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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

I’ll bet you got waylaid! by Sam M. '07

Wherein Portland, Oregon rocks my face.

DID YOU KNOW? The airport in Portland, Oregon has free wireless.

I have discovered this on my way back from a West Coast chemical engineering graduate school of some repute. My return flight through Chicago was cancelled due to Chicago being buried under 20 stories of golfball-sized hail with frogs inside. Or at least that’s what I have chosen to believe. So I’m flying back to Boston by way of Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No, I don’t know why. Perhaps The Madman Who Makes People Fly had something to do with my flight scheduling.

Anyway, as I see it, I’ve got three things to celebrate:
1. Free wireless
2. Jennifer Hudson just won an Academy Award
3. I am eating french fries dipped into Frosty right now and they are delicious

So, to celebrate, tomorrow I’m going to update this entry to blog about my CLASS SCHEDULE for this term! In the meantime, I’ll be reading Schachnovelle by Stefan Zweig on my overnight redeye (or are those two things mutually exclusive?).

Catch you on the East Coast!

Word. So, my visit went pretty well–although I was a little surprised by how different the school’s research philosophy was from that of MIT, I guess after four years it might be nice to get a different perspective on my major. Plus, you can’t really beat the weather–I ran up what must have been 2,000 miles of hills with MIT alum Priya ’05 on Saturday wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. In February! Anyway, the worst part of the whole ordeal was the 25 hour odyssey it took to get from my hotel room to my bed in Burton-Conner.

It took me over 5 minutes to spell the word “odyssey” correctly.

Anyway, as promised, here are my thoughts on my (three) classes this term. Hey, I must be 66% as awesome as Bryan!

10.392J: Fundamentals of Advanced Energy Conversion — What a cool name for a class. I feel so smart just being in a class with that name, to be honest. Anyway, so far it’s just been a review of all the energy and thermodynamics classes that I’ve already taken, except kind of stuck together, like maybe spot-welded together. But in the end Joe ’08 and I get to write an AWESOME 20-page report together, which should be really fun because he’s a junior and still cares about grades! This is also the first grad class that I’m taking on purpose at MIT.

10.491 — Integrated Chemical Engineering II — I found out this weekend that every other school in the country just calls this “design” or “process operations,” but at MIT, where all but the hardest classes are designated with numbers, it just sounds so much more fearsome to call it “ICE.” Anyway, ICE isn’t actually as hard as it’s made out to be. In fact, I wish I could take it for the next 8 semesters; that way I would eventually be in “ICE-nine.” Oh man, I’m clever. But seriously, folks, this class rocks this term. Instead of using some made-up data for our project, we’re modeling actual coal plants using Aspen and contributing to an MIT Coal Study that will actually be presented to the US Department of Energy by our professor. How bad can that be?

21F.404: German IV — OH MAN THIS CLASS IS SO HARD. Seriously, it’s stomping a mudhole in me. I think the problem is that German I, II, and III were mostly filled with Americans who were learning broken German, and then they all decided to stop taking German, leaving Ling and I stuck with a bunch of native speakers who use the phrase “überhaupt nicht” like it’s going out of style. Luckily, I have one more Junior-Senior P/D/F option left. Also, as a point of interest, the Chinese department introduced the streamlined option to prevent native speakers from making everybody feel as depressed as I do, every single day in German IV.

See any other interesting classes in the course catalog that you could recommend to me? Guess what? I’m not going to take them! Whoooo! Seniors!

But do like Marilee Jones said and don’t stop working just because you got into MIT–you have to wait until you get into grad school before you can start slacking.

29 responses to “I’ll bet you got waylaid!”


  2. Solomon says:

    Were you satisfied with the graduate school.

  3. Solomon says:

    It is meant as a question so here is the question mark………….?

  4. Snively says:

    First Post and I’m from OREGON! HA!

  5. mario says:

    First post!

    Also, the Phoenix airport offers free Wi-Fi!

  6. Snively says:

    Aw, you spent time in our airport! That’s kind of nice, I have spent many an hour there. And yes, it does have free wireless.

    Sam, does this mean you know how to pronounce Oregon? IDK if you knew beforehand, but at least now you should.

