Friday, April 28, 2006

What's up this week?

Hello Readers (woof woof to you, Brody),

This week has been pretty busy at school.. so here are some quickies:

Maddy and I passed the 4 year mark on Monday. We first went out on April 24, 2002.

Gracie is doing well. She is jumping and playing like the old days. Everything will be back to normal once she gets her hair back on her chest!

The Red Sox have been sucking this week. This was pointed out by Jaime, who is a Yankees fan and who happens to have almost the exact same blog template as I do. It's not exactly the same, because I'm a geek and I actually modified it just a little.... couldn't resist..

We are nearly out of heating oil and it's somewhat cold here. I don't want to buy any more because it's almost May and the price of heating oil is the highest it's been in 5 years (i think). The risk is that the oil line will run dry and out boiler system may get damaged. I'm going to just stick it out and hope spring really arrives soon!

This week, my research abstract titled, "A computational Method for Mapping the Decision Space of the Lunar Exploration Program" was accepted for presentation at the International Astronautical Congress 2006 in Valencia, Spain. I'm so excited for this one. I've never been to Spain, and now MIT is going to pay for it. Of course, I will have to work my butt off this summer to get the research done....

I haven't planted my tomatoes yet, but the lilac tree I planted last year is growing new leaves. I've be sure to give an exciting play-by-play of how the planting is going. I suppose watching plants grow may be a little less exciting than waiting for water to boil.

My brother, Bob, pointed out this blog of Ridiculous Hypotheticals. It's pretty good... Although it doesn't compare the ridiculous hypotheticals that Mike Northrop and I used to come up with when we were kids. (Although, I have to give most of the credit to Mike, he was the wackier one of the two of us). We always used the baseline, "Would you rather drink a gallon of melted slugs, or [...]". Surprisingly, sometimes drinking a gallon of melted slugs was preferred.

Friday, April 21, 2006

This Confirms it

I will never be a professional baseball player. Bummer!

I took the "which Red Sox Player are you?" quiz. I am Theo Epstein...

You scored as Theo Epstein. Wait a minute, you're not a Red Sox player... you're Theo Epstein! Extremely smart and successful, you work the magic from behind the scenes. You take a lot of risks, but it always works out. You're not too bad on the eyes either!!

Theo Epstein


Curt Schilling


David Ortiz


Johnny Damon


Jason Varitek


Kevin Millar


Mark Bellhorn


Manny Ramirez


Which Red Sox Player Are You?
created with

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Immigration Crackdown

From the New York Times. This is what happens when you vote for someone like GWB:

U.S. Cracks Down on Hiring of Illegal Immigrants
Published: April 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 20 — The apprehension on Wednesday of more than 1,100 illegal immigrants employed by a Houston-based pallet supply company, as well as the arrest of seven of its managers, represents the kickoff of a more aggressive federal immigration enforcement campaign intended to hold employers accountable for breaking the law, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said today.

Saying the hiring by companies nationwide of millions of undocumented workers is often a form of organized crime, Mr. Chertoff, a former federal prosecutor, said the government will now attempt to combat the practice with techniques similar to those used to try to shut down the mob.

"We target those organizations, we use intelligence to define the scope of the organization, and then we use all of the tools we have — whether it's criminal enforcement or the immigration laws — to make sure we come down as hard as possible and break the back of those organizations," Mr. Chertoff said during a news conference at the headquarters of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division.

The news conference came the day after immigration officials apprehended 1,187 illegal immigrants who worked in 26 states for IFCO Systems North America, a company that supplies plastic and wood pallets used to ship everything from produce to pet food.


This is great. I'm so glad the US Government is spending my tax dollars cracking down on these "horrible" people that want to immigrate to the US. These are hard working people who want to support their families by earning a bit of money to send home to loved ones. They would pay taxes if they were allowed to. All they want to do is hard labor for low pay. Doing the jobs that American don't really want and keeping the economy rolling. The worst thing about this is that every single one of the people screaming for more immigration enforcement are descendants of an immigrant.

To these people: remember the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


I haven't posted for a while... So I should give some updates... or I might lose my fan base! (Brody, don't go!)

Gracie is doing great. She got her staples removed on Saturday and is slowly regrowing her grey and white coat. Everyday she gets more lively and back to normal.

The weather in Boston keeps getting better and better. This weekend I hope to start my great tomato experiment. I love tomatoes, and I want to learn how to grow my own. Last year I grew some cilantro and planted a lilac tree.

I have just 4 weeks left in this semester. There are two final projects to go. I am hoping this is the last graded course I will ever have to take. I think I've reached my lifetime maximum. In all my graduate school years, I've taken almost 30 courses. That is insane and must be stopped.

Su Jen came to visit this past weekend! It was a bit of a suprise. Her brother, Wei, decided to have a wedding reception on rather short notice, so Su Jen flew in from San Francisco for 5 days. We ate dinner at the newly opened Cafe D on Center Street in Jamaica Plain. The food was great, for the most part. Everything was either excellent, or at least pretty good. The dish that made the biggest impression was the white gazpacho. Fantasic!

Today, my good friend and old Princeton roommate Catherine Malmberg is in town. She is working on a building development project in Kendall square. Hopefully we will get a chance to have lunch or coffee or something.

From now on, it's work, work, work... I just need to get this semester over with!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It was only a matter of time...

So, I've been at MIT for a while now... Yesterday I got this email forwarded to our research group from one of the full-time research staffers:

Here you go geeks. :)


Begin forwarded message:

From: Micah Hatch <>
Date: April 11, 2006 3:04:21 PM EDT
Subject: Seeking men and women

Good day to you.

Last August, we were working on the second season of the WB's hit show, "Beauty and the Geek". We are hoping for your help with the upcoming season of "Beauty and the Geek 3". if you could, please distribute this to your students, we would be very appreciative.

Thank you in advance

Micah J Hatch

Seeking Men and Woman - Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Boston Casting is casting
BEAUTY & THE GEEK Season three
The WB & Boston Casting are currently seeking beautiful women 21-28 and highly intelligent men 21- 30 who can compete together for the opportunity to win a SUBSTANTIAL CASH PRIZE!!
This is not a dating show, but a competition.
Open call April 15th, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM at Boston Casting 129 Braintree Street in Allston. For directions, please visit our website at
Please pass this along!


Friday, April 07, 2006

Señorita SpaceCat is Home

Señorita Space Cat, Gracie

Gracie came home last night. When she got here she did exactly the same things I would do if I were in the hospital for a few days:

First, she went to her own bathroom.

Second, she ate some of her own food.

Third, she gave herself a bath (We took her cone off and I was careful to make sure she didn't lick her incision).

Last, she curled up on the couch next to Madeline (Señora SpaceMonkey) and went to sleep.

She seems to be recovering well, but is pretty tired most of the time, which is understandable. We are so happy to have her back!

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I just got a voicemail from Dr. Rollings. He said Gracie is a
"superstar" and she is up and about, eating and looking great, so he
wants to discharge her today! We will be picking her up after 5.

Caltech, are you missing something?

There was another "hack" today. This morning the Caltech cannon appeared on Campus with an MIT ring on it. This photo was taken with my super-crappy camera phone:

This is apparently in response to a series of pranks by caltech students visiting MIT one year ago. Those pranks were called "LAME!", so the Caltech students became irratated and responded by daring MIT students to "Show us what you got!".

One, two, three, four, I declare a nerd war!

I've heard that there is a plan to have a large number of bikini-clad women appear at the cannon at 4:30pm for a photo op. This would be a very impressive accomplishment. Stealing a 1000-pound historic campus installation and hualing it accross the country is no challenge compared to finding women wearing bikinis at MIT!

There are better pictures here, and there is a slashdot story here.

Gracie Update 2

Hi Gracie fans:

We went to see her at the CCU (the Critical Cat Unit) again last night.  She is doing better, but she is still on heavy drugs.  She sat up to say hello to us.  She has trouble walking with the IV in her arm and the cone on her head.  It's frustrating her, because she can't clean herself.    She flopped down on her left side for about 20 minutes so that we could pet that side.  Then, she got up and flipped over so we could pet her right side too.  She is a good kitty and is behaving very well for the vet staff.   There is a chance she will be able to come home tonight.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gracie Update

I just spoke with Dr. Rollings. He said Gracie is doing well today.
She ate two teaspoons of wet food today. This is her first meal she has
kept down since last week!

He said that she is recovering fast enough that he will consider
discharging her on Thursday night instead of Friday.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Hard Day, but Gracie is ok

Today was a hard day for us.  For the last five days Gracie, our cat, has been vomiting through the night keeping us both awake.  I was up about once a hour to clean up the mess and comfort her.  Yesterday she didn't eat or drink at all.  She just sat next to her food and looked sad and tired.  We took her to the vet this morning and they suspected that she had eaten something that she shouldn't have.    They took X-rays and found a long string stuck in her intestine.

She had emergency surgery at Angell Memorial this morning.  We waited all day to hear if she was ok.   At around 5pm, the doctor called to say she was recovering well.  They removed a long elastic string that was stuck all the way from her stomach to her colon.    There was a lot of swelling, so she will have to stay in CCU under 24-hour care until Friday.   (We call CCU the "critical cat unit"). 

We went to visit her for an hour this evening.  She has a long scar down her tummy, an IV in her arm,  a cone around her neck, and is heavily drugged for pain.  She seemed to recognize Maddy and I because she wanted to smell our hands and rub her head against us.   Otherwise, she looks ok.  We are very lucky that we have one of the best animal hospitals in the northeast US just a couple miles from our house.

To all the pet owners out there:  Be careful what you leave in the reach of you cat or dog.  Sometimes they can confuse a coin, a small child's toy, or an elastic band for a toy.    It can be very dangerous if they eat something they shouldn't.

Our house feels empty without her.  We miss her a lot.