22 December 2009


Hey Folks,
So I hung out with some folks who knew Nate while I was home for Christmas. I seriously thought only four people were reading this thing and that was it. I found out a lot of people have been checking in to hear more of the little tidbits we've all collected on Nate. Since I know that we have at least 5 people reading this I wanted to issue the following few statements...

1) SEND US YOUR STORIES ABOUT NATE!!! Like we've said....we haven't stopped collecting and we don't plan on stopping. If you have a Nate story....We want it.

2) DON'T BE EMBARASSED!!! I think some people might be afraid to share because they think it's not good enough or they didn't know Nate well enough or whatever. It's all BS. I think it had been well over a year and a half since I had seen or spoken with Nate. It doesn't mean he wasn't my friend and it doesn't mean I don't miss him. I also know that both his sisters read this blog and it is a big help to them. So give us your stories no matter how dumb you think they are. Sometimes the small dumb ones are the best ones.

That's all I have for now, but don't hold back. We want all the Nate stories. All of 'em. Send 'em our way. And thanks for reading.

Here is a quick Nate quote that Frank mentioned when I saw him. It was what Nate would say if Frank asked if he thought a girl was hot.

"On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a 10 and hot being hot. I'd say she's hot."


16 December 2009

The Vonny Bratchnies music

I have posted the two Vonny Bratchny studio albums we recorded, The Halloween Tape and The Valentines Tape. We did these back around 1997-98 in this guy Rob's basement. Nate of course plays bass in all the songs, as well as sings the backups on several, "Twist With the Dead" most notably.


I also have some video footage of a show we played Halloween 2000 at the 513 club. I'll be posting it soon.

From Kati Reeves

This is an email I just received from a girl that grew up with Nate. Her brother and I were in the same class, Nate was a year older than her but our parents were friends so they always played together. This is a REALLY good one to post! Thanks!

Kati Reeves December 15 at 11:20pm Report

Hi, I'm Kati Beck, not sure if you remember me, but our parents were friends way back in Elgin. I think you may have gone to school with my brother Tom Mull. Last time I saw you was in Georiga and you hair was dyed black with white streaks. If you remember me or not doesn't really matter, but I just wanted to say something to someone who knew Nate, and I'm really not sure what to say to your parents. As I recall, he told me you were his best friend.
Anyway, my Mom just told me about Nate. She didn't want to ruin my birthday, and I guess she just found out from your Mom. I'm so sorry for your loss. Even though I haven't seen him since we were 16, he still had a huge impact on my life. I remember him throwing GI Joes at me off the balcony in your house. I remember him brushing his teeth with Dial soap until your Mom caught him (he was trying to get me to do it, Lol). I remember playing cars in the basement and my car got stuck in the mud for a make believe year. I told him I got unstuck and was drivng away and he argued that if I had been stuck for a year my car would be out of gas and wouldn't start. We did many things together when we were little, but two huge memories stick out the most.
The first was when he started school and I hadn't yet. We were drawing in my kitchen and he told me to write "I Love You". I drew a big heart and wrote "XOXOXOXOXOXO" all over it and said that was how you write it. He told me no and spent the rest of the afternoon teaching me how to write "I Love You".

The second big memory was at Susan Warner's wedding. He had come up from Georgia to attend with your Mom. He kept teasing me all afternoon about how I was too "trendy" and how I was trying to hard to look like everyone else. This was during to chain wallet fad. I pointed to his pocket and said, "What about you, aren't you being trendy?" He pointed out to me that his "chain" was made of strings of pearls so it didn't count. I finally got exasperated enough I told him, "If I don't try to fit in, no one will like me!" He grabbed my face and told me I was beautiful just being me. I didn't need the approval of others, and if I was just myself, at least I would have my self respect. I always remembered that, and every guy henceforth had to except me for who I was or they were gone. And it wasn't just that. I started painting and joined the Air Force and took up ballroom dancing and never had any support in any of it, but I never really cared from that point on. You know what? I may have had people around me before, but after that I always had true friends.

I always thought of looking him up from time to time. I think I may have even tried once or twice, but couldn't find him, or didn't recognize him on FB, or whatever. However, I did always wonder what happened to him.

There are no words I can say to make the pain of what you are going through ease. I cried for a day over Nate. You will probably grieve for the rest of you life to lose your brother and best friend. I wish this had never happened to him. From what I've read he was truly amazing. I know you have lots of people around you, but if you need someone to talk to, I'm here, and I mean it.

11 December 2009

Nate Tape

Another one from Sarah. I also think this is a good time to mention we haven't stopped collecting stories. We don't plan on stopping. If you have a Nate story....we want it. Send it to us. OK...now on to Sarah's story.

There is a picture with this story, but I'm having trouble getting it up here. Working on it!

"when i take ambien, i usually go right to sleep. unfortunately, if i stay awake long enough i start to do weird shit. last night, the weird shit was trying to find a pair of shoes i haven't seen in years. i tore apart my entire house looking for shoes i'd probably thrown away untold amounts of time ago. while i was digging though, i found a cassette tape. i didn't think much of it to begin with because i haven't owned a tape player that wasn't in my car for ages. upon closer inspection, i saw that it had a picture on it that was drawn by my friend jen. when i looked even closer, i saw "vonny bratchnies" written inside the drawing in distinct, clear jen-writing.

