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Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
8:55 pm

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Saturday, August 23rd, 2008
5:25 pm - in the news!!
The Virginian-Pilot
© August 23, 2008

By Greg Gaudio


The man once known as Charles William Farmer said he doesn’t feel completely at home among people. Since childhood, he’s believed he shares a stronger bond with lions.

He says the contours of his face and his shaggy mane of brown hair make him look like one. And that he identifies with values he associates with the animal: “solitude, trying to stay in control of things, always trying to do right.”

So much that there are times when you can find him grunting, growling and prowling through his Chesapeake home in a custom-made lion suit.

Three years ago, the 43-year-old auto body repairman had his first name legally changed to Simba, after the lion cub character in the 1994 Disney movie “The Lion King.” He changed his last name to Lyons.

Later, while surfing the Internet, he learned he wasn’t the only one who’d created a second identity based on a favorite animal. “I found my family,” Lyons said.

It’s known as the Furry Fandom, an international subculture bound by an obsession for walking, talking animal characters. Followers create “fursonas” for themselves and are called furries or, simply, furs.

“That’s how they’re able to become what they feel inside,” explained Lynne Hanlon, 54, Lyons’ nonfurry fiancee . “That’s who Simba is. So I encourage him, if that’s what he wants to do, to act out his lion persona.”

The furries assemble – often in costume – at conventions across the country. The largest gathering, Anthrocon, lured about 3,400 furries to Pittsburgh this summer, according to its Web site.

By comparison, Hampton Roads meets are low key. The 20 or so active members of 757-Furries of Virginia, a group Lyons helped organize last year, get together once a month at Zino’s Cafe in Chesapeake. They have a few beers and talk video games, art and cartoons.

“Most of us, we think they’re totally awesome,” waitress Carolyn Thompson said, “but some of the guests do kind of look at them like: What in the world?” She said the restaurant’s never had complaints.

Eight of the 757-Furries agreed to meet at Zino’s for a group interview – and explain the hobby that so often earns quizzical looks and raised eyebrows from a not-so-furry public.

“Compare us to the Trekkies,” says Talyn, a 28-year-old “wolf” who is really engineer Scott Williams.

“But with 'Star Trek,’ there’s one thing to relate it to,” puts in Totem, a fennec fox, birth name Joey Lawrence. “If you’re a fur, there’s no one thing to relate it to. People can’t make sense of it.”

The 27-year-old security guard says “a lot of the misunderstanding comes from career-minded adults asking: Why are people this age doing this?”

The reasons range from lonely childhoods to traumatic events.

“These are the only friends we had when we were growing up,” Talyn says of the cartoon characters he watched as a child.

“Some people crack open a beer, some people sit in front of the TV. We’re like, Let’s go watch 'Kung Fu Panda.’ ”

“My other half happens to be a furry, and our outlook on it is pretty much the same,” explains Yami, another “wolf,” better known as 23-year-old truck driver Adam Barefoot. “You can call it a lifestyle. It’s part of who we are. It gives us an escape from the daily BS and rigmarole.”

For Lyons, it was an escape from painful memories: not knowing his biological father as a child and being held at gunpoint when he was 29.

“Coming up, I had a hard life . Lions were always strong and dominant. They helped me get through a lot of troubles, just kept me strong.”

Lyons wears one of the most elaborate costume of the bunch. He has paws on his hands and feet, a lion T-shirt and a lifelike headpiece with a moving jaw.

“It’s a pretty good partial,” Talyn tells him.

A full fursuit – essentially a customized mascot outfit – usually runs about $2,000, so most in the group opt for something simpler, such as a fluffy tail fastened to the seat of the pants.

Dress like that in public?

“The more sensible ones don’t,” Talyn says. “It’s basically: How much flak are you willing to take?”

When the local furries do go out in character, for the occasional amusement park or bowling outing, people tend to shoot them disgusted looks and hurry small children away, they say.

“They think there’s a very large sex thing going on, and there’s not,” Talyn says.

