I’ve finally gotten around to posting some pictures from SIGGRAPH on gallery. It seems like there would be a lot to document at the world’s biggest graphics conference, but its really more papers and equations and talking. The really cool stuff (like the animated movies) can’t be photographed anyway because they attack you if they see a camera in your hand when you’re near it.

The strangest thing I’ve seen so far is the motor-powered surfboard. Still can figure out how that ended up here.

Two more days of conferencing remain, then it’s off to Seattle with a joyous stop in LA on the way.

so many pretty pictures

Well, as my first official act as a grad student in graphics, I’m at SIGGRAPH in San Diego. One of the nice benefits of the conference is the free wireless everwhere, so as I type this I’m sitting in the keynote presentation. It’s being given by an astrophysicist who is talking about visualizing the form of the universe or some such thing. Very heady stuff.

Despite the ultra technical stuff (new Isotropic surface techniques with NURBS, anyone?), they also have a little theater set up where you can just sit and watch cartoons if you get burned out. I’ve already logged some time there. I’ll try to get some pictures taken, but they have this big problem with taking pictures of pretty things that other people made and want to sell, so I may not have much luck.

LA as paradise?

Well, it turns out in the end that we skipped right over Joshua Tree and headed straight to the great western metropolis. I’m a softie, what can I say? So these last couple days have been idle bliss here, as long as you ignore the traffic.

Yesterday, while Leslie taught, my brother and I went down to Venice beach. It was everything I’d hoped for, freaks and musclemen, cheap t-shirts and sunglasses, and lots of rollerblades. We then had lunch at “Hurry Curry,” and wasted the rest of the afternoon in the periodicals room in the big library at USC. A trip to Santa Monica rounded out the day.

Today, we’ve been lazy to the extreme, though we did make it to the Getty Center to look at art and old things. It really is a beautiful place; make sure you get there in the morning before the crowds get too silly.

Tomorrow morning, we’re leaving for SIGGRAPH. I’ll probably make another album in gallery for the pictures I take there. SIGGRAPH is more than just an orgy of pretty things, its also a major academic conference in this field that I’m supposed to be joining in the next couple of weeks, and subsequently devoting five years of my life to in pursuit of the brass ring, the doctor of philosophy. After that, there’ll be nowhere to hide. So, besides ogling the CG and collecting schwag, I’m also going to be trying to determine what I’m going to do for the next five years, and also trying to work out with a professor a way I can pay my rent for the next two months.

la biblia es la verdad… LEELA!

These were the words emblazoned on a hill overlooking El Paso as we sped through it this morning. It’s Spanish for: “the bible is the truth… READ IT!” This explains a few things about el paso to me, confirming (in cooperation with the many “desert-view” suburban “enclaves”) that el paso falls into the category of unredeemable shithole.

That is of course, unless your consider the goodness bestowed on it by its proximity to Hueco Tanks, the place with the Best Bouldering In The World, and it’s numerous dispensaries of snack foods and DVDs.

After an uneventful drive yesterday to the tanks, I spent the late afternoon getting spanked by my old foe, mushroom roof. Mushroom Roof very politely explained to me that just because I’m moving out of Texas and I might not be coming back to Hueco for a long, long time doesn’t give me permission to send V8 after not climbing much at all for 2 months. I did, however, do my customary cursing and ripping off of my fingertips anyway.

the rest of the evening was spent lazing about the campsite, then finally unpacking our “tent.” I use the term only tentatively because this “tent” had not been unpacked for at least five years, and it was apparrently packed during a monsoon, because every surface of the tent was covered with a festive black fungus that also had a very festive odor. It’s just as well that the tent was in this state, since neither of us had sleeping bags or pads that might have assisted tent sleep. So, we made other arrangements.

Today’s only point of interest was Saguaro NP which had some really big cactus. I’m sure that they were really interesting, and I looked at them and was kind of impressed, but I think my ability to really appreciate them was impeded by the fact that it was roughly 20 degrees cooler than the surface of the sun in the park, and so I kept having to rush back to the car to treat my burns or at least to get some AC. We did get a few pictures anyway.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Joshua Tree NP, another really outrageously hot place, but this one is in California, which is a state that at least has some places in it that have been known to be cool. It also happens to be the same state that has Los Angeles in it, which happens to be the city that has USC in it, which happens to be the place where TFA training is going on. What an interesting coincidence.

3000 miles of highway lie ahead…

it’s time for round two of my journey west; this time i’ll be going out for good (and by “good,” i mean for a while, maybe. permanence and commitment are not prime attributes of my life at this time).

on the schedule for this trip: Hueco Tanks. Not a new destination; well traveled by some accounts. Still, it’s a place that i can’t just pass by without seeing one more time, and one old friend in particular that i’d really like to conquer.

from there, we proceed to Saguaro National Park to… umm… look at the big-ass cacti, and then on to Tucson for the night. Unfortunately, we won’t be visiting Phoenix, so I won’t be able to tell Steve what’s there.

Then, on to CA, first stopping in Joshua Tree, then continuing on to LA to see leslie, and finally ending up in San Diego for SIGGRAPH.

You can download a map of the trip here.

leaving austin

Well, it’s about that time. Maybe it’s appropriate that at the time I write this, I’m sitting at a desk in my old room at my parents’ house, the same house I lived in when I was in middle and high school. It’s more than a little surreal; it makes me feel like the last four years of my life never really happened. But they did. I’m now the proud owner of a couple of bachelor’s degrees, and the part of my life where the big decisions seem obvious is over.

I’m getting ready to pack up and leave Austin. Everything I own that’s not already in Seattle will go in my car with me. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever call this place home again. It doesn’t seem real, because of all the other times in my life that i’ve left this place I just come back some days or weeks or months later. But it’s always been home.

I’ll miss it, but I think it’s time to go. One can only have so many experiences and memories tangled up in one place, and there are some movie theaters, parks and stretches of road around here that are getting dangerously crowded just with my own experiences. When I visit them I see ghosts–people I knew, things I’ve done. It’s really heart-breaking sometimes. Maybe going to a new place, attaching experiences to new surroundings will help free me, open a real new chapter in my life.

I know I’ll always come back here to see my parents, to see old friends who linger in this great town. I think I’ll always be from Austin, no matter how many years I put between her and me. Who knows–maybe someday I’ll return here to call it home. But for now, I’m pulling up my anchor to see where I drift. First stop: Seattle. Not a big jump, except in geography. We’ll see how it goes.

a new overt

After over three and a half years of service, my home-brew blog-like site was really starting to show its age. So, just like my old picture site, I’ve decided to retire it in favor of a open-source package: postnuke.

Since I’m leaving to go to grad school and abandoning all my friends, i’m going to try to keep overt updated more frequently with what’s happening in my life. I’ve also got the peer pressure of all my friends’ well-maintained blogs to egg me on. So, we’ll see whether this ends up being the last post for another half year…