This was the Future, Vol.18

typed for your pleasure on 10 November 2005, at 4.46 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sorry for laughing’ by Josef K

Wee bit of a story behind the choice for this evening’s installment: A couple of years ago, I commissioned Mike, a mate of mine, to do an illustration of Sidore-chan for ‘Kitten with a Whip!’, and I wanted her drawn standing in a fab and distinctive setting. So Mike pointed me towards his vast library of reference material, and after poring through a couple of rather heavy books, I settled on a place in New York City, NY. I was really pleased with Mike’s ace rendition of both Sweetie and the background, and it was profiled as an omake (bonus) on ‘KWAW!’ for a couple of months. I’m sure some of you remember it.


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

For years afterward, the name of the actual location managed to elude me, until recently, when doing research for Vol.18 of the ‘This was the Future’ series. Now that I know what the place is called, I can finally sleep at night, thank god thank god.
And so! We bring you the Rockefeller Guest House, by Philip Johnson.

The home is one room wide, and upon entering, the living room stretches far back until it is book-ended by floor to ceiling windows that closely mimic the façade’s layout. The living room space has white brick walls and features lighting fixtures designed by Mr. Johnson. Beyond the windows, there is a small courtyard that features a prime example of Philip Johnson’s concept of “safe danger”. In the courtyard, visitors must carefully walk on square travertine stepping-stones and avoid falling into the shallow reflecting pool on either side.

Oddly enough, there’s really not a lot of info on the Rockefeller Guest House; well, none that I could find. Sure, you’ll run across articles left and right on his Glass House, and I probably would’ve done an installment on the Glass House myself, but I’ve already done the Farnsworth House. (Zing!) But the Guest House is pretty ace as well. Granted, it might look like an uninspiring sort of miniature Fifties-built warehouse from the front, but the interior — especially that courtyard — is amazing. Subtle? Yes

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Not the only one

typed for your pleasure on 20 October 2005, at 3.09 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Heroin face’ by The cure

During a recent conversation with Miz Laslocky, she pointed out that one of the aspects she got from my relationship with Sidore-chan was almost that of a performance art piece. We both agreed that there’s very little enjoyable performance art out there, unless we’re talking about ‘Sprockets‘, of course. I mentioned that her perception of that isn’t too wide off the mark, but it’s definitely a by-product, and not something that I’d set out to do.
However, once she’d mentioned that, my mind almost immediately turned to London-based performance/multimedia artists Jemima Brown & Dolly Brown. I’d read a brief article mentioning them in an issue of The Face years ago, and sequestered them in my mental filing cabinet, for reasons that will quickly become apparent.. It took about three years to find any decent sort of info on either of them, but, once again, threatening Google with a blackjack poised over its head, I found their website.


left, Jemima Brown; right, Dolly Brown

For the last decade Brown has been joined by her inanimate double, a life sized doll simply titled ‘Dolly’. Modelled upon Brown’s features, and often wearing the same clothes, Dolly is an uneasy and mute collaborator: a guardian spirit or questioning shadow? For all this she is very present, hanging out in the gallery, posing for photo-shoots or propped on the family sofa.

Plus, there’s a fab little interview with Jemima, the more vocal half of the duo, here.

SPEAK: Has spending so much time together made you closer to Dolly?

Jemima: I think in a way I have become closer to her. It’s been a real test for our relationship. It’s put a strain on, and changed the relationship in some way. It’s made me want to have her become totally dependent on me. She’s getting away from me too much when I share her. I’m reluctant to let her take on a life of her own, although that’s one of the things I set out to do when I was making her. The process of defining my relationship to her has made me so protective of her that I don’t want her to have her own life. I’m frightened for her that she won’t be able to cope. I’m not worried that she’s going to upstage me, as she does that anyway.

Earlier video installation works consist of Jemima and Dolly seated in chairs, with Jemima unsuccessfully trying to imitate Dolly’s inanimateness. Other projects feature the pair being tourists out-of-doors, buying postcards and having their photos taken near various landmarks. And if you check anything the twins have produced, it’s always credited to Jemima and Dolly Brown. I happen to think that’s really ace

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Off my chest, onto your monitor

typed for your pleasure on 18 October 2005, at 3.41 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Silver line’ by Birdie

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t go round attacking or sniping at people left and right in ‘real-life’ situations, as not only do I have that much time on my hands, but most people really aren’t worth the effort. But I felt it necessary that I wrote this post, much in the same way that the body rids itself of toxins by vomiting. So at this point, you should probably step back a couple of feet, so you don’t get any on ya.

