• Category Archives Journals
  • In Print

    Kickstarter (or similar crowdfunding campaigns) have become a ‘thing’ of late. So far, I’ve contributed to two of them.

    The first was the ‘Gothtropolis Ravens’ ‘action figures’, which I did because they were action figures of anthropomorphised birds. The second was for the third book (A Shard of Sun) in the ‘Summer King Chronicles‘ series by J.E.Owen; a book series that focuses on gryphons (or gryfons, as the author calls them).

    For the ‘Ravens’ campaign, it took a very long time from the moment that I had contributed to the time that the figures were actually delivered. I’ll have to go back and see when I contributed, but I did not get the figures delivered until the latter part of December (and did not get to pick them up until after getting back from Further Confusion, due to where I had them delivered, as sending them to Canada would have added to the cost in a large way).

    The book kickstarter had a much quicker turnaround, as the campaign closed accepting donations in mid December, and I received access to the eBook version of the book last week. As for the book itself, I’ve already finished reading it, and now eagerly waiting for the fourth and final book in the series.

    What I really want to put forward here is the emotional return that I got out of each of these.

    The ‘figures’ all seemed like a great idea when the campaign was going on and for a few months afterwards, but the longer it took to actually get the figures really drained the emotional investment that I’d put into it. In fact, since I got the figures back, I haven’t even opened the shipping box they came in yet. It’s still sitting downstairs in my living room, behind a chair.

    Yet the campaign for the ‘A Shard of Sun’ book has given me a much better feeling, and one that I continue to feel invested in.

    I credit a lot of this to the author of this series, Jess Owen, as well as Jennifer Miller (aka Nambroth). It was through Nambroth that I came to know about the series in the first place; back in October, she was doing a livestream session working on cover art for one of the books. I didn’t know which book it was for at the time, and I asked and was pointed in the direction of the book series. There’s not (at least, not that I know of) many book series that prominently feature gryphons, so this certainly caught my attention. So I bought the first book in the series on Kindle, and went through it relatively quickly (as I have a ~45 minute train journey to and from work each day). It took me about a week to get through the first book, and then I was onto the second. Once that was over, I eagerly awaited the third, which I knew would have a kickstarter campaign to fund it, as the other books had as well.

    Since I had very much enjoyed the first two books, and the author was around on social media (Twitter, Facebook) as well as DeviantArt, I did something that I’d never done before after reading a book; I left them a note on DA thanking them for the books and saying how I found them – and I got a reply! I replied, and got another reply! This was actually an author who enjoyed engaging with her readers, and that made me love this series all the more. She also took some sketch commissions, and I managed to get one of Morse. From my understanding, I think that she may have made it to at least one furry convention too – Rocky Mountain FurCon, I think? So she’s aware of our little odd fandom, which is another plus to me. I’d love to see her attend a convention as an actual guest, as I think she would be an interesting panel host too.

    Sadly, I did not get onto the kickstater for the 3rd book quick enough to get one of the large gryfon plush that was being offered, but I did get in at a level where I would get the physical print books (all three, including the two I had previously got as Kindle books) as well as the eBook of the latest. I’ll also be getting an enamel pin and an art print too.

    Yet what I didn’t notice (or did but forgot) was that my name would also appear in the acknowledgements of the book as a backer. So when I got to that part and saw it there, that was… a very interesting feeling. I’ve never had my name in print like that before in a published book, and that just added to the emotional return that I got from this campaign. To know that I’ve been part of something that made something very cool and something that I enjoy happen – even if the part that I played was just providing a little bit of money to make it possible.

    When the next campaign for the final book starts, I’ll most certainly be back to help.


  • Vote

    A few days ago, on the day of the US midterm elections, someone said “If you don’t vote, you have no license to complain.”

    That’s something that I took a bit of exception to, and here’s why.

    I lived in the US from July 1997 to October 2003 under an H1-B work visa. Then up in Canada, it was from October 2003 until almost November 2012 before I actually got a chance to vote.

    During this 15+ year time span, I was a productive, law-abiding, and most importantly, tax paying person in that country. Everything that I did contributed in some way to the country that I was living in. And there policies and decisions made by elected representatives of the citizens of those countries that could and did affect my life in that country.

    Now I do understand that being able to vote is a privilege that comes with citizenship, that your voice as part of a whole can help shape the direction that the country moves forward. But to flat-out tell people that “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain” riles me.

