I Worked with James Kim

I don’t have a lot of time right now, and there’s not much more I can add to the conversations already happening. Suffice it to say, I’m extremely saddened to hear the news of James Kim’s passing. I was one of the few who had the EXTREMELY distinct pleasure to work with James at TechTV – and his “Lab Rats” segments were some of the best we did. I could always trust his advice, as he always seemed to know more than anybody else (in a day before Gizmodo and Engadget).

I’ve been scouring my archives to find a photo of us doing something together on Call for Help, but I can’t find one – and if anybody else has one, I’d certainly appreciate it.

What’s so ironic about this tragedy is that James, of all people, was the person most likely to have gadgets that could have saved him. I don’t mean that as a “shoulda, coulda, woulda” statement, mind you – just that I knew James was about as geeky as they came. If anything, I believe he’d want us to learn from his passing; Duncan posted a handful of fantastic tips, should you find yourself in a similar situation some day. Please read James and Kati’s Web site for all the latest official information, including where to send your donations.

22 thoughts on “I Worked with James Kim”

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  3. Chris, I am just broken-hearted over James’ death. I never knew the guy, other than his tv appearances, but he was one of the faces I fondly remember from TechTV before it turned into TeenageAwesomeFest. I normally don’t get involved or caught up in this type of personal drama, but I’m really feeling his loss. It just stings. It stings. I remember how often he would put pics of his kids in his reviews, or how he would mention them, whatever, and now it just makes me weepy thinking that his kids will be without a dad. Jesus, it’s sad…

    anyway, Chris – in light of all this, best wishes on your upcoming marriage… may you have many many years of happiness, and please, steer clear of Oregon.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I am not a TV watcher nor a gadget hound – I know you more from your Weird Al fandom than your TV appearances – but when I read this story and that James was formerly at TechTV, I immediately thought of you. I’m so sorry to hear about his loss. Thank you so much for posting the link to the family’s website. I’ll be sure to keep the family in my prayers.

  5. Hi Chris,

    Used to watch you guys on TECHTV all the time. I’m saddened by his passing away. Think deep down inside, he personified the geek in all of us. He’s gonna be missed.


  6. I didn’t know James Kim, but I was following the story and had hoped for a better outcome. I can’t even imagine how heartbroken his friends and family must be. My mom lives in Grants Pass, near where the Kims got stranded and said the roads up there are treacherous, even during the warmer months.

    While everybody can speculate about what should have been done, it’s much better to learn from what happened to poor James and his family. I am sure we have all been in situations, (I know, I have!) where one bad decision in a state of panic, or duress leads to more bad decisions, and a cluster-f*ck of bad luck just washes over you like a big wave. Rest in peace, J.K.- you won’t be forgotten.

  7. The events that culminated in the death of James Kim can be called nothing short of catastrophic. My sympathy goes-out to the family and friends of Mr. Kim.

    I cannot say what steps could have been done to prevent this tragic conclusion, but I hope that we can remain focused on what can be said of the events. James remained with the car for a week, before setting-out to find help. In his situation, watching the life slowly slipping away from his family, and rescue doesn’t seem to be guaranteed…I would have done exactly what he did. As for the other survival tips, those also work best with the benefit of hind-sight. How many of us travel on the roads under the assumption that we’ll need enough fuel, food, and water to last indefinitely? Please let us focus our attention on the man. He displayed the highest ideals of what a husband and father would do under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Facing almost certain death to give his family a better chance at surviving represents the kind of man each of us should aspire to be…and the type of man women should want to call her partner through life. One need not make the ultimate sacrifice in devotion to our beloved family, but we can demonstrate that commitment in so many other ways. This should be James’ legacy…a call to be better to those we cherish. I never met James personally, but I still felt as if I knew what was important to him. He never failed to take the opportunity to show the countless pictures of his family…especially his oldest daughter. It is clear the he would have done anything to secure his family’s future. Let us not spend our time and energy second-guessing James’ problem solving skills. Even if he was taken too soon, one day the Kims will be able to reflect on his courageous actions, and feel proud to have had such a man in their lives.

  8. It has been so sad to hear of Jame’s passing. I have watched everyone since the old ZDTV days. Never missing a beat on watching all the shows, the talented people, and the info that presented. All with different personalities, but great at what they did.

    I have posted to a few friends on Leoville who archive everything for a picture of you on call for help with James. will email you if I get any pictures.

  9. Hi, Chris. I am not sure if I have any caps of you and James on CFH since I only started capping CFH after it moved to the 6:30pm EST time slot. However, I did cap the days you guest hosted CFH in Leo’s absence from the show. I do not remember if James made an on camera appearance during that time. However, I will go though what I’ve got and will let you know. Take care.

  10. I was watching the CNET tribute to James. His smile and his obvious joy at playing with gadgets reminded me so much of all the special geeks in my life. People like that don’t come along very often, so we should all cherish them while we have them.

    I hope that his memory is a blessing to you, Chris, and that you take his dedication to family with you on your wedding day.

  11. Hi Chris..I want to say good luck on your marriage. I’ve been trying to follow you and how you’ve been doing ever since the TechTV days. I’m sorry to hear about James Kim. I used to love it when you two messed around on the set, or you would say something to mess with the lab rats. You guys were great, especially on your help-a-thons! Good luck on your future endeavors.

  12. Also important is to have some supplies and gear in your trunk. Flashlights, food, water, knife, matches, warm clothes, socks, shoes, compass, space blanket, etc. Stick it in a backpack in the trunk of your car.

    A whistle too. The universal back country distress signal is three blasts on a whistle. Any rescue team that hears it will head towards it. Lives have been saved because someone had a whistle. Put it on a string and wear it around your neck.

    If you must walk for help, stay on the road or trail. Going cross-country may get you lost and makes you much harder to find.

    If you stay where you are, mark out a big SOS on the ground with rocks, branches, etc. that can be seen from the air. This is also a universal signal.

  13. My family and I were lost in Northern Michigan, near our family home on the Straits. We went out for a morning hike, without any gear and without giving word to anyone. It was October and a few hours after we realized how lost we were, it began to hail. I was wearing only a wool sweater. My father wouldn’t let us stop walking for fear the cold would overtake us. 15 miles later and well into the evening, we stumbled across a two-track and eventually found some hunters who agreed to drive us out to the main road, where we walked home.

    When I first heard about James Kim, my heart went out to their family. Learning of his death was sobbering. I am so sorry for the loss they have suffered and the cold they endured. As a mother now, I know what drove James to seek help and I see him as a hero. They are all heros.

    I am sorry for your loss as well – the loss of a friend.

  14. Until his tragic passing, I worked with James in the same business unit at CNET. He will definitely be missed as a great influence and force of life around the office.

    Still, I don’t see the popular irony in his lacking “gadgets that could have saved him”. For example, I know too well how a GPS can be rendered totally useless driving through a national forest – let alone one during a heavy snowfall. That kind of “tech-coulda-saved-him” thinking is just more hubris that gets us into trouble in the first place.

  15. I agree with poster ‘SV’. It’s not what he “could have had” with him that should have saved his life. The entire situation was an unfortunate chain of events. Besides the part where his wife and daughters were saved, I wished this would have been a completely happy ending for everyone.

    I felt physically ill hearing of his tragic situation. Perhaps this is a lesson to those who say this generation has been desensitized because of the internet etc. That could be furthest from the truth. The outpour of heartfelt sympathy is clearly being displayed all over the net.

    As for now, I only hope his wife is able to move forward in such a fashion that keeps his spirit alive. I hope that cnet continues to honor his name, he appears to have been a great man. rip James, you have accomplished what you set out to do. You saved your family. You were a brave man.

  16. James Kims death is sad. A waste of a good human being and it is a lesson for all of us. You do not have to be old to die.

    I know this sounds morbid, but I have seen so many friends die, (some of them are sitting in a cremation box at the local funeral home because their relatives cannot afford to have them buried), that I have bought my own cemetery lot.

    Also I am working on having a headstone made (without the final date of course). I do not want to burden my relatives with these things after I die. Of course hopefully I will not die before my time.

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