30 July 2007

The Passport Drama ... continued

Alright, so, my passport may or may not be coming in the near future. Of course, I mailed it to the Passport folks months ago, so it should have been here by now, but whatever, that can't be fixed. What can be fixed is what I had to do to get any answers. These things included ...

1. Calling the 1-877 number provided by the Passport Agency, which lead me to have a short, unhelpful conversation with a customer service rep who more or less told me "well, too bad for you." Admittedly, they probably can't promise anything, and even said so, but really, why bother having a phone service at all? And jeez, the menus/recorded messages took three times as long as the conversation. On the plus side, I was only on hold for maybe 5-8 minutes.

2. Emailing the Passport Agency via their web form = useless. It just tells you what you already know.

3. Follow the advice of #1 and call my local Passport Office (San Fran) to schedule an appointment. I did this at 3 AM Pacific time and had to call EIGHT TIMES to get through because they said they were getting "high call volumes". At 3 A.M. PDT/6 A.M. EDT? Ridiculous. When I did get through, after being threatened that I had to have a departure date that was sooner that 8/14 and had to bring proof of that (by the way, this is all automated), I tried to make an appointment. The SOONEST that was available was noon on 8/13! Yes, the day before. Ridiculous. Made the damn appointment anyway as a back up.

4. Emailing your local congressman or senator. This is apparently one of the ONLY ways to get anywhere. I emailed Mike Thompson (D - Ca) and, oddly, John Kerry (D - Ma ). Not sure why I emailed Kerry beyond the fact that he helped my parents before and I've voted for him many times now (2 for senator, 2 for president if you count primaries and generals). I didn't hear anything from either office until today, when I got an email and call from a nice lady at Mike Thompson's office who said she would call and get to the bottom of this.

5. Searching the web for other lost souls. This is how I found an internal email address for the Portsmouth NH Passport Processing Facility. Using this email, I was actually able to get a proper answer to the status of my passport! The person told me that it would be Fedexed to me in the next 5-7 days and they gave me a tracking number. Of course, I am no fool, so I'm not holding my breath.

So, there you have it. After utilizing a big pile of contacts and using up an immense amount of time, I was able to find out that you really need to grease the wheels to potentially get your passport on time. Of course, I still haven't gotten it and even if I do, I did lose a night's sleep and $55 to buy a copy of my birth certificate (which, incidentally, I ordered on a Wednesday and received it on the following Friday - 2 days later). I suppose I shouldn't have tried to be a good citizen and mail things with plenty of time. Instead, I should have mailed it in a hurry and paid my official "bribe" (aka, "Expedite Fee") to get it with less stress.

The government really misstepped here with the passport and again seems to show the unfortunate weakness of this whole Homeland Security mess - it isn't going to do any good if you don't put money behind your ideas. Anyway, how does causing all Americans to get passports help fight terrorism when they can get passports from another country anyway? This is all part of the Orwellian future that the Bush administration salivates over, where they can keep us under their thumb. It is never a good sign for a country when they start trying to convince us that war is in fact peace and order is in fact freedom.

27 July 2007

Passport Blues

Busy week in the lab.
Anybody know how to get one's passport processing to speed up short of getting the President to show up to force their hand? I'm getting a little nervous now that its been 10 weeks.

Here is my iPod top 10:

1 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) by Dizzee Rascal
2 Jack the Ripper (Demo Version) by the Horrors
3 Fast Car by Xiu Xiu
4 The Magic Position by Patrick Wolf
5 (Bloody Paw on the) Kill Floor by Busdriver
6 Almost Ready by Dinosaur Jr.
7 The Heinrich Maneuver by Interpol
8 Da Mystery of Chessboxin' by the Wu-Tang Clan
9 Fists Up by the Blow
10 Baby Fratelli by the Fratellis

19 July 2007

Erik as a Simpson

I posted this on TIG, but I'll post it here too.

Erik as a Simpson!

You too can try this at the website for The Simpsons Movie. I'm still scared that the movie might be a trainwreck, but ah well. {Thanks to Jeff for guiding me to this link}.

And here is a new TIG review for one of my favorite albums so far this year:
Dizzee Rascal - Maths + English
Also enjoy:
Palomar - All Things, Forests

17 July 2007

13 July 2007

New Music

I have a new TIG review for two albums for which I am very fond, maybe you will be, too.

YACHT - I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real.
Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures

I'm also going to start reposting my iPod top 10 here, too (along with in my TIG profile page).

1. 'Jack the Ripper' by The Horrors
2. 'The Magic Position' by Patrick Wolf
3. 'Almost Ready' by Dinosaur Jr.
4. 'Pussy'Ole (Old Skool)' by Dizzee Rascal
5. 'Fast Car' by Xiu Xiu
6. 'Fists Up' by the Blow
7. 'Ragoo' by Kings of Leon
8. 'Pump Up the Volume' by Art Brut
9. 'Someone Great' by LCD Soundsystem
10. 'I Believe In You' by YACHT

Off to MBARI and Monterey this weekend. Woo!

09 July 2007

Entertaining in more ways than one

It has been a busy week with my sister and parents visiting from parts east. I have taken combinations of them to Chinatown (SF), Old Town Sacramento and Mt. Diablo - I might have some pics later on. All I know is that entertaining tires me out.

Two new TIG Reviews
Art Brut - It's a Bit Complicated (one of my favorite reviews I've written in a while)
The Horrors - Strange House

Here are a couple songs I've had stuck in my head lately:
Xiu Xiu - Fast Car (yes, a cover of that "Fast Car")
Busdriver - Imaginary Places

03 July 2007

New Review

Here is a new TIG Review

The Clientele - God Save the Clientele

I did a pretty good job with my All Star picks. Now, go vote for Hideki Okajima for the Last Man.