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a column by Aatheus Centauri
©1999 Aatheus Centauri -- all rights reserved

Note: I admit I write this column with a decidedly equine 'taur bent, but I write about what I know. I do not wish it to seem as if I'm being prejudiced against other types of 'taurs, it's just how I write. Thank you.

Well, stallions and mares, the long days and warm nights of summer are fast fading away to mere memories: the bright summers' days we spent galloping down the beach with the young ones, the sound of their hoofbeats muffled by our own, the afternoons spent in idle wander through a wheatfield out in the country, the evenings passed with idle conversation about the day's events, the foals tucked into bed, their day done. The winter months are fast approaching, when we must bundle up to keep warm and healthy. Yep, we can no longer gallop about with only a shirt on, or in some cases, nothing at all. Certain -- attributes -- tend to get a mite cold in the winter months.

Um yes, well.. as I was saying, gotta bundle up against the cold weather. But how to go about it? A good 90% of all clothing is made with bipedal humans in mind, isn't it? This world's clothing designers simply didn't have our form in mind when they designed this year's fall/winter wardrobe. As a result, we have to improvise when it comes to keeping covered up in chilly weather. Our hides are a good protection from temperature, but may not be adequate to keep us as warm as we'd like, so it's vital to have a wardrobe prepared fur the cold seasons ahead. Let's start with the torso.

Clothing your torso shouldn't be insanely difficult, as clothing designed for a human's upper body should fit, though you're probably looking at buying all "X-Large" shirts, jackets, etc. Fur the milder climates, a light jacket and maybe a hat should do. Fur areas with severe winter, a thick long-sleeved shirt under a parka or ski jacket, with gloves and a hat will keep you toasty. Be sure the jacket is long enough to cover your withers, or consider getting a chest warmer, designed fur horses originally, it helps warm the junction point of torso and barrel (lower body), as well as your equine chest.

As to your barrel, keeping it warm is a must, as the vitals are located down there. Find a good-sized wool blanket that you can wrap around your midsection at least twice and have it stay in place. Drape it over your lower body, making sure that your rear is protected from the wind. To protect your hooves and legs, a set of "horse boots" will be a good addition to your wardrobe. Isn't it wonderfully degrading to have to use all this stuff that was designed fur horses originally? As if the "centaurs are animals" misconception wasn't strong enough. There are many types of boots available, but most are designed fur racing or horse shows. The kind you should look fur is the completely enclosed, waterproof rubber variety. They will keep your hooves clean, dry and free of ice and snow, as well as providing additional traction while you gallop. Most people recommend against going out in weather where you're likely to damage yourself by slipping in ice or snow, as a broken leg or -- worse -- a twisted spine will take a long time to heal, and may not heal completely. So much fur romping through fields or galloping down the beach in the spring, neh?

What else? Oh yes, I would strongly suggest you avoid doing a 'Bambi' maneuver on the nearby frozen pond. What do I mean by that? Well, fur those lucky souls who've never seen the supercute Disney movie "Bambi," there's this one horridly cute scene where the young fawn Bambi is watching the young rabbit Thumper slide about on a frozen pond, having the time of his life. So, naturally the fawn decides to try it too, as it looks so fun. I almost feel sorry fur him when he makes it onto the pond and his hooves, which aren't the best of feet fur walking on slippery things, especially slippery, cold hard things, slip out from under him and he lands hard on the ice, knocking all the air out of his lungs. It's so tragically sad each time he does that. I laugh sometimes. Anyhoove, back to my point, which is to avoid walking on ice. Our hooves are just not made fur the task. Our hooves evolved to their present shape to facilitate galloping over long stretches of flat, grassy land. If you need any additional incentive to avoid frozen ponds, just ask Chiron about what it feels like to 'do a Bambi'. Sorry Chiron, please no kill?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Okay Aatheus, now I'm all prepared fur the cold months, got all my gear purchased and sitting in my closet, which has grown exponentially since I started reading your column. But tell me, aside from worrying about breaking part of my body or dying from the cold, is there something else that I can do to occupy my time during the cold months?"

Sure! Of course there is! Tons of things! A great assortment of fun-a-licious superneato things you can do!

