There’s a lot of people here that enjoy playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). (If you’re new to DDR, here is a nice introduction.) During the school year (and summer when club members are around), the Caltech DDR Club plays DDR every Friday evening, and sometimes on other days as well. Generally we connect the DDR mats to a laptop, and then use Stepmania,
ITG (In the Groove), or OpenITG to play DDR. One of the nice
features of using a laptop instead of a dedicated game console is that
you can create your own custom stepchart for any song. Additionally, it’s
easy to find songpacks online where people have written their own
custom stepcharts, so you never get tired of playing the same
songs over and over again.
Since we play at least every week, it’s pretty easy to improve fairly quickly (several people play level 9s, 10s and 11s, and a few can play 12s). Generally, level 9s have 8th notes between 150-200 bpm, meaning there are between 5-7 steps per second. Level 10s, 11s, and 12s often have 16th notes between 120-200 bpm, meaning there are between 8-14 steps per second! (forutnately not for the entire song) Because there are usually several hundred arrows in a 1.5-2 minute song on these levels, playing DDR is a pretty good workout!
The camera had trouble capturing foot movement. (Photo taken by Elly S.)
Unfornately, a few weeks ago, one of the DDR mats had soda spilled on it, so it currently doesn't work. I tried to connect it to a different circuit board with CAT5 (Ethernet) wires, but it still didn't work - seems like we'll have to take apart the mat to figure out what's wrong with it. The mats do have to be cleaned a few times per year, though, so we've taken them apart before.
Cleaning a DDR mat
There's also an unlocked (i.e. no arcade credits/coins needed) DDR arcade machine in the basement of the South Houses that can be used at any hour of the day! It's in its own room in the basement, so the music and any stomping won't bother anyone.
…Or, How a Disciple of Bethany Ehlmann, a Former Desert Militiaman, Moore Lab Subbasement Dwellers, Roblox’s Newest Intern, a Florida Man, and a Luminous Plasma Scientist Went to War with the Caltech Mail Center, Got Double-Crossed by AirGas Corp., Survived Three COVID Outbreaks, and Nearly Stranded Themselves in the Mojave in order to Send a Bag of Peanuts to Space (A True Story).
Every midterm week and final week, Page House Peer Advocates (PAs) put on a de-stressing event. This term for midterms, the PAs hosted a painting night in conjunction with a Page dessert night. (Every Thursday, the House gives $60 to a pageboy (a member of Page) to buy a bunch of dessert and snacks for the house for dessert night.). They provided canvases, paint brushes, and a variety of paint colors for the night. It was a really fun and relaxing time to stop working on sets or studying for midterms for a bit and hangout with friends.
On the weekend of April 16th, my friends and I participated in the first ever Southern California College Poker Tournament! The tournament was for college students in the SoCal area with a $0 buy-in that doubled as a recruiting event for quant and finance firms. A senior friend of mine (Vanessa, a fellow blogger) put together a team of five girls who had no interest in being recruited and just wanted to have fun playing poker.
One of Caltech’s many clubs is the RISE tutoring program, where undergraduate students connect with local high schoolers and provide tutoring in various STEM subjects. I only became a tutor this academic year, but the experience has been so rewarding for me and, hopefully, also for the students I tutor.