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Comic for library nerds, book lovers and/or customer service people

Comic for library nerds, book lovers and/or customer service people published on No Comments on Comic for library nerds, book lovers and/or customer service people

Unshelved is a daily comic strip, with years of free archives, chronicling the slightly exaggerated adventures of the staff and patrons at Mallville Public Library. The simple black and white style highlights the silly, playful nature of the strip and storylines. Recommended for anyone who has experienced the absurdities of customer service, especially as it pertains to books. Warning: You may get sucked into the archives, so have several hours handy….

I think I just paid off his legs.

I think I just paid off his legs. published on No Comments on I think I just paid off his legs.

I just made another installment on the Will doll, which brings me to $722.61 of $1498.60 paid off.  I think I’ve just about successfully purchased his legs, which make up 40 cm of his 80 cm gangliness. Did I mention he was an expensive fucker? I hope he plays fetch, washes my dishes and gives back rubs for that kind of money…

Sardonix fanart

Sardonix fanart published on No Comments on Sardonix fanart

Commissioned a doll portrait from Neurocidic on DOA a few months ago, forgot about it, just got it in a PM today. 

This is what I said to her:

“Sardonix Sanguinarius is a teenaged succubus. Though her name sounds very Gothy, she is not really angsty. Instead, she’s playful, crafty, mischievous and very clever. She’s very intelligent, with a mouthy edge. She combines the rambunctiousness and imagination of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. She is not a sexually active being yet, but neither is she an innocent child. She’s in a liminal state.”

I also linked to some close-ups and the photostory with the vengeance unicorn.

Here’s the result. I am quite pleased, especially with the smirk.

A comic with a cast over 30!

A comic with a cast over 30! published on No Comments on A comic with a cast over 30!

Home on the Strange uses a light touch and bold, happy lines to show the amusing, slightly exaggerated lives and intersections of a small cluster of 30-something nerds. The usual jokes about gamer culture are here, but fleshed out with relationship dramas and a deft use of character development. Ferrett Steinmetz and Veronica Pare make a fluid and humorous collaboration.

Slapstick, historically lite vampires and supernatural sexpots

Slapstick, historically lite vampires and supernatural sexpots published on 1 Comment on Slapstick, historically lite vampires and supernatural sexpots

I just finished reading Dylan Meconis’ completed online graphic novel Bite Me, which is about some silly vampires running around during the French Revolution…basically a big excuse for physical comedy and quips. Meconis has, at best, a thick, rubbery line that I really like. Plus the story is just snicker-worthy.

Another recommended Web comic is the ongoing Wapsi Square, chronicling the collision of ancient supernatural prophecies with the soap operatic lives of 20-somethings in a fictitious Minneapolis neighborhood. Paul Taylor manages the large cast with dexterity and a light hand, especially a sketchy graceful line. All the fems are uniformly ass-kicking, which compares them favorably to the tough broads on the Devil’s Panties, but I can’t easily distinguish the characters. Contrary to what Rampant Bicycle says, there is a clear modulation between once-off gags and longer plotlines. It’s just not as even as she would like. :p

TNT’s Witchblade on [unofficial] DVD!

TNT’s Witchblade on [unofficial] DVD! published on No Comments on TNT’s Witchblade on [unofficial] DVD!

In the summer of 2001 and 2002, I watched both seasons of TNT’s Witchblade with a friend.

[Well, I watched season 1 religiously, then dropped out after season 2.] I loved that show: a perfect blend of kick-ass action, sexy stars [O Yancy Butler! O Eric Etebari!], and, most of all, a great balance between slick stylishness in the fight scenes and suggestive murky mysticism in the origin myths. It was perfect mindless popcorn fare.

After enjoying Yancy Butler’s irresistible mouth the show [dammit!], I sought for it on VHS or DVD, but only found poor-quality VCDs. Loaded with skips and murky transfer, the discs, annoyingly enough, limited the viewing size to about 300 x 400 pixels. I could barely see Yancy Butler’s mouth in order to lust over it. Since Witchblade is a show that I enjoy watching the entire run of, I looked for alternatives with better picture quality and larger viewing size.

I just found my Holy Grail of DVDs! Here is an unofficial made-from-TV set of all of the eps in seasons 1 and 2 of Witchblade. The set is $100, but I would gladly pay twice that, just because I enjoy the show so much and have such sentimental attachments to it. It’s enough for me to have BTVS on my shelf and not watch it, but I watch Witchblade on my shelf and on my screen too! Woo hoo! Woo hoo! WOO HOO!

EDIT: I just found it for $70 here.

EDIT: And for $20 here.

Further podcasts for language geeks!

Further podcasts for language geeks! published on No Comments on Further podcasts for language geeks!

I’ve been enjoying A Way With Words, a KPBS radio show, for a while. Just today I found another show, a podcast, in the same vein: Word Nerds. It’s a weekly podcast of about 40 minutes, a thematically organized discussed of the ways language is used past and present. The presenters are a bunch of high school language and literature teachers with solid knowledge of Germanic and Romance languages among them. Their style is quieter than the lively, explosive A Way With Words, but I still enjoy the dry wit.

Whoop, Dan Savage has a podcast!!

Whoop, Dan Savage has a podcast!! published on No Comments on Whoop, Dan Savage has a podcast!!

If advice column letters are each novelettes waiting to be written, what better omniscient narrator to have than the intelligent snarkmeister Dan Savage, who writes weekly sex advice columns for The Stranger?

You can listen to his podcasts without downloading them [convenient for work where you should be listening through headphones]. Incidentally, I was introduced to his radio presence through This American Life, where I found him pretentious [but not as pretentious, precious, annoying and teeth-grindingly piss-offing as David Sedaris]. On his own podcast, though, he’s foul-mouthed and funny. I enjoy his podcast because he talks to the listeners as if he is a friend, with all the swearing, exaggeration and dumb jokes.

Jennifer is proud and pink!

Jennifer is proud and pink! published on 1 Comment on Jennifer is proud and pink!

Jennifer visited Youth Pride yesterday! She got hit on several times [by people who even successfully identified her as an Asian BJD, like the girl with the pink bob], as any of my dolls do when taken in public. Why wouldn’t she be the center of attention? When she dresses to flatter her appearance, she looks attractive! Photos and story below.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jenniferdoll/youthpride07/IMG_0180.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jenniferdoll/youthpride07/IMG_0183.JPG

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http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jenniferdoll/youthpride07/YouthPride07-003.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jenniferdoll/youthpride07/YouthPride07-004.JPG

Reminder: Always use insurance and delivery confirmation.

Reminder: Always use insurance and delivery confirmation. published on No Comments on Reminder: Always use insurance and delivery confirmation.

The Cerebrus Project Mini Fee Ruth that I sold to Baiken in France WITHOUT insurance or delivery confirmation arrived safely! In the mean time, I worried that it would get lost just because I had tempted fate by forgetting insurance and delivery confirmation. Now that the damn doll has successfully arrived at its destination, I offer the following announcement for me and others:

If you’re sending a valuable package by USPS domestic mail, pay for insurance and delivery confirmation. If you’re doing the same with a package going internationally, send by EMS [even though it’s more expensive than air letter-post] with insurance and delivery confirmation as well.

As a rule of thumb, I usually insure the package for 15 to 20% more than what the person paid for it. While insurance and delivery confirmation do not solve all problems, they do obviate anxiety about the package between its departure and arrival.

Will, 8/30/06

Will, 8/30/06 published on No Comments on Will, 8/30/06

I have a Destiny, doncha know? With a capital D. Really! I’ve got a
prophecy and superpowers and everything.

Supposedly.

Yeah, I know, you wouldn’t think it to look at me. I mean, my dad was a
pencil pusher in the bookkeeping division of Somerville Pickle, and my mum
was a writer of fairy tales…when she wasn’t convalescing.

Despite my unassuming parents, I come from a long line of…well, let’s just
call ’em weird women: the Ashbys. It started way back in the 16th century
in England with Alys Asheby, who bewitched a lord’s son to fall in love
with her, then lived to almost 200. She passed her strange gifts down to
her daughter, whose speaking with ghosts saved her family from a flood.

The legacy moved through the generations, endowing each Ashby woman with
some sense of the supernatural. Sometimes it was a magical skill, like
Dame Alys’. Sometimes it manifested itself as an eldritch sort of art,
like my mom’s revisions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. I always lay awake after
her bedtime stories, waiting, electrified, for a transformation as if
waiting for a storm.

The Ashbys were always supernatural, always women. Ashbys just didn’t have
sons…unless you count my great-aunt’s miscarriages or that two-headed
thing that my grandmother tossed out in the midden three years before
giving birth to my mom.

There were no Ashby boys…until I was born.

When my mom finally got pregnant, she and my dad consulted my great-aunt.
You see – my mom had a delicate constitution – I think they call it brain
palsy, cerebral palsy, nowadays – and she wanted to make sure that her
childbed would be healthy. So she asked my great-aunt – whose Ashby legacy
was second sight – to predict my future.

“Don’t worry, Leonora,” she said to my mom. “Your lying in will be quick
and painless. Your child will be healthy, longer-lived even than Dame
Alys, and it shall have power over love and death.”

Feeling reassured, my mother then went on a search for a suitable name for
her daughter. Of course, she turned to the Metamorphoses.

There she found the story of Philomel. In brief, Philomel’s brother-in-law
Tereus rapes her, then cuts out her tongue so she can’t tell. But she does
tell, by weaving the story in a tapestry. When her sister, Tereus’ wife,
finds out, vengeance, murder, child-eating and transformation ensue – all
par for the course in Greek mythology.

Naturally, my mom thought that Philomel was a perfectly appropriate name
for her child. I was to be Philomel Ashby Cox, after a woman with no voice
and excruciating powers of shapeshifting.

If she had wanted something truly suitable, she would have chosen a name
like Iphis, who was all confused because she felt like one gender
inwardly, but looked like another outwardly…or Protea, Erisichthon’s
daughter, who assumed the shape of a man.

Anyway, I was born, premature and painless, just as my great-aunt said,
and everything was great, except that my parents had no idea what to call
me. For three days, I actually went by Philomel until my dad took pity on
me and stuck his name – William – before the rest of mine.

I was supposed to be a superhero.

I was supposed to be an artist.

I was supposed to be my mother’s daughter.

Instead I’m an amoral vampire fag boy with 110 years of writer’s block.

I mean, how can I have a Destiny? I don’t even have a job, unless you
count lesbovamps.com, the porn site I run.

Originally written 9/25/05, but just as true now

Originally written 9/25/05, but just as true now published on 1 Comment on Originally written 9/25/05, but just as true now

 My dolls are my actors. They play out scenes from my imagination for the film of my camera.

 My dolls are my mannequins. I dress them in outfits and arrange them in poses that I think might look cool.

 My dolls are my catalysts for relaxation. When I play with them, I absorb myself with their interactions, their outfits, their personalities and their setting. I think less about the problems of my life I can’t control and more about my dolls, which I can control.

 My dolls are my attempt to understand the world. They represent people, which I then put through different configurations. With my plastic cast of characters, I create 1:6 replicas of social situations to inform real life.

 My dolls are my raw material. They have paintable faces, removable hair, bodies that can be hacked up and glued back together. To me, “doll” is a material like canvas, paint, stone or words, waiting to be manipulated.

 My dolls are my photographic subjects. Because they never change shape or expression, they challenge me to achieve my photographic goals through presence/absence of light, width/narrowness of shot, angularity/straightness of aim and focus/lack of focus in lens. My dolls’ stillness makes my photos’ settings more active and expressive.

 My dolls are my tools to find beauty in the world. The placement of a still figure in an active world highlights both the stillness of the figure and the activity of the world. The world plays off the dolls; I can see the world more clearly when comparing it to my dolls, and I can appreciate the change and evanescence of things more poignantly by putting dolls in my line of perception.

 My dolls are my thoughts made manifest. They are all characters who used to live intangibly inside my head. When I make a doll of a character, though, the character and the doll unite, so the character takes on a physical form. As a doll, the character is real in a way that my thoughts are not.

 My dolls are me. As works of art, they all express some aspect of me. As characters, they are all semi-autobiographical because I write about what I know best, which is me.

 My dolls are time capsules. Either in their physical construction or in the ways they act, they remind me of how I used to do things. They are my history in holdable form.

 My dolls are works in progress. I change their poses, clothes, hair, body parts and actions over time. They exist continuously, immediately, never finished. Even if I don’t modify their forms, I may change the way that I think about their characters, so they are as much of the present as they are of the past.

 My dolls are my role models. I make them do things I’d like to do, but am afraid to do. I make them say and wear what I’d like to, but haven’t yet. I make them act the way that I will some day act when I get up the courage.

 My dolls are my characters. Many of my dolls are not dolls OF my characters. They are the characters themselves, which is not to say that they are beings that know that they are dolls. It is rather to say that my dolls are my characters because they unite the imaginary aspect of the characters [what I’ve thought up in my head] with the solid reality that a well-rounded character has. The doll form is like a representation for my characters’ well-roundedness and convincing status.

 My dolls are a means of self-examination. I separate aspects of myself from me and encapsulate them in plastic form, then have them play and fight. That way, I can stand back a bit to get a better perspective on how the multitude of people inside me play and fight.

 My dolls are expressions of love. I make them with artistic care and pride, a form of love. I also make likeness dolls out of sheer love for the act of creation as well as affection for whoever’s likeness I’m doing. I give my dolls to people as a sign of friendship because I think that doing so might make them happy. 

 My dolls are my friends. They are well-rounded characters, and they are embodied, albeit in small plastic form, so they are real. Being real, they of course have their own subjectivities and voices. They talk to me. I talk back. A lot of it is me attempting to boss them around or vice versa. We know that the balance of control shifts a lot, so it’s mostly jocular.

 My dolls are my equals, not all of them, but the strongest ones, the realest ones. I, as the ego from which I frequently experience the universe, am a created fiction, a character in my own drama. My favorite dolls are created fictions too, just like me. I realize it; they realize it; that’s why we can talk to each other as friends, without abasement or delusions of grandeur.

 My dolls are my desires. They may be the kind of friends to each other that I want to be to other people. They have the kind of sex I might want to have. They act out my fantasies.

 My dolls are my memorials. Some of them are based on my friends, my family members, people that I once knew but who now have left my life through death or distance of time. These dolls remind me of what I once loved. They are memories and tributes.

 My dolls are my toys!

Goodbye, Submit!

Goodbye, Submit! published on

Good news: Submit has a buyer!

Bad news: Submit has a buyer.

Submit is being sold to help me pay expenses this summer. I am selling her, as opposed to the other ones, because she is the least customized and most desireable of my BJDs on which I can easily make back my purchase price.

I am sad because I will miss her because she is an enjoyable character. Her swappable faceplates make her the most expressive doll that I own. Her small size and large, stubborn personality also make for entertaining photostories… However, if, after my expenses are paid off, I still want a doll of her, I can easily get one in the same manner that I sold off, then replaced, Sardonix 1.0. Her replaceability is also a factor in her sale.

I can already tell that Submit thinks of her sale less as a sad departure and more as an exciting new adventure.

Sabik’s measurements, according to Mire Lapin on DOA

Sabik’s measurements, according to Mire Lapin on DOA published on No Comments on Sabik’s measurements, according to Mire Lapin on DOA

I’m gonna compare these to measurements for Jareth and see what clothes Will might fit into. The stupendousness is fascinating, huh?

GIRTH

Body;
1. Neck: 11 cm
Neck Front: 4.8 cm
Neck Back 3.6 cm
*I know it doesn’t add up, but it works*
2. Shoulder Width: 16.5 cm
3. Chest: 33 cm
Seam to Seam
Front armholes 13.1 cm
Back armholes: 14.3 cm
11. Natural waist: 24cm
ARM;
12. Biceps: 9.2 cm (skinny boy!)
13. Wrist: 7cm
14. Palm: 10.5 cm
LEG;
15 Hip: 29 cm
16. Thigh: 16.3 cm
17. Leg Width: 4.8 cm
18. Knee: 11.5 cm

Length

Body;
20. Center Front to Waist: 14.6 cm
25. Side front to Waist: 17.8 cm
27. Shoulder point to Center waist, Front: 17 cm
28. Center Back (nape to waist): 17 cm
29. Side Back: 17.4 cm
30. Shoulder point to Center Waist, Back: 16.8 cm
31. Armpit to Waist: 8.7 cm
ARM;
32. Length (bent): 27 cm * I like them on the long side*
33. Shoulder to Elbow: 13.5 cm
34. Sleeve cap: 4 cm
LEG;
35. Waist to Hip: 8 cm
36. Waist to knee: 28.5 cm
37. Waist to Floor: 50.8 cm
38. Inseam: 38.6 cm
39. Crotch Depth: 11cm

Based on these measurements and the eyeballing of my BJD wardrobe, I expect Will to fit into the following:

Tops: stretchy lace leotard, the black sweater with red trim, the men’s white dress shirt with sleeves up, the lace shirt, blank tank, Hell Queen bodice [with some wedging]

Bottoms: Hell Queen velvet bloomers [hah!], Kala skirt, red leggings [legs too short], grey leggings [legs too short]

Shoes: Jareth’s shitkickers, Frank’s faaaaahbulous pink glitter-shitting boots

Blast from the past: Photos of my first BJD, Zephque, in Ptown, Memorial Day, 2004

Blast from the past: Photos of my first BJD, Zephque, in Ptown, Memorial Day, 2004 published on No Comments on Blast from the past: Photos of my first BJD, Zephque, in Ptown, Memorial Day, 2004

It’s now May. This month, three years ago, I had 1 BJD, a Custom House Ai Gene named Zephque d’Amaranth. He accompanied me and some others on what was then a traditional yearly spring sojourn to Provincetown, Massachusetts, gayest city east of San Francisco.

As you can tell from the pictures below, my tastes in BJDs hasn’t changed at all. Back then, they were self-important, nerdy, little supernatural weirdos with a propensity to loud colors and clashing patterns, and the same holds true today. It’s just that I photograph them in a slightly more flattering manner.

For a documentary of this momentous May, 2004, event, see below. [For pictures from Frank’s trip to the same town last July, go here.]

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/zephque/ptown/ZephqueinPtown-001.JPG
http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/zephque/ptown/ZephqueinPtown-002.JPG
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http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/zephque/ptown/ZephqueinPtown-005.JPG

Just The Right Shoe [tm]: adaptable?

Just The Right Shoe [tm]: adaptable? published on 6 Comments on Just The Right Shoe [tm]: adaptable?

I’ve seen Just The Right Shoe shoe sculptures in tchotchke shops. The designs have attracted me, but the fact that there is only ONE shoe has annoyed me. However, now that I see that they are 4 inches long, I think that there might be an actual use for these frustrating collectibles. You see…4 inches = 10.16 cm, which is about 2 cm longer than Sabik’s feets [8.3 cm] and generally about 1:3. Perhaps it is possible to modify some of these JTRSs into fabulous footwear for my dolls…namely WIll, for whom I cannot find a decent pair of atrocious heels to save my life… JTRSs sold here.

Fete miniature shoes are sold through Amazon.

Disco sandal keychains…?

High-heeled pump keychains…?

And these…oh, these…are the ultimate in coolness: Disco Diva JTRSs. Cheap here.

blah blah blah SABIK blah blah blah

blah blah blah SABIK blah blah blah published on No Comments on blah blah blah SABIK blah blah blah

I am zees close to buying a Sabik [Iron Brain edition, yahahahahahah!] on layaway when he is available tomorrow.

Even though he costs $1254, which is about $600 more than the original edition, I still want him. I don’t know how the extra $600 is justified, since that’s certainly NOT $600 worth of clothes he comes with, but I suppose the price derives from the manic desire fanatics have for this doll.

I want this doll because it looks like a character of mine [Will] and because it’s approximately the size I want as well. With mannequins [aka life-size dolls!!] as a comparison, I mistakenly assumed that 1:3 BJDs would be much BIGGER than a measly 60 or 70 cm. Sabik’s size, 80 cm, approaches what I’d expect from a BJD, although I’d be much happier with a 3- or 4-footer.

EDIT: I really hope that Build A Bear clothes would fit Sabik as egregiously short crop tops or shorts or microskirts, especially since they are cheaaaaaap and there is a BAB store nearby.

More stupid, lazy, cheating doll companies

More stupid, lazy, cheating doll companies published on No Comments on More stupid, lazy, cheating doll companies

In my investigations, I have discovered two more companies to add to my list of companies I do not want to patronize because they are tainted by plagiarism.

Phantomdoll is right out for ripping off the Angel Region Fair boy body for their Siamese doll.

Lolidoll is right out for ripping off the Volks School A head.

Mini-misu SUCCESS!

Mini-misu SUCCESS! published on No Comments on Mini-misu SUCCESS!

I had a mini-misu for breakfast. It looked like tiramisu, smelled like it, behaved like it and, importantly, really tasted like tiramisu! When I next try the recipe…

I will add the vanilla extract and cut down on the sugar at least 25%. In the future, I would also like to try bases other than angel food cake…Grape-Nuts, for example.  They absorb liquid really well. I also have an idea for Grape-Nuts base, cheesy goodness, then strawberries [prepared as if for shortcake] on top, along with chocolate powder. It will be called Road Kill in Mud Season because of what it looks like. Yum yum!

Mini-misu…now with pictures!

Mini-misu…now with pictures! published on No Comments on Mini-misu…now with pictures!

I adjusted my tiramisu recipe. I reduced its size to make two little tiramisus, each in a ramekin, or mini-misus. Pictures and recipe alterations below.

Ingredients for 2 mini-misus

2 cups 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese.
1 tsp vanilla extract.  Shit…I forgot the vanilla extract this time.
1/2 cup low-fat, non-dairy whipped topping [new ingredient].
1/4 cup granulated superfine sugar.
1/2 lb 3 slices angel food cake.
1/2 cup instant decaf coffee.
1 tsp 1/2 tsp cocoa powder.

Instructions

Make coffee in a wide-mouth container. Let cool. Ignore foul stench.
Mix ricotta, vanilla extract whipped topping and sugar in a bowl.
Slice the cake.
Dip one face of each slice Dunk the whole piece of cake quickly into the coffee. Coffee should soak the cake about halfway through, but leave the other side dry.
Put the slices dry side down in a casserole dish or similar till they cover the bottom of the dish. Put 1 1/2 slices of coffee-soaked cake in the bottom of a ramekin.
Spread the cheesy goodness on top of the coffee-soaked cake.
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of cocoa powder on the top of each mini-misu.
Refridgerate the mini-misus for at least an hour.
Eat it!!

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/tiramisu/tiramisu2.JPG

A new arm and some more love for Jennifer

A new arm and some more love for Jennifer published on 1 Comment on A new arm and some more love for Jennifer

Since Jennifer’s elbow joint broke at the last Burlington meet, I’ve been waiting for replacement parts. Today I received them, so I installed her new elbow and forearm. Temporarily thwarted by an overly tight elbow joint, I then realized that the hemispherical halves of each “ball” in the Obitsu joints are actually caps concealing a screw that holds the joint together. I loosened this screw with a letter opener and got her new elbow to the appropriate tension. I also fixed her loose right leg by tightening her knee screw.

As I took apart and put back together the Obitsu body, I admired Jennifer. I realized that I have not paid much individual attention to her since getting her last November; for example, she hasn’t had a photoshoot of her own. But, now that I have calibrated her so that she is more mobile and poseable, I appreciate her much more. I recognize what drew me to her when I first saw her last summer at Ivy’s house. When calibrated correctly, the Obitsu body is a tough and flexible poser. Additionally, I love my Jennifer because of her face. Her expression and her maturity fluctuate slightly with each angle. Such an unstable physiognomy works well for a character who is both childlike and full-grown, sexual and also innocent. [Plus I like her glowing eyes.]