2 minutes later i'm out in my car in the freezing cold, barefoot and with no coat. it takes me another 5 minutes to find the start of the tape and finally get to listen to something besides dead air. i don't remember the names of the songs, but i remember hearing them all before. sitting in my car and bawling like a little girl, it reminded me of being 17 and standing in that dirty little club in 5 points and watching nate, robert, and bradley. i listened to the whole thing, and you'd think that i would have eventually run out of tears but no such luck. i didn't stop shaking for 45 minutes after i came inside, so mr. valium had to give mr. ambien a hand in calming me down and letting me go to sleep.

the problem with ambien is you have a vague idea of what you did the night before but no really clear memory. when i woke up and saw the tape on the bedside table i lost my shit all over again. i have a feeling this is going to be the case for years to come. i miss him so fucking much it can't be real. every time i think about him, which is still daily, i feel like someone has punched a hole through my heart. i know alysia wondered if it was still painful and fresh to anyone, and i know it is to me. i think about him every day, and i check the blog several times a week. i don't have anything super enlightening to say either. he will never be forgotten, by me or anyone else that had the pleasure to know him. he was just too goddamn awesome."

09 December 2009

from Alysia sister

So I keep checking the Nate blog site...it has been over 2 months now since The Accident and it feels like forever and it feels like yesterday that it all happened. I don't know if that makes sense, it just is. I don't check the blogsite everyday anymore. Nothing new has been posted since Nov 22nd. I have now gone through a Thanksgiving and my birthday with out my brother for the first time in 27 years. I wonder if any one else is checking the site. Nate is constantly on my mind and I miss him so damn much. I just watched Pulp Fiction and would have been texting him quotes from that movie all night if he was still here. I remember we had a big disagreement about that kid being named "Brett" or "Brad" turns out, Jules calls him BOTH in that scene..."Well look at the Big Brain on Brad!"... I know I am not the only one that still misses him. I guess everybody is just trying to move on as best they can. But I don't want him forgotten. I almost want it to still be that week so that it is still as painful and fresh in everybody's head like it still is in mine, and my family's. We are going to Santa Fe this xmas instead of having our traditional family holiday, all together around a tree on xmas morning. We might never go back to that tradition. I am going to do my best to be patient and cheerful around my family. And we will have fun. I am not going to be as self medicated as I was at Thanksgiving. I don't really have anything deep and substantial to say here tonight, except... Nate, I freakin' miss you like crazy and we are all still thinking about you. I will leave it to Mr Keen and Robert to say the truly enlightened words.

22 November 2009

Bird is the word

Some of you have had what I now refer to as owl stories. Stories of nature behaving unusually to let you know that Nate is OK. I had kinda hoped for one, but in my heart told Nate that if I didn't get one...that was OK.

I got one.

As I'm typing this a bunch of Nate's friends are getting together at a bar in L5P to drink to Nate's memory. I wanted to be there, but living in Colorado has a disadvantage when it comes to this. So I promise Nate's sister that I will have a drink around 2pm Mountain Time (around 4 eastern when they plan on starting the party).

I lazily go about my Sunday tasks. Laundry. Groceries. Dishes. I decide to take a break from chores to watch Star Trek. I finish up and I decide to check my computer. "Oh good," I think "iTunes has downloaded 'This American Life' onto my computer. Now I can listen to it while I do dishes." This has become a new weekly ritual for me. I sync up my iPod, strap it on and get to work on the dishes.

This American Life starts off with a song about turkeys playing baseball and Ira Glass comes on and tells me that they will be keeping their annual Thanksgiving tradition of doing stories about birds and poultry for the show. I think I'm in for an interesting show.

The first story is about an Afghan who decides to test a magic amulet that is supposed to render one bullet proof by strapping it to a chicken and firing at it with a small firearm from about the distance of a tennis court. In retrospect, I think Nate would like that story.

The next story starts off talking about Spalding Gray. Spalding was an Irish-American who went missing and turned up in the East River a few days later. His wife is retelling this sad tale and starts to talk about her children calling her to inform her there is a bird loose in their house. She remembers an old Irish legend Spalding told her about how if someone you know has died and you find a dead bird in your house, their spirit is restless. But if you find a live bird in your house their spirit is free.

I stop what I'm doing and shift my eyes from my kitchen sink to the vent above my stove less than a foot and a half away. I've had a bird living in this vent since around October. About the time we lost Nate.

I check the time. It's a little after 2pm. The party is getting started as the pieces of the puzzle all click into place to show me the picture. Nate is OK.

Now....as gullible as I am I can also be pretty skeptical. I start to try and find an out right away. I can't.

Having a bird living in my vent. Well....not that odd if you've ever lived through a Colorado winter. Finding out that a piece of your life corresponds with an Irish legend. Also not that odd. Finding it out a couple of months after your friend has died. Now it's getting kind of odd. Hearing about the Irish legend of a bird living in your house to indicate the freed spirit of a lost loved one as friends are gathering in your hometown to toast to his memory. I'd rather not calculate the odds.

I call Robert right away in the hopes he can get a hold of Nate's sister. He's still at his new house doing some cleaning. I tell him the story. I can tell he's crying. But this story doesn't make me feel like crying. It makes me feel like dancing. Like singing. Like leaping for joy. For the first time, I know....no....Nate has TOLD me...he's OK. It's all gonna be OK.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Living in a World where I know Nate isn't around is hard. I don't like that idea. But knowing that Nate is safe. Knowing that Nate wants us to know he's OK. Nate LETTING us know he's OK. Gives me a since of relief I can't quite describe.

Thank you Nate. I'm so glad you were....and still are....my friend.

18 November 2009

Party for Nate - Sunday Nov 22

Alysia is putting together a party at Corner Tavern this Sunday, November 22 around 4pm. It's the bar on the corner of Moreland and Euclid in Little Five Points.

Please come, and get the word out.

09 November 2009

"True Story" by Shel Silverstein

This is a poem that Nate once recited to me word for word by memory. He said it was the only poem he knew by heart.


