October 30, 2007

My Bookshelf

The other day I reached up to my bookshelf to grab a text book and realized that I have a very geeky and characteristically me bookshelf.

For my graduation speech I described the link between teenagers and their footwear:

I'd like to draw a similar analogy to my bookshelf. You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at the books on their shelf. To demonstrate this, I've taken a picture of my bookshelf and would like to go over the books on it with you.

From right to left:
Assembly Modeling with SolidWorks 2006
SolidWorks is a 3D solid modeling computer program that I use for making neat models online.

SolidWorks 2006: The Basics
Again, SolidWorks guide.

Engineering and Computer Graphics Workbook Using SolidWorks 2006
More SolidWorks!

MIT Freshman Photobook
This is so I can look up the names of random people I meet/forget. Also a nice reminder that the odds are good, but the goods are odd.

How To Survive a Robot Uprising
A birthday present from my roommate. I think it'll come in handy some day, especially since any robot uprising is likely to start from somewhere within MIT.

1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k
Do I really need to explain why I have this? Yes? Because it's amazing!

Mysterious Spiral Bound Book
Another SolidWorks guide, this one focusing on how to use macros to make life easier.

How to Get Around MIT
If you're ever at the MIT bookstore (The Coop (rhymes with hoop)) and are even kinda considering MIT, buy this book. It has absolutely everything and was written/published by students. Forget any other book about MIT, this is the one you want.

Typographic Design: Form and Communication
One of the several textbooks for my Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) class. It's about fonts is actually very interesting!

The Iron Whim
Another book for my HASS class, this one not interesting at all and actually quite maddening. I made it 3 chapters in before giving up. It's about a guy's obsession with typewriters, honestly, why was this book written!?

Sprague High School 2007 Yearbook
Muchos Kudos to the yearbook staff for my senior year in high school, this is the best yearbook I've ever seen. I keep it around for nostalgia and because it's just so well designed and laid out.

Really Thin Book
Wired's "Geekapedia," which defines any and every Web 2.0 slang or jargon that any non-geek needs to become the next Michael Snively.

Not So Thin Book, But Still Pretty Thin
MIT Career fair guide. Not sure why I still have this, I've never even opened it.

University Physics
My physics book. I think we all know my stance on physics (hate hate hate hate hate) but the book is fairly decent. We'll see how my physics test on Thursday goes though.

Multivariable Calculus
Mmmmmm, calculus. Calculus and I have never really gotten along well (surf through some of my entries towards the end of last school year, you'll see what I mean), but this year I think I'm actually starting to absorb it. I've passed everything in the class so far, which is a good sign.

Modern Art
Another HASS book, one I have almost no intention of reading.

Two Composition Books
Tip to prospective freshmen: Composition notebooks, while terrible for taking notes in, are WONDERFUL for just doing scratch work in. It eliminates loose paper and you can just scribble random work inside wherever you want. Plus, they're light and compact. Definitely bring a few of these for scratch work.

Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry
I have a test in this class tomorrow! The chemistry book is a beast. It's been rumored that some poor east campus kids use it to kill small animals for food. However big it may be, it's very useful for learning chemistry so I keep it around.

Three Binders
Each one is for a different subject, an attempt to stay organized. Unfortunately, that attempt failed, seeing as I can't remember which subject is in which binder and I haven't opened them in several weeks. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Mysterious Spiral Bound Black Book
This is my shooting journal for pistol. After every practice I write down what happened during practice so I can learn from it for next time.

Ethernet Cable
This is in case I ever need hardwired Internet. It was free, I took it.

Dead Cell Phone
This is my old, broken, dead cell phone. I'm still trying to come up with a creative way to dispose of it (BOOM!).

So, that's it, my bookshelf. Can you see where I'd believe it was characteristic of me? Where else will you see books like that? Stay tuned for more exciting blog posts in the future, I won't disappoint. Ciao!

October 29, 2007

Flame War

MIT has a rich tradition of spontaneously producing campus-wide spam/flame-wars that have been known to overload MIT's e-mail servers so badly that it takes up to 5 hours for an e-mail to be delivered after having been sent. One such flame war happened about a week ago, and I've decided to post it. I haven't read all of it (I've got better things to do) but I thought you may like to see the scope of such a flame war.


We Hate Plastic. . .AND THE YANKEES!

