Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Up the Game

Whilst I have been recovering from my heart surgery, I have been attempting to improve the visibility of Epheria and trying to get a foot back in the SEO door since the flood of game stuff that happened.

Sometimes it just feels completely pointless, like I'm never going to make any progress, but the last couple of weeks I have actually seen a bit of movement, which is really reassuring and nice. The main thing I've been focusing on at the moment is making sure to post 3 times a week on all of my social media shet, and try to put helpful hashtags and use the word Epheria for search engine purposes, even though I don't really know that much about the technicalities of that stuff.

I've slowly been getting some more images to appear in search results, although the fact that I have to scroll half way down to see anything of mine is somewhat disheartening. I think the influx of outsider results has slowed down dramatically, and possibly almost stopped. I have a small flame of hope inside me that now the hype over that has died down, maybe the search results will start to fade and drop away, as long as I continue putting out new stuff of my own. Who knows, only time and effort will tell.

The thing that has pushed me the most to keep going with the updates, is the increase I have seen in traffic to my store. Before I started doing regular updates and being wary of my image quality, my hits were averaging at about 80-100 per week for both unique visitors and page views, which means that pretty much everyone who was visiting my store was also immediately leaving it before actually clicking on anything, which is NOT what you want.

In the last few weeks, not only have I had an increase in unique visitors, but the page views per person has gone up. I wasn't too sure how well it was actually working and if the increase was related to my posts or if it was from something else, but when I slacked off on the third week, I saw the numbers immediately drop back down and knew that it wasn't just a coincidence.

Obviously I got back on my game, because who doesn't like getting more website hits? Especially when it appears that a couple of the people visiting now actually want to look at my stuff. I think last week is the best week I've had so far since opening my store. I can't actually verify that, because I can't go back any further than this to check, but I'm like 99.6% sure.

Now I just need to figure out how to turn those extra views into sales...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Hole in My Heart and Epheria's Latest Struggle

Sup, bitches? It's been a while since I've written anything on here, both because I am just kind of bad at updating my blog/s and because I didn't know whether or not to mention my current health problems, but what the fuck ever, I'm doing it anyway.

A little less than two months ago, I found out that I have a hole in my heart (a 15mm ostium secundum ASD), which has been causing a fairly significant amount of palpitations, and lately starting to cause some shortness of breath and occasional asthma-like attacks. I've also started getting headspins pretty often, especially during exercise and stuff, which I think is my heart having trouble getting enough blood and oxygen flowing through my body, since it basically has to work overtime to start with anyway.

The problem is not super serious, but the right side of my heart is already slightly enlarged from the pressure and if I don't get it fixed, it will eventually result in heart failure and I'll probably like die or something. Yay! Anyway, testing and stuff has been going pretty swiftly and the next step is getting the hole closed. Luckily, my hole has been deemed suitable for a device closure, which means they can just shove a little tube up my leg and pop a plug in it, rather that splitting my sternum and going full open heart surgery on me, which I am pretty happy about.

If everything goes to plan, it should just be a ~45 minute procedure, they'll keep me in hospital over night to make sure everything is staying in place, and I'll get to go home the next day. I'll have to be on blood thinners for 6 months, but I should be pretty much back to doing normal daily stuffs after about 4 weeks. Now I just have to wait for them to give me a date. The doctor said it should be in the next 4 - 6 weeks, so I'm hoping to get this shit sorted soon, because even though everyone keeps being all like 'Yo, it's fine, don't worry about it', I've been pretty stressed out lately (because of this and some other personal shit), and it is super lame, but I'm trying to stay positive.

To add to the drama, apparently there is some sandbox MMORPG called Black Desert Online, and apparently this game has a town called.... Epheria. Are you fucking serious? What? I don't know how long this has been a thing, but I certainly didn't see anything about it when I was researching the name for my art brand. I have google alerts turned on for 'epheria' and several months ago I started getting some sporadic alerts for things like 'my fishing rod is missing' and shit, and got a little confused and was like 'Ahh, what?'

I didn't stress too much, because they were few and far between, and I assumed it must have just been a kind of shitty game that not many people played, but then they started getting more frequent, and now I get them all the time. Turns out this game only launched the same year as I launched Epheria, and was in beta and stuff, so I guess now it is more established and more people are playing it. I'm kind of at a loss what to do now because I'm not very good at marketing, and although a google search of Epheria used to return a bunch of my stuff, it is now completely flooded with images and forum posts of this game.

