My last trip to Las Vegas, NV was like all prior trips – crazy fun. The city is 24/7 entertainment, the folks are fantastic and the surrounding landscape is absolutely beautiful desert.
I see Las Vegas as an unusual island-like place since the extreme heat of summer often isolates the city with everyone corralled safely under magnificent lighting and air conditioning from the dangerous desert conditions.
In such a close environment I expect there to be a greater unspoken pressure to care for one another but like all other communities, this sometimes isn’t possible even with the best of intentions and some people suffer due to a myriad of reasons. The visual impact of someone in need, standing quietly in 115 degree desert heat, in the center of excitement and fun has quite an impact on my heart.
I haven’t found a mobile application or web site yet that seems to be as immediate and verifiable as something like the hire-a-driver-on-demand mobile application Uber in terms of “hit a button and get results now”, probably because complex solutions are often in order when it comes to people in need. Even so, I will continue to seek out this magic button and if I do not find it then, as a computer programmer, maybe I will write one someday that has the potential to be an epic failure:) Until then, wherever you are, help someone. You will be glad you did. If you are a freak introvert like me then here are a few ways to help others without having to actually torture folks with your weird self:)
- That good book you just finished, leave it on a park bench with a note.
- On holidays, leave colorful cards with money in them in areas like bus terminals, park benches, public restrooms, bike racks, etc.
- Whatever city you are in, know where the rescue mission is so you can take them food, money or clothing (or order the items online and have them delivered). Many already post needed items on their web sites. I will be placing an amazon.com order for this wonderful little place tonight: http://www.vegasrescue.org
- Contact a church and ask for a shopping list for any church members they may have in need, get the items and leave it at the church, or order the items online and have them shipped directly to the church. Many churches will already have a list of needed items on their web site.
I do not sing. I somehow just know that, if I ever attempted such a thing, a horrid aftermath of: babies crying, adults screaming while holding their ears, buildings crumbling, ground shaking and meteor strikes would ensue. I am so confident of this in fact that I do not even try to sing when I am alone, at night, driving in my car. It is too dangerous. I know the sound that would emanate from my mouth would be bad enough to destroy the universe as we know it.
Walking around without the gift of song, for me, is OK. I’ve never had a desire to sing so the world has been perfectly safe and I have been quite happy listening to others sing. All of this changed however a few years ago when I was in New York City with my husband. He had purchased the best Christmas gift for me: a ticket for an afternoon of ice skating at Rockefeller Center with a small group of other skaters and Kristi Yamaguchi. The ice skating event in itself was an unforgettable treat. But the icing on the cake was seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, in person, for the first time. WOW! I saw it at night and I remember laughing to myself because for some reason my first impulse was to sing – definitely a feeling I had never had before. Luckily for the universe, I did not sing. But I do hope the powers that be at Rockefeller Center will place a live microphone near the tree this year for anyone that happens by and has the same powerful impulse to sing that I had.
Granted, this “technology dreaming idea” comes with substantial risk of one or more of the following occurring:
- The microphone and all other necessary equipment are stolen and pawned within the first 20 minutes by a moody tall man wearing no shirt.
- An over-the-top political activist hogs the microphone all day long so he or she can scream about all of the injustices of the world.
- Someone who sings so badly that the sound halts traffic and causes car horns to stop functioning steps up to the microphone and belts out 49 songs before someone wearing earplugs is finally able to take them down with a potato sack over the head and a tackle.
- An angry city puppy gnaws through the electronics, leaving frayed wires dangling in puddles of freshly melted snow for unsuspecting participants to get the shock of a lifetime.
I think the risk is worth it for those few who will show up and sing something that is as beautiful as the tree:)
I had a pretty sweet dream last night. I only remember a tiny bit of it but what I do remember is something I hope will happen someday if a random fabulous person out there decides to give me a hotel for my birthday and Twitter agrees to my unusual request.
Here is the low down on the dream:
It is night and very cold. I own a big beautiful Christmas hotel. Each night Twitter projects a massive live feed of Christmas-related tweets down the side of the building that faces town. They only project the actual tweets in a pretty cursive font and leave off everyone’s names/photos. Then it starts to snow.
There you have it folks, you know what you have to do. I want this in place by next Friday! Move! Move!
The self-driving car is at the top of my wish list and I will be a seriously happy coder if I get to enjoy one within my lifetime. My ideal self-driving car would be one that requires no intervention by passengers other than voice commands for mundane tasks such as “open window” or “turn on radio”. The topics I discuss below are regarding this ideal type.
