AdmitSee

10 Jul 14

The site—www.AdmitSee.com–is a reference for students applying to U.S. colleges and graduate schools. The site offers an inside look at verified application stats, essays and advice of successful applicants. Curated packages of application essays can be found on the Packages tab, and students can browse essay intros for free on this tab.

Right now, applying to college feels like throwing darts while blindfolded. To make matters worse, there’s a shortage of college counselors at public high schools – 73% of schools don’t have a dedicated counselor. The college admissions advice market is fragmented and mostly offline. College consultants charge an average of $4,035, which is prohibitively expensive for most applicants.

They just did a post of facts about MIT. 

As an MIT student you can also earn money!  AdmitSee provides a platform for current students to earn money by anonymously sharing their old college application info and advice. You get paid half of any money applicants spend to view your full content (up to $10 per view)–you can make a few dollars a week just for sharing your old application info. Also you get access to $400 worth of grad student profiles! Students can’t plagiarize from you because they provide schools with access to the database via TurnItIn.

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.

For the first half of the semester, I’ve also been working on this chair. Every day you think about this chair. It’s like chair chair chair. Chair chair chairing chairs with chairchair in the chairchair. And my studio project is a hairball. Studio becomes almost a second home. That’s my behemoth of a project on the right. There’s even a blanket for emergency napping. Lots of tacky glue that won’t open, lots of snacks and soda to keep me company in the night, and lots of tears of the many all-nighters hunched over this desk.

But that’s why it’s important to get out of Random and studio (or lab for everyone else)! You get to see things like this:

Snow on the roofdeck!

Random Apple picking trip

More cats outside of Random.

Brunch today in Boston on Newbury

If I didn’t have these things in my life, I would probably become a hermit eating Triscuits locked in his room.  Excursions are easy. You just open the door and walk. Walk until the sun goes down, the street lights flicker on, and when the world becomes more than p-sets.

 

So, Halloween is my favorite holiday. And it just passed. (I use ‘just’ liberally).  I mean, I get to cosplay AND it’s socially acceptable. What more can I ask for? (Well, I’d like it if more people got my Halloween Costumes…) I’m sure there are other good things about Halloween too. Like free candy or parties or something.

 

It’s not like I’m constantly looking for excuses to dress up….

*Cough*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anywho. I did two things for Halloween this year. I went to a Halloween party at my favorite local comic book store (Comicazi) and I went on Boo’s Cruise (It’s an MIT “let’s put seniors on a boat together and give them two drinks each” thing. Not enough to get drunk, but people still manage to be unruly.) Seeing as the pictures from Boo’s Cruise would cost me 35 dollars to purchase, I’m just going to talk about the Halloween party.

 

So, I went because of this raffle. A raffle that promised a free graphic novel every week for a year. None of the 4 Randomites that attended won. We were sad about that, but whatever. We looked awesome, ate and danced and that’s all that mattered. I mean look at Arianna and I as Lolita Nightwing and Robin (Damian Wayne, for those who are curious as to which one. Also Lolita as it the fashion, not the book. ) Freaking cute, no?

 

Alex also cosplayed for the first time EVAR. She made a vest out of leather skirt so she could be Zoe from Firefly. It came out really well and her costume was spot on. When we got to the Halloween party, I found another Robin and a Firefly group found Alex. Yay for group photos!

So yeah… for any pre-frosh out there that read any of this stuff: Hey, I haven’t met you and this is crazy, but if you like costumes live with us maybe?

 

And that’s another good thing about living in the greater Boston area. Bands come to see us. Yesterday, Alex, Arianna, and I went to a Motion City Soundtrack and Jukebox the Ghost concert. 20 dollar general admission type thing. Totally affordable and totally worth it.

And in spite of the being pushed, shoved, hit, and stepped on, we had an awesome time. These guys are both adorable and inspiring. Look how freaking we happy we were to meet them.

 

And Alex got her cool new shirt signed.

Awesome, No?

Red Scooter

10 Nov 12

I love you so Red Scooter

and the big wheels that you wear.

I’m not afraid of wiping out.

On you I’ll never scare.

 

Smaller wheels have scary foes

like those gaps in our train tracks

or the ground’s annoying bricks

or our sidewalks filled with cracks.

 

But you carry me over all these

and you do so with great speed.

When class is in 5 minutes,

you are all that I need.

 

So I’ll cherish you Red Scooter
Many in Random do.
You are first rate, I’m never late,
But I wish you came in Blue.

 

 

 

 

Summer Days

10 Aug 12

About two more weeks til we see some new freshman!

 

I can’t wait to meet everyone!  0.0

 

 

Edit (November 2012) : Our Freshman are awesome and I love them all.

 

 

Hi. I’m Ragnar, also known as the cutest…ahem…most handsome cat to reside in Random Hall. Actually, the world, but I don’t bring that up too frequently, because I like to avoid the appearance of egotism. My mom named me Ragnar after Ragnar Danneskjold, a most honorable pirate. Also after Ragnarok, which I find fitting, if I say so myself. I’m really very good at preying on all manner of death strings, death jingle balls, death moths, and death eaters. (Honest. Really.) Only the death red dot has escaped me thus far, and only by the skin of its teeth. It won’t last long.

My mom is currently avoiding me at “desk” doing “work.” This is a common excuse of hers to put off petting me, playing predator and prey (Sometimes she tries predator and predator…but it’s no hope. It’s cute really. She thinks it’s fun, and I let her think she’s winning sometimes.), and napping beside me. She’s probably not doing work at all; more likely singing badly or writing a blog or something. I try to understand…she’s really stressed right now. She just had a death exam (I don’t know why she doesn’t let me take care of these for her), and has a bunch of psets to do. (I try to distract her from these frequently by sitting on her books and papers and by stealing her pens while she’s writing with them. It’s for her own mental health.) But I think she said she is going to be gone until 8. That’s FIVE HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES from now. So when she gets back I’m going to make sure to be super obnoxious to her and follow her around wailing. I’ll probably sit outside the bathroom again when she takes her shower tonight, too.

