Entries Filed Under "Events"

September 28, 2008

TFU Launch At Best Buy

Filed under Events, Video Games, Work, Xbox 360


We had a fun event at Best Buy for the launch of TFU. The game didn't go on sale until Tuesday, September 16th. The party started at 8pm on Monday the 15th and went until midnight when the game could be distributed. It really felt like a mini-Star Wars convention with all the costumes.

George was there...which is always fun for any Star Wars geek.

I took a picture with the cutest Hoth soldier I've ever seen...

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My favorite part of the launch party were the droids. These guys are part of the Astromech club...and their work will blow you away! They built their own R2-D2's from scratch...and the attention to detail is amazing! I took a bunch of video:

Here are a bunch of photos of R2...

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They also had a mouse droid running around and I got some video of that.


The mouse droid and its operator


Tie Fighter Pilot and Obi Wan catching up


Playing TFU before it is released


My Mom...Unleashed!


Mom (wearing a very cool and unique Javva the Hutt shirt), Speeder Bike Storm Trooper, Imperial Officer, and my buddy Myra at the entrance to Best Buy.


Mom, Chewbacca (center), and Ben (worked on TFU)

They had a stage setup up in the back of Best Buy with various celebrities talking to the crowd...

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Crowd favorite Bobba Fett begged me for a photo with him. How can you say no to a bounty hunter...


Autographs! They had the cast and developers on hand for autographs...



Very cute Adrienne Wilkinson as "Maris Brood"


Cully Fredricksen as "Master Kota"


Lead Engineer Cedrick Coullomb (also author of the must-have utility "unlocker")


David Collins (voice of Proxy, Audio Lead) on left and Art Director Matt Omernick on right.

I got got a bunch of autographs from my co-workers. Amy Beth Christenson (Senior Concept Artist...she is simply amazing) asked me for *my* autograph, which was very cool!

tfu autographs 

Of course they had everything TFU on sale at Best Buy...


The whole point of the party was for people that wanted to get the game as soon as it went on sale at midnight. I got pictures of the front of the line...and almost the last guy (#998). They only gave out 1000 tickets...then there were people waiting after position 1000 hoping to get the game without a ticket. Wow!

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Sony provided an 18 wheeler loaded with PS3's for the event...

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We had nice press coverage...

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The Gas Unleashed...to the right you can almost see the storm trooper blasted off his feet.

February 24, 2008

WonderCon 2008

Filed under Celebrity, Events


I went to WonderCon 2008 today. It is a 3 day comic book convention in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. I got some free passes so I checked it out today.

The coolest thing for me (I'm not into comic books) were some of the "celebrities" signing autographs.

Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk)



Herb Jefferson Jr. (Boomer from the original Battlestar Galatica)



Richard Hatch (Apollo from the original Battlestar Galatica)



A hot police officer/stripper (and Peter Mayhew a.k.a. Chewbacca in the background)


July 26, 2007

Almost There...

Filed under Events


It is almost time for me to board a plane and head back to Texas. I'm going be at Frankies in Uptown this Saturday night (July 28, '07) from 7pm till whenever. I'm really excited about coming home. I hope all my peeps can stop by! I've missed you guys!

I look forward to wearing shorts (its 59 degrees here now), Freebirds, Dallas Cowboy fans, less smug hybrid drivers, easy parking...and no organic food all weekend! (I'm still doing my yoga, though)

Here's a countdown timer to help you remember. It is pretty easy to figure out: when the timer reads all zeros...you should be at Frankies.

July 1, 2007

Gay Pride Parade 2007

Filed under Events, Not Safe for Work (NSFW)


You might be surprised to know that the Gay Pride Parade is a big deal in San Francisco...but not likely. I heard that in addition to all the natives, there are over 500,000 visitors in town for this event. A cab driver told me I should check it out, even if I am straight (which I am). The parade started at 10:30 Sunday morning and finished around 3pm.

My buddy Chris Franka somehow managed to leave just before the start of the Parade, so I went by myself.

I learned about the parade from this web site. The parade causes a lot of traffic headaches...but somehow I was able to drop Chris off at the Oakland airport and drive past the Parade which had already started and make it home without much issue. On the way home, I noticed they put a HUGE pink triangle on Twin Peaks, a hill that overlooks the parade area.

I dropped off my car at home and grabbed a cab to take me as close as possible to the parade. I started at the end of the parade route, by the Civic Center. I then swam upstream along Market street so that I got a much quicker view of the parade.

There was one guy there with a megaphone yelling as loud as he could next to the parade that homosexuals are going to HELL! He had a couple of police to protect him. He definitely was getting more attention than the parade at that point.

Probably one of the more shocking sights was naked rollerblading guy with a top hat (NRGWATH). It was amazing how crowded the streets and sidewalks were...but somehow NRGWATH had no problem gliding through the crowd. You could see his top hat in the distance rise above the crowd and in constant motion...NRGWATH never had to stop. He was like a naked Moses with rollerblades parting a sea of people.

