Monday, September 28, 2009

If I'm Talking with My Mouth Full, It's Because I've Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew

Two rehearsals yesterday. Managed to get two cues done for one play, but have to rewrite or add a bunch of stuff to one of them. Found out last night I have a rehearsal tonight, which fucks up my plans for the week. Means I have to practice all day instead of half the day, and time I had reserved to work on cues for the other play is gone. AND the other pianist/composer gave me two more songs to practice, and if I did them note for note (which I won't), they'd be hard. Actually, they'll be hard at any rate. I have to work on them and it's time I didn't have anyway. Oh, and schoolwork? Totally taken a backseat to my gigs. I'm considering writing one of my professors and telling him I won't have our assignment ready Wednesday.

Trip downtown to get stuff off the server for school, missed the folder, wrote classmates saying Where is the fucking folder??? and only once the building was closed and I was on the train going back up to Lincoln Park did I get the answer that they were there. I mean, I knew they were there—I'd seen them—but I couldn't remember which folder sequence to look under. Sigh. (And by the way, how did the "w" make it into the word "answer"?) So now I have to make another trip, and also stop by Radio Shack to get one of those headphone jack thingies.

All this, and my financial aid is still a mess, only today I just don't have time to take care of it.

And I need a thermos, something that won't spill food all over my textbooks.

Maybe by the end of the week, things will be less stressed, but . . . we'll see. Amazed at how quickly I've turned to coffee and comfort food for support. Need to get in yoga today, too, so I don't rip anyone's head off accidentally at rehearsal.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Well, s$#!

Turns out my online account was just screwing with me. Financial aid was denied, so if I continue with school I'll be destitute.

And it turns out I suck at music editing.

Why am I doing this again?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Music Editing

So we're editing music in one of my classes. We get a clip of a scene from a film and then find existing music to create a temp score.

So far it's really really fun.

Also, yay for not being destitute. I was approved for the rest of my financial aid, so I'm just waiting for it to be disbursed to my account.

Friday, September 18, 2009

In the Thick of It

Okay. In some ways the last couple of weeks have been hell. Worries about money crowd my thoughts nearly every moment I'm awake. Actually, I guess I should say those worries would if I let them. But I've been through this sort of thing before, and I've found the best way to handle it is to cross each bridge as I come to it. Some of the bridges seem pretty fucking flimsy, if you ask me, but if they're there I know I can cross them. Otherwise I will have to build one. Which, even though we're speaking metaphorically here, is a real pain in the ass. But I'm trying to put a positive spin on this by reminding myself that even if I don't get the extra "aid" (loan), it's extra debt I'm not taking on. In the long run, that's sure to be a good thing.

My unsubsidized stafford loan was disbursed, so now all I have to come up with is rent, utilities, food, and the balance of my tuition (that is, if I don't get the rest of the aid for which I applied).

As for everything else, I have too much on my plate. I've bitten off more than I can chew for sure, but I'm in the thick of it now and it's too late to back out of any of it. Sigh. I just realized how many cliches I used in this post.

EDIT: I've calculated. I'll need one more client to pay for the balance of my tuition (that is, if it's a family of 3 taking lessons - which seems quite common for me. Otherwise I'll need 3 individual clients). To pay for upgrades in software, I'll need 3 additional clients (families). I'm advertising, and over the last couple of weeks I've added 2 clients (one family, one individual), so I'm hopeful. OTOH, I'll need more for the credit cards. Onward and upward!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Still no sign of more financial aid. In fact, the aid I've been awarded has yet to be fully dispersed. I've got a couple of new clients, though, so not all is lost.

Really busy already. We've got a great new instructor, Hummie Mann, who has done a lot of films (most notably Robin Hood: Men in Tights), and he has us writing weekly assignments - which I love, but so far I'm slow.

I have one playing gig that I can't believe I've said yes to, but it's too late to back out now. Just trying to tread water now . . .

Monday, September 7, 2009

"F" for Accuracy

So my financial aid award does not cover my tuition. Not sure how I'm going to survive, but I'll have plenty of fiber in my diet, what with all those cardboard boxes in the corner.

Oh wait. Those will be for my house when I become homeless.

Wow, your country is WEIRD!

Here I did these incredibly concise, well-said paragraphs on Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords admonishing the people of our country to just get along, something to the effect of . . .

Look, if you're conservative and you disagree with President Obama's policies, fine. But he's still the PRESIDENT. You don't have to revere him like you do Reagan, but you still must treat him with the same respect you would any other president. If he wants to address your children, as the president he has every right to do so. You don't agree with what he says? Fine. Discuss it with your children.

