Monday, November 14, 2016

Bye-Bye, Birdie or The (Drone) Flying Nuns

I was supposed to have pictures for you. Pictures taken literally on the wing. Still pictures, moving pictures. Aerial scenes of the convent, nuns walking serenely around the gardens, that sort of thing.

It will be a while.

A few weeks ago, an intrepid NunBlog reader thought that our social media posts needed to be kicked up a notch. Or even a few yards. The primary term being "up." Yes, we received a drone. A lovely, state-of-the-art, cinema-quality-video shooting drone.

I did my homework. I read the manual. I watched all the training videos. I assembled it carefully. I waited over a week for a first test flight.

Drone hospital in my office.
On that first attempt at taking to the air, I crashed a really expensive drone on the wall over the provincial's head. There are propeller scars (on the wall, not on the provincial's head!).

Naturally, I tweeted about it.

A geeky Jesuit offered some advice: you need an indestructible drone, like training wheels for the sky. And he didn't just offer the advice; he actually sent the drone! (Granted, it was my birthday...) "Remember, Sisters," he counseled wisely, "Crashing equals learning."

Consider me a PhD candidate, then.

I have already found a pole long enough to knock the thing out of the lower branches of the trees that dot our property. (I never actually realized just how many trees there are around here.) I have already replaced the propellers (on both drones: that crash over the provincial's head cracked a propeller and obliterated two screws on the gimbal; thankfully, drones come with a first replacement set of everything). I now carry a drone kit in a bag around my neck: tiny Philip's screwdriver, pack of propellers and a bent paper clip (for pushing a recalcitrant motor back into alignment). The kit also has one leg that has already broken off the training vehicle. (My Amazon wishlist has expanded from books to drone parts.) But as long as the weather allows, I hope to keep practicing after lunch each day.

I am not the only sister who will be piloting the drones. Sister Jo is excited to learn. (I begged her not to do anything illegal; the FAA has my name on the registration--yes, all Unmanned Aerial Vehicles over .5 pounds have to be registered with the FAA.) Hopefully, however long it takes for us to learn how to do it, we will be getting some lovely footage of the convent, of nuns prayerfully walking through the garden, or of our choir singing on the rooftop as the sun sets on the hill behind us...

Until then, you will find me rescuing UAVs from pine trees in and around Boston.

- - - - - 

Time for some input from you! Here in the Pauline Family, it is a custom to name our apostolic machines. I already named the fancy drone (StPaul--because Paul was "taken up to the third heaven"), but what name should we bestow on the Little Drone that Could? And why is that name suitable?


Sr. Ann Marie said...

I'm sitting here at my desk laughing like a crazy woman--primarily because I can see me doing the same thing! The company that did the updates on our website came out with a drone to take photos outside the building--particularly of the dome on top of the motherhouse. I kept asking "Are you sure it's not going to crash into the dome?" I think they were glad when I finally went inside and let them do their work!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

I'll have to check that website! Maybe I'll get some ideas... Too bad we don't have a dome (not even a steeple!).

harv681 said...

What about Onesimus, the erstwhile runaway slave?

Maureen said...

Perhaps the little one can be named, "Sister Betrille".

Shannon said...

St. Therese, because it has a "Little Way"

Anonymous said...

I think you should name the smaller drone StTherese, because it is the Little Way!

Sarah Maggioncalda (17)

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

All wonderful ideas! Someone on Facebook also suggested Zaccheus, because he found himself "up a tree."

Sr. Margaret J. Obrovac, FSP said...

Fun post for nursing a cold. Thanks!
I like the Onesimus idea myself. Or if you want a more serious entry on the ballot, St. Veronica is the patron saint of photographers.

Julie Turner said...

Barnabas? Sounds like a little encouragement could be in order... Also,, thanks for the laugh!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Oooh, Barnabas is one of my favorite saints, too!

Kristen Filipic said...

Maybe Eutychus? The one who fell asleep while Paul was preaching (happens to the best of preachers sometime) and out a third-floor window. But then Paul raised him from the dead so it was okay.

Seems appropriate for anticipated crash landings!