Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Telemarketing

As I wrote back in 2001, I still respond to telemarketers with, "Please put me on your do-not-call list," and I hang up.

But I think I'm going to occasionally try something new. When they pause, I'll say:

I don't do business with lawbreakers.
You're breaking the law by calling me.
Please put me on your do-not-call list.

And then I'll hang up.

Perhaps they will try to say, as they sometimes do, "But we spoke last year, and you asked me to call you back later."

That will give me the perfect opportunity to say, "I also don't do business with liars," and I'll hang up.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why Victor still isn't visiting the U.S.

It's past time for me to update "Why Victor can't visit the U.S."

Last June, the day after the Supreme Court overturned the "Defense of Marriage Act", I heard for the first time about K-1 fiancé visas. It was immediately clear to me that Victor would be able to use this to enter the U.S.

But I had questions. I wasn't sure how to show that Victor would not become a financial burden to U.S. taxpayers. If Victor once entered the U.S. illegally more than 20 years ago (hypothetically speaking!), would that be a problem? What would Victor's citizenship status be, in both Mexico and the U.S. after we married? If he returned to live in Mexico after we're married, could he then easily visit me repeatedly at length for years afterwards? Do I need a prenuptial agreement? And more along these lines.

I eventually did speak with a gay immigration attorney and get some answers. The biggest problem is that the U.S. State Department has a stunted idea of married living arrangements. They make no provision for a married couple who do not want to live permanently together in the U.S.

Victor is not quite ready to retire, and is not ready to move here permanently. We envision some years, maybe many years, of exchanging weeks- and months-long visits in one another's countries.

But if Victor used a K-1 visa to come to Los Angeles and we got married, in the eyes of the State Department, he is immediately an applicant for permanent residency, and could not leave the U.S. for more than six months at a time. We could probably work with that, but it's not ideal.

So we have decided not to pursue the K-1 visa at this time.

Instead, many years after we gave up on it in the past, we might try a simple tourist visa again. Maybe next year, or maybe when Victor retires. And, if that fails again, maybe then we will pursue the K-1 visa.

So there are more possibilities, but there's not yet a perfect solution.

[2015 update]

Fighting vandalism in the near future

When we have the "internet of things" and ubiquitous sensors, here's one small use that would warm my heart: anti-vandalism.

Consider graffiti:

First of all, spray paint cans won't operate on any surface if you don't have the owner's permission.

If some young punk somehow manages to start to tag some graffiti, his identity is captured, and he hears, by name, that he is being fined.

On second offense, not only is the fine multiplied, but a swarm of paint drones tag swatches of his hair, his body, his clothes, his bag, and his ride.

Etc.