American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Kira B.'s 2021 Aussie Adventure, The Future and Past Two-Year Retrospecticus on Releases, and The Reason Anon Should Get Off My Areolas

Be like Kira. Stay in bed and stare at the wall.

I haven't done a substantial blog post since January 2020. 

I haven't done a properly set up review of items in my collection since Sept 2016. I haven't done a craft post since 2018. I haven't done a true Book Blather since May 2016, a Casual Friday since 2018 with Series One Hairdorables, a complaint department since summer 2018, a "Why I'm an Outsider" talk since 2016, and several other things in...whew. *mops face with sweater sleeve*

2019 got barely anything--certainly not any Blaire posts--and 2020 got two posts: the start of Joss's collection (and my joy over winning her for free) and my lamenting that I ever invested in a day planner by July, when I'd basically been no further from NethBae's House of Fabulousness and Sparkles than about a thirty minute drive since March, hadn't been in a group of more than two other people since that February, and masking up was the fashion of those not trying to die on a fucking ventilator.1 And this is not because I don't care about American Girl any more. I love AG still. I can get things done on the Wiki, and snap pics for Instagram, and sometimes even sort a whole one bin of doll clothes! And Courtney was my 40th birthday present.

So why haven't I blogged in forever? Simple and complicated. Not only is there an entire pandemic throwing my entire groove off like an emperor in a Disney animated movie, but I have a wonk problem.

Wonk? Wonk. 

Cut for talk about my head, and then we can talk about Kira B.'s things to start to try again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

my worst purchase in 2020 was a planner

had a post in the works for feb 29th. started it. was gonna backdate it. still will.

the pandemic, racism, the murder of black folk, and general malaise from everything outside my front door got my brain fucked up since march 5th.

all my summer plans are shot and dead, but better shot plans than shot people and death by coronavirus.

i'll be back july 2nd.1

wash your hands, wear your masks, stay home as much as you can, stay six feet away from me and don't be a racist.

black lives matter.


1ETA: or august. or sometime after that. are you seriously the kind of person to lurk and spam my damn comments? must i remind you there is a whole ass pandemic out there? fuck's sakes, riding my ass about me not writng a blog post doesn't make my ADD ass post any fucking faster. cultivate patience. you're at home anyways and everything is canceled, you have the time to do it.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Surfing In with Joss Kendrick, A Double Handful of Moddie Mix-and-Match, and Notes on the 2019 Discourse

Surfing In: It's Joss Kendrick!

Meet Joss Kendrick, 2020's New Girl of the Year! She Surfs! She Cheers! She Can't Always Hear! And oh, how I am buzzing to really tell you why she's my new darling in so many ways this soon into her release. 

We will not discuss my lack of actual review, talk, or new shit posts in 2019.

*gets glared at and someone points to the two--two!--posts I did in 2019*

Okay, okay we will! I'm sorry!

In the past year I didn't cover anything. Not Blaire, not the death of BeForever and Rise of the Historicals Again, not the Moddy Shit, nothing. Between the all new house and the all new other shit on my plate, I let the blog fall aside. I've been packing! Unpacking! Putting up trees! Putting up book cases! Putting books on them! Not having enough book room! Painting rooms! Washing raw wool and processing it and spinning it into things! Working on novels! Spinning yarns in both senses of the word! (I wouldn't be the queer you know and love if I wasn't doing both things.)

...And in all that, not blogging. And now here we are, in 2020, with a whole new Girl of the Year, and I haven't even covered the last one. Entire Mix and Match sets have risen and fallen in the time since I last gave a "new shit" post.

I will make it up to you, my beloved audience.

First, let's talk about what I've missed talking about that can be summed up in paragraphs and expanded on later.

Then, about the new shit.


2019: All The News That's Fit To Blog

What's happened in the last twelve months on the AG Front news wise? Well, well,  well...

 It's All In Her Wonk-Filled Eyes: 

After copious complaints from everyone--some justified, some not--AG has gone back to an older style of eyes. Dolls could be sent in to have their eyeballs popped out and replaced with new ones, so you didn't have to live with inferior peeper. You had until December 31st to get this done for free. Now you'll have to live with your choices in eyes. Or pay, maybe, I guess. I sent Blaire Fifi in as soon as she was purchased, but everyone else is staying the way they are. Including Luciana.

Maybe now that annoying Bring Back the Kwality account on IG can quietly tumble into a bayou.

