Learning to Cook

25 Mar 15

Not everyone in Random Hall knows how to cook. I came to MIT with only the most rudimentary cooking skills. I could make pasta and rice and throw other things together if I followed directions slowly and carefully. As my parents were not keen on making food or ordering out, my older brother and sister both learned how to cook well, but I was far younger than them and missed this opportunity to learn. Even so, I wanted to learn how to cook better.

Last year, I was a freshman, I and didn’t bother trying. I mostly made pasta, rice, frozen potatoes, and ramen.

Last year, I was a freshman, and I tried to make baked potatoes for Easter. This turned out a disaster. The online recipe told me to wash the potatoes, then pour some oil and salt on them. I did exactly as they told me to do. Then I put the potatoes directly on the oven rack and started baking them.

Five minutes later, Foo lounge was filling with smoke.

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Busy Busy Beavers

20 Mar 15

Since around two weeks ago, when I started experimenting with tofu and going purposefully part-time vegan, I’ve been making spicy tofu. I’ve been simmering it in chili sauce, throwing it in some spicy miso soup, and stir-frying it with a pan full of small red peppers, Capsicum annuum, either chopped or whole and occasionally exploding from the heat built up beneath the skins.

I’ve been mixing in gochujang, a kind of Korean spicy fermented soybean paste found in giant tubs at the local H-mart. I’ve been abusing the Sriracha, applying it liberally as one applies ketchup to french fries before scarfing them down three at a time. I’ve been dumping in the chili powder, teaspoonfuls at a time, fruitlessly attempting to reenact that numbing, Sichuan peppercorn feel that leaves mouths tingling and eyes watering and bellies fuzzy and warm.

And lest you start thinking that MIT is all food and fun and students learning to become gluttons, I’ve been learning about artificial neural networks, op-amps, and case markings in binary syntactic trees. I’ve been wiring robot heads and building a circuit for scale readings. I’ve been writing up psets, interviewing a native Arabic speaker, and creating and discarding lesson plans for both HSSP and Junction, two programs being run by the student-run Educational Studies Program (ESP).

With spring break looming in the next week or so, we’ve all been pretty busy.

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Pi Day Admissions

14 Mar 15

Two years ago, on this very day, around fifteen thousand high school students waited by their computers with bated breath, watching the minutes tick down before decisions.mit.edu would finally open and reveal to them their MIT admission status. There was much praying, and cursing, and the frantic clobbering of F5 keys — and when the jar finally opened, its contents revealing both good and bad and withholding hope for only a few, around fifteen thousand high school students let out the breath they had no idea they were holding, and they let the news sink in.

Few were elated and/or relieved, either because it had turned out well or because they now finally knew. Far too many more felt lost, with nothing left but the crushing feeling that they had somehow been deemed not good enough. And a fraction were left hanging in limbo, their decisions pushed back even further until MIT had properly done a headcount and decided whether or not a few more kids would fit.

Two years ago, I sat in front of that monitor, myself having been already admitted several months prior, closely following the MIT Admitted, Waitlisted, and Not Admitted threads as comments poured in — a mix of both excited and overwhelmingly bitter thoughts all clashing to be heard.

And this year, as I continued to watch, over fifteen thousand high school students fell upon the decisions page, fingers flying to type in passwords, and found themselves being told that, with regards to their admissions status, they were [DATABASE CONNECTION ERROR].

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A Week at MIT

11 Mar 15

Things I did in the past 7 days:

– play Dust: An Elysian Tail
– play League of Legends
– go to this really creative play called “Tristan and Yseult” at the ArtsEmerson Majestic Theatre
– practice DJing vinyls at WMBR (the MIT community’s radio station! it’s super fun)
– eat Venezuelan food at Orinoco
– eat salmon with kimchi (!!) at EVOO
– eat salmon again at Elephant Walk
– I really like food

Things I didn’t do in the past 7 days:
– Solve P=NP
– Hack the Pentagon
– My psets

Oh well, worth. Maybe I’ll get around to some of these other things next week.

Stocking Up

09 Mar 15

I opened my cabinet this morning to find a single pack of instant ramen, forlornly gathering dust in the corner of the bottom-most shelf. As someone who makes food when stressed or bored, this was unprecedented — I often find myself with too much food, not too little, and it’s far more common for my cabinet to be overflowing with random stuff than empty.

