Ode to the package deliverer.

It’s been a few months since my last blog post. I wanted to post more but than life caught up with me, the World has gone to hell multiple times and I didn’t feel remotely motivated to post anything. So maybe I am back, can’t make promises. 😉

The holidays season is upon us and the Netherlands adopted insane marketing scams like Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy more shit on ‘sale’. Why I put sale like this is because online and physical stores aren’t always honest about the pricing during these periods and scam the frick out of us silly consumers.

I have the PostNL app, a DHL app, UPS and DPD accounts to make tracking my International shipment easy-peasy. It also make is quite easy for me to redirect my packages to a local pick-up point in case I am not home. There is nothing more annoying than trying to deliver a package when the receiver is not home, speaking as an ex-deliverer. Especially when the rest of your neighbourhood is fed up with yo’ shit and refuse to accept the package. Not accepting a package is not a crime peeps, but when people do hold something for you and you don’t come to pick it up you are an asshole.

To my surprise and utter disgust after Black Friday a pop-up came on the app of PostNL that they were doing deliveries on the Sunday to deal with the rush. THEY HAVE NEVER WORKED ON A SUNDAY LIKE THAT BEFORE.
And for those whiny cunts that come in but whenever I buy from BOL.CUM I can chose for Sunday delivery. These are special outside contractors hired for that dumb ass service and they get paid a whole lot more than your regular driver, because it’s A SPECIAL SERVICE YOU BUY.

As an ex-driver there were some good moments when on the job but they were overshadowed by the horrible experiences I had in my less than two years at that position. You read that right, less than two years because of the weight of the packages I’ve permanent nerve damage in my right arm. I got RSI from my job.
You might think omfg you weaksauce of a woman, but when I applied to the job and I asked if women were suited the manager told met that 30 kg packages were more of a freak occurance than the norm. Until motherfocking IKEA used the regular post to ship Billy bookcases and those wretched 30kg dogfood bags. Still have eternal hate for that man who had ordered 5 of those bookcases and then offered to help unload but concluded it was too heavy for him.

I had serveral nightmarish customers, those who ordered 20 cases of wine and than asked us peasants to put it in their wine cellar, with slippery green staircases. Or the parents that use you as an example for their children that when you don’t go to school you work for PostNL. Than there were the men that argue with me that their wives order too much, why are you yelling at me? The people with aggressive dogs not restraining them when they open the fucking door. The people who think you aren’t worth a good morning, good afternoon or even a happy holidays and slam the door in your face when they accepted the package. Or that fecker that order a wooden picknicktable that couldn’t be collapsed.

But the worst was management. Those smug bastards that told us to step up more each time our stops were over 300. Told me that I wasn’t paid to think when I mentioned my pick-up point was closed for a two week renovation and I had no other place to deliver my pick-up packages. Told us to go out on deliveries when there was black ice and only let us come back when the third van ended up in the water. And ultimately complained that I wasn’t allowed to drive due to the muscle relaxant medication I received. You fuckers weren’t insured if I crashed my van.

I’ve worked 10-12 hours a day while getting paid for 8 hours. Because when you have 339 stops (physical addresses) and you are clocked for 8 hours, you have roughly 1,5 minute between stops. This is an ideal situation with the receiver standing at the open door as soon as pull up, I can park right infront of the address and all the packages would be in close proximity of each other. But in reality the loading of your van was also 45 minutes, driving from the depot to my first stop was 20 minutes. I had the drive out to the farmhouses on the way to my urban first stop. I spend waiting longer than 1,5 minute for people open their door. I have to scan out my packages at the pick-up spot which isn’t always a full manned place because they are often store clerks serving their customers and I need to wait for them and then pick up the ones that need to returned to the depot. So often I skipped my lunch and breaks because I just wanted to get home.

I quit waaaay before Covid hit but I’ve talked to the drivers during that period and they said the situation got worse and the amount of packages had risen to insane amounts. And the only people profiting were the fat cats at the top of the company.

So I made it my practice to avoid ordering during stupid Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Smingles’ Day. Redirect my packages to pick-up points when I am not home and tip my driver each holiday season. Because each year I have a new driver, they don’t last which is sad.

And please stop and think about why some drivers leave packages at doors, under doormats, over the fence, thrown through an open windon, on your balcony, in the bushes behind the house. It’s because management told us to go fuck ourselves because we aren’t paid to think and just need to hit unreasonable targets.

Happy holidays!

Run Away With Me, Girl – Battan

This manga series of three books was recommended to me by someone on Twitter. She said the artwork is stunningly beautiful and I agree fully with her. 🙂

Maki’s first love was a her high school classmate, a girl named Midori. On their graduation, Midori breaks up with her saying: “We are adults now, too old to be fouling around dating girls”. Ten years later Maki hasn’t forgetten her first love Midori and she gets reconnected with Midori through a chance encounter. But Midori reveals that she is pregnant and engaged. Maki is torn between her feelings and the happiness she sees within Midori about her child. But finding out more about Midori’s soon-to-be-husband, raises a lot of red flags with Maki.

And when Midori shares a secret she has been keeping for a long time, the flame of Maki’s love burns brighter. Can they start anew?

Is it teasing or does she still love me?

I need to give a warning that this short series contains domestic violence and childhood traumas. Can’t spoil too much of this series but I highly recommend it as a dramatic, funny and yet painful romance story.

She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat – Sakaomi Yuzaki

Nomoto loves to cook and de-stresses herself by creating a lot of dishes but always too big portions that she can eat by herself. She decides to invite her neighbour Kasuga, whom she first found a bit intimidating, to enjoy her meals together. Slowly Nomoto realises that her feelings towards her neighbour are a bit more than friendship and I love to find out how the story further progresses. There are only two books out and Nomoto has just researched what lesbianism means.

I didn’t pre-order this series because I didn’t know if I would enjoy the story. I started reading one girl love series and it became very toxic and frustrating, which means that annoyance just projects on future other series so I wait until I see more reviews from others or if I can check it out in stores (I’m looking at you “How Do We Relationship?”, so frustrated with that series) I know, I know I need to let this shit go but “How Do We” just fucked me over.

Below you will see the page that pulled me in the series.

My first thought, the audacity of this man. Good for you Nomoto thinking this is just gross.
I’ve always been repulsed by the assumption that women are just there to cater men. And looking at the rhetoric going around in very conservative circles that women are nothing more than just birth machines.

It’s all lovely as you as a woman wants to have kids or be the carer in the household, it is your own choice. But not everyone fits this bill. When we cook, my husband and I are a team in the kitchen, I do not want to be the only one that works on the meal. We are both equally responsible for the household. The whole Stepford wives spiel creeps me out. I have the urge to set a man on fire when I notice him doing absolutely nothing in kitchen, cleaning or childcare. Yes, I broke up with guys that just wanted me to replace their mothers.

I often find myself rebelling when someone says: “Oh your husband must love that you wear pretty dresses or do you often cook him great food”? after finding out I have Indonesian roots”. I do things for myself, not to please him. If our marriage was based on just pleasing him, I’d never gotten married. So fuck the patriarchy!

Lesbian Pride Flag

While the story isn’t that far yet, the mangaka created this image for the start of Pride Month on her Twitter account. Guess I just have to wait for this relationship to further develop but whatever course it takes this series is just wholesome. Two women confronted with the image society expects of them and not having any of it. I love them to bits.

The elaborate detail of the dishes Notomo makes is just mouthwatering good. I often suggest to my husband that we need to make this and he agrees.

Our Dining Table – Mita Ori

This is one of the most cute, genuine and heartwarming stories of two men reaching out to each other and falling in love. It also contains themes of coping with loneliness and the fear of losing a loved one.

Yutaka has difficulty eating around other people and is enjoying his lunch all by himself when a small boy is staring at the huge onigiri in his hand. When the little boy’s tummy rumbles he decides to share his onigir with him and they started talking. When Yutaka asks him if he is all by himself, the little boy replies that he is with his brother. Chaos ensues when his big brother arrives and give the boy a good scolding for wandering off during shopping and trying to eat someone elses food. The older brother apologies and storms of with his little brother

Back at the office Yutaka overhears his colleagues discussing drinks after work and one mentions if they should invite him. “Nah, don’t bother, he never comes anyway.” Leaving Yutaka a bit hurt over these comments.

