January 21, 2010

Remaindered Ideas Part III

I don’t always have time to flesh out an idea as much as I’d like for a post. Or I might decide an idea doesn’t stand on its own for one reason or another. Instead of letting them wallow in obscurity, I occasionally purge several of these ideas in one post. Here is my latest list of remaindered ideas:

1) A sitcom about a ghost and a zombie… of the same guy.

In the pilot episode, Joe’s roommate Ted has a terrible accident and dies. He’s buried in the old cemetery by the town’s nuclear plant. A few days later Ted’s ghost comes home, much to Joe’s surprise. Later that day, Ted’s zombie corpse shows up to. How will the three of them get along, with all the problems inherent to being a zombie, a ghost, and a single twenty-something grad school student, in an apartment that was just large enough for two people? Hilariously.

I only have one line written so far: “Hey! The brain in the fridge was for biology class!”

Has there ever been a story about a ghost and zombie of the same person before? Does that violate the rules of undead characters in fiction?

2) A map of Earth inverted.

What would Earth look like if it were inverted? The lowest valleys become the highest peaks and vice versa. Where would the lakes and oceans be? How high would the highest mountain be? And what would the new land masses, trade routes, and waterways suggest for an alternate history on this inverted Earth?

3) Shel Silverstein’s “The Missing Piece” reimagined as a pie chart.

I thought this idea had potential as something, but it never went anywhere.

4) Twitter as a simulation of OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sometimes manifests itself as a need to count words and letters. Some people who suffer from OCD need to make their sentences end on a certain word count. I’ve never been this way. But one day as I was having a hard time recomposing a Twitter message to make sure it fits within the 140-character limit, it occurred to me that this may somehow be similar to the frustration a person with OCD feels.

What do OCD sufferers who need to count letters think of Twitter? Does their OCD make it more frustrating? Or is it no more frustrating than any other task? Is there anyone out there whose particular manifestation of OCD already means that they have to write in 140 characters or less?

5) A mashup of “Back to the Future” and “Speed”

“You built a Time Machine? Out of a city bus?”

It seemed like a good idea until the Libyans rigged the bus with explosives to get back at Doc for stealing their plutonium. Now if it goes below 55 MPH, the bus explodes. But if it goes over 88 MPH, it travels through time.

6) A tribute to Bib Fortuna, set to the song “O Fortuna”

I don’t really have any interest in doing this. I just like the idea of it.


These posts are great, as idea-salad encourages idea-salad in other people. Nothing like some used inspiration to jump start one’s own inspiration.

My friends actually did create a version of “O Fortuna” for Bib Fortuna. I don’t remember all the words, but at some point it involves Han and Jabba:

I know that voice!
Listen Jabba!

The sitcom idea is just brilliant. The ghost representing the things our minds want and the zombie the things our bodies crave. Tossed in the middle is our own confused existence, played by the grad school student… again, this is brilliance.

Here’s an image I found awhile back of the inverted earth. They just flipped at the current shorelines, not calculated water volume and figured out where the new one would be were altitude inverted, but it does look nice.


Here’s an image I found awhile back of the inverted earth. They just flipped at the current shorelines, not calculated water volume and figured out where the new one would be were altitude inverted, but it does look nice.


The inverted world has been done by Vlad Gerasimov: http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/07/15/148-oh-inverted-world/

Chris Wayan has already designed two Earth variants with the land and sea inverted. One of them, like the inverted world above, has the same coastlines as our planet. The other has the same amount of water as the real Earth, which results in surprisingly little land. (His site has other planets too, including terraformed Venus and Mars.)

I like your idea for a ghost and zombie of the same person. Would the zombie still maintain some of the person’s personality/mind/soul, or does that all go to the ghost?

The Zombie/Ghost sitcom idea is great. Especially the Halloween episode.

Judging from the links in the other comments, the inverted earth thing isn’t nearly as interesting as it sounds before you do it.

Erik R, I agree — but the linked maps are 2D, which doesn’t give you any sense of the real highs and lows. Maybe someone will do something better with the idea.

Regarding whether or not OCD induced constrictions are frustrating, generally yes, and probably to a point far exceeding what you might have originally considered plausible. The reason these things become compulsions in the first place is because the individual suffering from OCD is lacking in the proper brain chemistry that allows communication between the panic functions and the awareness functions. Quite simply, the individual becomes worried or tense over a particular condition (is this door locked?) and actual conscious knowledge of the state of the door’s security is not adequately communicated to the part of the brain that panics and frets. This is how rituals are formed, such as locking a door repeatedly a certain number of times, and not “feeling” as though it is truly locked until that point is reached.

