Obituary: Micah Jason McCrary 1978-2004
Account of the funeral from a friend.
It sounds so ridiculously trite but it's hard to believe I'm writing this.
I first met Micah back in 1995 if memory serves me correct. At first Micah was known to me only as "iMMORTAL BEiNG" - the SysOp of several local underground boards including Downward Spiral, Inc. and of course the one that I remember the best The Forbidden Destiny. The Forbidden Destiny was one of those "2leet4u" warez boards with new user voting and a new user application longer than your arm that read more like an exam than a registration form. It had a lot of great stuff, tons of cracks and warez mostly, but the best part about it was that it was PCBoard modded to the extreme. There was barely a facet of the system that hadn't been replaced with a PPE and although most of the modifications weren't Micah's own work he certainly must have went through a lot of trouble setting them up and making them all gel together. I had been around a bit at that time and hadn't quite blossomed into being "elite" yet I somehow managed to know enough to be validated into the system. It has been 10 years and I don't remember how or why but Micah and I ended up talking on the telephone about something, probably discussing setting me up some leech time or getting me some specific files carrying over from a SysOp chat. It's not too easy to remember because this was the first of many such phone calls and the start of a great friendship.
The local BBS scene had all but died by the end of that year giving way to the popularity of massive online services such as AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, and the still rather fledgling Internet but throughout 1996 Micah and I had linked both online and offline up on several fronts. I had done a lot of ANSI and ASCII art for his Internet "courier" group/service, I had convinced him to set his BBS back up, we had setup an echomail network between our two BBSes and we kept up our semi regular phone conversations: I clearly remember how happy he was when he got his first IT job, I remember Chris, the SysOp of The Virtual Screwdriver, giving him a job at his startup ISP Expanding Technologies (XTC) and us discussing the now legendary Kracked.com before it was even fully conceived.
It was probably around this time when Micah got his new car that we started hanging out on a regular basis. He'd regularly drive to my house and pick me up even after I got my license. We'd quite often hang out at his office after he got off of work; hell, I remember that the first time I played Quake was at the XTC/XTN offices with him one night on their LAN. In 1997 Chris started up a club "The Office" nearby and Micah would usually work the door. I saw shows there sometimes multiple times a week and frequently hung out with Micah before and afterwards helping him clean up. We continued that tradition of hanging out every so often up until Chris's second ISP, Wireco, was dissolved in 2001. We'd hang out, usually grab some (typically Chinese) food, and shoot the shit about games, BBSing, music, the scene, Linux, and life in general. I don't know if a single one of these little get-togethers went by without us hatching some bizarre scheme that Micah somehow usually managed to half way pull off before realizing how crazy it was. I also can't help but mention how he always had a way of cracking a hysterically inappropriate joke out of no where. It was always a good time when we hung out and I want to simultaneously laugh out loud and cry out sobbing when I look back on these memories.
While none of my offline friends knew him other than from working the door at The Office nor did I know many of his friends as more than simply acquaintances my online friends certainly all knew him. Micah built the aforementioned Linux box Kracked.com which he primarily used as a web host. Of course, being located at the ISP he worked at Kracked.com had tremendous resources available to it in the form of IPs and bandwidth which were somewhat uncommon back then for a person (rather than a business entity) to have. Micah hosted Demonic's website and other sites I had but beyond that it would be impossible for me to nail down every contribution he has made to me, my friends, and the BBS and underground scenes as a whole. To name only a very few besides hosting (often for free) a mind numbing number of scene related websites, pages, and files, Micah ran mirror sites of several popular scene archives including Acid's Artpack archive, he created and ran BBS Central, and he setup the awesomely popular Dynamic DNS service Detour.net which SysOps went to in droves for hostnames in the days of dial up when the only other people doing this were the infamous Monolith Project. In the old days he was also a founding member of (iMC) iMMORTAL COURiERS, the only HPCAV courier group (pack producing for that matter) that I've ever heard of.
As if it wasn't already apparent Micah was an extremely generous person. Actually, in my mind when I free associate with him that's the first word that pops into my head. He always had a "how can I help you" or "what can I do for you" attitude. Micah would bend over backwards for people often people he didn't even know. Probably everyone reading this that knew him had a website, a shell, an email account, a Detour hostname, something... or at the very least used one of the websites he hosted. It wasn't just as far as Kracked.com was concerned either. He really was that generous, caring, and considerate in life as well which was also an ethic he carried over to the workplace when he did tech support and customer service. Micah really seemed to enjoy being a provider and it wasn't about power or control either; he genuinely liked to help people out. This was always a quality I greatly looked up to in Micah and in return when he needed something I always tried to help. It's funny when I look back on the local BBS scene days as this quality was probably what made him run a warez board in the first place.
Some of my fondest memories were when I introduced Micah to an e-zine called Phone Losers of America which chronicled the life and times of a group of phone phreaks. I had been reading it for awhile and was a huge fan of the zine and Micah instantly fell in love with it. We ended up building red boxes and spending way too many nights going around making prank calls and pretending to be actually doing something dangerous and thrilling. On a side note a great example of the kind of generosity that was characteristic of Micah throughout our friendship was that when he found out that PLA was having problems (both bandwidth and legal) with keeping their website up Micah put his neck out on the line and contacted them to offer to host it which he ended up doing for several years. I could recount in detail more than my share of local BBS scene shenanigans and tons of other stories about the crazy things Micah and I got up to but most of them are probably only really significant to me personally.
Sadly, the last time I saw Micah was in mid 2002. He had bounced around a few times between temporary jobs and happened to get one in the city that I work in. Since he knew I worked there we met several times for lunch and to hang out and shoot the shit. Despite still looking for a decent job he seemed to be on the upswing. He was typical Micah, cracking me up and always conniving about something but he had dropped the drugs and cleaned himself up a lot. Not long after I gave him a reference for his next job at the local university ETSU which he got and seemed to be enjoying. We still spoke on occasion via e-mail and AIM but not as often as I would have liked considering the circumstance. About a year ago he moved to Florida before we could meet up one last time. I still read his journal every now and then and it always disturbed me that he never mentioned me yet he often mentioned having a lack of friends as I considered him a true friend and a great guy. I wish I could have made that clear to him before he passed. Times have changed and I have a real job, a girlfriend, and other hobbies now and still, despite being pretty much out of the scene, Micah has managed to remain an influence in my life and I will greatly miss him. I don't think I ever realized how truly unique our friendship was.
On a final note to Demonic alumni we often joked around about the possibility of having a "con" or convention sort of get together. If we ever did Micah would have been the first person I could have counted on being there. To me, that's what this is all about… none of this would be any fun without the people you call your friends and the times you share together.
JP aka "Jack Phlash"