Ideas That Won’t Change The Conference

This weekend, I attended the 31st Annual Southwest Texas Popular /American Culture Association Conference (or the SWTX PCA/ACA for short). I met all sorts of wonderful people, however, academic conferences are attended by mainly other academics. The general public is befuddled by the lengthy names of such events, and are unable to recite the name when buying a ticket. The names of scholarly gatherings were created by Dostoyevsky:

Icy Hand of Society: Memorize the name or we cut off your thumbs!

Protagonist: South Texas Cultural Affairs… crap.

The keynote speaker at the conference, Adilifu Nama, expressed the need to find methods of inviting the general public into the world of academic scholarship. Aside from changing the name of the conference to something easier to memorize, like Free Beer, there are many ways to fuse public interest with the world of “high theory.” And of course, I will not offer any good ideas to generate interest in discourse, but they should be entertaining.

1. Graduate students must mud wrestle during their presentations. Mud wrestling, a traditionally female dominated sport, must open the doors to males for this one to work.

2. Hire a staff of MTV VJ’S to televise the event, “Y0 dawg, you think the abjection of the WTC hizzy in da bomb diggity movie iz were itz at?”

3. Allow audience members to text #5550111 to have their messages appear in the slides during presentations.

Texting During Academic Discourse
Texting During Academic Discourse

4. Require any academic disputes to settle their differences by public events, such as a dance offs, violin playing contests, and/or Thunder Dome.

5. Start “clan wars.” Invite fans to “step into the ring” and fight over the superior cultural phenomena (Star Wars fans verses Star Trek fans, Twilight fans verses Harry Potter fans, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fans verses Charmed fans verses the one Dark Angel fan, etc.). There even can be character specific matches, such as Han Solo verses Captain Picard. These character matches will finally answer the age old question, does dressing up like the character really give you their powers?

6. Have a celebrity stick poking booth. The concept is the same as a kissing booth but the public pays for a stick to poke their favorite celebrity. Stars such as Steven Baldwin, Vanilla Ice, and Tiffany really need the work.

7. Always have a panel for mad scientists and their wacky antics to rule the world. Secretly invite a super hero and/0r spy, then watch the fun ensue.

8. Arguably, the best way to gain public interest is to disillusion the image of the “stuffy academic” and hire models, actors, and circus performers to present our research. The models will of course hold the research near their finely chiseled chest or well sculpted bosom, while the sad clown from Cirque du Soleil deeply imagines the concepts from the paper. The actors, (preferably Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal) will be there to walk thoughtfully down the street after wards, caught up in the raw emotional complexity of the moment.

Kinda Meticulous

I love to plan. My fiancé finds this trait to be one of the more tedious aspects of my personality. When I plan, I hone in on the most insignificant detail and conjecture about how to turn that detail into a reality. For example, my fiancé is considering going to law school and two of the several law schools on her list are located in New York. I told her that if we go to New York, we can sell my car and keep hers. She drives a mini-cooper and thus reducing the size of our vehicles to fit the urban life style. Of course, New York is one of five cities where she could be going to school, and she hasn’t even taken the LSAT yet. But for some reason my brain thinks of the not the next step but the fifteenth step down the line. Unlike a chess player, who mapped out each step in between, I thought of the fifteenth and zero steps inbetween.

I realize this trait comes from my family. My parents called to talk about our wedding the other day (October is the possible date). As I spoke with my mom about locations, I mentioned that we are thinking about a back yard wedding. She mused about space heaters and how we can use them effectively to heat an outdoor event. My reaction thought went exactly like this, “I don’t know if we are even going to have a backyard wedding yet so I don’t need to think…. oh, this is how my fiancé feels.”

My father, in a separate incident of planning, constructed solid ground work for moving a piano into the back of a trailer. My parents wanted to give the family piano to my brother because he has two daughters and the only grandchildren in the family. However they live in Texas so we needed to figure out how to move said piano across state lines.  My father was very proud of operation piano move (he did give my fiancé a complete overview of the plan weeks before the move date). I’m a sure generals feel the same way when they move little plastic tanks over maps.

However, the plan only went as far as the house to the trailer. Once we arrived in Houston, we then had to figure out how to move something that weighed about as much as the cast of The Biggest Loser on day one, through a door large enough for a cat. Which is how my family generally works, we think about details, but only a random selection of them. Thus leaving the rest of details open for comedy to ensue. We eventually found a method to put the piano into my brothers house, my niece took an immediate knack for creating two year old symphonies (bang, bang, chuuung!), and no one lost a limp in the process.

Luckily enough my fiancé is a loving person and understands that my family means well. Should we need space heaters at our wedding, that’s one thing she won’t have to worry about. Leaving her open to plan the important things, like whether or not to hire Martin Short. Which is why I think I should start my own consulting business, Ideas for the Remote Possibilities of Life. People will pay me to think of things they might not think about. Let’s say a customer is having a baby. I will figure out how they could organize their bottles so the child could have Mickey Mondays. Then as a bonus I will plan out the day they will purchase a bike for the child. But my service doesn’t stop there. I will tell them where to buy cheap violins in Portland, Oregon, in case they ever move to Portland and their kid plays violin. People will be so thankful that they have their options open, they will hire a lawyer to send me a thank you letter. The letter will say something about Fraud, which we all know is French for fantastic!

Tips For The Aging Rock Star

The surviving members of The Who rocked the Super Bowl half time this weekend. How do they maintain their youthful vigor despite being old enough to have written their lyrics on this newfangled printing press? With the advancements of medical technology, traditional therapies, and preventative maintenance anyone can party like it’s 1999. Here is a list of helpful hints that will let you rock and roll all night and be in bed the next day.

