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TEAM: The Disorganised Guerilla War On Boredom and Normality TEAM: CGØ TEAM: Run-of-the-mill taskers TEAM: The Ultimate Collaboration Team TEAM: Team FOEcakes TEAM: Probot TEAM: Public Library Zero TEAM: INFØ TEAM: New Orleans Zero BART Psychogeographical Association Rank 3: Cartographer EquivalenZ Rank 1: User The University of Aesthematics Rank 2: Dealer Humanitarian Crisis Rank 2: Justice Biome Rank 1: Hiker Chrononautic Exxon Rank 1: Clockwatcher Society For Nihilistic Intent And Disruptive Efforts Rank 3: The Meddlesome


125 + 140 points

The Sub 24-Hour BARTPA Teambuilding Overnight by zer0gee, The Animus

July 1st, 2008 1:59 AM

INSTRUCTIONS: Take a 60+ mile bus ride with other members of one of your teams. Explore your destination, spend the night there, and come back home the next morning.

Focus on how psychogeographical whimsy benefits your team's morale.

I wanted to do this task SO BADLY. I invited all of CG0 to do it with me, but only The Animus was ultimately able to/interested in doing so. We made plans to visit Madison, Wisconsin, which is about two hours from Chicago by car (121.57 miles as a straight line, says Google), and somewhere in the vicinity of five hours by Greyhound bus. Let me explain - the bus was always running late, and here in Chicago we are in the season we call "construction" (our other season is called "winter").

We had planned to leave on the 10:45am bus, which was already sold out when I arrived at the downtown Chicago station at 9:15. The Animus arrived around 10 which is surprising after missing a train and turning a 40-minute walk into a 20-minute one, and the next bus wasn't leaving until 3:30pm, so we had quite a bit of time to kill. We began by going geocaching, which I've wanted to do for a very long time and just hadn't gotten around to. It was big stupid fun, and something I will be doing a lot more of in the near future. After a while, we practiced our psychogeography by wandering around wherever our feet led us, until we needed to find a restroom. We happened to be right outside the Museum of Contemporary Art, so we went in. Not only did we find a restroom, but we also found a gorgeous koi pond way down in the basement, and watched a totally engrossing video of an extremely industrial Rube Goldberg device in action. If it weren't for having to catch a bus, I could have literally sat in front of that video all day, drooling heavily.

We went back to the bus station, arriving around 2:30. We stood in line for our 3:30 bus, which finally boarded at 4:30. We were already having a really good time, but I was happy to finally get under way. There were foreign (Polish?) girls behind us, and I have no idea why, but I wanted to hit them. In a manner that would scar them. They were holding themselves like models (maybe they were), and though they did nothing to evoke such prejudice in me, I wanted to harm them in some manner. Thinking back on it, that one bitch bumped in to me with her shopping bags a few times, and kept running into Zer0Gee, the result of which was very humorous. In short, I was wisened with 0G's wisdom on social experimentation. During the ride to Madison, I looked out the window and took photos of stuff, and The Animus slept. We waded through construction traffic and made stops in Waukegan and Milwaukee before arriving in Madison at 9:15pm. We walked to our lovely, homey hostel, retrieved our keys from the night check-in, and visited our room before heading out into the city. My only hosteling knowledge was through the movie, so I didn't know what to expect, other than disfigured Asian women. It was very comfortable, which was good, because given the 'sub-24' aspect of the task, we didn't really have time to get comfortable.

