You know you're probably going to have a bad day when…

Your neuro-oncologist, after scanning your most recent MRI, puts her arms around you, and gives you a solemn hug, which was the case with me this past Wednesday. Not that we didn’t guess that something was up – we haven’t been feeling particularly great lately, and we had some weirdness the previous Thursday, falling twice, inexplicably, in a short period. Friday morning our left leg was numb from the knee down and we had a minor, local motor seizure.

Anyway, the MRI reveals 3 new tumors that weren’t in my brain 12 weeks ago. In my understanding of Glioma, this represents a not-untypical course for the end stage of this almost invariably fatal disease. Prognosis at this point? A few months, at best.

How do I feel? In a weird  sense, relieved. I’m calm, I’ve known this was coming for these last almost four wonderful years (thank you UCSF!), and I’m ready for this transition. I’m not particularly looking forward to the icky stuff – spreading paralysis et al., but I am hopeful that the hospice people we’ll be working with will help me get me through that as well as we can.

Shortly after we received the news Linda asked me if there was anything I wanted to do, and I honestly couldn’t think of a thing. We’ve filled these last precious years with travel, culinary adventures, extended stays in the French village of Ameugny  where we now have friends and connections – we even launched a startup, InMenlo, that seems to be developing nicely.
I’ve watched stepson John grow, flourish and find success, not the least of which was marrying the lovely Julie Brown. Our granddaughter, Grace has been one of the brightest lights in sometimes dark days. Watching her grow has truly been a gift.

My regrets are few – chief among them that I won’t be able to be by Linda’s side, stumbling into old age together as we watch John, Julie and Grace make their way (as John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans”). Linda really has been my partner, my soulmate, my best friend and the core of my life these past 30 years together. She has been a precious gift, and God only knows what she saw in me. It pains me to leave her alone, though I know John, Julie and our wonderful friends will come together to support her as they’ve supported us both during these trying times. I’ll be around for a while, drop me a line if you’d like, or better, come over for a glass of wine…I’m drinking the good stuff these days…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, Dawn Community, My Brain, New Life, Taking Faith, The countdown. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to You know you're probably going to have a bad day when…

  1. Matthew Dutton-Gillett says:

    Your courage and groundedness continue to amaze and inspire. There really are no words for this: just much love.

    Peace and blessings, my friend. I’ll be by soon for that glass of wine…..


  2. Mike Ridey says:

    Damn! No fair – you’re one of the good guys! Not supposed to happen to you. Crap!
    OK – had to do that. (I recommend it, if you haven’t done already).
    If there’s anything Jeanne or I can do, we’re here. Kind of far, but here. Just ask.


  3. Sara says:

    That’s a beautiful post, Chris, characterized by a wonderful spirit. I admire you.
    But I also kind of agree with Mike — Crap! We want you around for a lot longer.
    Here’s to a life well lived and peace and blessings for what remains.
    Hugs, Sara

  4. Judy says:

    Brings tears to my eyes – the prose of your post, your courage, the sadness of it all. My heart goes out to you and Linda as you brave these next months. I’m here, close by, if there is anything I can do.

  5. Pat Solari says:

    I have to second what Matthew said: your courage and determination to make the most of an unknown amount of time over the last few years is indeed an inspiration. There are many of us who, in the face of such an inevitabilty, who might have simply chosen to retreat. Instead, you and Linda proudly chose to make this time rewarding and memorable not only for yourselves, but those of us around you. Thank you for such a lovely gift. I will be by for that glass of wine very soon.
    With love,

  6. Lamar says:

    Chris, I admire your calm courage in these circumstances. You are living a life in full and in public, too.

  7. Adam Williams says:

    Sad day indeed. 1st discovered in 1995 when in love with someone in LA & looking for pictures of LA. It took some doing to download an image in those days. Initially thought you lived in San Francisco. Strange how a search for love in LA led back to the Palo Alto/Menlo Park network.

    It’s always been a living source of content, more or less. You shared more than some maximum privacy Facebookers ever share & because of that we all feel connected. After all those 15 years, what a sad day when it goes quiet because the person behind it is no more.

    Hopefully you’re satisfied in the decisions you made in life. These times make us all wonder if we’ve made the right decisions.