1. Instead of a limo have an ambulance waiting for you after the game. Most microphone twirling hip injuries are best rectified by a trained technician.

2. Reserve a room at the hospital. The damage insurance rates for rock stars at hotels make hospital rooms competitive for any budget.

3. Image is important to a rock star. Put herbal remedies in booze bottles, crack pipes, and heroin syringes. You’ll maintain the hardcore look as well as your body.

4. Make sure the tour bus stops at organic farms. Fresh produce is the key to any healthy lifestyle. Try not to let your bass player decide to become one of the “tree folk” and miss the last half of the tour.

5. Hire yoga instructors instead of hookers. As we know yoga instructors are pretty fit. The public will still believe you are getting laid, when in fact you are practicing the windmill guitar stance.

6. All ingested bats should be free range. After all a happy bat is a healthy bat.

7. The most important tip to keep that youthful flair is regular exams. Early detection is the key to help all sorts of problems such as releasing an awful album past the band’s prime, “fresh” approaches to the band’s image, and past self revulsion syndrome (such as Mark Wahlberg, when asked about Marky Mark).

The Gender Confusion Experience

I went to see The Pink Floyd Experience last night and I experienced an emotion so powerful, I laughed uncomfortably and apologize for my faux pas. Now before my embarrassment is served for your laughing pleasure, I enjoyed the concert. Being to young to have ever seen Pink Floyd, this is as close as I would get. The concert was like looking into the future. I realized that Pink Floyd will be handed down through the generations like a Mozart Opera. Five hundred years from now, a person at a casino may experience the music of Pink Floyd in concert for the first time just like I did last night. The songs were slightly different. They had their own touch but retained the original integrity of the songs.  Like a Mozart Opera, duplicating the original source would be near impossible, so each time the music is played, each performer makes the music their own. In a sense, I witnessed one generation of musical time travel.

All the introspective pondering about music traveling through time, changing with each iteration, floated through my mind as nature beckoned me to the casino floor. Among the ching, ching, ching, of slot machines I found my way to the bathroom. I am probably the least observant person on the planet. If I were in a prime time murder mystery this is how the scene would play:

Me: Oh my god!

Detective: What kind of sick bastard decapitates a reverend?

Me: He was a priest?

Detective: Did you find anything in his office?

Me: There was some pound cake on his… wait a minute…

Once I arrived at the bathroom through the dizzying casino, I boldly ventured forth to relieve myself. A lot can happen in five seconds. Luckily my brain functions like a circus monkey, on a unicycle, juggling cigars. People started to yell, but like any well accustomed urban dweller, I tuned them out. Who knows what they were yelling at? Only later did I realize that they were yelling, “This is the women’s bathroom!” As a man, the proper bathroom protocol is don’t look at other men, and don’t talk to them. Men’s bathrooms are very solemn affairs.  When the protocol is broken, it’s like the tranquility of a zen garden is sullied. Even if two men talk about especially manly things, like how wasted they got last night, the other men feel the “disturbance in the force.”

Not taking my first clue, I went forward. There was something odd about this bathroom, aside from the fact that people were yelling. The first thing I noticed, there were no urinals, only stalls. An odd choice but not completely uncommon. I moved forward past the rows of sinks, I was steps away from the stalls when I finally noticed the second odd thing about this bathroom. There was a woman staring at me. Of course like any great embarrassing moment, I thought, “What’s a woman doing in the men’s bathroom?”

The monkey juggled knives. My follow up thought was, “Oh, it’s a unisex bathroom, that’s really progressive.” I took two more steps forward and everything became perfectly clear. The yelling, the women staring at me, the lack of urinals, I was in the women’s bathroom! Like any great epiphany, I finally understood that there was not something wrong with the world. There was something wrong with me! I cut the building tension of my presence, with an “Opps.” Fortunately the simplest way to rectify this moment was to reverse coarse. The yelling subdued into laughter as my walk of shame and learning began. The moral of the story being, I should wear a kilt every time I go out, so in case this happens again, my confusion will be natural.

The Clone Army

I look like Seth Rogen. Not in a really drunk guy in a poorly lit bar heckling me sort of a way, but in the sometimes I look in the mirror and try to get an autograph way.  If there is any evidence of a cloning conspiracy then I am the proof. Here are the facts:

1. Seth writes comedy and so do I

2. Seth is funny and I make myself laugh sometimes

3. Seth has lots of money and I have a lot of money compared to children in the Congo

4. Seth is famous and I watched Fame a week ago

5. Seth has an IMDB Profile and I have an IMDB Profile (as we know IMDB lets only the people that have achieved a certain standard in film into their database, like this guy)

If you need further proof look at this photo:

The Clone Army
My career as a celebrity impersonator awaits!

That’s me on the left and Seth on the… or is that me on the right and Seth on the left? Either way I believe something Stars Wars Episode IIey is going on. Of course if I am a clone, the big question is why Seth Rogen? If a senator was planning a coup to over throw the government then why clone Seth Rogen? I could think of plenty of clone armies better at taking out the government. Seth Rogen may endear the affection of the public as sort of an awkward everyman freedom fighter but clones of the entire cast of Predator probably would do a better job.

Unless of course Seth Rogen is a discount Clone Army. The future emperor has to think of cost effective ways to run the empire.  Why else would the Storm Troopers never hit anything with their blasters? A well trained killing machine clone has to be pretty pricey.

Either way maybe Seth Rogen will decide to settle down one day and he will need a replacement for his next three hundred films (that’s his 2012 schedule). Or better yet maybe they’ll need some one to play his dead body! I’ve always wanted to play a dead body. Although, I don’t know if I could keep a strait face while actors contemplated my rectum.