The Russians are coming! That’s a double entendre! Part II

typed for your pleasure on 23 January 2013, at 12.33 am

Sdtrk: ‘Perfect life’ by Belong

Now, when I say this is Part II, I’m being only half-truthful. I mean, as you’ve read Part I already, you’ll know that I’ve pretty much tidily wrapped up the tale regarding How I Got Elena Home. This post goes more into observations that I’ve made about her, now that she’s been with us for a few weeks.
She quite likes it here, incidentally! Although with it currently being Winter, periodically I’ll whinge about it being snowy out, and she’ll almost always respond with ‘You call that snow??’, followed by several minutes of cynical laughter. Eventually, I stopped mentioning it.
Click here for the rest of the post, bunky »

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‘And I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh’

typed for your pleasure on 17 January 2013, at 8.39 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Anti 12/12/90’ by Emil Beaulieau

I do (sorta) try to pay attention to this sort of thing, but when the hell did ‘Shouting to hear the echoes’ break the 600k visitor mark?? I mean, that totally slipped one past the keeper. Huh!
Well, thanks to all of you! Do come back for more of the same!

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The Russians are coming! That’s a double entendre! Part I

typed for your pleasure on 30 December 2012, at 11.46 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The old spring town’ by The High Llamas

As you’ll have seen, there’s a seductive new affictitious lass living at Deafening silence Plus; her full name is Elena Valeriya Vostrikova, and she is a Body 4 Victoria-head Doll by Vladivostok-based company Anatomical Doll. Some of you who have seen Sidore and I in those two episodes of TLC’s programme ‘My Strange Addiction’ that initially aired throughout 2011 may recall that I’d said that I was ordering a second Doll, and since no second Doll seemed to be forthcoming, Elena took on a somewhat mythical status. For the longest time, even we were wondering if we’d ever have another playmate. But she’s home! She’s learning English, snuggling up with the Missus often, constantly asking if I can play any Cocteau twins round the flat — she’s a big fan — and generally improving our lives, in the way that only a Synthetik can. Shi-chan and I are incredibly glad to have her here!
But what was the issue between 2011 and now, you axe? Well, for one, never axe anyone a question. But I’ll tell you anyway.
Click here for the rest of the post, bunky »

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Wooden crated arrival / Rocket-powered departure

typed for your pleasure on 26 December 2012, at 10.17 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Dance floor bathroom’ by Coachwhips

Time for the annual Shouting to hear the echoes Boxing Day Post! And by ‘time’, I mean that this would be the first time I’ve ever announced this sort of thing. And more than likely the last! Who has time to read a blog on Boxing Day? People are too busy punching each other!
And that’s the exact lack of cultural sensitivity that’ll prevent me from moving to Toronto.

For all of you who keep furtively checking the post announcing the impending arrival of our rubber Russian, Elena Vostrikova, she’s been safely home since the 18th of the month. I’m slowly writing the posts that’ll comprise my review of her (spoilers: Sidore and I are in love with her), as well as the tale of How I Brought Her Home, so expect that in… err, January? Yes. But Lenka’s enjoying herself at Deafening silence Plus! The Missus has someone female to interact with, and my plan of getting multiple Dolls from differing manufacturers has moved a step forward!
We’d hosted the last Doll Congress of the year round at ours; Mahtek and Noquiexis from Ohio, CJD and his Organik wife Cat from Ontario, and ‘Hans’ from Chicago were in attendance, and we were joined by Euchre later that eve for dinner. Not only was it the first official Congress we’d had since last August, but this was the first time everyone got to meet Sidore and Elena together! As usual, it was a fab time, with great people, but then, our iDollator meetups always are.

After everyone piled into their cars and went home, Lenka wanted me to get her first official photoshoot in! So I did.

Just under sixty photos is a good start, I think. She’s gonna need more clothes; she’ll never fly Korean Air again, as they lost her luggage. Lesson learned!

And on the obverse side of the coin, today I also learned that Gerry Anderson, creator of amazing science fiction productions such as UFO, Space: 1999 and ‘Doppelgänger’ (aka ‘Journey to the far side of the sun’ outside the UK), and pioneer of Supermarionation, the revolutionary technique that brough us Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, passed away today at 83 years of age.

Gerry Anderson: Obituary
BBC News | Published Wednesday, 26 December 2012

TV producer Gerry Anderson, who has died at the age of 83, made his name with classic shows like Thunderbirds – despite saying he never liked working with puppets.

After starting his career at the Colonial Film Unit, part of the Ministry of Information, Anderson set up a TV and film production company, AP Films.

But work was hard to come by, and when he was approached to make a puppet show called The Adventures Of Twizzle in 1957, he had little option but to accept.

