26 February 2008

a brilliant idea...

...that's what we need, a brilliant idea.

working a part-time job as a corporate sellout, part-time teaching English 101, being a full-time grad student, keeping/setting up a new house, and working on side projects, i don't have a lot of time.

(isn't it cute, when i think i'm busy)

So, in the interest of the betterment of humankind, will offer up some great ideas, nearly* free of charge here, for anyone who wants to take them and adapt them (p.s., if anyone knows where these ideas already exist and are in action, please point me to them):

1. ok... so the first idea is one my former roommate, nathan & i came up with during the death throes of the dot-com burst. He was working for wwwrrr, i for Padco and we came up with a pair of 'sister websites' called http://www.wheretogo.com/ & http://www.whoyouknow.com/. Both of these sites have since been co-opted, but back in the Gau Haus days these two sites were going to revolutionize the internet. Aside from the annoying classmates.com and the kevinBacon-y sixdegrees.com social network wasn't anything, yet and dexonline couldn't really find you what you wanted. The site was going to conjoin these services, in a way that frappr really didn't. The idea would be that people would submit there 'cool places' so you could find cool places anywhere, and write 'Let's Go' style reviews of them, but the sites included, first, an access level (so only those who you want to know can know the info you post about places, but also about your itinerary {see what follows}). There was also a calendar feature that would allow you to, say, submit that you were going to be in Orlando from, say, hypothetically, March 19-23, so that people you know, but don't really keep contact with will also know you're in town... I think google probably does (or can) already do this, but i can't figure out how to make it work...

2. My whole idea for this post came shortly after the primary election in Wisconsin last week. I was terribly disappointed in Nebraska's level of online election info, but somehow Wisconsin is almost worse. It doesn't seem too difficult to construct a website where we have every election and every race listed with at least the names (infinitely google-able) and maybe cursory descriptions. This is the bare bones of what should be a much more useful site. They may or may not be ideologically motivated, but at least one that has all of the candidates.

C. (2.5). The Utne Reader had an article several years back about putting the 'party' back into politics. Here's a study that suggests something similar, but the general idea was that we try and increase voter turnout by throwing parties on election day (hell, having a holiday), giving free drinks to folks with "I Voted" stickers, and having a million dollar lottery for everyone who voted...

3. somebody ought to buy the empty building that was Geneva Lakes Kennel Club (which may be some sort of simulcasting place now, but it ought to be empty). Anyway, i hate greyhound racing as much as all of you should, but since they have a big track there, here's what i think we should develop... Amateur Dog Racing. The place becomes a doggie day care/vacation getaway for dogs (and perhaps other animals, i'm just into dogs lately), and then they have the dogs race... if they want to. No training, no mistreatment, just good dog fun. You let the 8 dogs who are going to race against each other hang out for a while in a room (supervised) and let them get to know each other... then you bring them out to the track and send "Bucky" coasting around the track and have amateur dogs race... Maybe people come and bet, maybe they just come watch (sounds cool to me)... Mostly, i want to see this, because i totally think Rex Grossman will beat any of your dogs asses in a footrace...

4. Teleportation (please see footnote)

5. ...i think we should keep adding to this list. Whenever you have an idea that you want to "give" away (you can make .001% of any profits made off of your ideas added in the 'comments' section {idea submitters, please don't bother to read the footnote, it's not important}).

6. More people should stay up and watch Craig Ferguson. I think the world would be a better place if everyone watched Craig Ferguson. Seriously. How 'bout he host the Oscars next year?

7. Rent-a-lemon: I currently own a shitty car that I don't want to own much longer.  This is my second such car that I've just come to the point where I no longer want to own it, but my thought is, we could (as the commune) all hold on to our old shitty cars and rent them, discount, to people coming to our town.

* any future profits made off of these ideas will hereby (that means it's legally binding) entitle me, joel seeger, to .003% of said profits. If individuals, corporations, or organizations adopt any of these ideas in the future and create a business or organization that gets in the habit of employing people in the implementation of these ideas, i, still joel seeger, am entitled to request a cushy, cool job from said individual, corporation, or organization.

24 February 2008

and the award goes to...

, seriously, Mike Huckabee. Did you see this cat on Saturday Night Live last night? Comedic brilliance. Great timing, great instincts. What more could you want in a president?

While watching the Oscars tonight (and having re-accrued much of my film & camera collection) i'm struck first, by how few movies i see anymore... (netflix, you're taking me for one this last year or so) I'm making my Oscar choices based on how much i wanted to see the movies this year, rather than any real sense of ... deservation...

Bravo Jon Stewart, on handing the gal from Once the chance to give her speech after the commercial break. And bravo Jon Stewart on not needing to go for a whole 'production' for the opening sequence. I think there's much value to getting an East-Coaster (read non-Californian for all intents & purposes) to host the Oscars... Conan, Ellen, Jon Stewart, hell, even Dave work this show in a way that Billy Crystal & Steve Martin were never able to...

Best this, best that... who really cares who we decide the best is today... It's hard for us to really keep much stock in what they decide today is the 'best' of anything... A best documentary award (which admittedly, i've seen none of the nominees) doesn't go to the film about Iraq (so cliche) or the film about healthcare in America (so Hillary), but the one about Afghanistan... the War we forgot we were in... lovely

And it's over... You know what i could really use. Is some after-Oscars commentary (i'm thinking Slavoj Zizek, Harriet Klausner & John Madden) sitting around a plastic table discussing who, in fact, won, who didn't... They could discuss how the filmmakers could have made the movies differently (better) if they wanted to win the award.

John Madden: Maybe if Sweeny Todd had gone with less singing, more serious themes, less Johnny Depp, they really might have had a shot this year.

Zizek: The problem a film work like Juno finds itself in, is the paradigm (pronounced pear-a-dig-m) of the violence and sex American-readWestern-culture finds itself drowning in is--

Harriet Klausner: I loved it. just loved it.

Madden: Which one?

Klausner: It was amazing, working on so many levels. Truly deep.

Zizek: Paradigm (pair-a-dig-em)

Klausner: Never have i seen a year of better Oscar contenders.

Madden: What happens, is the name of the film or actor that currently resides in the envelope these hosts, er presenters... these big stars are holding, the names in the envelopes, those guys will be the eventual winners... Once they've got that envelope, you know, barring a huge comeback of some kind, you've got your winner right there...

Klausner: Mr. Madden, please put your pants back on...

Zizek: (exit, pursued by a bear)

It seems like this'd make more sense to most people...

19 February 2008

Voting Day!!!

Hey all you fellow Wisconsinites. If you haven't gotten out there & voted yet, go do so now... Wisconsin Election Information is abysmally hard to come by, but i've stumbled on some nuggets that won't help me much, but for my Rock County friends... (If you're in districts 1 or 29, which i don't know where they are)

Janis Ringhand
WisconsinCandidate for Rock County Board - District 1 (Open Seat)
Janis has been a member of our farm team since 2005 and, in 2006, she was a Progressive Majority candidate for the State House in the 80th Assembly District. Despite hard work and a valiant effort on her part, she came up short by less than 200 votes. Now, Janis is running for an open seat on the Rock County Board. Janis is a former mayor of Evansville and, if elected, she will hold a progressive seat in one of the more conservative parts of the county.
Click here to support and learn more about Janis.

Katie Kusnasik
WisconsinCandidate for Rock County Board - District 29 (Challenger)
Katie Kusnasik is challenging a conservative member of the Rock County Board as part of a strategy to create a progressive majority in the next two election cycles. She is currently a legislative assistant to progressive Assembly Representative Michael Sheridan and specializes in constituent relationships. Katie is supported by United Auto Workers and the local Labor Council. Katie has attended training by Progressive Majority and this is her first run for public office.
Click here to support and learn more about Katie.

This info comes direct from ProgressiveMajority.org a useful, if incomplete website for finding progressive candidates. So, go Katie, go Jan... Go Vote, y'deadbeats... (i'm looking at you, shane)

18 February 2008

this is not a pipe

Yesterday i fixed a toilet. As a new homeowner i had my first minor freakout because the toilet was leaking... I started imagining the inevitable call to the plumber and the visit where he would find pipe after pipe that was suspect, eventually having to tear out and overhaul the entire system...

