousness, though. I consider it practically a given that Juniper’s going to give some degree of Mea Culpa and Quinn will maybe not forgive her but at least accept that she means it.

  5. I love the atmosphere going on here but hate the fact that it will be three more days to see what’s going to happen next. If you cut back to what’s going on in the store and leave us hanging even longer I may not be able to handle it.

    1. Based on Rusche’s titles posted last comic, I’m guessing the title for the next comic is referring to Ginger getting to the cash register. Granted, there could be a panel or two for Quinn-Juniper, but I’m not seeing that tidied up for 2-4 comics unless it’s unrelated to titles.

  6. Honestly?? I don’t know why either of them should give two craps about the situation anymore. Seems like the whole thing happened so long ago to even care about anymore. Maybe I guess not that long ago but still. Eeehhhhhhhhhhh.

    Also, Happy Valentine’s day everyone!!!

    1. Don’t be so sure. Quinn sure held it against Ellie for quite a while, and Ellie didn’t even do it. She also got pretty pissed with Cinnamon for bringing it up, though that may be more because Cin is evil and either likes to push people’s buttons or is just too stupid to know when to quit. Probably both.

      1. Except that I didn’t say she didn’t care, I was saying that neither of them should care anymore. The fact that Quinn is still so worked up about it seems rather silly in my opinion.

        1. Quinn never really had much that was “hers.” Between her mother’s narcissistic sales sprees and, well, her mother in general–shoot, even her father’s added to this a bit with an apartment that’s got more strings attached than 0Bizarro Spidey’s wardrobe–Quinn doesn’t get many things all to herself. Losing a boyfriend like that can’t have helped.

          ‘s my guess, anyway.

        2. I have to wager the guess that perhaps Quinn’s love for Zane and giving to him one of the few things that her mother could take was one of those romantic ideals of a teenager. I mean, they did it on that 70’s show with Michael and Jackie enough. Candles, flowers, banner signs…

          Was the 70s all about banners?

          Never mind that, right? I mean, that was the one thing that she thought that she had with the guy. Maybe that one thing, shattered.

    2. I’m agreeing with other replies that Quinn certainly held a grudge on it. I’m not disagreeing with Steve about this particular issue, but Quinn also seems the type to hold a grudge longer about anything than might be true for the general population.

      As for Juniper, that action led to an unwanted pregnancy and dropping out of high school. Personally, I think she should give a few more than two craps about the situation. Not blaming Quinn, mind. Just seeing that as a big turning point in the negative direction in her own life. It’s not like she can change the past in the ways that are probably making her life a lot harder to this day, but sometimes there’s still an impulse to make a gesture to fix such things. Regardless of if you’re a redeemable character in general or not.

      1. Wow, okay so apparently I have to defend my own opinion??

        But my reasoning is, that yeah, Juniper may have had a baby with THAT DUDE. but I don’t see why seeing Quinn would spark immense hatred and “cat fighting” or even awkwardness. She shouldn’t give to craps about seeing Quinn, but sure she can give two craps about the dude that got her pregnant. If she ran into that particular guy while smoking, then YES of course that would be awkward and possibly create weird instances. It also seems like Juniper didn’t even know who Quinn WAS when she hit up on that dude. It is possible she was just slutting around with some guy, why should she care who Quinn is. Maybe we’ll find out that she DID know that guy had a relationship with someone and that it was Quinn, but I don’t remember that piece of knowledge coming to light.

        Quinn holds grudges? SURE, but up until this point she thought it was Ellie for like, the longest time and built up a huge grudge against her, because she already hated her in the first place and it was easy to continue hating her, but once she found out it wasn’t Ellie’s fault, it seems the situation was diffused somewhat. She didn’t know Juniper, and she hadn’t built up this huge drawn out hatred for her. Is she gunna turn around and be her friend? Probably not, but she’s also not one to just outright start bashing and ranting on someone let alone FIGHT THEM because of that. It took lots of tension with even Ellie before they got to that point.

