The Question of Content

The muse for this post was this Veritasium video – I started to share/ comment on Facebook, but quickly realized I was writing a small novel.

While I certainly don’t have the kind of subscriber or viewer numbers to really matter at this point anyway (and the shift in my time and attentions once grad school started slumped down what numbers I did have as I simply wasn’t making anything at that point), but this is something I have been seeing as well: The rise in time-sensitive video topics and click bait.
 
I haven’t posted anything myself in some months – either here or on Youtube. I’ve been working on some doll unboxing videos here and there since the start of the year, nothing to upload yet, just a number of them in various states of completion. And I have been hesitant to post what I have done, as many of those videos would now be considered “old news”.
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The Moana doll that I got for Christmas? I haven’t even seen her for sale for over a month. Those Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice collector dolls from Mattel were only big right after that movie came out. Is it even worth the time at this point to finish editing the unboxing of the Batman doll I got? The big thing in the doll-world at this moment is the new Ken dolls. My most viewed blog post was from Feb 2016 when I wrote that comparison between all the new Barbies and Lammily. I’ve considered doing a companion for these new guys, but I would need to go buy the short Ken and there are already dozens of other blogs and videos at this point. So is it worth it? And even if I could manage to stay on top of every new release and quickly turn out new content for every new hot item, I certainly don’t have the income to buy every hot doll that comes out the moment it comes out. I really need to re-assess what kind of content I’m creating.
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Readership has been steadily decreasing – I deeply appreciate those of you who stick around despite the periods of lull. 

Although the Spring semester ended nearly 2 months ago, I’ve not yet produced what I had hoped to. I’ve taken some of that time to just relax and allow myself to de-stress rather than quickly switch gears and just keep pushing myself. It’s been worth it. My creativity has started to flow again. I have ideas again. That urge to make things has come back — If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen some of these results. (Sorry, Twitter people, I always mean to post there as well, I just don’t always remember).
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I made this little bodhran and tipper just the other day.

I have roughly another month and a half left before the Fall semester begins. Let’s see what I can churn out in that time.
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Still Alive!

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Thought I’d pop on here and write another check-in sort of post as I have been MIA for some months (Yay Grad School!). My blog, my Youtube channel, my Twitter, and my Facebook page all seem to have gone dark recently while I’ve been scrambling to stay afloat this semester. I’ve still been posting to my personal Facebook, though – and I had started to write another post there when it occurred to me that perhaps I can just start posting some of those things here instead. Sound good? Ok!

List of Things I Want to Eventually Do (But Currently Don’t Have Time For):

  1. Make more doll clothes – I have all of these ideas in my head of epic outfits I want to make! So much 1/6 scale Cosplay in my mind!
  2. Learn Turkish – Ok, so I actually started learning some Turkish last summer via Skype lessons with Mehmet Seyhan (I encourage you to check out his Youtube channel. He teaches both Turkish and Japanese). Unfortunately, I was unable to stick with the Skype lessons because of the demands of grad school and have lost part of what I did learn…
  3. Learn how to play the spoons – Have you ever heard anyone play the spoons? This is just cool.
  4. Get back into fiddle – I actually started playing the fiddle 11 years ago, inspired by the fiddler for a local Celtic band I was enthralled with in undergrad. I wasn’t the greatest at it, but one can only get better with practice. I haven’t touched it in years.
  5. Learn Irish – I’ve been enthralled with Gaeilge since I was in 7th grade. However, I never had many resources for learning it until recent years and no one to really practice with.
  6. Learn Irish Dancing – Another thing I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. But I lived in a small midwestern town where there weren’t many outlets for it and the couple there were, I wasn’t even aware of until I was in undergrad. And now I am much too old for any of the schools I have access to.
  7. Return to Aikido – I started studying Aikido when I was 17. (This is where the “aiki” in my Twitter handle aikifox85 and bookstore AikiFox Books comes from) I was passionate and very involved for a number of years. And then I moved to Champaign 11 years ago when I transferred from community college to the University of Illinois in undergrad and no longer had the time and money to continue. Or rather, I prioritized other things.
  8. Learn Hindi – I know a handful of words and a few sentences that I’ve picked up from movies and from Indian friends over the years. I started trying to teach myself around the same time I started this blog, actually. As is a common theme for me, I got distracted with other things. I still have the books, though.
  9. Make a quilt for myself – I made that Batman quilt for my brother some years ago, which he still has and sleeps with regularly, but have not made another quilt since. And I never *did* manage to go anywhere with the Nataraja quilt idea I had…
  10. Travel – So many places I want to visit! I want to go to India, Turkey, and Ireland most. I want to see Canada, especially Nova Scotia. I want to visit places here in the US as well that I have never seen. Fun Fact: Prior to meeting my boyfriend, I had actually started the paperwork to join the Peace Corps. For better or worse, I chose to stay and invest my time and energy into exploring and then building that relationship. I still feel that pull to venture outward, though.

