XKCD Isn't Funny - #1479 - Troubleshooting

I get that this is a legitimate problem but this is probably the most annoying way of telling this joke.

"Seriously?" / "I know, I know..."
This is infomercial-level writing. Not even good infomercial writing, this is on the level of that Eagleman Car Insurance thing. And the reason for that, is that this comic was made to sell something. It was made to sell "Randall Munroe is smart.".

Read that caption again. "I can't wait for the day when all my stupid computer knowledge becomes obsolete.".

"Gosh, it sure is hard knowing so much about computers, I really wish I didn't have to be so smart all the time."

On top of that, the whole "i have strange and complicated computer problems" complaint is really undermined when Randy's also saying that he knows how to solve all of them.


XKCD Is Properly Executed - #1478 - P-Values

 If all else fails, use "significant at a p>0.05 level" and hope no one notices.

I'm not going to use my trusty "graph jokes are never funny" stamp here, not only because this is technically a chart, but also because I actually think it's is a good way to present this joke. The comic reads almost like dialogue: [p-value], [interpretation], [p-value], [interpretation]. There's a rhythm to it.

Now, as the type of person who just failed a calculus midterm, I wasn't aware of p-values before reading this comic. However, this comic starts with what could be a real example of a caption for this kind of chart (I assume) and gradient's into jokes. This both establishes that this is a parody and what the parody is of.

Hell yeah I just ended that sentence with a preposition, screw you, 7th grade English teacher.

I call this a well-executed comic, which isn't a sentence I expect I'll have the pleasure of saying often. I don't find it funny, but I'm putting all of the blame on myself for not knowing what p-values were before reading the comic.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1477 - STAR WARS

This is one of those comics that just makes me feel like I'm totally wasting my time running this blog. Read that last panel again. It's like Randy's directly telling us "Hey, this is a stupid thing for me to have brought up". He's almost doing my job for me.

Randall. If you're reading this, please stop with this type of joke. We're all tired of it. You're tired of it, or else you wouldn't have included a little jab at yourself in the last three (counting this one) "Time is passing" comics you've made. Stop. As The Smiths put it in the only song I've heard by them: "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore". Whether or not it was ever funny in the first place isn't even relevant anymore.

I'd tell you to bury it, but it's already been hammered into the ground so far that it liquidized and is starting to resolidify under the pressure.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1476 - CERES

 Earth clearly hasn't been inspected, since it's definitely contaminated with salmonella.

I made a song called "Ceres" once. You won't hear it, because it was made back in my Brainwave days and it sucks, but I made it.

Now, this is one of those comics that I'm out of the loop on. I didn't know what Dawn was, I didn't know Ceres had a white dot, and I didn't know what "inspected by no. 6" meant.

The first two things I can more or less infer from the comic, Dawn is a space probe of some kind, and Ceres's white dot has been bothering scientists for a while, so that's fine. However, I checked the forums and the wiki, and there are other people who don't have a clue about no. 6 either.

When I found out what it was (an example of a quality control sticker used by American clothing manufacturers) my reaction was more or less "Oh, that's it?". Like, the joke is just that a white dot could technically be a white sticker, since we don't know what it is yet. It's just easy, it's cheap, it's something the reader can already do. I think the alt-text does a good job at expanding the joke, but I wish it had just been used as the actual final punchline.

Here's a list of things the white dot on Ceres could be:
1. a billion golf balls
2. a very large poker chip
3. an unusually shaped scrape I caused when I accidentally backed my car against it the other day
4. all the papers that children have lost before handing them in :(
5. the X-Naut moon base, but on Ceres instead of the moon
6. tons of maggots. just tons and tons of maggots. ewwwww.
7. in a plot twist, it's actually the white dot's evil twin
8. just completely by coincidence, it's perfectly flat terrain with no unusual cause to it
9. a cum shot
10. the endless supply of stuffing that the Build-A-Bear people use
11. the white void that is the setting for every XKCD
12. snow!!! no school tomorrow!
13. the whites of their eyes
14. a bunch of white people lol
15. paint. it was going to be a smiley face but some idiot forgot to get the black paint for the eyes and mouth
16. the cheese that was left over when they were done making the moon
17. a ghost :0 spooky
18. that stuff that a toilet's made out of
19. 1/4th the cocaine supply of the average politician HA, BURN!
20. a scar from a really bad burn, like the one above^
21. a gigantic heard of sheep, all baaing away
22. marshmallows and/or the (raw) trout fish
23. my ego
24. a single pencil, covered by thousands of miles of pure bone
25. the sand-like substance that they put in those plastic hourglasses you find in some board games


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1475 - TECHNICALLY

I fucking hate this.
This sort of thing is just something that makes me irrationally angry, and I don't exactly know why; every time someone ignores someone else's point by saying something stupid I just want to punch them in the face. Ugh.
I understand that the idea is supposed to be "Your statement is not even worth a rebuttal", but can't Randy just say that? Does he have to be a goddamn asshole about it?
>inb4 "it takes one to know one": it does, and I am an asshole, but at least I'm not a rude, condescending, prick about it.

