Saturday, April 30, 2005

Integrity in Advertising: Junkmail

I do my best to limit the mail that I get each day. For instance, I call credit card companies and ask to be taken off their lists. It costs them money to send it, it costs me time to open it, and it costs our natural resources to produce the paper.

I had been receiving at least one large, 8.5 x 11 packet a week from one Naomi Zygiel. She would send literature in Hebrew and English, targeting Jews in the area. I called her office and left a message to be taken off the list. However, I continued to receive these mailbox-filling envelopes of crap. So I sent her the following email:

Subject: Interested in buying [to make sure she would read it]

Please remove me from your mailing list. I made this request once already by phone, and now through email. I don't know how you got my name, but I would like you to stop sending me literature.

Thank you

She, in turn, wrote back the following
Subject: Interested in SELLING
Just wondering if you typically write to every JUNK mail that you are getting such requests...
I'll bet you must be too busy doing it. In anyevent, I will do my best to take you of the list.
BTW, in 11 days from doday, there is a real estate forclosure 1/4 a mile from your home. Is that something
you will be interested learning more about?
Shabat Shalom

I find that to be appallingly unprofessional, and have sent copies of the email to other Jews and Israelis in hope that they will also ask to be removed if they are currently getting her packets. Do you like her reference to Harvard at the end? Hmmm...insecure much?

Anyway, people who try to sell things within their community on the sole basis of being a member of said community irk me. I have included her picture here so that you can see what I see each time I open one of her damn envelopes...

Friday, April 29, 2005

Da Muddy

If it's Friday, it must be Muddy day! After class, a group went to the Muddy Charles for a beer or six. Gabi, one of my 'shmen at Dartmouth, met me there. It was wonderful to see her, and she looked great! It's weird that when I was "shmom" I seemed so much older than Gabi and my other 'shmen. Now, they're older than a lot of folks in weird.

After the Muddy, we (Christian, Irina, Dave, John Haj, John Hem, Matti, and I) went to One Kendall Square for a beer and dinner. Christian left to get Patti at the airport, and Hempe departed soon after. The remaining folks trooped over to Tavern on the Water.

Tavern was too crowded when we got there, so we hung out outside for a while. I was susprise the downstairs area wasn't open yet. Soon, I hope!

It was a good time =)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Team Rant

Ranting about team dynamics seems to be the in thing to do these days, so here goes:

I am a member of a four-person team working on the guidance and navigation analysis for the Apollo. Three of the four of us are good, earnest workers. Two of us have full time jobs. One is a PhD candidate. The pain in the butt is an undergrad.

This woman never turns in her parts on time. She complains about everybody elses' ideas. In short, she is awful.

We were supposed to each have sections done by tomorrow, and I sent out an email asking if anybody could not make it. No one responded. And now suddenly she can't. ARGH. I'm so mad I'm not even blogging coherently

Night Out

I had planned to stay in last night and get the last tech strategy case done, but got a call instead from Dave and Andrew. They picked me up, and we went, of course, to the Warren Tavern. Justin was back! He had been singing in the keys for a month. Good to have him back

Because of the rain it was empty, so we went to Harvard Gardens where we had some very strong drinks, including some yummy martinis. That was also empty, so we went to Bell in Hand. Yup, empty, too. One more drink, then we left.

It was nice to get out for a silly night of bar hopping. Much better than reading about Cisco.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Revenge of the Nerds XXXIV

They win. I'm getting out of here and going to sit in the classroom. Without my headphones, I am defenseless against them.

Revenge of the Nerds, XXIII

One of them just said "Hells, yeah." I shit you not.

Revenge of the Nerds XXII

I am sitting in the student center trying to get some work done. Behind me is a group of MIT freshmen. I believe they are flirting. There are about eight guys and one girl. Man, these kids are so dorky it makes me sad. Just real grating voices, speaking very loudly...nerds.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering the school. I keep forgetting how dorky smart people can get because the people in SDM are so normal (for the most part). That's why "Non-SDM People Suck" is the world's greatest bumper sticker. Now if only I could remember where I put those things...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Out with Posada, in with the Varitek

Woohoo! Double whammy! I pulled off the Posada-for-Varitek trade. I don't care how good Posada may be...I don't want to root for that ass.