Blah blah blah, silly photostory below.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jenniferdoll/arm/NewArm-001.JPG

All roads lead to…

All roads lead to… published on No Comments on All roads lead to…

RealDoll. [That’s a link to a Salon article, not a link to Abyss Creations’ site.] I swear…in the 10 [gah, has it been so long?!] years I’ve been actively playing with dolls, whether fashion dolls, action figures or BJDs, all discussions eventually wind around to RealDoll. This is probably because RealDoll encompasses and foregrounds the complicated relationships that people have with their dolls [personification, sexualization, idolatry, possessiveness]. What seems to be on the margin [RealDoll ownership] actually illuminates the central paradoxes of doll play.

Possibly illuminating books about BJDs

Possibly illuminating books about BJDs published on No Comments on Possibly illuminating books about BJDs

For the past few years, I have been looking for books about the affective, psychological and cultural meanings of dolls, specifically as they might pertain to the modern popularity of BJDs. If anyone has more suggestions, let me know!

I already have Life Like Dolls: The Collector Doll Phenomenon and the Lives of the Women Who Love Them. Focusing on porcelain collector’s dolls [you know, the ones advertised in the Sunday supplements during the mid-1990s], this book has a scattershot approach and a lot of essentialist psychologizing. [Author theorizes that women like the dolls to substitute for their absent children.] I like the chapters on what makes a “cute” or an “attractive” doll [complete with detailed discussions of facial measurements] the best. This book manages to intrigue me and piss me off equally.

I should probably buy Barbie’s Queer Accessories since I’ve read it so many times. It’s a grassroots ethnography of the creative and subversive ways in which children [mostly girls] play with Barbie and other fashion dolls. It’s a great counterpoint to the top-down philosophizing of, say, Life Like Dolls, the author of which probably never played with dolls.

I just ordered Created in Our Image: The Miniature Body of the Doll as Subject and Object. It looks like one of those exhaustive academic treatises, which is fine with me. I don’t mind the exhaustive academic treatise or two, especially since few scholars take dolls seriously. I think it’s an overview of images of dolls in British literature over the past 250 years.

On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection is next on my list. It discusses the modern fascination with little things [miniature books], big things [expanded museum replicas of the human heart, for example], souvenirs and collections. While not directly addressing dolls, I’m certain this book can provide some insight into the closely related phenomena of cherishing, amassing and idealizing…all common activities with one’s dolls.

And here’s an interesting one: Plastic Culture: How Japanese Toys Conquered the World. I’m sure it would contain cultural context, and it had better mention dolls, since there’s a Blythe on the cover!

Look at the camera, dammit! The camera! SARDONIX!

Look at the camera, dammit! The camera! SARDONIX! published on 2 Comments on Look at the camera, dammit! The camera! SARDONIX!

I realized that I have never taken a portrait of my latest crop of BJDs all together. So, since today was warm and sunny [after unending days of nor’easters and gloom], we repaired to the front porch for a photo session.

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The Onion on This American Life

The Onion on This American Life published on 1 Comment on The Onion on This American Life

The Onion launches a barrage of zingers at the radio show This American Life. It is a very funny article. All the zingers find their mark as the piece deflates the bombastic, precious excesses of TAL. Here’s my favorite part, a fictional quote from TAL producer Alex Blumberg:

“At first, we were getting a lot of stories from recovered drug addicts and East African refugees living in the States, which had their compelling elements but came off a bit cloying…But then we realized that if we had overeducated people with voices rather unsuitable for radio narrate the stories with clever analogies and accessible morals, the whole thing would come off far less depressing.”

I love TAL because of the stories it tells and the characters it introduces, but I cannot stand how much obvious sweating effort it puts out all the time to come across as wry, insightful and significant. Many of the stories are pretty interesting and/or humorous already; they do not need haunting indie music to play up the affecting moments or repetitive use of Ira Glass’ “Let me get this straight; that was really an ironic moment, wasn’t it?” sort of questions. Beating the listener over the head with the score and format insults the listener’s intelligence. 

I think TAL could benefit from a format more like To The Best of Our Knowledge. TTBOOK has the same structure of a few stories on a theme, but doesn’t explicitly spell out the connections between all the pieces. It prefers instead to show some restraint and let the listener make connections by him/herself.

Results of tiramisu experimentation

Results of tiramisu experimentation published on 2 Comments on Results of tiramisu experimentation

I checked out my tiramisu made from the improvisational recipe mentioned earlier.

It looked like tiramisu, smelled like tiramisu and behaved like tiramisu. It didn’t taste quite like tiramisu, though. Things to change when I make it again:

Put more sweetener in the ricotta.

Experiment with artificial sweetener.

Possibly thin the ricotta by adding some skim milk.

Or put half whipped topping, half ricotta, to make it less sludgy.

Soak both sides of the angel food cake until it is soggy all the way through, but not disintegrating. It will harden a bit in the fridge.

Do not put cocoa on top. It tastes like chalk.

Make small experimental versions with just a few ladyfingers.

Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic

Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic published on No Comments on Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic

One of my favorite desserts is tiramisu. I do not eat it frequently, though, because it’s expensive [involving Mascarpone cheese] and complicated [involving egg whites and other daunting things]. However, in the wake of a truly tasty birthday tiramisu for a coworker last week, I sought online for tiramisu recipes. Inspired by the recipe section on Heavenly Tiramisu, I combined several recipes to create a tiramisu-like dessert for the culinarily challenged. Best of all, it involves no raw eggs, no Mascarpone cheese and no liquor!Continue reading Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic

Monogoggle prototype, now with leather!

Monogoggle prototype, now with leather! published on No Comments on Monogoggle prototype, now with leather!

I made a monogoggle prototype just now with my usual plastic cap for a lens base and bronze paint. Then I added several layers of leather, cut from an old purse, for padding around the eye. I felt confident that this might actually be a finished product and not a prototype, but then I tried it on my largest BJD’s head [Frank’s].

It covered most of his face….

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But it was the perfect size for human use!

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Notes on incoming clothes

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More for me than for you.

Will’s got his self some duds, despite lack of a head:

–blank tank by Gayle
–stretchy camo pants by Butterfly
–black vinyl skirt by pansyrocker

I was not going to get the skirt, but it was too awesome to pass up.

Frank’s also got the following on the way:

–groovy wrap dress by Dutchgirl
–altered Haund jeans with embroidered flowers by Dutchgirl

More clothes coming in means a bunch going out, hopefully at the Burlington doll club meeting this Saturday.

Jennifer also has a fabulastic wig being dreaded and accessorized by littlepinkfaery. She may not forgive me for the results [Jennifer, not littlepinkfaery].

Looking for goggles padding material

Looking for goggles padding material published on No Comments on Looking for goggles padding material

Screw caps seem to work pretty well for lens fittings on BJD-scale goggles.

I would, however, like ideas for materials to surround the lens fittings. The electric tape looks kind of cool with its telescoped out effect, but it doesn’t impersonate metal. I’ve also tried craft foam, but I can’t cut it with an even edge.

Basically I’m looking for something thick that will give me a smooth edge when cut. I may go to the thrift store tonight and look for old leather or suede accessories to mangle.

EDIT: I got an old leather purse at Goodwill tonight to use for straps and padding. Also feedback on DOA suggested that the lens cap should be shallower and there should be leather embellishments. That’s what I thought.

Pictorial tutorial on BJD monogoggle and results

Pictorial tutorial on BJD monogoggle and results published on No Comments on Pictorial tutorial on BJD monogoggle and results

I modified Brass Goggles’ tutorial on disposable steampunk goggles for humans tonight. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I took her tutorial as inspiration for some experimentation of my own based on the screw top for a small maple syrup container. The area around my desk still smells like syrup, even though I finished the monogoggle a half an hour ago. I can honestly say that this was one of the sweetest projects that I’ve done. HAR. While incredibly messy and unfinished, the experimental monogoggle looks more professional and convincing than my cardboard goggle mock-up.

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The Most Hated Family in America: BBC2 docu on Westboro Baptist Cult

The Most Hated Family in America: BBC2 docu on Westboro Baptist Cult published on 2 Comments on The Most Hated Family in America: BBC2 docu on Westboro Baptist Cult

Now making the rounds on the Net is the BBC2’s docu on the Westboro Baptist Church Cult.

With the stupendous Louis Theroux as interviewer, the crew makes its way inside the compound of Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps, his children and his children’s children, just to find out what the ministry vitriol is all about. 

Before I comment on the docu, I must praise Theroux. He’s intelligent, insightful and curious, without any shade of mockery or pretension. Theroux uses his sincere, almost ingenuous, questions to get fascinating answers [or lack of answers] out of cult members about what they believe and why they believe it. He has a talent for pushing people to answer hard questions, as well as a talent for letting people dig themselves further into holes. Yet he doesn’t  make fun of his subjects [although his dry delivery does let some ironic humor slip in]. Mostly he seems to be having fun at his job, and this sense of warmth conjures up similar friendliness in his subjects [yes, even the cult members], which makes them seem more understandable.

It is heartbreaking to watch intelligent, energetic adults waste all of their lives and mental faculties in glorification of a hatred-obsessed man. Moreover, it’s especially disturbing to watch how the third generation of cult members, from babies to college studies, suffers the power of the hate. Watch the 7-year-old boy who has no idea what the “fag troops” on his picket sign are…and yet who gets a soft drink launched at him from a passing enraged motorist. Watch the 21-year-old lawyer wanna-be that Theroux interviews in depth as she uses nervous laughter to cover her growing realization that her beliefs may be just empty platitudes. Upon viewing this documentary, you get a different angle on the repulsiveness that is the Westboro Baptist Church. You see not only how they do violence to the targets of their pickets, but to their own members.

Find the docu on Youtube here. While you’re at it, check out Theroux’s earlier interview with born-again Christians. It’s an interesting complement to the Westboro Cult docu because you can see the same messages of absolutism [only the believers will be saved, and we are the only believers], but with a completely different delivery.

Submit, Sardonix and the mini Cadbury chocolate egg

Submit, Sardonix and the mini Cadbury chocolate egg published on No Comments on Submit, Sardonix and the mini Cadbury chocolate egg

Size is relative, as illustrated in this photostory about a sizeable piece of candy. Sardonix appears to have pissed off even the perpetually cheerful Submit. What will happen? Stay tuned.

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Dog goggles as BJD goggles?

Dog goggles as BJD goggles? published on 1 Comment on Dog goggles as BJD goggles?

Doggles sells eyewear for dogs. There are many different colors and sizes, as well as swappable lenses!! The sizing chart seems to suggest that an XS size would fit your standard 60 or 70cm BJD’s head. [I assume that the “head size” refers to circumference.] According to some more detailed stats, the XS head band adjusts from 5 to 13 inches, and the lenses are 1 inch high and 1.25 inches wide.

Doggiduds also sells goggles for dogs. No changeable lenses, but slightly cheaper.

EDIT: I just bought a pair of the XS smoke/chrome ones…strictly for research purposes, you know. $18.00, free shipping…and that was the lowest I could find after shopping around. Hopefully I can customize them with steamy, punky gimcracks… EAT MY PRICE TAG, ANOTHERSPACE!

Notes on goggles

Notes on goggles published on 1 Comment on Notes on goggles

Anotherspace sells goggles for dolls. It boggles my mind that the price is $42.00 for a pair of 60cm goggles with leather frames. Why are they so freakin’ expensive? Is it the leather?

Here’s an aviator outfit for teddy bears, including goggles.

Here are some white goggles, along with a swimsuit, from Build A Bear.

Here are some human-sized brass and leather goggles for inspiration.

Here’s a TUTORIAL on how to make brass[ish??] and leather human-sized goggles out of escutcheons and old belts…

Here’s an Instructable about modding welder’s goggles to make human-sized steampunk goggles.

Sardonix’ pink hat

Sardonix’ pink hat published on 1 Comment on Sardonix’ pink hat

Thwarted in my quest to refine the goggles because all the craft stores were closed today, I worked on my crocheting skills. Instead of using a small yarn that showed my mistakes more clearly, I chose a soft, fuzzy, pink yarn that camouflages skipped stitches and irregular gaps! It is called Caron Bliss, Article BL1000, Color 0002 Cotton Candy. I think I got it at Walmart. I liked how soft and violently bright it was. Sardonix, however, did not. See discussion and pictures below.

I worked this hat differently than Submit’s smaller hats. I used a 2-1-2-1-2 series of stitches in an unjoined spiral for the crown. I continued this pattern of stitches until the crown seemed the right size to fit over Sardonix’ head. Then I began to do circles of single crochets with each row joined. Thus I made the sides until I tried that hat on her and it covered her ears. As a result, I got a lopsided [as usual], irregular hat, but the frothiness of the yarn disguises most of my mistakes.

I’m more pleased than I expected with this hat. Having purchased the yarn for its obnoxious properties, I did not expect to produce a project that I was proud of. The messy, forgiving weave of the yarn worked to my advantage, though, creating a serviceable hat that looks much less atrocious than I feared. While I have not achieved the evenness and perfection of my fiancee’s crocheting [she’s the one who taught me], I am slowly mastering hats and becoming less self-conscious about my abilities. I won’t be selling any time soon [not unless anyone particularly wants a fuzzy pile of crocheted cotton candy vomit], but I slowly approach my goal: neatly done amigurumi animals.
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Prototype goggles for Frank

Prototype goggles for Frank published on 2 Comments on Prototype goggles for Frank

This evening, using the pattern mentioned in the previous entry, I constructed a pair of lensless prototype goggles for Frank. I used cardboard for the frames, masking tape as an adhesive and rubber bands for the nose piece and the head straps. Since I was scaling down a human pattern, I guessed on the measurements. The actual size of the frames looks correct, but the side pieces are clearly too deep. I also made the mistake of using a stretchy material for the nose piece so that the goggles stretched out to look wall-eyed. Despite these first-time blunders, i proved to myself that I could indeed construct goggles. With better materials and more refined measurements, these will look pretty cool. The picture of just one of Frank’s eyes gives a sense of how neat these will be when drafted again and finished! Reference pictures below.

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Custom sculpted BJD heads from DIM studios

Custom sculpted BJD heads from DIM studios published on 1 Comment on Custom sculpted BJD heads from DIM studios

Denny Kim, representative of Doll In Mind, struck up a thread about likeness BJDs earlier this year. After an initial spurt of interest and a round of orders in mid-February, the first set of custom sculpts are surfacing on DOA with model photos for comparison.

Oh, the results are beautiful! The talented sculptors working for DIM have a genius for translating photos into 3-D likenesses. The amount of accuracy varies, depending on whether a person choses a stylized likeness [50% similar to photos] or a realistic likeness [80% similar to photos], but overall the results are impressive. All the sculpts so far capture the recognizable, essential details that make each commission individual; furthermore, even though the sculpts are drawn from photos with neutral expressions, this does not mean a bland or vapid look. Each example sculpt so far shows an expression that is flexible enough to be interpreted in multiple ways, but still indelibly stamped with the likeness of the model photos.

Now I’m thinking that I’d like a Mini Mee custom head for Will, rather than a Sabik. It would be much cheaper than getting a whole doll of which I would only use the head. [The Mini Mee price runs about $400, excluding shipping, for 2 heads. But I don’t need 2 heads!!] But I do not know if the Mini Mee heads will be offered again; the continuation of the project depends on the level of interest. I also don’t know exactly what model pictures I would use for Will…

Crochet hat #2

Crochet hat #2 published on 3 Comments on Crochet hat #2

Submit likes the 1:6 blue hat I crocheted for her. I also think she likes Frank… My crochet skills are slowly improving, although I find working in the round more challenging than straight lines [e.g., a scarf]. I keep messing up the counts when I’m increasing each round. I also still have problems figuring out where to poke the needle for the next single crochet. Despite these obstacles, I produced a small serviceable hat on the second try. It even looks like a hat too, which is more than I can say for the pith helmet. Pictures below.

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If you think this is messy…

If you think this is messy… published on 2 Comments on If you think this is messy…

…you should have seen it before I cleaned it up with the paint remover. I am returning to my dolly roots lately with some 1:6 makeovers. Using BBI’s latest issue of the Perfect Bodies, I’m making yet another head for my 1:6 Frank doll. I repainted the eyes brown and made them glance to the side. I also added shading around eyes and nose with paint. The eye shadow, blush and lip shading is done with pastels. Stupendously enough, I’m actually much better with pastels now than I used to be. I still need to find some appropriately curly, dark brown hair with in-scale, small curls…

Fashion whack-offs for Will…

Fashion whack-offs for Will… published on 1 Comment on Fashion whack-offs for Will…
Divas By Design’s crop top with froofy cuffs would look smashing in this rich raspberry color.

I like the concept of this outfit — cranberry leather, many grommets, complicated laces and bared flesh — adapted for a male doll.

Pink pirate shirt!

I like the needlessly complicated neck ties on this shirt.

Oh yeah…and while I’m at it…

Jpopdolls carries a line of wigs in promising styles, but I am not sure if they would fit Sabik’s comparatively large head. Here is Winds, actually a fair approximation of Will’s hair length and cut. There are also some by the inauspicious style name of BJ, but I can’t find them on the Jpop Web site.  B-100 needs a trim on the bangs, but comes in ridiculous colors.

Custom fur wigs, including two-tone ones and ones in various lengths, can be purchased at Wicked Wigs. Punk Stripe colors: Pink and black combo, pink and red, orange and black, orange and brown, orange and red, pink and orange!!

Guro goes more mainstream?

Guro goes more mainstream? published on 4 Comments on Guro goes more mainstream?

Not Doll Lab’s Miriam looks like their earlier release [EDIT: DollMore’s] Banji [translucent skin, round eyes, pursed lips], although larger and more mature. I like the sculpt, but the shallow cuts all over her body distract me. I can’t think about the aesthetic appeal of the doll or the paint job when I’m trying to wonder how someone would receive such wounds. I can only guess that she peeled off her pajamas and went sleepwalking through the raspberry canes, in which case the whole conceit appears silly, rather than edgy. Also…what the heck is that background…raisins on a sheepskin rug??

Crochet practice: a hat [?]

Crochet practice: a hat [?] published on 3 Comments on Crochet practice: a hat [?]

Before moving on to animals, I will practice making hats first. My initial attempt at a hat turned out lopsided and pathetic. However, Submit was much more gracious about my crocheting than Sardonix was!

Frank and Submit go so well together. His character definitely has maternal inclinations.

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Your Web comic assignment: Venus Envy

Your Web comic assignment: Venus Envy published on 1 Comment on Your Web comic assignment: Venus Envy

Erin Lindsey writes Venus Envy, which is about Zoe, a teenaged [at least when the series starts] transgirl and her awkward, hilarious life. The strip moves quickly in snapshot vignettes, mostly lighthearted and downright silly, but occasionally very heartfelt. I’m not so keen on the art [well, I’m just at the beginning of the archive], but I do enjoy the sympathetic characters and continuous slapstick. It’s a very playful comic. Read it ’cause it’s funny!

EDIT: The art improves vastly.

The impatient person says, “Dammit!”

The impatient person says, “Dammit!” published on No Comments on The impatient person says, “Dammit!”

Those persons realizing that Sabik is too big for their tastes are now selling him. Unfortunately, his body, clothes and hefty shipping price come along with him. The price jacks from $650.00 [nude, no faceup, shipping included] direct from Soom to ~$925.00-$950.00 on the secondary market. It’s frustrating to see la poupee available but unreachable, especially since I want Sabik’s head more and more as I see more pictures of it.

Anyone want a CP NS MNF Ruth head?

Anyone want a CP NS MNF Ruth head? published on 1 Comment on Anyone want a CP NS MNF Ruth head?

I thought I wanted one, but I want Sabik’s head more. However, I already agreed to a split with someone else, so I ordered a CP MNF Ruth Special so he could have the sleeping head and the body and I could have the awake head. But now I don’t want the awake head. I ordered it today, no faceup, so it should be arriving in 2-3 weeks. Ruth isn’t available in parts, so, if you like the head, this is your chance to get it. Any interest?

Will’s lack of fashion sense in 1:3

Will’s lack of fashion sense in 1:3 published on No Comments on Will’s lack of fashion sense in 1:3

I have learned from my survey that clothes for male dolls, just like mainstream clothes for male people, tends to be boring and conservative. According to most designers, black is about as edgy as it gets.

CheeryDoll white ruffled transparent blouse, black leather vest with corset back, black leather pants $152.00

CheeryDoll collared floral orange shirt with detachable sleeves $17.00

Iplehouse weird brown floral long-sleeved button-up shirt $24.20

Iplehouse black net shirt $30.80

Iplehouse baggy black jeans $55.00

Iplehouse black baggy zippered cargo pants $57.50

Iplehouse black leather jacket, pants and hat with many belts and ties $160.00

And some stuff from DollMore, which I can’t order, but which may provide ideas:

DollMore wrap long pants

DollMore black shirt with bell sleeves

DollMore leather trench

DollMore black leather tank top

DollMore basic black tank

Other:

jessicadolls high-heeled boots in many colors, fit uncertain

Dollovely wine broomstick skirt $10.00

Dollovely aqua lace crop top $25.00

Hot pink suede lace-up pants [for 45cm dolls]

Red silk blouse [for 45cm dolls]

Dollovely three-toned pink broomstick skirt for Model Doll girls $25.00

Lycra dress [for skirt inspiration]

Simple tank top [for midriff shirt inspiration] $15.00

Fuschia peasant dress [for blouse and skirt inspiration] $65.00

 

Ideal purchases:

red, orange or pink lace crop top in the style of Dollovely aqua lace crop top

black bellbottoms in the style of Hot pink suede lace-up pants [for 45cm dolls]

silk blouse [color not important] in the style of Red silk blouse [for 45cm dolls]

black tank in the style of Simple tank top [for midriff shirt inspiration] 

Dollovely three-toned pink broomstick skirt for Model Doll girls $25.00

Will’s [complete and utter lack of] fashion sense

Will’s [complete and utter lack of] fashion sense published on 1 Comment on Will’s [complete and utter lack of] fashion sense

A quick survey of LHF reveals the following instances:

Hair
pink with bangs
brown with bangs
pink spikes
white spikes
orange spikes
red spikes

Tops
tank with vertical pastel stripes
lime green muscle shirt with lavender trim
transparent pink paisley midriff top with bell sleeves
baggy black tank
white mesh short-sleeved top
black mesh long-sleeved midriff shirt
transparent pink diamond printed midriff top with 3/4 sleeves
olive drab muscle shirt
one-strap violently pink midriff tank
white short-sleeved pinstripe button-up shirt
black T-shirt
black leather corset

Jackets
sleeveless black pleather trench
black pinstripe blazer
black leather trench
leopard print long coat

Bottoms
silver low-riding bell-bottoms
brown low-riding curdoroy bell-bottoms
dusty rose low-riding stretch bell-bottoms
purple pleather pants with pink and gold flames
denim surfer shorts
black pleather hot pants
burgundy leather pants with white racing stripes
red, white and black camo bell-bottoms
olive drab cargo pants
wide-legged blue denim skater jeans with patches
grey nylon gym pants
pink miniskirt
tan shorts

Accessories
multiple golden bangle bracelets
black fishnet arm warmers
violently hot pink arm warmers
pink paisley sash
black leather belt
black fishnets

Shoes
black platform high-heeled Mary Janes
gold high-heeled boots
black calf-high high-heeled leather boots
red thigh-high high-heeled vinyl boots
black leather boots

Gear
plastic fuschia camera bag with shoulder strap
lavender cell phone

Other
Frank N. Furter costume

Wow, this survey makes my brain hurt. Will clearly favors red and black, although he’s very partial to shades of pink and green as well. He has a frightening affinity for midriff-baring, transparent shirts, as well as an affinity for bellbottoms, especially when paired with the midriff-baring, transparent shirts. Since he likes trench coats, wide legs and bell sleeves in general, I assume he likes clothes that move loosely and dramatically. [I can just see him as a wizard practicing his robe-swirling maneuvers.] If I had gone any further in the story, I would have had to find some loose, long, light skirts for him. Anyway, it’s absolutely impossible to miss him when he walks by, what with the brain-hurting clothes and the racket made by his high heels and his bracelets. What a fun character to make a doll of!

