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JENSIE:
jensi I am a teacher, I teach English and drama. And pretty soon I’m going to go to Japan to teach there whenever they lift the border restrictions, which hopefully will be happening pretty soon. I am also on a podcast called roleplay redcon, which is how we met because you just randomly found us, which was crazy and exciting.

ROB:
So gente you’ve had a couple of names floating around that we’ve chatted about a little bit. Mm hmm. Which one was first? And how did you come by?

JENSIE:
So the first name that I came by, that I used for years was ego, brain, and, gosh, ego brain. So I really love that name. First of all, I’ve loved it. I just like I feel really connected to it. But that came about it wasn’t a super duper happy, nice story. So when I was about 11, I started playing online video games for the first time, I started playing with my daddy, he played Diablo two and he got me into it. And at the time, I had no idea what to name my character. You know, I had never done anything like that before. And my daddy’s character’s name was gun runner. Because I guess that’s what he was into at the time. Sure. And as an 11 year old I I was more of like a quote daddy’s girl, I guess. So we both thought it would be a super cute name. If I went with guns girl, right as my name. While it was a super cute name. A lot of people on the internet were not nice about it. I guess. That’s putting it pretty mildly. As a preteen, I received a lot of sexual harassment because I had the word girl in my name. And I played a a female character, a sorceress. Gosh, I got the weirdest reactions out of people. Some people reacted in anger and violence. Because in their mind, girls were not allowed to play this game at all. And how dare I even be in their space? And then it some people were like, why do you have the name girl in your name, you’re not a girl, because girls don’t play that game. But unfortunately, there was an awful lot of like sexual harassment. And I didn’t really know what to do about this. So I try to, you know, not talk to people or play with people or anything, but it’s still, they just, I don’t know, they just find you like these predators. It’s, it’s pretty awful. So after about, I guess, two years of that, maybe when I was like 12, or 13, I decided that I just absolutely did not want any kind of male attention ever. Period. I didn’t want it. So I decided to change my name. And at the time I was really big system is down fan, which I still like system of it down there. They’re a great classic band. But I was when I was trying to think of a name, I knew that I wanted at least a gender neutral name, but I would much prefer a more masculine leaning type of name. And so I was listening to music and I was thinking a lot about it. And I was I heard you know, ego brain by System of a Down. And I thought that sounds like a really cool name just by itself. So I adopted ego brain. From then on. I use ego brain as all of my primary characters and account names for any kind of online messaging board or when I started playing World of Warcraft. And then later, when I started playing, Star Wars, the Old Republic, just any kind of online gaming thing, I was always ego brain because it felt really comfortable. And it felt safe. I never talked in voice chat or anything because, you know, I didn’t want them to know. And I am non binary, but you know, at the time I didn’t have a word for that. I thought that I was just a tom girl so I identified as a girl

or a tomboy, I guess that’s what it’s called.

ROB:
In those days, like Diablo was a graphics and text based thing, right? Was there a voice component to that game?

JENSIE:
There was not not in Diablo two, so I didn’t really even have to worry about it then. But when I switched over to world Warcraft, I had to worry about that, especially since like I liked doing in game stuff like writing. And for a lot of raids, they wanted you to use things like Teamspeak which was understandable because it was a lot slower to type and raid at the same time. I, I just didn’t like doing it.

ROB:
Mm hmm. So for someone not familiar with System of a Down like ego brain is still kind of just on its face. It’s a bad sounding name.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah. Thank you.

ROB:
Did you get any particular reactions to that name? Like, would people recognize it as a as a System of a Down thing? Or just like,

JENSIE:
I think it’s kind of a deep cut, I guess, song. Because I think in all of my years using that name, I think maybe two people said something about system down to me, like, not a lot of people recognized it is the System of a Down zone, which is fine with me, because I didn’t want to necessarily, you know, associate with system down or that song or anything. I just really loved that name.

ROB:
Mm hmm. Yeah, there’s a lot of people who get their usernames and screen names and such from like pop cultural things they like, you know, music or shows or whatever. And some people enjoy continuing that association. And some people just get sick of it after a while, like, Oh, you like such and such abandon like, yes. So after ego brain, where did you go from there.

JENSIE:
So I still do like to use ego brain when I’m playing online games, because even though the online gaming community has gotten better, I think as a whole, it’s still not a super safe place for marginalized groups. So I do still like to use ego brain a lot with that. But now I’m in more of like, the online sphere, I like to go by Gen Z dactyl, because it’s got my actual name and agency. And I like being associated by that name, also.

