Photographer Lammily is Here!!!

After roughly a year of waiting from the time she was available for pre-order, my new photographer Lammily finally came home this weekend! It was very hard for me to not immediately take her out of the box to introduce her to the rest of the dolly family. But I was good and I waited until I had the time to film her unboxing:

Here are some close-up shots of her. I really like how her feet and hands are a lighter shade:

I’ve still not decided upon a name for her, but I like the idea that she grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. I had the pleasure of going to New Orleans in October of 2015. I really enjoyed myself there and would like to go back someday.

After filming her unboxing and taking close-ups yesterday, I introduced her to some of my other dolls. A group of them – Aideen, Mitsuko, TJ, and Morrígan (with her bağlama in hand) – took a ride out to a local park in my backpack with our newest friend. Morrígan played and sang for us while the photographer and I took a bunch of photos.

It would also seem that our new lady and TJ are pretty cozy together…

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50 Years of Influence

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In 1996, Mattel released this Barbie and Ken set to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Star Trek. These were the first dolls I remember longing for.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to see Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the show and this production was, essentially, an array of selected clips from the shows and movies projected on a giant theater screen while a live orchestra played iconic Trek music. For me, this was a very moving experience. For an idea of what this was, I’d like to share this video put together by benandbarry on Youtube (I’m very impressed by the smooth transition in editing here, this is actually multiple pieces of the production spliced together):

Star Trek was something that I grew up with. My father was a Trekkie and would always watch it, pointing out the ways in which science fiction has a habit of becoming science fact. The Next Generation (TNG) first aired in 1987, when I was only 2 years old. With the quick succession of TNG, Deep Space Nine (DS9), and Voyager, you could say I literally grew up with it. While the major drawing factor for my father was the technology, I was drawn in and deeply affected by the rich social and philosophical lessons the episodes and films had to offer. These lessons helped to guide me and shape my worldview. There were two characters in particular that I looked up to:

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Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Mr. Spock. Picard’s words of wisdom and diplomacy modeled the kind of person, the kind of leader I longed, still long to be. He was firm and fair. He took his commanding role seriously but without being power driven. He lead by example, respected order and law but did not falter in instances where that order and law worked to the detriment of the populace. In his words, “the claim ‘I was only following orders’ has been used to justify too many tragedies in our history. Starfleet doesn’t want officers who will blindly follow orders without analyzing the situation” (Redemption II, 1991). There was an excellent piece written by Alex Knapp in Forbes in 2012 that does a great job capturing the ways in which Picard was a great leader.

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Mr. Spock’s intellect, logic, and, most importantly, control over his emotions, were characteristics that I wanted for myself. During the often turbulent years of my childhood, and even during trying times of my adulthood, I would have given anything to maintain the calm and emotion-free state of a Vulcan. But Spock was not fully Vulcan, he was half Human. Because of this, there are times during which you can see him grappling with emotions that, I wager, present themselves more strongly within him than within a full Vulcan. “I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half… I survive it because my intelligence wins out over both…” (The Enemy Within, 1966).

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Halloween 1997. Seeking to emulate both of these role models as a TNG era Vulcan Captain.

With a nod to the roots of this blog, I feel I would be remiss if I neglected the wardrobe. Yes, I own an array of Star Trek tshirts (you can read a previous bit about tshirts here) and I also own a uniform inspired hoodie complete with insignia and rank pips. In the film, First Contact, Picard says to Data, “…touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way. It makes it seem more real.”  Indeed, in a similar way, wearing that uniform-hoodie does make me feel a certain connection to these characters and those traits that I admire. And is it any surprise that one of the first outfits I made for my Lammily doll was a Starfleet uniform?

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Of Life and Dollies: Updates, News, and Spoilers!

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My last post that showcased the new Barbies has gotten more views than any other post and in an incredibly short amount of time.

It’s been about a month now since my last posting. I’d actually written a rather long piece a few days back, but given its overly personal nature, I decided not to publish it. I don’t view it as a wasted effort, as the entire process was more therapeutic than anything. It needed to be written, it felt good to write it, but it just ultimately wasn’t destined to be shared. I know you understand.