Sabik’s head fits on a Dollshe body!!

Sabik’s head fits on a Dollshe body!! published on 3 Comments on Sabik’s head fits on a Dollshe body!!

Someone over at DOA provided pictures of Sabik’s head on a 70cm Dollshe boy body, concluding that the results were a scary failure. I disagree. The head looks slightly too large, but that’s not a problem, for a few reasons…

First of all, a Sabik head on a Dollshe body is about 7 heads high. The ideally proportioned male body is 8 heads high, but real people show great variation, so it is possible that a male could be 7 heads high. 

Second of all, the Sabik head fits in stylistically on a Dollshe body. The Dollshe body is characterized by a lean physique, elongated rectangular forms and fine detail. Sabik’s head also has elongated rectangular forms and fine detail. While the Sabik head may be a bit too big, its stylistic harmony with the Dollshe body overcomes some of the size difference.

Finally, the largeness of Sabik’s head can be mitigated with creative costuming and posing. I’ve already had experience with a big-headed doll, Frank, a Yukinojo head on a Bella Auden body, and I’ve learned that certain angles [de-emphasizing the poofy hair] and certain outfits [balloon sleeves to add bulk to his scrawny arms] compensate well for the size difference between his head and the rest of him.  If a Sabik/Dollshe hybrid were clothed and photographed with a modicum of skill, I believe that it would look great.

All of this is, of course, a neat way of convincing myself that a Sabik head would work on Jareth’s body so I could make a Will doll. Picture below.

I’m back on to wanting Sabik…

I’m back on to wanting Sabik… published on 1 Comment on I’m back on to wanting Sabik…

That’s the 80 cm Mecha Angel by Soom. Actually, I just want his head because it would be a great 1:3 likeness of my favorite character from Love Has Fangs. No, not Anneka, but Will.

Will is a very amusing character. Anneka has a sense of style, but Will doesn’t. I always got the feeling that he never quite understood the norms of clothing and social presentation and just wore whatever he wanted. In the case of the representation below, I can just see him saying, “Oh, I like red…red’s good…and purple’s not bad either,” then just sticking all of those colors on his face. His look veers close to the stylized make-up of certain formerly elegant old ladies, not really drag-like, but definitely bright and noticeable.

Me: “You do know that you look like a mime, right?”

Will: “Is that bad?”

Here is me messing around with a modified photo of a front view of Sabik.

Sardonix’ scarf goes to good use…

Sardonix’ scarf goes to good use… published on 2 Comments on Sardonix’ scarf goes to good use…

Last night I wired Submit’s arms with pipe cleaners so that she has a greater range of motion in her wrists and elbows. After the ordeal of disassembly, she quickly fell asleep in the most convenient area: Sardonix’ scarf.

Do not do this to your doll, part II — close-ups of Zephque

Do not do this to your doll, part II — close-ups of Zephque published on 1 Comment on Do not do this to your doll, part II — close-ups of Zephque

We continue with the illustriously bad example of customizations on my first BJD, Zephque. These pictures come from his for sale posts in November, 2005. Read and weep. 

Do NOT use a combination of Prismacolor and charcoal pencil to redo the eyebrows.

Do NOT paint lips in a single thick layer of a single color.

Do NOT try to take your doll’s eyes out unless you know what are doing. The first time I tried to fiddle with Zephque’s eyes, I cut myself on the stems. Then I broke one of the eyes, which I eventually scraped out, in pieces, along with some eye putty. I stuck a clear marble in the socket, and that eye never caught light again.

Other things to avoid:

Do NOT make your doll a cross-dresser unless there’s a really good reason for it. “I like bishie fag boys”  is not a good reason. “My character’s a sort of executive transvestite who’s seriously confused about his gender presentation because his mom wanted him to be a girl” is more acceptable…marginally.

Do NOT make your doll a vampire or something supernatural and/or undead unless there’s a really good reason for it. “Vampirism is so sexy and so, like, deep” is not a good reason. “This is my story character in resin form who explores the symbolic connections between vampirism and psychological deviance” is okay…maybe.

Do NOT give your doll a name involving apostrophes, unorthodox use of capitalization and/or gratuitous diphthongs. “Because it’s cool” is not a good reason because it’s NEVER COOL to call your doll something like Zephque d’Amaranth. Try something like Sardonix Sanguinarius instead.

I think Sardonix needs a NO BISHIES T-shirt, like the NO SMOKING sign, BISHIES with a line through it.

Diatribe aside, I retain much fondness for Zephque. He helped to catalyze my interest in BJDs, photostories, Love Has Fangs, photography in general. I also feel some affection for the character, who was simultaneously melodramatic and brittle, sensitive and repressed. He always seemed rather afraid of himself, of admitting what he truly desired; thus he paralleled my own uncertainty at that time. Now that I have more confidence, my dolls manifest more ebullient attitudes, but I certainly don’t want to dismiss Zephque because one has to be fragile and overprotective before one flourishes in flaming fabulosity [if that’s not a word, I made it up].

Don’t do this to your doll — “for sale” pictures of Zephque

Don’t do this to your doll — “for sale” pictures of Zephque published on 1 Comment on Don’t do this to your doll — “for sale” pictures of Zephque

Back in May, 2004, I got my first BJD, a Custom House Gene, for the ungodly sum of $675.00.

I named him Zephque d’Amaranth and enjoyed him immensely. He sparked my first photostory, an interaction between my 1:6 alter ego and him that eventually developed into Love Has Fangs. 

Anyway, after playing with him for a while, I liked him less than I did originally. I also saw many more BJDs debuting that were more attractive in weight, poseability, sculpt and price. So I sold him in November, 2005. Below are some of the “for sale” photos that I took to illustrate my post on DOA. You’ll get to see how NOT to take pictures and how NOT to modify your doll…

Do NOT pierce ears with a hot needle, as this may cause cracking and staining in the resin.

Do NOT tattoo your doll with a mixture of colored pencils, water-based markers and ballpoint pens and then seal it with matte paint varnish.
    

Do NOT try moving temporary tattoos on your doll before they are dry, as this will cause the design to peel off. On second thought, don’t put huge temp tattoos on your doll…it just looks tacky.

 

And, for the sweet bleeding love of Christ on a Pogo Stick up a tree without a paddle, DO NOT seal the tattoo with thick layers of varnish that you apply with a dirty paintbrush.

Stay tuned…scary faceup details in the next entry.

Small =/= cheap

Small =/= cheap published on 1 Comment on Small =/= cheap

Many children’s toys, especially mass-produced stuffed animals and dolls, are relatively inexpensive.

For example. a 5″ high plush bear, floppy and stuffed with beans, costs under $10.00. A simple fashion doll, like Ballerina Barbie, goes for $5.00-$8.00. More to the point, outfits for playline dolls tend to be relatively inexpensive. Slutz Bratz clothing packs top out at about $10.00, as do those for Barbie. Only Hearts Club, a preppy line of preteen girl dolls, sells outfits for a slightly higher price, around $15.00. 

With these general parameters in mind, you can see why I assume that clothes for Submit should be easy to find and cheap. While she is not a children’s toy, she is close enough in size to many mass-produced dolls [e.g., Slutz and OHC] to wear their clothes. Therefore, I should be able to find her good, cheap clothes, right?

Well, it clearly depends on where I purchase. Thanks to trial and error on doll boards such as DOA and ZOZ [that’s Zone of Zen, my newest membership, a smaller, more close-knit group], I know what playline doll clothes fit Submit. Thus, just now, I purchased about $60 of OHC outfits for her [hard to find stuff without pastels and pink, goddammit].

But, if I go to the Elfdoll site itself, I find astronomically different prices for Hana Angel and Devil clothes. Apparently the site isn’t cooperating, but, for example, it was selling a red long-sleeved shirt and denim overalls for $33.00. For comparable pricing, see Cheerydoll USA, where a set of beanie, long-sleeved shirt and denim overalls runs $60.00. Wait a minute…that’s not comparable; that’s almost double Elfdoll’s similar offering!! I accept that Cheerydoll provides high quality and that small-scale sewing requires finer work than 1:1 sewing, but what justifies such a disparity in pricing? Personally, I’d knock the Elfdoll price down by $10.00 and the Cheerydoll price down by $30.00. Then the prices would be more in range with the clothes for similar 8″ collector’s dolls, like Kish Riley [pants for which can cost $26.00 alone — a big shock to someone looking for a simple pair of overalls, goddammit].

As you can tell from the frequent swearing, I’m having difficulty producing an appropriate wardrobe for Submit. I’ve scrounged among my 1:6 clothes, which gives her enough to tide her over until her OHC stuff arrives.

Speaking of scrounging through 1:6 stuff, I still need to offload a lot of 1:6 furniture and some clothes because I’m much less active in 1:6 now. Plus the extra stuff is taking up valuable storage space.

Submit’s here!

Submit’s here! published on 1 Comment on Submit’s here!

Submit, my Elfdoll Hana, arrived today. When I inspected her, I clarified a few things. As much as I enjoy modding dolls, Submit is too attractive and well-made and generally endearing to change. Therefore she no longer has a conjoined sister. She is just a singular little demon with a different disposition than originally planned. Instead of peein in ur sodaz, she prefers to ride her bike and play Scrabble. She likes practical wear for outdoor games and does not like dresses, skirts and frills. She has an intellectual, introverted bent, probably because she is not evil at all, even though demons are expected to be at the very least mischievous. She is probably a mini dyke in the making. 😀 She will be an interesting counterpoint to the explosive, sarcastic, impulsive Sardonix. Pictures eventually…

Wonderfully gory made-over porcelain dolls

Wonderfully gory made-over porcelain dolls published on 1 Comment on Wonderfully gory made-over porcelain dolls

The dolls on this site would eat the scads of sensitive vampires and angsty zombies over at DOA for lunch. Sardonix would probably make friends with them… I like them very much. They look much more appropriate to me than the procelain dolls that they were originally. Thanks to Bastet2329, I will direct my hostile urges toward stereotypical undead characters into creative endeavors…

Scarf 2, Sardonix 0

Scarf 2, Sardonix 0 published on 1 Comment on Scarf 2, Sardonix 0

I made another scarf this weekend, blue, for Jennifer. Compared to rainbow scarf #1, blue scarf #2 features stupendously even gauge and small, accurate stitches. If Jennifer were a real person, it would keep her warm. Naturally, Sardonix coveted it… This story was supposed to document my improving crochet skills, but Jennifer and Sardonix are hogging the camera.




A beautiful elf girl doll

A beautiful elf girl doll published on 1 Comment on A beautiful elf girl doll

UniDoll’s Limited UH-14 strongly attracts me. Her heavy eyelids and thoughtful, pouty lips give her a plush, romantic look enhanced by her creamy complexion. She’s been reminding me of an earlier doll, but I only put my finger on the resemblance just now. UH-14 looks like Soom Kyrie. Check out comparison pictures below.

I don’t have a problem with the resemblance at all. It’s nice to know that, if I really wanted a doll like UH-17, I could easily [and cheaply] get one similar by purchasing and modding a Kyrie.

Here’s Kyrie:

Here’s UH-14:

i’m in ur fridge peein in ur sodaz

i’m in ur fridge peein in ur sodaz published on No Comments on i’m in ur fridge peein in ur sodaz

Choo cha!! I just won an Ebay auction for Elfdoll’s Devil Hana. I’m bringing home the single doll and turning it into the dicephalus conjoined twins that I mentioned previously. They are called Delenda and Submit.

Submit, the annoying, rambunctious, sadistic one, has brown bobbed hair. Her name comes from one of my ancestors. It’s clearly supposed to contrast with her character. Delenda, the reserved, thoughtful one, has dreadlocked pink hair. Her name comes from the gerundive of necessity in Latin, demonstrated in the sentence “Carthago delenda est,” which means “Carthage must be destroyed!” Delenda and Submit do not get along in terms of character, but they do love to ride their bike together. I think they are small demon-like creatures from the same realm as Sardonix [who is a succubus, in case you didn’t know].

This post gets its title from one of the Hana Devil’s faceplates, which is a big squinty smirk. It’s an “I just peed in your soda!” expression if I’ve ever seen one.

Sardonix to emo dollies: “Bitch, please!”

Sardonix to emo dollies: “Bitch, please!” published on 2 Comments on Sardonix to emo dollies: “Bitch, please!”

This photostory is Sardonix’ reaction to the infestation of unoriginal characters on DOA. Now that I’ve gotten this out of my system, we return to our regularly scheduled weirdness…



Sardonix lives up to her name.

Sardonix lives up to her name. published on 2 Comments on Sardonix lives up to her name.

She is not impressed with the scarf that I made. Neither am I, for that matter. You haven’t seen it yet, but my stitches have become much more even, my tension more consistent and the results much neater. I still favor the rainbow yarn, though. HAHAAAHAH.

The final word on Den of Demons

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This is what I said in a post to

  about the Den of Demons: 

 

My experience with DOD is that the most of the members like to rip on anything that is unusual and imperfectly done. For example, my Jareth, modded Hound, was deformed according to my specifications by Armeleia, but he has been pooped on at DOD because he’s so unusual. My Frank, a Yukinojo on a Model Doll Girl body, has been pooped on for a bold, schematic make-up [done by me in a manner obviously different from the super-smooth and realistic look favored by many persons for their BJDs’ faceups]. Admittedly, a small vocal minority of DODers also say that my dolls’ looks are strong, original and aesthetically interesting, but DOD leaves the overall impression of closed minds.

All of this is to say that you should not compare your results to their opinions. Compare your results to your previous efforts, Timmian to Bastian, for example — worlds of difference, more subtlety and finer detail on Timmian! Compare your results to informed persons…to anything but the poopings of bitter persons with too much time and too few brains.

I do find DOD salutary in sporadic doses because its venom balances out the unremitting sweetness, light and veiled animosity of DOA. Other than that, I do not find it useful.

 

Doll bases for Hana conjoined twins

Doll bases for Hana conjoined twins published on No Comments on Doll bases for Hana conjoined twins

Dolls to hack up for a set of Elfdoll Hana conjoined twins:

Kish Riley: 8″, jointed at neck. Torso is narrow, neck kinda short.

Tonner Tiny Kitty: 10″, multi-jointed. Torso very curvy, neck a bit longer than Riley’s.

Tonner Marley: 12″, multi-jointed. Torso less curvy, neck a bit longer than Riley’s.

Tonner Ellowyne: 12″, multi-jointed. Same body as Tiny Kitty?

Ginny: 8″, jointed at neck. Torso wide, neck kinda short.

Lying, cheating, contaminated doll plagiarists

Lying, cheating, contaminated doll plagiarists published on 1 Comment on Lying, cheating, contaminated doll plagiarists

If I determine, through my own judgment, that a BJD company has committed plagiarism of another company’s designs, I can never support that company in any way again. Here is my list of permanently contaminated companies and why I can never touch them:

I can’t touch Bobobie because they knocked off MythDoll Wujee.

I can’t touch DollZone because they knocked off Volks Yukinojo.

I can’t touch LaiDoll because they knocked off Luts White Riche and Black Riche outfits.

I can’t touch DollMore because they knocked off Dollshe Hound. Of all the companies that I can’t touch, the inclusion of DollMore on the list saddens me the most. Before they got stupid, sloppy and illegal, they made solid, attractive, well-articulated dolls and a variety of affordable, stylish clothing. I really like my modded DollMore Bella Auden body [for Frank — incidentally uncontaminated because she was produced and purchased BEFORE DollMore’s slide into lying, cheating and contamination]. As recent blog entries attest, I also really like DollMore clothes, but I can’t buy them any more because some sneaky idiot thought it would be a brilliant idea to use a copy of Dollshe Hound molds to make the DollMore Model Doll boys. How lazy, stupid and criminal can you get?

I’ll update the list if I judge any other BJD companies idiots to have plagiarized.

Recommended media: A Way With Words and Quirks & Quarks

Recommended media: A Way With Words and Quirks & Quarks published on 1 Comment on Recommended media: A Way With Words and Quirks & Quarks

I like A Way With Words, hosted by one of my favorite etymologists, Martha Barnette, along with slang dictionary author Grant Barrett. For about 45 minutes every week, the two answer callers’ questions about grammar, punctuation and slang. They also host listener quizzes about slang and solve language puzzles themselves. I rev up my inner word geek with A Way With Words every Monday morning since the shows originally air on Sundays. 

Additionally, the LoreMistress of Rampant Bicycles mentioned CBC’s weekly science program, Quirks & Quarks, to me last week. Since then, I have been slowly moving through the archives. With a robust catalog of shows going back years, Q&Q is a round-up of experts speaking on current scientific topics of interest and answering your questions. So far I’ve learned about growing new bladders for persons with spina bifida, the names dolphins give to themselves, the challenges of sampling ice at the North Pole, how to find planets around distant stars, etc. With a new downloadable hour every week, Q&Q will introduce you to many fascinating bits of information and make you feel smart.

Both A Way With Words and Q&Q have entered my regular rotation of programs I listen to at work. Add them to your bookmarks and increase your brains!

Dicephalus conjoined twin BJDs

Dicephalus conjoined twin BJDs published on No Comments on Dicephalus conjoined twin BJDs

So I’m casually thinking about making a pair of dicephalus conjoined twin BJDs that are like my favorite pair of conjoined twins, Abby and Britty Hensel. Below is a list of possibilities for making my set of doll twins. I really don’t care if you’re not interested. I’m just writing this down so that my ideas will not bother me while I’m trying to work, sleep, crochet, write, walk home or otherwise function in a sane manner.

Elfdoll Tiny Hana base. This was my original idea because I love the expressive neutral, frowning, sleeping and smiling Hana faces. However, I would need to create another back-of-head for one of the twins because the Hanas don’t come with 4 separate heads, but 1 back-of-head and 4 faceplates. Also, Elfdoll does not sell the bodies separately, so I’d either have to do a lot of original modding to the single body or buy two or transfer the heads to other tiny BJD bodies… Either way, it’s an expensive option, since the Hanas cost $350 per without s/h. Two of them would mean a $700 pair of twins without s/h. It’s also the most complicated option, since the single-piece Elfdoll tiny torso does not offer as simple a mod as a two-piece would.

Orientdoll Joong base. This was my second idea; I thought I would continue with the 8″ BJD size [like Elfdoll Hana], but purchase the twins from a company that sells parts. Joong heads run $65 unpainted [x 2 = $130], and bodies run $115 [x 2 = $220], so, at $350 without s/h, I’d have all the parts needed for the twins. On the good side, Orientdoll Joongs are affordable. On the bad side, I don’t really like the 8″ BJDs, now that I think about it, and the OD 8″ sculpts don’t thrill me.

Orientdoll Dae base. This is a variation of my second idea since I like the 45cm OD sculpts much better. Unpainted Dae heads are $93 [x 2 = $186] and bodies $152 [x2 = $304], so, at $490 without s/h, they wouldn’t be that bad. They’re affordable, but the one-piece torsos would be a needlessly complex mod.

Soom Uyoo base. This is the cheapest version I’ve come up with, since I could get 1 body and 2 heads [“Uyoo & R. Uyoo Replacement”] for $268 unpainted without s/h. Uyoo’s close resemblance to an Obitsu or plastic fashion doll means that I wouldn’t need to get a second body. I could just use some plastic doll parts to create the second half-torso + neck, which I would attach to the whole doll with Aves Apoxie Sculpt, then paint to match. So all parts would be cheap, as would clothes, since I have many 1:6 clothes. Uyoo’s two-part torso would make the mod easy. Plus the two heads, one open-eyed, one closed-eyed, would fit my requirement for easily differentiated, but similar, characters. But…still…I resist doing the conjoined twins in Uyoo size. I might as well just make them with vinyl action figures, like BBI’s Perfect Body figs or something. A set of dicephalus conjoined twins made of Uyoos would be affordable, but also too much like modding I’ve already done. I feel the need to hack into BJDs aggressively on a larger scale….

Bobobie 43cm base. These are pretty cheap too. The girl bodies would be $108 each and the heads $50 each, for a total of $316 before s/h. But I don’t like the Bobobie sculpts and, more importantly, they are lying, cheating, ripping-off plagiarists [of MythDoll’s 60cm Wujee, among other things], and I cannot support them by buying anything from them. I considered them only for price and then only fleetingly.

DollZone 43cm base. These are also cheap. Full dolls are only $199, not sure how much parts are, so the twins would be $398 before s/h. Too bad their sculpts are all squashed and squinty, and, more importantly, they are lying, cheating, ripping-off plagiarists [of Volks’ SD16 Yukinojo, among other things], and I cannot support them, etc.

Latidoll Blue [43cm] base. At $280 for an unpainted full girl, that would make my twins $560 before s/h. The body is one of the most poseable and beautiful in the scale, and the double torso joint makes for easy modding, but I don’t like the sculpts much…

Narindoll [45cm] base.
Narins have the best heads for this… They have the possibility of open mouths and eyes open or closed at different levels for great differentiation. But they are the most expensive. 2 unpainted Narins are $900 before s/h!! I wouldn’t want to touch dolls that cost that much!

My ideal dicephalus conjoined twins would be Elfdoll tiny Hana devils, but that’s out of my price range [$700, no thank you] and involves too much aggressive modding.

Therefore my second choice would be two Narin heads, a sleeping optional Narae [fully closed eyes + open mouth] and Butterfly Narae [fully open eyes + closed mouth] at $150 each, for a total of $300 before s/h. And then they would have a <$200 body [where?] with an extra neck created from a Gene or a Tyler doll attached with Aves Apoxie Sculpt, bwah hah hah hah! [This is my genius idea to avoid getting another expensive resin body.]

While I’m thinking out loud for alternative twins, perhaps I could do OD Il head and OD Cheong head [total = $186 without s/h] on an OD girl body [$152] = $338 before s/h + Gene torso contributions + Aves Apoxie Sculpt [with a lot of hacking to mod the one-piece OD torso].

I could make an affordable alternative to Narin twins using an OD base, even though OD has a one-piece torso. I’d just have to slice the OD torso under the boobs and mod only the top part, then smooth a lot of Aves Apoxie between the two neck stems and between the wide upper torso and the skinnier abdomen. But it could work.

I am learning how to crochet.

I am learning how to crochet. published on No Comments on I am learning how to crochet.

Eventually, I will pervert one, some or all of the following patterns:

Mouse: http://www.crochetville.org/forum/showthread.php?t=27075

Tiny teddy bear: http://www.mielkesfarm.com/teddy_pat.htm

Tiny sitting bear: http://www.craftbits.com/viewProject.do?projectID=1694

Nauseatingly cute little seals: http://www.critters2crochet.com/inde…ealpattern.htm

7″ bear: http://home.wideopenwest.com/~sag55/angelbear.html

Snail: http://www.fortheloveofyarn.com/Issues/Spring06/patterns/spring06_snail.shtml

Rabbit: http://ballostringdesigns.com/free/bunny.html

And a bunch of links to crocheting patterns here: http://www.myhq.com/public/c/r/crochetpoet/

Hell Queen + Kala = happy Sardonix!

Hell Queen + Kala = happy Sardonix! published on 1 Comment on Hell Queen + Kala = happy Sardonix!

Today I got DollHeart’s Kala outfit in the mail. I combined pieces from each set to make Sardonix an appropriately regal and slightly menacing emsemble. Choker, skirt and severely awesome shoes are from the Kala outfit, while the bodice and the peignoir are from the Hell Queen outfit. The Devil card is from my miniature Rider-Waite set, while the Death card is from the New Palladini Tarot by David Palladini. Pictures below.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/hellqueen/IMG_0006.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/hellqueen/IMG_0024.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/hellqueen/IMG_0029.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/hellqueen/IMG_0064.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/hellqueen/IMG_0074.JPG

Origami slippers!

