Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm reading maps...and I don't know what they mean.

I like maps.
I am a self-confessed map lover.
I went into spasms of joy on the tour of Vatican City when you walk through this hall that is covered with paintings of all kinds of maps, thousands of years old.

Many of them are frescoes, and that is my favorite style of painting.  It is difficult, but the results are absolutely wonderful---it involves painting into wet plaster and finishing your masterpiece BEFORE THE PLASTER DRIES.  So next time you look at a mind blowing painting, and then you hear it is a fresco, remember that they were creating that bad boy on a serious deadline.

The Last Supper is a fresco, and that thing is incredibly detailed for having been painted in a rush, but the plaster (made of lime and river sand) wasn't mixed right, which is why you hear about the Last Supper preservation and the crisis about maintaining it.

Frescoes are often used for building exteriors because the piugment soaks into the wall and is therefore a part of the actual wall, beyond just the surface.

I didn't mean to go on this great and bizarre tangent.
I just wanted to talk about how friggin sweet maps are, and instantly thought of the Hall of Maps because it is one of my favorite places in the world.

I thought of maps because when I opened the Huffington Post this morning, it had an article about the New Jersey coastline devastated by Hurrican Sandy, and how most of the houses were built on the WRONG SIDE OF THE SEAWALL.
Which is why many of them were totally destroyed---not following building code!
 And they had a map illustrating this, and I was looking at it starry-eyed, enjoying all of its neat map qualities, and realized I hardly even knew what I was looking at, analysis-wise. 
I didn't care about the map's informational intention, I was just absorbed observing it.
What a map nerd!  They also had some images that I was stunned by.
It really does look like a post-apocalyptic world.  Anyone making an end-of-the-world movie should just film it on the Jersey shore--free and authentic backdrops! It blew me away.
And seems eerily and sadly fitting for the whole "Mayan Apocalypse" that some nutcases think is coming up in a few weeks.

Yes, this whole lecture because I looked at a map this morning.

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