Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Nov 2012)

typed for your pleasure on 25 November 2012, at 7.01 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Scrape it off’ by YVETTE

Musing aloud: I’m curious as to how I’d go about getting corporate sponsorship from the heavy hitters in the industry. I’m thinking I’d either go with Weyland Industries, or the Tyrell Corporation. Gotta look into getting in on the ground floor of those soon…

+ You’ve probably seen news on her already, but fellow Synthetik lover Vokabre has just sent me pics and info about Russia’s first Gynoid, Alisa Zelenogradova, made by the group Neurobotics. Lookin’ good!

Her facial features are based off one of the employees, and as you can see, Alisa is highly expressive. What’s more impressive about that is that her silicone face has only has eight points of articulation, as opposed to other Gynoids; the Italian Synthetik FACE, as an example, has thirty-two. At this stage, Alisa is really just a Gynoid head on a mannequin body, but as Werner Herzog once said, even dwarves started small.
She has cameras in her eyes, and can interact with others through Skype, as telepresence is one of her intended uses. Not only that, her AI software allows her to understand and respond to quite a few questions. And, according to her page on VK, Russia’s version of Facilebook, she’s twenty-six years old, and single. If you ask me, these Russian mail-order brides are improving!


Photo © by Vokabre. That hairstyle makes her look a bit like Cilla Black

If you’re not afraid of Cyrillic characters, you can read about Vokabre’s trip to Neurobotics’ studio here. Let’s hope we hear more good news about Alisa and her handlers in 2013!

+ You’ll be pleased to know that Abyss creations and its sister site Phoenix studios are continuing to produce affictitious ladies! For Abyss’ fifteenth anniversary last year, they quietly released Crystal, a head that was initially designed for the RealDoll 2 bodies, but is compatible with most of the RealDoll 1 bodies as well, as it has a full skull design. Good thing Matt McMullen waited until the fifteenth anniversary to do something like this, otherwise we might’ve been looking at a face named Pottery, or Wool, for that matter.


photos © by Stacy Leigh

I’d say she’s really appealing — she has a very pleasing facial shape. I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with a Crystal-type in your home.
Matt also told me that not only is he going to be releasing some additional new faces soon, but he’s currently finishing off two new RD2 bodies as well. Body C will be supermodel-like in stature: tall, lean, and with a smaller bust, whereas Body D will be, as he described, ‘similar to Body 5 but with a dash of body 10 thrown in’. So busty and curvy, then? Huh! *nods approvingly*

Phoenix studios, in keeping up with the silicone Joneses, have recently debuted the Boy Toy Lite! Christmas is coming up rather soon, after all.


Right, there you are — naked Doll bOObs. Happy now?

Basically, the Boy Toy Lite is a less-articulated version of their regular Boy Toy models — as she’s more designed for play than for photoshoots, she has no articulated joints. You can rotate her arms 360° at the shoulders, and her head is capable of turning, but that’s the lot, really. She’s made of the same platinum silicone as the other Dolls, and comes in at a trim 45 lbs, but she’s got as many points of articulation as a Todd McFarlane ‘action’ figure. Still, if you’re looking to buy a Doll that you’re only really going to be engaging in sexytime with, the Boy Toy Lite should suit you down to the ground.

+ Ray Bradbury, circa 1965, writing a response to the snobbery that narrow-minded individuals held against Walt Disney’s animatronics, in an article for Holiday magazine entitled ‘The Machine-Tooled Happyland‘:

After I had heard too many people sneer at Disney and his audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, I went to the Disney robot factory in Glendale. I watched the finishing touches being put on a second computerized, electric- and air-pressure-driven humanoid that will “live” at Disneyland from this summer on. I saw this new effigy of Mr. Lincoln sit, stand, shift his arms, turn his wrists, twitch his fingers, put his hands behind his back, turn his head, look at me, blink and prepare to speak. In those few moments I was filled with an awe I have rarely felt in my life.

