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
Create Your Badge


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
Enter ZIP Code:

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.)



<< current
4/27/03 - 5/4/03 5/4/03 - 5/11/03 8/3/03 - 8/10/03 8/10/03 - 8/17/03 8/17/03 - 8/24/03 8/24/03 - 8/31/03 8/31/03 - 9/7/03 9/7/03 - 9/14/03 9/14/03 - 9/21/03 9/21/03 - 9/28/03 9/28/03 - 10/5/03 10/5/03 - 10/12/03 10/12/03 - 10/19/03 10/19/03 - 10/26/03 10/26/03 - 11/2/03 11/2/03 - 11/9/03 11/9/03 - 11/16/03 11/16/03 - 11/23/03 11/23/03 - 11/30/03 11/30/03 - 12/7/03 12/7/03 - 12/14/03 12/14/03 - 12/21/03 12/21/03 - 12/28/03 12/28/03 - 1/4/04 1/4/04 - 1/11/04 1/11/04 - 1/18/04 1/18/04 - 1/25/04 1/25/04 - 2/1/04 2/1/04 - 2/8/04 2/8/04 - 2/15/04 2/15/04 - 2/22/04 2/22/04 - 2/29/04 2/29/04 - 3/7/04 3/7/04 - 3/14/04 3/14/04 - 3/21/04 3/21/04 - 3/28/04 3/28/04 - 4/4/04 4/4/04 - 4/11/04 4/11/04 - 4/18/04 4/18/04 - 4/25/04 4/25/04 - 5/2/04 5/2/04 - 5/9/04 5/9/04 - 5/16/04 5/16/04 - 5/23/04 5/23/04 - 5/30/04 6/6/04 - 6/13/04 6/13/04 - 6/20/04 6/20/04 - 6/27/04 6/27/04 - 7/4/04 7/4/04 - 7/11/04 7/11/04 - 7/18/04 7/18/04 - 7/25/04 7/25/04 - 8/1/04 8/1/04 - 8/8/04 8/8/04 - 8/15/04 8/15/04 - 8/22/04 8/22/04 - 8/29/04 8/29/04 - 9/5/04 9/5/04 - 9/12/04 9/12/04 - 9/19/04 9/19/04 - 9/26/04 9/26/04 - 10/3/04 10/3/04 - 10/10/04 10/10/04 - 10/17/04 10/17/04 - 10/24/04 10/24/04 - 10/31/04 10/31/04 - 11/7/04 11/14/04 - 11/21/04 11/21/04 - 11/28/04 11/28/04 - 12/5/04 12/5/04 - 12/12/04 12/12/04 - 12/19/04 12/19/04 - 12/26/04 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 1/2/05 - 1/9/05 1/9/05 - 1/16/05 1/16/05 - 1/23/05 1/23/05 - 1/30/05 1/30/05 - 2/6/05 2/6/05 - 2/13/05 2/13/05 - 2/20/05 2/20/05 - 2/27/05 2/27/05 - 3/6/05 3/6/05 - 3/13/05 3/13/05 - 3/20/05 3/20/05 - 3/27/05 3/27/05 - 4/3/05 4/3/05 - 4/10/05 4/10/05 - 4/17/05 4/17/05 - 4/24/05 4/24/05 - 5/1/05 5/1/05 - 5/8/05 5/15/05 - 5/22/05 6/5/05 - 6/12/05 7/24/05 - 7/31/05 7/31/05 - 8/7/05 8/7/05 - 8/14/05 8/14/05 - 8/21/05 8/21/05 - 8/28/05 9/4/05 - 9/11/05 9/11/05 - 9/18/05 9/18/05 - 9/25/05 9/25/05 - 10/2/05 10/2/05 - 10/9/05 10/9/05 - 10/16/05 10/16/05 - 10/23/05 10/23/05 - 10/30/05 10/30/05 - 11/6/05 11/6/05 - 11/13/05 11/13/05 - 11/20/05 11/20/05 - 11/27/05 12/4/05 - 12/11/05 12/11/05 - 12/18/05 1/1/06 - 1/8/06 1/8/06 - 1/15/06 1/15/06 - 1/22/06 1/22/06 - 1/29/06 1/29/06 - 2/5/06 2/5/06 - 2/12/06 2/12/06 - 2/19/06 2/19/06 - 2/26/06 2/26/06 - 3/5/06 3/5/06 - 3/12/06 3/12/06 - 3/19/06 3/19/06 - 3/26/06 3/26/06 - 4/2/06 4/2/06 - 4/9/06 4/9/06 - 4/16/06 4/23/06 - 4/30/06 4/30/06 - 5/7/06 5/7/06 - 5/14/06 5/14/06 - 5/21/06 5/21/06 - 5/28/06 6/11/06 - 6/18/06 6/18/06 - 6/25/06 6/25/06 - 7/2/06 7/2/06 - 7/9/06 7/30/06 - 8/6/06 9/10/06 - 9/17/06 9/17/06 - 9/24/06 10/8/06 - 10/15/06 10/29/06 - 11/5/06 11/5/06 - 11/12/06 11/12/06 - 11/19/06 11/26/06 - 12/3/06 12/3/06 - 12/10/06 12/17/06 - 12/24/06 12/24/06 - 12/31/06 12/31/06 - 1/7/07 1/21/07 - 1/28/07 1/28/07 - 2/4/07 2/4/07 - 2/11/07 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 2/18/07 - 2/25/07 2/25/07 - 3/4/07 3/4/07 - 3/11/07 3/11/07 - 3/18/07 3/18/07 - 3/25/07 3/25/07 - 4/1/07 6/24/07 - 7/1/07 7/1/07 - 7/8/07 7/8/07 - 7/15/07 7/15/07 - 7/22/07 7/22/07 - 7/29/07 7/29/07 - 8/5/07 8/5/07 - 8/12/07 8/12/07 - 8/19/07 8/19/07 - 8/26/07 8/26/07 - 9/2/07 9/9/07 - 9/16/07 9/16/07 - 9/23/07 9/23/07 - 9/30/07 9/30/07 - 10/7/07 10/7/07 - 10/14/07 10/14/07 - 10/21/07 11/4/07 - 11/11/07 11/11/07 - 11/18/07 12/9/07 - 12/16/07 1/6/08 - 1/13/08 1/13/08 - 1/20/08 1/27/08 - 2/3/08 2/3/08 - 2/10/08 2/10/08 - 2/17/08 2/24/08 - 3/2/08 3/2/08 - 3/9/08 3/9/08 - 3/16/08 3/16/08 - 3/23/08 3/23/08 - 3/30/08 3/30/08 - 4/6/08 4/6/08 - 4/13/08 4/13/08 - 4/20/08 4/20/08 - 4/27/08 4/27/08 - 5/4/08 5/4/08 - 5/11/08 5/11/08 - 5/18/08 5/18/08 - 5/25/08 5/25/08 - 6/1/08 6/1/08 - 6/8/08 6/15/08 - 6/22/08 6/22/08 - 6/29/08 6/29/08 - 7/6/08 7/13/08 - 7/20/08 7/20/08 - 7/27/08 8/3/08 - 8/10/08 8/10/08 - 8/17/08 8/17/08 - 8/24/08 8/24/08 - 8/31/08 8/31/08 - 9/7/08 9/7/08 - 9/14/08 9/21/08 - 9/28/08 9/28/08 - 10/5/08 10/5/08 - 10/12/08 10/12/08 - 10/19/08 10/19/08 - 10/26/08 10/26/08 - 11/2/08 11/2/08 - 11/9/08 11/9/08 - 11/16/08 11/16/08 - 11/23/08 11/30/08 - 12/7/08 12/7/08 - 12/14/08 12/14/08 - 12/21/08 12/28/08 - 1/4/09 1/4/09 - 1/11/09 1/11/09 - 1/18/09 1/18/09 - 1/25/09 2/1/09 - 2/8/09 2/8/09 - 2/15/09 2/15/09 - 2/22/09 3/29/09 - 4/5/09 5/3/09 - 5/10/09 5/10/09 - 5/17/09 5/17/09 - 5/24/09 5/24/09 - 5/31/09 5/31/09 - 6/7/09 6/7/09 - 6/14/09 6/14/09 - 6/21/09 7/12/09 - 7/19/09 7/19/09 - 7/26/09 7/26/09 - 8/2/09 8/2/09 - 8/9/09 8/9/09 - 8/16/09 8/16/09 - 8/23/09 8/23/09 - 8/30/09 8/30/09 - 9/6/09 9/20/09 - 9/27/09 9/27/09 - 10/4/09 10/4/09 - 10/11/09 10/11/09 - 10/18/09 10/18/09 - 10/25/09 10/25/09 - 11/1/09 11/1/09 - 11/8/09 11/8/09 - 11/15/09 11/15/09 - 11/22/09 11/22/09 - 11/29/09 11/29/09 - 12/6/09 12/6/09 - 12/13/09 12/13/09 - 12/20/09 12/20/09 - 12/27/09 12/27/09 - 1/3/10 1/3/10 - 1/10/10 1/10/10 - 1/17/10 1/17/10 - 1/24/10 1/24/10 - 1/31/10 1/31/10 - 2/7/10 2/7/10 - 2/14/10 2/14/10 - 2/21/10 2/21/10 - 2/28/10 3/14/10 - 3/21/10 3/21/10 - 3/28/10 3/28/10 - 4/4/10 4/4/10 - 4/11/10 4/11/10 - 4/18/10 4/18/10 - 4/25/10 4/25/10 - 5/2/10 5/2/10 - 5/9/10 5/9/10 - 5/16/10 5/16/10 - 5/23/10 5/23/10 - 5/30/10 5/30/10 - 6/6/10 6/6/10 - 6/13/10 6/13/10 - 6/20/10 6/20/10 - 6/27/10 6/27/10 - 7/4/10 7/4/10 - 7/11/10 7/11/10 - 7/18/10 7/18/10 - 7/25/10 7/25/10 - 8/1/10 9/19/10 - 9/26/10 10/3/10 - 10/10/10 10/10/10 - 10/17/10 10/17/10 - 10/24/10 10/24/10 - 10/31/10 10/31/10 - 11/7/10 11/14/10 - 11/21/10 11/28/10 - 12/5/10 12/5/10 - 12/12/10 12/12/10 - 12/19/10 12/19/10 - 12/26/10 12/26/10 - 1/2/11 1/2/11 - 1/9/11 1/9/11 - 1/16/11 1/16/11 - 1/23/11 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 1/30/11 - 2/6/11 2/6/11 - 2/13/11 2/13/11 - 2/20/11 2/20/11 - 2/27/11 2/27/11 - 3/6/11 3/6/11 - 3/13/11 3/13/11 - 3/20/11 3/20/11 - 3/27/11 3/27/11 - 4/3/11 4/3/11 - 4/10/11 4/10/11 - 4/17/11 4/17/11 - 4/24/11 4/24/11 - 5/1/11 5/1/11 - 5/8/11 5/15/11 - 5/22/11 5/22/11 - 5/29/11 5/29/11 - 6/5/11 6/12/11 - 6/19/11 6/19/11 - 6/26/11 6/26/11 - 7/3/11 7/10/11 - 7/17/11 7/31/11 - 8/7/11 8/21/11 - 8/28/11 8/28/11 - 9/4/11 9/18/11 - 9/25/11 9/25/11 - 10/2/11 10/2/11 - 10/9/11 10/9/11 - 10/16/11 10/16/11 - 10/23/11 10/23/11 - 10/30/11 11/6/11 - 11/13/11 11/13/11 - 11/20/11 11/20/11 - 11/27/11 11/27/11 - 12/4/11 12/4/11 - 12/11/11 12/11/11 - 12/18/11 12/25/11 - 1/1/12 1/1/12 - 1/8/12 2/5/12 - 2/12/12 2/19/12 - 2/26/12 3/4/12 - 3/11/12 4/1/12 - 4/8/12 4/15/12 - 4/22/12 4/29/12 - 5/6/12 5/13/12 - 5/20/12 5/20/12 - 5/27/12 6/24/12 - 7/1/12 7/1/12 - 7/8/12 7/8/12 - 7/15/12 7/15/12 - 7/22/12 7/22/12 - 7/29/12 7/29/12 - 8/5/12 8/5/12 - 8/12/12 8/12/12 - 8/19/12 8/19/12 - 8/26/12 8/26/12 - 9/2/12 9/2/12 - 9/9/12 9/9/12 - 9/16/12 9/16/12 - 9/23/12 9/23/12 - 9/30/12 10/7/12 - 10/14/12 10/21/12 - 10/28/12 11/4/12 - 11/11/12 12/9/12 - 12/16/12 12/23/12 - 12/30/12 1/6/13 - 1/13/13 1/13/13 - 1/20/13 1/20/13 - 1/27/13 1/27/13 - 2/3/13 2/3/13 - 2/10/13 2/10/13 - 2/17/13 2/17/13 - 2/24/13 3/3/13 - 3/10/13 3/17/13 - 3/24/13 3/31/13 - 4/7/13 4/7/13 - 4/14/13 4/21/13 - 4/28/13 4/28/13 - 5/5/13 5/5/13 - 5/12/13 5/12/13 - 5/19/13 5/19/13 - 5/26/13 6/16/13 - 6/23/13 6/23/13 - 6/30/13 7/14/13 - 7/21/13 8/11/13 - 8/18/13 8/25/13 - 9/1/13 9/8/13 - 9/15/13 9/22/13 - 9/29/13 10/13/13 - 10/20/13 10/20/13 - 10/27/13 11/10/13 - 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.

