March 15th, 2012

Splinter: Sensei

7 Things Meme

Comment to this post, and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

gilmorelion gave me: Puzzles, wordplay, teaching, costumes, kids, rats, travel.

1. Puzzles

I’ve always liked puzzles, especially mazes. As a kid I would spend lots of time drawing out mazes. Now, as an adult, I’ve rediscovered that skill since Timothy has shown an interest in them; it’s an easy way to get more entertainment out of those children’s paper placemats at restaurants, certainly.

But I do like all sorts of puzzles, including spatial and word puzzles. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a word puzzle here. Hmm... :)

My favorite puzzle experience is, without a doubt, hedge and corn mazes! I know, predictably ratty. :D I love trying to solve them for time!

2. Wordplay

Well, I think Wordplay was a fine movie. As someone who only casually does crosswords, it was an intriguing peek into the community of crossword fans. And you know what? There are so many things in common with furry conventions, with old friends coming together, the goofballs having fun, talent shows, a love of all things crossword/furry.

But I suppose you didn’t mean the movie, did you? In that case, the first paragraph stands as an example instead, I guess. :)

3. Teaching

An interesting topic choice… I enjoy teaching people things but don’t think I could ever work as a teacher professionally.

I do like working with people individually to share things. To me, there is joy in sharing something you like with others and seeing their own accomplishments. The nearest term I’ve found is the important word “mudita” -- sometimes considered the antonym of schadenfreude, mudita is taking joy in the joy of others. Teaching is an excellent way to do that.

4. Costumes

There are so many facets of costuming to talk about... it’s a chance to realize fantasy elements, an artistic outlet, a way to express parts of myself, and a relaxing activity to relieve stress.

It’s not a hobby I expected to have when I was younger. It really is something that I stumbled upon when I was first discovering furry. My initial reaction was a sort of surprise at the revelation that there were individuals who just went and... created their own theme-park type characters. I knew I had to try that!

In some ways, it’s the combination of the artistic side, the engineering challenge of designing and building, and the self expression of creating these wholly original characters. You can see my engineering interest in how I explore different materials and tools. Each of my suits incorporates some new construction elements, it seems.

I’ve since tried some other areas of costuming, such as historical (for SCA) and sci-fi (I’d like to remake my Imperial officer uniform one of these days). But furry is definitely where my heart is.

5. Kids

Two kids is enough. I’ll just say that right out. :) Timothy is almost 5 and Lottie is almost 1. Kit, Ruth, and I are kept quite busy by the pair of them.

Having kids is really wonderful. It’s amazing to help nurture, shape, and learn with them. I suspect it will just get better and better as time goes on.

Speaking of time, though... They need so much time. Life has become so hard to balance, with all of the things I want to do (see Costumes above), all of the things I want to do with them (parp!), all of the things I have to do (work), and all of the things I should do but don’t do enough (wash dishes, fold laundry, etc.).

It’s difficult to understand exactly what it’s like to live with children before you become a parent. Now, the two of them are just always around. They’re such an integral and constant part of my life. It’s weird to remember a time before having kids.

Finally, I’ll relate the great fatherly advice I received when I asked my dad what I should do and how I should prepare to have children: “Just wing it. It worked for me.” Thanks, Dad. :D

6. Rats

I’ve had an affinity for rats as far back as I can remember. I don’t know why but I am connected to them. I’m in the minority in the fandom in that I’ve not changed my fursona species. (Statistically, I believe that’s an accurate statement, as the average fur has identified as 2 species -- i.e. switched once. I’d have to check the latest furry survey to be sure.)

I was fascinated by rats before I found the fandom. Splinter from the TMNT cartoon was certainly a favorite. I recall noticing mice and rats in children’s book illustrations. And my fan name is in honor of one of my early inspirations, “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH”.

That’s not to say there aren’t other animals that I like or that I can easily “play” -- rabbits and dragons come to mind. And as fursuit characters, I’ve certainly played different species (and gender). But I never see them as deeply “me.” They are always a character, a projection of just part of me.

For what it’s worth, in dreams where I’ve been non-human, I’ve always been an anthro rat. (Interestingly, my scale has varied. I’ve been 6’ human-size, 6” rat-size, and most often around 4.5’.)

7. Travel

My parents were kind enough to see that I traveled as a kid and saw some fine places. I’m hoping that, when Timoty and Lottie are a bit older, we can do more traveling as a family. Most of my travel these days is to furry cons or to see old friends. As the kids grow, though, more options will open up.

I’d like to see some of the caves around our country as well as the national forests. Hawai’i is wonderful; Kit and I spent our honeymoon there and would certainly like to go back. I would also like to see some parts of Europe again. Possibly Australia, an intriguing place that I’ve never visited.

By my own preferences, though, I’m not a frequent traveler. It’s fun but tiring. Overall, I enjoy staying at home, comfortably tucked away in the trees, working quietly.