BeForever Is Dead, Long Live The Historical Characters:

In October 2019, AG publicly removed all the BeForever branding from the Historical Characters. Kit and Josefina have joined the Cube Life with Addy, Samantha, and Felicity--wait, Felicity? We're not sure. Is she there? Is she not? She's in the catalogs but not in the stores. And what of Molly? What of Molly?! Who knows? Anyways. Now every character has their own adorable logo that emphasizes the year and their name, and their books have the illustrations back! Addy, Kit, and Josefina will get theirs in a few months, but Ellie, DeeDee, Nanea, Julie, Becca, and Kaya already got theirs, which meant all new pics for the first three!

Speaking of those books.

We seem to be missing some things...1
The new books have pictures. And whole chunks of books and story missing.

Guys gays and enby pals, welcome to the Abridged Historical Books. Barnes and Noble was having a yoink one yeet one free sale on AG books right before the switchover and had the new abridged AG books, so Neth got them all and did a few comparisons since I have all the prior volumes. And what changed? 

Well, hope you like illustrations more than all of Maryellen's holiday story. Or Rebecca's. Or Julie's story about helping eagles. Or Kaya's story with Lone Dog other than maybe a chapter. These books said abridged and they mean it. Stories are missing, chopped, remixed, and screwed like a 90s mix tape.

AG answered the demand for illustrations to come back by monkey pawing y'all. Picture's worth a thousand words and I'd say about that many got cut per volume. If you're a person who doesn't already have the books in some prior form, first of all what are you doing with your AG book life, get them old books. And second, you're going to be a sad panda. I suspect we're going to have a new set of readers in the future who won't understand major plot things (for example, there is no conflict of Speaking Rain being anywhere but back with her tribe forever). 

Y'all asked for illustrations back, you should have said you wanted to keep all the words too. You know genies are assholes. Next time specify your wishes into the universe. I'm chill but others won't be.

Maybe unabridged will come out later. Or maybe we're all boned. 

AG Stores, We're Two Down: 

American Girl closed two AG Place locations--Mall Of America/Minneapolis and Boston/Natick--on March 20th. All the petitions in the world online didn't help and just got your data harvested. Enjoy the spam mails! The general thought is that AG, losing money hand over underwear and eyeballs, let them go. Or the malls just didn't want to renew the leases because whatever reason. 

My store seems to be doing okay. 

Here's the Free Shipping You Wanted, and Dolls Are Cheap and Plentiful
American Girl in June started offering standardized free ground shipping on minimum orders of $125 or more. Additional charges continue to apply for rush shipping, shipping outside of the US or Canada, and shipping large items.  

Then they dropped the cost of dolls across the board to $98 by October.

So you're going to have to buy more than dolly and a pair of shoes to get them sent to you no cost. Get her accessories. And then some shoes. 

AG Rewards: It's now by Moneys:

The AG Rewards got a revamp, with the biggest change being that that each tier is reached by dollar amounts spent annually, not points accumulated per year. Y'all were gaming the system too hard, now it's dollars. Each reward level will have its own unique annual reward certificate gift, and Berry level members also will not have points expire as long as the level is maintained.

The 2019 Retrospecticus: Neth Will Cover What She Missed

She's got a chicken!
Regarding the old new shit, here's what I'll do: Every few posts here in January,  I'm going to go over the 2019 things. Blaire, the All New Old Historicals, Moddy Shit--even if it's gone forever and your only hope is eBay or crying on Instagram. Hell, half the stuff missed me by. It was gone faster than Sam's Velvet Underworld Dress. I was too busy picking out carpet and bedroom funiture, visiting my mom and grandma, hanging out with cool people, ending up with two Kirstens2 and hanging vertical blinds3 to get everything, and what I got I'll be okay with. Hey, Blaire's still around. Hell, Luciana kind of is.

I got pictures of it all! I just didn't blog. So you can still have my thoughts on everything.


Now, we can get to talking about Joss! 

Air over the cut and let's get this surfing party starty.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Moving a Gang: Neth's Fuc'n House And How She and Bae Got the AGGiRL Into It

The place looks new. Because it is.
*dusts cobwebs* ahhhh--dead spiders~!1

*blows dust* oh god bad idea--hack hack hack *cough*

*one inhaler pump, a cold beer, and a pack of Halls later*

Backstreet's Nethie's back, all right!

On Gods and Yemaya, it's been a time and a half, hasn't it my loves? We've got like, three months left in the year--Inktober,2 NaNoWriMo,3 and Holiday. And I ain't blogged but once to say that I couldn't blog yet back in Pride Month but good things were happening. I call months what I want, thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Twenty-Bi-Teen has been a year of transformation for me in so many good ways. I have been elevated and rose and am making my ancestors proud. I've been working, I've been working, I get focused when that caffeine get into me. I had a Thing. A multiple month long Thing.

