Thursday, April 3, 2008

Long Morning

JoeWhen Jennifer left for work this morning, I tagged along down to Stora Torget, and then hopped a bus of my own to go to Uppsala Science Park, home of Humac, the sole Apple Authorized Service Center in Uppsala. Yup, our MacBook Pro, Surtr (better known as the hub of our digital lifestyle) went under the knife this morning. He's been having problems with DVD-R and DVD+R discs for a few weeks—burning them fine, but not reading them anymore after a while, even though they continue to work on other computers. This week it finally got to the point where the poor fellow just couldn't read recorded media at all. Obviously this is not an acceptable situation, as Surtr is not only our television but also our DVR (thanks to a wonderful little gadget called the eyeTV 250 Plus (or the Magic Dingus, as jennifer prefers to call it)), and it's no good trying to record Swedish television for posterity when your hard drive is getting full.

Fortunately, AppleCare includes global service, so all I had to do was look up my nearest service provider and head over there. After some 'hmm'ing and a few 'That's very strange's, plus a bit of Swedish techie humor (I told him that resetting the SMC had caused it to read a burned disc once before reverting to it's previous state, and he replied , "Ah yes, the solution is very simple then. Just Reset the SMC any time you need to read a disc" —since the SMC is reset by shutting down, removing the battery, and holding down the power button for five seconds, this was obviously not a genuine suggestion; we chuckled briefly, then moved on), he proceeded to try a few discs and had to agree that it shouldn't be doing that. Anyway, it took a day to get a replacement drive, and his morning I took the little fellow in for his operation.

I wasn't sure how long it would take, and Ikea wasn't open yet, so I decided to take care of some errands downtown. Most importantly, it was time for my quarterly haircut. Actually, a little past time. OK, I looked like a crazy person. Anyway, after window shopping salons downtown for a while, I settled on a nice, quiet frisör with no one waiting. Despite the lack of customers, I was told that 11 am was the earliest they could take me (perhaps I was interrupting fika?). So I made an appointment and set off to see what else I could accomplish.

By now it was nearing 10, at which point the shops would open, so I wandered around for a bit scoping out kitchen stores in preparation for my next task: locating a 28 cm oven safe stainless steel sauté pan with flat sides and a lid, with no teflon coating. Should be in the first place I looked, right? Well, apparently Swedes like their teflon, because there's hardly non-nonstick pan in Uppsala as far as I can tell. The exception is that there is some cast iron cookware about, and that would have been OK, except that all the cast iron I found was kind of odd: low sides, wooden handles, kinda froufy, and way overpriced. Plus I had may little culinary heart set on a nice stainless steel pan. By the time 11 rolled around, I was running out of stores, and having absolutely zero luck.

I got back to the frisör at the stroke of 11, and was seated immediately. The barber confirmed my worst fears by sort of pulling at my hair a moment whilst frowning, and then asking, "What would you like? You want it very short, yes?" He seemed surprised that I wanted to leave some hair on the top of my head. We discussed options for a few minutes, and then he quietly got to work. He didn't say anything for like the next fifteen minutes, during which time he gave me the most thorough haircut of my life. Not too short, mind you, just very thorough. I swear he cut every hair three times, and all of it by hand. He did finally settle in enough to ask where I was from, and then to tell me a story about a young client he used to have who went off to the US as a male au pair, fell in love with the neighbor girl, and got engaged. When the barber asked the lad what her parents did he said he thought it was something to do with raisins—turns out he was unknowingly marrying the daughter of the Sunmaid empire. Anyway, half an hour later, I found myself in possession of the best haircut I've ever had; darn good thing too, since it set me back 340 SEK. Ouch. Hopefully it'll last until September.

By now I had gotten a call saying that Surtr was all ready to go. On my way back to Humac, I stopped by one last shop, an overpriced designy looking place, in which I thought I detected the distant glint of quality cookware languishing against the back wall. Amazingly, they had exactly what I wanted, on sale no less. So, another 449 SEK poorer, but one extremely heavy-bottomed stainless sauté pan richer, I hied towards Humac, fortifying myself with a street sausage along the way. The replacement went fine, and now we can read all those pesky discs. Yay!

I should probably go back to Ikea now, but I think I'll have a bit of a sit down first. Maybe just close my eyes for a minute...

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