    Had a falling out with God last year as decisions made against our will 15 years ago & that God seemed to support came back to devastate us. We have never agreed with those decisions & found God’s apparent wish completely unworkable but who knows if there won’t be some doubt in the end.

    Still don’t know if we ever experience death or if those around us in this universe just see us die while we wake up day after day like nothing happened.

    In Florida until August but there really should be an open house where everyone near Gulker world headquarters sees you.

  8. Saul Daniels says:

    Chris, I’ve been following your blog… it seems forever… and you and Linda are never far from my thoughts. May God grant you additional days to enjoy. And Peace.

  9. Laura says:

    Hey Chris-
    I was goin through InMenlo tonite and hopped over to your blog. I am so sorry that you and Linda have to go though this- you are the coolest people! I am always so excited to meet fellow photographer- and I instantainiously thought you and Linda are wonderful! I am so saddened by your latest diagnosis.
    As with your other friends- if there is anything I can do to help- please let me know.
    I would LOVE to photograph you and your family if you are up for it. Maybe at aresterdro open space? Since I know you and Linda love it there. Or wherever you would like.
    My thoughts and prayers are for you and your family.
    Laura Hamilton

  10. Alan Doe says:

    Dear Chris,
    My thoughts (and tears) are with you and Linda. Listen to Carley Simon’s, Life is Eternal, and remember you will live forever in the memories of those that know you. I will remember your grace and humor, your intelligence and remarkable photography! I feel a great privilege in being allowed to share in your life through these pages and your visits to WRA. Dona nobis pacem…

  11. Timbo says:

    Quite a post Chris. I’m sad for the awful news, but heartened by your acceptance. Enjoy the time. Love to you all.

  12. Frannie says:

    Oh Chris, I am so sorry to hear your sad news. You have lived so fully these past years that it is hard to take in now. I read your words and think that yours is truly an inspiring and unforgettable way of courage, openness and humor and love. You are going to have a lot of people knocking on your door to share a precious sip of time with you and Linda, dear friends.
    You are both in our hearts and prayers, of course. Frannie and Michael

  13. Marty Arscott says:

    Chèr Chris! I am even exclamation pointing for this comment because despite what your body is doing, you are such an exclamation point of a person with the love, courage, vigor, spark, humor, creativity, insight, joy and appreciation you bring to life. Since it seems you may reach the pearly gates before I, though who knows?, would you PLEASE send me some message about why this living-learning-paining-dying thing defies such logic in so many ways that my earthbound brain can’t make sense of? Like just when we’re getting wise, we die… and why does our living time not seem to depend on things like what kind of a person we are? If we can’t know these things in this life, I sure hope that first blast into the afterlife brings with it a cosmic understanding of God’s plan! So exclamation points to you on all the good stuff which for me includes getting to know you, albeit for not all that long. I cherish the wonderful, too short time with you and Linda in Aumengy and am privileged to do whatever I can as you continue your journey. Lots of Love and Prayers and Light and Abba Amen Alleluias, Marty

  14. Ginger Terry says:

    Dear Chris,
    As always, with your graceful observations, you have made something beautiful out of this sadness. Thank you for always reminding us to be grateful for what life has given us– and for your humor. Wish we lived closer so we could come over for that glass of wine. I don’t know if this helps any, but it seems to embody you: “Life may be a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. ” Voltaire
    We love you and Linda,
    Ginger and Stan

  15. mary beth murrill says:

    Very sad news bravely taken. Your joyful appreciation of life, your family, friends and the world inspires me. I have happy memories of spending time with you in the Wayback world of the Herex –your infectious enthusiasm and wise observations. Thank you for your online galleries–may they be filled to the digital rafters in the time that remains. You have contributed much to the world.
    -Mary Beth

  16. Nancy Walsworth says:

    Dear Chris,
    I heard this news from Fr. Matthew today after church. I wish it weren’t so — but I am in awe of your courage and attitude. It is a privilege to know you, and I hope to have that privilege for a while yet. Will take you up on that glass of wine. (Would even bring some of ours over, but if I remember correctly, your definition of “good stuff” doesn’t include fruit-forward zins and over-the-top chardonnays. If my memory is wrong on that, let me know.)

  17. Dana Rasmussen says:

    I am glad you are at peace with this.
    You are a righteous man, and I am sure God will take you to his heart.
    You will be missed.

  18. Lynne says:

    You let me peek into your life for the last (almost 8 ?) years. You have taught me a lot about many things through your blogs. You have shared your photos both old and new, I will remember them. You have shared your trips both here and abroad, what adventures! You shared your family, Linda, John, Julie and beautiful young Grace. You posted techie, I’ll try to remember those. I’ll remember your runs with Linda and your walks with Scott. You shared your faith. You shared your container garden and gave me advice for mine. You shared your cancer. I’ll remember all you shared. I’ll remember you.

  19. Lisa says:

    Dear Chris,
    Your news brings tears to my eyes and my heart. How unfair this earthly life is! I don’t understand God’s ways and I often question God’s wisdom, but tis not ours to know, I guess. I am in awe at the honest, open, authentic, adventurous and grace-filled life you and Linda have chosen to live since you received your cancer diagnosis… has it been nearly four years ago? I remember the week well as Linda and I prepared to travel to Boise for NRSC. How much has come and gone from our lives since then. I am not ready to accept that you may be leaving us soon. I hope that we will have the opportunity to celebrate this life and friendship over a glass of wine. Thank you for your support during my time away this spring, and for the precious time you gave to Zachary as his sponsor and mentor during confirmation. God’s peace be with you in the days and weeks to come.

  20. Chris says:

    Thanks, MBM… the Herex spoiled me – I thought all of life was going to be that much fun…

  21. Chris says:

    “Life may be a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. ”

    Ginger – that’s brilliant, just the phrase I’ve been looking for to summarize recent experience. All love to you and Stan….

  22. Chris says:


    Many, many thanks for the kind words and thoughts. It really has been fun, these (gasp) 15 years.

    Please if you ever found inspiration or imagination on, pay it forward in whatever way you choose. Then all will not have been for naught… life goes on!

  23. Chrisie says:

    You and Linda amaze me, and I feel honored to know you both. Like everyone here, I wish I could do something to change the inevitible. But barring that, I will do whatever I can to help out with InMenlo!

  24. Cousin Karen says:

    Chris, I wish there was something I could say or do.. we all wish that… You and Linda have done so very much in the past 4 years, you guys amaze us! You often come up at our familly dinners, talking about all your travels. You are such a blessing to our family.. you showed such love and kindness to Kelly and I … and how that love and kindness has been shown to our children. Thomas talks of you often, and thinks you are the coolest guy he knows, you are pretty much his “geek hero”.. But I think you know that! We hope to come down soon, maybe when we take Ty to college? Our love to you and Linda, love Karen

  25. Kurt Foss says:

    Even though our paths haven’t crossed much in recent years, Chris, I’ve found myself drawn–as I have been almost since you were among the first dedicated bloggers I knew–to your frequent online chronicles. I always learned so much from your varied and interesting techological pursuits, and have considered you a great teacher and mentor. But what you’ve taught over these past years in your open, honest writings about enjoying life and not fearing death has been a whole other type of education and inspiration. I certainly hope you’ll find a way to extend your stay despite the odds because eventually a lot of people–obviously those near and close to you, but also a good number of us far removed–are going to miss having you among us. I hope that day won’t be coming any too soon, my friend, but when it does, we’ll know you got every last drop out of a very meaningful life. Yours has touched a lot of lives. I’ll be thinking about and cheering for you even more now.

  26. Roger Ridey says:

    Chris, I’ve looked on from afar as you’ve waged this brave battle, fearing that one day I would come to and read what I just read. Your courage and candor have been an inspiration to me and countless others. I am so thankful that I’ve been lucky enough to know you, Mr G.
    Our thoughts will be with you and Linda.

  27. Dean Musgrove says:

    Chris, I joined the Herex photo staff in May of 1978. I learned quickly that if I wanted to be a better photojournalist, I had to ask myself, what would Chris do? For more than 32 years, I continue to appreciate your talent, candor and love of everything you engage. You continue to mentor more than you know. Tonight I again ask-what will Chris do? Damn it! You have answered that one too. Thank you Chris.