Later that night, Yutaka thinks about his past and the reader finds out that he when he was younger, he had been told that people can’t stand to eat food when looking at him. That’s some big time trauma you place on a kid.

The next day he goes and have lunch in the park once more and finds the two brothers waiting on him. The small boy is introduced as Tane and wants to eat his onigir once more. His older brother, Minoru, makes him apologise and asks Yutaka to teach him how to cook these onigiri that his little brother craves.

Their cooking parties are becoming more frequent and Minoru and Yutaka begin to find out that they have a lot of in common both feeling lonely and insecure after the death of ones relatives. Trying to find their way on how to handle communicating with others or raising a little brother while not forgetting you have your own to look after too.

There is nothing that I don’t love about this manga, the art style is lovely, the themes are portrayed with a lot of respect and it just show to men, gradually falling in love and being the support for each other that they so much craved.

What is an onigiri?

It’s a Japanese riceball, often with filling. That could be a pickled plum, pickled vegetables, egg, various types of fish or even chicken.

The shape is a triangle but I’ve seen them in a round shape too. Wrapped in a sheet of dried seaweed this are quick bites you can have to soothe your carvings.

When I was in ramen shop in Tokyo the owner offered us miso fried riceballs in the same shape. You slowly see these appear in the Netherlands and I am happy I have healthier quick bite options

Blue Flag – KAITO

Blue Flag

Reposting this blog I wrote in 2021 for Pride Month 2023 as this is one of the best series that I own. I reread it atleast once a year because the story is this good.

2021 – I picked up this tradepaperback (TP) by chance in March of this year at my favourite bookstore in Rotterdam: Donner. I’ve seen it online before but I was still on the fence if this would be a good read. The art is great but for me the story is important. That’s why I prefer a brick-and-mortar store over online. Sometimes it’s just hit and miss when I preorder TP’s online. After flipping through volume 1 at Donner, I purchased the first two of the series. They had up to number 5 on the shelves but TP’s are quite pricey and I had already splurged on other things.

Back at the hotel I tore through both of them in one evening and couldn’t wait to devour more. In March you couldn’t shop freely because of Covid-19, I had to reserve a time slot at each store I was visiting and my schedule on the second day was packed full. So after I got home I ordered the rest of the available TP’s from Donner and read through them in one go.

The story focuses one three characters: Futaba, Taichi and Toma and it’s a love quadrangle with a dash of unrequited love. Confused yet?

When you look at the cover of the 1st volume you can see how the feelings flow towards the main characters. Taichi isn’t popular but has an unlikely best friend Toma. Toma is handsome, great at sports and everyone likes him. Tachi realises that it’s really odd that since their childhood they are best friends. Even some people at school wonder why they have this bond. He notices his classmate Futaba has a crush on Toma and tries to be matchmaker between the two, but Toma’s feelings are for someone else…

From left to right: Toma, Tachi and Futaba

As I said the cover of the 1st volume gives away who likes who. This coming of age story touches a lot of subjects like gender equality, same sex relationships, unrequited love, bullying and the choices the main characters have to face.

I said earlier that it contained a love quadrangle and I spoke about 3 main characters. The other character that falls in that equation is Masumi, she loves Futaba more than a friend but will never tell her this because of the hardship same sex couples would face. She also knows that Futaba won’t return her feelings and doesn’t want to ruin the friendship they have together. It’s quite heartbreaking that she hides her feelings, you clearly see her struggle with this. And she is the first one to notice Toma’s feelings towards Taichi, telling him they are alike.

Masami dropping the bomb on Toma

The story had me crying at times, it’s really tough being in your teens and struggling with feelings that are not considered the ‘norm’ by society. For me love is love no matter what gender you represent but sadly even in 21st century the LGBTQIA community is still met with violence and hate. But you see a rise in LGBTQIA books, movies, anime and manga. Even games are becoming more inclusive, to the horror of some hardcore gamers that whine a mile about it. Kind of like those religious people tossing around the Bible trying to interfere with other people’s lives. In my honest opinion religion is a self-guideline.

What I didn’t expect is that I would have a strong connection with one of the side characters, Mami. She is a real girly girl with makeup and the works but she wants to be friends with guys without romance. She sees nothing wrong with just being friends with boys but often it ended in the boys falling in love with her or girls at school getting upset with her, saying she is fishing for attention. She just wants to be friends and maybe find love on her own terms. So when she starts playing videogames with Taichi it is met with suspicion. She blows a fuse and poors out her heart to Masami and Futaba that she just wants to be one of the guys as a girl. I hear you Mami. I’m happy you have Shingo as your best mate for life.

Please don’t hate me – Please don’t fall for me
Shingo tells Mami how it is.

While your emotions are being tossed around by the story, the mangaka has a way for drawing amazing expressions. I knew exactly how the characters felt, the way they looks shocked, sad or angry. You just got swept away with the boys and girls of the series.

Toma being grilled by Shingo

While Taichi tries to bring Futaba closer to Toma, he notices his feelings for her. And with the confession of Toma what choice will Taichi make? I’m not going to spoil the ending for you but I was very satisfied with the conclusion.

What will Taichi do?

Overal this was a great series and while I am sad it ended, if they added more volumes it wouldn’t do this story justice. Just the right amount of love, drama and humour. You really feel for the characters, understand their pains and fears. And Mami being the MPV of the story was a great surprise. In 8 volumes you get a wonderful story with fantastic art.

My rating:

Skip and Loafer – Misaki Takamatsu

This is a charming slice-of-life/romance series that follows Mitsumi Iwakura while she moves to Tokyo with the ambition to become a government official so she can help develop her home prefecture that has been depopulating for years. Surprised by the massive transit hubs on the way to school, she ends up losing her way and is in danger to be late for her opening ceremony. Sousuke Shima, her soon-to-be laidback classmate, helps her get to school just in the nick of time for her opening ceremony speech. Shima thinks school will be very interesting with Mitsumi attending and shows up daily.

The series is fantastic, the target audience is young adult men, but I know lots of girls who are hooked to this one. 😉 But one of the best things about this series is that Mitsumi’s aunt Nao is transgender.

Mitsumi & Nao

Nao is introduced at the very beginning of the series (both manga & anime) while accompanying Mitsumi part of the way towards her school on her first day. You see two girls standing close by gossiping and giggling about Nao’s Adam’s apple. Luckily for Noa or Mistumi, they don’t hear this. When they split up, Mitsumi loses her way and runs into Shima who helps her out. Mitsumi will stay with her aunt while she attends school in Tokyo.

Nao is a stylist and has a boyfriend. She helps Mitsumi with her outfit choices as Mitsumi has totally no clue what fits together and what not. When the story progresses you find out more about Nao’s youth. How she struggled living in a rural area where people weren’t accepting of her gender. In Tokyo you can find kindred spirits, a larger group of LGBTQIA+ members that will support you. I see this in my hometown, it’s not a small town but you can’t walk hand-in-hand with your same sex partner without being called out, harassed or worse. And people here will also single you out when you look not feminine or masculine enough for your gender. I am sorry to say that transphobia is big here in the southern regions of the Netherlands. We still have a lot of work to do.

The reason I love Nao so much in this series is that she is very supportive of Mitsumi but also listens to the struggles of Mitsuki’s friends. When there was a sleepover she informed Mitsumi’s friends parents that she is biologically male and was sleeping over at a friend’s house so they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. She really aware of how unaccepting people can be and she doesn’t want Mitsumi to get hurt. She is the bestest aunty ever!

Nao is portrayed in a respectful way by the manga-ka. I think it’s great that her family is so accepting and I hope to find out more about her story and her adventures in the coming volumes of Skip and Loafer. We need moar Noa-chan!

