Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Thursday, November 06, 2003  
The quick with the wine, the cheese, the cigarettes...the guns...?

When guns are outlawed, only dogs will have guns?

They only shoot their masters?

The hunter becomes the hunted?

All options I would have chosen instead of Dog shoots man.

10:40 AM

This physical therapy first thing in the morning routine has got to stop. Starting my day the "Kimmie" way is torture. I did hit a dizzying 10 miles an hour on the "special bike" this morning. That was a big moment for me.

More exercises. With my eyes closed. On the squishy sponge thing. I feel like Helen Keller. Except I can hear and talk. And open my eyes if I start to fall. So I guess really I'm not like Helen Keller at all. It just feels that way at the time. Blind on the squishy sponge thing attempting exercises I wouldn't be able to do even with two healthy ankles and full vision.

That which doesn't kill us...makes us hate people who dole out platitudes about situations which they know nothing.

It's Thursday. Big wedding Saturday.

(B + C)(F + G + X) /(A + D)/Y + E = Z

A = number of days before event where smaller dress size is required.
B = number of people at said event you haven't seen in over a year
C = number of people at said event you have never met
D = amount of weight needed to lose to decrease dress size
E = number of weeks the date of the event (and need for smaller dress size) has been known
F = number of pieces of pizza eaten one week prior to event
G = number of AffyTapples consumed one week prior to event
X = number of unaccountable calories consumed three days prior to event
Y = number of calories burned through exercise prior to event
Z = amount of funds available to purchase new larger dress for event

I've known the date of this wedding for eight months. Plenty of time, I thought, to slim down into that "really great perfect dress to wear to a wedding like this" dress I've only worn once and have been saving for the next perfect occasion.

It even sort of fit when I tried it on two weeks after I broke my ankle. (I was bored out of my brains, heavily medicated and worried about not working out for a few weeks.)

That was in July.

Several months, very little exercise and way too much comfort food later, and of course, that really perfect dress to wear to a wedding like this isn't going to do me any favors.

Fortunately I have a fabulous hat for the event.

The dress would have looked really horrid with my Payless shoes, anyway.

Not helping my cause is the unexplainable need to eat everything in sight plus a lot of stuff I can't see but for which I have ravenous cravings.

Three days before the wedding.

Stuff I never eat. Stuff I don't even really like. Must. Be. Consumed.

Stress eating? You bet.

Not my style. Yet here I am. A new chapter to my book. Stress Eating.

I suppose sooner or later it happens to everyone.

Wish it would have waited to happen to me at least until after this weekend.

You know you might have a problem when the space bar on your keyboard sticks because of the grape jelly you spilled. And thought you cleaned. But obviously did not.

It's no small miracle this blog contains any spaces at all.

I'm not even fond of grape jelly. But last night, if I hadn't eaten grape jelly and peanut butter on melba toast I would have died. Yes. Died. I know it to be true. I had to feed the hunger within. And for me, in my current condition, procuring grape jelly is no small feat. 7-11 doesn't carry it. I had to go to an actual grocery store.

Why now? Why at all? This stress craving thing is weird. The stress musical taste is weird, too.

I had my CD Swap CD's compiled and burned last week. Yesterday I listened to all of the copies to be sure they were clean burns.

About half way through playing the second copy I realized what a strange and depressing mix I'd compiled. When I settled on the songs to include I thought they were "happy" ish songs with a good mix of artists.

But no. It was a melancholy mix of different artists who all sound the same.

So I spent last night making a few adjustments.

This is why I always wrote book reports the night before they were due. This is why I'm in my chosen profession. I work best under pressure. I hate admitting it, but there it is.

So why then, am I stress eating? Following the work best under pressure theory the last week should have seen me happily fasting (okay, there were those 22 post dentist hours...) and exercising my brains out (or at least my bum off), working through the pain on blind ambition to drop pounds seven days prior to the event.

Biochemistry is weird.

Biopsychiatry is even weirder.

