Re: [stella] Jim Nitchals
Subject: Re: [stella] Jim Nitchals|
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 00:08:24 -0800
At 01:18 AM 3/17/2001 -0500, you wrote:
According to a Wired story around that time, it was a sudden brain
hemorrhage. I looked it up to make sure when this thread began. I didn't
get the impression that they knew the cause.
I think that the family just wanted to keep things simple and not give a
lengthy backstory of Jim's problems.
I have old email someplace from some months before Jim died where he hints
at his medical problems. He said something like "if you only knew the pain
I have to deal with in my life".
But the most troublesome thing was when I was heading up to shoot at
Nolan's place and Jim declined the invitation to be there with me. I had
always expected him to be with me there at the shoot as the real payoff for
his contribution to the project. I met him at his house so he could give
me the 2600 cake and I can say with some authority that he didn't look that
healthy. He had a yellowish complexion, like jaundice.
Now I know overweight people aren't the healthiest in the world, but I
never thought it would be life threatening to him. I really don't know
whether his weight problems caused his other problems or vice
versa... nevertheless, it would be unfair to say that his death was sudden
He was pretty private about the reason behind him not seeing Nolan. I
thought at first maybe he was just too shy. Computer nerds tend to be that
way, of course! I really grilled him about the Nolan shoot because I got
him on the phone with Nolan and he said he could come up there anytime to
hang out and I really never understood why Jim never took him up on this
once and a lifetime offer. Mind you this is long before CG Expo where
people started taking these guys' accessibility for granted... He chose to
remain silent about why he wouldn't go up there, which was unusual for him.
Then after a while he just didn't answer my emails anymore. Maybe he was
too busy with the spamming crusade, or already at the hospital undergoing
As I best recall, his widow told me that he was in the hospital for some
time before the end came.
While the spamming incident may have pushed him over the edge, I really
don't think it caused his death anymore than a heat wave causes the elderly
to die of heat stroke. Jim was ill and even in a best case scenario I'm
not sure whether he would have made it. I admire Jim for everything he
accomplished, but I don't think he'd want to be seen as a martyr. He was
always a humble guy.
And really, I think he deserves a lot of credit for this community here on
Stellalist. In all deference to Bob Colbert, Jim was the one who first
figured out how the Supercharger worked and remastered the tapes, and saved
all the sourcecode from Steve Hales' Apple II floppies. He turned my
desire to do a CD into a reality, both technically, and financially. Then
went on to financially bail out the shooting of Stella at 20 just because
he felt it needed to be done.
I never would have fought for years to finish those videos had I not always
remembered Jim's sacrifices for that footage. I still feel bad that he
never got to see the raw footage before he died... That was pure laziness
on my part.
As for Jim's old code, I'm assuming that Steve Hales still has it under
lock and key. He knows I'm interested in sifting through it, but I'm not
in a rush to do so. It involves an expensive trip up to northern
california and I'm not really in a position to do that.
The last piece of Jim's legacy that was salvaged was the leftover color
covers/inserts from the original CD which, thankfully, his widow held
onto. They are now a part of the reissue CD.
If someone else lives near Livermore, let me know. Maybe we can arrange
for you to rummage through his stuff. I think most of Jim's stuff is on
CDR backups, and he did his development on a PowerMac.
Archives (includes files) at http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/archives/
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