Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Comic 854: Microwave Cooking For One

cook cook cook

[Comic title: Learning to Cook; alt text: "And yet I never stop thinking, 'sure, these ingredients cost more than a restaurant meal, but think how many meals I'll get out of them! Especially since each one will have leftovers!'"]

Randy's inability to get Megan to go on a date with him has left him feeling sad and alone at mealtimes these days. Food is nothing more than a sad necessity to Randy, who makes sure to light the candles every night at mealtime, and only takes himself out to the places recommended on CitySearch or Yelp as great date spots, sadly murmuring, "one day, Megan, one day."

For a man like Randy, cooking has always been one of those things that he deeply wishes he could do, being as he is simultaneously lonely, useless, and possessed with an itinerant fascination in all things DIY (until he realizes that DIY still means "do it yourself" and that "do it yourself" means work). But being as he is useless, talentless and lazy (much like your editor, in fact), every effort to cook ends in failure.

Like a Darren Aronofsky film, every step of the road to cooking is fraught with failure where it ought to succeed. Buying ingredients costs more somehow. His cooking is at best kind of acceptable. And when hunger comes round again, the yearning for pizza overwhelms him. He dials some cheap pizza company and orders a pizza. And the pizza remains tasty for days, while his cooking festers in the fridge, mocking him. "You could never make me as good as your pizza," the leftovers whisper, and Randy knows this to be true.

And he could cook again, of course, but what would be the point? Already he has fallen into a cycle of failure and discarded his sad attempts at sustaining himself. No, his heart belongs to the pizza-industrial complex. The rest of his ingredients occupy space in his fridge until they, too, finally rot and make the last pilgrimage to the dumpster. And months later, with his failure forgotten, or with the deluded belief that he can change, he can do better now, he tries again.

At long last, Randall decides to document his failures with a flowchart. But it is a flowchart bereft of humor--this flowchart represents the sad prison Randall Munroe now occupies. There are no choices. There is only an endless cycle of failure. In the end, Randall Munroe can't even sustain himself.


  1. I can sort of relate to this, circa a couple years ago.

    However, I couldn't think of a joke for this, since there isn't much to tweak.

    So, enjoy the thought process that results in this sort of laziness!


  2. I don't care about anything else in that post except the fact that I can hear the pain in Rob's words when he utters:

    Pizza-industrial complex

    I can feel him move the hyphen in his head, only one space over. An industrial complex, made of pizza.

    If only it were true his heart whimpers softly, if only it were true.

  3. I almost feel sorry for him now. Poor Randall. Poor hopeless wreck Randall.

  4. This is one of the worst comics ever. Or, well, the comics have been getting steadily worse. I mean, what IS this? There is no joke, punchline, or point... just this weird oblivion Randy uses to fill the space between his ears.

    This should be tagged as "picto-blog", BTW.

  5. "....He dials some cheap pizza company and orders a pizza...."

    "He dials...."? Surely 'keystrokes' were involved. Then again, rotary analog dialing is so retro, innit?
    Besides, I have it on good authority that XKCD folks only order from expensive pizza places - Mom and Pop's to be precise.

  6. Michael Szegedy says:

    "...just this weird oblivion Randy uses to fill the space between his ears...."

    Better than having the FAA control the air space I reckon.
    Sounds kinda ethnic innit?

  7. is... is this critique?

  8. How is it that the ingredients cost more than a meal at a restaraunt, when they use said ingredients and have to pay for labor?

    Alt-Text: You are fail!

  9. Also note that the comic is pretty much identical to this The Oatmeal comic, but with all the humor removed and replaced with a flowchart.

  10. You're an asshole.

  11. I am impressed by how thoroughly the humour was removed from that oatmeal one and redesigned into a flowchart of depression.
    The review was depressing as well.

  12. The punchline here is that nerds can't cook. And, for some reason, they should feel superior to everyone else for that. Take that, chefs!

  13. hey look it's a comic about xkcd


  14. xkcd sucks used to be actual criticisms of each xkcd comic, pointing out where jokes were badly executed or could have been done better. It turned my opinion around on many of the comics.

