Often when I’m in the middle of a story, macOS’s built in dictation will stop working and I have to reboot the entire machine to fix it. Needless to say, this is incredibly frustrating. After some digging for the hundredth time, I stumbled across a solution.
Please note that this article is not a guide. It is a starting point to help you with your own consideration of the topic. If you have improvements to suggestion, please DM me on twitter or telegram. I’d love to include them.
In response to a question about what honorifics (Sir/Madam) to use to refer to a non-binary deity, I did a little research. There’s four methods I’ve seen commonly used and two possibilities I can currently think of.
By far the most common method is to use singular they and skip any gendered honorifics. If anyone thinks singular they is a grammatical error, I invite them to read the linked wikipedia page and learn otherwise.
The second is to use “Ser” as a genderless honorific in fantasy. It has the advantage of being close enough to existing English conventions to be immediately understood. But it also has the huge detraction of being very close to “Sir”. Indeed, some writers use it as an exclusively male honorific.
The third is to use titles instead of honorifics. For example, “Captain” is gender neutral.
The last method I’ve seen is to make up your own honorifics. For example, Darth Vader. In Star Wars, Darth does not imply gender. Likewise, a Sith Lord is a title. There are female Sith Lords in the canon. If someone used Sith Lady, I’m pretty they wouldn’t live long enough to say it a second time. You will call her Lord and hope you never merit her notice. (I’m aware of the connotation of using Lord as a genderless title. I recommend not using an existing gendered title this way.)
The first possibility is switching which linguistic gender is used to refer to the deity based on context. There are historical examples of this in mythology. I strongly recommend not using this unless you’re extremely careful with it because you will be explicitly referencing existing gender roles.
Dark Garden Lake is a bittersweet story about Moshi, a cyborg painted dog, created by the Reclamation Project, who is given the mission to kill the furred folk terrorist, Landolf. He is terribly lonely as he plays a political long game that requires him to take actions that weigh on his soul. He finds comfort in the unlikely arms of a hyena prostitute hired by his handler.
Which got a glowing review!
“Dark Garden Lake” was like eating a professionally cooked meal; mouth-watering from start to finish, and saddening because you wish you could eat the whole thing again.
I’d like to welcome everyone that’s reading this. Kayode Lycaon is a new name for me. This new name symbolizes one of the biggest changes in my life and I’m happy to have you along for the ride. But if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to tell you how I got here.
I’ve often had people ask if I am okay. It should be no surprise that I hate this question with a passion that’s only matched by my own feelings of inadequacy.
What happens if I say I’m not okay? The immediate reaction is either some kind of apology or trying to fix the problem. People don’t like feeling inadequate or helpless. Their unease becomes my responsibility to fix, lest they spend more time making my life worse with their questions, useless advice, or worse, platitudes.
I wouldn’t mind so much if people knew just what they were asking. Asking if someone is okay is a huge responsibility. Because if they’re not, you better be prepared to listen and accept what you’re about to hear.
Less than year ago, if I answered “Are you okay?” honestly, I would have told you that I want to die every day I’m alive. That I want the pain to stop. When you’re confronted with that, there’s nothing you can do to lessen my pain in that moment beyond just listening.
You can’t fix my pain with words. You can’t just hand me off to a suicide hotline. You can’t take me to the hospital because I’m not suicidal enough to be admitted. (And I don’t need another bill I can’t pay.)
If listening isn’t enough and you truly want to help, then buckle down and HELP. Help me research psychiatrists or therapists1, help me make phone calls, help me make sure I get to appointments, etc.
Trying to get in with a psychiatrist is so fucking hard. It took me 3 months to get up the nerve to push past my anxiety to make the first phone call and then I had to leave a voicemail. I hung up because I couldn’t talk. A week later I managed to leave a voicemail. Then I had to wait for a call back. Half of them didn’t call back. Half of those that did told me they couldn’t take me. When I did find someone that would accept me, I couldn’t get an appointment for three months.
For weeks, I had to use all the energy I had calling for help to soulless machines, knowing that call would end in rejection.
I wish someone could have helped me. It would have saved me six months of unbearable suffering.
