Don’t Leave Me Now

Ian Mann... your brother misses you and wants you to stop by to play.

Ian Mann… your brother misses you and wants you to stop by to play.

OK – I admit it. This is a technology blog, not a personal blog and I get it. So don’t worry tech bloggers I will be launching a personal blog very soon which you will be able to find at http://www.mannmusicjourney.com. But in the meantime be patient because at the heart of technology is the desire of mankind to communicate with one another… and I am communicating.

Anyway, my beautiful wife and boys aside, Star Trek and technology aside and history there is nothing that comforts me more then music. It is in music that my past meets my present and leads to an undiscovered future. It is also in music that my dear little brother lives within me. My heart remains these past few months broken and shattered and whenever moments of quite are upon me I reflect and dream of my little brother, who I loved so very much. What I would do now – for one more fleeting moment with him. One more argument about politics, one more discussion about sports or science or music or just to be with him and share a pint or two. Sadly that is not going to happen. However today music and memories of my little brother collided. Ian probably never heard this song. He was so much younger then me. This Supertramp song always resonated with me, from the first time I heard it. Now remember that was back in 1982. It is as if this song’s true meaning sat in queue waiting especially for me… because of my family’s particular tragedy.

In this song I do think of me… however I really think of my beautiful sister-in-law, Brianna who Ian loved and continues to love from the stars. This 1982 song is straight on with how I feel in those most quiet of darkest nights thinking of Ian. The aimless journey of the kayak in this video is actually kind of true to the journey we all lead through life.

I promise to move music and non-technical articles to my upcoming personal blog, www.mannsmusicjourney.com soon.

You can learn more about the 1982 Supertramp album, “…Famous Last Worlds…”, their last truly great album here.

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A Special Thank You

I love you little brother.

As I continued preparing for the holidays, yesterday I gathered up all of the gifts that were being delivered by so many of my co-workers (friends) to my office during the past month for my little brother’s family. I took them to my parents and we discussed how best to give the gifts to Ian’s 2 young children and what to say. I actually cannot remember the names of all who have reached out to offer their love and support to me, during this most terrible time. However I wanted to simply take a moment before the holiday rush to say “thank you” to everyone who has reached out to me to offer their love and support.

My little brother was, so unfairly taken from his family by a drunk driver on the evening of October 4th, 2013. These past few months have been a real struggle for me and I believe I have carried on as best as can be excepted but I cannot believe that there will be no more road trips, no more concerts, no more Sunday NFL football (Ian’s Eagles and my Broncos), no more music talk, no more political debates, no more just sitting around talking and enjoying a pint or two together and no more being there for each other. Even a simple thing like watching football on Sundays are diminished now.

I must say I am amazed that there is barely a moment since October 4 that I have not felt sad. Sure sometimes my sadness gets over powered by other things going on in the moment but it is always there.

Just some of the gifts from my co-workers for my brother’s family this holiday season.

One thing that I have learned from this terrible – tragic – unnecessary experience is that I really do have true friends out there and I am very thankful to everyone for everything everyone has done these past few months.

On a professional end 2013 was a great year, on a personal end, 2013 you cursed me.

2013 you will not be missed…..

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Ian’s Vulcan Pale Ale

Another non-technology blog, but hey I own this space so I guess it’s ok.

Ok it’s been just over a month since my brother was stolen from me and our family. This afternoon as I stacked the garage fridge for Sunday football I stumbled upon this one lone “Vulcan Pale Ale” that had been brewed especially for me by Ian a couple of years ago. Of the 24 he brewed I had been saving several bottles just because I loved the special labeling he made for me. Now I have less then 6 left and I know I want to sit outside on new years eve, as midnight approaches and sit quietly alone while I open one, look at the moon and stars and think of my little brother who is now part of the universe and who someday, I am not sure when, I will be with again.

Miss You Ian. Sundays and every other day are simply not the same down here….

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The Pain of the Survivors

Brother…. my telescope awaits.

OK here we go with another non-tech blog post but for my own sanity I need to post this. However events like this demonstrate where technology truly stands in our lives. Technology is so very important today to how we live and carry out our daily lives. In fact, technology is what drives me in many ways.

However technology no matter how efficient and fun can not save any of us from what fate has in store for us. I learned this myself, for the first true time on October 4, 2013 when a drunk driver murdered my little brother.

