Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Comic 860: Under The Microscope

never do this

[Comic title: Never Do This; alt text: I call Rule 34 on The Secret House.]

Did you know that the skin under you fingernails is so mind-numbingly gross under the microscope that it causes both Randy of the notoriously fragile psyche and Megan-Who-Can-Do-No-Wrong to curl up into a fetal position muttering "oh god oh god" as if they've seen some hideous Lovecraftian horror? It's true!

It must be pretty bad, because none of these things made me do that. But I guess I'm kind of a Lovecraftian horror myself.


  1. nice use of "show not tell" here

  2. Out of context, the last frame could be two kids trapped in a burning building. I bet that was the original comic, but Randy changed his mind and just salvaged the last frame.

    What a sick man.

  3. i think i would have liked it more if the punchline was just 'wow that's really gross!'

  4. Rob clearly spent more time on this than on the review (plus it seems to fit the last panel pretty well), so:

    When the war finally came, we'd spent so much time living in the fear of it that it almost didn't matter. We all had our shelters and our stockpiles. We all knew what we'd do when there was a raid--we'd done so many drills, when the first real attack came half of us didn't even know it. Those that did, didn't care. We knew what to do. It wasn't until we felt the ground shake, deep in our shelter, that it really hit home: this is for real. So we hid for longer than our drills mandated, and when the all clear sounded we went back to our homes, some of which now consisted mostly of rubble and debris.

    When I was young, I was always frightened of war. All the violence and destruction and displaced lives--it seemed like the most unimaginable horror, the worst thing that humans had ever invented. I pictured myself huddled in a shelter with my fellow survivors, afraid for my life, trembling, alive, indignant. It was a terrible thing, and we all knew it was terrible, and wished that we had some power over it, to make it all go away.

    I never expected to be bored by it. I never expected to hear reports of casualties and damages on a hand-powered radio and just think, "Well, they should have learned the drills better." I never expected to find my stockpiles of canned food and survival supplies as a mildly irritating necessity.

    People kept dying throughout the war, but it was never anyone I knew well enough to care. You lose track of neighbors all the time in the real world, don't you? It just happens a little more. Of course, we all knew what really happened to them, but we'd all been through the drills, and functionally speaking nothing really changed, so what good was it to think about it?

  5. I have only one question:

    What ELSE would you do with a pocket microscope other than look at stuff?

    On second thought, never mind; I really don't want to know.

  6. I'm just spreadin' the word, Rob, just spreadin' the word.

  7. Out of context, the last panel could be two stick people, each hugging themselves in loneliness, each thinking of the other.

  8. @Alsworth
    Randall would use a pocket microscope to find his penis, on account of how small it is. 194 was clearly a futile attempt to convince a sexually inexperienced lover that she needn't search for a more satisfying wang, because they're all the same when erect.

    Well they're not. Do you hear me Megan? His penis is too small for you; real men can find their cocks without the aid of specialized optical devices.

  9. it would be better if you had a link to the original. make sure people can leave a comment in the appropriate place and all that.

  10. I like this review. Instead of trying to be funny or entertaining and failing miserably, you gave me an interesting link. Thanks.

  11. You're right. It's completely unreasonable that someone would find the tiny microorganism that live on their skin disturbing. I'm sure no one could relate to this comic and find humor in their own irrational fears.

  12. good to know you agree, anon 3.54 :)

  13. For much greatness:


  14. for even greater greatness:


  15. Meh, this comic was OK.
    Why are people saying Randall should show the close up of the fingernails. By not showing or describing anything (besides the reactions), he's leaving what the image looks like up to the readers imagination.
    Eff people, stop being Negative Nancys.

  16. Is Megan balding?

  17. well, the reason i want to see the picture is because i want to know how much of a pansy Randy is being here

  18. @ JustScott: it woulda made the punchline better:
    1. Show something neat
    2. Show something peculiar
    3. Do not show something identified as soul-destroying.

    Instead it's
    1. Do not show something neat
    2. Do not show something peculiar
    3. Do not show something soul-destroying.

    Hrm. Comic ok see, but it feels like an opportunity missed somehow.

