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:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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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
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or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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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.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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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

Slanglish

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?!)

CellStories

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.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




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
Single/Zero

 
Friday, May 07, 2004  
Trillian's life continues at its chaotic, dizzy, stressful pace.

A few updates.

Trying to get out of my lease, thanks for all your concern, drive-by shootings are a fact of life in the city, I'm trying to console myself with that. My lease appears to be near iron clad, the Tenant's Union told me I could hire a lawyer to get me out of it, but looks bleak. Which means I'd have to buy out the lease or sub-let. The former is not an option, the latter is difficult at best.

Found a really cute apartment, affordable and with a second bedroom, in a quiet mostly houses neighborhood, but not convenient to anything and would require a car.

Looking for a car.

Found a car.

Need a Negotiator.

The move at work is chaos and confusion, boxes everywhere, huge pain.

Phase One of the Huge Project at work is completed, now preparing for Phases Two, Three and Four.

Managed to squeeze in a few dates.

HWNMNBS, Frankie, my sister and wife of Ford all still unemployed.

Really, really annoyed at a lot of things, have about two week's worth of rant posts festering. Can you say: Lawyers, landlords, long hours at work, no weekend break, car salesmen, moving, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Olsen Twins?

Discovered a new form of stress relief, thanks Jaba3, Typer Shark is a blast, graphics are funny and the sound effects are hysterical. Are you a great typist? Need to increase your speed and accuracy? This game is for you. (I made it to the last level, the Bermuda Triangle, thank you very much. Eat your heart out Mavis Beacon.)

Okay, back to work.

I promise, promise, promise I'll have real, regular posts very soon.

8:14 AM

Thursday, May 06, 2004  
So much to blog, so little time.

I promise I will be back to my regular tomes soon.

Meanwhile, go
here to get a super cool map of Wisconsin. I like cheese, you like cheese, we all like cheese. This guide is exactly what we need. I ordered one a few weeks ago, it arrived yesterday. It surpassed my wildest dreams.

7:06 PM

Wednesday, May 05, 2004  
Haiku for a Late Nights in the Office
O! Dinner!
Pistachios, mints.
Cheez Its, Twizzlers, Snickers, gum.
Vending machine meals.

Oh. Dinner.
Empty calories.
No nutritional value.
Vending machine meals.

Cleaning Crew
The night crew arrives.
Empty the trash, dust the shelves.
Do they have job stress?

Alone
Where are my colleagues?
Working late. Alone. Again.
Naturally. Why?

Ponder
Late night, tired, mad.
For this I went to grad school?
Re-evaluate.

Working Girl's Fantasy
Dreaming of my cat.
Stroke his soft fur, scratch his ears.
Warm. Cozy. Snug. Purr.

Rain Falling on Window
Rain beats against glass.
Shapes distort, the colors smear.
Swut! No umbrella.

Playing with Time
If I leave right now,
And get up at 3 o'clock,
Who am I kidding?

They Were Late
Deadlines mean nothing.
Young grasshopper never learns.
End of the food chain.

7:18 PM

 
Sorry everyone, between work and trying to get out of my lease and trying to find an apartment and dealing with a bunch of other personal stuff, I don't have a ton of time.

Another week with no reality Wednesday - too bad, too, there've been some good reality shows in my life. After all, it's May sweeps season!

Because of my chaotic life and in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, today we will all take a deep breath and enjoy the pondering simplicity and Zen of Haiku:

Too much going on
My life, my reality
Is out of control

7:50 AM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004  
There oughtta be a law! Oh wait. There is. Several. Dating back to 1949.

Full text of the Geneva Convention can be found here.

9:18 AM

 
Under My Skin
My DNA is a mixed up conglomeration of a lot of leftover parts from other machines. HWNMNBS refers to my gene pool as a gene swamp. (he does this lovingly.) He's right. I'm the product of a mixed marriage, one from column A, one from column B, one from column C (and prevalent in my looks, at least one from a column or two in the dark pages of our family history - beware the dormant genes) But compared to most Americans, my DNA is extremely refined. I know (apart from those few unexplainable unions in the dark pages) exactly where I came from - back several hundred years, and I can fairly accurately conjecture the days prior to those.

It's boring.

