This interview with Jessica (Jeska) Dzwigalski was conducted at 11:00am PST via GMail chat on June 19.
Nicholas Rombes: Where do you work now, and where did you work previously?
Jeska Dzwigalski: I’m currently the Director of Content for the Lifestyle Market at Wikia. I just started here a few weeks ago, so I’m still very much drinking from the fire hose. Previous to that, I was one of the initial employees at Linden Lab, the creators of the 3D virtual world Second Life. I spent six years working with the user community, product development, communications, marketing, and a bunch of other crazy, fun stuff.
Rombes: Do you live in or near San Francisco?
Dzwigalski: I’ve lived in San Francisco for the last seven years or so. I love living in the city.
Rombes: One more question before we get to the randomized portion of the interview: where did you go to school, undergrad and grad?
Dzwigalski: I went to the University of Detroit Mercy for my undergrad, where I studied English, film, and photography. I also have a Masters in Digital Media from the University of Denver.
Rombes: How did you survive my brilliance as your professor at UDM?
Dzwigalski: Heh, it was your introduction to film class that first drew me into the insanity of digital media, so I guess it’s really all your fault! I was headed into an upright citizen pre-law degree previous to that.
Rombes: I gladly take full responsibility for your success. Could you open up to Wikipedia, and click their “Random article” link, and then tell me where it takes you? I’ll wait.
Dzwigalski: Will do. [Pause] Wilhelminism.
Rombes: [Pause] What about that portrait of Emperor Wilhelm II? Looks too posed though, doesn’t it?
Dzwigalski: I’m pretty sure the wind wouldn’t cooperate for the time needed to paint it. Love the helmet though. Very neo-steampunk.
Rombes: True. I like the phrase “his demeanour, manifested by the public presentation of grandiose military parades, and self-aggrandisement on his part.”
Dzwigalski: Too much ego.
Rombes: Another random page?
Dzwigalski: Sure. [Pause] Kshanti.
Rombes: I’m going there. [Pause] Have you ever heard of this term before?
Dzwigalski: Nope, although I kind of dig the idea of giving patience as a gift. I want to save some up for my friends who have small children.
Rombes: “A cuckold’s forebearance.” That’s sort of interesting. Love the phrase “so patience is my rede.” I’m completely out of my worldview on this one. I hate patience.
Dzwigalski: Ha! You’re so punk rock. I wish I had more patience. I’ve been in the tech “faster, better, more” culture for too long.
Rombes: That’s right. Do it fast and get it over with.
Dzwigalski: On to the next, then. Holy random! Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics Women’s hammer throw.
Rombes: You mean that whole title?
Dzwigalski: Yeah, it’s a long one. This is fantastic, I’m amazed they even “let” women compete in this event. I bet it wasn’t until recently.
Rombes: I’m there. What the hell?
Dzwigalski: I know! Strong women throwing hammers.
Rombes: Do you see the “Abbreviations”? I especially like “NR”–can you guess why?
Dzwigalski: Nice. Same monogram you have on your tie?
Rombes: My favorite is “Group A” because the name Yipsi Moreno is so beautiful.
Dzwigalski: I love when names flow together like that. Not like mine. Mine’s more of a bunch of hard stops strung together.
Rombes: Nothing wrong with hard stops.
Dzwigalski: My mom wanted to name me Hope, until she realized it would be Hope Dzwigalski which has a full stop in the middle…
Rombes: Full stops are overrated.
Dzwigalski: But Yipsi Moreno sounds like a fruity summer cocktail. Rolls off the tongue.
Rombes: I’m going to have to mix-one up before I go teach freshman comp. tonight.
Dzwigalski: I just peeked, they didn’t let women compete in the Hammer Throw until 1995. Men had been doing it since 1900. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that at least one woman in those almost 100 years could’ve thrown a freaking hammer.
Rombes: How does the rest of your day look like?
Dzwigalski: I’ve got a few more meetings, then I want to run to the farmer’s market in the Castro before I head home.
Rombes: Thanks again for doing this.