Bringing the Dementor Back

I realize I never talked about this, so now’s the time, I guess. It gave me a lot to think about, so I wanted to share this experience.

Last year, I made an over-seven-foot dementor for a Hogwarts themed harvest fest. It was a mega hit, and I loved doing it. (And if you want to know more, I made a post about it last year here).

This year, the person in charge of the harvest fest asked if I could bring the dementor costume back since she was going to be doing the Hogwarts theme bigger and better. I said, of course, and I set out to fixing it back up, since it’s been in storage for a year.

The day came, and I was a little ill-prepared (I forgot some padding to lessen the pain of wearing it). But it’s all good. The reactions make it worth it. Let’s get to it! Walk around, scare some kids, impress the farmers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stay in costume for long.

I was in costume for maybe 45 minutes or an hour before I quit out of frustration.

Something I knew would happen during the fest would be kids playing along, pointing wands at me, running from me, expecto patronum-ing me. I’m super down to play along with them, too. But, this year, kids and preteens were poking me with their wands (I don’t appreciate being stabbed with a wooden stick), yanking on my cloak (which is almost entirely supported by my neck, and I don’t want to die today), and pushing me (my vision is limited, and if I fall I’m not getting back up). The worst was when a young man, 12 or 13 maybe, decided to punch me in the stomach!

Punch. Me. In. The. Stomach.

Why were the kids so violent this year? Anyway, after multiple instances of abuse, I called it quits and took my costume off for the day. My friend, Kiki, who was there with me that day, was so angry and wanted me to point the kid out so she can drop kick him for me.

I wasn’t terribly hurt. A little sore but not injured. But that shouldn’t matter. It is NOT okay to touch or hit a character at an attraction, which is what I was. I’m a person underneath all that fabric, and I can get hurt, physically and emotionally. I was upset and sore, and I don’t know if I’ll be busting out the dementor again.

Just wanted to share the experience with those who maybe have kids. Please teach your children not to touch or mess with a character at any kind of attraction, whether it be Disneyland or your local harvest fest.

And I didn’t even get any pictures this year…

Hugs

Alexandra

Election Year

On top of everything else that this year has spawned, it’s an election year here in the U.S.

And, boy, has it been one dumpster fire after another.

Threats of riots if Trump wins; threats of mass killing if Biden wins. It’s a scary time.

At my time of writing this, in the evening of 5 November, there still hasn’t been a result. By the time this is published, on the morning of 6 November, there may be.

No matter what happens, please be safe, please be smart.

Hugs

Alexandra

I Don’t Celebrate ‘People’ Days

*edit: how incredibly rude of past me to not publish this properly. Here it is, albeit it a day late. Reminder, future self: double check publishing*

I hear you, “What are people days?” They are holidays that celebrate a specific person, like Washington, Lincoln, King Jr., or today (yesterday), Columbus.

It seems wrong to me to celebrate one person. “We don’t celebrate the person, we celebrate what they’ve done.” Then, why can’t it be Civil Rights Day instead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day? “If you do that then you’re disrespecting the people behind it.” Okay, then where’s federal Rosa Parks Day? Where’s Magellan Day? Where’s JFK Day?

There’s a flawed logic behind these people days, especially with Columbus Day. The man got lost ad opened the Americas to a European takeover. And that warrants a holiday in the US? A holiday Vladimir gets out of school for?!

It makes no sense to me.

That’s why I don’t celebrate ‘people’ days. I’d rather celebrate causes and movements.

Do I Undersell?

I’ve started selling jewelry.

One of my biggest hiccups with selling wares is what to charge people. How much is it worth to me and worth to others to sell? That kind of math is beyond me, because even now as I’ve settled on a price, I’m told it’s too much or too cheap. Mostly that it’s too cheap.

So I ask myself, do I undersell?

And this question goes beyond my wares. Do I undersell myself?

I’m a young woman who’s endured a lot, traveled a little, working on her second Masters, reads (a lot), and does her taxes every year. Do I believe I’m worthwhile? No. Do I think I’m ‘allowed’ to seek what I deserve? No. Do I even think I deserve stuff? No. It’s sad but true. I actually don’t see myself ad an accomplished person.

Have I done a lot in my time? Oh, sure. But I don’t see it as amazing or ‘worth it’. As I inch closer to the end of my Masters program, I think about my future, and it’s a pessimistic viewing. From not being able to find a job to not being able to pay my bills, etc.

Now here’s where it all ties in, friends: it’s time to do math.

When you make and sell jewelry you have to math out every piece to understand that ware’s worth. From the bottle to the glitter to the hardware to the time.

We need to do the same for ourselves. Math out our moments, successes, accomplishments. From the Masters degree to living alone in Scotland to the writing to the time. And you’ll find you’re worthwhile.

Even if your accomplishments are small. You’re still worthwhile. Don’t undersell who you are as a person.

Now, to teach by example, I understand how often I undersell myself. But I’m making a concerted effort to understand my worth as a trained expert.

