John Scalzis Everywhere!
Posted on May 3, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 38 Comments
Look! It’s John Scalzi, interviewing some lady on the beach in Sarasota, Florida. When was I in Sarasota, you ask? Answer: I never was. So how could John Scalzi be interviewing someone on the beach there? Because not everyone named John Scalzi is me:
As it happens, I’ll in Florida in a couple of weeks, as a special guest at Oasis 21 in Orlando. The Sunshine State will have a surplus of John Scalzis! The mind reels. But even without upsetting the precious Scalzi Balance (“There can be only one! Per state!”), it’s a little odd to have another John Scalzi out there, and being so very publicly John Scalzi. Yes, I know if your name is Bob Smith, you live with this sort of thing all the time. Me, not so much. I also wonder if, when John Scalzi googles his name, he gets annoyed that he has to wade through all my listings to get to his. Sorry, John.
So the plans for “Survivor: John Scalzi” have been canceled, then?
I don’t know that we have enough John Scalzis for that.
I don’t know that we have enough John Scalzis for that.
This phenomenon can be quite irritating. My (actual) name is sufficiently odd that I’d be quite surprised if there were even a handful of other people with that precise combination in the English-speaking world … but I know of one; he’s a couple decades older, a successful academic and writer, has even entered the blogosphere by writing for the Huffington Post. He wins Teh Google every time; at this point, I have a tenuous foothold on the third Results page if you Google my name – and only one other appearance in the first ten pages of results.
I always thought the reward for being persecuted for having an odd name as a child was being distinctive later, when it mattered. Not distinctive enough, it turns out.
With a last name that’s in the five most common in the US, I never had any thoughts that my name would be unique.
The odd one was, after we’d named Number Two Son with a name we considered fairly uncommon, we found that someone with that exact name had worked as a TV producer in the UK. (It’s a bit surprising to Google the name of your weeks-old infant and find the top hit is an IMDb entry…although the top hit now is a MySpace page for a Welsh band I’ve never heard of, and the IMDb page is second.)
First you aren’t Trent Reznor, now you aren’t John Scalzi?
I might just have to drive over to Oasis to see who you really are…
No, I am John Scalzi. I am just not the set of all possible John Scalzis.
According to http://www.howmanyofme.com:
There are 5 people in the U.S. named John Scalzi.
There are 334 people in the U.S. with the last name Scalzi.
Statistically the 75677th most popular last name.
Wasn’t there a Jet Li movie about something similar? Jet Li traveled from one alternate history to another wiping out other Jet Lis.
If the Florida John Scalzi meets with an “accident” when you are down there, we’ll find out if you’re living the same movie.
I get a big old blank spot in the middle of this post where some embed is. I’m on a MAc using Safari.
I never ever see my name used unless it’s by someone I am related to. Once someone came up to me with the same last name and it freaked me out. T-E-R-H-U-N-E. Not that common.
Oh, we’re talking first and last names? The other Charles Terhune is also a piano twiddling, middle aged lounge singer. Who knew.
How Many Of Me works by multiplying the frequency of the first name by the frequency of the last name by the U.S. population. This is amusing, but not terribly accurate. The system assumes that first and last names sort independently, which is obviously incorrect. Added to this, it specifically excludes uncommon names (my actual first name, for example, “doesn’t exist” but is a few thousand years old with a proud heritage, if fairly uncommon in the US, and I’ve met a couple of people who share it just by random chance).
Sort of reminds me when I found an on-line interview of Harlan Ellison conducted by Steven H Silver…in Italian. When I contacted the publisher, he claimed that Steven H Silver was a pseudonym he occasionally used.
So, you ARE Trent Reznor. I suspected as much.
Chang, fan of boobs – The embed isn’t working for me either and I’m IE/WinXP.
The embed issue probably has something to do with you tube; it was working fine earlier. Apparently YouTube is having troubles today.
About howmanyofme–did you know there are 0 people in the United States named Barack Obama?