Cherry Magic! – Yuu Toyota

The full title reads Cherry Magic! Thirty years of virginity can make you a wizard?! And it follows Kyoshi Adachi being able to read minds after being a virgin for 30 years and finding out his hot colleague Yuichi Kurosawa has a huge crush on him. This manga is a really sweet gay romcom, it even has a live action series that I love dearly.

I am happy that a lot of new gay manga is stepping away. In the past we had too much rapist turn to lover stories and it gave a totally wrong representation towards the gay community in Japan. Some manga-ka and gays became very outspoken against this type of storytelling and the shift began towards a more realistic depiction of gays and their relationships.

So our main character of this series finds out on his thirtieth birthday with him still being a virgin, he is able to read other people’s minds when touching them and it stresses him out a lot.

His panic even becomes bigger when he is stuck in a full elevator and finds out that his handsome and popular colleague Kurosawa has a major crush on him. He can’t contain his embarrassment when he hears Kurosawa fawn over his bedhair and it being his lucky day being so close to Adachi. His heart just skips a beat because of this honest but secret confession.

Knowing this it becomes very obvious to Adachi that Kurosawa goes out of his way to help and support Adachi at work. He encourages Adachi to join an in-company design competition and gives him the confidence he needs to face his challenges. And Adachi in turn helps Kurosawa out while using his powers to find out why a customer is so angry while visiting the office. The man was upset and dissapointed they didn’t have any cake for him. LOL so childish but so cute how he sneakily tried to find out what the problem is.

They eventually start a relationship and both are totally on cloud nine while trying to overcome the challenges society throws at them for being a gay couple in Japan. At the moment, there is no marriage equality in Japan. Which means that even if they are partners for years, they won’t receive the same rights as married couples like being recognised as a partner to be able to visit their partners when in hospital.

In 2009 Japan began to allow Japanse Nationals to marry same sex-partners in countries where same-sex is legal. Individuals would get key certificates that states that a person is single and of legal age in order to be able to marry in areas that would allow it.

Some areas have begun to establish a partnership system that would recognise same-sex relationships for situations like hospital visitation or renting an apartment together. The couple will get a proof of partnership paper. I hope one day same-sex marriages/relationships will hold the same rights under Japanese law. Being under a conservative government does not help while the population in Japan is in favour of giving LGBTQIA+ people right to marry.

That said, I am disgusted that in the country that prides themselves for holding the first gay marriage, aggression and violence towards the LGBTQIA+ community has been becoming more common these days. The hate is being fueled by false narrative, often voiced by people in high places like politicians and making the Netherlands an unsafe place to live in if you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. To those assholes I say, fuck you!

I saw the live action series first before becoming hooked on the manga. The storyline in is a bit quicker in development in the live action series and they couldn’t do the outragious first day Kurosawa planned. A helicopter is not a great idea, lol! But the clumsy stumbling and akward situation just were acted out very well by the actors and I love this just as much as the manga. You can find the live action on Crunchyroll and the mangas at any physcial or online store.

Is love the answer? – Uta Isaki

The kickoff for our Pride Month is with this manga by Uta Isaki. When I order manga I try to research online what the story is about. With manga it is sometimes easier to find out because it has been published in Japanese before being translated. The brief summary made me curious about this manga.

When it comes to love, high schooler Chika wondes if she might be an alien. She’s never fallen in love or even had a crush on anyone, and she has no desire for physical intimacy.
Her friends tell her that she just “hasn’t met the one yet,” but Chika has doubts. It’s only when Chika enters college and meets peers like herself that she learns there’s a word for what she feels inside – asexual – and she’s not the only one. After years of wondering if love was an answer, Chika realizes that the answer she long sought may not exist at all – and that that’s perfectly normal.

The manga starts just with a simple question: “What does it feel like to “like” someone?”
Chika is listening to a boy she is friends with, confess his love to her. You see the confusion on her face while she is trying to figure out what the words “like” and “go out” mean to her. But his definition doesn’t fit with what she feels.

Her friends are ecstatic that she started dating, they thought it would never happen. This remark surprises Chika. “Is this something that is expected of me?” But when he takes her home, things go south quickly. When he tries to be intimate a sense of fear comes over her and she rejects him. All he could say was: “Why? I thought we were going out. Don’t you know the deal when you go over to a guy’s house?”

Later at school she is shunned by the boys, called an alien and someone that doesn’t have common sense. For me personally I really hate boys who are like that. Looking back at my dating youth, I was also ridiculed when I didn’t want to have sex on the first date. WTF men, why are you like this?

Her friends just tell her that she hasn’t met the right guy yet, calling her ex a creep but at a heartbreak karaoke meet she overhears he friend talking about the incident. When told that they broke up because she didn’t want sex with him while she was over his place, they called her a prude. That she should have known what going over to a boy’s place means and that she will never get a boyfriend until she fixes it.

These words hurt her to her core while she thinks: “I see, I just haven’t met “the one” yet…I wish someone would teach me…”How to human 101″ for aliens…”
On which she assumes she is not a normal person. Poor girl, I just want to hug her.

Chika ends up going to college and studying psychology to learn more about herself. By chance she runs into the professor that she idolizes and asks her passionately to teach her about humans, about how to be normal, about why she doesn’t have sexual urges, never liked anyone romantically. And the professor asks of her: “So you want to study psychology because you don’t understand romantic attraction?”

Chika: “I’m not sure. Romance is supposed to be great, and not being able to like anyone isn’t normal, because any regular person would definitely-

Professor: “Then why should you have to do it? Why would you force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel natural? It is the same with romance.”

And this is just the first 40 pages of the manga my friends. The professor really does a micdrop here.

This manga beautifully shows how Chika meets people that are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community, how they handle their fears and overcame their difficulties while she comes to terms with her own sexuality. It shows that you can’t always define asexual people as one whole, they experience it all in a different way and I think that the manga-ka does a great job with this book. But y’all need to know that questioning someone why they still don’t have a partner, saying things like you haven’t met the right one yet, does not help the person in question. Some people are absolutely fine with not having a romantic partner. They make their own identities and not the identity that society wants to copy and paste on every single human being on this earth.

What is asexuality?

Asexuality is a sexual orientation that is part of the LGBTQIA+ community and refers to a person who is not sexually attracted to others.

* Some asexual people do not experience sexual attraction, but can fall in love with (are romantically attracted to) others – alloromantic asexual.

* Some asexual people can have sex even though they have no sexual urges (An example is someone who will have sex if a partner requests it. Some asexual people people are sex-repulsed, while others are not, and this may determine whether they are able to have sex.)

* Some asexual people have sexual urges but don’t wnt to act on those urges with other people.

You can se that asexuality is vastly diverse that it seems difficult to find two asexual people who are the same. The manga-ka didn’t mean for the main character to represent asexuality, She is just one of the different kinds of asexual identities out there.

Happy mailday! Outfits for QLY work sheep.

New clothes for the sheepies

When I ordered something from outside of the EU, it never comes as a surprise delivery at my door. The PostNL app tells me how much import tax I need to pay to release my packages from customs prison.

I preordered these two outfit sets on the 1st of March and they arrived last Saturday. They were shipped on the 6th of of May which means they weren’t too long on the way or in customs. I can’t recall how long the turnover time of the preorder was but seeing the amount of retweets the creator is doing daily of arrived packages, they sold more then just 50 outfits.

It was a letterbox, no signature package so I didn’t really need to stay home for it. This time the delivery guy was quite sneaky as the dog didn’t hear him. 😉 She usually barks up a storm when she hears the creaking of the letterbox lid. We have an outside letterbox, so no doggie destroyed mail. Doris is a good doggie though, she doesn’t wreck things.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the capelets are lined and the wee buttons and bows on them are really cute. They are sown by machine and seeing the size of the garments it is a pretty well done. The dolls themselves are around 12 cm high so it is a lot of minuscule stitching they have to make.

Without the capelets

I opted to put the black dress on the tan and white sheep as it contrasts nicely with her arms and black shoes. The pink sheep looks stunning in white. Looks like they are going on a Victorian outing. Victorian times are heavily romanticized, as I wouldn’t want to be a woman in that time period. The ribbons on the bonnets are really long, easy to tie them on their heads but hard to hide behind their backs. I had to use paperclips to keep them in place while I took photos.

