Farewell pjern. March 6, 2019 1:45 PM   Subscribe

I am saddened to report that longtime member pjern has died today. He loved this website and all of you. As he travelled the country, he never missed an opportunity to go to a meetup. He was kind and generous and beloved.

Oh, and he also took this amazing shot at a meetup in Chicago. We will miss you, Phil.
posted by ColdChef to MetaFilter-Related at 1:45 PM (275 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

Wow, I'm very sad to hear this news. Thank you for letting us know.

I'll particularly remember his added perspective in train threads. Godspeed, pjern.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:48 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:49 PM on March 6


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posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on March 6


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posted by repoman at 1:53 PM on March 6


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Damn it, damn it, damn it. The Chicago photo above was my second ever meet-up, and being in that picture has always been really special to me. He was a great guy and our interactions there, here and on Twitter were always a delight. Chicago will raise a glass to him tonight (right where that picture was taken probably)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:55 PM on March 6 [27 favorites]


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posted by riruro at 2:03 PM on March 6


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posted by peeedro at 2:04 PM on March 6


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posted by something something at 2:05 PM on March 6


Aw, crud.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:06 PM on March 6


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posted by beandip at 2:08 PM on March 6


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posted by rhapsodie at 2:10 PM on March 6


Ooooh sucks. I just saw yesterday that he had been in the hospital. He was a great guy.

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posted by Stewriffic at 2:14 PM on March 6


Vale. A mefite's mefite.
posted by smoke at 2:14 PM on March 6 [10 favorites]


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posted by juv3nal at 2:14 PM on March 6


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posted by sculpin at 2:16 PM on March 6


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posted by gingerbeer at 2:19 PM on March 6


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posted by typewriter at 2:20 PM on March 6


That fucking spider.

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posted by floam at 2:21 PM on March 6 [18 favorites]


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posted by Fig at 2:23 PM on March 6


What a mighty good man.
posted by drlith at 2:23 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


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posted by NoraCharles at 2:24 PM on March 6


I am so sorry to hear this.

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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:24 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:25 PM on March 6


Oh, no! Crud. Farewell, pjern! You'll be missed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:26 PM on March 6


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posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:26 PM on March 6


Shit. His memory certainly will be a blessing to many, many people.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:28 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


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posted by boo_radley at 2:29 PM on March 6


That fucking healthcare system.

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posted by allkindsoftime at 2:30 PM on March 6 [5 favorites]


Ah fuck. I was a youngling on the internet when it was still strange and wild, and pjern was already a wise, caring, and generous example of internet citizenship. I am so sad to see he's been in and out of the hospital these last few months. Rest well, Phil.
posted by muddgirl at 2:30 PM on March 6 [15 favorites]


He had a blog for a while. Does anyone remember that? He told stories from when he was in the military, rambling stories full of tangents and details. The kind that are best told around a kitchen table late at night, when you bask in your friends' lives and the sun takes forever to come up. What a life he lived.

Great guy. I'll miss him.
posted by cmyk at 2:36 PM on March 6 [10 favorites]


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posted by mostlymartha at 2:39 PM on March 6


;_______;

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posted by lysdexic at 2:40 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Oh no! I just saw him posting about being in the hospital too long.

He came out to Maine with his grandson, and we took him around, to see the sights. He'd planned the whole trip to the East Coast, I think because he knew he was getting more ill in health, and wanted a last road trip. We took him and his grandson to the Lobster Shack so his grandson could get a lobster, then we went to Bug Light in Portland, and his grandson found a big rat in the rocks and then an old Army guy talked to his grandson about joining the army.

We went to the Great Lost Bear, and then we took them up to see Bertha, the giant globe in Freeport.

I'll never forget the first time I met him in person, this big gentle bear of a guy, and we hugged. He was really a special person.

He used to call me on the phone to chat, both before and after that visit. We had a lot of conversations. I am so sad and so shocked, I'd thought he was going to get an operation to fix his heart valve. Poor guy. I loved him so much. Rest in peace, Phil.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:40 PM on March 6 [59 favorites]


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posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:40 PM on March 6


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posted by holborne at 2:42 PM on March 6


Phil was such a good guy. I’m so grateful MeFi gave me a chance to meet him. He stopped by whenever he came through town, back when his health still allowed him to travel widely. He was sneaky funny, and had a lifetime of stories that he told with verve and relish.

One of my favorite stories he told was about living in Berlin in the 1970s and being annoyed by his loud neighbors...

Who turned out to be Iggy Pop and David Bowie. As I recall, they all got along swimmingly after the introductions were out of the way.

I’ll miss you, Phil. You made the world a little brighter. All my love to the Jern family and all the friends he had, scattered all over the planet.

