Irregular Expressions

It looks like there are two types of posts here: links to things I find funny, and updates on my personal life. If you're looking for something more substantial, look elsewhere - like here :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Computer "Security"

I recently bought a security cable for my laptop, so that I don't have to take it with me every time I go to the bathroom or to get coffee when I'm doing homework on it in a public space.
The first time I used the cable, I was feeling all smug and happy with myself. I locked the computer to the desk, and thought "okay, I can leave my handbag here, there's nothing *that* valuable in it (just my wallet, but not that much cash, definitely not as attractive a target as a laptop).
I came back after a while, and as I was getting ready to get back to work, I realized the handbag contained my keys, including the key to the laptop...

I think this is highly symbolic of they way security works in the real world. "It is not security, but the appearance of security, that matters."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


So last week was spring break. When people asked me what I was going to do for spring break, I'd proudly announce "I'm going to finish my thesis". Hm, well...
I "worked" on my thesis for about three days - you know the deal, three hours of surfing the web, then it's lunchtime, then you print out the thesis and read the first page, then you go for a walk... I did get a little bit done, but I do have to finish very soon.
On Tuesday night I went to New York, got there at like 4am. There I spent another few days ruminating over my thesis and then ruminating over my lab. All in all, I got a little bit of work done, but didn't really have any vacation-ish experiences.
But that's all right - maybe a few days of sitting on my butt and doing nothing were just what I needed. I had a wonderful long weekend with Vishy, we walked around Brooklyn and went to the Indian temple on Saturday, and when I came back, on Monday I did 8 hours of straight work on my lab. That's actually really rare for me these days. I'm procrastinating a bit right now, but I think I'll get a decent amount of work done between now and the evening. Maybe I'm finally getting back into work mode... I hope so. I haven't been able to get much work done for a very long time.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Name the language

Yesterday me and Vishy saw an ad on the NY subway: "Learn English!" Repeated in about 8 different languages. We identified each of the languages and were quite pleased with ourselves :)
That got me thinking, what is it that makes a language identifiable? Perhaps it's the prefixes and suffixes. Consider names: you can usually tell what country a name is from. How about:

Clinton (English)
Clintonoglu (Turkish)
Clintonescu (Romanian)
McClinton, or O'Clinton (Irish)
Clintonberg, or Clintonstein (Jewish)
ibn Clinton (Arabic)
Clintonomoto, or Clintoyama (Japanese)
Oluclinton (Nigerian)
Clintonsson (Swedish)
Clintonowski (Polish)
Clintonoshvili (Georgian)
van der Clinton (Dutch)
Clintonetti (Italian)
Cliiinntonnen (Finnish)
Clintonez (Spanish, Hispanic)
Clintonho (Portuguese)
Billjeffersonclintonan (South Indian)
William Jeffersonovich Clintonov (Russian)
Clintonhazy (Hungarian)
Clintonporn (Thai)
Cllintonopoulos, or Clintonastakis, or Clintonides (Greek)

Truly, Bill Clinton is a man of the world.
We noticed it was a lot harder to do this with the name "Bush"....

Thanks to Vishy for helping me compile the list.

Corrections/additions welcome!!


If you make lots of allegations, does that make you an allegator?

Sunday, March 20, 2005


I was sitting home all day today telling myself that I really have to start working on my thesis again. Finally around 6pm I realized it wasn't going to work and decided to take a walk.
I walked to Trader Joe's and was surprised it only took me something like 15 minutes to get there. But it was one of the most wonderful walks I've taken; I was once again reminded of why I love living in Cambridge. I really love Cambridgeport, even though they say it's not the safest area around. Some of the streets have really beautiful houses: old New-England style, with painted wooden sidings (or at least it looks like wood to me) and front porches. People often leave their lights on (this is the US, after all) and don't really use curtains very much, so as I was walking past I was shamelessly staring into people's windows and catching glimpses of their beautifully furnished living rooms.
I don't know why, but the whole area seems a little dark to me - maybe there are trees growing on the sidewalks, I don't recall. But this combination of darkness and old beauty gives the streets this nostalgic, secret athmosphere. I could easily imagine one of these streets as being the setting for a novel.
There is one more place in the world that I can think of that gives me the same feeling. It's an area of Prague called Branik. Branik is a very hilly district very near Vysehrad, a cliff with remains of buildings from the 10th century at the top. Branik is not very beautiful in the traditional sense of the word: many of the houses are old and very run-down. I believe that what makes these two places seem so alike in my mind is that both are located near a river, near a big river that flows through a big city, a river with boathouses that people can rent boats at and go sailing.
I love walking though Cambridgeport. It starts only about a block from where I live, but walking through those streets is completely different than walking to MIT. Walking through Cambridgeport lets me clear my mind, forget that MIT even exists, and dream of the day when I'll be able to live in one of those beautiful old houses too.

The greatest game ever written

1. Go to (shameless plug :) )
2. Type in "Pacman"
3. Go to the first or second link

Or simply just go here:

It's really pretty good, although sometimes the response to keypresses could be better.
Now you know how I spent my Sunday.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A Friday night

So Tarun had his birthday party tonight. A bunch of us went out for dinner and then went to no.6 where we played pool and danced. The evening was awesome. I had cut my hair ealier in the day, shortened it for the first time in probably 9 years or so, and wore a short skirt and high heels and makeup after a really long time - finally an evening when I didn't feel like an MIT geek.
The funny thing was, when I got home, there were these two guys I'd never met sitting in the kitchen drinking :) Thus continues the saga of "my roommate's vodka-drinking Russian friends". Zoya, my life would be so much blander without you :)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hello World!

It's corny... but it's got to be done.

int main () {
printf("Hello World!\n");
return 0;