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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Immigration Update

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: an episode of CSI

I got a letter from INS today:
To process your application, the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) must capture your biometrics. Please appear at the below Application Support Center at the date and time specified. If you fail to appear as scheduled, your application will be considered abandoned.

Application Support Center:
USCIS Memphis
842 Virginia Run Cove
Memphis, TN 38122

Date and Time of Appointment:
XX/XX/XXXX
XX:XX

When you go the Application Support Center to have your biometrics taken, you must bring:
  1. This appointment notice and
  2. Photo identification. Naturalization applicants must bring their Alien Registration Card. All other applicants must bring a passport, driver's license, national ID, military ID, or State-issued photo ID. If you appear without proper identification, your biometrics may not be taken.
Cell phones, cameras, or other recording devices are not permitted.

Request for Rescheduling:
□ Please reschedule my appointment. Upon receipt of your request, you will be provided a new appointment notice. Make a copy of this notice for your records, then mail the original with your request to USCIS Memphis, 842 Virginia Run Cove, Memphis, TN 38122. Mail a copy of your request to the Service Center where you filed your I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence.

Warning!
Due to limited seating availability in our lobby area, only persons who are necessary to assist with transportation or completing the biometrics worksheet should accompany you. If you have open wounds or bandages/casts when you appear, the USCIS may reschedule your appointment if it is determined your injuries will interfere with taking your biometrics.
When I checked to see how long processing will take, it was still six months. So I guess I should be conservative and start the 6-month countdown after they get my biometrics :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 4:54 PM | 4 Comments |
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Tending the Inner Rocker

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: East Side--Joyce Cooling (Third Wish)

Guitar Hero! For the PC!

Steve and I didn't really want to go to the mall yesterday because it was the day after Thanksgiving, which is known as a HUGE shopping day. You get deals on all sorts of things, and some stores open as early as 4am to accommodate the crowds. But we wanted to go out and there was nowhere else to go :-). So we decided to wait until after noon to head to the mall, when the morning rush would be over.

There were still lots of people shopping at the mall, but at least there wasn't an "Oh my God, I've got to hurry, the sale ends at noon" kind of energy since it was already past noon. So Steve and I were just walking and browsing. We walked into one of the game stores and Steve was looking at the shelves and then said, "Huh."

"What?"

He walked over and got a Guitar Hero game off the shelf. "Look at this--it's for the PC."

Steve and I had been thinking if we were going to get an XBox or a PS2, only because we wanted to play the Guitar Hero game. This was an AWESOME find because now that it's come out for the PC, we don't have to spend money on a game platform. When we talked to the store people, they said that THEY didn't realize the game had a PC version until the boxes arrived last week.

So we paid for the game, which came with the guitar, and promptly went home :-).

We tried to install it on my laptop, but my video card wouldn't support it. Luckily his desktop could handle it. We had to calibrate the video and audio first thought before the beat and the music were in sync.

Once we were done with that, we started rocking away :-). We liked this version better because Guitar Hero versions I and II had too many new songs that we didn't recognize :-). At least with Guitar Hero III, which is titled "Legends of Rock," there were songs that we at least knew of :-).

Here's the song list:
  • "3's and 7's" - Queens of the Stone Age
  • "Avalancha" - Heroes del Silencio
  • "Barracuda" - Heart
  • "Black Magic Woman" - Santana
  • "Cherub Rock" - Smashing Pumpkins
  • "Closer" - Lacuna Coil
  • "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" - Blue Oyster Cult
  • "Cult of Personality" - Living Colour
  • "Even Flow" - Pearl Jam
  • "Generation Rock" - Revolverheld
  • "Go That Far" - Bret Michaels Band
  • "Hier Kommt Alex" - Die Toten Hosen
  • "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" - Pat Benatar
  • "I'm in the Band" - The Hellacopters
  • "In the Belly of a Shark" - Gallows
  • "Knights of Cydonia" - Muse
  • "La Grange" - ZZ Top
  • "Lay Down" - Priestess
  • "Mauvais Garon" - NAAST
  • "The Metal" - Tenacious D
  • "Minus Celsius" - Backyard Babies
  • "Miss Murder" - AFI
  • "Mississippi Queen" - Mountain
  • "My Name Is Jonas" - Weezer
  • "The Number of the Beast" - Iron Maiden
  • "One" - Metallica
  • "Paint It, Black" - The Rolling Stones
  • "Paranoid" - Black Sabbath
  • "Radio Song" - Superbus
  • "Raining Blood" - Slayer
  • "Reptilia" - The Strokes
  • "Rock and Roll All Nite" - Kiss
  • "Rock You Like a Hurricane" - Scorpions
  • "Ruby" - Kaiser Chiefs
  • "Sabotage" - Beastie Boys
  • "School's Out" - Alice Cooper
  • "She Bangs the Drums" - The Stone Roses
  • "She Builds Quick Machines" - Velvet Revolver
  • "Slow Ride" - Foghat
  • "Suck My Kiss" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Take This Life" - In Flames
  • "Talk Dirty to Me" - Poison
  • "Through the Fire and Flames" - DragonForce
  • "Welcome to the Jungle" - Guns N' Roses
  • "When You Were Young" - The Killers
My favorite so far is Paint It Black :-). I've liked that song since I first heard it on "Tour of Duty" :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 6:42 AM | 0 Comments |
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Happiness is...