At this point, I’m certain that over the course of the past week or so, you’ve seen various posts all round the World Wide Wet dealing with the Salon.com article. If not, merely fire up Technorati, and search for any conjunction of the words ‘Davecat’, ‘Sidore’, ‘iDollator’, or ‘creepy’, and you’ll have several sites to choose from. Many of those posts are less than charitable, and all of those happen to be written by closed-minded arseholes.
Now, the curious thing about seeing these excoriating posts, is that 95% of them are written by politically-motivated individuals. When I say that, I mean that a lot of these blogs are normally filled with content dealing with social issues, impeaching Dubya, etc etc. That, in and of itself, is odd enough, as what does a Doll and her husband have to do with a blog of that nature? But the really strange thing is, most of these politically-motivated bloggers? They’re liberals. Or, at least, so-called liberals. You would think that a person who stands for racial equality, the elimination of societal classes, gay and lesbian rights, etc etc, would be pro-Synthetik; or, at the very least, not entirely against the idea.

Over at pandagon, where they practically had me on the gallows, it seemed that a prerequisite of writing a response that would gain you their favour was to call me a misogynist. For those of you who don’t want to wade through the 400+ responses to the post concerning Meghan’s article, basically, I am a creep/loser/sexist/misogynist/tool of the patriarchy (choose one) because not only do I own a RealDoll, but I’ve given her a personality. Giving her a personality, or even referring to Shi-chan as ‘her’ rather than ‘it’, means that I hate women, but since I’m a loser, I still want sex, but having my ‘overpriced fucktoy’ means that I don’t have to deal with a ‘real’ woman’s opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. So obviously that makes me a creep/loser/sexist/misogynist/tool of the patriarchy (choose one)! It’s that simple!
There’s oh so many problems with that school of thought. So very many.

+ I wrote two responses on the pandagon post; in the first one, I’d said

So I would assume that no-one here has ever been rejected in their advances towards a partner? I assume every single one of you has been completely and utterly successful with their dating experiences? Moreover, the person you’re with is an absolute flawless joy to be around, physically, emotionally, and mentally? Well, congratulations to the lot of you! You’re extraordinarily lucky, each and every one of you. Really, I mean that.

It really doesn’t occur to a lot of iDollator critics that quite a few owners have their Dolls because they’re sick of being rejected, due to failing to meet the standards of whatever person they’re trying to romantically impress. After a few couple of times of falling off the romance horse, some people, like me, say ‘this really isn’t fucking worth it’, and stop. Our society places great pressure on people to get together and be in a relationship, but it requires a lot of time and energy that a lot of individuals don’t have, so they ‘settle’ for someone, and either compromise parts of themselves in the process, or consciously/subconciously try to change their partner. And then, there are times when the person you’ve linked up with turns out to be a vicious liar, as KrazyQ pointed out. The pandagon fuckwits have no idea what makes an iDollator become an iDollator, as there’s no one reason. In my case, one of the foremost reasons is that I was tired of being stabbed in the back by people I placed too much trust in.

+ Which leads up to a comment I’d made in my second post, which turned into some seriously miscontrued bullshit:

I’d rather be in a relationship with a Doll, rather than be in one with a real woman who’s possibly lying to meet her own ends. I’m sure that’s got the feminists here chomping at the bit, but as I’d said, I’m not misogynist; I just don’t like liars, especially when love is involved. Being with a Doll eliminates that possibility.

Of course, they read that as ‘Davecat thinks all women are liars’. Frankly, I think 99% of the population, male or female, are liars, with a few notable exceptions. I was saying that it concerns me more that a) the few dating experiences I’ve had were with a couple of liars, most notably my interactions with the Slag, and b) it’s going to affect me more if a woman that I’m interested in is lying, cos I don’t date men. But being psychotic, they added 2 with 2 and arrived at 22.

+ I’m sorry, but if you are taking a paragraph, reducing it to its component sentences, and then chopping the sentences up to infinitesmally small thoughts that you don’t even fully comprehend, as you’re making presumptions to begin with, that is also a problem. People, especially high-minded individuals who consider themselves socially aware intellectuals, should know that sometimes the context of printed articles gets distorted. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with Meghan’s article — it’s brilliantly composed, and I’m glad it was written — but part of the problem with the pandagon shits, and really, the other blogs ragging on me, is that the Salon.com edit is inferior to the original version. But everyone’s seen the Salon.com version, and as Salon doesn’t mention the existence of the original story, that’s all these people have to go on. Not only that, but as far as pandagon, most people didn’t read past the first page of the story, and quite a few people didn’t read it at all.

+ Brief thing: it’s great how they have a problem with me referring to Shi-chan as ‘she’ and not ‘it’. Is it just me, or wouldn’t referring to a female-shaped object that I’m intimate with as an ‘it’ be more offensive and sexist and dehumanising, than if I didn’t?
To the uninitiated, seeing the elaborate personality and backstory I’ve created for Sidore might seem weird at best, and creepy at worst. To be an iDollator, you do have to have your tongue planted in your cheek. Dolls are silicone receptacles that the more inventive of us choose to use as physical bodies for personalities. It’s called having fun. Yes, Sidore is not a ‘real person’; yes, she is a Doll, but giving her a personality is more of a ‘human’ thing to do, rather than seeing an expensive, beautifully-sculpted work of art as just a ‘fucktoy’.

+ Funny thing: In a phone conversation this Sunday past, Meghan pointed out that both of us had posted, and yet no-one actually asked us anything. Think about that. Both the writer and one of the main subjects of the story were there, and yet no-one actually asked us anything. Well, I take that back; one or two people asked Meghan a question, but all I received were sarky comments. That just solidifies everything as far as the mentality of people like that; the whole ‘it’s wrong because it’s wrong’, or ‘it’s wrong because I said so’, or ‘it’s wrong because it’s a lot easier for me to insult someone than to open my tiny fucking mind to questions that might shatter my fragile ideals’. It’s ironic and a little unsettling to me because those people are ‘liberals’. They’re theoretically supposed to be on my side.
Really, normal feminists I have nothing wrong with. I honestly believe that a lot of the reasons why society is as bollocked up as it is is because there’s been a male stranglehold on it for hundreds of years. But you’re a radical feminist, you say? O! You’re fucked up. You’re a bitter, scowling, sexually frustrated, morally confused, fucked up person. You are no better than the right-wing Republicans which you loathe, you are simply the opposite side of the coin. It’s like SafeT said, people like that drain any and all credibility from normal feminists and their sympathisers.

+ And as I, and a couple of other posters had attempted to convey (surprisingly, there were a couple of people on my side. Actually, it was more like Meghan, and a friend of hers were defending me there, and there were two or three people who were leaning towards my side): why is it such a monumental issue that some people have a Synthetik companion to begin with? Female detractors will say ‘You’re creepy, and I wouldn’t want anything to do with you’. To a Doll husband, not only is that not in any way a loss, but anybody who would say anything like that is the kind of individual that we would take pains to avoid — romantically, in a day-to-day context, whatever. It’s a sign of over-inflated self-importance that a person would say something like that, as well as a striking indicator of closed-mindedness. Personally speaking, the more closed-minded you are, the less I’m going to think of you.

At this point, I think that pretty much covers the lot. ‘Your friends don’t need an explanation, and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.’ But I do want to leave you with a link to a very beautiful post, written by one of my dearest friends, Penda. You know, my closest female friend that I’ve known for 25 years, which is quite remarkable for a misogynist like myself. With her personal perspective, she brings across in her eloquent way a more condensed version of what I’ve just written here. So go read that instead. 🙂

All done!