This morning I jumped on my horse and went out for a ride.
Some wild outlaws chased me and they shot me in the side.
So I crawled into a wildcat's cave to find a place to hide,
But some pirates found me a'sleepin' there and soon they had me tied
'Till a lady zombie cut me loose and begged to be my bride.
So I said I'd come back Wednesday, but I must admit I lied,
'Cause I run away into the swamp but I forgot my guide.
And I stepped into some quicksand, and no matter how I tried,
I couldn't get out 'till I met a crocodile named Clyde
Who took me to some cannibals who planned to have me fried.
They built a fire under me and I swear I almost cried
'Till an eagle come and swooped me up and through the air we flied,
But he dropped me in a boiling lake a thousand miles wide.
And you know what happened then?
I died.


I never thought this poem would make me cry.

From Alysia sister

"This is another pic that was part of a series of pictures that Nate took with his Batphone on our way to Arkansas for Christmas last year. Moose and Nate got along great but Nate was bitching almost the entire time about all the dog hair and slobber getting on his clothes. He was not thrilled! I think he spent a good amount of time with a lint roller.

Robert, you are right about how he kept his stuff so nice for so long. All his tshirts were always hung, his electronics in pristine condition. I don't know how he did it. I get something nice and I usually break it or lose it within 6 months. Damn I miss him. "

03 November 2009

The subtraction and it's option

Robert called me and said "I thought you'd still be up." I explain why I go to bed at ridiculously early hours. He asks "Isn't it only 9:30 out there?" I say I have to assume he's right because my clock is in binary. He finds this odd. I explain that when your clock says this...


My clock says this...


We talk and I go back to bed. I get up to take a picture of my clock and send it to Robert. He texts me back. "You're crazy." I already knew that.

But maybe not. After all, we teach all of our children how to read roman numerals. It's not crazy, but a different way of looking at counting. A new perspective.

I consider the other new perspective I have in life. I now have to live in a world without Nate in it. I ponder this with sadness. Often times I think about how much I would rather live in a world with Nate in it. What would I give for this world?

I imagined one scenario on the way to work this morning. A man came to me and said "Nate will be alive and well and readily available to all who want and need him. The price is that you will be homeless and destitute for the rest of your own life." I reply to the man, "What a terrific bargain!" To trade the finite things one has for someone to be alive is a small price to pay. Unfortunately, no man has made such bargain with me.

Binary to me is another perspective on life. The shock of Nate being gone is also another perspective on life, but totally the opposite. Binary makes me happy. It's another dimension added to my life. It gives me contentment. Nate being gone makes me sad. It is a dimension subtracted from my life. It gives me grief. Grief is the gap between desire and lack of that desire. My will says Nate should be alive, but that is not my reality.

One thing all of my friends and family bereaved by the loss of Nate can agree on is that we have not fully lost him. We all feel that Nate is around us. Not in our preferred form, but watching over us somehow. Still the same good soul we knew him, but not in the exact way we knew him. Protective of his friends to the point where he refuses to leave us behind even in death. It is this part that is left behind that brings me to my conclusion. My choice in an option.

An option is where we choose to walk down one path instead of another in the wood of life.

Sadly, and much against my will, Nate has been subtracted from my life. From the lives of all who knew him. However, I can't change this. And yet, I feel an urge that I believe is an urge from Nate. To attempt, as best I can, to accept this loss and to move forward. To live. It is very difficult to understand this strange new world. At first I felt guilty about being alive. How unfair that I continued on, but Nate didn't. I felt I was insulting him. But that part of Nate that I feel, the part that lingers on shows me I am doing quite the opposite by living. Nate was very much in love with life. I was fond of his MySpace quote. It was a Kurt Vonnegut quote about living as close to the edge as possible without going over. Nate was quite good at that I think. So to not live my life is what is truly the insult to Nate. For a man who understood the importance of all the wonderful things one could experience in life, to lock myself away would be the greatest insult to him I could find.

So, in memory of Nate. To honor him. Because he inspires me....I choose to not only live my life, but to try and make it a tad fuller.

I know in my heart of hearts, this is more than what Nate wants. It is what he cheers for his beloved to do.

I will do my best sir. I will do my best.

All about the flavor

It was only a matter of time before I posted this.

If you asked me I couldn't tell you the location, but I remember seeing Nate and he appeared to be smoking. I noticed that when he exhaled there was no smoke coming out of his mouth. I took a closer look and he was smoking candy cigarettes. I remember him looking at me and saying “It's all about the flavor.”

30 October 2009

Beer Criminals

One time Nate and I were going to a party and we wanted to have some beer before hand. Nate had some Newcastle in his trunk, but since it was Spring the beer was really warm. Nate suggested that we put ice in the beer to drink it. "But Nate," I said "Isn't that a beer crime?" "Yup," he said "I won't tell if you won't." So we put ice in our Newcastle and became beer criminals for the evening.

27 October 2009

Wrong Time!

I went to see a concert of one of Nate's bands. The band wanted to “raise the dead” when they played one song about Halloween. I just came to see the show, but they convinced me to paint my face up like a zombie and hang out in the back until I was supposed to come out. I was reluctant, but they talked me into it. When I thought it was the right time I came charging through the crowd acting in a manner I thought to be zombie-like. I jumped on stage and Nate punched me in the shoulder. “What?!?!?!” I said. “Wrong time!” he said. I giggle about it when I think about it now.

25 October 2009

from Alicia, Nate's roomate

I just suggested to Sarah that we go to DQ for Pumpkin Pie blizzards. She looked horrified at the idea, and I said, "Oh, that's right--you don't like pumpkin pie."

She denies this.

I say, "Well it has to be you, someone I know in Georgia doesn't like pumpkin pie, and who else could it possibly be besides you?"

She points at Nate's chair and we discuss for a moment the possibility that it was Nate. Then I remember this:

Two years ago on Thanksgiving, I made a pumpkin pie. I didn't know Nate's dad was also bringing a pumpkin pie. And Nate was ridiculously over-excited at the idea that we would have TWO PUMPKIN PIES AT THANKSGIVING.

It was the little things--Nate fucking loved food.

