Baby squirrels smell like maple syrup – Post FurCon Newsdump (1/20/15)
by Patch O'Furr
Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag. Story tips are always welcome.
Super linty hugs for everyone, especially if you send Dogpatch Press from the Ursa Majors recommended list to the Award nominations (now open!) For the next few weeks, my posting will be sparse due to time demands. Meanwhile, enjoy uninterrupted content from Fred Patten. His History of Furry Publishing is packed with amazing info. (It wore out my eyes to lay out tons of cool cover art from early zines and books.) You might also catch a few of my back-dated Flayrah articles reposted via @dogpatchpress.
In the Media
More FurCon coverage: “Furries descend on Silicon Valley, modeling eccentricity for a staid tech culture.”
I said it last year: These Furcon festivals might be Silicon Valley’s last, best hope at weird. And it’s true. The homogenous, suburban culture that evolved out of our tech companies is now an economic liability as employers cluster closer to the urban amenities of San Francisco.
This week’s pawful of media articles focus on economic benefits of a much loved hobby. But every fan who takes this seriously for love is a jump ahead of business people, who belatedly notice trends because of money. (Squares!) By the time a movement is named as a “thing” it’s probably over- but if it’s real, when you’re in the middle of it, you probably won’t know it unless you’re doing it. We may look back and see the 2010’s as when Furry subculture got real. Of course, they’ve been around since the 1980’s. Staying power comes from built-in fun and creativity. So it really doesn’t matter if it has outside “cred” or not. Thankfully, parts of it will never be acceptable to corporate stuffed suits (the lame kind.) You can keep doing your thing your way, as long as furries stay weird.
You can’t read this anywhere else online – exclusive share from Chronicle newspaper in Centralia, Washington: “Fur Suits for Friendship, Financial Boon.”
‘Furries’: Local Residents Discuss Hobby Some Might Find Odd
By Dameon Pesanti
For some people, dressing like an animal is a way to break out of their shells and connect with others, explore their creativity and, sometimes, tap into a very lucrative business opportunity.
“I feel different when I put the suit on,” said fursuiter Amber Briggs. “I’m shy and keep to myself … I don’t get out of my bubble often, but in the suit I can really get out of it. It’s kind of a release.”
The Internet has made it possible for so-called furries near and far to connect, commune and buy costumes from one another. From its humble beginnings in the early 1980s, the furry community has grown to include people across the United States. Annual conventions such as Rainfurrest in Seattle attract thousands of animal suited people.
Furries, or, fursuiters, as their also called, are people who wear anthropomorphic animal costumes and take on a new persona as a sort of hobby. The suites range in style and detail from realistic foxes and cats, to dragons or plush mascot-looking figures. Most suits are a character have a predetermined personality acted out by the people wearing them.
A furry might own more than one suit, but typically he or she has one animal character in particular that describes who they are if they were an animal.
“For me, my character represents how I would see myself if I were an animal,” said local furry and fursuit builder Amanda Gray.
Gray is the curator of a local Facebook-based social group called Rainy Day Furries. The group has more than 90 members from the Chehalis and Centralia area. She and fellow fursuiter Briggs also make animal masks and full animal suits that they sell for anywhere between $300 and $1,800. Through various furry forums, Gray has several clients from around the country. She’s even made a partial suit for a customer in Australia.
While the community is friendly about their designs, they guard them seriously. Like most designers, they patent their suits. Gray requires a contract for every design, and each one she makes comes with a voidable warranty if the purchaser alters the suit.
“I got started through a bad experience. I paid someone online to make me one for super cheap,” Gray said. “Nothing came of it. It’s been about four or five years now and I just recently saw a refund.”
America is full of subcultures, fraternal orders, social clubs and geeks that the larger society loves to make fun of (Trekkies, for example) but perhaps none are more ridiculed than the furry community.
In TV shows such as “CSI,” “1,000 Ways to Die,” and MTV’s “Sex 2k,” the mass media has had a heyday portraying furries as eccentric weirdos who dress in animal suits to get their erotics kicks. Some local fursuiters say that while there is an small part of the population that fetishizes animal suits, it’s only a small segment of the community at large.
“A lot of people think furries are sexual deviants, thinking they put the suits on just so they can mess around in them,” said Gray. “Beastiality is another one we get nailed for … it makes us guilty by association.”
Sometimes people’s disapproval becomes downright dangerous. A Dec. 7 furry convention in Chicago had to be temporarily evacuated and 19 people were hospitalized due to a chlorine gas leak that police suggested was an intentional act.
Gray and Briggs say they try to have group meetups a couple times a month where they and their other friends can all hang out and wear or make their suits together. They say they always try to call in advance before they go hang out at a business.
“It’s basically common courtesy to be ‘like hey I’m with this group … by the way we like to put costumes on and look like animals,’” Gray said.
Both women said adults often give them strange looks about what they’re wearing but some, especially kids, enjoy it. For the furries themselves, it’s an exciting hobby. “It’s not going to cure you being shy,” Gray said. “You wouldn’t go to Disney World with Mickey Mouse’s head on and hide in the corner.”