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 05)

typed for your pleasure on 17 September 2005, at 5.47 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Such a sound’ by Birdie

Disappointingly, I’ve not been able to scrape up any new news about my beloved Actroid Repliee or any of her iterations for quite a while now; not only that, the page related to the Actroid projects on the Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering site no longer exists. Either that, or they’ve sussed that I keep checking it once a day to see if it’s back up, and they’ve cleverly switched URLs on me. There hasn’t even been any decent news concerning Synthetiks that’s cropped up recently. (Apart from the fact that Abyss is on the verge of releasing Body 10, but you’ll hear more about that when I do.) Hrm.
Thankfully, my friend Wolfgang of vulne pro studios has sent along this pretty interesting link, ‘Why Japan, and not America, is likely to be the world’s first cyborg society‘, which touches upon simple robots such as the Roomba, and leads up to my current favourite Gynoid:

There’s arguably a reason behind iRobot’s refusal to anthropomorphize Roomba. Deep in its heart, America finds the idea of technology with personalities to be … spooky. After all, the notion of objects with minds of their own runs counter to deeply ingrained Judeo-Christian values — creating devices that can move and think without human intervention veers a little too close to playing God. And what if we do manage to create machines that are smarter, stronger or more capable than humans? Our subconscious paranoia about machines has prompted us to create dystopian visions like “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix.”

and

Japan’s robot love goes farther than respect for function, and deeper than mere pragmatism can explain. Shinto, Japan’s homegrown religion, is an animist faith. The Japanese embrace of robots is a logical extension of ancient beliefs that all things, living and nonliving, organic and inorganic, can possess a transcendent spirit. In Japanese tradition, humanity has never been reserved for humans. Is it any wonder that Japan is welcoming the cyborg future with open arms?

Interesting stuff, and always refreshing to read an article which isn’t three or four paragraphs of ‘zOMG TEH ACTROID GIRLBOT IS CREEPY!!1!’

Also, my copy of ‘Des poupées et des hommes‘ arrived a day or so ago! It’s entirely ace; 155 pages, 40 of those being full-colour photos by Elena D. Shi-chan and I even get our own eight-page chapter! Elisabeth signed the front page: ‘pour mon ami Davecat et pour sa fiancée Sidore. Heir of a long tradition, pionneer of a new one.’ It’s a shame that I didn’t pay more attention during my French classes in gradeschool, so I could comprehend the rest of the book..

So I’m kinda wondering if Japan has a need for stenographers at all. Or, at the very least, Actroid masseuses.. It’s like I say: find a niche, then fill it; if there isn’t a niche, make one and then fill it

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your Autumn Reading Suggestions

typed for your pleasure on 29 August 2005, at 3.19 am

Sdtrk: ‘Velada’ by Fursaxa

Look at what I found!


yes, that’s my Sidore-chan. 🙂

Remember, Elena Dorfman’s ‘Still lovers’ comes out next month, and it’ll be available on Amazon.com, as well as Barnes & Noble and a couple of other vendors.
And if you can read Français, why not also buy a copy of ‘Des poupées et des hommes: Enquête sur l’amour artificiel (Dolls and men: Investigaton into artificial love)’, written by Elisabeth Alexandre, with photos by Elena Dorfman? Why not? Hmm?

They’ll be the best literary purchases you’ll make all year. (Despite the fact that one is mostly photographs, and you might not even be able to read the other one.) I guarantee it

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Oh, (the) humanity

typed for your pleasure on 26 August 2005, at 12.00 pm

Sdtrk: ‘At night’ by the Cure

This morning, I was awakened by my bloody phone ringing at sometime after 8.30am. I lurched out of bed, saw it was a number that I didn’t recognise, and switched the ringer off. Roughly three minutes later, I hear the beep that indicates that someone’s left a message, and I’m thinking, ‘who in fuck’s left me a three minute message??’ So I got out of bed again in order to check who it was, and it turned out to be D_____, a lass that was the receptionist at my last job who I was half-heartedly attempting to chat up. She was going on at length about how she’s just moved her computer into her new place with her current boyfriend, and they got into it this morning, as he had checked her AOL Inbox, and discovered, to his chagrin, several names of males that were not his own. Yeah, he’s one of those lovely, aggressively insecure types of blokes — he’s a cop, which pretty much says it all right there. D_____ had left a message wanting to know how exactly she could make sure she got rid of, or at least hide, any and all Emails from her other guy friends that she’d received, as well as pictures; as one time, I had gotten round to her old place and taken photos of her feet — yes, I’m a foot fetishist, we’ve covered this — and Emailed them back to her. He had asked who took them, and D_____ panicked and said some coworker had taken them, and when I rung her back at work, she said that he was probably going through her AOL account as we spoke. In short, the Gestapo was paying her a visit, and she wanted to know how best to effectively hide the Jews in her cupboards. I honestly don’t know how that analogy came about, but it’s making me giggle.