So now my brain is all like "Oh my god. Do I change the name? Do I just knuckle down and work on my marketing and SEO? Could this potentially become a legal thing if I DO keep the name? I don't know anything about this stuff, Jesus fuck, what do I do? This sucks!"

It kind of took me forever to come up with a name that I liked and fitted with what I wanted to do, and I've already put a fair bit into this whole Epheria venture, so I feel like changing the name would just set me back and I'd probably spend another 6 months trying to come up with a new name and just end up hating them all. I don't want to change it, and my plan was to just do my best to get my brand out there and get exposure, but now I'm paranoid about the legal side of things. Does anyone know about this kind of thing? I need to look into it, but I don't even know where to start.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Art Stuffs... How Do I Even?

I love doing arty shit for various reasons, but sometimes it's hard to be motivated. I want it to be something more than just this thing that I do sometimes, but it's usually really hard to tell if I'm actually making any progress or moving forward in the way that I want to be, and then I just sort of feel like I'm stuck in this rut and not achieving anything and it's really sort of depressing and makes me feel like shit.

So sometimes I take breaks, because I need to, and then I feel bad about taking breaks because it's not like I was working super hard to start with and deserve some time off or anything, even though my brain obviously needed to focus on something else for a while. It's a pretty horrible cycle, and it goes like this:
So on and so forth... for the rest of my life, probably. 

I guess I'm just kind of impatient with this sort of stuff because I don't see instant visible results, or get the sort of gratification or appreciation that one would hope for in such an 'industry', if that's what you want to call it. It probably doesn't help that I have such a fucking vast array of interests, and refuse to pick just one or two. I watch and read a lot about turning your craft into your business, and how to make moneys doing stuff you love, and all that shit, and one of the main things they always tell you is to stick with one thing. One thing.

People get confused when you do too many things, and they don't know what to think. Maybe they like some of your things, but not your other things, and then they get stuck on those things that they don't like, and that puts them off the things that they do like, and then their brain is just like "What the fuck is even going on in this persons head, because there is just too much shit and none of it is coherent, or relevant, and there is no constant theme or technique or medium like most artists are usually recognised by. Is this person even an artist, or are they just fucking insane?"

It's also really hard to explain what you do when you basically do anything and everything that you want to do, when you want to do it. Sometimes I want to draw cute little pictures of retarded robots and write a children's book, sometimes I want to try and make sexy and fancy as hell clothing and lingerie, and sometimes I just like to paint people bleeding out of every orifice on top of a burning house, while a pig vomits in the foreground. I haven't actually done that last one, but now I want to, because it sounds kind of awesome.

Do you see my problem here? I just came up with something completely retarded because I was trying to make a point, but now I've had the thought, and it is in my head, and now I feel like I need to create it, and this happens all the time. Except, that I either forget about it, and get annoyed about wasting an idea, or I write it down, or start making it even, and then I get distracted by another different idea and the same thing happens again, and next thing my entire house is full of these things, just sitting around, doing nothing, and taking up a LOT of space, but I can't get rid of them, because I still want to finish them.

But back to the point about sticking to one thing. It's easier if you just do one thing. You can concentrate more, get better at that one thing, maybe even get totally awesome at that one thing, learn how to market it, who is interested in it, how to write about it, and have an actually fucking answer when someone asks what kind of art you do. But I can't just do one thing. I can't even do just two things. Because if I chose something to concentrate on, there would be so many things that I would then be neglecting. So many things that I enjoy and want to do, and want to have be a part of my thing.

I want to be known for these things too. I don't want to just pick something to try and turn into a business, and then do the rest on the side as a hobby, because businesses are fucking hard work, and I don't even know if I would have time to do those other things on the side. Not to mention the pretty much impossible task of choosing which thing would be the best to try and make money from, and then the very real possibility of putting in all that work, maybe actually getting somewhere with it, and then deciding that I should have chosen something else.

