Video killed the radio star...

So, somehow, my maidensuit YouTube account -- which I created just to upload a couple of videos back in '10 about the horrendous hair my Very Vicky and Vinter Arden had out of box -- has gained a lot of subscribers. ("A lot" for me is 86.  I mean, for a channel I put zero time/investment into, a channel that is just a dumping ground for a few randomly-uploaded Blythe-related videos, that strikes me as a lot.) The video where I deboxed Petaline has almost 20k views.

Putting together videos has been a longtime hobby for me. I know, I have a lot of hobbies. I've had another YouTube channel for a while so I've gotten to watch numbers rise, sometimes seemingly randomly, on some of my video projects that I put actual hours of editing effort into... so it's a surprise to me that the handful of Blythe-related videos I've made, which usually don't take me any effort and consist of low-quality footage pumped out through the joke of a program that is Windows Movie Maker Live, have found an audience.

I've gotten comments along the lines of, "Are you doing another deboxing video soon?" And some requests for me to "review" my dolls, which I have to admit, even as a consumer of beauty review videos, I don't totally understand. I just assume they mean to do a video showing which dolls I have. And I think that sounds fun.

Someone asked me to do an "outfit collection" video, so, thinking dubiously of my ginormous box of dresses, I was like, "Well... I have no idea how to even go about that... but... I do like making Blythe videos... so I'll try to make it happen."

A frustrating couple of months then passed! I tried to consider the best way to do it, with my limited knowledge and equipment. The point-and-shoot camera I've filmed all my other little videos with is on its last legs; its battery doesn't last very long, and its quality is not really great anyway. I don't have a smart phone, which I think a lot of people film YouTube content with. I'm shy, so I didn't want to film anywhere except in the privacy of my bedroom, but I don't have any natural light at my disposal, so I had to find a way to light the video. My laptop's webcam doesn't show anything true to color. I decided to use my Canon. It takes super-HD footage!

I filmed it three completely separate times.  It was this hours-long to-do each time, between filming and I suppose what you could consider pre-production... and post-production, checking out/messing with the footage. I had so many technical difficulties in pulling it all together, it would be like writing a novel to go into them all!

While I am moderately familiar with encoding and transcoding and quirks of the job such as the excruciatingly long time it can take to render and export videos (even when they are only 3-5 minutes in length!), I was just in for a whole new experience in filming a subject, myself, even slightly properly -- with lighting and the like -- and working with this kind of footage with a computer as slow as mine.

After a frankly ridiculous amount of research and work and waiting, my final product got uploaded to YouTube today!

I feel accomplished for getting it off my plate, but at the moment, not very happy with it. I'm a bit weary and wary, both. This was a ton of work! More work than such a thing warranted. It did provide me with a reason to begin learning the ropes of working with my camera's video footage. Gaining experience is a huge plus, so I'm just going to try and focus on the positive, even if I honestly feel rather negative and exhausted by this thing. I'm going to try and focus on the fact that I created something!

I still would like to do more (shorter) Blythe videos, and keep improving.

Return of the Ripple

Oh, yes! Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! 2014 is not gonna pass me by without seeing me ripple once more!

I've had this yarn since the beginning of the year, and I even began to chain for it. (Is it weird that I think "cast on"  instead of "chain" even though one only casts on for knitting, and not crocheting?) However, my first attempt was far too long. I really lack the ability to envision size and depth and whatnot -- it's actually a dyscalculia thing, I think, as with my difficulty in following patterns. They are just jumbled messes to me.

Anyway, I ripped out my first attempt, which was actually my second, after a false start in chaining the wrong number. The careful chaining of such a high number of stitches often requires me restarting at least a couple of times. Also, you basically have to do the whole first row before you can see if you chained the right number after all. In all, just starting a ripple takes a concentrated effort, and to me is the hardest part.

