Monday, April 30, 2012

Comics 1047-1049: Informative Updates

1047. In this comic we get a list of equations! I can't be bothered to check any of them to see if they are supposed to be funny or useful or what. I looked at this and basically lost interest immediately because I couldn't fathom a universe in which I would ever care about it.


1049. As much as I hate to be even remotely negative of anything bashing Ayn Rand, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out that Randy implies that he agrees with the majority of her philosophy except for the part about being a dick. This means he is a colossal moron.

And now, for your viewing "pleasure," here is a guest review of 1048 from possibly Jon Levi, possibly someone just pretending to be Jon Levi, who even cares:

Title: Emotion; Alt text: Fortunately, the internet has a virtually inexhaustible supply of code that doesn't work and people who are wrong, which bodes well for a return to normalcy. [Note: Click to read context for the cancer comics. She's doing well.]

Diagnosis report for Patient ID XKCD1048, who is hereafter to be referred to as 'Patient R'

During a productive therapy session on Friday 27th April, I asked Patient R to write down a list of all the things that made him emotional in the last six years. He quickly listed six items, but struggled to think of any more. I suggested he filled in the two blank spots with 'other' and '? ?'. He then insisted on plotting a graph of them, which is extremely troubling. If the graph is truly an accurate representation of how he feels, then Patient R is mentally ill and needs strong intervention.

At any one time in the last six years, Patent R has felt strong emotion continuously and persistently towards five or fewer things at any one time (according to the graph). These are clearly obsessions towards unimportant emotional triggers. Perhaps he spends hours at a time reading all the political articles on a news blog, or poring over a piece of broken code. In his mind he is pressing the same metaphorical buttons again and again because he lacks the capacity to be bored by them.

His emotional ritual has no room for other triggers such as music, nostalgia, and injustice (beyond the narrow categories he has defined). It is likely that he does not care for anything that does not ft his predefined pattern of emotions.

Patient R's condition degraded significantly in November 2010, when he emotionally latched onto an issue that was entirely beyond his control. At any one time since then, at least 75% of his emotions have been related to his wife's cancer. This combined with his older obsession of romance. Having such a complete infatuation with one person is unhealthy, and leaves him unable to respond emotionally to any other aspect of his life.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect is how well he hides it. In fact no one knew he had a problem until today. Patient R has put on a facade by pretending to care about other things, such as DRM, space exploration and feminism. Although looking back through his comic archive one can begin to see that some of his drawings were nihilistic cries of help. But he did not express the true nature of his problem until he decided to make a graph of it.

If he accepts the therapy, he will be pleased to know the condition is quite curable. He will be able to revert to a childlike emotional state, and rebuild himself from there. However the alt text of his comic exposes none other than a wish to return to the 'normalcy' of his pre-2010 period. If he declines, then I will refer him to Dr Ann Apolis M.D. for more intensive treatment.


Dr Jon Levi

The contents of this letter are private and confidential, and are not to be posted on any hate blogs.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Comics 1044-1046: Is There Even A Difference?

1044. Instinct tells me that this is meant to be a biting commentary on those "is there any difference between (horrible person, eg Ron Paul) and (person with whose politics I disagree, eg Hitler)?" memes, but I can't actually see how. All I can see is how Randy probably thinks it's hilariously wacky and random comparing these two disparate entities. Perhaps it's meant as a subtle jab at Romney-bot? As a commentary, this doesn't have nearly enough thought put into it. And I'm pretty sure I've gone on record (cf. my interview in the New York Times, "A Blog About A Comic On The Internet: Rob Mason on Randy, Megan, And Milk") saying that lolrandumb is never funny.  (In that interview I also apparently go on record as saying that Randy and I aren't so different w/r/t milk fetishes, but I have no memory of saying that, and blame the fact that I was also on an absinthe binge that weekend.)

1045. This is kind of sad. Here is a bullet list of why:
  • Randy implies that writing shit on Twitter requires the expenditure of "so much energy." It does not.
  • Randy believes that an individual only has so much creativity available to them--is this another tacit admission that he has long since found writing his comic to be a chore?
  • In the second panel, Randy has taken the time to write out, on paper, something that follows an arbitrarily chosen rule (self-referentially, for bonus nerd points), and then, in the form of a comic that he has, on average, slightly more than two days to produce every week, tried to pass that thing off as something that someone said in an offhand fashion. Raise your hand if you believe that he didn't spend considerably longer on that sentence than coming up with it on the fly!
  • The aforementioned sentence is not particularly impressive, especially considering that he almost certainly spent some time on it.
  • In the last panel, he has his author-insert character respond to the aforementioned not-particularly-impressive sentence with awe. In case you missed the fact that he wants you to think that he is clever.
I also notice that in the first panel Randy's author-insert expresses disbelief in a fashion which is highly implausible, but also makes him look like a dumbass. I'm not listing this under "reasons this is sad" because at least he can accept that he's kind of dumb.

1046. Sometimes Randy has contact with people who have smoked "Mary Jane" or "weed," which are both "street names" for the dangerous hard drug "marijuana." He likes to write about these experiences as if he understands, to hilarious effect.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Comics 1041-1043: Revisionism

[Before I begin, I'd like to remind everyone of our IRC channel, which is #xkcd-sucks on Foonetic and is where all the interesting people from here hang out and the only reason I still update this place. Come for the fat jokes, stay for the verbal abuse. -Ed.]

1041. I'd comment on the actual quality of this strip but when I went to open it to write this review all I could notice is DEAR GOD WHAT IS ON THAT MAN'S FACE???

1042. I always like when Randy does these "I wish I were A Softer World" comics because it really drives home why I like ASW and don't like XKCD. At least he gets the three panel format right this time (he never does) but he still manages to fuck up the pacing, mostly by being too damn verbose. He could kill the text in the first panel and just make the text read "I will never have with anyone / what I had with you / thank God" and that would work better. (Still not great, but let's be fair, nobody thinks Randy is capable of great.)

1043. What always bothers me about these comics is that I can't help the feeling that Randy genuinely believes that Google Trends are a good way to predict the future (or the state of the world as it stands right now, etc.). There are people like that out there, and Randy seems to be affiliating himself with them. Incidentally, why did he include Wordpress and Livejournal? They have no bearing on the joke, and aren't relevant to his chart, either.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Comics 1038-1040: That's Deep, Man

1038. Why is this a comic?

1039. Why is this a comic?

1040. Why is this a comic?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Comics 1034-1036, and Special April Fool's Comic!

Apologies for the delay in posting this one. My netbook imploded so I spent most of this weekend trying to fix it (read: despairing of all hope, staring blankly at the wall, and vainly googling in the hopes that someone would post a useful fix when they encountered the problem I did). Without further ado:

1034. Randall has observed that various internet communities have different demographics.

1035. In which an analogy is turned on its head to allegedly hilarious effect!

1036. Randall's closet luddite shines through.

1037? I think Randall is trying to say something philosophical here, but the only thing I care about is the comic about Wellesley students ends up portraying them as a mostly-male group, which seems like a pretty big oversight.