Let’s RE-READ HOMESTUCK!

A man sits at his computer, it just so happens that today 4/13/16, now that it’s finished, he is going to re-read Homestuck with the ending in mind. Since people seem to like Liveblogs, he’ll be posting my thoughts here as he re-reads, and any tantalizing bits of info I find interesting he’ll post here as well. But first, what will this reader’s name be?

>CALUM TRAVELER

Your name is Calum Traveler, and today you will begin reading Homestuck.

(Warning, cursing will be quoted in context from the comic)

>HOMESTUCK.

A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the 13th of April, 2009, is this young man’s birthday. Though it was thirteen years ago he was given life, it is only today he will be given a name!What will the name of this young man be?

We all know who this kid is. John Egbert. Today is his BIRTHDAY. Cakes be scattered everywhere, yo, and we see he has an interest in some debateably shitty movies. We see that he has aspirations of being a MAGICIAN, while also having a fondness for PARANORMAL LORE.

He also likes to play GAMES, sometimes.

This is all basic stuff, really that will likely have no baring on the future story at all…. Except… It all sort of ties together, does it not? We’re told that John fancies himself a Magician of some kind, and yet he’s more quickly established as a PRANKSTER. Already, the story has the advantage in this Gambit. And yet… John is a sort of wizard, is he not? And you’d have to be a wizard to make things UN-Happen, would you not? Hrm, very interesting that we’re told that he’s an aspiring magician, and yet we barely hear anything of it beyond act 1.

>Retrieve Arms from Drawer

The arms are in the MAGIC CHEST. Well if that ain’t a potent metaphor I dunno what is. Barely 5 pages in and already this adventure is LOUSY with the things.

Interesting however is that the Arms are INSIDE the chest. Surely this will have no relevance on the future. Nooope.

Out of sympathy for John’s perceived lack of arms, you pick up the CAKE for him and put it on his BED.

Here is an odd moment. It’s a carry over from the HOMESTUCK BETA, a thing that was launched 3 days before the official launch of Homestuck itself. The first few pages were the same, story wise, but had a very different feel. One wonders how homestuck would have changed had Hussie kept to the FLASH EVERY PAGE! technique he seemed geared up for. Likely, some things would have stayed the same, and yet other things might have ended up different.

It’s amusing that One of the Things that Homestuck is noteworthy for is the sheer possibility of a timeline diverging early on and causing havok to the universe… and yet here we are already on the Second iteration of a rather lengthy comic.

You retrieve your FAKE ARMS from the chest. You use these for HILARIOUS ANTICS.

And here the prankster’s gambit finally smacks us in the face. These are FAKE ARMS. Nothing at all like the real arms we perceived John as not having.

You CAPTCHALOGUE them in your SYLLADEX. You have no idea what that actually means though.

There are other items in the chest.

Our first nonsense words! CAPTCHALOGUE and SYLLADEX. Note the spelling with the UE at the end of Captchalogue. I’ve pretty certain I remember it getting dropped later on.

In here you keep an array of humorous and mystical ARTIFACTS, each one a devastating weapon in the hands of a SKILLED MAGICIAN or a CUNNING PRANKSTER.

You are neither of these things.

Oh, John, don’t sell yourself short so easily! Here we begin the swap out from “Magician” to “Prankster.” It’s at this point we lose the “Magic” distinction for John’s character. It’s a very interesting sleight of hand on Hussie’s part. We’re to focus on the PRANKS and forget about the MAGIC, which is reportedly FAKE AS SHIT.

Inside the chest is a bunch of junk that we quickly stuff into our inventory- like any and all good gamers would. We are KLEPTOMANIACS at HEART.

You still aren’t totally sure what that means, but you are starting to get the hang of the vernacular at least.

