10:31 am: I turn left into the parking lot. Then right, as I hunt for parking. No one is outside the church. In the distance, my ears pick up voices. A choir? Perhaps. Everywhere cars are parked and double parked: cars parked in lanes where they should be; cars parked in lanes where they shouldn't be; cars parked on the green of the church lawn; and cars resting on the concrete paths meant for shoes not wheels.
10:33 am: I exit the church lot to look for street parking. Cars and one or two minivans line both sides of the street. At the corner, there's space. Sort of. Right ON the corner. Well, if this were Toronto, parking within 15 metres of an intersection would empty my wallet by about 20 bucks in fines. But this is NOT downtown Toronto. Besides, I'm here for a good reason. Any parking ticket Judge would understand.
I risk the Ticket.
10:34 am: I Lock the car. Now on foot, I hustle back through the Church Parking lot looking for the main entrance. I spy gold lettering on a wooden panel located where an arched window should be. The church is run by the Basilian Fathers. Hey! They're the ones hosting the Pope's retreat on Strawberry Island next month before he visits Toronto for World Youth Day. I file this fact in the back of my mind. Where's the main entrance?
Through glass doors and I am almost there. A man wearing yellow-grey shorts and a golf shirt is standing. He's reading notices and flyers pinned to a bulletin board resting on a wooden tripod. Like the ones used by artists to hold up their canvases while they paint. The bulletin board stands beside a doorway to my left. I look to my right and see a little foyer area. Right is not where the voices of the now-for-sure choir emanate from.
I walk left.
Through an arched doorway and I find myself standing inside a small 12' by 12' hall. This room is the base of the tall steeple I eyed from the road as I turned into the parking lot moments ago. The lighting is dim, sepia toned somehow. My eyes adjust to the lack of sunlight.
Three people, a man and two women stand in the doorway. A family I guess. They also are waiting to enter and find seats for the service. Beyond their shoulders, I see the church hall.
"Umm well, they already started," I think to myself, "and besides, there's no where to sit...So many people are already here...I don't really 'NEED' to be here, right?...They all got it covered."
I continue the mental gymnastics.
The pews are packed. Hard to spot an empty seat. The Priest stands upon the altar far down the aisle, in front. The melody of the choir suddenly echoes into silence. The Priest begins..."Please be seated".
I turn around to exit. Escape?
Perhaps I can wait outside or in that foyer-lobby area? I could pay my condolences to Greg's Family after the service, leave and go back home to Toronto. Yeah, that's it. Easy. I could just wait outside, say my respects, then leave. I debate this a moment longer. Yeah, I'll do that. I turn around to exit.
That man in the golf shirt and yellow-grey shorts is standing behind me ready to enter the prayer hall. Where'd he come from??? So much for being chicken. I turn around again and face the prayer hall entrance. We both hear a voice. Eyeing the crest on his jacket pocket confirms the voice belongs to an employee of the funeral home. He points to a place in the third last pew on the left side where I may sit.
THURSDAY, JUNE 20th 10:36 am: I am attending Greg's Funeral.
48 HOURS EARLIER:
TUESDAY MORNING Circa 10 am: I had slept in. I awoke with images of a dream yet fresh in my mind. In the dream I walk through a house, but it wasn't a house, it was a PostNuke...website...? Still groggy from sleep, I log on to PostNuke.com to see if it's back online. (The previous day PostNuke.com had been offline for website maintenance.) Let's see what's new.
Hunh? What? I continue reading. A brief article to be sure, but already comments of condolence and surprise were lengthening the read. Refreshing the page brought yet newer comments of sadness and disbelief.
On Steve MacGregor's, aka Grape's, website I learn why it took a day plus change to post the official PostNuke announcement. "...It took me [Steve] all day and night to write it, and was only completed due to the incredible support provided by Pawmarks, Gregor and Apakuni. Thank you guys!" wrote Steve.
Re-reading the announcement, I learn Adam_Baum lived in Ontario. In Meaford. My immediate reflex of wanting to DO something, anything, causes me to email Steve MacGregor:
On Tue, 2002-06-18 at 10:23, HïMY wrote:
Peace and e-Greetings be upon you Steve.
My name is HïMY Syed.
I live in downtown Toronto, and if the
funeral has not been held yet, I think
I would like to attend.
Meaford, if that's where it would be held,
is only a 90 minute drive from where I live.
Thanks in advance,
~ HïMY! ~
I Click send.
I talk with my mom about the dream. I ask her what it meant. I type out my dream as a comment and post it. It's the 35th newest comment of the day.
The news of Greg's death also announced all official PostNuke work and support would stop for one week. I add Steve's official announcement to my own website. I am no longer in the mood to update anything on any of my websites. I also decide to 'take the week off'. Why do I feel this way? I am ONLY a user of the PostNuke software and beyond a couple of comment/questions to Adam_Baum somewhere in the past, I had no contact with the man. Thinking of this, I am morose.
I'm not proud of what I did next. In a personal act of morbid curiosity, I began surfing the many websites I knew to be running PostNuke code. I was curious to see how many sites had posted news of Greg's death; how many websites had cut-and-pasted Steve MacGregor's original article.
Upon later reflection, I think the reason behind my websurfing may have been a way to cope with reading such sad unexpected news.
I had even posted a couple of comments in a forum on Bahraini.tv without as much as mentioning Greg's death to Mahmood. Mahmood Al-Yousif, Bahraini.tv's webmaster, was logged in and online when I posted the comments. I thought about telling him somehow, perhaps by private messaging him or submitting a news story on his website. Somehow, I couldn't bring myself to be the bearer of such bad news.
Seven minutes later, Mahmood posted his own condolences just two comments after mine.
I email my brother Amir asking if I can borrow his car:
Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 1:14 PM
Subject: Thursday Morning Car use
Is it possible for me to drive you to work
On Thursday, Morning, So I can use the Car?
I need to attend a funeral in Owen Sound,
By 10:30 am on Thursday.
I can drive back to Sprint in the late afternoon.
Is that possible?
~ HïMY! ~
13 Minutes later: Amir's reply pops in my inbox:
Date: Tue Jun 18 13:27:22 2002
Subject: RE: Thursday Morning Car use
its all yours,
I'm off that day. You can wear that black suit we bought together at dufferin
The next few hours finds Steve MacGregor and I trading emails about carpooling PostNukers from Toronto north to the funeral. If I was to be driving, I'd better find out exactly where St. Mary's of the Assumption Church was. I begin googling for St. Mary's official website.
From: steve macgregor
Date: Tue Jun 18 13:10:31 2002
Subject: Re: I'm in T.O.,I'd like to attend Greg's Funeral if it hasn't happened yet...
You are the BEST!!! Thank you! Can you post this as a new comment to the
article on postnuke.com?
From what I know that is the church.
On Tue, 2002-06-18 at 13:05, HïMY wrote:
> I googled the following link:
> I think this is the church for the funeral.
> Maybe the link could help others?
> ~ HïMY! ~
I post yet another new comment.
By now, I think I can read between Steve's kind words to me the depth of his sadness. I don't know for sure.
Next message to pop in my inbox:
From: steve macgregor
Date: Tue Jun 18 13:06:45 2002
Subject: Re: Thanks for Funeral Info; YES, I'll confirm I can Take Brian to/from Meaford on Thursday Later today.
Thank you! I contacted Brian, and he is unable to attend. Right now it
looks like you will be the only person there representing PostNuke. I
wil also keep you posted on this.
That can't be right. I can't be the ONLY one attending because of PostNuke? What about the websites just in Ontario alone that run PostNuke? What about plain old users like me, HïMY, who run websites on PostNuke code?
Ain't they gonna show up?
Perhaps it was too early, many many PostNukers would attend, I was certain of that. If that was the case, then, maybe I was off the hook. Maybe I didn't need to drive up north and attend the funeral...? Other PostNukers could represent the computer community, eh?
Earlier that Tuesday, Richard and Paula Wing, created an online candlelight memorial for Greg Allan, who in my mind is still Adam_Baum.
Strange. I had never seen anything like that on the internet. After Sept. 11th last year, I went from website to website trying to find out how many MUSLIMs died INSIDE the World Trade Center. Turned out hundreds of muslims of all nationalities were murdered that morning and afternoon inside both towers. Surfing muslim websites, I had not come across any online candlelight memorial like what Richard and Paula Wing had set up for Greg_Allan/Adam_Baum.
"Kewl" I thought. That's an incredibly creative idea! Wish I had thought of a candlelight vigil webpage! ...or thought of something.
I light my first candle. The 8th to be lit. Now I feel I've done something for Greg. And maybe for his family too...if they happen to read my short message. Maybe it's enough. I don't know.
Lighting the candle reminds me of Janis. She lost her mom not three months ago. We haven't stayed in touch. I drop her an email.
I refreshed the PostNuke homepage throughout Tuesday afternoon and grew to become mesmorized in reading, re-reading, re-reading then reading the latest comments of condolence and memories. A picture was forming of who Adam_Baum was: what he did; quotes from his emails and irc; his code corrections; his subtle humour; and so much more about Greg -- it's all still there for anyone to read.
I lose myself in the crowd. For the rest of the evening, I'm Korean.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 19th, circa 7 pm: I've just walked through Queen's Park and short cut my way through the University of Toronto grounds. I'm heading to the giant bookstore known as IndigoBooksin the Manulife Centre. Mapquest disappointed me, again. I had wanted to look at local city maps of Owen Sound and Meaford. Indigo would indeed stock detailed maps.
Walking behind and then around the Isabel Bader Theatre, I realize this is where IdeaCity2002is being held. Must be a smoke/coffee break. People wearing red and white nametags mill about outside and under the buffet tent. I recognize Arthur Kent, the Scud Stud TV reporter of Gulf War fame; Michael Ignatieff, the scholar and author; I see Bob Hunter, one of the 7 co-founders of GreenPeace. IdeaCity is a three day conference where people get to present their latest ideas to the creme de la creme of thinkers from all fields. Anything goes. Global Warming, Architecture, Poverty, Technology, Education, Design... or as Greg might have put it: Dezign.
I walk past the crowd of a few dozen standing outside and see hundreds more through the window. These people shape our World: present and future. I begin to wonder what IDEA I would honestly present had I attended this $2,000.00 per person conference?
Pondering this as I walk east along Charles Street finds me concluding I'd present a demonstration of PostNuke: its power to allow everyday people to run their own little Yahoo!'s and Online News Services and family websites and more. I'd detail OpenSource as I've come to understand it. I'd confirm that PostNuke actually is NOT about technology but about people reaching people, people helping people.
Reaching Bay Street, the giant IndigoBooks stands before me. Yeah. I'd evangelize the power and potential of PostNuke, that's what I would share with all those attending IdeaCity2002. I've seen some of these people's homebrewed personal websites...some of these IdeaCity people NEED PostNuke.
Inside Indigo, I locate the Canadiana section. I pick up LonelyPlanet's guide to Canada off the shelf and begin to learn about Owen Sound, Meaford and where Greg grew up.
On Wed, 2002-06-19 at 23:59, HïMY wrote:
Good Evening Steve,
It's just about Midnight Toronto time,
Before I head off to sleep to get enough rest
for the drive up to Owen Sound tomorrow morning,
I thought I'd touch base again with ya.
Well, I can't be the ONLY PostNuke user going
up for the Funeral. Can I?
IF y'get any emails of anyone else going, please
drop me a note, I'll check my email before heading
out tomorrow morning. I'd just like to meet anyone
there coming just like I am, because of PostNuke.
Maybe after the funeral, we could go for a coffee
at Tim Horton's or something.
Well, just a thought.
I'm planning to leave by 7:30 am at the latest.
So, if ya can email any news about ppl going by
then, that would good.
Talk to ya later Steve.
~ HïMY! ~
THURSDAY MORNING circa 7 am:TheWeatherNetwork morning show says it's 12 degrees Celsius. By midday it should be over 30 C. That coupled with the first SMOG advisory of the season and it looks to be a disgustingly bad air day. The morning show has a short piece on SMOG: it's a word made up by combining SMoke and fOG. Really? That's nice.
They're requesting people NOT to drive in to work, rather we should use public transit. Use of gas powered lawnmowers is also discouraged. I look out my high-rise window. A thick layer of brown is hovering above Mississauga all the way west to the Niagara escarpement with Hamilton inbetween. Toronto has the fourth worst air pollution in North America. Mexico City is first. The Los Angeles area comes in second. Then Houston. Then my city, Toronto. SMOG sucks.
I check my email. Nothing new from Steve. That sucks too.
Am I the only PostNuker attending Greg's funeral in Person?
My insides immediately feel heavy. To remind and re-encourage myself of why I'm driving up north, I read the latest comments and the latest candle messages about Greg.
As my father used to say, "If you miss someone's wedding, no one remembers. But if you miss someone's funeral, no one ever forgets."
...I have to go.
THURSDAY 7:23 am: I leave one final message: I'm leaving Toronto for the funeral. Perhaps as much as for me as for any PostNuker out there, I leave this message. Now I CAN'T chicken out of attending Greg's Funeral. I've officially announced it to the World, and that's that. It is my second candle. The 387th to be lit.
This is going to be a long drive. A last look around my apartment to decide between two books on tape for this road trip: GOOD TO GREAT by Jim Collins, or ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES -- How The Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, And Still Can't Get a Date by Robert X. Cringely. I choose GOOD TO GREAT and pick up four 90 minute cassette tapes.
THE DRIVE UP NORTH
On Tuesday evening I had phoned Natasha's (Eva_Destruckshun's) number to express my condolences and also to ask for directions to the funeral. A somber voice accepted my condolence call and gave me directions. Easy really, drive up highway 10, all the way into Owen Sound, turn left when I see the Church Steeple. In my nervousness, I didn't note who I spoke with on the phone. Later I'd find out it was Dean Smith, Greg's bestfriend since the first day of school.
Highway 10 is also known as 'Hurontario'. Beginning at Lake Ontario in Mississauga and ending on the shores of Lake Huron. Hwy 10 touches two of the five Great Lakes. Inbetween these Great Lakes is Georgian Bay and at the bottom left of the bay, the city of Owen Sound. It's going to be a long long long long drive up north....
Who was Adam_Baum?
Why did so many people light a Candle?
Where did his nickname (handle) come from?
Baum? I thought he was Jewish -- Not Catholic!
Am I the only one going to be there from PostNuke?
What am I going to say to his family?
They'll think I'm a freak! The computer? Hunh? How did you know our son?
How do I introduce myself?
Why am doing this?
Who was Greg Allan?
He must've played Hockey! How're his teammates doing?
What was the name of his hockey team?
How did he get into computers?
How much beer could he drink...at one time?
Greg had a kid brother too, Brian. 16. The same age as my little brother when we lost our dad back in '91.
Is Brian getting any sleep? Is Brian now an only child...?
His two daughters are now orphans. Damn.
How are they? Both of them?
Greg's Parents. The cliche says it's always hard to lose a child. A kind of parental guilt may overwhelm any parent who outlives their offspring. Like some violation of Nature. How're Greg's Parents handling it all?
Why am I thinking these thoughts?
These and many other questions pepper my thoughts during the entire three hour journey.
Before getting on the Allen Expressway from Eglinton Avenue, I spy a man operating a gas lawnmower. Heck, there's hardly any grass on his front lawn to mow in the first place! What the hell is wrong with him? Doesn't he know there's a SMOG advisory on? I'm driving to a funeral, what the hell is his excuse? Why am I so upset? Did I just experience 'SMOG RAGE' ?
Getting to Hwy 10 from downtown Toronto takes almost an hour! This is ridiculous! Don't I qualify as a reverse commuter? LEAVING downtown driving AGAINST the city-bound traffic? Nuts.
Around 9 am I stop for gas in Brampton, after that, easy traffic the rest of the way. Maybe I'll arrive on time after all.
Now and again I see personalized licence plates: 'YRSMILE' and '2THPIX' are two I take note of. I'm halfway to Owen Sound. Halfway to Greg's Funeral.
At points here and there, landmarks become familiar. I begin to think when was I last up this far north... sometime in '96? Yeah. It was a random roadtrip with Irwin Brock. A 74 year old man whom we rented our third floor to. Our tenant for 14 years, he had no other family. Over the years, Irwin sort of became my surrogate-grandfather.
We would take roadtrips to escape the city.
Sometime in the summer of 1996 we had driven through and stopped at Collingwood and Meaford and Owen Sound, winding up at Sauble Beach along Lake Huron. Irwin would whistle at girls from his passenger side window, looking away when the young ladies turned to look back at our car. Of course, invariably, the girls would think it was me, the much younger driver and not Irving who had whistled at them. Dirty looks from all the many girls would result in Irwin Laughing his head off. It was a game we played.
Why was I thinking about Irving (Irwin) Leverne Brock now?
Passing Chatsworth, I'm less than an hour away from Greg's funeral. I decide to stop thinking about 'Good to Great' and turn the radio on. I discover CBC Radio One, broadcasting from Owen Sound. That's appropriate me thinks. I'll listen to radio from Owen Sound as I head to Owen Sound.
The rolling hills have settled and I'm now driving through downtown Owen Sound. I drive past and notice a two storey brick building: Owen Sound Water Filtration Plant.
Two years ago, Walkerton, a rural community in Southern Ontario, had an e.coli outbreak in the town's water supply. A public inquiry would later confirm provincial government downloading of services to towns and villages ultimately was responsible for the e.coli contamination. Thousands become sick. At least six people died. All from drinking regular tap water.
I wonder how safe the water is here?
I also think, 'What a strange question?'
THE FUNERAL SERVICE
I am sitting in the third last pew on the left side of the prayer hall. Above and behind me lies the balcony. The choir is up there, somewhere, beyond my view. The walls are pastel eggshell in tone. Tall stained glass windows under arches complete each wall. Six pillars stand along each side of the prayer hall, disecting twelve of the pews. Atop and leaning in front of each pillar, facing the centre of the prayer hall, are statues. One for each of the main companions (apostles) of Jesus, son of Mary (peace be upon them).
The Priest begins performing the last sacrament and leads the prayer service for Greg's Funeral. At that moment, the more I looked at him, the more he reminded me of Dr. Delk. My Prof at AIC where I studied interest-free banking. I once asked Dr. Delk about the Catholic Faith. He spent the entire afternoon detailing all the rites and rituals and finished by teaching me about the last sacrament. The one dealing with death.
A Roman Catholic funeral has three parts: the wake, where people meet the family and view the usually open casket; the church service or funeral mass; and the burial service done at the graveside.
The evening and night before on Wednesday June 19th, the wake was held in Meaford. I had decided not to attend the wake. Not being a close family friend, indeed never having had even a phone call with Greg, I thought attending the funeral alone would be okay.
The Priest began the service by asking us all to stand. He read aloud the Lord's Prayer, followed by prayers I did not recognize. I remain silent. Others recite along with the Father.
The Father is now standing at the Altar. He is a very tall man, slim, a pepper grey beard rounds out his profile, his eyes lay behind the simple frame of his eyeglasses.