But working on The Thing meant not being able to blog here.

Yes I know there's new things from AG. I got pictures of them each release--huh, we actually had and lost a whole set of mix and match options while I was doing the thing, didn't we? They redid the AG core books while I was busy.4 Blaire got here and been here as my Fifi and will get her freckles later. Eyes were addressed. And if I hadn't been doing the Thing, I would have done the blogs. I'm just going to play catch up later, and everyone will be okay with it. Even when new stuff coming out--what you mean it's in the stores today look I will just go this weekend.

Spinning more than wheels.
I did many things while doing The Thing. I ended up with two Kirstens.5 I had visitors in the state that came to hang out--multiple different sets--while I did the Thing. I went to my con-work and MCM while doing the thing. Visited my grandma and mom and family. Ate the creamed puff and the scone. Went to the state fair as a demonstrator again. Hung out with friends in Seattle. Went to PAX West. All while doing the Thing.

The Thing I was doing?

Moving. Into a new house. That Bae and I now own.

Kirsten under the sold sign. To my house.
say what hit that cut

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Busy as a Bee - With Fifi

It's Pride Month, and Neth is very busy.
Hi, everyone.

Yes, I've missed two releases. I was dealing with my brain, and as soon as my brain fixed a lot started going on everywhere in my existence. Everywhere.

So consider this a pause--but not a termination. Around August to September, once my life is sorted? I'll catch up. Promise.

Heart you all. Pay attention to my IG to keep up with me.

Enjoy "I have two moms and live on a sheep farm" Blaire Wilson Fiona Martin-Russell and her lamb Chrysanthemum.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: 'Twas The Week Before Giftmas for Moddies and Wellies

Not a Wellie was stirring. Except she was. Because cookie dough.
I was ready to blog for my birthday, after getting decent shots of the new stuff that'd come out on October 1st.

I...did not do that.

Long story short, some stupid shit went down two days beforehand that ate the entire second half of October right up until Nano. Then I spent all November working on Nano, and making up for the fact that I lost my entire planning period dealing with fuckshit.1 As me and my friend BWI put it, when both the Libra and the Scorpio want out of the birth month, then you know it's been fucky.

If I've told you what happened, then you know. If I haven't told you but you know I would, then you know how to get to me to be told. And if I don't want you to know? Then you ain't gonna know. I'm damn near forty, I gave up fucks for Lent years ago. Silflay hraka and die mad about it.

So yeah, it sucks that 2018 also was a low blogger's year. Which is weird because Twenty-Gay-Teen has gone on for what feels like 200 years already.2 Sucks that I am getting out the October release *looks at her phone clock* two weeks before the Girl of the Year Twenty-Fine Bi-Teen launches.3

But then I wouldn't have this cool heading. So, uh, silver lining.

To the stuff that came out months ago and you already heard other people opine about. Or maybe not, because maybe I'm the only doll blog you read. And in case you're wondering, yes, I did get #80 for my birthday, her name is Giselle and she's pretty.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Casual Fridays: Big Hair Don't Care--#Hairdorables, Sk8r Noah and the Hairdorables Crew, and Crafting Creatively To Break Down the Box

Big Hair, Don't Care. Especially on a Friday.
Why yes, I haven't done a Casual Friday here since we were in the Year of the Horse. Now we're in the Year of the Dog. Well, that and the continued Year of Blind Boxing All the Toys. I've been sitting on several non-AG items for some time, wanting to Casual Friday them, but have had enough trouble just keeping up with AG releases and my own brain.

Let's make a step in the blog direction. Let's bring back Casual Fridays in a big way. A big hair way.

Since it's also Flashback Friday, let's take it way back first. Remember being a kid in the 80s and begging your parents for quarters to put into the vending machines at the front of stores, outside banks, and inside the now-dead Toys R Us? You got lured in by the shiny stuff on the front or the fact that machine said it had Spider-man, popped in your change--anywhere from a single quarter to four of them lined up back to back--turned the crank, and got a little plastic capsule with some kind of Cracker-Jack level toy.1 You got just a sticker or a temporary tattoo, if you had bad luck. You may have lucked into a bouncy ball, or got the one you wanted if the machine specialized in those. Sometimes you got a plastic ring or necklace for kiddie swag, or a little plastic figurine. Some had the same amount of quarters you'd spent back, which was like a second chance to spend your funds. You probably never got what they showed on the front of the machine that lured you in the first place, but you still had something tiny and plastic to amuse you for a few minutes and your parents could finish paying for the groceries. It was baby's first slot machine, only you actually got something at the end. I'm sure I put way too much loose change in those as a kid and every little bitty thing I got is either trashed or hiding in a bin somewhere in my mom's stuff. My fave were the little plastic charms that were all the hype in the 80s. I had so many tiny plastic mirrors with jingle bells on them, fam. If you've ever played anything with a Japanese influence or are just a bloody nerd like me, then you've also had the same feel if you've gone after gachapon, which are capsule toys but of nicer quality.

