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September 13th, 2002

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11:33 pm - World declared "small"
How's this for a jolly Friday 13th coincidence?

In yesterday's article, I mentioned a gentleman with whom I had lost contact. Indeed, the last time I would have been in touch with him would have been 1993. Today, without having made any deliberate effort to look for him, he found me online!

The backstory is that last week I was inspired by bateleur's tales of Nomic games on the Monochrome BBS and applied for an account on the system to follow the games. Today, my account (under the name dickoon) arrived and I logged onto the BBS. About half an hour later, I received a message "By any chance, is your name Chris?"... and this turned into a ten-minute guessing game so we could each work out who the other one was.

When I worked out that I had mentioned him in the last journal, I couldn't help but laugh. By happy coincidence, he has quite an extensive open diary on Mono, so I was able to catch up on the last couple of years of his life. (Happily, he remains a fine writer.) In return, I did pass him my LJ URL - it seemed only fair. No idea whether he's looked at it or not. Naturally, I stand by what I said about him (...you?)last time.

Strangely, I might have bumped into him in about 1996 - a few of the other Oxford LJ folk who happen to have Mono accounts will know the guy and he went to a number of local parties which I missed out on at the time. No names but it's a remarkable reminder of just how well-connected the world is.

This might be an interesting point to discuss the issue of online identities. If my LiveJournal is jiggery_pokery, why do I go by the name dickoon on some places? (The name "dickoon" comes from someone else's primary-school miswriting of my surname which, at the time, I thought sounded pretty good.) No better reason than a suspicion that other LJ writers might be likely to find "jiggery_pokery" more amusing than "dickoon", really.

There are a few places where I go by "lurkwarbler", principally Instant Messenger services. It's a name that I started using on a few online games because I wanted something to do with "lurker" or "lurking" which hadn't already been taken. I'm also known as cmd in some places, MSO_Admin from time to time in others. In the early '90s, I used to write for a disc magazine - ah, the ways we communicated before we went online! - under the handle "Lord Lazy"; one person managed to work this out and pin that handle back onto me when I repurposed an article that I had written for said disk mag onto a web page. Soon Google will pick this web page up and tie all my pseudonyms together. (Hello!)

On USENET it's almost boringly easy; I make no attempt to hide the fact that if something's come from *@dickson.demon.co.uk (or, in the old days, from kebl0110@sable.ox.ac.uk or chris.dickson@keb.ox.ac.uk) then it's from me. Every couple of months I might post from yesthisisblatantsarcasm@ rather than chris@ if I'm feeling snarky and want to make some joke in character while making sure to leave the clueless or confused some sort of clue, but the rest of the time I always post under my real name.

Then again, I would say that, wouldn't I?
Current Mood: ROTFL for 1 minute at the time

(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2002 12:15 am (UTC)

Small world? I'll say it's a small world

So, I knew you were an Oxford man from your interests, but it wasn't till today I found out which college, which you mentioned in passing in the reference to your old email addresses.
This poses a whole raft of other questions, seeing as Keble was my college.
How has age dealt with John Gittins? Does the college still have tutorials with Jesus College's David Acheson? Is the dinosaur still on the wall at Keble Road?
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2002 05:29 am (UTC)

World declared "even smaller"

Dr. Gittins is now Professor of Statistics and will retire in, I think, 2005. (There was a maths reunion in 2000 to celebrate him having spent 25 years at the college, from memory, and mumblings were made that these would be every five years, with the next to coincide with Prof Gittins' retirement.) Yes, the college still has tutorials with David Acheson who will probably be retiring at the same time. (So will Dr. Robin Wilson, if you know him.) Prof Gittins still sings and David Acheson still plays semi-acoustic guitar.

Dinosaur: this is non-trivial. In the corner of the fellows' garden opposite the warden's house, there has been a new building erected, named after (and, presumably, sponsored by) ARCO. The building was erected in about '95 and my year were the second year to live in it. Now the erection of this new building did involve demolishing and rebuilding some of the Keble wall but a dinosaur's head, remarkably similar to the old one, was soon put in place on the replacement wall.

(FYI, the icon I'm using was taken inside the Arco Building, in the "Roy Griffiths Room", just before going to collect my BA at the Sheldonian Theatre.)

Now a second building has been erected along the west wall of the Fellows' Garden, between this ARCO building and the Hayward buildings. (The "goldfish bowl" rooms...) This has opened within the last 12 months or so and I haven't been back to Keble since it did open to see it in action. Now this did involve the demolition of a lot of the west wall and I don't know for sure what has happened to the dinosaur. Very good question; I shall investigate.

I nearly put "Keble College" in my interests list. It's probably a useful one to have for situations like this. (Any other questions? I would be happy to answer them or pass them on to the right person.)

[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2002 01:11 pm (UTC)

Re: World declared "even smaller"

Thank you. I will consider carefully whether I have any other questions and post them accordingly.
Partly in response, I have added "keble" to my interests, and encourage you to do likewise.
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2002 03:43 pm (UTC)

World's Even Smaller That That !

Bizarrely, the Mono account name you picked is only one character away from 'dickon' - the account formerly used by Georgia (even if you haven't met her, you know her indirectly as the partner of Rob White) !

Did you arrive on mono in time for the end of "Co-operative Nomic" <CMGN3O> ? Now that got really bizarre. Virtually turned into an RPG !
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2002 04:57 pm (UTC)

Re: World's Even Smaller That That !

Yes, I met Georgia a couple of times, probably at FLRPs. I shall not attempt to spook her by sending her mail (not that she would be able to check it any more, as you say) by sending her mail from an account with name very similar to her own, but the thought is tempting. :-)

I got on to CMGN3O half-way through the task stage, hence the week-late reply you got to your Nomic posting to your LJ. It was hugely, hugely impressive. If my account name had got through earlier - for instance, if I'd found it at the point where three people had just dropped out - then I'd have joined in, though I'd have probably struggled with it and/or died in the massacre.

Can we conclude from it that Nomic = RPG - (Simple Bloody Physics + Common Bloody Sense) ?
[User Picture]
Date:September 15th, 2002 04:58 am (UTC)

Re: World's Even Smaller That That !

Oh - good job you mentioned that 'cos I never read my back-entries !

<goes back and reads>

Right - suitable comments now added.

> Can we conclude from it that Nomic = RPG - (Simple Bloody Physics + Common Bloody Sense) ?

Hmm, good question. It's not a flawless match, but I think there may be some truth in that. (The original "This has turned into an RPG" comment was made by Steve Jessop - he didn't consider this to be a Good Thing for a Nomic !)

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