We'd like to share some of the memorial pieces that were shared during Greg's services last weekend.
Greg's Memorial Program
Dr. Paul Meyerson
Snooze's close online friend
Most of you have no idea what a MUD is, but if you are to understand how greg lived online, it's an important point. Imagine you are IM'ing (instant message) someone. Now, imagine that you can IM several people at once--you have a chat room. A place where people can congragate. But add characters and rooms and descriptions of those rooms and you have an online town or village. And in that arena, people spend time together. Talking, joking, just being together. This is how I spent time with greg for almost 10 years.
Some people would say that there's a big difference between knowing people online like this--never being there in the same room, or on the phone. But talk to someone, in any way, an hour or two a day, for 5 or 6 years, and any difference there might have been no longer exists. You know the person on a deep and connected level. I spoke to Greg every day, at least for a short while, many times for hours. But not continuously, usually. Talking on MUDs are generally a disconnected series of sentences, fragments of conversations.
I once commented "this is so odd. I say something. You answer me 3 hours later." His response, which made me crack up at the time was a simple shrug, saying "It's the mudder way."
That was perfect for him. No one in your face. No one demanding anything. The mudder way.
I'd come back home from work to a couple of different, but typical greg actions:
Gregory run in circles (if he was feeling pent up)
Gregory stomps around (usually if Dale decided to switch the TiVo to something else...)
Gregory bored (which happened a lot since counting himself among the unemployed)
So he turned his attention to his computer and his friends. He must have been on 20 MUDs, and he'd often be on all of them at once, switching between them and keeping 20 conversations going (although often none of them well...greg had an attention span that would make my 5 year old jealous)
One of the good things about being on the MUD was that he could be pretty open with feelings--things that are hard to say in real life. I remember clearly this one story, which I mentioned to Eleanor, about 6 years ago. He told me that he had gotten a call late that night that he was the alternate for a new lung and completely freaked out. He jumped online looking for me but I wasn't around and at the time he didn't have my number. So he ran in circles for awhile before calling the hospital and telling them no, and to take them off the wait list. I remember giving him the what for and nearly screaming at him (as much as you can in a text-only format) that he was an idiot and he needs to get back on that list, blah blah blah. He was so nervous and just nodded at me. Eventually, though, he got on the list again and waited and waited. When it was time for the fateful call, he IM'd me from the car to tell me that he was going in for the surgery and how proud of himself he was that he didn't turn this one down.
As time went by, we started talking more on things like skype--online voice chat. Usually, we'd talk while watching a show, and usually anime, because of how passionate he was about that. Of course, being greg, we'd start 10 series and not finish any of them. He was so patient with the fact that I didn't really like anime, and just kept giving me new things to try until I DID find some that I liked. Now I have to go out and find Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist to see how they end.
For sure, though, the thing we all enjoyed watching most together was the new Dr. Who series. he'd upload it to me and our friend linda and the 3 of us would watch it together for the first time. He'd always wait to watch with us and frequently stomp around in frustration because I had to work, or we couldn't find a time, or whatever. if several days went by, he'd still wait, but he sure didn't want to!
He was such a sweet guy, and so shy. I don't think the shyness came across until we started talking, and even more so when we met in person. I remember being on skype with both greg and linda and her 12 year old daughter, lulu, was there and I put my 5 year old, katie, on to talk with lulu...and greg. So katie, being the least shy person in the world, yakked to lulu for 5 minutes or so, before returning the headset to me. There was a bit of silence, broken eventually by greg saying "ok, that was the cutest. thing. ever."
I see his name everywhere still. My friends lists on Gizmo, skype, AOL IM, still sleeping in the MUDs, old emails--even my calendar program popups when it came up with an appointment and gave me the choice of "Dismiss" or "Snooze." They're all still there, but he isn't.
However, one of our mutual close friends online, Jenni and I decided that he would like the idea of us having him as our imaginary friend. He's still asleep in many of the MUDs he talked on, and everyone I spoke to intends to keep his character alive--in spirit--there for as long as the MUD is around. So, I'll always have Greg to talk to, in his way. The mudder way. And eventually, I know, he'll get around to answering. I'm willing to wait.
keeper of Greg's blog
Like many folks, my first connection with Greg was digital. In 1996, I was on an email list for the local electronic dance community called “boston ravers”. Shortly after he introduced himself to the list, we arranged to meet in person at a Redlight party. I was bringing glowsticks, and he wanted some. I spotted him on the dance floor when I arrived, dancing like crazy in the mist of the fog machine wearing his Batz Maru backpack and laden with colorful bracelets and necklaces. When I introduced myself he hugged me warmly and brightly said “OH! I have a present for you!” After examining his arms in the dim flashing lights, he pulled a bracelet off and presented it to me. Among the glowy beads were ones that said E-M-I-L-Y. I was so touched that he had made this bracelet especially for me.
Greg had a very special ability to connect with people. He did this by sharing his passions for things like music, technology, anime, art, food, and movies with everyone he could through many channels. He loved to introduce friends with similar interests. He’d gather us for movie night or arrange a shopping trip through Harvard Square. We’d convene at the El Phoenix Room to stuff ourselves with 10 cent wings and cheap beer and talk and laugh. Sometimes there were more than 20 of us causing quite a ruckus.
He loved introducing people to new technology. He was my first-line technical support. Greg is single-handedly responsible for my digital addictions to mailing lists, instant messaging, macs, ipods, rss, css, wireless, strongbad, boingboing and countless interesting websites. He helped me set up my first blog and tempted me with the worlds of irc, mudds, Bluetooth, video games, gadgets, flicker, friendster, torrents… well you get the point. He probably did the same for you!
Together we’ve shared many lunches, pizzas, pans of brownies and countless sushi rolls. Greg LOVED sushi and would try anything once. We once got a little carried away and ate over $100 worth of sushi between the two of us. I can’t remember what we were celebrating, but we waddled out of his favorite sushi place in Harvard Square laughing at ourselves for being such sushipigs.
When his health became a concern, I was asked to accompany him to doctors appointments, to be there to take notes and hold his hand when they gave him the crushing news. “You have hard fibers in your lungs… and we don’t know why.” Later he asked me if I would be in charge of his blog when it came time for his lung transplant. It was very important to him that you all have the opportunity to know how he was doing. It has been my honor to perform this service for my dear friend Greg and his community.
As you know, Greg LOVED Anime. He collected DVDs, figurines, comics and anything else he could find with those brightly colored, big-eyed characters and was always introducing me to new series he would find online. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really GET most of it, but the art was fantastic and the stories were bizarre. They all sort of overlapped in my mind and he would laugh with me as I tried to figure out how a cute blue haired Japanese pixie turned into a panda bear when falling into water. He finally found one I could follow along to… after all, the Fruits Baskets series was about love and romance.
When I think of Greg, I hear music. I hear the oontz oontz oontz of dance music and cheeky lyrics and happy hollers from people on the dance floor. He really knew how to keep people dancing through the night. One of my favorite music memories of Greg is hearing him spin on one of the most beautiful beaches on Cape Cod. He had told me he had a fantastic set planned, and I will always remember the beauty in magical moment he created as sun peeked over the ocean-horizon. He had carefully selected the sunrise track and we joyfully kicked up the sand as we danced in a frenzy to the deep voice booming across the beach ”together as one, we dance with the sun, coming up through the sky, dancing together, dancing together, dancing together…”
and this is a lot for one entry, but we're putting a pretty face on the new SnoozeRadio, a 24x7 shoutcast of Snooze's mixes that Paul has created to memorialize Greg's mixes.