Basically, I’m sat here shaking my head. Why is it that people get into relationships, and knowingly stay in them, with fuckwits? I’m telling her, ‘well, D_____, if he won’t let you send and receive Emails from any one of your male friends, or he won’t let you give out your cellphone number to any one of your male friends, or if he won’t let you hang out with your male friends — in many cases, blokes you’ve known before you even met your prick of a boyfriend — then maaaybe that’s not the sort of relationship you want to be in?’ She’s saying that the arguments with him are stressing her out, which was audibly apparent in speaking with her the last couple of times after I was fired. I suggested that I take her out to dinner for a stress-free evening, but she claimed it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get away for any length of time, as she heads straight from work to pick her boyfriend’s son up from school, whereupon she heads back to her place and spends the rest of the eve with her prick of a boyfriend. D_____ apparently can’t leave her relationship, cos from what I see, she’s like thousands upon thousands of people who have a driving need to be with someone — anyone — even if that person has a couple of faults, such as being a suspicious little shit.

Now, I speak with some experience, as to some extent, that’s the way things were with my and my former housemate, the Slag. I was going to my job, being depressed there, coming home, having to drive her silly arse out to her stripper job or whatever cos she couldn’t drive, then hours later, having to get out of bed and leave a sound sleep behind in order to pick her up from said job, and then she would invariably chew me out because of something I did or didn’t do, either in real life, or solely in her deranged hallucinatory mind. I’m a person who believes that a home should not be a stressful place; it should be someplace where you can get away from virtually everything. After speaking to all manner of cunts from various states on the phone for seven hours, home should be a place where I really shouldn’t have to speak to anyone, if I choose not to. So one day, after of culmination of events that I’ll have to explain at a later date (that’s for the rest of the ‘I am not making this up‘ series, which I swear I’ll finish one day), I simply packed up my belongings and left. Good job on that as well, as it’s done loads for my sanity and well-being.
That caustic series of months where I lived with that so-called person pretty much solidified the fact that I can’t live with anyone. If they’re a friend before I lived with them, they turn into something entirely and negatively Other. Living by oneself, as I’ve said before, allows a person to actually develop their interests in their own time. It permits them to relax, and not be ‘on’ all the time. Most importantly, it allows them to see and do what they want, with whom they want, without having to field awkward and unnecessary questions from their roommate or partner. That’s one of the many reasons that I enjoy the company of my RealDoll Sidore. Rampant iDollatry aside, a Doll doesn’t care if you’ve had partners in the past, a Doll doesn’t care if you come home four hours later than you said you would, etc etc. It’s my goal to eliminate as much stress from my life as I possibly can, and being in the sort of relationship I’m currently in works toward that goal.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m writing this in the spirit of ‘ha ha, I’m better off than you are’, cos I’m not. I just completely and utterly fail to understand why people will put up with that sort of behaviour. It could be argued that there are a few advantages being in one-half of a relationship — doubled income; constant, relentless, non-stop companionship — but if you have to compromise your personal freedoms, then none of it’s worth it. Society dictates that to be ‘successful’ and ‘happy’, you should be in a traditional relationship, but the way I see it, just because society says it’s a good idea, then it most likely isn’t

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Stars in their Eyes, Part II

typed for your pleasure on 5 August 2005, at 1.58 am

Sdtrk: ‘Fun city’ by Soft cell

(Before commencing with this part, have you read the previous section first? It’ll make more sense that way, trust me.)

MONDAY, 01 AUGUST
Since we’d be starting the day’s filming at 10am, once again, Shi-chan and I got up at 7am for preparation’s sake; also, since I spoke with Mari before hitting the sack last night, she wanted me to swing round and pick her up at 9am. Shi-chan wore the same gear as yesterday, with the exception of her black O-ring collar, and I switched to a white shirt (so we’d both have on white tops and black bottoms), a slim grey tie, and my Chuck Taylor trainers.

