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Furry on "Love Line" radio show

I was listening to the radio on my way back from a dinner with some fur friends of mine when I turned on the radio station. This particular radio station, 99.3 the fox (www.cfox.com) has recently picked up and started broadcasting the "Love Line" radio show hosted by Dr Drew. Quite often entertaining, always uncensored, the show seemed to be discussing something that sounded a GREAT DEAL like furry.. but I missed the first part. Something about pretending to be an animal, and how completely strange that was and how messed in the head you must be to do it (not in those words).

Well, my suspicions were confirmed when they went to break and noted that they're going to have a furry on the line when they come back. Ooh.. this ought to be good.

It wasn't bad, actually. I guess Dr Drew or his cohorts were at Califur this weekend. A rational headed fur in Seattle named Mike called into the show (turned out to be Coran Fox) and said some things I don't agree with, but a lot that I do, and gave a somewhat reasonable interpretation of what (his opinion of) the fandom is.

http://www.mediafire.com/?yq4j40ijzmi

Hear for yourself! I managed to get home in time to record the entire phone call.

Olympic Fursuiting a SUCCESS!

I'm a proud Canadian. I'll admit to that.

My feelings about the Olympics aside, the thing that struck me more than anything over this first week of Olympic mania that has engulfed my hometown of Vancouver, BC is just how "cool" it is to be a patriotic Canadian right now! It makes Canada Day look like a block party in comparison. The entire CITY is red and white with flags, shirts, hats, posters, and car flags!

This spirit is contagious, or so it seems. So much so, when TK talked to me about wanting to do some public fursuiting during the olympics to raise some spirits and get some smiles, all I could say was, "jeeze, I was thinking the exact same thing!"

We did our research. We did a lot of research. I am actually part-time employed by a company doing corporate mascot work during the olympics, so I knew a little bit about what was allowed and not allowed downtown during the games. Obviously we'd stay away from any security sensitive areas like the venues or the cauldron, but it seemed that downtown streets around Granville St and the Art Gallery were already quite well utilized by other mascots and costumed people. TK spent a few days downtown just observing public interaction and reactions from officials and police officers to get a feel for what we might be facing. Nothing seemed to be of concern. Just a lot of happy people enjoying themselves in one of the biggest, most fun public parties I've ever personally experienced.

We planned right down to the finest detail. We had close parking incase a quick exit was needed. We had capable spotters (although we lost a few last minute, but it worked out in the end). We had matching Canadian-style jerseys to show we were all together. We had flags, capes, and every other kind of Canadian crap we could find to drape over ourselves or attach somehow. We looked like a giant gang of overly enthusiastic fans who went way too over the top. It was perfect.



We circled downtown wherever we could get through, including Seymour, Pender, Granville, and over to the Art Gallery. We tried our best to prevent causing a major traffic jam of people looking for photos. Still, one thing became quite evident while doing this. People are too darn polite around here! If someone is taking a photo, nobody will cross in front until the 15 seconds has gone by for that person to turn their camera on, frame the shot, take the picture, and take a second because the first didn't turn out. When this happens hundreds of times in a few hours, you start to notice the huge lineups and blockages of people behind the photographer and get a bit peeved when people won't understand to move with you instead of stopping you, grabbing your arm, pulling you... Ok, maybe we're not that polite after all around here. Heh. I choose to blame the tourists!



Anyway, we had a fabulous time! We had 7 costumers total: ioco (me), Rennie (TK), Nitro (Shep), Torwin, Sairys, Silverwuffa, and last but not least, Rookie (Cricket). HUGE thanks to our awesome spotters: Kyte (you rock dude), Siku, Six, and Zeph (who arrived late but tried his best). Also, a shout out to Damien who had his car break down while trying to get to us.. thanks for trying!

Oh, and thanks to the Vancouver PD who took their photos with us.. heh.



Go Canada Go!

ioco the Siberian Husky - A Creation Story

A little more than a year ago, I met someone shortly after a mutually-attended charity event and shared a conversation while having dinner with mutual friends. I had met this person before, but we had never actually took the time to get to know one another due largely to having met at parties and other such impersonal events. I will always remember that conversation as one of the deepest, most meaningful conversations I have ever had with someone in the fandom. That person was Scribblefox.

