We all know someone in our lives who gets really worked up about stuff from time to time, and after a short period of ranting about something they decide to do something about it… by writing a blistering letter to someone. Usually the victim of such a letter is a local politician, a news paper editor, a school principal, or whoever is in charge of the person who the letter writer feels “wronged” by.
I used to be that guy. Not the receiver of the letter. Not the poor unfortunate who just happened to say the thing which set a letter writing spree in motion. I was the guy who would end up finishing a rant by saying “Right! I’m writing a letter!!”.
We’ve all seen that guy. He gets that little gleam in his eye, as he stomps off to his preferred writing device – laptop, tablet, phone, typewriter, biro… quill… chisel… – and you can almost hear his thoughts as he’s writing his scathing review of all of the things wrong with the person, the person’s company, the likelihood that they’ll contribute meaningfully to the gene pool, and how there… will… Be… CONSEQUENCES!!! Every word written with glee, and every sentences punctuated with “That will show them”, or “That will fix them”, or “You are SO screwed”.
As I said, I used to be The Letterwriter. I had a kind of grumpy 30’s. I hit my grumpy old man peak early, which is good because I also get to enjoy wiser mellowness in my 40’s instead of waiting until I’m hidden away in some quiet corner of a nursing village sagely commiserating with my peers about how much easier the youth of today have things. I stopped writing the letters when I realised that I’d stopped sending them, even though I was writing them. I’d reached that whole “what’s the point of sending” stage when I realised that it was the writing itself that was cathartic.
So what, I hear you ask, has any of this got to do with the title of today’s blog post? Well… it seems that the letter writer in me is back in a way. I’m determined today to write a message to the people who created the web browser that I use… not really to scathe or complain, but to offer a suggestion for a feature, or a better way to do the thing that this browser is meant to be doing, yet which it doesn’t do well. I like the browser, but I don’t like how it fails to work with some of the websites that I want to enjoy the full experience with, which forces me to go back to using my older browser and defeats the purpose of installing the new one in the first place.
Why am I not using Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, or any of the more popular browsers? Basically for privacy. I don’t like all of the tracking that occurs through the browser. It’s a basic security risk that is far to easily exploited, it can become a great distraction, a source of virus and malware infestation, and frankly it’s just rude. I do not need to have my kids see a simple google search result in a series of ads popping up showing me where I can purchase lacy armadillo stockings, or studded dog collars for mice. I swear I only looked those items up once, and now google won’t let me forget it!!! erm… moving on… And as you’ve guessed, the browser of choice is supposed to block all of this tracking, and in doing so it reduces traffic on my computer and – or so I hope – ensures the browser works a little faster… only it doesn’t really work as I’d hoped.So, in order to make my suggestions, I needed to log onto a support forum, and I thought that I’d rather not display my real name, so I should come up with something that would represent my little secretive forum persona. Hopefully this strategic anonimity avoids a lot of potentially unwanted messages in future, as forums are sometimes mined for other personal data, and again that dratted google search could end up associating my searches with something else unpleasant gleaned from someone else’s forum post, such as those trolls who advertise stuff in the replies to posts, such as viagra or adult services, or even worse… how to improve my blog’s SEO!!.
Now, as I don’t really think that I have a great imagination when it comes to naming, I thought I’d seek help. And seriously, I’m really terrible at naming things. I had a budgerigar (parakeet to all the Americans who don’t know better) when I was younger that I named “Budgie”, and a cat many years ago was simply named “Puss”, and the best one was a bit of code to refer to a green button at the upper right corner of a window for multiple uses in an application I was creating which as you might have guessed was labelled in code as:
…which was funny in my mind, but annoyed the hell out of the other programmers I worked with. So the last thing that I want is to type in a login name that reads “GrumpyOlderBrowserUserWhoWantsToMakeSuggestionsInThisForum”!!
My solution…I’d make an anagram out of my name!!!
Brilliant! Or so I thought!!
The trouble with anagrams is that they don’t always make sense. You really have to go looking for them, and it helps to have a name with letters that result in cool combinations. For example, “Debit Card” could become “Bad Credit”. “Bob Marley” could be “Marble Boy”. Even George Bush lucked out with “He Bugs Gore”. It also helps to have that imagination that I fear I’m lacking, so I decided to recruit the help of an anagram generator. The one I found was simple to use. Just type in a few words, hit the helpfully labelled “Anagram it!” button and you get a heap of anagrams. So what did putting my name in give me? Well, setting the anagrammer for creating 2 words out of my first and last names started off with anagrams which include the words “Insane”, “Sinner”, and “Inane”. Not truly an inspiring start!! Surely I can find something cool. Surely I rate better than George Dubya!!
Scrolling a little further, I found this little gem:
OK, So I’m definitely not picking something that turns my name into somethign that basically means “Farting”!!! Well… it’s a start I suppose, and with a little tweaking I changed it to:
I guess that’s not so bad if you think more along the lines of horses moving about in their stalls, and less along the lines of pigs getting amorous!!!
Less personally insulting while I remain under the age of 60, but perhaps a bit provocative. I don’t wish to make a political statement here, just obfuscate my name and seem a little… I don’t know… Cooler?!…
I kind of like that one… although I’d worry that people would not be able to concentrate as they’d be constantly concerned that they might get accidentally stabbed in the back by a bison horn! We can’t have any of that!! So I searched further and found the slightly cuter and Scottish sounding:
Again with the Scottish theme I found:
I’m not so sure I’d describe one of the deadliest viruses known as being “bonnie”!!
At last however, down towards the end of the list I found a collection of anagrams with the word “Baron”. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Nisse is a town in Belgium. Sensi is a variant of Sensei, which means teacher in Japanese. Siens is a plural of the obsolete sien, which means scion or descendant. Perhaps I can mix the letters “einss” to make up something coolly non-sensical as a “baronial” name.
Hmm… I rather fancy myself as a Baron. Lord of all I survey. My little property the Barony of some place or other that will probably need another name generator to label it.
So now that I have lot’s of potential pseudonyms to go with, it’s time to log in and make a nuisance of myself on a forum. After hours doing something completely different to that which I’d intended, I’d better get around to writing my letter and seeing what may come out of it… and I’m grateful that I’ve reached a point in my life now where I no longer feel the need to stick it to someone just to make myself feel better. Besides, that sort of behaviour isn’t very “Baronial”, is it?!!