Archives For March 2005

i am paying the INS, BCIS, USCIS, Department of Homeland Security, whatever you want to call them to be inefficient and as an anal retentive planner, that just pisses me right off.

i`m currently living in the US on a K-3 visa; which allows for the spouse of a US citizen to regularise their living situation while the await applications in process. currently we have my change of status application in process for me to become a permanent resident. my K-3 visa was issued last March and is valid for two years, which means it expires in March 2006. keep this date in mind, there will be a quiz later.

according to the receipt i received when my application to change my status was received, this application takes between 120 -180 days to process. so if my math is correct, my application should be approved some time between September 7 and November 30, using a 5 day work week plus a couple of days for holidays in between, which means i should need to renew my K-3 visa or the attendant work authorisation right?

i wish, nothing related to bureaucracy is ever simple. i had to call to make an appointment for biometric services; read photographed and fingerprinted; and asked what the current processing time was on my application; as of March 25, 2005, the Memphis office is processing applications received on September 13, 2002. that`s a two and a half year backlog. which means i have to apply to renew my current visa and work authorisation.

and now it`s going to cost me at least another $310 in actual fees and who knows how much in time and just sheer frustration to get this done and all over again. all thanks to the bureaucratic inefficiency. isn`t there someone i can sue for this?

i was thinking recently i had not linked any images in a long time and lo and behold nerve linked to a gallery by Leonard Nimoy for his second book which features the women of the Fat Bottom Review.

references to Alanis aside, i do know the meaning of irony.

and in a case of irony writ large i saw the trailer for The Honeymooners movie this weekend and i am afraid. who thought it would be a good idea to remake one of the most racists programmes in television history and by making the cast all black it would somehow make it right.

they did this last year in a manner of speaking with Walking Tall. i was mildly amused to think that there were a number of good old southern boys that were getting their panties in a bunch that that their folk hero was being played by someone that weren`t white. but that amusement was not enough for me to get over being appalled.

when it comes to race, i try to avoid generalisations and to reserve judgement on an individual basis but i`m going to make one now, i`m appalled by the state of movies, particular movies marketed to black audiences. they are the most insipid and trite pieces of crap. i`m sure there are the good individual flicks but for the most part if you want to see movie with an all black cast you`re saddled with movies like Soul Plane which only serve to reinforce stereotypes.

i hadn`t planned to mention Guess Who, because the concept alone makes my blood boil but i couldn`t leave it alone. are there no original ideas left? who the hell thought that it would be a good idea? the original film has been one of my favourites for a long time and now it`s image is forever tarnished by this crock of steaming faeces.

i know i have another post about it, but i thought this was funnier and more to the point.

drove from Kingston to DC on sunday, followed mapquest got lost in DC, sort of. went to a trini restaurant for roti, no roti on sundays had curry goat instead.

walked the mall, went to the american history museum, took vic`s picture in the julia child exhibit, went to the Smithsonian air & space, went into the flight sim with the boychick, went to dinner at this asian diner, Raku; great food.

went for doubles; not the best but it`s been a year, had 5, went to the Smithsonian hanger extension near Dulles, saw cool planes and a space shuttle, went home, host cooked dinner; yummy.

went to Silver Springs to see a Bill`s Buddies perfomance; Shakespeare for kids, went to the National Cathedral, farted on Wilson`s sarcophagus, took lots of pictures of the stained glass, got drenched looking for Vader grotesque and getting the car, went home, went back out for roti; good not great. went on a night time drive with vic to see the monuments, drive by only, no parking because of tour buses.

got up thursday said goodbyes, went for doubles, escaping DC swerved to avoid a car turning, had a guy have my wing mirror rub off on his door, paid him some money to get it buffed out, while i was negotiating some other asshat passed too close and whacked my wrist and finger; they`re fine. escaped DC and drove almost non-stop to Knoxville.

following two epic drives and a whirlwind three full days in the Capitol, we are returned, there is a more detailed posted above, so i`m editing this cover the stuff that occurred while we were away, mostly and the getting to and fro.

i got home to mail from the Department of Homeland Security, who informed me that my application to change status had been received and deemed fit to process. one less thing hanging over my head, however i was greatly amused to go to their website and read two completely contradictory statements; according to the information listed with my receipt number, the application should take 120 to 180 days to process, but according to the processing dates for the office in Memphis where my application should be processed they are currently dealing with applications received in September 2002, either way i`m not going to stress it.

my other piece of good news was a letter from my doctor`s office, which read as follows:

The purpose of this memo is to inform you that the ultrasound result showed a benign mass in your liver which means that this is NOT cancer. This type of mass is called a hemangioma which means a collection of blood vessels. You should not expect to find any problems related to this finding. Also, the ultrasound did not show a fatty liver pattern.

there`s more but it`s just about scheduling a follow up appointment for my doctor to explain it to me in more detail.

about the trip; specifically the getting to and fro, we broke up the drive both to and from DC in two stages. stage one on the way to DC involved an overnight stop at my mother in law`s and then stage two was a drive from east Tennessee to DC, which took about eight hours including a couple bladder relief stops, lunch and one refuelling. before i continue i have to say how happy i am with our gas sipping Neon; 35 – 42 miles a gallon on the highway and zippy too. we spent more money on food for the entire trip than we did on gas, which considering that the median gas price for the duration of the trip was in the $2.30 vicinity is a pretty good deal.

i`m not big on touristy stuff, so my primary motivation for going to DC was food. DC has a fairly large Trinidadian populace and thus; a number of things i`ve missed dearly like; roti and doubles. that said we did manage to fit in a number of things in our short visit. which brings me to my major beef, DC politics and DC tourism are remarkably similar; if you`re not part of a group, you don`t get access to anything. the national monuments are barricaded for security purposes and what limited access and immediate parking there is, is consumed by the fleets of tour buses disgorging the carefully managed masses.

i must however take this opportunity to thank our hosts, my long time friend, e.b. and her lovely and talented husband, e.g. for housing us, feeding us and making the trip fun and entertaining.

there are pictures and as soon as i have them, they will be available in a gallery.