    That’s all, congrats on the frosty!

  7. Jillian says:

    Free wireless in the airport? I’m jealous… my local airport is not that cool. Also jealous of the french fries.

  8. Meara says:

    Wow, I wish we really were buried in frozen frogs. That would be way cooler than the actual weather, which is decidedly unglamorous but still extremely unpleasant.

    But really, being stuck in O’Hare with nasty delays is no fun, ’cause there’s no free wireless and there’s never anywhere to sit, even if we do have a giant plastic dinosaur skeleton.

  9. Prashanth says:

    Very interesting!

  10. Melissa '11 says:


    I always associate college students with mixing food that should NOT be mixed – and then I wonder if I’m going to end up eating… meatballs in chocolate with pickles… or something… someday.



    THE DEPARTED won Best Picture. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? I don’t understand!

  11. Christina says:

    Perhaps The Madman Who Makes People Fly had something to do with my flight scheduling.




  12. Reg says:

    Hong Kong Airport has free wireless and free Wi-Fi :3

    Yay for The Departed getting best picture! (Excuse the Hong Kong pride inside me..)

  13. SAM Che, here I am. Yeah, I can make you fly if you really wish. Currently I am planning to make a aircraft out of a palm trunk, equivalent to a Viker’s Vimi — sorry for the spelling mistake. I saw it’s photo in the national geographic website, and it looked like a hollow trunk, which inspired me to think in that way…………….

    I will give ya my prototype when I really build it.

  14. Peter says:

    I’m not sure, but I think ~62 airports in the United States (of 14,858 (2006)) have free wireless (partial coverage or otherwise) (source:, so I guess you’re lucky if you are equally likely to go to any of them. By the way, fries dipped in Frosty sounds tasty (you mean Wendy’s, of course?)=).

  15. milena says:

    Ooh Sam, you have a very discerning taste, fries dipped on frosty…..

    I do that too.

    And it rocks.

    Have you tried pickles dipped in sour cream? Sounds weird, but tastes pretty nice.
    And when I’m feeling daring, I dip jalapeño strips on sour cream. It makes me feel like I’m a badass, but I’m really not. The fat in the sour cream makes it less hot because…. well, I guess you’d know that, being a food network fan.

  16. Nina says:

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. The Philadelphia airport sucks.


  17. Lola says:

    Sam, I’ll be so sad when you graduate this semester, I love reading your MIT blog!

  18. Alyssa says:

    Haha…actually the weather in Chicago hasn’t been that bad. It is snowing right now, but there’s no hail and definitely no frogs! (and btw, O’Hare airport is 50 million times better than Midway!!)
    and yes, Jennifer Hudson is from the south-side…woot chicago again!

  19. Maia says:

    It’s 61 degrees F here in Atlanta today.

    Heh heh….

    *basks in jealousy*

  20. Emily L. says:

    Alyssa, O’Hare is TOTALLY better than midway. There is def. no comparison.

    Also, the weather is not that bad, but waiting for the bus for 30 minutes in it is. All in all, though, it was much worse those few weeks when we were in single digits.

  21. Elena says:

    I’m sitting in the PDX airport right this moment.
    Fun stuff (I’m a local)
    But it’s snowing.
    And I have to go to FLORDIA.
    (Snow over hair poofing humidity any day.)

  22. Kim says:

    Hi, I’m curious about your comment that the grad school you visited had a different research philosophy than that of MIT. How would you characterize the difference?

  23. Monika says:

    ICE is a German train…highspeed of course

  24. Ana says:

    ice nine?!?! as in, kurt vonnegut? as in, cat’s cradle?

    you rock my world, sam.

  25. Zacky Irun says:

    Alliluja, or smth like that

  26. Anonymous says:

    Heh, I took German IV in my junior year at high school. I’m sure the equivalent at MIT is probably somewhere around German II. Nicht so gut.

    Tim and Pierre, anyone?!

  27. AJ says:

    ^^ That was my post. Nie wieder.

  28. Audrey says:

    Oh man, I have to say..

    Frosties and french fries are the way to go.

  29. Anonymous says:

    it’s too bad i didn’t get to see you when you were in CA.