Origami slippers! published on No Comments on Origami slippers!

After much swearing at incoherent directions, I have successfully completed a pair of slippers made from real, live origami paper. Sardonix models below. Note: If you ever want to do origami, I highly recommend drafting the patterns with scrap paper until you know what you’re doing. Only then should you start with the true origami paper…

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/slippers/001.JPG

Sardonix will upgrade.

Sardonix will upgrade. published on No Comments on Sardonix will upgrade.

The unofficial neck mod that Angel Toast did is not working out well. The added thickness of the neck reduces Sardonix’ mobility. Therefore, I am buying another Thaasa torso directly from the maker, who has also developed a neck adapter especially for new Cerebrus Project heads, of which Sardonix is one. Then I will restring Sardonix with her new torso and neck adapter, and she will be even more annoying poseable than she is now!

It will be kind of expensive [$100+] to upgrade Sardonix, but I will finance her changes with the successful sale of my 1:6 BJDs [an Elfdoll Tiny Jin dal Re and a Limwha For You, sold just this weekend] and my federal and state tax refunds!

Sardonix “helps” with the laundry.

Sardonix “helps” with the laundry. published on 2 Comments on Sardonix “helps” with the laundry.

In the ultimate test of character, last week, Jennifer proved herself hard-working and helpful when she did the laundry for me. In this week’s ultimate character test, Sardonix scored…uh, slightly deviant results. See below for details.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/laundry/001.JPG
http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/laundry/002.JPG
http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/laundry/003.JPG
http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/laundry/004.JPG
http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/sardonix/laundry/005.JPG

Origami shoes for dolls?

Origami shoes for dolls? published on No Comments on Origami shoes for dolls?

I could probably make these, right? I mean, I can fold paper. HGTV has a link to origami shoes. Presumably these are for lazy asses like me who can’t sew…

EDIT: Another link, possibly clearer, since HGTV’s model baffles me: http://www.geocities.com/Rachel_Katz/folding/hh_shoe.htm

EDIT: Animated instructions with pictures for making zori: http://www.fudebakudo.com/en/zori.html

Eddie Izzard: “Oh look — space monkeys are attacking!”

Eddie Izzard: “Oh look — space monkeys are attacking!” published on 2 Comments on Eddie Izzard: “Oh look — space monkeys are attacking!”

So we raided Youtube last night and watched a bunch of clips of Eddie Izzard’s various shows. I think the man is highly amusing because he has a great talent for mime, mimicry and making faces, and everyone knows that I can’t resist someone who makes good faces. He has a face as mobile as Tim Curry’s, only his mouth isn’t so big.

Another reason I like him is his combination of confidence and silliness. If you ever see him in anything from the late 1990s and on [not the early stuff with the horrible, horrible shirts], he stands with great ease in front of an audience, very casual and loose.  He’s even funny when he loses his train of thought and says, “Uhhhhhhh…yeah…anyway…where was I? Oh yes, breasts and airplanes…” He weaves his digressions and mistakes into his routines with admirable panache. I really enjoy his playfulness. 

I also really like the fact that his humor is mainly observational absurdity. Rather than insulting people or making negative, sarcastic comments about the weather, pollution, etc., he’s much more likely to talk about pears [“Either they’re hard enough to use for a hammer, or they’re ripe for about a half an hour”] or Jesus telling God to stop doing his James Mason impression. The older I get, the more I appreciate good-spirited humor in this vein.

Eddie Izzard reminds me a lot of Hugh Laurie. Both are British actors with well-developed skills in slapstick and face-making. They also have great senses of comic timing. [Of course, Hugh Laurie’s current manifestation in House makes him like an evil Eddie Izzard…] I wonder if the two would have chemistry as a performing couple? They could just stand on stage, making faces, and I would fall over laughing.

I’m gonna have to rent Dressed to Kill.

Facial shots of Mecha Angel

Facial shots of Mecha Angel published on 1 Comment on Facial shots of Mecha Angel

So Soom’s Mecha Angel’s name is Sabik, and he’s 80 cm tall, which puts him at 2.5 feet or 1.5 heads taller than Jareth and Frank. I do not want his body at all, but I really like his head. The combination of long cheeks, narrow eyes and a full mouth gives him a more mature look than other male dolls with similar features, like Dollshe Haund and Iplehouse Lion. To me he seems to have the facial frame of Haund [cheekbones, jawline], balanced with the features of Lion [large eyes, sensuous lips].

I really, really, really like the head, though he doesn’t look like any character that I want to make a doll of. Thus I have no excuse or strong motivation to get him beyond liking his head. Damn. I just don’t have extra room for a 2.5-foot doll to casually hang out in. Close-ups below.

Soom’s new Mecha Angel

Soom’s new Mecha Angel published on 1 Comment on Soom’s new Mecha Angel

Soom recently developed a tall, etoliated male [somewhere over 65 cm, I guess] named Mecha Angel. His slender limbs make him look like a preying mantis. But I can forgive a lot of bodily disproportions if I like the face. [For example, Frank has narrow shoulders, stick-like arms and fragile fingers, but I like him because of his fabulous face.] So far, as you can see below, Mecha Angel combines the usual Soom Pre-Raphaelite mouth with slender lines and large, liquid, expressive eyes. So, to my mind, it looks promising. I’d like to see close-ups…

 

Jennifer takes matters into her own hands.

Jennifer takes matters into her own hands. published on 1 Comment on Jennifer takes matters into her own hands.

Jennifer got fed up with the huge piles of laundry hanging around the house. Therefore she took the initiative and cleaned the clothes herself. How did a 1:3 doll manage a task that daunts even 1:1 people? As you can see below, Jennifer handed the challenging task with ingenuity and strength.








This is not actually a public journal.

This is not actually a public journal. published on No Comments on This is not actually a public journal.

This is more like a private notebook of reminders to myself. You just happen to see it.

 

Case in point: Here is me reminding myself what clothes are in the mail to me.

 

 

From DOA member hhelenh

21 DOA’s Purplewiz Sd/SD13 lace knit sweater with red fluffy trim for Jennifer

37 Black jeans. Very simple, with white stitching for Jennifer

15-Lace Blouse. Originally went with an Edwardian-style suit for Jareth and Sardonix

16-Black/White Tank for Frank and Jennifer

 

From DOA member didken

DollHeart Kala outfit for Sardonix and Jennifer

 

From DOA member Myrea

DollHeart Hell Queen outfit for Frank and Sardonix

 

From DOA member Lizzard

Blue long-sleeved shirt for Jennifer

 

From www.mimiwoo.com

Red and black shitkickers for Sardonix, Frank and Jareth

Blue canvas sneakers for Jennifer

Underwear for Frank, goddammit!

Stripey socks for Sardonix

White button-up shirt for all

 

My dolls’ wardrobe is worth more than mine. Heck, one of their DollHeart outfits is worth more than my entire closet! Anyone else have this experience? I sublimate all my desires for outrageous clothes into my 1:3 residents.

Please make this stuff go away!

Please make this stuff go away! published on No Comments on Please make this stuff go away!

I have some Hound clothes — corset, blouse, vest, etc. — and SD girl clothes — mostly tops and skirts — for sale on DOA. I will also trade for long-sleeved shirts and pants for SD10/SD13 in neutral and/or conservative colors with conservative tailoring…or outrageous punky stuff, particularly in red or black. Please make it go away so I can buy stuff that my dolls will actually wear! Thank you.

Dollmore clothes I’m interested in!

Dollmore clothes I’m interested in! published on 1 Comment on Dollmore clothes I’m interested in!

Did you know that you can E-mail the US Dollmore dealer, order clothing and pay only US Priority s/h if you live in the US? Neato!

There’s a lot of sharing amongst my 1:3 crew. The 2 70 cms, Jareth and Frank, share pants. The 2 60 cms, Jennifer and Sardonix, can wear each other’s clothes, but have radically different styles. Since I have a lot of 60 cm shirts, skirts, dresses and socks, Jennifer, Sardonix and Frank share them. I would like to get Jennifer and Frank one or two basic pieces that are tailored specifically for them, though, hence the brainstorming below…

More useful and cool doll clothes…

More useful and cool doll clothes… published on 4 Comments on More useful and cool doll clothes…

So I’m buying Sardonix yet another slightly used DollHeart outfit from a DOAer. This one is Kala. With a hat, a necklace, a blouse, a corset, an underdress, a sash, a pair of leggings, shoes and a turban, it provides many mix and match opportunities. I can’t really tell if all the blue parts are detachable from the cranberry-colored parts, but I think so. The bestest thing about this set is the shoes: red shoes with upturned toes and a slight heel. They look unusual and fanciful, all at the same time. I dislike the turban; I would have gone with an elaborate veil or snood. I can’t wait to run Hell Queen pieces together with Kala pieces. That should be fun…

As an aside, Kala was one of the many winners of DollHeart’s first design competition, but it’s been very unpopular. Many other designs have sold out, particularly in the EGL, goth/loli, punk lite or cutesy-wootsy animal genres. Yet Kala, distinguished from the hordes by its innovation [relatively speaking], was shunned by buyers. It’s disappointing to see that so many owners just seek the froofy or punk stuff. I’m surprised that Kala hasn’t sold out; I mean, wouldn’t it appeal to those who like Ye Olde Flowinge Fantasie And Renaissance Type Stuffe? I know it speaks to the YOFFARTS interest in me.

If I ever have a clothing line for dolls, I will call it YOFFARTS. Yo, farts!

Sardonix’ first shoot

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Well, she didn’t like the big floofy outfit that I bought for her, and the Hell Queen one hasn’t arrived yet, so she settled down into the ubiquitous pink paisley nightmare that I think everyone has worn except Jennifer. As you can tell from the poses, she continued to cope ‘tude on top of the heater while I tried for some arty shots.

“Press papilla good feel.”

“Press papilla good feel.” published on 11 Comments on “Press papilla good feel.”

Nobility Doll comes out with innovative articulation in its Full Operation Nobility Royma. This male doll has a double-jointed neck, so his head can cock and bow as well as swivel. He also has double-jointed elbows and knees, as well as double-jointed thighs. And he has a “genital joint” so you can make his penis go up or down. And something’s up with his nipples. The photos say “press papilla good feel,” which I assume means that they are squishy vinyl, like a Dollfie Dream torso or an Obitsu soft bust.

I really have to wonder…does anyone want these features? When I survey the majority of BJD owners, they list the following among things that they want: more mature male and female sculpts, a wider range of body types including super-emaciated and Rubenesque, poseable hands, bodies that are well-balanced and solid in posing, therianthropic sculpts [including animal heads, articulated wings, movable mermaid lower halves or dragon tails], casual clothes and shoes that real people wear, etc. Double-jointed necks, squeezy nipples and Amazing Swivel Penises [TM] are very low on the list of wants, if they appear at all. Maybe Nobility was just going for as many innovations as possible in one doll. 

Royma looks like David Bowie with the pointy nose and the pissy flat mouth. See headshots, nipple shots and Amazing Swivel Penis [TM] shots below.

That neck joint looks stiff, unnatural and ugly.

Sculpted nipples always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make a doll look uncomfortably cold.

Behold the Amazing Swivel Penis [TM]!!! Butterfly not included. Do the arrows in a circle indicate that you can turn it sideways?!

Frank’s love monkey

Frank’s love monkey published on 2 Comments on Frank’s love monkey

Well, this was going to be a series showcasing the hats and scarves that

crocheted for Jennifer and Frank. However, Frank’s love monkey distracted the crew, and silliness resulted. It’s a completely innocent story…really! I am amused by how disturbed Jareth looks and how taken aback Jennifer appears.

Sardonix’ neck is done!

Sardonix’ neck is done! published on No Comments on Sardonix’ neck is done!

Now I just have to pay Angel Toast and wait for a few days until Sardonix returns to me. Check below for pictures. How can you resist her? She says, “Come to the dark side. We have cookies!” Note: There was no attempt made to match the resin colors of head and body because I don’t care that much about a small discrepancy.

I like how her ears are so pointy, along with her nose. [I made her nose that way.]

Team America: World Police = a host of missed opportunities.

Team America: World Police = a host of missed opportunities. published on No Comments on Team America: World Police = a host of missed opportunities.

Given my interest in a) South Park and b) dolls, I’ve long wanted to see Team America. Ever since it was originally announced in 2004, I was fascinated by the idea of a movie starring a cast made entirely of 1:3 puppets. If the content was generated by the same foul-mouthed pop-culture satirists, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, behind South Park, that could only be a bonus, right?

Wrong, of course. BJD lovers should see below for my extensive critique of the puppetry.

After watching Team America last night, I would like to say that I have rarely been so disappointed in a movie. I was expecting a) a mordant send-up of American jingoism, terrorism, action movies, Hollywood’s self-importance, Kim Jong-Il’s weirdness, etc. and b) and original and catchy use of puppets. The movie delivered on neither count.

As far as an action movie, Team America never rose above the creaky, boring cliches of the genre, such as the Unwilling Hero, the Love Interest Who Believes In Him, the Gruff Guy Who Eventually Supports The Hero, the Hero’s Dramatic Self-Doubt And Exit, Follwed By A Last-Minute World-Saving, blah blah blah. As I stared at the screen, waiting for something interesting to happen, I wondered if this was really the product of the same creative team who combined flatulent Canadian TV stars, songs like What Would Brian Boitano Do? and a Saddam+Satan gay love pairing to create an uproarious, silly and rather sharp South Park movie. Matt Stone and Trey Parker lost their big-screen edginess, I guess.

As far as the use of puppets, Team America also never exploited this ripe device. For just one example, the puppets had articulated mouths and eyelids, which made them very expressive, but this lifelikeness was rarely used. Instead, the makers favored multiple reaction shots that were just the puppet equivalent of a blank stare: DUHHHH. Was this intentional? Were they commenting on the characters’ vapidity? But no. If you remember, a running gag in the movie is the characters’ acting abilities, a skill that trades in expressiveness. So clearly the film makers wanted to showcase the puppets’ expressiveness, but, unfortunately, the puppets’ “acting mode” was just as uninflected, unblinking and unmoving as their “normal mode.” It seems like the creators got a cool idea — “Hey, let’s use puppets!” — but never fleshed out the concept to its fullest. 

Not only were the Team America puppets boring and flat in their expressions, but the puppeteers did not know how to move the puppets! You have to understand that I was exposed to masterful puppetry [goblins from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in Labyrinth] from a young age, and I’ve always known that clever use of posing, lighting and angling the camera can conjure up not just emotions, but also a sense of movement, in dolls. This is why the film disappointed me. The puppeteers made all the puppets rise to standing with weird, gravity-defying jumps. They made the puppets walk with less attention to leg and foot movements and more attention to dragging the puppets forward as if they were being blown by a gale. The puppet sex scene demonstrated that the puppeteers could have realistic control over relatively fine movements [i.e., a character thrusting his hips while keeping his lower legs stationery] , but, unfortunately, such attention to detail did not extend to the rest of the film. 

I guess that the film makers got lazy. They thought that the very presence of the puppets would be sufficient. Maybe they assumed that puppets would be easier to work with than humans because puppets would do whatever the film makers wanted. The problem is that the film makers didn’t want the puppets to do very much. Such “dead space” and lack of imagination in their concept showed up blindingly in the final product. I turned off the DVD thinking that I could take one doll photo that could express more emotion, movement, subtlety, humor and irony than the entire film.

The kind of doll clothes I like

The kind of doll clothes I like published on 2 Comments on The kind of doll clothes I like

I’m getting DollHeart’s sold-out Hell Queen outfit from someone on DOA. I bought it with Sardonix in mind [how fitting for a succubus to be wearing an outfit by that name], but I foresee her fighting over it with Frank. Outfits with many pieces seem to be the best investment to me because they can be selected and recombined in many different ways. For example, Frank has already claimed the peignoir and stockings. Sardonix has already claimed corset, bloomers and frizzly sleeves. My BJD universe is uniformly baffled by the single goggle and the ridiculously small top hat.

Sardonix’ neck mods in progress

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Angel Toast sent me progress pictures last night. As you can see, work is coming along swimmingly. The height and width of the neck extension look appropriate. All she needs to do is to sand and paint. See below for Sardonix looking around for mischief.

Jareth vs. Haund default pictures

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I got a chance at the Burlington Doll Club meet to compare Jareth to a default Haund [with open eyes]. He belongs to either catzy02 or SpiffyMuffins on DOA [not sure — they live in the same apartment along with DrNero and they have 13 dolls among them].

As you can see, the default has a shorter, fuller face, with a larger mouth, wider eyes and a much more protuberant nose. When I compare default Haunds to Jareth, I am startled by the difference between my doll as he was originally and as he is now. Armeleia really changed him a lot! She added some length to his chin and a lot to his cheekbones. She also drastically reduced his nose. Overall, when I see a regular Haund, I think he looks young, lost and sad. When I look at Jareth, I see someone sharp, tired, older and thoughtful. Pictures below.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jareth/021007meetcomp/IMG_0027.JPG

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/dolls/jareth/021007meetcomp/IMG_0031.JPG

Doll meet + good light = Frank doing glam shots.

Doll meet + good light = Frank doing glam shots. published on 1 Comment on Doll meet + good light = Frank doing glam shots.

After an absence of several months [too long!], I finally returned to the Burlington Doll Club meeting, bearing Jareth, Frank and new, improved Jennifer. People greeted my dolls with happy exclamations. [Me they were less excited about. :p] I showed off Frank’s outfit, which everyone marveled at and envied. Frank, as usual, showed off himself. Here are some shots of him just wearing a Dollmore leather jacket, Haund size. He’s naked below the waist, but you don’t see that. He really likes leather…I should get him a leather jacket.

Sardonix has left the building.

Sardonix has left the building. published on 1 Comment on Sardonix has left the building.

Because her neck was too short, Sardonix shipped back out to Angel Toast mods this morning [Priority Mail, $19.65, 2-day arrival time, excluding day of shipment] to get her neck thickened and heightened. Fidget fidget fidget. I can’t wait to play with my doll! Oh well, I’m just going to have to learn patience [hah!].

Can your doll do yoga? Watch the Thaasa pose…

Can your doll do yoga? Watch the Thaasa pose… published on 2 Comments on Can your doll do yoga? Watch the Thaasa pose…

Well, Sardonix’ neck is too short for her head, so I need to have the Thaasa body modded. Before I send it away, though, check out the awesome poses that it can achieve!

Of all the dolls I have handled, I am most impressed by the Thaasa for its solidity, smooth movement, attractive articulation and ease of use. I achieved all the poses shown below within 5 minutes of deboxing [well, after some oohing and aahing]. Simple and straightforward, the Thaasa has no learning curve, the way that Volks’ KIPS system or Domuya’s dolls do. It also looks elegant and realistic while performing almost any pose. No joints dislocating or anything. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves now. Note: All photos show the doll standing unaided right out of the box. NO EXTRA SUPPORT, SUEDING OR WIRING!

Box porn: Sardonix’ body arrives.

Box porn: Sardonix’ body arrives. published on 1 Comment on Box porn: Sardonix’ body arrives.

I ordered my Thaasa body from BJDFantasy on Monday. It arrived today, Wednesday. See below the cut for fascinating box-opening photos and details of the stuff included with the body….Continue reading Box porn: Sardonix’ body arrives.

No good can come of this.

No good can come of this. published on No Comments on No good can come of this.

I finished painting Sardonix 2.0’s head tonight.

Beginning with a Juri 2006 head from Cerebrus Project, I reduced the horrid ski-jump blobby nose. Then I applied one of my trademark sloppy, highly stylized paint jobs to her face in two colors: red and black. Then I coated her eyebrows with matte varnish and her lips and lids with many coats of satin varnish. I stuck Souldoll 20mm pink cat’s eyes in her head with plumber’s putty…and now I’m kind of afraid of what will happen when her very poseable Thaasa body arrives. Like I said, no good can come of this…

Blank Juri ’06:

Final product, awaiting her body and clearly plotting devious schemes:

Sardonix 1.0 for comparison:

2.0 looks happier, but also more hypnotic and evil. 1.0 just looks pissed.

Frank: center of attention, as usual.

Frank: center of attention, as usual. published on 3 Comments on Frank: center of attention, as usual.

Jareth and Jennifer [now in large, improved format] stage an intervention about Frank’s fashion choices. As usual, Frank is impervious to criticism. The glasses, they do nothing! My first photostory in a long time is primarily a showcase for…well, it was gonna be for Sardonix’ clothes, made by rattimoth on DOA, but Frank ended up putting the spotlight on himself, as usual.

Arthur and the Invisibles: It even bored a four-and-a-half-year-old.

Arthur and the Invisibles: It even bored a four-and-a-half-year-old. published on 4 Comments on Arthur and the Invisibles: It even bored a four-and-a-half-year-old.

So I watched Arthur and the Invisibles today, primarily for Freddie Highsmith [luminescent and likeable], Mia Farrow [beautiful and engaging] and David Bowie [all-around kick-ass]. Apart from basking in these stars’ displays of talent, there wasn’t much else to do during the film. Sure, there were roller-coaster battles and chases to watch, but the film had no sense of plot, pacing, character development or emotional attachment. It seemed like a pastiche of disparate elements: live aciton vs. animation; the sexy Princess Selenia [voiced by Madonna] vs. the innocent and prepubescent Arthur [Highsmith]; the fascinatingly detailed Minimoys world vs. the utterly bland story. To give you an idea of how unenthralling it was…the four-and-a-half-year-old watching it with me and my wife wanted to leave two-thirds of the way through.

On the plus side, there was DAVID BOWIE doing a Jarethian turn as the elegant, smooth and seductively evil Malthazard, MADONNA doing a physically assertive and hip-swaying, butt-kicking princess who’s the most active female character I’ve ever seen in a kids’ animated film, plus the Minimoys themselves, who looked like plastic dolls and whose elvin ears fluttered when they were happy.

So I was just listening to Sound & Spirit…

So I was just listening to Sound & Spirit… published on 2 Comments on So I was just listening to Sound & Spirit…

…listening to the What We Do For Love ep, and a song by Christine Lavin came on, Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind. I now want to find out more about her because of these hilarious lyrics:

 
I am eating sushi
When I do not like sushi
But he loves sushi
And I love him
I’m poking with a chopstick
At a living breathing fishstick
Oh my God!
I think it’s trying to swim

HAH! I must investigate her albums.

Sundance gleanings

Sundance gleanings published on 2 Comments on Sundance gleanings

I want to see Zoo because it sounds like an unusual treatment of bestiality. I do not want to see Teeth because it sounds like a stupid, stereotypical treatment of vagina dentata. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait before Sundance films hit either the theaters [hah!] or the video stores [more likely].

In other news, it’s “BESTIALITY,” people, not “BEASTIALITY.”

In even more other news, I still want to see Casino Royale and Arthur and the Invisibles. I’m curious about The Last Mimzy, which is coming out in March and which has an Escape to Witch Mountain atmosphere, especially from the trailer. Penelope, with a limited release in April, looks interesting, but will probably be a turd because Hollywood couldn’t do an affecting, realistic and powerful fairy tale even if Jack ZIpes walked them through the process. 

And don’t forget Spiderman 3 [hooray!], coming out in early May. And then there’s Shrek 3, the franchise juggernaut for which should be hung, drawn, quartered and pulverized on high speed in an industrial blender because it ran out of ideas and humor right around the end of Shrek 1. Also coming in May is Pirates of the Caribbean 3, which I’m sure will be a ponderous and thunderous headache of a movie, but which contains Johnny Depp and Keith Richards [!], so I might have to see it.

There’s a Nancy Drew [!] movie coming out in June, and it will probably be a neutered PG stinker.

Sardonix 1.0 reference pictures

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Below the cut.

