5.27 Afternoon Inquisition

Courtesy of our Comment o’ the Week winner Think McRunfast, who writes:

What is the story behind your choice of username and/or (gr)avatar?

Mine reflects one of the many faux-manly names the MST3K crew gave to
Reb Brown during Space Mutiny, with the gravatar featuring the late
Boyd Pierce, the then announcer for Mid-South wrestling, clad in one
of his typically amazing suits. Here’s the full screengrab.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Mine is a combo of what my nieces have always called me jojo + dancingbear from Captain Kangaroo…my grandma would let me watch it and when Dancing Bear would come out, we would dance around like him together. Gravatar just a funny dancing bear. BTW I loved Mid South wrastling also.

  2. The name is from the prisoner TV series. It goes back to when email was up to six letters, no numbers no symbols – just up to six letters.
    The picture is called baby Xenu – I found it online.
    I think the artist was making a $cientology joke.
    That is what I found it under in google images.

  3. Mine’s easy. Durnett is my last name.

    This isn’t actually because I lack the imagination to come up with something clever. It is a choice to link my name with my words.

    It is too easy for me to shoot off my mouth. Knowing that Rebecca can look me up in the phone book and come kick my ass keeps me from shooting off my mouth.

  4. My username goes back to my youth when the CB radio was considered social networking and Team Banzai was my handle. We have a game from back then that we still play called “T Hunting” which is hide and seek with CB radios and my friends felt Team Banzai was a good handle since I destroyed 5 cars in three years off roading them for the game.

    The picture is of me at the 2003 Los Angeles County fair, me and another Skeptical friend were standing infront of a booth with a banner that said “God has a plan and you’re part of it!” Naturally we wanted to know about the plan but the guy at the booth said “You’re not wanted here.” “Guess we’re not part of the plan”, one of us said. Me being one that would never pass on a chance to throw gas on a fire took the giant piece of beef jerky that’s hannging out of my mouth and started shaking my head like a dog with a piece of meat and growling. The man abandoned his booth.

  5. andyinsdca is boring – first name Andy and I’m in San Diego, CA

    The gravatar is one I found when I was looking for an avatar and did a GIS for “cigar” and this was the first hit. I was shocked at how much it looked like me (or was a good pic of how I see myself!)

  6. @durnett: Well, yeah, but it’s pronounced “Steve”.

    @teambanzai: I wondered what that was. It looked like a piece of duct tape, so I thought maybe it was a some sort of statement on free speech.

  7. @Steve: I’m with Steve here,

    And my pic is either a purple flame that I took a photo of back in my Pagan days of ritual burning and liked the look of or a shot of the golden gate bridge seen from Fort Point in SF… depending on how gravatar feels.

  8. first initial last name.

    My gravitar is actually orson wells. I don’t really like it anymore but I don’t get around to changing it.

  9. Lord Julius: a character from when Cerebus was funny and insightful, and before the author proved himself to be a jerk worthy of only contempt.

  10. I’ve an MA in Comp Lit and I’ve become skeptical. The picture is of my eardrum puncturing, clothing perforating, toe biting, and fecal decorating conure, Loki.

  11. My avatar is Eddie Izzard. <3 Eddie Izzard!!

    My Skepchick username is marilove — my name is Marilee. So, it was easy. My normal online identity crushdmb was taken (probably by me, but I was too lazy to remember the password lol), which I came up with YEARRRRS ago when I was obsessed with the Dave Matthews Band. Crush was/is a favorite song of mine from them. I don’t listen to them anymore, but I still hold on to the name (you can find me on LJ as crushdmb, and twitter, and myspace).

    You’ll also occasionally see me around as “nakedscience” because that’s awesome, right?!

  12. I’ve chosen to post here under my real first name for reasons similar to durnett’s. The skeptical places where I comment seem to be, in general, friendly enough that I’m comfortable not being known by a pseudonym.

    I do, however, employ pseudonyms elsewhere, just to prevent stuff I’ve written coming up in a Google search. This is mostly for job protection reasons, just in case I some day find myself working for a boss less cool than my current one.

