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Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Bored. Bored, bored, bored. I have so much to do in terms of work and fic and running and quilting that I don't want to do any of it. As an aside, I've noticed that I can be disciplined about any two of those four things at once: I did great churning out the fic this spring, but now I'm burned out on it. I've been better about running more often and for longer, but I can't seem to get myself to work even though it's summer and my only deadlines are vague, far-off ones. Of course, that could be the problem; I work better under pressure, I guess.

Way back at the start of the year, I had this post-a-week idea set up, and then I stopped doing it. I still have a lot of suggestions to answer, so I'm going to start with xcziel's question:  maps! Top 5 things you love about them + 1 time you maybe were a little bit of a map!geek.

1) I have always loved maps. We took summer road trips across the continent when I was a kid, and I would pore over the road atlas to see where we were and what we were driving by and where we were going. My dad taught middle school geography, so that probably worked its way in somehow.

2) I have always loved fantasy novels. If a fantasy novel doesn't have a map on the first few pages, it loses a lot of cred with me. My dad had an assignment for his students where they had to make up a country and explain the terrain, where the cities were, where the farms were, etc., etc. I thought it was the greatest thing ever, and if and when I ever write original fic, the map is going to come first.

3) Maps are completely taken for granted as truthful representations of the world, and yet they're just as biased as any piece of writing. They include some things and exclude others, they use color and font and layout to persuade the reader the same way words can. There's a huge body of literature about this, but How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier and The Power of Maps by Denis Wood are the classics.

4) Maps don't just reflect reality, they produce it. The best example is the mapping of US congressional districts: whoever controls the mapping process can break apart the opposing party into multiple districts so they can't elect anyone (cracking), or put them all into one district and save the rest for themselves (packing), and the result is that even though Democrats received a majority of the vote in the last US House election, they have a minority of the seats. And that's the side of Congress that's supposed to more directly represent the population.

5) Maps are a way to show information in a much more concise way than tables, graphs, or text. A lot of times, you can look at a map and BOOM, you just get it.

And more of a funny story than a geek thing, but in college, I covered my half of the freshman dorm room with maps, including a lovely big one of Ireland that was on the ceiling over the bed because I'd run out of wall space. A friend pointed out that was kind of like "lie back and think of England," and I had no idea what he meant. SO EMBARRASSED when he explained it to me. /o\

There are still plenty of weeks left to fill, if you have questions you want to ask!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
You're such an adorable mapgeek ;-)

My brother watched some show that was about how the state lines were drawn and it was kind of like with congressional districts where some of it was purely coincidental with space and much of it was overly political.
Jul. 12th, 2014 09:54 am (UTC)

My parents have seen that show, or at least read the book. It sounded really interesting!
Jul. 11th, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC)
I love maps, too, and I totally understand what you mean about fantasy novels: they just gotta have one. When "Game of Thrones" first aired on HBO I was so freakin' over the moon that they began with the MAP!

I'm on an academic calendar, too, and trying SO hard to get ahead this summer, but JEEZ, I'm also fried and need a few days to just NOT do stuff, if you know what I mean. I'm a bit depressed, really, because I already feel that my days to just be are over. There is so much stacked up to do at work...and the only way I'll survive fall and spring is to get ahead now.

Still... Just want to read fanfic. And write a little, too. LOL.
Jul. 12th, 2014 09:55 am (UTC)
I think that thrilled me about GoT at the start, too!

I know, it feels like summer is over already and as usual, my massive to-do list is not even a third of the way done. *sigh* But hang in there!
Jul. 11th, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC)
Maps are so interesting. A must in fantasy novels as I'm always referencing them when reading the books. It absolutely endears me to a book more if they have one.

I also had a huge map of Ireland that I hung on my wall, I still have it, alas I don't have the wall space for it.
Jul. 12th, 2014 09:56 am (UTC)
I suppose that's because fantasy stories so often involve a journey? I wonder why it is that we insist that genre have a map but not not others.
Jul. 11th, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC)
I looove maps so much. I have always loved maps sooo much. But I will grant you that you probably love them more than I do. XD STILL. I AGREE WITH ALL THE POINTS ABOVE. I think it's so interesting to read maps for their biases since people take them as fact.

Also, that assignment is gr8 your dad is baller.
Jul. 12th, 2014 09:58 am (UTC)
Probably. ;) One of the first things I did when I learned how to use GIS to make maps on the computer was to plot out the location of all of the X-Files episodes, including my best guesses as to the made-up towns like Syzygy. /o\

But OMG, I love your icon.
Jul. 12th, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
Maps are the best. We have a huge USGS map of the spot I grew up at on our kitchen wall and another with a sketched added of a Coast Guard icebreaker that foundered and then sank there. I had a map of Narnia on my wall the until I left for college. I loved orienteering as a kid too. I can't remember the name of it now but there's a website where they post really unique maps with explanations. I never really thought much about how much meaning there is in a map until I started looking at the site. Really fascinating stuff.
Jul. 12th, 2014 10:00 am (UTC)
Cool! We had a topographic map of Glacier National Park on the wall in the back room, by the telephone, and I would look at it while having phone conversations. I swear I memorized almost every line. :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )