Furvey - Pyesetz the Dog
0. What is your name?
Names fail to attach to the quintessence. Like collars, they merely
identify an instantiation.
1. No really! What is your name?
Anonymous Coward. Please excuse the paper bag over my head.
2. What is your email address? [Use * instead of @ to avoid spam]
3. Are you male or female?
<Checks groin> I appear to be male.
4. How old are you? / What is your date of birth?
I'm old. I'm really old. While I can't say from personal experience
whether Tyrannosaurus rex walked upright or with its backside held
flat, I can say that I am actually older than some hills.
5. Where do you live?
South Jersey, USA.
6. What are your interests/hobbies?
I'm a computer geek. If it doesn't involve a computer, it's just something
to pass the time until I can get back into cyberspace.
7. What do you do for a living?
I'm a software engineer. No, that's not (just) a computer programmer
with delusions of grandeur! Software engineers write firmware. We do it
on time, in spec, and under budget. I'm starting to get bored with it.
8. How would you describe your personality?
Actually, I was hoping you furs could help me with that. I've been called
"abrasive" and "silly" and "helpful". How do these fit together?
9. Do you believe in ESP? Do you consider yourself to be psychic?
The sense of humor is just a reanalysis of data from other senses. It's
all software -- there's no dedicated organ for it -- therefore it's extrasensory!
Occasionally I "know" things that turn out to be true, although I can't
point to any sense-data that this knowledge could have been derived from.
10. Are you a meat eater?
Beef. It's what's for dinner.
11. Who are your favourite furry characters?
I used to like Kimba the Lion, but haven't seen the show in many years.
- Bugs Bunny
- Wile E. Coyote
- Cookie Monster [in the early years, when he couldn't talk well]
- Kermit T. Frog
- The Everpresent Wordsnatcher (from "The Phantom Toolbooth")
- Yogi Bear(?)
- Cow & Chicken
I like Walt Disney (founder, not conglomerate), Jim Henson (ditto), Mel
Blanc, and Genndy Tartakovsky (is he furry?).
12. What type of furry artwork do you enjoy viewing?
Furs' home pages. I like trying to match up the self-portraits with
13. What type of furry literature do you enjoy reading?
Parodies. If it's too serious, the talking animals are just pretentious.
14. What types of furry media do you create?
Words, words, words!
15. What types of animal/furry themed decorations adorn your living
Nothing. I'm sitting here next to a bookcase filled mostly with science
fiction, and a painting of rolling waves on a seashore.
16. Describe your ideal plushie.
I still have a dog with a ridiculously-large head and a very short tail
that I got when I was four.
17. Do you enjoy wearing fursuits and/or furry accessories? [collars,
tails, ears etc]
Costumes and collars
I don't like collars. Never worn a tail. Ears are cute. Never worn
a full fursuit, but would like to someday.
18. Do you feel 'furrier' when wearing a fursuit/collar/tail etc?
19. Describe your favourite/ideal 'furry' appearance.
See question 34.
20. What are your phenotype(s)?
Dog: I am exactly what I am. No
standardized pigeonhole can describe me. For the purposes of participating
in the furry community, I have elected to take on the fursona of "Pyesetz
the dog". Imagine a Russian wolfhound, but of course I look nothing like
Bird: What I look like doesn't matter
much. I live in a world of sound. If you like, you can think of a purple
martin, with the voice of a parrot.
Ape: Imagine the hindbrain of a Homo
erectus, anthropomorphized with a modern cortex and similar accoutrements,
though of course I look nothing like that. Or do I?
21. How/when did you discover the identity/species of your phenotype?
Dog: My mother insisted that
all her children had to be dogs, but I'm the black sheep of the litter. Some
people thought I must be kidding. "Surely you're a cat?" they would say
(this was in the old times, when cat and dog were the only phenotypes that
could be mentioned in polite company). No, I'm a left-handed dog with feline
Recently I came across a fur's homepage with a picture
of a cat who says, "Woof!" That author self-identifies as a fox. Pyesetz
means "arctic fox" in Russian. So yes, I am «The Dog Named "Fox"»!