    The last few weeks of posts, however, have all been sarcastic meditations about Randall Munroe's obsession with Megan, more like "XKCD Explained". Maybe other readers like this shift, but I find it creepy and childish. It's not criticism, it's just twisted fantasy.

    I'm sure other readers have noticed this trend...

  15. The comic wasn't depressing for me, just merely humorless. Until I read Rob's story.

    More evidence that Rob and Randall are the same person: both have managed to ruin xkcd for me. You bastard(s).

  16. This review could have been better. Randall was ragging on cooking, and I'm sure Rob has thousands of perfected ways to shove edible food into his face. Rob should have turned up the rage more. For goodness sakes, Randall's dissing quality cooking!

  17. I sure love reading stories instead of criticism!

  18. Hey, if I'd like to write for the xkcdsucksux blog, who should I contact? :D

  19. just write a guest post for this blog, thinly disguise your critique of rob as a critique of randall* and send it to rob. he is such a lazy monster he will put anything up instead of having to write a blogpost himself

    *not hard since they're the same person

  20. Hey Rob I think you should up the ante on the Megan jokes, like, maybe make one for each idiot complaining about them in the comments of the previous review.

  21. "I sure love reading stories instead of criticism!"

    that's good, they're much more fun to write and have a lot more appeal to intelligent people.

    "Hey Rob I think you should up the ante on the Megan jokes, like, maybe make one for each idiot complaining about them in the comments of the previous review."

    i'll consider it

  22. post #23!!

    captcha: serwe. you just got serwed

  23. Man I'm with Rob. Why the fuck criticize this shit? The is beyond bottom of the barrel. If you can't tell it sucks just by reading it, you're not going to be swayed by LOGIC.

  24. guys, I just woke up from a horrible dream

    it was 20 years from now and Randy was still around. he had become syndicated, launched books etc. he was like Scott Adams or Jim Davis, well a lot more like Jim Davis.

    and we were never going to be rid of his comics. they had grown and now like your grandma had an xkcd mug. it was flowchart going

    grandma --> awesome

    holy cocksucking jesus, it was scary

  25. shut the fuck up. that post didn't even criticize the comic! it is just a sad attempt at how the world is overrun by one little comic that you can't just look over. try waking up and going outside instead of going straight to this site to be hugged by other losers with nothing better to do

  26. if you are not swayed by logic maybe you would be swayed by a FLOWCHART

    chh! (the sound of the hustle)

    i suggest to rob that if JustaNother does not pull through the entire review of xkcd 855 should consist of that chart

  27. I'll write the review for tomorrow. Just give me the day to finish it. I don't have the luxury of living in my mother's basement; I have an actual life to live (sort of).

  28. hey Rob you might want to put some ointment on that SICK BURN

  29. To be honest, pizza really does taste good for a full week after it's been made. Certain pizzas actually taste better cold.

    Also, Cooking is just a series of numbers -- how can Randy not be good at them?

    Question for the floor: If Randall buys a frozen pizza, takes it out of the box at home, inserts it into the oven for 20 minutes, removes it, and consumes it, has he "cooked"? Because honestly, this whole unnecessary over-complication of "cooking" is probably newbies' greatest enemy.

    {Raven: Not a mathematician by any definition of the word, and gosh does it show. I hereby give my support to Booty for Captain of Math.}

    That said, I'm off to go eat some small carrion and accuse BF of not taking me to more fancy rotting carcasses; must be taking someone else to them.

  30. Randall boasts on his blog that he can construct submarines, trebuchets, kites with cameras on them, cameras with kites on them, submarines with trebuchets with kites and cameras taking pictures of Megan on them, yet he can't COOK? Holy shit: either he IS the most pathetic person in the world or he is seriously trying to pander to his imaginary crowd of ultra-geeks. If it's the former, then, well, too bad for Randall: he IS the most pathetic person in the world. If it's the latter, well, even worse, because pretty much everyone and his mother is seriously disagreeing with the comic on the forums. That thread is almost like a cool, fresh shower after a torrid day in Brazil: EVERYONE is calling the comic bullshit. Randall somehow just wrote the most disagreeable comic in history.

    If THAT is not ultimate failure, I don't know what is.