I need to combine as many of these things as I can into my business, because I already have other things that I want to do in that free time. Circus, reading, playing video games, going to the gym, gardening, trying to learn BJJ so I can choke bitches, and pretty much everything else that is fun. It would also be nice to spend some of that time with my boyfriend, and my family, and my friends, and there's just not enough hours in the day, but I still waste the majority of them thinking about this stuff, or distracting myself from this stuff, because I just don't know what to do.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Bullying Realisations and My Experience at School

I was never a huge fan of school, as I'm sure is probably the case for most people. There were countless times that I faked sick, or actually, for the most part, did feel very sick in the mornings when I was suppose to be getting ready. If I'm honest, I don't know how many times were me making myself sick by getting so worked up, and how many were me actually feeling like I was going to throw up to start with, but I would do everything in my power to get out of going to school, and my parents, seeing me bawling my eyes out and obviously feeling like total shit for some reason or another, would often give in and just let me stay home. Sometimes I'd even hide until the bus went past and hope that mum was already at work or in too much of a hurry to get me ready and drive me in.

Occasionally, I would remain feeling sick and horrible for the rest of the day, but most of the time it would only be an hour or so until I felt completely fine, and my parents put this down to me faking it. I didn't really know myself if I had been faking it. I was sure I felt sick before, but now I was fine, so maybe I had just been playing it up after all. I didn't realise at the time, but when I look back on it now, I'm pretty positive that it was my anxiety making me feel sick. I did feel nauseous and dizzy, and I did feel like I was going to pass out, but once the perceived danger was gone, my body and my brain would start to relax and I would soon be skipping around the house feeling happy and healthy as ever, except for the cloud of guilt now hovering over my head.

Most of my life, I've been hearing horrible stories about school bullies. Whether from TV shows, books, or people I know. I always thought I got off pretty easy at school. I never got in a fight, nobody ever stole my lunch money, and I didn't have that one kid that I constantly had to hide from and try to avoid at all costs. I didn't think of myself as a victim of bullying. Sure, a lot of the time people didn't really seem to even notice that I existed, but they don't have a responsibility to give me their attention, and I am pretty sure that excluding a fellow student doesn't count as child neglect.

It wasn't until very recently that I realised I WAS bullied at school. Only, I hadn't thought about it that way, because the people who were bullying me were mostly the same people that I called my friends. There were plenty of lunchtimes when I would go back to class with somebody else's food on my clothes, or in my hair, because they thought it was funny to throw their unwanted lunch at me instead of putting it in a bin, or leaving it aside. They would even waste precious deliciousness on my humility. Cake frosting, spaghetti sauce, whatever would be the most uncomfortable for me, really.

Thinking back on it, there were indeed times that I tried to hide. Sometimes I would find a different spot to eat and hope that I could spend my lunchtime alone in peace, but they would usually find me and ask why I wasn't sitting with them and make me feel like I was being mean by avoiding them. I'd try to sit at a distance where I might have time to duck or dodge when I saw something being aimed at me, but they'd just wait until I wasn't looking, or move closer. The times I did manage to get through an entire lunchtime without having food thrown at me felt like a big success. Sometimes I even went the whole day without being target practice. Those were good days. Very good days. I could get on the bus, without fear of smelling like old food, without embarrassing smears on my clothes, go home and enjoy the rest of my seemingly fabulous day.

I vaguely recall some physical pain too. Not from getting beaten up, just trying to prove our strength and lack of sookiness, I suppose. Not that I had a choice in the matter. You can get punched in the arm while trying to take a sip from your popper, and if you flinch, you're a pussy, a weakling. It doesn't matter if you were caught off guard, or accidentally squirted so much juice into your mouth upon the impact that some came out your nose, and the entire inside of your face was now burning. You flinched. You are now the weakest in the group, and that makes you the target.

Wow, my friends were dicks. Friends. I am still referring to them by that word, even with these realisations. We did have good times, and I did enjoy hanging out with them when they weren't being mean to me, but I always had that fear whenever I was with them. I'd go to a birthday party, and some girl's mum would bring out some food. There's cheerios and tomato sauce. Yum, those look good. But I dare not go near them while the table is crowded. That is the one thing I will definitely have smeared on my face by the end of the day. Best just to stay back until everyone else has gotten theirs and moved aside. I would of course be left with all the ones that exploded and broke, and were now cold again, but that was a small price to pay in the attempt to keep my favourite party clothes devoid of stains.

