My typical day for the last week before the SIGGRAPH deadline went something like this:
Wake up at 8, shower, dress, eat. get on my bike about 9:30 and ride to the BART station. Spend the next hour in bliss reading a book or a magazine that has nothing to do with smoke. Get out at Berkeley, walk up the hill to Soda (since the campus buses mostly weren’t running). Arrive at Soda about 11am, an hour or so before almost anyone else will show up. At noon, join the author of the paper I was helping with (also named Bryan). Work on getting smoke to look right until the last train home (usually 11-11:30pm). Repeat.
Now, to be honest, not every day was like that. I took a few nights off to spend with Les or to hang out with friends and exercise, but mostly that’s the way it went. It was gruelling, but mostly fun. The atmosphere in the lab of all the people working day and and out on the papers was electric. I was usually one of the earliest to leave. Bryan stayed many nights until 3 or 4, and he had company.
At the end I got to help out with more than just rendering. I put together figures, and also helped on the text. In the end our product was a 5-page paper and a 2-and-a-half-minute video. I think, in sum, the work I did for those two weeks exceeded that which I did in any three months at Apple. But what motivation. Looking into the future, I hope that writing the paper can be done another way. It’s just not my style to pack it all into a month of frenzied work at the end. Hopefully I can exert enough control on the process to work mostly during the day the next time around–when I’ll hopefully be working on my own paper.
Anyway… quite an experience. It has triggered some serious slacking this weekend, so I’ll probably only start thinking about my classes tomorrow when I have to go back to school again.