I think the unpleasantly distorted book in the first panel is one of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, which I was reading around this time. I never got past volume three, though.
I really like Helen’s jelly bracelets in the third panel, so it’s a shame I forgot to draw them for the rest of the strip. No wonder the characters wanted to get rid of me. It must be annoying to live in a universe with no quality control.