        My point was that everyone commenting is like “OH SNAPP S**** GUNNA HIT tHE FANN” but I was trying to say that, Neither of them should really care enough to start a huge fight.

        Basically, I wasn’t trying to debate my thoughts. I was saying personally I don’t think it would be logical to have them to care enough about it to have this drawn out fight. Awkward conversation maybe, but overall walking away going “eh, that was weird.” and nothing more.

        1. I agree with Banena and her points.

          At this point, they should just be two people who just happen to be standing in front of a store’s door waiting for the idiots that they both happen to be with to get done with their respective shopping. There is no reason, outside of the audience’s knowledge of their backgrounds, that these two should know each other.

          I can think of three or four identifiers for Quinn. Two of them would be from High School. 1: Dirty Dishwater hair, 2: Slept in look. The other two would have been from recent discussions the night before about the family birthmark.

          The fourth one, when the people that these two are waiting for exit the store and the girls get that slap of realization that Quinn will recognize who Juniper is, but not vice versa. At least until Cinnamon twists the knife.

        2. @Banena, of course you don’t need to defend your own opinion. The point of this is speculation, and disagreements in speculation aren’t a “need to defend” sort of thing so much as a “that random person I wouldn’t know if I walked up in front of them in real life happens to think things are different from how I think they are but isn’t going to do more than say ‘I think otherwise.’ ”

          My main difference of opinion with you is that, as far as I’ve seen in my life, emotion does not constrain itself to the rules of reason. So a person who is feeling emotion X may then act in an irrational fashion, as emotion X doesn’t really care about modus ponens, modus tollens, or any of the rules of formal logic. It’s not that emotion X deliberately defies the rules of formal logic, so much as emotion X just looks at you with a confused look on its face when you suggest that it should somehow give a damn about and will constrain itself to operate within the rules of formal logic.

          So I’d agree with you that it’d be irrational for Quinn to care, but that being the case, I’d bet that, on some level, she still cares. I’d bet Juniper will defuse her anger (remember Quinn’s attitude towards Ellie during their fight about her not living up to her potential and consider how superior she’d feel toward a high school dropout), but if Juniper didn’t, Quinn’s anger would likely spring to life.

        3. From a framework of formal logic, I try to treat emotions as axioms, and with the inclusion of potentially inconsistent axioms, I try to put weights on various axioms and/or conclusions and generally end up using the weights to judge things. That or I flip a coin.

        4. Those axioms of yours would be chasing me down with Flyswatters welded to a buick welded to a lincoln, welded to a pontiac powered by a Cadillac V-8.

          The coin would have been swept away in the pyroclastic flow of neurological chemicals before even the thought of propping the thumb for release to flip the coin even started to leave the gate.

  7. We do have a couple of hints for what comes next. Chris did give us the titles of the next few pages in the last updates comments. The next two titles? 247-Final Assault and 248-Only I didn’t Say Fudge..

    Sure sounds like something is going to happen, but it doesn’t sound like we are going to get some big cat fight.

      1. He mentioned in previous comments that Quinn-Juniper meeting wouldn’t be a big fight, so I’m guessing that’s toy store related.

        1. My guess for the final assault is the containment and possible eradication or storage of the Omega Pestilence with the Ark of the Covenants in Area 51. Only the stenciled crates will have to be seamless, welded, annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd I don’t know.

        2. True, the ratchantulas would be a good one for final assault, and it would be a bit premature to end the toy store bits next comic. I’d been thinking final assault of the group defeated by Tarra.

        3. Mmmmummph mmphhhmmphh mmmarrmphhh mmmphhaight. Master Meineke is going to roll in here, take butts and kick names. Then, I’m goinna take that damn pink hovmmph mmmrpphd mmphh mmmmphhh mppph mmmto the sunset.

  8. If Rusche is dedicating an entire comic just to show that these two have been left alone…

    Yeah, this isn’t going to end well.