I can't blame it all on them. I did try to avoid them and stand up for myself several times, but when it didn't work, I just gave up. I figured it was better to just deal with what was happening than to upset them and make it worse. Eventually, I started being mean too. I didn't throw food at people, or punch them when they were trying to eat their lunch, but I would say things sometimes. Things that were only meant as jokes, or being playful, but weren't always received as such. I like to think I didn't say anything that caused anyone significant feels, but when I think back on some of the small, seemingly insignificant comments that have given me complexes over the years, I can't help but wonder if I fucked up someone else's sense of self-worth in that way. I hope to god that I did not, and I apologize profusely if I did. Kids are stupid. They say stupid things, they do stupid things, and although most of the time they mean nothing of it, they can be unbelievably cruel.

Monday, 23 February 2015

EPHERIA: Launching my online store

A little over a month ago, I left the safety and constraint of my parents' house and moved in with my amazing boyfriend in the city. It was a pretty quick decision, and while I was super looking forward to removing the shitty 'long distance' part of our relationship, it was a very daunting process for me.

I knew I would be paying for rent, food, bills, and various other stuffs, and all I could think about was having to work a job that I hate and not having time to do my art.

I need my art. I NEED it. I've had times when I haven't really been able to make things, and it really messes me up. I get super stressed out, I can't concentrate on things, my sleep pattern is completely unpredictable, and my body becomes an aching and stuffy pile of potato.

I had to figure out a way to afford my new living situation and still have plenty of time to create. Short of becoming a stripper, this is my solution.

I have been wanting to make my art available to others for a long time, but I was lazy and not confident in my work. Since I have started wearing my handmade jewellery out in public and letting people see my stuff, I have been getting a lot of positive feedback. My responses grew slightly from a few anonymous internet comments, and now I get compliments from humans in real life, and people actually follow and consistently enjoy my work, asking where they can buy a particular item, and occasionally asking for commissions. Whaaaat? People like and enjoy my art? They want to have it for their own? This feels great!

I have touched briefly on personal style and the confidence it can bring in a previous post. I know the massive amount of difference that clothes and accessories I really like can make to my self-esteem, and if others can feel that with my creations, then fuck yes I want to be a part of that! 

So now that I have the motivation and encouragement to pursue this goal, it is finally happening for real. People will be able to own the pieces they want to own, and I might be able to make enough money to pay my rent. It's win-win, guys!

So the Epheria online store will be opening THIS WEEKEND and I am having a launch sale to celebrate this pretty massive step in my life, so don't miss it.

The sale starts at midnight on Friday (AEST) and includes everything in stock! Paintings, art prints, handmade jewellery, lighter covers, pins & patches.

Store will be located at epheria.storenvy.com :D

Enjoy your week! I'll be working hard, getting everything ready for the weekend x

Saturday, 25 October 2014

10 things you may not know about me:

I believe in unicorns, but I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will probably never get to see or meet one in real life. 

I have a ridiculously broad range of music that I listen to. I enjoy banging out to stuff like Rabbit Junk and Electric Wizard, but I am just as likely to be listening to Ellie Goulding, Hilltop Hoods or 1D, depending on my mood at the time.

I am probably one of the biggest hoarders I've ever met.

I was playing D&D a little while ago when a unicorn revealed itself to my character, gave me a magical lock of its glorious mane, and then fought side by side with our group in a battle. I literally cried with joy and was fangirling so hard that I couldn't even think of anything to say or ask it before it left.

Ronald McDonald stood me up on my 4th birthday and I have hated him ever since.

The first time I met my boyfriend was at a screening of Tommy Wiseau's 'The Room'.

I like my whisky straight, no chaser.

I use to do Taekwon-Do when I was about 5 or 6. One time I really needed to pee, but I was too scared to ask the instructor where the toilets were and if I could use them because he was a big scary martial arts dude and I was a very timid little girl, so I tried really hard to hold it in until the end of class. It didn't work.

I want my hair to be amazing, like Daigoro and Tank Girl. 

When I catch a train, I always try to get a seat with a wall behind it, so I can draw and read and stuff without being paranoid about random people peeking over my shoulder. It's my secrets! You aren't allowed to see!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Tutorial: Baggy Dude Shirt Convert Time!

Hello my lovelies!

