Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ophelia and Her Minions

Poor Ophelia.  She really sees herself as a queen among the little ones, by virtue of her greater size and wisdom.  Well, I don't know how wise she is, but she certainly has greater knowledge, by virtue of her greater age, and knowledge is wisdom, or so they say.  Just try convincing her "minions" of that.

"Gather around, my minions.  Gather around your queen."
"What queen?  Where?"
"What's a minion?"

"No.  No toys until you learn to obey.  Everyone go sit on the bench."
 "Everyone?  There's only room for two."  

 "Three if we squish."  

"I'm not squishing."

[Sighs.]  "It's like trying to herd cats."
 "She heard a cat."  
"Did you hear a cat?"  
"I'm sitting near the toys."
 "Hey Julie, your sister is here."

 "Ja-Neece.  What brings you here?"

"Hi Ophelia.  Julie's lunch is ready.  What's going on?"

"Nothing at all.  My minions don't care to obey me."
 "Your minions, huh?  Lucky for you they don't know what minions are."
 "It's nothing bad."

 "Julie, let's go.  Lunch."

 "I don't want to stay here.  Hey, Julie, wait for me."
 "Don't be silly.  You can't go to lunch with Julie."

 "I want to go home, too."  
 "Yeah, me too.  Let's all go."
 "This minion thing is definitely overrated."

BID and KID outfits by Iplehouse.  JID sweater by Iplehouse; I made the skirt.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Samantha Grace's Story: Girl Talk

I'm so glad you came over, Zofie.  Just like old times.

Wild horses couldn't keep me away.  We have so much to catch up on.  Like 
Europe, and finishing school, and all the dishy men you met along the way.

Finishing School was a laugh, really.  So old fashioned!  How to run 
a household.  How to dress for success.  (What they consider success is 
How to land a rich husband, not How to break through the glass ceiling.) 
 How to be a lady in today's world.  Well, that last part is something I 
probably needed.  It was much more fun shopping in Paris and 
London and Milan.  And yes, there were a lot of dishy men.  
A lot of cads, too.  Sometimes with only a fine line between them.

A lot of dishy cads, then.

You got it.

Anyone special?

No one special enough to make me forget Shane, if that's 
what you mean.  I can't believe he went off on a cos-play 
weekend instead of meeting me at the station.

You can thank your brother for that.

I thought it was Evgeny's doing.

Jamie told you that?  He would.  No, it was Jamie's idea.  He pleaded with Ev 
to take Shane away for the weekend.  It was supposed to be our time together.  
No kids.  Certainly no third wheel at a loss for what to do with himself.

I'm so sorry he ruined your weekend.

Jamie's the one who should be sorry, not you.  So, you wouldn't have 
minded if Shane met you?  I thought the two of you were on the outs.

We broke up before I left, but I wouldn't say any doors were closed.

Is that why the birdcage door is open?

Mmm.  The cage door is open, the bird is free.  
But which one is the bird?  Him?  Or me?

Honey, that's too deep for me.  But if it's Shane 
you're wanting, I'll see he hears about it.

Oh, don't say I'm wanting him.  Say I'm not opposed 
to hearing from him.  That should be enough.

Let's hope he's bright enough to figure that out.

Oh, Shane is bright enough.  If he plays dumb, it's only to get 
what he wants.  Just drop a hint.  If he bites, he's still interested.  
If not, leave him be.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Introducing Volks YoSD Ryo

Little Ryo arrived this week in exchange for my Kaye Wiggs tan Lillie.  Same trading partner.  It's nice to know my two "illies" are together.  And I now have a little brother for my SDCG Sora.

Ryo was released for the Volks Tokyo Theme Park Hotel event in February 2009, one of seven YoSDs released as counterparts of standard SDs.  The seven YoSDs are part of a Journey to Dream Nights story arc, and they are assumed to be the Seven Dwarfs in the Snow White story.  His full set came as part of the trade.  I haven't put it on him yet, mainly because my trading partner sent him in a pair of cargo pants and a striped tee shirt that just scream: "I'm a cute little boy!"  The full set is missing the original wig and boots, so I'd like to find suitable approximations before I dress him in it.

I learned Ryo's background and particulars from Where Angels Lie, a Volks Super Dollfie Database

Naming him has turned out to be a no-brainer:  Ryo suggests Rio, which suggests River.  So I will call him alternately River or Rio.  Out of curiosity I looked up Japanese boy's names online.  Ryo appears to be a variant of Ryou, which can mean cool, refreshing, distant, or reality.  Seeing as Rio and River are both water, and water is both cool and refreshing, I think I'm onto something.

