Again with the interviews! / Saturday chicanery

typed for your pleasure on 25 September 2005, at 5.43 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Sooner than you think’ by New order

Just got off the phone with Annette Heide, a writer for a German magazine, who’s conducting interviews with various RealDoll owners, in conjunction with the release of ‘Still Lovers’. The chat lasted for a little over 40 minutes, and was only marred by its brevity and our respective cellphone’s dodgy receptions. We’ll be in contact with each other sometime this week, where I’ll inform you of more details then. It’s a good year to be an iDollator. 🙂

On Saturday, I hauled myself out of bed at 7.30am, in order to meet up with Jeff at Derek & Steph’s digs, so that we could drive out to Ann arbor for one of our periodic shopping trips. We arrived there a little after 10am, and after making tactical strikes on Encore records, Borders, Vault of midnight, and Wizzywig, where I picked up a couple of gashapon figurines of Mikura from ‘Mezzo’, we enjoyed a fine lunch (which was more like a dinner) at Totoro, and took off from A2 round quarter to two. Not bad!
Speaking briefly of anime, I was pretty chuffed to read in the latest issue of Newtype that Vol.1 of ‘Tetsujin No.28‘ is due out in less than a week. Feckin’ ace! I’d better make some space on my DVD shelf..

Having made a quick stop at Jeff’s, he and I sped out to Cranbrook museum, where we met up with Wolfgang and his wife Masako for the Bridget Riley exhibit. As it was a retrospective of Ms Riley’s work from the early Sixties to now, it lacked more of her monochromatic pieces, which are the ones I really love, but nevertheless, it was pretty ace seeing her works in something outside of a book or magazine..
At 4pm, we attended a lecture taking place in one of the auditoriums — really, it wasn’t so much a ‘lecture’ as it was Bridget and a curator lass who handled organising the exhibit, sitting around a coffee table on stage and having a Q-and-A session. Unfortunately, as I had been working off five hours of sleep, followed by a number of hours being out and about, I nodded off a couple of times during the lecture, which made me feel like an uncultured churl.
As a bit of an aside here, I’d like to reaffirm that I love art — depending on what it is, I love some styles and approaches more than others, for obvious reasons — but in general, hearing in-depth artistic discussions bores the knickers off me. A lot of the time I really have no reference points to what’s being said, and I also believe that there’s only so much scrutiny that a person can do with anything.. it gets to a point where it transforms from a simple analysation into a hyper-critical dissection, and when you reduce something into its component parts, the potential for enjoyment of the subject for its own sake disappears. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be analytical about such things, as wanting to know what, why, and how an artist does what they do is important,
and I’m not saying I’m personally opposed to wanting to learn more about the whys and wherefores of artists, but personally, I can’t over-analyse things like that all the time, as it goes from being less of an enjoyable thing, and quickly shifts into the area of boring academics.
But the Bridget Riley exhibit was fun overall. I just wish they’d had more examples of her black-and-white optical amphetamine paintings..

Round 6.30, Jeff and I returned to his, where we awaited Tim and Derek’s appearance. Derek must’ve fallen asleep or was eaten by badgers, as only Tim showed up. But we spent the rest of the eve watching more episodes of ‘Black books’, the first two eps of ‘Samurai 7‘, a handful of dodgy music videos, and blabbing about the sort of semi-underground media that we’re into; i.e, comic books, anime/manga, DVDs and toys/collectibles, and I took off close to 2am. Hoorej!

And that comprised my week-end! I think there’s a lesson there for all of us

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Stuff / Nonsense

typed for your pleasure on 23 September 2005, at 1.01 am

Sdtrk: ‘Corporeal’ by Broadcast

Err, yesterday afternoon I motored over to Record time in Ferndale, in order to pick up Broadcast‘s excellent new release, ‘Tender buttons’. As I’d already heard it thanx to the pirates that sail the vast binary seas of the Internet, it was a guaranteed keeper purchase. It’s not as good as ‘Ha ha sound’ in my opinion, but it definitely has its own subtle Derbyshire-esque charm. And did I mention that they’re going to be in town again on 5 November? And word has it that there’ll be copies of Vol.2 of Microtronics for sale at the show! I am Brimful of Excitement!
But also while I was in the store, I wandered past their DVD rack and noticed that the long-awaited New order DVD box set, ‘Item‘, was out, which I’d forgotten the release date for, so I grabbed that as well and headed up to the register. If you’re a New order fan — and why wouldn’t you be? — it’s definitely worth a purchase. Especially watching the documentary ‘New order story’ on the second disk, and seeing Hooky’s interview segments, where he’s in a bar, dressed like Don Johnson, and surrounded by trannies. LOL, as the kids say..

