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Abby Albrecht Memory Post

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Dec. 1st, 2008 | 12:22 am
posted by: butterflykiki in horsechicks

Welcome to the Abby Albrecht (tv_elf) memory post.

Abby, 1975-2008. Article by her mom and herself, 2005, after her 30th birthday.

Post a memory of Abby here, and forward on the link to anyone you think will want to contribute.

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Comments {41}

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(no subject)

from: seldearslj
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 08:34 am (UTC)

Abby and I met each other over Stargate SG-1 and a mutual love for Sam Carter that drifted into a few other fandoms, too; she beta'd for me, gave fannish advice, and we met up in the Bay Area several times. She took me to see Wicked.

She always seemed too big a personality to be confined by the wheelchair that carried her around. Whenever I met her, it always took me a moment to remember that she had the chair at all - and it made me appreciate her difficulties and troubles - and her spirit and optimism.

In the end, though, it simply comes down to this: she was my friend and I'll miss her.

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(no subject)

from: suzvoy
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 10:18 am (UTC)

I was fortunate enough to know Abby for nearly eight years. She was always entertaining, human, and brilliant. She loved Teal'c - especially his arms. She hated Sarah Palin. She was awesome at vidding. Sadly, I never got to meet her in person.

We exchanged Christmas cards every single year and, one year, out of the blue, she sent me a Christmas tree ornament of Trip Tucker from Enterprise because she knew how very much I loved that character from the very bad show. It goes on my tree every year and, from now on, it will always be my tribute to her.

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Christina K  (jackelope hunter!)

(no subject)

from: butterflykiki
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)

I'm using an icon made for Abby by bright_knightie, since Abby liked Schanke and I believe she's sipping a drink somewhere.

When did I meet Abby? 1995 or 1996, on the FORKNI-L and FKFIC-L lists, during a FK War 5. Those were (and are) role-playing games that lasted about 2-3 weeks, with factions supporting different characters on the show "Forever Knight."

Abby and I were Mercs. Which meant we worked for whatever faction we wanted, usually for virtual chocolate. And mayhem. Alllll about the mayhem. Diving into my first War, I didn't know Abby had SMA or used a wheelchair, so I wrote her as she wrote herself: walking and functional and snarky, plotting and planning and mischievous. I always consider the various 'capers' we pulled to be the first time we met. I later asked her, upon being told of her physical disabilities by someone else, if she wanted me to change what I'd written. She said no, it was perfect. I'd put her in charge of driving the getaway van and distributing disguises, why would she want me to change that? It was always the least significant part of her and my interaction with her. She was smart and punny (she made me groan a lot) and fandom-crazy and real-world-sane.

I first met her in Real Life at MediaWest2000, I believe. I remember her wheelchair backing into elevators with a beep beep beep sound made by her and everyone else, alarming non-con-going bystanders. I remember chats about Teal'c shirtless, and how it was always appropriate. Possibly as her pallbearer, if I remember right. I also remember dire fear upon first seeing "The Hamster Dance", her first video to Buffy (Oz. Werewolf. Hamster dancing. Gah!). And more fear after seeing "Another Dead Cow." I can't watch "Thank You for the Music" or I'll cry again, though. I re-watched all her 2002 vids last night, and I kept marveling at how good she was at it-- "Sing Sing Sing", a multi-vid to Benny Goodman, is still one of my favorites. "Nobody's Side" from Chess done to Moulin Rouge is just gorgeous. She never seemed to need *help* on those, to me; she'd ask for beta- comments, but they were usually nearly perfect right out of the gate, from what I could tell. I am so glad to have these to watch and remember her with, but so sad that there won't be any more creative output to look forward to.

I am bummed beyond belief that I won't get to squee with Abby about the next Star Trek movie. Other things I remember... Celebrity crushes on Seth Green and Christopher Judge. ("...and then, Teal'c took his shirt off.") Help she gave me when I really needed it, jobhunting and keeping up my spirits for several very long months. Meandering talks about nothing in particular on IM. I went into my gmail account to see how many e-mails I have from her, just from the last three years. Hundreds. Too many to count.

I am so very glad that I made it to Vegas for her 30th birthday in 2005. Most vividly, I remember watching Penn & Teller in the hotel room with her, and how appropriate that was to Vegas. Also, how utterly cheesy the BITE! vampire dance revue was, and her mocking it all the way back to the hotel with everyone else. I wish she'd been able to make it to WorldCon this year, or that I could've made it to VividCon. Some part of my head thought we'd get more warning, maybe because while I knew her, Abby never had (or at least mentioned) any hospital visits or life-threatening medical incidents. This time, I kept hoping and believing we'd get at least another two years, so I could be sure to see her again at least one more time. Her health had been gradually declining for months, but I didn't want to believe that there wouldn't be any warning.