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posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:43 PM on March 6 [59 favorites]


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(far too many of this type of MeTa of late)
posted by Chrysostom at 2:45 PM on March 6 [18 favorites]


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posted by purpleclover at 2:48 PM on March 6


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posted by pb (retired) at 2:49 PM on March 6


I also heard the Bowie story. And one about a snake at his doorstep when he was stationed somewhere tropical overseas (Thailand?). He had a lot of good stories.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:50 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Fucking hell

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posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:50 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


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One of the great joys and sorrows of The Internet is that I get to meet people like Pjern - someone I would almost certainly never have run into in Real Life - but who I deeply deeply appreciated. I hope he got the postcard I sent him in the hospital. I'm so sad we never got to trade fun stories over a beer or two. I'm so sad he's gone.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:52 PM on March 6 [16 favorites]


I love you Phil and I am not okay that you’re gone.

Phil lived close enough to me that we had dinner a few times a year. He was...is...a great person. I have so many wonderful memories and even some not so great ones, like the time we were on our way to meet Jessamyn in Chicago and he got in a car accident.

I don’t know, forgive my ramblings. I’m still kind of in shock. He talked so fondly of everyone.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:58 PM on March 6 [30 favorites]


Oh man.

*huge internet hugs*


I think it would be good to remember this is going to start happening more and more to us as an aging community.

Something I almost said the other day and I will try to say it today:

I love you people and this website, and I would be a much less well rounded and less complete person without it. I can't count all of the things I've learned here, nor could I count all the friends I've met along the way.

This place and the people in it are really special.

I'm saying this now because I am very aware that I could also go at any damn time. I haven't been exactly kind to my poor old bod, and I've had a fairly large amount of health problems and stress. I've actually been feeling my mortality lately in pretty weird coincidental ways like I might be getting straight up called back, as they say.

I'm not in any hurry to go anywhere, I definitely don't have any plans, and I'm rapidly and happily digging my butt out of depression for the nth time this life, but that only goes so far.

Hug your loved ones. Now is all you have.
posted by loquacious at 3:02 PM on March 6 [65 favorites]


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RIP fellow Hoosier. We crossed paths often in Indiana-based threads.
posted by mwhybark at 3:12 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Ugh, this is the worst news. :(
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:14 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


It's going to take a bit for this to sink in. I mean, my brain understands, but...yeah. WTH 2019.

pjern was one of the first people here on mefi who added me as a contact - it was around the time of his recovery from the insane spider bite. We became online friends from here and mltshp, and exchanged some memails over the years. We both liked photography (I learned a lot from him, and once sent him a very meandering message about photography where I probably overshared about going through a tough time; he was kind in his response). We also liked classical music. I found his responses after the 2016 election to be encouraging and inspiring and helpful during that especially dark period when we were all sort of in shock.

I was always intrigued by his personal stories about his past, such as his stories about his grandfather who fought in WW1, or living in Germany and being neighbors with David Bowie and Iggy Pop (on preview, what BitterOldPunk said) -- they were highlights of metafilter for me. When I have a chance I'll try to link to some of my other favorites by him.

He loved his family *so much*. In fact most of our memails were about them, such as him sharing photo projects he was working on for them. It was clear that he was proud of his kids (and here on metatalk, he promoted mefite headspace's writing/projects, as a proud stepfather) and he absolutely doted on his grandkids.

headspace + family, I'm so sorry for your loss. Phil was very much appreciated and loved here. Collective virtual hug to you and to everyone who knew him.

Phil, I am going to miss seeing your photos and hearing your stories. I won't forget you. I wish you peace.

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posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:16 PM on March 6 [20 favorites]


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posted by stet at 3:18 PM on March 6


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posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:20 PM on March 6


Dammit. Internet Uncle Phil as he was known to my son. He sent a whole catalog of kitty cards. I’m gutted.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:21 PM on March 6 [20 favorites]


I’m supposed to walk into the preschool and pick him up right now but I’m crying in the car. This is bullshit.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:24 PM on March 6 [19 favorites]


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posted by contraption at 3:28 PM on March 6


Oh no. He was a fellow kidney patient and I always found his comments to be so encouraging.

Much love to headspace. He was clearly so proud of you.

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posted by mochapickle at 3:29 PM on March 6 [8 favorites]


My condolences. I never knew him but a loss is a loss. I'm sorry for everyone who knew him. I do recognize the name. I'm sure he has many of my favorites (statistically probable given how generous I am with them) :(

I am glad to read here of other's memories of him. That's what this is really about I guess; remembering. Thanks to everyone who shared their memories. It warms my heart.
posted by some loser at 3:34 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


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posted by billiebee at 3:46 PM on March 6


He organized the very first meetup I ever attended.

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posted by asperity at 3:48 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


He talked so fondly of everyone.

This is exactly right. I think one of the only times I did not get along with Phil was when he was trying to tell me how much he liked one of my parents (he visited my mom on his Big Road Trip with his grandson, as well as visited me) and I was like "Dude, you're an internet person, you know it's complicated." He was friends with my whole family. And they with him.

He did me a solid (along with Errant) way back in the day, moving some stuff of mine on one of his many road trips that always seemed like sort-of-work-sort-of-meetup-excuses. Jim and I went out to visit him in Indiana and he took us out to his favorite restaurant with Surprise Bellydancing and cheese that you set on fire. "Opa!"