This came about because Todd, who wins in our fantasy leagues about half the time, wanted to do a straight-up trade for closers (my Rodriguez for his Lyon). Todd is a crafty fellow, so I asked why he wanted to make the trade. He replied because he "likes Rodriguez." So I told him to throw in Varitek, and it was a deal, because I "like Varitek." I AM SUCH A SMARTY PANTS =)

Go, Spike Sharpeners!!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Charlie Duke

Today Charlie Duke (Astronaut on Apollo 16) came to speak to the class. He was wonderfully engaging and intelligent, and spoke with a soft Texas accent. He also spoke a line I would never have guessed I would hear at MIT or elsewhere: he said he believed the crew of Apollo 16 "holds the record for poops in space." (They had been given extra Potassium pills because the crew of Apollo 15 had experienced some heart problems brought on by a lack of Potassium, and it turns out that Potassium has a laxative effect.)

I have been so impressed by most everybody who has spoken in this class. They are all super-intelligent and down-to-earth (oops..I guess that's kind of funny). In the audience today were Don Isles, who fixed the Apollo 14 LEM bug, and another guidance dude. Pretty dang cool

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Oh, goodness. That's two Ilanas in one week!

So I was supposed to have a date tomorrow (Friday). He hadn't called since he asked me out the previous week (or so I thought), so I called him up to see what was going on.

Apparently, he thought the date was off because, apparently again, he called me Monday night at 10:30 and woke me up (I had gone to sleep very early that night after waking up at 3:30AM and traveling all day). Those of you that have known me for a while know that waking me up from a deep sleep is very dangerous. Hopefully, those of you that don't know that will never experience it. Apparently, I told him off. He wouldn't say what I said except that it was pretty offensive.

After we hung up, I checked my caller logs. Yup, we spoke for several minutes. D'oh!

Okay, so this isn't cool. How am I supposed to meet somebody when my own subconscious (or whatever/whoever it is that picked up the phone that night) is working against me??? Or maybe it's working for me, as I may have decided over the weekend that I didn't want to go out with him at all...such mysteries!

Cruelty to Animals...not cool

Yesterday evening I went for a walk to relax after my hectic day of quizzes. As I neared the point in my route when I about-face and walk back, I noticed a woman talking on a cell phone while her dog scared the daylights out of a cat. He was barking at it, playing with it really, but the cat was terrified. The cat had her back hunched and was hissing. I also noted that she had on a collar, indicating that she was someone's pet.

I continued on my way, but got mad at myself for letting this happen. I turned back and headed back to the confrontation. When I was still about twenty yards away, the dog jumped at the cat, and it scurried up a tree. Needless to say, I was livid. I walked to the tree, and the woman immediately called her dog and walked away quickly under my glare.

I stayed with the cat, coaxing it down from the perch it held twenty feet above the ground. I know cats can fall safely, but if Scully were ever stuck, I would want someone to stay with her. The kitty eventually came down after about half an hour.

The mentality of that woman completely shocks me. How can you stand by and watch an animal belonging to you terrify an animal belonging to someone else? Or even an animal not owned by a person? Scully is my most precious "possession." I know that the majority of pet owners would agree with my sentiments. How could she let her pet endanger the life of another pet?

I feel sorry for that woman's dog. It would be an insult to all dogs to call this woman a bitch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I now wander the planet, ERBA-free


The ERBA test went okay. I'm happy it's over. Now I get to pass in my Apollo interview, hear Eldon Hall lecture, and continue, ERBA-less on my chosen path through life...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Homework Hell. (Happened how?)

I am currently trying to climb out of homework hell. Finishing up two of my three papers with intermittent breaks to study for ERBA.

Well, just got a reprieve from one of my papers. My study partner for Tech Strategy is in a meeting with clients tonight, and I can't go any further with this thing until we discuss.

I don't understand why SDM doesn't give students the finance class first. The knowledge we will supposedly gain there is currently used in many of our other classes. Tech Strategy would be much easier with some rudimentary knowledge of how funding works (no, I didn't learn it at work...never needed to deal with this stuff).

