It’s down, it’s up

typed for your pleasure on 29 June 2007, at 12.28 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Anamorphose’ by Stereolab

I am referring to ‘Shouting etc etc’, you tossers. For some reason, it simply becomes inaccessible at various points of time — not for very long, but long enough. Yeah, cos “Bob” knows there’s just too much loose and unfettered excitement going on here, especially lately, that you absolutely MUST NOT MISS.

Anyway! You lot get a consolation prize pic of the Missus. Sidore-spotters will recognise that as the outfit she wore during our interview segment on Canada’s SexTV, from 2003. Limebarb is the online seamstress who I’d ordered it from, by the way. Quality clothes!

It takes her an hour to buckle those boots — having rubber fingers
helps less than you’d think

More later! Well, soon enough. Besides trying to focus past the pain my recent dentistry has brought me, I’m working on a post or two. I’m sure ‘Shouting etc etc’ will be back to ‘normal’ before the post’s complete, so there ya go

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None dare call it ‘rambling’

typed for your pleasure on 27 June 2007, at 9.08 pm

Sdtrk: ‘All I need to hear’ by Candie Payne

Well! It has been UNTOLERABLY FUCK HOT the past couple of days, what with the late-80s-to-upper-90s that we’ve been beset with here in the state. Christ in shitty knickers, it’s been hideous. How can people willingly leave their homes and go out for ‘fun’ in weather like that?? It baffles me completely.

As it so happens, I was forced out into oven heat today, for my follow-up dental appointment to have my root canals sealed up for all time. We also started doing a crown or two. I’ll not get into detail, but let’s just say that it took longer than last time, hurt more than last time, and at one memorable point, I was gushing so much blood that I thought my mouth was having its period. I say no more.
Odhinn only knows why I’m even publically keeping up with my dental reconstruction tales, apart from legitimising the brand spank-me new ‘Body horror’ subcategory. Have you not seen it? It’s under the ‘What the’ category, and rightly so.

Before I returned home, though, I purchased the final volume of Death note (which I can’t wait to read) and Raw danger, the long-awaited sequel to Disaster report, for the PS2 (which I can’t wait to play). Now I have to catch up on buying vols. 6 – whatever of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, as well as finally breaking down and getting Armored core: Last RavenShi-chan and I are so out of the Armored core loop, it’s appalling. We’re only two missions in to Armored core: Nexus! sssh, don’t tell anyone.

Anyway, so apparently BBC America aired ‘Love me, love my Doll‘ (aka Nick Holt’s ‘Guys and Dolls’) this Sunday past. Checking my site stats as usual, I’d noticed a passel of hits resulting from Google searches for ‘love doll’, ‘davecat’, ‘sidore’, real doll’, etc etc. I had no idea that it was even going to be shown in the States, and frankly, I prefer that the majority of the film/telly appearances that Sweetie and I make are only broadcast overseas, for paranoid obvious reasons, but luckily, most Americans don’t know BBC America even exists, as it’s not owned by Rupert Murdoch, nor does it have anything to do with NASCAR. Nevertheless, Sidore-chan and I wish visitors stopping round because of that a grand Hallo! Unless, of course, you happen to be a cultureless troll; in which case, why aint’cha watchin’ NASCAR?
When I came home Monday eve, however, there was an incoming message via YIM, from a person I’d never heard of before, enquiring if I wouldn’t mind answering a few questions. Jennifer Haughton, an ex-pat from England, was writing a piece for University of Southern California’s campus paper about Dolls and their owners, having been inspired by seeing ‘Love me, love my Doll’. So after making certain she wasn’t a ‘bot — spambot, not robot, as the latter is obviously more preferable — we chatted for about an hour, and you can witness the results here. It’s a puff piece, but ultimately harmless…

Also, if you like horror, or just fiction with a sinister bent — and who wouldn’t? — you’ll be pleased to know that Monti’s little black duck sampler anthology is hot off the presses and ready to be downloaded. It’s available in many formats for eReading, or a .pdf for just plain tree-killin’ reading, but it contains three complete short stories, and the first chapter of a work in progress. Technically, the sampler can be categorised as Summer reading, so get downloading!