I used to be jealous of people who would list off their heritage like a United Nations roll call. "Trillian, what about you - you look weird, where does your family come from?" Loaded question. Looking back on it, I realize the answers I gave would define my life.

Embarrassed by my "clean" DNA - I'd try to spice it up by emphasizing the big difference between English and Scottish - "My mum's British, my gran's English but my grandad's actually Scottish. And, (eyes big) my dad's Norwegian!" (big finish, hoping to conjure images of Viking warriors, exploring ships and those funny horned hats) I figured I might sound impressive and perhaps even confuse the dim witted mutts in the schoolyard by throwing out as many terms as possible. Hey, I'm sure few of them realized the difference between British and English and Scottish. Every now and then, if pressure mounted, I would refer to a cousin in Wales, and to add another group to my gene swamp I'd then throw in the term Welsh. Yes, some of those kids were dumb enough to think Wales and Welsh are two different nationalities.

But usually I'd leave it at British and Norwegian.

"That's it?" the recess bullies would badger.

"Um. Yeah. I think so. Oh! Wait! No! I forgot! My gran's sister lives in Canada! So does my grandad's brother!"

For a long time that's why I thought the national anthem is Oh! Canada. "Oh! (Wait! I have relatives in) Canada!"

I'm not kidding.

When I was in England, of course, the opposite was true. Being American got me teased straight away. "Where are you from?"

"Detroit."

"No, where're your parents from?"

"Detroit."

I'd give the shortest one word answer possible because I didn't want to let on my blood was anything other than as blue as theirs.

In my mixed up little brain I thought Detroit would make me sound pure.

I know.

I've always been led astray by my insecurity and inability to fit in.

Why this little trip down DNA lane?

Because I was pondering my biochemical composition yesterday.

Why?

Because I am getting a zit.

This is an anomaly for me.

Because for all the spare parts and Picasso-esque placement of my features, the way I look, the one favor DNA and the Universe gave me was really, really good skin. Some DNA process engineer took a look at my double helix, felt sorry for me, took pity and granted me one favor: Good skin. Not too dry not too moist, nice elasticity, pores smaller than average, even toned...yeah. I'm really lucky in that regard.

Hey. I don't have much to brag about, give me my moment.

Even in those awkward teenage years I had three zits. Total.

Since then I've only ever had a zit under stress related conditions.

Big, enormous, important, life in the balance job interview? Huge Witch zit on my chin.

Only attendant in best friend's wedding? Huge End of Nose zit.

Meeting HWNMNBS? Big, huge zit, the worst zit in the Universe, the Cyclops zit. (Also known as the Third Eye zit, it appears on the bridge of your nose, when in full bloom gives the appearance of a third eye.)

Oh, from time to time there have been little tiny don't even count to most people zits, but nothing anyone would notice, gone in 60 second zits.

But now I've got another to the list: Huge jawbone zit.

I'm sure it's stress related - must be.

What's the big deal about a zit, Trillian, and why are you boring us and grossing us out with the details?

Because last night I administered the home remedy for a zit.

I went to bed.

Then a bunch of stuff happened on my street.

And that is how I came to be talking with neighbors and four Chicago cops with toothpaste spackled on my jaw at 2:30 in the morning.

No one expects The Inquisition.

Or to be out in public with a toothpaste plaster on their chin.

Fortunately, and here I have to ponder that there may in fact be a God, there were no television camera crews.

Because of course, news of this sort getting out to the public could jeopardize the condo valuation in my neighborhood. If you know anyone considering buying a $1,000,000.00+ condo in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area, get in touch with me. I'll tell you the truth about crime in the 'hood and how those cracks and chips in the brand new building's facade got there. You might want to familiarize yourself with the different gang tags so you know to whom you and your property actually belong. You'll have to talk to someone like me because this "news" never makes it on air.

Fortunately for me because I would have made my local television debut with toothpaste spackled on my jaw.

Because of the behemoth zit forming on my jaw. Because of all the stress I have in my life right now.

And now this.

Must. Find. Another. Job. So. I. Can. Move. Far. Away.

8:49 AM

Monday, May 03, 2004  
So much to blog, so little time.

I promise I will be back to my regular tomes soon.

Meanwhile, go
here to get a super cool map of Wisconsin. I like cheese, you like cheese, we all like cheese. This guide is exactly what we need. I ordered one a few weeks ago, it arrived yesterday. It surpassed my wildest dreams.