Also, my witchy potion earrings are priced at 15 dollars after doing some math.

Hugs

Alexandra

Creating Earrings and Bullet Journals

After a madhouse of a time, we’re still creating.

It’s October, meaning it’s spooky season. It’s also a new month, so that means a new bujo spread. This month, I went for a witchy vibe, since I’m looking into and starting to practice witchcraft. I’m really enjoying this look and this theme.

As well, I’ve been making little witchy potion earrings.

These little creative moments have been keeping me sane as I handle trying to catch up on missed grad school work, work problems, and home issues.

Don’t be afraid to show off your work, either, if you’re proud of it. Remember to be creative in hard times, if that’s how you find peace.

Enjoy my work, I hope you do. And I hope you enjoy your own creativity whatever kind it may be.

Hugs

Alexandra

Rating Miyazaki’s Ghibli Work

Recently I talked about some Studio Ghibli when I wrote about Isao Takahata (read it here). This inspired me to complete something on my bucket list: watch Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli filmography. I had been forgetting about watching one for a long while and I finally got to it. So, I completed that goal, and now I can officially rate the movies. This was hard, because I actually love all the movies, and I mean all the movies. But I think I did it.

Just remember, please, this is personal opinion. Everyone is different, and you don’t have to agree. But this is how I rate Miyazaki’s movies:

13. Ponyo. Yeah, Ponyo is last place. It’s adorable, and I love Fujimoto and Lisa as characters. But the other movies are just better.

12. Arrietty, the US version. Unlike other Ghibli movies, this one got two English versions, the US and the UK, both with different actors and different scripts. The US one is not as good, sorry about it.

11. Princess Mononoke. Is Ashitaka my favorite male hero? Yes. Are there still better movies than this one? Also yes.

10. The Wind Rises. I swoon for the animation.

9. My Neighbor Totoro. I’m gonna get shit for this one. Again, I love this movie, but I think there are better movies. Sorry, Mom.

8. Arrietty, the UK version. Better script and better actors. It works better with the UK script, I believe.

7. From Up on Poppy Hill. This movie speaks to me more than people know, and even if it’s the least-liked according to critics and stuff, there’s something special about it to me.

6. Porco Rosso. This movie is so friggin’ funny. I was non-stop laughing, and there was a point the laugh got so ugly Vladimir got concerned.

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service. This, I believe, was my first Ghibli movie, and it holds a special place in my heart.

4. Whisper of the Heart. This was my most recent watch, and it touched my heart and soul. I saw myself at ages 11, 15, 21, and even now. Super special.

3. Spirited Away. I mean…this is just a masterpiece.

2. Castle in the Sky. Characters, story, animation, this movie gives it all to me.

1. Howl’s Moving Castle. Everything about this movie is magical to me, absolutely everything. I cannot fault it, nor do I want to. It’s definitely my favorite Miyazaki movie, and one of my favorite movies ever.

Well, darn, this was tough. I reiterate, I love every Mitazaki movie. He is one of my favorite creators. So know that, even if it’s at the bottom of the list, I recommend it.

Thanks, Hayao-sama, for transforming my life through your art.

Hugs

Alexandra

School Started, and Here’s What’s Up

I’m in my third semester of my grad program. It’s getting tougher and tougher, not that I expected it to get easier. However, I am in a science program now after having been a fine arts person my whole schooling career. It’s all new to me and I have to really readjust my thinking quite often.

Classes started a month ago, and I’m just doing my best because that’s all that can be asked of us. I don’t care what Yoda says, there is a try.

It’s gonna continue to be a rough semester, rough year, rough rough rough.

Man, am I getting beyond mental workouts.

While I continue, posts may come and go, be mentally fried-sounding (like that phrasing), and be simple, like myself. Just know I’m doing my best and that’s all we can ask of each other.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

Hugs

Alexandra

Miyazaki vs Takahata

I have a profound love for Studio Ghibli. I adore the work that has come out of it. What people don’t seem to understand, though, is that the studio is not synonymous with a single creator. Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary film maker, and when people think Studio Ghibli they think Miyazaki.

However, there is someone else who deserves love as well:

Isao Takahata.

I’ll be the first to admit I love Miyazaki. I prefer Miyazaki to other work by Studio Ghibli. But I still think Takahata deserves as much recognition and love. Here’s why:

1. He co-created Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki. Takahata and Miyazaki have been in the animation industry for years before they founded this studio in 1985. The difference is that Miyazaki was an animator and Takahata was a writer/director. He led production for many works before he and his long-time collaborator started their own studio.

2. According to Rotten Tomatoes (as of writing this), there are three Ghibli movies with a 100% rating…and all three were Takahata films: Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. He created amazing works of art.

3. His film Grave of the Fireflies was partially inspired by his own experiences from the bombing of Okayama City. And if you’ve seen Grave of the Fireflies, you’ll share my sentiment when I say: oof.

