Joe Miklojcik - An Amazing Man - Rest in Peace

It is a sad day for the Alliance Community, as we have lost one of our own. Joe Miklojcik passed away yesterday.

Joe was an exemplary larper who I was proud to also call a good friend.

Along with his wife Anastasia, Joe never failed to raise the bar for both costuming and roleplaying. He played at many chapters on the East Coast and his presence will be missed by eveyone who had the good fortune to know him. He was best known as the Sarr Kuwo Mushtee and more recently had made quite a splash as a new dwarven character at the Catskills chapter. Joe never failed to challenge both plotlines and other players, making those around him better players by merely interacting with him.

More importantly, Joe was an amazing person. The type who would drop everything to help a friend move or pick up furniture at a Huffman Koos going out of business sale. He was soft spoken, but that only increased his effectiveness at challenging people intellectually, without ever insulting them.

I could hear his great laugh in my head all last night and this morning. Full of good humor and genuine amusement. I am still more than a bit shocked as I realize I’ll never hear that laugh again.

Never did I think I'd be writing one of these again so soon. My heart is once again broken.

That's pretty terrible news. Joe was such an awesome guy!! :( I only met him a few times but he was really nice and very into the game. we made an epic magic storm fountain together last year on the stairs of the tavern at HQ while hoards of infected attacked us.. he was cracking jokes the whole time.. it was great... and he donated money in my name to save snow leopards because he liked how i ran logistics. no one ever did anything like that for me before.. :no: I don't know what else to say..
Our characters never got along in game, but that's what was great about him. No matter what OOG was OOG and IG was IG. Such a sad day. Joe will be missed.
Joe served as our Props chair for quite some time, organizing all the crap in my basement back when we had to store stuff there. He and Asia would visit every now and then and we'd have "Lord of the Rings" parties where we'd watch the extended version DVD all night and comment. Asia also worked at the NY Renaissance Faire with Heidi in the old "NERO Emporium" booth, and it was always wonderful to see Joe there and see how much he loved her.

His character had a huge influence on the plot of our game, and for those of you who may not realize who he was, you can see his picture in the Player's Guide as Kuwo, the sarr ambassador. Soft spoken and polite but never wimpy or passive, Joe's influence will continue to be felt.

I only had the pleasure of interacting with him a few times, but I'm still very saddened to learn of his passing. I still remember the HQ infected event where he played a Mage named Simon. I can see him at the top of the hill, arms outstretched, boisterously narrating whatever had just happened. He ended his narration with: "He said, in a wizard's falsetto!" and he had us all dying with laughter. I'll miss those fun and engaging moments he brought to the game and his genuine and kind nature. My condolences to his wife and family, a good man has passed on.

Joe was one of the funniest and most intelligent people I have ever met. I've been searching for pictures of him and reading some of his old posts and newspaper articles he wrote. I can't believe he is gone.

Anastasia if there is anything you need, please ask. I am so sorry.

My heart jumped into my throat when I spoke to Anastasia last night, my mind wanted to refuse to believe her. Although I first met him at this game through an accident of role-playing and fate, I am honored to have become one of his friends in the real world. The Alliance community will long remember how he raised the quality of role play and immersion with every interaction, his friends will miss his wisdom and kindness.

The world has lost an amazing person. I too was hearing his infectious laugh in my head all night, thinking about how the funniest thing I think I ever experienced was watching Joe watch the movie “Death to Smoochy” for the first time on my living room floor. We laughed for two hours straight because he simply could not stop long enough to breathe. One of his character Kuwo’s catch phrases was to focus on “the love of life.” He lived this to the fullest both in and out of our game.

I will miss him greatly.

Eric Gibson
wow, just saw the news on Facebook and was floored!! I remember meeting Joe and Asia when they first came up and remember role playing with Kuwo quite a bit in my early years of Nero Alliance :)

I always used to bust Joes chops about the Obey jacket. I can remember him sitting in a corner at parties with a marker writing obey over and over on that field jacket. It looked good but still I had to bust his chops about it lol.

Joe was one of those guys to me that was always there and we would have a quick "Hey, how have ya been" conversation when we saw each other. I am sad to hear he passed because the world needs more people like Joe, not less.

My condolences go out to Anastasia and Joe's Family.
Joe was very lucky to have such a wonderful life, and a wonderful wife. Asia, I am sorry for your loss.

When Asia and Joe joined the game I think we all sort of took a step back and felt like I needed to be better about costuming and the depth of my characters. Both of you made me want to be better - at this game and at my interactions with people.

Joe had this quiet intensity about him that really made you stop and think, and a boisterous infectious laugh. When he broke out with a joke, or quip, or story it was always .. I dunno.. perfect for the situation. He made me think, and hold my sides in from laughing.

