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Monday, August 31st, 2015
2:53 am - 2015 AG Review: MARYELLEN

Not a reread since these are the new books!

Maryellen Larkin is the newest American Girl historical character. A lot of people have been excited about her, because she grows up in the 50s, a time not far removed from ours. My mom is 3 years younger than Maryellen. Actually, I think Beverly, Maryellen's little sister, has that age difference. I was amused at first, because my mom related instantly to one thing: the names. Her name is Joan, just like Maryellen's oldest sister. And Beverly is Mom's cousin. Wayne is her brother.

But as I read more and more, I became less amused.

Maryellen's books are very shallow. They're slice of life style, just like Julie and Josefina. But Josefina's world is so removed from ours that it automatically feels historical. And Julie deals with very relatable things like divorce, animal activism and women's rights. Maryellen has some issues in her books, but they're often mentioned very, very briefly. The Cold War is explained and then immediately forgotten. Interest in space is hinted at with the flying machine contest. And there's a conflict when Maryellen befriends an Italian girl and her two other female friends are mad at her for it, because of WWII. Maryellen is quick to point out that Angela wasn't even born when the war ended, but that doesn't work. The conflict wraps up neatly and quickly though, because Angela helps one of the girls win a geography bee for their team. Yeah, it's fixed that easily. They tossed their friend aside because of her friendship with this girl, but oh, she helped us win, so now she's cool and Maryellen was right. SIGH.

The biggest issue dealt with is polio. I've heard people lauding Maryellen as the great disabled AG character. Yeah...not really. Maryellen had polio and her lasting disabilities are one leg being "a tiny bit" weaker than the other and her lungs being sensitive to the cold. Now this leg issue could have been a thing. Wayne, the bully-who-turns-into-a-friend, teases her about it. But does it keep Maryellen from doing anything? No. She swims. She bikes as fast as her friends. She rollerskates. Beverly teaches her how to ice skate, which she does at her grandparents' house. That would have been the perfect place for a difficulty. Beverly and Maryellen had troubles with the instruction and they could easily have worked her disability in there. Yet I don't think it got a single mention. And the lung thing? That came as a surprise to me when it was mentioned in the beginning of the second book, because it sure wasn't an issue when she went to her grandparents' place and experienced snow for the first time. Not a peep about the cold. She's almost a disabled character in name only, because it never stops her from doing a damn thing and she doesn't struggle with it at all. They could not have done a bigger cop out. Now they can say they have a disabled main character, instead of giving us one that's wheelchair-bound or deaf or blind or has a mental illness of some kind. Disabilities are far better represented by Speaking Rain from Kaya's books and Joy from Julie's.

Another issue I have with the polio thing is that when they focused on it at the beginning of the second book, poor Maryellen never stood up for herself. The vaccine comes out and a lot of people are thrilled, but Maryellen is appalled that an acquaintance's parents are against vaccinations. She decides to put on a show for her birthday party and make it about getting vaccinated against polio. It's REALLY important to her. But her friends find the show she spent hours writing too long and boring, so they railroad her into letting them perform a variety show. She's still going to give a speech about polio and the importance of the vaccination, but she never once stands up for herself and tells her friends how important this is to her and why. Her older sister Carolyn is even one of these people. That idiot bitch should KNOW her little sister could have died. Yet she seems to not get how important this is to Maryellen at all. None of them do and Maryellen never tells them. This is probably my single biggest issue with the writing. Valerie Tripp used to be good! She did Felicity, Josefina, Kit and Molly! And I think half of Samantha! I read Josefina's first book last night, starting my newest reread, and that single book is better than both of Maryellen's combined and presents us with a set of characters, every single one of which is more likeable than any character in Maryellen's books. What happened? How in the hell is she giving us this weak-ass character? It's horrible! I feel like she had to be instructed to make Maryellen as bland and shallow as possible, because that's what people want to believe the 50s were. Happy go lucky la de fucking da times. They weren't.

