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June 20, 2002

Live from the briar patch
Posted by Teresa at 12:49 AM *

Someone turned up today in the comments section of one of Patrick’s Electrolite posts, writing in persona as the young Karl Marx. Things promptly got strange.

Comments on Live from the briar patch:
#1 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 08:26 AM:

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Teresa! See if you can guess which ones are mine.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 08:05 PM:

Chris, I would have known even without the IP addresses.

#3 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 09:48 PM:

Cvrses! And I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for those meddling IP addresses...

Um, what IP addresses?

(Btw, if you want to type less, you can call me Xopher. Many do.)

#4 ::: Jim Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 10:08 PM:

I read the comments on Patrick's Electrolite, and remembered that this was the sort of spur-of-the-moment off-the-wall loopy wit I used to look for in fanzines. I don't even know if anyone prints fanzines, I mean, really prints them anymore. Oh well, lanterns may go dark, but there's always a light somewhere.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2002, 12:19 PM:

Oh, is that why you use that handle? I'd been wondering. I've been pronouncing it "!gopher" in my head.

Knowing your intent doesn't help. By me, chi + rho + "opher" comes out "crowfer". I can type "Christopher" in less time than it would take me to remember and type "Xopher".

#6 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2002, 01:29 PM:

"Xopher" makes me think "crossover," as in a cable wired to exchange the send and receive wires and allowing two ports of the same gender to be connect correctly.

#7 ::: Mary Kay Kare ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2002, 01:56 PM:

Xopher makes me think of Xander's younger dumber brother. But that's probably just me.


#8 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2002, 02:25 PM:

OK, here's the scoop. Skip it if you don't care.

Teresa, you're going all Greek on me. I didn't know Greek when I was 9, which is when I noticed that Xmas simply substituted 'x' for the letters 'christ', with appropriate capitalization.

With me so far?

So, I also noticed that my name, Christopher, started with the same six letters. Doing the identical substitution, I came up with Xopher (pronounced ZOE-fer (zoe rhymes with toe)).

I'm not the only Christopher to have done this. But even my parents called me that when they were feeling affectionate (fingers of one hand). Some coworkers have. I started using it at work when I found that the first-name fields would only take...some number of chars less than eleven; six is the worst.

Oddly, I don't mind when people shorten it still further to Xo (zoe)--not even as much as I mind when people call me Chris. I guess it's from all those grandmotherly signoffs...Xo stands for a big kiss and little hug, isn't that just cute enough to make you barf?

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2002, 12:54 PM:

Yes. Understand that I mean that in the nicest possible way.

I'll try to remember "Zopher", if that's your preference; though if I were you, I wouldn't give up entirely on your old name and associated saint. Unless you already know from looking him up, he's much weirder than you imagine. For instance, did you know that it used to be believed that anyone who saw an image of St. Christopher wouldn't die that day? Churches had images of him right inside the door so you could nip in for a quick look.

#10 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2002, 03:59 PM:

No, I haven't given up on Christopher. It's still what most of my friends call me and like that. ("Chris" is another matter. I gave that up long ago. Initially it was because it was too easily feminizable; now it just doesn't sound like me.)

Wow, no, I didn't know that about the saint. What I heard is that he was the whitewash job for Anpu (Anubis) when Egypt was Christianized. The saint story is pretty cool.

This story got to Europe via the Irish, who visited Egypt repeatedly in the 4th through 6th centuries. The Irish tale of St. Christopher begins by informing the reader (or listener) that St. Christopher belonged to the race of Faery known as the Dogheads.

I have all this from the scholar Kondratiev, who did not tell me who his masters were.

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