Not too long ago, I met Jerry “Tycho” Holkins from Penny Arcade at a benefit show we both happened to go to. I had meant just to say hello and say that I enjoyed his work, but he was very friendly and open, so we wound up talking for a few minutes. It was really weird.

Not that he was weird, I was weird, because although I knew a great many facts about this man, I wasn’t at all familiar with him. It’s strange to talk to someone you’ve never met, but when he mentions going home to take care of his kid, you remember reading about the birth. It’s all very unbalanced. I knew what he did for a living, what his wife’s name was, what his favorite types of games were, about his upbringing, even several of his favorite bands. He knew that I had on an awesome shirt (I assure you, the shirt is super awesome, and if I could market it I would sell many of them), that I was a fan of his work, and that I appreciated one or more of the following: music, books, charities that help children read and write. One could call the knowledgebase lopsided.

Then we have this past weekend. I went down to Reno and saw some step-aunts/uncles/cousins. Despite the fact that I really like all these people I hadn’t been able to see any of them in a little over six years. In the case of the cousins, this meant age jumps from 10, 8, 4 and pink, wrinkled and immobile to 16, 14, 10 and 6. In this case we had people who I was familiar with — they felt like family — yet knew almost nothing about. All in all, it was a lot more comfortable, and I didn’t even need an awesome t-shirt to break the ice.

(Seriously though, everyone loves the shirt.)