Driving by the Future – Without Ever Knowing It

I’m in Kokomo, IN this week, at a branch just off of US 31. I drove by this branch on the way to Niles, MI back in 1999 on the way to Michiana Christian Service Camp. The camp cook often visited a past family member at the graveyard just down the street from my home at the time in Franklin, IN. The son of the camp director left at the end of the summer to attend Milligan College in Tennessee. The next year, I’d leave Kentucky Christian College for Milligan College with my friend, Ben. By then, the camp director’s son had left.

Michiana Christian Summer Camp

While at Milligan College (read about my time at Milligan College here), I visited friends from Kentucky Christian College now attending Ball State University in Muncie, IN, Jason and Derek. The next semester I moved to Muncie and roomed with Jason and Derek in Jason’s home. I tried applying for a job at First Merchants Bank, but they were closed on Martin Luther King Day. I opened a free checking account at Old National Bank. Two months later Jason got a job there and married Krista. Derek and I had to move out into our own apartment. In June of 2001 I drove through Tipton, IN on my way to meet my brother in Lafayette, IN. He worked for Purdue University. That same month Derek began working for Old National too. The next month, I met my future wife in Tipton and also began working for Old National.

That August I began school at Ball State. By mid-semester, Derek met his future wife, Shannon. In December Jason, Derek, and I were given the choice to be laid off or transferred to Indianapolis. Our plant was closing down in Muncie. Jason left Old National for First Merchants Bank. Derek stayed in Muncie and got laid off. I stayed with Old National and moved to Indianapolis, transferring to IUPUI. There I worked with my roommate from Milligan, Ben. I also met Jake, who left to attend Purdue. I visited Jake a year later in Lafayette. He had just met a girl the night before, who he later married.

Ben left Old National in 2004 after a lawn mower accident cut off part of one of his fingers. Derek later moved to Indianapolis with his wife, Shannon, and began teaching. He works part-time for Old National in the evenings. In June of 2007 I left Old National Bank and in June of 2008 I began working for First Merchants Bank with Jason, which brings me back to why I’m sitting in a branch in Kokomo on the edge of US 31, where I passed 9 years prior, on my way to Michigan.

Review of a Self-Help Dropout

It’s as if Chris Hardwick asked WIRED, “Is there anything I can do to re-inspire confidence in your magazine with Jason Cobb?  He’s been reading your magazine since your covers featured tight-fisted EFF logos, even before Marc Andreesen launched Netscape. He’s the rebellious teenage hacker whose grown up to work in an office everyday, but still yearns for the fancifulness that only WIRED can bring.  Let me bring it to him.  Let me be the one.”  And so, we get “Diary of a Self-Help Dropout” by Chris Hardwick, freelance writer, comedian, and musician.

Its a review of three self-help books including Allen’s Getting things Done, a feature favorite and life changer for Jason Cobb and millions of others around the globe.  I busted out laughing on page 75 when he summarized Allen’s system for prioritization, “Explode my individual tasks into a philosophical framework incorporating my life’s ultimate purpose.  Oh, OK. That’s all I have to do.”  I’ve often felt the same way.  One more quote that just reeks of Jason is on page 77 when Hardwick says of menial tasks, “You might as well write a check to ‘Failure’.”  I think that if Jason just gives this issue a chance he might come to love WIRED again.

Best “Crash” Ever?

Jan 2009’s WIRED magazine sees more bells and whistles than ever before.  There are more things going on, each page filled with sub-boxes, clues to guide you through the choose-your-own adventure that editor Chris Anderson wants every issue to be.  The first article to stick out to me was by Scott Brown on page 66 entitled “Best Crash Ever.” What caught my eye was a reference to “The Great Facebook Panic!”. Okay, Scott, you have my attention.  Go on.  He does.  The premise of the story is to imagine what the new depression, which starts in 2008 will look like now that we are in the digital age, but around half-way through the article, something started sounding familiar.  The dystopian mix of technology and hard-times sounded like a sequel to Snow Crash and then it hit me.  Why not have a sequel to Snow Crash set in today’s “metaverse” and economic slowdown. When the only thing we are good at as a nation is programming and pizza delivery, it pays to have tight wheels, friends you can trust, and a fast connection – even if it means living in a U-Stor-It.

I emailed Scott Brown this message:

Great story in the Jan 2009 issue.  Wondered if “Crash” was a wink to Stephenson’s Snow Crash? I didn’t think about this until about half-way through when I realized how your article could be construed as a premise for a sequel to Neal’s epic.

And he replied a little over a month later:

Oh dude. I wish!

Road Trip to Columbus with Jason

Geek Road Trip

Columbus Ohio Coffee Shop

There were a lot of men, most sitting alone with their notebooks, in this coffee shop in downtown Columbus. Jason got a cappacino and I got a vanilla latte. It was pretty dang good, the best I’ve had in a while.

Best Buds

Columbus at night–on the move. Jason is getting mad about me being on the phone. Wife is mad that I went at all.