John Scalzi (Not Me) Reads John Scalzi (Me)
Posted on August 23, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 116 Comments
Look, it’s John Scalzi! Or, a John Scalzi, one that’s not my dad, or a weatherman down in Florida, or a (by now I assume retired) boxer, or the now-deceased masonry scientist, or me. This one lives in New England, and I have been aware of his existence for some time now, since back when I had an account on Prodigy and sent him a message saying “Hey! I’m a John Scalzi, too!” And here he is reading Redshirts whilst on vacation. Surely, a near-recursive treat for everyone!
I do sometimes wonder how it is for the other John Scalzis that I am out there in the world, writing books and hogging the first several Google search pages of our mutual name. I know it doesn’t bother my dad, and this John Scalzi seems to be perfectly fine with it, but I imagine some other JS doing a search on his name and going who the hell is this schmuck? Sorry, man. I’m fine-tuned for the Internet. And despite my cluttering up the ‘nets with my ego spoor, I’m not the John Scalzi who has a top award in his field named after him. Guess that shows me.
In any event, I’m glad this particular John Scalzi seems to be enjoying my work. If he read it and thought, this book stinks! And it has my name on it!, well. That would be bad. Not the case this time around, fortunately.
Well, the central character of a little-seen movie, “The Thirtheenth Floor” has MY name. Why couldn’t my name have been, say, “Indiana Jones” or “Rick Blaine” or something else in the popular culture lexicon? Or at least a better movie?
I think we need to figure out the award for your iteration of the name… Perhaps the snarkiest snarkster in internetz land? Or the Most moist internetz meme?
No one else has my exact name. I’m sort of sad about that. It’s not even all that unusual. Your last name is rare enough that one would think there would be fewer of you.
Have you asked this gentleman for a signed copy of Redshirts, or would that make the whole of existence collapse into a singularity?
I share a name with a relatively well known actor. For years, I made a game out of trying to keep my name #1 on Google. And I was successful for several years, until Google finally got smart enough to realize that a search for my name was 99% likely to not be searching for me.
I wonder if the actor ever googled himself and wondered about the schmuck above him on Google?
I’d probably be amused to find a more famous Katy Sozaeva out there, but since my husband tells me the spelling of the name was mangled during transition from Cyrillic to Israeli to English, I don’t know if I ever will…
I need to get that book – it looks hilarious and I’ve had it sitting on my wishlist ever since I heard of it, which was several months prior to publication…
I have a similar problem with my name…Randy Johnson. The retired pitcher has a lot of references. There are others though. A former NFL quarterback and even another baseball player, am infielder that didn’t make a lot of waves. Here in North Carolina, there’s even a Randy Johnson that writes guide books for th Appalachians, a hiker that’s been up and down the trail.
If only you could find a voice actor named John Scalzi to record Redshirts so that (not you) John Scalzi could listen to (also not you) John Scalzi read (actually you) John Scalzi…
John, don’t get caught up in The Narrative.
Heh. I am the longtime webmaster for a young musician who is becoming quite successful within certain circles. He has the same name as a photographer from New Mexico. In the early days, the photographer owned the first page of Google results (he also owns the [name].com domain name *le sigh*), but now my kid pretty much owns *all* of the pages, and even the first few pages of image search results.
Poor photographer guy. That’s gotta hurt.
Once at a Worldcon I was asked to autograph a copy of a collection of Maps of Fantasy locations, by a Jonathan Post. It was very Philip K. Dick/Twilight Zone-ish, as I never edited such a book. By rare coincidence, that other Jonathan Post, from Philadelphia, was at the con. I’ve once or twice gotten mail intended for prtofessor Jonathan Post at UCLA, who is something like Chair of English Lit there, and an expert on Poetry. I emailed that 3rd guy with a suggestion that he and I co-author “Doubles and Dopplegangers in Literature” by Professor Jonathan Post and Professor Jonathan Post.
If you Google for my name without the qualifier “orange” you get pages and pages of references to Mike Lowrey, the main character (played by Will Smith) in the film Bad Boys.
