December 24, 2009

The Deadliest Catch

I call this: computers,mac,On the Road Again — Posted by KP @ 8:53 pm

“What Happened to Your Laptop?”

Entertain conjecture of a time in which I’m on the road with Henry V. We have just concluded our very successful run in New York, and have set out on the next leg of the tour. When our story begins, we’re in Nashville. We have arrived there the day before, after a layover in DC, to board our buses to go the rest of the way to our first performance at Mississippi State. No one understands how it could possibly have been cheaper or more efficient to do it this way, but nevertheless that’s why we were in Nashville.

After we spent the night for (as far as we can tell) no particular reason in a Nashville hotel, the cast departed in the afternoon and the crew was given the entire day to hang out in Nashville while our driver slept, as we would be leaving around midnight and sleeping on the ride down.

It wasn’t all that exciting, as the crew had actually been to Nashville earlier in the tour, because our bus’ water pump was broken and we had an extra day between shows, so we took a detour. While the bus was being repaired we ate ribs, listened to the live bands on Broadway, bought cowboy boots, ate way too much, and did all the things one does in Nashville. So for our second visit, we had lunch at a nice outdoor place we had visited the first time, researched potential sushi restaurants for dinner, and otherwise just kind of hung out on the bus watching TV.

Somewhere in the course of watching TV is where things get interesting.

Now I must introduce Daphne. Daphne was our props supervisor. We must have been watching the Discovery Channel, and it was at this point that Daphne realized that the season premiere of Deadliest Catch was coming up, and that we would be in the middle of our first performance in Mississippi while it was airing. My assistant Nick, who you have already met, was also disturbed when this was brought to his attention. Apparently Nick and Daphne really like Deadliest Catch.

It was something of an urban legend that the bus had a DVR. The satellite remote had buttons that referred to it, but when we tried to program the show to record, it became obvious that we were missing something that would allow that to happen, as it could be programmed, but nothing would happen. This was also one of our first experiences with our new bus, which we would later come to realize sucked in every imaginable way. Maybe the original bus had a working DVR, but this one didn’t appear to be fully equipped.

This minor setback was not going to dissuade us, however. We would just have to go a little low-tech. The bus had a VCR, we reasoned. All we have to do is find a place that sells VHS tapes and we can record it the old-fashioned way.

On our way to our sushi dinner, we passed a drug store. Daphne went in, and a few minutes later happily emerged with a set of three VHS tapes.

When we got back to the bus, we naturally set about doing a test run and trying to record a show. What we found was that the VCR apparently could play tapes, but the satellite connection didn’t pass through it, so it couldn’t record anything. This was very annoying! But given that all these electronics are mounted behind panels and on opposite sides of the lounge from each other, we didn’t feel comfortable tearing the whole bus apart to get at the wiring. We accepted defeat, and the VHS tapes were stacked on the kitchen counter.

Fast-forward a few days. My laptop was having battery issues, so after using it in the front lounge after the show, I set it down on the couch where I had been sitting, and left it to charge overnight.

It’s now the middle of the night. All of the crew are asleep in their beds. We encounter some bumpy and/or hilly roads. At some point in the night, a clattering is heard from the kitchen. This isn’t really unusual. Somebody’s coffee container or soda bottle is usually falling off the counter in the night. I, having the bunk on the other side of the kitchen wall, remember hearing this and thinking that it didn’t sound like anything breakable or containing liquid, so I didn’t even really wake up.

In the morning I was alarmed to find my laptop had 3 black smudges on it. I wasn’t concerned about smudges but at first I couldn’t tell if they were smudges or dents. I frantically rubbed on them, and thankfully the black marks came off. Two of them left no sign, but the largest of them revealed a dent in the aluminum cover of the laptop! I was totally confused about how this had happened, until we started to look at the forensic evidence. On the couch, laying casually, were the three VHS tapes. They looked like they had just been tossed there from when we were trying to get the VCR to work, until someone remembered that they had been stacked on the kitchen counter, and most of us had heard the crash from the kitchen during the night. So I went back to the tapes, and sure enough, each of them had a corner bashed in, where their black plastic had been worn off.

And that solved the mystery of how Daphne and Nick’s love for The Deadliest Catch dented my laptop.

The afterword to this story is that whenever I open my laptop I am reminded of Daphne and Nick, and how badly they wanted to see The Deadliest Catch. They never did get to see that episode. I’m not sure if they’ve seen it in reruns yet. I still have never seen an episode, but I am very curious to see what’s so special to have created such a fervor on our bus. And that’s the story of what happened to my laptop.