I envied her faith. More than faith, I envied her persistence in her faith. Her expression of it. I am certain she's dancing somewhere in light, if she wants to be. But if she also wants to make a flying visit, I won't keep her out. Abby said she might haunt me, as her sister haunted her, and I told her to go ahead. She said that Katie moved things, slammed doors, and hid belongings that were hers in her house. I'm really okay with that, if Abby wants to do it at my new place. She didn't get to visit here before but I don't see why that should stop her now.

Edited at 2008-12-01 02:40 pm (UTC)

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(no subject)

from: counteragent
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)

I only just met Abby this year, but I was fortunate enough to spend a lunch with her at VVC and feature her adorable and wonderful Walk The Line vid (penguins! Johnny Cash! You must see it! http://tv-elf.livejournal.com/352475.html) in the Vids That Push the Envelope Show (curated with laurashapiro and cesperanza). We felt it "pushed the envelope" because of its unusual source. But I love it because of its sense of humor and pathos.

Abby also left a very kind message at my family's blog when word got around that my litle sister in law, Jenny, was suffering from a mysterious rapid onset juvenile ALS type disease (they still have not diagnosed it). Her message both comforted our family and made me hopeful that Jenny could lead a productive and happy life even with such a devastating condition. I will always be very grateful to Abby for her heartfelt words.

Abby's cheerful presence will be very much missed in the vidding community.

Edited at 2008-12-01 02:46 pm (UTC)

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(no subject)

from: bentleywg
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the link to the vid.

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(no subject)

from: neonhummingbird
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)

I don't remember meeting Abby. There must have been an introduction at some point, but my first clear memory of her is getting a straw from her ever-present stash, and sticking it in her ever-present caffeine delivery vehicle. Some things happen so smoothly, you don't even notice at the time. We were on the Daily Trojan together, me as an editor, Abby as a copy editor. We shared some stupidly late hours (as her chief was constitutionally opposed to doing his job), and used to kill time by racing up and down the halls of the Student Union, me balanced precariously on the back of her wheelchair, yelling "Wheeeee!!!!!" (This was two chairs (her) and 20 pounds (me) ago.)

We roamed around campus together as students, then roamed the US with the Horsechicks as adults -- Bridging the Knight, MediaWest, WorldCon, VividCon, Las Vegas (essentially a large, ongoing gambling con, really). It was never all sunshine and roses -- we dealt with sickness, and two stubborn tempers, and a world not set up for wheelchairs, no matter how much people claim it is. (Yeah, roam around South Central looking for a curb cut, or around downtown Chicago looking for an El station with an elevator and an attendant, then tell me that.) Because of Abby, I became much more aware of how hard the world sometimes worked against her, and respected her even more for never letting it stop her.

She was funny and subversive and twisted. She lived her life determined not to miss anything because she was feeling sorry for herself. She ran me over once in an airport (that was mostly my fault. 90 percent. Okay, 95). She was generous and kind, and could always make me laugh. She used to tell a story about The Time I Met David Duchovny, and how she'd gotten through the crowd of female admirers surrounding him when one of said groupies noticed her beyond the fringes and told everyone else to "Let the little girl in the wheelchair through." (She always said the bit about "the little girl in the wheelchair" with enormous glee.) At MediaWest one year, the Horsechicks wore bright yellow buttons saying "Abby's Handmaidens: All of the Work Fun, None of the Jedi." Abby's just said, "I'm Abby."

(In Vegas, she and I headed out to the other end of the Strip to pick up tickets to see a horribly hilarious vampyre review called 'Bite'. It didn't work out so well; she wound up heading back to meet the others while I made my way helplessly to the Stratosphere. I was worried about her going back on the monorail on her own, but that's because I'm stupid. She made it back well before I did.)

I didn't spend as much time with her in the last few years as we once did, and I regret that. But I think she knew how much I loved her, and how much I respected her for her courage, and for her truly awesomely evil brain. She stole my socks in an FK war, and had the nerve to try to look innocent. (Virtually or in person, she never managed this. Not to anyone who knew her.)

