Say My Name, Say My Name

Recently, I started reorganizing my blogs. When I first started blogging I created a Tumblr page and that was the start of what would become a bevy of blogs. As time wore on, I gained a preference for WordPress.com for the purposes of blogging. The domain name that I chose is based on my Twitter username: abmoha.

For those who might wonder where the name came from, it’s fairly straight forward. I took the first two letters of my first and last names: AB MOrrison-HAyward.

It was also an homage to a hockey player named Alexander Mogilny. He started his career in Buffalo and got traded to the Canucks where he was re-united with Pavel Bure. People sometimes referred to him as Almo, which was was created by using the first two letters of his first and last names. Originally I named my Twitter account abmo89 or something like that. I figured, Alex Mogilny was called Almo, so I’ll be Abmo. It didn’t quite have the same ring so I changed it to abmoha and it’s been that way ever since.

My first name is actually Albert but I’ve gone by Ab for a number of years. I was named after my mom’s uncle Albert and people around here always called him Abs so they started calling me Abs. I was called that for a while and then, when I started going to UVic and hanging out at the Native Student Union, it somehow got shortened down to Ab. It took some getting used to but I stuck with it and actually started to prefer that over my full name. So much so that I sign my artwork as Ab Morrison-Hayward.

It’s also shorter than my full name and since my last name is hyphenated, that saves some space.

Some of you might wonder why I have a hyphenated last name and the reason is as follows. I was born with the last name Morrison and my mom was unmarried but when I was enrolled in school for the first time, it was under my stepdad’s last name of Hayward. My mom had gotten married and changed her last name and even though I went by Hayward I was still legally a Morrison. This led to me basically having two different sets of ID: one under Hayward and another under Morrison. About 10 years ago I decided to do something about it and I didn’t want to pick one name and leave the other one out so I combined them. Now I carry the name of both sides of my family and I’m the only one in my family that’s done it as my siblings were born with the last name of Hayward so they didn’t have that problem.

That happened during the time that I lived in Victoria, where I was known as Ab and some of my friends didn’t even know my real name. Cut to now where I’m at a new workplace and everyone there knows me as Albert. Whenever I try to introduce myself as Ab, it seems to cause confusion. Especially to students in my classes, they tend to create other variations. I hear Al, Alb, Albie, sometimes even Abe (although how they arrive at that when my name is not Abraham, I’ll never know). Suffice it to say, I’m not really fond of any of those names.

Especially Al. I’m not an Al. Al Borland from Home Improvement, he’s an Al.

Al Bundy, he’s definitely an Al.

They’re both Als. They’re also both fictional characters and I’m not really sure why I immediately went to them but I couldn’t think of any real people. Okay, Al Pacino, there’s an Al.

They’re all Als. I, however, am not. I’m not an Al, never have been an Al, never will be an Al.

Unfortunately, a sad fact of life is that if your name is Alex, Alvin, Alan, Albert or any other name like that, people will inevitably call you Al at some point. It’s unavoidable. There’s death, there’s taxes, and there’s people calling you Al when your name starts with those 2 letters. People feel free to come up with all kinds of variations of your name, whether you invite them to or not or whether you like it or not.

With me, you have two choices: Ab or Albert. It’s up to you to pick which one you want to call me by (psst – pick the first one!). Rather than trying to explain that to people in my classes, I just simplify things and tell them to call me Albert and not leave it open to any variations.

Before starting this job, I had gotten so used to being called Ab that even now, after 9 months of working at a new company, it still seems weird to have everyone call me by my given name. I’ve tried to tell people that I prefer Ab, but there’s only one person who calls me that consistently and I feel like I’m fighting a battle I’ll never win. I have binders that I use on a daily basis and I label them as AB’S (so-and-so) BINDER, depending on what class I use it for, and people tend to read it as A-B. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s in capital letters that confuses them, or maybe something else. I realize it’s not a very common name and sometimes takes some getting used to but they tend to read it as separate letters rather than as a name.

Whatever the reason, I’ve been there for so long and so many people call me by my given name that I don’t think it’s going to change but I’m getting used to it.

Anyway, that’s a bit of an explanation behind the domain name of my blog. This used to be a different blog but I’ve moved that one to a different address. Also, since I don’t use my Tumblr pages anymore, I’ve transferred those blog articles over here. I haven’t reformatted them yet but I plan to do that eventually as some of the articles had embedded media. That was the blog that I called Synaptic Wanderings. For the time being, I’ve merged that old one with this new one and reduced the number of active blogs that I own.

I may change the title of this blog again but for the time being, it’ll be Ab’s Blog.

Not Al’s Blog, or Abe’s Blog.

Ab’s Blog.

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Ab Vs TomTom: Part 2

As you heard in Part 1 of this post, I got an unexpected response in my verbal altercation with my GPS. Here’s a transcript of the conversation:

TT (TomTom): After 400 metres, turn right.

Ab: Hey, TomTom…

TT: Say a command.

Ab: Shut… (waits for beep) shut up.

TT: Please repeat.

Ab: Shut up!

TT: I’m sorry, I still didn’t get that. Turn right, Haisla Boulevard. I’m sorry, I still didn’t get that. You can say, for example, “I need directions to an address, drive to the nearest restaurant, or mute sound.” To see all available commands, go to the product manuals in the Help menu.

Ab: Shut up!

TT: (Ding!) Turning sound off.

Ab: (Chuckles) I win!

After the second time I told it to shut up, it started to go into the process of telling me how to find the right command but I was approaching the next turn at that time so it had to tell me about that first, then it went back into its spiel. I was having none of that and repeated my command one more time. At which point, it said, “Turning sound off.”

So it, uh, actually shut up.

Okay, I’m thinking one of two things happened here. 1) it interpreted my last “shut up” as a “mute sound” command, or it reached its limit for the number of unknown commands it will try to interpret and just shut off the sound of its own accord. If the former is true, I’ve stumbled onto a voice command that, not only did I not know exists, but is awesome and hilarious.

Either way, I never heard another peep out of it so, as you heard at the end, I won.

Ab: 1. TomTom: 0.

Ab Vs TomTom: Part 1

I recently started exploring more capabilities of the GPS device that I bought for my car about a month ago. Today I found out how to make phone calls using my cell phone through a Bluetooth connection and to test it out I phoned home. I set it up to call manually on my GPS screen and it worked pretty well so I then called a friend who I was going to visit, this time using a voice command. I wasn’t sure exactly what the commands were for making phone calls, all I knew was that you start of by saying, “Hey, TomTom…”

So I did that and eventually found the proper voice command. Once a connection was established, it went to voicemail so I didn’t get a chance to talk to my friend in person.

I was hoping I could get things set up so I could call people hands free right away but one thing that happens on my cell is that when I call, it asks whether I want to make the call using my phone or Skype. I forgot to set it to use the phone by default so I had to manually choose the call method on my phone. I’m pretty sure I fixed that with the second call I made but I didn’t want make any more calls to test it out at that time.

I went to visit my friend and before I made my way home I set a course to take me home even though I knew the way already, I just like seeing myself on the screen and keeping track of the time and my speed.

I didn’t go directly home, though, I decided to make a quick detour to pick something up before going home. Whenever you veer off course, TomTom keeps yapping at you, telling you to take every available turn to get back on course, which can be irritating. I made my stop and as I was getting ready to finally head home, I decided to try a little experiment.

I pulled up the voice recorder on my phone and started driving, now that I was back on course I wasn’t hearing as much from TomTom. It was when I was nearly back on the highway home that I started my little voice command experiment, the results can be heard in the link below.

Ab Vs TomTom