After prepping the Missus, I motored out to Mari’s place at a little after 9am. Now, the house where she lives has a bit of a problem, in the fact that her doorbell doesn’t work, and she’s in a room at the bipolar opposite of the main entrance. So in short, if she’s asleep, knocking doesn’t do any damn good. I rang her a couple of times from my car, as a large black dog happened to be wandering round loose next door, with no answer. As the clock was ticking, I ended up driving away at 10.25, letting Allison and Grant know that I’d be a little late.
As an aside, it turns out that yesterday we’d really lucked out with the weather, as it reached the upper 80s round 10am, with a high of something like 89°. Good thing we’d be inside for the majority of the filming today..
Having gotten home, and after leaving a message on Mari’s voicemail that I’d call her back before we hit Nippon kai, Allison and Grant appeared round 11am. They were more well-rested than before, and Allison was sporting a t-shirt that read ‘ACTION FIGURE’ across the front. ‘That would look good on the Missus’, I quipped. ‘I picked this up from a thrift store, but when it’s outlived its usefulness to me, I’ll send it to you,’ she responded. We’re holding you to that! 🙂

As our reservation at Nippon kai wasn’t until 1pm, our first objective stop on today’s agenda was to ostensibly film me wandering round an intimate boutique, picking out stuff for Shi-chan, so I suggested Priscilla’s over on Woodward. The three of us went up to the counter, and Allison explained the situation to the clerk, and asked if they could film me for a couple of minutes. The clerk, a short, slightly chunky blonde with apple cheeks, said that she’d have to call the district manager. After a two minute call, she said that the manager said no, so our raiding party schlepped on out of there. However, Grant did get some footage of me gazing at the Mannequins in the window. (NOTE TO PRISCILLA’S STAFFERS: Your Mannequins are in shoddy condition — get them refurbished.)
I’d suggested that we try over at a Lover’s Lane, another intimate boutique chain, but we reasoned that we might very well run up against the same wall there as we did with Priscilla’s. Then it occurred to me that we should give “Brown bag it” in Clawson a go, as not only are they independently owned, but they’ve been round much longer than either of the aforementioned chain stores, and I’m sure they’d appreciate the publicity/business. So we headed to “Brown bag it” (the quotation marks are apparently part of the name; don’t ask me why) and entered, waiting patiently to speak with the 60-year-old female clerk on the phone. As it turned out, we were rejected there as well. The clerk said that as a matter of fact, the store owner was the person she was just on the phone with, and he wouldn’t go for publicity like that. She explained that what it basically boils down to is that the cities of Royal oak and Clawson have these draconian ordinances regarding stores selling articles of a sexual nature, and too much publicity would draw attention to “Brown bag it” and possibly get them shut down. So they’re doing a ‘hiding in plain sight’ kind of thing; their front door (which is locked; you have to enter from the rear) has an 18 and Under Prohibited statement on it, and unlike Lover’s Lane and Priscilla’s, they don’t even have window displays, just block glass and brick. So basically, we’d come up trumps again..

We still had some time, but Allison wanted some footage of me doing something I normally do, only without the presence of Shi-chan. As we were driving away from “Brown bag it”, Grant hit upon the idea of perhaps someplace anime-related. At first, I thought, ‘ah, nice one, but the only anime store I can think of is Wizzywig, which is an hour away in Ann arbor’, but it struck me – Warp 9 might be promising. So Grant swung the rental round, as Warp 9 is across the street from “Brown bag it”, oddly enough. Well, the third time was indeed a charm, as the counter clerk said it wouldn’t be a problem for us to film in the store. Rock on!
I’d never been to Warp 9 before; I’d passed it several times en route to other places, but never got round to stopping inside since they opened back in the late 90s, and I think I’m going to make a point of getting round there more often. Any place that carries not only Edward Scissorhands Kubricks, but the original Micronauts Rocket tubes is alright in my book. 🙂 Grant duly filmed me walking into the store and casting my gaze about, and Allison wanted to get me looking over a Chii figure from ‘Chobits’, and Armitage from ‘Armitage III’, as she had managed to license footage from both features.
After getting some good shots there, we made our leave, and I rung Mari to tell her that we’d be going home to obtain the Missus, after which, we’d pick her up, which we carried out. Ironically enough, Mari was to later tell me that since she thought I would knock on the livingroom window due to their non-functioning doorbell, she got a nap in on the livingroom floor. *grits teeth*

