Friday, June 27, 2008

Regina: Swipe Cards From Hell

Sunday morning was our flight to Regina International (which is eight times as big as the Houghton County Airport -- by number of gates, at least). We had a bit of a wait on the tarmac at Minneapolis-St. Paul, and our plane was half empty. Our flight crew seemed pretty young and cool, and they started offering free upgrades to first class if you could answer trivia about the captain (who, for example, grew up in Buffalo, New York :)). I was happy with my seat, so I didn't go for an upgrade. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

We were met by Shaun (one of the organizers of our workshop) and his extremely cute little daughter. They drove us to the University and dropped us off at the dorms we'd be staying in: The North Residence. I already knew that we must be in the big city -- these residences are as tall as the MEEM!

As it turns out, these residences were designed by paranoid architects. When we checked in, we received a key and a swipe card. The swipe card, said the "Commissionaire", was used in our doors and the elevators: "Just swipe yer card, and type yer number there, and you'll be on yer way." Well, turns out that the cards are more like puzzles. The elevator had a card slot, and a number pad above it. So, I put my card in and typed in my room number. No go. Then I tried my floor number. Nope. I tried my card, then press the floor number on the usual elevator buttons. No go! Rachel tried, and got it working eventually. Turns out it's: swipe your card repeatedly until you get a green light, then press your floor number. My card got a green light about 1/10 of the time.

After that, we ran around the building (and town) for a while to see what we could see. First, more building weirdness: we took the stairways up and down the building, because I don't like elevators. Turns out, the stairwells don't go to first floor -- there's no way to get to the first floor at all! How do you get out in case of fire? Beats me. So, we took the elevator -- but even though you can get to every other floor from the stairwells, you can't get to any other floor at all from the elevators except with a card. That's pointless paranoia!

Aside from the paranoia, the buildings were actually pretty awesome. In the photo above, you can see that on the corners of the towers, there are big vertical stacks of windows, and some smaller windows on the sides. Each suite in the building has four bedrooms and one common area. The big corner windows were attached to each common area, and they had awesome views. Mine looked out to the northwest, where the downtown and industrial districts were filled with lights every night, after a beautiful sunset. You could even see stars -- in the city! I tried taking many photos from my suite's common area, but I usually got bad glare or a bad angle. The one and only one I kept is this one... it gives you a little bit of an idea:

The big arched building on the right is the library. The big circular thing with lots of grass inside it is the campus "green," which was a fun place to play outdoor games or just hang out.

Next: Thar be a lake out thar!

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