Year – Day 33: Paperwork Morning

I stayed up too late last night reading Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta series. I am on the second book, and it was hard to down. I actually finished it last night around 1:30ish.

I will get this published. There may be typos as it had taken a while to write.

That made my 6AM alarm seem too soon, but I managed to get going and even made coffee. I had to make an 8:10 appointment to get my expired Oregon driving license replaced. It expires on your birthday, in my case, last year’s April and when no Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was open, and the police agreed to ignore recently expired licenses. The DMV open late last year, and I finally decided I need to get legal in February. April this week was the first appointment time then! So I scheduled it and collected the vast paperwork they require now.

BTW (I usually keep the politics out of the blog–but this is a special annoying case): The American poor’s repression from voting has expanded now into driver licenses. The fee is $70 for a driver’s license now and includes a special surcharge ($40) for the Federal Government’s RealID, now required for airports and other federal functions. President Trump and his allies finally forced the program through after many years of delay. The RealID standard requires proof of citizenship and various other documents. I brought them all–not all people can get all this together; it takes hours. The documents are then scanned, and I can only hope that they are protected better than the previous “secure” systems that Feds and states have used. Your name, sex, and birthday must match the birth certificate provided. Now in some states, this information then has to be hand-written into a voter’s registration form. The state officials then retype it into a state voter system. If there are discrepancies, the person cannot vote. Except, in Oregon, the act of having a driver’s license will register you to vote if you provide citizenship information, and the voter rolls will, by default, always match your state-supplied ID card or driver’s license. This, combined with an excellent mail-in-voting system, gets us a very high turnout for voting and almost no fraud as it is all matched and in sync.

I drove to Sherwood, thirteen miles away, to get this done as that is the closest appointment in my area. I stopped by McDonald’s and got breakfast and drove to the DMV, in an industrial park with a tiny sign, and finished breakfast and waited, as clearly stated in the documents I printed off from the state, to get in line ten minutes before my appointment. Being Oregon, there was a warning to have proper clothing to stand outside (rain gear or a hat for the sun in the summer) in the written instructions. I had a sweater.

I stood in a line, each person 6′ apart and waiting. There were a lot of younger folks getting a driving test. I was hoping to avoid that. I was quickly sent in, and the clerk, a nice gal behind a lot of glass, took my driver’s license and looked at me, and I said, “I know.” If I had waited just one more day–more than a year expired, I would have to start all over at the state and do driver tests and prove it all over again–but I was still good. I gave her a certified birth certificate and a bank statement that is still mailed and had our address in my name as proof of address.

The process was going well until the eye test; people over 55 must take an eye test. It took four tries. I even steamed up the glass and had to try again. She knew I was nervous and you have to put your head in right for you to read the letters. I finally got it right. Money, a stunning $70, and I was now going to receive the voter suppressing RealID soon.

I drove home so happy to have passed, albeit after four tries on the eye test, and did not try to think about men-in-black “eye tests,” my documents now available to hackers, and a driver’s license that was also an approved federal ID but not recognized by any other country. I had to get it done today or face more expense and crazy. It upsets me to align to a policy of voter suppression but needed to be legal to drive Air Volvo.

More paperwork this morning, and again, I need a replacement for my Social Security Card. The only options are to mail your driver’s license (no, really–they want you to give up driving while you wait), your other IDs (military or school–again, this would seem problematic), or a passport or passport card. Mailing your passport to the government just seems so silly and again prevents people without passports to suffer. In some states, they want a SS card for ID for voters. Funny how hard it is to get a replacement!

You have to pay $39 at the federal website to get a package. You have to have a printer to print it out–I still have one. I then signed the form and corrected my race to “white.” Again, I am annoyed with these questions on a form to get a replacement card! I stuffed the form with my very expensive to replace passport into a padded mailer and drove Air Volvo, legally, to the post office. I stood in line and handed the package, with the prepaid sticker carefully taped to the front and even with a handwritten return address, to the mail person. The mail person then checked it in with great care and saw the address and smiled; it was literally going across the street. I have a tracking number (eye roll–it is officially in transit).