I do realize the site’s results aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on, for all the reasons you mentioned and then some. But the entertainment value is there.
Besides, the site assures me that I’m the only one with my name in the country. If it’s on the internet it must be true, right??
“99.68% of the people with the first name Paul are male”
entertainement value, indeed…
The New York Times just did an article about so-called “Googlegangers” (a silly name, if you ask me, but whatever–just say “doppleganger,” as that’s interesting enough)–and found it interesting that sometimes the name doubles are in the same industry.
And that’s what my double is–a writer. Stacy Whitman writes for Shape magazine, and more interestingly, wrote a book called “Shacking Up: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin.” Given that I’m a Mormon, this is really funny to me to be mistaken for that author (I’ve even had press contact me through my blog hoping I’m that person).
As an editor, it’s not that big a deal to have another Stacy Whitman out there in the same industry (relatively), but if I were ever to publish a book, I’m not sure I’d want to use my own name and deal with the confusion.
I understand the feeling, John. I’m neither the baseball pitcher, or the other eighties infielder, or the former NFL quarterback. I’ve heard of my name showing up on several TV series(mainly as a villain) and several books. I guess I’m much more common than Scalzi.
@stacy: My favorite coincidence of this type is the case of the two Steve Jacksons, the U.S. hobby-game designer and the U.K. hobby-game designer. The U.K. SJ created a series of Choose Your Own Adventure-like books in the early 1980s…to which the U.S. SJ contributed. Both of them still regularly get mail intended for the other.
My last name isn’t common enough to be in that website’s database — no shock, there are fewer than 100 families with this name in the country. I know of at least two other Andrew/Andy Hackards, one in Denver and one in Indianapolis (where I used to live, amusingly enough). I think there might be one in Hawaii as well, or perhaps that one moved to the mainland and is one of the other two I know about.
Even so, being one in 100 million is pretty cool.
Sarasota, eh? A very nice place; you ought to take some time and go over there. There’s a circus museum in Sarasota, you might like. Just don’t look up John Scalzi; Florida doesn’t need the antimatter explosion resulting from the meeting of Scalzi and antiScalzi. Although, hmm, is there a John Scalzi in Kansas? Maybe you could relieve some of the flatness.
Ah, but how many John Scalvi’s aren’t you?
Whenever I google myself (that phrase is surely what’s wrong with the world today) I get beaten every time by an actress from the 1930s. Who wasn’t even BORN with my name. So whilst the moral victory is mine, people looking for me have to add some form of descriptive term if they want to find me. Slightly annoying in the freelance world, but bearable I guess. At least I haven’t found one who does the same thing as me, but I would have to be a (I) on the IMDb.
Howmanyofme claims there is only one person in the US with my name, but google shows two others. There used to be a NASCAR person as well, but he seems to have disappeared.
The strangest google experience I ever had was once with I found a poem I had written in a gay poetry archive at the University of Kent (UK). It was mine, alright, exactly as I wrote it. But how it got from Salt Lake City to the U of Kent is a mystery to me. It has never been published in any medium other than that archive.
A couple years ago, a Playboy model showed up with my name. I was #1 on a google search. She was #2. I counted that as a win.
I only got email meant for her once. For some reason, most people could tell us apart pretty easily. *snarf*
In the meantime, she seems to have vanished from the internets…
There’s one other David A. Klecha, living in Michigan, of all things, about thirty miles from where I was born. All I know about him is that he holds some kind of electrical engineering patent, I think.
I find it particularly amusing that this John Scalzi seems to be an entertainment reporter, covering a film event, not unlike Our John. Though on TV, rather than in the newspaper.
John: I’m happy to see your doppelganger is also award-winning! So it runs in the, er, non-family.
Lonnie @ 8 & Warren @ 11: Also, it uses data from the 1990 census. ;-) I suppose I should be happy they claim no one has my name (not even me ;-), but the problem with sites like this is that even if we ;-) understand it’s woefully inaccurate, many people don’t. (Few people seem to read About/FAQ/Disclaimer pages.)
Chang @ 10 & Patrick @ 13: The embed just took a while to show up for me. After reading Chang’s comment, I scrolled up and it was already there (not sure how long it took, since I didn’t watch).
My name is uncommon (there are four of us according to the research database used by the newspaper I worked for), but one of the other three is also an author who publishes new-agey stuff about the emerging spirituality of the cosmos and whatnot. It would merely be a curiosity, except that as a journalist I frequently had to call people who had never heard of me, and I knew that if they googled the name they’d get lots of hits, hers as well as mine, and figure talking to me was not worth their time. So I had to figure out a tactful way to warn them.
I have an author out there that plagerized my name and so all the hits are for him.
But if I google my webnickname, Its all me baby!
Sadly, it is litany of my lamest comments on various messageboards including whateveresqe.
The first time I googled myself,I found an eponym who was living in DC with wife and kids, (where my sister spent several years), working for the Smithsonian Museum, and has published two books on ecological diversity. JEALOUSY… ;-)
Of course, my name is pretty common… and misleading. I’m not a drop Irish; my father’s family changed their name circa WW2 (the old name was too German).
Another criticism of the How Many of Me website. It says there are 0 people in the US with my last name. I know of 12 off the top of my head with the same last name and all of them are in the U.S. to my knowledge. So far, I have not met another person with my exact name. However there is another person in Hawaii with my daughter’s first and last names –I know because she saved a wish list on Amazon.com.
Heh.. I have a guy w/ my name that has a gmail account. Unfortunately when we both created our accounts gmail knew the difference between firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Since then they have changed it so the periods do not matter.
So f.i.r.s.t.n.a.m.e.l.a.s.t.n.a.m.e.@gmail dot com will go to the owner.. as luck would have it, I guess I created the name first because I own them all now.
So of course everyone has his email address and sends him stuff that ends up in my inbox. I especially enjoy the emails from friends in Russia. So I have to reply and tell them that the other guy has a different email.
The truly weird thing is that I believe he lives within 10 miles of me and I have never met him. I know his mom works 15 miles away at our local University.
I am the only person in this state from my family tree that I am aware of.
thankfully not as busy as firstname.lastname@example.org but always interesting.
Oh that another guy with my name on gmail lives on the east coast that is applying for jobs and he apparently has a security clearance because the emails keep mentioning it. Thankfully no one broke security and sent something over gmail but damn I want his job. His offers are better than mine!
So since you mentioned conventions in this post, and it’s been bugging me a little. Are you ever going to do WisCon here in Madison, WI? It struck me that it might interest you because you’d recently bemoaned the difficulty of writing about hermaphrodites without instinctively slipping into the use of “he” and “his”, which is of course just about all of what Wiscon is about.
Never been to myself, since memberships sell out before I even think to get one, which is terrible since they have nearly free childcare. Makes it one of the few cons I could actually attend. IIRC it’s only a mildly agonizing drive from where you live.
Oh, and according to the name thing there’s only 0 of me in the United States, but I know for a fact that there is one of me in Australia as well as the me that’s here in the USA. I have an incredibly uncommon last name, which makes environmentalists from the Northwest assume I’m related to the semi-famous Muries who helped create the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They are related, but so distantly as to make no difference.
Wiscon is in fact one of my favorite conventions and I’m very sad I won’t be able to attend it this year due to a prior commitment.
You should contact a few of the John Scalzis, and see if they ever tried to front like they wrote Old Man’s War to maybe bed a librarian or a bookstore clerk.
Linda Seebach @ 28: one of the other three is also an author who publishes new-agey stuff about the emerging spirituality of the cosmos and whatnot
For some reason, this reminds me of another person named Seebach.
There’s another Roy Øvrebø who uses the same bank as me. He’s got a different middle name though, so I suppose I can’t blame him for all my money getting spent. Never met the guy – I think he lives on the other side of the Bokn Fjord.
googlism.com is fun for this kind of thing.
Why Per State? Not sure whose head gets taken?