Yesterday Mom took me to the Other World to visit Kelvin. (He actually calls himself “Lord Kelvin.” Yes, really. I don’t mention that I’m a pirate-genius because I think he’s a little insecure.) He is a good chap, most of the time. Sometimes he taunts me with his tail, but I think he gets jealous that I have made the First World my domain, so I play along.

Well, I think I shall go find someone else to play with, since Mom has abandoned me for eternity. So long, and may you catch many mice.

Disney Part 2

15 Apr 12

Having toured the world, we turned to the Magic Kingdom. Taking the monorail to magic kingdom, there was a great sense of excitement but also the familiar feel of riding the T. That sense of familiarity faded as we got off the rail.
Seeing the picturesque shop fronts of Main Street was simply overwhelming. It was a storm of primary colors and, well, shoving elbows. But still! it felt like walking into the nice, little, quaint little, always kindly old New England town. I really liked the detailing in the upper story windows of the shops. I might have been a little bit excited


Our goal was to hit all the main attractions, but we had lost the advantage of fast track tickets. We thought to hit major attractions first, picking up return later tickets to make the most of our time.

The first ride we went on was the pirates of the Caribbean ride. The line wasn’t that bad. The worst part, to Jesse’s irritation, was the clinking of chains that small children would rattle. We finally got to the line within the building; there were lots of small sets. One had a pair of skeletal pirates that had died while gambling over a game. Another had cannons and treasure chests, complete with a gilded hook. The wait was about an hour, but well worth it. The boat ride went through the story of Barbosa raiding a port town in search of jack sparrow, elusive as always. The animatronics were pretty neat. My favorites were a pirate crooning to a pair of cats and, at the end, Sparrow reveling in his loot. It really did look like Johnny Depp, with admittedly stiff joints but nonetheless. From there we picked up return later tickets for Splash Mountain. We went on to Fantasyland.

As we came up to Fantasyland, we caught sight of Rapunzel and Eugene, welcoming young princesses and other guests. I only caught sight of her from afar, a lot of people wanted to meet her, but I am pretty sure she sent an extra smile our way!
We got our picture crossing a bridge towards the Disney castle. I can’t even describe to you what a dream that was!


We went on to tomorrow land for Space Mountain, but the ride broke as we were waiting in line. Instead, we went on the stitch adventure. Stitch escapes and wreaks havoc as we tried to complete our training mission. The sense of urgency was undermined a bit by Paula’s exclamations of how cute Stitch was. Also, there was a lot of mist that managed to make my eyes tear up. While Paula was happily purchasing her own Stitch for her stuffed animal ohana, it looked like I had witnessed a tragedy.

We got some cotton candy and headed back through Fantasyland. Let me also point out: the Disney castle! The actual Disney castle!

We wandered around for a while, working our way back to Splash Mountain. I detoured to have my picture taken with Tiana. Everyone else went to ride Splash Mountain while I watched small children mirror my ridiculous excitement about meeting Tiana, the for actual real Tiana.

Not to worry, by the time I’d taken my picture with Tiana, the line was super short. Splash mountain was pretty good; it was enjoyed the second time through since there was more splashing.

 

From Splash Mountain, Paula, Jesse, Alex and I headed back to the Disney castle to watch the final fireworks presentation. It was really amazing- more than one person teared up.

If you were to wish on a star, what would you wish for? What aspect of MIT is going to help you achieve that dream?

For spring break, Jesse, Paula, Alex, and I went down to Florida.  It was absolutely amazing! Getting a fourth of the floor to go to another state is no small feat.

Paula and Alex are native to Florida. Paula’s family was kind enough to host Jesse and I for a few days. (If you’re reading this, we really appreciate it!) While Jesse was hanging out with a friend from Miami, Paula and I went to see the Butterfly Capital of the World. Paula’s hometown, Coconut Creek, hosts Butteryfly world. It’s a giant netted park, filled with butterflies and small birds. There were some really gorgeous butterflies, from the large wobbling iridescent Blue Morpho to the flighty Piano Key.

We also went to Disney World. Paula’s family had the hook up- a relative that world in Epcot. With his blessing, we were able to get in for free and have fast passes for Epcot. (If you’re reading, we are very happy with you and will remember you come Christmas as promised!) Going on the  Soarin’ ride, we got to have a full tour of the united states. I know that a few of us could actually smell the citrus as our feet dangled over an orange orchard.

With America under our belt, we were ready to tackle the world. We went around to France, stopping in for a lunch that was personally prepared by Remy. I was really excited to see Belle; she’s my favorite childhood Disney princess.

It was a quick tour through Morocco to Japan. The shop for Japan went on for ages! There were so many adorable things. My favorite was the stationary for Studio Ghibli films. Being from Virginia, I couldn’t help but laugh at the colonial America. Why go to Florida to see a poor imitation colonial life when I could see Williamsburg? Italy and Germany proved to be adverts for food and alcohol, respectively. The troublingly stereotypical and imperialist “Outpost” wasn’t much of a hit for us. China’s pandas made out of shrubbery were adorable, but Mulan easily stole the scene. The Mexican Aztec pyramid was gorgeous- the atmosphere of a starry night’s bustling with street wares and haphazard foot traffic.