I always wonder what potential employers think when they Google me only to find my Doppelganger who is a Math(s) professor in Dublin, Ireland. Ironic, since I’m practically innumerate…
If he commented here, would we ever know?
I also second Molnar’s autograph suggestion.
His comment would not be green.
I share my name with Teri Garr’s character in The Conversation. Same spelling and everything. It came out the year I was born. But I’m pretty sure my parents were nowhere near “hip” enough to name me after a movie character.
How common a name is Scalzi? Are all you John Scalzis distant cousins?
It’s not easy, being green.
Back when Googling one’s name produced more interesting results, I found I shared what I thought was a pretty unique name with a minor Nascar driver, a diving champion, and a British schoolboy who is editor of a literary magazine. No big-time authors or masonry researchers.
My name is Stephen McNeil, and I am not the leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party. I am the Canadian chemistry professor. Not to be confused with Stephen MacNeil, the Canadian chemistry professor.
Funny, the guy in that picture doesn’t look anything like John Scalzi.
We need a video of that John Scalzi reading John Scalzi’s Blog (by Steven Brust) off of John Scalzi’s blog.
There are two John Scalzi’s?
There are thousands of me. I haven’t showed up in a search since the really early days when so few people had a web page that having one was all it took.
What if all of the other John Scalzis take up writing novels?
Perhaps there should be a Ring of John Scalzi web pages, like in the days of Geocities. There could be little award icons for “Scalzi approved” on pages, and lots of “under construction” icons.
I’ve seen Human Interest stories on TV of conventions for people who all have the same name.
Or a duet rendition of “john Scalzi’s Blog” with the Uke.
Apologies. Capitalize “John”, please. (hit preview next time, right.)
Heh. I share a name (but not a middle initial) with a small handful of infamous people – a murder suspect and a politician in another state are routinely the top hits when I google myself. My brother shares a name with a couple of people who are well-known and successful in their fields, so he hasn’t expected to find himself in the top fifteen pages for a long time.
When I Google my last name all I get are spelling corrections. My first name is uncommon as a persons name but it is also the name of a goose.
I’ve never encountered another Paige Vest. I’m lonely.
Okay, having remembered that Scalzi is Italian for barefoot, I just Googled “scalzi barefoot” and came up with a Bridge of the Barefoot (monks), and its nearby Church of the Barefoot Carmelites, in Venice. Quite unexpected!
Typo, second sentence of second paragraph, “bother my did” should be “bother my dad” (I hope).
The antagonist in my series of novels ALZHEIMER’S WAR (through Chapter 380 yesterday) is Jesus Mohammed Chang, a name selected to overlap as many people as possible in 2020 AD.
I periodically get email asking me if I can do an interview on cartooning, because an evidently-more-famous namesake is the writer of the comic strip, Hagar the Horrible. Sadly, nobody has yet offered me “briefcases full of money” such that it would tempt me to any sort of evil :-).
I’m not quite a “fan” of Hagar, though it seems better to me than *most* of the comic strips I see in the newspapers these days.
I have a similar situation: Google for “Jim Menard” and I take up most of the first page. I’ve been on the ‘Net since the early ’90’s. The other results on the first page are for James A. Menard, who is a cinematographer and director who worked on Stargate. He went by Jim Menard for years, but — I assume in frustration — started using “James A. Menard” instead. I kind of feel bad for him. Sorry, James. It wasn’t on purpose.
I share a name with the brewmaster of relatively major (not Guiness) brewery in Britain. Thus, I live my life knowing that I will never have the coolest job attached to my name. At least it’s good beer, though….
I had it a tad tougher in high school; a namesake was my school’s drug problem. I reviewed my academic files just before graduation, and pointed out a couple documents that had gotten misfiled. I didn’t actually meet him until years later, by which point he had evidently gotten out of the worst habits.
We were at the same university at the same time for a year or so, though this concerned me less, as he was an undergrad, and I was in grad school, which had fairly separate administrative arrangements, and consequently vastly less likelihood of mixed-up academic records.
You need to get him to blurb your next book. Heck, get as many John Scalzis as you can find to blurb your next book.
When I was in grad school, there was a John Nash on faculty (he’s still there, a goodly number of years later). Confusingly, he, like the Beautiful Mind, is a mathematician, and in the department where research on things like Nash Equilibrium would take place.
My wife, Professor Christine Carmichael, is sometimes confused (not by immediate family) with some other scientists of similar name, not limited to: Christine Carmichael, author of “Coordinating an effective response to wildlife diseases”
My primary namesake is a doctor in Iowa (including the middle initial). He’s got quite a few pages of search results, yet I am unaware of a connection.
Just did a Google search for myself, using my first and last names only. I share a name with an actor on a soap opera.
I then searched using my full name: first, middle and last. I was seventh, eighth and ninth in precedence; numbers seven and eight were from my Master’s thesis and number 9 was from my brother’s Facebook account.
Yeah, there are so many Ron Mitchell’s out there it would be impractical to even begin to list them. Although it is a very diverse group when googled.
My concern with this picture is that it is obviously staged. How could he possibly know how to properly hold a book? :)
Well I think that is just fantastic.
I know someone who lived in the same town as someone with the same exact name and birthday as her. She ended up on the hook for some pretty hefty bills that should have been her doppleganger’s, because their mutual doctor misfiled some paperwork and there was no way to convince them that they were ruining the wrong person’s credit. She thought it was an identity theft issue, but it turned out that there really was another person running around town with her name and birthday.
Among the handful of people I share my name with is a FDNY firefighter who perished on 9/11. Yes, he bumped me from Google results, although I can’t begrudge him that. Kind of a sobering thing, actually.
There is a famous actress with my real name. She is on a popular television show. Quite honestly, I’m happy, because ego-Googling reveals me to be basically invisible…all you’ll ever get is her and an author that shares our name. As a member of the rank-and-file, I love that my real identity is essentially invisible on the Internet. Keep real life real only, lol.
Pretty cool.. There are a bunch of people with my name.. David Gross. I know the feeling. I want to read Redshirts I’m stuck in 3 long books (audiobooks) I’m reading at same time. Hyperion by Dan Simmons, book 2 of the game of thrones series, and The Stand by Stephen King.
this is John Scalzi……
“His comment would not be green.” – and this is John Scalzi on OMW!!!!!!!
I have a distant cousin my age, also named Kurt Busiek, who is a pastor in West Virginia. He has a son, also named Kurt Busiek.
We did not know of each other (well, they knew of each other, I presume) until the younger Kurt Busiek walked into a comics shop and saw KURT BUSIEK’S ASTRO CITY racked on the wall, and wondered how the hell comics company had decided to make comics personally for him…
We live in sensational times. Makes me miss the steppes of Mongolia.
The best-known other me is a writer for various business publications, so that’s who you get when you google. I kind of like not being super easily found by a search engine.
I’ve found two namesakes via the google. My favorite one works for an African safari tour company. I so need go on that tour.
This would be a bad time to be named Todd Akin. His name is far more well known than his appearance. You might find yourself in an awkward situation before you have a chance to go ‘wrong Todd Akin’.
My name is common enough that there’s a group for people with my name on FB (possibly more than one). There’s also a semi-famous historical figure by my name, which may explain why it’s a common combination. I’m not the one who wrote a ST:TNG episode either.
There is a reporter in Maine who has the same full name I do. I’m a general nobody except that I have some modest name recognition in the knitting community so she and I vie for the top few spots in google when you search for our name. We’ve never been in touch so I wouldn’t know if she finds it vaguely amusing, unremarkable, or terribly annoying.
See…even though this is a fun thread, what I got out of it was….you were on Prodigy? Did you ever post in the Arts Club BB or the SF BB back then? I can still remember that I was MGPB34A.
Google my name & you get lots of references to a minor league hockey player, now retired, who runs a big hockey training camp. But when he played, he was a “big star” for the Bakersfield Condors. At one point I found a reference to “Paul Willett Bobble Head Night” the previous year and called the team store to see if there were any left. Then had a couple cases that they were begging to get rid of so I got ’em for free & gave ’em out as gag Christmas gifts.
