Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sick kids and weird dreams

This month has been flu month for us. Everyone has been sick. Kate has had it twice, Aleah missed 5 days of school the week before spring break. Colleen was so sick that for two days all she did was get up, go to the bathroom, and then fall asleep on the floor. She slept more than 20 hours one day. Then Leila caught it when I was in St. Louis. The next week I had it. As long as I kept myself doped up on ibuprofen I felt OK, but major headache, achy fever and sore throat.

It looks like Colleen and Kate have fevers again, but at least Colleen is the most cheerful sick person ever. It makes taking care of her as pleasant as sick kids can be. This morning she has a fever again. I heard her get up and stumble around in the dark. When I found her she was coming upstairs from the basement in fresh PJs. She told me, "Little kids can't find the light, so had accident. In bathroom, uhhuh. That's right. In bathroom." She tried to clean it up, then she went downstairs, found fresh PJs and unders and just now went up to bed, because "me so tired."

I hope I am not coming down with it. When I was sick last week I had very vivid dreams every night and last night they were back. Some of my favorite dreams play like a TV show or a movie. These last night were like being in a Firefly episode in the Twilight Zone. There was a spaceship, run by my older brother - but not my brother brother, some other guy. There was a Pakistani woman, myself, a Hindu Indian, and some other people that are fading already. We were on some odd planet where physics did not seem to apply. Things could fly that were too big to fly. Some animals were invisible. Plants seemed to grow upside down and in the air. There was a mysterious spiral stairway that ascended into an ominous storm cloud. Most of the dream was about preparation for going up the stairs. We had a big feast made by the Pakistani woman - biryani and a series of small dishes that were spicy or sweet or pungent. Then another passenger accused her of taking his pistachios he had hidden away. I lied and told my dream brother I had eaten them. He tied me to a stake and left me that way as they walked up the staircase.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Critical analysis of state budgets by Bill Gates

Watch it, then check out his online tool for analyzing state budgets Here

Then, read this funny blog post about why white people like TED talks

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Scott Westerfeld Novels

Scott Westerfeld writes Young Adult scifi and steampunk. Leviathon and Behemoth, his steampunk books, are like a good dessert. Sweet, a bit tangy. Probably not great for you, but hard to put down. They take place at the beginning of World War I between the "Darwinist" and the "Clanker" nations. The Darwinists have transgenic, bioengineered, intergeneic species instead of machines. The Germanic Clankers rely on steam powered mech warriors. Great fun. There is one more book to go in the trilogy.

Pretties Trilogy plus one
Extras is the fourth book in a sci-fi trilogy that had to be inspired by web growth and incorporation in daily life. The other three books tell the exploits of Tally who starts as an "ugly" 15 year old just before her first birthday. In their culture, at 16 citizens get an extreme makeover to become "pretty." Pretties are kinda bubbly - due to surgery induced brain damage. Tally is unique because the surgeries do not seem to hold her back.

In Extras, the main character, Asa, lives in an Asian future city that has a "fame-based" economy. She is a "kicker" - like a blogger or someone that posts to Youtube, with few hits. Kinda like this blog, although if it was ranked against the rest of the net it would be near the very, very bottom. The storyline is OK, but the beauty of the book is the mirror it holds up to the world of the web that is superimposed on everything we do. Just look at how much money the top highest ranked websites (google and facebook) have: Facebook makes $2 BILLION in profits every year!!!

The jargon of the book is viral, very thought-making. Now opening a website or kicking a story on my blog it makes me wonder how our fame economy works and how I want to be part of it - or if I want to drop out and away. Is it enriching our world or debasing it?