And ‘Corpse bride‘ and ‘Serenity‘ are practically out already?? Can I view them both simultaneously? Is that even possible??

Heh, funny story about work today: I arrived there at 8.50 am, as per usual, and my first job was to drive a vehicle to one of our drop-off points over by the Pontiac Silverdome, which took roughly 40 minutes. The other two drivers and I returned to base, and kinda sat round for a number of minutes until Kelly started doling out work orders for us.. John was given a Jeep, Dave was given a PT Cruiser, and I was given a van. So as Dave and John locate their respective vehicles, I’m still wandering round the lot looking for my van when it turns out that I was supposed to be given another vehicle entirely. As it turned out, there was a mix-up with the paperwork, which meant that there were really only two vehicles that needed to be delivered. So I sat round the dispatch office again for another couple of minutes, when Kelly informs me that that’s pretty much it for the jobs that day. I ended up being at work for about 90 minutes. Heh. Could’ve been worse, though; round 10 after 9, another driver showed up, and was sent home five minutes later, as there were really more drivers than jobs.
Working part time is ace, until you realise that there’s no money whatsoever in it. I’d look for something else, but as my machine shorthand teacher Mr Floury has mentioned multiple times during our class sessions, the less time you have at a job (or with other classes, or what-have-you), the more time you have to practise. Which makes sense, as remember, I’m dealing with an alternate universe keyboard layout here. So, while the long-term effects should be good, the short-term effects are shite in the meantime. Am I going to have to embark on a series of extravagant casino heists in order to afford getting out of bed in the morning?

Further nonsense, triggered by glancing at an issue of People magazine:
+ A friend of mine recently asked, ‘what the hell happened to Britney Spears?’, as regards to her recent getting preggers and looking like she was dragged through a hedge backwards. Nothing really ‘happened’ to her, inasmuch as she simply reverted back to her lowborn, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line lifestyle. Her entire career up to this point has been the equivalent of a sheep that has been taught how to walk on its hind legs as a circus performer. Once the sheep is back on the farm, it walks on all four legs as it’s always known. Britney is that sheep.
+ Jessica Alba is the Anthony Quinn of today’s Hollywood. Need a white chick? Call Jessica! Need a black chick? Call Jessica! Need a Hispanic chick? Call Jessica!
+ ‘Hollywood is a verb’ – painter Ed Ruscha

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 05)

typed for your pleasure on 17 September 2005, at 5.47 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Such a sound’ by Birdie

Disappointingly, I’ve not been able to scrape up any new news about my beloved Actroid Repliee or any of her iterations for quite a while now; not only that, the page related to the Actroid projects on the Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering site no longer exists. Either that, or they’ve sussed that I keep checking it once a day to see if it’s back up, and they’ve cleverly switched URLs on me. There hasn’t even been any decent news concerning Synthetiks that’s cropped up recently. (Apart from the fact that Abyss is on the verge of releasing Body 10, but you’ll hear more about that when I do.) Hrm.
Thankfully, my friend Wolfgang of vulne pro studios has sent along this pretty interesting link, ‘Why Japan, and not America, is likely to be the world’s first cyborg society‘, which touches upon simple robots such as the Roomba, and leads up to my current favourite Gynoid:

There’s arguably a reason behind iRobot’s refusal to anthropomorphize Roomba. Deep in its heart, America finds the idea of technology with personalities to be … spooky. After all, the notion of objects with minds of their own runs counter to deeply ingrained Judeo-Christian values — creating devices that can move and think without human intervention veers a little too close to playing God. And what if we do manage to create machines that are smarter, stronger or more capable than humans? Our subconscious paranoia about machines has prompted us to create dystopian visions like “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix.”

and

Japan’s robot love goes farther than respect for function, and deeper than mere pragmatism can explain. Shinto, Japan’s homegrown religion, is an animist faith. The Japanese embrace of robots is a logical extension of ancient beliefs that all things, living and nonliving, organic and inorganic, can possess a transcendent spirit. In Japanese tradition, humanity has never been reserved for humans. Is it any wonder that Japan is welcoming the cyborg future with open arms?

Interesting stuff, and always refreshing to read an article which isn’t three or four paragraphs of ‘zOMG TEH ACTROID GIRLBOT IS CREEPY!!1!’

Also, my copy of ‘Des poupées et des hommes‘ arrived a day or so ago! It’s entirely ace; 155 pages, 40 of those being full-colour photos by Elena D. Shi-chan and I even get our own eight-page chapter! Elisabeth signed the front page: ‘pour mon ami Davecat et pour sa fiancée Sidore. Heir of a long tradition, pionneer of a new one.’ It’s a shame that I didn’t pay more attention during my French classes in gradeschool, so I could comprehend the rest of the book..

