zomg so cute

via rotobox 
via tomopop
via io9

[yes, i will chase down multiple links for the cuteness! especially when that cuteness has a robotique sensibility! can i – dare i – call them LOLbots? Noooooo!]

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a passing fancy: sexbots

sexbots are common scifi gags.

just wanted to let that sentence sit there for a minute. how are you feeling? okay if i continue? good.

seriously, we’ve seen a lot of them, they’re an old idea – as a reminder, here are some:

The Stepford Wives, of course

Pris, from Blade Runner

Fembots, from Austin Powers

Various, from the mind of Joss Whedon

right, now you’ve got the proper context.

the thing is, there are a lot more Echos than there are Roxxxys.  we see them all the time.  “the culture” is in awe of them, patronizes them, uses them, throws them away and then creates a new one.  the modern sexbot is the Girl As Empty Vessel.  and this idea, while something that has been projected at girls for years and years, is now something that girls are projecting back.  it’s been accepted as The Way To Be, and we judge young women on how good they are at pulling it off.

Consider this interview with Megan Fox:

Fox says outrageous things. She takes sexy pictures. She looks good on film. But she doesn’t try to pull at your heartstrings by pretending to bare her soul. She doesn’t attempt to demystify herself through overexplanation. She doesn’t try to really prove anything to you. She just gives you what she thinks you want and keeps the important stuff for herself. (Interview)

[emphasis mine]

Or consider this review of Emily Gould’s book of essays, “And the Heart Says Whatever“:

After nearly a decade of New York life she is sadder but, she insists, no wiser. “I can look back and recognize the things I’ve done and said that were wrong: unethical, gratuitously hurtful, golden-rule breaking,” she writes. But “I would be lying if I said I was a different person now. . . . I would do it all again.” She seems to think this is a brave and honest stance, and maybe it is, but it’s also unpromising Is there nothing she would reconsider? At times she comes across, confusingly, as a character in a coming-of-age novel — but alas, no novelist arrives to explain her to herself. (NY Times Book Review)

[again, emphasis mine]

What troubles me about this phenomenon is not merely the lives and futures of the women who participate in it, but in how we assess them and what they represent.  Megan Fox is known for being the hot chick in the Transformers movies, an Angelina Jolie wannabe, a sometime bisexual, a girl with tattoos… oh wait, after the Angelina Jolie remark, the rest is redundant.  The trouble is that when she tries to do something else, we can not turn away from the sexbot she maintains for our benefit.  And you see this in criticism of her other work:

“Cody’s underdeveloped writing and Kusama’s ambiguous direction are further stymied by Fox’s own inconsistencies as an actress, and her own off-camera status as an A-list fetish object. While she sufficiently did what was expected of her in the Transformers movies, she hardly exceeded expectations, and did herself no favors by condescending to the franchise that made her a household name—especially since she’s done nothing else thus far to justify the world’s interest in her.” (Cinematical)

That’s some cold shit.

And what about Emily Gould?  In the end, she seems to be reduced to two no doubt oversimplified sketches.  The first, an image that is invoked in the opening sentences of many of the reviews of her book.  The second, a characterization of her time at Gawker, and her subsequent departure, as a public ‘mental meltdown‘.

I’m not sure how to be fair, or to whom.  But it does put me in mind of a conversation I had last night with a friend about pornography.  It’s been years, honestly, since I looked at an issue of any of the following magazines, but here was how I described my impressions:  Playboy [NSFW] presented a fantasy of what a worldly, sophisticated, sexual man enjoyed while also trying occasionally to stimulate his other sexual organ, the brain; Penthouse [NSFW] presented a kind of verite – it wasn’t ‘real’ but it reflected back images that go with the stories men tell each other about the sexual conquests they never really have; and [srsly I don’t have to tell you this is NSFW!] Hustler goes around the bend towards a kind of mocking honesty about the messiness and averageness of sex.  They’re all presenting fantasies about sex and about women.  Some of those are presented qua fantasies, others as realities you don’t live in.  All of them probably set up unreasonable expectations for men and women alike about sex, sexuality and our bodies.

But the kind of psychological pornography that these women portray through a stylized ‘over-sharing’ combined with lack of insight is creating just as big of a problem.  It’s setting unreasonable expectations for men and women about who they should be, how they should interact, what intimacy is, where boundaries lie, and what they fundamentally want.

Living and going out in New York, you can hear this cacophony of silence as people pantomime personas at one another but do not commune, hook up but do not connect, email/text/twitter/check-in but do not communicate.  It’s deafening. And it hurts.

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A letter regarding “79 Jewels”

It is important to the typical STAR TREK fan that there is a tomorrow.”

“STAR TREK says that it has not all happened, it has not all been discovered, that tomorrow can be as challenging and adventurous as any time man has ever lived.”

Beautiful response to an inquiry about Star Trek, read the full letter at Letters of Note.  

