First go at writing
“Get another log for this fire John!”, Michael yelled across the clearing.
Michael Hansen is a friend of John Lambrechts, they go to the same high school. Behind a town elementary school lies a forest which has a clearing in the middle where they are having a fire. This is where John and his friends would go to get away from parents and live the free-spirit life. The forest is near John’s house and a couple of miles from Michael’s home. They both still live in their childhood home and are students Lake Zurich High School.
“Will do, Mike! I’ll be back in 20 minutes with the log.”, John hollered back.
John brought some logs he got from his Dad’s stash after a quick bike ride to home and back to the forest. Michael was busy being a goofball throwing full lighters into the fire to watch them explode. Other friends of theirs at the gathering were Matt Goldberg and Jill Lampert. Jill’s street backs up to the forest where the fires often happen, more often in summer and today was a scorcher, it being the middle of July. Matt lives a few miles away.
The fire started to roar and John also brought back some vodka he scored off his weed dealer Jeff. It was illegal to buy for themselves as John and his friends were 16, just recently had gotten their drivers license, it’s a requirement to be 21 to buy alcohol in Illinois. They had a blast in this clearing of the forest.
The forest was thick. To get over the stream flowing through it in between the parking lot and their fire spot was a narrow wooden bridge. The night was warm as it was the middle of July in their town in Northwest Chicagoland. They heard someone coming from near the edge of the forest. It turned out to be Jeff Einberg, John’s weed dealer.
“What’s up Jeff, got any pot? I’m getting sick of this Smirnoff.” John asked.
“Ya, the usual half eighth?” Jeff replied.
Half an eighth was 1.75 grams. 1/16th of an ounce of pot. Enough for a new smoker to get stoned for about 10 times.
So Jeff did the deal with John and he shared with everyone with his new pipe he bought. John didn’t realize that his marijuana use, in part, would alter the course of humanity across the whole universe in a few years.
Matt was John’s favorite smoking buddy as they were both hilarious together when trying out drugs. They got along now but John did bully Matt a little in middle school when he wore skin tight jeans. John packed up his pipe and gave Matt the first hit.
Matt exhaled. “Have you heard of this band called STS9?”, Matt asked everyone around the fire.
No one had except Jeff. Matt plugged in his portable mp3 player into some portable JBL speakers that John brings to most fire gatherings. The music was interesting and sounded good. Jeff mentioned that MDMA was popular at Sound Tribe Sector 9 shows. No one had heard of MDMA except Matt and John. Everyone went back to talking to each other when the music was turned off.
“Can I take a shot Johnny?” Jill drunkenly asked John.
“Sure, only if you don’t mind taking a swig out of the bottle, I don’t have any shot glasses.” John shot back.
That was a typical night behind Seth Paine Elementary. Full of teenage binge drinking, weed smoking, and friends. John was the one who found the clearing when he was exploring his neighborhood and the woods behind the elementary school. He was in 5th grade, about 11 years old when a teacher took them back to witness the sap flowing out of a tube inside a maple tree. The teacher didn’t bring them into the woods far enough to see the clearing. John would invite his friends there for the first time a year ago, and never did they have a problem with police or unfriendly neighbors. It was great to have a place of their own to party. All his friends agreed and were happy to accept John’s invitation to have a bonfire every time. It was a blast of fun every night spent back there.
After the bonfire, John rode his mountain bike back home, it was getting late, 1am. John’s parents were having their own party on the back patio and were so drunk they didn’t even realize their teenage son was probably even more drunk than them. And high.
Angelica Tenfeur was busy in her college home she shared with her friend Nicole Rogers. They were busy working out a computer science bubble sort assignment together. Angelica was coding and Nicole was amazed at how far Angelica had come with her computer skills. Nicole was a wizard but Angelica was far and away the bigger nerd. Nicole often said Angelica thinks outside the box among college peers.
