A long time ago, before I settled into a comfortable life in suburbia and write dry articles about computer, I was in grad school and belonged to a student association. Yes, that sounds much more exciting. But we had lots of gatherings, movie nights, BBQ, parties, in general lots of opportunities to revel in our collective nerddom. When I moved out with roommmates, we indulged in more of the same. I loved top 10 lists and always had one for most of the events. Here are of the top 10 lists over the years, scraped from old emails. Most probably won’t make any sense without some context. But they may be worth a chuckle or two for those who were named, or were unfortunately enough to be at those events.
Top 10 Reasons to go to the Star Wars party at Tan’s
- Tan needs friends.
- It behooves you to test your Star Wars knowledge against the best.
- At long last, our ‘96 Star Wars skit will begin to make some sense.
- Tan’s place and Yen’s cooking sure beat Yen’s place and Tan’s cooking.
- Help Tan finish up those jars and jars of lychee jelly.
- Tan promised no Cajun Vietnamese food.
- Experience the spectacle of Tan’s room in person, in case you missed it on The X-Files.
- Experience Yen’s cooking in person, in case you missed it on FOX’s World’s Most Dangerous Stunts.
- Tan will give a tour of his closet full of dresses, sorry outfit.
- Find out what Obi Wan means by “a most wretched hive of scum and villainy”.
Top 10 reasons why you should go to the VSA party at McCormick’s
- None of us will be cooking
- No weird guys trying to put a move on you/your sibling
- DJ recently lost CDRs containing his disco collection :(
- Get a good laugh out of VSA guys trying bust a move
- Betty will bring her Spice Girl/‘N Sync/Backstreet Boys albums
- Help Yen feel better about splurging much $$ for the system
- If the music sux and the crowd is boring, well at least it’s better than your 8.01 problem set.
- David will show off his break-dancing skills
- Nothing good on MIT cable
- We love you guys!
Top 10 reasons our team will win… VSA volleyball match
- Betty can really spank… the ball
- Tan is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. Hey, it distracts the other team.
- Binh’s jump serve can really knock the net off the post
- Anh Hien’s no-look pass, which leads to…
- Yen’s nothing but net shot
- Our Pokemon-in-the-hole, be Nguyet
- Van’s exquisite drop shot
- We’re gonna try some of the mind-bending tricks we learn in the Matrix
- Binh has a strong incentive: if we win, he won’t have to dress up as a girl for Senior Dinner.
- The rest of us has a strong incentive: If we lose, we’ll have to watch Binh…
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD TO GO THE PARTY
- Tan still needs friends
- After this you won’t have to see the graduates ever again
- Be the first to put Tan’s kitchen to good use
- Tan promised he’d spend half a week cleaning the house before we even set foot there
- Tan’s living room: the only one equipped with a pingpong table
- We need fresh meat for multiplayer N64
- We made Binh promise he won’t go anywhere near the kitchen
- Yen finally learned to decipher Betty’s recipe (e.g., half a tablespoon, not cup, of salt)
- We know you love to eat
- Food will be catered by the Iron Chefs!
Top 10 Reasons you should go to Yen’s House-warming party at 7 Seckel Street
- Listed by the Boston Phoenix as one of the hottest spots in Cambridge.
- Will never be sold out like Crouching Tiger @ Kendall Cinema.
- Plenty of seatings on the brand-new hardwood floor.
- We’ve had enough time to recover from Tan’s cooking at last year’s party.
- If things get too slow, we’ll go crash Diem’s apartment just down the street.
- TV will not pick up MIT Cable.
- House does not have pingpong table nor N64 like Tan’s, but will have something much better… me.
- Landlord’s dog will “only bark, not bite”.
- Food will be catered by Iron Chef – Vietnamese
- Be witness to a rare event that happens only once every millennium: Tan may bring a date!
Top 10 reasons you should go to the July 4th BBQ at McCormick’s
- No need to fight for a piece of real estate with a zillion sweaty, smelly people.
