Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Comic 945: We Didn't Start The Fire

[Demon hell-bird "Ravenzomg" sent me this review, and I, obviously, posted it without question. All errors are naturally not mine. -Ed.]

Title: I'm Sorry. Tooltip: You know I've always hated her

Hello, this is Ravenzomg of Ravenzomg fame here to give you a special post-it note review of comic 945. But really, it's less of a review and more of "Why the fuck am I awake at 2 in the morning".

Monday, August 29, 2011

Comic 944: Goodnight, Irene

hurricane names

[Comic title: Hurricane Names; Alt text: "After exhausting the OED, we started numbering them. When overlapping hurricanes formed at all points on the Earth's surface, and our scheme was foiled by Cantor diagonalization, we just decided to name them all "Steve". Your local forecast tomorrow is "Steve". Good luck."]

Since your friend and mine Irene recently visited the east coast, Randy spent some time reading about hurricane naming on Wikipedia. Being the sort of person who probably thinks of himself as a "hacker" because he knows what a programming language is, when Randy is presented with a new system, he tries to find the flaws in it, with all the grace and finesse of a three year old pouring his own milk. "WHAT IF THERE'S SO MANY HURRICANES THEY RUN OUT OF THE SECOND LIST" he found himself screaming at the monitor.

It was at this moment that inspiration struck. "I know! I can write a whole comic about how silly it would be! There could be a hurricane, um . . . EGGBEATER!!!" But there was the same flaw in his system: there are only so many words in the English language. (Three, at last count.) But Randy was already on the genius train bound for XKCD, and just decided to write that into the alt text. Because lulz, hurricanes cover the face of the earth!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Comics, Uh, 941-943, Maybe: TRIPLE FEATURE!!!

I'd have gotten these reviews up earlier but I got a new computer so I've been playing video games and having fun rather than paying attention to you fat slobs, but the time for that is over! Except it's not. Anyway:

941. On the whole this one was reasonably solid, though I felt it could have done without the whole pseudo-scientific explanation for his improved-perspective-goggles. He has yet to learn that when he's trying to rip off ASW he needs to be brief. But I'm sure I would have liked it before I devoted all of my waking hours to hating XKCD.

It's even started haunting my dreams.

942. Wouldn't it be wacky if when you threw juggling balls up in the air they just hung there instead of gravity working???

As much as I love absurdist fiction, Randy is terrible at it. The absurd isn't presented as any sort of commentary on life or reality, but instead as the point of the joke: "ha ha ha the balls don't fall down" (I know, I know). And then "well this book is dumb it doesn't tell me what to do when I can't reach my balls." Do something interesting with the absurd, Randy, and your comics about it might not be shitty.

943. Randy likes us to think that he is so scientifically-minded that when he is presented with a request, he interprets it as a scientific question. He does this because he is quirky and wacky and nerdy! I guess he's just going along with this marriage experiment because he is curious as to whether it will actually happen. It has nothing to do with the milky bounty that awaits him when he finally implants his hot porn star daughter in Megan's womb.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Comic 940: XKCancerD, Now With More Sex!


[Comic title: Oversight; alt text: "I felt so clever when I found a way to game the Fitocracy system by incorporating a set of easy but high-scoring activities into my regular schedule. Took me a bit to realize I'd been tricked into setting up a daily exercise routine."]

I guess Randy was reading through the ol' XKCD Sucks archives and remembered that SexKCD was a meme before XKCancerD was even a twinkling in his eye, so he went ahead and wrote about that, and Fitocracy, which I guess is one of those stupid "game your life" things that give you points for doing things.

The alt text is great because it highlights how dumb he is, and nerds in general: he's trying to game a meaningless system that doesn't have any accountability mechanism, and felt, his words, "so clever" when he figured out a way to get a high score in this system. Like he's outwitted it: "Ha, joke's on YOU, fitocracy, I can get a lot of exercise points and it's not even HARD!"

Nothing much to say here. This isn't a joke. This is stick figures having sex coupled with "what is the deal with internet fitness websites? They don't let me log my sex!!!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Comic 939: Randy Remembers The Old Times

[Hated hell bird "Ravenzomg" wrote this review. -Ed.]

Hai hai everyone, this is Ravenzomg of Ravenzomg fame to review XKCD #939 for you all! Or maybe I'm just some imposter, who even knows anymore.

