Tammy and tommy and kucing gendut's mini escapades


#281

Ottmar Leibert was a bit of allright at Yoshi’s in Oakland.

Recently went to Yoshi’s for the first time. Yoshi’s is a Japanese restaurant with a small but nice show area. They host lesser known entities (ie not main stream like Taylor SWift). Concerts there costs 20 to 40 dollars per person.

The little lady didn’t want to listen to "old guy " music like Ottmar Leibert. She’s not yet graduated to flamenco guitar music.

So I had to invite my bud Tim (fellow “old guy” ) to go.
Was a nice time. 90 min concert with Ottmart and his drummer and bassist and organ player.

I like Ottmar and related artists Armik, Jesse Cook and Johannes Linstead, among others. Peter White also, but his music differs quite a bit from this pack.

Am contemplating listening to Al Stewart this coming Sunday at Yoshi’s! Again it’s music way before the wifey was born. Can’t get her to go , even with the promise of not bad Yoshi’s food.
I last (and only time) saw Al Stewart in 1981 in downtown SF. He doesn’t look like he used to and neither do i.

Yoshi’s food is not cheap but ok. Don’t go there hungry or it will cost you 50/head. Go just for a nibble and it will run you 20 to 30 sharing a sake.

Jack London Square, where the place is , is not exactly jumping but is nice enough. Easy parking at the garages there. There is a nice dock area with some nice boats (nothing fancy) and a few cafes and restaurants.

Train coming through every few minutes .

Yoshi’s

Ottmar and Luna Negra

This is pretty much what it was like:

A nice sailing boat at Jack London !

Wonder what its history is.


#282

Rock and Roll is not yet dead but its in the Nursing home.
All the famous names are either dead or perhaps not making it much past the next decade.

Saw Al Stewart at Yoshi’s tonight. He sure doesn’t look like he did back in 1981 when I saw him last (and I am sure that I don’t look like I did when I saw me in 1981 either).

Then came Gary Wright. He is pretty old now too. This was his most famous hit:
Dream Weaver

But I didn’t know that he wrote Mister Mister’s top hit
Broken Wings ! That was my fav from that group.

Al Stewart started off with
Antartica
then Carol
Then he played VAlentina Way and ended with Year of the Cat.

When I saw him in 81, it was just him and the soundtrack from his songs. It was Karoke Al Stewart.

At least he had a back up band this time. Unfortunately although they put on a valiant effort they were not up to snuff for Al’s music. Which really does take first class musicians to deliver. Al thanked the band saying he just met them 2 days ago. Figures.

Still it was better then Karoke Al Stewart I suppose.

Can’t complain for 33 bucks/head ticket.
DRagged the little miss there. She could not be more bored. All music before she was BORN.

Can’t blame her. But then on the way back she is playing Andrea Bocelli’s rendition of Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling In Love (now talk about OLD… Elvis was my Mom and Dad’s time of music) and not knowing it was an Elvis song. Insisting its a Andrea Bocelli song. :slight_smile:

Bless her heart.


#283

Ayiooo… Would have loved that concert. My favorite is My love is alive.

Concerts here in Taiwan are a hassle. Tickets here are nearly impossible to get/too expensive. Never been able to get one for Andy Lau or Jacky Cheung.

Another nostalgic example: They had a recent 80s extravaganza in Singapore, with Rick Astley. He also recently released an album for hus 50th birthday. Double ayioo.


#284

Ok, so i thought I would “finalize” this thread when Tammy got her permanent green card. So here we are , she did.

SUCCESS !

To celebrate she actually booked (and paid for) a little holiday for us to vegas next week.

She found a deal there and back on Virgin like 100 bucks apiece? Wow.

So its a winner. Got a bud to come and house sit Gendut for a few days.

And I thought I’d talk about the benefits of getting citizenship versus just having the permanent green card.

So fees have been going up the roof and they will continue to rise because…get this. Smart move actually. The US govt is essentially broke.

Printing money like its out of fashion.

So someone decided that the 19,000 federal employees working with Immigration should be paid by FEES that we pay when we want a visa, green card, citizenship ,etc.

So i remember in the last century when i first got married (seriously it was the last century).

We mozied on down to the AIT and filled in a form and i remember i was something like 160 bucks? Something like that.

Then she flew out to the US of A and stayed a few weeks with some buds and she got her permanent green card in the mail. We were NOT even married two years but I dont remember her getting a 2 year “practice” green card and then a 10 year? But maybe im mistaken, its been awhile.

Don’t know why she wanted a green card? We never did go live in the USA , her and i> And she never went to live there herself after we divorced either. Opting for China.

