Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Monday, August 23, 2021
Thursday, August 19, 2021
I've never been much of a beach person anyway, or at least not after teenage years, and the best holidays I recall were those in which I drifted lazily on a lilo or later in a fibreglass canoe. I can only picture myself on each at a particular point and place in time, and I figure such snapshots are the sort that make up the reel as you fall from a block of flats, God not having the time to screen the full length version. One is in said canoe on Loch Linnhe, staring at its inky depths from which plumes rose vertiginously from as a result of tidal floes. Another is on the inflatable upon an Austrian see, upon which the sun ever shone. I Googled the hotel we used yesterday evening, a splendid monument to the era before the sun n' sand flights that have since fucked us all over. It looked like the Grand Hotel Budapest of the movie, and its residents were part and parcel... ageing diamond-dealers and so forth of the kind that litter Agatha Christies.
Whilst here the most constructive thing that I have done, quite literally, is to revisit an outline I had a decade ago for a flying boat made like so much of my creations from template drawn from a stock sheet of ply or foam. I like it a lot, but the one thing you learn rapidly about innovation is that it is never easy... the idea worth a dollar, the product ten and the factory a hundred as they used to say until Jeff Bezos altered it to say that good intentions build nothing, while mechanisms do. And he should know. But the legendary TV personality (himself of noble Austrian extraction as I recall) Bob Symes, long since dead, used to say that inventors most often succeeded with things they went back to. I met him once, Horatio.
And after all, God loves a dryer doesn't he?
Unspellchecked version: God loves a tryer doesn't he?
(One thing I've been meaning to pitch to a publisher, and yet may, is a series of spell-checked novels contains sentences like "As Jane Eyre entered the study unbidden, her master looked up from his writing-desk, a penis in hand."
Accordingly, I cannot let this thing go, this electrical helicopter. Yes, Solomon said a fool returns to his folly as a dog to his vomit, but that was before drones wasn't it? And didn't Linus Torvalds say that life was nothing without a project? And how half the world's internet servers run on his Linux, none run on the Book of Solomon?
At the moment I am stuck here, though as good a place as any to be stuck, in view of the Covid travel restrictions that debar me from a return to the UK without a ten-day imprisonment in an airport hotel in Manchester, from which you'd likely emerge with as robust a case of PTSD as you would from Guantanamo and not least for the cost. Casting about for alternatives there are few countries that do not permit entry, for at least the ten days interlude required, without excessive paperwork and endless Q-tips up the nose. And these are no ordinary Q-tips, but of a length which goes a long way toward clearing wax from the brain.
Absent from the list however is Mexico, where nonetheless cases of infection are rising at an extraordinary rate. As the USA requires a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival, albeit at your chosen accommodation, I discover that this has been the means of choice of getting to America: fourteen days of trying to avoid being mugged or shot at by drug cartels. As a result of the loophole, air fares to Mexico City are a rewind to the era prior to no-frills travel. And anyway, the capitol is miles away from intended border crossing at Tijuana, a stone's throw from where I had intended to go around now, which was (and remains) San Diego.
Reason being, to visit Morty, of whom I know little or nothing about except that the offer of accommodation at his behest he offered for the duration. For all I know that could be a tent on the sidewalk, but needs must. We met, at the risk of sounding like a romance, on a YouTube commentary that featured footage of 'Hero Flyer'. This was a pseudonym for a guy who built an eight-motored electrical flying machine, which both Morty and I felty should long since have been put into production. Both he and it have disappeared without trace however, and the regrettable conclusion that the two of us came to was that the guy probably died in his contraption as most pilots did at the dawn of the original form of aviation a century prior. (That discounts balloons, which did the same for their authors a further century prior, by catching fire or climbing to previously-unknown heights were their literal basket-cases suffocated.)
Morty was and is a total novice at the 'Game of Drones' and called upon me in recent months firstly to see if I had one ready. Like everyone else I didn't, having relied at both school and university on night-before efforts and subsequently losing like a hare to the tortoises. Albeit a gifted hare: in one essay my degree was actually downgraded for suggesting that Germany might yet be unified. "Never going to happen, is it?" said the beardy from Leicester University called upon to adjudicate...
But after hours and hours of advising Morty how to build personal air vehicles with electrical motors and carbon-fibre propellers, he goes off to design one himself with the assistance of a fabricator who normally builds dune-buggies. They are getting no further than he would with my assistance, until such time as I advise him to look for someone who knows how to do the software side and he finds a lady whom it appears he intends to keep for himself; females, brains and drones being a heady cocktail. And so I am, once more, left out in the cold and Alone Again naturally as Gilbert O'Sullivan.
So I forfend on San Diego, it looking as costly a remedy as any for itchy feet, however alluring the name sounds. When I was a child I used to think Welwyn Garden City was as cool a sounding place as any and was surprised to discover it was not actually in the USA... and even more surprised to find myself eventually eating cheese scones in its John Lewis store. San Diego has much the same allure ('lido' being another word which entranced me as a child with its imagined pleasures under endless sunshine), although I feel in my heart that once there I would rapidly tire of lotus-eating and want to move on if only because, as the Buddhist Alan Watts pointed out, wanting to be elsewhere is a symptom of the human condition that only meditation can cure.
For me then, this has to be finished our else I myself am finished: a relic of an earlier age when flying was for fun and not for fucking the world, a loser whose predictions end their lives as corner-table reminiscences in public houses, a man who has started so much including life and yet saw none of it to conclusion, let alone success?
The hotel is no longer, incidentally. It was bought by an entrepreneurial philanthropist in 2015 and converted in a suitable bland-looking workspace for aspiring engineers. I'd apply to fabricate my people-carrying drone there, but am way above their age-grade.