Sunday, January 31, 2010

Satire Website: Dream Job

I love to travel and I love to make jokes. Both are my lifelong passions and always will be. What has remained elusive in my life has been any sort of steady job or career that I could see myself doing until I retire. I always seem to bounce around from job to job. Call it wanderlust, boredom or maybe a lack of determination but I can't seem to hold a job I really enjoy. Well, that just may change. I came up with a job that on its head is an obvious satire of the disposable culture which we live in. Where we can have anything we want if we pay for it or, since we are so busy, we can pay someone to do it for us. My idea would be to make a website where I advertise myself to go on vacations for those too busy to take one themselves. They pay for the whole trip: airfare, hotel, transportation, food, etc. In return, I would take photos of the area, send emails, postcards and get trinkets and souvenirs just like the absentee vacationer would. I'd even go so far as to have them send me their clothes and I would wear them on the trip. I'd also make a paper mask to wear when taking photos so it looks like they are actually on the trip. I would also skype with the potential customer and tell them what the trip is like and put myself on a webcam so they can see me in real time in the location of their choice. Sound weird? I would also use the clients name as my own throughout the trip except for when I have to identify myself to government agencies. The person can take an expensive trip or an economical one. I see it more as a niche market where rich people can show off to their friends how they can pay people to take vacations for them and they can show off the pictures of 'themselves' all over. Now, if you think it's all fun and games, it's not. I'd also spend time on the trip doing volunteer work with local charities, giving back to the communities. How does that sound? I would make it fun and unique to each person. It's definitely a trip people would never forget. Even if it was a trip they never actually took.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hand Bridge

I should start off by saying that I am not an architect, structural engineer or a person educated in the construction and building of the worlds infrastructure. What I am is a thinker and lately I have a lot of free time to think about things that will probably never happen but are cool to imagine. This is one of those things. I was in London in the fall of 2008 and I was amazed at some of the new and modern architecture sprouting up there. I remember standing over by the Tate Modern and looking out over the London skyline and counting 36 high-rise cranes. Those were just the ones in my field of vision and within sight. I can only imagine how many there really were out there. Many of the cranes were being used to help build the facilities for the Olympics in 2012 and I can only imagine what that city will look like then. So, here is my whimsical idea and admittedly it was inspired by the millennium bridge that goes across the Thames river from roughly the Tate Modern to St. Paul's Cathedral. I liked how the bridge seemed open and compact yet spindly. My idea would be similar to that bridge but with two large differences. The supports that rest in the river would not be bland pillars but rather two very oversized life-like looking hands. These hands would appear to be bending the bridge and give it a nice mini arc in the middle. The large fingers would wrap over the top and built into the hands would be a small observation tower through the fingernails. Imagine that! From far away it would look like a large human is grabbing the bridge and trying to bend it. I'll admit, I don't think it'll ever be built anywhere but the moment it's completed, it turns into an instant landmark and tourist attraction. It would make great photos and would add some humor to otherwise boring and pedantic objects that we use and take for granted because they lack emotion. But this is built in. I made soem fancy drawings that I need to scan and update this blog post. So, come back to this one for my hastily scribbled drawings of my hand bridge. G'night!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Utensil Bouquet

If you've ever cooked, you'd know that you need a lot of utensils. Spatulas, tongs, strainers etc. It all adds up. I put mine in a vase shaped container that rests next to my stove. It has a masher, a mixer and many other utensils that are necessary for cooking properly. Well, the other day, I had a wacky idea. What if, the heads of all these utensils were painted a different color: red for a stainer, yellow for a spatula, blue for a masher etc. What if the heads were all painted a different color but the stem was green? They'd all look like flowers right? Imagine placing them in a white face with just the heads sticking out. To me, the would look like a nicely arranged bouquet of flowers. Next to a stove or in a kitchen, they'd look great. My idea would be to come up with a line of utensils that fit in a vase and look like a bouquet of flowers. Each utensil would be represented by a different color and would have their own slot in the custom vase. I guess my next step would be to paint the utensils and see how they'd look in a vase. They could look great or they could be unsightly. One never knows until trying it out. Give me some time, I will try this and update this post with a picture of the results. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soup Pizza: Real or fake food?