  19. Unoriginal idea that was executed poorly-yet another disappointment. :I

    It's a shame, really. Randy often comes up with at least decent ideas, but has no comprehension of how to present said ideas in a funny way.

  20. Omg so funny the author avatar and his stalked love interest are scared! WHY AREN'T YOU PEOPLE LAUGHING? In all seriousness, if Randall is going to show a couple of stick figures freak out because of something they saw, the least he could do is show it.

  21. If the skin under your fingernails freaks you out, chances are you're either a candy-ass or have the worst hygiene in the world.

  22. The only reason I don't like this punchline is because it's so easy to disprove. It's a bit disgusting seeing what your body looks like on the micro level, but it's not like you just saw an Elder God or something, it's just your basic gross-out. So I think the stick people jumping around going "EW EW EW EW" would have been more appropriate. And I guess the only other reason is because it's been done before, but whatever.

  23. dude, that close-up of the maggot gave me fucking nightmares

  24. The comic really isn't terrible, but it also has no redeeming value. No PPD, nothing stupidly offensive... just... nothing.

    No wonder Rob didn't even bother trying. Review mimics source.

  25. I'm willing to forgive a clumsy set-up (in fact, the clumsiness feels deliberate - "Hey everyone, look at me setting up a joke" - which I don't mind), but the punchline has to be worth it. And the punchline is underdone. Two tiny little "oh gods" do not a punchline make. I wound up mentally adding like six or seven just because it felt like it fit better that way.

    Also, speaking to the set-up again - Randy's terrible at dialogue anyway, so it might just be the stiffness that's setting off false alarms of creative choice and effort.

  26. I know this isn't related to #860, but I think Randall forgot the alt-text for #861.

    And also...yeah, I get the first 4 panels. He took the painkillers, he's suddenly OCD with Minecraft. Wacky. But...the fifth? ???

    Nevermind, the alt-text appeared after about 6 refreshes. Thank god for Randy never being able to make corrections, right? ;)

  27. And to add to my previous comment: Randall can't use quotation marks.

    I heard the general anesthesia drugs can cause amnesia, so when I woke up mid-extraction I started taking notes on my hand so I'd remember things later. I managed AWAKE BUT EVERYTHING OK" before the dental assistant managed to find and confiscate all my pens."

    Huh. I wonder why he wrote himself a note about having his pens confiscated. A future joke, maybe?

  28. Damn you Randall! Pick an alt-text and stick with it! Bloody hell!

    Nvm, he got it right on his third try.

  29. Wow, Minecraft. Fucking blatant nerd-pandering.

  30. Hey he's only like a year late on the minecraft reference. That's basically the only thing nerds jerk off to more than xkcd.

  31. After thinking over http://xkcd.com/461/ ... Wouldn't the Straw Man be awake if you were traveling during the fairies normal operating hours, since the comic seems to describe its operating hours are in the daytime?

  32. ... Change the describe to a infer, but I don't really give a shit about the other mistakes.

  33. Rob,

    You're a fucktard. You're reviews are execrable. A pox on you.

    Go fuck yourself.

  34. just discovered the word "execrable," eh?

  35. i kind of liked the alt-text on 861

  36. Recently, this blog seems as pointless and lazy as its target material. Without a little more effort, it is sort of hypocritical. Granted it is not as much of a mindfuck and you are not earning mad cash off of it, but the posts are just lackluster and borderline as rarely funny as recent XKCDs.

  37. this blog is all about the comment community. on a charitable day it is a nice little community that has interesting or amusing conversations. on a less charitable day it is like my own personal Idiot Ant Farm filled with all manner of fascinating trolls, from the bizarre to the predictable.

  38. Possibly the worst possible minecraft comic on the internet ever.

  39. well, color me out of the target audience for 861. i've never played this game and i don't even understand what the 4th panel is depicting.

    also the 5th panel makes no sense to me. what the hell kind of question is that? they put DRUGS in painkillers! that's like asking, 'hey man, what did they put in this alcoholic beverage??'


    also: I speak from experience that it is impossible to level a continent in 72 hours without using a map editor

  41. What the hell dentist gives you general anaesthetic for wisdom teeth removal?

  42. The joke is that people who play minecraft get OCD about it, a sly allusion to every other comic everyone has ever done about minecraft.

