I just found out that Jim Grey, my personal demigod, is currently missing on his sailboat somewhere outside of the San Francisco bay. This is the man that I grew up hearing about all through college. The guy who invented relational databases when hierarchical databases were the only ones in use. The story goes that he went to a database conference, and after a talk he stood up during the questions and ripped off his button down shirt to display a t-shirt reading "RELATIONAL". I have this image in my head of your normal Berkeley hippie with shaggy hair standing up for a geeky thing like databases. He was a legend.
During my second summer internship at Microsoft we had our normal barbeque at Bill's house and I was thrilled to find out that Jim would be attending. While everyone crowded around Bill I got a seat near Jim and talked to him the whole evening. I asked him what it was like to know that there were database groupies like myself all around the world who considered him a Demigod. He laughed, and we spent the rest of the night chatting about random things - he's a great guy. Since then I've seen him a few times at conferences and discussed printing (since that's usually what I was displaying) and his database work. Here's hoping that he turns up safe and sound soon.