30 September 2010

I Can Freaking Do This

I titled this entry after the comment I just made to myself. Today, loyal readers, is payday. Now, of course, I always enjoy payday, but I am disheartened to admit that the anxiety payday once offered me was substantial. Today, though, I was so responsible I peed a little. In the toilet. When my bladder was full. Okay, I'm just being obnoxious.

But really, though, today I started a new page of responsibility by calling up my student loan debtors, finding out monthly payment info, checking on deferments, and figuring out my monthly budget. First of all, let's admit it's an accomplishment that I have a monthly budget. I made one. I'm gonna use it. I am still putting money in savings with this budget. And I still have $50 of "hey, I don't know what I'm going to spend this on, but I'm sure something will come up" money. It's fun in a weird way.

I added up the horrifying total of my monthly student loan payments, and it's (I wish I were kidding) over $500. College is super expensive. But, thanks to the bankruptcy, I can afford it. I can afford those payments. I'm going to have to really stick to the budget and avoid splurges (and Christmas presents might be an adventure), but I can do it. And, thanks to awesome people like you, I'm getting a small but existent payment from ad revenue from this blog. It's fantastic. It's over $100. It's going directly into savings. Every time you click an ad, friends, you're putting money in the pocket of someone who is not going to waste it. Three cheers for learning financial responsibility through terrible decision making and a bankruptcy! AWW YEAH.

19 September 2010

Just Breathe

I've just started reading Dave Eggers' next masterpiece Zeitoun, and so far it has lived up to the hype set forth by its reviews. As I've established on here, if I could be a fat, midwestern Dave Eggers. Zeitoun tells the story of Abdul Zeitoun and his family during and after Hurricane Katrina. I've always been of the belief that disaster and heartache produce great art, and, so far, this is no exception. It's why I think Vietnam has produced such great art. Anyway, you should buy it. And use this link to do it so I get money when you buy it.

In other completely non-financial related news, last night I was granted the wonderful opportunity (a.k.a. I bought a ticket) to attend the Kansas City Improv Festival. My friend Lu was among the photographers for the event, so that's cool too. The event featured four improv groups, and the final group was Der Monkenpickle which features Overland Park native Jason Sudekis of SNL and 30 Rock fame. His girlfriend, Mad Men actress January Jones, was also there. HERE I AM PHOTOGRAPHED WITH BOTH OF THEM.

Something to noticed in this photo- each of us has, like, an insane eye. I don't know what the crap is wrong with my camera that I've had for all of three months, but we each have one eye that's totally black (much like my soul. HAHAHA!). What the frig is wrong with my camera is the main message here. Here is this picture plus Amanda:

Now both of my eyes are black shark eyes (Yes, 30 Rock reference intended). What on earth? Anyway, it was super cool. We were standing nearby for a few minutes and I was too nervous to approach him because I figured 12 billion people were coming up to him like "OMFG It's Floyd from 30 Rock let's take a freaking hilarious picture together, lolz!" Eventually the crowd died down a bit, and I decided I was gonna do it. I was gonna approach a famous person who is on my favorite television show.

It went fairly well, and we talked for just a minute or two. In that time I managed to talk with him about cursing in front of children, teaching, and how my friends and I confronted our first grade teacher, Mrs. Black, about how we were absolutely convinced she lived in our classroom. He wasn't nearly as amused by it as I assumed he would be in my head. He was absolutely nice and friendly, though, he just didn't instantly recognize my genius. It's okay- at some point someone will, and I will get a book published and pay off my student loans (more on this later).

January Jones was standing nearby, and I said, "Screw it, I'm talking to her too."

I complimented her on the following work- the finest of her career on SNL. 

The group I went with had a long, but fun, night, and I'm really glad I went.

So otherwise, I've made my first student loan payment. It was $50- not too bad. But more of them are coming in. And I have letters from MU and SLFC waiting in my mailbox. I chose not to read them before my trip to KC so as I would not think about it. I got another letter from a student loan place at my parents. I read it today, and there is a magic and beautiful deferment on my account. I am in a grad class this semester, but it's only three hours, and I don't know if that counts as part time. I'm not going to complain. I didn't get a deferment on the MOHELA loan... is it clear yet that I have a bunch of these loans? I'm going to consolidate them in hopes of reducing the amount of money I'll pay each month and just reducing confusion in the number of checks I'd have to write. I'll be sure to give you all more updates on this- it's certainly my next great financial hurdle (controlling my student loan payments that is). Wish me luck. :)

06 September 2010

Book Review- Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I thought it might be nice to not just include the mundane details of my financial explosions and take some time to review a book. I might include this sort of feature often if you guys like it! You'll notice I've added a little Amazon "Hey, I liked this stuff, so you should like it too" box to the right of the blog entries, and you'll notice I've just completed Little Bee. I'll review the book for you now!

I was recommended Chris Cleave's Little Bee by my friend who I stay with in New York, Erika. She and I were collectively voted Most Likely to Succeed of our 8th grade class, and you're damned right I don't forget it. It's one of two times I've ever "won" something (assuming we're counting my Outstanding Senior Band Member award from high school). Erika and I have now been friends for thirteen years, and I've grown to trust her taste in books and music, so when she recommended the book so highly I bought it at LaGuardia to start reading as soon as possible.

The book opens by meeting Little Bee herself who is in a detention center in London. We discover she is a Nigerian refugee and has been in the center for two years. With little hope of escape, she befriends a woman who performs favors for a gentleman at the office to allow them, and two other women, to leave. When she leaves, she calls the only person in England she knows, a man named Andrew. A few days after her phone call, Andrew kills himself. This begins the excitement of the book!

Maybe excitement isn't the right word. The action of the book begins, and, as a person who loves to predict events and endings in books, I had no idea how the book would go forward. You eventually discover how Little Bee knew Andrew (and his wife). A crucial character in the book is actually Andrew's son Charlie, who is very young, and insists on being called Batman. It's hard to characterize this book by any "category" because, to Cleave's credit, there are moments of humor and pain seamlessly integrated.

The book ends in a way that is simultaneously relieving and horrible. You are left to draw a conclusion rather than being told what exactly happens, so if that is an issue with you with book endings, you will likely be dissatisfied by the ending of Little Bee. I'm not one of those people, so I liked the ending. The book, however, is just so sad. It reminded me a bit of What is the What by Dave Eggers in that you keep thinking "what else can happen to this character?!" but, unlike Eggers, the book doesn't quite meet the nexus of the worlds of humor and pain, reality and levity.

I'm giving the book 4/5 stars because I was left with profound sadness when I finished. This is to simultaneously credit Cleave for making me care about his characters and still wish the book was slightly more uplifting. I liked it a lot, obviously though, and I really recommend it to anyone. Click away below to order it on Amazon!

05 September 2010

I'm Backin' Up, Backin' Up, Backin' Up, Backin' Up...

'Cause my daddy taught me good...

So other than that video, things have been cautiously good for me recently. You know how when you feel like things are going fairly well you suddenly your left arm falls off or something? Or at least some metaphorical left arm falls off. I'm always thinking of that. Like last year when my life attempted to explode itself, I had previously had an awesome year. Now I assume life will kick my ass a little every time I'm feeling too good. Thanks a lot for conditioning me so negatively, life!

Yesterday I received a friendly note from Mohela, one of my student loan debtors, reminding me that, now that I've been discharged from the bankruptcy, they're going to start billing me again. I knew it was coming, but... it still sucks to be reminded. It seems like a waste of paper- they could have called me and saved a tree. Whatever. Anyway, I'm continuing to save some money. And the money I make from ad revenue on this blog (which is small but existent!) goes straight into savings which would eventually be used to pay student loans. So remember, every time you click an ad on my blog, you're helping me pay for the insane number of student loans I had to get to become an educator and follow my dreams. So clickety click away, friends! :)