I know Mathowie helped him out with some medical bills way back in the spider bite days. Phil was one of MeFi's all time biggest fans, before and after that. Lately he had been posting a lot of his photography on MLTSHP where, I guess, we'll need to work out a process for what to do when a community member dies. Damnit.

I had a small family of pretty weird not-particularly demonstrative people. Internet's Uncle Phil was one of those people who was always there just basically being like "Hey, go you!" in mostly good ways. I told my sister the news and she was bummed wondering "now who is going to fave all my tweets first?" Sorry especially to headspace who he would just braaaaaaag about to anyone who would listen.

We will miss you, ya cuddly walrus, and I will abuse my former-mod editing privileges to say so.


posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:51 PM on March 6 [163 favorites]


[cortex took that photo]
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:52 PM on March 6 [16 favorites]


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posted by starman at 3:53 PM on March 6


This AskMe was my first introduction to pjern, and encapsulates what I know of him pretty well: inquisitive, outgoing, and happy to have a laugh even at his own expense. Also great at creating and maintaining interpersonal bonds in a way that we'd all do well to emulate.
posted by contraption at 3:55 PM on March 6 [9 favorites]


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posted by eotvos at 4:04 PM on March 6


Thanks for making me cry, Jessamyn, that's a perfect photo. Good post, thank you for reals. {{{{hugs}}}}
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:09 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]


Please stop dying. You're breaking my heart.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:11 PM on March 6 [13 favorites]


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posted by marteki at 4:20 PM on March 6


This is probably full of typos because this made me cry so hard. I never got to meet him in person, but did get to interact with him a few times, and even within that small frame he made several memories and had impact. The best one I have is how Pjern's generosity directly salvaged a part of my career wherein I was failing miserably. Taking decent pictures is a big part of my job and often instrumental for research projects and in papers. My awful photos had led to a few "serious talks" from others that that my poor skills had gone from holding me back professionally to seriously starting to affect my career. Unfortunately, it was not due to lack of trying - I'd taken photography class after class and for some reason remembering guidelines for taking good pictures or adjusting for light, distance, etc. is just something that falls through my brain to my increasing frustration. One day pjern very kindly sent me the link to his flick tutorial linked above after I mentioned something on MeFi about my poor pics. It's so well done with examples and a guidelines broken down simply that for the first time in my life I was able to really remember some of it, and while I wouldn't say my photos went from awful to great they definitely went to okay with the occasional good. All I needed was someone to explain a few things in the right way for it to stick, and he did that in a way no one else had before; his method of using one single photo an example of a simple "lesson" that included not just the lesson but also composition tips and a few, but not overwhelming, technical details was so well done. Of course he was humble, modest, and cheerful when I wrote to him of my gratitude. And of course he sent me a few other tips and examples once he learned what kind of photos I was trying to improve.

It is fitting that so many of his photos are of his family or him with his family. He so clearly loved and adored his family and was so proud of everyone. His family and friends were obviously a source of great happiness for him. My heart's broken for you. But the beautiful thing about pjern is that he had such a generosity of spirit that even the most superficial observation of him out in the world one could see how he treated so many other people like they're just a part of his family, enfolding them into his orbit, and was open and easy with sharing his love. He was beautiful and my heart's also broken for the rest of us.

Hugs to his family and hugs to everyone who feel part of his family. This hurts so terribly much.
posted by barchan at 4:26 PM on March 6 [42 favorites]


OMG. This is so unexpected. I...have no words right now. The last time I spoke with Phil was on the phone as yet another attempt at an Indy meetup crash-and-burned. He will be missed so damned much.

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posted by Thorzdad at 4:28 PM on March 6 [7 favorites]


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posted by BibiRose at 4:28 PM on March 6


Oh, dammit. After posting, I finally got around to checking the image links ColdChef posted, and *bang* there’s Phil, me, and my missus at a meetup. Now I’m crying...
posted by Thorzdad at 4:33 PM on March 6 [8 favorites]


oh no.

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Take care. Be kind. You are loved.
posted by crush at 4:40 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


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posted by jedicus at 4:55 PM on March 6


I'm terribly sorry to hear this. He was a valued part of this community (and others in the diaspora) for a very long time. Much love to his family and those here that knew him well.

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posted by Ufez Jones at 4:56 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Oh I am so, so sorry to hear this. He will be deeply missed.
posted by lalex at 4:57 PM on March 6


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posted by sockermom at 5:04 PM on March 6


Fucking hell. That Chicago meetup from the last supper photo was where I first met Phil in person too; it was a wonderful meetup and also put in some tangible perspective this guy who had been to me a semi-abstract presence on MeFi up until then.

I remember he got pickpocketed on the train that evening when we were all heading back to Eamon's place after our various wanders, which he only realized as he was getting ready to head out and reached for a wallet that wasn't there. A dozen or so of us did a forehead-slapping collective reconstruction of what had seemed like a weird scary stumble by a stranger that in retrospect must've been a pretty cleanly performed heist; Phil only lost his wallet because he was there to help a stranger up.

