Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Few Good Ideas

Part of what I needed to do while wrapping up at work was document some of my processes, for myself and others. In Knowledge Management we call that "collecting tacit knowledge". In the disability insurance world, we call it planning for the proverbial beer truck.

It definitely felt good to document the undocumented. And while I'm not necessarily looking to compile my legacy here, there are certainly some thoughts and ideas I've had which have thusfar gone unexpressed, except to individuals here and there. So I would like to put digital pen to digital paper to make explicit my otherwise unrealized ideas.

I've had a ton of them over the years, most of them long forgotten. As a teenager, I carried around my grandfather's IBM Think pad. See, prior to the other kind of ThinkPad, IBM employees actually carried around a small notebook that said "Think" on it. Everywhere I went, I had "Think". And when I had a thought, I would write it down. It was like Tweeting, but to myself. I thought I would somehow catalog them at some point -- small details for stories, book ideas, inventions. When I got my first Palm Pilot, I even installed a database program (which I called "Think"), to try and bring more structure to my thoughts. Yes, I added  metadata. But that didn't last long.

I'm not sure what sort of Think app I can get for my iTouch. I might need one. Because as much as I've been thankful for every breath lately, I've also cherished every thought. So I want to take a little time to jot down the ones that stayed with me:

The Memory Box

The idea here is just to take a relatively nice box and fill it with memories. Like a Pensieve of slips of  paper. I started one a long time ago for my parents. And, of course, never finished it (sorry, mom and dad). Just random thoughts of childhood which were meaningful at the time and continue to resonate for no particular reason -- swallowing a Ringling Bros. Circus flashlight lightbulb; "running away" under the dome climber during Apple's Way; standing next to the dishwasher of our new house (when I was 3) and asking when we could "go home". There are plenty more. Things we never have pictures of (especially back in the day of actual film), but moments we would or could never photograph regardless.

QuinCSI

A video mash-up of Quincy, M.E. and CSI. Basically, I wanted to re-edit (and edit down) an episode of Quincy using the style of CSI. And, of course, end the lead-in scene with Quincy saying, "But, Sam, it was murrderrr..." (smash-cut to title sequence, set to The Who's "Pinball Wizard").

Formulas

This is another video editing project. I want to piece together bits of episodes from formulaic shows into a brand new episode. Like that Three's Company episode where Mr. Furley misunderstands something he overhears Jack and Chrissy saying. Then wacky hi-jinx ensue, until they realize it was all just a big mistake. And go to the Regal Beagle for a beer. Remember that one? Exactly. I could edit down 100 episodes of that show into one.

Journey to the Center

I'll try to keep this as family friendly as possible. This is a commentary about gender politics. It's a novel about a man who has "relations" with a woman and then wakes up trapped in a strange palace. There he finds other men in the same situation, all trying to figure out how to escape. Oh, and they have erections all the time. It would probably be called Dickland for scandal/marketability. But, really, it's a look at gender stereotypes. Seriously. Can't we all just get along?

Reflection

I never quite figured out how this would work, but it starts with the basic premise that all mirrors have stopped working. Everyone gets lost without their vanity. I needed to do more research on optics, though the science isn't all that important. This was something I came up with a long time ago. I think when I was 15, staring at a fly outside the World Trade Center, during a party at Windows on the World (I'm sure it's in a "Think" pad somewhere). It was a road trip story, a quest. That ended with the lead character seeing his reflection in his lover's eyes. Maybe it's too hoaky. My "Careless Whisper" (which I remember George Michael later calling naive). Or maybe it's just a Kilgore Trout story, not actually meant to be fleshed out.

Play dom-jot, Schumann?

For STNG fans only, remember the episode Tapestry, where Picard gets stabbed through the heart? I always wanted to make a t-shirt that says, "Play dom-jot, Schumann?" with composer Robert Schumann's head replacing Picard's, standing next to a menacing Nausicaan. It's not worth explaining. If you think it's funny, you're a geek.

Evacuation

I took an environmental law class in college and did a paper about extreme environmental activism for my final  presentation. I created an amalgamated character who went from working with Biosphere 2Earth First, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT), and the Involuntary Human Extinction Movement, to developing a scientific conspiracy to save the planet by convincing world leaders the Earth was headed for an environmental breakdown (such as, I don't know, global warming). And that evacuation to a space station was the only way to save humanity. With the human problem eliminated, the planet would be saved. 

Band Names

I used to maintain a long list of band names. Not sure where it is at this point. But I think my favorites are still "The Greatest Hits" (first album, "Best of") and "The Best Of" (first album, "Greatest Hits"). Also, if my friend Dan and I ever get our act together, we'll start the serendipitous Shapiro-Wilk Normality Test. I also thought it would be good to have an album of songs specifically written for commercial use. Like "Closing Time" or "We Are the Champions" or "At the Zoo".

Tear Bottles

A few months ago, before my diagnosis, I had a waking dream, on the cusp of slumber. I was in a cave, and a woman (a shaman of some kind), was showing me around. This was her home. One entire sloped wall had been carved into a set of stone shelves. Those shelves were filled with small glass bottles.And each bottle was filled with a clear liquid. I asked what they were. She told me that the bottles were filled with her tears, from particularly difficult times in her life. I've since done some research and discovered that tear bottles and Lachrymatory have had historic and cultural significance for thousands of years. But I was not consciously aware of any of that history when I had my "vision" (perhaps my aneurysm was). And for me, the message was about building strength through memories of adversity, honoring and appreciating obstacles, not mourning. So I'm counting it as my idea.

Lightning Farms

Let's harness the power of lightning! Lightning rods throughout Florida, tied into a storage and distribution system could solve the energy crisis. Until, of course, it's discovered that absorbing lightning either prevents the creation of new lightning or that certain plants need ground hits to survive.

Please Don't Let Me Break Him

A bedtime book for new parents, all about the panic-stricken first days of belly button nub infection paranoia, feeding guilt (too much? not enough?), diaper hovering (too much poop? not enough?), sleeping trauma (too much? not enough? is he breathing? I'm going to poke him just a little to make sure. Okay, just a little more.). I started this in part as a blog (with a few entries). But I think it would work best with illustrations alternately adorable and horrifying (just like parenting).

"Got Your Nose" (and other practical jokes to play on children)

A how-to book of the games we play to keep our children entertained, including:
  • taking off my finger
  • taking off my thumb
  • making my arm longer
  • come here and pull my finger
  • where's the ceiling?
  • my hands are on backwards!
  • winking
  • talking without talking (aka "mouthing")

The Recent Futurist

Another barely-started blog. Though I still like the idea of predicting the future through current innovation.

Sad Guy and Acquaintances

My year-and-a-half home with Wyatt was both incredibly rewarding (how many fathers get that opportunity?) and demoralizing (damn social norms). In that time, one of the things I did during naptime was draw a bit. And when I say "draw," I mean make lines, see what they sort of look like, and then turn them into something. I've been doing that for years to make cards (originally with actual paper and colored pencils, believe it or not). But, as with everything, I moved onto the computer, which opened up a world of image manipulation opportunities. My one and only "character" to come out of that was "Sad Guy". And I put his animated adventures in another blog (click the title images to see the animation).


I don't know if I've done justice to any of the ideas here. But, hopefully, I'll have a chance to make good on some of these and more to come.

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