The impact of self-driving cars on the aged, the physically impaired, and the visually impaired will be off the charts high. I remember a blind woman telling me years ago (long before amazon.com) how difficult it was to just buy dog food for her dog. Something as simple as buying dog food meant she had to take the bus to the grocery store that was over 5 miles away and, with her small frame, it was nearly impossible getting herself, her walking stick, her dog and a huge bag of dog food onto the bus without a series of delays or injuries.
Another potential perk of the (convertible) self-driving car is sun bathing. Can you imagine how tan and beautiful we would all be if we could catch rays during long drives to boring meetings? I could see special fold down seats with 5-point seat belt harnesses to keep you safely locked in while lying down. The only light my skin sees right now is from computer monitors – ick! I want to look like those beautiful people in Rio! Don’t deny me self-driving car inventors! Don’t deny me!
My ten hour drives to Ohio will no longer be sprinkled with gripping the steering wheel in horror through torrential downpours while surrounded by big rigs. Instead, I will joyfully knit a new blanket or read a scary book and occasionally glancing through the window to see if the rain is letting up.
Hmmmm. Knitting and reading in a car? I can’t do that now as a passenger in a regular car. Believe me, I’ve tried and each time I just turn green and my entire body wants to convulse. I have a feeling that all of the companies out there that have motion sickness drugs are about to become crazy rich because folks like me will certainly need their potions if we ever get our hands on these cars.
I only have a few concerns right now regarding self-driving cars and these concerns may be without merit due to my lack of self-driving car knowledge but right now these are my concerns:
- Unforeseen dilemmas will surface during accidents or potential accidents as a result of calculations the system makes. We are animals and by default we are programmed for survival above all else but will my self-driving car be programmed to save me no matter the circumstance or will my self-driving car be more self-sacrificing?
- No one owns vehicles anymore. Self-driving cars appear when you need them and are gone when you do not need them. I would love to replace my driveway with an in-ground swimming pool; however, the car in my driveway represents absolute freedom. When I want to drive to the mall or if I ever have to evacuate my city quickly, I may do it without delay. Am I willing to give up absolute freedom? No. And what about my privacy? I am not willing to give that up either. Data will most certainly be collected on millions of people who “order” self-driving cars to show up here and there. Sorry, no other human being needs to know that I went to the grocery store yesterday at 2:00pm to buy cinnamon bread. No one. That is it. And I think we all know that any empty self-driving car (controlled remotely by another party) that shows up to pick you up is a big fat hack target and if it is hacked it isn’t going to be pretty – grandma is going into the river. No! Grandma! No! Hackers killed grandma!
In the few minutes before slipping into sweet slumber last night, I thought about lasers and the issues they are creating for pilots. I didn’t realize this minor thought passing through my mind would have such a profound impact on my dream state but it certainly provided a landscape for the most ridiculous dream.
From ridiculous dreams may come miraculous things so I am posting my dream here in the hopes that some laser-braniac out there can create this fancy little device to catch mad laser criminals:
[opening scene]: From a high-altitude position, I am looking down at a runway, watching a 747 begin its decent in darkness. The plane glows green and red like a Christmas ornament as billions of lasers deflect of its every surface from millions of different points within the region.
[scene II]: From a ground position, several hundred feet away, I am watching the belly of the fuselage as the plane begins to touch down. The belly of the fuselage is black until the landing gear makes contact with the runway. It is at that point that billions of black barnacle-looking objects flee from the belly of the fuselage.
[scene III]: The black barnacle-looking objects take purposeful flight, they are laser detection tracking drones (LDTD), each the size of a half dollar. The six-legged creatures whiz by my face on a mission.
[scene IV]: Each laser detection tracking drone (LDTD) quickly finds its prey and clamps itself to the nose of the source of the laser emission by embedding its six (barbed) legs into the flesh of the perp.
[scene V]: Johnny law turns on his GPS Tracking of Laser Detection Tracking Drones (GPSTLDTD) software to determine exact location and sends out his troops to pick up each one, they are each found writhing in pain and screaming – trying to get the huge LDTD off of their face.
The attaching of the LDTD to flesh is a little drastic. In reality, I would prefer the LDTD be smart enough to detect fabric and attach itself to clothing instead. But oh how those criminals are clever, this strategy would just inevitably lead to criminals doing the laser thing in the buff:)