My name’s Asher Wolfstein, and I’m a wunk. A wunk is a hybrid between a wolf and a skunk. This happens when you have a skunk for a father and a wolf for a mother 450 years in the future, approximately. You have to understand, I ended up in this timeline accidentally and unfortunately, I no longer have the resources to go, as they say, “back to the future.” I’ve been stuck here ever since, but that wasn’t the only mistake I made. When I first arrived I realized that as an intelligent anthropomorphic fuzzy creature I’d have a heck of a time finding my way in the 21st century, as society is only on the brink of genetic engineering, and so I used the last of my raw biomaterials in my now-defunct transmogrifier to make myself more presentable (as well as not be kidnapped, sequestered, and studied by those in power.) I realize now that this was a mistake as the world has turned out to be far more than I ever imagined but regrettably, being bereft of biomaterials, I cannot revert to my original form.
It’s been an adjustment, to say the least, but I have learned to survive. I couldn’t do it without the loving support of those who’ve graciously accepted and helped me, including my family. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own resilience in the face of that crushing force known as modern day life, and for these things, I’ll always be grateful. In my travels, I’ve realized that of all the things I need to be, it is being true to myself that is the most important. Only when I allow myself to live the truth of what makes me who I am, to experience the pain that flows from appreciating the beauty of life, am I ever truly happy.
That’s why I endeavor now to become what I once was, and will be, and live my life as I was born: an augmented human that happens to look like a wunk. Without the technologies of 2467, I am a bit limited in how much I can achieve, but as I have always thought, limitations are the birth of artistic expression.
For those looking for something a little less epic, and a little more detailed, I shall explain myself a little more. I currently live my life on Earth in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado as a, one might say, lowly human of the male variety. I started this blog on July 5th, 2014 when one day I realized my life is pretty beautiful, and that I’m privileged to be who I am, know the things I know, and see things the way I do. On that day I decided to start the quest of loving myself, and this online journal has been the chronicle of my efforts ever since. There are a number of things I’ve been able to get right so far, such as my ability to work for myself on my own hours, live in a setting I enjoy and achieving having a wonderful loving husband and accepting family.
It hasn’t always been this way, as you can imagine. Over the last eighteen years, I’ve experienced grave inner turmoil. It started with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and didn’t stop, and I was forced to be in a number of very serious situations and experience a number of very serious things that finally culminated in the total annihilation of my identity. From there it was a matter of rebuilding my consciousness: my emotions, my viewpoint, my thoughts, in essence, my life. And I did, and I still am; overcoming the shortcomings of my existence one day at a time.
So what am I now? I am a male practically gay spiritual-atheist futurist wunk in a human body that strives to live by the seven virtues of rationality, integrity, productivity, honesty, independence, pride, and most important of all justice. I am an artist and intellectual, appreciating everything from opera to Disney, and take life and all its possibilities as they come. I draw, write, craft, costume, read everything, program computers, invent, create, make, and have been doing so ever since I read the manuals to my older brother’s antique TRS-80 Color Computer II from Tandy-Radioshack and made my first pseudo-game at the age of seven.
It’s interesting being a furry, as they called them in my time, in a human world. Right now I have the best of both worlds, in that I can stand out in my true form, or disappear into the crowd as everyone else any time I want. However, being from the future, sometimes I have trouble fitting in. The proto-furries and humans of this time seem to have a few hang-ups and misconceptions, perhaps a product of the times, but as the Japanese might say 仕方がありません (translation: it can’t be helped.) When I imitate my original form it’s an experience. Some people look at you funny, and some think you’re cool, and some think you’re just plain scary. I have to admit there’s an extra level of appeal in appearance as opposed to being my normal human self. I get hot in my fur outside during the summer, but in the winter I stay warm.
I don’t currently have very many friends, to be blunt (kinda goes hand in hand with not fitting in). Oh, I mean, I’ve made a few by chance and it’s been nice. One of my original goals with this blog was to help me keep track of my life (’cause my memory sucks) and help me make new friends. Unfortunately, goal number two hasn’t quite materialized yet but in some ways, that’s okay as it gives me more time to do other things as well, but, on that note, if you are interested in perhaps being my friend make sure to hit me up at all the social media links up above and to the left (in the left sidebar of this site).
Oh, I see, you want to know even moar about me? Well, wow, okay… I guess we can start in what kind of stuff interests me and what kinds of things I’m into at the moment. My tastes can vary wildly, but the thing I’m most attracted to is anything catchy, memorable, and unique (usually artsy). Doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good, mainstream or really niche/underground (though those tend to produce a larger volume of results), retro or new, or, in the case of media, any particular language or format. I grew up with interactive creations being my favorite, mostly plain old video games (pretty much mainly console), but I love trips of the imagination of all kinds be it books (non-fiction/fiction, traditional/graphic/manga), plays/musicals/operas, whatever. I tend to have a pretty open mind towards things worth appreciating, although I’m pretty set in my ways in my own beliefs. Seeing a glimpse of the future, however brief my life was there, has given me a certain perspective on things. I mean, you try telling your sister-in-law that the future of the pre-YouTube internet was video sharing and see if she kicks you out of her room too (although it was night, and she was trying to sleep… but still!)
Two of my all-time favorite television shows that have had an influence on me are Maude and The Golden Girls, both starring Bea Arthur, and in the girls’ case also starring Rue Mclanahan, Estelle Getty, and Betty White. Another show I’ve really enjoyed is Family Guy, and I do like Murder She Wrote starring Angela Lansbury as well. Those four shows probably saved me in a weird way when the shit went down. I’ve been half-way through Cheers for a very long time (Diane just left), I’ve dabbled in Frasier, but I have watched every episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, good stuff. I want to watch more stuff, like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and get through Bojack Horseman, but I’m just not a huge consumer of television shows in the end as they take up time and commitment. Lately, Aggretsuko looks amazing. Television hasn’t always been my friend in the past, and it’s been a trip from when I was little and would tiptoe downstairs at three in the morning and watch whatever was on paid cable. Those were fascinatingly disturbing times. I was raised on random old television, my first favorite show being Get Smart, and I enjoy such creations as Star Trek, I Love Lucy, Lost in Space, and bizarre old cartoon shorts that culminated in Animaniacs.
Speaking of Maude, The Golden Girls, and older women in showbiz, Bea Arthur and Carol Channing are two of my idols, and I’ve met one of them in person. Unfortunately, the indomitable Bea Arthur died before I was able to contact her in any way (like sending a fan letter) and that was tough. I wasn’t in my best place when it happened, and really I wasn’t in my best place when I met Carol Channing either, so it was a very bright spot in a bleak time. She came to the local university for a master class, which I saw, and she also signed copies of her album at the local bookstore where I sat in the first row as she sang literally four feet in front of me. I later told her how much I enjoyed everything she was in, including Thoroughly Modern Millie, and she thanked me. I have to thank my friend Rachel for informing us of that one, and my husband Maus for setting it up while I was disposed of. It’s definitely a memory I cherish.
For a long time, The Neverending Story was my favorite movie of all time. Of course, this was before super amazing computer-generated special effects came into the picture, and movies such as Labyrinth, Howard the Duck (greatest movie ever made), Legend, The Dark Crystal, Ghostbusters, and more were somehow or another lodged permanently somewhere in my teenage psyche. I actually read the book by Michael Ende at my local school library, and it was, of course, better than the movie (in the 80s? Never!) I’ve always appreciated animated movies as well, starting with All Dogs Go To Heaven first and foremost. Man, that Don Bluth film pulled the tears out of my little face every time, and it was glorious. From there it was an inevitable graduation to feature-length animated Japanese films by the likes of Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon ala Princess Mononoke or Millennium Actress. I’ve always liked animation because you can do anything with it, including make animal-human hybrids (like myself) run around and talk. Secretly, in another life, I learned to animate instead of program computers. Cult classics always have a place in my heart, like Rocky Horror Picture Show or Donnie Darko, but of course, I can’t forget the stop off at the horror buffet that kicked off with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, being my favorite film when I was around nine. I’ve seen my share of horror, and these days I can be seen haunting the Gorehound’s Playground as they unveil obscure cinema from around the world. Nothing like a cheesy horror B-movie to brighten up your day.
