In this post, I talk about exciting things that have happened to me over the past couple of weeks. I can't promise that they will be in chronological order, but I will try.
Last Monday, my day was made when I received a refund cheque from OSCA (Oberlin Student Cooperative Association). (Co-ops charge a fixed fee at the beginning of the semester, but if the co-op you are in does not spend all of its money, you get some back!) Obviously, I like money as much as the next person, but the thing that made my day was this note on the back of the cheque-letter thingy:
Dylan Rees (class of '11, erstwhile Harkness HLEC, physics major) and I have been involved in an ever-escalating poke war since the summer of 2007. That's right, even before we got to Oberlin. It started off when we added each other on Facebook off the "Oberlin Class of 2011" group. The Facebook poke war quickly turned into a RealPoke™ war once we met in person. At first, he'd poke me, I'd poke him back, and we'd crack up laughing, but as the years passed, we grew competitive. Now, if I spot Dylan, I usually try and sneak up behind him and poke him before he realises I'm there (especially since he's a foot taller, and has longer arms, and would win in a face-to-face poke-off). We've often threatened each other with wilder and wilder sneak-poke schemes (such as poke-proxies and poke cannons), but this note at the back of the cheque - it was real! Also real clever, and real sneaky. The stakes have been raised, and I must reciprocate. Anyone have any spectacular poking ideas? (email@example.com.)
On the Wednesday of last week, my ice-tea pyramid reached seven levels. It is an equilateral triangle if you count the number of bottles that make up each side - the base is seven bottles, the next level is six, and so on. What ice-tea pyramid? Well, I'm addicted to raspberry ice tea (only the Lipton PureLeaf version). I drink a lot of it, and I usually just put the empty bottles in the recycling. But they're nice bottles - they seem to be made out of glass, but they don't really break, and they're pretty sturdy. So I decided to save them so that I could maybe do something creative with them someday. Currently, they form quite an impressive pyramid. I was going to post a picture, but I've already started accumulating more bottles, so maybe at the next level...
That Friday, I had quite the social life going on - I had two birthday parties to go to (one for someone turning 79, and the other for someone turning 20). I also went to see Slave Ship, the play that was on that weekend. It was an intense visual, auditory, and olfactory experience - the program stated that the play was aiming to make the audience uncomfortable. (Most plays in Oberlin seem to try and do that to some extent.) It was very well acted and put together, and I'm glad I went to see it.
Finally, we arrive at this week. My Monday was unexciting, but on Tuesday, I went to a talk titled "Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions" by David Berlinski. It was probably among the best attended lectures at Oberlin - West Lecture Hall was pretty packed. Berlinski's main point seemed to be that we are much too confident in the scientific method, and we do not treat the method itself with the scepticism that it advocates towards everything else. This seemed to be a fair point to me, although he used evolution and the notion of a creator as examples, which raised plenty of hackles. He was a very engaging speaker, although some of his examples and analogies seemed a bit simplistic. I loved the questions and answers; most of his answers were "I don't know, I don't have any answers, I just don't think we should take certain methods for granted."
Thursday night was the Campus Wide Diwali Celebration, mainly organised by the Oberlin Shansi. I was really excited about this (in case you don't know, Diwali is an Indian festival, the "Festival of Lights." There are many different stories as to why it is celebrated, but it usually has to do with one of our gods defeating some force of evil). I got to see a beautiful and moving sitar performance by Hasu Patel, and fellow blogger Zoe danced the bharatanatyam. Also, SOUTH ASIAN FOOD OH MY GOD. I haven't been home in around ten months, so I jump at any chance to eat South Asian food. It is so delicious. I also met some interesting people - it seemed like most of the Indian community in Oberlin (which is not very extensive) was there. I had a nice conversation with an art professor whose daughters were from India - one of them was even from my state! She encouraged me to come and see her anytime I wanted - I love people at Oberlin!
Last night, I headed to the math library because I heard that there was a board game night organised by CS/math professors. The rumours turned out to be true, and I played a three hour game of Agricola with two professors, another student and another student's mom (hooray for Parents' Weekend). This is apparently going to be a weekly thing, so I am REALLY excited. I love board games, especially German-style card and board games, but I haven't really played any, ever. It's so awesome that there's a whole community of people who are willing to spend their Friday nights doing this. And three of those people are professors! To reiterate, I love the people at Oberlin. Also, yes, I am a huge dork, thank you very much.
I promised you a non-chronological account of what happened to me this week, and I seem to have utterly failed. I'm going to fix that.
Over both of these weeks, I have been dodging epic nerf gun battles at the Office of Communications, where I also work as a student web developer. I believe it all started when Ben brought a nerf gun to work, inspired by this video, and shot everyone in the office. This led to a whole bunch of people going up to Wal-Mart (including Aries) and buying their own guns. Since then, life at Communications is basically a first person shooter, and I'm a non-playing character trying desperately not to get shot. I have not suffered any damage so far, although a glass of Pepsi I was drinking was rendered undrinkable by a bullet on Thursday. Ben even lent me a gun at some point (I promptly proceeded to shoot him the minute he turned his back).
So yes, that's a sample of things I do for fun in Oberlin. Someday, I will write an entry that I don't file in "Student Life & Culture." Soon. Just you wait.
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