The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

December 16, 2007

The Glob(logging)al Village



As the map above shows -- all those red dots represent people who have visited my blog, the bigger the dot the more often they visit -- it brings me THIS CLOSE to people all across the planet.

It brings me a touch of a key away from Angel in South Africa, from Stace and Lee and Keshi in Australia, from Ziggi and Cherrypie in the UK, from Gautami in India.

And so many more in the most far-flung of places. And I'll get back to a specific point about that later.

(Except before you scroll down, note, if you can see it, the solitary little dot to the east of southern Africa, east of the island of Madagascar; keep that in your head. OK, now continue, if you're not asleep yet).

Another amazing webtool, however, is Google Earth. I have used it in the past to find my own house and fellow blogger buddy, Winnipegger and Doppelganger-finder Homo Escapeons and other places.

It's fun. It's neat.

And here it is in action.

These images didn't display as well or as large as I'd hoped, so sue me.

The first pic above is the view of Winnipeg from a satellite high above the planet. The blue parts are Lake Winnipeg on the right, Lake Manitoba on the left.

The yellow areas you see are markers for my house and HE's house.

The pic right below it is just a closer view of south Winnipeg, with those yellow markers indicating HE's general area and mine to the south of him.

Both of us, as you can see, are very close to the Red River.

Above is the Google Earth image of my apartment complex, with the little yellow marker roughly where my place is.

I sometimes throw a basketball around or kick a football around in the field to the south.

This is a closer view still, and I could go quite a bit closer...hey, can you see me waving?

Just for the fun of it, here are a few Google Earth pix of cities where I know other bloggers live. Like the Vancouver area (above, MJ and Andrea)...

Like Sydney, Australia (Keshi? Or is that Stace? Aidan? Lee?)

How about beautiful Montreal (Anna, you're down there somewhere)...

This is Melbourne above (Stace or Keshi? Lee? Oh, I give up.)

And here's Johannesburg, South Africa (I THINK that's where Angels tread)

And somewhere down there in Delhi lives Gautami Tripathy.

So OK, now back to the reach and breadth of blogging and the World Wide Web, and how being thousands of kilometres away means absolutely nothing.
In fact, it means nothing because it can mean everything. Let me explain.

There's that one lonely little red dot up there on that ClustrMap, the first pic in this post.
You probably can't even see it, but it's there. The little dot is located east of Madagascar, which is east of southern Africa.

With the help of Google Earth, I found that speck on a map. And here's where it is.

The visitor to my blog lives in one of these two small islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, both of them founded by the French in the 1700's, maybe 700 miles east of Madagascar.

A best guess is my visitor would live in Port Louis, the capital of the tiny island country of Mauritius (to the right, above).
The population of Port Louis, according to Wikipedia, was 147,688 in 2003. A pic is below.

The other best possibility is that the visitor is from Saint-Denis, what's called a prefecture or the administrative capital of the French overseas "region" of Reunion (on the left, above).

Its population was 158,139 in 1999, according to Wikipedia.

Here's a pic:

So. What does this all mean? Probably nothing in the larger scheme of things. Many more familiar with the Web than me might say I'm just pointing out the obvious, and, well, who cares?

Well, I care. And I wonder.

It just blows me away that somewhere in Mauritius or Azerbajan or on the southernmost tip of South America or in some desert wasteland or in some shack in northern Finland, someone can find me.

And that I can do the same.

And hear what I have to say, or even leave a comment if they want, or debate with me about bad jokes or religion or politics...

...Or simply by a Google search learn how NOT to clean a fridge or a bath tub or that I've written about sex and socks or that I have a daughter and a son and three sisters and two brothers.

Little red dots, indeed. It's fascinating.


  1. Some Lemur yoinked a Tourist's Laptop from an outdoor cafe and started tapping on the keys and inadvertently typed in your blog url and voila!

    After a few weeks he probably learned how to add it to his favorites and by now I'll bet that he has one of your fascinating pictures of the contents of your Fridge as his desktop image.