2:55 PM

 
More Work and How To be a Really Awful Neighbor
There are lots of bad things about working Saturday and Sunday (along with the other regular 5 weekday workdays). But the absolute worst is showing up Monday morning, "just another day," when everyone else is either all sing songy fresh from a weekend of rest and relaxation, or all worn out dreary from a weekend of too much fun or exertion.

And there you are, living la vida Groundhog Day.

It sucks.

It sucks especially badly in my office because they dump our trash on Friday night and don't touch it again until Monday night.

So my trash can, full of two days of debris from Saturday and Sunday, are full to brimming. Constant reminders that I worked the entire weekend and produced so much work (and trash) that I'll be teetering on the edge of trash disaster all day.

We've got a lot of trash disasters around here right now.

We're moving in, oh swut, 10 days. Yikes.

Yes. Right in the middle of the Really Big Project, our entire company is moving.

Because, you know, I don't have enough stress or issues in my life I needed a little something to shake up my comfortable little world.

I have to learn how to not care.

But how do you not care when it's in your intrinsic nature to care?

How do you become irresponsible when you are at your core, responsible?

"Just don't do it." you say.

All fine and good, thanks for the advice, but how do I manage those feelings of shame, guilt and personal disgrace when I just don't do it and it doesn't get done?

I know, I know, guilt is a waste of emotional energy. I know. But still. There it is.

Heck, entire religions are based on guilt.

Coupled with my long hours in the office all weekend, I'm trying to sleep without the aid of Tylenol PM. Which takes me back to my original issue: The lesbians having sex in the apartment below mine. I have new arsenal for that little situation, which I suspect is helping more than the really loud Space Invaders game.

Music.

I know, I know, even Ann Landers suggested that.

I haven't used that tactic before because I didn't want to be the neighbor who listens to her stereo in the bedroom. I generally try to be a good neighbor.

But things are getting out of reasonable hand.

I'm not sure, but I think I heard a guy with them for the past few nights.

Yes.

A threesome.

A very noisy threesome.

Yes.

Not only do I have to deal with two vocal, screamer, women, I've had the added privilege of a very vocal man, too. It sounds like they're hurting him.

You know, whatever, I just don't want to hear it.

I burned a special cd for the cause.

I've used it the past two nights, and last night I noticed things became very quiet after the third song. They were clearly afraid of a repeat of my cover of Sheryl Crow covering Led Zeppelin's Dyer Maker. Yes really.

What you're going for here are the most sexual, most obnoxious and most loud songs you can think of to embarrass or irritate your noisy sex neighbors.

I chose to begin subtle (ish), just play some suggestive mood music to let them know I can hear them. The possibility exists they didn't know I could hear them. So your first few selections have to be very sexually suggestive, leaving no trace of doubt that you are sending a subtle(ish) hint to them that you can hear them. Let's Get it On is the only real choice here. At the sound of the first moan, Marvin Gaye begins those opening twangy porn groove guitar and then the I can feel it babies and he takes it from there. The volume is loud enough to be heard, but not blaring (yet). In a lot of cases this song alone will be more than enough to send a very loud, clear signal to the offending neighbors.

If the moaning continues, Prince's Soft and Wet will send a very strong message.

Still going at it loud and strong?

Tommy James will send an increasingly obnoxious message. Why Crimson and Clover? Well, first, because I like the song, and secondly because it's loud and screaming and sort of sexually noisy. This is the last of the subtle hints.

Next up things get a bit more loud, a bit more obnoxious and a bit more sexual. Dyer Maker. For these purposes I suggest the Sheryl Crow version. This is one of the most annoying songs ever, and it's particularly annoying sung by Sheryl Crow. I like Sheryl, and I like that she had the cheek to cover Led Zeppelin, and I like that she had the cheek to cover an exalted stoner guy favorite Led Zeppelin. But it's just really obnoxious. Sing along with Sheryl on the oh oh oh oh oh oh, every tear I cry, oh oh oh oh oh oh every tear I cry part. If you've done it properly, even you will be annoyed with yourself.

Round out the subtle(ish) sing along set with Peter Frampton's Baby I Love Your Way. This is one of the all time ear worm greats. They'll be singing this piece of 70's crap pith for weeks. Sadly, so will you, but it will all be worth it when you get a full, decent, peaceful night of sleep.

