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It's funny.  Laugh. Books Media Book Reviews Technology

Even Grues Get Full 135

honestpuck writes "Even Grues Get Full is the fourth and latest collection of cartoons from User Friendly. I got this collection because a friend said the third collection was brilliant 'from cover to cover.' I have to say that this collection did have some exceptionally good moments, but 'from cover to cover,' I think not." Honestpuck's review continues, below.
Even Grues Get Full
author J.D. "Iliad" Frzer
pages 122
publisher O'Reilly
rating 8 - Funny
reviewer Tony Williams
ISBN 0596005660
summary Chock full o' laughs. Funny, didn't split my sides or spit coffee out my nose, but funny

To start, I didn't find the inside title page even worth a smile, the only joke 'Even Grues Get Full' had already been on the front cover and I'd noticed its repetition on the back one as well.

To investigate a little further I read the 'Foreword' by Wil Wheaton. OK, it did have one good Wesley joke but mostly it seemed to be saying how much he didn't mind Iliad making fun of him in the strip.

Then we get to the strips. Yeah, some are funny. I laughed a bit. Iliad certainly knows a good tech joke when he draws one - even if he does seem to make a lot of jokes at the expense of the Windows operating system -- which seems to be a combination of shooting fish in a barrel and politically incorrect making fun of the crippled and lame. However some things are just not funny, Mr Frazer.

What about those cartoons from page 78 to 83. To start off, no self respecting Lego geek with two hundred and seventy million dollars would buy two million sets of Lego Mindstorms. I'd only (sorry, I mean 'He'd only') buy one and a half million to leave cash left over for buying a couple of hundred thousand Lego models of the Millenium Falcon -- I mean, "D'uh!" Oh, and about the cartoon on page 82: missing a 16-wheel cog to complete your project is no laughing matter you know. I don't see what's so amusing about building a missile silo out of Lego either -- I'm going to build a carry box for my cat when I can get enough blue 12 x 1 bricks.

Then there's the series about the visiting MBA. No real geek would fall in love with a woman merely because her name, 'Pearl,' was a homonym for a scripting language - get real. If her name had been 'See' or 'Jarvah,' maybe. But not funny, Iliad.

Frankly, I think this book is full of the usual 'User Friendly' rubbish. Jokes at the expense of those poor users (hey, they don't know any better), clueless management (hey, they don't know any better) and socially disadvantaged and deprived geeks (hey, we don't know any better.) Joking about the outstanding, well-informed and upright citizens that work in the sales and marketing departments of our IT firms and ISPs? Shame on you J.D. Oh, and poking fun at poor Larry Ellison just cause he isn't as rich as Bill is just downright mean.

I think Tim O'Reilly should be ashamed to publish this book. I guess the only reason he does is that Iliad hasn't poked fun at him (yet).

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. It's just chock full of jokes that only a Linux-loving geek could find funny. Cartoons full of references that only a Perl programming geek would understand. I didn't learn a single thing about programming in C# for .NET ot the latest protocols used in Active Directories -- a totally useless tech book, really.

Look, just go to the User Friendly web site and see some more recent examples from this deeply disturbed cartoonist, or go to the O'Reilly book page and check out a few strips from the book itself and you will agree with me.

You can purchase Even Grues Get Full from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Even Grues Get Full

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  • grow some balls (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by jbellis ( 142590 ) *
    you spend the entire review saying this book sucks more than not, and conclude "I wouldn't recommend it to anyone" but still give it an 8. I agree with the substance of the review, but wth, 8???

    k5 seems to be in it's usual state these days right now (down) but when it's back up, check out the amusing poll [kuro5hin.org] they had a while ago. ("Most overrated geek icon.") Guess what won by a landslide? Hint: it's a cartoon.

    • Re:grow some balls (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rootofevil ( 188401 )
      this [reference.com] should clear some things up for you

      • # A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
        # A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
        # The use of sarcasm. See Synonyms at wit

        Hmm..that reference seems to imply it should have been funny, but it wasn't. It was just annoying.
    • Please tell me you're being sarcastic. Otherwise, you've just lowered my opinon of Slashdot users. Permenantly.

