picked "willow" originally in 1992 when I got an email account to talk to my boyfriend of the time. I knew absolutely nothing about the internet, and had just used BBS' for a short time when I decided to get the ucscb account.
I thought and thought about a good name, wanted something feminine and pretty (didn't realize that was a bad thing at the time) and there was a Willow working at the campus bookstore, and I thought that was an amazingly pretty name, so I used it. Nice tree association, melodramatic weepy association, and the fairy-tale about the willow tree association.
I really quickly got tired of such a girlie name, especially on icb. But it was too late and I didn't like having to tell everyone I'd changed nicks, so I stuck with it until I graduated.When they killed my student account, I started using abattoir.com as my primary account.
I struggled to think up something good, wanted to pick 'flaid' (a word I still like to think I coined, meaning 'plaid flannel') but figured would cause excessive what-does-it-means, so I went with flannel instead. Cozy, warmy, fuzzy, soft. Fabric, not flannel shirts. Never got that connection, but I've been asked.
And lately, I use flan in yam/forum because I'm just too damn lazy to type flannel. And it weirded me out the first time someone mentioned the dessert, because I always think of it as 'flan' not 'flahn' and didn't make that connection at all.