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Adding a word to the English language is incredibly easy. The method?

1: Invent a word.
2: Use it in everyday conversation.
3: Use it enough that everyone around you starts using it in their everyday conversation.
4: Wait a few years.
5: ??????
6: PROFIT! Receive a notification from Oxford stating your word has been added.

All internet memes aside (because that’s a subject for another entry), the proof is in the proverbial pudding: several years ago, the word Muggle, a term created in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series to describe someone with no magical powers, was added to the Oxford dictionary.

Bit of a popularity contest? Sure. Makes sense? Much as I can’t stand popularity contests, I have to admit it does. After all, if no one uses a word, why add it?

But I’m getting further into my English major side and away from the purpose of this blog, so let me rein it back in. Here’s a question: when somebody needs to know something, do you tell them to 1) look it up, 2) Google it, or 3) Wiki it? Think about this one. Likely the answer is 2 or 3.

And just how many internet verbs have come into being in just the past few years? We have:

Email
Blog
Instant message/IM
Surf (which may or may not count, seeing as it’s an updated meaning of an extant verb)
Upload
Download
Link (in the same category as surf)

Let’s narrow it even more: how many webistes have become their own verbs? We have:

Wiki
Google
Youtube
Twitter/tweet
Facebook
Myspace

About the only widely popular social networking website I can think of that hasn’t become its own verb yet is LiveJournal, potentially because it’s still considered a blogging site more than a social networking site.

It says something about the English language that it can absorb and use new words so quickly, and it definitely says something about technology that it advances enough in the space of a few years to require new entries in the dictionary. Whenever I start telling my parents how to work a program or simply talk about computers in general, I get the owl look and a request to speak English, please, despite the fact that I already am – an updated version of English, one that includes terms the earlier generation hasn’t heard and generally doesn’t understand. Given this trend, how long until the English language becomes so jargon-intensive that it may as well no longer be English to anyone beyond their early thirties?

I suppose that’s a question I’ll just have to google.

Given current events, I don’t believe I have to explain the title of the post, but for the uninitiated I will anyway.

Sadly, we’ve had several celebrity deaths lately. Ed McMahon, best known for his work on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, was the first to leave, passing away on June 23rd from unknown causes. From what I’ve seen, it was not highly publicized – tributes in news broadcasts sadly seemed to be the most that were done.

Farrah Fawcett, on the other hand, received a good deal of publicity before her death, since she had documented her experiences with cancer. It became a television special that aired a few weeks before she passed away the morning of June 26. It was a tragedy, but not a surprise.

Michael Jackson, on the other hand, shocked the nation. He went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the UCLA medical center on the afternoon on June 26th, passing away later that day. The media went into an absolute frenzy – the story was on every news broadcast (and the main story of some programs), and any channel that called itself an entertainment or music channel was airing tributes within hours. From what I know, they’re still doing it.

Billy Mays was also a surprise. He was found unresponsive in his home the morning of June 28th, cause of death still unknown. There were a few news stories and a bit of speculation, but for the most part the media has not been covering his passing away.

The internet, on the other hand, is a completely different matter (as it often is). While the mainstream media has let the famous pitchman go nearly unnoticed, the internet community has risen with all manner of tributes, most of which were organized on the popular social networking site Twitter. It helps, of course, that Mays’ son (also named Billy) is an active presence on the site.

Within the space of 140 characters, multiple tributes to the well-loved pitchman have sprang up, most in less than twenty-four hours. Tim Buckley, the artist and writer of the webcomic CTRL+ALT+DEL, has posted a tribute in today’s comic. The phrase, “They say celebs die in threes; leave it to Billy Mays to throw in one extra completely free!” has been retweeted (i.e. quoted on Twitter) multiple times within the past minute and a half, according to the topic search.

The biggest tribute, from what I have seen, was organized in its entirety yesterday and enacted today. Called Wear Blue for Billy (or “wearblue4billy” in the trending topics), the movement is exactly what it says on the box: today is the day to wear blue in memory of and tribute to Billy Mays, the man who made the blue shirt famous (sorry, Sully). I can honestly say, with the exception of tinting one’s icon green in support of the protesters in Iran, that I have never seen a user-created movement with such a widespread participation rate. Looking at the topic search should give you a pretty good idea of just how many people participated in this. (For the link phobic, the answer is “a lot.”) In addition, one user is collecting pictures from the users who participated and is making a collage, which I’m certain we’ll be able to see soon.

