The mood here at Humpy Towers has been very much one of celebration of late, for 2.5 reasons:

1) Last Thursday I had my “interview” with the Home Office to extend my UK visa, and as Paul correctly forecasted it was tedious but straightforward. After arriving at 9:40 for a 10:40 appointment, “organisational difficulties” meant that I didn't get to have my interview (held through 2 inches of bulletproof glass – I gather that these things don't *always* go well…) until 11:30. The interview (if you can call it that – the questions were mainly “Do you have {name of piece of paperwork}?”, and me answering “Yes”) lasted til 11:45, at which point I was told to go and wait in the waiting area for an hour and a half while they processed it all. I said “You haven't asked to see my birth certificates yet – will you be needing those?”, and the lady said, “No, that's fine”. At 12:21 I was called back over to the little window and asked if I had the relevant birth certificates with me. They really have taken the artform to a new level.

Anyway they gave me a visa to stay here til 2012, so that's the big piece of Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt removed from the radar. I can go snowboarding at Christmas and not have to spend the entire time worrying about how to slip past Border Control on the way back.

Quite what the significance of 2012 is I'm not sure – I didn't mention anything about morris dancing at the interview, so it can't be because they want to be sure I'm available to perform in the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

2) (somewhat less important, but am still happy I've gotten around to it) I finally extracted a digit and got on with making some mods to my blog software. Most of it's internal stuff that you won't get to see, although one addition I'm quite chuffed with is the overhaul of my mapping tool (incidentally yes, the domain name has shifted from glenosmondscouts.asn.au to ghostsoftsolutions.com – it's the same dodgy bit of hardware on the end of an ADSL connection that it always was, it's just been called something else now). So whereas before my “Where's Jason NOW?” thingamy was produced using a fairly crude system of map dots placed by me closing one eye and guessing at x and y coordinates, now it utilises state-of-the-art Google Maps technology to draw little pint glasses on places in the world I've been. I've chosen to limit it to city level – I'm not about to start putting in peoples' houses, after all.

3) I had been getting slightly put out at the absence of website feedback recently, because usually I get a fairly steady stream of the stuff, but lately bugger all. To my delight last night though I stumbled on about 15 emails which I hadn't realised were there – turns out I'd been a trifle overzealous with my GMail filters – so that gives me more email to procrastinate about answering. But it's nice to know people care.

Yes, that is an octopus wearing a party hat. Totally awesome, isn't it?

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