I am a zealous fan of pizza. I will eat it almost anywhere it's served. I've eaten pizza in its birthplace in Naples and I've eaten pizza at a place where you pay for it by the pound. I once helped my uncle Domenic make an authentic Italian pizza oven in his backyard in Phoenix and during my last trip to New York, I took pictures of every slice I ate. In short, there's nothing I won't do for a great pie. Which brings me to my other favorite food: soup! From the creamy chowders to the briny broths, soup can be a complete and hearty meal. So, what do you do when you have two things that you think would taste great together? Combine them! So, my next weird food creation would be to combine the crusty, cheesiness of pizza with the hearty, spiciness of soup. Oh, I know what you're thinking and, oh no, I wouldn't make a watery pizza. It would be a hearty and flavorful piece of inventive food on a crispy piece of dough. Can't you taste it? Have you ever made it? I once ate pasta on a pizza at a Ray's in New York City, but I've never eaten soup on pizza. I'm guessing there hasn't been a good type of soup to put in a pizza but I disagree. How about vegetable tortilla soup on a pizza crust? Yum! If anyone out there is adventurous enough to try this at home, please do and let me know how it goes. Corn chowder on a pizza? I don't know, it could be good. Lentil stew? Tomato? Black bean?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Infomercial Parody: Water Notifier

Perhaps it's all the time spent staying up late that has me watching inane infomercials or the fact that they are inescapable in the daytime too. Whatever it is, they all seem to look and sound the same. First it's in black and white with someone struggling to do the most simplest of tasks, like opening up a jar or changing a light bulb. Then a serious voiceover comes in and says, "Has this ever happened to you? Well not anymore, thanks to the revolutionary (fill in the blank product)! It then turns into this colorful commercial with music and flashy edits and suddenly all the people are happy. Well, I had this idea and it's such a dumb product but I could actually see people buying it. The product is a round plastic disk that fits over a standard water glass. On one side is a big cartoon drop of water and on the other side is the same big graphic of a drop of water, this time in a red circle with a line thru it. It is a plastic disk that you take out to restaurants to let the waiter know if you want more water or not. I don't know about you, but I hate having to keep telling the waiter to bring me more water, or when I'm full, to not give me more water! It's silly right? But just picture the infomercial, a woman out to a fancy dinner and she drinks up all of her water so fast and now to wait for the waiter to come around and uh oh, what if he doesn't notice she needs more water? All of that would be a thing of the past with the Water Notifier (WN)! She simply puts the WN over the rim of the water glass with the large water drop showing and presto, the waiter knows she wants more water. She can also flip it over when she is done with the water so the waiter doesn't have to interrupt the table conversation to ask if they want more water. He'll already know thanks to the Water Notifier! Since most of these commercials try to sell multiple kinds of the same thing, you could have other notifiers for other liquids. Coffee! Juice!! Tea!!! The possibilities are endless!!!! Okay, I'm gonna work on the parody commercial with a buddy of mine who has a camera. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

World Record: Forward Momentum

Momentum is life. If you are moving you have direction, energy and are exerting effort for a purpose. The purpose may be noble or ignoble but the fact that you are moving shows intent to live. To that end, I had a weird idea for a new Guinness Book of World Record. The longest time spent on moving forward in whatever conveyance you can achieve. Not going backwards, ever, for as long as you can. One would think that the person themselves would have to always be moving, but not so, you can sleep on a train a car or a plane, but you can't go backwards and the first sense that you might, you have to start moving forward. You would almost have to get off the plane as it was moving and enter thru the back door and exit the front so you don't go backwards. This would not be a race and the winner would be someone who can think 3, 4 or 20 steps ahead to be able to plan a series of events wherein you do not go backwards. Drop something? Too bad, keep moving. Forget an item, you can't go back. I'll admit, it might be a hard record to verify, but wouldn't it be an interesting one to have? Being the person with the most continuous forward momentum. I wish I had that ability and didn't spend so much time looking back.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Top Chef: Home Cookin'

I don't watch a lot of television and I do not have a tivo or a dvr but there are some shows I enjoy watching when they are on and I have the time. One of them is Top Chef. I look past the blatant advertising and product placement and try to focus on the meals and more importantly, how they are prepared. I'm not a big meat eat nor do I eat any pork and sometimes I think they use it too much. I enjoy the show and had this idea for a new concept of the show that regular watchers like me can relate to. Instead of making the food so high concept and hard to conceptualize, my season of Top Chef would be to challenge the contestants to come up with new takes on old-fashioned classic recipes. Think of the recipes they could come up with for lasagna, mac and cheese and mashed potatoes. It doesn't sound too sexy but this would force the contestants to think really hard about how to make an old recipe better. The same way new musical artists cover old songs and find ways to bring new meaning to them, these chefs would do the same to classic foods. I'll still watch the next season of Top Chef no matter what it is, but if you're reading this Padma, think about it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Umbrellas Everywhere: Fun or Profit?