After having started it a couple of times only to have to stop and tear it out, which adds up to a couple of hours of work, I put the yarn away for a few months. I really didn't feel like getting going on it again until today.

This time I very carefully sized it to be the same size as a fleece throw I have on my bed; I literally spread out the throw on the floor and chained until the sizing was similar. So, you know, this time it won't be 6.5 by 6 feet...

This throw will be peach, two pinks, coral, and creamsicle. (Of course it will be!! You've seen my blog, right? You know my color jams.) And maybe white. I'm not sure on that yet. I have not really ever decided on a pattern or particular look, except that I'd like larger swathes of color because my first one has very thin stripes. We'll just see what happens, won't we...

Pink Progress Report: Roots

So, today (well, late last night!) I suddenly became sick of my roots. I had my hair bleached on June 27, so by yesterday, I had seven weeks worth of dark, dark roots showing. It was on the 16th of last month that I last put some color on, so a full month had passed of just letting it be in that regard, as well.

I was very intimidated to try to tackle them myself. I have a friend, L, who has been regularly bleaching her own hair for some time after going what I would call "Malfoy blonde" who told me exactly what she uses (Manic Panic Flashlighting), so several weeks ago I ordered a couple of boxes from Amazon.

I knew I would need help with applying it to the back of my head, since I can't see back there -- even holding up a mirror, I can't wear my glasses most of the time while coloring/bleaching, so I had my younger sister on standby. I decided to try and do as much as I could without her.

I did the top and both sides, and as much of the back as I could see in the mirror. Frankly, I looked a hot mess by the time I pathetically called for my sis. She fixed me up with dainty perfectionist touches, and by this time, the front of my hair was certainly turning yellow!

I had enough bleach left over from one kit to give my sister a blonde streak (which we dyed blue), and her hair is very long and dark, like mine.

I kept thinking of that episode of America's Next Top Model where that poor girl was getting her hair bleached and it was basically burning her scalp and she was sweating, crying, and shaking sitting in the chair letting it eat at her scalp for Tyra. Yo, I must admit, it does tingle. I never got real worried or severely pained, but it was uncomfortable and I was definitely anxious to wash it out as soon as I felt like I had a good shade.

Since I have very dark brown hair, I left it on for probably over an hour and got about the lightest blonde I can achieve, which is a lemon yellow, haha. My hair wasn't even this blonde when it was first bleached professionally!! (Of course, their bleach didn't feel burny on my scalp.)

While rinsing it out, I could feel how damaged it was. It felt like wet straw on my head. I quickly slathered on a good coating of diluted Atomic Pink. Previously I've also used Cupcake Pink in combination with Atomic Pink, but I'm out of Cupcake Pink and it's really popular, so it's currently nowhere I can find.

My roots reflect Atomic Pink's somewhat more blue base, even diluted with conditioner to where it looks about the shade of Cupcake Pink in the bowl. The hottest pink bits have only ever had Atomic Pink on them, so they lack the peachy undertone of the rest of my hair. I didn't only put the dye on my roots... I put it all over all my hair, massaged it in with my hands very well to get at every little bit of blonde I could see. I let it sit for ~four hours.

The result is exaggerated in pictures -- it's pretty harmoniously pink to my eyes, with variation that is very subtle, and sort of a warm-toned coral. The thing is, with every wash, the color changes slightly, and it looks different indoors and out. But my hair definitely keeps getting pinker. I really have no ideal look I'm trying to achieve... just pink! So I'm still quite happy with it. Maintaining it has been a learning experience, and a definite shift in my routine and practices, but I do feel like this is literally the happiest I've ever been with my hair.

Bea and my new gear.

Oh, you know my color compulsions! My new Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster arrived a couple of days ago and I've been like, "Oh, I have to take pictures of Beatrix with it!" Haha! I want to do a series with all my instruments!!