The last clear memory of Abby (in person) I have, is of sitting in a hotel room at WorldCon Anaheim, playing cutthroat Apples to Apples. I don't remember who won; I just remember everyone doing their damndest to destroy everyone else. Abby was a past master of sweetly pointing out just why everyone else's cards sucked so much more than hers. (She used to try the innocent thing here, too. Not so much.) It's a pretty good memory to hold onto.

But somewhere in my head, Abby and I will always be the two girls terrorizing the Student Union at 11:00 at night, racing Time in an electric wheelchair, and winning.

Edited at 2008-12-01 03:05 pm (UTC)

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(no subject)

from: havocthecat
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)

I blew out the comment limit, so my memories of Abby went up as a post in my journal.

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(no subject)

from: astolat
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)

I don't remember exactly when I met Abby -- it must have been at Escapade, I think, but I remember how happy I was that she and the whole Apocalypse West crew came to Vividcon that first year when we had no clue what we were doing and were blithely forging ahead anyway. ♥

The thing that always struck me was how she and all the Horsechicks were so obviously one of those close, tight-knit groups, but at the same time never felt exclusionary -- that you could always sit down with them and dive into conversation. It's a group that radiates warmth.

Abby was always totally straightforward and practical about what she needed -- it's a smack-to-the-forehead feeling as an organizer when you realize you haven't figured out all the issues for a wheelchair, but she never expressed the irritation or anger that would have been totally understandable. She had a kind of levelheaded calm about her illness -- while being so passionate about her fannishness and her vids and vidding. Reading the article above, her voice jumps off the page -- that yes, her illness was always "the little things" to her.

I remember the year Abby made the penguins vid, and how this whole debate sprang up in response over what was fannish source, what makes a vid a vid, etc. I never saw her get upset or angry over the debate, but neither did she let it diminish her own satisfaction in a vid that still defies you to watch it and not be happy. <3

I never got to know Abby very closely, but to me she was one of those kindred spirits who also found a home in fandom, who valued the spirit and warmth of this community and supported it. She'll be missed, and it will be very strange to be at Vividcon this year without her.

Lots of love and best wishes to her family and friends. *hugs*

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(no subject)

from: lem0nb0mbs
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)

Abby just came to my attention through havocthecat's memorial post. I didn't know her at all. From what I just read, and what I see of her creativity, humor and energy, I would have loved to know her and be her friend. Friendship is not something I take lightly.

Abby made a lot of people very happy, and leaves a legacy that will continue to create joy. I can think of no greater accomplishemnt in life than to do just this.

I am very sorry for your loss.

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Hilary Booth... of course

(no subject)

from: hildy
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)

I didn't know Abby as well as some of you. I think only remember meeting Abby the one time at a MediaWestCon 1998 after the masquerade. But when I joined LJ, she was always right there with a friendly word of encouragement or virtual hug whenever you needed one. She'd share your bad taste in movies/tv/books, she shared my love of "Another World", she adored her Teal'c time. It's weird what we associate with people once they're gone. She could be bouncy and cheerful, she could be snarky and grumpy, but she always had this indomitable spirit.

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(no subject)

from: celli
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)

I've been trying to remember for two days, and I still don't know when I met Abby. My best guess is that it was in 1997, when I joined the SunS list. I already knew Lizbet, but that's where I met most of the rest of the Horsechicks.

One of my first memories of her in person involves giving her a shower, oddly enough. :) It was at either our first or second con together, probably a MediaWest. I still have the handmaiden button Perri mentioned up on my kitchen wall. We had such a good time in the shower together (hee), that it became my job whenever I was around at con-time. I was not particularly good at it--I sprayed her in the face a lot--but it was our chance to be goofy together.

When we were in Vegas for her birthday party, she and I took the tram as far as it would go to the Speed the Ride roller coaster. It's a NASCAR themed roller coaster, and I was determined to ride it. She was determined to watch me--and oh, she got her money's worth. When the coaster starts, it accelerates from 0 to 45mph almost instantly. The look on my face was apparently priceless. I don't think she stopped laughing all the way back to the hotel--and she was still laughing about it this year at Vividcon.

I've been reading through a bunch of my old LJ comments from her. There's one where she has a "Celli recipe" (It starts with "take two parts NASCAR"), and one where she tells me I'm a hottie, and one where she tells me she's proud of me. And, you know, she didn't toss "proud" around lightly. It's something I hang on to when I'm having a bad time of it: Abby's proud of me, I must be getting better.

Man, I'm going to miss her.

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(no subject)

from: _tweeter_
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)

I can't remember when I first met Abby, it may have been when we gathered in Toronto for Deb Duchene's play.

