What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Geek Moment: Google Maps

Lately, I've become a little bit addicted to Google Maps. The last few days I've spent way too much time examining the globe and all of the wonderful things that can be viewed from space. I've found my apartment, my parent's house, the house I grew up in, the location of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare performed many of his plays, the modern recreation of the Globe, and Anne Frank's house, among other things. I've also been brushing up on my Iraq War knowledge by finding the places in Iraq where things happened, where Saddam lived, the airport, and that sort of thing.

Based on the fact that the house that I grew up in has some foreign items in the backyard I'm assuming that the satellite photo is taken after the summer of 2003, when my parents moved into their current house, which is also when Amanda and I moved to Baytown from Fort Worth. But, based on the incomplete restaurant across the street from our apartment, the incomplete construction of the Toyota Center in Houston, and the fact that there are currently houses behind our apartment complex, but none show in the photo, this photo couldn't have been taken within the last year or two. It's my guess that it's a 2004 photo, sometime in February or March.

If I'm right then the U.S. was fully entrenched in the securing of democracy in Iraq, having completed the mission and all, so it was with some excitement and "holy-crap"ness that I scrolled across this portion of the Google Maps satellite photo in Iraq. I can only imagine, with violence at an all time high in Iraq, if the satellite were to take a photo now we would see more just like this. Anyway, I was pretty fascinated.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sympathy? More like Empathy!

Last night I was hanging lights at the Baytown Little Theatre when I got a call from my brother. I hadn't heard my cell ring because my music was playing, but I soon noticed that my brother had called and I called him back. A very urgent Jason told me he'd broken his leg. He needed me to call our grandmother, who was coming to pick up his kids, and give her directions to the hospital. As he began to describe to me in great detail exactly what happened and all of the ways that his leg was flopping around and completely useless to him at the current time I began getting slightly unnerved and asked him to just give the directions, because hearing the details was making me physically hurt, myself.

It got me thinking about a couple of things. First off, I thought about how glad I was that I didn't go into the medical field. I am so squeemish I become ill just thinking of the visual aid Jason used to describe how his injury happened. Hint: it involved straws.

The second thing that has been on my mind after this event is the idea of empathy. Empathy runs heavy in my family. Everyone who heard about Jason's injury and how it happened said the same thing. "That hurts just to hear it!" And it does. I went and saw Jason in his hospital gown and leg contraption, hooked up to IVs and eating hospital food, and the whole time I was there I had a pain in my own leg. That sounds a little extreme, but it was true.

Empathy is a wierd emotion. It's not even as much of an emotion as it is a talent or ability. Or curse, depending on how you look at it. Empathy, for some of my high school students, is synonomous with "sympathy," which is an understandable misconception. Sympathy is largely a result of empathy, although it's very possible to experience one without the other.

I think true empathy is actually an accurance of feeling what someone else is feeling, even if you have never experienced that. It's knowing how a friend feels at the loss of a loved one, despite having never lost a loved one your self. I've never broken my leg, but I certainly can imagine the pain. I suppose that is what empathy is: imagination. But, imagination shouldn't be taken lightly. I believe that imagination can be as fullfilling, hurtful, dangerous, or awesome as reality in many ways and should be treated with care, just as we are cautious with our reality. How often have we heard of people getting too caught up in lies or an imaginary life to the point that affects their real life?

So, empathy, while a good quality to have can also be a curse of sorts. I guess I'm happy to have the ability to feel for my family when they are hurting, just so that they know I care and that I am understanding. With that said, I'm not looking forward to childbirth.