I have found that a lot of the shirts I like are only available in guy sizes.
In the past when I came across this problem, I would either decide I didn't need it or I would get the size small and probably only end up wearing it around the house because of the whole dudes not being lady shaped and me looking like a dag thing.

HOWEVER! I finally gutsed up a while ago and put the scissors to one of these shirts so I could try and make it fit me better. It turned out to be somewhat of a success and it has since become a little bit of an addiction. I have only completed 3 so far, but I plan to make many more because it is fun and I get cool clothes out of it!

In this here blog post, I am going to show you how I turn my big baggy t-shirts like this one...

Into something like this:

 Before I tell you how to do this, I want you to be aware that a lot of my process involves just winging it and the photos I will be showing you were only taken for my own future reference because I didn't know I was going to be making this tutorial. I will do my best to explain everything and hopefully these photos will be sufficient. If you have any questions or confusions about any of this, feel free to ask in the comments and I will try to help :)

  Things you will need: 
  • A shirt that you are willing to cut up (remember that accidents can happen)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Pins for holding stuff together
  • Chalk or a fabric pencil for drawing on stuff
  • A sewing machine (or needle and thread and lots of spare time...)
  • A shirt that already fits you nicely (optional)
  • And a mirror somewhere that you can see your torso in

Now, technically you should make sure your shirt has been washed before you start this so you know it isn't going to shrink or change shape or anything.
You don't have to, but I would recommend it.

Done that?
Let's do it!

1. Put your shirt on and have a look in the mirror so you can check if there are any defects or anything that you need to take into account before you start your shirt convert. One of my shirts had a little bump on one side of the neck where it had caught a bit of extra fabric during manufacturing, which meant the print sat ever so slightly at an angle when it was on, so I had to make sure I got it straight when I was working out where to cut.
While you still have the shirt on, use your chalk to mark out how long you want it to be (front, back and sides), where you want your neckline to fall, where the arm holes/sleeves should start, and anything else you might need for your particular design.
If you want to really custom fit your shirt, you can pin where you want the seams to be now. Just make sure you don't do it too tight, you still need to be able to get it on and off. If you prefer, you can get your side lines using a shirt that already fits during the next step.

 2. Now you get to play around and work out the main part of your design :D
Lay your shirt down flat and flesh out the marks you made for the bottom, neck, and arms. If you didn't pin your sides earlier, grab a shirt that fits you nicely and lay it neatly over your baggy shirt, making sure you get the necks and bottoms parallel so you don't end up with a rhombus shaped top. Trace the shape of the sides onto your baggy shirt with your chalk. If you did pin your sides earlier, draw your lines along your pins. Don't forget to mark the back as well.

 Now sketch out anything else you might want to add. I have a bit of a thing for square necklines and butt tails, but this part is entirely up to you, so go nuts. I decided I didn't like that star on the back as soon as I finished drawing it, but I was going to have it as a cut out. I haven't played around with them yet, but when I do I will be sure to share my adventures. You could use any simple stencil design for cut outs on any part of your shirt, maybe even add a layer of nice lace fabric or something underneath it later if you are feeling fancy.

3. Once you have your design worked out, it's time to start deconstructing your t-shirt. Because we are going to have some raw looking edges from cutting, you will want to make all the rest of the edges raw too.
It looks a little bit silly when half of the edges are raw and half of them are professionally finished, so go ahead and start cutting. You will want to take off the collar, the sleeves, the hem of the sleeves, and the hem on the bottom of the shirt, as pictured below.

After you have done that, you can stretch out the raw edges to make them look a bit nicer. They will stretch with wear and washing anyway, so it is best to do it now while you are still making it. You probably don't want to cut a big deep neckline only to have it stretch and become an underbust.
If your sides aren't pinned yet, do that, and then try your shirt on again in front of the mirror because we are going to start fitting it soon and you need to make sure everything you just drew is going to be in the right place. Fix anything up if you need to.

Once you are happy with how everything looks, take it off and take a big deep breath because we are about to get to the scary part.

4. Are you ready? It's time to cut out your necklines, armholes and bottoms. You might want to do a bit at a time so you don't accidentally cut too much. I like to cut about an inch away from my lines to start with, stretch them out, and then try it on again so I can see if something is about to go terribly wrong. You might not always need to cut all the way to the line because of the stretching, but mine have all ended up pretty much bang on so how you go about this depends on how brave you are. Good luck.