There are so many wonderful and exciting things in this life, so much to do, to see, to learn – more than can be experienced in a single lifetime. And this is leaving aside the fact that in many cases time and/ or money are luxuries people do not have. And now, back to homework – in the hopes that someday I will have the time and the money in which to do all of these things.

The Struggle Is Real

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Homework keeps me away from blogging for long stretches of time, and so the traffic dwindles. Looking at that bigger picture, though: My MSW.

Oh, do I long for the days when I was complaining about what I thought was a lack of time. Nary did I realize just how much I could push myself to do in short spans of time. Grad school does not screw around. I’d been out of college for 7 years – there are parts of my brain I’ve had to drown in WD-40.

One of the myriad assignments I’m working on this weekend, is a policy brief for the school’s blog site. Yeah, I’m about to get graded on blogging. And, for better or worse, I’m putting my name on it and planning to link back here. I figure any prospective employer or future client can easily find my blog through a cursory googling of my name, so I may as well just go for the cross traffic.

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Although, I am competing with a doctor in Texas for relevancy.

Afterall, I’ve been watching my stats steadily decrease as this page has fallen to the bottom of the priority list since entering grad school. So, Hello newcomers, those trying to decide whether or not to employ me, and random stalkers! Welcome! 😀

As I was saying, I’m trying to put together something decent for this blog assignment. Of course, it made me think of my own poor neglected blog. And so…

I’ve missed you, Blog. I can just be myself with you. You never care about what I’m wearing or how I look – Video always demands that I look my best and then he makes me feel bad because I’m not as conventionally attractive as other Youtubers. He doesn’t listen to me quite the same way. He never wants to just lay in bed and relax in peaceful contemplation together. But, I have to admit that I’ve been seduced by Video. He’s flashy, charismatic, and is quite popular. Can you blame me?
You see, Blog, as much as I love you, there is no way you can ever meet all of my needs, just as Video can never meet all of my needs… I love you both, I…

Ok, that might be the line on literary personification. I don’t see any way going forward with that wouldn’t get creepy. Anyhoo — If you follow this blog, I do recommend checking out the Youtube channel as well. I don’t always link all my videos here, and there have been quite a few. Here is a bit of what you’ve been missing:

-I recently made one of those sped-up coloring videos. The time it took for all the video to render was ridiculous.

-I also managed to pick up one of the 50th Anniversary Star Trek collector Barbies…

A Transition and A Shameless Plug

     A couple of fairly significant changes have taken place over the last few weeks. 10 days ago I officially started Graduate School. I knew this was coming, I’ve done my best to ready myself for entering into full time school again after getting my BA 7 years ago, but I am admittedly still scrambling a bit. My first paper was due yesterday morning and I only managed to finish it 8 minutes before class started. (I may recycle some of my homework here if I ever find myself in need of subject matter >:)  )
I also handed in my resignation letter and left the full time job I’d had for 3 years on the same day. I had intended on continuing to work full time, but, about a week and a half before my (former) co-workers and I were all handed letters saying that the shelter would be closing and we were to be reassigned within the agency. I chose to leave rather than chance jeopardizing school with an uncertain but likely fluctuating schedule.  I am a day-walker once more.

     Fortunately I was eligible for student loans, so as long as I stick to a budget, I will be able to survive. However, being loans, I will have to pay them back eventually. I don’t even want to do the math on what my student loan debt is going to be when I’ve finished this program. Why is higher education in the United States so damn expensive?
Thankfully, I’m still generating some kind of income from my gig with Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners. The downside however, is that I can’t budget it as there is no way of knowing how many books I will sell from one month to the next. So, if you’re reading this, whether you’re a regular reader or someone that happened across this one post, consider buying a book from my Amazon store, AikiFox Books, and helping to support both myself and this pretty cool non-profit. Especially now since this is now my primary income source. I’m not trying to guilt trip you or anything (totally a guilt trip)  😉

And for all of you that haven’t followed me on Youtube yet (what are you even waiting for? Go subscribe to me, damnit!) here is a video from earlier in the month (perhaps a week before finding out about the shelter closing) that shows you what is pretty much a typical night at B2P:

I’ve Been Nominated for a Liebster Award

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I’ve been nominated for a Liebster award by Chrissy, of the blog Kicky Resin.  This is officially the first blog award I’ve been given, so, Thanks!

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who presented you the award and link back to their blog.
  2. Post the award image on your blog.
  3. Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter.
  4. Nominate 5-11 blogs with less than 200 followers.
  5. Create 11 questions for the nominees to answer.
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Inform the people you chose of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog and link them your post.

Chrissy’s Questions

Chrissy divided her questions for me up into two segments – general questions and doll specific questions. I’ll answer the general questions first:

1)What drives you to write/create?

I think part of it has been the influence of my parents. My mother had always wanted to be an author and she used to write this really wonderful poetry. I started writing stories when I was a small child and would always have her read them. My father was the artist. I remember, when I was very young, he would sit at the table almost every evening working on this elaborate pencil drawing of a semi-naked butterfly woman sitting atop a chunk of space rock. I came by my creativity and over-active imagination naturally. If I’m not creating something (art, craft, writing, etc) I get very bored.

2)How do you “prepare” for a writing session? (Do you have snacks, a favorite drink, certain time, place, etc?)

I need to be alone to write most of the time. I like for it to be quiet so I can focus. I also need to sit upright and be comfortable.

3)If you could time travel, would you travel to the past or the future?

That depends. Is it a one-way trip? How am I traveling – can I go by way of Tardis? If I go back in time, am I allowed to interact with people without fear of disrupting a timeline? I’d like to either go back and interact with my late grandfather or go forward to learn what my personal future looks like on my current trajectory so I can make decisions accordingly.

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The ONLY way to travel through time

4)What is your spirit animal and why do you identify with that animal? ~Or~ What is your favorite animal and why?

I’ve always been very fond of foxes. Red foxes in particular. I’ve always been drawn to their wit and cunning.

5)Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I honestly have no idea. It depends on what direction my life takes. In one vision I have for myself, I’d like to be married with a house and have adopted a kid. In another I have no tethers and am living as an ex-patriot somewhere in Turkey or India. Right now I’m waiting to see whether I get accepted into grad school. If I do, I’m much more likely to follow the first path. If I don’t, then I have higher odds of following the second. Both scenarios are pretty equally appealing to me.

6)Would you rather go to Hogwarts or go on an adventure with Gandalf?

Neither? I don’t really follow either fandom. I’d much rather join Starfleet.

7)Do you prefer to own books or go to the library?

Both, haha. There is no way I could own all the books that I want. Though, I do like having an impressive book collection. Libraries are nice, though, because I don’t have to spend any money.

8)Would you like to be famous?  If so, what for?  If not, why not?

I think I would. That was always a goal when I was a kid – to be a star. I’d just rather be famous for something positive.

9)Have you ever made a dream of yours come true?

Kind of. When I was 5 I wanted to be an archaeologist. When I was in college I majored in anthropology and did get the chance to spend time on a dig in Belize. Also, I’d always had a thing for teachers when I was in school – almost always had a crush on at least one teacher from the time I was 12. I’ve been dating a teacher for almost 5 years now – he teaches 7th grade history.

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10)What are three things that you can’t live without?

Air, Water, Food

11)What message do you want to impart to your readers?

I’m not sure what my message is, but please note that the message will self-destruct.

Now the doll questions:

1)How did you get into the hobby?