With the capelets

If only I had some small suitcase and a steam locomotive. Heck, I would need to create a whole trainstation then, but I have no room to store such an elaborate diorama. Didn’t take a obligatory cat photo as I shoo’ed him away this time. He kept knocking them over T_T.

Doll plans for 2023. (For now XD)

Having jumped up way more in wages than before, I have some a bit more cash to spend on my hobbies. Alas the grail doll that is only up for a lottery week is well outside my allowed hobby budget this period. You will be missed Ludo, the Grey Tail.

I don’t spend every penny I own on this, it’s a hobby not a means to go bankrupt. Besides my husband doesn’t always know what to gift me for my birthday so I do get a little extra $$ towards a purchase from him.

Lately I am into the smaller sized dolls, while my last addition to the collection was a wopping 75cm D=. I will write about this big boy in my next blog.

Mian Mian by Muhan’s doll

I received the shipping notice of this beauty above. I only purchased her head this time, no body (yep, I deal in body parts XD). Pouty lips is something I really like but I have no idea what type she is going to be. Maybe a red head with freckles, or a brunette. I have a box of wigs and eyes that I can scour through for the perfect fit.

Not sure if I will paint her myself or commission someone else. Can always turn it into a boy, sky is the limit.

Argent Tobi by Cocoriang

I love the pet dolls created by Cocoriang, I own a fox and I take him often outside for photoshoots. They are really tiny, 7,5 cm and you can easily carry them in a bag. I do need to be more careful and bring a proper carrier as I have rubbed some of the paint off my fox T_T.

I ordered Tobi with the sprinkle face up, I can’t do it and Cocoriang’s artists are really good with their face ups. I ended up ordering the wrong body (my bad). So he will not have the loppity bunny feet but the fairy body. Will be easier to sew him pants though. Lesson learned here: never order on your phone, can’t see for shit XD.

Yoyo Okie by Miu Shima
Bear Okie by Miu Shima

Up next are these two cuties. I first wanted to order one body with all the head and animal parts but why not make them girlfriends?! And I didn’t like the third head that was in the set. This is partly gifted by my husband because I was being difficult on which one to pick.

Will I paint them myself? No clue, but dressing them will be not that terrible because I don’t need shoes for them. My every day woe is, too many dolls not enough shoes XD. Most of my dolls have long dresses to hide their bare feet.

One of the girls will have heterochromie, I was thinking one blue, one yellow eye. Average production time is 90/180 working days so I have enough time to plan.

Red Rabbit by Coralreef Dolls

This is the only fullset doll I bought so far this year. Her dress is perfect. I just can’t create something like that yet. Sometimes I like to buy a doll that fits the category: deadly beauty. The rabbit mask has wee little fangs and if you take it off, you will see a rabbit skull underneath. Her tail is a rose and yes she has been sew back together.

Sometimes I think up background stories for my dolls, its fun giving them a history. This girl has been an abused pet, hellbent on haunting it’s former owner before they are dragged off to oblivion. Last thing they heard was: “Do you want to play?”

The creator made various different outfits for this doll and I’m brimming with ideas so I am eagerly waiting for her arrival. I will have her exact size in my hands so I won’t ruin the fabric.
A wine red ruff will look awesome on her, black velvet tailcoat, or golden embroidered waitcoat. What about a music box while dressed up as a tragic ballerina. SO MUCH INSPIRATION!

Cookey by Fairytown

This bear is not an asian ball jointed doll but also not something kids can play with. I adore retro looking plush toys. I was really into the Toysfield brand but sadly they aren’t produced anymore. You see them pop up on Ebay second hand for double or triple the price. I am not a big fan of ordering through Ebay, due to the amount of scams that happen on that website. I keep an eye on second hand Japanese websites (they have physical stores), my experiences are better with them.

I already own two retro lambs designed by Jenny. I couldn’t skip getting Cookey as a birthday present for myself. I want to take up crochetting again, I’ve found an awesome guide how to crochet when you are lefthanded and a scarf is pretty straight forward as a first item.

Now that I write this, I realised that I haven’t written about my two lambs either. Another blogpost for the future!

Electric Six – Tilburg 013

Electric Six performing at the 013 in Tilburg

I’ve been into this band since their release of ‘Danger High Voltage’ in 2002. The wacky videoclip together with sexy lyrics just catched my attention. They are can be categorised into glam metal, funk rock, disco, basically blurring the genres.

When I lived in Belfast, I chanced upon a concert of theirs. Mind you I wasn’t really a concertgoer when I was younger, me and crowds don’t mix well. The Limelight is a small venue and Northern Irish are good craic, perfect combo. And I saw them there 3 years in a row until I moved back home. Going to an Electric Six concert is like meeting up with friends.

Danger High Voltage

Back home I continued my Electric Six yearly gig now together with my hubby.
This year’s concert was a postponed from 2021 due to Covid so I was really looking forward to seeing them live again. They have been going strong for 21 years and have their 19th album coming out next year.

This tour was the Electric Five as Tait Nucleus?, they synthesizer player, was absent because he and his wife became parents. CONGRATULATIONS! My significant other was sad because his part in the song: “Down at McDonnelzzz” is the best and though they weren’t going to play it but they still did it as it is one of the most popular songs of the band.

We chose to stand on the balcony as it was less crowded and we still had a good view from there. And a mosh pit is not my thing haha. 013 got rid of glassware and introduced these plastic resuable cups for which you pay €0,50 deposit. You either get it back at the end of the concert or donate to the UN World Food Programme, which means a child will get one free school meal per donation.

The cloakroom is no longer there, they have changed to a locker system that you pay €2,50 for use, but these are teeny tiny lockers. I had a hard time getting my wintercoat in and a good thing I didn’t bring my handbag. It really doesn’t fit. But it was easy to use and you could open/close your locker with your phone.

The support act was Industrial and this was not my cup of tea. Maybe it was the sound but there was low annoying hum throughout all the songs, which was very distracting.

Down at McDonnelzzz

They always play Gay Bar which ended up becoming a mosh pit near the stage, but they surprised me with a few more songs from they debut album: Fire like “She is White”, “Naked Pictures (of Your Mother)”, “Nuclear War (on the Dance Floor)”, “Dance Commander” and “Synthesizer”. So it was back to the basics for me.

My favourite Electric Six song is “Hello! I see you!” from the album Heartbeats and Brainwaves, but I’ve never heard it live :(. Hopefully in the future it will pass haha. But I want to share it with you. The lyrics are just *chef’s kiss* perfect.

It’s the end of times and of the conversation
And everybody clinging to their soul salvation
I find all their pleas for mercy so annoying
Hello, destructor I’m yours for the destroying

Hello! I see you!

Time just flew by and it was over after 23 songs *sad face*. The 013 is a very nice venue, my first time being there. And it’s really close by home, just 20 mins away by train. This means we can go back home without rushing towards the station. If I need to travel an hour or more, I am booking an hotel. I’ve once tried to travel home from Amsterdam in a packed train. Not fun at all.

I hope to see them back in the Netherlands for 2023, going to be good craic once more. I’ll deal with my Electric Six withdrawal with their upcoming album.

Next gig for me will be Röyksopp in Febuary 2023.

Vegan cream of mushroom soup

You either love mushrooms or hate them with a passion. I am in the lover camp.

A lot of prepackaged soups contains milk and let this be a substance that makes me violently ill kinda like Mr Creosote in the Meaning of Life.
With vegan food becoming more popular, it is becoming easier to find ready made meals that I can enjoy with out getting sick, but nothing beatss making your own soup.
I just needed to find a good substitute for milk, to create the creaminess needed for this soup.