I had an interesting thought that could be used two ways. It rained here in Los Angeles and it gave me the chance to do something I love. I walked up and down Melrose with my umbrella and offered it to people who were without one. They were very grateful and surprised that someone would help them like that here in LA. Doing this I thought of the public improv group called Improv Everywhere, wherein they create events in public areas, you know, stores, subways, malls. They are a very funny and create memorable scenes during unmemorable moments of life. I had the idea that they should all go out when it rains and do the same thing, but in a more crowded area. I picture dozens of people all wearing the same outfit, walking around offering their umbrellas. Then, I had the more cynical and some would say shrewd idea to turn this into a marketing ploy. The umbrella careers become walking billboards so to speak with ads on them and even turning the umbrella into a sort of billboard. Maybe for a coffee company, they paint the umbrella to look like a coffee cup turned upside down and the people underneath are in it. Think what kind of free publicity they would get if one day 20 large coffee cup looking umbrellas in the rain were walking around with people under them. It would be funny and the company would be seen nicely as helping strangers in the rain. It needs some fleshing out, but there's something there. PS: As I write this I'm also watching Rear Window with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. They are just talking about what makes art and ideas and Grace said there has to be an element of surprise. I agree.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lookin' Up: A book

I love taking photographs. I love looking at photographs. I love figuring out what makes great photos and how I can be better at taking them. Besides that, I like taking photos of famous things and looking at them from a different perspective. I've described earlier my idea of taking photos of famous landmarks and obscuring them with the surroundings around them. This one is different in that they are photos of famous landmarks but taken from the base of them looking up. It's to give the viewer a sense of what it is like to be there and gazing up at it. You get more detail up close that way. Case in point, in 2008 I went to London and saw the Big Ben clock tower. I know, I know, Big Ben was originally the nickname given to the bell in the tower itself but over time the whole tower, clock and bell are referred to as Big Ben. As I was standing underneath the tower I was struck at how ornate the tower and clock were. It was something I hadn't noticed in all of the previous pictures of it. So, I took a picture of it. I was impressed by how tall it was. I wonder what else I missed on famous landmarks by only viewing the pictures of them from far away? Thus, the idea for my picture book. I'd love to see the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China and St. Basil's Cathedral up close. All in good time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Tonight Show solution

Tonight is the last night of the Tonight Show as hosted by Conan O'Brien. He was host for seven months before the brass at NBC took it away from him and gave it back to Jay Leno. Now, NBC will say that Conan's ratings were in the dumps and Conan's backers will say they were given a horrible lead in with The Jay Leno Show and seven months is hardly any time to gather an audience and seriously compete with Letterman. Eh, what do I know? Well, here's a solution that gives everyone a show and makes everyone look good. Keep Conan as host of the Tonight Show. He was offered the show 5 years ago and deserves some serious support from the network. Remove The Jay Leno Show and give Jay an opportunity to flex his creative muscles. Give him 6 one-hour primetime shows a year plus an extra one for the holiday season. That's 7 shows over 12 months. He can book all the A-listers he wants, put them in sketches and throw in musical numbers as well as highlight up and coming comedic talent that he is so fond of, ala, Mikey Day, Nick Thune and Garfunkel and Oates. Jay looks like the elegant showman, Conan the marque successor and NBC looks like it knew what it was doing all along. NBC/GE also owns a huge list of cable channels as well. Throw Jay a show about antuque cars where he gets to show off his knowledge as a mechanic and automobile historian and it will elevate his status as a common man, regardless of the fact that he earns over $30 million a year. Everyone looks good. Jay himself said he can't host The Tonight Show into his 60's like Johnny Carson did and Jay is 59 already. Well, those are my thoughts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Melrose Street Fair