Okay, you've cut your shape, got your sides pinned, tried it on again, and hopefully are on your way to a fabulous new top. If you are happy with how things are going, we shall continue. If you aren't happy with what you have just done, don't get too disappointed. You can always cut out the picture to use as a sweet patch and use the left over fabric for something else. That's why we didn't pick your favourite shirt.

5. If you've got your sides pinned so that the excess fabric is on the inside of the shirt, you are good to go. If you have the excess on the outside, you will need to turn your shirt inside out and move it around until you have a nice neat line down the side as close to the pins as you can get. Chalk this line, repeat on the other side, and then remove the pins and re-pin it while it is inside out.
Try to get your armholes and bottom cuts even where they meet up at the sides. I like to make sure my armpit is lined up nicely first because the bottom is easier to even out if I need to. Once everything is all in place, go ahead and sew those side seams. Trim off most of the excess, turn it back so the outside is on the outside again, check your fit and make sure you didn't screw up. I recommend not cutting the excess too close to the seam until you know it fits in case you need to undo it and try again.
If my instructions have been comprehensible, you will hopefully have something along the lines of this:
Except, like... your design.
If you like, you can leave it like this, but I'm going to keep going.

The next thing I do is ladder/weave. You can have a lot of fun playing around with these by using different shapes and weaves and putting them in different areas. I usually put a big one down the back, but they look good pretty much anywhere.

6. Figure out what shape you want and then draw a bunch of evenly spaced horizontal lines in that shape. I did a sort of hourglass shape for this shirt and a diamond shape for the black one. I just drew these by eye, but you might want to use a ruler or something if you aren't very good at drawing straight lines.

When you have your shape drawn up, go ahead and cut along the lines making sure you don't accidentally cut the other layer of fabric underneath. I added little vertical lines on the ends of mine so it was easier to tell where to stop cutting.

After you have cut them, stretch them out and start weaving. I'm not even going to try and explain how to do this in text, so I have added a video just below that will teach you how to do two different weave styles.

If you're not sure how to finish off the end of your weave, do this:

You should now have something that looks like this:

I finished off my Vyrion shirt by adding some cool detailing over the side seams.

To do this, I took the excess fabric I had cut off my shirt and cut two strips of equal size, long enough to cover the whole seam. I then folded those strips in half lengthways and cut little snips the whole way down the folded side, being careful not to cut all the way through, and stretched them out so I ended up with two pieces like this:
 I pinned them over the top of the side seams and sewed down both sides of the piece so it ended up like a little tube. The sides automatically rolled themselves over to hide the stitching because of the stretching.

Want to add some sleeves?

Relocate the ones you cut off earlier and I will attempt to explain how I went about doing mine.

Now, I am sure there is a fancier way to do this, but I put my shirt on, stood in front of the mirror, and tucked my piece of sleeve fabric into the armhole, moving it around until it sat nicely. I then used the chalk to mark onto the sleeve fabric where the armhole ran across it, where I wanted the sleeve to end, and for my particular sleeve design I drew where I wanted my cut outs and slits to be. You might want to pin it while you are doing this so it doesn't slip around and mess up your marking.
Then I took the sleeve back out (leaving the rest of the shirt on) and put it on my desk so I could draw the shape up properly, making sure I left extra space for seam allowance and adjustments where the sleeve would attach to the shirt.

I cut it out, stretched all the raw edges and tucked it back into the armhole quickly to make sure it looked right before tracing the shape onto the other piece of sleeve material for the other arm.
Cut and stretch your second sleeve, pin them both into place and sew them on.
Now you have sleeves :D

If there is anything else you want to add to your shirt, now is the perfect time to go crazy on it with finishing touches.

Get any remaining chalk off by either washing it or beating the crap out of it on some carpet or something.

You might want to gently hand wash your shirt if you are worried about it getting ruined in the washing machine. I washed mine by hand the first time but then I got lazy. My cut up shirts have been through the washing machine lots of times and I haven't had any problems yet, but I like to live dangerously.

Now go and show off your new sexy awesome shirt!

Be sure to show me a photo of your finished shirt convert if you do one.
I want to see it with my eyeballs!

Peace out xx