This was the Future, Vol.31

typed for your pleasure on 13 October 2006, at 2.55 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Something sends me to sleep’ by Felt

Not actually from the Sixties, merely created with Sixties style in mind, this hot little number is the Hotel Everland, created by Sabina Long and Daniel Baumann, a tag team of Swiss artists. It’s a traveling hotel / art installation!

Everland is a Hotel with only one room. It includes a bathroom deluxe, a king-size bed and a lounge. The bounteous dimensioned room represents the subjective dream of a hotel: the architecture, the playful details, as well as the request to steal the golden embroidered bath towels. All Everland guests are partaking in the project. [..]

In September 2007 Hotel Everland moves on to Paris where it will be installed on the roof of Palais de Tokyo. It will also be exhibited for one year and run as a hotel, but this time with a view on the Eiffel Tower.

It’s equipped with a mini bar, WiFi, iPod Airtunes, and a turntable as well. (What, no Cd player?) Plus, you get a really ace view of whatever area you happen to book the hotel in.

I have to say, I’m really digging the repetition of that ‘curved rectangles’ motif — it’s in the wall lamps, the doorway to the bathroom, the shelving, and in the structure itself. Between the decor and the intimacy of the space, it’s like a cross between a ski chalet, and an apartment at Nakagin capsule tower. Very fab!

Also, Happy Friday 13 October! That’s a rare confluence, so do something interesting with your day

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Death in June in October / Sidore’s secret REVEALED!

typed for your pleasure on 10 October 2006, at 1.15 am

Sdtrk: ‘This is Paradise II’ by Death in June

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a new Death in June release titled ‘Free Tibet’ is out! Douglas P. has remixed a handful of the DIJ songs that friend / co-conspirator David Tibet, of Current 93, has done vocals or spoken word for, and has made them available as free downloads on the Death in June website — hence, ‘Free Tibet’. Clever lad, Douglas!

And in other news, this makes complete sense.

Synthetic Intelligent Device Optimized for Rational Exploration

Make your own here!

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What Would Loki Do?, Part III

typed for your pleasure on 5 October 2006, at 6.55 pm

Sdtrk: ‘What she said’ by the Smiths

(Catch yourself up with Part I or Part II first, if need be..)

The third leg (tee hee, ‘third leg’) of the filming for Swedish telly began with a call at 10am from Clas. After getting Sidore-chan properly dressed and as sexy as allowed by the Geneva Convention, I smeared camouflage makeup all round my face, slid my buck knife into its sheath, adjusted my bandolier straps and headband, gritted my teeth, and prepared to face the Swiss for the final time. Err, I meant ‘the Swedes’, sorry.

Anna & Clas showed up in a different rental — something burgundy — and were summarily impressed with our house, and the surrounding neighbourhood. If you’ve never visited Detroit, you’ll be pleasantly pleased to learn that we have many pleasing sub-divisions for your pleasure. It’s true: not all of Detroit is a smouldering desolate husk!* I think the city tourist board should really consider using that as their slogan, as it is a Guaranteed Winner.
To be honest, I don’t remember the details of when we shot at the house, as I was preoccupied with keeping my sweating down to a minimum. The house that Shi-chan and I stay in was built in the late Twenties, and as such, has no central air, and our room seems to have hideously good heat-rentention properties. Factor in 1) it was a humid day in August, 2) Anna & Clas had turned on every light in the room, and 3) they had all the fans off, as they create ambient noise, and you have a sweaty Davecat. Don’t worry, that visual’s as disgusting to me as it undoubtedly is to you. During a lull in filming, I’d planted myself in front of one of my room fans, and had opened my cardigan to direct the air all over my drenched torso. Anna spotted this and remarked, ‘You seem really hot!’ Ah heh heh. *grits teeth* MUST… NOT… KILL THEM… TODAY…
After going an hour past our finishing time, they gathered their things, and I gathered the Missus, in order to get round to the hotel they were lodging at. I have to admit that I was starting to get a wee bit irritable — well, irritable for Saturday; as far as the whole experience, I’d been cranky since that three-hour ride to Escondido — so I decided I’d amuse myself by throwing a number of deliberate continuity errors into the sequence where they were filming me ‘preparing to leave’ for Abyss. Spot them, and win a prize!

We motored over to the hotel that Anna & Clas were lodging at, which was not too far from my hideous workplace, all told, so I was familiar with the way. Anna, who was the de facto navigator in our crew, was strangely thrown into a bit of a panic, as the route I was driving deviated from the one carved in stone by Google Maps.
ANNA: ‘Are we supposed to be turning here?’
DAVECAT: ‘No, but I know how to get there, don’t worry.’
– later –
ANNA: ‘There’s the exit for 10 North. The map says we should take that..’
DAVECAT:I know. The road we’re on runs north; we’re headed north.’
Heh, how the hell would I know how to get there without a map?? It’s only a couple of miles past where I’ve been working for the past 11 months! As you suspect, it was getting on my wick..
We arrived, surprisingly without bloodshed, pulled up to a side door about eight rooms from the Swedes’ room, and unloaded the Missus’ purple office chair. Clas had some spectacularly ill-conceived plan of hoisting Shi-chan through their room window, which I nixed immediately, so we hurriedly wheeled her down the hallway.

After a short break, wherein I introduced the pair to The Wonder That Is Quizno’s, and where I learned that Anna was a Leo, and Clas a Scorpio, we came back and arranged the ‘living room’ (they were staying in a suite, you see) as if it was my living room, with the use of some props, i.e books, that they had me grab from my shelves. The whole reason for this was because, as previously mentioned, it just tended to get too bloody hot in my room, and in the house in general, so to the viewing public of Sweden, the hotel room would stand in for our living room, as there was central air available there. Although you’d have to be awfully stupid to believe that, given how yuppified the decor is. So you can undoubtedly picture me vibrating with rage when, just before filming started, they turned off the air, ‘so the mic wouldn’t pick up the noise’. Then why the fuck did we even drive to the hotel?? I have to say, I really dig looking like I’ve been showering with my clothes on while on-camera. Once again, the Swedes clearly went out of their way to make their subject as comfortable as possible, for a relaxed and informal interview. Fucking brilliant.
Shi-chan was the picture of grace, as always. Not a single (audible) word of complaint from her. 🙂

Anna asked the usual passel of questions — why did you buy a RealDoll, how many of your friends know about Sidore, how would you define your relationship with her, etc etc — again, that part was a big ol’ blur. Some people might think it’s a bit tiresome saying essentially the same things over and over from interview to interview, but I always think of what the great John Waters once said: ‘Never act like you’re bored, even if you’ve heard the questions a million times. These people haven’t asked it before. Put yourself on automatic pilot, think about your laundry, a book you’re reading, anything. Always act like it’s the first time you ever told a particular anecdote.’ Sound advice! Now, quite obviously I’m on a mission to sing the Praises of Synthetik Companionship to anyone with an open mind, but I must remember to pick up more dryer sheets. Heh, you know what’s dumb, but slightly amusing? This happened to me the other day: when you’re walking around with a dryer sheet stowed away in your trousers, and it makes its way down your leg, and eventually out the bottom. You spot it, and for a few seconds, you’re like ‘is that…?’ and then you chuckle. Then you worry that people might’ve seen it lingering round your trouser cuffs, and mistaken it for an errant length of bog roll. Now that would be awkward.
Err, sorry, what was the question again?

Towards the end of the questions segment, things got a wee bit strange. Well, strange for me, anyway: Anna had asked if I could undress Shi-chan for the camera. Now, it’s not like she’s been near-nude before, as anyone who’s read ‘Still Lovers’, or seen our segment on SexTV, or had seen her photos plastered all over ‘Kitten with a Whip!’ can attest, but I wasn’t comfortable with the shoot taking that route. Maybe it was due to the heat, maybe it was my latent irritability with how Anna & Clas were handling the interview experience, but I just didn’t want to undress her. So I’d refused, but the thing that really got to me is that Anna kept on asking, or at the very least, asking why I didn’t want to. And I found myself floundering for a decent answer. Truth be told, I don’t even recall what my answer was, but it just struck me as being indicative of the whole week-end. These were people who weren’t really going out of their way to make me, the subject of their segment and the reason that they flew from one country to another, very comfortable, and moreover, they didn’t seem to give too much of a shit about it. Her approach at that particular moment seemed both prurient and insensitive. Say, for instance, they were interviewing someone else, such as someone who had been held hostage for weeks. Would Anna have relentlessly probed that person for the really juicy stuff? I don’t know if that was her usual interview approach, or if that’s just the way they do things in Sweden, but that didn’t sit well with me.

A few final questions later — I’m sure my refusal killed a couple of potential questions — Clas stated that he wanted to get some shots of Sweetie and I watching telly and interacting in ‘our’ ‘livingroom’: he filmed me reading some book of Anna’s whilst I was lying across Shi-chan’s lap, as well as speaking on the phone with Mike, who coincidentally rang me at that point, and applying more lippy to the Missus. If I’m not mistaken, every single instance when we’ve been on camera, they’ve always asked me to do Sweetie’s lipstick. The footage may not always make the final edit, but it’s almost a given that I’ll, at some point, have to touch up her lippy. We’d make a drinking game out of it, but neither of us drink…
At one point during a lull in the action, Clas was changing tapes, and that hilarious/alarming Geico insurance advert featuring Little Richard came on. Both the Swedes stared in amazement at his intermittent howling, which I found amazing, cos I thought Little Richard was known the world over. ‘Is he a gay? enquired Anna. ‘We, ah… we don’t really know,’ I replied.

