Tag Archives: eulogy

Thanks, Ryan

Yesterday, I was heartbroken (as were a hell of a lot of folks) to learn that Ryan Davis, co-founder of Giant Bomb, lover of SUMMER JAMZ and New Balance sneakers, passed away suddenly last week. He was 34 and had gotten married four days prior.

It’s hard to explain what a good, passionate guy Ryan was. I became a huge fan of his largely because of his tireless video project, This Ain’t No Game, where he forced himself to endure every video game-based movie. (If you’ve never watched TANG, now is an excellent time to do so.) His voice and sense of humor pervaded Giant Bomb’s podcast and video work, which became staples of my gaming world over the last five years.

So many people have written about the spot Ryan held in their lives, and it speaks volumes to how beloved he was in a community that largely thrives off snark and bitterness. And while I didn’t know him personally (my only interaction being mumbling something at him at PAX East a few years back about being a big fan), I do have one small fairly dumb story. It’s not dissimilar from my one Steve Jobs anecdote, although it’s not nearly as good.

April 1st is, of course, April Fools Day and/or Internet Asshole Day, full of terrible “pranks” around the internet. (I don’t do April Fools jokes after the prank to end all pranks in 2004.) The gaming community ends up particularly burdened with site owners trying really hard to do something witty and wacky, and it drives most of us up the wall. Including Ryan.

Having just finished Bioshock Infinite, I decided to try my luck at cracking a timely joke, which will (of course) only make sense if you’ve finished Infinite.

It may have been exhaustion from other bad jokes or the fact that Bioshock Infinite jokes hadn’t yet gotten obnoxious (we’d hit that milestone maybe an hour or two later), but it apparently amused Ryan enough to get a retweet out of him. And the subsequent back and forth of further Infinite/April-Fools-Is-Terrible jokes with my compatriot Benjamin Birdie also got retweets from him.

That initial retweet has been stuck at the top of my ThinkUp dashboard since April – something with the recent betas broke the insights from updating, and I’ve been too busy to really sort out fixing it. But perhaps it’s not broken; maybe the accomplishment of making Ryan chuckle on the worst day on the Internet for jokes is an achievement worth holding on to.

Anyway.

Dumb personal Twitter-based anecdotes aside – I’m not sure what the gaming industry will be like without Ryan in it, but I hope he inspires more people in it to be more honest, funny, and actually have a good time. More folks like Ryan, and less Dorito Popes, please.

My One Good Steve Jobs Anecdote

A few hours ago, [Apple announced that Steve Jobs had passed away](http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/).

While I had the opportunity to see Steve present seven keynotes – two MWNY, five WWDC – the one anecdote I have is about what didn’t happen at one of those keynotes. (It’s admittedly second-hand information and I never personally verified it, but I subscribe to the Tony Wilson/24 Hour Party People notion of choosing between the truth and the legend.)

People who have been reading this blog for ages will remember that in January of 2004, I traveled to Macworld San Francisco to work the Freeverse booth; the main title we were pushing was ToySight, our somewhat-ahead-of-its-time camera controlled minigame collection. It won Best Of Show, and many hours were spent flapping my arms to show the game off to people.

Despite the long-standing belief that Apple has never given a damn about games on the platform, they did – slightly. To that end, there was an Apple Games team, focused on developer relations, and at the time run by Rich Hernandez. (Rich was a great guy, and has since moved on to Microsoft.) Rich really liked ToySight, and wanted to see what he could do to see if it could be included in the keynote that year.

So Rich started trying to get it up the chain, showing it to his bosses, and their bosses, and their bosses still. Everyone loved it. It eventually reached the top tier – being reviewed by Steve for inclusion.

After being shown the game, or at least told about it, Steve’s reaction was apparently one of full interest, on one condition: that Phil Schiller be the one to demo it on stage. Long time Apple fans may recall Phil having to jump off a ledge holding an iBook to demonstrate the build quality, so I suppose this was part of Steve’s general love of making Phil look silly on stage.

Phil, regrettably, refused. The demo slot instead went to Aspyr for a Tony Hawk port. And so we grumbled and silently cursed Phil under our breath for denying us our brief shining moment at the keynote. But I love that thought of Steve: so ready to find ways to rib his team and push them out of their comfort zone.

(Thanks to Bruce Morrison for reminding me of this story.)

In all the rush to label him with titles like “this generation’s Edison”, I think people have missed half of Steve’s worth. He certainly brought innovation after innovation to the marketplace, showed the world that the conventional wisdom for how the tech industry “had” to run was flawed, and rebuilt a company on the verge of bankruptcy into the biggest technology company in the world. But just as importantly, he has served as a hero, a role model, and inspiration to a tremendous portion of the technology sector (myself included). It’s not just the products Apple brought to market under Steve’s leadership that will be felt for generations to come, but the products of the people he inspired.

It goes without saying that I will miss him greatly.