Anyway the context behind this little post is just to say how much I miss Ian. We were 14 years apart in age and as a teenager I pretty much ignored him because I was so very busy. I am ashamed of myself for this. However when Ian turned into an adult he became so very important to me. Ian was always far right in his politics and later even trending towards right of the “tea party” while I was always an un-apologic Star Trek liberal. You must understand that our family is Republican in their thinking except for me and the family Kathy and I started way back in 1985. Ian had his own political opinions, and that was cool, and never bothered me at all. So this was OK and it never ever effected how much we loved each other. Other more important things like, music, sports and science were a cosmic connection for me an my brother which far our weighed silly politics.

Among the recent adventures together we recently went to see Roger Waters in concert and  toured the Yuengling Brewing Company (with dad) together. These in addition to our trips to the Rock ‘n Roll and Football Hall of Fame are in the past with no future trips possible. Sadness surrounds what we could have done but also comforts me for what we have done together.

I have been dealing with sadness and pain in such a unknown manner these past couple of weeks that I am confused and a little scared. My body feels different. I don’t sleep the same right now and even as I go through each day I feel different and a little more alone.

You are now part of the stars brother.

On the Sunday before Ian was murdered we stood on my deck, sharing a couple pints of our favorite beer, Victory Hop Devil and talked about Gage’s experiences at cub scouts. Then we talked about my telescope and how Ian wanted to bring Gage to my house to look through it at the stars and moon. We settled on the next full moon when Ian would bring Gage over to learn about the telescope and astronomy with both of us. This conversation haunts and comforts me.

Then on that terrible day at the cemetery I stood outside of Ian’s Jeep talking to Brianna and the children with the back open. There in the back where the rotors my brother had changed for me that previous Sunday. I had also give Ian a case of Hop Devil that day for his work. Another moment that will never pass for me. In fact I am haunted by these moments.

A couple of feelings I have grown accustomed to these past couple of weeks is grief and pain. They seem to never leave me. Now, if you know me you are aware that I have loved Star Trek my entire life and this terrible event has proven how grateful I am to have Trek in my life. Star Trek has always been, almost a family member to me since my earliest memories. For example as I have been struggling with this pain I keep thinking about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. If you do not know of it – don’t laugh.

It is in Star Trek V that Spock’s estranged brother Sybok returns. Unlike the majority of Vulcans Sybok did not shun emotions and in fact turned to them. Sybok also believed he knew where GOD was so he used his Vulcan powers to reach into peoples minds to “release their pain” and in so doing do his band of supporters grew. Sybok’s group of supporters grew and grew but he needed a starship to go where he thought GOD was. So of course in Hollywood style in decided on Spock’s starship the USS Enterprise. Long story short.. Sybok finds a way to take over the Enterprise and most of it’s crew, then he focus’s on Kirk, Spock and McCoy. It is this scene that gives me a little comfort today. After “removing McCoy’s and Spock’s pain” Sybok turns to Kirk. The following scene plays out just after Sybok “removed” McCoy’s pain. However as you can see, Kirk is having none of it.

 
 
As is usually the Case, Kirk is correct. We need our pain. I need my pain. For in it, my little brother will forever live in me. I accept it and take pride in it. Healing will take a very long time, but acceptance is the first step and from there we move on slowly and with humbleness. It is here that I find myself today.

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Mountains of Sorrow for My Little Brother

My little brother’s soul lives on in my heart.

I apologize – this is not a tech article, but I just had to post this somewhere. 

This song is amazing to me — the fates of god or something has plagued me with it’s importance. First I pre-order the (vinyl) LP knowing nothing about it – other then I really like Amos Lee’s music, then my little brother is murdered by a drunk driver – then this LP arrives as I am immersed in funeral preparations and then sits un-listened to for a week afterward. Then I play the LP and hear this song. It seems a message from Amos Lee is being sent to me – that everything will be OK.

The first verse speaks to me about the moment I was awoken by my mom who said that Ian had been killed in an auto accident and I rushed to the hospital hoping that the nightmare was untrue, The second version touches on the moments of standing in line with my family as each and every person who Ian touched passed by and with each one my heart broken into smaller and smaller pieces. The final verse tells about my little house and family where I find my solitude and where Amos even sings that there “is not much too it and I won’t leave much behind”.

