Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's up with the name?

Back in 11th grade I took an Anatomy class. Yes, we dissected cats. Yes, it was nasty at first by after a few days it became no big deal, except for the formaldehyde smell that kind of just lingers on ya all day. The teacher was VERY enthusiastic about the subject of anatomy. Because of his exuberance, I still remember a lot from that class even now 20+ years later. The teacher would have us repeat what he said, and he'd like it loud and clear like a drill sergeant. "Okay, class, this is the supraspinous fossa." "Su-pra-spi-nous fos-sa." "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" "SUPRASPINOUS FOSSA!" "Yes, much better!"

Anyway, this guy was a cool teacher. He was also a former Blue Angels pilot, and pretty fired up about just about everything. He even had to take a little time out in the state hospital for a while there, to kind of, oh how shall I say, "re-learn how to keep his fired-upness from getting out of hand." But once he was teaching us about a bone called the os innominatum which literally means "unnamed bone."

Fast forward a year or so to 1987. I was a freshman in college, and I was getting my first exposure to the internet. These were the days of 9600bps dial-up connections and vt-100 terminal emulation. Figuring out the UNIX command line was interesting. Then I found out about an online game called EMPIRE. Kind of like a cross between Risk and one of the Sims. The graphics were really primitive since we were using text-only terminals, but the gameplay was quite engrossing. I needed a name for my country, and my old anatomy teacher's voice popped into my head saying "innominatum." I don't know much Latin, but innominatum sounded like an adjective to me, so I went with innominatus. I liked the idea that my name actually meant "One without a name." I was a EE/CS student, and it reminded me of recursion and of the silly things like GNU (GNU's Not Unix). I also liked that it sounded vaguely sinister, at least to me. Didn't keep me from getting stomped at EMPIRE, though. Eventually the normal people would get tired and log out, but where were always some overcaffeinated superdorks who would stay up all night just to get a little advantage. I was never dedicated enough to do stuff like that, so I got whupped on every time I played. But the handle has kind of stuck, and I've used it as a handle on various online services ever since.

I hope your curiosity is satisfied.


  1. Very cool background info on your b.a. handle.

  2. Lol, we started college in the same year.

  3. I'm not telling you when I started college. But I did stay up many a night playing Risk. Without a clue as to what a computer game was to become.

    Cool logic.

  4. Way back when I stayed up playing RISK... by myself. Yes the board game. I would try to forget who had the three horses.


Family-friendly phrasing heartily encouraged.

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