I am sad and conflicted.
The Chorallaries had a performance tonight at a Wall Street MIT recruiting event at a restaurant in Little Italy. I didn’t know when it was, but we figured it would be around dinner time, and I knew I would be free then, so I said I could go. Today, I was finally told the actual time: call at 8, getting to Haymarket at 8:15. Unlikely to be singing before 8:30 and probably later, with a 45-minute set. I would be lucky to be back at the house by 9:30. I have a mandatory house meeting at 9, with an attendance policy much stricter than the Chorallaries’.

So I really wanted to go to this gig, even though I would have had to cobble together a uniform from borrowed clothes, but I can’t. Right now, the group is singing without me.

If I’d figured out the conflict earlier, I probably could have given advance notice to the right people and made it happen, but I didn’t.


I just played my first game of Beirut. Beirut is a drinking game, in which one attempts to throw ping-pong balls into cups filled with beer, which your opponent must then drink. As such, my teammate happily volunteered to drink for me. We won.

Today I went to my lab for the first time, and felt very productive. I really am going to get cracking on this grad school thing right away. But probably not tomorrow, seeing as I have crew practice from 8-10:30, a picnic from 11-3, a party from 4-8, and a performance at about 10 PM.

Too busy

I have been too busy to write in this weblog. I was up until 5 AM this morning, and until 4 AM yesterday morning, doing schoolwork. In the latter case, it was also due to this computer acting up in seriously bad ways, including outright refusal to boot up. All signs point to a slow hard drive failure like the one I had two years ago, only even weirder.

I’m going to sleep now for maximum rest before I wake up tomorrow and try to go in for work on my thesis for the first time this semester.


I put my first scratch in my car today. I don’t really want to write about it.

We had a rush party, which was kind of successful. I got to see some old friends but didn’t really get much work done today.

I’m really tired, and I have to be up early.

Good night.

Simple Day

Morning: rowing
Noontime: Driving to and from the dealership
Afternoon: 6.003 Problem Set (all done!)
Evening: Party?

Morning: We raced the varsity heavyweights. It appears that we are no longer faster than the first varsity heavyweights, but we are faster than their second boat. I’m getting the feeling that the coach doesn’t like me, at least not as a rower, because he tends not to keep me in the boat for very long. Then again, I haven’t been feeling very strong, on account of being sick.

Noontime: Actually it took several hours, in total, and probably cost me about $8 in gas and tolls, but I now have license plates and an inspection sticker on my car. I don’t have license-plate frames, so it looks a little odd, but Grandpa has told me he saw a particular set of frames he wanted me to get. I didn’t take a map or directions with me, intending to memorize the directions from Mapquest. Actually, I did memorize the direction properly, I just didn’t follow them. Instead, I figured that Danvers couldn’t be too big a town and I would just navigate there on my own. In the end I stopped off at a Saturn dealership and asked for directions. I didn’t even need to tell him where I wanted to go, since I still had the dealer plates that said “IRA”. He gave me perfect directions and managed to insult Japanese cars five different ways in thirty seconds.

Afternoon: The PSet isn’t due until Friday, but I wanted to get it out of the way. It was half fun like a set of good brainteasers and half tedium.

Evening: A friend is throwing a party in her dorm room tonight. I should go, but I don’t really want to bike over since it’s dark and wet and the last time I rode in these conditions (i.e. last night) I got hit by a car. Oh, I didn’t tell that story.

Last night I was biking over the Mass Ave bridge in legal fashion: on the road, with front and rear lights and a helmet. As I came the Boston side of the bridge I was riding between a delivery truck and the kerb. A Jetta pulled out from a driveway on the left, obviously without looking left for anyone in the bike lane, and hit me at about 4 MPH while I was going about 15. I managed to land on my feet and immediately walked onto the sidewalk and looked into the car. As the driver got out, shaken, I saw that he was actually an old friend with whom I had rowed freshman year. He said his heart skipped a beat and kept checking me over for signs of injury. In the end he helped me reseat my chain (that was all that had happened to the bicycle) and I rode off. I hope his car is fine.


tC at night #1
tC at night #2
Note that these two images were taken at the same time of day, but one has a flash and the other has a very long exposure.
Also note that the retroreflective license plate is invisible to the flash camera.

