Screen Names vs. Real Names

Do you use a made up name for your online presence, or do you use your real name? When I got started on the Internet, back in 1997 or so, no one used their real names. Unable to think of a good handle, I was dubbed “SpiritGod21” by a friend, based on an inside joke, and began my foray into telnet and talkers. That became my identity for a while–my email address, handle, and eventually a Geocities page all used the same name. But what worked for me in junior high didn’t work as well in college, and I began casting around for a nickname that fit my changed personality better.

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SilverPen’s First Podcast

I’ve mentioned before (through MySpace and Twitter) that I have some interest in podcasting, but it was the somewhat indecipherable interest of a young boy staring at shiny things. “Why do you need that?” an older me might ask, and younger me would simply point and exclaim, “Shiny!”

There was no need to be met by podcasting, no call for me to do it or demand that I record my voice. But it seemed kind of cool, and I wanted to join the cool crowd who recorded things that were subsequently listened to on the Internet.

Of course, I never did it, because I had no content. What would I speak on? Who would care? What’s the point? All valid questions, and all made completely moot last Tuesday.

I was speaking on the subject of Romance at FnC (the college ministry I helped found a few years ago) and decided not to print my notes out. Now that I have a laptop capable of super-mega-cool things like staying-on-for-more-than-thirty-minutes, I thought I’d just use that instead of wasting paper.

And since I’d have my MacBook there, and Macs are known for their sexy audio capture and editing capabilities, I thought, “Huh, why not hit a record button before I start?”

And that is what I did. I cut out the very beginning when I was moving chairs and the very end, which were just weekly announcements. Other than that, it’s unedited, for which I partially apologize. Since FnC is somewhat discussion-focused, you can’t hear everyone on the track, and there are a number of clicks and claps at the beginning that hail from unknown sources.

In general, I was very impressed with the MacBook’s built-in microphone, and it was a pretty easy process. Publishing a podcast was less straightforward, but thanks to the Podcasting plugin, even that is relatively easy.

The talk was around 34 minutes, so if you’re interested in hearing me ramble about romance, movies, Arthurian legends, chastity, and purity, I invite you to give it a listen.

Available on iTunes and for local download [mp3 format] (though I really encourage iTunes as they have way more bandwidth than me!).

As with everything published by me, this podcast is licensed under a CC BY-ND-NC license.

PS There was also a request for the notes I used during this talk. I’d recommend holding off on reading them until after you listen to the podcast as it totally ruins the surprise 😉 But if you like, you can get a PDF copy of them for your perusal.

This subject will be the focus of a chapter in my upcoming book, Common Thoughts.


Let out the string to fly a kite
Which first escaped when I was eight
And, squinting, lose it in the light.

Those Kansas winds would fairly cry
(Though you’d lie and call it fate)
Let out the string to fly a kite.

Thought you’d come and hold on tight;
You left me with that sky I hate
And, squinting, standing in the light.

I was too young to win a fight
Against a wind that begged for mate,
Let out the string to fly a kite.

With eyes made hard from bitter sight,
I sought my childhood in the day
And, squinting, lost it in the light.

I can’t forgive what you thought right,
To pawn me off and then to say,
Let out the string to fly a kite
And, squinting, lose it in the light.

Sorry Best Friend

Tracing ellipticals around a fractured star
That sought a spotlight for its shine; we skipped from
Eight wheels to four, wooden slats bound tightly so our
Skates could glide while we held hands, and the roaring hum
Of sixteen-hundred revolts against inertia
Rattled our smiles. Eyes wide as we spun ecliptics
Inside the bleachers where he sat, eyes dark and shunned,
Hopeless anger flaring like a too-bent matchstick.
“He’s such a loser,” you complained, and I was shy,
So we laughed at his disease, like a secret shared
Between two friends who had escaped a forest fire
They chose to not prevent. I asked, “Should you be there?”
But you, his girl, just smiled and clasped me to your chest;
Fell laughing to the floor, my head upon your breast.