At least it was no hassle at all to get a green card through marriage then? AT least it wasn’t for us.

This time around, its been a freakin NIGHTMARE and NAIL bITING EXPERIENCE.

Fees something like this:
I 129F $340
Visa fee paid to US embassy $265
And some smaller charge for the doc visit for simple physical

$1070 for the Green card application (2 year) I-485
That included an interview and biometrics.
$590 for the real green card (10 year) I-751
biometrics again !

thats $2,265 at current fee rates.

Then its currently $680 dollars to apply for citizenship

Which we plan to do because we already have all that paperwork that we can use . The same ones we used all thoughout the process from visa application to 2 year then 10 year green card .

So may as well. Because green card fees will go up in future. Ten years from now, who knows how much that will be.

Also her and me having the same passport means same situation regarding visas if we go somewhere.

For example as an Indo citizen, she can stay in TAiwan 30 days if she applies online first and only because she has a US green card.

For Japan she will have to apply online as well for a 15 day stay , and again only because she has a US green card.

For Europe she will need a visa , but i don’t.

Also green card holders should not stay abroad more then six months at a time, otherwise when you apply for citizenship you have to kind of explain yourself.

Green card holders can LOSE their US permanent residency by prolonged stay abroad. The Green Card is really NOT permanent without conditions.

So best to get her citizenship, then we can dispense with all that.
She can travel where I can travel. If we stay abroad for years we can come back to the USA.

And we don’t have to report any change of address that green card holders have to .

Lots of benefits.

We can’t apply until second quarter next year though because she has to have been a green card holder for 3 years at least to apply for citizenship.

Green card holders NOT through marriage have to live in the USA for five years at least.

So maybe we will extend this thread till she gets her citizenship.

And when she gets that next year, it will actually not be that long a process?

From first applying for a fiancee visa to citizenship would only be from 2012 to 2017 ?! Five years total. Not bad really.

Going from needing a visa to just even visit to citizenship?

She will have to work more on Engerish and Civics. Funny the civics test? They say most Americans (myself included) will probably fail the civics test if we were to take it cold turkey right now?

Ok, so Icon and the maybe one other person reading this thread can still have tammy and tommy adventures to read for a bit longer.


#285

I’ve been reading the thread as have others probably also. Just lost track of it awhile back.


#286

Congrats on another milestone! Those are some serious hoops you guys have had to jump through. Keep the progress reports coming…this is a great bureaucratic nightmare saga.


#287

I’m very happy for you and your wife, Tommy. That’s truly wonderful news. From what I read, the next step (citizenship) usually goes very smoothly and quickly so long as the person applying for citizenship doesn’t leave the US for too long (which you’ve already covered in your post). I think you should be fine. Congratulations! Is your wife working, and if so, is she enjoying it?

My wife is going through the application for her green card right now, and it’s gone well so far. I just hope we can both find good jobs in the US.


#288

My wife is mainly studying at the junior college a few mins drive away. She is loving it. She loves being a student really.

She has a few part time nanny gigs now and then for pocket change.

The idea is that college will get her a chance at a real job down the road.

She’s not sure about what career path to take just yet.

The USA is a big place. I am sure you and your wife will find the right place to make it work !


#289

I agree that a college degree of some sort would open a lot of doors.

It seems that things are going well for you, Tommy. I’m very happy for you, and I’m glad that you and your wife have made it all work out. I remember there were a lot of naysayers, but you’ve followed your heart and it’s paid off.


#290

Thank you Scomargo.

I think you should seek US citizenship for your wife too. Because it is a tremendous paperwork nightmare to get another green card should you allow one to lapse by staying abroad.

Staying abroad even two years one could lose one’s green card. Having been considered to have “abandoned” US permanent residency.

This citizenship is the only viable Permanent status

IF for some reason my wife and I decided to say , stay in Indonesia for a few years, she would no longer be a green card holder and we would have to go through that bureaucratic quagmire again.

Once done, NEVER AGAIN. When it comes to this whole Green Card thing.


#291

The thing about America it’s a bitch to get in but there’s still a pathway to citizenship and being American.

Can’t say the same about Taiwan, it’s a piece of piss to work here but to become a citizen and be accepted is a bitch.


#292

Though I lived in Berkeley for the lion’s share of my life, it was only this past August that I first visited Jack London Square.


#293

Yes because downtown Oakland doesn’t have the cool factor that Pier 39 has. People think “Oakland = people with guns and dirtbags everywhere”.

Jack London is super small but its got a nice pier and a few good restaurants. I’ve worked in Oakland for years now and I’ve only gone down there so few times I can count it on one hand.