Got a bit sidetracked there, but yeah, none of the characters in the books are very good. Angela is probably my favorite. She's the Italian girl. Maryellen's other two female friends are both named Karen and they are hands down THE WORST "best friends" in AG history. Both of them show prejudice against Angela. Both of them get pissed at Maryellen for wanting to do Science Club instead of more girly things with them. One of them is a copycat and the other is a tactless bitch. She even brings up Maryellen's "throwing a tantrum" about her polio show, thus proving that these characters do not understand what Maryellen experienced AT ALL. Davy, Maryellen's male best friend, is pretty cool, but both of them should have tried harder to make up after a fight the first day of school. Her family is boring. Her parents are hardly there and not a big presence when they are. The two younger brothers are typical younger brothers. Beverly is a little drama queen. Carolyn doesn't do much except play piano (and obviously not respect that her sister almost died). Joan is probably the most interesting, but I relate to her because she loves to read. The grandparents are cool. It was really kitschy, but the holiday story was my favorite one of the bunch. I liked the road trip, but not enough was mentioned. That's a story that needed the old AG-style illustrations.

So yes, Maryellen is a big disappointment. She easily ranks lowest on my list.

AG Best to Least Best (they're too good to be called "Worst") Historical Ranking:

Now I know I've sounded like I hated these books. I really didn't. But they're not up to AG's standards at all, and I really dislike that they gave us such a shallow character that we never really get to know that well. Caroline suffered from the same problem, but we get to know her WAY better than Maryellen and even Caroline pales in comparison to the older girls.

I do have one interesting thing to point out though. In the "Maryellen's World" bit at the end of the second book, Tripp mentions that life was good..."if you were in a middle-class white family." She goes on to point out the struggles of minorities, focusing on black families. She mentions Brown vs. the Board of Education. "This decision became a landmark in the civil rights movement, which gained momentum during the 1950s and would bring even bigger changes in the decades to come."

Anyone else think that's basically a big lead in to our black 60s girl coming up next year?

But yes, I'm working on Josefina's books right now. I'll probably go into my room and read another one or two before bed.

current mood: disappointed

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
11:27 pm - VVD Sales update!

New items in the following vvd_sales categories...






I'm in need of money, so I will give discounts if you purchase over $20 worth of items.

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11:17 pm - FS: Cleocat

 photo Cleocat_zpss23k5umb.png

Anyone need Cleocat? Make me a fair offer and she's yours.

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2:35 am - Still poor!

I get paid Friday and most of it is going toward Techrat. I'm excited for him, but it's hard to be broke for another week. I borrowed money from Mom tonight to cover my Amazon Frightmares order (3/4 of the new ones are out!) and I'll pay her right back on Friday, too. So I'll have enough for, like, two things. I have a plush and a pony on ebay that are likely the two, but I would love to order the Holly Black Modern Faerie Tale series and the new AG set for Maryellen. I sold four books today, but my sales really need to pick up. I have good stuff up, like a Zelfs Cleocat and the complete Sweet Valley Senior Year series, but no one's biting.

Some good news though: my Dearmine order should be shipping soon! I asked and they told me my axolotl still needs to be painted, but they should be shipping the first week of September. Finally. It's been just over 2 months. I just looked at someone's deboxing of Nocturn and he looks AMAZING. Alifair ♥! Not sure on the little axolotl's name yet or gender even. We'll see when he/she gets here. I'll probably go for female, because she can hang with Alabaster and he's a boy.

Gahhhhh, I want my Frightmares NOW.

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Thursday, August 20th, 2015
1:28 am - Grrarr poor

I have a teeny paycheck this week and most of it is going to pay a bill. I have just enough left to cover the two things I want most this week.

I spent recently on some books, the four new MH vinyls and Lalaloopsy Girls Prairie and Furry from Amazon. They're things I really wanted, so I'm glad, but I hate being poor.

I won a Moulin Roty ragdoll for only $31 (free shipping)! Amazon link because as I've been editing my old posts, I realized posting ebay links does not work. Heh. Too time sensitive.
I need to pay for her tomorrow when I get paid.

And I just bought the mini Squishable ANUBIS.




So I will have $23 for the week, but oh, well. I also will have a plushie Nubi. My Cerberus should be here possibly tomorrow, otherwise Friday. My Violet Pickles and Ruby Buttons same. And my Royal Collection King of Diamonds should FINALLY be here tomorrow. Or Friday if the First Class Mail is oddly delayed AGAIN. (It took him TEN DAYS to get from IL to FL. I wouldn't be shocked if one more extra day went by.)