  28. David Howard says:

    We met when you and Linda were here for Lucy’s wedding, and I have followed your blog after Alice sent me the info to see pictures from the wedding. I had hoped that we would get together again in California, but that did not work out. I had experienced my own journey with cancer when my wife died in 2005. When I learned of your diagnosis, I was so hopeful that you would beat it and shared your victories as well as your disappointments. I have gotten to know you through your writings and your courage in dealing with the uncertainties of life and death. We do not get the choice of picking the time when we leave the life we know, and it is a reminder to live each day. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you experience this new phase in your life.

  29. Jan & Bruce Rockel says:

    David told us tonight about your message on your webpage. We are saddened to hear this latest news of your health issues.
    May God be with you and Linda at this time and may he give you both peace and comfort. We have enjoyed your messages these last few years as the David Rockel family has kept us in the loop of your family visiting time. Our continued prayers for you both.
    Jan & Bruce Rockel

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  32. Chris Burner says:

    Out in Ohio there is a small school that is thinking of you. Your courage and bravery will always be inspirational. You have offered many lessons to the students at Western Reserve Academy.

  33. Geno Thomas '68 says:

    Echoing somee of the sentiments of Chris Burner, I am in total awe of the strength, courage and insight that you have shown and shared. May the peace of God continue to reign in your life!!!!

  34. Scott Rosenberg says:

    I just stumbled on this post and I’m sitting here stunned.

    Chris, back at the Examiner you pointed me to the future and changed my life.

    Thanks for that, and for all your inspiring writing over the years.

    Bless you, and peace…

  35. Chris — this is devastating. I marvel at the strength and composure with which you’ve been taking the bad news all along.

    Thanks for the ingenuity, the curiosity, the insight and the plain old decency you’ve brought to this unruly brat of a new medium, the web. Getting to know you has been a privilege and an inspiration.

    You’ll be in my thoughts.

  36. Christine Wallace says:

    Chris, there are no words, but you found them. Your post is eloquent and inspirational. I wish you continued strength and peace in the weeks to come. And, I look forward to drinking a glass of “the good stuff” with you soon!


  37. Tim Warner says:

    I am deeply saddened by this news, Chris. Your spirit and bravery are remarkable and inspirational. All of us from the class at WRA are with you.

  38. Anita Malnig says:

    Bahman forwarded your “you know you’re having a bad day …” to me. He’s been keeping me informed. I am so very sorry–you are an extraordinary person. I’d like to come by and clink a glass with you. Let me know if that will work and when might be good. My phone: 415-794-8368.
    Love to you.
    anita (malnig)

  39. jason says:

    i dont even know you man…because of twitter you have touched my life. in your post, you were so elegant and brave, keenly aware of your triumphs. proudly stand on your laurels man. thank you.

  40. Gavin says:

    Hi Chris, how time flies. I remember phonecalls with you back in 2002 and 2003 discussing everything from the rise of blogging to visiting Ireland.

    Your post reminds me of Carl Sagan’s intro to Billions and Billions, my favourite book. If you haven’t read it, I implore you to!

    Thinking of you and of Linda and perhaps a trip to the West Coast is in order! 🙂

  41. Tracy says:

    Hi There
    I don’t know you, was led to your site by Dave Winer’s post, but I’m sitting here with a tear in my eye for you and also with great appreciation for this poignant, heartfelt post.

    Go Well.


  42. Cathy Healy says:

    You are center front in some of my very best memories of newspapering, Chris. And you are center front in many of the best online and best gadget times I’ve had since the early ’90s. More memories, that will remain.

    I put my arms around you and Linda and your family and friends and rejoice in your life together and weep about the void ahead.

    Love, Cathy

  43. Carol Gulotta says:

    Hey Chris. Don’t know if you remember me. We worked together at the HerEx a long, long time ago when we were both young and just starting out. Cathy Healy sent me the link to your blog. Your voice is amazing, and I am humbled and honored to share your insights. As Warren Zevon sang, “Keep me in your heart for awhile.”

  44. Dana and Greg says:

    Hi Chris,
    Greg and I were saddened to hear your news today. I have read the many posts, and it’s obvious you are so loved. We love you and Linda and want you to know you’re in our thoughts.

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  46. Mac McCarthy says:

    I only hope I will be able to show such grace and character when my day comes.

    (I suspect one must start with a great deal of grace and character, though; rats.)