    • Yup, it's called "irony", and it's when you say something and mean the opposite.

      BTW, if any of you know folks who read Fark, be sure to send 'em on over. I'm sure there are a lot of people over there who would love to see a real live working example!
  • ...and he lives (well, wanders) here [groo.com], as any fool can plainly see.

  • 9/11 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wideBlueSkies ( 618979 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @01:44PM (#7184727) Journal
    Did they include that sappy 9/11 cartoon in this book? The one with the geek hugging Dust Puppy?

    I suppose Illiad was trying to do 'something' to make note of the horror of that day, but I found that particular strip to be..well kind of stupid.

  • Oh my god ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trampel ( 464001 )
    Has no one so far got the subtle humor of the review?

    He obviously loves the book!
    • And just who are you to say that? Don't you think he would have said so in the review if he liked it?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 10, 2003 @01:56PM (#7184783)
      He was not funny. It figures he loves User Friendly.
    • Wakka wakka wakka (Score:3, Interesting)

      by plover ( 150551 )
      It wasn't subtle humor. It was ill-timed humor.

      As Statler said so eloquently to Ebeneezer Scrooge in The Muppets Christmas Carol, "Leave comedy to the bears!"

      That review would have been more appropriate if it had been sarcastically commenting on anything but a comedy book. As it was, *pfft*. Nothing.

    • I got it. It just wasn't funny, subtle or an empire.

      I never so much as cracked a smile. As they say, dying is easy, comedy is hard.

      Still, response to this review certainly goes a long way toward explaining why some of the best satire I've posted here has been modded down as a troll, or even offtopic, while some offhand stupid joke about boogers or something that I toss out gets modded up as funny.

      We seem to have more than our fair share of humorless, grue sniffing morons on "staff."

      May they spend their
      • I agree with you completely, KFG. In fact, unfair mods is one of the reasons I check your user page pretty often, since usually your lowest modded posts are the best. ;)
      • Hey, I cracked a smile at grue-sniffing...

        Anyway, just keep in mind: "Hell is Other People Posting to Slashdot."

    • People, read it again :)
      It was a ringing endorsment :)
  • by CyberKnet ( 184349 ) <slashdot@cybe r k n et.net> on Friday October 10, 2003 @01:56PM (#7184784) Homepage Journal
    By the look of comments so far, there seem to be quite a few people with malfunctioning sarcasm sensors today.

    So, for the sensor deprived: Wrap the entire text in a <SARCASM> tag, and you'll be able to enjoy it much more fully.
    • there seem to be quite a few people with malfunctioning sarcasm sensors today.

      CBG: Oh yeah, then everyone's REAL happy then.
      Lady: Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
      Frink: (reading sarcasm detector) Are you kidding me, this baby's off the charts, mmhay!
      CBG: Ooh, a sarcasm detector, well that's a REAL useful invention. (detector blows up)
    • This wasn't sarcasm... it was just pathetic. The only thing that might even be ironic about it was the score was high and the review so negative. The attempt at being "funny" in the review was just that, an attempt. Then again given the actual book it was about is rarelt funny maybe it will actually appeal to the target audience.
    • By the look of comments so far, there seem to be quite a few people with malfunctioning sarcasm sensors today.

      No. I think that the author was trying to be sarcastic but a lot of people agree that UF is crap exactly for the same reasons the review's author gives.

      Every web comic I've ever been to has seen the artist grow and get increasingly better as time progressed. Illiad... I just don't know what's retarding his growth, artistically, but the look of the comic alone is of such repetitive, low quality t
    • So, for the sensor deprived: Wrap the entire text in a tag, and you'll be able to enjoy it much more fully.

      Wait, he was being sarcastic? Crap... and here I was agreeing with him.

  • by .@. ( 21735 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @02:00PM (#7184803) Homepage
    ...that the book is funnier than the review.

