Sdtrk: ‘Rot in the core’ by Apatheia
(Late arrival? Why not start at the beginning?)
FRIDAY, 25 AUGUST
After extricating myself from the hotel bed with a crowbar — I swear to “Bob”, they must rivet those sheets in place — Anna, Clas and I convened at 8am in the hotel’s ‘breakfast room’, which was an unimpressive little canteen, for what was ostensibly breakfast. I say ‘ostensibly’, cos there was no bacon anywhere to be seen, and as everyone knows, Bacon Makes It Better™. So I ‘enjoyed’ a muffin, and a plain bagel. I’m noting what I had for tax write-off purposes, of course.
An hour later, we were en route to the legendary Abyss creations, and after a handful of wrong turns and some solicited directions from the locals, we’d arrived there at 10am. I’d have to say that whole experience was rather fab; I got to see Abyss’ new location, as they’ve moved since 2001, and the new locale is better suited to their needs — it’s two floors, with the factory being downstairs. Plus, it’s more sequestered, which, considering what they make, makes sense..
After the cursory meet-and-greet, and the ‘what do you hope to see here today?’ interview the Swedes did with me just outside the front doors of the building, I’d met with Matt — not Matt McMullen, Matt Krivicky (sp?), a pleasant six-foot-something bloke sporting a mohawk and a spiffy pair of New Rock boots. It seems that Matt McMullen was in Vancouver at the time of the filming, as one of his sons had taken ill, and he obviously had to see about them. Sofia had informed me of this a couple of days before I’d flown out there, and I was kinda disappointed, as I was looking forward to seeing Matt M. again, as well as having him autograph my copies of ‘Still lovers‘ and ‘Des poupées et des hommes‘. Alas! But meeting Matt K. was still pretty fab, I have to say. It turns out that he was one of the blokes that Matt M. used to work with at a special effects company, and Matt K. is now a full-time creative consultant / part-time sculptor for Abyss. He loves his work, as evidenced by his enthusiasm in speaking about anything Doll-related, and he’s diplomatic to a fault, as he’d mentioned on a couple of occasions how RealDolls, apart from being stunning works of art, can range from being simple high-end fetish toys, all the way up to life partners, depending on the consumer. (He knew of myself and Sidore, naturally, as well as a few other Doll husbands.) I’m trying to think of one of the things he’d said that struck me.. he said it was humbling doing what he does, as really, on its basest level, it’s a 9-to-5 job, but what he and the rest of the Abyss staffers produce has the ability to impact and change the lives of more than a few individuals. Apart from making a good sound byte, that statement is absolutely true. Without people like the Abyss staff, people like myself would be considerably more miserable, and corny as it sounds, they are in the business of manufacturing happiness. *thinks* Yeah, that does sound corny, but you know what I’m getting at.
The method how the whole segment was conducted was either Anna would ask us questions off camera, or she would have Matt K. ask me some questions related to my aspect of being an iDollator, or Clas would simply film the pair of us walking round the shop floor, whilst Matt explained this, that or the other. It was very informal, and I learned quite a bit about how RealDolls are made. We’d briefly met the other staffers — two of whom were named Dave, oddly enough — as well as the lady who did all of the Dolls’ makeup. Like I’d said, the whole affair was really ace and informative, as really any insight as to what goes into the creation of one of your favourite things would be. Unless your favourite thing happens to be sausages.
Unfortunately, the other disappointment we’d had whilst at the factory was that there were no finished Dolls present, as they’d all been shipped out the day before! Upon reflection, that may very well have been a Good Thing, as I would’ve been far too distracted with all the lovely silicone lasses about (and the subsequent fondling) to be coherent on camera.
Towards the end, Matt K. had made mention of Matt M.’s new artistic endeavour, which would be his band called Nick Black, as well as the whole concept behind that. It’s a multimedia project, but really it boils down to Matt M. wanting to rock out, as it were. Nothing wrong with rocking out! I don’t do enough of that myself! But what Matt K. told me about it, it sounds really interesting, so there’s that to look forward to.
Also, Anna, Clas & I were privy to a brand-new special edition Doll that Matt K. was working on sculpting. There weren’t any NDAs that I had to sign, but she’s not yet complete, and obviously they want to keep everything under their hat. I managed to get some pics, however, that I’d be willing to Email to any interested parties for $7000 a pop. Any takers?
We wrapped up the shooting round 3pm, so we could battle traffic all the way from San Marcos to LAX once again, hoo-rah. Matt K. loaded me up with some swag (a free RealDoll t-shirt, both of the posters, a catalogue, and the Nick Black Cd), and we had to say our goodbyes at that point. I don’t know if I can say which visit was better; this one, or my trip back in 2001, but getting round there will always be an ace experience. To say that making a yearly pilgrimage to Abyss would be something I’d love to engage in is a given, really..