In gramma`s trunk…

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between my two medical appointments in as many days, i seem to be moving forward and standing still at the same time.

after a swift and successful vasectomy consult, i`ve been scheduled for the actual cut in early April and left armed with instructions and a script for some mighty powerful drugs.

this morning`s poking and prodding was a mite less conclusive or i should say, no one was saying squat to me. something wasn`t quite right with the ultrasound, but the lab tech wont say anything to me, other than i should wait to hear from my doctor. now there are words that don`t fill you with confidence. i also had to have more blood drawn to check my levels of iron and another test i don`t recognise. yes, i read my charts, i like to know what is being done to me and why.

today is my last day at work for a week, then it`s off to cool DC for four days. we`re not leaving until tomorrow afternoon because vic has class in the morning, which also means we`re not making the straight 11 hour drive. we`re stopping off at my mother in law`s and enjoying her amazing waffles and doing the last 8 hours on sunday, on the return trip it`s a non-stop drive back. the 11 hour drive back doesn`t faze me, i`ve done it before and gone to work the next day but i also have buns of steel and an large bladder. i`m not so sure about my passengers.

i don`t know if i have the willpower to stay away for a week but we`ll see how it goes. i`m taking the laptop under the guise of needing some way to dl the images from the camera we`re borrowing and it does have a wireless card and i`m sure i can find some bandwidth to poach. but if you don`t see me know i`m have fun in dc and i`ll be back home by friday; vic and her classes again; with pictures in tow.

SGPT version 2

March 16, 2005

it`s never simple.

when i went back to the good doctor on Tuesday we talked about me continuing to lose weight and getting more exercise and monitor my blood pressure; it`s usually fine, except when i see the doctor and then it starts high and levels out. just before i left his office, i mentioned my elevated SGPT levels from last July and he ordered blood work to check on them again.

i got a call this morning from the clinic, my SGPT levels are still elevated and i have to go in on Friday for more blood work and an ultrasound on my stomach. i`m not panicking because the levels are lower than they were in July of last year; thank goodness for my need to document the details of my life. i am however worried because i`m not in any of the risk groups mentioned; i`m still not an alcoholic, i don`t take tylenol and i don`t have hepatitis, coupled with the fact that it`s only my liver readings that are abnormal.

i think the source of my worry is the not knowing and for me, the information junkie, that is the greatest fear of all and the information offered by webmd isn`t helpful or comforting.

some time last year i was forwarded an opportunity to take a survey conducted by a University of Essex student at the institute for socio-techinical research doing his PhD. i did it and thought nothing of it, until an email showed up in my mailbox last week, explaining that he had moved to the next stage of his research and was preparing to interview individuals.

i found what he was doing fascinating and replied to his email almost immediately after i got. we negotiated the date and time for the interview, which was initially scheduled to be conducted via Skype on Sunday; early afternoon my time, early evening his; but due to aforementioned circumstances didn`t quite work out that way.

it was interesting to spend the better part of an hour documenting my history, inspiration and motivation as a blogger. i think the interview has given me a lot more perspective about what i do here. it`s never been about fame and fortune for me, there are no book deals or television appearances in my future. but as an exercise in writing, i have disseminated information in a coherent manner, i`ve improved my skills; i hope; and the people who read my journal; either once or repeatedly; have always gone away with something.

what an interesting weekend it has been and this week promises to be equally interesting.

i spend most of Saturday getting my dreads neatened. when i went to see the woman who would be doing it, she looked and my hair and agreed with my four hour estimation and quoted me $150 to get it done. it took the better part of seven and a half hours, but she did a spectacular job and only charged me an extra $25, i will be returning to her in about three months, when my hair wont be as unkempt.

for those of you that are puzzled, there is a lot of maintenance involved in having dreadlocks, which include washing; in my case at least once a week now and more frequently as it starts to warm up; and neatening to manage the new growth of hair that presents itself regularly every couple of months.

on Sunday, as spring fought a valiant battle to make its way to middle Tennessee and along with our house full of breakfast guest; no one can resist vic`s scones; we made our way to a nearby park to frolic in the sunshine. although i didn`t do as much frolicking because i was on the phone being interview about blogging; long story, but fear not, there is no adverse publicity or consumption of bandwidth involved.

this week i`ve got two doctor`s appointments; i`ve got one tomorrow morning, that was initially supposed to be my general check up but turned into the flu visit and one on Thursday to talk to and possibly get snipped. it`s about that time, vic and i have discussed it; we don`t want any more children – we`ve done our bit for the population explosion – our children and well-adjust and health, so there is no need to tempt fate any further. i`m getting snipped as the procedure is less invasive and less likely to have complications for me and if we change our minds down the road, it`s possible to reverse.

i should get back to work, today is already fiendishly busy and the rest of the week is only going to get worse.