No one will be seated during the breathtaking "watching TV" sequence

The most mindblowing article I've read this week (yes, moreso than SRFI 71) is an article in Variety. It's about a movie in early development, which means it's likely never to happen, but still. Apparently, Fox Studios has acquired the rights to and is planning to make a movie based on...

...The Sims. The video game. Yes, THAT video game. And why not? There are so many reasons it'll make a great film!

* Compelling characters: the down-to-earth charm of Bob Newbie, the mystery of the Goth family, the... actually, there are no other pre-made characters, all the rest are created, described and developed by the player.

* Gripping plot: Who could forget that moment in the game when August McDoodlesmacker took ninety minutes to get from the living room to the kitchen and then passed out from exhaustion? Or when Gertie Underblupperson spent three hundred simoleons on an objet d'art only to discover that it was hideously ugly?

* Dramatic conflict: Gunther McDoodlesmacker wants to use the toilet, but can't because of the presence of August, who is inexplicably holding a conversation with Cynthia Glamrockstar in the bathroom. Will August and Cynthia take their discussion of the weather, skiing and banking elsewhere? Will Gunther wind up pissing himself?

So, yeah, I'm totally looking forward to it, especially since the script will be written by the guy who wrote "Scary Movie 3."
robot monster

The Wire why not.

Allison and I recently got into The Wire. Thank you, Netflix! We've seen all of season 1 and four episodes of season 2. It's remarkable to me that, despite people calling it the best show on TV, it may well be the best show on TV. Some things about that:

Collapse )

What I listen to at work

last.fm is great. Just punch in your favorite artists, or download a plugin, and it'll give you a "custom radio station" that, because it uses collaborative filtering, is pretty good. I've found that the best work radio station is "similar artists to Animal Collective." (unless I'm feeling aggressive, in which case I pick McLusky.)


This post is not about Ari, or, the documentary report

I feel that I have a pretty good handle on the sex industry in this country. I mean, there's not much to understand: men pay women or other men for sex, or to dance provocatively, or whatever. Sometimes women are the clients, but I gather that's relatively rare. There are pimps, who are the exploitative businessmen behind it all, sometimes there's a thin veneer of credibility to disguise it from the law, and so forth. I know it's actually quite complicated (please don't ream me out, certain Doctor of Philosophy on my friends list!) and I'm eliding a lot, but the basic outline is pretty straightforward.

This weekend, though, I saw a documentary that convinced me that I will never understand the sex industry in Japan. The film is "The Great Happiness Space" and it's about host boys in Japan.

Host boys are young pretty boys

who are paid, by the hour, to spend time with women in clubs, and show them a good time. I had previously heard of this phenomenon in a travel documentary, but it was presented in kind of a cursory, almost insulting way. (In Soviet Japan, sex worker pays for you!) In actuality, there are many, many points on which I am deeply, deeply confused.

* First of all, are host boys sex workers in the first place? The documentary tackles that question head-on, and the answer turns out to be no, but kinda yes, but really no, but also sometimes yes, but let's go with no. They're pretty clearly not being paid for sex, but sometimes they wind up having sex with clients anyway, but generally that's incidental to what they're being paid for. In fact, one of them points out in an interview that once he has sex with a girl, she often doesn't come back, so he pretty much never does.

* One would assume that host boys' clients are lonely middle-aged women, possibly loney businesswomen or businessmen's wives. One would be wrong, though. In fact, one would make an ass out of you and me, if one were to assume that. Most clients in the host boy club are actually provocatively dressed young women. So why do these girls need to pay for companionship? And where are they getting the money to do so? (It can be very expensive.) Well, the documentary presents an answer for this, an answer that is bourne out in interviews. It turns out, 80-90% of the host club's clients are prostitutes. Women who have sex with men for money. WELL THAT JUST ANSWERS EVERYTHING.

* The host boys speak with this amazing mix of blatant lies ("we never pressure women. We just provide an atmosphere in which she is comfortable buying more.") and blatant truths ("on an average day I'll drink ten of these bottles. I drink one, throw up, drink another, throw up, and so on. Sometimes I see blood.") One of them mentions that he doesn't even know anymore when he's lying and when he's telling the truth. I guess that's not confusing, but it's amazing nonetheless.

* These clubs are holes. Why would someone pay that much money to be entertained in such a cheesy, grungy, depressing atmosphere? I mean, I can understand hanging out in such a place, but damn, why pay that much money for the privilege?

* Where is the money going? These services are expensive, but it's impossible to tell how expensive, because of the lying. Whenever someone mentions a number, it doesn't fit with all the other numbers and seems just plain random. I don't know if any of these people have any idea how much money actually passes through their hands.

* Does the money go to drugs? Drugs are never, ever mentioned, and I would guess that they're not used. After all, host boys, as part of their jobs, must down fantastic quantities of alcohol. So, doing cocaine on top of that is probably not so appealing.

* Undoubtedly much of the money goes to hair-care product and flashy accessories. I wonder how much of Dolce & Gabana and Clairol's global sales are due to host boys.

Announcing... the poop filter!

All right, clearly I'm going to be posting lots of stories about the kid. I don't want to bore anyone, gross anyone out, or clutter anyone's friends page, so I'm creating an opt-in filter to hear kid stories. It won't all be about poop, but I'm calling it the poop filter as a warning: there will be poop.

If you would like to be added to the poop filter, please let me know in comments.
robot monster

I hate so much about the things you choose to be.

* Discovery of the day: when the City of Boston declares a snow emergency at 1:30am, the police drive up and down Centre Street broadcasting a recording via megaphone as if the goddamn Red Army were invading.

* What's a snow emergency? A snow emergency means you can't park on Centre Street. That seems to be it.

* My one and only resolution for the new year is to be a good father. Cheesy, I know, but I feel it's important.

* Multi-stage programming via macro makes my head hurt. Too bad it's such a vital part of my diss.

* Speaking of my diss, I have said before, and I will say again, this is what I want when I complete it.