kiyakotari: (Default)
Just a small status report, since I know I've been pretty quiet for some time now. I've been a little active on Tumblr (reblogging things is easier than composing; you just click what you like), but haven't been around on the doll forums much and haven't been posting here on my journal. I also haven't been able to make eyes since last fall, due to some health issues which I will explain below.

It turns out that I have epilepsy, probably post-traumatic. (Remember when I got hit in the head repeatedly while working at the hospital, the final time being when my partner and I broke up that gang fight in the Emergency Department lobby in August of 2011? Yeah.) But it's hard to determine the exact cause, especially since my seizures didn't start immediately after the injury (it took them several months to begin, which actually isn't unusual, and also might be partially due to the fact that the doctor I saw after the injury put my on an anti-convulsant for off-label treatment of nerve pain in my neck...which might have suppressed any seizures I would have otherwise had at the time). But I digress...

So anyway, I have epilepsy now. I'm on medication for it, which is resulting in some fun side effects. The most annoying one is the aphasia. Yep, my speech is a bit off - the wrong word comes out, or the come out jumbled (either the letters within the word or the order of the words within the sentence, both happen). Especially if I speak too quickly. Also, my typing is all messed up. It's like I've become dyslexic, which is super fun (especially given that I'm in the process of trying to get into grad school for English Language & Literature right now). The aphasia is also anomic, which means I should probably look into getting a thesaurus app for my phone before I go nuts.

In other news, James and I now have a dog (we got him almost three weeks ago). He's a rescue, a Plott Hound/Doberman mix, about 5 months old (almost 6 now!), and his name is Oswald (we call him Ozzie). He's adorable, and he's eaten two of my shoes so far. He's also a poop machine. Amusingly, I can't smell his urine (another fun side-effect of the medication I'm on). So if I think he has pissed inside (he has the occasional accident when he's over-excited), I have to ask James to check to see if it's dog pee or just water, because I can't tell the difference.


Sep. 23rd, 2012 12:58 pm
kiyakotari: (Default)
I was bored, and as is so often the case, this led to mischief. I have given in to the swell of technology and joined tumblr.

Unstructured Meanderings of an Insatiable Mind

I have resisted this trend until now, because I am wary of the casual approach to content ownership that "reblogging" promotes. However, I believe that to truly understand something, one must participate in that thing, and that censure without experience is pointless. So I delve.

Also, setting up my theme was fun.
kiyakotari: (Default)
I've been meaning to put this together for some time, despite how embarrassing it is for both me and for poor, poor Darryl. I mean, really, I'm going to be trotting out photos of his earliest resin shells, from back in the days when I could barely work a camera. But I think it's interesting to see how he has evolved over the years, and how my skill has evolved, both as a photographer and as a doll owner. I chose Darryl for this project for two reasons; he is both my oldest doll (I had other dolls before him, purchased in 2003, but those have completely moved on), and also one of the dolls that I own that has gone through some of the most significant transitions while still remaining recognizable as a permutation of his original self. Because Talon also features so prominently in many of my photos of Darryl, this retrospective focuses somewhat on him, as well. SO! Carry on my wayward son, there'll be peace when you are done.

Circa February, 2005. This image is from one of the first sets of photos I took of Darryl, when he was fresh out of his LE Kohya box from Volks. His default LE faceup was summarily stripped off upon arrival (I don't think I even photographed it), and I replaced it with the clumsy, no-less-effeminate-but-at-least-slightly-less-day-glo one seen in this photo. Talon is also seen in this picture, despite being purchased well after Darryl, because his secondhand hybrid parts (Volks F-16 head, old Souldoll body) arrived before Darryl did. Talon is sporting probably the worst faceup I ever slapped onto a doll, and we're not even going to talk about the materials I used. Remember, this was back in the days shortly after DoA came into being in its present (forum) form, and information on these dolls and how to work on them wasn't widely available. It's amazing I didn't stain him.
The rest of the photos in the retrospective can be seen under the cut. )