Swim Team and Birthday Party

When he lived with his parents, he had this picture hung on his wall. Apparently he spent at least one summer on the swim team at Windward, which was the enormous mega-development he lived in. This would be the summer before freshman year in high school.

He showed me this picture and pointed to how his stomach is all pushed out. He said that he and the guy standing next to him were both planning on pushing their stomachs out real big for the picture, but at the last second the other guy sucked in and stood up all straight.

If I remember correctly, Nate actually had this image framed, rather than burying it forever in a box.

Yesterday I spent the morning helping move Nate out of his last house. Boxing things up, hauling his enormous TV and furniture out. Today my fiance and I are beginning to pack up our own things to move into our first for-real house. I can't help but recognize the bizarre parallels. I imagine my friends and family sorting through my things, deciding which goes to goodwill, what stuff people actually want, what goes into storage for future decisions. It's all so strange.

In closing, I'd like to post this picture of one of our 3-way birthday parties - Nate was march 3, bradley march 15, me march 29. This was at Bradley's house, and I really like how we look like we are in some 1990's teen drama, like DeGrassi or something. Down to Katherine's rollerblades.

(from left to right: John Kang, Nate, Lee, Emily, Andre, Christina, Bradley, Adrienne, Robert, Katherine on ground)

23 October 2009


There are so many things I keep remembering about him. Bits and pieces, I keep saying to Mollie, "I saw that movie with Nate." or "He used to drink his orange juice like this."

I once had a dream about Nate. I was at his parent's house and he was outside and something weird happened, I don't remember what it was, but he just keep laughing like it was really funny. I told him about the dream, and his response was, "People always tell me, 'I had a dream about you, and it was really weird.' Nobody has normal dreams about me."

When Nate bought his first motorcycle, he rode it to my mom's house and showed it off to all of us. Andre said, "You've really outdone yourself this time." He looked like a total badass with all his leather and big shiny piece of metal with wheels.

Some years later he had his first wreck. I think he just took a turn wrong and he went tumbling into a ditch, mild concussion. He was with my ex girlfriend Maria, who told me to come to the emergency room where Nate was. I hurried up to Northside Hospital where Nate looked bruised and upset, but otherwise fine. He was annoyed that Maria wouldn't let him sleep, and that the nurses just told him he could. His bike was totaled, but he was okay.

It was years before he got another bike. Just a few weeks before he died, the last time I saw him, he had three bikes in his garage and he rode everywhere he went. He owned a fancy blue mustang, but said he never drove it. He also told me he lived walking-distance to the gym where he worked out every day, and I assumed he actually did walk, though Frank told me he never did. The accident happened on his way back from the gym.

When we played in the Vonny Bratchnies together, there would be times when we were learning new songs that Nate and Bradley would work together to figure out the parts and would want me to be quiet on the drums. These times were really boring, and I would inevitably start tapping on something and Bradley would get irritated. After one particularly long session of guitar/bass figuring out, I left the practice room and went to be bored around Braldey's house. Later Nate told me that some day we'd get an electric set for me to play with headphones while they figured things out. I thought that was a great idea, but it never happened.

The last time I saw Nate--the time he showed me his three bikes in his garage--he pointed to where my drum set would go when i brought it up to jam with him. He asked how much a cheap set would cost, I said about $400. He said maybe he would buy a set for his garage so I wouldn't have to worry about packing and unpacking my kit every time I came up to see him. Few people would ever consider doing something so generous with their money, time, and home.

Three quick ones:

The first time I ever saw cable internet was at Nate's house. He explained that you don't have to dial up or anything, you just turn on your computer and you're on the internet. I was blown away.

Nate went with me to buy my first box of condoms.

I have a post it note hanging next to my desk at work, where I am sitting right now. It says Paintball Sun Oct. 11 1PM. Plans with Nate. I then crossed it out because a co-worker's wedding was scheduled for that day. I then crossed out the wedding and wrote Wake. I was sitting by the casket when Ben and Melissa were wed.

22 October 2009

Don't tell the NRA

This one is courtesy of Nate's roommate Sarah.

I suck at telling stories, so I cheated and found a text conversation Nate & I had while he was in Sturgis. He had left Alicia and I a can of powerful mace in case anything happened while he was gone. I read this short convo and it pretty much reminds me of the Nate we knew at home. Most of our jokes and stories were one liners, or one word, or a song, which has been why it's been so hard to come up with "stories." Nate was sharp, witty, and to the point.

Nate: Miss me yet?
Sarah: No, but Alicia almost used the mace the other night.
Nate: Can't wait to hear this one. What happened?
Sarah: I was in bed and she was scared by the kitchen light burning out and crept up the stairs to get the mace and sat in the living room with it in her lap while gaming.
Nate: Just bc a light burnt out?
Sarah: Lol yes.
Nate: Good thing she doesn't like guns.

The Owl

Since Nate's passing, I've been looking for some sign from him, some sort of proof that he isn't completely gone, that he's somewhere. I am not a religious person and don't have any solid beliefs concerning an afterlife, but I wanted something. Friends and family have stories of animals visiting them in the following days after the accident. A tiny snake, a grasshopper, a song, and an owl, all of them sighted with a certainty that it was no regular animal, no random happening.

I wanted one, needed one, and have been waiting or my sign, my visit. Last night I sat on the porch, listening to the crickets, and I asked out loud for Nate to come see me.

I went inside, worked on my tattoo design, and went back outside. It felt spooky in a way that my porch has never felt before. I was a little scared to go throw out the trash, but I did. I'm very brave. I sat on the porch, and after a while I realized I was looking directly at some sort of animal in the tree only ten feet away from me. I couldn't tell if it was a trick of the darkness, so I walked closer.

It was a small brown owl staring motionlessly at me. I'd never seen an owl in our backyard before, and never one this close anywhere. As I walked around, it's head swiveled to follow, so slowly I could hardly tell it was moving. I went inside to get a camera, couldn't find one, came back with a small lantern to get a better look. The owl was gone.

