Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Visiting LucasArts, ILM and Sweet Falafel Action

Today was freakin' fantastic. I had SUCH an awesome day today.

And yes, it did have a lot to do with the fact that I visited the place that invented and perfected modern digital cinema, special effects, and pure awesomeness. I have been dreaming of visiting this place for as long as I can remember...

So you can see why I had a pretty good day today. :)

Since it was such a crazy and busy day, I'll write a huge play by play since I think it was amazingly interesting and pretty impressive how much stuff I managed to do in one day.

This morning I got up and rushed to work, and found out that my morning meeting had been cancelled. This was good as it gave me some time to do some work this morning before heading to San Francisco for a few hours. At about 10:30 I started looking for directions from the BART station downtown and realized that it is near impossible to get from Emeryville, all the way to San Francisco on the BART, and then transfer twice on the bus transit lines to get to the Presidio and most importantly, the Letterman Digital Arts Center aka LucasArts, ILM and more. So after several attempts to figure out a good schedule on the bus that wouldn't take 2 hours to get downtown, I tried to figure out bus 82X or something and then the PresidiGo but it looked like none of these would work. About to give up, I sent an email plea to the other Pixar interns asking if anyone could drive me and in turn come with me for a visit to LucasArts. Soon afterwards, Nathan, Manish and Veronica decided to come with me and Veronica had a car so that made life a lot easier.

We got to San Francisco and after getting lost and not finding parking for a while, we got to the Lucas buildings and met up with Mattabet, my awesome friend/unofficial 5th roommate/homey and went straight to a special talk that was going on today. I had missed Ray Harryhausen at Pixar last week because I was out for part of the day, so I was really excited to get a chance to see him speak. Ray Harryhausen is a legend of the Special Effects world and did some amazing groundbreaking Special Effects in an era way way way before the kind of Computer Special Effects we see these days. Ray was speaking at ILM in conversation with Dennis Muren, who is also someone who I really look up to. I totally admire Dennis Muren's amazing CG work. I saw him far off at Siggraph last year in LA, but this was much closer and a lot cooler. (In case you are not familiar with the amazing filmography of these two film legends, see IMDB's links for them: Ray Harryhausen and Dennis Muren) As you can imagine this was totally amazing and it was very humbling to see filmmakers of this caliber in real life.

After this we got a chance for a tour of ILM and LucasArts, and it was amazing. There were a lot of really cool movie props and characters, items from movies and more. I am not sure if it's ok to talk about all the stuff that was there so I'd better not mention details on the blog. But it was FANTASTIC and specifically there was one section of Terminator 2 characters that made me pause for a moment to calm down and collect myself... "this right here", I said, "is the simple reason why I have decided to devote my time and energy to this industry." It was really amazing and there was some pretty unbelievable stuff there.

After that we had lunch in the amazing cafeteria, the food was great and the view was excellent. After this we went to the ILM store and I bought a whole bunch of awesome stuff - a really cool ILM shirt, an ILM pen, some awesome M&M Characters dressed up in Star Wars clothes, a shirt for my roommate Frank and a present for my sister!!

This was an amazing day and it was pretty nuts talking about all this cool stuff on the way back to Emeryville. We got back to work and I had to get some things done today as I had missed a few hours for this tour and talk at ILM. At the end of the day Sarah Beth invited me to this rockin' Falafel thing at Hillel in Berkeley so I went into high gear and programmed something in about 45 minutes that should have taken about 2 hours. I was going so hard that afterwards I had a pretty decent headache, and this combined with the excitement of the day should have made me want to sit back and relax... but not today!!

I left work and ran home, changed, sprayed on some much needed deodorant and ran to the Emery Go Round, took the BART to Berkeley, then took a Cab to the Berkeley Hillel!! Wahoo!! At this point I finally sat down and relaxed for a moment, got some good Falafel and homemade Hummus and met some of Sarah Beth's awesome friends/roommates. They were really cool and some of them were in CS at Berkeley so we had tons of stuff to talk about. Awesome bunch. They were nice. :)

Then in pure intense busy day style, I called Jon and Angelique and asked them in they happened to be in Berkeley and if they were planning on driving to my apartment in Emeryville to watch our usual night of 24!! And of course they were only 2 blocks away from me and were driving right back to my apartment!! It worked out perfectly and I got some great Falafel, good times with awesome homeys, and then back to my apartment right in time for 24, in fact just as it was starting!! After that Matt Lausch called me and told me some details about our new apartment in Waterloo and told me about more of his upcoming interviews so that rocked too.

Now if that isn't an intense, awesome, crazy busy day, I don't know what is. I think I need to listen to some Dave Matthews and get an early night. Man... today super awesomely rocked. :)

Sweet Lamborghini dealership on the way

Mattabet in the cafeteria

Nathan chillin' after lunch

Manish about to eat a veggie burger

Veronica loving the pasta

Mattabet and I chillin' at lunch, LucasArts style!!

Sweet walkway around Lucas buildings

More of Lucas buildings

Walking around the Presidio

Awesome Yoda statue at the front entrance

Driving home from LucasArts

Nathan chillin' on the way home

Sweet Presidio style buildings

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