fredag 28 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 31: Death

Today, "Plugger" means "Fisher".

This comic is dull, and spending even one minute a day on it is making me duller. And Homestuck, for those keeping count, continues to grow beyond my ability to express myself with every page. I may continue to update this blog whenever I feel like it, but let's call it what it is: I'm pulling the plug.

So to speak.

torsdag 27 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers turns 30

Pluggers, 20150827:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone who uses food to cover the gaping wound in their soul where music should be".

Makes sense, really. If you have no funky flow, no sick beats, no song in your heart, no poetry, no art, nothing but jealousy at ordinary people and their ability to tune in with the fundamental harmonics of the universe and lay down some fresh jams, then why wouldn't you pretend to be joking about fruit preserves being more "your kind" of jam to hide your pain?

I'm not sure if it's funny, though.

Your humble critic's plugger status: My singing is better than my cooking.

onsdag 26 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 29

Pluggers, 20150826:
Today, "Plugger" means "Over two hundred years old".

Well, there's definitely some generational gap here. I've heard of family doctors (though not once in a context of them not being a hilariously old-fashioned concept), but I've no idea why Mr Dog is terrified to see he may meet new people in the waiting room, aside from the basic fear of change.

Do pluggers even visit clinics? I think family doctors are supposed to visit you at home.

But I'm fairly sure if you had one doctor, then got a new one when the old one died, then had that one for the duration of his entire career, and all this happened back when people had a family doctor, and you're still alive now, that'd make you at least two hundred years.

Why does "Plugger" so often mean "Old"? Consider the main writer of the strip: A gestalt of the collective newspaper reader, expressed outwardly as its level of enthusiasm for reading the newspaper. The meaning of Pluggers shows demonstrably that newspapers need to attract a younger readership if they're going to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I'm not, nor could I ever have been, nor will I ever be a plugger today.

tisdag 25 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 28

Pluggers, 20150825:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone in need of a system for their personal effects".

As a rule, I think, if you can remove the entire concept of a "plugger" from the strip and it doesn't change the strip at all, you've struck Pluggers gold. You're also irritating everyone because you put your pluggers into a joke that didn't need them.

"The downside to wearing cargo pants, it takes at least five minutes to find your keys". See? That's a joke right there. Phrase it in funnier words and it's a standup comedy bit. But dressing the joke in Plugger clothes is like, I don't know, what's an obnoxious gimmicky mascot no one needs or cares about? It's like if you stopped people on the street to tell jokes about your mother-in-law while wearing a polar-bear-from-the-Coca-Cola-commercials costume.

Because you work for Coca-Cola damnit, and that suit is the most interesting thing about you.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Because I'm an adult who understands no one else is going to take care of my things for me, I keep my key in the coin compartment of my wallet in my right front pocket. Always.

måndag 24 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 27

Pluggers, 20150824:
Today, "Plugger" means "Music enthusiast".

Maybe even "A fan of whatever band Candace Rutherford recognized on the elevator when she had this one, lonely thought". I'm no mind reader, but it seems far from impossible.

Makes me wish I was blogging about music instead. I don't really know anything about music, or a lot about any musicians, but I love it. Music is sooo much better than Pluggers.

I worry that I'd soon find out how little I actually have to say about music, though. It would be obscene to treat music like I treat Pluggers, trying to find something new to prattle on about every single day just to keep readers interested.

So ironically, this abysmal strip at last shows us one redeeming feature of Pluggers: It's a less intimidating subject to discuss than things that are actually good. Kind of like Muzak really.

I'm your humble critic, and I like to challenge myself.

söndag 23 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 26

Pluggers, 20150823:
Today, "Plugger" means "Responsible consumer".

Blu bluh commercial health care bluh America bluh.

(Seriously, if you need a knee transplant and you can't have it unless you pay new car-levels of money, you live in the wrong country.)

Your humble critic's plugger status: Three weeks in I'm questioning if I've taken this project as far as it will go. Okay, positive.

lördag 22 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 25

Pluggers, 20150822:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person who thinks clothes randomly disintegrate in the dryer and that's where lint comes from".

This isn't rocket science, Mrs Kangaroo. Clothes disintegrate gradually with wear, which is why you get filters full of lint even if no socks go missing, and you usually throw clothes out long before they achieve the state of amorphous rags, let alone loose fiber.

Pluggers wonder idly at the mysteries of the clothes dryer. The rest of us use our hands and eyes and brains to try to figure stuff out, and reserve our wonder for the things that seem wondrous.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Never further from

fredag 21 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 24

Your humble critic has been preoccupied with getting drunk and watching Steven Universe with his brother, so to catch up today we have a combo platter of meanings.

Pluggers, 20150819
"Plugger" means "Person who values efficiency over style".

I don't have a shed, but I use the same principle when I dress myself. However, I usually have enough foresight to take this into account when I buy clothes, which seems contrary to the unspoken rule here saying pluggers have to buy crap they don't need in obedience of their nesting instincts that ends up being used for useless make-work projects so they don't feel wasteful.

This actually describes one guy I know. Dude loves shopping for tools. Everything from screwdrivers to small tractors. Also tree plants and occasionally farm animals. If his wife didn't go behind his back to return as many of these purchases as humanly possible their summer home would be overrun with geese armed with power drills on a yearly basis.

Of course, this guy is pushing eighty and has since his stroke a vocabulary of five words and the impulse control of a four year old.

Pluggers, 20150820
And here we see "Plugger" means "Committed dog walker".

I'm not sure I can add anything that would make this concept more ridiculous. At least the dog owner is a kangaroo instead of a dog. That'd have been weird. Though honestly that dog looks suspiciously like a character in the strip. Maybe this is how they are born: Made to socialize with large enough groups of other animals to force them to develop language, conscience, blue-collar work skills and a paunch. 

I don't know. All I know is, if you live in the kind of neighborhood where everyone has dogs learning their names is probably a thing you do, but Amy Laney is probably mistaken about how universal that experience is. Not all of us live in dog-saturated suburbia or downtown Detroit.

Pluggers, 20150821
And now "Plugger" means "Person manifesting an existential paradox state of reduction by 75%".

75% reduction of what, you ask? But that's the wrong question. It's just a reduction by three quarters. That's why it's an existential paradox. 

Mr Bear takes twice as long to move half as much lawn, as we can see. But there's no basis of comparison here. It's not twice as long as he thinks it should take, or half the lawn he used to be able to mow when he was younger and stronger. None of that. It just is an amount of lawn mowing in a vacuum reduced to one quarter.

It's like how the Moon has about 25% of the mass of the Earth, and then you remove the Earth from that equation and you have just a Moon with 25% mass. I'm no mathematician, but I think the only word for that is paradox.

And what does this mean for Pluggerdom? Oh, it just opens up literally an entire new dimension of meaning. Pluggers are no longer limited to merely being things or people that are possible to be. Pluggers can be the impossible, now.

Pluggers can. . .

Pluggers. . .

Touch the untouchable

See the invisible

Do the impossible

Break the unbreakable

Fight the power

tisdag 18 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 23

Pluggers, 20150818:
Today, "Plugger" means "Computer illiterate who acts like it's a medical emergency when they need someone to turn it off and on again so their children will come and they don't have to pay a professional."

Yeah, Mrs Dog's cheapness in the face of her own incompetence is sad enough, but look at how upset Ms Dog is. She came here expecting a heart attack at least. What's the dang rush?

Oh wait I've got it. Mrs Dog has important hacking to do.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I barely have anyone to call if I had a medical emergency.

måndag 17 augusti 2015

Strange comics: Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield, for those two of you who don't know, is a comic strip about an evil cat, a stupid dog and their pathetic owner-man. It's remarkable primarily for its blandness; a calculated, meticulously designed lowest common denominator-appeal developed by a marketer and refined over the decades to a blatantly, proudly soulless level of franchise-building purity rivaled only by the upstart Hello Kitty derivative. A true American success story.