Here is my plan for Sardonix 1.0. Of course it is heavily influenced by David Bowie’s make-up in Labyrinth…

And here’s how she came out.

Yes, she was an evil little dolly. I enjoyed her greatly. I think she might be nicer in this inresination, but I’m not sure.

We can rebuild her; we have the technology…

We can rebuild her; we have the technology… published on 1 Comment on We can rebuild her; we have the technology…

Sardonix 2.0’s head arrived on 1/24. No pictures of her, but you can hear about her mods and her impending eyes and such below the cut.

Unfortunately, Cerebrus Project thought it would be a good idea to sculpt a ski jump on her face, then put a blob on the end of it and call it a nose. I immediately gave her a rhinoplasty with a box cutter. Anyone who thinks that you can only mod a doll with sandpaper is a sucker. Your basic slicing and dicing tools work fine for the gross forms of things. Sandpaper is only for the final finishing touches. But I just used a craft knife for the final smoothing because I am a lazy ass.

I’m really liking the Juri ’06 as opposed to Sardonix 1.0, sleepy elfy Lishe. Ya see — sleepy elfy Lishe has a small Cupid’s bow for a mouth and a very narrow nose with a slight hook. I liked neither the small size of the mouth nor the narrowness of the nose. Juri ’06’s nose and mouth are much more in proportion to her face. Plus Juri ’06 has a built-in smirk. I cannot resist a built-in smirk.

I have Sardonix 2.0’s outfit coming from rattimoth on DOA. It’s a layered sort of chiffon thing that looks like old leaves. One of her eyes will be a clear marble, the other a pink cat’s eye [coming from Jolarocknrolla on DOA]. Undecided as to whether I will color in her lips a bit or leave her blank. Cyborgian decorations follow.

Most depressing movie songs ever

Most depressing movie songs ever published on 2 Comments on Most depressing movie songs ever

Home At Last, from Labyrinth. This is actually an instrumental that plays when Sarah is putting away her toys and pictures. It’s a very slow, tinkly version of As the World Falls Down, also known as the Jareth Is Dead Instrumental. You see why I hate it?

Superheroes, from Rocky Horror. This is the song that Brad and Janet sing in the wreckage of the Frankenstein Place as it’s blasting off to a distant planet.  Also known as the Frank Is Dead Song. Of course it depresses me.

However, for sheer slit-your-wrists despair, nothing beats the cover of Mad World on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. The original by Tears For Fears balances mopey lyrics with a surprisingly up-tempo beat so that the song veers between precious and poignant, making it a perfect evocation of teenage self-consciousness. The Donnie Darko version strips away almost all instrumentation, leaving just the singer’s quiet, steady voice. It is the naked, vulnerable personification of melancholy. I’ve listened to it on repeat, and every single time it gives me chills of beauty and gloom.

Sardonix 2.0!!!

Sardonix 2.0!!! published on No Comments on Sardonix 2.0!!!

Sardonix is reincarnating [or reinresinating, since she’s not a flesh-based character] as a Luts Juri 2006 head on a ShinyDoll Thaasa body. Here you can see the stability and posability of the Thaasa body. While scrawny, it has an elegantly engineered flow that Domuya’s Flexi body, which looks blatantly mechanical, does not. I’m looking for Thaasa measurements, since I hear that the body is smaller around the waist than the average 60 cm girl, maybe closer to Obitsu size? If so, Sardonix could share clothes with Jennifer. [Not that Sardonix wears too many clothes…] Anyway, I look forward with interest and excitement to Sardonix’ new head, currently en route. It’s much more mischievous and androgynous than her original sleepy elfy Lishe head. No needle nose or rosebud lips either, much to my pleasure.

Pan’s Labyrinth: Shooting fish in a barrel

Pan’s Labyrinth: Shooting fish in a barrel published on 2 Comments on Pan’s Labyrinth: Shooting fish in a barrel

Yesterday I went to see the long-awaited Pan’s Labyrinth, in which 10-year-old Ofelia exchanges the horrors of post-WWII Spain for the equally viscous horrors of her imagination. While her mother dies in childbed and her shinily sadistic stepfather shoots resistance fighters for sport, Ofelia turns to an ambiguous faun, who offers her the prospect of royalty in a dream world if she can complete three disgusting tasks.

For 99.9% of the movie, I liked it.

I recognized the film’s world as a stylized one marked by lavishly excessive violence, pain and suffering, and I accepted it because I expected the film to go somewhere interesting or say something new. But no. Instead the film just copped out completely in the final minutes by having the sadistic stepfather shoot Ofelia at point blank in the center of the titular labyrinth. After that, everything was just stupid and I didn’t care.

I spent some time trying to figure out why Ofelia’s death seemed like such a cop-out. I decided that the reason was NOT because I liked her as a character. Heck, I liked Dr. Ferreiro and the sadistic captain as characters too, but their deaths seemed appropriate and satisfying in the context of the story. Since I had an emotional connection to Ofelia, I didn’t like her death, but my objection to her death is motivated by more than mere sympathy.

I finally decided that I objected to Ofelia’s death because it did not fit stylistically with the rest of the movie. The bulk of the movie was about the insidious ways in which violence, war and torture poison even the innocent imagination. The horrors of war are inescapable. The disgusting aspects of human nature appear even in the realm of our imaginations. Following this logic, we should have seen the captain’s final murderous act NOT coming from him. To have him shoot Ofelia is like the movie saying, “EVIL = EVIL.” No shit. I knew that already. I don’t care. The captain’s murderous act should have been transferred partly or fully to the Faun, who should have threatened not just Ofelia’s brother’s life, but also Ofelia’s. If the actions of the Faun and the captain worked in concert to kill Ofelia, this would have been much more thematically satisfying.

I swear…del Toro just chickened out at the end of Pan’s Labyrinth. Instead of following the slimy ambiguity of his themes to their logical ends, he chose to reinforce a superficial, artificial dualism. Despite the sheer awesomeness of the main performers [especially Doug Jones as the Faun and the Pale Man] and special effects and gore, I still feel let down.

Typety typety type

Typety typety type published on No Comments on Typety typety type

I ended up ditching the Zire/Palm keyboard combo in favor of a Clie + Clie keyboard, a cheaper set [$75 for both, including Documents to Go, which is the portable version of Word] with more technological advances. On the Clie, there is also a hard plug-in connection between PDA and keyboard, as opposed to the fiddly infrared sensor on the Zire/Palm keyboard set-up. Thank you to Super Todd, my landlord, who sold it to me.

Since last night I have been experimenting with data entry onto my new mini-‘puter. The cramped keys take some getting used to, but they’re responsive, requiring no pounding, so they’re not too hard on my hands. If I type quickly for an extended period of time, my wrists hurt, but they do that anyway with laptop or desktop boards. So far, my mini-‘puter appears to satisfy my need for light, compact, quickly accessible and comtaible word processing. Further updates as I continue testing.

Good book, bad movie.

Good book, bad movie. published on 1 Comment on Good book, bad movie.

Annette Curtis Klause has four weird, romantic YA fantasies to her credit. I especially like her first, the 1992 Silver Kiss, in which a mopey mortal gets it on with a broody vampire well before BTVS. [Check out the pallid beauty of the cover art. I’ll take a framed edition, thank you very much.] Later came Blood and Chocolate, a very sensual tale about a werewolf girl in love with a human boy and therefore in conflict with her pack. Great concept, right?

Not if the producers of Underworld [crashingly boring trilogy about vampires vs. werewolves] get their paws on it. Blood and Chocolate is now a movie, pusillanimously debuting in late January because the makers KNOW it’s a turd. Oh, it smells like a rotting carcass already…

Well, we know that crosses and garlic repel vampires, and silver bullets repel werewolves, but what effectively wards off evil film adaptations of good fantasy novels?

Kitbashing a computer on the go

Kitbashing a computer on the go published on 1 Comment on Kitbashing a computer on the go

Used Palm Zire 31: $60. Thank you, craigslist.

Palm universal wireless keyboard from provantage.com: $48.48.

Total: $108.48.

Result: something better and more compatible than the Alphasmart Neo for less than half the price. Take THAT, Alphasmart! I thought you were cheap, but your prices are clearly inflated. Look at my smart little back-lit cheapo computer with several MB of memory and more than 4 lines of text and an almost laptop-size keyboard. You are not as good as that. Weep for shame. WEEP!

Alternatives to portable word processors

Alternatives to portable word processors published on No Comments on Alternatives to portable word processors

Alternatively, I could get a portable folding keyboard [Pocketop] and a cheap PDA. Pocketop keyboard for $20 here. Cheap, universal, but has small keys. Palm universal wireless keyboard here at $40. Keys small for extensive typing? More expensive infrared keyboard for $45 here. Nice size, but more small moving parts, stupid non-locking hinge.

Portable writing devices

Portable writing devices published on No Comments on Portable writing devices

Introducing the latest tag, “writing,” which covers my Sarah and Milly story [formerly tagged “nanowrimo,” which it no longer is right now] and any other dreck I spew out.

I have a novel to write, but I dislike typing it onto my home desktop computer. First, I spend all day at my job at a desktop, so spending more time in front of another desktop is the last thing I want to do. Second, the large screen size of the desktop monopolizes my vision, allowing me no chance to look at anything interesting or restful besides the screen. Third, the desktop limits me to one place, at my desk, in my chair. It’s not portable.

I have several alternatives. One of them is a notebook, a regular paper notebook. A notebook is good because it provides variation [not staring at another big screen], no monopoly on my vision and portability, it increases the amount of time I spend writing because I think have to transfer the writing to the computer by banging it out on the keys. So basically handwriting only staves off the inevitable suffering of using the desktop. I don’t want to stave it off. I want to avoid it as much as possible.

Another alternative is a laptop computer. A laptop computer is good because it provides variation, no monopoly on my vision and compatibility with the desktop. However, I want something light and easy to carry to work and on trips. A laptop is too heavy and fragile, not to mention uselessly complicated. I don’t need huge amounts of memory or great programs. I just want to enter text and then transfer it to my desktop.

Another alternative is a handheld with a fold-out keyboard. This would be good because it provides variation, portability and ease of use. But it is too complicated and fragile, and the screen would be too small.

The final option, the Alphasmart Neo, is what I want to go with. It’s a small, light, durable word processor with a full-size keyboard and a 6-lines-of-text screen. it has a small amount of memory and can communicate with my desktop via USB cord. It doesn’t figure my taxes or connect to the Internet. It just holds medium-sized text files. That’s all I want. I don’t want to handwrite my stories. I’m saving manuscript for my diary [except on those rare occasions when I forget it and have to type up and print out an entry, then paste it in].

Lookit how cheap they are!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must return to manuscripting my latest outline because I do not have an Alphasmart Neo yet.

And another Web comic

And another Web comic published on 1 Comment on And another Web comic

Count Your Sheep by Adrian Ramos features regular doses of whimsy in which little girl Katie talks life and play with her friendly countable sheep, Ship, and her mom. For example, she thinks the cheese wheel in her fridge is a piece of the crescent moon, which disturbs her because, if people are eating the moon, there will be no need for astronauts, and then what will she be when she grows up? Brilliant at capturing the childlike, associative, poetic mindset, Count Your Sheep is an enjoyable cartoon at no one’s expense. It remains consistently inventive and never becomes precious.

Another Web comic

Another Web comic published on 1 Comment on Another Web comic

I really like Dork Tower by John Kovalic. The Web comic about gamers seems to be a wrung-out subgenre too stale for its own good, but Dork Tower, with its high energy and unremittant silliness, rises above the stereotypes to be a great all-around comic. Tongue-in-cheek without being abstruse and parodic without being pompous, DT is the strip that the limp, pretentious, overdone Penny Arcade [God, how I hate that strip!] wishes it were.

My ideal mannequin

My ideal mannequin published on No Comments on My ideal mannequin

After reading yesterday about the guy who faces life imprisonment for breaking into yet another store to steal yet another mannequin, I fortuitously found an article on Salon about the burgeoning [hahahahah] popularity of mannequins with large breasts. This got me thinking. If there was a relatively cheap mannequin with these breasts and this body [and a head goddammit — why don’t the “plus-sized” ones have heads????], I would get it.

What I really want is a life-sized, well-articulated, realistic doll…like a ball-jointed mannequin. I’ll just keep dreaming…

Oh boy, a Web site to delve further into.

Oh boy, a Web site to delve further into. published on 1 Comment on Oh boy, a Web site to delve further into.

With sections on vampires, werewolves, demons, etc., Queer Horror [http://www.queerhorror.com] appears to be a comprehensive overview of queer characters and themes in various media, well worth a long look when I have some time. Mmmm, queer vampires…

I am seeing this movie because David Bowie’s in it.

I am seeing this movie because David Bowie’s in it. published on 3 Comments on I am seeing this movie because David Bowie’s in it.

And he plays an evil arachnid. Arthur and the Invisibles is animated, but previews show that the Malthazard character maps very well onto DB’s facial expressions. Whooooooooo hoo!

For your stranger-than-fiction perusal…

For your stranger-than-fiction perusal… published on 2 Comments on For your stranger-than-fiction perusal…

Read gory stories of crime and mayhem here at http://www.crimelibrary.com. My favorite case, the 1955 matricide perpetrated by Pauline Rieper and Juliet Hulme [inspiration for the movie Heavenly Creatures], has a nice overview on this site. Lots of fun reading for vacation…

1:6 unloading, 1:3 reloading

1:6 unloading, 1:3 reloading published on 1 Comment on 1:6 unloading, 1:3 reloading

My 1:6 collection is drastically reducing. I successfully got rid of 90% of my parts bin and some miscellaneous food this week. Later I will get rid of some pink [gaaaaack] furniture and whole dolls. If all goes well, I should have <15 dolls hanging out at home. [I’m not including dolls at work. Maybe I should bring more to work. I currently have 4 1:6ers and 1 action figure.]

My 1:3 population is planning to increase. If all goes well, SARDONIX [remember her?] will be back. I should be getting a 2006 Luts Juri head [picture], which I want to put on a Domuya Flexi girl body [picture]. This time, I plan to leave her unpainted and unwigged so that I can show off her construction and articulation. In this incarnation, she will be less of a hellish succubus and more of a devilish cyborg. She will have antennae coming off the points of her ears. I’d also like to put a small watch in one of her eye sockets and a “control panel” in her abdomen.

Happily N’Ever After will n’ever make you happy.

Happily N’Ever After will n’ever make you happy. published on 4 Comments on Happily N’Ever After will n’ever make you happy.

Coming out on January 5, 2007, Happily N’Ever After contains an interesting premise — a fairy tale rewrite in which Cinderella leads resistance against her evil stepmom who’s trying to take over — as well as two people we know to be talented actors, Sigourney Weaver and Sarah Michelle Gellar. But it will be horrible.

Do you know why it will be horrible? Well, first of all, the presence of both SMG and her husband Freddy Prinze Jr. tells you that it will tank. Despite possessing talent, the two have no business and career acumen, as evidenced by their previous collaborations Scooby Doo I and II. [In fact, SMG’s entire movie career, like Tim Curry’s, is pretty much a string of disappointments, and I think they both need really smart agents to get them in showcases for their special gifts, but I digress.]

Second of all, the producers of Shrek are behind this one. Now, for all that I laughed when I saw Shrek I [not II or III so much], I don’t think that it was as attractive or subversive as people claim. The franchise tries too hard to be clever, but it just ends up reinforcing stupid gender and sexual stereotypes. I smell the same problem emanating from Happily N’Ever After, particularly in its problematic recycling of characters from Shrek. That purple cat thing in HNA looks like Donkey, while the blond prince in HNA looks like the blond prince in Shrek, and even Ella in HNA reminds me of Fiona. Such uncreative recycling cannot be saved even by the flamboyant evil genius of Sigourney Weaver and any acting talent SMG may happen to evince.

I feel sad for SMG. BTVS provided such a star vehicle and showcase for her, but her brainless career choices since then slide her further into disrepute. I respect her acting talent, but I can’t respect her as a person because she’s really not that smart. She strikes me as someone with talents who doesn’t know how to use them, rather than an artist that has knowledge and craft of his or her art. She stands in opposition to David Bowie, who [besides having way more experience than she does] just emanates wit, intelligence, insight and a dry sense of humor in relation to his art. He would be a perfect example of an exemplary celebrity, except that he smokes.

Buffy + Spike

Buffy + Spike published on 2 Comments on Buffy + Spike

In further explication of my thoughts on season 5, I have to say that I started watching BTVS with season 6. The first part of 6, during which Buffy tries to deal with her resurrection, has always fascinated me for its nuanced depiction of her grief cycle. People tell me that The Body is the single best BTVS ep about grief. I wouldn’t know; I haven’t seen it [yet], but I have to say that all the mooding, brooding and grieving in the early part of 6 sound psychologically convincing and revealing notes. As we watch all the characters deal with Buffy’s death, absence and rebirth, the specter of death, always a presence in a series about the undead, becomes real, substantive and irrevocable. For such a fantastical premise [dead one comes back], this story arc is the most realistic and compelling of all the BTVS arcs for me, which probably demonstrates more about me and my preoccupations with death, mourning, grief, maturation, cemeteries, memories, vampires, ghosts, epitaphs than it does about BTVS itself.

So, if 6 is the high point for me, I like 2, 3 and 4 next best, but I really dislike 1 and 7. 1, a short, experimental season, provides only glimmers of the juicy richness that the show would later develop into. Plus there’s no Spike, so I ignore it. And I am currently refusing to watch 7. I don’t want to see Buffy as a motivational speaker to the Potentials; I don’t want to see Willow basically squashed, mousy and regressed after 6’s drama; and I don’t want to see Spike die. I don’t care that he comes back in 5 of Angel. I don’t want to see him die! I’m just pretending 6 is the end, okay? La la la, I’m not listening to you….

So, in answer to the comments, I like Spike too anyway, abbagirl, and the icon is hilarious. :p

LoreMistress, I recommend watching well past 4 and into 6, but avoiding 7. In other words, don’t break off. In my opinion, some of the best eps are coming up.

RedCountess, having read tons of synopses and analyses, I agree that you have a point about the development of Buffy + Spike over time. I still maintain that Crush and Intervention crank up the schmoopiness at the expense of the characters’ personalities. I have no problem with them having a relationship; I just wish that the portrayal in those two eps was true to the characters.

And a link to my favorite BTVS site, a critical journal of “Buffy studies” with an archive of meaty analyses of all things BTVS.

I have looked upon the schmoopiness, and lo, it was revolting.

I have looked upon the schmoopiness, and lo, it was revolting. published on 3 Comments on I have looked upon the schmoopiness, and lo, it was revolting.

I finally broke out the BTVS DVDs last night. Having watched bits of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, but no 5 or 7, I delved into season 5. I wanted to investigate the beginnings of Buffy and Spike’s twisted affection for each other, before it became the season 6 tango of revulsion. To that end, I checked out Crush, in which Spike has one on Buffy, and Intervention, in which the BuffyBot makes its first appearance to satisfy the lovelorn Spike.

Wow, those eps were flaccid! The repartee, linguistic inventiveness and deep emotional responses that I associate with BTVS just didn’t exist in these eps, even though they were supposedly about lerve. The characters appeared brainwashed, with Spike saying, “I lerve you; I suffer for you,” and Buffy saying, “Bleeecccch,” like zombies of pop song lerve rather than consistent, multi-dimensional characters. It wasn’t funny; it wasn’t interesting; it wasn’t in character. It was just really painful and boring to watch.

The only moment in which the true characters surfaced was at the end of Intervention, when Buffy acted like the willing BuffyBot because she was trying to determine if Spike, under torture, had told Glory that Dawn was the Key. So Buffy plays the willing sex slave until she gets the info [e.g., that Spike kept Dawn’s secret]; then she switches back to herself and leaves him. Both Buffy and Spike seemed incredibly sad and regretful in this scene, Spike probably because his dedication got him pounded and plus his robot’s gone, Buffy because she realized the depths of Spike’s infatuation and then played along with it for a bit. Buffy’s ambivalence toward Spike [heartless manipulation and reluctant gratitude] and his ambivalence toward her [slavish crush and violent, stupid frustration] are transmitted clearly without platitudes. The truth comes through: their relationship isn’t pursuing guy vs. retreating girl, but squeamishly fascinated guy vs. squeamishly fascinated girl, a theme developed much better in season 6.

So, anyway, I’ve found the perfect application for the word schmoopy: season 5 Spike. Oh, how drab and disappointing. I’ll take the characterologically consistent season 6 Spike instead. Stereotypically pining vampires make me want to vomit vomit vomit. If I ever write about them, someone please shoot them.

Comics news

Comics news published on No Comments on Comics news

LHF is back! See the latest ep here.

In other news, I have a few more comics to recommend.

Kawaii Not juxtaposes cute little fruits, tuna cans, farts, etc., with silly or unexpected text. It is very amusing.

Wondermark juxtaposes Victorian clip art with digressive, erudite dialog. I enjoy its absurdity, which is a balm to my soul since Alien Loves Predator stopped being funny a while ago.

NECA makes Jareth fig (March 2007)

NECA makes Jareth fig (March 2007) published on No Comments on NECA makes Jareth fig (March 2007)

A Jareth action fig, sculpted by NECA, debuts in March 2007. I saw the news here. Maybe this will compensate for the canceled Palisades 12″; I’ve heard that NECA sculpts are very detailed and realistic. I still wanted a 1:6 mass-produced Jareth, though. No pictures yet, but I’ll post ’em when I have ’em.

1-word “H” shows

1-word “H” shows published on 3 Comments on 1-word “H” shows

I found a great site for some free TV: http://www.dailymotion.com

Over there I’ve been watching many hours of two shows. One is House, which is, of course, about a brilliant asshole doctor, medical mysteries and his untermensch staff. This show really tries to be a medical show or some sort of procedural [like Law & Order in the hospital] or even a drama, but it really is a comedy at base. The stock plot — dramatic falling ill, weird symptoms, doubting co-workers, brilliant deductions by House, diagnoses + fascinating/revealing/icky revelations about the sufferers involved — are so fixed that I don’t notice them, although I do like to see what weird disease cocktail the writers think up next. Plot aside, the show basically consists of House proving what a genius he is and making fun of other people. Since he’s always completely vindicated, despite his momentary hang-ups, his triumphant conclusions are never in doubt, so I just go along for the ride, laughing mostly at the character’s ruthlessness and arrogance. Laurie’s long resume as a comic actor serves him well here, as his expressions add hilarious nuances to his condescending remarks. So basically House is an hour of a magnificent bastard making faces. Being a sucker for magnificent bastards, especially when they make faces, I really enjoy this show.

The other show that I’ve caught up on is Heroes. Like a comic book in TV form, it tracks the slowly interlocking story of a bunch of adolescents and post-adolescents who have superpowers. This show leaves me emotionally unegaged [except for the story involving the cheerleader, realistically and engaging played by Hayden Panetierre, and her evil dad] and the creators can’t really create strong female characters. However, I really enjoy the leisurely way in which the stories unfold, then slowly interlock. The show’s structure, suspense and clean use of comic tropes pulls me in. Although they could do without the pretentious beginning and ending narration.  

I also tried watching some Smallville season 6, but so far it’s a big fat turd without much soapiness to make for enjoyably slumworthy viewing. There’s also some Gilmore Girls up there, for those interested. AND LOTS OF SOUTH PARK!

Now I just have to find me some Supernatural [available on dailymotion.com, but in French dub] and, of course, BTVS! 

EDIT: You can find the latest eps of some primetime NBC shows on their Web site: http://www.nbc.com . Beware, though — there’s nothing beyond the latest ep, and each ep appears in 5 chunks of 8 minutes. I do have more success loading NBC shows than I do with ABC shows, though.