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Yup, I pulled an Ilana

So I'm at the beach in Florida. I had a wonderful little spot picked out for myself when three icky guys sat too close. "Well," I figured, "Probably time to head back anyway. Maybe I'll read a bit from the balcony in my hotel room which overlooks the Gulf."

So I got back and went out on the porch, closing the door behind me to lock in the air conditioning. I sat ou tthere for a few minutes before deciding to come back in and grab my water.

So the air conditioning was locked in, and I was locked out. In my bikini.

I made a couple of phone calls to Elizabeth and Dan to find the number for the front desk. I eventually called and asked if the doors here lock automatically from the inside. The desk lady said she wasn't sure. So I told her of my predicament. She laughed.

Ten more minutes passed, and I was pacing on the balcony. I glanced in the room, and for some reason was surprised to see a Holiday Inn attendant there (and of course a cute young guy. If I'm going to look like this much of an ass, might as well embarass myself completely in front of a hottie =D ). So he unlocked the door and let me in, cautioning that I should always make sure that the door is unlocked before heading out.

Maybe a few signs warning of this would help? Or is this just a typical Ilana?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Meeting with Margaret Hamilton

Yesterday I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting with Margaret Hamilton. It is very rare in life that you get to meet with a true visionary; rarer still that her level of vision has remained at a constant high for over forty years, and rarer still that this person is warm and fun to talk to.

We discussed her roles as a female leading a team of over one hundred people in the sixties, her role on Apollo, her team, the software, what she does today, and several other topics. At one point, I realized she was describing the Object-Oriented Analysis and Design process...which she did in the Sixties! They called it something else ("modular" code in an end-to-end process, etc.), but, as they say, "A rose by any other name..."

We spoke for ninety minutes, and I could have kibbutzed all day. I eventually let her off the hook. (Especially because I needed to come home and write up my paper on the interview.) =)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sox game with Mom!

My Mom and I went to the Sox-Yanks game last night. The highlight was definitely when the teams were taking the field...Kevin Millar fell. It was extremely funny, and we laughed about it all game (such cruelty). He later overthrew the new second baseman (Vasquez) while having it around. Not the best game for Kevin.

The game itself was good except we lost.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Waiting for Jack Welch

I am currently in an auditorium at MIT waiting to hear Jack Welch. I have been here since 10:40; the talk starts at noon. It's 11:05 now, and there are already about thirty people in the room, with a steady stream coming in.

I really think that if someone said, "I'm sorry. Jack Welch will not be able to make it today. Instead we will have Tom Brady and Curt Schilling" over half of them would groan and leave. (Not me. I'd move up until I was in reach of giving Tom Brady my phone number....)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bang! Bang! Bang!

That's the sound of me hitting my head against a desk, which would have been my preferable course of action over listening to the ERBA lecture today. It was among the most boring, useless lectures I have heard in my life. I need to pay attention in that class, but the professor makes it very difficult. Thanksfully, that was the last of his lectures. YAY!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Bar Mitzvah (Including a new foot-in-mouth episode!)

We had our cousin David's bar mitzvah today. Eve and Jeff picked me up and we drove to Winchester for the service, then on the Bedford for the pah-tay.
Some moments of interest:

1. When we walked in to the ceremony (at 3:59 for the 4:00 service) there were three rows of seats available in the front, and several in the back. In the back, the seats were next to a window overlooking a pond...great for staring out of during the service. The father of the Bar Mitzvah boy came up and said we should sit up front. I really wanted to sit in the back so responded with, "But aren't those just for family?" Yup, he's my first cousin. D'oh!

2. The Torah and Haftarah portions this week were about leprosy. I shit you not. This poor kid. For those that don't know, Bar Mitzvah kids need to discuss their portions. David did an excellent job of dancing around commenting on a Haftarah portion that started, "The four lepers slept outside the gate." Definitely makes you wonder about updating religious ceremonies...

3. I swear the DJ's were Yankees fans. They played "New York, New York," then "Cotton-Eye Joe." I went up to one and pointed this out, requesting "Sweet Caroline." He played about 30 seconds of it while judging the wrap-the-kids-like-mummies contest. Whatever.