“I was shattered when I learnt the programmes had to be made with puppets as I’d allusions of making great pictures like Ben Hur,” he later said.

“But there we were with no money, and an offer on the table. We had to take it.”

Another puppet series, Torchy The Battery Boy, followed, and the positive reaction to his wooden creations and relative failure of live action ventures persuaded him to stick with the marionettes.

The 1960 series Supercar, about a vehicle that could travel in the air, on land or under the sea, honed Anderson’s trademark formula of mystery and futuristic adventure.

It also allowed Anderson to perfect his production technique called Supermarionation.

The voices were recorded first, and when the puppets were filmed, the electric signal from the taped dialogue was hooked up to sensors in the puppets’ heads.

That made the puppets’ lips move perfectly in time with the soundtrack.

Subsequent science-fiction puppet series Fireball XL5 and Stingray were also hits, and Anderson dreamed up the idea for Thunderbirds in 1963 while listening to a radio report about a team of rescuers rushing to a collapsed mine in Germany.

The idea for International Rescue was born, and the show saw the Tracy brothers take off in their fleet of space-age craft from the secretive Tracy Island to complete daring rescue missions and combat nefarious villains.
the rest of the article is here

After Doctor Who, UFO has to be one of my favourite science fiction programmes from England. Its optimistic view of the future — the series took place in 1980 — was the kind of future that I would’ve loved to live in, as the fashion and architectural design was completely informed by the Sixties. I mean, if you can’t trace a direct line from the purple wigs of the SHADO Moonbase Operators to my wife’s preferred haircolour, you haven’t been paying attention. And although I enjoy Thunderbirds, to me it pales in comparison to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. The episodes were a better length, more espionage-driven, and every episode had the Mysterons broadcasting their intentions, as Spectrum raced to foil their plots.
Those shows, as well as most of the ones produced by Gerry’s company, Century 21, featured mechanical designs by Derek Meddings and Reg Hill, whose influence lives on in the many tokusatsu series of Japan. Years ago, I’d attended an anime convention, and one of the Q&A panels had one of the Super Sentai production staffers being interviewed; I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, but he was one of the producers. One of the friends I went with had asked if there was a correlation between all the vehicular techno-gadgetry of shows such as the Ultraman and Super Sentai franchises, and he’d replied that Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation programmes were a huge inspiration on the set and model designs. And of course, let’s not forget that we wouldn’t have Parker and Stone’s ‘Team America: World Police’ without him.

Considering the legacy of innovations that he’d created, the world will probably never see another director as unique as Gerry Anderson

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Она радостна, потому что она окончательно приходит домой

typed for your pleasure on 15 December 2012, at 4.26 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cœur synthétique’ by Jean-Jacques Perrey

The gorgeous ginger you see before you is made by Russian Doll manufacturer Anatomical Doll, and would be the near-mythical Elena Vostrikova that you’ve been hearing about for the past couple of years.
Details to follow when she gets settled in at our home soon, so keep an eye out!

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typed for your pleasure on 25 November 2012, at 7.01 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Scrape it off’ by YVETTE

Musing aloud: I’m curious as to how I’d go about getting corporate sponsorship from the heavy hitters in the industry. I’m thinking I’d either go with Weyland Industries, or the Tyrell Corporation. Gotta look into getting in on the ground floor of those soon…

+ You’ve probably seen news on her already, but fellow Synthetik lover Vokabre has just sent me pics and info about Russia’s first Gynoid, Alisa Zelenogradova, made by the group Neurobotics. Lookin’ good!

Her facial features are based off one of the employees, and as you can see, Alisa is highly expressive. What’s more impressive about that is that her silicone face has only has eight points of articulation, as opposed to other Gynoids; the Italian Synthetik FACE, as an example, has thirty-two. At this stage, Alisa is really just a Gynoid head on a mannequin body, but as Werner Herzog once said, even dwarves started small.
She has cameras in her eyes, and can interact with others through Skype, as telepresence is one of her intended uses. Not only that, her AI software allows her to understand and respond to quite a few questions. And, according to her page on VK, Russia’s version of Facilebook, she’s twenty-six years old, and single. If you ask me, these Russian mail-order brides are improving!


Photo © by Vokabre. That hairstyle makes her look a bit like Cilla Black

If you’re not afraid of Cyrillic characters, you can read about Vokabre’s trip to Neurobotics’ studio here. Let’s hope we hear more good news about Alisa and her handlers in 2013!

