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December 12, 2006

Leslie Harpold

Well, damn. Leslie Harpold, one of the bright stars of the early blogosphere, back when blogs were still known as online diaries, has died. I'm not entirely sure how, but this entry from a friend of hers seems to suggest it may have been related to chronic bronchitis.

Those of us who hung out online back in the day knew Leslie as smart and funny and one of the people who really seemed to get what the online world could be all about. She and I were friendly in the online way, both in the online diary world and as habitu├ęs of the alt.society.generation-x newsgroup. Leslie was still a big presence online right up until the last week, with her annual advent calendar a popular attraction online. In one of those coincidences, one of her final links out in the advent calendar was to me and this site. I am happy to think I was still on her radar after all this time.

This is just sad news, people. I'm at the age where I can reasonably expect my contemporaries to begin to leave, but it's still startling when it happens, especially with someone who was as vital as Leslie, and someone who was a big part of my early days online -- which don't seem all that long ago, because they weren't.

Goodbye, Leslie. Be well where you are. You are missed.

Posted by john at December 12, 2006 06:34 PM

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Adam Rakunas | December 12, 2006 07:58 PM

Hear, hear. I've been thinking about her all day, and I finally came up with the right word: presence. Leslie had such a presence online and off that knowing it's gone just feels wrong, like the sun's turned down just a degree. Everyone who's said she was a force of nature was right.

She's also one of the first online people I met (both on and off), and now she's the first one who's died. I hope her heaven's a dive bar with loud music, good food, smokes and Diet Coke.

PixelFish | December 12, 2006 08:56 PM

I'm sorry to hear we've lost her....she wasn't one of my regular ol' skool blog reads, but I occasionally hit her site back in the day.

Seeing the advent calendar permanently at Day 7 is the thing that kinda stabs at me. I had hoped for a brief half second that the future days would continue to unfold, so there would be a month more....but alas.

Laurie Mann | December 12, 2006 09:36 PM

Sorry to hear you've lost a friend.

The guy I sorta-dated (it's a long story) just before I left for college dropped dead a little over a week ago. He was something like 53. I hadn't seen him in a long time, but it was sad to know I definitely wouldn't see him again.

Joe Rybicki | December 12, 2006 10:42 PM

I didn't know Leslie, but I will always be grateful to her for her blog templates, which prompted me to set up a website, learn CSS, and teach myself Javascript. It's a small thing, of course. But it made a pretty big difference in my life. I'd imagine there are lots of folks all over this vast interweb of ours with similar stories.

marrije | December 13, 2006 05:01 AM

Oh man, that's sad.

MrSnrub | December 13, 2006 10:27 AM

If you're interested in making a donation in Leslie's name, please consider www.modestneeds.org

Leslie was a regular donor to this charity, and they do good work.

(John, I emailed you about this last night)

- | December 19, 2006 03:08 PM

Wow. I ran across Leslie Harpold's advent calendar a few weeks ago, and while I'm not really one for holiday -- how can I put this gently -- crap, I really liked her idea of collecting family memories and traditions. A friend of mine is a journalist for a popular NPR affiliate, and was struggling to compose her requisite holiday-themed piece. I sent the advent to her, and it inspired her to write a non-cheeseball holiday story that encorporates interesting family traditions, and is now being aired all over the country. Thanks, Leslie.

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