8:43 AM

Wednesday, November 05, 2003  
I wasn't going to mention any of this. Many of you must be marveling at my self restraint the past few days. Marvel no more. I know, my self imposed moratorium on comments on celebrities. But that's how strongly I feel about this.


Every dog has it's day.

Biggest bitch on the planet is getting hers. I do not endorse flogging, public or otherwise, but in this case I might make an exception. Oh wait. Maybe not. By her own definition she'll be stricken with cancer any day now.

Suffice to say I know this story, the quote in question, to be true.

And maybe now Miss I Really Care will be seen for who she really is. Maybe now this self motivated two faced bitch will shut up and go away. And that is why I am blogging this. It needs to be spread far and wide.

6:04 PM

Voyager News

Voyager official site

3:45 PM

This week I get to begin my days with "Kimmie" rather than end them with her. Guess what? "Kimmie's" a morning person. That girl is just high on life.
Four more weeks. Just four more weeks.

Reality Wednesday!
Open Enrollment!

or, If you can figure this out you win another year of healthcare and can therefore survive in America. We have to say all this as a subtitle because "Survivor" is already taken and we can't use it because they'll sue us.

One contestant will try to understand, choose and sign-up for healthcare insurance provided by their employer.

The show is comprised of challenges to overcome, obstacles set in place by a human resources office, doctors' offices and insurance agencies.

The prize is one year of health insurance under the plan of the contestant's choosing.

The contestant is given a list of healthcare options by their employer's human resources department.

The First Challenge:
As of January 1, the contestant's doctor will no longer accept the contestant's existing health insurance. The first challenge is submitted in the form of a form letter, with a contact number which turns out to be a general information number. General as in: Office hours are 8 AM - 5:30 Monday through Friday, we're located at________, our fax number is ________, we will validate your parking if you provide the appropriate ticket from pre-selected and approved parking ramps. This ticket must be surrendered at the time of your appointment. We will not validate any parking ramp tickets after the patient has seen their doctor. Not general as in any information a patient might actually require.

The astute contestant will, at this juncture, ask to speak to the office manager. Contestants who fail to utilize this option will be stricken with a virus and sent to the county hospital for low cost or free healthcare. They will never be seen or heard from again.

The remaining contestants will discover the office manager will not be available. The office manager will have to call the patient back in a few days. Because she only works Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The contestant will then await the call. Patiently. Quietly. For three days. On the fourth day, or the next Monday, Wednesday or Friday, whichever comes first, the contestant will again call the doctor's office.

The contestant will be told the office manager's assistant will fax a list of accepted healthcare providers. The contestant is then transferred to the office manager's assistant, who only works the hours of 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM. The contestant waits until the next morning to receive the list of accepted healthcare insurance providers.

The Second Challenge:
The contestant's employer begins "open enrollment." "Open enrollment" is a period of three weeks in late October/early November in which the contestant is to elect their healthcare options for the upcoming calendar year. The options vary from employer to employer. There are PPOs and HMOs galore out there. To the victor go the spoils. The insurance companies lobby employers for their business. This is high stakes stuff. The savvy contestants realize this. The notion that they are in fact a customer and client of the insurance companies is an important one for the contestants. Contestants who fail to recognize this notion or lose sight of it are quickly stricken with a virus and sent to the county hospital where they are never seen or heard from again.

The contestant gathers the health insurance plan information packets provided by the employer. Learned contestants will do this the first day open enrollment is announced. There will always be more employees than packets. Contestants who fail to obtain information packets by the second day of open enrollment are quickly stricken with a virus and sent to the county hospital where they are never seen or heard from again. Contestants thinking they will find the information online are sadly mistaken. With a member ID, the information is sparse. And no member ID until an enrollment form has been signed. Contestants who think they will find information online are quickly stricken with a virus and sent to the county hospital where they are never seen or heard from again.

The contestant will now wait a week or so to review the information. The contestants who wait any longer than this are quickly stricken with a virus and sent to the county hospital where they are never seen or heard from again.

The contestant takes home the information packet and reviews the different plans and options which best suit their needs. This process will leave most contestants with more questions than answers.

And this year, most importantly, the contestants must discern which options their doctor will accept.

This is where the real competition begins. It's boys from men, girls from women time.

The Third Challenge:
The contestants will make a list of personal pros and cons of each health insurance options.

When the contestants return to work, they will call their human resources representative and ask pointed questions.

The contestant feels there is one option standing above the others.

However, the name of the health insurance provider does not quite match the name on her doctor's accepted list.

Name of employer's plan: We're Only Human HMO
Name on doctor's accepted list: We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO, Inc.

"Is We're Only Human HMO the same as We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO, Inc.?" The contestant inquires of her human resources representative.

"I don't know. Where did you get that second name?"

"It's on my doctor's accepted list."

"You should call your doctor's office. They can tell you exactly what they accept."

"Yes, but are..."

"I don't know, no one's ever asked that."

The contestant now dutifully calls her doctor's office. The contestant listens to all the voice prompts and presses 5 now for insurance and claim information.

The contestant speaks with a very pleasant person. Who doesn't seem to know any more than the contestant.

"I would think they're the same thing, I mean, they're both We're Only Human, I'd say you'd probably be covered," pleasant doctor's office person muses.

Lacking the confidence the contestant was hoping to find, the contestant decides to call We're Only Human and find out the real truth behind the name.

The Fourth Challenge:
The phone number listed in the enrollment packet. This turns out to be a number for members only. Since the contestant is not yet a member, there is no one, not one person in the entire place, who can assist the contestant with the question: Is We're Only Human HMO the same as We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO? Not one employee at the "Information Hotline" (and the contestants talks to many of them) can answer this question. The contestant is given a staggering number of suggestions on whom to call for this information. The most obvious (to the contestant) is called: "Enrollment Center."

The Fifth (and most trying) Challenge:
The contestant will endure many painful conversations with Robert at the "Enrollment Center." Robert takes great pains to explain the insurance brokerage system to the contestant. The contestant still just wants to know if We're Only Human HMO is the same as We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO, Inc. Nothing more. But the contestant learns, from many conversations with Robert, about insurance sales lobbying, employer benefit guidelines, and by the way did you know we have an "Information Hotline?"

At one point Robert asks the contestant, "What does your provider kit say? What's on the cover, maybe we can figure out what plan you have by the title of your information packet."

"It says We're Only Human. And a nifty graphic of a unisex person either running or jumping for joy. Or maybe it's running away in frustration," the contestant obliges with the information from her information packet.

Robert laughs but then becomes serious. "No really, what's on the cover. That will tell you the whole story."

"We're Only Human, in Franklin Bold, about 36 point knocked out of yellow, something around PMS 109, and a nifty graphic of a unisex person either running or jumping for joy in what is probably PMS 193," the contestant insists.

Robert feels the contestant has been given an outdated information packet.

Because in all his four months of working at the Enrollment Center of We're Only Human, he's never heard anyone describe that packet. In the end, the contestant finds out that Robert can only answer her question if the contestant works for a company of a "certain size." The contestant's company, while admittedly impressive, says Robert, is still too small for his database, and therefore, he cannot tell the contestant if We're Only Human HMO is the same as We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO, Inc.

At this point the contestant may consider: Moving to Canada or Great Britain, paying the high premiums at one of the other health insurance options, or shooting themselves and taking Robert down with them. As appealing as those options are, the contestant remembers: The notion that they are in fact a customer AND client of the insurance companies.

The Sixth Challenge:
The contestant again calls their human resources enrollment number. The contestant relays the previous conversations at the phone numbers provided in the information packet. Human resources doesn't understand a) the problem and b) why no one at the "Enrollment Center" could be of more assistance.

"Robert said maybe I should talk to our company's sales rep for specifics about the plan offered to us." the contestant offers.

"You can't call the sales rep, we can't have all of you calling them with every little question about your insurance!"

"I understand that, but really, this is sort of a bigger issue, I think a lot of us would like to know if We're Only Human HMO is the same as We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO."

