“Get out of this building as much as you can.”

IMG_0018It was a foggy drive across the flat Oklahoma countryside to Talequah. I rarely visit the parent Northeastern State University campus but the 65-mile drive to the state’s oldest institution of higher learning was worth it this morning. We arrived with plenty of time and took seating close to the front of the room.

Dr. Datta, an appropriately named computer science professor, normally teaches an 11:00 A.M. class in this room but today there was a special speaker. Mr. Rich Bell, a 34-year-old foreign service officer from the U.S. Department of State, flew from Washington, D.C. to pay the campus a visit.

Mr. Bell wore a vest and tie but held no notes and gave no PowerPoint presentation. Instead he brought the energy, wits, and personality that only come through deliberate life experience accrued in foreign travel. “I work for the U.S. Department of State,” he began. “When I’m feeling important I call myself a diplomat.” Mr. Bell explained that like most of the students in the room, he had been a computer science major. He used this undergraduate degree as a stepping stone to law school. After graduating the University of Pittsburg with a Bachelor in Computer Science, he eventually attended Texas A&M for a short while before working at the U.S. Department of State in 2010. A good writer with interpersonal skills uncharacteristic of a tech-oriented individual, he quickly climbed the department and now serves as a recruiter and interviewer when he’s not living overseas assisting ambassadors in their technical needs.

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After Eating 84 Meals of Soylent, I Conclude It’s Great for Breakfast

Photo Aug 04, 7 38 33 AMSaturday, October 4 was an unusual day nutritionally. I woke up around 9:30. After reading NYTimes for an hour I was ready to bravely face the weekend.1 With a glass of Soylent and a few hours’ worth of phone calls under my belt, I grabbed a banana and stepped out for errands. Afterwards I drank another glass of Soylent and went for a solo 20-mile bike ride.2 I drank a final glass of Soylent before calling it a day.

Some time ago I experimented with DIY Soylent; when the official version arrived I then wrote about the first day with my initial thoughts. Given that one’s view of a product or service substantially matures with usage, having eaten four weeks of the powder I want to explain what it’s like.3

It’s important you understand that I haven’t eaten 84 consecutive meals of Soylent. I ate my my first meal August 2 and my 84th meal October 11. I’ve eaten it mostly for breakfast, which is what makes October 4 unusual. Of the 3,300 calories eaten that day, 2,700 of them were Soylent and all but 105 were liquid.

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Buying & Selling the iPhone 6 Plus

apple-storeStanding in line to buy an iPhone the day it is released is something I’ve done twice, and plan to do again. Buying a second iPhone with the intent to sell it for a profit is something I’ve done once, and plan to never do again.

The plan was simple. Get in line before everyone else, buy an extra iPhone 6 Plus, and sell it for a cushy 50% markup. After all, the odds of finding an iPhone 6 Plus were zero, according to Cult of Mac, which meant that mine would sell instantly if I were lucky enough to get my hands on one. Worst case scenario I could return it. Last year a friend of a friend cleared $3,500 and it was time for me to cash in too.

Here’s what really happened.

Thursday, September 18, 8:55 P.M. Me and my friend decided to check out the store ahead of time. We learned that nobody was allowed anywhere on the mall premises until 5:00 AM. Police had already run people off, so there was no chance of camping out. We went home, excited about the next day.

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Day One of Soylent

Photo Aug 02, 6 59 23 PMSunday, September 1st, 2013, I placed a $255.00 order for One Month Supply of Soylent, a futuristic powder food that simply requires the addition of water to sustain human life indefinitely on planet earth and beyond. The purchase was an impulse decision governed by two underlying facts:

  1. A good friend from college was experimenting with a homemade DIY version of soylent, which alerted me to its existence.1
  2. My position in life was changing such that I would soon be more directly responsible for my daily bread. Like most Americans, I’m too starved for time to have to worry about other forms of starvation simultaneously.

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