I started working at the Texas Union Microcenter in 1994, my first enjoyable employment. I did phone tech support for the largest installed base of Macintosh computers in the world, which is the University of Texas at Austin. Heady days, 1994 and 1995, the internet was just coming into being. People were paying me to design their websites, and I had no idea how to design websites, but neither did anyone else. I bought a homepage, and thought not so much about what to call it, this was before domain names were a big deal, before every word in the dictionary had been bought and sold. I picked mrfantasy.net, not self-referential but named after what was then my favorite Grateful Dead song, which I learned later was actually a Traffic song, but no matter. I was the only one I knew that had access to high-speed internet (from work), I was getting called by cute girls I didn't know to help them set up an email address, having a personal website was not just geek cred but damn impressive, like I had my own television station.
It didn't take long for everyone to have their own site, and I found that I hated mrfantasy, but I couldn't find anything I liked better, and mrfantasy had the heavy weight of inertia and nostalgia behind it. Finally, while vacationing in France, the pain of telling a stranger my site was mrfantasy became too much. No one gets the reference, and having a website to broadcast my thoughts is narcissistic enough, I don't need an egomaniacal domain name to compound the effect. Enter zo.la.
Four characters, five if you include the dot. Nice. Sounds a bit futuristic. And it corresponds to the French philosopher Emile Zola, who is a fucking badass. He was the most important of the naturalist writers and literally put his life on the line for a jew who was wrongly imprisoned, setting off a long series of historically important events that ultimately led to Alfred Dreyfus' acquittal and release. Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.
J'accuse courtesy of Librivox.