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Articles by Michael T. Lin

November 3, 2009
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday of the year. For one thing, it takes place during my favorite season — I grew up in a heavily forested area of Pennsylvania, and seeing entire mountainsides change color is pretty stunning for me now and positively mind–boggling to an eight–year–old. I also got to feed my hero complex, a long-standing tradition that continues even today in a manner that I suspect would be of some psychiatric interest. It started with a cowboy costume, presumably because I asked for it but likely influenced much less by Clint Eastwood and much more by the release of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. From there, it alternated between “Robin Hood” and “Musketeer” (each with relevant movie releases, the more observant of you might notice) until I hit high school.
October 27, 2009
The other day, I had the unique experience of trying to open a coconut for personal consumption. It began with a butter knife and misplaced optimism. It ended with three sharp cooking knives, a multitool saw blade, a claw hammer, multiple nails of varying sizes, and one still-unrefreshed columnist. Oh, and a lounge so covered in coconut entrails that it could probably have been used as a set for a tropical-plant remake of The Silence of the Lambs.
October 20, 2009
I watched Kill Bill (parts 1 and 2) the other night with a few of my friends, and as impossible as I would have thought it, Quentin Tarantino’s movies have gotten more “out there” since Pulp Fiction. Granted, my experience with Tarantino films is only about as much as most (and not nearly as much as I’d like), but I imagine it doesn’t take too long to at least begin to grasp his particular film style. I’d wager that Tim Burton is the only director with a more distinctive stamp than Tarantino’s. The specifics are a little fuzzy, but I think if I were to draw a Venn Diagram with circles labeled “lack of color,” “Johnny Depp,” and “Helena Bonham Carter,” the intersections of two or more circles would get me pretty close.
October 13, 2009
Depending on who you ask, reactions to the idea of talking during a movie tend to be mixed. Some people feel like it’s perfectly fine, others feel there should be a special level of hell for violators of the “Silence is Golden” theatre policies. Some people don’t mind so long as what’s being said is funny or subtle, and some people prefer watching movies at home for the exact reason that they’re at greater liberty to speak/eat loud snacks/go to the bathroom, among other things. Ask me sometime about my idea of splitting movie theaters into “making out” and “non-making out” sections so that the lip aficionados don’t interfere with the film aficionados, and vice versa.
September 11, 2009
The MIT Musical Theatre Guild’s production of Bat Boy: The Musical (story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe) is briefly summarized as “Bat Boy’s search for love and acceptance,” which, though true, doesn’t quite capture the depth of the show’s… quirkiness. With a plotline that could be considered odd even by musical standards, Bat Boy is about neither a young Bruce Wayne nor the baseball equivalent of a roadie, although one could argue that it has elements in common with the former.
April 14, 2009
I like going to plays and theatre shows. It makes me feel cultured, the same way that going to movies makes me feel social and going to wild parties makes me feel sullied and vulnerable. I’ve always had an appreciation for the theatre, if only because it’s one of the most genuine forms of narrative entertainment out there. No CGI, no take two, no lip-syncing. There’s a great deal of appeal in the knowledge that each performance is unique, that the performers are walking and/or doing their high-kicks on a tightrope without the safety net of an editing room or stunt double.
April 7, 2009
I like toothpicks. I think people underestimate the usefulness of toothpicks in everyday situations. They’re useful for opening stubborn plastic packaging, marking one’s place in books, and attending to one’s fingernails in the absence of a proper manicure kit. And, of course, for picking teeth in scenarios where digging at your molars with your pinky nail and flossing with your own hair aren’t socially prudent.
March 10, 2009
It seems to me that most of our generation agrees that child and pre-teen television programming these days just isn’t as good as it used to be. If that strikes you as a random topic to be writing about, it probably is, but ask around and I suspect you’ll find awareness of it to be more widespread than one might suspect. The quality has simply gone down.
May 6, 2008
You’d think it would be redundant to write an article for MIT students about the effects of stress, yet here I am. I suppose I just can’t help inflicting my thoughts on all of you — sorry about that. As it happens, stress is much like physical illness, in that it can manifest itself in physiological symptoms like muscular tics and discomfort, which is why over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing MIT undergraduates all over campus twitching and jerking like they were inventing a new dance style. In my particular case, my abdominal muscles keep contracting involuntarily, so on the bright side, my core should be a good bit stronger by the time finals are over. As a point of additional irony, other symptoms of stress include memory problems and insomnia, which cause our already stressed bodies to put on quite a dance. The obvious solution to stress is to relax, but when there are only so many hours between now and crunch time, that solution becomes less and less of a viable option.
April 29, 2008
Those of you who know me particularly well know that I was born and raised in suburbs just about all of my life. Consequently, my time here at MIT is my first time living in a major metropolitan area for any extended period of time. Bearing that in mind, I have to say, it’s been an interesting experience. Boston and Cambridge may not be quite so urban as Los Angeles or Coruscant (we can see the Boston sky), but I’m working my way up to the full-fledged city experience.
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