Campus feels much different from the school year. Instead of crazy passing periods in the last 10 minutes of every hour each morning and an onslaught of potentially mandatory activities, bike lots have much open space, and everyone seems to have an easier groove.
My life, however, has morphed into a different sort of activity. Granted, I still have several major obligations, including my internship and section-leading, but the shadow of school rests. Coming back to my room just after 5, the worries aren’t as pressing, and everything has a leisurely feel.
Given that, I have had the time to do some things I’ve wanted to. Like my hopes desired, “Godel, Escher, Bach” now takes a half-hour or so out of each night before I go to sleep, and I also read something lighter (fantasy novels and “Dilbert”) on the side. Slightly less productively, I have “caught up” with some games. Since finals, Elder Scrolls 4 has sucked 20 hours of my life, though happily so. And I’ve gotten into a good rhythm for both writing in my journal and tossing a frisbee with some friends.
More excitingly, I’m exploring my surroundings as the Bay area still remains largely a mystery to me. Today, I went to San Francisco with George and Mark to go grocery shopping in Chinatown and to explore it in general. We walked across the height of the main part of San Francisco from the Caltrain station up to Pier 39 and the Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping in several places to see what was offered. A highlight came in the form of an museum-like exhibit of historical coin machines, from funny scenes in machines dating back to the 1800s to more recent arcade machines, like Galaxian and Tekken 3. Many of them focused on predictions, with classic fortune teller machines, but most of the predictions related to one’s love life. A particularly impressive device was a boxing machine, with two metal boxers controlled by a pistol-like grip (seriously). By pulling the trigger, they punched with the goal to hit the other’s chin and cause them to fall over. I myself have a very similar device with a Gungan and Battle Droid in a “Burger King”(?) kid’s meal, but this was far cooler.
I’ve also been able to move along with the goal of my other hope and delved more into music. Last night, I listened to the Terence Blanchard Quintet perform at Dink, and they played great. Were it not for my very musical roommate Kesav, I might have missed listening to some beautiful ballads and the sweet tone of Terence Blanchard. Were it not for my very musical roommate Kesav, I might miss out on several more jazz performances as a part of the Stanford Jazz Festival, held each summer. And were it not for my very musical roommate Kesav, I wouldn’t have gone to Hindu place of prayer (don’t know the proper term for exactly what it was) and listening to him perform Carnatic music on violin with a vocalist and drummer, an enjoyable and completely new experience for me.
And I’m slowly working up necessary life skills with George in a series of adventures involving knives, intense heat, and possibly poisonous concoctions. Over these past several days, we’ve worked in the kitchen to do a little better than ramen or cold foods every night. But I’ll let George detail those in a blog he’s posting, How to Burn Down the Kitchen Without Really Trying. I guarantee that this summer, there will be a direct relationship between time and either your respect for us or the humor in your life. What I hope to avoid is a sudden end to the blog because Mirrielees has burned down.
It’s gems like those I hope to enjoy this summer, to immerse myself in new experiences I might reject in the pace of the academic year. Of course, I have seen many new events throughout the year, but this feels like a separate set of opportunities to explore. Who knows how many more summers I’ll have on campus, and I don’t want to miss any of the action.