Sunday, July 31, 2005

Vader Visits

This past weekend my nephew came down from the 'cuse (that's Syracuse for those who don't know) for a visit to the big city. We got to do all sorts of fun stuff. Watched Spaceballs, ate donuts, played X-Men Next Dimension on Xbox, fed squirrels, went to Coney Island for some Nathan's and New York Aquarium and built a monkey at the Build-A-Bear store. It was fun in the city for sure. After a trip to Toys R Us, a good chunk of nephew's weekend was spent as Darth Vader.

The Vader mask has a voice changer built in, so anything you say while wearing it makes you sound robotic. There was a lot of yelling "You don't know the power of the darkside" and assorted raspy breathing. I'm betting his mom really appreciates that gift. It's not annoying at all.

Who knew Darth Vader shops at Gap?

I also was able to teach him to rock back and forth on a spring held motorcycle to the point of creating a blurry photo. Safety first!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

More Human Than Human

A bit too lifelike for comfort. This is some creepy Terminator-lookin' type shit. Slightly sexier than Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I still don't trust it:

Japanese Develop 'Female' Android
Link to story
By David Whitehouse
Science editor, BBC News website

Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet devised -- a "female" android called Repliee Q1.

She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner.

She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University says one day robots could fool us into believing they are human.

Repliee Q1 is not like any robot you will have seen before, at least outside of science-fiction movies.

She is designed to look human and although she can only sit at present, she has 31 actuators in her upper body, powered by a nearby air compressor, programmed to allow her to move like a human.

"I have developed many robots before," Repliee Q1's designer, Professor Ishiguro, told the BBC News website, "but I soon realised the importance of its appearance. A human-like appearance gives a robot a strong feeling of presence."

Designed to look human
Before Repliee Q1, Professor Ishiguro developed Repliee R1 which had the appearance of a five-year-old Japanese girl.

Its head could move in nine directions and it could gesture with its arm. Four high-sensitivity tactile sensors were placed under the skin of its left arm that made the android react differently to differing pressures.

The follow-up has the appearance of a Japanese woman. To program her motion, a computer analysed the motions of a human and used them as a template for the way Repliee Q1 moves.

She can be designed to follow the movement of a human wearing motion sensors or to act independently.

"Repliee Q1 can interact with people. It can respond to people touching it. It's very satisfying, although we obviously have a long way to go yet."

Professor Ishiguro believes that it may prove possible to build an android that could pass for a human, if only for a brief period.

"An android could get away with it for a short time, 5-10 seconds. However, if we carefully select the situation, we could extend that, to perhaps 10 minutes," he said.

"More importantly, we have found that people forget she is an android while interacting with her. Consciously, it is easy to see that she is an android, but unconsciously, we react to the android as if she were a woman."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Frosty Beverage

On my way home from work today I bought a cup of lemonade from some little girls who had a little business going on the corner of Irving Place and 15th Street. They even had a little plastic cash register to store their loot (which they seemed to have quite a bit of cash -- I saw a ten dollar bill in there). $1 for a Styrofoam cup full of lemonade and some ice. Just what I needed to chase the heat way for a few blocks.

Beyond enjoying the lemonade, I always feel I'm doing some sort of good deed by purchasing drinks from young entrepreneurs because I recall trying that lemonade venture on my street when I was young. It was always unsuccessful. The traffic on my street was minimal and foot traffic was pretty much non-existent so I would usually drink the profits and then pack that venture up for the year. Plus I know I wasn't selling it for anywhere near a dollar a cup. It was probably more like 10 cents. Man kids are greedy these days! Thanks and you're welcome little girls.

I'm wondering if Ben Harper is going to get his ass off his tour bus (parked right across the street) and buy a cup before his show at Irving Plaza this evening? That would be nice.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Look at Me

Looks like somebody wants a little attention. Well, my friend, I think you can stop worrying about attention for I'm fairly certain that you'll soon be having a whole lot of it -- mostly in the form of prison sex.

