Empty Spaces

Last night a bunch of Justin‘s friends from the Bay Area met up with his parents at his condo in Sunnyvale to console, reflect, and to remember. I was a little nervous about going because I thought it might be a big cry-fest, but surprisingly enough most people were in good spirits. Make no mistake, I’m certain we are all deeply saddened by his sudden departure. I know that I personally have gone through cycles of acceptance, extreme sadness, and denial. But I think last night was indicative of Justin’s personality based on the types of people he chose to surround himself with.His parents seem to be coping remarkably well, considering. They are terrific people and it’s very easy to see where Justin developed a number of his mannerisms. His father reminds me very much of my own father in many ways.As we were coordinating the event, calling each other to make sure everybody knew what time to head over, I couldn’t help but think that there was someone in the group that I had neglected to call… then I realized it was Justin.Today I came across an article about a mechanised drum machine with an acronym-based name of PEART in honor of the extremely talented drummer from the rock band Rush. My first thought was: Oh, Justin needs to check this out! Oh, wait…I’m going to miss that guy terribly.

Remembering Justin Wojdacki (1976-2004)

My friend Loi called me today with some terrible news. You know it’s going to be bad when someone calls you up and tells you between sobs to sit down if you aren’t already. She happened across an article in Saturday’s Palo Alto Daily News [pdf] today about a motorcycle accident resulting in a fatality on Thursday evening. She didn’t think much about it and was about to skip over it when a name in the article caught her eye: Justin Wojdacki. Justin is a good friend of ours who happens to be an avid motorcyclist… one whom nobody had heard from in a few days… in fact, since after the weekly Thursday night dinner club.After talking to a number of our friends, we were able to track down his parents and confirm that he had indeed been the victim of the motorcycle accident. They flew into San Jose from Michigan this weekend but did not have any contact information for his friends in the Bay Area.I met Justin at some point in 2000 through mutual friends from the University of Michigan who had moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area. We started hanging out together every Thursday night through the dinner club he had helped migrate from U of M. Soon it became twice a week for a number of us, gathering over at our friend Mike’s place to catch the latest Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode or to watch a movie in the off season. For a short while Justin and I started hanging out every Wednesday night as well, just to jam on our guitars together [mp3]. And then of course there were the occasional weekend events such as ski retreats, sea kayaking, BBQ’s or watching U of M football games on TV. With common tastes, enthusiasm, and appreciation for food, music, and computers, it’s easy to understand how we ended up spending so much time together over the past 5 years. Justin was fairly camera-shy so I don’t have many photographs of him, but here are a few snapshots that span most of the time that I knew him.Though working with computers was his profession as well as a hobby, he found time to pursue his other interests. He enjoyed building furniture and built a number of pieces for his apartment. A number of times he mentioned that if he weren’t working with computers, he’d set up a small custom furniture shop.He enjoyed cooking as well, and always brought something delicious to a BBQ or potluck dinner. His love of food took the dinner club to restaurants of many cultures and many cuisines over the years.He loved music. He loved going to used CD shops in the area and picking up new music… mostly tending toward the progressive rock or blues side of the spectrum. He attended concerts regularly from San Jose up to San Francisco. He enjoyed playing guitar and bass guitar when he had a free moment or two.And most of all, he enjoyed hanging out with friends… from the dinner clubs, to Buffy/movie night, to poker nights, to snowball fights, to ping-pong tournaments, to hiking, to the Mimezine group and Defcon. Justin made a lot of friends where ever he went. And we all miss you already, Justin.A gathering for Bay Area friends and family will be held at Justin’s condo this Monday evening. A viewing is scheduled in his home town of Clinton Township, MI on Friday from 1 PM – 9 PM. The service will be on Saturday at 11 AM.

Hoodwinking a Nation

Yeah, more false pretense by the top likely candidates running for the position of leader of our country.Let’s not debate, but we’ll call it a debate to make the citizens think there’s something important being discussed. Then we’ll talk about our feelings regarding a war thousands of miles away that we started under questionable circumstances and how decisive (or stuborn) we are and regardless of whether we’re going to hell in a handbasket or not (though we won’t say that), we’re going there decisively (or stubornly), because that’s what’s important! Then agree to talk about nothing else, including how to address the problems affecting this country directly. We’ll make it illegal to have another “debate” outside of this forum in which the audience is not allowed to pose questions, speak up, or critique anything said. And the whole process will be sponsored by large corporations.I’m so proud of what our country has become. *cough* Not! *cough*