I do have some updates to share with you all before I move on to new projects. Perhaps the biggest piece of news is that I have officially been accepted into grad school. It’s been a couple of weeks now, there was a big post about it on my personal Facebook, and a lot of the buzz from it has worn off since then. But it’s still pretty great news. I don’t know yet how that will affect this blog or any of my (still unfinished) projects as full-time school + a full-time job + a part-time job is already going to deplete a lot of my time. We’ll see how it goes. Classes won’t start for another three months yet, so don’t abandon me yet!

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My new desktop set-up, nicely integrated into my craft room.

My next update is that I have finally managed to get myself a new computer. After discovering there is simply no way I can utilize Pinnacle on my laptop, I pooled the collective knowledge of all my techie friends together and got myself a new desktop that I’ll be using primarily for video and photo editing. I haven’t done a whole lot with it yet beyond just playing around with the new programs and learning how they work. It is a goal to launch Youtube content this year, but I don’t yet have a predicted timeline for it. I’m hoping to have a better understanding of what I’m doing before school starts.

In project news, I’ve decided to try out another re-root. After watching one of MyFroggyStuff’s recent videos I was inspired to try this out myself.

I’d already had a few doll heads that had been removed of hair that had been sitting in a box this past year, so I opted to use of of those. I decided to test out two different yarns – a soft, worsted weight, wool-like acrylic and a cotton crochet thread. I did a sample row with four sections to try out each of these yarns in both their intact and unraveled states. 

GE  YarnHair (2)  YarnHair (11)  YarnHair (12)  YarnHair (4)  YarnHair (7)  YarnHair (9)
YarnHair (6)  YarnHair (5)

My original plans for this particular doll when I first got her from a thrift store over a year ago, was for her to be a family member for my Lammily doll, Morrigan. If you’ll recall, when I envisioned a backstory for Morrigan, I determined that she has an Irish mother and a Turkish father. My first re-root doll was originally intended to be a maternal cousin, but fate had another purpose in store for her and I have since found a different doll to fill that role (more about her in a later post). As it turns out, I’ve decided to alter the identity and 12bf7c16039941cb8f55269b03308be8relationship of this particular doll as well. (Spoilers!!!  Since the Lammily company has announced their plans for a new male doll (currently being crowdfunded and due to begin shipping out in November), and because this new male doll looks similar to his female
counterpart in the face, it makes more sense to me to have him be a brother for Morrigan. And while Morrigan does not have any romantic inclinations at the moment, that doesn’t mean her brother doesn’t!)

Lammily Embraces Barbie’s Evolution

WARNING: The following contains photos of naked dolls.
All of these dolls are of legal age (in doll years) and consented to
having these photos taken.
If you have moral issues with naked dolls, you may want to exit now.

Let’s not kid ourselves, we knew this post was coming. Barbie has been blowing up my social media feeds since last week Thursday when Mattel announced that they would be releasing three new body types in their Barbie Fashionista line. And I get it. This is a huge deal for pretty much all of doll-kind and represents a major shift in society. I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss this new direction. Because there is so much that I can say about this change, so much that has already been said, and because I want to avoid a TL;DR post, I will be splitting this into two posts. In this first post, I will simply provide a photo comparison of these dolls. In the next post, I will be sharing my thoughts about these changes and answering some of the common arguments I see online about the movement to have more body positive dolls.

BUT I know that most of you are likely more anxious to get to photos of these new dolls. And I am happy to oblige.

First, here are all three of my girls with the new body types: Petite, Curvy, and Tall.

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Now is when the clothes come off. Here are each of these dolls in the nude so that you can see how they’re structured. The extra body I am comparing them to is the Original style Fashionista body. Please forgive her lack of a head – I had already rebodied her to a Liv doll:

Unfortunately, I don’t have a Skipper doll to compare Petite with – I know some of you are curious as to whether Mattel cheated a bit with this doll. But, she seems to have an adult style body to me. I also really like the bit of maroon in her hair.

Tall is very slender, a bit flatter chested, and has a much more subtle cinch in her waist than the other dolls.

Curvy’s blue hair is actually a mix of blue and black. I really like it and this lady already feels like she has some serious personality.  She has more of a pear shape to her – her cup size seems to be about the same as Original to me, but she certainly has more in the trunk and has a bit of a paunch on her belly.

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Next, I wanted to see how these girls compared to some of my other dolls.

