Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Desktop Travelers

They say you should be careful what you wish for.  A while back I expressed a silent plea to the universe to send me more work--not the tedious, mind-numbing data input kind but something I actually enjoy--like transcription work. A few weeks ago a client found a box of old cassette tapes of conferences from 30 and 40 years ago, converted them to CDs and has been sending them, small batches at a time, ever since. 

Today a new client queried about my doing a lengthy, two-part interview, to be transmitted by a DSS file.  And so I'm spending a lot of time at the computer listening to voices and keyboarding speeches, dialogues, anecdotes, historical reports, ruminations, etc.  It's a mezmerizing world, where time passes so quickly: one minute you sit down with a morning cup of coffee, to begin; next thing you know it's supper time and you've somehow missed lunch.    I have to remind myself to go outside and, as they say here, "take the air".  Get some sun.  Walk or bike the stiffness off.

In the meantime, I've been doing a bit of traveling--vicariously, that is.  Yesterday I was at the beach. It was deserted and the sky and water and sand were just right.  I have no idea where it was.  I downloaded its image from the Google Images page and set it as my monitor's "wallpaper".

Today I'm in the little town of Llandudno in North Wales.  I'm changing my visual wallpaper every week or so now.  I have always wanted to go to Wales.  This is probably the only way I will ever be able to do so, seeing as how even wild horses couldn't drag me onto an airplane, nor could I afford the ticket.  I thank whoever it was who gave me the gift of unrelenting imagination, though. That you can look at a digital image and mentally put yourself there, be in the scene, not just observing the landscape but imagine feeling the brisk air, warmth of the sun, hear the sound of the rainfall on a tin roof, people talking in a language I can't understand.  That you can go anywhere, into the past, even. 

This happens also, from reading words in a book, or pulling some cherished memory out of the place it's stored in your head, and re-living it.  What I find amazing is that it's sometimes so vivid, you almost don't want to 'come back.'

Meanwhile, back to the grind, so to speak.  Voices from the machine are calling.  Keystrokes to go before I sleep (apologies to Frost).


Jim Murdoch said...

You should try Google Earth. If I'm at a loose end I'll type in the address of someone I know or some place I used to live and go for a virtual drive around the neighbourhood. I've just done a wee tour of your stomping ground. The detail is amazing. And even if you haven't an address you can still type in 'Llandudno' and have a drive around there.

awyn said...

Hi Jim,
I'm in Prague now, on a lovely bridge, at dusk, though it's early afternoon here in Quebec. But as you suggested, I took a quick hop back to Llandudno, traveled a road about 1 km from Pemmaenmawr, 2 km from Dwygyfyichi and went through a tunnel bore into the side of a mountain, the water to my right. Also down some residential sidewalks. A wealth of detail not possible from just a photo. Thanks for the tip! :)

Paul L. Martin said...

Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote the classic "Oh The Places You'll Go," his last book before he went--shuffled off this mortal coil, to quote the Bard. He died before Google Earth's heyday. Boy if he only knew

I particularly like the wallpaper in Windows XP of the lane in New Hampshire bracketed by trees in full fall yellow blazes. I often sit at my desk and wish I could just walk into my computer screen and down that lane. There is an interesting story behind that standard desktop wallpaper. The shot was taken by a photographer trying out some lenses. They were practice shots that he kept. Microsoft bought the images in a package deal and I believe he received less than $100 for that autumnal shot. A writer from Vanity Fair researched the picture and the photographer, and went back to the exact location during the winter months some years later. The fence had mostly broken down, and the lane was covered in a deep blanket of snow, so it was virtually unrecognizable as the lane in the photograph. Supposedly, it is one of the most popular of the Windows wallpaper shots.

Every picture tells a story. And if we cannot afford to travel, thank God for virtual reality travel via the computer screen.

awyn said...

What a lovely story, Paul. I once took a photograph in Vermont, at sunset of a boy and girl on the edge of a little bridge ramp that jutted out towards the lake. They were simply sitting there looking out at the lake, almost as shadows because the angle of the ramp dominated the picture. A few months later the ramp was torn down. I enlarged and framed that photo and it hangs on a wall upstairs, reminding me, every time I look at it, of walks along that bike path near the lake. Even virtual travelers take a break, though. As much as I loved that magnificent imaginary tour of Prague, that scenic delight is being replaced now by an old photo of one of our cats, and after that possibly, Van Gogh's starry night. Next week, if there's a heat wave, I may bring out a snow picture. Each, in its own way, inspiration, and not just wallpaper. Thanks for stopping by.