These Things Matter

In his right hand sat a rifle, pointing at his kin

In the other there was powder, and it was meant for him

Turn the clock back and these two brothers who had played

Never would have seen this coming as they grew and aged

 

What is it that we need? Why must we always fight?

When instead we could be ironing our differences at night?

You know that it’s a feeling, and you know I feel it too

I can’t explain the things I see or things that people do

 

What is it that you’re thinking?

What is it that you’ve seen?

My brother, please don’t let the world get

Caught up in between

 

Every struggle, I have seen it

Every loss, I shall regret

But you and I are here now

And our cause we can’t forget

 

Listen to the violin, its strings are being played

Freedom wasn’t given, there was blood when it was paid

Do not forget the ones who wept to make this sacrifice

Because today we need a way to get back what is right

 

In my right hand sits a pencil, I point it at my kin

If I could write that things are right, you know I would give in

It hurts to know that I can’t though, this world is split in two

And I shall fight until it’s right…because she’d want me to

The Ward & the Bone: 10

“LONG LIVE THE KING!”

The Transition has come, and the night of festivities to celebrate Grr Barker’s ascension to the Bone is at hand.

“At last, he is King!”

Drunkenly swaying through a tavern full of the finest bitches, Grr Sleepsalot wafts his bowl of ale in the air.

“To Grr Barker!!” He shouts as the tavern follows suit, all throwing back a drink of Spamalot’s finest.

Watching the drunken Bites from afar, Squirrelin retreats to his study to record the events he is witnessing.

They are merry-making, and this is acceptable, I know. Yet I cannot purge myself of the fear. I know that Corgin La Fey stirs in the East, and she will pounce at the first opportunity. Its what the Phelyons do, for reasons unknown. They pounce.  

Lo, Grr Barker’s Transition will be a tale to be told for the ages, surely. But there must be a way to focus him on the threat that brews. If left alone, he will focus on nothing other than the games and the festivities. We cannot allow this to transpire. We must focus him on the grander picture. But how? How can we divert his focus on to that which will benefit the Realm? Surely there is a way. Treats. I believe that treats will refocus Grr Barker’s attention. That’s it. I shall consult the archives. The archives always sound like they contain information that the people should know, but don’t. There is simply something about that word, archives, that sounds…informative. Yes, I shall consult the archives.

As he consults the archives, Squirrelin begins his study into what must be done to combat the coming threat. Corgin La Fey is building her forces, and as the Realm is welcoming its new King, they are oblivious to what brews in the East. Let us hope that they will eventually see reason.

Reason. That is what we should see.

Angels & Demons

Everywhere I go I always have to make a choice

Right or left, up or down, good or bad, I hear a voice

Its hard to navigate through all the thoughts and all the faded noise

I try to make the right decisions, try to live right and rejoice

 

But you know the devils always there, on the other shoulder, man

Ripping through my mind and thoughts, doing everything he can

To drag me through the darkness and the fire to undo my plan

Sends his demons every night, attending my attention span

 

If you wanna know me here’s some lines to show you who I am

Take these words and mix them up, make a complex anagram

That’s a start, the foundation to this jaded diagram

But in the end, the life I want, the life I chase is of the lamb

 

Maybe that don’t make sense to the ones that say that they’ve met me

You know what that’s okay, that’s just fine, it don’t even matter, see

Everything I do, I do with passion and intensity

They don’t understand the things I think, I think they misinterpret me

 

So here I am, on this road, it splits and makes me choose a door

I look into the rearview mirror at the path I’ve laid before

Recall the promise that I made, the promise as I cried and swore

I see the angels congregate, guiding me into this war

 

Everything that lies ahead, its all a house of cards and men

Everything could tumble down, die in fire, ember, then

We’d look up and ask what to do, what does God want for our sin?

This is what we all shall know, are you an angel, or demon?

