Now, I realize that I miss him.
I knew J.D. in two ways: Through antispam circles, and in the Bay Area dance/party scene. He was a valuable and beloved figure in both, central to their vibrancy — although quiet and modest about his role. I remember him an a creative, thoughtful, and ready-for-anything co-adventurer.
Our antispam collaboration started when I got involved around 1999. He had already been a long-time soldier in that fight as a board member and founder of several organizations, and a technical pro for companies dealing with the problem. For some reason I remember him fulfilling a much more mundane role than his lofty titles suggest. In June of 2001, I threw an event called “SpamCon” at the Canterbury Hotel in San Francisco to bring together system administrators, online advertisers, policymakers, and other stakeholders for that seminal issue. He was always good with tools, so he showed up — a little late, possibly after an all-night dance party, blue (?) dye faded in his dissheveled hair — to wrench together pipes that held the “Welcome!” banner. Then he stayed for the entire two-day conference.
As too often happens, we hadn’t connected in years. His death makes me dig through old emails to see when we’d last chatted — it was 2007, regarding a real-estate article I was working on for the San Francisco Chronicle. (It was about converting churches into homes; years earlier, he had invited me to an all-night dance party at such a property near the Macarthur BART in Oakland.) Like the old-school ‘netter he was, his .sig included a quote. It was:
“Well here we are, Mr. Pilgrim,
trapped in the amber of this moment.
There is no why.” — Kurt Vonnegut
Wherever you are, J.D., I hope you’re having fun.
Category: Colleagues, Friends |