The weight of what the owl meant hit me, and I sat down, stunned. I realized that the owl was gone, but something was still there. I felt a presence. I've never felt this way before, and possibly was searching for it so hard I made it happen. Either way, I was certain something was just behind me, over my shoulder, no matter which way I turned. It made the skin on my back crawl.

Hoping he could hear me, I talked to Nate. I told him I hoped he was doing well, that he deserved to be doing well, and that I hoped our paths would cross again someday. Seeing the owl gave me an odd certainty that more is possible in this world than I had previously thought.

I went to bed with the feeling that someone else was in the room with Mollie and I. A frightening and comforting feeling at the same time.

Having had my visit brings me some comfort, though I still can't believe that Nate's gone, that those we love WILL step off the face of the earth any minute now. We are temporary, disposable, unable to hold onto anything. Nothing means anything then we die. But maybe there is something afterwards, that life doesn't actually end. Maybe an owl staring at you in the middle of the night means something, and maybe it doesn't. I'm still really sad about thew whole situation, either way.

21 October 2009

Nate and Robert Wrestle

One time I was over at Nate's house with Robert and we were all watching the Simpsons in Nate's basement. During the first commercial break and with absolutely no clue that it was coming, Nate began to wrestle Robert in the middle of the room. As soon as the Simpsons was back on, the wrestling stopped. Every commercial break we would repeat this. At the end of the show I think one of them said, “That was some good wrestling.” It was very bizarre and I was very amused by it all.

20 October 2009

Smell blind!

This is another from Katzi.

Alysia's story reminded me of this one...

Last year in around June, I went to New York to attend the Baptism of my Goddaughter and her sister. When I came back, I was sick. It seems like I always get sick when I come back from New York... Anyway, it was a 2 week long sinus infection that was pretty bad and when I got over it, I hadn't realized that I had some form of Hyposmia or possibly Anosmia . I thought that my sinuses were still blocked but no. My nasal passages were clear, I just couldn't smell a thing! Freaked out, I looked up everything I could on Anosmia and got really, really scared. The dangers were crazy! What if there was a fire? What if there was a gas leak? What if my food was burning? What if I over season my food? What if...???? All these things that I had never really thought about, I was freaking out about!
My boyfriend thought it was funny (at times) and I came to get used to it. Then, we watched "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" and if you've seen that movie, you know that Dewey becomes smell blind! It was the most hilarious thing ever, so I started using that when I was describing my condition to my friends. After a while, I was tired of explaining that I got "smell blind" from "Walk Hard" because not everyone had seen it at the time, so I (sadly) dropped it.
Last year, I ran into Nate and I ended up going over to his house after a night of partying with my friends. We started talking and he said something to the effect of "Sorry if it smells" or something like that and I said, "It's okay, I lost my sense of smell". His eyes lit up and he said, "You're smell blind?!" He had seen it! He had seen "Walk Hard"! He knew what I was talking about and I said, "Yes, I'm smell blind!" Then he started laughing like crazy and said, "You mean, I can fart and you can't smell it?!" and I said, "Yeah, I wouldn't be able to smell it at all" and he said, "Good because I just did and it's BAD" and we both laughed pretty hard.
I'll always remember that because Nate was the only other person (at the time) to know what I was talking about when I said I was "smell blind".

19 October 2009

Logan's Story

This one is from my friend Logan.

"Nate used to give me a kind of hard time in middle school. Not like he stuck my head down a toilet or anything, but a shove here and there while joking around. Things kinda settled after he showed me how to cut a deck of cards with one hand. I remember him really being into card tricks in 8th grade. Later on in high school we didn't really hang out. Not really friends, but not foes either. Years later I saw Nate at a bar playing pool with his friends (same thing I was there to do). Nate offered me a handshake and said something to the effect of "Hey! We used to go to school together and I used to give you kind of a hard time. Sorry that happened. How have you been?" This is massively paraphrased, but I think of it now as really awesome. Years later able to own up to a fault and just shoot the shit with me for a few minutes. He wasn't my friend but as far as I know he was a stand-up guy and I do know he was way too young."

More stories!

I want to mention we are still hunting for Nate stories. I find the more stories about Nate I get....the more I want. It's not just the super nice guy stories, but Nate seemed to know how to do a lot of cool things. I just heard from an old high school friend that Nate taught him how to cut a deck of cards one handed in 8th grade. Motorcycles, punk rock and awesome movies. That was part of who Nate Niec was. So if you have any stories, pictures or just vague memories...send them along. We want to hear them so we can remember Nate.

memorial at stop sign Sunday oct. 18, 2009

A boy's delight - from Alysia

So many things differ between what makes a female happy as opposed to what brings a smile to a guy’s face. That is a given and an understatement and I won’t even attempt to get into it here. The only major difference between girls and guys I want to touch on in this story is the sheer joy a guy gets out of creating bad smells. A couple years ago when Nate had his Acura, he had to drop it off to get serviced. Since I was living with him at the time it was only natural that he ask me to give him a ride to go pick it up. At like 9 in the morning. On a Saturday. I was hung over. Being a good sister however, I dragged my nauseated body and aching head out of bed to get him to his car. We were in my Durango on Northpoint Dr when it happened. Nate farted. The smell was so unbelievable I gagged. I had my head out the window to try to escape the fumes, but to no avail… I actually threw up…while driving! Nate thought this was HILARIOUS! I remember trying to dig around for a plastic bag I could spit into while maintaining safety on the roads and Nate was sitting there CRYING from laughter! I heard Nate telling this story to his friends with great pride. He told me it was one of his goals in life to be able to do that. It was the simple things that made him happy. Glad I was able to help him cross that off his list…I think.

from Mary Laneve

Alysia said that you guys were doing a blog page for nate, and she saw the message i had left on his page and asked me to share the story i had put up on there with you for the page.
I've known nate since i was about sixteen...i was in the hospital at the time of his accident... i had a major fall the friday before and had spent several days in the ICU for bleeding on my brain and a broken knee and tibia which ultimately ended up needing surgery including a metal plate and five screws. one of our friends called asking what had happed to matt from no holds barred, and i had no clue what he was talking about since i was still loopy from the head trauma. I called about every one i knew, including Nate, to find out what was going on...i finally got ahold of our friend Amos who then told me, it wasn't Matt....it was Nate. It didn't feel real, and in a way even though i've been to the funeral it still doesn't. Nate was such a good person, when ever anyone made fun of me he took up for me....but then he'd tease me to my face haha. he was funny. My favorite memory of nate (and this is what alysia wanted me to share) was when i was pregnant with my son. I was so sick i could barely work...and when i did work i wouldnt make any money. by the time the morning sickness subsided i was so behind on my bills that i couldnt afford to buy food and was about to get evicted...and i caught my sons dad cheating on me so i refused to talk to him...Nate bought me lunch one day, and i remember thinking it was the best burger i had ever eaten because i hadn't eaten in a few days. He did it because he knew i couldn't afford food at the time. I have tons of memories of nate over the years....going out and drinking at lennys and 80s night....beer olympics and promote chaos....but no memory sticks out the way that one does from when i was pregnant, to this day that is still the best burger i have ever eaten.

One of Nate's Favorite Movie Endings

this is from nate's siter, Alysia.

17 October 2009

At Work

Thanks to iwi chu for this one. Great one!

"the last time i saw nate was last year. we went out to dinner, rode around in his mustang, and played flow on his ps3. we started talking about his latest job at the pink pony. i admitted that i was curious about what it was like to work with a small army of naked women. nate looked thoughtful for a second, then said 'you know... it's hard to objectify a woman once you've had an intelligent conversation with her.' it says a lot about his character that he could work in what is basically the sex industry and still see the dancers as something more than eye candy. he had respect for all kinds of people, and i always loved that despite his tough exterior, he was so open, accepting, and intelligent on the inside. nate was, quite simply, a good dude."

Nate Tattoo

I've talked with several people about getting a Nate tattoo. This one deals with how Nate and I were supposed to get together and jam on a regular basis once again. We were both so excited about that. Maybe start a new band.

so something like this possibly. maybe simplify to just the bass and bass drum? i also don't know where i want it yet. maybe my chest? I want it somewhere I can look at it without having to take off too many clothes or looking in a mirror, and where it won't look stupid when i get old and fat.

Online Guest Book for Nate

Legacy.com Guestbook

People are saying some really nice things here.

From Fireball

nate, i've known you for almost ten years now, when i found out what happened i was in the hospital...it still hasn't fully sunk in... i still halfway expect to see you around even though i know i won't. i will always appreciate the things you did for me, like when i was pregnant and poor, and couldn't even afford to feed myself... you bought me lunch, i remember eating that burger and thinking it was the best thing i ever ate because i hadn't eaten in two days. You were without a doubt one of the most geniune, and over all good people i ever knew, and i'm thankful that i had the opportunity to know you and be friends with you.

16 October 2009

Nate and Bass

This is a picture of Nate playing bass.

I wanted to mention this because Nate liked playing bass and was really really good at it. I auditioned with No Holds Barred on guitar once (wasn't good enough though...which was true) and I remember I had asked Nate if he had ever had any other bass. He said in a normal voice, "Nope" and then a really silly voice he half shouted, "She's my one and only!"

Robert told me about how Nate liked that Sting only had one bass ever and that the only other bass he would play was an exact replica of his first bass. This is kind of comforting to me now because I don't ever have to wonder which bass Nate would use. That same old Ibanez with a couple of stickers and a rubber thumb with a purple fingernail for a knob.

I can also remember Nate's ability on bass. He never ever bragged about it, but he was one of the best bassists I knew. He would've been well within his rights to brag about it. But the only people who talked about how great Nate was on bass were other people. I never thought about it before but I guess that shows how modest he was. His ability is more than just technical skill.

See...I started playing bass for other bands in college and I discovered two things. First off, what Nate had wasn't a practiced skill one could acquire. It was talent. He was good at playing fast and accurate and putting a bit of himself into it. Now what made this amazing is that he didn't mind having his talent and ability take a backseat. A lot of the songs I have of Nate playing he is just being a bassist. Doing a very simple something in the background. And when I think about these songs....that's what they needed. Some people I've played with wanted their talent to be the spotlight even if it would've damaged the song. I can tell that wasn't the way Nate approached things.

It's weird listening to those records because I always focus on the bass and if there are background vocals I struggle to hear his voice. I just thank God we have the records. A little piece of Nate for us all.

15 October 2009

from Robert

I've been having an incredibly hard time dealing with Nate's death. At times I feel like I'm falling totally apart. I can't concentrate on what I'm doing, co-workers come into my office to talk to me and I'm staring at my computer crying.

I was leaving the Target parking lot tonight when I heard a man yelling for help. I run towards the yelling as fast as I can, it sounds like he's stuck under a car and dying. I find them suddenly, a black man with short dreadlocks has his knees on a white man's neck. I grab the guy and do the best I can to pull him off the guy, but he's strong and fights me. He yells, "He stole my money!" Pointing at the guy on the ground, shirtless, his torso covered in scratches. He wrestles against me and his black polo shirt tears in my hand. He has crazy eyes. Another man is next to me, trying to get the guy off, too. Suddenly the crazy guy stands up and looks around. We are surrounded by people standing at a safe distance.

The man spins around and looks at me, sees the man standing next to me. The white guy on the ground jumps up and runs away. I'm ready to start punching this one guy in the face, but when the other guy runs away it confused me. I don't want to hit the wrong guy. Then they are both running away, opposite directions. The black guy throws a wad of cash on the ground, the guy who had my back picks it up.

