Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Imagine what new avenues the drone will open up for Martha Stewart

Personally, I think she got a raw deal, and that orange should never have been Martha Stewart’s new black, but I must say that, when Martha was doing time, I was somewhat relieved.

No longer did I have to feel inadequate because I didn’t change the pillows on the sofa, the artwork on the walls, and the duvet covers on the bed each and every season.

I no longer had to worry about whether my gift would be received as lesser and less thoughtful if it came wrapped in paper that I got on the half-price sale at Papyrus the day after Christmas, rather than in handmade potato print gift wrap I’d hand stamped with potatoes into which I’d carved haute relief Christmas trees and reindeers.

I could quit fretting about eating in front of the news with a plate in my lap, rather than setting a gracious table decorated with water-filled glass cylinders stuffed with lemons and pomegranates, lit with hand-crafted Japanese lanterns, and featuring heirloom tomatoes from my garden and artisanal cheese from my goats.

So, yes, while Martha was serving time, I could kick-back and enjoy without feeling that, domestic-wise, I’m a lesser being.

Of course, Martha came back with a vengeance.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way to look at it, I had better things to do over the past decade than worry about keeping up with Martha Stewart.

But as I start to take on a home do-over project, Martha is, of course, much on my mind, and I have periodically begun asking myself the big question: What Would Martha Do?

Well, probably not what I’ll end up doing – I think she’s a bit puffier and more flowery than I am – yet for women of a certain age, Martha Stewart lurks behind every domestic decision, every domestic sin of commission and sin of omission.

And just when I had lulled myself into thinking that at least, on the technical end of the knowledge continuum, I probably know a thing or two more than Martha does – come on, what has she got to say about ARM vs. DSP processors, cloud security, file backup, etc? – I find that Martha’s been getting her geek on.

How geeky is she?

Well, for her birthday last year, which she celebrated in Maine – no doubt surrounded by beadboard, hyacinths, and billowing white sheers – Martha, writing in Time, tells us that she:

…was given a drone fitted with a high-definition camera. After a quick introduction to the mechanics of operating the contraption and a few words about its idiosyncrasies, I loaded the appropriate app on my iPad and went down to the beach…

The view I was “seeing” on my iPad with the help of the drone would have otherwise been impossible without the use of a private plane, helicopter, or balloon. With any of those vehicles, I would have needed a telephoto lens, and all of them would have made an unacceptable commotion on the beach. What’s more, I would not have been in the photos!

Martha acknowledges that landscape designers of yore managed to get by without drones. Why think of,

…André Le Nôtre laying out the exquisite landscape designs for Vaux-le-Vicomte, and later the magnificent Château de Versailles, with no high hill to stand on, no helicopter to fly in, and no drone to show him the complexities of the terrain.

Well, Martha and I have that in common, because the minute she mentioned taking a look-see around her spread via drone, André Le Nôtre was the first name that came to mind.

My mind started racing and I imagined all the different applications for my drone.

And my heart started racing at the thought of Martha’s mind coming up with drone apps. She’s using it to photograph her “properties, a party, a hike in the mountains, a day at the beach.”

Will I once again be made to feel like a nothing if I don’t get a drone and start recording stuff on it.

I may not have properties to capture, but wouldn’t it be fun to come home after a walk to the mailbox and review and aerial replay of it? Or a trip to Whole Foods, returning books to the library, shuffling off to the gym?

I could actually turn them into tourist videos, a drone’s eye view of downtown Boston.

Rick Steves, move over.

Martha is not relying solely on her personal drone:

One of my farm workers used his drone… to capture amazing images of my 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York. Suddenly we could see with astonishing clarity the layout of the open fields, the horse paddocks, the chicken coops, the greenhouses, the hay barn, the cutting gardens and henhouses, the clematis pergola, and the long allée of boxwood…

When I read the words “one of my farm workers”, and I the only one thinking Cesar Chavez: Viva la Huelga!)

The shots of my farm were breathtaking and showed not only a very good landscape design — thanks to the surveyors and landscapers who worked with me on the overall vision, much as le Notre worked with Louis XIV — they also showed me what more I can do in the future, and revealed unexpected beauty.

Ahem, Martha, that’s Le Nôtre – capital L, and a circumflex on the “o” in Nôtre.

Tsk, freaking, tsk.

On the other hand, nice to know that even someone like Louis XIV Martha Stewart doesn’t always get the details right.

An aerial shot of the vegetable garden looked very much like my Peter Rabbit marzipan embellished Easter cake, which was designed without the help of a drone.

As it happens, I make the carrot cake for Easter dinner at my sister’s. I thought I was pretty splashy when I surrounded it with green-dyed coconut “grass” and jelly beans, but, once again, I am trumped by Martha Stewart.

Next year, Peter Rabbit marzipan embellishment. That’s in case I don’t have anything better to do, and/or I can’t find a drone to do some embellishment for me.