Last night, in case you didn't hear, the Red Sox won the World Series. People here in Boston went nuts, and I was there to capture it all with my handy dandy video camera. I proudly present the 2007 World Series Red Sox Riot, as shot through my video camera:

We Hate Plastic. . .AND THE YANKEES!
(Note that at 3:14 remaining in the video, some guy decides he's going to try to kill me by throwing a sharp and jagged plastic barrel directly at me)

Cars, Cops, and Horses

October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Drop

As a guy, I must say that I have an affinity for the following:

(-) Explosions
(-) Dropping stuff from really high up
(-) Explosions
(-) Loud Noises
(-) Explosions

Naturally, when I heard that pumpkins were going to be dropping off the Green Building

I knew I had to be there. At midnight last night/this morning a bunch of us Conner 2 peoples headed over towards East Campus to watch some gourd-a-licious destruction. I, of course, brought my video camera so that I could share everything with you. I hear that there was a camera in one of the pumpkins that was dropped so I'll be looking around for that footage and I'll post it if/when I find it. Enjoy!

Staying on Track

This post probably doesn't need to exist, but I wanted to get some feedback from you guys really quick.

When I started my blog I used most of my entries to tell stories about stuff that's happened to me in the past and to talk about cool new fads/crazes/youtube videos I find on the internet. Lately I can't help but feel that I've been pulling away from that and mostly talking about MIT. Granted, I kind of live here, but are you ok with me blogging about it so much? I'd be more than happy to blog about more stories that aren't MIT related if I'm burning you out. Let me know what you think by either leaving a comment (I read them all, I promise), voting in the poll in the right margin, or both. Thanks, and happy reading!

October 25, 2007


[Monitor this post, I'll be updating]

I woke up this morning to a text message that said "Hack between MacGregor and Tang" and of course had to check it out.

Check out this site for more details:


MIT hackers put a 'GO SOX' banner over New House on the morning of Thursday the 25th in recognition of the Boston Red Sox competing in the 2007 Baseball World Series. The banner, which was clearly visible from the Boston side of the Charles River, was strung between MacGregor and Tang Hall dormitories—a distance of well over a thousand feet.

I love hackers!

October 22, 2007

Red Sox

As I find more content, I'll post it, so check regularly:

Let me explain something to you. If you're in Boston (as I currently am) then you pretty much, automatically, have to be a Red Sox fan. At the very least, you have to be anti-Yankees. That being said, last night was game 7 for the Red Sox, the one that decided whether or not they moved on to the World Series. It was a home game at Fenway park, which is literally just across the river from where we live. We can actually hear the fans from our windows, believe it or not.

Game 7 found the residents of Conner 2 all sitting in the floor lounge, after an exciting day of apple bake, watching baseball. Come the bottom of the 8th inning, I get a brilliant idea!

"Hey guys, there's going to be a huge party/mob outside Fenway tonight, let's go!"
(5 others) "Ok!"

We ran around the floor looking for Red Sox gear to put on. I got a shirt, some others got hats, and one other had a shirt. We ran from the door and to the Harvard bridge. A quick jaunt across the river and we were on our way. That was when we had our first clue that this was going to be insane.

A taxi drove down the street with people hanging out the windows screaming "RED SOX, YEAH!" We decided to get into the spirit of things and scream back, making for a lovely conversation with the drunken cab-riders who were already on their way down the street to yell at more people. As we got closer and closer to the stadium we began to see more and more people. Soon, we found the mob. Oh, and with the mob, we found 75-100 police officers in riot gear, motorcycles, German Sheppards, and police cars. Everybody in the mob was screaming and cheering as loud as they could, so we smashed our way in and towards the center to participate in the festivities.

There was a streetlight post on the corner of the intersection we were mobbing in and people decided that it would be a really good idea to climb it, so they did.

They used 2 flimsy street signs as a step and climbed onto the "Do Not Walk/Walk" light-up box so they could lead chants and yell. Soon, the street signs were all bent and messed up, so (and I'm assuming this) for the safety of all involved, 3-4 crazy guys just started pulling and ripping and yanking the signs. Eventually they ripped them completely off, which caused more screaming and jumping by us, the mob.

Next to that sign was either a car or a series of garbage cans that people were standing on, screaming chants and riling up the crowd. Some favorite chants were

"F*** The Rockies!"
"Let's Go Red Sox!"
"Yankees Suck!"
"Ole, ole ole ole"

That's when flash lady appeared. Let's face it, with a huge mob, there's going to be a flash lady. What made it fun (other than the fact that she was flash lady) is that while she was on the garbage cans/car doing her thing, there was a guy on top of the traffic light swinging his shirt around and cheering. The mob was cheering wildly and this guy thought it was all for him, so he kept screaming and chanting and being cool, completely oblivious of the naked lady that everybody was actually cheering for. Good times! That's when some genius decided it'd be fun to try to climb another post. He made it halfway up and was holding onto the street sign when all of a sudden the street sign snapped off and he just fell, straight down, with nothing under him but concrete. There was some laughing that happened at his expense.

At this point cops, in full riot gear, decided that the "illegal assembly" should go away, so they began their crowd dispersal tactics (which were actually quite effective).

They blocked off two sides of the intersection with police so there was only one street. They then ran lines of motorcycles, with sirens blaring as loud as possible, down the street, flushing people to the sidewalks. They did this several times, and all the while a recording was playing from the SWAT-looking tank/van thing:

"You are unlawfully assembled. Under order of Massachusetts state law, if you do not immediately and peacefully disperse, you will be arrested."

Red Lines = Motorcycles
Blue Lines = Police
Blue Boxes = Police Cars
Big Blue Box = SWAT-looking/Van thing
Oval = Mob

After several waves of motorcycles they started to get serious. If you look on the map, see the little park where are all the police cars are parked? Those cars are K9 units. Guess what came out of every single car . . .

The motorcycles then lined up in the street, but this time didn't move. Another line of motorcycles formed behind them. Then, police on foot behind them, two lines. Finally, the SWAT-looking/van thing, followed up by a Gator, retrofitted to be a police Gator. This was the final flush. They started moving forward and not letting a single person stay, anywhere. We were in the park by the dogs, but that was until we noticed the dogs. I'm not a fan of being on the wrong end of a police dog (mainly, the mouth end) so I was all for getting to the other side of the park and watching the final flush from a safe vantage point.

And so that's how it happened. We walked peacefully down a street parallel to the mob/flush street and watched an extremely large number of police flush the Red Sox mob down out and away from our location of unlawful assembly. All in all, it was an amazing night! I'd never seen that many cops, I'd never been part of a mob of Red Sox fans, and everybody was in a great mood. Then, the cherry on top happened on the way home.

The Harvard Bridge connects Boston to Cambridge/MIT so we had to cross it to get home. There's a passenger sidewalk and then right next to it is a bike lane. It's REALLY irritating when you have to move for a bike rider who decided that the sidewalk would be a better choice, but normally you just move and bitterly complain. Last night, the four of us formed a line across the sidewalk, making it impossible for the bike to pass. Eventually we let him pass, but that started a rousing game of "Bike Lane." The rules are simple, one person says "Bike Lane" at a fairly low volume. Then, another person immediately follows by saying "Bike Lane" at a slightly to moderately louder volume. Eventually, all four of us were screaming "BIKE LANE!" in a bitter, angry tone, as loud as we could. Then, we looked across the 4 lane street and saw, lo and behold, somebody riding a bike in the bike lane! We turn our attention to him and start screaming "YEAH BIKE LANE, WOOOO!" He acknowledged by raising his fist into the air, to which we cheered wildly. He then screamed "GO RED SOX!" to which we screamed even louder! It was a good night, I can't wait until the world series. . .

October 21, 2007


If you look at the Conner 2 wiki, you'll find the following information about Burton-Conner's annual Apple Bake:

Burton Conner hosts an annual Apple Bake, where dorm residents are encouraged to submit all manner of apple pies, cobblers, sculptures, mac and cheese, and whatever creative, original apple recipes they can think of. The BC housemasters and some of the GRTs get to taste all the food and award prizes in different categories (such as dessert, entrée, appetizer, and so on). The home floor of the contest winners is awarded a cash prize for their general floor fund. Conner 2 does Apple Bake hardcore. In fact, our floor shirts sport a "Varsity Apple Bake" logo. We're often responsible for a ridiculously disproportionate percentage of Apple Bake entries. And then we win an equally disproportionate percentage.

I know what you're thinking. . . "Shirts?! They have shirts?!"


Now, as a freshman, I've heard stories of epic apple baking but nothing could have prepared me for just how seriously Conner 2 takes it! It started two weeks ago with the preparation of recipes. In any given lounge you could pretty much guarantee there was at least one person sitting there with a laptop, asking different people what they thought about various apple meals.

A week ago, the floor took a trip to an apple orchard to gather as many apples as they could (Burton-Conner provides several apples, but not nearly enough for what we do). Then, after that trip, the mom of another freshman (Sam) took advantage of an apple orchard she has access to and gave us dozens of more apples in all the exotic varieties we needed for our recipes.