Scribblefox is an artist. An exceedingly talented one. He's also technically minded and likes to tinker with things. He also grew up with a sewing instructor/tailor mother. Combine those skills with an incredible visionary imagination and passion towards character creation and you might have some idea why this man is, in one dolphin's opinion, the most talented fursuit builder in the world. He is also, I might add, one of the most humble people I have and will ever meet.

I had seen examples of Scribblefox's work in pictures, stories and, eventually, in person when I first attended Further Confusion in 2007. I can honestly say that a picture of his suit he did for Zeke was the largest motivation I had towards learning how to sew and making my Aphinity fursuit. I could not believe the expression and emotion communicated by that bundle of faux fur, foam, and plastic. I wanted some way to do that myself.

I built Aphinity the bottlenose dolphin over the course of 3 months, much of which was spent at Trapa's apartment and in my room at my parent's house. My family, particularly my mother, is known for showing interest in projects and things that others are doing, and it was common knowledge that I was building this... costume. My grandma had a habit of following everything I did as well, and took an interest in seeing my completed costume and even checked on status a few times to see how the construction was coming. She was very impressed with the result and even took a few photos with me after insisting on having me put it on to show her. I'll never forget her smile when I first came into the room.

Sadly, my grandma passed on this past year having lived her full life of 86+ years. Her memorial was well put together, and like many, had a memory board of photos of her life with all of us. Right smack dab in the center left of that board was the photo of her standing with me wearing Aphinity.

I saw that photo and laughed. I remembered her support of me through the entire process and it just further reminded me of how much she always supported me. Truly she was one of my biggest fans for having worked so hard and completed this incredibly difficult project, not even counting the other times in my life she supported me. Uninitiated others probably wondered why there was a picture of her with a mascot on the memory board, but to me, this was key to my memory of her and all she meant to me.

I received a small mount of money from my grandma's passing, most of which was swallowed up by the last of my car loan and the car accident repair I had completed a few years back. However, the remainder was an interesting amount. I looked at the balance, realized I had paid off all of my debt.. and for whatever reason, that memory board stuck into my head again. As did Scribblefox.

See, as much as I love Aphinity, he's always been a 'first suit'. I know I can do better, but I also know only so much about the creation process and ability to convey emotion through the character's look. I do, however, know who does know how to do that, and it burned in me to have the ability to really bring the smiles to people's faces that I see when I'm with a truly impressive looking character. I want something people to want to hug.. I want them smile just by seeing him. And more than that, I want a character everyone can identify with.

I had been tinkering with the idea of a different character for some time. Most of my ideas were also cetaceans (dolphins and whales) like Aphinity, but after having done so many charity and public events, I already know the public's attitude about Aphinity. I've been called scary dolphin man too many times to ignore that most public just don't 'get' the idea of an anthro dolphin. I love him, and I will always have Aphinity in my repertoire of characters, and I DO plan to rebuild him even better, but I wanted something else. I wanted something I can connect with, and that others can too. I wanted something friendly, huggable, and universally enjoyed, but something that also identified with me. I have loved Siberian Huskies since I was 5, and I own a young female Husky whom I love dearly. My first (consistent) second life character avitar was a husky. Every reason I looked for pointed towards a Husky. So, a husky it would be.


As for a name, well, IOCO is a name many people in the Metro Vancouver area of Canada will identify with. It's the name of a major road in the Burnaby/Coquitlam area which leads to an area that is often referred to as "IOCO", much like other areas of vancouver like "kitsilano" and "yaletown". Originally I had thought this name was some kind of unique sounding native name or similar with some kind of historical significance, and on that assumption, I carried through with the name. It was months later that I found the actual source of the name; Imperial Oil Company. I-O-Company. IOCO. Thinking I'd have to ditch the name in favor of something less.. corporate, I got to thinking about a back story. What if little ioco was born to parents who worked at the refinery? That would make him Canadian, like me, and put his roots close to where mine are. Ok, this is working! I like this! So, I now have a character species, a back story, and an idea of what feelings I want the character to convey in people. Oh, and I'd better spell it ioco rather than with the capital I, or people will think he's a bit LOCO. heh.

