XKCD Is Alright - #1551 - Pluto [+Announcement]

After decades of increasingly confused arguing, Pluto is reclassified as a "dwarf Pluto."

"It's interesting how Randy's thought process when he saw the picture of Pluto was instantly "I can make a comic out of this" while mine was "That would make a bitchin album cover"."

That's the only sentence I wrote of this review on the Wednesday this comic was posted. Since then, I've had a personal emergency that I'm not currently comfortable talking about publicly, which left me without internet access for five days and also did other things. It's possible I'll say what happened at some point in the future, but at this point, suffice to say I'm alright now.

Just like this comic, actually (well, not JUST like this comic, but whatevs). I'm personally not a fan of the drawn outline jokes, since I've seen the "heart" shape compared to like three other things and that makes me think that everyone's forcing themselves to see things that aren't there. But thankfully, there're also jokes like "charging socket", "new netherlands", and etc, some of which are kinda amusing to me. It's not a bad way to go, making enough little jokes that most people could find at least one to laugh at. Some of them are kinda repetitive, though. C'mon, three medical-type jokes? All in all, though, pretty alright.

Just like me, actually (now). However, for reasons related to the personal emergency and what resulted, I'm going to be extending the small posting hiatus for a little while longer. Regular posts should resume mid-August, with attempted updates every day until I catch back up to XKCD. I apologize for the inconvenience and unprofessionalism and thank you for your patience and understanding.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1550 - Episode VII

The Lord of the Rings sequel, set years after the Ring hubbub has died down, is just Samwise discreetly creeping back to Bag End to finish dropping the eaves.

Yo, if anyone wants a reason to hate me (aside from the fact that I run this blog): I've only seen the prequels. I DVR'd all six movies during a Spike TV marathon and tried to watch them all in numerical order, but then I moved and the recordings got wiped and I never got around to seeing the original trilogy. I have, however, read the books and once interviewed Ryder Windham. Also Darths & Droids is pretty good most of the time.

So, with that in mind, can we not agree that the power converters are an easily forgettable element of A New Hope? I get that the joke is that The Force Awakens is focusing on a very minor thing from the original trilogy, but couldn't Randy have at least picked a more memorable thing? Like how about the guy from the Mos Eisley Cantina who gets his arm cut off by Obi-Wan is set up as the big villain this trilogy?

HOWEVER, I asked two people who've seen Star Wars and they both enjoyed it. One, my furry friend (who makes music too, you can get that here), said "it's alright [...] compared to the other ones you linked this one atleast makes someone sense" which probably gives you a depressingly accurate idea of what it's like to be my friend.

My Egyptian friend adds:

That said, even if you enjoyed the joke itself, the detailed facial fixtures on a stick figure still look weird. A shadowed face might have looked better and even been more dramatic, adding to the joke.

More importantly, the last panel shouldn't be there. Every other panel has been a direct progression from the previous one, whereas that one would happen after the end of the movie, making it look like the joke is supposed to be that the movie would be the one line of dialogue before cutting directly to credits. Is the last panel there just to make fun of J.J.Abrams? Like "Ha ha look at how badly J.J.'ll fuck this up"? Why? Isn't he considered to have done a pretty good job with Lost and all the other things he's done that I haven't seen?


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1549 - XKCD Phone 3

Today someone told me I was prettier than Bailey Jay and I was all like "Fuck yeha, my day has been made!" and then I see this comic and snakes started physically manifesting in my home.

I've already talked about this comic twice! Why does a third one exist! Of all the XKCDs that could have been tripled, why couldn't it have been one of the good ones? I legitimately wouldn't have minded if #1533 had been repeated, since it has a deadpan, almost hypnotic quality that holds up well in the face of repetition, much like a Spiritualized song.

Imagine if instead of this, we'd gotten four more panels of Beret just sitting there. It'd be a good callback, suddenly we'd all realize he's still sitting there from before! And then maybe in the third appearance of the antique factory we could get all existential or whatever and show him quietly crying that he's stuck with such a boring, thankless job.

Instead we get the third appearance of The XKCD Phone. "We made another one!" proclaims the comic. "Yes, but why?" the reviewer begs, "Why, oh why, oh why?".

I had my friend Gillian take a look at this one. She calls it "lame and kinda like try hard" and adds "it feels like one of those tumblr posts that ends in like 'potter heads get your wants' like that sort of vibe". If you don't know what she's talking about, you're a lucky person. Never get a tumblr, it's hell.

Possibly the worst part (aside from the fact that Hitler existed) is that every one of these lines could have been a genuinely amusing aside in some larger joke. Like it's kind of a funny idea that something like part of a phone was foretold by prophecy, but combined with all the other 'punchlines' (scare quotes!) we just end up with a confusing, unfocused lump. We still have not truly moved the overall punchline past "What if a phone was just really shitty?".

