September 29, 2008


Solved the dumbbell problem! And the last problem. Only three more!

September 27, 2008

My New T-Shirts

I bought three awesome new t-shirts today, thought I'd share:

Who knows what each one means?

Current Music

A glimpse

Just a glimpse at why MIT is hard. The first problem on my 2.003 PSET. If you have any idea how to or have calculated omega, let me know how please. I know the velocity of the center of mass and the moment of inertia but can't figure out how much of the impulse is transfered into rotational energy. Actually, if you know the rotational energy that's just as useful, so let me know about that as well. Click the image to make it bigger.

Yay MIT!

September 22, 2008

E-mail MESS!

Don't you hate it when you send an e-mail and the intended recipient doesn't get it?

Don't you hate getting Spam?

Don't you hate it when people steal from you?

Don't you hate it when all of these things happen at the same time?

About two weeks ago I began to realize that people weren't getting my e-mails. After some work I realized that my e-mails were getting spam filtered by other peoples' mail accounts. Then I started getting mysterious returned-mail e-mails for e-mails that I didn't send, all with spam-related subject matter.


Nearest I can tell, a spam bot is using my gmail address to send spam to a bunch of contacts on my gmail contacts list, causing MIT's spam filters to think I'm a spam bot. My MIT e-mail and gmail e-mail are linked such that whenever I use my MIT address it sends the e-mail via gmail, so even though the spambot couldn't get a hold of my MIT address, the fact that it's using my gmail one is hurting the credibility of my MIT address. The only solution I could come up with for this is to host my MIT e-mail on a new and different gmail account.

I set up my new gmail account, imported all my old contacts, and set it up to work with my MIT address. Then I began POPing all of my e-mail from my old gmail account into my new gmail account. This brings me to the point of this entry:

1) The transfer has been going for almost a week now and is just about to finish up.
2) All of my filters are totally screwed up.
3) I'm trying to figure out what e-mail is being forwarded to my new account from my old one.
4) I can't tell what's being sent to my gmail address and what's being sent to my MIT address.
5) I've been receiving about 10 e-mails every minute for the last week during the transfer.

In essence, my e-mail status is totally hosed. If you e-mail me and I don't respond it's because I probably lost your e-mail in the deluge of e-mails I've been getting and I didn't flag it or group it or filter it. I'm doing my best and hopefully I'll be able to get all this sorted out within the next week.

Also, it sucks that I have to use a separate Google account for e-mail since my YouTube and blogger account are both the same as my gmail. I have to sign in and out of Google each time I want to switch between gmail and YouTube or Blogger. I'll probably get this all worked out, but the Internet is being mean to be right now so I apologize for any confusion for a little while.

September 19, 2008


For those of you who, like me, don't own a phonebook, you may have heard of GOOG411. Simply dial 1800-GOOG-411, speak the name of the city, state, and business, and all of a sudden you have a phone number and address. An awesome system, right?

What if I told you that it's actually just a front? Sure, it works, but what is it actually for? It's actually just a way for Google to train a speech recognition engine that it HAS FINALLY IMPLEMENTED (in beta form of course) that allows users to search the speech in YouTube videos. Right now it can only be used in political videos but it's still REALLY impressive. Yay for Google!


September 10, 2008

So Many New Bloggers!

All the new MIT bloggers went semi-live today! I've never seen so many bloggers on one page before!


September 08, 2008

My Weekend

Several weeks ago, Lauren '10 sent an e-mail to the floor inviting us all to Race for the Cure. She created a team for our floor and a bunch of us decided to join and do the race. I used to be a really avid runner but stopped when I got to college. This was a great chance for me to get out and go for a nice 5k with some friends and support breast cancer research so I went for it.

We ordered our shirts and I signed on as a runner. There were several option other than running, a couple of which I found rather amusing. My favorite was "Sleep in for the cure." For $25.00 you don't have to run and you could just stay in bed. As tempting as that sounded, I think I'd have felt a bit guilty not running.

Saturday I spent all day working on painting an 8-bit Mario mural in the hallway and towards the end of the day I was exhausted. Why? Here's a glimpse into Boston weather. . . yesterday was 85 degrees with 100% humidity. Basically, it was so hot that I was peeling white wall paint off when I tried to remove blue tape. I figured, after a while, that if it was hot enough to melt the paint on walls, it was probably too hot to be painting said walls. I stopped and cleaned up a bit, then I hung out with some people and showed them awesome YouTube videos. I had one of my first realizations of the evening during this moment. Spore, the game that's been in development FOREVER and I'd been waiting for FOREVER was going to be coming out in a few short hours! This caused an outburst and turned some heads.