But business aside, by nature of its design the comic offers a valuable service to the community: A template for comedy. It's not funny, oh no, it leaves all the work up to the audience. But it enables a great variety of work to be made. It's been doctored, randomized, acted out, conspirafied and homaged, parodied, remixed and taken the piss out of to hell and back, and the results are often hysterically funny on several levels.

But my favorite in the genre is Garfield Minus Garfield.
Strip for 20150122
It's fascinating how well the strip holds up with the main character removed. But we soon forget he was ever supposed to be there, and the strip becomes, as the site describes it, an existential "journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb".

Sometimes it's absurd. (See above.) Frequently it's pointless, art school project strips with no beginning, middle or end; a single image or line divorced from context and floating in an abstract pastel-colored space.
Strip for 20150311
But those individual strips become something greater when standing next to their brothers. They begin to tell a story.
Strip for 20140731
It's a story I think most of us can recognize ourselves in. Our real selves, behind the scaffolding of ego the real strip tries to reinforce.
Strip for 20150514
It's heartbreakingly bleak.
Strip for 20150512
And I just can't stop staring.
Strip for 20140930
Honestly, I wish I could take every single strip on the site and cram them into my eyes. There's very little else I can say.
Strip for Valentine's day, year one (?)
Just read it tenderly, and with care. Let it linger as long as you dare. Small doses is probably best.

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 22

Pluggers, 20150817:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person whose unconscious is telling them to stop throwing away money on some patently ridiculous memory vitamin bullshit that's probably destroying their liver, but is nonetheless determined to live their life ruled by the fear of not being in control of their decaying faculties".

I think that's what it's really about. Not the fear of going senile, which is something that's hard to vividly picture even with a young and pliable mind, but the pathological need to feel in control of your world. Taking a pill, while ignoring that you don't actually know if it works, how it works or even where it's from, is still an act you decide to perform.

It's the same flaw in our reason that makes people deny vaccines for their children. It's not that they think their children are better off dead than living with Autism - although as someone with a diagnosed Autism spectrum disorder I'm always willing to accuse Autism Speaks and anyone else who suggests neuropsychiatric variance is inherently undesirable of precisely that - but that they need to believe there's something they can do, that they understand what causes Autism and have the power to prevent it; that it's under their control.

I want to show these people, in ways they can't ignore, that they're not actually in control of shit, and it doesn't matter how much they want to be, and they have only to accept they're not and learn to live with it, and they don't need to be afraid of feeling powerless. I don't know how I'd accomplish that except with the aid of extended demoralizing torture that would make me no better than the bullies I had in school, though. Maybe that's how the bullied become the bullies.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Negligible

söndag 16 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 21

Pluggers, 20150816:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone with the level of attention span difficulties that makes them a traffic hazard  because even while driving they can't pass by a text without reading it but still insists on driving everywhere".

I mean both these cars are moving at liftoff speed. The tiniest malfunction, bug on the windshield or microseond lapse in concentration is going to have explosive consequences. At this distance, Mr Bear has guaranteed such a mistake will kill all three of them. And all because he couldn't wait to get out of his car to laugh at bumper stickers like a healthy muscle-powered person.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I don't have a driver's licence because I worry about this exact thing

lördag 15 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 20

Pluggers, 20150815:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person who uses cash".

This can seem old-fashioned and quaint to some people. Some people even want to get rid of cash altogether, reasoning that every legitimate place of business should be able to afford a card reader and the banks' fees for using said card readers. And every legitimate person should be able to afford a debit card with an accredited bank.

This lie is nearly as dangerous as money itself. It places more power in the hands of the powerful, it pushes not having money closer to actually being a crime in itself, and it makes the economy even further removed from reality than it already is.

I believe something like 3% of all the money in existence has physical form. The rest is a shell game, a parlor trick, a soap bubble, a breath, a heartbeat in between the moment where we have our fun and the moment where our bill comes due. Someone, at some point in the future, will suffer for this imbalance; this koyaanisqatsi.

And I'm almost certain it won't be the banks.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Poor enough to use paper money almost every day.