Thursday, January 17, 2013

Passing the Time

Two or three days at 50 degrees got rid of all that pesky snow we were planning to use to earn a meager living for a couple of months.

The shop is running on a skeleton crew. On many days we see no more than two or three customers.

Last Sunday I brought my rollers to work. Big G wasn't ready to try them, but he observed. I would hop on for a few minutes just for something to do. I brought them again today.

At least no one interrupts while we do inventory. It's a monumentally tedious task. One benefit of a bad economy is that we have fewer things to count. This means we also have fewer things to sell, although slow categories still show large stocks of things like ski wax.

Ski wax has no other uses. It makes lousy candles. Trust me, I tried. They burn really fast. So maybe we can melt down all the wax blocks and dip scrap lumber in them to make fire lighters for people with wood stoves and fireplaces. We won't recover our whole investment, but we can get something.

Looking out at the half-frozen lake I just had an idea for a pedal-powered amphibious vehicle. I was trying to imagine a pedal-powered hovercraft when it morphed into a pseudo-hovercraft. Imagine an inflatable boat around a bicycle. The pedals drive a wide, flat paddle wheel that also functions as a drive track on land or ice. It would be sort of like a pedal-powered half-track with pontoons.

Anything crazy has already been invented. The crazier it seems, the more likely you can find it in a You Tube video. I'll have to poke around a little before I waste time sketching anything.

In the early 1980s I drew up some concept sketches for a fast pedal boat for commuting by water in the Annapolis area. I had no money, so I never tried to build anything. This new idea is less elegant but might offer a new vehicle for the kind of mixed glop winter has been delivering.

It's something to think about, anyway. Beats wondering when the flu epidemic will slam us.

I swear I remember a time when winter was fun. Now we just stand around in our store waiting for someone to want something we carry and hope they're not carrying something we don't want. Slim compensation for the lack of customers: no one is coughing, sneezing or otherwise exuding pathogens on us.


RANTWICK said...

I remember when winter was fun too. I sure hope that I see a true, snowy winter again. I'm beginning to doubt. Keep rolling, dude.

greatpumpkin said...

Or just move to someplace that has no pretensions to having winter at all.

Here is a web site for a pedal-powered hovercraft built on a recumbent trike chassis.

cafiend said...

Winterless places have their own host of problems, not the least of which is suffering from their own popularity.

greatpumpkin said...

Or the heat and humidity. Take your pick.