I made a point of asking Scribblefox the next time I saw him about the possibility of getting a commission. He was quick to offer a slot for me! However, I think when I described the source of the money and the reasons for me getting the commission, the true meaning of this suit came through to him. On some odd level, I know my grandma would have wanted me to do this, and without her, it wouldn't be possible.

I know for a fact that Scribblefox bent over backwards and sideways, metaphorically speaking, building ioco to be the best he can. A husky only has so many ways to be unique compared to the dozens already in the fandom, yet, he managed to make an extraordinarily unique character. I lost count of how many times I would get an update saying "Part X is just about ready.. I'm fussing over it." Shortwave Husky also contributed greatly by offering his limited stock of AMAZING grey husky fur for use on ioco. Michael did an exceptional job in his assistance as well!

The care and attention to detail on every single little thing would have taken me by surprise had I not already known Scribblefox to be this type of person. Just some of the features include the individually padded pawpads, PERFECTLY shaped husky ears based on my real life husky Jade, little white patches at the base of the back of the ears, the intensely happy expression, exactingly calculated eye colour, a bodysuit that fits better than most of my clothes do with flexibility and padding exactly where it needed to be, perfectly shaped and tweaked internal head shape and jaw position, handpaws and footpaws made from tracings of my hands and feet, and airbrushed and perfectly matched markings on the head that not only resembled all the qualities of a Siberian Husky, but also match with my own personal eyebrow pattern and result in a fleur de lie which represents my mother's french-canadian roots.

With Michael's assistance, Scribblefox has created a character with details and features that not only capture the exact feeling I want to convey, but also the true spirit of the costume's origins. I find myself looking at ioco and can't help but smile... and in some way, remember my Grammy.

...

I can't express my gratitude in any tangible way to describe how exited I am to have ioco. I think the only thing that comes close is when I got my SRT-4. I only hope I can perform him in a way that reflects the feelings this suit.. and his builder, have managed to bring to me through this whole process.


Scribblefox, Michael.. thank you so very, very much. *wags his tail and gives you both a BIIIIIIIG hug*

.. and thank you Grammy.

PS: If you want more pictures, you can find them on One Fur All Studio's website. Also, check out my Fur Affinity page!
Ah, the joys of technology allow me to make this joyous, festive post.

I am currently beside cricket in a greyhound bus about 63 kms out of westbank in BC, looking at the beautiful stars.. The snow.. The oil spewing out of the back of the bus while a very clattery caterpillar diesel tries to stay running and keep us warm. Sadly, that same engine is also filling the full loaded cab with oily smoke and suffocating us. Oh joy, a little girl just spewed in behind our seat.

And now the engine is stopped. Gotta love that sound of the broken rod hittng the side of the block when the engine was just cranked over. Yup, already starting to get cold in here. One guy suggested we burn some luggage to keep warm. Not so sure we need any more caustic fumes in here.. Heh.

All you can do is laugh, and hope they get a bus here soon to get us to westbank and kelowna soon!

Why this marvelously jolly bus trip in the first place? Cicket's family invited me to spend Christmas with them, and cricket didn't get to see her family last year during the holidays. I'm starting to regret not driving...

Siku turns old!

Yay for Siku's burfday!

Shep opened his house up to all of us fuzzy types in celebration of that special day for the husky .. I mean wolf.. guy we all enjoy spending time with! Siku! I showed up with some burfday balloons in tow for the already tipsy wolf type and received a few comments in regards to the decorative objects' size. I dunno. They seemed small to me... :P

Shep and Lace contributed generously so that everyone had lots of food. Burgers, smokies, and Shep's home-made chili made our bellies nice and full and our minds slightly more coherant with the majority of the attendance consuming numerous inebriating beverages. Never good to drink on an empty stomach, confusious say. I also whipped up some TakoYaki on my takoyaki grill and they were well received from what I could tell.

