Wine Country, Boston, Siggraph, WWDC

Since arriving in the San Francisco bay area, the "Governator" has seen fit to issue us both with Californian drivers' licenses ... not that the acquisition of a state license is particularly unexpected (c'mon we passed the written & practical driving tests with flying colours ... as if there was any doubt) it's just that opening official government mail correspondence & being greeted by the smiling, Austrian face of Mr Universe aka. Arnold Schwarzeneger does come as quite a shock. This part of the world is really quite "special" for many reasons, not the least of which is a median house price in the USD $millions ... suffice to say I think we'll be renting for a little while yet, but despite the somewhat jarring eccentricities, we're very fond of the San Francisco bay area & its people. Eight months & counting. It's really starting to feel like home, although I'm certain we've only just started to scratch the surface of what's on offer here.

Our little hybrid electric car is proving to be very useful for all manner of recreational pursuits around California. In addition to our camping/hiking adventures through Redwood National Park, a few of weekends ago Zoe's cousin Andrew joined us on our throughly enjoyable romp through Sonoma and Petaluma for a gastronomically indulgent wine tasting weekend. Over rolling hills, through quaint little towns and impressive local wineries, we've found ourselves (once more) spoiled for choice with high calibre wines from surrounding regions. Of particular note were a Shiraz and Marsanne/Viognier/Roussane from the Preston's cellar. The estate itself was also gorgeous, hidden away off the map (well not literally "off the map" actually if it weren't for the car's satellite navigation we surely wouldn't have found the winery) and the staff / cats / courtyards / foliage all chipped in to contribute to our wonderful day.

We've also had the opportunity to embark on a little bit of corporate travel of late. Together Zoe & I attended this year's SIGGRAPH conference/exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts. A completely exhausting & very satisfying heady week of techno-art installations, complex geometry & simulations, rendering optimisations, image processing algorithms, colour science, networking, reminiscing, reunions, corporate sponsored dance parties and far too little sleep. It was wonderful to catch up with friends & geeks from Australia, Canada, USA ... in fact all over the world. We each dedicated some time braving the masses on the exhibition floor, posing as nerdy booth babes, flag-waiving (recruiting) for our respective companies in return for their sponsorship of the week's graphics festivities and without last year's "burden" of presenting within the academic conference, we were free to explore Boston and it's pubs til the wee hours every night of the event. Dunkin Donuts came to our salvation daily with a top notch (in fact the only) espresso on-site. Once again we're looking forward to what next year's conference promises in terms of graphics innovation (& corporate geek raves).

Speaking of raves .... (oh my ... that's a truly pathetic segue)
It may be evident to most of ye dear readers (yes both of you) that wearing glow-in-the-dark clothing, in a darkroom, while handling undeveloped negative .... is probably not a career advancing move. I swear I didn't know the t-shirt was phosphorescent when I bought it, par for the course I suppose due to my lack of fashion radar! Never the less, disaster was narrowly avoided by application of a company supplied Chef's apron, bestowed in honour of our upcoming film "Ratatouille".

I had only returned to the office for a day before WWDC (Apple's World Wide Developer Conference) commenced in downtown San Francisco at the Moscone Convention Center. The annual event is host to some 4200+ coder geeks who travel from all over the world to vehemently evangelise Apple's world domination en masse. At least, that's how it may appear to the unwashed ... the true purpose of the event is to provide software developers with an opportunity to learn new coding chops & hidden operating system secrets that will serve them well for the future OS & hardware releases Apple has in the pipe. A fellow Aussie (& fellow RSR alumni) Andre Pang made the trip to San Francisco & even managed a few days to stay with us in Berkeley. Much pizza goodness ensued.

In fact much pizza & wine powered goodness ensued, overlooking the vast & beautiful bay from atop Indian Rock in the hills of North Berkeley. With subtly clinking goodies stashed in Zoe's backpack, we sauntered past rock-climbers consumed by their intense bouldering practice, staked our claim in the sun, unsheathed the garlic-laden, simple cheeseboard pizzas and very slowly soaked up the better part of the day with Andre, Andrew & a couple of bottles of wine.
You'd be hard-pressed to convince me there's a better way to spend Sunday afternoon Happy