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I just got home from seeing the Adam Sandler movie, "Bedtime Stories", with my family. Don't worry...we didn't spend a ton of money at the theater. I used to work there, and my brother in law works for both the theater company and the theater for extra cash. So we got in free. The joys of connections.

Anyway, the movie itself was great. It was cute, entertaining, and well written. I wouldn't say it's Mr. Sandler's best film, but it's definitely one of the better ones. Keri Russell is beautiful, as usual, too. Russell Brand wasn't that bad either. I wasn't sure if I'd like him or not.

My bedtime stories were not as great though. Last night my mother informed me that if I moved home, my sister would watch my cats. That means they wouldn't be around me like usual. I love my cats. I know it sounds a bit like I'm a crazy cat lady, but anyone with pets knows that they are a part of the family. I know they'd be well taken care of, but I'm not sure I can do it. It may just be temporary, but still...I don't know.

Because of that, I had bad dreams all night. Three nuclear bombs hit the U.S. in the upper midwest. I know...Milwaukee is such a prime target in real life, but it was a dream. Shut up. They were smaller warheads too. I got away from the first, the second was close enough to maim me, and the third was a 200 megaton that hit Chicago. In my dream I kept calling Jenn to see if she as ok. She didn't answer. Maybe I'm not as over her as I thought. Anyway, I woke up three times, and each time I fell back asleep the dream got worse. That seems to be how my brain interpreted not having my kitties.

So in real life, I'm stuck coming up with other plans. Now I'm thinking maybe I should start applying at places like Epic Systems as a software engineer. Maybe Robert W. Baird might have jobs. Maybe I should just do video freelance and do software engineering full time. Or maybe I should look into careers at as many cable stations I can find. I have a week off now, and I should make as good of use of it as I can.

I'm definitely going to cut together a new demo reel in January. I'm going to make it awesomely fantastic and impressive. I have some great ideas too. I'm going to put together a monthly schedule of goals. By this time next year, I want to have all of those goals met. Don't worry, they'll be realistic. I'm hoping it'll help me focus in.

No matter what, I definitely need to find a new job. I have called a credit counseling and consolidation service recommended by my bank. I filled out an application. So we'll see what happens. With some luck, I'll hear from them this coming week and get started on the plan. It'll be nice to see an end date to my debt instead of this unending money hole I have right now.

Money wise, my dad is saving me 5 dollars a month on an insurance deal. We should have that finalized the first two weeks of January. So, while that's not a lot of money, it helps.

Oh yeah! It's Christmas! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Ramadan! Happy Solstice! (Belated) Happy Kwanzaa! And I think that covers all the holidays I know of this time of year. Oh yeah, Happy New Year too. :D

For once, I got a meaningful gift! My little sister was my secret Santa, and she got me a directors chair! It has my name on it too. I'll post the pic as soon as I get back home (I'm writing from my dad's computer). I'm excited about it! My parents also broke the Secret Santa rules and got all of the kids special custom made bowls with engravings on them that are meaningful to all of the kids. It was really nice.

Another random thing that happened...I talked to an old friend from High School the other day. I was watching a show on Hulu. It's the new series titled "The Legend of the Seeker", which is on abc I think. Turns out it's based on a series of books by Terry Goodkind called the Sword of Truth series. I read a good portion of the books about 7 years ago. My friend from high school / college, Missy, also read them. I thought of her and I called her.

Normally when I call her, I get a voicemail. This time she picked up and was surprised to hear from me. We talked for an hour or so and caught up. She's doing well and is in grad school. It was good to talk to her.

As for "the Legend of the Seeker", it's reminiscent of Xena and Hercules. In fact, I think it's produced by the same people. The production quality is pretty good. The writing is a little hokey, and the special effects are sub par for what one would see in other shows nowadays. Still, it's good to see a fantasy series get a fair treatment. I have no idea how its doing in the ratings, but I'm enjoying it so far. It's on Hulu if you want to check it out.

Well, that's the news from Lake Nagawicka for now. Tune in next week and I'll have more. Maybe I'll make an attempt at a podcast! We'll see!

A coworker showed me this today, and I had to pass it on. :)

hemanvp1

It's almost 3:00 am, and I'm starting to finally get tired. I've been working on the function and structure of my new budget / finance spreadsheet, and I realized there is a bit of hope there. I've been clinging to my current situation like gum clings to hair. I have been unwilling to budge to change my lifestyle and what I want. However, it would seem that maybe my best bet would be to sacrifice my situation for now and get into a position where I can maximize my debt payments.

First off, if all goes as planned next month and I can bill for the amount I think I can, then I can quickly and easily pay off my furniture and my medical bills in one swoop. I can put some money aside for taxes too. After that, I am down to a 4 dollar deficit for the month. In that situation, I could make some changes to get into a more secure situation. For example, I could negotiate with T-mobile to remove my data plan from my phone. I could cut my donation to NPR. I could also cut netflix, as much as I'd rather not. I could cut back electrolysis by 15 mins. That's a savings of 63.33 a month. Then we're at a positive 59 dollars a month. Sure...still need food, cat supplies, toiletries and gas, but its closer. If I found some way to get started on a debt consolidation plan, that would drop my rates significantly down to $504 a month total. Right now we're looking at a min of 650. So now we've got an extra 146 to that number, totaling $205. Now that can feed me, my cats, buy toilet paper, and hopefully gas. Things would be tight, but if I keep doing freelance, we're a bit safer.