< chicago blogs >

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

Saturday, April 10, 2004  
50 First Dates
You've Got Questions. We've Got Answers

Many of you expressed concerns/questions regarding the 50 First Dates endeavor.

I was overwhelmingly asked: "What if you meet The One, or at least 'A' One before you hit 50 first dates?"
I am happy you are all so optimistic for me, but so far it doesn't appear to be an issue. But don't think I didn't think about this. I had a few moments of optimism for myself, as well. If Number 26 turns out to be more than a few date guy, the situation will have to be re-appraised. Unless he is truly The One, the one lesson I have learned in my dating past is to keep all options open until there is a heart to heart "exclusivity" discussion and agreement terms. Too often I have thought/assumed things were moving along well, that the guy I was dating was, well, only dating me. Wrong. Of course. Duh. Cut me some slack, I told you I suck at dating. And I've learned, grown, evolved. And no, I am not out on a vendetta to get back at every man who's ever "wronged" me, I'm just not going to limit my scope unless/until I meet The One. I am: Playing the Field. And trust me, with the men I'm meeting and the luck I'm having on dates, it's a big field and I'm not scoring a lot of goals. Bachelor #50 will be here before we know it.

"Where is your profile? Can I see it?"

Journalistic anonymity, scientific integrity.

"What online dating sites are you using?"
Match, Lava, Tickle, Yahoo.