I came across a section of the sidewalk that required crawling over a barrier. I started to do it when guess who glided next to me...NRGWATH! Even though it was my turn to straddle the barrier, I decided that the most polite thing I could do was to give NRGWATH all the space he needed to get over the barrier.

I did see several cute topless girls, so it wasn't all NRGWATH. I also saw some not so cute topless girls.

Once I got to the end of the parade, I walked back to the Civic Center, which was having a large street party called "Celebration." I'd guess it was about a 7 block by 7 block area that was sectioned off to allow drinking in the streets. The end of each street had a stage...at least 8 that I saw with various kinds of music playing. It was very crowded in most areas.

It was like a traditional street fair...only gay-er. Instead of old ladies trying to sell their candles, there were men with handlebar mustaches trying to sell calendars featuring photos of men's chests.

There was an outdoor S&M demo area that was behind a blue curtain so you could not see what was happening without paying. I think it cost $3 to go and there was a long line to get in. I didn't go.

Getting a cab home was impossible, so I just walked home. It took me about 45 minutes.

All in all...it was a great place for people watching.

There are some topless girls in these photos, so be careful where you look at this. The photos are here.

May 28, 2007

Star Wars Convention

Filed under Celebrity, Events, Family, Movies

I went to my first Star Wars convention this weekend...Star Wars Celebration IV.

This convention celebrates the 30th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars on May 25th, 1977.

As a Lucasfilm employee, I got a 40% discount on our tickets...with single day tickets costing $45 without the discount.

Here is the schedule for Saturday.

It was held in the Los Angeles Convention Center over 5 days. I brought my cousins Anne and Michael with me and forced them to wear Star Wars shirts.

I used to think *I* was a big nerd...but not anymore! I seem quite normal in comparison to the people at the convention. 

I took a bunch of pictures...check 'em out here.


March 2, 2007

My First Earthquake!

Filed under Events

I was reading my email when all of the sudden the entire apartment started shaking. It lasted for about 5 seconds. My first thought was a car must have run into my building...but a building wouldn't shake for 5 seconds if it was hit by a car. I figured it must have been an earthquake. I jumped up and got in the door frame like I heard I was supposed to do. The quake was over by the time I got to the door frame. I checked the news and sure enough, the bay area was hit by a 4.2 magnitude earthquake!

It wasn't scary and it was over very quick...but it certainly is a bit unsettling in retrospect!

January 28, 2007

I See a Futon in My Future

Filed under Events

I flew to San Francisco this weekend to find a place to live. I took a bunch of pictures, which you can see here. For more background on my trip, keep reading.

The HR department at ILM gave me a few websites to help me find a place.

This one was good place to start. It describes the different neighborhoods. I narrowed my search down to Cow Hollow, Marina, Pacific Heights, Laurel Heights, and Inner Richmond.

Next, HR recommended Craig's List to find a place to live. They said I could use an apartment locator service, but I would have to pay the $800 fee they charged. They said most people do not use a locator service.

I know San Francisco is going to be more expensive than Dallas, so I wanted to try to minimize how much I spent on an apartment. I also did not want to have a long commute. The only way to satisfy those requirements is with a *really* small apartment.

The first apartment I looked at was in Pacific Heights. I couldn't take any pictures inside because a tenant still lived there. It is about a mile from ILM. It was about 350 square feet and rent was $935 a month. There was no stove, no dishwasher, and no washer/dryer connections. There were washers and dryers in the building that could be used for a fee. The room did have heat, but no A/C. It was basically a small room with a sink, mini fridge, hot plate, and a bathroom. It was going to be tough to fit in here, but I was willing to try.

I decided to see what the walk to ILM would be like. The apartment is on the side of a *steep* hill. I walked 3 blocks to the top of the hill and it almost killed me. I was totally out of breath. Walking down the hill was nearly as bad because you could easily slip on the sidewalk and would tumble for quite a while.

The hills were a deal-breaker for me. Trying to drive a car with a manual transmission up these hills would be brutal when you come to a stop sign. I can't imagine trying to ride a bike up the hill. The neighborhood was nice, but mostly residential with very little retail or restaurants.

The next place I went to was in Inner Richmond. The apartment seemed huge in comparison to the Pacific Heights location, even though it was only 560 square feet. It cost $1250. It had no A/C (which isn't needed) or heat, so I'd have to buy a heater. There was no parking provided, but there was plenty of parking on the streets.

For about $50/year, the city will give you a sticker with a letter on it. The letter represents the neighborhood you are from. If you don't have one of these stickers, you can only park for 2-3 hours. With a neighborhood sticker, you can leave your car overnight, as long as you move it on street cleaning days.

The Inner Richmond apartment had two rooms and a storage area that was only about 4 feet high, but as large as one of the other rooms. There was no W/D, so you had to take you clothes to a laundromat. I liked this place better than the first. The neighborhood had more restaurants and shops than Pacific Heights, but I felt out of place because it was most much older people and families.

After walking around all day Friday, I decided that the Marina/Cow Hollow area was the place I wanted to live. It was almost completely flat. It is at most a mile from ILM. It is packed with cool restaurants, bars, and shops. And it is mostly single people around my age....actually it is mostly single *females* around my age. Not sure why, but there seems to be 10 girls for every guy I saw....I'm not complaining.