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L to R: Lammily, Curvy, one of my Prettie Girls, Original, Made to Move, one of my Mixis, a Liv, My Scene Barbie, Classic Barbie, Tall, Petite

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L to R: Classic, Original, Made to Move, Curvy, Prettie Girl, Lammily, My Scene, Petite, Tall, Mixis

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L to R: Classic, Original, Made to Move, Curvy, Prettie Girl, Lammily, My Scene, Petite, Tall, and Mixis

In particular, I couldn’t help but notice these two groups – the 3 dolls that all have less drastic cinches to their waists (which seems more natural to me) and the 4 that all have ample “junk in the trunk”, for lack of better phrasing. Lammily and Mixis belong to both of these groups.

Now to try on clothes!

It seems Petite, Tall, and Original can all share clothes with each other, although the fit may be a little different. What is a dress for Petite will fit Tall but would require the addition of leggings for your doll to maintain her modesty. The outfit still works, though.

I played around with having Prettie Girl try on Curvy’s clothes, since they both have larger behinds. Curvy’s shirt fits OK, although midriff baring, but the skirt is just too loose. I then have Petite try on Prettie Girl’s outfit. It works, but the fit is loose. Great for those days when Petite might want to just lounge around the apartment.

SHOES:  Curvy and Tall each have slightly bigger feet than the other Barbies. But, Curvy’s feet are too small to wear Mixis or Prettie Girl shoes and, similarly, those dolls have feet that are too big for the Curvy/Tall shoes. Lammily’s feet are altogether bigger than all of them, so, no shoe swapping here.

And now, what I know everyone is curious to know – How do Curvy Barbie and Lammily relate to each other?

As you can see, Curvy’s legs are still rather long and her torso sits much higher. Curvy’s arms are thinner and her hourglass shape seems more cartoon-ish by comparison. Also, while Lammily’s range of motion isn’t the best on the market, until Mattel gives these new bodies Made to Move articulation, Lammily still leads in this area.

But can they share clothes? Well, Curvy can certainly borrow clothes from Lammily’s closet:

Although, Lammily’s clothes may be a bit baggy. This is because even Curvy’s proportions are still smaller than Lammily’s. The sharing only goes one way:

Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments as well as if there are any comparisons or poses you’d like to see.

 

Making a Bağlama for Morrígan

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Perhaps not surprisingly, yesterday’s Google Hangout experiment resulted in my sitting in front of a camera for an hour by myself. Not a single person logged in. And that’s ok. I don’t currently have an extremely large readership, not everyone has access to a camera for such hangouts, and I’m sure everyone had other things they wanted to do with their Saturday afternoon.  But that’s ok. Rather than just blankly stare into a screen for an hour, I used the time to work on half completed projects.

Some months ago, after determining the general background that I wanted to give Morrígan, my Lammily doll, I decided to make her a miniature bağlama that she could play. I actually came across an excellent tutorial by Özden Ceyhan over on Blogspot. Since this is a traditional Turkish instrument, it is not surprising that the language of the article is in Turkish. However, between auto-translate and Mr. Ceyhan’s wonderful step by step photos, knowledge of the language isn’t required (although I personally find Turkish to be an attractive language). Because I know that my links aren’t as easily seen (I don’t know how to change the color for them), I want to make sure to give Mr. Ceyhan’s tutorial special attention:

 http://ozdenceyhan.blogspot.com/2014/02/minyatur-saz-imalat.html

     I didn’t follow Mr. Ceyhan’s process exactly, but I did use it as a guide. I glued 3 layers of balsa wood together and whittled and sanded the shape down from there. For the tuners, I cut down toothpicks into 7 small sections of equal length and bore them into the head. I used a Rust-Oleum stain marker to give the instrument color – although, probably because I used a marker instead of painted on stain, the finish looks blotchy to me. But, I suppose it will work.

Because I am sure that most of my readers have never heard this beautiful instrument before, let me share a clip so that you can appreciate the wonderful sound it creates.

When I imagine Morrígan playing, I imagine her sitting against her window, looking out to the world, and letting her heart pour out. I imagine that she sings songs her father taught her as she thinks of him hundreds of miles away back in Turkey.