"I am interested in being one of the 50 dates. How can I get in on this?"
Send me an email. If you're a reader, you've got a lot of advantages via insider information, so craft an email appropriately following clues and flat out suggestions on this blog and I'll probably date you. Yes. It really is that easy. I really am that easy. If you already have an online profile, and you prefer to go through those channels, just send me an email telling me where to find your profile and we'll go from there.

"I want to play along at home and keep score! Where's this chart of yours?"
I'm working on it, filling in data from the dates I've already had. Find it here: I welcome any suggestions for info you'd like to see posted on the chart for each date. If you scroll to the right end of the chart you will find: Man-O-Meter and Date-O-Meter. There I will tally a final score for the man and that date. Why two scores? The man might be great but the date was horrible, or the date might have been fun but the guy might have been not so great. Keep in mind, I may give a man high marks on the Man-O-Meter because he is a great guy, just not the guy for me (or me the girl for him). Girls, these are the ones you want to watch. These are the men I would not hesitate to refer to someone else. We might not have had the spark, but you might, and I'm happy to refer you to "the good ones." Yes. Just another fine service we offer here at Life(?) of Trillian. People helping people, one date at a time. Guys, you might want to watch for the high ranking men as well, because you might learn some positive behaviors from him.

"What about HWNMNBS? We know he has a way of re-entering your life..."
Thank you for your optimism. Obviously if HWNMNBS and I re-enter and re-negotiate a bona fide situation the 50 First Dates will have to end. However, this will also keep me strong. Imagine me, all empowered and smug, "Sorry HWNMNBS, I can't talk right now, I've got a date." Or, "No, I can't come to London this weekend, I have plans."

I hear you making that "yeah, right" noise, rolling your eyes and shaking your head. You know what? Why don't you just wait and see how strong I can be? And, what if he wants to re-negotiate? Isn't that really the best possible solution? That I won't have to go on any more first dates because I'll be with the man whom I really want to be with?

You want me to fail, don't you? You don't want me to be happy. My failure and angst makes you feel better about yourself. You take schadenfreudistic delight in my HWNMNBS situation. You're sick. You're always so negative.

You don't know him. You don't know us.


"Trillian, are there really that many men who fit your rigid criteria?"
Scarily, yes. "Online dating profiles: If you post one, they will come. Many times begging." (Cue Eleanore Rigby) I'm averaging 25 emails of interest a day. Weeding through those typically produces two or three viable, realistic dating possibilities. The men are out there ladies, go get 'em.

"How many first dates have you already had?"
14, #15 is this afternoon, #16 tomorrow.

"Do dates you meet somewhere other than online dating sites count?"
Ooooh, good question! I'm glad you asked. I've been pondering this myself. The research experiment/goal is 50 First Dates. Not 50 First Online Dates. One nice guy with whom I've been exchanging emails wants to set me up with a friend of his. (He didn't approach me to date, just to compliment my profile. (You'll get a lot of that, the online dating world is full of people who appreciate and respect a good profile and will not hesitate to commend one without expecting "something more.") He's a smoker, already has three kids, doesn't want more, is a bit on my upper end of age range. Email me if you're interested, he's very nice, very funny, has a good job and is very good looking.) Technically I will have met his friend online, or online via his friend. Ditto a guy I met while waiting for a date. I was in the establishment to meet a guy I met online, and Guy B, a table away, initiated conversation, turns out we have a mutual acquaintance, yadda yadda yadda he asked for my phone number. Should this result in a date, technically I met him online because had it not been for my online date rendez vous, I never would have been in that establishment and never would have met him. I realize these are stretches to the online dating realm, but for now I think I will include any and all first dates, regardless of where or how I meet them.

"You know, I have a friend/brother/colleague I think you might really like."
Great! What are you waiting for? Have him send me an email. Why have you been holding out on me? I suppose you know about a great job opportunity, too. And haven't bothered to tell me about it. You are schadenfreudistic.

"My profile is __________ on As you will note, I live 6,0000/2,000/60 miles away from you. Is that a problem?"
No. And yes. You know in our new and improved management style there are no problems, only challenges and opportunities. If you're willing to come to Chicago, I will date you. If my business/personal travel plans take me to your area, I will date you. If you write an amazing email and we develop a good rapport, and it seems like there's some chemistry, I am open to traveling to you or meeting you half way.

"Can I come over and hear the lesbian sex in the apartment below yours?"

"Will you record it for me?"

"What's your current Space Invaders score?"
13,100, Level 6.

Labels: , ,

8:12 AM

Friday, April 09, 2004  
50 First Dates
Boldly Going on Dates So You Don't Have To

As you have probably guessed, I have been endeavoring to seriously get myself "back out there."

"Out there" being that big, horrible, nasty place called dating.

Since the breakup with HWNMNBS I have tried, on again, off again, to get myself "back out there." These have all been honest, earnest sincere attempts.

Each, obviously, has not ended in anything more than a few dates and the realization that I haven't "been ready" for anything more than casual dates.

If that.

"So, are you ready now?" You're hopefully asking, thinking once and for all you won't have to read HWNMNBS again. Ever.



I won't lie, and I won't try to kid anyone including myself. We all know he's The One. All of us except him. Which poses a bit of a problem, erm, challenge for me.

I have to either adapt and evolve or deal with being on my own the rest of my life, Miss Havisham of the 21st Century.

I figure I'm at a do or die point. Either I try to make something of my dating life or start taking in every stray cat I can find, feed pigeons, yell profanity at young couples, wear really ugly clothes and old, tatty hats.

Don't think the latter isn't without its appeal.

Because I hate dating.


Because the word itself has always brought out the worst in me. From awkward teenager to fully developed and professional woman, dating is the one area of my life I cannot manage.

"But Trillian, you're a confident, intelligent, clever, sometimes witty, at times insightful, perceptive, reasonably attractive woman with lots of interests and heck, you're just a really nice girl! Your friends like you, you have friends, your family thinks you're swell...and you like some sports! What's the big deal? You, of all people should be an ace at dating. You seem like the type of person who likes meeting new people and going out. Which is pretty much what a date is: Meeting a new person and going out. What's to hate?"

You're right. You're absolutely right. Thank you. But I'm also shy around the edges (yes, really, mainly with boys I like), a bit obtuse in my thought process, sarcastic (caustically at times), prone to observing the strange and bizarre in everyday life, read far more than most men find attractive, and I have a cat.

Oh, and, I don't suffer jerks lightly.

The great and wonderful thing about HWNMNBS is that it was never weird, it was just right. We understand each other. Without words. And that really takes the edge off dating. Whenever I get nervous or shy - one look in those eyes and I'm over it. Oh sure, there was the anticipation, the wondering "this top? that skirt?", the "I can't wait to see him" excitement, but never the dread, doubt or second guessing. More to the real point, beyond the pre-date stuff, was that never, not once ever, was there a joke not understood, an awkward silence, wishful thinking about getting away, home, anywhere away from him as quickly as possible, or general lack of connection which causes conversation to fall completely flat.

And yes, other than HWNMNBS that is pretty much exactly what happens to me on dates. I either end up trying to pull conversation out of the guy, or I have to force it out of myself, or, if making the guy talk isn't the problem, trying to get a word in edgewise is. I shoulder blame here, I'm not saying "it's them, they're jerks!" I'm saying: Dating is difficult for me.

I have tried online dating sites in the past. I've even met some nice guys. Generally, with a bit of intuition and caution in screening prospective dates, most of the people on online dating sites are very nice, sincere people. Sure, there are creeps. But they're fairly easy to screen out either before you meet them in person or in one or two dates.