A Good Day

Apr. 25th, 2012 11:59 pm
kiyakotari: (Default)
It was a good birthday. I basically slept all day, which is always nice. However, in the morning hours before sleeping, I finished making the multi-eye master mold for my 10mm eyes, so now I can cast more than one eye at a time. Of course, it's just the first step in the long eye process, but it makes that step a lot faster when it's producing six eyes (or more, if I use multiple molds) per pour instead of one. And I've spent the evening casting 10mm eyes. I'm almost out of white resin, though. It looks like I'll have to order more before the convention, if I want to have the 100 pairs I was hoping to offer.

I spent yesterday evening making velvet bloomers for Tsura. I still need to finish putting the trim on them - ran out, had to order more - but they look good, even so. Between that and all the eye stuff, I feel productive.

I am currently eating Taco Bell. This is also rewarding.
kiyakotari: (Default)
Life here has been a bit of a whirlwind. The medical stuff has been...rough. Cut for long-winded exposition of my recent medical situation. )

In other news, I think I've solved the bubble problem I was having with my eyes. I built a vacuum chamber (James helped with the hole-drilling I needed), and was very confused when my completely bubble-free resin seemed to spontaneously develop bubbles during it's curing process. Most sources online seemed to maintain that the bubbles were there in microscopic form despite the steps I had taken to remove them and my inability to find them with a flashlight and magnifying glass, and that they magically expanded when the resin hardened. Not satisfied with this explanation, I did some research on the actual chemical composition of polyurethane resins, and I learned some very interesting things. Notably, that curing the resin in areas where the humidity is too high or the temperature is too low will result in a change in the chemical reaction that causes the resin to harden, and will cause the resin to off-gas. While this off-gassing isn't a problem in the earlier stages of curing, once the viscosity of the resin has become high enough the gas being released will become trapped inside, which forms bubbles.

We happen to live in a humid climate, and the daily temperatures here are low from late October through the end of June, sometimes even into July.

A bit of research into localized humidity control methods and the judicious application of a space heater and I'm watching some test eyes (made with junk casts from cleaning my master molds) cure that appear to be almost entirely bubble-free. Since they were testers, I wasn't as careful with them as I usually would have been, and there are a few bubbles in them that I introduced myself. But there don't seem to be any spontaneous "magical" bubbles so far, which is a very good sign.

In other other news, I'm reading Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow's The Grand Design, and thus far it is highly entertaining.
kiyakotari: (Default)
The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art is what got me into dolls.

When I was in high school, my girl scout troop did a badge on dolls. For the badge, we went to the Rosalie Whyel museum, and one of the dolls (a bisque Amakusa Shiro in the contemporary dolls display area, made in 1996 by Teruko Miwa) really caught my attention. I tried to look him up online, to find photos of him, but was unsuccessful. In my frustration, I typed "Bishonen Doll" (literally "pretty-boy" or "pretty-man" doll) into a search engine, and stumbled across Volks' Dollfies and Super Dollfies. This was back in late 2000/early 2001.

Being someone who had never had any interest in dolls, my sudden obsession with these things caught me completely by surprise. As a young teen (I was about 14 at the time), I didn't have the resources to purchase the larger resin dolls (remember, this was back when there weren't any lower-priced dolls available on the market - the cheapest were a whopping $500+, and they had to be purchased through a shopping service, because none of the half-dozen doll companies producing ABJD's sold internationally as of yet). So I contented myself with collecting and customizing the cheaper 1/6 scale vinyl Dollfies and Obitsu dolls. I still have a box of them in my closet.

Eventually, I became old enough to hold down a real job, and finally was able to save up enough money to start seriously considering the larger resin dolls. In 2003 I purchased my first three - a Volks SD13 boy with no head, a Volks Dollfie Dream with a resin SD13 Kira head, and a Blue Fairy 1/4-sized Dana. I never looked back. I no longer own any of those dolls, but the Dana is still a part of my life, as I gifted her to one of my best friends.

