Saturday, March 7, 2009

Michael's Memorial Service

Dear Friends: Michael’s memorial services were held on March 2, 2009 in Taipei, and included a wonderful video tribute made by his Diggers teammates. On behalf of our entire family, I want to thank each of you, his beloved friends, for your wonderful friendship to him while he was with us, and your condolences on his passing. Per Michael’s wishes, his ashes will be kept at a memorial center in the hills of suburban Taipei.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Michael S. and the Asian Stereotype

Whenever Mike went on vacation, or even the random site inspection, he was particularly aversive to carrying a camera. I was astounded at first and asked him what his issue was. He basically said he didn't want to look like all of those Asian tourists everywhere carrying a camera and snapping pictures of everything there was.

Like this guy:

Michael S. calls in sick.

Mike and I usually arrived for work around the same time every day, 8:30 or so. One day I get in and after about 15 minutes Mike wasn't in yet and it was then they I saw the light on my phone indicating a voicemail.

I call the voicemail and listen to the one message that turns out to be from Mike. It was left about an hour or so earlier and on it a gravelly voiced Mike is saying that he didn't feel well, that he thought he ate some bad chicken parm the night before and he wouldn't be in that day.

It turned out to be a big joke from that day forward and we would always refer to calling in sick as "eating chicken parm." Sometimes it was preemptive, like "I'm having chicken parm for dinner tonight so I'll see you in two days." Ultimately it was just shortened to "chicken parm" and that's all that was needed.

Erik Backer

Michael S. goes to Atlanta

Greetings everyone. For those that don't know me, I am Erik Backer. I met Mike in late 1999 at my first job out of college at Arbor. We worked there together for about a year and a half before he left to go to APF in Manhattan. A year after that, he brought me over to work in his department. Mike was my boss, my colleague and my friend.

I'm a little late to the game with the blogs but hopefully everyone out there is checking back periodically. I decided that instead of one all-encompassing post, I will break this up into pieces sharing some memories a few a time. Hopefully I can convey them in a way that everyone can understand what it was like to be there.

The first story I will share is when Mike and I went on a 2-day, 2-night business trip to Atlanta for some pointless conference (aren't they all). Tuesday we attended the first day of the conference and we struggled to stay awake. That night, as luck would have it, the Braves were playing a home game against my beloved Mets so we bought tickets and went to Turner Field. It had monsooned earlier in the day but the rain finally broke and we were gonna get this game in. Or so we thought. I found out a few days after returning that when the monsoon returned in the third inning, that game would turn out to be the first ever rainout in Turner Field history (which was only about 6 years or so at the time). So we walked out in the rain w/out an umbrella and asked where the cabs were. We were directed to a particular street but b/c the game ended earlier than anyone expected, there were no cabs. It was at this piont we were approached by a guy that looked like this:

and was wearing this:

and he says..."yo you guys need a cab?" And we were a little caught off guard and partially desperate and said "yeah" and he said "follow me, I got you a cab." Since he started walking in the same direction as the rest of the crowd exiting the stadium we figured it wouldn't hurt to at least see what this guy was offering.
This is still in the rain, mind you.
We get to an area near a newstand at an intersection and he tells us his cousin is coming, just to wait. Mike and I look at each other and, rather belatedly, conclude this guy is full of shit. There isn't a cab coming. There's a CAR coming, but it ain't no cab. And the only place it was taking us was nowhere. And since we didn't want to be a pair of New Yorkers that fell for this low-budget scam all the way down in Atlanta we decided to leave. So we looked around and there happened to be a yellow cab in the gas station across the street so we made a break for it. It turned out the cab was nearly full and from New York. But we squeezed in anyways and we left the cracked out Emitt Smith standing there waiting on the corner for his "cousin" to come pick us up.