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The Real Troubles in Life

I was going to title this "Blondie..." something something... but I looked it up and Red Lobster is NOT the restaurant that has the blondie. It's Applebee's. Which I should know since that's my favorite dessert. Red Lobster does have the standard cheesecake thing, and some Chocolate Wave whatever. And also those dessert shots that everyone seems to be copying off each other. But dammit get the blondie. Too many chocolate desserts. I'm less and less inclined to get chocolate-anything the older I get. It's troublesome. Speaking of which, the biggest thing I miss from my childhood was Crunch bars back when they came wrapped in foil. Man, those were the best. Now, I dunno. Did they change the mix on the Crunch bar? Not nearly as good as my nostalgia has convinced me it used to be. I'm quite sure the secret was in the foil. I was also devastated when they did away with Crispy M&M's, but now they're back! And soon... God willing.. Crystal-pepsi UPDATE ________________ Apologies guys, but I have a lot of family stuff I'm dealing with, so I won't be able to get anything else done until Monday. I have plenty of stuff near completion, but just not enough physical time to complete it. You know I hate making you wait, but I have to deal with it. The good news is, I may have a colorist lined up to help alleviate my workload for each strip (which is thanks to all my wonderful Patreon pledgers.) Like I've said, I'm super anal about these comics, and that causes a lot of delays in what I can get done. Hopefully this will counteract my OCD and slowness... or maybe just inflict it upon this poor person. I'll let you know how it go'eth. Also, SAY WHAAAAAAATT??

147 thoughts on “The Real Troubles in Life

  1. She would whine about dessert :p. The biscuits are awesome but I got over my addiction to them years ago when my wife cracked the code and figured out how to make them at home. Also, I cannot WAIT for the return on Crystal Pepsi.

    1. My mom always made cheddar biscuits when I was growing up long before we ever went to Red Lobster. I still think her biscuits are the best. And if you make them yourself, you can put as much cheese in them as you want!

    2. There are several recipes for “Red Lobster Style Cheddar Biscuits” online. All the ones I’ve tried have been good but I can’t really compare them to the official restaurant version because I very rarely eat out.

      1. Never tried any of the web ones, there was a mix box recipe that was similar that she tweaked then redid entirely using (I think) Bisquick. She’s like kitchen MacGyver.

        1. It’s kind of hard to not look at the ones that actually have the company approved decorations on the box in the seafood department that you can make at home. But why bother, when you can just complain about the bug on your plate when you order the lobster and shrimp combo.

        2. Yeah, as far as mixes go Bisquick does a pretty good one. I’ve done both the savory kind (for eating with something like stew) as well as a sweeter dessert version more like shortcake.

    3. Man, I drank so much Crystal Pepsi when it was out on ‘test market’. I could never decide if I liked it or not, so I’d have another one. (usually a Coke fan).

      But with that clear Mountain Dew they made…. it could be real again. :o

      1. Fun fact, in one of my many aborted attempts to write/draw a comic strip I have a sketch of a character (who is shockingly and embarrassingly 90’s with “edgy” piercings and what not) is holding a bottle of Crystal Pepsi. I found it not long ago while going through some truly ancient stuff and had a “wow, did I really draw this?” moment. It was like the art equivalent of seeing a terrible hairdo you used to have in a yearbook photo.

        1. I wrote a short story in middle school in my free time that got passed around and read by friends. I’m fairly grateful that it disappeared somewhere along the line, so I don’t come across it and find out how bad it was. The main characters were Maria and Tony, as I’d seen West Side Story close to the time I started it. I’m sure the rest of it is as cliched.

          I don’t think I managed any product references. It was about the same time Classic Coke resurfaced, though, so you never know.

    4. They now actually sell an official ‘Just Like the Restaurant’ box-mix for those biscuits. I will report back when we’ve had a chance to try them out.

      1. They’re not quite the same as the restaurant. The outside texture of the restaurant variety makes me think they’re fried, which did not get reproduced in my oven at home. They’re still pretty tasty, but you can accomplish the same thing with a basic drop biscuit recipe, folding in about 2/3 cup shredded cheddar, and brushing with garlic butter when they come out.

        1. My guess would be that they were baked, the color just doesn’t seem to be right for a fried dough. Also, the length of time, consistency of the heat in the oven, large consistent batches, etc. etc. And person being paid to get them right.