Bad at Love

I sit and read all of these top artists’ lines

Inspired by their thoughts as I think and try to create mine

I study each and every line, every rhythm, every beat

Reading lyrics from 2Pac, Halsey, Big and Em n Pete

It’s a craft that I am studying, a craft that I’m just starting to

Understand but that’s what patience does, it shows me what I gotta do

If I wanna make it in this money hungry industry

You gotta play the game it seems, you gotta chase and catch your dreams

And so I play I’m Bad at Love, listen to it on repeat

California Love, that background and the sickest beat

Over and Over Again, I listen to these songs, man

Absorbing every sound I hear as art courses through my right hand

This is what I do when it gets dark and it gets late at night

I listen, read the greats and hone my own, a given right

This talent I’ve been blessed with isn’t random, no, it came from her

All I need is one blank pad, a ballpoint pen and thoughts that stir

Then all these things I think, they start to flow and formulate

As my hands start making compromise, words and letters congregate

Watching all these thoughts and ideas grow and start to resonate

As people read and message “Matt, keep writing please, I can relate”

They listen to the things my restless hands and restless fingers write

They know there’s someone out there thinking these things each and every night

Someone going through the same things after every riff and every fight

Someone else is feeling their exact same feelings, every plight

That’s what music does for us, that’s what rhythm serves to do

It gives our thoughts a short escape, a small window to think it through

And as I wind down every night, I realize why I wear this glove

These words are all I think of now, they’re the reason that I’m bad at love

Conscience

Things we think we know are true

The life we live, both me and you

So often isn’t candid truth

I say to this confession booth

What rules are right?

What rules are wrong?

What lyrics tell

A moral song?

These questions, see, exist to ask

Just what, in life, is our great task?

To serve? To smile? Be happy, then

Spread contentment among all men

This school of thought, it threatens, see

Its lessons teach that minds are free

Its courses burned through history

By those that chain; powers that be

The most important thing taught here

Is who to love, and who to fear

Your life is yours, the way you live

The power, yours to keep or give

The many things our guides here teach

Will not comply with those that preach

Nor those who govern, those who reach

For what is yours, an endless leech

There is but one thing you must do

Decide, who do you answer to?

The laws of man, devoid of sense

Or are you ruled by your conscience?

The Tour

Psst, hey you! Come here, my friend

To you, my hand, I shall extend

Don’t be shy, come quietly

This is for you, just follow me

 

A tour this is, with me, your guide

So let us gently step inside

Now take a seat, get strapped right in

Prepare the mind to twirl and spin

 

First stop, its here, a bright red light

We look around, no soul in sight

And so we drive, but wait! Just stop

A ticket written from this cop?

 

“You ran a red light.” So, my friend?

There was no one around the bend

What purpose do you serve, you see?

Protect and serve, for my safety?

 

Then why, dear sir, must you oppress?

I looked each way, both right and left

‘Twas obvious, no danger here

And so I went, but still you’re here?

 

Truth is, my friend, that light you see

Is simply there for trafficking

A ticket now is petty, no?

Written only ‘cause “I told you so”

 

But hey,  you there, let’s move along

Let’s not get caught up in this “wrong”

The point of using it, you see

Was to make you sit and think

 

So come on now, next stop ‘n still

Is at my cousin’s funer-ill

But don’t feel bad, no please don’t cry

He had it coming, stupid guy

 

Just look around, observe and see

All these tears and cries we grieve

Tell me, is your faith in God?

‘Cause if it is, he’s just a bod

 

That’s right, he’s nothing now, down here

So wipe and dry that tumbling tear

If believe, you truly do

You’d be happy for the news!

 

He’s up there in your heaven, right?

And as you lay down, every night

You tell yourself “we’ll meet again”

But will you really, my old friend?

 

Okay let’s pause, and take a break

I know it’s hard to be awake

This tour is tough, it’s hard for me

To drive folks through reality

 

The truth is harsh, it doesn’t care

What color, skin, or crown you wear

These words offend you? Sacrilege?

Buy “ignorance is bliss” package

 

This tour, I say. it must go on

And money man, it pays the bondS

So let’s move on to our stop three

And talk about our friend, money

 

Here we have, right in our hands

The instrument, that rules our lands

Every single thing you do

Is to make more, more accrue

 

More and more until its thought

We can afford the life we want

Well what if way back, way back when

‘Fore money was invented, friend

 

They’d thought of something else, instead

Like I build houses, you bake bread

Existence without currency

I know its weird, this tour with me

 

Its in a world, where things are not

The status quo, these thing’s we’re thought

Hey, you know, I’m just your guide

That’s how it is, just let it slide

 

Pretend its normal, this new world

Cause every curl we have uncurled

Is hard to think of, yeah that’s right

Because you’ve learned one way, alright?

