1234 Rulette.

The better part of the day was spent going to and returning from a cousin’s high school graduation. The Teen was not impressed with the whole affair, excepting for when one of the valedictorians broke into a karaoke rendition of Friends In Low Places. That’s the sort of shenanigans she can get behind. after that we went to the cousin’s graduation party. It’s always awkward taking the teen to a family gathering because her parents were wildly jealous of our cousin’s family’s success, and the feeling seeped into her and her siblings. It’s sad because they don’t harbor any ill will, but her world is colored by her perception of it. As an observer it’s pretty obvious to me. Of course I’m simplifying the whole thing significantly. There’s more to it than just this, but I’ve said too much already. The long and short of it is that she’s at an age, and was brought up in a way, that makes her very class conscious, which is a sad way to look at family, in my opinion.

I’m just mad that I have Friends In Low Places stuck in my head at this point.

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In my opinion there are much worse songs to have stuck in your head. I happen to enjoy Friends in Low Places when I’m in the appropriate mood.

I have a feeling John will be examining more than just evidence all night… in multiple rooms.

Something about this is making me think of the “Have you seen the Ghost of John” song…

Appropriate that she enjoyed someone singing, “Friends in Low Places” which is about classes not mixing easily I guess.

Sounds like my high school where the class colors were the same as the pink notes that told parents that their kid was failing a class. Also, our school does not believe in designating a valedictorian or salutatorian. And for my class that was a good thing. Top student had a B- average. How my school didn’t get unaccredited I’ll never know.

Since you already have the song stuck in your head, maybe you could get some variety by looking up the parody lyrics from Pinkard and Bowden – “I’ve got friends in crawl spaces”. Happy nightmares…

She’s mad with power! I just hope John doesn’t end up treating Alex like a scooter: fun to ride until your friends find out.

I only remember one thing that stood out at my High School Graduation. I met a gorgeous blonde I’d literally never seen before. It turned out that she was on the Vocational Agriculture track, and I was a mainstream (read, ‘college prep’) student, so our paths never crossed. It was a tiny school, too; the graduating class was, I think, 58. Years later, I found out a girlfriend was actually Ms. Vo-Ag’s aunt, although she was a few years younger. My ladyfriend had brothers who were a lot older than she was; one of them was the mystery girls’ Dad.

My University graduation was a lot more memorable. One of the students who got to speak (Valedictorian or some such) was also in the habit of writing editorials in the school paper saying nasty things about certain groups, such as foreign students and non-traditional students. Since I had gone back to school after being away for a dozen years, I was a lot older than many of my classmates, so I felt slandered by this dirtbag. When he went to speak, those who felt the same way conspired to stand and turn their back on him. Imagine my surprise when more than three quarters of the class showed this ass their backs. One of my instructors said it denied him his First Amendment rights, but hey, there’s Freedom of Speech, and there’s being a dick.

Sorry to hear about your problem with FiLP, but since I don’t know it, I can’t be similarly infected. Having a song stuck in your head, or an earworm, as it’s sometimes called, is incredibly common. The cure I’ve heard of is to hum “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (God Save the Queen, for our Commonwealth of Nations readers). I haven’t tried it, but I’ll try to remember next time.

I have a reserve of “happy” songs I keep in mind for when I need to get another song out of my head.

Normally, the chorus is all I need, since that is most often the only part of a song I ever get stuck in my head. It also helps with removing the offending song because now I have to actually think about how the rest of the more desirable song actually goes.

Last Tuesday’s “This is the Way” is one of my top go-to songs for this purpose.
http://youtu.be/PcDw4_pxuls
This way, those of you who are given to curiosity don’t have to go digging.

Is it just me or has anyone else picked up on Alex’s remarkable sudden change of demeanor?

You mean that moment when a fisherman gets a bite and changes from waiting to reeling in her catch? I would say this is the phase where you let the fish wear itself out before you bring it in.

You know, I hate to just point at this, but a few people have said this and I’m just irritated enough today to say something. Look at their first on screen meeting. This is her reversing that situation. ON PURPOSE. Because she’s smart and realized what he was doing by trying to handsome her into submission. She’s doing the exact same thing back to him, and she’s doing it better.

OK yeah, I’m sorry for putting up those lyrics when you already said you were mad about having the song stuck in your head. I didn’t realize you were having a bad day.

I’ve never commented here before, but let me just say I love your work!

Hey there Crave! Just went archive exploring today and read bits and pieces of the comic (all in all, probably every arc from comic 900 something to pretty much the present). I was impressed by how much of a different experience it is to read the comics at once, instead of having to wait for updates. The change of pace does make it something else, even more interesting, since it allows us to better observe the story and feel the characters developing as we go. Maybe this impression is also due because it’s the second time I’m reading the strips, so I’ve got a different perspective (and more information) than back then.

Anyway, what I was trying to get at (but got derailed back there) is, I was amazed by your insight on people’s minds and you ability to balance the multiple viewpoints of your characters while not making the message you try to convey into something convoluted. I was wondering, where does that insight come from? A lot of observation on the people around you? Or a natural aptitude to comprehend people’s behavior and motivaiton? It interests me, as I can be very oblivious to those things if I’m not actively trying not to be (and even then, I don’t succeed on that every time)…

As a side note: When re-reading the comics, I noticed Nina mention Reggie only paused making advances on her when Jo was hired (that’s on strip 955). At the moment I read it for the first time, that didn’t have as much significance as it does now that we know the full story of the before times (as observed and told by Jo, at least). All in all, does that mean that Reggie was actually being nice to Jo not out of general goodwill, but had second intentions behind it…?

