It still feels like yesterday, but…this month, xodium.net turns ten years old.

It would have been longer, but things…happened. And this used to actually be exxodium.net once upon a time, too!

I let things lapse for a little bit after this site arguably cost me a job opportunity with none other than Apple. Back in 2012, I was working a dead-end job in grocery, and my boss at the time would frequently remind me that I was smarter than this (having done some tech work for him off the clock as a personal favor). So I figured I was feeling lucky, put together a resume, and sent it off to Apple. Imagine my shock when they actually called me to set up an interview.

They had us meet at a hotel conference room that they had rented out for the weekend. They had a few store managers from the local Apple Stores, and a number of employees there to field our questions. Despite how usually tense group interviews are, this one felt pretty laid back. It wasn’t half bad. I did my best, and we were told to be close to our phones because “if Apple likes you, we tend to want to move fast. So be quick on the draw!”

To my further shock: I got a call later that day, Apple wanted me to come in for a one-on-one interview. Holy SHIT.

This was the gauntlet. Only one person per group interview was selected, and I somehow got it. I was just…ecstatic. I couldn’t believe my luck! 

Next day rolls around, and the format is presented: We’re directly interviewing each store manager, and they’re each going to ask us one question to get a feel for us. This is where things started going off the rails. The first store manager was nice enough, but he asked a question that I just couldn’t really…find an answer to.

Coca-Cola has a brand. Apple has a brand. What is your brand?

No amount of interview prep really could have prepared me for this. I asked for clarification. He just shot me a huge grin and said “No.” 

I can’t remember what I said, but I remember feeling like it wasn’t sufficient and that I was in way over my head now.

The next guy was the guy who went in for the kill. He looked like a Jony Ive who hit the gym all the time. And he looked at you like he was staring into your soul. With a personality to match. He didn’t even really have a question, it was all offense from here.

“So I’ve done some research on you as I like to do on all people I work with, and I found some social media posts, some things you’ve said. Particularly, about one of our business partners, Verizon.”

Oh no. I know exactly where this is going.

“As you no doubt know, we sell a product in tandem with Verizon: The iPhone. We activate Verizon service directly in our Apple Stores. And frankly, seeing this, I don’t know if I can trust you to be impartial toward my customers.”

At this point I kinda just know it’s over. But I make my defense.

“With all due respect, my personal opinions and experiences do not reflect my professional attitude. I may have personal feelings about various things yes, but I am also completely capable of separating those feelings from my work.”

Everything else at that point kinda just…fades. I just remember this guy going on the offense and absolutely taking me to the cleaners due to the Droid band-aid incident and me being fairly cheesed at Verizon over the handling of that situation. Unfortunately, due to that incident ending up on Daring Fireball’s Linked List (at my own behest, honestly, I sent it to Gruber and thought he’d get a kick out of it), I got a small bit of internet notoriety from it. 

The next and final guy was actually super nice and one of the most pleasant interviews I had, but I was frazzled, and in my brain, I knew it was over. Because at the end of all the interviews, all 3 store managers meet up and discuss and come to a consensus of who they want to keep, and given one was “meh” at best and the other outright hated me, I knew I was out.

Sure enough, an hour later, I got the email. “We’ve decided to move on with other candidates.”

That was the day exxodium.net died. I went home. I deleted my domain. I took everything I could think of offline, set all my social media to private and tightened everything down to ridiculous levels. I had the opportunity of a lifetime (though considering what has transpired since, maybe I dodged a bullet) and I feel like my own online presence just destroyed it. This coupled with other things going on in my life (along with losing my actual job due to the company closing the store I was working at), I just lost all will to really…create anything.

The Phoenix Rises

I remember the day I brought xodium.net online.
I was in a huge depressive slump at the time. There was a bunch of roommate drama happening, I had just lost my job and my relationship, and spent most of my days just sinking hours upon hours into Minecraft to numb the pain of reality a little bit.
My mom decided, however, that she wanted to skip town for a bit. So she got us tickets to Disneyland (by way of a military discount, however!) and, well…this was a huge moment because Disneyland was one of those pie-in-the-sky goals, kinda set by my last big relationship too. Since that had ended I wasn’t TRYING to go, but if someone else is footing the bill, why the hell not?
I took my camera (good ‘ol Nikon D5100) and we departed for Disneyland. I remember that I didn’t really do any of the rides, I mostly just…walked around. I took pictures. I enjoyed some of the shows (and tried to enjoy World of Color before it broke down). I took a stroll through the then-new Cars Land. Finally, at the end of the day, I sat down, and took in the fireworks show.
Just sitting there, watching the fireworks kinda just…awoke this feeling in me. This feeling of peace with myself. The sense of failure just kinda washed off of me, and I started having this epiphany.
You know what? Fuck Apple. I want to be creative. I want to be able to broadcast my feelings, my hobbies, without some damn corporation trying to tell me what I can and can’t say. Maybe Apple did me a favor, not a disservice.
Fuck this, I’m doing what I want to do. Not what Corporate America thinks I should do.
Sitting in the hotel room that night, I got out my laptop and it was thus: xodium.net was spun (back, kinda) up and began serving cold takes and endless grammar mistakes.
And I’m glad I took that plunge. Because it encouraged me to be more creative and more out there.