Yesterday, I lost my dear friend Erlene Zierke to a tragic accident. Without going into details, she will not be im'ing or emailing me anymore. And she won't be twittering more hilarious thoughts (her last tweet reads: "cats do not like elephant hats their heads"). Like a lot of you, we've only met in real life a couple of times, but we talked often and I cherished her friendship.
I met Erlene in May 2005. She crashed our E3 BBQ with Evan. She struck me as gorgeous and smiled a lot. The first email she wrote me opened with, "yo. we met at your BBQ... though i won't hold it against you if you forgot me." I responded with, "I remember you. Pretty eyes." I meant it. Erlene had devious twinkly eyes and a personality to match.
As our relationship grew, we brainstormed and helped each other with our respective work, shared time-wasting links (read: observed internet memes together), debated which tech conferences were the best to attend, and discussed other mundane life topics. When I asked Erlene if she would take a meeting with my cousin Nellie, she happily obliged. And although she did not have a job for Nellie, she had nice, sassy things to say about her. Erlene was a two-way street.
You might have known Erlene too. She was active online, easy-going, feisty, and funny. She was a real evangelist for Turner Broadcasting. She championed Super Deluxe every chance she had. I remember her excitement in the early days of launching it. And although she recently left them to start the next chapter in her life, she seemed to love her job there.
I watched my early morning Flickr search for Erlene-related-pictures grow from three photos to a full fledged dedicated group as the day progressed. All the photos show a very happy person. And that's how I’m going to remember Erlene.
A lot of people are hurting today. I divide sadness with all who knew her in hopes that you (and I) heal faster. Good night, E.Z.