“You look like you’re on the verge of a breakthrough,” Nicole said.
“I figured out the bubble sort assignment, but I want to code it in straight C!” Angelica replied fanatically.
C was the more difficult programming language than the Python they were learning as Freshmans as Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nicole sighed and wondered if she would ever best Angelica at anything. They were always fierce competitors having both graduated from Sag Harbor High School. Sag Harbor is a small town in the “Hamptons” of Long Island, New York. Angelica was the Valedictorian and Nicole was the Salutatorian. Both received full scholarships to MIT. Not that that was necessary, both of their parents made it out wealthy in the technology boom in the late 90s.
Nicole’s father, James Rogers, has worked at IBM since 1980. Angelica’s father, Rich Tenfeur, owns an electronic trading company. Both parents being able to afford the East End lifestyle in Sag Harbor. Education played a big part in the Rogers and Tenfeur families. Both father’s were able to marry beautiful woman and start families early on.
It was not easy for Nicole to place 2nd in their high school graduating class as the town was full of well educated rich families. Both were proud of each other, but Nicole always felt inadequate when comparing herself to Angelica. Angelica and Nicole were both sights for sore eyes, beautiful young girls.
Oddly enough they were both virgins, being old school and raised as Christians. Angelica and Nicole made a pact when they were about 13 in the last year of Middle School that they wouldn’t have sex before they got married. Not many girls were thinking this way in their neighborhood full of attractive and rich boys.
The home they shared near MIT was on Prince St to the west of campus. They were both grateful to their parents for supplying the money for the home. Angelica studied Electronic Engineering. Nicole studied Computer Science. Having both picked a similar field of study, they were able to split their assignment workload and also work together. The two virgins enjoyed working together and Nicole’s jealousy of Angelica’s more successful life dwindled after starting college.
Their college home on Prince St wasn’t used for typical college partying. It was used for relaxing and studying. That’s it. Sometimes it was used for cooking but that was rare. Studying was the priority and food came second.
“This world should be way more successful with all the technological gains made in the last century. Granted, a lot of good has happened, I just think we would have spaceliners to the moon, for example… we did land on that rock in 1969. Almost 40 years ago! Why haven’t we gone back to the moon!?” Nicole bantered.
“Good point, why haven’t we gone back to the moon?” Angelica wondered as she sat on the leather couch in their front room.
Angelica was a dreamer. She had high optimism and never let the negativity of the world discourage her from her studies or life goals.
Angelica’s phone rang, it was her Dad.
“Hey Honey, how are you? I think I thought of something world changing that I want your help with.” Her Dad’s greeting was odd, usually it was her needing help.
“What is it Dad? Not one of your stupid trading algorithms you want me to speed up with C code is it?” Angelica said into her Motorola Razr phone while she had her feet up on the ottoman.
“Nope! And trading algorithms aren’t stupid, they were responsible for everything we own!” Rich retorted.
“I am just getting my feet wet here at MIT and I think I can accomplish all the world changing on my own with the awesome education I’m getting. And trading algorithms didn’t pay for my education! I earned it!” Angelica said.
“They paid for the house you’re staying in right now missy.” Rich replied.
“True. Anyways, what is this world changing thought you had?” Angelica said in wonderment.
“Do you think humans can interface with their brain with radio waves which have the same properties as brain waves?” Rich asked.
“I assume it’s possible, a brain probably is an electromagnetic device you can connect to, I guess. What are you on to Daddy?”
“Here at work my company needs the fastest radio waves to be competitive in this new market full of electronic traders. So, we are paying for a microwave radio link to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange which can transmit from Chicago to Wall Street in 0.8milliseconds. I want to make something faster.” Rich explained.
“Dad I need to focus on studying… not inventing a new network protocol for your trading company!” Angelica shot back.
“Oh come on, they go hand in hand!”
Nicole was listening to their conversation from the kitchen. She was intrigued when she heard Angelica talking about a network protocol. With both their brains together along with Mr. Tenfeur she thought that might be possible.
