Rest in Peace Steven Ciaburri

Steven Ciaburri passed away Monday night. I was lucky to get to know Steven over the course of the past 16 years. While we originally met online, we quickly got to know one another & partnered deeper by cofounding Fused together.

Our relationship ebbed & flowed, particularly in these last few years. Digital communication makes relationships easier, but depth seems to prove more & more difficult. I had a number of glimpses into who he was as a person, & equally important: Who I thought he was. Steven & I criss-crossed one another via online chat (irc) & a forum, If you hunt down my posts on there, you’ll find I followed him around like a little puppy, uplifting & defending him at every opportunity. I saw in Steven a lot of myself, but someone just ever so slightly cooler & with a dash of linux knowledge. I admired him greatly, and in my eyes Steven could do no wrong.

He owned & operated a company, Rack911 (amongst other projects) that offered server administration. I, on the other hand, was launching a number of small little projects & hoping one would stick: Online radio, various forums, a small hosting company (saygeek), and whatever else I could publish with my grubby little hands. Steven was my goto sysadmin whenever trouble arose, and, knowing as little as I did: Trouble arose often. He’d feverishly work into the night as I’d launch & break new things at lightning speed. What he could fix in five minutes, I could break again in six.

One of the deeper glimpses I got into Steven was a road trip we did in early 2009. My parents happened to be going through an ugly divorce at the time, and, my own love life took a nose-dive as a result. With nothing better to do, I left Ontario & crossed the country in my tiny little Elantra, headed towards Los Angeles to drop off a belated prize that someone won on one of my websites. After dropping the iPod off to the lucky winner, I spent a few hours taking photos in San Diego & then headed towards Riverside & camped out at Steven’s. I don’t recollect what lead to me crashing on his couch, but he made me feel welcome. While in Riverside, I met Steven’s family. I specifically recollect how kind & generous his mother was towards strangely dressed Canadians! :)

Steven intro’d me to many west coast benefits, including my first In & Out burgers! Despite how great California is, Steven & I somehow decided upon embarking on a quest to research some datacenters in Chicago (in the cold).

We departed in my car eastbound. I don’t recollect having anything packed besides my laptop, and I certainly don’t remember Steven bringing much. Aside from a bout of food poisoning over food highly recommended by Steve (and, a lovely story I may tell in later years), the trip went well. We found some random events to attend including WordCamp Las Vegas (Steven’s first intro to WordPress). We continued east. I cannot recollect much else, and am not entirely certain how I ended up getting Steven home. The trip was a success though, and we settled on our first datacenter rack shortly thereafter (Sorry gigenet, the italian beef sandwiches were great though!)

Most importantly, along the way (and during the many prior & future periods interacting) I learned a lot about Steven. His upbringing. His father’s circumstances. His family (and how deeply he cared for his mother/brother). And, how little we both knew about how cold Chicago would be in January.

Steven loved those around him greatly. You saw the depth & generousity of his love towards others shine through often. I can only rest assured Steven continued to love those around him deeply up until his last moments.

Thank you Steven — you helped make me who I am today, and, for that I owe you a great deal. Until next time sir. Godspeed.