Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Dead Have Risen From Their Graves...

And they're buying symphony tickets!
I was just processing a couple of internet orders, and pulled up an account for this guy who'd ordered a few concerts. Same name, same address, same phone number. Same guy.
Except in the memo line of his account, in big capital letters was written: DECEASED.

Sadly, I have no idea how long the dearly departed has been in his present unfortunate condition, but I did think it was telling that he was ordering tickets for Messiah. Oh, and Christmas Pops.

We speculated that he actually faked his own death in order to escape our telemarketing department.


Unless he didn't.

Potential symphony patron?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today I Saw Santa

Walking across the main square downtown. He went into a coffee shop.

Either that's the world's most awesome strip-o-gram, or IT IS TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS. They've already got the lights up and lit every night downtown. Last night I noticed that my across-the-street neighbours seem to have their tree up and decorated in their living room.

Granted, yesterday was the first snowfall of the year, but still. Hallowe'en isn't even here yet, people! I'm still enjoying zombie movies all up in my tv. I don't need to get all emotionally confused by seeing Christmas commercials in the middle of my creature feature marathon!

I am writing a grant that is due on Monday. I am supposed to start writing this things I laughably call "a new play" in the next couple of weeks. And, of course, there is my regular job. Sadly, my sweet editing job must go on hiatus, since their parent company doesn't allow temporary part-timers for more than a one-year term.

Just in time for Christmas, apparently!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lost, Found, Waiting

Well, the good news first:
I got into my fancy major theatre playwright development program! No money (of course), but perhaps a little prestige to attach to grant applications. Speaking of which, I have one to write, which is always a little bit UGH. Plus now I have to actually write a play that vaguely resembles what I pitched. I have visions of everyone else showing up with a finished draft on the first day. DOUBLE UGH.

I found my sock yarn! This isn't exactly at the same newsmaking level, but I had lost 2 perfectly good skeins of EXPENSIVE sock yarn during a recent houseclean, and had been driving myself bananas trying to find it. Luckily, I decided to destash in a fit of frustration, and in the midst of packing up a bunch of yarn I'll never use, I happened across the sock yarn, tucked into a "safe" place.

Singing: progressing...? I am struggling. I have seen progress, but it's hard to be patient with this. I feel like I've been patient enough. I mean, clearly not, but you know what I mean? The other day I said "I'm really, really tired of learning life lessons." Which is a ridiculous thing to say, because obviously you're never done learning life lessons. I suppose you could be if you were on of those people who shut themselves down and never want to develop as a person, but I don't think that's my problem. I would just like to feel like something came easily to me. Which things probably do, I just don't recognize it. Like I always say, I'm not a lottery winner. Being handed things is not going to be my path. At least, if the first 30 years of my life were any clue.

I'm feeling rather at sea, to be honest. I don't know if it's just the approaching dark days of winter, but I've been all over the place emotionally. Trying to keep on track and eat enough protein and get enough sleep and not stress out over stuff that really, really doesn't matter.

I have some projects I need to finish, then I will feel better. Plus I will knit some sweet socks.

How are you?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

RBC Student Loan Woes (Bitch bitch bitching ahead)

If I had a time machine, I would go back to the day I got my very first student loan... after waiting in line for 3+ hours at financial aid, I got up to the counter, and was told I had to choose a bank that my loan would go through. Impulsively, I said "Royal Bank". RBC had a branch right between school and my house, and was a few blocks closer than, say, CIBC or Scotia. My own bank, TD didn't handle student loans.

So, really, I picked my lender (correct that--administrator. The government was lending me money through RBC) based on convenience and a soupcon of laziness. I went down that day and opened an account.

Big mistake. If I had that time machine, I would materialize in front of my 19 year old self and tell her two things: 1) Don't spend your 20's freaking out about how OLD you're getting and how you're not ACCOMPLISHING anything, and (2) Walk the extra two blocks and avoid RBC like the plague.

It's my day off. I decided to take a trip to my RBC branch to clear up something I've been trying to deal with for years-- wanting to see my principal balance with my online accounts. Every person I talk to attached to RBC tells me something different-- I can't do it, yes I can if I make a payment online, no the payment online won't work, it's impossible, I have to go back to Ontario and open a bank account, etcetera. Until finally I was told (by the REAL Royal Bank, not their student loan centre) that if I went to my branch and spoke to an account manager, they could somehow merge all my information.

Here's the thing: I pay back my loans. I realize that there are a lot of people who default on their student loans. I'm not one of them. In fact, over the last 9 years, my average income has probably been around $20,000. Yet I've somehow managed to pay back RBC $27,000 in that time. So I don't appreciate them treating me like a deadbeat when I call them (maybe three times a year) to ask them some questions. My experience with Royal Bank? Initiating contact with them and immediately being told I'm wrong, usually for following their instructions, or asking for clarification on information they gave me.