I had this thought when I was walking down Melrose Ave. today and noticed that many stores were closed or are going out of business. I've lived in this area for 5 years and have seen many changes. Mostly good. Melrose used to be a vibrant place that people loved to go to for its shops, restaurants, theater and nightlife. It can still be that, but competition from the Grove, Hollywood, Silverlake and Koreatown has been taking some of the thunder away. My idea was to revive the area by having a street fair! Have it on a Sunday in conjuction with the Fairfax Flea Market, get the city to reroute the buses and close down the street from Genesse to Sierra Bonita. Have rides and get local musicians to play. Now, I've never done any kind of planning for this and wouldn't even know whom to talk to about getting this going. I guess I could talk to some of the businesses and see if they would be open to it. Then I could talk to the city and see how hard it would be and what the costs might entail. I gotta admit, it sounds like a lot of work, but it could also be a lot of fun and a great way to revive the area I live in and enjoy so much. Ok, I'll do it!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain Incentive

Today I went for a walk down Melrose Ave. in the pouring rain because it was fun and I also thought I'd be alone. I was right and wrong. It was fun to traipse thru the rain and along the way I met two people who were umbrella-less. I offered them mine for a few blocks until they got to their apartment or to the store to look for clothes. The first, Mia from San Diego was a trendy young woman who was visiting a friend and wanted to go clothes shopping. She was soaking without an umbrella so I walked, holding my umbella over her for a few blocks until she got to Wasteland. Along the way I offered the idea I just thought of. Me: Wouldn't it be great if you got a discount for shopping at stores when it was raining? Mia: Yeah! Me: It would be a great way to get people shopping at a time when most don't leave the house. Mia: Totally! So, Mia was totally on board. She liked my idea! The other person I talked to was Dennis and he lives in a half-way home. He used to be homeless and I offered my umbrella to him as he was walking back from 7-11 with a large Big Gulp. Me: Wouldn't it be great if people got discounts on stuff when it rained? Dennis: Yeah, I'd get a bigger Big Gulp!

So, two people on opposite sides of the economic spectrum both thought my idea of incentivizing shopping during the rain was a good idea. It's a kind of simple idea and I'm not sure if it's been done before. Heck, I don't even have a store to see if it'd work. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Custom Crayons

I don't have an iphone but if I did I just might make an app and build it around this idea. We all remember using crayons as a kid right? Using every color from the 12 pack up to the mondo 64 pack with the crayon sharpener? Well, this idea brings that concept back and it is based off of what we see around us. The idea is an app for your iphone and you use your camera to take pictures of whatever you see around you. You upload the picture and the main color in the photo is then made into a custom crayon for you. I had the idea when I was walking down Melrose Ave. and saw so many shades of blue in the sky. I knew these shades have never been made into a crayon before and it would be a triumph over industry if it ever got there. I also thought it would be great to make a custom pack of crayons for people based off of what they see in their life and reference the personal moments they experience. We all see things, moments, experiences and the like that happen to us and us alone. It would be great to remember them and turn them into crayons that we can remember and keep for a lifetime.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fill in the book

I have ambitions to write a novel someday. I've got plenty of ideas that I think would make good stories to read. But until that day comes when I actually decide to write something, I'll just keep putting out ideas on books. I have this idea for a fill-in the blank book that is also a contest of sorts. Each story starts with a pre-written sentence or phrase and you fill-in the rest. Once it is completed you submit it to a juried panel of literary experts and the chosen selections are then put in a new book. I'll admit, this idea is a little thin and needs some work. Perhaps the books would be a good way to encourage students to write and the incentives to be published would supplant the need for a financial reward. Books could be made with different starting topics like the environment, politics, family. There could be different literary styles like mystery, historical fiction and comedy. It's an idea to get people whether young or old to start writing again and use their imaginations and personal history to create new stories and not retreads of retreads.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Behind the Canvas

