August 13, 2004

Siggraph and the Mystery at Lilac Lake

What a great day for a graphics groupie. After taking the day off yesterday, I actually went to the convention floor today, thinking I should act like the whole thing isn't just an excuse to go to parties. While I was there I saw some lovely 3D "printers" (devices that make models of objects, which are first "scanned"). And a handful of so-so 3D display screens—as well as two that were just wonderful.

I can't refer to Mr. Hired Gun as a such anymore, since he's been with the same company for a while. He's now working as a programmer in a company famous mostly for its hardware, and what he does relates more to what he did in the past (while he was doing special effects for movies) than I had realized. He's the Effects Master now.

Mostly I hung out with David Coons, who can be hard on salespeople, because he appears to be very interested in everything. And he is interested in everything, but buys as little as he can get by with, being a small businessman. The hapless salespeople seem to get their hopes up sometimes, talking to him. Of course, at some of the booths he just explained to me what any given technology does, leaving the salesmen and -women to look helplessly on.

"Did he get it right?" I'd ask sometimes. And they always said "yes."

After looking over the whole floor we went back to talk to Effects Master, and asked him if there were plans for the evening. There were, so we invited ourselves along. We ended up at Ciudad restaurant, where the Punk Poetess (Coons's wife) eventually caught up with us.

I love these guys. They are smart and nerdy and subtle and funny—but a different kind of funny than my husband and his friends. (In fairness, Attila the Hub can be absolutely any kind of funny he chooses to be.) Naturally, there are a lot of technical issues I can't understand, but people stopped to explain some of the things that were explainable.

We did not sit around all night and regale ourselves with tales of the Old Days, which is a relief, since I have no desire to do that again. It was just a good, civilized meal.

Keith Goldfarb once again pronounced David "the most knowledgeable person about scanning on the planet."

And then we walked back toward the Convention Center, losing Professor Fractal and Effects Master along the way until we got to the cheap lot where I'd parked my car.

Tonight, a few people were walking in L.A.

My swag so far: a DVD for my husband of a small film that was part of the Electronic Theater; a pin that blinks on and off and requires no pin to secure it (it's held in place by a strong magnet); a walking wind-up teapot; a visor; two small models made by the 3D "printer"; a couple of pencils from Keith's company, Rhythm & Hues; some "silly putty" from Disney.

Most precious moment: we mention two old friends of ours who ended up going into financial analysis—and both at the same company.

"What is it about these science women going into financial management companies?" mused Professor Fractal.

"Do we know any others?" someone asked.

"I feel like we do. Maybe they aren't scientists."

"But I can't remember any females other than The Chemistry Lady who are doing that type of work," I told him.

"Maybe it's just someone who changed their worldview, so it's more . . . corporate," he suggested.

"You're thinking of me," I told him.

He was clearly mortified, of course. For I was right.

Be safe. Make sure your motion-captures are lifelike.

Posted by Attila at August 13, 2004 01:07 AM

Siggraph. I wish I could go to Siggraph. :(

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 18, 2004 06:40 AM

I wish you could, too!

I was hearing a lot of accents that sounded almost Australian to me, but most of the speakers were probably New Zealanders . . .

Aha! We'll move Siggraph to New Zealand, and then you'll stand a fighting chance of getting there!

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 18, 2004 12:39 PM

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