 

Conditioning, please don’t feel bad

But when you wake up, don’t be mad

These things we’ve taught you to believe

Are all an act, a just reprieve

 

Created rules, and laws you see

To contain the thought that’s free

But now my friends, you have a guide

I need support, this scheduled ride

 

We must end it, I decree

And bring back our humanity

There is a game, you know it’s true

And trust me, world, I need you

To You, My Other Half

Hello, my lovely lady

I hope I see this through

And show this to you one day

Because I wrote it just for you

We don’t yet know each other

One day, we shall acquaint

Ignite the spark we’ve searched for

And love without restraint

Tomorrow, maybe later

I know not how or when

I think of you each evening

Not every now and then

So much I’ve planned, our future

These dreams reach far and wide

I cannot wait to do life

With you right by my side

Perhaps, if fate has decides it

A family we will raise

Pass passions to our children

And teach them love and praise

Alas, my unknown darling

So much, I long for you

I know you’re worth the waiting

For patience is love’s virtue

No I Say

You want an album? No I say

Cause I don’t rap, not any day

I just write, my words they say

Enough for you and me today

 

I get it, all these things I write

They make sense when you read at night

This world is filled with hate and fright

And reading lends a small respite

 

But when will this all change, I ask

Cause fixing this is my one task

I know I’m not the only one

Who wants to rise and get it done

 

I guess I’ll have to wait and see

And keep on writing, fervently

To change the world, its hard you see

No gun I need, just poetry

Without You

So long they’ve waited, wandering

Watching, waiting, listening

For the next one, pondering

Ever are they wondering

 

The wait is over, never more

Alas, the knock is at the door

Get up and answer, I implore

You’ve found your long, and lost Lenore

 

The time has come, turn back the clock

The stories all the stores would stock

Are coming back, my hands have brought

The classics that, you all forgot

 

The world has changed, but don’t begin

To think that things, are different

The written word, it always lives

So do your worst, this world of sin

 

Continue thinking you’re the one

That changes things, well where I’m from

You cannot find, with just a thumb

Happiness, not even some

 

Your things, your brands, your money, see

Don’t mean a fucking thing to me

So take your watches, take your things

And show me happiness it brings

 

If you can say, to that above

Your life is full, its filled with love

Then friend, I’ll be real and true

This world is better, without you

Tough Love

When you’re bored, don’t bitch at me

Just shut your trap and write, you dweeb

Don’t pout and whine and stare and blink

Just grab that pen and think and think

 

Come up with something folks will read

And sell it so your dog can feed

Don’t waste your time excusing the

Stops to productivity

 

Its not that hard, just look at me

This poem right here took two or three

Minutes to type, unless you need

To count the time I took to pee
Cause then its four, technically

But hey who’s counting? My point, you see

Is writing can come easily

If only you just sit…and think

What We Are

At night, I know, my mind has proved

For that’s when all the mask’s removed

We work and play, and yet we think

Of all the things we want, a link

 

A link to all we want to be

So instead we make a fantasy

We dream and wish and wish and dream

And then when morning comes, we scream

 

We live the lives we’re taught to live

And bottle up the love we’d give

The sense it makes, you know its true

And yet we still uphold the glue

 

We’re holding on, to something that

Is natural, don’t fear it, Matt

But lies, deceit, it rules in fonts

Because we can’t admit our wants

 

This self deception, shining clear

Is why we’ve dug this hole right here

One day we’ll know, just what we are

Just animals, we’ve not gone far

Don’t Wait

Oftentimes, I’ll look to see

The person looking back at me

Watching through a hazy lens

At who that strange reflection is

 

Staring forward, several blinks

Is he the person that he thinks?

Does he do the things he speaks?

Is practice coming from the preach?

