May 2005

Meeting Comic Artists

by Joey deVilla on May 27, 2005

Last weekend, I got to meet one of my favourite webcomic artists, Mr.

M. Zole, artist, writer and consumer of pies of Death to the Extremist (go read it! go read the archives, too!).

I’ll write a little more about this later.

This weekend, I’m hoping to drop by this event…

Graphic: Toronto Comic Arts Festival

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, to meet a couple more of my favourite artists:

The festival will be held in tents in Mirvish Village, and it

should be a good one, given the artists who will be attending and the

beautiful spring weather expected this weekend.

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Yet More Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Slang

by Joey deVilla on May 27, 2005

An anonymous commenter pointed me to this comic panel:

Comic panel: It's been a long time since I was butt-stroked. I'd forgotten how much it hurts.

Athough it sounds like something the Head Counselor at the Micahel

Jackson Sleepover Camp does, a butt-stroke is actually a rifle-combat maneoeuvre in

which you strike someone with the butt of your rifle. Butt-strokes were apparently on the menu at Abu Ghraib.

If you are in what Douglas Adams liked to call the Shouting and Killing People industries, you can learn butt-stroke techniques here.

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…was not this. “Icy Eight” or “Special K” on their own? Fine. But together? That’s just overkill, man.

Photo: Birth announcement

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Sgt. Cosby’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

by Joey deVilla on May 27, 2005

Photo: A younger Bill Cosby.

While I’m posting oddball covers of pop tunes, I thought I’d throw in

this one for good measure. You may not know it, but Bill Cosby also

does jazz/funk performances. Some of them are quite good, and some of

them are…odd. Here’s an odd one: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band! [2.1 MB, MP3]

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The Worst Line in "Revenge of the Sith"…

by Joey deVilla on May 27, 2005

…is this one:

Comic panel: 'NOOOOOO' scene from 'Revenge of the Sith'.

…and now someone’s decided to replace “whatever” in Liam Lynch’s My United States of Whatever with it, creating a new single, My United States of NOOOOOOOOOOO! [2 MB, MP3]

It made me laugh.

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Buy a Ring and Give This Dude a Break

by Joey deVilla on May 26, 2005

 [via How Now Brown Pau]

If you’re looking for an engagement ring, you may want to check out

this eBay auction for a couple of reasons. For starters, it’s a pretty

nice, understated and elegant ring:

Engagement ring for sale -- see

  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4997762829.

More importantly, the guy who’s selling it could stand to have a

little good fortune. Here’s an excerpt from his story, taken straight from his auction

page…

Since we had been ring shopping before, I knew I had picked out the

exact type of ring that she wanted and I thought she would be thrilled.

I thought she would finally be happy that we were officially going to

get married.

However, she seemed troubled and after asking her a few questions, she

blurted out that she was upset about the ring. She was upset that the

ring wasn’t from tiffany’s and was only 1 ct. instead of 2. I told her

I had planned on getting 2 cts but I couldn’t afford it. She then

accused me of putting a price on our relationship and couldn’t believe

that I did not get a 2 ct stone. She was pissed.

Yee-ouch. The full story, in all its painful detail, is on the eBay auction page.

I once had a girlfriend who secretly referred to me as “the Bank of

Joey”, so I have a rough idea of how this poor guy’s feeling. If you’re

in the market for engagement blingery, give this guy’s auction a look, won’t you?

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Evan Robinson, author of the IGDA paper Why Crunch Mode Doesn’t Work, commented on my entry about it. I thought it was worthy of getting promoted to its own entry. Thanks, Evan!

I didn’t hammer the point home in Why Crunch Mode Doesn’t Work, but sleep deprivation is much, much, much worse than long-term Crunch Mode. The analogy that I draw in something I’m writing now is that long-term Crunch Mode is “shooting yourself in the foot”, while sleep deprivation is “shooting yourself in the head.”

Military studies (I cite Colonel Belenky’s work in Why Crunch Mode Doesn’t Work) show that each 24 hours without sleep reduces cognitive function by 25%. Other studies report the equivalence of 21 hours awake to legally drunk.

The details of Belenky’s work are fascinating: sleep deprived soldiers can shoot stationary targets as well as ever, but their performance against popup targets (which require constant observation, decision-making, and precise movement under time pressure) degrades rapidly. Belenky’s conclusion is that “In contrast to complex mental performance, simple psychomotor performance, physical strength and endurance are unaffected by sleep deprivation.” Unfortunately for us, programming is not primarily “simple psychomotor performance”.

Belenky concludes that the mechanism for this failure is the slowdown of decision-making. When a decision has to be made, but the sleep-deprived soldier can’t make a decision in the time available, essentially an intermediate result from the ongoing calculation is output as the decision. Naturally, an incomplete decision is often not the correct one. Friendly fire incidents can result. Belenky’s description of what happens to a sleep-deprived artillery unit would be funny if it weren’t so serious. At GDC I spoke to an Army Captain back from Iraq who was concerned that this information wasn’t made available to him and his men.

Unfortunately, recognition of sleep deprivation as a problem isn’t widespread, especially in programming. We’re still proud of pulling all-nighters or 100 hour weeks, and remain (sometimes willfully) ignorant about the effects on our bodies and our projects. Dr. Dement’s 1999 book The Promise of Sleep provides a good overview of the general problem. As the founder of the Stanford Sleep Center in Palo Alto, Dr. Dement is better position than many to understand the consequences of sleep deprivation.

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