And yet the neighbors are still loudly going at it? Sheesh. Who are these people? That's okay, we've got heavier artillery. Much heavier. The night is young and baby so are we.

Kiss - Prince. The Tom Jones/Art of Noise version is okay, too. When you sing along with them, and you will sing along with them, they are especially obnoxious. Prince and Tom manage to make the song, well, interesting. But you cannot. You are not Prince. You are not Tom Jones. You are just a poor soul living above very noisy lesbians. However, because you are not Prince or Tom, singing along to Kiss will be particularly horrid and therefore particularly effective in the war on sexually noisy neighbors. I find the "ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with" screamy part to be particularly effective (and surprisingly cathartic - try it yourself, scream along a la Prince, see how you feel. I know. I never noticed that before, either. Prince may really be God after all.)

What? The neighbors seem to be enjoying your musical renditions of sexually suggestive songs? Time for the big guns.

Beat So Lonely - Police. Sting, I love you. And one of the reasons I love you is this really horrible 80's song. Huh? Let me explain. This is a truly awful song. But. It's a truly great pop song. And that is the genius that is Sting. His songs are annoying pop songs, but they know they're annoying pop songs and they exalt themselves with their annoying pop songiness. I dare you, double dog dare you, to play this song in your car (or bedroom) and not scream along with Sting. I feel low low low, low low low, LOW, I FEEL LOW! Beat's so lonely, beat's so looooooon ley, whoa! I feel LOW! You're with me now, it's okay, I won't tell anyone. This is guaranteed to cause a prolonged bout of earworm (I know, I'm sorry) and annoy the crap (or sex) out of your neighbors. Especially effective if you bounce around on your bed a la The Police. Oh come on, just get in your 80's Sting place. It's easy and fun. No one's around, no one will see you. Let your hair down a little.

Laid - James. Of course. No Sending a Subtle(ish) Message to the Neighbors Downstairs their Nightly Noisy Sex Can Be Heard and is Keeping Me Awake mix would be complete without this classic. The great thing about this song is that Tim Booth does that yodel thing. The lyric she only comes when she's on top and yodeling? How could anyone not get the message?

Your neighbors are idiots? Continue on with Missionary Man - Eurythmics. Am I the only one who thought this song was about Annie being, well Annie, trapped in a relationship with a guy who likes to be on top? Seriously I just assumed it was about sex. Why did this song make the mix? Because I fell into an 80's mode when I was gathering songs, and because the chorus of "don't mess with the missionary man" is really grating. And screaming along with Annie is always fun. Try it.

I gotta get out of the 80's. So do you. Etta James. I Just Wanna Make Love to You. Forget At Last. This one's better Etta. It's sexy. It's saucy. It's loud. It's a heck of a lot of fun to sing along with in your bedroom. Especially if you are wearing that leopard and lace negligeé. Don't be embarrassed, I have one, too. We all do. That blaring sax, the screaming I don't want you, to be your slave, and the burlesque ooooh lo uve to you, mmmmmm lo uve to you, I can tell by the way you walk that walk. You might need a hairbrush or other microphone stand-in for this one. Something you can twirl is good. Especially something you will probably drop when you twirl it. Extra annoyance can be made by prancing around your bedroom in kitten heeled slippers to the striptease you've choreographed. Badly.

They still don't get the hint? They're still going at it? And they've got a guy involved now, too?

Try some just plain weird and obnoxious songs: Pixies-Manta Ray. I love this song but it's weird and stupid and only really good when you've had a few drinks and you're singing along. Since I am told Month number three He has no memory Of flyers in the night Oo, oo Oo, oo Yeah They went away My manta ray is all right, and the guitar is really loud, and if sung at top voice, this is sure to bother even the loudest neighbor, or at very least cause a major distraction and kill their sexy mood.

Forget sexy. Go for loud. Really, really loud.

And I don't mean loud as in volume (though that helps) I mean loud as in out and out guitars.

Smashing Pumpkins - Today hey, I like it too, but let's face it, Billy's voice is grating at 12:10 AM, and the guitar is really loud.

Shakin' by Eddie Money is good - it's got sexy bits and it's one of those really crappy 70's rock anthem ballad things. And we were shakin' oooooh, oooooh whoa oooohhhhhh. Sorry about that one, too. But it's all for a good cause.