+ You’ll be pleased to know that Abyss creations and its sister site Phoenix studios are continuing to produce affictitious ladies! For Abyss’ fifteenth anniversary last year, they quietly released Crystal, a head that was initially designed for the RealDoll 2 bodies, but is compatible with most of the RealDoll 1 bodies as well, as it has a full skull design. Good thing Matt McMullen waited until the fifteenth anniversary to do something like this, otherwise we might’ve been looking at a face named Pottery, or Wool, for that matter.


photos © by Stacy Leigh

I’d say she’s really appealing — she has a very pleasing facial shape. I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with a Crystal-type in your home.
Matt also told me that not only is he going to be releasing some additional new faces soon, but he’s currently finishing off two new RD2 bodies as well. Body C will be supermodel-like in stature: tall, lean, and with a smaller bust, whereas Body D will be, as he described, ‘similar to Body 5 but with a dash of body 10 thrown in’. So busty and curvy, then? Huh! *nods approvingly*

Phoenix studios, in keeping up with the silicone Joneses, have recently debuted the Boy Toy Lite! Christmas is coming up rather soon, after all.


Right, there you are — naked Doll bOObs. Happy now?

Basically, the Boy Toy Lite is a less-articulated version of their regular Boy Toy models — as she’s more designed for play than for photoshoots, she has no articulated joints. You can rotate her arms 360° at the shoulders, and her head is capable of turning, but that’s the lot, really. She’s made of the same platinum silicone as the other Dolls, and comes in at a trim 45 lbs, but she’s got as many points of articulation as a Todd McFarlane ‘action’ figure. Still, if you’re looking to buy a Doll that you’re only really going to be engaging in sexytime with, the Boy Toy Lite should suit you down to the ground.

+ Ray Bradbury, circa 1965, writing a response to the snobbery that narrow-minded individuals held against Walt Disney’s animatronics, in an article for Holiday magazine entitled ‘The Machine-Tooled Happyland‘:

After I had heard too many people sneer at Disney and his audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, I went to the Disney robot factory in Glendale. I watched the finishing touches being put on a second computerized, electric- and air-pressure-driven humanoid that will “live” at Disneyland from this summer on. I saw this new effigy of Mr. Lincoln sit, stand, shift his arms, turn his wrists, twitch his fingers, put his hands behind his back, turn his head, look at me, blink and prepare to speak. In those few moments I was filled with an awe I have rarely felt in my life.

Only a few hundred years ago all this would have been considered blasphemous, I thought. To create man is not man’s business, but God’s, it would have been said. Disney and every technician with him would have been bundled and burned at the stake in 1600.

And again, I thought, all of this was dreamed before. From the fantastic geometric robot drawings of Bracelli in 1624 to the mechanical people in Capek’s R.U.R. in 1925, others have conceived and drawn metallic extensions of man and his senses, or played at it in theater.

But the fact remains that Disney is the first to make a robot that is convincingly real, that looks, speaks and acts like a man. Disney has set the history of humanized robots on its way toward wider, more fantastic excur­sions into the needs of civilization.
the entire article is here

+ In the mood to have your heartstrings vigourously tugged on? Then why not head over to cat versus human, home to art by a lass named Yasmine, and read the bittersweet tale ‘Little Robot‘, which concerns a Gynoid and her feline friend.

I apologise in advance for using this specific adjective, but both the art and story are rather *clears throat* adorbs. Be sure to thank fellow iDollator Euchre for that link, by the way.

+ And thanks to Jill Tilley, Euchre again, and about ninety-eight other people, I bring you the (in)famous Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Yes, you knew it was a matter of time before 1) Japan made this lysergic dream a reality, and 2) for me to report on it here.

In case you somehow managed to not hear about this phenomenon at all over the course of 2012, there’s a restaurant in the Kabukicho red-light district of Shinjuku that centres round female robots. From all accounts, it costs roughly $50USD to get in, the food is unimpressive, and as you can see in the above video, it is an all-out assault on the senses, as if Fellini had directed ‘Tron’. When not performing waitress duties, there are bikini-clad Organik lasses playing daiko drums, or riding neon tanks, or neon motorcycles, or a gigantic neon kabutomushi, or performing neon-lit dance routines, or piloting giant ten foot tall Gynoids that can move their heads, faces, and arms.

Now, it should be painfully obvious that I’m glad such a place exists — even though I think the Gynoid mecha look a bit bland facially, I’d have to be pried out of any one of their cockpits with a crowbar — but my christ, it’s a lot to look at. Did they get local dekotora designers to oversee the interior? Because, y’know, NEON EVERYWHERE FOREVER.
I recently asked neji-san, the bloke who created the alluring Tsukuhami, if he had been there yet, and he mentioned that the area it’s located in gets a bit rough after dark, and moreover, it seems the sort of place that doesn’t cater so much to technosexuals, but more towards gawkers and touristy types. As far as the sensory overload aspect of the club, writer Patrick Macias notes,

[T]he joint is more like a kyabakura, or “cabaret club”, than an actual restaurant. Three measly food items in all are listed on the menu, a perfunctory measure probably because it’s easier to get a license for food service than to apply for a “giant robots plus army girls and marching bands and motorcycles” license.

