More Scandalous than “Academics Discover D&D”–!

The story WAS going to be that sociologists have created a society rpg sim for participatory study of sociology, modeled on D&D.  It has a player’s handbook and a coordinator’s handbook.  But it turns out that SIMSOC predates D&D.  I, for one, am scandalized.

It’s interesting.  You can form police, or a gang; or riot; join together with other players and persecute minorities; or be persecuted, if you are a minority; join a group, like the mass media, the judicial system, or so on.

I don’t know that it would make for good IF, although I’m reading it with an eye to that — but it would make for a great MUD.  Probably infringe all over if you followed the SIMSOC system slavishly, but there’s plenty of room for tweakage.

You can peek at some pages of the book online here, or visit the official website here.

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A hypnotist re: The feminist who tells women to settle.

A peculiar newsworthy item, which I will write about with the understanding that this blog post is not aimed at any of my unmarried female friends, or divorced friends, or anybody at all.  The topic, the culture around mate selection strategies, interests me.

This woman writer, who wasn’t on my radar before, but who I’ve probably heard on NPR, has a book out that advises single women who hit 30 to settle.  Marry Him:  The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, by  Lori Gottlieb.

More interestingly, she has a gruesome-funny blog article, quite catty, arguing against a rival author.  This rival apparently contacted her saying, hey, we wrote similarly-themed books; take a look at mine; she said, no thanks; Rival Author wrote Slandarous Lies about her book on Rival Blog; and drama drama drama.

But there’s a hole in her thinking that I find disconcerting. (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on February 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm  Comments (9)  
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Instant Message exchange with a Khmer girl…

I lost and recovered my old cell phone — there was this whole mini-drama.  I might tell that story sometime.

But the phone clerk who sold me the new phone is very cute, and we’ve been talking.  She invited me to some mountain with her friends, which I know from my students is a favorite Khmer picnic spot.  I’m not sure of the details, as her English is a bit spotty and my Khmer is nascent.

Our IM conversation today:


Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm  Comments (3)  
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It’s Amazing!

The most wonderful thing in the Universe happened today.

Music and video in Cambodia are pirated.  It’s the only way to get anything.  (And it’s not much cheaper than Blockbuster.)  I came back too early for my order to be ready, and while I was waiting a girl walked by, looked in, lingered, and walked on.

So, I caught up with her, and said, “Excuse me.  I have five minutes before my discs are ready.  I wonder if you’d like to have a beer?”

She said, “Uhhh–”  Looked me over, I guess decided I wasn’t scary, and said, “Sure.”  She was German.

So found a bar and we were chatting.  And the waiter-host who was running the bar interrupted us.  He asked Alex, the girl, “Excuse me.  Have I seen you before?  Have we met?”

She said, “I don’t know.  Maybe.  But today is my first day here.”

“Oh,” he said:  “Then maybe not…  Foreigners all look the same.”

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 11:53 am  Comments (1)  
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Loving thy neighbor

Well, I went to church today.  Not something I normally do, but I’m looking for people who (a) speak English, and (b) aren’t here for the drugs and hookers.

Christians are kind of weird, and especially these guys. 

I also paid my rent today.  I gave it to the Grandma who appears to run the joint.  I wanted her to sign a receipt in my notebook.  She didn’t understand, and the 20-something girl with her didn’t understand either.  She went to get another girl, who was probably 17 or so.

She came out in her PJs.  I explained I wanted a signature.  She looked it over, explained it in Khmer to the other two, and after much nodding and chatter, signed it.  Then, after a discussion with Grandma, she asked me, “Do you want to come to my room?”

I smiled and said it was okay.  She walked away without another word.  (Hey, sorry.)  Then the other girl offered me a ride to town on her motorbike, which I pretended not to understand; I don’t know why.  I think at that point I was just trying to be consistent.