Should I update the wish list? Yeah, I have ponies to add.

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Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
12:15 am - Attractionistas!

Celeste 3

My other three Attractionistas arrived today and they're all up in Flickr.

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Monday, August 17th, 2015
1:46 am - Star Darlings community!

I opened a new comm for Disney's star_darlings! All my future posts on them will be there.

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Saturday, August 15th, 2015
3:13 pm - First Look: Star Darlings dolls

Source: http://disneydollscollectiblesandmore.tumblr.com/post/126743310315/starling-dolls-and-books

I saved the pics so here they are large, so we can talk about them.

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current mood: giddy

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
1:44 am - ebay warning!

Do not deal with ebay seller "taunton30."

She's a lying dealbreaker.

She has a ton of Lilydoll stuff up, including some lots that have the pieces mixed up. I advised her on the mixups and then asked if she'd considering putting a lot together for me to buy of the items I needed. She AGREED. I could have gotten almost every Lilydoll piece I wanted in one shot. We agreed to a price and she told me she'd get me a shipping cost on Thursday.

Now, over twelve hours later, she's written me and backed out, basically saying her "partner" told her to let the auctions run so they could make more money. Not even remotely apologetic. I said that she should never have told me she'd sell to me or arranged a price with me if she needed to consult with someone first. I understand wanting someone else's input, but BE HONEST with me and tell me that right away. Don't agree to a deal and then back out. I told her I would have gone higher than the offer I'd made, too, and she's like "Well, maybe you should have made that offer." I shot back with "You never come out of the gate with your highest offer. Basic negotiation." I told her I would rather wait longer and buy the dolls from an honest seller.

So yeah, don't buy from her. She's shady.

I'm so fucking angry. I spent all day SO HAPPY about those dolls. I've had a shitty week for the most part and that really cheered me, only to now be taken all away, because of a stupid greedy bitch. I hope most of her auctions end with no bids and she has to relist them over and over.

current mood: angry

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Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
8:27 pm - 2015 AG ReRead: CAROLINE

Man, this one has taken a long time. Caroline's books just don't grab me as much as some of the other girls'.

Books Read:
-Caroline's collection 1-6
-Mysteries: Traitor in the Shipyard, The Traveler's Tricks, The Smuggler's Secrets

I found this from my personal LJ back in May: "I just finished Caroline #3 last night and I forgot how pissed it made me. Like when Caroline says she feels left out and Lydia and Rhonda say they invite her to do things, but Caroline acts like they're silly things. So what, she has to do what you do? She's allowed to not give a shit about hairstyles. SHE'S TEN. They were forcing their pastimes on her just as much as she tried to get Rhonda to skate. And Rhonda, you don't know you hate skating if you only try it fucking TWICE and give up after falling ONCE. But no, they never admit they were wrong, too. The closest we get to it is Rhonda trying again to skate with the chair at the end. I never really liked Lydia much."

That's the lowlight of the series.

I feel like we never really get to know Caroline that well. Her series is action-packed and we get a lot of her reacting to the events around her and we don't get into her head much in terms of anything but those events.

She's unusual in that she enjoys "feminine" pursuits like sewing a lot, but she also wants to be a ship's captain. That should have been explored a lot more.

I like the action episodes in her books. Her trip to her imprisoned father, her saving her dad, the potential burning of the shipyard. There are some standout moments there, but I still just do not connect to her as a character.

The mysteries are probably the best books in the series. All three of them are quite different and very good. We've got the traitor in the shipyard one, then travelling with a thief, and a smuggler, which is sort of like the traitor one, but it takes place at the farm, so it's a different cast and setting.

Her books are enjoyable, but she pales in comparison with the earlier characters and I'd rank her almost the lowest in the entire series. I'm not sure if Marie-Grace/Cecile are lower or not. I'll know in a little bit, as I think they're next after Josefina.

Actually, I'm going to start ranking these to encourage myself to read them faster.

