Thursday, July 30, 2009

the process so far

December 2008 - Begin grad school search. Become very interested in RADA and Central School of Speech and Drama. Begin communicating with schools via e-mail.
- Apply to Central School of Speech and Drama, RADA
- Receive offer of interview for Central in NYC in February.

January 2009 - Visit London to look at schools. Enjoy impromptu interviews with 3 schools (Westminster, Central, RADA.) Apply to Westminster in person. Visit Rose Bruford College, lose interest.

February 2009 - Move to NYC
- Telephone interview with and receive offer of studentship with Westminster. Realize I'm not hugely interested.
- Attend Central Interview. Enjoy it greatly. Make friends, decide we must all be classmates.

March 19, 2009 - Receive offer of studentship with Central. Realize I'm hugely interested.
March 26, 2009 - File FAFSA and request that info be sent to Central. FAFSA states this will be done automatically.
- Realize RADA is not part of FAFSA, which would mean I'd have to take out expensive private loans. Frown and think. Eventually give up on RADA when I discover their interview/portfolio review dates are not until late June, and I must accept or decline Central's offer by May 15.

March 30, 2009 - Receive Student Aid Report from FAFSA, discover I do not qualify for Subsidized Stafford Loan. Frown, but am not hugely surprised.

May 8, 2009 - Accept Central's offer, prepare to begin grad school October 5. Inquire whether FAFSA was received.

June 3, 2009 - Discover FAFSA was not sent, and that FAFSA never sends information overseas. Central requires official paper copy. Scour FAFSA website for this information, eventually find it on unrelated page. Attempt to request paper form from website. Find this is impossible. Call FAFSA, order official copy. Do not have option of choosing address to where this is sent.

June 20, 2009 - Mom receives FAFSA in SC. Forwards it to NY. Start getting concerned about time.

June 25, 2009 - Receive FAFSA. Apply for financial aid with Sallie Mae. Send off Master Promissory Note, FAFSA, cover letter outlining fund request to Central. Pay for 3-5 day delivery.
- Call Sallie Mae to ask if I need to file two separate MPNs for Stafford Loan (maxes out at $20,000) and PLUS Loan (required additional $22,000 to pass border control.) Am told by Sallie Mae representative no, just one is necessary, and overage will become PLUS loan automatically.

June 26, 2009 - Fill out application for student visa, discover application fee has tripled since 2004 and now requires fingerprints and retinal scans. Realize I don't know when financial documents will come in, abandon application.

July 13, 2009 - Call Central to see if they have received financial aid info. Am told it just arrived, will be handled in next two days. Get more worried about time.

July 22, 2009 - Receive e-mail from Central asking why I only have one MPN. Reply immediately stating that's what Sallie Mae told me to do. Ask if I should file another one, and if this will cause problems. Express confusion. Receive no reply. Start picking at face.

July 26, 2009 - Call Sallie Mae's dial-a-song, discover I will receive 2 loans amounting to $20,500. Am baffled and angry, as this is less than half of what I require to even gain entry clearance. Try to ask Sallie Mae what's going on but website and phone service encounter technical difficulties. Try to ask boyfriend, parents, sibling, Central for insight as to what may have gone wrong. No one answers phone. Start hitting things.

July 27, 2009 - Call Sallie Mae during business hours. They apologise for misinforming me before, but PLUS loan Does require separate MPN. Discover that 2 loans are not Stafford and Plus, but rather Stafford Subsidized and Stafford Unsubsidized. Am pleasantly surprised. File PLUS MPN over phone. Sallie Mae promises to contact Central themselves to confirm loan amount. Send Central .pdf of new MPN in email.

July 29, 2009 - Receive confirmation of PLUS loan amount from Sallie Mae and Central.
- Call Sallie Mae asking if I need an official document confirming loans for border control. Yes I do, and it should get to you in 10-14 days. Express that I don't have that kind of time, can you send it as a .pdf, can I pay for it to be express mailed. Am told no, that's just not how it works. Politely thank customer service agent. Hit things.
- Fill out visa application again. Credit card is rejected by website to pay application fee. Hit things. Call bank. Nothing is wrong. Receive call from bank, discover that border agency website entered security code wrong and sent garbled info. Call mom, scream a little. Give up. Mom convinces me to un-give up.

July 30, 2009 - try paying fee again during business hours. It goes through. Am $244 poorer.
- Schedule Aug 4 biometric data appointment. Shudder with revulsion. Print application.
- Discover passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after expected return from UK date. Realize mine will only be valid for 4. Hit something, but fairly gently.
- Check and find that IcelandAir only requires 3 month validity after trip. Hope this helps.
- Discover that passports may be renewed 9 months prior to expiration. Do some quick math and realize that doesn't work for me. Drink tea and wonder what will go wrong next.

Friday, July 17, 2009

passive aggression part 2

If you're a plumber, and you're sent to work on a gas line in an upstairs apartment, and you tell the owner of the building you're working on that the work will all be done on the outside of the the work on the outside of the building.

If you find it would be easier to run the pipe through, say, the floor, and through two other apartments, there are certain things you must do before you start cutting.

