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February 18, 2005

Becky in Scotland

Phone Book - listings for E. Costello
(Click on the image for larger version)

I moved from Atlanta to Scotland a number of years ago. A couple of days ago I was flipping through our little phone book for the area, and came across this entry at the top of the page. It gave me a good chuckle and sense of the bizarre that I surely would have shared with Mike. But today, instead, I'll just share it with someone else who might find it a bit amusing too. You might like to know as well that Cumbernauld is known as one of the worst places to live in Britain, so it's good to know they at least have a celebrity to spruce up the place.

Becky

Posted at 01:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Audio snippet

Mike once posted an audio blogging entry, which you can read/listen to here. In case the original sound file becomes unavailable, another copy is available here. (To download: right-click, save as)

You can still hear the sound of Mike's voice. It's so him - funny and self-deprecating and incredibly sweet.

Many of you probably know this, but Mike's friends/coworkers were able to establish administrator rights to his blog, so there's no need to worry about Randomness Personified disappearing from the internet.

-Lady Crumpet

Posted at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2005

Susan in Atlanta

Saying goodbye to Mike has been incredibly hard for me. Ever since I heard the news, he has been on my mind almost constantly and I feel this weight on my chest, which I guess is heartache...my heart is aching at that thought of Mike not being in this world.

The funeral and lunch that followed were difficult to get through, but funny stories and good memories of Mike helped make the day easier, but not easy. It was wonderful to meet his parents, Stephanie, and so many people I had heard of through Mike, but not met in person. I wish I had been able to stand up and speak during the service, but at the time couldn’t find the words. I have been remembering so many little things I shared with Mike and how his friendship enriched my life. At one point, we were both going through difficult, messy relationships and we talked each other through the rough spots, commiserated, encouraged each another to stay strong; reminded each other that we deserved more.

When I started in the IT Dept at Wieland, I called on Mike 10+ times a day for guidance and he was always there for me. I learned a lot from him about how to deal with people. Even when people drove him insane (and working on the Helpdesk this happens a lot) he managed to be kind and helpful to everyone (even if it meant throwing something when he got back to his desk). He was honest to a fault, loyal, caring, brilliant, insightful, funny and incredibly independent. He was someone I wanted to call with news. When I told him Jonathan and I were getting married, he couldn’t have been happier for us and I so hoped that he would find someone worthy of all his gifts. I think he did with Stephanie and I am grateful that he found that happiness, however short-lived.

When I got my new car, I emailed him pictures and he immediately called me back. “You are such a Mini person!” His enthusiasm for life was contagious and inspiring.

Jonathan and I planned to visit in January and decided to wait until spring, when the weather improved. I wish we had gone and I had the chance to see New York through his eyes; the city I was born in and he knew better than I ever will. His passing has left a void in my life and my heart, but I am honored to have been even a tiny part of his.

There will be tears and candles
Pretty words to say
Spare me lily-white lilies
With the awful perfume of decay
Banish all dismay
Extinguish every sorrow
If I'm lost or I'm forgiven
The birds will still be singing

It's so hard to tear myself away
Even when you know it's over
It's too much to say.
Banish all dismay
Extinguish every sorrow
If I'm lost or I'm forgiven
The birds will still be singing

from "The Birds Will Still be Singing"
Words and Music Declan McManus

Posted at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Thank you for being you"

I haven’t seen Mike since we were at CMU together, just after high school. We kept in touch for a while after I transferred to WMU, but eventually lost track of each other.

When I saw him listed on Classmates.com several years later, I paid the stupid membership fee just so I could send him an email. Unfortunately, he hadn’t updated his profile recently, and the email address was bad. Gah!

Then a year or so later, he contacted me through Classmates.com. His email said something like, “pretty silly of me to pay the stupid membership fee just so I could send you an email.” I said, “not really!”

Anyhow…Mike made high school bearable for me. He was a true friend. He was always there to listen to my petty problems. He was never swayed by the fickle passions of popularity. He knew who he was even then. He was real; he was himself, even in an environment of constant pressure to conform.

We sat together a lot of the time in the classes we shared – the teachers had a tendency to assign seating by last name (though I would have gladly sat with him anyway). I’m so fortunate to have had him in my life for so long.

When I heard the news yesterday, I bawled for about an hour. I didn’t have time to make arrangements to be there for the service today in Athens, Georgia. But I’m comforted by the belief that he’s not really gone, just in a higher dimension, one with no illness or suffering. We are all One, and we are never really separated from each other, even in death. We will miss his voice, his humor, his cleverness…but he will always be with us.

Many thanks to Lady Crumpet for setting up this memorial site. It helps tremendously with the grieving process to know how much he was loved and how he touched so many lives.

