Wednesday, August 31, 2005


When I moved to Atlanta, I would go here to find gas prices that were under $0.70. Not so today...

I don't want to comment too much on the hurricane. The whole thing is just so sad. It's incredible that people knew this storm was coming, yet so many people were stuck in its path.

I guess the positive news is that the Red Cross's site was swamped today. It took me about 10 tries to get on. Luckily, once in, it doesn't crash on the donation pages, so you can be sure that your donation went through only once. If anybody wants to donate, here's the link again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sure would be nice to be able to pay my bill

A couple weeks ago, I received a mildly threatening email from the folks at SDM. Turns out if I don't pay my bill by September 2, I will not be able to enroll for Fall term. I am fine with this rule; I actually thought I had paid my summer bill and expensed it, but I had only done that for Spring.

However, I have been trying to get in touch with the finance guy at SDM for two weeks now, and find myself unable to get answers about how to pay my bill. I have important meetings over the next few days that I cannot simply skip out on to make the trek down to Cambridge. Friday is the deadline, and it seriously looks like I am not going to make it. Looks like I will have a bunch of free time on my hands come September 7.

And yes, I realize it is my own fault for mixing up my bills, but I have been trying to rectify that situation for fourteen days now to no avail.

Update: The distance coordinator just returned my call, but couldn't tell me how to actually go about paying the bill. Am waiting on a call back.

Deep thoughts....

Why do grape-flavored things taste nothing like grapes? Raspberry things can taste like raspberries, even when they are blue, and strawberry things certainly taste like strawberries. However, even the best quality grape things still taste more like grape flavoring than grapes.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Woohoo! What a weekend

Okay, quick weekend log:

Friday I went out to meet Bob, Andrew, and Dave at Bell in Hand. When I got there, Bob was sitting at the bar talking to the bartender. She and I got to talking, and it turned out that she was from Stoughton, the town next to where I grew up. She was tall and athletic looking, and had graduated high school the year before I did, so I asked if she played hoops for Stoughton. Sure enough, she had.

I laughed at this, as my basketball team always had to get a police escort when playing Stoughton. I remarked that one of their girls had wanted to kill one of ours...the girl on my team being a big huge fat girl who was quite mean to me when I made Varsity as a freshman. The bartender laughed and said that she had been the one after the Heifer. I told her I wished she had succeeded. =D It was fun to reminisce.

Saturday, I went to the beach with Katie after sleeping in to recover from my weekend in Atlanta. We had a great time at Singing Beach, eating slushies, fruit, potato chips, and ice cream over the course of the day. It was really nice to lay around and relax on the beach again. I also discovered that Katie is also going to Pittsburgh next weekend, so we are plotting a way to end up at the Pirates-Cubs series.

Saturday night my dad and I went to the Sox game. We parked at MIT and walked over. As always, it was nice to see John and Meredith, the couple who sits next to me. Unfortunately, there was some ignoramous in the row behind us that kept shouting nonsensical things. He was excellent with manipulating cursewords, letting Millar know how much he liked him. I'm sure Millar was very impressed. He was a true dumb-dumb. Anyway, the game was not a good one...the Sox lost 12-8!!! My dad and I still had an awesome time...we had a hot dog and a beer each.

I love going to games with my dad because it always reminds me of being a kid and going with him. We talked pretty much the whole game, so the Sox performance was really not such an issue (well, today it is, what with the Yankees only 1.5 games back).

Today, I woke up and walked to Filene's Basement, after deciding to forgo a work barbecue to spend time selfishly by myself. I bought some very nice things, then made my way home. I spent the rest of the day reading, watching movies, and baking brownies (my emergency brownies that I freeze individually so that I can defrost them on days when I need them).

In other news, my SecurID token is not working, preventing me from logging into work. I lost one, and got a replacement. I like to work from home in the evenings, a habit I started while at CNNSI. I find I work more efficiently, and actually enjoy the work more. It's weird to be a Sunday night and not be able to log in at all. Oh well, more work for Monday. I guess it's nice to be forced to enjoy my continued relaxation.

All in all, an extremely good weekend. It was so nice to just relax and do next to nothing. Tomorrow starts a busy work week, then a weekend trip to Pittsburgh for a wedding with Dan (and now Katie and her man!), a flight to Atlanta and drive to Tallahassee to see the Florida State-Miami game, followed by a trip to (you guessed it) Destin to see Kellie, Allen, Payton, and Bailey before they move to Raleigh.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cannibalistic cookies freak me out

I just bought a pack of M&M cookies. On the back is a picture of the red, yellow, and green M&M's from the television commercials. The green one is saying, "Red, you're really outdone yourself this time" to a smirking red M&M carrying a tray of M&M cookies.