    I can just picture the entire troop of Lemurs killing themselves rolling on the jungle floor and laughing at your weekly extreme closeup photo of your razor ravaged face profusely exsanguinating from shaving.

    Mystery solved.

  2. Homing Device:

    Having saluted you last week for providing perhaps the best series of comments ever in blogland to my Teasing Women Week fiasco post, I cannot in good conscience do the same tonight.

    Although your scenario is likely wracked by evolutionary improbabilities if not impossibilities -- the existence of lemurs on these two tiny islands, 700 miles across the ocean from Madagascar -- I am, seriously, laughing.

    And I cannot dismiss the possibility that lemurs swam across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius or thereabouts.

    Nor can I deny the possibility some were brought over by boat.

    These lemurs sound remarkably like the racoon or rabbits that inhabit your back yard.

    So to wrap this up, what you're saying is my mystery bloggers from east of Africa are an entire troop of lemurs with a laptop that has an inexhaustible battery or they're using a very long extension cord.

    I knew my fridge post and those extreme closeups of my shaving accidents would come in handy some day.

    So much for my wonder at the World Wide Web. Those lemurs do have good taste though.

  3. I know exactly what you mean, it's astounding! Whilst THE world is getting smaller, MY world is getting bigger - my world is as large as the people involved in it, the places I know of, the lives I touch.

    Hopefully this link will point you to my street:,+cheltenham,+vic&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=48.15347,82.265625&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=16&om=1

    I'm in Melbourne, by the way. Keshi is in Sydney. Lee, I think, is in country Victoria. (Quick Aus geography lesson: Melbourne is the capital city of the state of Victoria. Sydney is quite a bit farther north, about 700km in fact, and is the capital of the state of New South Wales.)

  4. Uh, where in the HECK is Missippi??? Hmmm? I want to know. Its not like your biggest fan doesn't live in the cotton fields of Mississippi.

    Now, I wait for you to produce an aerial view of the Famed Mississip so that I can bow down before you and offer you fried chicken and turnip greens.

    For Christmas, I'll throw in a brown sugar ham and some rice krispie treats.

  5. Uh, where in the HECK is Missippi??? Hmmm? I want to know. Its not like your biggest fan doesn't live in the cotton fields of Mississippi.

    Now, I wait for you to produce an aerial view of the Famed Mississip so that I can bow down before you and offer you fried chicken and turnip greens.

    For Christmas, I'll throw in a brown sugar ham and some rice krispie treats.

  6. Forgive me, for too many spirits have caused me not to be able to spell.


    See! :) I can spell it!

  7. Ok, link didn't really work. I've put the map on my blog instead :)

  8. Stace:

    Wow! You live pretty close to what looks like a gigantic shopping mall with a walkway over a major freeway...

    Thanks for the geography lesson...I just wasn't sure where you and Lee and Keshi lived, or couldn't remember.

    And where's Aidan stationed?


    But WHERE in Mississippi, for cotton-pickin' sake (That was an expression I heard growing up all my life...weird, huh? We have no cotton up here, just dandelions and wheat).

    If I could produce an aerial view of you, girl, I'd hone right in for a closeup. DOH! SLAP!

    I bet you could cook up a storm. Brown sugar ham and krispie treats sounds just fine...;-)

    Hope the kids are fine and all...and yes, I see you can spell Mississippi...

    Why don't they just rename the state Ole Miss? And the river too, while we're at it?


  9. Stace:

    Whaddya mean? It worked fine, unless it was the wrong link and I was looking at Lahore, Pakistan.

  10. "It's a world of laughter
    A world of tears
    It's a world of hopes
    And a world of fears
    There's so much that we share
    That it's time we're aware
    It's a small world after all

    It's a small world after all
    It's a small world after all
    It's a small world after all
    It's a small, small world

    There is just one moon
    And one golden sun
    And a smile means
    Friendship to every one
    Though the mountains divide
    And the oceans are wide
    It's a small world after all"

  11. Hopelessly tied up in Errata:

    Thank you for that moving rendition of an old song that we all love, which is, surprisingly and poignantly, appropriate.

    With those lyrics in mind, I'm going to go to bed now.