We used our fast passes to ride Mission: Space and Test Track. Jesse, who easily gets motion sick, was a bit worried for the astronaut training. However, she managed without problems to complete her role in our successful landing on Mars. We were less impressed with the driving for Test Track. Paula mused the possibilities of turning the ride into a tie in for the Cars franchise but we worried about the continuity of humans riding within sentient cars that had previously lived in a human-less universe.

A question to you, dear reader, where are the drivers in Cars? What country do you want to see at Epcot? If any of you want to actually visit a country, keep in mind the travel opportunities that study abroad UROPs and internships offer along with the MISTI program. Also, which rides would you want to take on? Which Disney characters would you want to meet?

 

To be continued

 

So, about every Thursday, one of Random’s awesome floor cultures is assigned the task of feeding their hungry dormmates. Yesterday, it was BMF’s turn to run the study break, so we thought we’d have a tea party!

I was a little worried no one would show up, as earlier last night we had a Quiche Cabal and I assumed people might be full. Fortunately, plenty of people attended our study break. Unfortunately, we burnt a large amount of cookies. This was mostly because we used ovens we were not familiar with (350 degrees in foo oven is apparently a lot hotter), but we had warm biscuits, jam, and store bought cookies that went well with our wide selection of tea, so I think it turned out okay!

BMF plans to do more tea party events soon. We considered this a practice run.

 

For all the frosh coming in, this is the google search for BMF explained. I went through the first couple of results and realized how bizarre they were. I hope that this makes a lot of sense after reading this blog post.

 

Rick Ross BMF- This song has very little in common with our floor culture. So little that it’s almost frightening. Although many of our residents are hard working and self made, BMF has little hope for a renovation much less a purchase after renovation. The only work we are getting is psets, lots and lots of psets.

 

Black Mafia Family-  BMF does not exist in Michigan nor does it traffic drugs. The things Wikipedia can teach you!

 

Mike Lee’s twitter- I think that the strong course 6 women of BMF might challenge his title to world’s toughest programmer. His tweets are not amusing enough for me to mock/explain. Sorry.

 

Harvard BMF- I find it oddly amusing that a Harvard group is a more popular google search than our dear floor. MIT can surely do better than this. Although, BMF, the floor, does many things similar to Harvard’s BMF but with less boys. To be more specific: 1) I take Introduction to Feminist Political thought, 2) Alex, Paula, and I represent the full female mulatto population of Random Hall, 3) there are semi regular discussions of issues related to wgs. That’s almost the same right?

 

The urban dictionary – BMF, according to some folks, comes from the same phrase emblazoned on a wallet in Pulp Fiction.

 

Hopefully, the explanations will make google actually useful for those dear prefrosh that want to know more about our floor.

So, the 29th is Random Hall’s birthday, making this Wednesday (two days ago) Random’s 11th birthday celebration (Because being born on leap day makes you young and beautiful forever.)

This appeared in the infinite to celebrate: (Photo courtesy of pweaver)

That’s a giant Ozok. He’s kind of our mascot. He’s the familiar to our magical girl, the pikachu to our ash, the parrot to our pirate… Except not like any of those examples at all.

Anywho, I left class early to head to the festivities which began at 8:17. There were goodie bags filled with candy and toys, cake, and awesome alumni visiting to tell dark stories of the past.

This was my cake. It was yummy:

Look at our cute female grads!

So yeah, it was good.  It only happens once when you’re an undergrad, so be sure not to miss the next one!

As a gal that grew up right next to D.C., I was used to being able to trek out on the metro to the National Gallery of Art when I needed an art fix. I’ve been suffering a bit of art withdrawal since moving to Boston. I heard about the Museum of Fine Arts. Also, MIT students can get in for free with an ID. Despite a high level of comfort riding the Metro on my own, I’m a bit frightened to take the T on my own. Taking the T is nothing like taking the metro, as those from Va-Md area should know.

I’d talked about this a bit with my friends but we had recently taken a trip out to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum to see this gorgeous installation piece. Going to the MFA was simply too much art for them. Weaklings.

 

Due to Paula having a mandatory assignment, Paula and I went to MFA.

It was amazing!

I might maybe have had too many feelings looking at impressionistic art, but it seemed to be fine.

I hope that we can comeback as a larger group and with more time.

I’m pretty self centered. That’s why I feel the need to introduce myself. I am a freshman, and I very happily live in this dorm. I am course 4, architecture. I just got back from Studio (9:30pm) Hopefully my major won’t change.

It gets a bit monotonous to introduce yourself (Hi! My name is BLAH and I’m course NUM. I’m taking 18.0NUM, 8.0NUM, 7.0NUM, 6.0NUM, etc), but the key is to move past that conversation and talk about what’s really important: cats! There are cats in this dorm – they only live on 2 floors though, so that is a bit sad – they should live everywhere! If only cats could freely roam MIT… I did see a stray cat recently. I was walking home from another very cold wintry night, when I saw the puffy fat shadow skitter across Mass Ave. So Brave, so cute.

Back to the point: cats in the dorm. So far Ragnar, DOS, and Kelvin have been really friendly to me whenever I see them.

Ragnar and Dos (Lord Kelvin wishes not to be photographed at this time aka I need to go take a picture of handsome him)

When your eyes lock, you explode from the immense joy of seeing a cat. Then he does something silly, and you start making idiotic sounds. I remember my first experience meeting Ragnar in the beginning of term last fall: I stumbled onto Loop, one of the cat floors, and immediately ran towards the cat. The residents of the floor probably thought I was some creepy Asian kid, since they continued their conversations without acknowledging my presence. I don’t blame them and there was a cat – it was really late, and some random person you have never seen starts petting the cat instead of engaging in social interaction – if I saw that, I would be creeped out. When strangers walk through our kitchen, sometimes I become anxious because I worry the person is a resident, and I just have awful people memory skills. Now that more people know me, I can freely pet cats and visit floors without fear that I’m a creepy Asian kid! People are really friendly about their cats :)

Dos loves to play with my lanyard. They also like to play games with you at the door - apparently Kelvin is quite the escape artist, running to other floors when absent minded residents open the doors. Oh cats, how I love you so.   I skyped with my cat back home the other day – it was marvelous, thank you for asking!