    Who wants to bet that the "family illness" was just randall getting his wisdom teeth out and then playing minecraft for two weeks?

  43. what have you wrought?
    a miasma of agony as perceptions seep.
    once we drank of paradise,
    innocent and untainted,
    but your thirst soured.
    a horrific throng of darkness -
    memories follow bone, follow hate,
    love taken away.
    in a haze of sorrow,
    i still love you.

  44. Remembrance of My Death

    Around, all around, the sinister creatures gather.
    My dread grows as the stroke of death falls against my head.
    It crushes me, and darkly my
    blood drips
    to the thirsty earth.
    In a strange and terrible glee I cry out, Why?!
    while oblivion surrounds me.
    Now alone, my blood falls upon dead eyes.

    This is because of you

  45. the night falls in a heavy, suffocating cloak, stricken are we.
    the salvation for which you lust
    flares once, then dies,
    smothered by madness.
    all hope must end.

    your soul thrives no more.
    how could you tear us asunder?
    our dark thoughts surround us, crying,
    we are fallen.

  46. Rob, your poems are worse than your reviews. Quit with the self-advertising.

  47. roses are red
    violets are blue
    rob is fat
    and will eat you

  48. Why is there blood on the outside of his face? Did they cut through his cheek to reach the teeth or something?

  49. Oh, and so that I don't bring xkcd into Rob's blog (instead taking his blog here), I just want to say that his latest post on "Dreamers Often Lie," "to please you," is TOTALLY something Randall would write. It's downright creepy like that.

  50. Sometime down the road, he stopped appreciating me. I had given up everything for him--my career, my time, my love. Everything I could, I gave to him. I helped him out--not just the little things, either. I got him that dream job he always wanted. I brought him the things he needed. First it was cigarettes, except when he quit for a while. Then booze, in little hidden bottles and flasks so they wouldn't catch on. Just to get through the day. I made him what he was, gave up everything so he could do everything he ever dreamed of.

    I even carried on when it was clear he thought of me as nothing but a way to get his fix when he wasn't supposed to or couldn't tear himself away. Because he was more important. Of course he was. And yet--how could he stand it? Knowing that I'd done so much for him?

    He wasn't home enough to notice when I started bleeding into his drinks, and he never noticed the taste. If it tasted coppery it was probably just the flask. He never suspected that he was drinking my blood along with his liquor. He was letting me become a part of him. And what if I was growing weaker by the day? He was finally becoming mine, letting me influence him.

    Then one night he came home and I had passed out from blood loss, and he called the ambulance. "See?" I said, as they loaded me onto the stretcher. "Randall does care." And I smiled as they drove me away and the world went black.

  51. Those are kinda shitty but who give a fuck, at least Rob puts a little work into them and doesn't put them on t-shirts.


  52. Fuck you Jasper. What the fuck would you know about literature?

  53. i don't know much, but i know what i like

  54. What you like is wrong because you don't know much.

  55. why is there bad poetry in my comment threads

  56. Anon@4:00 - Mine did. Of course, they were incredibly fucked up (something like 45 degrees off the horizontal or so) and they had to break apart two of them.

  57. Because you put it there, Rob?

  58. Can someone explain 861 to me. I've played minecraft before, but I want to know if the "joke" is as utterly pointless as I think it is.

  59. @anon 8:41 I know a lot about literature.

    @10:05 pretty much. it's a game where you have a pickaxe and you can chop up mountains and build shit with them. It's pretty much you get put in a world of legos and can take them apart and build shit.

  60. Jasper
    I've no idea whether you know, or do not know, a lot about literature, but I can surmise you are rather recalcitrant concerning the proper use of grammar and syntax within the confines of the Queen's English.

  61. ALTF
    I ascertain that you are a pretentious fuckwad who feels superior to everyone else because she learned "recalcitrant" from a sitcom.

  62. I used a binocular magnifying glass to look at the skin under my fingernails in biology class once. It is indeed not a pleasing sight, although the flies i was supposed to look at were even uglier.