We showed up at Nippon kai round 1.30, about 30min late (our schedules were all kinds of screwed up that day, as you’ve probably sussed by now), to a crowd of five patrons at the last half of the lunch rush. One of the reasons that I love Nippon kai so much is that hardly anyone is ever there. Whenever Monti and I go for our monthly dinner dates, there’s usually never more than five or six other patrons there, and I’m talking Saturday evenings here, so I thought it would make for a perfect place for bringing Sweetie and a film crew.
After speaking with the manager / head sushi chef, and reminding him who we were, we were allowed to bring the Missus in through the backdoor into the shoji-screened private seating area in back. ‘Oh! Scary!’ was one of the comments I’d caught from one of the waitresses, but I didn’t hold it against them. In fact, it was kinda funny: after we’d gotten ourselves situated and ordered our food, one of the waitresses who recognised me as being a regular came back in with our green tea while Grant was filming.
‘What is her name?’ she asked me.
‘This is Sidore Kuroneko,’ I replied.
‘Ohh, Sidore Kuroneko,’ the waitress repeated, ‘She is your other girlfriend?’
I nodded. ‘I’m lucky.’ 🙂

Filming and eating continued as Mari and I sat on either side of the Missus at the end of the table, and Grant shot us interacting ‘normally’. Upon reflection, I don’t think I interacted enough with Sweetie, as I was concentrating on devouring my tendon (I, ah, kinda skipped brekky that morning) and helping Mari to not be so nervous on-camera. ‘Davecat is the only friend I have that I would go on-camera for’, she said. ‘You’re a good friend,’ Grant replied.
Allison asked Mari a couple of questions about how she met me and Shi-chan, and how she perceives our relationship, to which Mari said some very beautiful things, but the best part was probably before the legitimate question segment when Mari and I were speaking, and she had told me that she would’ve dressed Shi-chan differently. ‘For one, she’d be wearing more clothing.’ ‘What d’ya mean by that?’ I replied, opening Sweetie’s blouse up some more. When Allison asked what Mari meant, she said that I dress Shi-chan in the style that a guy would want her to dress, which is arguably true. It was actually pretty funny — one of those ‘you had to be there’ things — and I hope A & G manage to edit it into the finished product..

Allison had informed the head sushi chef that we’d be packing up our stuff and out of there by 3.30, as we were doing our shooting during Nippon kai’s after-lunch-before-dinner cleanup and restock time, but by the time we actually finished the Q&A segment, we ran into overtime by about 20min. Which sucked cos not only did Allison ask only about a third of the questions she’d written down, but the head sushi chef apparently had a doctor’s appointment that he had to reschedule, which none of us knew about. All of us alternately apologised and thanked him profusely, and I told him that next time Monti and I were up, we’d be ordering a large dinner. On our way out, he and the waitress who knew me (yes; next time I’m up, I’ll ask them their names) were asking me how I knew about karakuri, as that was one of the things Allison asked me to explain. They were also under the impression that I made Sidore myself! I explained that ‘a friend’ in California makes her as well as a few others, and each ningyou (Doll) costs around $6000. ‘When you come back, you can order a $6000 dinner!’ Ha ha! 😐