  31. What happened to xkcdsucks? How come it's a thousand times worse than xkcd now? Is this site funny to anybody?

  32. it is insanely easy to buy like a 2-dollar packet of beef, some rice, an onion and a chunk of ginger and make a really good stir-fry for about as much time as it takes to draw this shitty comic.

    Proving once again that randy puts less thought and effort into his job than I do into my hobbies.

  33. Jesus Cocksucking ChristFebruary 1, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    a lot of people are saying that it's as much trouble to eat out as to cook. but the comic is about ORDERING out. it goes something like this:

    1. you're doing something ultra awesome, like playing videogames, proving theorems or reading xkcdsucks.

    2. you stop for fifteen seconds to tell someone what you want, over the phone.

    3. you keep on doing your thing. thirty minutes later, food knocks. it's another fifteen seconds to pay the person.

    4. you can go right back to what you were doing and now you're eating at the same time, which is double awesome.

    i do this quite often when i'm alone. it averages six dollars a meal. when my wife is around it's fun to cook together, but it's not THAT much more cost-effective.

  34. Hey, I'm Rob, when people politely offer actually useful fucking advice like "please critique the comics" and "less megan jokes", i passively aggressively mock them hurr hurr.

    XKCD started out great, now it's pretty terrible.

    Said to see this blog follow the exact same arc. Hang it up man. Vitriolic rehashes of how much he's obsessed with megan/is a nerd/etc really aren't cutting it anymore.

  35. "How is it that the ingredients cost more than a meal at a restaraunt, when they use said ingredients and have to pay for labor?"

    Economies of scale.

    You really...didn't know that?

  36. " Hey, I'm Rob, when people politely offer actually useful fucking advice like "please critique the comics" and "less megan jokes", i passively aggressively mock them hurr hurr. "

    that's right! good job. though I consider it more aggressive-aggressive than passive-aggressive, since I kind of mock you straightforwardly.

  37. Dudes check out the weather satellite off the coast of Queensland! Plenty of action at the international den of depravity.

    Of course, the idea of hurricanes having been more common when we were kids is just a myth much like certain songs in your iPod playing more frequently than others.

  38. Holy fuck, Queensland is actually part of Australia! ROFL I knew they were all queer down there.

  39. new comic doesn't make any sense. i didn't know what zombocom was, looked it up, and i still have no idea what the joke was supposed to be.

  40. New comic: I knew it was gonna be Zombocom from the second panel. Which made the reveal incredibly weak (even more so).

    CAPTCHA: rejude. Randy had to pull a rejude on comic 851.

  41. ugh rob this whole shtick of "hurr durr randall loves megan so i'm just gonna make jokes about that instead of actually reviewing the comic or saying anything valid" has really gotten old. it was funny the first few times, but seriously. review the goddamn comics. seriously. do it... seriously

  42. "Is this site funny to anybody?"

    It's a lot like XKCD. Consider it.

    An unfunny fella. Most people know that he's bad at being funny. He likes to write blog-ish stories instead of tell jokes. It used to be better. There are a small few who think his junk is brilliant. This is because they feel that they're part of an injoke. So the unfunny guy does what he can to give them something to circle jerk over. Now the website is unfunny pandering to a small community.

    The difference is that xkcdsucks used to be good because a different man wrote it, and Rob doesn't sell T-Shirts yet.

  43. Does anyone really think that Rob has ANY interest in writing a real review? Carl wrote the "real" reviews. Rob just likes to troll. Unless you like reading trollposts, I don't know why people bother coming here anymore. I LIKE troll posts. That's why I continue to read XKCDSucks even though when I came there were actual reviews. The actual reviews were nice for a little while, but Carl left for a reason - any critique of a new XKCD comic would almost certainly be a rehash of a dozen other critiques of XKCDs that were bad for the same reason. Rob likes to piss people off. Apparently he gets off on it, I don't know. I find it funny. Apparently a lot of you don't. That's fine. But I'm confused about why people think at this point that Rob doesn't realize a lot of people want him to start writing real reviews, and that if they just TELL him this, he'll realize the error of his ways and suddenly return XKCDSucks to its former... uh... glory. The truth is, the real reviews were getting kind of boring to me anyway because a lot of the time, Randy makes the same mistakes over and over again. I read the reviews because of the jokes and sarcasm, and that's the entirety of Rob's posts, so it satisfies me. I don't think it's that Rob has anything AGAINST real reviews, but if people want them on this site, someone else is going to have to write them. If you want a real review, write it yourself, because Rob obviously has no interest in doing it.

