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Tue, Mar. 10th, 2015, 06:10 pm
Channel 10's coverage of Mardi Gras 2015

Here is Channel 10's news coverage, saved for posterity (or at least until Google takes it down) and accessible to non-Australians.

Mon, Mar. 9th, 2015, 08:15 pm
Photos from Mardi Gras take 10

I have put up a series of photos chronicling my adventures at Mardi Gras 2015. This was Rattus's 10th Mardi Gras in a row, so I wanted to make sure I had photos marking the occasion. Thank you so much to Audi Orca for taking such great photos of Rattus and the furry float!

Because it was his 10th, I was also rapt to have Rattus feature so prominently in Channel 10's news coverage of the event. You can see the furry float from 1:20. This is unfortunately geoblocked, but I will put up a grab of it on YouTube later. Stay tuned!

Thu, Mar. 5th, 2015, 09:23 pm
Mardi Gras, take 10!

All packed and ready for my next great adventure: Rattus's 10th anniversary of doing Mardi Gras! When I say take 10 I mean it. Rattus did his first Mardi Gras in 2005, before he was even a full suit, and he has done every year since, even the year when there unfortunately wasn't a furry float. Being his 10th makes it something special for the both of us, and I want to honour it by marching on foot again this year, sort of as a tribute to the first year.

Thu, Feb. 19th, 2015, 05:14 pm
Rats and Trigger Warnings

Neil Gaiman is a writer of excellent and discriminating taste. He likes rats. Most of his books have at least one rat in them. I am presently reading his latest collection of short stories, "Trigger Warnings". I haven't encountered any rats yet, but I fully expect I will. Which brings me to this image. I won it in the art auction at Further Confusion 2007. I just had to get it because I am a rat that loves kangaroos. I asked the artist, G T Skunkrat, for the story behind this piece and he said there wasn't any. It's a fine piece, but that's where he fell down, according to Neil Gaiman, who had this choice piece of advice for artists: "Be amiable but enigmatic, and when people ask for the story behind the painting, say, "My lips are sealed." But for god's sake, imply there is one. It's the story they're buying." Of course, I'd already bought it by then so it didn't matter, and I still have it celebrate my longstanding love of kangaroos.

Oil painting of a rat hugging a kangaroo

Thu, Feb. 19th, 2015, 10:31 am
What I did for the Year of the Rat

I thought this being the start of the Lunar New Year, this might be apposite. I mentioned on G+ that I didn't do anything special for the last Year of the Rat, but that's not really true. At Further Confusion 2008 I had the most singular honour of heading up the fursuit parade. Madius had organised a banner celebrating the Year of the Rat which was due to start soon and was very topical for FC that year, whose theme was the Fur East. It seemed the FC parade organisers agreed. I had humbly agreed to take one end of the banner and soon after the parade organisers caught wind of the plan and called for us to come to the front of the parade. I would not have given up my half of the banner for anything at that point! I often say I am proud to be a rat, but I don't think I have ever been prouder than I was on that day. I don't know what I will do for 2020, but it is hard to think how I will top that.

Congratulations to sheep and goats, and to all the animals of the Zodiac. There are only 12 of us, so we are all very special. (With a special nod to cats, who only narrowly missed out.)

Sun, Jan. 25th, 2015, 09:51 am
Rodent Room Party at MFF 2014

At last, I have photos up!

Here is the full album on Flickr.

Photos taken by White Paw on my crappy camera from the Rodent Room Party Dittman and I organised at MFF 2014.

It might sound silly, but I was so excited to be around so many rodents, especially ones I hadn't met in the flesh/fur before I was almost hyperventilating! Thanks to everyone who showed up for making it such an awesome event!

Sun, Jan. 25th, 2015, 09:26 am
Opening the Pandora's box

I tried out Google Radio on their 30 day free trial and found I really like it, but I also came to realise I can't afford to spend $12 a month on a luxury. I looked at the alternatives and decided to try out Pandora. Somebody had already registered an account on it using my email address, but it turns out it was easy to take it back by changing the password. It looks like whoever they were had abandoned the account some months ago anyway. At least their musical taste wasn't limited to the top 40. So if somebody called kangaroos06 had previously insulted you on Pandora, please be assured the rebranded Marko Rat is not like that. ;)

I am pretty pleased with Pandora so far. Its ability to pick musical sounds based on a band seems pretty good. I accept the price of a "free" service is advertising, but so far there hasn't been much. There seems to be no advertising when listening to music on the web interface and I've only heard one advert in the audio stream. There seems to be a lot of advertising on the Android app, but that will mostly be in the car when I can't look at it.

Fri, Jan. 2nd, 2015, 06:12 pm
Why I am a rat

@WhitePaw80 (on Twitter) asked: what draws you to being a rat? That question is far too involved to answer in 140 characters, so I will make a brave (foolhardy? vain?) attempt at doing so here.

Even though I'll be lampooned for it by the "new" furries, I truly believe the rat chose me, not the other way around. The more I reflect on it, the more honoured I feel by that choice. (For full disclosure, I should admit that Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Roland Rat were very big with me during my formative years, but that could just be the chicken and egg debate in fur.) It makes perfect sense: Who would want to be a rat? Rats are small, insignificant and reviled by Western culture. A rat acquaintance told me he was attracted to rats by their status as an iconoclast, but I don't think I ever sought out controversy intentionally. As far back as I can remember, long before I discovered the furry fandom (and, yes, probably even before NIMH and Roland Rat) I was attracted to rats. I thought they were cute (in spite of Western conditioning) and admired them for their intelligence and belligerent determination to live (here I owe a debt to a Christian TV preacher, one of my earliest memories relating to rats, who told the story of the family who tried to kill a rat that just wouldn't die). Which brings me to another early influence when it comes to rats: My father. He taught me to respect rats. He made a humane live rat trap, and I saw a rat escape from it once, by squeezing through a hole the size of its head. It gave me the willies at the time, but it showed me how determined rats are to live. He also told me a story (which I strongly suspect to be apocryphal) of how rats steal chicken eggs: One lies on its back and holds the egg with all four legs while the other drags his friend by the tail.

So the short answer is that I don't know. I could have just said that, but I wanted to be more honest than that, and to also lay out the early influences as I saw them.

Fri, Dec. 12th, 2014, 06:16 am
My adventures in the US: In photographs

Google made this story out of my adventures in the US. It is a good incentive to use my phone for taking photos in fact because I'm often too lazy to sort through photos later. There will be more photos to come, especially from the Rodent Party, but I will put those up probably on Flickr later.


Wed, Nov. 19th, 2014, 07:17 am
Off to America

In a few hours I will be heading off to the US. Sort of my gift to me for getting a job again last year. I will be having my first ever Thanksgiving (as a big yankophile, that's a big deal to me--thanks nicodemusrat and kit_ping) and I will finish off at MFF. Hope to see you guys there!

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