  9. I just went and watched the official video for “Gold Dust Woman” seems more sad and dark than “Stairway to Heaven.” I don’t know why some people don’t recognize the vortex that emanates between reality and art, in that what comes from one story may unknowingly be played out by others. And then, it becomes art in story again. Makes me think of Barney Gumbel’s movie line, “Don’t cry for me, I’m already dead.”

    That some people think themselves so far past redemption is sad.

    ..

    1. There’s a difference between believing you’re past redemption than choosing not to change your path enough to be redeemed. I see Juniper as more the second type than the first.

      1. With those, I think of two scenarios. Please take into account my version of mud. The mental morass that drags a person down. Philosophically speaking, it could be the dust that wants to pull a person back into the Earth from which they came. It could also be the dregs of life’s burdens accumulated, which when taken along with the monkey on a person’s back and their emotional baggage, create enough of a lack of substantial footing in their life, that a person has to struggle to maintain some semblance of normalcy for others, and quite possible for themselves. Generally, I picture the mud as the crap that soldiers have to trod in order to get to the place that they’ve been ordered. Rain, miserable conditions are paramount with this metaphor in attempting to gain any progress from the previous status quo.

        Scenario one: Person who throws morals out the window to get the job done. Meets significant other of the opposite sex. Reforms and changes their entire life in order to encompass the morals to prove to the significant other that the path has been changed.

        Scenario two can not be done without my taking into account an event that happened before the path was taken.

        Scenario two-A: Person enters on the path towards pleasure, enjoyment and not having to be present of own volition. Reality comes in the form of responsibility that encompasses the life of another. Morality vs. capability vs. self image vs. addiction vs. guilt of things done in grips of addiction. Can’t see themselves as being able to be pulled out of the mud of their own volition to be redeemed, or to accept help to be redeemed.

        Scenario two-B: Event occurred from another person that forced the path that is currently traveled. Shame and/or guilt of said event forces the individual to hide the event from memory and leads to a life of addiction of some sort, and living in the mud.

        Frankly, I’m worried about three of the sisters. Juniper, Anise and Cinnamon. Quinn as well.

        1. I think Cinn is a very strong candidate for someone Rusche was talking about as not all characters are redeemable and that some don’t deserve it anyway. She could still end up with good luck in life, but she’ll always be an awful person.

          Juniper shows apathy and acceptance of people’s negative view of her. Having a kid didn’t motivate her to clean up her life, and becoming a parent is the #1 thing I’ve seen convince people to clean up their lives. I think she’s capable and intelligent enough that she could clean up her life. This is where I conclude that she probably doesn’t feel like doing it. Doesn’t care, doesn’t see the value, is content to be the screw-up, or whatever. No one has an obligation to live up to their potential and no one has the right to tell someone else that they need to. It’s an internal decision, and some people, knowingly and deliberately, choose not to.

          As to Anise, I don’t know what to think. She seems all over the place and barely stable in some ways, but she’s aware enough to know she’s been getting a fake shopping list and she has the patience and attention to detail to be a tattoo artist for a living. Also, I’ve heard tattoos on the palms of the hand are quite painful, so she’s either really spaced out, or doing that deliberately as part of the persona she’s trying to project.

        2. Cinnamon is maniacal, if not pathological.

          Anise needs to be treated for an overdose of Peter Pan. Possibly Bi-Polar disorder as well perhaps.

          Juniper is the one that saddens me. damn you rusche for making such believable characters.

          I don’t know if I can agree with the limiter of the decision, it should be classified as a struggle that should be overcome before she can see that she has the ability to make the decision and that it’s standing there before her.

        3. But I’m not sure, but I wonder if I may have stumbled onto something. I mentioned earlier that Quinn may be upset that she shared her virginity with Zane, only to have that qualified meaning shattered by Juniper (intentionally/unintentionally done(I don’t know)). So, what could it be that caused Juniper to enter arrested development. Chris’ notes state that she quit sometime during high school. We know that she was held back for two years. I don’t think that she’s going to be in the Freshman class, I’m going to think that she was somewhere… hang on.