    Repun: When the Grammar Collectors come take your puns because you owe them parenthetical citations.

  44. @anon 10:20 - more or less, yeah. I mean, I have written actual reviews in the past. I post them when people mail them to me. I just, you know. don't want to write them anymore.

    I still think my favorite part about the anti-Megan-joke crowd is how they seem to think the reviews consist of nothing but Megan jokes. if their comments were reviews on this site, the commenters would be complaining that the reviews only harped on a single mistake and ignored the rest of the comic. (this is a complaint that people used to make here all the time, when the posts were more than snark.)

  45. "You don't need to see our blog post."
    "... We don't need to see your blog post."
    "These aren't the reviews you're looking for."
    "... These aren't the reviews we're looking for."
    "Move along."
    "Move along, move along!"

    Rob: 0.5
    Idiocy: 3.5
    Randall: Still nada
    Ravenzomg: 1 (but 1 for 1, which is 100% in case you couldn't figure that out)

    yup. still the same.

    AA Signing out.

  46. > There are a small few who think his junk is brilliant.

    yeah man, I've had it with the midget agenda

  47. XKCD just ruined ZOMBOCOM for me.
    I wonder how long it'll take before Randy says things like getting a shave at, say, a barber shop is better than shaving yourself--because those pesky razors are so sharp... How do they work?! Or, perhaps, that buying new clothes is better than mending slightly worn clothes--needles are sharp!
    Also, I like Rob's Megan jokes--I think he needs more.

  48. Yawn, more Megan bull from the one trick pony.

    Randall proves once again that he is a slobbering man-child, now demonstrating that he doesn't even have basic self-preservation skills. I suspect what he looks for in a woman is somebody who can be the mother figure he so sorely needs, which would explain his fascination with "your mom" jokes.

  49. Always Anonymous: -1 for the namefagging.

  50. Why do people think that The Oatmeal comic is funny? Its funnyer than this one but only just...

  51. Because he shows, and doesn't tell.
    This is a pretty basic concept that Randy can't seem to grasp.

  52. Maybe, but it mainly helps show that the joke is really freaking stupid.

  53. Granted, yes, it's kind of a dumb joke, but at least looking at a character try as hard as they can to cook something delicious is more entertaining than "put some in pan->cook." How fucking bland could Randy be? This should be the notes for a comic--not the comic itself.

  54. Ah very true. Its probably the best you could do with the joke...
    Basically its the disease which makes people feel better then others if they CAN'T do something. Like people who say they can't do maths or that they don't read as though these are good things. I saw it as 'my life is too full and interesting for me to have the time to learn how to do something as practical as cooking' but said in a depreciating way like an arsehole.

  55. Charles Augustus FortescueFebruary 2, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    The fact that it specifically says "order pizza" (not, say, "get takeout") makes me more inclined to suspect that the Oatmeal comic was a direct influence, rather than the two authors having the same idea independently.

  56. I just woke up from a dream where Randall Munroe had died. I spent ages trying to find him, then someone told me that he'd died of a heart attack. I quickly made a reference to Death Note, then I woke up.

  57. The people on this site complaining of megan jokes are probably in love/stalking here as well and just don't want the shame of being compared to Randall.

    captcha. bodsis- they like her bodsis

  58. Hm... Maybe... maybe this new comic is a hint. Randall is telling us what his comic is about. It's a comic where YOU make the funny. The comics don't need to be funny, if you believe they are funny, they are!

    Yea. Must be it.

    (Seriously, I never even heard about Zombo. The fuck?)

  59. Zombocom was really popular amongst my college roommates and I in 2003. As a result, I got a kick out of today's from the nostalgia point of view. There was no funny though.

  60. Making a joke at the expense of a site that is ALREADY a joke! That's about as clever and hilarious as making a satire of a film that's ALREADY a satire -- like they did with Scream and Airplane!.

  61. I've given 855 its shout
    But have no idea what it's about.
    To me all this Zombo
    Is mere mombo-jombo -
    Can someone on here help me out?