I jumped back into foray last Spring. I met a couple of guys, dated one for a while. "A while" being the time it took me to realize I would always be secondary to Star Wars Conventions. That he was serious when he asked me to wear my hair in coiled cinnamon bun braids.



Sure, you'll find a few geeks. Okay a lot of geeks. Okay, predominantly geeks. But I don't have a problem with geeks. Who am I to judge? I have three blogs for swut's sake. I say swut instead of shit or fuck. I know what swut means and it's origin. Chances are if you're reading this you do, too. Let's keep this in perspective.

I'll take a geek over a jock any day.


Getting on with it.

I decided, in the spirit of observing and reporting, that I would make this endeavor as sincere and wholehearted as possible for me. I would not be as "choosey" as I may have been in the past, I would not dismiss a would be suitor based on one phrase in his profile I didn't happen to like. If not a fully open heart, at least a fully open mind. Because leading with a fully open heart got me nowhere but down. I will make a sincere effort to put aside any initial misgivings I might have about a would be paramour and go out with (almost) anyone who asks.*

I vow to sincerely attempt to contact and pursue men.

And mind you, it's not that I've ever been one of those prima donna princess girls who only date men who earn a certain amount of money, look a certain way, are a certain height, have a certain job...I've always been what I think was very open minded about potential dates. But I've also always been very realistic and perceptive and intuitive. Nothing personal against certain men, but there are personality traits which just do not mix well with mine. It doesn't mean I don't like them (usually) it just means we don't have enough in common to be remotely compatible.

This time around I vowed to refuse no one.


Almost no one.*

Yes, there are a lot of nice, sincere geeks, but mixed in are some really bizarre and egomaniacal jerks.

The Rule is: If there is any remote possibility we might be able to tolerate each other and carry out a conversation, I will at least meet them in person once.

I've already had several dates. Around my sixth date it occurred to me at my current rate, my rate of not finding anyone, I could go through a lot of men very quickly.

And so it was I came to endeavor: 50 First Dates.

I vow to go on 50 first dates with 50 different men. I will observe and report the good, the bad, the ugly and the notable. I am working on a chart so we can all keep score and you can play along at home. Right now it's a bit, well, big, so I am going to have to post it on my website. I'll post the link. If I can shrink it or reduce the number of columns I'll post in on my sidebar here. If any of you have suggestions for areas of demarcation or notation on the chart, email me suggestions. Right now I'm sticking to a few basics pointed out in my first date do and don't list.

Because I am not a thoroughly horrible person, I am not going to use their "real" screen names, nor will I reveal anything that would in any way lead the Universe to their profile.

This is about online dating. About trying to pick up pieces dropped and broken. Not public ridicule. If, along the way, I encounter someone who "deserves" a little ridicule, and this is solely my judgment call, I will offer, by email request, a map to online dating profiles of particularly annoying or bizarre men. I will do this not so much as mockery, but more as a public service to other women who might run into these jerks, and to men as an example of what not to do. I will also offer, by email request, a map to interesting or nice men. Because who knows? Maybe one of you would be interested in them, and I'm happy to point you in their direction.

You guys might be able to learn a thing or two from the positive or negative behaviors I report. Read and learn, fellas.


Ready. Set. Date!

50 First Dates Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve the singles and my Universe,
To help singles at all times,
And to live by the 50 First Dates Law.

50 First Dates Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
sufficiently primp for every date including:
The Good Make-Up, all of it,
spending time required to style hair into a lovely and alluring coif (no pony tails unless date-appropriate),
fussing over an appropriate "date" outfit, including heels when appropriate and physically possible,
uncomfortable clothing/undergarments if required by "date" outfit,
and to
respect myself and dates,
respect the opinions, feelings and intentions of my dates,
use online dating sites wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every internet dater.

I am not in any way bound to date every man who stalks, erm, asks me on a date. I reserve the right to refuse a date from any man who:
*Scares me.
*Has no apparent sense of humor.
*Has a dead animal in his profile photo.
*Is more than 10 years older or younger than me.
*Has not read a book in the past three years.
*Does not like art or going to museums/galleries.
*Doesn't "get" modern art and refuses to try.
*Likes Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, The Dixie Chicks, Clay Aiken or Jewel.
*Does not like the Pixies, Bryan Ferry, Bowie, Dean Martin, Nirvana, Prince, AC/DC, or concept albums.
*Has a sho lo (mullet. hockey hair. soccer rocker. ape drape. Camaro cut. achy breaky hair.)
*Has facial hair longer than .5"
*Has: LOVER, LVR, LUVR, a part of his anatomy. "...4U" or "IM..." in his screen name.
*Does not understand the zen of video gaming, particularly old school arcade games.

I also reserve the right to add to or alter this list whenever I choose.

Labels: , ,

8:58 AM

Thursday, April 08, 2004  
Reason to live a few more months: Pixies Reunion US Tour Dates confirmed.

Guide says: Get your tickets ASAP. They'll go fast.

1:37 PM

The Gift of the Magi
The townhouse is nothing more than a distant dream.

I've let down the entire single potential home buying universe. I'm sorry. I tried. Really I did.

I'm consoling myself with the facts that maybe I really am better off renting anyway.

Maybe homeownership just isn't for me.

If I was saddled with a mortgage I'd be less likely to make a rash and impulsive decision to, oh, I don't know, QUIT A JOB THAT IS SUCKING WHAT LITTLE LIFE I HAVE LEFT OUT OF ME.

I'm sort of disappointed, but I knew it was way out of my league (as if I have a league), and it's best that I leave what little savings I have in my 401K alone anyway.

Besides, Kilgore Trout gave me a lovely and thoughtful gift that has turned out to be a useful weapon in the war against sexually overly loud neighbors.

The Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1.

Yes! The same Excalibur Electronics who brought us such classics as The JokeMaster, The R-Rated Dirty Joke Machine, The JokeMaster, Jr. (Clown warning: This thing is frightening. A vision of this is etched in my brain and scared me so badly days later I still have to sleep with the light on), The Comedy Calculator (the "Jokeculator" I'm not making that up), and Jackie's Talking Insult Mirror have added a wide range of Space Invaders games to their fine line-up of handheld games and "personal electronic" items. They can fill every home Space Invading need.

Picture this: A woman, in bed, alone, with a cat languishing across her legs, playing a handheld Space Invaders game. (Hey, there are some men who would find this alluring. Aren't there?) On the other side of her bedroom wall shrieks and groans so loud they wake the sleeping cat, bed banging into the very thick plaster wall with enough force to rattle a picture hanging above the woman's head. From through the lovely wood floor echoes the sighs and moans from a lesbian couple who live below her.

Welcome to my nightmare.

I am that woman. The one with the Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1.

How does a very cheesy handheld electronic game combat the sex noise problem, you ask?

Because it's loud. And obnoxious. The sound effects are, well, bad. But they're loud. And I'm a darned good Space Invaders player. I take down a lot of invaders (current high score 12,500 at level 5). So there are lots of "hit" noises.

No, this in itself is not going to stop the overly loud bedroom antics of my neighbors. They probably don't even it hear it over all that racket they're making.

But soon they sleep.

And I am wide awake.

Bwa ha ha ha. (echo echo reverb reverb)

Insert demonic tinny electronic game noises here.

Not so satisfied are you now, neighbors?!

Bitter? Me? What makes you say that?

I used to have sex. I could have sex every night of the week if I wanted. Really I could. I think.

