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To Viper

My first interactions with Alex were in the #wordpress IRC channel, likely him helping me with some code. Over the coarse of a couple of months, we joked around and chatted code. At some point the mention of his username prompted the question of if he had a Viper, but I found out he didn’t even have a driver’s license! I didn’t even realize that this person I was becoming friends with lived in my city, but when I mentioned WordCamp Portland I found out I would actually get to meet him in person. Alex became the first person I met through WordPress chats that I got to meet in person.

At WordCamp Portland 2009, Alex led an unconference session on Advanced WordPress development. I think that Matt Mullenweg might have been the one who put Alex’s name on board and pushed him to lead the discussion. It was during this session that I was first introduced to the idea of custom post types. This event was one of the most important events on my journey to were I am today, and Alex leading a discussion was a part of it.

The following year at WordCamp Portland 2010, I gave the final session of the second day. The room was half empty at this point, but Alex had stuck around to support me. Unfortunately, Alex might have been more exhausted than he had let on as I remember looking at him at one point and seeing him asleep. For a couple years, I encouraged him to give a talk at a WordCamp so I could fall asleep in it.

In 2011 at WordCamp San Francisco a small group of us headed out in search of dinner. This is when I found out that Alex was the opposite of an adventurous eater. We discussed multiple places before heading to some chain restaurant that had cheese pizza and I got to enjoy one of Alex’s favorite dishes, but more importantly I got to enjoy a meal with him.

Alex and I continued our conversations for years. We never were close friends, but we always remained friends. After his initial diagnoses with Leukemia, I wrote some unit tests with Alex in mind. Alex’s contributions to WordPress were numerous, and his contributions to my life are unforgettable. Whenever I see a Viper, I’ll forever think of a man who was obsessed with cars but didn’t get his license until his mid twenties. Tonight I raise my glass to Alex, Viper007Bond, Mills.

2 replies on “To Viper”

Thank you for sharing this Aaron. While I didn’t know or get the chance to interact with Alex, its clear how he’s impacted you and others in the community. I want you to know that you’ve similarly been an important and impactful part of my journey on contributing to WordPress, so thank you for that. May we all be positive impacts for others just like Alex was for you.

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