Thursday, January 29, 2009

Money woes (as usual!)

I believe the most depressing time of month is when you get a $190 paycheck on Friday, and have $300 worth of bills due on Monday.

(uh and rent due by the 10th, and car insurance on the 16th...)

It's this sudden frantic scramble to scrimp. I'm selling a dress on eBay which has already been bid on up to $51, which is fantastic (but I won't receive payment for another week or two, which sucks). I had to pay $25 for a dermatologist copay today (something I would have put off, but it took me over 2 years to make this appointment since the doctor is in such high demand, and I was NOT waiting that long again!), and $20 on prescriptions...

I will be saved, in a manner of speaking, when I am able to file my taxes, and also get the deferment from my scholarship, which should be a couple hundred dollars. After that, things won't be so bad. But right now? The $200 MINIMUM MONTHLY PAYMENT on my credit card is absolutely kicking my ass.

I really don't want to have to return my new Netbook, even though I knew when I bought it that might be a possibility. I just love it so much, and it's so freaking rare that I get to have nice things, that I can't bare to see it go.

I suppose I'll need to call my credit card company again tomorrow. If they could just give me another MONTH without penalty, I'd be able to pay them once my tax check/scholarship money came in.

On the upside, though, there is this GREAT new cheap supermarket that opened in my area. I was able to buy a half gallon of milk, a bunch of grapes, 4 rolls, and 3 tangerines for only $5.

Hey, just a word to the wise? Don't charge groceries and gas on your credit card. I did that when I first moved into this apartment because I was absolutely terrified that I was going to bounce a rent check. Groceries and gas add up FAST.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back in the swing of things...

My first day of classes was today. It went okay, but the first few classes are sometimes hard to tell. The teacher seems... interesting. (Picture Vincent Price with his finger in a electrical socket. You've got it.) He doesn't give tests or quizzes, which is fine but means I'll have to be super on-the-ball with attendance and homework. No biggie.

(..now if I could only find a math class that operated the same way, I'd be all set...)

I've got nothing terribly exciting to report, I suppose. Just felt like updating because I'm bored.

I leave you with a baby picture of me. Because... well, y'all sat through this update for SOME reason, right?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Savings, consolidating, etc.

This weekend took quite an unexpected turn for me. I had planned to go to IKEA with Jay and take some photographs (we intend to run amok pretending that we live there), but instead I ended up being attacked by MASSIVE GIANT SAVINGS.

On Friday, Merrill and I went to get our nails done and discovered that we couldn't find or nail salon. We walked around the mall in circles before realizing that it had moved, been renamed, and was now having a huge Grand Opening sale. So, instead of just getting manicures like we had planned, we both got both manicures and pedicures for ridiculously low prices. (My nail fill was slightly more because I use UV gel, but the pedicure was $6.99 and Merrill's manicure was $4.99.)

On Saturday, Jay and I slept later then we had planned and headed out to get some business with his car taken care of. We managed to get it all done, and his car is finally legal and road-ready. Yay! We both start school tomorrow (eek) so that was a necessity.

While we were out, we headed to Circuit City. They're going out of business (or, at the very least closing a few stores-- I'm not sure which is which) and Jay was able to pick up a memory card for his camera, a tripod and a camera bag for 30% off. I looked briefly at the Netbooks while I was there, but their prices, even at discounted rates, were way too high.

We had some Mexican food for lunch and came home, only to discover that his tripod had a broken foot. We drove back out to exchange it, and I grabbed my thumb drive so that we could stop at Staples-- I wanted to print out my novel so I could read it and edit it more thoroughly.

When I got there, we went through all kinds of hell and found out that my word processing document is incapable with their software. So I have to copy it into an email document (provided it will work!) and email it to them in order for them to print it.

A little disappointed, I followed Jay over to the computers where he was discussing a desktop with one of the employees. I eventually got bored and wandered over to the Netbooks, as I usually do...

And my little baby, the HP netbook that I'd been eyeing forever and dreaming of, was on sale for $299.

I couldn't believe my luck. At first I didn't want to buy it (really, I should be paying extra on my bills, or even buying groceries), but I had the money, had been wanting it forever, and could not pass up the sale. Plus, it will be great for taking notes with, since school is starting up. I finally justified this in my own mind by vowing to step up my eBay sales to help detract from the cost.

So, I am the proud new owner of the tiniest damn computer ever. And, after piling all of my documents, photos and music on my poor old Dell for years, I am faced with the huge job of transplanting all my documents elsewhere. Thank God that Jay paid for a Flickr PRO account for me-- I've spent the past two days dumping all of my photographs there. (There are thousands!)

I figure I can email myself any important documents (most of them are outdated and unimportant anyway) and post any videos to YouTube. I am however unsure of what to do when it comes down to all of my music. I have thousands of songs on iTunes, some not, and I don't want to get rid of them entirely in the event I need a backup. I supposed I could buy a very large thumb drive, or an external harddrive, but I don't know much about stuff like that. We'll see.

