Excuses, excuses

typed for your pleasure on 28 November 2007, at 8.57 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Three-way’ by Magnetic fields

Apart from the previous post, which is again due to an inside tip from the Inspector of Safe Tea, I do believe I’m in another writing slump! Let’s analyse the possible reasons:

+ Found a new copy of Half-life 2 for the XBLOX at a Kmart for $5 USD. I’d always wanted to play it before, but the computer I owned at the time was woefully inadequate for running it. But now, I can catch up on all the fun that my mates were having back in 2004! So for Xmas 2007, I would like a gravity gun

+ When I’m not busy playing that, I’m logging far too many hours in on Warriors Orochi, as previously mentioned in this post. Short of unlocking four or five of the seventy-odd characters, finishing about eight stages, and grinding various characters’ levels, I’m all done! In short, I have much work to do

+ Getting Deafening silence Plus in some semblance of order. Yes, still. It’s actually 98% done — the dining area is now home to IKEA’s priced-to-move LAVER table and four chairs set — but the only major task that still needs to be done is to move my loveseat in. Which I could do myself if I had a gravity gun. Honestly, the most time-consuming thing, though, was setting up my vast collection of figures and toys collectibles into a stunning tableau, which I think I’ve finally accomplished, praise “Bob”.

Click here for full-sized version; opens in new window

Not pictured: the other third of my collection, either up against the adjoining wall, or in boxes about to be deployed, once I get more rack shelving.

+ And Reason Number the First: I’ve been feeling under the weather again. Yes, again. Monday I awakened with a dull ache in my guts, which intensified and moved upwards from my stomach into my chest whenever I belched or breathed too deeply. I mentioned this to Steph when she and I were buying sushi from our usual place with her hubby Derek Tuesday night, and she said my symptoms sounded quite a lot like when she was getting pneumonia. Heh, check that off of my List of Things to Do! Thankfully, upon seeing my GP this morn, he diagnosed it was heartburn. Heartburn! Exacerbated by post-nasal drip, as the weather’s been bitterly cold lately, but heartburn! He gave me prescriptions for Prilosec and Flonase, and kicked me unceremoniously out of his office for wasting his precious time.
In my defence, I’ve never had heartburn this bad before. That shit hurts when it migrates up my torso. Lesson learned? Don’t eat an hour before bedtime. in fact, just don’t eat, to be absolutely certain.

So yeah! I’ll be in Writing Form again soon, I’m sure. Or something?

O, and speaking of Xmas, my friends (you know who you are) would do well to update their Amazon wish lists. Just sayin’. Here’s mine! Also just sayin’.
Remember, my rules for Xmas apply just like they have for the past couple of years: everyone gets a Xmas prezzie, just not necessarily at Xmas

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No need for anaesthetic, just switch her off

typed for your pleasure on 28 November 2007, at 2.18 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cemetry gates’ by the Smiths

Ha ha! Looks like even Gynoids aren’t exempt from visiting the dentist now! Now they can go through what I recently went through. Sucks to be you, Little Miss Synthetik! Ha!

As long as the nurse doesn’t start asking ‘Is it sssafe?’, then she should be alright

Humanoid robot teaches dentists to feel people’s pain
Yahoo! News | Wed Nov 28, 4:59 AM ET

Japan’s future dentists may soon be able to better appreciate patients’ pain by training on a humanoid robot that can mumble “ouch” when the drill hits a nerve.

The robot, resembling an attractive young woman with long black hair and a pink sweater, also can listen to instructions and react to pain by moving her eyes or hands.

A group of robot and computer makers presented the high-tech dental patient in Tokyo at the 2007 International Robot Exhibition, a four-day technology showcase that opened Wednesday.

The medical simulation robot, named “Simroid,” is designed to be used for clinical training at dental schools, said Tatsuo Matsuzaki, an official at robot maker Kokoro Company Ltd., which developed the body and control system.
the rest of the article is here

For a while, I was wondering what the forward-thinking people at Kokoro Co. Ltd. were up to, as I hadn’t seen nor heard any Actroid news in months. And believe me, I looked. But it’s good to know they’re not resting on their laurels…
Although you can’t exactly tell from the above photo, Simroid-chan’s pretty cute, even when there’s a bunch of people jamming their hands into her mouth. At the very least, you know she takes care of her teeth.

