Well, it's been a busy few weeks! So, let's go in chronological order!
We had our interview down at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for my Green Card application. We were kind of anxious about it, since we had heard stories from a couple of other couples who got grilled fairly heavily, moved to separate rooms and questioned separately to see if their answers lined up, that sort of thing.
We went in 15 minutes before our scheduled time, waited in a lobby for five minutes, and got called in. A lovely lady took us both into her office and asked us a few simple questions about where we met. We showed her the photobooks Katie had made of our trips to Cambodia and South Korea. She asked for copies of our joint bank account statements and asked if she could keep a picture of us wearing umbrella hats (for their files, ostensibly). This one, in fact:
Then she shooed us back out into the lobby, where we waited for another five minutes, then she called my name and gave me my passport with my Green Card in it. Actually, it was a Red Stamp; my actual Green Card arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. And yes, contrary to popular know-it-allishness, the Green Card is, in fact, actually green. Not like a lime green or anything. More of a money green. Like millions of green swirly lines. It's got my face, and my signature, and my fingerprint, and a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the front. The back is mega weird, it's got all these teeny tiny micro versions of all these flags from other countries (but not Canada, oddly), as well as a line of teeny tiny micro portraits of all the Presidents of the United States, from Washington to Obama. Weirdest of all, it comes with a little tinfoil sleeve, upon which is printed, "We recommend use of this envelope to protect your new card and prevent wireless communication with it." A little Caprica, a little 1984.
Overall, the Green Card process was fairly painless. By which I mean it was a huge pain in the ass, and involved reams and reams of paperwork, but nothing insurmountable. It was, by far, the most complicated thing I've ever had to do, but I'm fairly proud that we managed to pull it off by ourselves, without having to spend ten to twenty thousand dollars on an immigration lawyer. I can now vote in municipal and state elections, but not the federal election. Every little bit helps, though, ya?
I had a birthday in June, too. Thanks to all my friends on That Thing who left birthday well-wishes for me. Marshall McLuhan will spin in his grave at my heresy, but the message was more important than the medium in this case. Thanks, thanks!
For my birthday, Katie planned a secret outing. She laid plenty of misdirects, both ahead of time ("You'll need your passport." "You need to bring sneakers*, definitely.") and after we had actually reached our destination of the Jersey Shore
, specifically, Asbury Park
("I just wanted to hang out on the beach." "We're having dinner at a nice restaurant."). As we moseyed down Ocean Drive after checking in at our hotel, Katie directed my gaze to the sign of the Stone Pony
(a famous bar where Bruce Springsteen used to hang out, where I saw:
Well fuck me backwards and forwards. She did a superb job of keeping the secret.
Now, as I think I've discussed before, I'm not a Music Person. I'm a Video Game Person, a Book Person, a Cat Person, but not a Music Person. I like music, I just have some sort of fatal disconnect when I hear it. It tends to take rather a lot to make me pay attention
to music. It might be my years of video games, it might be the way my dad always had a radio on in the house, even when no one was home, but I tend to regard music generally as a background
thing, and I struggle to concentrate on it.
There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule, and the main one is They Might Be Giants
. Discovering their album Flood
in the CD room at CHMR (when I used to jockey discs, if such an activity can be believed of the person who wrote the preceding paragraph) is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I fucking love Flood
. And I love They Might Be Giants. When people ask me who my favourite band is, I just say TMBG, because it's the first band that springs to mind. There aren't many bands about whom I can say that I like, basically, every single song
I've heard by them.
Anyway. If you had told me, while I was bopping around MUN with my cassette-tape-copy of Flood
in my Walkman (yes, tape; yes, Walkman; I don't look it, but I am that old), never fully hearing the song "Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love" because I cut it off by mistake, that I would ever get to actually stand in a bar in New Jersey and watch them play, I would have said, "That sounds fucking awesome." And it was.
The boys are just stellar in concert. I'm guilty of not having kept up with their recent releases (see previous statements about not being a Music Person), so some of the songs were too new for me to know them, but they were all good, and I was able to sing along with about 75% of the songs (along with everyone else in the packed
bar. TMBG have a lot of crazy fans - we actually saw some of the fanboys/-girls jostling for the sheet of paper with the set list written on it after the show ended).
There were puppets.
Also, there was a confetti cannon.
I had a blast. Katie is the best.
We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out on the beach and doing things like playing mini golf. (We tied the first game, and Katie won the second.)
We also went to SilverBall, which is a sort of interactive museum, where you can play pinball machines from various eras. Katie found one called Freefall which caused a bit of a stir. Allegedly, there's an exact copy of this machine in her grandpa's basement, albeit under a different name.
It was a splendid birthday weekend. On my birthday proper, Katie took me to Blondies for hot wings. It would be difficult for me to improve upon my life.
Speaking of improving my life! Have you seen this photograph?
Probably not, because I, in all my infinite wisdom, completely forgot to direct you to the website of our wedding photographer, Darrell Sharpe
. Darrell did an "engagement session" with us when were in town in April, and he did a fantastic job. You can see selected pictures from the shoot right here
. Darrell's a great guy, with an excellent eye, and we were mega lucky with weather and lighting. (Also, Katie's prettiness offsets the freakishly-plain look that I'm currently rocking.)
I'm keeping busy on this project for Oxford, which is good, and wedding plans are blazing. Invitations got into the mail today, almost exactly eight weeks from the date, not too bad.
Parting shot: I collected some of my old toys from the basement at Dad's house when I was home. Among them was the foursome of the Real Ghostbusters
(the cartoon, with the guy who did Garfield's cartoon voice as Peter Venkman). I noticed something the other day as I was
playing with them setting them up for display on my dresser
looking at them. The (pardon me) white** characters, Peter, Ray, and Egon all have hands molded in the typical "holding" position common to action figures like GI Joes or Star Wars toys. But Winston Zeddemore (which I've been misspelling, apparently, for my entire life as "Zedimore") has one of his hands in a unique position.
That reminds me of something
, doesn't it? Someone who worked at Kenner in the 80's was awesome
That's it, that's all! Check out our wedding website
if you haven't already. (It's due for updates this week!)
Now fuck off.
Ooh, baby, I'm tired.
*Only she probably said "tennis shoes," in her strange Midwest way. I don't even play tennis. But I do LOTS of sneaking.
**At a recent meeting for the book I'm working on, one of the editors raised a concern over my choice of denoting ethnicity for the characters in the art specs. On the orders of my boss, I've been using "white", "black", "asian", and "hispanic", because these are the ethnic categories that got the largest responses in the most recent American census. The (white) editor was concerned, specifically, that "white" and "black" were not politically-correct enough, and "wouldn't Caucasian and African-American be better?" Quite apart from the fact that it's a lot easier
to type white and black than Caucasian and African-American, if people are self-identifying
as "white" and "black", then perhaps it's appropriate to use those terms. I never call myself Caucasian, and throwing a blanket over all the dark-skinned people on the continent and calling them African does them a disservice as well.