    My current pseudonym of choice is “Tobasco da Gama”, who is an alter ego I created for myself on a lark back in high school. It’s an expression of pride in my (1/4) Portuguese heritage as well as the general sense of exploration and adventure implied by the textbook cardboard version of the Age of Colonisation. (Hopefully, by inventing a fictional conquistador rather than using a real one, I can distance myself from the less admirable realities of that period…)

    And also because I find the Vasco/Tobasco/Tabasco pun amusing. I changed the first vowel mainly just because I think Tabasco sauce itself is boring and tasteless.

  13. Oh! My gravatars are mainly just pictures of myself that I find somehow amusing or representative.

    Because I’m a sexy motherfucker, and I wouldn’t want you all to be deprived of that.

  14. Username: Blatant rip-off of the Simpsons character Jimbo Jones but with my name (Kim).

    Gravatar: Some random red-headed thing I made on a “make your own avatar” site a few years back because I’m a red-head.

    Wow. I’m wicked boring.

  15. Fred Nurke was a side character in an old British radio series called “The Goons” (Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe). When his name was mentioned, a response was “Fred Nurke??? Why! That’s Fred Nurke’s name!” It became a family catchphrase. And my daughter made my gravatar of South Park me.

  16. Mully410 = a nickname based on my last name + a special date.

    Avatar = a picture I took where the flash didn’t fire + semblance of anonymity.

  17. My actual given name is Faith which is painfully weird for a skeptic like me. Especially since I get all sorts of x-tians and religious folk giving me woo-props because my name is “so beautiful”. I’ve thought a lot about changing it over the years but I’m almost 40 and at this point it seems a little ridiculous.

    My gravatar is my back from a while ago – the tattoo is much larger and more filled in now.

  18. I have a cat, I’m a girl, and I couldn’t come up with anything more creative. I thought it didn’t carry the same connotations as either “cat lady” or “cat woman”. I wish had Googled “cat girl” before I started using this though, as it turns out it does mean something else.

  19. My Gravatar is the Zuni Warrior from act 3 of “Trilogy of Terror” staring Karen Black.

    That show had me leaping in to bed from the doorway for months as a child. It also reflects my personality pretty closely.

  20. Noadi comes from a movie I watched in Mythic Realm class. From the name you could probably guess the class was about mythology and we watched this movie from Finland in the Sami language called Pathfinder. Noadi was a word I picked up from it that means something like a shaman or wise person.

    I started using Noadi as the name of a D&D character I was playing and then used it for a screen name when I was working on a computer RPG. It stuck and I like the irony of an athiest and skeptic using a name related to shamanism. Now it’s also in the name of my business so I’ve got it for life.

    Gravatar is a photo of me.

  21. My user name comes courtesy of my father who used to lament that I was a Walking Encyclopedia of Useless Information. My gravitar is from the cast page of my journal webcomic, BetaPwned.

  22. Combination of my name and the word terrícola (means earthling in spanish). I used to be called that by a few friends in university.

    My usual picture is my bald head. Although I like short hair I’d never been blad. This was necessary for a biopsy I needed a few years back.

  23. My user name is because I’ve been on the internet since before there was a world wide web and we just used are real names and I am too old and lazy to come up with anything witty or smart. I found the gravatar on worth1ooo it is supposed to be a stained glass window of Charles Darwin. Because I love biology.

  24. My college roommates called me “TarrKid” (based on my last name) back in the late 80’s, and it just stuck.

    The avatar is the Fisherman’s Memorial statue in my hometown of Gloucester, MA (as seen in The Perfect Storm).

  25. Expatria was a name I used for a Live Journal I created during a time when I was going to be an American ex-pat in Britain during grad school. Even though I’ve been home for almost two years now, I haven’t bothered to create a new identity or change my name here.

    My gravatar is still a picture of me dressed up as Daniel Faraday from LOST last Halloween. I should really also change that one of these days, perhaps to a picture from the recent Skeptrip!

  26. Name – what I would have picked for myself if asked instead of what my parents chose. (Yes, could Name Change myself, but seems rather beaurucratically annoying.)