I've been going to a lot of galleries and museums lately and have been constantly thinking about art and what makes good art. I can't draw worth a lick and am a little envious of those who can. I just respect how well they can create life-life pictures on two-dimensional surfaces. Since I can't draw, I tend to focus on the why of art and about creations that don't rely how steady my hand is. Maybe it's cheating but it's how I contribute and show my creativity. One of the things I like about art is that it brings out and stimulates your imagination. I'm just as much stimulated by things of unreal beauty such as anything by Van Gogh, as I am by art that confuses me and makes me think, like Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and more recently Bruce Nauman. I am working on a series of canvases that are blank and I place objects behind them. I include and describe the object in the listing but it's up to the viewer to picture it in their mind. Since they can't see it, they have to decide if I am telling the truth or not. They have to take my word for it. They see what may be behind the canvas and project it onto the blank front. How large is it? What color? Is it a picture, a real thing or nothing at all? A few industrious souls may attempt to shine a light through the canvas to see a shadow and get a definitive account. But how can they believe it if they don't see it. A shadow doesn't exist, you can't touch it the way a brisk fall breeze touches your face. Okay, I have to stop for now. I just crossed the self-indulgent poetic line.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The End: An album

I play music. Well, I play the ukulele and sing. I'd consider it music but high art it isn't. A few weeks ago I played the ukulele at a friends wedding during the bridesmaids walk down the aisle. The song I played was the mashup Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a wonderful world made famous by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. While I played the song I came up with the idea of recording a concept album or rather a cover album wherein I play only the last songs from some of the most popular albums in musical history. The Beatles Abbey Road I would play Her Majesty. Since it is listed it's considered the last song and not a secret track or a throwaway. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon last track is Eclipse. Joni Mitchell's Blue would be The Last Time I saw Richard. And so on. Now, obviously this is not high on my to-do list. But it is something I would like to work on and I have a few friends who are better musicians than me that could help me make a decent run at this. But, give me a little time and check back or better yet, write in and offer up some of your last tracks from your favorite albums.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A hand on art

Last night I went to the museum of contemporary art in downtown Los Angeles. There were many famous pieces of art, among the notables: Warhol, Johns, Basquiat, Koons, Raushcenberg, Lichtenstein, Miro and Flavin. Great pieces all in all and I did a surprising thing. I took pictures of some of them with my hand in front. I don't know why I did it but when I looked at them as a whole it seemed as if my hand was trying to touch the priceless works. Parts of the pieces were covered with my hand but what the also did was open up the pieces. It contextualized them and gave them some what's the word, ah, dimension to them. Is this weird? Vain? I thought it was interesting and so I took many photos. I only included a few here but you see what I mean. The hand also looks as if it might be malicious toward the art but rest assured, it is not. I kept thinking of that old Kids in the Hall sketch with the guy who sits in the chair on the street and raises his fingers to crush the heads of strangers walking by. He doesn't do any damage but in his mind he is destroying these people.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Religious? Read on.

I gotta be honest. I'm not very religious. I never grew up with and never felt attached to a religion. But, that doesn't mean I don't have respect for it or for peoples beliefs. In fact, a few years ago I walked across Spain along the Camino de Santiago. For centuries it has been a pilgrimage to the final resting place of St. James. I went because my girl friend at the time wanted to go and she knew how to speak spanish very well. Plus, it was cheap. Looking back, it was one of the best trips of my life. Walking all day and then rolling out your sleeping bag and making dinner with every nationality on earth. I had this idea the other day and I do not know if it is sacriligious but here it is. A book that combines all three major religious texts. The Bible, the Torah and the Koran. I call it the Biboran. No, it's not a joke. It would be a way to read the major religious books all in one place. I'm sure it would be a thick book and I wonder who would read it. I would.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lonely Art: LA

I walk around. I walk around a lot. When I do, I notice the smallest pieces of art, put there however long ago and forgotten or overlooked by the majority of peripatetic folks like me. Lets not kid ourselves, these pieces of art are forgotten by near everyone. If I only traveled with a camera I could document it all. The wrought iron swordfish, the ceramic snake gnomes, the pied-piper mural half-covered with ivy. All great stuff but I'd wager money not seen on 99.99999(you get the point) % of LA. Not anymore. My idea would be blog of all the great hidden pieces of art in LA. If it got big, yeah, it could move to other cities: New York, Miami, London, Issaquah. The point is, people over look the smallest gestures and if there was something that documented and described them, well then maybe people wouldn't take them for granted. Be sure to come back to this one because I'll be sure to take photos and show you exactly what I mean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Apple store photo blog

I have a weird obsession. I like to go to the Apple stores and look at the photos that people take of themselves on the tester iphones and cameras on laptops and desktops. People take all sorts of photos of themselves that anyone can see. I've come across many weird photos but some of my favorite: young couples smooching, an old man showing off his crooked teeth and a young mother taking photos of her baby in a stroller. My idea would be to start a website where people can go to the Apple stores and send in the photos they find. How about you? Have you ever looked at the photos people take? Have you ever taken photos of yourself or someone else? The key ingredient to these cameras is that they have an internet connection whereas the tester cameras at BestBuy and Office Depot often don't have access, but should be noted, great photos. But another question I ask is, am I crossing the line here? Do these people assume complete protection and privacy when they take photos of themselves or others at these stores? Do they assume some responsibility and waive their protection? Who owns the photos? The Apple store? If so, why? Should they limit that function on the phone or computers? Is this just weird of me to think of this? Have you thought of this?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hidden Landmarks: A photo book

I've been kicking around this idea for a little bit and I haven't really told anyone because I think I'm sitting on a gold mine. It's a little out there but here goes. Pictures of famous landmarks that are obscured by the local surroundings. I figure, everyone knows what the Eiffel Tower looks like or the Pyramids of Giza, but if you block them slightly and show the surrounding area, you'd get a better perspective of what it's like to be there. Last thanksgiving I was in San Francisco and had the opportunity to put this theory to the test. It's the Golden Gate Bridge blocked by a call box at Crissy Field. The bridge is so iconic that you know what it is even when it's covered up. I have this wild dream of traveling around the world taking pictures like this one of famous landmarks. Yeah, I know it's pretty weird. But can you picture it?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Man on a Train: Short story or full-blown novel?

This blog was created as a way to get my ideas off of scraps of paper and into real things so that I can finish what it is I start out to do. Not having deadlines or reasons to work on projects has not given me much motivation to complete any of my ideas. This blog is my deadline and I'll see it everyday and remind myself that I do have ideas and that I should work on them. This is one of those cases. I have an idea for a short story about a man on a train. Setting is Eastern Europe, Russia, Siberia and the like. The man, a writer was once a modest success in the states but has spent near all his money and his ideas just don't come the way they used to. He's an older guy, 40 or so, he lived a grand life in his 20's and had to fight to maintain a lifestyle he was accustomed to in his 30's. He didn't have a lot of friends but he knew a lot of people. He never started a conversation without starting with the word "I". He was friendly but hard to get to know. He made a bet or a pact with himself to get on a train in China and ride it and others until he hit Portugal. Along the journey he would will himself to write a new novel and use the trip as inspiration and if he didn't finish a novel he'd kill himself. He set a pretty high bar for himself but thought if the threat of death didn't get his ideas flowing, he'd be no use anymore to the world. All he had to offer was his mind and creativity. Or did he? Along the way he discovers that he has more to offer the world than just another book. The trip brings out the humanity in him and he sees that finishing the book isn't the most important thing to him anymore. I don't want to give away too much in case someone other than me is reading this so stay tuned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who wants to be President?

That title is a serious question and I ask it because I am curious about what makes a person think he or she can become President of a country, US or any other. My idea is to examine the underlying psychological reasons behind their motives. I get that some people think they can make a difference and want to see change and all that. But what makes them think they are the ones to do it? It's a near impossible job with daily assaults on their intelligence, patriotism and heart. I'd research past Presidents and even those who ran but failed and see what the patterns and commonalities are. Were they driven by ego? Well, I think that has to be considered right off the bat because it takes a considerable ego to believe you know what is in the best interests of millions of people. Is there a level of detachment these people all share? In a sense that sticks and stones will break their bones but criticism will not deter them. Do they care too much and that is what drives them or do they care just enough to not have to think about the lives they put in harms way, or the people that will go hungry or broke because they curtailed some needed public assistance? I think it's a fascinating topic and to the extent that some will say it depends on whether they are Democrats or Republicans, I don't think that matters. Both can be extremely selfish and strident. I enjoy politics, or at least I used to. I've been turned off lately because nothing good seems to be happening and both sides know it. The whole world knows it and yet there seems to be no urgency to correct that trend. There have been steps, albeit small ones and I know miracles don't happen over-night in governement but the mentality seems to be the same and that is disappointing. So, to sum it all up, my idea is a book on the psychological reasons on what makes a person want to be President. Pretty simple huh?

