Friday, January 31, 2003

Dem bones, dem bones, dem hominid bones

Interesting article on the BBC Online site about a new fossil find in South Africa that suggests humans and chimps might not be as closely related as is generally thought. It's an Australopithecus, about 3.5 million years old, but not a knuckle-walker like modern chimps.That might suggest that the infamous "common ancestor" is a pretty long way back. As usual, though, other scientists disagree. Still, evolution is a funny thing, innit?

Thinking of hominids, anyone recognise this?:

She got the which of the what-she-did,
Hid the bell with a blot, she did,
But she fell in love with a hominid,
Where is the which of the what-she-did?


You ought to - it's from Cordwainer Smith's The Ballad of Lost C'mell, an excellent (and, I think, furry) SF story. Read it! Read it now! =:)
'S no Snow

Everywhere in the entire British Isles seems to be reporting blizzards, blocked roads and Gawd knows what else yesterday and today. Except, of course, for Worcestershire, where *looks outside window* it's completely dry with a bit of high cloud. Bloody cold, though. Of course, the fact that there was more than one inch in - gasp! - London meant that we had hours of coverage on the TV news. People stuck on the M25 for fifteen hours (so how does this differ from a normal day?) with one vegetable pasty to sustain them. All I can say is, some of these people are amazingly stupid. You do not go out in that sort of weather without taking food with you! Weather forecast for tonight looks like there'll be more snow in the north, but I expect they can cope with it up there. Hey ho.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

The morning slice of dehydrated apple

Thought it was about time I posted something here, so here's a link to a newspaper article from Minnesota's Pioneer Press, about the forthcoming first anniversary of their local House Rabbit Society. "The downside is... they chew everything," it says. Yep -you should see the state of this pencil... =:)

While I'm wittering away on the subject, there presumably must be someone out there who's actually called Timothy Hay. Not that I've anything much to add to that; it's just a micro-brainstorm.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Not me guv!

Worrying news from the Football Diary of the Guardian newspaper: they've received an email from some load of mad nutters calling themselves the Luther Blisset Explosion Experiment. The message apparently reads, in its entirety:

"?20:03:2003? (never trust a rabbit)".

This is a bit disconcerting, you know: that's my birthday! And I'm not at all impressed by the statement in the brackets. What can it all mean?

Saturday, January 25, 2003

It's a worthwhile habit to follow the rabbit

That used to be the slogan for a furniture shop called Harvey's (I suppose the name suggested the lapine connection). Seems to have stopped being used now, though. Shame =:(

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

So long, and no thanks to all the fish

I see on BBC Online that huge numbers of dolphins are getting caught up in huge fishing nets slung between two boats. On top of this, a number have been found with terrible knife wounds, so it doesn't seem to be just accidental. Can't people ever have a bit of common sense?

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Burp...

The alt.lifestyle.furry folks don't let up on the hospitality, do they...? I think I might have to revise my self-description as a smaller than average rabbit...!

Anyway, while I'm at it, anyone wanting a ridiculous amount of veterinary information about rabbits (and, let's face it, who doesn't?) should click here to find an absolutely tremendous page by a couple of top academic types from Edinburgh and Liverpool. As I say, it's really aimed at vets, and is very tough going for us ignorant types, but to get this much for free is unmissable.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Alea jacta est

...as they say in the Asterix books. 'Tis done.
Burrow Furveyor

Now that, folks, is a bad pun. Learn from the master, okay?

Anyway, this post is here because I've taken the decision that the Furvey is for me, and I shall now be posting it just as soon as the screaming abdabs have relented. Which could be several decades, to be honest, but might be tomorrow. Watch this space...

Friday, January 17, 2003

The titled classes

Well, here I am in Birmingham Central Library again, which means that a lot of the pages I'd like to do some catching up on are blocked by Brum's trigger-happy filtering software. (Yahoo Profiles, for example - they count as "Personals", apparently, so are beyond the pale. And something I do all the time on my own PC, and in other libraries, which is to look at the cached version of Google searches so's the words I'm looking for are highlighted (which is a godsend on text-heavy sites) is banned as well - apparently it's a "loophole". Sheesh. How long before Google's blocked as well, 'cause you can actually find things out on it? Come on Brum, this is getting silly. Worcestershire are way ahead of you here.

Still, in keeping with the well-known idea of being completely and utterly illogical, blogs are fine, it seems, whatever they may contain (not that this one has anything terrible on it, but still...). So I thought that I'd share with you an outline of my answer to one of the questions on the Furvey: the one which asks about one's taste in furry literature. Here goes:

Ah, now we're cooking with charcoal. If it's a book, I'll probably read it, basically. Obviously, Watership Down is the undisputed top bunny (shame about the sequel), but there's plenty more around. I suppose my favourite type would be a good solid adventure story with a decent helping of humour - I've never understood the mentality of those authors who seem to consider fantasy and humour to be mutually exclusive ideas. WD itself is, contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, hysterically funnny in places.

As to specific books, one of the most enjoyable I've read recently has been Michael Tod's The Silver Tide, which is about squirrels. It's maybe not so much of a "literary achievement" as WD, but it's a good read all the same - and manages to treat its subjects seriously, which I always tend to think is vital. There are two sequels, and I'll be hunting out for them.

It's always preferable to me when the animals behave with a high proportion of realism. That doesn't necessarily mean that they can't wear clothes, have schools etc (think Mrs Frisby. That's with an F. What sort of a name is Brisby? Bloody Frisbee lawyers), but they shouldn't just turn into fur-covered human beings. On the other hand, I think some things, such as direct speech, should be included - the (almost) complete absence of it in the badger tale The Cold Moons annoyed the heck out of me, and pretty much ruined what was otherwise a decent story.

Other bits and pieces: I've had a glance at Tad Williams' Tailchaser's Song (cats), and it looks like it's well worth a go. And, though it's not furry as such, Lynne Brian's novel Like Rabbits, about a five-year-old girl and her rabbit-showing Grandad, is one I have down on the "to read fairly soon" list.

Oh, and Redwall? Never read it. Not even one book. Should I get on to the Guinness Book of Records? =;)
And your specialised subject?

Well, like I mentioned I might do here, I've bitten the bullet and downloaded the (in?)famous Furvey. Actually, I've only really nibbled the bullet slightly, as the actual biting is going to be in the posting to alt.lifestyle.furry itself. Will that ever happen? Well, probably. Could be tomorrow, could be next year - I'm not exactly the super-confident type, to put it mildly! Here's different, as absolutely no-one reads this blog. Look at the stats, folks! =:) But anyway, reading the Furvey questions has been a strange experience: sort of "it'll be interesting to read this, but it's not really my thing. Well, except for that bit. And those. Oh, and that section as well. Come to think of it, that part and all. Actually, rather a lot of it's relevant. Yikes."

So, like a good netizen (blimey, what an ugly word that is) I went and read alt.l.f's charter, but as these things tend to be, it's written in "Usenet-charter-speak", and didn't really tell me much. What I needed was a FAQ. And thankfully, alt.l.f turned out to have a good one, as you can see. And one sentence absolutely leapt out of the screen (figuratively, natch):

A person with an important emotional/spiritual connection with an animal or animals, real, fictional or symbolic.

Bloody hell, he thought (lapsing into the third person like some second-rate boxer, as was his wont). If we're going to go by that definition, then there's no doubt whatever about it: I'm in. Yikes. (Again.) Okay, so Watership Down is mostly where it's at, hepcats (heprabbits?), but it's more than that. Just liking WD doesn't explain why my heart leaps every time I even see the word "rabbit" in print, or why I sometimes chin my possessions. Actually, I really don't know how I can express my feelings in words. Which is going to be a bit of a bugger with the Furvey, innit? Darn.

There's a nice poem by AndrewB, That Nature Yet Remembers, which is about as close as I've seen to reflecting what I feel about rabbits. It's not quite there, though, as "elation", though not a bad choice, isn't really enough. I don't know what to add, though - exhilaration, certainly, but what else? Frith knows, frankly. But I don't, at least not in words. Darn. (Again.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Doe, a rabbit, a female rabbit

What is it with wildlife authors? I looked at half a dozen articles on rabbits in the library today (well, yesterday now), and three said does were usually bigger than bucks, and three said the opposite. Well done, people; you've been a great help. On the whole I'm inclined to go with the "does are bigger" school: for the female to be larger is an unusual feature in mammals, so I can't see why it would be mentioned at all otherwise. Maybe I should write to David Attenborough... =;)

Monday, January 13, 2003

Wailing and gnashing of teeth, with a side order of outer darkness

Hmmm. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to get interested in this sort of thing. It would seem that, as Private Frazer would have it, "we're all doomed!" The furie4jesus site says so. Here you can read why Jesus wants furs to DIE!, discover the shocking TRUTH ABOUT FUR FANDOM, and perhaps most terrifying of all, See A Fur Punished On The CROSS!

Well, I don't know about you, but that's enough for me, folks. I'm off down the local Repentorama first thing tomorrow. (Just next to the zebra crossing, which annoys them no end.)

It's a hysterically funny site. Unfortunately, it also has a big message saying:

This site is a work of parody and/or satire. Your mileage may vary.

on its "About" page, which completely ruins the effect. Bloody lawyers, eh?
Waffly versatile

You'll have to excuse me rambling on a bit here - ignore this post if you want to know anything useful! However, I'm just using this as a bit of an emotional outlet for the moment. The thing is, I said that I was impressed by The Wolf In You (well, apart from the overdone trills on the Rs, but maybe that's an accent thing)... but "impressed" is a bit too bland. Actually, it's a lot too bland. To be frank, well... it did me in emotionally. You see, I don't cry at music. Well, there's Bright Eyes, of course, but there I'm really crying at the thought of "Fiver Beyond" rather than the song itself. But listening to The Wolf In You, I couldn't stop the tears coming on. I really wasn't expecting that. After all, I have no particular attachment to wolves other than the fact that I was born in Wolverhampton, so can call myself a Wulfrunian (good word, eh?). But that's what happened - I know it sounds horribly "pseudy" saying this, but that song pretty much bypassed my brain and went straight to the heart.

I've never thought of myself as a "furry lifestyler" at all - I certainly don't believe I'm an animal "trapped" in a human body, for example - but maybe there's more of that side in me than I've been "admitting" (stupid word to use, I know) even to myself up to now. After all, I'd certainly go considerably further than calling myself "just" a fan; I get an extraordinary feeling whenever I think about, or especially see, rabbits - even on TV, but when I'm lucky enough to see wild ones in the flesh... wow. And when I come to think about it, there are one or two little "rabbity" things I do without thinking about it consciously - grooming my ears, for example, which I've done for as long as I can remember. The honest truth is that I'm not really sure what's going on: it's all part of me, and isn't really something I can "separate out". Maybe I'll have a look at that "Furvey" questionnaire thingy the folks on alt.lifestyle.furry put out, and see where I end up. As of now, I'm not certain that I really know.

Okay, end of waffle for now. But isn't pouring out your innermost whatevers what blogs are for...? =:)
It isn't easy bein' furry

Oh dear, that FMF site I mentioned last time has a lot to answer for. I downloaded a ridiculously silly song called Being Furry, and it refuses to get itself out of my head. As the song says, though, "it isn't easy bein' furry"!

Friday, January 10, 2003

I hear sweet music

I have no idea why the previous post is dated 30th December - it should actually be at least a week later! Anyway, I discovered an interesting place just recently: the Furry Music Foundation, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Seeing as how people have been pestering me with variations on the theme of "you must listen to that The Wolf In You song", I nosed about in there and soon found it. 5 megs is a big d/l for us poor modem users (BT refuses to upgrade my exchange - grrr), so it was going to have to be damn good to be worth it.

It was.