In this lion's opinion...!|
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|Saturday, July 16th, 2016|
|Still around if not on here!
As for most of us, life gets complicated, and this is so with da' white lion. But I have survived and in the so-called end have gotten to better times. I won't bore you with the details here, but long story short, I've made a new den/lair for myself in Washingon State. Lilliwaup, Washington to be precise. Translated, da' lion bought a house.
I have a Facebook page. Please feel free to go there. There are a few Henry Smiths there. When you see the icon picture of the white lion that is me!
|Wednesday, December 25th, 2013|
Though da' white lion is a bit wounded, I still want to wish all a Merry Christmas.
The White Lion Creed: “Live life, treasure life, enjoy life. Be a friend to those that have none and be counted as the loyal friend of those that have many. A heart that cares can do so much and will conquer hate and injustice. But if you must, fight for what is right and never surrender to any evil. Your ancestors are counting on you and are waiting for you when you finally meet.”
White roses represent innocence and purity and are traditionally associated with marriages and new beginnings. The white rose is also a symbol of honor and reverence, and white rose arrangements are often used as an expression of remembrance. Current Mood: awake
|Lion lives, but suffers foo!
Fell on icy sidewalk on Saturday morning while walking dog on potty mission. Fell forward, landed on chest and stomach. But also fell on right arm and broke wrist and shoulder. In ER from 4pm till near midnight. They say they can operate on wrist and help make it better and heal faster, but because I'm on Coumadin, they couldn't operate on me then. Have stopped taking it by doctor's orders and when levels get into normal range can have the surgery. I'm right-handed, I can't write or type; foo on this! Merry effen Christmas, huh? Current Mood: angry
|Sunday, September 11th, 2011|
|ON THIS, THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY....
To add my thoughts to today, I offer this art. I think it "says it all". And says it very simply and elegantly. This is a date that must never, EVER, be "swept under the rug" by time or by "PC correctness". One white lion's opinion on the matter. The furry comic is "Suburban Jungle" www.suburbanjungle.com Current Mood: contemplative
|Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011|
|FINALLY, SOME GOOD TO HAPPEN!
Yes, I fully admit that my last few journals have been on the "down" side, but that has been the way the lion's life has been going. But, something happened yesterday that was 100%, no qualifications, good news and a good event to happen to the white lion.
When I applied in mid-June to the apartment complex that we're now living at they were having a raffle drawing. You could place in one entry when you were there applying and then put in a second one if you were approved for residency. Obviously, we were approved, so on the day we signed the lease, June 24th, I put in the second one. I don't ever win anything so I honestly felt it a futile effort but it was painless and as it's said, "hope springs eternal".
Well, went to pay the rent yesterday on the first and the head lady comes out of her office with a little envelope in her hands. "I have some good news for you Henry, you won the raffle." You could have knocked me over with a feather! Not to mention picking my jaw off the floor. The prize is a $200 dollar Visa gift card.
A little aside, for what it's worth, the forms for the apply entries were on green paper, the new resident ones where on white. The one of mine that got drawn was the white one. Who cares really, I won, but I do say it to note if nothing else.
It is so needed. I went right out to spend most of it on groceries for all of us in our little family. Now, I won't deny that I had a momentary selfish thought enter my mind. I'd have so loved to have "blown it away" of something like a stuffie for me being it was "found" money. But being the white lion I am, I thought of the family's needs and knew, though I had every "right' to do with it what I wanted, that using it for all was "the right thing to do".
Dare I hope, dare I imagine, dare I pray that this MIGHT be the beginning of good things once again? I sure hope so. But if not, well, I'll most certainly accept one-time-only single good events too.
"Semper furry!" Current Mood: enthralled
|Tuesday, June 28th, 2011|
|A GENTLE RANT (A SOFT DENNIS MILLER KIND OF THING)
A white lion’s observations on the way things are, in the world in general and in his own fursonal life. Sit back, as this is going to be a moderately long journal.
Literally, for over two years now, this lion has been going through foo after foo after foo. It never ends. If I receive any small joy whatsoever, it is immediately cancelled out by some sort of foo happening to kill and take away that momentary joy. This just happened to me most recently on Friday, the 24th of June. Am I paying for being a bad lion in a previous life? Sure don’t know, but sure seems like it.
Well, anyway, to restate the obvious if you know me, I am a 59 year old “old farty lion”, a greymuzzle in the furry vernacular description. So, yes, I am pretty much old school in many ways. I fully admit that I am not naïve to the way the world is, but I keep hoping for better and keep getting so sorely disappointed, both in general and in my own fursonal life. The old saying of our, society, country, world “going to hell in a hand-basket” seems truer than it ever was to me. We now live in a society, that “we” created over my lifetime, say from about the 1960’s on, that has most (not yet all thank goodness) that thinks only of themselves. Yes, “me first” has been there since time began, I do know that. But, it has reached a nadir and zenith of Mount Everest sized proportions. Here’s a rundown on different principles I see lacking if not completely absent in so many…
Honor and integrity, one’s good name:
One should care and “give a damn” about what they do and say and what others say about them. If you cannot be trusted on and relied upon you’re a poor furson indeed. As what just happened to me a few weeks ago, I was a victim of a scandalous lie upon my character. I was in no way what I was thought to be and I “fought back” and did so hard. Some said that I shouldn’t let it get to me so, that they knew it wasn’t true and I knew that it wasn’t, so, in effect, don’t stress so over it. I just could not do that and would not do that ever. That was my good name beaten and sullied and I was not just going to take it. Through my persistence, I got it finally resolved and got my good name back, but I never got an apology from the person who wronged me, even though I now had written and absolute proof that what had been thought was a lie. That ties into another thing I need to comment on next.
