Archive for November, 2015

“I saw three ships coming sailing in. . .”

Well, that’s not really true. We didn’t actually see them come sailing in, but we did see them in all their glory.  Jamestown Settlement has a re-created version of the three ships in which a total of 104 passengers arrived there from England in 1607.  Katie and I found our exploration of the largest ship, the Susan Constant, to be fascinating.  I was too busy being amazed and learning all kinds of interesting knowledge to take very many pictures of my own, but here’s a picture of the trio, lifted from the Jamestown Settlement website.

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The ship we examined exhaustively (the Susan Constant, in the foreground above) looks pretty big there, but she was VERY small, only 82 feet long by 24 feet wide.  Everything was meticulously arranged, from the captain’s cabin on the main deck, the pegboard system for determining speed and direction (this was long before Harrison’s marine chronometer!), and the sleeping berths below decks, to the system for raising and lowering sails, the armament, the rudder control, and the bilge pump.

We had a dandy time thoroughly investigating the Susan Constant; which time was greatly enhanced by the detailed explanations offered by her excellent, extremely intelligent, and politely flirtatious “costumed historical interpreter,” pictured here.

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This charming fellow knew the answers to every question I could think to ask (and I do ask a LOT of questions, being intensely curious and loving to learn), and he explained each piece of information in a delightful British accent and with a level of grace, etiquette, and think-on-your-feet quick wit that is rarely seen in folks today.  In fact, as I was thanking him for making our time on board so interesting, I thought to myself that he is one of the few people I’ve ever met whose acting and comedy skills put him in the same league with Terry the Tour Guide.  = )

I only took a few pictures of the ship(s), but those vessels were definitely a high point of our time together.  Here’s the Susan Constant,

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a shot of her crow’s nest,

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and Katie manning the tiller on the Godspeed.

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Yes, she’s standing in the middle of (the width of) the ship, so you can see how tiny it is, and 52 men lived on it for 144 days!  In fact, considering all that those intrepid adventurers faced during their trans-Atlantic passage and then upon arrival in the New World, “Godspeed” was probably a vital key to their survival!

And with that, I officially wrap up my documentation of our four days of discovery together in the Tidewater region of Virginia.

Woe is we

We in our family have become totally dependent on electricity and technology.  When either of them fails us, we are seriously inconvenienced and mildly (Scott) to moderately (Andrew) or intensely (Patty) frustrated.  Two cases in point.

For the past several weeks, Scott’s phone has been acting out.  It disconnects at weird times, most often when Scott is talking to me(!), and from time to time it completely dies and will not take a charge.  Initially this occurred on Sunday mornings, but then it started happening at other times throughout the week.  Not only did this adversely affect Scott’s primary job, his secondary job, and his ministry responsibilities, it affected me because on no notice he had to use my phone for his conference calls – when I was planning to use it for other things.

Quite a bit of research, two trips to the phone repair place, several Q-tip shafts of cleaning, and lots of frustration later, it was still intermittently working. . . or not.  As he headed out of town on a business trip one day, he took it to a different repair place that switched out the battery for $50.  Hopefully it will continue to work now.

In July, Andrew forked out $400 to buy his dream (Lenovo) computer.  It’s a dandy, with loads of great features, and it does everything he wants it to do.  He uses it all the time – for web surfing, for facebook, for looking at cars, for making purchases, for email, and especially for music.  He listens to music on his computer while doing the dishes, while cleaning the church, and while doing his vacation rental cleaning job.  He took the computer with him to Michigan right after he got it, and he pretty much takes it everywhere he goes except school.

A week ago, it stopped working.  Black screen of death stuff.  He tried all the usual things and nothing worked.  Scott tried lots of things.  Nothing worked.  This is maximally frustrating to Andrew, and hence, VERY upsetting to all of us.  He has no music, no connectivity, none of the usual things for which he uses his computer on a daily basis.  With Scott, he contacted Lenovo support and the helpful first guy figured out that it’s not a hardware problem, so it must be a software problem.  He sent them to the significantly-less-than-helpful second gal, who took a long time to basically say, “too bad, so sad.”  Andrew has a warranty, but I guess it’s only for hardware.  The gal gave him two options:  he could spend $100 for something that might or might not fix it, or he could spend $200 for something that might or might not fix it.  As he has neither $100 nor $200 – not to mention the fact that the computer is BRAND NEW (Hello?!?), neither of those options is viable.  And so, he is now out $400 and has a dead computer to show for it.

One of the things they tried was some kind of factory re-set deal, and when it started running, it said – are you ready? – two hundred ninety HOURS remaining!  Andrew moaned, “That’s over twelve DAYS!!!”  But, as is often the case, it went down and actually only took something like 35 hours.  And didn’t work.  So he did it again, and it didn’t work.  And this evening he’s been trying not to cry.  I feel really bad for him.  He did nothing wrong, and yet he’s getting reamed.

In an extremely minor frustration, truly not even worthy of being numbered with the above two, I am trying to learn to do a certain small part of the vacation rental financial stuff, and when I went to do what I was supposed to do, I could not for love or money log into the site I needed to access.  I did exactly what I was supposed to do, and it didn’t work – even though it had worked perfectly the day before when Scott was sitting beside me.  His “mouth hold” situations are well-known, of course, but the very fact that there is absolutely no logic to them makes them even more maddening.  I spent more than 15 minutes doing the same procedure over and over and over and over and getting absolutely nowhere.

I have learned some lessons from all of this.

1. Buy all your electronics new and with a warranty.

2. Realize that even if you have a warranty, it may be meaningless.

3. When learning a new procedure that involves electronics, write out a back-up plan for when it doesn’t work.

4. Never, under any circumstances or for any reason (including, but not limited to great price, outstanding features, or your brother’s stellar experience) buy any product made or marketed by Lenovo.

This is real life in our electronics-dependent world.  Technology is truly wonderful when it works.  When it doesn’t, paper, pencil, and a calculator start looking really good!