"I'll have to call you back later," the human resources enrollment number person tells the contestant.

This challenge will push many contestants to their limits. Many will be stricken with a virus and sent to the county hospital for low cost or free healthcare and will never be seen or heard from again.

The Seventh Challenge:
Concerned and fearing the worst, the contestant decides to call her doctor. The contestant hates to bother her doctor with this sort of thing. But the contestant remembers: The notion that they are in fact a customer and client of the insurance companies AND the doctor, too. And the contestant's doctor probably doesn't want to lose a patient. To health insurance miscommunication.

Of course the contestant will not be allowed to speak directly to the doctor. But the contestant gets a somewhat intelligent person at the doctor's office on the phone and asks, "I don't really need to speak to the doctor if someone can help me sort out the insurance names. I just need to find out if We're Only Human HMO is the same as We're Only Human (Concept Care) and PPO, Inc."

"Hmmm. Good question." The contestant hears lots of typing. "Okay, as of December 1, your doctor will accept: We're Only Human Premier HMO, We're Only Human National HMO, We're Only Human HMO/EPO and We're Only Human PPO."

"But not just plain We're Only Human HMO?"

"Good question. I wonder if that's the same as any of those." Trying to incite an element of fear, he adds, "You don't want to enroll for a plan and find out your doctor doesn't accept it. You should ask your human resources rep or maybe you should call We're Only Human directly." he says this in a Very Serious Tone that implies he's the first one to ever have such an insightful thought.

"Good advice, I never would have thought of that. Thank you for the information."
The contestant then calls human resources enrollment number. Voice mail. They are avoiding the contestant's call. The contestant leaves a detailed and most assuredly confusing message.

The contestant then calls the We're Only Human Enrollment Center, hoping one of the newfound four additional monikers will help them discern the plan available to the contestant.

The four new options instead stymie the Enrollment Center.

"When? December 1? We don't have a memo on that yet. Call back after December 1."

"But I have to enroll by next week or I don't get any insurance this year," the contestant insists.

"Sorry, you've got more information than we do. Just enroll and if your doctor doesn't accept it, you can just switch doctors."

How very cavalier. A plan so simple the contestant never thought of it.

Because it's out of the question and the dumbest thing ever said on an information hotline.

The contestant waits for a return call from the human resources enrollment line.

And waits.

And calls again.

And leaves another message.

And waits.

Immunity: The contestants will only be offered immunity if they are citizens of a country with socialized medical care. And are residing in that country. If you're in the greatest democracy in the world and you do not have company provided healthcare, raspberries to you, you're screwed. Consider becoming Canadian. We hear they're friendly.

To find out if your favorite contestant is a health insurance enrollment process survivor, wait. Until next season. Yep. A new twist on reality TV. A season finale cliffhanger. A daring and bold move here at Life of Trillian.

7:21 AM

Where would we be without the Netherlands?
Video Games Addictive, Scientists Say
I hear they're working on a project regarding similar startling revelations about caffeine.

5:22 AM

Tuesday, November 04, 2003  
She's an American Girl
I may have recently painted my brother in an unfavorable light.

I should apologize to the Universe for that.

He's a really great guy. I mean that. I wouldn't want him any other way.

He embodies everything an older brother should be. He is a typical, text book older brother. A bit of Bart Simpson, a bit of Calvin, a bit of Charlie Brown, a bit of all four of the boys on Malcolm in the Middle, and every once in a while that dorky claymation Davey kid. Come clean. You watched them. We all did. Fess up, open up and embrace the beauty that is Davey and Goliath. (check out the bizarre but keen Goliath v. Robot clip) My brother was never, not ever, any of the Brady boys (maybe a hint of Peter if the issue were forced). No, he's definitely more of the Keith Partridge mold. (Which by the way, did I miss the Celebrity Death Match between Greg Brady and Keith Partridge? Because if there hasn't been one, WHY NOT???!!!!) I'm thinking about Keith because of the David Cassidy cameo on Malcolm in the Middle. GREAT episode. "It's like I sing when I'm in the astronaut suit.."Man I love that show. Am I alone? Was that episode brilliant?

