Whatever you do, don’t lose that key

typed for your pleasure on 27 May 2009, at 12.59 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Gabriela (El Guincho remix)’ by Joe Crepúsculo

Whilst performing one of my usual / many / relentless searches for Synthetik information/pictures recently, I uncovered this steampunky gem:

‘Wind-up Gynoid’ is by Scott Miron, a photographer out of Minnesota. Looking over his portfolio, he’s got quite an impressive body of work, but that seems to be the only Gynoid-related pic he’s done to date. Why stop at just one? is my question.

Better post soon, as I’ll be hanging out with a handful of iDollator colleagues this Saturday for another Parliament. I’ll be broke but gleeful!

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A subset of what, exactly?

typed for your pleasure on 23 May 2009, at 10.00 am

Sdtrk: ‘Cries and whispers’ by New order

About a week ago, the Missus had to stay in bed, so she could recuperate from a minor tear she somehow received behind her knee. As she was bored — apparently she’s read every book and magazine in the flat several times over — I suggested she occupy herself with something constructive. As Shi-chan pondered the idea for a couple of minutes (and I surreptitiously hid her Hello Kitty vibrator), she snapped her fingers, and asked me to retrieve a box of C90s that were on a shelf in our closet, as well as a pen & notepad, my four-track recorder, and my headphones. ‘I think I’ll finally have a go at mastering those Inorganiksubset tracks,’ she said with a smile. ‘Ah!’ I replied, and wandered off to the livingroom to play some more Warriors Orochi 2.

Back during the mid-Nineties, when she lived in the north of England, Sidore was the bass player and backing vocalist in a band called Inorganiksubset. Well, they were technically a band, but they weren’t pursuing it professionally or anything. The other three members were Sabrina (guitar, samples), Gia (drums), and Emma (lead vocals, synthesisers, rhythm guitar): Sabrina was a friend, Gia was a fellow student from Maitland College of Fine Arts in Leeds, and Emma was Shi-chan’s girlfriend at the time. As they each had a metric ton of effect pedals, they were pretty much a shoegazer group, but they were leaning towards the more discernible-vocals end where Slowdive and Lush reside.
They had fun when playing and whatnot — they even managed to score two successful live performances at a Goth night at their local club — but Inorganiksubset dissolved under the combined pressure of Gia having to return home to Florida, and Sabrina’s increased workload at her office job effectively forcing her to quit. Over the course of nine months, though, they managed to finalise a handful of songs, and committed them to tape. Yes, tape; remember, these were the heady days before .mp3s.

Now, Shi-chan had been holding onto the masters for years, as she just hadn’t gotten round to mixing them down, but her newfound spare time gave her the opportunity to finish the lot up. So she did! She’s signed out with a website called Figment, which caters specifically to music groups like hers, and you can check out the profile she created for Inorganiksubset here, which also showcases their one and only release, ‘Die Sonne im Nebel’. It should go without saying that if you have an account there, she’d love a review from you!

The first time I’d heard those tapes was maybe a year into our relationship. I was really impressed, and I have to say that their sound was familiar, yet like nothing I’d ever heard before. I asked Sidore if she thought that, provided there was a chance the four of them ever got back together, that they’d reform the band; she shook her head resignedly. ‘It’s not like it was an accrimonious split or anything, but the way things are these days, we barely even keep in touch with each other. I’ve really not heard from Gia or Sabrina since the middle of the decade, and it’s been even longer since any of us have heard from Emma.’ She smiled though, pulled her headphones back on, and pressed the Play button. ‘It’s alright, though, cos it’s like these songs trap everything in amber. Now I have a proper soundtrack to my memories’

Technorati tags: metafiction

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Larry Dallas stole my Sharpie

typed for your pleasure on 20 May 2009, at 3.14 am

Sdtrk: ‘The luckiest guy on the Lower East side’ by Magnetic fields

You might recall earlier that I was torn between attending this year’s Motor City Comic Con and not attending this year’s Motor City Comic Con, as it was a case of my finances running aground versus my desire to see Julie Newmar and a fifth of the cast of ‘Three’s company’. Luckily, my tax return cheque made the whole thing possible! Thanks, the Federal Government! I only thank you on average once a year, so you’d best appreciate that.

