#108–Great repair service, great audience . . .

Yesterday, I gave my new PowerPoint program at the Eugene Public Library to a crowd of about 25. It was about both my books with many photos and included stories of hardcore bridge aficionados. It went off very well. The secret to its success was a great audience and, earlier in the week, great repair service by Apple. I’ll explain.

The very attentive and intelligent and helpful audience that came to hear my presentation at the Eugene Public Library.

The very attentive and intelligent and helpful audience that came to hear my presentation at the Eugene Public Library.

Last Saturday, I worked on my text for the presentation. When it was just the way I wanted it, I got out my laptop that I had not used since June. I attached the power cord and plugged it in and was surprised when it came on with just a touch. Oh! Oh!  I must have put it away in sleep mode––for a month. Yikes!

Since my PowerPoint photos popped right up, I figured it was okay and that no damage had been done. So I put it in slide show display and went through my presentation and timed it. Perfect––just under 40 minutes. So I shut it off this time, making sure it wasn’t in sleep mode.

Sunday evening I thought I would run through it one more time. But I couldn’t get the laptop to boot up––gray screen with squiggly going round and round and a strange empty bar that appeared, disappeared, and then the whole screen faded to black. So I tried it again and again. Same thing each time! This was bad! And I didn’t have my presentation backed up.

Monday morning, I made a panic call to The Mac Store in Eugene as soon as they opened and made an appointment for their help desk at 4:30 p.m. I had a full day of errands and meetings before I could zip over to Eugene. When I got there with my laptop, they could not fix it, but would send it on to Lake Oswego where their truly hardcore technicians are located. They assured me that I should have it back within a week. I tried to impress on them, how badly I needed it for this weekend. (I’m sure they’ve heard that before.)

I knew that any repairs would be under warranty, but I learned that if I wanted data retrieved that would be a $100 charge. However, if I bought a backup device, then it would only be $50. Of course, I wanted my data retrieved, so I agreed to the charge and bought a backup device for $79.99.

If I couldn’t get my laptop back in time, Plan B was to use my old slow laptop and do my other PowerPoint program––the one I’ve done about three dozen times, but only once in Eugene at Willamette Oaks.

On Tuesday evening the suspense ended. I checked my email, to find a message saying that my computer had been diagnosed, repaired, and would be returned to Eugene on Wednesday. Wow! I do love the Apple repair service.

Knowing that my computer is fixed and that I can pick it up in time for my program made me a happy camper.

Knowing that my computer is fixed and that I will be able to use it for my program made me a happy camper.

The Eugene store called me late on Wednesday and I zipped into Eugene on Thursday morning. The problem had been with the directory to the hard drive. I was told that this can happen when a computer is shut down incorrectly. Evidently, it can also happen when a laptop is put away for weeks at a time in sleep mode. At any rate, I’ll never do that again. I’ve learned my lesson.

While in Eugene, I stopped by the library. It took me awhile to find it even though I had the address, and I’ve been there before. This time, I was coming at it from a different direction, the one-way streets didn’t help, and there was road construction going on around it. When I did finally find it, I was able to park right in front. I dropped off two boxes of books, my props for my talk, including my new large poster of the bridges mounted on sturdy foam board. I was in and out quickly because it was a 10-minute zone. I also found out how to get to the basement parking. So I was glad I had taken the time to come by. It will certainly save time on Saturday.

As soon as I got home, I took my newly-repaired computer and hooked it up to the projector and did a practice run. Everything went just great. I was ready.

Saturday, I got into town in time to take advantage of a mega one-day sale at The Mac Store where I got an iPod at a good price. (I’d heard about the sale each time I’d come in earlier in the week.) Then I found the library easily this time and parked in the basement near the stairs and elevator entrance. Since it was 12:15 p.m. and I didn’t have to be there until 2 p.m. to set up, I met my friend, Rosemary, who is still an editor where I used to work at Oregon Coast magazine. We met in front of the library and walked only a block to a great little place called New Odyssey for lunch. We had prearranged this via email earlier in the week. Since we hadn’t seen each other for at least two years, we had a great time catching up. And the food was terrific.

In the distance Scott Herron and I are waiting for the last few people to be seated before starting.

In the distance Scott Herron and I are waiting for the last few people to be seated before starting.

I met the librarian, Scott Herron, right at 2 p.m. and between the two of us, we were all set up by 2:45 p.m. when folks started showing up. The library had a great easel type stand to showcase my bridge poster and tables for my books and flyers. I also included  flyers about the Florence Festival of Books. (I never miss a chance to promote the book fair.)

My large bridge poster showing the McCullough coastal bridges.

My large bridge poster showing the McCullough coastal bridges.

Among the first to show up was my friend, Jan, who only a year ago moved to Eugene from Florence and Vickie another fellow editor from Oregon Coast magazine who has lived  in Eugene for many years. Vickie and I had worked together from 1989 til about 1995, when she used to come over to Florence about once a week. We had not seen each other for a few years. So we really enjoyed our chance to chat before and after the presentation.

Vickie Nelson, who also was a fellow editor at Oregon Coast magazine, was there and we had a chance to visit.

Vickie Nelson, who also was a fellow editor at Oregon Coast magazine, was there and we had a chance to visit.

The presentation went just fine until I must have bumped the touch pad and the stuff you get by tapping the button on the Mac mouse appeared––a calculator, a calendar, a clock, the temps, and a box denoting what printer is the primary one. I wasn’t sure how to get rid of it all, when a computer whiz from the audience said to hit escape. I did, and it disappeared. But my program was frozen. I couldn’t click to the next photo. So I motioned for him to come up and help, and he did. He worked with the computer and got out of the slide show and then back into it with it working perfectly. I found where I had last been, and the show went on. All of that took less than two minutes.

This was an easy audience because they were so attentive. No one fell asleep.

Here I am holding forth at the Eugene Public Library. What I call the Big Time!

During the question period, I was able to answer everything easily until someone asked about the bridge collapse of the I–5 bridge in Washington state. I didn’t know, but two members of the audience responded. The first one had driven over it that day before it collapsed. And the second one was the computer whiz whose father had worked on the bridge. He was able to give us the probable cause why it collapsed. So once again, it was audience members to the rescue.

After packing up everything with the help of Scott and Jan, I was ready to go before 5 p.m. Jan had my camera during the presentation and was in charge of taking photos.  So the photos on this post are by Jan.

As previously planned, she and I drove over to Valley River Center to have dinner at the new restaurant B.J’s. It’s a sports bar and brew pub with a fabulous menu. I had a pulled pork sandwich and Jan a French dip. Both came with lots of fries and were delicious. And we both enjoyed the draft root beer. I highly recommend it.

So, all in all, my presentation at the Eugene Public Library turned out to be a terrific day––in spite of computer problems.

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About crossingsauthor

Freelance writer/editor and author of Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, and Around Florence. Spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.
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