We all pooled cash on hand to make sure he could get home whole at least cash-wise; I remember thinking at the time (hell, still think) that he was a little nuts to want to do a long-haul drive after a meetup, but Phil always seemed to think I was crazy not to throw in a six-hour detour whenever I got within what was technically driving distance of him when I was traveling, so I think we sort of filled out both sides of the card on that. He'd always nudge me a little about how it'd e.g. only be five hours if I just stepped on it a little. The man had long-haul in his blood.

He was a good guy, and kind of a MetaFilter Grandpa, and I'm still just kinda processing this but man I'm gonna miss him.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:11 PM on March 6 [54 favorites]


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posted by librarylis at 5:45 PM on March 6


There are a lot of mefites I want to meet someday, and pjern was near the top of the list. Dammit.
posted by ardgedee at 5:49 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 5:59 PM on March 6


He was a big railfan (among many things, he led a huge life) and had a lot of train-related posts here. But what I loved more were his personal stories about train life, like the year he spent as the personal caretaker for somebody's personal railcar, and a memorable essay I should forward to my father (also a railfan): How to Boot a Locomotive.
posted by ardgedee at 6:01 PM on March 6 [16 favorites]


Damn. This makes me sad.
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posted by yoga at 6:03 PM on March 6


I'm lucky to had met him a few times. He had the best stories, and was a kind man.

Good luck, pjern. I hope they have trains and the internet where you are. My condolences to your family, and to all the rest of you Mefites too. You were one of the voices that attracted me here in the first place. Fare well.
posted by not_on_display at 6:04 PM on March 6 [5 favorites]


We at the Chicago Billy Goat Tavern meetup raised a glass. All mistakes in camera aim are mine.
posted by Evilspork at 6:04 PM on March 6 [14 favorites]


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posted by Countess Elena at 6:08 PM on March 6


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posted by oneswellfoop at 6:10 PM on March 6


Goddamn. He came to visit me in Asheville once, back in the day when he was long haul small load delivering. We sat on my porch and I drank beer and he told me stories about Germany and photography and keeping your family together. He was lovely, another person I thought I would see again one day and now will not. Ah damn. Will be holding his family in the light.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:27 PM on March 6 [12 favorites]


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posted by fleacircus at 6:31 PM on March 6


Shit. I was at the Last Supper meetup but did not shove my way into the photo, to my eternal regret. Feels wrong that I didn’t make it to the meetup tonight.

Pjern, thanks for your kind words on twitter and I hope you’re now enjoying head butts and purrs from that kitty of yours you missed so much and frequently tweeted about. You are a good soul and I’m glad to have known you, limited as our internet friendship was.
posted by misskaz at 6:34 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


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posted by Mouse Army at 6:34 PM on March 6


ChuraChura: One of the great joys and sorrows of The Internet is that I get to meet people like Pjern - someone I would almost certainly never have run into in Real Life - but who I deeply deeply appreciated.

Oh my goodness, I was just coming to say something much like that!

MetaFilter has introduced me to legions of warm, wonderful, funny, smart folks, and I am a better person for having listened to their tales and advice. The pleasure of knowing pjern, MovableBookLady, samizdata, and so many others -- now, sadly, all gone -- is something I will never lose, even though it's tempered with sadness at their death.

I like to think that the bad counsel of the one devil on my shoulder is drowned out by a growing chorus of MeFi Angels (in slightly-tilted golden halos, and green or blue t-shirts) on my other shoulder, all jostling patiently for space.

Ach.

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posted by wenestvedt at 6:37 PM on March 6 [14 favorites]


I told my sister the news and she was bummed wondering "now who is going to fave all my tweets first?"

Please tell her I would be happy to take over that role.

I never met Phil, but he would occasionally reply to one of my tweets or comment on MltShp and he was just sort of this guy I didn't really know, but knew about and I just liked him without knowing him, if that's possible. I'm very sorry to hear he's passed.
posted by bondcliff at 6:38 PM on March 6 [10 favorites]


He was a good Twitter-er.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:43 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


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posted by togdon at 6:46 PM on March 6


I just want you all to know that Phil loved you all very much. He was my family, and we gladly shared him with his Metafilter family. Going through his contacts tonight, to make the right calls, to the right people, was a beautiful who's who of MeFi handles mixed with MeFi real names.

We too heard his stories about Thailand, East Germany, his time on the railroad, photography... and we heard about all of you. He spoke about all of you as deep, personal friends and he was intensely and genuinely interested in everyone here. So grateful to everyone who helped take care of him after the spider bite. So delighted to have so many people to meet when he was driving the truck or just driving around.

His laptop is covered with Metafilter bumper stickers, and I can't think of a single family get together when he didn't have a story to share about one of you.