Bird: In grad school I used
to whistle a lot while the dog ran the software debugger. After a while
I got really good at it! Once, I did a three-part harmony with Kermit the
frog (in throat), banjo (mid-tongue) and violin (tongue-tip). It got applause
from my office-mates!
Ape: When my daughter was born, my
phenotype had to shift. Human babies have no pretense. They're happy to
be just the animals they are. If you're an ape's daddy, what does that
22. What conditions help you to enjoy/express your furriness?
Dog: cold weather, insane
deadlines, loneliness, failure, a need to communicate with animals.
Bird: warm weather, plenty
of time, friends, success, music.
Ape: family, co-religionists, civic
duties, abstract dangers.
23. How and when was your furriness first evident?
What is furriness? Is it when your inner child has an inner animal?
I've always had that.
24. How much of your furriness is 'instinct' vs 'learnt'?
Dog: It's a gift/curse from
Bird: Dunno. You want a percentage?
I hate numbers!
Ape: I think it's all a learned response
to the difference between the world my body expected to live in and the
one I actually experience. I believe I was born to be a shellfish-catching
shore-dwelling ape, but that habitat is gone and my ethnic group hasn't
eaten clams for millennia. Anyway, computers are much more fun than making
stuff out of vines and rocks.
25. How does your furriness influence your thoughts and emotions?
Dog: I remember feeling resistance
to putting on a necklace my girlfriend got for me — IT'S A COLLAR!
I DON'T WEAR THOSE! But I put it on and trotted down the path towards domestication.
Now the old wild days seem hard to remember...
Bird: This question gives
me a headache.
Ape: Furry feelings receded during
the '90s, when things were going well for me. I had a job that was probably
better than any other job I could get, the family was growing, and terrorism
was not a "domestic" problem. Now I feel like I need to jump out of my skin
and become someone else. Call me "Gregor Samsa". No, better not.
26. Has your furriness improved the quality of your life?
Dog: I have more patience
than the ape. When the going gets tough, the dog leads the way.
Bird: Jokes! Furries are
Ape: In an advertising-dominated
age, I try to stay real. What would Homo erectus do?
27. What do you think caused your furriness?
Inherited genetic anomaly. We're all furs where I come from.
28. How does your furriness manifest itself externally?
Dog: I've been known to bark
when people meow at me. I walk digitigrade sometimes.
Bird: Avian reproductive metaphors.
(Hey! Look at the big words!) Example (said to mate): "I'll make
the nest, you lay the eggs."
Ape: When my son was three weeks
old, we had a -- let's call it a naming party. He couldn't even hold his
head up yet. I put him up on my shoulders and laid his head on mine. He
grabbed my hair in his fists (his only coordinated movement at that age).
To appease the mundanes present, I held my hands behind my neck as I walked
around the room, to catch him if he let go, but of course he didn't let
go. Until recent times, babies who let go did not survive.
29. Do you act furry in public?
Not in recent decades. It was easier in school, surrounded by other
furries or proto-furries.
For the last two Hallowe'ens, I've been wearing a mouse nose & ears
while taking the kids around the neighborhood. (It's a safer place now than
in the old days, despite what the fear-mongers say.) I make a few mouse-noises,
but it's not a phenotype I'm very familiar with. I bought the rat-face
because it was on deep discount.
30. How does your furriness influence the way you interact with people?
Not as much as I would like. I signed up for International Furry Meetup
day, but April 6 '04 is an ethnic holiday, so I can't possibly attend until
the May meetup. Is there anything else in South Jersey/Philadelphia? I'm
not ready for Anthrocon yet.
A long time ago, I was passing through the student center at college
and discovered that there was an SF-con going on. I didn't feel like paying
for it, but they told me attendance was lousy and they weren't checking
badges anymore, so I stayed awhile. The "Hardware Wars" movie was amusing,
but the discussion group was lame. I kept hearing this word "mundane".
I wanted to shout at them, "Your pitiful attempts to escape the normalcy
of your existence barely move the weirdness meter off its zero pin!" (At
this time analog displays were still common.) "I could try my hardest to
be normal and *still* be weirder than you'll ever be!" But I didn't want
to ruin it for them. I've never attended another SF-con.
The next day I was walking through the student center
again, accompanied by another doggie. The SF-con had become a FurCon (they
were not held separately until 1986). There were folks in face-paint and
others in fursuits. I was talking to my friend and accidentally bumped
into someone whose face had had whiskers attached to it. "Mrraow!" <Watch
where the Hell you're going!> said the cat. "Grruwlf!" <Sorry,
but what's the big deal?> I replied. The cat stood there for a
moment, as if parsing my bark, then its face brightened. My doggie friend
grabbed my arm and started dragging me away, saying "You don't want to talk
to those people! They're *WEIRD*!" -- "Oh, and what are you, ¿NORMAL?"
But I went with him, because the cat was female and therefore scary.
I now believe this was a mistake. If I had attended
that FurCon, by now I could have become a big old frog in the small pond
of furry fandom. I could be telling stories of the old times, like when
-- wait, isn't this supposed to be a furvey?
31. How much control do you have over your furriness?
When things are not going my way, the dog is hard to turn off. Also,
the barking at meowers happens too fast to be consciously controlled.
I've been told my whistling sounds much better if I don't try to guide
The ape is very set in his beliefs and sometimes doesn't want to be confused
32. Would you become an animal/furry, if you -couldn't- change back?
I like having a big brain. Becoming a normal dog doesn't sound very
appealing. If an evil magic curse forced my body to take a canine shape,
but I stayed the same inside, I suppose that wouldn't be too bad, although
it could make computer programming very laborious and painful.
33. Describe your ideal physical form.
Dog: Who cares about physical
form? Maybe it would be interesting to live as a disembodied software entity.
Bird: Can't say anything PG-rated
Ape: My body isn't so bad as it is,
considering that I don't exercise it much. Sometimes I wish it had thicker
fur on the forelegs. The few dark hairs on the thorax seem like afterthoughts,
but this is the way males in my germline are supposed to look.
34. What kind of furry fantasies do you have?
Recently I came across an article on somethingawful.com about an abomination
called "furries". The article kept repeating "Dry humping in fursuits!",
as if this were the worst thing furries ever did. "How sweet," I thought,
"a bunch of repressed people putting on animal costumes to get over themselves
and find friends." I started searching the web for more info on furries
and, well, here I am. Actually, I've been obsessed with it for weeks. Stuff
I haven't thought about in years keeps insisting that I reanalyze it now.
The animal within is interested! In hacker jargon, I have entered "the
larval stage" of furriness.
So here's how the current fantasy shapes up. I'm wearing a fursuit,
either a not-so-friendly dog or maybe a blue fox (but *not* cerulean blue!).
I'm using a fake Russian accent that I've been practising recently for
no good reason. (Don't ask me why I spent so much time last century studying
Russian. It's been of little practical use to me.) I'm at a con, maybe
PenguiCon, which apparently isn't the fursuit-friendliest place. There's
resistance to letting me in with a suit on, so I say, "My day job -- make
proprietary soft-uvare with DRM. Khere at cohn, am free softuvare dohg.
I am -- khow you say -- in-cog-ni-too." Once inside, I engage the people
in discussions of open-source philosophy, and everybody loves the fursuited
dog for no reason. Of course, they're all relatively mundane, but I'm wearing
a silly suit and speaking in a silly accent, so what do I care?
Eventually I come across Eric Raymond (who was at PenguiCon
2003 and therefore unlikely to attend again for quite some time) but he's
surrounded by a mob of supplicants and cannot see me. Despite the fact
that I'm horribly out of practice and couldn't possibly pull it off, I start
whistling the theme from "Star Wars" to attract the old goat's attention.
(Star Wars was the first polyphonic piece I ever whistled, back before it
was renamed "Episode 4"). Conversation stops, a wind from nowhere blows
eddies around my feet, and Eric is reminded of similar situations he has
created with his flute.
I'm not sure what I talk to him about, but apparently
it has something to do with succession issues at the Free Software Foundation
(I'm an associate member, he's an old-timer). "Stallman is not well," I
say, but the rest of the conversation is unclear...
35. Is your furriness compatible with your religion?
Dog: I think God wants me
to be a prophet. There's some message I'm supposed to prophesy, as soon
as I figure out what it is. Apparently it has to do with free software,
or free programmers, or something.
Bird: "Introspection" is a
very long word. Maybe Billy Joel could make a rhyme out of it, but I can't.
Ape: I don't see a problem. The
religion of my ancestors does not require denying the animal nature of humanity.
36. Has your furriness led you to reconsider your religious beliefs?
I reconsidered the beliefs of my ancestors when I received them, but
I can't think of any beliefs I actually adopted but then dropped due to
37. Have you ever communicated with an animal spirit?
38. Do you believe that you were an animal in a former life?
If so, it must have been a horse -- of course! Are any "Mr. Ed" fans
39. Do you believe that you have an animal soul?
Is there any other kind?
40. What animals are you most/least comfortable with?
I'm best with carnivores. I can't seem to make any contact with the
squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits who live in my backyard, but I did manage
to get through to the possum once, although the message I was trying to
send -- "You are welcome here" -- was not one that made the rabbits very
41. Do you believe that animals have ESP?
I think the need for ESP was one of the main driving forces for the development
of the neocortex.
I don't believe wild animals have supernatural ESP. They pay a lot of
attention to their sense organs (because their lives depend on it) and try
to get maximum knowledge out of whatever sense-data they obtain.
42. Do you think it is acceptable to hunt/raise animals for food?
Hunting to feed yourself and your clan seems reasonable. The prey animals
have evolved under the assumption that there would be predators. Getting
rid of the wolves leads to mass starvation among the deer.
Farm raising is okay as long as the animals get a better life than they
would have had in the wild -- but it has to be better "from the animal's
point of view", as near as we can determine what that is.
43. Do you think it is acceptable to hunt/raise animals for fur/leather?
Hunting for fur while throwing away the meat seems disrespectful.
Fur farming = okay if the animal gets a perceived better life out of
Premarin (a drug produced from the urine of pregnant mares) is not acceptable,
but I'll spare you the sordid details.
44. Do you think it is acceptable to hunt/raise animals for sport?
Dog: Sounds like fun! But
I've never done it. Well, maybe once, but I suppose it's too "gross" to describe
in this forum.
Bird: I prefer salad.
Ape: Hunting for sport (i.e., when you're
not hungry) is incompatible with the traditions of my people, who prefer
farm-raised food when available. But I think it could be okay if
I don't understand catch/release fishing. Doesn't that hurt the fish's
- you eat what you catch, and kill what you maim.
- your hunting method is unsuccessful on at least 90% of attempts.
- unsuccessful attempts have a low liklihood of leaving the animal
alive but in pain for an extended period.
45. What are your favourite websites?
Oh, you mean furry sites? Furtopia,
I guess, because it has so many furry homepages. LiveJournal is good, although 90%
of it is crap.
46. What are your favourite furry mailing lists?
I'm not on any. Can anyfur suggest some for me?
47. How did you discover alt.lifestyle.furry?
Mentioned on fur homepages.
48. What were your very first impressions of alt.lifestyle.furry?
Ick! No smarts here, just posturing and grumbling. But then I read
some more posts.
49. What do you like the most/least about alt.lifestyle.furry?
As a vain dog, I'm very happy with the set of responses to my first post.
What a friendly group! <wags tail while panting> Things *could*
have gone quite badly.
50. What would you like to see more/less of in alt.lifestyle.furry?
More discourse on furry philosophies of life.
"More than a little over the top"