Searching for the name I actually *use* (“Jenni”, rather than Jennifer), I own the entire first page of google results, including images. Right at the top of the second page, though, it starts mixing in other women with Jenni and my last name.
Using my full first name with my last name, there are clearly a lot of other women sharing my name. According to the WhitePages result, there are 52 of us in the U.S. and Canada. Really? Jennifer is a common name, sure, but I always thought my last name was less common than that.
Putting my name (which is actually middle and last) that I generally use online shows me on the top five searches on google with others showing up after that. Since I also run Connie Willis’ website, things occasionally get confused with the Connie Willis who does infomercials and such in Florida (and also has done videos to try to get Connie Willis UFO Hunter and Connie Willis Ghost Hunter shows going, the latter apparently done as an audition tape for Syfy’s Ghost Hunter series). The other Connie Willis occasionally gets mail for the writer Connie Willis and vice versa).
Having an Irish* last name, it was kind of nice as school kid to have a few famous people sharing my name – an NFL quaterback, and a late-night talk show co-host. It meant I could just say, “Like Ed” instead of having to spell my name**.
Nowadays, the most famous people I’m aware of sharing my surname are wrestling promoters. Not what it used to be, let me tell you. Oh, and Google search results on my full name turn up several PhD’s, including Astronomers, Music Professors, Engineers, and several MD’s. I kind of feel inadequate, to be honest.
* Apparently, we like a light dash of extra consonants – not as much as, perhaps, some of the Slavic nations, but enough to keep you guessing.
** Although, I did incur a penalty of Publisher’s Clearing House jokes instead.
Ok, I really am a nobody but with any version of my name, Vetnita; I own the entire Google page. Sounds great until you think about all of those old high school idiots who are now on Facebook. If you don’t know my contact info, then I don’t want you too. And yes, my mother was a hippy.
Now you just need a picture of some of the ‘other’ John Scalzis reading your work!
(especially the Florida weatherman, who does seem to be a really nice guy)
Eh. Having a first, last and middle name combination that is extremely common in the U.S. and even more so in Ireland, and a last name that is shared by several famous entertainers, athletes and politicians, the chances of me dominating any name search on Google are vanishingly small. Add in all the variant spellings of my given and family names to confuse the search and I might as well be Jane Smith. Which is usually fine with me. It’s a PITA when I want to create a user name, though.
Nobody seen ‘Are You Dave Gorman?’
Aside from a moderately well published YA fantasy author, a fundamentalist filmmaker, and several university professors, I’ve twice worked directly with my namesakes – one was a marketing exec whom I barely recall, but the other was the production manager on a TV series I worked on for the better part of a year. We not only shared first and last names, but also middle names. It was… Just. Plain. Weird… :)
Luckily for me I own the first 3 pages of my name’s Google results. Unfortunately for me the last result on the 3rd page is a relative with the same name spouting his homophobic philosophy on a message board. I wish there was a way to unaffiliate myself from his posts, but there is really no way of knowing that it is somebody different than me. Nice job ruining my name dude.
I share a name with a noted sex expert. She has her PhD. In about two months, I will have my PhD. At that point, things will get real interesting when my students try and google me…
My father lost tens of thousands of dollars when the only novel that he ever wrote himself (“The Editor”) was published. He’d made sure that the deranged alcoholic temptress in the novel was NOT the name of anyone real. By horribly bad luck, it was the real name, or extremely close to the real name, of someone obscure who acted under a far better known pseudonym, and the paperback publisher wriggled out of the lawsuit. Poor Dad. After publishing so many novels by other, and once editing 11 successive bestsellers, his own novel LOST him a lot of money, paying the judgment. I have a copy someplace. The blurb (which he did not write) says: “Rips the cover off the steaming jungle of the publishing world.”
As nice as your front yard is, Whatever John Scalzi, I think this John Scalzi’s front yard (if this is indeed his front porch) wins.
Obligatory name comment: my maiden name was Anderson, and my first name was the fourth most popular girl’s name in the U.S. the year I was born. My married name changed that — there’s only a handful of us that I’ve found, and we all toil in relative obscurity. For those reasons (I enjoy obscurity, apparently), I kept the married name even after my husband transitioned, in unhappy circumstances, to my late husband.