    Avatar – pic of my rabbit (Snowy) from when I was a kid.

  27. “Glow-Orb” was the title of a craft project in a book I read years ago and I just liked the way it sounded.
    Avatar = Me performing my first spay. It took 2.5 hours and I made the world’s biggest incision!

  28. I have a pretty rare first name, but even so back in 1994 it was always taken online. Also, the first thing I did online was acquire a nutjob sociology major for a stalker. End use of real name.

    Ballookey Klugeypop was a character in a children’s story and it always stuck with me because I remember my dad helping me to sound it out. If memory serves, Ballookey was digging for elephants in her back yard with a spoon, but I’ve never found the story again.

    The gravatar – if it’s showing – is my own illustration. My logo as a graphic designer is a simple stylized bee, which I designed back when Patron tequila was still good.

  29. @Think McRunfast: the one I always remember from that episode is Big McLargeHuge. Love it.

    No big story behind jes3ica. I always thought it would be cool to have a silent number in my name.


    I was playing around on wiki, looking up the show Numb3rs, and I came across this. I like the name. Once, I read on a website that we are basically sophisticated babboons, and I declared, “I am not a sophisticated babboon, I am an infinite monkey!”.

    I play Destroy All Humans, Crypto keeps refering to humans as “monkeys”.

    I like the term infinite monkey.

  31. Mine is pretty straight forward. I see myself as a tiger, but the reality is I’m just a cuddly kitty. Hobbes is cool.

  32. hendric because way back in college, our userid’s were normally the first 7 letters of our last name. I didn’t think to choose something cool like my roomate, ladykilr.
    My avatar is normally an animated gif going between the two pictures I helped New Horizons get during it’s Jupiter flyby, Europa Rising and Io and Europa meeting in the dark.

  33. @weofui I didn’t realize that was really you. Thought someone had just borrowed the character for an avatar. I’ve been following your comic for a while now, ever since stumbling upon it through twitter.

  34. Oh, my story has a celebrity guest star.

    So I forget why but I decided that I wanted a screen name on MySpace that was an anagram for full name. So i found some website that created anagrams and found one that i thought sounded alright. It was I Swirl A Bad Nerd Now.

    Later, and I have absolutely no idea why he was looking at my MySpace profile, Phil Plait left me a comment saying “Another anagram you could use is Brian’s A Wild Downer”. I instantly changed it to that, and i’ve been using it as my screen name for everything since.

  35. The user name is the Hellenized version of my first name and the English version of my Dutch last name. The avatar is Cobra Bubbles, from the Disney movie Lelo and Stitch, who is a somewhat large shaved head CPS social worker who wears Ray Ban predator sunglasses just like me. My wife took our kids to see the movie when they were much younger and when they came home they started laughing at me and said I really should have gone to the movie because I was the bad guy in the movie who was going to take Lilo from her mom before the space aliens saved the day. And I have Cobra Bubbles action figure on my desk at work…, and I’m thinking of changing my user name to Bubbles!

  36. My username is, er, uncreative (I should really use more of a pseudonym, especially when I get cranky…).

    My avatar is cropped and color-inverted from this xkcd T-shirt, which I would buy except I hate wearing black.

  37. First name for similar reasons as Durnett and Josh. Plus, I like my name, and it’s apparently Hebrew for “enlightened.” (My last name, near as I can tell, is Polish for “naked.” Wink.)

    When I use an alias, though (on Twitter for instance), I usually go by Aesahaettr, an alias I’ve used since middle school. Æsahættr is Icelandic for “threat to God” and one name for the subtle knife in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” (LOVE). And, erm, “ae” is easier to type than “æ”.

    Oddly enough, I took the name Aesahaettr long before I became an atheist. That one worked out rather nicely.

  38. Haha, my friend started calling me Jennifurret when we were about 13. It’s just a combination of Jennifer and Furret…which is a Pokemon. Yep, pretty lame, but hey – you don’t choose your nicknames.

