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January 12th, 2002

Pokin' Around

Cats are known to have a recurring problem with curiosity, and lions are no exception; thus it was that I decided to start poking around the Friends pages of people who have me on their Friends list.

In no particular order, I started with Xydexx. (Hi, Xydexx!) I was a little surprised to find him on my friends list, just because he and I have spent quite a lot of time in the same room talking to other people, but have had very little direct contact. Always struck me as a nice guy, tho.

Anyway, I was interested to see people I knew, and/or people whose names I knew but whom I'd never met. And that got me to thinking more about the whole furry thing, and about reputations, and so forth. Xydexx, just to give an example, is widely known for being "the silly squeakypony." I remember the first time he was pointed out to me in a room ... "That's Xydexx; he lives in your area." "Xydexx, the silly squeakypony? Really? Neat." The same is true for many others in the furry community ... Uncle Kage, Herbie and Yappy, Tyger Cowboy, and so on. It's this vast collection of names and personae, handles read off of Yerf or Furnation or message groups, blocks of text sending you messages out of the aether, all seemingly disconnected from reality ... until you actually meet someone.

In response to my "proud to be a furry" page, somebody sent me a note saying that it was nice to hear one of the "big names of furry" speak out on the issue.

I'm a big name in furry? When did that happen? HOW did that happen? My artwork, while fair, is hardly the best, nor even in the top 10%; I'm not a fursuiter; I'm not active in the community, particularly; I'm just a guy who draws a comic strip -- and one that's on hiatus half the time at that. "Bill Holbrook" is a big name in furry! I'm just some guy.

I don't know what to make of it all, nor even if I should make anything of it anyway. But what can I say? I watch the world, I think about what I see, and then I make a record of what I think. It's what I am, and who I am. What purpose it serves, I don't know -- but it must serve one somehow.

-The Gneech

A Teeny Bit of Haiku, Stolen

Do you choose to do
haiku, sir? If you choose sir,
haiku, sir! Do, sir!

(With apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

-The Gneech
Another local furry trip, this time to the National Zoo for Panda Day! It was Camstone, Otter, Bearhug, Woof!, Laurie (Mrs. Gneech), and myself. I was rather expecting to see PandaGuy, but Camstone says he's a bit under the weather.

Laurie and I rode the Metro down into town; we had hoped to get there by 11:00 so we could see the tiger cub, but we didn't actually arrive at the zoo until 11:40 or so. Since the furries were all supposed to meet at the Otter Pond at noon, we had just enough time to check out the big cat enclosure generally before we headed over to see Otter.

As it was, we were the first ones to get there besides Otter himself. (He is a volunteer there, one of those people who stands around and repeats the same 30 seconds of statistics to every group of kids who comes wandering around.) Bearhug got there a bit later, so we all hung out at the otter pond, listening to Otter tell us about his research. Apparently he's working on the problem of "stereotypic activity," which is to say, the animals get into a routine of repetitive motion (like pacing back and forth in front of the bars) and their brains shut off. Besides being boring to watch, it's very not-good for the animals, and they're working on ways to combat it.

Otter's a very interesting kid, actually. He's still in high school, and he does this stuff. When I was in high school, I was doing bad local theater! Oh well. :)

Anyway, we all migrated over to the Zoo Store and hung out there, and Woof! wandered up -- he had lost all hope of finding us, apparently -- and Camstone arrived shortly thereafter. From there, it was a fun day of wandering around the zoo, being silly, and checking out the critters. The pandas were very cool ... I saw more movement from the new pandas today, than in all the previous 30 years of going to see Ling-Ling and Sing-Sing combined.

Otter, of course, wanted to go back and look at the otters some more. ;)

All in all, it was a nice day, even if I did manage to get sunburned -- in the winter -- walking around in the shade. Being one step up from an albino can be quite irritating. I bet if I stayed out all night, I'd get a moonburn!

-The Gneech

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