The congregation returns to their seats. The Priest begins the mass by reading from The Gospel According to John, Chapter One. I silently recite Surah Al-Fatiha, Chapter One of the Qur'an: 'Praise be to God-Alone, Lord of the Worlds....'
As the service progressed, I was not sure, but I began to recognize that the Church Funeral service was being combined with the Graveside service. What did that mean?
I had borrowed my mom's small notebook to jot down my thoughts at the funeral. Maybe I'd write something and post it on PostNuke.com? Sitting there in the pew, I felt shy at first. As if everyone would be watching me as I penned my thoughts and wrote down what was being said.
The Father finished reciting the prayer from Chapter One of The Gospel According to John and began to address the assembly, "Both Bob and Leone come from families that can be classified as tribes."
With that first sentence, an almost inaudible wave of laughter and recognition of just how many people from both sides of Greg's family are attending the funeral ripples through the Congregation. People politely look to the left and the right, yeah everybody pretty much knows everybody else. The Father's first words indeed set a lighter tone for the rest of the service.
I still feel the role of outsider as I continue jotting down notes from the Pulpit. I just don't know anybody here. A man in a midnight blue suit sitting beside me, looks down at my notetaking, smiles at me, then nods approvingly. This private gesture having been made, I feel some kind of relief and acceptance that what I'm doing is the right thing to do. It is a difficult feeling to describe, but I would find myself feeling this way again. And again. And again.
The Priest continued, "It may be a surprise to many of you that Greg developed software code for Content Management Systems. To many of us, that may sound boring. A subject as dry as dust...."
The Priest quoted another verse from the Gospel According to John, I put down my pen to listen. The verse he recited dealt with people taking and giving. People being selfish and selfless: takers and givers.
The Father concluded, "Greg was a giver."
He continued, "Earlier this morning, I was reading on the website, there were 400 plus candles on the website...."
(At least 13 more candles had been lit since I left Toronto three hours ago.)
"...The reason for dwelling on this...is that Greg got rid of the Me First, Infantile attitude...Greg decided to Build up the human family."
"Greg didn't say, 'But what can I do?' Instead Greg had a 'willingness to give up'."
"This is a chance to look at our own lives...."
"If you get a chance to be on the Net, see those candles and read what people had to say about Greg. From Kuala Lumpur, from Latvia...." The Father's voice trails off.
The Choir begins again.
Okay, I was expecting to hear about Greg's childhood, his first day at school, his hockey games, his high school days, everything said about Greg so far was directly PostNuke related. "Hunh? What up with that? Why's everything PostNuke? I already know about PostNuke, I want to know about the man, Greg Allan." Maybe I was being selfish in my thoughts?
The Father introduced Sister Edna. She took the Pulpit next. Commenting on the opening prayer from John Chapter One, Sister Edna began,
"I'd like to stay with the [same] theme: 'I am the Light of the World.'"
"Greg was a Light in his world. A light in three different ways."
"The first way Greg was a light, was through PostNuke. This Project was his passion. The people involved are a wonderful group."
"Greg's mom says he's a self-taught computer whiz."
"The second way he was a light in his world, was by being a people person through the internet...."
Sister Edna read aloud a few more sentences, they sounded familiar...OH! She's quoting some of the people commenting about Adam_Baum/Greg Allan on PostNuke.com and on Greg's memorial Candle site....
"An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general." (Jonjo)
"The internet would only be a sticky bunch of wires without the open-minded passion from personalities like Greg Allan." (Tomster)
"Though only speaking with him through a computerized medium, I know he was one of the "good guys" that the world needs more of." (paradoxic)
"The third way of being a light in his world, by being who he was: humble and down to earth."
Sister Edna then quoted an insight about Greg that Vanessa had posted earlier:
"And in times like this I remember we are only on this earth for a short time. And so many times I take it for granted....but there is a quote from Ursula LeGuin that always focuses my attention on what really matters, the journey.
...'It is good to have a goal to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.'"
Sister Edna ended her speech by saying, "Greg, in his 29 years of being with us, everyday was his journey."
The Father then introduced Dave Shaw, who would be speaking on behalf of Greg's family and in a personal capacity as Greg's best friend of 24(!) years.
While Mr. Shaw made his way from one of the pews in front up to the pulpit, I again began thinking about the words just said. Words said by Sister Edna. I thought, 'How come all they're talking about is PostNuke related? I've read these things said about Greg online. Who was Adam_Baum offline?' I feel crappy for even thinking these thoughts at the time, but think of them, I did.
Dave Shaw began, "As each day passes, we learn something new."
"It was a proud day for me, when I was asked to speak about Greg today...."
"March 6th, 1973. It was a boy. 7 pounds, 8 ounces. On a light note, we all know that Greg had put on some weight since then...."
Dave Shaw's one liner results in the first honest loud chuckle from the congregation. Unexpectedly I too find myself smiling.
"About Greg, some simple words: Friend. He was a friend to all walks of life. He cultivated relationships to make true friendships. Life is very fragile...."
"Greg certainly was a true friend."
"My definition of love? 'Caring for someone and wanting to be with that person.'"
"And Greg certainly was loved."
"As we move forward we'll learn we can live without him, but he is wanted and loved."
"I ask each of you to ponder the following words:
Is there a name that comes to mind when you think of these words...?"
Mr. Shaw's voice cracks. I look up from my chicken scratch notetaking. I now see a man broken, shaken, fighting back tears behind those eyeglasses, each hand tight around the sides of the podium to keep himself steady. This is not the same man who just moments ago walked up to the podium.
His emotion definitely is felt throughout the assembly. I almost begin to cry myself. I can almost FEEL Dave Shaw's pain.... Mr. Shaw gathers himself then continues his eulogy. This pause would repeat twice more, and each time I must stop my notetaking to focus, to stop from crying.
"...little insight into just how private this Gentle Man was. Through his patience and guidance he taught us, tutored us on the computer...."
After maybe five minutes, I once again start taking down notes.
"This is then The End. There's not enough time to talk about his good points, so we'll talk about his bad points. And there's only one: 'He's not here'."
"Greg's legacy? Greg did what so many of what many of us strive for: He lead by example."
"Life is full of memories and we're now making new memories of my friend."
Up on the Pulpit, I saw Mr. Shaw sift through some papers until he found what he was looking for. Dave Shaw ended his eulogy for Greg Allan, his best friend, with the following poem:
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
A deep sigh and then Dave Shaw left the pulpit. Step by step he returned to where he originally sat, in one of the front rows. The Father called for the PallBearers. Everybody stood up. I tried to see who they were, but the people in front of me stood up before I could see.
I had my little jamcam digital camera with me. I had thought by now I might have had enough courage to snap some photos inside the church. 'If there is no Record, there is no History' is something I think to myself from time to time. Am I the only one here 'recording' Greg's Funeral? Other than the Angels, I don't know.
As the coffin made its way down the centre aisle, I decided NOT to take any pictures.
Looking right for the first time, I notice the entire row I am sitting in is almost empty...'Hey! where'd all those people beside me go?'
As Greg's Coffin passed by my own row, a poem by Charles Wolfe my dad had taught me, recited itself in my mind:
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corpse to the rampart we hurried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning.
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone--
But we left him alone with his glory.
God's will took over at this point, because I don't remember taking the two pictures. Later, after I got home I was surprised when I downloaded the day's photos and found two 'extra' shots. I stitched them together. You can see that photo by CLICKING HERE.
Behind the PallBearers, I would later learn were members of Greg's immediate family. They walked hand in hand, tears and all, down the aisle. I looked to the back of the church, and the coffin was now passing through the same doorway that I had hesitated to enter only a hour or so before.
The rows emptied, one by one. The first row, the first pew, where Greg's parents, brother, girlfriend and daughters sat were now empty. People from the second row followed the first, people from the third followed people from the second. And on it went. Visually, it was graceful. Almost soothing. Strange that I was fascinated with how smooth everything and everyone seemed to be moving.
There were so many people packed in the front and central pews that it took many many minutes for the church hall to empty. Sitting there, waiting for my turn to leave, I see a young couple now speaking with Sister Edna. I had wanted to introduce myself to her, but I wasn't sure just how to break the ice. I noticed the Priest was still here and he was alone.
INTRODUCTIONS . . .
I walked up and introduced myself: "Uhhh, AsalamAlayKum, my name is HïMY Syed and I'm from Toronto..."
"--OH YOU're the one who left that message? I read this morning someone was driving from Toronto," the Father says to me.
"Yeah, that's me," I mumble back. This unexpected recognition floors me. The Father and I have an instant rapport.
I express my condolences to him. His proper christian name is Father Steve LaCroix. He is six-feet-three or six-four, soft humble eyes atop a thin frame. His body language is quiet and graceful as he put out the candles and put away the materials used in the funeral mass. In his youth I wonder if basketball was his game? Up close Father LaCroix does indeed LOOK like my old college prof, Dr. Delk.
We speak about PostNuke of course. I think the fact that Father LaCroix saw me, a PostNuker, in person somehow made the online condolences and online memorial candle messages less distant. I was not in far-off Malaysia or far-off Latvia. I was down the road in near-by Toronto.
Father LaCroix had read each and every message left for Greg right up until Thursday morning. As we speak, I get a sense that each and every condolence posted by members of the PostNuke community touched Father LaCroix's heart. Profoundly.
I begin to understand why the words said for Greg during the funeral service focused on PostNuke and Greg's contribution to it: Greg's friends and family and Father LaCroix too, just 48 hours before, had NO IDEA how much Greg meant to all of you out there, in the PostNuke Community. All of your messages, the memorial candles you lit, surprised the people who knew Greg in his home town of Meaford, Ontario; surprised those in Greg's immediate family; surprised his close circle of friends.
To end my conversation with Father LaCroix, I suggest that as people download the PostNuke software and then install it to run their own PostNuked websites, it is very much a modern day application of the parable of the miracle of the Fish and the Loaves. Where Jesus, Son of Mary (Peace be upon them both), fed the multitudes with what seemed like so little food. Today, instead of unlimited fish and bread, the miracle of unlimited downloading of PostNuke code, from files uploaded on the main PostNuke.com website just once, provides everyday netizens with the power to run their own websites.
Father LaCroix says, "Why, I hadn't thought of it that way, but yes! It is. YOU should have been speaking up there instead of me."
"Me?!?" I'm just a PostNuke User, not even a programmer, I never even spoke to Greg. Embarrassed, I quickly change the subject. I ask for directions to the cemetary. Father LaCroix answers, "Oh, there's no burial. Greg's to be cremated."
Cremated? I thought Catholics could only be buried? Not cremated. Well, what do I know? I'm muslim, he's the Parish Priest, and he knows his business. I can't attend a graveside burial, but Father LaCroix invites me to, "Go to St. Vincent Roman Catholic Church at the Corner of Cook and Collingwood Streets in Meaford. There will be a 'celebration' in Greg's Memory."
He again thanks me for attending the funeral. As we shake hands goodbye, Father LaCroix honours me by saying, "Salam." Arabic for peace. His right hand then nears his heart in true muslim tradition. The end of our conversation ends as it began: For the second time this morning, I am floored.
The Church Parking Lot
Sister Edna is still speaking with the young couple. I exit through the front sidedoor of the church to find myself in a parking lot now full of people. Unlike my solitary arrival, many many people are standing, milling about, quietly reflecting and no doubt sharing 'Greg' moments.
I try to guess who Greg's immediate family members are. I had only caught a glimpse of them inside the church. There are just so many people here. I can't pick them out.
The funeral hearse is still parked at the end of the main path, almost in front of me. The rear door of the vehicle is still open. Six of the eight pallbearers, their task now complete, stand nearby. They resemble an honour guard. Between dark curtains and through tinted windows, I see Greg's casket lying in the rear of the hearse. Is this the last time I would ever 'see' Greg?
I Don't Know.
Again that strange feeling. Being a visible minority in Toronto has not been an issue for many years. So many languages, so many colours of people, so many different types of people, somehow all of us get along. With over 100 nationalities in my hometown, The World Cup of Football currently being played is celebrated as much on our streets of Toronto as they are in each team's home country, without so much as an argument between T.O. residents of different heritage when one country defeats another on the soccer fields in South Korea or Japan.
Not since being 10 or 12 years of age have I consciously felt stared at in Toronto. Small town Ontario is different. Some locales throughout Canada may literally only have a couple of Chinese people and a handful of African-Canadians. Not to mention South Asians and people of mixed heritage.
Standing in the parking lot, I recall a long ago dinner at a restaurant in Oshawa, Ontario, a city of 120,000 people and General Motors' world headquarters. I couldn't get through my meal without noticing all those staring at me. They didn't stop, I could almost feel their negative vibes. Standing alone in the parking lot amongst all of Greg's friends and family, that feeling was absolutely absent. No one was staring, no negative vibes, I felt accepted. Normal.
I felt comfortable enough to snap a photo: to view it CLICK HERE. As one can see, no one seems to even notice HïMY as amatuer photo-journalist.
Seeing no other cameras in the crowd and having taken my photo, I feel better. I've recorded something. 'If there is no record, there is no history.'
Not knowing anyone, I pick out a well dressed gentleman at random and introduce myself, "Uh, excuse me. Hello. My name is HïMY Syed, I'm from Toronto. I knew Adam_Baum, uhhh, I mean Greg, through the computer. Do you know who his family are? I'd like to pay my condolences before I head back to T.O." (T.O. is short for T.oronto O.ntario. Like N.Y. for New York.)
Turns out, I am speaking with one of Greg's uncles from the Cahoon side of his clan. He points out Kim and Kassie and Kris and Brian and Bob and Leone to me. They're standing not quite in a semi-circle as people await their turn to pay one last respect before leaving for the day. They were right there, just a few meters from me, how come I didn't notice them before?
Greg's uncle asks if I have met Florin? Florin...Florin..."OH, he runs the KitchenerYouth.com website, right?" His uncle didn't know. He looked around for Florin, to introduce us to each other, but no luck. There were so many people in the parking lot, that it was hard to see if Florin was still here.
I had read and re-read all the comments posted after the announcement about Greg's death enough times, that I actually recognized Florin's name and made the connection to his KitchenerYouth.com PostNuked website. Later, I'd learn I kept mispronouncing his name, it's 'Florin' not 'FlorIAN'. Oops, sorry dude!
With no sign of Florin, this first of Greg's uncle introduces me to a second of Greg's uncles. They both share some personal thoughts about their nephew, "...He was a great guy on the computer," says one.
I still didn't understand exactly how Greg had died? "Oh, he was going to work and he was cut off..." the second uncle answers my query.
The family are still talking with people. "Even his parents didn't know he'd gone that far into, into computers...," the first uncle says as he walks me to the pallbearers and introduces me to them. No one was standing with them and it was as good a time as any for me to pay my condolences to these six men. These were six of the eight close best friends of Greg Allan. One by one, we shake hands.
I tell them I'm sorry to hear about Adam -- I meant Greg. I'd have to stop doing that: Calling Greg Adam. Yet everybody seemed to understand.
Throughout the day, I would keep saying Adam_(Baum) instead of Greg without thinking. Each time I said Adam added to the realization that I was describing and perhaps opening up a world for those who only knew 'Adam_Baum' as Greg Allan. For those of us online, it was the other way around.
96 hours beforehand, hardly a soul in Meaford knew Greg's online nick was Adam_Baum. By now, hardly a soul in Meaford did not know Adam_Baum as their very own Greg Allan. One and the same.
The PallBearers were Greg's camping buddies. In Ontario, we have a summer habit, some may say addiction, of 'Going Up North' with our closest friends: to the cottage; to national parks; to beaches; to campgrounds; all to escape the city. Greg was no different.
The Pallbearers remained quiet, in a reflective mood. Perhaps still in shock at the death of their bestfriend. Maybe the burden of carrying their bestfriend into a funeral hearse minutes ago lay heavy on their hearts. I don't know.
In the rest of the world, to start a conversation, people talk about the weather. In Ontario, we talk Hockey. Hockey is the real Lingua Franca of Canada and Greg's pallbearers and I are able to break the ice. Greg was a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers in the midst of a province full of Toronto Maple Leafs fans (Okay, maybe there are one or two Ottawa Senators fans in Ontario as well. I just don't know who either of them are, and I once lived in Ottawa...).
I glance back at the hearse, the rear door is now closed. They are preparing to leave the Church parking lot.
These were the men who Greg would 'go up north' with. These were the men who today as PallBearers helped Greg 'Go Up North' one last time:
As far as I was concerned, 'North' today meant 'Heaven'.
As I finish writing down the names of the six men I had just met and the two I hadn't, a jolly voice shouts out loudly from my left, "Follow the PallBearers cuz that's where there's beer!"
It is Dave Shaw.
But it is a different Dave Shaw.
The Dave Shaw I saw up on the Pulpit had to stop speaking several times while fighting back tears. He tried not to break down in front of everyone as he delivered the eulogy for Greg. This Dave Shaw reminded me of big kid, whose face by definition was the word 'smile'.
This Dave Shaw in front of me was a joking, uplifting, confident man.
I try to introduce myself, but by now others are doing that for me. Dave thanks me, sincerely thanks me for showing up today. We shake hands. I mumble back about it being the least I could do. He asks if I have met Greg's parents and family yet? Nope. He steps away for a moment.
I meet one more of Greg's uncles, the third in five minutes. His name is Leonard Cahoon. He says of his nephew, "He was a master on the computer...what he did is a wonderful thing...it opened up the world for younger people." I do not disagree.
Uncle Leonard introduces me to a young couple. The same young couple who were speaking with Sister Edna inside the church: Dean and Natasha Smith.
"Oh! Hey, my name is HïMY Syed, I'm from Toronto, I think we spoke on the phone?" Dean answers in the affirmative. We shake hands. I express my sadness at the loss of their best friend. Natasha's face lights up and asks if I have met Florin? Nope, not yet. I thank Dean for the directions he gave me over the phone. He smiles back.
Natasha looks like everyone's kid sister. Not the girl next door, but the look of being everyone's kid sister. It's easy to imagine Natasha and Greg bugging the hell out of each other in the friendly sibling rivalry kind of way. Before I can confirm this out loud, Dave Shaw has returned with Greg's Mom and Dad in tow.
Greg's mom walks up to me, neither of us know whether to hug or shake hands or what. I quickly say, "My name is HïMY Syed, I'm from Toronto..." We shake hands. Leone Allan, Greg's mom, says she is so happy to meet me. To meet someone, "...from The PostNuke." She asks if I met Florin? Nope. Not yet.
She says to me, "So, the PostNuke, it's a 'Search Engine' right?" I hesitate an answer, "yeee-ess..it 'can' be a search engine...."
"So it's a website then?" Greg's mom asks next.
"Ummm...." I realize by now that explaining PostNuke to Greg's mom may be no different than explaining PostNuke to MY mom. I wonder if Greg's mom threw out his comics books when Greg was growing up, just like my mom threw out my comic books in the trash when I was a kid...some things are constant in the universe.
I meet Greg's 16 year old kid brother, Brian. He's decked out in a blue t-shirt and ball cap. I wonder if Brian reads comic books?
I now meet and shake hands with Greg's father, Bob Allan.
