Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-05-09 Entry: "Still Here"

The last entry was almost a month ago - my hosting company were temporarily dead to the world, and as it appeared it was going to be reasonably quickly resolved I didn't try to move. Well, a month isn't really a quick resolution, but it looks like we're back on track now - it wasn't their fault mind, someone decided to cut through cables upstream of them (or at least that seems to be the case) and it's taken a while for everything to shake out.

So, back to the regular schedule of aimless rambling. Although a lot has changed in that month. I finally have a start date in Dallas - 3rd June, which it's slowly dawning on me isn't all that far away. So expect much panicked flapping as I sort things out (or don't as the case may be). Amazingly I have a list - it's just depressing at how little I've actually accomplished from it. I've got a new passport (they only took a 10 days, when they claimed two weeks) and I've just (like twenty minutes ago) finished the VISA application, which is supposed to take two weeks barring problems - there's been speculation that we'd push the date back if things don't come through on time, but I'm not sure how that affects my planning. How do I book flights and shipping and stuff if I'm not certain of when I'm going?!

I've seen the contract - it's fairly self explanatory although I think I lose some holiday (the contract reads "at least 20 days" which isn't really clear - does that mean I get 20, or I get more than that - some things carry over from my existing contract, but I'm not sure if this does), and the insurance thing hasn't really been covered - apparently there's a website, but I haven't yet been told where it is.

Also, I'm going to need someone to explain the salary calculation - it's supposed to be based on the current salary, with various adjustments for cost of living. Now, based on the contract I've seen, it must be pretty expensive to live in the US! Which isn't the impression that I've had of it... I wonder where the hidden costs are... I mean, cars are cheap aren't they? Petrol is definitely cheaper. Food comes in portions that no normal (non-American) could eat for less than it'd cost anywhere else. Electrical equipment is reasonably cheap. Either rent is going to be astronomical or I'm expected to pay for the air I breathe or something...

Being this close to going is rather panic inducing - and I'm not the best at making phone calls and ringing round places; hopefully the first will inspire me to get over the second - or I'll just have to go with planning what I need to ask to the last detail and hope I don't forget stuff. I mean, let's look at the list (or at least, what I can reproduce from memory):
Get Passport (done)
Complete VISA application (done)
Car tax (done)
Car Insurance - bit stupid really - it runs out in a week, but I only need three weeks worth...
Car MOT (done)
Call AA about internation driving license.
Talk to Bank.
Talk to Building Society.
Talk to Credit Card people.
Ditto ISA people.
Sort out packing / shipping company with day to come and remove stuff.
Sort out hotel / car / flights for departure of me.
Get VISA signed at consulate (in London, somehow, someway).
Finish moving videos to CD (or at least the ones I have time for and really want).
Get power supply for PC (so I haven't got to try and get one once I'm out there).
Birthday presents for parents.
Get medical card from doctor (in case it's at all useful).

I've almost certainly forgotten something - this doesn't include all the things I've got to do once I'm there (driving license, car, place to live, social security number, furniture, and other stuff).

And on the video front - I've prioritized. I now have three stacks (well four really):
Stack one - things I really have to get through.
Stack two - things I'd quite like to get through.
Stack three - things I don't care about as I'll either never watch them or they'll be out on DVD shortly, so I can skip them.
Stack four - things I've taped while doing other stuff over the past month that really should be in stack one or two...

Fortunately, now they're prioritised and I'm focused, I'm making quite a lot of progress, but I doubt I'll make it through them all - there's some pretty long tapes in stack two (10 episodes a tape or so), and having to stop every few days to dump everything out to CD is also slowing me down. Perhaps I should buy a bigger hard disk?

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