Wednesday, September 25, 2002
One More Robot Learns To Be Something More Than A Machine:
Remember the saga of the robotic dog? Well, it will continue this weekend as I’ve been asked to come pick the thing up on Friday, so I can play around with it for a while. The boys over at Innovation Lab are having some kind of conference on Tuesday and they asked me to stop by with the dog and show off how it works. They haven’t had time to figure the thing out themselves, so since I already “worked” with it once they figured I might be interested in spending some time with it again and then do some kind of presentation on Tuesday. I’m pretty curious to see how well the voice recognition works and how much you can teach it, so I said yes right away. So that means I’ll probably be on the floor trying to teach the damn mutt some tricks this weekend, while following the Ryder Cup team kick some Yankee ass.
Last night I went down to see The Czars and unsurprisingly the place was more than half empty. And it seemed like a lot of people had shown up to see local act Yellowish and not the main act. But it was a good show all the same. Singer John Grant is a big Shannon Hoon-looking mother with long, braided hair and the full flannel getup. He has a killer voice that’s deep, powerful, soulful and just generally pretty outstanding. They mixed styles a lot and would jump from alt-rock to blues to country, but most of the time they played moody and atmospheric tunes carried by the dreamy vocals and melancholic arrangements. Therefore it was the more annoying that I eventually had to go up to some people I know and tell them to shut the hell up. They’d been standing with their backs turned at the bar and talked through the concert oblivious to the music and the fact that they were getting angry stares all the time. I hate it when people at concerts (or the cinema) talk through the show. It just drives me nuts and I’ve on several occasions told people to can it, because it bugs me so much. If you’re at a packed rock show it’s just annoying to the people standing in the crowd. But when you go see a band play quiet music in front of an almost empty house then it’s annoying to the band as well and it just pisses me off that people have so little respect for the performers and the paying customers.
After the show the band hung out and sold merchandise. I think it’s really cool when the band sells their own stuff instead of having some roadie do it. That way people can have their CDs signed and talk to them if they want. I just picked up their latest, The Ugly People Vs The Beautiful People, and I’m glad I did. I’ve been listening to it today and it’s just a beautiful record. I’d heard some of their songs before, but hearing a full album after you’ve heard a lot of the songs live is usually always a cool experience, because you already feel very familiar with the music. They’re playing Copenhagen tonight and will then be touring all over Europe until the end of October, so if you have a chance you should check them out.
I just found out that Idlewild will be supporting Coldplay in November. I haven’t heard anything by them yet, but have heard a lot of great things about them, so I’ll have to check them out before the show (I actually went to idlewild.com to learn more about them, which is a fun experience if you think you’re about to learn about a rock band).
Tonight Arsenal are playing PSV Eindhoven, which ought to be a good game. Hopefully, Thierry Henry will wear a t-shirt congratulating the newlywed Mr and Mrs Arseblogger and show it off, when he scores his first goal. That would be something.
- John Fogde 3:08 PM [+]
Monday, September 23, 2002
You’re Pretty Dreamy For a Boy From Long Island:
I’ve been out partying twice this week, so sleeping and drinking has been pretty much all I’ve done since Wednesday. Saturday I went down to my favourite club, Club Drive, and ended up dancing around to old favourites by That Dog, The Smiths, and Madness. The club wasn’t packed for once, but I knew a lot of people there (including some I hadn’t seen in a while), so it was a pretty awesome night. The only downside was that when we walked home sometime after 5AM it was pouring down so heavily that I was completely soaking wet and I had to stop four times to wipe the hair gel out of my eyes (maybe I need to cool it with the styling products).
Tomorrow night I’m going down to check out The Czars at Voxhall. I’m looking forward to it, but I have a feeling that not a lot of people will show up on a Tuesday night to see a band that hasn’t sold 50 records here. But hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.
I subscribe to Rolling Stone magazine and although the magazine has taken a more celebrity-driven approach to journalism (check out the cover for issue 906) they still produce great articles. In issue 903 there was the story of the Russian kid, who immigrated to USA, started dating a stripper, got involved with people selling growth hormones, and eventually got kidnapped and killed. In issue 904 there was a story about Ernest Hemingway’s son, Gregory, who was a cross-dresser and eventually had a sex-change operation, he was married three times (once after the operation), and he was committed and on all kinds of medication. The article also briefly mentions what is known as The Curse of the Hemingways and lists more than a handful family members, who committed suicide and a couple who died of drug overdoses. But the creepiest article was the one in issue 905, which is about people, who pay to be kidnapped and humiliated. There’s a brief article here about the guy who arranges these kidnappings, but the RS article is written by a guy, who actually went through the kidnapping event, which adds a very disturbing perspective. So I don’t mind that they put Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Vines, or Asia Argento on the cover as long as they keep publishing articles like the ones I’ve just mentioned.
Lastly, I want to say thanks to Alyse, who runs the beautifully designed website Bolt of Blue, for calling me fucking rad and directing so many people over to this site. That was almost too kind.
- John Fogde 9:53 PM [+]