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If I ever had the time, I would love to learn how to play one of these myself – and I found a rather decent beginner’s information page I felt was worth sharing: here. As it is, I’d really love to learn Turkish (along with Hindi and to become more proficient at Spanish and Japanese – both of which I studied in college but am not very good at). Maybe Morrígan can teach me? 😉

GE

 

The People’s Dolly

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It’s been just over a year now since Morrígan (my Lammily doll) arrived at my door, moved into my heart, and gave me doll fever. I’ve sung her praises many times on this blog, but today I want to sing the praises of her creator, Nickolay Lamm, and the Lammily company.

When Lammily first came out, there weren’t many options for clothes for her. Her selling point was that she has realistic proportions that, scaled up, would result in a woman with a healthy body. This, and the fact that the company was brand new and figuring things out, meant that there just weren’t many options for her. She couldn’t swap clothes with many other dolls, certainly not with the usual suspects. This gave birth to a DIY market and community – Etsy sellers like Phyllis ShermanHelena HannukainenOph Bruneau, and Em Carroll began making Lammily clothes. I decided to create Handmade Lammily Fashions on Facebook, which was followed by an offshoot group, Lammily Enthusiasts (both groups have mutual respect for and collaborate with each other). We were small but we were mighty. A representative from the company joined Lammily Enthisiasts, where she would interact with and answer questions for eager Lammsters. Soon after, Lammily Enthusiasts became the Official Lammily Fan Group.

As Lammily’s success grew, the company aired their first commercial which let’s us see our girl interacting in the already established Doll World.

In the most recent commercial, Lammily takes time to give homage to the iconic toys and dolls that have come before her, pointing out that without them, she would not exist.  The driving image is showing this doll as an equally valid and inclusive player – not elite, not better-than-the-competition, but just as good. She can play with and fit in right alongside your other dolls. I think that’s big.

Something I have been extremely impressed with in recent months has been  how Mr. Lamm not only acknowledges Lammily’s DIY crowd and fan-base, but is actually *very* supportive of it. On their website, an option right along their “World of Fashion” clothing, are the “Handcrafted Limited Editions“. Further, what you will see when you sign up for their mailing list and start getting their emails, is that he introduces you to the DIY lady responsible for the handmade clothes.

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Screen shot of a Lammily Email

So far, I am really impressed with Mr. Lamm and his company. Between all I’ve stated and the fact that she was the product of a Kickstarter campaign, I don’t think I’d be out of bounds to go so far as to consider Lammily “The People’s Dolly”. (As much as a representative of capitalist consumer culture can be, anyway. The irony isn’t lost here, only amusing.)

Now I just need to learn more about how the dolls themselves are made. From what I understand, though, the company ensures that every step of the doll-making process is done at factories that don’t take advantage of their employees.

Image Consciousness

Warning: Streams of Consciousness Ahead; Author is blogging
before bed after a long day, Thoughts may be jumbled.

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     When I woke up yesterday afternoon and weighed myself, I was 142 lbs. I was kind of happy about it and felt I deserved some hard won take out pizza. (Papa John’s 3 Cheese, if anyone cares) I posted about this on Facebook, along with debating whether or not it was “worth it” to get said pizza. Among the comments I got was one from a friend (straight, male) which inferred that I am already “sexy”. The intention behind this was all positive, I assure you, he’s a pretty solid friend (and I hope I’m not making you feel bad by discussing it in my blog, I actually want to thank you for bringing up an important topic). However, as well meaning as he was, it made me start thinking –

  • What is really motivating me to be on this diet? Am I in it for health reasons or something else? Can’t I have multiple motivators? Is my motivation any different now than it was at any time when I tried to do the gym thing before?
  • Does it matter whether someone else finds me physically attractive? Is it inherently anti-feminist to feel good about a non-skeevy compliment like this? Should I even give my boyfriend any influence on how I look – I obviously want *him* to find my attractive?
  • Do I care about how I look? Is there something wrong about admitting that I care? Does that make me shallow or vain now?

