Friday, July 22, 2011

A good thing to do on a summer night

On Tuesday night I went to a concert at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.  It's very close to the water and easily accessible by the T.  The Pavilion is basically a giant tent that seats 5000 people.  It's open to the warm summer air and so it's great to go hear some music, see the sky change color as the sun sets and to feel the air get cooler as night descends.

For this particular show, I went to see Parachute and Michelle Branch open for the Goo Goo Dolls.  Overall, the concert wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be, but the Goo Goo Dolls are a band I've been interested in seeing live for a while and now that curiosity has been satisified.  They were good and it was nice to hear many of their familiar hits.  They did, however, also play songs from their CD that came out last summer, too, so this wasn't a total washed-up tour, but the biggest audience reaction was from the classic favorites.

One of the problems with playing the old and new songs together was that, to generalize, the old songs are harder punkier rock whereas the newer ones are more acoustic alternative radio listening so it made for a sort of bi-polar set list.  Besides the occasionally strange song juxtaposition, I guess it just felt like some extra spark was missing compared to other bands I've seen.  As I said before though, I'm still glad I saw them.

Summers to me recently have begged for a concert or two, especially ones at venues where you can enjoy the weather at the same time.  Last summer, in Michigan, I saw Colbie Caillat and Sheryl Crow at an open air venue and that was fun.  Getting a ticket last minute on Craigslist for $15 made it even better.  Alternatively, I also saw the Scorpions that summer, so don't go making too many generalizations about my music tastes...even I've tried and it's pretty hard...

As far as summer, it has been incredibly warm here this week and a bunch of last week, too.  Boston, yes, is usually humid during the summer, but I don't know if there's been this long of a spell that has been this hot in quite a while.  Today (Friday) the high is supposed to be 99F.  I wonder if we'll make it into the triple digits or not.  It seems as if we're certainly not alone in the heat department though; on Facebook, a Detroit radio station posted that it hit 100 there for the first time in fifteen years on Thursday.  Wow.

There won't be many photos on the blog until I get another camera.  I accidentally knocked mine off of a table here at Sloan and turned it into a camera shaped paperweight.  Does anyone have recommendations for inexpensive but good digital cameras?  I've been looking at the Panasonic Lumix series...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Team 7 Satellite Office

This weekend, Team 7 spent a day and a half on the south coast of Massachusetts, chilling out by the pool and on the beach and...reading Copenhagen and discussing a little stats.  Yes, we did some work.  But that wasn't our priority.  Priority #1 was taking some time to get our group and SOs together for a short break in the middle of our summer term.  It was GOOD.  LGO, can you just forward our mail here? :-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Joint Venture: China LGO and LGO Meeting and Sharing

Background: LGO has a sister program with Shanghai Jiao Tong University that was started in 2007.  It is referred to as CLGO and is also focused on manufacturing and operations.  CLGO students visit LGO every summer and, every other spring, the LGOs go to China during their International Plant Trek.

This year, at the beginning of July, almost 30 CLGO students came to the United States to tour east coast cities (they visited Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York) and visit MIT.  Before Boston, the CLGOs had their own tour guides, but once they got to Boston and Cambridge, we were their hosts.

We had a welcome event at the sailing pavilion with introductions.  There, we first got to speak with the CLGOs in depth.  Their English is very good - they said that the cases they read for class are the same ones we do.  Even though the cases are written in English (which is definitely impressive), the class discussion is still usually in Chinese.  We shared dinner and they presented us each with a lovely gift - a business card case and key ring set with traditional chinese designs.

Meet and greet and gift sharing at the Sailing Pavilion
The CLGOs also came to a number of our classes and saw how we learned about leadership, lean/six sigma principles and high velocity organizations.  The Lean/Six Sigma class was probably the most interactive because were were doing our airplane building simluations.

Siwen (Sterling), Si (Steve) and Sam work on lego organization

The CLGO synergy committee, made up of LGO students, did a great job at planning meals and activities for our Chinese guests, many of which we could also attend.  I had an Italian dinner in Boston's North End with CLGO students on Friday night (helping decode the menu and choose representative Italian dishes for them to try) and went on a Whale Watch out of Boston Harbor with them on Sunday.  We saw many humpback whales that afternoon, feeding and diving all around the boat.

The group waiting on the docks to go on the whale watch
An awesome whale tail!!
Other activities we shared were many other meals and a trip to go berry picking a little outside of Boston.  We had received feedback from the previous year's visit that our Chinese guests wanted to see more non-city life, so berry picking seemed like a nice, sometimes literal, taste of nature!  During the berry trip, besides picking the fruit itself, the farm owners gave a tour of the processing facilities they had so we got some operations experience as well.
Talking about how things work on a farm

Transportation for the day

Xiaoming (Tina) looks really happy
Zach is also competing for the "really happy berry picker" prize.  He was the one who bought many pints of blueberries at Haymarket a week or two earlier...

The day was a tremendous success

The visit was informative for students from all countries.  I felt like I was able to learn a little more what actual life was like (the students with families reminded us that they just had one kid and couldn't have more) and how the US is really perceived (very independent rather than community oriented, ex. many Americans move away from home and into their own homes relatively early in life). We got to share things as well such as "No, there are no outlet malls accessible via subway."