Friday, January 8, 2010


Ha! Okay, now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't have a lot of interest in fashion. I think I have pretty good fashion sense and anyone who knows me will tell you I can be a snappy dresser sometimes. But in general, I'm not a big clothes shopper and prefer simple, comfy and worn-in. I used to wear a lot of neck ties in one of my old jobs and now being unemployed, I hardly wear them. I noticed them in my closet one day just hanging down and thought they'd make a great belt for some fashion-forward thinking woman! Think about it, most ties have interesting designs and some of the old ones are made of great fabrics. My idea would be to construct a belt with holes and loops into the tie so they would work like a regular belt. The backs would be reinforced to make them stronger. For the longer ties, I'd cut and sew a hole in the thick part of the tie so the skinny end could be pulled thru and dangle about around the hips. The tips of each end could also be covered with a fabric so that only the waist parts of the tie show. Can you picture it? Would you wear it? Any industrious souls out there feel like making a prototype?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yeah. But is it art?

This may be weird but I decided to put one of my favorite movies out of its misery. I had an old VHS copy of Apocalypse Now and the cassette head was broken. I didn't want to throw it out so I took it apart and wrapped the whole reel around a canvas with the box protruding in the middle. The face you see is Marlon Brando. The movie is over 2 hours, so that's a lot of reel I had to wrap! It looks interesting, but is it art? Just because I put something on a canvas? I can see how one would say yes, it's art, but Josh, it ain't good art. Okay, I'll take that bait. To a fan of the movie, it could be considered a nice representation of the movie. My thought process as I was wrapping the canvas was that in the movie, Colonel Kurtz was always surrounded by darkness. You barely saw his face, let alone his body during the whole movie. The VHS tape represented that darkness and it wrapped, covered and consumed him whole.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Canvas face

I had this idea today and please let me know if you've heard it being done. But what I do is, I take a 12x16 canvas or maybe 16x20 and I cut holes in the middle for someone to place their face into. I cut out the eye holes, the nose area and room for a mouth. The viewer puts his face on and into the canvas and what they see when they look in well, I haven't decided. The canvas could either be set deep so that I can put a mirror in there or paint a scenery that is only viewable by them. It's a one on one piece of art. Designed to shut out the world and for however long they want, whatever I decide to put behind that canvas, is only viewable by them. I figure dozens of people see the Mona Lisa at the same time and mine would be the opposite. One viewer at a time. Whenever I am at a museum there is usually someone who spoils a nice moment for me in front of a piece. The high-school girls on their cellphones chatting next to me when I viewed Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'Avignon or the man who backed into me with his umbrella as I stared at Van Gogh's Irises. I am in no way comparing my half-cocked idea I thought of today to those two masterpieces, but I was trying to think about how one views art at a museum or gallery and how that process could be boiled down to just one viewer at a time. To shut the world out so to speak. If I work on this idea more, and there's a 45/55 chance I might, I'll be sure to put up some pictures.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dead Christmas Trees - Waste In Wait

It's now January 5th and in my neighborhood there are dozens of dying Christmas trees just sitting on curbs, sidewalks and in gutters. People must think some fanciful truck takes them all away to some tree heaven and there they get to live a second life free from ornaments and tinsel. Well, that may be an exaggeration but the point is, I think people take their trees and the city's responsibility for the old ones for granted. This is my idea.

When you purchase your Christmas tree, the city, state or municipality adds a deposit fee of say $5-10 that is redeemable when you turn your tree back in after the holidays. Same way we treat bottles in California. The city could set up short-run tree recycling depots around heavy use areas so people could drive up and drop-off and get their money back. I believe this would a) Encourage people to turn their tree back in instead of littering them on the streets. b) Provide jobs for people to process the trees at the depots. c) Keep the streets free of dead trees because if someone were lazy enough to put their tree on the curb, most likely it would be collected by someone who would take it in for the deposit return. Now, you are probably thinking, but Josh, won't people just chop down trees in the forest and try to turn those in for money? Well, some might, those nitwits. To combat that, each tree purchased from a legal tree dealer would have a serialized tag with a barcode on it and when dropped off, would be scanned and authorized. Same way triathletes used to wear numbers with the barcodes on the bottom and they'd be scanned when they passed the finish line.