But honestly? Until I meet a really great guy or HWNMNBS finally, once and for all comes to his senses (preferably the latter) I'm having a good time with my cheesy Space Invaders game. And I don't have to sleep in the wet spot, there's no awkward morning after conversation, and "taking it to the next level" doesn't involve whips, chains or anything illegal.

And I know it's got to be annoying the crap out of my neighbors, or at least the ones below me.

That game's sounding pretty good, isn't it?

There is a strange and weird and ironic twist to this little tale of mirth.

A few weeks ago I gathered a little box of essentials to send to Kilgore in preparation for his Big Run Thing. He had a long plane journey, so naturally I assumed he'd need a very cheesy portable electronic game. But what? Which one? Kilgore's a smart, clever, hip guy. Not just any old JokeMaster or InsultMirror would do. "hmmmm, Kilgore Trout....I know! King Fishing Live! Get it? Trout? King Fishing? Wait. Trout. Fishing. That's sick. hmmmm What about New York Times Deluxe Crossword Puzzles? Nah. The airplane magazines always have crossword puzzles in them. I know! I know! Space Invaders! Perfect. Who doesn't love Space Invaders? Why, even I myself would love an Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1! I walked away from the discount bin pleased with my decision.

But something caught my eye. Is it? Could it be? Is that really Double Play Baseball?! It is! It is! I kid you not. I stood there 15 minutes deliberating between Space Invaders and Double Play Baseball. In the end I decided just because I wanted an Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1 didn't mean that would be Kilgore's choice. After all, he's a jock, he runs and stuff, and goes to La Crosse games and corrects me with all sorts of baseball statistics. Yes. Double Play Baseball is the game for Kilgore Trout. And, since it comes with two units (double play!) he can have friends over to play it with him or take it on dates.

That's what I thought. I selflessly put aside my own taste and desires and thought of his.

I guess he likes it.

"Yeah, so, you gave Kilgore a cheesy eletronic game. Why are you telling us about it?" you ask. Because there's a weird, ironic twist.

Little did I know, that probably very close to the very day I selflessly put aside my taste and desires for Kilgore's, Kilgore was procuring an Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1 for me.

I know. What are the odds? (I'm sure Kilgore can tell us, without the aid of the Jokeculator, no less.)

Kilgore received his Double Play Baseball game before he gave me the Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1 he'd bought for me. So there was a bit of explaining and mild embarrassment when he presented me with my very own Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1. No, he did not run out after receiving the fine Excalibur gift I sent him and send the same in return. He'd already procured the Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1 before receiving Double Play baseball from me.

It's kind of like The Gift of the Magi, only without the bitter sting of the irony of giving each other completely useless gifts.

And unlike that story I've never liked, my selflessness was rewarded with a gift I can actually use. Not some stupid combs for hair I cut and sold to buy a watch chain for a guy who sold his watch to buy stupid combs. And what kind of combs are worth the price of a watch, anyway? Unless it was a Casio or Armitron watch the guy pawned, those must be some kind of combs. Hair, now, that's expensive and it was a fine gold watch chain. (It's always the woman who sacrifices the most.) But combs? I know it's all about the lesson and irony and blah blah blah, but seriously, just how cheap was this watch? Or what sort of jewel encrusted combs are we talking about here? If they're so well off that they can afford a watch worth the value of mega jewel encrusted combs does she really need to cut her hair to buy a watch fob? Or, more to the intended point of O. Henry's story, if they're so broke they're pawning off the one item of value they have and selling body parts, maybe they shouldn't be exchanging gifts this year. (Spare me the email. My parents gave up trying to teach lessons via parables when I was around four. They couldn't do it. O. Henry couldn't do it. Don't try to succeed where they failed.)

And, my gift has a new and unexpected use as well: A retaliatory weapon in the war against far too loud sex.

Excalibur Electronics Portable Handheld Space Invaders game model 402-1: The Gift that Keeps on Giving.

Kilgore is scoring home runs while I am waging a war against them. Now that's a good lesson. And nobody had to sell a body part. Even better lesson.


7:52 AM

Wednesday, April 07, 2004  
Reader Rick321 wrote to point out that Life(?) of Trillian is now ranked number one out of over 12,300 on the Google search hit list for: "sho lo hair."

We here at Life(?) of Trillian are proud to be number one at something, anything. Finally. The competition is tough, but we beat out American Mullet,, and Vibrant Mullet Shampoo to consistently rank #1 on the "sho lo hair" search hit list.

Thanks for bringing that to our attention Rick321. There will be much rejoicing.

Uh, Rick? Why is it you were searching for sho lo hair?

Reality Wednesday
Backyard Barbecue: Pleasant Valley Sunday

Takes the elements of Funniest Home Videos and Fire Squad and combines them for an hilarious hour of backyard hijinks, mayhem and fire.

Show opens on a pastoral country scene clearly a far suburban or rural backyard. It's early Spring. We know this because the trees are just starting to bud, Daffodils and Tulips are about to blossom, Robins hop brightly around the garden, baby bunnies nibble on fresh green grass, two deer stop in the distance and pause on the edge to reflect upon the beauty of the garden. Far off in the distance a friendly dog (Lassie?) barks twice. There is a gurgle of a waterfall in a pond on one side of the garden. All is tranquility and calm.

On the opposite side of the garden is a 1950's era brick barbecue area. Next to the built-in conventional charcoal barbecue area sits: The Summit, otherwise known as The Backyard Dominator 8000. It gleams and sparkles glints off it's shiny, obviously laboriously polished surface in the afternoon sunlight.

"Of course we still like charcoal, but you just can't beat gas for clean, even backyard cooking. We can't have the grandkids coming down with ecoli poisoning because of an undercooked hamburger or piece of chicken," an older man calmly explains as he leans back comfortably on the retro brick barbecue.

"We never worried about that sort of thing when our kids were young, it was never a problem, they all grew up perfectly healthy without a trace of ecoli infection. I still prefer charcoal. I'm a barbecue purist at heart. Nothing like dousing the coals with lighter fluid, throwing in a match and watching the flames shoot into the air. Always a good bit of theatrics, the kids used to love that. Signaled the beginning of the evening barbecue. Then the coals get nice and hot and then cook up dinner over the open flame. Ah. I can smell it now. Then of course later, the kids would toast marshmallows, sometimes make S'Mores. Oh sure, you could do that over a gas grill, but it's not the same. Something about a charcoal open fire gives everything a certain Summer flavor," The Man waxes nostalgic, "Ah well. Time to hook up the tank." He pushes off the brick oven and heads to a storage area.

Birds chirp. A gentle breeze rustles the budding trees. The Backyard Dominator 8000 has a somewhat more fierce, harsher appearance. Just before the camera fades on the backyard scene there is a low rumbling growl heard from the area of The Backyard Dominator 8000.

Back from commercial, we see three women sitting around a kitchen table. They are having a lively discussion about vegetarian versus Atkins diets.

Meanwhile, in the garden, we see a hidden video of The Man rummaging through a yard storage shed. As he moves items around, he intermittently examines a few items. Yard tools are studied and tested (a small patch of lawn next to the shed is hoed and tilled), cans of paint are opened (time is spent rummaging for a paint brush) and tested for color on the wall inside the shed, Badminton rackets are pulled from a case, he reaches deeper into the case, produces a shuttlecock and begins bouncing the shuttlecock with one of the rackets. He disappears inside the dark cavern of the shed only to emerge some moments later riding out on an enormous lawnmower. He mows a large rectangle into a patch of grass and rides back to the shed and parks the lawnmower outside. He disappears into the shed. Again. Several minutes later he triumphantly emerges carrying a hammer and metal spike and something else.

