Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Ongoing Reading List 2013-2014

I haven't decided on a particular focus for this year's reading.  Anything that catches my fancy, really.

Update (08/02/2014): I ended up becoming extremely distracted and busy from about November to now (February) and have neglected to record the books I have read.  I've tried to recall from memory as best as I can what I have read, I'm sure I've forgotten some:

1) Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
2) Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
3) Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London by Liza Picard
4) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
5) The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
6) Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
7) Life in a Medieval Village by Frances and Joseph Gies
8) The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
9) The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
10) The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
11) Data: A Love Story by Amy Webb
12) 1984 by George Orwell
13) A Clash of Kings by G.R.R. Martin
14) The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
15) Daily Life in Victorian England by Sally Mitchell
16) The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
17) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (re-read for a project)
18) August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (re-read after seeing the film)
19) Unity by Kevin Kerr
20) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
21) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
22) The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
23) A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
24) A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
25) The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
26) Daily Life in Elizabethan England by Jeffrey L. Singman
27) The Godfather by Mario Puzo
28) An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage

Saturday, 25 May 2013

How I Plan To Pay Off My Student Loans (in 1 ... maybe 3 ... years)

I have a new obsession.  It isn't Pogos or Eggos (a food obsession I had when I was 7), it isn't Orlando Bloom (whom I was *actually in love with* when I was 13), and it isn't Doctor Who (... okay, that's a lie, I will always be obsessed with Doctor Who ... I <3 Tennant).  My new obsession is ...


After four years of studying for a Bachelor's Degree in English at Western University, and one year studying and interning for an Arts Management diploma at Continuing Studies at Western (expected 2013), I have been saddled with almost $30,000 in debt.  About 1/3 of that debt came from my last loan for my post-graduate program at Continuing Studies, where I received (for the most part) very good instruction and I enjoyed my time very much (but, c'mon, about $9,000 in tuition and fees for ONE year of study .... seriously?!)

After taking a "not-for-profit" finance course this past year (in which, I am sorry to say, I didn't really learn a hell of a lot about NFP finance), I was inspired to take more control of my money.  I watched a video about a guy who paid off his $90,000 student debt in seven months; I followed a blog by a young Canadian woman, who writes about savings and how she paid off her student debt in six months; and I read Gail Vaz-Oxlade's  It's Your Money: Becoming a Woman of Independent Means.  Admittedly, the No More Harvard Debt guy was being stupid with his money and had soooooo many more liquid assests I do, and the Squawkfox lady has less debt than me.  Nevertheless, I have been motivated by these people to set my own financial goals and dig myself out of my student debt.  

And I want to pay it off in one (to three) year(s)!

This is going to be hella challenging, but I am determined.  I have seen first hand how debt and financial pressures can make your life a misery.  I am 23 years old, and I don't want to still be paying my student loans off when I am 27 or 30 (or, forbid, for even longer than that)!  I know a number of people doubt I can do this in one year, not because they doubt my determination, but because they doubt the practicality and realistic nature of this plan.  They may be right, too, because at the moment I am interning and do not have a full time job, and I may not even be living in this city next year.  But there is one thing that I love more than that amazing feeling of accomplishment ... and that's proving to people that they are wrong [about me].  I am motivated when people tell me 'no,' or they tell me something isn't possible.  

As of today, I have paid off a Grand Total of:

1% of my student loan.

A dent.  Barely even visible on my pie chart of student debt repayment.  Nonetheless, I am proud of that 1%!

I will document here the different ways that I am saving my money (and making money) and working towards paying off that student debt in one (best case scenario) to three (worst case scenario) years.

How I Am Paying Off My Student Loans:
- Cutting down my spending to just the need to have's and making a solid budget
- Finding unique and inexpensive gifts for special occasions (for example, contact your local university, college, or library to see if they offer free tours of different exhibits and collections)
- Holding a yard sale (de-clutter, make money, and encourage re-use of materials and products)
- Getting a second job (in my busy schedule, I work two internships and have a part time job of 17 hours a week ... so I took a paper route which requires only one morning a week)
- Collecting empty beer and alcohol containers to return to the store for deposit
- Starting a business (make money off of your hobby) 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Ongoing Performance List

In September of last year, I began a post called The Ongoing Reading List in which I am recording all the plays, books, memoirs, etc. that I have read from September 2012 to September 2013.  I decided to nuance the year's worth of reading to focus on plays, because I want to have a career in the theatre.

I've decided to start this list to record all the live theatre performances I have seen from January 2013 to December 2013.  The list likely won't end up being too long, as I am really trying hard to save and pay off my student loans quickly (which means my entertainment dollars will likely become axed).  However, there is a lot of great theatre happening and I want to be able to reflect at the end of the year on the productions I have seen.

So far I have seen:
1) Kim's Convenience (Grand Theatre)
2) Bat Boy: The Musical (MTP, McManus Studio)
3) Edward II (The Arts Project, by Empty Space Productions)
4) Shakespeare's Nigga (Obsidian Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille)
5) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Soulpepper)
6) Zorba, a Musical (MTP, Palace Theatre)
7) Dance Legends (Grand Theatre)
8) The Taming of the Shrew (McManus Studio)
9) When It Rains (2b Theatre, McManus Studio)
10) Show Must Go On (London Fringe)
11) Til Death: the Six Wives of Henry VIII (Monster Theatre, London Fringe)

Thursday, 31 January 2013

My NEW New Year's Resolution

Okay, so I made two New Year's resolutions: read at least one play a week and to snail mail my friends at least once this year (it's way more personal and fun than email, Facebook, or any other kind of social media).

BUT .... oh, but, but, but ... I have a NEW New Year's resolution.  It is to be able to sing, with 100% accuracy by December 31st 2013, THIS song:

This will be my party trick.  This I will do!  I will conquer the world in song!

I remember watching "The Animaniacs" as a kid, but I realize now as I watch random clips on YouTube that this show was bloody BRILLIANT and subliminally educational.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Survival of Theatre (and us!)

I just finished reading Daniel Brooks and Guillermo Verdecchia's play The Noam Chomsky Lectures.  I would recommend this play to anyone with an interest in political theatre, and especially to people who couldn't give a shit about it.  I wanted to share one of my favourite (and there are many) thought-provoking passages from it:

"Some of you may be thinking that what we have embarked on here [in The Noam Chomsky Lectures] is not theatre.  Well, that's too bad.  I would like to say this: if the theatre is to survive, it must become something other than an expensive alternative to television.  We are going to have to look at the world and the world of the theatre without ideological or artistic blinders.  And I'm not talking about the theatre of gentle psychological manipulation, or mature content, or three-dimensional characters.  I'm talking about rolling up our sleeves, diving into the muck, taking a good, hard look at who we are and what we do and goddamn the excuses." [my emphasis] 
- Daniel Brooks and Guillermo Verdecchia