Some day-after thoughts

Some day-after thoughts published on No Comments on Some day-after thoughts

First off, my NaNo word count total is greater than 50474. It’s closer to 51272. Would you believe that I forgot to count a whole day’s production in my final tally? Anyhow, NaNo won’t let me update my word count, now that I’ve won, so I’m just making that note here.

Secondly, I gave my opus a cursory read-through (all 110, single-spaced, 12-point pages of it) this morning. So far the characters seem consistent, engaging and well differentiated, each with distinctive voices (very important when most of the story is just them talking). The overall setting (Boston area) comes through clearly, although I need to work on the setting of specific scenes. (I tend to get caught up in the dialog to the neglect of the setting.) The tone, for the most part, is consistent; though the story starts out light and comic, then moves toward a more thoughtful middle, Sarah’s melodramatic, sarcastic, slightly pedantic and wry voice remains the same throughout, which gives the tone some continuity. Despite its small focus on two or three people, it feels like a busy active novel, not overstuffed, but realistically populated with primary, secondary and tertiary players. (All that work on the backstories of bit players in Sarah’s life pays off, I guess!)

In summary, I’m proud of myself for having reached the NaNo goal. I’m also proud of myself for producing a substantive, compelling part of a story that I still like and want to write, even though I’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping it for the past three and a half weeks. In other words, NaNo helped me gain a lot of ground on a promising project, one that I think could actually go somewhere [maybe to a publishing house].

Yippee! I made it!

Yippee! I made it! published on 3 Comments on Yippee! I made it!

My final word count for the NaNo project is 50474. I’m very proud of me. I’m also very tired. We now return to our regularly scheduled lives, thank GAWD.

Those of you that have given me encouragement, especially damsel_ophelia, twigling, brennil, donals_girl and Rampant Bicycle, I salute your persistent compliments. Far more than any coffee (pictured in the miniature winner’s certificate), the accolades from you guys motivated me, giving me a great incentive to work as hard as I could on this project. Thank you very much! Also thank you to Jareth, Frank, Jennifer and my new computer.

Updates on Sarah, Milly and the hordes will continue because the story is only about half over. Updates, however, will appear on a much less INSANE schedule, spaced out over months, rather than days. For the next few days in November, I’m not writing any fiction at all because I’m freeeeeeeee. I will enjoy a vacation from my cacoethes scribendi until I need to cough up season 9 of Love Has Fangs. [Oh yeahhhhh…you remember that, doncha?]

Distance to the finish line narrows…

Distance to the finish line narrows… published on 2 Comments on Distance to the finish line narrows…

Official NaNo counter say 47396, which means 2604 words to go.

I’m at a momentous point in my story. I’ve just finished writing a first draft of the most emotionally charged scene [climax?] in which Sarah and Milly have some sexual action, then break off when Milly makes her not-so-disastrous revelation.

The sexual scene between Sarah and Milly works out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Sexually charged scenes are always difficult for me to write, which means that I often shear off before the characters get too close physically. However, sex scenes can also reveal a lot about the characters because they are in a moment of great intimacy, so sexual actions can be extremely effective tools for character development. That said, the trick is to write sex convincingly.

A 10-year-old article in the Associated Writing Programs Chronicle (May/Summer 1996), entitled “A Sex Scene is Not a Sex Manual and Other Basic Principles,” by Elizabeth Benedict, forms my guide for writing good sex scenes. This is her list of general principles, quoted verbatim.

1. A sex scene is not a sex manual.

2. A good sex scene does not have to be about good sex.

3. It’s okay — really! — to be sexually aroused by your own writing.

4. Your fear is your best friend.

5. Sex is nice but character is destiny.

6. Only your characters know for sure (what to call it).

7. Take your cues from your characters.

8. Your characters must want and want intensely.

9. A good sex scene is always about sex and something else.

10. Hire a decorator.

Let’s go through these, shall we? 1. It’s a sex scene, not a manual! Instead of enumerating every action, position and technique, the author should selectively use details to create tone, mood, setting and appropriate insight into the characters.

2. Not necessarily about good sex. A good sex scene is, in another phrase, a scene that is good that is also about sex. It could be a rape scene of trauma, anger and bitterness for the victim and confused rage for the perps, but it could still be a good sex scene if written well.

3. Okay to be aroused. Okay, if the point of a good sex scene is to give the reader a sense of what the characters are feeling, and the characters are feeling turned on, your own arousal may be a good clue that your sex scene is effectively transmitting the characters’ feelings!

4. Fear = best friend. Go in the direction you’re afraid to. You will most likely discover something more powerful than you intended.

5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are basically all the same point: It’s not just a scene about sex in the abstract that you are writing. Instead, you are writing about characters, specific individuals, doing sexual things. Your idea of how sex should go, or what you want in sex, does not apply; the characters’ ideas should run the show (number 5). You should write using sexual terms consistent with the viewpoints of your characters (number 6). Your characters should be driven by intense desires, sexual and otherwise (number 7). Your characters usually have other things on their mind besides just sex, so their ulterior motives will affect how they express themselves sexually (number 9). Number 7 is just a summary.

As for 10, that just reminds you that your sex scene is occurring somewhere, in a particular setting. Even if it is outer space or a featureless plain, this setting must be specified because it affects and directs the characters’ sexual actions to a certain extent.

Looking back over the sex scene that I wrote, I’d say it’s not bad for a first draft. It’s not a detailed itemization of activities, but a more stylized attempt at prose poetry. It’s not necessarily about good sex; in fact, it’s just about aborted foreplay, but it’s still (hopefully) interesting and exciting, maybe even stimulating. I’m not really sure about my fear being my best friend…does that mean that Sarah should see Milly naked? As for 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, both Sarah and Milly clearly run on more than just sexual desire, and their personalities definitely direct the action and the terminology.

Things to improve on: Put in more about what’s going through Sarah’s mind, desire-wise? Think if I want to push the action further… Weave in more references to the setting, especially the mirrors and the hanging dolls….

I’m on the home stretch…

I’m on the home stretch… published on 1 Comment on I’m on the home stretch…

According to the NaNo counter, I have 46475/50000, or 92.95%. I have only 3525 words left. At the rate I am going, that’s one day’s work if I push myself to the point of hemorrhaging, but three days’ work at the absolute maximum if I take it leisurely.

Finally, I’m in the midst of miserable Milly revealing her secret, which is not so miserable, to surprised Sarah. Sarah is puzzled; Milly is convinced that she’s loathsome. Both of them have a lot to learn. I am nowhere near done with this!

NaNo counter says…

NaNo counter says… published on No Comments on NaNo counter says…

…that I’m currently on an even 45000. I wanted to get more than 1989 words written today by this point, but I had to stop for a few hours and do some research. Sarah was telling Milly one of her stories from her Latin-teaching days. Thus I had to research Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Vercingetorix’ rebellion and Celtic/Gallic mythology so I could create a halfway convincing tale for Sarah to tell.

Okay, back to the keyboard… With the research-laden portion of this scene done, I should move a bit more rapidly.

The official NaNo counter…

The official NaNo counter… published on No Comments on The official NaNo counter…

…says that I have 42900/50000, which is 85.8%. With only 7100 words left, I feel as if I am easily coasting down a hill, speeding faster and faster past significant numerical milestones. With each day, I approach closer to the end of the project. I also find it very easy to hit my minimum word count, even to supersede it.  I am motivated not only by exciting scenes that are fun and easy to write, but also by a gigantic desire to hit 50000 words and be done with this project FOREVER. I think the desire to get it out of my life [NaNo, not the novel] provides a stronger inducement than the actual story itself. :p

I’m gonna go write some more, at least making it a nice round 43000….

Today’s productivity

Today’s productivity published on No Comments on Today’s productivity

I have done 2001 words so far today, for a total of 41039/50000, or 82.08%. Right now that leaves me 6 days of 1494 a day to hit the 50000 mark.

Right now Sarah and Milly are having a tea party as a prelude to the Monkey Wrench scene. Speaking as a doll collector, I must say that Milly’s apartment, with a range of dolls from all sizes, countries and purposes, is pretty damn cool. Since I really want to write this scene, it flows more easily from my fingers than scenes that I don’t want to write so much. I have overcome the T-giving lethargy, much to my relief.

I will try cranking out some more words later today so that I can get ahead. I wonder if I could even [gasp!] finish NaNo a day early or so.

Automatic word counters confuse me.

Automatic word counters confuse me. published on 1 Comment on Automatic word counters confuse me.

I’ve been doing my word counting inconsistently. At first I put each day’s output in a separate file, then added the days’ totals up as I went along. But I have also been keeping one continuous document of every day’s output sequentially. Sometimes I have drawn from that for my word counting.

Most recently I’ve been adding a single day’s numbers to my running total, NOT using the continuous document. Just for the heck of it, I decided to paste everything I’ve written so far into the continuous document and check the word count of that.

I thought I had written 36296.

Open Office’s word counter says 38156.

Word’s word counter says 37719.

NaNo’s official word counter says 37716. Amusingly enough, the NaNo Web site says that the official word counter errs on the generous side.

Anyway, going with NaNo’s conservative estimate, I’ve written 1420 more words than I originally calculated. That brings me effortlessly to 37716/50000, or 75.4% complete.

Let me repeat that so that you can grasp the import of this. I’m over 3/4 of the way done [with the NaNo word count — not addressing the entire novel here]! I’m also ahead of schedule because I have 8 writing days (11/23, 11/24, 11/25, 11/26, 11/27, 11/28, 11/29, 11/30) left, or over 1/4 of the time.

I’m not going to write any more tonight because I really don’t have any motivation. I had to force myself to do job-related work and NaNo-related work today. I have lost much of my concentration due to the excitement and interruption of a day off which is kind of in the middle of the week. I will therefore rest my brain until tomorrow, when I may have more energy to tackle challenging and climactic scenes.

Have a happy T-giving, if you celebrate it.

YAY!

YAY! published on No Comments on YAY!

At 593 words for today already (it being a slow day at work), I have currently hit 35321, or 70.64%! 14679 words to do, at 1631 per day [including today] until the end. I must write as much as I can today before Thanksgiving tomorrow.

EDIT, 1:03 PM: So today’s goal is 593 + 1631 = 2224. I’m at 1479 now, which means just 745 more to go. Sarah and Jasmira, finally reconciling after their fight, have returned to their usual snarky banter. On Jasmira’s end, the conflict with her boyfriend Devon deepens. Though Sarah and Jasmira are getting along, soon all hell will break loose in Sarah’s life with the dreaded Monkey Wrench Scene! Why yes, I do enjoy making my characters suffer.

Special thanks to damsel_ophelia, donals_girl and LoreMistress for frequent cheerleading as I draw nearer to my goal. A simple comment adds a lot to my motivation.

EDIT, 2:56 PM: I’m at 1935 now. I need to post these updates because I am really not very motivated right now. My goal is to write at least 289 more words today and then even more so I can maybe take a day off for Thanksgiving.

Today’s totals

Today’s totals published on 1 Comment on Today’s totals

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have this evening, so I’m posting latest stats. I’ve done 1906 today, which brings me up to 34361/50000, or 68.72%. I’m so close to 35,000 (639 words) that I can taste it, but I hit a natural scene break. If I do have more time today, I will definitely hit 35,000, which will leave me with 15,000 left, at an utterly manageable 1,667 words per day till the end of the month.

EDIT, 6:17 PM: 2273!!! 272 to go to 35000! …I ended up leaving 2273 as my total for the day. That means a current word total of 34728, or 69.46%.

Ph34r my l33t skillz.

Ph34r my l33t skillz. published on 1 Comment on Ph34r my l33t skillz.

My l33t skillz brought me 2262 words today! My total is currently 32455/50000, or 64.91%. The jury is out about whether I will reach the NaNo goal. A lot depends on my word production during Turkey Day festivities. But I feel satisfied with my progress and, most of all, with the amount of work that I have gotten done on Sarah’s novel, word limit or no.

The story feels like it’s around halfway done, maybe a little less. I have 1.5, maybe 2, more scenes before I get to the CLIMAX…or the Monkey Wrench in Sarah’s Happiness. So I’m moving along at a steady clip. I think my word counts are going up because I really look forward to writing the Monkey Wrench scene.

Words so far today

Words so far today published on 2 Comments on Words so far today

2166 so far today, for 30193/50000, or 60.39%! Sarah and Milly’s first date, partly in summary, partly not, took much longer than I anticipated. They are now done and firmly within infatuation, if they weren’t before.

I may make it to 50000 after all! I’ve been increasingly hopeful as my word counts have increased, but I’m still not sure. Anyway, I have made substantive progress on my story, and I think I’ll write a bit more, since I have the time, just to see how far I can go.

Goal: 1000 more words! I can do it!

EDIT, 8:30 PM: VICTORY DANCE!! I did a total of 3252 today, or 31279/50000, for a final percentage of 62.56%!!

Whoopee!

Whoopee! published on 1 Comment on Whoopee!

I did 1661 today, for a total of 23260/50000, or 46.52%!

Today the NaNo project concludes its 15th day, so I have officially passed the halfway mark in terms of time. I should pass the halfway mark (25000 words) later this week.

I finally got a thread for Sarah and Milly’s second conversation. Milly’s taking it into some unexpected and surprisingly personal depths…not gushy and overinformative, because she’s a refined lady, but definitely heartfelt.

Word count pisses me off.

Word count pisses me off. published on No Comments on Word count pisses me off.

I did 1318 today, for a total of 21599/50000, or 43.2%.

I also ran into my first block [still no idea for Sarah and Milly’s second conversation or first date], so I felt rather resentful to the story for the first time. My block frustrates me because I need some planning time, but I only have enough time to write, not plan. While I have the questions lurking in the back of my mind, their lack of answer pisses me off because I need answers now. Then I skipped out of the chronological order to start a scene where Sarah asks her boss for more work.

Exactly two weeks into NaNoWriMo, I feel accomplished, but also tired. I can’t wait until the project ends, and I can go back to doing other things besides writing.

Two days’ worth of updates.

Two days’ worth of updates. published on No Comments on Two days’ worth of updates.

I did 1218 yesterday and 1221 today, but my word counter is all messed up, so I should be at 20281/50000, or 40.56%. While daily word limits do give me finite goals, I don’t work best with such arbitrary limits. I work better when I follow the flow and breaks of the story, e.g., stopping to rest at the end of scenes, chapters or climactic points, rather than when I reach a certain word limit. Anyway, I’m not really keen on word limits, so, when this project is over, I will probably retain a low minimum [~500 words a day, you lazy bastard!], but not maximums.

I’m at 20000+ words, but I’m nowhere near 40% done with the story. In fact, when I look at my outline, I’m just about 20%, maybe 25%, of the way through. Either my story is a big one, or 50000 is a small novel.

Sarah is gearing up to talk to Milly for the second time in prep for a third and juicier conversation. I’m trying to figure out what they are going to say to each other….

A surprisingly productive day

A surprisingly productive day published on 2 Comments on A surprisingly productive day

I did 1513 words today, for 17842/50000, which is 35.68%.

Sarah is talking to two of her friends who live in the same building, so we have an expose on her squalid garrett and her eccentric friends. Everyone in the story is eccentric, which, interestingly enough, makes it more realistic.

And another low night

And another low night published on No Comments on And another low night

Good thing I wrote a lot during lunch because I’m busy tonight so I will not have time to write. I accomplished 1262 words today, which brings me to a total of 16329/50000, which is 32.6%.

Sarah is walking home, which means engrossing and depressing description of her small, expensive apartment and apartment building. Conversation with her non-Milly friend and the non-Milly friend’s boyfriend later about, of course, Milly. Everyone except Sarah appears to be paired off in this story [well, except her boss, but he’s too obnoxious to rate a significant other]. Sarah should find this nauseating…

A low night

A low night published on 2 Comments on A low night

Only 1245 words today. That’s 15067/50000 total, or 30.13%. I would like to spend more time writing tonight because Sarah is talking to a secondary character who, unexpectedly, developed a personality and a plot-futhering purpose, but I have two overdue book reviews, so I will work on them now and maybe do more intensive writing this weekend [hahahah!].

Success!

Success! published on No Comments on Success!

1331 words total today!

That’s 13822/50000 done, or 27.64%. I’m consistently beating my 1200 goal!

I’m still working on the scene at Sarah’s work where she basically mopes. It did contain just a lot of dumped information about the company, but I added a narrative hook in the beginning where she argues with her boss about the menial and tedious job she’s doing. I think her boss is overdone in his flamboyant annoyingness. However, it’s just a rough draft and therefore a chance for me to express my own frustration with any past bosses, so there. :p

November 7th totals

November 7th totals published on No Comments on November 7th totals

1395 words total today!

I have a total of 12491/50000 done, or 24.98%.

My new goal seems to be working well. “How about upping the stakes?” as Jareth would say. I’ll try 1200 as a goal for a while longer, through Friday. Then I think I’ll increase the daily goal to 1450 or so.

I’m just coasting right now on material largely developed before NaNoWriMo starting: description of Sarah’s workplace and coworkers. Since she spends a lot of time there, I need some sketches of more than just the queer coworkers. Plus she’s brooding, which is a good excuse for her to wander around and procrastinate…

Thoughts on current draft

Thoughts on current draft published on 1 Comment on Thoughts on current draft

I took a leisurely amount of time yesterday to read everything I had written so far. Despite earlier misgivings, I discovered that Sarah did NOT come across as critical and negative as assumed. While whiny, melodramatic and pessimistic, she balances these traits with a very dry sense of humor, keen pyschological observations and an appreciation for beautiful details.

I also worried about the style of this story. Unlike everything else I’ve ever written, this story digresses. As narrator, Sarah is constantly telling stories aside from the main one. Her digressions may be just a sentence long, but they usually run for paragraphs or even pages. I feared that her speechifying would kill the forward momentum of the plot.

Not so. In fact, Sarah’s stories seem to work to positive effect. Because she interprets even the simplest lines of dialog, you get a clear idea of how her mind works, what she desires and what her social world is like, though she is interacting with only a few characters. All of her stories contribute to the development of the cast and the situation so, in my view at least, they make her more sympathetic and more interesting.

Today’s totals

Today’s totals published on 1 Comment on Today’s totals

I’m at 9765 words, which is 19.5% done. It’s also 150 ahead of schedule.

I’m very ambivalent about the project right now. Almost 2000 words a day takes up almost all of my time. Writing becomes a chore that I resent, rather than an exhilarating project that challenges me. Well, meeting exigent word limits challenges me, but my excitement and creativity suffer greatly.

I am seriously considering dropping my word limit to something more attainable, but still challenging, like 1200 words or so, for the month of November. I clearly won’t hit 50000 words, but I will participate in the mind-altering fun of NaNo, but without self-flagellation.

Any opinions?

November 4th totals

November 4th totals published on No Comments on November 4th totals

Doll meet and movie yesterday interfered with my word count. Darn fun…taking me away from the business of writing! I have discovered that 1923 words a day leaves me little time to do anything else besides eat, sleep, work and exercise. 1000 words a day is much more feasible, a saner alternative for me if I want to sustain my dedication as a writer and not burn out.

Yesterday I did 1547 words, which left me 376 words short of the day’s goal. However, since I’ve written a few extra words over the past few days — 137 to be exact — I’m really at 1684 for day 4, which leaves me only 239 words in the hole.

7453/50000 = 14.9% completed.

Sarah’s on the verge of meeting Milly, while the story hasn’t decided whether it is a romance or a Bildungsroman…or both. Whatever it is, it appears too sarcastic and leisurely to be chick lit.

EDIT: Now I’m out of the hole…added some description of why Sarah moved to Boston [to get away from the family!!]. 220 words so far counting toward today’s quota. 1703 to go!

Lunch-time writing

Lunch-time writing published on No Comments on Lunch-time writing

Hooray! 476 words during lunch today. 1447 to go until I reach today’s goal.

Clearly my lunch-time productivity is bottoming out. However, I don’t care that much. The whole point of writing during lunch is to break up my blocks of writing time. Instead of getting home and pounding on the computer for 4 solid hours, I do 1 hour of writing at work and lessen the time spent before the screen at home.

Now it’s time for Sarah and Jasmira’s conversation…the first of the novel, so it should set the tone, illustrating their closeness and sympathy, as well as their constant competition and difficulty in truly understanding the other.

It’ll be a snap!! :p

Today’s accomplishments

Today’s accomplishments published on No Comments on Today’s accomplishments

Okay, 2010 words completed today. That’s a total of 3981 so far out of 50000, or 7.92% completed!

Sarah finally got on the phone with Jasmira, her twin sister, and Devon, her sister’s boyfriend. We finally are getting into the meat of the story, like Sarah’s loneliness, Sarah’s constant comparisons between herself and Jasmira and, of course, her own wishes for a significant other.

All my verbosity is finally paying off…getting a better idea of characters, setting and such in action. Maybe, after I do that, the events will happen quicker.

Argle bargle nargle ZOUSE!!!

EDIT: My word counter and NaNo’s are in disagreement by some 50 words, so I’ll just be sticking with mine for now and checking NaNo’s every 7 days.

In which I inch toward my goal

In which I inch toward my goal published on No Comments on In which I inch toward my goal

669 words during lunch. 1254 to go for today!

Ladies and gentlemen, Sarah has left the building. Thank GAWD…took long enough. I fail to see how this story is going to get ANYWHERE in 50000 words, but I think I am just suffering from beginner’s myopia.

Off to crack my neck…

Youpi!…

Youpi!… published on 2 Comments on Youpi!…

That is, of course, French for “yippee.” I reached today’s goal. I did 1971 words. 48029 to go! And I’m ahead of schedule!

For the record…my goal took about three single-spaced pages in 11-point Times New Roman. it also took me about 3 to 3.5 hours, including some time staaaaaaaaring at the computer screen.

Thanks to batchix and the Loremistress for early encouragement. I will keep you in mind as a reader, LM, once this atrocious draft gets banged into more acceptable shape.

Note to self: NOTHING HAPPENS in 1971 words. It’s been about 10 minutes and Sarah is still leaving work. Of course she’s saying bye to coworkers, but still…she digresses a lot. Darn loquacious erudite narrator…

780 words during lunch

780 words during lunch published on 3 Comments on 780 words during lunch

Forthwith the NaNoWriMo minutiae! Got out all my documents [character sketches, Sarah’s local calendar, list of plot events], then realized that 2 of the docs [calendar and plot] didn’t open on Word because they are Open Office, which is foreign to Word, even though OO nicely opens Word files. How annoying.

Undaunted, I pushed on to…stare at the blank screen. After dwelling with Sarah, Milly, Jasmira, Devon and everyone for over a year, I’ve grown to know them intimately. But how should I start writing, actually inscribing, about them? How can I commit these full-rounded characters to a fixed form on paper that will limit their glorious multi-dimensionality?

Answer: Just write, you perfectionist. You’re making a rough draft. You can clean it up later. The point is to take advantage of this contest and its deadline, forcing yourself to finish the story that you have so painstakingly planned.

During my lunch break, I wrote, stared, fumbled. Still getting a feel for my characters in action, I made Sarah sound like a prickly bitch… There’s a fine edge between sarcastically humorous and crabby. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where it is so I trip over it frequently.

780/1923 words done for today. 1143 more to go.

Soon I will get into my groove, and the words will come much easier. Starting off is always a challenge.

Who’s reading this drivel???

My neck and shoulders continue to hurt. [Pain started yesterday, even before I starting banging on the keys.] Let this be a reminder to stretch frequently, contort myself away from the computer and drink lots of water while resting les yeux.

SIWINIPO again

SIWINIPO again published on No Comments on SIWINIPO again

Hmmm, maybe I should stop whingeing about the lack of BTVS in my life and just get the damn DVDs already.

New for this list:

Some high-quality lights for taking pictures

A good table that goes flush against the wall and doesn’t wobble for taking pictures

A bigger apartment

A blond wig for Jennifer

A pink wig for Jennifer

OrientDoll Wol $219.00

Previous wants:

Romantic Uyoo Angel: $238.00 Used open-eyed one instead.