Dancing. Oh ya, there was dancing. I think Shep needs a bit of a stereo system upgrade in the basement, but a smoke machine, strobe, black lights, and Whiteyfawks' ipod provided enough beats to keep us dancing around in costume. Dancing in general never really interests me, but dancing in fursuit... I dunno why, but it's just so much more fun for me! Terk was dancing with us and always impressive with his energy on the dance floor. Shep was being quite huggy and happy as he always is (don't ever change dude), and Lace was his usual chill, cute "skunk" self. Oh right. Wolf. Oops. :P

The obligatory youtube video search and viewing came later as we all sat and burned off the remaining braincells we could for the evening. I left with Rat and Delmir and drove home in a most unorthadox route that sadly Whiteyfawks decided to tail me on. I think I got home at 5:30 am or so. Ah yes, good times.

Shep.. you gotta hold more parties dude. Happy birthday Siku!

Tigers and wolves and Bears.. oh my?

You know, my job at Mac Station a few years back might have been low paying and high stress, but boy, did I ever meet some incredible people out of it.

One such person is a guy named Greg Fawcett. An ex National Geographic photographer, current film worker, stuntman, and animal trainer. One of the most interesting people I've ever met, and someone who's truly lived his life from his heart. I've kept up with him for a few years since leaving Mac Station through computer favors and brief conversations thanks to our common interests in animals and the like. He still, to this day, talks about 'taking over the world' with me.. at least in terms of a beamingly successful business in tourism or animal interaction or something. Hey, the future could hold such things for us!

As part of what he has involved himself with, Greg works with a group called Action Animals who provides exotic animals to movies and TV as well as special live events. It had been years that I had an open invitation to come and see the place but Greg was out of town so often, it never seemed to pan out for a visit. Well, yesterday, that changed.

I went down with two close friends, Trapa and Rye, both animal lovers and people I knew could appreciate the visit the most. That's never an easy choice though.. picking between friends. I'm sorry to those I couldn't bring along :( Rye and I slept over at Trapa's place after Uni's furmeet on Saturday night (wow... I sure had fun that night) and left directly for Abbotsford to meet Greg at 9:30am on the day of the daylight savings shift.

The facility is on probably between 20 and 50 acres of property from what I could see (and judging by the surrounding land and fences). The animals are kept in enclosures at night and during events that are larger than I've seen at some zoos, although not so large that they're difficult to manage. They have all kinds of incredible animals, including Bengal Tigers, a panther, cougar, leopard, racoons, baboons, and numerous types of wolves.



The tigers were really awesome, along with the rest of the big cats. A quick chuff was enough for Greg to know that most of the tigers we went up to see were receptive to having us there. They have at least 3 tigers. One common theme amoungst the animals was that if they were receptive to us (and nearly all of them were), they'd rub against the fence or bars of their enclosure to let us touch them and get pet in the process. We were all quite happy to do so!

There were quite a few highlights to the all too brief visit. First off, Greg's stories about the animals were incredible. He had personal stories or information about every single animal and knew each one and their personalities like I would know any of the dolphins I worked with. Some of his stories were all too real and reminded me of the dangers of working with undomesticated, wild animals. Still, his love for what he did shined through like only a truly passionate person could.



Another highlight was definitely the wolves. I have never been close enough to wolves to really get an idea of how they behave, but I sure did this day. Plus, hearing their chorus howling, as well as the snarling aggressive display the alpha male gave us after a while, were all eye openers to how they really were. The contrast between the different wolves was incredible, whether it be contentment or malace, timidness or boisterousness, they all had a look of definite intelligence and a vague familiarity to all the dogs I've known and somehow compared to wolves. How wrong I was to do that. These are NOTHING like dogs. Their posturing and temperament alone was enough to build that separation in my thinking. I have every respect for people who choose wolf as their fursona :)



It was difficult to leave for sure. We all felt incredible afterward and couldn't shake the images and stories from what we had seen.

In fact, we were so enthralled with the animal time that my suggestion (or was it Draaz'?) of going to the aquarium was welcomed with open arms! So.. we went! We did all the typical stuff visitors there do with me trying to play tour guide as much as i could. Much to our mutual dismay, it seems everyone else in vancouver had decided to go to the aquarium that day too. Crowds were thick and impassible at times and made for difficult viewing for the scheduled shows, but with Draaz and Lisa buying memberships, I think we'll be back soon enough :)

How do we end such a great day? All you can eat sushi! My friend Michele (Mike to some) joined us, as well as Loial, and we all nammed massive quantities of raw fish and cooked japanese goodness at "Fish on Rice" near Metrotown in Burnaby. Great restaurant for $20!

