The story of a transition from Japan to Cambridge


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Boating on the Charles Posted by Picasa

A blustery day in Boston Posted by Picasa

Andrew and Karlen survey the scene Posted by Picasa

Crew teams line up for their chance down the Charles Posted by Picasa

Three boats in a head to head battle Posted by Picasa

What's wrong with this picture? Posted by Picasa

Buckle up! Posted by Picasa

The road to Vermont Posted by Picasa

Theta Chi was here Posted by Picasa

In front of Norwich Junior High Posted by Picasa

Alcaraz plays with a red ball Posted by Picasa

The Polka Dot Posted by Picasa

Home cookin' with Bill and Ben Posted by Picasa

I have never seen Schrock so happy Posted by Picasa

Look at all that pie! Posted by Picasa

Francis and Schrock, following their feast Posted by Picasa

Bill, visually excited by the "Hip Hop Here" sign Posted by Picasa

At the Harpoon Brewery in Vermont Posted by Picasa

David, Erik, and Alex, with enough peace signs to remind me of Japan Posted by Picasa

Matt with crazy glasses! Posted by Picasa

Volkan's "birthday" Posted by Picasa

Road Trip!

This weekend I climbed aboard a rental van to participate in Theta Chi’s retreat to Norwich, Vermont where the first Theta Chi chapter was founded in 1856. The University of Norwich has since closed its doors to Greek organizations, making MIT’s Beta chapter the oldest operational branch of the fraternity. A monument now stands where the old Theta Chi house was located, after a fire consumed the structure and the rest of the Norwich University buildings.

Roads trips are always fun, especially with a great group of guys. In two massive 12-seater rental vans the new Theta Chi pledges traveled with Brothers on the 3 hour trek from Boston to Norwich. Along the way I was almost left at a gas station with a dozen donuts as my only food source. After arriving in Norwich, Ante, who organized the retreat, said a few words where the Theta Chi house used to stand, and then we played a heated game of kickball on the nearby soccer field. Other people found bikes, scooters, and balls of various sized which made for a great afternoon in Norwich.

Vermont in fall is beautiful, and the whole day lent itself to a truly “New England” experience. On the way home Schrock got our van hopelessly lost only to find The Polka Dot Diner, with the best pies this side of the Mississippi. Schrock and Francis split five pieces between the two of them while I polished of an open face turkey sandwich, sweet potato fries, and a generous slice of lemon meringue pie.

That night was the Brothers dinner, a time when all the pledge classes go out to dinner with their pledge brothers. The freshmen ate at Vinny T’s, across from the Prudential Center (which we ran to from Theta Chi in the pouring rain). Diner was exciting, to say the least, and I’m glad to be getting to know the rest of the pledge class.

Sunday was spent watching The Head of the Charles Regatta with Andrew and Karlen. The Regatta is a rowing race held on the Charles River which draws teams from all over the world and is one of the largest regattas in the world. Andrew used to row so he explained the rules and tactics while we all cheered on MIT’s crew team. At the finish line near Harvard were many booths peddling various goods (and free ice cream). That night I tried to get some work done before sleep took its toll.

No tests this week, which is a relief, but plenty of homework in the meantime. It’s quite cold and rainy which means time to break out the raincoats and sweaters.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The closest I will ever get to a multi-billionaire Posted by Picasa

On the left, an MIT professor who sued Ballmer over an issue free speech and won. Now apparently "friendly adversaries," Ballmer admits he was "out-lawyered."
 Posted by Picasa

Not only a marketing genius, Ballmer is also one scary fellow Posted by Picasa

What a crazy afternoon! Posted by Picasa

Getting Lucky in the Tang Center

This week in the MIT Stata Center, Bill Magnuson and I spotted a flyer for a speech to be given by Steve Ballmer, CEO and poster boy for the Microsoft Corporation. Thoroughly intrigued, I slipped out of chemistry class a little early today to meet Bill outside the Tang Center. As I should have expected, all the seats in the auditorium were filled by Sloan management students, and a police guard at the door suggested we sit in another lecture hall that would be receiving a live video broadcast. No way had I come all this way to see Ballmer on a video screen, I can turn on CNN any day of the week for that type of thing.