Slow Ride - Foghat. I know. Classic. The best. Why didn't you think of that? Don't feel bad that you didn't think of that one, I'm really good at this sort of thing, okay? Yell out the SLEAZY and I'm in the mood, the rhythm is right parts. If you're feeling up to it you can attempt to sing the guitar parts. CAUTION: This may cause neighbors to call police!

Bad to the Bone - George Thorogood
Ain't Talkin' Bout Love - Van Halen
Any AC/DC (Thunderstruck is my personal choice for this endeavor)
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana - any Nirvana works just as well.
Planet of Sound - Pixies

If after all of that they're still making a lot of noise, you might as well just try to get some sleep on the couch. It might be more quiet in the living room.

7:50 AM

Sunday, May 02, 2004  
Worker Bee Drones On
The cool thing about working on Saturday and Sunday is that I can walk to work. I'm not on any schedule, apart from my self imposed schedule, and since the only other human I will come within four feet of contact is the security guard in the lobby, if I am disheveled or (gasp) smelly, it doesn't matter.

I enjoy my walks home, for the most part. The scenery is not exactly, well, scenic, but it's got a certain urban charm.

The thing about walking to work is that I am walking to the city and therefore, the scenery is much different.

I live about four miles from the Sears Tower. It's a really tall building. Not the tallest in the world, anymore, but still credible in terms of really tall buildings. So living four miles from it means, relatively, that it's pretty much in my backyard. Or in my case, front yard. It is: Omnipresent.

Which is cool. I like that. I like the Hancock Tower better, but that's another blog.

The Sears Tower becomes my focal point on my walk to work. As I tread those four or five miles to my office, it looms closer and larger.

It changes.

Today, for instance, it ducked in and out of fog and clouds. Now you see it, now you don't. Oh! There are the antennae! Oh! There's all of it!

You wouldn't think (the used to be) world's tallest building could hide. You wouldn't think you could misplace it.

But here's an interesting thing about Chicago: It's easy to lose sight of the Sears Tower.

Since I've lived here I've lost count of how many tourists have stopped me on the street for directions to the Sears Tower. "Where is it? It was right there a minute ago, and now we can't see it! It's the world's tallest building for cryin' out loud!"

I gently point them in the proper direction or tell them to get in a cab and ask to be driven to the Sears Tower.

On my usual morning commute, once on the train, I don't see it. My route is such that it is out of my field of vision or have my back to it. (my train is also underground) I take it in on the platform waiting for the train, note it's demeanor for the day. Bathed in early morning sunrise, all reflective and purple and smiley or black, monolithic and foreboding on cloudy or rainy days or shivering and frail on windy, snow tossed days. I've often thought about doing a series of paintings or photographs of the Sears Tower like Monet's Houses of Parliament series. (I know I'm not the first person to think it and it's probably been done.)

So walking to work allows me to have it in view until I am in the heart of the city.

This is cool. I like this.

What's not cool are the weird people I encounter in the early morning weekend hours. If you're not usually walking around a large city around 7 or 8 AM on a Saturday or Sunday morning you haven't met some of the more colorful inhabitants of our planet.

Let me introduce them to you.

Stoner Boy and Slack Dude: This dynamic duo cruise the streets looking for a handout. They've got munchies. Bad. They've probably been raving or otherwise partying all night (yes, people still rave. I know. I thought that was so 90's, too. But there's a big rave scene.) Stoner Boy will approach you, his eyes dilated and wild. He'd just scored a McMuffin when I encountered him. He talked with his mouth full of whatever that yellow stuff in a McMuffin is supposed to be, crumbs of McMuffin stuck in his two days of stubble. "Whoa, dude, (we're all dudes to Stoner Boy) I'm trying to get back to Aurora, can I have a buck?" Stoner Boy's costume includes: An Ecko t-shirt, huge baggie jeans, I mean enormously oversized and too long jeans, Puma sneakers, and a hemp macramé necklace. This is standard issue Stoner Boy wear. The thing about Stoner Boy is that if he cleaned up a bit, shaved, got off drugs long enough to undilate his pupils, he'd be cute. Some day, if he lives long enough and gets his life together, he might even turn out to be handsome. And he's apparently resourceful. If he would just use that energy for something other than panhandling and drugs. Shame that. He's somebody's son, somebody's bright hope and big dreams. Yet here is is panhandling, lying about needing to get to Aurora. Dude. If you were lucky enough to get out of Aurora in the first place, why would you want to go back? Secondly, if you DID want to go back to Aurora for any bizarre reason, it's going to cost you more than a dollar.

