TONMO Smilies Explained


Staff member
Site Owner
May 30, 2000
TONMO loves to use smilies; we always have. Good forums make good use of smilies. It's an enhanced way of expressing yourself, akin to gesturing with your hands when you talk. Not everyone does it, but for people who are in a groove, it enhances and deepens the message.

Over the years we cranked out quite a few custom smilies. Most, however, are borrowed, like these:

:welcome: :mad: :lol: :cool2:

Et cetera. Some of these borrowed smilies have taken on special meanings on our site. In this post, I will explain those borrowed ones, as well as the custom ones, and their significance in the context of TONMO.

:welcome: (borrowed) - you'll find this a lot in the Introduce Yourself forum. Welcome fellow ceph-heads!

:twisted: (borrowed) - somewhere along the way, this came to represent Dr. Kat Bolstad. Mostly because of her delicious, ongoing torment of Dr. Steve O'Shea.

:silenced: (borrowed) - has multiple purposes, but sometimes represents censoring (of which we do very little on these forums - we prefer to let the community police itself, but sometimes we do need to close threads, or even delete them).

:madsci: (borrowed) - before Dr. O'Shea got his own custom smiley, this Mad Scientist smiley was him. It can still be him, or any marine biologist. (I'm pretty sure they're all Mad.)

:oshea: (custom - created by Dr. Kat Bolstad (tintenfisch)) - our own Dr. Steve O'Shea.

:grad: (borrowed) - good to use when you're providing good education. We do a lot of that here; it's partly what makes TONMO a great place to be.

:snorkel: (borrowed) - Snorkler here, but also used for scuba. This is an appropriate smiley for TONMO - we have actual scuba divers here, and they're not afraid to use it!

:coffee: (borrowed) - mmm. Coffee.

:smoke: (borrowed) - I see Kevin (Architeuthoceras) using this one a bit when he's feeling celebratory.

:troll: (borrowed) - Troll - We get some of these on occassion. Represents someone who is purposefully trying to stir up some controversy or "get someone's goat" purely for their own entertainment.

:tomato: (borrowed) - Rightfully used quite a bit in the "Groaners: the forum that will never die" thread, or real old-school, from the pre-vBulletin forum, "Immortalized Groaners".

:boat: (borrowed) - Happy smiley sailing along.

:sink: (custom: created by um...)) - Sir "Um..." where have you gone? Um... was a wonderful TONMOer who just slipped away one day. We convinced him to come back for an encore but that was that. Um..., if you're reading this - you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Anyway, um... created this wonderfully clever smiley appropriate for the TONMO community. The smiley is described perfectly by the man himself: here.


:arr: - (custom: created by Dr. Kat Bolstad (tintenfisch)) -- Shiver me timbers!

:feet: (custom: created by Dr. Kat Bolstad (tintenfisch)) - Denotes off-topic discussions. Why? Read here. An infamous event in TONMO lore.

:nofeet: - (custom: created by Dr. Kat Bolstad (tintenfisch)) - Reminds folks that off-topic posts are discouraged!

:cthulhu: (custom: created by Richard DuBois) -- Cthulhu. Ia! Ia! When the stars are right...

:squid: :octopus: :cuttle: :nautilus: - (custom: created by Dr. Kat Bolstad (tintenfisch)) -- a few of TONMO's first custom smilies.

In fact, Phil Eyden, Dr. Kat Bolstad (before she was a doctor :wink:) and um... all cranked out a bunch of smileys back in the day. Here's a thread that announces them as they were released, and below are some of those examples (hover on the image to see its title):

:tentacle: :tentacle1: :tentacle2:
:vampyromo :heteromor :onycho: :tusoteuth
:mesonych: :archi:
:meso: :histio: :bluering: :vampyro:


Phil and Um... in particular conspired to create quite a few fossil smilies:

:ammonite: :earlynaut :aulacocer
:earlyammo :goniatite
:ceratite: :pohlsepia :bactritin
:trilobit: :argonaut: :belemnit:
:prolecani :plectrono :nautiloi:


:whalevsa: (custom - created by Phil Eyden - (Phil)) - Might be my favorite smiley; it captures the epic battle between sperm whale and giant squid. Complete with inking Architeuthis!

:spirula: - (custom - created by Phil Eyden - (Phil)) -looks like the pope

Those three weren't the only ones to create some amazing custom smilies. Our own Denise Whatley (DWhatley) created many of her own:

:titanites: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) -Titanites! Wait for it...

:soapbox: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - listen up, ceph-heads!

:gigas: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - Dosidicus gigas means serious business

:cuttlego: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - it's the cuttlefish circle of life and used when one passes.

:cephdevil: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - down boy, down!

:cuttlezz: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - Cuttlefish sleeping.

:octorun: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - Someone get him back in the tank!

:octocash: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - Easy come, easy go...

:cuttlehi: - (custom, created by (DWhatley)) - A great way to welcome a new TONMO member.

:drwho: - Created by Phil, a Dr. Who fan.

:monty: - Created by "D", for fellow staff member Mark "Monty" Montague. Tragically, he later passed away. We continue to use this smiley in his loving memory. This depicts him dressed as Jack the Ripper for halloween - and it has always struck me how close he resembles the Dr. Who smiley above :smile:

Monty added a few smileys of his own:

:drk: - (custom - created by Monty) - Dr. Kubodera earned his own smiley when he captured a photo of Architeuthis in situ.

:diamond_trans: :no_diamond: - (custom - created by Monty) - Neil Diamond - do you love him or hate him? There is no in-between. Original submission here.

:twocents: (borrowed) - Monty used this one a lot, but his input was a lot more valuable than depicted.

:periscop: - (custom - created by Chris Paulin - (myopsida)) - Down periscope!

:squidaut: - (custom - created by Phil Eyden - (Phil)) - amazing job capturing Dr. Steve O'Shea and Dr. Kat Bolstad performing a squid autopsy

:angelpus: - (custom - created by lifetrance) - Lifetrance was trying to cheer up a fellow ceph keeper who lost their octopus, and so he created this "anglepus" based on one of Phil's octopus smileys - original post here. This is now commonly used when a community member's octopus passes away.

So there you have it -- the TONMO smiley hall of fame. Have one that you'd like to contribute? Just PM me.
I'll add a note about the smilies for weather extremes and the thread we have to keep track of them (we did not make one for this year though, weather was milder than in past recent years):
:snow: snow/cold
:heat: heat/hot
:rain: rain/storm/flood
:wind: wind/hurricane
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