Skip to content ↓
MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

It was the blurst of times? by Sam M. '07

I'm a stupid monkey.

Much like my one-time alter-ego Javert, I’ve always seen things in a good-and-evil, right-and-wrong, red-and-black kind of way. So, whenever I get a piece of e-mail that’s accidentally been replied-to-all, I say to myself, “Wow, you’re so dumb. How do you even, like, get dressed in the morning when you can’t understand how e-mail works?” Heck, I’m almost ready to give them 19 years on the chain gang just for adding another letter to my already unmanageable inbox.

Now, I also have this not-so-secret crush on Pine, the mail client that’s used on Athena. I used to only use it when I wanted to check my mail quickly ina computer cluster or something, but lately Webmail has been running incredibly slowly for me, so I’ve taken to opening it up through computers in my lab via

It’s just so easy to use–type ‘D’ when you want to delete something, ‘C’ to compose, ‘X’ to expunge (oh yeah…). No messy clicking involved… with Pine I can go through spam in like a third of the time of webmail.

When you want to reply to e-mail, you have to hit ‘R.’ It then asks you “Reply to all recipients?” and “Include original message in reply?” You have to answer these with either ‘Y’ or ‘N.’

And you have to be careful, or else this happens:


I guess there are worse things I could e-mail my entire 10.28 class the fact that my talk will be titled “Detection and Purification of Green Fluorescent Protein for Bioprocess Applications,” and at least I didn’t make any egregious spelling errors like I do in all of these blog entries. I did, perhaps mistakenly, refer to Dr. Hamel as a “Professor Hamel,” and although he’s an amazing instructor, I think he is one of the few lecturers in Chemical Engineering who hasn’t yet been awarded a full professorship. He’s just so adorable and French, though, I don’t see how they could resist giving him tenure this long, really.

So, even though I curse accidental replies-to-all, I figure that nobody else in the word really thinks like I do. That’s always a safe assumption. So I figured everyone would just quickly scan through the e-mail and summarily delete it. Not so. One hour later, Shyam ’07 came up to me in the student center and jokingly informed me that he, along with the rest of 10.28, enjoyed learning the title of my talk.

Oh, Shyam ’07… not cool.

I’m just going to keep typing Shyam’s name because I want him to Google himself one day and know that I’m still upset with him I am over this seemingly trivial event and I will hold it against him for the rest of his life.

Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam MIT ’07 Chemical Engineering Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam from Tucson, Arizona Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam

Just playin’, Shyam. You’re still cool.

But my secret shame will be with me forever.

But, then again, it was also the best of times this week. On Monday, we had to submit the primary themes for our theme-and-variations final projects to Dr. Hughes. This was mine.

On Wednesday, my theme was heard by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison.

You may be surprised that MIT has a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer on its music faculty. Actually, yeah, that’s really surprising, isn’t it?

Anyway, the story: we had a special guest teacher in 21M.302 because MIT is looking to hire a new full-time faculty member. They invited all the candidates in to teach undergrad classes and also scheduled free lunches open to the entire campus, so all students could give give their own feedback to the department on the hiring. Dr… Polish Guy was really cool, and gave us a concise, yet detailed analysis of a brilliant Mozart theme-and-variations. He then had to take three of the ten compositions we submitted on Monday, sight-read them, and provide constructive criticism on them …all the while evaluated by seven institute professors in the back of the room. Including JOHN HARBISON!!! I don’t think he was really listening, but it makes a nice story, and a good stock answer to the inevitable prefrosh question “What’s the coolest thing that happened to you at MIT?”

One of my friends in the Chamber Music Society was actually coached on a Strauss string quartet by Harbison his freshman year. So I’m not quite as cool as he is.

Back when American Idol 1 was just getting started, I was reading an article in Entertainment Weekly profiling the ten finalists. Obviously, this was a long time ago, since I still had time to read entertainment publications. Anyway, 10th-place finisher Jim Verraros was asked when he knew that he had made it in the entertainment industry… which is kind of a funny question, since you’ve probably never heard of Jim Verraros before in your life. But I digress. Here is his answer, which I will never forget:

Paula Abdul was listening to me sing.”

No offense to Paula Abdul, but I think this means I’m cooler than Jim Verraros now.

Thank you, John Harbison.

DID YOU KNOW? If I ever were to form a rock band, it will be named Tenzing.

11 responses to “It was the blurst of times?”

  1. Mitra says:

    I read part of “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” over Thanksgiving break; if you want Shyam to find himself because you’ve repeated his name, he better be using Yahoo

  2. Jessica Lane says:

    I know Shyam! Yay Tucson, Arizona and Catalina Foothills High School! haha

  3. Dave says:

    I think he probably knows how Google works, of course if we got an insane amount of people to make links to this page and title them Shyam, we could do it.

  4. Laura says:

    Way to be Sam. Way to be.

    (I mean about the cooler than the random American Idol guy thing, not the other thing that I will never mention again.)

  5. Sam says:

    Kallie, you’re obviously a total genius if you think Javert is the best character in the play. I liked playing him because he’s the only character that undergoes a real dynamic change in the story. Also, I think he has the best theme music (both “Stars” and “Tell me quickly what’s the story? …”

    Mitra, your comment now leaves me curious as to why “that picture” of me still ranks so highly on certain Google searches.

    Yes, if you all did as Dave suggests, that would be awesome. In so many ways.

  6. Kallie says:

    You played Javert?? You are so awesome! For some reason, he’s my favorite character in the play.

    My voice class is performing Les Mis, and I’m singing the part of Eponine.

    Also, nice theme. How is it that one learns to compose something like that?

  7. Mason says:

    Teehee. Oh Mr. Burns.

  8. Kathleen says:

    Javert in the French concept album owns most profoundly. “Dites-moi ce qui se passe” is the coolest song ever. He’s just so… French. In an angry way.

  9. Zach says:

    I googled Shyam and Tuscon (which google told me is spelled wrong) and this page was #1, so it worked wink

  10. Sam says:

    Okay, okay, I fixed it yesterday! By the way, I was school spelling bee champion in 7th grade, so any time I mess up spelling, you can assume it’s a typo and not ignorance. The unhappy end to this story is that I choked at the state spelling be and misspelled “equilavent” in the third round. Even MIT students are fallible.

    Like one time, I set toast on fire in the oven. I had to go wake up Sam’s Mom and get her to save me. Lucky she was around. I don’t know what I’d do now.

  11. Jessica Lane says:

    It’s spelled T-U-C-S-O-N.