XKCD Isn't Funny - #1440 - GEESE

We are currently on the fourth XKCD-I-think-is-good (XITIG) in a row.

This is basically the same idea as #1405, which wasn't even that long ago. However, I'm actually going to let that go, since the joke is improved here. My issue with #1405 has been resolved, we do get to see the confusion of the troll-ed. And what I think might be my most common criticism, a lack of proper setup, is totally taken care of.

Combining that with the added punchline "Or I was, long ago..." -which is actually a really nice, clever touch- I'm taking this comic as hard proof that Randy is not only reading these but also taking everything I say to heart. So, Mr. Munroe, now that we are essentially business partners, you can start by sending me weekly fifty dollar payments for my consulting work.

And I triple dog dare you to make a good, cleansing self depricational joke on Monday.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1439 - RACK UNIT

This is the third comic in a row which I've liked or mostly liked, which my paranoid brain interprets as undeniable proof that Randy is actually listening to every piece of criticism I level at him. Which gives me an interesting question that I hadn't really truly deeply considered until now:

What if XKCD really does become regularly funny, like I've hoped?

Do I just go through the archives as "XKCDWasntFunny.blogspot.com"? Do I switch to a new webcomic? Would it be the final end of the great era of XKCD hate, like the ends of True Capitalist, Saturday morning cartoons, or The Beatles? Will the community simply dissolve, no longer bound by even my meager offerings, never again to heap praise upon my brilliant reviews and accidental puns?

I could probably keep going for a bit if XKCD really did start being consistantly funny, like the once a week when a comic was kinda crap, I could post about it, but what would really be the point. "Comedian can't always be hilarious and is sometimes only chuckle-worthy".

I mean look! That's a really good use of Black Hat, right there! Megan's resigned attitude works for the joke (mostly)! She's actually sitting on the chair for crying out loud!

Like, if XKCD becomes truly great, than I'm going to be sincerely happy, but it's going to have a bite to it. Because I legitimately enjoy writing these, I put some music on, get out a can of coke, run a draft, post, update on twitter, the next day I get home I read the comments. Lovely.

If this blog ends, I go back to my music and probably bring back my old dramatic readings, scraping by on three views a week and a comment every two months. I fade away into history, all my reviews condensed along with all the other XKCD hate blogs into a footnote in Randall Munroe's autobiography. Xeroxing Killer Cabbage Documents, I imagine it will be called. Peripubescent lying smucks won't even be considered for inclusion.

But even if that happens, I think it'll be a little while. After all, Randy's still enough of a prick to keep
up for almost two months after the book actually came out.

You don't see me putting up a special bulletin everytime I make a new song or compose the soundtrack to a free video game.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1438 - HOUSTON

I like this comic a lot. And I'm torn, because I don't want to post just "I like this comic a lot." and be done with it, but I also don't want to explain a good joke. Jimmy Carr once said on an episode of QI, "Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. Nobody's that interested and the frog dies."

Quoth Wikipedia:

Wait! I do have one nitpick, I've found one! In the second (and to a lesser extent, third) panel, there should be a little background to give the sense that it is actually mission control, providing more juxtaposition between the casual nature of Houston and the formal science that we expect.

Phew, for a second there I thought I was out of a job.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1437 - HIGGS BOSON

I could have sworn the title "Higgs Boson" had already been used already, but apparently not.

This is one of those comics that I feel awkward about criticising, because I like it, but it could still be a liiittle better with just a few tiiiiiny changes (you can't see it, but I'm doing the 'almost touching your thumb and forefinger' thing).

Honestly the thing I'm bothered most about is that the microphone is only drawn in the first panel, which, seriously, that wouldn't have been any effort at all to draw it in the other panels.

The dialogue for the two Request People is actually done pretty well, I think. It reminds me of Fobbies Are Borange a little. I'd have gone with a different phrase than "This is embarrassing", but I'm 83% sure that it's just personal preference on that.

On the other hand, the Big Voice comes off as forced, like (to use a more insulting comparison than is strictly necessary) a toddler trying to impersonate his parents telling him to go to bed. The repetitive phrasing of "Tell us..." / "Don't tell us..." is also something that should have just not been done.

But all in all, this was a good comic that was timed pretty well. Most people probably vaguely remember the Higgs Boson being discovered that year or two ago, so it's not too early to be jumping the gun and it's not too late to be too esoteric.

Full confession: Whenever I give a positive review to a comic I worry that it actually completely sucks and I've had a terrible sense of humor this whole time.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1436 - ORB HAMMER

"Orb Hammer" sounds like the name of a really pretentious trance band.