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Nothing right now

Happiness is leftover pumpkin pie and a hot cup of coffee at 5:30 in the morning :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 5:35 AM | 0 Comments |
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Changed My Mind

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Leaving--Jim Chappell (Acadia)

Changed my mind about Google Desktop and uninstalled it. Don't get me wrong, I loved how convenient it was, but too many things started misbehaving after I'd been using it a while:
  • I couldn't paste a PRNT SCRN image into Photoshop
  • I couldn't mute my laptop by pressing on the mute button on the keyboard
  • I kept losing my Quicklaunch menus every time I shut down and needed to recreate them every time I booted up
  • My system slowed down in general
For a moment I was worried that a simple uninstall wouldn't solve it, but everything was working again after I uninstalled and rebooted. So I guess it *was* Google Desktop that was causing the problems.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 12:24 PM | 2 Comments |
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First Impressions of Google Desktop

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Little Dream--Jim Chappell (Tender Ritual)

Ever heard of Google Desktop? Me neither. Until yesterday, that is.

I came across it searching for something else. I was actually searching for a Google gadget that would allow me to keep a to-do list that's always visible on my desktop.

"Google Desktop makes searching your computer as easy as searching the web." I wasn't entirely sure what that meant until I decided to take a chance and install it to see how it worked. After you install it, you'll see a little Google search box on your desktop (don't worry, you have the option to auto-hide it if you're a desktop neat freak like me :-)).


Now get a load of this. Say I'm looking for a document that's on my hard drive somewhere. I forgot where I saved it, but I DO know that it's got the word "record" in the document.

I type "record" in the Google Desktop search box...


And as I'm typing the word it gives me everything in my hard drive that has the word "record" in it. This includes programs, pictures, documents, e-mails, your browser history, you name it. If you've ever tried to hunt down an email that someone sent you over 6 months ago, you can appreciate how helpful this is going to be :-).

Now granted, Windows can search for stuff too, but Google Desktop does it SO much faster and so much more efficiently.

And here's another thing. Notice the "See all 1134 desktop results in a browser" link at the bottom of the list? Click on that...


And you'll see all the search results in Google result format. It found 790 emails, 438 files, 7 web history files, and 4 "other" files (which turned out to be Outlook invitations) that had the word "record" in my hard drive.

That's pretty freaking cool :-).

There's also a "10 Great Uses for Google Desktop" article here. If you need more information about Google Desktop, click here.

Oh, and by the way: I *was* able to get a to-do list application--it's one of the gadgets that you can get when you install Google Desktop. The beauty of it is that it links to my Outlook task list. I also added a few more gadgets: my Google calendar, a scratch pad, a calculator gadget, and a music player. I love that I can play music from my hard drive now without relying on Windows Media Player--it's always bugged me the way Media Player takes up space on my taskbar :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 3:13 AM | 0 Comments |
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Can't Wait!

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Nothing right now

I'm SO excited about this movie! I can't wait!

Kung Fu Panda
"A CG-animated comedy about a lazy, irreverent slacker panda, Po (Voiced by Jack Black), who must somehow become a Kung Fu Master in order to save the Valley of Peace from a villainous snow leopard, Tai Lung. Set in the legendary world of ancient China, this is the story of Po, our unlikely hero, who enters the rigid world of Kung Fu and turning it upside down. Po ultimately becomes a Kung Fu hero by learning that if he believes in himself, he can do anything."

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 5:55 AM | 0 Comments |
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Back Home

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Raindrops on My Heart--Jim Chappell (Coming Through)

Oh it's SO good to be home. There's nothing like stepping in your own front door and your dogs see you and they start jumping up and down because they're so glad you're back. It was even more wonderful because Steve had the entire apartment spotless. It was just like stepping into a hotel room, only much better because it's so much more homey :-). I could've curled up on the carpet and fallen asleep right in the living room :-).

Not that I didn't sleep on the plane. As a matter of fact, I slept a LOT on the plane. And that's because of this awesome inflatable pillow that I recently bought: The 1st Class Sleeper.



You've probably seen this in SkyMall magazine. That was where *I* saw it, and I was curious to see if all the reviews were true.

They are :-). MAN, that thing's comfortable. I was SO glad I got it. There were two things about it that really impressed me: 1. how much back support you get, and 2. how much neck support you get. You can't see it in the picture, but the pillow actually has a U-shaped seam at the top, which is where you rest your head. Your neck is supported by the bottom part of the U. It feels like you're being cradled by the entire pillow, which makes it REALLY easy to fall asleep :-). It's won the Momentum Award at the 2003 Las Vegas Travel Good Show and is endorsed by chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons.

What's pretty neat is that if you're not sleeping just yet, you can fold it in half and use it just as a lumbar pillow:


It comes with its own pouch and folds small enough that you can put it in your carry on or backpack. It's too big for a purse, though :-).