  12. I'm not going to be able to sleep for hearing HE singing "It's a Small World."

    Anyway, I'm going to have to work on increasing the size of my red dot. The dots in Eastern Canada are bigger.

    Hey! I can see the bridge I made you walk across in the rain!

  13. MJ:

    Yes, please do increase the size of your red dot...and anything else you care to.

    Making me walk that bridge was like making me walk the plank. I could have fallen to my death.

    But being the erstwhile trooper that I am, I survived another day...and got hung over spending the night with the B.C. Lion cheerleaders.

  14. I love looking at my own map and wondering about the people and the places they come from.

    Google Earth is soooo cool. :D

  15. Tupelo, Mississippi will give you the moxt accurate view...although it is still not where I am.

    Please, someone, release me. I should not be here! I should be in Canada! With the snow!

    Ya'll do have snow, right?

    If not, I might as well stay here.


  16. Aidan is stationed in Canberra. Canberra is the capital city of our nation, and has it's own little state set aside for it - the Australian Capital Territory, or ACT, which is really just a landlocked little bit of New South Wales. Canberra is roughly halfway between Melbourne and Sydney... although it always seems so much closer to Sydney for some reason.

  17. Menchie:

    It IS cool, huh?


    Oh yeah, we've got snow all right, but not as much as Eastern Canada and the U.S., which got dumped on yesterday...


    How long will Aidan be in Canberra...or how long will it be before YOU'RE in Canberra?

  18. Wiltshire, W I L T S H I R E - it's not invisible I've just looked!

  19. Sadly, WW, I will be moving to Canberra! Late Feb/Early March, thereabouts. Canberra is commonly known as the world's largest roundabout...,149.136829&spn=0.048827,0.080338&t=h&z=14&om=1

  20. Hildegarde6:22 p.m.

    Indeed, mighty fascinating and I am so happy that the wwww exists.

  21. Ziggizaggizoo:

    OK, OK, you're in Wiltshire. But is that Wilt-SHYRE or Wilt-SHEER or Wil-SHER or what?

    And you live on a farm, don't you? I'll have a gander at Google Earth and find you.

    Be looking up...WAAAAAAY up.


    Is Canberra so BADberra? Compared to Melbourne, I mean? Roundabouts are very confusing for us Nerth Amuricans, but they're cool...


    OK and let's now acknowledge some of those people whose cities I didn't show...Cherrypie (have to look it up, I do), Laurie (Forsyth, Mont., U.S.)...

    Awa in Tupelo, Miss., U.S., Pam who's in Seattle, Wash., I believe...Carmenzta in Miami (I think)...umm, who else...

  22. And Hildegarde, how could we forget her, in Flanders, Belgium...(DUH!!!)

  23. And more DUHS...

    Madam Menchie, of course, from Manila, Phillippines, and Dutchess Dinahmow from Queensland, Australia, who I always think of as a New Zealander because that's where she's originally from...

  24. EEK! Shelley at Tidalgrrrl Rants in Wisconsin but originally out CaliFORN-AYE-AY...

    And Cherrypie's from North of Watford in the UK...

    How do I get myself into these predicaments...

  25. What a great post and like you I feel this kinship with people I've 'met' in the four corners of the earth. Blogging really does illustrate the global village like nothing else.

  26. Andrea:

    Thanks. Yeah, it IS kinda cool, huh, this Globloggal Village thing?

  27. Canberra is a political centre. There is no culture! Melbourne has it's cafes, theatres, bands visit Melbourne, and Melbourne has the rich and varied underworld of subcultures that make it such an interesting place. There's a cosmopolitan feel to Melbourne - this will sound pretentious, but when Aidan and I were in Paris, it reminded us of Melbourne very strongly. Just something in the air. Canberra has... politicians, roundabouts, the national gallery. I have to do my own blog post, I think, detailing more... it's on the way!

  28. THis all makes us so close. So much so that I miss you all when you don't post for long. It does not matter if you visit me or not.

    I come here when I want to laugh or cheer myself up after a drab day.


    What would I do, if you weren't there to bash up?


