My Go history as well as I can recall:
Sometime in my childhood or early adolescence (thus, early to mid 90s): I see a brief description of Go in a book of "practical diversions" or some such thing published by Reader's Digest. I don't remember any details except that:
Sometime in 1997 or so, or perhaps earlier: My quest to find worthwhile diversions on the Internet - which are supported by my ancient Mac Classic (outdated since before its manufacture date in '91) and 2400 baud modem - lands me in the world of MUDs. The first that I try out is located on a server in Germany, and thus my 'net identity is born. (Later I find that most of the players are American, but I keep the name anyway.) One of the rooms in the main city had a mob you could interact with, who would present you with very easy tsumego. Thus, treating them simply as logic puzzles, I knew how to identify the vital point of a straight three before I'd ever actually played the game.
Sometime after that, possibly in 1999: I start playing on NNGS and for a bit on IGS, and meet shanghai?. I get up to about 26k and give up because I don't have the time, or something.
June 2002: I have come back to the game, probably in February or thereabouts, and run into shanghai? again. She doesn't recognize me at first, but the name is etched in my consciousness for some reason. Upon coming back I find that I have magically jumped up to about 18k, and start improving at the rate of about one stone per month. At any rate, I am about 14k at this point.
From my original June 2002 entry: I'm not really sure how that sort of thing happens; I think I just got older and wiser. Or something. ;) I'd say it's fair to attribute most of the rest of the 4-stone improvement to SL; I feel like my fuseki and sense of EyeShape have much improved. (I didn't used to have any concept of a "base" and very little idea how to defend corners; and I thought it was magical how GnuGo would play these bizarre looking moves and end up killing my big groups by destroying the EyeShape... of course, it still happens now and then :) ) I'm still not confident about fuseki though.
November 2002: Around now I seem to get stuck at 10k on NNGS, which is a big barrier. I start playing on KGS a bit later, and breaking 10k there proves even more difficult. Oddly, I attain 5k on KGS at a time when I am 12k on NNGS - most players had a three-stone difference between the servers; GnuGo and I had a seven-stone difference.
August 2003: I stopped playing again on NNGS for a few months while I was addicted to KGS - I insist it's not the pretty interface that lured me, but the sheer availability of opponents - and came back to find I had "lost my star". I had just earned it back (8k*), when NNGS made their rank adjustment shifting everyone two stones stronger, allegedly to bring ratings more in line with the AGA ratings. KGS had recently made a similar shift - but by only half a stone, and most of my friends from both servers already had the same, or lower rating on KGS as on NNGS. Strange.
September 2003: I met Alex Weldon at the Toronto Go club and had the pleasure of two rather exciting even games, with me taking black. Without komi, I won the first by 7 (after managing to cut off and capture a clump of invading stones) and lost the second by 27 (a violent game involving several ko fights, one of which resulting from rather mangled joseki - my fault). Perhaps 2 or even 3 stones handicap is appropriate, but I feel more assured about my strength now (still climbing through 5k* on NNGS).