But seriously, we shared America with the CLGOs by answering many questions, besides just where they could get "good stuff cheap."  Although, yes, the CLGO students wanted to buy luxury brands for people back home since things like Coach purses are less expensive here than they are in China, they also came to group events excited to see us again and get to share more experiences.  We talked about everything: from habits in class to the American police heirarchy (local/state/national) after we saw some cops on the street after we left a restaurant. 

Overall, they CLGOs were very congenial and eager, open to trying all sorts of foods (though some types were definitely preferred more than others, Mexican did not seem to be popular) and doing all sorts of things. They were very courteous and thoughtful, too (I was offered a seat on the subway multiple times, one got me a drink at the welcome party, etc.).

At our farewell dinner, rather than say goodbye, the CLGOs said "Welcome to China!".  I thought that this was a nice way to finish because it spoke of another beginning rather than just an ending.  I would like to go on the international plant trek next spring and am looking forward to seeing them again soon.

I hope this can be us sitting together on the other side of the world next time

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to go forward

While I'm organizing pictures from the CLGO visit to go with my official long post, I'll share another shorter and sillier event that happened earlier this month.

For our leadership class, we watched most of the film '12 Angry Men'.  In it, 12 men are jurors for a murder trial and basically all of the movie is shot in the room where they're trying to decide if the person is innocent or guilty.  Summary: lots of evidence of different leadership and communication styles appears and then we talked about it.

So, a core group of people decided that, shortly thereafter, we should wear polos and ties (if we had them) to leadership class in reference to the movie.  Most people participated, however, Jan Klein our professor didn't immediately notice.  Thinking about one of my previous posts, most of the guys wear collared shirts anyway and so our professor had no real reason to think that much was unusual.  She probably just didn't know what to think about the ties.  Since our plan wasn't obvious to the person who had shown us the movie, we ended up having to explain our scheme.  It didn't seem as clever then, however, it was still fun and it gave us an excuse to take another class photo.  Hi world!

More like 50 not so angry men and women

Old and New

Building E60 reflected in building E62
I really like this picture I took during one of our study group meetings in the newest Sloan Building, E62.  This building, just dedicated in May 2011, has many study rooms, meant specifically for group work, outfitted with whiteboards and computer monitors (the low tech and high tech ways to share ideas). 

Since, over the summer, we do the majority of our assignments with our LGO teammates, we spend time after class often in spaces like this.  I just thought the view was appropriate.  The building reflected in the window is probably at least 75 years older than Sloan's newest acquisition and it's cool to think of the people who went here decades ago before there were things like the internet and computers and whiteboards and... must have been very different.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th! (Wow, it's July!)

Yesterday many of us set aside the afternoon to carry on an LGO tradition.  BBQ and relaxing at the MIT sailing pavilion up until the Boston Pops Concert and "Fireworks Spectacular".  The MIT sailing pavilion is right on the Charles River, almost exactly in front of the barge where they shoot off the fireworks (yay unobstructed view!), and they have grills where you can cook.  Students and SOs started coming around 2-2:30 and we ate and drank, talked and played games...for hours and hours...but time went by pretty quickly.  The day was hot (mid-80s), but by 4 or 5 the sun started going behind a few taller buildings and some clouds gathered.  There was threat of rain, but none actually came down, which was great.  Instead the breeze picked up and made things even more pleasant.

Sun still high and hot over a 4PM not-as-crowded-as-I-expected Sailing Pavilion, you can see we were literally right on the river
By 8PM though, the sailing pavilion was packed, both with LGOs and other MIT students and friends
(Sorry about the candid, guys!)
A great spot for sailing and grilling

Leading up to the concert they had lots of smaller patroitic things going on.

They shot off canons on the Boston side of the river, hence all the white smoke

Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam and other American icons went boating past
The top of the Prudential Center was decked out in Red, White and Blue lighting
(same building that did MIT 150 in its windows)

They had a jet flyover (sorry, I don't know what kind)

The concert started at 8PM with patriotic music and sing-alongs.  Our international friends might not have known what to think of this whole display, but they seemed to enjoy themselves and take in the moment nonetheless.  They, along with us, noticed that just when everyone started singing, the flag at the pavilion started waving.  Awesome!

Representatives of Australia and Canada

Our high flying flag
At 10PM the local coverage went national, so we got to hear that transition.  The fireworks went from a little after 10:30 until 11PM. 

This was the giant barge where all the fireworks were launched from.  They synchronized the launches to music that played over speakers on both sides of the river.
Since many people took photos of the fireworks, I thought you might want to see some of our happy, in-awe faces instead.

Happily taking in the glow of the show
Happy, belated 4th everyone!  Hope Tuesday was manageable :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Class Stats

As we shift from probability to statistics, here are some less publicized stats about the LGO '13s.:
6% of LGOs have military experience
8% have at least one child (one was newly minted in June!)
10% have their pilot's license
10-15% have gotten sick in the first month
possibly due to getting
20-30% fewer hours of sleep than we're used to
50-60% - conservative estimate of LGO 13's with Significant Others
          (married, engaged, and other long term relationships)
70-80% of guys on a given day will wear a collared shirt to class (polo or button-up)
95% of summer classes are held in the same room : E51-315

I could have ended with something cheesy - 100% will find lifetime friends - but that will be up to life to determine.  Things are looking good though...
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