Well, to be fair, he’s on a hotel porch there. But I agree it’s very nice.
@money isn’t real: I read the book and was just about to link to it. Reading John’s post and the comments here made me wonder what Dave’s journey would’ve been like had Google existed back then.
I’d like to recommend that book, though, while we’re here. ‘Are you Dave Gorman?’ is a cracking read.
I just realized, John, your surname translates to ‘barefoot’ in Italian. What an interesting last name. There has to be history there worth telling. Heck, mine means ‘warrior’ in Spanish and one of my ancestors was a Filipino priest.
“You need to get him to blurb your next book. Heck, get as many John Scalzis as you can find to blurb your next book.”
I’m reminded of the Broadway producer David Merrick. Once, when stuck with a show for which he did not anticipate glowing reviews, he scoured the New York phone books for men with the same names as the theater critics for the city’s major newspapers (six or seven of them, at the time), treated them to dinner and a preview performance of the show, and ran an ad in the Herald Tribune quoting their enthusiastic praise.
The funniest name coincidence I’ve had was dating a woman who had a slightly younger namesake. My date was a tall, basketball playing scientist who worked as a webmaster. She was british. In the USA there was a tall, basketball playing webmaster with the same name who was studying science. I was somewhat tempted to email the merkin one after I broke up with the british one.
Depending on where in New England OtherJohnScalzi lives, you should invite him the next time you hit the Harvard Coop on a book tour. [Boston can be a bit of a trek from upstate Vermont or upstate Maine, though.]
Huh, I haven’t done a google search for myself in quite a while. It has changed. There used to be a CFO of some company and then me. Now it’s page after page for a doctor, random LinkedIn/Facebook/etc profiles, then actual me first shows up around page 8. Not something that bothers me in any way, just interesting.
However, my on-line name is me and only me. Which I guess is what happens when your screen name is a misspelling of a half-remembered character from a book that very few people have ever heard of!
If you make a documentary, I hope you make it less narcissistic than the one Alan Berliner did. Though I will probably never forget his name after hearing it repeated approximately a million times in said documentary.
Google shapes search results to your profile. I guess if you search your name often enough you can at least get it on the first page. I used to be high on the list with my name, but as Eddy is always the bad guy and Black as a surname has similar overtones (Reservoir Dogs anyone?)- obviously Eddy Black is a good stage name for a rock & roll / x Metal performer.
I’m not going to bother Googling Anne Smith. My daughter however has a Celtic first name and a (very rare) Maltese last name. She may be the only one. I personally like being invisible-ish.
An interesting movie I saw 5 or 10 years ago on PBS was The Sweetest Sound in which a filmmaker named Alan Berliner finds as many other Alan Berliners as he can, then invites them all over for dinner. This made a better movie than you might imagine, as Berliner goes off on a number of worthwhile tangents.
My own name appears exactly once (as a shared editing credit) in a listing for a book sold on Amazon; soon after publication, I discovered that clicking on my name led to books about sin, Jesus, etc. by an author with the same name, but luckily Amazon was able to delink me from that guy quickly and with no fuss.
My True Name (not Geff Fletcher) appears to be truly unique; there’s only three hits for it on Google, and all three of them are me. My Internet Name is shared with a 19th-century naval artist and a couple of other people, I think; it’s been a while since I’ve googled it.
Damn… the curiousity (re: googling one’s own name) finally overwhelmed me: I gave up after two dozen pages of not-me the singer/songwriter, not-me the film mogul, not me the deceased but beloved OB/GYN… I’d say my master-plan to keep my true identity off of the ‘net has been a smashing success!
My full name is genuinely unique. In fact, the only people who share my last name are in my immediate family. As a result, I try to think very carefully before I post anything under my full name on the Internet. Should I ever publish I would most likely do so under a pseudonym. While I am quite willing to take responsibility for whatever scandalous or ill-considered words might someday flow out of my fingers and into the digital aether, I don’t want to burden my children with those words as well when future employers and potential love interests Google their names.
