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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I opened Gaim for the first time in yonks, and was confronted by a few pages of hilarious random chat solicitations. I read a bunch of them out loud to Matt as I deleted them, before he had the brilliant idea of saving the better ones for comic value. There was a great one from ipayy4sex, for instance, which is now lost forever. But here are a few that I managed to save for posterity:

(2004-11-24 18:47:17) gepsymen: When you love someone - you'll do anything
you'll do all the crazy things that you can't explain
you'll shoot the moon - put out the sun
when you love someone

(2004-11-26 07:26:50) ordnance6502: Hello Melissa...Mike here how are you young lady?

(2004-11-29 17:18:36) fooloflies: uhm, im taken too... but i just wanted to say... YOURE CUTE

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Yay, that was fun! I got too drunk (shouldna started so early) and forgot to make the steamed buns, but the curry seemed to go pretty well, judging from the emptiness of the crockpots this morning.

We discovered to our chagrin at about 10:30 that the webcam hadn't been saving pictures, which is kind of a pity because the lounge room was jam-packed between 8:00 and 10:00. But I made a goofy mpg of what was saved.


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Well, that sucked. I turned on my keyboard for the first time in weeks to discover that five or six of the keys aren't functioning. A few weeks ago when we first turned on the central heating, one of the valves on the steam radiators sprayed rusty hot water all over it, and it seems it's screwed up the circuitry. We took it apart and cleaned it, but only succeeded in causing a few more keys to malfunction. I am not best pleased about it.

And then I noticed that the sole has come off my platform mary janes. The ones I have been wearing nearly every day for the last two and a half years. I met Matt in those shoes. I don't know how I'm going to find a pair like them. I have no idea of the manufacturer, and anyway, I bought them in Sydney.

However! There is now a live webcam set up in the living room and I have created a webpage to display the shots. The camera takes a shot every minute, and the page auto-refreshes every minute, so it should work. It will most likely be dark for the next seven hours or so, but after that, you should be able to see Matt and I preparing for the party every now and then. And after that, there should be a shindig going on, approx 8pm EST till late.

Click here to see the wonders of modern technology!

And for a taste of it:

That's the most recent image from the time you entered or refreshed this page. If you click on the picture or the link above, you'll be taken to the auto-refreshing page, which is much more fun, if you're into that sort of thing.
(Being the party tonight to celebrate our newish apartment and my slightly erroneous green card)

• Lemon/Limeade

• Apple slices brushed with lemon juice

• Steamed buns (red bean paste, custard)

• Scotch eggs

• Butter chicken curry

• Beef korma curry

• Lamb rogan josh curry

• Saffron rice

• Chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream

And whatever else anyone brings. I am going to spend all day today (after I've caught a few hours' sleep) cooking up a storm. I even bought a crockpot and a spare electric element to accomplish all this. Pictures of the celebrations will be forthcoming. In fact, I'm considering broadcasting the party live. We'll see if I can get it sorted in between chopping and stirring.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

In happy news, I visited the Kung Fu center on Rte 22, and I am booked into an introductory class Friday week. (The bad news is that it's $109 per month for continuing classes. I'm mulling it over.) And while I was on that side of town, I went looking for the Asian grocers I have heard is in the area.

There are not one, but two excellent Asian stores tucked away back there! One is an Indian grocer, and sells lots of curry pastes and sauces! And the other is a Chinese grocer, where I can not only get red bean paste and custard steamed buns, but fresh produce, teas, and plenty of knick knacks which I wish I knew were available in Harrisburg sooner. And both stores sell good light soy sauce! Ah, consumer bliss!
The Department of Homeland Security are a bunch of incompetent buffoons.

Aside from all the other errors, misinformation and poor organization I have had to deal with, consider this:

This is my Green Card. They told me it would arrive in four months or so. It arrived in three weeks. I guess that's not such a bad thing, but do you notice something a little strange about the information on the card itself? Look closely now.

WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS THAT!!?!?!?! Never, NOT ONCE, in any of the forms that I have filled out, have I given them any reason to think I was born in fucking FRENCH POLYNESIA. I have never even BEEN to French Polynesia. Seriously - WHAT IN THE FUCK?