And probably if the concert wasn’t there I wouldn’t have gone there either.

But it’s actually not that bad. Just that just a stones throw away , under the freeway overpass is a homeless encampment and downtown Oakland is probably not that safe to wander around at night.

But its getting better.


#294

Jack London Square, kind of like Alameda, is a small enclave of mediocrity attached to the cesspool that is Oakland. Oakland, kind of like Capetown, is basically a Third World city with some of the best weather in the world. If somebody could figure out how to bottle that weather and sell it, they would be richer than Warren Buffett.


#295

Haven’t been to Vegas for dog’s years. Just came back from a few days there. Didn’t gamble. Vegas has never been built on the backs of WINNERS.

Don’t take the Monorail in Vegas. We bought 3 day tickets. But the monorail while fun to take once or twice is too far from the strip. So for example walking from Flamingo to the monorail station in the back to get back to MGM (where we stayed) , one may as well just walk along the strip. NOt much difference. And the hotels can be so large. MGM has 5000 rooms and takes up one big city block all on its own. SO there’s a lot of hoofing it around. My iphone said i walked 21000 steps yesterday.

Thought about renting a car as well. But good we didn’t because the parking at the hotels is basically one big city block away from the strip as well. Where the monorail is.
So thats out.

Note to self, if not going to the grand canyon or outside of Vegas, just take UBER> Fast and efficient and reasonable. Especially if you are more then one person.

Buffet at the Aria is the best buffet of the lot. MGM was mediocre. Planet HOllywood was worse. Planet’s was in the basement and kind of dark. There are fancy restaurants galore, if you want to blow big holes in your wallet. And if you want a great place to eat, great ambiance and food and drinks, go to Maggiano’s. Just discovered from their website they have one in San Jose, Great, thats a lot closer then Vegas. The one in Vegas is at the Fashion Show Mall, right across from WYNN.

The Aria has GREAT ambience and the food quality is great for a buffet , they have their fancy restaurants too of course.

Prices are higher in Vegas, as to be expected. The gaming revenue has been dropping year on year. And entertainment, lodging and food has become the new earners.

We saw the Cirque show KA. Yes, worth seeing. I thought it was a close second to “O”.

MGM has very nice heated pools including one lazy river that flows so you can float around it on tubes or swim with the current. And its all nicely heated. Thats where our 35 dollar/day resort fee went.

And there is the area behind for Vegas pool partys with famous DJs and what not. Fun for the young set.

Share your VEGAS experience , no better not, maybe just your TIPS.

ps. If I may I will blabber on a bit more. Her bud took commercial out to vegas from SFO, like we did but tried the Jetsuite X Emb 135 service back. Which works like a private jet. No TSA ! , NO long lines. NO showing up 90 mins before your flight. Just show up 10 mins before and you are good. NO check in bag fee. Your dog/cat can even fly FREE. And there is only 29 other people onboard. And out of 30 people , 20 have a window seat and 20 have an aisle seat !

Seating is 1 on one side and 2 on the other.

I want to do that next time to vegas. Hoofing it to SFO, over 40 miles away when Concord airport is only ten mins drive away from us. And those long TSA lines.
Which brings to mind something funny. I am TSA PRECHECK, for a reason not known to me , while my wife is not.

So I got through TSA a lot faster then her as there is a separate , much shorter line. But I wonder if I may lose that status because on the way back, TSA took my bag aside for an extra check. They asked me if I had anything sharp in the bag so when he reaches in he may get cut ? I said , NO. And he stuck an instrument in , around the bag inside that has a sticky tape of some sort on it. He then puts this tape in a reader and then said the only thing not allowed was my wife’s small bottle of body cream. He said ii can either surrender it or he has to walk me back out and I have to check in my bag. I said, just chuck it. It’s less hassle and the cream isn’t worth the 25 dollars/bag that Virgin charges. I don’t know what this tape reads. But if I were to guess, i would say it was either reading for drugs or reading for boom making material. So I may be off TSA PRECHECK now. Wasn’t helpful when travelling with wife who was NOT Precheck anyways. I don’t know how I got on it, not having flown that much for years.

I really think Virgin and others have it wrong. This 25/bag for check in is wrong. It causes everyone to bring in a hand carry as big as they can (myself included) so what happens? Ties up the boarding time and ties up TSA ! People blocking the aisles with trying to find room in the overhead for luggage. So much so that on both flights they had to take off many many pieces of luggage which the crew then took down to the plane and put in the hold. Airlines should be forced to charge FOR bags customers bring on board, except for a hand bag or a small back pack!

Southwest doesn’t charge for 2 bags. And that’s the way it should be.