AG Best to Least Best (they're too good to be called "Worst") Historical Ranking:

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Sunday, August 9th, 2015
1:38 am - 'Nother wish list update

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Still waiting on a lot of this to be put out here. I did get Ghoul Fair Elissabat and Lalaloopsy crochet plush Peanut yesterday. Astra Nova is in Target, but I haven't got a spare $50 right now. I keep spending it on import stuffed animals. Heh. We don't have the Ginger set yet or the Freak du Chic exclusives. Walmart is woefully behind, so no Lalaloopsy Girls or Fairest on Ice Duchess yet. No Maud in my TRU yet and I will not spend the $5.99 to ship a $9.99 toy, so hopefully we get her in soon. We had tons of the last two exclusives in that size box. And we have the Daring Do one right now.

What do I have incoming? Not much domestically. A claw machine plush and a set of Mr. Men figures I got super cheap.

From the UK and picklepud, I have my Lilydolls! Very excited about them, even though they're going to need some help with a musty smell. I can fix that.

From Japan, Mr. Nobody!
I got the black one. Of course. I also got the comic, because it's just pictures so I can understand it.

Also from Japan, though not shipped yet because I only just ordered him, this giant ferret plush:
Got the brown one.

And finally, also from the UK, something I've wanted for decades: MR. DIZZY.
He was expensive, but this is the first time I've seen him for sale in the entire time I've known about his existence. Mr. Dizzy is, strangely enough, my favorite Mr. Men character. I had a small pile of the books when I was a kid and I always wanted his, because I thought his design was so cute. It wasn't until many years later that I finally read his story and realized that poor Mr. Dizzy is not very bright. That's his schtick. You know how all the Mr. Men and Little Misses have a schtick. Yeah, he's the dumb guy. Well, now I still love Mr. Dizzy because I feel bad for him. I still love his design, too, and now I have this plush on his way. (He's in NYC customs right now.) This is from the series that was made around when I was born. Mr. Dizzy's package is labelled 1978, so he's as old as I am. And the even better thing? The story behind him! The seller got these plush and some other toys from a friend who bought out this ancient toy shop. Two old couples ran it and it sold only toys from the 60s, 70s and early 80s. Mr Dizzy has been in a back stock room for almost 37 years. And now he's coming to live with me, so it's like he's been waiting for me to find him my whole life. Ha!

current mood: relaxed

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Saturday, August 8th, 2015
2:45 pm - FS: Sailor Moon plush

I'm parting with most of my Irwin Sailor Moon plush. I got a lot of these still boxed, but they have zero protection in their boxes. They just stand on cardboard basically, so they're not in pristine condition. The material does attract dust and hair, so they've likely got pet hair and doll hair on them that I haven't gotten off. I picked a lot of it off, but I'm kinda blind, so there's likely more there. They're missing all tags, except for Moon and Neptune. (Neptune, Uranus and Pluto I know I bought deboxed already. They're harder to find.)

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I do have them listed on ebay right now and I think the auction has 2 days left. I'd rather let it run out than end it early, because it costs me $2.50 to end early. Blech. But I thought I'd put them up in case there was any interest here.

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Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
2:39 pm - Disney Attractionistas Gracey

Gracey boxed

Quickie review of Gracey, my new love!

current mood: enthralled

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2:23 am - Carlos Helped Me Debox Some Dolls

Carlos wants Lonnie

But not the one he wanted me to open. Lots of new pics!

current mood: amused

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Monday, August 3rd, 2015
4:18 pm - MELISTO!

Melisto 2

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy these little dolls make me. I've wanted an Ancient Greek soft doll for ages! I think I've only ever seen, like, Betty Boop and Minnie Mouse ones before.

Melisto is made by Merrymakers and she's from 2005. I think she and the little Horus I'm about to post are both from Getty exhibits.

Melisto is extremely well-made. Definitely my favorite of the Merrymakers dolls I own. They do a lot of ones sold at museum shops. I've got Egyptian ones and I know they have a whole line for Colonial Williamsburg. The complete doll comes with the cat (which can velcro to her hand if you detach it, but I'm leaving mine attached to her leg so it doesn't get lost) and her doll (which has jointed limbs even!). One of mine is perfect with her tag and everything, the other is missing the tag and cat. Which I'm very happy with because I've got the complete one sitting nicely on display, while the incomplete is going to get dragged around the house for awhile, accompanying me.