River came with his default blue 16mm Zoukeimura Dollfie glass eyes.  They're nice, but too large for my taste.  I tried him in several pairs of 14 mm eyes, both glass and acrylic, and finally settled on a pair of oval, flat back glass eyes.  Regular glass eyes need to have a relatively short stem in order to fit in the eye cavity without interfering with the S-hook that holds his string in place.  The advantage of flat backs is, obviously, no stem.  And the oval shape fits his eye opening perfectly.

Until I make or buy him a pair of boots, River is wearing a pair of tennies that I bought online.  (Don't remember where or when.)  They are way too wide for any doll I own, and for that reason I had relegated them to the doesn't-fit-anyone box.  I came across them again while I was looking for a wig for another doll, tried them on River and decided he could wear them.  They came with absurdly large shoelaces.  I replaced those with thin elastic which does the job without looking so disproportionate.  They would fit better with socks; I need to go hunting for those.  Or I could make a pair from some socks that didn't fit any of my dolls.  Recycling is alive and well at Resin Corner.

The wig that I had planned for him to wear does not fit, so for now he is borrowing one from my BIDs.  It fits well enough that I may order one for him alone.  That way he won't stretch a wig that someone else still wears. 

The final touch to his current look is Bo, a Ty Beanie Baby dog that I found at the grocery store this morning.  I swear, I wasn't looking for anything of the sort--it just jumped out at me from where it was hanging amidst produce that had nothing to do with stuffed toys.  (That's an interesting marketing ploy, by the way.  Display something where shoppers don't expect to find it, and see if it doesn't spark an interest in buying.  It worked on me!)

Backdrop from American Girl; garden bench from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Samantha's Arrival

Jamie arrives at the train station to find it empty of people--except for Samantha Grace.  Oh-oh!  Did he get the time wrong?  How long has she been standing there?  And-- heaven help us--what is she wearing?  It's like she stepped out of a different century.

"Um, hi!  Did your train come in early?"

"Jamie, my love, much as I like to see you squirm, 
the answer is no.  I caught an earlier train."

"Where is your luggage?"

Laughs.  "On the train I was supposed to take.
I just spoke with the station master.  He'll 
send it up to the house when it arrives.
Did you drive, or shall we walk?"

"No offense, but that dress won't fit into 
the car.  So I guess we'll walk.  Do 
you have decent shoes on under that?"
 "The best.  I'm wearing boots."

"Oh.  Okay, then.  Mind if I ask why you're wearing...that?"

"Well, aside from loving the outfit--and the effect 
it has on people--I wore it for self-defense."


"I didn't want some dirty old man falling asleep on my shoulder.
This kept everyone at bay, except for a mousy little thing 
who squeezed into the end of the seat across from me.
At first she stared.  When I stared back, she 
buried her nose in a book and didn't look up again."

"I'm surprised you weren't charged extra 
for the seats your dress occupied."

"Me, too.  So, Jamie, you're the welcoming committee?"

"Yeah.  Anything wrong with that?"

"No.  I only thought some of your friends might 
come along.  Like Evgeny and Zofia.  Or Shane."

"Ev and Zofia had a cos-play thing this weekend.
And I didn't think you'd want to see Shane."

"Why not?"
"Well, you did dump him."

"That was two years ago!"

 "People tend to move on after two years."

"Does that mean he has a new girl?"

"No.  I believe he is still carrying a torch for you."

"Well, there you go.  You should have asked 
him to come along."

"I swear, I'll never understand women as long as I live."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Art Thief Targets the BJD Community--the Community Fights Back

I am making an extra post this week to help spread the word about a heinous theft of intellectual property.  An "artist" by the name of Matthew Christopher Nelson has been discovered posting photos of dolls and original artwork collected from various online sources.  He has manipulated these images in PhotoShop or a similar program and claims the work is his.  This would be bad enough by itself, but he was also in the process of raising money on Kickstarter to fund a book of his "original" artwork.

I became aware of the brouhaha a day late and therefore missed seeing his Facebook photos myself, but I saw enough screen captures of his work, side-by-side with the original artwork, to sicken me.  Is he delusional?  How can he apply a filter to someone else's work, a task that PhotoShop accomplishes in mere seconds, and then lie on his site that he has spent days sorting, laying out, and drawing the piece?  It did not take long for Kickstarter to shut him down.  His photos are no longer available to the public on Facebook.  Whether he took them down or merely hid them is another question.

The art he stole and adulterated belongs to a wide variety of people:  BJD owners; faceup artists; costume designers; photographers; bona fide artists who posted their work on DeviantArt; ball jointed doll companies; even large corporations like Disney.  The doll owners and the artists went to work matching the bogus works of art with the originals and notified unsuspecting victims.  I imagine the corporations will set their lawyers on him.  Is he shut down for good?  Unlikely.  He has attempted such a scam before.  Then too he was shut down.  The man does not learn from his mistakes.  He went so far as to respond to his accusers online, "You people are pissing me off."  Unrepentant.

Among the things I don't understand are how his backers could fall for his scheme.  Perhaps he didn't show them any artwork?  Anyone who looks at one of his pieces will see that it is digitally manipulated.  Anyone who looks at his earlier work can see that there is no correlation between then and now.  Even among the photos he appropriated, there is the work of divergent minds and hands.  The only commonality is the fact that he has vandalized each and every original work he took.  He has even cropped photos to remove the original artist's name and other identifying marks.  He is no innocent blundering into no-man's-land.  That action alone clearly shows knowledge and intent. 

Another thing I don't understand:  he gave names to the doll photos he manipulated, identifying them as characters in the book.  How can he account for the fact that he can never show two or more of these characters together in one photo, or in a different pose or costume than the one shown?  As someone who shoots doll photos, I know from experience that for every photo published online there are a dozen more sitting in my computer or my camera.  Unless I have since sold the doll, I have both the doll and the costume shown in the photo and can produce them on demand.  He can't.  I have the wigs, I have the patterns, I even have leftover scraps of the fabric used in the costume.  He has none of those things.  Even if I have sold the doll, I have plenty of other photos of the same doll in the same and other costumes. I imagine the same goes for other doll owners.

I am not posting any links.  He is easily found online.  If you have access to Den of Angels, please read the thread that deals with this subject.  The last time I looked--this afternoon--it was already 26 pages long.  Many of the links posted there are now broken, either by the "artist" or by the site administrators, but there is plenty of evidence on display nonetheless.  And if you are wondering what his "art" looks like, here is an example I put together myself using one of my dolls.  In the first instance you have my original doll photo.  In the second you have my photo after I applied two PhotoShop effects:  fluorescent chalk and a lighting filter.  As you can see, the original is still identifiable.  Same with his pieces.

But is it Art?
And can you sell it as yours, if you carefully remove the original artist's name?
No, dear.  That is Theft.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Samantha's Story Begins

This story, which will continue over a number of posts, will introduce my newest Iplehouse doll, SID The Addiction Grace, who arrived yesterday.  It will not be a vampire story, as the Addiction dolls I have bought so far are human versions, but rather it will follow the lives of my larger Iplehouse dolls (nYID, SID, and EID).  Today's players are Jamie (SID Claude) and Evgeny (SID Barahan).

Let us begin...

"Evgeny!  Over here."

"Jamie.  I got your message.  So why are we meeting in the shrubbery?"

"I have something to tell you.  Something important.  And I didn't want Shane to overhear."

"Shane?  Why not?"

"Samantha Grace is coming home."

"Little Sam!  Except she's probably not so little anymore."

"She was big enough to break Shane's heart when she left.  Heaven only knows what she's like now."

"You haven't heard from her in all this time?"

"You know Samantha.  Probably too busy to keep in touch."

"Maybe that finishing school kept a tight rein on her.  On all the girls, for that matter."

"Maybe.  The only message I got was the one telling me what time to meet her train."

"Traveling by train.  That's so...Steampunk?"

"Yeah.  Hard to imagine, isn't it?  Samantha Grace gone punk."

"Yeah.  So, what about Shane?"

"I don't want him there to meet her."

"You can't guarantee it.  What if she sent him a message, too?"

"It's unlikely.  I mean, first she dumps him, then she stays away two years.  Finally she comes back and invites him to meet her train?  Not gonna happen."

Evgeny shrugs.  His silence prompts Jamie to really see his friend for the first time.

"What's with the feathers?  You going someplace?"

"I promised Zofia a weekend away from the kids.  We're revisiting the Wild West.  Going as Natives this time."

"That should be...interesting."

Laughs.  "I know.  Cosplay is not your thing."

"No, but it is Shane's.  You know, old buddy, you could do me a real favor."

"Oh, no.  I can hear what you're thinking, my friend.  Zofia would not stand for it.  Not for a minute."

"Just take him with you.  You don't have to hang out together when you get there.  Just make sure he is somewhere else when Samantha Grace's train pulls in."

"If it were just me I'd do it.  But you know Zofia..."

"Please, Ev.  I don't ask for much.  This is for Samantha Grace as much as it's for me.  Just ask him.  Okay?"

Evgeny sighs.  "I'll ask him.  That's all I'll do.  If he says no, that's it.  I'm not gonna twist his arm."

"Oh, he'll go.  You mark my words.  There's nothing Shane likes better than wearing that gold star on his vest."

"I'd better go, then.  Zofia's waiting.  And I still have to hunt Shane down and see if he wants to play sheriff for a couple days.  You owe me, Jamie.  Big time."

"'Nuf said.  Just do it."