Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Have a Problem

It isn't that I'm dying to get married. Or even that I have a "dream" wedding in my head. I haven't been fantasizing about my wedding day since I was a little girl. I assumed I would be married, at some point, but I never really dreamed about the wedding itself. And it isn't that I'm really dreaming about it now. I'm worried.

And, of course, I'm not engaged either.

I know. It's stupid and annoying and horribly ... I don't know... Typical?

My boyfriend and I have discussed marriage. At this point it is understood that, at some point in the near future (like a year or so), he will propose. I will say yes. I'm not worried about being married to him. I like him a whole lot. We get along really well. I think we'll have a pretty sweet life together.

It's the wedding I'm worried about. Who to invite? Where to have it? Who to preside? Should we have a religious ceremony or a secular one? Should we have a "destination" wedding? Flowers, the place, the reception... The list goes on forever. And I know, without a doubt, that I will be responsible for all of it. He won't help plan anything, he'll just bitch about stuff he doesn't like.

Anyway, my worrying manifests itself in a near-obsession with all things wedding related. I check theknot.com all the time. I have considered getting an account on the knot - you know, to get a jump on things. I mean, it's ridiculous. Today, I was really excited because I found a wedding favor that would be just perfect for us. Except, you know, we're not engaged and I'm clearly INSANE.

I must break my addiction/obsession by going cold-turkey. I will not indulge co-workers bitching about siblings' weddings, I will not go on theknot.com. I will not read articles on MSN about thrifty honeymoon spots. I will pretend that I'm not engaged and planning a wedding. Which. You know. Shouldn't be that hard because I'M NOT.

God. I even annoy myself sometimes.

Switching to Mac

So, I'm thinking of switching to a mac and getting a new MacBook. My desktop computer is slightly old - about four years - and it has some issues. I had a bad virus experience last year and the thing has never really recovered (I think I have already posted about that, so I won't get into details).

I have always been sort of intrigued with Macs because, let's face it, they're kinda sexy. Plus, they seem to be somewhat virus-proof which, after my old laptop and my current desktop, I would really appreciate. However, in college, the iMacs in the computer lab sucked. I'm sure it was my fault for being mac-ignorant, but I could never really figure out how to use them. I only tried when all the PCs were in use (and I know that PC means personal computer and that Macs are, technically PCs. Shut up). Anyway, I would try to check my email and all I could ever do was look at one old email that I had somehow read when it was new on a mac. I couldn't figure out how to read new emails and I couldn't check old ones that I knew were saved somewhere. It was weird and I'm sure I'm just a moron. I'm hoping I won't have those problems this time.

Basically, my iPod has converted me. I love my 'pod, and I don't want it to be alone. Plus, the aforementioned virus somehow messed with my musicmatch software and whenever I try to load a cd onto my iPod, I get all sorts of error messages from musicmatch.

It seems like a Mac will do everything I need it to - I can get Office for Mac and use word for my papers for school, which is the only thing I really NEED my computer to do. The rest is all for my own entertainment and it looks like I'll be able to do that stuff, too. I'm a little nervous though because I've read that on the new Intel Macs the Office programs run super-sluggishly because they're made for the PowerPC. This worries me. Has anyone used this suite on the new Intel Macs? Hello? Anyone?

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I hate money.  I hate thinking about it, I hate talking about it and, most of all, I hate worrying about it.  The only reason I would like to win the lottery is so that I wouldn’t have to worry about having enough money.  

I am in graduate school at DePaul.  DePaul is not cheap.  There was a death in my family and I inherited a small sum, which paid for my first 2.5 quarters.  I had some savings that covered the other half of the third quarter and my books etc for the rest.  That money is gone now, so I had to take out a student loan.

I was lucky enough in undergrad to not have to take out student loans.  My grandfather made a gift of some sort of mutual fund to all of his grandchildren, when we were born, to pay for college.  The majority of the money I made at my various high school jobs went into this fund, and so college was paid for. I went to a private college, so none of that money is left now. In any case, I have no experience with student loans.