My brother. Sorry.

David Cassidy reminds me of Keith Partridge who reminds me that my brother had a shirt similar to a Keith Partridge shirt, skimpy, polo sort of thing except with a zipper that had a big circle/ring pull with an enormous collar. He wore it until it was threadbare, barely enough material to support the ring pulled zipper. I was very young then, (a lot younger than him. A LOT) but even my young eyes thought, "What a stupid shirt." Every time a photo of that era emerges, he is inevitably wearing the Keith Partridge Shirt. And I inevitably mention that he's wearing The Keith Partridge Shirt. It's become such a part of family lore that even my parents call it the Keith Partridge Shirt. (Man I love my parents. Thank you Universe, for the best parents in the Universe.)

This is how I get back at my brother for years of taunts, mocks and other older brotherly cruelties. Little digs to slowly chink away at the years of silently enduring all that he threw my way.

Yes, I look like the cute, little sister, looking up to her older brother with awe and wide eyed innocence. No one would ever suspect behind that innocent façade lurks a sinister evil that only shows itself when parents aren't looking or within earshot.

Nope, no one would ever suspect I'm capable of inflicting terror of such huge proportions upon my brother, who after all, has always been "the troublemaker." I'm the "good" one. Sort of. Comparatively. I know some of you are thinking, "If she's the good one, we're all doomed. This brother of hers must be marked with 666."

But yet, as in all good horror stories, it's never the one you suspect. You never anticipate the true depth of horror the least possible suspect inflicts.

We youngest children quietly endure the taunts, the teasing, the mockery, quietly plotting our course of sinister action. I've had years to plan this. Waiting (oh yes, we're a patient bunch, all the psych books say so) for just the perfect conditions to launch our campaign of revenge.

Regardless of what my brother inflicted upon me, it was all worth it. Especially now that he has a young daughter.

Today, I will unleash upon my brother the horror that is: American Girl.

Yes, today my brother's daughter turns just the perfect age to begin a 6 - 10 year Odyssey through over-priced merchandise shamelessly marketed under the guise of educational toys.

Today, I am the best aunt in the Universe.

And the most evil sister in the Universe.

And I'm just getting warmed up.

I'm good. I'm really good. Evil could learn from me.

They say revenge is a wasted emotion and shallow victory.

Tell that to a grown woman who just scored a major coup against her brother's Swamp Thing re-inactment during her 6th birthday party.

Though it was not without a few knocks to my pride. You have to see this place to believe it. Three floors crammed full of every kind of 3 - 12-year-old girl paraphernalia you and a team of merchandisers could imagine. Oh yeah, they have some books, too. If you look real hard you will find them. I vowed I would never go to this place. My older nieces escaped these years with little interest in anything other than the books (go figure - but then, the store wasn't really in full bloom when they were "of age."). This place is Girl Power gone wrong, and I don't mean in a Baby Spice kind of way. Or maybe I do. The newest American Girl, Kailey, sort of reminds me of Emma Bunton. Hmmm. I'm sure that's no accident.

I see them every day. The girls and their mothers, grandmothers, boys allowed, except when dads are in town on business and make a visit to the store to take their princess something special from Chicago (under orders from their wives. Believe me, no guy, no self respecting guy, no matter how metrosexual, would ever know about American Girls if his wife or daughter didn't tell him.)

The lucky few, the "chosen" (most spoiled) among girls will make the pilgrimage to Chicago, to the holy land of all things American Girl. They line up hours before the store opens, and won't leave until they are kicked out at closing time. Even then they'll linger, longingly looking in the display windows. Brandishing The Bags. The red American Girl bags. The distinct red bags scream "Look at me! Look at me! My parents have just been bamboozled out of a lot of money!" They are to little girls what that certain, distinct shade of blue Tiffany bag is to big girls. It's no accident this pre-teen girl Mecca is located next door to Ralph Lauren and across the street from Armani and the Park Hyatt. (Fortunately for the dads, Rush street isn't too far, either.)