Lammily. As I have stated in this blog multiple times before, Lammily is my gateway drug. I am partial to her and will continue to champion her.

2)How many dolls do you have or plan to have?

I currently have 30 dolls that are in-tact. I have a couple at various stages of being re-worked and a box of heads and bodies that I keep meaning to re-sell on eBay for OOAK projects.

3)What is your dream/grail doll?

A doll that has the realistic proportions the way Lammily does but has the range of motion these new Made-to-Move Barbies have.

4)Is there a feature of a doll that will always win you over?

Something different. I like diversity and progressiveness in my dolls. Lammily and Mixis are my favorite companies. I’d also like to have the whole collection of Hearts for Hearts dolls and the Angelica doll.

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These girls are just too friggin’ adorable!

5)Do your dolls have their own personalities, stories, or universe?

Of Course! This is one of my favorite things about the dolls! I enjoy creating personalities and back stories for them. I’m actually in the process of working out the particulars of the Doll-verse and the relationship between the Doll-verse (where dolls of all types reside, everything is in various doll scales, and there are no humans) and our own universe (where dolls are toys and are much smaller compared to humans).

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6)Do you prefer to buy things or make things for your dolls?

Both. I’d rather make things myself, but I don’t always have the time. And sometimes I’m lazy. Or I see some really fantastic handmade work by others on Etsy.

7)Do you have a favorite brand or company for dolls, clothes, wigs, shoes, etc?

I think I already mentioned Lammily and Mixis. After that, I prefer handmade goods for my dolls when I can get them from Etsy. Although, there are some Hot Toys clothes and dolls I covet but can’t justify paying for.

8)What is your favorite size of doll?

1/6 scale. I also prefer the dolls with average proportioned heads as opposed to the giant cartoonish doll heads. I like my dolls to be like miniature people 🙂

9)Do you have a favorite doll in your collection?

I have two that are really tied for favorite – my Lammily doll, Morrigan, and my Mixis doll, Mitsuko (named Emerald by the company).

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The beginning of what has become an amazing friendship…

10)What is more important, aesthetics or pose-ability? Or something else?

If the dolly can’t move around, I have almost no use for the dolly. The better the articulation and range of motion, the happier I am.

11)Where do you keep your dolls?

Currently, the boyfriend and I have a second bedroom that is being used as a craft room/ comic book storage room. Most of my dolls stay in there. But, there are always a few scattered about the apartment and usually one or two in my backpack that I carry with me in case of photo opportunities or to show to people.

My Nominees

Please note that you do not have to do this if you don’t want to!

Be sure to let me know that you answered my questions by leaving a comment and a link!

My Questions

I think Chrissy’s round of questions were pretty good. So, I think I’m going to keep most of those and change just a few of them.

  1. What drives you to write/create?
  2. Describe your writing process.
  3. What got you into your hobby (art, dolls, writing, etc)?
  4. If you could time travel, would you travel to the past or the future?
  5. Who inspires you and why?
  6. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  7. Have you formally studied writing in any capacity – journalism, creative writing, etc?
  8. Do you prefer to own books or go to the library?
  9. Would you like to be famous?  If so, what for?  If not, why not?
  10. Have you ever made a dream of yours come true?
  11. Do you feel it is important to read works from people with different perspectives from your own? Why or Why Not?
  12. What message do you want to impart to your readers?

 

I Made It!

Day 30! w00000t!
Excuse me while I happy dance…

I have no plans to blog tomorrow. Or the day after. BUT, moving forward my goal is to have something for you at least once a week. And my first focus is going to be getting you all Part 3 of my recent dolly story because I know that’s what you want – and it’s what I want to give you.

Goodbye, GIV Mobile

In May of 2015 I made the switch to a little known cell phone carrier called GIV Mobile. It was kind of a pain to switch over from ATT, but I was happy once I was able to get it done.

Now, less than a year later, I am receiving notification that they are being discontinued. At the end of the month. As in, I have 1 business week to shop around and find a new service provider and figure out how they’re going to handle the funds I had already pre-paid for the next couple of months of service.

Thanks for the heads up and giving me plenty of time to get things figured out 😦

Read More about the shutdown Here