Friday, August 25, 2006

Sad News

Not knowing Bill previous to July 30, 2006,
I am still reading and processing his beautiful
life story. We were together at the starting line in the
darkish and cool, wonderful San Francisco morning but strangers
and never met. The day had a great energy right from 4:45 am
even before the SF Marathon 2006 started.
I prayed while warming up, while starting to run that it would not happen.
WO was a good person with great family and friends
and through your sweet memories now I know Bill Goggins, W.O.
and feel his spirit as my wise brother, and feel our great loss.
Sorry it's late in the first paragraph, Bill but just know this,
that you will be present in our hearts, Good Lord willing,
at the 111th Boston Marathon on April 16,2007.
I am the one praying again, starting to run again, with tears in my eyes,
and your memory, huge on my heart.
=== Todd Ryan Bib# 3242, 47 years old out of San Carlos

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In Through the Out Door...farewell Bill

I worked with Bill for only one year, but he left a lasting impression. When I saw his name in the SFGate article about the marathon, my heart literally sank…I actually felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I was really hoping it was another "William O. Goggins." Terrible, but wishful thinking nonetheless.

We clicked immediately. I was the brash and somewhat immature music editor who fought for my writers’ adjective choices and opinions. I drank a little too much at the company parties, and cursed a little too loudly in the office. Some found it annoying. Bill found it charming. He became like a big brother to me, and I often hung out on his desk, next to the big bolt and stacks of books, and bitched and moaned over some minor word change that had been made to my section.

He always gave me advice, but never without letting me finish my whole (and often long-winded) spiels. Bill had this way of looking at you as if you were the only person in the room…as if everything and everyone else moved in silent slow motion and you were the center of it all, loud and clear. He never tuned people out. I think Bill lacked the auto-pilot chip that many of us have, because every moment of everything he did seemed to be with great purpose and intent. Me…well, I can drive 10 miles and not even remember anything I saw on the way.

When I left WIRED and moved to Los Angeles, Bill sent me a very touching “farewell” email. I can’t remember exactly what it said, but the sentiment is something I’ll never forget. As corny as it sounds, he believed in me and wanted to let me know that. You see, I spent many days at the office waiting for the editors to realize they made a mistake in hiring crazy me. I always figured it was just a matter of time before the thugs came in to kick me back out onto the dot com street I came from. Bill let me know that wasn’t the case. And he was really the only person I wanted to impress in the first place.

I’m grateful that I got to see Bill last year, when I dropped by the WIRED office. He was getting ready to leave the magazine and pursue other projects, and he seemed happier than I’d ever seen him. He gave me a great, long hug and told me he was looking forward to some time off. He was as dashing and handsome and clever as ever, and I will always remember Bill that way.

Clare Kleinedler
Los Angeles

A true gentleman

I just heard the news about Bill 2 days ago and am still in complete shock. I only met him once 4 years ago when myself and two friends traveled across the USA -- when we reached San Francisco Pat & Ute very kindly provided a meal for us. Bill was there too and was lucky enough to witness our pathetic Irish attempts at drinking tequila!! That one time made a lasting impression though. He seemed like a really lovely guy and a true gentleman.

Bill’s name actually came up in a conversation between my friend and I a few weeks ago. We were chatting about our time in SF and were remembering the night we had the meal with the Goggins that Bill sat in the trunk of the car while Ute drove us all back to San Fran afterwards and let us ladies sit in comfort!! If that’s not gentlemanly then I don't know what is!!!

From reading the comments posted on this website it's clear to see what an impression he made on so many people's lives and although this must be a totally heartbreaking time for Pat, Ute & the rest of the family, I hope it provides some kind of comfort to see how loved, admired and respected he was. There aren't many people who leave such a lasting impression.

I am so sorry for Pat, Ute & the rest of the family and my thoughts are with you.

Philippa Ekin
Northern Ireland

At the top of his game

WO was my cousin and I am so proud to share some of his genetic excellence.

He was a man for all seasons and so humble in his travels through this world. At family gatherings he would fade into the background and take in all that everyone had to say...when he could have entertained the entire group for hours with his repartee.

He was an old, wise soul, a kind and gentle spirit. I think he has somehow been selected for a role of universal influence which is so badly needed in this world, else why would he have been taken this soon?

Sharing in the celebration of his life was a gift I will always be grateful for. It was absolutely amazing to meet and hear from the many, many people touched by him in both profound and simple ways.

I choose to remember him at mile 21. Both feet off the ground, thumbs up, broad grin, at the top of his game and awash in endorphins. I am sure he left feeling satisfied with his performance in all aspects of his life.

He will be forever missed, but I take solace in knowing he was, and is, destined for great things. My condolences to all of you who share in the sorrow of his loss to us.