“Hey Roomie, take it easy on your Dad, I think he is just trying to help you take advantage of your skills.” Nicole said.
Angelica was used to Nicole listening to her phone calls. “Probably right, but I’m a long ways from being able to engineer a new form of networking.”
“Not at all, you could do it!” Nicole gave her words of encouragement.
Angelica wondered why her Dad started to talk about brain waves as he prefaced his idea. That was more interesting to her than a network protocol for stock trading. She sauntered into the kitchen and ate dinner with Nicole on the island in their modern kitchen.
“Hey Mike, let’s build an underground room back here so we can sit underground and smoke weed without anyone knowing!” I yelled over the roar of my custom stereo in my Grandpa’s hand-me-down Chrysler TC by Maserati convertible.
“Turn this hippie music off, I don’t even like weed that much! The room sounds like fun though.” Michael agreed.
So after a night of partying on Saturday Michael and I were slightly hungover. Michael and I compete to be the coolest, biggest nerd. We both plan on being rich and rightly so. I was a little more into Linux than Michael but lately he finally bit the bullet and went full on into Linux and Perl this summer. On our free time when we aren’t messing with our computers and all the latest and greatest technology we usually hang with Amanda Mansi, Jill Lampert, Dana Donahue, Nick Jordan, Krista Nathan, Ian Lincoln, Mitch Minden. That is the group of friends I hung out with Michael with, along with other stragglers.
Michael asks, “Is your modded Xbox still working? I heard you modded Mark Smolyars and Nick Sibilisky’s too!”
“Mine works great and so do theirs. Lately I have been getting games of Xbins and SuprNova.” I answered. I’m proud of the fact I modded the first generation Xbox. I learned how to mod by watching The Screensavers on TechTV on satellite TV. A show in the 2000s about Tech.
Modding an Xbox unlocks the BIOS on the console which allows you to run unofficial software and copied games. This was essential for me as I didn’t want to pay for all the games which cost about $40 a pop. The only problem is the copied games don’t work on Xbox Live so I can’t game with others around the world on those games. There is a way to play them by connecting through a PC which is how my neighbor Zak and I played Halo 1 over the internet. That was a blast. That got me interested in Xbox and to the point where I wanted to open it up an put a chip in it. Here is what the chip looks like:
“Hey Kari! How was tumbling?” I asked my sister.
“Good, tryouts for the school year cheer team are going to be easy I think.” Kari replied.
Kari is a little over one year younger than me and she is pretty smart. Kari is good at gymnastics and a pretty girl. She isn’t a super nerd like Rez and I but I still got her to use Linux on her computer. She likes chatting with friends on AOL but texting is getting more popular now. Facebook is just starting to get popular among college kids. MySpace is the social media hub right now. I have a custom myspace with custom HTML. That was the cool thing about MySpace. You could customize the code on your profile page. Facebook doesn’t allow that.
I did see Facebook on my friend Jessica’s computer at college. Steve Albin, my other best friend’s sister. Seems like everyone is going to migrate to Facebook, but it’s all college students now, you need a college email address to sign up.
“Kari, have you talked to Natalie Kemple since she moved to Canada?” I asked.
“No, I have no idea how to find her, I’m pissed!” she said.
“Weird, anyways… Rez and I are going to build an underground room behind Seth Paine… isn’t that funny? You can see it when we’re done.” I told her.
“I don’t care, you guys are nerds and weird, I don’t want any part of it.” Kari got sassy. She likes to think that she’s cooler than me, but that is impossible.
“You’ll probably want to see it, we are building a room, half underground, camouflaged in the forest. A young man’s dream come true.” I replied to her sass.
“What a lame dream, a half underground, camouflaged room. Sounds gay as hell John.” Kari laughed.
I went to my room and shut off her computer in her room over the network via SSH.