Taking responsibility for what you do and say, good bad or indifferent:
Again this lion is not naïve and knows very well the old axiom of “talk is cheap”. Have the honor and integrity to stand up for things, what you believe in, or, as well, for or against someone or something that you think is wrong. But, ALSO have the honor and integrity to admit when you do find out or are proven that you are wrong. Do not underestimate the power of the words “I’m sorry”, they can so make a difference and cause a bitter or even hateful heart to possibly begin to heal. Now, depending on the situation, the words may be pitifully inadequate. In an exaggerated example, if you go and murder someone, a million “I’m sorry’s” ain’t gonn’a get you out of that one in actual fact. That involves repentance, but I won’t “go there” here. But for most cases, if you either find yourself wrong or proven wrong, “be a man” and admit it and AT THE VERY LEAST say I’m sorry. Most folks seem to have lost this in both the concept of it and of the actual practice of it in today’s society. I will say though, just touching upon the subject of repentance, that, at least for me, if you’ll at least take that small “step”, that does mean a lot and that can start to build a bridge of forgiveness for even quite agregious wrongs.
This equally applies to how you live your life. Your actions have and create consequences! If you don’t think that or believe that I honestly pity you as much as I also truly fear you. Yes, WE all make our share of good decisions and bad decisions, of course. None but the Higher Power above is perfect. Or, we make a decision that we thought was a good one at the time, but it ends up souring into something bad instead. If that’s the case, have the honor and integrity to say and admit it and take the consequences. Don’t either ignore it as if it never happened or deny that you didn’t do it or say it or whatever. To use the modern vernacular again, we all have our “baggage”. Admit to whatever your baggage may be. You might even be surprised that someone else may have similar baggage and could give you some love and compassion to you for having “been there and done that” themselves.
Take life, commitments and people seriously; promises made, promises kept:
Once again, one more axiom, “my word is my bond”. Yes, sometimes, things do happen that either prevent or thwart a promise made from being kept or fulfilled. But in this white lion’s opinion, those cases are and should be rare. Treat any promise made as respectfully as you would any business contractual agreement. A contract is, in essence, just that a promise made, in writing in that case, that says I will do this or I will do that. Breaking a written business contract is not a good thing, neither is the breaking of a verbal one as well, a promise you made to someone.
Promises nowadays are the seeming dime a dozen. Said with a caviler attitude that treats it as nothing, small talk that makes it into a veritable euphemism of itself and not what it rightfully should be. How many times I have been let down in this, by co-workers, furiends and even quasi-“adopted” family members. Yes, I have to deal with it an then react to it as best as I can, there’s no choice there really, but it so hurts. This white lion does see each and every one as a betrayal of my trust, and even more sadly, sometimes love in those I have relationships with. In my story I’m writing, my white lion character and alter-ego, Davey, always says when he makes a promise that it’s a “white lion promise”, meaning that you can count on its being kept and fulfilled. How I wish I would see that ethic in more of the folks I know and deal with.
A thing that I see as a common occurrence in the furry fandom that greatly saddens and annoys me is the way the concept and the word “mate” and “mating” is taken so casually and lightly. Bluntly, that is not the way this white lion sees things. Again, to state this so you don’t think I’m some kind of an insane fanatic on this or any other issue here I’m talking about, yes, I do know that relationships can and do fail. In true marriages, that is what divorce is for. I, myself, am a cub, an only cub by the way, of divorced parents. And, although my life was no picnic from having that divorce happen, I know that had my parents stayed together it would have been a living Hell for all of us. So I do know what I’m speaking on here.
But I’m sorry, as I see it, the word mate, in the furry fandom is a joke. A mate lasts as long as long as it suits or pleases the individual. I see and hear of monthly, even weekly, mate changes. Sorry folks, in lion’s eyes that’s “expletive deleted”! Yes, in almost all of the United States save for a few, gay marriage is not allowed. Lion knows this. But a commitment of love and devotion IS A COMMITMENT no matter what, with or without a governmental piece of paper putting it in writing.
This lion has made his own commitment of love and mating back on Thanksgiving of 2009. This is a lifetime commitment I made, KNOWINGLY made. And, only my death shall break it. Even then, it will only break it as far as this life goes. I shall wait “on the other side” for my mate to join me when that time finally comes.
Truly, to any and all who read this, do you or does “anyone” know the meaning of the word love anymore? And, additionally, do you or they give it the true honor and respect it deserves? YIFF IS FINE, BUT IT IS NOT LOVE AND NOT BY A LONG SHOT! For every mate “cast aside”, another heart is broken; shame, shame.
And finally, appreciation and thankfulness:
Are you a user? Do you simply take and take and take and very seldom if ever give? If a kindness is done to you directly or for you, for your benefit, do you both appreciate it and say the “magic words” of thank you? This lion does! And, let me assure you that involves many times of saying it by me, for my entire life. But sadly lately, because of my fooey circumstances I’m in, it’s seemingly all of the time that I keep needing help and then thanking those kind souls that provide it to me. No lie, my furry white ass has been saved many times by several over these past couple of years that this seemingly constant foo has been occurring. Honestly, I could very well not be here writing this journal today if it weren’t for them. I have thanked them over and over again already and will continue to do so forever more. The old saying of “you saved my life” is ABSOLUTELY true this this lion’s case, I fully admit it.
But sadly, I do not see that same level of thankfulness in others I know and this so saddens me. This is not just a fursonal opinion of only my mind I assure you, actions and attitudes are most definitely seen and duly noted by all, seen by both the involved and also the not-so-involved as well. Bridges do get burned my furiends, do not fool or kid yourself, “as you reap, so shall you sow”. Truer words were never spoken. And so, we’ve now gone full circle then to where I began, honor, integrity and good name.
Having said his piece, the white lion gets off his “soapbox” and departs. “Semper Furry”. Current Mood: contemplative
|Thursday, May 19th, 2011|
|Who steals my purse steals trash;...But he that filches from me my good name...