Title: Arrow. Tooltip: 'The Return of the Boomerang' would make a great movie title.

So let's cut to the chase. This is just an awful brick joke. The joke is that there is a thing here from another xkcd comic why is that here that belongs in the other comic how can it be here oh my god oh my god so random wat.

Look guys at this other comic I did! And how awesome things used to be. Do you remember that???

So anyways, it's basically a non-sequitur that doesn't go anywhere interesting. "And suddenly boomerang!" for no reason at all.

This is my edit, which I think is more entertaining. TELL ME I'M WRONG AND ACTUALLY MEAN IT.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Comics 937 and 938: Cancer Comics!

So sorry for the delay, I was out of town.

937. Randy recently discovered that average user ratings are not always reliable. Shocking development, I know.

938. Cancer Comics returns! This time he's trying to make a funny, I guess? It's pretty bad, and not at all informative. It becomes increasingly clear the only reason he let everyone know about the cancer is not so he could Express His Pain but because his usual Wikipedia routine had suddenly become exclusively cancer-oriented, and he wanted to make sure people understood why he had a sudden fixation on cancer.

Also, what the fuck is with the art here? Every head in this comic is hideously misshapen, way more than normal. This is on top of the usual floating heads, heads that have been impaled on the neck, etc. And we have a guy who is standing there with a laptop and asking a dude without a laptop what the deal is with . . . the thing he's reading on the laptop?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Comics 935 and 936: Missed Jokes

935. Randy tries his Craigslist list humor again, this time visiting Missed Connections! This time around he doesn't get the formatting or the spirit correctly--at least with his "house for rent" one they were semi-plausible titles for posts. Missed Connections posts never follow the format he's suggesting.

I could go through each of the jokes in his shotgun humor, but instead I'll just say this: why the fuck is Babe Ruth a Time Lord?

936. This isn't a joke. This is Randy complaining that longer passwords are harder to crack. Personally, all of my passwords are from the "dreamers often lie" conversation in Romeo and Juliet, and to this date I've never had anyone crack them.

Since there is no joke here, there's really no joke to review. But the alt text is notable for its unbridled smugness. Here is what esteemed city "Ann Apolis" had to say, on IRC: "You understand. Other people don't. Aren't they /stupid/? I'm sorry for you."

Good night, and God bless.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Comic 934: Randy Discovers Netbooks


[Comic title: Mac/PC; alt text: It's fun to watch browsers fumblingly recapitulate the history of window management. Someday we'll have xmonad as a Firefox extension.]

It's nice to see Randy is back to his boring old self again. Randy thinks that people don't use anything that isn't a browser anymore, which is why we've all switched to netbooks and the powerful computer is pretty much obsolete now.

Er, wait.

As is usual when I have nothing to say about a comic, I decided to stop by the forums for this one. They don't have much to say about it--mostly they're talking about browsers. One person called it mediocre, one seemed to like it. And then one of the regular posters said this:

Mightn't this have been a better comic if it were released back when the "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" commercials were actually airing?

Confidential to Randall Munroe: Your comics are so outdated that even your loyal fans are complaining about how outdated you are. Time to step things up a bit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Comic 933: Cancer Cancer Cancer Cancer Cancer


[Comic title: tattoo; alt text: I calculate that the electrons in radiation therapy hit you at 99.8% of the speed of light, and the beam used in a 90-second gamma ray therapy session could, if fired with less precision, kill a horse (they did not let me test this).]

I guess Randy is trying to make cancer sound badass or something? Jesus Christ. Is this supposed to be funny? Are we supposed to laugh at this description of radiation therapy? Or are we supposed to be like 'DUDE SO INTENSE I WANT CANCER NOW?' What the fuck is the goddamn point of this festering shit pile?

I wasn't actually expecting Randy to make so damn many cancer comics. Maybe one every now and then. But this much? I'm left with the conclusion that Randy has decided to make xkcd a cancer webcomic.

This isn't unprecedented. In fact, Mom's Cancer, a webcomic which was expressly about someone's mother's cancer, was created in 2004. There have been some other internet projects which are basically documenting a disease. It's the sort of thing I'm quite confident Randy has come across before. And these projects are often touching and insightful looks at terminal or chronic illnesses.

I don't know why Randy has made this decision, or if these are the only two cancer comics he'll make ever again (but, I mean, come on). It could be that he is cynically hoping to generate a larger audience by trolling for sympathy. Maybe he thinks that this project is putting a new spin on it somehow, or otherwise that it is a legitimately interesting place for him to take his (and I use the word loosely here) art.

