Thursday, June 25, 2015

Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks Special: Interview with a Dorkette!!!

Welcome Dear Readers! For this blog post I thought I’d do a little something different. It’s a big blogging world out there, and I want to do a little exploring with you guys! In that vein, I thought I’d start doing a regular feature here on Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks where I pick one of my online buddies to interview about what they’re doing. And I definitely thought that I’d start well within my comfort zone by interviewing one of my very best internet friends, Michael, otherwise known as “Miss M” of the Diary of a Dorkette Blog. 

The following is an instant messaging conversation we had the other night when we both sat down to do the interview. Enjoy!

Also a quick note to let you know that (unless otherwise noted) ALL of the photography from this blog post is Michael's own photography, most of it picked fresh from her blog. 

Michael, the Miss behind the "Miss M"
Goodwill Geek: How are you doing tonight M?

Miss M: I am doing fantastic! Thrilled that you are wanting to talk with me. It's always a fun time.

Goodwill Geek: Awesome! Thanks for joining me. So first things first, I would just like you to tell me in your own words what it is you do over at Diary of a Dorkette. What's it all about?


Miss M: Well I started Diary of a Dorkette nearly four years ago to discuss the toys and memories from my youth that I still love and collect today. These were toys I had hoped would bring people together and there would be a way for me to get to know people. It then turned into a place for me to share toy stories.

Goodwill Geek: For the uninitiated, explain what you mean by "Toy stories".

Literally the only picture in this whole post that I (sort of) made myself.

Miss M: Toy stories are my own stories I write that have my toys as the cast of characters. I even have a toy that represents myself and in a story telling that is part toy review, part personal confessions, and just plain old crazy story telling these toys go on various adventures through dialogue and pictures.

Miss M, the writer of Diary of a Dorkette just chilling in her office. 

Goodwill Geek: I love checking out the happs over at your blog! The stories are crazy fun and the photos are muy-muy fun to check out. I know I've said this to you before but I'll say it again: I think it is so cool that you are a grown woman who straight up plays with her toys and shares that play with the rest of the world.

Miss M: And that's the thing, I have loved telling stories my whole life and for that entire time I have always used my toys as the avatars for those stories. The difference now is I share it with everyone as opposed to just keeping it to myself.

A scene from Arkham asylum. (You might notice someone FINALLY locked up that sociopath Lucy)

Goodwill Geek: How long does it usually take to photograph one of the "episodes" and do you have a specific area you work in? Or do you just use whatever space is available?

Miss M: The time depends on the length of the story. Over all the basic outline for the direction of the story is planned months in advance but for a specific post it takes about a few days to a week. A couple hours here and there. I type everything up in my kitchen but the process of picture taking is in my room that has all my toys. I set up my shadow box and just go through the whole area looking for what I will need.

Where else are you going to find Shredder teaming up with mad scientists like Doctors Badvibes and Blight?
To drain mutants of their mutant juice no less!

Goodwill Geek: That is freaking incredible. About how many toys would you say you have in your collection? Any idea?

Miss M: Oh I have no idea. Hundreds.

Pictured: My Graceland
(I actually have several "Gracelands" but this is one of my Gracelandiest)

Goodwill Geek: OH MY GOSH!!! That is amazing.

Miss M: That is my room right now. It's very messy because I haven't had the time to organize it. My brother took this the other night because he was trying to send it to my dad.

Goodwill Geek: I want to come over and PLAY!!!

Miss M: I know! Everyone says that. It's insane. I have more in bins and stuff. When I lived with my ex I had a whole room for this stuff only but after the divorce I moved back home and there was limited space.

Goodwill Geek: All right I have to stop hyperventilating and ask the important questions.

Miss M: LOL. It's ok.

Goodwill Geek: Would you say you have any favorite pieces in your collection that you like to use again and again for storytelling purposes?

Miss M: Well there's my figure. I also have created recurring characters from She-Ra, TMNT, and Batman. That's just the beginning though. Frankenberry, Sulu, and Billy the Blue Ranger are also becoming regulars.

It's seeing characters like this interacting that
makes me flip my S**T when I read this blog.
I'm totally shipping these guys into "Blulu".

Goodwill Geek: I've also noticed that you aren't prejudiced about which versions of the characters you'll use in your storytelling either. For instance sometimes we'll see a movie version of a character then a cartoon version of the character, and even a Funko POP or two have made an appearance. Michelangelo is a perfect example of this as are Maleficent and April O'Neil. Is there any rhyme or reason behind what version of a character you'll use for a particular story?






Ummm... April? You okay?

Miss M: There are times when there is a reason for it, if the toys being used are all the same size or need to be close in scale I will go with a specific choice but other times it's just to show off a fun version of a toy. Plus articulation also plays into it too. If there is an action scene I'll use a Michelangelo with more articulation.

Miss M and Michelangelo dated for awhile. Here's the happy couple on movie night.
Goodwill Geek: That makes a lot of sense! Another thing I especially love is how there's always a cast of (literally?) thousands walking around in the background of parties, club scenes, crowded city streets, etc. What inspires the choices of characters that we can see meandering around as "extras" so to speak during the different stories?