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
Othello Act 3, scene 3, 155–161
Aah, the great bard himself, Shakespeare, who wrote those very words, had it exactly right! And, dear furiends, this white lion has been a victim of this very bad and heinous deed. It is relief that I can say to you now that my good name has finally been returned to me. But no celebrating can be had right now as both my anger and my sorrow is that great. For I was wronged and wronged to the extreme! To what, I would say that most would say, was as egregious a wrong as there ever could have been put upon me. When the information came yesterday that my fight to regain my name was ultimately successful, my initial reaction and response was pure “righteous anger”. I shook all over my entire body and I seethed with anger. Learning the how and why of it all took away all of the joy I might have had at my “victory”. I’ll fully admit it, in those first few minutes I was as if a attacked and cornered real lion, white or otherwise, who wanted only to wreak vengeance upon those who so viciously attacked him
I cannot share all the full details here, not right now at least. Perhaps at a future point in time, I might change my mind but most definitely not now. Please forgive me, if I any way offend you. I do not in any way mean to tease. But this experience has left me near totally devastated and I don’t want to go over it again. It is done, I hope. It is figuratively buried. In many ways, I hope it stays that way forever more.
It almost goes without saying but I must reiterate it even if there is some redundancy in it. But you are going along, minding your own business when you are literally blind-sided by such a thing. Sucker-punched if you will as another euphemism. This is what happened about two weeks ago. Those of you that know be directly and all others who only know me by my posts here do know that the white lion has been suffering much “foo” for all too long now. Excuse the old cliché, but “I needed this like I needed a hole in my head.” Being totally truthful, if it weren’t for two very close relationships I have, I very easily could have said “that’s it, I’m done” and left this mortal life. And, rest assured, the thought was there in my mind and never left! But my love and duty to those two that I love and care for so, kept me from ever actually doing the deed.
Now, it’s back to fighting the foo that I’ve been dealing with. Unfortunately I cannot rest and recuperate. To metaphorically lick my wounds as it were, as it seems that someone or something, perhaps even the Higher Power up in Heaven itself, has other ideas for my immediate future.
Was this something only unique to me? My particular situation yes, but no of course not, on the scenario itself. This falls into the category of “identity theft”. But please believe me that this surely must have been the apex of the expression in how it’s normally thought of and used.
Both partially joking yet being VERY serious at the same time, let me assure you, when my human life is done, hopefully and prayerfully ONLY by the natural cause of old age, I damn well ain’t comin’ back as a human for the next life. What EVER was I thinking when I chose to take this human life?
Lion in word, honor and deed, in heart and in spirit… in a human body, but always and forever a white lion!
I am “Me” Current Mood: angry
|Wednesday, April 27th, 2011|
|Please excuse an old farty while lion's ramblings....
My use of the quotation a few posts back saying "don't look back, something may be gaining on you" might have been both inaccurate and also more than a bit of an actual understatement. For in the last few days I sorely feel it's not only gaining, it's getting ready to pounce! My birthday by luck of the calendar, happened to fall on Easter this year. Sad to report that neither holiday was good for the lion. Other than a home cooked, holiday-style meal, that was it for any celebrating either holiday on Sunday.
I'm still sick as I've been for about the last two weeks with bronchitis. Lovely... And, just so you know, went to local hosp ER last week because have no "spare" money and no personal doctor, with the only thing done by them, over close to five hours of waiting, was a chest X-ray that proved I didn't have pneumonia...well,whoop-dee-doo on that!
Got letter in mail from car insurer, Mercury insurance. They're ruling the accident I put in a claim for as my fault. Yes, my fault! I was heading north on I-5 in the central valley (way before I/we ever made our move out of California) before dawn, was totally dark and almost no lights at all along the rural freeway. To rest for a couple of moments I decide to go to the side of the road and temporally stop for a couple of minutes. I use my turn signal and go from the outside lane to the shoulder of the fwy. Its still paved, but not part of the main roadway. I'm slowing down as I do this so, entering the shoulder, I'd say I was down to about 30-35 miles an hour. I never saw it till I hit it! A huge, bigger than a 32-gallon trash can, dark colored rolled up truck tarp that flatbed trucks use. The force of the impact both knocked it into the dirt at the side of the road and it instantly did in my radiator in one fell swoop. It bust it and the coolant ran all over the ground. Again, until sunrise, I didn't even know what I had hit.
I did everything right, turn signals, slowed down, used caution. For all intents and purposes the tarp was like a deer that would have have run into the road. Would that have been my fault too? At least according to Mercury?
Now I get the pleasure of, round figures, $300 dollars added to my six-month premium. FOO! this in addition to what all I wrote in my April 14th post. Gaah! When will it end? Or doesn't it? As in a parody of the old classic rock radio line, "where the hits just keep on coming"...change that to "where the FOO just keeps on coming". And sadly, there's so much more foo going on here that I choose, at least for right now, not to share here. Lion's gettin' ready ta' give up..."I'm too old fa' dis." --"Me" Current Mood: pessimistic
|Thursday, April 14th, 2011|
|THE BAD AND A LITTLE BIT OF GOOD...
Well, not the worst foo to get, but it’s still more foo in our seemingly never-ending trials and tribulations… It’s not a total surprise, our generous furiend who invited us to come and stay for a while to try and get on our feet again had spoken of it being a real possibility at some point. He’s going to put the house up for sale. And, when it does sell, he’s going to move in with someone he knows. We must go bye-bye at that point. Now, this is not any kind of “eviction”. As long as the status quo is the status quo, we’re all right. Honestly, with the economy the way that it is, who knows on “how long” it might take to sell it. Though, excuse my “negative thoughts”, but, knowing the way our luck has been, he’ll put it up for sale and “bam”, it will sell just like that. This was just spoken of the other day.
I made a quick look on rent.com and found many places in the area that rents from, round figures, $450-550 a month for a one-bedroom. Now, in comparison to So Cal prices, that's cheap with a capital “C”, but I’m only bringing in $696 a month. From that, deduct $175 for the storage space that hold "my previous life" and NOW, $181.80 for MI car insurance (if you reside here they require, they're a no-fault state) and that leaves me $339.50. Obviously, I can’t do it alone. By the way, my California insurance has been $103 a month. The MI insurance will cost me $181. My six month premium for California was almost $600. MI insurance is just short of $1,1000. Ow and foo!
This company that one roomie is working for is a nationwide company. They do inventories for stores. They were/are even in Southern California. Their local offices are actually very close to us here, just down (Or should that be up?) the main road, Cedar Street, about 8-9 miles to the north of us, but still below Lansing itself. But they go all over, meet at office, take long company van rides to get to stores moderately or very far away.