      1. That’s probably because they presumably don’t have as many preservatives in them as they did when we were growing up.
        Ours is probably the last generation that will not rot when placed in the ground. A thousand years from now, archaeologists will sift our remains while wearing full NBC hazard suits because our very graves will have been found to contain significant quantities of toxic waste…us.

        1. Will they have the Jimmy Fallon or David Letterman logo on the back of those suits? ha.

    1. or when cracker jack came with a toy/temp tattoo. now all it comes with it words of wisdom like a fortune cookie :(

    1. A high speed moving vehicle, like NASCAR at Daytona fast. And I think just to be safe they should super glue his eyebrows on, that way they don’t fly off as he bounces off the pavement at high velocity.

      1. They should take him to the track an go as fast as they can in the pedo van an kick him out an watch him bounce. But then again the pedo van likely won’t go faster than 20mph without breaking down.

        1. HMS Hexapuma at about 450gees sounds about right, just was they pass Earth, That way he can bounce of the atmosphere.

      1. I don’t see him in the frame, so I assumed he’d been sent outside to wait by the car or something.

  2. On Patreon titles:
    I am totally cool with referencing Phil Collins songs. But, have any characters (besides the parents) even heard that song? Just a thought, not a complaint.

    Also, judging by the thumbs, Pumpkin is starting (continuing?) to blossom as predicted. That is, she is growing as the blonds in her family seem to do. That is, she is becoming more… formidable?

      1. Oh, well, that’s practically brand new. (Look at date on the calendar. Use crank powered adding machine to calculate when I bought that album. Look at cane next to desk.) Yes, newfangled music, like the kids listen to, these days.

  3. Crystal Pepsi was gross. Nostalgia taste buds often lie. You loved sweeter things when you were younger but as you age your palette normally moves slightly toward the more savory side of things.

    1. Worst part is, since you haven’t had it in years, it will likely taste different today than it did back then, and your memory of it wouldn’t even jibe anyway.

    2. I never really got the appeal of Crystal Pepsi or its counterparts. Didn’t really taste special, it was all just the looks and marketing. And the looks are only good as a bit of a party gag and that’s it. Nothing that would change my everyday behaviour. I took to it for a bit when I was young because it was new and special and from the US. But pretty much lost interest after the first or second time I had it. Didn’t come as a suprise they stopped selling it, hence.

        1. I don’t see no chrome on that!

          As we all know everything that is the future comes in chrome!

      1. Reminds me of when we measured ph-values of various liquids during chemistry at my Kantonsschule (higher school from 13 or 15 to 19, usually leading up to academic studies).

        Coca Cola had vinegar and concentrated lemon juice soundly beaten.

      2. I love bourbon! Crown and Coke is the best way to wind down after a rough day, or kick of an amazing night, or start a lazy afternoon, or… damn I’m suddenly thirsty.

        1. Putting aside that US legalese demands Bourbon to be produced in the US, I also think that Canadian Club does not use enough corn to be called it. Also matures longer than is usually the case for Bourbon.

  4. Dark chocolate and straight-up cocoa puddings: the solution to oversweet chocolate confections. ;)

  5. I can see Ellie’s eyes going red as she snarls in a guttural voice not quite her own “There are never enough cheese biscuits. NEVER!”

    1. And she will be finding crumbs in that one for decades to go.

      Pro-tip: Doing this to any kind of bag except those especially meant for it is a very, very bad idea.

    1. My friends and I figured out how to braid the starburst wrappers and for a while we had a running contest of who could keep the longest chain before our parents/teachers found out.

  6. They may not have the crystal pepsi but they have a mountain dew version of it. They call it Dewshine. Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s out there.

    1. I saw it. It’s being sold in small glass bottles at big bottle prices. If someone gives me one I would try it but right now I’m not going to reward their asinine marketing gimmicks.

  7. I agree completely with your nostalgia. The foil was the secret to the Crunch Bar’s success. The fun size ones you got at holloween were never as good as the big ones (and that ain’t just my inner fat kid wanting more candy). The magic must have been from the chocolate stealing aluminum ions from the foil or something.