So I’m kinda wondering if Japan has a need for stenographers at all. Or, at the very least, Actroid masseuses.. It’s like I say: find a niche, then fill it; if there isn’t a niche, make one and then fill it

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My class, my monetary black hole

typed for your pleasure on 14 September 2005, at 11.12 am

Sdtrk: ‘Le plus fort’ by Pussy Cat

On Mon eve, I attended my first official class regarding my court reporting studies, Machine shorthand. Originally I was hoping it would be a course to teach me how to better speak to and understand machines, but alas. It’s a class of about 15 to 18 students, and I’m one of two blokes there, not counting the teacher. It’ll be interesting, no doubt, but sweet baby James, I had no idea that it would be as expensive as it would be.

This is a Stentura, a typical stenographer’s typewriter by Stenograph. (No, the keys aren’t marked. I’m sure we’ll learn more about that at a later date.) The average price for a used one runs between $400 – $800. New, depending on the model, they’re either $1100 or $1400. Then there are the books, which I’ve not even looked at yet, the paper which loads in the back (not pictured), and the transcription software, which normally costs about $1000, but I can get a really good deal on.
Sure, once I’ve graduated, something like $800 will be a drop in the bucket, but for fuck’s sake.. I had to go and choose an expensive career path, didn’t I? Had I known it would be this pricey, I would’ve held my old telemarketing boss up at gunpoint. Which, arguably, is something I’d still like to do, but mainly because he’s a shitty human being, but that’s neither here nor there right now.

Further notes on the first session: Mr Floury, our teacher — who somewhat resembles the bloke that played Otter from ‘Animal house’, only shorter — was explaining that he’s a freelance deposition person (‘depositionist’? ‘depositionaire’?), and he works mostly from home, doing as much or as little work as he wants, according to whatever hours he wishes to work. He said in no uncertain terms that he’s teaching this class cos he wants to give back to the community — he’d graduated from OCC about seven years ago, if I’m not mistaken — and he’s not doing it for the money, cos with the depositions, he makes about five times as much with that as he does teaching. Apart from having to supply your own medical insurance and bollock like that (which should hopefully be less of a problem when I move Northward), it’s a career that’s completely flexible and lucrative. Hearing Mr Floury speak in extant about what he does and what court reporters/broadcast transcriptionists do in general was quite encouraging, and actually made me feel good about my decision to pursue this.

So what was I saying? O, right! Feck, those supplies are expensive

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The Randomness pours out of me

typed for your pleasure on 12 September 2005, at 12.51 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Woodpecker No.1’ by Merzbow

I dreamt that I had written a post, so when I awoke and didn’t see anything new, you can imagine my disappointment. Hrm.
Basically, I’ve not been up to much, hence the extended silence. Oddly enough, it feels like I’ve not written for weeks on end, despite the fact that my last post was only four days ago. What have I arguably been doing?

SKULE: My Document processing and production class started last Tuesday, and my Machine shorthand one begins today. You know, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who purchase their required textbooks before the class kicks off, and those who don’t. I fall under the second category. I actually have to check up with the tossers at the bookstore, as my textbook for the Document etc etc course wasn’t in on Wed or Thurs, and I would’ve checked Friday, but I got caught up in a maelstrom of events beyond my control, which I’ll describe shortly.
My father asked me if I liked the Document etc etc class, to which I replied, ‘No, I don’t really like any class.’ I’m back in school cos I have to be, not necessarily cos I want to be, so this entire process is a means to an end. I’ll be fucking glad when it’s over, to say the least…

WORK, IN QUOTES: I worked my second ‘consecutive’ day at ESI last Friday. That’s right! I’ve only worked two days since I’ve begun. When Dave mentioned that the usual amount of hours is between 20 – 30, I think they forgot to append ‘if you’ve been here a while’. Kelly dinna call me in until 5.30 Thursday aft, and I seriously beginning to think that I’d been let go without them informing me. I was somewhat relieved when Dave told me that he’d only worked on Tuesday, and he thought I was stealing his hours. (Although he ended up working one more day than I did…) As you suspect, I’m kinda looking for another job, cos there’s no way this shit is going to pay for my next semester…
So Friday, I drove some eXtreeeeme sports guy to the airport, drove a Jeep Renegade to Lapeer for a drop-off, drove the Stratus again playing chase vehicle, and drove a Grand Cherokee up to Lapeer. Round 3.30, I, along with four other drivers, was supposed to drive a Sprinter each back to base, and when they started doling out keys, there were only three to start out with, and we were told that the other two would be ready shortly. Dave and Sam got theirs, and I filled out the paperwork for the third, which turned out to be the wrong vehicle. The other blokes drove back to base, and Al and I were left to wait, and wait, AND WAIT. Our two Sprinters weren’t ready to go until 5pm. It kinda sucked for me, but at least I was getting additional hours; however, Al had someplace he had to be. So, battling with rush hour traffic driving from Auburn hills meant that I didn’t get off work until 6pm. Wheee, nine-hour day!
By the way, driving a Sprinter is a lot like driving a bus. Very tall van, with a tiny, near-horizontal non-adjustable steering wheel. Recommended for masochists only.

