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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

Angry Nerds by Chris M. '12

Sometimes you've just got to flip the bird.


On Friday, I’d had it. I was coming off of one of those weeks that will just run you absolutely ragged, and at around noon, I snapped. I ran into Killian Court and flipped the bird. I gave everyone the finger as crowds amassed on the sidelines to see what the commotion was about.

But instead of a police presence, and maybe a trip to MIT Mental Health, I was greeted with cheers and pom poms and a strange ghostly feeling rising in my mind that I’ve forgotten how to put in words.

Fu….Fun? Ah yes, that’s it––fun!

As you can probably surmise from Matt’s entry, there’s a class called 2.009 that is one of the Mechanical Engineering Capstone courses, and it has to be the best class at MIT by a long shot. You might have also seen this picture on Matt’s entry:

Wait a minute…..what’s that? Can we enhance the image?

Hmm the back of that head looks familiar* Enhance it further:

Oh my gosh! That’s me! And the aforementioned finger!

Yes,  The truth is, I know so much about 2.009 because I’m in it. And as the Systems Integrator for my team section (Pink A) , more often than not I am in it deep. The class runs at a breakneck pace sketching, brainstorming, analyzing, fabricating, testing, and iterating every week for at least a few hours. There are intermittent milestones to help select the most promising product ideas, and it all culminates in the product showcase at the end of term in front of hundreds of industry experts. It makes for some intensely long days in the shop and some high stress negotiations during meetings, but I really feel like I’m in my element in it. This week was one such high stress week where we were fabricating prototypes for a presentation every day for several hours. I was in the shop on Thursday from 0900 until 1700 when everything had to be finalized, and then went directly from there to the presentation room until all the presentations were over at 2100. Long day.

But the reward for such a long arduous day was the “Angry Birds” competition you saw. A chance to blow off some steam with your team and have a few laughs:

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There were two categories of winners: those who won the competition, and those who had the most spirit throughout. Unfortunately, the former is largely determined by your machine. In particular ours had little variance in it’s shots, which made for impressive precision (5 birds were perfectly piled up on top of each other) but disappointing accuracy (the pile was about a foot in front of the tower). Eventually, we all but gave up on winning the competition part and focused on the team spirit part. We cheered, built human pyramids, and I waved the giant pink finger in the air with the chant “Think Pink”.

When the awards ceremony came up, the green team won a giant foam trophy for finishing first. But no one stood a chance against Pink’s spirited battle cries, and we proudly won for most spirited. And what did we get as a prize?

Angry Birds beanies. (That’s me in the red that the finger is pointing to). Which is waaay better than a trophy.

It was a great way to head off into the weekend before we hit the ground running next week on our next milestone, which will be a technical review of our concept. What’s our concept? Well, I’ll just have to let you see after our technical review ;)

This is one of those times that I really love this place, and it makes all the frustrating and endless nights worth it.





*no it doesn’t. How often do you see the back of your own head?

5 responses to “Angry Nerds”

  1. anon '16? says:

    Angry Nerds may be the most amusing blog title I’ve read on here in awhile….I actually laughed out loud. (:

  2. Chris Ong ('16)? says:

    Ahhhhh….almost makes me want to do course 2 instead of course 10 raspberry

  3. Diana A. says:

    Hi Chris! I really enjoyed your blog about the Angry Birds. I can relate a lot to your initial feeling before running into them. That is just a simple truth about humans in general. We are generally good people, but we can’t always be at our prime best all day every day.

    The trick is to use your mind to not let the external negative forces affect the “internal you” that only you know best and love.

    I already know that you are a good person, which is why I already know there was no coincidence why you ran into those “angry birds”.

    Ironically the “angry-birds” reminded you of a time in your life that you genuinely enjoyed and therefore, instead of you continuing to “flip the bird” on everyone, you actually let that positive energy that you found yourself in, affect you in a positive way and as a result YOU took control of your thoughts.

    YOU FLIPPED THE BIRD ON YOURSELF, by choosing to NOT “flip the bird” onto others who did not deserve it nor probably cared that you flipped that bird onto them in the first place.

    (For they probably had greater things in mind than to worry about some other “angry bird”..maybe they were preoccupied by admiring their own “angry birds” they created with their own team!!!)

    Hey Chris M, the whole reason I am commenting is because I also read your other blog entry titled “Learning more than just math”.

    And guess what?

    I absolutely need to know the name of that song that plays every time I click on it.

    Believe it or not, I really should be studying for a Calc II test today but I first told myself, “Self, I need to get myself into the right mindset before I do anything regardless. How about I listen to that cool, relaxing song that cool guy Chris has on his blog entry? How about I ask him? What do I do naturally when I don’t know and tried finding out myself?

    I ask!!

    It’s so simple. Yet most people I know are so afraid and I don’t know why, nor will I ever truly know why. All I know is that I AM THE MIT and therefore I should go to MIT, but before I get there, I committed to this Calc II class first. However, before I feel like studying, I must ask Chris to email me the name of that song!”

    For I know it is important to me. It relaxes me every time I listen to it.
    Therefore, it is going to help me study for this test!

    You probably don’t even realize until now that I am telling you, but you have helped me so much already, Chris. Really, you did! So did Mollie B. (Class of 2006) and many others I have met and connected to, but at the same time I have not truly met and not truly connected to…yet!

    BTW: You are a really cool character from what I’ve read. Believe it or not, I just glanced at your profile to look for your email you chose to conceal (that is okay. I would do the SAME EXACT THING), but then I found out another similarity between us— You like Stephen and so do I !!! He is one of my biggest inspirations! A friend of mine bought the online version of Stephen Hawking’s book, The Universe In a Nutshell for me to have and read at my convenience!

    I cannot say I have read through it all…yet! (For I am the busiest person ever believe it or not)

    However, I can say I did learn a lot about Einstein & the theory of relativity, in the very beginning while reading through the fun and interesting parts a few months ago.

    (Note: that this was way before I ever even realized that “I THINK OF THE MIT’s, I WORK HARD ON THE MIT’s, I EVEN SEE THE MIT’s, wait a minute… I AM THE MIT therefore I should, can, and will eventually go to MIT next fall..all because I truly SEE myself at MIT.”

    …and that is just an instinctive feeling I cannot explain, I just have.)

    Have a great day Chris! Until I get that email with the song link, I will be already working on another way to figure out the name of that song before I ever get that email (I do not have Vcast song ID!!! Drats, I really wish I still had Verizon as my phone carrier now).

    Either way, I see it as an interesting challenge I can definitely take on.

    “I don’t see why not!”
    -I love that quote.

    And I laugh every time I read any variation of that phrase, “flipped the bird.”

    –Hahaha! I can so picture me using that from now on instead of saying “flipped the Several Hundred Important Things.” If you understand anything I am saying, you are even more awesome than I initially imagined!

    Thank you, Chris for giving me many new things to not only read and listen to, but also think about, work on and laugh at.

    I hope we meet someday. I would love to learn everything you know about our friend Stephen.


    Diana A.

  4. LOL, Great artikel! I thougt you ment the other finger!!! (-:
    Keep on the good work!!

    Gr, J

  5. kilanko says:

    yeah!!!!!!! nice to see sum fun after a hard day work…….nice going dodoooss