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Jack-O-Lantern Memorial

10:25 pm in Uncategorized by elizaBeth Simpson

A few weeks ago I carved a pumpkin from my garden in remembrance of Dan. I knew it was slightly corny, but also absolutely sincere, just like so many of our adventures. The morning after I put it out the squirrels had already eaten it such that the hearts were sitting next to it. It felt as though I was being playfully told that my heart will be freed of the grief. It will, but my love will be retained- corny but true. 

11:35 am in Uncategorized by Amy Smith

I remember one time Tim, Danza, and I were heading back from Green St. to our place on Nevada and we were about half way through the central quad when Danza took off running.

This didn’t surprise us as Danza often took off running at random – I remember that, on more than one occasion, he would burst into our apartment out of breath.  “Why were you running?” I’d ask, and he’d say, “Oh I was just coming back from class.”  Often he’d run from Siebel Center (far north) all the way down Lincoln to the apartment on Nevada.  I told him that this was mighty odd – to see some lanky kid sprinting down Lincoln Ave with his backpack on and full clothing.  He said that he thought it was mighty odd that people had to change into their designated “workout gear” when they were in the mood for a run.  When he felt like running, he felt like running.  Sometimes with Danza, there was no point in arguing.  (Although I very much enjoyed doing that at times)

So this one time when we were walking down the quad and Danza took off running, he turned back to get a view of us and slammed face first into a horizontal metal bar (from a frame they put around the Chem Annex for construction).  He dropped flat on his back.  I’ve never in my life seen anyone drop like that.  It was straight out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, or something of the like.  WHAM.

He was fine, of course.  And after we pried him off the ground we all had a good laugh about it.  As I was dozing off today, this scene suddenly came into my head – him plowing into that metal bar and then, later (after he had recovered), his deep smile creases.

We’re Frieeeeends

2:31 pm in Uncategorized by Micaela Hellman-Tincher

I’ve been friends with Dan since high school.  Although often separated by geography, we stayed close through visits to our respective schools, get togethers over the holidays and summers and of course the world wide web.

Dan gave love to his friends more freely than most. He would often literally run over to my house moments after I’d fly to CA from DC or he’d flown home from Illinois.  He walked me home countless nights, unperturbed by my relatively ridiculous fear of nighttime Palo Alto streets.  He brought me gifts from his travels, he came over to help me pack for college orientation.   I can hear Dan saying “I love you” over the phone like it was yesterday, and I have countless pictures of him hugging our friends tightly. In high school he and I made lists of people we’d like to get to know better.

I remember being enamored with his stories and adventurous ideas.  Dan could make anything fun, and many of our best times were walking around Palo Alto while he chattered about something new he had learned about.  He once told me in high school that he thought he was running out of stories, but that didn’t last long.  On prom night senior year our dates went to bed and Dan and I and another friend stayed up all night telling stories and analyzing our world.  He wandered over to my house one holiday break to inform our friends of his philosophy on religion’s effect on society and soon after we discussed the fourth dimension.  One summer he explained why he was going to invest in solar energy.

We had great adventures together.  We went up to see Franz Ferdinand in San Francisco, his first “indie” concert, while still in high school.  We fumbled through navigating  the city and we laughed and laughed as we tried to stomach our way through the black coffee we ordered at a fancy restaurant.  Driving home from visiting friends in Santa Cruz we sang at the top of our lungs the entire way. We stayed up late watching “Classic Arts Showcase” and listening to music until our parents wanted us home.  We turned a math project into a whodunit complete with a trench coat and corn cob pipe.

In my senior yearbook, Dan lamented that we had only just become close friends but then wisely said “but at least we had that and so I guess we are lucky.”  Dan had an amazing brain and heart and I miss him very much.

The Courtyard

11:21 am in Uncategorized by Jason Brechin

This is a copy of a post on my blog, where I have written a number of posts about Dan.  Click through to see the image at the end, since I couldn’t upload it here.

I first came into contact with Dan when he emailed me out of the blue, on July 2nd, 2009, asking if I’d be interested in writing about his Kickstarter project that he started to fund his chocolate making startup.  He wrote, “one of my passions is to make things by hand in traditional ways (for instance I ferment sauerkraut, and knit my own winter gear).”  I wrote back with a few questions that ended up helping me flesh out my first post mentioning Dan, titled Theobroma Cacao.

Needless to say, his project was fully funded and he quickly began work on his first batches.  I think he let me try a little of pretty much every one of his first batches.  Some were ugly, just dry chocolate bits that fell apart.  He tried roasting hotter, cooler, longer, shorter.  He tried different cacao origins and he made me love chocolate.  That was his talent, he would suck you in and educate you about it before you knew what was happening.  Dan taught me how to truly appreciate chocolate.

Once he had his process down a little better, I asked to come by and photograph and take video of him making chocolate.  He seemed excited to have me come to his tiny kitchen on the upper floor of the apartment he was living in.  He told me about how he transforms the raw cacao into cracked and winnowed nibs, ready to be ground.  I watched the chocolate spinning around in the grinding machine he purchased with part of the Kickstarter funds.

He tempered his chocolate on a reclaimed slab of marble while I shot video.  It was beautiful watching the chocolate flowing off the paddles he used to mix and fold the chocolate onto itself.  All the while we talked and he would explain how cocoa butter’s ability to form so many different crystalline structures is so remarkable and so vital to the chocolate-making process.

I met with Dan so many times in the courtyard between the computer science building (Siebel) and my own workplace.  He’d always ask what I’ve been up to, and I never felt like I had a good-enough answer for him.  His passion was infectious and he greatly inspired me to follow my own dreams.  As he gained notoriety, the local newspaper published an article about him and the reporter asked me a few questions.  The first, which I don’t think I got quoted in the article for, was “Why is what Dan’s doing with chocolate important?”  I spent a long time answering that question for the reporter, and I posted my response in a post titled “Why Dan Matters“.

Dan still matters, to me and many others, as an example of what a great artisan can be.  There are so many random wonderful things I could say about him–like his sauerkraut is the only kraut I’ve ever enjoyed, especially the one he added beets to for the inaugural 1000 year old food club event.  It’s hard to pare it down to make this a sensible and meaningful post for anyone else.  One last story, about one of those clandestine courtyard conversations we had…

We met and, as usual, Dan let me sample a bite or two of his latest batches.  He was already into the groove of making chocolate and had sold plenty of bars to friends and friends-of-friends.  I was already planning on buying a bar but he said he really wanted to make sure that he gave a personalized bar to everyone that had donated so long ago to his Kickstarter project.  He pulled out a bar with a mostly blank yellow construction paper wrapper and started writing, and drawing, and more writing, then declaring in all caps “for JASON BRECHIN!” with his signature underneath.  I’ve kept each and every one of my blank/DHS/Daniel Harry Schreiber/Flatlander wrappers, but this one is only mine. And now it’s on the web, to live forever.  Click the image to get the full size scan.

(couldn’t upload it here, so see the picture in the original post)