It was actually quite funny, I'd forget for an hour and then randomly remember again, burst out, startle, and then return to YouTube. Midnight came, I checked, and was devastated to see that instead of releasing at midnight, Spore would be coming out at 2 PM! NOOOO! There was general mourning by the part of the present parties and we proceeded to watch more YouTube videos. I looked to my right and saw Dan '11's giant inflatable penguin who had been outfitted with my Race for the Cure shirt (which, presently, is so stretched from being worn by a massive penguin that it no longer fits). This reminded me of a shirt that I had seen somebody wearing around campus last year that he had purchased to support breast cancer research. It, in a nutshell, said "I *pink ribbon* Boobs." A slightly tacky but well-meaning mix of NYC and Web2.0-esque humor. I realized, after the race today, that I would have fit in PERFECTLY wearing it because I was surrounded by breast cancer survivors sporting shirts saying "I'm in it for the ta-tas" and "Boobs, who needs them?" Anywho, back from my tangent, everybody in the room was hot, sweaty, sticky, tired, and knew that they were going to have to wake up at 7:15AM to go running so we decided to go to bed.

Dan and I hopped into bed, laid there, and then started complaining.

"I hate this weather."
"This is terrible! There's not even a breeze!"
"You know, the conference room has an air conditioner."
"We should just sleep there."
"We should."
"I'm not kidding."
"Neither am I."

Boom, out of bed, grabbing pillows and cushions, we started towards the conference room when we were intercepted by Dorothy '12 and Sara '12.

"Where are you guys going?"
"Conference room."
"To sleep. It's air conditioned."
"Oh my gosh, wait for me."

Soon there was a party of four with sleeping bags, pillows, cushions, and exhaustion, all settled into the conference room with the AC set for 60 degrees. It was beautiful.

At 4:30AM I heard something.

"Hey, you guys can't be here, leave."

Huh, what, what's going on? Somehow, and for some reason, the dorm security guard opened the door to the conference room and found the four of us asleep, not hurting anybody, and made us move back to our rooms. By now, Tropical Storm Hannah was in full force and rain was coming down in sheets outside, with gusts upwards of a bazillion miles an hour, so our room had cooled a bit, but it wasn't nearly as nice as air-conditioning.

3 hours later we were up, dressed, and ready for a race. We hopped the Red Line and rode it to JFK/UMass, caught a shuttle, and arrived at the race. There were about 5,000 runners and a lot of pink. We joined the mob and began our race for the cure. After some running, walking, exciting talk about the GIRs and Sophomore Exploratory, Sara and I finished, grabbed some yogurt (not whipped) and met Adalaide, Rick, and Sauza. We headed back to campus and I turned right back around to help deliver ElectroPlushies to a museum exhibit in Lowell Mass. At 3 o'clock I got back and headed into the dorm.

SPORE! OMG, it's out!

A decryption (legal decryption, I bought this game) and installation later I was sporing! A crowd of 6 or 7 people quickly realized that the microbe/water stage of Spore is the Most Entertaining Game Ever. It can be pretty well summed up with "Om Nom Nom Nom Om Nom Nom OMGOMGOMG!!! WE'RE GOING TO DIE! SWIM SWIM SWIM! SWIM FASTER! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Om."

Now we've taken a break from Spore, I'm blogging, and then I'm going to get back to Spore. All in all, I'd say it was a good weekend. I started a mural, fought breast cancer, and got Spore. What else could I want? How about no 2.005 PSET? Yeah, that'd be nice . . .

September 02, 2008

Sick of it

My plan today was to really enjoy my last day before classes started. Unfortunately, something happened that pretty much ruined any chance of that happening. As many of you may know or remember, back during my senior year of high school I contacted the movie voice over god, Don LaFontaine ("In a world. . . "). I asked if he would do some voice over work for a slideshow I was making and he graciously did, free of charge. Everybody I ever spoke with agreed that he was really just a nice man. Since then I've subscribed to his e-mail blog where he sends updates about what he's been up to. I've read about new trips, movies, gone behind the scenes at the Oscars, and have enjoyed chatting about these adventures with others. Everything he writes is positive, everything is genuine, and I've really enjoyed the fact that he cares enough to write directly to people instead of just keeping a website.

He's been having lung complications lately and has been writing about them in his e-mails. His last e-mail was on August 11th and was as follows:


I thought it was about time that I brought everybody up to speed with what's been happening in my world.