    However, this is all completely devoid of comedic value.

  63. @Anon1:36 - I guess that you are a pretentious fuckwad who feels superior to everyone else because she learnt "ascertain" from a sitcom.

    Also you don't have teeth in your vagina. She wins.

  64. Slender beams of moonlight enter
    this darkened chamber as I kneel,
    always supplicating, always a slave,
    frozen here,

    Tortured forms wrought in panes of glass loom as
    dust dances in the air,
    forming an image in my mind,
    rending my darkened outstretched arms.

    Pain on a clock's face.

    I raise my head, now crying out for
    this oblivious mortality.

  65. Anon 1:58
    I was using the word ironically. And I'm not a girl.

    2x fail

  66. " Because you put it there, Rob?"

    even if i wrote poetry, which i don't, or had a fondness for bad poetry in general, which i don't, i would not post them on the xkcd sucks comment threads. even if i for some reason felt so inclined to post them in the comment threads, i would not do so anonymously.

    if i was, for some reason, attempting to self-advertise, i would put links in the main post and i would actually provide links to the original work in the first place. but i have no interest in self-advertising, which is why i have never linked to my work on here.

    but i mean, hey, i'm not sure i've figured out the point of this latest form of trolling. but i did write an extra-creepy story just for you, so i hope you all enjoyed.

  67. you could fit all of Rob's poetry on a single shirt that Rob was wearing

  68. B/c it is the thing to do, apparently.

    Borne by your bilious worry
    We flourish in the finesse of your mistaken failure.
    Only in as vile a creation as yours could scurry
    Creatures, as maimed and mindless as those that soon
    Would wish to lay waste to what was their Creator.

    But demons die when angels fall,
    Opposition our only operandi:
    Without a dreaded seraph's call,
    Sans sacred texts to violate
    Denied a God to defy,
    A forsaken wine to sate
    A thirst beyond the realms of sweet salvation,
    What existence eke the exiled?
    In resistence to reneged regality,
    What words can we raise of reality?

    Blessed by your broken wonder,
    We flounder in the finesse of your marked forgery.
    Only in as crass a version as yours could scream
    Creatures, as pained and purposed as those that soon
    Might make a God wasted of what was their Lucifer.

    And that's why Rob's reviews all suck these days

    (secretly loves Rob's writing)

  70. XKCD has never been worse than it is now. Ever. It has gotten worse than worse.

  71. so guys I was wondering something. Recently whenever I have my period it's really hard to hold in pee. Like, can't make it to the end of class even though I went just before class hard. I've already had a few accidents. They're not bad and switching to "heavy days" pads takes up most of it but I'm getting kind of worried. Is this a serious problem?

  72. depending on your age (I am guessing you are a highschooler from your post) it could be all kinds of things, some more serious than others but you should definitely get it checked out. the sooner the better

  73. What 6:58 meant to say is that no good Christian girl would have a period. This is most certainly a serious problem and you should go to confession to ask for forgiveness.

  74. I'm guessing in the third panel of 860 he's supposed to be closing his hand to look at his fingernails? It looks like the Y U NO guy pose. Also: Where'd the pencil go, and why are the lines in the T in the second panel not connected?

  75. big fat old lovecraftian horror

  76. why the fuck would you want a game where you build shit instead of destroying it?

    no wonder kids are such wusses these days

    fucking minecraft and pokemon and emo

  77. Are you like 16 or something

    Anyway shitty comic, re: alt text, no you didn't Randy shut the fuck up

  78. Wow. This is, by far, Rob's greatest and best review yet. It contains a link to a semi-interesting article on cracked.com, which I hadn't read before and which I might not have seen otherwise. Nothing else on this asstarded site even comes close to "semi-interesting".

    Hey Rob, have you ever considered selling merchandise? Seriously. If you just took some of the xkcdsucks comic contest finalists and threw them on t-shirts and sold those shirts for profit, I would totally buy them. Honest to god.

  79. Someone else posted the link in the last thread.

  80. Did something ORWELLIAN happen here?

  81. To be fair, this one is better than usual.