Susan Pemberton
Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Frisko days

Many interns flocked through the door at Frisko magazine where I presided in my own benevolent tyrant way as founder and editor, but hands down, Bill Goggins is deeply etched into my mental hard drive. He was a bit older than most of the other interns there; many were FOC (fresh out of Columbia) or FOB (fresh out of Berkeley). The magazine was often their very first exposure to journalism.

I recall his seriousness, his polite demeanor, his good cheer. Had I a larger budget, I would have hired him in asap. When Frisko closed shop, I was happy to see that in time he landed at Wired. I then watched from afar as he climbed up its masthead. I was proud of his accomplishments. I often toyed with the idea of dropping him a line. I regret that I didn't.

One incident bears sharing. Frisko was hosting a party at some swank San Francisco restaurant. The usual crowd was there--a mix of Pacific Heights types and dressed-in-black Soma hipsters. Bill walked up to me. He was with an older man. Bill said, "This is my father. I wanted him to meet you. I am so thankful and appreciative of working at Frisko."

I was stunned. I wanted to thank him for providing the magazine with free labor. He was proud to be there with his father, proud to be affiliated with the magazine.

Of the dozens of interns who ever worked at Frisko, only one had the grace and class to personally thank me for the learning experience. That person was Bill Goggins.

Bill Katovsky

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bill and I - the odd couple

As we exist just now in a state of shock after having Bill taken away from us so absurdly I wanted to share a few thoughts about Bill, thoughts about my relationship with Bill that I never shared with anyone. Sorry but a lot of this is about me, that is my point of reference and how I can relate to Bill. I am sure you all have special memories of Bill an trust they will endure like mine will.

I only knew Bill for the last four years and did not know about huge pieces of his life. I did not know him during his youth, his college years, his married years and I did not know about his work in any respect other than he had a huge work ethic. I can only imagine the number of people he has impacted during these chapters in his life as he had such a strong impact on me in the last four years. Where it is true that we were very different people, we also shared some strong common threads….and I am not just talking about him being Irish and me Scottish hence an immediate comfort in calling each other pricks from the get go. I think that all said and done we shared a love of the ridiculous and a commitment to working hard and creating, at least in Bill’s case, a legacy.

Bill was a person to share speedy intelligent unintelligent rapid diversifying and connected thoughts with, his discourse additionally spattered with the huge wealth of knowledge and nouns that my mind, thought and life lack. My side of the bargain was held up by my speed of thought and Scottish twist. I was about to suggest that another technique of mine that I used to keep up with him was to lower the tone, but on further consideration I realized that he did this too. I remember Bill so excellently breaking taboos almost without so much as curling his lip to announce his pleasure at doing so…..that curl would soon happen though as he saw my appreciation for his efforts given away by my eyes. Bill loved our conversations and so did I. Bill loved the ridiculous as much as I do and I remember the gleam in his eye when he would see me across the room at a party, in a bar, at a gallery or just bumping in to him on the street. We both looked forward to what we were about to share with each other and knew there was mischief in the air. He called me Big Dog, and actually recently I called him Big Dog too; I think we both saw each other as people who command respect and that leads me to share something me that Bill said to me that helped me grow up a lot.

On Robert Burns night, on January 25th, 2003, Alex and I organized a traditional Scottish evening to celebrate the work of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. It was a night that took a lot of preparation, thought, consideration, the learning of Scottish poetry, cooking, studying Scottish tradition and incorporating the many other cultures that make up our friends. It was a night of guest and host collaboration. It was a night of much Whiskey (Bill brought bloody Irish Whiskey with a sleekit smile on his face), a night of toasts, a night of culture and a night that ended up in the gutter, as Burns would have wanted. But what it was about this night that I want to share was something that Bill said. In one of the very many toasts participants were encouraged to make about whatever they choose, Bill said some words that helped me remember or even ignite a part of my character that many people did not know about. Bill, in a couple of impromptu lines, said something to the effect ‘We all know Daniel for his crazy ways, his desire to party, to drink and to be the fool but tonight we see that when Daniel puts his mind to something he can be a formidable force to be reckoned with. We all welcome this side of Daniel, thank you’. And you know it is true. Having gone through many changes when moving country, having to start again on all fronts, succeeding in many and failing in some, post split-up with girlfiend sheddng myslef of responsibility for anyone including myslef, escaping from reality for much of my life, trying to take it further than the rest, making friends and enemies on a daily basis, it took these few words to realize or remember that I have unlimited potential that should be used. I have been using much of my potential since that night. It was that night that we both realized that we loved the constructive sides of each others personalities as much as the fun loving destructuve sides. Thank you Bill for the helping hand.