Then something unexpected happened. Three different sets of people came and introduced themselves to me and I introduced myself to them. I lost count, but I think two or three different sets of people walked up to Bob Allan and again expressed their sadness, their sincere wishes of comfort and condolence at his son's death.
All the while, neither of us have let go from the handshake. It might have been one or two full minutes before we let go, but shaking the hand of Greg's father, I just couldn't leave his gentle grasp. Meanwhile people have come and gone, speaking to each of us separately. Bob and I are facing and speaking with people in opposite directions.
A thought lingers in my mind...'If I leave now, I could make it home to T.O. and beat the ever-earlier rush hour traffic, which nowadays begins around three p.m.'
With my and Bob's hands still in handshake mode, I realize how selfish I am. What the hell is wrong with me? Here I am shaking the hand of a man who hours ago lost his son, and I'm thinking of beating the afternoon traffic?
There's no way I can leave now. Bob asks me if I have time to come to Meaford for a lunch in Greg's memory?
My answer, "I've nothing else planned for today, I'm at your disposal."
Bob smiles back.
By now, the hearse is gone. I'd been so busy meeting Greg's loved ones that I hadn't noticed it drive away.
"...yes...'Adam_Baum' was Greg's secret identity...yeah, kinda like Spider-Man...eh?" I confirm to someone.
I meet Kim, Kris and Kassie, Greg's girlfriend and two daughters. I speak with Sister Edna for the first time. More of the aunts and uncles. It's like no one wants to leave. Right there standing in the parking lot, we were all celebrating Greg's life.
For another twenty minutes or so, everyone's gathered around me in the church parking lot. I speak with each and every one of them. I lost count at sixty people and had to stop taking notes of what everyone said.
I ask if it's possible to see the gas station where Greg worked. Dave Shaw tells me it's his gas station where Greg pumped gas and coded PostNuke inbetween customers. He'd be very happy if I visited. He then tells me the Name of his gasbar. I laugh like anything. I ask Dave to repeat the name, and again, I laugh and immediately forget the name.
I want to speak with Dean and Natasha, somehow though, we don't get a chance to continue our conversation.
Everybody is eager to tell me about Greg Allan. Everybody is eager to hear about Adam_Baum.
My chicken-scratch notetaking handwriting is so bad now, I could qualify as a doctor. I find myself thinking I'm playing the role of Thomas Mann taking down notes about Archibald 'Moonlight' Graham in Chisholm Minnesota from the movie Field of Dreams. Only it's Greg in Owen Sound instead of Moonlight Graham in Minnesota.
I learn about last night's wake. Over 400 people visited the Ferguson Funeral Home in Meaford. They saw Greg one last time in an open casket and expressed their support and sadness to the Allan and Beacock families. Greg's family began receiving people around 6:00 p.m. and they were scheduled to end by 8 p.m., 8:30 at the latest.
"...But there were people lined up outside waiting to get [into the funeral home] right up until 11:30..." Greg's mom tells me.
"...We had to turn people away, there were so many people there last night." Kim finishes the thought.
"Sounds a lot like the Trudeau Funeral..." I say. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, love him or hate him, when he died, the country mourned as a nation. Thousands of people drove, flew, biked and just plain walked up to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to pay their final respects to our fallen former two time Prime Minister.
I also had driven to Ottawa and waited in line a full five hours and change, to pay my respects to Mr. Trudeau as he lay in State in the Hall of Honour, Centre Block. "I think I understand about last night," I say.
Looking around the Owen Sound Church parking lot, it suddenly hits me: everybody's waiting for 'me' to leave before they all head out to Meaford and the lunch in Greg's honour.
Back in 2000, I waited long into the early morning hours to see Mr. Trudeau's casket and to touch the Canadian Flag draped over it. The RCMP had announced the night before that, "No one would be turned away, no matter how late it became. Everybody would get to pay their final respects to Mr. Trudeau."
Just before my turn came to stand before the coffin, I counted the people behind me, I was the 52nd last person in line. After paying my respects, about 30 seconds later, I looked back as they were locking the Front Doors of the Parliament Building. Then as now, I feel I'm holding people up.
I was one of the last ever people to sign a message for Mr. Trudeau in the hundreds of condolence books sitting open on the tables behind the Hall of Honour. Still not knowing what to write, I looked back at the four members of Canada's armed services holding vigil by Mr. Trudeau. The only thing I can think of is something my dad taught me. I began to write down,
"Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corpse to the rampart we hurried...."
The sun hangs in a cloudless blue sky approaching midday, we're all getting more UV than is prudent. I ask for driving directions to the Meaford lunch and get two different versions. Greg's dad Bob solves this by asking whether I'd like to ride with him and Greg's mom in their minivan? Or maybe I want to follow them in my car? Yep, that makes sense. Everybody who's still in the parking lot, about twenty or thirty people in all, head to their cars.
The Drive to Meaford
Walking to my car, I can't help but think how generous Bob Allan's offer of driving me to and from Meaford really is. It's like 30 km away and on this day of all days, Greg's dad is thinking of easing the burden on others. This is the man who raised Greg Allan to be Adam_Baum. Certainly the fruit of generosity doesn't fall far from the tree.
I'd parked the car on the corner. I look at the windshield.
There is no ticket.
I turn the A/C on inside the Honda, perform a ridiculous five point turn and negotiate back the way I came.
I'm now following Bob and Leone's minivan.
A red Mazda Miata lane changes passing from my right to my left. The license plate reads 'LIASBABY'. My mind hyperlinks to a programmer I greatly admired: David Cutler. He helped author Digital Computer's VAX/VMS operating system. DEC rewarded Cutler by allowing him to pursue any project he wanted. Cutler hated the head office corporate bureaucracy in Boston. He looked for a major city in the U.S. that didn't have direct flights to and from Boston. This would hinder anyone from head office rushing out to bother Cutler in person.
Allah smiled on Microsoft that day because the only major city that fit Cutler's criteria was Seattle, Washington. It's been said the only programmer Bill Gates was ever weak-kneed in front of was David Cutler. Gates may never have been in a room alone with him. When they are in the same room, others report that Gates avoids eye contact with Cutler. Gates may be in awe to the point of feeling intimidated by him. Cutler is a hundred times the programming genius Gates could ever be, and Mr. Bill knows this.
Microsoft needed a networking operating system to crush Novell's Netware, who at the time owned the networking space.
Cutler plus Microsoft could equal Novell Nowhere instead of Novell Netware.
I muse at the similarity of Dave Cutler with his Project and Adam_Baum/Greg Allan with the PostNuke Project.
Digital Equipment Corporation, DEC or just plain 'Digital' for short, had an operating system for minicomputers, called VMS. It was Cutler's baby. As reward for the success of VAX/VMS, Cutler was allowed to create his dream computer and operating system. That project dubbed 'Prism' was cancelled shortly before its launch. Cutler's loyal team of developers and engineers were crushed. Culter gave them all a month off with pay until he figured out how to take care of his people. PHP-Nuke developers who later jumped to PostNuke may recognize themselves here.
After moving from DEC in Seattle to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, it could be said that Windows NT began as a 'fork' of the Digital VAX/VMS operating system. At least philosophically. The DEC executives back in Maynard, Massachusettes decided to drop the matter. Cutler was gone and that was that.
Cutler cut a sweet deal for himself and his loyal band of Digital escapees. As time wore on, Cutler's team flew past 200 plus members. All working to release the first version of Windows NT. With bonuses and Microsoft stock options being cashed in, many of Cutler's crew bought Mazda Miatas. The team joked that the Miata had become 'The Company Car'.
The light turns green and 'LIASBABY' turns left. I continue straight ahead through the intersection following Bob and Leone and Brian in their minivan.
Soon enough I'm driving past a small airport. Heck, I could drive right onto the runway! It is so close to the road. The sign announces, 'Welcome to Owen Sound Billy Bishop Regional Airport'. Billy Bishop is one of the most famous Canadians in military history. Over his career, Bishop shot down 72 enemy fighter aircraft, including the well known Red Baron.
Greg Allan like Billy Bishop are both sons of the Owen Sound area.
I am glad there are no direct flights between Owen Sound, Ontario and Seattle, Washington.
A sign up ahead reads: "Meaford 27 km."
Unlike my earlier drive of the day, this one will be short. Like my earlier drive of the day, my mind is peppered with questions and thoughts and reflections about Greg Allan, Adam_Baum.
I notice my radio's off. I decide silence is a better travelling companion at the moment.
Who 'was' Greg Allan?
What am I going to say to his family?
I'm still not sure what I'm doing here...
When did Greg get his first computer?
Was it a Trash-80 or a Commie 64? (TRS-80, Commodore 64)
What was the name of Greg's hockey team?
He had a dog, right?
Oh Allah, don't let me screw this up. Don't let me say the wrong thing...
How come his family didn't know what he was doing on the computer?
Isn't there a PostNuked website for the town of Meaford?
Why didn't Greg ever leave this part of Ontario?
Where would he go camping?
He was a biker. That's how he died. What happened?
If I just shut up and try my best to answer the questions directly, I don't think I can screw this up.
I won't say something that might hurt someone's feelings unexpectedly.
Why did everyone back at the church keep asking me what 'exactly' PostNuke was?
Didn't they know?
How come they didn't know?
Two stop signs, two traffic lights later, we are in Meaford, Ontario. Population 4,400.
The town's Welcome sign says, 'Visit us online at Meaford.com'. I Smirk. Note to self: must visit website when I get home.
We've reached St. Vincent's Roman Catholic Church. The only parking spot left is the one reserved for the Parish Priest. Greg's dad rolls down his window and tells me, "Go ahead and park there, no one'll mind."
I park in front of the 'Reserved' sign. Waiting for Bob and Leone and Brian, I begin to sweat standing in the sun. I miss the A/C already and it's not even been a minute since I got out of the car. A cool air conditioned car....
It was kind of funny, me standing by my car in the Priest's parking spot. Bob says something and I answer back, "It seems like I've been 'promoted'." We share a chuckle as we enter the Meaford Church.
At the base of the stairs, I see Father LaCroix, decked out in the usual black shirt and white collar that completes the uniform of the catholic clergy.
"Have you met Florin?" I nod no, and Father LaCroix introduces me to the man standing next to him.
Ah! The Other PostNuker present. I am so glad. I look into the church basement hall, and again, there are so many people, there's hardly an empty seat at any of the tables. It's good Florin could be here. Otherwise everybody would be asking me alone what PostNuke was all about.
I need to freshen up. Looking in the mirror, I'm glad I shaved the night before.
The buffet table is filled with finger foods, mostly meat I do not recognize. Well, heck, how could anyone here know a non-pork-eating-muslim from T.O. would drive up for the funeral?
I take some fruit and cake and coffee and look for an empty chair. There's one across from Sister Edna and an old guy. Good enough.
Walking to the table, I overhear two gentlemen, "I've never seen this many people in the church before, ever," the first one says. "Yeah this must be the most people they've ever had for a funeral..." adds the second.
The basement is packed.
I ask and am welcomed into the free seat. Again I am surrounded by Greg's aunts and uncles and cousins. Sister Edna begins by asking me, "...exactly what is PostNuke?"
I go into detail, right from the beginning, the difference between HTML only websites, static sites, and PHP sites, like PostNuke. And why I believe for me, PostNuke is the best overall solution out there. Not because of its technology, but because of the people behind and involved with the project, directly and indirectly. I point to people around the room and those at the table understand what I'm saying.
I'm sitting beside another of Greg's Aunts, Cheryl Cahoon. I ask her about Greg. She asks more about PostNuke. She tells me a few stories of Greg. Quiet at times, but a doer, not a spectator in life.
Cheryl returns the conversation to computers. I compare HTML sites to, "...a plain old answering machine, whereas PostNuke is a full-blown automated, customizable PBX-Office phone system. Now imagine that you cannot buy this whiz-bang phone system, but can download it for free..." They're beginning to understand just how important Greg's gift to the world was.
Natasha comes over from her table and places her hands on my shoulders, like any sister would a big brother. I think my hunch was right about her. I get Natasha's hint that I should visit some other tables. Somehow answering questions about PostNuke at Sister Edna's table keeps me seated there.
The old guy across from me turns out to be Greg's grandfather, Howard Cahoon. Reminds me of Irwin. I ask him about his grandson.
"He was a nice lad...always on the computer...." For a few more minutes Greg's grandpa and I discuss PostNuke. Greg's role in it. And why so many around the world are missing him too.
It is hard for a parent to lose a child. And how about a grandparent who loses a grandchild? 'The reason grandparents and grandkids get along so well is because they have a common enemy.' I recall my dad teaching me that one.
Grandpa Howard and I are now standing. It's time for him to leave. The crowd has thinned out. It is a workday after all. Even in a town of 4,400 work must go on. Many had taken the morning off to attend the funeral, or at the very least, took an extended lunch break to pay their respects to Greg's family here in the Meaford Church.
Dave Shaw walks up to me and we talk more about his Friend. His Best Friend. We talk about hockey for the second time. About the gibes they shared when comparing the Leafs to the Flyers. Dave looked familiar to me since I first saw him at the church in Owen Sound. But I can't place from where just yet....
"Greg was a Gentle Man. Not just a gentleman, but a 'Gentle Man'." Dave continues to tell me about Greg's character. Dave met Greg on his first day of school. Greg was five. Dave Shaw was the school bus driver. Right from that moment, there was some kind of a bond. A connection of like minds and like outlooks on life. I picture the last scene from the movie Forrest Gump: Forrest Jr. makes friends with the bus driver.
Dave tells me he's sixty five. I can't believe that! He's like some big kid, all goofing around. Listening to Dave talk about the gasbar where they both worked, it suddenly hits me exactly who Dave Shaw is. Or rather, his role in history of PostNuke.
"--Hey waitaminute! Listening to you, something just popped into my mind. I recognize who you are to Greg." I interrupt Dave.
"Oh yeah? who?" Dave asks with a look of puzzlement.
"Today, no one remembers the names of bankers from centuries ago. Who cares? But the 'Medicis' are remembered as bankers who sponsored the arts. Especially Michael Angelo. They sponsored his financial needs and it freed him to be the best at what he truly was, an Artist. Just like you as a businessman, owning the gasbar, allowed Greg to do what he was really great at, be a software programmer...." I notice the look on Dave's face has changed.
"Well. I never thought of it that way, but yes, I suppose it is..." Dave Shaw says softly. I think I have embarrased him, but I know it to be the truth. Without Dave Shaw, there'd be no Greg in PostNuke.
In one corner of the church basement, Greg's mom was standing by a tripod and bulletin board. A number of photos of Greg growing up were pushpinned and thumbtacked to the corkboard.
Things are winding down and only a few people are left. Time to remove the photos from the board. Leone is having a hard time doing that. Every picture she removes from the board brings a sigh and a pause.
I walk up and ask Greg's mom about the photos: where and when they were taken. She beams as she tells me more about the Greg only she knew. I ask about one particular photo, the big one pinned to the centre of the board. It's the one we've all seen on Greg's candlelight memorial website. Earlier, Kim had told me about it. Leone fills in details about the day it was taken. Greg was going to a party with a 70's theme. He borrowed some of his dad's old 'Disco Clothing' to get into costume, including the hat. At that party four years ago Kim and Greg met for the first time. Leone brightens up as she shares this memory with me (to see a few of these photos, CLICK HERE).
I hope Greg's mom feels better.
Looking around, I see Florin's gone too. 'Nuts, I shoulda spoke to him more when I had the chance.' Aw well, next time.
I ask Bob how to get to Dave Shaw's gasbar. He does one better. Greg's dad suggests the entire family would be happy if they could show me around not just the gasbar, but some of the places that were important to Greg. I accept.
I'm introduced to the dozen or so relatives who're still hanging out, still holding on to this moment in Greg's memory, for as long as possible. Two cousin sisters. Two uncles, one I'd met earlier in Owen Sound. Another aunt. Well, yes...Greg did come from a Catholic family, eh? Or rather paraphrasing Father LaCroix, Greg belonged to a Catholic Tribe.
Before we leave the Meaford Church, thus ending this celebration lunch in Greg's memory, I ask if it would be appropriate to snap a photo of Greg's Family. They are happy to do so. Greg and Leone. Dean and Natasha. Greg's parents. Greg's best friends. I can't believe it's only 1:30 in the afternoon, it's already felt like an entire day! I snap the photo. To see it, CLICK HERE.
Again I find myself following behind the minivan as we drive to Greg's parents' home. I am grateful for these natural pauses in the day. There has been so much genuine emotion and sincere welcoming of me, that I'm beyond overwhelmed. These are good people.
At Greg's parents' home, I park in their driveway, then take my place beside Brian in the backseat of the minivan. There's a ballcap lying on the seat. I look at it and smile. Once in a while, at important points in my own life, a specific word and number show up. A milestone if you will, that I'm on the right track. The text on this ballcap are exactly those signs. I stare at it in desbelief. I ask Brian about it and he explains he's a skateboarder and the meaning behind the hat.
In his youth, Greg used to skateboard. Greg moved on to other extreme sports, but Brian still at sixteen, took up where his elder brother left off. Hmmm, Greg and extreme sports. Sounds about right. I am getting glimpses of who Greg Allan really was before he became Adam_Baum.
Next Stop: The Gasbar where Greg worked...and coded.
The minivan pulls onto the gravel and stops in front of the sign. Greg's parents and Greg's girlfriend Kim, remain in the air conditioned minivan as I head out to see Dave Shaw and the Desk where Greg coded PostNuke. I ask Brian to come along.
Dave's on the phone as we enter. Inside the Gasbar building, it feels a lot bigger that it does by looking at it from the outside. Busy, but an organized space. All great artists have order with their tools, their work, their environment. They respect themselves. Immediately I see this is a place with hustle and bustle. This is also a place where quiet serious work can produce results. The Yin. And The Yang.
How many of us at our computers, sitting in Dilbertesque cubefarms bitch and moan about how we can't get anything done at work; how work keeps us mentally fatigued into the non-work areas of our lives; how there's no time for anything?
Dave Shaw quickly finishes his phone call and greets me with a smile as wide as King Street in Toronto.
He's very happy to see me, to show me where Greg worked. I ask if the chair Dave was sitting in was the same chair Greg sat in as he coded? More than that: Dave points out the chair Greg sat in; where the exact spot on the desk that Greg's laptop would be placed for most of the workday; how the entire office was wired for internet access; Greg's books; and lastly his...business cards...?
Business cards? What did Greg need with business cards? I thought he pumped gas?
At this point Dave takes us to a small room behind the front desk. A rather large closet actually. Greg and Dave had turned this little storage space into a high tech recording studio. The space was so SMALL, again everything was orderly, no mess or tangle of wires. Clipboards where you'd expect them to be. A microphone fixed where it should be. There's a window between the public part of the gasbar and this little room. Perhaps a foot high by two feet wide. I hadn't noticed it before.
Brian is as surprised by this as I am. How come Brian didn't know his elder brother was starting a business? He shrugs and repeats the refrain of the teenager: "I dunno."
Dave Shaw is not surprised at this. It confirmed again how private and personal this man Greg really was.
