1. I sort of understand the comment: Clam was all ready to assume the other dad was a creep or a criminal only to find out he uses nonsensical insults like “Jelly Belly”. But it’s all just weirdly presented. What does the other dad mean by “Jelly Belly”? Why don’t we even see the other dad? Why is Clam jumping to the absolute worst possible assumptions about him?

    But I also don’t understand what “a redirected story” means either.

  2. I’m sorry, I don’t remember what I meant by “redirected story”! I saved the comic, and wrote the text, several months ago when the comic appeared, but left the post in draft because I couldn’t quite make the case that it was a legit standalone CIDU. Then pulled it out for today. I think “redirected” means either (1) indirect narration or (2) a “switcheroo”, when we see the suspicions about the other dad are probably unjustified — case (2) being what Powers remarks on.

  3. Judging from the absence of any date or syndication lines, and because she passes the “Patreon” hat at the bottom, I was under the mistaken impression that “Lay Lines” was exclusively a “paid” webcomic feature. I just discovered that it is also available (for “free”) at GoComics. I don’t particularly care for any of the characters that have appeared in the Lay Lines pages posted at CIDU so far, but reading back into the GoComics archive, it seems that what we’ve seen here may not be a representative sample, so I think I might follow it for a while and see whether it is worth reading.

  4. I started reading Lay Lines when they were in the midst of a very long and very freaky metaphysical-SF story, about a couple women on adventures with near-magical powers (sort of embodied in a magical car) which could change things, even the underlying basis of any context or reality. So a little “Thelma and Louise” but more reminding me of “The Lathe of Heaven” by Le Guin. I was surprised she managed to find an ending for that. And even though it was interesting, I was pleased to find out that multi-part stories were featured only very occasionally, and the usual fare was more like realistic but off-kilter short stories.

  5. So the initial impression is that “Clam” is mostly jealous of Cherry’s dad: he’s “too macho”, drives “that” SUV, likes Eloise “too” much. Jealousy being one of the most insidious of emotions, you expect it to hijack him and his reasoning. Already you see him wondering if the dad might be a predator, because he likes Eloise too much, justifying to himself why he doesn’t like this guy (“it’s not that I’m jealous, it’s that I’m worried for my daughter.”) And then we have the setup that maybe he did do something questionable with his daughter. But here’s what’s interesting to me: in my mind, the primary motivator being jealousy, the fear for his daughter is just window dressing to hide the fact (if even from himself). So when in the end the “bad thing” turns out to be the dad calling him a “jelly belly”, I assumed that the jealousy would rear its head and show his true colors, and he would get even more irrationally mad at this dad — the phenomenon of weak data polarizing opinion even more than before. But instead falls on the floor laughing. Totally unexpected for me.
    So, either a) this guy is a saint, or at least much better at using data to reassess his opinions and not fall for the polarization bias, or b) the primal fear of something bad happening to his daughter is so strong and overpowering that the relief of having it not be true is such that he can laugh.
    B) is the narrative we push in our society, but I wonder if it is really true, or just the way we act because we think we are expected to. Caveat, I don’t have children. We did have a host daughter for the year with an exchange program until recently, and yes, I understand, it’s not the same thing. Nevertheless, I do wonder about this “tiger” parent mentality, if it really is so strong that it can overcome deep seated narcissistic emotions like jealousy. (And on the other hand, I have seen several otherwise rational people become idiot over-protective smothering parents with the arrival of a late child (but I have also seen a few examples of perfectly rational parents who don’t descend down this spiral of madness, so I know it isn’t inevitable).)
    (Let’s assume “You are not a parent, you can’t understand!” has already been stated.)

  6. I especially liked her series “Murderville”. The characters were three dimensional, and I actually missed them when they were gone.

    BTW, I still have to confirm who I am every time I post. Is that because I don’t post often?

  7. Chak, we did change one of the settings that looked relevant to people being asked to log in — making it a bit more relaxed — but it may not have actually had much to do with it. sorry!

  8. @larK, very convincing detailed discussion of the dark themes underlying the story. The evaporation (apparently) of the jealousy theme and the protection theme in the “jelly belly” revelation, is what I meant as the “switcheroo”, more or less. It’s still a disturbing vision of suburbia.

  9. I like Lay Lines – I started with a continuity strip (I forget which one, there have been several good ones), but I enjoy her one-offs too. And yes, some of her characters are really twisted. Still enjoyable, for me.

    I like this guy (yes, “Clam” is weird…maybe that’s why he doesn’t mind Jelly Belly?). The other dad is apparently making fun of his unfit shape (presumably in contrast to the other dad), which is so mild compared to what he was expecting (He touched me…) that his reaction is to collapse laughing. Makes sense to me and is amusing.

    And yes, I’m having to log in with every post, too. The bit under the post recognizes my email address and fills out the name and gravatar, but then I’m taken to the login page. Not terrible, but a bit annoying.

  10. I come to the website online and did not need to sign in today or in the past. I seem to just continue. I do have to give my email and name (asks for website – generally don’t list with no problem) each time, I presume because I am not a member of the site/host site. Says email never made public but does not say so for name/website.

  11. I’m pretty sure that part of what’s going on is that Google’s Chrome browser (and in somewhat a different way Firefox) has a notion of a user being signed onto the browser itself with some account, which is separate from being signed in to any particular website you visit with the browser. If the identity by which you are signed in to the browser matches the identity you mean to use at a particular website, fine. But if it is a mismatch then you may be put through some sign in rigmarole.

  12. There’s a general Google sign-in that covers many of their associated sites. A number of other sites will allow you to log in with your Google credentials, including Comics Kingdom’s Discus comments system.

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