  47. Mark Shander says:

    It’s a pleasure to know you Chris – you’re inspirational!! Please let me know if there’s anything you need.

  48. Tony Barrett says:

    Hey Chris……it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you and I was deeply saddened at the news I learned today on your condition. I met you in my late 20’s at Apple and now I’m 53 so there are LOTS of wonderful experiences we shared together. You always were a pioneer and innovator and were greatly respected for your keen insight and visionary ways. What I have cherished even more than your brilliance in the many times you helped me…….was your kindness, grace and servant leadership you lavished on all of us. We have one life to live and when our time comes we will all stand before our Lord and Savior to account for the life we lived and how we added value to the world. I know that when that day arrives for you that God will smile and speak lovingly to you with these words..”Well done my good and faithful servant for blessing everyone around you”. You showed us how to live for others Chris and that’s a legacy we all should strive for. Please send me your address so I can send a very special bottle of wine to celebrate with Linda(since you are only drinking the good stuff).

  49. Chris, I’m very sorry to hear the bad news. I hope your remaining days are as happy, fulfilling, and pain-free as possible.

  50. Molly says:


    I’ve come across your news via a twitter feed from a friend. We’ve never met, but I am moved by your writing and find only inadequate words to express my sadness at your news. Please know that you and your lovely family are in my thoughts and wishes.

  51. Elf says:

    Hi there,
    I am so amazed at your writing. You say all you want to say in a few words. I marvel at your courage and wished I could get to know you in person. You are so strong. Your family and friends are lucky to be around you. My best to you and them.

  52. Elaine Woo says:

    Chris, you are part of a treasured memory set — my seven years at the Her-Ex. Your photographs were always on the money and your wise and funny spirit lifted me on many days. I’m sending you love from LA.
    Elaine Woo
    (Herald Examiner 1977-83)

  53. Paul Wilner says:

    oh christ, chris.
    i’m so sorry. i admire your bravery, stoicism and wisdom,
    my thoughts and prayers are with you, linda and your family.

    much love, always,

  54. Miles Beller says:

    Chris, my Her-Ex amigo, the shadows and light you render in pictures and words are poweful things; your expression of being helping me know this world in new and enduring ways. Grace, vitality, ebullience, and delight, yes, they are there, too.

    Your force, your bouyant expression, are ever harbored in my heart; the world a more open, engaging place because of you .


  55. Ann Salisbury Doneen says:

    Hey Chris —
    You and I have never been close, or even “the working team of choice” insofar as the reporter/photog
    pairings at the Herex went.
    But, anyway, it has always been clear — so true that the vision even comes clear when not near:

    That you are and have always been the one
    to come through in the clinch,
    A contender and not — definitely not — a pretender.
    The one who steps up.
    Utterly decent.
    The man to count on.
    The cowboy who would stay on that bull for the full ride
    And the one of the few in world who realizes
    that the world does not revolve around just YOU.

    You are the man who gives definition to the difference between good guy and a wuss.
    The man who makes the word “man” mean more:
    A person who enjoys maleness without having to prove it.
    Or make a point of it, or even trade on it.

    Chris Gulker: A man on the move.
    Who knows progress is more than motion.

    No phoney bravado here; no hero stories or war stories,
    or even macho (I was going to say ‘false’ macho, but that is a redundancy, isn’t it?).

    Mainly just Chris — unpretentious Chris, who takes being “a normal, talented guy,” and turns it into high art,
    because he does not step over the line or
    go beyond what is right and what is decent . . .

    To excel without shocking,
    to explode without cannons,
    and burst stars without dynamite:
    The magic and miracle of being a man. A simple man. A real man.

    Thank you again for the lovely photo you sent me from way back when.

    Ken and I plan to be passing through the San Francisco area in a month or so.
    I have no idea how you will be feeling by then, or whether you’ll want

    If you do, we’d love to stop in to see you
    If not, I, of course, totally understand.

    Thank you for having the courage to displaying the difficult moments, the challenges, and your exaltations, too.
    For your honesty.
    For your courage.
    For just laying it out, straight and flat.
    Starkly unsensational.
    Sensationally real.

    For being an icon of strength.
    For showin the strength of sheer fact.
    The strength of just being REAL.

    Thanks for being Chris.