So, when it came time to register for summer classes and next fall, I also started to think about student loans.  This is when I discovered that I was a month too late to apply for FAFSA.  Ok.  I have a friend who works for Chase Bank, so I gave him a call and he gave me the number for their student loan department.  So, I go through all the paperwork and, hooray!  I am conditionally approved, now they just need to get DePaul to confirm that I am, in fact, a student there.

So, everything is approved.  I have gotten at least four notices in the mail – one saying I was conditionally approved, one telling me I’m approved and the funds will be disbursed soon, one telling me the details of my financed charges, and another one saying that the money has been disbursed (but no check has arrived).  So, this morning, I check my online account and discover that the money was sent out over two weeks ago.  This is odd, since I have no money.  So, I call the bank and they tell me that it was sent to DePaul’s Financial Aid office.  Interesting.

At no point in the entire application/approval/disbursement/notification process was I informed that the money would be going to DePaul.  I’m a grown-up, this is a private loan, not through the government or the school, and I chose the amount I was requesting, taking into account tuition, books, and living expenses.  So, I freak out a little.

Honest to God, it is like neurons actually explode in my head when money is discussed.  Not big money – I can talk about what groceries cost, or rent or whatever, but when you talk big-picture, or big money, my brain starts to shut down and I cry.  I literally feel intense pressure in my head and my face gets hot and I break down.  It’s the strangest thing.  I can’t even begin to explain the process.  There aren’t specific worries that I have, I just shut down.  I don’t know why.  It’s like the biggest stressor in the world for me.  Granted, my loan isn’t big money on a grand scale, but it is in the thousands of dollars range and that’s a shit-ton for me.  

So, I hear that DePaul has the money and I freak out.  Because, DePaul is not very helpful.  I haven’t been able to schedule an appointment with an academic advisor – I tried once and she didn’t actually schedule it and ended up scheduling someone else at the same time, and I just didn’t feel like trying again.  She never apologized or tried to set up another appointment, just… nothing, so the thought of DePaul being in charge of what is supposed to take care of me for the next year is troubling.  I mean, I have no idea where the financial aid office is.  I have never heard from them, I have never talked to them, as far as my mind is concerned, they don’t exist.

So, I call.  I’m put on hold.  While on hold, I check my DePaul tuition account online.  What I find is distressing.  Though I have paid, in full, my previous three quarters there, they have taken my loan amount and divided it between the three quarters and applied it to my tuition.  BUT I ALREADY PAID MY TUITION.  So, now someone gets on the line and she tries to be helpful, but basically tells me to call someone else.  So, I hang-up and break down again.  Like I said, I don’t know why.  

It seems like everything will be fine.  I still have to call this guy, but it sounds like, they apply it to my current outstanding balance, which is the upcoming two quarters, and then they give me a check for the rest.  I kind of get screwed in that I wanted to pay my tuition with a credit card that gives me points and then use the money to pay the credit card, but whatever, I will deal with it.  

What I don’t understand is why I was totally and completely left out of the loop.  No one told me that the money would be sent to DePaul and no one at DePaul let me know that the money had come in.  I mean, this is a huge amount.  Ok, maybe if you’re Bill Gates it’s pocket change, but for the average student, this is big money.  Shouldn’t I have gotten an e-mail saying “your student loan check has arrived, it will be applied to your account.”?   Is that too much to ask?  I haven’t experienced this world of borrowed money, but, seeing that I’m the one responsible for the finance fees and interest on this money, it seems like I should know what is happening with it.  Right?

It makes me want to drop out of school, suck it up and stick with my go-nowhere job for the next thirty years, where I will at least be guaranteed a 5% raise every year and go back to bed.  Nothing is worth this hassle.

And why is my reaction to cry and want to hide in bed, in the dark?  I’m getting fucked over.  Why aren’t I mad?  What was it in the formation of my perception of the world that made me think that money is a scary thing and that, when faced with issues I should just give up?  Why can’t I call and bitch somebody out about this without breaking into tears?  This bugs me more than anything else.  I’m generally a strong person, but bring money into the picture and I’m your stereotypical picture of a woman from, like, the 1950’s.  “oh, just let my husband deal with that.  I have no head for numbers.” It’s like that Barbie who said “Math is tough!” really did affect me.  What good did my liberal arts, somewhat feminist education do for me if I can’t utilize those ideals and attitudes in the real world?