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goldfrapp, vampires, the 80s

via Pitchfork, just saw this interview and video. It’s the perfect combination of Olivia Newton-John and The Lost Boys.  I know, I know: you thought that unholy combination was already realized in Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Goldfrapp and Legs prove that there was more work to be done.

Also, there’s something about the song that reminds me of this other song:
and music from the 80s or evocative of the 80s almost always makes me think of robots.

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loving things filed under “stuff wot i made”

one of the greatest joys of being a young ‘creative’ in any field is putting your portfolio together.  it is also undying agony – because there is so much at stake: the decisions about what to make, how to make it, what to include, what order to put it in, how much to put in the portfolio and to whom you’ll show it are all critical.  i loved making ads for my book – i spent days and weeks on it (i think it’s now in a storage shed in Oregon).  sometimes i think about getting the book and working on it again.  then i busy myself with learning hooks in WordPress, or agonizing over a short story. anyway.

one of the best bits about the behance network is the ability to look at things other people make on spec.  like this

i love this, of course, but it does make the capitalist in me wonder, why do people do things for free – why do they ‘share’ their ideas in public?  i’m slowly reading Lawrence Lessig‘s book “Remix”.  it’s great, read it.  but there are a few snippets that i especially liked that i’ll include here:

“So why do people do it?  What’s in it for them?  What is their motivation?… [W]e need to remember that a large part of the motivation for contributing to these sharing economies comes from people just doing for themselves what they want to do anyway… You don’t lose anything by giving away an intangible good that you’ve already created…”

make something ‘intangible’.  then give it away.  

[hm, sounds like love.]

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robot stuff from my friends

this robot thing started as a passing comment and now is a whole thing. i use robots and robot-like ideas to explore things metaphorically. i advise you on how to use robotic style cues in your home decor and fashion. i find fun videos that remind me of robots, or rayguns, or rockets, and i show them to you.

but i couldn’t do it, you know, if you all didn’t so readily accept the Robot Thing. because without the acceptance and amusement you find in this passing comment (“I like things that remind me of robots”), i would never receive the bounty of gifts and links that you all bestow on me with shocking regularity.

herewith, a roundup from the last few weeks of Robot Stuff you, dear readers and good friends, have sent me:

an amazing animatronic show reel by John Nolan Films, courtesy of Mr. Sohler.

here’s an example of his work:

2. a poster from Istanbul, sent by Cagney. (this poster led directly to Cagney partying all night with Dr. K and Akon.)

3. then there was this story about The Robot Rodeo in Los Alamos, in which bomb squads in New Mexico took part in contests to demonstrate their proficiency in controlling remote controlled robots, sent to me by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, who you should be following on Twitter and reading on the web because you could probably stand to experience other viewpoints and she writes beautifully (also sometimes she lets me play with her kids who are adorable!).

here’s my favorite bit:

The Robot Rodeo was held last week at a tech site at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The three-day event offered hours of hands-on training at the controls of $225,000 robots used for bomb and hazardous waste detection and disposal.
Six teams guided robots through 10 challenges, including an obstacle course, simulated attacks, cooperation exercises and activities to test their ability to minutely control the robot, said Chris Ory, a member of Los Alamos lab’s hazardous devices team.
Controlling the robot was where pancake-making came into play.
Teams from the state police and Santa Fe Police Department controlled robots while watching video monitors from vehicles parked outside a small building where two judges sat, ready with syrup and butter to taste their pancakes.

4. my good friend Jeff sent me a comic strip demonstrating a deep understanding of robots. also, it made me laugh.

5. my mom likes to walk her dog in the woods behind her place, and one day she came upon this image, which she claims reminded her of a robot. may i remind you all that my mother is (A) highly creative, and (B) an Oregonian.

6. my brother also spotted something referencing robots, and sent it to me:

7. from lovely Jaime of Room for Young Ones, first, a subway poster I’ve been trying to get a decent shot of for months:

8. and finally, also from Jaime (via @ebertchicago), there is this video, of a robot that balances on a ball, proving yet again, that robots are better than me.

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friday fashion: dressing a la robot

From your visual receivers to your treads, if you’re going to be robotic – and so many of you already are – you have to dress the part.  Herewith some tips on how to achieve the proper effect:

As tempting as it may be, the answer is not simply shiny stuff. The visual cues of the robotic include metallics, yes, but keep an eye out for design cues that suggest mechanical objects, engineering feats, code and material innovation.  Here are some examples.


Sunglasses by Quay

Via Thrillist


Jacket by Elizabeth and James

Via ShopBop

Dress by BCBGMaxAzria

Via Nordstrom

Dress by Jill Stuart

Dress by Tadashi Shoji

Dress by Foley + Corinna

Via Shopbop


Leggings by Sass & Bide

Via Net-a-Porter

Skirt by Adam

Skirt by Cheap Monday

Via Shopbop

Skirt by LaROK

Via Shopbop


Heels by United Nude

Sandals by DKNY

Don’t actually know what to call these by Matiko

Via Bluefly

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