  8. BTW, of course they have lobsters in Canada; The Palm restaurants gets theirs from Nova Scotia!

    Just a thought for any of you who might want to venture beyond Red Lobster…

    1. Figure we all kinda knew that “sea scorpions” really exist. After all, isn’t New Brunswick a stone’s throw from Maine?

  9. I don’t remember the Crunch bars from childhood being appreciably different. But I CLEARLY remember that the different colors of M&M’s had a different flavor and remember red was best, green was second best, and brown was worst (I don’t remember the relative merits of yellow & orange and that was before blue).

    I know now that there’s no way that was anything but in my head, and it always comes to mind when I think about childhood candy nostalgia.

    Although, from what I’ve read online, my nostalgia from even a decade ago versus today for the taste of Vernor’s IS actually valid and apparently due to aging it less (possibly a recipe change too). [For those who want to point out that ginger beer is better than Vernor’s anyway, I won’t argue but finding decent ginger beer in the Dayton, OH area is something I’ve been failing at ever since I discovered it in other parts of the country, only thing I can find reliably here is the Reed’s crap which is worthless and occasional other odd things that are overpriced but passable but nothing really good.]

    1. Gods, Verners has changed drastically! I can remember it having a much stronger bite before I moved to Tucson (2001) and then when I found a store that sold it out here a few years later it suddenly being almost as weak as the other ginger ales.

      1. @coyboyken & Ash Blackwell – Vernor’s isn’t actually ginger ale and ginger beer is distinctly different from ginger ale. Vernor’s just calls itself ginger soda, but the old taste I remember is something like a sweeter, more watered down version of ginger beer but with pop-type carbonation as opposed to beer type (larger bubbles). Not all ginger beers have quite the same qualities but any of the decent ones have the same “breathe wrong while drinking and you’ll cough or sneeze” that I remember growing up with.

        I can never taste any ginger in ginger ale.

        1. Good ginger beer or ginger ale are very hard for me to find for some reason. I want ginger beer to bite back.

        2. I used to get Buffalo Rock when I was east of the Mississippi, and that was a ginger beer masquerading as a soda (as well as the “soda” Pepsi’s parent company back in the day was named after), but I haven’t seen it at all since I moved out west. I really hope that it’s still available and still slaps you in the face with GINGER!, but I can’t say that the other product changes I’ve seen in the last fifteen years leave me hopeful on that.

  10. Candy bar nostalgia for me is the Nestle Alpine White candy bar. My favorite as a young kid. They had the most awesome 80’s ballad for their commercials.

    1. Any candy bar that could have been purchased with a quarter, and was full size. But, I think that it was the Chunky candy bar because it was one that my parents ate, liked and told me to get.

        1. To be fair, lies and raisins are a good filling for wooden horses. The more wooden horses that get filled with raisins, the less there are floating around in the world to be in cookies to get someone’s hopes up from a distance that it’s a chocolate chip.

  11. 1. You can never have enough biskets, sourdough rolls or bread stick. Never.
    2. While that sad face us cute, I think he did enough and just get some ice cream on the ride home.
    3. As much as nostalgia is in right now ( see Jurassic World) I don’t see the foil ever coming back. It most likely a cost cutting/ food safety/ better food preserver as the reason they changed the wrapper. Still can’t wait to get some Crystal Pepsi.

        1. Well, the proper definition of such eating time labels are geographically defined. So this one up may have been for moot, Mr. Wayne.

        2. Wayne? That rich old guy that had been just living in his under kept mansin for the last forty years. Why you bring him up?

  12. My old man worked for Pepsico in the 80s and early 90s. I once drank a sixer of Crystal Pepsi in one sitting and could see time itself for the next three days.

  13. Recently companies have stopped using cocoa butter in their chocolate and are now using vegetable oil instead. It is cheaper but it makes the chocolate taste like crap. You have to check the label, if it has chocolate flavored or chocolate candy on it then it isn’t real chocolate.

    1. BLASPHEMY!!

      BETRAYAL!!

      I’m now taking steps towards nuking every American chocolate factory from orbit.

      Yes, I’m Swiss. Does it show?

    2. Yeah, it’s made me wonder if there’s a shortage of cocoa butter or something, because it’s been hard as hell to find white chocolate for the last few years. You can find plenty of “White” (a.k.a. “White Compound”) and they’ll go out of their way to let you jump to the conclusion it’s white chocolate, but they’ll never put those words in that orde (I’m looking at you, Godiva Chocolate’s White).