I check explainxkcd after reading every comic, just to make sure I didn't completely misinterpret things. There's a quote from the article on this comic:

"The idea of using simple language in highly technical fields began with 547: Simple and was revisited in 722: Computer Problems and 1133: Up Goer Five. [...] The idea of using simple language to create humour highlighting the absurdity of normal activities has previously been explored with 203: Hallucinations."

Not to do your job for you, explainxkcd, but you missed #444 with that last bit.

Anyway, I can appreciate this style of humor. As with It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I can see why people would enjoy it, it's just not my thing. It's like those people that like to be disemboweled. I see what you're going for, but not for me.

The only thing I don't understand is why he'd reuse it after doing #1133. I mean, that's pretty much the highest you can go with this specific concept, isn't it?

I also think the phrasiology isn't done as well as it should be. The goal of what TV Tropes might call a "Reverse Expospeak Gag" is to get the reader to look back and go "Ohhh, that's what he's talking about."*, more or less. But here, I think that the wording was pushed a little too far into absurdity. For example, there's no "going to the moon" bit, but there is a "going back".

Y'know, some people say that you're never going to need debating skills in real life (I assume some people say that, I've never actually met any of them or anything) but the other day I was trash talking Roger Waters to my friends and this lady walks up and starts engaging me! What has the world come to when people have to 'defend' and 'argue' their positions like a bunch of proctologists?

*My favorite way of doing that remains the: "You consumed too much food matter? / Yeah, and I ate too much too." way, but that doesn't have any catchy shorthand, so I can see why it's not the path that Randy chose here.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1435 - PRESIDENTAL ALERT

`I feel like this joke has been done before but I can't actually think of any examples.

Assuming this joke is actually original, it's not executed very well. It should be more obvious from the start that the president hit the button by accident (I think the way he doesn't have his hands on the desk in the second panel is supposed to be doing this, but if it is it's way too subtle).

This might be my personal humor preferences bleeding through, but wouldn't it be alot funnier if the president was desperately trying to pretend he meant to press the button? I do like the "I didn't realize what this button did", but the two ideas are sortof mutually exclusive, unless Randy made it into another multipart thing and the president was explaining things to someone after the alert ended. That's probably too sitcommy, but I bet it could still be pulled off pretty well.

The comic also ends pretty abruptly, doesn't it? We don't even see the TV going back to the Jersey Shore documentary the president so rudely interupted. It's like he just wrote up a script and couldn't think of a good ending so he just let it


XKCD Varies In Quality - #1434 - WHERE DO BIRDS GO

I'm starting to regret putting the title of the comic in all caps in my header thing, it looks like I'm just shouting out "WHERE DO BIRDS GO"

...almost like this comic said everyone was. Clever girl.

This is going to be one of my more discussive posts, because I do like this comic.

I want to point out what Randy's done here: He's done a full, almost SMBC-esque, buildup, complete with multiple screenshots and honest to god pretty good art towards the end there. And those two things helped make the comic better.

XKCD doesn't have to have great art or a huge setup every day, but a common problem I have with XKCD is a lack of effort in a certain part.

As corny as it sounds, this is the type of comic that makes me think that someday this blog won't have any reason to exist, because XKCD will be regularly funny.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1433 - LIGHTSABER

Well, at least it wasn't the fleshlight one again.

For a while I honestly thought that learning lightsabers weren't possible was just one of those growing up milestones you have to pass. Learning to use the toilet, learning to ride a bike, learning not to tell anyone what your cousin showed you in the basement that one time, learning lightsabers couldn't work, etc.

But that is projecting my own knowledge sphere onto my dear readers (all ten of you) which is something I've criticized Randy for many a time, so let's just pretend that this is a completely original idea.

A lot of the problems I have with this comic are of the small "...but wait, wouldn't...?" nitpicky variety, but Dara O'Briain can do two hours of partially-improvised standup without a single joke failing on a technicality, so I'm going to go ahead and be a nitpicky prick anyway.

So I read through this comic and my first reaction was to question why Luke just says "Doesn't." in the last panel. I appriciate the attempt at more natural sounding dialogue, but with only one word in four panels after we got seven in one in his last appearence, he comes off less 'casual' and more 'just got out of bed and hasn't fully woken up yet'.

My second reaction was: "But wait, wouldn't everything that happens in the first panel happen pretty much as soon as the lightsaber was powered on?" Maybe the two beat panels were just essential to the joke.

And while I'm complaining about extremely trivial things (Gee, that sure is a first for an XKCD hateblog, isn't it?), couldn't both the 'new lightsaber' jokes have been done with Anakin and Obi-Wan in the prequels without breaking continuity?