After performing the automotive equivalent of swimming upstream, we managed to make it to the Hertz rental lot in time, checked in the car, loaded our luggage on the shuttle, travelled to the airport proper, checked in aforementioned luggage, waited in the security queue once again, got re-dressed (apparently, Anna & Clas took less time to be patted down and whatnot than I did), and reconvened in the lobby just before the terminal. I then made a direct beeline to the airport Burger King, as remember, I was being powered strictly by a 20oz bottle of A&W, and my muffin and bagel breakfast.
Definition of highway robbery: Normally when I’m at Burger king, I’ll buy a hamburger (no pickles), and a large order of fries, which usually averages $2.65. At LAX, the same exact meal ran me $4.75. Is it cos it’s the airport? Is it because it’s El Lay? Is it because God is dead?? I couldn’t honestly tell you.
So the Swedes had gone to an adjacent restaurant, and suggested I meet them there when I’d received my food, but when I’d caught up with them, they had grabbed one of those tiny tables in the back, and there was only enough room and chairs for two people. At this point, I was overly warm, rather knackered, and a little exasperated at their lack of foresight that I simply told them that I had to make a call, and that I’d see them on the plane. I’d loped off to the terminal proper, and, as it was already crowded and I didn’t feel like wedging myself in between two individuals just to get at one of the few empty seats, I remained standing, made a brief call to Tsukihime, and wolfed down my burger and fries before the plane arrived.
On the plane, it turns out that not only had I been once again denied a window seat, but I was sat between two blabby lasses! One was more talkative than the other, but as I was in the middle, when the one on the right wasn’t attempting to engage me in idle conversation, she was talking over me to the one on my left. Eventually, the inevitable question came up, ‘So what were you in California for?’
‘Ahh, not much. Some friends flew me out to San Marcos so I could be part of a presentation dealing with Synthetik humans.’
‘What are.. Synthetic humans??’
‘Well, you know, Androids — which are male humanoid robots, Gynoids — which are female humanoid robots, things of that nature. They wanted me to be a part of it cos I’ve had personal experience with that sort of thing for about six and a half years.’
Honestly, the shit I get away with sometimes..
The four-hour flight was unsettlingly turbulent, but I did manage to finish my copy of Nicholson Baker’s ‘The Fermata’, which was jaw-droppingly funny. We arrived and disembarked without incident at 12.45am EST. Remember how in the previous instalment I’d mentioned wanting to take the tram back, so as to save wear and tear on my legs? Well, that was closed. In fact, all of the stores were closed as well. That’s another thing that shags me off about airports: if you have people arriving from various planes at all hours of the day and night, why then would you close your stores and restaurants?? Apparently, the concept called ‘third shift’ is generally unknown to them. Infuckingcredible.
So in following Anna & Clas to the luggage claim zone, I’d asked them how we were going to tackle things on Saturday; when I’d spoken with Sofia, I’d mentioned that as the weather would be more warm that I usually prefer it, we could do some shooting at my house, then film a segment with them interviewing Monti and myself over at Noble fish, a sushi bar in Clawson, and then film Shi-chan, Monti and I at Nippon kai once again. Also, if things got too warm, we would move the proceedings to the Swedes’ hotel room at whatever place they were staying. To my chagrin, they told me they had no idea when we’d start, nor what order we would be filming, or even where any of the locations were. I think they said they knew where their hotel was, but they didn’t have their notes on them at the time. They seemed a bit lost, quite frankly. A more charitable person would chalk it up to jetlag, but I’d attribute it to not really having a plan as to what the fuck we would be doing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to have everything planned out on paper extensively, as to where we’d be, how we’d get there, how long we’d be there, and what we’d do there? Even if it wasn’t charted out minute-to-minute on paper, standing round the luggage carousels before heading our separate ways for the eve wasn’t the time to be vaguely solidifying what our game plan was. I’d expect that kind of laissez-faire attitude from a crew with a lower budget, mucking about but not expecting any serious results, but certainly not from people employed by a television company from a far-off land. It sounds a little pretentious to say so, but I’ve dealt with four other television / film crews before, and the Swedes struck me as rather unprofessional. That was my impression.
So in the midst of Anna & Clas floundering as to when we’d even meet up the next day, Tsukihime rung me, as she was just pulling up to my terminal. ‘My ride’s here and I have to get going,’ I’d told the Swedes. ‘Why don’t you call me at 10am tomorrow, and we’ll go from there?’ I gave a cursory wave, and wheeled my luggage out of there. I stayed round at Tsukihime’s for a bit, venting mostly, and drowsily made my way home round 2.30am.
Quite a day! And I still had the whole of Saturday to look forward to! Ah heh heh