Are they hiring actual chimpanzees to do the data entry? First, they enter my father's name in the husband field, then they record that I was born in French Polynesia. You'd think that, oh, my AUSTRALIAN BIRTH CERTIFICATE and the fact that I state on every form I have ever filled out for them that I was born in AUSTRALIA and am an AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN would lead them to believe that maybe AUSTRALIA might be my country of birth.

So, I called the USCIS to ask them what I should do. I have to fill out form I-90 and book an appointment to come IN PERSON to the Philadelphia office of the BCIS. Then I have to prove that it was the BCIS's fault so that I don't have to pay the $185 filing fee. So I have to bring copies of all my forms to show that I never entered "French Polynesia" in the country of birth field.

Basically, I have to drive all the way to fucking Philly, and wait in line for three hours.

This is ridiculous. And this is the Department of fucking Homeland Security. Even the woman on the help line said, "Whoops, I guess someone must have been asleep at the wheel." How secure do you feel?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Herein lies the danger in contributing regularly to a blog. Blog in a moment of crisis, and you will incite false alarm. Elucidate a blog entry at four in the morning, and Champollion himself couldn't penetrate your obfuscation.

Suffice to say that both of the assumptions in cleric1104's comment are now true! However, I may need to pee again shortly.

Here is a familiar refrain. I swear that choice gets harder as one gets older. This year, I have faced more agonizing choices than ever before, and fewer of those divine moments of clarity I seemed to enjoy so often previously. In the past, I was sometimes so preternaturally certain of the path I should take that I wondered about the existence of a higher power of guidance (NB "wonder" spoken like a true agnostic). Now, I flounder in a sea of dread every time a new option is laid before me. I'm developing a phobia of choices.

And, yes, I do realize how ridiculous it is for me to be talking about dread when I'm being faced with such wonderful choices. It's like being disappointed at scoring 100% in an exam. It's absurd, right? (Dammit, that test brought my average down to 101%.)

I have made my choice this time, after much angst and thumping off fists. I made the choice a while ago; I just had to make it again. And it's a great weight off my shoulders.

I just posted on, asking if anyone knows if there really is an Ancient Roman poem about a dog with two bones. The guy who runs the unofficial Devo FAQ has no idea.
My bladder just woke me up.

To elaborate a little on the last entry, I received an unexpected piece of information shortly before 8:04pm that made my mind, or perhaps more accurately, my ego, light up like a Christmas tree. After throwing myself violently to the ground a few times, writing a cracked-out blog entry, and being taken on a walk'n'talk along the river by Matt (I married him with good reason - when my mind retches, he seems quite happy to hold the bucket), I think I'm back to square one. Which is not such a bad place to be, because almost invariably when you're at square one, the only thing to concentrate upon is how to get to square two.

In Ancient Rome there was a poem
About a dog who found two bones:
He picked at one,
He licked the other,
He went in circles,
He dropped dead.

Once you've chosen, then you're free. Choice enslaves you to the act of choosing.

(Hehe ... hi, Clark!)

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I love to work hard at my talents. When my hard work pays off, opportunity knocks. Why does opportunity always seem to knock on the back door just when I'm on my way out the front?

Then I must choose which door to open.

Choice fills me with such terror that I literally run screaming and shaking.

Who would have thought that opportunity could lead to such despair?
I find Omahyra's face and physicality intriguing. Also, her measurements are the same as mine! Only ... she's six inches taller. Um, yeah.