CAR!!!!!! !!!! !!

I got my car today! I have a car! This still hasn’t really sunk in; I feel like it must be someone else’s car and I’m borrowing it.

Last night Chorallaries rehearsal ended at midnight, and I went to bed at about 12:30. I woke up at 8 and took the T out to Wonderland, the end of the Blue Line, to meet my grandfather at 10. We went straight to the dealership, Ira Scion of Danvers.

It was raining pretty hard, so we didn’t do too much exploring. Instead, we went straight to one of our many salesmen’s office, where I signed all manner of contracts for the car. The salesman persistently tried to rush me, but I managed to read all of them. In particular, I was struck by the fact that the primary contract had “binding arbitration” as one of its terms, which turns out to mean that I agreed to take all claims to a privately run, privately funded courts system rather than the US courts. I thought that was pretty extraordinary, as I’d only ever heard of privatized justice systems as a theoretical concept, but that’s a topic for another post.

The people in the dealership told us that the registration system that would make me my license plates and all that jazz was currently down due to the rainstorm, but it would be up soon. By 11:15 they had given up hope of getting that done in time, and instead told me that they would temporarily provide me with dealer plates. Then we could schedule a time later in the day, once they’d got the registration done, for them to deliver me my new plates. They also said they would write me a cheque for $20 to cover the cost of licensing inspection at any local auto garage.

I knew that I was going to be pretty busy for the rest of the day, and I didn’t want to have to go hunting around Boston for a garage. Instead, I told them to give me the plates until Saturday, when I would go back to the dealership and complete the process. So now I have an appointment for Saturday.

I went through the car with another one of my salesmen, who explained how the door locks, radio, A/C, wipers, etc. work, then followed Grandpa to the nearest Chili’s for a delightful lunch. I drove the car home (adding 20 miles to the initial odometer reading of 12) and parked it in the back lot shortly after 1. I was the only one home.

At about 1:30 the rear doorbell rang. It’s audible only in the basement, but luckily, I live in the basement. The man who answered turned out to be the US Foods delivery man, who asked if I could move my car. This was very exciting for me, and I spent a few minutes reparking it perfectly to make room for his dolley. He proceeded to bring in more food than I have ever seen in one place before, including a 10-pound brick of cheddar and 15 dozen eggs. I put what I could into the fridge, then raced to campus for my 2 o’clock class.

After class I checked my e-mail and saw a letter from my Cambridge coordinator confirming that I had received full transfer credit for my classes there. I filled out my double-major petition form before leaving for crew practice. It was still pouring as I rode over, but by the time we left the docks it was relatively dry.

Despite all these good things, I have not been in the best of moods. I have an uncomfortable sore throat and a cold. It’s hard to be happy when it hurts to swallow.

As our stereotypes demand, I have taken a picture of my car to post on this site. Unfortunately, my roommate is still asleep, and I can’t upload the picture from this computer upstairs. I’ll put the picture in the next post.


I am rediscovering something that I knew but had forgotten: crew practice leaves me too drained to work effectively.

Today’s practice was actually something of a publicity stunt, with the entire boathouse sprinting the length of the Infinite Corridor, running up the Green Building (19 stories), then sprinting back holding an oar.

I’ve spent the rest of the evening doing nothing, because I’m too tired to focus. I also haven’t been sleeping very well.

On the plus side, it really does look like I’m going to get my car extremely soon.


Today during 6.042 (Math for Computer Science) we had about 15 minutes of lecture, then broke into small groups to do proofs. It was interesting and fun, but my group had only gotten through two of the problems, so at the end I started work separately on the third problem and came up with a proof. The rest of the group was really impressed; I earned comments like “wow man, that is a hot proof” and “it’s people like you that make me wish I carried around gold stars”. None of this praise is warranted, since it was really a pretty simple problem, but it was a nice ego boost. The question was

Prove that an irrational number raised to an irrational power can be rational. (Hint: consider



Read on for proof.
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