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Wolfie Rankin (born 1965), is a werewolf (therianthrope) DJ from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is usually called Wolfie!, having used that name as early as 1986, and had been formerly known for his activities on the Second Life simulation, but there's a lot more to his story.
The Radio Wolf
After leaving High School in 1985, Wolfie briefly studied at The School of Audio Engineering in St. Kilda, Victoria. although that was a slight error as He wanted to be in radio, but did take some knowledge from there which came in handy later.
"The Radio Works", A School for Radio Announcers, in South Melbourne, was the next port of call, where he studied the basics of working as a DJ.
Upon leaving, He joined a community radio station in Melton, Victoria called 3 RIM-FM (Now known as 979FM) Where he presented a music program called "Something Wild" twice a week which consisted of 80's music (it was the 80s). and He also wrote and produced various recorded work for the station.
He continued for three years until illness overtook him and he had to quit in 1989.
"When I started radio, I was full of enthusiasm, I loved Kenny Everett a British DJ, and wanted to emulate him, but after about two years of radio I found that my energy was sliding and I wasn't sure why. I remember one listener ringing and asking if I took drugs, I hadn't... I had also noticed stomach cramps and nausea with the lethargy. One day I had an argument with the boss, and just quit there and then... but it wasn't the stations fault, or the fault of my boss, something was wrong with my health. But I really couldn't see that I was that bad at the time."
Life in the slow lane
As He slowly recovered, Wolfie began to feel the need to do something new.
He had always been interested in herbs and natural medicine, so joined the Australian Shiatsu College in Fitzroy, This was mostly taken up because he needed something slow and quiet to do.
Wolfie calls that stage of his life, his "new age, crystal wearing hippy days" which was around 1995.
He had embraced Yoga and meditation, and messed around with American Indian philosophy, He felt it helped bring him out of his shell a little more, especially as bodies had to be touched directly and for quite some time.
Wolfie had been bullied badly at school and had become very introverted as a result, but Radio and Shiatsu had helped him a lot, The Internet would also go a long way in allowing him to open up and talk to people.
Wolfie does not see natural medicine as a genuine treatment for anything, however admits that the Yoga, Meditation and physical contact (Including practice massage by other students on his own body) had helped a lot, and in some ways he was healthier for it.
Logo and Character
The original sketch was drawn by Wolfie in 1989, in black biro, and Wolfie still has the original picture. It was then released to the public on the internet.
Furry artist Poop did a quick sketch of it in 2003 and the image was cleaned up by Second Life artist Quadrapop Lane in 2007.
Although Wolfie says his inner wolf is brown even though the logo is of a white wolf, This is because the brown one always looked too dark on screen, so Wolfie remains white.
Fearsome Beast of Legend
Wolfie is a Werewolf, However there's no curse, no wars with Vampires, no changing shape under the moonlight.
"None of the old Werewolf legends or stories mentioned anything about moonlight, that was something dreamt up for "The Wolfman" (Original) and has persisted ever since."
Wolfie feels the most accurate film about Werewolves, is Teen Wolf, The Michael J Fox Movie.
"Here's a fellow who suddenly finds that he's different to others, that's all it is, but it's beautiful. I think it's a shame that people feel the need to ruin a story with violence, for shock value. Can't a werewolf be kind, warm, friendly or sexy?"
Real Werewolves, according to Wolfie, are not offended by Hollywoods distortion of the facts, and still enjoy a good Werewolf story, However the movies would all be filed under "Comedy".
Wolfie is not the least bit aggressive and often suggests that he's far too domestic to go hunting.
"I don't like raw meat, I'd rather cook a nice chicken pie and share some of it with my dog."
However he likes to put on an act by suggesting he "eats babies" and takes part in various revolting activities like rolling in dead things or licking up his own vomit, if only for a chuckle.
Wolfie's nature is gentle, fun loving and protective... and friends suggest he has a little coyote thrown in for good measure (The Prankster).
Wolfie thinks the wolf gene was from his Dads side, but nobody knows for sure.