I ask how long Dave and Greg had been working on this business idea? Dave lets go a sincere sigh and reveals two things: first they'd been working on this for two years; and second, StudioNorth was to be officially 'launched' this week. But Greg never made it to this week. He was cut off in a motorcycle accident. He died on Sunday.
I don't know what to say. Neither does Brian. Dave continues and again I learn just how important Dave Shaw is/was to PostNuke. Take a look at the following url:
Click around. Look at the source code. Familiar? It should be.
Dave reveals the 'REASON' Greg got involved with PHP-Nuke then PostNuke, StudioNorth needed a website. Greg took the open source code and aligned it into their business plan. Then something extraordinary happened, Greg did not stop at taking care of the StudioNorth.ca website. StudioNorth didn't need all the extra modules and blocks many of us employ on our own PostNuked websites.
Greg joined three other musketeers, John Cox, Sean Finkle and Harry Zink, to form the core group of PHP programmers who founded the PostNuke Content Management System.
My mind is racing, what if Greg stopped and built up StudioNorth last year, before jumping from PHP-Nuke to PostNuke? Would there be a PostNuke? My own website might still be stuck with that 'other' CMS.
I don't think Dave Shaw truly understands how much of an indirect impact on the PostNuke world he himself has had....I try to articulate this out loud, but just can't put the words together. I decide to shut up and listen as Dave continues to teach me more about Greg's World.
Dave tells me the gasbar has about 200 regular customers, and 200 more once in a while regulars. All of them, at least 400 people had stopped by since Monday morning to personally express their condolences to Dave for losing his best friend. Yes, it is a business and yes, monetary transactions do take place here, but every customer who paid a condolence call at the gasbar expressed to Dave that they too had lost a friend.
Of all the people who came, Dave Shaw says there was only one, just one person, who said anything remotely negative. That single customer said to Dave as he paid for his gas, "So, I guess you lost an employee?"
Dave never thought of Greg as an employee. If anything, they were business partners. Though the Gasbar on paper belonged to Dave, it took care of both men and their families:
"..We shared everything...It was not a boss - employee relationship...."
"...We pumped gas to make a living, but we had fun at it."
"..Greg worked sometimes for 14 hours a day...we had a ball."
"...I usually worked 12 hours a day."
How many thousands of hours did Greg code PostNuke while at the Gasbar? We'll never know.
Before we leave, I ask Dave if I can take a picture of where Greg usually sat as he programmed PostNuke code. He betters my request by suggesting Brian be in the picture. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy the title of a wide bound book: "Core PHP Programming: Using PHP to Build Dynamic Web Sites by Leon Atkinson".
This was the book Greg used to teach himself PHP. Wow! That book's an important piece of history.
I ask Brian to hold up the book. His smile disappears as he realizes his brother who would normally be sitting here at this time of the day, would never sit here again. A seriousness takes over Brian's profile as he holds up the book. I take the photo. To see where Greg worked and coded, CLICK HERE.
The Clocks on the wall, the North American map markered up into its different time zones, the computer itself: all were part of the Recording and Creative Production business that were to be launched this week. I learn another business partner of Greg and Dave's was back in Toronto, a woman by the name of Linda, she would be helping with production and recruitment for their media company.
It would now fall to Dave and Linda alone, to make StudioNorth another of Greg's legacies and gifts to the World.
In most small towns, people wear many hats. Meaford is no different. When Greg was five years old and on his way to the first day of school, Dave Shaw was driving the school bus. Many years later, Dave still drives schoolkids to and from home everyday. It's almost 3 pm, time for Dave Shaw to wear the hat of a school bus driver.
Who takes care of the Gasbar now that Greg's gone? "The other Dave. Dave Muir."
He'd been outside helping customers and hadn't joined our conversation yet. We shake hands and I'm introducing myself to yet another of Greg's friends.
I ask for the mailing address of the gasbar and Dave hands me a StudioNorth Contact flyer. Greg himself had printed it out last week. Dave also offers me a StudioNorth business card.
Being freshly cut, two of the cards stick together and accidently I'm holding two cards instead of one. Dave asks for one back and I say, "No, it's okay, I'd like to have two cards...." Dave shrugs then smiles again.
These StudioNorth business cards were made by Greg's very own hands. On the colour printer in the office. Perhaps using the same kitchen scissors I see on the desk, Greg had handcut these cards, hence the uneveness along the edges.
I felt damn near special to actually be holding something in my hands that Greg had made with his own hands shortly before he died four days ago. Whenever anyone in the world surfs to a PostNuked website, they too are touching something made by Greg's hand: the PHP software code typed out in this very gasbar.
When my dad passed away back '91, we found some frozen beef kabobs that he'd placed in the freezer for use later in the week. A week or so after my dad's death, I returned to Toronto after flying my dad's body halfway around the world to be buried as per his wishes in a distant country. Once home, my mom cooked some of those kabobs every few days until there were no more. It was a way to make a connection somehow with my dad. Strange, I know, but a connection nonetheless.
Holding Greg's handmade business cards in my own hands brought back this memory of my father. Holding Greg's handmade business cards I felt and still feel whenever I hold them, a direct connection with Adam_Baum and Greg Allan. Greg had made these cards double-sided. Once I got home, I realized why my subconscious wanted two cards instead of just one: to see why, CLICK HERE.
With two cards, I can show and you can read both the back and the front of the card in the picture. Double-sided cards. Greg thought of things like that, these little details, that extra eighth of an inch that makes the difference. I'm not a programmer, but I'm pretty sure, those of you out there who coded with Greg know this to be true.
Dave has to drive the school bus now. Time for Brian and I to return to the minivan.
Before getting in, I snap a photo of what Dave Shaw repeated throughout my time with him: "THE WORLD'S LARGEST MEAFORD GASBAR AND CHARM SCHOOL"
To see the 'World's Largest Meaford Gasbar and Charm School', CLICK HERE.
I had asked more than once about Greg's first computer. To see the machine, we'd need to visit Kim and Greg's house.
A short drive and we're in a nice tree lined neighbourhood. Greg's car is parked out front and I think I see a dog.
Since Greg's death Kim has stayed away from the house. Too many memories of Greg. Too soon. When Kim tells me this, I feel guilty about being here. She says she doesn't mind. "I'm okay," she says.
Just a week ago Kim had completed her training as a hair stylist and was about to begin a different career. Greg took Kim out to celebrate at one of Meaford's better restaurants. It was the Tuesday before the accident. She was to begin her new career this week. Kim, like Dave Shaw, had to put her new plan on hold.
Kim tells me she's not ready to start anything new, "It's too soon." When she's ready, she'll return to her current job: at the Tim Horton's.
We're in Greg's living room, Kim, Brian and I. Kim points to the playstation game console that Greg would play on for an hour or so most days after work. Kim shows me his CD collection. The novels that made up Greg's personal library take up several shelves of space. Greg listened to Head Banging, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock music. His books were mostly intellectual science fiction, not the startrek pulp science fiction fare.
Brian's noticed something. His face lights up. "Heyyy! Look at this!" He's surprised he never noticed this one title before. Brian shows me what's got him so excited. We're amazed at the book's title and at the same time not surprised.
For the second time this afternoon, I take a photo of Brian holding up one of Greg's books. CLICK HERE to see.
It speaks for itself. We now know where Greg Allan got his nickname from for use in the PostNuke Community.
The main entrance is a space that can be called Greg's computer room. Off in a corner up against a wall beside the window, I see Greg's 'PostNuke WorkStation'.
There is ordered chaos here. It looks like a mess, but there is actually a system at work. Kim tells me that Greg knew exactly where everything was. She never heard him complain that he, "...couldn't find what he was looking for."
I've met people who live with disorder in their lives: when something is needed immediately, they seldom find the missing item. They always claim the opposite. Looking at the CD-Roms stacked upwise and sideways, the handwritten notes and surplus of writing materials, I think Greg was as self-disciplined with this home workspace as he was with his workspace at the gasbar.
After playstation time, spending time with stepdaughters Kris and Kassie, and quiet time with Kim, Greg would code away late into the night. Kim tells me Greg slept very little. Often Greg would be churning out PostNuke code as late as 4 a.m. before hitting the sack. Sometimes hitting the sack meant hitting the keyboard. At times Greg fell asleep at his PostNuke WorkStation in the middle of the night.
Underneath the windows, are a pair of computers. Greg was repairing them for a couple of his neighbours or friends. Kim didn't know who they were and expressed how worried she was about not being able to return this property to the rightful owners. Two more things startle me about Greg and Kim: Greg with such a busy life still found time to repair PCs (even if they were Windows based), and second, on the day of her husband's funeral Kim is still concerned about other people and returning what belongs to them.
Before we exit the house, I ask Kim when Greg got his first computer? "Oh, I got it for him two years ago...."
Greg bit his computing teeth on the Commodore 64. Then migrated to the Amiga. He set up a BBS, a bulletin board system, for Amiga enthusiasts, partly to teach himself how to code software for the Amiga, and partly to give something back to the Amiga Community. All this when Greg was about Brian's age today.
It was a path similar to my bestfriend, Ian Britton. Ian ended up using his Amiga talents creating special effects for RoboCop, F/X, and Earth:Final Conflict. It all started because of a StarTrek animation Ian made on his Amiga. Making sure his name was on it, Ian released it as freeware. This resulted in a job interview and career. I ask Kim if she'd ever seen Ian's Amiga-only StarTrek animation. She hadn't. Maybe Greg did.
Kim tells me a few month ago, Greg had re-discovered the BBS he, ahem, parked somewhere. It's still up and running. Greg had forgotten about it all these years, incredibly Amiga users stilldial into his BBS and use it. Kim tells me Greg found that very amusing.
I think about that Amiga community. I think about the PostNuke community. And what Greg did for both. It was in his blood to take a little for himself and overgive back to the rest of us. Father Steve LaCroix's words return to my mind, "Greg was a giver."
Turns out Greg had a very interesting youth. Let's just say he was in his teens what today we'd call a 'computer enthusiast'. Not only with computers but with telephones as well. Something happened and Greg had to choose to distance himself from using computers.
Kim tells me about Greg's telephone exploits. I wonder if I had spoken to Greg after all? Many years ago, there was this one kick ass phone phreak from up north, he really knew his stuff and was all business. Kim and I talk about this some more and I get my answer. 'Nuff said.
Greg hadn't fooled around with computers for many years until Kim got him the PC you see in the picture. Later, Greg got a laptop that he'd carry to and from work. Inside the laptop, Greg placed all of his vision and promise for PostNuke. Encrypted of course. It was that valuable.
I realize Kim, like Dave Shaw, also has made an impact on the development of PostNuke.
What if Kim never got Greg his computer back in 2000?
Greg may not have taught himself PHP and PostNuke may not be what it is today (PostNuke would still be here. Except it'd be different...Just how different, I would learn later, at a dinner table).
But for Greg, getting the computer was only part of the story. Kim tells me that Greg, not having any formal computer training, felt he had to prove something to himself. He wanted to see if he could become a great programmer. Then maybe someone would hire him to code and he'd get paid for it.
Greg Allan wanted to see IF he could become the best coder he could possibly be....
We all know the answer to that one Greg. You were.
School has let out in Meaford and some of Brian's high school buddies pop by on their way home. Brian seems to be holding up pretty well as I hear the three of them laugh at something.
Back outside, Kim shows me Greg's car. It's a Chevy. Chevy is also the name of Greg's dog. Both are charcoal black.
Greg was working on repairing, or rather rebuilding, the Chevy piece by piece. He'd ripped out the back seats and only the passenger side front door had any upholstery. It was a work in progress. Like PostNuke, Greg's car was still in its Alpha phase: it wasn't to be driven in a production environment.
CLICK HERE to see a picture of Greg's Chevy (the car not the dog).
Besides, Greg enjoyed biking to work on his Kawasaki.
Suddenly Kim asks, "...if you want to see where Greg died, we can go park down the road from where it [the accident] happened and you can see it, we could park and you could walk a little ..."
(Because of the suddeness of this question, my memory of this moment becomes hazy and later on Kim would help correct me, "...it was I who went to the accident site not Greg's parents. They have a hard time even driving past the road and I don't blame them, but I needed to see the site so I could understand what happened to him and also I will plant something there next year in his memory.")
Damn. That idea never entered my mind. Greg was gone. That was enough. I had not thought to ask to see where he died. I think about it for a moment. I hesitate. No not today. Maybe next time. In the future, when I'm up here with PostNukers who were truly close to Greg, closer to Adam_Baum, than I ever was, I think that'd be the right time. Maybe I'd return here one day with Steve MacGregor or John Cox?
I tell Kim as much. She understands.
Changing the subject, Kim begins to tell me about Greg as Hubby. Although they weren't married on paper, Kim and Greg were married in every other sense. All for the good.
These 25 minutes or so had been the longest Kim has been at the house since Greg passed away. It was too much, too soon, too many memories, too fast. Time to leave.
We're back in the minivan and Bob drives around Meaford a little. We see The High School. In towns this small there only can be one high school, so if you screw up there, or get bored with the place...where else can you go?
You can go to The World's Largest Meaford Gasbar and Charm School and pump gas. You can wind up learning PHP and coding open source software.
Bob and Leone describe how much Greg was bored with high school. Greg was way ahead in some subjects and indifferent to others. "...Greg knew more than the teacher of the computer class did..." Greg's mom tells me. I'm not surprised. Whenever Greg cut class, they knew where to find him. His teachers would call the gasbar, Greg would answer the phone.
Since leaving Kim and Greg's house, Bob had been retracing the route Greg took to work everyday. We're now driving past the Meaford harbour. Although it actually took longer for Greg to get to work by biking past the harbour, looking around at the vista, I understand why he did so. It's beautiful.
On his KitchenerYouth.com website, Florin has been very kind and gracious with the photo gallery he set up in Greg's memory. If you haven't surfed to it, you've missed something important of Greg's world. CLICK HERE to see Florin's Meaford photos.
Florin took a photo of a stretch of concrete alongside Meaford Harbour. We are currently stopped there in the minivan. Greg's parents and Kim tell me that Greg ripped past this exact spot on his Kawasaki everyday as he went to work. I think of the times bikers had roared past me as a pedestrian and how I felt about it.
Squinting into the rear view mirror, Bob tells Brian to, "...Look away from the pretty girls on the beach...." Everyone in the minivan laughs out loud. Except Brian. He has this hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar-look on his face that screams, 'What fluorescent orange bikini top cut-off denim shorts wearing rollerblading pretty girls are you talking about?'
We're turning into the driveway of Kim's parents house. Doing so, something catches my eye. A Flagpole. The Canadian flag. It's at half staff. Like the one in my dream two days earlier. I say this out loud as Bob brakes the minivan into the park position. Bob and Leone and Kim nod their heads. By now, they all knew of the dream I had posted online as a comment to the original announcement of Greg's death.
Entering Kim's parents' house, my eyes go nuts. If Sandy, Kim's mom, ever discovers eBay, we're all in trouble. There are so many nicknacks, small antiquey things, rare posterings and items all over the kitchen plus dining area. It's as if The Antiques Roadshow hit Meaford and never left. A warm fuzzy feeling envelopes me. It is a feeling of warmth and safety. Instantly I understand why Kim has been here since Greg died. It's home. It's mom.
The family stays in the kitchen and dining room area while Kim and I head into the computer room.
The messages of condolence and candles lit for Greg have again, of course, skyrocketed since I last checked at 7:23 a.m. this morning.
Kim and I silently read the latest comments and candles. We were now 'up-to-date' on the lastest of the kind words being said about Greg from around the World, from around the 'Net. We get down to business. Kim's had questions for me throughout the day about PostNuke and for me to best answer them, we'd need to be in front of the computer.
Difficult to believe, but Kim never actually used PostNuke.com herself. Why would she? It was Greg's 'project'. And he kept his projects separate from one another.
I help Kim register a username and set up her profile on PostNuke.com, her choice of username/nickname/handle is available. I'm surprised no one has registered it yet. PostNuke.com has over 13,000 usernames already in use yet Kim's straightforward and commonsense request for an account name is available. "That's amazing! What a fluke!" I think to myself.
During the one minute registration process, I think of calling up the official PostNuke organization chart...but decide against it. If memory served, Greg's little box on the chart wouldn't be the truth. Greg's fingerprints are all over that org chart even if his name isn't. I don't wish to leave a picture in Kim's mind that reduces the Adam_Baum she'd be learning about over the past few days to a name on a box.
Kim logs in with her brand new account and we click around the PostNuke homesite. I show her Adam_Baum's member profile page. We surf the last articles posted by Greg and the last comments he ever contibuted. I'm not sure, but I think this might be the last thing Kim should be reading right now: online postings from her dead husband on the day of his funeral. Damn I'm stupid.
I change track. I pop open new browser windows showing Kim websites running on PostNuke.
Some of the sites I chose had posted a copy of Steve MacGregor's official PostNuke.com announcement about Greg Allan's / Adam_Baum's passing.
HamlinWorld.com : A website I like to visit every so often, run by Craig Hamlin, of Hamlin, New York.
I also dial up www.Xoops.org and show Kim that Greg also earned respect from people who had little to do with PostNuke. The people over at Xoops are developing their own Content Management System, independent of PostNuke. I don't think Xoops is better or worse than PostNuke, just a different vision.
I call up the government of Bahrain's official election website and switch the display from Arabic to English. The multi-lingual aspect of PostNuke is partly another of Greg's legacies and gifts to those on the internet who don't speak english, which is most of the world. N'est-ce pas?
www.BahrainToday.net : Bahrain is a democracy, PostNuke helped in the election, Greg did his part for peace in the middle east by coding part of PostNuke. Dozens of PostNuke developers everywhere else did the rest.
I tell Kim, "Bahrain may be the first government to officially use PostNuke, but they won't be the last country to do so...." Kim agrees.
Shortly after Greg's death on Sunday, there's been trouble accessing his website. The DNS was not resolving. From my home the day before and again now at Kim's computer, I try using Google's cache of Greg's website to see his work. No Luck. His domain name nDezign.com (Nameless By Dezign) had been re-registered, in my opinion, by cybersquatters. The most evil of it was, nDezign.com appears to have been domainjacked barely hours after Greg's death, by an automated script.
Kim tells me one of the PostNukers who's also a lawyer has already contacted her and asked for permission to act on behalf of Greg's estate in this domain name dispute. I tell Kim I've lost one of my domains twice over the years and still don't have it back. Sadly, I'm not hopeful about nDezign.com either.
May Allah bless the folks over at the Internet Archive WayBack Machine, because with their help, you 'can' at least see the embryonic stages of Greg's nDezign project:
Kim along with Greg's parents discussed setting up a website dedicated to celebrate Greg's memory. They wanted to put up pictures of Greg's life, stories about Greg growing up, hockey, and more. I show Kim by logging into my Admin account, how easy it is to manage and to make changes to any PostNuked site. Not for the first time that day, I'd found myself saying, "...if you can handle a Hotmail account, you can run a PostNuked website...."
I tell Kim to contact Steve MacGregor and Richard and Paula Wing. They were closer to Greg that I ever was. They and the official PostNuke developers would certainly be happy to help put up a site in Greg's memory. No doubt about it. And if Greg's family still couldn't figure how to do it, I told Kim I'd drive back to Meaford and show them in person how to set up and Admin the type of the website they had in mind.