More strange dreaming this morning. Matt and I were attending a stadium football game, when it was announced over the loudspeakers by a group of old cardinals in red robes that Matt had ascended to the rank of Regent in the Catholic Church. We were both stunned, and sat for some time discussing what it could mean. Eventually, we stood up, only to discover with some shock and embarrassment that the spectators around us had been waiting for us to stand so they could leave themselves. Apparently we were seated in the Catholic section of the staduim, and the other spectators were following strict protocol. Matt and I walked to a food tent, and I received a too-large serving of steak strips on rice. I mentioned that Matt's status as a Regent implied that I was a princess. After eating, we returned home (it was no house I recognized). In the driveway, Matt produced a five-inch blackened needle from his pocket and told me it was poisoned and that he had the antidote inside the house. I didn't understand why he had made such a thing, and assumed it had something to do with being a regent. I asked him to show me the antidote, but he hedged around my inquiries until I lost my temper. "Well, what's the poison made from?" I asked.
"Burnt meat."
"Ha ha! You can't die from burnt meat!"
"It will make you very sick."
"But you can't die! That's not a real poisoned needle!"
"It will make you sick! And I have the antidote!"
We had a roaring argument, and at some point I grabbed my jacket and made ready to storm out of the house.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to the library to research Regents of the Catholic Church, since you don't seem to care."
Matt grabbed his own jacket and ran out the door before me. "Matt!" I yelled. "Matt, you could stab me a thousand times with that poisoned needle, and it wouldn't hurt as much as this!" I started to cry ... and then I woke up.

Interpret that!

There is only one public performance of The Tempest left, but there's no need to cry yet, as there is one more student matinee this Tuesday. I think I'm getting strep throat - I just hope it will hold off until Wednesday.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dick Smith offers to buy Vegemite from Kraft

I'm running horribly low on Vegemite, and I can't take it. And everyone back home is either too poor or too mad at me to send me some, so I have to look at the option of purchasing it over the internet. I can get a kilo of it for $17.95, but the shipping charge is nearly $30. So the question is: would I pay $45 per kilo (US$35) for Vegemite?

Of course I would.

(Since when does an AU$ cost US$0.77!?!? Holy shit. This time two years ago, the AUD was pushing US$0.50.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Who the hell did that?

I just went out to check the mail, and someone had put the arts section of the Harrisburg Patriot News in our letterbox. I assume he/she did this because there is a review of The Tempest within.

Mysterious! Who could it have been?

As for the review ...

Ariel, played by Melissa Dunphy, who slithers and slides on the stage and leaps and climbs all over it, seeks to be freed from Prospero's spell and serves as his eyes and ears. She also plays a recorder competently, adding to the production's eerie tone.

I guess that's a good review ... depending on your interpretation of the words "slithers," "slides," "leaps," "climbs" (I am a snake-monkey!), and "competently." (Recorder = eerie!!??)

He should have included "stumbles," since the reviewer came to the only show in which I have lost my footing. Climbing up a flight of stairs. It was embarrassing.

On another note, I made a few more little errors on the Spanish test than I had predicted, scoring 97%. 97% is hardly terrible, but after my straight run of full marks or more, I am disappointed.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What's this?

This, my friends, is the very first white hair I have ever noticed growing out of my head.
Matt took some atmospheric shots of the bedroom after I had spruced it up a little:

Here is a fleshed-out piece of news that I alluded to mysteriously and briefly a couple of entries ago. The folks at Gamut Theater have offered to take me on as a fulltime core member on a contract of at least one year beginning June 2005.

This is so perfect for so many reasons that I barely want to talk about it for fear of becoming too excited and exploding.

Firstly, I would be working fulltime in theater and being paid a decent wage. It's not a lot of money, but it's more than the nominal pay I've been accepting for acting all year, and health insurance is included. (Since Matt works for a small business, it would cost us $200 per month to add me to his health insurance plan, so I need health insurance for myself. Did I mention this country's health insurance system is RETARDED!? I bought the absolute maximum coverage single health insurance in Australia for only $70 per month.) And I would be working fulltime in theater.

In addition to performing in shows for Popcorn Hat, HSF, and Gamut, the job would entail giving acting classes to children, and working on marketing and PR. And I would never have to worry about juggling work and theater commitments ever again.

Isn't it funny how events and desires tend to come full circle? Seven years ago, I quit my degree in medicine because I wanted to become an actor. I dicked around for a few years, and eventually forgot about my passion for theater when music took precedence. Yet, suddenly, here I am being offered an acting job (with musical benefits).

I may need to cut down on my college classes, but as some of my work with the theater company would involve music composition (which is the purpose of my degree in the first place), this doesn't bother me in the slightest.

