dreamcatcher284: (Default)
Champaign was visited by a pretty epic storm briefly this afternoon, with sheets of rain lashing down and flashes of lightning flashing through clouds that look like they came from Mordor.

I would have never noticed any of this, though, if I hadn't stepped out of my office while the storm was happening and heard the hammering of the raindrops on the AC unit and seen the downpour from the windows of the office across the hall. The office I sit in has no windows, which makes working in there very much resemble this:

Cut for picture )
dreamcatcher284: (Default)
Looks like spring has started to visit us in earnest, as we've had several days of excellent weather.

We had our second recruitment weekend start on Friday with a large crowd of potential froshlings this time round. Got to go to lunch and dinner with several of them, a nice lot, which was fun. We went to KoFusion and tried a wide sampling of sushi that was surprisingly good for a landlocked state. There were wide platters of cut rolls that had tempura shaped like crab claws, and aluminum boats of sushi that were surrounded by gin-fueled fire.

We went to Crane Alley afterwards for a few rounds of pool, resulting in several quite unlikely shots. The game I played in together with a froshling from Tech included had us lagging behind sorely in the beginning in typical Tech fashion (we had not yet scored by the time our opponents were down to 2 balls). Surprisingly, though, we were able to catch up in the next few rounds with a few unlikely shots, including sinking a ball into a pocket that was on the opposite side of the table from the pocket being aimed at. The game was close after that for a while--the other team scored in another ball, but also hit one of our balls in for us. Ultimately, though, it came down to a showdown between two red balls. The other team's ball was blocking the path of our ball to the corner pocket. I managed to bank our ball ball around the other to avoid hitting it into the pocket, but in doing so, lined up the shot for the other team to take the winning shots. Still, it was quite unexpectedly close. Other games featured balls being sunk after banking twice and cue-balls jumping over target balls to land straight into the destination pocket.

Saturday was one of the first warm (it's amazing how warm 52F can feel after months of winter), sunny days we've had this year, so to take advantage, I went rollerblading at Meadowbrook Park. I managed to rent a Prius zipcar, which was an interesting experience. Rather than an ignition key, there's an on button, and there was also a separate parking button apart from the transmission stick. Being able to hear the engine turn on and off at stops was highly amusing. The park itself was quite nice, with wide stretches of wild grass lined with trees.

Nature hasn't quite woken up from its sleep yet as this year, the cold has persisted quite late into the year, but I did manage to see the occasional swallow flitting about.

Today was even warmer out, despite predictions of rain, so I managed to make a stop at the other big park in town to watch the sunset. The geese are back in earnest now and are quite feisty, honking at each other both on land and in the water.

I've got my fingers crossed in hopes that the good weather will last for a few more weeks.
dreamcatcher284: (UIUC)

With the end of classes for the school year comes the graduation ceremony for those who have done their time. The robes here are blue, somewhat like the CAMS ones, with the sleeve style being the main distinguishing factor between the BS, MS, and PhD versions. I was surprised to see that even the MS and the PhD robes are blue instead of the usual black, but the sashes for the graduate students (they have them for MS as well as well as PhD) are very similar in color and style to the Caltech sash.

Commencement is one of those times when the sheer size and influence of the student population sticks out even more than usual. The local public transportation system has been posting congratulatory signs on all of the buses for the past week. Commencement itself seems to be drawn out over three days instead of just the one at Tech, probably with multiple ceremonies to keep each one to a reasonable time window.  Even with the partitioning, it's still crowded enough that graduates are lining up to have their photos taken at school landmarks like the Alma Mater statue.

People decked out in long robes can been seen all over campus surrounded by family as they revisit familiar haunts and pastimes (saw a few trying to play Frisbee in robes) before leaving for the last time. Best of luck to all of them as they move on to the next phase of their lives.


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February 2014

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