I knew there was going to be a problem when I was one of only two girls sitting at the table. Sarah R., '14, and I sat next to each other in Talbot, the large common room of East Campus, the only two females foolhardy enough to enter the Bad Ideas Wings Eating Contest... and was it ever a Bad Idea.
Bad Ideas is a weekend festival thrown by East Campus for the celebration and creation of very bad ideas. But since it was the first event of the weekend, I went into the wings eating contest with a pretty cavalier attitude—it's just wings. I like wings. It can't be that bad.
Then I smelled the wings, the scent wafting out of the Talbot kitchen and burning my nostrils—the event organizers had managed to order the spiciest wings available from Wings over Somerville. And while I like wings, I do not like spicy. A one-pound plate of wings was placed in front of me, as well as far too many glasses of water and some ranch dressing that I was told I was not allowed to eat.
Ten... nine... eight... oh shoot... this was a really bad idea.... no I mean REALLY BAD … two... one...
The first bite was not that bad. Maybe the nerve endings in my tongue momentarily went into shock, because after that my mouth was on fire. I gulped water—bad idea. The water just distributed the taste throughout my mouth. It didn't help that the guy across the table from me was shoveling the wings into his mouth faster than I could pick mine up. He ended up eating his entire pound in under 2 minutes... and I had only finished the first layer of wings on my plate. I gave up then... I do want to taste other things for the rest of my life going forward...
After that I took the name of the weekend much more seriously. There was a Bad Ideas Taco Bell Eating contest, and a Frosting Eating contest, but I'd learned my lesson. Besides eating, the weekend was filled with other crazy projects, contests, and events.
One such event was the Green Building Challenge. The Green Building is the tallest building on campus (and the tallest building in Cambridge, at 20 stories tall). The challenge: how many vertical miles can your team climb? Oh-- and you're climbing between the hours of 10pm and 2am Saturday night.
I was about to put on athletic clothes and go over to the Green Building when I checked my email (If you are an MIT student, you check your email compulsively. It's the only way to survive.) and found an even worse idea: the Green Building Challenge... without touching the stairs! You literally had to climb the hand rails all the way to the top.
So I did. Three times. (And then once on foot, singing Disney songs loudly just for good measure.) Twenty Green Buildings make up a vertical mile, so I ascended... one fifth of a mile? It felt a lot harder than that!
Speaking of elevation extremes, there's a twenty*-foot-tall sledding hill in the EC courtyard! Who needs roller coasters when we have snow?
*(which is weird because I helped screw the supports together to build the thing and the tallest supports were definitely only 8-footers. I guess The Tech decided exaggeration was necessary...)
While I was out in the snow screwing two-by-fours together, other people were working on warmer, indoor projects. One project put hundreds of colored LEDs along the first-floor hallway, to make a linear, multicolored, psychedelic display. Another project took over 3 ovens on each of the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of the east building and used the 12 ovens to parallelize the baking of 10^4 cookies. In fact, they overshot: by the time the cookie-counting-crew had counted to ten-thousand, and sent word to the cookie-making team, they already had pans in every oven cooking... By the time the cookies had stopped coming down the pipeline, there were 11,000 of them.
You just read the number 10^4, and you probably thought, oh, that's ten thousand cookies, that's a lot of cookies. I don't think you realize. That is enough cookies for every member of the MIT community to have one—undergrads and grad students alike! It is enough for every EC resident to eat over 30 cookies. It is, in fact, OVER 9,000 cookies! It was definitely more cookies than East Campus had room for... so we brought them around to places on the rest of campus as well.
And speaking of excessive food...
Yeah, East Campus made that. Only bigger. See if you can spot it in the Bad Ideas highlights video: (also spot yours truly in some classy sunglasses freaking out about nomming some wings)