Monday, October 30, 2006

Adventures in self-googling

I was going to say, "We all do it" but I dunno. Doesn't everyone do it? I bet it's the case though a lot of people seem ashamed to admit it. Helps, of course, to have an eminently googleable last name, one that's unwieldy enough so that, when googled, the vast majority of hits circle around the proper person. Like Olewnick.

Early on in my access to the net, I located a passel of other Olewnicks about whom neither I nor anyone in my family had ever heard. They tended to be scattered in the Catskill region, extending west toward Batavia and north-central Pennsylvania. I'd assume they're related from somewhere prior to the Greenpoint Brooklyn days of my dad's childhood, back in the old country when the name carried along its "kin of Olav" connotations (I'm guessing, actually; that's the best I've come up with). This was moderately interesting in and of itself. What was disturbing and unsettling, however, was the discovery that there existed another "Brian Olewnick" up around Schoharie, NY. What the fuck? I mean, if you're from some good Polish family, what are the odds of slapping an Irish tag like "Brian" on one of your kids? I think (I'm hazy on this in fact--have to verify it with the folks--that mine came from an uncle somewhere so, conceivably, that could be the familial connection). Very annoying to realize there's someone else walking around, blatantly using my name. I mean, really. I've been contacted three times by people looking for him. One was a former exchange student from Brazil who'd apparently resided with the Schoharie Olewnicks some time ago. In his e-mail he asked, in order for me to "prove" I was the right Olewnick (*sputter*) the name of the family dog. Sorry, buddy. Oh, and this joker seems to pronounce it Oh-LEW-nick. How gauche.

Hey, Schoharie Brian, if you've self-googled your way here, how ya doin'?

So, anyway, I periodically search on myself, seeing out of curiosity which sites have picked up reviews of mine (the largest portion of hits), occasionally finding some comment on them. Google blog search revealed a few surprises as well. Kinda cool.

But this post was prompted by a recent (and, as of today, still current) result whilst performing a google image search on "olewnick". Go ahead, try it; I'll wait.

OK, there are a bunch of album covers. To be expected. There are a few snaps of me at the crossword tourney, in the company of a pair of dashing gentlemen displaying the requisite xword fashion sense and demeanor; fine. There are a couple of photos of one Allison (or Alison) Olewnick, out of Burroughs' hometown, Lawrence, Kansas. Don't know who she is. Bet she knows me, though. Hey, Allison! Say hi to a missing cousin.

So far, so good. But then we come to a large photo of someone about to eat a grub. "Survivors eat grubs" says the caption. Now, I'm known in some parts for my willingness to eat most anything. At Jazz Corner, I'm the recipient of more than a few jibes from people to that effect. But what the hell does "olewnick" have to do with that photo? Maybe that mouth belongs to the other Brian. It's suspicious, though. If you try to go to the associated site, it's "Not Found". Further down the google page, there's a particularly creepy photo of Dame Edna, replete with purple wig. Again, what gives? Where's the olewnicity of that photo? Not even just me, but any Olewnick? I can't quite figure this out. On page 2, there's a very cool still capture from the DVD of "Harakiri". Now, I purchased "Harakiri" a few months ago--wrote about it here, I think. How does my name get affiliated with this particular pic, though? Just chance? Seems unlikely. I've not commented on any Japanese film site. I think I did so at Bagatellen, briefly, but I can't see how that could possibly connect to this one. Damned eerie.

Ah well...

The Richard Powers book, "The Echo Maker", is fabulous 1/3 through.

[edit: I note that if I refine the image search to "brian olewnick", the Dame Edna pic is thankfully lost, but the others remain.]


Richard Pinnell said...

Thats funny.

Just think yourself lucky you don't share a name with a flippin' trainspotter though :

Anonymous said...

I wasn't googling you, but was googling "crossword" and found this. Hi.

Brian Olewnick said...


Sure, sure..... ;-)


Prof. Drew LeDrew said...

For the uninitiated among us, can you clarify the un-gauche pronunciation?

Also, I found that THE ECHO MAKER, while flagging in spots, kept on giving all the way through.

Brian Olewnick said...

It's always been interesting to encounter the handful of people who get it straight the first time. Often they're of Russian or Polish origin themselves. The last time was when I spoke with Frederic Rzewski who, given his oft-butchered moniker, unsurprisingly nailed it.

It's Oh-LEV-nik.

Thanks for askin'!

Prof. Drew LeDrew said...

Thanks. My Russian and Polish forebears are likely rolling in their respective graves now, for my having asked.