– water (1,5 ltr)
– vegetable stock cubes (2,5 cubes)
– chestnut mushrooms (450 grams)
– mushrooms (200 grams)
– onion (1)
– garlic cloves (4)
– plantbased cooking cream (250 ml)
– thyme (to taste)
– pepper & salt (to taste)
– cornflour (3 tsp)

First you start with your prepwork, chopping up the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Release your inner Michael Myers, you don’t need to wait until Halloween. If your mushrooms have a bit of dirt on them, you have these handy brushes to clean them. Sometimes I hear that people wash them but I never do this, the brush cleans them up very nicely.

Hmmmmm mushrooms

I find chopping mushrooms very comforting and I snack on the raw mushrooms during my prepwork. And it doesn’t space you out, no magic carpet ride this time.

In the famous words of PSY: I’m gonna make you sweat! First you sauté the onions and garlic with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil until the onions become soft. My cast iron casserole pan is ideal for the job. Because this is not a long cooking time, you can use extra virgin oil for a deeper flavour.

Gonna make you sweat!

Next steps is adding your sliced mushrooms, and it’s a full pot. 😀
If you keep your heat low, you won’t stir your mushrooms to mush.
Well I like to stir it gently, we will blitz the soup later on so if you want to smash it go ahead. 😉

These mushrooms won’t make you high.

After the mushrooms have reduced by half add the water and the vegetable stock cubes and let the liquid boil for a short period.

It smells delish already.

And now the violence comes in, during this step you will take your immersion blender and destroy these nasty mushroomsies. Completely obliterate these little feckers. Show no mercy. You could put it in jug blender but that’s a real pain in the backside pouring it in, you can spill that lovely soup.

I’m the Blitzing Bitch!

Now it’s time to throw in some of that divine plantbased cooking cream, thyme and corn flour. Don’t be an idiot like me and throw in the corn flour by itself because you will get disgusting lumps in your soup. Just add a little water with the flour and give it a little mix so you get this white liquid and then add it to your soup. This will help the soup thicken up a bit.

It’s hit and miss with a lot of plantbased substitutes
This one got the a-okay from me.

Stir well and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes. Add some salt & pepper to taste and bon appétit. For the meat lovers among us, you can add bits of crispy bacon but I sauteed some mushroom as a soup topping.

My fans rated this soup 8/10

I am going to think about how to bring this soup to the next level. Maybe a bit of white w(h)ine or bay leaves. Any ideas, I’d love to hear.

Fakeaway Miso Ramen recipe

I can’t deny that I love ramen. The best ramen I have ever had was in Tokyo but that would be a bit of a stretch telling you to hop on a flight just to eat good ramen. There are quite a few great ramen places in the bigger cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam but what if I tell you I can make your own super delicious ramen bowl for not a lot of money.

Nissin instant noodles

Nissin is my go to brand for instant noodles. I love the texture of the noodle and the flavour of the broth packs. Cup Noodles are a bit too salty for me since I’ve started a low sodium diet. When you used to it, you don’t miss it. And to be honest Dutch people are pretty heavy Maggie users when it comes to soups.

I buy them at the Asian supermarket but your local supermarket tends to have a larger variaty of instant noodles so go with your preference. The sesame oil one is vegan.

Real ramen is made by boiling a broth (often bone based) for atleast 15 hours. But I was giving you a quick version of this dish. I haven’t made my own broth yet because I find it tedious so either use the pack that comes with the instant noodles or make a quick broth based on either veggies or chicken stock. The pork bone broth used in the famous Tonkotsu makes it extremely creamy but we don’t have the time to do this now.

Now my pet peeve. I absolutely hate the way supermarkets inflate the price of bean sprouts and deliver shit quality. I pay €1,00 for 125 grams of bean sprouts while at the Asian supermarket I pay a wopping € 0,33 for almost 200 grams of sprouts. Even going to the greengrocer you will not pay as much as the supermarket and have better quality. Fuck supermarkets for your fresh veggies, go to the greengrocer and you will also enjoy better tasting vegetables.

Always wash your bean sprouts. Sprouts can carry Listeria which can make you really sick or be really harmful for your unborn baby. I remove the beards, wash and blanche them and they still keep their crisp taste.

Ingredients – serve two – cooking time 30 minutes:
– 300 gr mixed minced meat (can be replaced by marinated tofu, vegan minced meat)
– 3 small shallots
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 2 tablespoons of miso paste
– 2 spring onions
– 2 packs of instant noodles
– 2 soft boiled eggs
– sesame oil
– black and white roasted sesame seeds

Onsen eggs:
Add your eggs to boiling water, turn low and cook for 6 minutes. That keeps the yolk nice and runny and when you poke your chopsticks in them giving a dimension of creaminess to your broth. After the 6 minutes are up, place the eggs in ice water to stop them from cooking. If you don’t like runny yolks, cook for atleast 8 minutes.

Dicing and slicing your veggies:
Before you cook your minced meat, finely dice your shallots. It’s easier to cook them well-done if they are the same as your crumbled minced meat.

Wash and slice your spring onions in small rings and set aside.

Wash your bean sprouts and blanche with boiling water for 30 seconds. Longer will make your sprouts wilt. Set aside with your spring onions and your done with your veggie toppings. If you don’t like bean sprouts or spring onions you can swap out with julienne cut carrots, spinach, bok choy or edamame beans.

TIP: Knife maintenance. I have different knives to cut meat, bread and veggies. You don’t need to buy an expensive knife to have a good knife. My Chef’s knife costed €20 (bought with points at my supermarket) but I never ever wash it in the dishwasher. The heat of the dishwasher messes with the tempering of the knife and results with your knife becoming blunt really fast. Just use warm soapy water and give it a sponge hand wash. Hold the blade away from you while slowly stroking downwards with the sponge so you won’t cut yourself.
And yes I have banned my family from using my knives unless they use the same clean regime like I do.

Let’s start cooking!

Poor a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and sauté the diced shallots on a low/medium heat. When the shallots have softened up, add your minced meat and slowly cook while crumbling it. For vegan options replace the meat mince with vegan mince. It also tastes fantastic. *chef’s kiss*
You can use regular onions but shallots give a bit of a spicy kick to the dish.

Use a garlic press to crush your three cloves on top of the shallot/mince mixture and mix thorougly. If you want more garlic, you can add more garlic.

For the next step you add two tablespoons of miso. This is a fermented soybean paste and adds the umami to your ramen. It’s high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals and has been in use since the neolithic period of Japan. THAT OLD. This ingredient is the salt you need for your dish. The flavour and aroma depend on the ingredients used and how it is fermented.

I am using shinshu genen miso which belongs to the red/dark miso which has a deeper and more intense flavour compared to white misu. I like my broth with levels of deepness.
It’s best to buy your miso not from your regular supermarket as they cost €6,99 for a 300gr tub while I bought a 500gr tub for €5,79 at the Asian supermarket. They even have little bags of miso of 400gr starting at €2,70 which is an actual steal. Again fuck supermarkets and their inflated prices. If you can cut out the middle man, please do so.

The miso paste is thick so mixing it in is a bit hard. Just keep at it and your mince will get a beautiful deep brown colour. As it has a tendicy to burn if the heat is too high, keep it at a low/medium heat so the flavours get time to blend. If you don’t see any clumps of miso paste left your topping is done and set aside.

Cook your instant noodles following the instructions on the packet. Usually it’s 3 minutes in boiling water. Don’t let them get soggy. While you are waiting for your noodles the cook, empty the contents of the soup base in a bowl. You can pre-heat the bowl by submerging it in warm water.

Time to dress your bowl!

After your noodles are ready, poor the noodle water in your bowl and stir well so you won’t see any soup base clumps in your broth. After placing your noodles in the broth it is topping time.

I usually put the mince in the middle as a small pile and dressing my veggies around it. Because you blanched your bean sprouts, the broth will cool down less. It is important that you eat your ramen piping hot.

Carefully peel your onsen egg and let it slide in the broth. You can slice it in half for aesthetic but I like poking my egg with my chopsticks =D. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and you are done.

Cost per serving: €3-4


Venom Let There Be Carnage (2021)

I only know Venom from the 1994 Spider-Man cartoon even though I read a lot of Marvel comics, Spiderman was never in my favourites to read. I was an X-men girl. And I need to admit I only wanted to see the sequel because of this little scene in the trailer. Ketchup?!


