Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ousted By Technology!!

Sometimes technology is awesome. Sometimes, it'll get you in trouble. Case in point:

Yesterday I took my parents to look at my new house and meet the realtor. Before we left the house, we were trying to decide who would drive. It was quickly decided that I would because I knew the way, even though my car is pretty tiny and not really ideal for transporting three adults. I also agreed to drive because I needed gas and knew chances were "very likely" to "guaranteed" that my parents would pay for the tank if they were in the car when I got it. (ULTERIOR MOTIVE.)

Well, in assesment of both party's initial assumptions, I was right and my parents were wrong. I was right in that my parents did pay to fill up my tank (yay!), but they were wrong in that I knew how to get to my house. When I had visited before I just plugged in the Garmin and hit the road, paying little attention to street names and directions. Instead of getting hopelessly lost, I decided to do the same thing yesterday.

Apparently the Garmin has features I didn't know about. You can press a button and it will display your average and maximum speed, direction, etc. etc. My dad knew about these features. Upon pressing the button, the conversation in the car went something like this:

Me: "Oh, wow, that's cool."

Dad: "Sarah, your max speed is 85 miles per hour!"

Me: "Oh, hmm, well at least it's the max speed and not the average speed, right?"

Dad: "There is not one single road around here where the speed limit is faster than 65. I don't want you getting a ticket!"

Me: "... But aren't you impressed my car can even go that fast?!"

Dad: "..."

Note to self: Learn how to reset the Garmin, just in case. Stop pretending the beltway is an autobahn. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Addendum to The Danish Ruse

If you clicked the Politiken link, you may have read that the organization that declared Denmark the least corrupt country is called Transparency International. According to their website, Transparency International is

the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, bring[ing] people together in a powerful worldwide coalition to end the devastating impact of corruption on men, women and children around the world. TI’s mission is to create change towards a world free of corruption.


The Danish Ruse

According to Politiken, Denmark is the world's least corrupt country.

I agree with the FARK commentary. The Danes just hide it better. I know, because I'm part Danish and I hide part of my corruption. :)

It would have been really funny if this was published by Jyllands-Posten. Anyone remember the Mohammed Controversy? Sure, no corruption. Just Tuborg, Faxe Kondi, stupid mermaid statues, and anarchist communities. Oh, and hot blondes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Social Security Office Update

I'm sitting in the social security office right now. I had to take a number when I came in (how very European!). I am number (and letter) A8. They just called A5. I feel like I have awhile to wait. Interestingly, they are playing cartoons in the waiting room. I think that's a strange choice for a waiting room which currently, and likely usually, is filled with adults. Hmmm...
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Shirts That Speak

I rarely wear shirts with writing on them, but I'd consider making an exception for these:
Brooklyn Industries Golden Ratio t-shirt, discovered via swissmiss.

The Giant Peach Paint That Shit t-shirt, discovered via design is mine.

"Intricacies" of The United States Social Security Card Application

For some employment related things I realized I needed my social security card today. After searching high and low, I still couldn't find it. I think maybe I lost it back in 2006 when I had my wallet stolen (Okay, okay... I was in Europe and still excited about the whole "legal drinking(!!!!)" [at 20(!!!)] thing. I'd been drinking with friends all night and was stupidly carrying a clutch, rather than a bag with handles or a strap. Knowing me, I believe it was technically lost. But it was "stolen" for insurance purposes).

A little Google-action lead me to the government's social security site. I learned that when you need to obtain a United States Social Security Card, either new or a replacement, you have to fill out an ss-5 form and bring it to your local Social Security Card Center for processing. Okay, no problem... Just a few boring forms, maybe a small fee, and I'd have a fresh new card.

... Little did I know the five-page ss-5 form for a new card would be a delight as it seems to be

a) an extension of the U.S. Citizenship test.
b) A Darwinian experiment.
c) A fear-inducing form for any forgetful scatterbrain.

Let me elaborate...

First of all, like many forms, there are lots of "technical" instructions in the beginning. You have to write in blue or black ink, print on regular sized (or A4) white paper, etc. After you fill out the form you either have to bring it or send it in to your local SS office. If you are aged 12 or older and have never been assigned a number, you must apply in person. That's so social security workers can make sure you pass the the visual sketch-test (meaning you don't look like a sketchball).

One scary thing (the fear-inducing (c)) is that the form clearly states that Public Law 108-458 imposes limits on the number of replacement social security cards you may receive at 3 per year and 10 per lifetime. Yikes!! What if you lose your card more than ten times?!?! Is that it? You get deported or something?? Sorry, you can't be a citizen anymore. You can't take a new job. You probably can't get married. On that note, what if you get remarried (God forbid) more than 10 times and need to keep changing your name. Hmm...

Lastly, it's really weird because there is a major trick question on the application. The applicant's name is stated in section 1. The applicant's date of birth is stated in section 6. SECTION 13 (tricky 13!!) asks: 'Enter any different date of birth if used on an earlier application for a card.'

HUH!? It seems like filling out this question is just asking to either get your recently granted U.S. Citizenship yanked away or be forever scowled upon by the U.S. Government for likely being a dumb, resource-sucking citizen for the rest of your life. What other birth date would someone have used? I hate how birthdays change every so often. It's like you immune system, which changes every 7 years or so... So does your birthday. ?????