I found a couple of videos of her in action as well, but I’m debating whether to upload them to my YouTube page, or let the Missus put them on her Dailymotion page. Dailymotion has been giving us problems as of late, as most, if not all, of the videos we’ve uploaded have been marked as having inappropriate content. Bloody ridiculous. I’ll figure out something relatively soon

EDIT (2.31 pm): Well, damnit, Pink Tentacle. I’LL GET YOU NEXT TIME *shakes fist*

ta very much to SafeTinspector for the hip tip

Technorati tags: robots, Androids, Gynoids, Kokoro Co. Ltd., Actroid, dentistry

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typed for your pleasure on 22 November 2007, at 2.39 am

Sdtrk: ‘Let you go (Drop the Lime remix)’ by Starkey

Happy Cholera Blankets Day! In celebration, here is the cutest goddamn thing anyone will ever bear witness to in this, or any other, lifetime. Be sure to turn your speakers up!

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typed for your pleasure on 20 November 2007, at 2.49 am

Sdtrk: ‘Jeane’ by the Smiths

Under normal circumstances, when I hear the word ‘children’, I automatically think ‘leash laws’, but this article on the Telegraph’s website reminds me that children really are the future.
Great, now I’ve got that goddamned Whitney Houston song running through my head.

Children treat nursery robot as a human
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor | Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 06/11/2007

Child-like robots are being developed for nursery schools after researchers found that toddlers are able to regard their artificial friends as human.

The key step for robots to help teachers is for the automatons to be accepted by toddlers as social peers who are worth paying attention to – and bonding with – a hurdle that is crossed today in a study published by a team from the University of California, San Diego, UCSD.

Robots are capable of impressive mechanical feats, but the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences now shows that researchers are close to solving more difficult challenge: being accepted as being a peer, at least by the smaller members of our species.

The problem is that most robots do not hold a toddler’s attention. The most successful so far have been storytellers, but even these can only hold interest for approximately 10 hours.

Now Dr Fumihide Tanaka of UCSD and colleagues has done much better by introducing a prototype “social robot” into a classroom of toddlers for five months.

A human controller sent very occasional instructions for the robot to turn its head or perform an action like giggling or dancing. The robot was programmed to lie down when its batteries were running out. Often children would put a blanket on him, saying “night-night”. Early in the study, some children even cried when he keeled over.

The researchers videotaped the sessions and scored the quality of the interactions, noting that the children’s social contact with the robot increased over time.

The children lost interest when the robot was reprogrammed to dance randomly, but the robot again became popular after resuming its original operating mode. “By the last sessions, five months later, they treated the robot as a peer rather than as a toy,” the team reports.
the rest of the article is here

This is an incredibly important aspect to upcoming Synthetik/Organik interaction, as if a child grows up alongside robots, they won’t develop a needless fear of or prejudice against robots. Obviously, there more than enough blinkered adults out there now who’ve watched the ‘Terminator’ movies and took them as fact, but kids don’t have that ridiculous conditioning. It’s my hope that successive generations of Organiks can see Synthetiks as their equals, but it’s obviously best to start raising children with that sort of open-mindedness as soon as possible. It’s like any prejudice against any race, colour, creed, etc, really — stamp it out early, and your children develop into better human beings. Kudos, UCSD researchers!

On the passive Synthetik (we just call ’em Dolls) front, 4woods does good again, with the release of the 小悪魔 (‘Little Devil’) version of their somewhat-dour-yet-cute Neu lass, only available for viewing on the Japanese side of the site. A saucy minx!

Give her a black pair of PVC bat wings, and she’s a RYU’S FORM SITE character

Now all she is, really, is a tattooed version of their Neu Doll, with a darker paint scheme and a brown wig. Does she genuinely count as a new Doll? Err… maybe? She’s a rarer version of a (semi-)rare Doll, rather like when DeLorean made the limited edition gold version of their fantastic automobile.
I have to say that I prefer the Little Devil Neu over the bog-standard version, but I would say that. But how long will those tattoos last, is my question? Get your photos in as soon as you can before they rub off!