4. Another first cousin came up to me to tell me about his Jets tickets (which he pointed out a few times were at field level.) He was telling me about how if he can't use them he sells them for face value. I told him if he ever needed to unload, he could count on me to buy them. Then he added in that if he doesn't sell his preseason tickets, he adds in about 10-15 dollars per ticket when he sells them to cover the cost. OHMIGOD. Tackiness. Um, dude? We're, like, family, right?

5. All-in-all, it was a good time. I got to see my great Uncle Fritz, who just turned 80. He still takes classes at Pitt to keep his mind fresh. He's taking one on terrorism now. David did a great job, had lots of friends, and Dan and Sara looked great.

6. Why are all dances now line dances or otherwise organized? I remember doing the Electric Slide at my Bat Mitzvah, but other than that, we were free and easy. Now every song either has an official dance or the dancers that come with the DJ's lead one. With all the Innovation classes I am at MIT, I would think the society would promote more of it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Why am I in on a Friday?

As always, we finished up our Friday class and headed to the Muddy. And, as always, I got there, put down my stuff, and headed to the ladies' room. Unfortunately, I could not get the zipper on my pants down (INC side zip pants), so went back upstairs. I grabbed Jeanne, and we tried to get it unfastened together. We only succeeded in ripping a small hole in the pants.

We went back upstairs, and I finished my beer over the next 15 minutes. I then left for home where I cut out the zipper so it can be replaced. Since I was too lazy to get dressed and go back, it is now official bathrobe time.

I feel so Lost!

So I cried for the last 15 minutes of Lost on Wednesday. Why? BECAUSE THEY KILLED OFF THE HOT GUY. Okay, they would NEVER kill off a hot girl who was a main character, right? But the eye candy for the ladies? KaBLAM! Buh-bye, Boone. So sad!

Boone, you will live on forever in our dreams.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Random Memories

Now that I'm back in school, I am getting flashbacks to my previous school days.

Does anybody remember elementary school bathrooms? When you washed your hands, ours had that weird, rough, white soap. You pushed up on a lever hanging down from this white container thing, and soap the consistency of sand came out. They also had this soap in the big sink in my kindergarten classroom.

Then there was the toilet paper. It was in little squares in a silver container on the wall. No rolls, just squares.

Here's my question: was the weird soap and toilet paper just a sign of the times, or were they all like that? Here at MIT they have liquid soap and normal toilet paper (not extra cushy or anything, just normal).

Were other people's schools like this? And why do I have these memories burned in while I forgot everything I actually learned (e.g. calculus)?

The School of Ilanalogic

I just realized that most of the folks in Boston are not well-versed in the school of Ilanalogic. This requires some serious training. A sample of the high-level laws:

1. If you are spending money on something you don't want to be spending money on, spend more than that amount on something you want. For example, when I was still paying my mortgage/condo fee in Atlanta after 4 months of being up here, I bought myself a really nice, flat-screen HDTV television set.

2. If it's not fun, don't do it! Or at least convince yourself it leads to something fun. For example, weight-lifting is usually fun. When it's not, just imagine the fun you'll have after you look great from lifting.

ilanalogic! Works every time (every time I want it to)

More to come as they are used in everyday life.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I won my pool!

I won my NCAA pool! Beat out eight boys. Yay! I came in second by one point in the SDM pool to Yoav. Man, I am going to find out where he got that one point and make him pay. =D

It was a great game last night. Definitely felt like UNC was teasing us a bit, running up a big lead, then letting Illinois catch up. I was very impressed by May's play. What a studmuffin.

Speaking of studmuffins, I am setting up an interview with Margaret Hamilton for my Apollo class. She was one of the leads on the Apollo guidance software. The software she wrote in the early Sixties priortized jobs and never failed. Perhaps because she used an end-to-end process, design to testing, even in the Sixties?!? I cannot wait to talk to this woman.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Final Four with the 'rents

Just got back from watching most of the semi-finals with my parents. That is one nice thing about being in Boston, being able to watch them.

I am still trying to recover from the last week! Having everybody in town was so much fun.

I'm finding that blogging is like going to the gym. Once you're in the rhythm of doing either every day, it's not at all painful. It's getting off your butt and going back that causes angst =D