 

My eyes still glare, this man ahead

I’ll wonder what, that day, is said

Right now I live, and yet I dread

What memory, of me when dead

 

What mark have I bestowed upon

The family that I belong

I hope they say, when I’m a thought

That happiness is what he brought

 

Improved the lives, of all the men

The girls and kids, the children

For life is but a journey, yes

We walk and run, we talk and dress

 

We do the things we love to do

To make ourselves enjoy the dew

Every day, a precious gift

So smile wide, and heart uplift

 

This path is short, don’t waste your time

Just search and search until you find

The purpose you’ve been looking for

Unlock and open passion’s door

Unsung Heroes: Our Black Brothers & Sisters

In the midst of another era of racial and socioeconomic tension, America finds itself yet again divided. Its still to be decided as to how things will play out, but if one thing is for certain, its this: things must change. Folks are going to have to start getting along, or these violent riots and protests are going to rip our nation apart.

There is something lingering, however, that I think needs to be addressed. In my discussions with people on all sides of these issues, I’ve noticed that there is a certain degree of doubt as to how much our society and culture has truly benefited from the contributions of black Americans (and other minorities). While most people I speak to don’t come from the standpoint of looking down on minorities, many do seem to neglect certain contributions they have made, whether intentionally or not.

In light of this, I have decided to put together a list of some great people of color who, throughout our history, have impacted us all in a positive way. Some you may not have heard of, and some you may know quite dearly. The point is to illustrate how important we ALL are in our human quest to create a loving, inclusive society. There is no shortage of white characters who have received recognition, we all know that. So hopefully, by highlighting some of the others, the folks who still seem to foster the “white supremacy” opinion will take a harder look at the reality of this world we share. We’re all trying, people. Love each other – it shouldn’t be that hard, right?

GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

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Many people don’t know this, but GWC, a freed slave turned brilliant scientist, was a monumental influence on Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace, a farmer from Iowa, used GWC’s ideas to enormously boost corn production during World War II, filling increasing needs of our exploding economy.

BASS REEVES

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Bass was the first black US deputy Marshall West of the Mississippi. He basically destroyed outlaws and was an overall bad-ass, for want of a better term. He caught all the bad guys, and even killed 14 people in self defense. Keepin’ all them white folk safe!

BUFFALO SOLDIERS

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The Buffalo Soldiers was a term used for many regiments of black American soldiers who fought in many wars, originating in the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army in 1866. The term came from Native Americans, who thought their hair resembled that of Buffalo hair. They contributed to many great American victories, and served valiantly for their country. The term was used loosely by some to describe all black soldiers, but the history here is important to know. Many of our victories would never have been possible without the brave efforts of what many referred to as the “Negros Cavalry”.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

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Many have probably heard of these fellas, as there is now a big Hollywood movie about them. These guys were the first African American Air Unit in WWII, and went on many selfless missions to fight the good fight. Lot of great sub stories in these guys ranks, too. Check em out!

JOHN ALBERT BURR

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Anyone know a guy who owns a landscaping company? I sure do. Lots. And they can all thank Mr. John Albert Burr for pretty much inventing modern lawn mowing and paving the way for profits! That’s right, you’re looking at the man who invented the rotary lawn mowing blade – U.S. patent #624,749.

PERCY JULIAN

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Percy Julian was one of the most important scientists of the 20th century, making great discoveries in the fields of healthcare, with a focus on synthetic compounds. His work far exceeds my intellectual prowess, but folks should know that many of the compounds we enjoy today in the field of medicine were made possible by him.

ELIJAH MCCOY

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Elijah McCoy was an inventor. A thinker. An innovator. Throughout his life, he made trains more efficient,  improved oil rigs, and even honed steam engines. He was a brilliant man, capable of some of the most efficient thought from an engineering perspective. He even invented a movable ironing board to help make ironing-on-the-go easier. You’re welcome, ladies.

LEWIS LATIMER

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Lewis Latimer was paramount in further perfecting the light bulb. He led efforts installing electric plants in cities such as Philadelphia and Montreal. Without him, the incandescent bulb might not be what it is today. Thanks Lewis!

ROSA PARKS

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Rosa needs no introduction. The only thing I want to say here is that I bet she made the best neighbor EVER. You know, the one who’s always making sure the kids are behaving and aren’t doing anything stupid? Making sure they all got their homework done and came in before dinner time. I imagine that’s how Rosa was. A sweet, nice, lady who stood up (or in this case sat down) for what’s right. We need more of her.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Now, I could go on and on and on and on with this, but this is the point, in case anyone’s missed it. All of these people did things for the greater good, not for one side or the other. They never berated other people, they just uplifted folks. That’s the direction we need to be moving, everyone. Forward. Up. Not backwards, or down.