In recent crashes people have been blamed for tying up escape chutes with huge bags that , although they are not supposed to bring out of the plane, they still do. Human nature.

IF the bags were in the hold? Then the passengers can NOT bring them onto the chutes or tie up other passengers fleeing a burning aircraft !

So i say again. CHARGE for Carry ON> NO charge for 2 pieces you check in, that’s the way to do it.

Frees up TSA checking tremendously and boarding times, by freeing up over head bins. And much faster EVAC times should a plane require EVAC on the tarmac in an emergency.


#296

Sounds like Oaktown is pretty much the same as when I lived in the Fruitvale area in 1990. Shiiiitt. I assumed the place would be thoroughly gentrified by now.


#297

Talking about Wynn, we had an amazing dim sum lunch at the Wynn in Macao.

If you ever fly into Macao and want to get to the peninsula area for free, just take a Wynn shuttle from the airport. The Wynn is across the street from the Lisboa.

As for flights, they should do it as they used to: one small carry-on and two checked bags for free. If I ever become benevolent dictator of the world, boy howdy there’ll be some changes!


#298

Macao has been a huge draw for casinos as the gaming revenue is so high whereas vegas is making it on food and lodging and shows now

Some new hotels in vegas are non gaming like the mandarin oriental

KA the cirque show has brought in more then a billion in sales in 11 years


#299

Are we ready for another mini escapade anyone?

Turns out Gendut missed out on a holiday in 2016 entirely. And sadly missed out on one in 2015 too ! His last outing was in the summer of 2014 apparently. So we decided to take him back to the Quail Lodge in Carmel. It is pet friendly (takes cats as well as dogs) and they only charge a reasonable 50 dollars per STAY per pet. And they give you a little doggie pack with a foldable water bowl , a poo pack in a flashlight and a little blankie. Miind you the place is pricey at 200/night. And that was at a special rate. Includes a simple breakfast and parking is free.

We were very lucky that the place was near empty as the next morning wifey overheard a french family sitting next to us saying they couldn’t sleep as a cat was singing. They mentioned this fact in English while conversing otherwise in French. I guess that was for our 'benefit".

Yes that was our Maestro himself. We were situated right next door to them. And apparently Maestro liked to go into the toilet which is really one thin door away from their quarters apparently and put on his After Midnight concert.

Apparently this was a very early in the morning thing , as we managed to miss this concert, but there was little doubt who was responsible.

We saw that they changed rooms that day, to a room some distance away ! I am glad we didn’t get kicked out or were asked to change rooms. The people who complained got another room . I think possibly an upgrade?

Good lordy we had horrible weather the day we drove there and the day we drove back (today). Very lucky we had one day (yesterday) that was not raining so we could at least take the little guy out for a walk in Monterey and stop along bits of the 17 mile drive. Which I have until now resisted doing. I just didn’t see the point of paying 10 bucks to drive a small stretch of private road !! But yeah, I guess it’s worth doing . Maybe if the weather was magnificent it will be cool… Let me say that that area is great 3 seasons out of the year but not in Winter. At least when you make your bookings a month out you have the chance of RAIN. A true rarity the other seasons of the year.

Ok, going to see Moana. Be back to update this blog…stand by.

So Moana was cute. Worth seeing on a rainy evening. Nearly got run over on the crosswalk after parking the car! Always make sure cars are stopping before you venture out onto the crosswalk because those devils may not have seen ya.

The Quail Lodge is also a golf course for those into golf. They have a clubhouse that has a restaurant a short drive away from the hotel. Nice 3 course “early bird” for 29.99 a person plus tax/svc charge between 4 to 6pm. Worth it. Considering meals in Carmel are usually on the expensive side of things.

The cup of clam chowder preceding this was awesome. Bacon added to it means not good for those not able to eat pork of course. This mini steak was small but hit the spot. Potato Au Gratin along with a slice of tomato with cheese melted on it. Kinda weird but ok.

Chased down with a FAT LIP local brewski

Oh and before you put the wash in the laundromat, make sure your ipad is not wrapped up in the blankets?

The wife had ONE job to do and …
Actually I do the wash and she does the ironing. She does the cooking and I do the washing up. But when you ask her to put the blankets in the wash. Well, that’s asking a woman to do a man’s job and the results are …not pretty.

Raining like cats and dogs. So a cat’s gotta wear one of these to go for his walk.


#300

You had me at “giant cat in raincoat on leash.” I’d agree that 17 Mile Drive is worth the price…at least once. It’s a pretty damn scenic stretch of coast. You shouldn’t have to pay, but I guess those rich folks need some way to keep the riffraff to a minimum. You guys aren’t going to Esalen?