Fast forward a decade, and here I am, making high quality doll eyes from scratch, the administrator of one small and controversial doll forum, and a moderator on one of the largest and busiest English-speaking doll forums in the world. And it's all thanks to that bisque doll that I saw in the Rosalie Whyel museum.

When I heard that the museum was closing its doors for good on March 1st of this year, I convinced one of my friends to visit the museum with me again on February 27th, just a few days before it closed. They didn't allow photography in the museum, and never have, but this time around I thumbed my nose at the rules and took a picture of the Amakusa Shiro doll with my cell phone. For me, he's the doll that started me on this path, and I am thankful to him, and to the Rosalie Whyel museum, for this amazing gift.

Shiro Amakusa
Teruko Miwa, Japan, 1996
kiyakotari: (Default)
I haven't been around much since the last post about the eyes. The eye stuff is probably going to be on hold for a bit (though who knows - I might find I need the distraction).

Remember that cervical strain I had back in August, when the gang fight walked in the front door of the hospital? It hasn't gotten better, and has been causing lots of pain and keeping me from sleeping much. Also, my right hand went numb about a week and a half ago. As such, I went to see another doctor, and he ordered some x-rays (which none of the previous doctors did, for some reason) and physical therapy. The x-ray revealed that the injury resulted in a reversal of the lordosis in my cervical spine, which basically means it's not curving properly. Because of this, the doctor referred me to a physiatrist (spine specialist) and scheduled me for an MRI.

In the interim, I began my physical therapy. This resulted in a sudden and totally unexpected, extremely dramatic increase in my pain levels, constant headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and constant (though fluctuating in intensity) nausea. The doctor put me on some heavy painkillers (Vicodin), so I've basically been mentally absent for the past week. James took several days off of work to keep me from falling apart all over the house.

This morning, the MRI appointment rolled around. Tonight, the doctor called me to deliver a quick overview of the results, to be discussed in greater detail during my appointment with him next week: reversal of lordosis; indications of muscle, ligament, and tendon inflammation; bulging vertebral disc. Also, the MRI incidentally revealed a tumor on my spine, in the chest area.

Yep, a tumor.

The doctor has no idea if it's benign or malignant. It's possible I was born with it, or have had it since childhood. It's also possible that it has only just developed recently. He told me all this while I was sitting on the floor in front of the toilet, wishing I could vomit to help relieve the nausea that's been keeping me awake all day.

I kind of want to take a break from reality.
kiyakotari: (Default)
Just finished an interview for another part time job. It's a substitute security officer position with the local school district. I think it went well. Hopefully, I'll be able to report "JOB GET!!!!"
kiyakotari: (Default)
Happy Halloween, everyone!

Things are settling in well here. James and I have both been over the crud for a while now, which is good. We've also started doing P90X, which is kind of painful, but will (hopefully) eventually become less so.

About 65% of the unpacking here is done, and the living room is starting to look slightly more livable. The dolls are all unpacked and have been placed in the library. We've also just finished installing a new breaker and a new kitchen outlet on a dedicated circuit, so that we can get a dishwasher. I've applied for and have my fingers crossed on a position as a truancy secretary at the local school district.

We attended my family's annual Halloween party on Friday, and both dressed up. I wore one of my kimono, and James went as a "post-apocalyptic survivor" in my Israeli gas mask.

Pictures under the cut! )
kiyakotari: (Default)
The move is done (essentially). I no longer have an apartment. James and I now live together, as of two days ago.

I got the job at the college back on the 15th, and have worked five shifts so far. I have three more next week. I wish there were more hours (strictly limited to 60-ish per month), but something is better than nothing. Have an interview for a second job this coming Thursday.

