Machines 2, Fleshlings 0, or, Please have kidney bowl ready

typed for your pleasure on 12 June 2005, at 11.27 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Head’ by The Jesus and Mary Chain

Ahhh, Monday. The day that I finally had that damnable chalazion scraped off my head. You don’t forget something like that! No matter how hard you try.

I got round to my eye doctor last Monday, at 6pm. The actual appointment was at 6.30, but of course they’re like, ‘fill this stack of papers out that absolves us of all guilt and responsiblilty should we accidentally carve up your eyeball’, so they had me show up early. Having finished those in due course, I was escorted to the operating room proper, where the nurse placed a shower cap-like paper hat on my head, and had me lie on the cushioned cot/counter thing, with my head resting in a cushion to keep it from rotating. She then applied some eye drops, stating that Dr Lim would be in shortly, and made her way to assisting other patients.
Whilst I was lying on that pleather-upholstered cot, attempting to calm myself down by thinking pleasant thoughts, my mind drifted to what someone had once said about a universal truth to doctor visits of any kind. You wait for an interminable period, then they usher you into a smaller room, where you wait by yourself for another interminable period. I was waiting on that cot for a little over half an hour. At one point, I guess my focussing on pleasant thoughts had worked, as I actually fell asleep for a few minutes.

Dr Lim returned with the nurse presently. Dr Lim (her first name escapes me — I think it started with a ‘J’) is a short Asian lass, probably in her early thirties, and with a pleasant demeanour. She began swabbing my eyelid, stating that ‘The part that hurts the most is when we do the injections to numb the area.’ ‘Yeah, I remember that part from the last time I was here to get a chalazion removed,’ I replied. ‘It was really pinchy.’ And with that, we were off!
Now perhaps times have changed since my last chalazion removal — last time, in all honesty, the injection part was not all that bad — but on this go-round, I don’t know what happened, but the procedure wasn’t as smooth as last time. Truth be told, it hurt like a motherfucker. I don’t know if there wasn’t enough lidocaine, or too much, but the thing to remember with lidocaine injections is that they burn. It’s acidic. Factor in that that shit was near my eye, and you have a pretty wild scene, man. Plus, as I was expressing to Dr Lim and the nurse, I wonder if more of my pain was more psychosomatically induced, cos I’ll tell you: you know when you visit the dentist, and they use that pick thing to remove plaque from your teeth? You’re familiar with that sound and that general feeling, yes? Well, Dr Lim didn’t have a pick, but she was doing practically the same thing in removing the core of my chalazion. I could hear that pt pt pt sound as she was extricating it. Yeah. And heh, it’s not as if you can close your eye!

To attempt to get my mind off what they were doing to me, the nurse was like ‘You know, you look like you play an instrument. Do you play anything?’ So I attempted to explain that yes, I used to play guitar and keyboards (but not at the same time) in Dole age and Wreath.VCA as best I could. You know, trying to be my usual humourous and flippant self whilst exacavation was underway on my fucking eye. So in between gripping the nurse’s hand like grim death, I also told them about the Dears concert from that previous Sunday. That went well.
Eventually, Dr Lim couldn’t get all of it out via the inner eyelid. I neglected to mention that all surgery up til this point was performed on the inside of my eyelid, so as not to leave a scar, so they applied a lidclamp and flipped that bad boy open, which also hurt like a sonofabitch. But like I’d said, she couldn’t remove it all through the inside, so she announced that she was going to have to make an incision on the outside and get the rest out. I didn’t feel the scalpel incision at all, but the cauterising that she had to do on both sides of my lid was not pleasant, I’ll tell you. Ye gods. If I ever, ever, develop another chalazion ever again in my life, when I get it removed, my first words upon seeing the doctor will be ‘Fill me with Valium tabs until I no longer remember proper English.’

Everything could’ve been worse, however. The nurse was telling me that on Monday, she and Dr Lim would have to treat a bloke who had four rather large chalazions on each eyelid. They had gotten so out of hand that they were kinda spreading to his upper cheeks. Think about that one for a while.

If I’m not mistaken, the whole procedure, including the wiping up of the blood, and the wound cauterisation, and the eyewashing, and applying the eyepatch that made me look like a character in a Trevor Brown painting, took about an hour. I get to see Dr Lim again for a follow-up this Tuesday. Hooray for Modern Medicine!
Lucky for you, I forgot to take ‘before’ photos, so you’ll just have to use your God-given imaginations. And you can stop throwing up now, I’m all done with my story!

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Hey! Questions are up

typed for your pleasure on 12 June 2005, at 6.15 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Shout’ by Depeche mode

Since HaloScan and/or Blogger is being a stubborn shit, and won’t let me access the comments for the ‘You’ve got questions, we’ve got.. I dunno‘ posting, I’ve posted the questions for Penda and SafeTInspector right here.

for Joe:
1. So, SafeTInspector, what’s with the name ‘SafeTInspector’?

2. It’s probably too early to tell in your illustrious AuctionItTODAY career, but barring the NASCAR edition GigantiGrill, what’s the oddest thing you’ve shipped out?

3. In reading your comedy sketches, I notice that they’re quite funny, yet unrepentently insane. Who or what would you say inspires you when you start a-typin’ out a sketch?

4. If you could design a whimsical corporate mascot for any fast food place (either still in existence, or now-defunct), what would it be, and for what food chain would this mascot shill for?

5. If a maniacal ex-Nazi doctor had you strapped in a chair, all the while closing in on your unanesthetised mouth with a gleaming array of dental tools asking ‘Is it safe?’ over and over, what would your answer be? Keep in mind that he’s read your blog, and knows that you’re the SafeTInspector.

for Monti:
1. If you were able to, say, ‘get rid of’ someone without having any awful legal consequences heaped upon you, but you had to do it in a clandestne manner, how would you go about it? Hypothetically, of course, heh heh.

2. Think of a film that you otherwise like, yet it contains a glaring error or something that prevents it from being TEH BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. What film would that be, what would you improve, and how would you make it all better? (Alternatively, you can replace ‘film’ with ‘book’.)

3. Your wish has come true, and you’re finally Supreme Dictator of the World. What are your three unbreakable and most sovereign edicts?

4. What one piece of advice would you give to Monti circa 1995?

5. In your completely unbiased opinion, who would win in a bare-knuckle brawl between Stephen King and Clive Barker?

Don’t forget, fill in your answers on your Blog using a No.2 pencil. Ready GO

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But will she need a TelePrompTer?

typed for your pleasure on 12 June 2005, at 3.18 am

Sdtrk: ‘Changer’ by Stereolab

Another new version of Actroid-chan? Yes? Perhaps?? Probably not, but this version, which they’re referring to as ‘Actroid Repliee’ (which was her development name), is being groomed for a possible career in broadcasting.

Robots in Step

And now the news, with “Actroid Repliee.” Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro looks after this newscaster robot, which relies on “air servo actuators” to move its arms, head and torso smoothly.

A Gynoid newscaster? That’s an idea so revolutionary, that it revolves.
Little bit of trivia for you: t-dash-san, in that recent Email I’d mentioned, says that ‘Unison‘s President was a employee of KOKORO company which developed Actroid’. Another piece of the Synthetik puzzle falls into place..
More details will be posted here as soon as I hear of them, of course

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You’ve got questions, we’ve got… I dunno

typed for your pleasure on 9 June 2005, at 10.13 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Magic twin candle tale’ by Pizzicato five

O, that Veach and his questions. Still, I asked for it.. No, literally, I asked for it.

1. Can you translate these words–and tell me how to pronounce–in Japanese: ‘Stories, Novels, Art; Personal perspectives, Entertaining rhetoric, Hypertext effluvium & Ancillary diatribes’?
Not off the top of my head, but yes.
‘物語, 小説, 芸術; 個人的な見通し, 心に抱いている修辞, ハイパーテキスト effluvium, と ancillary 大言壮語’
mo-no-gah-TAH-ri, SHOW-sets’, gay-JOOT-su, ko-zheen-teh-ki na mi-tou-shi, ko-ko-ro ni hoh-ee-tay ee-ro SHU-zhee, hai-pa-teh-ki-su-to effluvium, toh ancillary tai-ken-sou-go.
You realise, of course, I cribbed most of that from AltaVista’s Babelfish, and since I don’t recognise a lot of the kanji, I used, so it’s probably one-half dictionary proper, one-half blazingly wrong. The only one I translated using my very own brain was ‘hypertext’. That one was easy..
Gods, ‘effluvium’. The closest synonym I could think of in English was ‘detritus’, and Babelfish was like, ‘huh?’ Maybe ‘debris’ would’ve worked..
O yeah, as far as seeing kanji characters as opposed to a series of amusing squares, set up Firefox’s encoding (under View) to auto-detect Japanese. Unless, of course, you like those squares.

And, on Quaisi’s site, Undercover in Japan what does the bench graffiti say on his 2 Jun 05 post?
Errm.. 2005, 13 May, some line that I can’t read, one of the 2chan ASCII emoticon cats (´∀`; ), another two lines I can’t read ending in ‘kokenashii’, and the last one starts ‘Prebo (playboy?) wa, akan (baby?) waaa, A & Y.’ Between the hearts, you’ve got something-mi (a name) and amona — I assume that last character is ‘na’, as it’s half cut off.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I do know Japanese, I just don’t know a lot of Japanese. VEACH YOU’RE TRYING TO KILL ME WITH YOUR MIND AREN’T YOU??

2. In my previous life, I was privy to an interview of a man who kept a woman’s corpse around for a few weeks for the purpose of gratifying himself with it’s oriface’s; he explained, calmly, that her immobility and constant availability were the primary reasons for his blantant disregard of her “best if used before” date. (With this attempt at dark-sarcasm in mind), what is Sidore Kuroneko’s most appealing raison d’etre?
First off, ew? Second, with Shi-chan, it’s not just the 24/7 sexual availability, but it’s just great that I have someone that doesn’t require my attention 24/7. If I’m in the midst of something, like homework or snaking a drain or whatnot, I don’t feel guilty if I’m not interacting with her, but I know she’s always there for me when I’m ready for her. Selfish? Maybe. But at least my reasons for our relationship are honest..
A fellow iDollator once equated Synthetiks with ‘adult teddybears’, in the respect that they provide comfort and well-being to their owners, among other things. I’d say that’s definitely the main reason I have Shi-chan. With her, I can be alone, but I’m never lonely.
Also, I like to think of myself and other iDollators as pioneers as well. When the day comes when Synthetiks — either inanimate RealDolls or full-fledged Androids and Gynoids — are as prevalent and commonplace as any other species, then I can sit back and say ‘yep, we were the first’.. Then I’d ask Sidore Mk VII for another backrub. 😉

3. Since the 23d parallel is actually located near the Tropic of Cancer, just below 49 US states, just above Hawaii, and I (and your devoted readers) are aware of your affination with the number; could you provide any interesting updates in which the number twenty-three has come to your attention?
Hrrm.. nothing’s really come up as regards twenty-three in quite a while. Well, nothing notable, anyway..
However, I can tell you that back when I doing my tour of duty as a specimen processor back in the late 90s, there was a certain test that we’d run, and it involved pouring off serum into a 4in tube, placing them into centrifuges, and spinning the living hell out of them for three minutes. Now, when you began working in the lab, you actually started out going round from cubicle to cubicle, collecting ready-to-be-tested tubes, and each tube had a numbered label for a different test. Before I was trained to process the specimens, I would collect all of those 4in tubes, which had the test number of 46. Collecting any of the tubes was boring in and of itself, as most of them had to go to different departments or whatever, but the tests for 46s was dead easy – gather, centrifuge, repeat. One day, something else had occurred to me: what’s half of 46? Dun dun DUUUUNN!!

4. Use the following four words in a paragraph, which makes any-kind of Davecat sense: conciliate, platitude, ribald, and picayune.
‘Attempting to talk his way out of a possible fight by using excessive charm, Roland’s ribald platitudes did quite a lot to conciliate the dockworker. Then, he bought him a copy of the Times Picayune.’
I’ve never actually used the word ‘picayune’ in my life before! Except in the context of the aforementioned newspaper. *looks up ‘picayune’* Ohhh!

5. (No matter how improbable) You are permitted to have the return of one inanimate item, which you owned previously, but you’ve since lost, sold, or given away. What is it? What does it’s loss mean to you? What would it’s return mean to you?
My youthful idealism. No, I’d have to say my ARP Axxe. It was the first analogue keyboard I bought, and in retrospect, I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I should’ve. Back then, I really wanted a Moog, but couldn’t find one, so I ‘settled’ for the Axxe. I got plenty of use out of it, mind, but as soon as I found a reasonably-priced Moog Rogue, I traded my Axxe for it. I love my Rogue cos of its deep mid and bass tones, but the appealing thing about the Axxe is that it had utterly screaming high-end, and if I had both of them, I think they’d work really well together.
I had one of the older versions as well, with the gold lettering and the wood cheeks. Sigh..

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Now then, it’s your turn. Who wants me to interview them? You? Perhaps you, in the back? Or you — not you with the mullet, sit down — no, you over there with the duck hat; you want some questions, squire?
Just so you know, this all works better if you have a blog, otherwise I’ll have no idea what I should be asking you

The Official Interview Game Rules

1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions — each person’s will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Hit me squarely! Don’t be afraid

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The halls of SHADO are empty now

typed for your pleasure on 9 June 2005, at 10.08 pm

Sdtrk: ‘I hear a symphony’ by Pizzicato five

Well, shit. 🙁

UFO Stars Ed Bishop and Michael Billington Have Died

In an appalling tragic coincidence, ED BISHOP and MICHAEL BILLINGTON, the two lead actors in Gerry Anderson’s 1969 series UFO have both died this week within days of each other.Michael Billington, who played man-of-action Colonel Paul Foster in the series, passed away on Monday, June 6th. He was 63. The circumstances of his death have not been released.

Ed Bishop, who starred as the tough, dedicated SHADO Commander Ed Straker in UFO and also provided the voice for Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, died on the morning of Wednesday, June 8th, just three days shy of his 73rd birthday. He is believed to have contracted a fatal virus while undergoing hospital treatment, but the exact cause of death is currently under investigation.

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Random effluvium, infinitum ad nauseum

typed for your pleasure on 7 June 2005, at 2.40 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Alsh’ by The focus group

Articles of negligible importance:

+ Take the ‘Mod or Fraud’ quiz! TAKE IT!!
I scored 12 right out of 17, which is actually a bit embarrassing

+ New Death in June rarities compilation due out this month, entitled ‘Abandon tracks!’ Funny, you’d think this sort of news would be announced on their website, but it’s not been updated since October of last year. :-\

+ My new favourite music label: Ghost box. They are virtually dripping with that esoteric audio-scientific Sixties British vibe that Broadcast so fervently cultivated in me. ‘Ghost Box is an independent music label for artists that find inspiration in library music albums, folklore, vintage electronics, and the school music room’, they say. O yeah

+ The Main Art Theatre in Royal oak is supposed to be premiering ‘Howl’s moving castle’ this Friday, I believe? Gotta round up the lads for that

+ In playing Otogi for the Xbollox, I noticed something very intriguing. It has what might well be called the best soundtrack for any videogame ever made. It’s like a Heian-era Cocteau twins headed by Brad Laner, if you can dig that shizzle. Lots of taiko drums, lots of shamisen, lots of loops, lots of creepy voices from out of nowhere. Unfortunately, it seems that a soundtrack Cd only exists in my fevered imagination, cos I can’t find one for the life of me. Grrr. And now I gotta buy the sequel??

+ new Japanese mook (one of those Engrish portmanteaus of Magazine + bOOK), called ‘My Doll Friend’, that deals with, well, Artificial companions. Obviously I have to procure a copy by hook or by crook, although fellow Japanese iDollator t-dash (of BACKxFORE fame) mentioned in a recent Email that ‘[On the Japanese Doll BBSes], they say that MOOK doesn’t have the contents which correspond with its price.‘ I remain undeterred!

+ No new Actroid news! Just give it a month or so

+ Finally, it’s supposed to be in the upper eighties outside all this week. Christ in shitty knickers. :-\ One of the things I neglected to mention in my 85 things list is that my ideal temperature is between 60 – 65° Fahrenheit. I can’t stand being out in anything above 75° or so for long periods of time. Sweating is really undignified, unless you’re having it off with someone, and even then I suggest air conditioning

‘Shouting to hear the echoes’. You can’t say you didn’t learn something

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Again with the Dears??!

typed for your pleasure on 7 June 2005, at 4.23 am

Sdtrk: ‘Fallait pas écraser la queue du chat’ by Clothilde

Yup, Jeff & I caught the Dears at the Magic stick again this Sun past, and we successfully managed to drag along Mike as well (he’s even more of a shut-in than I am, if that’s even physically possible). It was a really ace show, and easily better than the last time we saw them..

Departing from Le Jeff’s digs in eighty degree heat (great, Summer’s fuckin’ here already), we reached the locale, and simply walked right upstairs, as there wasn’t really any sort of queue to speak of, which we chalked that up to the fact that it was a Sunday. Having paid for our tickets, we were greeted by a trio of lasses who draped these backstage-pass-like things round our necks, like we’d just set foot on Fantasy Island or something. ‘Welcome to the show!’ said the lasses. ‘Why, thank you!’ I replied. Turns out that the Dears have signed out with that crazy Dentyne ‘Live it Loud’ service, where you can purchase a Cd, recorded directly from the soundboard, of the very concert you just saw. Despite all the corporate trappings, it’s actually a pretty ace idea. See the show, wait 15min, leave the venue with a copy of the show on disk. The passes that we were awarded with were actually contest pieces, as this bloke in a Dentyne shirt checked them under a little UV light. If the pass said you were a winner, you won a free concert Cd (normally $15). None of us were winners, but the checker bloke said we would have another chance if we had any Dentyne on us. We failed in that regard as well. ALAS ALACK

I neglected to mention the doors opened at 8pm. So it was rather surprising that the first opening act, Marjorie fair, went on about 17min after 8. Quickest start-up ever?! None of us had ever heard of them before, and were happy to discover that they didn’t suck. They’re a bit like the Dears, but not nearly as intense.. quite pleasant in a gloomy sort of way. Not bad! Shame their set was so short — they couldn’t have played more than five songs..
The following act, the Shout out louds, weren’t bad either. Three blokes and a rather milkmaidy-looking lass from Sweden, that had a bit of a Nordic pop / Remington super 60 vibe to them. I’d also say some of their tunes sounded a wee bit like New order as well, but I think that was due to their Linn drum. The lead singer explained that their drummer was absent, as he was getting married, so they borrowed a drum machine. Honesty really is the best policy. Midway through their set, George, the drummer from the Dears, took over, and his crazy talents helped to thicken up their sound. But I liked the Linn drum..

I believe the Dears took the stage, to the strains of Yoko Ono’s ‘Let me count the ways’, around quarter to midnight. This marks the fourth time Jeff & I have seen them: once in Ann arbor, once in Windsor, and once before at the Magic stick. They can’t stop touring! In all likelihood, they’ll probably be bringing this leg of the tour to a close, as Natalia was noticeably a couple of months preggers with a bun in the oven. Or a baby, one or the other. The band were in fine form, playing a couple of their soon-to-be-released songs, a good portion of material from ‘No cities left’, and a few songs from ‘End of a Hollywood bedtime story’, which I think is my favourite album of theirs. Murray even had us all clapping in time to ‘Heartless romantic’ during the encore..

After the show was over, Jeff stood in line to get his pre-ordered post-concert Cd, and as I was relatively skint, I bought two Dears buttons instead. We’d noticed that the venue was half-empty, which, in a way, is kinda nice, as you’re not packed in like sardines, but hopefully the performers didn’t think it was just a crappy night. This is why you don’t play Sunday eves! But all in all, we’d agreed it was an excellent show, bringing our party’s total number of skyward-pointing thumbs to three.
Well done, the Dears! Now go home and get some sleep!

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