Here are the top five things that freak me out about this ad:
5. M&M's with appendages
4. M&M's with go-go boots
3. M&M's with chef's hats
2. M&M's flirting
1. M&M's taking pride in the cooking of other M&M's

There are, of course, a number of other things disturbing about this thing, but I don't have time to write them all.

And yes, I did eat the pack while writing this blog entry. They were okay: better than Famous Amos, not quite as good as Reuger.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I have been dragging for the last few days and have not been able to figure out why. It seemed like an April-in-Atlanta type of cold: stuffy head and sleepy, about one bad night's sleep away from a sinus infection. Figuring it must have been the Atlanta-to-Boston transition after this weekend, I waited for it to go away.

Today I found out that pollen season is in full swing up here. Unlike Atlanta where the peak pollen season is in the spring, here it gets just as bad in the early autumn. ICK!

Hopefully none of y'all are going through allergies as well. Start taking that Clarinex now if you have allergies!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Happy Anniversary, me! And Happy Birthday, Jeff!

It has been exactly one year today that I purchased my condo. It's gone really fast. My closing was quite an adventure, and not anything I really need to celebrate, but I am happy with the condo.

And happy birthday to my brother-in-law, Jeff!! Have a great dinner tonight!

In other news, the Red Sox finally banned "Yankees Suck" shirts from Fenway, though they are still allowing the chant. I think both make Sox fans look like idiots; the Yankees don't suck. They are one of the most amazing franchises in sports. That's precisely why beating them feels so good.

Jeff is a Yankees fan...maybe the ban was a present for him?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

So you think you can dance

i really like the new reality show "So You Think you can Dance." Ummm...that's it. I'm tired.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Hey everybody! Sorry I haven't written...I've been very busy, traveling and all. I will write tomorrow. (Sounds like a letter from summer camp, huh?)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Warren Tavern

Monday night I headed to the Tavern. Danny had called me to get me there Sunday night, but I was beat from the beach and promised to head over on Monday. He was bartending and Greg was managing. I sat at the bar and had a couple of drinks while watching the game and chatting with the two of them. I left (when Schilling came in, just before he blew the game), and headed home after about two hours. Good, relaxing night.

Let me tell ya, not having homework is awesome!!!!

Weekend Review

Saturday: Eve, Jeff, and my mom drove into town to meet me for breakfast. We went to Sorrelle, a pastry shop around the corner from me. We had a great breakfast, then I left to meet Liz and Corey for our trip to Gloucester.

We drove up to the camp ground, picked a camp site, then set off for the beach which was a mile away. Wingersheek Beach is a delightful place....lots of great sandbars to walk around on. We sat around, ate, and gabbed for a few hours, then went back to the site to clean up.

From there, it was off to Gloucester House for dinner (c'mon! Half the fun of roughing it is using the money you would have paid for a hotel on a huge dinner!). We followed that up with a stroll through town and ice cream for dessert. Then it was back to camp for beer and s'mores.

The next morning, the girls dropped me off at the beach and went on a kayaking expedition for a couple of hours. I set up my chair and enjoyed about 2.5 hours of reading Harry Potter and walking around in the sand bars. It was wonderful. I really needed that down time. I often think because I live alone, I don't need any time to be alone and reflect outside of my condo. However, there is a huge difference between being alone in the city with a television set and sitting on a beach. I felt so refreshed by the time Liz and Corey returned to pick me up.

We took down our campsite and drove into town. We wandered around the shops for a bit, then left for home. Great weekend! Thanks, girls!

Random memory of the day

In 1998, I told all of the recruiters who were calling me that I would not work more than a mile from my apartment in the North End. I still had too many interviews to take them all. Sigh....good times, good times.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Normal Calves! (not baby cows)

I had my follow-up appointment today with my physical therapist. My calves have elongated! (If you don't remember, I had managed to shorten my calves by wearing 3-inch heels every day for five years.) I had a 5% range of motion before, but am up to a full 20%. My doctor was very happy =)

I need to fill y'all in on my weekend of the beach and camping with Liz and Corey. Will do that later, but had to share the news.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Good end to the week

The week definitely is ending on a high note. Yesterday I gave two briefings: one to a smaller group in the morning, and the second to a slightly larger crowd in the afternoon which included my boss and customer. Both went very well. My boss even left me a sticky that said, "Great job!" on my desk. He is tough, and compliments like that mean a lot. So YAY!