But before I could watch the sequel I needed to watch the first movie which aired in 2018. Disney+, Prime or Dutch Netflix didn’t have it on their streams so I had to rent it through Google for €3,99. I wasn’t going fork over €10,99, no love for Venom from me haha.

Venom (2018)
Basically Venom is a symbiotic lifeform for outerspace brought to Earth by environmentalist Jeff Bezos who thinks it’s okay to find a host for these aliens by experimenting on homeless people and anyone else that doesn’t agree with his plans, in order to be able to survive in space. It is mentioned that he is scouting for space real-estate (the same guy that gives a speech that humans are destroying the Earth).

Our misfit investigative journalist Eddie Brock has beef with this guy and with the help of a rogue scientist breaks into the lab to collect evidence to bring the evil hipster down. When collecting the evidence, Eddie accidentally infects himself with one of the symbionts and all hell breaks lose. The parasite makes himself known to his host as Venom and is very hungry. After biting a guy’s head off it is known that Venom can only live on life food, especially brains. Hipster Bezos also gets infected by an symbiont and they duke out on a launching platform because the Bezos symbiont wants to go into space to retrieve his buddies so they can feast on Earth. Eddie and Venom put a stop to it by blowing up the rocket as fire and high frequencies are the only things that can hurt them. Everyone is safe, Venom is only allowed to eat bad guys and there was much rejoicing. The End.

The first movie was entertaining but not great. Venom and Eddie interactions are funny. Eddy’s fiancée got over him too quickly when his actions made her lose her job. And hipster Bezos was heavily overacting, it didn’t feel natural at all. I won’t blame the actor as the director is the one that okays a performance. So saving grace of this movie was Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. And it also introduces us the bad guy of the second movie, Cletus Kasady played by Woody Harrelson.

Best Buds

Venom Let There Be Carnage (2021)
Eddie’s relationship with Venom is complicated. Biting of heads of baddies does attract police attention because you can’t play your own judge so Venom is condemned to eating chickes or chocolate because eating humans is bad.

Serial killer Cletus Kasady wants Eddie to tell his story but Venom observes frantic carvings in Cletus’ cell and together they discover the location of his victims landing Cletus a one way ticket to Hell aka death penalty. Cletus is mad that he is misunderstood because people did him wrong and demands that he talks to Eddie one last time before execution. The talk goes wrong when Cletus insults Eddie’s ex-fiancée and they end up fighting. Cletus then bites Eddie and somehow ingests a newly born symbiont named Carnage. The execution is botched and Cletus/Carnage bust out of prison to get revenge. Now Eddie and Venom need to work together to stop this nutcase.

Again the movie was okayish, I liked the Venom/Eddie escapades with Venom being a bit of a whiney bish and Eddie trying to keep it together with his maneating amoeba. I really like Sonny and Cher, Venom’s pets. So Tom hardy gets another thumbs up from me.

Now the downpart of the movie. I think Woody Harrelson is a good actor when you look at True Detective, Zombieland and Now You See Me but when he plays a psycho he is downright cringy. I DID NOT LIKE Natural Born Killers at all and he went for Natural Born Killers 2.0 for this movie. I mean Cletus’ had a fucked up youth with abuse but what’s with the trope that then he becomes this sadistic serial killer. Serial killers are more complex then boohoo I was abused by daddy now I am going to murder people.

I would still recommend this movie because besides the cringe it has entertainment value. Tom Hardy portrayed Eddie in a different light then the cartoon Eddie Brock ( I hated that ass) and you can’t help but feel sorry for the characters’ terrible luck. Please stay seated for the end-credits because it has an awesome reveal showing that this won’t be the last we see of Venom and Eddie.

My rating:

Santé by Stromae


I scarcely listen to the radio so Spotify is my saviour whenever my favourite artists bring out something new.

After six years of radio silence Stromae released an new single called Santé and it blew me away. It is an ode to diversity and the important people in our society whose hard work isn’t always noticed. The new single came out of nowhere and I hope this time he won’t lose himself in his succes. Mental health is important for everyone and artists often push themselves towards exhaustion or even end their lives like poor Tim Bergling (Avicii).

The rhythmic beat reminds me of the caribbean, while the use of the synthesizer feels very familiar to his previous album Racine Carrée. It is a very catchy song and like always the subject is very close to the heart of many of us. Celebrate diversity and keep mind of the efforts of others we take for granted.

Santé – Stromae

Seeing the people dancing en enjoying themselves is very contageous. While I am writing this bit and listening to the song I can’t help myself moving to the beat. You can do the dance by following the steps below.

Santé moves

Santé (translated lyrics)

To those who don’t have one
To those who don’t have one

[Verse 1]
Rosa, Rosa, when we make a mess, you clean it up
And you, Albert, when we toast, you collect the glasses
Céline (Céline), ‘bate (‘bate), you, you take the jackets to the coat check
Arlette, stop that, you, party time, you spend it in the toilets

So how ’bout we celebrate to those who don’t celebrate
For once, I’d like to raisе my glass to those who don’t have one
To thosе who don’t have one

[Verse 2]
What about manners? Why would I pretend?
Anyway, she gets paid for it, do you think you’re my mother?
In an hour, I’ll be back, better be clean, so we can eat on the floor, I’ve been waiting for three hours
Honestly, do they make it themselves or what? Luckily it’s just two glasses
Get me your manager and hurry up, it could end just like this, your career

Yes, let’s celebrate to those who don’t celebrate
Once again, I’d like to raise my glass to those who don’t have one
To those who don’t have one
To those who don’t have one

Rub it, rub it, better not to rub against it, rub if you don’t know me
Brush it, brush it, you can always brush it off, brush it if you don’t respect me

Yes, let’s celebrate to those who don’t celebrate
Once again, I’d like to raise my glass to those who don’t have one
To those who don’t have one

Airline pilot or nurse, truck driver or flight attendant
Baker or fisherman, a drink to the champions of the worst schedules
To young parents rocked by tears, to professional insomniacs
And all those who suffer from heartache, who don’t feel like celebrating
Who don’t feel like celebrating

My rating:

Stromae has announced he will be performing again in 2022 in Belgium and France. Can’t wait to see what else he created. I wished I could share this with my father as he was also a big fan of Stormae and gifted me all his records. Sadly I lost him to cancer in 2017, Stromae’s song Quand C’est really fits the description of this disease.

Doll plans 2021/2022

It might seem odd that I am already talking about the year 2022 but when it comes to dolls the waiting game is long. After my SO suggested I should try and take more photos, the interest in dolls came back to me earlier this year. It also helps that I have a better display case these days. I had a few dolls on my wanted list and some opportunities arised for me to procure them but that only counts towards the Supia and Lillycat order XD. The others just crossed my path.

In July I placed an order with Supia for a Nael with a Ballarina body and a seperate Haeun head. No face ups, either doing them myself or commissioning someone. I kinda need to admit that this doll already has an outfit lying ready for her. Supia has gorgeous headsculpts so I might order a few more in the future and with future I mean 2023 haha.

I ordered the new normal type skin and I am a bit worried as there are a lot of issues with new type tan and heavy discolouration after only a few weeks. There might be no issue at all but I can’t help it.

This order might arrive before the end of the year, 60 working days is the norm but I’ve seen a lot of people ordering during their special sale so it might be a little wee longer.

Supia Nael
Supia Haeun

Next up is a Lillycat Lulu in light caramel skin. I’ve always wanted a doll made by her and thought her chibi line was too cute to pass up. Lillycat is one of the many doll makers that have been hit by recasters. It’s really sad to see her dolls pop up on platforms for a fraction of the price. I always say to myself, if I can’t afford the price it is just not meant to be. Pretending to have a doll by her that was ripped off by someone who doesn’t give a toss about copyright is just bad.

Lulu is only 29 cm tall and finding clothes for her will be a bit of a challenge because her body is a bit chubbier than a regular YO-SD. But since I’ve never owned a Lillycat doll before, it might not be so bad. I have a few YO-SD outfits that I could try on her, otherwise it’s time to whip out my sewing machine again. She has fairy ears so it is quite possible none of my wigs will fit her but we will see.