And now I am inflicting this upon my brother. And no, I'm not visiting the sins of the father on his daughter. I adore my niece, and if I thought it was truly harmful to her, no matter how sweet the revenge, I would not entangle her. No, for the kids involved, if they actually read the books and are compelled and inspired to seek out further reading and interest in the period stories, it is a good thing. My niece is a thoughtful, intelligent, so far not very materialistic girl. I think she'll come through her American Girl experience just fine. Of all the kids I know, she's the one in seven who will actually like the books better than the dolls and accessories.

Oh the accessories. The many, many accessories. Matching outfits for you and your doll. Jewelry. Coco the dog and some weird demonic looking cat. Playsets. Furniture. CD's (yep, the dolls, sing, too). You name it, they've got it.

And it's all there, in the store and in the catalog and in the magazine arriving monthly. Kids, tell your parents! Get their credit cards! It's educational!

Happy birthday to my niece. And to my brother: Consider this payback for my 6th birthday party. Also, one other note about that little incident I've been storing up for a few years: Did you ever consider the possibility that draping yourself in seaweed and sand only made you look like an attention craving idiot and not a scary Swamp Thing? That my friends might have run screaming from the festivities not in horror of said Swamp Thing, but in shame of being seen at the home of the lunatic teenaged boy down the street, half naked and draped in seaweed and sand? Just wondering if you ever thought of that angle.

Geek girls!!!!

No Keno Brothers last night.

(moment of silence)

We'll always have Cleveland.

I'm thinking I've got to spend some time in Hot Springs. No, not diamond digging, but just enjoying the local scene.

But dig that jangly guitar background music as the diamond dig gets under way!

I love the Rooster guy. He's only the third person I remember admitting that he was worried he'd be made a fool on national TV if his item wasn't worth anything.

Oooh, third grade science movie animation about diamonds. Is this the Antiques Roadshow or Bill Nye the Science Guy? No, it's not Bill, his animation is good.

Why was the Ansel Adams guy so shocked at the value of his photos? He knew they were signed Ansel Adams photos...he's on Antiques Roadshow, obviously he watches PBS, did he not see the Ansel Adams biomentary on The American Experience? Still, more reason to go to Hot Springs - real shock and excitement over appraisal values.

Noel Barrett! Yeah! Noel always means something really good and fun! Almost makes up for the lack of Keno on this episode.

I will not call or email a long ago boyfriend with news that a guitar similar, if not just like his made it's way onto the Roadshow. I am a mature adult, revenge on my brother notwithstanding, I will not call my old boyfriend exclaiming, "I told you so" over that Telecaster I knew was worth something. Nope. I will not gloat. I will quietly maintain smug satisfaction. More proof he was a fool not worth my time. This is why I love the Antiques Roadshow. Sooner or later you get this smug satisfaction.

That's sand? Sand in a bottle? They really should have cued up Jim Croce for this segment. This is incredible. This is amazing. Grain by grain with a fishhook? This guy, this Andrew Clemens, this is amazing. We're not talking Silly Sand, we're talking amazing that it could be done, and done so well. You've got to see this. I'm going to have to look into this. A new assignment! A quick search didn't turn up much, but if you're interested here's where I'm starting.

No Brothers Keno, but still an episode worth watching.

9:19 AM

Monday, November 03, 2003  
Boldly going to parties so you don't have to!

Since The Incident I have tried to maintain a sense of humor or at the very least, a sense of the situation through the eyes of the rest of the world so as to not take myself or my situation too seriously.

Oh sure, there have been days of self pity, moments of fear and some bad words. Okay, quite a few bad words. But I have tried to not take advantage of the condition.

Finally, I have been given a small reward for enduring with what I hope has been a modicom of grace and humor.

Halloween. Parties. A bounty of costume options.

As a public service, I am offering some award winning (and unisex!) costume ideas for people with broken legs.