Then, after admitting to myself that, yes, I am partially motivated by wanting a particular image, my mind wandered even more –

  • In 2012 when the boyfriend wanted me to go to the gym with him (and yes, saying I could be “more toned”), I stubbornly refused (and was moderately offended, because I already felt I looked good, wtf?). So why did I start going to the gym pretty hardcore last year (I mean, I was doing the personal trainer thing, I thought that was hardcore. For a woman that nearly flunked PE in High School, that was hardcore).  How much of that was me and how much was because of a one time off-hand comment? Does the fact that I even remember the comment signify that it carried any weight (no pun intended)?
  • A large part of my motivation was general health – wanting to avoid health issues my parents have and realizing I had a more sedentary life that I’d had in 2012 (I did tell my trainer that I was mostly just working off my pizza addiction since I wasn’t doing it at work anymore). Is this considered wanting to lose weight? Or maintain it?
  • In reality, a large part of my motivation was fangirling over Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and wanting to emulate him (I never did finish that series on emulation I meant to do a few years back, did I?). Watching Oliver Queen work a salmon ladder over and over and watching Amell’s personal workout videos on Facebook really kind of made me want to be badass like him. I wore his “Fuck Cancer” tshirt to the gym a lot of the time and bought the Arrow soundtrack to listen to.

  • Then last year, I also got my Lammily doll, which sent me on my dolly craze. And I got pulled into internet battles over whether or not dolls contributed to body image issues. Of course I’m going to fully defend and champion my precious Lammily! I don’t know how much dolls influence these things, but if there is a chance she can help some kids, isn’t that a good thing? And what is wrong with some dolly diversity?
  • Is it possible that I’ve been influenced myself this past year from all the dolls and all of these things I’ve been made aware of because of this new found hobby? Even if that were the case, why would that be any more shameful or wrong than admitting I was driven to the gym because I wanted to emulate a comic hero?
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The day Stephen Amell actually responded to one of my comments and gave me encouragement. Made me feel a bit self-defeated when I needed to quit going to the gym due to too many other things going on in life that needed my attention. Still need to reach that pull-up goal. 

I really don’t know. It’s likely a mix of everything, honestly. At the end of the day, though, whatever my motivations, I am making a decision about my life and my body because it is what I want. As long as I am comfortable with and feel good about myself, that is all that matters.

The Mission

DSC00143     A creak of the door and the sudden brightness of lights in the room woke Daniela from her slumber. This is it, she thought to herself as she looked her buyer up and down, I’m finally going to be free.
     Daniela had spent the past month in a state of suspended animation, trapped inside a vault of cardboard and plastic. She’d been jostled and transported, delivered to a woman known only as “Lisa”. Despite having been unconscious for most of her journey, Daniela could still feel the stiffness of her body from the time spent cramped up in the delivery vault and she yearned to feel the open air and stretch her limbs.
“Welcome to your new home,” greeted the Lisa woman as she liberated Daniela from the vault, “I hope you like it here.”

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     For the next hour or so, Daniela was introduced to a number of other dolls that were being held prisoner. They seemed nice and welcoming to her, but she was not here for them. No, she told herself, you cannot compromise the mission for these dolls. You are a Muñeca, damnit, do not forget that.
     The Lisa woman eventually set her down with the other dolls and exited the room, mumbling something about “work”. Once she was confident the coast was clear and the other dolls were asleep, Daniela set to reviewing her plans…

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To Be Continued…

Books! Dolls! Prisoners! Um… What?!

GEAbout a month and a half ago, I got involved with the Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners project (B2P for short) and took up a second job as an online seller to help bring in funding for this awesome not-for-profit. One of the many programs within the Independent Media Center here in my wonderful dual-town, the B2P has been providing Illinois inmates with free books since 2004. From their Facebook page, here is a rundown of what they’re about:

UC Books to Prisoners is an Urbana, IL based project providing books to Illinois inmates at no cost. We offer books by mail to all Illinois inmates and operate lending libraries in our two local county jails.

We are an all volunteer organization with a number of easy ways for you to get involved. Whether you have an hour a month or would like to volunteer more often, you are invited to to work with us. We interact with inmates by reading their letters, selecting books from our collection of donated materials and shipping the books directly to the inmates.

Our volunteers also staff lending libraries in the Champaign County jails. If you would prefer to work behind the scenes, we need help managing, soliciting and coordinating book donations as well as raising funds to pay for this work.

