Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
to contain an actual grown-up real visa from the US Embassy.
- Firstly extract your criminal record from CRB at a relatively small cost. For the record, £35 if you are organised or £70 if you need it RIGHT NOW like me. There will be further cost.
- Secondly, make an appointment at an appropriately located US Embassy and book a Visa appointment. This will cost 113 of your American dollars.
- Fill out a spectacular number of forms. There will be further costs.
- Attend your appointment at the appropriately located US Embassy. There will be further costs.
- Wait, pray, eat fingernails etc. There will be further costs.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
And so to Smiffy…
It is only fair that when new staff have been recruited to the blog they are accordingly recognised, (especially if they happen to be your wife!).
Smiffy is a whole bunch of lovely, wonderful things to me that I won't bore you with. What, as a regular reader you need to appreciate is what Smiffy contributes to this blog. The process goes a little like this…
Step 1: I write a bunch of stuff and submit to a test site.
Step 2: Smiffy reads and corrects all my amusing attempts at correct GRAMMAR. At this point it should be explained that my use of commas is comparable to US napalm fuelled "deforestation" air raids in Vietnam, that is to say occasionally indiscriminate and often inappropriate. Commas are a big issue for Smiffy. Often COMMAS also get the capital treatment. It should also be explained that the word GRAMMAR can only be pronounced in capitals by Smiffy.
Step 3: I whine and moan about the stupidities of correct GRAMMAR and refuse to make the changes.
Step 4: A husband and wife debate ensues… the changes are made.
Step 5: Finally the Smiffy enhanced version of my scribble gets published and this is what you get to read.
It may sound from the tone of this that I am negative about Smiffy, but that is not true. What I am negative about is being corrected, cos at times I can be a teensy bit arrogant and "unreceptive to constructive criticism" (Smiffy made me write that!). Hopefully you will forgive me and understand me as time flies by.
Most importantly, appreciate Smiffy for what she brings to this blog, as in GRAMMAR and her support. And maybe the best bit is unconditional LOVE (no matter how bad my GRAMMAR is.).
You may have noticed a little widget on the side-bar of this website labelled followers. If you are new to this as I still am, then you may be wondering what this is all about. Don't worry I did too when I first added it.
Apparently people may visit this site whilst browsing blogs and like what they see. They may then disappear into the ether never to be seen again, like ships passing in the night. I guess it would be really nice if that didn't happen and that is what following is all about. I am in this for the long haul whether my regular existing followers like it or not. It is also worth mentioning that there are other blogs of note out there as well, so learning how following works is a useful thing to understand.
I could explain it myself, (badly), with lots of poorly formatted screenshots that won't fit properly on the page and generally get very irritated. The alternative would be to look for yourself. If you are unsure I suggest you do.
Hopefully you will come back in the future and see what I have been up to, if you choose to follow it just makes it easier, oh and maybe makes me feel a little better.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
If you are a follower or regular visitor to this site then you will have already seen me espouse upon the loose and wondrous virtues of Las Vegas.
To begin at the beginning, I went to Vegas recently. If you have been to the US before you would have been made aware of something called the Visa Waiver program. The Visa Waiver program used to consist of a green slip of paper handed to you on the plane. There were seven important questions on the green slip of paper. These questions are now on a website. Here they are, along with answers and thought processes involved:
Question A: Do you have a communicable disease, physical or mental disorder, or are you a drug abuser or addict?
Drug abuser or addict is reasonably clear, as is communicable disease I suppose. A clear definition of physical or mental disorder would be really helpful at this point. Anyhow, I took a risk and plumped for No.
Question B: Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance; or have been arrested or convicted for two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence to confinement was five years or more; or have been a controlled substance trafficker; or are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities?
OMG, so many questions in one sentence. I had to look up moral turpitude; simple definition appears to be anything bad that might have involved a conversation with the police. Had a bit of a problem with violations relating to a controlled substance, so I had to click Yes.
Question C: Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved; in any way in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?
Interesting that they would ask if you have ever been involved in espionage, as surely one of the prerequisites of the profession is to never talk about it. As for terrorist activities, if anyone was stupid enough to answer Yes to that then Mr Obama should keep Guantanamo open just for them. For me clearly a No.
Question D: Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or have been previously removed from the United States; or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or by misrepresentation?
Question E: Have you ever detained, retained or withheld custody of a child from a U.S. citizen granted custody of the child?
Question F: Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa or entry into the U.S. or had a U.S. visa cancelled? If yes; when and where?
Question G: Have you ever asserted immunity from prosecution?
No, but I would love to know how, where do I sign?
I clicked to submit and was informed, rather abruptly I thought, that I would not be able to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver program. Well, that's a little unfair, I got six out of seven right, that's about 86%, what sort of exam is this? Apparently it's an exam where you have to score 100% every time.
As a consequence I would have to apply for a proper serious Visa. Unfortunately this involves having a more than significant brush with something I have a little bit of trouble dealing with: Bureaucracy.
Bureaucracy has been defined as "the slowness, the ponderousness, the routine, the complication of procedures and the maladapted responses of the bureaucratic organization." As you will soon learn, dear reader, this is in fact an understatement taken to a whole new level. I may need to invent a new word for it.
Anyhoo I certainly wasn't happy. But, I had no choice. I had to do the dance of the pen-pusher, so like Alice and Keanu Reeves I took the red pill and disappeared down the bureaucratic rabbit hole.
To be continued...