Posts Tagged ‘nomenclature’


You can’t spell Di(ego)

May 30, 2009

My good friend Diego was somewhat dismayed to hear that I had not yet written a blog post about him. He followed this expression of disappointment almost immediately by dragging me and Harry into the bathroom and locking us in.

Diego has recently undergone a tragic rejection, you see, and in his fits of trying to figure out why any girl would turn him down, he’s come to two simultaneous, contradictory (in my opinion) conclusions: 1. said girl is stupid because there’s definitely nothing wrong with him, and 2. he needs people to tell him how attractive he is to reassure him that there’s nothing wrong with him.

So he takes me and Harry into the bathroom because he needs the mirror. He makes us close our eyes while he arranges himself. (Harry eats parfait blindly, and I giggle like a loon.) When he lets us open our eyes, it is so that he can show us how good he looks shirtless. He needs the mirror to figure out how to flex, you see.

At this point I kind of lost it. I was laughing while I told him that, yes, he’s a very fit young man. I tried very hard not to tell him that maybe this girl didn’t want to date the sort of boy who has refined flexing in mirrors to an art form.

There’s no real point to this story, except that I have strange friends.


Googleability and Nomenclature

February 6, 2009

I’ve been googling myself a lot lately. It’s rather silly, because I haven’t really done anything notable yet, but I still like seeing my existence validated in the collective consciousness. Due to my rather unique name, I’m very easily googleable–my full name will get you articles and pages in which I am mentioned, rather than someone else with the same name, or unrelated pages that happen to use my name as separate terms. If you put quotes around it, you of course narrow it down even further, but it’s quite unnecessary. I’m lucky that way.

Other people I know (and Google) are rather harder to track down. Both my parents have rather common names, and it takes some creative Google-fu to pin them down precisely. The problem with common names is that of course there are always people out there with the same name. (There is no other Kirby Conrod on the internet. Don’t bother checking, I already have. Extensively.) You still get people, though, which shows that at least the name is recognizably a name. My Latin teacher, on the other hand, is virtually ungoogleable by name alone. Christian Blood (yes, that’s really his name) of course gets hundreds of thousands of results, but none of them refer to people. They refer, predictably and overwhelmingly, to the blood of Christians. It’s only if you hone the search string to include a mention of his academic context or somesuch that you get results that have anything to do with him, and even then it’s only because his papers have won a few awards, not because he has any real presence on the web.

Now, this all would be sort of pointless and boring if it weren’t for my most recent line of thought, which is baby-naming in terms of search optimization. Kirby is frequently a surname, not to mention a brand of vacuum cleaners and a video game character, so my given name alone is completely useless. However, with the addition of my surname–an alternate spelling of a moderately common one–the search is far, far narrowed down. If my name were Kirby Smith, I would be harder to find. If my name were Alice Conrod, I’d be harder to find. So naming a person so as to optimize their ability to found is a tricky balance– you want something that’s recognizable as a person’s name, but adequately uncommon so as to be unique when it’s a full name. If, as I plan to, I name one of my children Eureka, a search on her first name alone will get all sorts of non-people results. However, if you google “Eureka Conrod”, you’ll notice there are no results. (Yet. This blog entry will be the first.) That empty space is, effectively, a hole for Eureka-the-yet-unborn to fill, with whatever notoriety she manages to scrape together for herself.

(I’d be worried about Christian finding this blog and being a little peeved for my mentioning his name, but I am fairly confident he has better things to do than Google himself like I do.)