[EDIT:] Jhernimus Fredin on the twit has pointed out that this comic from a different place also exists. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it probably wasn't seen by Randy, but it does give an example of how this joke has been done before, and how this joke could have been done better.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1432 - THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT

At first I thought that this comic was serious, and I'm still keeping that as a possibility, but based on previous experiences with Randy's preachiness, he wouldn't acknowledge his own prickishness, and he absolutely wouldn't let his opposition have a valid point against him.

If we cut to the core of this attempt at a joke, we can see that it's just another 'delibrately misinterpret a common phrase' thing, which I have both praised and hated, depending on the presentation.

This one, I pan faster than a man in California in 1849 pans through a river filled with copies of Chinese Democracy. The phrase "For the sake of argument..." is almost always used as part of "...you're wrong, but let's pretend you're right about this one thing so I can tell you how you're wrong about the whole issue." Now that's a very vague and awkwardly phrased way of putting it, but it's 2:30AM right now and I think it gets the point across.

The thing about XKCD when it has these 'little conversation' comics is that they always start oddly. How the hell do two people get to "just for the sake of argument" when one person is being this intentionally dense?

When I first read this comic, my mind instantly went to those awful people that say we shouldn't say the word "moron" because it originally meant "someone with a mental age of eight to twelve". "Moron" and "For the sake of argument" have a meaning today, and picking on alternate meanings that don't actually exist in the normal use of them is the most pedantic and minute thing anyone could possibly complain about.

Sincerely, a guy who made a whole blog about how a webcomic isn't as funny as people think it is.


Died In A Blogging Accident - LEAKED ENDING

If you've been keeping up with XKCD-SUCKS (which, if you're not, why aren't you, it's great) you're probably that our Jonnyboy has come down with a case of broken computer, and is unable to post more Died In A Blogging Accident until Christmas, which is by complete coincidence the one year annaversary of this blog.

However, in the same blog post he announced the reason for the unplanned hiatus, he mentioned offhand that he stores files in The Cloud. 8chan saw this and hacked him in mere seconds, sending the finished ending of Died In A Blogging Accident to me. This also gives me a convient thing to use as my hundredth post. So without further ado, I present:

Died In A Blogging Accident - Chapter 69 - Darkness

"No matter what happens now
I shouldn't be afraid
Because I know today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen."

Rob Mason stood above his similarly-initialed counterpart. He was holding a sharpened plastic sword against Randall Munroe’s chest. Randy had started the fight with a similar blade, but it was currently stuff in a crater that had been left by a stray overvolted laptop battery.

“I… win.” Rob breathed, panting from the effort of the incredibly dramatic and entertaining battle that had just happened. “And soon,” he continued, “XKCD won’t suck anymore, for XKCD will be no more.”

It had been a long journey to this point, full of twists, turns, friends, enemies, celebrity cameos, and run-on sentences. Rob was almost sad to see it all end. Almost.

With a tempered glee, the blogger prepared to stab the webcomic artist through the heart. Randy didn’t say anything, instead racking his brain trying to think of a quotable one-liner.

The very air seemed to hold still as Rob drew his weapon back.

“Wait!” a lone voice cried out, not quite distant but not yet close either.

Both men turned their heads towards the source. It was a tall, unshaven male in a gray hoodie and jeans with dark, messy hair, making an awkward shuffle-run up the path to the summit of the mountain.

“Wait! Don’t kill him!” he yelled, a northeastern accent slurring the latter two words together.

After an awkward few seconds of stretching out the pause in the climatic death scene, Rob looked back at Randy, wondering if this was Mr. Munroe’s last resource. But Randy looked just as confused as he did.

In another thirty seconds, the unkempt surprise had reached the circle that had been the battleground for the last three chapters.

“It doesn’t have to be like this.” he said, pausing between words to breathe, heavier than would have been expected.

The two men looked back and forth between the newcomer and each other, their previous characterization melting a little.

“XKCD isn’t funny, that’s true.” The stranger began, stepping over and around the vestiges of battle. “But that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Randy, you’ve come up with some really, really good comics this last month. I just want to see that happen more often.”

The aforementioned ex-NASA employee slowly reached up with an uncertain hand to push the sharpened plastic sword aside. Rob let him. After a moment, the three were standing in a triangular formation within the larger circle.

Several weeks later, XKCD’s new editor had just woken up and was sitting down to read through a small stack of drafts. He wrote up his criticism and revisions, in a slightly kinder tone than usual, before sending them back to Randy.

The artist of the internet’s most popular webcomic checked his email, noting the changes and arriving at a happy medium that would again be sure to please his readers, old and new. Below his editor’s email there was another list of t-shirt orders, enough to pay everyone’s rent for another month. He smiled contentedly and set out drawing the first figure of his next comic – making sure to connect the head to the torso.

XKCD was funny again.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1431 - MARRIAGE

In which Randall Munroe, author of the acclaimed webcomic XKCD, takes a break from being funny to take a stand for gay marriage. He's very brave to do that in this day and age, I'm sure he lost a lot of readers over it.