Veronica Mars, season 1: $60.00 Got it.

Veronica Mars, season 2: $60.00 Don’t like it THAT much.

Supernatural, season 1: $60.00

Smallville, season 5: $60.00

Arthur Spiderwick’s Guide to the Fantastical World Around You: $24.95

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Collection (Seasons 1-7): $220.00

Twilight Zone Season 1: $96.00

Twilight Zone Season 2: $80.00

Twilight Zone Season 3: $90.00

Twilight Zone Season 4: $90.00

Twilight Zone Season 5: $80.00 

Mirror Mask: $26.96 Got it.

a flatscreen monitor from newegg.com Got a new computer.

a laptop cooling board from newegg.com

a love seat Got it.

foamcore for mounting LHF backdrops Got it.

a bulletin board Got it.

NaNoWriMo math

NaNoWriMo math published on 4 Comments on NaNoWriMo math

Howdy, all 2 of my loyal fans [not including my heavily biased groupies…you know who you are]. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month starting tomorrow. To that end, I’ve prepared detailed plans for the novel. 

Now come the detailed plans for actually writing it within the NaNoWriMo framework, which is….50,000 words of fiction to be written between the beginning of November [my time zone] and the end of November [my time zone].

50,000 words / 30 days of November = 1,667 [rounded up from 1,666.66666 repeating] words a day.

However, we have to account for a) Thanksgiving, b) sickness, c) insanity and d) sheer bodily fatigue. Therefore I need to have the equivalent of some weekends in this project.

30 days of November – 4 sick days = 26 writing days.

50,000 words / 26 writing days = 1,923 words a day.

I’m starting off with an aggressive goal of 1,923 words a day for week one [11/1 through 11/7], which should earn me almost 1 sick day.

Day 1 Goal: 1,923 done, 48,077 left.
Day 2 Goal: 3,846 done, 46,154 left.
Day 3 Goal: 5,769 done, 44,231 left.
Day 4 Goal: 7,692 done, 42,308 left.
Day 5 Goal: 9,615 done, 40,385 left.
Day 6 Goal: 11,538 done, 38,462 left.
Day 7 Goal: 13,461 done, 36,539 left.

I’ll be posting goals, accomplishments and general stats throughout next month to provide some positive reinforcement. I may also describe the story and characters in general terms. 

Is anyone else doing this? We can encourage each other online!

Because we all need French maid outfits…

Because we all need French maid outfits… published on 1 Comment on Because we all need French maid outfits…

I ordered BBI’s Goth doll Angel, mostly for her multi-layered Gothy French maid’s outfit. Anneka will like the dress and stockings, while Will will use the arm sleeves, awesome witchy shoes, chains and the stockings too. As usual, my supplier is Good Stuff to Go, which has great stock and lowest prices.

Today’s Web comic: Edible Dirt

Today’s Web comic: Edible Dirt published on 2 Comments on Today’s Web comic: Edible Dirt

Edible Dirt is an absurd strip in the tradition of The Far Side or Rhymes With Orange, but it has a few innovations. First, the art is rendered in watercolor with a lively, children’s-book feel and real talent. Second, Edible Dirt contains a lot more profanity, severed limbs and nudity than Far Side. Interestingly, though, the humor seems more compassionate, if you can say that about a comic strip, than you might expect.

As a bonus, I got to Edible Dirt from Two Lumps, which is about Ebenezer [smart] and Snootch [dumb], two cats. SailorZeo recommended this one to me. It’s stereotypical and silly, but very enjoyable, promarily because of the cats’ expressions.

Recent ABC shows free online

Recent ABC shows free online published on 2 Comments on Recent ABC shows free online

If you have a high-speed connection and you wanna watch some recent primetime telly, you can always go to the area of ABC where you can stream selected shows. The following shows are available:

Desperate Housewives [woo hoo!]

Grey’s Anatomy [??? — haven’t seen it]

Lost [???]

The Nine [???]

Six Degrees [bleh bleh]

Ugly Betty [???]

Of the shows offered, I’m most interested in DH, Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty.

Snaps of Second Life avatar generation????

Snaps of Second Life avatar generation???? published on No Comments on Snaps of Second Life avatar generation????

I’ve been listening to some programs from The Infinite Mind about the virtual 3-D community Second Life. I’m thinking that I might be able to use the high-tech avatar design features to make 3-D versions of some people and then screencap them… That would look great on my sexy new computer.

My latest streaming radio interests…

My latest streaming radio interests… published on 1 Comment on My latest streaming radio interests…

I can listen to one of the most amusing NPR shows ever, Car Talk, at its own Web site. Unfortunately, no archives are available, but you may return every week for your fix. I like this show primarily because the hosts have such a good rapport. I like to hear them laughing at each other’s bad jokes.

I started listening to The Infinite Mind last week. Each hour it focuses on a mental health [broadly construed] topic, bringing in scientists, artists and first-person commentary. So far I have listened to Sextalk, Aspergers part II and Depression in the Brain [currently]. While free streaming audio is only available for the last few months of eps, there are some interesting ones in there [if you can get them to work]. Somehow this show does not seem as rigorous as Sound & Spirit; its tone is a little too naive and gee-whiz, but it’s an agreeable time-passer.

To the Best of Our Knowledge is difficult to describe. It’s kind of like The Infinite Mind for cultural subjects. For example, the show on Laughing at Death included a segment about Southern funeral cuisine, another on the art of a good obituary and another about last meals of death row inmates. You can listen to years of previous programs, and they all work! I really like its catholic and in-depth approach.

Studio 360 is kind of a music and talk show that I just started listening to. It’s an hour long, but it typically has one or two themes per hour. In the Wizard of Oz hour, for example, we got a bio of the author, a clip of Munchkin convention, an overview of lit crit theories about the book, a discussion [and lots of samples from] the score of the 1939 movie, etc. I found this hour fascinating and the segment of another show on the Orpheus myth powerful. A well-rounded and informative show. Shows seem to be archived by segment, making a smooth listening experience difficult.

Frank molests lawn ornaments…

Frank molests lawn ornaments… published on 1 Comment on Frank molests lawn ornaments…

Yesterday Boston-area doll dorks and I converged on a New England Winter Wonderland convention for a small meet-up. After hanging around in the dealer’s room and droooooooooooooling for a few hours, we repaired to our own meeting area…  Before we did that, though, some of us ventured to Newbury Street in search of food. On the way back from Greek cuisine, Frank perpetrated lewd acts on the contents of a lawn ornament display. :p

Another TV series to get into: Dark Shadows

Another TV series to get into: Dark Shadows published on 3 Comments on Another TV series to get into: Dark Shadows

So, while listening to This American Life’s 1996 Halloween episode, I learned about the long-running TV show Dark Shadows [1965-1971], starring a vampire with a soul who lives in a creepy mansion and suffers time-traveling, werewolves, ghosts, et hoc genus omne, all while accompanied by production values so cheap that you can see the prop guy in some scenes. Yes, folks, years before supernatural soap operas had their mid-’90s boom, there was Dark Shadows, hammy, campy and funny. This may be interesting to check into and laugh at.

Plan B resin Labyrinth goblins on sale now, Jareth bust soon

Plan B resin Labyrinth goblins on sale now, Jareth bust soon published on 2 Comments on Plan B resin Labyrinth goblins on sale now, Jareth bust soon

Remember when I showed some Toy Fair 2006 previews of accurate, detailed resin busts of Labyrinth characters? Well, now these are finally hitting the shelves. You can find two currently available goblin statues on comic-store shelves now, with Jareth apparently arriving next month. See the pre-order for a Sir Didymus toy here too at Big Bad Toy Store:

http://www.bigbadtoystore.com/bbts/menu.aspx?menu=666

Also, it appears that the 1:6 Jareth doll is back on track…as you can see, Big Bad Toy Store has sold out their pre-order for him and states that his issue date is “3rd quarter 2006,” which means right about NOW!!!

6 more days till season 5 of Smallville…

6 more days till season 5 of Smallville… published on No Comments on 6 more days till season 5 of Smallville…

I don’t even like Smallville that much, but I’m looking forward to the release of season 5, the most recent season, primarily because JAMES MARSTERS appears as a guest star. Furthermore, there’s an especially amusing ep containing vamps [one named, in a bad homage to BTVS, Buffy Sanders]. Finally, the endless tortured posturing between Clark and Lana [who is more properly a plot device, not a character] makes for good mocking. I’m not sure which is the better bad TV: Charmed or Smallville. At least Charmed has some characterological consistency…

Great, ’cause we all needed some 1:6 dog crap.

Great, ’cause we all needed some 1:6 dog crap. published on 4 Comments on Great, ’cause we all needed some 1:6 dog crap.

Barbie takes on a variety of jobs these days. I’ve seen Dog Trainer Barbie in the toy stores, but I didn’t think anything of it till someone over on MWD linked to a detailed review of the set. Containing Barbie and her dog Tanner, the Dog Trainer set also features the splendiferous and innovative Eat ‘N’ Crap mechanism! The set comes with brown, bean-like pellets that you can stick in Tanner’s mouth. When you push down on Tanner’s tail, the pellet comes out the rear end. It can then be picked up with the magnetic poop scoop.

I don’t object to crapping toys on principle, although I don’t like them, but this one just grosses me out, though. Tanner’s food looks exactly the same, no matter what end it comes out, so the dog is either eating shit or shitting chocolate. Furthermore, the pellets look like some sort of human candy, which gives their cycle through the plastic dog digestive tract an extra stomach-turning aspect.

Ya know, if kids really want to make their toys barf, piss, shit, sneeze, etc., they’ll find ways to do so. My sister and I used to make our hollow plastic My Little Ponies pee by squirting water out of their tail holes. No magnetic gimmicks needed!

The grieving cycle

The grieving cycle published on 3 Comments on The grieving cycle

Are you grieving the loss of a friend, a lover, your youth, your mentor, your home town, the person you used to be? My current radio addiction, WGBH’s Sound & Spirit, has quite a few episodes related to death and change. Start with Breakups and Nostalgia, which address the losses of daily life. Then move on to Aging and Facing Death as you approach a blatant confrontation with the loss. For the loss itself, play The End of the World. Then go into Mourning & Loss and Ghosts for when you feel haunted. To reconnect with your hope, finish with The Afterlife and get back to the joyful business of living the life that lies before you.

This entry is dedicated to my grandfather, who died a month before Christmas last year.

Disillusioned with The Illusionist

Disillusioned with The Illusionist published on 3 Comments on Disillusioned with The Illusionist

Clearly it is a slow day at work.

I saw The Illusionist last night. It’s a pure love triangle story between aristocratic Sophie, who is intended to marry the tantrum-throwing Crown Prince of Austria. However, she actually loves the working-class illusionist Eisenheim. After a thwarted childhood elopement, the two reunite about 15 years later. The Crown Prince hires Inspector Uhl to find out Eisenheim’s motives and magic tricks and somehow neutralize him, but Eisenheim threatens to use his magic so that he and Sophie can give the Crown Prince the ultimate slip.

While I saw the movie’s core as the aforesaid love triangle, the actual film wandered in different directions, taking a while to get started. Beginning with Eisenheim’s arrest by Uhl, the movie focuses so closely on Uhl [played by a very likeable Paul Giamatti, atoning for the BOMB Lady in the Water] that I hoped it would be a character study of him, but no such luck. The film then drifted into an extensive overview of Eisenheim’s life, which looked wonderfully atmospheric and sepia-drenched, like an early photo, but did nothing to provide insight into either Eisenheim or Sophie. The bulk of the film concerns Uhl investigating a cagey Eisenheim, who pisses off the easily pissable Crown Prince [played buffoonishly by Rufus Sewell, who clearly has bits of the scenery between his gnashing teeth] by remaining impenetrable. Not until Sophie threatens another elopement with Eisenheim does the plot really kick into gear. But wait…then there’s a whole red herring concerning spiritualism, which is an interesting subject in and of itself. But we don’t spend too long on that because somebody is dead apparently. The Illusionist frustrated me most by giving itself the perfect opportunity for a tight little character study — the close focus of a love triangle — and then meandering and digressing so that I was only half engaged when the romance and mystery really buckled down.

Anyway, I did like The Illusionist for its twilight, sfumato atmosphere, not murky, but smudgy and mysterious. Also Paul Giamatti does a really good job, a serious, smart guy with dorky tendencies, basically kind but drawn against his knowledge into questionable circles through his association with the immature Crown Prince. His character tracked an interesting, rather subtle, development from slavish devotion to the Prince to independent intelligence and an appreciation of Eisenheim’s cleverness. In this way, The Illusionist is a portrayal of Uhl as the quintessential groupie: a man who admires the illusionist because the illusionist represents the best potential of himself, something that he himself wishes to attain.

“The other leads to certain death, oooooooh!”: death in the Labyrinth

“The other leads to certain death, oooooooh!”: death in the Labyrinth published on No Comments on “The other leads to certain death, oooooooh!”: death in the Labyrinth

I’ve got a new essay up on the Realm. Sparked by some comments made by Brian Froud in the afterword of the new edition of Goblins of Labyrinth, it talks about the very real threats of death lurking everywhere in this seemingly innocuous movie.

Sideshow Toy: disappointing collectors since forever

Sideshow Toy: disappointing collectors since forever published on No Comments on Sideshow Toy: disappointing collectors since forever

Why oh why don’t they make their 1:6 action figs look this good? WHY?! All the 1:6 versions of Spike look jowly and middle-aged. Finally, when there’s a likeness that’s accurate, it’s $250.00, premium format and not articulated worth squat. Here’s the 1:6 version:

Here’s the premium format version:

Here are all the Spike lovers who want a decent, affordable likeness: 

🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

The amazing transsexual stick, or, Snakes on a Cane

The amazing transsexual stick, or, Snakes on a Cane published on 2 Comments on The amazing transsexual stick, or, Snakes on a Cane

So I’m reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses [translated by Allen Mandelbaum] for the nth time, enjoying it immensely. Ovid is such an overwrought, yet mellifluous, writer with a constant sense of fun.

One of my favorite Ancient Greek/Roman myths concerns Tiresias, a seer. He was walking along when he saw two snakes mating. He struck the female snake with his staff and changed sex to be a woman. After being a woman for 7 years, Tiresias came upon mating snakes again. He struck the male snake with his staff and changed sex to be a man.

After that, the gods had a fight about who enjoyed sex more, men or women. Zeus said it was women. Hera said it was men. They asked Tiresias to decide, since he had been both. He said women enjoyed sex more. Hera got pissed and blinded him in vengeance.

Tiresias passed the Amazing Transsexual Stick on to Hermes, messenger god, whose symbol is a winged staff called a caduceus with two snakes wrapped around it. This is not the same snake on a cane as Aesclepius’ rod, a medical symbol which probably comes from the way that ancient doctors tried to get, say, tapeworms out of people: by wrapping one end of the worm around a stick and pulling. More than you ever wanted to know here.

Aesclepius’ rod most properly symbols the medical practice that performs transsexual operations. Hermes’ rod most properly symbolizes transgendered persons who have had sex-change operations!

See Snakes on a Cane [a caduceus] below…

 

Pay attention — now you can SEE Dom and Velvette!

Pay attention — now you can SEE Dom and Velvette! published on No Comments on Pay attention — now you can SEE Dom and Velvette!

Monday’s ep of Love Has Fangs, 8.4 “Plastic Girl,” was too murky in the original draft. My attempt to create a night filter by putting a blue layer over the scene did not work…instead the characters disappeared into shadows! Well, now the comic is bright — I dispensed with the night — and you can see Velvette in all her sexy sexy glory and Dom in all his mopey denseness. Go see!

Philosophy in the morning

Philosophy in the morning published on 1 Comment on Philosophy in the morning

If you really want to wake up when you just get into work, stream stuff from meaningoflife.tv, where notable philosophers and thinkers are interviewed by a guy who looks distractingly like James Marsters. Luminaries such as Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker and Edwin Wilson [associated with Tufts, MIT and Harvard, respectively — I live in a hotbed of philosophy!!] discuss consciousness, free will, faith, the existence of God and death. Do not try to listen to eps [each about an hour] successfully, or your brain will be overloaded. The interviews so far have brought me favorable memories of my college philosophy classes. I can feel my brain working….

So far, I recommend the interviews with Daniel Dennett and Sharon Salzberg. Edwin Wilson mumbles, goddammit. I wish Antonio Damasio had been interviewed, but he practices outside of the hotbed [Iowa].

Movies I wanna see

Movies I wanna see published on 5 Comments on Movies I wanna see

The Illusionist… At first I thought this was a movie knock-off of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [by Suzanna Schwartz], but it’s actually based on a short story. Reports say that the movie doesn’t play well as a mystery, but it has reasonably intriguing plot and character development, not to mention magic, so I’m piqued.

Wicker Man…A remake of the 1973 classic, but this time starring Barforama Nicolas Cage and changing the sex of the grand high pagan wawbab to a woman. This movie, about heathen fertility sacrifices persisting into modern times, has been on my must-see list for about a year. I think I’ll watch the remake, throw popcorn at the screen, then go back to the original.

La Science des Reves…A French film [super-chouette!] about a naive guy whose dreams spill into his waking life and how this affects his attempted romance with a neighbor girl. I enjoy movies that explore dream imagery, and the cinematography shown in the preview got me hooked.

Stranger Than Fiction…Character discovers he’s about to be killed off by author and tries to stop it. This oughta be an interesting comedy with Emma Thompson, Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Dustin Hoffmann!!

Deprived of BTVS fix due to MIA seller

Deprived of BTVS fix due to MIA seller published on 1 Comment on Deprived of BTVS fix due to MIA seller

I am very annoyed because I paid ~$146.00 back in mid-July to get seasons 1 through 7 of BTVS on DVD…and they never showed. I also never received any information from the seller, despite E-mailing three times [once through personal mail, twice through My Ebay]. Besides the fact that I’m out ~$146.00, I feel especially irritated because I was really looking forward to enjoying my favorite characters and eps in a huge splurge of indulgent gratification. [Hm, that sounded obscene.] 

Of course, I’ll get over it. It’s only some DVDs, and I have put in a claim to PayPal that will hopefully get most of my money back. I just feel cross because my indulgence was thwarted.

Oh yeah, stay away from seller mclarke6666.

An’ another new Web comic…

An’ another new Web comic… published on 4 Comments on An’ another new Web comic…

Girl Genius. The old cliched tale of the orphaned innocent coming into her powerful, mysterious destiny, enlivened by a rich and humorous steam punk background. Read it for the story! Thanks to the Loremistress for the rec. I mean thanks to Zeo! Sorry, Zeo…

The new media subsection: Web comics

The new media subsection: Web comics published on 2 Comments on The new media subsection: Web comics

As the author of an online serial story, I like to read as many Web comics as possible for ideas on story, pacing, posing, angles, composition, etc. I frequently discover new ones, so I will mention them here, along with a capsule review. Forthwith, some of my favorites:

Alien Loves Predator. Preston [the Predator] and Abe [the Alien] are two bachelors living in New York, as played by a Predator action fig and an Alien action fig respectively. I like this comic because it uses figs and also because the early strips contain hilarious jabs at city life [especially about riding the subway]. The strips have drifted away from NYC absurdity and toward slapstick stupidity, but it’s still one I read religiously.

The Order of the Stick.  My second favorite Web comic consists of a bunch of D&D characters having Epic Quests with plenty of humor and fourth-wall comments. I admire the control of the complex storylines, as well as the consistently upbeat and refreshing humor. This comic demonstrates that humor doesn’t need to be at someone else’s expense.

Action Figure Diary. 1:6 action figs talk to their human owners. It’s a cramped, four-panel format, but the writing is consistently good. Again, it’s more humor at no one’s expense.

Toyville.  Toys that know they’re toys fight evil toys and make wisecracks. Worth it for the constant self-deprecation and admittedly outrageous plots, this sporadically produced series also contains the largest collection of figs you’re likely to see in your life.

9th Elsewhere. I follow this one for the story, in which the depressed, introverted heroine gets stuck in her subconscious. With the help of her flighty muse, she must learn about her own strength so she can wake up and live a good life.  A firm grounding in psychology and a graceful following of small plot points make this one a gem.

And…finally…two new ones that I found recently:

Imaginary Friends. Widowed toy salesman struggles with older son who doesn’t speak and wants to draw monsters and loud younger son with many imaginary friends.  Written economically with great characterization, this comic is drawn with a very cinematic feel. Besides the subject matter, I also appreciate the author’s handling of the “camera.”

Dreamland Chronicles. In this bubble-gum-bright adventure, a college boy goes back to his dream world after 6 years to discover that his dream friends have grown up.  The gentle humor is perfect for all ages, and the CGI-generated characters look like cute 3-D models. You have to see the art in order to admire its rich, deep backgrounds and cartoony expressiveness.

Raw materials for the dark night of the soul

Raw materials for the dark night of the soul published on 2 Comments on Raw materials for the dark night of the soul

Three o’clock in the morning
It’s quiet and there’s no one around
Just the bang and the clatter
As an angel runs to ground

–Stay (Faraway, So Close), by U2

 

 

Well now, it’s three o’clock in the morning
And I can’t even close my eyes.
Three o’clock in the morning
And I can’t even close my eyes.
Can’t find my baby
And I can’t be satisfied.

 

–Three O’Clock Blues, BB King

 

The telephone is ringing I say, Hi, it’s me. Who is it there on the line
A voice says, Hi, hello, how are you
Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine
He says, It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise
Don’t you people ever wanna go to bed
Just ’cause you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head

–Get Off Of My Cloud, Rolling Stones

 

Well it’s three o’clock in the mornin’
Baby, I just can’t do right
Well, I hate to leave you, baby
I don’t mean maybe
Because I love you so

 

–Good Night Sweetheart, the Spaniels

 

Three o' clock in the morning 

You get a phone call from the queen 

With a horde of heads 

She says that they’re all dead

 

–Return to Oz, Scissor Sisters

 

It’s three o’clock in the morning, ship time,
Only five more hours to go.
How many miles will pass before us,
How many years will pass below?

–Starlight and Saxophone, Tom Smith

 

It’s 3:00 A.M.
I’m awake and my heart is still dreaming
It’s 3:00 A.M.
Outside I hear the souls still screaming
It’s been so long you know since my head’s been this clear
Just like a ship lost in the night
I just don’t know which way I should steer

 

–3:00 AM, Edwin McCain

 

she says baby
it’s 3 am I must be lonely
when she says baby
well I can’t help but be scared of it all sometimes
says the rain’s gonna wash away I believe it

 

–3:00 AM, Matchbox 20

 

Two o’clock when I lay down,three o’clock when I rise

I can’t get no sleep with all these tears in my eyes

I walk around, baby, and I don’t talk too much

How am I supposed to operate with my heart on a crutch?

It ain’t easy when your lover leave you all alone

–Front Porch Blues, Tom Lloyd

 

It's three o'clock in the morning,
We've danced the whole night thru,
And daylight soon will be dawning,
Just one more waltz with you,

–Three O’Clock in the Morning, Dorothy Merriss

 

My life seems unreal,
My crime an illusion,
A scene badly written
In which I must play.
Yet I know as I gaze
At my young love beside me,
The morning is just a few hours away.

Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, Simon & Garfunkel

 

But it never seems to work that way 
It seems there's always so much more to say 
And it's always somewhere in between 
True or not it's a four o'clock stop 

–Four O’Clock Stop, Lowest of the Low

 

4 O’Clock in the morning
When the ambulance arrived
4 O’Clock in the morning
When the ambulance arrived
The blue lights were flashing
As they lay my baby down inside

–Four O’Clock in the Morning, the Pogues

 

Four in the morning and I’ve got that feeling
Clock’s ticking but my heart’s not beating
Eyes open and I’m staring at the ceiling
Tell me that you’re leaving; give me something to believe in

–Four in the Morning, Ivy Music

 

It's four in the morning
And once more the dawning
Just woke up the wanting in me
Wishing I'd never met her
Knowing if I'd forget her
How much better off she would be.

