One of the drawbacks of living in South Africa is that the furry scene is currently rather small. Despite attempts to bring furs from all over the country together for a national meet, we had limited successes and, even when we managed a national furmeet, only assembled between 14 and 16 attendees. Things have improved during the last few years, and meet sizes have increased quite dramatically, even to the point that plans are underway to reboot the South Afrifur convention in 2016.
So, when I moved to Europe, I was glad to finally have the opportunity to attend proper, large-scale furry conventions. I chose two different cons to attend. One was Lakeside Furs, which is a relatively small (approximately 50 attendees) Austrian convention. It made sense as I was now living in Austria and it offered a way to meet the Austrian furry community. I also chose Eurofurence which, as the largest furry convention in Europe, is an almost obligatory furry visit. Although I didn't realize it at the time, both Eurofurence and Lakeside Furs were started by Unci, although he is no longer involved with Eurofurence.
Back in 2011, I wrote my first top ten movies of the year list, where I chose Winnie the Pooh as the seventh best movie I saw that year, but I didn't see it in the theaters. Because it was Winnie the Pooh, and it was a children's movie even more so than the average animated movie featuring talking animals, and it would have been embarrassing for a late twenty-something to be caught going alone to the movie theater to watch it. Explaining that I was only watching it to review it for a furry website wouldn't have really changed that. But I wrote back in that first top ten list:
I decided to skip this movie at the theaters because, you know, it’s Winnie the Pooh. Big mistake. Next time, I’ll man up, and watch the kid’s movie.
I was right back then; it does, sometimes, take a man to review a kid's movie. That was a promise to myself that I wouldn't let embarrassment get the better of me in the future. Shaun the Sheep was the first real test of this self promise. I mean, Free Birds were a slightly different proposition; as "geek culture" becomes more and more prevalent in pop culture, to the point they are nearly synonymous, watching animated movies, even those with slightly awkward studio pedigrees, is much less of a big deal. But I was fairly certain Shaun the Sheep was meant as a pre-school level animation (I was unfair in this assessment; I was thinking of the spin-off Timmy Time, which is meant for pre-schoolers but is not the basis of this movie); but I made that promise to myself not to let pre-school prejudice get in the way.
Good call; this is a pretty good movie.
When Anthrocon started in Albany in 1997, the humble gathering went by the name of “Albany Anthrocon”. Two years later the convention found itself moving out of New York State and into Pennsylvania. Through that was learned the first major mistake a fledgling convention could make. Naming your new convention after the city it is hosted in is like someone getting their lover’s name tattooed to their arm. Ironically, it’s a mistake that other conventions still make to this day.
But living through mistakes is what makes one stronger in the end. It has now been about one decade since the largest furry convention had made its home in Pittsburgh. At this point I think it’s a much safer bet to commit to being inked.
As there were 6,389 recorded attendees to this convention, there are just as many stories and perspectives on the convention. So this review will focus on three sections I focused my experiences around: fursuiting, performances, and writing. It is essential to note that reviewing a convention is unlike reviewing any other medium where you can experience a full package. Many panels run concurrently so one has to make a choice, usually based upon one’s preferences.
Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe, launched in January 1992 by a consortium of Seattle-area furry writers, artists, and editors, and the oldest on-paper furry fanzine still being published, released its fiftieth issue in September 2012. Despite its website’s continued online presence with its semi-annual schedule, the long delay since number fifty was published has resulted in a growing doubt that it is still in existence.
Now editor Gene Breshears has stated that issue number fifty-one is finally ready for the printer, and should be out by the end of this month, or August 2015 for sure. The delay has been partly due to the requirement that all stories in Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe must be consistent with that fictional universe’s 36th-century interstellar storyline. With over a hundred stories by different authors, making sure all details, references, and characterizations are consistent, and the need to get illustrations for those stories, all on a volunteer basis, means it is getting increasingly difficult to prepare an issue.
But Tai-Pan fans can relax with the expectation that issue number fifty-one is about to appear.
This movie gave me a nightmare. I'm not kidding.
I watched it last night, then decided to sleep on it before reviewing it. And I had bad dreams about watching a mostly plotless movie that kept interrupting itself with boring distractions, and it just wasn't funny at all. When I woke up, I didn't realize at first that Ted 2 was the inspiration for this bizarre dream. But, what else could it be? Actually this dream interpretation site I randomly Googled says it could mean I am:
... attempting to protect [my]self from [my] emotions and/or actions. Viewing them on a movie screen projects them onto another person and thus makes those feelings and actions seem more distant. [My] subconscious is trying to protect [me] from experiencing them directly.
Alternatively, it could mean:
To dream that [I am] watching a movie suggests that [I am] watching life pass [me] by. Perhaps [I am] living vicariously through the actions of others. Consider also how the movie parallels to situations in [my] waking life. [I should] observe how the characters relate to [me] and how they may represent an aspect of [my]self.
Well, that is incredibly depressing; I'm just going to continue on with the theory that watching a movie late in the day may cause me to dream about watching movies at night.
As I was looking for a furry game to review this month, I didn't have to go too far before I ran into a promotional video that caught my attention. Despite the simplistic voice acting there was something about the aesthetic and the sense of humor that dʒrægɛn: A game about a Dragon held about itself that seemed to garner immediate interest and curiosity.
So what is this game about a dragon? Let's take a look and find out.
I've probably made it fairly clear in past Pull Lists, but just in case I haven't, Squirrel Girl is my favorite superhero. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Doreen Green is a Marvel mutant with the ability to talk to squirrels, as well as squirrel like agility, plus a squirrel tail. Together with her squirrel sidekick, Tippy Toe, she fights crime as Squirrel Girl. Very well. At risk of sounding like a hipster, I liked Squirrel Girl before Squirrel Girl was cool. Of course, Squirrel Girl is cool because she is not cool (which also sounds super hipster-y), but my love for the character is not ironic.
I like her because she is a genuine superhero; she both has superpowers and acts heroically, but more importantly, she also likes being a superhero. She has fun being a superhero. If she doesn't take, say, an encounter with Doctor Doom seriously, it's not because she herself sees the ridiculousness of the situation. She doesn't see fights with supervillains as something to worry about; she's a superhero. She is supposed to fight supervillains; and she wants to fight supervillains. On a meta-level (and though she doesn't quite go to, say, Deadpool's textual awareness level, like most "humorous" Marvel characters, she has her medium aware moments), she believes that she will win any fight with a supervillain because she is a superhero, and superheroes always win in the superhero stories she reads; therefore, by choosing to be a superhero, she chooses to win. It is not "realistic" that she should, say, beat Doctor Doom with squirrels, but, seeing as how she isn't real, reality does not concern her.
This is why she is such a divisive character; a certain sort of comic book fan believes that comic book superheroes can only be taken seriously if it is presented "realistically." This viewpoint has been the default comic book fan view for decades now, to the point where a character who regularly and unequivocally wins fights with supervillains, and doesn't angst about it, stands out like a sore thumb, and is therefore a breath of fresh air, especially if your personal preference (like mine) is Guardians of the Galaxy over Watchmen. This is not to say a comic book that deals with the consequences of superheroics is bad; it's to say that a comic book that deals with the consequences of superheroics isn't automatically good. And comic books that don't aren't automatically bad. Or for that matter, that "realism" and "explores consequences" are mutually exclusive.
So, anyway, Squirrel Girl has her own comic book now, and it's awesome. Here's a review of the first three issues.
Kevin Hsu is a sexology researcher based at Northwestern University on the outskirts of Chicago. In 2013 he sought, and received, approval from the Northwestern Institution Review Board (IRB) – an ethics committee that oversees research with human subjects – to study furries.
Hsu's research is intended to follow work published by Dr. Anne Lawrence in 2009, which references furries as a group possibly displaying a hypothetical phenomenon associated with fetishistic behaviour named "Erotic Target Location Error". Hsu's hypothesis is that many furries – possibly most – are zoophiles, where that attraction manifests as the furry identity and in activities such as fursuiting, and that furries can therefore be classified as "autozoophiles".
This is one small step for dino, and one giant leap for sauruskind. JumpJet Rex is a retro action platformer where you play as the first dinosaur astronaut. Rex's casual space exploration becomes a call from his species to save them from an asteroid bearing down upon the planet. Will Rex be able to save the dinosaurs? Or will they go extinct? The answer depends on whether you can guide him and his jet boots skillfully enough to survive.
Isiah reviews Ori and the Blind Forest.
It has been about three weeks since the biggest FurAffinity controversy of recent years happened. For those unaware, every single piece of art that was ever uploaded there has been archived, and preserved. Now you can see all the galleries that has been wiped from FurAffinity, presumably forever, in just a few clicks.
In other words, what is put on the Internet, stays there forever, as the great Anonymous warned us.
That made me think: how should we feel about embarrassing old art and dirty laundry? For the longest time in history, artists could hide their more controversial and poor quality drawings form the public, put them in a safe, or throw into the fire. That time is apparently gone forever. Since there is nothing we can do about it, should we change the way we feel? I think this is a worthy subject to talk about. What do you think?
The furry fandom is, by-and-large, a visual fandom. Internally, we elevate visual art to the point where sites like Fur Affinity and SoFurry are often referred to as "art sites", despite hosting various kinds of content. Similarly, outside attention on the fandom has tended to exaggerate fursuiting, another highly visual aspect of the fandom.
This focus on visual aspects is quantified in The State Of The Fandom 2008. Although this is far from the most recent set of results available from the Furry Survey it is the most complete report on the results. It shows that approximately 90% of furries consider artwork, 59% consider writing and only 23% consider music to be important to the furry fandom. In addition, 36% said that music was unimportant to the fandom, compared to 7% and 6% for writing and art respectively.
At this point, I’m a bit behind of recent comic books, but I’m trying to get caught back up to recent times while bringing our readers reviews of every issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and a few even newer series we’ll be getting to eventually.
But for now, we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy, plus I finish up the final couple of TMNT villains issues.
League of Geeks' flagship game shows a great deal of promise as it goes out to early access. Armello is a video game which bases itself in board game principals where four heroes, a wolf, rat, rabbit and bear, compete for their clans to secure the throne.
The goal is to gain more prestige points than your opponents by the time the king dies of his illness, or to smite him yourself. The game has three methods of doing this, and takes familiar elements and mixes them in ways that work extremely well. The fact that the characters are anthropomorphic is icing on the cake of a solid game.
But enough about next year - here’s ten movies from 2014 I liked.