He told me a story once about this man who for some reason was not allowed to act out but who was a powerfully emotional person - so, the only way this man could show any sort of emotion or affection was to have this.. handshake. And all of the feeling and empathy that the person had went into this handshake. And it was slow, and deliberate, and there was opposite arm grasping and deep, intense eye contact. Something about the so called appropriateness of behavior in the face of strong emotion really struck me as silly but meaningful. Joe and I shared this handshake and then a laugh every time we met and parted.

Minod, you filled our interactions with depth, my life with laughter, and my perspective with facets to look through... you gave me the only nickname that I've ever had, a title and a banner which has, in many ways defined me from that day forward. There aren't words enough to thank you nor tears enough to shed for your loss my friend.

Henry the Mad
I first met Joe at NERO. It was an HQ event and I was NPCing. He and Anastasia were attending their first event and also NPCing. I recall explaining a rule or two to them at one point in the weekend. What sands out more strongly in my memory is that they asked staff if they could go in as entertainers during dinner since he had a ton of in period instruments with them and she had her bellydancing costuming.

I remember being envious of the PCs because I would not be in the tavern to watch the show. I thought I had not seen them for some time. I figured they just didn’t like NERO and didn’t return. In the meantime I had met these two new great PC’s in game, Kuwo and Lhasa. They were amazing roleplayers and every time we had a quick OOG exchange it was awesome. It wasn’t until the Dwarf event that I saw Joe and Asia again at the end of the event cleaning up and thought “Where the hell were these two all event I never saw them!” Heh…I’m slow on the uptake sometimes.

Anyway, it rapidly became evident that these two newbs WERE Kuwo and Lhasa (I realized this when Joe spoke to me without his makeup in that deep baritone of his.) Those of us who play know that a lot of the friendships we make at NERO extend far beyond, and Joe and Asia are amongst those. I hung out with them at their house in NJ several times. They introduced me to cool new games and music and shows, and (I hope) vice versa. I attended the first annual International, National Taco day at their home, spent my share of nights there, and had one of the most memorable New Years Eve celebrations in memory at their house. Joe and Asia became good friends, the kind that (to quote Joe) “Get it.” Sure they were fellow NERO geeks, but they became more.

A recurring, inside, cabin stupid o’clock joke led to the over the top Dwarf character Angus. It never failed to amuse us and I told Joe that if he ever decided to bring Angus to life, I would drop whatever I was doing to play my Dwarf along with him. The time came just last month when he e-mailed me saying he was going to Crossroads to Intro Angus. I hadn’t seen Joe in way, way too long because of a temporary hiatus from NERO on his part and the fact that I live in Boston now and can’t travel to the Tri State Area as much as I’d like. Making the trip to Crossroads was going to be a chore, but I decided I had to keep my word and knew I wanted to see Joe. I remember telling Joe and A that I won NERO (or rather, Alliance) that weekend because I got to play with them again after so long.

I had a fantastic event. Joe had me in stitches the entire time, and I hope I brought him at least half as much amusement as he did me. I didn’t think that it would be the last time I’d ever see him (of course.) I was glad that I went even before this. Now I’m even gladder.

I too remember the “Joe Handshake” and keep hearing his infectious, boisterous laughter. I remember he had this coat thing that said “Minod” on it when he was HQ props chair. To me it looked like “Mingo” and so I’d call him that, and he’d always say replay, immediately with “MINOD!” and we’d laugh like hell.

Joe was an amazing man. He was into music on a level I never really understood. He was philosophical beyond what I could ever wrap my head around. He was the most even tempered person I’d ever really met. No matter what his frustrations were, and how keen, I never saw him lose his temper, even in situations where I certainly would have.

The news of Joe’s loss hit me like a sledgehammer. I’m still numb and processing it. I’m going to miss him more than I can articulate. Joe was a practicing Buddhist (the only one I ever met really) and if anyone was ever deserving of reaching Nirvana it was him.

Somehow these words seem so inarticulate. Asia please don’t hesitate to call me for anything you may need, no matter how big or small. My deepest condolences for you and your family.

Rest Well my friend.
My condolences to Joe's wife, friends and family. I did not have the pleasure of getting to meet Joe since I just got back to playing Alliance last season and mainly played NJ with only one HQ event. Even though I did not know him it is always a sad thing to lose a member of the LARP family.
Oh, Joe.

I smiled at every person I saw this morning, past the pain I feel in my chest, past the tears which were so quick to come to my eyes. I have made a dozen off-color jokes, and stubbornly held the door open for the old man who wanted to hold it open for me.

Morgan and I banged away on her bongos today, and I showed her the picture of the two of you playing the drum together when she was just learning how to stand. I am so glad to have spent time with you at Crossroads just a few weeks ago, to have your laughter fresh in my mind today. You had the most explosive, infectious laughter of anyone I've ever met. You could hear it ring out across LARP sites, restaurants, and neighborhoods. It was like an anchor back to the present every single time.