I have the creeping crud. My current temp is only a measly 100.2°F, but since my usual temp is 97.6°F to 98.2°F, it kind of feels like I'm dying. A couple of the new coworkers have had this (I caught it from them) and they were up in the 102° and 103° ranges. I'm hoping that doesn't happen to me.

Surgery recovery seems to be over, for the most part. Things are not totally back to normal, but healing is largely done and has been for about two weeks now.

I'm going to go crawl into bed now.


Sep. 7th, 2011 10:07 am
kiyakotari: (Default)
Life continues to go well. James is wonderful, and spent the entire weekend up here taking care of me (this mostly consisted of watching me wander around in a drugged-out haze to ensure that I didn't injure myself or unexpectedly collapse and stop breathing, which must have been very boring).

Surgery recovery is sucking big time, but I'll live. And it could be far worse.

In other news, I have a job interview tomorrow (another security position, but at a college, not a hospital). I also have a job interview next week (bank teller). I am enthusiastic about both of these positions. Since they're also both part-time, I'm hoping that I can land both of them.

The sad news is, I have had to stop taking my prescribed painkillers so that I can drive down to this security interview. This sucks. The painkillers were only just taking the edge off, and the Ibuprofen and Tylenol that I'm stuck with now really aren't cutting it. Lame.

Checking In

Sep. 1st, 2011 06:06 am
kiyakotari: (Default)
Heya folks! Sorry that I have continued to be out of touch, but life has been hectic. On top of the moving preparation and job-searching in soon-to-be-new-county-of-residence, I've been going through some stuff, health-wise. And work has been fucking crazy. We've had more violence in our area - and thus, rolling in the front doors of our hospital - in the last month than we have in the past year and a half.

Long story short, a few weekends ago we had a quadruple stabbing walk in our front door, squirting blood everywhere, and my partner and I got to deal with all four of the victims (one of whom was very combative) and their many gang-banger friends, all of whom were drunk, by our little lonesomes. In the process of getting all of the stab-happy, blood-spraying, angry gang members in our foyer under control, I got elbowed in the face. It rung my bell but good, but that wasn't a big deal - I was disoriented for maybe ten seconds, tops. However, I also now have yet another case of whiplash (making this number four), and also have two chipped teeth and a possibly-cracked tooth. On the plus side, all care is covered by L&I. Also, my partner and I received a commendation from the clinical staff for our actions. (I especially liked it when they wrote, "At that time I witnessed the courage and dedication of our security team as they held a parameter of safety[...]" and "Armed with only a flash light and a pair of handcuffs our officers wrestled the most violent of the group to the ground." Also, it was pretty accurate - I was carrying handcuffs on my belt, and had to put them on this guy to get him under control enough that they could bring him inside and start treating him for his stab wounds, while my partner was holding off six angry guys by himself using only a 4-cell Mag-Lite.)

The next weekend, we had a quadruple shooting at the local county fair. At least THEY were brought in by medics, rather than arriving in cars being driven by their drunk and pissed-off buddies. My partner and I spent the night herding distraught family members, and trying to keep them separate so that they wouldn't start fighting (this was also gang-related).

Between these two events, we had several other smaller violent incidents (including another stabbing, another shooting, and a guy who brought a knife in and started threatening people in the ER) during times when I was not on duty.

Immediately after the quadruple shootings (a couple hours after my partner and I got off duty), we had a bomb scare, though it turned out to be a false alarm.

Hospital administration insists that we don't need defensive weapons (tasers, batons, kubotans, etc - we're not picky, we just want something to give us an edge), or any kind of standardized department-wide defensive tactics training. In our "debriefing" meeting with our director (which was apparently supposed to be for stress relief and a time during which we could all talk about our feelings, but which turned into a problem solving and planning session, because seriously, we're Security, and we don't stand down), we were told we "have to earn the right" to defend ourselves and that we "need to behave." Also, the director mentioned that we should all be "thankful no one was injured in the recent violence," immediately after we discussed (as a group) my injury and how it's not uncommon for us to be hurt in these situations, especially now that they have cut our staffing down to just two officers at a time. I am SO glad I am leaving.