I’d agreed with neji-san — it’s not subdued on any level, and you run the serious risk of an epileptic seizure, but it’s definitely a place I think every technosexual-minded person should visit, given the opportunity. Perhaps the more of us that patronise the club, maybe they’ll think about branching out to other locations and making it a chain? We can only hope. Cos I mean, what’s the alternative? Hard rock Cafe?


Could this possibly be where the Tyrell Corporation will get started?

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This is where I get to tell you lot about my new job

typed for your pleasure on 17 November 2012, at 1.57 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sun eater 1’ by Noise/girl

If readers such as yourself have been following my Twitter feed, you might well be aware that I have a new job that’s much less soul-crushing than what I’m accustomed to! Err, you might know this; I didn’t really make a big deal about it. If you are somehow medically unable to use Twitter, well… I have a new job! It’s much less soul-crushing than what I’m accustomed to! There; now you’re caught up.

For the past half year, I’d been working with a temp service agency ever since the job I’d had (hereafter referred to as Aclims), ever since was… different than what I was initially told it would be. My resume is top-heavy with call centre positions — eighteen years’ worth, which is reason enough for starting an intimate relationship with heroin — and as a consequence, when potential employers see it, they say ‘Hey, here’s someone who obviously loves being on the phone!’ Every other week, I’d call the various temp agents, and they’d either say that the only places with positions available were call centres, or that no-one in the industries I wanted to get into were hiring. Since I went through so many agents, who apparently weren’t keen on comparing notes, every time we’d speak, they’d ask what I was looking for. ‘Data entry, imaging, proofreading, library work, things like that. I’m completely burnt out on call centres.’ Then that agent would disappear after a month, and someone new would call, with an exciting position at a call centre. That happened more often than I care to recall.
Imagine my surprise, then, when the latest agent offered me something that revolved round data entry, with very little to no opportunities to be on the phone, at the same pay scale as what I was making at Aclims! A dream come true? I’d sure as hell find out!

On the 26th of last month, after undergoing a 40min interview at the office of New Job, I was told that yes, I’d be doing data entry and nothing but. I wouldn’t even be on the phone! In fact, the only two downsides to the position would be the drive into downtown Detroit, which is something I’ve not done in years, and that it literally would be a temporary position. My task would be to enter raw data into their Intranet, so that it could be converted to the new system they’re about to implement, and the goal for that was February 2013. I’d asked if there’d be other data entry positions available after that deadline, and Ms P_______ said there wouldn’t be, unfortunately.
I was faced, then, with a quandary: remain at my current job, which every day nudges me closer to a messy-yet-effective ritual suicide, or start a new job that brings much more satisfaction, but for a limited time only? Well, you already know the answer; it’s there in the title.

Like most places of employment, Aclims prefers a two-week notice before quitting, but New Job would have me starting on 5 Nov. I went into Aclims on Monday, with the intention of working that day, the following day, and quitting Wednesday, but by the time I got upstairs, I couldn’t be arsed to even begin my last workdays there, and told my team leader that today would be my last day, so I could move on to greener, less-phone-related pastures. All told, I was going to need that week off to try to get used to waking up at a decent time…

As of today, it’s been ten days, and so far, I’d say this is the second best job I’ve ever had! I have an HID BADGE to get into the building and a DRAWER that requires a KEY to unlock it and I have POST-IT NOTES and ONE OF THOSE SHELF THINGS ON AN ARM WHERE YOU CAN PUT YOUR KEYBOARD and I am DRUNK WITH POWER. I’m in at 8am, beating most of the traffic, and out of there no later than 4pm, beating most of the traffic. Most importantly, I’m pretty much left to my own devices to listen to my Google Music library, and enter just under 7000 names and critical notes from several stacks of paper into the system. Rather makes me feel like one of the transcribers of the Domesday Book doing that, only I’m using a computer, and not a quill pen.
Of course, I’ll undoubtedly have to start scrambling for employment come January, but as I’m literally the only person in the office assigned this task, who knows if I myself can meet this deadline? Who can say if it doesn’t, say… stretch to April?? After all, I’m just one bloke! I’m reminded of the teenage girls hired to transcribe hours of tape to type out the draft for Andy Warhol’s a, A Novel. I think Gerard Malanga said that it seemed they were really taking their time about things — if you’ve read a, A Novel, you’ll know they weren’t especially careful about spellchecking or formatting — but Gerard speculated they were going slowly so they could hang out at the Factory longer. Can’t really blame ’em!

Brief as the assignment may be, it’s definitely nice not having a throbbing pit of dread in my stomach every time I get ready for work. Good job, New Job!

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