So this blind box shit's not new in the slightest. It's just taking off at higher price points than the loose change in your mom's purse.

Nowadays, blind box, mystery open, or blind bag toys are everywhere. Some have codes that'll hint at what's inside. Most times they come in boxes that are sealed, and you have no idea what was in the box till you open it. No refunds if you get doubles, kids. Hope you've got someone to trade with. I've been known to chase down things like this. In the 80s it was C.U.T.I.E.s, the distaff counterpart to M.U.S.C.L.Es. Recently it's been Funko Mystery Mini Disney Princesses, Mini Barbies, Steven Universe figures, Tokidoki brands, and blind bag/blind box My Little Ponies back when ponies didn't piss me off. My local comic book store2 has a few variations once in a while, often has a trade box if you get one and want to trade brand for brand, and I'll grab one when picking up my nerd books with the caveat that I have to like over 75% of what I'll get before I pick one out and drop funds, and I generally don't gotta try to catch em all. I also try to stop once I've reached the point where there's only a few I want to find and the chance of finds are low, then decide to hunt down those I want on eBay. eBay, where people will try to make you pay through the nose for the one that only comes one in every thirty-six boxes.

The two major lines that have been in the toy aisles at Fred Meyer and Target3 in the past couple of years taking up good space are Shopkins and L.O.L Surprise. I haven't gone for either. Shopkins don't thrill me as Things, But With Eyes, plus Bae hates anthropomorphized food. The dolls have weird expressions as well--plus by the time they came along, I had already written off the line. LOLs have been popular among my feed buddies, but the dolls have plastic clothes and hair and for me, that's a big nooooooope. LOL has expanded greatly with little sisters, pets, and other such bits. Still a noooope.

So when I heard about the Hairdorables, my interest was piqued. Hairdorables, if you either don't know or enjoy being a bridge troll and living under a rock, are chibi-style mystery package dolls released by Just Play that are made for today's go-go YouTube vlogging and camera unboxing toy kidfluencer. Basically, all those unboxing videos on the 'Tube? Just Play's trying to tap into people who do that and people who enjoy watching people open boxes on camera for your amusement. The price point of Hairdorables is noticeably higher than other brands at thirteen bucks, but the hair isn't plastic--in fact, their hair is their big selling point--and they're focused on specific characters instead of like, forty different ones on a spread sheet. Except there's a spreadsheet.

Okay, let me back up again and give you a summary of their whole shtick. The backstory goes that the Hairdorables started when main character Noah, while doing a vlog about her putting in a side braid, accidentally smushed the words "hair" and "adorable" into the word Hairdorable. The hashtag and the video went viral, she launched her own channel with her buddies, and now they get on the internet and share all their quirky traits. The Youtube channel just launched today--perfect timing--and the official Instagram is adorable. They also have a Twitter and a Facebook but really, this is an IG kind of line. 

The line launched at the start of August and the first wave, or Series One, is introducing us to the twelve characters. Right now Hairdorables are only at Target, WalDeMart, and Amazon. I saw them on the shelf during one of my 35th Anniversary MLP Runs4 and decided hey, if I hate them after the first one I open then I'll sell it off and consider it not my thing. This is literally how I got into Harry Potter. I should have known.

Guys. Gals. Enby pals. Hairdorables are my thing. Well, it's a thing that I like and that makes it mine.

Also on Monday, when I was not asleep but should have been, my brain went "hey, I wonder if there's a Hairdorables wiki?" One Google search later and. Um. There were two, in the sense two had parked on Wikia/Fandom, the same place that's been hosting the AG Wiki for the past ten years. But they were not up to even minimal snuff. One hadn't done anything but URL park--they literally only had the main page. And the other? There were fourteen pages, and one was a fan character. A fan character. Noooooooooooooope. Do not allow or do this when you are trying to inform, especially if you haven't even gotten good data pages up. 

