Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Is Brian Watrous?

Growing up with a name like “Watrous”, you don’t encounter many people with the same surname. In elementary school, having the name meant continually being alphabetized into the back of the classroom. But the world has changed considerably since my days at West Antioch Elementary School. The school, which opened shortly before I enrolled in kindergarden, was demolished years ago. Little in life is immutable.

Occasionally I like to Google myself – is it pragmatism or narcissism, you decide – and explore my online identity. I’ve been online for over a quarter century in one form or another (e.g. the Bulletin Board Systems of my 300 baud youth (that's "baud", not "bawdy"), the online forums at UCSC, email, the Internet, etc.), so there are traces of me here and there.

One of the ways that the world has changed is that I’m not the only Brian Watrous on the Internet these days. It is getting increasingly difficult to distinguish me from the other Brian Watrouses, so I thought I’d make the effort to help disambiguate me from my online doppelgängers.

Yes, I was the founder of ATCS, Inc. which I owned for ten years.

No, I don’t own Watrous Bros. Machine Shop in Mystic, Connecticut.

Yes, I currently work for VMware.

No, I didn’t work for The SCO Group. I did work for The Santa Cruz Operation (now defunct), but those are different companies. The SCO Group got into a bit of a legal tussle, tarnished their reputation (to put it as politely as I can), got me targeted by some rabid members of the Linux community (long story for another time), and destroyed the company. Last person to leave SCO: Please remember to turn the lights off on your way out.

Yes, I like watching movies.

No, I didn’t co-star in the short film “One Night Stand”. I know I've been on some bad dates in my life, but this one takes the cake.

Yes, this is me on

No, I’m not this guy on Another Watrous in Connecticut?

Yes, I’ve heard of Facebook, but I don’t use it.

No, this isn’t me on Facebook. I’m not really the loves-hockey kind of guy. He’s somehow affiliated with the Jokers of Doom. To his credit, a post on their Facebook page reports, “Congrats to Brian Watrous (30 points in 8 games) for leading the league and setting a new franchise record in the process.” But I’m not that Brian Watrous, nor am I a member of the Jokers of Doom.

Yes, I’ve heard of Twitter, but I don’t use it. Don’t we all have enough twits in our lives already?

Yes, I’ve heard of MySpace, but I’m not there either.

No, this isn’t me on MySpace. This guy is also from Connecticut??? What’s up with all these Watrouses in Connecticut? My favorite quote on his page is, “Only so long you can work in the asylum before it starts to feel like home.” No, that guy isn’t me.

Yes, Alicia and I are married.

No, Stacey Sprague and I never married. Perhaps that could be because we’ve never met? BTW… The wedding took place in Milford… wait for it… Connecticut. Here’s another wedding announcement. More info about Stacey and Brian here.

Yes, we are one of those couples that doesn’t have children.

No, I don’t have a secret love child with Jillian. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

Yes, I know what an elk looks like.

No, I’m not a lifetime member of the Montague Elks Lodge #2521. The minimum age is 65. I’ve got a few years till they’ll consider me for lifetime membership.

Yes, I ran track (but preferred cross country) in High School.

No, I don’t appear in this list of high school all time best 800/880 times. Just a guess here… That’s probably because I didn’t go to high school in Massachusetts or New England for that matter.

Yes, I ran 5K (and 10K) races in high school.

No, I didn’t run in The Mini Meet at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, Connecticut on October 20, 2007.

Yes, I would have liked to have won one of my races back in high school.

No, I didn’t win the 800 meter and I’ve never run a relay race.

Yes, I know a thing or two about root.

No, I didn’t teach “Tea Tasting 101”. To quote, “In this tasty tea class, we will join Brian Watrous of Missoula¹s Bitter Root Acupuncture & Herbarium. Brian is trained in the Chinese gong-fu style of tea service and will be teaching the differences between white, green, oolong, pu-erh and black teas.”

Yes, I have changed sink faucets in my home, but I prefer to call a plumber.

No, I’m not a plumber at Northfield Mount Hermon School (established 1879). If you need a plumber, go ahead and give Brian a call. His phone number is right there on that web page. And no, I’m not an apprentice, journeyman, or master plumber.

Yes, I have a life – a rather exciting life full of travel and adventures.

No, I don’t have want to sign up for an account at I’m probably listed there, but I can’t bring myself to divulge to them my email address (let alone give them my credit card number). Besides, what’s wrong with just using my browser’s “View Source” to see beyond their annoying “Create Free Account” popup window?

Yes, I am a home owner. We bought at the height of the market. Woohoo!

Yes, I enjoy art.

Yes, I love music. I enjoy a wide variety of types from Albinoni to ZZ Top and from Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 Adagio Sostenuto to Rock Lobster.

No, I didn’t design CD artwork for Metalica Reload.

Yes, I rarely miss an opportunity to visit New York. I’m heading to Rochester in November, but alas it’s a day trip and I won’t have time to go to Manhattan. :-(

No, I didn’t graduate from FHS in Farmingdale, New York.

Yes, I’ve had some patently stupid ideas in my life.

No, I did not file United States Patent #5807153 (Ice Rescue Vehicle). I didn’t even know that ice needed rescuing. Is this related to climate change? If we save the ice, then we won’t need to save the polar bears, right?

Yes, I did a bunch of the demo work when we remodeled our house.

No, I don’t own a home improvement company.

Yes, I had a BB gun as a kid.

No, I’ve never participated in an Interleague All-Star Pistol Team Match. Maybe I’m a little too literal, but their theme, “A head-to-head shoot-off for League supremacy”, sounds a little too gory for my tastes.

The Internet is comprised of a limitless quantity of tubes (or so I hear), so it shouldn’t surprise you that the list above is only a partial sample of what Google has to say about me and my online doppelgängers. Hopefully this post will help you to distinguish when it’s me you’re reading about online.

By the way, if you look for me outside of the Internet and you find some guy in Santa Cruz county with my name, please don’t mistake me for the blonde, dreadlocked, stoner surfer dude who also went to UCSC. That’s definitely not me.


  1. I just rediscovered something very cool while googling this evening. It is related to the comment I made in this post about being "targeted by some rabid members of the Linux community".

    What I rediscovered is the Yahoo! Messages thread in which those charming Linux folks were trying to uncover the identity of Brian Watrous. Could he, they pondered, be the mysterious Biff (aka. Back In Full Force)? Cue ominous music.

    No, I was not, am not, and shall never be Biff. Never met Biff, and I don't who who Biff was. And no that's not me posting as BrianW in the thread. That would was someone impersonating me. I don't know of any other time in my life when I've been impersonated. Cool.

    I didn't respond at all to the thread. I just sat back and watched in amusement.

    The message thread is still available at


  2. Oh and I almost forgot to point out my favorite part of the thread. In the thread someone with the pseudonym "stats_for_all" (Just who is stats_for_all? Hmmmmm?) describes the ATCS infozone, my very own creation, as "a work of obsessive brilliance."

    Thanks, stats_for_all, for the positive feedback. :-)

  3. Glad to see I've found the "real Brian Watrous". Also good to know that I can stop searching you on Facebook since you don't use it.

    Hope you are doing well, my friend.
    Long lost friend from KC

  4. Not sure what RZ DL means, but if KM are initials, yes, those used to be my initials, so I am probably who you think I am. : )

    1. Good to hear from you, KM. You don't remember RZ and DL? Check your MJHS year book. :-)

      I sent you an invitation via LinkedIn.

  5. Just stumbled onto this today. FYI... That's not me. I'm really not a "Disorderly Conduct Engage In Fighting" kind of guy.