But for the past week or so, I’ve been busy. And though Shaw’s is but a stone’s throw away and H-mart only a few blocks further, both inclement weather and a general lack of time had convinced me that I did not need to buy any food for the week — the result being, of course, me standing in front of a mostly empty cabinet this morning, trying to decide if I was hungry enough for MSG and fake noodles.

I ate the ramen, but only because desperate times call for desperate measures, and I was pretty desperate.

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Madness

04 Mar 15

It’s Wednesday evening and I am sitting in Bonfire lounge, waiting for my code to run. The situation itself is nothing special — of the ninety-three or so residents of Random Hall a very clear majority of us are either course 6 (EECS) majors or somehow otherwise course 6-affiliated, and every semester the collective number of hours residents spend waiting around for our code to run very easily numbers in the thousands.

Nevertheless, I am somewhat amused by the setup — me, slouching back on the couch, computer open on my lap with a class-assigned coding project open on one half of the screen and vim open on the other. I start programs and write notes from the terminal more often than not these days, and when I get distracted from my work, it’s because I’m editing the perl script for the zstatus generator on BarnOwl or poking around the directories in my Athena locker with bash.

This semester, I’m taking more course 6 (EECS) classes than classes within my own major. It’s a byproduct of living in Random Hall, where even those of us who aren’t course 6 will find ourselves drawn to that general direction.

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It’s Aliiiive~

02 Mar 15

After over two years of inactivity, several months of broken scripting, and many disjointed, nonconsecutive weeks of Random Hall web admins pounding at their keyboards with all the fury of an un-caffeinated college student, we’re finally back online! There are still a few kinks to work out, of course — as of now there are two, maybe three current residents with writing access to this blog, and we probably can’t cover the entirety of Random Hall all by ourselves. And with spring, regular admissions results, and that looming specter of an as-of-yet-unplanned CPW fast approaching, it seems exciting things are primed to pile up fast.

Hi there. I’m lucci. I currently man this blog by myself, though Irina O. ’15 (iono) and Phillip H. ’15 (phhu) also have posting access and Taylor S. ’17 (taylors), one of our two Random Hall co-presidents, is admin. As of this writing I am a mechE major with a concentration in EECS, currently living on BMF — like many other Randomites, however, I hang out on other floors as well, namely Bonfire and Clam. I find lower case letters more aesthetically pleasing than upper case letters. In my spare time I pset and drink tea and construct ridiculously long sentences that tend to be technically correct but still go on into forever, but as I am one of those individuals who will ramble given the time and attention I find that this choice of writing style suits me just fine.

There isn’t much going on at the moment as I am about an hour away from my first class for the day and should really begin studying for my kanji quiz. Look forward to more activity within the next week, however — we’ll be updating the floor pages and posting more Random-centric updates. :)

Winter Blizzard

16 Feb 13

There was a giant blizzard this past week. Fortunately, MIT campus didn’t lose power. Classes were cancelled on Friday, but things were back to normal on Monday.

Through this blizzard, Random Hall stayed together and had a lot of fun.

We had a crazy fire alarm. It was hilarious, with a lot of giggling and snow throwing. We took shelter in the MIT museum across the street from Random.

The next day, a few floormates and myself had a long walk around Boston. The city was gorgeous with the blanket of snow. More than that, the people of Boston emanated a feeling of happiness. Snowball fights, sledding, and cross country skiing took over the whole city.

I’ve had my personal share of snow over the course of this winter, but it seems like there may still be some flurries in the future.

 

 

Getting Organized

28 Jan 13

We’re slowly moving out of the freezing world of January Boston. I’m not going to deny that I’m happy for a bit of a warm up, but the coming of spring also marks the return of classes.

I’ve been trying to get more organized for the coming year. I’ve been working on organizing my desk.

And I’ve gotten a day planner to keep my schedule straight. Maybe it’ll give me the strength to keep to my New Year’s resolutions.

What are you doing to stay organized for the start of classes? Did you make any major resolutions? How are you doing on them so far?

Random Hall has a new cat, courtesy of Tiffany on Loop. Her name is Ruby. She is so cute. She is so fluffy. And playful. And squishy. Words cannot capture the happiness I get from seeing her delicate whiskers and tufts of face fur.

Isn’t she the cutest thing ever? This is probably the best thing that has happened to me this semester.

This is definitely better than studio. As mentioned before, I’m the resident course 4 of Random Hall.

Continue reading ‘Cats, Chairs, and Hairballs’