Although having been persuaded by others to use Second Life, Wolfie! was not interested until he saw an episode about the subject on the science/technology journal Beyond Tomorrow, screened on Australia's Channel Seven. The episode was interesting as it even showed furries in Secondlife having a passionate kiss in public.
It was almost impossible to join Second Life that night, as so many Australians were logging in for the very first time. Help Island was "popping out" about three avatars a second. Once Wolfie managed to enter Second Life, He found he could not get off Help Island as the second help island was full, and getting to the mainland was impossible unless someone in-world teleported him there. This eventually happened when Glenny (an American friend who Wolfie had met via a Harry Potter Yahoogroup a couple of years earlier) teleported him to an Elven area within SL, and Wolfie lived there for a week or so, sleeping in the bushes, as he had no land at the time.
Wolfie's first avatar was the basic human who wore tie-dyed pants and got no respect from anyone.
His first real avatar was a free white Secondlife wolf given to Wolfie by Patch Fuhr
Wolfie's usual Second Life avatar is usually a gold "Werehouse" wolf or a "Werehouse werewolf".
When Second life began to use sculpties and talking jaws, Wolfie upgraded to a "fox coloured" Instinct Wolf... although that didn't really last.
Eragon and Wolfie's pub
When Ryu joined Second Life, Ryu was so enthusiastic about it that he planned to buy an Island. Although Wolfie tried to disuade him, Ryu ultimately bought Eragon. (He named it after the books
After Eragon was created, Wolfie was invited to Share it with Ryu, The offer was extended to Kath McGill also.
After weeks of trying to decide what to do, Wolfie came up with the idea for the Kookaburra Pub. Which would sit "in the old gum tree". As in the song,
The original plan was to buy a pre-fabricated building from Caledon, but then Ryu decided to try his hand at building. After looking at some photos of Aussie pubs on Flickr, Ryu constructed the pub and the Bar. Wolfie did not consider himself a builder, and therefore didn't contribute much to the building.
Surprisingly, Ryu offered his hand to Kath, first in Second Life and then in Real Life, She accepted both times, and the two then went to Australia on their Honeymoon to stay with Wolfie!.
One night, Jaggpro McCann visited Wolfie and asked if he would like to have him play at the Pub. Wolfie agreed to that and wanted to let others know this would be happening.
Lowell Cremone suggested that an advertisement be placed on his forum, Metaverse Journal, and it was here that Wolfie discovered that Abi Goldflake was trying to get ABC Island up and running in Second Life.
After getting ABC Island set up, Abi asked Franko, Lowell and Wolfie to join her on the new island. The Island was left open and Wolfie took some advantage of this, inviting friends over for a mock takeover while he wore a vest with the Union Jack emblazoned on it. He also took several risque photos of himself as Dr. Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Show.
Soon after, the Island was closed and built on by Gary Hazlitt, who had also built Big Pond for Telstra. On the opening day, there was a big party and during that week Abi chose her first ABC Friends Administrators. Wolfie Rankin was chosen, along with Diag Anzac, Lowell Cremone, Evangeline Wind, Esmeralda Vernon, Rails Bailey, and Skribe Forti.
ABC Island is notable in that although it is a "commercial sim", it is furry friendly, and quite a few of the ABC Friends Admin are furries themselves. This is hardly surprising since the ABC are highly supportive of cultural diversity.
- Main article: Rockit
Wolfie saw potential in ABC Island having live programs just like they do on their TV and Radio networks.
However, Wolfie was against pre-programmed questions, feeling that if everything on Second Life was pre-programmed then you may as well simply just have a webpage, so Rockit was to be a live program, hosted weekly.
The show is run like several ABC gameshows, where people play for fun but don't win anything as they are extra-low-budget productions, and this also convinced Wolfie that such a show would work, providing it was entertaining enough.
Although Rockit was popular, it was difficult to produce, often taking days to write questions, now most people in Second Life don't watch television, wishing to remain in world and do whatever they do, Wolfie was no exception, but it was also difficult to draw players to the show, Rockit was wrapped up for good (partially due to an accident which damaged Wolfies hearing in 2009).