And what of Slack Dude? Can't say much about him except that he glommed onto Stoner Boy at the party last night (or somewhere along the way) and is still so high he cannot function properly. He just stands there, numb, mouth hanging open, slightly drooling, eyes vacant. He's gone. In Slack Dude's case, he was probably never really there.

A block later you may meet: Evangelical Woman. They frequently travel in pairs, but may split up to cover more territory. She's serving up salvation, taking names and saving souls. She is dressed in her Sunday best, heels and all. She will probably wear a trench coat, though not always. She will not wear much make-up, certainly not lipstick or nail polish. She will approach you, hunt you down if she has to, force eye contact, then cock her head beatifically and ask you if you would like information on salvation. The end is coming, apparently, we are in the end of days, and she's offering a ticket to Heaven. If you just give her your name, address and phone number. Because apparently God needs to know where to find you. Hey, there are a lot of us, we can't expect Him to remember all our addresses.

I pointed to Stoner Boy and Slack Dude and told her they were a couple of souls in desperate need to salvation.

She picked up her pace and headed in their direction.

A few blocks away I met: Party Girls. I know Party Girls. I have in fact been a Party Girl. Party Girls look like your sister, ex-(or current) girlfriend or your roommate from college. That's because Party Girls are your sister, ex-(or current) girlfriend or your roommate from college. Party Girls decide they are going to go out and let their hair down, have some fun, live a little. Good for them. Time flies when you're having fun. And meeting boys. And traipsing all over town with this one and that one. Eventually, the boys go home with other Party Girls. And Party Girls are looking at sunrise wondering where the swut they are and how they are going to get home. Particularly since they are still very drunk. Sometimes you may see them trying to unlock the door to a car which is clearly not theirs. (but probably looks like theirs) Surprisingly, shockingly, nothing bad seems to happen to Party Girls in this condition. Typically they do it once and get scared straight. You can spot a Party Girl by the nice, kicky outfit they're wearing, the smeared make-up (even smeared you'll be able to tell it's The Good Make-Up) and really expensive, cute little handbags they carry. They'll probably be wearing ridiculously high heels and at least one of them will be vomiting. "Good luck Party Girls, go home, drink lots of water and have some Vernors ready for the aftermath!"

A bit further along I saw: (Presumed) Homeless Guy. Sitting in a doorwell, spent bottle of MD 50-50 at his side. "This isn't the sort of neighborhood where homeless people drink and sleep in doorwells!" Guess again. Every neighborhood is the sort of neighborhood where homeless people drink and sleep in doorwells. You just haven't been up early enough on a weekend morning to see them. I tucked a dollar bill in his coat pocket and left him to sleep off his MD 50-50 buzz.

As I waited to cross the street (a few blocks after (presumed)Homeless Guy) I saw It. It was one of those old pick up trucks loaded and piled high with scrap stuff. I've never actually seen one in motion. I've only ever seen them parked on the street. I assumed they were being used as a dumpster, that even the trucks themselves were scrap. I was wrong. These are rolling dumpsters. And their drivers are out early, scavenging for more (s)crap to load into their truck. Now all I have to do is see one actually doing something, like, you know, selling or dumping, all the (s)crap in the back of the truck and my life will be complete.

Then I spotted it. The bastion of sanity in the early weekend dawn: A jogger. Jog, Yuppy, Jog! "Do those $200 sneakers and matching ensemble help you jog better? I've always wondered." Why are you looking at me like that? I just wondered. Sheesh.

As I neared the city centre, more people were about. Working stiffs like me. Bakers delivering their yummy carbs and sugary delights, newspaper delivery trucks loading up the kiosks, hotel doormen ushering VIPs into limos to take them to their early morning flights ("give yourself two hours to get through security!") and the occasional person like me, going into the office on a weekend to work on a big project.

See what you miss by sleeping in or lounging around with the cat and newspaper! There's a whole culture of people out there in the early morning weekend hours just waiting to greet you!

10:32 AM

 
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