That night, I met mom and dad out for dinner. We went over to Figs, which they have wanted to try. We had a great booth by the window. Of course we over-ordered and had lots of leftovers. We also shared a pitcher of Sam Summer which made my mother particularly entertaining =D. Winters here are tough, but I love having my parents close enough that we can decide to do dinner last minute and still meet out.

Today I had yet another meeting, then got lots done at work. I was interviewed by a diveristy magazine about how I chose to come to SDM. I also took pictures of myself for the upcoming article on bloggers at Sloan. I look like a true dork when I sit at a computer. Sucks that about 80 percent of my waking hours are spent in that state! =D

Afterwards, I sold my Stones tickets to a very nice (and very good-looking, but that's beside the point) man. Then it was off to Grafton Street or something like that where I met Dave, his girlfriend Brittany, Christian, Matt L, and several of their friends out for a drink. Brit looked beautiful as always and is so sweet...sure you don't want to move up here, at least til Dave is done with school? =D

We then went to hear the Avett Brothers bluegrass band. They were hysterical. The music was great and funny. Matti and Kumar were there, though I really didn't get to speak to them as they were seated separately from us. (Wow the sentences preceding this paranthetical sound like I'm twelve years old and writing about what I did on my summer vacation...not good...) ANYWAY, they were so good I bought a CD, as did Matt L. Neither Dave nor Christian had to, having known the band well enough to have been recognized during the show.

Then I came home...I was scared I had left on my toaster, and for once I actually had. Everything was okay, though. Whew! That's what I get for making cookies in the toaster.

Tomorrow Liz and Corey are coming at 10am to get me, and we are driving up to Gloucester to camp and go out in Rockport at night. Hopefully, Eve (and maybe Jeff?) will make it into the city for breakfast first.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Death by computer games

File this under "weird news of the day." Apparently a man died from playing video games for 49 straight hours after being laid off from work for doing the same. I wonder if companies like EA Sports are going to become the next target for frivilous law suits a la the McDonald's "I'm too fat because I chose to eat your food" suits.

Three long-lost folks reemerge

Yesterday did not get off to the best start: I took my first spoonful of Cocoa Pebbles and had to spit it out due to the fact that the milk was spoiled. I then decided this was my sign to be healthy, so fixed myself a bowl of cottage cheese--also spoiled. I then settled for the old stand-by of cheese and crackers (Laughing Cow cheese....that stuff never dies). It was then off to work where I briefed a very unreceptive audience.

I got back to my desk to find the guy who was supposed to buy my Rolling Stones tickets then backed out over email (anybody need two?). However, I then received a call from a number I did not was Irene, a woman I worked with while at Context Integration whoh was my first female mentor. She actually had a large effect on my professional life, and it was so wonderful to hear from her. Yay!

The day then dipped back into the doldrums a bit, with another briefing...sigh....and trying to schedule mroe briefings. At the end of the day, I left and went to meet Matt, Dave, and Jeff for dinner at Cheesecake Factory, but arrived just as they were about to leave the mall.

So I left there to meet up with Andrew, and the two of us went for dinner at the brand-new Nebo, which I would not recommend. Forty bucks a piece got us each a pizza and one drink. I"m not even kidding. And the shrimp on Andrew's pizza was not fresh. That place won't last.

We left there and went where everybody knows our names: Warren Tavern. Unfortunately, Justin wasn't playing, but we still had fun. While we were talking to Danny and Greg, I heard a woman say, "Ilana?" I turned around and there stood Valerie Bennett, a fellow Sharon High grad, a year younger than me. She had not aged a day. When I told my mom, she said, "Valerie was always such a gorgeous does she look now?" "The same!" "Wonderful." It was great to see her....she is also a single gal in Boston, so hopefully we can hit the town soon!

As I was talking to Val, a handsome blonde man started staring at me and was Todd Ingrewsen, a guy who graduated with me from SHS!! When I first moved to Charlestown (we're talking that very night), I went by myself to Warren Tavern and saw Todd and his mom, a wonderful woman who was the cheerleading coach in school. It made me feel a lot better about my decision to move to Charlestown. I hadn't seen him since then, so it was so great to run into him. Val and I tried to convince him to get his wife out, but it was too late in the night by that time.