Leaving Second Life
Increasingly Wolfie was of the opinion that Second Life had nothing more to offer, He felt that although it had potential, convincing others to try it proved to be difficult.
Not everyone wanted to try it, or could try it, feeling that it was simply a game rather than a social network, or their computers were too slow, or their internet was not capable of providing a fast enough connection. It wasn't the easiest thing to use either, some who were not computer savvy found it too hard to use.
"Eragon" which had been Wolfies home in Second life, had been sold off by it's owners due to the expense of running it.
"I always felt more like a people person, a helper, and I was happy to do that, and at first I did a lot of that and really enjoyed it, but as the shine wore off Second Life, there were much fewer opportunities to do that.
I began to feel that people went to Second Life to hide, People in SL lived in a kind of bubble, and were not always aware of particular news happening outside, While Twitter was generally right on the ball, often breaking news before it happened.
I could wait for an hour to talk to someone on SL, while Twitter was sometimes hard to keep up with. I was a broadcaster by nature and Twitter was full of media people, that was where I should have been, so I left SL"
The Documentary is available to buy directly from December Films.
As an additional furry connection, the company Shelley's sister works for created the Orangina commercial with the dancing furries which can be seen on YouTube.
Wolfie is seen briefly in the new Rachel Ward movie "Beautiful Kate" Which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2009. The movie stars Bryan Brown, Rachel Griffiths, Ben Mendelsohn, Maeve Dermody and Sophie Lowe. The film was released, to a wider audience, in Australia, in August 2009.
"They wanted Rachels character to use Second Life in the evenings, as she was alone in the bush, looking after a sick Dad, and had no way to socialise. A dance scene had been set up on a Second Life island, and the scene was filmed... if you squint, you can just make out my character. I heard on the grapevine that Rachel Ward said that my character was cute. I was paid $20 for the twenty seconds which I was on screen for, which you have to admit, is bloody good money. Alas my real name appeared in the credits and nobody knew that it was me."
In 2005, Wolfie had just lost his first Alaskan Malamute to cancer, and just two weeks later had noticed blood loss while in the toilet.
An examination revealed that he had bowel cancer, and an operation to remove the tumour was quickly arranged at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. this was followed up by months of chemotherapy and radiation which made him terribly sick.
Wolfie can be seen having a cat scan in the documentary "Alter Ego"
"My Mother had been looking after me while I was at home, I could barely eat because the chemo had affected my sense of taste, it was like someone had mixed tobacco, gym socks and batter acid together and stuffed it in my mouth. The taste would last most of the week and would generally pass before saturday, which was when I could eat something fairly solid... but would then return on the sunday and just be about clear by wednesday when I'd get another dose... One day I woke up and was just watching from my bed as Mum walked past over and over, which I felt was really strange, and Then I asked her what she was doing, and she spoke quietly "I thought you were dead"... It was a horrible year for me and I'm extremely sympathetic towards anyone who has to deal with it."
Wolfie had been left with an ileostomy (similar to a colostomy) a bag for collecting waste, and although it should have been there for about three months, it remained for five years. This was because Wolfie had been too sick to be operated on, and then had had enough of hospitals, so simply decided to keep things as they were.
But as the bags tended to leak at the worst time, Wolfie decided to have the operation in 2010, and now functions almost as good as before.
Wolfie lost his Mother, possibly to cancer, in 2006. She died before a clear diagnosis was made.
Wolfie then lost his older Sister to Ovarian Cancer in 2010
His Dad died of cancer in 1998.
As of 2012 Wolfie is still alive and well.
Life at Home
Wolfie has always been a home body, so doesn't feel stuck at home, and is quite happy.
He makes friends all around the World via social media, and loves to meet them face to face whenever he can.
Wolfie lives with his Alaskan Malamute "Katie" (Katherine) and his cat "Vicky" (Victoria)
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