The something else soon becomes apparent as returns to the newly mowed rectangle. He hammers the spike into the ground and wraps one end of a string from a chalk line reel around it. He flicks the string and a straight blue line appears in the grass. He reels in the string, pivots 45° and stretches another line. He continues in the manner, moving the spike as required to outline the mowed rectangle and various lines of demarcation with blue chalk. He stands back and proudly surveys his court.

He wipes his hands together (blue dust puffs up from them) and jauntily returns to the shed. (Wallace and Gromit music at full swell.) He once again emerges carrying the Badminton case. He returns to the blue lined court and produces a net, two collapsible poles with tether leads and spikes. He sets up the poles and net. The finishing touch is the hanging of a chalkboard scoreboard (with attached chalk) on one of the poles.

Cut to the kitchen scene, the women still sitting around the table. Their conversation is interrupted by The Man who walks in, heads to the sink and washes his hands. "I've got the court and net set up, I thought you girls might enjoy a game of badminton," he jubilantly proclaims.

"Oh boy, would we!" the older of the two girls enthusiastically squeals.

The younger of the younger two girls deadpans the camera and rolls her eyes. The older of the younger two girls notices this and gives her an evil gaze and nudges her under the table.

On hidden video we see the two younger women head out to the Badminton court, choose rackets and begin playing a fiercely competitive game of Badminton. It is not unlike the tournament between the Williams sisters. Both are clearly skilled and experienced players, both are studies in concentration and athleticism. Score is kept on the chalkboard (with attached chalk) hanging from one of the collapsible poles.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, we see the older couple watching the two women compete through a window.

"Looks like Daughter is getting a run for her money, Granddaughter is really giving her competition." The Man remarks in a hushed golf announcer voice.

"Daughter taught Granddaughter everything about the sport. If she'd practice a bit she could be as good as Daughter. If Daughter's ankle were healthy there'd be no competition. Granddaughter is using that to her advantage." The Woman replies, also in a hushed golf announcer voice.

"Her ankle is really slowing her down. Not up to her usual form." The Man adds.

"Granddaughter is taking advantage of Daughter's handicap. Watch how she volleys all over the court." The Woman comments.

"Bad form, but she's making Daughter work for those points. I'm sure Daughter's got a strategy in mind, though." The Man adds.

"All the strategy in the world isn't going to help if she isn't careful with that ankle." The Woman remarks with a hint of motherly concern.

"True enough, but I don't think she'll be foolish enough to push herself beyond her limits." The Man wisely agrees, then adds, "I might even stand a chance against her in her current condition."

The Woman gives him a "yeah right" look.

The Man replies, "I may not be tournament ready, but I bet I could beat her. If she gets tired enough from this game. I beat you last Summer. I'll do it again, too!"

"Oh yeah? So you think. I'll see you on the court later tonight." The Woman coyly challenges.

"You're on!" The Man accepts the challenge.

"Look at the time! You've got to get the grill warmed up so we can feed the girls in time for them to be off to their show." The Woman shoos The Man back out to the garden.

Hidden video shows him once again rummaging through the shed. More frantic this time. In the distance, the game of Badminton between the two girls is getting fierce. The once convivial jocularity between the two has become bitingly sarcastic.

The Man emerges once again, carrying two propane tanks. He is checking the gauges on the tanks, shaking them in hopes of hearing a sign of contents.

He goes to The Dominator 8000 and attaches one of the tanks to it. A full tank of propane is the IV Drip of Life for The Dominator 8000.

The Man tries the ignition on The Dominator 8000. Nothing appears to happen. No flames, not even a cough or a wheeze choking the grill to life. The Man closes the lid, unhooks the tank and attaches the second propane tank.

He tries the ignition. Nothing happens. The Man again checks the tank's gauge. He flicks the gauge. Repeatedly. He stands back from The Dominator 8000, hands on hips, sizing up the situation.

He goes back into the shed. He comes out with a half spent bag of charcoal briquettes and an ancient looking can of what appears to be lighter fluid. He dumps the briquettes into the old brick barbecue then spreads them evenly under the grill. He douses the briquettes with lighter fluid.

He goes into the house. The Badminton game has become vicious. Names are being hurled with each pass of the shuttlecock.

The Man returns to the grilling area. A match is lit. And tossed onto the doused charcoal briquettes.

They burst into flames.

A mushroom cloud forms over the once pastoral garden. Idyllic Sping has turned to nuclear Winter.

The Badminton abruptly ends.

The two girls quickly trot to the barbecue area. En route, we overhear Granddaughter timidly ask Daughter, "Isn't Uncle the pyromaniac of the family?"

Daughter knowingly answers, "Where do you think he learned his craft? He learned from the best, the backyard fire hazard champion: The Man. Part genetics, part honed skill. Passed from father to son."

They reach the barbecue area.

"Hi Dad. Quite a show you've got there. The first mushroom cloud of the grilling season is always the best." Daughter lovingly chides as the three look on the fire roaring in the brick barbecue and smoke billowing in the breeze. Ash and soot cover the leaves of nearby foliage, "I thought you were going to fire up The Dominator 8000."

"Empty tanks. Have to go up to Bob's and get refills. The gauge on that one," points to the still attached tank, "says we've got half a tank, but they were in storage out here all Winter, must be moisture making the gauge stick."

The Man returns to The Dominator 8000. Audible only to the home viewing audience, we hear a low, throaty, sinister laugh from somewhere around The Dominator 8000.

The Man again tries the ignition. He cocks his head thinking he may have heard something.

He opens the lid.

(Insert dramatic fire clip from the movie Backdraft here) Flames shoot out and up. A roar emits from The Dominator 8000. The Man jumps back from The Dominator 8000.

"Did that thing just say 'See you in Hell'?" Granddaughter asks Daughter.

"I believe so. Just before it began speaking in tongues." Daughter responds as she rushes to The Man's side.

"Are you okay?" she asks The Man.

"I'm fine, just fine. I knew there was gas in the tank, I knew it!"

He is jubilant.

He is on fire.

Daughter, used to The Man's desire to put aside personal safety for the sake of a successful barbecue quickly and efficiently takes her jacket, tied about her waist, and dabs at the small flames on The Man's shirt.

They carry out a conversation while she does so.

"Do you want your veggie burger on charcoal or gas?" The Man asks.

She sizes up the lighter fluid soaked coals and the propane fire engulfed Dominator 8000. "I'm not sure yet. Hold out your arms. Let's see what happens when the flames die down a bit."

"Can't beat charcoal for that Summertime barbecue flavor!" The Man entices.

Daughter continues to dab out small flames on The Man's shirt. "It causes cancer, you know."

"Bah. I've been barbecuing over charcoal all my life. I don't have cancer. Cavepeople barbecued. It's the way God intended us to cook our food." he argues.

Daughter, putting out the last of the flames on The Man's shirt, having endured a lifetime of The Man's erratic logic in hazardous situations, ignores The Man's remarks and says, " Are you sure you're okay? This shirt is ruined. Burned right through. Good thing it's long sleeved, you'd be freckled with third degree burns all over your arms if you'd been in short sleeves. The Woman is going to be very upset with you. You should have been wearing your apron."

The Man nudges Daughter in the elbow, "She won't know if no one tells her," he lifts a suggestive eyebrow, "would you like a drink? I think we should salute the official start the 2004 grilling season."

