Home > Project Endless Possibilities, Virtual Identity > Project Endless Possibilities (4): Ferris Greymoon

Project Endless Possibilities (4): Ferris Greymoon

(This is the fourth post in Project Endless Possibilities. You can read more about the project as well as find the previous entries here.

Ferris went all out on this one. Not only did he answer the questions, he first wrote a bit of an essay about his avatar, the furry universe and how his avatar has developed as well as provide links to explore this side of SL further. Thank you Ferris!)

Ferris Greymoon’s current profile photo

My name is Ferris Greymoon.  My avatar is a regular, natural-colored anthropomorphic (human shaped) coyote.  He has full hands (opposable thumbs and functioning fingers) with pads.  He has digitigrade (dog shaped) legs.  Colors are in the browns, tans, and grays.  Green eyes.  Usually long hair.  Medium sized floofy tail.  No magic or sci-fi type accouterments to the basic Ferris.

I’m a furry both in RL and SL.
In RL, I’m a huge sci-fi / fantasy nerd.  I love just about all of it.  My participation in the furry fandom is essentially a specialization of my own overall sci-fi / fantasy enjoyment.  I also really like ninjas and mecha and space and espionage and clever, very-far-from-hollywood foreign movies.  I’m the poster boy for Netflix abuse.
By way of comparison, there are a lot of other types of furs.  Some of them feel a spiritual connection to their critter type.  Some feel that they “are” that critter type stuck in a human body.  Some are in it solely for a kink.  I’m not in those categories.
For me, the essential question is the Ship of Theseus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus ) .  I figured out it had an actual name, long after I’d been pondering the idea, ha!  Basically, “How much of a person can be changed, and it still be a person?”   If I accumulate animalistic characteristics, do I still count?  What about cybernetics?  What about artificial people like Cylons and the like?  And so on!  That’s probably a bit more about fandom and philosophy than you were expecting, but you mentioned I was your first fur, so I figured I ought be thorough.  🙂
I decided on ‘yote after a bit of a circuitous route.   I actually discovered the furry fandom pretty recently.  Way back when, when all my friends were collecting superhero comics, I was looking for something different.  I found the “funny animal” comics and liked them quite a bit.  For example, Erma Felna, EDF (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo_Anthropomorphics ) was a story that had not only critter-people, but a complex plot that was missing from the spandex-clad genre.  I’d continue to favor the critter-people in our D&D games and etc.
A couple years ago, I found out that there was a little subset of the overall sci-fi fandom that was very active in enjoying this sort of thing, and naturally made my way to join in with the fun.  At first I figured I’d be a fox, thinking myself very clever for that choice.  Unfortunately, about 1/3 of the fandom are fox, it seems.  *sigh*  So, I started over as a coyote.   Now, as I mentioned, I don’t have any sort of deep, spiritual connection between myself and my “fursona”, but in choosing I did consider some features that I thought I’d like to emphasize.  Canines are loyal and protective of their pack, for example.  ‘yotes are the only wild canine that are currently expanding their territories even as humanity does…. quite clever and adaptable.  Plus, “cousin” Wile E. has that unlimited credit account with ACME.  🙂   Oh, I’m also very patriotic and love my country (USA) in RL, and coyotes are a unique species to North America, so it seemed appropriate as well.
So, ‘yote I went.   One of those things where you pick a course and stick with it, at least for me.  There are lots of furs who collect avs of all sorts, but I tend to stick with “me”.
When I first started SL, I picked up a Werehouse Coyote.  It was pretty good for a starter one, though it was really already showing its age in terms of the SL state of the art, when I got it.  The downside to choosing an unusual fursona is that there are few options for getting an av of it in SL!
In late 2010, I started a project to redo my av completely.  Dark Spot Designs (DSD) released a really really good fox av.  I contacted the maker and commissioned him to retexture one for me, as a ‘yote.   So, I’ve got an av now that is both perfect for me and unique in SL.   I’m very happy!
I do have a couple of other avs, but just for special occasions or for laughs.  For the ‘yote, I have a lot of various outfits… clothes and gear and such, but still with the same basic “me” underneath.
Oh!  As for the name…   When I created the character, I was under a lot of stress from work, and thinking that I really needed a day off.  😛   The name Greymoon was one of the LL options, and seemed to fit well for being a critter person.
For inspiration: ( http://www.dailycoyote.net/ )

Ferris’ previous, Werehouse av

Does your avatar look like or represent your real life self? Nope.  I do have a coyote fursuit though.  (“Fursuit” being fandom slang for “costume”)

Do you make significant changes to your avatar often? I get new clothes fairly often, but the base “me” part of it remains the same. For example, I was recently working on a set of sci-fi outfits, with various options that I could find around on marketplace and in-world, but the basic av underneath it all is consistent. This is also practical… it’s difficult to keep things straight when you keep changing the base LL body shape around.

Why have you chosen to have your avatar look like he/she/it does? I went with the natural earthtones, because I really don’t care to be garish, generally.  I’d rather be at least believably colored.  Same thing with clothing selections… I try to make them make sense in the context of what I’m doing.

Do you have a signature look? I have a minor conceit that I always have green eyes (when eyes are present).  I also use the green browser tag color.  This is for no particularly deep reason.  I read a book once where the Devil wanted to marry a redhead with green eyes, and I thought it was a unique touch.  It also turns out that it goes well with my “natural” earthtones, without clashing too badly or taking over.  Draws the attention to the face, a bit.

Is it important to you how your avatar looks? Yes and no.  I’ll happily go around casual, but I want it to be a believable casual. I don’t particularly go in for the rave-fur look that seems to be popular.  If I’m going to wear something glowing, for example, I’ll have it “in my hand” instead of being a body part. Glowing eyes excepted, because they’re top-shelf shtick from the movies.  🙂

Do you have some basics that you always wear (certain color of hair, eyes or …)? Natural earthtones in the coyote range (they vary a lot in nature, both by individual and by season) and the green eyes.

What does it mean to you how other avatars look? Do you avoid talking to some avatars because of their appearance? It sure does matter! Probably not in the way you’re thinking though. When I size somebody up, a really bad looking, poorly assembled av just screams out to me to be on guard.  Not from danger or anything like that, which doesn’t apply in SL, but from drama. Of course, it’s different if they’re brand new…  that can’t be helped.  Somebody who’s less than a month or two old is entitled to a Mulligan.  🙂
For examples, so I don’t sound like a total av bigot… Somebody who’s put on a bunch of parts that don’t fit, or are in the wrong positions, I think that person must be careless.  They probably, I imagine, won’t bother thinking much about what they say, or how, or to whom.  (Drama bomb)
Somebody who’s distorted their av to be really huge, even at the expense of being misshapen, I think that person must be insecure, and probably will be somewhere between overbearing/compensating, a BS’er, or a wallflower.  Possibly just careless, too.  Think of a male with the huge appletop body, or a female with watermelons and a famine waist…. what are they trying to project?
On the positive side, somebody who’s obviously put some thought into their look presents as somebody who probably wants to be well received.  They don’t have to be a walking work of art, of course.
Here’s another related question, that for me is doubly relevant in SL:  Use of language.  I get the same first impressions off of people based on the way they use and abuse English (discounting for foreigners, of course).
An example on the bad side:  “OMG Y U PLAY DOG LOL”   I got this one, once, only with more use of numbers and stuff in place of perfectly valid letters.  When I interact with somebody who throws this as a first impression, it’s not a good foot to start out on.
Of course, I realize that first impressions are both wonderful (they keep us alive in RL!) and can be subject to revision with more information, so I have a bulletproof way to find out what I need to know, and it works way better in SL than in RL.  I just ask them some specific question about their avatar. From that, it puts the subject on them to talk about themselves, and I can find out in a handful of minutes if they’re vain, or rude, or dumb, or drama llamas. “Where did you get that cool X?” “How did you make that Y glow like that?”  “I like what you did with the colors, and how you balanced the Z color here with the same Z color there” etc.

How has your perspective on your avatar and your thoughts about your appearance changed since you first joined Second Life? My friends who talked me into joining SL were ample with warnings about drama and flaming and griefing all over the place, so I was ready for that when I joined up.  I honestly haven’t seen it, and I’d been starting to wonder what the heck kind of places my friends were going to.  (It turns out that in the intervening period between their leaving and me joining finally, there were some new anti-grief measures put in place, but I didn’t figure that out until some months into this adventure)
At first I thought my original av was going to be the best around, but it turned out it was already old and crufty by the time I went and got it.  This was the Werehouse Coyote. Werehouse pioneered a lot of the furry av stuff, I hear, but haven’t kept up with the use of sculpties.  Since we furs are mostly defined by non-human parts and matching textures, the use of sculpties is a vast improvement over plain prims.

Has Second Life influenced your Real Life in any way? Of course. I got into SL at about the same time as my office started to explore a more generous remote-work policy.  This was at and right after a time when there was a spike in oil prices, so it was making sense for everybody to limit their driving. I work in IT anyway, so as long as we can log in and poke the electrons this way and that, we’re not really missing much.
Discounting the old VRML whimsy from the ’90s, it seems rather fitting to be able to do work, have a teleconference, video chat at the office, etc, while also being able to have a personal window open on my own computer, for my furry fantasy.

How do you view your avatar? Is it just a tool to be able to navigate SL, is it an aspect of your persona, a virtual representation of you or maybe your best friend? A bit of all of those, minus the best friend part.  My percieved locus for the avatar is internal, not external.  😛  Of course, it’s great fun to get out and explore.  That’s how I found the scilands, because I’d heard about the NASA sim before I signed on.
It’s also nice to live out the furry fantasy a bit, of being something a bit different, more self defined, more handsome, more charismatic than the RL me.  (My RL is a bit of an introverted nerd, predictably enough!)

(Photos by Ferris Greymoon)

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