Virtually Anywhere

Computer Driving Directions rank above sliced bread and twist ties on my list of wonders.   We can enter our home address and a destination hundreds of miles away, then a minute or so later hold door-to-door directions in hand. GPS will correct us if we take a wrong turn and a multiple of cell phone applications provide locations and directions.  I understand there is even a program to find a convenient restroom.

If we manage to get lost with all that help,  it’s time to have a tracking device implanted in our navels.

Hey, Google Earth can zero in on the actual building so that we can see the structure itself.  Truly amazing!

Google Street Maps allow us to look up and down streets all over the world.  When our daughter and her family moved recently, I cruised her street by moving my index finger on my computer touch pad.  Sometimes, if the picture moves too fast,  I even feel a wave of vertigo like I’m going to be carsick.   (Which says something about the marvels of technology, as well as how much fun I am to take on trips.)

Recently I’ve been exploring the streets via The Virtual Paintout, an art blog introduced to me when I Tried Being Tasteful listed it as a Favorite on her own very clever blog.

I can’t draw, but even if I could, I’d never think to use a Google street map as a subject, yet that is precisely what artist Bill Guffey requires in order for people to add their own artistic renderings to his Virtual Paintout blog. Every drawing, painting, or sketch on his blog is based on a Google street view.  Currently, the blog is featuring addresses in Lisbon, Portugal.

It’s a fascinating couch-potato tour through a city and an art gallery all in one.

Because Google Street Views show soundless images from satellite photos, there is an eerie feeling about it all.   For one thing, the Google streets I’ve seen have few people in sight and the vehicles all look empty, like they’ve been abandoned.

On The Virtual Paintout site, the artists’ sketches feature a dog in one, individuals by a bus, and a child crossing a bridge.  I wondered if the artists who chose those scenes did so to add life to their pictures.

If The Virtual Paintout ever decides to zero in on our city,  I hope someone does a rendering of our street, even though it was garbage pickup day.  Most of the houses have a big green rollout garbage bin and at least one red recycling container by the curb.  When we located our own house on the map, we discovered something very surprising: there is a man standing out by the street.  My man.

Talk about being “out there”!

The day I found the image happened to be our weekly garbage pickup day, and Dearly Beloved happened to be wearing the same shirt and shorts he is wearing on the satellite photo.  We thought that without knowing it, DB had just been caught in The Twilight Zone.   Much later we realized it was actually taken much earlier, not even the same year.

Still, the entire universe can zoom in any time and see Dearly Beloved immortalized in dutiful husband mode, about to roll the emptied garbage can back to the garage.  It boggles the mind to think about it;  I’m staying mum on our address.  The man-hungry, cane-carrying neighbor I wrote about yesterday could have competition if husband hunters (or handyman seekers) start beating a path to our door.

I wonder where I was that day, that instant.  Do Google Street Views include the Target parking lot?

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6 thoughts on “Virtually Anywhere

  1. That IS weird. They haven’t updated where we live past the foundations of the house/neighborhood… So we’re currently not caught out unawares….here, anyway.

  2. Wow! He’s getting far more than his fifteen minutes of fame! A real Google Star!

    I love to go back to our Milwaukee suburb via the Google Streets and “drive” the familiar roads. It does feel strange to see our old house and neighborhood.

  3. texastrailerparktrash

    Ha! I just came from Google maps where I was traversing the streets of Lisbon! I was amazed at the amount of graffiti on so many of the old buildings. It’s really disorienting to feel like you’re actually there and then suddenly come back to reality when the cat starts to yak up a hairball in the next room.

    If they do choose your area for the Virtual Paintout location, I get dibs on painting your hubby. Thanks for the mention about my blog–or as they say in Lisbon “Muito obrigada!”

  4. Oh cool sites…
    But hey…I want to see the google earth of your hubby taking out the trash!

    Send me the link!

    or maybe u best not let me know where u live!:)

  5. steffiw

    Hi marylee,there is a small village,near my own village that is like a ghost town, no one is ever on the streets,no kids,animals-nothing except many,many parked cars(usually outside the cemetary,maybe they went for a walk-around and never made it back…)its like a drive through,even as you approach the village the road abruptly changes from bumpy rural road to unnervingly smooth,quiet tarmac and then returns to bumpy rural road.it IS the twillight zone.take care love steffi

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