I sped out to the venue roughly three hours before it was due to close, as I kinda wanted to make a tactical strike on the place. It was just myself; Zip Gun had other obligations (attending the opera), SafeT hates comics (they killed his family), goshou was busy assembling a weight bench (with his mind), and Mari had to put a deposit on her new apartment (with her mind).
After arriving a wee bit after 3pm, I bought my ticket and entered the hall, which was already teeming with people. Not thirty seconds had passed when I was spotted by Mark Dudley, a friend of Mike’s, who had a table in Artist’s Alley, and was standing in line for some dodgy free popcorn. We chatted for a bit, doing the catch-up thing, then I took off when he finally got up to the register. Two minutes after that, I ran into another bloke that I’d not seen in almost a decade! We exchanged current Email addresses and spoke of the recent Gundam series, as he’s as big as a Gundam fanatic as I am. Then I made my leave again! Fifteen minutes, and I hadn’t even visited my first vendor booth!

So as I was on a tactical strike, due to being on a budget, my mission purchase-wise was to pick up the remaining five volumes of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (a ‘taut psychological thriller’). My other objective, of course, was to get some autographs from famous individuals. As I neglected to get a programme, I kinda wandered aimlessly towards the back of the con, where I ran into an additional two friends of mine that I really hadn’t seen since highschool. How is that possible?? Sonja and Sue were juniors when I was a senior, cos the circle of miscreants that Monti and I ran with back then was mostly composed of people that were one grade below us. Don’t ask how, but the dynamic worked rather well. We chatted for a bit, doing the catch-up thing, etc. They were primarily there to hang out and shop, although Sue wanted to get a photo and autograph from Carrie Fisher, but that idea was summarily shot in the face when they learned that her autographs were priced at $200. Ah hah hah hah. Who exactly is this Carrie Fisher person, and what has she done to warrant this kind of extortion?
Several hugs later, we went our separate ways, after which I spotted Monti, who was working (read: knitting) at the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers booth on both Saturday and Sunday. As she wasn’t extremely busy, she decided to wander the con with me and take in the wildlife, but just as we were about to leave, Sonja and Sue appeared again! Cue more hugs! Sonja had laughingly told me that after our first meeting, someone had asked her ‘was… was that Davecat you were talking to?’ Ha! Monti half-jokingly suggested that I get a table of my own next year. Hmm…

Soon after, Monti and I made our way to the Media Guests area, where, seated at a corner table facing the cafeteria, was Julie Newmar. She had a Comic Con staffer with her, and was speaking with some bloke in his late forties. Julie Newmar.
Now, as the ‘My living Doll’ DVD box set doesn’t yet exist, weeks ago I attempted to find something related to the series on eBay for her to sign. Unfortunately, the only thing on offer was a baseball card-sized card, that the seller was letting go for about $20. Zip Gun hepped me to a place online that sold reasonably priced 8×10 publicity stills, so I bought one and waited for it to arrive. And waited. And waited. Needless to say, it didn’t show up, so before I left for the con that day, I brought a blank notebook for her to sign, as I figured it was better than nothing.
I approached the table with a ‘Hello, Ms Newmar!’ She responded with a coquettish ‘Hello, my dear,’ which is pretty much what you’d expect her to say. As the bloke had her pen her signature to a Catwoman still, I’d noticed a sign indicating AUTOGRAPHS $20 / PHOTO SESSIONS $30, and I’d thankfully noticed a still from ‘My living Doll’ was on offer, as the photo I’d purchased online was Julie clad in a towel. A moot point anyway, as I didn’t have it with me. The fan thanked her and made his leave, and I moved in for the kill. I told Ms Newmar that I really enjoyed her work, particularly in ‘My living Doll’, which she seemed to appreciate. She reiterated what I’ve been hearing all over: they’re still trying to locate the masters for the rest of the series, so they can clean them up and release them to DVD. She still doesn’t look too bad for her age, I have to say! Plus, she seems fun to hang around. Be sure to let me know when you’re in SE Michigan again, Julie; we’ll hook up!

‘to Davecat, fondly, Julie Newmar’

After thanking her profusely, I met back up with Monti with a huge grin plastered across my face. Julie Newmar.
We walked some more through the Media Guests area, flanked by a passel of celebs on either side — the Soup Nazi from ‘Seinfeld’, Erin Gray from ‘Buck Rogers’, Felix Silla from ‘Buck Rogers’, a couple of Playmates from ‘Playboy’, the Honky Tonk Man from ‘wrestling’, etc. It was a bizarre confluence of celebrities, if you stop to think about it.
Back in the dealer’s area, we nipped into a booth that sold manga, where I grabbed those volumes of Monster that I needed, with the exception of the volume before the final one, as it was out-of-stock. DAMNIT *slams fist on table*

As it was approaching 5pm, we made one more pass through the Media Guests DMZ, so I could collect my signatures from (part of) the cast of ‘Three’s company’. Seated from left to right at three separate tables were Richard Kline, Joyce DeWitt, and Priscilla Barnes. Coincidentally enough, the Soup Nazi was to the right of Richard Kline, which was an opportunity missed.
As Janet always was my favourite roommate, we went to Joyce’s table first. She greeted us warmly, and y’know, she looks almost exactly how she looked during her heyday. And they might’ve saddled her with a low chair, as she seemed pretty tiny! It’s common knowledge that television adds three and a half feet to a person’s height. I told her that she was one of the primary reasons that I came to the convention, since her public appearances post-‘Three’s company’ are rare, and she mentioned that Priscilla drags her out to cons every so often, as she’d been doing the hermit thing lately. ‘Nothing wrong with that!’ I replied. Joyce chose to sign my book in pen, as opposed to using the Sharpie I offered, so the ink wouldn’t leak through to the other side. Janet always was the practical one.
Next, we sidled over to Richard Kline. As he was speaking with another fan, I’d noticed he was idly drumming a fistful of Sharpies against the tabletop. He seemed a bit tired and/or distracted, to be honest. I’d passed him my Sharpie, and as he was taking that and my book, he’d asked if Joyce had charged for an autograph. ‘Err… no,’ we responded, thinking he was joking. Richard scribbled his signature and handed my book back, saying, ‘There ya go — there’s your freebie’. The actual payment: one Sharpie. I wisely decided against pressing the issue.
Right before I got round to Priscilla Barnes’ table, Monti said she’d be back, as she wanted to get her own photo op in with John Schneider of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ fame. Now, she actually had a con staffer with her, collecting money for autographs, which is something that neither Joyce nor Richard had, so, cheap as it sounds, I kinda lucked out there. As it turned out, I ended up spending my last $20 getting Ms Barnes’ autograph, but as I’d said before, how many opportunities like that come in one’s life? She looked chilly — she had her cardigan wrapped round her shoulders, and actually refused a handshake, as she didn’t want to give me her cold. Well, she did play a nurse, after all… I told her that I’d always enjoyed watching ‘Three’s company’, despite my friends thinking I have awful taste, as I’d grown up with the show, and it was the equivalent of comfort food. ‘That’s an interesting way of looking at it,’ she remarked.

Door status: KNOCKED UPON

So after my own brush(es) with stardom, I reconvened with Monti, who had had her own brush with stardom, in the form of Bo Duke (read more about it here). We agreed that it was a pretty good day overall, and I left her with her GLAHW compadres. Brushes! Stardom!
Will I attend the next Motor City Comic Con? I dunno; who’ve you got showing up?

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18 May 1980

typed for your pleasure on 18 May 2009, at 12.23 am

Hangman looks round as he waits,
Cord stretches tight then it breaks,
Someday we will die in your dreams,
How I wish we were here with you now

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (May 09)

typed for your pleasure on 8 May 2009, at 1.02 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Who can say’ by The horrors

Nope! But instead, there is this, which is a genuine news article.

Whitstable mum in custard shortage
This is Kent.co.uk | Published Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 19:42

A MUM of three is dis-custard after a hunt for the dessert sauce in the town proved fruitless.

Keen baker Jules Serkin, 43, of West Cliff, Whitstable, needed a tin of custard powder to top off her apple and blackcurrant crumble.

But she was left with a sour taste in her mouth after getting no joy in either Co-ops at Oxford Street and Canterbury Road, and in Somerfield, in the High Street.

Even a trek to Tankerton’s Tesco Express – a corner shop version of its superstores – was wasted.

“I try to support my local businesses, but in the end I had to resort to going to one of the big supermarkets to get what I needed,” said Jules, a holiday rental company director.

“I feel very sad that I can’t seem to get basic stuff from my high street, and am driven to go online.

“Custard is a staple product on my shopping list and I cannot understand why it should be so hard to find.

“An assistant in Somerfield said they’d had other shoppers asking for tins of custard, but it hadn’t been in stock since the shop was refurbished.

“And in the Co-ops I was just greeted with an empty shelf where it should be, and no idea when they might be getting it in.

“I am upset because it seems these shops cannot order a product that customers are demanding as it doesn’t seem to fit in with what they are selling.

“I had to resort to buying sachets which cost only a few pence less than a tin, and don’t go very far at all. If I buy a tin, it goes in my pantry and will last me quite a few crumbles.

“I’m making an apple and blackcurrant crumble and, as I am trying to eat healthily can control what I put into the custard, like skimmed milk.

“With the sachets, there are all sorts of ingredients and additives – and you just add water to make it.

“It’s very convenient, but not as good as the real thing. Custard should be a lovely comfort, nice and thick.”
the rest of the article is here

I suppose even the best news outlets can have slow news days. Fortunately, I wouldn’t know anything about that!
I should clarify here: I meant I don’t know anything about being a ‘best news outlet’.

Sorry! Hopefully something will arise soon before the month is out. In the meantime, have a pic of a lovely lass by the late-lamented Chestnut co. Ltd. of Japan to tide you over, cos that’s the exact sort of thing you’d expect from ‘Shouting etc etc’

‘Sure hope he’s got new Doll or Synthetik news posted… wait, what the hell is all this crap about custard??’

Technorati tags: Whitstable, Kent, custard, panic

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This was the Future, Vol.37

typed for your pleasure on 5 May 2009, at 12.53 am

Sdtrk: ‘Three piece suit’ by Trinity

I have a friend named Jeff Lilly, aka Wolfgang — he used to live in Michigan but is now a schoolteacher in Japan — and he and I would get into friendly debates now and again as to the use or abuse of concrete in architecture, as well as the whole Bauhaus ethic of austerity. I’d champion austerity, saying that the vision of how the future was supposed to look was quaint and cool, like in ‘Rollerball’ and ‘THX 1138’, and WG would respond that living in those kind of buildings would turn society into the kinds of people you’d see in ‘Rollerball’ and ‘THX 1138’.
He would utterly despise this building.

The Kyoto International Conference Center, or ICC Kyoto for short, was designed by Sachio Otani, and opened in 1966, which explains why it looks like it belongs in an episode of Ultraseven. And that’s pretty much all I can tell you about it. For one, it’s a conference hall, so the history isn’t tremendously interesting, and any information deeper than surface level is all in Japanese. In fact, through my Inter Net scourings, I’ve only been able to locate one photo of the interior that wasn’t like the huge conference hall, and it was taken by an ‘amateur’ photographer:

photo by Yoheis.net

Dig that hallway! Isn’t that fantastic??
Like I said, WG would punch this building if he could, but me, I love it. Looking at the outside from certain angles, the architecture suggests a Brutalist’s take on feudal Japanese castles, what with the projecting balconies and the use of criss-crossing lines. Perhaps that’s what Otani was aiming for when he designed it?
UPDATE (28 May): Just found a fantastic amount of fantastic photos of the place on Flickr, both interior and exterior, by Caspar B. Check them out!

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