Thank you so much for loving him as much as he loved you. You're all part of his story, this place was one of his homes, and I know that he would be so touched to know that you're all with him tonight as he heads on out to the last station.
posted by headspace at 6:46 PM on March 6 [120 favorites]


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posted by Glinn at 6:49 PM on March 6


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posted by Kangaroo at 6:51 PM on March 6


This sucks so much.

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posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:14 PM on March 6


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posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:15 PM on March 6


It was an honor to know him. Safe travels, friend. I send you peace and strength, headspace.

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I love you all. I don’t have a ton of real-world friends, and as we see more and more of these posts (which, thank you, ColdChef, for your services to this community), it makes me want to reach out a little bit more and maybe strengthen some of my Internet acquaintances to Internet (and maybe IRL) friends. If you get a MeMail or a DM from me in the near future, I hope you’ll understand why.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 PM on March 6 [29 favorites]


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posted by Little Dawn at 7:23 PM on March 6


Oh no.
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posted by bookmammal at 7:23 PM on March 6




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posted by pompomtom at 7:47 PM on March 6


Well, fuck.

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posted by Melismata at 7:53 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


I hate to make a thread about someone else even remotely about me in this moment but earlier today before I heard this news, I booked my second multi-day train trip (Chicago to Tucson) and it feels very special given how interested pjern was in my trip from Seattle to Chicago last year. Every comment or like or favorite he made me felt like I was doing something right. I hope one day I can be that guy for somebody else..
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:01 PM on March 6 [24 favorites]


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posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:04 PM on March 6


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posted by mordax at 8:05 PM on March 6


This news has made me so, so very sad since I read it. Despite that, a hearty thank you to ColdChef for serving, once again, as our funeral director here.
posted by mwhybark at 8:53 PM on March 6 [9 favorites]


This is really sad news. I never had the opportunity to meet him but I always noticed and appreciated his comments.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:00 PM on March 6


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posted by bryon at 9:28 PM on March 6


it was only a few days ago that I saw his newish twitter handle: New year, same old pjern. This was comforting, that a good, earnest, kind, effusive and creative person was still here, as he long had been. The world has too much churn, but if pjern was here, something on earth is closer to an axial tilt.
Now he's not, and it's a weird sort of bereavement, where you've lost someone you've met, known and liked but really just generally wanted to be existing in the world for you, me, and everyone, as he'd been, same old pjern, with his experience, wisdom and warmth for all comers.
Having met him, I knew there would be few others like him in the world, and I was singularly lucky for the privilege. But losing him, it's obvious that he was too singular, in his wisdom and particular warmth to be replaced, ever. Through the singularity of metafilter, I knew him, tangentially, but mourn his passing acutely as there are no other souls, here or elsewhere, to take his place or compensate for his loss.
deep condolences, headspace
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:37 PM on March 6 [5 favorites]


Well, fuck. Another one of the good ones down. I never got the chance to meet him, but he sounds like the kind of old man I hope to (one day soon) be.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:49 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


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posted by Sphinx at 10:35 PM on March 6


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posted by Doktor Zed at 10:49 PM on March 6


Ardgedee, he would have loved to meet you too.

Headspace, likewise, I can never remember visiting with him when he wasn’t talking about his family. He was so proud of you and them and always showing me pics of his grandkids. I still remember the day he met his great grandson. We were texting about it. He was so happy and proud.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:18 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Well, fuck. I’d been following his grumbling about being in hospital and all the poking and prodding on Twitter, but never had a thought that he might not walk out under his own steam. Yet again, the world has lost a little bit of light.

Safe travels, friend.
posted by dg at 11:29 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


Oh no. No.
posted by vacapinta at 11:53 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


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posted by heeeraldo at 12:33 AM on March 7


I'm really sad to wake up to this news. He's someone I always wanted to meet, and I loved his photography. He was a steadying, avuncular presence in this community, someone to be relied on, and just an all-round top bloke.
posted by essexjan at 12:37 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


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posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 12:51 AM on March 7


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:57 AM on March 7


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posted by From Bklyn at 1:24 AM on March 7


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posted by XMLicious at 2:44 AM on March 7


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posted by misteraitch at 3:53 AM on March 7


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posted by Wordshore at 4:26 AM on March 7


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posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 4:55 AM on March 7


As I read about his good nature, his love of others, his generosity and compassion, how he reached out to so many people and brightened their lives, I think: that's a legacy.

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posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:56 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


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posted by Kattullus at 5:00 AM on March 7


Total legend. Fare thee well, good sir.

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posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 5:00 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


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posted by Harald74 at 5:03 AM on March 7


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posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:07 AM on March 7


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posted by wellred at 5:29 AM on March 7


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posted by cjelli at 5:41 AM on March 7


Always such a nice man. That picture made me cry, Jessamyn.
posted by tizzie at 5:45 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


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posted by veggieboy at 6:06 AM on March 7


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posted by cooker girl at 6:09 AM on March 7


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posted by romakimmy at 6:14 AM on March 7


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posted by Skorgu at 6:16 AM on March 7


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posted by briank at 6:27 AM on March 7


Ah goddammit. Farewell, pjern.