The other thing that Matt wants is to be able to have a real dog. So we’ll try to find a place that allows them. I love dogs, I love cats, I have no problem with this either. It isn’t going to be a move-in and immediately get dog scenario, but, if we can get and afford a “pet place”, them sometime in the future we can get a doggy. I don’t know how this will all work out, but I’m open to trying all possible avenues.
Our benefactor really feels bad about this and somewhat feels like he’s letting us down. But I do not think he is and I told him so. He said right from the start, that although he welcomed us with open arms, it couldn’t be a permanent living arrangement. He’s never misled us in any way shape or form. His internet radio station has drained him of both his money and his spirit. He’s put up “the good fight” but, using another old saying, “the writing’s on the wall”. He makes his living by writing, articles and things like that, not like me writing my novels for my own pleasure and for a few furiends that do follow it religiously. He has been still doing his writing while trying to attend to the station but it has suffered for that. And, for all the attention the station gets, it’s not helping him, it’s more hurting him instead. Being a drain on his finances and definitely draining his spirit as well; probably, as much or perhaps more, than the consumption of his money.
I think that the poor economy is a major part of his troubles. Stations make their money by selling advertising time. I saw there “rate card”, they’re giving great deals on spots if bought in a fairly large but not cumbersomely large quantity. I won’t say I’m the be-all or end-all of information and knowledge on this, but I did spend some seven-plus years of my life in radio back in the 1970's. I do have real and legitimate experience behind me. They’re doing it right, honest they are, but the economy, like with my character shows, is the killer of dreams here.
It looks like we will just stay here in the area, most likely somewhere in or about Lansing. I'm using Rent.com as my research tool, by the way, it’s an E-Bat company, and could custom my search to price range and pet allowances. Got about seven different possibilities, that, at least at face value, without yet seeing, would seem to be doable.
One thing I've immediately noticed is that none can be considered large apartments. The general size in square footage is somewhere between 500-600 or so, “ballpark”. Not “closets”, but it looks like the apartment size that I had in Covina just isn’t to be had around here for a one bedroom. The rents are VERY reasonable, especially in comparison to the out-and-out insanity of So Cal rents, to be sure, but, given our finances, a one bedroom is the best we can do. Right now a two or a three is totally out of the question. Not even trying for those.
And, it turns out, to no surprise to yer lion at least, that having a pet incurs an additional monthly charge to your basic rent ($15-25, depending on places I’ve looked at.) and the addition of a pet deposit to in addition to your regular deposit; ‘tis livable foo, but foo nonetheless.
That be the bad part, now, at least one day of good....
Our benefactor furiend went to a small convention, FCN, this weekend just past. He left on Friday and came back Sunday, about one or so. It was an early summer-like day here, temperatures in the high seventies, NO LIE! All blue sky, not a cloud to be seen. (But thunderstorms were predicted for that night and they sure did come. I had to take other roomie who works to that office at about 4am and we drove in a downpour with lightning flashes coming every few seconds, whoot!)
Well anyway, because it was so nice, our furiend suggested and offered to pay for us to all go to the little zoo that’s there in Lansing, “The Potter Park Zoo”. He wrote a book about it several years ago. It’s small, a few acres; most definitely not anywhere close to a San Diego Zoo, but it’s very nice for what it is. They have a combination outdoor-indoor unit for “felines” so got to see a real lion, tiger and snow leopard up close. The indoor uses glass or Plexiglas so you can be right next to them.
The lion was initially resting right next to the glass and but for it, I could have just reached over and petted him. It was a male, with a nice mane. He was the typical tawny color, but his mane did have some dark in it near his face and under his chin. Where the mane continues on to the chest, it was a very dark brown. He did get up and oh-boy, if he would stand anthro, he definitely would have been seven feet tall, if not likely more. I did enjoy the whole zoo and all the animals, but naturally, my heart was for him. Honestly, I could have just plopped myself on a nearby beach that was there in from of him and never moved until the zoo’s closing time.
Also seen and “loved” were meerkats and ring-tailed lemurs…”King Julian” from Madagascar, lol. There were many members of both in different enclosures. Also saw two artic foxes in an outdoor enclosure. There was a little sign to say that one of the two had a permanent lip in one forepaw, but it was from an old injury that happened a long time ago. Our furiend said that many of the animals there are rescued and rehabilitated animals. They have two bald eagles, which I saw, that can’t fly because of injuries, but otherwise they are fine and healthy. Their enclosure had a grass ramp made that allowed them to walk up it to get up on a low tree branch.
We were there for about three hours, give or take, they were closing at six and we left a little before that. We were all a little surprised they were closing “so early”, as with the switch to daylight savings time it’s still light till 8pm now.
The middle-aged white lion returns you to your lives now. Furry hugs. --"Me" Current Mood: confused
|Monday, March 28th, 2011|
|Sunday, March 27th, 2011|
|A "New" computer...
It has been a long while that this white lion has either had or seen some good, but I finally got some a few days ago and I wanted to share the good news.
In a agreed-upon "deal" to repay me for monies outlaid over the last few months, I have received a "new", rebuilt Dell computer that was purchased on the internet. It has a Pentium four processor, 3 gigs, and I gig RAM. My old computer, received in 2006, was a HP computer that did the job, but it surely is a dinosaur now in comparison to this new one. The old one was a Intel "Celeron" processor of 700MHz , 64MB of RAM and a 20. GB hard drive.
It would play regular videos pretty well, but it never could correctly pay any HD videos. Right as soon as I start a video it would also start go out of sync. By the time a cut cut ended, the difference was actually adding up into minutes. Since all of the TV web sites were switched to HD, I lost the ability of catching up on any missed shows.
So, for that and it's overall speed I am a very happy lion right now. It will also help me write the story easier as well. Everything i did on the old computer was seemingly at a "snail's pace". That's so frustrating. I'd go to print something and it takes something like four minutes or so to "process" the request, the time from when I clicked the print button and the printer would actually kick in and do it's job.