So, having run a successful wiki for ten years, I decided that if you want the thing done right you gotta be the one to do it yourself. One creation, four hours of sleep, and several hours later, the Absolute Hairdorables Wiki was born. Just like the AG wiki, I run a neat ship and will not buck nonsense. I've already turned off the "add a pic to the gallery" button site wide, all the comments under articles because no one needs that, and anon editing. And when I wasn't putting my braids back in the past two days, I coded. All the characters and each of their doll pages made nearly fifty pages. And that's before I started defining things and noting anatomy and all that. You want a good wiki, you make a good wiki and you treat it right.

The first half of this post is me opening my first one, way back when on that far flung day of August 12th. At the time I hadn't figured out my aspects on my phone, so the pics are long and wide at a 16:9 Ratio. Live with it, I wasn't cropping. Then there's some blog shots of my collection so far. Finally, I'll have a craft for all those people who want to keep the backgrounds but don't want or can't deal with huge boxes in their living space.

Jump under the cut and start living your best Hairdorable Life. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Crafting Creatively: Things I've Made: Kendalls's Wafrican-Loli Dress and Underdress

The grace of Japan, the beauty of Africa, and the cuteness of lolita all in one outfit.
So there I was on the IG like ya do. Checking my feed full of friends, yarn, dolls, more yarn, more dolls, random stuffs, cosplay, nerd shit, and the lifestyles of the cool and Hamilton.1 As I was scrolling and waiting for my morning meds to kick in, I saw that Requiem Art Designs had released a new pattern. That wasn't unusual--she releases patterns practically weekly, on a schedule that I could only hope to wish to maintain even if I could get my brain together. I started following her on Etsy and Instagram because I wanted to start looking into buying patterns for my BJD. I've personally yet to make the leap to sewing for anything slimmer than my Iplehouse Benny Nikki, and even then I've been nervous, but hey, support your local art faves and crafty peeps. Most of what she's released has been for Barbie, Monster High/Ever After High--what she's labeled the Petite Slimline--and various sizes of BJD. I kinda want to get into making some customs of the dolls now that they're plentiful at second hand shops and I have several drawers of the teens.2

That week was an alternate week--something off her usual release schedule. And she had released---wait for it--a WellieWishers pattern. Okay, the top image gave it away, but that day I got flappy hands.  And one that wasn't historical based, frilly frou-frou aprons and ruffles and bows like a doily and a ruffle foot had gone off the rails and both eaten the doll halfway and met in the middle, generidress (but now with bow!), or something that a person whose aesthetics for a seven year old's dressing fashion had stopped somewhere around 1958 had made? Sign me, as they say, the fuck up.

Her first Wellies-sized pattern, the Wa-Loli Dress For 14 inch Kid Dolls, came out in August. She's calling the size 14" Kid Dolls, so this covers Wellies, Heart4Hearts Girls like Rahel, Mosi, and Shola3 and those Glitter Girls I saw at Target for a blip before they went to get retooled and haven't shown back up yet near me. That covers quite a few dolls of the style.

But it got better. She wanted to promote the new size she was trying--because she didn't want the size to fail and her to commit designing for a a size people weren't interested in. So she offered a new promotion. If you buy the first pattern, make a version of it, and message her on Etsy with an image of the completed test of the pattern, then she would add you to a list to get her next 14" Kid pattern absolutely free! And if you make the second one before the third's release, then you got the third free. And so on and so on and as it goes. If you get the pattern, can make it in a month, and then keep it up, then you would stay on the list to keep getting free patterns as long as she made patterns.

Conditions apply, read the fine print. You have to buy the first pattern--the one she had just released, the Wa-Loli Dress. No getting in on pattern #2. And you have to make it and show her you made it before the next one comes out--in about a month. And the moment you don't make the next month's, you're off the list and you don't get back on. Well, it was a month at the release, now it's less than a week. So if you can buy this and make it by the 21st of September and show Requiem, she'll send you the next one free. Yeah, I should have blogged about this sooner. You should have been following me on IG because I told everyone there on day one. Bllpth. Also if the size didn't sell at least 15 in a year, the pattern would be considered a failure size and she'd stop making patterns. Well, it sold more than that in the first week. I'd like to hope I added to the buying with some IG and posting on AGC.

I did as I was offered, bought the pattern, and went out to get some fabric to make a doll dress the next weekend. I had initially decided that, since Ashlyn and Zeblyn are my two half-Japanese Wellie twins, I was going to make a dress for each of them--or at least one for Ashlyn. But in Joann Fabrics, I came across kente cloth and the plans instantly changed to making a set for Kendall. The gods are capricious, knew I was being too ambitious, and wanted to remind me that Kendall was first one to arrive and like Addy, deserves the best. The pattern includes pieces and steps for a dress, underdress, and faux obi-style sash with optional center and bow.

