Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

For some reason, work conversation this morning turned to nicknames acquired in college. Combined with my impending reunion, it got me to thinking of all the nicknames my friends and acquaintences in college had.

My college nickname? I’m afraid those records are classified.*

I’m going strictly by memory, and given that it’s 10 to 15 years in the past, there’s bound to be gaps, misspellings and less-than-accurate recollections. If I’ve excluded anyone, or gotten anything wrong, it’s not intentional. Any Eckerd alums coming across this can feel free to chime in.

I’m also going to (mostly) exclude nicknames that are just diminutives of the full names, just because they aren’t as colorful. So I’m not forgetting J.C., JayRay, Neeck, Gordo, Jimbo and the like, but I am overlooking them here.

In no particular order, with nickname, real name, origin story, and impressions:

“Deuce” - Rick Neverdousky. A shortened portion of his last name.

Not a close friend, but we usually managed to be in the same places at the same times. One of the cheesiest individuals I’d ever met, and the amount of tail he scored despite (or perhaps because of?) that just absolutely killed me.

“Schmu” - Christopher Casey. Shortened from “Shamu”, as in the killer whale. Bestowed in the aftermath of a canoe race where he and his rowing partner managed to flip their craft about 10 seconds after starting, and remained waterlogged the whole rest of the way. (The partner was granted the nickname “Flipper”, of which there’s more below.)

One of my oldest friends, former roommate during and after college. Now lives in Washington, DC, so communication is more sporadic.

“Flipper” - Jason Bauer. See the origin of “Schmu”, above. Not to be confused with “Flip”, another campus regular (more below). I believe Jason once mentioned to me that he would have preferred getting “Schmu” instead, but what can you do…

Former college roommate. Fun guy, good friend, tended to be a lousy drunk to have around. I spent many a Mobile Mardi Gras at his family home during the ’90s. We’ve drifted apart over the past few years.

“Adge” - A.J. Joseph. A shortening/mashing of A.J. (which would tend to give you something pronounced “age”, but that would be stupid, so this was the solution).

Former roommate, right out of college. Good guy, full of confidence, a bit on the goofy side. He was living in town and working at Eckerd until recently; I’ve heard he’s since moved to Colorado.

“Slim” - Real name unknown. Origin of nickname unknown, although since he was pretty thin, I assume the name just fit.

A dormmate during my first semester in my freshman year. I never knew him particularly well, but for some reason I remember him. He was part of a group of guys in the dorm who left in the middle of that school year, under a mysterious cloud. I seem to recall something about drug dealing. My mentions of him over the next couple of years to mutual acquaintences would always elicit remarks of, “Slim? That dog.”; never sought an expansion on that.

“Weasel” - Don’t remember real name, something Hispanic. Had kind of a little-guy weasel look about him, not as much so personality-wise.

I never knew him very well, but we had mutual friends. He graduated after my Sophomore year. Seemed like a nice enough guy.

“Bear” - Mark Bonfiglio. Derived mainly from his hirsute nature. I heard at one point that he wanted to have “Fig” as his nickname, but it never stuck.

Good guy, always very inclusive in social gatherings. I remember his room as the focal point of dorm activity. He married Kat, his college sweetheart, and moved to Colorado and Ohio after graduation. We’ve traded infrequent emails since.

“Woody” - Chris Bell. The story I was given was that during a party, he and Kat (above) were dancing, when Kat pulled away, giggling, and declared, “He’s got a woody! He’s got a woody!”. The presence of other Chrises in the social group also led to the necessity of a nickname.

Funny fellow. He was Bear’s roommate, so we hung out a lot in his room, playing Nintendo and wasting time. The last I heard, years ago, was that he was living in Atlanta.

“Flip” - Don’t remember real name, maybe John-something. I think inspired by the beach visors, with the flipped-up lids, that he often wore.

Never knew him particularly well. He was part of the regular volleyball-playing crew that always congregated behind the dorms or at the beach. He went out for a long stretch with a girl named Danyelle, on whom I had a running low-level crush (I remember her being almost ideal, physically, with dark tan, long brown hair and a slim figure); and so, I was jealous of him.

“Rambo” - David Downing. His military family background, involvement in ROTC and general fondness of militaria got him the name.

Nice enough guy. I don’t think he was ever completely comfortable in his own skin. He was always the responsible one, in that while the rest of us got trashed, he’d be relied upon to get us home in one piece. He relished the role, but I always felt like we took advantage of that. I think he went overseas after graduation; we met up again a few years ago, but I don’t remember what he had been up to.

“Jazzy” - Jeff, don’t remember his last name. No specific origin for the nickname, other than a love for hip-hop.

My next-door neighbor during my freshman year. Another active volleyballer. He was from the Florida Panhandle, a real cracker, but immersed in black culture. Usually very low-key, but a bit more excitable when drunk. I believe I heard he moved to Tennessee to work at FedEx after graduation, and got married to his college girlfriend.

“Floyd” - John Briggs. Shorthand for “Pretty Boy Floyd”, bestowed to him after he was caught preening too long in front of a mirror. Also got a secondary nickname, “Pedro”, after he walked around the dorm one night wearing a Mexican-style poncho.

