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When they ask you if you're a terrorist, the correct answer is 'No'

If you felt your Christmas was a rather lacking in tension, I can recommend applying for a non-immigrant US visa over Christmas -- oh, the suspense!

So I'm going to CES, w00t! If you felt your Christmas was a little bland, rather lacking in tension, I can recommend applying for a non-immigrant US visa over the Christmas and New Year period -- oh, the suspense!

The source of the confusion was that the US government apparently does not acknowledge or recognise the existence of the online press. WTF? Although, in my experience, neither do many tech manufacturers, PR companies, and a goodly number of the great unwashed.

So lots of to-ing and fro-ing, including forms requiring me to detail my parentage, education, and any special skills I have in chemical engineering (none) or the use of firearms (er, I've seen Heat 43 times?). I eventually got my embassy appointment.

What an anticlimax. I was hoping for a Matrix-style grilling by unsmiling agents in a building much like the embassy sequence in The Bourne Identity, with implacable Marines patrolling at port arms. What I got was a bunch of Group 4 rentasentries in a portakabin outside a building more like a down-at-heel post office.

And to top it off -- they've gone and lost my passport! Secure Mail Services, who I used to like because they text you to tell you when they're coming and give you the option to reschedule, have sent my documents to an unlucky chap in Manchester who is supposed to be on a plane in less than 24 hours. Grud knows where his passport and documents are.

But this plucky Mancunian is no fool: having received my passport he was in touch with me in minutes. How? A Facebook friend request, of course.

Right, I'm off to check my bank balance...