On Thursday everybody spent the evening baking, testing out recipes and looking for suggestions. We all gathered in the floor lounge and snacked on apples for an hour or two. We wrote down who was going to enter what, and we started to realize that we were going to be submitting A LOT of entries.

Saturday: It Begins! We kicked the day off at midnight by beginning filming for my "Apple Bake: The Movie" stop-motion movie (to be submitted as a "Sculpture"). Filming wrapped at 3:00 AM and I went to bed for a few hours before beginning the monumental task of putting together an entire stop-motion movie in one day. Why a movie? Because I can't cook, sculpt, or do much of anything with apples except put them on the Internet with music in the background, so that's what I did! Sam baked a pie and a cake Saturday afternoon and James (yet another freshman) worked on his apple pie. At 6:00 PM, Diana started what was to become an apple-baking marathon of epic proportions. Saturday, as I saw it, concluded at around 1:00 AM on Sunday with a completed stop-motion movie, 2 completed pies, a finished cake, and Diana in the kitchen.

Sunday: I awoke at 11:00 AM to the smell of apples. After a quick shower and grabbing my video camera, I started visiting the various kitchens to scope out the various levels of apple-related entropy. Here's what I discovered:

I also discovered Diana, still awake, working on her 5th or 6th dish:

Me: "Diana, did you sleep?"
Diana: "No, are you doing anything?"
Me: "No, do you need something?"
Diana: "Can you go find sugar?! I need sugar,"

The rest of my morning was spent scurrying around, bringing various ingredients to various individuals, and taking pictures of all of it. One thing in particular that I'd like to note is that it's really obvious you've got a bunch of geeks cooking these apples because next to nearly every dish that was being prepared sat a laptop with a recipe on the screen. There was one, just one, paper recipe! All others were either laptop-ridden or made up on the spot.

All entries were due at 3:30, and come 3:00 I decided it would probably be a good idea to get my "sculpture" all set up. I grabbed my speakers from my room and borrowed somebody's Apple computer and started setting up my display. In the end, it looked something like this:

All of a sudden, it was 3:30! Conner 2 residents started frantically grabbing as many of our dishes

as we could carry. In the end, I think only one dish wasn't finished in time, but we still had enough food entered into competition to be more than competitive. What ever happened to Diana? By 3:30 she was STILL cooking and finished her 10th dish. She cooked from 6:00 PM the previous night until 3:30 PM on Sunday, a total of 21.5 hours of cooking, with no sleep! It all paid off though, because, well, allow me to share with you the finer points of the results e-mail we got this evening.

Most Creative -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple Blueberry Hand Pies
Best Overall -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple Blueberry Hand Pies
1st apple pie -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple Blueberry Hand Pies
2nd apple pie -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple - Pear Galette
1st cobbler -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Caramel Apple Cheesecake
1st appetizer -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Curry Spinach Apple Spread

In other words, of the 12 possible awards (2 for each of the 5 categories, and 1 each for most creative and best overall), Diana won half.

But, it doesn't stop there! With an entire floor's worth of entries, more than just one person won. Other Conner 2 winners were

2nd appetizer -- Daniel Sauza -- Conner 2 -- Apple Salsa
2nd entree -- R. Eyers -- Conner 2 -- Mediterranean Apple Pizza
1st entree -- Mason Tang -- Conner 2 -- Apple Bacon Cheddar Omelettes

What about my video? Well, as you know, there was some debate amongst people on the floor as to whether it was actually a sculpture or not. I entered it as one, but nobody knew what the judges would think. Turns out, I got one of these during the awards ceremony

2nd sculpture -- Michael Snively -- Conner 2 -- Apple Bake: The Movie

YAY! It counted as a sculpture! To honor my video's appearance, I've put it on YouTube for everybody to see for all of forever.

For those of you counting, that's 10 winners, out of 12 possible! Oh, and did I mention we get money for our floor for every win we get? It amounted to $421 out of a possible $500!

Now, to tie everything together (meaning I'll reference the quote in the beginning of this entry creating, essentially, a bow tie on on the awesomeness that is Conner 2 Apple Bake):

- 76 total entries, by floors:
> Conner 2: 43
> Conner 5: 7
> Burton 2: 7
> Conner 4: 6
> Conner 3: 5
> Burton 5: 3
> Burton 1: 3
> Burton 4: 1
> Burton 3: 1

- Conner 2 winning funds: $421
- Conner 4 winning funds: $ 75

Why this $$$ doesn't add up to $500 isn't quite understood, but hey, we're MIT, we don't do math ;)

That's the coverage of this year's Apple Bake, I hope you enjoyed it. Look for coverage again next year!

October 20, 2007

What Did I Do Today?!

So, my floor is participating in an apple baking competition tomorrow so everybody is going to be cooking and working hard tomorrow. I, however, don't cook, so I needed to do something else. I decided on a stop-motion film about apples, which I spent all day today creating. Here's the awesome (in my opinion) result!

October 17, 2007

Raw Sewage and Wi-Fi

While looking at videos on YouTube Monday evening, I discovered that my Internet stopped working. Taking this as a sign from the Wi-Fi gods, I decided that it was time to escape my room and socialize a bit. I wandered into a kitchen suite across the hall and started chatting with people. A few seconds later Rick wandered into the suite.

“I’ve decided to come out and join you guys because my Internet died,” he exclaimed.
"Me too!"

As time passed, more and more people began to realize that the Internet was auspiciously absent from their computers. What could be the problem?! A passerby mentioned that a sewage line in Burton-Conner had burst and leaked sewage not only into our stairwell but all over the ground floor. Due to the lack of Internet, I needed some type of adventure to keep me occupied and this was just too exciting to pass up. Opening the door to the stairwell and taking one whiff was enough to confirm, without a doubt, absolutely, positively, absolutely, that there was poop in our stairway. Lovely.

I hurried back to the kitchen to report the news, and also to discover that the Internet was still not functioning. Could the poop somehow be related to the missing Wi-Fi? *ponders . . . *

Wanting some answers, I wandered back to the stairwell and spotted a plumber. The following dialogue occurred:

“So, what’s going on?”

“Well, there’s a backup in the sewage line and it’s started to leak raw sewage all over the ground floor.”

“Ah, I see. Could this possibly be affecting our Internet?”

“It just might, actually! All the sewage seems to be leaking into one room. It seems like there are a lot of electronics, lights, and wires in there. Most of it is covered in poop now.”

“Ah. That’s not good. Well. Thanks.”

That was when the true hilarity/horror of the entire situation hit me. Our server room had filled with poop, destroying Internet to the entire dorm. The next several hours consisted of either:

a) Running around the hall screaming about not having Internet
b) Concocting ways of getting Internet.

These ideas consisted of lining up dozens of hundred-dollar laptops and using their mesh-network capabilities to bring Wi-Fi to our dorm and using tinfoil and bottles of water to fashion a Wi-Fi antennae.

Needless to say, we did more of option (a) than implementing option (b).

So what ended up happening? Why would you possibly want to come to MIT if you knew there was a possibility of this happening? Because 2 hours after the spewing sewage, the cleaning staff had the entire lobby smelling like bleach. The servers? Brand new servers were installed the next day by 8:00 pm, meaning our dorm has brand new Wi-Fi! Stuff does go wrong here, it’s just like anywhere in the world, but let’s face it. MIT knows we’re a bunch of geeks, and when you wipe out Internet to an entire dorm full of geeks something needs to be done about it very quickly. I mean, after all, we'd get into so much more trouble if we didn't have our computers to keep us occupied!

October 15, 2007


After working all day on studying chemistry and calculus (which is actually quite nice, compared to doing physics) and spending a mentally exhausting hour shooting, I was a little brain-dead. I attempted some physics and made it pretty far, but my brain just shut off, so I went into a kitchen to lie down while talking amongst other PSETers. Being in a weakened mental state I was bound to say something stupid, which I did. I don't remember what, but that doesn't matter, what happened next is what matters:

Laura: Congratulations Snively, maybe they'll graduate you to the first grade!
Zach: Yeah, first grade of school. That's school spelled "Skewl"
Snively: There are a bunch of ways you could spell "School" . . . "Skool," "Scewl," "Scool," um, and . . .

At this point I realized I had run out of vowel combinations for the "oo" sound. Quickly brainstorming, I came up with a possible solution.

Snively: What sound would "uu" make?
Jared: There is no word in the English language that has two consecutive u's.
Snively: Wait, what? How could you possibly know that? Do you know every word in the English language? How can you make a statement like that?!
Jared: Look, if there were a word with two consecutive u's, I'd have heard of it. I haven't heard of it, therefor it doesn't exist.
Laura: Doesn't vacuum have two consecutive u's?