Only a few hundred years ago all this would have been considered blasphemous, I thought. To create man is not man’s business, but God’s, it would have been said. Disney and every technician with him would have been bundled and burned at the stake in 1600.

And again, I thought, all of this was dreamed before. From the fantastic geometric robot drawings of Bracelli in 1624 to the mechanical people in Capek’s R.U.R. in 1925, others have conceived and drawn metallic extensions of man and his senses, or played at it in theater.

But the fact remains that Disney is the first to make a robot that is convincingly real, that looks, speaks and acts like a man. Disney has set the history of humanized robots on its way toward wider, more fantastic excur­sions into the needs of civilization.
the entire article is here

+ In the mood to have your heartstrings vigourously tugged on? Then why not head over to cat versus human, home to art by a lass named Yasmine, and read the bittersweet tale ‘Little Robot‘, which concerns a Gynoid and her feline friend.

I apologise in advance for using this specific adjective, but both the art and story are rather *clears throat* adorbs. Be sure to thank fellow iDollator Euchre for that link, by the way.

+ And thanks to Jill Tilley, Euchre again, and about ninety-eight other people, I bring you the (in)famous Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Yes, you knew it was a matter of time before 1) Japan made this lysergic dream a reality, and 2) for me to report on it here.

In case you somehow managed to not hear about this phenomenon at all over the course of 2012, there’s a restaurant in the Kabukicho red-light district of Shinjuku that centres round female robots. From all accounts, it costs roughly $50USD to get in, the food is unimpressive, and as you can see in the above video, it is an all-out assault on the senses, as if Fellini had directed ‘Tron’. When not performing waitress duties, there are bikini-clad Organik lasses playing daiko drums, or riding neon tanks, or neon motorcycles, or a gigantic neon kabutomushi, or performing neon-lit dance routines, or piloting giant ten foot tall Gynoids that can move their heads, faces, and arms.

Now, it should be painfully obvious that I’m glad such a place exists — even though I think the Gynoid mecha look a bit bland facially, I’d have to be pried out of any one of their cockpits with a crowbar — but my christ, it’s a lot to look at. Did they get local dekotora designers to oversee the interior? Because, y’know, NEON EVERYWHERE FOREVER.
I recently asked neji-san, the bloke who created the alluring Tsukuhami, if he had been there yet, and he mentioned that the area it’s located in gets a bit rough after dark, and moreover, it seems the sort of place that doesn’t cater so much to technosexuals, but more towards gawkers and touristy types. As far as the sensory overload aspect of the club, writer Patrick Macias notes,

[T]he joint is more like a kyabakura, or “cabaret club”, than an actual restaurant. Three measly food items in all are listed on the menu, a perfunctory measure probably because it’s easier to get a license for food service than to apply for a “giant robots plus army girls and marching bands and motorcycles” license.

I’d agreed with neji-san — it’s not subdued on any level, and you run the serious risk of an epileptic seizure, but it’s definitely a place I think every technosexual-minded person should visit, given the opportunity. Perhaps the more of us that patronise the club, maybe they’ll think about branching out to other locations and making it a chain? We can only hope. Cos I mean, what’s the alternative? Hard rock Cafe?


Could this possibly be where the Tyrell Corporation will get started?

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This is where I get to tell you lot about my new job

typed for your pleasure on 17 November 2012, at 1.57 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sun eater 1’ by Noise/girl

If readers such as yourself have been following my Twitter feed, you might well be aware that I have a new job that’s much less soul-crushing than what I’m accustomed to! Err, you might know this; I didn’t really make a big deal about it. If you are somehow medically unable to use Twitter, well… I have a new job! It’s much less soul-crushing than what I’m accustomed to! There; now you’re caught up.