Roommate of Jazzy’s, and thus also my dorm neighbor my first year. New Yorker, bodybuilder. Nice guy, although I can’t say much else about him stands out now. I ran into him shortly after I graduated, here in St. Pete, but I lost touch soon thereafter.

“Suds” - Greg Suddath. Derived from his last name, and from his copious beer guzzling (not that he was unique in that).

Never knew him too well, but he was a fixture at parties, and always noticable. Lived in Hiaassen House, pretty much a jock dorm, and the neighboring male dorm in my complex during my freshman year.

“Heckler” - Justin, don’t remember last name. Reflective of his wise-ass personality. He originally got “Flounder” hung on him, derived from the Animal House character; he somehow managed to drop it. However, I couldn’t seem to let go of it for a long while afterward, and even now sometimes refer to him as “Flounder”.

A born prankster. Jersey kid, slightly rich, something of a ladies’ man. I would run into him every so often after graduation, and I think he still lives a few miles away from me, but I haven’t seen him in a couple of years now.

“Puppet” - Greg, don’t remember last name. Don’t remember how he got the name, although I guess he sort of had a puppet-like countenance.

Sort of casual acquaintence throughout college. Most memorable moment with him was sharing a 24-hour van drive north from St. Petersburg to New York, where I was dropped off while he and another guy kept going into New England. Lost track after graduation.

“Oaf” - John O’Flanagan. Shortened fragment of his last name; not so much his personality.

Boston native, with the accompanying accent. Part of a neighboring clique, hung out at parties and such. His sister, Jennie, was a heartbreaker.

“Mel” - Richard, don’t remember last name. Given to him due to a passing resemblance to a young Mel Gibson.

Nice guy, never knew him particularly well. Part of the extended group we all hung out in.

“Goose” - Don’t remember real name. Don’t remember the origin, although I have a feeling it was based off his real name somehow.

Truthfully, I barely remember him now. We were dormmates my Sophomore year, and he often hung out in the halls. I think he might have been a computers major.

“Ears” - Erin Kelly. Due to his noticably big ears, also partially off his first name.

Bombastic guy, fun at parties. I actually got an apartment with him and his girlfriend, Margaret, the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years. I think he went to med school after graduation, but I lost track after that.

“Zooey” - Dave Branigan. Not sure how he acquired the nickname; may have been related to his party-animal behavior (animal suggesting zoo).

A guy in my Freshman orientation class/Western Heritage class. Pretty much treated college life as a playground, and dropped out after his first year. I always had a suspicion that he would come back our Senior year, but he never did.

*Actually, I didn’t have a nickname in college. My name’s unique enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 11:17pm
Category: College Years
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cup o' stan
Reminders of the lockout are downers. Best cure: 46 pictures of the Stanley Cup’s summer world tour with Tampa Bay Lightning players.

My favorite: Picture number 33, which shows Brad Richards trying to squeeze the Cup into his SUV’s shotgun seat.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 09:35pm
Category: Hockey
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*Jen* Magazine, a webzine just for modest-minded Mormon teens and young adults.

Because you’re never too young to start repressing yourself.

(Via Tian)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 09:02pm
Category: Internet
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so high school
Has it really been only a year since Apple announced Windows support for iPods and iTunes? It was a good decision, as the company is enjoying high times as a result of its dominance of the digital music market.

Aside from that, I found this anecdote to be a good illustration of the coolness quotient of the iPod:

Investment bank Piper Jaffray traveled to high schools across the country and found that 16 percent of students already had an iPod. Another quarter of them plan to buy an iPod, with only about 8 percent planning to buy some other type of digital music player.

Just how high does the iPod rank on the teenagers’ minds? Well, only clothes, money and a car were named higher on the holiday wish lists of those surveyed by Piper Jaffray.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 08:47pm
Category: Business, Pop Culture, iPod
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Poynter’s got an interesting article that discusses recent findings from an Associated Press research study on how newspaper readers perceive blogs.

Among the findings: About 20 percent of regular newspaper readers read blogs at least some of the time. Compare this to the latest Pew Internet & American Life numbers, which pegs about 11 percent of the general U.S. population reading blogs with the same frequency. This is not surprising: Newspaper readers tend to be info junkies and avid readers, so naturally they’re going to gravitate toward additional reading material. Plus, they’ll tend to be more informed about the existence of blogs, both particular ones and blogging in general.

While it’s fashionable to tout this much penetration for blogging, it’s important to note that it’s still a small portion of the public that’s reading blogs. The numbers are increasing — I believe Pew reported only 4 percent general public readership a year ago — but they’re still far from making blogs a widespread source of influence.

The other notable finding here is the impression survey respondents had of blogs. Overall, there’s no indication that news consumers are ready to toss traditional media overboard for blogs:

Some said that although they don’t visit blogs now, the CBS memo controversy had convinced them that they should. And others said they’d sampled blogs but found them self-centered, rude, or lacking the level of credibility they were after. “I browse them once in a while,” said Bill Gillam of Arlington, Wash. “I find them to be akin to listening to the guy in front of you talking to his buddy when you are at Starbucks.”

