Cousin Kenny

I was going to write about the Memorial Day picnic, but really there’s not much to say. It was fun.

On Saturday my mother’s cousin Kenny died from a protracted illness. Today was the memorial service, essentially a funeral. It was very moving, much more than I had expected. This is not the place for eulogy, but Kenny brought our family together, more than anyone else, and I valued him.

Death is really stupid.


I got a visit on Saturday from a very attractive couple, both about my age. They rang our front doorbell. It was boiling hot out, and I was damp with sweat. The man was wearing a long-sleeve gray shirt and long black pants; the woman wore a black dress that ended below the knee. She said nothing for the entire exchange. He spoke with an ever so slightly strange accent.

The conversation, approximately:

Me: Good afternoon.

Him: Hello


Him: We’re from a pizza place in town, Giovi’s, and to celebrate this great weekend, and the start of summer, we thought we would do some free pizza.

Me: Umm…what?

Him: Would you like us to do you some free pizza?

Me: That’s a strange verb to use. “do”

Him: What?

Me: I mean, “do some free pizza” almost sounds like you’re going to come into my house and make pizza in my oven.

Him: That would be awkward. So, like I should say “give away”…?

Me: Yeah, that would be better.


Him: So do you want us to…do you some free Pizza?
(At this point he flashes the only item either of them is holding, a very professional-looking menu handout that says “Giovi’s” with photographs of Italian food.)


Me: Look, I don’t even really live here. Have a nice day.

I’m gonna guess that Giovi is not actually the owner’s real name, but it was changed by the Witness Protection Program.

Memorial Day Weekend

It’s time for our annual barbeque, so I came home. Today we went sailing (I wore a hat and sunblock).

Due to a long chain of events that started with my mom trading her Insignia NS-DV4G audio player (which doesn’t have bookmarking) for a Creative Zen V Plus (which does), this site may become unreliable for a few days.


Without any classes, I’m a little bit hazy as to what my obligations are, so I decided to just enjoy today and not worry about it. In the morning I went in search of the Harvard gym, which I’ve had trouble finding. It turns out the main athletic center is closed for renovations, and everything has been moved to the Hemenway building. The gym is really strange. Probably because the main gym is closed, this one, though small, is packed with equipment. It’s also extremely open; standing next to a treadmill on the second floor, you can see straight down to the weight machines in the subbasement. The space is completely white with indirect lighting and glass banisters, so it feels a little like a spaceship. It was also full of people, which somehow made me feel like part of an exercise club. It was fun, even though I’m way out of shape. Also, they had a Roman Chair, which is my favorite piece of exercise equipment, possibly just because of the name.

I spent the rest of the day at OLPCHQ, testing out my acoustic rangefinder and also taking a panoramic photo collage with the built-in camera. Afterwards a bunch of us went to a bar downstairs for happy hour. This evening I wrote a panorama-stitcher using phase correlation. It kind of works, which is pretty amazing.


I’ve spent the last five days working nonstop on my class project for my PDEs class. Literally, from 4:30 PM on Friday until 11 AM today, I did not leave my house except to buy food or use Harvard’s computer lab. I had some kind of simulation running at almost all times, and often two or three running simultaneously on different computers. I just handed in my final report, which is my last assignment for the year. It’s over.

I’m pretty psyched about the project. Last year, when I handed in my undergrad thesis, it ended with two unsolved problems. With this project, I’ve just solved one of them. There’s more work to do, but the results make me much more optimistic that my thesis project will eventually turn into a real medical imaging modality. Or at least, less pessimistic.

As of right now, it is officially Summertime.


The Chorallaries got hired to perform at the Chemistry department’s annual dinner thing at the MIT Museum, which was today. Thanks to my sunburn, I showed up looking like I was disfigured by some kind of deadly contagious flesh-eating disease. In August, everyone would have said “oh, he’s sunburnt”, but it’s May, and it’s cold in Boston. Anywhere else on my body and it would have been irrelevant.

Oh well. By next week it should be normal again, right?


My face is kind of flaking off. Stupid sunburn. It’s not very pretty. Also my code has an infinite loop, and I don’t know where it is. My project report is due Friday.

But in a week, the whole semester will be totally over.


We went sailing today, and by we, I mean I, my parents, and our four Chinese friends. It was a beautiful, clear, crisp day, with an incredible amount of wind. It would’ve been a great day for a race. It was cold out on the water, so I was wearing a windbreaker and long pants. It was cold enough that I neglected to put on sunblock, and I am now terribly sunburnt, only a few hours later. I’ve been covering myself with aloe periodically, but I suspect this is the sort of sunburn from which there is no escape. Luckily, as I noted, I was covered from neck to toe, so only my face (and receding hairline) are burnt. My head reminds me of a cherry tomato.


This morning was my second-cousin Gabriel’s Bar Mitzvah, which was very nice, and very classy, but also quite standard; there’s kind of nothing to describe.

This evening we had our Chinese friends over again; we watched “The Wedding Banquet”, which was an excellent movie despite its bad, sometimes almost defiantly bad, acting. I recommend it.