Thinking about the ‘ridiculous’ I remember a great moment. At the Love parade a couple of years ago I found Bill, Jerome, Maru and a few other friends at the Last Supper Club in SOMA. I had pulled myslef out of the craziness of that day for a short while to come into these friends’ world, our worlds seperated by my choice to ‘party’ and lose control to a greater extent than they. I had gone to the Supper Club, wearing a sleavless fur coat and bell-bottom pants with fur stripes (and most prob a hat) for a pitstop before continuing the night in full force. I just needed a few Scotches to sober up and to get away from the music for a while. During that period of life I was also obsessed with core training and that night had decided a good way to train was for people to punch my stomach as hard as they can. Bill, with his strong mutually strong core and sense of humor took to this game like a duck to water. When every normal preson had lost interest in this game after a few minutes Bill did not, nor had I. He started with a very girlie punch (sorry girls), then progressively took bigger punches, followed by running punches, each time laughing uncontrollably on contact, the sound of flesh being beaten resonating through this trendy bar. Bill, summoning all his efforts, gritting his teeth while grinning insatiably took one HUGE punch, the force rebounding from my core back to him sending him flying to the ground. Still laughing he thought ‘Big Dog’. I thought the same of him.

Two months ago I dined with Bill, a more serious evening than the one in the Supper Club. We discussed where we were going in life, what we wanted; relationships, work, where to live and all that good stuff. I confessed to him that I am obsessed with what I earn. He concluded I was an asshole. He told me of his various plans which were then thoughts formulating. I told him he was an asshole. Then Whizz (my ex from 3 years ago) joined us cooincidentaly and we all caught up with an easy sense of comfort and familiarity. I drove Bill home that night, went down a one-way the wrong way, bloody pot head remarked Bill, he showed us the views from North Beach and made five quick final wise cracks as he got out the door. I still do not know what he meant. You see….. where I have only known Bill for four years, on a bit-part basis, I realized that night that there is a history between us. We both saw people come and go in each of our own and each others lives, we have seen each other embarc on new adventures, and during these times we had wise words and wise-cracks to offer each other to entertain, keep it real and help each other. I thank Bill for that. Bill was one of the most impressive men I have known. He was a nicer guy than I. Also, I think he got me which very few people do. I talked to him two weeks ago and I really look forward to talking to him again one day. I believe I will.

Thanks Big Dog

Daniel Newman
Monday July 31st 2006, one day after Bill passed away
Having known Aimee for years, it was by chance that I met Bill. Our good friend Nik Schulz had just moved into an incredible work space, that featured a gallery with regular showings curated by Paul Donald and his colleagues. (The spot across from Zeitgeist, above Scuderia). At one of those shows, we were standing around in a group, and Bill came over, immediately distinguished by his black skull sweater, and totally charmed the pants off of me. I couldn't quite follow what he was saying, but he seemed pretty confident about it, flashing his sweet smile, and maintaining an extraordinary amount of eye contact.

After that eve, Aimee had to endure my year-long crush on her brother Bill, which brought us all closer together as the two became very central to our social circle. It was at this time that I got to know Paul as well, and helped spend his perk money at Bruno's eating and drinking, and listening . . . to Bill.

One of the funny things about having a crush on someone, are the lengths to which you make a fool of yourself, unburdened by irrational lust. I can't think of a better person to have spent all that energy on (except my husband, of course . . . are you reading this honey?) than Bill.

Much love to Aimee, and your family, and Paul Donald. We are here whenever you need us.
Stacey Lewis

“When I grow up, I want to be Bill”

I never had the pleasure of spending time alone with Bill – outside of work, of course, when I’d stand at his elbow, nervously watching him comb over a piece of copy I’d been reworking all day. If he found a snag, however small, I knew I could be there for hours into the evening and possibly have to face the wrath of fractious commissioning editor who would not want to change another syllable. If he signed off and gave me his signature grin (the one that seemed to say “Good work, scout!”), I’d feel palpable relief and have a little bask, because I knew however much of a perfectionist I was, as we all had to be on the Wired copy desk, Bill’s perfectionism was steely, rigorous, and consuming. Everybody there worked hard, but he worked harder, setting standards everyone around him strove towards – however frustrating and occasionally inscrutable his vision could be in the moment.

I worked at Wired on and off from 1995 to 2003. As the years passed, the vegetarian, colorful 20-something office gradually gave way to corporate, Niman Ranch brisket-eating 30- and 40-something hues, with endless staff changes. Throughout this, Bill never budged. Even in the beginning he had an authoritative and brisk, no-nonsense way about him that intimidated me slightly, but which I also admired and took comfort in. Because, well, Wired wasn’t always the warmest place to work. Many seemed too absorbed in their jobs to have time to get to know each other, and as a freelancer I often felt on the edge of things. But Bill was a constant genuine and respectful presence. His wit, dry enough to desiccate an ocean, provided comic relief that cut nicely through the ego-heavy atmosphere, forcing me to look up and laugh from behind my dictionary. By the time I left for good to move overseas, Bill was the last of the crew I’d originally started with, and the one I most regretted not getting to know better. The closest I ever got to confessing my long-held affection for him was telling our coworkers that when I grew up, I wanted to be Bill. I hope that got back to him.

Karen Eng
Cambridge, England

Bill and the boys at Alternative Press Expo 2002.