I have spent this evening getting re-set up, transferring files and re-installing some apps. I did log in to both my yahoo E-mail and my Fur Affinity page and whoop-de-doo, it be a "speed demon"! YAY!!!!
Things are still a long way from perfect here in snowy...very snowy...Mason, Michigan (Just south of Lansing), but this is a little bit of good news that I wanted to share with you. The "foo" has been as deep, or deeper, than the snow here, so I truly appreciate and savior this little bit of good in my life.
Be extra alert as you walk down that SEEMINGLY quiet residential street, for there be a white lion hiding in da' white snow!
"Oh look, somebody made a snow lion...."
(It never gets old...) (Snicker) Current Mood: melancholy
|Wednesday, August 25th, 2010|
|“Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you!” --Satchel Paige
“Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you!” --Satchel Paige
Or, another quotation I first heard in junior high school (many, many moons ago) was this one. “They say cheer up, things could be worse. So I did. Sure enough, they got worse!” Sad to say I don’t know of its origin. But both quotes sure seem to size-up and describe lion’s life right now. I don’t want to make this journal into a long pity-party, but I do think all my on-line furiends and acquaintances should know why the white lion has been so distant and aloof lately. It’s not because of anyone “here” that reads this. No, it’s…forgive the use of ANOTHER quotation but…”Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans.” That’s from John Lennon of the famous Beatles.
One other thing you should know of me if you do not already, as part of my story wring I’ve been doing, first with 3 others, then continuing on by myself, I made up a word that I now use myself all the time and many of my closest furiends do too. The word is “foo”. It’s designed to be an all-purpose, non-offensive or offending curse word. It can be used to express anger, frustration, any kind of problem or problematic situation and is a perfect expletive that gets the point across without being as crude and nasty as that “other” F-word that is most commonly used. So foo is the word I shall use and please be my guest to add and use it in your vocabulary as well if you wish. In a nutshell, for the last couple of years, it’s been foo, upon foo, piled upon even more foo for the semi-old white lion.
My career has been doing costumed character since 1986, that’s twenty-four years my furry furiends. Longer than some of you have even been alive. Lion has furiends of all ages, happily. But about three years ago, as the economy of the country started to turn for the downward side. Lion’s life began what became a slow but sure downward slide. As a “luxury” item, characters at kid’s birthday parties are expendable. Rent, rightfully should win over having “Hunny Bear” come to junior’s second birthday party. Though I will say a “foo” for that, albeit a selfish “foo”.
Used to be, I could count on about twelve to sixteen shows each month other than for the Christmas season. Christmas was the “boom time”! There, in one month, I could do sixty to seventy shows in December. And, in all cases, though the basic show was one-hour in length, multiples hour gigs meant multiple money. I won’t say I was ever rich. But I lived comfortably and usually had a few bucks “left over to buy a plushie or a DVD, CD or something.
But then, as the economy started to go bad, shows began to slightly lessen. Now, ten to twelve were becoming the norm. Not yet a critical situation but it was both noticed and considered in my non-bill related spending. Christmas was still strong. I’m “guessing” here, but I think the thought was that “we might defer or put off other things, but we’re gonn’a have ourselves a good Christmas”. This remained true through the 2007 Christmas season. But then for everybody doing this, at least in Southern California, after Christmas, it literally died. January and February were always our slow months, a combination of winter coolness and ever-present rain chance and just out-and-out financial exhaustion from the Christmas season. But as ’08 started, there was “nothing”. And that was nothing for everybody, not just me. Now, only six to seven shows a month, about one or maybe two a weekend if “I” were lucky. That, wasn’t going to pay enough to meet my basic monthly obligations. I’ve never lived “beyond my means”, but like so many, the cost of living just keeps chipping away at my financial stability.
As example, when I moved into my one-bedroom apartment in 1993, it was $560 dollars a month. I had been paying $500 a month for a studio apartment in Solana Beach, which is the small city just north of Del Mar. Actually, I lived in some apartments just north of the Del Mar race track. I was right next to the recessed Amtrak train line and the street on the other side of “the tracks” was the Pacific Coast Highway. It only took me like five to seven minutes to be able to walk down the highway a short distance to get right to the beach and ocean. “Life was good”…then. So paying only $60 dollars more a month to get a full one-bedroom was a good deal at the time. Granted, Covina, California in the San Gabriel Valley was never Solana Beach on its best day, its where the most work was. This very same apartment was costing me $1015 a month just before I finally had to give it up in July. Major FOO for that!
With so few character shows, I started a frantic “job-job” search to make up the difference. As I think most know, of any age, it’s next to impossible to get good-paying work anymore and still very hard to get minimum wage jobs at “Wally World’ or the like. Too many people, too few jobs. And, just to make mention, but “not really go there”, way too many illegal immigrants that literally flood the low-end job market. If your trying to find jobs in the service sector, assembly, warehouse or landscaping, almost don’t bother, you’re doomed before you start.
Well, I did get hired at Disneyland, but not as a character or a character-helper where I had over twenty years of experience under my proverbial belt. No, I got hired as a third-shift night janitor. Took over a month from application to finally getting hired and I’ll admit I needed another income, so, as its said, “beggars can’t be choosers”. In so many ways, I so regret the decision. My heart was sad even though I did get what I wanted, a job.
The work was honorable. All legitimate, honest work is. Things do have to be maintained or repaired and somebody’s got to do it. But I’ll confess that the lion truly swallowed his pride taking that job. I know I was so much better than that. In intelligence, abilities, work experience and so on. They said that was all they had at the time. Maybe so. But I don’t understand, with my resume’ of vast character experience, why they wouldn’t have “grabbed” me and made room for me so to speak in their character department.
But, even with the job, I still pretty much struggled. I commuted 30 miles each way. And, unfortunately, this was during the major rise and spike in gasoline prices. At its highest point, here in So Cal, regular gasoline was $4.69 a gallon. I drove, and still do, my PT Cruiser. Which does get good and reasonable mileage. But when gas hit that high, it was like all I was doing was paying to put gas in the car to get to work to make the money to buy the gas. Talk about a “vicious circle”. Insert anoth’a foo!