What a cruel trick.

Also, interestingly enough, the SS office cannot accept birth certificates as proof of identity. You have to have a driver's license or passport.

Oh well. Hopefully I'll get a new card. I'm going tomorrow.

Monday, September 22, 2008



Though I'm not sure how often (if ever) I'll use it... It takes a long time to type things with just your thumbs.
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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...?!?

Word on the cyber street is that you can blog from your phone now. Of course I had to try...!

So, hmmmm, did it work?
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pseudo "Science"

Today the author of a blog I have in my RSS feed decided to do an online handwriting analysis. Because I was bored and I have a high penchant for e-gimmicks, I decided to try it myself.

Well, what a disappointment! Getting a handwriting analysis from http://handwriting.feedbucket.com is like getting a handwriting analysis from the POS digital signature pad in the self checkout line at the grocery store. It took for freaking ever to use the mouse space on my laptop to pointer-finger draw anything that even remotely resembles how I write:After you waste five to ten minutes on that nonsense, you have to answer five simple questions about text size, spacing, slant, etc. The results of my analysis said:
You fill every waking moment with activity.
You are a shy, idealistic person who does not find it easy to have relationships, especially intimate ones.
You are diplomatic, objective, and live in the present.
You are a talkative person, maybe even a busybody!
You enjoy life in your own way and do not depend on the opinions of others.
Hmmm... that's interesting. I'll say straightforwardly that I think all this handwriting analysis mumbo jumbo is subject to the Forer Effect, much like horoscopes and personality tests like the Meyers-Brigg (I'm a rare ENTP!!), but I'll indulge you and myself with some e-commentary anyway.

I'd say ideally I'd fill every waking moment with activity, but in reality I can be quite lazy and get bored at times, and then the activity unfortunately just doesn't happen. In regards to the second; I think the part about being shy is not only untrue, but also is a glaring contradiction to the point further down which says I'm talkative (true) and maybe even a busy body (nah, I don't think so. I'm way too self absorbed for busybodiness). The part about intimate relationships, though... probably some truth to that. Diplomatic and objective, yes, I'd like to think so. Live in the present? Well, I try to, but I've got to admit I'm a dweller and often dwell on things from the past, indicating at least one foot in the past, most of the time. Already touched on the fourth point. The fifth point; well, I try, and I think I do a pretty good job.

Still, the whole thing was lame. I wouldn't have even blogged about it if it hadn't taken me a few minutes to actually write So Sarah Says in my[-esque] handwriting.

Try it if you're bored.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tribute from the 'hood

"We still here!!! And we buildin four more new towers!!!!"


I urge you to pay close attention at approximately 2:08. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Still a local celebrity... apparently...

I used to joke that I was a local celebrity in Europe because I would run into students from the study abroad program where I worked all over the place. Half the time I wouldn't even recognize them. I'd be in the grocery store, on a street in Amsterdam, in Christiania, you name it, and someone would say "Hey, Sarah!" ... "Um, hi..."

Very strange indeed.

My celebrity status reached a new peak last night.

I spent the day in D.C., popping around some of my favorite old haunts (shopping!!) and exploring a few new places in Georgetown and Adams Morgan. The day included a trip to the delicious and much anticipated Georgetown Cupcake (!) and a rather embarrassing 'couture/elevator/back door' debacle... Later in the evening I met up with my friend Collin from Georgetown and his brother, Landon. Landon was visiting from North Carolina and Collin had celebrated his birthday earlier in the week, so we had dinner at Clyde's and went out for "a few" belated birthday/welcome to D.C. drinks in Adam's Morgan. Somewhere between my n^x beer (I started classy with gin and tonics, but as the night progress I switched to an uncountable number of $4 drafts. Cheap compared to what I'm used to... I love thee, America.), the slice of some random guy's chocolate 40th birthday cake, and a jumbo slice of pizza, I had a weird "celebrity" experience.

I think we were at Madam's Organ when I caught the eye of a suspiciously familiar looking tall, blonde guy walking towards me. He approached me and was like "Denmark!?" I was like "Huh? What?" He was like "I've seen you walking on Gammel Torv!* Don't you work for DIS?"


"Um, I used to," I stammered, "but I don't any more. I moved back here on Monday. Wait. What are you doing here? Are you Danish?"

"Yeah, I'm Danish. I'm going to school at Georgetown now. My name is Peter."**

"Oh. Weird. I'm Sarah."***

And we exchanged numbers. At least I think we did. I now have some one named Peter in my cell phone (who I have no intention of calling, ever.) Really, really weird that someone would recognize me from walking around Copenhagen and that I would run into them in a bar I have been to all of once in Adam's Morgan. Small world. Local Celebrity.

I'm telling you, I'm so completely weirded out by this.

*A square in Copenhagen near where I used to work. Actually, it's between where I used to work and the longest pedestrian only shopping street in Europe so, yes, I was probably seen walking on it quite often.
**He actually said his name in Danish: Jeg hedder Peter.
** I actually responded in Danish, too: Åh. Mærkelig. Jeg hedder Sarah.