    No, I'm not humor or sarcasm-impaired. I just think that was the most craptacular review I've ever read. Unfunny, heavy-handed sarcasm does not a review make.

    What? Iliad writes about Linux? He makes fun of Windows? Say it isn't so! We NEVER would have known that without this insightful review.

    What's next, a /. review of RedHat that spends five paragraphs explaining what Linux is to us? Preacher, meet choir. Choir, preacher. Go get acquainted.
  • of my first time playing Zork and my light went out!
  • by Zildy ( 32593 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @02:05PM (#7184829)
    "Sat, 27 Sep 2003

    I Sure Do Like Them Cartoonies

    I like a good cartoon, either political such as Doonesbury or IT such as Dilbert, or in this case User Friendly. That?s distinct from an animated short - which is what Yosemite Sam was referring to, of course. I like them as well.

    I picked up a copy of the latest User Friendly collection, Even Grues Get Full, and it was good. I liked it from the title (and I can remember being eaten by a Grue more than 25 years ago in the Collosal Caves) through to some nice barbs at Microsoft.

    Watch out for a full review, but in the meantime I recommend it to all User Friendly fans."

    LOL what the hell.
    • Yeah, except there were no grues in Colossal Cave. Pirates, Dwarves, yes. Grues, no.
    • In other news, he recommends the latest Disney film to Disney fans and the latest Danielle Steele to Danielle Steele fans. KISS fans may like the new KISS record, and I hear that cat fanciers often FANCY CATS.

      I mean, fuck, slashdot won't post my stories but they post this crap? An unfunny, rambling review of an unfunny, divisive comic strip? Maybe instead of asking intriguing philosophical questions like "What is the proper way to tell my boss that I have failed a task," I should submit my review of the
      • Many people who call tech support simply need the settings, or to be told to install a pop-up blocker or ad-aware. They're the easy ones and you never see them in the comics.

        Other customers are complete festering morons. Unwilling to learn anything. Droolers who somehow manage to hold down a job, and comprehend that a phone needs to be plugged into a wall, but don't understand how a computer needs the same connection!?

        They're gleeful about their stupidity, proudly proclaiming themselves as "not computer p
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Worst. Review. Ever.
  • The slashdot readers who didn't get the sarcasm of that review are the smartest people here. Don't question them when they go "8, WTF?!?!".
  • Compact! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @02:30PM (#7184942) Homepage
    But not funny, Iliad.

    This should have been the review. It sums up my feelings about User Friendly nicely.

    Well, that and this [somethingawful.com].
    • I used to like User Friendly. Now I read it because it's on my daily list of things to read and I'm too lazy to take it off. I guess I also keep hoping that it might someday become good again.

      For me, it's hard to pin down quite when I stopped liking it, and I'm starting to wonder if I ever actually did like it. If I had to guess, I'd say that it started going downhill when Iliad started taking himself seriously and User Friendly became the too-too-precious "UFie Community" and then "User Friendly, Inc."

    • Well, that and this [somethingawful.com].

      Let's not forget the following:
      http://www.somethingawful.com/jeffk/co mputarfunnys /comic-2.htm
      http://www.somethingawful.com/jeffk/ computarfunnys /comic-10.htm
      http://www.somethingawful.com/jeffk /computarfunnys /comic-20.htm
      http://www.somethingawful.com/jeffk /computarfunnys /comic-27.htm
      http://www.somethingawful.com/jeffk /computarfunnys /comic-32.htm

  • To start off, no self respecting Lego geek with two hundred and seventy million dollars would buy two million sets of Lego Mindstorms. *Collapses with laughter*
  • The book is a buck and change cheaper at amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005660 / 104-5039843-6646308 [amazon.com]

    I wish the slashdot editors would just put a little disclaimer before the "You can purchase..." part.

    Something like:

    We get an x% kickback from BN each time you buy from them.

    - or -

    We don't like Amazon because of software patents and thus support BN instead.

    - or -

    We think computer geeks have too much money and should waste it to help dubya improve the economy.
    • Once again, yes Amazon is cheaper. However, with Amazon's patent craziness (one-click shopping, web-based sales, etc.) Slashdot chooses to support their competitor who hasn't tried to patent such blatantly obvious things.