My friend, Daryl Osbrink has set up a wonderful website to remember his grandfather, Irving Gushin. Daryl crafted it by hand, it's not PostNuked, but it sounds like the kind of quality website Kim tells me she wants in Greg's memory.
It's been almost a half hour since we first sat at the computer. Kris and Kassie and Brian have been hanging out with us on and off, sitting on the couch behind us and quietly reading or asking questions.
Time to rejoin the family in the Kitchen.
TABLE TALK: View Source to Find Out
Greg's Parents, Kim's Parents, Kim's daughters, Greg's aunts are sitting around the antiquish dining table. Kim sits to my left at the head of the table closest to the door. Bob Allan at the opposite end. Beside me are Greg's mom and Brian. Opposite and diagonal from me are Kim's daughters, Kim's mom Sandy and Greg's aunts. A basket of fruit sits in the middle of the table. Everybody's been drinking soda pop.
We're short a couple of chairs and again on this day, there are so many people at one place at one time for only one reason: to remember Greg.
Kim's Dad, Jim Beacock, solves the chair shortage by moving over to the kitchen and leaning against the counter beside the microwave and in front of a little kitchen island.
Kim's mom, Sandy, offers me my choice of cola. On a day as hot as today, I need to re-hydrate. I choose a ginger ale.
Table talk thus far has been about Greg minus PostNuke... Kim shares with the table some of what she's learned about Greg in the past half-hour at the computer.
Having settled in at the dining table, Greg's mom Leone, repeats her first question of the day to me. She had asked back in Owen Sound, "...The PostNuke, so it's a 'search engine'...?...And the candles page, that's not part of the PostNuke...or is it...?"
I try my best to speak english and not NukeSpeak as I try to unravel these riddles for Leone. I clarify PostNuke is both a website and a computer program. PostNuke.com is just one of thousands of websites running 'on' PostNuke software, it is the home website for the PostNuke community, of which her son was a co-founder.
I clarify the candlelight vigil is on a different website, run by Richard and Paula Wing. Her initial confusion may be because there's a link from the PostNuke homepage to Greg's memorial candle site, and when she clicked her browser's back button, she returned to PostNuke's homepage.
A few more answers, and Leone Allan, for the first time truly begins to understand why people all around the world join her in mourning the loss of her son.
A last question about what exactly is PostNuke triggers a memory of an article I read last year. It began by asking, "What is PostNuke?..." A combination of explaining aloud what I personally thought PostNuke was with the vague memory of that news article and it hits me right out of the blue.
PostNuke IS Greg Allan! Not so much that he coded part of the core, that's Greg's visible contribution, rather it's Greg's unseen contribution. Every software package has a personality, sometimes of a single author, sometimes it's made up of the values of the people behind the project. The personality of the PostNuke software overall is the personality of the man I had been learning about all day.
'Holy Shit!' I think to myself.
Immediately I remind then correct myself: 'HïMY, shit is not holy.'
Sister Edna described three different ways Greg was a light in his World. Dave Shaw introduced Brian and I to an unknown part of Greg's professional life. Most of the people I met in Owen Sound and Meaford kept telling me about Different Gregs, each Greg had a life that didn't overlap with the Other Gregs.
PostNuke can be like that. You can use it as a links engine, a news site, a chat site, community bbs, a download site, your own napster, you own little yahoo! or whatever...each type of site that can be run off of PostNuke need not have anything in common with any other PostNuked site on the planet. The module choices and available themes all go to encourage avoidance of overlapping your site with anyone else's site out there. Many PHP-Nuke sites still look just like every other PHP-Nuke site. However, sometimes I can't tell if a website is PostNuked or not, I have to view source to find out. Like Adam_Baum, I had to view source via his family to find out who he really was.
This lightbulb that flashed above my head gives me renewed appreciation of what PostNuke is. If the software subconsciously has taken on the persona of someone, I'm glad it's Adam_Baum. I'm also glad it's Greg Allan.
Greg's mom completes a story she began telling me earlier in the day from when we first met in the Owen Sound Church parking lot.
Leone Allan had emailed her son about something, Greg was at work at the gasbar. Apparently, Greg kept his PostNuke email and Family email in separate accounts. This one time however, Greg used his 'Adam_Baum' account to reply back to his mom's email.
Upon seeing the email returned with the weird username of 'adam_baum', Greg's mom freaked. She thought she had been hit by some computer virus. In a panic, she re-installed Norton Anti-Virus and made a mess of the hard drive. She crashed the computer. Greg got a call to come home and fix it.
When he got there, his mom told him that some 'adam_baum' had invaded her computer and messed things up! Greg just smiled and never explained to his mom 'who' Adam_Baum was. He just uninstalled Norton, cleaned up the hard drive, and returned to his mom, a computer as good as new.
Only after his death did Leone Allan find out that 'Adam_Baum' was her son, Greg Allan.
Greg's mom then asks me, "...The PostNuke, so how can you make money at it?"
"Well...," I try to think of a reply that my own mom would understand... I choose SurfLondon.com as an example (it's a play on 'South London'. I was born in Wimbledon, SW19, and occasionally visit this website to remind me of my roots).
I explain how they began as a regular HTML website. Moved on to PHP-Nuke. Finally migrating to PostNuke, which is what they use today. SurfLondon makes money by selling advertising. One can buy banners ads, button ads, or just plain text links which may be just as good. Their design team will also customize a PostNuke installation, using their main site as an example of what they can do for customers, for a price.
I bring up newspaper and television as money making models and Greg's mom begins to see some of the possible revenue angles using PostNuke. "...But why didn't Greg make money with The PostNuke...?" she asks next.
That's a harder question. The following part of the conversation goes all over the place. As we all talk, once in a while I glance at the clock on the microwave beside Jim.
Why didn't Greg make money with PostNuke? "...To answer this the best I can I'm gonna start with the basics, if I repeat something everybody knows, I apologize in advance...." with that said, I continue with my own personal opinions and insights about PostNuke.
Greg's dad, Bob Allan, had been teasing his granddaughter during our discussion so far, with both of them trading giggles while the rest of us spoke. But Greg's dad is now silent. I notice a look of calm on his face. It was the first time I'd seen that look behind the thin rim eyeglasses. I wonder what it meant?
I do my best to explain the difference between proprietary software like Microsoft products, and open source software like PostNuke. With open source software, we can freely make changes to suit our own needs, and the only price is is to return our modified code to the general public via the internet. That's very important.
Try reprogramming and customizing Windows to your needs but first try getting the windows source code for free...and, try getting it for free legally. Giant bureaucratic software empires are built on the opposite of the open source philosophy.
I bring up Linus Torvalds. When Linus begins working for a new employer, it's understood and written into his contract that he be allowed to spend part of each working day on Linux related issues. Sometimes, half his day at work is spent on Linux. If a potential employer can't agree with that, Linus walks. From what I hear, he hasn't had any problems getting employment.
Dave Shaw filled the Linus-rules employer role to the extreme. As I learned earlier, Dave financially sponsored Greg's involvement with PostNuke as Greg coded inbetween pumping gas for customers.
Around the table, Greg's mom included, understood the importance of Linux to the internet. I then raise a question, "...And what if Linus Torvalds died at the beginning of Linux?..."
I touch on other examples such PHP being open source. Hardly anyone knows of David Cutler, the father of Windows NT. I decide to stick with the Linus Torvalds example and continue to parallel Linux with PostNuke.
Today, it's easy to forget that Linux began as a fork of Unix. With time, people may just as easily forget PostNuke began life as a fork of PHP-Nuke.
Minutes later, everybody at the table reaches a conclusion.
"...So if Greg went to work at some big company..."
"...He might've made some money..."
"...Maybe a hundred thousand a year..."
"...But then no one would know him..."
"...And the world wouldn't get his software....Right?" says Sandy. Kim's mom pretty much sums it up for everybody.
What more is there to say?
If Greg coded for money, he'd have made some. But there'd be no legacy; no PostNuke CMS as we know it; no messages of condolences from around the world to help Greg's family on this difficult day; and I wouldn't have ended up here in Meaford at the Beacock family dining table.
We talk about Richard and Paula Wing's Candlelight memorial website. I say that I was pleasantly shocked at seeing it for the first time.
Somara of PixelMayhem had an accident a while ago. Thinking about him, thinking about Greg, I say out loud the sad truth, "...Greg may be the first PostNuke developer to pass away, life is life...he won't be the last. Eventually somebody else will too...I've seen on other websites a 'Gone But Not Forgotten' section...maybe PostNuke.com might end up with something like that...."
The clock on the microwave confirms more than a half hour has flown by. Sitting at the table with Greg's family, time seems an irrelevant distant concept.
Greg's dog Chevy has made two rounds of the kitchen, everyone's here except Greg. I wonder if Chevy understands that Greg's gone. I'm not a dog person, but if I had to guess, I'd say Chevy knows something's up. He looks sad.
Someone at the table had read online about naming the next version of PostNuke after Greg, "...What is that about?" Leone asks me, "They're going to rename The PostNuke to Adam_Baum...?"
Having earlier explained PostNuke in general, I'm able to quickly clarify that PHP-Nuke was the original CMS that PostNuke had forked from. I'm still unsure why Francisco Burzi used the term 'Nuke' when he forked from ThatWare. I can only guess why David Norman called his software, 'ThatWare' in the first place. Perhaps a take on the soft in 'soft'ware...? Perhaps FB wanted to 'NUKE' ThatWare?
PostNuke being a fork of PHP-Nuke is easily explained. 'Post' means what comes after, and PostNuke came after PHP-Nuke.
The discussions revolve around Francisco Burzi for a moment. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
And to my knowledge, on the PHP-Nuke homepage, FB has yet to mention Greg's passing. Adam_Baum on the other hand was 'not indifferent' to PHP-Nuke. We can confirm this in Greg's final May 16, 2001 post on phpnuke.org.
I review PostNuke's naming convention. Thus far they've stuck with a Nuclear theme. What happens after a Nuclear explosion? Fallout. PostNuke's initial release name for the .5 series. After a nuclear fallout we get nuclear radiation causing mutations in the natural world. Hence, the .6 releases were named Mutant (Beware the Mutant!). Next came Rogue which is the release name for the current .7 series.
A few more questions answered to the best of my ability and Greg's family understands this idea behind naming the next release after Greg. I tell them, to my knowledge no decision had been made yet on naming the next release of PostNuke. Greg's family thinks it's a great idea if they do name it after Greg. I suggest that PostNuke is a meritocracy/democracy and no single person can dictate a name change. Fortunately, PostNuke has a Polling module, and everybody gets a chance to vote.
I look over to Kim's dad, Jim. He's been standing in the kitchen the whole time, alternating between leaning back against the kitchen counter and leaning in front against the island separating the dining area from the cooking area. Jim's just said something that triggers a two week old memory I had forgotten....
Looking at Jim, his peaceful face, I begin to mumble out loud what I'm trying hard as hell to remember. Everybody at the table becomes quiet as I try to express something... Standing there, Jim says to me, "Just let it out, take your time, we're here for ya...."
A week or eight days before I learned of Greg's death. I had an early morning pre-dawn dream.
I was in a kitchen-like room. My father was sitting opposite me atop the kitchen counter. He said to me, "...Atom Bomb..."
I was stunned. After my Father died in December 1991, he had visited so many people in their dreams that I lost count of the times people told me this. He would speak to them. Muslim, non-muslim, it didn't matter. He kept visiting people in their dreams to tell them he was okay and that they'd be okay too.
Except me. I've never 'spoken' to my father in my dreams. I've seen him, but we've never talked. Until about two weeks ago.
"Atom Bomb?" I said back to my dad.
The movie The Sum of All Fears came out last month and before seeing it, I decided to read Tom Clancy's 1991 novel of the same name. In it, Clancy describes step by step how to build a nuclear device.
In my dream I'm actually aware that this is the first time since my dad's death we were directly talking to each other.
Clancy's book came out in 1991, but my dad was too busy finishing off writing his own book to have time to read anyone else's. Maybe my dad was asking me about 'The Sum of All Fears'? In my excitement and surprise, I blurt out the steps of making the nuclear device as Clancy's laid out in his book.
My dad again said, "...Atom Bomb..." I stopped and tried to listen to what my dad was really telling me...but it was too late. In the dream, I was excited to the point where I actually woke up, in my apartment, in the dead of night. What the hell was my dad telling me? Why didn't I listen?
I haven't broke eye contact with Jim as I finish mumbling out loud this unlocked memory.
My dad wasn't saying, "...Atom Bomb..."
My dad was saying, "...Adam_Baum..."
Maybe my dad sent me here for Greg's family? No. That wasn't it.
In the last year of my dad's life, he was finishing off writing the book that he'd begun in his youth. To take a break from his writing, we'd watch the movie Field of Dreams anywhere from two to five times a week. We never got bored or tired of it.
Right here, right now at Greg's in-laws' kitchen table, that 2nd last scene of the movie played itself out. Kevin Costner sees the Catcher remove his mask and realizes it's his father. 'Ease his Pain' The voice told Costner's character, Ray Kinsella. 'Ease his Pain' Ray says looking at his father, 'It was you'. Shoeless Joe out in centre field before disappearing into the cornfield, turns around and says, 'No Ray, it was you'.
Ray was the one in Pain. The baseball diamond, the trip across the country to fetch Thomas Mann and Archie Graham, his farm verging on bankruptcy, it wasn't to ease his father's pain. It was his own.
I don't want to cry in front of Greg's family as I finish revealing this. Greg's Dad and Kim's Dad say almost the same thing at almost the same time, 'You've been here for us the whole day, now let us be here for you....'
I ask where the washroom is: I need to wash my face.
When I return, a discussion is raging about Linux, Windows, why there's no high speed interent access in Meaford, and digital cable T.V.
I jump in.
For the next half hour, it is a discussion any one of us in I.T. would feel comfortable and enthusiastic about. A few more anecdotes about Greg's hatred of Windows products and I wonder if Greg knew about 'THIS' website. Because Kris and Kassie are still here, I refrain from saying the website's name out loud. Though it does bring a smirk to my face thinking how Greg would've loved the Microsoft Eradication Society.
I also wonder if Greg ever surfed LivingWithoutMicrosoft.org? LWM runs on PostNuke and was launched on the exact day that Microsoft launched WindowsXP.
Turns out there was a company in Meaford that Greg had offered to build a website for, no charge. No matter how much Greg encouraged them to get a website up and running, that he'd take care of everything for them for free, this company still declined. Only after his death have they realized what they missed. I won't embarrass the company by naming them here. They feel bad enough as it is.
Kim asks if I have one of these? It's a program from the funeral service.
Having arrived late in Owen Sound, I missed getting one.
This is the first time I've seen it:
Greg Allan 1973-2002
Greg's family received friends
on Wednesday evening
at the Ferguson Funeral Home in Meaford.
A celebration of Greg's life and funeral mass
were conducted at
St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Owen Sound
on Thursday, June 20, 2002, at 10:30am.
Gregory Robert Wayne Allan
March 6, 1973
Sunday, June 16, 2002,
at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto,
as the result of a motor cycle accident in Meaford.
Greg "Grease" Allan
was the loving husband of Kim Smith of Meaford.
Fondly remembered step-dad of Kris and Kassie, both at
home. Loved son of Robert and Leone (Cahoon) Allan.
Cherished grandson of Edna and the late Wilfred Allan
of Meaford, and Howard and the late Marjorie Cahoon
of Annan. Son-in-law of Jim and Sandy Beacock of
Meaford. Brother-in-law of Kevin Lock of Windsor.
Also survived by numerous aunts and uncles
and their families.
Greg will be remembered by many friends
gained throughout his life
as he pursued many and varied interests.
The Ferguson Funeral Home
48 Boucher Street East
Meaford, Ontario N4L 1B9
I read "Died...Sunday...at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto..."
Damn. I live just a 12 minute drive from Sunnybrook. If I'd known Adam_Baum was so close to me fighting for his life at this hospital, I'd've been there in a heartbeat.
Sunnybrook is one of the best trauma centres in the province. The high-rise I live in in downtown Toronto is in the direct flight path of the air ambulances that take off and land along 'Hospital Row' all along University Avenue.
At times, vibrations from air ambulance helicopters echo right into my apartment causing baby earthquakes with the furniture. I don't mind. I know they're trying to get to the hospital asap to save lives. It never bothers me.
Sunnybrook Hospital is north east of the city's core...Still, for some reason, this past Sunday I went onto the balcony twice and followed each air ambulance until they left my field of view. Did one of them carry Adam_Baum/Greg Allan from Meaford to Toronto?
I don't want upset anyone at the table by bringing up Sunday, the day Greg died, and how they got him to Toronto from Meaford. As my father used to say, "Don't try to do everything, leave one or two things for God to do too, eh?" I follow my father's advice and leave this a minor mystery.
Looking over to Bob Allan, the strange calm look is still there, only brighter.
The reason for Bob's smile? Whenever the family had asked Greg what he was doing on the computer, he would politely find a way to downplay his work, to downplay his passion. They wouldn't ask him again, until the next time of course. This afternoon, around this kitchen dining table, every PostNuke question asked of me, was asked twice.
Beacuse Greg's family had gotten used to his short answers which weren't revealing at all. I However, not being Greg, just went ahead and answered the questions.
I think Greg's Mother-in-Law, Sandy, and moreso Greg's own Mom, Leone, were not used to getting a complete answer from Greg when it came to whatever it was he was doing on the computer. Hence, I think my first answers startled them. They'd ask the same question a second time, I'd repeat then elaborate the answers. Afterword, speaking with Kim, she agreed with my take on the afternoon's table talk. Kim also agreed with my guess that Bob had recognized what was going on and was happy the family was learning, finally learning about Adam_Baum and PostNuke.
Often when people asked Greg what was he was doing on the computer he'd say something like, "Oh, I'm just screwing around with it, you know..." And he'd leave it at that.
If someone had a problem with the computer, he'd come over and fix it, without being condescending. I learn Greg's style was humble even when it came to technical support. He'd never make you feel like an idiot because it was a simple fix to the problem.
Likewise, if you were full of crap, Greg had no time for you. He'd just cut you out of the loop and you wouldn't even know it.
Out of the blue, around the table the family reach a consensus: had Greg and I met in person, we'd be great friends. I didn't know what to say except, "..Yee-ah, probably...yeah...I guess...."
After learning about Greg the whole day and beginning to understand who he truly was, what his family's just said makes me feel like a million bucks.
It's pushing 7 p.m. It's a three hour drive back to T.O. Time to call it a day.
We all get up from the table, we walk past Chevy as he's wound up in his basket on the porch beside the front door.
In the backyard I notice a Royal Canadian Air Force flag at half staff. I learn no one has seen it wave from the time Greg died on Sunday until today, after the funeral. It's waving now.
Bob Allan gets the minivan ready. Kim's dad and I wind down our computer and telecom chat.
One last thing to do before leaving the Beacock house.