Uh huh, sure. This line is referring to the Sylladex, but let’s be real for a moment here. If JOHN has had this Sylladex Modus for long enough that the card gets stuck under the chest (Whops, spoiler alert!) then he atleast KNOWS the terms, but still has no idea WHAT the terms mean. This is both a wonderful meta example of the readers starting to learn the lingo, as well as John getting used to the weirdness of his world.

(seriously, he’s sticking solid mass items into CARDS. that comes off as MAGIC to me.)

Your SYLLADEX’S FETCH MODUS is currently dictated by the logic of a STACK DATA STRUCTURE. You were never all that great with data structures and you find the concept puzzling and mildly irritating.

John’s first modus is STACK, first in last out. John is NOT that great of a programmer, however, as we’ll find out later. He finds the concept of a data structure PUZZLING! Curious.

Skipping past the Problem Sleuth Advertisement…

John reads a note from his father. John wonders what the associated poster even has on it! Well, gee John, why don’t you just unfold it with your hands and look at it? But no, we have to go through this whole sequence of using a set of CONVENIENT HAMMER AND NAILS that have been there since the start of Act 1. John hits himself with the fake arms doing this.

We immediately get a STUPID STUPID STUPID reader command.

And yet the polished surface of your desk…

It beckons.

One can only imagine WHY Hussie went ahead and used this command. Surely he wasn’t at too much of a premium of commands that he couldn’t afford not to. This is the kind of stupid stuff people are turned off by, and yet the story… it beckons.

John puts the poster on his wall. It’s for the movie LITTLE MONSTERS. One must wonder if Hussie had the Trolls in mind with this reference? He’s said that some of the scenes for Act 7 were ones he’d visualized since before Homestuck even began. Were the Trolls for sure a part of that? What of the Cherubs, and ultimately, Homestuck’s Narrative quote unquote “villain”?

>John: Examine Con Air poster.

PUT THE BUNNY BACK IN THE BOX.I SAID, PUT THE BUNNY BACK IN THE BOX.

WHY COULDN’T YOU PUT THE BUNNY BACK IN THE BOX?

>John: Examine Deep Impact poster.

OCEANS RISE. CITIES FALL. HOPE SURVIVES.

WOW.

Films about impending apocalypse fascinate you.

Surely this will have no impact on future story what so ever. */sarcasm*

>John: Examine calendar.

You’ve marked your birthday, the 13th of April. Another day you marked was supposed to be the arrival date for the highly touted SBURB BETA LAUNCH.

Calling back to the BETA, let’s take a moment to appreciate that the “CLICK HERE!” Icons are the SBURB SQUARES. The room, too, is laid out differently. The magic chest is a different design as well, more of a magic BOX instead. Let it not be said that we should ignore the past, lest we repeat the mistakes in the future.

THANKS FOR PLAYING THE HOMESTUCK BETA!

No, thank you, Hussie. Thank you.

Back to Homestuck 1.0, however….

It’s been three days already. It’s starting to become a sore subject with you.

Three Days. What a difference 3 days can make, hm?

Enough to make a kid sick of eating cake, no doubt.

We’re next introduced to the WONDERFUL PESTERCHUM SYSTEM and get a glance at John’s computer desktop. John loves his Green Ghosts, especially SLIMER. He made this background himself! (Did he really, i wonder?) We get to see the ^Cake files as well as a ~ATH file. John doesn’t seem happy by the results going by the file names, we get a simple glimpse into his personality just by the names of these files “pff” “FUCK”cubed and “AAAAUUUGGH.” By the way, WHO LETS KIDS mess around with a programing language that works via DEATH??? You’d think something like ~ATH would be heavily regulated on Earth.

We also see the TYPHEUS web browser. Surely this too will be of no importance later on.

I am, of course, being 100% sarcastic.

— turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 16:13 —

TG: hey so what sort of insane loot did you rake in today

ah, the friend who wants to know what you got for your birthday. I’m sure you know someone in your life who’s just like this.