Well, the night janitor job lased a year and a half. Then I was let go. Not fired, but terminated. A whole story there on its own, which I’m not hiding, but would add way too much detail here to an already fairly lengthy story. I will say, “if I knew then, what I know now…” and leave it at that for now.
So income never met outgo, even as frugal as I am. I hated to do it, but I started selling fursuits as needed to try to make extra money. I’ve sold about twelve to this point. Trouble is, I could only get about half-value for them. My suits are not custom-made, form-to-fit. A “Mixed Candy” or the like suit goes for $1,500 or better when put on E-Bay. But mine are standard suits that are semi-customized but are not the form-to-fit style. Mine aren’t “wanted” in the same way. Even though they ARE very good fursuits. Kind of hurts, you know. I’m not unrealistic to the idea of supply and demand, but, to me, these are more than just fursuits, suits of fur, WAY MORE! These are my alter-egos, my children if you will, SEROIUSLY! Each one sold has torn me apart for having to do it. I’ve said good-bye to them as I mailed them off. I’ve also sold some other personal things as well as the fursuits. Sold a moderate-sized pin collection as well. That too, at about half its actual value of the pins that were collected. I also sold several pairs of Ugg boots I had bought during better times but had not yet worn. So they were as new, those super-furry “Mama Fluff” boots. I hated to sell those too, but you do what you gotta do.
Been on unemployment since the loss of the janitor job. The shows are effectively gone now I guess, until the economy comes back. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be likely happening soon. But, in as example of “things could be worse”, yep, sure enough, “they got worse”. Because the federal government didn’t continue the funding as it should have, my, and many, many other’s benefits suddenly stopped at the beginning of July. Well, if I’ve got no income, I sure as Hell can’t can pay rent. So, although there would be a whole story within a story to tell you here, we’ll just give you the essence of what happened and that was I had to give up apartment and move out. Better that, than to be evicted. FOO, FOO, FOO!
Didn’t pay July rent and used that money instead to rent a “Budget” rental truck, get moving and packing supplies and pay for a storage space to put everything in. I got an agreement with the corporate landlord of my apartment complex to use my security deposit ($375) towards my few days of rent into July (about $33 a day rounded). I would get the three-day “pay or quit” notice on the sixth, when rent wasn’t paid by the fifth as it should be, but as long as I was out before the three days were up, no eviction efforts would be made. The move took myself and three furiends four days to do. It just takes time. My plush collection of most of my life is over a thousand plushies alone. At 58 years old, it was SO hard for me.
So, as of now, my life, as I knew and loved it, sits in a 10x20 storage unit. I’m squeezed in with two dear furiends in their bedroom about, ironically, nine miles east of Disneyland. The overall house environment is not good for any of us and, bluntly, we try to stay in our room to avoid any friction or conflicts. Life is not good for the lion and his furiends.
We three are more than likely going to leave the state later this year. We’d go right now in one way, but some money must be saved up. In all honesty, though I was born in California and lived my whole life here, I gotta say it’s “beaten” me. “I give up”, I can take the hint”. It doesn’t want me, and, with the way I’ve been treated, I don’t want it!
If you’ve read all this, thank you so much. I know I’m not the only one with troubles and I also know there are those in e ‘third world” that would make my life a ”pleasure” in comparison. But, I thought you might like to know what’s been happening with the white lion. And, for those of you I do communicate with more directly, this might give explaination to why I’ve been so “distant” lately. I still will proudly say….”Semper Furry!” Current Mood: exhausted
|Wednesday, January 27th, 2010|
|A SHORT BUT TO THE POINT FC 2010 CON REPORT
Overall, the con was great and the new hotel is certainly different and so large in comparison to the Doubletree. It's very nice and "swanky". I think this will be a "good home" for FC for years to come.
But the first issue/obstacle was on arrival. They, the hotel, required a $100 cash or credit card deposit (Would not accept debit cards or debit/visa types) per day you were staying. For us, that meant $600 for our six days. I have heard that there were cases where furs had no "extra" money to do this and had to turn around and go back home. Luckily, I had rent money set aside and temporally used that.
Another thing that was majorly disappointing was that the hotel refused the live animal people and their animals in. The two scheduled "shows" were canceled. It's something that the con has "every" year, so it couldn't have been a surprise to them. I don't know any details. I was waiting with others to attend the first of two shows/panels when a con staff lady came up to us to give us the bad news. She said they, the animal people and their animals were here but the hotel was refusing them entry.
Finally, for me and my furiends, we were shocked and appalled, even "offended", by the "Furr Happens" recorded skit at the FNL. After the funny and inspired parody of "Fur in the Box" previously done, why they chose this "mass murder/suicide" thing is beyond me. Yes, there are parodies of the original on "You Tube". But I cannot see ANY humor in the whole skit or idea. My and my furiends opinions are there are just SOME things that AREN'T funny. Suicide and 911 are two of those things My one furiend lost a dear furiend of his to suicide! Another furiend had a gun pointed at him is a suicidal persons attempt to do just that. This happened when he, my furiend, was eleven years old. Respectfully, who thought that this was funny? Who thought this was a good image for the fandom? Who gave the go-ahead? Didn't anybody take a second to stop and think what agony this could cause and how this "offends" people that have been DIRECTLY involved in suicidal situations?
Not to mention, think about the fandom's image. With all the CSI image issues that have been discussed over all the years since the "Fur and Loathing" episode was first aired, I'd think that furries who shoot each other would cause as much or hopefully MORE concern than "yiffing" furries of that episode.
To "Furr Happens", Think now on what you did and feel very ashamed and apologetic. You may not have meant to, but you've caused GREAT hurt and pain to some of your audience.
--Henry (aka "Me Furry") Current Mood: sad
|Friday, December 18th, 2009|
|FURRY CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM DE' WHITE LION!
(A I Can Has Cheezeeburger captioned pic)
"Me And my rolf (or wolfcoon if you prefer) sharing our duties in the family business"
Toby and I wish all of you the best Christmas holiday they can have! Hasn't been a good year for many, lion included, but Christmas gives us hope and courage to go on. Do spread the love and joy of the holiday to any and all you meet. More than likely, they'll be in real need of some Christmas cheer.