Miss M: Sometimes they serve a purpose. For example the story that was in toy Las Vegas, I wanted to have background toys that would make sense in that environment. Like the Olive Oyl in her showgirl attire or the Influence from Dick Tracy.

Frankenberry wanted to get all Oyl'ed up.
Okay sorry. That was uncalled for.
Other times it's just to showcase fun old toys which is something people really like doing, trying to notice all the background toys. Plus sometimes the background toys end up getting their own story as will be the case of something I'm working on now about Link and Zelda.

The Jury is in! Diary of a Dorkette ROCKS!!!
Goodwill Geek: It really does feel like a big game of I Spy or Where's Waldo reading through some of the stories, and I do love how the extras sometimes get their own little mini subplots! Speaking of story, your blog is no stranger to BIG EVENTS. Awhile back you did a crossover event with some other bloggers called "Total Darkness" what inspired you to do that?

Just one of Maleficent's many appearances and many forms.
Miss M: Well I have long been a fan of comics and the things I loved with comics were those big major events with crossover appeal and I wanted to do something like that with my toy story that could also bring other people into it. I wanted everyone to have fun and also bring people to each other's blogs and just continue that sense of community that we have with our toy blogging community.

Goodwill Geek: (As a participant in said crossover, I can tell you it was a BLAST) But and even more recent event on your blog has been "Toys and Troma" can you tell me a little bit about what inspired that event?

A girl and her toxic mutant boyfriend. Like Tromeo and Miss Emulet.
Miss M: I was watching movies from a movie app back in March and they had a ton of Troma films. I started watching them and it just brought me back to when I used to watch as a teen, and after watching Class of Nuke 'Em High and the Toxic Avenger I just wanted to do something to celebrate Troma and the toy line of the Toxic Crusaders. So I started coming up with a story.

Goodwill Geek: As I understand it, a lot of your toys are yours from when you were younger, but a lot of them are ones you've tracked down as well. Were the Toxic Crusaders a line you already owned or did you have to track them down?

Miss M: I had to track them down. I remembered them as a kid and thought they were so gross but now I had a blast getting them all.

Teenage Miss M was made an honorary Toxic Crusader.
Goodwill Geek: The Lady Death characters play a big part in this event as well. What made you decide to use them so prominently?

Miss M: Well I needed bullies. That's a hallmark of certain Troma films and 99.9 percent of the toys in this story came from the 90's and that was on purpose since the Toxic Crusaders came out in the early 90's. Lady Death and her crew just seemed hyper sexual and mean. It was perfect. Plus I had a line, it was the first line I had for the story and I knew it had to come from Evil Ernie and that was, "I want you to be the bubble in my gut so I can feel you slide out my butt."

A bubble in your gut? Slide out your yeah-buh-what?
Goodwill Geek: Ewwww... Moving on.  We've seen several different versions of "Miss M" on Diary of a Dorkette, including a Blythe version, a teenage version, and even a possessed Moth-Lady version. 

A Moth Lady with Miss M IN her mind and Bruce Wayne ON her mind.

But you recently revealed a custom made Miss M action figure you were given and I was wondering if this will become the new default "Miss M" on the blog?

"Big M, Little M, M. M. M." -- Dr. Seuss

Miss M: The new custom Miss M will be getting some major face time (ba-da-bum) in the coming stories, but she will not be the default figure. I love the new custom figure, the head can go on so many different bodies and styles, but I am incredibly partial to the Blythe version. That version is very important to me.

A tale of Two M's.
Goodwill Geek: Well it looks amazing and I can't wait to see what she get's up to, but I'm also relieved to hear that "classic" Miss M is not being retired. Next there's a pretty fun feature of your blog that I want to ask about. You have special spotlight characters like "Heroic Hotties" and "Bodacious Baddies" (and I'm forgetting at least one more)... What are all of the different titles you use for these features and what are the origins of this practice on your blog?

A tense stand-off between Miss M and Hordak...
Miss M: The Heroic Hottie feature was the first in terms of the "All My Toys" toy story. I had a few different features before the ones involved with the toy story, but the Heroic Hottie feature came out of a place of me being tongue in cheek with toy collecting. I had been on forum where some gentlemen were discussing how they did not understand why a particular toy line we were all collecting had to have female figures n it, especially female figures that they felt were unattractive. As one member said, "I don't mind female figures, but they have to be hot. I only collect hot female figures."

The Cat Ladies!

This comment was so preposterous to me and it gave me the idea for the Heroic Hottie feature. That feature was part review and part "objectifying" of hot male action figures. I wanted to do a monthly interview with hot male toys sort of like the silly interviews with Playmates in adult magazines. I then expanded it once the All My Toys story started forming and being created. After the first year I then added features for monthly interviews with toy villains and female heroes respectively called "Bodacious Baddie" and "Woman of Wonderosity." The interviews are now more like stories, but the goal is to show off toys in an entertaining way.

 The First 2 Heroic Hotties to Be featured on DoaD: Gambit and Bow!

