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This past weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Boston for a two-day conference on addiction at the Picower Institute at MIT. I flew in on Friday with my newfound friend via SI, Dave Becklund. Dave’s company is a third-party health care payer for large companies and, thus, he was invited to attend. The conference was by invitation only with 150 available seats. Dave called me two weeks ago and asked if I would like to go. I work with addicts every Friday night, so it was a great opportunity to listen to the leading researchers on addictions as they relate to neuroscience. I gotta admit, 50%+ of the conversations were over my synaptic-transmitting brain. However, it’s good to be stretched.
The highlight of the weekend was actually meeting Austin and Matzko and his wife M. for the first time. I was introduced to M. via Joy McCarnan as a writer for SI back in the early days. Her husband, Austin, gradually became immersed in the site and volunteered to provide us with technological support. He joined our lean, mean team several months ago and was the chief architect behind the redesign.
We met at their church, the Evangelical Baptist Church of Boston. Two churches recently merged to form this congregation pastored by fellow Denverite, Colin Landry. My last memory of Colin was when we were playing football together in high school. We both played line for the Silver State Patriots. After we scored on an undefeated team, I looked over and saw him lying on his stomach, pounding the turf with his fists and feet, screaming with delight. It was a neat change to see him teaching I John from a pulpit.
After introducing Dave and me in church, Colin made some crack about how sad it was that relationships develop over the Internet without face-to-face interaction. I tend to see it just the opposite. I would probably have never met Austin and M. were it not for SharperIron. In fact, I wouldn’t have even been on this trip had it not been for SI.
Well, back to Austin. After his introductory course on the organ, we headed into downtown Boston for lunch. We ate at Bella Vista Ristorante on the North End, a neighborhood with a conglomeration of authentic Italian restaurants just off the Freedom Trail.
Austin and M. met at Bob Jones University and developed a relationship over email. Figures. M. was a theatrical major from Nashville, and Austin was born at BJU with Petimus Credimus stamped on his diapers. Six years ago, they married and are expecting their first child, a boy, in June. I know the name, but I just can’t tell. M. does creative stationary and cards at her job in downtown Boston. She travels there every day via the subway. Austin is endeavoring to finish up his doctorate in philosophy in the next couple of years at Boston University. He and Dave had some great talks about Kant, meaning, and linear thinking. M. and I patiently waited until the Greek died down. She seems much better at tolerating higher thinking dialogue than I.
Lunch was too short, and we had to leave even before we could grab a pastry for dessert (Now that’s rushed.). We hurried over to catch the “Tube,” as Dave affectionately called it. On the way, we saw the place where Moody accepted Christ, the site of the Boston Massacre, Harold Ockenga’s church, and Quincy Market. M., though eight months pregnant, led the charge the whole way. I couldn’t quite place who she reminded me of; but when I got home, I told my wife that she was just like Anne on Anne of Green Gables (M., I hope you don’t stone me for that comment. You are more intelligent than poor Anne, but your mannerisms and spirit were close!). Dave, on the subway, even commented what a special girl you were. The very fact that you engaged him on the conversation over lunch impressed him. The night before, during the same conversation, I fell asleep as he was elaborating on the behavior of such persons.
Austin has just designed a new feature here on SI we’re calling The Foundry. This is the place where you can peek in on the “buzz” at SI. We will officially launch the page tomorrow; however, if you’re perceptive, you can find it online now.
I want to thank Austin publicly for all of his work here at SI. He has made it a much better place. Austin, it was nice to finally meet you and your wife. I feel like our time was way too short, but hopefully we’ll see each other again soon.