Also, I'm having surgery tomorrow. Outpatient, relatively minor with a sucky recovery. It does mean that I can't do any heavy lifting for a couple of weeks, while things heal, so moving should be even more exciting than anticipated!

I swear to the powers-that-aren't, I have been to see more (different!) doctors more times this year than I have since back when I started going to college, and it's getting ridiculous. If this is what it means to get old, I am officially protesting.

James is wonderful and amazing and I am so, so happy that we found each other.

I have WAY too many books. Seriously. How did this happen?

Mio Amore

Jul. 14th, 2011 06:32 am
kiyakotari: (Default)
So I know I've been largely incommunicado the last few months, and even more so in recent weeks. I apologize for that, but am delighted by the cause.

You see, there's a new man in my life. A wonderful, amazing man.

We met the first week of April. I plan on moving down to live with him (and thus changing jobs) by the end of September at the latest.

As you might imagine, I've been a bit distracted.
kiyakotari: (Default)
So I've been thinking about the doll crew. Big surprise, huh? Anyway, I've been specifically thinking about the heights of the characters, and the relative heights of the dolls that represent them. Because these are the kinds of things that are important to me.

Wren is always supposed to have been 5' 7" tall. Jian Yuan's height has shifted a bit over the years (he and Wren were originally the same height), and he is supposed to be 5' 4" tall. Darryl has always been right around 6'. Talon has fluctuated a bit, but is generally right around the same height as Darryl, as is Tekla. And so on and so forth.

Wren 2.0 is a 60cm doll. Darryl 2.0 is 65cm, the intended Talon 2.0 is also 65cm, and Tekla is 65cm-66.5cm depending on what feet and shoes she's wearing. Since Wren is pretty much in the middle of the group, and since the height of the doll is a conveniently even number of centimeters, I worked off of her. 5' 7" is 67". There are 2.56 centimeters in an inch, so Wren is 171.52cm tall. Dividing the height of Wren 2.0 (60cm) by 171.52cm gives us .349813432, or thereabouts.

Now it's time to check this. If Darryl is supposed to be around 6' tall, is 65cm the correct height for the Darryl 2.0 doll? 65cm divided by .349813432 is 181.82cm. If we divide that again by 2.56, we end up with 72.59", or 6' ½". So yes, Darryl 2.0 is (delightfully) just the right height. From this, I can infer that Talon 2.0 and Tekla are also the right size without having to work their exact heights out.

This means that my formula for determining the necessary height of a WUNPO doll based on the height of a character (when "C" is the height of the character in inches and "D" is the height of the doll) is:

(C x 2.56) .349813432 = D

By this formula, the total height of Jian Yuan 2.0 needs to be 57.3cm. We can also reverse the formula, as we saw with Darryl, to determine the height of a character based on the doll that represents them:

(D ÷ .349813432) ÷ 2.56 = C

Using the reversed formula, Rupali (doll is 58cm) is just a hair under 5' 5" tall, which is perfect for her character (she's supposed to be between Wren and Jian Yuan in height, but I never set a specific height for her). And Rafe is 5' 9½", while Laith is just a smidgen over 6' 6". Again, perfect for the characters (I had been concerned that the Laith doll was too tall, but he's supposed to be 6½', so that's spot on).

The awesome thing about this isn't consistency in the doll collection, though. It's the fact that I can apply this formula to anything that I want to make for the dolls, to make sure it's in scale, as long as I know the full-size measurements of the item. For example, a WUNPO doll-scale AA12 shotgun would be 34.67cm (13.54") long, and the seat of a dining chair should be 16.12cm-17.91cm (6.3"-7") high.