When Randy's self insert of the day talks down to White Hat, as in #1386 and #1414, it doesn't make him seem smarter, it makes White Hat seem persecuted.

In Slumdog Millionare, the first scene is Javad Khan blowing smoke in Jamal's face and slapping him, then cutting between Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, shots of money being thrown into a bathtub, and Javad waterboarding Jamal. Aside from being a fantastic opening to an excellent movie with a great soundtrack, it instantly both sets the tone for the movie and makes the viewer side with Jamal. He is the one being abused, he is the one who is being hurt, we don't know why yet, but the cuts to his performance on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? show that he doesn't appear to be malicious at all.

Here, White Hat tries to make a point. We aren't shown his full argument or point, but we do see that Randy decides to rudely cut White Hat off without hearing him out. Randy doesn't even try to justify himself like in #1325, he just tunes White Hat out like everyone should automatically know that Randy is in the right.

Furthermore, it might just be the people I hang out with, but when I'm discussing politics with my good buddies Frank and Lachlan (shout out), the phrase "Technically, [X], but [Y]". As in, "Technically, XKCD isn't worse than the Holocaust, but it is still pretty terrible.". It can be an easy way to provide context.

As is to be expected from a comic featuring White Hat, this comic is not only condescending, annoying, and preachy, this comic hides behind a shallow facade of being comedic so that it can make cheap potshots at strawmen, and is proof of a lack of a loving god.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1474 - SCREWS

(link to comic)

Blogger isn't letting me upload images for the moment. As God's final message to creation goes, "We apologise for the inconvenience".

When I was in middle school, it took me a few months to make my first friend*, and in the meantime, there was the occaisional person-that-was-willing-to-talk-to-me-for-a-lunch. When they sat next to me, they'd sit just far enough that it wouldn't immediately look like we were friends, because they didn't want to be associated with "that weird kid who cried after he got a fifty on his math test".

And that's kinda how I feel about this comic. I'm sitting close to it, but far enough away that no one's going to think we're friends. I like it, but in a hesitant way, on the off chance I lose what little credibility I have. Like, it's a kinda obvious final punchline, but I like the build, even if it is simple. My favorite part of the comic is the "Crap, it's a rivet", because it actually made me think a little about how rivets are removed (as it turns out, they aren't).

I find it somewhat interesting that he's made this joke, though. I'm not someone who has a problem with offensive, morbid, or gross humor, but it just seems unusual for XKCD to have a decapitated head as the punchline. It's like that baby killing joke he made a while ago.

*His name was Dario. He later turned out to be incredibly racist and homophobic and our friendship crumbled when he learned I was an athiest. He would later move to Texas.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1473 - LOCATION SHARING

Wait, people allow websites to know their location? I've done that like, once, when I'd forgotten my zip code and needed to check (it's 42069, by the way).

Now, I do get what XKCD is going for here. I get that it's a play on how you can't know both the location and momentum of a particle. The issue for me, and apparently also for some XKCD fans, is that when Phone denies permission to the website, it is established that she could have allowed it, which would allow the website to know both.

Are we to assume that the only reason the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is in effect is that all the atoms have little cell phones with glowing "deny" buttons? It just seems like this joke wasn't thought out properly, like Randy came up with the idea and then didn't bother to fine tune it.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1472 - GEOGRAPHY

This joke looks really familiar, but that might just be because it's meant to look just like something most people have seen a dozen times over. I'm definitely not going to be able to criticize this one for being too obscure.

Randy has, however, forgotten to include either "plateau" or "archipelago", the former of which was on every example geographical features map I ever saw, and the latter of which was my favorite because I could say "ark-ichy-pela-le-lela-go" and everyone would laugh.

I might be reaching here, but I think the main issue with this comic is that he included a volcano. It's a dark shade of brown with a splash of red, the eye is drawn to it quickly, if not first. And I think for most people outside Hawaii, living near Volcanos isn't really disirable. The comic just seems incorrect.

I was going to ask my Hawaiian friend about this but she's not online at the time of writing.

If we took out the Volcano, I guess the joke would be fine. It definitely wouldn't be anything exceptional, but it'd be the sort of thing that I'd grudgingly let slide.

Maybe if he added a second picture of a guy looking out the window at all the different scenery, that would flesh it out more.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1471 - GUT FUANA

"Gut Fauna" sounds like the name of some kind of dance-punk band.

