Grad school apps are progressing, slowly. The forms are all online now, and they are tedious beyond measure. It’s kind of insane. It’s also pretty terrible: MIT’s system asks for an MIT ID number but doesn’t give enough spaces to put one in, and Harvard’s makes it as complicated as possible to apply simultaneously to more than one department.

We need better online application systems.


I haven’t posted in a while, which has a great deal to do with 6.170 (my programming class), and also something to do with grad school and such. It’s now Thanksgiving break, and I am happily connected through the internet connection this hotel told us it didn’t have.

This hotel is actually a bed and breakfast in a colonial mansion. It’s an extraordinary building, with 14-foot ceilings, 10-inch moldings, and innkeeper’s daughters of exactly the right age. Very impressive.

I’m looking forward to our annual family gathering tonight.


I just had a test in 6.003. I had a test in 6.042 at the beginning of the week on which I got a 96. I’m not sure this test went quite that well, but it shouldn’t be awful. I walked out of both with the same feeling: that there was one detail that I was sure I got wrong, and other than that I felt moderately confident.


I tried to sign up for the Physics GRE, but it turns out I missed the deadline. The subject tests are only offered once in a very long while, and the next available Physics GRE will not be offered until April. The Physics GRE is required for application to pretty much every physics graduate school I was planning on applying to.

I’m screwed.

UPDATE: There is hope. I’ll have to call up the test center and talk to them about Standby status.


It is very difficult to savor defeat. I’ve been trying.

Specifically, today was the a cappella competition, and we lost. That’s not strictly true: we placed third out of six, and the top two get to go to the next round. We may get another chance to enter the competition later on. It was still a boatload of fun, singing on the bus ride back. We very much feel like we sang better than everyone else. It would be fair to say that we are mystified as to why we didn’t rank higher.

We’ll find out when we receive the judges’ comments in the mail.

Domino Something Something

I just saw movie that starts with the word “Domino”. It concerns some rich girl who runs around and acts bad, starring Keira Knightley, or however you spell her.

It is terrible. Do not see it.

This movie is carefully, deliberately terrible. It is a work of great craftmanship, pushing the boundaries of how terrible a high-budget movie can be and forcing the audience to ask: “what is it about this movie that makes it so terrible?”. After all, it has obscene ultra-violence, flashbacks, flash-forwards, artsy redundant voiceovers and supertitles, continuous cuts so fast you can’t see what’s happening, film so grainy and contrasty you couldn’t see it anyway, british accents, celebrity cameos, pop-culture riffs, and, importantly, tits. What’s missing?

If I had to guess, I’d say “art”. If you want to see a movie whose goal is to prove by example that there is no art left in Hollywood, see this movie. Otherwise, take a nap or read a book.

Stream of consciousness:
I think I’ve just finally understood what art is. It’s the stuff that makes things like movies not suck.