Note that if you're a person who needs a pattern to give a total walkthrough from layout to closure, full color step by step images of every seam and how to sew it, and everything on every pattern marked so you get your hands held, then you're going to need to work around that for Requiem's patterns. Requiem's patterns have the patterns to proper scale, some basic data on the pattern pieces so you know what goes on the folds and all that, and then all the steps in text of how many pieces to cut out (and if you need long rectangles, their dimensions) and how they go together. No pics walking you through every seam, press, and step. They get to the heart of a pattern and expect you to know what you're doing. This to me is kind of refreshing. The pattern tells me what to do, gives me some details, and then expects me to know what I'm up to and how a thing goes together. I like that, especially with how long I've been sewing now. I don't need to be told how to gather, press, run a straight seam--just tell me how the thing runs together and let me do it. The guidance is slim and if you can't tell a seam ripper from a zipper foot, you might be in trouble. Time to jump that hurdle!

Go under the cut for deets on Wafrica, Lolita dress, wa-loli, and how I made one damn cute outfit for Kendall. Also guess who found the aspect ratios on her phone? Yeah, buddy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: New Tones, Veggie Stands, and No Driving with Cell Phones: The Summer 2018 AG Release Two Months Late

When you go on a trip, you don't blog.
AG's most recent new stuff came out in mid-June. And new stuff is probably going to come out in a few weeks to cover the holiday spreads. Why am I just now getting to the new clutter? Well let's see.

A week or so after my last blog post, I set my online life down and prepped to head out of town for about three weeks in the Lake Michigan area. I spent those three weeks with family, including a full fledged family reunion--and while I do take my laptop with me for long trips and mess with my social media, I don't really blog there because I'm generally either busy enjoying festivals and fairs or just enjoying spending time with family. Look, I have one living grandparent and one living parent, I get all the time with them I can and I actually half unplug from the internet. I got back mid-August, had to handle some other stuff, then after this weekend of getting my brains rebrained I moved the pics I'd taken off my phone and onto the computer to start this opinionation about AG stuffs. And here we are. August is hot, I can't go outside because the air is hazy1 and so it's a good day to blog.

Before I do, all the AG News that's worth my time and maybe yours: now with opinions from Yours Truly, Me!2

1) That new Molly coming out? She might be a Costco only exclusive; in which case I might end up with a not!Molly just to get that sweet new meet. We'll see. The glasses are apparently plastic. Welcome to the new age.

Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.
2) The news has gone out about modern collection retirements. At the end of 2018, Tenney-Sue is retiring and taking Nogan with her! Good riddance, you two, I'll get what little I need before year's out.

...and also, Gabriela and Z are retiring. Well. Gabriela I knew would eventually: she got two whole years, she's not been in stores much since Luciana came out, and she was due to leave eventually. Z, on the other hand....Z got boned. Outright screwed over by AG. And I have my personal theories why.

Z is a victim of Tenney's Shadow.

AG was planning for Tenney to be the girl of the year in 2017, quietly extending the line of white and white IDing Girls of the Year out even further than they had (with Lea as a little speedbump of ambiguous brownness). They hyped Melody early in 2016 as the new historical after MaryEllen, getting ready to make a big deal about all the good research they'd done for her time period and all the black people they'd consulted. But then there was public media call out in 2016 on CBS which pointed out both the retirements of Cécile and Ivy and how there had never been a black GotY--in fact, that out of the twenty-odd character dolls created only three had ever been black and none of them had been modern. And the company backpedaled. AG snatched #46 out of the moddie line, made her their new GotY and had her first book written in a few months, and tossed together something quickly to get that Black GotY out.

But there they were with a whole collection's worth of a modern white girl, complete with fancy earrings and a big stage to perform on. The stuff was already being made and had been. They weren't going to just let millions of dollars worth of product catch dust for a year, would they? Hell no. They had stories about songwriting girls from Tennessee to get out while people might still remember that Taylor Swift once sang country. They were not going to take that L on Tenney Grant.

So they created the contemporary line as an excuse to get Tenney released anyways. They had Tenney and Nogan--who we were already getting leaks about as early as summer or so 2016--wait six weeks and then released them under their new line to make it like they had totes planned to just make a new line of modern dolls. They created Z from their online Stop-Motion blogs, and got her together a quickie collection they could release a few months after Tenney--see, we're totally just making a non-limited GotY line! They even kept Gabbi out longer, to make that whole Choose Your Character a big deal--and tossed in Felicity and Nanea as well, to make it very clear that they were going gung-ho with pushing out six characters in only eight months.