Goodwill Geek: I love how they blend so seamlessly into the storytelling to the point now where it's almost a surprise when you make the reveal. I know we both have to get going here soon, so I'll wrap thing up with just a couple more questions... Here's the big one: What do you love most about toys, toy collecting, being a geek, all of it?

Miss M: Oh goodness this is could take a while. Toy collecting has been a part of my life since I was a kid. It is my hobby. I have mentioned this before, but I was pretty much born to be geeky. I have lived with a genetic disorder my whole life that essentially saw me indoors a great deal. There I found the joys of video games, books, and of course toys. For as long as I can remember toys have been a little piece of magic.

Velvet Skye and Hordak team up to take out their common enemy: Miss M!!!
Pop culture and the stories I enjoyed created characters and worlds that I knew I'd never be able to actually go to. Having toys and all the items that go with them, I was able to go to those places. Now that I am older I continue to go to those places and enjoy the thrill of creativity and imagination. I never want to let that go. I used to wonder if there would come a time that I would no longer be collecting or geeking out over toys and comics, but I'm 33 and have been showing no signs of "growing up." I love it all. More so now that I have gotten to know other wonderful people with similar interests.


Goodwill Geek: I agree completely with that. Toys were a HUGE part of my life from childhood on to current times, and I used them in a lot of the same ways you did. And there's DEFINITELY an awesome community out there in real life as well as online that we can connect with these days. THAT'S one of the main reasons I wanted to start interviewing my friends for this series! Before I let you go, is there any other stuff you'd like to tell us about you or your online activities? 

Miss M: Some other things to share about myself. Well I am lucky to be on two podcasts where I get to talk with fellow friends. Geek Fallout was the first podcast I joined and it has been a fun experience. I love being the group there. I also get to podcast with you and two other wonderful guys (Jason Roberts and Brian Farrell) on Eclectic Mayhem. This is something I love so much because I now have reached a point in my life where I can have conversations with people about the topics we all share in. It's just a really fun thing to be a part of. I am also active on Twitter and Instagram under Diary of a Dorkette. I have a blast getting to know new people. I have also written for other sites such as NerdSociety.com and Retro-Daze.org. Those are wonderful sites that also feature other writers of pop culture with a lot of great things to say. One other thing I want to mention is that I am going to be doing another cross over event for other bloggers to join in on if they feel so inclined!

 From "The Big Dance" to "Toy Vegas" The Diary tells all.

Goodwill Geek: Awesome! I can't wait to hear more details about the next Crossover event! Thank you so much for joining me tonight to talk about what you're up to, Miss M! I love your blog, and I love podcasting with you, and I hope everybody goes over to check out the toy adventures of Miss M, She-Ra, April O'Neil, and all the others! Any final thoughts before we go?

Miss M: My last message for you my dear Derek is to say thank you. This means a lot and is truly an honor that you have taken the time to ask me these questions. I also want to give the biggest of thanks to anyone who has stopped by and taken a moment to read anything I've posted. Diary of a Dorkette has allowed me to get to know some wonderful people. I can't imagine how things would be if I wasn't able to connect with other like minded people. That is the most magical thing of it all. (Although a She-Ra figure doesn't hurt.) Thanks again Derek and I hope all is going well!


Well that's all we have for this evening dear readers! I want to shout one more big thanks out to Miss M of Diary of a Dorkette! Michael you are truly one of the most inspiring and genuinely nice people I've met in my time as a blogger. You set a great example for all of us by out accepting and outgoing you are. 


I want to encourage everyone reading this to go over and experience the totally AWESOME insanity that is Diary of a Dorkette!!! And be sure to listen to both Michael and myself as we talk with our friends Jason (of Nerdy Life of Mine) and Brian "The Trash Man" (of Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture) on our podcast Eclectic Mayhem

I'll be back soon with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies boys and girls! Until then, Happy Hunting!

16 comments:

  1. Great post. I am a big fan Miss M myself. She's the real deal and so unique.

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  2. Derek, I can't even begin to thank you for this! You put together an amazing piece! I love what you did with the All My Toys picture! That is so freakin cool. You really put together a nice post. Thank you again. This means a lot. I hope you are doing well.

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    1. I can't than YOU enough for doing this! I had planned to make this a monthly feature, but I think I've let all of July go by at this point without approaching anyone else. I have to get on the ball!

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  3. This was a fantastic interview!

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    1. Thank you! I credit the lovely Miss M.

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  4. What a fantastic feature Derek! I hope more people get to see Miss M's creativity because of this!

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    1. That is definitely the goal here! I think she should be a household name!

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  5. Great interview and holy cow, dat toy room!

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    1. Right? And I thought MY cave was cool!

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  6. I love reaading and viewing Mis M's blog. A game I invented with her toy photos is: "Spy the toys you already have", and I spyed Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Dr. Blight and Lt. Ripley from Kenner.
    Do you recognize Abbey Bobinable's bed? I do!! :D (this is one I don't have).

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    1. Her blog is a giant game of Where's Waldo (with toys!) for sure.

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  7. She's a great person and treats everyone she meets with such kindness.

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