Friday, July 30, 2004

New York, New York

A week without email was probably good for my soul. A month in San Francisco was definitely good for my soul. I spent the week with some of the friends who are most important to me in the whole world, and exploring a few more places in the Bay Area -- a hike through Muir Woods, a visit to see the pop art exhibit and more at SFMOMA, a walk to Ocean Beach (unfortunately all the interesting stuff at the Cliff House is under construction). I love San Francisco, and I feel drawn there, to my people. And where else is it so easy to recycle (dude, you don't even have to sort), to be vegetarian, to vote for Kucinich, register Green, and still be the most conservative person you know? Ocean, redwoods, hills, fog, taquerias, Rainbow Grocery (worker-owned co-op), dollar avocados, that bridge. But it's good to be back in this big humid reeking old city again, to walk past people fanning themselves to a salsa beat on their stoops, big girls teaching their little sisters double-dutch on the sidewalk, women walking home from work in pastel skirts and flip-flops, traffic and tall buildings and clouds that aren't fog. Writing is also good for my soul; I suppose I could just keep a journal on - gasp! - paper, but I've never been much for that, so it's nice to have internet access at home again.

My roommate's gone to Africa; her blog will most likely be more interesting than mine in the next few weeks. (She's also bought her own domain name - I'm falling behind!).

I have a new friend who likes puzzles a lot. So, from A. to me to you, the latest (post your thoughts but NOT the solution in the comments - it's more fun to get it by yourself, so don't spoil it for anyone else, please!).

One hundred people have been selected as prize winners. Each will get the same amount of money, from $1000 to $100,000. This is how the prize will be distributed. The 100 people are lined up so that each person can see everyone in front of her, but not herself or anyone behind her. So, person number 100 can see #99-1, and person 1 can't see anyone. They will be given time to plan a strategy, then lined up in this way and either a red hat or a blue hat put on each person's head. Then, starting with person 100 and working forwards, each person will say either "red" or "blue." The prize will be $1000 times the number of people who say the color of their own hat. The idea is to maximize the number of people who get their hat color right since each person gets the same amount of money in the end. Also, the organizers of the contest can listen in to the strategizing session and will try to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out, so definitely take into account worst-case scenarios when thinking about this problem.

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