This is the blog for Matt Hollingsworth. I'm from Ojai, California. I've worked in comics for 22 years as a color artist.

This blog will largely be used to show my daily life as I live in Samobor, Croatia and as I travel around the region. Lots and lots of photos! Leave me a comment, will you?

All content on this blog is copyright 2013 Matthew Dale Hollingsworth and cannot be copied or used for any purpose without my consent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

After a hellraising process that took 10 full months, I finally have my second visa.

Long time readers of this blog may remember the process I had to go through for this. To get my first visa, I had to start a company here and have myself as the director, which meant I received a business visa. When I put in my papers to renew the visa in mid January, the amount of paperwork they required from me regarding my company was just ridiculous. I ended up having to go from one ministry to the next and back and forth constantly. Every time we'd think we were done, they would ask us for a new paper. Really. We'd visit them and they'd tell us that we only needed one more paper, then when we delivered that, they'd tell us we actually needed yet another. And that part of the process went on for a few months.

I had that company for a year before that and paid all of my taxes and filed all necessary papers. But sometime before summer they actually denied my visa. The ministry of finance had denied it to my company basically. And they offered NO explanation. The people at MUP, the police station (who deal with visas) said they didn't know why I was denied, but they had a huge stack of applications for people who had the same thing happen to them.

My girl and I got engaged in December, though, of last year. And so we put in a new application for a visa based on this. But it's not as simple as that. That whole part of the process is also ridiculous. And every paper we supplied them with last year had to have new copies given to them. It's just crazy. A paper that is literally exactly the same must be given to them with a new date on it. Even stuff that is not dated requires a new copy. The file for me is something like 3 inches thick with papers. And that's just for this year.

But finally, today, they gave me my visa. And of course, they couldn't just give me the new visa. They also want more paperwork. I now have to give them a new birth certificate. In Croatia, their birth certificates are not actually birth certificates. They're more like life certificates. They record stuff in them over time. For instance, if you are married, your "rodni list" is updated with this information. We don't do that in the States. A birth certificate is just that; a birth certificate. It lists only facts about the birth itself, not about the person later in their life. I already had to go to the American Embassy and have them certify that I am not married which is also stupid because they actually can't possibly know if I am married. Anyway, because I did *that* they basically said okay. But I still have to supply them with a new copy of my birth certificate. The date on mine is 1988. But the certificate itself is from 1968, when I was born. They were already supplied with a fresh translation dated now, but they need that purple ink with the notary public stamp to have a date within the last six months.

And, I have to supply them with a paper that proves that my landlord actually owns the apartment I am living in. This despite the fact that we already went to a notary here to certify this and they already have that.

Ah well. At least I have the damned thing now. Now I have to take the application for the birth certificate to the American Embassy and have their notary certify that I am in fact me and send the application off and hope that it actually arrives in the mail.

And I am closing my company. For anyone who is considering opening a company here I recommend you avoid it at all costs. For me it was a pain in the ass and keeping it going is totally a waste of effort and a cause of stress as well as a good way to pay higher taxes. Fuck that.

And we head to Thailand in January and today I read about bombs going off in the Bangkok airport.

America doesn't look too bad sometimes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I recently started collecting foreign currency. There's an antique market here on Sundays and I go there once in a while and buy stuff from a guy there who has tons of money from all over. No, I have not visited all of these places. I like the art on them and the view into the culture of where they come from. It's fascinating to me.

Click the image below to view money from Russia, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Iran, India and Montenegro.

Foreign Currency

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I ask all of my fellow Obama supporters today to not gloat. I ask that you not kick the Republicans while they are down. Extend a warm hand in their direction and draw them into the process of governance that will follow. Their party will have a lot of soul searching to do in these next 2 years at least. And by extending our friendship to them we can not only have a more unified country filled with far less vitriol and hatred, but we can help draw some of them to the Democrat party. And we can also help them shape the new foundation of their party that will have to be built. Engage any of your Republican or conservative friends in conversation.

Our long national nightmare is over. But don't use this as a chance for revenge. We're above that. Use this as a chance to reshape the dialog in our country. In doing so maybe we can get rid of all the spite and hatred that has rocked our political world since 1992.

A man can hope. And as we've seen, sometimes that hope is fulfilled.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What to watch on Election night as the polls close.

We should be watching a lot of these states that are close or that have gone Republican in the past and are leaning Democrat this time around.

Below are some of the closing times, what states to watch and what my predictions for those states are.

But overall, I predict that Obama will win. I predict he will take 338 electoral college votes while McCain will claim 200. I also predict that the popular vote will have Obama winning 51% to 46% over McCain with 3% of voters choosing third party candidates such as Bob Barr and Ralph Nader.

6PM: Indiana.

Prediction: McCain wins by 1%.

7PM: Florida and Virginia.

Watch Virginia and Florida. Even if McCain wins Florida, Virginia could go to Obama and make it very difficult for McCain.

Prediction: Obama wins Florida, but only by 1%. It's so close that they don't call it right away and counting goes late into the night.

Obama wins Virginia by 2% or less.

7:30PM: North Carolina and Ohio.

Prediction: McCain wins North Carolina by about 4%.

Obama wins Ohio by less than 1%.

8PM: Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Chances are, if Obama wins ONLY Pennsylvania and Virginia, and McCain wins the rest of these, Obama will still win.

Prediction: Obama wins Pennsylvania by around 5%.

McCain wins Missouri by about 2%.

I think the single most important state to watch is Pennsylvania. If McCain loses Pennsylvania it will be nearly impossible for him to win. But earlier in the night if Obama racks up a win in any one of these close states, the odds are very difficult for McCain.

Happy election day everyone! And remember, whoever wins, in January Bush will be out of office. We will be better off next year without Bush one way or the other.