Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Comic 678: Lost in Translation

lost inn translation
I don't know what it is about these new comics but I just cannot seem to care about them. Today's is just five different ways of saying "I get annoyed when people promise me fun things and then I don't get those fun things" and none stands out as being particularly interesting or funny, to me. It's all just like that "it's the 21st century, where are my flying cars??" stuff. We get it; we don't care.

I headed to the xkcd forums to try to find the guy who wrote "that's so funny, it seems like every product fits into one of those categories" so i could be like "well DUH everything is either within 25 years or in 25+ years" but I couldn't find it. Instead I found a phd comic:

Why do I like this comic better? For one thing, it's not as linear. The joke is not "if he says x, it will take Y, if he says 2x, it will be 2y" etc. The 3rd item on the list subverts the expected joke, and then the 4th does it again. In the 5th item the issue isn't even the length of time, so it's in some ways a different sort of joke. Basically, it isn't repetitive. It isn't inefficient with space.

Also, what Lint of Death said.

Holy CRAP how does Subnormality manage to write so many goddamn words in a single comic? How is that possible?


I'm still reading Homestuck over at MSPaint adventures but I feel like it's been about a month since anything important to the story happened. It's just...too expansive, this world he has made. Too many people and too much backstory for each of them. Does it matter that John hates Betty Crocker? Some wacky diversions are fine - that's part of MSPA's thing. But it just seems like he's going downright crazy with them these days.


Only one more shitty post from me and then it is Aloria for a week! Hurrah!


  1. Lest we overlook Valve time!

  2. When was the last time Subnormality had any words that were even worth considering, holy fuck.

  3. Mal: It's been months.

    Um yeah Homestuck. I really like Homestuck but he's falling into the same trap he did with Problem Sleuth (which sucked), and just adding too much wackiness. Too much shit that doesn't make sense. Sometimes it's funny but it comes at the expense of a tight and focused story and Homestuck is really suffering because of it.

  4. I thought that it was only if you didn't observe something (i.e. electrons) then it could have definite position. I guess I have it backwards.

    Well, I suppose that's why I'm an English major and Randall is the one making puns about Jewish physicists with levitating heads!

  5. At first I was like "Well, at least it's sort of clever". Except for the fact that quantum uncertainty is resolved when anyone makes an observation, so the fact that a billion people BESIDES our Jewish physicist observe Christmas should resolve its uncertainty quite nicely.


    Well, yeah, except again it would be nice if Randall could get the science he references more or less right.


    @Anon -- That's not quite how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle works, although Randall doesn't have it quite right either. Actually, it's not quite Heisenberg that we're dealing with, but the collapse of probability waves.

  6. I swear Randall is trolling us now with disconnected heads and hoverchairs.

  7. I am so glad I don't have to do the next comic, because it is so crap it makes me want to pee blood. And not liquid blood, thick, clotty blood that would be hard to pass through one's urethra.

  8. thanks... thanks for sharing aloria... we really wanted to know that

  9. Hey guys, I've peed thick clotty blood before! Who wants to hear about it?

  10. Why do people complain when heads aren't connected or stick people are slightly above their chairs? There is no ground, everything is floating. Get over it.

  11. It's pretty galling when people choose what is generally regarded as the least difficult and detailed method of representing people pictorally and still manage to repeatedly mess up the fundamentals of it.

  12. I swear to God, when Randall is out of ideas he grabs one of his old textbooks and a dictionary, underlines a few keywords, and then looks up homonyms to create a pun with.
    It's not bad, per se, but it's looking so methodical now.

    Anyway, share your thick clotty blood passing stories. It'll be better than discussing this comic.


  14. Is it a bad thing if I actually like the Subnormality strip?

    Anyway, Randall's latest comic is the sort of joke I'd expect from someone who just learned about wavefunction collapse this week. And cue the chorus of praise from geeky high school students who love the comic not because it's funny, but because it makes a reference they get...

  15. Before reading 679's dialogue I just looked at the images. All back to two stick people (complete with floating heads), the same chair (complete with floating stick guy) and the same desk and PC. The only outstanding art is one stick guy scratching his head. (Though we might have seen that earlier as well.) Anything else might as well have been copied from earlier comics.

    Not to mention the content..

    - Anon 03:30

  16. Today's comic = shitty pun.

    Damnit Randal! Where did the funny go!

  17. Carl - for homestuck, I'd wait a while, then read all the updates at once. Part of the problem with the way homestuck works is that he is writing it for people who read it afterwards, so what seems like months to us is really a few hundred panels that someone reading would go through in an hour or so. Reading it over it again, I liked it a lot more than I did the first time I read it.

  18. http://archive.leasticoulddo.com/strips/20090401.gif

  19. Too bad Least I Could Do also sucks.

  20. Brevity is the soul of wit, Rowntree.
    Noticing a problem is not the same as fixing it. It's like those sprite comics that make jokes about their author's laziness.

    You're wasting your own time and your audience's.
    It actually takes away from the humour.
    I don't care if it's your "thing", it's terrible.

  21. http://viruscomix.wordpress.com/2007/09/15/review-subnormality/
    "It’s true: people who don’t like reading (ie: The Illiterate, babies, etc.) aren’t gonna like my comic. I suppose he thinks books have “too many words” as well."

    You have got to be kidding me.

  22. I disagree, Anonymous. I can see how Rowntree's walls of text would be unpalatable to some, but I quite enjoy them. Even the best webcomics can only keep me occupied for about a minute, but Subnormality is a good ten minutes of engagement. Sometimes he writes a dud, but this time he wrote quite a fantastic story. The visual connection to to the story was tenuous, of course, but it was interesting in its own right.

  23. 678 is proof of how badly Randall needs a competent editor, since Valve time, the PhD comic, and Way Walker's edit all manage to tell the same joke better than Randall did.

    And this is a minor nitpick, but the title bothers me. "Researcher Translation" seems clunky and redundant. "Translation" would have been better.

  24. this is not what people talk like


  25. Note: if people don't like verbose comics, they are either illiterate, a baby, or an idiot, and are too stupid to enjoy books.

    What an incredible tool.

  26. Ahhh Person #1 is so great. I lol'd.

  27. Yeah basically that guy who said "Ha ha, people who don't like walls of texts are illiterate or babies!" is completely missing the damn point.

    So by his logic, if he went to go see a movie and the entire movie was just text scrolling up the screen, he couldn't complain about it, because that would make him illiterate or a baby, right?

    Or, oh wait, maybe it's that different mediums are different vehicles for storytelling, and if you're going to put a wall of text then just write a damn book because you're not interested in making a comic which is VISUAL as well.

    But whatever. He's apparently just pretentious so it doesn't matter. I do grant him that the story he was telling in the comic linked in the post was pretty damn interesting, but it would have worked MUCH better as a short story, not a comic. Hell I had to take a break from reading it halfway through to go stretch and do something else, which is something that wouldn't happen with a book.

    Oh yeah, and he also fails to recognize that reading black text on a white background on a LIT MONITOR is a whole hell of a lot harder on the eyes than ink on paper. But I guess I'm just an illiterate baby so what do I know? I don't need my eyes to be able to read!

    Oh, wait...

  28. Plus, look, the thing is, regardless of what medium Rowntree is working in, his text is almost invariably boring crap. It's not JUST that he crams tons and tons and tons of words into a visual medium, it's that those words are lame. For every comic that manages to come up with a halfway interesting point, there are eight hundred billion that are outrageously overwrought onanistic omphaloskepsis.

  29. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ AnonymousDecember 23, 2009 at 4:59 PM

    The site design is kind of ugly too.
    Also the writing font/style (I don't know if it's by hand or an imitation) is one of the worst possible for such a longwinded comic. It's too long and the space between words and lines is too short in comparison, making you lose place easily. It also makes me tired just looking at the walls.
    Maybe it'd be more bearable if it was a character-based strip...

  30. "...there are eight hundred billion that are outrageously overwrought onanistic omphaloskepsis..."

    I was once arrested for engaging in 'acts prepatory to onanism' Oh, and, I liked the alliteration


    I'm thinking I should write some chick porn - what do you think?

    "And he came hard in her mouth and his dick jumped around and rattled on her teeth and he blacked out and she took his dick out of her mouth and lifted herself from his face and whipped the pillow away and he gasped and glugged at the air, and he came again so hard that his dick wrenched out of her hand and a shot of it hit him straight in the eye and stung like nothing he'd ever had in there, and he yelled with the pain, but the yell could have been anything, and as she grabbed at his dick, which was leaping around like a shower hose dropped in an empty bath, she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands and he shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro."


  31. Subnormality is too verbose, and too misguidedly confident about the importance of what it has to say =/.
    it's better than bad but just not something i care for myself OH WELL.

    MS Paint Adventures though is EXCELLENT. sure it takes a while for stuff to happen but that's not a real criticism on the comic itself, just on your temporal relation to it.
    it is drawing everything out as much as possible and man of course i wish the plot'd pick up and things'd really start happening too...but i've lost count of how many times i've been blown away by an update (and it updates quite a lot too) or just been entertained by the diversions it's taken, so in my books it's a good'un.

    latest xkcd: honestly. it's getting that i'm expecting a joke involving 'E=MC squared' to come up soon.
    it'll probably be a pun too, because manipulating plain science/maths ideas into something humourous by means of a more inspired method seems to be beyond Randall now.

  32. "Does it matter that John hates Betty Crocker?"

    Probably. If PS is any indication, every little detail will come back at some point for an encore. I enjoyed Problem Sleuth throughly, and I'm loving Homestruck as well. Fact is, I think MSPA is meant to be read a bunch at once, not a day at a time. Things progress slowly from update to update, but you can breeze through them. It's probably better to check it once a week or so, or occassionally go back and re-read the whole thing to get the proper pacing (and probably pick up on a few continuity nods that you missed before).

  33. I like this "Rowntree" guy's style - accuse anyone who doesn't like your work of being an idiot.

    I read through that awful Christmas Eve comic twice - once skipping panels 8 though 15; once without skipping. I laughed the same amount both times (zero, incidentally).

    Also, "The only critics that matter are in fact artists."

  34. That is my favorite trap. I am looking forward to writing about it next weekend.

  35. I will have to try rereading homestuck all at once when it is done. I bet in the end I'll like it.