August 23, 2000
For the last time, I write to you in your role as part of the "MIT Mailing List". If you are not on that list: you received this anyway for reasons that will become clear shortly.
First things first: I came to do my thesis and I did my thesis. My professor gave me the biggest compliment I would have ever imagined getting from him, so that's very good. It made me very happy.
My thesis is available at https://thomer.com/mit/thesis.ps.gz
This is gzipped PostScript. You need a PostScript viewer to read it. Don't ask me for a Microsoft Word version. I can't give it to you. I can send you a hardcopy if you want.
OK. I sense drama, the need for music, a poem. I will not bother you with any of those, though. I am going to bother you with statistics and numbers.
In 2 hours I will leave my house, but by the time you read this (i.e., Thursday between 5:35 and 16:10, Dutch time), I am speeding over the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean at a height of approximately 10km, flying at a speed of nearly 900 km/h. I am going to Jerusalem, yippeeeeee!!!!! Flying away from the place that I started to love and hate at the same time. Time for the first list.
10 things I hate most about the USA:
3. Waste production
4. Rude people
6. People in traffic
8. Streets, i.e., the holes in them
9. Automatic telephone marketing (a tape talking to you)
10. Getting the bill in a restaurant without asking for it
This, of course, asks for the following list. 10 things I love most about the USA:
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (and knowing how to spell that)
3. Being 1 out of 3 million Jews as opposed to 1 out of 50.000
5. Ice cream
6. My bed (preferably in combination with item 1)
7. Driving over 4-lane highways with good music on the radio
8. Having to take an airplane to really get anywhere
9. President Clinton
10. Star Market is open 24 hours per day
You might know that I have a rather bad (and expensive) obsession with music and CD's in particular. When I came here in February, I brought approximately 300 CD's with me. In April, I brought another 250 CD's. Every morning I filled my small CD booklet with 25 CD's out of my entire collection to bring to MIT. One portable CD player succumbed under the load. I carried my headphones, 25 CD's, and CD player to and from MIT every day.
These 7 months I have spent at least 8 hours per day listening to music through my Sony headphones that look more like ear-warmers than anything else. 8 hours per day means nearly 2,5 months of non-stop music listening over 7 months. Without exaggerating, I can safely state that, at least, one quarter of that time has been filled by Glenn Gould alone. In these 7 months I have bought approximately 25 CD's of Glenn Gould.
Anyway, what should I say about Glenn Gould? I guess saying nothing is my safest option. What I can tell you is that the man has made me laugh and cry more than most people I know. He defines music. The man is a magician. For those who do not know him: he plays the piano. No, no, let me rephrase that: the man IS a piano. Unfortunately, he is a dead piano.
In addition to the two lists that I have already given you, I shall give you my top-5 list of CD's I loved/listened most in the past 7 months.
1. Piano Sonata 15 (Op. 28) and 23 (Op. 57). Beethoven. Glenn Gould. In
particular the Appasionata Sonata. I'm telling you: I must have listened to
that at least a hundred times. Sony SM3K-52-642. CD 1 out of 3.
2. Piano Sonata 14 (K. 457) by Mozart played by Glenn Gould. In particular part 1 and 3. Sony SM4K-52-627. CD 3 out of 4.
3. Piano Sonata No. 1 (Op. 2 No. 1) by Beethoven. Glenn Gould.
4. French Suites by Bach, Glenn Gould.
5. English Suites by Bach, Glenn Gould.
Hmmm... I like giving lists. I'll go on a little. Books/papers I have (partially) read most (in random order):
1. MULTOPS: a data structure for denial-of-service attack detection.
Thomer M. Gil.
2. A journey to the end of the millennium, A. B. Yehoshua.
3. TCP/IP Illustrated Volume 1/2. Stevens.
4. Computer Networks. Tanenbaum.
5. A Guide To Latex. Kopka & Daly.
6. My uncle Oswald. Roald Dahl.
7. Matilda. Roald Dahl.
8. Structured Computer Organization. Tanenbaum.
9. De grote vrouw. Meir Shalev.
10. Vim 6.0e reference manual.
10 things I liked doing most during the past 7 months (other than eating, sleeping, and spending my time at MIT):
(after item 1, in no particular order)
2. Asking Frans about a Ph.D. position at MIT.
3. Skiing in Maine.
4. Going to Cape Cod twice. Once with Florian, once with my friend Liz.
5. Going to Washington DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis.
6. Going twice to Connecticut with my friend Liz.
7. Going back to the Netherlands for Passover.
8. Going to the Johannes Passion with Sabine.
9. Going to New York 3 times with Lotte & Floortje, father, and mother.
10. Throwing a birthday party.
Web sites I have visited most often.
(I tried to estimate the order. I don't think I'm very far off.)
The top-13 of people that sent me most e-mails. I actually ran some programs to figure this one out.
(List composed on Monday August 21, 02:45am)
61 LdG (e-mail and SMS combined)
50 My father
In total I received approximately 4250 e-mails in these 7 months. That is slightly more than 20 e-mails per day on average.
I can give you WRONG statistics on whom I sent most e-mails. They are wrong because they only represent my e-mail behavior during the day; not during the morning and evening. Here it comes; the top-11 list:
70 My father
23 Thomer (I send myself e-mail in stead of writing on my hand)
What other stupid statistics can I give you? I biked approximately 600km between MIT and my house alone. Oh! I know some nice statistics. I have sent you 19 e-mails. That does not include this one. Without the empty lines, they made up for 2429 lines, 28762 words, and 157859 characters, which makes the average number of characters in each word 5.5. This is the top-10 of words I used in those e-mails (case sensitive):
This makes for "the to I a and that of is in you". Very typical. The entire list of most-used-words is available at https://thomer.com/mit/stats.txt.
I had a blast. I had fun. I reached my primary goal and some other, more subtle goals, too. I am content, I am happy.
And now... I look forward to going to Jerusalem, Amsterdam, and St. Moritz the coming 2 weeks. I look forward to coming back here in a few months. I'm going to miss Boston and the people I have met here.
Thank you for (not) reading these e-mails. I had fun writing them; I hope you had fun reading them. Once more, all the e-mails and photo galleries from the past few months are available on https://thomer.com/mit/.
2 out of 3 people who promised to pick me up from the airport let me down already: I arrive on August 29, 9:30 in the morning with KLM flight 462 from Tel Aviv.
Since I don't like good-byes,