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posted by lazaruslong at 6:27 AM on March 7


He always seemed like such a good egg. So sad to read this. To his friends and family, I'm sorry.
posted by heyho at 6:32 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by anastasiav at 6:51 AM on March 7


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posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:52 AM on March 7


Awww, fuck. pjern was always supportive and kind to me (and so many others). I loved the ego boost he gave me as he liked and commented on my Flickr and Instagram photos.

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posted by terrapin at 6:53 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by ZeusHumms at 6:57 AM on March 7


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posted by carter at 7:10 AM on March 7


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posted by brainwane at 7:13 AM on March 7


So sorry to hear this. May all who loved him find peace and comfort in their wonderful memories of him. I wish I had known him; he had a lot of loving wisdom in him, I can tell.

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posted by GrammarMoses at 7:22 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


One of the Good Ones. Damn.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:34 AM on March 7


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posted by brujita at 7:36 AM on March 7


Awww, damn. Really thankful for his online presence during some tough times.

Peace and love, fam.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 7:40 AM on March 7


So sorry to hear. The place won't be the same without him.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by scruss at 7:46 AM on March 7


Vaarwel Pjern
posted by jouke at 8:05 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by chasles at 8:12 AM on March 7


Phil had kidney disease. Please make sure you are a donor; most states let you say so on your driver's license. He was a terrific guy and MeFite. I'll miss him.

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posted by theora55 at 8:28 AM on March 7 [18 favorites]


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posted by Secretariat at 8:31 AM on March 7


Fuck.

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posted by Caduceus at 8:32 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by ellieBOA at 8:52 AM on March 7


He organized the very first meetup I ever attended.
posted by asperity


Me too. It might have been the same one, even.

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posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:54 AM on March 7


I met Phil on #bunnies and talked to him many an evening about all kinds of things, including one marathon Q&A about logistics, long-haul trucks, and trains. His quirky personality and his kindness were wonderful. I'll miss him.
posted by initapplette at 9:00 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:08 AM on March 7


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posted by slipthought at 9:13 AM on March 7


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posted by cass at 9:23 AM on March 7


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posted by rmd1023 at 9:25 AM on March 7


“Once your sense of adventure grabs hold of you, let it guide you. You might not know where you're going, but you won't regret it in your old age, and that's what it's all about.” —pjern
posted by mbrubeck at 9:28 AM on March 7 [14 favorites]


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He stayed with me on a Portland visit, crashed on my couch, and I remember coming downstairs to find him sprawled out on the floor trying to get a portrait of one of my cats.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:32 AM on March 7 [23 favorites]


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posted by clavdivs at 9:50 AM on March 7


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Going to make an effort to start going to meetups.
posted by edeezy at 9:52 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


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posted by suetanvil at 10:19 AM on March 7


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posted by mixedmetaphors at 10:25 AM on March 7


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I didn't know pjern personally, but he always seemed to be a great guy, and all of the comments here certainly confirm that and then some.

Every time we have a memorial thread on MetaTalk (and yeah, we're gonna have more and more now, and they're gonna come faster and faster), I think - everyone has such good memories of this person--so many kind words. I should look at this person as a role model for how to live a good life.

As I approach 50, I've been thinking a lot about The Meaning of it All. Some days I think, who cares, we're here and then we're gone, so it doesn't matter if anyone will miss me, and such like that. And on other days, I think, nobody on MetaFilter will have nice memories of me, or nice things to say about me when I die, and I imagine a "tzikeh has died" MetaTalk with like, ten comments. And somehow, despite the fact that I am the first one to say something like "well, you'll be dead, so it won't matter to you" in these situations, that image of a sad little Charlie-Brown-Christmas-tree MetaTalk obit makes me wish for a better psychiatrist and a time machine.

So I make myself a promise to be kinder, and more generous with my time and with my self, and more open-hearted, both on MetaFilter and in the other areas of my life. And then The Shit that Just Keeps Coming keeps coming, and the depression and anxiety take their toll and cost their price-gouging costs, and I don't make good on my promise.

Here's to attempt #67. This one is for you, pjern; we should all strive to be remembered the way you are remembered.
posted by tzikeh at 10:53 AM on March 7 [34 favorites]


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posted by Kwine at 11:12 AM on March 7


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posted by HandfulOfDust at 12:08 PM on March 7


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posted by she's not there at 12:14 PM on March 7


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I'm sorry I never got to meet him in person.

Back when I could get Facebook Scrabble to work correctly, he routinely trounced me at the game. On the rare occasions I managed to barely win, my husband would laugh at me dancing around saying "I beat Phil, woohoo!"
posted by lilywing13 at 12:50 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


Terrible news. I am so very sorry for our collective loss.
posted by Lynsey at 12:51 PM on March 7


On the rare occasions I managed to barely win

You actually beat him? Much respect. I am actually a bit of a shark at Scrabble and he would regularly kick my ass.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:00 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]


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posted by Ruki at 3:39 PM on March 7


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posted by The Card Cheat at 3:43 PM on March 7


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posted by mmoncur at 3:46 PM on March 7


I am so gutted to hear this. I've been so privileged to know him through here, metachat and twitter and I am so sad to say goodbye. I will never forget him, or anyone else we've loved and lost on this site. Vale.

