Each year, Caltech hosts a small carnival on the Beckman Mall with some of the standard carnival attractions: a rock climbing wall, a dunk tank, a money booth, a wrecking ball, a bouncy house, an assortment of small games with prizes, student bands, a cappella groups, dancing, and, perhaps the most attractive feature to a college student, lots of food. The carnival was decked out with snow cones, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, burgers, hot dogs, and more, and our new freshmen received their gifts from the Caltech Alumni Association: a Caltech Blanket, which students laid on the lawn in front of the “wedding cake”.
Bands such as Twin Peaks and solo artists from Caltech performed throughout the day at the carnival as well as Fluid Dynamics, one of Caltech’s four a cappella groups (the others are Out of Context, Keytones, and Harmonic Motion). The festivities concluded with a fireworks show at approximately 7:15 pm and were followed by a showing of Pacific Rim.
In other news,zombies are invading Caltech, and the remaining humans must defend themselves at all costs! Well, something like that; after all, with enough sleep deprivation, students can start to resemble zombies. Caltech’s Nerf Club has begun yet another Humans vs. Zombies game, in which among the participants, one has been secretly designated a zombie whose goal it is to tag human players and convert them to zombies, while the humans can temporarily neutralize zombies by shooting them with Nerf guns. Of course, there are certain locations, such as Houses and bathrooms, that are safe for all players, but humans cannot hide in a safe place forever, because they must go out and acquire food codes each day through missions in various buildings (made known to the zombies as well) to survive. As a human, for now, I anticipate much tomfoolery over the next couple of days as many of the new freshmen (who are on pass/fail) start staking out classrooms and residences waiting for the perfect opportunities to convert upperclassmen into zombies. With that said, though, it looks like my roommate’s arsenal of Nerf supplies should suffice for this game:
For a game like HvZ, living off-campus has another benefit to it: freshmen typically know less about where things are off-campus, so the number of people who might be hiding outside my room is significantly lower. If I survive for a week, expect another post about how I did it, and if not, expect a picture of me gnawing on flesh. As I intend to wield no gun larger than a Triad regularly, it is going to take some time for me to flesh out the details to build a truly airtight defense.
Regardless of my classification as a human or zombie next weekend, I have Dabney’s trip to Joshua Tree National Park to look forward to, which, for a former East Coast-dweller, is a very different take on a national park than expected. Since the park is essentially a mixture of desert and chaparral, there are no densely packed stands of trees or large waterfalls everywhere: just near emptiness as far as the eye can see. Having camped there for a night during spring break last term, I have found a new appreciation for “J-tree”, which originated from scrambling up a rockpile next to our campsite at midnight and looking out for miles only to see and hear nothing but the lights and voices of our fellow campers at the base.
Usually, while writing this post, I would be at Caltech playing volleyball. I begin school eith preseason, which for those unfamiliar (or are planning on joining women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s waterpolo, or cross country) is a 5 week long period before school begins where the sports teams I listed before practice and compete. My life during preseason is basically volleyball 24/7. Two practices a day (during school only one) and game days three days a week. No school work to worry about, spending time with my teammates all day, a nice refresher before school begins.
Every year, the Caltech Society of Women Engineers attends the National SWE conference to network with other SWE Chapters and to hustle for jobs. Last year, the event was in Minneapolis, and the year before in Austin. This time around, it’s in Anaheim which is much more convenient for us. Since it is much closer, we were able to send many more delegates to attend and miss fewer classes in the process of doing so.
It’s truly Autumn in Scotland now. It reached 0 degrees Celsius today, or 32 Fahrenheit for you yanks. They’re setting up the Christmas market downtown (as thanksgiving isn’t a thing here they just skip directly from Halloween to Christmas). Snow isn’t falling, but it does seem to be raining every other day. And it’s pleasant, quite pleasant. The rain turns Edinburgh into even more of a dramatic and beautiful city than usually is.