Yeah, Monday was definitely our ‘pressed for time’ day, but Allison said that she could probably use some of the extra footage from the cemetery shoot to make up for it. However, at that point, it was near 4pm, and we had to make some informed decisions as where to go next, as A & G had to be at Metro Airport by 6pm to catch their respective flights home. Grant decided we should probably get more location footage, and since practically everytime I mentioned Detroit either on- or off-camera it was closely followed by the phrase ‘urban decay’, they asked us where would be some good places to go film some blight. They were on the hunt for blight. Also, they never got a chance to film the Fox theatre yesterday, so they wanted to hit that as well. I suggested we take Woodward going south, as passing through Highland park would be a blight hotbed.
If we’d had more time (and if my capacity for thinking wasn’t completely destroyed from the heat), I would’ve suggested Rivertown and Chene park, but instead we commenced Blight Search ’99 over off east I-75 by Holbrook. We drove round a couple of factories and warehouses, Allison behind the wheel and Grant filming out the passenger side window, when we slowed down past the open door to some warehouse or other. A shop rat and some girl he was talking to noticed us and approached Grant’s open window with a wad of what looked like napkins in his hand, saying ‘Hey, check this out’. Then he must’ve caught sight of the Missus, cos at that point, he threw the napkins down and asked ‘What’s going on here? Who are they?’
‘They’re just people,’ Grant answered.
The shop rat turned suddenly hostile. ‘Go on, get outta here. You want me to break your $60, 000 fuckin’ camera? Get the fuck outta here.’ As Grant rolled the window up, Allison reversed the Taurus, with the shop rat peering in through the car windows all the while until we left the lot.
‘This is why I don’t go outside,’ I commented, only half-jokingly.

After our little encounter with the lower class, we managed to get some shots of parts of Hamtramck, as well as Woodward leading up to the Fox, and Elwood grill. As a final point of interest, Allison wanted to attempt filming in the semi-famous Michigan theatre, the forrmer-picture-palace-turned-car-park, so we headed there as well. It’s open for visitors, but unfortunately, we arrived an hour too late. *shakes fist* Grant filmed some of the surrounding buildings, whilst I summarised how growing up in Detroit has affected me as an iDollator, and as a person in general.

Finally, A & G dropped Shi-chan, Mari and myself back at the homestead close to 6.30pm, after a long but mostly rewarding day of filming. Mari and I signed release forms, only I had stipulated on mine that the end product would not be screened in Michigan. The reason for that should be obvious; without that clause, I could very well picture the documentary being shown at the Main Art theatre, followed by a review in our popular local alternative paper, the MetroTimes: ‘One of the movie’s subjects is Davecat, who owns a doll of his own, and lives in Detroit..’ Sure, bad press is better than no press at all, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
Speaking of the end product, I’ve not really given any other details! The film, which doesn’t yet have a title, should be between 90min and 2 hours in length, and Allison hopes to have it finished by the end of the year, so that she can shop it round to various international film festivals. Among the other people interviewed were Matt McMullen (of course), Hajime Sorayama, staffers at Orient industry and project LEVEL-D, Robert Parigi (who apparently lives just up the road from Allison), Gaby Wood (author of the ace book ‘Edison’s Eve’), iDollators Prof.Sakai and Ta-bo-san, a couple of staffers from Kobayashi Lab who worked on Android SAYA (Actroid-chan’s older, not-as-attractive sister), a few other individuals, and of course, Elena Dorfman. They’ll be sending me a DVD when the editing is finished, and as soon as I get any news, I’ll be sure to incessantly blab about it..
Handshakes and hugs and farewells for everyone, and our film crew friends were back in their red Taurus heading for the airport. I have to say that both of them did an extraordinary job of putting myself and Mari at ease, and being able to put up with my initial reluctance at immediate scheduling. They were both ace to work with, and I’m looking forward not only to the finished documentary, but to hearing from them again. Well done, Allison and Grant! Thumbs up!

Mari and I went inside to cool off and for a post-game chat, and assessed that the three of us presented ourselves really well. Every couple of years Shi-chan and I get another fifteen minutes of fame, and I’m glad, cos we’re doing what we can to promote the idea that Synthetiks, whether they’re high-end love dolls such as RealDolls, or full-fledged Artificial humans, are not something to be feared or reviled, and those who are interested in Synthetiks are relatively normal people who are open-minded enough to enjoy manufactured beauty, and appreciate the technological advancements that Synthetiks happen to be as well.
Perhaps the techs at Kokoro co. Ltd. will invite Shi-chan and I to meet one of their lovely Actroids one day! Anything can happen once you set your mind to it, you know

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Oct 2007) on October 21st, 2007

Miss, your arm's ringing on February 3rd, 2007


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