Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you have a FAQ about yourself?

Hey, I tried to write a simple little paragraph about myself (this was my original homepage in 1995), but I'm no good at simple little paragraphs. I thought about what people usually want to know about me, and I ended up with a long (and growing) list of stupid questions I'm often asked. So here they are. Live with it.

Why is this thing so long?

I have a lot of words, and (apparently) a longer attention span than everyone else – Google Analytics says few people are reading past this page. Skip to the end if you can't handle it.

Who the hell are you, anyway?

I'm Michael Bauser, a [an error occurred while processing this directive]-year old graduate-school dropout (Hey, at least I stuck it out for the bachelor's degree) living in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

What kind of name for a town is "Ypsilanti?"

I think it's Greek for "I can't afford to live in Ann Arbor."

So you're probably unemployed, huh?

I'm an Ad Operations Associate, actually. Advertising does't pay as well you'd think from watching Mad Men.

You have really long hair.

That's not a question. It is frequent observation, though.

How long have you been letting your hair grow out?

Since I was 16. At this point, it's probably more than a phase I'm going through.

How long did it take to get that long?

Two or three years; I wasn't really counting at the time.

What did your parents think?

They hated it for the first couple of years, then gave up haranguing me when I finished high school. Then my youngest brother started changing hair colors once a month, and they started considering me the stable one.

Don't you ever get it cut?

A trim every six weeks or so, because that's how often an ex-girlfriend recommended when I asked. (No wait, I didn't ask – she just told me that and I obeyed. Hey, I was in love.)

What conditioner do you use on it?

Good old-fashioned VO5. It's union-made in the U.S.A., isn't tested on animals, and women say it makes my hair soft.

Jeez, are all your hair-care decisions made for you by women?

Who else is going to give me advice? It's not like they gave out hair care merit badges in Cub Scouts. American men are just culturally deprived when it comes to such knowledge....

You have long hair – Are you an Indian?

My grandfather used to say his grandmother was Cherokee, but everybody from Kentucky says their grandmother was Cherokee, so you don't have to believe me if you don't want to.

You have long hair – are you a rock star?

No. I just look like one.

You have long hair – Are you a hippie?

No. Are you a crypto-Nazi?


It's a Gore Vidal joke. You know, the 1968 Democratic National Convention?

What if I said I didn't know?

I'd tell you to go look it up at a library. You probably need to spend more time in one anyway.

Okay. Is Gore Vidal related to Al Gore?

They're cousins.

If you're not a hippie, then what's with the round sunglasses ?

Good fashion sense dictates that I pick a frame that goes with the shape of my face. It said so in Cosmopolitan. Cosmo never lies.


It's a women's fashion magazine. The ex-girlfriend read Cosmo, and so did I. You got a problem with that?

Um, no.


You think you've got an answer for everything, don't you?

No, just the important stuff. Now ask a real question.

You wear a lot of black. Are you a goth?

No. I wouldn't make a very good goth. I don't look good in makeup.

How do you know that?

Um, no comment.

Then why do you wear so much black? It's not very fashionable.

I was a sullen and bitter teenager. Now I'm just too lazy to buy a new wardrobe. Besides, Cosmo said black is always stylish. So, there.

You read a lot of magazines, don't you?

I'm bad at meeting women. That leaves me lots of time to read.

So, if you're too lazy to buy a new wardrobe, why do you keep buying new glasses?

Because I keep losing my sunglasses and need to buy new ones. Somehow, I've never lost a pair of jeans. (I do manage to lose a towel nearly every time I take a vacation, though.)

Why is the sky blue?

Because the Earth's atmosphere is mostly oxygen and nitrogen, two gases which have molecules of just the right width to maximize the scattering of blue wavelengths of light. (Come on, that's an old one. I was dodging that one in high school.)
Weren't you listening? I said ask a real question!

How do you pronounce "Bauser"?

My family pronounces it bow-ZER. Most people pronounce it bow-SER, except for people in Toledo, Ohio (who often pronounce it bow-SHUR, apparently confusing me with the local Bowsher High School), and some Art History majors (who pronounce it bow-ZHUR, just because they like making things sound French).

What kind of name is Bauser, anyway?

According to the geneologists, it's linguistically German, but culturally Swiss. (The latter was big news to me. I spent 30 years thinking I was German-American, and it turns out that I'm Swiss-German American. I've never felt Swiss.)

You forgot to answer the inescapable Sha Na Na question! I smell a cover up! *

Ha. Ha. Ha. That's one I haven't heard since grade school. No, there's no relation to Jon Bowzer of Sha Na Na fame, although back in the third grade, I would occasionally turn around and catch classmates imitating Bowzer behind my back. Coincidentally, the third grade is when I started getting hostile.

OK, so why was your userid in the 90s "islander"?

"Islander" was an old BBS handle I used in Kent, Ohio. I wanted something unique but descriptive, and it suddenly occurred to me that very few people in the hills of Ohio could say they grew up on an island. (In other words, my userid's major accomplishment is declaring "I'm not an Ohioan!".) It worked pretty well, actually. The name had no strange innuendo attached, gave people an obvious question to start conversations with, and never got duplicated. There was some confusion at the party where I was introduced to "Highlander", though.

Anyway, I've got a sentimental attachment to "islander", so I made it my userid at various web sites. The unappreciated (by other Islanders) irony is that I don't like the Island that much. Did you get all that?

The Island? Is that like The Rock?

Grosse Ile, Michigan. Well, actually - Yes, it does sorta resemble Alcatraz. It's got more trees, though.

What's with all the gratuitous hyperlinks?

I rather liked Ted Nelson's original vision of hypertext. Every word should link to something, if possible.

You're kidding, right?

Only a little – I've got a system. I think I've got a hypertext addiction or something. I'll try to rein myself in when I write the serious pages.

Why aren't there any pictures here?

Nobody could get a clear picture of my face through all this hair.

You're [an error occurred while processing this directive] and you've never been married. What's up with that?

If that's your clever way of asking me out, ladies, it's too late. I'm engaged.

This page is long. Are we finished yet?

Almost. Now stop whining. It's undignified.

What's there to see here, anyway?

Considering I've got [an error occurred while processing this directive] HTML files on this server, there isn't much here – I specialize in obscurity. (Insert your own anthropology joke here.) Besides the obligatory blog, the highlights of my little web empire are:

Makes you sorry you asked, doesn't it?

The Sha Na Na question was suggested by reader John Kerr. See people? I do read my e-mail.

Copyright © 1995-2013