In March 1998 I was doing a brief stint (software testing) at John Hancock in downtown Boston. Fridays were "casual" days and a week after I was there they went to busines casual which meant no ties!!! That was cool with me as really I'm the casual jeans tshirt software company type (don't know what I was doing there at JH which turned out to be a big mistake...). There was a flap between the agencies who employed us contractors and JH. As a result our agency had a hiring freeze so new blood was being brought in from another place. One of those just brought in was Jarl. I remember we were in our office, a bunch of 9 contractors crammed into this little conference room, and Jarl and the other new person walked in with our manager. Here was this tall cleancut blond with a fashionable haircut of the day wearing impecable business attire and a tie! He was quiet and I didn't know what to make of him. He was not doing testing but some sort of programming. Since he came from the other agency which would be phasing out our agency, to me he was one of "them". There was us, in our little office, and them, those brought in and sitting outside. He seemed to me to be some sort of office corporate drone. Not to be trusted. I left shortly after he started working there. 

First impressions are always funny and often deceiving in retrospect. Later that summer in June one of the guys, Evan, who had been working there as well and with Jarl later elsewhere, had a big house warming party and invited Jarl, Atle, and Sheila in addition to many others. When I met Jarl again I didn't at first recognize him but then it came back to me. We all hung out talking and laughing and he was completely different than the image I had at first conceived. Totally the opposite of any straight laced corporate drone, very intelligent and questioning of the world around us. In retrospect I felt a little guilty because although we all have our gut reactions to things percieved on the surface, I never like to make judgements about people especially after just meeting them. It turns out Jarl and Atle were from Norway and had traveled and lived in different places including growing up in Florida. They told us the story of how Sheila met them both at once which is quite interesting. 

In time we hung out at other parties or gatherings. And there were the email wars which Paul and Evan got him into. It was great to have a witty and sometimes loony ally against the republican conservatism of Paul and Evan. :-) His point of view and method of driving points home could be quite unique, quirky, and fresh. In late summer 1999 I remember driving Alte and Jarl to visit Paul and the myriad of discussion topics we approached. They were very inquisitive and it was like having those great intellectual discussions about life and the universe and culture and people I used to have with people in college. It was great. Turns out we all loved The Matrix. Jarl mentioned the similarity with Aeon Flux, a show he was particularly fond of. He later gave me the tapes from the show which I watched and discussed with them. On the drive back Atle and Jarl revealed to me the premise of their human behavior research and even after arriving at thier place in Cambridge, we spent well over an hour sitting in the car going back and forth about it all.