  39. @Gabrielbrawley: Bad timing for sure. I eventually saw the movie on DVD and enjoyed it. Especially at the end where Cobra appears in the know and has a history with the aliens as some kind of Men in Black operative.

  40. @Aaron: I, too, have grown to like my given name. First, because it means “God saves”/”God is salvation” in Hebrew, in addition to being the Hebrew form of the name Jesus, and that’s hilariously fuckin’ ironic for an atheist. Second, because the Biblical character Joshua was kind of a badass. I’m actually a pacifist, politically speaking, but nonetheless I often find myself fascinated by successful military leaders.

  41. My friends picked my username because my old one was no longer appropriate (debbiedamoodymom) plus I have no imagination. I’m a spelling snob and I like cartoon witches, and spellwitch was already taken everywhere. I’m pretty much spellwight wherever you look.

    I use my face as my avatar here because I know A and someday she’ll come across one of my comments and say, “Hey, that’s Debbie!”

  42. Mine is actually kinda stupid. I was making jokes about Austin Powers with a friend on another website. We changed our usernames to names or phrases evocative from those movies.

    I started posting here at about the same time as the Austin Powers jokes, and once I got tired of the name it was to late. I don’t want to change it because I want to stay accountable for my post history.

    My gravitar is from here. I don’t remember how I found it, but I went actively looking for something like it in response to a particularly obtuse troll in a thread on this site.

  43. “Elexina” is from a character (Elexina Both) in a sci-fi story I wrote in, like, ninth grade. If I don’t use my real name, I use that. Now, Google-search away and try to steal my identity as you will. “Vengeful Harridan” is, of course, thanks to whoever it was who used that as an insult at me and I thought it was cool, so I tooked it.
    My picture thing-y I blithely stoled from Phil Plait.

  44. The first time I signed on to a BBS (it must’ve been 1988 or 1989), I was reading Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy. When prompted for a handle, I just went with the first name that popped to mind–namely Cleon, Emperor of the Galactic Empire.

    As for the gravatar, well, it’s a Dalek. And Daleks are cool. ‘Nuff said.

  45. I needed a new band name for Guitar Hero II. I looked around my room for inspiration, set brain to pun, and this was the best I thought of before I got bored. (Not as good as my earlier “Euclids on the Block”, but it’ll do.)

  46. My name is Kate, and I like lolcats and wordplay. thus LOLkate was born.

    my gravatar is a serval kitten. servals are cute and I am a big fan of cute things.

    Not terribly interesting, but I am content in my choices.

  47. Hmm…well, my handle comes from the merging of my two loves: astronomy and theater. I’m currently working on my PhD in astrophysics and in the evenings I volunteer/rehearse/perform at a local community theater (in fact the show I’m currently rehearsing for opens next weekend!)

    The gravatar is just me, leaning into the camera on my MacBook with a little ‘colored pencil’ effect added for flair.

  48. @Joshua: Man, I hear that! “Aaron” might not have quite the Biblical chops as “Yeshua,” but it’s still pretty badass.

    I’d like to kick Harun Yahya in the teeth, though. Friggin’ creotard namethief.

  49. My name is a cryptic nod to Monty Python; in Life of Brian, Brian exclaims to his mother:

    “I’m not a Roman mum — I’m a kike, a yid, a heebie, a hook-nose, I’m kosher mum, I’m a Red Sea pedestrian, and proud of it!”

    I, of course, am NOT proud of it; I feel a bit like I was a pedestrian, and now I’m roadkill (on that particular road).

    My avatar reflects my naive desire to remain anonymous online. I have many loved ones who could not countenance my apostasy, and I don’t want to break their hearts while I break all of their commandments.

  50. Username is my initials, because I like that I have four of them now and want to show them off.

    In the slight trend of revealing the background of one’s names: my first name is Hebrew, middle name is French, maiden name is German, and married name is Polish. My actual ethnicity is none of the above.

    My gravatar is me holding a baby crocodile somewhere in upper Egypt. I’m trying to mimic its beautiful grin.

  51. Curious chloride is the name for the compound CmCl3. Cm is the element Curium, named after Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. Although she married a Frenchman, Marie was born Maria Skłodowska in Poland.

    I am polish, I am a chemist, I am curious…. Plus the name was just cool!

  52. Oh, and my gravatar is from a picture of me posing with the Ride the Fire Eagle Danger Diary (long story) and a friend. It’s been a while, though, I should probably update it.

  53. My on line name, SicPreFix, which I use everywhere, is a rather complicated pun. Take the words sic, pre, fix, and prefix, look ’em all up in a dictionary, combines their various meanings, and that expresses my online attitude at the time I came up with the name some ten or so years ago.

    Also, it’s pretty much ensured to be unique.

  54. My name is rather boring (since it’s my regular name). The username I tend to use for things is StarWidget, which is much cooler. I came up with it while working at a planetarium. I needed a new email address or something, and decided to use “StarStuff” in honor of Sagan. It was taken, so I typed “stuff” into and one of the first words I noticed was widget. Ta-da!

    My avatar is a simple line drawing that represents my last name. I used to doodle it on everything in college, so I figured it fit.

    My last name, btw, is Fox.

  55. My username is from a lyric from a 10,000 Maniacs song called Stockton Gala Days. It’s my username on everything, except Twitter, where it was already taken (by someone who doesn’t even Tweet! Growl!). (Pun not intended, but I’m totally leaving it).
    My avatar is Serena transforming into Sailor Moon, because Sailor Moon is awesome, and I am still about 7 years old :P

  56. I got my username from a form of censorship that it used by the UK government: if it wants something to not be published in the UK media it puts out what is known as a D-Notice (now known as a DA [Defence Advisory] Notice). They’re completely voluntary and the Courts don’t enforce them but the media usually follows any such notice.

    As for the logo, that was something I made on some website or another – I chose the scales because I’m a lawyer, so I was going for the Scales of Justice. The motto (“Traitorous Urban Intellectual”) refers to comments by the Sun newspaper – which labelled anyone who opposed Tony Blair’s ultimately-failed plan in the aftermath of the London terror attacks on 7/7/05 to lock up anyone for 90 days without charge if they were arrested on suspicion of terrorism; while the Urban Intellectual bit is a part of a quote from Blair saying that his party needed to ignore those who left Labour due to the Iraq war, whom he labelled “Urban Intellectuals”.

    So briefly, I’ve taken terms of abuse and attempted to turn them into badges of honour.

  57. Swordsbane comes from my fencing days. Every time I would borrow someone else’s blade, I would manage to damage it in some way. It wasn’t intentional but it was enough to earn the nickname. I wear it with pride… and because it’s unusual enough that no one else has it.

  58. @Steve: Indeed, tis really me. *smiles*

    The comic, btw, will be updating again shortly now that I can see out of both eyes again. Thanks for reading!

  59. Knowing someone who commonly goes by a name that’s a drunken bastardization of Balzac, I thought the idea of taking a name I liked and running it through the drunk-filter would be a good way of coming up with something unique that was a reference to something I liked. So, I picked Mercutio, the smartass sidekick of Romeo who gets killed and makes terrible puns for his dieing words. It seemed appropriate.

    The gravatar is my cat made in to a wanted poster reading “Schrodinger’s Cat, wanted dead or alive.” It still entertains me.

  60. @Thick McRunfast, I recognized the reference immediately. Although, I was always more of Bolt Vanderhuge fan myself.

    My screenname’s story isn’t as interesting as those above me. The name Imrryr comes from the Elric novels of Michael Moorcock, and is the capital city of the Dragon isle of Melnibone, where the first novel begins. I tend to sketch out fantasy maps and landscapes on the margins of my notebooks, so the name seemed somewhat appropriate. There was also the added benefit in the fact that the name is usually not taken. My icon is just “The Dude” from my favorite movie, The Big Lebowski. I want to be just like him when I grow up (minus the unemployed part).

  61. Also, I seem to be leaving out the word “a” in a lot of my posts recently. So here’s some spares:

    a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a!

    Please fill in my missing a’s when necessary.