John then wonderfully trolls his friend “TG” with the bottle of apple juice he just found… I’m sure if John truly knew Dave’s(Yeah I ain’t even going to pretend I don’t know) home situation, he wouldn’t have done this. Poor dude just loves his A.J. and does not deserve this kind of friendly ribbing.

The interesting thing is the set up, however. John gets a poster of LITTLE MONSTERS, and with that on his mind, messes with his friend. How Rude! You might be thinking.

TG: also fred savage has a really punchable face
TG: but who cares about this lets stop talking about it
TG: did you get the beta yet
EB: no.
EB: did you?
TG: man i got two copies already
TG: but i dont care im not going to play it or anything the game sounds boring
TG: did you see how it got slammed in game bro????
EB: game bro is a joke and we both know it.
TG: yeah

Dave! Wow! He’s got TWO copies of the Beta! This is both true in the sense that he has TWO DISKS, foreshadowing Sburb’s dual nature install, but ‘s well as telling us that he literally has TWO COPIES OF THE BETA. Knights speaking in Double Speak isn’t going to stop being a thing, ladies and gentlemen. Almost right away we’re being told in a duplicitous way that DUALITY is very much a THING.

Hanging from the tree is your TIRE SWING. In a kid’s yard, a tree without a tire swing is like a proper gentleman without a monocle. That is to say, HE CAN HARDLY BE CONSIDERED A TERRIBLY PROPER GENTLEMAN AT ALL.

I didn’t have a tree swing growing up. I had a swing set in my back yard, though, and a slide. Both gone now.

The little red arm-swingy-dealy thing or whatever it is called is flipped up!

What the hell is that thing called anyway. You do not have time for these semantics. The red flippy-lever thing means you have new mail. And that means the beta might be here!

This is an INTERNET JOKE harkening back to ye old AOL. Who remembers that? XD

In reality, the flag being out means mail is being sent out to be delivered… online, the flag being up actually DID mean YOU’VE GOT MAIL. I honestly can’t believe I didn’t GET THIS until just now. Freaking hell it’s been how many years since I started reading Homestuck??

John’s dad returns from the store and- wait. What time is it?

16:13

Ah, 4:13 P.M. on what I’m told is a Monday. John must have gotten home from school just before getting to his room.

Sometimes you feel like you are trapped in this room. Stuck, if you will, in a sense which possibly borders on the titular.

You mean… ROOMTRAPPED? :P

Or maybe STUCKHOME SYNDROME?

 

And now your chum is pestering you again. The clockwork of friendship turns ceaselessly, operating the swing-lever dealies of harassment in perpetuity!
Whatever. The dude can just hold his damn horses.

We’re associating CLOCKWORK with DAVE, here. Swing-Lever-dealies also could refer to a pendulum swinging in a clock.

Subtle… very subtle… usage of Horse punnery.

…John also has quite a showy selection of video games. One of which is “Call my Bluff!” Ah, this kind of cover brings back memories of the kinds of games I used to play growing up. You know, those vaguely kiddy ones that are REALLY SIMPLE and yet for some reason REALLY ENGAGING?

You decide to consult with the Colonel’s bottomless wisdom. Good grief this thing is huge. It could kill a cat if you dropped it.

But to really dig into this hefty book, you will have to captchalogue it. You are not sure you are ready to logjam your other ARTIFACTS beneath it just yet.

Yes, John. it really could kill a cat. Funny you should say that…. Don’t tell Rose, okay?

TG: maybe you can play with TT shes been pestering me all day about it
TG: shes mackin on me so hard all the time i start to feel embarrassed for her
TG: i mean not that i can blame her or anything

…Dave, you sound rather quick to say that for some reason.

EB: yes, it is understandable because you are really attractive. i am attracted to you.TG: thank youEB: jk haha.

…John, don’t toy with your friend’s heart like that.

Dave then proceeds to serve as tutorial guy for the STRIFE SPECIBUS.

John sets it to HAMMER KIND. This was a COMPLETELY STUNNING TWIST that nobody- oh who am I kidding of course we all knew he was going to equip the hammer. What else was he suppose to put in there, the fake arms?

