Friday, August 7, 2009

SIGGRAPH 2009 in Louisiana

Laptops and gawky long lines at Starbucks by day, loud drunken antics and scantily clad women by night... This is the dichotomy that is the SIGGRAPH graphics and interactive media convention hosted in New Orleans.

New Orleans in and of itself is an enigmatic town, in some ways reminiscent to me of Boston, but with it’s own distinct southern flare and funk. From the airport to the infamous Bourbon Street, the town is an abrasively rebounding historical city with a cool jazz and blues backbone and a late night stench that gives New York a run for it’s money. It proved an interestingly bizarre backdrop for a nerd-fest such as SIGGRAPH, complete with hordes of technology pros and job-hungry creative geeks like myself, all swarming to attend.

In addition to trying to network while pimping our demo reels, my buddies and I had a very interesting time both in and out of the conference. From playing with crazy new technology by day to exploring the Bourbon street area at night, some of the week's antics included:
  • Out of form for myself, I actually gave the GPS in our rental car a chance and as typical for those devices, it did try to get us lost/killed a couple of times on the first day. However, after adequate threatening, the damned gadget smartened up and played nice for the rest of the trip.

  • When sampling a nice Mom-and-Pop diner, my buddy Andrew cautiously asked a waitress if the restaurant’s jambalaya had shellfish, explaining that he is allergic, only to send the dish back to the kitchen to the tune of a loud and concerned southern black voice exclaiming, “Really?!? Shrimp is shellfish?” It was a shocking had-to-be-there moment, which landed on the safe side of the line between dangerous and humorous. In spite of the incident, I still highly recommend Duffy's Restaraunt in New Orleans who, in my opinion, has a charming wait-staff and the BEST damn pancakes in the south! =)

  • 2-3 AM on Thursday, I briefly got into Rockstar Games’ after-party party which happened to be just down the hall from my hotel room. Unfortunately, I quickly found myself at the realization that no one there was up for networking with a guy like me at that hour. Still, I gotta hand it to them, pun/cliche or not, those guys really do party like rock stars!

  • In my last blog entry, I noted that we had an unusual layover traveling from central Florida to New Orleans. Well, on the way back, we flew through Houston of all places, for a complete route that looked like this...

A Jungian therapist could ask what this shape looks like to you, but I say it just means that one should always read very thoroughly before clicking anything when booking a trip online. (Yes, I know there is likely an ad for a travel website to the right of this.) Oh well, just call it one of many crazy routes taken in my life. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flyin' Round the South

This week, my roommates and I are attending the SIGGRAPH computer graphics exhibition in New Orleans. We haven't even arrived in New Orleans yet, and I already can tell this is gonna be an adventure. First off, when I initially booked the trip, at the time, I could not find any affordable packages with direct flights to Louisiana. Thus, at the moment, I am typing this from Tennessee due to the unorthodox route indicated below.

Also, to add further wackiness, my zany roommate Andrew has proved in his own little way that you can get away with saying "bomb" on an airplane. :P

This is only 3 hours into the trip with the terror alert level at black watch plaid... feel free to stay tuned... ;)