Honey, We Have a Problem

December 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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Barton and I had spent the morning making revisions and changes to the memoir we are writing, and we returned home to implement these revisions into our working document, and I also had planned an afternoon of catching up on work. I turned on the computer, opened all files, and a few seconds later- it all froze. Frozen- completely.

I pressed the power button, and the computer booted up with a purple and green striped screen, which looked like Christmas wrapping paper, with an error message to reboot, in more than one language. I did try, with the same result- in which case you know not to try anymore otherwise you will hit a high level of frustration just from producing an identical result.

Barton was on the deck with the dogs, and I made a face through the windows. “Honey, we have a problem.”

I turned the computer around so he could see the ‘70’s tv color stripes on the screen. I was determined not to freak out.

The afternoon ensued with preparation in case I had lost all data, and a trip to Apple amongst several hundred Christmas shoppers, to thankfully discover it was a graphic card failure, known to fail, and the repairs would be at no cost. As chaotic as the store was, I was still impressed with their customer service.

Barton mentioned more than once that he was proud of my reaction- a far cry from a few years ago. And when I needed a minute so that I could keep my composure and not get lost in the fear of computer crashes, Barton was gracious enough to give me the space I needed.

Several years ago, with a PC, I was working on an article for the News and Observer North Raleigh News, and interview contacts were in an email by the editor who had sent them just as he was going out of town. I don’t know why, but I had this nightmare that my computer wouldn’t turn on, and well, I must have been on that weird wavelength because I woke up early to find the computer would not power up. 7:00am, and poor Barton woke up to my blood curling scream and hyperventilation. Several trips to Best Buy, $100 data recovery plus repair costs to the power strip- all in early December, and it just happened to be the day the Wii was making its debut. What a nightmare it was.

Even with a calmer response, for a writer, any technical glitch can be frustrating and set one back on their deadlines. More than once I tried to get up “to check my computer,” sitting back down to realize there was nothing to check. I sat with my Tension Tamer tea in hand, realizing that whatever work I thought I was going to get done just went out the window.

I breathed in a mixture of peppermint and chamomile, and pulled out a notebook and pen.



July 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Around the House, Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | 1 Comment
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Barton on his BlueTooth.

Barton on his BlueTooth.

Thursday morning, Barton was all giddy about adventure getting his new I-Phone. Since most I-phones are touch phones and use heat sensitivity and finger motion to work, he assumed he couldn’t use one. However, when I needed a new phone and as a Christmas present, he picked one up for me, he found out he could use it. In fact, he spent all night reprogramming all of the sounds on my phone- if only you could have seen my reaction when Barton called me the next day!

So when the newest version came out, Barton knew he could get a deal on an older, accessible version of the I-Phone that he could use. While we needed to communicate a couple of times that day, I had to be patient as Barton was still learning his new tool. Although his did test my patient as I was accidentally hung-up on, more than once.

That evening, as I was taking a break from the heat to set up a local community Summer Music Series, Barton leaned over to me and whispered, “This is just sad.”

I looked up and realized that everyone in the place was on a technological devise. Barton was playing on his new phone & I was checking to see if I had any new email or voicemails.

Over in the corner, a family was absorbed as well- the husband on a laptop, wife on a cell phone and child on a Gameboy. There are times when communication is so important, and I could tell you I wouldn’t know what to do without laptop or mobile phone.

Barton and I communicate during the day, probably more times than most other couples. I am figuring out logistics- when & how to get him & me where we need to be. And he is working on projects and may have questions for me as well. And I admit, there are times when I just call to say, “I love you.”

On the other hand, we have to be so careful not to get so absorbed in our technology that we forget how to talk to each other in person. Over the July 4th weekend, we put down the work and technology for a while, and it was great just to spend some time enjoying each other sitting on the back porch.

When we do get back to the computer or working on projects, we feel more focused and inspired to get clicking away.

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Audio- Barton and Megan Speak at The International Conference on Self Determination

June 1, 2009 at 12:24 am | Posted in Ramblings, Speaking Engagements | Leave a comment
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Barton and Megan in a more graceful moment posing for a picture.