In my research for this comic, I have learned that biomes are generally fairly big. A macrobiome would therefore be very large, like an entire planet. Thus, a wolf would be far too small to be considered pill sized in reference to a macrobiome. What the patient would actually need to swallow would be more like a largish island, like, say, Kangaroo Island.

Aside from that, I really don't have any problems with this comic. I don't think it's that funny but all the pieces are in the right places. The alt-text should definitely have been the fourth panel, though, it'd have added a lot.


"XKCD Isn't Funny Isn't Funny" a.k.a. "APOLOGIES!!!!" a.k.a. "Top 11 Greg Greenwell Fuckups"

This was originally just going to be called "XKCD Isn't Funny Isn't Funny". It would've been written entirely from someone else's point of view, someone who held a deep personal grudge against me and actually hated everything I stand for. It was going to be vaguely in the style of Cracked, back before Cracked went to shit, in a countdown of my five worst failures on this blog during 2014.

But, for better or for worse, I've decided against that. For one, I feel like it would come off more as smug self-awareness than anything else. For two, I don't want to kick off the new year with a meta blast of self-hatred; bad vibes, man. Also I was going to have my friend Frank write a "Top Five XKCD Isn't Funnys of 2014" list but that just seemed like an ego stroke, even to me the moment I thought of it.

This is just going to be a big apology for my mistakes, and an expression of hope that I have learned my lessons and will be able to continue to grow and improve throughout 2015. If you want to read what I had of the original version of this post, you can find a rough draft of what would have been #1 here.


Mistake #0: Tagging every post the same way

For a while, every review was tagged with ", , , , , , , , , ", pretty much entirely out of ignorance for how the tagging system worked, and then out of habit. At some point I will go through my blog and re-tag everything to fix the current, less broken, system.

Mistake #1: Editing the comics in early reviews. (example)

I don't remember exactly why I thought this was a good idea. Branding, maybe? One of the edits has an alt-text of "DADIST GLORY", which doesn't really clear anything up. Regardless, it was a dumb idea and it won't happen again unless I decide to do a "Make XKCD funny" thing like xkcd-sucks used to do.

Mistake #2: #PhoningItInFriday

"#PhoningItInFriday" was an idea I came up with when I was reviewing a comic on Friday and realized that I really didn't want to think that particular day. Instead of just waiting until Saturday like I tend to do nowadays, I tried to slice a third of my workload off my plate early on. It's not something I would do now, with an audience that is actually reading this stuff (hopefully).

Mistake #3: Using the word "etrospeak"

I have no idea where this came from. I thought "etrospeak" was a Trope, but apparently not. This entry was going to be about my using TV Tropes -language in reviews meant for everyone, but I guess it's actually about my using words that have never existed. I'll, uh... stop doing that, then.
Mistake #4: A paragraph from my review of #1370

The third-to-last, or pen-penultimate, paragraph in that review is just not needed. Not only does it have a swear for no good reason, it brings unnecessary attention to my age. It's just really immature. I think I was in a bad mood or something when I wrote most of that, and I shouldn't have posted it the way it was.

Mistake #5: A comment on my review of #1381

My review of #1381, is, by popular consensus, wrong. I didn't want to admit this, in another display of immaturity. But the worst part definitely exists in the comment section, which is nice because less people will see it. For some reason, I decided to post an essay-length response that I cringe at when I read now. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't waiting for someone like you." Ugh.

Mistake #6: "XKCD Isn't Funny - #1396 - ACTORS"

This one is the entire reason that this post exists.  Read the rough draft, it explains everything, but... I... I just hate the Greg that did this, and I hate that that Greg was me.

Mistake #7: Using pre-made arguments on #1431

#Confession: A not-insignificant amount of my reviews are thought up in some form ahead of time. "Go develop a castration fetish" had been thought up before I even started the blog. My review of #1431 is what happens when I try to apply arguments I've come up with that don't quite fit. I stand by what I said, mostly, but it definitely makes me look like the smaller man when I'm complaining about preachiness and he's complaining about homophobia. What I should have done was wait until Randy came up with another preachy comic that actually deserved a full lashing.

All of these mistakes will also be acknowledged in edits of the above reviews, but I wanted to centralize them in an announcement of sorts.

Reminder: I read every comment I get (even if I don't always respond*). If you have an idea on how I can improve, tell me so that I can produce better content.

* reasons I didn't respond to your comment:
- I meant to, but had to do something else first and then forgot
- I did, but then Google+ did that weird "delete all the text" thing and I didn't see it until weeks later
- Someone else responded for me (Thanks, Menacing Banjo!)
- I didn't have anything to add
- You don't have replies enabled
- You are Jon Levi and I am unsure of how to react to a comment from my better


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1470 - KIX

I have made little jokes about Randy actually taking my advice, but I didn't really believe it. I mean, I still don't, but it's fun to pretend. I just like to think that I'm making a difference, that my life isn't all for naught, that someday I'll have a harem of fangirls catering to my every whim and telling me how smart I am.

Like, in this comic, instead of just putting the poster in a white void, he's added people around it looking as contemplative as they can without faces. It really does add to the joke by adding a little atmosphere.

If I was going to criticize it (and I am), I'd say it would've been funnier to have someone on their knees or crouching in front of the board, just finished writing "fucker". In the actual comic, "fucker" has been considered but passed over, whereas in my hypothetical version, "fucker" is still being considered. The contrast between the family friendly slogan and the Tarantino-esque parody would be wider, and therefore bring more lulz.

Also, is it just me or do today's stick figures look... uglier than usual? Lower quality, somehow. The two people on the sides especially, look stretched out. Plus they've got the floaty head thing going on, which I thought we might have moved beyond by now. Maybe they were just drawn in a hurry, KIX probably gave Randy a deadline when they paid him to advertise for them.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1469 - UV

I kinda wish I hated this so I could use the line "The funniest thing about this comic is that its number ends in 69!". Ah well, maybe next time.

Yep, this is another page for the oft-forgotten "good comic" tag., even though the setup feels incredibly seperate from the punchline. My favorite part is the second line in panel six: "My morality has evaporated under the harsh UV light."

For some reason, the major thing my brain's decided to fixate on is panel seven. The house just looks out of scale and warped, and the fire seems kinda... amateur, maybe? Like, the fire looks like exactly like the fires I drew in grade school*. I get that it's a minimalist comic, but seriously, it looks like bad anime hair.

In my (admittedly somewhat brief) reseach for this comic, I was only able to find one picture of a toilet under ultraviolet light: linky. Is it just me or a bad picture or does that not really look that bad? I really don't think it looks like the guy's chest after the alien burst out.

By the way, Randy, that Alien line? Nice touch. An accessable reference that doesn't distract from the main joke.

*I want to make it clear: I didn't only draw fires. I mostly drew dragons, that happened to be breathing fire.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1468 - WORRYING

Am I the only one who thinks that beginning a sentence with "Am I the only one..." just kinda sets everyone up for disappointment because anyone with earshot can just say "No. You're not."?

Anyway, am I the only one who thinks that jokes about entertainment not being 100% realistic are just... lame? Like, that's the point of most entertainment, to distract you from the horrors of reality by showing you alternate but safe realities to escape to for a few hours a day*.

Today's comic is actually excempt from the above semi-paragraph because it refers to trends rather than singular scenes, but damn if that wasn't a good semi-paragraph. You see the bit where it says "the horrors of reality"? That originally read "the fact that everything you do will eventually be forgotten", but it made the sentence hard to read so I went back and changed it like a fuckin PRO.

Today's comic also has the usual graph joke issue where the same exact concept could be translated into an actual comic without a lot of effort on Randy's part. If Randall Munroe's medium of choice was stained glass, then I would be inclined to forgive him for wanting to minimalize his workload, but that's not the universe we live in. Randy gets by with minimalist black and white stick figures, and there's no reason he can't make those few extra panels.

*For me and my fellow rejects, "a few" here means "all avaliable".


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1467 - EMAIL

Happy New Year, everybody! It's hard to believe I've been doing this for a whole three hundred and sixty-five Earth rotations. Let me tell you: It feels good to know hot chicks will be battering down my door looking for the guy who talked about XKCD for a year.

In my personal opinion, Beret should be used like this more often, this should be Beret's solidified character. Not "existential", not weird, not a prick with supernatural abilities; stupid, but not in an overt way. If Black Hat is Thief, Beret should be Fighter. (by the way: read 8-Bit Theater, it's good.)

I also like the topical nature of the setup and that the conversation progresses more or less naturally, but if you'll read the name of the blog, it does say "XKCD Isn't Funny" and not "The Golden Age Of The Low Countries", so blah blah the vicar and the judge you're all dancing to my little red book. This is a funny comic but I'm still going to complain about it.

Two main issues with this one.
(the above sentence fragment was created as part of an effort to stop all my paragraphs from opening with "I", "It", "The", "This", and "There", so please enjoy it)
The first is that it feels weird for one of these these two everypeople to have a website. I might be wrong, but isn't that an odd thing for just a typical person to have? Not a blog, a full website. I have a website, I just released an album on it, but I'm hardly a most people. Even if you consider that Beret is not supposed to be a typical person, it's Girl that brings it up. From my personal experience, no one will ever casually bring up someone else's website.

My second issue is the way Girl pulls out her phone to show Beret his own website, which just seems rude to me. Imagine having a friendly conversation with your friend when they suddenly feel the need to show you your own website, like you don't know what it is.

Anyway, thank you to all the kind readers that have put up with my stupid fucking whining for an entire goddamn year. Best foot forward for the next one.