Backpack Bomb Scare Empties Penn Station

Jul 25, 2005 6:28 am US/Eastern
(NEW YORK) Police arrested a man following a bomb scare that emptied Pennsylvania Station and disrupted service on Amtrak, commuter trains and city subways for about an hour on Sunday.

The busy commuter hub was evacuated after the man allegedly threw a backpack at an Amtrak agent and said it was a bomb, said Marissa Baldeo, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit. The threat was a false alarm, and service on all lines was restored at about 1:25 p.m.

Police arrested the man, Raul Claudio, 43, Sunday, according to Manhattan District Attorney's office spokeswoman, Barbara Thompson. Claudio is awaiting arraignment on felony charges of making terrorists threats and falsely reporting an incident, Thompson said. Each count carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

Lance the Machine

Unbelievable ...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Since You've Been Gone Nuts

Wanna see something that will have you wondering if you should laugh or cry? Yeah? Then watch this: (You need to have a Yahoo! ID)

It's alarming enough right at the start, but then around the 55 second mark things get so out of sorts that I don't even know what to think. I find myself watching in stunned horror. The animal band is odd, but not even close to how frightening the little shits in the audience are.


So Sticky

I don't want to start complaining about the weather, but today was hot enough that complaining is justified. Not even just hot, but sweaty.

Nobody needs this Mother Nature. Humidity at 97%? Give it a rest. I see there is more of this shit planned for tomorrow too. If I wanted humidity like this I would move to Thailand or Malaysia or a greenhouse. You don't need to be dropping this soggy shit in NYC. Especially during the week, when work requires me to dress business casual aka not summer friendly.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The ABCs of APs

I guess there are a few things that need to be addressed about the A.P. in question from my last posting and the comments related to said posting.

The A.P. firing off comments like the LAPD fires their guns is NOT the Associated Press. A.P. is also NOT the A.P. who used to work with me. The A.P. discussed is my former roommate from college. I would just put everyone's real name down, but I'm guessing none of them want their name associated with this blog, me or being searchable by the information superhighway in general.

Let's compare the A.P.s shall we?

The news organization A.P. - likes distributing news/photos, making rules, and ... well, keepin' it real I guess. They'll let you know all the things you need to know when writing news type stuff. Like these two need to know entries from the AP Stylebook ...
  • Dr Pepper - A trademark (no period after Dr) for a brand of soft drink Headquarters is in Dallas.
  • kids - Use children unless you are talking about goats, or the use of kids as an informal synonym for children is appropriate in the context
  • Oreo - A trademark for a brand of chocolate cookie held together by a white filling. The use of the word by blacks indicates belief that another black is "black outside but white inside."
The A.P. who used to work with me - likes Space Ghost, Long Island, legal matters, Kelly Ripa, rockin' out and he often wears goofy shirts

The A.P. from college - likes beer, iguana feces, strip bars, Bruce Springsteen, smashing pumpkins (not the band, just the big orange vegetable), sleeping, and talking shit

So as it turns out, it may be the same initials, but certainly not the same.

Now that we've got that all figured out perhaps we can move on. Oh, special request granted for Anise -- Fuck you Associated Press! Fuck you and your not-for-profit news providing cooperative!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pickin' Winners

Back when American Idol 4 started, upon seeing and hearing her for the first time I predicted that Carrie Underwood would win it all (ask my co-workers if you don't believe me). Right I was.

Don't get all excited and start making fun of my A.I. watching. I'm not one to watch American Idol every time it is on because after the initial onslaught of shitty singers dissipates, the show starts to irritate more than entertain. That said, I have been watching ROCK STAR: INXS the last couple of nights and I wanted to throw a prediction out there again. Granted there are way fewer competitors, so if I predict correctly it won't be the amazing feat that the Carrie pick was, but nevertheless ...

I did my first predicting using only the ROCK STAR: INXS site. Read the bios and looked at the pictures and I picked two possible winners. I missed the premiere of the show, but caught the second night. After watching the performances I have stuck with the same two singers. So, here is my prediction ... (drum roll) ...