At this point we all just look at Jared, who turns bright red. I haven't laughed that hard in a REALLY long time. Jared slowly stood up and went to his room, defeated. krpwnd!

Why Does This Even Exist?!

I'd like to continue my streak of strange videos and other useless interweb miscellany with some videos by Mnozil Brass. As you may remember, they are amazing musicians, but I can't really figure out their website. They have amazing performances, but they don't have videos of them. Instead, they have videos that look like this:

and this

which leads me to wonder, why does crap like this even exist, yet alone end up on the internet?! Honestly, I just stared at my screen, knowing a part of my soul was being kicked in the face by a pink robot pony of non sequitur-ness.

Now for some good/amazing trumpet


October 14, 2007

How MIT Students Spend Evenings

In high school I sometimes wondered what type of environment college would provide me. Would I feel out of place? Immature? Not know how to approach new people? Most of all, what happened late at night when everybody was hanging out? Was I to feel out of place with all of the upperclassmen talking about upperclassmen stuff? What happens in college?!?!?!?

Well, I can't speak for every college, but here's what happens at MIT:

Me: "I wonder what kind of grade you'd get on a physics PSET if you converted all of your distance units to smoots."
Jared: "If I were grading it I'd give you a zero"
Me: "Wouldn't it be better if you gave me zero + an ear?"
Me: "Oh, and have you seen Star Wars? Remember how Han Solo bragged about being able to fly a circuit in a certain amount of Parsecs? A parsec is a distance, how does that work?
Rick: "Just hold the speed constant at C and a Parsec becomes a time, it's just astronomical units."
Me: "Oh, I guess that makes sense."
Rick: "Hey, let's play with google!" (Rick proceeds to take out his laptop and go to google) "Let's Convert!"
Me: "Ok, what are we converting"
Rick: "How about one smoot*angstrom*parsec to gallons?"
Me: "Do it!"

We then proceeded to google every convoluted conversion we could think of. Here are our some of our results (in no particular order):

I recommend doing this sometime, it provides a shocking amount of entertainment. Oh, and remember how I was worried about what college kids talk about? Not so worried anymore, because MIT is a cool place where we talk about cool stuff that matters!

October 12, 2007

Star Wars Remix (The "GOD PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME WATCH IT" version)

I didn't know it was possible to be this bad at anything!


The rule in my family has never been "Practice makes perfect" because if you expect perfection you'll be miserable and dissatisfied when you never achieve it. Our rule has always been "The more you practice, the better you get," which is absolutely true. The more you practice, the more comfortable you get with whatever it is that you're doing, and your ability to finess the fine details grows. This year, so far, has been a year of progression, meaning I'm practicing a lot and getting better. Evidence?

Or, take for instance, pistol yesterday. It started with a target like this:

Not that great, some very lovely 4s and a lot of inconsistancy. I kept shooting though, and my next target looked like this:

Getting better! Less variation in the shots and more in the black. No 10s, meaning I am still a bit inconsistant. I kept shooting though, and here's my next target:

10 shots, 5 of which are tens. Apart from the 6, the precision is almost dead on. This is the best I've ever shot, until my next target:

One shot one kill.

It's about practice, persistance, and wanting to get better. If you put in the effort, you will get better. The hardest part is just motivating yourself to put in the work. I have a pistol competition tomorrow, we'll see if the practice has paid off.

October 10, 2007

One of these things is not like the others

Did you enjoy that little song? I know I did, cookie monster rocks (god rest his soul).

As hopefully you know, I like numbers, graphs, and other statistical devices. That's why I have a hit-counter on my blog, it's fun to look at projected visitors and who visited from where. Today I looked at my monthly visitations graph and was pretty surprised by what I saw. It seems this last month was a pretty popular month!

There could be several explanations for this:
1) Family and friends are reading my blog to keep track of me now that I'm in college.
2) Application season is in full swing at MIT again and I tend to talk about MIT a lot here (I'm kinda sorta an admissions blogger)
3) I've all of a sudden become super cool and am on the verge of being the next internet phenomenon!

Now, I'm hoping it's all three, but I may be a bit optimistic in thinking that I could be the next dramatic prairie dog or turtle kid.

Regardless, keep on reading readers! I love hearing from you in the comments and I only keep writing because I know you're reading! Thanks!