The paperwork is done, and I have enjoyed a morning dedicated to aligning to processes clearly design to make it hard.

I drove home and checked on Susie. I was now free of paperwork!

I drove, legally, to get lunch and get some new games at the local gaming store, Rainy Day Games. I decided to get a Subway Tunafish full-sized toasted meal. I walked in, and there was a line, and a guy, with lots of stuff, walked in behind me.

He did not have a mask and was told to get one or leave. He did not have one, so I happened to have an N95 in my pocket, a backup if my mask broke at the DMV (I was not that nervous but today had to go right), and I gave it to him. He then explained that the black helicopters were tacking us, and he showed me photos on his phone. I asked him to keep his distance. He complied, but he was apprehensive about the helicopters. He then, trying to keep his distance, showed me odd sound file displays and played them for me. He had managed to record the strange sounds he was now hearing in his head on the phone. I told him I was sorry he had the sounds in his head, and he played them for me. They were hard to hear as it was loud in Subway.

I then ordered a sub while he tried to contact people on his phone about the sounds. He looked a bit stressed out. I left and saw him in the back of the building, relieving himself. I just ate my sub in the car and hoped that at least the mask would help.

I was unsure what to do as usually crazy people do not have expensive phones and complex recordings. I felt like any moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to appear and say, “If you want to live, come with me.” Or my Howard from my SciFi stories would show up, help the guy, and then lead us to the Alister’s Taco truck.

I then picked up a Happy Meal with apples (they missed the apples the first time, but I asked them to check) for Susie.

I went to the gaming store and picked up two new games.

The card game Gloom has been on my list to have for years. Today, for my birthday, I picked up a basic copy. Rainy Day Games made their own extra card for the game. Excellent, so I have that card included in my small basic set. This made it an exceptional purchase!

Gloom’s unique system uses transparent cards allowing you to see all the layers and overlay a previous layer with a new card. Only the visible parts are in play. Gloom is well gloomy. Your goal is to make the worst possible life for one of your family and then kill them—only the dead family members count. While you do that, you can also play transparent cards on other player’s families to make them happy and feel loved, ruining them for a horrid death. While playing, you make up stories of what is happening. It, while gloomy, is fun and the system of overlays allows for complex strategies.

I played a practice game against myself to get the rules down again. It took no time to relearn and start being gloomy!

I also bought a copy of The Lost Ruins of Arnak. I have played it once with Richard, and it was fantastic. I wanted a copy for my birthday. This game is an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider marriage to a Euro resource and worker placement game with an excellent deck-building component (much like Concordia). The theme stands out still; you are working as an archeologist to understand the ruins of Arnak, recently re-discovered. There are monsters and fear to overcome. You must also collect writings to progress your search.

A nap, trying to catch up on some sleep, for part of the afternoon. It felt so good to just melt away for a bit…

Dinner was tamales, pork. I bought them yesterday from a gal selling them at The Wildwood Taphouse. They were still warm and ready to eat yesterday. Today, I reheated them for 35 minutes and put Mexican-styled stewed tomatoes on the tamales. Susie and Corwin liked it. I also opened a can of peaches that Susie and I shared.

I received my new leather bag Leta and Susie paid for my birthday (Leta sent me a card, and I used it to pick out something I wanted–Susie covered the rest of the price).

I painted some more today while waiting for the tamales. I have not got a far as I hoped by now on Richard’s figures. I will paint some more Friday morning now that I have no more doctor or paperwork appointments. Or dark helicopters. Or strange sounds.

Sorry, this is so long today, but it was an oddly exciting day.

29,455 people we vaccinated in Oregon yesterday, and no Johnson and Johnson vaccine was used. The numbers may increase as it takes some time to get all the numbers updated.

895 people died from the infection today in the USA.

I saw the crescent moon today and found a call to prayer recorded in Istanbul. It makes me want to go back again.



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