          I don’t think that there could have been anyway for Juniper to have been in the same class as Ellie. And I’m going to further ponder that perhaps Juniper’s starting to slip in high school was somewhat related to Anise’s graduating. There is a two year difference in ages, and therefore a possible 1 – 3 year gap in school between Anise and Juniper.

          What if some event happened that could have affected both of them at the same time. Has there been a lock down on the date of the start of the hospital bills or the glass eye?

        4. But dang, okay, what if, what if Juniper really was experimenting before the supposed incident and was doing okay. Anise graduated. They were doing okay, and then that damned Thanksgiving night occurred. Doom and damnation shouldered by Juniper. What was okay no longer was. She herself was shattered weather or not she was Beatrix.

          She’s in limbo, on her own, and spiraling.
          Hard, dark, heavy, falling.
          27,000 feet, iced wings.
          steppes below, racing above
          32 feet per second squared, slow
          terminal velocity, penetrated
          libated
          libated
          the cougar, libated, feeding on self
          glassed eyes, reflection on soul

        5. Juniper’s four years older as per bios and I seem to recall was held back two years, so she should’ve been ahead of Ellie & Cinn when she dropped out. Cause had to be apathy as opposed to ability (hell if Cinn could pass then we know it wasn’t some sort of unrealistically difficult high school).

          No clue as to when/how Juniper’s apathy started, but we do have Juniper displaying apathy towards Ellie’s Monopoly attempts and Anise was still in the house then too. If I had to guess, I’d say Juniper’s apathy probably started in early grade school (1st-3rd grade range). That’s enough time for Ginger being responsible/bossy, Tarra being perfect, and maybe Anise being “artsy” for her looking for a niche not finding much open. Add to that parents attention toward her, previous baby, taking a dive with having to deal with twins (especially as Cinn’s personality manifested) to leave her feeling that she’s never going to outshine her older sisters so why bother trying. Not that her later direction of not bothering trying would’ve been something she gravitated to at that age, but I’d imagine the apathy was well entrenched before puberty suggested a hobby.

  10. A (slightly) unrelated question…do we know for sure that it was Quinn’s ex who knocked up Juniper? Considering her “reputation” I figured it would be one of those “who’s the father? Your guess is as good as mine” situations.

    1. That is a valid question. We don’t have the ability to put two and two together outside of extenuating circumstances and circumstantial evidence.

      The only thing we know:

      Quinn:
      – “You didn’t think Zane was such an asshat when you stole him right before summer that year.”
      – “I overheard that a Buckingham was seen making out with him the last day of school.”
      – “… Sorry I rage quit your existence after that. I was mad.”

      Ellie:
      – “Okay, you’re getting your blondes mixed up now. And I’m personally offended with which one.”
      – “Don’t be. It didn’t end well.”
      – “Zane moved out of state. Juni dropped out when she got pregnant.”

      I do believe that the only thing we do know, outside of these two statements in the same breath being uttered is that Ginger is taking care of the baby that Juniper had. We may or may not know the paternity of the unknown adoption… It’s all just assumed right now..

    2. In Wednesdays comic our author Mr. Rusche stated an a comments section reply to “Brandon” that he wanted to “Reiterate the Juniper stole Quinn’s boyfriend in high school, resulted in a pregnancy, and that this was not a great time in the Buckingham household.”! this was in the 6th paragraph of a rather long winded reply :) So yes it is Zach that is the father, but I don’t think it’s been stated that Zach knows that he is. My assumption on that is that he probably does.

      1. Knowing about paternity could go either way, and I have no reasons to have an opinion one way or the other yet.

        If Juniper had the reputation for her Sister Council name before pregnancy and she was feeling uncooperative, her parents might not know who the father is, perhaps not even to this day. Moving out of state after getting some girl knocked up has the implication of knowing and running, but when you consider he was in high school and was either continuing high school next year or had just graduated, moving out of state may have been due to parents/college/job and Juniper might not have known she was pregnant until after he was gone anyway.