I walk across the front yard to snap a photo of the Canadian Flag at half staff. I keep waiting for the wind to pick it up, giving me a waving flag for my shot. It doesn't happen. There is no wind. In my mind's eye, I replay the dream from Tuesday morning and recall there was no wind either. I take the shot of the flagpole and Kim's parents' house. You can see it by CLICKING HERE.
Water, Flower, Trampoline
We've returned to where I parked my car, in front of the garage in the Allan driveway. The kids jump out of the minivan, though with the events of the past few hours and days, Brian 16, and Kristin 15, had to grow up pretty fast and maybe it's not fair to call them kids anymore.
Brian and the girls head to the backyard. We grown ups stay out front. I meet Bob's sister and her husband. Like many in Meaford, Bob Allan's homestead is large enough for several homes. Bob's sister lives next door. I've given up hope of keeping count of how many people I've met today and all their names, my notepad is now in the car and I don't recall her name at the moment. We speak about Greg for a bit. She says of her nephew, "Greg was a nice boy. Always ready to help...."
I begin saying my goodbyes and get ready to leave but Bob insists I should have a pop or glass of water before I start the return trip home. "Sure, why not?" I say.
I'm now standing in the kitchen of the house that Greg grew up in. Bob gets me a tall wide glass of ice cold water. He says, "...And I'm sure...You can't get this quality of water down in Toronto...."
The Kitchen and the rest of the house are brimming with flowers people had sent to the wake and the funeral service. It's like a flower store exploded in here! Leone tells me she's going to, "...plant them all in the backyard as a flower garden for Greg's memory..." Sounds like a plan. A good one.
Steve MacGregor mentioned in the official PostNuke.com article about arranging 'Flower Delivery'. It was something I had wanted to do since Tuesday morning but just hadn't.
I apologized to Bob and Leone that I hadn't arranged for any flowers from myself or behalf of the PostNuke Community.
I knew full well how difficult, if not impossible, it would be for postnukers from around the planet to arrange to send flowers in time for Greg's funeral. I thought about sending a general flower arrangement simply signing it with 'From the PostNuke community...' or something like that. But I didn't. And I still felt bad about neglecting this one duty.
Hearing my apology, Bob says to me, "We'd rather have you here in person, than any old flowers..." Right then, right there I felt such sincerity of appreciation from Bob and Leone, it's near impossible to describe.
I gulp down half a litre of the Georgian Bay H20. I agree with Bob, he's right, the water does taste better.
As I drink my water, Leone has been showing me all sorts of photo albums. Hurriedly, she's showing me photos from when Greg was born right up until a short time ago. It's almost as if she's in a panic, trying to show me everything in the few minutes before I leave. I assure Greg's mom not to worry, I'll visit again soon, hopefully later this summer. This puts her at ease and says she'd like to show me one last picture...if she can only find it.
Bob asks if I'd like to see Greg's room? "Yes, I would." I answer.
Down the stairs and into the basement. Bob leads me to Greg's childhood bedroom. Sunlight finds its way in against walls which are tinted blue. All sorts of teenage guy stuff bulges out of shoeboxes and storage bins, including Greg's collection of enamel and plastic toy soldiers. I pick one of them up and recall that I too had played with green plastic toy soldiers.
"HEYYY! An Atari 520! That's the same computer I had!" I announce to Bob.
I've discovered yet another of Greg's 'worlds'. At Kim and Greg's home, I learned Greg used an Amiga. Here I see he used the Atari as well. Atari and Amiga users often deny the existence of the other. The Atari in front of me is unscrewed and in pieces. Bob mentions something about Greg trying to rewrite the Atari's operating system....
In the next room, Bob shows me both his and Greg's trophies. Greg played soccer. He also took after his dad and earned a few awards for archery. Greg the hockey player was a given, but soccer and archery too? How much more is there, was there, to this man Adam_Baum?
Before we head up the stairs, Bob shows me a palm sized plastic replica of the Stanley Cup with an NHL sticker on it. Someone, who knew how much the Philadelphia Flyers meant to Greg, had given it to Bob as a kind of tribute to Greg's love of hockey. This little Stanley Cup seemed to have an important private meaning for Bob Allan.
Back upstairs in the kitchen, Greg's mom has found the photo she was hunting for. It's a recent picture of Greg's motorcycle. Seeing this photo for the first time, I'm floored. Again.
Greg's Kawasaki Motorcyle is Forrest-Lime Green and Ocean-Blue with Sunset-Purple trim. They're the exact colours I researched and concluded I wanted to use in my IslamBank.com logo. It's become my favourite colour combination. I tell Leone and Bob about the choice of colours and how it's something Greg and I have in common.
I've almost finished my glass of water and Leone shows me one last item: Greg's Laptop Computer.
It's a Compaq. Still in the black carrycase Greg usually took with him to and from work everyday. He always took it to work, where he coded PostNuke inbetween customers. For some reason on the day of the accident, Greg rode his Kawasaki to work without the carrycase and the laptop inside it. All of his PostNuke codework, revisions, ideas, plans, dreams perhaps are inside this black laptop in front of me.
After the accident, they looked all over the crash site searching for Greg's laptop. Everybody knew how important it was to him. Providence played its part. Some hours later, Greg's portable 'PostNuke Workstation' was found at work, safe and unhurt. Greg password protected and encrypted everything on his linux'd laptop. Greg's data is safe. It just has to be unlocked. For a moment Leone allows the computer into my hands. Leone then almost religiously returns the compaq into its black carrycase where it belongs for now.
Greg's mom says one last thing to me as I leave her kitchen, "I want to meet them...I want them to know who Greg was...Tell them, 'The PostNuke' people, I wanna meet each and everyone of them...."
Once outside, ready to leave again, I joke with Bob, "If I don't leave now, I'll be here for breakfast!"
With the early evening sun reflecting off his glasses Bob says, "We'd love to have you."
Bob Allan's words and sincere sentiment remind me of something the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said. I share with Bob a rough translation, "The Prophet (pbuh) said something like, 'Love whatever you want, one day you will leave it. Do whatever you want, one day you will face it'."
I elaborate to Bob that everyday, we leave people and things we love, be it our loved ones as we head off to work, or maybe we love our work and have to leave it at day's end. Eventually, when we die, we leave behind everything that we loved.
As for the 'Do whatever you want, one day you will face it' part, Bob says, "...in life, you do what you can."
"Greg's now facing what he's done here on Earth, right now. And your son Greg: 'He done good'."
Having said that, I feel as if Bob and I are speaking Man to Man, not Man to one of his Son's friends. It is a good feeling, almost as if I just grew up a little, right here, right now.
I'm standing between the driver's seat and the inside of my open car door. Doing so gives me an unique angle to view the garden in front of the Allan home. I walk over to the Garden and look closely. Rocks, a small stream, flowers, stone steps, Bob tells me it's been very good for him to just sit here and reflect. Sitting in this garden has brought much peace to Bob over these last four days.
Looking closely at the garden, I notice a small wooden 'Mountie' holding up a tiny Canadian Flag. It's at full staff. On Tuesday morning, immediately after I had posted my dream as comment, I thought, 'oops! I didn't mention that RCMP guy in the dream. Aw well, there's no edit in fish-tails/BETA'. The comment as it is, stands. Good enough.
I fill Bob in on this last detail from my dream about, well, this whole day. I tell Greg's dad the one difference between my complete dream and the description I posted as a comment, is the wooden mountie before us. In the garden this mountie is holding a flag at full staff, not half staff, as I saw in my dream.
"That's right, and it's not going to be at half staff..." Bob says looking at me as he smiles again.
Dave Shaw's poem from this morning returns to my mind and I recite to myself what I can of it without refering to my notes:
...You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
I tell Bob Allan, "...I understand."
One final look around the Allan homestead and I see a ...big blue trampoline(!) in the backyard. Brian and Kristin or Kassandra are jumping up and down and up and down and up and down and down and up and up and you get the idea.
'You gotta love a family that's got a trampoline!' I'm thinking. 'I wanna jump too! I wanna try it before I go!'
I want to ask Bob if I can jump on the trampoline, but I don't. I have to leave something for next time, for my next visit. My dad's saying comes to mind again, "Don't try to do everything, leave one or two things for God to do too, eh?" and today, in the spirit of that advice, the trampoline is one of those things.
From beside the steps to the house, Bob picks a pair of small purple and white flowers with thin forest green stems and puts in my shirt pocket, "There you are, for the ride home." I think about what was said back in the kitchen. And here outside before I go home, Bob's the one giving me flowers. This simple gesture touches my heart and I'm speechless.
Another vehicle pulls into the Allan driveway. A family gets out and for the last time today, I am introduced as someone from PostNuke who came up from Toronto for Greg's funeral. Handshakes all around. I mention my condolences to the adults of this family, they were all friends of Greg.
They have a little daughter, maybe 6 or 7 years of age. She has feathered curly orange hair with greenish blue eyes and marmalade freckles. I tease her by asking if she has a boyfriend yet? She squints and gives me a dirty look. Her parents laugh. Bob laughs too. I tease the parents by asking them if they've arranged her marriage yet?
They all laugh again. Her dirty look is now a scowl. I try to redeem myself with the little one by telling her, "...If I was married and had a little daughter, I hope she'd be as pretty as you."
No dice. She ain't buying it. Obviously, she's one smart kid.
After such a serious day, I need this little bit of comic relief.
I ask for directions to 'The Ten'. They tell me a short cut to Hurontario from here. I think once I'm on Highway 10, I'll be fine.
Not for the first time today I say goodbye to Bob Allan. This time however, I'm in my car with the ignition turned on.
I reverse out of the driveway and turn right. One final look back, they're all waving farewell (except the little girl). It's pushing 8 p.m. and I've begun the drive back home.
THE DRIVE BACK HOME
Surrounded by farms, I'm driving down a pebble littered road only a lane and a half wide. What the hell? Did I take a wrong turn? Nope. I just passed an intersection and the windknocked sign said, 'Hurontario'.
Twenty minutes later and I'm back on Highway 10 proper. I spot the Tim Horton's beside the movieplex I drove by this morning during the drive up to Owen Sound. Yep, that was a short cut after all. Thinking of Kim working at Tim Horton's is enough encouragement for me to make this my prayer stop.
When travelling, muslims are allowed to combine the midday prayer with the later afternoon prayer, performing both at the same time as long as it's before sunset.
I enter Tim Horton's and use their facilities to perform the ritual wash necessary before praying. I've parked my car in the one corner space that's at a 45 degree angle. Using nature's compass, my car turns out to be facing northeast. With the curvature of the earth, Makkah is actually northeast of North America and not southeast. Inside the windows of the Tim Horton's, the 'stares' return. I spread my prayer mat parallel to the Honda and face Makkah.
Sitting beside my car after the end of my Prayers, I ask God-Alone, Allah, to ease the burden on the Allan Family. I do not pray for Adam_Baum or Greg Allan. I already know they're both okay.
I hit the road and think about finishing off Good To Great. I think what Greg would do. He'd be listening to headbanging, hard rock, heavy metal music. I search the dial for plain old rock and roll and settle into the evening drive south.
It's almost 10 p.m. I'm exiting highway 401 south onto the Allen Expressway...The Allen Expressway? How come I didn't notice that co-incidence this morning on the way up? Oh yeah, right, 'smog-rage' was getting the better of me.
<Begin Homer Simpson voice> Stupid SMOG-RAGE </End Homer Simpson voice>.
I'm heading south on Spadina towards my building. My favourite rock song from age 16 just started on Q107: 'Boy inside the Man' by Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, "...went halfway around the world..." sing the lyrics.
Today I travelled to Owen Sound, Meaford, Greg's world and Back. That's Close enough.
Once upstairs, I check my email. Only one message. Sent to me this morning. It's from Steve...
From: steve macgregor
Date: Thu Jun 20 08:26:27 2002
Subject: Re: Just a late night nite update email from HïMY in Toronto
I know this is late and you have probably left, but
Florin is going to
be there at the funeral.
I fell asleep at the computer last night.
I refresh PostNuke's homepage. The lead article is still Steve's early Tuesday morning announcement of Greg's passing. The comments are now anchored by one new long post from Steve MacGregor. He added it only moments ago:
This evening just before sundown I took Greg for a motorcycle ride. I took him down the snake road to Glendale Shoals where we sat down and had a smoke and listened to the symphony of bugs as watched the water rush over the smooth rocks and decaying remains of the textile industry of a by-gone era.
Greg and I rode on through the narrow and twisting country roads that hide invitingly just to the east of the shoals. It was one of those beautiful timeless southern evenings with nothing interrupting the sunset but the roar of the engines and the force of the wind. I showed Greg some of my favorite places. Places I wanted him to see some day. We rode the roads that we really needed to ride. Roads we had talked about. Those tiny, obscure places where there is nothing. No PostNuke. No code. No customers. No demanding users. Just us. Just riding.
I have felt a lot of things in the last few days. I have not particularly known what to say or how to express my sadness. I have not really known what to say to Greg's family apart from expressing the profound sadness of the entire PostNuke community combined with my personal sadness. Tonight was my personal funeral for Greg. Tonight I found Greg with me. He was with me as we ran up and down through the gears in and out of tight corners on weaving country roads. He was with me on the straightaways ducking into the wind. Tonight we rode. I don't think it will be easy losing Greg, but I do know where to find him now, and I know that we will be meeting each other regularly out on those sleepy southern roads.
I read it twice then immediately bang out the following:
Date: Thu Jun 20 19:39:57 2002 (PDT)
Subject: Owen Sound, Sounds of Greg's Family, Friends, and the Secret behind the name "Adam_Baum"
Good Evening Steve,
It is 10:32 pm EDT here in TOronto.
I just got into my apartment door not 13 minutes ago.
I have way toooooo much to type, I want to do it
I just hadda touch base with ya and let ya know,
that after today, & what I learned about "Greg_Allan"
I am pretty sure he was riding with ya on the bike
I'll write more later tonight...So much to tell about
Greg, his folks, his life...
...I hardly know where to start...!
Keep Smilin' Steve,
~ HïMY! ~
p.s. Yes I did meet Florin after the service.
As I was driving home from Meaford back to Toronto, Steve MacGregor and Greg Allan
were busy riding and dusting up the backtrails of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
...It's good to know Greg is still doing what he loves with his friends.
OCTOBER 25 and OCTOBER 26 2001: I attend a wake and the following morning, I attend the funeral mass and the graveside service. My best friend Ian Britton has lost his brother-in-law, Nelson Melo, to Wagner's disease. His wife Melanie had stayed up most of the night trying to put into words, a lifetime of memories about her big brother. Melanie is pretty torn up yet manages to deliver the eulogy about her brother Nelson during the church service. It is a Catholic funeral. For the first time in years, I think back to what my college Prof, Dr. Delk had taught me about Catholic funerals. I've only recently installed PostNuke .64 for the first time across my websites. I have no idea in a few months' time, I will be attending the funeral for Greg Allan. It's the furthest thing from my mind.
JANUARY 1 2002 TUESDAY 2:59:31 am: I sign the guestbook at IrvingGushin.com. This leads to an e-mail exchange between the site's webmaster, Daryl Osbrink, and myself. DarylO and I become email buddies.
APRIL 16 TUESDAY: Janis has been in Toronto for a month. She flew back from Colombia because her mom had slipped into a coma. Her mom died shortly thereafter, around the time of my birthday. Instead of me helping her, Janis helps me to figure out why my dad hasn't spoken to me in my dreams. Maybe now, ten years and four months after my father died, I'm finally ready to listen to him....
Janis is about to set up her own website using Adobe GoLive. I counter with my best PostNuke Sales Pitch. I even throw up a demo site the next day.
JUNE 16 TUESDAY: Like thousands of PostNukers around the world my day begins with news of adam_baum's death.
JUNE 18 THURSDAY: I attend the funeral for Greg Allan in Owen Sound. I spend the rest of the day with Greg's family in Meaford.
JUNE 21 FRIDAY Circa 10:20 a.m.: I've just read Florin's report of yesterday's events. I'm very happy he posted something. I feel both relieved and burdened. In my email to Steve last night I told him I'd be sending him something by this morning. In haste, I bang out an email. Having read my message twice, I decide NOT to send it to Steve MacGregor. Maybe I could finish typing out something about Greg this weekend and post it next week? Yeah, that's what I'll do.
The Email I Never Sent:
It's just 10:32 am EDT Toronto Time.
I read Florin's Article some minutes ago and
struggled with myself whether to post a comment
I decided NOT to post my own comment on his Thread.
His words certainly will touch many people's hearts
the World Over, and I don't need to colour those
thoughts people will have by commenting on his
expression of yesterday's events.
I took LOTS of notes, names, After Florin left the
Church, the family would not lemme leave! I was THE
CONNECTION, the only real life connection to
a world that just 96 hours ago, was a secret to
the people who knew 'our' Adam_Baum as 'their'
Greg_Allan. They would NOT LEMME GO HOME!!!
I mean that in the best most hospitable way!
I spent the entire day with his family, parents,
co-workers, cousins, and on and on and on ... and on.
it WILL take me TIME to finish my thoughts into
a proper, respectful story...no, not story, a
proper respectful obituary and record of who this
man was and will be.
I tried last night, thinking I could type something
out and submit it this morning, much like Florin's
Man Plans, and God-Alone Laughs.
I hope and believe that Florin's article is enuff
for now to satisfy the thirst for information
about Greg's funeral that people the world over
I really don't know how what I write is gonna turn
out, but I want to do it right the first time, so,
Kinda like how the rest of us PostNuke USERS hafta
wait sometimes for 'Official Releases' for you all
the developers, today, You All developers will
hafta wait for my 'Official Release' of my story
(Not meant as sarcasm, just friendly HïMY-Humour)
I been thinking what's a proper title Steve, so
The Working Title of my Article is the following:
" Adam_Baum: .50 - .714 "
This of course is play on :
" Greg_Allan: 1973 - 2002 "
to me HïMY,
the above two names with the numbers beside each,
makes for good code.
What Think Steve?
I know this is NOT the email you wanted to receive
this morning, I too thought I'd have finished an
article by now, I took photos of the exact desk
at the gas station where Adam coded, His first
computer, saw the house where he grew up, and
dammit, Now, in light of day and with a fresh
mind, re-reading the comments on PostNuke.com
I know I CANNOT SCREW THIS UP!
I gotta write and post it right the first time.
I now am beginning to realize how important my
words might be to many others.
Sooorrry, I think I'm rambling and that was not
the intention of this email.
I just needed to touch base with you Steve as
to me, it is clear you are the 'point man' on this
event for all the rest of us.
~ HïMY! ~
11:02 am Toronto, Ontario.
JUNE 21 FRIDAY 12:30 pm - 2:05 pm: Heading to Friday prayers in downtown Toronto, I bump into Abdur-Rahman on University Avenue. He's the CEO of EmergingIntellect. For the next ten minutes, I evangelize about Greg Allan, PostNuke, open source, yesterday's funeral and time spent with the Allan family.