For the past half year, I’d been working with a temp service agency ever since the job I’d had (hereafter referred to as Aclims), ever since was… different than what I was initially told it would be. My resume is top-heavy with call centre positions — eighteen years’ worth, which is reason enough for starting an intimate relationship with heroin — and as a consequence, when potential employers see it, they say ‘Hey, here’s someone who obviously loves being on the phone!’ Every other week, I’d call the various temp agents, and they’d either say that the only places with positions available were call centres, or that no-one in the industries I wanted to get into were hiring. Since I went through so many agents, who apparently weren’t keen on comparing notes, every time we’d speak, they’d ask what I was looking for. ‘Data entry, imaging, proofreading, library work, things like that. I’m completely burnt out on call centres.’ Then that agent would disappear after a month, and someone new would call, with an exciting position at a call centre. That happened more often than I care to recall.
Imagine my surprise, then, when the latest agent offered me something that revolved round data entry, with very little to no opportunities to be on the phone, at the same pay scale as what I was making at Aclims! A dream come true? I’d sure as hell find out!

On the 26th of last month, after undergoing a 40min interview at the office of New Job, I was told that yes, I’d be doing data entry and nothing but. I wouldn’t even be on the phone! In fact, the only two downsides to the position would be the drive into downtown Detroit, which is something I’ve not done in years, and that it literally would be a temporary position. My task would be to enter raw data into their Intranet, so that it could be converted to the new system they’re about to implement, and the goal for that was February 2013. I’d asked if there’d be other data entry positions available after that deadline, and Ms P_______ said there wouldn’t be, unfortunately.
I was faced, then, with a quandary: remain at my current job, which every day nudges me closer to a messy-yet-effective ritual suicide, or start a new job that brings much more satisfaction, but for a limited time only? Well, you already know the answer; it’s there in the title.

Like most places of employment, Aclims prefers a two-week notice before quitting, but New Job would have me starting on 5 Nov. I went into Aclims on Monday, with the intention of working that day, the following day, and quitting Wednesday, but by the time I got upstairs, I couldn’t be arsed to even begin my last workdays there, and told my team leader that today would be my last day, so I could move on to greener, less-phone-related pastures. All told, I was going to need that week off to try to get used to waking up at a decent time…

As of today, it’s been ten days, and so far, I’d say this is the second best job I’ve ever had! I have an HID BADGE to get into the building and a DRAWER that requires a KEY to unlock it and I have POST-IT NOTES and ONE OF THOSE SHELF THINGS ON AN ARM WHERE YOU CAN PUT YOUR KEYBOARD and I am DRUNK WITH POWER. I’m in at 8am, beating most of the traffic, and out of there no later than 4pm, beating most of the traffic. Most importantly, I’m pretty much left to my own devices to listen to my Google Music library, and enter just under 7000 names and critical notes from several stacks of paper into the system. Rather makes me feel like one of the transcribers of the Domesday Book doing that, only I’m using a computer, and not a quill pen.
Of course, I’ll undoubtedly have to start scrambling for employment come January, but as I’m literally the only person in the office assigned this task, who knows if I myself can meet this deadline? Who can say if it doesn’t, say… stretch to April?? After all, I’m just one bloke! I’m reminded of the teenage girls hired to transcribe hours of tape to type out the draft for Andy Warhol’s a, A Novel. I think Gerard Malanga said that it seemed they were really taking their time about things — if you’ve read a, A Novel, you’ll know they weren’t especially careful about spellchecking or formatting — but Gerard speculated they were going slowly so they could hang out at the Factory longer. Can’t really blame ’em!

Brief as the assignment may be, it’s definitely nice not having a throbbing pit of dread in my stomach every time I get ready for work. Good job, New Job!

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…or don’t watch a Doll on telly

typed for your pleasure on 14 November 2012, at 10.43 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Julia’s song’ by Orchestral manoeuvres in the dark

As you may recall me mentioning in the last post, Sidore and I were due to appear on the chat show ‘Dr Drew on Call’ tonight, but, well, we didn’t. Now before you toss back that fistful of pills and wash it down with that glass of ammonia, let me explain what occurred, then you can top yourself. Sound fair?