  29. Mark my words. I ain't any red dot..big or small...mind you!

  30. stace was pretty close -I'm in country NSW. (Now it makes sense, stace, as to why you asked at my place if I was from Euroa :) -because you thought I was in Victoria).

  31. Stace:


    I see what you mean and will get to your post...but this was a move for Aidan for professional reasons, as I recall...

    Hmmm, better just read your post...


    Yes, Gautami, what WOULD you do? Personally, I think HE's explanation was the most plausible of all.

    All of these people, including you, are actually lemurs in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

    And therefore, YES, YOU ARE A RED DOT!


    It's called Country NSW?" And I know I could google it, but what does NSW stand for? New South Wales, I presume.

    Or it could be Not South Wales, so as to distinguish it from the real South Wales, or North South Wales, which would really confuse me, because how can a place be both south and north at the same time?

    You Australians discuss this amongst yourselves.

  32. hello again -when I say country nsw I mean, in other words, that it's the sticks, the bush, a rural area, the very opposite of a city :). And yes, it's New South Wales -obviously it must have reminded some Pom of south Wales. or maybe because it was the great southern land and it reminded them of Wales? Ooohhhh, must find out.

  33. from wikipedia:

    New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is Australia's most populous state, located in the south-east of the country, north of Victoria and south of Queensland. It was founded in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as New Zealand, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. During the 19th century large areas were successively separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand.

    An inhabitant of New South Wales is referred to as a New South Welshman. New South Wales' largest city and capital is Sydney.

    It is not clear whether New South Wales refers to the area being named after South Wales, or a New Wales in the Southern Hemisphere.[1]

    In the journal covering his survey of the eastern coast of the Australian continent, the then Lt. James Cook (later Captain James Cook) first named the east coast of Australia "New Wales", which he later corrected in his journal to "New South Wales".

    That was your history and geography lesson for today :).

  34. Lee:

    What's a Pom? Oh, nevermind.

    That's fascinating stuff. So you're a New South Welshman, then. Pip pip, cheerio.

    Seriously, I'm sure it's a beautiful place to be, Lee. Now I'm putting on a vid, Great Southern Land.


  35. Well, Stace and Lee have given you all a wonderful potted geography lesson.
    I'll add my bit: I live halfway between Brisbane (capital of Qld.) and Cairns.The city's Mackay, sometimes called "Little Malta" due to the large contingent of Maltese settlers.Famous for coal, cattle and sugar.I guess we could add "coral" as this is Barrier Reef territory.
    It's also cyclone territory and we have pretty stringent building codes.
    OK! Enough for today. Everyone outside to play in the sunshine/snow, according to where you Red Dot is!

  36. A pom is an english person -also known as a Whinging Pom or Pommy Bastard. And no offense intended to any Poms who might read this :).

    The term pommy or pommie is commonly used by speakers of Australian English, New Zealand English, South African English and Afrikaans. It is often shortened to pom. The origin of this term is not confirmed and there are several persistent false etymologies, most being backronyms

  37. Dinahmow (& Lee, Stace, Keshi...)

    WOW! I've just spent about five minutes on Google Earth looking more closely at Australia...

    D, the Great Barrier Reef has always been magical to me, as I'm sure it has to many others on the planet...

    I found Mackay, it looks like an incredible place to live...up on the northeast coast like that.

    Lee, I think I found the area, roughly, where you live...I've already checked out Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney a bit...

    Do you Aussies understand the rest of the world's (or least Canadians') fascination with you?

    You're seen as the cool place with the cool people and the cool accents and the cool animals that can't be found anywhere else...

    There's the history with cons, the remoteness but beauty, Crocodile Dundee and all that...

    I think it's my No. 1 dream place to visit before I die. And I will.


  38. Just realised that I should say that the second half of that comment was from wikipedia again.Also meant to write offence :).

  39. Lee:

    Thanks, girl, on poms! It's so hard to google things, so I just get you to do it for me...

    Or is all that from your brain? Fascinating...

    The most amazing thing to me is you're so remote and so far away in time and space...

