Saturday, August 30, 2008

Origin Of A Name

Plenty of people who know me in real life are aware that I write this blog. That's fine with me - in fact, it's a direct result of my shameless self-promotion.

This blog is anonymous largely so that running my real name through a search engine won't lead people here. Anyone with half a clue who's checking someone out, for instance while considering a job applicant, does that as a matter of course these days. I can usually find a way to offend prospective employers during the interview itself. I don't need them coming on here and finding out that my irrelevant-to-the-job views don't fit their orthodoxy.

That said, people come up to me all the time and ask, "From whence derives your online sobriquet - your pseudonym, if you will?"

They really do.

I might as well tell the story. My apologies in advance if you don't find it especially interesting. As always, feel free to speak to the cashier on your way out for a full refund if not satisfied.

There was a time long ago when the official Dilbert webpage ran a "list of the day"-type feature where readers could submit entries to the current list topic. One of the lists I remember fondly is "signs you're not a team player." I printed out several dozen pages from that one to post all over my cubicle walls, highlighting the ones that applied most to me.

It became the custom on that site for users to select a username that ended in "-bert". If you have to ask why, then you haven't read enough Dilbert. So, there's the second syllable accounted for.

The first syllable came from the name of my now-dead dog, pictures of which/whom (depending on your take on the status of dogs) have shown up here in the past. Her name was Zira, pronounced to rhyme with the bolded portion of the sentence "I sold Richard Gere a case of duct tape without asking any questions."

Her name, in turn, came from the name of the chimpanzee scientist and beloved wife of Cornelius, as portrayed by Kim Hunter in the Planet of the Apes movies. The original Planet of the Apes movies made from 1968 to 1975, thank you very much, and the less said about that Tim Burton travesty the better.

When I wanted a screen name for various things a while back (this blog wasn't, and still isn't, the only place I use it), I combined my dog's name with the "-bert" motif. The A in the middle didn't feel right, so I dropped it, altering the pronunciation in the process. It's pronounced "zur-bert", not "zeer-bert".

I thought I made it up, and had absolutely no idea that the word had any other meaning. I later found that it means when you put your mouth against someone's skin and blow to make a rude, slobbery noise, most frequently practiced on the tummies of babies. While working on this entry I tried to find an online use of the word in that sense, but to my perverse satisfaction, a Google search for "Zirbert" now mostly turns up references to.... me.

There's that story told. Not exactly one for the ages, but at least it's a post with content other than quotations from people who are smarter than me.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the light fixture in my living room.

1 comment:

RebelAngel said...

I thought it looked like a glass bowl in the middle of the floor. Later this evening I will probably trip up the stairs and bask my knee on the ceiling fan.

I use RebelAngel as a nod to my college and intense delusions of grandeur.

Previously I have used the name Koredice, which would loosely translate as "daughter of justice" in Ancient Greek. That also smacks of delusions of grandeur, as well as always going over everyone's heads.

I use HomeSchoolFish on my fish favorite aquarium forum as a play on words between Home School and Fish School.

I use FullTime on a religious/political blog I read; referring to being a mother, wife, teacher, and student.

Everything but HomeSchoolFish seems pretentious, but it is fun. And when one's first name in real life is as boring as Kim you may be excused for having fun with pseudonyms.

There! The secret is OUT! My first name is Kim. Internet anonymity be darned!