As for the six-month delay before being hired, I have a heavy load of classes in the Spring semester which would make a fulltime job impossible anyway. In addition, there is some exciting musical news which I have also alluded to in past entries, but which I will not flesh out at this time. I can't have a 9-5 job until June of next year. Everything is so perfect, I want to cry.

(In fact, I did cry during an episode of Judging Amy yesterday afternoon. I guess I'm hormonal.)

Man, I hope I didn't jinx the deal by writing about it.

We're getting rid of some posters on eBay. Clicky clicky.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

-- Kahlil Gibran

Today I visited a tiny essential oil and incense store in a strip mall on Route 22, and came one step closer to finding an answer I've been chasing for years. In Sydney, I used to visit a beauty clinic which served the most gorgeous tea I have ever tasted or smelt. When I asked what sort of tea it was, they said it was some sort of Egyptian rose and difficult to come by. Relishing the challenge, I have been trying to find that tea ever since. There was no tea for sale in the store today, but I did find an essential oil that smells exactly the same - "Egyptian Geranium." Aha! Further investigation reveals the plant, Pelargonium graveolens, is also known as the Egyptian rose geranium. It makes sense, since I've often drunk plain old geranium tea.

Of course, I still can't find Egyptian rose tea, Egyptian geranium tea, or Egyptian rose geranium tea for sale anywhere. Phooey.
Dreaming on a Theme

This morning I dreamed that I was on some sort of working vacation in Japan. By a stroke of pure luck, I spotted Phoebe Ling from my high school as I was making a phone call home to Matt from a public phone booth. She was travelling with the group of geeks and overachievers I hung out with in high school. I sat and had coffee and ice-cream cake with all of them in a cafe, then went with them to some sort of art and media studio, where I found Ray Manlove and Clark Nicholson in costume about to record a television show on American history. The group of geeks went upstairs to an art studio where models of fantasy characters were created for movies and passed around the fattest joint I have ever seen. I excused myself, being averse to marijuana, and hung out with Ray for a while, marvelling that my old school friends had become potheads.

What the hell is up with dreams of Japan and old high school friends?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It still amazes me that I live in an urban environment, yet there are wild rabbits running around my backyard when I come home.

Today, after only four hours' sleep, two exams, three assignments and an English class, I was fraying at the edges. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I had been scheduled to work a Smart Talk shift at WITF after class. As I walked to the college parking lot, I wished desperately for a cigarette.

I smoked socially for six years or so. By "socially," I mean that I would often go for weeks without smoking, but when I went out it was not uncommon for me to suck my way through a pack in one night. I liked to call my habit "binge smoking." When I met Matt, I quit. By "quit," I mean I have about a dozen cigarettes per year, usually when I am feeling stressed and always bummed from other people's packs.

As I approached my car, dreaming of a cancerous puff, I noticed something lying on the ground just underneath the driver's side door. It was an intact cigarette box with two cigarettes and a book of matches within.

Today, I bummed two cigarettes from God.

P.S. I think I did all right in my exams. The math test had a handy 10-point bonus question which I know I licked, so I'm hoping for at least 100%. The VB test was multiple choice, and experience has taught me never to count chickens when it comes to multiple choice exams.

See, now that I'm feeling more confident about my chances of getting a 4.0 GPA, all thoughts concerning the adequacy of a lesser grade have vanished. This supports my long-held view that the only people who try to convince themselves that marks aren't important to them are those who don't achieve good marks.
The math assignment is not dead! Dr. Kong is accepting my incredibly late effort after I sent him my INS sob-story.

And w00t! I am getting all the credit for the VB assignment as well! Calooh! Callay!

Now I'm back in the running again. But I'm not out of the danger zone. Life is so much more fun when you're flying by the seat of your pants, right? Right??
Yeah, this about sums it up. Although I'm not really an American yet, so I can't get quite so hoity-toity, I certainly feel his/her heart's in the right place.

Bah. College is really going down the shitter. By that, I mean that there is a distinct possibility that I might achieve a B in one of my subjects. I found out today that one of my Visual Basic assignments which I completed last week (the grammatically troubling one I mentioned on this blog earlier) didn't go through properly (or, more likely, I uploaded it but forgot to press the submit button). So I may well get a reduced mark for it because of lateness. I sent my teacher an e-mail with the assignment attached to it a moment ago. We'll see.