It will be nice to have all my things saved somewhere (hopefully) safe on the internet. I'm constantly afraid my computer will explode and delete things-- my entire life is on that machine.

School starts tomorrow, like I said, and I am very nervous but also excited. Apparently my Journalism teacher decided to give our class HOMEWORK even though we haven't even met as a class yet, not to mention we don't have our books. I really hope this isn't an indication she's going to be a wicked bitch all year.

I suppose I'll find out soon enough! I'll update about class soon!

Ps: Did you all have amazing weekends? I have NO blogs to read. Get writing, people!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Feeling like a dork, slightly...

When I was in 8th grade, I wrote a novel. I scribbled away in 5 subject notebooks for the entire school year, and when I was finished I had 504 pages to show for it. All my friends read it as I wrote it, dog-earring the pages they had left off on and urging me to write more as quickly as I could so they could find out how it ended.

Now, over ten years later, I'm revisiting the novel. I had tried to type it out and edit it several times and had always wound up frustrated and editing, rather then typing. I finally enlisted the help of a friend (thanks, Danielle!) who I knew could just type it all out for me without feeling the same pressure to edit and perfect it that I was.

Finally, it is all typed out.

And now comes the absolutely massive job of trying to edit it. Trying to improve a love story I wrote at 13 when I knew nothing whatsoever of love. Adding depth to characters and suspense to a plot that runs 'round in circles sometimes, and during others just... is full of dead ends. (There were countless characters and scenes that were introduced that held no significance to the plot, that I have since removed.)

The biggest challenge?

This novel (don't laugh!) was based on a Hanson song. Mmmbop, Hanson? I know you're thinking, and yes, the very same. The song that inspired me was slow and haunting, and this novel followed it. Of course, there are also some very blatant Hanson references in the novel, such as...

1. Character names. Jamie, Katie, Johnny, Madeline, and Amy are all character names that were directly pulled from Hanson songs.
2. Character features. Nick, Eric and Johnny are, without a doubt, Taylor, Isaac and Zac Hanson, respectively. The similarities only go as far as actual looks (they're all blonde, skinny, long haired...) and the fact that they eventually form a band.
3. Oh my GOD Copyright laws. I have somehow managed to incorporate so many songs into this novel, it's unreal. Nick uses one song to explain to Jamie that "everything happens for a reason". Nick sings another song at Jamie to win her back at some point. Eric sings a similar song for a similar reason. Etc, etc.

The fact of the matter is, this book is 50% crap. A lot of it is good stuff that I can keep, but much of it will have to remain on the cutting room floor.

I thought at first that I would have to cut out or completely mask all Hanson-esque references... until I realized something today...

the entire musical "Mamma Mia!" was written by ABBA fans. ABBA had nothing to do with it at first, and even tried to stop them from making it.

And now? Look at how many people are being introduced to ABBA's music, now that Mamma Mia did so well in theaters. It did wonders for their popularity.

...was it possible that maybe, just MAYBE, Hanson might agree to let me use their likenesses/lyrics/whatever?


So I sent them an email.

I don't know if it will ever actually make it to them (their official website was completely devoid of any contact info, even for fanmail) but... it's out there in cyberspace somewhere.

I'm wishing now that when I saw them in concert back in 2003 I had had the foresight to speak to their father (he was running around with a video camera, I had multiple opportunities to stop him but never did, because what does one really say? "Um, hi, I like your sons!" ::awkward giggle::) and maybe make some kind of connection with him. I could have alternatively lingered after the show, as apparently Isaac came out to sign autographs mere seconds after I exited the building.

I am so dreadful at networking it is INSANE.

Either way, I definitely present myself more clearly through text then through speaking, so maybe this will work out. It would be pretty cool if it did.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lonely but not alone.

There are friendships, and then there are friendships.

Though they both appear the same on paper, one of those is a much more general term, and I have lots of the "general" sort of friends. There's nothing against them, and I don't want anyone to feel slighted over being grouped in the general category, because I still value such friendships and enjoy the time spent with these people.

But when it comes to the type of friends who can understand what the other is thinking simply based on the look one gave, the ones who laugh so hard at another's stories in a restaurant they almost get kicked out, and the ones who can tell you straight up that you're being a bitch or that YES, that outfit makes your ass look HUGE, and you don't get offended because you know their words are coming from the right place?

I'm severely lacking.

I almost burst into tears when I quoted "I'd like the right side of the menu stuffed with the left side of the menu" (a trademark LaVonna-ism) at Friendly's the other night. Sometimes it hits me all at once how much of my friends lives I'm missing out on-- I haven't seen Katie or Lauren in over a year now, and we've never even met each others significant others, or seen each others new apartments.

I feel heartbroken when I really think about it. I can never have all of these girls in my life at the same time ever again. I could move to Florida to be closer to Katie, or to Boston to be closer to LaVonna, or to London to be closer to Lauren... but I could never, as the saying goes, have my cake and eat it, too.

I don't know what to do about this. This seems to be one of those inevitable things that just happens as you grow up. But why should the people I hold closest to my heart be the ones the farthest away? This is a fact of life I am fighting against. I do not want to simply accept this.

This wouldn't be so difficult for me if I were rich and fabulous and could simply jetset to Florida, London or Boston for a visit whenever I saw fit. But as it is I am barely getting by, and have to make do.

Thank goodness for the internet, however. It keeps me marginally up to date at the very least.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Not exactly what we learn in Cosmo...

Yes ladies, it's true. While we're busy scouring Cosmo that includes articles like "How To Please Your Man Every Time" & "What he REALLY wants in bed & how to give it to him", guys magazines are touting articles like the one above.

Seriously, authors? Are you kidding me? How about "Be honest with your girlfriend NOW and prevent heartache and shitty breakups later"?

Maybe I'm naive, but it makes me kind of sick to see a magazine vindicating dishonesty.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Take a chance on me?

Bummer. I bought this super cute orange cowl neck sweater dress at Charlotte Russe for a beautiful TEN BUCKS last week, intending on wearing it with black tights and Ugg boots. I put it on today and while it is every bit as adorable as I had hoped---

my natural daily movements are scooting the bottom of the dress higher and higher towards my ass, eventually exposing it.

Problem?

I'm not really sure. You see, my job does require a whole ton of movement (I'm never allowed to sit down, ever) BUT it also requires that I wear a long white labcoat-- which will cover my ass in case of any wardrobe malfunctions.

I have just under a half hour before I have to be at work. I'm wearing the dress and unsure if I should change. I'm hoping maybe I can stretch it out just a tad & that might fix my dilemma.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Revolutionary Road

I don't normally write about movies, and I definitely don't consider myself anything of a critic-- but Jay scored us some free tickets to an advanced screening of Revolutionary Road(which we just returned home from) and let me tell you it was FANTASTIC. The subject matter is fairly dark (it's directed by Sam Mendes, of American Beauty fame, so prepare for something a little like that), and the synopsis may sound dull "couple in the 1950s struggles to come to terms with...blahblahblah"-- but it's WORTH IT.

It was also amusing to see Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kathy Bates all on screen together again. I don't know if they did it on purpose, but there are at least 2 small "Titanic References" in the film. Keep an eye out for them!

The movie kind of just ripped right through me and left me raw, for the lack of a better explanation. I can't stop thinking about it. I hadn't read the book prior to seeing the movie, but now I plan to.


Sidenote: I read 12 books last year. TWELVE. I mean, I know I was busy and all, but that's just a ridiculously low number. I plan on fixing that this year, so if anyone has any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Time for a new plan of action?

Today was mostly spent at my older cousin's baby shower. It was interesting and a bit awkward, as all events with my extended family tend to be, but not as bad as I had been expecting.

I was confronted with an epic amount of "We'll be throwing YOU a baby shower this same time next year!" or, "We'll see you when it's your turn." I kept insisting this was not going to be the case, and even told my younger second cousin that she could take my turn. I'm not entirely certain if these relatives even realize that I'm only 24, but either way it's definitely not my time yet.

Lately I've been thinking quite a bit about my two distinctly different aspects of my personality: the materialistic side and the minimalistic side. I've always *tried* to be minimalistic but pretty much failed completely because, well, let's face it-- I like STUFF. Lately however, somehow it sunk into my head that HEY... if you ever EVER want to be able to travel, you're A) going to have to be able to survive with very little, and B) you're going to have to sell some of this shit to make money!

So I ended up selling maybe about 40 of my DVDs over the past few weeks, and today I cleaned almost all of my old books, VHS tapes and CDs out of my mother's house. I figure, I've been moved out for a year-- if I haven't already gone back to get these items, do I really need them? I'll sell them to a music store next weekend. (As far as the books go, I really need to find a used book store that will buy them off me. I don't know of any.)

Anyway. I'm thinking (dreaming?) that once I get my Associates Degree, before I go on and try to either a) find a better job in my field or b) continue on to get my Bachelors Degree somewhere, I'll save up some money, take some time off, and just travel. Even if it's only a sleepless weekend spent in London, I still REALLY need to travel. It just has to happen, sooner rather then later. I know it's bound to be expensive, but by the time I graduate I'm fairly certain that my car will be paid off, which means I'll be able to save an additional $200 a month. This will help things along.

So for now, I'm trying to stop buying things that I don't need, and I'm selling things that have accumulated.

And keepin' on keepin' on.

(I know you usually instruct someone to 'keep on keepin' on'. But what if you're the one doing it? 'keepin' on keepin' on' just sounds awkward..)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

unsettled.

There is something that is somehow both calming and terrifying about the realization that maybe, just MAYBE, no matter how hard you work towards your goals, and how much you've fought to actualize your dreams...

you may never, ever achieve them.

I may be nothing more then a disgruntled pharmacy technician. A so-so writer. An infrequent blogger. A struggling college student. A girlfriend who means well but isn't perfect. A good friend who lives too far away to ever visit. A starry-eyed dreamer.

Terrifying.