The three of us talked and had ourselves a mini-reunion until the bar shut down. It was awesome! The bar was also crawling with my friends from the Warren Tavern softball team. Too much fun! What a great night.

Now I am in my last Systems Engineering class. Woo hoo!!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

No more accounting!

Accounting is over and done with. Yay! I don't want to talk about the exam. I didn't exactly enjoy it. I ended up having to take the day off from work in order to study after conking out the night before.

After the exam, however, Dave and I headed over to Fenway to hit the Beerworks and take in the ballgame with 18 of my coworkers and their spouses. We started off at the Beerworks, where Dave had blueberry beer and I had watermelon. We also tore into a plate of cheese fries, one of the Beerworks' good.....

Katie and Sean got there a little later, and the four of us drank and talked for some time before the game. The remainder of our department was supposed to meet us there, but did not show up (which was not a surprise to me). We headed over to our seats around 6:45. On the way, I bumped into Jamie Lipscomb, who played football at Dartmouth while I was a manager of the team. It was great to see him. Immediately after wandering from him, we ran into Harry and Jake and his family. Oo! And we also stopped on the way for Dave to buy a cap (a pretty kick-ass cap, actually).

We got into the game just in time for the anthem. There were a lot of new names on the roster, including Graffanino, who ended up going 3-3 with a walk, home run, and I think 5 RBI's. He was awesome! The game itself was great...definitely not a pitchers' duel. The teams traded runs in many innings. Very fun.

I was kind of bummed to be sitting on the opposite end of the row from John, who was there with his family. John is definitely one of the biggest (if not the biggest) fans in our department. His kids are adorable, and I was a bit sad not to have gotten to talk to them or his wife. Next time!

It was a great night: The weather was gorgeous. I had a hot dog and a couple beers at the game. We got to hear all great ballpark songs today: the Anthem, "Take me out to the Ballgame," "Sweet Caroline," and "Dirty Water" once we won. Like Yoav, I had been on a bad losing streak at Fenway, dating all the way back to last year. We're talking like 8 games here!

Bad streak broken, Katie, Dave, and I left the park to wander back to MIT. Matt's party had died down, so I drove Katie and Dave home, then headed back to Chucktown completely unencumbered by thoughts of Accounting exams.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Drink, Beach, Study, Drink, Beach, Study....

Sam blogs drunk; I blog hungover. Dude...I had a total of four beers from 8:15 - 2:30am last night. How am I hungover??? Granted, they were slightly heavier beers (two Newcastles, two Harpoon UFO's), but still! That's less than 75% of a beer an hour! Plus I probably walked about two miles over the course of the night. I am getting oooooold.

In other news, just waiting for Katie and her friend to pick me up. We are then heading to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. I have my trusty accounting weight--I mean book--packed and ready to go. Everybody on the beach will be so jealous of me and my engrossing reading!! =D I wonder how many people will stop and ask me tax questions.

After the beach, it's off to SDM to print out the 10k for the exam which is supposed to be printed at 6pm. A night of studying will ensue...

Friday, August 05, 2005

I love my garish pink blog

There is no way that anybody walks by my desk and thinks, "Hmm...that looks just like Slashdot, JavaWorld, or a similar technical site."

MIT Webmail

Has anybody else been having problems logging in throught the Webmail browser interface? For the last two days, I have been getting stuck at the redirect.php page.

Stupid Things make me Happy

When I was at Target on Wednesday, I bought Armorall Wipes for my car, one for window and one for dash. While stuck in traffic yesterday, I cleaned the inside of my windshield. Dude, that thing was filthy!

I was so happy driving to work and being able to see so clearly out the windshield. It was like the morning after I had LASIK when I woke up and took the bandages off, and could actually see the clock. Happy sigh....

Thursday, August 04, 2005

And for the SDM'ers

How many of y'all think that Prof Plesko mumbled "IBM" while telling us of our final case study? =D

Bars closing, bars staying open

The Littlest Bar in Boston is closing. I'm not sure if it's because the Atlanta folk don't go there all the time or because we went there once. =D Kidding.

Speaking of Atlanta, I talked to Sharleene last night. I really miss her and she is going through a tough time, still undergoing physical therapy after being hit while driving by a drunk 8pm on a Saturday! I wish you alll the best, Sharleene.

