May I introduce some people to you that you already know?
Over the past several months I have received quite a few comments and questions about all the "characters" I play on BritishSpeak (and elsewhere.) It is a natural curiosity, but one I have avoided answering, as many of you know. But, since I am obviously rapidly coming to the close of this particular happy segment of my blogging career, I thought it might be fun to at least show you all the characters that I have used (on these particular blogs), and explain their origins and purposes a little bit. If you don't know what I am talking about, or if you have no interest in the various characters which I am the "puppeteer" for, this post is not for you.
First of all, let me say that when I say "I" it means "Tom Osburn", my real name, and that I have never, to my knowledge, made a post as Tom Osburn on these particular blogs. This is necessary to say, because if I am to name and explain the characters, I can't very well do it as one of the characters. For example, I can't do this post REALLY as "Relax Max" or any of the others. If you have been a long-time reader of my blogs, you will have seen most of the characters, perhaps not all.
First, the reasons for the characters. Some of you (such as Claire, for example) have personal blogs. Journals. Of course, those kinds of blogs should be about yourself and talk about yourself. None of my blogs (I mean the ones you are aware of) are personal blogs. They are not personal journals. They are each for a specific purpose and have specific objectives. My blogs here are either for the purpose of gathering information for some commercial enterprise (one of the things I do to earn money is to write books and articles) or to display essays I write about subjects that I care about.
Other blogs that I have, that you do NOT know about or visit, are investigative in nature, specialized store-site funnels, or funnels to my photography and print sites. I also have two "teaching" web sites.
This is only to give you a little background that will help me explain the characters I use here, and why I use them.
I use the characters to give me more appeal to more people in the gathering of information. For example, "Relax Max" is a very naughty boy sometimes. Tom is not. Tom is very shy and would never say the things (or use the words) that Relax Max says. At least not on a public blog. So you can see why a character such as Max can be helpful in certain projects. This is true for just about all the other "characters". Only a couple have been created on a lark, to entertain some particular person, or to illustrate a single blog post. The others are all ongoing and very specifically assigned. One will, sadly, be killed off after this post.
Although a photo of the puppeteer is shown in this post, this post is not at all about Tom - only the characters. Any desire you have to know about Tom personally will be unsatisfied, in the main. Tom is still a blogger elsewhere, and needs to remain rather fuzzy and obscure so that he doesn't get personally identified (and therefore limited) to a particular project or set of blogs. Also, you should know that Tom does not make his main income as an author or a blogger, and that is yet another reason for him to remain behind the scenes. I'm quite sure you don't care that much about the puppeteer anyway, so on with the puppets!
First, because it really is hard to keep them all straight, here is a "storyboard" which shows all the characters on this blog-set.
Above, clockwise, from top left: Floo Z., Tom, Candy Girl, Relax Max, Yummy Biscuits.
Below, clockwise from top left: Vicar Ezra Likely, Max Da Tung, Tal E. Wacker, Tanisha Watkins, Karen Price, LollyFinally, let me give a BRIEF rundown of each character, what it is for, and it's origin.
1. Floo Z.: Floo Z. is the original header graphic for BritishSpeak. This takes a little explaining, unfortunately. When BritishSpeak was conceived, as a word collection device for a book project, it was assumed that most of the contributors would be male. Why I made this sexist assumption, I have no idea. It didn't turn out that way at all. As a result, the Entrecard widget was set up for the blatant purpose of catching men's eyes from among many widgets. It worked. The men came in droves and dropped. And left. But I have never changed the widget, mostly because of nostalgia. I did change the huge picture of Floo Z. (Complete with the lower half of her body, which I originally used as a header. The ladies weren't fond of her a bit. Floo Z. is used only as a support character.
2. Candy Girl: Candy is a very expensive good hearted party girl. Some crasser souls than I would perhaps call her a Call Girl. But she is really just a party girl who charges a lot of money to go to parties. Candy's first role was in the "Canucklehead Wars" and was expertly played by my friend Marmelade, who is no longer with our group. Candy appears only as a publicity ploy now, making comments on various blogs to arouse curiosity.
3. Relax Max: The second oldest character I have. He was originally a serious financial commentator on NetMax Systems (hence the name Max). The "relax" part came from an ancient Dinah Washington song that was last year being used as a music bed for a TV commercial for Doubletree Hotels in the U.S. If you are not from the U.S., "Relax Max" will mean nothing to you. If you ARE from the U.S. and you have a TV, you will have heard that song so much it makes your ears bleed. So... the name Relax Max means nothing to Brits. Relax Max is a contributor to all my blogs in this blog-set.
4. Yummy Biscuits: My oldest character. Taken from my earliest website. Yummy is a good-natured dog who cares about serious causes, although he started life as a political and social satirist. Yummy can fly and can appear instantly anywhere in the world. He had a major crush on Marmelade. He currently is the main voice on the blog that bears his name.
5. Vicar Ezra Likely: Slap & Tickle pub chaplain. Remote descendent of blogger Lord Likely. Original role was in "The Canucklehead Wars."
6. Max Da Tung: Created as a more vulgar version of Relax Max, as a result of the ladies on BritishSpeak wanting the original edition of Relax Max toned down. He briefly appeared as lead character of "Relax Max Unleashed" which is no longer a blog. Max Da Tung is rarely used now, and then only for shock value.
7. Tal E. Wacker: A rather crude anti-social hippy type who doesn't like politicians or the establishment at large. He contributes to the blog "Wayharsh", a satire blog. For those with both eyes and a long memory, he is obviously the late Frank Zappa, and pretty much mimics Frank's personality.
8. Tanisha Watkins: Tanisha is purely a stealth character and is almost certainly not known to any of you. Her only purpose is to infiltrate competing blogs, make misdirecting comments on forums, work facebook and myspace, and generally make people think that the author of BritishSpeak is not a white male. Obviously, this post blows Tanisha's cover, and she will be killed off tonight. You will never see her replacement.
9. Karen Price: Karen Price existed as simply an ugly but nice young woman, but was not really used until I was trying to amuse my friend Chica. Karen is not likely to be used again. But never say never.
10. Lolly: Lolly is a special character who actually belongs to one of my best friends on the internet. Lolly was not invented by me, nor has she ever been played by me. She appeared in "The Canucklehead Wars" and is still available to me (I think) by this friend. So I wanted to show her here. Up until now she has been sort of a sidekick to Candy Girl.
There you have it! Those are all the characters TOMO uses on this entire blog-set. When I get tired of blogging, you will then finally find out all about me (Tom) as well. But I am not yet ready to quit.
I DO want to thank you for becoming my friends and for reading my stuff, much of which is admittedly nonsense. Since late 2005, I have made over 1200 posts on these and other blogs. Since it was started, March 11, almost 5 months ago, there have been 120 posts on BritishSpeak. In it's heyday, BritishSpeak broke into Alexa's top 200,000 blogs in the world (not an especially huge feat, but a feat done in only 9 weeks from inception) and for a brief period was in the top 20,000 blogs read in the United Kingdom. It was recognized by BBC London presenter Jeremy Jacobs, and even briefly commented by him once. During that same 4 and a half month time span, the BritishSpeak blog has entertained 11,151 visitors. I stay up late nightly and write. I love to write. Someday I will learn to write well.