Late last month, Bill, one of the show’s producers, contacted me about making an appearance. I said yes, and weeks later, I was put through to another programme producer by the name of Emily. She did a preliminary interview with me over the phone yesterday for a good half hour, which seemed to go reasonably well, and we aimed for shooting round 8pm EST. Now, I don’t know if he does this with all of his guests, but Dr Drew seems to… not really have his guests in the same studio with them; it’s all video feeds, from what I’ve seen. Kinda like Space Ghost Coast to Coast, but with much less Moltar. In any event, the show was going to be live, which would’ve been interesting, to say the least. With the exception of the fantastic symposium I was part of earlier this year, I don’t really do ‘live’. I’m not completely averse to it, but I’m much more of a studio musician than an onstage performer. But that’s just me.

We were ostensibly set: the Missus and I would point our laptop webcam at ourselves sat on the Deafening silence Plus loveseat, and answer questions put to us by Dr Drew and anyone mischievous enough to call in. Yes, people can call in. Yes, this is why I’m not keen on live telly venues. You only live once, though, so hey. We were due to test the Skype connection and lighting at 8pm EST, and go live at 9. I’d left work at 4 today — yes, I still have to write about New Job, but I keep getting distracted — and on the way there, Emily called me, and asked me to sign the release forms she’d Emailed me when I got home. Standard release form fumfuh, really. Sure, I told her, then popped round to my local sushi place, where the chef made three gigantic onigiri for me for my birthday. One of them was enough to fill me up for hours, so naturally, I ate two, and was practically rendered immobile.
Before gorging on rice, seaweed, and eel, however, I got Sidore dressed; she elected to wear that black A-line shift dress from the Sixties that I bought her for our first ‘My Strange Addiction’ segment, and was looking her usual delectable self. Then I sat down to eat, and have a look at the release form. Standard release form fumfuh… o, wait. Hmmm.

3. [..] The Program may include other guests and participants, surprises, statements, or commentary that I find private, hurtful, or embarrassing. Other persons or guests may appear on the Program, with or without my advance knowledge.

Hmmm.

5. I understand that while participating on the Program, and as a result of participating in the Program, I may be ridiculed or embarrassed. I understand that nothing that I say in connection with the Program will be off the record, that my identity will not be concealed, and that anyone may see my appearance on the Program and learn private and confidential information about me.

…right. It was at that point I rang Emily, leaving a message on her voicemail that I wasn’t keen on what I was seeing.

Let me pause the narrative for a bit here to explain: there’s a certain level of stupidity that I’ll tolerate from bog-standard American television. What this means is that if you’re a programme producer, and you make an enquiry with me, I’ll do a bit of research as to your show’s host, the kind of content you traffic in, the general demographic of the audience you play to, etc. If the programme meets with my approval based on the previous criteria, more than likely, I’ll do it for free, as I think it’s important to spread the word about Synthetiks, and if the show’s cool, then I’m cool. On the other hand, if I see you’re the sort of programme that makes Jerry Springer look like Walter goddamned Cronkite, then I’m going to refuse. Unless, of course, you meet my other demands:
1) the ability for me to choose the recording date,
2) all-expense paid flights for Sidore and I to the set and back home,
3) pre-paid accomodation when there,
4) the ability for me to pre-screen the questions that the presenter would be asking,
5) a closed set, and
6) a cheque made out to me for $5,000 USD for my time.
And that’s the point where most of the exploitationists thank me for my time, and scuttle backwards through the door. Again, I genuinely enjoy doing television segments, as it presents the opportunity to inform greater numbers of people about Dolls, Gynoids, and Androids, but really it’s only fair to pay me for my time. Or, more importantly, don’t run lowest common denominator material on your show, for starters.