      Instead, you’ll have to scour to avoid these white chocolate substitutes mostly made from canola oil instead of cocoa butter but still priced like they were made from the real stuff. Heaven help you find white chocolate chips in person.

        1. Mr. Blue went to the store. And in the chocolate chip baking section were white chips, no cocoa butter at all. For two brand name products. However, a cookies and cream candy bar (brand name) did have cocoa butter as part of the vegetable oil group, and less than 2% cocoa and/or chocolate in the ingredients list.

        2. Oh deary… Companies trying to pull that stunt over here would quickly find themselves out of business. It’s probably okay to have one brand that way, but it’ll never sell as good as the real stuff.

        3. It makes one wonder about the legalese behind food products that once was claimed to be ice cream with various food stuffs added to it marketed as rocky road ice cream is something like marshmallow, nuts with a chocolate flavored sauce with ice cream matrix frozen dairy dessert.

  14. I have a snacking update… my teenager talked me into getting a box of Ding Dongs at the store tonight… not that she had to talk very fast, or convince very hard… but they’re wrapped in plastic now.

    Another foil product gone away…

    *insert Ellie level sadface*

  15. When I learned that ignoring one’s gluten intolerance has severe long-term effects, Red Lobster’s biscuits were one of the very first things I lamented. Just thinking about how I’ll never again have them (unless I go on a binge of bread and booze after being diagnosed with a terminal illness) is making me cry a little.

    For those of you discussing discontinued products, I’m guessing I can make you shudder with only two words:

    Pepsi Blue.

    Muahaha.

    1. I think if you take one of the aforementioned recipes flying around the net and then adjust it somewhat, you might come up with a suitable substitute that you can eat.

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  17. Please good sir..I beg of you…don’t tempt me with wishful thinking. I loved Crystal Pepsi and on a hot summer day is was refreshing as all get out. If I see Crystal Pepsi returning to the market…I may just break down and cry.

    As it stands…I’ll settle for doing the Supa Hot Flame GIF face when SONY annoounced the FF7 remake…to be released for the PS5.

    1. You want something refreshing on hot summer days? A drink of elder syrup on ice beats everything else I’ve tried so far.

        1. I’m close enough to Munich (and have a friend living there) to do that right, actually. ;)

          But then there are many restaurants with very nice gardens in walking distance from my home. And we’ve got good beer here as well.

  18. Ellie’s got a bad case of First World Problems and Quinn’s apparently showing signs of a Stupid Question infestation.

    (Fantastic comic today, BTW.)

  19. I don’t understand Quinn’s question. Is… is there any time in which someone doesn’t need _all_ of the Cheese biscuits?

    1. Hence my comment she’s got an infestation of Stupid Questions. There are apparently so many that they’re falling out of her mouth and she doesn’t even notice.

  20. Ah, the finest candy from the childhood was the Nestle Triple-Decker-Bar. Imagine something like a candy bar sized mint, except one of the outer layers was milk-chocolate instead of dark-chocolate.

    I wonder happened to them? I only remember them being around a few years and then disappearing from store shelves.

  21. Ooo, a colorist! Neat! That should be a help, yes indeed.

    And yes, that Minecraft Hololens demo was the living end. Still not as awesome as Fallout 4, but really something to see all the same.

  22. Well if you’re going to take out, might as well take it all, right?

    Also I do not believe it’s a good idea to announce your plan to get one party member arrested right in earshot of said party member, unless he’s been bound and gagged off-panel…

  23. You know, I never play Minecraft in creative mode. It always feels too much like cheating. So, I never just build whatever I want, because I have to worry about food and zombies. Yet, I could be making cool stuff like that all the time. But, no matter how kool it is, I am not gonna drop a couple hundred to see it in like 3D and stuff.

  24. I keep forgetting the artist has OCD; as someone who grew up with an OCD father who’s a complete neat freak and being a messy gal myself, I totally understand his issue.. I’m afraid to clean house because I could never do it PERFECTLY and he just couldn’t help his screaming and cursing fits.

    1. No one really knew what OCD was until about 10 or so years ago. We just thought that our parents were crazy. And, it turns out they were!