Our party was slated to collect Monti and get round to Nippon kai, a 45min trip in and of itself, at 8pm; so, as per standards, we started breaking the equipment down and getting ready to leave at a quarter to 8. ‘Sometimes tv crews go over schedule,’ explained Clas. Heh, is that a fact, mate? Well, I suppose they can play the whole affair fast and loose; it’s not their kroners they’re spending, after all…
After a brief drive under a sky that was threatening to rain, our party pulled up to the restaurant. Monti and I were fitted with our lavaliers, and unlike Allison’s shoot where I came in with Sweetie through the backdoor in the kitchen, this time I boldly wheeled her in through the front entrance, past the six or so customers assembled in the restaurant. Much like Allison’s shoot, though, we set up in the private room in the back, for obvious reasons. The staff of Nippon kai was gracious as always, and generous to a fault. They even permitted Clas to get behind the sushi counter and wedge himself between a couple of chefs in order to film the room from there; which, to be honest, embarrassed the hell out of me…

Before filming commenced in extant, yet after securing Shi-chan to her seat — as it was smooth wood; she kept wanting to slide off, but she has special straps she carries round in her purse for just those sorts of situations — we placed our orders, as we were all feckin’ starving. Anna & Clas polished off their meals first, so they could move away from the table and film some pickup shots of Monti & I interacting with Sweetie and each other. As we weren’t sure as to if the programme would be aired with all non-Svenska speakers dubbed or subbed, Monti and I were wondering as to how well our snappy repartee would translate. Since she and I have such a similarly warped and sarcastic sense of humour, sometimes even native speakers of English don’t always initially pick up on what we’re saying, and when we’re both going, we kinda feed off each other. How the feck would the translation crew be able to distill and decipher our witty throwaway lines? (As it turned out, I was subtitled for my interview bits, but our conversation was neither subbed or dubbed.)
A nice point during that sequence was when Suzue, one of the charming waitresses that knows Monti & I as semi-regulars, was refilling our cups of tea. She turned to me, indicated Shi-chan, and asked ‘Would she like some tea, too?’ Lovely individual!

Since the Swedes already had plenty of good footage of me, most of that part of the evening’s footage centred round Monti. They asked her like half an hour’s worth of questions; I deliberately paid no attention, as I wanted it to be a surprise when I saw her part during the programme. I have to add here that Monti’s a fantastic individual for putting up with this sort of chicanery, especially on such relatively short notice. But it’s all for a good cause, and besides, as I always remind her, without her influence, Sidore and I would not be the relentlessly-in-love-with-each-other couple that we are today. Thanks (again), Monti!

As it was fast approaching Nippon kai’s closing time, Anna took some time whilst we were finishing the rest of our food to hastily write up release forms for Monti & I to fill out, which I thought was somewhat odd. What with all the appearances on telly and film that I’ve made, I’m used to the concept of release forms, but I’m accustomed to ones that have been, y’know, typed and printed out. Chalk that up to another bit of neglectfulness on the film crew’s part, I guess…
I got to chat briefly with Suzue and her sushi chef husband again as we were packing up our sundry belongings to leave. She asked me if Shi-chan had a kimono, and I said no, but she does have a yukata. ‘She hasn’t worn it yet, cos I’m not sure how to tie it up on her,’ I’d added, at which point, Suzue offered to help me dress Sidore in her yukata properly one day. Yes, a lovely individual. 🙂

Round 10am Sunday, Clas left a message on my voicemail, wanting to know if they could film me walking round in front of my house. Sunday is my Wind-down Day; on a normal Sunday, I get up at noon. So I blew them off, and didn’t speak to them until I was sure they were en route to Metro round 7pm. That was yet another half-baked last-minute ‘idea’ they had. Had they mentioned the possibility of shooting on Sunday — even as late as Sat night — I might’ve said yes, but once again, they were pulling dodgy ‘surprises’. My ignoring them was probably not a very professional thing to have done, and I understand that there’s a certain amount of spontaneity with these kinds of shoots, but they’d said we’d be filming on Fri and Sat, not Fri, Sat and Sun. It’s called a schedule. Learn how to make one in advance, and stick to it.

My experience with Anna & Clas overall? Not 100% bad, but out of the five television or film crews I’ve dealt with, they definitely rank last. Hrm. Maybe Sidore-chan and I finally need an agent?

*just about 50% of it. Then there’s 30% that’s borderline sketchy, and the final 20% consists of the legitimately nice areas. Enjoy all that Detroit has to offer!