        1. More so if he were the chief back then. A particular offender might well have found himself face down in a peat bog.

        2. I don’t think Herb would’ve done any more to Zane than scare him a bit and help Juniper with ins & outs of family court if she’d wanted, as he could lose a lot of respect and support in the department for going too far.

          However, now that you mention Juniper and Pappa’s job in the same thought, I am kinda’ suspecting that the deal/orders for Juniper to go wait in line for the dishwasher were probably delivered at the police station after she’d been brought in for something.

        3. She’s not in the best of health and has had dark circles under her eyes even when she’s in a positive mood. That’s a “possible minor drug user for a few years” but not a “major drug user for 20 years” look to me.

          Well, we’re pretty sure she doesn’t need to pay rent, so a phone it’s that much in comparison. Prepaids do smart phones now, and T-Mobile has kiosks in their stores where a person can come in and prepay for a smartphone (also note they don’t charge for going over your monthly data, they just drop you from 4G to a lower data tier). If she cares enough, she could be very near to being homeless and still have a smartphone.

        4. Maybe I should rephrase.

          Why does she not look like a disheveled bum, with clothes that should by expectations of living in a ditch, look like they were not fashionable choices at a decent to high dollar store when the assumption should be made for having to shop with Mackelore.

        5. Some people dress up for holidays. She might be wearing her best since she’s seeing her sisters. Also it was suggested that she didn’t literally live in a ditch but tended to crash with friends. She might be wearing her friend’s dress.

        6. Well, what if it was the difference of the sexes and the parents shoved the kid out of state and shuffled him off to his grandparents out west?

          But the pregnancy occurred at least three years ago, when she stole him at the end of Zane’s Sophomore year in Lakeland Senior High School. Same Class as Ellie and Quinn.

        7. All the more time for the Buckinghams to decide they aren’t getting a straight answer from their uncooperative daughter (assuming she is avoiding naming Zane, which is uncertain). At this point, which Juniper and Zane’s child adopted and being properly cared for by Ginger, Rosemary & Herb may not actually want Zane to have any clue of his child, as that would give him the ability to try to prove paternity and seek custody.

        8. I know that we’re going to see one parent’s reaction to seeing the little skudder. But, we have absolutely no idea if Zane has any idea what happened. Hell, we don’t even know if he moved because of parents life changes or him getting a girl pregnant.

          I think that I would want to know if I had children. If I didn’t know about them. I mean come on. That’s a part of a person, and to not know about them.

        9. If Zane was a sophomore, his move was very likely due to parents moving.

          I’d want to know if I had a child too, but looking at it from Rosemary & Herb’s perspective, they have a grandchild who is being cared for and loved. Some stranger that they may or may not know anything about (even his name if Juniper’s been uncooperative), who may or may not know about having fathered the child, could probably get custody and take him away from them if he knew and wanted to, and how well he’d be cared for then would be unknown. Unless something comes up, such as a medical issue where it’s important to know his father’s history, letting sleeping dogs lie is their optimal choice.

        10. That depends upon Florida law. And well, If Julian Gonzalez is any indicator, Ginger’s safe room should have a tunnel access to the empty building across the street so that she can escape through the roof access and fly ov… uhm, hang on.

  11. I can’t remember exactly, but I think Rusche said that Quinn’s anger would be watered down by Juniper’s circumstances when they finally met. So I was expecting Juni to still be riding the Rascal.

    (Umm, I mean the scooter!)

    1. I remember the same comment, though I didn’t expect the stolen scooter, as that would water down Quinn’s anger to start with but then give her another thing to point at for justifiable fury once she realized it was stolen as opposed to needed.

    1. Overall she seems to have more of a figure lately. This could be because Ellie described her as “half starved” so she could be getting back to a more normal weight and figure. Or we are seeing the early stages of her gaining weight due to Ellie’s habit of overfeeding everyone and everything.