I love you Mike, even if you did have any mention of Billy Joel banned from your blog. Thank you for being you.

Tiffany
One to Many. Originally posted here and kindly shared here.

Posted at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2005

Mike's Mom

Mike's dear friends,

It is the day after Mike's funeral and it all seems so unreal. The love we all shared through the bad times of the past few days is still real. Continue to remember Mike by thinking about the happy times. Mike loved you all. Thank you for making his life easier and loving him for who he was.

Some of you may know I have a passion for flower gardening. I went into my garden this morning and found some new flowers blooming. God has His way of healing broken hearts. For me seeing the new flowers opening their petals and showing their beauty is a sign that our lives keep opening. The force of love inside when it is smothered still can not be stopped. Love pushes forward out of tragedy and like Jesus overcomes death. I hope you all remember Mike by loving each other.

Mike's Mom

(Click on the images for larger versions)

Beginning a new day with a promise of spring to come

Beginning a new day with a promise of spring to come

Camellias in bloom

Camellias in bloom

Lenten rose blooming
Lenten rose blooming

Love comes in bunches

Love comes in bunches

Posted at 11:55 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Announcement

An official announcement about Mike's passing is available here.

There's supposed to be a link to a slide show of pictures that were shown at the funeral home but I don't think that it's available yet. (Please correct me if I'm wrong or if there is updated information.)

-Lady Crumpet

UPDATE: Apparently the link to the slide show was active, but only very briefly. What follows is the text of the announcement, in case it becomes unavailable from the original site. - LC

Michael Robert Wolf
Stamford, CT

Michael Robert Wolf, 35, passed away Wednesday February 9, 2005 in Stamford.

Born in Battle Creek, MI, Mr. Wolf was the son of Robert Wendell and Carol Ann Palo Wolf of Athens. He was preceded in death by his sister, Heidi Wolf. He worked as a Computer Applications Engineer.

Survivors in addition to his parents include grandparents, Wendell and Edna Wolf of Athens, MI and brother, Matthew John Wolf of Barrington, IL.

Funeral Services will be held 11 am Tuesday, February 15 in the Chapel of Bernstein Funeral Home with the Rev. Kent Reynolds officiating. Interment will follow at Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Monday, February 14, from 7 – 9 pm at Bernstein Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations may be made to the March of Dimes, Northeast Georgia Division, 2955 Horizon Park Drive, Ste. B Suwanee. GA 30024.

Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. www.bernsteinfuneralhome.com

Posted at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2005

Waiting for the End of the World

Mike Wolf, Jedi - photo (c) Jonathan Perregaux

It's been an inward weekend. On Saturday I met up with Deano, who redeyed in from San Francisco, and we drove up to join a small grieving group of Mike Wolf's friends at Mike's place up in Stamford. Since we orbit for the most part in the blogosphere, we're unaccustomed as a group to sharing real-time emotion. Mike's parents flew in from Georgia to deal with his belongings, and they were kind and open, laid bare by the sad sudden events of the week.

We've been sharing our memories in the Comments to the last entry in
Mike's blog, Randomness Personified, and rather than try to find new words I'll quote back what I wrote in there today:

It was a pleasure, if a sad one, to meet Mike's parents in Stamford on Saturday. We arrived as the last of the apartment was being carted away to the Salvation Army, and the empty space was very strange without his glee in it. I had only been there once before, for the Christmas party, and seeing the bare walls and empty floor kick-started the healing kind of grief. We were all bewildered together, which felt right.

Mike's Dad instigated some mid-day beer drinking, and we told some stories and looked at the walls and cried a bit. It made it clear that he was gone. It also gave a glimpse of the warmth and the love he leaves behind in the people he touched. His folks were great, direct and generous. Mike spent his life being loved as well as loving others, and it was good to understand how kind his family is.

Overall the day made me feel better about moving on: you don't ever understand something like this, but it becomes part of you.

I've known Mike for something close to a decade, and only met him in person a few months back. Like most who knew him, I liked him immensely, and since I've been kind of busy since about 1997 I figured we'd have time to hang and delve deeper sometime down the line. I think he figured the same. The last email I had from him came right after my entry here on not getting into the Yale School of Drama.
Hey, I just wanted to drop a note of congrats on the Yale attempt. Color me seriously impressed. I have no acting chops and really wish that I could. [ ... snip ... ]

So, anyhow, you got great experience and some young nipple viewing out of the day. Well done! Try again next time and I'll drive up and we'll grab some of New Haven's disturbingly good pizza.