- Check out McCormick’s sparkling new men’s room (sorry ladies)
- Beach volleyball!!!
- We won’t feel embarrassed by the Brazilians about our lack of rhythm
- McCormick’s reputation as MIT’s party central
- Weather should be hot enough that the chicken wings will cook themselves.
- Pity the poor writhing masses below from our vantage point
- Betty will bring her luau outfit, complete with lei, straw skirt and coconut half-shells (or is it Tan???)
- Your personal fireworks show (“Hey Betty, I didn’t know these lighter fluids come in gallon cans?” )
- You’ll be entertained
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME: Patriots Superbowl Game, Feb 1, 2003
- Big men in very tight tights
- The Patriots cheerleaders
- Experience the actions exploding out of our, uh, medium-screen TV
- Leftover goodies from last week
- If you don’t know your false starts from your touchbacks, well you’d know as much as most of this bunch :)
- After this the next chance to party will be (drum roll please) President’s Day!
- This week won’t be my turn to clean the house
- Half-time show will feature Janet Jackson
- Half-time show will not feature *NSYNC
- Beracah promised no more BBB (Beracah’s Burned Brownies)
Top 10 reasons you should come: Thanksgiving party, Nov 27, 2003
- We just finished clearing up the mess from Halloween
- Yen already put away his leather whip
- The dreaded toilet paper-man will not be making an appearance
- Yen will not be allowed in the kitchen while cooking is in progress
- It’s not Yen’s turn this week to clean the house :)
- We live across from McDonald’s, if that becomes a necessity
- We should be thankful that we’re eating turkey instead of being in Turkey.. okay that was kinda lame
- The more bodies, the warmer it is inside
- This being East Cambridge, there are at least 3 liquor stores within a half-mile radius
- This line intentionally left blank
Top 10 Reasons you should come: Halloween Party, Oct 31, 2003
- Sebastian has been spending time in the gym to prepare for this event, for what we’re afraid to ask.
- Iva’s “spanking” new leather outfit
- Beracah wants to scare someone besides us
- Yen just needs friends
- You’ve just spent a fortune on feather boas at the Garment District and want to show SOMEBODY
- Our BLOOD-RED Chamber of Horror, mwahahaha
- Our landlady doesn’t live within earshot
- Need you a reason to drink yourself silly?
- Ergo, there’ll be lots of drunk strangers in a darkened room… on second thought, let’s not go there
- It’s Halloween, we need a good scare, and you’re the best :)
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME to the BBQ: April 25, 2004
- Our chief meteorologist, Beracah’s knee, informs us that Sunday should be more or less sunny
- Our second-floor deck is finally all thawed out
- The occupants are finally all thawed out
- Our friendly neighborhood liquor stores sent us a reminder that we haven’t visited them lately
- In preparation for this event, Beracah has been abstaining from McDonald’s
- Yen hasn’t had a chance to set anything on fire in a while
- The fire department is just down the street
- Iva would like to try out her new Gucci luau outfit
- We haven’t consumed vast quantities of alcohol in a month, and Sebastian is getting restless
- No actual eyeball will be on the menu
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME: VSA Monthly Dinner Mar 13, 2004
- Yen is just providing the space and will not do any actual cooking
- We made Tan promise that he would not cook
- Since Nhut’s SO lives in California, his sole hobby for the past few years has been cooking and cooking some more
- If worse comes to worst, there’s a McDonald’s across the street
- East Cambridge has the cheapest liquor in town
- With all the spare change we won from the Tet party we can finally afford to deck up the place a bit
- The only thing green to be consumed will be the beer
- Contrary to appearance our kitchen does not date from the Bronze Age
- My roommates are quite normal people and will not try to eat you
- St Patty’s day party to follow!!!