It sucks. They suck. And there's no recourse. Because what are you going to do? Just pay off your loan, deadbeat, and get out of here. Which is totally my plan. I've seriously considered putting the remainder of my student loan on my line of credit, just to never have to deal with RBC again. The interest rate would kill me. But never having to talk to them? Ever? Sounds priceless to me.

And being able to see my balance online? Well... the receptionist told me it was impossible. I said I didn't understand why not. Then she said it might be possible... and sent me to someone who said it could absolutely be done, it was just a form that needed to be filled out. Then he called me later and said, sorry, it's impossible, but here's the National Student Loan Centre phone number, and I could just arrange to have a pin number and check my balance over the phone without having to talk to anyone. Why didn't anyone offer me this option at any time over the last five years? He doesn't know, but would I be interested in discussing my financial future with Royal Bank products? No thanks.

Called in to set up my pin-- asked a question about why their system said my next payment isn't scheduled until December. Got told "You paid an extra dollar in August so it bumped your payment."
Me: "I'm sorry, that doesn't make sense. Why would it bump October's payment?"
RBC: "It just bumped it."
Me: "I don't know what that means."
RBC: "That's just our system."
Me: "But why--"
RBC:"We have no control over our system, ma'am."
Me:"Can you please not raise your voice with me?"

Honest, I was nice and civil and everything.

But dude, seriously. You have no control over your system? Your system is running amok, rescheduling payments at will? Shouldn't this have been a headline in the Financial Post?

I wish there was some theatrical way to exact revenge. Dramatize a series of my conversations with RBC and post it on YouTube. I used to have fantasies about paying off my entire loan in pennies, just backing a dumptruck up to Royal Bank headquarters and letting fly.

Anyone else have student loan woes?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Check In

Hello, friends!
So, what news? After all of my working myself up about that film class, it turned out it was cancelled. So yay for Monday nights being free, boo to no skill-learning. I'll also be shooting my scene for that film sometime this month, so I'm looking forward to that.
I also had to turn in my proposal for the BigFancyTheatre playwrights development program, which I have mixed feelings about. They extended their deadline for me, because they'd sent all the info to the wrong email address, resulting in my having no contact with them until the reminder email I received the day of the deadline. And of course they were nice enough to give me an extension, except, having just come off of a big project, I had no actual... er... ideas.

It was a challenge to outline something the way they wanted--I don't usually do a lot of outlining right away. In fact, I tend to do a lot of thinking before I commit anything to paper-- I've ruined many a good idea by diving in too soon. Conversely, I've ruined many a good idea by waiting too long. And I guess it wasn't that I didn't have any ideas-- like a lot of writers, I have notebooks full of little snips I've jotted down. I just didn't have an idea I was crazy about. But I submitted something, something that was maybe a bit risky for the venue, but I'd rather get myself excited about something I'd write anyway than come up with something I feel lukewarm about just to get accepted.

And acceptance... well, who knows. I have a feeling they won't like my proposal. I kept it short and succinct, because I have this theory about grant proposals and such: No one wants to read your bullshit. It's tiring to write, and it's tiring to read. I'd rather be to the point and prove that I can write something interesting by virtue of having a well-written proposal. But I will admit there are a couple of people on the shortlist I'm not sure I'd want to spend several months in a group with. And there's definitely a couple of people that I will die a small death if they are accepted and I'm not, because I am petty and can't stand to think that anyone would think Person X was better than me. But I'll get over it.

Speaking of getting over stuff: singing lessons are back! And I did make a lot of improvement over the summer. But it all seems to fall apart once I get to words and music. I sing amazing warmups and exercises, but singing a song kills me and my throat gets all closed up and horrible croaking rusty-hinge sounds emerge from me. It sucks. And it's frustrating. Because children can do this. Morons can do this. Some of the meanest people I've known can do this. People who don't care about whether or not they can do this can do this. And, of course, the world doesn't work on the basis of fairness or who wants it the most, whatever reality tv may say to the contrary. But still! So my strategy this week is to pull out ye olde musical theatre books and sing away, words and music. Just quit making it be such a thing and maybe everything will work out better that way.

More frustration in the land of weight: I am exactly the same. Have been for the last 3 weeks. I seem to be looking a little thinner around the middle, and have gotten comments to that effect. But weight has been the same. Which is a pisser. I mean, I eat better than 90% of the people I know. I'm all about vegetables and fruits and whole grains. And if it's just a math thing, why won't it work for me?

Just another example of math having it in for me.

I'm also planning on doing Nanowrimo again this year (this will be my third nonconsecutive time doing it), because J is planning on giving it a shot. I'm thinking of writing some stuff that will be the basis for an internet series I have in mind. I'm a nano cheater and usually write interconnected short stories rather than one novel. Still, I've found it to be a good project that is freeing, and demonstrates how much writing I can do if I just say "I'm doing this" rather than "But I can't!"