Winner: Ty
Runner Up (aka First Loser): Jordis

Both are entertaining to watch, have good voices and have some fashion sense. Also, neither is too much like the old singer of INXS so it won't be alienating INXS fans too much.

Prediction made. Now we just wait to see if I once again I prove myself an A&R genius.

Numbers Don't Lie

I realize (or realise as the Brits would say) this is probably only adding fuel to the fire, but A.P., I feel I must address your comments in public. Public being right here, not on a soap box in Times Square or something.

According to the Site Meter I have strapped onto this blog, I am averaging 49 visits a day. Now granted, most are accidental and most visitors aren't sticking around for hours to read my retarded ramblings, but as you can see on the accompanying graph, my numbers are still significant enough to make me feel like somebody. Somebody Damn you!! SOMEBODY!!

By the way, take note of the numbers in November. That's when I mentioned Tara Reid's boob falling out of her dress. If the only thing printed here sinks in is this, well then at least you now know that breast exposure makes you feel like even more of a somebody without even trying. Good to know.

So, in closing I'd like to say that although you, A.P. are probably one of my biggest fans, and you are probably only trying to encourage me to "challenge myself" and "push the envelope" and all that shit, but with the science of the internet and free internet tracking devices, I can prove that I am not yet done for. Thanks for the support though. Also, T.D. (I'm guessing it's you), thanks for backing me up in the comment arena.

In your face A.P.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Those Crazy Rockers

This past Friday I went to see Mindless Self Indulgence at Webster Hall. I'd never seen them before and only knew a couple of songs, but I had a good feeling about the whole thing. I was correct as usual. I realized as soon as MSI took the stage that my money was well spent. The singer goes by the name Little Jimmy Urine. So, between the songs I already knew and that name (I can't even think about Little Jimmy Urine without smiling to myself), I'm pretty much sold (yeah, that's an easy sell). To complete my MSI approval, Jimmy is slightly nuts too. The rest of the band is fairly wacky, but he is like part Johnny Rotten, part Mr. Peepers so it's a complete spazorama.

Beyond the band, my favorite part of the show was a girl named "Twelve." I'm guessing that wasn't really her name, but she had a red T-shirt with "12" on the back, so that is what her name became. Most of the crowd was really into the show, but Twelve was lovin' the show to the maximum. Jumping around, singing, dancing, gesturing with her hands, it was great. Twelve had a friend with a Cookie Monster backpack and socks like the nanny on Muppet Babies wears. She too was lovin' the show, but Twelve was my favorite with her lack of accessories or need to imitate the band. Twelve didn't give a shit what she looked like. Fuck getting her hair all alternapunked and whatnot. Just throw on the shorts, the "12" shirt and some sneakers and out the door to rock.

Part of me wished I was Twelve. I never had a shirt with a "12" on the back, but I certainly attended concerts back when I was a young chap where I was in my glory as she was this past Friday. I just don't have it in me anymore.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

The Eats

Tonight's "dinner": waffle cone with one scoop Grasshopper Pie (Creme de Menthe Liqueur with Oreos and chocolate flakes) and one scoop Caramel Moose Prints (Butterscotch ice cream, a caramel swirl and chocolate peanut buttercups blended in) from Emack & Bolio's and then when I arrived home, one ear of corn with butter, salt and pepper.

Summer has arrived.

God Bless America

I love my new 4th of July skirt almost as much as I love the U.S.A.!

Friday, July 1, 2005

Big (Dumb) Talk

I read an interview NY1 had with WTC developer Larry Silverstein today during an "exclusive" tour of the new 7 World Trade Center. I'm no terrorist, but if I was, this comment would sound like a dare to me:

"The building is built totally differently than the initial 7 World Trade Center. This building will not come down," says Larry Silverstein.

Granted, the construction specs do sound impressive, but " ... will
not come down" sounds a bit to me like the Titanic being unsinkable.