On Saturday as Emily and I were visiting one of her childhood friends in Ferndale, MI (and a nasty batch of food poisoning was gestating in my gut unbeknownst to me) we stopped in a little record shop called “Found Sound” because it looked cool and I had a thought to replace the warped copy of Ziggy Stardust that I’d inherited from my parents. No such luck, but I did find something literally almost as good:
Found at Found Sound
It turns out that David Bowie’s actual backing band from that album released another album on their own before calling it quits. The best part is, it was only a dollar and it’s actually pretty good. Still looking to replace that copy of Ziggy though…
This is a very exciting release for me, not least because it’s the first official release of Ubuntu for Phones, which was the big focus for my team at Canonical this cycle. We worked on making it easy to spin up your own custom build of Ubuntu and helped out with fixing bugs wherever we could.
This week we said goodbye to my Uncle John. He was 60 years old.
Most of the Sweeny clan made the trip up to Rhode Island for the funeral. There were lots of tears shed and lots of laughs too. We’re a merry bunch, even in the face of something like this.
Wednesday morning was the funeral. The family and some close friends gathered in a little space set aside in the cemetery and said goodbye.
In the afternoon there was a service at the church he attended. Lots of stories about John and the impact he had on those around him. My grandfather started one with, “He wasn’t always a good kid, but…”
After the service there was a small flyover by the Rhode Island Civil Air Patrol in his honor.
The Rhode Island Civil Air Patrol flyover in honor of my Uncle John
There was a gathering that evening at the house where he’d lived. It was not a small house but it was packed with his friends and family. I hesitate to use the word “party” to describe it but with everybody all cried out that’s what it became. My cousin distributed t-shirts to everyone with the tail number of his plane on them.
My generation of Sweenys, with Gram and Pap
Flying was one of his favorite hobbies. In fact, he’d been building a new plane in his basement. Hopefully someday someone will be able to finish it.
My uncle’s Airplane-in-progress
I can’t say anything about my uncle John that isn’t more eloquently put in this obituary so I’m not going to try.
All I’ll say is this: John lived far enough away that I didn’t see him much apart from holidays and big family gatherings. When I did talk to him, though, he always made me feel as if he’d been around all the time. Sort of a familiarity or ease that he could inject into a conversation that never left me feeling awkward or lacking for something to say. As someone who can find it challenging to hold a conversation even with someone I see all the time I always appreciated that.
After having my desktop computer shut down for a week while my father-in-law was building a ceiling for our basement (thanks, Barry!) I started it up tonight and ran through the absurd amount of raring updates that I’d missed, then on a whim decided to fire up the Steam client and check for updates there too. As it happens there was an update, and look what I found when it finished: