I’m going to relate a story that just happened to me that got me to thinking: I’ve really met some amazing people in my time.
The other day, I was trying to log into the Global Game Jam website, and was having a hell of a time remembering my password. Stupid me had forgotten my password, which isn’t a big deal since the website, like just about any website has a forgot password feature. But for some reason this one was driving me nuts. I’d get the email to reset my password, click the link, log in, change my password, then log out to verify I now knew my password by logging back in again, and it would tell me I wasn’t giving it the right username/password again.
After a dozen or so times doing this, I went to the web site and clicked Contact, and wrote them an email describing the problem I was having.
I got an email the next day from Elonka Dunin. She suggested that I try logging in with my username as my username, and not my email address. A lot of websites these days use your email address as a login name, since they generally uniquely identify a user. And a lot of websites are done in such a way that you can log in either with your username OR the email address that you used to create the account with. In this case, they didn’t. But I didn’t know that. And because I didn’t sleep much that weekend when I created the account, I didn’t remember or didn’t notice, or both.
Now, ordinarily, who cares, right? It’s just one of those things, a “me being dumb” moment out of maybe a million I’ll have in my life, if I’m lucky to live that long. Nine times out of ten, I might have not cared about it enough to bother notifying the web site that it has a problem, and would have just not bothered logging out, or I would have just continued using the reset password method to get back into the site until I really got sick of it. But actually, in my case, I have been using the Global Game Jam site from multiple computers, and it was bothersome to have to go through the whole process every time, and, besides, it was driving me effing bonkers to have the web site tell me every time I tried that I couldn’t for the life of me enter my @#($#(& password in correctly, even when I @#(&%((^ well knew that I’d been @#($&#@&(^* entering it correctly. So, this one time, I bothered to write and let someone know I was having a problem, and someone was nice enough to help me fix the problem.
The story might end there, 99 times out of 100. But Elonka had written to me from a gmail account, and so the next day after I’d replied to her message thanking her for her help, I got a notification from pidgin asking me to authorize new buddies, and Elonka’s account happened to be one of them. I figured I didn’t need to chat with her, and probably wouldn’t ever need to again, and I’m not normally an outgoing type of person, but for whatever reason I figured “what’s the harm” and I clicked Authorize.
So, today, I get home from work and I’m all set to go swimming at the Y. I have a little time to kill, so I fix myself a quick dinner and I try to watch The Daily Show from their website. Only, their Flash seems to be all glitched up and the stream keeps interrupting and restarting, and then REALLY starts messing up and playing commercials over the top of the show, and then crashes entirely. I keep messing with reloading it, hoping to get the show in before I have to leave to go swimming, but as is often the case with computer problems, I get sucked into it and before I know it, it’s too late to go swimming.
So, because of that, I happened to be home when I got the IM from Elonka, asking me if I was OK with getting into globalgamejam.org. I say yes, wondering why she was asking since I’d already replied to her email with my thanks. Ordinarily I might have just ignored the message, not out of rudeness, but out of this driven focus to try to manage my time effectively. But for some reason, instead of closing the window I thanked her again and I figured that was going to be that.
By now, you might be wondering who Elonka Dunin is. Well, I wasn’t sure myself, although the name had sounded familiar for some reason. It turns out, this is who she is. So, I wrote to globalgamejam about an authentication problem and I didn’t get a response back from some volunteer intern college student, or an outsourced helpdesk monkey. I got a response from someone who happens to be Chairperson Emerita and one of the founders of the International Game Developers Association’s Online Games group, has contributed or been editor in chief on multiple IGDA State of the Industry white papers, and is one of the Directors of the Global Game Jam. I had no idea.
For reasons I’m not quite clear on, she went on to ask me if I was planning on attending Notacon this year. I was a bit puzzled, but I guessed that she had read a mention of it in my Game Jam project page or something. I’m speaking there, in fact, so I told her about my talk and about how I was organizing a tiny little Game Jam event this year. And she said, “Wow!”
Dude, I got a “wow” from Elonka Dunin.
It turns out she has some family in Cleveland, and has herself spoken at Notacon, and she knows my friend Aestetix, who probably more than anyone else is responsible for helping me find my way into the hacker scene. Small world!
She also complimented me on my blog entry postmortem on the Game Jam, and mentioned that she had sent it to some other people as an example of good writing.
So I’m sitting here, feeling kindof struck at how amazing tonight has been for me, and how a series of seemingly inconsequential events strung themselves together to make it happen. And it also made me think about how many amazing people I’ve met and gotten to know at least a little bit in the last couple years since I stepped out of my comfort zone and offered to pick Aestetix up at the airport in exchange for being his “plus one” to get in to Notacon 6, just so I could meet this cool guy I’d been reading on livejournal since forever.
I guess I’ve come a long way from that time. In many ways I feel like I’m still just getting started, but I guess I should start getting used to the idea that people are going to know who I am before I tell them if I keep this up. What a strange realization to have for someone so used to feeling invisible.