He holds up the money to me, a folded up twenty, asks me if I want it. I tell him no.

We talk to the Target cop. We talk to Target associates, who give us some Starbucks coffee. We talk to a for real police officer who tells us that there's no suspect and no victim, and nothing he can do. I go to the supermarket, bewildered and excited.

I had a really good conversation with Mr. Keen tonight on the phone tonight, and he told me that what's happening now is that I'm learning how to be Robert without Nate, like a dog learning to live with only three legs. He says Someday I'll be happy again, but I need to let it take time, to not be so hard on myself. I find that the only good thing to have come from this is the comraderie Nate has left us with, the rediscovery of the friends and family around us.

Though it feels like something has been cut from me, like there's some open wound somewhere on or in my body, but I can't find where it is.

This is a terrible thing that has happened. I spend all day and all night trying to hold onto him, remembering him, trying to listen to his voice in my head, imagining what kind of new music we'd have made up, the funny jokes we'd tell each other. There are so many questions I want answered. Why do you like motorcycles so much? How does none of your stuff ever break or get old? Do you want to play that new Mario game for the Wii all night sometime?

I find myself trying to make him come back, to find a loophole in this desparate situation, but finding none. There is often a screaming noise in my head, and I often feel like throwing up, but don't. This is the part of the movie where we learn all the terrible things that might have happened if the characters had just acted a certain way, done a few small things differently.

This is the part in the movie where a friend invents a time machine and invites me to go back in time. I go back to Monday October 5, have Nate clear his schedule to hang out with me. We jam in his garage, watch some movies. The next day we decide no to work out like we said we would, and have Dominos deliver us some pizzas and chocolate volcano deserts. Nate lives, fame and fortune, etc.

The End.

Big Scary Monster Behind the Scenes

Here is some of the best out-takes and raw footage from the Big Scary Monster shoots. There's a great part where Nate tells a funny story.

Nate Plays a Joke - from Alysia Brogdon (Nate's Sister)

Back in the early to mid 1980’s there was a rash of horrific kidnappings. It seemed like every other day some child was snatched off the street. An innocent would be taken right out from under the watchful eyes of some mother or father and never be seen again. It was during this time that my parents, Al and Marie took in a couple of my cousins to come live with us. They were having some problems at home with my aunt and uncle in another state and my parents offered to give them some stability by having them come to live with us. The cousins were around 10 and 12. I was about 15, Larissa was 19 and Nate was about 7. He was a little darling, (read: hell on wheels) and I was his Great Tormentor, but that is another story. One Easter Sunday after church the group of us went to the mall. We might have also gone to Olan Mills to have the obligatory annual Family Portrait made or maybe that was a different day. However, I remember being at the mall, everyone kind of wandering in their own direction. I had not yet learned the joys of shopping, and having to be in public with my family made me even more unpleasant than usual (I WAS 15 after all). I am most likely the one to have been in charge of keeping an eye on Nate. And I was probably doing so in a most lackadaisical way. Suddenly I realized he was not in sight. I looked around for him in the women’s dress store we were in and could find him no where. I alerted my parents who instantly went into Parent Panic Mode. We spread out…mom, dad, myself, Larissa and Manuel and Roy the 2 cousins. We ran through the mall, we called for him, we checked stores we had just left, we checked toy stores. My dad alerted security. Things were getting serious. The checkout ladies were on the look out. I was starting to hyperventilate. We regrouped inside the store where I had originally lost track of him. Hours went by (in reality in was only about 10 minutes). And then…what do we hear from inside a clothes rack? Is it…? YES! It is a laugh! A giggle, a snort! Rushing to the rack we tore aside the clothes and there, crouched down and trying to smother his glee, is Nate. The relief that washed over us was palpable. I best end the narrative here. Suffice to say back in those days it was still ok to spank your child in public and I am pretty sure my mom gave poor Nate a pretty good whack for his “joke”. Thankfully it was not such a whack as to knock the funny out of him. He may have learned the difference between appropriate practical jokes and the not so hilarious ones, but it certainly did nothing to rein in his spirit, sense of fun and love of silly. And I learned that in an instant a loved one can be gone, perhaps forever. Best not to take anything, anyone or any moment for granted.


This is from Katzi. I liked this one a lot.

"A few months ago, I used to look forward to Monday mornings. I would wake up, check my phone and see at least 2 texts waiting for me. One was usually from around 5:30am and the other from around 6:15am - both saying the same message but it was written differently every time.
I would get 'Wake up, sleepyhead!', 'Good morning', 'What's up?', 'Good morning sunshine', 'Hey!' or just 'WAKE UP!' and that's how I would start my week.
We would text back and forth during my morning routine about random things: What we both did on the weekend, how work was for him the night before, what was on the agenda for the coming week and so on.
These conversations would continue well after I would get to work (at around 8am) and it would really impact my whole week. If I didn't get a morning text, especially during filming (the most stressful time of all for me), it would ruin my whole week!
After a while, the texts started backing off until they just weren't there anymore. I was going to start it back up again but I guess I waited too long. At least the old ones still live on my old phone...
I never got to tell you how much I appreciated that and how much it actually impacted my day. Thank you so much for that. It was a great way to start my week off right."

Bike Safety

So when I had class yesterday one of my students asked why I was gone. I decided to explain it to the whole class. And while I was talking all of the sudden I started talking about bike safety (very much apart of the Colorado curriculum for Health). The importance of wearing a helmet when you ride a bike or motorcycle and how you can wear pads when riding a bike if you want to. One asked for details of the accident....I drew a line there.

But I like to think that maybe Nate was standing somewhere in the Gym influencing what was going on somehow. There aren't any helmet laws for motorcycles out here in Colorado and maybe one of the little kids will say "Daddy...put on your helmet before you ride." It'll make a difference I hope. Thanks Nate.

