Writer's Blog: A week in the life of SIGGRAPH
started 26 July 2003, last updated 31July
i got into san diego today... after a brief bout
with traffic and a quick dismissal of thoughts that i'd rather
be back home
in AK, i settled into my digs at the handlery hotel. this being
my first SIGGRAPH, i really REALLY didn’t know what to expect...
whether i'd be an outsider looking in, or as a member of the graphics
world with something to say... i'd just have to wait and find out.
i met up with my roommate, as so many other student volunteers
do, met the rest of our reporter team and in the evening we all
downtown to the massively magnificent san diego convention center
to get our registration taken care of. even though the conference
didn't begin until sunday, i knew i was going to be in for a treat.
the walls were decorated with dozens of pieces of art from the
denizens of diego bound computer elite. the building itself even,
a marvel of architecture blending the old with the new - a fresh
and clean notre dame for the new millennium. yeah, that’s
it. so much to do, so much to say. tomorrow, tomorrow.
day 1. sunday. july
we took our shuttle to the convention center at 8:30. it was so
weird for me to be up before... ohhh, lets say, NOON, that the
surreality of the convention really didn’t sink in until
lunch, when thousands of the computer and technologically obsessed,
poured out onto the streets of downtown san diego in search of
food. sustenance, it appeared, was primarily obtained within the
gaslamp district... an amalgam of old and new buildings (seemingly
a purveying theme for san diego). historic markers housing old
world italian restaurants lay cattycorner to modern steak bistros
that housed cigar toting tourists. i attended my first conference
course today and learned that i need to learn much more to be competitive
in the computer games market. go figure. so many people, so much
to do, so much to see. tomorrow.... tomorrow
day 2. monday. july
the alias wavefront* party last night was amazing... tech-heads
and artists swarmed 4th and B. a venue that, like its namesake,
lies on the corner of 4th and B, just a stones throw from the convention
center... well, a really really really far stones throw, but definitely
within walking distance. huge projectors wowed the audience with
explanations of how the matrix fight scenes were created to how
the next generation of cloth and paint effects were going to be
implemented (hopefully) in the next version of MAYA. aside from
the people in the back who were reminded at odd intervals to shut
the f*** up, the demos were great, the speakers - fun, and the
company always entertaining. as i was putting together my second
shredded pork sandwich of the day (i had eaten at dicks earlier
that afternoon) i shared some time with bob bennett, an alias employee
who had spent some time in alaska as a youth. it was fun to meet
some new faces and put mine out there as well. hopefully the more
outgoing i am, the more coverage my name gets... we'll see.
day 3. tuesday. july 29th.
exhibition floor opens. computer-geeks flood floor.
the chapters party really took it out of me last
night... i woke up this morning and my throat felt like i'd swallowed
damaged and worn ball bearings, and later brought them back up
to feed my young, but i was excited none the less because today,
today was the opening of the exhibit floor and we as media-types,
were able to sneak in an hour early to get a first hand look at
what marvels lay inside. mega-booths from intel, two sections for
nvidia and literally hundreds of others filled the san diego convention
center floor. demonstrations ranging from art classes to 3d rapid
prototyping were commonplace and everyone working is ready to give
you their all.
at 10am the doors opened for everyone else, and i had sneakily
signed up for nvidia's sketch competition. 10 people go in, one
comes out with a quadro video card. wow. repeat every 30 minutes.
what a deal.
next i headed over to THE GNOMON WORKSHOP to
thank Alex Alvarez in person for doing what he does best... well
i'm sure he does
a lot of things best, but specifically for being a great teacher.
He's the MAYA ninja who helps run The Gnomon School of Visual Effects
in Hollywood California - long story short, i learned a lot through
their resources... (available for purchase on their website).
So after pacing through scads of hordes of crowded causeways,
reacting reclusively to reaching regional salesfolk, amassing much
material giveaways and of course smiling at the models at any chance
i got, it was time for lunch. lets just say this... SIG-ees in
San Diego are in no short supply of satiatory sustenance or quality
thirst-quenching quaffage - thankfully located right outside the
conference center. A few blocks walk will run you past multitudes
of amazing restaurants from surf, to turf, fish tacos to tuscan
delights thus far i have been amazed by the quality of food and
service... damn. i'm stuffed.
this afternoon i'm going around to various
computer gaming companies and various employees of the industry
in search of the ever-repetitious
often leaving you empty-handed feeling answers to the undying ever
burning question to many a recent CG graduate: "How in the
hell do i get a job in computer games?!". I myself am currently
wondering the same question and am only able to bank on one thought:
If you don't get a job in the gaming industry, you've wasted a
good two-thirds of your life... so get a frickin job already. feel
no, go now and check out my article on
getting the game job of your life... or for your life, i haven't
worked out the title bugs
day 4. wednesday. july 30th.
One more day to go.
And i miss the bus. s***.
10:42 a.m. - second to last day, and i'm in bed
with a cold and a wicked-awful sore throat. i'm sure it doesn't
have anything to
do with the late nights partying and yelling in clubs. clubs with
a lot of people in them. by a lot, i'm not talking about how many
dot com's i used to work at, how much money microsoft rakes in,
or even how many non-uniform-rational-bezier-spline patches make
up a hollywood quality CG model, no no no. i'm talking crowded
clubs with like 1000 people in them, dancing models atop pedestals
skirting massive dance floors churning with throbbing throngs of
computer elite. rooms upon rooms that lead to rooms upon rooms
with bar after bar - the faces tend to blur until no matter how
hard i yell it doesn't seem to make a difference... the primal
pounding of tribal beats, the drawn out traces of faces i used
to know -
i reach up to swim but the surface is still so far away... ahhh...
ahem. anyway, for a kid from Alaska i think i took it all in pretty
well, perhaps a little too well. give me an inch and i'll take
a mile. bit i digress.
so to reiterate - i woke up late, sick and lazy... and now either
have to suck up a $18 cab fare, or wait until 12:45 for the shuttle
to start service again. note to anyone listening.... DONT MISS
12:24 p.m. - lunch was good. the Handlery
hotel does well for itself. the name reminds me of how bellmen
treat luggage, "I
dare say the "handlery" of my bags was appalling!!!"
hmm... it seems funny for me to think that today
was just another day like yesterday and that all the cool gadgetry
and computer goings-on
had been starting to blend together and repeat each other. funny
because thats the most ridiculous idea i've ever heard!!! today
i checked out the guerilla studio, saw all of my friends from BLUI
(rm. 10)... its similar to the body-paint exhibition that was being
shown in the back of emerging technologies but its cooler (in my
mind) because its put on by the university of alaska fairbanks.
home sweet home.
i also had a really fun time talking to patrick
from ea, but you can read all about that here.
tomorrow i'm going to grab a picture of peter braccio and post
my interview with him.
good times, good times.
day 5. thursday. jul-iz-y 31th.
today's the final day of SIGGRAPH. and i dont know what to think.
i had a good time last night.woke early this morning... too many
things to do, too many tings to see. places to eat and people to
go... i mean - people to do and eats to place.... damn.
its the 31th because that makes me smile a little bit inside.
but i'm sad because today is the last day of july.
i'm sad just because i didnt meet more people,
i'm glad just because the others treat you as equals,
no more sketch contest, no more krispy kreme...
no more free goodies, no more mezzanine,
parties were fun, free drinks - hell, free beer,
i'll miss you this much...
until i see you next year.
Bye and thanks SIGGRAPH.