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Before | After

 For just over three years I have been aware of the Ball-jointed doll community and about two years ago I began my contributions as an owner.  I wouldn't call myself a collector.  It is a strange hobby, even from this side of the fence, and it never fails to amaze me how truly odd people on the internet can be.  The Ball-jointed doll hobby is one that requires lots of patience and a surprising amount of research.  Which is why I wrote this guide, in the hopes that if anyone interested in the topic stumbles across it may be some use.

So without further ado I give you...

Papa Mike's Ball-jointed guide to dolls (for beginners)

Part 1; Arriving a the hobby.

Like many BJD owners, I arrived at the hobby through a friend.  I arrived at what is termed as a meet, late from work and had been bribed with promise of BBQ.  Most of the BBQ to my horror most of the food had been eaten, I was lucky enough to salvage some ribs and a neat burger (the buns were gone).  To cut a long and rambling story short, I met some owners, who showed me their dolls and I was hooked.  A common story I found out later.  Apparently doll owners enjoy sharing the hobby and smiling to each other knowingly as they watch the beginnings of addiction spread... the vultures.  I would suggest that you talk to owners before making a decision to join the hobby, particularly is you happen to know them personally, hey will fill you in on all you need to know, and tend to be candid in their description of the pros or cons.  Alternatively you can keep reading and hope that one of the links will turn up something useful.

Part 2; Integrating yourself into the online community.

While most people assume that you must own a doll before you begin to look at the social side, choosing the right sculpt for you can be a long and difficult task if you are not too sure where to look.  This is when learning from others mistakes can come very handy.  Like all hobbyists, BJD owners collect in large numbers on the internet to cry outrage a injustice (and sometimes common sense) and share their opinions with each other.  Below are some the best places to start your exploration along with a brief description of what you might find.  We'll begin with the most well-known...

-Den of Angels is the largest English speaking forum devoted to this topic.  It has galleries, a extensive marketplace, owners guides, debate forums and more.  While the majority of people the people you encounter in this hobby will be friendly there are a few issues you may encounter on this forum.  As history has shown, any time large numbers of individuals gather together to share thought, disagreements will soon occur, look at family Christmas.  Den of angels is no exception.  Use this forum with awareness that a some point you may encounter someone sometimes referred to as an elitist in this circle, who believe that only 'volks dolls' have souls.  While the forum admin are getting better at dealing with this issue, it is still a point of contention, and they can often be very pedantic when it comes to enforcing their rules.  There are also owners (who under no circumstances should be referred to as drama llamas but if the shoe fits) who may get upset if you disagree with them.  Having said that, most BJD owners have at some point past through DoA and it is invaluable as an information source, as well as a great place to meet some very sound friends.

-Den of Demons is a forum that was started in response to some of the issues regarding DoA.  While I have never personally felt the need to sign up there, you may feel more comfortable there then on DoA.  I feel like DoA it should be used with a cautionary warning, as I cannot vouch for it's effectiveness.  One of the reasons that it has never appealed to me personally is that it seems to be surrounded in allot of aggression, much of which I can do without.  Still if you find it appealing then go for it.

- RezinDollz is my personal first choice for forums.  At one point you had to be nominated to join, but I am not sure if that is still the case or not.  It is a very open forum, and welcomes all level of BJD madness, including overlapping areas that sometimes get forgotten such as animé and action figures.  Primarily used by owners in the UK, it has an extremely laid back attitude in regards to moderation.  It has everything you will ever need from a forum, including an rp and stories section, a marketplace, general chat and a useful information board.

- Social networking sites have always been a useful way to meet people interested in the same this as yourself.  The ones that I am aware are commonly used by the doll community are MySpace, The BJD Network, Resin Hearts, Misfit Dolls and of course Facebook.

-For people who just wish to research there are all sorts of websites that can help, just by typing in ball-jointed dolls to Google, however if your feeling lazy a good place to start if of course Wikipedia.

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Welcome to the Strange

"An inch or so above the bed
the yellow blindspot hovers
where the last incumbent’s greasy head
has worn away the flowers.

Every night I have to rest
my head in his dead halo;
I feel his heart tick in my wrist;
then, below the pillow,

his suffocated voice resumes
its dreary innuendo.
there are other ways to leave the room
than the door and the window."

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