ROB:
para gente dactyl come about

JENSIE:
Gen Z dactyl. That’s a much nicer one. Gen Z dactyl came about. Actually, when I was playing diablo two, I met my best internet Paladin. And his name is Greg. Unfortunately, Greg’s no longer with us. But one day, we were just, I don’t know, being silly and giving each other cute Pokemon names, because we both loved Pokemon at the time. And his was Greg manly after a hit mine Lee and then he gave me Gen Z dactyl after aerodactyl. And I just thought it was the cutest sweetest name. And, you know, it just kind of works as its own thing also, like not necessarily super, you know, associated with the Pokemon, but I just I love it. And, and I started using that one more recently. The reason that I started using it is because as ego brain like it’s a really cool name, but then I’ve got creative works out there on the internet, where people know me as Gen Z. And so when I show up somewhere, they don’t recognize that I am the same person, you know, that ego brain is Gen Z. And even like, some of my friends don’t recognize that name as being me. So, yes, I think that people recognize that name and associated more with me, I guess, since it has my actual name in it. But also, anytime I would be in an online area as ego brain and then like when I was more associating with my a fab origins, or whatever, and people like kind of realized who I was, it gave me a lot of, again, somewhat unwanted attention because then people would make a big deal out of like, Oh my gosh, I had no idea you were you know, whatever. And so this feels like less of I don’t know, a shock or something.

If that makes sense.

ROB:
Since you’re still doing things under ego brain and under jensi cult, like, what’s the delineation there? Like? Do you have things you strictly prefer to do under one or the other

JENSIE:
question um, it was like strictly gaming his ego brain and then other online spheres like discord and Twitter and stuff is Gen Z dactyl. By recently I did change my Steam handle from ego brain to Gen Z dactyl. And that’s just because I was playing one of the Steam games in our our discord watch party, and I wanted for the people who were tuning into that to see me as jensi dactyl there too. Not that I’m like trying to hide the ego brain part of me but you know, like, I just want to keep those worlds kind of separated, if that makes sense.

ROB:
Sure. Do you happen to have experience like going by your chosen names in person at like an in person event or things like that, or is it strictly the online side of things.

JENSIE:
I actually in when gaming convention that I went to I did have on my badge, I had ego brain. And that was really cool. But I don’t often do that, I guess

ROB:
what was cool about?

JENSIE:
I don’t know, I just made me feel like I was combining the two worlds, you know? Because, you know, normally, it’s just that I’m online as ego brain and I’m in, you know, a lot of different clans and in my various games that I play, and it’s cool for them to call me ego brain. But then when I go to like a live gaming convention for people to call me ego brain, like IRL, I don’t know, it’s just kind of fun. kind of nice.

ROB:
Yeah, you have to get used to like, answering to that name in person, someone calls a ego brain and you’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s me.

JENSIE:
Not really not really, it’s kind of instinctual at this point. I mean, I’ve been going by for like, 16 years now. So

ROB:
if someone if someone came up to you now and like, I’m gonna go online, I need to choose a handle a username, a screen name, whatever. Mm hmm. What would you recommend they consider when making that choice?

JENSIE:
Well, um, I mean, unfortunately, for me, like, I had to hide a lot of my identity in choosing my name so that I could protect myself. So I would like for example, with my little sister, whenever she, she just turned 15. This year. So whenever she picks online names, I’m like, it’s really important that you don’t use your actual name in your online name, which is one thing that I do one of mine, I understand, but like, you know, I’m pushing 30 year old person. But you know, to protect yourself, like, especially when you’re a minor, like, it’s really important to not have any kind of identifying information. And her name is spelled really super uniquely, like, I would ask them to really just like sleep on it for a couple of days, you know, like, like, give themselves some inspiration, maybe surround themselves with things that they really like creative things that they like, and really think about, you know, how they want to be viewed, because this could be their name for years and years, like decades. And so I think it’s important to have something that represents you really well, but represents the part of you that you’re okay with the world seeing, because I mean, no matter what name you have, someone’s gonna say something about it, I’m sure. And that’s like, I mean, that’s just with any names, you know, lots of people pick on people in real life for their birth names all the time. So you I mean, obviously, you can’t just like protect yourself from that, like, just, you know, have a little bit of a thick skin, I guess. Yeah.