That’s my life so far, cats and studio.  I love it.

 

 

I am a freshman considering course 2. I am in Concourse, which is one of the super cool options for freshman advising. Concourse offers smaller class sizes for freshman classes along with an integrated approach to science and philosophy. There’s also a Friday seminar, discussion of weekly readings over a catered lunch. I’m really enjoying Concourse because of the close-knit group it’s instilled along with a solid introduction to philosophy and critical thinking.

 

I don’t think there’s really an unbiased way to describe one’s own personality. I like to think of myself as straightforward and hardworking but with a difficulty in keeping up with small details, but that sounds a bit too much like Taneshima from Working! to be more than a stereotype or a wish for what I’d like to be. Although I’m also similar to her in that I’m short. (Note: Should you meet me, you do not need to point out that I’m short. I am aware of this.) Maybe I’m more like  Asuka from NGE; I really relate and look up to her, even if that sounds a bit strange.

 

I enjoy watching anime and television. I really like classical lolita clothing. I’m a big fan of traditional art; I try to visit some artsy place at least once a month. I try to make my own art, but it doesn’t end up as well as I’d like. Finishing murals that have been started is a goal of mine. I tend to get distracted halfway through, but everything gets done in the end. I listen to a lot of folk music and Motion City Soundtrack. I went to see MCS on their 4 albums/2 nights/7 cities tour and would be up for another concert expedition. I spend a lot of my time socializing in the kitchen of BMF or playing with DOS, Amy’s cat on Black Hole.  I also do volunteer work in APO. APO is Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity that is very represented in Random Hall.

 

 

 

A slight addiction had spread through our floor last year and hasn’t stopped since. It started out as a thing Liz and I ordered every now and then (I’m in the purple, she’s in the blue), then something we bought constantly, then it evolved into something we needed.  Worst of all, the place that supplied us delivered.  We ordered about four times a week. Before I knew it, more and more BMF girls were joining us in our orders, getting as many as 8 drinks delivered to us in a day.  Soon, Clam would order Boba, and the girls who worked at the store knew us by our address.

 

Some days we couldn’t take it. We couldn’t wait. Liz procured a bag of precooked boba and we tried our hand at making drinks to put it in.


It went well, but it just wasn’t the same. Possibly because the drink wasn’t sweet enough, or possibly because we didn’t have straws that could fit the boba and we had to use spoons.

Anywho, this term, in order to lessen the financial burden, we’ve been ordering boba only once or twice a week. I’m not sure how often Clam orders anymore, but we still make fairly large orders.  There are worse addictions to have though, right?

Food. It’s delicious, and one of the many reasons why we love Random. Unhindered by dining hall meal plans, we can try all sorts of culinary creativity. I’m not terribly adventurous, but I do love to eat. So! Some of what I’ve cooked over IAP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Chicken. Simple, but yummy. Chicken, lemon slices, and whatever green herby spices on the spice rack smell faintly Italian. Bake. Make stomach happy. Went very nicely with…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bam! Risotto. Unfortunately the picture makes it look very bland but I can assure you it was pure deliciousness. I pulled a herp derp in the grocery store and couldn’t find any box labeled risotto… That’s cause this is Orzo. Orzo simmered in chicken broth and Sauvignon Blanc for 40 minutes. (The recipe said 20 minutes. Lies! Also, since I did so poorly in the pasta aisle you can imagine what happened at the liquor store. This choice in white wine? Total fluke).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ghetto version of Pad Thai! Chicken cooked in peanut butter (on top of linguine) and an assortment of things I decided would be nice in an Asian dish. Mostly ginger. I love ginger. And garlic. And hot peppers. Doesn’t really taste like pad thai, but it is a nice rendition of Chicken covered in Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, a sideways because my 4 year old laptop can be a bit of an idiot photo of Baklava! Probably my most difficult dish yet! Or at least the one I was most scared of. Phyllo dough is kind of the devil. Just saying. It’s so thin! Like Bible pages or something. Anyway. I made this for a Loop floor dinner (they were so nice to invite me! I live on BMF but you know us girls love to eat and watch movies together). SO GOOD. It was so good I was so happy. You don’t even know. Don’t. Even. Know. A human research experiment in not offending their taste buds and it went well! Yay!

I make food like this on a $55 dollar a week budget. For all my food. Seriously. And I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert or a second dinner everyday.

So if you’re thinking about MIT, or your kid is, rest assured you can eat and eat well! Or if you’re a frosh in Random and haven’t built the nerve to try anything delicious do! I’m not the best but I’ll try to help if I can.

Come cook with me!

 

 

Mural Contest

27 Jan 11

IAP: the institute calls it “Independent activities period” but students know that it is actually the “infinite activities period”. A whole month! For anything that your heart desires! Well, Random Hall happens to be one of the few dorms on campus that allows its residents to cover the walls with super-awesome murals. In order to encourage people to take advantage of this unique right, and to contribute to the art embedded in its walls, the Random Hall student government added yet another event to the excitement of IAP, a mural painting contest. There were five entrants, and the vast majority of the murals had several people working on them. It was a great community event that Random will continue to benefit from for years to come.

Zelda Windwaker

Stained Glass window from Zelda: Wind Waker

The winner of the people’s choice award was painted in Clam Lounge, greeting people as they walk through the hole in the firewall between Clam and BMF, one of the main traffic points for residents of the dorm that want to get from the 290 half to the 282 half of the dorm.