  62. I am just completely baffled as to how he's managing to buy ingredients that "cost more than a restaurant meal." Is he buying some sort of super special fancy ultraexpensive ingredients? Or by "restaurant" does he actually mean fast food? I just... what??

  63. +1 Lear for the self-referential limerick on your site, which could be flawed for all I know but if not it's pretty impressive.

    @anon1014: The difference here is that XKCDsucks suck-sess doesn't benefit Rob financially, and instead only augments Carl's questionable ad-wise income from this site. Basically, everyone is telling Rob to make this site good so that Carl can benefit financially.

    And there's basically no other motive here beyond petty amusement [which Rob seems to be getting], because he obviously isn't interested in maintaining the site's integrity, 'cause I mean...really? Do you know what this site is called and what tenets this site is based upon?

    The joke here is that nobody here even really cares about XKCD anymore, because it honestly isn't that exciting in either a positive or negative manner except once in a blue moon when Randall makes something particularly atrocious.

    Captcha: rhopro. The unattainable in unknown at rhopro-com!!!

  64. I would question at this point whether XKCD deserves legitimate criticism, of the sort that used to happen in days of yore, and would submit that it probably does not.

    As for the question of cooking, well, Mr. Munroe can hardly be blamed for being unable to fathom the process. It's not like cooking food can be broken down into a set of simple step-by-step instructions or...oh, wait.

  65. In the next installment of Randy Meets World:

    Randy draws a flowchart starting with the premise that he would like to launder his own clothes.

    He then observes that he can't seem to figure out how to keep the red leotard he uses in his The Flash costume from dying his ironic tee shirts.

    Next, he points out that if you figure he'll lose the the bottle of detergent in his ball pit having only used it once, it's cheaper to pay the asian women to do it.

    Also he has a fetish for asian women, even 50-year old ones who work in a laundromat. Knowing that they've been handled (however cautiously) gives him a warm fuzzy down there every time he slips on his tighty whities.

    His fans all yell "GOMHR, I can't perform basic life chores either!"

  66. The thing was that XKCDSucks is, at its heart, trolling. At its height, or at least what I perceived as its height, it was art that existed solely to denigrate other art -- which, in this manifestation, is a concept that's fairly new to New Media. I'd argue that when Carl was writing, it was s self-conscious parody of philistine.

    Rob tries to write satire (the opposite of parody), which is his second mistake. His first mistake is writing at all.

    It's difficult to describe the contempt I feel for you. The contempt I feel for XKCD as a comic is, like... friendly. It's cute that it's continuing to try, and vaguely disappointing that Munroe doesn't feel compelled to try anymore. I often forget I even feel the contempt.

    With you, however, it's like... a thrilling contempt, because I'm more in your joke (despite the fact that I'm not even a part of it) than you are. Reading this blog is like winning a DOTA game where two of the five players on the other team are griefing (or, for the more athletically inclined among you, winning a FOOTBALL game where 5 of the 15 [or however many people play football] people on the other team are, I dunno, developmentally disabled).

  67. "satire (the opposite of parody)"

    Isn't satire more like parody's cool older brother who totally has a car?

  68. i don't understand the football analogy, and what the hell is a DOTA?

    i don't see how satire is the opposite of parody either. they're both supposed to be funny and not realistic. the opposite of either would be drama or documentary, or something like that.

    harping on satire/parody distinctions has been done to death and everyone who ever did it outside of a literature class is a jackass. you're a jackass who's late to the party.

    i guess what i'm saying is i'm sure glad it isn't YOU writing this site!

  69. How is this for criticism:

    There are 4 floating heads in the new one. Connect the heads to the damn bodies Randy.

  70. "i'm sure glad it isn't YOU writing this site!"

    Christ, me too. (too easy)

    Parody is criticism of reality for failing to live up to the standards established by art (think "The Naked Gun.")

    Satire is criticism of art for failing to live up to the standards of reality (think A Modest Proposal, or Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles")

  71. DOTA is "Defense of the Ancients," an old mod for Warcraft III. It kinda exists in a new form called HoN. It's a video game. Kind of a big deal among losers.