Ian Mann — I Love You so muchI am so very sad.  However I thank Amos Lee for the weird magic of this LP arriving when it did. because in this little piece of vinyl you will always live. My heart has a little corner where you reside….. forever.

Only brothers, like you and me , one a far right conservative (you) and another, a Star Trek liberal (me) could love each other so very much. Sadness is surrounding and haunting me Ian but I do not want the pain to ever go away because with it – you are forever with me.

Little Brother… your loss is a “mountain of sorrow” which I fear I will never recover from. I know that someday, in the vastness of space and time I will be with you again, and we will, just like Amos Lee sings in this song. “raise our glasses” to each other again.

In November I will be able to see Amos Lee live at the Tower in Philadelphia and I very much look forward to that.

My brother will be there with me and I may even buy him a beer,

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Mountains of Sorrow


This is not a tech post but I wanted to post it here anyway.

About 2-3 weeks ago while shopping at my favorite LP store, Electric Avenue Music I asked for some reason when the next Amos Lee LP was scheduled for release and if it would be on available on vinyl. I was informed that Amos Lee indeed had a new release scheduled in a few weeks and yes it would be available on Vinyl. I had discovered Amos Lee, a retired Philadelphia school teacher a couple of years ago and his music with a mix of Philly soul, rock and folk has always made me feel good so I pre-ordered the LP, not knowing anything about it, including the release date.

I completely forgot I had ordered the LP.

Fast forward until 2 weeks ago when a drunk driver stole my little brother from me, his young family and anyone that ever knew him or those yet to know him. A couple days after the tragic accident I stood inside Sam’s Club picking out pictures for the funeral home slide show when Electric Avenue Music called me to report that my Amos Lee LP had arrived. I could not answer the call or the voice mail. I was too upset while creating the slideshow for the funeral home to answer the phone call. Later in the day I asked my son Kevin to pick up the LP for me. Kevin picked it up and it sat in my LP Browser until a couple days after the services.

Once I looked at the album cover I was surprised and shocked. The album title, “Mountains of Sorrow” surprised me. Then listening to the main title song I felt as if it was especially written from Amos Lee to me. From the opening line when you hear “when I awoke from my dream awaken by the darkness of the night, I was unprepared for the unseen …”

Although I love music so much, very few, if any have touched me in such a way as this song – with this tragic event. This album and it’s title track will always strike directly at my heart when I think of my little brother and how I will always miss him so.

Sadness has entrenched my soul and I have a feeling it will take a long long time for it to let go of me.

I love you Ian Mann…. Mountains of Sorrow could not have described it any better.

You can learn more about Amos Lee at www.amoslee.com.

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A Personal Loss

This morning ended perhaps the worst week of my life. As I wrote in the previous post I lost my little brother, Ian (35 years old) when his motorcycle was struck by a drunk driver Friday evening, October 4. My life was indivertibly changed that terrible night. This past week has been a flurry of anguished activity for me and my family. The tech blog went dark that night and I hope to get back to some sort of normalcy next week, in my life, at work and with this technology blog.



My brother Ian will always be in my heart.
 

The outpouring of support from my work mates, old & new friends was overwhelming. I truly appreciate all those who reached out to help or simply talk. Anyone you knew Ian either directly or through me is fully aware of the tragic loss to anyone in his circle. I was especially effected by those people who never had the opportunity to meet my brother but said that they knew how much I loved him because of the things I have said to them about Ian over the years. It was comforting to realize that my friends and work mates could actually see my love for Ian reflected in my conversations, without me ever realizing it or intending it.

A couple of years back Ian and I visited the Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio.

Many things will never ever be the same for me, like watching football on Sundays, taking road trips with my brother or talking to Ian about politics and music or simply enjoying a pint or 2 together.

You can’t see Ian in this picture, but you can see the “Vulcan Pale Ale” he brewed for me. He made an entire case of this for me and I still (thank goodness) have some left which I will save for a very special moment.
 



Technology has always given me a sense of calm and peace, so I look forward to getting back on the horse again in the next couple of days. Until then I will continue reflecting on my brother’s memory and try to get used to the idea of moving on without him during the days, weeks, months and years to come.


I look forward to exploring the world of technology with all of you next week.

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Special Annoucement

I lost my little brother, Ian this weekend in a tragic motor vehicle accident. The blog will be dark for a week or two and will return when I can re-focus.

My brother, Ian and our dad last summer visiting the Yuengling Brewing Company.

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