October 09, 2007

Catching Up

I'm feeling pretty guilty, I haven't put out a legitimate blog entry in a while, so I figure today (the end of a four day weekend) would be a good time to do it. There are a couple of main things that I want to touch on. The first is a followup to a past blog entry:

After realizing that almost nobody in Massachusetts knew what an overhard egg was, I set out on a mission to prove that in actuality, overhard eggs really do exist over here. To help prove my point, I enlisted the help of a helpful little poll which I mounted on the side of my blog for a month. Surely, with a larger sample size, it would be apparent that most people know what an overhard egg is.

Obviously the situation was worse than I feared. There had to be a way to prove that overhard eggs existed in Boston, but how!? The answer came in the form of an invitation to IHOP. IHOP, a pancake place, MUST know what an overhard egg is!

Me: "So, if I ordered an overhard egg, would you have any idea what I was talking about?"
Waiter: "Sure, you want one?"
Me: "Absolutely!" (this was said way to excitedly and much to the bemusement of the waiter)

Out came my egg and sure enough, a perfectly cooked overhard egg. Now, always the pessimist, I knew that you guys wouldn't just believe me if I told you this story, so I decided I needed proof. The proof? Look what the waiter had to say:

HA! PROOF! Just, um, ignore the semi-colon. . .and the "a egg" . . . and the fact that runny doesn't rhyme with yummy. Other than that, indisputable proof that restaurants in Boston do in fact know what overhard eggs are. Case closed.

I got a nifty assignment in chemistry the other day and I want to share with you what I wrote.

Here's the assignment:

And my answers (definitely click each one so it gets bigger and you can see what I wrote):

There now, did you learn something about chemistry? Basically, if two ions have equal and opposite charges, the sum of their radii determines which has the higher boiling point. Smaller radii = higher boiling point.

And now, for a story that happened two years ago that I'd completely forgotten to blog about!

2 years ago I attended a marching band leadership camp at the U of O. Basically, we march in the 100 degree weather all day long, play a game of ultimate frisbee, and then go to bed. One night, our little routine was interrupted. Turns out somebody thought they'd be cute and steal another camper's name badge and food card and throw them into a urinal before urinating on them. The head counselor/instructor didn't find this cute at all, and at 10:00 pm after frisbee and right we were settling into bed, we got a knock on our door. It was a counselor, he told us to go to the second floor because the head counselor needed to see us.

At first, we panicked. We may or may not have pulled a prank some 10 minutes earlier and we thought we'd gotten busted (we rubbed powdered sugar into somebody's white sheets). Turns out we were in the clear for the sugar, but not for the name tags. When we got to the second floor we were led to a bathroom that was absolutely filled to the brim with guys. We're talking 90 guys. One bathroom. We looked in and then turned to the guy who led us to the bathroom.

"You don't actually want us to go in there, do you?"
"We won't fit!"

Alright, for those of you who didn't know, being smashed into a tiny bathroom with 90 guys is NOT my idea of a good time. Especially since

a) nobody had showered after the Frisbee and the marching
b) I wasn't wearing shoes or socks
c) it was 10:00 pm and I was tired

The director, who was in there with us, had only two rules:

1) No talking
2) We stay there until somebody confesses to putting the name tags into the urinal

Let me try to paint a picture for you. Here's an approximate layout of the bathroom:

Now imagine somebody standing on each sink, 8 people in each stall, a dozen people sitting on the stall walls, and the rest of the bathroom floor filled with people. There was a closet in there that had three people in it, two people on top, and many others trying to get on top. There was a window with a ledge that could fit about 4 people (not comfortably). The window was the coveted location because the temperature of the bathroom with 90 guys was stifling. Gasps of air were sweeter than life itself. For me especially, because I had a shirtless guy next to me who decided it'd be a good idea to press his hand onto the ceiling, right by my face.

Also in the bathroom was a motion-sensing hand dryer. The four lucky people that stood by that had to remain absolutely statue-like, for fear of triggering it, pumping the room full of more hot air, and being jeered at by 90 of the people they were stuck in a very small room with.

How long were we in there? 2 hours. During those two hours a lot of thoughts cross your mind. Should I confess? Who's hand just touched my butt? Is that kid complaining of confined-space-nausea kidding? Um, I think that kid's foot just slipped into the urinal. *gasp for air from window* This sucks. I'm tired. PUT YOUR FREAKING ARM DOWN!

In the end, we were released from our temporary prison. It turns out that the culprit wasn't even in the bathroom, he had escaped the counselors and was hiding outside the entire time.