Btw, sorry for double-posting, I went back here to edit the comment and only looked for a delete button on the original after I was done. And to my surprise, there’s none of that, so…

First of all, the way I make comics is sometimes called “for the archive”. Meaning that the goal is to have a cohesive work that’s meant to be read as a whole, generally. A lot of the pages can stand on their own, or have enough of an emotional impact to satisfy people for a day, but I don’t hold myself to that if I want to build up to something.

I think that reading large parts of Between Failures at a time is a better experience, but the daily readers are what keep me able to continue making the comic. Essentially the archive is the bait that hooks people, and hopefully makes them invested in the characters. There are a few, very patient, readers who ready a few month of pages at a time and then don’t come back till they build up some archive again. Which is fine, but as I said, the regular readers is what keep the site running.

My ability to read people comes, mostly, from being a very shy child. I’m more confident now, but in some situations I still get incredibly nervous. To the point of mania, which is where a lot of Brooksie’s personality comes from. I was always the fat, sensitive boy, who everyone called gay. As a kid, my reaction to this was to constantly go over situations in my head to try and be ready for any possible outcome. I carefully studied the weaknesses of my classmates so that if they ever said, or did, something hurtful to me I could do as much emotional damage as possible in retaliation. I’m still really good at instantly recognizing a person’s weaknesses. Unfortunately the teasing I endured in school made me incredibly mean spirited in my teens and into my twenties. I still have to watch myself very carefully because my first reaction to any perceived insult is to be as hurtful as possible in return.

The other side of that is that I learned to consider what makes people act the way they do. I can see both sides of most conflicts pretty clearly, and understand the underlying motivations of the parties involved. Understanding what motivates people is the first step to correctly manipulating them, which is what I eventually learned to do at my various jobs. Obviously, that’s why Thomas is the way he is.

Studying people is so much a part of my personality I don’t really think about it anymore, it’s just a thing I do. Strangely however, if people use words in a way that conflicts with my understanding of them it really throws me off.

Anyway, I’m not sure how much of any of that is natural talent. I’ve always been pretty quick witted, but I trained that in myself so much as a reaction to the world I wouldn’t know where the line is anymore. All I know is that the actions of people can be studied and predicted fairly accurately. If you take enough of an interest in others you can learn to predict their actions and responses to things in their lives. Just look at your facebook feed. The people you know will do certain things over and over and almost never learn anything from what their actions cause. Over time you’ll notice that your friends who are the most successful are the ones who you can’t predict as well. They break patterns of damaging behavior and improve themselves. Not always, but enough to win out over time.

Anyway, about your side note, I actually stick in lines like that every so often to hint at future story points. They are little anchors that help cement the story as being thought out and not just continually pulled from my ass. Most people miss them, but you can get a much better understanding of the motivations of the cast if you take note of those seemingly throw away statements.

The long and short of that is that Reggie not only liked Jo, but developed a strong crush on her very quickly. I never came right out and said it, but you picked up on it. If you look back over their interactions with that in mind you’ll get a better understanding of why Reggie treats her like he does.

Wow… Was that clarifying.

I’ve come across and started reading faithfully a few “for the archive” comics (that’s a great way to describe it, I think) in my life, but given I don’t have the habit to re-read, re-watch or replay anything (with the exception of Chrono Trigger), I rarelly do the archive dive thing. This was the first time I got to do it with Between Failures, and I have to say it was probably the best webcomic I’ve ever read to achieve that effect of a streamlined, fluid story. There’s also few works out there that manage to get this close to feeling real, as in these everyday events could be actually happening out there. There’s not much more to say than congratulations on that.

I can relate with the “shy, introveted child, easy target for teasing” part (even being “the one everyone called gay”). Was also one of those in junior school and up to the better half of high school too. I guess maybe I didn’t develop those people-reading skills because I had a less confrontational take about it. I never liked fighting, verbally or physically (specially since I always was a short guy, so my size didn’t favor me), instead, I coped with it by thinking of myself as being bigger than all that crap (or at least trying to), and on the other hand by trying not to call attention to myself. I guess I thought that if the bullies didn’t notice me, they wouldn’t pick on me. It worked most of the time (now that I think about it, it’s almost hard to believe). This probably gave me diferent skills and lingering weaknesses than yours but yeah, I can see where you stood at. Anyway, it was actually very explanatory, much more than I thought it would be – people usually speak of such things in very vague terms, but you had no problem telling me how it was. Thanks for that, and for what ammounts to very good advice both to dealing with others and with oneself.

On the side note stuff, It’s actually a nice feeling to go back and spot those small clues that show the story was planned well in advance. I for one appreciate when an author makes that kind of effort to casually lay out seemingly insignificant information that will have it’s meaning changed when put into context later. In fact, I went back to reading Reggie-and-Jo-centered comics and this small bit of info gave it a new light to their actions and reactions. Will keep my eyes peeled for more of that, I know they’re there somewhere.

ps: if there’s something weird about my spelling, this is because my default keyboard input language is set to portuguese and it sometimes autocorrects stuff I write in english. Sorry for that, but I’ve no idea how to avoid it.

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