    Isn't it about February there already? How was your Christmas and Valentine's Day?

  40. Of course we're cool-surrounded by all that ocean ;).

  41. ww-if I want to check out google earth do I run it or save it? That's how bad with computers I am :).

  42. This mis-matched conversation is funny :).

  43. Lee:

    Oh, but of course that's the reason you're so coool...

    I'd run the Google Earth program. It should give you a prompt later asking if you want to save it.

    If it doesn't, then just go back again and click on save it.

  44. I just meant where you asked about if I got that stuff from my head and because we were typing at the same time it ended up where I answered it before you asked it.It just amused me is all :).

  45. I guess Australians take being Australian rather for granted - but so many Americans and Canadians seem to like us! Especially you Canucks. And when I try to understand Northern Hemisphere culture (tv, food, humour, etc), I can kind of see why. We're so much cooler. I guess our geographical isolation also makes us a bit of a novelty still, we're hard to get to so everything about us is still relatively new. Just wait until we're the 53rd state or whatever number they're up to now, and then when they invent teleportation we won't be so cool...

  46. BAck again for another swipe!
    Not so long ago, Canadians and New Zealanders were paired and Australians were matched with Americans.
    That's probably over-simplifying things, but it's a close definition!
    All these regional distinctions (like the dialects of some English counties)are being whittled away, even lost, with the shrinking of the world.
    So, Bloggers, let's keep the better traditions alive, while embracing the ideals of people like Ghandi, Carl Sagan and some geriatric hippies!
    I'd be good for an ice-cold beer should one of you hit town!

  47. Stace:

    You're so much COOLER!!?? Try -35C, Ozzie Girl! Now THAT'S cool!

    I think there's a mystique about Australia and Australians, the geographical isolation too, that we find intriguing.

    What I know is when people here are discussing trips or travel and someone says they're going to Oz, ears perk up and eyes light up and it's "Wow!"

    I think we'll be part of the Excited States long before you will; you guys will somehow join Europe.


    As Sagan would say, there's "BILLIONS AND BILLIONS" of stars out there...

    And we're among those stars.

    You're buyin', right?

  48. Comment number 50!

  49. MJ:

    So it is! Do I get a prize?

  50. It's ME who should get the prize!


  51. MJ:

    Oh, all right then. But you'll have to come to Winnipeg to claim it. I doubt a wussy Westcoaster would have the werewithal to do that.

  52. mada-HOO-ha!!?!


    i SO love my dots too dude!!! though lately i'm having a harder time seeing them... i almost can't wait for them to start all over again!

    awesome post w.w.

    i still can't get over how much i love the people whose lives are shared with me in the bloggersphere!

  53. Madahooha?

    I love your dots too :-)

    I agree, these dots tend to get obscured by all the other dots, so then the blogworld becomes one big dot.

    There's something very spiritually revealing about that. Time to start a new religion.

  54. teehee... with you and me as the high priest and priestess, eh?

    damien can be the bouncer and h.e. can write he manifesto... or whatever they call that thing!

  55. Angel:

    High priest and priestess? Wouldn't we have to, then, you know...sacrifice people and stuff?

  56. Flight Captain of Spaceship Orion:

    I have you something!

    I am blown away by cyberspace and conversing/meeting people thousands of miles away...we probably have been some of the last of Australians to get internet service (we are on dial up), it's pretty steady; but I have some aerial photos fore you.

    We cannot access google zoom thingo.. I loved the pictures of all the places/cities you showed btw, fantastic.


    But, I can email you through a 200m balloon photo of our farm area...quite detailed and also a picture our friend from Melbourne emailed us in file form of google zoom-thing she had saved down....if that makes sense.

    I think I saw an email contact on your blog I will go and email these pics through...I do understand your fascination for our country....sheer expanse and space (and it is very very beautiful-has everything)

    Hang on..


  57. Pam:

    Those were great pix, thanks so much, and it looks like a spectacular property.

    Canada is much bigger than Australia, of course, so we have wide open expanses too.

    But Australia has some mystique, some wonder to it, it's so different from us...



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