A Thing About Stuff

By Shamus Posted Monday Mar 1, 2010

Filed under: Projects 30 comments

A few housekeeping questions from the past few days:

What’s the deal with those graphs in the corner?

They’re… comics? I guess? Little images designed to impart data of zero informational value? I don’t know what else to call them. I put the little branding on the bottom: “A Thing About Stuff”. That seems to be serving as a title for now.

A while ago I made this collection of silly graphs for Stolen Pixels. I enjoyed making them and they were well received. I had ideas for many more such images, but I didn’t think they were a good fit for Stolen Pixels in the long term. The comic is about videogame screenshots, and the graphs felt a little out of place. So I decided to make them a regular feature here on the site.

There are 15 of them right now, and the image changes once daily. Every once in a while I go crazy and make a few more.

Graphs? What are you on about?

You’re most likely using adblock. The comics are acting as a placeholder for ads.

What happened to the Team Fortress 2 servers?

I just didn’t have time to play. A lot of other people seemed to have the same problem, since the server spent a lot of time empty. Taking care of that server was like gardening. You have to prune the jerks and water the newbies, or the thing would lose its unique personality and be just another server. I felt like I didn’t have the time the thing required.

Hey! What happened to Spoiler Warning?

Randy escaped custody and fled to California. My bounty hunters (I keep some on retainer for situations like this) scoured the state, and after a couple of weeks they found him in a motel just outside of Barstow living under the name Marice LeVroom. Randy was recaptured after a brief gunfight and a car chase that resulted in the destruction of his rusty, dust-colored ’78 Impalla. I think a gas station was blown up in the process.

Anyway, we’ve got him again and as soon as he sobers up we’ll once again be making him play through Mass Effect at gunpoint.

Unless he escapes again. He’s wily, that one.

What happened to the rest of the Mass Effect 2 review?

The delay in the rest of the review was caused by the game itself. While playing ME2, I basically burned through all of my lead time in my various projects. (Comic, column, Let’s Play.) So I need to take a week or so and get caught up again.

What happened to the final strip for Chainmail Bikini?

The ball is actually in my court. Shawn has drawn the thing, and now I have to write some stuff. This is backwards from how we used to do things, but this is just a one-off thing. I’m just overcome with the need to make this one Meaningful and Witty because it’s the last. So I’ve been sitting on it for a week now, trying to come up with something to do it justice.

Also: Mass Effect 2.

Anything else going on?

I actually have another project I can’t talk about yet. It’s just a one-time deal, not an ongoing project. Still, it looks like it’s going to eat up a day or two this week. More on that tomorrow.


From The Archives:

30 thoughts on “A Thing About Stuff

  1. toasty says:

    Again, let me say how cool the “things about stuff” are.

  2. JoshR says:

    Thanks for the reply!
    It’s a shame, because this comment thing often makes me seem like a whiney bitch, and if you only got to play a little TF with me you’d know I was… Well, mostly a whiney bitch but that’s beside the point!
    I’ll just have to wait til you jump on another multiplayer game and give that a go.

  3. Henebry says:

    Channeling your inner Demetri Martin, eh?

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      The difference being that Shamus’s material is more consistently funny.

      1. Jabor says:

        +5 Insightful

  4. g says:

    love the graphs, they have a an xkcd vibe to them.
    funny and insightful.

    (my favorite graph of all time is the pie chart showing a part that resembles pac-man)

    1. Nick says:

      Yeah, mine too. And the other one that shows number of bars vs cm of X-axis.

  5. Mark says:

    You mentioned that there are 15 Things About Stuff. Is there (or will there be) any way to browse them all?

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m not sure. I’m still fiddling with the idea.

      1. Vyolynce says:

        If nothing else, I’d love to have a permanent link to that one discussing computer size over the decades.

        1. illiterate says:


          I really want to be able to permanently link to all of these.

    2. Taellosse says:

      I third (someone else further down seconded it already) having a place to see them all. The couple I’ve seen so far (I didn’t see them until yesterday, since I use AdBlock, but I’ve disabled it for your site now) have certainly been worth it.

