All is quiet on the eastern front (or is it the western front?). My job is going smoothly, and there’s just enough going on to stave away ennui.
July 22nd and 23rd (along with an hour of the 24th) were spent at the Rochester Institute of Technology for their College and Careers program. It was just as much of a career exploration program as it was a RIT promotion program, but even so, the bitches made us pay. Just as expensive was the transportation, because I was unable to procure a ride. The person who originally introduced the program to me was bringing someone who had a ride, but both dropped out, so the only person who attended it with me was my girlfriend. Not that that was a problem. In fact, there are few I would have been content with taking her place on the seven hour bus ride that stretched to eight hours for random reasons. The 7:30 AM departure, for which we got up early and went to Port Authority, was awfully packed; in fact we were delayed because we picked up a surplus passenger at the Syracuse station and had to reassure his ass that he wouldn’t be stranded. The trip otherwise went by uneventfully, and even though it was cold inside the bus, my mind was distracted with the lore and illustrations of the various clans of kine. I particularly liked the clan pictures for the Malkavians and the Ravnos.
Actually, regaling you with the details of the trip itself would be too boring. Let’s end on that vampiric note and get to the good stuff. We arrived late, and missed most of the opening ceremony. In fact, we didn’t see any of the opening ceremony. In fact, we didn’t see a single damn ceremony at all, and that’s good, because I probably would have puked at the cheesiness. “RIT is good, blah blah. Go to RIT, blah blah. Anyone who’s still awake and doesn’t want me to steal your firstborn, raise your hand. Great, those hundred bundles of love should make our biology students very happy.”
Instead, we skipped the opening ceremony and realized just how hot rooms without AC can get. Every other building other than the dorms, though, had AC, and often plenty of it. We spent most of our time in the Alumni Center, where they opened up the pool tables for our use, gave us free drinks, set up gambling tables, tuned the big screen tv to sports, and gave out free tokens for the arcade games. I was almost as enamored with the student center in RIT as I was with the student center in MIT, though the center in RIT was actually much better. There were at least six pool tables, an air hockey table, three cheap themed pinball machines, a puzzle game, a decent fighting game, a sniper game, an accuracy hunting game, and a DDR machine. They know what we like. We didn’t want to camp out a pool table, but we did get a shot at the air hockey table without waiting long. I scored the most points, if you count goals on myself. The accuracy hunting game was surprisingly engaging, though obviously set in the future, as only bio-augmented animals could survive more than two shots in the head from a rifle. The DDR machine was equally entertaining, and though I was still rusty, my partner was awfully polite even when asking me to play on light for a song he wasn’t sure he could keep me alive on.
So yes, the first day was a dead day. I saw a lot of my girlfriend, saw barely anything of my roomate, and marveled at the spacious shower stalls and very cool rooms. The next day was when all four classes took place sequentially. I took computer science, information technology, software engineering, and psychology courses.
Computer science was very informative because it highlighted the differences between the different fields regarding computers. I learned about computer engineering, computer science, and information technology. I had an inkling about what information technology was, but I’ve now cemented it as a viable major for me along with computer science. We also got to watch the professor’s downloaded video of cats doing crazy things.
Information technology was fun because it was hands-on and we got to see their great facilities. We set up WinVNC (a free remote desktop program), set up shared folders, and search the building for wireless hotspots. While my partner was very cool, we also had a token annoying know-it-all. Still, it didn’t take much effort to focus less on him and more on the massive workstations that sysadmins to-be were given, and the servers that were assigned to teams so they could attack each other. Hot, in the massively-ACed room kind of way.
Software engineering actually made me fall asleep, but turned out to be very engaging. We played with Robocode, an IBM-developed program that lets you code the behavior for a robot to kill other robots, and entered all our robots in a room-wide competition. Mine, while admirable against a single opponent, quickly died in melees. The most amusing robot was the wussy, who simply ran around in a circle while other robots shot at it and often missed, making them waste their energy and perish. I picked up at least two wins, but only ended up somewhere in the middle of the rankings.
Psychology was a dead session. We were seated at Macintosh computers and allowed free reign, with orders to play around with PsychSim. Theoretically, this could have been fun, if PsychSim wasn’t dreadfully dry and boring. Instead, I checked my email and my Nationstates account and left early.
Departure was uneventful barring a dreary wait for a taxi to the bus station. The bus ride back was much less crowded, and it was at or under half capacity when we left Syracuse to go to New York. I enjoyed the dark, once she finished reading a good chunk of Harry Potter we went seat hopping. We learned from our past mistake and took a blanket from our luggage so that we wouldn’t be as cold. That and body heat did the trick. We got back an hour late again, which meant that we arrived around 1 AM to the concealed regret of my parents for having come early. Still, it was better than having to drive fourteen hours twice, no?