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August 15, 2006

More memorial...

Here is the memorial that was given by Rebecca Blake.

Gregory was always an easygoing baby and marched to his own drummer his entire life. As his sister, I usually just followed along. I can remember giggling when he and his school friend Brendan Fitzgerald put dog food in cookies they were baking for school. They had marked the "dog food" cookies with foil. However, their plan was doomed when Mom took the cookies out of the oven, saw the foil and took it off. When they got to school and opened the package of cookies, they could not find the foil and realized they had to fess up. Greg and his friend had to throw out the entire batch of cookies. Although, I think Mom would have rather made them EAT the cookies.

I also remember Greg and I got locked out of the house and he said "not to worry" and had me follow him to the back of the house. He showed me a way to break into the basement through the window and pop it back in...backwards. Well, we got busted hours later when Mom noticed the window was put in backwards and thought someone had broken into the house.

Over the years, I think he tried Mom and Dad's patience. He fell of his bike once and the neighbor brought him back home, dressed head to toe in Band-Aids. Years later, he was eating a piece of bacon while riding his bike, fell off and actually hurt his ear pretty badly. I can clearly remember a neighbor kid running in the house with the bloody piece of bacon worried that it was Greg's ear. Fortunately, it wasn't.

I can remember falling off my bike and Greg coming to my rescue. I had some pretty bad scrapes and he cleaned me up, picking every piece of gravel out of my arms because I refused to go to the doctor.

He made the best chocolate chip cookie pie, the best chocolate crackles and the best cosmopolitan I've ever had. He would also respond to my emails anytime I had a computer question.

I know my parents rolled their eyes whenever his hair changed color, or when he had his ear pierced. I just remember that he continued to march to his own beat.

Greg touched more lives than anyone else I know. This has been eveident to us this past week reading the endless comments from friends of Greg's all over the world. I think for every person in this room, there are at least 10 more we don't even know about.

As Greg's family, we want to thank our friends and family as well as Greg's family for their support over the past several years and we invite you all back to our home to help us to continue to remember Greg.

Posted by emily at 04:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


June 15, 2006

Memorial Programme

Hi everyone,

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)
or
Gregory stomps around (usually if Dale decided to switch the TiVo to something else...)
or just
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.

emily sparkle
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.

Posted by emily at 09:13 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)


June 08, 2006

password, please...???

so, the digital world is feeling greg's absence. his personal computer has been accidentally shut down and his parents need information on it. of course, there is a password. rumor has it that the password has something to do with a monkey. really. :-) if anyone has a suggestion as to what that password might be (likely anime related), please write to zygoticbucky[at]gmail [dot] com. thank you!

or, if you know how to get past a password on a MAC, that would also be helpful. could a tech at the MAC store do this?

Posted by emily at 04:14 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)


Looking for Photos

Greg's family is hoping to put together a slide show for the memorial. to that end, they are calling for any photos people may have of Greg doing the things he loved to do (DJing, dancing, eating, and the like). please send medium resolution pictures to his family at: eblake[at]ezoons[dot]com.

Posted by emily at 01:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


Memorial Information

Greg's family has set some times for the memorial. On Friday there will be an open house at the family home in Hartford from 5-8 p.m. On Saturday there will be a memorial service at 4:00 at the Hartford Seminary, which is only one block away from the home. Address, guest book, and other information can be found in Greg's obituary:

http://www.legacy.com/hartfordcourant/DeathNotices.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=18028302

Posted by emily at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


June 07, 2006

if you're coming to hartford this weekend...

if you're coming to hartford this weekend for the memorial and need a place to stay, please contact the family or let me know by email (fontaholic [at] gmail [dot] com) if you need a place to stay. the blakes and several of their friends have spare bedrooms and such for out-of-towners.

Posted by emily at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


June 06, 2006

Let the Way be Open

greg, how do i put into words what i witnessed? we walked in and saw you so small, so deflated of life, so hooked up to technology. it was clear that the doctors and nurses had tried every damn thing they could. some machines were whirling, some were beeping, others bleated out numbers and blips and lines. bucky's certain if they'd had you on systems running on mac osx, you would have been better off.

a visual shock... those four giant hoses running blood from your leg to your neck... but your mom gave me a quick lesson in ECMO technology. she's become an expert... i was impressed. your breathing was odd, there were tubes and needles on every visible part of your body, and clearly beneath the johnnies too. it took me a little while to understand how everything was connected, working, happening.

your parents were so strong, greg. we stood with you and exchanged stories and moments and loving words of your life, your passion for music, anime and computers, your sense of humor and your penchant for the understatement. Eine stayed with you the whole time, and i thought that would suit you just fine... since Batz Maru was no where to be found. iTunes kept belting out your favorite tunes.

ironically, you were the largest, oldest patient at Children's Hospital, yet their attendance to you was as loving and caring as it would be for a small, scared child. when it was time, the nurses sweetly, gently explained as they removed tape and tubes and machines from your body. 'it's alright.' 'you're ok.' 'everyone is here for you, greg.'

and we were. we were there so intensely for you, that the rest of the room fell away. we stood, your mom, dad, bucky and i with our hands on you, saying prayers with the hospital minister, who was cheeky and helpful. a favorite chant of mine bubbled out... these moments are bittersweet and soft and beautiful. we waited, holding space for you while you took your last labored breaths.

bucky felt your energetic body cease transmitting. i poured as much loving energy into you as i could to help your passage be smooth. we all had eachother's backs. i felt your appreciation and i was honored to be there for you and your family.

we toasted your name with spicy scallop roll and sake at that place we always went in harvard square. before that meal, i had never been to that restaurant with anyone except you. you were an amazing, special friend and i am humbled by the strength you had in life.

Posted by emily at 11:01 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)