"Like what?" you're wondering.



Okay, I got it! You can MUCK!

"I can MUCK?? Are you making comments about my personal hygiene?"

Please... you're shouting at me and your face shows that you've been offended. Purrhaps I should explain. Fur those of you that don't know horse care lingo, cleaning a horse's stall to remove droppings and old bedding material is called "mucking out". My guess is that you, the reader, have taken offense on the assumption that I'm comparing them to a horse, implying they have no control over relieving themselves.

What a horrid thought! And far from the truth. That's not what I meant at all. What I mean by MUCKing is to participate in online role-playing in an environment called a Multi-User Creative Kingdom, or MUCK fur short. "To MUCK" is slang fur doing stuff on a MUCK server.

"Ah, okay, you had me a bit miffed there!"

Yes, MUCKs provide good, easily-accessible environments fur people who want to get out of Real Life™ and take on the personality and actions of something else, be it human, anthropomorphic, therianthropic or something else (we 'taurs are therianthropic, a combination of human attributes and non-human attributes). You can and do meet lots of friendly folk on MUCKs, sometimes developing friendships with people online that are stronger then the friendships you have with your Real Life™ friends.

MUCKs aren't all bright, fun-and-games though. There is a sort of 'dark side', considering what your outlook is. I hesitate to bring the subject up, as a lot of disagreement has sprouted up over it, being the cause of some pretty absurd legislation to be submitted to the House of Misrepresentatives. I'm talking about spooge. Cybersex. Folk yiffing each other in public areas where the shocked onlookers can only stand and witness the often very lengthy and precise descriptions of what is going on. Fur the most part, 99.98674824384% of the time to be approximate, these folk have the common courtesy to carry on such activities in private parts of the MUCK where nofur else is forced to witness their activities. I applaud these people, not fur what they are doing but fur the fact that they respect the right of others who do not wish to witness what they are doing. I personally am repelled by things of sexual nature, I don't engage in such roleplaying, but I fully support 100% the right of these considerate furs to continue doing what they do. What I don't support is those furs who, taking no consideration in the wants of anyfur else present, engage in yiffy behavior that is not wanted, quite often in earshot of persons "under the age" of adulthood in their countries. Even if all present in the same room as the yiffers are all adults, nofur should be forced against their will to witness sexual behavior.

Whoo, where'd that rant come from?

"Your poisonous cesspool of a subconscious?"

Most likely, yes -- and wipe that smile off your face. A lot of what I do is influenced by my subconscious, as well as the other parts of my brain I usually don't use, like a large portion of my right brain. According to the right brain-left brain profiles, I'm very left-brained. I am quite good in math, I remember abstract concepts like formulae and chemical symbols easily. I can type in a 70 character URL from memory without having to look at it written down. Unfortunately, as a result my creative works usually lag behind my logistic skills.

"Your creative skills aren't so bad! You're writing this column, after all! Your right brain can't be all that far gone..."

Well yeah, suppose you're right, and thanks for the ego boost. After all, I am having an animated conversation with sometaur from my imagination.

"Right! I may be a figment of your imagination, but a figment with character, buddy!"

Right on, Figment! Mind if I call you that?

"Not at all, Aatheus! Um, do you think the readers have noticed by now?"

Noticed what?

"That this is all filler?"

You're right, I think they have. I bettaur bit you adieu fur now. C Ya Figment!

"G'bye Aatheus, nice talking with ya!"

Ah, what a nice taur that Figment is. A good conversationalist, quite witty too. The model hypothetical reader...

Hmm, what? Oh, right, furgot where I was fur a moment. Er, bettaur wrap this puppy up, neh? Three pages is a bit long fur a column. I guess I'll wrap up by saying I hope my writings interested you and maybe made you laugh a few times. I'd like to thank Crissa fur the great advice she gave me on a 'taur's wardrobe. Thanks girl!

If you like what I write, I ask you to please give me a buzz at aatheus@redshift.com. I hope to realize the dream of every columnist: to have a literate fanbase! Grin.

Signing off till next time,
This is your Stallion on the Street, Aatheus Centauri
Columnist Centaur at Large >:-)

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