Not to be outdone, Orient industry have released yet another variation of their popular CandyGirl Jewel line, called CandyGirl Jewel Diva. Much like their CandyGirl Jewel Rosa series, these gorgeous lasses get my Seal of Approval.

If I were her, I’d be staring at my foot, too

At about 5’3″ (taller than the Missus?), just shy of 75 lbs (34 kgs) and with the measurements 34 / 26 / 38, they’re fantastic enough, but the distinction that really sets them apart from all seventy-two of the other types of CandyGirl are their more realistically-sculpted faces. In fact, the Mao-type (pictured above) kinda resembles 4woods’ Mitsumi. Not that I’m complaining. Sexy? Yes!

And finally, performance artist and iDollator Amber Hawk Swanson has slapped together a fine site of her own that details her various projects and appearances, and features a passel of photos and video of her with her Doll twin/bride. Go check it out!

‘Shouting to hear the echoes’. We’ve seen the future, and it’s silicone-based

Technorati tags: robots, Androids, Gynoids, 4woods, Orient industry, iDollators, RealDolls, Amber Hawk Swanson

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All you really need is one wheel

typed for your pleasure on 16 November 2007, at 1.43 am

Sdtrk: ‘The torture garden’ by Death in June

Attention, those of you who grew up in the Eighties or are into late-Eighties anime culture: hands up if you remember the show ‘Spiral zone’. Right, that’s three of you. Hrm.
To jostle your memory somewhat, leprous-looking bad guys were going round a future Earth with these huge generators that emanated a gas that turned ordinary people into, uh, zombies or something? I’m not entirely sure. I do know that the show was based on a series of highly-detailed action figures from Japan that competely impressed me, as they were about six inches tall with removable cloth suits and plastic armour — kinda like a precursor to all those Dragon / 21st Century Toys / Blue Box 12″ figures that seem to be so popular these days. But the reason I’m dragging you lot by the hair down Memory Lane is that the good guys rode motorcycles with one giant wheel, which I thought was ace. ‘OMG,’ you scream at the top of your lungs, pronouncing it ‘omj’, ‘I remember those cycles! I always wanted to ride one myself!’ Well, thanks to some lunatics from the Netherlands, now you can. Introducing: The Wheelsurf.

Not as fab as a Vespa, but definitely cooler than a Segway

The Wheelsurf consists of an inner and an outer frame. The inner frame has three small wheels that make contact with the outer frame. The outer frame is the actual rotating wheel and has a solid rubber tire. The rider sits inside the inner frame that also contains the engine, drive train and petrol tank.
The Wheelsurf is steered by shifting your weight. Although it has a hand brake, braking is limited to the counterbalance you can provide by leaning backwards. If you brake too hard, you will start spinning with the outer wheel. Which of course is exciting…

Of course it’s ‘exciting’! That doesn’t mean it’s ‘good’! I keep picturing that nutty YouTube video with the hamster and the wheel and the momentum and the Schadenfreude. You know which one I’m talking about.
Apart from any errant braking incidents though, the Wheelsurf looks rather neat. If they came in colours apart from red and yellow, I’d buy one! And if they weren’t $7,000 USD, that is

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‘She is a lesson in courage’

typed for your pleasure on 8 November 2007, at 1.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Allures’ by Stereolab

So Tsukihime and I finally caught ‘Lars and the Real Girl‘ at a sparsely-attended matinee this Sunday past, and I have to admit that it was actually better than I thought it would be. As you’ll recall, I had some initial misgivings about the concept of a big-budget Hollywood film handling the concept of Dolls and iDollators in a sensitive manner, but all told, the end result was largely inoffensive.
As I didn’t have a notepad on me at the time (the theatre was too dark) and using my Treo would’ve been awkward (the screen was too bright), here’s my recollection from various fragments that I can remember:

+ Bianca arrived at Lars’ in only six weeks time. Potential Doll owners: be forewarned that this film is a work of fiction. Six week turnaround time?? Heh, if only…

+ Someone reviewing the film had waggishly described it as ‘Capra with creep factor’. Ignoring the C-word, I’d have to agree. Lars acquires his Synthetik girlfriend, and the whole town is persuaded to go along with it. As lovely as that idea is, it spins the whole film into the realm of pure fantasy. On the other hand, it’s hardly as if I expected it to be a documentary… Even if it is fictional, it’s a nice change to see people rallying behind an iDollator, as opposed to crossing the street to avoid him.

