My day today was supposed to be fairly hectic. I had been asked to sub in for the first boat’s practice at 5:30 PM, and I had a dance lesson at 8, which left a question of when dinner would be happening. As it ended up happening, my dance partner was busy with a mock exam and the coxswain forgot to show up to practice.

Tomorrow afternoon is my first exam, covering Thermal and Statistical Physics and Relativity, Electrodynamics, and Light. Why they cram two subjects into one 3-hour exam I do not know.

I still haven’t heard back from the Pembroke people, so I don’t know if I’m going to the June Event thing or not.

Nothing doing

I feel like there is very little going on in my life, but I don’t suppose that there ever really was, and I still managed to post over 220 entries since starting up this website. The difference is that my measuring stick for how much things matter has changed, and the new stick is really big. I am speaking of course, of exams, about which I will say no more.

On Wednesday I went to a formal hall at Peterhouse, the oldest college in Cambridge, with a large group of people who’d gone on the Morocco hitch. It was a moderately fun night but quite unexciting, with the exception of a heated debate on the strength and purity of the linguistic structure of the English language.

It looks like I will likely be attending a May Ball. I hadn’t intended to, seeing as the exorbitant ticket price of £100+ (£160+ for dining) is generally justified in terms of the quality of the alcohol provided, which has precisely zero value to me. However, on Thursday I got an e-mail from a fellow MIT exchangee noting that Pembroke College was still looking for staff for their June Event (which is what all May Balls should really be called, as they occur in June and have little to do with dancing). I interviewed for the position of Steward today, and it seems like I’ll probably get it. A Steward turns out to be a watcher. My job will probably be to make sure that the number of people in a room does not exceed fire code, and to radio in if anything untoward appears to be going on. I will do that for 4 hours out of the 8 hour event, leaving plenty of time to wander around the extravaganza.

I should know by tomorrow night whether or not I’ve got the position.


I made a mistake while upgrading my server software last week, and it broke today when I restarted the computer. The fix consisted of deleting a single character from a configuration file, as it usually is with these things. (The character, if you must know, was ‘#’.)


In other news, I was moderately productive today, doing a substantial amount of nuclear physics. I have finally found the one room in college where I will actually be able to work. The college has secretly set up a whole bunch of chairs and very large desks in a room near the library. Theoretically, it’s library overflow, but for me, it’s just a place to study. Of course, there are about 25 of these types of places permanently in Simmons Hall, but they don’t have the concept of “common area” here, let alone a common study area. I still wouldn’t defend Simmons’s architecture, but I now know not to take its rooms entirely for granted.


Immediately after I posted, my outing for tomorrow morning and one of my academic commitments tomorrow were both cancelled. What’s the opposite of irony?

Tomorrow, I will wake up early and have a productive morning.


I had a boat race today. It was nice and short, but it’s basically eaten my whole day. Now I have to wake up tomorrow at 6 AM to go row again.

Meanwhile, I feel completely paralyzed with respect to studying for my exams.

Also, my attempts to cut cheese with a dull knife have once again resulted in cheese shreddings all over my desk. I feel like the universe conspires against me.

Drama Wars

Tonight was opening night for Star Wars Episode III: A Lost Hope, or whatever it’s being called. A bunch of my friends reserved tickets in advance to go see it. Instead, I went with another friend of mine from college to see Arsenic and Old Lace, a wonderful classic play written by a British playwright about a Brooklyn family, but inspired by a few old ladies from the same little western New York town as my friend. It was a decent production, with an amusing mix of accents and excellent ham-up-ing. In other words, its dramatic value must have far exceeded that of Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of George Lucas.


I hit my head.

The lightswitch in my room is far away from my bed, so I generally have to make away across the room and into bed completely blind. I had gotten fairly good at this, I thought, but last night I misjudged slightly. I was about a foot off, and so my head met wall instead of pillow. I instantly discovered that the walls of my room, though the same color and texture as painted sheetrock, are every bit as hard as the bare gray concrete walls of Simmons Hall back home.

I spent the next few minutes staggering around in pain, then went back to bed. I think I may have a bump on the top my head, but if so it is conveniently hidden under my hair.

EDIT: As Haibo has helpfully noted, there is a conveniently located lamp right next to my bed. If I maintain even the smallest presence of mind, this should not be a problem again.


After weeks of agonizing, I finally went and got a haircut yesterday. As I biked to to the barbershop I was struck by the huge number of other hairdressers I passed along the way. It felt like even the few non-haircutters would be happy to give me a quick trim if asked nicely.

When I found out that my barber of choice, the cheapest one I could find, was closed on Wednesdays, I dropped in at each place I had passed. I ended up paying £12 for a basic haircut, which I was surprised to find included a shampooing. Though the hairdresser (what’s the feminine of barber?) tried valiantly, it does not appear that it is actually possible to give me a good haircut.