goodbye io

Today I sold my shiny new MacBook Pro, so recently acquired. Why? Our research group had two of them donated very soon after I got mine, and one came my way. Luckily craigslist made short work of it so now it’s like i’ve got the same laptop except I didn’t have to pay for it.

Classes kicked off this week. I’m taking swimming, which looks like it will be a great way to get some more cardio, plus the pool it’s located at has a beautiful solid marble deck and a great view of campus. I’m also in a couple of hard-core CS grad courses that should be fine and move me that much closer to my Ph.D.

Today I gave the lecture in James’ graphics class–it was basically just a show-and-tell of recent graphics research–and I really enjoyed it. The pressure level was so much lower than the talks I’ve given recently, and I didn’t even have to rehearse. It was nice to remind myself what that kind of presentation can be like.

A couple of weeks ago my parents came up to Leslie’s parents ranch and had a great time eating and drinking and occasionally planning wedding stuff. They seemed to hit it off, which bodes well for the rest of forever our families will spend fused by “holy” matrimony.

Otherwise, things are just rolling along. We’re cooking and eating lots of good food, enjoying the dregs of summer weather before the rain comes. Leslie pointed out to me today that some of the trees here in Berkeley have started to change already, as we careen down into this second year of our Berkeley life.

school’s a comin’

I love that I may actually make it to my 10-year high school reunion and still be in school. I was planning to discuss my possible classes for the fall (Computational Geometry, Machine Learning, User Interface Design) and I realized that the first time I posted my class schedule was six years ago. And that was for my sophomore year in college. I’ve got this feeling after this I’ll be done with school for good…

siggraph: electronic theatre and the tale of the giant head

I got back last night from Boston. A long day of travel, but not too terrible. Since I last checked in with you, the rest of SIGGRAPH managed to happen, so maybe I’ll share a bit about that. Monday night was the Electronic Theatre, a showcase of a bunch of recent cool computer animations. One neat thing they had going on was that they gave each person in the theatre (probably about 2000 people total) a little reflective stick that had green on one side and red on the other:

reflective sticks

There were cameras mounted at the front that counted the number and location of each color. The point was that by showing red or green, you could vote to control the action of games shown on the big screen. They started with the Guinness-certified world’s largest etch-a-sketch, though the results were less than stellar:

reflective sticks

Things heated up with pong though. It was left side of the theatre versus right, and being right in the middle I took up the role of journalist. See an entire point played by the room here.

Wednesday morning I gave the talk. Things seemed to go off without a hitch, though my phone went off in my pocket about 5 minutes in with an alarm reminding me not to miss my talk, which threw me for a loop for about 30 seconds. Because this is quite possibly the only time I’ll give a talk like this, I got one picture before the session of my view (though really I couldn’t see anything because of the lights they had on me):

speaker's view

And finally a shot me in the act of “talking” or whatever the right verb is. Probably the biggest version of my head that will ever exist.

big head!

So with the talk over, I had several good questions, some meeting with people after the sessionand it seemed like the general consensus was that everything went fine. I’m told that the videos elicited both “oohs” and “ahs.” I made my way from the hall to decompress by watching about 3 hours of animation theatre, which ended with our clip. It was fun to see it on the big screen in full 1080p glory.

Wednesday night most everyone was done with talks so we went out to celebrate. Luckily for us we ended up at the EA party which not only had tons of free food and bowling, but an open bar. This was a nice change from the typical $7 beers you encounter in conference land. So we all drank a bit too much and I shamed my self (and my great mentor, Marc) by bowling one of the worst games of my life. Thursday was sleeping in and flying home, and now here I am. Three SIGGRAPHs under my belt–how many more await me?