Mission: * to provide books to inmates in Illinois by recycling donated books * to facilitate a quality volunteer experience * to offer a venue for inmates to tell their own stories * to educate ourselves and our community about prisons

Basically, what I do is I take all of the books that aren’t sent to prisoners (they get priority for anything that comes in, I am stage 2) and make what I can in online sales – sometimes I am selling to 3rd party vendors, sometimes I am selling through my B2P Amazon store, AikiFox Books ( www.amazon.com/shops/AikiFox_Books )   I only make a percentage of what we bring in and the rest goes back into B2P to help them cover overhead/ operational expenses. As I type this, there are 352 books for sale at AikiFox Books. Most are around $3 plus shipping and cover a variety of topics and genres, both fiction and non-fiction. The girls each picked out their personal favorites that are on sale as of this writing:

GEOpal’s pick: “Antique’, ‘vintage’, ‘previously owned’, ‘gently used’, ‘cast-off’ ñ the world of second hand encompasses as many attitudes as there are names for it. The popular perception is that second- hand shops are largely full of junk, yet the rise of vintage fashion and the increasing desire for consumer individuality show that second hand shopping is also very much about style. Drawing on six years of original research, Second-Hand Cultures explores what happens when the often contradictory motivations behind style and survival strategies are brought together. What does second hand buying and selling tell us about the state of contemporary consumption? How do items that begin life as new get recycled and reclaimed? How do second hand goods challenge the future of retail consumption and what do the unique shopping environments in which they are found tell us about the social relations of exchange? (from Amazon Summary)

GEHouda’s pick: This book studies the acquisition, loss and re-acquisition of Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Hebrew, the first languages of this writer’s son. It applies the results of current work in the areas of psycholinguistics, bilingualism, and applied linguistics to the study of language development in one multilingual child, Noam, from birth to age 17. The acquisition, loss, and re-acquisition of four languages by Noam also is compared with that of other children studied by the author and others. This book uncovers linguistic, cognitive, psychological, and social mechanisms of language acquisition, loss, and re-acquisition and documents the child’s increasing, decreasing, and, in turn, increasing proficiency in four languages. This book applies Dromi’s guidelines for qualitative case-study research to the study of language development in one multilingual child (Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, English), Noam, from birth to age seventeen. In addition, the results of Noam’s case study are compared with other case studies conducted by this author as well as by other researchers. (Amazon summary)

GEMitsuko’s pick: In her father’s Peruvian family, Marie Arana was taught to be a proper lady, yet in her mother’s American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken’s neck for dinner. Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who “was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American Chica.” (from Amazon summary)

GEMorrigan’s pick: The author shows how Irish women developed the political skills required to represent women’s interests to government effectively leading to the dismantling of a range of discriminatory policies against women and the accommodation of a feminist agenda within the political system. (Amazon’s summary)

If you like what I write (when I get around to it) and want to help support me (and help support a great non-profit in the process!), please consider buying some of the books I have for sale. Again, that site is: www.amazon.com/shops/AikiFox_Books
I’m also still running my Etsy site as well, if you’d prefer to go that route and pick up some nifty handmade items for a dolly friend. You can find that shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AClothTheWorld
Broke but still want to support? Share with people who might be interested! 🙂 Spread the love!


Concerts, Nerds, Sub-Culture, and Shirts

Warning: This post may contain tangents, rambling, and streams of consciousness. Maybe unconsciousness. It also has puppy sized elephants.

Yesterday I went to Chicago. I traveled in a car with 2 other people to see Driftless Pony Club and Hank Green in concert (Andrew Huang, Rob Scallon, and Harry and the Potters were also on the ticket, and were great). Previous post about Hank Green: Here. I also brought Morrígan and Mitsuko (I would put links to other posts about them, but, just read the last handful of posts I’ve written. Because it’s been a thing.) Yes, I brought my dolls with me to a concert. Because I’m a grown woman and that’s how I roll.

Look! Here they are riding a puppy sized elephant on the way to the show! (Puppy sized elephant belongs to my friend Sierra’s cousin Logan who rode in the back seat. Thank you, Wolverine, for graciously letting me hijack your puppy sized elephant.):

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Driving through Chicago was a nightmare. Parking was a nightmare. And it didn’t help that the venue was more or less across the street from Wrigley Field. On a game day. I really wish I had taken a picture of all us nerds standing in line for the concert while legions of cubbie fans walked the sidewalk opposite us, as we all looked at each other from across the road and thought, “Ha! Losers!”   No? Ok.

Two super cool ladies we met while standing in line. Note the clothing with the DFTBA slogans and Nerdfighter insignias.

