Tuesday, August 24, 2004


This morning Li (a coworker) and I decided to jog to work. Rather, I jogged and he rollerbladed. Being on wheels, he could move much faster than I could. Actually, that is true whether he is on rollerblades or not.

I felt compelled to jog faster so as not to slow him down too much. After a couple of miles, I felt slightly winded and decided to walk. Twenty seconds later, I became suddenly very lightheaded. I said, "I need to stop for a second," and walked over to the railing.

Then my elbow was just beginning to make contact with the gravel, as I jerked myself up to avoid scraping it too hard. I was most of the way through falling onto the ground.

"You fainted!" said Li.

I walked the rest of the way.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Tex-Mex and slogans.

Last night I was in top socializing form (or at least mood), coinciding with the official SIGGRAPH reception. I had called up Mark Harris, and we went with his NVIDIA and UNC friends to the large outdoors Pershing Square, where the organizers had laid out massive quantities of mediocre food.

Conference attendees stood in long lines, not realizing that the food is replicated four times along the tables, allowing easy access to the two middle sections.

"Okay," I announced to Mark Harris and his friend Randy. "We're going to Tex-Mex, then Asian, then Italian. Then back to Tex-Mex, and finally desserts."

We trucked around and ate. Met some famous people. One of them, the head of MSR Graphics, shockingly revealed that he came to my clouds sketch last year (!) and remembered my name (!!) and saw my Discovery Wings interview for Flight Sim (!!!) and had come by my Microsoft office last year to say hello (!!!!). I nearly died of feeling honored.

After eating, Mark, Randy, and I sat on the stone low wall and joked with each other.

"You're kinda famous too," Randy said to Mark. "You coined the term GPGPU."

They had to explain it to me. Then I wanted to call Mark "Dr. GPGPU."

"No, no," he said, "Call me Mark."

"It's good publicity!" said Randy. "You'll get more famous this way."

"No!" said Mark. "I don't want to be famous."

"What do you want then?"

"Do good work. Sell more GPUs."

I felt as though my head rang suddenly like a bell. I kept replaying his words to myself. Lately I've been in such a contemplative mood ("What's the goal of life, what should one optimize for, etc.). These two sentences were so simple and so good.

I really respected him for it.

I thought a lot about my equivalent. I decided it would be:

"Do good work. Ship quality software."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Gray of the morning

It's Wednesday morning, and gray LA light is seeping through my hotel room window.

I feel slightly disillusioned. So many of these accomplished computer graphics researchers are brilliant and friendly, but seem unfulfilled.

Yesterday with a shock I realized that these prominent faculty members were previously grad students and then prior to that undergrads. It is easy to imagine an unfulfilled but brilliant and friendly undergrad. I just need to picture half the Caltech population. So now I can see how a transition from point A over years may result in point B. But it's saddening.

I said to RR the other night, "I think I care too much about my career."

"Who doesn't?" he said.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More SIGGRAPH randomness

Just back from the Chapters party. It was at a huge club Mayan, with four levels and 3 dance floors. Go-go dancers in bikinis and tall boots danced inside cloth cages, less coordinated than the Bay Area dancers.

Everyone that I know couldn't actually make it into my sketch b/c it was completely full and they turned people away at the door. I went to the bathroom 5 minutes prior to our session start, and when I returned there was a huge crowd crammed at the door that I had to push through. All of the people whom I know told me later that they couldn't get into my sketch: Wei-Chao, Mark Harris, Marc Levoy, Kevin the intern.

The sketch after me was this really hilarious and interesting guy from ILM who talked about stormy weather in Van Hielsing.

My sketch went well. There were about 250 people, and I was in public speaking mode so I felt no nervousness once I actually got up to the podium and opened my mouth. There was a minor technical snafu with the slides, but it got corrected.

I felt a little bummed tonight. The club was filled with people, some of whom must be brilliant artists or computer scientists, and some of whom were quite good-looking, and perhaps there was some intersection of the two who if I met would delight me and thrill me and we would dance and strike up a dalliance. But I didn't feel like it. Instead I talked to all the people that I already know.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Random SIGGRAPH randomness.

The SIGGRAPH magic is happening again. I'm so excited and happy, and everything is magical and fantastic.

I'm giving my talk in 4 hours! Gah! Nerves!

The Wilshire Grand is a joke. They overbooked and wanted to send me to the Best Western. I was standing next to Julie Dorsey (who I did not know but is apparently famous in the computer graphics world) who pushed persistently. She was standing next to Van Dam (who I did not know until Julie pointed out he's half of Foley-Van Dam) who got extremely angry and managed to get a room. Then we rode on his coattails and got rooms, though they made us come back at 11pm for the rooms.

This hotel has no soundproofing. I hear every single person talking who walks by. I woke up 18 times during the night due to this. It also infiltrated my dreams and made them odd.

The valet people ogle me when I go to get my keys. The bus driver for the hotel hit on me when I was sitting in the lobby waiting for a room. This hotel is completely ridiculous.

This will likely be my last SIGGRAPH. I have nothing else left to present, and I don't intend to create more in this field. It makes me a bit sad. Such a wonderful group of people who I feel so at home with. I can see why SIGGRAPH inspires people to go into computer graphics as a career.