Finally, this would be post no.501. HERE COME THE DRUMS HERE COME THE DRUMS

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The mouth: Gateway to the head

typed for your pleasure on 23 June 2007, at 8.04 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Great destroyers’ by NON

Little sociological experiment: What you’re reading now was written Friday evening whilst at work. I wrote this to distract myself from the nigh-biblical amount of pain situated in the right side of my mouth. You see, *cue flashback dissolve* this past Wednesday, I had root canals done on two of my front teeth. The process itself, I have to say, was remarkably swift: at first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted both done at once, as I really didn’t relish the idea of being sat in the dentist’s chair for an interminable period of time, whilst they got to work with their rusty saws and blood-caked chisels, but after he painlessly finished one in under ten minutes, I relented, and he did the other just as quickly. Apparently, the nerves in both teeth were dead. Which is alright, really, as we weren’t all that close. So after scheduling to get the core fills for both teeth done next week, and despite the localised anaesthetic making me sound like Sean Connery, I jauntily walked out of there to attend to the rest of the day’s errands.
Two hours later, however, was a different story, as the blessing of the anaesthetic wore off, and I was feeling like someone had popped me in the mouth with a claw hammer. I ended my errand run early, drove home, and immediately tumbled headlong into bed, not waking up until my friend Tsukihime phoned me three hours later.

Now, here’s the funny (ha ha ow) bit: as I’d mentioned, during the drilling itself, I didn’t feel anything averse. In fact, I gave several enthusiastic thumbs-up whenever he asked me how I was. Then, while out and about a few hours later, my body suddenly realised that hey, someone had just been excavating in your feckin’ mouth, and the appropriate reaction was one of a heady and persistent ache. But! My pain level the day of the actual visit wasn’t nearly as bad as it was like two days later, which brings us to this eve. *flashback dissolve*

So! During the final leg of my wonderful amazing fantastical 5.30 – midnight Friday eve shift — yes, I’m aware it’s nonsensical and sucks cock, don’t remind me — that throbbing feeling above the teeth that had been worked on came back with a roaring vengeance, and I’d taken my last ibuprofen about four hours ago. I actually had to stand up and ask one of the managers if the office had a secret cache of IB I could possibly dip into, but alas, no. Hardly a surprise, cos they’re barely equipped with what they’re supposed to be stocked with half the time, at any rate. Luckily, a coworker had some 600mg prescription IB, which just managed to do the business. Lesson learned: Please pass the horse tranquilisers!

It’s been several days since my adventures in modern (pronounced ‘modren’) dentistry, and I have to say that my mouth still hurts. If I’m not careful when I eat or speak, I’ll nick the tip of one of those teeth with one of my lower ones, and everything goes red for a blinding moment, and every other word is preceded by an expletive for a minute or so. I mean, moreso than usual. For a couple of dead nerves, they certainly still hurt like blazing fuck. Knowing my luck, they’re probably undead. We weren’t all that close, y’know.

Originally, I think I had a point when I started writing this, but it’s long since fled; the pain undoubtedly drove it away.
Wow. I think this is the reason I don’t write too often about my personal experiences. Seven shades of uninteresting

Clever clever

typed for your pleasure on 23 June 2007, at 2.58 am

Sdtrk: ‘Gorilla tactics’ by Death in June

Right: the LOLCATS thing was funny the first couple of times, but at this point, it’s starting to reek from overuse. But before you pitch it into the aged memes bin to ferment alongside All Your Base, that ‘race car insanity test’, and that peanut butter jelly song, I just thought I’d point out this one I’d spotted:

That’s awfully cute. 🙂
Also, it’s the twenty-third again, which means it’s time to stop round to Sidore’s Dailymotion page — the link’s beneath the banner — for yet another glimpse into the World of Synthetiks *waves hands around like Doug Henning* Happy 23rd!

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At least he didn’t have a tiny knife or gun

typed for your pleasure on 17 June 2007, at 8.13 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cracked actor’ by David Bowie

She’ll probably flense me for publically reporting this, but my friend Marika claims that as a child, she once had a squirrel urinate on her from an upper perch on a fence. All told, she got off pretty easy.

Squirrel goes on rampage, injures 3
Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:00AM EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) – An aggressive squirrel attacked and injured three people in a German town before a 72-year-old pensioner dispatched the rampaging animal with his crutch.

The squirrel first ran into a house in the southern town of Passau, leapt from behind on a 70-year-old woman, and sank its teeth into her hand, a local police spokesman said Thursday.

With the squirrel still hanging from her hand, the woman ran onto the street in panic, where she managed to shake it off.

The animal then entered a building site and jumped on a construction worker, injuring him on the hand and arm, before he managed to fight it off with a measuring pole.

“After that, the squirrel went into the 72-year-old man’s garden and massively attacked him on the arms, hand and thigh,” the spokesman said. “Then he killed it with his crutch.”