This entire thing was brought on by the fact that I'm at work, and am supposed to be studying for my first attempt at an IAHSS certification, which my job now requires. I test in four hours. So far, only two of the six officers in my department who have taken this test have passed it. If we fail it, we have thirty days to prepare for a second attempt. If we can't pass on the second try, we're fired. I haven't read the book yet, and it's 38 chapters long.

Yeah. To say I'm unenthusiastic about this textbook would be an understatement.

EDIT: Passed the test. It was actually really easy (and I still haven't read more than five chapters in this book). Not sure what all the fuss was about, but have a feeling I'm going to be tutoring several of the guys over the next few weeks.
kiyakotari: (Default)
For my birthday, my parents said they would go in on a DSLR with me. So my mom and I sat down at the computer earlier today and purchased a Canon T2i. I'm really, really excited about it. It's supposed to arrive here between May 13th and 17th.
kiyakotari: (Default)
Rammstein tickets GET!! Rammstein is playing May 15 at the Tacoma Dome, and Jae, Annalee, Britt, and I have tickets (not all in the same area, sadly, as they were purchased at different times - Jae and I will be sitting together, but I don't know what section Britt and Annalee's tickets are for). Combichrist is opening. I'm not generally a concert-goer, but there are a few bands I really love and have wanted to see live for years, and Rammstein is one of them. (Metallica, Korn, and Disturbed are also on that relatively short list.) I am thrilled!!
kiyakotari: (Default)
Surgery went well. I am alert, oriented, and in MUCH pain. I cannot swallow at all - anything I drink right now comes out my nose. My tonsils were HUGE, much larger than the doctor thought, and growing BACKWARDS (into the flesh of my throat, not out into my mouth like they're supposed to, so most of each tonsil was hidden and he didn't know it was there until he started the operation). I got to see them after they took them out. @_@ The surgeon sent them on to a lab for testing, to try and figure out why they were so strangely situated. I have two massive holes in the back of my mouth. My mouth also tastes like burned ME (no stitches, just cauterization). The two weeks of suckage have officially begun.

On the plus side, no bleeding at ALL post-op, which is a really good sign.
kiyakotari: (Default)
My pre-op appointment for my tonsillectomy is scheduled for Monday, February 14th, at 10:30 in the morning. This is all fine and dandy.

Yesterday afternoon (around 3:00), a Sheriff Deputy knocked on my door and handed me two subpoenas to appear as a witness to an assault (multiple assailants) that is being heard in the local juvenile court on Monday, February 14th, at 9:00 in the morning.

The last time I had to testify as a witness, I was stuck at the courthouse from 8:30 in the morning until after 5:30 that night.

It may be too late to reschedule my pre-op exam.

I sense a problem on the horizon.
kiyakotari: (gecko)
Waldere died this morning, just before feeding time. He had a seizure. It was very fast. He had not had any symptoms of illness before the seizure - active, eating normally, had a good shed about three days ago. I described the event to the vet, and he said it sounds like he had a stroke or aneurysm.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with his body. I don't have a garden to bury him in. Public park is probably a no-go. As a gecko he's much larger than the baby anoles were, so I can't really sneak him into one of the planters in front of my apartment building.
kiyakotari: (Default)
On February 22nd, I am scheduled to have a tonsillectomy. It's a very safe, very quick outpatient surgery. However, in adults it also has a very painful, relatively protracted recovery period. The ENT specialist who decided that I need the surgery informed me that I would not be able to talk for at least three days (which is a lot like when I got my tongue pierced, back in the day) and that for at least ten days my pain is going to be a 6/10 after I take the liquid Percocet he is going to prescribe me (apparently it will be a 9/10 without the painkillers). Thus, I am using up over half of my time off bank to spend 14 days recovering. It should be...interesting. Even more so if I hemorrhage when the scabs in my throat fall off around day nine. At least I'm double-insured, so the medical bills won't totally wipe out my bank account.

In other news, I just purchased my first sewing machine, a Brother CS-6000i. I've been using sewing machines since I was a child, but have never owned one before. I am excited.