Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Me: Shit happens
Supriya: Everything happens for a reason

Us: Shit happens for a reason

Saturday, March 26, 2005

CMUQ student presentation

Wednesday Mar 30

4:30 pm: Carnegie Mellon Qatar Student Presentation
DH 2315
All welcome, bring friends
5:30pm: Reception - All welcome

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Maybe I spoke too soon...


No Qatar next fall

Since they're looking for Calc and Business TAs for Qatar for next fall, and not CS TAs (I thought they'd need a TA for 15-211), I'll be in Pittsburgh next fall.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Let Go lyrics

Drink up baby doll
Mmm, are you in or are you out
Leave your things behind
'Cuz it's all going on without you
'Scuze me, too busy
You're writing your tragedy
These mishaps, your bubble wrap, when
You've no idea what you're like...

(So let go)
So let go
Mmm, jump in
Oh well whatcha waiting for
It's alright
'Cuz there's beauty
In the breakdown
(So let go)
Yeah, let go
Just get in
Oh it's so amazing here
It's alright
'Cuz there's beauty
In the breakdown

- "Let Go", Frou Frou, from Garden State Soundtrack

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Bombing in Doha

Let me preface this post by saying that Qatar has an almost non-existent history of terrorism. A couple Russians killed a former Chechan president there last year, but that involved neither Qatari/western targets nor Arabic attackers.

Yesterday, there was a car bombing in Doha of a theater frequented by westerners. You can read the articles for more information.

This is not changing my opinion of Qatar, of the safety of Qatar, or my desire to TA there next semester. In fact, I feel more obliged to go now and hopefully do my part in Middle East relations by helping show that Americans aren't all bad and help educate the future leaders of the Middle East.

The blast occured near the home of one of my CMU-Qatar friends. She's alright, all the CMU-Q students are alright, and all of the CMU-Q faculty and staff are alright.

Suddenly, all the security around Education City makes sense. Attackers are trying to show their dislike of Western presence and connection in Qatar. What is more noticable than a 4 square mile plot of land intended to house Western universities (Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, Weill Cornell Med School, Virginia Commonwealth), Western companies (including Microsoft), and all of that faculty and staff. On the other hand, the majority of people at the target tonight were westerners and Education City is meant for westerners to educate and enterprise with Arabs, so it wouldn't be such a pure target.

I hope my parents spend a couple days not reading newspapers though. They've already said OK to me going. (I still have to apply and be accepted of course)

Sobering. Absolutely sobering.

My CMU-Q friends will be arriving next weekend :)


Thursday, March 17, 2005

If you're going to talk the talk

I bragged about being immune to jet lag, just because 3 hours has never phased me. Let me tell you, 8 hours sucks. It took me 3 days to recover from coming back.

Monday, I accepted IBM Extreme Blue. Raleigh, NC for the summer. Riggs has already made me promise to go visit him at his camp.

Push practice started this week, and so from 11:15-1:45 Sunday-Thursday nights I will be out, helping out and pushing. This is why I have almost no courses this semester. This is game time, under a month til raceday.

Travelling abroad was fun, but the school spoiled me into believing international travel is cheap and easy (since they handled everything). Being handled through customs is amazing. Reality will set in the first time I pay for my own tickets, the first time I'm in a customs line where the people don't speak English as a first language.But I welcome it. A wider world-view is never a bad thing.



Monday, March 14, 2005


Last night, I got a call from Apple Computer at 9:34pm asking if I was still looking for an internship.

Too late, but it coulda been fun.


Jet lag

From Pattern Recognition by William Gibson:

She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien's theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Reflections on flight from Qatar to Heathrow

(Written on the plane, posted from Heathrow. We were delayed quite a few hours in Bahrain)

The energy is lessening, everyone is succumbing to exhaustion. In a way I noticed it in the hotel, before we headed back to the souks to get the final gifts for everyone. Everyone was nodding off in the lobby, killing time before we got picked up. We all have been awake, alive so much this week that when it all was said and done, when we all had an unwinding experience, we gave in to tiredness. But the sleep was peaceful.

The energy on the flight over, the energy of our Pittsburgh student delegation, was nothing compared to the energy of the students, faculty, and staff of the Carnegie Mellon - Qatar campus. They are excited to be starting something big. There is palpable enthusiasm. They know they are pioneers. They seem to have the right attitude. They are all proud of Carnegie Mellon, proud to be Carnegie Mellon - an example I should emulate.

Our group's energy has been converted to wisdom. We had to sign study abroad documents to go on this trip; the documents talk about earning credits. I was joking then that we should earn credits for this trip, because the forms were designed for people who were. I've earned much more than credits on this trip; I've been reminded of so much about life that I have become cold to. I have become more aware of the global environment in which we live. I probably will always have a spot in my heart for the Middle East. I have friends there. My heart was alive and well this week.