  6. Factoid says:

    I know your Mass Effect 2 pain. it’s been sucking all my free time like a sponge for the last month.

    I felt the need to go through and beat the game on Insanity (not fun at all during Collector missions, but everything else is manageable) to do the Renegade path with my female shepard from ME1.

    I’m also mopping up the rest of the achievements. The 25% xp boost you get for beating the game once makes the Level 30 achievement very do-able. I’m 24 already and have only done 3 or 4 of the loyalty missions and hardly any side quests.

    All I have left is to beat the game on Insanity (that’s going to SUCK during the suicide mission). Ding level 30 and warp about 15 more barriers.

    In terms of the Fun : Achievements ratio, ME2 is one of the best I’ve played. Not a lot of grinding required, but earning the achievements forces you to vary your play style quite a bit, which can be rewarding all by itself.

    Much better than the ME1 achievements, which required no less than 3 full playthroughs and a ton of XP grinding to hit the high levels. I imagine if you were really gunning for it you could do all the ME2 achievements in a single run as long as you’re using an imported character to get the Long Service one.

    1. Ringwraith says:

      How achievements should be made, so they mostly aren’t a pain to get and help you play the game better (Valve excels with this in TF2 achievements) while some just recognise your progress.
      Less of the achievements that give actual in-game bonuses this time around though (only two instead of the plethora that ME1 had).
      I still think tactician is flaky sometimes though (the amount of times I done a lift/warp combo that doesn’t register is probably twice as many as I needed in the first place).

      I sunk over 100 hours into ME2 in the three weeks since release (that’s three ‘perfect’ playthroughs so far), eased off it a bit now so I don’t accidently (could happen, unlikely, but still could) ruin the game for me by overplaying it.

  7. Manny says:

    Oh boy, I was actually convinced these graphs were broken ads linking back to your site by mistake… I didn’t realize you were the author.

    I second Mark. I would welcome a dedicated space where you could browse through them. Since they are heavily scaled down, it made me think that you should be able to see them in full size on the page they are linking to.

  8. Gothmog says:

    aaaand adblock OFF.



    1. porschecm2 says:

      Indeed. I’d never have known they were there, since I always have adblock on.

  9. D says:

    “A Thing About Stuff” is awesome. I should have said something before, but every time I drop by and see a new one, or rather one I haven’t seen before, it’s like finding a chocolate egg in my desk that I didn’t expect to be there. Yay!

  10. Lambach says:

    I want to make a comment about how incredibly Lazy you are Shamus but the internet is not a good medium for sarcasm.

  11. Davie says:

    I like the thing about stuff. It reminds me of the “Chartcore Gamer” feature that Chris Livingston had on his site for about two weeks, then got bored with it, and stopped. They’re fun and enjoyable and beat the hell out of ads.

  12. Thom says:

    Love them, thanks Shamus :)

  13. Joe says:


    And they are in replacement of ads.


  14. beno says:

    I like “A Thing About Stuff”. Alternative name: “Shamus’ made-up graphs based on Real Data!”

  15. Shawn says:

    Why don’t you quit slacking so much, ya slacker?

  16. Sungazer says:

    Thank for clearing up my TF2 Server question.

  17. UtopiaV1 says:

    Ooo, new secret project your working on? Tickle me intrigued.

    *crosses fingers for a game based around the procedural city you made ages ago*

  18. Sean Riley says:

    I have to ask: Far Cry 2. Any thoughts you can share yet?

    1. Shamus says:

      Not yet. Haven’t revisited it since my initial play.

  19. benoitowns says:

    I turned off my Adblock and I still can’t see the graphs? What is going on?

  20. psivamp says:

    I’m seeing these on The Escapist under the “Write for us” banner currently and I was fairly certain that you were the originator.

    I was also sorry to hear that your column was dropped. They’ve actually dropped all but one of the content creators that I originally visited them for.

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