I’m stealing this from Sean MC, who stole it from various people along the way. That said…
My Top Ten Non-Familial Influences (from a completely random and train-of-thought perspective)
1) The Doctor (from Doctor Who)
Granted, the Doctor is a fictional character, but I always found him to be a big influence. I guess it was the fact that he was always slightly off-kilter yet had a formidable intelligence, strong character, and always seemed to come out on top. Being a kind of misfit in school, I guess I saw in the Doctor that it was okay to be slightly weird at times.
2) Chris Wiser
Chris and I are old old friends. Granted, some of his character attributes leave a LITTLE to be desired (like the last time I went out with him and he got absolutely smashed, or a few of his money-making schemes). But through it all, he was friendly, respectful to his elders, and had a good attitude. More than once he and I have been mistaken for brothers, believe it or not. The fact that he was respectful, called my parents “Sir” or “Ma’am”, and all always stuck with me.
3) Linus Torvalds
Yes, yes, he’s the creator of Linux, and I’m a heavy Linux user. That’s not why he’s on this list. In his leadership over the Linux creation process, he’s a firm leader, but for the most part, highly pragmatic. That pragmatism is something I always admired, as it showed me that a pragmatist can win out in the end.
4) Jenn Dolari
I’m pretty sure she’s going to be as shocked as anyone that she’s on this list. “Why?” she would probably ask. It’s simple. She’s shown me that if you’ve got something you want to do with yourself, or a story you have in your head, there’s nothing wasted in bringing that story out; the only waste is in keeping it to yourself… and you may never know where it might take you.
5) Two way tie: Sean McCormick and Kourt DeHaas
These two were my best friends up until 9th grade or so (where a couple of different factors kinda caused us to drift apart). They put up with my idiosyncracies and we went through a lot together. I can’t name anything specific I learned from them, but the times we spent together still resonate with me today… from the creation of the sub-society, the Kranix stories, the Goddamn Dam, and other misadventures. Nothing’s better when you’re doing it with friends, eh?
6) Melissa Rose
Missy and I had something of a fling going for a while, and even today we’re still best friends. She showed me that it’s okay to be a geek and that you’ll still have a chance at a romance with it. However, she’s kind of busy now trying to suppress the geek part of me at times. We’ll see how well that goes over in the days ahead…
7) Ed Boon
Now, some of you might be wondering what the hell Ed’s doing on here. (He’d likely be one of them if he ever saw this site.) The reason he’s on here is simple: Mortal Kombat. MK has been part of my life from the day I first played it at the university arcade in 1992. However, I could never have dreamed then that by this time, I’d be helping to run one of the internet’s top Mortal Kombat fansites, and be known to MK fans and to the MK design team themselves. My time with MK5.ORG/MK Online came out of the blue, and I went from being a fan to being a known authority on the subject. It’s kind of weird like that, but all of this came from a simple arcade game Ed helped create in 1992, and has been a big supporter of us, always having a kind word to say when we’ve spoken. For that, I thank him.
8) Scott Howell
This kind of goes along with the Ed entry. One day in November or December 2001, out of the blue, Scott messaged me on IRC and asked me if I would want to go to E3 to cover MK: Deadly Alliance for MK5.ORG. I decided “what the hell”, and said yes. … it’s now four years later, and neither of us expected to be where we are today. MK5.ORG/MK Online have been a hell of an influence on my life since I was hired on… and who knows where it’ll go from there?
Besides which, Scott’s “can do” approach and his marketing abilities always astound me, and make me work to be a better administrator and presenter for the site and everything at large.
To the people who came from EFNet #Vampire, Sinc needs no introduction. When I became an op on that channel, Sinc (who still worked in the background at that time) became known to me, and as we talked, I became aware that he ran his own UNIX-style server that ran a free UNIX called Linux. I was using a UNIX account at UH at the time, so the prospect of learning more about this “Linux” intrigued me. I experimented with it on my own, starting with Slackware 3.2, and over the years built up my knowledge and abilities. It was purely my knowledge of Linux that got me my job with Walker Bolt back in 1999, and I now hold the title of Linux Administrator at T3 Energy, and am responsible for overseeing several different Linux servers. For that matter, it was me that helped bring Linux to the company as a whole, by the CIO’s request. I also maintain three Linux servers at home, and help maintain two others (including Sinc’s server; he comes to ME for advice now). I wouldn’t be where I am now without Sinc showing me the Way of Linux.
10) Tammy Loomis
I almost completely forgot about Tammy, which is scary considering without her help I might not be here now. Tammy was a friend of mine in high school; in fact, she went out of her way to be my friend. I didn’t exactly make it easy, as I was admittedly a very hateful bastard in my freshman year of high school. I was convinced that people considered me nothing more than a joke and wanted nothing more to have fun at my expense. (In fact, she tells me the first time she tried to introduce herself to me, I was rather rude and acted like she was trying to make fun of me.) She preservered, and I gradually came out of my shell and realized that no, not everyone wanted me to be the butt of their jokes. I ended patching things up with my classmates, and I put those years behind me. Without her showing me that yes, people DID want to be my friends and wanted my friendship, I may have fallen too far for salvation long ago. I sometimes wonder if she ever knew that.
Well, these weren’t nearly as poetic or insightful as Sean’s were. :-) It’s the best I could do at this point; I don’t often think too much on these things. Oh, well…