  62. My handle is my name. I do have a nom d’internet that is a fictional character I created, but I decided to go with my real name here since it links back to my blog where I use my real name: seemed rather pointless using an alias.

    I include my last name basically to take ownership of my comments. If you google my name you’ll eventually find me (there are quite a few other people out there named Stephen Moore – they’re all imposters), and I want the ability for people knowing my name to be able find what I’ve written.

    The avatar is a photo of me.

  63. A while back I found this photo of a sea otter yawning, and I thought he was just too cool not to find a use for the photo some day. Zeroing in on his head (or hers, I know not its gender), makes my posts look like a word balloon.
    The username was chosen to match the photo.

  64. My username is Ancient Greek for “voice of truth” — the title of my blog. I think it’s actually slightly misspelled, but I figured I could take liberties with a dead language, and I prefer this spelling to the other.

    My Gravatar is a picture taken by my friend ( ). Her photography is beautiful, and this one was my favorite. :)

  65. I stole my nickname from my husband.

    He used to work at Burger King up north many years ago. He’s from Texas and didn’t like the cold and constantly complained about it.

    I guess they got tired of his complaints and decided to give him something to keep him warm. So, they presented him with a jacket that had his name embroidered on it as “Sir Tim”. I guess he was a burger knight?

    Looking in the mirror Sir Tim spells Mitris. He liked the sound of that. So, later, when working on a Dungons and Dragons character, he named it Mitris and would joke that Mitris was a reflection of himself…har har.

    When we got married, I thought it would be appropriate to steal his name and stick a Lady in front of it.

  66. @Thick McRunfast: Thanks to you, I finally got around to setting up my gravatar. This one is a cool diagram of the quarks that make up a neutron. (Thanks Wikipedia.)

    I’ll probably change it when I find the one I’m looking for.

    As for the name? Because I love this song…

    Although, now every time hear it, I can’t help but think of Michael Madsen dancing with a razor blade and gasoline… Brrrr!

  67. My username is my profession and my first name. I also like a little alliteration.

    The avatar is a picture of Bruce McCandless during a test of a jetpack in 1984. I’m always taken by the beauty of him out on his own with nothing but the earth below.

  68. My username is just a shortened version of my first and middle name : Ashley Eleanora

    My gravatar is a picture I took of my daughter defiantly sucking on her toe as I tried to snap a portrait-esque pic to send a relative. I had never seen her suck toe before nor since. Go figure.

    I have every intention of changing my gravatar from time to time. Next time? Well, boobs are always appropriate…

  69. My name has been my screen name for everything since about 2002. It’s the name of a creature from Garth Nix’s book Sabriel.

    My picture is my son reading “God is not Great”. Well, he found it and was thumbing through it.

  70. Briarking is another name for the Greenman, who is the Celtic protector of forests. I have a few pagan friends and I’ve always said that,if I was pagan, I would worship trees.

    When I was a much younger, before my skeptic sac dropped, I imagined that keys were magical. I wore one on a necklace as a talisman. The imp just looks sufficiently creepy, so I wanted to use that picture as an avatar.

    This thread ALMOST makes me miss Rystefn.

  71. Pete Schult is my name. The gravatar is me actually balancing one of those spinning plates/frisbees on a stick at a summer festival in Québec City.

  72. I picked my nick at some point in the late 80s. I was an impressionable teenager reading “Goedel Escher Bach” at the time, and thought that choosing one that’s self-referential would be cool. Now it just seems nerdy, but nerdy is cool.

    My gravatar is a “computer bug as artist” picture. I produced the image about 10 or so years ago from a renderer that I was writing. There are a bunch of miscalculations which produced what, at the time, I thought was an interesting image, so I saved it.

  73. I started with Chupacabras at the JREF, where I use an avatar of former president Salinas (the Chupacabras himself by mexican lore), who fueled the Chupacabras rage to distract people from national matters (much like the perceived over-reaction to the recent swine flu).

    When I got my gravatar, I rather chose the image of my spiritual leader instead, Alfred E. Newman. Not that it will inspire me enough for a COTW mention or anything, but it certainly makes my day and I hope it also makes yours.

  74. My handle is the name of the protagonist from the novel, The Legend of Nightfall. While I use it else where on the Internet, I have noticed that other users have the handle before me. At the moment, I have not found a gravatar to use.

  75. My username is also not creative. I am a 40 foot tall robot made out of recycled Coke bottles.

  76. Killyosaur, comes from a short story I wrote in sixth grade. When the internet revolution hit and I needed a username for creating my first free Email account (hotmail, before Microsoft bought them out) it was unique and not being used by anyone else. The 42 is a direct result of forgetting my password and not being able to get the recovery system to work properly so I could not get access to the original account I had created so I created a second one and use 42 (meaning of life the universe etc etc) appended to the end to make it unique.

    Gravatar is a cow in a snow storm.

  77. Got the name back in the 80’s, in high school. Some technical college sent a recruitment letter to Zapski Findgen – the Findgen part is actually a reasonable mangling of my last name (which I’ll not reveal here) and Zapski was apparently someone’s reading of Paul. Go figure.

    The gravatar is related to my Zombie Anti Defamation League blog. It’s a Z. For Zombie. Or Zapski. Handy, no?

    I need to re-crop it though, when I get time.

  78. My username here is just my name, sans Norwegian vowel ‘ø’. Elsewhere I can be found as bjornart, which is my name and last name initial, and was my user name in uni.

    Some places, though they are fewer and fewer you can find me as NAITA (or naita), which comes from my knighthood on and stands for sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Alphabet.

    My gravatar is a picture of me with a cork in my ear. I do silly things while I sit at my desk, and this time I thought it was something I needed to take a picture of. Also I can’t figure out how to log onto gravatar and change it.

  79. The name is from a poem I wrote in high school, because I felt like I was personally responsible for creating (brewing) a lot of the problems (tempests) in my life– whenever life got too boring for me I’d make drama. The poem was an attempt to get myself to stop doing that…which it mostly has, but it also made me realize that most people do the same exact thing. We make mountains of molehills, whether it’s all the time or just when we’re bored or just with certain issues or topics. Not sure we can ever shake that.

    I need an avatar of the real me, this one is just one I liked at the time when I signed up. It’s ephemeral and pretty.

  80. My handle is short for electrochicken which is my spin on a derogatory term other trades use for electricians. namely electchickens.

    They call us this mainly for our general refusal to follow them out the gate on any number of illegal work stoppages.

    Avatar is cribbed from the Tundra comic strip.

  81. My username is, like many others, simply my first name and last initial. Also like others here, I find that having some aspect of my real name associated with my comments keeps me honest.

    My gravatar is a picture of one of my pet rats, who happens to be female. I am neither female, nor a rat. Well, definitely not the former, and typically not the latter.

  82. My name comes from the Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. “Saxaclones” are the scientists who work for the character Sax Russell. It’s been an ID I’ve used on and off on the internet for going on 10 years now so it’s kind of stuck.
    The Avatar is a picture of some rats I drew in Illustrator for a blog that I may one day actually start, and comes from the legend in the same books that Sax Russell is really smart because his mind has been replaced by 100 hyper-intelligent lab-rats that escaped one day.

    I liked the Pinky and the Brain-ness of the idea combined with an obscure Sci-Fi reference. I tried for something more geeky but I couldn’t find anything.

  83. I bet you’re all really excited to hear that, inspired by this thread and the resulting ‘think’, I have changed my Skepchick user name from tkingdoll to Tracy King, which is of course my name.

  84. @jes3ica: Actually, Tom Lehrer had a joke about someone named “Hen3ry,” in which the “3” was silent…

    @saxaclone: and here I was, thinking you were musically inclined or something…

    Me? I’m sure everyone knows my avatar from Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide.

    Say this slowly, with great dejection:
    “Brain the size of a planet and I’m formatting other people’s work…how depressing…”

  85. Tracy: I could never give up ‘swordsbane’ I’ve used it for so long (since before the internet had pictures) that it’s as much my identity as my real name.

  86. I picked up the online handle of Gibbles T. Chimp (the T. stands for the) back in the days of StarCraft on BattleNet. Attempting to come up with a unique name, mostly literary / historical references was driving me mad with the constant response of “That name is already in use” so I just typed a gibberish word “Gibbles” and added “TheChimp” because I always played as the Terrans i.e. humans.
    I’ve been using it as my online persona / handle ever since.
    Shortly after that “Bob” finally got my 30 bucks and I became an ordained Reverend in the Church of the Subgenius ( ) and that is my official “Church name” as well.

    So if you ever play any online games and run into GibblesTheChimp it’s more than likely me. :D

    The Avatar is me rockin’ my sadly misplaced supercop shades.

  87. I love hippie culture. I love the music, clothes, the extreme frugality, love of nature, love of gardening and back-to-the-land attitude.

    Also I’m a skeptic, which has put me at odds with my hippie brethren when it comes to certain topics such as alternative medicine, astrology, biodynamic agriculture, and fear of GMO’s and irradiated food.

    The avitar is something my wife did for me, it actually is pretty close to how I actually look.

  88. pseudoscience is not chic, it’s ridiculous.

    and the gravatar…. one of these days ;)

  89. Hello, Rebecca. I came up with my username as an alternative to the Skepdude calendars. I just thought Skepchick and Skepdick went well together. As calendar names.

    I got some reinforcement for the idea from the Skepbitch blog. I tend to be kind of “in your face” about atheism and skepticism, so the name Skepdick seemed to fit.

    Finally, I was establishing a blog where I could bloody well write whatever I wanted and be the one with the god-like delete power over stupid posts, so I used it for my domain name.

    My gravatar is just me. Not very inventive. Sorry.

  90. A friend accused me of being insufficiently emotionally nurturing after handing him tissues and cough drops when he had a cold. He called me the Wire Monkey, from the old Harlow psychology experiment at the University of Wisconsin.

  91. My user name is the name I use. With an initial of the last name that I’m too lazy to type out every time. Plus, it wasn’t taken.

    Gravatar Icon Picture Image thing: it’s the logo Scott Kim designed for Silicon Graphics back in 1982.

    Or it will be. Soon. Any minute now.

  92. I took my username from Esmerelda ‘Granny’ Weatherwax, possibly the coolest literary character ever.

    My current gravitar is a wild rose I photographed near Grizzly Camp in the Trinity Wilderness some years ago.

  93. My username announces the fact that I’m an ordained minister. As a god-fearing atheist about 10-12 years ago, I clicked the “Ordain Me!” button at the Universal Life Church web site, and can now legally marry people. This also allows me to tell complete strangers that “Yep, I’m going to marry my niece someday. She’s into it!”

    My avatar is a crop of some artwork by Frank Brunner called “Eyes of Light,” and is a reasonable representation of how I looked about 30 years ago.

  94. My first username was krissncleo, because I love my (dead) cat so much-I miss you Cleo. Now I’m going with KrisstheSexyAtheist. I was born on the 23rd of December and my birth name is Christopher so of course I wanted to ditch that. Kriss can be spelled evil-y, like the way Kiss spells it-don’t tell Gene Simons. I don’t want him to come and eat me. The sexy part is because I feel societies image of what sexy is needs to be changed. Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes and ages. The atheist part is because I came out and I want the whole world to know. Before my current moniker and after krissncleo, was Lordofthe Kriss and JesusKrissRockStar. I settled for K.T.S.A.. Great job ladies (and that one guy). Thanxs for the memories. Out.


  95. My username is an abbreviated form of an old nickname of mine, “Walt the Kind Veggie Man”.
    I was given this nickname because I frequently wore a tee shirt that said “Kind Veggie Tee Shirt” that someone got me in a Grateful Dead show parking lot.
    In German my username also translates to Walt the kid, which made a lot more sense when I first started using it but now seems like its use is ironic.
    @skepticalhippie — I love hippie culture too and I empathize about the overwhelming amount of woo. Past two jam band type events I’ve gone to have involved conversations with strangers about chemtrails and energy-healing. Ugh.

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