This week has made me think about my future - what I want to do. I would love to be part of something big, starting up a world class institution (or a branch thereof). I almost want to stay for next spring just to be able to go back on spring break. It was amazing.

I worry about the trustees and administration. During the information session held by the Education City planner, they discussed the building so much, they discussed so much that doesn't seem applicable to the every day life of students. Even the pictures of people in the buildings didn't look like the students that will be there. I understand they need to build infrastructure, However, the bigger picture seems missing. The administration spent almost no time with the students; some person only interacted with the students to get a picture with them. It felt like that picture was a trophy of his trip.

It seems, right now, cross registration among the campuses in Education City is limited. Students at CMU-Q are limited to CMU courses. I believe they would be wise to treat the colleges in Education city as departments, having Carnegie Mellon Qatar handle business and CS courses in education city, and have the other colleges handle other electives. This could dilute the "brand name" of a Carnegie Mellon degree, as they are trying to make sure that a CMU-Q student gets the same education as a CMU-Pittsburgh student. However, mass cross-registration seems to make the most sense to me.

If you ask me what was the most fun this week, I might say duning, I might say the dhow ride... but honestly, I have made friends. I learned about others. I learned about the world. I learned about myself. And that is so much more important than the activities.

Students of Carnegie Mellon - Qatar: good luck. You have made us proud, you are doing something amazing. Tell the administration what they're doing wrong: they need the brains of people on the ground there.

Students of Carnegie Mellon - Pittsburgh: we have family in the Middle East. They are Carnegie Mellon students just like we are.

I'll miss you, CMU-Q students. I can't wait to see some of you later this month. Lina, I don't know when I'll see you again, but I look forward to it.

Thank you to Student Affairs, for realizing that this trip wouldn't have been complete without Pittsburgh students.

Anyone want to take a course in Arabic with me next fall at Pitt?

A-salaam alaykum


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Don't want to leave tomorrow

Things fall apart and things die
So c'mon c'mon be alive
C'mon c'mon revolutionaries
With hands by your side
You've got to decide
This is the motivation to change the way you look from the inside

I don't want to leave tomorrow. The end.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Western things in the Middle East

The students at CMU Qatar go to the mall and get Starbucks during lunch.
I saw a McDonald's when we left the airport, and saw another today.
I've seen a Baskin Robins, Burger King, and Subway here.
I ate Pizza Hut for lunch.
I've seen every American car manufacturer ever here.
I know that there's also a Chili's, Dairy Queen, and an Applebees here.

Best sight today: traditionally dressed Qatari man, talking on the cell phone, driving a Suburban.

Best food eaten today: traditional hummus. Wow. Amazing. I could live on that.

Tomorrow we go to the Souks. I hope we go back to the gold Souk, today was just window shopping.


I'm here in Doha. The city is very nice, though the roundabouts (traffic circles) are scary. I'm very glad I'm not driving. We saw the Corniche Pearl, went to a horse farm and saw a swimming horse.

The Sheraton is very nice. They even delivered our luggage to our rooms. I've never stayed in such a posh hotel: fresh fruit in the rooms, shower and tub, 2 flat plasma tvs, porch on the ocean, very comfy beds, etc etc etc.

The campus is nice. Small, but they're growing...

Gave Sarris chocolate bars to all the CS students today. Had a heart attack: one asked me if chocolate liquor had any alcohol in it. It doesn't, but it was just harrowing to have that asked! Didn't think about that.

Breakfast had veal bacon, speaking of the dietary restrictions.

That's all I have for you. Check out the pics, and enjoy!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Thoughts in flight

Today has been an amazing day. I'm not even to London yet, and it's been really fun - the energy of the group is astounding.

Some of us are veteran travelers - Supriya has an amazing Indian passport, stamped and things inserted many times. She flies home twice a year. Drea has a Trinidad and Tobago passport, which is drilled all the way through with TOBAGO. Erik has a big sticker from Qatar slapped on the back of his passport from when he visited last summer. A bunch of us have never left America & Canada. I'm glad I've taken a 6 hour flight before, and I'm used to the car ride from Maine to Pittsburgh - otherwise this might feel grueling.

Supriya almost didn't make the trip - as she's Indian, she needs a transit visa to travel through the UK. However, she happened to get a five year UK visa in 2002.