“That’s IT! I want a Macintosh right now!” Kari yelled.
In the garage I met back up with Michael who was just chilling looking huge in my small car. He’s 6’4” and 250lbs. We gathered 3 shovels and went back to the school parking lot.
Seth Paine was my elementary school. First Grade was my first year there. Kari immediately became friends with Natalie when we moved in Kindergarten, and I became friends with Zak. It was awesome, our family was happy to move from Lake Zurich to Hawthorn Woods, one town over, and an upgrade.
Seth paine is a single story school spread out on a large chunk of land that is ⅓ forest and the rest of the prairie where the school is.. This cool thing about the forest is that it has a wound where it looked like a building used to be. This is the clearing we used for bicycles, mini bikes, and bon fires. Also, there is a running stream that requires small bridges to cross. No neighbors ever went back there and hassled us, we had free roam. Never saw another soul back there.
In the forest behind the school we planned to dig a small basement for the room. We started digging. Those were typical summer days hanging out… seizing everyday.
On Prince Street, back by the MIT campus, Angelica woke up from a deep sleep. She was wearing pajamas and hopped out of bed and tiptoed down stairs into the kitchen to let Nicole slumber.
Angelica’s Dad spoiled her with the staples such as mountaintop coffee from Jamaica. She loved him. Angelica’s mother was also spoiled and didn’t have to work, with Rich owning the trading company. Her Mother is very sweet and raised her right with incentives to become successful, buying her things every time she accomplished something.
This gave Angelica an urge to finish things to completion. She remembered the brain wave networking idea her Dad gave her last night. Surprisingly, she seemed to have more thoughts on it than last night, even though she just woke. Maybe she dreamt something applicable. She seemed to have a positive attitude towards exploring that unknown science of interfacing with the brain. This surprised her, she wasn’t positive when she heard her Dad’s hair brained idea.
She read the writing on the Jamaican coffee bag. It was a small grower who migrates to the Hamptons in the summer, and Jamaica in the Winter. Every season there is a new story from the locals on the bag of whole roasted coffee beans. This year it read:
Oh Napoleon Buonaparte, thank you for your rude displacement of the African’s into Jamaica during your conquest of Europe. We like it here. Now with good ole Mountain Coffee man we aren’t just sending Bob Marley tunes and schwag into the Hamptons. Now we grow the cleanest beans in all the land. Thank you Napoleon for the opportunity to come here.
Angelica loved this coffee. The short stories offered a glimpse into the consciousness of the locals growing the coffee beans. When at home at her parent’s she would always make it a point to go the Sag Harbor Farmers Market and talk to the Mountain Coffee man. There was also this up and coming mushroom grower who grew mushrooms in his backyard. Sag Harbor was nice to her growing up. Her years in High school were platonic with the boys. She really didn’t want to get serious with any of the trust fund babies. That’s why she enjoyed talking to the Farmer’s market producers.
She wasn’t alone there were cool kids, Nicole, now sleeping upstairs was a blast. And a few other close friends, Shelby, Laura, and Brian.
She poured hot water into the french press from the carafe. The counters in the Prince street home were marble. Angelica and Nicole’s Dad split the rent on their college home. They didn’t have to stay at the dorms as they were both given exceptions due to their awesome performances and projects in high school.
The coffee brewed, french press pressed. Coffee poured. Day started.
Her Dad was always up early and she liked to talk to him at the morning before the Market’s opened. She opened up Gmail and sent him an instant message.
Me: Dad, how much research has gone into this brain wave networking protocol idea?
Dad: Good morning sweet heart. Thanks for remembering! None. Just popped in my head last week. Perhaps it’s the next frontier of networking.
Me: That’s quite a pipe dream, but I agree, it got me thinking.
Dad: Awesome! I did google a few things to see what was out there when it comes to interpreting brain waves. And there is an open source project called OpenBCI that’s new that can read brain waves into a digital format.