TG: ok that will be the permanent allocation for your specibus
TG: i guess i should have mentioned that
EB: uh…
TG: hope you like hammers dude!
EB: yeah, that’s fine i guess. i can’t imagine it’s going to be all that relevant.

Liiiiiiiiaaaaaaaar! Well…sort of. Dang isn’t it just FUNNY how you can have a PATCH later on that just… lets you use any weapon you want??

It’s like we’re in a Video Game or something– oh. wait.

Dennis was so wasted, haha. I mean damn.

The Final Game Bro of 2009. It might come in handy if you need something that burns easily. I dunno why I point this out. People seem to have a love/hate relationship with Game Bro Magazine. Some people like to burn it, others think it a work of art.

John makes a “clever” disguise, but he knows it’s shitty, then goes downstairs and discovers…

Well, he blatantly ignores the package in the center of the room and instead throws the game bro in the fireplace, meanwhile admiring his NANA’s URN.

“The moon’s an arrant thief, and her pale fire she snatches from the sun.” -Mark TwainYou are almost certain Mark Twain said that.

You are almost certain Mark Twain did not actually say that.

Let’s be real here for a moment. The Moon is an Arrant Thief, and HER pale fire is snatched from the sun. Lovely symbolism for earth’s moon/sun relationship, and yet… I feel as if there is something more. Something I’ve recently seen where a certain Cherub approaches a certain Green Celestial Body…

Hrm, nope, nothing’s coming to me now. I’m sure I’ll figure it out later!

You clumsily mishandle the SACRED URN. Ash is everywhere.In retrospect, upon mulling cinematic tropes regarding ash-filled urns, this outcome was a virtual certainty.

…Foreshadowing? Yae or Nae?

John opens the LARGE PRESENT and…

Oh hell no.

My sentiments exactly, John. My Sentiments Exactly.

John returns to his room and is instructed to view the 3rd and 4th walls. We see posters for FACE/OFF and ARMAGEDDON, primarily. There are a few others that will become joke fodder later on.

We’re next introduced to ROSE!

TT: I understand you have recently come into possession of the beta release of “The Game of the Year”, as featured in respectable periodicals such as GameBro Magazine.
EB: that’s an ugly rumor.
EB: whoever told you that is a filthy liar.
EB: and you should probably stop hitting on him all the time or whatever.
TT: I can’t control myself.
TT: I must have a weakness for insufferable pricks.

During my previous re-read, I couldn’t help but putting myself in John’s shoes, and placing the conversation under the emotional context of knowingly talking with one of my cousins, just to see if the dialogue between them felt any different than having them as just friends. It was surprisingly different. The ease at which John and Rose banter feels a lot more closer to each other with them as cousins than it does as friends.

I figure this isn’t HOW the comic is meant to be read at this point, but even so… It’s an interesting little quirk of the Egbert/Harley/Lalonde family tree. If Rose and John were ever aware of their distant family relationship, it certainly puts a unique light on their conversations.

TT: John.
EB: what?
TT: You’re wearing one of your disguises now, aren’t you?
TT: You are typing to me right now while wearing something ridiculous.
EB: no, why would you even think that??
EB: that’s so stupid.
TT: Ok.
TT: Why don’t you go get the game from your father?
EB: alright, wish me luck.
EB: oh, btw…
EB: jk I was wearing a funny disguise this whole time.
EB: gotcha! hehehehe
TT: I know, John.

Under that previous context of them as cousins… this comes off a bit cuter, I think. *Shrugs* just my impressions of it, at least.

John then returns downstairs and pastes some arms to the harlequin doll.

Hehehehehehehehe.

That’s 8 “he”s, BTW.

John then enters the study after cleaning up a bit. He captchalogues a captchalogue card, and then…

>[S] John: Play haunting piano refrain.

This seems like a good place to leave it off for tonight.

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