About Advanced Monolithix

It’s Full of Stars...

Advanced Monolithix is a company-based embodiment of a lot of concepts, intrinsic motivations, nodal intersections, and a personal endeavor in the attempt to reach beyond the infinite. As you will have noticed by now, it has numerous ties rooted to the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey and the associated novels authored by Arthur C. Clarke (2001 was in actuality a screenplay based on an earlier work by Clarke originally called “The Sentinel” which he later then adapted into the series of four novels after the film release). This is by design as this amazing story is one of my most cherished bits of lifetime experience and its existential themes and ideas permeate the entirety of Advanced Monolithix.

This curious company is the brain-child/extension of its founder, Mike Cutrera II and serves as a professional entity to further the ideas, goals, and experiences of Mike and his wife, Lisa. In fact, curiosity is the operating/defining word to describe the company as it is the driving force behind everything is does and embodies.

Yes Mike, but what is Advanced Monolithix?

That’s a fair question, and like the premise it is built upon described above, it is an even more enigmatic answer. Clarke once noted,“If you understand 2001 on the first viewing, we will have failed.” I would contend that Clarke's assessment is also a true statement on your nine-thousandth viewing. Kubrick as well indicated to the effect that he felt if you didn't come out of the theater with more questions than you went in with, the film was a failure. It is not my intention to go into a doctoral-level thesis on the meaning of the film/books (thanks to this landmark movie, humanity can have that discussion for an enternity), but rather to call attention to the fact that in large part, this movie is about us, and the big picture (and by big, I mean infinitely big. No, you’re still not thinking big enough. Keep going... bigger... bigger...) and how it all starts with curiousity, asking the biggest questions (and smallest too).

To that end, I crafted Advanced Monolithix to be whatever I need it to be at a given moment — to act as a vessel of sorts to carry me to the places I need to go in order to ask (and maybe answer) my curiousity’s questions. As you’ll no doubt discover, I’m also an aficionado of Carl Sagan, and in his series Cosmos, he similarly employed the concept of a virtual “Ship of the Imagination” to take him on his quizzical journeys into the universe. In that light, I can perhaps then illuminate some of the forms my vessel may take. Perhaps at its most basic, Advanced Monolithix is a technology company, specializing in IT Consulting and products/services targeted to the SMB (small to medium-sized business) market, specific to Apple ecosystem products/workflows, but also versant in many others. In today’s technology landscape, I’ve watched patiently over the past several decades as highly complex technology has made its way in accessibility down from the sole use of huge, behemoth corporations (with similar budgets) to now be available to everyone, including even the sole-proprietors & mom-and-pop shops. The playing field has been leveled and anyone with the curiousity to learn can make use of the same tools and technologies to drive successes in companies of any size. There are loads of resources and consultants available for those larger corporations with copious budgets, but my desire has always been tasked with trying to help the individual have the same opportunities for success. To that end, if a potential client demonstrates their intrinsic motivations to want to learn how to put these technologies to work in driving their successes, I’m excited to help them achieve those goals. As it turns out, I have grown up in a somewhat unique set of circumstances that puts me in a great position to do just that.

In regards to technology, I have had the great fortune (as is often the case in similar examples in the human story) of being in the right place at the right time, as catalysing forces in humanity’s history coalesced around me to form the initial stages of this fundamental turning point in our evolution (queue the first monolith of my personal journey). While I was a child, my father worked as a programmer for Texas Instruments. During those pivotal/formative years of my elementary school education (early 70’s), I had the relatively uncommon opportunity compared to my classmates, to go to work with him on ocassion during summer breaks/vacations and sit at a functioning terminal of the company mainframe (in hindsight, I’m sure they’d probably prefer not to know that, but rest assured, I was careful and respectful of the opportunity) or visit the data center/server room in wide-eyed curiousity. It is no understatement that the comparative computing power in that massive room is dwarfed in comparison to the modern technology we have in our pockets or on our wrists today. Regardless, even with its extremely limited computing abilities back then, I intrinsically knew, even at that very young age, that I was sitting in the midst of a vessel I could eventually ride in to wherever my little gray cells wanted to go. I was hooked. I started to learn BASIC programming from my father, as well as from his enthusiastic co-workers who were infected by my curiosity for the activity. Add in my first computer gaming to the mix, and there was no looking back. As it happened, the mainframe had in its library of programs a little known game (though later to become a landmark gem in the annals of computer history – considered one of the earliest) that the coders there could take a mental break with now and then when stymied by a troublesome code-issue. You simply typed in ADVENT on the keyboard and whoosh (or “plugh” as the case may be)... , your afternoon then went quickly down the rabbit hole of unbridled imagination (learn more at Colossal Cave Adventure). 

It was also likely about that same time my parents took me to see a pivotal movie. We lived a few blocks away from the University of Texas at Dallas, and as part of their community outreach efforts, they would show recent-run big screen movies in one of the larger lecture halls (itself, a magical place for me as I would subsequently learn) for public attendance. As you might have guessed by now, 2001 was seared into my brain that night I was never the same again as my universe expanded to mythic proportions. When we later purchased a Radio Shack TRS-80 home microcomputer, things, as they say, were irreparably set in motion and my vessel began to take shape. By the end of sixth grade, I had become fairly profiecient in the BASIC programming language and placed in the regional science fair with my demonstation apps and the infinite journey had begun. Sprinkle in some enlightening PBS shows and the foundation was set. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau was exposing the first layer of space to me every week (at that point in our history, the mysteries of the ocean were just as unknown to us as the space beyond the Earth) and the Calypso’s journeys were as magical as outer-space voyages. At that time, Texas Instruments had an enormous campus with lots of on-site employee benefits including a scuba/dive club, so I took advantage and became the youngest PADI club graduate to date (12 years old was the minimum age for an Open Water Diver certification)), and this added another key component to my vessel of exploration. Likewise, a new series called Cosmos, featuring a scientist named Carl Sagan who showed me it was not only okay I asked so many questions, but he openly encouraged it. I sometimes think I was perhaps the only person for miles around that understood he was in fact begging us to ask questions and to be curious (yet still scientifically skeptical), because he knew our collective survival would come to depend on our doing so. I’m confident my parents got plenty tired of my obsession with that show as it didn't take long before I had taught myself to play the show’s closing theme song (by Vangelis) on the piano as it was simply another expression of my drive to travel beyond the bounds of earthly imagination. I later read Sagan’s book Contact and the stage was set. With the foundational basics in place, I never looked back and my journey into the universe was underway.

Suffice it to say, my life journey has since taken me in a whirlwind of directions and each new bit of experience adds to an expanding network of curiousity. As such, with being so busy learning about everything else, I hadn't spent much time learning about myself (especially in comparison to those around me). During my days as a teacher at a Florida charter school, I got some opportunities to do so and I learned some aspects I had suspected all my life but had never confirmed. I learned that one of my superpowers, if you will, was my thinking ability itself (perhaps because I am so advantageously positioned to see an ever-bigger picture). To that end years later, I have setup Advanced Monolithix to help me provide a means by which I can employ my thinking/organizational/creative/etc skills to use on behalf of others to help them maximize their options for success (and perhaps, in homage to Sagan, Clarke, Daniel Quinn, Bucky Fuller, and the many others who pointed the way for me, to maybe inspire my fellow humans to think, and thereby, amend our Anthropocene ways) and to help our species successfully evolve in this increasingly fast-paced new reality of life.

Advanced Monolithix, among other things, is also a products company and creative outlet as these aspects are needed to help bring time/life balance. These aspects are going to become a larger contigent over the coming years in areas such as photography/videography, writing, art, botany, and much more, as one will come to see documented on this site. As these come available for sale, be sure to visit the company store at 1x4x9x16.com for more information. What’s with the curious domain name, you ask? It’s another 2001 reference of course – the relative dimensional ratios of the monolith(s) (1:4:9 — the monoliths could potentially be “as large as they needed to be” but were always found in these dimensions) which represent the initial series of integer cubes (12, 22, 32, 42, etc.) If the 42 puzzles you for 3-dimensional space, know that Clarke himself inferred in the novels that the series of ratios extended beyond just the three spatial ones we are accustomed to (add time, for instance).

Long story short, my vessel is universally dynamic, and for now, I’ll leave the backstory as noted above while time and life further unfolds. Hopefully it will generate more questions! Until then, I wish each of you a thrilling experience as you hopefully take in this amazing universe we inhabit (one of many possible worlds) with wide-open eyes and a sense of adventure as we move outward from our cosmic shores. There’s a lifetime of things waiting to be known out there, and as Carl Sagan would note, an opportunity for the universe to get to know itself through our starstuff.

–Mike