Tuesday, November 11, 2008



I wish MIT had come up with this. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Violation Notice



Sometimes, I'm really proud to be a student at this school.

And that's all I think I need to say about this, especially on a public forum. This hack speaks for itself.

Any questions, leave 'em in the comments or email me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One year's perspective

It's always strange for me to read through the old entries on my blog, because at least to me, they seem very different than the sort of things I post now. I think that's mainly because I've shifted most of my serious thoughts and entries to my admissions blog, so it's really just the random observations (and YouTube videos :D) that get posted here nowadays.

But, still. I almost wish I could go back to last year, when I was simultaneously so excited to head to MIT and Boston yet also incredibly sad to leave South Bend. And I still feel that way, usually, whenever I come back home for a break (like I am now). But I feel much more torn - caught? - between Boston and South Bend than I used to. I think it's partly because many of my friends have also moved on to their respective colleges and new cities, and there's less tying me here than there used to be. After all, while the physical place you live is always important...I can't help but feel that it's the people in that place who really make it home. And now, the vast majority of my friends are also in Boston. (But maybe that too will change, once I graduate - who knows?)

I'm also becoming less dependent, I think (and hope). I relied on my parents for a lot...but, well, part of college is learning to live by yourself, and I love having more freedom. Sometimes I use it less responsibly than I should, to be sure...but I'm working on that. :)

Finally...I think a large part of me simply loves Boston. South Bend is a fantastic city - but it's a small city, and it's incredibly different from Boston. In the physical sense, South Bend is much more stratified than Boston: here are the subdivisions and the residential zones, there are the strip malls and the shopping centers, out there are the factories and the farms...whereas in Boston, everything is mushed together, apartments and bars and stores, Fenway and the Common and Skullhouse all within walking distance, and it's seemingly so random but so beautiful at the same time.

I don't know, yet, if I'm destined to be a Bostonian for the rest of my life. It's far too early to talk about that...but it is an incredibly city, and I'm proud to live there.

And I love being able to call MIT my home.

YouTube Addict

So at family brunch today, my dad brought up the famous "Barack Roll" that's been all over the intertubes lately...and I was aghast to discover that the rest of my family had absolutely no idea what it was like to be rickrolled.

A problem which I have now corrected. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Sad little king of a sad little hill"

Some of you may know that I am mildly obsessed with the TV show Firefly, which is a fantastic mashup of the sci-fi and Western genres. I've watched the entire series now (some episodes multiple times), but this scene remains one of my favorites. Just thought I'd share. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reflections on a MITblogs Entry

Ben's Final Farewell

In retrospect, it's fragmented as heck and I nearly cried writing it. But I still think it's one of the most important entries I've written this entire summer. Certainly the most meaningful.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody!

Monday, July 14, 2008


I am currently devouring reheated steak and lobster left over from when my parents and I went out this weekend. Mm, surf and turf. Reminds me of Rush. And of family.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Surprise Visit

I just found out that my parents are coming in to Boston tonight - with tickets for the Red Sox game on Sunday!

I am pumped. :) (Perhaps I will even see Snively there?)

And now, off to my lab to do a little weekend research. Because science, like justice, never sleeps.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Heaven in your mouth

When you guys get to Boston, you have to experience Dim Sum in Chinatown on a Sunday afternoon. It is heaven in your mouth. Trust me. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Social plans

Wednesday: Firefly at Skullhouse
Thursday: Dennis' birthday party at Ginza in Boston (7 pm)
Friday: Fourth of July! Sleeping in and fireworks

In the meantime, my pet projects currently include continuing to learn LaTeX (with the eventual goal of making a few important documents - my resume, Skullhouse's bylaws - into .tex files), playing around with PostScript and Python, and catching up with summer reading. Not to mention blogging, of course (the third installment of "In Their Words," something about Guildcamp, etc.)

Should be a good week.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I hereby declare Athens, the game, a success!

What am I talking about, exactly? Full story to follow on the MITblogs shortly. But now...sleep...


Friday, June 27, 2008

And there were eleven...

...in all the time I've been on the blogs, this page has never looked so empty.

So strange to think that the blogs Ben created now list him as an "alum." :(

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baseball and I...

...do not always get along.

For instance, I just confused the White Sox (a Chicago team, quite inferior to the Cubs of course) with the Silver Hawks (South Bend's local team). Oops.

I'm not this nonsensical all the time, really!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Watching these videos is what my group is doing instead of writing our game for the Assassin's Guild. More on that later.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tempus fugit (et frangit)

I started this blog just over a year ago, now.

Things have changed a lot, since then...in more ways than even I probably realize. I think, though, that most of them are good. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hogwarts, Harvard, and Azkaban...


You owe it to yourself to at least read #10.

I'm going to go die of laughter now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

And so the weekend begins...

Off to Steer Roast.

Should be fun!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008



I love the photo.

Monday, April 21, 2008



Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pillow Fight!

Going home for spring break means I miss all the fun stuff.


Pictures courtesy of Allison '12.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gary Gygax Memorial Hack

Possibly my favorite hack yet from this semester.

d20 on Killian Court

Of course, xkcd is always relevant.

This'll be appearing on the blogs shortly, so keep an eye out for that. (Snively's called it, but I just took a few photos of my own for the hack - perhaps he'll be willing to include them in his entry? We'll see.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On dreams

In my application to be an MIT blogger, which feels like an age ago now, part of one of my essays read:

"The blogs truly mean something to me. They’re wrapped up part and parcel with why I fell in love with MIT in the first place. After I visited MIT in person for the first time, just over a year ago, the blogs became my lifeline back to Boston. Reading the blogs enabled me to feel like I was still connected to campus—like I was already a part of MIT.

I know that there are a lot of other students like me out there, kids who have only recently heard of MIT but are hungry to know more. I remember what it’s like to be in that position; I remember what it’s like to read the blogs and simply feel something click within yourself, when you realize that MIT is calling you. For me, in the end it always comes back to the students. Whether they’re from the Midwest or the Middle East, I want to make them feel welcome on the admissions site. As a blogger, I want to help them fall in love with MIT, just like I did."

A while ago, someone commented on one of my entries, "I am scared, I have fallen in love with a college to which I haven't even been admitted yet." And you know, that is exactly what happened to me last year. In the end...it worked out. I was admitted, to MIT and to several other schools. I still chose MIT without hesitation.

But I can't wonder...what if I had not been admitted? What if I had been in the position that so many people, some of whom I know and some of whom may even be reading this, now find themselves in? How would I be coping? Would I believe what Stu said in the not-admitted letter, what Matt and Ben have said so eloquently so many times, what I tried to repeat and rephrase yesterday - "Please understand that this is in no way a judgment of you as a student or as a person, since our decision has more to do with the applicant pool than anything else."

It's hard, I think...to listen to advice from someone who has something you dreamed of for so long, but ultimately could not attain. But...it's even harder, I think, for people like Matt and Ben to deny 7 out of every 8 applicant their dream of going to MIT.

Sorry if this isn't necessarily very clear or coherent. But I just had to say that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gamers' delight

Starcraft II Zerg Revealed

This basically makes my night. Yes, everyone knew the zerg were going to be the third race; yes, everyone knew they were going to have hydraslisks and mutalisks (not to mention banelings and zerglings and...). It's nothing really new; but it's still exciting to see the official page be updated.

In other news, I have both played Brawl and seen the Brawl hack. Both are even more awesome in real life.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day

February 29 - the day that comes once every four years.

Almost as widely anticipated as Pi Day.

Seriously - my advising group and I went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (for free! oh, I do love MIT's free food) a few nights ago, and we actually ended up talking about how all of us were really excited to see what Pi Day at MIT would be like.

Yeah, we're nerds.

Anyway, I have my first 5.12 test in oh, 40 minutes. Who's excited!? (Not me.)

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy orgo. But I am not looking forward to this test.

In other news, it's Friday. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I was under the impression that MIT professors and course administrators prided themselves on quickly updating their online gradebooks.

So would someone please tell me why my 18.03 grade still isn't online, more than a week after I turned it in?

*Micro-rant = A volatile vilification of a single subject, reported rapidly.

The alliterative definition is mine. Although I was hoping I was the first one to coin the term, a Google search revealed over 1300 hits - alas. Maybe I'll get credit for popularizing it, though. ;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sort of sad

Now that semester's started and I actually have work (what? work at MIT? crazy, I know), I've had to come up with some better organizational skills. The most important step has been setting up a pretty kick-ass Google Calendar (I've also been experimenting with Lightning, which is the calendar add-on for Mozilla Thunderbird) that complements the schedule I keep on my lovely Treo. However, I also occasionally resort to much lower-tech methods - in particular, emailing myself reminders and lists of things to do.

Here's an example of an email I just sent myself, upon realizing that I have an assignment due this Wednesday for 20.020, my bioengineering lab course.

From: Me
To: Me
Subject: 20.020 STUFF IS DUE SOON!

Also, work more on your 18.03 and 8.022 p-sets. And finish the reading for your HASS class. Now.



I sure know how to intimidate myself, don't I?

Now, off to 5.12. Organic chemistry. Yum.

Friday, February 8, 2008


So I'm currently tooling away in the lovely reading room in the Student Center, also known as W20. I usually like the reading room - it reminds me of a library that just happens to be tucked away into a corner of W20, except without the books - but for some reason, I really can't stand it right now. Compared to the Athena clusters where I usually do my work, somehow the reading room just seems too clean, too quiet, too bright. Call me crazy, but sometimes I like a little mess in my life.

Also, a confession: I regularly bring food and drink into the clusters. The horror, I know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Read the Year in Review!

The Tech, MIT's largest student newspaper, has just published their "Year in Review" issue, which draws together a truly comprehensive array of articles about almost every major decision or controversy that affected MIT over the past year. Some of it is opinion pieces, some is straight-up reporting, some of it is just about the year's best movies and songs - but either way, it's one hundred percent MIT. From hacking to housing, it's all in there.

I feel obliged to point out that, while a lot of good news came out of MIT last year, so did a great deal of bad news - and, well, bad news tends to sell better, or at least make more interesting reading. On the whole, I think the "Year in Review" issue strikes a good balance between the positive and the negative while still remaining on the whole accurate to what really happened at MIT during 2007.

You can find the entire issue in HTML here - or, if you have a good connection, you can download the very nice PDF instead. I have to run to class now, but maybe later I'll link to some of the pieces I most liked or think are most important. Until then, I'd just recommend reading the entire thing, or as much as you have time for. Maybe, if you read carefully, you'll find a familiar face...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Some quick thoughts on Initation, Freshmen on Campus, and the Super Bowl

Last night was initiation at Skullhouse. Obviously, I can't say much about it - and nor do I want to, since really, there are some things that, in my opinion, should only be appreciated firsthand...sort of like hacking, actually.

But yes, I am now officially a brother of Phi Kappa Sigma, which is...there's a lot of words running through my head. Awesome probably comes closest. I have quite a bit more to say on this, but I think I'll save those ruminations for my admissions blog.

In other news, I'm officially moved back into Simmons. Kind of depressing, actually, that one of my first acts as an initiated brother is to move out of the house. But that's Freshmen On Campus for you.

Also, as the entire world probably knows, Super Bowl is on tonight! As you can probably guess, I'll be rooting for the Pats - even though I would much prefer the Colts to be playing instead. Although Simmons is showing it in our awesome Multi-Purpose Room, I'll be back at the house to watch instead. I think we're having not one but two TV's set up for that purpose. Sweet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

One More Reason I <3 xkcd

As you hopefully already know, xkcd is undeniably awesome.

Portal is also indubitably awesome.

xkcd and Portal together is ineffably awesome.

In other news, the brothers liked the pledge project. Hell yes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

why am i still up?

...oh yeah, Mystery Hunt.

I have no idea if our team getting owned or doing average, but at least I'm having fun, which really is the most important part. I ended up spending about six hours on a single puzzle that involved running around basically all of Main Campus, but ultimately my group and I prevailed to find the solution! So that made me happy.

Now I'm stuck on a poker-related puzzle. Which you'd think would be right up my alley, but it's so ridiculous that I have no idea where to start (and the puzzle's flavor text seems to be no help at all). I'll share more details later (since the liveblog side of things seems to be pretty adequately covered, I'll probably just end up putting one big post with photos, commentary, and quotes after the Hunt ends), but for now I am heading to bed.

Yeah, I know, sleep is for weaklings; but I love it so much. That being said, part of the fun really is staying up ridiculously late (I consider 3:30 pretty ridiculous anyway though), so huge props to all the solvers, on my team and elsewhere, who are dedicated (or masochistic) enough to keep solving through the darkest hours of night and morning.

Update @ 5:30 - I'm not sure whether to be proud or deeply, deeply ashamed of the fact that I stayed up two more hours looking up titles of B-rated horror movies. Clearly, when an MIT student says he's going to bed...don't believe him!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Guess what showed up in my inbox today?

From: Melissa Martin-Greene
Subject: Your IAP Credit UROP
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 13:59:43 -0500


I'm pleased to inform you that your IAP credit UROP has been approved. In order to receive this credit, please be sure that you have registered this credit with the Registrar using WebSIS. WebSIS will be open for changes in your IAP subject selections up until the end of the day today, January 17, 2008.

If you are unsure about the subject number for which you should register or have other questions, do let us know. We are happy provide the proper subject number for your IAP UROP if you are unsure what it should be.

With all best wishes for productive research,

Melissa Martin-Greene
Program Coordinator, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Pre-reg, you say? No problem!

I am officially going to receive credit for my research these past few weeks. This makes me very happy. See? Happy: =)

(And Mystery Hunt starts tomorrow!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sooner or later...

...I will actually tell you what I got for Christmas.

Sorry for the lack of updates here, but as I told Star a few days ago, I had three different entries I wanted to finish for the MITblogs - and happily, I completed all of them. I consider that a good weekend. ^_^

Okay, off to the lab. Too bad there's a foot of snow on the ground now. Good thing I have my boots.