    I actually regret telling you about it. I may hate all of you (HATE ALL OF YOUUUU) but I still wouldn't want to inflict the act of playing that game onto even my worst enemy. It's as addictive as World of Warcraft but not actually, like, fun. Ever. Never ever fun.

  72. so exactly like world of warcraft

  73. Did your enemy pick the agility hero? If yes, and you did not pick an agility hero ("I like casting spells!" or "I'm gonna tank it"), gg nr.

    Captcha: promob. We are the other kind of mob.

  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

  75. Sarge: Satire is not solely a criticism of art. It can be, but, but it's not exclusively. Satire is simply a method of criticism which employs heavy uses of sarcasm and irony. WHAT is being criticized though, varies greatly.

    Your example, a Modest Proposal, was not a criticism of Art in any way. Johnathan Swift was expressing the hopelessness of the situation in Ireland, which was rife with poverty and receiving no support at all from the rest of the British Empire. He writes an open letter suggesting the merits of eating children. He claims this would solve many issues, since mothers would have less mouths to feed, and more money to feed the renaming ones with; which they would receive from the butcher. To add credence to the idea that he was serious, he added recipes and a best return on investment waiting period before selling off the child.

    As we all know, he was of course not serious at all. It was not in an attempt to criticize art, but rather an attempt to suggest to those living outside of Ireland, that the situation was so grim, they might as well start thinking of this as a valid solution. He was basically saying "What do you want us to do? Eat our Children? Cause that's all we've got left to eat."

    Some other examples from Swift would be Gulliver Travels, where each individual "Journey" is a satire of a real political or social group. The reader scoffs at the ridiculousness of a situation in the book, only to later realize a parallel situation exists within their own government, calling to attention the ridiculousness of their very government.

    In closing, suggesting that Satire is only meant for criticism of art, is incorrect.

  76. satire is that word i say when i dont want people to get mad at me for telling racist jokes

  77. rob your current style of posting is highly unfunny and it is time to do other things

    i know other people have been saying this for a long time but i am more influential than them on account of the way i am currently driving a rusty sieve through your trachea

  78. Randall's twitter account makes me punch babies in the face. http://twitter.com/#!/irandallmunroe

    jakeduhjake Jake
    @irandallmunroe I'd like to see the stats on the effects of "1999" on the zombo.com traffic

    irandallmunroe I, Randall Munroe
    @jakeduhjake me too, but humility prevents me from actually finding out. Better just to imagine.

    irandallmunroe I, Randall Munroe
    have attempted to cook my own food. I have documented the experience in this amusing flowchart. Please laugh. http://xkcd.com/854

    irandallmunroe I, Randall Munroe
    have discovered vowels. Some words contain many of them in a row! Next week I will explain palindromes to you. http://xkcd.com/853/

    Sweet baby jesus h christ. Not only is he being a dick (I R HUMBILITY)but he's being that annoying d-bag on twitter that just advertises his own picto blog.

  79. Unless I'm just getting trolled, but my hatred of Randall still stands based on this extreme realistic twitter feed (I can totally see him actually doing this with his feed).

  80. Hmm, I think it might be satire actually. Fuck I dunno. I'm grabbing a beer.

  81. > Parody is criticism of reality for failing to live up to the standards established by art

    what? then how is it possible to make a parody of a movie? this makes no sense. i'm not a native english speaker but my language has basically the same word and it means nothing of the kind. i checked merriam-webster online and its definition bears no relation to yours.

    and how the hell is "A Modest Proposal" a criticism OF ART? it criticizes reality!

    my god, you're so stupid that you've turned me into a person who debates this kind of crap

  82. Or is it a parody, Ian??

  83. Sarge is a satire of a parody of himself.

  84. "Sarge is a satire of a parody of himself."

    that would be awesome. I'd tweet all the time.

  85. Rinnon: I enjoyed your Shatner commas. And thanks for summarizing "A Modest Proposal." I've never read it, I just heard someone mention it on a bus once and I thought it sounded old/smart so I started talking about it. Now that I've read your summary I'll be able to talk about it a lot more.

    Also: HILARI-WRONG. But I wouldn't know, having never read it. Be sure you don't put any thought into what I said, though, lest you realize your errors.

    wait, have we moved on to Rob's next pile of word vomit? I can't keep up with you kids. Where's my cane.