I’ve Hit a Milestone! The History & Evolution of HEYiTSZEL (*psst* Let’s Celebrate with a Giveaway!)

Hello my lovely ani-bloggers, ani-lovers and friends! I’ve hit another milestone recently, and with my OWLS post about revival, I found it to be very fitting to talk about my history, my present, and the future of heyitszel and Archi-Anime.  

 heyitszel.wordpress.com is celebrating it’s 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!

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I specifically wrote the blog address for a few reasons and not by the site name “Archi-Anime”. I thought this was the perfect time to address the renaissance that my blog has achieved, and the road to get here; so consider this my unofficial and very personal ‘revival’ post. Also, fair warning, be prepared for a lengthy post, I practically go back to the beginning of time.

History

I’ve been around in the blogging world for a really long time. My username HEYiTSZEL, has a long-running history, as it has has been apart of my online identity since high school, starting with the hottest form of social media at the time: AIM Messenger and from my starting days at xanga.com where I vented about school, love and everything in between. Did I have a focus, no, not really.

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if you’re ever looking for old stuff that you’ve lost – check out Wayback Machine

I abandoned blogging for a long time, a little over 10 years? I started thinking about blogging again. I had some downtime and was itching to write. I actually wrote in a daily journal, but, I missed having a community to share thoughts. Xanga wasn’t a viable option at the time; its servers having shut down (they’re currently they’re trying to ramp up again). Then I happened across wordpress.com. When I signed up, I actually used a different name, in hopes to escape ‘heyitszel’. I have several blogs on this platform – some still exist but are very very inactive, or have since been deleted.

Inception

But then, I felt the need to create a new blog. The reason I chose to create heyitszel was in hopes of capturing and documenting the remaining and crucial year of my architectural education at SCI-Arc (2014); which entailed living abroad in Japan for a summer and documenting my final thesis project post-abroad program. I went with heyitszel, simply because of lack of creativity and because my personal tumblr was also tied to heyitszel and captured a lot of my architectural side. Why try to re-create a new persona? But really, it’s just a play on my actual name, if y’all didn’t know. But very few people actually call me “Zel” only you lovely people here in the ani-blogging community have adapted this moniker.

musings of a dreamer
My First WordPress layout as found by the Wayback Machine. I assure you, I had a theme, but apparently was not captured by the archive of the web.

But alas, I was too busy and consumed with the actual school work and the staying in the present of my living experience of Japan that I barely updated the blog. In the end I treated my blog like a journal, expressing my anxiety of not feeling adequate, the trials and tribulations I was dealing with in school, and my love life…I couldn’t break that cycle from my xanga days.

Failures Abound

After graduation, I thought about my blog again. Surely I’d actually have time to write about stuff now that I was a working adult. But what did I want to talk about?  I started thinking about my future: becoming a licensed Architect. I kept seeing studies about women in architecture, why you don’t see many famous women Architect’s and if you did, you saw the blatant sexism that prevails in the field, how stereotypes of women can often overshadow the actual accomplishments of women. How women that aspire to be an Architect really struggle because they often have to choose between family or career. And that irritated me. I wondered if I’d ever experience sexism, or the struggle to achieve my dreams, thus “Architecture of the Dreamer” was born.

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Yes, I’m a nerd, I took a screenshot of the last phase of my blog. I unfortunately didn’t have the foresight to screenshot it in it’s original form hence I researched how to find old versions of it

But, that was a short-lived idea. I felt like it was too daunting of a task to take on my own. The idea is really great, but I didn’t have the outlets for reference and I lacked the confidence to pursue it. I started to question: Where would I start? Did I really want to go to the feminist route? Was it possible to find a way to produce works that wouldn’t sound ranty or angry of the predicament of females? Even though the problems are apparent; how could I use my voice to create some positivity? Could I offer solutions? So again, my blog was neglected as I tried to find my voice.

The idea of of the blog kept nagging at me.  I wanted to do something. I wanted to do something I would love, and that would tie into writing. I really was Handa staring at the blank canvas of a boat, struggling to bring myself to write something, anything.  But, I wanted it to be successful. I confess, at first I wanted to acquire a large viewership. I wanted the audience and lots of hits. But I needed to find my niche. What could I possibly do to garner attention? What could I write about?