        1. I meant us, the general population. Headshrinkers have known for a long time, of course. But, it was about 10 years ago, give or take, that it came into the general conciseness of the population. It suddenly became the popular disorder in Hollywood, to give to characters. A lot of research has gone into it in that time, as well. Many people that were diagnosed with something else, have been found to actually have a form of OCD. Many of the eating disorders, for instance, are rooted in it, rather than in body dismorphia. Or, to put it another way, the body dismorphia is often a result of the OCD.

          The Sopranos had the lead character suffering from panic/anxiety attacks, which is the core cause of OCD. CSI had a number of characters who we would recognize later as OCD, in it’s first seasons. Now, we have shows about OCD. My mother keeps trying to watch Big Bang Theory, even though she doesn’t like it, or understand it. Then again, if you peel off the science and “nerd culture” stuff, they are her people. I can’t stand it, both because of the “weird nerds” vibe, and because I got enough of the OCD crap growing up, and still have to deal with the screaming now and then.

      1. What’s worse, would be the people who had OCD, but had no idea what it was, or what or why they were doing what they were doing. That some part of their brain was telling them over and over to question what they actually just did. Or what someone tried to do for them, but their little bit just screamed at them in their head “it’s not right.”

  25. Well, it’s been almost a week since the last posting of the TOP WEB COMIC stats for the North Atlantic Round Squirrel’s big three comics.

    And here we go again,

    Besides, I probably didn’t do it as much this week because I’ve either been doing other stuff, running around burdened by life, or tired.

    1. 1st up in in the countdown recollection today is Shotgun Shuffle. When last we peeked in on the Shuffleverse stats six days ago, “.. TWC #42; VT 703; PVpD 46.866..”

      Today, the Shuffleverse has dropped to number 45, losing three spots on the Top Web Comic list. The total vote count is 920 which translates into a daily vote from 43.809523r. We’ve lost three spots, and three people per day on the voting.

      LINKhttp://topwebcomics.com/vote/14850/default.aspx

    2. Next up in the NARS listing on TWC, Stand Still. Stay Silent. When the numbers were accessed last time from TWC, SSSS was “..TWC #6; VT 4,511; PVpD 300.7333r..”

      Today, the SSSS gang has maintained their standing at #6 on TWC with a total vote count of 6,071. For 21 days, that is 289.095238 people voting on average per day.

      LINK: http://topwebcomics.com/vote/15772/default.aspx

    3. FInally, the NARS group would like to submit the stats for A Redtail’s Dream. Before, or at least last time as it was six days ago, aRTD had “.. TWC #37; VT 803; PVpD 53.5333r..”

      Currently, aRTD has also maintained their position on the TWC at #37. Their vote total of 1,026 brings a Person Voted per Day count to 48.857142r. The PVpD has dropped by almost 6 people per day. However, in six days the VT had increased by a count of 223.

      LINK: http://topwebcomics.com/vote/13721/default.aspx

  26. I just wanted to say I’m writing this from beautiful Lakeland, Florida. I’m in town for business and got a chance to check out some of the sites I’ve seen in the comic, including Lake Hollingsworth. It really is a pretty lake in person, and the comic captured it well.

    On another note, is Ellie’s obsession with Red Lobster a subtle reference to the fact that chain started in Lakeland?

  27. Just a mention here, a strip that I love almost as much as this one, between failures.com, creator Jackie is having some very serious health issues. I’m not going to ask you to donate to his Patreon or anything like that(although I’m sure an outpouring like that might reduce the man to tears) but if any of the shuffleverse are creative enough to feel comfortable doing a guest strip, I really think he’d rest easier and recover faster knowing that his followers have some update. If you are interested, you can comment on his webpage or contact him through twitter @betweenfailures. Is help with this, but my best drawings look like xkcd.

  28. Just FYI, maybe a bit late, but last I heard Chris was still out of town on family issue type of things. Requests have been filed with Human Resources under the Family Leave and WebComic Act of 2013.

    1. Have you heard any time estimate? I totally understand any and all delays but just curious. Worth the wait. And hope things are coming along ok on his end.

      1. No, there was no time estimate given. However, considering that Chris had issues under the heading of Family Stuff, currently there is no known time frame for an estimate.

    2. I hope everything is okay with his family! We’ll all still be here when he gets back, but hopefully whatever is holding him up isn’t too serious.

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