Daryl Osbrink, my email buddy from Texas, voice mails me he's arrived in Toronto. I'd been looking forward to meeting him in person. Returning the call, I disappoint him. I tell Daryl about yesterday, that I can't meet him until my article is done. I tell him, "...I just hafta finish this thing about Greg." Daryl understands. Daryl lost his grandfather and built an incredible website in his memory. Maybe Sunday or Monday then?
JUNE 22 2002 SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Going over my notes, I need to clarify a few facts. I make phone calls to Dave Shaw and Kim Smith. Dave sheds more light on StudioNorth and what would have been Greg's next career: Producer. Kim reveals what each 'Candle' lit for Greg has meant to her personally:
"...The [candlelight memorial] site being up...has helped so much...[it's] hard to explain...[it's like a] piece of him [is still here]..."
"...I'm so thankful for the memorial website, if it wasn't for the website...."
"...[it's] easier to get up in the morning, to go downstairs to look on the computer and see what people have wrote..."
If anyone had any doubt or was still wondering whether the candle they lit or the message of condolence they posted made a difference, you now have your answer.
Kim gives me a snail mail address to include in my article:
47 Marshall Street
Meaford, Ontario Canada
Maybe PostNukers from around the world could mail Kim a Postcard? Sometimes just having something to hold in your hands, has as much meaning as any comment posted on the internet.
JUNE 24 MONDAY MORNING Just Past 10 a.m.: For the first time in a week, official PostNuke development and operations are back online. Reading this newest lead article I again feel time slipping away. I'm burden with the fact that the later my article is posted, the less it will matter.
JUNE 24 MONDAY AFTERNOON:
Date: Mon Jun 24 11:47:27 2002 (PDT)
Subject: Reasons for Delay in Posting Article about my Attending Greg's Funeral.
Good Afternoon Steve.
I apolizige for not emailing you sooner.
It's 2:37 pm here in TOronto, Monday.
It is REALLY hard for me to REDUCE that entire day
into a short article.
I spent HOURS with Greg's ENTIRE immediate family.
They showed me his computers, took me to the gas
bar where he worked, I spoke with perhaps 80 people,
family members and friends. I took pictures too.
I demystified PostNuke to the best of my ability
for them and I took down a LOT of notes.
it is just so damn hard to finish this article.
I hope you understand the reasons for my delay in
posting my thoughts once you read my finished work.
I don't want to screw this up and the family
WANTED me to explain to the PostNuke world who
Greg REALLY was.
I might be rambling in this email to you right now,
but I hope you understand.
I am TRYING to finish this article in a respectful
and fast-as-I-am-able fashion.
Perhaps early tomorrow morning I'll be done Steve.
It will be exactly a week since that your initial
post of Greg's death on PostNuke.com and perhaps,
God-Alone had that timing in mind as I am finding
it soooo difficult to REDUCE Greg to just a few
I hope you understand my delay Steve.
~ HïMY! ~
26 MINUTES LATER: Steve sends me a final email:
From: steve macgregor
Date: Mon Jun 24 15:13:38 2002
Subject: Re: Reasons for Delay in Posting Article about my Attending Greg's Funeral.
You do what you need to and the results will be very impressive im sure.
Just let me know when you are ready and I will make sure it gets the
attention it needs.
. . . and that's why Steve MacGregor is The PostNuke Support Operations Manager. I would return to this message again and again and again until I'd done my article about Greg. Somehow, Steve's thirty six words help sustain my writing throughout the following few weeks.
JUNE 24 MONDAY Circa 3:45 pm: I'm beginning to realize the reality of how much time I'll need to finish my article. A couple of hours hanging out with Daryl and his Toronto friend, Alex, may actually do me some good. I meet them a few blocks from my home. We go computer parts shopping along Toronto's Silicon Alley: College Street West. They end spending an entire hour listening to talk of PostNuke, Greg's Funeral, and what I've come up with thus far for the article. Daryl provides insight on how he was able to begin putting together his Grandfather's website. His listening and encouragement helps me gather and outline my thoughts.
JUNE 27 THURSDAY 10 pm: Weeks before I had suggested to Daryl we hang out in the audience during the live CBC TV broadcast of >Play. He like the idea so much, he brought along an entire Gang of Grobanites as well. After another day of writing/editing about Greg's funeral, attending >Play was a needed change of pace. At the end of the night, Daryl asked me for a progress report, "...HiMY, when can I read it...Ain't 'cha done...yet?"
JUNE 24 MONDAY - JULY 12 FRIDAY MORNING: GROUNDHOG DAY Everyday for two and a half weeks: I wake up, I sit at the computer, I type, I go for a walk, I type, I watch some TV, I type. I sleep. I relive the day of Greg's funeral over and over and over and over again.
Everyday, I think I'll be done writing and editing the story/obituary/article. Every next day, I wake up and realize there's something I missed or can't be left out.
I can't remember on which day exactly, but I got so frustrated at not finishing, I got up from the computer, left the apartment, and headed straight for the movies. I picked Minority Report. Not because of any reviews I'd heard, but because it was the movie with the longest running time then playing at The Varsity. The longer I could escape into someone else's story, the better. I was surprised, for a Tom Cruise movie, it didn't suck.
JULY 1 MONDAY CANADA DAY: July 1st came and went. Usually I visit Ottawa on our country's birthday. As the federal government foots the bill for the party, my thinking is 'I might as well attend it, I'm paying for it anyway.' But not this year. I still hadn't finished Greg's article.
I realize by now I'm living in my own version of the movie Groundhog Day. Every day Bill Murray would get up and relive February 2nd. No matter what he did, or tried to change, the next day, he woke up and he was back where he started, living February 2nd all over again. The movie takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home to U.S. groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. We Canucks have our own groundhog, his name is Wiarton Willie. Ironically, Meaford ain't that far from Wiarton. I wonder if that's a fluke?
JULY 12 FRIDAY Circa 2:30 a.m.: I give up. It's almost a month since I've been trying to put together something readable, but I'm just not getting it together. My 'PostGreg' format ain't working. Greg can't be confined to a few paragraphs describing each of his 'Worlds'.
THIRTY MINUTES LATER: It's So Late, It's Early. I gulp down a mug of luke-warm coffee, grab the keys, then go for a drive. At this hour before the dawn the city is at its most quiet. Muslims call this time 'tahajjud', arabic for 'to wake up after sleeping [but before the dawn]'. It is tahajjud time, except that I haven't slept yet. Only cops and cabs patrol the streets. I end up at The Docks' parking lot. At the end of Polson Street in the Port of Toronto, I'm actually south of the downtown core. I park the car, and ignore the only other car parked in the lot. Perhaps they're having a late date, though partly open the windows are steamed. It's dark but the reflection of Toronto's skyline reveals ripples in the water. I pace up and down the planks of the wooded boardwalk.
For at least the next twenty minutes, I do something I've never done before in my entire life. I talk to the dead.
I talk to Greg. No computer. No funeral. No one else. Just me and Greg. I hadn't planned this. I was standing there, on the boardwalk, staring at the red and blue and green and white reflections of the logos on the downtown office towers and bank buildings. Suddenly I just started talking. At first I was only thinking out loud. Then I began to think out loud about Steve's motorcycle ride he took at the same time I was driving home to Toronto from Meaford.
That's when it happened: I stopped talking to myself about Greg, and began talking by myself to Greg.
I told him everything. How screwed up I felt that I couldn't finish this damn article. I apologised to Greg. There was no bullshit here, no one was there. I was by myself. If I was full of crap, and talked like I was full of crap, the only one being screwed over was me. And nobody else.
I ran out of things to say to Greg. For the first time in weeks, I was myself again. The reflections rippling in the water of the harbour changed somehow. I walked back to the car and drove home. It was almost time for my morning prayers. And after that... Sleep.
JULY 12 FRIDAY1:10 p.m.: I've lost track of time and almost miss the weekly congregational prayers. I had planned to attend the downtown Masjid Toronto but now it's too late, I won't make it on time. Instead, I walk the three blocks to HartHouse and attend prayers on campus at the U. of T.
JULY 12 FRIDAY 2:05 p.m.: I ask Allah, God-Alone for His help. I can't finish the article by myself. I'm screwed and I know it. I decide to take a round about way home and walk through Queen's Park North.
JULY 12 FRIDAY Circa 3 p.m.: In front of the historic Chelsea Shop, I bump into Annelies and Marika and Paul and Emily. Annelies hands me a flyer. Emily, Paul and Marika give me the sales pitch. They're holding a concert on September 14th. It's called Music For Peace. I don't really understand why, but I just up and said, "...Can I help you the rest of the afternoon?..."
They needed some tape to post flyers onto untility poles around the neighbourhood. I went home and got my scotch tape. For the next hour and a quarter, I showed them the best spots to put up the flyers. I learn that today's postering is part of their basic volunteer training. Their group is from all over the States. They've been doing volunteery things all week. They were staying diagonally across the street from me at NewCollege Residence. They invite me to join them in Montreal the following week...I want to go...But I can't. I don't want to tell why I can't. I can't tell I'm writing an obituary for Greg Allan. I can't tell them I actually stuck wrtiting and can't finish it.
Aw well, they invite me anyway for ice cream in the courtyard this evening after sunset. Ice cream works for me. I'm soooo looking forward to this distraction.
JULY 12 FRIDAY Circa 6 - 8 p.m.: I still have not done anything productive in front of the computer this afternoon. I borrow my brother's car and decide to just drive around aimlessly...yeah, during Rush Hour, 'Way To Go HiMY'. With death so much on my mind, I find myself up Yonge St. and turning west on Sheppard then north up Senlac Road. I end up in York Cemetary. I park the car and visit some people I've known growing up. Mostly friends of my parents and family of those same friends. I'm in the muslim part of the cemetary across the lane from our Buddhist neighbours.
After visiting graves of People I know, I spot a muslim sister reading something over a recently covered grave. I go over and offer my condolence and we recite Surah Al-Fatiha, Chapter One of the Qur'an: 'The Opening'. I ask if it was her mom or dad? Turns out to be someone very close to her. His name was Sabawoon. Barely into his twenties, he had suffered health problems for 11 years and passed away only two months ago. I ask if he was her fiancé? She answers, "Who knows what could have happened?...Maybe."
Her name is 'Farishta'. In her native pashtun, and other languages too, it means 'Angel' or translates as 'Angela'. I immediately think of the 'Angel' in the title of the 'Atom Bomb Angel' book on Greg's bookshelf.
When I walked up to the grave, I interrupted what she was doing. She was reading an obituary written by Sabawoon's brother that was just published in the local Afghan community newspaper. Reading an obituary?
That was unexpected.
Right here in front of me, in her hands, was something that for weeks I could not complete on my own: a completed and published obituary. She asks why I came to the graveyard today? I end up telling her about how I can't put together something about Greg to post on PostNuke. Sister Farishta sincerely listens to me describe Greg/adam_baum and what PostNuke is. For the next little while she asks good questions and offers ideas on finishing off my article.
I try apologising for taking up so much of her private graveside time, but she won't hear any of it. I think we both helped each other out a little by interrupted the other's ...I still don't know how best to say it... Death Thinking is the closest I can express it as. I give her my IslamBank website addy, telling her that I'll post my article there, I say salam and leave, exiting this third of the cemetary.
If ever I'm up this far in the north of Toronto, I always visit Irwin's grave. Marker 1115 in the southeast end of York Cemetary. Today I don't really know what to say to Irwin, so I bring him up to date on the Maple Leafs.
JULY 12 FRIDAY Circa 9:30 p.m.: Inside the New College courtyard, I meet up with my new friends from this afternoon. Ice cream and a nice summer evening. Before the end of the night, I'll have made 21 new friends. Emily and Marika ask why I look sad, unlike the afternoon? I tell them about Greg and about visiting the graveyard a coupla hours earlier. I outline my article, or lack thereof. Both Marika and Emily, now joined by Rob, sincerely listen and offer honest encouragement on getting it done. I describe my 'PostGreg' format of the article and how frustrated I am that it's just not working. I still feel 'PostGreg' is the way to go, but...why the hell ain't I done yet? I don't remember exactly what these three said to me, just that for the first time since outlining my thoughts to Daryl three weeks ago, I got excited again. Yeah, what if I just begin at the beginning and describe the day? Don't describe Greg. Talk about the day instead. If Greg was there on that day, he'd show up in the article. Damn! Was it that simple!
Time for more Ice Cream.
July 13 SATURDAY:The Entire Day: HïMY plays tour guide during the 'Art of Lifers' random acts of kindness, shawl shopping in kensington market, hackysacking at harbourfront, and Mandy-prepared dinner at Centre Island. I hadn't visited our islands for two summers...how'd I let that happen? It was such a great peacefulness there. Even the ferry ride over felt like I was leaving for vacation.
July 14 SUNDAY MORNING - NOON: Saw the Art of Lifers off as they left for Montréal. The last thing Emily and Rob say to me is, "..Hey, don't forget to send me that article, I wanna read it when you're done." I miss 'em all already. Went for a walk around the neighbourhood, and bumped into almost every one of my Neighbourhood friends. That's never happened before. I TAKE REST OF DAY 'OFF'. NO Writing.
July 15 MONDAY about 4 a.m. : I restart.
JULY 17 WEDNESDAY: I've barely slept three or fhours since Sunday night. I've canabilized my 'PostGreg' stuff and relief is what I am feeling. 'Breakthrough' is the only word that describes how I feel about the article now, or 'new article' is what it should be called. It ain't tiredness I'm feeling, it's exhaustion..I need some sleep, and I think I've earned it, I crash on the couch.
"What the ?" I was asleep on the couch and suddenly, clear as day, I saw my dad in the kitchen again leaning against the counter. It was the same dream I had in early June, the one where I talked to my dad. It was the same dream except...Greg was there.
He was sitting on the counter, slowly swinging his legs back back and forth, he's a big guy and he'd hadda duck down and in front a little so the cupboards above him wouldn't be banging his head. Greg was wearing shorts and some kinda slippers. In his left hand he was holding a bag of something...a paper bag of peanuts? or was it popcorn? like the paper bags of popcorn you get at the ballpark or amusment park. Greg was reaching his right hand into the paper bag, pulling the peanuts or popcorn out of it, then with the handful of whatever it was, he looked up as the stuff in his hand emptied into mouth. My dad's arms were crossed, he had a dark shirt on, and as I looked back at him from looking at Greg, my dad smiled to me. Nothing was said, but in the dream, I just 'KNEW' that Greg and my Dad were just 'hanging out' like two buddies. My dad and 'adam_baum' were talking to each other.
Then I woke up. 'Holy Shit!'
I look around the apartment, screen saver still on my computer screen, later afternoon sun reflecting on my apartment walls. But I felt different now...I think i'm on the right track with the article now. what the hell else could that dream mean?
JULY 19 FRIDAY: I print out what I have so far. I'm FREAKED OUT IT'S 26 PAGES...! I using plain old wordpad to do the article, it doesn't have a page counter. I RE-RE-RE-READ IT. I can't believe I typed all this...and more important to me, 'It Doesn't Suck'. I need to show this to someone, to somebody who'd understand what I'm writing...this one printout, I decide to xpress post it the Art of Living centre in Québec, and hope that Rob and everybody else who listened to me talk about my article problems get a chance to see what I've written so far.
JULY 22 MONDAY: Michaelius passed away
Posted by: Hinrich on Jul 20, 2002 - 06:31 AM | (798 Reads)
Michael Greca another member of the Nuke Community passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident.
I stayed away from PostNuke's homepage for a coupla days. I read this two days after it's posted. I feel a seriousness and new urgency with finishing my article about Greg. I end up thinking, hoping that someone from postnuke in person can meet his family like what happened with me and Greg's family.
JULY 24 WEDNESDAY: ANOTHER DREAM: I was holding a '57 CADDY with yellow fins, grey sides and silver trim The exact same colours as the man in the church in Owen Sound. It's a convertible. It fit in the palm of my hand.I think it was a keychain thingie. When my dad was alive he called his caddy deVille his 'fourth child' and our car was silver. Thinking about this colour scheme of the caddy in the dream and how it matched that guy from the Owen Sound church and how he being there stopped me from chickening out from attending the service. I think it means to go on, not quit, I'm almost done. Don't stop now. But if I'm almost done...and I know I'm almost done, why do I need this message now?
JULY 24 WEDNESDAY: Sometime in the afternoon, I read ACTIVESTATE AWARD WINNER WAS GREG. wELL That belongs in my 'code warrior' postGreg paragraphs...but I decided to stop writing 'PostGreg'. right?
JULY 24 WEDNESDAY 5:49 p.m.: I'm done.
JULY 25 THURSDAY: It's exactly five weeks since Greg's funeral. I Phone the Allan Family, left a message. Got their email later:
From: "Bob & Leone Allan"
Date: Thu Jul 25 18:25:51 2002
Subject: Hello from Meaford.
Good to hear your voice, sorry we were not at home when you called. We both were at work, and Brian was out as well.
We are starting to get our life back in order since Greg's accident. We have good days and not so good days, but I guess we need some time.
We are very proud of the award that Greg has won. What an honour for him and nice keepsake for us.
Kim has been thinking about you also,
Please email/call when you can. The best time to call us is after 5:30 p.m.
We often think about you and the time you spent with us after Greg's funeral, Your thoughtfullness was appreciated.
Bob, Leone and Brian,
I lose track of how many times I reread this email from the Allan family...somewhere in there plus the dream from this morning and ... damn it... I can't leave 'PostGreg'. I go over what's left, the parts I've left out of my finished article... 16 'PostGregs' left that I haven't used yet. they just couldn't fit in my article.
Deep Breath. And Then. I'm Not Done.
JULY 25 EVENING - JULY 31 11:47 p.m.: I end up with over 20 'PostGreg' categories, but I whittle it down to what's there now. Wrtiting this, acrutually, reTURNING to POSTGREG wrtiting is was harder this past week that finishing ht e article after the art of living group showed up in my life that weekend. It was hardsder but also knowing that i was not living GroundHog day again, helped me focus and finish each 'PostGreg' section. I tried to finish two a day but ending up ahead of my own schedule...then I fell behind again, then I started this 'PostScript' after I finally finished 'PostGreg' and now i think I really done.
JULY 30 TUESDAY 8:37 P.M.: I send Steve MacGregor the first email to him in over a month.
JULY 31 WEDNESDAY 8:35 p.m. - 11:47 p.m.: Weirdest thing just happened in the last few hours, my brother's car died, he hadda work on something, and he asked me to meet the tow truck guy when he showed up by the car and to figure out how best to fix the car. Turns out Tow Truck driver guy has a buddy with him. His buddy I find out during small talk is FROM MEAFORD! "DAYUM! NO WAY!" He was born in Meaford, I start spilling out names of all sorts of the people I met on Greg's funeral day... The guy doesn't know any of the names... "What? H'come you don't the Allan Family?...H'bout the Cahoon Family?...Dave Shaw, He runs the gasbar?...C'mon there's only four thousand people in the town, how come you don't know them?" Because of this, we've in ten minutes gone from being customer and tow truck driver to being Meaford-People...even if the driver's buddy lives in Edmonton now and is only visiting toronto for vacation, he was still born there. This 'meaford' connection helps me get the car fixed faster and cheaper at Bentos Auto repair.