Last night, we went out for Dave Schiller's birthday at the Asgard. It was a lot of fun. Yoav blogged about that. And as he said, we did go to the Warren Tavern where I got to see Greg, Danny, Justin, and John. Going back there is always fun.

I couldn't stay out too late because I had a briefing this morning in front of the Architecture Council. It actually went very well, and they have asked me to do the brief again for those that missed the meeting.

For lunch today, Katie and I went to the Cheesecake Factory. It is so nice to work with a woman again! Especially young and single. =D We ate yummy sandwiches and talked about lots of girl stuff, including the 70-percent-of-women-thinking-they-would-be-further-ahead-if-they-were-prettier survey. Katie agreed that in our field the opposite was true (some of y'all may have seen the blog entry I posted briefly on the topic. If you didn't, I can email it to you...controversial topic, don't need it up here for work reasons =))

Now going out to a women's networking dinner with Jamie who I met at Elwin's party last week. Yay! Going out to eat twice in one day always reminds me of Atlanta. =) Of course, I used to work out a heckuva lot more, so I could get away with it. =D

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Blogging pays off!

I got a random email today from Larisa, a woman with whom I went to junior high, high school, and Dartmouth. She had been looking for me and found my blog! Yay, Larisa! It was so great to hear from you!

Having an S-curve day

In my attempt to apply the concepts I am learning at school whenever and wherever possible, I would like to state that I am having an S-curve day today. It started out very well: I had a great workout, cooled down to Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream on" and "Moon River," and arrived at Systems Engineering in plenty of time to meet Josh Collens, a fellow MITRE employee. I enjoyed his lecture... I can always learn something new about MITRE. Then had a great conversation with Matt Lamantia on the way to the car. Everything was going swimmingly!

Then I drove to work (don't like driving). I got here, and found that I had to do parts of my briefing in the 10 minutes I had before it started. The briefing went was just for the folks in my group. (Now's where the curve starts to flatten out again closer to the bottom....) However, we have one of those people who likes to ask obvious questions in order to make himself look smarter. Usually this doesn't bug me too much. But today he got on one of his schticks and kept asking the same thing over and over again. It was to the depth of, "So the sky's blue, right? Yeah, the sky is blue. The sky is blue, huh?" Really kept throwing off my briefing rhythm. Eventually I had to pull one of those, "Okay, I have your sky is blue question duly noted here. Is there anything else you would like to add?"

Afterwards, I went for a quick powerwalk with John, which provided a good spike to the S-curve. Then another briefing. This one was uneventful, but I had the briefing to try to delegate some work, and found that it was not the kind I could delegate to the selected audience. Grrr...

The day is still going fine, but I was very proud of my S-curve analogy and wanted to share my wisdom =D

Monday, August 01, 2005

At school early, Sprint PCS has bad customer service

Nothing too thrilling happening so far today. I'm at school way too early. I wanted to avoid the parking problem of last week, so left work early. Too early. Despite the fact that today is street cleaning day in this part of Cambridge, there were many spots in the West Annex lot. Well, not many, but three.

Today I did battle with Sprint. Long story short, my phone broke, they replaced it with a different model (refurbished of course), the zoom on that camera didn't work, I got promised a new, unrefurbished phone would be waiting for me at Sprint PCS Burlington, I called to check, and it wasn't. Turned out the technician with whom I spoke on Saturday didn't troubleshoot correctly, and in a few quick steps, the zoom was fixed.

However, the fact that the technician had promised me a new phone and not delivered irked me. I double checked with him at the end of the call, "So Monday there will be a new--not referbished--phone waiting for me at Sprint PCS Burlington." He repeated my statement. Nope! I would have been stuck standing around at the Sprint store if I hadn't called first.

(When I went to Sprint to pick it up in the first place, I had to wait an hour to get it, which doesn't include the 20 minutes or so I waited for a sales guy to help. This is after they didn't call me as promised to let me know my phone was in. Grrrr...)

I've had Sprint since 1996 (yup, I'm an early adopter). I have never complained before. You know what the guy offered me??? Five percent off next month's bill! I told him that that just showed how much Sprint values their customers' time, so he bumped it to fifty. By this time, I'm sick of the whole thing, so go to hang up. The guy then says, "I notice you haven't taken advantage of Spring long distance at home." My response? "I cannot believe you are trying to sell me long distance right now." Him: "Neither can I."