Since we really wanted to try to adhere to both the letter and spirit of this task, we hadn't made plans for what we would do once we reached Madison to my utter and complete dismay :: grins ::. A derive was definitely in order, so that's what we did - for the next four hours, we were led only by our desires (and The Animus' grumbly tummy, at one point) -- I wasn't used to the technique, as I always try to consider logic in what I'm doing in any moment. I tried too hard to make sure Zer0Gee was cool with where I picked to go, even though that wasn't the point at all. I feel like I got the hang of it by the end of the trip, as I guided us through quite a few redundant loops around the Creepy Capitol.
We saw some really amazing things - I'd been to Madison on many previous occasions, in exactly the same places, and not seen the things we saw on our derive. Which, I imagine, is part of the essential nature of the beast, really (like the Blair Horse, not pictured). I found myself in that wonderful mindset that derives tend to bring, where everything becomes mysterious, magical, an adventure. Where synchronicity kicks in hard and something purposely random makes more sense than anything else in the rest of your life. But it wasn't a somber derive, by any means - we laughed our asses off the whole time, everything was funny. The bratty drunk girl throwing a whiny tantrum into her cell phone on the corner - "I had TWO VALID FORMS OF I.D. and they still wouldn't let me in!!! I am TWENTY-F*CKING-THREE years old!!!" The college guy walking along with his buddies while playing an oboe. The girl in a low-rise skirt sitting in the window of a piano bar, unknowingly displaying her buttcrack for the world to see. The ever-present Creepy Capitol building and how it became our nemesis, seemingly lurking behind every building and around every corner. Please see the captions of my photos below for more details of our derive - The Animus also took like four billion photos, which I haven't seen yet. Patience. I took about 100, mind you, and deleted about 30....... I'll try to bring it down to 50 or 60, if I can. Hell, 45 have the Creepy Capitol in them, anyway.

We walked back to the hostel around 2am, mostly because our feet hurt. We left on the 11am bus, which pulled out of the Madison station at noon and dropped us back off in Chicago at 3:30, no wait, 5:30pm thanks to about 5 stops that we didn't have to endure on the way to Madison. If any of you CG0 folks want to do this task, I'm absolutely up for another round. As I am. It was cheap -- I could've cut it down to $90, but I was hungry and I actually had monies for once -- That small amount of money for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? The rest of CG0 missed out.

+ larger

Museum of Contemporary Art koi pond
very large white koi
staircase above koi pond
reflection of staircase in koi pond
reflection of me on staircase!
Chicago Greyhound station
Whee!  Our bus!
view from our seats
All systems go!
Goodbye Chicago
Bridge in the distance
bear pillow
not so amusing anymore
Waukegan Greyhound stop
The Animus passes the time
Milwaukee Greyhound station
Madison's Capitol building
our hostel!
no shoes allowed
zer0gee goes Lincoln
zer0gee's bunk
the Capitol powers up its lazors!!!1!
reflected in a building on Capitol Square
pretty fountain
side view
State Street construction
State Street construction
dinner time!
later on in the night
nipple sticker
doorway on Mansion Hill
The Animus ruins my construction photo
creepy parking garage
large industrial fan
with a longer exposure
completely different large industrial fan
parking garage stairs
parking garage roof
a view from the roof
and again
it IS really pretty, though
optical illusion
piano bar
Run, The Animus!  Run!
basement construction and reflection in glass
ooooo, creepy
so pretty
a fortuitous omen
red room
party train
consumer choo choo
drunken State Street hula hooping
the bus to take us home
back in Chicago!
The Beginning
The Back of a Man's Head.
Old Thing
Zer0Gee in a tractor.
Creepy Building

28 vote(s)


(none yet)

24 comment(s)

(no subject) +1
posted by Tøm on July 1st, 2008 5:16 AM


I love this photo!

(no subject) +1
posted by zer0gee on July 1st, 2008 9:55 AM

Somehow the "size relative to a bus" ties all this together with the praxis for me.

(no subject) +1
posted by susy derkins on July 1st, 2008 10:10 AM

Where synchronicity kicks in hard and something purposely random makes more sense than anything else in the rest of your life.
I want that.

10 Minute Parking to Meet Buses
posted by Waldo Cheerio on July 1st, 2008 10:27 AM

Was it that anyone parking to catch a bus will not be back under the 10 minute limit?

(no subject)
posted by The Animus on July 1st, 2008 12:29 PM

I didn't look into that. Technically, one person could drop another off in under ten minutes, so it's not that. My problem with the sign is more simple than that.

At Owner's Expense
posted by Waldo Cheerio on July 2nd, 2008 11:01 AM

Oh, I c.