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME: Saint Patrick’s Day Party Mar 13, 2004
- No one showed up for our George Washington’s Birthday party
- We’ll hide the extra rolls of TP so Beracah can’t use them for his costume again
- Drinking green beer helps save water and demonstrate your environmental sensitivity
- Yen will not go as a Leprechaun (even though he’s got the right height)
- Iva’s been practicing moves at flamenco and bellydancing shows
- Test your drinking mettle against the best of East Cambridge, and I’m not talking about Yen, Iva or Beracah
- We will not play any song from Sebastian’s death-metal collection
- Our neighbor seems to be hard-of-hearing
- There’ll be a bunch of drunk people wearing masks in a dark room… on second thought let’s not go there
- We’ve got enough beads to cover (no pun intended) all of your Mardi Gras-style antics
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO THE BBQ Sunday July 4, 2004
- Be first-hand witness to a rare event that only happens once in a lifetime: Iron Chef Polish vs. Iron Chef McDonald’s
- Our friendly neighborhood liquor store is offering discounts to frequent customers (or so Sebastian tells us)
- This being our 4th BBQ, we have the grilling thing down to an art. Quit your snickering over there.
- Since Iva is out of town, Sebastian will do his best to impersonate her with a coconut-shell luau outfit
- Betty promises a preview of her Miss New England posedown. BYOO.
- After “Supersize me”, Beracah no longer wants to eat hamburgers at McDonald’s. Only at home.
- The city of East Cambridge recently made us honorary Portuguese… meet Sebastiao, Beracaho and Tran
- Fighting a zillion sweaty people for a piece of personal real estate is so much more entertaining on our balcony than on the Esplanade
- It’ll be safe, as aliens invaders have all been eradicated by Will Smith
- No wardrobe malfunction anticipated at half-time show
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME: Party September 25, 2004
- We’re between-hurricanes
- This week is official “Imbibe-yourself-into-a-stupor” week in East Cambidge
- Our friendly neighborhood liquor store is having a going-out-of-business sale
- There’s no hockey on Saturday night (or this season)
- Beracah spent the entire summer working on his no-lines tan
- Betty is looking for volunteer “oil-persons” to help during her body-building competition
- Last chance for Sebastian to try out his revealing summer outfit
- Our amorous next-door neighbors asked if we could shake their bed with the subwoofer
- Forget Miss America, Iva will show off her Miss East Cambridge catwalk routine
- We have absolutely no good reason whatsoever
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO THANKSGIVING 2004 DINNER (NOV 24, 2004)
- If we said last Saturday was the last chance to see the real Nhut before he turns into California surfer dude… we lied! THIS will be absolutely the last chance
- We will be disclosing the censored photos from Betty’s bodybuilding competition
- Last chance to experience our cooking in person before the restraining order from Zagat arrives
- We recently cleaned the living room and discovered all the missing cooking wares
- Once in a life time chance to experience the curious and tempting possibilities of Vietnamese-Polish-Bulgarian fusion cuisine… after this, you may not want to again
- The turkey we’re about to consume came with a legitimate organ donor card
- Beracah promised that he’d continue to keep his “secret” recipe a secret
- Meet my, ahem our, hot new roommate, Miss Betty Junior
- Sebastian promised that he’ll be sober while cooking
- We’ll make sure you won’t be sober enough to think the food isn’t great!
SUPERBOWL 2005, FEB 6, 2005
- Last time we gathered to watch the Superbowl, they won!
- Last year’s Justin & Janet brouhaha will be reenacted by Yen and his inflatable girlfriend
- Have an imaginary housewarming party with an imaginary Betty (you can ask her to explain this one :)
- Catch the explosive actions out of our imaginary big-screen TV
- The Pats cheerleaders will be cold, just like Beracah likes
- For those not well versed in the intricacies of the sport, we will continue last year’s lesson in football rules and terminology. This week’s topic: What “tight end” refers to instead of the player’s physique.