This is a lot of effort, more than most people are ready to do. But there is one thing you can do and it’s really simple. Just listen and accept. Don’t try to fix it. It won’t feel like you’re doing anything but believe me, it’s probably the best thing you can do. I will understand if you don’t try to do more. I will appreciate not having to deal with your feelings about how I feel.
I attended a furry convention in October 2013 out of curiosity. I had seen the CSI episode on furries but I’d been interested in furry artwork since I’d discovered the internet some ten years earlier.
How does it feel to be furry?
You belong to a community of people who share your interests. In a lot of ways it’s easier to make friends. It’s a rather gregarious group with a different set of social rules. As one news station said, a hug is the furry shake hand. As a tactile person, it fills a void I feel living in the rest of society.
What type of joy does it bring you?
I remember being six and feeling a “spiritual” connection with wolves. This connection has stayed with my entire life. I find beauty in anthropomorphic artwork. Humanity, with all its flaws does not appeal to me but in The Other, I found a more complete existence. Properly done, the blend of animal and human in artwork feels real to me, alive. To imagine myself being that brings a fulfillment I don’t fully understand. It tells a story I want to engage with.
This feeling deeply inspires my writing. However, this isn’t something that consumes my life. There is a stark separation between this ideal and reality.
When I go to a convention put on a costume, I am still firmly in reality. All I am doing is hiding myself behind a character so I can connect with others in a way I can’t connect with them in person. My costume is far more attractive and interesting than I am. While I play that character, it brings joy and happiness to myself and others around me. It is the most real thing I do. It is the feeling of being right, belonging, and sharing a deep connection. If you’ve ever shared grief at a funeral, this is that feeling, only with a depth of joy instead of sorrow.
This post is summarizing my first furry convention. It originally appeared on my previous website.
I just attended my first furry convention: Fur Reality. I found out about it only a week before it started from a random user on Reddit. Since it was a mere 15 minutes from my apartment in Cincinnati, I jumped at the chance even though there were some complications. My grandparents had already planned on staying at my apartment for Friday night on their annual drive to escape Wisconsin winters by going to Florida. I was going to miss some of the evening sessions. I also had to work Friday so I had to make up some hours on Sunday for leaving early.
I got to the convention in time for the “So this is your first Fur Con?” session. The fursuiters terrified me. I’d seen photos of them before but I wasn’t prepared to see them walking in real life. The panelist explained some basic rules: don’t tackle the fursuiters, don’t touch people without permission, and fursuiters don’t have any peripheral vision so look out for them.
I’m really glad I got to the convention early so I could find out right away there are a couple different types of fursuiters. Some of them don’t talk so they’ll only communicate in gestures or animal noises. Others don’t want to be touched. It took me a while to recognize which was which and figure out how to interact with them.
I stayed around for the next session (Tri-State Meet and Greet) and then hung out in the hotel lobby for half an hour. I ended up talking about Scuba diving and some WWII trivia with one of the other attendees. Then I had to leave to be with my grandparents.
I missed the writing session much to my disappointment but I also missed the movie night turned drinking game turned mass alcohol poisoning. I don’t drink and being the only sober person in a room of drunk furries would not have been good.
Saturday was a blast. I got up a little earlier than usual and drank coffee with my grandparents before seeing them off to Florida. Thanks to my experiences on Friday, I packed a backpack with some water, food, and a notepad. I had a light breakfast at home then drove to the hotel and arrived just before 10am.
The first session was “Intro to Fursuiting”. I wanted to know more about the people that wore animal costumes so I figured it would be interesting. It was pretty much a crash course in etiquette, role playing, and staying healthy. At the end of the session, there were four fursuiters that decided to goof around. That was pretty entertaining and enlightening for me. After watching them role play with eachother, I finally understood what they were doing and how to interact with them.
So I invited one of the fursuiters to hug and scritch like had seen them do earlier. In this context, scritching is basically the same motions as petting a dog. Only the dog is petting you. And the dog is actually a guy (or gal) in an animal suit. If you like hugs and physical contact, it’s actually really nice. That is unless you’re ticklish and the fursuiter has claws on their handpaws.
That ended up being kind of funny. Once the dingo accidentally tickled me, he started doing it on purpose, and chased me when I backed away. It turned into a game for a bit. When I finally ask him to stop, he did. Then he patted me on the back to reassure me it was all in fun. I returned the pat and offered him a hug which he accepted.
