July 27, 2007
GPS devices and detailed street maps and easy-to-read driving instructions have been available on the Internet for a while now, but for some people that’s just not good enough. Now some companies are using advanced satellite technology to take pictures of neighborhoods or actually driving around in vans making panoramic shots of neighborhoods. Now privacy issues are one thing–if you have a neighbor who likes to stand in his living room window in his underwear, or, heck, if you ARE that neighbor, your picture’s probably already on the Internet somewhere, but how helpful are these pictures really going to be? What is they take the pictures on trash pickup day? I know people who would follow all the driving directions, holding their GPS device in one hand and have color printouts of pictures of their destination and who would still say, "This can’t be the right place. Where are all the trash cans?" The fact that these pictures are panoramic also gave me an idea. Back when I was in school (shortly after the invention of the daguerreotype) they would sometimes have a class picture day when we’d all gather in the gym and a special camera would be used to take a picture of all of us that was a foot long and would only fit into a frame sold, amazingly, by the company that made the picture. Also, they could give us a great deal on some stereo equipment and a used car.
But I digress. Since they would actually turn the camera to get all of us into the shot a friend of mine decided to keep moving so in one of those pictures he shows up four times. Imagine if we did that while someone was out making panoramic photos of our neighborhoods. People would then see the pictures and say, "Hey, who’s that guy? There he is again! There is again…does he ever wear anything other than underwear?" If only we knew when they were coming to take the pictures we could do all kinds of crazy things like put scarecrows in our yards, or put up giant facades so our neighborhoods actually looked like downtown Paramaribo. (If you know where that is, give yourself five bonus points.) Just imagine the conversations of the guys in the van: one says, "Hey, this place looks familiar." And the other one says, "Right. When were you ever in Suriname?"
But I digress. Here’s a really crazy idea: take your house, apartment complex, condo, tipi, igloo, hut, hogan, lean-to, cottage, gazebo, bungalow, hostel, haunt, battleship, domain, bomb shelter, adobe dwelling, cave, or whatever you live in and move it two blocks down the street. Then in about six months move it back. Do this on a regular basis. Also, put your trash can out at weird times. Soon no one will be able to find your house, including you. But look on the bright side. You might end up living somewhere better than where you are now.