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posted by jonathanstrange at 4:27 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by the mad poster! at 4:31 PM on March 7


What a lovely man he was.

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posted by gomichild at 5:21 PM on March 7


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posted by bilabial at 5:22 PM on March 7


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posted by Gucky at 5:30 PM on March 7


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posted by ferret branca at 5:39 PM on March 7


Heartbroken

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posted by goshling at 6:36 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


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posted by rhizome at 8:43 PM on March 7


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posted by mynameisluka at 8:54 PM on March 7


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posted by thereemix at 9:15 PM on March 7


I am so sorry to hear this. I didn't know him, but pjern's username was definitely one I recognized as one of the kind and thoughtful ones. My condolences to headspace and family.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:20 PM on March 7


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posted by terretu at 10:33 PM on March 7


Aww. He wrote about trains for MeFi mag.
posted by klangklangston at 12:20 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


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posted by daybeforetheday at 1:06 AM on March 8


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posted by Altomentis at 1:12 AM on March 8


jessamyn, yes, but only so very rarely, because he was a beast at starting a rematch and the app was functioning correctly on all my app devices at the time. You know, the odds were just what they were.

Also, I'm about 2 weeks away from being a year of being nicotine free (no smoke, no vape, allen carr book, please memail if I can pep talk any of you wannabe quitters) and I know he would have given me all the props.

Only for the taking care of ourselves.

I'm going to refurb my Nikon FG (it survived a house fire) and get a digital back. I miss the photography and need to walk around and see my world. I need the exercise and to photo my garden. I was thinking about this when I saw on Facebook this last week that he wasn't doing so great.

Here's to Phil!
What a fine man!

Thank you for the continued inspiration.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:29 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


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I never met him, but I followed him on twitter, and I am so very sad.
posted by needlegrrl at 5:28 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Life just keeps breaking our hearts lately, doesn't it?

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posted by kimberussell at 7:41 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


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posted by limeonaire at 8:43 AM on March 8


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:22 AM on March 8


He was someone I was so glad to share the internet with. <3
posted by jillithd at 9:34 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


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posted by jaruwaan at 10:03 AM on March 8


I always enjoyed reading his posts and seeing his name. I thought there would always be time...

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posted by jadepearl at 10:43 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


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posted by dhruva at 10:53 AM on March 8


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Maybe it's a factor of me getting older but it sure seems like death is hanging around a lot more.
I'd shoo them away, but I don't want to tempt the universe to say "Hold my beer."

This community tho, and these lovely remembrances.. <3

posted by ApathyGirl at 11:07 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


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posted by Gray Duck at 11:07 AM on March 8


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posted by Jpfed at 12:38 PM on March 8


Oh this is a heartbreak, such a super nice human. I've intersected more with him on Twitter than I did here - I knew he'd been in the hospital for a long stretch and was waiting for the day when he would be out. I am super sad to hear this. My sincere condolences to you, headspace, and to all his family and his friends here on mefi. Coldchef, I know Phil would have been honored and appreciative that you would bring the news of his passing to us. You are a super nice human, too.

I'm moving into that demographic where far too many loved ones are passing so my daily mantra, via Warren Zevon by way of BitterOldPunk, I think: "Enjoy every sandwich."

Hugs to my fellow mefites. Let's always be kind to each other.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:19 PM on March 8 [11 favorites]


Oh no. I’m on the road. Trying to type on my phone. Pjern and his grandson visited me a few years ago. He was a fine gentleman and I have so much more to say about him.

I’ve been feeling blue and out of sorts now I know why

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I’ll miss you big man
posted by vrakatar at 3:52 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


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posted by epersonae at 4:36 PM on March 8


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posted by spork at 6:29 PM on March 8


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posted by estlin at 7:29 PM on March 8


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posted by juliplease at 8:37 PM on March 8


I got to know him on mltshp, he would share vintage photos of his family and friend.

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posted by infini at 10:48 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


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posted by dancestoblue at 1:31 AM on March 9


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posted by eclectist at 4:44 AM on March 9


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posted by soundofsuburbia at 6:09 AM on March 9


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posted by notyou at 6:15 AM on March 9


And on a warm, sunny day, it was quite normal....

That's it. I'm outta here.
posted to MetaFilter by pjern at 11:42 PM on September 9, 2005 [+] 1

One more favorite for the road.
posted by clavdivs at 7:26 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


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posted by TwoStride at 7:42 AM on March 9


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posted by sarcasticah at 8:13 AM on March 9


“My heart breaks for you. May your journey be full of love and peace.“
posted by SLC Mom at 9:07 AM on March 9


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posted by theappleonatree at 11:58 AM on March 9


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posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 4:49 PM on March 9


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posted by Songdog at 4:20 AM on March 10


Funeral arrangements have been announced. Receiving will be Saturday, March 16th 12:30 EDT to 2:30. The service is at 2:30 and should last until 3:30.

G H Hermann Funeral Homes
1605 S State Rd 135,
Indianapolis, IN

If anyone from the Chicagoland area wants to come, I could pick you up at the Dune Park South Shore station and you could ride with me. Keeping in mind that Indianapolis is on Eastern, I I would be leaving after the 10:04am Central train. I have room for 3 people in my car. Memail me.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:47 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Oh man. So sorry to hear this. He always seemed like such a good guy.
posted by Mchelly at 7:09 AM on March 10


I saw this a few days ago & have been pretty dismayed since. Haven’t known what to say. Phil was an inspiration as a photographer - he had a site up for a while where he had prints for sale. I bought one, and it’s stunningly beautiful. Seems as though he was quietly a polymath - photographer, train engineer, storyteller, parent, grandfather, soldier, who knows what else? And damn nice guy. We never met in person, but I had always hoped we would. His medical saga was long & fraught & at least that nightmare is over for him.

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posted by Devils Rancher at 7:42 AM on March 10 [7 favorites]


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posted by motdiem2 at 12:12 PM on March 10


Farewell trainman.

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posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:35 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by vespertine at 7:10 PM on March 10


Ugh... this is not the post to suddenly come across before going to bed.

Having lived in Central Indiana, I got a chance to meet Phil several times at meetups and know him on the internet. My first encounter was at Greek Islands (the place Jessamyn mentioned upstream) where my wife and I happened to be the only other MeFites there... it was a bit awkward meeting someone with belly dancers going on nearby, but we made due.

I'll miss him and his posts and his (sometimes curmudgeonly) comments and likes on tweets and everything. (And who's going to take on the job of organizing our meetups now?)

Godspeed pjern.

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posted by RyanAdams at 10:03 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Like misskaz I was out of the frame in that Chicago picture. That's the only time I met pjern in person but he's one of those people you only need to meet once. And you know he's not a friend of the road but a friend of the heart. I hope you're well over there on the other side, pjern. I'll miss seeing you on Facebook and Twitter. My condolences to the Jern family. Thank you for sharing pjern with the world.
posted by halonine at 11:21 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Heartbreaking. Farewell, Phil.
posted by Optamystic at 4:12 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Hello all. I know they have been posted, but I wanted to make sure that everyone had the information about Phil's funeral. It will be held at:

G.H. Herrmann Funeral Homes
1605 South State Road 135
Greenwood, IN 46143

On March 16, 2019, we will be accepting visitors from 12:30 - 2:30 PM, EST, with a viewing, memorial DVD and selections of his favorite music.

The service will be secular, featuring readings from me, Phil's daughters, and anyone else who had memories they would like to share. It will start at 2:30 PM, EST, and last until 4:00 PM, EST.

Afterwards, we will congregate at Phil's daughter Jeni's house for conversation and food. Rather than post her address here, just find me and follow me over. All are welcome.

If you would like, you can leave a comment or picture on his digital obituary here. There will be more information there soon.

In lieu of flowers, we are asking that people donate to one of these fine organizations in Phil's honor:

Metafilter: https://login.metafilter.com/funding.mefi
Homes for Our Troops: https://www.hfotusa.org/
American Kidney Fund: http://www.kidneyfund.org/
American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org/
posted by headspace at 9:37 AM on March 11 [21 favorites]


I can't make the funeral, and feel sort of helpless. I have decided to brew a beer in Phil's honor and have named it "Photo HOPortunity." If it ends up being any good I will share the recipe.

*sigh*
posted by terrapin at 1:24 PM on March 11 [13 favorites]


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posted by TedW at 4:13 AM on March 12


Fuckin' hell. I don't usually check MetaTalk so only caught this peripherally just moments ago. I was at the meetup cortex mentions, which makes pjern the first Mefite I've met in person who's then passed -- not that any of them previously were less tragic, but I think we're still apes enough that when it's someone you met, it has a certain greater resonance. I didn't know him well, but I remember him seeming like a really good guy, and happy to be there.

I'm truly sorry for his passing.
posted by WCityMike at 9:08 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by dlugoczaj at 2:01 PM on March 13


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posted by klausness at 2:57 PM on March 13


I only just saw this today. I'm so sorry to hear it. He was a good and kind person and I'll miss him. I have other commitments on Saturday but he'll be in my thoughts.
posted by eamondaly at 12:20 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Between 2014 and 2017, Phil and I had a Facebook Scrabble rivalry going. I just found the spreadsheet I kept. I am pleased to report that out of the 32 games we played, Phil won twenty-seven games to my five. I'm no slouch at scrabble, either!

Furthermore, he beat me by an average of 74.3 points per game, scoring an average of 402.6 points to my 328.3. He was good on offense and defense, and he sure knew all the words.

Don't think for a second I didn't relish those five wins.
posted by not_on_display at 3:17 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


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