(no subject) +1
posted by Julian Muffinbot on July 1st, 2008 3:30 PM

I dunno guys, I don't think I can vote for a task in which one player casually describes his violent fantasy to hit or otherwise harm two total strangers on the bus "in a manner that would scar them" even though he admits they did nothing to evoke such a feeling in him. I find that to be very creepy, especially minus any self-examination from the player about this desire. That and it's diametrically opposed to what I feel sf0 is about.

(no subject) -1
posted by The Animus on July 1st, 2008 10:10 PM

That's cool. If you want to discuss it, PM me. Admittedly, I was tired while doing the write-up as well as encountering said individuals, so my 'politically correct filter' of thought wasn't running. However, notice the actions I took on such rogue, 'creepy' thoughts.

Flame bait, anyone?
I'm not going to beg for your vote.
In fact, I stopped tasking so I wouldn't have to beg.
This was one of the most unique and inspiring moments of my life, and I chose to share it with you. Take it or leave it.

(no subject) +1
posted by Julian Muffinbot on July 1st, 2008 11:14 PM

I don't really want to PM you, The Animus. You said creepy shit in public. If you have anything else to add to the matter, you can add it in public too.

I guess you want me to take note that you did not act on your creepy thoughts. Noted. What do you want, a medal?

SF0 is a community and we are all participants here. You shared your praxis, now it's our turn to react. It's not up to you whether I (or anyone else) "takes it or leaves it", or responds in a manner that is neither taking it nor leaving it.

(no subject) -1
posted by The Animus on July 1st, 2008 11:31 PM

I didn't want to cause a scene, out of respect for Zer0Gee, and I most certainly didn't want to disgrace her dedication to this task (and apparently cost her a vote -- oh noes!). But hey, maybe we can talk sweet nothings for awhile and make it turn out like another task that you seemed to have judged me by. So you have a grudge. Noted. What do you want, a medal? Or is it attention?

Go ahead. Push your morals on me, over the internet. Get laughed at.
In the meantime, I'm going to make pipebombs. Err-- Task. I meant task.
You're taking it, alright. :: grins :: Have a good one.

(no subject) +2
posted by Sparrows Fall on July 2nd, 2008 10:33 AM

Seconding the creepy in wanting to scar "that one bitch [who] bumped in to me with her shopping bags a few times".

I Disagree +1
posted by Waldo Cheerio on July 2nd, 2008 11:18 AM

I'll drop some thoughts in on this, as it was linked to from Extreme Kite Flying. The thought was startling -- but then again, I think there is a morbidity inherent to all of our thoughts to a varying degree, particularly regarding interactions with strangers. There are only so many Homo Sapiens in the world we can actually see as "people", about 150 for an average person. You can love a monkey, but what about ten? A hundred? A million? We don't see other people as "people" with thoughts and dreams and lives and friends and primary school memories by default. Usually they are just Traffic, or Guy In Line, or The Thing That Picks Up Garbage On Wednesday.

Standing in line at the bank you don't look at someone in front of you in line, and think "Ooh, I bet they are a hard worker." Most of us are willing to accept some truth to this ingroup/outgroup hatred we can manifest for strangers -- C. K. Louis is a master at showing us that:
Louis Ck - Stamps At The Post Office

That said, I think our inclination is here akin to what is was in Lincoln's Deadzone -- try to reinforce "acceptable" behavior for fear of encouraging thoughts or acts that could develop into something more malignant. Lincoln won't kill himself, and I doubt The Animus will go Tyler Durden on us and

...destroy something beautiful I'd never have. Burn the Amazon rain forests. Pump chlorofluorocarbons straight up to gobble the ozone. Open the dump valves on supertankers and uncap offshore oil wells. I wanted to kill all the fish I couldn't afford to eat, and smother the French beaches I'd never see.

I wanted the whole world to hit bottom.

Pounding that kid, I really wanted to put a bullet between the eyes of every endangered panda that wouldn't screw to save its species and every whale or dolphin that gave up and ran itself aground.

That said -- thanks for sharing that thought The Animus.