All in all, my advice would be this. Don't steal from people, and don't throw stolen goods in toilets. Also, if stuck in a bathroom with 90 guys, try to escape AT ALL COSTS!

October 06, 2007

Swearing in Kids' Movies

One movie that I watched a lot when I was little was called "Little Nemo in Slumberland," which as I now realized, was the most frightening movie ever. That's not the reason for this post. The reason for this post is because, while re-watching this video on YouTube, I realized that the squirrel has a REALLY foul mouth. What do I mean? Listen to exactly what he says at 4:58 remaining.

WTF is right little squirrel, way to brainwash the youth of yesterday!

October 04, 2007


So, chem maybe doesn't agree so much. Fortunately, I got good at pistol!

How MIT Grading Works

If you've researched MIT at all, know anything about it, or have even heard of it, you know that it's notorious for being very difficult. One of the indicators of difficulty are test grades. If the grades are low, the test was hard, ergo the school is difficult. I'm using this premise as justification for what I'm about to post:

Yesterday was our first 3.091 exam (3.091 = Solid-State Chemistry). Chemistry, for me, is not that bad. If I do the reading (which I do) and watch the lectures (which I do sometimes) and do the PSETS (yep, do those) then it's fairly easy to grasp all of the concepts and know how to do everything. That's why I went into yesterday's test fairly confident. We had a study party beforehand, we all made aid sheets (we got an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper, front and back, filled with anything we wanted (including test answers from previous years if we so desired)). My aid sheet was fairly beautiful, and as such I've decided to share it with you:


See! Pretty!

So, about the title of this post (How MIT Grading Works). . . here's how MIT grading works. You go into a test knowing everything, you answer all the questions and feel like you grasped all the concepts. The next day you get your test back and they provide you with nifty little breakdowns with how you did on each question of the test. Here's my first section:

Wow, a 19/22! I'm off to a good start, let's hope I can keep this up. This positive outlook is reinforced by the fact that the only reason I lost points was because I miscopied a number from the problem (222) into my solution (22). Yep, the mistake was that dumb. I should be fine on the rest of the test! Next score:

SWEET! God, I'm good, I may become a chemistry professor when I grow up. Maybe I could start tutoring kids . . .

Let's keep the good times rolling!


Ok, not good. That's alright, it's only 9 points, I'm still sitting in fairly good shape for a good overall score. Let's just look at this next grade and

. . . . uh oh. Um. This is beginning to look really really really bad. Maybe the next one is somehow miraculously a 200%!

Um, not quite. Not bad, but not great.

So, how does MIT grading work? Basically, it takes tests written by people who know what they are doing, takes a ton of points off for not writing the answer in the exact form the grader is looking for (e-mail me about this, I'll rant about it, I deserve 9 more points) and then says "Congrats! You suck!" My grand total was

which (YES!) is passing. Remember, MIT is pass/no record for first semester, so that 65% is a P. Ps are good. Oh, class average -- 69% So, although I sucked, I was just barely below class average. And, with the 9 points I deserve, I'd be above average!

Overall, I'm pretty ok with all of this. I was prepared, I know exactly how to solve all of the problems, and I feel like I know the material enough to do well on subsequent material that builds off of it. Now, with no homework due tomorrow, I plan on watching the following tonight:

Plan 9 from Outer Space
Minority Report
Blades of Glory

It'll be a good night.


Do you want to watch what's going on RIGHT NOW in my 18.02 lecture?

1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT

Go here:


October 01, 2007

Somebody Else's Physics Problem

I've complained about physics enough lately, so I'm going to blog about somebody else's physics woes. I mean, it's enough that the problem sets are hard enough to make somebody cry themselves to sleep, do the graders really need to mock us?!

Check out what was written on the bottom of my roommate's PSET:

I mean, seriously, that was unnecessary!

On the plus side, after experiencing a mental breakdown today, I've come to the realization that my physics class was too much for somebody like me (with almost no physics experience at all) to handle, so I spoke with all sorts of advisors and professors and transfered to a lower physics class. Hopefully this reduces the amount of random "I hate physics" posts.

Also, some good news for the day, I shot well in pistol!

Overall, I'm feeling quite a bit better about the state of things. I know you may not have been aware of how much I was freaking out, but there are a few people whom I've been calling that are very aware of my physics problems. Hopefully they are gone now (crosses fingers) and I can get on with studying for my Chemistry Test on Wednesday (or as my prof likes to call it, a Celebration of Learning).
I hate physics/life