Costume one:

You'll need:
  • Crutches

  • Leg Cast

  • Wrist Brace (optional)

  • Neck Brace (optional)

  • Broken Ski (you'll be amazed at how easy it is to find old skis for next to no money. The pair I found was already cracked, the thrift store guy gave them to me free.)

  • Dad's Really Great Circa 1952 Ski Sweater (abducted from his closet 12 years ago. WARNING: If photos of this costume are to be shared with the family, be prepared for a family fracous among siblings who have been vying for the sweater)

  • Hand Knit Hat and Scarf to Match (you can do it! it's easy! it's fun! you've broken your leg, someone is bound to give you a how-to knit kit! you've got time on you hands and off your feet, why not learn how to knit?!)

  • Slim Fitting Ski Pants with High Lycra Content (optional, but advisable if the costume competition will likely be a lot of scantly clad females. Channel your inner Elke Sommer or Robert Redford. Hey. The competition is fierce, there's a lot on the line here, a good costume and sense of humor will only get you so far.)

Suit up in the ski and handicapped gear. Adhere broken ski pieces with VelCro to your ski pants and sweater. I placed the curved tip of one of the skis on my shoulder and neck brace so it was peeking up over my shoulder to great effect. I highly recommend this technique. One of the judges told me it was that detail that swayed his vote. If you're a girl, I highly recommend two loose braids poking out from under your cute ski hat. Even if you're brunette. Male costume judges apparently have a "thing" for this hairstyle. (be sure the braids don't resemble Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, though. Because that would just be sick and wrong.) Interesting aside, Top of the Hill has one of the most ironic and cheesiest casts in Made for Television Movie history.

Warnings about this costume:
Be prepared to answer the same questions the entire duration of the party:
"Is your leg 'really broken?'"
"Did you do it skiing?"
"How did you break it?"
"Do you ski?"
"Are those your skis?"
"Where did you find that sweater?"
"Where did you find your hat and scarf?"
"Will you make me one?"

Costume Two:
Michael Jackson's Day in Court

You'll need:
  • Crutches

  • Leg Cast

  • Wrist Brace (optional, can be enhanced with dangly mummy wrap a la the "Black or White" video)

  • Umbrella

  • Dark Suit

  • Mime Make-up

See photo.
Cautionary advice: Your costume may not be immediately evident to everyone, you may have to explain it. Among those who "get it" there will be many who will laugh, but a few who will get up on their "Michael Jackson is the best but most misunderstood artist of our time" soap box.

I highly recommend this costume for anyone going to a party sponsored by a radio station.

Costume Three:
For a political crowd or more esoteric party, where most guests are over 30, gather up some friends and go as:
James Watt's cabinet.
You'll need:
James Watt (or a reasonable likeness)
A Black,
A Woman,
Two Jews,
And a Cripple. (You)

This was a sort of ad hoc costume. We couldn't come up with a James Watt, but it still worked out very well. Well enough that all five of us were given very good prizes. Very good. Well enough that I would recommend it highly for anyone invited to a Halloween political fundraiser. Seriously recommend it. Recommend it in such ways you cannot even imagine. Ways in which you had no idea the Democratic Party could reward you. Ways in which, if you think about it too long might pose ethical questions about government spending. But who are you? You're just a crippled chick who went to a Halloween party with some friends and won a prize. It's not your fault everyone else there had really stupid costumes or none at all. It's not your fault the judges there don't get out much and thought this was the funniest thing they'd seen since Jerry Ford fell while descending airplane ramps. Graciously accept and enjoy the prize(s) and don't give it a second thought. Especially not during the next election. Nosiree. All you did was go to a Halloween party with some friends.

So there you have it, three award winning costumes from a woman who decided to make the most out of her broken ankle, thrived, and won costume contests at three different parties.

Remember, competition can be fierce in these events. Attention to detail is very important. The prizes of t-shirts, bottles of booze and restaurant certificates only go the the best. A small detail can mean the difference between going home with one of these prizes or a stupid also ran gift of a compilation cd from a local radio station.

8:13 AM

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