Note: This Event was part of my “Secret Experimental Event Series” for Big Weekend Calendars and The Austin Events Wall Calendar. You can read more about the event series in this post.
There’s not a lot of New Year’s Day celebrations in Austin. There’s a few polar bear splashes, but other than that not much is going on. I thought I would take advantage of that and hold an event January 1st.
Since everyone has a calendar that is no long useful, I thought we could do a calendar recycling program, similar to the Christmas Tree recycling program that the city does. You drop off your calendar and I’ll recycle it for you.
The problem with this ideas was that dropping off a calendar is not really a fun event. And it’s easier to just put the calendar in your recycling bin at home than it is to come over to see me and hand me it.
But what if people could buy a new calendar at the event? Now we’re getting somewhere.
So you can recycle a calendar and buy a calendar. The event still needed some special sauce.
Thinking more about the new year, I realized that there’s often the feeling of “oh I can’t believe it’s a new year already!” or “I can’t believe it’s January already!”. It’s sort of like when we’re at work and realize “I can’t believe it’s Friday already!” or “ I can’t believe it’s 5pm already!”
Many of us have trouble with believing when we are.
I figured I could take advantage of this phenomena and make a time machine that doesn’t really work but since you’re not going to believe what time it is anyhow you might not question its legitimacy.
How To Build A Time Machine
What does the time machine look like? How does it work? Here’s a look behind the curtain.
First, I get a cardboard box. Then I write “time machine on it”. This is most of the plan.
Now what? Well let’s go back to those calendar recycling and selling ideas.
I will cut a slot in the top of the box and people will put in their old 2019 calendar. Then they will pay me for a new calendar. Then a 2020 calendar comes out of the box in a way that completely convinces them that they and their calendar have been transported to the future.
Time travel for the mere cost of a new calendar!
Since the 2020 calendar says nothing about 2019, they will have nothing but proof that they have arrived in the future. If anyone has questions I will say “next in line, please” and ignore the troublesome fact that everyone in the line traveled with you to the future, too.
When I started making the video ad for the event, I realized that a cardboard box might not be convincing as a time machine. Especially since who ever heard of a time machine you don’t get inside of? Or that is powered by calendars?
I needed to make sure no one would think my invention was less than a revolutionary breakthrough and then start pointing out that it might just be a cardboard box with the words “time machine” written on it. That was not something that should happen at my awesome event.
I decided to rely on two facts about human nature: First, no one likes to look dumb. Second, understanding how technology works is hard and no one wants to sit through a boring explanation they don’t understand and makes them feel dumb.
Instead of calling it “time machine” I would call it a “technological time machine”. When things are technological we know that the explanations will be hard and boring and probably involve some physics. No one wants to have to learn about physics on new years day. My cardboard box was now safe from its deserved scrutiny.
Here’s the event description I posted online.
I Made a Technological Time Machine
Come on down and check out this janky time machine I built out of cardboard and a broken flashlight.
How does it work?
First, you put your 2019 calendar into it.
Then, if we’re both lucky, you’ll buy an Austin Events 2020 wall calendar.
At that point you’ll have gone from “living in the past” to jetting across the space-time continuum.
Things to know:
- This is for real.
- The technology is proprietary so I can’t tell you how it works, sorry.
- Currently the only destination that seems to work is “today”, but it does a real good job of that.
I added the part about the flashlight for some dramatic flair.
For the video I added some cool time-travel visual effects even if they weren’t going to happen in person. I worried about over-selling the experience but I think people understand the concept of creative license.
You can see the full event listing here on Big Weekend Calendars website.