The name is Bauser, Michael Bauser.

My family name is relatively rare in the United States. Growing up, the only other Bausers I knew were blood relatives. Everyplace I've ever lived (with my family or by myself), there's only been one listing for Bauser in the local phone book. Bausers were a rare and eccentric lot, seldom encountered and seldom understood. Kind of like Bigfoot, but less popular with the neighbors.

When I finally got my first Net account (I was mbauser@kentvm -- that's right, my account was on BITNET), the Web barely existed and the Net's main community forum was Usenet. When I found out that MIT maintained a database of every e-mail address that posted to Usenet, one of the first names I looked for was Bauser. Nobody except me.

Of course, the Web started growing like mad, and sites like Altavista started providing web search. Again, one of my first searches, was "Bauser". Still nothing except me.

Damn, I might be the first Bauser on the Internet.

Eventually, of course, some other Bausers started showing up online. The biggest influx of Bauser-ness occurred when Germany discovered the Internet, because my the name is still fairly common there. Sucessive searches for "Bauser" started turning up more and more German Bausers. Mostly, they were engineers. In fact, there was even a German plastics company using the domain Bauser.de.

Then 1999 rolled around, and I concluded that I needed a domain name of my own (it's about independence, mostly). Everything I could think of of that was even mildly witty was taken. Reaching the end of my creativity, I checked the obvious. As unsurprising as it should have been, I was still a little shocked to discover that Bauser.com was available. "What the hell," I figured, "At least my friends will remember my e-mail address."

I registered Bauser.com, moved my websites over to it, and my friends still never remembered my e-mail address . and life went on. Then I started getting a lot of e-mail that wasn't meant for me. Not spam, per se, but real, everyday messages obviously meant for people who weren't me. I eventually concluded that there must be a domain name that's almost "bauser.com". I didn't think it was bauser.de (the e-mail is all in English, and judging from context, meant for Americans or Canadians), so I started searching all the other "bauser.*" domains for a company that might get confused with me.

Bauser.net is Zweiradhaus Bauser, a German motorcycle company. Didn't think that was it. Bauser.org, bauser.biz, and bauser.info were a bit of a puzzle. They were registered, but not resolving. Guess what I found when I checked the domain registrations? The German plastics company.

I could have registered a bunch of bauser.* domains when I registered bauser.com -- Network Solutions certainly offered them to me -- but I didn't because I didn't need them. One domain was enough, and bauser.com was the right domain. (I'm only occassionally a commercial entity, but I'm never a non-profit or networking organization.) I intentionally left all those other domains available for other Bausers to use. There aren't a lot us, but we I think we deserve an equal chance at a good domain name. The Germans had bauser.de, I had bauser.com, and all the rest were up for grabs. Apparently, the plastic Germans thought otherwise. They registered a bunch of domain names they don't need (and they're not even using), just because they don't want to share with the other Bausers of the world.

Worse yet, they had the audacity to ask me if bauser.com was for sale. I didn't even bother to answer their e-mail, instead developing an unreasonable hatred of "those damn annoying Germans" who want to take over every bauser.* domain on the Internet and lock out all the other Bausers. I was so distracted by my irritation with the Germans that I never did figure out who all that misdirected e-mail was meant for.

My mock outrage got became even more pointlessly grandiose when I noticed the registrant name on most of the domains: "Michael Bauser". That's right, the guy running the plastics company has my name. I immediately dubbed him "Herr Bauser" (alternately, "The Evil Michael Bauser"), and made him one of my personal enemies for life. Herr Bauser probably doesn't even know who I am, and he certainly has no idea how much I dislike him and his plastic-pushing pals. But the none the less, he is my enemy, and I will oppose him in all ventures and all venues, in every forum and every continent, until the day one of us leaves this Earth. You cross a Bauser, you cross him for life.

Why am I obsessing about domain names and Evil Germans, on today of all days? Because it's been two months since I decided to register a new domain every two months, and I needed to pick a new domain name for this blog. I decided to keep it simple and obivious -- today, I registered michael.bauser.name. Take that, Herr Bauser.

Posted at 11:49:41 PM EST on 01 January 2004 from Trenton, MI