+ In certain scenes, it was noticeable that Bianca wasn’t an ordinary Doll weight — there’s a part where Lars is walking through some woods with her piggyback, and I’m sorry, that shit’s nigh-impossible to do with a typical Doll. Movie Magic!

+ A couple of things that made me chuckle: Lars’ cubicle mate, a weedy fellow who reminded me visually of Gareth from ‘The Office‘, showed Lars the site that sold the Dolls. The layout was like Abyss’, yet not Abyss’.
Shortly after, Lars asked his coworker if he would be placing an order for one. ‘I would,’ he sighed, ‘but I just got the new XBOX.’ Tch! Where are your priorities, sir??

+ As a Doll husband and advocate, I have to say that this film had a severe lack of naked Bianca. Seriously though, it’s good that there wasn’t any focus on the sexual aspects of Bianca and Lars’ relationship, as the film could’ve very easily slipped into a lowbrow American Pie-type sex farce, with Bianca as a prop — I’m rather glad that scriptwriter Nancy Oliver chose not to go that route. The way she drew up the character of Lars is that he saw Bianca as a companion first and a sexual partner second, and to be honest, their sexual relationship wasn’t even mentioned. Which is again good, as it reinforces the concept that Dolls aren’t merely for sex.

+ Continuing in that particular groove, the film’s central point is that having a Doll in one’s life (depending on the type of person you are, of course), can be very theraputic. Before Lars learns about Dolls, you see him in the opening scenes of the film: he’s isolated in a cold grey room that contains little stimulus or joy, and a crushing sense of depression. After Bianca arrives, his life doesn’t exactly do a 180, but he’s noticeably less maudlin. He takes her places, sees things with her… he has someone to enjoy life with. Not to get all Hallmark-y, but Bianca is a key that unlocks the doors to Lars’ life.
Gods, that sounded rubbish. Strike that, reverse it. But you know what I mean.

+ I’m sorry; even though Ms Oliver undoubtedly drew from many sources during her research for her script, I would have to say that a large part of Lars is based on me, and another part is based on Everhard. Half-Danish, half-Brazilian Bianca has a detailed history, much like half-English half-Japanese Sidore does, and despite his mother’s passing, Lars still has a tremendous affection and attachment to her, much as Everhard does. Yeah yeah, I know, I bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you?

+ And I have to say that the scene with Lars dancing with Bianca in his room, brief as it was, was incredibly touching. When fellow iDollator Mahtek first told me that, thanks to the hanging suspension stand he bought for his girls, he can actually dance with Phoebe or Penelope, I knew that he was a luckier man than I.

So in summation, ‘Lars etc etc’ turned out to be much less of a grand disappointment than I thought it would be. The ending was almost what I’d expected — Hollowood’s everywhere, you can’t get away from it — but as a Doll husband, my sensibilities were not offended. Even Tsukihime, whose only exposure to Synthetiks is through me, enjoyed it as well — she admitted there were a couple of scenes where she was tearing up, but then, she’s a softer touch when it comes to that sort of thing…
The only negative point I have to say about it, really, is that since Lars was kinda messed up before Bianca entered his life — his extreme shyness and near-clinical fear of being touched comes from his mother having died while giving birth to him — the casual viewer might say ‘well, he’s got a Doll, so he must be a loony’, when the only thing Bianca has to do with his mental condition is improving it. My worry is that most people, unless they watch the film with an open and attentive mind, won’t make that distinction. But like I’ve said, at least it’s not ‘Love object’.
Ms Oliver, you are henceforth spared my wrath (pronounced ‘roth’). So when’s the DVD due out?

And that concludes ‘Shouting etc etc’s coverage of ‘Lars etc etc’! In all honesty, even I was starting to grow tired of making mention of it in every other feckin’ post

Did her mum knit her that hat and scarf combo?

Technorati tags: Abyss Creations, RealDolls, iDollators, Lars and the Real Girl

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typed for your pleasure on 1 November 2007, at 12.16 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Waterloo’ by ABBA

Unbloodybelievable. Just when you thought that Gerrrraldo soliciting me was the Pinnacle of Unlikely, this was sent to my Myspace Inbox:

From: CBS Paramount (myspace.com/cbsparamount)
Date: Oct 29, 2007 5:04 PM
Subject: Dr. Phil Show!

Hi Davecat!

My name is Heather Mansfield and I work for the Dr. Phil show here in Los Angeles. I have been trying to get a hold of you because we are extremely interested in doing a story about you and others like you who are Real Doll lovers. If you are at all interested in this, please let me know! My number here is [phone number].

Thanks so much!
Heather Mansfield

‘Trying to get a hold of you’. Like I’m extraordinarily difficult to contact or something.
What else could I say? I mean, apart from

From: Davecat
Date: Oct 31, 2007 12:10 AM
Subject: RE: Dr. Phil Show!

Hey Heather –

Thanks for the offer, but I’m afraid I must decline. For one, I don’t really know who Dr Phil is — I’ve not watched broadcast television since ‘Seinfeld’ went off the air — but somehow I don’t think that being on national television with people who are more than likely either out to ‘convert’ me, or make a mockery of my preference in partners, would be the best decision I’ve made all week. Besides, I’m really no longer doing interviews for free, and I’m fairly certain that CBS isn’t exactly willing to ante up air fare both to and from LA, as well as lodging, and at least half the cost of a new RealDoll (Sidore is in need of a new body). I could of course be wrong, but somehow I doubt it…

Don’t be too disappointed! I turned down appearing on Geraldo’s little media circus for the same reasons!

Davecat, with valued assistance from Sidore

Strangely, she’s not responded! Granted, she might be awaiting a phone call instead of another Email, but I just can’t see myself calling LA just to say ‘sorry, no, and should I have heard of this Dr Phil person?’
Truth be told, I do know who he is, but I’m not too keen on his work. If you’re a legitimate psychiatrist/counselor/witch doctor, somehow I think you’d be concentrating more on private consultations with your patients than being a high-profile media personality. But that’s just me. Tsukihime compared him (favourably) to Oprah, at which point I think I actually made a gagging sound.

Like I always say in instances like this, I was spoiled by having my first television appearance conducted with the wonderful Elisabeth Alexandre, as she and I corresponded via Email for almost three months before she asked if I’d like to be a part of ‘Eves de silicone’ for the public telly station France 3 back in 2001. (Yes, Sidore and I have been on television several times prior to ‘Guys and Dolls’. Hit up ‘Shouting etc etc’s search engine *points to sidebar* if you’re curious, as I’m too lazy to link them right now) Her approach was like good dating: get to know the person first, feel them out, then ask them out. ‘Dr’ Phil and sensitive investigator Geraldo are like ‘Say babe, you look interesting. Wanna come back to my place and fuck?’ Some people don’t mind that, obviously, but I’m not one of them. Errr, it depends on who’s asking. But my point is that a little research on me and iDollator culture before asking after an interview is pretty damned important…

Miss Hyde had brought up an interesting question recently — will there be a similar wave of hype for ‘Lars etc etc’ over in the UK? Will it even be screened in the UK? Somehow I don’t picture it as being such a tremendous affair as it is here, as being a Doll owner or lover isn’t as widespread (yet) as it is in the States, but there’s always a chance…
You know who I think it’d be fun to be interviewed by, should Britain decide to start making discrete enquiries? Jonathan Ross. Going by what shows I’ve seen of his, namely all three episodes of Americana (his documentary series on American midwestern culture) and the entire run of Japanorama (his loveletter concerning all things Japan), I think he’d be one of the more suitable candidates — he’s a self-confessed otaku, and he has a uniquely distinctive image and style, consisting mostly of baggy dress suits in unusual colours. When Nick and Tanya were filming the Missus and I, they’d mentioned that the concept of RealDolls might well be up his alley. Huh. Up to anything next Spring, Wossy?

Now would any other ill-advised opportunists like to put a bid in? The line forms to your left

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