The aspect of frustration enters the picture when you consider that the individual is likely normally intelligent and, this sickness aside, fully rational human being. They *know* the door is actually locked, but will never *feel* that it is locked until they perform the rituals required to make that feeling go away. Getting locked into these ridiculous rituals all day long, and knowing that they are ridiculous but must be done else one is a basketcase is, you could say, incredibly frustrating!

I really like (2), and I really like the result (Abyssia, linked by Remy — thanks!). Very surprising how little land there is, and how fragmented it is compared to the real-Earth continents. Fun.

Not relevant to this post, but I hear R2-D2.

The ghost/zombie sitcom could be titled: “BOO-RAINS!”

The Zombie/Ghost (“Gombie” sounds better than “Zohst” IMO) premise would clearly be a good forum for a philosophical exploration of the mind/body problem. Y’know, in a comedic way.

I was under the assumption that you won’t find a spirit in your typical zombie, but this post reminded me of that line from Dawn of the Dead: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Does that imply that those who were barred from Hell are damned to live inside their own decaying flesh instead?

Love the zombie/ghost story. Have you considered that maybe the grad student is secretly a vampire? If he caused Ted’s demise, how would the three of them cope?

I sincerely hope that the people from the MacArthur Foundation recognize your genius and you get a huge grant to make some of these ideas realities… or you just use the grant to come up with more great ideas.

I sincerely hope that the people from the MacArthur Foundation recognize your genius and you get a huge grant to make some of these ideas realities… or you just use the grant to come up with more great ideas.

Are you going to use the zombie ghost idea? Because if not I would love to go forward with it as a comic idea. The Zombie I would use to describe the state of the working american in corporate america. The Ghost I am still thinking of applications.

I am currently working on a webcomic which I hope to publish this summer. You can view it here: http://www.penguinmansion.com its for kids.


I’m seeing Zombie Ted as the Urkel of the group… he’ll get the applause for entering a scene, there will be breakfast cereals and plush toys (“Feel-Real Brains really POP OUT!”), and then there’s the catch phrase: “Ngaaaaaaaaaaah!”
The ghost, who trained at the New School, will leave in the third season citing poor writing and lack of character development. He’ll be seen ten years later on VH1’s “Behind The Brains” special, claiming his return to dinner theatre was a great opportunity to explore his stage craft.

… or is that just me?

I have letter-counting OCD, and I find twitter is a perfect fit for my need to end every block of writing in a multiple of 10. Of course, twitter counts spaces towards the total, and my OCD brain doesn’t, but yes, I’ve commented before that it’s a disturbingly fitting (worse - enabling!) medium.

I am surely not the only person in the world who aims to tweet exactly 140 characters (no more, no fewer).

I have a friend who for a while was writing 300-word theatre reviews. One of her secret amusements was that they were all precisely 300 words long.

Dammit, I thought of #1 but never wrote it down.
(They’re detectives.)
Also, in my version, in the future “Ted” goes back in time and dies in the past, and then his ghost and zombie team up with present Ted to solve their own murder.

Your “inverted earth” idea got me thinking . Years ago, I remember reading that the atmosphere on Venus (perhaps? Maybe Uranus?) was composed such that it reflected and refracted light so instead of seeing haze at the horizon, you would see a reflection of the ground.

It would always look like you were in the bottom of a bowl, with the ground curving up around you… sort of as if you were *inside* a hollow planet, living on the crust or mantle from the other side.

I’ve since had dreams where I’ve lived in this planet. It was always neat to see the cities up in the sky, in the distance.

Must have been something in the meme-o-sphere last winter. Here’s a couple tweets from the same time:

The “Double Down”, as it’s known in the nightmare business: being chased by a zombie and that zombie’s ghost at the same time.
1:20 AM Dec 26th, 2009 via Twitterrific

Followed by, naturally,

The “Trifecta”—like the Double Down, except the zombie/ghost used to be a werewolf.
1:21 AM Dec 26th, 2009 via Twitterrific

An interesting thing about the inverted Earth is that it’s (except for the islands) one consecutive landmass separating the oceans from each other, so it’s no longer possible to sail around the world. On the other hand, you could walk or drive all the way around…