A good question to ask yourself if you’re considering making a move in this game of life: what direction will this push people in?

The Tiki Torches: 1

“‘Ay Carl!”

“Wut?”

“Ya think this in’ll work?”

Strolling along the calamitous alleyways of the local Wal-Smart, Carl and Joe have a bit of difficulty deciding what torches to carry to their Klan march.

Plop

“There!” Joe shouts, proudly placing his newly acquired bug-deterrent torch in the basket, ready to check out.

“Now just you wait a tick,” Carl says, squinting his eyes as he pans the strangely smelling torch up and down. “I think we can do better’n that. That one ain’t gonna light much ‘a nothin!”

“Hell, you’re prolly right, Carl.” Joe says, scratching his head. “Well, shit on me and call me a skidmark, what’re we gonna do now?!”

“You hold it right there.” Carl says, matter-of-factly. I’mma fetch us a torch the resta the boys’ll be talkin ’bout for weeks.”

Exiting the aisle of bugly torch sticks, Carl takes several minutes before returning. Joe, meanwhile, stands next the Wal-Smart buggy, picking his nose, rolling boogers between his fingers.

“Ha!”

Suddenly, Carl jumps into the aisle again, a brand new torch in hand. It seems he has given up the bug repellent torch for a new one. A brilliant, highly flammable….tiki torch.

“This one’s gonna light up the night like you ain’t never seen!” Carl shouts to Joe, beaming at his new possession.

“Awwww boy, that thing sure is gonna make a lotta light!” Joe chirps, flinging his booger behind him so Carl doesn’t see it.

“Come on now. Let’s check out and join the resta the boys!”

The Wall

I think its time

For far too long

Neglect I have

This useful blog

 

A journal it is

Its purpose, clear

Therapist, counselor

My shelter from fear

 

For only this place

Can I share the “real”

And only here

Can I truly feel

 

For when I walk

Outside this door

The world shall greet me

That endless bore

 

For reasons unknown

Sad truth will befall

That fake is the norm

Currency for all

 

One day it will change

One day this won’t be

A time will arrive

When I can be “me”

 

And you can be “you”

Coalesce shall we all

But ’till that day comes

Get back…to the wall

 

 

 

 

 

Pushing Boundaries: My Day at iCube

Let’s be honest – we all have a nerdy side to us.

Whether it’s experiencing a new Star Wars movie at an IMAX theater or wreaking havoc in the latest GTA game, we all enjoy an occasional escape into the newest tech. This is all well and good, considering we live in an age where technology dictates the quality of huge portions of our day to day lives. In such a rapidly advancing industry, there’s always something new right around the corner to satiate our appetites for the cutting edge.

Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to get a full on peek at several ground-breaking technologies that are being worked on by the brilliant minds at iCube – a fast growing technology firm located on the campus of TN Technological University (Cookeville, TN).


When you first enter iCube, you are greeted by one of their core philosophies: IMAGINE

iCube, a firm with hardly a year of operation under its belt, has already garnered a plethora of multi million dollar projects. They’ve contracted with private and public entities, their work ranging from hospitals to municipalities.

A friend of mine, Mack Lunn, is a project manager for the institution and was kind enough to give me an in depth look at some of the projects they’re working on. Read about my experience below.


The Oculus Rift – a gateway to another world

My introductory “lesson” was to familiarize myself with one of the primary outlets they work with – virtual reality. Not long after I arrived, Mack had me strapped in and ready to delve into (for me) completely uncharted territories. Once I was positioned correctly, he tuned me into a few of the on board programs that ship with the oculus by default. They were rudimentary apps developed (I imagine) for that very purpose – familiarization. I stepped into the shoes of a virtual line cook, taking orders and cooking digital food. I protected my castle as it was besieged by hundreds of little e-barbarians. I warped into the future and defended myself from dozens of laser shooting drones, moving about in my small space to dodge their fiery attacks. Needless to say, it was freakin’ awesome.