But time is a mocker, and sometimes there isn't much of it at all. I was wrong about the future, and it's a truth that bears some lifting. (Jedi photo by Mike's friend and co-worker Jonathan Perregaux, used by permission.)

Linus Gelber
Pepper of the Earth
Originally posted here, kindly shared by Linus.

Posted at 04:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mike, I Barely Knew You

I've been doing other things since Lady Crumpet called me Thursday afternoon to tell me Mike had died. As I attended to research at work, as I painted our study this weekend, as I rode the subway, as I ate meals, I thought of Mike. My heart hurts. He was taken away suddenly and I feel such sadness and regret.

I should've written something for A Case for Song like he asked. We kept writing back and forth- Let's go for drinks- but it never happened. Lauren and I were invited to his Christmas party, but we couldn't go. I'd planned to go to the last Blogger Bash, but at the last minute, I didn't. The last time we made contact, he IM'ed me, but I didn't realize it was him, so I didn't answer. We emailed back and forth after I had to apologize for my mistake. I'd planned to invite him for my birthday party in a couple of weeks.

I hadn't seen him in more than a year with all of my Yeah, let's... and then nots. And now it's too late. I always enjoyed talking to him...hanging out with him on those rare occasions we did meet in person. Conversation was just so easy with him- as a quiet person, that's rare for me.

The only comfort I can take is that last summer, I finally gave him the mix cd I'd promised him the year before for being one of handful of contestants in my one-year blogiversary contest. I think he liked it, which was a great source of pride to me.

Mike, I'm going to miss you. I'm sorry we didn't get to know each other better.

Z.
Zeebahtronic
Originally posted here but also offered as a contribution here. Thank you.

Posted at 02:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Open Letter to Mike

It's amazing...how a person that you've met once in your life, perhaps spent the cumulative of about12 hours in their company, can leave such an indelible mark on your soul.

What's the secret? Honesty? A zest for life and its surroundings? A vivacious wit and curiousity that's has no limits?

From the moment I met you, in that wonderful tapas bar in Atlanta, the way you rush over to welcome Kirsten and extended your hand to touch mine for the first time. From that moment, your very essence inspired me.

Looking at you was like looking in the mirror, and not seeing the man you are, but the man you wish to be.

Two years ago, I wrote about how one of my great thrills in life is introducing new friends to new worlds of possibility, whether it's through song, image, or just thought.

Every day you did that for me...when I visited your site and entered your world. Your inspiration, friendship, drive, and generosity are your legacy to myself. Your gift to me.

I wish we had more time together. I wish I could still see your face rushing over to me, welcoming me back.

What's your secret? Your gift? Your friendship.

I miss you, Mike. We all miss you. We all love you.

Cory O'Donnell
http://coryodonnell.blogspot.com

Posted at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

from Jim Stetson

I’m so sorry to hear of this unexpected passing. Mike was always full of such energy and humor I never would have considered his mortality. Although I never posted a reply to his blog, I did read it and catch up with him on occasion that way. Mike and I used to work together at Wieland years ago, and we never completely lost touch. I also used to glean lots of interesting websites and other oddities from his travels, as well as a healthy appreciation for Elvis Costello. One Christmas I gave almost everyone in my family a “Celebraduck” toy that Mike had come across one day...and I discovered the now-infamous ‘Viking Kittens’ website from Mike as well. It is really quite shocking to hear Mike is gone. I’ll miss him.

Thanks for your friendship, Mike.

Jim Stetson

Posted at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2005

"He was like a brother"

I worked with Mike for five or six years at Wieland in Atlanta. We were friends immediately. We had a mutual love for music, sports, movies, and conversation. I remember early on competing with him at who could come to work the earliest and show the most face time. Somehow we both felt face time was critical to the advancement of our careers. We were both single, male, about the same age, this was one of our first “real jobs” and with no girlfriends, heck what else did we have to do. Our building was two floors with no access to the second, (they later installed an elevator). I used to tell Mike that the 2nd floor had a large swimming pool with beautiful women, drinks, and that he should join us sometime.

I love music almost as much as Mike. When I moved to a smaller house I gave Mike a couple of hundred vinyl records. I only kept my copy of Joe Jackson’s “Mike’s Murder” soundtrack. I was never able to find it on CD. Mike and I went to several shows; Vic Chestnut seems to stick out in my mind.

I’m a GA Tech fan and so I took Mike to some football, baseball, and especially basketball games at GA Tech. We also went to the Atlanta Hawks game when Lenny Wilkins broke the record for most wins as an NBA coach. We thought the event would be historic. We were bored to tears by the NBA play. That is the last NBA game I have attended. We went to women’s field hockey, and team handball during the 1996 Olympics. We also went to basketball during the ParaOlympics. I’ll never forget Mike’s Chippewas.