(no subject)
posted by Julian Muffinbot on July 2nd, 2008 11:42 AM

well, there is a big difference between thinking the animus is actually going to go tyler durden on us, and simply finding his sentiment creepy.

Such a good book.
posted by The Animus on July 2nd, 2008 11:44 AM

You (and Louis) said it better than I could. But alas, this is still the internet, and understanding wasn't invited to the party.

I think this is an interesting and worthy comment. +3
posted by meredithian on July 2nd, 2008 12:05 PM

Since I, too, was directed to this from reading the kite flying praxis, and since the above is very interesting, I'll comment. (Also, I'm bored at work today. Meh.)

My initial reaction to reading The Animus' inner monologue bit above was merely "Wow... Ok." and then I just continued on reading the praxis. J.M. Bot's comment at the bottom made me pause to consider it a little more before voting, though, which I've ultimately done because I think regardless of what was or was not written in the praxis, ZeroGee and The Animus - two near strangers from SFØ - went on a journey together and fulfilled a task. They had an experience which I found to be interesting to read about, even if one bit of it was, yes, I suppose, startling (not sure that's the right word, but it fits for now) for me to read. I would hope that even though the articulation or self-examination that might have provided context for his comment is perhaps lacking in the praxis, The Animus learned something about people, and travel, and experiencing otherness in the world from this task and their trip. I say this not because I necessarily feel The Animus *needs* to learn anything... but just because I interpret that as being what the task was about, at least in part.

I think being stuck with someone you don't really know for an overnight roadtrip is exactly the kind of thing that leads you to bring someone from the outgroup of 'not really human' to the ingroup of 'not so different than me.' (Actually, hopefully it doesn't always take something that intense.) It's harder to extend that to people in line at the bank, or irritating strangers around you. I think it takes effort sometimes. But I think tasks that force you into interactions with strangers beyond the usual help foster this natural extension. And they can be, occasionally, fascinating. It seems to me like ZeroGee and The Animus have touched on these things a bit, in their completion of the Sub-24 Hour BartPA Team Building Overnight Adventure.

However, I also think that, responding to someone's legitimate comments or concerns in your praxis by dismissing their thoughts as flame bait, or possibly just fodder from some grudge, is a bit obnoxious. And I definitely think that not beating up strangers is less about turning on a "politically correct filter" and more about not being sociopathic, or lacking some basic empathy for human beings, even if they are annoying and loud and occasionally bump into you with shopping bags.

I don't know. I've been irrationally very angry at strangers, too. I usually don't trot those moments out in public forums, or if I do it's usually for the purpose of really trying to tear those impulses apart to really understand them. I also think SFØ tasks can be great opportunities to examine these parts of ourselves. Not to say that tasks have to be *for* anything other than fun... just that, I know I would have enjoyed a little more self-reflection along with the comment that sparked this discussion. Without it, it does read as a slightly creepy and out of nowhere addition to an otherwise smooth praxis. I admit though that when I read it, I sort of filled in that blank where the self-reflection should have been myself, because I'm usually willing to give the benefit of the doubt to others. I assumed the mere mention of the random violent thoughts was some nascent attempt at said self-reflection. I mean, otherwise, why mention them at all?

This probably isn't worth this much discussion... but as I said, I'm bored at work and thought the above comment was something really interesting, and more importantly an appropriate response to the concerns J.M. Bot brought up.

So thanks, Waldo, for your thoughts. I'm going now to check out the link to the man you mentioned in your comment.

(no subject)
posted by The Animus on July 2nd, 2008 12:32 PM

Very well spoken. I have a tendancy to get drawn into the drama around here, mostly due to some obsessive will to make every one agree on things (funny how it ends up creating a schism instead). I thought very little of what I said about these strangers -- I think the only reason I mentioned them at all is because it was the only adverse 'vibe' I got from any of the thousand or so people I encountered on the trip. It was a fleeting reaction, and Julian did make me think about it more as well.
"::scrolls up:: I wrote that? Heh. Interesting. Yeah, I remember them."
It digressed into ethics, which tends to get resolved by the concept of free will for me. And after that, it was just a matter of reminding Julian, in a very crude fashion, that no one's to say what SF0 is about, and that the impending drama is why I nearly quit SF0 and went back to a much worse addiction.