"Yes, please, capital idea, let's add alcohol to the mix of charcoal, lighter fluid, matches and an ill functioning propane tank. That'll get this party started!" Daughter snidely admonishes The Man. Then, "Vernors and vodka, lemon."

Granddaughter, who has been observing from a safe distance, rolls her eyes, gives a penetrating stare in the direction of the hidden video camera, and produces a cell phone from her pocket.

As the scene fades out we hear her talking on her phone, "You know how when you go away from your family for a while, then return again, and they seem really weird? Like all the stuff you always thought was normal, you suddenly see for the dysfunction and safety hazard that it is..."

* Want to learn more? History of Badminton here.

The latest news from the competitive world of Badminton here.

Must. Have. One of these.

Grilling safety tips from the NFPA here.


8:32 AM

Tuesday, April 06, 2004  
Bone has secured another job. I am hopeful this is the beginning of the end of my reign as Firedstarter.

This fills me with reparaturfreude.*

That's right: Reparaturfreude.

Like schadenfreude* only instead of meaning joy at the damage of others, it means joy at the repair of others.

No, it's not a real term. Well. It wasn't.

It is now.

No longer content to make up words and slaughter my mother tongue, I am taking on the German language, as well. And no, it's not stopping with just one word, I'm on a roll.

Schadensorge* will mean: taking sorrow at the damage of others (a more empathic word than empathy, I think)

Reparatursorge* will mean taking sorrow at the repair of others.

I'm sure you know a reparatursorge-istic person, you probably work with one. S/he's the one who, at every department potluck will point out the negative aspects of every person's good news.

"Ken, how's Barbie?" someone will ask.
Ken will reply, "Great! We're really looking forward to the baby's arrival!"
Reparatursorge will pipe in, "Just wait until the morning sickness starts. She won't be so great then."

"Midge, where are you going on holiday?" someone will interrupt, trying to veer the conversation to pleasant topics.
"Figi!" Midge enthusiastically replies.
Reparatursorge will pipe in, "With your death pale skin? You'll burn to a crisp, and the sun is so much stronger there, you'll burn and get melanoma."

Reparatursorge people are not capable of being happy for anyone else. My experience has been that they are also loud mouthed know-it-alls who actually know very little.

Go ahead, use it if you'd like. My gift to the Universe.

I'm having my own little schadenfreude episode. There is a woman in my office who left for greener pastures, very noisily, very pompously and very obnoxiously.

"I've got a much better job where I will be appreciated and compensated for my work. This place was never good enough for me, I only took this job to make contacts in this town." was one of her many remarks she blathered while she put in her two weeks of notice. She was "offered" a chance to leave a few days early, with pay, just to get her out of the office and make that noise stop. She refused, stating, again loudly, that she "wanted to fulfill her obligations." No one has a clue what those obligations were.

She didn't last six months on the outside. She didn't even have the humility to grovel. "Since my job was still open, I knew you couldn't find anyone to replace me, it's a very difficult job, not just anyone can do it, so I decided to come back to help you." Gee. How very altruistic and thoughtful of you.

The truth was that we were managing just fine without her, she did very little and the few tasks she did handle were given to a consultant or to a few other people in the office who were already doing similar functions. In short, no one missed her and our budget was all the better for not having her salary sucking out needless dollars. Her old position was in the process of being rewritten to accommodate areas where we actually needed an employee.

Then why was she re-hired? Because our senior manager is a moron who cannot stand confrontation (except with me) and is a sucker for a sad story.

The truth is that this woman was fired from her job (I know a lot of people in this town, I hear things) because she was utterly inept and obnoxious, a distraction and annoyance to everyone with whom she worked. Clients complained about her and that was the end of that job.

The other truth is that she is not licensed for a particular area of "expertise" in this state.

One of the stipulations of her return was that she become licensed in our state to do the job she does. She is allegedly licensed in another state and was coasting on that.

For the past few months she has been excused from work to study for and then take her state exam. She made a huge, big, fat, hairy stink about this. "Ooooh, I'm studying. Watch me study. I'm studying for my state license exam. Everyone be all impressed with me. Oooooh, I'm going to be gone a few days to take my state licensing exam. Ooooh, I'm so cool. Everyone look at me and how cool I am because I get to take time off from work to pass my state exam."


She really annoyed the crap out of all of us.

Especially me. I have little tolerance for this woman in the first place, and this has put me straight into loathing and contempt zones.

There may in fact be a God.

Because she did not pass her state licensing exam.

And we all found in a very public way. She loudly exclaimed, as she does everything, that the licenses were posted online. She did this by announcing, to the entire listening area (with her mouth that's pretty much the entire floor, including those of us in offices with doors) "Hey look! The state licenses are posted! Let's see if I'm in the top 2% or 5%!"

I've never been to a State Fair. I've never actually heard a hog calling contest. But I have to assume this is how it would sound. I forgot to mention that she affects a loud, hick country bumpkin accent when she thinks she's being cute. I have no idea why. I cannot even hypothesize as to why anyone would do this.

Then silence.

Pin dropping silence.

Blissful silence.

Wait for it...

And then the scream.


Not only did she not make the top 2% or 5%, she did not score the required 75% for her license. Right there, for the whole world to see, is her worse than abysmal score.

"Would you like your public ridicule with a side of schadenfreude?"

A huge career enhancing and enormous stepping stone to much better pay and better jobs elsewhere, and she failed. Badly. Loudly. Publicly. Indiscreetly.

Like she does everything else.

Back to Dogpatch, Sadie.

I know, I'm not usually schadenfreude-istic . But you don't know this woman. If you did you'd understand why I am allowing myself this moment of, well, not glee, but, well, smirky schadenfreude. I am not smug about this. I am simply glad for once a bad thing happened to someone who deserves to have a bad thing happen to them. Had she ever, once, in the time(s) she's worked here shown any hint of decorum, skill, talent, class, shame or intelligence I'd feel bad for her. But she hasn't and I don't.

She didn't pass her state exam.

She simply was not intelligent, clever or bright enough to pass the exam. Something anyone in my department could have told her. Were she not a loud, obnoxious buffoon I would have more schadensorge for her. But she is all of that and more, so I don't. She didn't pass her exam. She is not good enough. Not even close. Period. And now, of course, since her re-hire was subject to her being licensed in this state, her employment is questionable.

Here's where I really deserve my schadenfreude moment: Unlike what would happen to you or I. We (or at least I) would be terminated. Dismissed. Let go. Fired. She will undoubtedly be permitted to stay in her job.

When the howling cry rang out from her office, our senior manager and my (needs a new nickname) boss ran, I kid you not, they ran to her office to console her. Here's a sampling of what was overheard: "You just don't test well." (translation: You're stupid and can't hold information in your head long enough to spit it back on a test, much less intuit your way through an exam well enough to pass it.) "That's okay, you have your license in another state, that's good enough. Maybe you can try to take the exam again next year." (translate: We didn't really know what you did here anyway, or why you needed a license because you don't actually do what your job description says you do. This will buy us some time to re-write your position's description.) "You know, John John had to take the Bar Exam three times before he passed..." (translation: You're as stupid as John Kennedy, Jr. don't take up flying as a hobby.) "It's okay, these things are just formalities." Senior Manger said, wiping away her tears.

Because oh yes, there were tears. And no, not that I blame her, I'd probably be crying, too. But not publicly. Not blabbering, blubbering, boo hoo boo hoo wah wah wah tears in the middle of the office. Yes. Yes. I've had plenty of moments myself, but I've removed myself to the most private place possible. It's not something of which I am proud. Nor is it something I delight in making a show of. But she did.