Castle on a Cloud

Castle on a Cloud

The winner of the snooty artist award (awarded by our house masters, Nina and Chris) went to this rendition of a castle on a cloud. It greets residents on the stairwell landing to Loop, an all female floor that wanted to embrace visitors with the utmost grace and femininity.

minus web comic

minus web comic

This rendition of the webcomic called minus (http://www.kiwisbybeat.com/minus.html) is in BMF Kitchen. It was painted in watercolors. Yes, watercolor on plaster. It was an epic experiment that turned out extremely awesomely.

Mario

Mario

Some of the back hallways of Random have the coolest art that just creeps up on you and attacks you from behind. This mural on Clam is the newest addition to that collection of sneakiness.

Snowbunnies

Snowbunnies

Cambridge has had so many snow storms recently, that it seems only appropriate to immortalize it forever on Loop’s wall, in the cutest way possible of course.

Beef Cookies

22 May 09

You know what’s delicious? Beef.
You know what else is delicious? Cookies.

Applying the linearity o the delicious operator, Beef cookies must also be delicious. Of course, being scientists, we had to empirically verify this conclusion. And so last week fischerl, pweaver, and I decided to make some delicious beef cookies
Beef is for cookies, it's good enough for me
Crumbling cookies, baked with exquisite, hand-cooked teriyaki beef, pocketed by gently melted cheddar cheese, to further bring out the delectable tastes.

I actually thought these tasted surprisingly good. Might try something similar again some time.

cat tinycat.txt

14 Apr 09

Random Hall CPW

12 Apr 09

It’s a well-known fact that Random Hall throws an insanely awesome CPW. Just ask any of us.

What kinds of things do we have slated for you this year? To start with, we’ve got more liquid nitrogen ice cream than your body has room for, plus truffles-making and BEEF. We’ve got memes, juggling, and Saturday morning cartoons. There’ll be the Muffinocalypse, to be followed by the Muffin Kingdom Come, bad science fiction, and movies, boffing, and BBQ on the roofdeck.  And you know how many pancakes we have.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. For more details on our events, check out the CPW schedule at http://web.mit.edu/random-hall/www/rush.shtml.

If you can’t come to CPW but still want a sense of what we’re like, check out our i3 video.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to email ask-jarthur (at) mit.edu.

One of the services that Random Hall has always boasted is the laundry server. While other dorms may outsource their work laundryview.com to check the status of their laundry, the laundry server is entirely run by the laundry chairs and the computer chairs.

As with any software, laundry server has several areas of suckiness (fortunately, you can complain about it to your fellow students and have a chance of getting it fixed, as opposed to complaining about it to a faceless corporation). One such deficiency is the laundry server’s penchant for underestimating the time it will take to finish your laundry. When you see:

It should be done in approximately 0 seconds (ie, now!).

What that really means is that you should wait another five minutes before traipsing down two floors to transfer your laundry to another machine.

Now, why might this be the case? The laundry server keeps a running average of the last 64 runs of a particular machine. Any one particular outlier should eventually be flushed out and stop messing with the average. One guess was that, because you could set the washer machine to wash “Heavy”, “Medium” or “Light”, this time variation meant that there was an upper limit to accuracy you could get on runtime. Another guess was that our photoresistors weren’t properly hooked up, so the laundry server was actually getting bogus state information. Put on your armchair debugging hat: what do you think the problem was?

Continue reading ‘Laundry server adventures’

Through the miracles of thermodynamics, or perhaps some incorrect arithmetic in his pset (but that doesn’t seem likely now, does it?) shawest just discovered that it takes 104 hours to cook a hamburger. Since he felt the need to share this with everyone around, I feel the need to share this with you.

“It’s not hard, you just make random assumptions. You start by assuming that a human being is a 6-foot diameter sphere.”

Don’t ask me. I’m a music major. *shrug*

Random Hall has this wonderful thing called the Alice and Wonderland basement, lovingly referred to as AIW. It has a projector, a screen on the wall, couches, and various media equipment. Unfortunately, the receiver is out of service at the moment, which means that the nice Bose speakers are similarly incapacitated.

Zev, a Random Hall alumni, decided it would be a great idea to watch some 80s fantasy films–Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Willow, etc. This was, I must agree, a pretty quality plan. (Bow down before the might of David Bowie’s pants!) He also really wanted to use something better than a set of laptop speakers. And here begins our tale.

Continue reading ‘Adventures of MITGyver’

You are most cordially invited for tea
and sweets
on this, the 29th day of March
in celebration of Spring
to relax before classes,
at 242 Random Hall,
at a late and undetermined hour.
Appropriate attire is applauded but not required.
Utterly inappropriate attire is just fine.
Please do bring along your dolls in frilly dresses
and your stuffed animals.

Overhead of tea party

Continue reading ‘Tea Party on Black Hole!’

War on Black Hole

21 Aug 08

So the other day I decided it would be a good idea to walk into a very crowded Black Hole kitchen carrying a plastic nerf gun. Well, see, this alone wouldn’t be terribly exciting except that almost everyone on Black Hole owns some sort of toy firearm. Some people even own entire armories. So when I walked out holding my little toy gun, Jacky, another Black Hole resident, disappeared briefly and then reappeared with a nerf bazooka. A few minutes later, Black Hole kitchen was a war zone littered with rubber darts, plastic canisters, foam bullets, and small plastic discs. All the residents, new freshmen, and any Randomites who walked in were quickly armed and recruited. The entire fire fight lasted over an hour, leaving the kitchen (and my room, which borders the kitchen) looking like a disaster area.