The worst movie I've ever sat all the way through was The Lorax Movie. Back when all my internet content was done through YouTube, I even had plans to do a full deconstruction of it, every second of footage played before being torn apart. This was also back when I had literally all the free time in the world. (Years later, The Nostalgia Critic would do a more abridged deconstruction, but sadly this was after his weird reboot thing, so the skits had taken almost everything over.

I don't hate The Lorax Movie because it offended my sensibilities, although it did. Nor do I hate it because it defiled a great work, although it did. I hate it because it's 86 minutes of "Enviormentalism is good.". I knew that before I walked in, and I'd learned nothing new by the time I walked out.

There's a band some of my readers may have heard of called Chumbawamba, who are one of my favorite bands of all time. Now, Chumbawamba was an anarchist group, they make that pretty clear through their lyrics.

I'm going to be a big brave man and say something really controversial: Anarchy is stupid, for a multitude of reasons that would just further clog up this review were I to list them all. But I'm able to still enjoy Chumbawamba's songs because they have lots of clever melodies and well-done vocal harmonies and you should totally listen to them they're cool with people stealing their music go for it already.

If a standard Chumbawamba album was, say, seveny-two minutes of an old British guy mumbling about how much he hates capitalism, I probably wouldn't like them very much, because there's nothing there for me to enjoy along side the politics.

And I can appriciate a good political argument all by itself, but even if you lined up Jello Biafra on his best day next to Ross Noble on a bad one, I'm probably still going to pick Ross Noble as the more entertaining of the two, even though Jello may be making great points about the current copyright system that I could completely agree with.

As a closing thought, the forum chat about this comic is actually pretty interesting, with people pointing out factual errors and questioning why he'd chose to run this and all kinds of great stuff.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1430 - PROTEINS

The first thing that jumped to mind was FoldIt, but that's not directly important here, on a blog called "XKCD Wasn't Funny And Here Is Why".

I'm not sure, but I suspect that this is a preachy comic. I thought that was White Hat's job, whenever a preachy comic happens he gets droplifted in so we know that Randall Munroe didn't feel like being funny today. No such indicator in this comic, but it does appear the entire point of this comic is to start some kind of awareness campaign for the plight of protein fold predictor software makers. And if you ask me, the first thing they should do is come up with a catchier name for that job.

Also, didn't we have pretty much the same idea for a comic back in the far off time of five comics ago? I hope this isn't a new XKCD trend, just giving us perspective on how hard it is to work with computers.


XKCD Isn’t Funny - #1428 & #1429: The Story Of The Two Great Lost Reviews

Back when I was an XKCD fan, I read XKCD a lot. That may sound like a redundancy, it’s really not, I didn’t just check XKCD every M/W/F, I’d hit the random button a few times, check Questionable Content, and then go back to XKCD, hit random again, and read through the archives a bit.
I wasn’t the most exciting person a few years ago.
It’s an unfortunate side effect of my status as an ex-XKCD fanboy that I can look at older XKCD comics, the ones I read time and time again previously, and I just have no opinion on them at all. I don’t find them funny, but I know I found (some of) them funny in the past, back when I also thought it was impressive I found a contradiction in The Bible.
I’ve tried to do reviews of older comics and I just couldn’t form an opinion one way or another. I’d read it so many times that it ceased to even mean anything. What was funny about it? Was it one of the ones that was supposed to be funny? Did I pretend to find it funny?
And I don’t know what it was about #1428 and #1429, but they both had that same effect on me almost instantly. Maybe I was just really sad through that week for whatever reason; I just had nothing at all, and I still don’t.

Which sucked more than it usually would, since I’d just promised to post something for every comic from then on.

My thoughts on #1428 pretty much got as far as “Well that doesn’t seem like something you should actually say in a job interview, I don’t think he would have been hired with that attitude.”, which is obviously taking the joke far too seriously (even for a blog like this), a post with that sentence as the sole idea behind it wouldn’t be anything worth reading.
The demons that live inside my skull managed to do a little more with #1429, I got a decent intro and a paragraph or two of content before realizing that although I was saying things, there wasn’t any kind of end point, there wasn’t any backing idea to it at all. And if there’s anything that producing content for the Internet has taught me, it’s not to say anything unless you’re absolutely prepared to defend what you say.

So. That’s the tale of how I didn’t update for almost an entire week. Two last things before I start working on my write-up of #1430:
1. There’s going to be something special for my one hundredth post. Possibly special in the short bus sense, but special nonetheless.
2. There’s going to be generally more variation in the content of this blog, although I’m not sure to what extent. I’m not going to start talking about other webcomics anytime soon, though.