I've been thinking about Krista a little bit on the trip. Walking through the Philadelphia airport was just a reminder of how strong the emotions were between us. We first introduced ourselves at the Philadelphia Airport after Christmas break Freshman year. The travelling group also ate at TGI Friday's in Philadelphia, so I had to think about when she and I ate at Friday's in the Pittsburgh airport before spring break freshman year. So everyone reminding me that I'd find good memories about her - you were right. Thank you for reminding me. So much of what the good memories are is the joy of being requieted; the happiness that comes from successfully pursuing someone. I was so surprised someone so pretty could like someone like me. I'm beginning to understand why more clearly.

I'm currently 1630 miles from Heathrow, according to the inflight map. British Airways does a great job, and having so many British accents around is just different! I was pulling out money to buy a beer on the flight, and they give you beer free - I'm so used to domestic flights charging $5 for beer. Is free beer on international the rule or the exception? The beer was one I'd never heard of before, Grolsch.

I'm also reading Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, which I recommend for anyone in science. I just read Feynman's Rainbow, a reflection on Feynman's personality by a colleague at Caltech, and it reminded me of that I find fun and beautiful about Computer Science (even though everything was about finding beauty in Physics). Doing science for the love of science, and the love of problem solving, and the love of learning is something I'm rediscovering.

(This was written on the flight, and was posted from Heathrow - so hello from Heathrow!)

Things not to do before leaving internationally

Lock your keys in your car. Don't do that.

Thank goodness that I had my alarm remote at my apartment.

Hero of the day status goes to Dre, for letting me back into the apartment.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Puppies to keep you entertained while I'm gone

Our four yellows

Writing to Senators

Senator Lott,

I am Matthew Laroche, a Junior at Carnegie Mellon University.

I grew up in Bath, Maine. My father works at Bath Iron Works; he used to be an engineer on the DD-X project. In school, most of my classmates had at least one parent working at the yard.

A few years ago, when the contract for the DD-X project was assigned, you made sure that it went to Ingalls, in your state. Ingalls had a team with a lesser design and had lesser ability to fulfill the contract. You even ignored the Navy’s recommendation of which shipyard was better for the contract, and ignored BIW’s appeal when the assignment had several flaws in it, making BIW an even better choice for the contract.

Even after the contract was given to Ingalls, they have had issues completing it because they were not prepared – at the time, even they knew BIW was better prepared and had better ideas. The choice of Ingalls has been proven poor.

At the time, I was disappointed – but I thought BIW would always have a future so I did not fight. Now, the Navy is thinking of going to one manufacturer of destroyers – either Ingalls or BIW.

Since you decided to do what was best for your state when the project was assigned instead of what’s best for the country, I now believe you have a moral obligation to make sure what is best for the country happens when the Navy chooses one yard. Remember, you may be a senator from Mississippi, but you are a United States Senator first. You have an obligation to everyone in the country, even people in Maine.

Otherwise, I believe you will be responsible for what happens when BIW closes its gates. My hometown will die. Not because the Navy did not have enough ships to build, not because they didn’t fight the good fight, but that politicians chose what was best for their area and not what was best for the country.

I see that you have rejected the winner-takes-all suggestion for DDX construction, but if the time comes, I invite you to go further. I invite you to fulfill your duty to the country; I invite you to give Bath a fair chance. I invite you to be fair and impartial when the time comes and chose what is best for America.

Thank you for your time,

Matthew Laroche

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Sometimes Dallas and Callie try to get in the same kennel. Callie is definitely not impressed by Dallas' attempts to do this.

And miles to go before I sleep

    Things to do before I leave
  • Pack
  • either install Tomcat&MySQL on my laptop or do my 15-397 assignment
  • Do work for Danny
  • Rent DVDs for flights
Yay slack. Yay break.


Tugging at heart strings

I am super excited to go to Qatar next week. However, IBM is setting a response deadline on my Extreme Blue offer for March 14. That's the monday after I get back from break.

I have an offer with Google for support style stuff, similar to last summer but on Enterprise instead of in PSO. I am trying for a software engineering position. I'm interviewing tomorrow. However, if I don't get that, I can't interview next week at all with Google. Apparently there are a bunch of groups interested in talking to me, but timewise I cannot swing it.

Cynde (G intern coordinator) said that being at Google this summer would give me a much better chance for a full time job.

I guess I'll be sitting on the plane on the way back next weekend figuring out what I'm doing this summer.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Lesson of day

Do not wear glasses when getting a haircut with someone who is not your regular hairdresser. Wear contacts.

In related news, my hair dries really quickly right now. I'm glad it's short, but it's much much shorter than I expected.

Note 2: Penzoil takes a lot of pride in their work changing oil. They tried to reset my stupid "change oil now" light (which no one has tried before). They also vacuumed my car.

3 busy days til I leave for Qatar!