Sunday, August 22, 2010

Financial aid development, work, The Sky Crawlers, cosplay

Well I have had a development regarding my financial aid. I've been packaged, but only for a Pell Grant, meaning I still have to pay $722 out-of-pocket this semester. But I don't have $722 right this moment; it would take me quite some time to earn that. Don't know how it's going to work out. Best option right now appears to be keeping the Sallie Mae plan but changing the amount I owe (since according to their records, which date to before I was packaged, I owe the whole tuition/fee amount of $2,522), which would bring my monthly payments down to maybe $200 a month or something over 4 months. I'm going to call Financial Aid (or maybe go there tomorrow after work, since I need to buy a couple books anyway) and see what my options are and how soon I have to pay this amount. (Technically, I should've paid it already, but I got a fee deferment). So the stress isn't over yet.

Dang nabbit I just want to be solvent. It's like I finally got paid after being in the red, then I came near the red again because due to overdraft fees I had less money in my account than I thought I did. Then I got paid again but had to buy my books (the ones that were less online; there are a couple that aren't much different in price at the bookstore as they are online, and the third one I didn't order as it is optional so I'm going to wait and see if I really need it). Then this week I got paid, but I had to pay rent. Soon, I'm going to have to buy my bus pass again and pay rent again and have my automatic-withdrawal church tithe taken out again. I just need to get to a place where I can afford to transfer money to savings, which I can't really do right now. Not a lot anyway.

There. I just transferred $50 into my savings account. It's not a lot, but it gives me a cushion. If I transfer a little bit into there out of every check, I can maybe build up my savings again. That's what I did when I was saving up for a new laptop. Of course in that case I had $300 to start with thanks to the budget surplus checks. I'm going to try to bring my own lunch to school and work more often as well. That will cut down some on expenses, since I know from doing a chart of my expenses via Quicken Online that a majority of my money goes to food. I'll have to buy food to put in the lunches, but if I plan right hopefully that won't cost much. Don't know what I'll do for dinner on school nights (since I have night classes). Maybe I'll get popcorn or something that is filling, doesn't need refrigeration, and is easy to carry around. I'll try to limit the snacks I buy. It'll be hard, but it has to be done.

I was supposed to be off work today, but at 6:30 this morning one of the Key Carriers called my cell asking me to come in. So I went in for a few hours, actually staying a bit late to try to help bag for Petar, one of the checkers, who had a long line. Most of the time though was spent on the primary reason they called me in, to deal with the 25+ carts of cardboard in the back room that needed to be baled. This guy named Robert from produce helped me for a while, but eventually he got called off to work frozen so I was left on my own. I also got behind because at one point the receiver had to make a bale so I had to get out of the way. I pushed the empty shopping carts up front, took my break, and then had to help bag for the ridiculous rush we had. (The lines were so bad customers came up to me complaining. When customers start complaining, you know it's bad). It reminded me somewhat of this game I have on my iPod called Supermarket Mania. Basically it's like Cake Mania or Diner Dash in that it's a simulation of a typical supermarket and you basically have to keep everything stocked so that the customers stay happy. The less customers who get mad and leave, the more money the supermarket makes and the closer you come to progressing in the game. Oh and you also have to stop thieves from time to time and clean up after either angry customers who leave their groceries or rowdy teenagers who mess up stuff. You're probably wondering Why does she have a game about working in a supermarket on her iPod when she already works at one? Isn't that boring? Not really. The game is a lot easier to figure out than my work is. At some point though, I did get back there and managed to finish just in time. Then, as I said, I stayed a little late; I left after about a half hour over though because the lines had died down and I was afraid the manager would be starting to wonder why I was still there. He didn't seem too concerned though.

Gah it's so hot in my room! It's like summer finally caught up with us over here in SoCal.

I just watched an anime movie I got from the library. It's called The Sky Crawlers and it's directed by Mamoru Oshii, the director of Ghost in the Shell, a series I know very little about, other than that it involves robots. Basically, the film is about the Kildren, eternally young fighter pilots who are continuously going out into the sky to fight very realistic but seemingly pointless dogfights with planes from a rival arms company. There is no war going on; it's just that, as one character explains, mankind is so used to war that they can't live without it, hence the dogfights with the Kildren. The catch with the Kildren is that they cannot die unless they are killed in battle. People seem creeped out by their eternal youthfulness too. The main character is a Kildren named Yuichi who becomes curious about the previous owner of his plane but can't get sufficient answers from the people at his new base. He also ends up falling in love with his childlike commander Suito Kusanagi. It was overall a little hard to follow. Not exactly my kind of thing. The film was also odd in that during normal scenes, the characters spoke Japanese, but in battle they spoke English, with a few German words (like "zwei" for 2 and also "doppel") thrown in for good measure.

With things more or less set for me to go to Animé Los Angeles in January - it looks very likely I will get the days off, but I still have to register and get a hotel room - I am trying to decide whether or not I am going to cosplay, and if so, as what character. At most anime cons these days, it seems like cosplay is almost expected. I already am bandying about cosplaying as Princess Pluto (the Princess version of Sailor Pluto from Sailor Moon), Pokémon Ranger Solana, and Maya or Mia Fey (from the Phoenix Wright game series). Today as I was baling cardboard I considered cosplaying as a Code Lyoko character, probably Aelita since I like her the best and also because it would be pretty easy (I think) to find a short pink wig around Halloween. I would probably cosplay as her in her casual clothes from seasons 2-most of 4, which consist of a purplish jumper, a pink long-sleeved shirt with a hoodie-esque collar, dark pink knee-high boots with white tops. She also has pink eyebrows and little pom pom things that hang down from her collar. Though I guess her Lyoko outfit is also doable and probably more recognizable. Just now I Googled "Aelita cosplay" and all the pics were of her Lyoko outfit. The pic on CosplayLab claimed the outfit was made in 5 hours. But it looked like it was a kid who was wearing it. But somebody on did it who looked more like my age. Basically I'm considering doing something simple and then pairing the wig with a simple kimono or yukata (a lighter sort of kimono made of cotton) for Sunday, since that day's theme is "New Year's Festival" and I want to look the part. Plus I have a few different fans I could use with that sort of thing, including a real Japanese fan my uncle bought me (well, it's from a shop in Narita Airport, but that counts, right?). I also have an Asian-looking sunshade/parasol I bought at a booth at the beach last year. I found a yukata set just now for $79.99. That sounds like a lot, but it comes with a yukata, an obi (ribbon belt), and geta (traditional sandals worn with a kimono or yukata). Still I imagine I can do that for cheaper. I saw geta on sale at Comic-Con for like $10 a pair. I almost bought them too.

Hmm this site has plus-size yukatas. Promising. They give you a fan for free if you order both a yukata and a geta/obi set (which comes with a pair of geta, an obi, and a waist belt called a koshihimo that holds the yukata in place under the obi). Nice. They have some nice tabi socks (socks you usually wear with geta) too.

Hmm there are several sites selling yukatas, but they're all super expensive. Why is cosplay so expensive dangit? I suppose I could get something similar around Halloween if I buy a mass-produced geisha costume, but it might not be as nice. And they might not have my size.

I tried to join the forums at in hopes of getting some suggestions (everyone's favoring the Princess Pluto one over at Miss Dream, and I'm still unsure whether I'll do that one) but for some reason didn't get the activation e-mail. Grr.

I think I'm going to take a walk. I need fresh air. Bye for now.

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