You can’t read this anywhere else online – More from Chronicle newspaper: “Lewis County Power Rankings: Further Examination of the Furry.”
By Aaron VanTuyl / Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015
Anyone opening Tuesday’s edition of The Chronicle would have been met by three stories that took the lion’s share of ink in each of the paper’s three sections. In Sports, it was Ron Brown winning his 700th game. In News, it was a dozen or so stories on flooding. (We cover flooding like ESPN covers LeBron James.) And in Life, it was … Well, you know.
- Furries. Tuesday’s Life section was dominated by a feature on furries, the short definition of which is folks who dress like stuffed animals to interact in a social situation. If you’re a local sports fan, just imagine the W.F. West Bearcat, the Centralia Tiger, the Tenino Beaver and the MortonWhite Pass Timberwolf hanging out together in a conference room trying to break the ice without mentioning any recent games and you’ve got the jist of it. Some furry thoughts:
(A) The costumes sell for between $300 and $1,800, which begs the question: Are there elitist furries? A trustfund baby (or kitten or puppy or cub in this case), with a brand new hotofftheInternet suit for every convention? Do they speak obnoxiously on the Bluetooth headsets built into the helmet of each suit, making handsfree calls to their fellow affluent furries?
“… And so I said, ‘You call THAT a bear suit? I guess I know what YOU do in the woods.’ Yeah, bro, I’ll be at the mixer. Of COURSE I’ve got the new wallaby digs lined up. Imported straight from Tasmania! You know I never wear the same anthropomorphic animal outfit twice, even if my stupid dad keeps threatening to cut me off.”
(B) Were any of upper echelon suit artists in Salmon, Idaho, on Sunday for the conclusion of Idaho for Wildlife’s Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous? (Final tally: 125 hunters combined to shoot 30 coyotes and zero wolves.) While fur merchants were scheduled to be in attendance to purchase hides on Sunday, and a builder of topoftheline furry animal suits would almost certainly deal in some organic materials, I feel there’d be a disconnect between the contestants in a wolfkilling derby and the people who, as a hobby, dress like wolves. And what if the suitbuilder arrived in costume? Would any self respecting Idaho hunter — fanatical enough about his passion to enter the wolfkilling derby — sell fur to a furry? Would any furry with a risk of being mistaken for a live wolf and have enough dedication to his or her business have no moral qualms with buying directly from a hunter?
(C) Is there any crossover in the hunting and furry communities? A lonely man, packing up at elk camp one morning, and arriving back home just in time to put on his elk costume and meet for coffee with his fellow fursuiters? Meanwhile, friends in both groups shake their heads once he’s gone. “Frank’s just a little confused, that’s all,” they say. “He’s working through some stuff. He’ll realize where his heart’s at one of these days.”
(D) Tuesday’s story included the line “… the mass media has had a heyday portraying furries as eccentric weirdos who dress in animal suits to get their erotics kicks.” If you’re imagining reporter Dameon Pesanti writing that line, typo and all, with a tongueincheek smirk, you would be mistaken; his facial expression was actually unreadable behind the uberrealistic handmade velvet beaver mask covering his face.
Aaron VanTuyl is a columnist and sports editor for The Chronicle.
(Sports and flood items trimmed). Both stories shared by asking the reporters. Thanks to a tip from @ZeiglerJaguar.
For GREAT entertainment, read Zeigler’s Jan. 16-19 retweets of enthralled and WTF public reactions to FurCon. (So funny, it deserves it’s own feed.)
My dad got stuck in another convention on his business trip. A furry convention.— Star Hustler (@HeyThereRobot) January 18, 2015
Not White In The Head: The Tumblr teens convinced they were born the wrong species, sex, and even race.
Uber-conservative news guy turns a fun, playful hobby into a straw man. Don’t group furries with pretentious dummies who take themselves way too seriously…
To understand this bizarre world of people who believe they are trans-species or trans-ethnic or trans-cultural, it is best to start with the marginally less weird world of “furries.” Furries are people who have created a “fursona”, a sort of animal character to which they relate and which in many cases they leverage as part of their sexual identity, normally to overcome self-doubt or self-confidence issues.
Fursonas manifest themselves as parodies of furry animals–often cats and dogs–which are then heavily sexualised, albeit in cartoonish fashion. For lonely people stuck in front of their laptops, fursonas become a sort of crutch for social interaction.
It’s not a crutch, it’s more awesome than his hobby of taking potshots at dummies and stooping to their level. Furries are too sweet for that. You don’t need moralistic kink-shaming to laugh off psychobabble like “Species dysphoria.” Role-play doesn’t mean delusion. So what if it’s weird? We know.
Wisconsin ‘squirrel whisperer’ rescues orphaned babies, says fur smells like maple syrup.
NORTH HUDSON, Wis. — When they’re nursed back from death’s door and can finally sleep soundly, they purr like tiny kittens. Their tails are thin and stubbier than you might expect. Their fur smells a little like maple syrup. “True. All my friends agree. Maple syrup,” says railroad welder Dan O’Connor, who ought to know.
Mascot’s moment on “Kiss Cam” at the game.
Inexplicable gif of the week. (Not from that crazy Fur Con room party. I swear.)