The more extreme option...and I'm not sure I want to do this yet...would be to move home. It's probably the smartest thing to do honestly, but I'd have to find a subleaser. Rent is the other single most expensive cost I have right now. Due to this change, I'd be cutting out the internet bill, the electric bill, and my insurance rate would drop....I think. In that situation we're looking at an 850 dollar surplus. If I consolidated my debt, we'd be at a $1000 surplus. Food becomes a non-issue. Same with toiletries. I just have to keep my cats comfortable. I could put $400 in savings and an extra $500 towards credit debt. Essentially we'd be looking at paying off my debt in 2.5 years if I did nothing but save my freelance money. If I used my freelance to supplement my debt repayment, who knows. The thing I sacrifice...freedom. Dating is impossible again. Phone calls are no longer private. Plus, I have to deal with parental drama. Can I tolerate living at home that long? Also, what if I land a sweet job elsewhere? What happens to the plan? If I make more money, probably nothing, but who knows.

What are your thoughts? I'm going to go sleep on this idea, and probably will have to sleep on it for a few days.

One of the things I have had trouble with over the many years, which has only gotten worse of late, is that I'm the odd one out in my family. Every time I see them, its a nice reminder of how alone I am. Today was fun, but I still felt it. I think my situation has made it worse though.

While I was driving home tonight in the middle of snowstorm #3 for the week, I broke down in tears. I realized that of all my family members, I'm the failure. It's really hard for me to admit it, but its true. My parents have been together for something like 35 years. They live in a nice house and, while my dad doesn't have a job right now, they're getting by just fine. My older sister has been married for about four years now. She just bought a house. Her husband has a job. She has a recession proof job. She's pregnant, and already has a step-daughter. My little sister has a great job that's also recession proof. She's married, lives in a house and has a husband that has a job too.

Then there's me. I've never dated someone longer than 6 months. I've got more debt than probably any of them. I have no savings to speak of. I live in an apartment alone. I have a job that I could lose at any moment. I have too generic of a degree to find something else. I'm poor, alone, and weird. Every time I see my family, I realize how true that is.

I'm a failure...plain and simple.

* UPDATE *

An hour later and a conversation with a friend...I'm feeling a lot better. I'm done crying for the evening. I'll pull myself back up from this low place. It's just going to take time.

...the final threshold. Our days of make believe are at an end. Past all thought of if or when, no use resisting. Abandon thought and let the dream descend.

So with that, Chris has now seen my budget. He has reluctantly agreed that bankruptcy is really my best option. He even said it was a reluctance because he just doesn't like bankruptcy period. This morning I even got a call asking if I could schedule my $500 minimum to bring my account up to date. I thought that was funny. So not it is just a matter of when.

Anyway, enough of that talk now. I have the solution to the problem and no sense dwelling on it more. Today we got a foot of snow. Thursday we were told it might be a snow day at work, and I got a call today to let me know not to come in. I was also told that if the roads got better, we'd be expected to come in for the afternoon. Otherwise, they weren't sure if it'd be a sick day or vacation day, but if I came in, it'd be considered neither. So I made an effort to come in. I slept in first, then ate and showered. It took me an hour to shovel the snow drift that was behind my car. It was scary driving in to work, and when I got there, there was a grand total of 8 people there. My e-mail said that we didn't need to come in unless we had something pressing, which I didn't. So yeah, I was pretty upset to find out that I actually didn't have to come in at all. I felt manipulated by my boss. So I only stayed two hours and went back home. What a waste.

Last night I got invited to participate in a group video chat on tokbox. I had never used it before. My friend Tracy is all up on these social apps like Twitter and shit. So, I figured why not. It was interesting. Tracy and I talked about some of the things she's involved in that are really cool. She does things like web414, barcamp, and queer camp. They're all networking events that bring people from many fields together to work on random projects. I've been thinking about getting involved for a while, but now I'm seeing the benefits because of my lack of motivation lately. I think it might be a great chance for me to get some projects started that I've been meaning to for a long time.

Queer Camp will especially be exciting because it could help me get the TransLife organization going. I've just got so much to do that it's daunting and I don't know where to begin. I need to find someone in several fields that would be willing to help. I need a person that's good with money, a marketing person, a philanthropist, and a bunch of multimedia people. So hopefully I'll get connected with some peoples and we'll move forward.

I finally got some more freelance work this weekend too. I'll be working on it as much as I can this weekend. I probably will be focused on it this Sunday since Saturday is an all day bake-a-thon with my sister and mother. We're doing the family's traditional Christmas tree spritz cookies along with a few others. It should be fun.

My expenses today totaled 37 dollars to pay my electric bill. That's it. I'll be doing more bill payments this weekend. I know its exciting, but if you want to monitor my choices, I'll post them here. I figure if anyone can tell me I'm making a stupid choice, it's my faithful readers. I'll update my budget and will write more tomorrow.