My maiden name, on the other hand, is shared by the president of a well-known university and a plastic surgeon.
I just discovered that there is a Wikipedia page for my name!
I’m not on it.
However, my name is shared by a (former) Welsh footballer, a Scottish footballer, a (former) Olympian, and a (former, because he’s deceased) bishop of Sherwood. I’m glad someone is doing something impressive with the name.
I don’t even need to use my middle name to be unique, one hand cool, on the other need to be a little careful as I can’t get lost in the noise as the John Smiths can
I’m the #1 me on Google!! By which I will conquer the world!!! Actually I’m appreciative because the first hit for my name is an acknowledgement in a scientific paper. Not having published myself yet I feel good knowing grad schools, employers and the like will see that first! Of course I never use my real name for fun interwebz stuff so that OTHER hit for my name involving beer, aliens and twitter never comes up :) jk
I’m somewhat gratified to know that, when you google my name as I usually write it (Jennifer R. Ewing), hits 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 are all me. Under the Images tab, the only one that links back to me is the Whatever gravatar on the far right.
Now I’ve got an earworm of “I google you.”
“…and I’m pleased your name is practically unique.
It’s just you
and a would-be PhD from Chesapeake
who writes papers on the structure of the sun.
I’ve read each one …. ”
There are worse earworms to have.
Interesting. A quick ckeck on Google shows namesakes who have a parenting blog, someone who’s a doctor, and someone who’s written a book on jewelery making that I’m actually interested in getting. I’ve also seen three separate comments I’ve actually made on the blogs of friends. Oh, and another who’s an ASL interpreter for a Gay Men’s Chorus in South Florida.
I’m fascinated that both John Scalzi and John Scalzi live in beautiful homes in lovely, verdant locations. Is this a John Scalzi thing? Or, simply a pleasant coincidence?
I have the unfortunate luck to have a name shared by a county fair traveling magician. Which wasn’t a problem. Until my mother-in-law saw his show at her county fair. Now, I have to bring the magic whenever I visit. It’s bad. Really bad.
@Annalee; We had a similar problem growing up when we made appointments at our eye doctor: There was another family there that had the same first and last names as my parents, and their oldest daughter’s name was the same as my sister’s name. I was always the tie-breaker–their second kid was a boy and since I was a girl, my mom always had to call and specify that we were the family with the second daughter.
Also, my father was in the hospital recently and there were three other people there that had the same full name and birthday as him. Kinda crazy.
Also, I have to say that as a librarian, we deal with same-name people a lot and the headaches that can cause. One of my first jobs ever was writing people around the world asking “Did you author these scientific papers? Or was that another person with the same name as you?” and maintaining a database to keep author identities separate. Have you seen your entry in the Library of Congress Authorized Names database, Mr. Scalzi? It’s even got an entry for your name in Hebrew. http://lccn.loc.gov/n2003056370
“I’ve seen Human Interest stories on TV of conventions for people who all have the same name.”
I know the Phil Campbell who organized the meeting of Phil Campbells in Phil Campbell, Alabama. When the town was hit by a tornado, a bunch of the Phils got together to help raise money and rebuild.
After 20 years online, I “own” about 80% of the first page of “Ron Hogan” Google results, and I’m friendly online with one of the other Ron Hogans, who has a blog where, oddly enough, he writes about the same sorts of films I’d likely be writing about if I wrote about contemporary film. We’ve joked about getting together and pulling a surprise visit on the third Ron Hogan who made it onto the first page.
@ Lance- That’s my dad! And no, that’s not his backyard. he’s on vacation.
@ John Scalzi- This tickles me that you put this on your blog! It’s absolutely brilliant!
There are so many people with my name that you could probably Google forever and not find me. The same is true for my husband, only more so.
We kinda like it that way.
Once upon a time, I had a google doppleganger in Canada who was a few years older than me. She only had a few hits, all of them having to do with clubs she did in college. These days, I seem to have the first ten pages of results all to myself. That feels odd.
Image search, on the other hand, is terrible at finding pictures of me.
I occasionally get e-mail for another woman who shares my first name and (relatively uncommon) last name. She has Caroline.[middle initial].Lastname@[domain].com, I have Caroline.[Lastname]@[domain].com. We’ve kind of become friends. When her kids start at a new school or a new activity, the adults in charge always leave out the middle initial when they e-mail her. I always forward the e-mails along and ask after her and her family.
Fascinatingly, she and I married men with the same first name (also relatively uncommon). She took her husband’s last name on marriage, meaning she and her husband have the same last name as I do. My husband and I both kept our original last names when we married, so at least there are not two couples with identical first and last names out there. That would have been truly ridiculous.
Actually, this led to extra added hilarity in the e-mail mixups, because the first e-mail of hers I got was just after the birth of her first child. “Congratulations on becoming parents! You and [husband’s first name] must be over the moon!” Confused the heck out of me until I figured out that there was another Caroline Lastname and [husband] out there, and I was getting her e-mail. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be the last to find out I was pregnant…
I made the mistake of Googling. Thanks, John & thread. ;-) I already knew about my doppelganger in Lousiana who’s a cop (our name is rare and we might be the only two). But I found a Google hit near the top (using quotes around my name) saying “Author ___ ___ Is Dead”…what?!
No, it’s my grandmother’s obituary, but the stupid paper captioned her photo with her middle (maiden) name and last name only, and titled the obit “Author _middlename_ _lastname_ Is Dead.” Which Google lifts for the headline of the link to this ancient scan. Sigh….
P.S. Sorry, to clarify: The headline is “Author Kendall [my last name] Is Dead.”
I am the top three results on a Google search of me. Makes my ego happy.
@Ron Mitchell – That’s my uncle’s name!
I share a name with an actress, a folk singer, a judge, and a science fiction editor. I used to get Elizabeth Mitchell the actress’s fan mail until about 2005 when she surpassed me on the google fu. The funniest incident came when my husband and I were watching House, and it was the allergy episode–just weeks after my hospital-trip-inducing allergy attack–and my husband jokingly turned to me and said, “Honey, this is your episode.” And then the credits announced, “Starring Elizabeth Mitchell.” It really WAS my episode, I guess.
I am Tuckerised twice in Jo Walton’s Half a Crown. She had to make my first Tuckerisation Betsy Mitchell more of a background character after her publisher noted that Betsy Mitchell was an SF editor of some note, so I’m in again as Eliza Carr (I think.)
But pity my poor brother. Yup, that’s right, my brother is Paul Mitchell. He went through elementary school being known as Shampoo Boy.
I pretty much own my name on Google, all the way out to page 10. Between my pottery business, a stint as a children’s musician and songwriter and 20+ years as a radio host, I’m aggressively evident on Google.
Having a rare name doesn’t hurt either. whitepages.com sez there’s only two Frank Gosar’s in the US and Canada. Tempted to pay them for the listing and see who the other one is. And if he hates me for hogging his internet…
A combination of a fairly uncommon French surname and a first name not used in France means I appear to be unique on the internet, which I’ve always enjoyed. Luckily, I’ve avoided attaching that unique name to anything controversial, so my google results are basically lots of Linux forum posts.
I can’t even find my own name on Google. My first name is the most common name of an entire generation, and my last name is a verb commonly found in court documents and movie reviews. So trying to find me results in page after page of Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez and myriad other Jennifers that got cited for drugs, drinking, and domestic disturbances, mixed in with reviews of the movies or concerts they have performed in.
Gads. Hadn’t ego-surfed myself on Google for a while. I share my (medium uncommon) name with a Scots male model & a Texan semi-pro tennis player, so the Google Images search turns up some pretty impressive results. Alas, I’m not the one with the ripped washboard abs….
As far as I know, I’m the only me out there. I’m pretty sure that we’re all the better for it. An old friend of mine is actually named Elizabeth Taylor, though she uses her middle name, and changed her surname when she married. As a teenager, she was actually asked to do a photo shoot with other people who share famous names (A Michael Jackson who wasn’t Michael Jackson, etc.) for a wristwatch line called “Impostors.” I’m not sure if the photos were used, though.
I’d thought for a while that there was only one other Matt McIrvin, who lives in Colorado and has a nice blue Corvette. Later I found a couple more. One seems to live in the city where I was born.
My wife’s name is Samantha Wilkinson, so she’s accustomed to having an army of name-doppelgangers.
My case is kind of odd — I have a quite unusual name (for a name), and I have a hobbyist website, but my last name is a common English noun. This means that I’m most of the first, I dunno, 25 pages of Google results, but, with the exception of one Myspace page for a drunk young roofer in Ohio (he hasn’t updated the page in ten years or so, so he might have sobered up since then, I suppose), a lot of the not-me parts tend to be non-human. There’s a national park in Australia, for example, where the name contains my name as a subset. It’s a bit disconcerting at times.
I just checked Google and apparently:
A) I am the only one with my combination of name and surname on the ‘net.
B) The combination of “early internet adopter” and “prolific Usenet poster” means I gave up looking for my doppelganger after 25 pages with no end in sight.
The only other “M. David Blake” folks are likely to encounter via Google is an attorney from Boston, but his first name seems to be Merrill: http://www.blakelaw.com/attorney-profiles/merrill-blake.html
No idea whether he’s heard of me, or of my stories, though…
Some name anecdotes from me and my family:
1. I have a 100% unique name, and there are only 2 other people in the world who share my last name (because it’s a weird hyphenated name). Those two people are my parents. My brother USED to also share it, but he changed his name when he got married. In any case, I am extremely Google-stalkable. This caused me some angst when I decided to start designing knitwear on the side, because now anyone who searches for my academic publications or whatever is also going to find my published knit designs, but I just couldn’t figure out a design pseudonym I’d be happy with, so it is what it is.
2. My mom and dad’s first names are Barb and Tim. My mom’s older brother is also named Tim. He married a woman named…you guessed it, Barb. Not only that, but she and my mother shared middle names as well. And then when other-Barb converted to Catholicism, she took my mother’s saint name (or whatever it’s called – my mother left the church and I’m not up on the lingo) as hers, too. When my mom lived with them briefly, after they’d gotten married but before she had, there were two women with exactly the same name living in that house. Much confusion ensued. Then later, when everyone was married and started having babies, my cousin (mom’s sister’s kid) was very confused by having two sets of Aunt Barb and Uncle Tims, and so took to calling them “Big Barb and Tim” and “Little Barb and Tim” (my aunt and uncle are, shall we say, not so svelte as my own parents). Ouch.
I have a dirt common first name (guess what) and a last name that is, thank the gods, less common. I haven’t googled myself since about the last 90’s, but I found over 30 of me online before giving up. I am pleased that none of them live anywhere near me. Hell, there’s very few folks with my last name at all around me, and I only ever met one person with the name who wasn’t one of my parents. I do hope that someday I become “the famous one” of us and call dibs on that, but who knows as yet.
However, here’s an awful situation for you that I ran into at work: two women with the exact same first and last name, neither of which is all that common so you wouldn’t expect to run into this problem. They are sisters-in-law and work at the same giant org that I do. I got in trouble for mixing one up with the other one because the system wouldn’t let me search by using a middle name. I have to assume one of them changed her name and if I was the original name, I would be pissed as hell at the name changer for screwing with my life like that. Good thing I’m an only child, I guess.
The only privacy I’ve got on the Internet is because my name’s common enough that it gets a few million Google hits, mostly not me. The first five pages are usually a jazz drummer. If you’ve heard my drumming, you know you want to get him instead.
The first time I remember running into a name collision was a newspaper reporter from my home TV station, who later got murdered by the right-wing dictatorship in Nicaragua, where he was reporting on the Sandinista revolution.
I know that there are 4 others with my name, all in the same region in Belgium. Got a payment on my bankaccount once when I was 12, destined for one of them + at the library they asked me if I was already a member because my name was registered as belonging to someone else…
What do masonry scientists actually do?
There’s a person who shares my name who was a bigshot at a major steel company, which used to make me feel inadequate, but a few years ago he got arrested for insider trading, which made me feel better about myself.
[Deleted for being off topic – JS]