The only downside to it was that after I'd gotten some sleep (which was about after 4-6 hours), my lower back felt just a little damp. Because it's nylon, it doesn't breathe. I figure I can get around that next time by placing a cotton cloth either against the pillow or against my back :-).

Now all I need to do is order one of THESE things. I near fell off my chair laughing when I saw it, which is how I knew I HAD to have it :-). "Oh my GOD, that's crazy! I love it!"
Warm Whiskers Eye Pillow
Comforting friends with a calming scent

The Warm Whiskers freezable or heatable eye pillows help reduce eye puffiness and strain, headaches, facial tension and sinus pressure. Each animal is filled with relaxing lavender and chamomile.

Send this cuddly friend to bed with your little one or enjoy the therapeutic and aromatic warmth yourself.

Select from Five Animals: Polar Bear, Brown Bear, Cat, Dog, or Bunny

I just ordered the cat and the dog. One's for me, the other's for my dad (he gets a kick out of these things too :-)).

They'll get here in time for my next trip out in December. I'm not sure if I'll be able use it on the plane (there aren't any straps that you can use to hold it steady over your eyes), but you can bet I'm going to try :-). LOL maybe I could attach it to an ordinary sleep mask somehow with velcro :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 3:34 AM | 0 Comments |
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wow

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: I Left My Heart in San Francisco--Beegie Adair (I'll Take Romance)

You've got to be kidding me.

"Tennessee Watches and Warnings
National Weather Service Zone - TNZ088

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEMPHIS TN
343 AM CST TUE NOV 6 2007

FIRST HARD FREEZE OF THE SEASON EXPECTED TONIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING ACROSS THE MIDSOUTH.

Cold high pressure will build into the Midsouth tonight. As a result, skies will be clear and winds are expected to be light. This combination will allow temperatures to drop into mid 20s to lower 30s by Wednesday morning across the Midsouth."

I guess buying those gloves last week wasn't too early after all :-).

LOL If trees could talk, I can almost imagine what they'll be saying tonight: "...What the hell?!"

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 5:31 AM | 0 Comments |
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Well THAT was quick...

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Amorose--Fourplay (The Best of Fourplay)


Remember that blog entry I wrote last month about sending in my immigration application to remove the conditions of my permanent residency? Well, USCIS (a.k.a. INS) had cashed the $545 check last week, which is great because at least now I know they'd received the application. When I called to ask how long before I can expect the receipt notice to arrive, the girl said it can take up to 4 weeks for me to get it.

So imagine my surprise when I checked the mail today and I got the receipt notice :-). The whole process took less than a month, which is much faster than I expected. I guess they're mostly caught up with the backlog :-).

For my friends who are in the same boat, here's what the letter says:

Your conditional resident status is extended for a period of one year. During the one-year extension you are authorized employment and travel.

In order to further process your petition, you will be receiving an Application Support Center (ASC) appointment notice with a specific time, date, and location to capture your fingerprints, photo and signature. You MUST wait for your appointment notice before going to the ASC for biometric processing.

NOTE: Conditional resident applicants, including conditional resident dependents residing overseas pursuant to military or government orders, WILL NOT RECEIVE an ASC appointment notice. To complete biometric processing, these applicants must submit the required items listed on the I-751 form instructions.

If you have not already done so, provide supporting documents to assist USCIS in processing your petition and to establish eligibility to remove the conditional basis of your permanent residence. PLEASE INCLUDE A COPY OF THIS RECEIPT NOTICE WITH ANY SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS YOU SUBMIT. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following items:

- Lease of joint tenancy or joint ownership of assets
- Joint mortgage agreement and/or property deed
- Tax returns
- Birth certificate(s) of any child(ren) born from the marriage
- Joint policies of life, medical and/or car insurance

Upon receipt of your ASC appointment notice, you can find the status of your case on-line at
http://www.uscis.gov/. To view the status of your case, enter the application number found at the top of the ASC appointment notice. NOTE: The I-751 form type will be listed as "CR189" under the application type in our case status on-line pool.

I was a little confused about the part where it said, "Conditional resident applicants, including conditional resident dependents residing overseas pursuant to military or government orders, WILL NOT RECEIVE an ASC appointment notice." I was like, "...But you just SAID I was going to get an ASC Notice."

Then I realized that what they actually meant was: "Conditional resident applicants (including conditional resident dependents) residing overseas pursuant to military or government orders..."

Or mathematically speaking:

(Conditional residents + their dependents) living overseas
and not:
Conditional residents + (their dependents living overseas)

I thought to myself, "Geez. No wonder people hire immigration lawyers. The way they write these things can be really confusing."

Ah, well--at least the process has started :-). According to processing times published on uscis.gov, the whole thing'll take about 6 months if there aren't any problems--which is why they extend your conditional permanent residency for another year :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 4:27 AM | 1 Comments |
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Happiness is...

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Say It Isn't So--Hall and Oates (The Essential Collection)

Happiness is having a steaming hot bowl of champorado on a cold morning :-).

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Posted by Cecille Slish | 9:39 AM | 0 Comments |
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