Continue reading ‘War on Black Hole’

Greetings, freshman, and welcome to MIT. I see you’re looking at Random Hall as a possible place to live. While Random is not for everyone, it’s certainly a place that I enjoy very much. If you have the time, I’d like to take you on a visual tour of Random Hall during the summer nighttime hours.

This is in no way a substitute for taking a tour with a real tour guide during Rush. It’s merely intended to serve to whet your appetites for the real thing. I can’t possibly convey how awesome Random is by simply showing you pictures – you have to see for yourself :) In particular, the dorm was unusually empty when I was walking around taking these pictures. There’s really nothing better for getting the feel of a dorm than walking around with a resident.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and explanations expressed here are my own and are not intended to represent the dorm in any official capacity whatsoever. Again, this is not a substitute for a real tour.

Follow me through the front door, and we’ll begin…

img_2367

Warning: The following page contains a great deal of images and may take a long time to load.
Continue reading ‘A Visual Tour of Random Hall’

One of the activities many Random Hall residents enjoy is the construction of, and experimentation with, various kinds of electronics. I recently completed an electronics project which is posted on my door (Room 244), so come check it out during Rush.

I’ve posted some photos and a writeup at http://arc-reactor.net/projects/potterclock .

I somehow failed to think of a pun (which is something that is very rare for me…) for the title, so I had to settle with the above.

Anyway, the other day, somewhere between 600 and 700 Smart Start bowls mystically appeared on Pecker Floor. No one quite knows how they got there–quite likely the forces of magic, which are oft known to do strange (read: amusing) things in our humble abode–but it was noted that they seem to have arranged themselves into a giant pyramid consuming most of the lounge. Oddly enough, upon leaving the bowls alone for quite some time, we returned to find that they had assumed a completely different shape. Again, we left the great location of this poorly understood phenomenon to return again, now a day later, to find that the shape of the pile of bowls had once again transfigured itself into a strange star-shaped pattern, spreading downward to engulf the entire floor in a Smart Start sea of bowl-iness.

I have some pictures to share with you on which I will upload thusly
Continue reading ‘The Mysterious and Marvelously Multifaceted Mutating Monolithic Monuments of Mountains of MRandom Hall’

For some reason, every summer the Institvte thinks it should tear things down, build things, or otherwise hire a lot of construction workers. This summer at Random, it’s BMF’s turn.

Right now, you can track every person who walks through.

Continue reading ‘Summer Construction’

I lol’d

07 Jul 08

Greetings freshmen,

I am teh amazing rando and I will say a few words about bonfire floor (where I do not live, but am part of the active community). We are an eclectic group of geeks from all backgrounds with the common goal of waging war on the easily offended and having fun with irrational thought.

This is not an obscene picture  :)

Some of the cool things that we do are:

  1. Comment loudly while watching awesome movies
  2. Watch lots of scifi
  3. Play GOOD video games (nice challenging ones)

Pecker Floor, dear prefrosh, is the fourth floor on the 290 side of Random Hall, and we are all about mathematics, physics, mathematics, theoretical computer science, and mathematics. One of our lesser known interests, however, is prophesying the future by means of refrigerators.

BEHOLD! pecker fridges

More specifically, behold the ORACLE! choose your fate

All Pecker residents find their destiny on this hallowed piece of paper (recently upgraded to inkjet from dot matrix paper – neat!). Never mind that your destiny changes basically every year – how could you question the oracle? I’ve never heard legends about your psychic powers.

This year, all residents of Pecker will suffer one of four fates:

1) DEATH BY RENORMALIZATION – the self-energy/polarization of the vacuum… a pathological electron-electron scattering mode… Landau pole after Landau pole… you can’t take it any more, and so your run to condensed matter physics, thinking that you might free yourself of those accursed infinities… but when you scrutinize the mathematics that describe second-order phase transitions, you freeze in your tracks as the ghastly, horrifying spectres of Feynman and Schwinger arise from your pages of calculations… it is just too much.

2) DEATH BY HEAVY METAL POISONING: “Teflon’s killed scores of people just like you,” they said, and so you broke out the plastic spatulas and plastic forks every time you so much as looked at a non-stick pan. Little did you suspect the hundred-year-old pipes in Random Hall would do you in. Murphy’s Law strikes again, I guess.

3) DEATH BY INDIRECTION: “It’s duct tape for algorithms,” old, sagely andersk hissed, but you pooh-poohed him. O(n log n) space becomes O(n)? What’s not to like? You implement it in your code, sure that all your friends will think you’re the coolest coder ever to stumble into lobby 7. Too bad you forgot about the complexity of your algorithm. As you wait for your test suite to finish running, you fossilize. Way to go.

4) DEATH BY DYING: Well, that wasn’t helpful. I guess the oracle can’t produce home runs all the time. In fact, the oracle always strikes out in the last at-bat – Death by Dying’s name hasn’t changed in ages. If you ask anyone around here, they’ll tell you that it’s probably more a statement about the refrigerator than the residents who use it.

So, there you have it. Auguring your future: a splendid reason to live on Pecker!

Let me tell you a story about something that happened in Random Hall a short while ago. I will title it Secret Service Kitten, though, of course, others may object.

Continue reading ‘Angleton, the Secret Service Kitten’

Random Hall has a pretty nifty feature that I’d like to share. There’s this thing that tends to loom a few feet above your head (depending on hall tall you are) within the dormitory. It is composed of many rectangular tiles, stays at a constant height, exists on every floor, and keeps us from falling down to the floor below us (and the rain from falling in on us). Many people call this thing a ceiling. Quite fascinating, really.

Anyway, the ceiling tiles around Random are much more exciting than your average ceiling tile, as they are equipped with dried paint. We thusly have some fascinating ceiling tiles on our ceilings.

Behold:

In BMF lounge, there are paintings of a bunch of classes, most of which are GIRs (General Institute Requirements…the classes everyone needs to take in order to graduate, regardless of his/her major).
8.012
(8.012! Now with: Capstan Problem)

Click the link below for more photos of our awesome ceiling tiles!
Continue reading ‘Colorful Things on the Ceiling’

Survey!

03 Apr 08

Yuran, Shawn, ekate, and I just finished a spontaneous survey of the dorm. We thought that we would share the results with you. As prefrosh, you must be interested in all possible statistics about Random Hall, right?

Our survey was to see whether Randomites respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question ‘Are you busy right now?’* Our sampling was… well… whoever we could find when we walked through the entire dorm. (Don’t worry, none of us are statisticians.) For people who answered ‘no,’ there was a SUPER SECRET BONUS QUESTION!

We surveyed 31 respondents. This is 1/3 of our 93 residents and clearly a perfect and unbiased statistical sampling. Sadly, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ ended up tied, so maybe Randomites exist in a quantum superposition of being busy and not busy?

*- We think a lot of people lied to us on both sides. Oh well.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Question: Are you busy right now?
YES: 15
NO: 15
Abstentions (due to being asleep in the lounge): 1

Super Secret Bonus Question: ekate lost her pink elephant; have you seen any pink elephants around?
NO: 11
Meow: 2
No, but I saw a pony!: 1
… define ‘seen’…: 1
Do you need people to help you look for it?: 1

——————————————————————————————————————————

So… prefrosh… are *you* busy right now?

The more it changes, the more it stays the same. Hello, prefrosh, my name’s Josh, known around here as Josh the frosh. The fact that I am now a sophomore seems not to matter. Last year, I was a rush chair, and so was partially responsible for our current ’11s here in Random Hall. Let me tell you, I’m not sure I’m ready for the sight of another eager young face. I mean, after LAST year, the next freshman that looked me in the eye was liable to get bound, slow-roasted over a fire, and forced to sing “I am Henry the Eighth I am” until medium ra– er… Look! An engaging and memory-erasing distraction!

Now, let me tell you something about Random Hall. I love this dorm. I love the culture. Like how I can run around being as insanely nerdy and weird as I want and merit hardly a second glance. Like how I can run around making obscure video game references that everyone gets. Like how I can (and do) juggle in public spaces and have people merely concerned that they have enough space to walk by. Like how I can participate in an entirely serious conversation on practical world domination. Or like how a food event featuring deviled eggs and cornish hens was dubbed “the dead babies study break.” I love this place right down to the hole we made in my floor’s wall due to an unfortunate consequence of conservation of angular momentum.

ANYwho, what I’m trying but failing miserably to get at is that Random Hall is an amazing place. I hope you’ll find the time to come and visit us during this coming CPW. I’m going to take time off from school and make liquid nitrogen ice cream for any and all comers, so don’t you dare miss tasting the 77 Kelvin delight.

The more it changes, the more it stays the same. Here’s a little hint: you, prefrosh, will be the change. And I have no doubt that you will be every bit as awesome as we hope.

Cheers, and I look forward to seeing all of you for CPW,

-Josh

j3 video

05 Aug 07

Hello all you frosh out there!

I bet you are all brimming with excitement about coming to MIT for orientation and Rush!

Several friends of mine got together with me and created an alternate dorm video to tell you a little more about Random.
You can see it on youtube Here or download a high quality version Here.

I hope to see you guys soon!
Have a great remainder of the summer!

~rando

Preeya is right; don’t unpack your bags. In fact, bring a small handy travel bag with a towel, toothbrush and a change of clothes so you can refresh yourself without having to dig through luggage. This bag may come in handy if you find yourself staying the night in another dorm (which can and should happen quite often) during REX. If you think you like Random, I highly recommend taking a look at EC and the other east campus dorms. You should also make it a point to visit at least one of the west campus dorms briefly, even if you don’t think you’ll live there. Just pick an event that looks interesting and go. It might make you some connections and/or friendships that could prove useful later.
In short, unless you are sleeping or at an event here, we should not see you constantly hanging around Random. REX is about exploring all the dorms, not just Random, and finding the one that is right for you. In many schools you are simply assigned a dorm and a room; take advantage of the opportunities you are given here.

Hello freshmen!

26 Jul 07

I think you freshmen have now received your temporary room assignments, so hopefully those of you assigned to Random are reading this now. Hello! Welcome to the Random Hall blog.

You probably want to know what to expect when you get here in the fall. Here’s the major point: DO NOT UNPACK! I repeat, whatever you do, do NOT unpack your bags! One of the perks of the MIT housing system (which you will discover is one of the best things about this place) is called REX. It’s a chance to explore the living options available to you and choose which one you like best! I know you’ve seen the i3 videos and maybe came to CPW; trust me, you still haven’t gotten the full impression of most of the dorms yet.

At MIT, each dorm has a specific culture. While all of MIT is united in nerdiness, you’ll find that nerdiness comes in different flavors. Do you like to pun? Blow things up? Read webcomics? Watch movies? Watch really bad movies? Play with cats? Go to parties? I could keep going, but I think you get the point. By exploring your options, you can optimize your happiness by finding a dorm with people you really like.

You may think that Random is the place for you. You liked our i3 video, and maybe you met some residents over CPW and enjoyed talking to them. Chances are that you’re someone we’ll enjoy having. But please, please keep an open mind. There are 10 other dorms on campus — you may get here and find out you like one of them better, even by a little bit. If so, moving between dorms in the Adjustment Lottery is quick, easy and reliable, as long as you follow the advice: do not unpack your bags.

Woo…guild camp!

26 Jul 07

Really punchy right now…
I’ve spent the past week and a half writing a LARP (http://www.mit.edu/~assassin/about.html) with a bunch of friends, so I’m more than a bit punchy right now. So…I guess I’ll tell you guys about the interesting things that have happened.
We spent the second night of Guild Camp up until 5AM ranting about characters…and going absolutely nuts. We also staged a fight on zephyr for our zampolit (guy who’s supposed to make sure that we’re on track and not just screwing around while deadlines pass us by). It went downhill pretty fast, degenerating into statements like “ooh bubble tea, I MEAN I HATE YOU ALL” but he didn’t actually read the whole thing and thought we were actually serious…so we staged another fight the next night :)
There was the one night where we had to rework the whole thing and ternus ended up drinking about 10 cans of Mountain Dew and stayed up until 6AM generating stuff for the game…
I’ve spent the past few days trying to convince my team that I am not, in fact, an Anime character.
Today, Hubert, our zampolit, became Pacman and munched all of our \ldots, because we were kind of ellipse happy…wakka wakka wakka
Whoo…going back to writing character sheets…

Summer!

12 Jul 07

No recent entries? Shame on y’all! I guess we haven’t had any schoolwork to procrastinate, so writing Random Hall blog entries is slightly less tempting…

Does Random have people around for the summer? Certainly! What, did you think that we all go *poof* over the summer? Of course not. In fact (unlike most dorms which tend to be deserted over the summer), the amount of social events and random hanging out in lounges remains more or less constant between term and summer.

So, why are we around over the summer? Well, UROPs are a great way to get experience in your preferred field (although much easier to get in some than others). Work in a cutting-edge MIT lab, make useful contributions (or not) to science, eat free food… The Institvte (aka MIT) is really good to its students in that respect. UROPs aren’t just some impressive thing made up for the admissions office- pretty much everyone does actually get at least one really cool UROP at some point or other.

But the 9 AM – 5 PM job (or if you’re like me, 9 PM – 5 AM job) isn’t what’s important.

At Random this summer, there is so much fun to be had that it can barely be contained in that 5 PM – 9 AM block (or the 5 AM – 9 PM block, either). There are extra summer D&D runs (do you prefer a ninja, pirate, or Stargate basis for D&D?) in addition to the year-round runs; frequent board games; random lounge conversations on anything from cats to the biological workings of obscure diseases; lots of catching up on reading and watching anything from awesomely bad YouTube videos to awesomely shiny television series (Babylon 5, anyone?); food mobs to local restaurants; chocolate-making; almost any computer or video game you can think of, playing individually or in groups; playing our own, customized circle-of-death game where you “kill” your target by tagging them with a (clean) sock, like my fuzzy pink weapon of doom; ice cream parties celebrating our GRT’s successful thesis defense; and so much more. These aren’t infrequent, either, just what comes to mind immediately- all but about two of these have happened in the past 24 hours.

Just imagine what can happen during term when even more people are around the dorm!

Oh, right, I have to prepare for a work meeting that takes place in 4 hours… later, people.

CPW: Thursday

13 Apr 07

Welcome to Random Hall!
CPW Is Awesome!
Click the link below for more pictures of the first day of CPW.
Continue reading ‘CPW: Thursday’

CPW Schedule!

12 Apr 07

Here it is: the list of events that Random Hall is hosting for CPW! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 12
Make Your Own Truffles3:17pm-5:17pm
3D Twister5:17pm
Random Puzzles5:17pm-8:17pm
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream7:47pm
“Bad Science” Movie Night11:17pm
Paranoia XP at Midnight1:17am
  
Friday, April 13
Make Your Own Donuts11:17am
Duct Tape Construction12:17pm-2:17pm
Board Games4:17pm-6:17pm
Fort Awesome Robotics Expo4:30pm
Third Floor Banquet6:47pm-8:17pm
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream8:17pm
Cheesy Sci-Fi Night10:17pm
RHOP (Random House Of Pancakes)~4:17am
Talk To MegaHAL4:17am
  
Saturday, April 14
Saturday Morning Cartoons8:17am-11:17am
Roofdeck Barbecue (Parts 0-1)12:47pm
Board Games2:17pm-5:17pm
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream3:17pm
Boffer Fighting4:17pm
for parents: Housemasters’ Open House4:17pm
Aqua Teen Hunger Force LED Construction4:30pm-5:30pm
mitBEEF Beef-Off7:17pm
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream8:17pm
Story Time with Cruft8:17pm
Pants Pants Revolution / DDR Tetris10:17pm-2:17am
Math and Tea10:17pm
Movies on the Roofdeck12:17am

It was the Saturday before spring break. Jeff Cohen and Dan Yuan and Kendra Beckler and I decided to do a little 2v2 Magic: the Gathering.

[ For those who haven't heard of the joy of MtG: Magic the Gathering is the first and the king of collectible card games. You may have seen people playing it at your school if you heard phrases like "untap, unkeep, draw!" or "combat phase" or "trample". It's a fun and very intricate game that's a meld between high fantasy, chess-like strategy, and computer programming. About a dozen people here play it from time to time. ]

We gathered around Clam lounge, got out the community cork counters I had made by slicing up wine bottle corks from home, and Jeff tutored Kendra (who was learning) a tiny bit while I finished creating a “sliver” deck.

The format was two-headed giant, where players on each team take their turns simultaneously (makes the games go alot quicker). It was me and Jeff vs. Dan and Kendra, and about to be an exciting session…
Continue reading ‘Random: the Gamer-ing’

A little snapshot of how excited we are for CPW, courtesy of BMF’s mildly internet-famous Dinosaur Comics Whiteboard (for the original entry about the whiteboard, see Riv’s post)

(Click on “more” to see close-ups of the panels!)
Continue reading ‘Dinosaur Comics (again) and CPW’