Technorati tags: Davecat, Sidore, RealDoll, iDollator, Abyss Creations, Titan Television

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Hoorej for Synthetiks

typed for your pleasure on 5 October 2006, at 5.01 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Perdoa’ by Vanusa

So I’m sure by now everyone and their gran knows about Actroid-chan’s appearance at the Wired Nextfest, right? Yes, yes. But then, Pink Tentacle mentions today that a new, improved version has been assembled. Sweet slow-roasted christ, she’s even cuter the previous model, if that’s even physically possible.

‘No, I was never in Morning musume, although they did ask me once’

Actroid DER2 fembot loves Hello Kitty
, a Sanrio Group company specializing in the design and manufacture of robots, unveiled its new Actroid DER2 feminine guide robot at Sanrio headquarters in Tokyo on October 4.

Actroid DER2 is an upgraded version of Kokoro’s previous fembot, Actroid DER, who has made quite a name for herself by providing services at a number of events, including the 2005 World Expo. Compared to the previous model, DER2 has thinner arms and a wider repertoire of expressions. The smoothness of her movement has also been improved, making it now even more likely for the uninitiated to confuse her with an actual human being. (emphasis mine)

Actroid’s limbs, torso and facial expressions are controlled by a system of actuators powered by pneumatic pressure. Once programmed, she is able to choreograph her motions and gestures with her voice.

Kokoro intends to rent Actroid DER2 to companies and events. The basic rental fee is expected to be 400,000 yen (US $3,500) for 5 days, plus extra fees for technical support, delivery and choreography changes. For those who can’t cope with a sayonara after 5 days, there is a late fee of 80,000 yen per day.

[Source: Fuji Sankei]

That statement I’d emphasised is extraordinarily encouraging — her movements are even closer to Organiks. That’s the benefits of an upgrade for you. Will we actually see Androids and Gynoids in society within the next decade or two? I’d say ‘I certainly hope so,’ but you’d expect me to say that. In the interim, MUST. FIND. VIDEOS. NOW.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go register myself as a company, and scrape up $3500. I’ve, err, gotta buy some gum, you see — I like to stock up

ADDENDUM (9.14pm): Pics and video clips found, courtesy of Robot Watch. My goodness, she’s definitely got Cuteness Appeal, no question

Technorati tags: Actroid, Repliee, Gynoid, Android, Wired Nextfest, Sanrio

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typed for your pleasure on 4 October 2006, at 3.47 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Les chemins de fer’ by Notre-dame

Nick Holt, director of the fab documentary ‘Guys and Dolls‘, says:

Guys & Dolls is repeated on Channel Five next Tuesday 10th October at the later time of 11pm due to popular demand. Tune in if you are in the UK!

So there ya go. Also, he mentioned this to me in an Email, just after it was first aired:

Well the film went out last night and was watched by 1.5 million people, gaining a 9% share of the overall British TV audience at that time. This is considered very good indeed. In fact my commissioning editor at Channel 5 rang me up twice. Once to tell me that the film was ‘a hit’ and one of the highest rating documentaries for the channel in that time slot. Ever. And again to tell me he has never before experienced such a huge response to a film going out.

You can’t see us from here, but Sidore and I are nodding approvingly

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typed for your pleasure on 1 October 2006, at 7.53 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Tennis racket’ by Autocollants

Just finished a 40 min interview via phone with Marilena Astrapellou, a lass currently in London, who’s writing an article about iDollators for a magazine to be published in Greece before the year’s out. Yes; she’d seen ‘Guys and Dolls‘, and I’ve no idea if she was the one inspired by that documentary, or if her publisher was, or what. It was kinda hard to hear her in spots, as she was using a speakerphone. I hate speakerphones. ‘Hey, I can’t hear anything on the other end while I’m talking, and vice versa’. Ugh. Well, what are ya gonna do.

Speaking of ‘Guys and Dolls’, I’ve had a videocassette copy since mid-last week. The end product is actually a lot better than I thought it would be, but it, ah, ends prematurely at the 47 min mark — the physical tape was shorter than the programme recorded to it. VHS, you so crazy. So the producer’s got a proper copy wending its way through the post to me as we speak..
And yes, I know I still have to write part trois of ‘What Would Loki Do?’ Have you even read the first two parts yet? They’re heady.

In the meantime, I’m currently downloading the fansub of ‘A contact’, the first compilation fillum for Space runaway Ideon, the most upbeat anime series ever made, so I’m stepping away from the computer for a little while. Anyone want anything while I’m up?

Technorati tags: Davecat, Sidore, RealDoll, iDollator, Guys and Dolls, Five, UK television, Ideon

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