Friday, October 2, 2009

The Reddit Interview

While we are all waiting for Kirk to write up his post of the new comic (which, in Kirk's defense, hasn't come out yet) I thought I should share with all of you my thoughts on that interview Randall did the other week, with the reddit guy. SO HERE:

Randall Munroe answered the top questions from this reddit thread in an interview recently promoting his book. The videos of his answers are here, and though most of the questions are pretty lame (and mine, alas, did not make the cut), there are a few ok ones and a little bit of enlightening things in his answers. Watch the answers, and read along with my own commentary below!

1. Does he have any comics he regrets?
It's interesting that he only regrets comics that he thinks people don't understand - a sort of "I'm sorry that what I did made you angry" non-apology. Also, I really like the -GRY comic and I thought it was well-put in a way that new comics aren't, so it's interesting that that is the example he focuses on.

2. Will you get over Megan?
INTERESTING. so he tries to make it sound like "oh, it's just a name" but listen to what he says: He says, basically, that he doesn't like to admit that comics are based on his life because then the people in his life get weirded out by the sort of internet-spotlight of having their life be in his comic. But he doesn't say it doesn't happen! Just that he doesn't like to admit it. And that comics are two years behind his life. So - not a very strong denial of the whole theory that the generic stick figure in xkcd really is Randall.

3. What won't you draw?
He wants to make more jokes about gender! Oh god, please randall do not make more of those. He is too angry about how women are treated online! Such a white knight. Oh hey, an explanation of 631. was indeed based on seeing a common pattern in wikipedia anatomy pictures. That is its own kind of weird. At least he admits that he made a mistake in writing it. But it upsets him that people didn't get the joke! MAYBE IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A SHITTY JOKE?

4. Why has 'romance' degenerated into 'sex'?
I'd love to hear this answer. It's a pretty big problem. He doesn't have an answer. "What I'm drawing about it what I'm thinking or obsessing about."'s because he is now obsessed with sex? OK. well. would have liked a real answer there, oh well.

5. What internet thing are you most proud of inspiring?
STUPID QUESTION. no answer could make him look stupider than that question's author.

6. What is it like telling people you are famous?
He doesn't tell them. And now he is getting into his thing about not reading critique, positive or negative. Randall really is likable guy. I do give him that. Why does he have so much trouble translating that into a comic?

7. The ball pit question, how do you keep your balls clean?
The interviewer seems like a way funnier guy than Randall. He should try making a comic. Hm, he is taking the question seriously, and giving his actual ball-pit policy. I...I think he missed something there? I think the question is a joke about testicles? We don't care what drinks are allowed and what drinks are not. don't have to really tell us this.

8. Most surprising person who is a fan of xkcd.
Also a stupid terrible question that I hate. i do not care what the answer is.
OK that's a lie, apparently maddox e-mailed him? And liked the comic? Well i guess I have to be the maddox of xkcd if maddox isn't going to do it himself.

9. Do you know that you have a need to tell people you are getting laid?
Says he addressed it before, that's clearly not true. So he says he writes the comic that seems funniest to him at the time. But still, why is it always sex? OK, there's his answer, sex is funny. I can't disagree with that, I guess. Still - he doesn't de-creepify anything with his answer.

10 and 11 seem not to be working for now. Alas. Perhaps later I will watch them.


  1. QUESTION: Wouldn't he be waiting for firmware, not software?

    PRAISE: I'm glad that he used color and greyscale to make his composition more visually readable.

    RESENTFULLY: Even if the dialogue weren't painfully contrived in that last panel, the fact that it's so poorly laid out would still hurt the punchline's delivery.

  2. 1. Does he have any comics he regrets?
    It's interesting that he only regrets comics that he thinks people don't understand - a sort of "I'm sorry that what I did made you angry" non-apology.

    yeah or more like "I'm sorry my intelligent jokes were too above you guys."

    you also misspelled interesting for #2. in caps.

  3. I went back and changed it so it isn't misspelled. All together now:


  4. The xkcdsucks community needs to make a cheesy and low budget sitcom. Complete with laugh-track.

  5. In 644, why is the surgeon wearing a mask and cap when he's just talking to the guy, and not actually performing surgery? I realize that Randall has to somehow indicate that he's a surgeon, but (a) we could easily infer it from the dialogue and (b) if you're going to draw a comic populated entirely by (not visbly clothed) stick figures, maybe it's not such a good idea to set up scenarios where a character's clothing is an important context clue.

  6. Alt text: another vista joke?

  7. Well, it's more a joke about these stupid and redundant stickers they put on everything. My monitor has one. Why would it need one? WHY?!

    But yeah, I didn't like this one.


    go there, suggest some good could be betters in the comments section

  8. Here's my interpretation of 644:

  9. Two points:

    A. Post his answers. I can't be bothered to look at a whole bunch of videos of Randall Munroe. Transcribe them, it's what we invented letters for.

    2. Stop giving a shit about Maddox. The guy is nobody. The only reason anyone thinks he's of any importance is because they're thinking he's of any importance.


    Really. As if using Linux still matters or makes you quirky (we're quirky guys!!!) today.

  11. A pity I can't watch videos at work...

    Comments on 644:

    Mildly funny, though Cuddlefish Prime has a point: why noticing only some pieces of clothing? Then again, Black Hat was done lots of time ago, so it's valid. I think his use of color is, at best, a slight improvement.

    The joke, of course, is basic computer science/linux stuff, a little lame and, of course, goes into the "people are just like computers" category. In fact, so much that this CS student is puzzled as to how someone would think installing a USB drive would be a good idea at all. Even if you could read the data, you probably wouldn't be able to make anything out of it it, so... yeah.

  12. Interesting -- I think the latest comic is a quite reasonable joke. I don't think it tries too hard to suck the dick of Linux users and xkcd fanboys in general, even though it's a pretty tired, annoying cliché xkcd of a joke. But it's not entirely bad, I guess.

  13. "Even if you could read the data, you probably wouldn't be able to make anything out of it it, so... yeah."

    I guess that's what the strip meant as "the rest is just software": it really makes little sense, but the guy still believes it will work because LINUX IS LIKE AWESOME AND CAN DO EVERYTHING. In this way, it can be taken as a slight mockery of the Linux fanatics? Randall already did that with that "Supported Features" strip.

  14. Mole, are you kidding? It would transmit pornography INTO YOUR BRAIN


  15. Fernie: yeah, probably right. Being into CS I thought that was something more of a "next step" problem, the problem issued in the strip seems to be reading the data, not decoding, but yeah. And of course, it's obviously mocking linux users, instead of pandering to them. It's more a case of laughing at myself here. =D

    P#1: You gain one AWESOME POINT. Congratulations, you might already be a winner!

    ...then again, can't you already transmit porn into your brain by LOOKING AT IT?

    Think about it! ;D

  16. This comic wins the award for floatiest stick figure. Normally I don't notice the floating until someone points it out. This one, it's like he wasn't even trying to draw properly.

  17. Also, it bothers me that he used the same pen thickness in the last panel, even though the "camera" has zoomed in. It makes the stick figure look like he suddenly lost a lot of weight between 3 and 4. Also, "Yeah, how'd you know" is more of that wonderful, redundant, pointless dialog for which Randall is famous.

  18. I never understood why this floating problem persists. It's not like it would make the drawing hard to discern if the lines touched slightly; but then, I'm not a self-entitled "perfectionist" when it comes to stick figures, so Randall probably knows better (*irony*).

    I also noiced the thickness problem. The effect is pretty jarring.

  19. Indeed, the floatiness is blatant on this one. Specially panel 3. Notice one of his arms is touching the bed, but his body is not. Unless this guy is so awesomely strong he can support his whole body one forearm... you know the drill.

    The thickness problem doesn't hit me so bad, though. It is a problem with stick figures, I suppose: should their lines get thicker in zoom, or it's just that you're now seeing them in higher resolution?

    ...I know, it's as silly as it sounds...

