Remembering Chris Rowley

Chris and Blair

My friend Chris died last week and, while I like to think of death as not a whole lot worse than life it upset me none-the-less. He was a great guy.

For the scrap book… these are some of my memories of Chris.

Chris was one of the first people I met when I moved out to Washington. I was working at Creative Works and, pretty much my first day, they said “We’re having huge problems with a consultant, he has all the source code and refuses to come into the office anymore… we need you to go to his house and learn what he’s been working on and get a copy of his work.”

OK – that was kind of strange. This problem consultant was, of course, Chris.

I call him up and he says I can only come down before 5am to his house on the lake in the middle maple-valley-no-where and that I’ll need to sneak around back where he’ll be sitting in the dark on the back porch. Hey, whatever, kind of strange but I love strange.

I go down there the next day at 4am and he’s on the back porch smoking pot… a common paste time for Chris… that pretty much cracked me up. We got in the peddle boat he had and cruised around the lake he lived on, shooting the shit about conspiracy theories, drugs and how fucked up Creative Works was (which it was).

Chris had this nack for getting paid to not do much… something I loved about him. He didn’t really have anything to hand off to Creative Works and I told them so. This was the case with most of the stuff I “worked” with him on… always cracked me up.

Creative Works calls me into the office after I’d been down there for three days and says “so, watcha got?”… to which I respond “you’re not getting anything out of this guy”. Proving how fucked up Create Works is they send me back down there of and on for the rest of the month. This is when I really got to know Chris.

I’d drink, he’d smoke, we dick around on the computer. He’d show me these bizarre crystal experiments he had set up (one where a crytal apparently blocked and redirected magnetic fields… still haven’t figured that one out). All the time his wife at the time, Julie, is running a day care center upstairs.

One day the state inspector stopped by to do some inspection regarding the day care center. There were bongs, bags of weed, pot seeds, bowls, empty beer cans all over the place so I ask “dude… don’t you think we should clean this up?”… Chris “eh whatever”… so, I’m throwing paraphenalia galore into the closet as the inspector is walking downstairs. They passed and, in all honesty, Chris and Julie were great – I’d trust them with my kid (if I had one) so I don’t really have a problem with this.

Creative Works files Chapter 11 and we both had a good laugh. Fred, the bozo CTO is seem on discussion groups asking things like “how do I install MS Office”. These are the last of the .Com days…

Chris disappears during the down turn … aparently running a tree service in Portland. A year or so go by before I hear from him again.

Then Bling starts up with his cousin Scott. I’m skeptical, as usual, but we pull some stuff together and right some interesting cell phone software. Chris is always convinced he’s going to be a millionaire next week… he was always the total optimist.

We’d have meetings in his bizarre “coffee shop” filled with furniture he’d obsessively buy at huge discounts from closed out hotels. I’d try to explain (without laughing) why it’d be complete absurd to set up a server farm in his very small, no A/C coffee shop.

Bling started to fall apart. He was going through what I can only imagine was a rough time. He bought a ridiculous Harley (which I incorrectly assumed would be the end of him). He was talking about buying a trailer, he moved over and over again. Until he finally met Elizabeth and things started to turn around for him. He was doing some real estate thing and, we were supposed to meet the day he died to go for a ride through the N. Cascades.

Anyway – Chris was a great father… top notch. He really loved Blair and, despite very difficult medical issues did a really great job with her.

He’ll be really missed.