    I know that non-citizens cannot vote, but that does not mean that they should be without voice. We may not have a direct say, but we know people who do have the right to vote, and those people can listen to what is said, understand where they’re coming from because they’re friends they work with every day.

    Now, of course, I do have the privilege to vote, and I got to do so once already since gaining my citizenship. I get to do so again with the civic elections that are coming up on November 15 (though I will be casting my ballot in advance this weekend, as I’ll be in Toledo, Ohio).

    This is somewhat of a weird election, due to it being for just the city. It’s actually far harder (well, for me anyway) to pay attention to what goes on at the civic level than what goes on at the provincial and federal levels. Those are talked about in the newspapers and on radio every day, and easy to find out information. Everything that happens on the civic level I have to either attend council meetings or read the local paper (which I don’t get, because the delivery people kept leaving it out in the rain and it turned to mush, so I figured ‘why bother?’)

    But, as this will be only the third time I’ll have ever voted for political elections in my life, I’ve done my due diligence, looked over candidate websites (those that had them – those that did not pretty much lost my vote straight away), and will be voting for a mayor and councillors. There’s also school board votes as well, but since I have no kids, no relationship and thus no kids even potentially on the horizon, I am going to not cast any ballots there. Yes, perhaps I’m shirking this civic duty for the first time, but the issues for that position are completely irrelevant to me and not something I can even understand right now.

    And yes, my third political election ever. I’m almost 41, and I’ve voted in that few. Or maybe fourth, I’m not sure. Why so few? Well, the first two I was able to do so in the UK, I really had no idea about political stuff at all and probably took cues from parents – something I so wouldn’t be doing now, because my views are pretty much a complete 180 from theirs. I could have sent votes back to the UK when I was in the US, but I didn’t care about the UK anymore (or was keeping an eye on what was going on). Instead, I was getting more familiar with the US system and paying attention to those issues. So then it was a long, dry period between then and the provincial elections last year, which was the first time I was eligible to cast a ballot here in Canada.

    It’s still on my wish list to try and get back down to the US again, and try to get permanent residency there…. whenever that might happen. If it did happen, I might be in my 50’s before I vote again.

  • Bird

    I think that I’ve come full circle… again.

    My first online character was a magpie. The next, a fox. From there, it went to kitsune, to gryphon (still with kitsune), to ‘critter’ (with assorted cast of background menagerie).

    But one thing that I never lost through all of this: the love of birds and avians.

    More and more of late I’ve been using Kootenay take center stage for me. If I had a more developed character (other than Morse) that was a magpie, I’d likely use him. Kootenay’s good though, because he’s a Steller’s Jay, and that’s a type of corvid. (I was toying around with a new magpie character, Penryn, but I don’t think that’s going to go anywhere.) I’ve said it many times in many places, but corvids (the crows, ravens, jays and magpies) are my absolute favorite family of birds. If I was to suddenly become a bird, I would want it to be a magpie. Failing that, a Steller’s Jay. Failing that, I’d be happy with any other corvid.

    With all of this playing forefront in my mind right now, I consider my various Twitter accounts.

    @frysco is likely going to stay as is. That’s become very much my non-furry fandom account – or the more “general content anyone might be interested in, perhaps with more Doctor Who (due to the podcast) content in there”

    @NikoliSpotkat remains as my very non-serious, playing an excessively horny and kinky snow leopard for humor (and possibly the nearest thing I have to an ‘After Dark’ account.

    But @tseatah has been the ‘face’ I’ve been presenting to the Furry fandom for a while. Now, I still very much love the character. I have three costume versions of him, and I do plan to get more. He is a unique ‘critter’ and I am not going to be giving him up for anything. Yet, I’m not sure he represents the core ‘me’.

    Heck, I’m not sure that Kootenay does either. He’s a happy, fun jay, and I’m … well, neither happy nor fun. But, I am relating to him more than the Critter now because… bird.

    I’m really thinking about renaming the @tseatah Twitter account to @k00tenay. Of course, I can’t have @kootenay, because there’s this actual, real place in British Columbia that is using it, and is already using the account name. Hmf.

    Maybe silly thinking or not, I don’t know. But I do know, I feel far closer to corvids these days in soul to that of a Critter.