- It’s a long, cold, dark winter night and we’re scared
- We’d like to be reminded what you all look like
- We’ve still got some liquor left. Come get some before Sebastian discovers it.
- There’s no point in watching the Michael Jackson trial cuz he’s guilty :)
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO THE TET POTLUCK/MARDI GRAS PARTY sat FEB 12, 2005
- Since this potluck is for Tet, there’ll be plenty of luck and plenty of… pot. That didn’t come out right.
- Sebastian promises that the only dip he’ll be making is for potato chips
- We promise no leftover eggnogs
- Our elderly next door neighbor is complaining that we haven’t played any good gangsta rap lately
- Since Michael Jackson cannot make an appearance due to certain, ahem, legal commitment, Beracah will do his best to impersonate the gloved one (on-stage, that is)
- Sebastian recently uncovered scientific evidence that the best cure for the winter blues is to drink yourself into a stupor, or so he told us
- Even though Yen doesn’t own a six-pack, he plans to buy a few
- Iva will preview her catwalk routine for the East Cambridge’s Next Top Model audition
- Help us trash the place so we can get on Queer Eyes for the Straight Guys
- We’ve lived in East Cambridge so long, we’ve turned Brazilian. Pronto ao partido e começa quente em mim?
TOP 11 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO THE JULY 4TH, 2005 PARTY
- Sebastian was recently elevated to Gold Member status at E Cambridge’s very own Liquor-4-Everyone store and gets access to the best stuff
- We have a visiting professional hiphop dancer from Flensburg, Germany, the capital of hiphop
- Boston.sidewalk.com recently gave us a 9/10 for “Hotspot You’ve Never Heard of in a Place You’d Never Go”
- Beracah has been practicing moves on Monday nights at a as-yet-unnamed club, where “the guys are really good”
- Our place is certified by Mass Dept of Public Health as “fit for grooving”
- The nice little old lady next door let us borrow her “great-for-parties” collection of gangsta rap
- Yen recently broke up with his inflatable girlfriend, so… guys, she’s available!
- Iva will impart hot tips on how to strut like America’s Next Top Model without breaking your ankles
- Recent inquiry about dress code as to whether “thongs are okay” were voted 3-1, in favor of
- Come celebrate Michael Jackson’s complete acquittal! Sorry, there are no kids here.
- The Queer Eyes for the Straight Guys have never been here
Top 10 reasons you should come to the Year of the Dog Dinner Party:
- The year of the dog doesn’t necessarily imply anything about the menu
- Menu will be prepared by chefs with culinary degrees from the internet
- If the menu doesn’t work out, there’s Banh Mi Ba Le across the street
- There’s enough alcoholic libations to keep a Polish guy happy
- Kitchen is Swedish-themed, but fortunately the cuisine won’t be
- Cold weather means no guest will be tempted to come in thongs
- Beracah would appreciate friendly faces to try out new pickup lines
- Of all the hip spots in Dorchester, Fields Corner is the Hippest, according to FieldsCornerIsTheBest.com
- Landlady lives on premise, but fortunately she’s cool with parties
- The chefs misplaced their vegetarian recipe book :)
Top 10 reasons you should come to the July 4th BBQ:
- We’ve had the urge to set something on fire since watching Xmen 3
- Instead of fighting for a piece of personal real estate a zillion sweaty people on the Esplanade, you could be doing that on our patio
- Lots of guys will be sporting 6-packs. Beer, that is.
- Recent inquiry about dress code as to whether “thongs are okay” were voted 3-1, in favor of
- Balanced menu with sundry grilled options means that this will not simply be a sausage fest
- Grilling will be expertly handled by chefs with culinary degrees from the Internet
- The arcane secret of burning everything to a crisp has been lost since GrillMastah B left on vacation
- Come celebrate Germany’s recent victory in the world cup. What, nobody cares about soccer? Well, hmm, they do drink lots of beer in Germany.
- We will light the BBQ with the electro-shock thingy on our R2-D2 unit
- You’re getting sick of eating health food
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME: Happy Turkey Day Gobble Gobble II (Nov 23, 2006)
- We seemed to have misplaced our favorite cookbook, 101 Ways to Prepare Tofu and Leeks
- Getting here doesn’t involve dodging illegal fireworks and avoiding domestic disturbance spilled onto the streets
- Having lots of people over helps us save on heating cost
- Menu will be prepared by chefs with culinary degrees from the Culinary Institute of the Internet
- No easy access to liquor stores within 2 blocks as in E Cambridge, but hopefully Sebastian will come…
- You seriously need a break from your daily diet of chocolate, coca-cola, buffalo wings, fried chicken, chicken pakora, a good steak, all at once.
- Turkey is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine (pineapple turkey, lemon turkey, coconut turkey, pepper turkey, turkey stew, turkey salad, turkey and potatoes, you get the idea)
- Boston.sidewalk.com gave us a 9/10 for “Place You Should Go on Thanksgiving When There’s Nowhere Else to Go”
- Roast a turkey in honor of the outgoing Republican senators and congressmen.
- We miss you guys!
Top 10 signs Ozgur may be a robot
- His favorite movies are Terminator, AI, and that Robin Williams movie.
- He can talk really fast
- He doesn’t need any sleep
- He doesn’t eat all day long
- “Ozgur Topcu” written backwards is “Ucpot Rugzo”, which of course in Turkish stands for “I Robot”
- Robots have no use for bowls
- He consumes vast quantities of coffee without any apparent effect
- When he’s “talking to himself”, he’s actually holding a conversation with his computer
- Have you ever seen him do the Robot?
- He actually understands File-Up
Top 10 Reasons To Come To Our New Year 2008 Party
- We finally finished the leftovers from Thanksgiving
- You can go sledding down the slope in front of the lawn
- Having people around helps cure SAD (Seasonal Anti-social Disorder)
- No turkey, but we’ll have a Turkish person
- If the weather gets cold enough you can go ice skating in the backyard.
- Crowding around our 13-inch TV helps keep you warm
- Thanks to old age, you forgot when Christmas was and slept through it
- One of your New Year’s resolutions is “spend more time in Arlington”
- This is the year of the rat, and the rat from Ratatouille will be doing the cooking
- I know you covet the Star Trek chess set I got for Christmas.
Lunch Crew 5/30/2008: Top 10 Reasons Why You Should “Do The ‘Crew”
- Discover first-hand whether Silver Dust will work on werewolves
- TS is running a very important study on how many SoftArtisans employees can fit around the peanut table
- You love musical chairs
- Dan may surprise us by wearing a non-Portugal or -Chelsea shirt.
- You never know when Tim may forget that he ordered food and drop by
- You are dying to find a killer recipe for Squirrel Stew and it’s not on Wikipedia… yet.
- Exercise your brain by participating in the weekly trivia game. The weekly topic: Where in the world does Ozgur eat lunch? (Hint: Starts with Crown and ends with Cafe)
- The entertainment will involve thought-provoking questions such as, “Does my half-eaten mozzarella sandwich belong to you”?
- You love Thai food and want to eat at Amarin every other week
- It’s too quiet upstairs and we need more conversations
TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO OUR JULY 4 2009 BBQ
- No tornadoes in the forecast
- It’ll be a nice sunny day because we performed an ancient Indian rain ritual and these things never work
- No need to go down to the Esplanade… plenty of hot and scantily clad people right here
- Grillmaster has a PhD in culinary science from the Internet
- Karaoke machine is broken… intentionally.
- You like juicy melons. Watermelons, that is.
- Fresh corn was on sale and we bought a few… hundreds
- Wii wiill provide you wiith abundant wiine and wiitty entertainment. Okay that was lame, but don’t be such be a wiise-ass.