Keep in mind that the news and entertainment media has not picked up a thing about any of this.

To me, this is the biggest indication that the internet can do things that are far out of the mainstream media’s reach. The fact that so many people can come together so quickly under a single cause just boggles the mind – or my mind, at least. Within the space of 140 characters, people from across the nation (possibly from across the globe) have come together to pay tribute to one man who convinced us to mend it, till it, and keep it clean, all at an exceptionally loud volume.

We and our 140-character limit will remember you, Billy. Now go show those angels how to keep their robes sparkling white with the power of-

Well, you know.

It’s been a very eventful past few months, but I figure I’m long past due for a post here, and there have been several subjects on my mind as of late. We’ll go with the one that’s been the loudest as of late: role playing.

I’m sure that the few of you who didn’t get linked here from my LJ either stared at that one or debated closing the window (or already did close the window, but if you did you wouldn’t be seeing this sentence anyway. Moot point). Even if you’re not into RP, bear with me here – I’ve been seeing this for a bit (read: the two years in which I’ve been RPing), and I think it’s about time I got it down.

The basis is pretty simple: people play their characters in the same way they themselves react to the game.

Posting that single sentence on my LJ got me a nearly unanimous “…what?” response, so this post is for elaboration.

I’m going to start with myself as an example. I play in and mod two multifandom LJ RPs. I have relatively similar character sets in both games, and I’ve been playing one of them for the full two years I’ve been on the RP scene. After hanging around for that long and cycling through a few muses that didn’t fit me as well, I can see a trend in the characters I like to play: they’re all confident (sometimes to the point of arrogance), determined, and in it to win it. Some of them have these qualities to lesser extents than others, but they’re all present in every character I play. In real life, I am – you guessed it – confident to the point of arrogance, determined, and in it to win it. As anyone who has ever played a game with me can confirm, I do not like to lose. I’d assume there’s a similar factor for everyone who RPs – after all, in order to play a character, you have to be able to relate to them in some capacity. Pretty easy to see where I’m going with this one, right?

But wait, there’s more! From what I’ve seen, most if not all RPers have what I tend to call a “main muse.” It’s the one character that you connect with most, the character that you play just about everywhere (or more than others, at least), the character whose reaction to events in game is first and loudest in your head. (Some people have more of a main character type than a certain muse – one of my fellow players specializes in the strong female types.) My main muse is the one I’ve been playing for the full two years. Personality-wise, we’re more alike than we are different, and it’s always easier for me to post for her than for any of my other characters. She’s confident, involved, and compassionate, with the tendencies to get overbearing, bossy, and loud. Guess how I tend to mod my games.

Thing is, from what I’ve observed, I’m not the only one who does this.

For example, there’s the history major who plays the private-detective-slash-wizard. Both are meticulous about keeping track of events that happen in game, though I’d imagine the player’s notebook has a good deal more information than the muse’s notebook. The character is Johnny-on-the-spot a good amount of the time and, though snarky and sarcastic enough to choke a horse, he’s involved, level (most of the time), and helpful. The mun is the first to propose new theories and has run more player plots than anybody else, and I will be gobsmacked if he isn’t snarky and charming in real life as well.

Then there’s the player with the “new kid” muse. The character is pretty cool, very friendly, and can be outgoing – but if something big goes down or if the character loses confidence or feels like they’re not helping out, they have no idea how to handle it. The character’s been known to get a bit moody if that happens. The player’s the same way: sweet, sharp, and tons of fun, but when gigantic plot goes down in game, they freeze up. Part of it is because none of the player’s characters tend to be as right-here-right-now as the aforementioned wizard, and part of it is that’s just how the player reacts. It doesn’t take long for both player and muse to get back into the swing of things, however, and more often than not they both come back with renewed determination to do something.

