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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Triplets of Belleville

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Nothing right now

Steve and I watched the animated film "The Triplets of Belleville" a few nights ago. I was actually looking forward to it because it rated a 94% on the tomato meter at it's not very often that they would rate a film that high. Here's the movie poster and a synopsis of the plot:

In this animated French film, a boy named Champion trains relentlessly for the Tour de France, with the help of his loyal grandmother and overweight dog, Bruno (who loves to bark at passing trains). When the big race comes, Champion and a few of his fellow racers are kidnapped by some box-shouldered thugs who spirit them off to Belleville (a surreal impression of 1930s-1950s Manhattan) where they are forced to pedal as part of a clandestine gambling operation. Bruno and Grandma set out across the sea in a paddle boat to rescue their boy, but once ashore they soon become lost, hungry and penniless--that is, until the frog-eating Triplets of Belleville, former scat-singing jazz prodigies turned experimental musicians, come to their rescue. Filled with inspired, twisted imagery, this nearly dialogue-free film is a crowd-pleaser of unusual power, with the strange, measured pacing of a dream, and a great soundtrack of bizarre, alternate-reality '30s jazz. It also offers a touching and believable evocation of a dog's life. A great throwback to the time before animation became dominated by CGI effects, Triplets of Belleville is a very strange, very loving, and very French salute to obsession, affection, and persistence.

So Steve and I watched it. That was one weird film. I had to admit, it was kind of impressive that the story was told with practically no dialogue. No conversations, nothing. Steve wasn't as impressed, though, because he said it's not like that's a novel thing--that's how movies were made before "talkies" came in.

It was definitely the kind of film that, at the end, would make you say, "What the HECK was that?" And then later on it kind of spurs conversations as you both try to make sense of it.

There were only 2 things that stayed with me after I watched the film:
Critics LOVED it, of course, and Steve and I are still trying to figure out why.

Here's the trailer. You'll probably see what I mean :-).


Posted by Unknown | 4:43 PM | 0 Comments |
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USCIS Receives Application

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Gone--Jim Chappell (Dusk)

Got this letter from USCIS yesterday:
Receipt and Transfer Notice
N400 Application for Naturalization

The above application has been received by our office and is in process. Our records indicate your personal information is as follows:

Date of Birth: XXXX XX, XXXX
Address Where You Live: XXXXXXXXXX

Please verify your personal information listed above and immediately notify our office at the the address or phone number listed below if there are any changes.

Also, this notice is to advise you that your application has been transferred to the USCIS National Benefits Center in order to assist with the processing. This transfer is an administrative function only and will not interfere with the processing of your application.

You will be notified of the date and place of your interview when you have been scheduled by the local USCIS office. You should expect to be notified within 365 days of this notice.

If you want information on the processing dates for your local USCIS Field Office, please visit the USCIS Processing Dates webpage, which you can find through the USCIS home webpage, If the Field Office handling your application is within the normal processing time frame for your type of application, USCIS will not research the status of your case. If the office is outside of the processing time for your application, please call the USCIS Customer Service number below to request an update.

According to the letter, it'll take a year for them to process my naturalization application. According to the USCIS website though, it'll take 16 months for the Memphis USCIS Field Office to process mine (they've only started processing applications they received in June of last year).

And the waiting game continues :-). I'll update the the Immigration timeline on the blog entry I wrote a while back :-).

Posted by Unknown | 12:13 PM | 0 Comments |
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Friday, October 17, 2008

"Stayin' Alive" Helps with CPR

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: a Monk episode

Thought my RCY friends would get a kick out of this...

Disco Tune "Stayin' Alive" Could Save Your Life

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. doctors have found the Bee Gees 1977 disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" provides an ideal beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim.

The American Heart Association calls for chest compressions to be given at a rate of 100 per minute in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). "Stayin' Alive" almost perfectly matches that, with 103 beats per minute.

CPR is a lifesaving technique involving chest compressions alone or with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. It is used in emergencies such as cardiac arrest in which a person's breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

CPR can triple survival rates, but some people are reluctant to do it in part because they are unsure about the proper rhythm for chest compressions. But research has shown many people do chest compressions too slowly during CPR.

In a small study headed by Dr. David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, listening to "Stayin' Alive" helped 15 doctors and medical students to perform chest compressions on dummies at the proper speed.

Five weeks after practicing with the music playing, they were asked to perform CPR again on dummies by keeping the song in their minds, and again they kept up a good pace.

"The theme 'Stayin' Alive' is very appropriate for the situation," Matlock said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "Everybody's heard it at some point in their life. People know the song and can keep it in their head."

The findings will be presented this month at a meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Chicago.

(Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by David Storey)

On one hand, I think it's great that there's a song that can help you keep time. On the other hand, it could look pretty awkward for you to be humming "Stayin' Alive" while doing chest compressions on someone whose heart has stopped :-).

Then again, better "Stayin' Alive" than "Tragedy," I guess :-)...