But now that Tenney's had her little spotlight and all her stuff and Nogan have been out long enough that they can pretend they weren't going to make her a one-year thing, they're pulling her like they planned. And Z? Well, not only was poor Z the named face3 of the permapanties fiasco, but she had done her job of helping push the illusion that Tenney wasn't just GotY 2017 but held back for six weeks. She's gotta go too, or we can't keep this lie up.

Alas poor Z. You were done so wrong.

3) AG opened a new outlet store! It's in Hershey, PA and thus the air smells like Deth Food. AG would put their outlet in the one city I would probably puke my guts out in. Then again, when will I ever be in PA? They sell some old stuff, some exclusives that may show up oneBay or online or something--I only like a shirt or two--and moddie dolls! For full price. Hah you thought outlet stores were cheap always? Nope.

4) There has been some noted changes in production in recent dolls. The most noticable, if you notice doll eyes a lot, is that the eyes have changed their design since Luciana's release. Instead of the large metal weights in the back and a slight hollow behind the eyes, and clear plastic as the base, the eyes are now a different weight style and made of solid white so the white pegs can be visible. The change in weight leads to some dolls having a downcast, off center eye look, more visible eye whites at the sides and when the eyes are closed, and trouble when eye swaps are done. I've only gotten one new doll since the change4--Luciana, who I had to really have the eye whites pointed out to me recently, and had to look in with a flashlight to see the white pegs. So I have no first hand knowledge of the new eyes. I have seen some images of a wig swap gone wrong with vinyl peeled up, with and cracked and "squished" vinyl accompanied with hands pushing so hard the white person's fingertips are white from pressure, so I'm leaning away from that.

Has the production design changed? Yeah. Could parts of it be improved? From sources I know well and trust enough not to throw a fit: sure could. Would I like this to be looked into? Sure.

Is blowing up every IG post with the same four words helping? Hell naw. Cause this is what AG's comments on the official IG account  have looked like for about a month:
AG Official IG account: This month our monthly book is one of Gabby's! Read along with us!
Twenty people in the comments: bring back the quality!!

AG: It's Friendship Day, Tag a friend you're happy to have! 
The same twenty people in the comments: my friend says bring back the quality!!

AG: It's Campfire Day with Maryell--
Hey, kids and kidlike adults? You're not helping. One bit. Take it from someone who used to work for a large corporation who got a lot of correspondence insisting their feedback go right to the CEO: The CEO is not looking at these comments on IG.5 You can scream "we will be HEARD" in the comments until you've basically tripped the spam filters, but Marketing isn't even reading those comments. You're spamming the mentions of a Customer Service rep who, after about the fifteenth comment she's read while trying to ask about National Brownie Day to make her 10 bucks an hour, is wondering if she really can't ask IG for a mute function like Twitter has.

Y'all will not get heavy weighted eyes back this way, even if they do come back. You're just being a ass.6 Customer service can take your feedback, and forward it on, and like the permapanties I suspect that enough complaints are likely to get things fixed on some form even if it's not back to what it was like before. But flooding the IG comments won't change things faster. Send your data once, be clear and polite and articulate your exact problems, then let it be. CS can't change the eyes themselves. They won't port your e-mails or comments to the CEO. They just can forward your feedback and hope that it gets up the chain so they can stop hearing about it and get back to the other parts of the job.

And yes, I know what the complaints about permapanties did to change the lines. I also know that those got a ton of noted media attention. The permapanty controversy made People's website. A change in eye weights and the vinyl being squishier haven't so far. Maybe you should try sounding less like a nine year old who just discovered they could copy paste comments on social media.

Onto the shiny things, with their wonky eyeballs and all. And enjoy long pics until I get a better digital camera. I'm not changing the aspect ratio on my phone for my general blather.

Friday, July 6, 2018

AG Complaint Department: The Top Five and Bottom Five A*G Events in the Past Ten Years of the A*G Wiki

Ten Full Years!

Where the sweet hell did June go--oh right, A-Kon work, Pride, swapping doll eyeballs, raiding the corpse of Toys R Us, Memorial Day, and family business. Don't beat yourself up, Neth. Just, you know, go take review pictures. There's lots of stuffs you could be covering. Just set up your photo spot and take the damn pictures, woman.

*dusts off cookies*

There's new summer stuff out! Woo, releases! And I have several opinions on it, good and bad. I plan to post about it soon--I wasn't able to get complete pictures of the stuff until the end of the month, because that was the earliest I was able to get to the store. I'm aiming Sunday or Monday's post.1 Today though, is a super cool anniversary for me in the AG fandom.

