Well, since inquiring minds always seem to want to know, I thought I’d explain my net “handle” or pseudonym a bit for y’all. Obviously, I had to come up with a name for my account at Grex, where my email is based and where my exploration into the world of HTML all started. My sister’s University of Michigan “uniqname” is ‘lpackard,’ but somehow ‘spackard’ didn’t look quite right! I considered many names before settling upon “abbagirl” (by the way, back in the ancient times when I was an America Online user, I went by “AbbaGirl” for a short while; my main screen name people remember me as from AOL, however, was “JanisPearl” inspired by Janis Joplin. Or “Empress Li” from an even earlier time.), but Abbagirl just seemed to fit. First of all, it sounded original; to my knowledge there aren’t many other Abbagirls cruising the net, although I have met an “abbachild” (and I just found out there’s a ABBA tribute band in the UK called Abbagirls!). Abbagirl also identifies my gender, which is both a pro and a con. Pro: It clearly identifies that I am a woman on the net, and I’m not ashamed of my gender; in fact, it’s great to promote that Internet users are not solely nerdy boys. Con: I inevitably get a share of unsolicited, unwanted, obnoxious pick-up attempts from guys who see “girl” and start salivating. Argh!
As far as to what exactly “abbagirl” indicates, anyway – in case you are unaware, ABBA (with the first “B” written backwards) is the name of a Swedish pop supergroup from the 70’s and early 80’s frequently remembered most for their uber-cheesy disco outfits, platforms and all. My obsession/love for the group is fairly recent; it began maybe around 1993 or 1994 in early high school when I was exposed to them through the Australian film “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” and subsequently bought a copy of ‘ABBA Gold’ on CD, their popular greatest hits album. Their music, a captivating melange of disco and pop, had me entranced, and I was incredibly impressed with the vocal talents of vixen lead singers, Agnetha Faltskog & Frida Lyngstad.
My status as an abbagirl was affirmed when I purchased more albums, video collections, and saw the hilarious & touching Australian flick “Muriel’s Wedding” in the theatre. I truly identified with lead character Muriel Heslop (played by the fantastic Toni Collette), a geeky outcast addicted to ABBA, and found the film to be brilliant and heartfelt, capturing the friendship between Muriel and the spunky Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths) and their rejection of the snobby girls who snubbed them both in high school. I especially loved that MW was unique in being an “ugly duckling transformed” story that ended up having Muriel realize that she didn’t need the approval of the girls who hadn’t been able to appreciate her until she had found a man and conformed, and that Muriel learns that the storybook wedding she’d been pining after and the gorgeous guy she marries aren’t what she really *wants*, because she didn’t love him. And of course, MW introduced me to such fantastic ABBA tunes as “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen,” my anthem. 🙂 (I now have a page up on MW and my other favorite Australian films!)
So, I figured that “Abbagirl” would be a good nick as not only is it short and easy to remember, but it owns up to my devotion to those 4 wacky Swedes. Some people also figure it’s a reference to the 2 women of ABBA, that I’m emulating them, which is fine, I suppose. I feel a sort of kinship to Agnetha & Frida, I admit, being at least one-fourth Swedish (Dutch, too), a soprano singer who can do a fairly accurate Agnetha vocal imitation, and a tall, assertive gal to boot. (My height – 5’9″ or so – is largely a product of my Scandinavian ancestry; almost everyone in my family is super-tall.) And yes, I have blue eyes and long, blonde hair, although I’m not claiming to be any Agnetha twin or anything.
And of course, I want to stress to everyone that identifying myself as Abbagirl does NOT mean that my life is consumed by ABBA! I don’t even have all their albums, and my ABBA page is very much under construction and not necessarily my highest priority. As I said, ABBA has only been a recent thing for me, and I have MANY other favorite musical groups and artists from all time periods, some of which are listed on my Music page. So, if you happen to hate ABBA with a passion, that’s okay with me; I’m not on the net to convert the world to ABBA love or anything. It’s just a nickname!
In the fall of 1997, I ended up purchasing my own domain name when my old account at Cyborganic (cyborganic.com), where I hosted my Labyrinth site, was terminated because the company was cancelling all web services, forcing everyone to relocate. I set up a new account at Sirius, and decided to go ahead and get my own domain while I was at it, and move my entire site there. So, I went from having some pages at Grex and some at Cyborganic to having it all unified here at abbagirl.com. Thankfully, the name wasn’t taken yet, and I could register it with InterNIC and have it all to myself. So, now I have the benefit of a simple and personal URL, and I’m pretty happy with the services at Sirius – I’d recommend ’em to anyone.