      It has less to do with kickbacks from BN.com and more to do with taking a stand (however small) against a perceived injustice. I just figure that it's common knowledge on Slashdot how much the editors / some readers don't like Amazon's patent crap.

  • by Bombcar ( 16057 ) <{racbmob} {at} {bombcar.com}> on Friday October 10, 2003 @02:34PM (#7184968) Homepage Journal
    Any true Lego geek would have headed right over to BrickLink [bricklink.com] to pick up the missing piece.

    Pimpin' my own Lego store [bricklink.com].....
  • by fuqqer ( 545069 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @02:37PM (#7184984) Homepage
    Honestpuck writes more reviews than I've ever seen anyone do in my life.

    Does he have a job? Is he a book reviewer for someone other than slashdot? Where the hell does he find the time?

    How much coffee does this man drink? How many words per minute can this guy read? What kind of comprehension level does he read at?

    Does he have a life, (he only reviews tech books and sci-fi weeniebooks)? Is he some kind of super ultra mega genetically modified genius after reading all this material?

    I don't know why I wrote this post because it seems like a bunch of drivel, but I needed to satisfy my slashdot posting urge today. I also needed to show my amazement at Honestpuck's mad reading skillz.

    -non siggers will become your new overlords in soviet russia.
  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @02:39PM (#7184988) Homepage Journal
    I don't know if I want to do a victory dance for a good review, criticize you for being closed minded, or agree with you for pointing out some obvious but real problems.
    • I think his rating of the book, 8/10 - funny, and the meaning and context of his message makes it fairly clear that this reveiw is a parody or sarcastic.

      I mean a comment like "[the title] is a little bit funny. But putting [the title] on the back cover AND on the title page is overkill." is hopefully meant as a joke. I think.


  • Inane, senseless, and trivial.

    I prefer other pursuits--Tim Wilson, Todd Yohn, Heywood Banks..now THEY are funny

    Let us not forget George Carlin...

  • ... because, honestly, there aren't that many goood cartoons out there, maybe a handful, and Illiad is still in the top 10 tech comics, IMHO.

    But this is the problem with the review: The author does NOT put the strip into perspective, i.e. compares it with what's out there.

    I read the strip online, and yes, the quality degraded somewhat over the past few years, but hey, it's free.

    Okay, the book is not free, but then look at the 150th Dilbert or Garfield book. Illiard is still great bathroom reading, reaso
    • Illiad is still in the top 10 tech comics, IMHO.

      Sheeit... I don't think I know 10 tech comics. Can you recomend a couple?

      As for cartoons, Userfriendly is nice, tho not laugh out loud funny. There are only so many jokes about tech support before it gets too repetitive. It usually feels like the cartoon version of slashdot articles.

      Ubersoft [ubersoft.net] has the right idea. Makes fun promarily of the company we love to hate, but spares no punches when poking fun at itself.
    • ... because, honestly, there aren't that many goood cartoons out there, maybe a handful, and Illiad is still in the top 10 tech comics, IMHO.

      I used to think User Friendly was pretty good, but then either it's quality deteriorated, or i found other, better comics to put it in perspective.

      Here's a list of (some of) the comics that in my opinion are better than User Friendly. As usual, your opinion may differ and your mileage may vary.

      Adventurers! [adventurers-comic.com] the best of the CRPG comics.
      Dragon Tails [dragon-tails.com] comic about s

  • It's just chock full of jokes that only a Linux-loving geek could find funny.

