college life games

Lazyish Sunday

I remember reading an article awhile ago about how to procrastinate productively. The article explained one tactic where to procrastinate on one task, one should instead work on other tasks. And hence has been my tactic this morning. I have slept in, caught up on backlogged articles, gone through some old emails, worked on Chinese, updated my to-do list, and am now blogging and doing my laundry. This unfortunately means that I have not started on either of my papers.

But it’s been wonderful here in spite of the looming assignments. The temperatures have risen to a comfortable 75°F, and the prospective freshmen coming in for Admit Weekend have livened campus. Not to say that campus deadens at all, but something else is in the air. Seeing them puts my own change in perspective. Exactly a year ago, I was one of them: excited but clueless about college life. Even though my host was only a year older than me, I saw him as distantly older and more mature than me. I waver now on how far across that gap is, but at least I know what the bridge is like.

Yesterday was Google Games: an exciting series of challenges where teams from Stanford and Cal competed to win the lava lamp, the geek equivalent of the Axe. My team, five freshmen from my floor, was “Juneviles Majoring Greenback” and were very creatively (read: scrambled at the last minute) costumed in short-shorts/boxers and polo shirts with popped collars.

We competed in several events, including “athletics”, trivia, and general puzzles, but our pride was Lego building. Each team was given a bag of Legos and instructed to build a trebuchet to launch a Lego tire with the Legos, a weight, and string (which was not to be used to tie Legos together). Our team was assembled of 3 programmers, a math guy, and a pre-law student, so we thought engineering would be our weakest event. After construction, trading, auctioning, and launching, we were in a solid 1st place with an 11 foot throw. And unlike any other machine, none of the pieces of it fell off or broke on either launch.

We realized that our success came only because we were the only team to build an actual trebuchet. All of the others teams put the tire into a basket to be thrown, while our tied the tire to a string and slung it in addition to the catapult action. A minor point, but decisive. I’m also going to throw it out there (because I realize I’ve omitted it in every retelling so far) that I wasn’t involved in the engineering part at all; I was the team trader and scavenger.

So in the end, we got 5th place overall, which we were very happy about. The engineering win boosted some only average performances on other events and put us far ahead of what we expected. Stanford won the overall by a good enough margin, and “Juneviles Majoring Greenback” won the Spirit Award for our ridiculous outfits and being far too excited about the event. We now have some very nice board games.

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