You haven't been hearing a lot from me lately, and that's because I have been fairly seriously ill for the last several months.

In order to give you the complete picture, I need to go back over some material of which many of you are already aware, but this thing needs to be seen in its full context.

Last fall, I began to notice that I was having trouble catching my breath during exercise. Subsequent tests revealed a suspicious growth on my lymph nodes and left lung. This required an exploratory surgery called a Media Stenoscopy, which was performed At Cedars Sinai Hospital in late November of '07. The biopsy ultimately proved negative for any tumor, but there was a spot on the lung that still needed to be checked. Unfortunately, sometime during the operation, one of my lungs was nicked, and I developed Pneumothorax, which basically means that the lung collapsed, releasing all the air into my upper body, causing a condition called Subcutaneous Emphysema - Which blew me up like a balloon from the ribs up to my eyebrows. This happened three times over the next six days. The "cure" for this condition is to place chest tubes and small catheters under the skin to drain off the excess air.

Unfortunately, all that air also accumulated around my vocal cords, causing me to sound like an ambassador from Munchkinland. This condition, I was told, could last for a number of weeks.

We decided to put off a Bronchoscopy to determine the status of the spot on my lung until after the new year, by which time, my breathing had become even more labored.

Again, the test failed to reveal anything more than a few "suspicious" cells - but no cancer. I had also scheduled, months before, a standard Colonoscopy, which I had in January. This revealed a growth on my colon.

Are we having fun, yet?

So - I go back to Cedars to discuss laparoscopic surgery to get rid of that growth, after first undergoing CAT and PET scans. During my consultation with the surgeon, my Oncologist came in with another doctor to tell me that I had a tumor growing under my lung and threatening to encircle my Aortic Valve to my heart.

Suddenly, the surgery was put on hold, and I was scheduled for thirty-seven sessions of intense radiation and four sessions of Chemotherapy, which stretched over the next seven weeks. This included four blood transfusions.

During this time, the effects of the Subcutaneous Emphysema had worn off, and I was able to work again.

After treatment, I was told that it was completely successful, and the growth had been completely eradicated! I was also told that the radiation therapy would continue to work in my system for a number of weeks.

Well, it did.

In rare cases - like mine - it spreads into the lungs and causes a very persistent condition called radiation pnuemonitis. This reduces the lungs capacity to about a quarter, making it almost impossible to walk ten paces without having to stop for air.

The treatment for this condition is massive doses of steroids, which balloons the face and body, and it also settles on the vocal cords in a major way, creating a good deal of gravel and hoarseness. In short - it has brought my career to a near stand-still.

Steroids can also have a major effect on one's heart rate, and blood sugar count - each of which sent me back to Cedars on two separate occasions for four and three day stays within a week of each other. Because of the blood sugar influence, I now have a temporary form of diabetes, and need to take insulin.

This condition will pass as soon as I get the pnuemonitis under control, but it's a balancing act between doses of steroids and insulin.

As I mentioned earlier, this lung thing is incredibly resistant, and to this date, I am still looking for some improvement.

I do work from time to time, but my voice is nowhere close to where I need it to be. Fortunately, I have incredibly faithful friends and clients who have shown me what loyalty really means by working with me, even in my diminished capacity.

I am now recovering from the recovery. When this is cleared up, I still am facing the laparoscopic stomach surgery, but that will be a cakewalk.

But the real point of all this is the Genisis of the condition. I was a smoker, on and off, for thirty years. I quit nearly twenty years ago, but that crap has a tendency to lie doggo in your system. It finally caught up with me, and as you've just read - it ain't pretty. For those of you who are in the Voice Over business, and you think that smoking is adding some wonderful quality to your instrument - WAKE UP! Quit! Today! Whoever you are - if you smoke - Stop! All you are adding is garbage to your vocal cords, and a nice deep layer of tar and poison on the linings of your lungs.

I tell you all this, because I need to clear the air, because there has been a lot of speculation out there, and because it should serve as a cautionary tale. Even though the growth on my lungs has been erased, there are still a few miles to go before I'm back to 100%.

But that, I can assure you - is going to happen!



Yesterday, Don passed away in the hospital, out of the blue, from complications due to a collapsed lung. I'm sick of it guys. Bernie Mac and now Don LaFontaine, both genuinely good people who are now just gone. Don dying is actually really messing with me. This is somebody that I've communicated with and been following and have always held in the highest regards.

I really want to finish by repeating his last point. Don't start smoking. Ever. You don't look cool, you're poisoning yourselves, you will die, and you will only hurt the people you care about and know.