Other than that, I know I got a couple of questions wrong in the Spanish test this afternoon. That's not my real worry, though, as I'm 95% sure I still scored over 95%. My real worry is math. One dead assignment, and an exam tomorrow for which I'm not feeling particularly confident.

I console myself with the knowledge that it's not really all that necessary for me to get a perfect 4.0 GPA for a music composition degree. I mean, it's not like I want to study anything particularly academically competitive. A GPA of 4.0 isn't really important when my ultimate goal is to create film scores and chamber music. I might as well take it easy, right? Right??

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Some very exciting things are happening musically, and I'm so knee-deep in theater, college and decorating the house that I can't do the things I want to do.

Well, no. Really, it works like this: Performing in theater makes me tired, so I don't feel up to studying for my upcoming exams. I can't justify composing music in favor of studying because I know if I start composing, I'll be consumed by it and won't do any college work at all. So I decorate the house, a completely fruitless exercise, except that I'm planning on throwing a Green Card party sometime in the next couple of weeks.

But there are some very exciting things happening musically! I just can't talk about them yet for fear of jinxing.

Oh, by the way, the Chanticleer link below is working now!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ryan! (And anyone else who found they were unable to listen to the Past Life Melodies link below)

I found an mp3 of the Iowa State Singers' performance of the same piece. I still prefer Chanticleer's performance, and I'll keep trying to get it for you, but to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

Iowa State Singers | Past Life Melodies
Yesterday was one of those beautiful days which remind me why I love living.

The afternoon saw the birthday party of Clark Nicholson, the artistic director of Gamut Classic Theater and Prospero to my Ariel. It was a roast, and even though I haven't known Clark for more than a few months (Matt and I were probably the most recent friends there), I cried with laughter at some points and was touched to the point of tears at others. One guest read a letter from Clark's high school English teacher which included a poem Clark had written about making a piece-of-junk guitar sing. The poem is still running through my head. If I can work up the courage to ask him for a copy without sounding like a dork, I'll post it here.

I gave Clark my first-knit scarf, which, without really meaning to, I had woven around the number seven - seven ribs on each side, seven feet long, seven strands of yarn in each tassel, seven tassels at each end. The seven-pointed star, or septacle, is associated with the elven or faery world, and in the two Gamut shows I have done so far, I played a fairy and a spirit, so maybe there's a correlation there. Zach once told me in all seriousness that he thought I was a faery.

Matt and I also prepared a stack of burned CDs for him, from Tears for Agnes and Slow Andy to the Dillinger Escape Plan, Skinny Puppy, Phillip Glass and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Afterwards, at the show, Vince Petrosino was in attendance, and, most excitingly, Bill Dickensheets brought along his *brand new girlfriend*! Her name is Sabrina, and she looks like a ballerina. She has blonde hair to halfway down her thighs. During the second act, they held hands! It's wonderful.

Vince gave Matt and I another bowl. I think he is establishing a tradition of giving us favorite bowls - the bowl he gave us for our wedding is now the most hotly contested noodle bowl in the house.

The middle-of-the-run cast party was at Green Street. Sometimes I can't stand it when too many actors are gathered in a room with alcohol, although I know I occasionally slip into ultra-high-decibel mode myself when I'm not paying attention to my behavior. However, I had an intriguing talk with Doug, who will be directing Henry V next year. Suffice to say, I am excited and overjoyed, even with the knowledge that everything we talked about might fall through ...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I had very vivid and dadaist dreams this morning.

I dreamed that Matt and I were living in Japan. We returned from driving somewhere and were walking back to our apartment a block away. Matt went ahead while I locked the car. For some reason, I couldn't get his door to lock no matter how hard I tried - it still opened easily from the outside even when the lock was activated.

Finally I gave up and walked to the apartment alone. I had a black satin waist-cincher loosely tied around me, and I was carrying my light-blue corset. A group of Japanese schoolchildren walked past me, and suddenly I recognized a face in the crowd: Clare Stroebel, the daughter of my high school counsellor. Clare had been in the fifth grade the last time I saw her. In the dream, her hair had been dyed dark brown, and her face was so tanned it was nearly orange. She explained that she was attending college in Japan, and we swapped business cards. For some reason, I still had a Central PA Computers card in my wallet, but I wrote my updated details on the back.

When I arrived at the apartment, I handed Matt Clare's business card, which had somehow turned into a letter. As he was reading, Dan Puentes, the actor playing Ferdinand in The Tempest, appeared in our apartment. Through a strange twist of space and time, he was writing the letter as Matt was reading it. He picked up a green pen, and the words Matt was reading turned green.

Matt was very excited as he read the letter, because he also knew Clare Stroebel. This didn't strike me as strange at all.

The dream slipped into another dream in which I was lying in my bed here in Harrisburg, staring at my feet. I saw the window behind my clothesrack swing open by itself. I tried to tell Matt that there was a ghost or an intruder in the house, but I couldn't move. The clothes on the rack started moving as though they were being tugged by unseen hands, and I struggled to call Matt, but I felt as though I were too tired or drugged to form coherent words.

As I struggled, I awoke. I must have been doing something strange in my sleep, because Matt was laughing at me.
Most of my anger at the election result has been vented on conservatives in the Echoing the Sound forum. Since the election result was in their favor, justifying their beliefs in their own minds, they have come out in droves to restate their views on religious and political issues. Because Echoing the Sound is a Nine Inch Nails forum, the outspoken conservative members all have the IQs of lower primates, and, like shooting fish in a barrel, it has been effortlessly entertaining to slaughter their arguments. I feel like Ares, dancing through multiple threads spreading war and flames. It doesn't make a difference to the outcome of the election or the state of the country, but it saves my sanity.

I have also joined the forums for A Prairie Home Companion and St Paul Sunday. I'm not quite sure what I'm hoping to get out of them. The PHC forum contains a lot of political debate because of Garrison Keillor's liberal leanings, but there's also a lot of restraint, which ultimately leaves me feeling empty. The St Paul Sunday forum is almost completely unpopulated, but allows for interesting discussions about classical music - and I can have one-on-one conversations with the producers of the show. I guess I'm looking for more intellectual discussion and reading to supplement my POE-News diet.
Tuesday/Wednesday Retrospective

Now that I've pulled myself out of my post-election funk to some degree, I'll try and go over some events in more detail.

Tuesday left me exhausted. I performed in a student matinee of The Tempest (too early) in the morning, and since downtown Harrisburg parking is horrendous and/or expensive, I rode my bike to the theater. As much as I appreciate the exercise, I'm still the most unfit skinny girl in America. After half an hour of peddling, and with only a two-week hiatus from cycling, I reached Market Street almost as sweaty and dizzy as I was the first day I rode downtown. Well, all right, I wasn't quite that bad, but my exertion was shameful nevertheless.

Note to self: cycling for half an hour, then performing a physically demanding play, then cycling for another half-hour is an adequate recipe for exhaustion. But the day didn't end there.

Of course, I can't vote yet. In fact, I probably won't be able to vote next election, since the citizenship process will take at least another four or five years (on an aside, it's amazing how many people have asked me since Wednesday if I can vote now that I have a Green Card. Pfft! Americans.). Instead, I operated the teleprompter during WITF's election night coverage.

An interesting discussion took place between guests and analysts in the TV studio, and we cut regularly to the WITF-FM newsroom for updates on election results, but I miss being in a real TV news studio. I laugh at myself saying this, because Channel Ten in Sydney was hardly "real" TV news - the example I always cite is the afternoon I watched the news producer drop a story about warfare in Israel in favor of a live cross to the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial. Nevertheless, I adored being on the inside of the news, reading the wires as stories are posted, and watching the mayhem from the center of the tornado. There's mayhem at WITF, but only because they don't produce daily live broadcasts and every upset precipitates a feeling of panic.

The election night coverage ended at 10pm, and I was already dreading the result. I drove home, trudged back into the house, and set about packing for the infamous Adjustment of Status interview.

We should have been more organized. Matt only checked just before we left, and with horror, we learned that, along with all our other evidence, we needed a letter from Matt's employer stating his salary and terms of employment.

We were so much more organized last year although we had more forms to fill and hoops to leap through. I guess success has made us blase and careless.

So, after driving down to Philly with only one wrong turn (why the hell isn't the turnpike called I-76 the whole way!?), we woke up the next morning at 6:15 and braved the biting Philadelphia air, armed with a confidentiality agreement and paystubs from Affinigent, and hope.

They confiscated my knitting needles at the security checkpoint of the BCIS office. The officer remarked on autopsy photos she had seen of a man attacked with a knitting needle.

After a wait of around 45 minutes, we were invited into the interview with officer Garcia, a man with a very muted sense of humor and an unnerving shake in his hands. I pointed out the mistake on our interview letter, and with a quick phone call he corrected our record - as I suspected, someone in data entry had captured the wrong field. Thankfully, they didn't expect me to marry my father, or bring him to the interview.

Then he moved onto the questions. Both Matt and I can't recall most of them, but we do remember:
What were the circumstances of our meeting?
When and where did we get married?
Matt, what is Melissa's birthday?
Are you still fans of Nine Inch Nails?
Melissa, where do you work?
Where do you live now?

The questions were pretty mild, but perhaps this is because our relationship isn't suspicious in any way, so we didn't need to be grilled.

Of course, then he asked for a letter from Matt's employer. The confidentiality agreement and paystubs were not enough. Matt had to call Affinigent and have them fax a letter to Officer Garcia while we waited. It was nailbiting, and we were both pretty angry at ourselves. Matt was even more down because his income last year didn't quite reach the minimum requirement for a sponsoring citizen, and if it hadn't been for my assets, we wouldn't have made it.

But there's no sense in beating ourselves up, since everything worked out. My passport was stamped, and I was informed that my physical green card would arrive in the mail in five to seven months.

I can't figure out why it takes five to seven months to send me a slip of cardboard either. Very strange.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It angers me to the point of tears that the Bush camp is proud that Bush won with more votes than any president in American history. As soon as I heard that particular line, it occurred to me that Kerry lost with more votes than any president in American history. The winningest loser evar.
As of three hours ago, I am officially a permanent resident of the United States of America.

Now I can be a part of this great nation as it goes to shit.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I stayed at home and worked on Visual Basic all day. I managed to complete six assignments in 24 hours, most of which weren't due until November 11. If I can achieve the same singlemindedness in my other subjects within the next 48 hours, I'll have everything under control.

I do have some gripes about my teacher in VB, though. English is obviously her second language, and while I am for various obvious reasons extremely tolerant of people who are still learning English, when a situation arises in which her communication skills may result in a lowering of my GPA, my blood pressure surges.

For example:

"When defining arguments and parameters for sub procedures and functions, what matters between arguments and parameters? (3 pts)"

"What is the difference with the general procedures (event procedures) and user-defined procedures (sub procedures and functions) (2 pts)"
Things to note about this question:
Event procedures are not general procedures.
Sub procedures and functions are general procedures.
Sub procedures are not user-defined procedures.

The weather is so beautiful at the moment. I dread the coming months.

If you want to hear an amazing piece of music, follow this link:
Chanticleer on St Paul Sunday
Click on the "Listen" link at the top of the page, and move the cursor to around 28 minutes. I heard this show on the radio about a month ago and was so awed and distracted that I nearly crashed my car. The piece is Past Life Melodies by Australian composer Sarah Hopkins, and this performance showcases some of the most amazing harmonic singing I have ever heard. It's hard to believe that it's a live performance on radio, not a studio recording. The harmonics fly so wildly in the last minute or so, I find myself crying in exultation. Be sure to keep listening for the maddeningly effortless demonstration of harmonic singing by one of the members of Chanticleer after the performance.

Since hearing it again fifteen minutes ago, my tongue aches from intoning "now-reee" over and over. Oddly, I'm getting some pretty decent harmonics. I couldn't hit harmonics nearly this distinctly or loudly when I've tried in the past.