Why wasn’t I taught about money?  I mean, I think in sixth grade or something they taught us how to balance a checkbook, but why wasn’t I taught about interest rates – I vaguely remember some math question about savings accounts and checking accounts and interest rates, but I mean really taught this stuff.  Somewhere along the line, my boyfriend learned about money management and I didn’t.  And, from the number of friends I have with huge credit card debt and some serious money-management issues, it seems like I’m not alone.  

I have to get my mind off of this topic.  I have a final this afternoon that I need to prep for.  

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm A Nerd

Seriously, I'm pretty much the biggest dork ever.

So, I have a little thing for The Sims. And by "little" I mean that, were it possible, my real life would be virtually replaced by the Sims. I have ADD and, while I manage to deal with it quite handily the majority of the time, when it comes to computer games I just zone out and play for hours on end, usually until I beat the game. I have more or less beaten Insanaquarium, Zuma, Feeding Frenzy2 and just about anything else that PopCap Games has made.

None of this compares to my love of the Sims.

It all started a couple of years ago when I was babysitting my cousins. They had The Sims and it was kind of fun, so I played for a while. I mean, I was out in the suburbs, miles from my friends (who don't have cars) and stuck with a 12 year old and a 14 year old. What else was I going to do?

Then, I got a new computer and the computer came with a choice of free games. Hey, the Sims was all I knew. So, I got a little obsessed and played religiously for several months. Then, I met some people, dated a little more, and slowly weaned myself off of my addiction.

Now, though I really am too busy to play, I can't stop. AND I've moved on from the simple cheat codes that my cousin taught me. Last night, to my complete and utter, nerdy joy, I discovered what I believe is a new cheat.

Ok. So, if you push Ctrl+Shift+C, the cheat code box opens up. If you put in 'move_objects on' you can, in buy or build mode, click on stuff and delete it or move it. This is not new. It comes in handy when you can no longer afford a maid (or they refuse to come to your house because, for once, you weren't going to use the 'rosebud' cheat and actually go to work and earn money to buy things and you upgraded the bed so your sim could stop being depressed and the maid had to be paid before you got home from work, and you didn't have enough to cover it, so the bitch stole your alarm clock, which is just annoying). ANYWAY. This move objects is a useful cheat. Well, last night, I used this cheat to delete a swarm of roaches - this happens sometimes whether the house is filthy or not, if you don't have a maid. Well, when I deleted the roaches I discovered that you actually get like $450 for selling back the "Virtual Reality Kit" or something like that. Cool! Because, playing honestly is tough, man.

Oh, also, my Sim drank a potion (all on her own - I didn't tell her to), and it made another Sim fall in love with her. He isn't the one I've been working on, but doing things the right way takes too long, so... I'm going to try and make them fall in love. I have the "hot date" expansion pack and I hear that, if they fall in love, they will have sex and get married (I'm not sure what order this happens). Since, A) this particular Sim is one of the pre-established ones who has a wife and B) I've never seen Sim-sex, I am very curious to see what will happen. So - orange potion = love yellow = complete personality reversal (my Sim has drank this twice, which I think makes her the original Sim I created again) Green = turning into a monster or invisible, I can't remember.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Update Update Update

Update, Update, Update

I suck.  I know.  I don’t know why my blog is so rarely updated.  I think it’s because I’m still not 100% sure I want to be a blogger.  Everyone is a blogger.  Plus, I get a little nervous about anonymity on the web.  My delusions of grandeur lead me to believe that someone will read my blog and, being as completely fabulous as I am, will become obsessed with me and then bad things will happen.  I know that this is not very likely, but that is what is in my head.

So here are some things that have been happening.


Boyfriend, another couple and I went to see the Kane County Cougars last weekend.  If you like baseball, even just a little bit, I highly recommend checking out your local A league team.  It’s baseball at its most pure.  In addition to being way cheaper than your major league ticket, the minors usually have a ton of stuff going on during their games – the Cougars had Birdzerk! and The Jesse White Tumblers when we were there.  It’s cheesy, yes, but if you are too cool to enjoy that sort of thing, well, maybe you are not as cool as you think.  