Published in: Uncategorized on January 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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American Muslims Not In the News

In my few-months-back post, “Whacko Kills 13: The Real Tragedy Is That This Will Make People Dislike Muslims, Imams Say,” I said that Muslims who say killing people isn’t the real Islam don’t need to tell me that, but people like Major Hasan, the alledged suspect in the killings.

In the interest of keeping a fair and balanced blog, I’ll add now that a recent study indicates that American Muslims have been telling their own that, and it has been effective.  American Muslims are less likely to tweak out than are their European counterparts, and when Muslims become radicalized in America it’s not through the Mosque system.

You can read the report here.  (If that link breaks, search for: Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans; David Schanzer, Charles Kurzman, Ebrahim Moosa.)

It also says that government has done comparatively little to prevent radicalization, and needs to.  I interpret that to mean that American Muslims are less likely to become radical because of the efforts of the American Muslim community itself.

Way to go, guys.

(A Cambodian Mosque, near where I used to live.)

Published in: Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Shocking News About Cambodian Hookers

From the stats that the blog software gives me, a surprising number of people are coming to my page looking for information on Cambodian hookers.  And particularly it seems there was a news story that people are curious about.

The news story was about a Westerner who was stabbed by a hooker.  Thoughts on that further on — see ‘the shocking news’ subhead.

So, the general information:  For Westerners, a night with a girl costs around $20.  For locals, it seems it’s around $5.  In some areas, probably less.  I was woken up late at night in the place where I used to live by a last-minute negotiation between a john and a hooker at the next door down.  She wanted $50.  He was saying, “No…  not fifty dollars.  I don’t know, I mean, you spent all night telling me you’re not that kind of girl, and now you want fifty dollars…”

Basic Misunderstandings

The primary thing to come to terms with as a john is that she’s not dealing with you because she likes you:  she’s dealing with you because she wants the money.  This is a basic understanding, but some men seem to have a lot of trouble with it.  For example: (more…)

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Comments (7)  
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View from Home & a Question for Techno-Geeks…

This is where I live; the view out the hallway window.

A quick and unrelated question for the techno-geeks out there:  I have a suspicion that the folks at the Wi-Fi cafe where I login are accessing my computer; or trying to.  I have a lot of small reasons for this; for example, I got back one day and found Windows was asking for specifications for the second monitor. 

And just today, I had something funky happen with windows being moved and resized on me, and focus being shifted back to my browser, until I hit the switch to kill the Wi-Fi.  At which point it stopped.

I’m using the out-of-the-box Windows Vista security, plus AVG for viruses.  Any ideas?  Is there a good free firewall you’d recommend?

Published in: Uncategorized on December 31, 2009 at 2:29 pm  Comments (2)  
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A No-Frills Pictures of Cambodia Post

Some vendors at their carts.  They push these out in the morning and home at night.  Those rag-ropes tying the handles together allow them to push with their bellies.

The park where the vendors work.  I’ve no idea of the park’s function or dedication. (more…)

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Notes from Cambodia…

Walking through the city last night, I passed a small crowd of Khmer in a park.  They were playing aggressive rap music and dancing what looked like an Asian version of the hokey-pokey.


I got a strange phone call.  Someone called yesterday and said he wanted to meet me.  It sounded really shady.  He kept asking me where I was.  He was talking kind of quietly, and referred to my old job that I’d left.

I pretended I couldn’t hear him and hung up.

I stopped around at the school that I figured might have been calling to offer me a job.  (But why would they want to meet me?)  After a tortured conversation, the receptionist checked and told me that the man who called me was “in the provinces.”  We agreed he could email me.

That was yesterday.  Today, I got the phone call again.  He wanted to meet me.  He sounded bolder.  I kept asking who he was; I think he might have given me the name of my old landlord, several moves ago.  Finally, he came out with it:

My visa (he said) was no good.  Did I know the law in Cambodia?  He would report me to the Embassy.  He said something about the police, too. (more…)

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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