ROB:
Yeah. And where can folks interested find more of you and your work?

JENSIE:
Well, like I said, I am on the roleplay. Right con podcast. So you can go to roleplay, right? con.com or, we have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And on Twitter. I actually have no idea what my name is right now. I think it’s Princess Leia, which is my Derby name. So

ROB:
your Derby name?

JENSIE:
Yes. Roller Derby. Oh, yeah.

ROB:
How did you ask how you chose that one?

JENSIE:
Yes. So that one came about, I went to my very first roller derby bout, and I felt absolutely in love with it. And my best friend and I went to a bar afterward, and we were just just riffing back and forth and thinking about, well, gosh, what if we actually did this? You know, what would our roller derby names be? And I was just sitting there and like, she went to the restroom. And so I was just kind of alone with my thoughts for a few seconds. And I was like, Princess Slayer. That’s the perfect Derby name, because it’s like Princess Leia, you know, Star Wars. But then also like, it’s got some layers like are you a princess? Who slays Are you a slayer of princesses a mixture of both? I don’t know. So yeah, that’s keep up with that name.

ROB:
very open to interpretation. That one and still, I think fits really well in like the traditions of roller derby names.

JENSIE:
Thank you.

ROB:
Well, Jesse, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for for having this chat with me.

JENSIE:
All right. Thank you.

ANARKAT:
Hello, I am Anna cat on mastodon. My friends know me as Steve. And also Cat. Cat is. Cat is the name that I use between my friends that basically all my friends call me cat. And Steve is the name that I used to interface with capitalism. Enter cat came after I chose the name Steve. I was born with a name that would be derived from Steve. But no one knew how to pronounce or spell this name properly. And it really annoyed me. So I chose Steve so that no one could fuck it up.

ROB:
Excellent. So your choice if Steve was just because it was like the translation of your original name?

ANARKAT:
Yes. Imagine Stefan Stephen. Any way to pronounce and spell those? It was one of those and no one ever got it? Right.

ROB:
When did you make that change?

ANARKAT:
I never formally changed my name legally like on paper. But I I started using Steve when I about when I turned 18.

ROB:
And the rest of your given name is the same as it was sir.

ANARKAT:
I haven’t really taken on a different last name. I don’t really use my last name much because it comes from a person who don’t really like that much.

ROB:
When you’re made your way online, and the point where you were choosing a handle was it enter cap from the beginning or

ANARKAT:
it wasn’t enter cap from the beginning. My first interface with online communities was in Rouen scape. As with so many other people, and I just had a name that was adjacent to my real name for my room escape handle. And in my middle teen years, I got involved with the Brony scene. And as many people did, I took on an avatar. And my chosen avatar was the doctor from Doctor Who very cool. And this was back in 2013. When I took on that moniker and I would say I was about 15 or 16. So I, I took on the identity, or the the avatar of the doctor, before I even changed the name that people addressed me by in general. I think that was the first time in my life where I had an identity online that was different from my, like regular identity.

ROB:
That was your first experience like being able to create a persona or an identity from scratch.

ANARKAT:
Yes. And it’s actually how I met my first partner. They were active on the same forums that I was, and they made a habit of flirting with anyone who had taken on the avatar of the doctor. And apparently my responses were the cutest and so they chose me.

ROB:
Excellent, excellent, excellent use of Doctor Who as well. I moved

ANARKAT:
on from that identity in the latter part of my time with the brownies. And in the beginning of my time with the Furies I took on the name of serendipity. And it was a very purposeful name. It had significance for me as an expression of how I saw myself and how I understood myself because serendipity means good luck that was not searched for a lucky penny that you stumbled across on the ground. And I felt that the good things in my life was a long string of coincidences that I was very fortunate to have been given.

ROB:
How long did it take you to get to the the main handle that you’re using now?

ANARKAT:
I didn’t start using nr CAD until a couple years ago when I joined mastodon and it’s sort of funny that I joined mastodon first, because I was never actually active on Facebook or Twitter before that. I think I’ve probably had a Facebook or a Twitter account, but I never used them and the forms of interaction on those platforms. Never really interested me.

ROB:
How did you come to decide on Enter cat?

