Dad's Christmas gift to me is a software program for writing Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs. HE WINS. I think he must have sensed that I was planning to spend part of his vacation hounding him to finish copying out yet another table of triliteral signs. My mechanical drawing skills are just not up to par. I did copy and draw the uniliterals, biliterals and multiliterals on index cards ages ago, but they're mostly for memorization, and they're not really erm true to form. Now that I'm spending an inordinately long time on sorting out pseudoverbal constructions, I definitely need a polished and accurate set of hieroglyphs to work from. My father wrote me an email telling me that I ought to just 'print out the damn things' and presumably to leave him out of it (I nagged him mercilessly a few Christmases ago to draw me charts of biliterals in every possible combination).
... I really should have thought of this software idea myself though I think I still need to refine the symbols with Photoshop filters to get better resolutions since the software is geared towards actually writing in hieroglyphs (for textbooks or scholarly articles) and not for printing them out like concert posters. Amused myself for a bit by writing out the five names of Tutankhamun without looking at the grammar or the dictionary (well, except for the Nebti Name, that always trips me up).
I think anyone with a cursory interest in Egyptology will know that Egyptian pharaohs -- after around 2000 BC, at least, when their titulary system has evolved into its lasting form -- all have a unique combination of five names, though only two are usually contained in cartouches. The pharaoh's Birth Name (or the nomen), the name given to him at birth, was contained within a cartouche preceded by the hieroglyphs for "Son of the god Ra" (Sa-ra) to emphasize the pharaoh's divine origin. His other name within a cartouche was his Throne Name (sometimes called a prenomen), which he took when he succeeded to power, a name that was preceded by the hieroglyphs (nesu-bity) which literally mean "he of the sedge and the bee." This has the meaning of "King of the Dualities," a title with a range of complex interpretations which reflect the stark contrasts that characterize Egypt, such as farmland and desert, and so it is usual to concentrate on the political duality of Upper and Lower Egypt (since the sedge is the symbol of Upper Egypt and the bee the symbol of Lower Egypt) and translate the hieroglyphs as "King of Upper and Lower Egypt." Three other names, which were also given to the pharaoh when he took the throne, are actually honorific titles emphasizing his power and divinity rather than real names. These were the Horus Name, preceded by the hieroglyph for the god Horus; the Nebti Name (sometimes called the "Two Ladies Name", preceded by the hieroglyph representing the goddesses Nekhbet of Upper Egypt and Wadjet of Lower Egypt; and the Golden Horus Name, preceded by the hieroglyph trasnliterated as Hor-nebw (or Golden Horus), the sign for Horus of Gold.
For pharaohs reigning after this system was fully developed, the full set of names could be quite extensive. I memorized Tutankhamun's on the section about 'Adjectives.' (Sorry, this keyboard doesn't support Middle Egyptian so I can't actually write the hieroglyphs here since you'll be just treated to unsightly long blocks of squares.):
Horus Name: Ka-nakht tut-mesut, meaning "Strong bull, fitting of created forms."
Nebti Name: Nefer-hepu segereh-tawy sehetep-netjeru nebu, meaning "Dynamic of laws, who calms the two lands, who propitiates all the gods."
Golden Horus Name: Wetjes-khau sehetep-netjeru, meaning "Who displays the regalia, who propitiates the gods."
Throne Name: Nebkheperure, meaning "The lordly manifestation of the god Ra."
Birth Name: Tutankhamun heqa-iunu-shema, meaning "Living image of the god Amun, ruler of Upper Egyptian Heliopolis." (Though the original birth name of Tutankhamun was Tutankhaten (living image of the god Aten) when his brother Akhenaten was ruling).
I was introduced to an Egyptologist when I visited the Cairo Museum -- a very interesting person. We got to talking about king's names, and she mentioned that while the combination of five names was unique to each pharaoh, in practice their two names in cartouches are usually sufficient to distinguish between pharaohs, even when they shared the same Birth Name. For example, the Pharaoh Tuthmosis I had the Birth Name Thothmes ("born of the god Thoth"), which is exactly the same as the Birth Name of the Pharaoh Tuthmosis II, who succeeded him. However, the Throne Name of Tuthmosis I was Akheperkare ("Great is the soul of the god Ra"), whereas the Throne Name of Tuthmosis II was Akheperenre ("Great is the form of the god Ra"). The difference is slight, but enough to establish distinction.