So.. that's it.. now back to your regularly scheduled work life!

Further Confusion Wins!

Late post, but it has to be done.

Further Confusion, again, surprised me in it's ability to entertain. This year was particularly interesting in the extra items I was involved with.

As usual, one theme prevailed. There was NEVER enough time to do everything. While there were idle times to walk around and have fun, it seemed that all the key times (like Saturday, for instance) were so jam packed that I had to pick and choose what I went to and what I didn't. I am very sad to say I missed out on some incredible people and events due to this (including Selkit and Chaos wolf's engagement party.. I'm so so sorry :( )

First off, it was quite interesting meeting up with people on Saturday night for our first annual "Furry Looner" get together. Those who don't know the term looner can probably easily find it on google. In any case, it was neat meeting others into it when I used to think I was the only one!

Second, anyone who attended FC probably saw or at least heard about our Pirate skit. Amran came to me in the summer sometime and suggested that we should redo the pirate skit that we did so successfully at Rainfurrest. I couldn't see why not, and gladly agreed to be part of it. We amassed others including WhitePaws, North, and Madius (Squeaky), setting out to finish our recruit at FC itself since nobody seemed keen on committing and we had some troubles deciding a story.

Once the con came around, we quickly grew our numbers as people we had talked to started to show interest in helping. So many, in fact, that a suggestion of incorporating the asian theme of the con into the skit was now possible; Pirates vs Ninjas!

In the end, we had our dashing pirate crew of Captain Amran the foxcat, Beef Jerky the husky, WhitePaws the husky puppy, Markus the fox, Aphinity the drunk dolphin, Squeaky the rat, and Babs. The Ninjas were headed by the masterful Ninja North the thieving Great Dane puppy, followed by Nitro the German Shepherd, Spark the foxwolf, Treevor the black Labrador, and Rennie the fox. A great cast indeed!



Though I missed much of the con doing so, North, Amran, and myself spent a great deal of time (and one very late night) writing a complete script and planning and running rehersals. They went well with some exceptions, the largest of which being COMMUNICATION! It's the LAST time I go to a con without a US cel phone! $1.73 a minute just doesn't cut it when trying to reach people. Well, and there was one more exception, but nothing we couldn't work out.

The show itself was received EXTREMELY well! I was blown away at the applause we got, and the chanting for 'pirates' and 'ninjas' afterwards to match with the usual ninjas chant (meant to encourage stage ninjas). It was a high I still haven't lived down, and I'll never forget it.

The rest of the con? In brief... great friends, great fursuiting, and another reminder that, indeed, it IS possible to still enjoy life after the year I had last year. Jeeze, I sure needed that reminder!

FC 2009, how I anticipate thee :)
I finally win at tea brewing!

I know it seems silly, but for whatever reason, until today, I have NEVER been able to make myself a cup of tea that didn't taste like a warmed up cup of spiced vinegar. It always had that terrible taste of overbrewed tea.. or whatever it is that you call it.

I'VE FOUND THE SECRET! (I think)

I always use a teapot. It just.. is cooler.. or something. I dunno. When I do, I have now discovered that with bagged tea, always add the water FIRST, and THEN add the tea bag!

Simple, right? For some reason or another, pouring the water over the teabag makes it have that terrible taste. I just had one of the better cups of green tea that I've had in a while, and this was the only change I made.

So.. w00t for me!

Oh.. and I'm really starting to get revved up about FC being only 2 weeks away... YAY!

Can't we all party together?

Why is it, every new year, everyone suddenly springs up parties out of nowhere that supersede and compete directly with the parties other people had already setup?

I'm in that situation. Same group of friends, two parties, and yet another party on top of that which I have to pick from, and all of them furry related! One is with close friends. The next is with a good group of local furs. The next is a group of fursuiters who are also local furs (and friends). Gah!

Why must our community constantly separate and segregate like this? It's... SO BLOODY FRUSTRATING! :(

So.. again.. I'm going to be party hoping. What else can I do? I certainly can't start my OWN party and separate us all further! I know some people like to have private parties, and that's fine.. but... :(