Sunday, December 08, 2002

Fire Switch, Light Switch, Red Switch, White Switch

Just got back from a quick 1:00 a.m. jaunt through the deserted streets of Northfield and back. Darcie needed to pick up the cell phone we send on school trips and charge it overnight, but she was breastfeeding and I'm more alert this late at night, so I took the keys and let myself into the darkened student center, scrims still hanging from tonight's techno dance. The office was pitch black, and I almost set off the fire alarm trying to find the light switch in the dark. From the standpoint of both electricians and panicking people in smoke-filled rooms, it seems natural to put the red alarm pull adjacent to the light switch -- it's easiest to remember where you saw it that way, and it's probably easier to do the wiring if the electrical "stuff" is all in one spot -- but it's very poor ergonomics if you consider the way one's hand flails towards the wall when first entering a darkened room. A couple of years ago, I remember the pre-teen daughter of some now-moved-on faculty accidentally pulled the fire alarm in the dark looking for a lightswitch in the basement of their dorm, and we all sat outside and studiously avoided looking at her in her mortification as the fire trucks pulled up to turn off the flashing lights and staccato blare.

Funny how the student center seems both bigger and spookier in the dark, suggesting that its intimacy is a function of the students who inhabit it, not the arrangement of the furniture and vending machines. The space used to be the Northfield campus gymnasium; the theatre downstairs gets its slope from the pool surface on which it was built, and although the locker-room smell is long gone, in the darkness the whole place still has the feel of an old-school gymnatorium. From the balcony, once the running track, where Student Programs has their office, the ground is too dark to see, and it is easy to imagine the distance from old rubber track underfoot to worn wood ballsurface far below as infinite.

In Other, Purely Technical News

The Blogger website seems to be stuck; it has showed the same ten "most recently published blogs" from 11:04 a.m. since...well, 11:04 a.m., I guess. Not sure what's going on at their servers, but ten lucky blogs have probably set new records for the number of hits in one day. Unfortunately for the monolinguistic, most are not in English.

Also, the comments on this page, driven by Enetation, haven't been working for a while; I had thought that this might be a problem with the Enetation servers, but now I wonder if the two problems could possibly be related?

Thirdly, I am proud to report that we are now officially in week four of the blog. Sure, objectively speaking, that's not very long, but for the ADHD brain doing anything regularly for a month is a triumph.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:48 AM |

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