This is why I enjoyed the convention so much. It’s a bunch of adults playing. The barrier for physical contact is extremely low. As adults, this kind of close contact is considered inappropriate unless you’re very close friends with the person. This aspect of furry conventions is like a weird version of a cuddle party where half of the people are in animal costumes.
After the “Intro to Fursuiting” session I had a quick break for lunch and then I came back for “Furries in Mainstream Comics”. It was interesting to see the difference in comics from America and those from Europe. In short, I’m disappointed that “funny animals” are limited to kids. I grew up with reading Jack London and Calvin and Hobbes and watching stuff like Disney’s Robin Hood. Why can’t we have more adult-oriented funny animals?
When the comics session wrapped up, I headed over to Pandora Con (a science fiction/steampunk convention Fur Reality partnered with) for the Costume Parade. By the time of the parade I was perfectly comfortable with the fursuiters and really enjoyed watching all of them walking around.
Once the parade wrapped up, I was able to get a photo taken of myself with two fursuiters I had been hanging around with in the morning. I also ended up talking to a teenage boy in a cute and pink mouse costume. He was really excited about Doctor Who which was the Pandora Con theme. I’m going to have to actually watch Doctor Who to make sense of half of the stuff he said. Then I mingled a bit more and took some photos.
Since I had some time to kill before the next Fur Reality session, I headed into the theater where Jason Carter (Played Marcus Cole on Babylon 5) had been talking for an hour and a half to a bored audience. It was painful to watch him completely bomb for the next thirty minutes but I didn’t have anything else more interesting to do.
Finally 4pm rolled around and half of the furry convention and more than a few Pandora Con attendees flooded the theater for “Who’s Lion is it Anyway!”, a variation on “Whose Line is it Anyway?”. It turned out pretty well. The audience played all of the parts and most of the jokes were funny and the ones that weren’t were still amusing in how badly they failed. Doctor Who’s regeneration as a furry blue dragon was rather hilarious with the companion saying “What the fuck are you!?” and the fursuiter replying with shrug, “I have no idea.” It finished with the organizer being quite pleased that the first time he had tried the show both furries and non-furries was one of the funniest he had done. Apparently furries and non-furries don’t always do well in mixed company.
I finished up the night with “Dragget Show Live”. The same guy who did “Who’s Lion is it Anyway?” does a furry podcast with his boyfriend. I’ve listened to the first fourteen episodes and wouldn’t recommend it to my friends. It’s offensive and obscene to large degrees. I find the anti-semetic jokes by the self-proclaimed Jewish-descent Catholic-raised gay ferret to be hilarious. Few, if any, of my friends would laugh with me.
With a new podcast to listen to, I headed home. This would be a good time to mention: if you go to a convention, remember to eat a decent amount of calories (400+) for lunch. I ate very light for both breakfast and lunch and ended up pretty wiped out. If I had been staying at the hotel and gone to the after session parties, it wouldn’t have gone well for me.
I jumped back into the convention at noon for “So you want to build a fursuit?”. I wasn’t all that interested in making a fursuit myself, I was just curious how they were put together. Turns out there is a lot that goes into them that I didn’t think about like molding claws and teeth out of clay. One of the fursuiters, appropriately named “Punk Cat”, decided to drop in and get his tail stuck in the door on purpose just to cause a scene. Everyone in the picture is staring at him instead of moving to help.
After that I did a 2 hour game of “Lupus in Tabula”, a party game similar to Mafia or Werewolf. It was a lot of fun, in the first round I helped lead the villagers to success in lynching the last werewolf. In the second round, I got eaten half way through and eventually so did the rest of the village.
Then the convention finished up with some closing ceremony by the organizer and some of the sponsors. Fur Reality was founded, funded, and organized in just two months. Attendance reached 150 people, there weren’t any major issues with the attendees, and the hotel was thrilled to host the convention.
My first furry convention was a lot of fun. I’ll definitely attend Fur Reality next year if I’m still in Ohio. In the mean time I’m going to look at going to a larger conference early next year.
Four months later, I joined Fur Reality staff. I went on to become Director of Operations in 2017 and Chairman in 2018. After 2018, I stepped down from the position of Chairman and left Fur Reality staff to take care of my own psychical and mental health.