Lillycat Lulu

This one was a bit of a surprise for me and as a big Y’shtola fan I couldn’t let this girl out of my clutches. And the aftermarket price will be insane so it’s best to get her now.

As some of you know that I am a big fan of the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve been playing FF for years since VII came out and played both of the online versions XI and XIV. So now Square Enix joined forced with Volks to bring our favourite catgirl Y’shtola out as a Dollfie Dream. They did it before with NieR Automata (which were gorgeous but not my thing) and I just couldn’t pass this girl up. She has a bit of a hefty pricetag but that is because she comes fully clothed in her pretty Black Mage outfit and staff. We are talking about a 99.800 Yen pricetag. I can’t recall if I do or do not pay salestax at Volks. But my SO wanted to go half on her with me, as a gift for our engagement. I can’t wear jewellery so this makes up for the lack of a ring haha. I took a sneak peak at some of the prices of an engagement ring but wow those rings can be expensive @_@.

I know for sure I am going to have a terrible time styling her wig as Volks dolls wigs never get even close to what you see in the pictures. The wigs are good quality but not styled at all. Hopefully they will put out a tutorial because it’s not really Y’shtola if her wig is just straight. The dress will be stunning for sure as all my fullset DD’s have great clothes. Let’s just hope the delivery guy doesn’t play footie with my box.

She won’t ship out until December 2022 so I’d be waiting over a year for her. But this is not the longest I’ve waited. My Dollshe ordered took 14 months ^^;;

Volks Dollfie Dream Y’shtola

And finally a little Sharkboy or girl in tan skin which I preordered today. He or she has little shark teeth which I probably have no faith in giving the face up myself haha. Even with a tinier body than the Lillycat Lulu finding clothes will be a challenge. Maybe even finding shoes will be a nightmare. But I couldn’t resist this little one and so the collection grows even further.

They even have a Dragon up on the website but I had to make a choice. I have a few vampie teeth dolls already and none with full chompers XD.

Muhan’s Doll – Shark

After a hiatus of more then a year the Doll and Bear festival will be held again near me next weekend. I’m going to check out if they have some tiny furniture or anything else that I can use for my photo sessions. I’ll keep you posted on the arrival of these cuties. UwU

Dune (2021 part 1)

When the first trailer dropped my heart raced, finally another Dune movie. I loved the books but I must admit I haven’t seen the 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch at all. I was only 4 years old when it was released and it just disappeared from my view in the years to come.

When I was 18 years old I had to read a couple of English books for my English finals and the teacher gave us the chance to deviate of the list but only if he okay’ed your choice. I said to him that I was going to read Frank Herbert’s Dune, he told me one book would be enough for the oral exam. The oral exam had two parts, a book discussion and a presentation about something you like. I chose American Comics and we ended up nerding the complete 30 minutes and I was given an A.

What I liked about Dune was that it was heavily influenced by Arab and Islamic culture. The language contained similarities with the Arabic language and the Fremens nomadic culture fitted the exact same culture. I always feel a bit connected with Islamic culture as my great-grandmother was Muslim and she gave her grandchildren Muslim wisdoms that were then passed on to me like ‘Speak good to people’.

So I understand the disappointed of people when they discovered the chosen cast not representing any Arab or Islamic actors. Hollywood still tends to go for big names even in 2021. And a big name cast it is: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. To my shame I couldn’t remember seeing Timothée in Interstellar so for me he was a bit of an unknown actor XD. But yea, for the Fremen, there are quite a few Arab/Islamic actors they sidelined here. I’m thinking about Ali Suliman, Mena Massoud or Alia Shawkat.

Dune was a spectacle for the eyes filmed in stunning locations like Norway, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Budapest. The music was perfect, the special effects very impressive and the movie was well paced and didn’t feel at all 155 minutes. A good balance between action and suspense. I was really curious how they would implement the body shields and it was just thumbs up from me all the way. I needed a bit more sand worms, the Shai Hulud. I was on the edge of my seat when they whipped out the hooks to ride the worms, we even saw a rider at the end of the movie so I think I will get fan-girl’s satisfaction worth in Dune part 2.

I’m not going to spoil too much on the story but the premise of Dune goes as follows. In the far future Duke Leto Atreides accepts to become steward of the desert planet Arrakis in order to source the most valuable substance in the universe called spice. The drug extends human life, provides superhuman levels of thought and makes faster-than-light travel practical. Leto knows this is a trap set up by his enemies but still takes his concubine Jessica and his heir Paul, together with his trusted advisors to the planet. The spice mining is complicated by the presence of the Shai Hulud, giant sandworms. After House Atreides is betrayed Paul has to flee together with his mother to the desert and seek refuge with the Fremen. Whispers are that Paul is Muad’Dib, the Fremen messiah.

Paul Atreides

After seeing this movie I have the mood to pick up the books again and wait for part 2 to hit the theaters.

My rating:

Customer Service Burnout

The ‘fun’ customer

I’ve been working in customer service for quite some years now, first in a store and later online/on the phone and frankly I had enough.

When working in a physical store, people tend to pipe down when they are unhappy about service, price or product. The discussions tend to be more civilized. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that customers deserve a great service but some tend to go overboard with downright unreasonable requests. I wasn’t prepared for the abuse and intimidation that comes with being a customer service representative on the phone. And the saying the customer is always right doesn’t always fly.

My first non-physical job was when I worked for a FB-game company. Sometimes there was a hick-up when people made purchases but if they showed us their transaction we made sure they received the items. You get daily freebees and that’s where the ‘fun’ part started. Like all games, you can have a glitch and not get the freebees. Most people just get a bit annoyed and move on but for some this was a trigger to send very threatening e-mails. An example that sticked with me for years that our team received around close the Christmas and it went a bit like this: ‘I hope your Christmas tree catches fire and you and your whole family perishes.’ Welp, a Merry Christmas to you too and this all about freebees. I’ve seen quite some e-mails with all caps and exclamation marks and several threats in my time there.

The next job was promoting a country as a tourism office, this was actually bliss. Sometimes people were annoyed that their free brochures didn’t arrive or were stolen but I can’t recall that we received any threats or intimidating phonecalls. People were just happy they were planning a holiday. Best years of my life.

But then I moved back to my homecountry and the misery started. I found a job at a telecom company and most of my callers had money issues, they had arrears and when the amount was so high, their services were locked. Which meant you can’t call, watch TV or use the internet until you pay your debt. Usually there are more issues, we weren’t the only company they owed money, but some people just blew a fuse by making serious threats. One man said he was going to find me and slit my throat if I didn’t lift the lock on his TV signal. You might think why do you care? Well this guy knew exactly were our callcenter was and had in the past showed up at the door. No fucking way did I feel like this was nothing to me. After this my Facebook profile went on private, I never put employers info on it, nor a photo of myself.

At each different call center I worked it was just rinse and repeat of similar incidents. And it starts gnawing at your core. When confronted with shouting and threats, you just drop the line. Some callcenters make you warn the customer 5 times before you are allowed to hang up. Really great when you have a customer shrieking like a banshee or throwing every disease under the sun at you. There was also another type of customer that was just plain malignant, their insults weren’t brought in shouting fashion but they tore you a hole in your soul by attacking your IQ because you don’t work in a worthy position. Plainly said: ‘Because you are dumb, you have to listen to me insult your position.’ They might hear my quivering voice but they won’t hear my tears after the call.

My last position, being the first point of contact for the local government, triggered my PTSD and blew my anxiety through the roof. Mind you, my employer did everything in their power to make it safe for us to work. They did way more then commercial companies ever did when faced with threats. They actually filed police reports against civilians whom had crossed the line in a terrible way.

Pre-Covid some calls were tough, people could blow a fuse but we had clear instructions just to disconnect the call immediately and file an aggression report. But when the pandemic hit, fuses became really short and the times we had to file an aggression report increased tenfold. I understand people were frustrated with the sudden restrictions but standing in front of our window and saying to the colleague you’re talking on the phone that you see them, is not making us feel very comfortable. You tend to look twice when exiting the office. I’ve been called a whore, a slut, I’ve had many incurable diseased wished upon, people were going to find me and rape me, etc, etc. And each time a little piece of me died.

Insomnia became my partner, I was having tremors in my legs, and before work I was so stressed that I vomited. Every symptom of anxiety attack hit me. I wanted to flee during the conversation and took a long while to calm down. I was diagnosed with PTSD and went through extensive therapy and EMDR to cope. But the sweating and heart palpitations never went away when I got a ‘tough’ call. I started to hate people in general. My SO said to me you actually love people a lot but can’t deal with the fact that some dissapoint you. I’ve always went the extra mile to help people but when they become abusive I don’t have the energy to spare.

When my manager said, this is work that won’t make you happy in the long run, I knew deep down inside it was true. I want to help people, but the downside of it was ruining my health. I went from 32 to 24 hours so I had extra days to recover. Would I be spending the rest of my life like this? I keep everything locked up inside, and I was looking at a stress build up that would kill me in the long run. I just can’t let it slide or grow a thicker skin.

I wished companies would take better precautions with phone aggression and intimidation. You can’t play it off at people’s mental conditions. As a sufferer of bad mental health I never went out of my way to destroy a person on the phone. Even if I felt the company had wronged me, because it is my duty to stay civil.

My resumé is online as I need to find a new position but I am not going to return to customer service. I had enough. Sleep hasn’t returned to me yet, but I’ll be okay in the end.

July Volks order for my dolls

I bought my oldest Volks doll around 9 years ago, a Saber Alter v2. This was around the time that I moved to a different country, lost touch with a lot of my doll collecting friends and barely had funds to purchase anything doll related. Moving back and ending up with a better job it gave me more spending space for my hobby. Having a partner that doesn’t ridicule your hobby also helps.

My anime-type doll collection grew with Chezka, Ai and Megumi but finding proper clothing for them is a bit hard. Sure Etsy had a lot of lovely clothes but Volks keeps dragging me back to their fashion shop. And each month they bring out a newsletter with lots of goodies. My last order was in May of this year, so it was okay for me to put out another.

I really wanted the women’s hakama set for DD (1/3) and MDD (1/4) but the release was at 10:00 JST which meant I had to wake up at 3 o’clock at night to put my order through. Usually the website will crash when a lot of people are trying to purchase their most wanted. I figured if the items were gone when I woke up it wouldn’t be a great loss.

Suffering from chronic insomnia I woke up at around 5:30 (Yes, on my day off) and decided to check if what I wanted was still available. Maybe because it is limited to one per person, they still have the outfits that I wanted. Lucky me =D!

While men wear hakama on formal and informal occassions, women rarely wear hakama, except for graduation and for traditional Japanese sports as kyūdō. It is a shame because a hakama looks very pretty on a woman. Saber already wears a hakama but I wanted the ‘official’ Volks version. Now I can dress up Ai and Megumi. Have a big graduation party, which only makes partly sense as Megumi is still in middle school lol.

I was already paying a wopping ¥4850 (approx. $44) in shipping, it would be a shame if I kept this order small. Import duties are always paid but I’d like to make my package worth the cost of shipping.

So bought a DDH-22 type head (very cute on MDD bodies), a pair of gripping hands and internal hand frames for MDD and DD. I keep switching out the hands of my dolls with internal frame on, trying to pry the hands, especially the MDD size hands, is a pain in the rear.

Last year I couldn’t participate in the DD Gacha grab but it looks like this year there isn’t much interest in it. I added two to my order and it can either contain a pair of undies, a t-shirt or a pair of special eyes. I am hoping on either the eyes or the undies.

The last thing I added to my order was a saddle stand. I bought cheap versions on Aliexpress but alas with a lot of things on Ali it’s a terrible quality rip off. Won’t be doing that again. Saddle stands are easier to use as you just straddle your girl.

Saddle stand

So now the waiting game starts. Last time it took around three weeks for them to ship my order. Covid-19 and big order volumes has increased the waiting time but I am a patient person. Volks had never let me down with their quality. Hopefully I will get really lucky with those Gatcha bags.


It was pure chance that I stumbled upon a copy of this movie at my local library. I think it might be the only anime they have on rent there, which is a shame, but I haven’t fully scanned the shelves yet. My hometown maybe to small for a big fan base of anime, maybe the library in Amsterdam or Rotterdam have a bigger selection. I would love to see more anime gems in my local library. Disney isn’t the only animation storyteller.

I consume my anime either through my own purchases or through my subscription with Crunchyroll and Netflix. A lot of people are against the paid services of the likes of Crunchyroll and Funimation and turn to pirating anime and manga. But if you don’t buy the tradpaperbacks or DVD’s/Blurays, the artists get absolutely nothing.

Japanese animators are heavily underpaid and overworkered by the studios. This is a major problem and the culture needs to change. I think the studio owners should receive criticism from fans in order to improve the circumstances of their employees. So please don’t pirate your favourite show, instead support projects like the Animator Dormitory Channel in order to change the anime industry.

Mirai is a 2018 adventure fantasy film written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda and produced by Studio Chizu. We know Hosoda from his movies; Wolf Children, Summer Wars and the Girl Who Lept Through Time.

The story focuses around Kun, a four-year old boy, and his parents. His father, an architect, designed their house around a tree in Yokohama and he spend his days playing with his trains and the family dog Yukko. When his sister, Mirai, is born the attention shifts towards the newborn baby which turns his happiness for a sister into jealousy. He throws tantrums and when his mother returns to work and his father becomes a stay-at-home dad, he starts to feel utterly alone.

Being a dad is not easy

After a tantrum he stomps off to the garden and notices the tree emitting a strange glow. He then meets a mysterious man that tells Kun he is a prince and he should bow to him. The man then accuses Kun of changing everything when he was born, revealing to be the personification of Yukko, the family dog.

The movie switches back and forth between reality and the fantasy futures and pasts. Kun meets several people contected to his family’s history and his own future while he comes to terms with not being the only child in the family.

I joked to myself that the movie had a Wolf Children kind of atmosphere as I hadn’t checked the director’s name yet. It is safe to say that Hosoda gives you this familiar feeling with his movies. The movie isn’t heavily action paced, one of the criticisms I read online and comes out as a very calm movie about a boy whom has to deal with changes. I can’t say that his journeys to the past, where he meets his mother as a child and his great-grandfather, are a projections of his imagination after hearing his mother tell the stories. I’d like to think that this conclusion of mine is somewhat close to the explanation.

I really loved seeing how he interacted with people he met in the different timelines. His great-grandfather waking up as the sole survivor when his ship was bombed during the war hit home with me as my own grandfather experienced the same thing. Seeing the destruction and carnage around him had a traumatizing effect on him.

When Kun found out that his mother was also severly punished as a child because she was naughty, he saw his mother’s sermon, after hitting his baby sister in the head with a train, in a different light.

Receiving advice of his great-grandfather

There were a few things that didn’t sit right with me in this movie. Kun’s voice-actor is way too old. When I looked up who had voice him, it was Moke Kamishiraishi, she is pretty new one the market for voice acting. The voice still struck me as familiar and it appears she is the younger sister of Mone Kamishiraishi, a very well known voice actress. She stars in hit movies; Your Name and Weathering With You. They have the same intonation lingering in their voice.

The other thing was the fact that a working mom was a big thing in the movie. It almost felt like the writer didn’t really agree with it. And the fact that the dad flat out rejected the idea he was a stay-at-home dad when being asked by the neighbourhood moms. He put more emphasis on working from home than taking care of the kids.
Being a working mom in Japan isn’t very common, it appears that if they want to return to work after a pregnancy it is often discouraged by family and employers. Seeing the roles reversed a bit was nice, Kun’s mother kept grilling his father for not having time when Kun was born. She didn’t call him a terrible father, but he also wasn’t a great one.

My rating: