Sunday, January 28, 2007

What Do You Get After Spending Three Days in Meetings?

A horrible cold.

I've switched jobs at work and am now in a new organization. That's the good news - I'm really looking forward to the new challenges. My first couple of days in the new org were also the days that org had scheduled its global meeting. I got to meet many of my new colleageues from around the world. And someone in that crowd brought a nice little rhinovirus from somewhere that found a perfect host(ess) in me. Friday afternoon I was fine. Friday night I couldn't stop sneezing, sniffling and felt completely icky. I went to bed very early and slept most of Saturday.

So what went on in Dawno's life in January? My daughter was here through the 19th. I rode back down to her place with her that weekend and flew home that Sunday night. Even though we didn't do much (although we had some great shopping days) when she was here, it is just so nice to have her around.

We bought some games and played "Fact or Crap" one night. My hubby and I met online almost 16 years ago because of our mutual love of trivia- there were nightly trivia games run by the members of Q-Link (the predecessor of AOL) that we both played, so I thought it would be a fun game for all of us. We did have a good time - but the thing about the Trivial Pursuit games is that you learn the correct answer. With Fact or Crap you only learn that it's Crap and not a Fact - but the game leaves you wondering what the real facts are and that's a little bit frustrating for trivia buffs.

Is it actually possible to sneeze one's brains out? I think I just might be the one to prove it.

In other news, I finally went to the Social Security office and started the ball rolling on my name change. I was going to do it sooner but I couldn't find my passport, which I needed because I don't have an official birth certificate. The process was easy, everything I needed to know and the forms I needed to bring were all available online. The wait at the Social Security office wasn't bad, either, and I didn't have an appointment, just walked in.

The only thing that gripes me is that the computers at Social Security will not allow any punctuation in names. I have an apostrophe and a hyphen in my new last name. This will not be shown on my Social Security card. The part of my last name that's pre-hyphen will continue to be mistaken for a middle name and some systems even have been known to think it's part of my first name. You'd think there were enough names out there with apostrophes and hyphens that they'd fix that glitch. Yeah, I know, it has to do with programming language. pfft. Fix it. On behalf of the millions of Americans of Irish descent - fix it!

I did feel very sorry for one fellow there. Apparently Immigration had messed up his name in their records. Let's call him Kumar. Kumar is his first name. His last name - oh let's just say Jones. From what I could overhear in front of me (the local Social Security office is small - although it's less than a block from my home, so it was very convenient), Immigration put "Kumarjones" as his last name and "Kumar" again, as his first.

So here he is at Social Security trying to get some Social Security document in the name of Kumar Jones. The clerk at Social Security is telling him "No, your name has to be entered as Kumar Kumarjones - see that's what it says right here on your Immigration documents. I can't issue you a Social Security document saying you're Kumar Jones, I have to issue it just as these documents have it recorded - you have to go back to Immigration if you want your name fixed."

This exchange was repeated several times with lots of pointing at things on papers and on the computer in front of the clerk. The clerk acknowledged repeatedly that he understood that Kumarjones was not Kumar's real last name, but the clerk could only use what Immigration had put down. I guess Kumar finally understood, because he left. I can't imagine how difficult it's going to be for him to get Immigration to fix his documents. I know just getting an appointment with Immigration is hard enough. Poor Kumar.

Next visit is at the DMV. I got an appointment for that one. The local DMV is always a zoo.


julie said...

Hey, nice to run into another Q-Link veteran!

Dawno said...

Small world! Have you stayed in touch with any of your Q-Link friends?

Serge said...

With all the Irish people living in the USA, their computer system wasn't designed to handle apostrophes? The word 'stupid' comes to mind.

Dawno said...

The input is in all caps no punctuation. So in addition to the lack of an apostrophe and a hypen the Irish name O'Leary is OLEARY. If you ask for a space it's O LEARY. Then people think the O is your middle initial. They also forget the L should be capitalized. Now you have Denis O Leary or Denis Oleary. Yeah, stupid came to my mind, too. And the Irish aren't the only ones with apostrophes in their names, I'd bet. I wonder how antique the programming language in their system is.

Serge said...

How antique is their programming language? Heck, it must date from before the first Irish came to America.