    Even though knowing you is and has been — for me — possibly, even just tangential,
    you are evidence that the presence of each one of us is important,
    and instructive.
    That we each matter.
    That we count.

    And so now you can see, we can see that you are leaving your mark.
    On me, and, clearly, on so many more.

    Also, along the way, how wonderful to be able to say, when your wife asks you,
    “Is there anything you would like to do?”

    And you can answer, “No.”
    Because you have enjoyed life,
    lived well, and known love.

    A big salute to you — to your intelligence, your passion, and your unique cachét.

    I suppose I should or could share one more thing with you…..

    At USC, the university where I graduated, Joan Schaefer, the dean of women, was a passionate woman, with one bad eye, who projected honor, warmth, and wisdom. You knew she had experienced great loss, great suffering, somewhere along the line. That was just in her soul . . . you could feel it in her presence. I had felt drawn to her because of that . And I even loved her a little for that, but I never knew why.

    The dean had a lunch for every graduating class. She invited about 50 of the most promising senior women and paid tribute to them for their achievements, whatever they might have been. Most of the women who attended this white-glove affair had been officers of service clubs, or held a slew of leadership positions.

    At this luncheon, the dean read from a little card she had prepared listing the high points of each woman’s college career.
    She presented scrolls to them. Each recipient was, therefore, standing before and accepted into esteemed group of winners.
    But aren’t writers usually outside, looking in? I suppose I would have liked to have been among this group, but I didn’t give it much thought.

    One relatively unknown aspect of this luncheon was the personal “gift” that the dean delivered to each young woman: These gifts were quotations that, over time, she had pulled from her reading. She had personally selected each one; she wanted the quotations to exemplify the spirit of the recipient. I did not know that, then, though. What I knew of this luncheon was that you got to eat gourmet food in the President’s Dining Room and that you would be served a glass of wine, if you wanted it and were over 21.

    Well, the whole senior women’s tribute of 1969 came and went with no real notice from me since I was unaware of the criteria for selection, but was fairly certain that my undistinguished academic record wouldn’t make the cut.

    One day, about a week before graduation, I got a call from Joan Schafer’s secetary: “The dean would like to see you.”

    I have to admit, I was really scared. What on earth had gone wrong? Would I be pulled from the graduation line up:?
    Maybe I was short a few units. Or a rich alumna had complained about one of my columns. ( I had denounced USC’s addition of female cheerleaders to he pep squad. USC had been the only major university without song girls — why jump on the band wagon now with such shameless and undignified rah-rah?)

    I showed up in the dean’s office, teeth chattering, ears red, palms moist.

    Her secretary seated me intimately — right next to the dean’s own chair, and behind — not facing– her old wooden desk that looked out over Alumni Park where four female muses held up the Fountain of Knowledge. (These four muses represented the Greek Virtues needed for a balanced and happy life: family service, community service, religious or philosophical devotion, and pursuit of learning or education). So, the dean and I were both on the same side, and this, actually, was even scarier because it was so much more personal. I was ready for a lecture that I had heard many times in my life: “You know, Ann . . . you are so bright, but you have not really lived up to your capabilities. . . . ” I was dreading the confrontation.

    So, I sat there, and waited. Finally she came in, sat down, took my hand and looked me in the eye. I gulped.

    “I wanted to see you Ann, because we recently had our Dean’s Senior Tribute luncheon for women, and you were not there.”

    “Here it comes,” I thought. I don’t think I said anything, though I might have nodded, or mumbled something unintelligible — in agreement, of course.

    She went on: “I had wanted to invite you, but your grades did not fit the requirements. So, I prepared a tribute for you, anyway, and i wanted to give it to you.”

    There, she had the scroll of honor, that little not card which listed what she thought were my accomplishments, and then — her gift.

    Mine was a quote from Ernest Hemingway. I was too stunned to ask what book it was from. I just sat there with my jaw dropped open about three inches.

    * * *

    I loved that quote, typed in a new, “Selectric” font on that 3 x 4 index card.
    In fact, I framed it. It’s all yellowed now, but I still have it.

    I kept it with me and put it on the wall of every apartment I ever lived in and every home I ever had.

    Fnally, about four years ago, I looked up the quote online and found it! It’s from “Death in the Afternoon,” and it is Hemingway’s description of the essence of being a journalists.

