Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Reel For Upcoming Canadian Fishing Trip

Veronica and I are returning to Eagle Lake this year for a week of friends and fishing.
For the 2nd year in a row, we will be staying at Stanley's Resort. We really enjoyed our stay there last year and like the way they do business. Basically everything is included. They don't nickel and dime you. Unlimited gas and unlimited bait. A great family owned resort.
While up there, we are hoping to also fish a couple of other lakes besides Eagle.
As a belated Christmas gift that Veronica and I had talked about over the holidays, I just recieved that gift through the mail.....a brand new Abu Garcia Revo Premier PRM20 spinning reel.
I am really looking forward to using this reel while we are up in Canada.
Below are photos of my new reel:


    









Saturday, May 18, 2013

Choosing Our Excursions For Our Upcoming Cruise

With only 147 days to go until our NCL cruise on the Jade begins, Veronica and I have looked over  all of the port excursions that are currently being offered.
Most ports we will do on our own but there are 2 that we decided to take.
Our cruise begins in Venice and we have planned to arrive a couple of days early in order to see some of the sights that Venice has to offer. We will be doing this on our own without any tour groups or excursions. We will have Thursday and Friday to take in as much as possible during that time period. I plan on setting up a private gondola ride serenade for Veronica and I.
We will have to check out of our Venice hotel in time to get to the pier and go through the embarkation process.
After being on our cruise ship for 7 days, the ship arrives back in Venice and allows passengers whose cruise will end at that point to get off the ship.
Since Veronica and I booked a back to back cruise, we will be at the half way point of our cruise, with another week yet to come.
We will be able to leave the ship but we will leave our luggage in our cabin while we go on the first of 2 shore excursions.
We have decided to take an cruise line offered excursion to Murano and Burano.
Murano is the place where Murano glass objects and beads come from. Burano is know for their time consuming hand made lace items.
We will need to meet our excursion representative at 8:15 AM at which time we will board a small boat and head out to these two small islands that are near Venice.
Our excursion will last 4 1/2 hours, which will give us plenty of time to explore more of Venice itself before having to board our ship for the second leg of our cruise.
Below is the NCL write up of this excursion in Venice:


Murano Glass & Burano Lace
Visit two of the Venetian lagoon's islands, Murano and Burano; the first world-famous center of glass-making and the second renowned for its lace. First you'll travel along a portion of the beautiful Giudecca Canal passing St. Mark's Basin and other landmarks, then cross the lagoon to Murano, where you'll visit a glass factory and have a unique opportunity to see how beautiful Murano glass is made, followed by some time for shopping. After visiting the glass factory, continue with a leisurely trip across the lagoon to lovely little Burano with its gaily painted houses and brightly painted fishing boats. Enjoy a walk through the streets of this charming and picturesque island where fishermen are always mending nets or repairing their boats. On Burano, one encounters a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. Women sometimes sit in their doorways working on a piece of lace. Burano lace is extremely delicate and time-consuming to create. A small piece may take several weeks to complete, making it highly prized. You'll have a chance to admire some of these works of art when you visit one of the stores that sell the famed Burano lace. Note: Although most walking is on level ground, passengers with physical limitations are advised that there are some steps on both islands. The order of sights may vary. THIS TOUR IS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR NORWEGIAN SPIRIT SAILINGS STARTING IN BARCELONA AND ENDING IN VENICE AND FOR NORWEGIAN JADE GUESTS COMBINING 2 CONSECUTIVE SAILINGS.