I appreciate your ideas.

(no subject) +1
posted by Julian Muffinbot on July 2nd, 2008 12:54 PM

i will also add that part of the reason for my reaction is that animus just keeps pushing my buttons for some reason. i really dislike the response of requesting to take it to private messages, when the original offending comment was stated in public. people do this a lot (obviously, not just on sf0 but plenty of other forums where flamewars are inappropriate) and i find it a tired trend. i feel like, when someone offends someone else in public, there is no reason to take that discussion private. it makes me feel like the person requesting the private discussion has something they want to hide and that i will then be obliged not to share the content of whatever we would talk about privately. it just rubs me the wrong way.

(no subject) +2
posted by The Animus on July 2nd, 2008 1:25 PM

Understandable. I'm actually glad you didn't listen to me on that note, because we got hear Waldo's and Meredithian's input on the matter as well. Again, I offered that out of respect for Zer0Gee, who might not want my meddlesome banter on her task page. It seemed more civil, I suppose.
Glad we're clear on everything. Let me know (publically) if I push any more of your buttons.

(no subject)
posted by Sparrows Fall on July 2nd, 2008 4:49 PM

Re: Waldo/Meredithian. I think both of you make excellent points, and to a great extent managed to make explicit what I felt about the praxis. I've been typing/deleting/typing a long comment but I just reread and realized that I'm pretty much repeating what you two said, so instead here's a summary: I agree that violent thoughts and that mental flattening out of people that we do is part of being human, but as Meredithian noted, I also am not particularly eager to see those feelings go unexamined.

Not, The Animus, to say that I expect/am asking you to change your praxis writeups, but to note that the line does reads to me as creepy for those reasons. Which is why, when it looked like Muffinbot's comment might be dismissed, I decided to chime in.

So, anyway, the discussion feels closed to me, and my intention here is not to ask for any more responses from anyone. But I wanted to weigh in a little, as my previous contribution had been one sentence, and so the reasoning behind it was understandably opaque.

(no subject) +1
posted by teucer on July 2nd, 2008 4:59 PM

I've been trying to avoid posting about this one, because I didn't want to contribute to a potential flamewar, but things seem pretty civil and I think Sparrows hit the nail on the head with the summary sentence there.

I also noticed the passage about wanting to hurt those people when I first read it - and it struck me as creepy, but in a good way. I know I've had similar destructive urges (very rarely), and they're something I imagine everyone experiences on occasion. Mentioning it is chilling not because it makes me think you'd act on it, but because it reminds me that humans have such an innate cruel streak in us.

And then you didn't follow up on it. A moment like that, if brought out into the open, could have been the start of a paragraph examining the dark side of human nature. Instead, it was presented as if it were an uninteresting detail of the trip - a fact which, I think, is creepier than the fact that the thought occurred at all.

I'd love to see the self-examination that probably should have prompted appear in another praxis or just a comment sometime, if you care to introspect in that way. (There are several HC tasks that it could potentially be part of.) I imagine it could be pretty enlightening.

(no subject)
posted by meredithian on July 2nd, 2008 12:19 PM

Some of those reflection pictures of the capital are quite beautiful. And regarding the sign - is it a lack of possessive apostrophes? (I'm not even sure that's actually an error or just the one odd thing I noticed...)

(no subject)
posted by The Animus on July 2nd, 2008 12:33 PM

I noticed that as well, and was tempted to photoshop it in so there wouldn't be any confusion. So two points to you as well. :: grins ::

(no subject)
posted by Minch on July 2nd, 2008 5:07 PM

1) That was inspiring. I now want to take a bus trip... anywhere.

2) The Animus has very pretty wavy hair (as is evident in the photo where he is being stalked by the capital building).

posted by leveldeaded on May 3rd, 2009 4:41 PM

I really enjoyed reading this. GREAT documentation. It was also great meeting you in Chinatown Square, great work, both of you. many many cheers!