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MIT student blogger Mollie B. '06

Back in Cambridge by Mollie B. '06

I less than three the holidays.

Well, I’m back at MIT after a lovely Thanksgiving in the land of the Pilgrims (and some good post-holiday shopping, too!). Adam and I took our friend Chris ’09 back to Plymouth with us — his dad works for the Department of Defense, so his family lives on Okinawa, and it would have been silly for him to fly all the way back there just to turn around and fly back here. So instead he came to Plymouth with us on his first visit to an American suburb.

We took the commuter rail out of South Station on Wednesday afternoon, after I finished up two more grad school apps (eek!) and Adam had finished a 16.100 (Aerodynamics) lab. We got to Plymouth in time to laze around and watch War of the Worlds with Adam’s dad (um, lame movie) and crash into bed early (that 5/3 of a day thing I talked about last time).

I woke up Thursday morning with Adam’s best friend from high school, Malox (actual name: Alex), towering over me. Malox had come to collect Adam for the annual Plymouth North/Plymouth South football game, even though it was pouring rain and freezing. I elected to stay in bed. After I finally dragged myself into some clothes and makeup, Adam’s relatives came over and we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner — not as good a Thanksgiving dinner as I’m sure my family had back in Ohio, but don’t tell Adam I said that.

Friday was, of course, shopping day, and we got to introduce Chris to good old American consumerism. I bought presents for my mom, my brother, and my dog. I also found a great little sleeper for the baby daughter of my best friend from high school (I’m from Ohio, okay?) — it’s a white sleeper with blue and green glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs. (Yes, I bought a dinosaur sleeper for a girl. And why not? Girls are allowed to think dinosaurs are cool too.) After shopping, Adam’s mom needed to get some more money from the bank, so we stopped by the drive-through window (you know, the one with that vacuum tube that you put the check in). Chris was very excited about this tube. I think it may be the thing he currently likes best about America — that and the beautiful people who work at Hollister.

After shopping, I wanted to go see Rent, but I got outvoted, and we went out to dinner with Adam’s family, then over to Adam’s friend Jimbo’s (real name: James) and hung out around a bonfire. We came home and lounged in the hot tub on Adam’s roof and pointed out various constellations and nebulae to Chris.

On the way back up to Cambridge this afternoon, Adam’s mom stopped at Walmart and bought us groceries — hooray for moms! So Adam and I came back and made homemade pasta sauce, and now we’re curled up with the illegal space heater under a fuzzy blanket watching TV movies.

Yay for holidays!

A question, not really answered:
1. Dalia asked why ingesting carbs makes you tired. This is a very hand-wavy explanation, but I suspect that it’s due primarily to the sharp increase in blood glucose after a carb meal — high blood sugar is supposed to make you tired, although I’m not really sure why. I think it probably also has something to do with the spike in brain serotonin that occurs after a carb-rich meal — new research in the works from Dr. Wurtman, my 9.15 (Biochemistry and Pharmacology of Synaptic Transmission) professor, suggests that eating a carb-rich meal transiently raises your brain serotonin as much as a dose of Prozac. True story!
2. Dave asked if my family really cuts down our own Christmas tree. Yup! We go to a tree farm a few miles down the (dirt) road from my house. Last year, when Adam came home with me, I handed him a saw and said “Make me proud, city boy!” Heh.

4 responses to “Back in Cambridge”

  1. Ben says:

    Yo, I SO agree about War Of The Worlds. I rented it last night with high expectations, and it was indeed beautiful, but the plot was so *lame.*

    Here is my synopsis (warning, spoiler):

    They come, TC hides. They find him, he hides somewhere else. They find him, he hides somewhere else. They find him, he hides somewhere else. They find him, he hides somewhere else.

    And the whole time you’re thinking “this had better have some AWESOME resolution to make all of this waiting worth it.” And then after two hours the aliens get the flu and die.

    Why, Mollie, why? Because Biology Is Life! (Or in this case death.)

    But seriously – they come here a million years ago, bury high-tech weapons in the ground, come back now, get said weapons out of the ground, demonstrate that our most powerful technologies are no match for said weapons, kill most of us, and then die of the flu.

    Let me ask two questions. (1) If the aliens are intelligent enough to travel long distances through space (or, for that matter, survive for a million years), wouldn’t they have long ago developed some all-powerful, universal anti-biotics? And (2) why wait for humans to trash the planet they’re intending to colonize instead of just colonizing when they were here a million years ago? I’m not buying the fertilizer angle.

    You are the expert – tap into your reserves of bio expertise and enlighten me! grin

  2. Clark Poland says:

    My family and I went Christmas tree hunting on Saturday (seems a bit early to me, but whenever I question my parents they just say I don’t remember things) at a Christmas tree farm. I normally hate the process but we got off the trail to the trees, and literally chopped down the first tree we saw. It was amazing.

    I don’t feel that Christmas tree hunting is that sporting, after all, the trees just stand there. I want a challenge, like having to chase after the tree and forcing it to the ground or something. Maybe then I wouldn’t be bored by the tradition.

  3. I went to the link for Professor Wurtman’s research…how interesting! Thank you for answering my question; it gave my brain a special treat smile

  4. Adnan Esmail says:

    I thought the A’s were alphas, denoting directly proportional in an awkward formula grin. H is directly proportional to RV which is directly proportional to RD. Hehe! Then again, it did look a bit like harvard.