Ideas are flowing

I am and always will be a person ruled by my ideas. Having all these days to myself gives me lots of time to doodle and jot down ideas. I’m carrying a spiral notebook which I’m using for those ideas. Right now I’m holed up in a diner down the street from Wrigley field and right next to improvOlympic.

I’ve made a video I was going to use for my day 3 video journal, but when I put it on the computer I discovered that it had some bad color issues and streaks which crossed the video. Looks like my little Kodak is on its way out, hopefully it lasts through the trip! Regardless it means that I’ll be needing a new digital camera in the next few days.

Today I was reading Paul Stamatiou’s blog, who is in turn highlighting points from David Kirkpatrick’s interview with various technology big wigs, one of which is Jonathan Schwartz who is the big wig of Sun Microsystems. He notes that the telephone has taken the most unexpected turn for him, discussing the rampant take over of mobile phones.

In that moment I had a flash of the office of tomorrow where office phones are a thing of the past. We can’t be that far from multi-line cell phones. Sure you can flash over and make a three way call from your phone, but imagine the day when you can take a call from Jan in accounting, and in turn place a call to your supplier in Wyoming. The day isn’t far, and when it reaches that point we’ll begin seeing offices drop the in house phone lines instead for massive cellular plans for all of their employees.

I also love Jonathan’s answer to the question of what really drives innovation:

Courage. Courage to challenge conventional wisdom, to wholly commit to an idea or ideal, to lead and inspire those around you, whether they’re collaborators or customers.

Chicago Day 2 so far

Well day 2 is working its way through with a few more hours left I’m not sure what I’ll do tonight. I went to improvOlympic last night and caught a fun show but they aren’t showing anything which really appeals to me tonight so I think I may hang out around the hostel tonight or within a few blocks of it.

Tomorrow I plan to hit the Museum of Science and Industry as well as probably go over to iO for shows that night. The museum is a fair trek for me so I’ll probably be busing it or taking one of the trains, I haven’t figured it out yet.

Sidewalk stencil

I’m not quite sure who he is, but he’s good enough to be stenciled on the sidewalk which means he’s good enough to get photographed. I think he looks a little like Fat Albert. Whoever he is, I wish him luck on his campaign.

Chicago Day 1 (in video!)

So yesterday I decided that I would keep a journal of my trip, so I set the digital camera up on my bunk bed and took this video. I also took a second one later that night but I don’t know if I’ll upload it or work it into tonight’s video (which you will all see tomorrow.) Also, here is a snapshot I took of Wrigley Field last night, the pic just came out looking awesome.

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For those of you who haven’t been barraged by my excited text messages, this is your official notice that I’m in Chicago for the next week. It’s exciting.

The below pic makes me look like I’m worried but the truth is that I’m just pensive and thoughtful. I’m damn far from home and I’m setting off on my own urban adventure.

On the train


So the house is finally empty, my sister and her family took to the road this morning. As such I got back to my desk and got to my small stack of mail. In which I found a letter from Wachovia notifying me that I currently owed them $35.92. Well to be perfectly honest I thought I had closed this account but what happened was that it was still open and my iTunes account was drawing off of it. My last transaction took me over the zero mark from +$0.07 to -$0.92. The bank, as I’ve railed against previously, slapped me with a $35 fine for the evils I dared commit by spending $0.92 that I did not have.

At this point, I just want to close the account so I dial the easy to remember 1-800-WACHOVIA, enter my customer ID and pin number, then press 0. I’m not angry, I’m not irate. I realize this is part of the Wachovia bank system and I’ve fought them long and hard on this. When Shirley with what sounds like a Texan accent answers I was quite polite as I explained my intent: to pay the outstanding balance and close the account.

Shirley: “Oh, I see the problem here sir. You made a purchase for ninety-nine cents through paypal and it overdrew you by ninety-two cents.”

Me: “Yes, I fully understand what has occurred. I’m just trying to pay my outstanding balance and close the account.”

Shirley: “Well we’re sorry to hear that sir. Unfortunately you have to get the balance back to the positive before you can close your account.”

Me: “No problem, I’ve got a check card here from the local credit union, I’m more than happy to pay with it.”

Shirley: “I’m sorry you’re going to end your business with us. I’ve gone ahead and taken care of the $35 as a courtesy but unfortunately you will have to go into a branch to pay the remaining… ninety-two cents.”

Me: “Well that’s very kind of you, but you mean you don’t have any way to accept payment of ninety-two cents?”

At this point I’m just enjoying repeating the ludicrously low outstanding balance, I can tell she’s uncomfortable with it and while I realize none of this is her fault, the sheer stupidity of it was making me smile.

Shirley: “Yes sir, I’m so sorry.”

Me: “Oh it’s alright, it’s just another example of why I’m switching to this credit union.”

Shirley: “Well, is there anything else I can do for you today?”

Me: “Nope.”

Shirley: “You have a good day sir.”

Me: “You too.”

The sheer craziness of this makes me wish to write Michael Moore a letter, begging him to turn his sights for his next project on the piracy that is modern banking. It just blows my mind. Ninety-two cents.

From this all, an idea has hatched. I’m going to go into the bank with only three quarters, a dime, a nickel and a penny. Yes, $0.91 and I’m going to deposit it, leaving my account overdrawn by $0.01. Then I’m going to draw perverse satisfaction by waiting for the letter which they will send me demanding the full outstanding payment. That letter will cost them more than the outstanding balance.

No, it will not accomplish anything, but what is there but for me to be bitter and pithy.