June 2007

img_7559.jpgWe love this meal.  It’s tasty, sweet, and easy to throw together.

cooked rice
Granny Smith apples
maple syrup

Slice sausages diagonally and brown them in a skillet.  Our favourite is locally-made Spolumbo’s Chicken Apple Sausage, but we do something different every time.  Peel (optionally) and slice Granny Smith or other tart apples, and add them to the skillet after the sausages are browned.  Cook until the apple slices are soft.  Add cooked rice.  Drizzle with maple syrup.



Uh oh.  I figured I just had a bad unit, but Daryl had the same experience with his DHP-300/301s, and his readers did too (read the comments).  Now I’m worried.  I’ve got an RMA from D-Link so I’ll be returning mine and getting new ones (the customer service rep said they’d pay for my shipping, but the RMA rep said they wouldn’t so I’m fighting that at the moment), but Daryl’s commenters had multiple RMAs, and their units seemed to last around the same length of time as mine:  five weeks.  Crossing my fingers!

My buddy at work has a similar system from Sling Media called the SlingLink.  His has been up and running with no problems for ten months or so.  If my next DHP-300 dies, I think I’ll switch to Sling.  Or move my computer to an ethernet jack.

[20 July update here]

One of the D-Link powerline adapters I mentioned earlier has died.  Its power light no longer comes on.  So I experienced D-Link’s tech support firsthand, and let me tell you, they impressed me!  24-hour toll-free support (not that common these days).  I talked to half a dozen of their support personnel over the next couple of days and not one was in India.  I have nothing against Indians, but I must say that when I’m frustrated and trying to solve a problem and I’m on a quiet old crackly phone, throwing a strong accent in the mix exhausts me.  The D-Link people I spoke with could have been across town for all I could tell. 

The first person I got was friendly and knew exactly what she was doing; she stepped me through several basic troubleshooting steps.  I’d already done them all, but I can understand that she’d want to make sure.  She quickly exhausted her checklist and passed me on to the second tier of support.  This person was just as friendly, and put me through a couple more checks, some of which I hadn’t thought to try.  When he couldn’t get it working either he said he’d pass me on to Product Support, and that’s where the first (slightly) negative experience happened:  Product Support only works from 9 to 9 M-F, and it was 9:30pm on Friday.  I’d have to wait until Monday for them to call me back.

That didn’t bother me too much, but in hindsight I’m not sure why he couldn’t have helped me the whole way himself, because when I talked to Product Support yesterday (everybody just as friendly and helpful as tech support) all they did was confirm that they’d replace my units, then pass me on to Customer Service, who just told me to fax in my receipt and wait for them to contact me.  If the support guy could have told me that it would have saved a few days.

noir.jpgNow I’m waiting for them to contact me.  I feel like a hero in a spy novel.  “Don’t contact us, we’ll contact you.”  Walking along the streets downtown I’m looking around in carefully, expecting at any moment to see a tall man in a long dark overcoat leaning against a lamppost, his hat pulled down over his face.  His face is lit momentarily by the flare of a match as he lights a cigarette, and the “D-Link” logo is visible on his dark glasses.  I’m standing next to him waiting for the light to turn green and without looking at me he asks quietly “what’s your case number?”  “ALR-778-095” I almost whisper.  He drops his match and crosses the street.  Glancing at the match, still burning, I have just enough time to read “pick up your replacement units under the bridge at midnight” before the flame engulfs it and then goes out in a curl of smoke.  The man is nowhere to be seen.

img_7491.jpgThursday, June 21st, Kenan woke up on his birthday with the croup.  So we didn’t do anything for his birthday.  The next day was about the same, but at least he let me catch up on my sleep Friday evening!

By Friday night Helen was feeling sick too.  We uninvited Mattias (a four-year-old friend of Kenan’s) we’d invited for a Saturday party but decided to party as best we could as a family anyway.  So Helen and Kenan slept all day, and Shana and I had some fun decorating.  (To give credit where it’s due, none of our decorating could have happened if not for super-organized Helen who had everything planned, bought and ready days in advance!)

img_7503.jpgKenan had asked for a rocket ship birthday theme, so we drew and glitter-glued a huge 8-foot rocket, hung stars and moons on a big dark blanket across the living room window, covered the table with a black tablecloth, Helen picked up a couple dozen black and silver helium balloons, and made the cake into a rocket too. 

He was just as excited about all his gifts:  Buzz Lightyear pyjamas (“Mommy, can I really sleep in these tonight?”), a baseball mitt (with velcro so the ball sticks) and a soccer ball (a real one!).  He and I spent what seemed like hours throwing the baseball back and forth–he throws it straight and hard and even lifts his (wrong) leg to wind up, I have no idea where he learned that–and then a few more hours kicking the soccer ball.

Despite the croup, it was still a happy birthday!


Kenan:  Owie!

Nate:  What’s owie?

Kenan:  It means something is hurting.

Like millions of others around the world my morning routine includes coating my teeth with an anti-whitening agent.  My product of choice comes in liquid form and is available over the counter at any reputable establishment.  I warm it up first, swish it around in my mouth so it can leave its oily film over every surface, then usually (not always) swallow it rather than spit it down the sink.  I’ve actually come to enjoy the feeling of the warm liquid down my throat.  It smells comforting too, though the taste is so bitter my habit is to mix it with chocolate and about four creamers.

How do you like your coffee?

We went up very slowly.  Just under 10 km/h.  For an hour and a half.  Through fog, sun, rain, snow and hail.  We came down at 75 km/h, slowing only to avoid hitting the two grizzlies crossing the road just metres ahead of us.

I’ve got to do this more often!  🙂

Drive down scenic highway 40 through Kananaskis in the summer and you’ll reach Highwood Pass, the highest road in Canada at 2206 metres (7239 feet).  But in winter and spring the pass is closed to motor vehicles.  It belongs to the wildlife.  Which yesterday included a handful of cyclists.

I went with Mike, a neighbour from down the street, his brother-in-law Doug, and a friend Jim from our church, all of us casual cyclists.  Mike and Doug have done this route several times, and were nice enough to invite Jim and Yours Truly this year.  We drove out to where the highway closes, biked to the summit, enjoyed squashed PB&H sandwiches surrounded by towering white-capped summits, then biked back down again.  It’s not actually long in terms of kilometres, only 17 km each way, but it’s all uphill.  Breathtaking scenery the entire route (yes, it’s because of the scenery we were out of breath), and lots of wildlife.  The (paved) road was covered with bear and mountain sheep scat, their way of reminding us we’re in their territory.  We saw a bald eagle, plenty of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, an elk, a moose, prairie dogs (or whatever their mountain cousins are called) which thought my bike pedal made a nice lunch, innumerable birds I couldn’t begin to name, no insects whatsoever, and yes, two big grizzlies.  All so close we could almost touch them if we were foolish enough.

This Friday the pass opens to motor traffic, and the wildlife will fade into the forests for a few more months.  I hope I can visit them again next spring.


P.S. I’ll post some pictures when Doug emails them to me.  He was the only one with the forethought to bring a camera.

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