Friday night I used Craig's List to find about 10 different apartments in Marina/Cow Hollow. Several of the places I called were already sold.

The first place I went to Saturday morning had a great location. It is one block from the main drag in the Marina, Chestnut street. It is also about 8 blocks from my job, and about 4 blocks from the ocean. But the kicker is that it has a parking space...and parking is very difficult in the Marina/Cow Hollow area. It has no dishwasher. It does have heat (no A/C), and coin-operated W/D available in the garage. It is about 550 square feet and cost $1500/month with the included parking space.

When I arrived, there were 3 girls that were also checking the place out. Everybody was interested. After I was done looking, I told the owner that I was interested and he said for me to look at another place and call him at noon if I was still interested.

I walked away to check out another apartment. It didn't have a parking spot and I decided that sealed it...I wanted a parking spot so I could come and go as I please. I headed back to the apartment and there were about 4 more girls checking out the place. The owner said he would be with me after he was done showing the girls.

The last girl was newly hired by Google and said she was *very* interested in the place. She was going to check some other places and then come back.

I told the owner I wanted the place. He is a really nice older guy that has lived in San Francisco his entire life. I told him I was returning to Texas the next morning, so I wanted to get as much done now as I could. He said we could go to his office to get a credit report done on me now.

His office is at the Olympic Club, where he is also a member. The blue jeans and t-shirt I had on did not meet the requirements to enter the Olympic Club, so my landlord let me wear his sweat pants and a sweater that allowed me to enter.

He let me do my own credit report on his computer via Free Credit Report. I had never used a credit service before. This one does give you a free report, but if you don't cancel, you automatically pay $12/month for credit monitoring to let you know when you report changes dramatically. The only way to cancel is to call their customer service...you can't do it via the web or email (even though you use the web to set it up). When you try to cancel, the rep will give you lots of reason why you shouldn't cancel and offer you cheaper versions. I said, "I want the one that requires no money from me."...and that finally did it. So beware...I can see how they make it super easy to get a report and super difficult to cancel.

My landlord took me to lunch at the Olympic Club restaurant and he got the bill...very nice. I can't remember ever having a landlord that payed for my lunch and let me wear his clothes. And no, he wasn't gay...he has a wife and is a genuinely nice guy.

I asked my landlord about the odd guy/girl ratio in the Marina. He said I was the only guy to look at the apartment that day. He said his apartment is almost all independent women that work downtown in the financial district. He said that when he goes out to eat in restaurants in the area, there are 40+ girls and usually less than 5 guys. I don't know how I'm going to manage in this place.

So I got a place! It is close to work, has parking, and easy access to a very hip part of town. I can't wait to move in! Now that I know what I can't bring with me, I have to sell a bunch of stuff on eBay (couch, night stand, TV, washer/dryer, etc.) really quick!

January 25, 2007

ILM Interview

Filed under Events

ILM has a unique interviewing process. I had a couple of phone interviews before they flew me to San Francisco for a 2 hour on-site interview.

I was told during my first phone interview that if I made it to an on-site interview, I was expected to make a 30 minute presentation about research I've done on my own.

An interview is stressful enough, but a *presentation* as well? I wasn't looking forward to that!

To pick a topic, I looked back at posting in my blog. I wanted to do something related to computer graphics and something that might be interesting to ILM.

I decided to go with Ambient Occlusion. Here is my blog post about it.

I was very nervous at first, but give ILM credit for making a very comfortable environment.

The presentation was in a conference room with a projector. I brought my laptop with my slides and hooked it up to their projector. About 9 ILM R&D engineers were on hand. We all sat around a table with me at the head with my laptop. I think sitting, as opposed to standing, made it feel more like a discussion instead of a presentation, which I appreciated. The engineers asked me questions about almost every slide. The questions were guinine and *not* designed to frustrate. They made it very easy.

Here are the slides I used for the presentation.

After the presentation, a few people left and a few people joined the conference room. We spent the next hour talking about my resume with time at the end for me to ask them questions.

I told the HR representative that I was initially concerned about their interview process, but now feel it is one of the best I have been through.

A day after I returned to Dallas, I had a final hour long technical phone interview about work I've done.

I was notified that ILM was interested an hour after this call.

January 23, 2007

Got a New Job!

Filed under Animation, Events

It's official!

I received my offer letter today from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in San Francisco. ILM is located in the Presidio, next to the Golden Gate Bridge.

ILM is one of the top special effects companies. They have an impressive resume of films including: the Star Wars films, Jurassic Park, Twister, Terminator 2, the Harry Potter films, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Here is a complete list of their films. Here is a list of movies that ILM is currently working on.

I've been doing flight simulator work for the past 10 years, now I will be in the movie business. I'm excited about the change, both the job and the location. This is a dream job and and I couldn't be happier!

Now I need to quickly find a place to live! So much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it.


About Events

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to David's Blog in the Events category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

DirectX is the previous category.

Family is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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