But, with a little encouragement from Brooke's dad, i took the project on myself, turned off the water to the entire house and removed a pipe from the wall & the toilet. I took said pipe to the hardware store where i found a piece that looked kind of similar, though not close enough to put my mind at ease, then reconnected the piece to the entire system. Very scary.

In the process of doing all this i purchased a pipe wrench (which it turned out i did not need) and a really big crescent wrench (which was much more expensive that i expected it to be). This is, in fact, the second DIY-y thing i've done to the house... Last weekend, again with Jim's help, i uninstalled & installed 2 light fixtures in the bedroom & bathroom. Touching electric wires, twisting them around each other, and screwing things into the ceiling. Very exciting.
After my repair project, i continued the ManDay theme by going outside and trying to move approximately 1000lbs of ice & water that had collected on my driveway. My efforts were barely enough to put a dent in the glacier that is the front walk, but it's a start and becoming a real man, man.

17 February 2008

Toward a Poetic Culture

David Halperin came to speak at UW-M on Friday about Gay Male Culture and it's struggle with finding authenticity in "real" hetero-normaitive emotions... to that i say... this?

15 February 2008

Constructive Games

I’m interested in the gamesmanship (game-iness) of the Oulipo movement and have come to questions about using this idea of games in a positive, constructive way. This is something that I’ve been working out over the last several months, and this seems like a useful place to try to get it down. First, I’d like to think a little about art-in-a-box or ‘gaming art’ and games in general, then see if we can’t find a way to apply it to theory.

One of the primary concerns of Oulipo is this idea of creating a set of arbitrary rules around your art. With If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler you’ve got a single sentence/poem that will make up the chapter titles and a host of other constrictions cataloged elsewhere. Stephen King says about writing fiction that a lot of great storytelling comes from the question, “What If?” and Oulipo must have anticipatorily plagiarized this idea, creating art that says, “what if we make a _________ that only _________?”

In my introductory creative writing class in college, an introduction of the textbook suggested that writing (and I would say just art generally) should be something akin to playing tennis, rather than solely the realm of ‘professionals.’ “I write” (or make art) wouldn’t mean you necessarily do so well (in the same way that “I play tennis” in no way gives me delusions that I could be a professional tennis player {though I’m sure I could have, had my high school had a team}). I wonder if this isn’t somewhat what Oulipo is after, democratizing art creation, making art creation possible for everyone (by doing creative writing exercises as a jumping off point). That being said, those in the actual Oulipo movement likely don’t want everyone to necessarily display all of their Oulipian art (just as my backhand slice should remain largely unseen).

What this notion of democratizing art might do, though, is create a lot of ‘potential art’. The more bad art being made out there and the more our culture becomes one that encourages participation in art creation, the more opportunity there is for great outside art to actually be discovered.

I feel as though I have strayed somewhat from my initial thought with this post… I was going to say something about the idea of the difference between rules and laws, rules being arbitrary and artificial, while laws theoretically come from moral or ethical considerations. Also the difference that you can’t actually break a rule (this notion is one of Baudrillard’s, I think), because once you do, you’re no longer playing the game, strictly speaking. Whereas a law can be broken (ethical and moral standards can change, which should force laws to change), and sometimes should be broken in order to line them up with the changing moral/ethical standards. You can change the rules of the game (say, you get to use doubles lines when we play tennis), but then you’re playing a slightly different game (so you still didn’t beat me at tennis, really).

14 February 2008

do you ever get the feeling... the sensation... the painful memory, where you're sitting at a table, standing against a wall, lying in bed, and you wonder... Where was i when i was picking my nose? Not the half-hearted scratch, but the FULL ASS, wrist deep pick. I'm pretty sure I was in a toilet stall, but suddenly i wonder was i in class? Was I sitting in my office? Alone? That sick sensation of embarrassing yourself everywhere you go...

07 February 2008

Someone Who actually posts...

Presenting the blog of my office-mate Sarah (also added to my list of friends). For those of you dying for more blog action... someone who actually regularly writes on her blog...

It's about sundry academic-y things...