Hallucinations with Oliver Sacks & a Surreal Reality

Last night Ben and I watched the World Science Festival‘s webcast on Oliver Sack’s question and answer session on hallucinations. The World Science Festival is an annual festival in New York City that happens in late May to early June. Last spring I attended Why We Tell Stories: The Science of Narratives, which was a fascinating session with celebrated authors and scientists.

I have known about Dr. Sacks’s work for a long time, so I was eagerly anticipating the webcast. Because of the broad general audience that would attend this talk, Dr. Sacks focused more on stories (including his own stories of “experimentation” with hallucinatory drugs) rather than on the science. The session lasted about an hour long and we experienced very few problems with the webcast. I definitely recommend that you watch the webcasts if you can’t make it to the sessions live.

20121110-142539.jpgIt’s been more than a week of gas shortage now and the lines are still there. I was hoping the shortage would end by this weekend, but from the NY Times on the gas shortage crisis, it appears as if we have a few more weeks of this. Starting yesterday, NYC and Long Island started rationing gas by following the odd-even schedule (plates ending with odd #s get gas on odd number days) yesterday.

I haven’t driven to work all week, instead relying on the train. Aside from doubling my commute time, it’s been fine. I have so little gas that I’m afraid of running out of gas while waiting in line. Slowly more gas stations appear to be getting gas, but I see that they run out fairly quickly. One morning on my way to work, there was a blocks and blocks long line for gas at a local gas station. Eight hours later when I was headed back home, the gas station was closed and empty because there was no more gas.

Rosa Mexicano near Union Square did a very nice thing this past week. From Tuesday to Friday from 12 noon to 2 pm, they gave away a free lunch to anyone who came by as a Hurricane Sandy relief. Ben and I stopped on Thursday. The free lunch was a very generous plate of guacamole, salad, two tacos (chicken, beef, or vegetarian), chicken enchilada, soup, soda, coffee, and dessert (brownies and cookies). Ben bought a beer and we left a very generous tip to thank them for their generosity. The lunch was a really nice pre-holiday and post-Hurricane Sandy cheer.

Life is getting back to normal. Ben finally got the okay to go back to his building in Hoboken. Each day more of the subway lines are back online. Gas lines are getting shorter (lines are now reported to be only 20 mins long instead of the 2 up to 6 hours long that I heard). Businesses are back open. Life in NYC continues to march on.

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