So after a week's worth of brainstorming and debating and rejecting names for our kittens, we've come up with a scheme both Forrest and I are quite pleased with.
As you might recall, our college cat was named Alexis by her previous owners but we called her Lex. Lex is also short for "lexer," a computer science term. So we were considering pairs of names for these two new kittens that similarly paid homage to geekiness.
The top pair of names in the running for the past several days was Amy and Glory (both characters from Cryptonomicon, a thoroughly geeky book). We both liked calling Amanda "Amy", but I balked at using the name "Glory" for Meryl. Without spoiling things, let's just say that unpleasant things happen to Glory in the book. So after some more debate and character list research, Forrest came across the name "Mary," a supporting character in the book.
We realized that this pair of Cryptonomicon names was actually perfect: the names were suitably geeky; they sounded like normal names to non-geeks; and, best of all, they could both be just nicknames for Amanda and Meryl, in the same way that Lex was really just a nickname, not a full name change. (It's unfortunate that the spelling of "Mary" doesn't more closely mirror "Meryl," but we're not willing to spell it "Merry." Or we could just say that the nickname for [meɹɪl] is [meɹi] and not worry about it. ;))
So, the kittens are still "officially" Amanda and Meryl. But for everything but paperwork, they'll be Amy and Mary to us.