I met my wife Amy while working at Wieland and she also became friends with Mike. Mike came to our wedding in 1996 and he didn’t bring a gift. Slacker! It is funny the things you remember. That was perfect.

Amy & Mike left Wieland about the same time. My first of three children was born shortly thereafter. Once Mike moved we didn’t see him as much. My children and changing jobs kept me pretty busy. We would exchange emails now and then.

There are too many things to list and too much to say. I miss him now and will miss him. He was fun to be around, smart, nice, clever, a good guy, classy, and he had integrity. He was like a brother.

Tim Baker

Posted at 10:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2005

Some of Meredith's Favorite Stories

Hi. My name is Meredith. I worked with Mike at Wieland in the IT department. I want to share a couple of funny stories either from Mike or about Mike with you for the Mike Wolf remembered site. As I mentioned on his blog, I think of laughter when I remember Mike. We had so much fun together.

The first is just about the funniest story I associate with him. I think he posted it on his blog, but am not sure when nor how to look it up. Do you remember the story he told about running full speed into a parked car and falling out of his wheelchair on an NYC street? That story made me laugh till I cried when I read it. I don't want to sound insensitive. But you knew Mike, he was always so cool. So to hear that he did something goofy like that...it was hysterical. Anyway, if you can find his entry for that, I'd love for you to post it.

[Mike's account from 5/18/04 can be found here under "most humbling moment." Also reproduced here, I'm sure Mike wouldn't have minded:

Okay, this is the part of the book when I should tell you that I'm in a wheelchair. That wasn't a very dramatic reveal. Damn. Anyhow, it's so not a big deal and you'll forget about it within 10 minutes of meeting me. Promise. Hold me accountable if you don't. It's a tiny, speedy wheelchair anyway.

So my most humbling moment would be crossing Ludlow last week completely into some tune on my iPod when I sped smack-dab into the side of a parked car. I'm not kidding. It made a dent. It was witnessed by several guffawing onlookers.]

My other favorite story is one he related to me. I won't be able to tell it as well as he did, but I'll try. He was in line at a discount/wholesale grocery store, late at night. The rather large woman in front of him was "buying" four completely unrelated items, something like a toothbrush, aluminum foil, a magazine and a can of tuna. Unfortunately, it was quite obvious those weren't the only items she was trying to take out of the store. She had stuff shoved in every available spot under her clothes. While the girl was ringing her up, half a ham (a ham!) fell out of the bottom of her shirt and landed at her feet. Instead of fessing up and admitting that she'd been caught trying to shoplift, the woman looked around and started screaming indignantly, "OK, who frew da ham? I'm standing here, minding my own bidniz and people are frowing HAMS at me! Who frew da effing ham?" (Mike respectfully edited the actual content of her message into language that wouldn't offend me.) The more she yelled about the phantom ham thrower, the more she jiggled. The more she jiggled, the more items fell out from under her still lumpy clothes. As I said, I can't tell the story as well as Mike - it was pretty funny the way he told it. Regardless, "who frew da ham?" became a catch phrase in our department. We say it when something really bad happens. For example, when a server crashes, one of us (who is still around from the time when Mike worked here) walks in the server room screaming in a too loud voice, "Who frew da ham?"

Another memory that makes me laugh is about one of the women who cleaned our office. She was an older lady who seemed just a tad bit crazy. Like most women, she LOOOOVED Mike. Anytime she saw him, she had to come over and chat with him. Mike liked the chatting. The hugging...not so much. He said that every time she bent over to hug him, her hands went down the back of his pants. It got so bad, that he began avoiding her. If he saw her coming down the hall, he'd wheel away as fast as he could. He also trained me to run interference for him. If I saw her coming, I'd say, "Hi, Miss (name withheld), how are you today?" in a really loud voice. That was his signal to exit, stage right.

I'll send more as they come to mind.

Posted at 05:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Daniella in NJ

Memories of my friend

I met Mike Wolf at my first Big Apple Blogger Bash in January 2004, just over a year ago. I was fresh to the NYC area, homesick and lonely. I didn’t know any other bloggers besides my cousin Jenny in Boston who had been my inspiration for blogging. I had exactly eight readers… my parents, a couple of my friends from home and one other NYC blogger, Dahlia (thanks, Dahlia!). I heard about the party from Dahlia and, nervous as hell, feeling completely self-conscious, I went. I was received graciously and one of the first people I met was Mike. We chatted briefly and he made me laugh. I had to cut the night short because, being nervous about being older and less hip than the rest of the bloggers, I had double booked the evening so I would have an “out” if I was uncomfortable.

