Friday, August 23, 2013

In Memoriam - Farewell to an Old Friend

Tim and me in our glory days. Here as Landsknechts at the original Renaissance Faire in the mid '80's.

My sincere apologies for being away without an explanation for so long.  First I was waiting for those damned Fireforge Templar and Teutonic foot knights to be released (stuck on some container ship) and then work got hella busy, but by late May, early June, it was clear that one of my best friends, Tim Finkas, was in rapid decline after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer.  Between that, finishing my masters thesis and the demands of being in a new job, I just lost all - and I mean ALL - my hobby mojo. A month ago, Tim moved to an inpatient hospice facility and peacefully transitioned to whatever comes after this life.

My pal Tim was an immensely talented guy with an incredible imagination.  He was a graphic artist by profession but had incredible talents when it came to making and fashioning things.  More than that, he was always so generous in sharing with me, and others, his ample wardrobe and accoutrements as we time-traveled through various periods - usually with another dear and talented friend who left us last October.  Moreover, Tim was the guy who designed the Westeros banners that you see on this blog.  If for no other reason, I will bring this project to fruition for the sake of Tim and his generous contributions to it in his waning days.

Here is a small tribute to the glory of his creative talents and our friendship over 30 years.

Self-styled "Faire Gods" full of themselves and above it all.
(I think we paid that poor, weedy fellow $30 to schlep us around half a day)

Best buds, in our goofin' around attire (a-historical)
Sir Walter Raleigh and hanger on (me)
Me, Tim and Kevin Brown (also gone on)
A dutifully pie-eyed groomsman at Tim's wedding
Drinking "coow woow's" (oldest cocktail in the Americas) at a 4th of July party (loooong ago)
"A Rake's Progress" dinner in Kevin Brown's "inn" Tim hand made that coat and bi-corn, which I chided him as being so over-large it required its own postal code.
Our medieval archers group enjoying a (Yule?) dinner in Kevin's inn. Tim with his mighty 3-handled "tig".
Visiting a big SCA event in Pennsylvania. God was it oppressively humid to be wearing that wool!
The drunk and derelict palace guard at a Bastille Day party. (complete with guillotine)

Citoyen Brun (Kevin Brown) leads the revolutionary tribunal, bringing the filthy aristos to republican justice!              Palace guards (far left and right) have judiciously donned the cockade and have brought Louis Capet to stand as his mistress pleads for mercy.

40's Party at Kevin's for New Year's ('96?)
Il Capitano! Tim made or embellished almost everything you see on him here. A-mazing.
Ol pards back at it Zombiefest 2013 -Umbrella Corp (check out the serum gun Tim fashioned from a Nerf gun!)
I had not attended any kind of costume event in almost a decade when Tim was diagnosed with cancer and then our friend Kevin passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in his mid-50's.  It shook me up and I decided to make the most of the time we have and flew out to Pittsburgh a couple times last year, one of them in October to attend this crazy event, which Tim LOVED to plan for. Going to a costume event with him was like being upgraded to first class.

While I was out there, we also explored the ample French and Indian War sites - Bushy Run, Ft. Necessity (pathetic), and the awesomely recreated Ft. Ligonier!

Tim interrogates the ancient but well-fed Pennsylvanians "So are you a woman portraying a man? Or a woman portraying an old woman trying to pass as a man?" Oh dear...

During our long drives through the Pennsylvania hill country, I asked him if he felt well enough to come out to San Francisco for the annual Dickens Christmas Fair, which he and his wife attended many times in years past. (Although this was one venue I had somehow never visited.)  He wasn't sure in October what his health would be like in December. So, I suggested we plan something anyway, and if it worked out - great! And if he needed to pass, it would still be fun to plan - like in the old days.  Consequently, Tim revived his idea of a Victorian submarine crew modeled off of Jules Verne's Nemo and Nautilus.  Tim's version was "The Hatefish".  He designed uniforms and insignia as well as finding sources for all the stuff.  His friends rallied in a "big push" effort last year in which we all went on one last, grand adventure with him.

Capitaine "Z" and the crew of the HATEFISH. I think Tim felt the love.

Capitaine "Z" and First Officer on their last adventure in Dickens' London
I did visit him one more time, when it was clear that he was fading.  I won't post those pictures here, as I prefer to remember him in his glory.  I enjoyed many hilarious and creative shenanigans with him, a small portion of which you see here. He truly enriched my life and I wanted to share some of what that meant here in my own, small creative endeavor, in which he had a hand.

But life goes on and I'm happily planning a memorial celebration with his wife and brother-in-law to be held in Los Angeles with the old gang from way back. My thesis is in its final review with my adviser, and work is finally settling out.  So my Westeros project is calling me back - with the support and friendly encouragement of my insanely prodigious (and talented in his own right) Jay White of the aptly named

All of my Stark and Lannister are now assembled.  Tomorrow I will finish the last 6 models for the Greyjoys.  With that, I will need to texture the bases and then - in humble recognition of my time limitations - send most of them off to painting services.  But more on that and pictures soon.  Thanks for reading.


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  2. A most excellent tribute to a clearly talented and great man. Keep moving forward, as those we love, never truly leave us.

  3. That's a fantastic and wonderful tribute. May your dear friend rest in peace. I am very sorry for your great loss, but what wonderful memories to remember him by.

  4. A very nice memorial. May the pain soon fade and your remeberance stay strong. Peace be with you and his family.

  5. Looks like he was a barrel of fun to be around, some great pics there, he will be long remembered, my condolences.

  6. Sorry for the lost of your friend. You look as though you will always have some great memories.

  7. I shed a tear as this story touched me and I felt connected to this because one I am a re-enactor and two my father died of pancreatic cancer. Blessings on you.

  8. Very nice memorial to Tim. He is certainly missed. Are band of brothers has been hit very hard these last few years....

  9. i'll always remember my first (maybe tim's too?) ren fair back in '78 or '79.....just the two of us "playing d & d....(it's all we knew to do back then)....but tim had a spiral notepad, took notes ...he said he planned to "get involved" the next ren fair, he didn't just "reenact" the ren fair tim finkas actually made history........and his legacy lives on in the many things that he started.......(i still have the "traveller" minitures he painted for me.)........