I'm so thrilled I lucked into seeing this auction on ebay. I've been too caught up in the stress of hunting for new stuff that I started to get tired of collecting, but Melisto reminds me how much I love dolls and why I do all this crap.

current mood: enthralled

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Friday, July 31st, 2015
2:18 am - Quick bits

I'm both happy and frustrated that we're dealing with another wave of New Doll Time. I'm currently looking for...

-Lalaloopsy Girls Prairie and Furry (Walmart)
-Freak du Chic Noir Twyla (Target)
-Bratz Study Abroad Cloe (Walmart)
-Bratz Hello Raya (not out yet?)
-Fairest on Ice Duchess (Walmart)
-Maud Pie (TRU)

-Lalaloopsy crochet plush Peanut and/or Mittens (Walmart)
-Sugar-Coated Ginger playset (Target)

-Ghoul Fair Elissabat (Target, I think)
-Scarnival Skelita (Walmart)
-Boo York 3-pack (Walmart)
-FdC Noir Clawdeen (Target)
-Power Ponies (Target)
-Equestria Girls Amethyst Star (?)
-Fairest on Ice Ashlynn (Walmart)

I'm worn out and broke and the full reset hasn't even hit yet. I have some great stuff incoming, so I'm pretty sure I'm done shopping for the week. I got an Uglydoll Wage off ebay, plus a smaller one that was included, and I have Project MC2 Adrienne and Signature Lonnie and Audrey coming from TRU.com, and the SDCC exclusives from Matty Collector. Tomorrow, I should have my Groovy Girl Zadie and Uglydoll Poe figure in the mail. I also ordered an Attractionistas Gracey from a Disney shopping service that I'm hoping comes through. I didn't hear from them today and I placed the order last night.

I found something on ebay this morning though that I'm REALLY excited about. I've always wanted an ancient Greek ragdoll. I have several Egyptian ones, but I've never seen Greek. It's always blown my mind that there are hardly any Greek myth dolls out there, except for higher-end ones. Anyway, I found Melisto.
That's a cuter pic than the ebay ones, so I'm using it instead. My auction was for one complete Melisto and one missing her paper tag and cat. I'm going to keep the complete one nice and play with the incomplete one. And there's a cute little Horus finger puppet included, too. Merrymakers make some of the greatest things. They did my Egyptian ragdolls, too, and my flower girls and other great character dolls. This, by the way, is the real Melisto:
So cool. I'm very happy about her.

current mood: tired

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Thursday, July 30th, 2015
1:25 pm - Hey, SSC fans!

I wrote Bridge Direct and asked them if we were ever getting the new SSC toys. I also asked about the possible addition of Apple Dumpling and Sweet and Sour Grapes to the line.

Here's their response:

The trade shows have been previews for Fall 2015 product as we have an 18-24 month development cycle for manufacturing. Yes, new items will be at Toys R Us in late August/September. The classic small doll will be at Target exclusively starting around the same time.

Regarding the new characters, we are working on them for next year and will start to present them to retailers at Dallas Toy Preview in October.

Good news all around! I really want the classic rag doll, new style rag doll, and Berry Best Friends Plum and Raspberry. Maybe some of the party dolls.

I want to know what the classic small doll is now! Hmm!

And YES for Sour Grapes! (And Sweet and Apple, too, but mostly Sour.)

current mood: pleased

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Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
1:13 am - It's been a long time since I did a wish list.

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And now I think I'll get back to my cleaning up the comm! January 2010, here I come.

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12:36 am - VVD Sales update!

New items in the following sections...





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Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
1:44 am - FRUITIMALS

Fruitimals 1

Most of my Fruitimals order is in! I LOVE THEM!

Also, I did some more cleaning house. I'm up to January 2010. Whew! And I ran across the series of entries about the chick who came here, into my own community, and berated me for saying "fuck" in one of my entries. Tried to use the weak "swearing = low vocabulary" argument, which is an immediate fail. It's still funny, even so many years later.

current mood: amused

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