Guys, gals, and non binary pals, today is the ten-year anniversary of what's been called the best database for American Girl Info since its 2008 conception, the American Girl Wiki.

Lemme set the scene for the launch. Picture it, Seattle Area, 2008. I'd been officially banned from AF Playthings that March, though I hadn't really visited in weeks at that point and was trying to get my stuff down from the site at the time of my banning.2 I was overseeing training at my then-job--which mostly consisted of shadowing over someone who'd done all the main education and was now doing live work with assistance. Since it was a niche section, those of us that normally did the work were not doing it so they could get as much practice as they possibly could. So since I'd been doing the work for two and a half years, I was being paid to sit by my trainee, listen to their calls out, walk them through steps, and answer simple questions quickly so they didn't have to ask the supervisors. I needed something to do between questions and call listen ins, so I was surfing the net trying to get some AG data on upcoming new stuff and characters.

Look it was that or bike back and forth on the long path through Solaceon Town hatching eggs in Pokemon Pearl. Smartphones were not as widespread as they are now and I'd already done some sketching. 

But I couldn't get any data on anything that wasn't locked behind forums or on slowly updated personal sites--and what data that existed was primarily about the items and buying them. While AG is a merch driven thing and so it made perfect sense to talk about the stuff, that was all that got talked about. the Stuff. Very little on any site at all was about the actual characters, there was sporadic history on the line itself, and most of that was heavily coated in the idea that everything that came out before 2000 was perfect and flawless and everything that came out after was Mattel's Hot Garbage trying to turn the line into Barbie. Hell's chicken and fries, there was little to be found about the books. Many places had a list of book titles, but nothing about what happened in them. Not even character parent names.

And it occurred to me: why didn't the American Girl fandom have a wiki-style database? Other toys had them. Lego had one, the Brickipedia. There was an entire one about yo-yos. I'd just been using Bulbapedia to look up some Pokémon data, followed by getting lost on the Muppet Wiki. Hell, there was Wookiepedia--all Star Wars, All The Time.

Was it because someone had never done that themselves? Taken that step out to make an American Girl Wiki? Well, I would be that someone. TV Tropes had the right idea with the The Wiki Rule: There is no area of interest, no matter how narrowly defined, where a person cannot put up a wiki for it and attract at least a few editors with similar interests. So, even if I spent weeks alone coding in character and book pages, making notes on Addy's younger sister and Kirsten's father, I could do it.  Plus, it'd give me something else to do with my fandom knowledge. I did have like, almost all the books. All of them. I might hate the people who'd banned me and shunned me, but that didn't mean I couldn't do something for the AG fandom, even if I'd likely never be appreciated for it.

I submitted my proposal for the wiki to the Wikia staff--which, like onions on your belt, was the style at the time. I got approval and was sent the URL and given my admin and founder rights. I started to clean up the main page images, then started creating pages for each Historical Character and Girl of the Year. I created basic collection pages.  That was enough to start making more character pages and some item pages. I searched and scanned images from my books, making references and internal links here and there and coding. I couldn't post links on any forums, but I could promote on AG Over 18 and my own personal journal, and I did. By August  we'd been featured in the Wikia Spotlight. By September 2008 we had 300 pages. By the first anniversary, the Wiki had just over 850 articles.

Ten years later and with two other admins, we're at a touch over 4000 articles--and I often hear across the fandom how useful the AG Wiki is to pull up information and how nice it is that within days of new stuff coming out, there's at least something on it even just a stubble. And to think, I started the AG wiki with just about 100 or so pages, supervising training at Nintendo, and hoping I was able to do something for American Girl fans with my information, because I was getting damned sick of sites that only talked about the stuff and most of that was in forums people could be banned from.

Oh and the moddie line has gone through about three names--but since category changes are hard, we still call the category by a name several years out of date. Edits, whatcha gonna do.
We're fairly quick with the updates--and if you're curious about, say, that one-off character in Felicity's mystery? You can probably get some data or add it in yourself--as long as you follow the rules, are over thirteen, don't edit in garbage, pay attention to the rules about descriptions because a single line edit is not a description unless they're just plain white socks, and don't spam the wiki with petitions to bring back flash games from your childhood because AG is not going to bring back flash games from your childhood. Flash is a terrible thing anyways.

I'm very proud of what the AG Wiki is and has become, and what it will be in the future. 

That being said, I have more to say. Since it has been ten years, I decided that I'm gonna babble on about the Top Five and Bottom Five Things AG has done in the past decade since I started wiking. All opinions are, of course, my own. Of course they are, this is my fucking blog. There will also be some honorable--and dishonorable--mentions in there too.

Hop under the cut and getcha read on.