Then the third phase of my blog came about. If I couldn’t talk about feminism confidently, at least I could write about architecture. Theory, Research and History are my architecture bread and butter: the past and future. I wanted to write about the bold architectural movement that was called “New Sculpturalism” because that reflected the aesthetics I was exposed to having come from that school of thought, having actually learned from the people that made up the architect’s of this movement.  I didn’t even bother changing the layout, just because the name and the idea was still the same: “architecture of the dreamer”. But still, I stared at my blank screen like Handa. Where to start? There have been countless times were I would sign-on thinking that day would be the day I started. Although, I had the idea, I couldn’t find the inspiration. 

Rediscovered Passion

During all of that and during my school years I sporadically watched anime off and on, spanning from Psycho-pass to Full Metal Alchemist and Vampire Knight and whatever else Netflix had to offer at the time. But between the weird gap between finishing school and the actual graduation ceremony, then looking for a job (also the first transition of the blog) I started picking up anime fully due to all my free time. It started again with Netflix, they had the first season of Attack on Titan, but since their offering was limited I took to google to find more ways to watch. Then I found Crunchyroll and well here we are. It started with Your Lie in April, Parasyte,-the Maxim and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, these renewed my interest and love in anime.

I started to look more into seasonal anime, and more into upcoming shows. Started curating lists and being a complete nerd about it. So much so that I even decided to go to my first Con (KrakenCon), in Oakland in the Spring of 2016. It’s a small con, and the weekend pass was super affordable, so why not right? Just to check out what it was all about. This was certainly the beginning of my downfall into Merchandise Hell (especially with Nendoroids) – but let’s save that story for another day.

The last day of the con, I saw a familiar face. Someone I hadn’t seen since high school over 15 years ago. I stopped to say hello, even though he and I didn’t interact much during high school. He seemed completely caught off-guard. I dismissed the look on his face and asked him what he was up to. He had a ton of camera equipment on him, he said he was doing it for his blog. He even handed me his card with all his information. Intrigued, I started asking a billion questions about it, and said if he was looking for a contributor I’d love to be a part of it.

He reached out to me about a week later; we started talking about content then he added me on to his blog levelpotato.blog. It was another wordpress account, so here I was again, faced with my own blog and now his. I started writing there and found it so much fun to write about anime, so I started to think…geez, why can’t it be this easy and fun for my blog? My friend started to get busy and soon I was left writing on his blog while mine sat neglected. So, then I started to think about it: I didn’t want to abandon architecture as my focus, but I also wanted to write about anime.

The Renaissance

Now, most of you know that one of my absolute favorite anime’s is Psycho-pass. It was around this time that I decided to re-watch the series. I had an epiphany. There was something there that I hadn’t noticed before. It got me so excited, that I started drafting ideas for my blog. Why not do both? My blog didn’t have to be exclusively about architecture. Why couldn’t I could create anime content too? BUT, it was Psycho-pass that made me realize the importance of architecture IN anime. I started to research my topic, if there was a way to marry my two loves together. There’s not much out there, it was far and few between. So, I decided to go for it, thus Archi-Anime was born.

In late Summer/Fall 2016, I really got into ani-blogging under this new site name and quickly made friends. The community was so easy to talk to, and more than anything really welcoming. A lot of you also had started around the same time I had started as well, and we’ve gotten close over the year and a half of Archi-Anime’s birth.

The response I’ve gotten from creating this blog has been so positively overwhelming. First came the invite to become an OWLS member shortly after it’s inception. You can find all my posts on my OWLS page. Then I collaborated on a few pieces with a few of my favorite people:

Then I unlocked my latest and greatest achievement, starting Innominate Anime Podcast with 5 other incredibly talented charismatic people.

The Future is Bright

Suffice it to say, I think I’ve finally found my calling in blogging. I’m having a lot of fun creating content here, and engaging with all of you. I’m still finding my voice when it comes to creating opinionated content, but that’s something that’s always under improvement. I’ve had a lot of fun fangirling with my fellow bishounen compatriots over MCM, finding common ground in the strength of our wonderful women featured in WCW, exploring fantastical architecture with you on Fantasy Friday’s; to showing you the joys of finding real architecture depicted in anime via ANI-Reality, trading gossip and talking about music on Sunday, and giving you an insight on what kind of real world architecture fascinates me in short anecdotes.