No other president in our history as a nation has been treated with the same vitriol and disrespect President Obama has. No, not even President Bush. Bush may have been ridiculed by the left, but that is not the same thing we're seeing with respect to President Obama. People are showing up with guns to rallies now. You do know that, right?

Furthermore, the idea that President Obama is revered among the left is bullshit. His approval ratings have dropped considerably, and most of that is from lefties who want him to shove their policies through. I go back and forth on this myself; sometimes I just want him to pass the policies he promised he would, and stop trying to find common ground where there is none. Other times I can't help but admire that he's only doing the one thing so many of us feel is lost in this country: trying to keep the level of political discourse sane by being civil and compromising.

And one of the final remarks was, "Wow, your country is WEIRD."

Which for some reason made me laugh in the best way. We have become pretty weird, haven't we?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Health Care Reform

Probably I'm going to regret posting this, but as I'm getting tired of posting on the trivialities of my life, I'll risk losing my 12 readers. I'm going to assume that everyone who strays by this blog is intelligent and polite enough to keep the rhetoric to a dull roar. Perhaps that's a fallacy, given the Internet, but I'll just take my chances.

The health care reform debate has been on my mind quite a bit lately. So much that I'm sitting here blogging about it when I should be practicing. I'm going to say it right out: I support reform, complete with a public option. I once said that I felt reform was meaningless without the public option. I don't quite feel that way after reading more and more of H.R. 3200, but I still think it's essential.

The kinds of misconceptions I've seen, mostly on Facebook, have been astounding. Most conservatives I've had the opportunity to chat with seem to believe the entire proposed bill is a description of a federal plan. No, page 16 does not say you cannot get health care, and no, page 59 does not say the government will have access to your bank account. Page 16 actually describes grandfathered care for individuals, then goes on to say that after a certain date, insurers will no longer be able to enroll new customers in grandfathered plans. This is significant because grandfathered individual insurance plans presumably won't be subjected to the minimum standards set in the bill.

But that doesn't mean we'll have individuals walking around who are suddenly unable to get insurance (which, actually, if you think about it, we have right now). It means that any plans offered to new individual customers (i.e. the self-employed with no employees . . . like me) will meet the standards set in the bill. Currently members of Congress pick their health plans from an Exchange of something like 269 insurance companies. New individual plans will also have to be part of an Exchange, but it's still private insurance companies competing for your money.

Page 59 is actually part of a section that outlines basic things insurance companies will have to do, which mostly are things they're already doing. You know, things like offering electronic debit and handling your claims in a timely manner.

We're not even going to talk about the crazies, the ones who believe Obama is going to start a death panel or wants to kill old people. I understand that many conservatives simply like the ideas of smaller government and personal responsibility and are opposed to health care reform for those reasons. We can all come up with anecdotal evidence to argue for and against, but for me it comes down to whether we're going to try to build a just society in which everyone gets to play the game or not. I've read and heard too many heartbreaking stories of people who are just eking by because a loved one is sick and can't get proper care or they can't get care at all because of a pre-existing condition. My best friend's mother, a 62-year-old woman, lost her company-sponsored health insurance in January because of raised rates and ever since has been shelling out $400 a month for insurance that, in her words, "might give me a bandaid if I severed an artery."

So I'm sorry, but if you're the kind of person who doesn't want reform because you're afraid you're going to end up paying for some faceless guy's deep-fried Snickers bar habit, you're not paying attention to the real problem—and you're behind on what the actual reform will be. I've paid taxes into a public school system that I don't use and paid taxes to the fire department and the police department—which, hold on to your hat, Chicagoans, I haven't yet used, either. I gladly paid taxes into them because I knew they were important and they were part of what our modern society needs to function. If I ever get back into a tax-paying income bracket (grad student), I'll gladly do so again. Besides, not all the reform is going to be government care. Hell, at this point we'll be lucky if any of it is government care. Much of it is going to be regulations the insurance industry will have to meet.

Thoughts? (Not that my regular fellow bloggers have been anything but, but please keep your arguments reasoned and polite, please; reason I say that is this debate seems to be a real trigger.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So . . .

I'm all moved. I'm settling in and getting unpacked. My room is much bigger than my old room, and we have a huge kitchen and living area. The shower leaves something to be desired in the way of water pressure, and it's easy to scald your hands under the faucet in the bathroom sink if you're not careful about turning on the cold, but otherwise I'm very happy.

Also, I have two closets. I feel like a very cheap version of Carrie Bradshaw.

Nervous about school starting, but excited, too. Ready for the refund to be deposited into my account, that's for sure.

The odd thing is I've not been reading much of anything lately, either. I feel like I'm in a holding pattern. Must be because school is starting soon. But I have the new script for one of the plays I'm working on, so I'd better get started on that.