Friday, September 15, 2006

The glamour’s off.

Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, ‘When I grow up I will go there.’ The North Pole was one of these places, I remember. Well, I haven’t been there yet, and shall not try now. The glamour’s off.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

No time to write. Must go back and find an elementary school in Eugene, Oregon. Google Earth is beyond amazing. If you are at all interested in satellite photos of places you have been and your computer is fast enough, download the thing ASAP. I just started playing with it yesterday, and I more or less stayed up all night. I feel like I’ve only looked at a tiny fraction of the places I want to check out.

I think my favorite find so far is Neil and Sabine’s rooftop balcony/patio thing in Munich. You can actually see the junk on their balcony. Or the Hirschgarten. You can see individual people at the biergarten. I’m sort of giddy with excitement, and this is after like 5 hours straight of playing with the program. My right eyeball has practically burst from the strain; it looks like a maraschino and feels like it’s been dipped in battery acid. But I’m hooked.

Along with all of the amazement there is something slightly sad about the whole thing, though… in the vein of the Conrad quote above. I sort of feel like – that’s it?

That’s the entire world?

Being able to zoom around to any place on the earth makes it all seem a lot smaller somehow. It’s like when you return to someplace you’d been as a child, and it all seems so tiny and dull and different from the way you remembered it. I think Proust or someone compared memory to a light shining on only certain parts of a dark house. In some ways this program sort of turns on all the lights, full blast. Oh well. Anyway, back to finding and marking every possible place I’ve been in my entire life.


Jinna said...

Ah, yes, the loss of the frontier...

This is slightly different, but I am reminded of Weber's disenchantment. We've chased mystery and magic away. It's fascinating to read old accounts of life and the world. (The early chapters of Soul Made Flesh is good for this.) Ours seems so cold in comparison.

Anonymous said...

"Must go back and find an elementary school in Eugene, Oregon"?
Look at

Mixes schools addresses and informations with google maps. Enter a zip code and it maps all the schools in the area

albtraum said...

^ is this my first spam comment, or a legitimate attempt to aid me in my primary-grade scholastic locational yearnings? Either way, go in peace; serve the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I'm jealous. I've yet to get an anonymous comment.

(Just kidding, gods of blog -- please keep me spam free!)