Hitting your VR tour guide with a clipboard is exactly as much fun as it sounds

After realizing I was having entirely too much fun with the default video games that all Oculus devices ship with, Mack’s next step was to show me one of the actual projects that iCube is working on. The first thing he showed me was perhaps the most relevant in terms of scope and benefit to society, which I’ll get to shortly.

In the grand scheme of things, the virtual reality arena is in its infant stages. The technology is finally available on a wide basis, and firms are just now beginning to apply it to all sorts of different industries in a practical manner. In iCubes case, they are currently working on a program with hospitals that will benefit diabetic patients. Here’s how:


The coolest $500K ride I’ve ever been on

Apparently doctors have experienced significant difficulty with getting diabetic patients to follow nutritional and health guidelines, leading to negative results. This is a big problem in the medical field, and one that I’m sure anyone in the medical industry can attest to. So, seeing the problem, there was a behavioral psychologist who one day said “Hey, why don’t we show people what’s happening in their bodies if they ignore our instructions? Maybe then they’ll get it and start eating right.”

This is where iCube comes in. The hospital basically tells them “We have this problem. We want to show people what’s going on in their bodies, and we want them to be able to experience it as if they were inside themselves. People are more likely to respond well and follow directions if they can actually see what’s happening to them.”

iCubes response? “Say no more.”


We come in peace. Take me to your leader

Cue the visbox, the thing you just saw in the photo above. This was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in quite a long time. I got to strap on some goofy looking glasses that made me feel like I had alien antennaes and then took a holographic ride into clogged arteries, walked around inside a human heart, and was apart of a group of red blood cells straight chillin’ in someone’s veins. Needless to say the visbox experience was, as the bards would put it, “totes amaze balls”. And to cap it all, the best part is that these programs are having a positive impact on people’s health, furthering the humanitarian mission of iCube.

The next thing I got to do was tour the development studio. This was great because I’ve always wondered how things go from being an idea in someone’s head into a real program that you can fiddle around with. So Mack took me into what I can only call the Main Event Room, because it looked like that’s where most of the work was getting done. It reminded me of the pictures I’ve seen of Bethesda Studios, Bioware, and the like. Lots of figureines, loads of dual monitor setups, and some super-bad computers.


And now, the main event!

Here I was again strapped into an Oculus, only this time I was sitting in a chair. I got to play around with a project that the firm is developing for the Tennessee Aquarium, virtually snorkeling through a river as I watched contamination levels rise and fall, noting the impact it had on the aquatic ecosystem. The program they ran for me here was one that illustrated how important environmental factors are in regard to marine life.

Finally, one of the last things Mack walked me through was the world of 3D printing. Now I’m sure you’ve all heard of this, but actually seeing and fiddling around with the stuff is so much cooler than watching it online or on TV. Truthfully, I’m still somewhat floored by the fact that human beings have figured out how to literally print objects, but I digress. I doubt that’s something I’ll ever be able to wrap my head around.


3D Printed T-Rex. Rawr!

The stuff starts out as just a simple thin line of plastic, almost like a thick spool of fishing line. Moments later you might have yourself a dragon for your desk, or perhaps a tyrannosaurus if you prefer the Dino route. In any case, the 3D printing process is one of the coolest concepts I can think of in our recent history. And there’s no telling how it’s going to impact different industries. There was one story I was told where a paleontologist used to dig up dinosaur bones and make casts of the incomplete parts, selling the skeletons to museums and collectors for about $30K. His casts costed about 20/25K to produce at the end of the day, so he saw a somewhat healthy profit, right?

Well, when the 3D printers heard about this, they offered to scan the pieces bit by bit and simply print them out of their material, ultimately resulting in an absurd decrease in production costs (down to like, $500/$750). And these pieces were even more durable than the ones created before! How’s that for efficiency? This was a mere glimpse at how the world is going to be changing due to technological advances.


A 3D printed dino who’s name I can’t pronounce 

There were several other things I got to toy with during my time at iCube, but for brevity I’ll stop here. It really was one of the coolest days I’ve had in quite awhile, and I must give a very loud shout out to my friend Mack Lunn for giving me the tour. Thanks man!

The future is now.