–Four in the Morning, Faron Young

 

Four in the morning, crapped out, yawning, longing my life away
I never worry, why should I, it’s all gonna fade
Now I sit by my window and I watch the cars
I fear I’ll do some damage one fine day
But I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers
Still crazy after all these years

–Still Crazy After All These Years, Simon & Garfunkel

Internet alternatives to 8 hours of NPR

Internet alternatives to 8 hours of NPR published on 2 Comments on Internet alternatives to 8 hours of NPR

Well, I’ve been listening to WBUR at work, which means about three hours of news reporting, then four hours of talk and analysis about the news. Thus I hear the news about seven times, one time each when it’s reported, then one time the talk show hosts and callers hash it out. Needless to say, all the violence in Israel, corruption in Iraq, stupidity in the White House, bitching about gas, bitching about hurricanes, bitching about heat and bitching about the budget really bores me after a while. I feel like I’m banging my head into a wall of information and becoming bludgeoned, rather than informed.

In lieu of news and the regurgitation thereof, I’ve discovered my home state’s NPR radio station, VPR. With three hours of news and four hours of classical music, VPR gives me a happier balance of information and entertainment. While my brain is resting to classical tunes, I can absorb the events of the day. Furthermore, VPR has extra folksy touches, like Garrison Keillor reading the Writer’s Almanac every morning…and the Eye on the Sky weather reports [from the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury — hooray for Mark Breen!] and Night Sky Updates, which make me feel like I’m back up north. 

But, for the past few days, I’ve been listening to something even better — Sound and Spirit, an hour-long radio show hosted by Ellen Kushner. After having caught it on a few Sunday evenings, I sought out its [primitive] home page and found that I can listen to streaming versions of previous shows! Each S&S focuses on a different theme [this morning I listened to (1) Break-ups, (2) Satan and (3) The Lord of the Rings], pulling together vocal and instrumental music from all ages, cultures and backgrounds. Bits of famous prose, poetry, plays and sacred texts often appear as well, along with author or scholar interviews. Each hour is like a Unitarian sermon, designed to open your mind, gladden your heart and kick you in the butt. You need to download Real Player to listen to each ep, but it’s free and worth it! ‘Scuse me…gonna go listen to the S&S ep on cities.

Die, vile protagonist: killing off the Mary Sue!

Die, vile protagonist: killing off the Mary Sue! published on 3 Comments on Die, vile protagonist: killing off the Mary Sue!

In a paper about “150 years of Mary Sues,” Pat Pflieger comments about the coup of killing off a Mary Sue — that is, the character that is the author’s shill. Why is a dramatic death the ultimate end?

1. Mary Sue is too good for you. Like the saintly, sickly paragons of Victorian novels [Helen in Jane Eyre, Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop], Mary Sues become too talented, too virtuous, too stupendously amazing, for this world. So there’s really nothing else to do except kill them off. In a fanfic that’s full of the highest highs, deepest lows, widest loves and most passionate hates, a Dramatic Death makes an orgasmic conclusion.

2. Hah, you really loved her, didn’tcha?!?!? Like the original rebellious female character who loved the evil man [Clarissa], Mary Sues die to afford the author and reader some perverse glee. Since everyone loves Clarissa [and the Mary Sues], everyone feels devastated when she dies. Thus, pre-death and even post-death, the author and reader can bask in the secondary characters’ grief because the grief proves how greatly the main character [Clarissa or Mary Sue] was loved.

3. You’ll remember her forever. Because they’re so damned good and because everyone loves ’em, it’s guaranteed that the characters will not forget the Mary Sue. Her virtues will shine as a noble beacon forever. Secondaries will idealize and idolize her. She will never leave their minds. More wish-fulfilling whack-off on the author’s part.

Hmmm, and I thought killing Anneka was just a good way to literalize a huge change in her life. Nope…it was the Orgasm of the Mary Sue!

Dear Loremistress  — If Mary Sues are so hated by other writers, why do you think LHF, which is so obviously teeming with Mary Sues, is well-liked?

Go read what the Loremistress muses about Mary Sues. She’s good. 😀

Blog of Eternal Stench reviews Return to Labyrinth

Blog of Eternal Stench reviews Return to Labyrinth published on 2 Comments on Blog of Eternal Stench reviews Return to Labyrinth

Return to Labyrinth, a Henson Company/Tokyopop manga, should be considered a companion, rather than a sequel, to the 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth, about 15-year-old Sarah’s coming-of-age journey to save her half-brother, Toby, from the Goblin King’s Muppet-laden Labyrinth. Continue reading Blog of Eternal Stench reviews Return to Labyrinth

“I thought Faeries did nice things!”

“I thought Faeries did nice things!” published on No Comments on “I thought Faeries did nice things!”

My favorite character from the Return… manga is Hana, the stabby, snotty, snarky Faery, who fulfills the Sir Didymus function when accompanying Toby through the Labyrinth.

Other than that, I find the story an interesting retread of Labyrinth [lots of in-jokes from the Labyrinth realm and even the Dark Crystal — even gratuitous potty humor >_<]. However, Toby doesn’t capture my interest; as vapid as Sarah and even less sympathetic [she had real problems; he’s just a whiny and spoiled kid], he doesn’t engage me at all. I also have serious questions about Jareth as the window-jumping guidance counselor and then the “retiring” [kings don’t “retire” — they ABDICATE] king. I also have questions about his sexual proclivities.

Later. I’ve got to get back to work.

P.S. Despite what you may have heard, this story is not total crap. It’s not a masterpiece either. Just remember that it neither caters to the J/S romantics or the kids who just want puppetainment. Explicitly labeled “Teen,” Return… aims at people between 12 and 16, meaning those who didn’t see the original in the theaters and then spent 20 years whacking off to it. While Return… recalls enough of the original to keep the older fans happy, the primary audience consists of kids who want a blend of action and magic — i.e., people who want what the original was trying to deliver. It succeeds modestly at its goal [action/magic/romance], but adds nothing interesting, glamorous or substantive to the Labyrinth story.

I’ll still be hacking it to pieces analyzing it, though. Heh heh heh…

Podcast of the Labyrinth/Dark Crystal panel at Comicon

Podcast of the Labyrinth/Dark Crystal panel at Comicon published on 4 Comments on Podcast of the Labyrinth/Dark Crystal panel at Comicon

Thanks to mangacast, there’s an audio recording of the San Diego Comicon panel where Tokyopop and Henson Co. reps talk about the Labyrinth and Dark Crystal manga adaptations. Excuse me while I go get Quicktime and listen to it….

EDIT: The audio quality really varies. The voices of the panelists fade out easily, but the cheering audience occasionally overwhelms the track. I can’t listen to this at work; it’s too distracting! I’ll be back later with a transcription. Amusing note: Someone [couldn’t catch who — maybe Michael Polis?] said that the germ of the Labyrinth manga came from looking at Jareth and realizing that he looked like a quintessential bishounen. HAHAHAHAHAHAH…

Labyrinth manga hits in early August…

Labyrinth manga hits in early August… published on 1 Comment on Labyrinth manga hits in early August…

Well, at least according to the Web site of the illustrator, Chris Lie: “The book will be in stores everywhere in the next 10 days.” [He said that in an update yesterday.]

Comicon.com Pulse summarizes some notes about the manga from the SDCC panel:

  • Notes for the Return to Labyrinth manga:
  • – Takes place after the movie, Toby (the baby the Goblins stole in the movie) is about 14 years old.
  • – The plot revolves around Toby exploring the world Sarah visited in the movie, but focuses mostly on the Goblins and Goblin politics.
  • – A new character created by writer Jake T. Forbes for the manga is the Goblin Mayor, who is bitter about playing second fiddle to Jareth (David Bowie’s character in the movie).
  • – The plot will also explore other kingdoms neighboring Jareth’s.
  • – TOKYOPOP has sold out of the first volume of the Labyrinth manga every day during the convention. They will have more for sale tomorrow (Sunday) the last day of the con.

Goblin Mayor? Competition for Jareth? I foresee utter crappiness…How can a goblin character be competition for a ball-twisting rock star? This manga is gonna hurt my brain and my fond memories of the movie…and yet I can’t stop myself from satiating my curiosity.

Labyrinth and MirrorMask merchandise

Labyrinth and MirrorMask merchandise published on No Comments on Labyrinth and MirrorMask merchandise

T-shirts, buttons and such at the Henson Company’s Cafepress store: http://www.cafepress.com/jimhensonco/  Warning: While the MM section contains buttons with all your favorite characters, all the Laby section has is shirts with the manga sequel cover on them. Yawn yawn yawn.

An African BJD!

An African BJD! published on 1 Comment on An African BJD!

Every so often, someone on DOA asks, “Hey, where are all the BJDs with darker skin: Indians, Hispanics, Arabs and Africans? Why the heck are they all so deathly pale?” While more dark dolls have appeared in the last year [see, for example, Luts “tanning” dolls], they have usually been darker versions of the original pale editions. In my mind, this is like making an African Barbie from the same mold as the Caucasian Barbie, changing only the color of the plastic. Skin color alone does not denote race. There are differences in facial features that most BJD companies have not reflected in their sculpts.

…Until Iplehouse Cocori, who boots SD16 Olivia’s bland lil ass out of the ballpark in terms of quality and quantity.

She just came out today and, according to her character description — she is already recognized as “a black pearl” — she was explicitly developed as a dark-skinned [African??] doll. She’s the first BJD I’ve seen who a) was planned and first issued as a dark-skinned character and who b) looks like an African character, as opposed to a very brown Caucasian character.

From the photos I’ve seen, I really like her. Her body seems to combine strength [especially the neck!] with elegant poseability. I even like her more than the Dollmore Model body because she has an under bust joint and a hip joint, making her more poseable. Her arms seem well-proportioned [as opposed to the DM Model’s scrawny arms] with functional, but well-hidden, double-ganged joints.

I think she’s another one of those dolls, like Elfdoll Nabee, that I would get if I had the money and the space. She’s just so beautiful!

EDIT: Buzz on DOA says that Cocori is not a strict LE, available only once, then never again. She will be released in small batches, produced sporadically but continuously. 

Job rejection notices and hideous neon “couture”

Job rejection notices and hideous neon “couture” published on No Comments on Job rejection notices and hideous neon “couture”

A server crash ate the last posted ep of Love Has Fangs and all the comments, so I reposted it, but it’s feeling lonely. Please go read Anneka’s E-mail in 7.8, “Job Hunt,” and tell her what you think of her job search. Or check out Anneka and Will’s eye-bleedingly bright outfits in 7.9, “Fiery…and Fired,” and give them some fashion advice.

Don’t forget…you too can subscribe to LHF’s syndication feed here: http://lovehasfangs.livejournal.com. All the cool people [19 of them] are doing it!!

Meryl Streep is great, or, Devil Wears Prada: better than the book!

Meryl Streep is great, or, Devil Wears Prada: better than the book! published on No Comments on Meryl Streep is great, or, Devil Wears Prada: better than the book!

I saw Devil Wears Prada on Sunday afternoon while waiting for the sun to reappear. While I found the book repetitive, grating, stupid, annoying, childish, clunky, lacking in plot, momentum, character development and reasons to continue reading, I really liked the movie.

The film adaptation changed Lauren Weisberger's debut "novel" from a whine a clef about how the protagonist suffered as an unlikeable assistant to an unlikeable fashion editor into a breezier chick-lit exploration of workaholism. Schlumpy naif Andie gets seduced by the prospect of making it big at her first post-college job, a slavish position at Runway magazine. While examples of glittering achievement — notably the regal, distant and impressive editor, her boss [played to perfection by Meryl Streep] — tempt her to become an overworked and underpaid peon, examples of frazzled persons with no social life also abound. After flirting with lifeless subsumption to a job, Andy learns her lesson and gets a life and a bit more balance. 

My friend who saw it with me commented that the movie tried to set up a false "ditzy fashion mag" vs. "serious meaty journalism" dichotomy, making the protagonist choose a "real, substantive job" [writing about janitors' unions] over the shallowness of the fashion mag life. But the cheap swipe at fashion mags doesn't really work because the movie regularly provides us glimpses of how hard these people work, how deeply they care about their work and how much they are invested. [I found the scenes where the editor meets with her staff, hashing out the editorial calendar, to be a spot-on combination of the real intuition, savvy, discernment and dedication that running a periodical takes.] Personal investment — that's the real theme. Will Andie live to work…or work to live? As the editor's brittle demeanor and poignant soliloquy demonstrate, the sacrifices that one makes to be a career success have a huge toll. In its attempts to explore this toll, Devil Wears Prada balances well between comedy and light drama, a feat made all the more impressive because it's wearing stiletto designer heels!

Rement coming to the States!

Rement coming to the States! published on 2 Comments on Rement coming to the States!

Rement, a popular source of detailed 1:6 food and household items, will be offering its eminently cool products in the U.S. later this year.

Here’s the E-mail sent to Rement collectors: http://www.re-ment.us/

Here’s the US site: http://www.re-ment.us/

I have no use for it, but I want the waffle iron.

Frank debuts at the doll club meeting at Ivy’s house!

Frank debuts at the doll club meeting at Ivy’s house! published on 2 Comments on Frank debuts at the doll club meeting at Ivy’s house!

Yesterday the Burlington Doll Club held its summer meeting at Ivy’s house. Amidst pizza, chips and salsa, we heated up her living room with insane giggles and clothing swaps, an excavation of the “free box” and, of course, general adulation of everyone’s dolls…particularly Frank.  Frank made his first major public appearance in his final form yesterday. As popular as he was in Ptown, Frank vamped for everyone’s cameras, enjoying the feeling of many hands across his body.  See beautiful dolls and silly comments below.
Continue reading Frank debuts at the doll club meeting at Ivy’s house!

20th anniversary edition of Goblins of Labyrinth out Sept. 1st!

20th anniversary edition of Goblins of Labyrinth out Sept. 1st! published on 2 Comments on 20th anniversary edition of Goblins of Labyrinth out Sept. 1st!

Yup, title says it all. There’s a re-issue of the art book Goblins of Labyrinth [Amazon info here], containing conceptual art by Brian Froud and a foreword by Terry Jones. But wait…that’s not all! This new edition includes a new afterword by Brian Froud and NEW ARTWORK!!! Check below the cut for a scan of the cover and an example of the new art. The picture across the top of the cover, showing Sarah with a mask, is an example of the new and unknown goodies that we will discover within the book’s covers.

Update on MM manga and Jim Henson DVD set w Laby, MM and DC

Update on MM manga and Jim Henson DVD set w Laby, MM and DC published on No Comments on Update on MM manga and Jim Henson DVD set w Laby, MM and DC

The Jim Henson Fantasy Film Collection, a trio of Labyrinth, Dark Crystal and MirrorMask, appears on September 5th. This is not actually news, just a bit of creative marketing, since the DVDs and all extras are just the same as previous releases. The only things that distinguish this collection from anything else are clips from the Return to Labyrinth manga and from the MirrorMask manga. Boring. You can go back to waiting for the Labyrinth sequel manga now.

More info here: http://www.dvdtown.com/announcement/jimhensonfantasyfilmcollection/3629

Apparently the MM manga isn’t coming out till early next year. >_<

Jareth, the ultimate bishounen — cover of Return to Labyrinth manga

Jareth, the ultimate bishounen — cover of Return to Labyrinth manga published on No Comments on Jareth, the ultimate bishounen — cover of Return to Labyrinth manga

Whoo hoo! Here’s some Laby news for y’all …The Labyrinth sequel manga, officially titled Return to Labyrinth [first volume of three], comes out on August 8th. Here’s the Amazon information. Here’s the back text, as taken from the Tokyopop Web site:

“The Goblin King has kept a watchful eye on Toby: His minions secretly guiding and protecting the child… Legions of goblins work behind the scenes to ensure that Toby has whatever his heart desires… Preparing him for the day when he will return to the Labyrinth and take his rightful place beside Jareth as the heir to the Goblin Kingdom…

“That day has come…

“But no one has told Toby.”

Here’s some information from the writer himself, Jake Forbes, as posted on the Tokyopop forums, in response to people who were disappointed that Toby, rather than Sarah, was the focus:

“I’m the writer of the upcoming manga. While I don’t want to give too much away too early, you can rest assured that there are several girls in the manga of various shapes and sizes–one of whom is a lead. Sarah, the main character from the movie, shows up too, but she’s not the lead this time. In any case, it’s not a boys-only adventure by any measure, even if Toby is our protagonist.”

Annnnnd…check out images of the cover below the cut. Manga Jareth! The first is a colored version and the second uncolored version shows you all the nifty detail.

Scraping the Web for Pan’s Labyrinth information

Scraping the Web for Pan’s Labyrinth information published on 1 Comment on Scraping the Web for Pan’s Labyrinth information

And MAN is it hard to find. And, if I do find it, it’s in languages other than English. Anyway, look below for more goodies besides the links posted yesterday:

Downloadable high-quality stills and sketches of sets from the official French site [watch out for the Pale Man]: http://www.lelabyrinthedepan.com/

Press book [en francais] from the official French site: http://www.lelabyrinthedepan.com/download_img/dp.pdf

Reports from del Toro’s panel at the San Diego ComicCon: http://www.movietack.net/id932.html and http://www.aintitcoolnews.com/display.cgi?id=23929

Rough cut of a new English-language trailer: http://www.deltorofilms.com/Features_PansLabyrinthTrailer.php

Translation for the new trailer: http://www.deltorofilms.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=257&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=90

Source for a bit of film dialog between Ofelia and Pan [official Doug Jones site]: http://www.thedougjonesexperience.com/pan.htm

Early creature designs by William Stout: http://www.thedougjonesexperience.com/pan%7Edesign.htm

Pan’s Labyrinth: a much darker dream quest than Labyrinth or MirrorMask

Pan’s Labyrinth: a much darker dream quest than Labyrinth or MirrorMask published on 3 Comments on Pan’s Labyrinth: a much darker dream quest than Labyrinth or MirrorMask

While looking at upcoming movies on IMDB, I came upon El Laberinto del Fauno, or, as it will be hereinafter referred to because I know no Spanish, Pan’s Labyrinth.

Set in northern rural Spain in 1944 during the country’s civil war, the film focuses on the young heroine Ofelia. While her new, sadistic stepfather tries to eradicate the guerilla fighters from the villages nearby, Ofelia escapes from the ugliness of the real world. She discovers an overgrown stone labyrinth by her new house. Its master, the great god of the wilds Pan, tells Ofelia that she is a princess in the labyrinth’s magical realm; to return to her rightful home, she must perform three difficult tasks. Ofelia does so, but the eldritch horrors of the labyrinth land increase — including a freaky pupa-like Pale Man whose eyes are in the center of his palms — as the fantasy world provides a rich metaphorical counterpoint to the strife of civil war and other internal conflicts.

I’m curious and excited about this film. First of all, the basic plot — young girl in dreamland — forms the backbone of my favoritest movies. Unlike Labyrinth and MirrorMask, though, Pan’s Labyrinth addresses the world outside the protagonist’s head and family. It demonstrates how national conflicts can reverberate on a familial scale and a personal scale. I’m thinking Labyrinth gone political!

Second of all, guess who’s behind this film? Guillermo del Toro! Best known to American audiences for Hellboy and Blade II, del Toro, from what I’ve seen, combines a joyful comic book stylization with an almost sensual interest in the squishy sensitivity of human parts. If his earlier work is any indication, Pan’s Labyrinth should feature innocence running up against some fascinatingly dank ickiness with nightmarish edges. 

Third of all, early buzz on the film praises the acting and the special effects. After suffering Jennifer Connelly’s stupefyingly underwhelming performance in Labyrinth and the beer-bottle-brown effects of MirrorMask, I’m eager to see if one of my girl-in-dreamland films can achieve solid acting and solid effects. I can’t tell anything about the acting from the clips I’ve seen, but the film certainly looks interesting. Del Toro plays with color and shadow, bringing out rich hues in the countryside [as opposed to Labyrinth, which is a severely brown movie all around]. The CGI appears to be a supplement to the human performances, integrated rather well [as opposed to MirrorMask, where the people were just a distraction for the nifty images]. Of course, I can’t really tell anything about the movie at this point, except that I will definitely be seeing it.

I’ll leave you with a few links. Here’s the official English site. Here’s a site where you can find a trailer and some clips.

See below for Pan (Doug Jones) confronting Ofelia (Ivana Baquero).

 

Hooray, BTVS fix soon satisfied!

Hooray, BTVS fix soon satisfied! published on 1 Comment on Hooray, BTVS fix soon satisfied!

I just got all 7 seasons of my favorite TV show [Buffy the Vampire Slayer] for $146.11 [each boxed separately], incl s/h. That’s $20.87 per season, way less expensive than the set that boxes all seasons together [~$340.00 list price]. I’m going to sell seasons 1 and 7 because I don’t like them. [In season 1, no one has really developed interestingly yet, and, in season 7, nothing happens and my favorite characters die.]

Hooray, that leaves me with seasons 2 through 6 to watch…particularly all those parts in season 6 where Buffy is trying to adjust to being alive…and any eps where James Marsters makes more faces than the bad-ass expression…and any eps with robots in them.

“It was incredible, officer. She just jumped over the shark and headed for the soap!”

“It was incredible, officer. She just jumped over the shark and headed for the soap!” published on No Comments on “It was incredible, officer. She just jumped over the shark and headed for the soap!”

I have watched about 13 eps of Veronica Mars season 1 so far. Continue reading “It was incredible, officer. She just jumped over the shark and headed for the soap!”

What sarong with you?!

What sarong with you?! published on No Comments on What sarong with you?!

While goofing off at the Doll Palace [http://www.thedollpalace.com], I discovered an avatar maker that does not crash my compooper [unlike Meez]. Naturally I made Anneka and Will. I particularly like the dollmaker dress-up feature on this site, which allows you to combine elements from different dollmakers into a customized panel. That’s how I got Will into the sarong. Continue reading What sarong with you?!

Little Will avatars and animations

Little Will avatars and animations published on 2 Comments on Little Will avatars and animations

So, thanks to SailorZeo, I found a free animated avatar program, Meez. Naturally I set to work recreating my current favorite characters, Will and Anneka. The browser crashed in the middle of Anneka’s pixelated construction, so you’ll just have to enjoy Will for now. Continue reading Little Will avatars and animations

Whooot, DVDs on the way!

Whooot, DVDs on the way! published on 1 Comment on Whooot, DVDs on the way!

I just ordered Veronica Mars season 1, Medium season 1, Tru Calling season 1 and Charmed season 4, all used, all for less than $100.00 total, incl s/h! I saw bits of Medium season 1, but everything else will be new and delicious research for Love Has Fangs. Well, okay, the first three are for serious research. Charmed is just for potato-chip value.

Frank visits the most fabulous city on the Eastern seaboard.

Frank visits the most fabulous city on the Eastern seaboard. published on 4 Comments on Frank visits the most fabulous city on the Eastern seaboard.

Frank took a day trip with me yesterday to Provincetown, a town at the end of Cape Cod. He got cruised so many times, attracting much more attention than me. See below for his escapades. Continue reading Frank visits the most fabulous city on the Eastern seaboard.

Next up: Sideshow messes up the Cordelia doll.

Next up: Sideshow messes up the Cordelia doll. published on 1 Comment on Next up: Sideshow messes up the Cordelia doll.

http://www.sideshowtoy.com/behindtheshow/?page_id=1639&source=wp_news

Next BTVS/Angel character to be released in 12″ is Cordelia. I smell doom, especially since the prototype looks reasonable accurate. The last time SST had an accurate prototype [regular Willow], the final draft just looked…warped. Please, Sideshow, just for once, could ya NOT mess something up?

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