Bill and I consulted a map of the Tang Center on the wall and casually walked to the basement. There we found a back hallway that led to an exit door at the front of the main lecture hall. Amazingly, standing in the hallway was none other than the $11 billion man himself, Steve Ballmer. Bill and I nonchalantly walked by Microsoft employees dressed in business suits to the entrance of the lecture hall where one of the Microsoft PR representatives was waiting for the speech to begin. The Microsoft employee made a comment about Bill’s Pink Floyd t-shirt and my Akira Kurosawa pin, and it turned out that the man loved Floyd and had visited Japan on a number of times. He asked us what we were doing in the hallway, and we retold our story about being rejected by the security guard at the door. The man said that he’d see what he could do.

A few minutes later, our inside man returned with the organizer of the speech who told Bill and I, “Welcome to the Microsoft Internship Program, we have two seats reserved for you in the front row of the auditorium.” After promising that we weren’t going to pull any stunts during the lecture, Bill and I followed Steve Ballmer into the hall and took our seats to a roar of applause from the gathered crowd.

Ballmer gave a riveting lecture about the history of Microsoft, full of energy and passion in his usual style. He took some questions from the audience concerning Google and the open source movement, and then left the auditorium before anyone could scramble for a handshake. I didn’t mind, feeling rather content after spending a good 10 minutes behind the scenes with one of the richest men in America.

Exciting people seem to be lecturing at MIT everyday, and perhaps there’s something to be said for not always arriving hours before the speech commences.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Resonance performs at Kresge Auditorium Posted by Picasa

A slightly blurry shot of The Muses Posted by Picasa

CLEAR SKIES! Can you belive it? Posted by Picasa

David and Bill before the Big Brother ceremony Posted by Picasa

Theta Chi Pledge Class of 2009 Posted by Picasa

A little 70's action Posted by Picasa

Alcaraz, or "Timmy Two Ties," at The Pour House Posted by Picasa

Apparently difficult to eat while wearing goggles Posted by Picasa

Theta Chi football All-stars Posted by Picasa

Schrock, with a diving tackle Posted by Picasa

Clouds reflected off the Hancock Building Posted by Picasa

And The Sun Came Out

That’s right folks, for a fleeting moment the rain has hidden its ugly face and the sun has come out to play.  Good thing too, because I was beginning to wonder if Boston would ever stop reminding me of Frank McCourt’s Ireland.  The river Shannon does bear a striking resemblance to the Charles…

It seems that all over the globe, Universities and Colleges alike are throwing A Capella concerts.  Last night I popped into the Kresge Auditorium to get my fix of non-instrumental entertainment.  Pam, Shanying, and Jenna were all singing for The Muses, an all female group.  Also gracing the stage were Resonance, The Cross Products (a Christian group), The Chorallaries, The MIT/Wellesley Toons, and The Logarythms.  There was a huge crowd, but I got a good seat and enjoyed all the performances.

Yesterday, I was officially inducted as a new member into Theta Chi fraternity.  Being parent’s weekend, some older folks were there to witness the ceremony.  After brunch at The Pour House, I watched Theta Chi dominate in intramural football and then delved into some homework assignments.

I’m still trying to settle into the campus life.  It’s hard to take a step back and relax when the workload is so intense, but I certainly don’t feel like I’m wasting my time.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Getting My Work Cut Out

It turns out I don't even have to upload past shows, WMBR does it for me. You can listen to a whole range of college radio archives right here

Friday, October 14, 2005

An art exhibit outside lobby 10 Posted by Picasa

Not quite sure what was trying to be accomplsihed, but a nice effort Posted by Picasa

The "secret garden" atop the parking garage in Cambridge Posted by Picasa

Shameless Plugs

If you didn't know, I have a radio show that broadcasts every Tuesday morning from 3-4 AM on WMBR, college radio 88.1 in Boston. I know that's sort of an unreasonable time for most people, so I'll try to post some feeds from the program on the blog in an effort to expand your music horizons.

Here's a little sample

It's strange to hear yourself over a recorded medium.

In other news, after finishing my 8.01 Phyiscs test last night (7:30-9:30 PM, arguably a strange time), I cruised on over to The Roxy to hear Atmosphere in concert. An excellent show, which was bolstered by the fact that the tickets were free thanks to the radio station.

Also, my story about Murakami visiting MIT was published in The Tech. It's no front-pager, but still nice to see something printed en masse.

The last two weeks have been absolute educational nightmares. I don't care to reflect on how many hours were spent studying, problem set-ing, or staring at a physics book scratching my head. However, I now have an entire (parents) weekend to blow on less academic pursuits.

If only the rain would stop...