JULY 31 WEDNESDAY 8:35 p.m. - 11:47 p.m.: Post test article on my website.
AUGUST 1 THURSDAY: Something's been tugging at the back of my mind for a few days: I can't remember exactly when Irwin died. I know it was the summer of '96, but why can't I remember the exact date? This morning around ten a.m. I walk the fifteen minutes over to Dovercourt Road and enter the Cardinal funeral home. I meet Crystal and Candice. They understand my need to know and quickly bring up Irwin's file. He died on July 22nd, 1996. The combination of being reminded of this just past date and telling the funeral directors about Greg Allan and Irwin Brock helps me to figure something out. Looking at the summer calendar from six years ago, all three of us figure out that on Sunday June 16th 1996, Irwin and I had went on our last random road trip up north to Sauble Beach on Lake Huron. We drove through Barrie and stopped at Collingwood and Meaford and Owen Sound before winding up at Sauble Beach for the afternoon. And THAT's why I was thinking about Irwin during my drive up to Owen Sound for Greg's funeral. For almost six weeks, I'd been wondering why Irwin was on my mind the day of Greg's funeral. On June 16th 2002, Greg had his motorcycle accident. The same date separated by six years and yet connected, in my life. Freaky eh? Well, I think so.
I call the Allan family at home to tell them I've posted a draft of my story online. I get the answering machine and leave a message. I send them an email with the url of the draft of my story.
AUGUST 2 FRIDAY: I hear back from Kim Smith. I messed up on a coupla points in my article, other than that though, she's okay with it and gives me a green light to publicly post my story about Greg.
AUGUST 4 SUNDAY Afternoon: Bob and Leone Allan, Greg's parents, send me an email telling me they're pleased with the article. Just one change to make: I mixed up Greg and Brian's birthday's. With that important correction, I feel relieved. I wasn't sure how Greg's family would react to my story.
AUGUST 5 HOLIDAY MONDAY: Tom Thomson's Birthday. It's Tyler's 20th birthday too. He's come down with a coupla friends from Kitchener for the day. I'll need to play tour guide guy. John Cox, aka NiceGuyEddie, suggests that since my story is so long, why not create a static tribute webpage instead of submitting it as a regular story on PostNuke.com?
AUGUST 6 TUESDAY: Steve MacGregor emails me he's still getting through my story on Greg. I get back to John Cox, after mulling it over for a day, John's idea of a plain old HTML webpage for my article seems better and better. Yep, I message him back, that's the way to go.
AUGUST 7 - AUGUST 10: The Real World demands my attention and I can't finish off the HTML formatting of my article as fast as I've wanted to. However these past few days have allowed me to reflect on my article altogether. There was one thing bugging me about the PostGreg section. I figured out what it was and after making the adjustment I'm now finally okay with my story. Over the last few days I've also worked on fixing up Greg's Gallery.
AUGUST 11 SUNDAY NIGHT 11:37 p.m.: I'm uploading this file to my official site for the story. In a few minutes, www.GregAllan.TYO!ca will be live. I'll message John Cox/NiceGuyEddie that I'm done. I have a few more links to update, but I think I'll do that later. I've been at the computer since just before dawn this morning and I wanna get this story online before midnight... Why? because exactly eight weeks ago tonight, Greg died. And Today, August 11th, was also my Dad's Birthday.
- - - - - - - - - -
P o s t G r e g
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"...I Needed Greg to be at home...with me...I couldn't stand the thought of Greg not being here..."
Kim shared these words during a follow-up phone call a few days after the funeral. Kim needed Greg to be at home. Greg's mom attends Church on Sundays. Consequently, it was important for Leone Allan that her son have a Catholic funeral. Cremation following a Catholic funeral mass became a choice agreeable to both.
This decision making process mirrored the principles of open source collaboration which marked the last year of Greg Allan's online life within the PostNuke Community.
John Cox, Harry Zink, Sean Finkle and Greg Allan, stayed with a Nuclear Theme when they named their Content Management System: PostNuke.
Greg went a step further in keeping with the Nuclear Theme. Greg used the name adam_baum as his internet identity. This play on the words Atom Bomb can only help confirm the subtle genius that was Greg's sense of humour: adam_baum could just as easily have been his real name.
On the day of the funeral, I found it difficult to articulate out loud an insight I had. During the follow-up phone call, I mentioned it to Kim. She took no offence. What I suggested somehow seemed to make sense...
Those closest to an atomic blast or nuclear explosion are reduced to ashes.
In a final tip of the hat for what PostNuke had meant to Greg Allan: adam_baum was cremated and not buried.
GREG_ALLAN: HOCKEY PLAYER
"That's my defense partner, and I don't know what I'm gonna do without my defense partner,"
Said Greg's hockey teammate, as he attended the wake held for Greg on the night of Wednesday June 19th at the Ferguson Funeral Home in Meaford, Ontario.
PostNuke developers who coded alongside Greg may still be feeling the same way. Much of rural Ontario is a farm system for the NHL. Who knows, if Greg wasn't so much into computers, he might've ended up a defenseman in the NHL. And why not? Boston Bruins' Great Defenseman Bobby Orr hails from neighbouring Parry Sound. Maybe it's something in the water?
At work, Dave Shaw would pester Greg whenever the Philadelphia Flyers lost their hockey game the night before. Sometimes, Dave would rub it in just to get a rise out of Greg. But Greg gave as good as he got. Whenever the Toronto Maple Leafs were down, it was Dave Shaw who had to endure the ribbing. After Greg passed away, Dave told me, he regretted having poked as much fun at the Flyers as he did in front of Greg...(some, but not all of the ribbing. Dave Shaw is after all, a true blue Leafs' fan, eh?).
"...Only once did Greg lose patience and throw someone over the goal net..."
Bob Allan told me as he described the kind of game his son played. Greg held no grudges inside the rink. If someone body checked him, hey, that was part of the game. No reason to chase 'em down and lose a few minutes in the penalty box.
"...Greg was always a Flyers fan, right from when he got to know hockey..."
Answered Bob Allan, when asked how his son became a Philadelphia Flyers fan (which in Toronto Maple Leaf country is a courageous proposition). Bob didn't know why Greg had chosen them as 'his' team. But we do know why Greg stayed with his team through season after season of no Stanley Cup: Greg was loyal to the bone and he wasn't going to abandon his team just because they were having a bad year.
...or in the Flyers' case, a 'Bad Decade'
...Sorry Greg! I just hadda get that last one in!
You do understand, I am after all, a Leafs' fan
GREG_ALLAN: BEST FRIEND
"Greg Allan didn't have a 'single' Best Friend in the entire world..."
This the only conclusion I can come up with after spending the entire day with Greg's family.
Greg in fact had one or two or a few 'Best Friends' in each of his 'Worlds': his eight Cypress Lake Best Friends; the teammates he played hockey with; his younger brother Brian; Best Friends from the first day of School with Dean and later Natasha Smith; his Best Biker Friends called him 'Grease'; Dave Shaw was Greg's Best Friend at the 'World's Largest Meaford Gasbar and Charm School'; his online 'best_friends' knew Greg Allan as 'adam_baum'.
Those in his hometown of Meaford simply knew their best friend as 'Greg'.
GREG_ALLAN: SON OF GREY COUNTY
"Grey County is proud to have had a part in the well known lives of the following nationally known people..."
So begins the 'People' page on Grey County's official website:
Billy Bishop, The World War I flying Ace; Tommy Burns, the only Canuck to hold the World Heavyweight Boxing title almost a century ago; John Diefenbaker, Prime Minister; Agnes MacPhail, first woman elected to Canada's Parliament, she represented the riding of Grey-Bruce from 1921 to 1940; Nellie McClung, writer, activist and suffragist; Nahnebahwequay (Catherine Sutton), the native leader who personally lobbied Queen Victoria in 1860 for Native Womens' Rights; and then there's Tom Thomson.
Thomas John (Tom) Thomson was born August 5, 1877 near Claremont, Ontario. He was raised near Owen Sound. A landscape artist, he is best remembered for his sketches and paintings of the Canadian wilderness.
Thomson, working in Toronto in 1912, convinced some fellow artists to take their first trip 'Up North' together into Algonquin Park. It on this first trip 'Up North' that Thomson planted the seeds of the idea which later created the 'Group of Seven' and inspired their canvases. Thomson himself could not be an official member of the Group of Seven. He died in 1917, two and a half years before the group was formed.
It is said of Tom Thomson,
"...He never gave utterance in words to his feelings of the glories of nature. Words were not his instruments of expression - colour was the only medium open to him."
(Dr. J.M. MacCallum on Tom Thomson; MacCallum, Tom Thomson, p. 378)
During May and June 2001, John Cox began online discussions with Greg Allan, Harry Zink, and Sean Finkle. This 'Group of Four' agreed to fork from PHP-Nuke and resolved to create PostNuke. Today, barely a year later, the PostNuke CMS software touches millions of peoples lives worldwide, everyday.
With apologies to Dr. J.M. MacCallum, I must borrow and paraphrase his words about Tom Thomson quoted above.
I suggest that:
"Greg Allan never gave utterance in words to his feelings of the glories of open source software. Words were not his instruments of expression - coding software was the only medium open to him."
The period from June 2001 until June 16, 2002 found Greg Allan responsible for coding the 'Core' of the PostNuke Content Management System.
Greg Allan died in a motorcycle accident in Meaford. Tom Thomson died while canoeing in Algonquin Park.
Greg Allan and Tom Thomson were struck down doing what they loved.
Greg Allan and Tom Thomson died at ages 29 and 40 respectively.
They are both sons of Grey County.
"...Greg never raised his voice...He'd often say,
'If I have to raise my voice, then I've already lost'..."
Kim said of Greg in front of the house they both called home.
"...Greg taught me how to communicate...in a relationship..."
As Kim described the relationship she and Greg shared, the facts added up: Greg and Kim had a 'Miracle Marriage'.
In Paul Pearsall's out-of-print book, The Ten Laws of Lasting Love, he describes a choice couples can make. They can choose between 'Lower Monogamy' and 'Higher Monogamy'.
In Lower Monogamy, two people commit to each other but are not committed to the relationship itself. When one person lets the other down, it's mistakenly understood that the relationship itself has failed and not a disappointment of one by the other. In Lower Monogamy, people work on changing or 'fixing' the other person to improve the relationship. To begin a Lower Monogamy Marriage, one usually asks, "Will YOU marry ME?" In Pearsall's thinking, that may really mean, 'What can you do for me?'. Low Monogamy marriages rarely make it past 18 months, three years tops.
Pearsall evangelizes about 'Higher Monogamy' relationships lasting twenty, thirty, even fifty years calling them, "Miracle Marriages". Higher Monogamy finds two people committed to the relationship first before each other. In Higher Monogamy, partners first 'change themselves' as a means to improve the relationship overall. Pearsall, a marital therapist, studied hundreds of 'Miracle Marriages' and found in them, 'Ten Laws of Lasting Love'.
In Higher Monogamy, the question being asked is, "Knowing what I know about myself right now, 'would I want to be married to me?'" That's a harder question. Demanding of oneself an even harder honest answer.
Greg must have asked himself this question the night he met Kim.
Greg Allan and Kim Smith created their own Miracle Marriage.
"...we were never apart except when Greg would leave Friday mornings for Cypress Lake..."
The only thing that took Greg away from his sweetheart, Kim, was going up north with the boys. And 'Up North' was 'Cypress Lake'. Getting there meant trekking halfway up the Bruce Peninsula, turning into Bruce Peninsula National Park, then east towards Halfway Rock Point, and setting up camp just shy of Georgian Bay and The Bruce Trail.
Greg loved Cypress Lake. Being outdoors under the stars, drinking (Canadian)beer around a campfire with his best friends: Brad Clarke, Mark Woodhouse, Kevin Woodhouse, Tim Irvine, Gannon McCauley, Jeff McConnell, Jeff Ross, and Keith Sled.
These nine best friends were outdoors together one last time on the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2002. Eight of them performed their duty as pallbearers helping Greg 'Go Up North' one last time.
GREG_ALLAN: BIG BROTHER
"...Did Brian ever bug his elder brother...?"
Kim Smith and Bob and Leone Allan burst out laughing upon hearing the question.
We were in the minivan inching along Meaford Harbour retracing the same route on which Greg biked to work everyday. I didn't need a verbal answer. The smirk on Brian's face said it all.
With apologies to Paul Newman but, "Little brothers are put on this earth to trouble their elder brothers...."
Despite their decade plus change age difference, Brian and Greg were close. They had to be close at least once a year. They celebrated birthdays just three days apart.
Conversely, Brian at 16 now finds himself being the big brother. Kristin 15, and Kassandra 13 are Greg's step-daughters. Brian's closeness in age to them, means he's more of an elder brother than an uncle. Now that Greg's gone, he's the one who's gonna hafta beat up Kris and Kassie's boyfriends from time to time.
Yo! Brian! Remember all those times ya bugged the heck outta Greg? ...Well, "Little sisters are put on this earth...."
GREG_ALLAN: BUSINESS PARTNER
"...We shared everything...It was not a boss - employee relationship...."
These are the words of Dave Shaw as he explained the business partnership between he and Greg Allan. Dave had a long career in the field of Broadcasting with the CHUM group of companies. Greg had a long history in the field of computers.
Together they created something new. Greg Allan and Dave Shaw were Business Partners. StudioNorth was their Company.
"...This [Ride For Sight] is something Greg always wanted to do but didn't have a chance to do. He always supported the people that rode for the cause as he never got a chance to do. He was going to ride last year but something happened at work and [Greg] couldn't get the time off...."
Not being able to do the 'Ride For Sight' was one regret Greg mentioned to Kim Smith the week before he died.
Greg rode his Kawasaki hard and fast. He loved waking up Meaford with the roar of his bike. Especially waking up one particular neighbour who lived on the same street. This neighbour often complained about Greg's roaring up and down the avenue. Greg joked with Kim that if they ever moved, he'd rip up the neighbour's grass by wheeling his motorcycle all over his front lawn. It'd be a going away present, a 'thanks' for all the complaints over the years. Greg'd never do such a thing of course, he only said it to blow off some steam...
"To quote a fellow biker on why we do it: 'If I had to explain, you wouldn't understand'."
Commented Philip of stutchbury.net
Nevertheless, Trevor Scott tried his best to explain, Trevor tried to help us understand:
by rc5retro (-) on Jun 22, 2002 - 12:37 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.trevor.net
Part of who we are can be found in the company we keep, both real and in the virtual world.
As an avid motorcycle rider and PHP Developer I am sure that I held many of the same ideas and inspirations as Greg. The love of the sport, the thrill of the ride, the edge of danger. I also know what it is like to live and love in the knowledge that those things you enjoy doing can be the very thing that takes you away from those who have entrusted their hearts to you.
While Gregs loss is being felt around the world by the millions of people that enjoy and indeed live by the work he helped create, the real sorrow is in those that survived his death. If he was riding to the degree where life became another card in the deck, then he must have loved to ride. He was having fun and living life. For him, life may have been cut short, but he did it. He had fun, he left his mark, and now hundreds of people will remember him for a long time.
My deepest sympathy goes out to his girlfriend and family. Your loss will be felt for many years to come. I would encourage those that were closest to Greg to remember the good times and forget about the accident. It's tough, I know. I've been racing motorcycles for far too long to have not lost a few good friends. Keep him safe in your heart and he will continue to live on for as long as you do. Don't let his departure stop you from living your life. If anything grab ahold of what you have, embrace it, and live. To do otherwise would not be what he wanted. Don't worry, he'll be waiting for you when you cross that path.
"...Greg was a 'Giver'..." Father LaCroix said during the Funeral Service.
A few of the Bikers attending the Wednesday night wake, paid their respects to the family by mentioning Greg's commitment to the Ride For Sight.
"...When they asked us at the funeral where people could donate money we told them Ride For Sight because it was something [Greg] thought was [a] worth while cause..." Kim Smith told me in a follow-up email.
The joy Greg took from riding his Kawasaki Motorcycle was outweighed by the support he gave to his fellow bikers who annually rode for the Ride For Sight program...except this year. If you're a Biker, and want to do something for your fallen Biker Brother, why not contribute to or better still complete the Ride for Sight that Greg was never able to do himself?
Greg would've done the same for any of his Biker Brothers out there.
Why? Because "...Greg was a Giver...."
www.StudioNorth.ca and www.nDezign.com
These websites were the original reasons Greg became a webmaster.
Once his sites were up and running, Greg gave back to the Open Source community by helping thousands of everyday people earn the title of 'Webmaster/Webmistress'.
Every hour of every day in their own language, PostNukers make the internet a better place to surf. In time, directly or indirectly, every user of the internet will have enjoyed using a PostNuked website.
Millions of netizens are registered users of PostNuked sites worldwide. Millions more surf PostNuked websites anonymously. It's the webmasters who choose PostNuke who make make this happen.
Like Greg, all anyone has to do is run a PostNuked website.
GREG_ALLAN: ActiveState Award Winner 2002
Posted by J. Cox on Jul 24, 2002 - 11:14 AM
The late Greg Allan (adam_baum) has been awarded the 2002 ActiveState Programmers Choice Award for PHP for his work on PostNuke. The award was announced yesterday at OSCON.
The announcement reads as follows:
Greg was the lead developer and founding member of the PostNuke project, the most popular PHP CMS. His vision and leadership helped to grow a community that spans five continents, hundreds of developers and an estimated 50,000 sites running with PostNuke. PostNuke has been downloaded over 500,000 times to date. The PHP community suffered a great loss when Greg passed away suddenly on June 16, 2002.
Thanks to everyone in the community that participated in the vote. I am sure to Greg's family, the award will mean quite a bit. I am honored to have worked side by side with Greg for the past year, and if anyone deserved the recognition, it is he.
Note: Just got word from Activestate folks that Greg won with 5x the votes of all other candidates combined. (Gregor)
GREG_ALLAN: CODE WARRIOR
"Greg is focused on the design of the core systems. His responsibilities are to constantly redefine where we are at with the core of the script and to keep constant vigilance on our design. I am relying on Greg to keep each of us (including myself) honest as to where we are going with the core script. He is responsible for the script side of life and what the structure will look like in 1.0."
...wrote John Cox.
This second to last paragraph anchors the 'Project Processes' webpage.
If you never understood what Greg's role was within the PostNuke project, you only have to read the paragraph above.
The Tuesday before he died, Greg and Kim went out to dinner for a double celebration. Kim had completed her coursework and was to begin a new career the following week. Greg was celebrating for his own private PostNuke related reason.
For the first time ever, the core script was 100% free of any legacy code. According to the PostNuke Roadmap, this milestone was reached ahead of schedule.
That evening, Greg confided to Kim he was, "...happy and relieved." A pure PostNuke script was a dream Greg had seen come true. He told Kim, he was about about to slow down; to ease his way from his PostNuke responsibilities.
Before leaving PostNuke, Greg had one more thing to do. Greg had one last great insight as to what PostNuke could truly become. He hadn't yet told anyone his idea. He didn't tire Kim with details over dinner. He simply said he'd begin working on it soon.