    I’m writing it from memory, here, so I don’t know if it is exact down to the comma, but I think the words are the same:

    “There are some things in life that do not come easily. They are the very simplest things and time which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. And, because it takes a life to know them, the little new that each man gets from life is very costly, and the only heritage he has to leave.”

    So, Chris . . . .if it means anything to you . . . you have made a difference to me, someone who didn’t know you well, but someone who, nonetheless, has learned a great deal from your example.

    You have left a heritage, and a fine mark on the world, . . and in a time that celebrates hype, extravagance and shock value, you have seen the world through the eyes of a decent person, a decent man, good and whole, and you have, therefore, brought us that “little new that each man gets.”

    I hope to live in such a way, and accomplish something — just anything — that is eloquent and useful and worthwhile, so that when my time comes, more than a couple of close family members will feel that way about me, as well.

    My heartfelt encouragement and good wishes go with you in your journey.
    Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the truth without being smarmy.
    And for your diligence, and your care and concern for others.
    And even, for caring so earnestly and wholeheartedly about your self as well.

    I am glad you are with loving family, and want you to know that even though others are not with you, and even though not every one can be,
    that love goes to you from them, and from me, as well.
    Carry it with you.


    Ann Salisbury Doneen

  56. Tom Dunn says:


    Chris Burner sent all Reserve BOV members an email about you and your blog. The grace with which you are facing your condition is inspiring. God bless — I am sure you will make the best of the days ahead.

    Tom Dunn

  57. I’m sorry to hear that.

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  60. Chris-
    I am so sorry to read your news. I have so appreciated your sharing your perspective on chemo and what it is like to “fight cancer”. I have been motivated to do some walking and exercise after you advised that it has been the thing that has helped the most. Thank you for your empathy and I extend it in return to you and your family.
    With love,
    Katie Zeliger

  61. Tim Porter says:

    Chris …

    Dave Cole — via Scott Rosenberg — emailed me the link to this post. I suppose it’s appropriate that I hear about you via the web and internet tools that you helped pioneer.

    Sad news, indeed, Chris. I’ve admired your work — really, your thinking — from near and mostly from afar for many years. You provided me with a model, that I’ve poorly imitated, of professional reinvention, of allowing my curiosity, and occasionally my curiosities, to guide my life rather than what was expected of me in an particular role. As Scott R. posted above” … back at the Examiner you pointed me to the future and changed my life.”

    I’ve also admired the spirit of living you’ve communicated through your posts, a spirit that clearly still burns bright within you. I’m opening a bottle of the good stuff tonight.

    My best.


  62. Russell DeVita says:


    My thoughts are with you. I remember you always rushing out of the photo department with two or three cameras slung around your neck, going off to shoot the catastrophe of the day.

    I will think of you every time I walk by Eddie Park in South Pasadena.

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  64. Amy says:

    Jim, Emily and Will Eddie visited us this weekend and told us the sad new about your cancer. I know that you and Linda have been so kind to Kelly and her family through the years especially during Kelly’s illness. May God be with you and your family in the days to follow. You will be missed everyday here on earth. I miss Kelly everyday that she has been gone.

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  67. Brad Cooper says:


    I still have fond memories of our time working together @ Apple (when the Internet was still “New Media”). You helped fuel my interest in Web publishing early on and I’ve been heavy in online every since. You brought passion and wisdom to a place that wasn’t always as connected to it’s publishing customers as it should have been. Was still really just a “kid” at that time and learned a lot from you–lessons that I will cherish and take with me.

    In finding you again in recent years, I have been inspired by your writing and photos on your blog. Thank you for being the great person that you are. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family.

    Raising my virtual glass (at 2:15am, it’s a glass of water) to you until we meet again.


  68. Evangeline Haughney says:


    Like so many others who have worked with you, I also look back with gratitude on the year I was fortunate to have you as Product Manager for Acrobat 8. My first foray into Silicon Valley, and what a lovely team to work with.

    I stumbled upon InMeno a couple of years ago, and it retains prime real estate on my Firefox toolbar. I’ve greatly enjoyed exploring my own community through your images and witty observations. Something drew me to click the link to your blog today – like all the other posts here, I wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts. Nothing but respect, inspired admiration, and open arms for a kindred spirit.


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