Some other reactions worth reading: [Walt Mossberg](http://allthingsd.com/20111005/the-steve-jobs-i-knew/), [Pat Kiernan](http://www.patspapers.com/blog/item/remembering_steve_jobs_my_first_apple/), [Brian Lam](http://thewirecutter.com/2011/10/steve-jobs-was-always-kind-to-me-or-regrets-of-an-asshole/).

In Memory of Bruce Prevo

Bruce Prevo, the Apple Account Executive I’ve worked with for most of my time at WCMC, passed away this weekend after a difficult battle with cancer.
It goes without saying that Apple is a huge company, with a extremely large number of moving parts. Trying to get support in the time of a crisis or to fight for a discount can feel like pulling teeth, as it can with all large companies. Bruce eased this tremendously – always being willing to do his best with the corporate office on our behalf.
He will be missed.

Hot Truck Memories

Reflections In The Glass Facade

The big project for my department (and the entire Medical College) at the end of 2006 was the launch of our new clinical care building at 1305 York Avenue. For much of the length of the project, those of us in the IT shop simply referred to it by the most appropriate acronym: it was the new York Avenue Building, so it became YAB.

But eventually, the building was given a more donor-friendly name, and it became the Weill Greenberg Center. The appropriate acronym became WGC.

I refer to it now, as I did then, as “YAB”. Sometimes “1305”. But never “WGC”.

“WGC” still only means one thing to me: Wet Garlic and Cheese.

Continue reading Hot Truck Memories

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

They’re going to throw a lever and detach the tower-cable’s clip, and the man in sockless Banfis will free-fall for what’ll seem forever, until the crane’s cable’s slack is taken up and the line takes his weight and goes tight behind him and swings him way out over the grounds to the south, his arc’s upward half almost as high as the tower was, and then he’ll fall all over again, back, and get caught and swung the other way, back and forth, the man prone at the arc’s trough and seeming to stand at either apex, swinging back and forth and erect and prone against a rare-meat sunset.

And just as the crane’s cab’s blond reaches for his lever and the crowd mightily inhales, just then, I lose my nerve, in my very last moment at the Fair – I recall my childhood’s serial nightmare of being swung or whipped in an arc that threatens to come full circle – and I decline to be part of this, even as witness – and I find, again, in extremis, access to childhood’s other worst nightmare, the only sure way to obliterate all; and the sun and sky and plummeting Yuppie go out like a light.

David Foster Wallace was found dead in his home Friday evening. He had apparently hung himself; I suppose given the above, one could consider it ironic. One familiar with his work could also be glad he didn’t stick his head in a microwave.

DFW has always remained high on my list of favorite authors, largely thanks to the book for which I’ve named this post. Now seems like an appropriate time to read it, and his sprawling opus, one more time.

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‘Match Game’s’ Brett Somers dies at 83

I am frequently mocked for my obituary posts. They are frequently about media personalities, particularly those that figured prominently into game shows. I have no good defense to this attack.

With the passing of Brett, the three people who made Match Game what it was are no longer with us. (Richard Dawson, while influential, left the show for the spin-off *Family Feud* in 1978.)

Somewhere in the afterlife, they’re having one hell of a _________.

RIP, CNR

[NYT](http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/theater/28reilly.html):

> Charles Nelson Reilly, who acted and directed on Broadway but came to be best known for his campy television appearances on talk shows and “Match Game,” died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 76 and lived in Beverly Hills, Calif.

> The cause was complications of pneumonia, said his partner, Patrick Hughes, who is his only immediate survivor. Mr. Reilly had been ill for more than a year, he said.

Yes, I am still awake at 1:20 in the morning, and I am posting about Charles Nelson Reilly. If you know me at all, this is not a surprising fact.

The Day The World Ended

[NYT](http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/books/12vonnegut.html):

> Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died last night in Manhattan. He was 84 and had homes in Manhattan and in Sagaponack on Long Island.

Not the sort of news I like starting my Thursday with.

EDITED TO ADD: The [Metafilter obituary thread](http://www.metafilter.com/60215/Kurt-Vonnegut-Dies-at-84) is worth visiting, more than any other MeFi obit I can remember.

Mac IT Loses One Of Its Greats

[RIP, Michael Bartosh](http://www.afp548.com/article.php?story=20060611204217263):

>It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write these words, but this weekend we lost Michael Bartosh to a tragic accident in Tokyo, Japan at the far too young age of 28.

>Early on Sunday morning Michael fell to his death from a friend’s balcony. Police have ruled the death an accident.

>To many people Michael was a source of endless information that he provided about Mac OS X Server. He was an author, a trainer, a consultant, and, to many, a good friend. All of us here at AFP548.com are still in a state of shock over the loss. We are sure that many in the community feel the same way.

>He is survived by his wife, Amber. Please keep his family in your thoughts during these difficult times. We know he will never be far from ours.

I never personally knew Michael, but I knew *of* Michael – and to be in any way involved in the Mac Enterprise IT community meant he was unavoidable. He was literally everywhere, always ready to chip in to help out. At WWDC, he was either giving or attending every session I was at.

He will definitely be missed.

[John C. Welch has more.](http://www.bynkii.com/archives/2006/06/ah_crap.html)