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this is the first time I have travelled on my own budget for a speaker I am interested in

I spent my afternoon and evening at MIT. Why? Piro was giving a talk there tonight, and the train schedule didn’t let me spend anything less than my entire afternoon and evening to catch a two hour lecture… it was good to get out of Worcester for the day, though.

Of course, it was raining with varying intensity all day, which meant that as I was walking around Worcester and Boston I ended up soaked. I’m thinking that it might be a good idea to buy a waterproof jacket, or maybe an umbrella…

The talk went pretty well. He’s an entertaining speaker, and I was interested to note that he draws exactly the way I do. He’s much, much better at it… but he outlines the face, then adds hair, then features, always going back and forth from one section of the drawing to another adding detail and refinement. Not at all the way art schools teach you… MIT has some neat gadgets in its lecture halls, such as a bed with a video camera mounted on a stick above it which lets you see, for example, books, or a guy drawing a picture in realtime.

At times he seemed almost scared of the audience. There were a few fairly rabid fans, who were thrilled enough to see the person behind the pixels that they forgot he was not there to have a one-on-one conversation with them about how great he is. Also, one person cosplayed as Ping…

All of this is either mildly interesting, if you’re a fan of the comic, or not interesting at all, if you’re not. So I’ll talk about the other thoughts this trip inspired.

I had several hours to just wander around MIT, stop at the museum, explore. It made me think that going to grad school might not be so bad an idea; it could be fun to go there, or Caltech, or someplace big and interesting and work on some really fun projects. I haven’t really thought this out in depth yet, and I may not end up doing it… but it could be fun. And even MIT doesn’t have as bad a gender ratio as we do, apparantly…

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