- Beracah has honed to perfection a new force power possessed by no other Jedi or Sith master—Force Burn
- Be the first to handle our virgin grill
2010: TOP 10 REJECTED RETREAT RECOMMENDATIONS
- Sprints to include actual sprint on the river path
- JIRA will now track amount of coffee consumed
- Foster relationship with customers by taking them on fishing trips to the footbridge above the dam
- To improve posture, desks should be removed and employees encouraged to type while in yoga pose
- Bugs should be ranked by number of K-cups it would take to resolve
- SA logo to be changed to unicorn dueling narwhal
- Whenever there’s an exception, SilverDust should play Pacman game instead of showing actual error message
- Stand-up meetings taking too long, cutting into productivity. Recommending stand-upside-down meetings, which should drastically cut down meeting duration due to severe fatigue.
- To promote team identity, dev should wear hair in a pony tail, pre-sales Mohawk and TS the Ozgur-perm
- Buy OfficeWriter and receive free autographed drawing of your pet, or random animal if you don’t have one
- Bug priority to be decided by result of foosball match
- SilverDust error messages to be generated by Random Chuck Norris Fact generator
2009: TOP 10 OVERHEARD QUOTES AT THE SHAREPOINT CONFERENCE IN LAS VEGAS
- I was working on DMH till 2am on purpose to prepare for this trip
- Simply put SharePoint is the best product ever invented. I would use it over and over again. It is pure joy to behold. I’m just so excited about SharePoint… What? Of course you can quote me on that… My name? Ben Jones.
- Is this the line for the poker tournament?
- Is this the line for the buffet?
- Just checking one last time. Are you absolutely sure that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?
- Just for this year, the show will start daily at 8pm and goes till 5 in the morning
- Hey check it out, the water fountain dispenses booze!
- So nobody remembers a thing about last night? Oh, has anyone seen Jim?
- People on the street are so friendly here. They keep wanting to go back to my room to get to know me better.
- I just hit the jackpot for $50 billion! Unfortunately they told me that the slot machine was imported from Zimbabwe.
- There’s a tiger in the bathroom!
- Why do people keep asking us for directions to the Stardust?
- Wanna see the pictures from my wedding last night?
2008: WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT LAST YEAR’S RETREAT?
Last year’s retreat on Martha’s Vineyard was a success. We figure that will try capture the spirit if not the formula of last year’s retreat. To get some ideas, we wrote down some of the quotes we overheard. Disclaimer: The quote and/or ascription of speaker may be mostly to completely apocryphal.
“Sitting by the shimmering pool in the soft moonlight, pouring our hearts out about life and relationship, proving that romanticism is very much alive. It reminds me of… oh never mind.” – Andrey
“Participating in a softball game is huge part of my immersion in American culture—it’s so full of excitement and camaderie. However, I found it strange that Americans would enjoy such a painful sport.” – Tamar
“I’m proud of how everyone, when given a challenge, rose to the occasion and performed beyond their normal ability. This year we doubled the beer and there was no problem whatsoever.” – Dan
“I don’t know how I did it, but I think I just set off the alarm back at the office” – George Sass
“Um, the lobsters were great” – Richard
“I didn’t think anyone can eat 5 lobsters until now” – Ron
“Stooping in a tiny kitchen with 25 other people, in a room intended for 2, reminds me of college. And just as in college, the free beer made it worth every bit of trouble.” – Scott
“RPI has parties? I mean, besides LAN parties…” – George
“Uh, I don’t remember much. Just that I met someone cool at the bar. I think his name were Daniels… not Anthony, Jack. Jack Daniels.” – Ozgur
“Skinny-dipping in the pool” – Anonymous
“I was a little worried when my roommate Mark disappeared for half of the night” – Yen
“Everything from the setting to the activities were beyond my expectation. I just wish my sweetie were here. We could have played all sort of casual fun games like tennis, bowling, boxing, you know. We’d have to hook her up to the TV first, of course.” – Kevin