Oh, and here's another good thing to come out of this idea. The trees could then be ground up and used for mulch to help fertilize the schools and parks in the areas where the trees were turned in. Ah, but Josh you say, what about those ugly white flocked trees? They can't be recycled because of their hazardous ingredients. Hush up I say, something has to end up in a landfill.

Monday, January 4, 2010

iPhone App Idea

This is a real simple one I'm assuming, but it eludes my grasp of software development. Here goes. I don't have an iphone but if I did I would use this app. You can either upload a photo to the app or take a picture with your iphone and what the app does is make a real paper mask of the person whom you take the photo of. Similar to the app that turns photos into real postcards that can be sent. This app takes a portrait photo and removes the eyes and you can choose to have the mask be held together with an elastic band or held up with a small wooden stick. It would sell for maybe $1.99 and shipping would be included if you order a certain amount. But picture it, personalized masks that can be worn for a friends birthday party, sporting events, school projects, bachelor parties, etc...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The idea is this and if you've heard of it you can stop reading or do me a kind favor by commenting on this idea. The concept of legally notarizing a video. Just the same way a notary public serves to witness and authenticate documents, bills and drafts. A Video Notary would authenticate the date of videos to help settle legal or disputed claims. Obviously they would need extensive knowledge of how videos are made and produced and would need a deep forensic understanding of all types of video files. The applications for this could be widespread and help to end disputes over fair use claims, intellectual property rights, crimes, etc. So, what do you think? Does this thing exist? I have not searched for this type of thing online because the idea came from me as I was watching old videos of my journalism work in college and wondered who owned it if it was shot by me and a friend at the same time. Would he own only his parts? Would I mine? How would someone tell, 10 years after who shot what? It is in my possession and I have all of the face time. Does this make the video mine? What about the people I interviewed? Are they entitled to the video? If you are a lawyer and reading this, let me know what you think. If you are me reading this, stop re-reading your old blog posts!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

For music players

I've been playing some live shows recently with my ukulele and there are a few things that bother me about the microphone stands currently being used. First, they have large bases, usually a tripod base or a heavy circular stand. These get in the way of what I like to call feet and they also get tangled in the amplification cords. That's not the biggest problem though. What I see as a problem is that the top part of the stand with the microphone doesn't extend far enough out to the mouth or if playing an acoustic instrument doesn't reach the instrument close enough. Here's my idea: A curved top part that bows out to the singer or under to the instrument. It would have the ability to be retracted internally to fit the height of the player. The base would also be smaller and the weight would be in the frame. I'd also use a pyramid type base instead of a tripod or a circular weighted base. If it was good enough for the Egyptians, a pyramid is perfectly good for a dude hosting poetry night. I need to draw up this idea more, but I think if done right, could catch on. Oh, and I'd change the microphone clamp, it's too awkard to pull a microphone out or put it in. I'd use a sliding grip wherein you place the mic on the top and slide a cylinder up and over the middle of the microphone. Again, pictures would help. How's that for an idea? Okay, off to a comedy show.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I came up with this simple quote and told it to one person and she laughed and said she could relate to it. Here goes. "Love is the feeling of being useful."

What is Cidevant?

You, and when I say you, I mean me because I doubt anyone else will follow this blog. But you are now entering into a challenge to post one original creative idea a day. An 'idea' encompasses a wide array of subjects. One day it may be photos you posted, or a quote you came up with, a design idea, the first line from a novel. Whatever it is, it has to be sprung from your mind with little to no outside help. Of course it's impossible to wall yourself off from the rest of the world but you Joshua will try your hardest to use your mind and personal history to think on your own and create something a day. You may be asking yourself, what does Cidevant mean? Well, Joshua is a lover of words so he already know what it means. But to anyone else who may be reading, Cidevant means heretofore, here's the link from wikipedia:

I can't promise you (Joshua) that all of your ideas will be great or enjoyable to read or that you'll implement any of them. What I can promise you is that you (Joshua) can come back to this blog daily to see what you (Joshua) are working on and be motivated to continue with the idea or let it die on the vine (blog). You are a smart and clever man but you lack focus, direction and drive. Let this blog drive some of your energy and creativity and show the world what you have.