Its been a long long journey to get to this point, and if you really dig deep in the blog, you’ll find those cringe-worthy posts. I could’ve easily deleted those, or hid them from the public. But I didn’t. Why, you ask? Because, like I said in the conclusion of my OWLS revival post:

Through trial and error, we find ourselves and our passions. Through trial and error we find what works and what doesn’t work. But, without trial and error, the catalyst for a renaissance will never arise.

So what lies ahead for Archi-Anime? In terms of content, I won’t be taking anything away. In fact, I will be expanding on what is here already, and also creating new content – more photos of nendoroids and figures, more merch reviews, more game reviews, the possibilities are endless! On top of all that, I’ll be trying to re-organizing. Which brings me to my special announcment!

I’m FINALLY upgrading to http://www.heyitszel.com!

And in celebration of this new endeavor of mine, I’d like to celebrate with a GIVEAWAY. Now, this is my first time ever doing one of these, so please bear with me. And I’m kind of hoping to host more of these in the future, just because, they’re fun, and I love to give stuff! But I want to establish a few ground rules to the giveaway 🙂 But first thing’s first! The Prize(s)


The Winner Will be the Proud Owner of…..*drumroll please*

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*trumpet fanfare* The ENTIRE manga collection of A Silent Voice in all it’s glory!  A Silent Voice was easily one of my favorite films of 2017, and when I saw the set and a super super great deal, I could NOT pass it up. I had no intents to keep this as I already own a set. I really bought this to celebrate this milestone!

But wait! There’s More!

For 2nd place, you’ll get Your Name (Blu-ray/DVD combo) and 3rd Place because I also love this film, will get My Hero Academia, Vol. 1. Because, who doesn’t like My Hero Academia!?


Rules? What Rules!? Rules are Meant to be Broken!

Yeah, okay, no rules will be broken for this giveaway. First and foremost, I’m doing this because I wanted to show my thanks and appreciation to my loyal followers and the beloved friends I’ve made via the blog. That being said:

  • you must be a follower/subscriber to Archi-Anime
  • I’ll be using Rafflecopter to help me with this (thank you to Naja for the reference), so you have to provide a valid e-mail in order for me to contact you if you’re a winner.
  • And my final rule, your main entry to Rafflecopter is to comment with your favorite post thus far. (it’s worth the most points)
  • There are a two other questions you can answer daily to rack up your points to win the prizes:
    • 1. Name a Character that’s been featured on my blog
    • 2. Name an Anime to add to my never-ending list of anime

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

I will announce the winner here on Archi-Anime and on twitter. I will also be contacting winners directly using the email address you used to enter the giveaway. I’ll be asking for some personal information in order for me to ship it to you, and for those of you that are super worried about that, no worries, your address will be destroyed once I send out the package. This is a one time deal, I will not keep your personal information. I mean, that is, unless you wanna be pen pals. I’m up for that too!

The winner will have 48 hours to contact me after the initial email notification. If I don’t hear back from you within that time limit I will choose someone else.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to comment on this post, fill out my blog’s contact form, or email direct message me on my twitter @heyitszel


Time’s a Tickin’

As any giveaway or competition. There is a finite amount of time for which this extravaganza will be up for. So starting from  Friday January 26 12AM EST (the 26th is a special day too! Parents Wedding Anniversary), till Friday, February 2nd 12AM EST (which is also Rin Matsuoka’s B-day ROFL – my love for Free! is endless). So everyone’s got a week to rack those points up!

ENTER THE DRAWING HERE: 

 CLICK TO ENTER

And Remember! You can rack points up daily! 🙂 (I’ll probably tweet about it)

I’m super excited about this giveaway, and I hope you are too! Again, I’d like to thank you all for being my followers and friends and most importantly thankful for all the support and love you’ve given me and your interest in my architectural rambles. Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Feedback? Leave them in the comments below! 😀