Then there’s the player with the forceful muse. The character’s default setting is ARROGANT (and believe me, it deserves that emphasis) – they’re rude, prideful, and want to take action more than anything else, and they have the raw power to back it up. The player, by contrast, is great in chat and friendly (though they have been known to flip tables on occasion when they reach the limit of their patience – I should know; I’ve prompted it once or twice). The similarities here aren’t so much in personality as they are in expectations and style. The muse would rather have a knock down drag out than a strategy session (though strategy is fine, so long as something happens afterward). It’s the same with the player – one of the RPs is playing out more like a puzzle/strategy game at the moment, and it’s driving them up the wall. They want something big to happen. They want an action scene, same as the character.

And finally, there’s one of my fellow mods who plays a relatively happy go lucky teenager. The muse almost always has a smile and makes friends easy as breathing. God forbid anybody try to harm those friends, however, because the muse can be pretty hardcore when it comes to defending them – but aside from that, they’ve always got a smile. The player and their modding style is the exact same way – they’d love everyone to get along and they themselves get along with just about everyone, but I have seen them when our players get targeted in the anon meme or the secrets community, and they can be absolutely ferocious in both defending the hurt players and trying to find out just who the hell committed that injury. They’re an awesome character and an awesome mod, but I wouldn’t cross either of them.

And so, given these observations, I challenge anyone who RPs and is reading this to look at yourself. Who’s your main muse? Do you act like them? Do you play the game the same way they would?

I’ll be interested to see your answers.

I was talking with my sister the other day. She’s the one who has the job at a well-known movie company, and she’s going to go in and try to get on the crew for a few new movies. When I asked her what they were about, she wouldn’t tell me. It had nothing to do with a NDP or anything like that – no, it had to do with me.

She wouldn’t tell me because I’m the most “plugged in” person she knows.

It never really occurred to me that being connected to the internet the way I am could be a bad thing. I mean, I understand the concern completely – nothing online is ever completely secure, and anybody with strong enough Google-fu can find information on just about anything they want. All it takes is one person at one computer to make the information available to anyone who goes looking – loose lips sink ships and such other appropriate idioms.

Either way, I’ll find out about these movies eventually – if I know my sister, once the release dates roll around, she’ll tell me just how awesome said movies are and that I should go see them. I’m looking forward to that.

Just an FYI: “Phraseology of the Internet” is officially dead. Long live Typo Away.

Yep, I’m going back to the original blog name – the on in the URL – and taking it in a completely new direction. I’ve been on the internet for three years, and instead of focusing on one ridiculously small part of it, I figure I’ll just talk about it in general. There are quite a few things I’ve noticed, and the quickest way to find patterns (at least, in my opinion) is to talk them out. That’s what this blog is for – I’m looking at the internet and talking it out. I know the whole thing is too much to take in, but maybe I can make sense of my little corner of it and learn something along the way.

So there you have it. Typo Away.

Welcome to the first official post in Typo Away. I figured the best way to start would be with the line from the fanfic that inspired me to create this blog. Without further ado:

Phrase: “You can’t stop and cry every time someone throws in the bucket!The Dawn to Darkness by dib07

Context: It’s a Sonic fic about war (although it’s more like an excuse to write a pseudo-hardcore war story under the guise of a Sonic fic). I think that’s enough said.

Research: From what I can see, this is a rather unfortunate mixture of two idioms.
To throw in the towel means to give up or admit defeat. It comes from boxing, in which the boxer concedes and stops the match by throwing a towel into the center of the ring.
To kick the bucket is to die. Possible origins of the phrase include suicide (one would stand on a bucket, put one’s head in the noose, and kick the bucket out from under themselves) and pig slaughtering (the beam from which the pig was hung was called a bucket, and kicking the ucket would be the pig’s death throes).

My Thoughts: You know, for a phrase that pulls its origins from very two pessimistic idioms, I laughed really hard. Think about it: throwing a measly little towel in doesn’t have enough of an impact, and kicking a bucket doesn’t net the desired projectile distance. No, when the Grim Reaper comes for me, I’m picking up that bucket and I’m hurling it at his head. Poor Death will never know what hit him.

Hello and welcome to Typo Away, the blog where no writing on the internet is safe. This is the post where I ask you to make suggestions as to what exactly I should write about and ask you to check my About page for more details.

So.

Please send me some suggestions at fixingthefrog@comcast.net! For more details, check my About page! I’m about done abusing exclamation points! That is all!

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