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Friday, October 10, 2008

"The Ride So Far" Update

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: Indian Summer--the Rippingtons (Live in LA 1993)

This is an update to a blog entry I started in January 2006, which chronicles the ride I've had so far with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Latest update at the end of the list :-).
  • June 9, 2003 - USCIS receives our fiancee visa petition. Cost: $110.00
  • November 12, 2003 - USCIS approves the fiancee visa petition and says that I will be notified as to when my visa interview will be.
  • November 25, 2003 - I get a letter from the embassy telling me that my interview is on February 13, 2004 and that I should have the medical examination done by then.
  • February 10, 2004 - St. Luke's Extension clinic stamps my passport that I've completed the medical examination. Cost of examination: $95.00
  • February 13, 2004 - I get interviewed. I don't pass the interview just yet because we lacked sufficient documentation. They keep my passport until we send the documentation. We send the required documentation and are told to wait for the decision.
  • April 7, 2004 - A courier delivers my passport with the fiancee visa attached.
  • June 22, 2004 - I book my one-way ticket to the States.
  • July 2, 2004 - I attended the Commission on Filipinos Overseas' guidance and counseling class and they stamp my passport certifying my attendance.
  • July 30, 2004 - I fly to the U.S.
  • September 13, 2004 - Steve and I get our marriage license in Memphis, TN.
  • September 17, 2004 - Steve and I get married in Gatlinburg, TN :-).
  • November 18, 2004 - USCIS receives my application for work authorization (cost: $175) and to adjust status to permanent resident (cost: $385). I'm scheduled for biometrics (i.e. fingerprinting and picture-taking) for my work authorization document.
  • December 10, 2004 - I get my biometrics done.
  • December 28, 2004 - I get my work authorization permit.
  • January 11, 2005 - I apply for a social security number.
  • January 25, 2005 - I get my social security card.
  • October 19, 2005 - USCIS says I need to send them updates of several of my documents since they've expired. I also need to have a new medical exam done.
  • October 24, 2005 - I complete my second medical exam (cost: $225).
  • October 28, 2005 - USCIS sends me confirmation that they have my new address (Steve and I moved in June).
  • November 23, 2005 - USCIS receives my application to renew my work authorization permit (cost: $180).
  • December 15, 2005 - I mail off the updated documents to USCIS.
  • January 12, 2006 - USCIS approves my permanent residency application.
  • January 19, 2006 - I get my green card! It expires January 3, 2008.
  • October 6, 2007 - We mailed our application to remove the conditions of my permanent residency (within the 90 day window before my green card expires. Cost: $545). Paid for delivery confirmation so I'll know when they get it.
  • October 10, 2007 - USCIS receives our application.
  • November 6, 2007 - I get a letter from USCIS saying that my conditional permanent residency has been extended for one year while the paperwork gets processed.
  • November 24, 2007 - I get a letter from USCIS telling me where, what day and what time I should show up for my biometrics appointment.
  • December 5, 2007 - I go to my biometrics appointment. It took less than 10 minutes.
  • December 15, 2007 - I get an email from USCIS telling me that they've ordered the production of my green card.
  • December 19, 2007 - I get another email from USCIS saying that the petition to remove the conditions of my permanent residency has been approved :-)!
  • December 24, 2007 - I receive my new, 10 year permanent resident green card in the mail :-)! It expires December 15, 2017.
  • October 9, 2008 - Express-mailed my application for Naturalization (cost: $675: $595 plus an $80 biometrics fee).
  • October 10, 2008 - USCIS (specifically the Texas Service Center) receives my application
  • October 14, 2008 - USCIS puts my application in the processing queue. Target completion time: 365 days.
  • November 3, 2008 - I get a letter from USCIS telling me where, what day and what time I should show up for my fingerprinting appointment.
So far the running total comes to a little under $2500, not counting the cost of submitting passport-type photos and the cost of postage. If all goes well and there are no problems with the application, the next steps include taking the citizenship test and then the oath :-).


Posted by Unknown | 9:39 AM | 3 Comments |
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Been a while

Current Mood:
CC is listening to: the thumping in my ears

Wow it's been a while since I've blogged. Let's see, what's been going on. I finally finished the 6 Sigma training (YAY!) :-). Now all I need to do is understand just what it was that I learned :-). The good news is it's easy to get a hold of books that can help. A book that's been really helpful is Six Sigma Workbook for Dummies.

The thing I like best about it is that it uses real-life examples to get the point across for a specific statistical test. And it's got exercises and answers. It teaches you the formulas, but if you've got Excel with the Analysis Toolpak Add-In installed you don't even have to worry about that :-). Click, click--there you are, you've got the correlation coefficient :-).

It would have been awesome though if there was a book that walked you through different projects from start to finish, using all the Six Sigma tools that you would need. Oh well, maybe it's out there and I just haven't found it :-).

I've been kind of sick lately. I say "kind of" because it's not really the cough-cough-sneeze kind of sick, but it's annoying anyway. I've had a sinus infection for the last 3 weeks. I was actually kind of surprised to find out what it was because the pain wasn't in my ears, it was at the base of my skull. You know that tingly feeling when you bang your elbow against something? Take that feeling and put it at the top of your neck, then multiply that a few times until it goes from tingly to "Ow ow ow ow ow."

Since I've been to the doctor and he explained to me that it was a sinus infection, I've become more aware that when my neck hurts, my ear also gets this tight crampy feeling.

{All of a sudden my mind says, "the variables neck pain and ear tightness have a coefficient correlation of r=+.949, with an adjusted r-square of .90, which means there is a strong positive correlation between neck pain and ear tightness, and that 90% of the pain is explained by the relationship of these two variables."} Agggh get out of my head!

I'm okay, I'm okay :-).

The leaves on the trees are starting to change, which is exciting :-). I absolutely love fall :-). I can't wait until they turn all shades of yellow, orange, brown and red.

I've been REALLY wanting to spend a long weekend at the Biltmore. It's in Asheville, North Carolina and it's about a 10 hour drive. It's a gorgeous place. And you've probably already seen the Biltmore mansion: it was Richie Rich's house in the 1994 movie :-). Here's a clip from

Steve and I had been to the Biltmore once before, but it was just an impulse visit and we didn't realize how big the estate was. You needed a day just to tour the mansion itself, and there are so many other things to see on the estate. We agreed that we needed to come back and spend a few days next time. Maybe this is the opportunity :-). You can't stay at the house, but there is a Biltmore Inn, which is right on the estate :-). That'll be cool :-).


Posted by Unknown | 5:47 AM | 0 Comments |
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