        1. Not saying I disagree with your desire, but I think we’ll see that from Anise before we see it from Quinn.

  12. That being said Quinn may not be gaining weight. She has changed up her wardrobe also which can make a surprising difference.

    1. Yeah, I’m seeing the combo of getting enough to eat (due to not starving from lack of rent), different clothing choices, and occasional artist exaggerations (which I think the last panel here fits into) as the explanation for any appearance of Quinn getting bustier.

  13. You know, looking at Juniper’s face…I’m not sure if that screams apology or some kind of self-loathing-inspired resentment.

    I mean, the two are pretty much one big “what if?” moment. “What if Juniper hadn’t stolen Zane?” Quinn, despite her other issues, seems to have it much more together in Juniper’s eyes. She graduated high school, she has good posture, her own place (even if Ellie is a roommate), and she heard Ginger even say “she made you (Ellie) more responsible.”

    If Juniper had never stolen away Zane, it could have easily have been Quinn who got knocked up and dropped out. Juniper’s expression could easily have been saying “that should be my life” right there. I mean, she has to know how her family feels about her, considering they talk about her “living in a ditch” and Ginger’s first comment is “don’t sleep with them” when Juniper was in “bedding.” Juniper might be at the point where she just accepts that bad things happen to her because, well, that’s how the universe works (probably also inspired by depression caused by extreme alcohol consumption).

    Much like Quinn took all of her own issues and transferred them onto Ellie as the guilty party, I could see Juniper having the same feeling towards Quinn.

    1. I’m betting that Juniper had been burning bridges long before the Zane incident, and I doubt that she considers that as having put her on a different path in life so much as a shortcut that sped her along the path she was already walking and has one or more persistent reminders.

      1. True, but from comments and everything else, it seems “getting pregnant and dropping out of school” might be the first “huge” event that she couldn’t really come back from. If she had alienated friends and family, that’s one thing, but not being able to get a high school degree (unless she went for a GED later) is life-altering.

        Even if it was just a shortcut, that still makes it big. Either way, I could still see her somehow harboring resentment towards Quinn either has her projecting her own frustration with her life or somehow twisting it around to a “you owe me, you would’ve been me if I hadn’t stolen him.”

        1. Wow, I never thought of it like that.

          I don’t see that in her eyes though. Her eyes seem solemn and disheartened. As if she she’s what she could be, but realizes she doesn’t have the chance. She may be looking at it as the first big mistake that she cannot recover from. This, hopefully, is a time for her to start that road. *fingers crossed*

        2. Or it could be the dumb, doe eyed look of someone trying to remember something, or someone while suffering from the effects of a hangover.

          I certainly hope that isn’t the case, and she’s reached a point in her life, where she realizes that things aren’t so great, and they’re not going to get better unless some changes take place.

          But, my money is on shoddy memory and hangover. I’m such a pessimist.

        3. Agreed that’s the biggest event with an impact on her life that we’re aware of. I guess my take on Juniper is that she doesn’t seem to delude herself and accepts who she chooses to be. There’s always some delusion in almost anyone, though, so perhaps she does have some. I just don’t see any hint of that yet.

    1. And now that I just saw that I typed -oh instead of -OH (ask Herb). It’s not even a double entandre, but multiples. Her promiscuity got turned around against her, her drinking may have been before or after, but it’s turned against her. She’s turned against herself, because of the chemical imbalance.

      What are the ages of the girls at this moment? Is Juniper still 22 or 23? Has her sister council title warped her, her perception of how her siblings perceive her, parents, herself?

      If Chris wants people to want to see Juniper just ask for help, then he’s done a good job as far as I know.

      1. It’s not that I want to see Juniper in a bad state, but attempting redemption wouldn’t seem in character. The thing about redemption is you have to want to change. I just can’t see Juniper wanting to change.

        That doesn’t mean she might not want to smooth over issues where she can without changing, such as attempting something conciliatory with Quinn.

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