Barton and Megan in a more graceful moment posing for a picture.

We’ve written a blog about speaking at the International Conference on Self Determination on May 3, 2009 in Winston Salem, NC. We had hoped to include the video of our speaking segment as well, but alas, it is not to be, not yet anyway. Through a barrage of technological disasters, we decided to refrain from showing you our pitiful video, upside down, mind you. To read our full explanation of technological turbulence, see our additional blogs below. Instead, we bring to you an unedited audio file of our segment as panelists. Please note that this panel discussion is very informal and lighthearted. 


International Conference on Self Determination

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Adventures in Technology, One Step at a Time

June 1, 2009 at 12:17 am | Posted in Ramblings, Speaking Engagements | Leave a comment
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Three months ago, we bought a digital video camera in the hopes that we could produce some videos for this blog. We have all these magnificent ideas on how we would to like to show all of you snippets of our lives. Amusing vignettes from various situations that only Megan and I can get ourselves into.

When Megan brought the camera home, we were both bursting with excitement about the potential of what this would offer. But because of the backlog of work and other projects, we found ourselves walking past the camera, still in its packaging on the kitchen table for the next three weeks thinking about how we really need to make time to open it and begin our long list of playful experiments.

When we finally did open it, at 11:58pm two nights before the conference in Winston-Salem, it became quickly obvious that our timing still left much to be desired. When I noticed the first grumblings of imitation as Megan struggled to fight her way through the overcomplicated packaging, I should have proposed that a good night’s rest would have simplified this endeavor a hundred-fold, yet, understanding the sense of urgency about the need to understand this new technology before the quickly approaching conference, we were both too tired to fool with it. After several aborted attempts, we did somehow manage to get the camera operational, minutes before our presentation at the conference.

But alas, when we returned home, the battery died, and there was no charger in the package to be found. We spent several more weeks attempting to figure out how this supposedly rechargeable gadget was recharged because of course this one bit of vital information was never covered in the instruction manual. I returned to Best Buy to buy a new charger, and after probing the aisle for the correct one, I learned from a member of the Geek Squad that is supposed to be charged through one’s computer.

Wonderful! It has been several more weeks, and we finally made the time to figure out the installation for one of our computers (we are still trying to figure out how to install software a Mac).

When we finally could view our attempts at recording, we were amazed to discover how clearly Megan and I came through on camera, now we just need to figure out how to record ourselves the right side up!

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June 1, 2009 at 12:13 am | Posted in Ramblings, Speaking Engagements | Leave a comment
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While I have inherited my family’s creative genes, I obviously did not inherit their sense of technology or engineering.

Several years back when we received Barton’s walker, it arrived in a box of pieces with directions. It took me all afternoon to organize all the pieces and read the directions to figure out the first step for the assembly of this array of red and silver metal pieces. A while later, Barton had thrown out the directions and was disregarding the need to use all the parts. I had come to trust Barton’s sense of hardware and how pieces fit together, but technology is a whole different story.

Yes, Barton and I had great intentions of starting our video blog right away. Have you ever had one of those Duh! moments? We’ve had many over the last few weeks.

Focusing on writing projects and family travels, we had let the video camera project slide to the last place on the list of things to do. And I admit, computer/technology has always intimidated me because I have spent full days getting nowhere with installing and reinstalling software, crashing computers and technological turmoil.

So when we arrived at the conference having barely touched the video at all, I thought- how hard it could be? We’ll just see what happens. I spent twenty minutes trying to figure out how to attach it to a tripod, and ended up pulling tape out of Barton’s briefcase.

I fully admit that I used blue painters tape to attach the video camera to the tripod because I couldn’t figure out how to screw it into the attachment. (Duh! I felt so stupid when I saw the little hole for the tripod attachment a week later) In the middle of our speaking segment, Barton and I made eye contact as we noticed an edge of the painters tape peeling off, and we both fully expecting to see the camera drop down to its demise.

When we were able to open the video file on Barton’s computer, we soon realized that while the video did come out, we still have a lot to learn.

So be patient. A new video is on the way—as soon as we find the record button!

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