But about this guitar: I'm really ridiculously happy with it! It's so pretty and cheery. I must confess that, aesthetically, I like having guitars that really feel like me (and not like I'm a 15-year-old boy starting a garage band). Although I haven't decided on an amp yet, I've been enjoying jamming on it without an amp enough to feel like I have to get one ASAP.

And I'm really wailing on it, for some reason! I tend to play very gently, and I only "ghost strum" -- I have ever since I began to learn how to play the guitar three years ago. That means I only strum downwards, and not up and down, like, you know... you're supposed to! I've never minded this, as I play the guitar strictly for myself and for its therapeutic benefits to me. I'm not joining a band anytime soon. But for some reason I feel more comfortable practicing strumming upwards on this instrument. And I feel comfortable really letting go on it. I can already tell it's helping me with my bar chords (although that is a constant work in progress).

Pink Progress Report: One Month Pink

Yesterday marked a month since I first dyed my hair pink! It went by in a snippity-snap.

Man, I am really not a blogger who posts pictures of themselves, usually. I'm not fashionable. I'm just really happy as a pinkhead, and I know no one is quite as interested in my pink hair as I am, ha! So I must come here with my selfies.

While I've been trying to wear my hair down as much as humanly possible, so I can revel in its pinkness, it is summertime... so when I get a couple of days in without a wash or I get too warm, I wear my hair back in the world's tiniest bun. I have a month's worth of dark, dark roots!

Immediately after taking my bun out, this is what it looked like:

Not too bad, I think. I won't lie, my roots are hard for a perfectionist like me to see! I want to fix them, but I guess I'm going to wait till I have six weeks of roots showing.

Along with trying to wear my hair down a lot, I've been trying out lip colors here and there. (Above, I'm wearing an ELF Lip Stain in Pink Petal topped with Hurraw! lip balm in grapefruit; it's not tinted.) It's actually pretty uncomfortable for me... I don't like calling any attention to my mouth!! I think I look wonk, and it's hard to undo twenty years of only wearing lip balm. Wearing colors that are too dark emphasize the thinness of my lips, in my opinion. But it's been an interesting phase of experimentation, anyway.


Fey is the first to wear these rêve de Rui* overalls I acquired a while ago. With her Licca body, she can put her hands in the pockets and look casual! So cute!

Man... six out of eleven of my girls are in rêve de Rui* duds right now...

things to look forward to

Oh! I've been working so much; it brings me lots of stress, so I have trouble disconnecting from that and concentrating on pleasurable activities.

But with work, there are rewards! Here's some things I'm really excited about...

I'm going to go see Sucre, the Honey Trees, and Merriment on tour in September!! I'm very stoked. Concerts are anxiety-inducing for me to attend, but I have seen Eisley... four times? And Merriment opened for them the last time I saw them. But I never thought I'd be able to see the Honey Trees live. Liking all three bands on a single tour is so rare!

One of my paychecks went to this beaut, a Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster in Surf Green.

I'm buggin'! Looking at guitars in pawn shops in June -- and getting to sit down and play a few -- really solidified my desire to get an electric guitar. I watched reviews on this model and it's cheap but very playable, and I love that it comes in fun, retro colors. (I almost got the pink one... of course. This minty one is almost the color of my bedroom, which I've been considering painting, so I thought if I did paint it, I'd still love to have something minty.)

Now I've just got to choose an amp! If they're not little $20 portable, battery-powered amps, they can be very pricey! I need one I can plug headphones into, so as not to disturb my family.

The new Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, has started airing. They only air one episode every two weeks and it's strange to be watching the same story for the umpteenth time, but it's definitely something I've been enjoying. My favorite version of Sailor Moon is by far the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. But I actually like the waify manga-echoing style of the new anime more than the old anime... which is pretty heretical, I know! A lot of people don't like the new henshin sequence but I think it's beautiful. I also love the new theme song. Mercury has been introduced, but I can't wait to see Mars, Jupiter, and Venus.

You can watch Sailor Moon Crystal on Crunchyroll for free.