We will be taking our other excursion on the last day for a port of call, which is in Naples, Italy. Instead of staying in the Naples area, we decided to take a 9 1/2 hour excursion that allows us to travel and see the Amalfi coast, Sorento, Salerno, the town of Amalfi...all by bus along with  actually taking a boat ride just off of the Amalfi coast. We will get to stop and walk around the towns previously mentioned along with a lunch stop and time to shop or maybe just go to a outdoor cafe and people watch. Below is the NCL write up of this excursion leaving from Naples:
Sorrento & Amalfi By Land & Sea
Enjoy a very scenic and relaxing excursion, experiencing Italy's most famous coastline by motor launch, with minimal walking involved, and time within the beautiful village of Sorrento. After an approximate one-hour drive by coach, you will arrive to the town of Salerno, located at the very end of the Amalfi Coast. There you'll board a private motor launch and enjoy a 45-minute cruise, viewing the Dolomitic cliffs, which at many points, tower perpendicularly out of the sea and have been sculpted by nature into fantastic shapes. Amalfi is situated at the mouth of a deep gorge along the coast. Learn how this was a major shipping port during the Middle Ages and it was also an independent maritime state. Enjoy a narrated walk around the town center of Amalfi, with your guide, who will explain the history and architecture of the Cathedral of St. Andrew as you marvel at the exterior architecture, a mix of Moorish and early Gothic design. Its main treasures are the 11th-century bronze doors from Constantinople. Enjoy some free time on your own in Amalfi, for maybe shopping or relaxation, before cruising back to Salerno where your coach will be waiting to drive you to Sorrento. With its luxuriant vegetation and sun-drenched climate, Sorrento became a favorite resort of wealthy Romans. Experience this cliff-top setting, with an imposing Duomo, distinctive for its 13th-century cloister, and a charming, flower-filled town, all there for you to explore. Enjoy lunch with wine in a local restaurant in Sorrento before returning back to your ship. Note: Tour is not available for winter sailings. Guests must be able to walk approximately 500 yards over even surfaces with 5 - 10 steps. There are several steps to access the lunch venue. Comfortable walking shoes, hat, and sunscreen are highly recommended. Walking during the free time is at the guests' discretion. The drive between Naples and Salerno is approximately 45 minutes and from Sorrento to Naples is approximately 1 1/2 hours. Guests wishing to enter the Cathedral of St. Andrew on their own must ascend approximately 60 or more very steep steps. The order of the tour may be reversed. The motor launch has both inside and outside seating. In case of bad weather conditions and/or rough seas, the cruise to Amalfi will be cancelled and an orientation drive of the Amalfi Coast will be made instead. Due to traffic restrictions of the Sorrento center a short walk from the motorcoach drop off point to the main center and vice versa will be required. During summer months expect extreme heat, crowded venues and long lines. We recommend that you dress in layers and bring bottled water. 
I am sure that we will a great time on these 2 excursions plus there will be plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another Knee Surgery On The Horizon

Last February while I was helping Veronica at the Polar Plunge event in Virginia Beach, I injured my knee.
Last week I finally decided to have an MRI done on my left knee.
Yesterday I got the results of that MRI. Once again I have torn my medial meniscus on my left knee. Once again this will take surgery to repair it.
Last year it was my right knee and this year it is my left.
I have decided to hold off on the surgery until after we return from our October cruise, where we will be ports in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and the Greeks Isles.
I will be pushing my walks a bit more to make sure that my knee will hold up until my surgery. If my knee feels like it won't be able to take the amount of walking and type of terrain that we will be walking on, I will need to revisit my decision of a later surgery date and would most likely do it right away.
We will just have to wait and see how my knee handles the workout.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day 3 And Counting

Today was a good day.
The tech that has been working on restoring my computers data from the Western Digital hard drive did a great job and came through in a big way today.
This techs name is Anand. Anand spent yesterday and today dealing with issue after issue and he did it in a very professional, thoughtful and kind manner.
To be honest I have never dealt with any type of technician that has handled themselves anywhere near as Anand did.
Because of Anand's hard work, my computer is basically back to where it was before my hard drive failed.
Microsoft should be proud to have such a hard working tech as Anand representing the Microsoft brand name.
Thank you so much Anand. I greatly appreciate all that you did for me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nothing Comes Easy