The spokesman said experts thought the attack may have been linked to the mating season or because the squirrel was ill.
(emphasis mine)

Maybe it’s time I started a subcategory dealing with cute animals behaving in a peculiar manner. Cos between the bus-riding moggy, the Mouse Torch, the kitty burglar, and the murderous packs of Russian squirrels, I’m ending up with more of these kinds of stories than I thought possible.

Perhaps this squirrel simply had a series of bad experiences happen to him, one piling on top of the other, until one day he just snapped and began his fatal rampage. Maybe he was fired from an accounting firm. Unfortunately, we’ll never know, but let his example be a lesson to you. I, err, honestly don’t know what kind of lesson we’re speaking of here, but let’s not obsess over details

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Jun 2007)

typed for your pleasure on 10 June 2007, at 2.04 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Tony Williams deathspace’ by Merzbow

Recently, Erin O’Brien, writer for the Cleveland Free Times, wrote a tale entitled ‘Guys and Dolls‘ (a popular title! I can’t imagine why) about her experiences hanging out for a couple of weeks on The Doll Forum.

Owners of the eerily realistic dolls are the butt of jokes and the subjects of unsolicited psychological analysis and feminist soapboxes worldwide. Nonetheless, RealDoll fascinated me and I smoldered with curiosity about those who admire her.

Granted, there are a couple of parts where her impressions come off as unflattering, but for the most part, it’s an even-handed piece which doesn’t condemn, as she took direct quotes from Doll owners themselves. She’d also written a companion post in her blog, as well as a follow-up post.

Her article caused a bit of a storm in a teacup, as several iDollators weren’t initially civil to her, which may have coloured her opinions slightly. But being an iDollator myself, I can entirely understand, as there have been several occasions where opportunistic writers have come a-calling to the Forum, looking to dig up some dirt on this weird and creepy subculture of bizarre perverts, and with a topic like this, frankly, a single smear campaign is one too many. So a natural reaction to outsiders is one of snarling suspicion, which, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty justified. More writers — particularly, writers who genuinely want to present Doll owners in a positive, or at the very least, neutral, light — need to do their homework beforehand, and realise that we iDollators are fiercely protective of our interest, our hobby, our lifestyle, our partners. Cos as time goes on, we’ll be swelling the ranks, but right now, we’re in the minority, and at this stage, bad publicity is worse than none at all.
But, having said that, I do admire Erin for not only sticking to her guns, but for coming up with a non-prejudicial piece. At the very least, she made an honest effort to understand our culture, which is more than I can say for most people.

Moving on! Naturally, anyone that knows me on any level above that of ‘aquaintance’ knows that I’m very pro-robotics, particularly when those robots closely resemble Organiks. However, in the interest of objectivity and possible debate, here’s an article that presents the other side of the coin:

Should robots be built to look more like us?
By Eric Hand

When it comes down to it, Lewis the robot isn’t much more than a red trash can on wheels. And its designer, Washington University computer scientist William Smart, likes it that way.

“I don’t want to put fuzzy heads on my robots,” he said. “It’s a tool. You don’t have an emotional relationship with a robot.”

Whether or not the relationships are emotional, robots are certainly becoming more social. Especially in Japan, where robots are doing everything from collecting garbage to bathing the elderly to providing child care. Lewis, a picture-taking robot, also has a social role — to linger on the edges of gatherings and catch people in candid poses.

As these social robots lurch their way into our lives, a question arises: What should they look like? Some scientists say they should look and talk like people, and take advantage of people’s tendencies to personify. (Think C3PO.) Others, such as Smart, say they should remain fundamentally nonhuman — intelligent and capable of reading people, but not obviously anthropomorphic. (Think R2D2.)

“It’s definitely a design decision, and it’s one that doesn’t have an obvious answer,” said Brian Scassellati, a Yale University computer scientist.
the rest of the article is here

I can respect where Mr Smart is coming from, but obviously I can’t agree with him. As robotic creations edge their way into mainstream society, I definitely believe there’ll be a need for non-anthropomorphic robots to perform non-obtrusive, behind-the-scenes tasks, but there’ll also be a need for more human-like Synthetiks, such as Actroid et al, to undertake more social duties, such as child-minding, nursing, err, receptionist… ing. And you certainly can’t call something with any advanced artificial intelligence a ‘tool’. There’s absolutely no reason why all robots have to resemble rolling wheelie bins; it’s limiting and unimaginative. That’d be the equivalent of decreeing that all cars must resemble the Subaru 360. Waitaminute — that’s a fantastic idea!

And finally, something on the Good end of the Interesting spectrum: Nick Rucka of DiY film studio Maboroshii Productions is preparing to screen his 2002 documentary, ‘Real Doll Doctor‘. He was kind enough to post me an advance copy, and despite the tired appeal to ‘pervs and fans of the weird’, it’s a rather objective documentary. Clocking in at 14 min, it simply details our favourite Doll refurbisher inking up someone’s arm at his day job, and at work repairing a lass. There’s no soundtrack, but I find that could focus the viewer’s attention to what’s being said. Much like Erin’s article, it’s open-ended and entirely nonjudgemental, although it could do with a wee bit of narrative background, especially over the scenes in the (old) Abyss creations studios. I look at it this way — there’s always going to be a viewer who really doesn’t know what the whole RealDoll phenomenon is, so a bit of background wouldn’t go amiss. Hell, I’d volunteer to do the narration if I had the technological means to do so…
Nick tells me that has confirmed that they’ll be hosting his film, so keep an eye out for it!

‘Shouting to hear the echoes’: Synthetiks news you can use! As per usual

An alternate universe Erin logs into ‘The Organik Forum’

Technorati tags: robots, RealDoll, Abyss creations, iDollators, documentary

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Yet another death-knell for Mistress English

typed for your pleasure on 6 June 2007, at 1.39 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Albion Festival report’ by The focus group

I have absolutely nothing polite to say about this. Nothing whatsoever.

Mobile texts harm written language?
Reuters | Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:28 AM ET

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The rising popularity of text messaging on mobile phones poses a threat to writing standards among Irish schoolchildren, an education commission says.

The frequency of errors in grammar and punctuation has become a serious concern, the State Examination Commission said in a report after reviewing last year’s exam performance by 15-year-olds.

“The emergence of the mobile phone and the rise of text messaging as a popular means of communication would appear to have impacted on standards of writing as evidenced in the responses of candidates,” the report said, according to Wednesday’s Irish Times.

“Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing.”

The report laments that, in many cases, candidates seemed “unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary.”

In 2003, Irish 15-year-olds were among the top 10 performers in an international league table of literacy standards compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Call me old-fashioned, or call me anal-retentive, but honestly, I think people in this day and age not having proper writing skills is embarrassing and shameful. Yes, I realise that language evolves through time for ‘better’ usage — arguably what comprises contemporary English is much less brain-destroying than say, Middle English — but these days I’m inclined to think that ‘better’ in the context of 21st Century society really means ‘lazier’.

My friend Wolfgang of vulne pro studios once argued that if the person who receives your message can parse what you’re essentially saying, despite any misspellings or grammar explosions, then that’s really the most important thing. Sure, I’ll grant him that, but I firmly believe that proper spelling should be encouraged. There are many people out there, myself included, who will almost entirely disregard an article, a blog entry, a post, or what have you if it’s typed ham-handedly. There may be an important message cleverly hidden within, but it’s as if the reader is being given a diamond ring cleverly hidden within a handful of shit. Frankly, if a person can’t be arsed to take the time to spell properly, why should anyone take the time to read it?
For a lot of people (and note, that’s ‘a lot’ — ‘alot’ isn’t a word), it’s a case of they’re typing so fast, that they don’t go over what they’ve written for errors before they submit it or hit the Send button; that’s how the Interbutt standards ‘zOMG’ and ‘teh’ began, for instance. There’s absolutely no sane reason why a person can’t give what they’ve said a quick check. And ‘that takes too long’ is hardly an excuse — if your spelling and grammar is up to snuff, it won’t take more than a couple of seconds, at any rate.

And as far as limited vocabulary, that rankles me just as much, if not more. Could you imagine if writers such as Wilde, or Burgess, or Machen, or Plath, didn’t have the benefit of an expansive vocabulary? Could you picture how incredibly dull their writing would be, or any writing, speech, or dialogue, for that matter? Language should be more than just a vehicle for basic communication; at its best, it should also paint pictures. Obviously, not everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth should sound like something by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (‘Yes, my good maiden; I would desire to place an order for a burger of ham, bedecked with intertwining spirals of tomato catsup and yellowed mustard, denuded of pickles, and accompanying that I wouldst like a singular order of French fries — crisp, golden-brown shards of deeply-fried potato — in the largest size a man can request. To quench my thirst which threatens even now to vanquish me, I will also require a chilled Coca’d-Cola, in a size that lay betwixt Diminutive and Titanic’) but a larger vocabulary is, at the very least, a sign that you’re trying to elevate yourself above the grunts and snorts that pass for common language.

In summation? Read more books, I suppose