14 October 2009

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

This story is courtesy of Andre. Thanks buddy!

"When I think of Nate I think of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It was always around his house and we used to eat bowls of it when I was there. When I mentioned this to his roommate she said when he was on a diet and they went to the store they passed some. Nate's response was 'Man. I really want some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.'"

This small memorial sits at the site of the accident. At the corner of Jones Bridge Road and State Bridge Road, next to the telephone pole at the driveway coming out of the old Steinmart shopping center. There are skid marks from the jeep, a large section that looks like burnt ground, an outline of where the bike fell, and the outline of the flipped jeep.

Alysia bought black plastic roses and real white ones. We spraypainted his name on a big white container and placed it on a cinderblock we found. It's a nice looking little memorial we think, and you can read his name from about a hundred yards away. The picture above is dark and you can't really get a sense of it's placement, but it was taken in the moment, just after Frank poured out a beer into the carefully manicured grass of the Valvoline for our dead homie.

If you get a chance or are in the neighborhood, leave some flowers or a memento.

Nate Niec, The Umpire

This is a story Frank told me. It's one of my favorites. Even in baseball.....a nice guy who'll do you a favor.

"I convinced Nate to umpire some kid's baseball games with me. One time while I was plate umpire and he was in the outfield, the catcher threw the ball and it went right past the pitcher and started rolling towards Nate. While the runner was stealing second base, Nate stopped the ball with his foot and threw it to the pitcher. This is not legal in baseball. The coach got in my face and said 'What was that?' I said 'He wasn't going to make it past second anyway.'"

Nate Stories

On the plane back to Denver, all I could do was think about Nate. It feels very odd to me because we hadn't spoken in quite a long time. Not a horrible falling out. I just thought I would catch up with Nate later. Ya know....10 year reunion or something like that. There would be time. It's been kinda hard realizing that there won't be that time. I also started remembering lots of stories I heard over the weekend. Some stories very familiar, some that provoked an "Oh yeah! Now I remember that!" reaction and some that I had never heard before. All of them I adored. They made me laugh or made me remember what a great guy Nate was. Usually both.

When I got home, I didn't want these memories to fade like some of them had before and I was still (still am I guess) grieving the loss of Nate. So I began to write them down. No real idea or purpose behind it. Just wanted to collect them all. It felt good but I had a finite supply. That wasn't good enough. So what I've begun doing is talking to people who I didn't talk to over the weekend or talking to people who couldn't be there for whatever reason.

When I told Robert about this his first e-mail back was to let me know he had set up this blog. I think it's a fantastic idea. So if you have a Nate story you wanna see up here....just let us know....we'll get it up here.

13 October 2009

The Eulogy I Read at the October 12 Funeral

Two days before the accident, Nate sent me this text message. It’s a photograph of a smiling man and he has a yo yo with a photograph of a puppy printed on it. The puppy is tangled in yo yo string. Underneath is written: Yo dawg, I herd yo and yo dawg like yo yos so we put yo dawg in a yo yo so yo can yo yo yo dawg while yo dawg yo yos, dawg.

I replied ‘thanks dawg,’ he replied ‘Yeah dawg.’ The closing words of our long friendship.

Nate was a great reader of books and literature, a man with a large collection of movies and the ability to remember quotes from just about all of them. He was a skilled seeker of facts on his iPhone -- or The Bat Phone. He loved music, and he loved riding his motorcycle. He talked fondly of his bike rides around North GA, through Helen and Dahlonega, and at length about his Sturgis trip, something he was very proud of.

Nate was born March 3, 1982 in Elgin, Illinois. He once told me how the land was so flat in Elgin you could watch lightning storms pass by from miles away. When he was nine the family moved to Alpharetta, where Nate grew up. I often urged him to move to Atlanta, but he felt safe here. Alpharetta was his home. He died October 6, 2009. He was 27 years old when he died not a half a mile from his house.

I met Nate in 8th grade Health class when we were 13. He told me of shockingly illicit pictures that could be found on the internet, and how Green Day used to be punk, but by 1995 wasn’t anymore. In high school we were in the same Homeroom, and I practically moved into his parent’s house. Around the same time that he decided to play bass, I bought a drum set. We took some lessons, and began playing in a band with our friend Bradley.

Nate was a musician who wanted to play songs that people had fun listening to, music that moved people to jump and dance and yell. He once told me that he hated shows where people just stood around watching the band, and wanted every concert he performed to be a party, a good time for everyone. For one show, he bought a bag full of stuffed animals from Goodwill. Before every song he would goad the audience to dance, awarding the best dancer for each song an animal from the bag. At end of the show, the audience was completely exhausted, many of them proud owners of dirty stuffed animals.

Nate was an incredibly funny guy, with a sharp wit and a deep intelligence.

We collaborated on several short films where he played a furry yellow monster. Heavily improvised by Nate, I would give some vague direction and let the camera roll. He was brilliant. His sense of the absurd and his comic timing are amazing. I know he was very proud of these pieces.

Nate worked various jobs in his life, but never found what he was looking for professionally. The last time I saw him, three weeks ago, he said he was thinking about college, but wasn’t sure yet. We talked about getting the band back together, having a 10 year reunion show. He had quit smoking two years earlier, and had been working out every day. He was in the best shape I had ever seen him in, and he talked positively about the future.

Nate was the best kind of person, the best kind of friend, and the best kind of family. A gracious host, a patient listener, a solver of conflict. A gentleman, an artist, an adventurer. A boyscout, a clown, and a musician. Strong, noble, honest.

I know we are all having a hard time imagining a future without Nate. He was always there for us when we needed him. But as unfortunate as we are to have lost him, we are even more fortunate to have had someone of his caliber, of his magnitude, so close to us. I feel so proud to have known him, to have had him in my life.

Goodbye Nate. You will be missed more than these words can express.