bento blanks

Der Kampf des Innerern Schweinehundes (The Battle of the Inner Pig Dog)

It’s been… a very long time indeed. Despite plenty going on, there hasn’t been a whole lot worth posting about. And if I’m being honest, I’ve found myself in a rather unshakeable funk this summer. Maybe it’s been the uncharacteristic heat we’ve been experiencing, the fact that I’ve been out of school for a year now, or the fact that I was just about to go back (as I’m only finally once again healthy enough to do so) before some rather unfortunate events occurred this past month that made that impossible this semester. It’s hard to say.  

Frankly speaking, I’m not the most motivated person on Earth. I struggle on the daily just to get out of bed, to do the dishes, to take my beloved chinchillas out even though it’s one of the things I look forward to most in my day. However, I used to set myself a hard limit of 7 days between blog posts. Once I started hitting day 3 or 4, I'd get anxious. I'd start feeling like I was already falling behind, even though I almost always have notebooks full of my thoughts.. By day 5, I’d force myself to sit down and go over whatever material I’d collected throughout the week. It was usually at this point that the anxiety would subside, because I’d realize there was indeed something very specific that I was trying to say, and it was only a matter of ironing out that specific idea. But lately, I haven’t wanted to revisit any of it. I have so many KeyKollectiv drafts from the course of the last few months, but it just takes so much out of me. It’s amazing how difficult it can be at times to reign in your own thoughts, to shape them into something meaningful--or coherent even. 

As some of you know, Kudos has been busily working away on Snackeys 2. It was my intention to update you all on that while he was away for work at Comic-Con last month. However, the day he left, two of my co-workers (half our staff at the time) announced they were quitting, leaving us to frantically look for new people. I’ll be honest, I was actually relieved. I cared too much about them (outside of work) to ever take any action, but both of these employees were so beyond jaded that I had secretly hoped they would recognize they no longer possessed the ability to perform their job responsibilities and leave amicably—which was almost the case. Almost.

The intention up until that point had been to turn a new leaf once they left. To utilize it as an opportunity for improvement. Update our equipment and bring in a much friendlier staff. It meant working a lot more on my end and not being able to go back to school just yet, but once things stabilized and we had a staff that was trustworthy and reliable, then I could finally go back again. Being able to work on school work is about one of the only redeeming qualities of my job, so if I was going to stick around here, I might as well be making the most of it after all. I was overwhelmed, but I was ready. 

Just as I’d finally gotten over the initial shock of everything that was going on at my work--on a day that I was not present--the owner of the company had a run in with one of the aforementioned employees. This encounter evidently led to an intense confrontation. This, then, set forth an explosion of chain reactions which led to them closing our location altogether. So I went from panicking about taking a higher position and working more to having no job of which to speak, and all over the course of just a few days; all while Kudos was working away in San Diego.

The salt in the wound in all of this, of course, is that I considered one of these girls to be a close friend of mine. Well, as much as anyone can be considering I go out of my way NOT to have friends (likely for reasons like this). It’s all too complicated to explain, and obviously I’ve left a lot out for the sake of people’s privacy, but I’m sure everyone knows what it’s like to be lied to and let down, and all the worse in the midst of something like this. But it’s also no coincidence, since it's exactly moments like this when you get to see people’s true colors. I have to remind myself, once again, that this is a good thing. 

What does any of this have to do with Snackeys? Well, it does and it doesn’t. Production took another very short halt while we waited on more silicone to come in and plotted out our next move (and while life funneled our financial resources into yet another black hole of responsibility). Response for Bento Blanks so far has been lukewarm, but it’s a concept we wanted to see come to fruition. Ultimately we decided to press on with it regardless of the overall public response. And if there’s anything you guys have learned about KeyKollectiv, it’s that we’re sticklers for the methods we utilize. For us, proof of concept is more important than simple aesthetics alone. It’s the whole reason we do this at all. If we don’t feel like we are challenging our current skill set, then we feel like we’re letting you guys (and the community as a whole) down. Even if it ironically means upsetting people because they’d rather see Snackeys 1 make a comeback. 

Speaking of which, we will probably revisit Snackeys 1 eventually, as we do feel it merits revisiting, but only after we’ve proven that we can do more than that. Are you noticing a pattern here, guys? We believe that revisiting designs should be a celebration of progress—about respecting the fact that we can implement cleaner methods than we were capable of when we first released them. What sucks about that is due to the amount of experimentation on our end, we have learned a lot of things the hard way, sometimes to the point of nearly throwing in the towel altogether. Unfortunately, growth actually requires making mistakes. To make no mistakes would require doing nothing at all. Yet another thing I have to continue to remind myself when I’m feeling down and out, which admittedly I’ve done my fair share of lately.  

We have poured our hearts into this last collection, as it’s the fruition of ideas we had back when we decided to make Snackeys 1. I asked what you guys would like to read about on our Geekhack thread, and one of you said you’d like to hear about some of the ideas that didn’t make it into this collection. However—hilariously--this collection is essentially what didn’t make it into the last one. It’s heartbreaking to have to kill your darlings, but this was something we knew we didn’t quite have the chops to pull off yet. As for ideas that didn’t make it into this one, I had really wanted to make a Sakura Jelly key (essentially what sakura sake looks like, but with a custard colored bottom), but Kudos said he didn’t think anyone would know what it was. Also, the gradient/frosted effect in Sakura Sake is technically more challenging so ultimately we decided to go with that. I can’t say too much more because we have plans to revisit those eventually, too!

Someone else asked how we find the right colors for our caps. I love this question because it’s something we really enjoy doing and take a lot of pride in. Kudos spends DAYS perfecting and color matching until we find just the right one for what we’re working on. The custard color I had in mind for the Sakura Jelly flavor was a failed attempt at finding the right color for the Siamese (aka “Poof”) cat from our Purrkeys collection. “Latte” from Meowcaps was actually the first failed attempt at Mute Mallow/Taro Milk (yes, they’re the same color!), which was a huge surprise because it’s actually a purple color. Our resin has a yellow tint to it, so we have to mix color accordingly, and in this case (not unlike glazes in ceramics), we had a happy accident and we went with it. I had wanted a nice coffee color to begin with, so it was actually all kind of exhilarating at the time.

What else have we been up to? Outside of all of this, Kudos and I built my first PC, binge watched the entirety of Evangelion (twice), Alien, Aliens and Prometheus (gotta get pumped for Aliens: Covenant 2017!). And yesterday I had the privilege of giving our chinchilla Furt a haircut, which consisted of me chasing him with scissors for an hour and him yelling at me. That was fun. -__-  We’ve also been thoroughly enjoying getting to watch our friend Tiny sculpt ridiculously cute keycaps on her Twitch.tv stream. More on that to come later!

As for the next sale, we will be opening the raffle for Snackeys 2 officially as of tomorrow (September 1st). Who’s ready for some Bento Blanks?!?!?! 

With love, 
🐨🍵