A couple of weeks later, I had exchanged some emails back and forth with another blogger, Ken Goldstein, I invited him over for drinks and we had a great time. He blogged about it and about an hour after he published it, I got an email from Mike.

“What, I don’t get invited to hang out with you?” his email asked in his typical tongue-in-cheek manner. So, I invited him over for drinks and dinner. It was only after we had made firm plans that it occurred to me that we lived on the third floor without an elevator. That was the thing with Mike… you forgot about the wheelchair the minute he opened his mouth. It was non-issue to him, so it became a non-issue to anyone who knew him. We made plans to go out to dinner instead.

It was a blast. Mike came over early and we had drinks at a bar near my house waiting for John and Ken to arrive. We just melded so perfectly and the words just tumbled out of both of us. Our friendship was effortless.

Over the last year, Mike and I have had many adventures together. There was that crazy semi-coherent Ethiopian dinner in March when he couldn’t finish his dinner and without thinking I told him that “you better eat that, there are children starving in Ethiopia!” We both dissolved into giggles to the alarm of the other patrons and our waitress. Or the night he spent three hours redesigning my website and I kept trying to hurry him up and we laughed and laughed. Or that time I managed to scam our way into the private room at the Russian Vodka Room by speaking convoluted Russian to the hostess. Or the time he got us front row seats to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Joe’s Pub. He joked that “being a crip has to have some advantages.” Mike never ever played the pity game. That was not who he was at all.

I guess the defining thing about my relationship with Mike was the laughter. We made each other laugh. I teased him about being a hipster and a music geek (he was both) and he teased me about being a fashionista and being anal retentive (I’m both). I loved him and I will always love him.

He brought a whole lot to this world and touched everyone he came into contact with in some way. This world is not as bright a place without his wit, his passion and his light.

Originally posted at Daniella's Misadventures but is also featured here with Daniella's blessing.

Posted at 05:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

David in Ohio

The news of Mike's passing is such a shock. I have known Mike for at least five, maybe six years. I am a vendor for his former employer, John Wieland Homes in Atlanta. I met him when we installed the document imaging software at JWH. Mike and I hit it off instantly, and became friends. I used to tell him he was my favorite over achiever. He was able to pick up and understand complex technology better than anyone else I have ever met. Unfortunatly I didn't keep in close contact with him when he moved from Atlanta. An email or phone call every few months or so to catch up. I looked forward to his visits to Cleveland for OnBase events. We would get together at those times.

I am going to miss Mike. He was certainly one of a kind, and truely a good friend.

David Geller

Posted at 03:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heather in NYC

What strikes me most is that Mike was the kind of man you'd say the
same glorious things about in life, as you would when he passed.
Because it didn't take his death for us to realize how wonderful he
was. We always knew.

People tend to bestow undeserved virtues on the deceased, for whatever
reason. In this case, every bit of praise is deserved. Mike was a
blessing.

Heather Hunter
This Fish Needs A Bicycle

Posted at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jen in Michigan

Hi Lady C

My name is Jen. I've known Mike for over 20 years now. We'd had our ups and downs, but I knew that I could always count on him for his friendship and wisdom. I still can't really believe he's gone. And, like you, spent a pretty sleepless night last night. We had lost touch for several years when he moved to GA, and I had just reconnected with him about a year ago. I am so very glad I made the effort to do so, but am now wishing that I could have those lost years back. I have been reading his blog, and yours, ever since we reconnected. And I kind of feel like I know you now. I feel this need to connect with people who knew him, even though they are strangers to me. I guess that's part of Mike's legacy is drawing people together. He was so good about doing that because he was such a good friend to so many people.

You can post this on the blog if you want (or not); I just felt a need to share. Thanks for listening.

Would love to hear from you sometime.

Jenny Connelly
Michigan

My response to Jenny:

Hi Jenny - thank you for writing. I will definitely post this.

I definitely think that Mike had a gift for friendship. We may be
strangers, but we have Mike in common, and that is a good place to
start at connecting.

Lady C.

Posted at 01:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An idea

Dear, beloved, darling Mike passed away on Wednesday, February 9, 2005. It's only been two days and I still haven't let the news sink in.

Last night, unable to sleep, one of the things I thought about was how I was able to spend the afternoon with some of Mike's other friends, helping each other to cope with our grief. I heard stories about Mike that made us laugh and cry, and helped us to feel a little better. It helped us to remember and to realize how truly special Mike Wolf was to each of us.

This is a place to collect such stories and thoughts you want to share, that help us to remember Mike and keep him in our hearts. Feel free to send something, and to add comments as you wish.

-Lady Crumpet

Posted at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack