May 13, 2011


Today Blogger died on me. Hopefully it will be resucitated soon, because this is not acceptable - specially when I finally have a topic to write about, so Google-people, google up and get it googling! This must be some freaking curse of mine: I write off and on, but after times of dryness and nothing really to write about, when the bulb finally lights up, the blogger shuts off. So, since I'm writing, because I'm writing, I'm writing from my e-mail account, which explains the lack of pictures and the "ragged edged" text.

The topic I meant to develop today - Georeference - isn't about the technical or commercial sense of georeference, but something entirely different, and georeference was the best word I could find for it. The thought came from the Internet and the people I follow through blogs and podcasts, and how suddenly the blogger or the podcaster they realize they have an audience in places far away from where they are.

Through the Internet reaching the whole planet with a click has become a common place, however, though you can pick and click at anything, and pages from a multitude of countries far away pop up, eventually a picture of your favorite movie embroided around with letters from a language you can't even start decyphering, so yes, there are countries out there far away from where you are, and sometimes they also pop up in the news or something, and there are products you buy from there, or you want from there and so on. However - though you realize there's people there - you don't really think that there will be people in there, or people who would equally find you on the Internet.

Maybe not so much on blogs - or the blogs I read - but on the podcasts I listen to often the podcasters mention that they've discovered they have a listener from some country far, far, far away, and you can hear the excitement in their voices at discovering that their throughts were not confined to their rooms and computers, but that have gone around the planet. When you plop down in here, and start seeking blogs to read, podcasts to listen, videoblogs to watch and so on, sometimes you get surprised when you find the thoughts of someone from a distant part of the planet  - distant for you - and often how they relate to other places. As you know, and if you don't, well, now you do, I'm currently in Costa Rica - which is in Central America, North of Panama, and I hope you do know where Panama is - so that's my reference point. However I travel rather regularly to Hungary, which I could say gives me a double georeference. Sometimes still, when I read the blogs of people from Europe, and they mention that "oh, they are going to take a short vacation, a weekend thing and go to Venice", startles me. Dude, I need 20 hours at least just to get to Europe! So, escaping for a weekend in Venice it's not doable for me. And yet, though you know that this person, this blogger, this podcaster lives in Sweden or Germany or You-Name-It, when they describe going to this or that place, it still startles you.

One of my favored bloggers that gives me the most of these surprises is this lovely lady from Singapore, I believe, who has one of the most amazing, rich blogs I've read, Grousing in Progress. The first post I read from her, she was talking about this business trip she had to do to Vietnam, I believe, that it was some short, small trip or something of the sort, and I believe she mentioned she had just come from another trip from somewhere in the area. When I read that I didn't know previously that she was from Asia, so I was flabbergasted. Hell, there's people out there who consider Vietnam as some place around the corner! Of course, right then it downed tome that she was from Asia - duh. I kept reading her because it was fascinating to witness this, tough yes, also because she's quite fascinating ^_^. Then, as my favorite podcasters here and there mentioned they had listeners from this part of the planet, and that part of the planet, I wondered about the obscure readers of my blogs. Originally it was just the number of hits - I wanted to make sure this was still haven and only my reported readers where reading me (all your identities will remain protected, worry not) -  and so I sought out the statistics and found this map thingie, pointing out several countries from where I'm being red - allegedly, as we all know that IP addresses ain't as acurate as we'd love them to be.

It came to me then that maybe I must be also a freaking georeference thing for others (particularly for readers in Australia, Germany and United Kindgom). As for me is fascinating how Grouch talks about places in Asia, I imagine what would be like for other people to read when I write about crossing the ocean to go to Hungary, or when I debate about taking some short vacations and deciding whether to go ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR CAR!! to either the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. and no, I don't need to fly or cross the Panama Channel, it's basically a left-or-right decision for me. Going to Panama or Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela... these are not big deals - or not so big. Mexico, Miami, New York, Los Angeles... a bit far, a few hours on a plane, but perfecty doable. Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Peru, yep, all'em in here. Che Guevara roadtripped the whole thing with a bike, and thought it takes a lot of freaking time to go to Brasil or Argentina - not to mention the freaking lot of money, since we are all on the same piece of land, it doesn't seem like all that far. But Russia, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Egypt, or China, Korea, Japan... that's like Star Trek-far. You gara like go with the Enterprise or something.

Even in real life, not only on cyberlife, when my in laws mentioned going to vacation to Egypt, and totally talked about it like anyone gere would talk about going to Miami, I was gobsmacked. Dude, that's Egypt! Like fucking heat, dusty mummies and ancient curses! On return, when you offhandedly mention how EVERYBODY goes to Miami, how sick and tired you are about hearing people go on and on and on about Disneyland, Epcot center and Universal Studios, they bulge out their eyes like "really? everybody goes there?" My friends here go to Mexico, New York, Canada, and for them me going to Bulgaria was like I was going to the end of the world, deep into the land of vampires and werewolves and stopped short from giving me a garlic necklace "just in case" (or send me off with a small pack of meat for the wolvies, in case I saw them ^_^).

In the end, no matter how aware we are about the rest of the planet, how we follow the crisis in the Middle East, pray for the miners in Chile and China, the earthquake victims in Japan and Spain, the tornado victims in Alabama, and so on, no matter who we follow on Twitter, who we like in Facebook, which news we subscribe to, when someone from any of these far away parts of the planet materialize before us, it always surprise us. Maybe, inspite of all our techonology, as real people, trapped in real life, there is a space that "centers" to us, that becomes our "georeference" whether we like it or not, and instead of being sucked into the cyberplain, we suck the cyber into our real life squarefeet, and locate all this places within our own location, unconsciously.

We are not as broad and evolved as we'd like to believe we are. No GPS, no Internet, no iPad can change simple facts, and the simple fact is that honestly, any average one of us, can't really grasp the enormity of the planet and the interesting connections among us, that our toys make.

« Every schilling you save puts a man out of Work for a Day. »
          - John Maynard Keynes

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