I may be crying today, uncontrollably at times, but I know that's not what you'd want. You will live on in all of us. Every time someone turns away in revulsion when an Elf eats a Gnoll heart with enthusiasm. Every time I use "metric" to describe an order-of-magnitude increase. Every time I hear a Doumbek playing and just *have* to dance to it. Every time I give someone that meaningful handshake. You're right here with us in those moments, and I will not let you slip out of our hearts or minds. I will be present with the pain I feel today, and just as present with the joys.

You were patient and kind. You were always there, always calm. You changed our game and our lives for the better. And you can bet that, in 49 days, I'm going to come looking for you. I honestly hope I don't find you, that you're transformed in a very different way.

I love you, man. I promise, I'll stop crying and go tell another inappropriate joke.

~Kate (Melnyk) Hetu
This is going BACK BACK BACK but how did Minod start? I remember being there and I remember him getting the head band with Minod on it but dont remember where it came from.

I remember a piece of Free Mason Jewelery or something and that is about it but I remember a group of us laughing into the night over this stuff. The things that are funny in NPC camp at 4am LOL
I didn't know Joe very well. I had just met him at the Crossroads event this past May and in the few days of that event, he came off as one of the funniest and genuinely great people I had ever met. From all of the things everybody else is saying about him I wish that I did know him better. My condolences and best wishes go out to all of his family and friends.
Joe was.
Therefore, Joe was amazing. He was both solid and ephemeral.
Joe and Asia started playing right around the same time I did. They have been role models and muses to me ever since. We had just been IMing about having another National International Taco Day because he was missing people. Everything he touched, he inspired to evolve. The world is lesser without him.
I met Joe much later than most people here, at a Caldaria event years back. It was one of my first events as a plot member, and while I was excited, I was also nervous. I knew this is the direction I wanted to go in this community -- I knew that I wanted to effect and create things that people would love -- but I was lost beyond that. All I really knew was that I loved this game and I wanted to make it better. I remember at one point early in the evening Friday night, Joe came into our NPC camp, had a chat with a our staff, and left a few hours later. My discussions with him were pretty brief, but he was the sort of person who was easy to take a liking to -- kind, quick to laugh, soft-spoken. I remember hoping he would come back to play our game at some point.

Through-out the course of the weekend, I kept running into this sarr character who blew me away every time I interacted with him, whether it was combat or roleplay. He put 100% of himself into everything he did, and was so good at it that I found myself rather intimidated. This is the caliber of player I want to be, I thought. This is what I want to go for with my game, and with everything I do.

Until Sunday, when I saw him pull off his mask, I had no idea Kuwo and Joe were the same person. I was pretty floored. The point hit home again: yes, this is the person I want to be like.

I didn't tell him how excited I got every opportunity I had to roleplay with him. I didn't tell him how much I enjoyed his company when we interacted as PCs for the first time in HQ. I didn't tell him how much I loved the way he interacted with our plot at Caldaria. I didn't tell him that he's effected the way I treat the game at an early stage in this community. Honestly, I don't think I knew him well enough to tell him any of it, but that just shows how much the little things he did stuck, and I don't think it's just me. Like I said before, I did not know him as long or as well as others, but I remember that laugh. That's the first thing I remembered when I got off the phone last night.

The Alliance lost a player -- and a person -- of great caliber yesterday. Moreover, my thoughts go out to Asia -- if there's anything you need, there's an entire community of people here for you.

I cannot thank you enough for your kind words and memories of my husband Joe. They have brought me so much comfort and happiness. I am so honored to know he was so well loved by so many wonderful people.

I want to write more but I'm exhausted. Please just know that every comment, no matter how long or short; every person, no matter how long you knew Joe, has helped to ease my pain.

Joe loved playing Alliance and always looked forward to being with all of you. Thank you so much for making his (and my) game time so wonderful.

Celebolwa, your drawings are _stunning._ Thank you so much for taking the time to apply your generous talent to the memory of Kuwo and Joe. I am humbled beyond words.

I hope to write more later. Until then, I would urge you all to embrace Kuwo's motto:

"Love of life, hope for the future."
I had a strange experience yesterday that I wanted to share with you, Asia.

A few days ago I posted on my personal livejournal about how I was having a hard time dealing with the initial shock of Joe's passing, my experiences with him, my worries and hopes for you. The next day one of my friends who I haven't spoken with in a long time -- someone not even from this community who currently lives halfway across the country -- commented about how she knew Joe and you too and was dealing with similar feelings.

I think it goes to show the effect people like you and Joe have, and how much beauty there is in him and in you, to have touched people from such different walks in life and connect them through a common bond.
On this same vein, I received an e-mail from a fellow named Richard Krueter telling me about Joe's passing. He and my friend of 30 years Dan met Joe utterly randomly due to similar computer interests. Evidently I came up in conversation and they were like "You know Hoyce too?!"

Richard and Dan both e-mailed me to tell me about Joe's passing, provide condolences and share a few memories about how friendly, funny and laid back he was.

To me this shows how many lives were touched by Joe and how many people were affected by him no matter what circles they traveled in.