This is the type of comic that really makes me want to stop, more than people being MEAN :'( to me in the comments could ever even dream. It really makes me realize how repetitive and pointless this is, and how really I might as well be Beret at his antique factory.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1548 - 90s Kid

We remember Rugrats, and think of them every time our kids look at us through their baby gates.

Oh thank god, it's a joke.

A lot of points will be removed from my non-existent scoring sheet for being a "time is passing! oooOOOooo" thing (been a little while since we've had one of those), but it does bother to put in a proper setup this time. There's the kid talking, and that makes the reader go "huh?" and then the caption makes the reader go "oh.".

Reviewers and other sharp-eyed people additionally go "Hey, why is there a giant egg on the ground or the floor or whatever? And that thing on the side looks like a bush, but there are blocks next to it, and those are indoor toys! What's going on here!? Is the thing behind them the bottom pattern of a wall or a fence?"

The art does actually help show that these are children and not midgets, but I'd like the art a lot more if it was easier to actually tell what everything was.

It's also kinda weird to me that Randy's mocking people who share things online, considering how much of his fanbase he got from comics shared on digg and reddit and such.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1547 - Solar System Questions

My country's World Cup win was exciting and all, but c'mon, what if the players wore nylon wings and COULD LITERALLY FLY?

This comic marks the second time Ceres has been mentioned in an XKCD, which means that if I'd been forward thinking instead of A FOOL, I TELL YOU, A FOOL, I could've had a mega-cool blocsonic reference going on. But you know, live and learn, like that one Sonic song.

That punchline is the epitome of shoehorned in, right there at the end. Are we seriously supposed to believe that all those questions (some answered) were setup for that? It's clearly not the focus of the comic.

I'd like to say for sure what the focus of the comic is, but the best I can do is "something something science doesn't know everything". Which to me seems like a weird thing to say, considering how much of an advocate for science he's been in the past.

This comic should have also waited the ~eight days it'd take for a probe to land and [Soon!] to become an actual answer.

This is the kind of comic that makes me think that XKCD is actually some kind of giant joke Randall Munroe is playing on all of us. Like after ten more years of this he'll reveal that it's all a giant code for "Bush did 9/11" somehow. It's just so lacking in any actual information or effort. The explainxkcd post for this comic can actually be pretty interesting, because it actually, y'know, explains the answers or why we don't have the answer. This comic, meanwhile, teaches us nothing, contributes nothing, means nothing.

I no longer fear death.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1546 - Tamagotchi Hive

The Singularity happened, but not to us.

What a neat idea. If only it was a joke. Like, seriously, this isn't a joke, this is the setup at best. It's a kinda cool thought, but it doesn't go anywhere.

Reading the explainxkcd page for this one made me realize the gigantic missed opportunity of this comic. The alt-text mentions the singularity and apparently the style of the art is a reference to the Matrix (which I have never seen). Imagine a parody of The Matrix with Tamagotchis as the humans!

Also blah blah 'art adds nothing' blah blah. It's fifteen characters too many to be a tweet, but my point stands. On the "showing" to "telling" scale, he's almost all the way to the very end of "telling". The only way he could get further is if he moved to a text-only transcript style.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1545 - Strengths and Weaknesses

Do you need me to do a quicksort on the whiteboard or produce a generation of offspring or something? It might take me a bit, but I can do it.

That's an interesting choice of staging in the first panel, it's like the fact that it's Bald on the other side of the desk is supposed to be a reveal. Or maybe, since we perceive time spatially when we read comics, he's trying to show that the dialogue in that panel took less time to say? I'm not outright criticizing the choice, but I don't understand why he did it.

Bald's first line is the best joke, but it's brought down a lot by the execution. As Shakespeare once said, "Words, words, words". He knew that you should get to the point as fast as possible, which is why all his plays are under five minutes long. And while complicated phrasing can be funny if done properly, this comes off more like Randy's trying too hard to seem quirky. A more direct, almost deadpan "Probably that I'm a fragile mortal that can die easily" would be better overall. Also, how is the human body a tangle?

The problems with the second punchline are more obvious. The answer doesn't match the question. "I'm a fragile mortal" is a genuine, albeit standard, weakness, but there's no circumstance under which the ancestor thing would be useful. Having a lot of relatives, maybe, but that's really a stretch from the actual line. And even if say he did intend the relative meaning, why would he mention that there's a possibility of it not even happening?

I kinda like the ending, how it implies he's either going to have all the sex ever or kill everybody, but again he doesn't answer her question, he just continues on from panel three.