Stress, work and visas

1) [Eventually] handled the stress of all this visa stuff reasonably well; it was hardly on my mind for the second half of the day. There were two reasons for that, primarily – first, Darcy rang and said she was sure things would work out, and she was happy I’d booked flights and all, which was reassuring. Second, my mum rang, got wind of it all – well, I told her; she’d find out sooner or later, and better now so I don’t get yelled at because it’s later – and started stressing about it. There’s just something very relaxing about someone else stressing for you… I know there’s not too many people who can appreciate it like I do, but I like it.

Although I should just say, I’m not after stress-head friends… obviously when I care about someone and they start stressing unnecessarily, that does still bother me. My mum’s a special case though – she’s tough enough to look after herself, so I don’t worry too much usually, plus she gets way carried away… I mean, all in all the visa stuff isn’t that big a deal – karma’ll see me through, one way or another.

2) More thesis work. I really wanted to use the power and eject buttons on the VCR front plate for the system, so I got out the trusty DMM and started probing for any pair of pins connected across those buttons… long story short, there aren’t any; there’s a couple of annoying diodes in there doing something-er-rather, which render an impedance test useless. I eventually reassembled the VCR guts and plugged it in (which I wasn’t too keen on doing, given the AC power supply is largely exposed, but I’m not dead, so it went okay), and tried testing for actual voltage changes across the pins… long story short, no go. It seems there’s either (a) an active element on the front PCB which is too complex for me to figure out this way, or (b) it’s some weird current-sensitive trigger… or somesuch. I dunno.

In the end I got impatient, got out some lengths of patch wire and just soldered them on across the buttons raw. Works like a charm. :) All that expensive, complex PCB layout for no reason. Silly architects. ;)

3) Got everything together for the VISA stuff and faxed it off. It wasn’t a Herculean effort to do so, but it did take a few hours, and at times tested my patience – finding mistakes in the forms after I’d printed them, stressing over what other mistakes I might have missed, etc. All the usual.

I even kept my composure when the service lady at OfficeWorks quoted $2.85 per page to fax to the U.S. I frowned a bit, all the while laughing sadly on the inside, and went along with it. $50 and 5 cents later, the sixteen pages were off. And yeah, I know that 16 x 2.85 is 45.6, not 50.05… I didn’t even bother asking. It’s done, time was of the essence – I wanted it done tonight so Darcy could get on it first thing in the morning (which, given she’s 14 hours behind, is around 11pm my time).

Anyway, all good. I think in the circumstances I had a pretty good day… despite being stressed and constantly busy, I hardly got cranky at all. :)

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