As said before..."SEMPER FURRY!" Current Mood: grateful
|Thursday, September 17th, 2009|
|I must HUMBLY ask for help again....
Still out of work since end of July. Been selling fursuits and even some of plush collection to get money. But can't always be assured of buyers with way things are for "everybody". I was hoping to get unemployment, but got the official letter in yesterday's mail that I'm refused. "Damn".
I am still able to do my character shows when they come, but that's the trouble, they have virtually died for the bad economy. If I get one, two, or three a month now I'm lucky. I'll certainly take them, but that's way too few to live on.
I applied for and did get food stamps and that helps some but can't pay the rent with those...sigh.
So, long story short, if you can and would be so kind to help, bless you. I am trying my best here, but "it's not enough", you know what I mean. Hugs. My Pay Pal account is my E-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org Your kindness will not be forgotten, I promise you, thank you! --Henry Current Mood: scared
|Thursday, July 30th, 2009|
|Being very serious, "lion" need help again...
A little more than a year ago I bluntly, begged for financial help. I so thank those that did come and give me some of their money. But things have been very tough this whole time since and right now, no matter how hard I'm trying, I am short several hundred dollars for this month's rent absolutely due by the fifth. If not paid by that date, well you know the drill.
This truly "kills" me to do this, but I so humbly ask again for your pity and help please! Please know I am grateful beyond words for those than can and will. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Know that you will be keeping a "lion" alive by helping. Send any amount you can to Pay Pal, my e mail is my account-- email@example.com HUGS! Current Mood: worried
|Tuesday, July 14th, 2009|
|Monday, July 13th, 2009|
|MY FURRY TALES--STORIES FROM 20 YEARS IN THE FUR # 15
Every once in a while things happen that cause our everyday ordinary lives to cross or touch with those of the well-to-do. I suppose it happens to more than a few times to many who work in the children's entertainment industry of which I am a part of. Even famous people need clowns and characters for their children’s birthday parties. Or, in my particular case here. What I am going to tell you about now. Is, or was rather, a need for a birthday “telegram”. The funny thing is, it probably was a combination of what I have in my stable of characters and just plain old dumb luck that got me the gig.
The phone rings about nine-thirty am on a weekday morning. It’s one of my “agents”, calling if I could do a five character telegram in Hollywood at twelve noon that day. They wanted a beaver, which I didn’t have, but my squirrel was substituted for that. A raccoon, elephant, toucan and moose were also added to make the five character total that was wanted. I was told to go to what’s known as the “old” lot movie studio lot in Hollywood, the old Warner studios lot, and I would be pre-cleared at the gate to come in and do my thing. I was being hired through my agent’s company by Angelina Jolie to do the telegrams for her current boyfriend, Billy Bob Thornton. They had yet to have gotten married at that time. I guess you could say they were still “dating”. This was actually for his birthday.
In my being at home and getting the call, that is what I mean about dumb luck. Had I not been home, someone else would have been called and almost certainly would have gotten the gigs, even if they didn’t have the variety of characters that I do. This was to be in a few hours, so there was no wait-around, gimme a call-back time. I do know that.
Well, kind of rushing a bit, I got the fursuits all together and loaded them into my car and drove off to Hollywood. I got there and was expected as had been promised. I was directed to go to a particular building where, I think it was the production manager’s office, was to check in as use as my staging area. Billy Bob was on set filming. This was that Las Vegas movie he was making at the time. He was breaking for lunch and had about an hour free before going back to filming. It was decided that I would probably not have time to do all five after all. So it was decided to do squirrel first then toucan and finish up with moose. I got dressed and walked over to the nearby stage where he was.
When he came out I was there to greet him. We played around a bit and then I left to go back and make a quick-change. Donning the toucan I went back out but he was in process of going over to another building to apparently catch a quick nap or something. That’s what I was told by staff. I followed him all the way to the other building, kind of hounding him but in a nice way. Hey, this is my job, you know. After he went inside I was given a quick ride on a golf cart back to the office that I was using as my changing room. I got into my moose and went back over to the set where the filming was.
Apparently other little plans hand been made for a mini-celebration of his birthday as well. While I was waiting there just outside of the set for him to come back, some food was brought up and accordion player arrived. When Billy Bob arrived back he was warmly greeted with happy birthdays and they all started to have and enjoy the food. A cake was brought in and the happy birthday song was sung. I did my thing of interacting with him and the others there but I was respectful of letting them eat as well. I was able to actually have a dance with Billy Bob with the accordion player providing our music! That was fun! Silly, of course, but fun! All in all, I must say that it was as much fun, or more, for me as I hope it was for him!
The dance ended up concluding things. The little party broke up and he went inside the set once again. I walked back to the office. Got out of my moose and then proceeded to reload my suits back in to my car. As I was doing this I was given a large tip! Needles to say that made me even happier! I have done many “telegrams” over all the years I’ve been doing this but that is my only “star” one. But if it remains the only one I can still tell you it was so much fun! I can proudly state I danced with Billy Bob Thornton…well…”Murphy Moose” did…
Semper Furry! --Me Furry Current Mood: nostalgic
|MY FURRY TALES--STORIES FROM 20 YEARS IN THE FUR # 14
(“…besides, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it!” --Superchicken)
“At your own risk.” I’m sure that’s been said to you more than a couple times over your life. I don’t think anything in this life is worry or pain free. Well, this little post will confirm to you that this adage definitely applies to anthropomorphic characters too. Here are three little incidents that show this to be so true.
First off, all three things happened to the same character. I don’t know if that means anything. It’s my big yellow bird, Iggy. I don’t think it does really. Other than in two of the cases, it was the design of the character suit that “allowed” what happened to happen. The third incident could have happened to any of my characters quite easily. In fact in that one regard, its so surprising it’s only happened that once. Given the thousands of shows I’ve done over my over twenty years plus of performing, you’d have thought just once was a impossibility in itself. Yet at the same time, who could ever imagine? Now to detail and explain these three things that happened to you.