4. Takahata was also the music director for Kiki’s Delivery Service. Yep.

5. Unlike Miyazaki, he changed up styles. Again, I adore Miyazaki and his style; he is everything I love. But he’s also very stagnant. Takahata’s films range in animation from Only Yesterday to Princess Kaguya to My Neighbors the Yamadas, and more. It varies.

Now, am I saying ‘don’t have a favorite’? No. Sorry, Isao-sama, but Miyazaki’s films are my life (and favorite). What I’m saying is that we give credit to another great man behind Studio Ghibli that doesn’t get enough recognition. He helped start something amazing and he’s created so much in his lifetime.

Thank you, sir.

Hugs,

Alexandra

P.S. I am also well aware of other people, especially Toshio Suzuki, with a HUGE hand in Studio Ghibli and its works. Maybe I’ll talk about them in the future.

Minimalism versus Maximalism

Minimalism seems to have become a trend. I enjoy seeing it. Minimalism is such a pretty aesthetic. As well, minimalism is a huge thing in theatre we greatly value.

But it’s not for me.

This is kind of a continuation of my last post, when I talked about memories I keep on my bookshelves in my library. I have a lot, and I love it all. I’m quite on the opposite spectrum of minimalism: maximalism.

Maximalism is considered a loud style, full of colors, excess, patterns, and collections, and an aesthetic on it’s own.

Some say it follows a tagline of “more is more”, which I don’t agree with. I’m not stacking stuff on stuff for the sake of an aesthetic. I’m combining memories and mementos together creating that loud style. It’s not “more is more”, it’s “I’ll put up whatever I want that speaks to me and my experiences with no apology”.

What I enjoy about maximalism as opposed to minimalism is how personal it is. No one has the same stuff on the walls or items on the shelves, at least not altogether. It’s original, unique, and personal. I love that.

Minimalism, maximalism, it doesn’t matter which you prefer. Enjoy what you want your surrounding aesthetic to be, even if you’re not sure what it is. Don’t judge others for how they decorate or don’t decorate their spaces.

Hugs

Alexandra

When Crafting Can Be Too Much & Ideas

Edit: I checked earlier this time, but it still didn’t publish on time, so I’m definitely gonna fix whatever happened here, okay, on with the post.

I have a lot of hobbies.

I’m a creative and crafty person, always have been, and I love making things. But I’ve noticed lately that, growing into adulthood, maybe I have too many. I won’t have time beyond a career and self-care and relationships to do as much as I want to do.

First of all, what are my hobbies? Well…

Making jewelry, making pins, painting, drawing, reading (duh), making videos (sort of), writing, penpaling (also sort of), journaling, sewing, cosplay, cross stitch, crafting in general, and of course theatre in general. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t remember anymore off the top of my head.

Like I said, I have too many. And it’s begun taking a toll on me because I look at my craft tower and all the supplies I have, and I realize that it’s gathering dust. I haven’t made a pair of earrings in a while. Last pin I made was maybe nine months ago. There’s an unfinished cross stitch project that’s been sitting since Christmas. And let’s not get started on my TBR bookcase.

So, what can I do? I enjoy doing these things, but I hate having so much/leaving it to rot almost. And with the school semester coming up, I’m going to have even less time. Do I quit some of my hobbies? Or do I leave it all to be forgotten about?

I think I have an idea…

First of all, I don’t have any physical hobbies. So, I need to find something I can enjoy that’ll keep me in shape, or at least in a healthier state. That’s something for me to research on my own.

Second of all, what in my hobbies do I consider more ‘lifestyle’, or will help advance my career/goals/dreams? There’s three: reading, writing, and theatre. I’m not getting rid of these three, not now not ever. I have a Masters in a theatrical field I want to combine with my current studies. Writing is a dream AND goal as I want to be a writer. So, I keep working on that in the hopes I can get published/performed one day. And reading is just so special, and works with my writing dream and current studies. These hobbies are sailing.

Third of all, what in my hobbies do I believe I can utilize more? If I decide ever to open an online shop, it would be with jewelry and pins, and I’ve also made money with my drawings (not paintings, though I could add it in). The question becomes, can I actually do that? Is my work good enough to sell? Would anyone actually want it? I’d be willing to try, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind. These hobbies are floating.

And lastly, for the rest of my hobbies, are they ones I do once in a blue moon for something special, or are they gathering dust due to being on the bottom of the craft totem pole? For those who are once in a blue moon depending on situations, which are cosplay, sewing, and penpaling, I can keep them around since they don’t weigh on my mind and I still enjoy them. For those who gather dust due to neglect, which are making videos, cross stitch, and crafting in general, it might be best just to let them sink.

What about journaling? Moving it more into the self-care arena might help that one.

These are my thoughts and ideas about what I can do with my gazillion hobbies.

If you’re like me with perhaps too many things on your plate, take into account those questions about

  1. Do you have a physical hobby to keep you healthy?
  2. What hobbies are sailing?
  3. What hobbies are floating?
  4. What can you keep around for that once in a blue moon project?
  5. And what can you let sink?

Hopefully this helps some of you. I’m going to go put it into practice now…

Hugs

Alexandra