Two super cool ladies we met while standing in line. Note the clothing with the DFTBA slogans and Nerdfighter insignias.

But… it really got me to thinking about our different little sub-cultures and niches and uniforms. I mean, while my friends and I were driving around trying to just locate the venue in the first place, it was the people wearing Pizza John tshirts that tipped us off that we were in the right place. Something as simple as a tshirt let us know that we had found our people.  Our People. That is such an interesting concept. I mean, we never really belong exclusively to one subset of people – we are also students, parents, punk rockers, hip-hoppers, nature lovers, and introverts. And even within our subset of nerds, we are varied and overlapped with different subsets -Whovians, Trekkies, Gamers, Book-lovers, etc. But in this space, we unify together as people who identify as nerdfighters. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Sierra, myself, and Logan.

Sierra, myself, and Logan.

The concert itself was absolutely amazing. I tried to take some photos, but, they just didn’t come out very well. And the zoom function decided to stop working on my camera. I did get a little frustrated, though, when the venue staff made me put my purse in coat check (which charges $3 with an additional $2 to recheck it -cash- when I needed to get something out of it mid show). Other purses were allowed through. But, because my little black backpack purse is shaped like a mini-backpack, it doesn’t constitute a purse in their eyes. (Urge to rant and go on about prototype theory – I won’t)

Arguably the most awesome event of the evening was getting to have an actual conversation with Craig Benzine – Frontman for Driftless Pony Club and Youtuber, Wheezy Waiter. It was the coolest thing. I was standing at the bar getting a soda, and just happened to see Craig standing at the back of the crowd of people watching the show. Just blending in amongst the mortals, chilling, watching the show. I decided to say hi – trying very hard to not be all fan-girl squee. He stood and talked to my friends and I for a few minutes and let us take a photo. He is one very cool, very laid back individual. He told us he was nervous about his band’s upcoming set, because they were starting with a song no one had heard. Craig, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but, you and the rest of Driftless Pony Club were just brilliant. And you guys need to come back to Champaign-Urbana. 🙂

Myself, Craig Benzine, Sierra.

Some other concert photos that didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped:

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After the show, out large crowd of people swarmed the merch area to buy stuff and meet the artists. The security staff, because of the sheer number of fans, rushed us along – which makes the earlier encounter with Craig even more amazing. Sierra was able to get her photo with Andrew Huang (who she had come to see, specifically), and then we all lined up outside to meet and have our pictures taken with Hank Green.

Standing in line, waiting to meet one of my heroes, was a nerve-racking experience. I mean, there is already that uncertainty – what do I say? do I look ok? am I going to come off awkwardly? – but the time you spend in line waiting just builds that anticipation. I could feel my heart beating in my throat and I could have sworn it was beating so loud that everyone else could hear it. And then, because I still had my dolls in my backpack, and because I don’t know how to leave well enough alone, I pulled my Lammily doll out and spent my time in line debating whether or not to include the doll in my photo with Hank. One person near us had a stuffed hanklerfish, and Logan had her puppy sized elephant – but those things tie into the nerdfighter and vlogbrothers universe. My doll doesn’t really mesh…  and I felt very self-conscious and weird and out of place. But the nerdfighters in line around me encouraged me and told me to go for it. And Logan, this 14 year old girl that I had only met that afternoon on the ride over, reminded me of something important. She reminded me that being overly excited about something, even when others around us aren’t, is ok. We are Doctor Who nerds, comic book nerds, gamer nerds, and book nerds. I just happen to be a doll nerd.

So, I went for it. I did it. I was still self conscious, and none of my words came out right, and I looked like a creepy fangirl zombie, but I did it. And he rolled with it. I wanted to tell him about her, about how she helps to decrease world suck, because she has realistic human proportions, because she can give kids a healthy representation and help girls with body image issues. But all I managed to get out was “Have you seen these dolls? She has actual human proportions!”  And no, he has not seen her or heard of her before. And now he has.

Sierra doesn't know how to work my camera, totally snapped this before we were ready. He *did* smile, and laugh, I assure you, lol!

Sierra doesn’t know how to work my camera, totally snapped this before we were ready. He *did* smile, and laugh, I assure you, lol!

And now other photos that I didn’t know where else to put:

GE GE GE GE GE GE GE GE GE

And, as a parting gift, a prolific Wheezy Waiter video: