aviation

keithlard's bath news

Well I did not have it the other night in fact, as I got distrackted by watching a programme about a top secret Russian aeroplane which was 150 times the size of a Jumbo jet. They had to have special giant stewardesses to push the huge supper trolley (I made that last bit up actually. But the rest is terrifyingly real.)

It was quite exciting yesterday as I was working at an advertising trade show in Olympia, full of smartly dressed shiny faced people with practised fake smiles and industrial strength make-up. There were also a lot of evidently hired dolly birds, in skimpy outfits or skin-tight PVC (eurgh! clammy!). I would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting where their manager says ‘So that concludes the briefing on our new corporate sales strategy… oh, and it would really help us out if you could wear a silly plastic nurse’s outfit tomorrow.’

The funny thing is if they were allowed to just wear normal clothes and talk to people normally, they would probably have more effeckt as no one is going to buy a £1 million PPC bid management platform from someone dressed as a lunchtime stripper. Also, I bet they do not say to the male sales people, ‘Oh, and would you mind wearing tight rugby shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt? And being attractive?”

Anyway, when I got home I thought I’d have that relaxing bath as I have been feeling a bit stressed out lately due to doing about 4 people’s jobs. I am one of Nature’s techies and it is nice being indispensible, but even I get a bit worn out when I am fixing laptops with one hand, typing code with the other, and reconfiguring a server with my feet. So I had a tasty creamy chicken soup and crusty bread for dinner and got into the bath.

It is great actually having baths as it is like a hot, wet bed. Actually that simile does not sound awfully attractive but you know what I mean. I had a glass of posh wine and listened to Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and read Christopher Priest’s The Prestige and Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain. It was quite a long bath!

Blog man in 'no pics' shock

Yes it is a non-picture post, I know it has been a lot lately but then I tend to not do any photergraphy for a while and then do loads all in one day. It was a very inspiring day out with lots of great things to take pictures of, and especially shooting in black and white which is brilliant. It is funny how less is more sometimes, perhaps if I left the lens cap on and took the battery out I could do even better!

Well I have been having a lot of intresting adventures, such as visiting England’s exclusive Hampshire, and seeing tigers which was fantastic. It was in a wildlife park of course not just roaming the streets of Wickham, yawning and snarling. Although that would be great. There are lots of pictures from that weekend though I have not got round to uploading them yet.

I did not do much this weekend except sprawling in ghastly sloth, and eat sossidges & mash (now with onion gravy!) Last night I passed a pleasant evening at the pub eating my own weight in nuts, chattering of inconsequentialia, and plotting which intresting films to see at the London Film Festival (all of them). Unfortunately I left my copy of Northanger Abbey there which is typical of me, I am a one-man BookCrossing. I will get it back later, by means of a clever subterfuge involving buying some beer. In the meantime I am reading Master and Commander which is quite exciting.

I had a horrid worry this morning due to the air crash in Phuket (aviation insiders never speak of a ‘crash’, by the way, rather a ‘hard landing’ - there are progressively harder degrees of landing, up to and including total destruction of the aircraft). I am probably one of the world’s biggest experts on air disasters, which makes me a bad person to talk to just before you go on holiday. Normally I enjoy recounting gloomy statistics and catastrophic failure modes, but it is a bit different when someone you care about might be on the plane, and you get a nasty cold feeling right around your breakfast.

I do not like being flown, any more than I like being driven in a car - it’s a control thing. I have said before I would not mind flying if it was me in charge, then I know at least if it all goes tits up it is my own fault. Ideally next time I fly I will be able to go up to the cockpit and inspeckt everything so as to make sure it is working, and ask questions like ‘Should that klaxon be going off’, or ‘Can anyone smell smoke?’. I will always be a bit concerned though, the worst possible girlfriend for me to have would be an air hostess, which is ironically what my last girlfriend was.

So that is the exciting news really, look out for some pictures of animals coming soon though.

Aerial photography

Perhaps oddly for someone who is petrified of flying I am fascinated by aviation and have always been a bit plane crazy, in fact I would love to become a pilot. A flight simulator like FlightGear is ideal as I can learn the basics, explore far-off places, and fly the latest high-speed military jets while eating crisps. This is not recommended for real pilots, as the crumbs could get into the ejector seat mechanism or interfere with avionics.

This is me creating a hazard to air traffic over the City of London, flying a Cessna 172 for a trip around the Gherkin.

Taking off in a Boeing 737-300 from Gatwick Airport, perhaps ferrying hundreds of excited holiday makers to a week in Ibiza. Some of them are drunk already. The 737 is quite easy to fly but I do not know what all the computers and stuff do, it is like NASA in there. Modern airliners are so sophistercated that if the pilot oversleeps and misses wheels-up, the plane will just take off automatically, fly itself to the destination, land safely, and then hang out in local bars all night chatting up girls.

In a Harrier over the mountains of Scotland, it is a beautiful aircraft and a remarkable air-to-air fighter, but it flies like a skittish, nervous fawn, and needs a steady hand on the stick if you are not going to suddenly flip over and crash while absent-mindedly checking your email.

Oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth. It is a shame that FlightGear does not model weapons as otherwise I could inflickt significant long-term damage on the Scottish economy, not that I would want to, as I love Scotchland and all Scotch things. Except Scotch which I do not like.

Taking off at dusk in a BO105 helicopter from San Francisco International. The helicopter is even more of a challenge to fly as the natural aerodynamic state of a helicopter is to be on the ground in 1 million pieces. Without constant rudder attention from the pilot a hovering helicopter will simply spin round and round and make everyone spill their chicken marengo. You need to balance power, collective, rudder and cyclic simply to keep the thing in stable flight, otherwise it turns into a very expensive brick.

Approaching downtown San Francisco with the Bay Bridge in the distance, Monster Park football stadium right of centre. I would like to go to America as I imagine all the girls there would like my posh British accent and think I am dead sexy like Hugh Grant, without the prostitutes. If there are any American girls visiting London that would like to help verify this hypothesis, please write to the address on your screens now and mark your envelopes ‘Like, y’know, whateverrr’.

Flying over the Bay Bridge, this is great as under any other circumstances I could get into serious trouble with the police and local civil aviation authorities. In fact on FlightGear you can connect to a multiplayer server and fly with other people, that sounds fun. Perhaps it could be connected to Second Life somehow so I could fly people around to visit places and tell them the local time is 12.15pm and thank you for flying Keithlard Airways. And get off with some virtual stewardesses, I mean, um, not that after all. Something else.