For instance, the first thing you must do is tell the superintendent of the building, who will then notify the landlady, who will then notify the tenants of the affected housing units. You are not legally permitted to proceed until the tenants have been notified. Under no circumstance do you enter the units without the prior consent of the tenants. Entering a housing unit without the consent of the unit's legal occupant has a name, and that name is TRESPASSING.

After the tenants have been duly notified, you may proceed with work, making sure to bring all tools and materials with you to the worksite that you will need to complete the job. This includes not only your plumbing tools, but gear such as drop-cloths, contractor bags, clean rags, and a shop vac for protecting the house you're working in and cleaning up any messes you inadvertently generate when cutting drywall or tile. If you do make a mess with chunks of plaster, tile, dust, sheetrock, and/or your own muddy boots, you are flatly required to clean it up. Under no circumstances is it the responsibility of the tenant to clean up after you.

If you fail to bring proper cleaning supplies with you, you are responsible for obtaining them. This requirement may be fulfilled in a number of ways, but it may not be met by using those of the tenant into who's house you've broken. If you do use all of a tenant's paper towels, it is important that you replace them at your own expense.

If you must leave the jobsite incomplete due to extenuating circumstances, you are still required to clean up and restore the unit to how you found it, or at least as close as you can get it. You may not leave the tenant's belongings strewn about the place. Belongings of the tenant may include items such as garbage bins (not in front of the refrigerator overflowing with chunks of drywall and your own soda cans), cleaning supplies (not left in the middle of the floor with mops and brooms strewn about, now coated in grime), pet food dishes (not put up high and therefore inaccessible to the elderly feline you've now distressed), and any wall-mounted items (not coated in drywall powder, then perched in the middle of a stack of clean dishtowels on the recently-clean table). Additionally, it is considered a bad practice to leave any items, such as big blocks of the tenant's ceiling, perched precariously on high surfaces.

If you feel the need to relieve yourself while you are trespassing, it is considered in ill-taste to track drywall dust all the way down the hallway and into the previously-clean restroom of your chosen victim. Additionally, as many people visit their bathrooms barefooted in preparation for a shower, it is highly inconsiderate to leave painfully large chunks of both drywall and gravel all over the tile.

If you must leave large, unsightly holes in the ceiling and floor around where you've installed your large, unsightly pipe, you are contractually obligated to inform the superintendent of the building of your need to do so to ensure that repair of the ceiling and floor by a separate contractor can be prompt. You should not rely on the astonished and frightened tenant of the ostensibly burgled and vandalized flat to pass this message on for you.

If you break into and trash one apartment, you should lose your job. If you break into and trash TWO apartments, you should pay a hefty fine and be made to formally and publicly apologize to the tenants you have harmed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

passive aggression

If you own a cat, but live in a house with a roommate who does not own the cat, and your cat pukes everywhere every day, or misses the litter box, or sheds constantly on all surfaces, or is simply hungry...guess what. It is your responsibility to clean up after and feed said feline. More to the point, even if you don't give a damn if your house is booby-trapped with cat vomit or carries an eye-watering odor, your roommate probably does, and you are obligated to clean it up. It is irrelevant if you get home from work late and are tired, or are busy doing other things--its your pet, not your roommate's, and your roommate should neither be forced to clean up the dried piles of puke nor live with them in his or her kitchen.

Additionally, if it is pointed out to you that your cat throws up more often than it should, or that the puddles of diarrhea in the living room and hallway are a sign of illness, you are also responsible for seeing to the cat's healthcare, at your expense. If you are unable or unwilling to tend to the health of the feline, then it is still your responsibility to see to it that the cat winds up in the care of someone who can and will.


If you run a gas company and need to replace the fuel lines going into an apartment building, you have an obligation to tell the people it affects so they can plan ahead to not be home. If you are going to begin tearing up the street with jackhammers at 5am on a Saturday, they should have the right to know in advance. If you cannot inform people of this inconvenience, you must start work later in the day. Additionally, you have an obligation to put things back the way you found them when you're done. That involves patching the holes in the street fully--e.g. not leaving loose steel plates all over the road that make noise loud enough to set off car alarms or leaving around lightweight sawhorses with no sandbags that fall over into traffic. That also involves turning people's gas back on, without being begged, in a timely fashion. If you must gain access to the home of a client in order to turn it back on, you must take in small considerations for your clients' own time, such as requesting clients block off 2 hours for a technician to arrive instead of 15. You cannot expect clients to take days off work and sit around at home waiting for a technician to arrive "anytime between now and 11:59pm." Then charge them a fine if they cannot be there.

If you are the superintendant of a building and a landlord requests that you leave a basement door unlocked so that a maintenance person from a gas company may gain access to a resident's meter, you have an obligation to do so. If you fail to unlock the door, you are responsible for all fines incurred by the tenant from said gas company. Additionally, if the tenant is required to take the day off work to let the maintenance person in, only to discover that thanks to your negligence they will have to take an additional day off of work in order for the repair to actually take place, you owe them additional compensation, such as culinary services or cooked food for all of the days that the tenant is unable to cook for him or herself.


If you are a ginger-haired Englishman with a direct connection to the writer of this publication who recently returned home against the request of the writer, you have an obligation to come back and continue your snuggles.