A couple of years back a random sprout appeared in the yard. It looked like a volunteer avocado and grew bizarrely fast. After a few years, it is about 15′ tall and this year it fruited for the first time. It really is an avocado tree.
Yes, how could you not be sure that when somebody offers to host your personal data for free on their servers that nothing could possib-lie go wrong. Uh, PossibLY go wrong.
I got through immigration in record time, no complications at all. Only a few questions about the power supply in my luggage at customs.
I thought I would get a cup of coffee from the stand an acquaintance operates at the airport, but I arrived as they were having breakfast. As this is Iraq, that meant I had to join them for a jovial breakfast of eggs, fresh tomato, cucumber, potatoes, and meat pastries while they told me funny stories about each other in a mixture of Arabic, English, and Spanish. They would not let me pay anything, a really pleasant and friendly welcome into the country.
But I couldn’t stay long, I had to take a taxi out to meet my friends at the arrivals lot, where the in car is a B6 Land Cruiser.
Where else can you find a store like this at the airport?
The first night of Halloween at Borgo a Mozzano (it is a 3 night extravaganza here), we visited the famous Passaggio del Terrore. The highlight was seeing the owner of our local hardware store as a crazed psychopath.
I was playing with long exposures with the NEX5. I got a cool picture with a shooting star in the background – it wasn’t visible to the naked eye, but showed up on the image (almost typed “film”). It was a 30 second exposure at ISO 6400, very cool that it resolved the color of the trees and tower by starlight.
The village was is an automatic HDR composition which reports 3.2 seconds at ISO 1600.
The Department of State is proposing a new questionnaire as a precondition of getting a US passport. If the applicant is a newborn it might not be too much of a burden, but for an adult it reads like it was written by George Orwell.
If you’re a grown up and considering getting a passport, you should check in at the comment site or just email GarciaAA@state.gov and let DoS know that their estimate of 45 minutes to gather the required information is probably off by a couple of years.
A few of the questions, which I swear I am not making up:
5. List your mother's residence one year before your birth:
6. List your mother's residence at the time of your birth:
7. List your mother's residence one year after your birth:
8. Mother's place of employment at the time of your birth:
- Dates of employment:
- Name of employer:
- Address of employer:
9. Did your mother receive pre-natal or post-natal medical care?
- Name of Doctor:
- Dates of appointments:
10. What type of document, if any, did your mother use to enter into the United States before your birth?
11. Please describe the circumstances of your birth including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth:
Please list all of your residences inside and outside of the United States starting with your birth until the present.
Please list all of your current and former places of employment in the United States and abroad.
I declare under penalty of perjury that all responses contained in this document are true and correct, to the best of my knowledge.
False statements made knowingly and willfully in passport applications or in affidavits or other supporting documents submitted therewith are
punishable by fine and/or imprisonment under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1001 and/or 18 U.S.C. 1542.
This is so far beyond idiotic, so completely utterly absurd, that I’m tempted to believe that someone is pulling a hoax in releasing the document to get people riled up, like claiming there will be death panels or some stupid fabricated outrage like that. I suppose filling in “I’m sorry, but my memory of the circumstances three months before I was a zygote is a little hazy these days” would at least be true and correct, but might not lead to quick issuance of a passport. It is not just the flabbergasting stupidity of asking questions that no adult could possibly answer, but questions that utterly irrelevant to providing a passport that is galling. Dear DoS: derp?
We took a very nice tour from Baghdad to Basrah by car. The countryside is pretty amazing, from the relative lushness of the fertile crescent to the desert sands of the south to the marshes of the deep south and the distant flare gas fires on the horizon.
Normal flare gas
[quicktime width=”560″ height=”310″]http://www.blackrosetech.com/gessel/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/blowout.mov[/quicktime]
Ut oh, blow out…