What I do know is that if this is Randy's idea of an interesting take on the subject, we are in for a shitty, shitty ride.

There are two ways this can go. Either he eventually alienates his readership, causing them to quietly file out while he keeps making comics where Megan is declaring that "I HAVE DISCOVERED HOW TO LIVE FOREVER" because cancer cells are immortal, or XKCD fanboys just suddenly become cancer enthusiasts. The XKCD store will be full of t-shirts that say "man, fuck cancer," with the word "seriously" on the back, or shirts and prints which bear the dot pattern that Megan has on her chest. Prints of the terrible infographics he produces like the lanes comic, and the forthcoming Map of Cancer. There will be astrological and geographical puns about Cancer and the tropic thereof.

Either way, sanctimonious fanboys will continue to berate us for having the gall to dislike xkcd while Randy has something bad going on in his life.

On an unrelated note: does anyone else get the impression that Randy actually thinks barbed wire tattoos are hardcore?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Comic 932: Mixed Messages


[Comic title: CIA; alt text: It was their main recruiting poster, hung nearly ten feet up a wall! This means the hackers have LADDER technology! Are we headed for a future where everyone has to pay $50 for one of those locked plexiglass poster covers? More after the break ...]

I'm getting mixed messages from this one (HENCE THE TITLE DID YOU SEE HOW I MADE THE TITLE RELEVANT TO THE POST you can love me now if you like). I mean, it's obviously more of Randy's smug "I'm smart and people who don't love computers like I do are dumb" bullshit, but it looks like he thinks that this time when people are misinformed it's their fault--this is "what normal people hear" versus "what computer enthusiasts hear," rather than "what the media is saying" versus "what is actually happening."

You may recall a particularly rapey comic about the bailout back when this economic crisis that launched XKCD Sucks to fame and fortune started. The implied threat of raping someone's daughter was directed at the media. But in this case the media doesn't appear to be at fault--though his usual "OMG MEDIA IS LYING ABOUT COMPUTORZZZZ" rage does appear in the alt text.

Since this comic is otherwise pretty boring--people are wrong sometimes! shocking!--I've decided to visit the forodes to see what they think.

There's some arguing about the analogy:'s not even that they tore down the poster, more like they got a whole bunch of people to stand in front of it so no one can see it. So basically we're talking about the digital equivalent of a sit-in.

There's some alarmism w/r/t people not understanding technical details of computing:

Yeah, I can definitely relate. People's reactions to the "situation" are often scarier than the situation itself. It troubles me that we live in a world so dependent on technology, yet very few people really understand it.

And some idiot who thinks that he has a solid grasp on the economy and wants to share with the class:

Love it. This is what I tend to hear with most news stories. "The economy is doomed" is usually translated to "we need to print more pretend money, but the guy in charge prefers not to devalue his hoarded millions" in my head.

But overall pretty boring. They're complaining about how the word "hacked" has become widespread, arguing about alt-text vs. title text for some reason, and generally being boring nerds arguing about stupid shit nobody cares about--something that never happens here on "XKCD Makes Me Profoundly Unhappy And I Am Learning A New Language Just So That I Can More Fully Describe The Depths Of My Despair."

Oh shit, I take it back. I take it all back about this thread being boring. I think I've just found the dumbest comment on the XKCD forodes, ever:

When I see/hear the word 'hacker', the first thing that comes into mind is people like Eric Raymond, Linus Torvalds, Ken Thomson, Dennis Ritchie, Stallman, Knuth, etc etc...
When I read this comic, my imagination produced this in my mind:
hypothetical famed hacker wrote:...Damn, now I have to come up with something significant AGAIN in order to remind people that I'm a renowned expert in the field, so that I have the right to claim that I get this strip!

Better get to work, instead of tearing down other people's posters...

This computer enthusiast believes, or fantasizes, that famous computer people read XKCD and . . . I guess they think it's so brilliant that they want to go out there and remind everyone that they have sufficient credentials (and this fanboy seems to think you need credentials to understand XKCD) to appreciate its brilliance? That, in essence, Randy is so brilliant with his vast knowledge of computing that he makes luminaries of the computer science community act like retarded fanboys in order to prove they "get it."

This comment alone makes it all worthwhile.