    But also: what's "project to patch together support" supposed to mean? Is "together support" an actual phrase? I'm not native English speaker, so I might be losing some obscure construction, but it sounds a bit "Google Translator" gibberish to em.

    CAPTCHA: unard. You've already heard it, you can't make it "unard".

  20. I'll start my bloggin after my noon class, so expect something midafternoon.

    Spoiler alert: the comic is bad!

    CAPTCHA: Ostio, I feel like these stick figures are going to get osteoporosis the way they keep themselves up.

  21. @Professional Mole - I think you're associating the wrong words. It's not "patch (together support)", it's "(patch together) support". That is, they will create support by patching it together.

    It made sense to me.

  22. DAMMIT, Mal beat me to it. Yeah, in this case "together" is attached to the verb phrase, not the noun.

    CAPTCHA: "unchsou", the sound I made when I found out I'd been ninja'd

  23. and yes, that is SO a legitimate sound effect

  24. damnit kirk you could have like put some space between spoiler alert and your spoiler

    now i feel dirty :(

  25. Randall said the same thing about comics people don't understand at the book party. He seems to take it pretty hard when someone doesn't find a strip funny... and seems to assume it's because they didn't understand the joke he was trying to make, not that it, you know, just may not have been particularly clever or funny.

  26. Oh... "patch together". Got it. Thanks a bunch.

    I can't believe it! A bad xkcd comic?! You jest me!

    I'm curious, though: why Carl publishes his reviews only on the next issue(2 or 3 days later), but guests post on the same day? I want to hear how much it's bad as soon as possible!

    PS.: Oh, how I'd love to have a transcript of those answers. I'd love to make one, but my hearing is a bit faulty, I'd probably mess something...

  27. I didn't do much to hide the spoiler, but it wasn't much of a spoiler.

    Spoiler alert:

    Sorry guys.

  28. I think 644 is a perfectly serviceable computer geek joke, it just needs to lose the alt-text. "A linux user would get this kind of surgery," heh ok, but the requisite "also Windows sucks" is too played out. Let linux jokes just be linux jokes.

  29. to me it's more of a "hey also linux users hate windows" joke than a "windows is bad" joke

  30. My posts are late because I am lazy and don't write them until the last minute, or later. When people guest post, they are usually very eager to do so and write something very very soon, and then e-mail it to me, and I post it once I get it. There is your logical answer to that question.

  31. Intended for Carl "Ugly" Wheeler, and none other:

    Why, Carl, you are the most bloated LARK I ever did see!

    That is all.

    -William Monty Hughes, esq
    IQ 224
    "Cogito Ergo Sum"

    PS. I still wish each night for the catalysation of the occurence of your SLOW and PAINFUL demise. Or perhaps redemption, after a great deal of sacrifice on your part, of course.
    Farewell to the Great Unwashed!

  32. Yeah, Randall did a joke about the whole Linux patching culture not too long ago, didn't he?

  33. I finally got to watch those video-answer and... frankly, I can barely understand what Randall is saying. =/

    And he was very sneaky with my question. Sneaky bastard, that Randall Muroe...

    And thanks for the answer Carl, quite informative. Doesn't make me happier, I still would love to have my reviews fresh with my xkcd's but... heeeey, you can't have all you wish, 'ight?]

    Mole out.

    (PS.: the chat room is disturbingly quiet...)

  34. Bruce and WMH:

  35. WILLIAM! Begone! Disgrace some other web-site, and not this one. Let not your pudgy, caramel-coated fingers type in the URL of this blog, for your kind are not wanted nor needed here. Perhaps you can be of use elsewhere on this inter-net; perhaps some website for overweight dating could use your time and effort well.


  36. The power of Carl compels you!
    The power of Carl compels you!
    The power of Carl compels you!
    The power of Carl compels you!
    The power of Carl compels you!
    The power of Carl compels you!
    The power of Carl compels you!

    The power of Carl compels you!

  37. R, a good comparison, but Wally isn't as classy as Cornelius.

  38. I liked this interview because two questions were centered on XKCD becoming SexKCD. Where's the romance? Because I miss it.

    Maybe he can take it as food for thought.