I just remember walking beside her and her mother to their hotel room and helping Abby eat a hamburger and worrying I'd do it wrong.

Abby is one of the people who listened to my crying and whining about dialysis. She offered support and hope, and lots of hugs. I always felt bad complaining about my situation, when she lived her life with a strength I wished I could summon.

She was an inspiration to everyone, even though she probably would have pooh-poohed that idea.

I will always be sorry I never made it to Vividcon just to see friends like her that were in attendance; and Vividcon is in my hometown.

She was greatly loved and will be missed.

God bless you, Abby.

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(no subject)

from: sageness
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)

We once talked in comments about disabled accessibility at cons and she had some great advice and helpful warnings to share. I didn't know her otherwise, but she sounds like an amazing person. Her mom does, too.

My deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved her. She touched my life in only the smallest way, and yet I am deeply touched by her courage, smarts, and good humor.

Wherever Abby is now and wherever she goes next, I wish her all the best blessings of life, love, and happiness.

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"Oh Good God"

from: skippy_fluff
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)

I met Abby online, through livejournal. She had posted something on a Smallville-related forum, using a user icon of John Adams from the musical "1776", with the tag line "Oh Good God" imposed over the actor's body. It's one of my favorite lines from the only musical I like, so I read her journal, friended her, and have enjoyed her humor ever since. Her ability to find the funniest aspect of things that were irritating or wrong in the world cracked me up over and over again: "Doesn't Bush look tired?", "Vote Annubis", and " I like Pit Bulls" are three phrases from the more political Abby that still make my smile every time I see them. I looked forward to her postings, and when she replied to postings I made they were full of a wry humor I'll miss.

I learned a lot about faith from Abby, both her own and mine. Her dedication to her church and her ability to give of her belief meant a lot to me at moments when I was questioning my own. I don't really know how to talk about that, but I eventually understood that her "Oh Good God" was a very layered statement. She believed in a good God, but was very sure she needed to do the work for herself. It's a view of faith that I've tried to make my own.

I will miss you, tv_elf. I hope you're enjoying the Con.

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Abby: My original Tim Gunn.

from: aj
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)

So here's the thing. Abby and I were always people who danced around friendship more than we actually had it. Don't get me wrong, we liked each other fine, and crossed LJ's and friends and IM's on a regular basis. She made me laugh often, and I'm pretty sure I did the same for her. But for both of us, it was always more of a "Oh, that's Abby/A.j. We're friends with each other's friends." And then we'd make faces at each other.

The best and clearest memory I have of Abby - and I'd not gotten the pleasure of meeting her as I always seemed to have something other/somewhere other to be when she was in town for Vivid Con - is of her spending a couple hours walking me through the basics of vidding and mocking the hell out of me when I metaphorically threw up my hands and cursed any and all production/media related gods for being SO MUCH WORK. I don't remember her exact reply (we were on IM) but it resembled something of the following: "See, NOW you're doing it right. MAKE IT WORK."

The other thing Abby and I had in common was that we're both Lutheran. And we both appreciated just how silly and dumb some of the Lutheran conventions could be. I think we had a ten minute "Lutheran joke" conversation at some point, that mostly involved talk of casseroles, cut ham sandwiches, and a diatribe on the ills of pastors waving their arms around during services (mine.) She was the one person I could immediately IM with some random bit of synod wackitude and she'd either explain it point, by point to me, or giggle right along with. We also got to snicker at the rest of our friends who couldn't tell a synod from a diocese and agreed that the Wisconsin Lutherans really are the craziest.

I'm sorry that we'll never get to move into the 'friendship' phase of our 6-year dance, but I think she'd be the first one to agree that we'd probably have been too lazy anyway. I'll miss her for her friends and be sad that a little piece of my internet life is darker.

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(no subject)

from: gwyn_r
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)

Every year at Vividcon save one, I saw and chatted with Abby briefly here and there over the course of the weekend. I was one of the people who loved her penguins vid a few years ago, and staunchly defended its inclusion as a fannish vid, much to her amusement. I liked that about her the most -- a kind of wry, calm look at things. She never took herself all that seriously, even though she had a right to, most certainly.

And then last year she volunteered to help me sing karaoke at the con, and it was rather hilariously Mutt and Jeff -- I'm just under six feet, and so I was up there with one mic, and fortunately someone else came and joined us who was a lot shorter than me, so she could share the other mic with Abby. I was looking forward to doing it again this year. There will be a very big empty space this year.

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