I am enjoying this moment, a mere schadenfreude blip undoubtedly, because now that she isn't licensed in this state, she is stuck here, the only place who will have her without a license. She's not going away.

On the other hand, I recently ran into a woman who worked here until last year. She quit. She got out. She figured anything was better than my office. She had no job prospects and was quitting at a very bad time for finding a job. But she was on the verge of losing It, losing herself, losing all sense of sanity by staying in her job in my office. (See? It's not just me.) Her worst case scenario was moving back home with her parents.

She didn't have to worry about that. As I found out last week, she was hired by A Really Great Company to do A Very Cool Job for which She Had No Training or Background Whatsoever. And she didn't have to sleep with anyone to get it. She got this job three weeks after she left my company. She was actually a little disappointed because she wanted to have a few months off, free to relax, recover and re-establish herself.

But it was a great opportunity so of course she grabbed it and is happier than she's ever been. She's learning a lot, earning fantastic money, eating well, exercising regularly, met a great guy and is engaged and her adult acne has disappeared. I'm not kidding and I'm not mocking. All of this has happened in less than a year.

For her I feel nothing but the utmost: reparaturfreude. I am taking great joy in her repair. I am happy for her. And she fills me with hope and optimism that one day I, too, will leave Dogpatch Northcentral.

There will undoubtedly be lots of reparatursorge for me. "You'll just spend that extra money on shoes." "That company's in trouble." "You'll be back."

Maybe there will be some reparaturfreude for me.

Main Entry: scha·den·freu·de
Pronunciation: 'shä-d&n-"froi-d&
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy
: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

Main Entry: scha·den·sor·ge
Pronunciation: 'shä-d&n-"sor-g&
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from Schaden damage + Sorge sorrow
: sadness obtained from the troubles of others

Main Entry: rep·ar·a·tur·freu·de
Pronunciation: 'rep-ar-a-toor-"froi-d&
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from Reparatur repair + Freude joy
: enjoyment obtained from the happiness of others

Main Entry: rep·ar·a·tur·sor·ge
Pronunciation: 'rep-ar-a-toor-"sor-g&
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from Reparatur repair + Sorge sorrow
: sorrow obtained from the happiness of others

8:38 AM

Monday, April 05, 2004  
Remember what I said about the food chain being played out in a living room? THIS is why you are honest and very up front about liking and keeping exotic "pets." "...her python Moma went for her arm shortly before she planned to feed her two rats Saturday morning..."
That's got to be my quote of the week, if not the month. Or maybe even year. Sure, it's only early April, but we're going to have to go a long way to beat this one. How many ethical and lifestyle discussions can you find in that sentence?

It's right up there with "Ginger picked one up and it was slimy."

11:39 AM

When it's time to change...
What is the big deal about switching to Summer time? I'm sitting here in my office, the halls outside quiet and empty. The ticking of the clock across the hall echoing throughout the office. I know everyone will arrive at least an hour late to work this morning - if history is any indication, more than an hour late.

The "we lost an hour and I have to adjust" excuse will be used all this week and for some, well into next.

I try to be patient. I realize not everyone is as used to not sleeping as I am. Jobs requiring hopscotching between several time zones during a week's worth of business in various locations, an onboard escapement mechanism for circadian rhythm adjustment, and genuine lack of need for much sleep all contribute to making the Time Change a complete non issue for me. I realize this about me. I realize other people actually sleep 6 - 8 hours a night and/or are very settled in their time zone.

I think partially why I don't sleep and why my circadian rhythm is so confused: I've lived in so many time zones in my life.

I used to work with a woman who was born and raised in GMT, and even though she had been living in CE/ST for eight years, she was steadfastly living in GMT. "I've never been able to adjust..." she'd say, voice trailing, perennially late to work, late for everything, "I can't eat lunch now, my body thinks it's only 10:30!"


I got really sick of that, too.

Adjust and adapt lady. Evolve or become extinct.

I had an aunt, who saw Summer time as just one more thing The Governments were controlling. (It was never just one government, she was very much of a global mindset in her conspiracies, it was always The Governments, plural, though I can never recall her specifying which governments were exactly at fault or the cause of her wrath.) In her later years she was determined that she would not die until after the switch back to "regular" time.

"They've taken my money in taxes and by God they won't take an hour from my life! I'm not going until I get my hour back from The Governments!" she'd spout to anyone who would listen.

Which was just about everyone she met because she was a kind, funny, dear woman. I miss her. A lot. She fell quite ill two Summers ago and hung on several months against amazing odds. Until a week after Summer time ended. For me and most of my family, the time change will always bring thoughts of her.

People are funny with time.

I had a flight last night. In the departure lounge*, I was relieved at the lack of usual crammed shoulder to shoulder crowd waiting to board my flight. "Ah, finally, for once, an uncrowded flight," I thought as I imagined myself languidly spread across three seats, reading an oversized magazine as two attendants catered to my every need and whim. As we boarded, people began appearing, breathlessly running down the concourse, making excuses to the gate agents: "Time change, I forgot the time change..." or "I'm all out of synch because of the time change..."

Adjust and adapt. Evolve or become extinct.

How do you "forget" the time change? Visiting a cave over the weekend? Newspapers, television, radio, bank clocks, calendars all blare it at us for a week ahead of time. We all know it happens, this is nothing new, this is nothing covert (unless like my aunt you believe it to be a governments conspiracy). More to the point, if you know you will have difficulty making the necessary adjustments, plan ahead accordingly.

So here we are, in daylight savings time. Unless you live in Arizona or Indiana. There are a few people in my office who live in Indiana. They always make a big stink about the time change. As if it's my fault, or anyone else's except theirs, that they choose, yes choose, (operative word for the week) to live in Indiana and work in Chicago. This goes for their excuses about their commute, too - you choose to live in Indiana and work in Chicago, and with that choice comes the responsibility to get to work on time, put in your required hours and leave when the rest of us do. Spanglish is particularly guilty of this, for the next six months we're all going to hear, "I canno get para trabajar, de commute, mi zona de tiempo, el tráfico. I jus canno do it. Es no fair anyway, vivo Indiana."

Adjust and adapt. Evolve or become extinct.


So here we are in daylight savings time. As predicted, Boob Job has yet to arrive. It took her a full month to "adjust" last year, and now with those boobs of hers extending nearly to the next time zone, I'm sure it will take her even longer to "adjust." Worse, she's one of those people who will be more than an hour late. Last year she was over two hours late for several weeks. Okay, you "lost" an hour. You oversleep or just can't quite get yourself going. I could cut a bit of slack there, but you only "lost" an hour. Why then, are you almost two hours late for work? Should you not be an hour late? Why does "losing" one hour make you two hours late? Am I missing some sort of circadian logic? And why, this is my big why, do you not arrive an hour (or more) early when Summer time ends in Fall?

Adjust and adapt. Evolve or become extinct.

*Guide says: If you find yourself in the old, skanky, unrenovated Smith Terminal (United/American/Soutwest/Delta/everything other than Northworst terminal) at Detroit Metro Airport with a little time on your hands, do yourself a favor and check out the "game room" prior to going through security. This is a forgotten relic tucked between the men's and ladies' room, in the back corridor between security entrances for Concourses A/B and C, All the old favorites in original format including, I'm not kidding, an original Ms. PacMan. It's a small, narrow room, but the games are all original, all old and all working. Even the change machines are old school.

9:30 AM

This page is powered by Blogger.