Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Events at Noontide

Subtitle: From (roughly) 12:05 PM to 12:45 PM, on this very Satur-Day.

I bought a new electronic video-game this morning, on a whim: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. There is no reason for the periods; as far as I know, the name isn't an acronym. In any case, the game was known for bugginess and bizarrity when it came out. "Surely," I thought, "It's been two years, or more. Surely the fans will have managed to patch it into working order by now, as generally happens with super-buggy mainstream games!"

After playing it for about an hour and a half - this transpiring before the period described in the subtitle, and being quite enjoyable, for the record - the game forwent the usual quickload screen - looking something like this:

And replaced it with a slightly different one, which resembled:

At this point, I decided to take a break. The time was around 12:05 PM.

First, I was feeling rather hungry - having skipped breakfast, as is sometimes my fashion - so I went to fetch food. The local dining hall had nothing of interest, so I mounted my trusty bicycle and set out for the fast food court-yard at the Center of college. (The Price Center, specifically.) I had heard tell that an Indian place had recently opened therein, and was eager to investigate.

En route, I should note, I encountered a girl wearing an "Anonymous" t-shirt. This is uncommon, and worthy of mention.

It took a little searching, but I managed to find the Indian restaurant of which I had been informed. The atmosphere throughout was somewhat eerie, despite the lovely weather and bright sunlight - the broad streets were empty of traffic, the vast food court filled to only a tiny fraction of capacity. When I went to order my food, I was the only customer there, standing before a counter staffed by a full six employees. I was somewhat intimidated, I will admit.

Of the food, I will say only this: I had wondered what Indian fast-food might taste like, having only eaten at formal/semiformal restaurants and buffets. Now, having eaten Indian fast-food, I will agree: it didn't taste actively bad, and I was at least somewhat fuller when I left than when I entered.

Still, I don't think I'm going there again soon.

I finished eating around 12:20. Feeling inspired to breathe the fresh air, I decided to go exploring. My campus is fairly large, and there are many parts of it I have never ventured into. The trip was quite rewarding: the weather was excellent, as I noted earlier, and there were some very lovely landscapes. Big buildings, big green expanses, that sort of thing. I had fun.

I must note this, though: There is a place, far from both my dwelling and all the classes I take, called "Revelle Plaza." It's pictured below.

It's flanked on all sides by fairly nice buildings - a bookstore and coffee shop in one of them, classrooms/lecture halls in the others. People draw with chalk on the ground, there's a fountain (visible but inactive in the top-right of the picture above), it's all very pleasant.

There is, nonetheless, a very slight design flaw. Trivial, really - a tiny quibble - but I still feel compelled to bring it up.

At the very top of the picture, there is a set of four very broad, very flat stairs. (If you can't see them, that's fine - I can only see them because I've seen them before in real life.) They're great stairs, fine, but the problem is, they're subtle. Hard to see from the top! Especially for a poor, sightseeing bicyclist who's watching a group of pedestrians in his path and not hunting for hidden stairs.

Bump, bump, bump, the Nicholas goes!

There should be warning signs, I say.

Aside from that, it was a perfectly lovely trip, and I haven't the slightest regrets. Plus, I managed to get to the top of Annoyingly Steep Hill #2* by a side route - meaning that I got to enjoy going dangerously fast on a narrow path flanked by trees without having to suffer through the steep climb up!

Most interesting 40 minutes I've had in a while, I'll say.

*Annoyingly Steep Hill #2 has a name, but I've forgotten it. It's on the way to two of my classes, so I have to go up it four times a week. Sadness follows! Not, you know, that much sadness, but a little.

Annoyingly Steep Hill #1 is much worse. Thankfully, it's only on the way to the gym for me, so I basically never have to go up it.


When we were going up it in orientation, our group leader refused to take the climb. Instead, she showed us a "trick" she'd discovered - enter the parking hall on the side of the hill, take the elevator up several floors, walk along the parking garage and exit at the top of the hill.

It is a very steep hill.

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