Jon Orwant is one of those rare souls, a kindred spirit. It sounds wanky to say it, but when have as sick and weird an internal monologue as I do, it's rare and wonderful to find someone else who can appreciate it. I know that when I think something that my wife would threaten divorce over should I mention it to her, I can safely email it to Jon and it'll be appreciated. I met Jon through Tom Christiansen, during the writing of the Cookbook, and these days I trade more mail with Jon than Tom.
Damian Conway is the rarest of rare, a genuinely nice guy who still has an edge. He's smart, funny, and a ton of fun to be with. I'm looking forward to seeing him again in Tucson for the Bioinformatics Conference, and my whole family is looking forward to visiting with Damian and Linda in Australia in April. Damian's also been really supportive of me as project leader for perl6--when I am filled with self-doubt and think "I can't do this! What the hell was I thinking?!" he's been there with a virtual hug and reassurance at the right time.
Jarkko Hietaniemi and Elaine Ashton. I guess we have to consider them as a single entity now, just because I know that'd really piss off Elaine
Chris Nandor, our very own Pudge, is always fun to be around. Jenine and I look forward to catching up with him and his wife (and, soon, their baby!) at conferences. I remember dreading email from him when I was organizing the early TPCs, because he'd always be trying to get a spot for MacPerl and I hated the Mac. Now I'm glad I gave him those spots, though, because I've got a major woodie for OS X and Pudge is the guy I'll be asking stupid questions of!
I got to know Matt Sergeant when I started to get interested in XML. It's hard to avoid Matt once you get interested in Perl and XML
I just realized that if I keep writing a paragraph about each person, I'm going to be here all week. People like Dan Sugalski (parrot designer), Adam Turoff (XML and process guru), Lisa Nyman (webmaster at the census bureau and veteran of many TPCs and YAPCs), Sean Burke (YAPC and TPC speaker, module, book and article author), Kevin Lenzo (Mr YAPC, Mr YAS, Mr Perl Foundation, the guy I have to thank for a ton of fun in Pittsburgh), brian d foy (Mr Monger, whose unappreciated hard work with the Perl Mongers I truly appreciate), Dave Adler (a friendly face at every Perl conference I've attended), Greg McCarroll (gracious host at the London YAPC::Europe), Leon Brocard (one of the few voices of sanity in London.pm), Dave Cross (fellow Perl author and another voice of London.pmish sanity), Hugo van der Sanden (one of the few memories of TPC1 that survive is of drinking in the lounge with Hugo, Nate Patwardan, and Greg Bacon), Randy Ray, Phil Moore, Simon Cozens, Dave Rolsky, Stas Beckman, Eric Cholet (had a great conversation with him over dinner at a hole in the wall Mongolian restaurant with him at ApacheCon 2001), Tim Bunce, Mendel, Luc, Reuven, Andy Wardley, troc, Kip Hampton, Paul Grassie, and everyone I met through #perl, and of course Tom Christiansen
What I guess amazes me most is that there are very few Perl programmers that I don't like. This amazes me because in every other aspect of my life, I get the shits with between 7 and 9 out of every 10 people I meet. I met a ton of Perl programmers when I was a trainer with Tom Christiansen, and they were all good people. I used to look forward to teaching, even though I'd dread the travel, because the people were so friendly and interesting that they more than made up for the hell of airports, airlines, hotels, and rental car companies. I still hang out with Abhi from Qualcomm when I visit San Diego, and I met him in 1998, I think.
So I thank you all, everyone who made room for me in Perl and who has given me so many fond memories and good times at conferences and classes over the years. Here's to many more!