I am currently writing this entry from Veronica's old computer. This computer is in a semi retirement state and is mainly used by Veronica for many aspects of her creative artwork.
You might ask yourself why I would be using this old and really slow computer, when I just got my newer one back from HP after they installed a new hard drive.
Well it seems that my attempts to restore all of my backed up files that were stored on my WD Notebook Essential 1TB external hard drive were for nought.
To make a long story short, after calling WD, I was told that because I used the Windows Backup program, that WD could not help me to restore the files from the external hard drive back onto my computer.
I was kindly given the telephone number for Microsoft.
After calling the number and speaking to a tech, I was told that for $99.00 he would take control of my computer and find out where my files were on the WD hard drive and restore everything to the condition it was prior to losing my hard drive. I was promised that all previously installed programs would be fully functional, even if they had to be placed back into the computers registry. After many questions on my part and getting the answers that I needed, I agreed to pay the price in order to get my computer back to where it was prior to the hard drive failure. I figured $99 was money well spent since it would take me weeks to get everything back or at least close to the way it was by me doing it on my own and even then, I would not have nearly all of the programs and files on it as I previously did. Plus I get a 30 day of warranty coverage on the work that they do to my computer.
So after logging onto a special page and downloading a program, I sat back and watched as my cursor darted from here to there with windows boxes opening and closing. There were several breaks in the action and this kindly tech kept his phone line open for me and vice versa, so that we could talk if the need arose.
After about 4 hours of this tech trying to restore my files from the external hard drive back onto my computer, it became obvious that he was running into trouble.
He told me that he was going to pass my issues up to techs at the next level.
So today between the hours of 10AM and Noon, I will need to be standing by for a telephone call from a higher up Microsoft tech, who will also try to fix me computer.
Unfortunately I just realized that I had promised Veronica that I would go to the Post Office and pick up a new order of Copic Markers that she had placed. I forgot that because it is Saturday, The Post Office hours are from 10AM-Noon....of course they are...wouldn't have it any other way.
Well a promise is a promise...so I will make sure that I am at the post office right as that window goes up and get Veronica's new markers and then scurry back home and hopefully arrive there before the techs telephone call arrives.
I have high hopes still that all of my backed up data can be placed back onto my repaired computer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Repaired Computer Is Coming Home

I received notification this morning that my hard drive damaged computer has been repair and should be here tomorrow afternoon.
I had recently bought a new Western Digital 1TB My Book Essential external hard drive so that I could back up everything on my computer.
I had this external hard drive setup to do a daily automatic backup.
Once I get my repaired computer back, it will be very interesting to see how well and how easy it is to get everything I want from the backup back onto my computer.
 I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything will go smoothly. If not, I will have tons of work to do.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Computer Failure

I woke up this morning and turned on my HP Envy computer as I usually do. Unfortunately I could not get anything to load. Everything seemed normal last night as I shut it down but nothing from normal this morning.
After spending quite a bit of time trying to get the computer to load up or running diagnostics on it, I ended up placing several calls to HP tech assistance in an attempt to get it working again.
I was not able to get my computer to restore to an earlier time but I was able to run a recovery image and get my computer back to its original factory condition or at least it looked that way for a short period of time.
I then ran severall other diagnostic tests...all of which failed.
I finally called HP again and was told that I had several options. The 2 best options were to pay $208 and personally remove the hard drive out of the computer, send it in and receive a new one...putting it into my laptop myself.
The 2nd option was to pay $213 and some change to send in my computer and have a tech do what they called a "STREP"...which basically means that they go through the whole computer and repair and replace anything that might be wrong with it. They then load everything back onto the computer so I get it back in the same software condition as when I purchased it.
So for about $5.00 more, I get shipping door to door via FedEx and a new hard drive along with any other new parts that are needed to fix it. I also get a 90 day warranty for everything that they replace or repair.
For $5 more, I figured that was better deal especially since I needed a new hard drive either way. 
I asked for verification that this was a hard drive failure and not a virus issue and I was assured that it was indeed a hard drive failure.
The worse part about this whole ordeal is that we did not get a Square Trade extended warranty when we originally purchased this laptop(a mistake that won't be made again) and that the laptop was only 42 days out from the end of the original warranty period.
Of course it was....I wouldn't have it any other way.
The only good point out of this is that I was smart enough to have everything backed up on my new external hard drive. It should be interesting to see how getting it from the external hard drive back onto my computer works out.
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