At the conclusion of a one-year old's birthday party, Iggy was asked to take pictures with the kids of the party, one-by-one. Not unusual thing there. It doesn’t happen at every party but it does happen a lot. Because Iggy is so big, he usually sits down “Indian-style” with his long legs crossed for more comfortable and better positioned pictures to be taken. When it came time for the birthday child, he was placed in Iggy’s lap just as all the others had been. As pictures were being snapped by both parents and grandparents, a very “terrible” noise is heard.
“BRAAPP!” Is the sound that comes from the birthday child’s back side. We all know what has just happened. There is no doubt whatsoever! And yes, it was loud enough for all in the immediate area to hear it. All the picture-takers sure did! I, as Iggy, don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Most everyone else that heard it is laughing out loud. Yea, yea, sure it’s funny to you, I’m thinking, but he’s in MY lap!
To explain, if you haven’t already guessed it, the baby just dropped one heck of a load in his diaper. This is not good for one poor bird. It’s the end of this party. But I still had another one still to go to that day. If the worst has happened, Iggy’s got a real problem. You can’t go to a party covered in…well, you know…
Well, praise somebody, God, the Higher Power, but there was no mess. Heaven’s knows there should have been! Based on what I heard and even felt a little bit. At the time my legs were a fluorescent orange colored pair of tights with round ringlets placed along the length of my legs. The tights were as my skin and I could feel the energy of the baby’s dropping of his load. Please trust me there SHOULD have been a major disaster here. As Iggy handed the baby back he said laughingly but truly relieved at the same time to the mother…nervously chuckling.
:”I think the diddie held!”
That is my one and only incident like that in all my years of character shows. When I first started in helping Santa, I was told that that was going to happen, it HAD to happen. That was relating only to Santa too by the way. The question was only when. Well, up to that time I guess I led a charmed life. I still think so in one way because as I write this I’m still unsoiled; at least by that way. Now the next incident happened after that particular incident but years later. The one I’ll tell you about after this one also happened years after that. In fact, it was only a couple years ago in recent work.
Once again on the floor in that same exact position. The kids at this party were almost all babies so that was my best way to relate to them. If I stood and be my natural tall bird self, I’s by a giant to these little kids. I sang some songs as I do and as I just finished my songs a little Sheltie collie walks into the room and basically heads right for me. I’m sure its thinking who or what is this thing that’s in my house. It was friendly it didn’t bark at me or act aggressive in any way. I think it was more curious than anything else. The question, even all these years later is how curious was it after all?
You see, he, I am ASSUMING it was a he, went right up to me and proceeded to sniff me in a very sensitive and inappropriate place. Again, I am in my orange tights so I am extremely vulnerable to say the least. If his investigations lead to anything else, I will sure the heck know it immediately! My biggest worry was an investigatory bite or nibble if it were to occur. That will not be something I’ll be able to ignore or shrug off. I might not have to do the falsetto voice any more. I’ll be able to do it naturally.
Thankfully sniffing was all he did do. Iggy made the comment to no one in particular that he did like doggies and they like him. The little dog was gently picked up by one of the adults and taken to somewhere else. I didn’t see him again for the rest of the party. What can I tell you, us furries are so lovable, we are.
The final incident I want to share is one that happened only about a couple years ago. This one gave me three immediate emotions at one time. I felt laughter, though I did not give away any outward emotion whatsoever. I felt real anger, as that "all right, that’s it", even for little kids. And, I also had one of the biggest surprises ever of my whole life! I can tell you I never had this kind of thing ever enter my thoughts as a possibility of any kind. Goes to show you, you DO never know!
For a third time the character is Iggy. The suit is now mine that I’ve had for many years now. The other one had been the company’s that I had been working for. They are similar but still a bit different from each other. The main difference is the lower body leggings. As said, the old ones were orange tights with cloth ringlets you put on over them. Three on each leg. Mine now are made of a short pile, also a fluorescent orange color, plush fake fur with the ringlets a part of the whole body stocking. It has an elastic waist so they’re much like a pair of pants, only skin tight and not loose like a real pair of pants would be. The bottom of the body is open and rounded for slipping over your head to put on just like the other one had been.
Iggy and the kids were playing games with a parachute at a very large kid’s birthday party at about four in the afternoon. As parties go, a count of around fifteen or so is a pretty standard sized number of kids. This party had a number closer to twenty-five if not maybe a few more. All the kids and Iggy were holding the parachute by its little handles along it’s edge and we were shaking the parachute to make a little stuffed toy bunny rabbit go down the hole that’s there in the center of the parachute. This is something I do at nearly every birthday party I do. So it’s true, I’ve done this “thousands of times”, literally.
As Iggy is standing there he feels a kid crawl between his legs. That has happened many times, no surprise there. Little kids being little kids. Iggy doesn’t even give it a second thought really. But then, poor Iggy does have something happen that even to this day he cannot believe that it happened but it did.
Iggy was groped! Plain and simple, no bones about it, no there’s no mistake or misunderstanding about it. The kid's hand reached up and “copped a feel of Iggy’s “jewels”. Yes they were covered by the orange fur, but still. The sweet and definitely innocent bird was just “violated”! As we were shaking the parachute it was fairly easy to catch a glimpse of the “offender” as we played the game with no apparent reaction from me. It was a boy of I’d say of eight or nine years of age. I'll allow him the innocence of childhood still, but, he was old enough to know exactly what he was doing.
So, in a split second I have to decide what the heck to do. Say something, say nothing or say something away from everybody later, heck. I don’t know? I decide that to say anything would literally open up the proverbial “can of worms” that could so easily backfire and end up “biting me in the ass” so I say nothing, do nothing. I go through the entire party with no further incidents. I guess the boy’s curiosity had been satisfied. I did tell my agent who sent me out on the show what had happened. She felt that what I did, or didn’t do really, was probably the best course to have gone.
What else can I say? That IS one for the books! As stated at the start of this little tale, “…besides, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it!”
Semper Furry! –Me Furry Current Mood: amused
|Saturday, July 11th, 2009|