ANARKAT:
for a few years, I was serendipity in the furry community, after I had moved away from the Brony community when they became very toxic and not the kind of people that I wanted to associate with. And I was serendipity for a fairly long time, probably around four or five years. I made some dumb mistakes. Well, well inebriated that got me kicked out of the local furry community, which I took deserved because I fucked up. And I gave up the name serendipity after that, and for a while I didn’t actually have a chosen name. I considered the name Mortimer nouveau, but I never actually used it. For anything more than renouveau I had a very negative view of myself at the time. And Mortimer means death or relating to death, and nouveau means new, like it was very overly dramatic. I never really became very attached to that name, so I never really used it. And when I was getting into mastodon, I needed a name and I had recently become more involved in left politics. And I still strongly identify as a cat. The the furry part of me is been a strong part of me for a long time. And I’ve always had a strong affinity for cats. Which is, which is ironic, because I am strongly allergic to cats. I would love to pet a cat but I can’t touch them. If I do I have to immediately wash my hands or I have a bedtime. The enter part like Do you consider yourself an anarchist, or I very strongly do consider myself an anarchist. podcast listeners won’t be able to tell but behind me there is an upside down American flag with a variant of the anarchy symbol on it. anarchism drew me in as an ideal of freedom, reflective of both personal freedom and mutual responsibility to other people. And even though it’s a more recent part of my identity, identifying strongly as an anarchist, I think it’s a part of me that has been present in some form or another for a long time.

ROB:
Do you have the experience like a lot of folks who become known by a handle and then end up at face to face events where you’re meeting people or interacting with people that you know, online? Do you have the experience of like being able to introduce yourself in person to somebody as cat or enter cat?

ANARKAT:
Most of my friends, I call my close friends, people in my collective because it’s one big poly kewl and we’re all very close with each other. Most of my close friends call me cat, just cam and I started going by cat informally a bit before I took on the name of Anor cat. But I think it just stuck for me. And I really like identifying as cat. Those actually, when I was active in the free community, I went to a couple conventions and introduced myself and was known as serendipity there. I went to be LFC and a couple camping conventions that happen out in the mountains round 150 furries get together on federally managed lands to have a fun weekend in the woods.

ROB:
How would you describe the effect of the names you’ve chosen for yourself on how you feel who you are day to day,

ANARKAT:
it feels very reaffirming for people to address me as cat directly because I feel such a strong affinity for cats. The affinity that I feel for cats gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when when people refer to me by that name, and I really like it. There was one time when I was living in a triplex and I still went by serendipity. And one of my friends was storing stuff in the basement of the triplex. And they came by to get some stuff and the downstairs neighbor was like, Hey, who are you? And I didn’t know my real name and my downstairs neighbor only newbie by my real name. So they chased him off. Because they say I don’t know any serendipity lives here, get out of here.

ROB:
That’s that’s an interesting sort of name collision.

ANARKAT:
It’s a somewhat common experience, especially for people in the furry community, where it’s a thing for furries to know each other only by their furry nickname, or the the name that they’ve chosen for themselves. And when that identity collides with their real life, people tend to get confused. Yeah, or or their meatspace life. And I’ve definitely found that to be the case like,

ROB:
as I had become involved in me in the hacker community Since the 90s, and I started going to events in person and started meeting people and this was like pre Facebook pre like it being the done thing to use your legal name publicly online, at least in those communities. And so like To this day, there are people who I’ve known for maybe half my life 20 years or whatever, and I don’t know the name on their ID cards, but I know their I know their handle, and they are that name to me.

ANARKAT:
In another area where name collisions are sort of interesting is I’m a little bit involved with the local kink community. And depending on where you live, they can be very, they can be very secretive about their real identities. Because if the the weird stuff that they’re into, gets out, attached to their legal identity, it could cause trouble in their careers and stuff. And so that’s another area where it is very intentional that people are only known by their nicknames and even though sometimes people have to ask ID from each other for legal reasons. They make it a point to not try to no other people’s legal identity as a mutual safety kind of thing.

ROB:
makes total sense. Well, this is this has been a cool chat I really I really appreciate it. Would you like to give out like where folks listening might might be able to find more from you or get in touch if they’re interested.

ANARKAT:
I am on mastodon as at nr cat A na or k t at hackers dot town. You can find me chat with me there. I have my matrix chat handle linked in my bio. That’s about the only place I like people to be able to find me. Cat thank you very much for speaking with me.

Thank you very much. Have a good day and be well