“I applaud them for their involvement, their creativity, and their resourcefulness, but they are merely a modern version of the soapbox speaker in the town square,” said Jerry Gillooly of Lambertville, Mich. “They’re entitled to their opinions, and I’m entitled to ignore them.”

On the other hand, there’s an appreciation for what bloggers are in a unique position to offer:

“Most of the time they report something and it’s clear which side of the fence they’re on — they make no claim to impartial observation,” said Joe Schweigert of Rochester, N.Y. “I wish I could say the same for the national and local news media.”

Survey respondents also say experience is key. There’s plenty of junk out there, but if you follow blogs for a while, it becomes easy to separate the good from the bad. Look for writers willing to treat an issue honestly, and those who can speak with authority.

“Bloggers that are talking about something in their field of expertise are much more trustworthy than mainstream media,” said Jason Hartney of Pullman, Wash. “A news reporter talking about guns is a prime example (they generally know very little). Likewise, it is easy to tell when a blogger is outside his area of expertise.”

“I cull through them until I trust them. I believe you can read a blog to reinforce your beliefs … or you can read a blog and learn something,” said Sydney Cardner of Lakeland, Fla. “If a blogger never varies on his opinion on a topic, I become suspect.”

J.T. Mims of LaGrange, Ga., said trying to zero in on the credibility of individual bloggers is missing the point. “It’s not so much ‘trusting’ one blogger over another. What matters is that ALL sides of any issue can be researched by looking at the viewpoints proffered by all sources. Ideally, the truth would be portrayed by some single source. However, this is not the case with the Internet nor with the old media.”

The issues of objectivity and trustworthiness have been centerpieces of online opinion journalism. Who can you believe? I think there’s a lot to be said for putting more stock in news organizations that deal with the dollars and cents of news gathering and presentation than in pundits who riff off that. Blogs offer important perspectives on what’s reported, but to rely on them as the primary news source doesn’t work.

One thing to keep in mind on all this: Newspaper readers tend to skew older. That means the polling population was probably relatively light on the younger demographics, much of which are considered the most devoted blog readers/writers.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 08:32pm
Category: Bloggin', Publishing, Society
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You’ll often find some of the most ardent blogging evangelizers from within the advertising, marketing and public relations fields. To these professionals, blogs are an effective break-through-the-clutter method of getting the message out, often with at least the appearance of anti-establishment credibility.

But do their industries as a whole embrace blogging? The Public Relations Society of America, for one, praises blogs to the skies. But when it comes time to walk the talk, they don’t devote a single program item during their upcoming annual convention to what they describe as “the most important international communications event of the year”.

B.L. Ochman is of the opinion that this omission is the result of a fossilized attitude at the PRSA. In the PR field, there’s no greater sin than being behind the curve. That the association isn’t willing to cede some convention time to this new field is a strong indication that the industry establishment is currently missing the boat.

The flip side of the argument is that, given how one of the perceived virtues of blogging is it’s unstructured nature, the PRSA might not want to spoil the fun by making it an “santioned” PR tactic. In fact, PR people like Jeremy Pepper think blogging is better left untouched at such events, lest it become quickly overexposed.

I tend to side with the latter argument. Blogs are still new enough that there’s nothing to be gained by “legitimizing” them through widespread use. If every PR house started pushing them, they’d lose their cache, in no small part due to over-handling. I also question why PR professionals would need tutorials, or even pointers, from their association. If they need to be clued in through that channel, they probably shouldn’t mess with it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 07:50pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin'
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A skating rink? A movie studio? Oh, the possibilities are many for refurbishing Tampa’s Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, most of which is being vacated by the present tenant, the National Guard.

About that movie studio idea:

Several said the building would make a great film studio - the perfect thing to put Tampa on the map as a movie-making destination.

Rep. Kevin Ambler said that would be “perhaps the best use” of the armory, which sits within the West Tampa redevelopment area.

“If we have that infrastructure, we can become a major competitor to the Miami market, even exceed it,” Ambler said. “The city could recoup money from that, and lots of business spinoffs come from that.”

Surpass Miami as Florida’s premiere filming location? Dare to dream, but no, that’s not going to happen. Still, it would be an attractive perk that could lure more productions here — and not necessarily Scientology-critical ones, either.

I’m trying to visualize the building. I’m familiar enough with that part of town, but can’t quite place it mentally. It’s probably so nondescript that it blends into the background.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 07:14pm
Category: Florida Livin'
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only postponed
Today was supposed to be Opening Night for the 2004-2005 NHL season. But of course, it’s not.

And what could be a more poignant reminder of what’s lost than having today’s planned schedule of games listed in the usual spot on my Excite homepage, with an unintentionally optimistic “Postponed” in place of gametimes? Automated Web scripts at their finest.

I hope that scoreboard doesn’t display like that all this lost season. Or maybe I hope it does: It’ll serve as a regular reminder of what we’re missing, and maybe get me riled up out of my present apathy toward the labor impasse.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/13/2004 09:57am
Category: Hockey, Internet
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