    Wait, I'm confused. The review was negative, but you're saying I'll find the book funny. Should I buy it, or not?
  • Okay, I don't want to be annoying, but if I'm not completely wrong, this is actually the fifth userfriendly book, after "User Friendly", "Evil Geniuses In A Nutshell", "The Root Of All Evil" and "Userfriendly v1.0"...
  • Honestpuck, ignore the bitter libertarians. I like the writing in this review. UF is a great strip and, if this is the book with the nuclear silo sequence, it is certainly worth your money.:)
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @03:44PM (#7185431) Homepage

    The artwork is sloppy, the stories repetitive, the characters mere sketches. But you could say the same about Dilbert. The difference is that back in the heady pre-crash days, User Friendly showed a more optimistic, happier, fuzzier world, populated by and aimed at college geeks that never really grew up. It provided an antidote to the cynicism of Dilbert, and in the days when money hoses got turned on ever nerd with a vision, it was going to be just the core of a huge multimedia empire, run by the forces of good.

    But then the market tanked, and everything changed. The audience of User Friendly found themselves losing their jobs left right and centre. The company behind it - composed of one lousy artist, a web guy, and a bunch of marketing parasites - found that you can't pay ten mortgages if you're giving the goods away. Most of the staff got laid off, and User Friendly went bitter.

    I don't just mean the strip, I mean the whole community around it. Illiad got real brittle, real fast. Posting constructive criticism on the discussion boards got your account wiped, no warnings. The remaining zealots on the boards went passive-aggressive, and savaged anything that didn't fit in with their self congratulatory circle jerking.

    Worse, post 9-11, User Friendly went maudlin. It's bad enough when cartoonists try to cover serious issues, but when they do it with smug ABC style flag worshipping patriotism teamed with really crappy art, it just gets embarrassing.

    User Friendly is now in its death throes. There are about two dozen characters drifting in and out of it (a new one was added this week), and none of them are particularly well realised. If you can't think of anything funny to do with the characters you've got, adding new ones probably isn't the solution.

    It all looked so hopeful, but now a week of User Friendly might - on a good week - give you the same amount of smirk as one day of Dilbert. I guess Illiad has figured out by now that Dilbert shows the tech world as it really is, but he never figured out how to portray that in a funny way. It's sad really, but all childhood things must pass.

    • To the extent that I think UF the strip has declined, and that his business model was tenuous at best, I agree with you. I don't participate in that community, so I can't comment on the politics thereof. I also skipped the strip around 9/11 (lived in DC, had real work to do) so I'll bypass that issue as well.

      I think you missed an important reason why the strip has declined. The subject matter, and the intended audience, are far narrower than Dilbert. Dilbert's appeal extends beyond the IT industry to

      • > Mind you, if you do work in an ISP, the strip can still be coffee-spewingly funny at times.

        As long as you haven't read the same joke already in BoFH.

        >And I think it benefits from reading an entire month at once because, let's face it, some days Iliad misses by a mile.

        Strange way to defend it. I castigated it on that basis.

        >Mostly, I think Iliad needs a break, a day job that gives him time to do the strip, and a renewed sense of sarcasm and irony.

        I agree, but I don't think he'll acce

    • that's a better review than the one posted. somebody delete the one posted and throw the parent up there!
  • "I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone."

    Ignoring the poor attempt at writing a sarcastic review (all negative, while actually meaning all positive), I honestly don't find UF funny, and haven't since about the second year. What was that, four years ago?

    After a particularly nasty flamewar last year where I politely questioned the humor in Dust Puppy being at the bottom of a portable toilet, being defecated on, and coming out with waste-covered bits of ungested food stuck to himself (I'm not kidding eit
  • Userfriendly is so boring!!! AAaaaaaagh!

    Even slashdot comments are funnier than that shit.
  • UF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Earth to nerds, Earth to nerds: User Friendly hasn't been funny for at least 4 years now.
    • Now that's an interesting thing. User-Friendly has been going downhill for the last four years and Penny-Arcade has been getting funnier for the last four years. The first couple years of UF were the best while the first couple years of PA really sucked.
  • The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is either adventurers or enchanters, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its horrible fear of light. No grues have ever been seen by the light of day, and only a few have been observed in their underground lairs. Of those who have seen grues, few ever survived their fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

  • Try to avoid an honestpuck review of our new O'Reilly book, The Best of the Joy of Tech. [joyoftech.com] ;)

Variables don't; constants aren't.