Ten minutes had passed, with no callback from Emily, so I’d sent her a text, telling her to check her voicemail as soon as she could. And literally as soon as I’d hit Send, Bill called! Moreover, Bill called, saying that there’s been breaking news, and they have to postpone our segment! Apparently, one of the principal individuals in a story they’d been following for several months had passed away, and the network had told the producers that that story takes precedence over whatever segments were slated to go out for tonight. ‘Well, we can always reschedule,’ he said. ‘I’ll have to give that some thought,’ I replied, and explained my dissatisfaction with the release forms. He said they’d be open to talking about it, whatever that may mean exactly.

And that, my friends, is why you didn’t see Sidore and me on Dr Drew tonight. Which is kind of a shame, as I was looking forward to being David Bowie to Dr Drew’s Russell Harty.
The moral of this story? If you’re eating onigiri of that size, give it a good two, two and half hours between eating each one. Any less than that, and you run the very real risk of bursting. Don’t Be Overeager with Onigiri™!

The end!

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Buy a tiny Gynoid, watch a Doll on telly

typed for your pleasure on 13 November 2012, at 7.17 pm

Sdtrk: ‘No title No.2’ by Hair stylistics

The above photo was taken this August, by the way. Esteemed iDollator/performance artist Amber Hawk Swanson wanted to pick my brains about an upcoming project she’s developing (HINT: it’s Doll-related), and she also wanted to finally meet my better half. Brief times, but fun times!

So this would be another one of those in-between posts that I seem to be fond of these days, wherein I tell you that
+ the HRP-4C Miim figure/kit made by Wave Corporation that I mentioned a couple of posts ago is now available for preorder through such online retailers as Hobby Link Japan and AmiAmi. The kit will sell for about $28 USD — without shipping and handling, of course — and is due for a February 2013 release. If I told you I’d already placed my preorder, would you really be surprised?

+ And Sidore and I will be putting in an appearance on the show Dr Drew on Call tomorrow! No, not Doctor Who; Dr Drew, as in Drew Pinsky. I’m sure he’s a nice bloke, but is his studio bigger on the inside than it is on the outside? The Missus and I will be on via satellite (i.e, Skype), fielding questions about our unusual quote unquote relationship. The show seems more news-oriented than the usual misguided enquiries we get, plus Dr Drew seems like much less of a tosser than the typical American chat show host, so the experience should be rather decent! The programme will be on at 9pm EST.

Coincidentally, we’ll be making this latest telly appearance on what will be my 40th birthday. Before I turned 36, I used to narrow my eyes to flinty slits whenever I heard the phrase ’40 is the new 30′. Recently, though, I’ve had a change of heart! *plants forehead onto desk, emits low moan*

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Didn’t we do this back in 2008?

typed for your pleasure on 6 November 2012, at 8.32 pm

Sdtrk: ‘On through the night’ by Blues control

As I missed the opportunity to perform my civic duty before my workday, as a lot of people more clever than I did, or even to make use of the absentee ballot to vote days ago, I had to get round to the polls after work. I predicted having to fight post-work traffic — incidentally, I managed to score a new job; more about that later — but it only took me 55min to get from my workplace in downtown Detroit to my local voting centre in the suburbs, which impressed me greatly. In fact, the entire process only took an hour! Admittedly, it might’ve taken less than that if 1) I’d gotten into the A-L queue, instead of the M-Z one I was idling round in for ten minutes, and 2) if I hadn’t gotten all OCD in trying to fill in those bloody circles. But it’s done! Incidentally, I was voter No.835 in my precinct.


The spider necklace didn’t help with my vote, but it certainly didn’t hurt

If you voted, well done! If you didn’t, get the fuck off the Internet, go back in time, and do so.
May the best man win, of course, but as fellow iDollator bbbjjjttt remarked, ‘I woke up this morning in the USA. Hopefully I won’t go to sleep tonight in the Republic of Gilead.’ Fingers crossed, people

UPDATE (11.55pm): Looks like the 47% did it, baby *subtle but proud fist pump*

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