The other perk of minor league ball is the food.  I had a rockin’ burger and an ice cold beer, followed by an ear of sweet roasted corn dipped – literally dipped – in a large vat of butter.  Mmmmm.  Later in the game I got some ice cream in a souvenir cougar’s baseball helmet.  The game itself was a little uneven.  The Cougars were playing the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (doesn’t just that make you want to go?) and, when we left, in the eighth inning, the score was 19 to 4.  


We watched Wedding Crashers the other night.  I don’t know if we just waited too long and it was over hyped, or if we just aren’t as smart as we think we are, but both me and the boyfriend didn’t like this movie.  There wasn’t all the much wedding crashing going on, Vince Vaughn is still running on leftover “Swinger” fumes and, as much as I love him, is just not funny anymore.  Owen Wilson has not yet worn out his welcome with me, but he’s getting close.  I just thought that movie would be funnier.  It was supposed to be a throwback to those raunchy sex comedies of the 80’s and I just thought it fell flat on its face.  Boo.  I did, however, love Christopher Walken.  Then again, I could watch Christopher Walken read the newspaper aloud and I would probably enjoy it.  


The spring quarter is finally drawing to a close.  I have finals in both of my classes, which I think is kind of bullshit.  I have never had English finals before.  Usually, you get final papers, but not final exams.  But, whatever.  Once I discovered that DePaul’s partial tuition scholarship is for only a quarter of your tuition, I stopped caring about my grades.  I’ve never really cared about what grade I got in a class.  I tend to get good grades, so maybe that’s part of it, but I’m also a big school nerd and it really is what I get out of it that matters to me, not keeping up my GPA.  

This quarter was interesting.  I took a style course and a course in hard-boiled fiction and film noir.  The style class was a requirement; the noir class was for fun (though it did fulfill a requirement).  I knew I would like the class in hard-boiled fiction –that is what I read for fun, back when I had time to read for fun.  We read a nice selection of the big names of the genre: Dashiell Hammett (Red Harvest), Raymond Chandler (Farewell, My Lovely), James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice), Ross MacDonald (The Chill), Hubert Selby, Jr. (Last Exit to Brooklyn), and James Ellroy (The Black Dahlia).  I thought all of them were awesome.  If you’ve never read any of these and have any interest in finding out what hard-boiled is all about, I would recommend The Postman Always Rings Twice because it is very short so, if you don’t love it, it won’t take long to finish.  All of those are excellent.  Any Chandler is good, as is anything by Dashiell Hammett, who is probably the best of the best, though more violent than the others.  The only one I don’t recommend is Last Exit to Brooklyn, not because it isn’t good – for what it is – but because I don’t feel it really fits into the hard-boiled genre.  Also, it is very tough to read and gave me a headache more than once.  

The other bright point of the noir class was that my final paper (yeah, that’s right a big paper AND a final.  Sheesh.  If I didn’t really love that class, I would be PISSED).  I got to write a paper on John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee.  I used The Scarlet Ruse, but could have used any of the books in the series.  Travis is a wonderful twist on the traditional hard-boiled (anti)hero.  I highly recommend getting into this series – they’re perfect beach reads; if you’re looking for something to read on vacation, this would be good.

Old School

I just got back from my five-year college reunion, which was a blast.  I got to see five or six of my good friends with whom I haven’t kept in closest contact.  The longer I am away from school, the more I can appreciate what a cool time it was in my life.  I wouldn’t necessarily want to repeat it, but I learned a lot and grew a lot.  The reunion was cool.  We didn’t participate in a ton of the events, but that’s ok, because I don’t generally like highly organized functions and I saw the people I wanted to see.  It is crazy to me how many of the women I went to school with are married and pregnant.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just have a hard time understanding it.  I grew so much as a person after graduation, I can’t imagine that the person I would have chosen when I was 21 would be the same person I have chosen at 26.  Plus, ugh, children.  They are adorable and maybe I want them someday, but I’m still at a point in my life where, when I hear someone is pregnant, I assume it was an accident.  I know that plenty of people are married with more than one baby by 26.  I realize I’m not really that young anymore but….  I can barely take care of myself and my dog.  I can’t imagine being responsible for another human life at this point.