In terms of books and music, where does one begin? I’ve always experienced music as this fluid thing that never really has a particular core in my life, as in, being the youngest of a number of people I tended to listen to whoever and whatever everyone else around me was listening to. Which is funny because I probably spent the first few years of my life with old seventies style cushy headphones glued to my head. I do have a vivid memory of when the counterculture kids sat me down in science class one time and asked who I listened to and I cluelessly said, “Uh, Alanis Morisette?” and they laughed at me… guess I should’ve been listening to Marilyn Manson. I grew up on Jethro Tull and Mannheim Steamroller, but at one point or another I discovered Trent Reznor and that was the, to quote, beginning of the end. Nine Inch Nails is by far the only band I’ve ever truly been a fan of, and indeed I did once attend a concert in Denver to see the man live. I may have been a little obsessed, but that’s a story for another time. I love Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson but I also love Enya, Japanese music, 8 Bit Weapon, Anamanaguchi, M83, Sigur Ros, Bjork, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Electric Six, David Bowie, Jackson and His Computer Band, MIKA, Ratatat, the list goes on… As for books, how can you go wrong with things like Michael Ende’s Neverending Story, or C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia? Of course, the non-fiction (or otherwise) books hanging around my family’s library room intrigued me as well such as Unexplained Phenomenon, Pyramid Power, Edgar Cayce, and The Seth Material. A good flip through of Ayn Rand’s Anthem or Atlas Shrugged was offset by an in-depth analysis of The Perks of Being A Wallflower, George Orwell’s 1984, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and even Emerson’s The Invisible Man. I read everything, and there are a number of books that have helped me, such as David Burns’ Feeling Good, Depressed & Anxious, Helmstetter’s What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, and of course the works of Albert Ellis and Victor Frankl. I also enjoyed reading through the entire Seth book series by Jane Roberts in recent years. This is all on top of the fun I have poring over thousand page technical manuals regarding the latest programming language or technology, ah Python and your snakey ways. Recently I’ve expanded my horizons to include manga of all varieties and walks of life, with my first manga being the Orange series by Ichigo Takano. I revealed my new found love for manga to a new friend I made at the same time who is more familiar with fandom and as I described to her the time travel high school love plot she said, “You picked that for your first manga!?” Now I’m reading anything that sparks a mild interest, from Shuzo Oshimi’s The Flowers of Evil to Hidenori Kusaka’s Pokemon Adventures, Leiji’s Captain Harlock, Life of a Highschool Fudanshi to Fairy Tale, it’s all there baby.
What do I do? Well, in my past I’ve worked as a “security consultant,” which really translated to building livestock-grade fences up in the Rocky Mountains, I used to raise sheep and swine on a small ranch, I was an eighteen-year-old insurance agent licensed in all four major lines for a couple years, and despite not taking a single formal programming class in my life my self-didactic knowledge culminated in my short time as a professional computer programmer for a financial statement printing firm. Ever since I wanted to be Gmork from the aforementioned Neverending Story for Halloween in the eighth grade, which was my first “fursuit”, I’ve been handmaking and dressing up in larger than life animal costumes and entertaining other people (as well as myself) for free as well for monetary compensation (making me a professional furry?) Honestly, it started way before eighth grade… like I said I was born as an anthropomorphic wunk, and I’ve never really let go of that. It hasn’t always been easy, as wearing a tail twenty-four-seven to a semi-rural 3A high school every day in the nineties has its pros and cons, but I distinctly remember hearing about my mother reading about people like me, they’re called “furries” apparently, in Vanity Fair at the laundromat and exclaiming, “These sound like nice people for Asher to know.” I’m not sure how that’s really turned out in the end, but there it is. As a larger person now, I’ve dabbled in a number of different things from programming, designing computer games, writing, learning foreign languages (two semesters Spanish), website/online community administration, blogging and social media management, inventing, drawing (three semesters), and generally finding myself in everything I see. I think it’d be neat to learn more about hardware, build robots and human augmentations, dabble some in artificial intelligence, the electric guitar and music composition (I play classical piano), and more, cause the journey never stops till you die.
My days, as an internet meme once spoke to my heart (I know), and as I explained recently to one of my few non-local visiting friends, are filled with no plans just “coffee and strangeness.” That’s not entirely true, as I’m learning and applying myself to have more of a daily plan/routine, but that’s a pretty good sum up for my entire life. Every day I self-study Japanese, programming, crafting/making, read books/manga, listen to music, drink a lot of coffee, dream lonely daydreams of bright futures where I am finally my original true form, are financially free, and have lots of friends (do you wonder why I have so much free time?) and above all I write about all of it.
I have actually “done” a few things, the most lasting of which are my programming projects. My favorite programming language is actually PHP really, though it gets a terribly bad rap from the mountains of badly written legacy code, and in that vein, I do actually have one Packagist package out there called Phabstractic (also listed elsewhere on this site). It re-implements some things that PHP has native implementations for, such as SplObjectStorage (what I called a map) or doubly-linked lists, but it also adds some interesting constructs such as object encapsulated predicate logic for types management, sets, self-sorting lists, and a full-featured autoloader that can be custom configured (but supports PSR out of the box). Its redundancy is okay because I pretty much ultimately wrote it as a programming exercise.
I’ve constructed a number of fursuits, as they are called, in my years here in the 21st century. Fursuits are the slang term for basically larger-than-life-size anthropomorphic animal costumes that you can wear on your whole body, or partially covering parts of your body (they call that a “partial”). I’ve been designing, constructing, and wearing fursuits since I was in eighth grade, as previously written. My first fursuit was a throw-away Halloween costume for Gmork, the werewolf from The Neverending Story, and from there I made one with a moving jaw and terminator like sunglass eyes. Then, I decided I’d go to one of these furry convention things I was hearing so much about, and as part of the experience, I built Willy the Red Husky. I dusted off Willy after many years in storage and decided to wear him around all my local cities and towns while filming almost a hundred YouTube videos cataloging my interactions and travels. From Willy, I also developed Copper the Cop Dog (playlist), and even Larry the Lab Rat (playlist), and now I fursuit as Isaac Homebrew the Engineer Raccoon (playlist). All of these fursuits were built by me, no commissions, and unfortunately, I don’t take commissions currently, so I’m a bit biased and proud of the life they’ve been able to take on. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a furry convention, I only ever went to that one and it was… an experience that I don’t know if I’d like to repeat. These days I’m constructing a new fursuit, but it’s a slow process and I’m taking it baby steps at a time.
Speaking of YouTube, I like to play video games at times. It’s really a shame because I want to experience and catalog all the games, but I get so busy at times playing the retro classics (when I make time to play them at all) that I don’t play the new ones! I have a large video game library and even have my original Nintendo Entertainment System console (though, unfortunately it doesn’t work). I get so busy writing, and working on whatever project I have on the top of my head, I forget to do my second ever passion: play video games! (Programming is the first passion I ever experienced.) These days I stream my game playing on Twitch when I do play, then I download and catalog these sessions on my YouTube channel. Currently, I don’t talk during my videos, it’s pure unadulterated game footage straight up, but this may change in the future (perhaps… when I make my next fursuit?) My favorite video game of all time has to be Final Fantasy 6 for the Super Nintendo as released in North America. That’s the first game that really showed me what a good JRPG could be. My second choice, if I had to pick, would be Chrono Trigger of course. What can I say, I’m a JRPG nut (I actually kind of am really). It was the gateway drug to the manga cough. Anyways, if you’re interested in retro gaming with various titles (for example, my series on Clock Tower) you might check out my YouTube user channel.
But Asher, this is all interesting and everything, but what are you doing now? I actually have trouble answering this question in the inevitable small talk, but, I’ll try. I’m currently applying myself to work on a number of projects, including helping my mother leverage the internet for her fabric and craft store located in my hometown, my new project HowToProgramAnything.com, my husband Maus’ two blogs dedicated to his singing and art, and my brother’s future radical lifestyle blog Raising Wild Humans. I also hope to be programming PYGJS v2.0 (along with ReznorJS as written), and another project inspired by my time hacking the local library when I was a teenager, Phuxer (a PHP text-based multi-player game server). And, uh, build a fursuit, and uh, toy with hardware, and watch movies, and read manga, and study Japanese and… okay, whew, that’s a lot. As you can see I have a lot of stuff out there that my beautiful mind can choose from on a daily basis, and honestly, it’s a bit frustrating when I can’t stuff it all into the 20 hours I’m awake. (That’s where the schedule thing comes in).
Finally, we come to the end of the journey, and honestly, I feel like I’ve only revealed the visible top of the massive proverbial iceberg. But, I guess that’s why I have a blog huh? I hope you find something new and interesting here, and maybe something new and interesting in me. Either way, I had fun writing it. Thanks for reading!