The seamier side of the Furry Fandom – sexual behavior involving animal costumes and stuffed animals – has grabbed media attention in recent years, most notably as the subject of a 2003 episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” The episode showed attendees at a furry convention engaging in a costume-clad orgy.

“It would be a lie to say there’s not an adult aspect to it,” Talyn says.

But, he stresses, that only involves a tiny percentage of furries and is not something that’s part of the local scene. Furries also have faced resistance on religious grounds.

“People think it’s paganistic,” Totem says. “But it’s not a religion or an occult group. There’s no idols to worship. We leave religion out of it completely.”

Totem practices Wicca, a modern interpretation of Northern European pagan beliefs. That doesn’t bother Osee DeSantis, a Christian “dalmatian” whose cross pendant dangles beneath his electric blue dog collar.

“How do I reconcile being a furry and a Christian? It’s pretty difficult,” says Osee, who is otherwise known as 23-year-old Christopher Mays, an employee at a pet supplies store.

“I don’t hide it that I’m a furry within my church, and I’m more involved with my ministry than I am as a furry.” His church, which he declines to name, has been accepting, he says.

Acceptance, the local furries say, is the main thing they seek when they gather with one another.

“It’s one of the few times you can say you have a family that’s 100 percent accepting of who you are,” Totem says. "You can feel free to be yourself without fear of being persecuted by other people,” Yami adds.

“It’s like: Let’s all be weird together,” Osee says.

Weird, yes. But not delusional.

Balancing their furry-ness with real lives and jobs isn’t a problem, they say.

“We’re not obsessed to the point where we don’t function outside of it,” Talyn says. “It just makes you feel like the animal for a short time.”


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Friday, August 22nd, 2008
7:51 pm
 our locall group will be in the news paper tomorrow. here is the preview on there web page.

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Friday, March 28th, 2008
9:16 pm
I broke up with wolfy tonight. me very sad now.  I will miss him.

current mood: sad

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Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
4:25 pm
After back surgery Jan. 2nd I was suppose to be out of commission for 8 to 12 weeks. i got back to work in 4. just in time to make it to FWA!!!   THANK GOD I WON'T MISS IT!!!!!!! 

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Monday, November 5th, 2007
4:03 pm - Would you???
1. give me your number?
2. let me hug you anytime I wanted to?
3. let me kiss you?  
4. watch a movie with me...even a really sappy one?
5. let me take you out to dinner?
6. drive me somewhere/anywhere?
7. take a shower with me?
8. have a fling with me?
9. listen to me if I called you crying even if you were out with all of your friends?
10. buy me a drink if i didn't have money?
11. take me home for the night?
12. let me sleep in your bed?
13. sing karaoke w/ me?   < I don't sing
14. sit in the doctors office with me because I didn't want to go alone?
15. re-post this for me to answer your questions?
16. come pick me up at 3am because my car ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere?
17. Do you think i'm cute or hot?
18. Do you like my style?
19. Do you think I'm funny?
20. cry if I died?
21. dance with me?
22. sing happy birthday to me?
23. take advantage of me if I was drunk or high?  
24. strip for me? 

current mood: crazy

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2007
9:14 am - Time to eat!!!!!
I had to be tested for kidney stones today.. the good news is all looked good.. Yesterday I had to drink some phosphate stuff that cleaned me out. Now I poo poo free.. LOL. I had some reaction and it made me sick as hell. but allot better today and I am allowed to eat and drink again.. So I gonna sit on my furry ass all day and eat eat eat.. :)

current mood: hungry

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Saturday, July 14th, 2007
6:46 am
Well been in this new house for 30 days now and the pile of boxes is finally starting to dwindle down. got some pics. on the wall and finally cable tv in my office this week. I still got like 20 address changes to make. half my mail still going to the old house. It is hard to give your new address and phone number to a customer service person that seems to barley speak English. some of the address change phone calls have been nightmares.
With everything going on I knew I would not get to go to my first ac.
Thank you to everyone that has been posting pics. and video of ac. I really enjoyed seeing everyone have such a good time.

current mood: good

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
8:25 pm - Moveing Blues
No internet or cable tv for a full week. 
Everything I have is in boxes and it seems all my cloths are lost or dirty.
All the delivery places here suck and i am tired of pot pies..

current mood: exhausted

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
6:13 pm - Where Simba Been??????
I have been very busy. The only fun time I get is reading my friends LJ's. Why am I sooooo busy at work?
Because I close on my new house on the 15th of June. I cannot Waite to get all moved in. Here are some pics.

                                         Geese are cute but poop everywhere!!!

current mood: high

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
7:03 pm - ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel like a real furry now.. :)  
Thank you CarissaFox for the Spiffy Icon.   

current mood: FURRY

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Sunday, April 1st, 2007
8:19 pm
Working 7 days a week is sucking up all my free time. grrrrrrrrrr
Here is a Pic. of my babies. Ozzy golden retriver and Mojo Black Lab.

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Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
6:56 am - Change of name story
a badge of pride
Published: August 30, 2005
Section: Local, page B3
© 2005- Landmark Communications Inc.



Charles Farmer likes lions. On his bed, he has a lion comforter and stuffed animal. In his closet, he keeps his lion slippers. On his car, the license plates read : "Lion Byt.'' He has lion wallpaper, lion candles, pens, vases, salt and pepper shakers, necklaces, Christmas ornaments, pictures and toys. Every one of his T-shirts is adorned with a lion. The 40-year-old Chesapeake man figured the only thing left to do was to change his name. Farmer has petitioned Chesapeake Circuit Court to have his first name legally changed to "Simba." His last name will be changed to "Lyons." No middle name. "When I settled on the name it was right after 'The Lion King' movie came out," Farmer said from his home near Greenbrier. "It was a good movie. There were so many lessons in it that I liked, and the name fit." For years, his friends have known him as Simba. He's simply making it official with the court-approved name change. His first name comes from the lion cub character in the 1994 Disney movie. The animated film is about Simba's exile from his kingdom and his eventual return to find his place in the Circle of Life. Farmer, an auto body repairman, loves everything associated with "The Lion King." He dreams of one day seeing the live stage musical. "I've probably only seen the movie but about three times," he said. "Because every time I see it, I cry." The lion is more than just an image he admires. "He would live in a cave if he had his choice," joked his fiance , Lynne Hanlon. Farmer calls Hanlon "Nalyn," after a character in the movie called Nala, who was one of Simba's friends. The first time Hanlon met Farmer, she was at a party. She had ventured into the host's kitchen, where she got her first glimpse of Farmer. "There was this big lion," she recalled. "And everyone else was dressed normal, but he was dressed as this big lion. Everybody there knew him and didn't blink an eye." For Farmer, his name change will also put behind a troubled past. Born in Kansas City, Mo., Farmer said he didn't know his biological father until he was 30. His mother remarried when he was 7, and he took the last name Farmer from his stepfather. There were troubles, however, in the Farmer household, and he left home at the age of 16 to live with grandparents, he said. In March 1994, Farmer was abducted at gunpoint in Portsmouth by a murderer and alleged drug dealer who had escaped from the custody of a Portsmouth sheriff's deputy. Farmer was 29 at the time and working at a nursing home. Farmer was in his car when the escaped inmate opened the door, got in, waved a gun he took from the deputy he overpowered and ordered Farmer to start driving. "I was hoping he was just there for a misdemeanor or drug charge," he said. "I didn't know he was facing the death penalty or I would have wet myself." The abduction ended four hours later with Todd Moore's capture in North Carolina after a wild car trip through Hampton Roads and down U.S. 17 to Elizabeth City. Farmer was unharmed physically, but there were too many bad memories associated with the name Charles Farmer, he said. "Now I'm doing good," he said. "Now that I'm Simba, things are good."

current mood: busy

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