ミクロ STYLE: This past week-end, I just changed over my screen resolution, for the first time since I got a computer back in the mid Nineties, from 800×600, to 1024×768. Apart from the fact that practically none of my wallpapers fit properly anymore, everything’s so tiny. I predict I’ll go blind in under six months.

WEIGHT FOR IT: I’m ‘taking exercise’. Actually, I should remove those quotes, as this is the most exercise I’ve ever taken since my Fencing class back in 1991. It’s nowt spectacular; I just do push-ups and curls with a dumbbell before I roll into bed every eve. The only reason I’m doing this is so when I lift Shi-chan, I want to be able to do so for more than, like, two minutes. Dropping her that one time during the documentary filming was beyond embarrasing, not so much because it was caught on camera (you’ll edit that bit out, right Allison??), but I’ve had Sweetie for five years, and I should be able to lift and carry her with ease. Plus, since one of my goals is to get two more RealDolls and a couple of other Synthetiks once we move Northward, I’m gonna need the muscle tone to move them wherever and however. I intend on getting some sit-ups in as well… y’know, anything that’ll strengthen my arms and back. It must be working, as parts of me are achy.

O, and ‘Black books‘? Hell of a show, highly recommended. 🙂

So there you have it. Wow, I don’t mind telling you, it felt good to be writing again! Perhaps I will do it again in a couple of weeks!
And so I end now, with a joke that I’d read off one of the boards on 4chan:

A guy stops to visit his friend who is paralysed from the waist down. His friend says, ‘My feet are cold. Would you get me my sneakers for me?’
The guy goes upstairs, and there are his friend’s two gorgeous daughters.
He says, ‘Hi, girls. Your dad sent me up here to fuck you.’
The first daughter says, ‘That’s not true.’
He says, ‘I’ll prove it.’ So he yells down the stairs, ‘Both of them?’
His friend yells back, ‘Of course, both of them.’

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Op-art: one of the good aspects of the Sixties

typed for your pleasure on 8 September 2005, at 1.54 pm

Sdtrk: ‘My 36 favourite punk rock songs’ by Jason Forrest

A full-colour insert for this fluttered out of this week’s MetroTimes and onto my lap:

BRIDGET RILEY: PAINTINGS AND WORKS ON PAPER, 1963-2005
SEPTEMBER 3 THROUGH OCTOBER 30, 2005

This exhibition encompasses forty years of uncompromising and remarkable innovation, exploring Bridget Riley’s characteristic and distinctive optically vibrant work. Her last exhibition in North America was at the Dia Center, New York, in 2000.

Riley’s work is celebrated for its ability to engage the viewer’s sensations and perceptions, producing visual experiences that are complex and challenging, subtle and arresting. Her paintings employ a simple vocabulary of colors and abstract shapes to generate sensations of movement, light and space. This exhibition traces the development of Riley’s work from the early 1960s to the present day.

It’s taking place over at Cranbrook Art Museum, which is a place I’ve not been to since I was in gradeschool. I’ve definitely gotta check that out..
Bridget Riley herself will also be there on 23 and 24 September. Huh! I didn’t even know she was still alive!

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‘Ready for the action now, danger boy?’

typed for your pleasure on 4 September 2005, at 1.55 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Prelude and dawn’ by Basil Kirchin

*shivers with excitement*

November 22nd is the exact street date for Aeon Flux – The Complete Animated Collection. This is a 3-disc affair which fans will enjoy a lot more than the hard-to find original 4-episode DVD released in the disc format’s first year, 1997.

Not only will this release consist of the complete series, but it will have some great extras on it as well. Planned bonus material (subject to change) includes:

  • Commentary tracks
  • Interviews with Peter Chung, production crew, and the cast
  • “History of Aeon Flux” featurette
  • …and much more!

(from TVShowsOnDVD.com)

My favourite rangy pseudo-anime, PVC-wearing, assassin-slash-foot-fetish-model is back on DVD, and All Is Right With The World. I can finally get rid of my dodgy VHS copy! Hurrah!
Just as a point of interest, 14 November is my birthday, hint hint

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