Why I call myself "xanthian" in electronic communications.

I keep getting asked "Why 'xanthian'?" so I'm finally breaking down and putting my excuses on the web instead of typing the story from scratch every time. Laziness wins another round.

When I attended ODU university, working on a master's in CS (never finished), my first Usenet account was via the CS department's net interface machine, xanth.cs.odu.edu. This machine in turn was named by the (brilliant) teen ager senior sysadmin there, Elias E. "Tad" Guy, for the Piers Anthony (slur that, you'll find "xanth" in the middle) [Jacobs] fantasy novel series about the magical land of Xanth, so named for the senior demon X(sub a)n(exp th) whose desmene it was. On this, our mundane world, Xanth is co-located with (overlays) Florida.

When I got promoted from terminal room monitor to junior Unix sysadmin, I got a perq in the shape of my first name as an account ID instead of some ugly administrator designed mess. I started to become a minor mover and shaker, and general nuisance, on the Net, so to identify myself more firmly in the eye of the reader, and fueled by incredible vanity, I started signing my news postings "Kent, the man from xanth".

Came the time I had to make a living at more than instructor wages, I came across country and also got an account on The Well (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) up in Sausalito, but there was already a user with user-id "kent" there, so I chose "xanthian" to maintain a link with my good and bad reputation on the net when posting from a new place. So it has been since 1988, on several public web sites, and at cooperative employers.

That's why.

This page, maintained by
Kent Paul Dolan
xanthian@well.com ,  
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