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

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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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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

 
Wednesday, May 12, 2004  
Reality Wednesday
The Father of All Negotiators
Let's Make a Deal!

Oh wait. That's been used.

Plaid sportcoat. Bad toupeé. People frantically bargaining for things they don't need or even really want.

Buying a car, Let's Make a Deal. Name the guy Monte and it's all the same thing.

Funny, I just realized that.

Right.

Then.

Let's Make a Deal!
Players: Oh yeah, baby, we got playas! We got the polyester plaid sportcoat, toupeé wearing car salesman. We got a dumb girl. Grrrl. Yeah. Right. Whatever baby.

And we got her daddy.

Dumb Grrrl has decided, after not owning a car for a few years, that it's time to get back in the car ownership game.

And it is, of course, a game.

You gotcher insurance, yer license, yer maintenance, yer tax, yer title fee and don't ferget cher City sticker there fer where you live, and of course the vehicle itself.

Wait. This reality ain't set in Dogpatch. This reality is set in Motown. Thas right, the Mo-tor City.

Buying a car in Detroit should be a snap, right?

Let's tune into this week's reality and find out!

Dumb Grrrl nonchalantly, absently, perhaps foolishly mentions to her mother she is considering buying a car.

Cut to a split screen telephone conversation.

Dumb Grrrl, in a charmingly vintage urban apartment (we know it's urban because we hear the sound of gunfire in the not too distant background, Dumb Grrrl closes the window to hide the sound of street warfare from her mother.. Her mother worries, you know.) "I don't know, Mum, I wish I would have moved this year. It's just that all the good apartments are in neighborhood which require a car, at least for running errands. That's the great thing about my neighborhood, everything's right here and the public transportation is great. Well. Good. Well. Convenient. But for the same rent I could have a newer, nicer place. But I'd really need a car, at least for errands and stuff. And I'd live miles from my friends and the places I like to go, so yeah, I guess maybe it's time to think about getting a car again. And then I could just take off for a weekend and see you without much planning or notice."

Mum, in a cozy, pastoral rural setting, in a comfortable home, sun streaming in the squeaky clean windows, a pie baking in the oven. "Oh now that WOULD be lovely. But it's an awful expense, Dumb Grrrl, can you afford all that? Insurance alone in The City must be very expensive."

Dumb Grrrl: "Probably not. Unless I found a much less expensive apartment. It would be an expense, which I don't need right now, but I just feel like it's time. I've always had a car, Mum, even before I had a drivers license, and it's been great to be free of the car ownership responsibility, but I miss it. I finally miss it. Everyone said I would, even you said I wouldn't last 6 weeks without a car."

Mum: "But you did! And you've adjusted really well! We're all so proud of you!"

Dumb Grrrl: "Thanks. It hasn't always been easy. Schlepping kitty litter several blocks is no picnic."

Mum: "You need a man to do that for you."

Dumb Grrrl: "Don't start with that Mum."

Mum: "Oh goodness, there's your father, home from golf already! I better scoot."

Cut to another interior of the cozy, comfortable home, sun streaming in the squeaky other clean windows, we see a man in a comfortable recliner, looking over a small model car engine. Next to his chair we see a small plastic trophy cup emblazoned with "World's Greatest Dad."

Mum rushes into the room, pointedly turning off the telephone to disconnect her phone conversation.

"Well, it's finally happened." she says, hands on hips, somewhat exasperated.

"What's that?" the man says, looking up over his tri-focal glasses.

"That was Dumb Grrrl on the telephone." Mum says leadingly.

"Everything okay? Ankle all right?"

"Why? Did she say something to you about her ankle? Because I thought she sounded like her ankle hurt, but of course I didn't want to say anything, she gets so defensive about that. I'm sure I heard her limping when we were talking." Mum blurts, now worried, wringing her hands in anxiety.

"No, she didn't say anything to me about it I just assumed, that's all. What's finally happened to Dumb Grrrl?" he calmly, patiently asks, trying to change the subject and calm down Mum.

"She wants a car."

Silence.

More silence.

Then a smile begins to form on the man's face. Slowly at first, playing at the corners of his mouth. Then an all out beam of joy spreads across his face.

"I knew it! I knew she'd cave sooner or later!" he exclaims, setting down his model car engine next to his plastic "World's Greatest Dad" trophy and then jumping up from his recliner, skipping across the room to embrace Mum. "Dumb Grrrl wants a car! At last! I have a purpose! Life has meaning!"

"Do you think you can find her something safe? And good with gas?" Mum asks, again, leadingly.

"Of course! Besides, (Mum mouthing along) 'there are no unsafe cars, just bad drivers!' and Dumb Grrrl is a good driver, I taught her myself!"

Daddy is still holding a grudge against Ralph Nadar for Unsafe at Any Speed.

"Yes I am," he interrupts the voiceover, "The Corvair project took the fall for all the other car companies. Nader had a personal axe to grind with GM. He should be held personally responsible for the oil crisis of the 70's and the import craze. If it weren't for him Honda and Toyota and Datsun. Well, maybe not Datsun so much, would have never taken off the way they did. Ever seen what happens to a Civic in a crash? And SUV? I have. I've been to the Proving Grounds. I notice Nader didn't bother to write books about them."

"Yes dear, of course he didn't dear, but that was all a long time ago." Mum puts her arm on Daddy's shoulder, soothing him.

"Damn fine car the Corvair. Damn fine." Daddy mutters, purposefully folding a newspaper.

Meanwhile, back in the urban apartment, Dumb Grrrl is searching online for a car.

"I know what I want, it's just a matter of finding one at a price I can justify." she explains, eyeing several ads and online dealership offers. "If I buy a new one, I can use Daddy's employee family discount. It's a really great savings, sometimes it ends up costing less than a year or two year old car. I haven't told my dad I'm looking yet, he gets, well, over stimulated about these things. He loves a project. He especially loves a car project. So until I do my own research and know everything about the car I want, I don't want him to know anything about my car aspirations. Oh sure, in the end he'll be my front line of defense in the car buying war, but it's best to go in armed with a very informed opinion when approaching him with anything to do with a car. He's not a Negotiator, he is known at the dealerships as the Terminator. As in: He'll terminate any deal that isn't in the buyer's best interest. Yeah. My dad. The Terminator. We're all so proud." Dumb Grrrl says, rolling her eyes.

One hour later.

The phone rings.

Dumb Grrrl answers.

"Hiya darling! Your Mum says you're thinking about buying a car!" Daddy exclaims, a bit too jubilantly.

Aw geeze. Mum.

"Daddy, I'm just thinking about it, that's all. I just began looking, just testing the waters, seeing what's out there. I was thinking it's about time for the Summer 'what's left on the lot, priced to move, making way for the '05s' sales to begin." Dumb Grrrl says, in a manner reminiscent of Mum's worried manner.

"That's right, give it another month and they'll be forced to move that inventory. You don't want to actually buy for another month. But, now's the perfect time to make a few calls, see what's on the lots, let them know you're looking to buy, whet their appetite a bit. Then in another month or so they'll be starving, begging you to take their car." Dumb Grrrl is mouthing along with this, still rolling her eyes.

"I know Daddy, I know."

"So what are we going to buy? Your Mum doesn't want you in an SUV, and what with The War it's not right to drive one of those anyway. Besides, gas is going up a few pennies every day, you don't want to get stuck with a vehicle you can't afford to drive. No, I think you want small, something sporty, something with some pep, damn shame about the Corvair...."

"I was thinking about...."

"Another year or two and that car would have swept the market. Instead Nader just cleared the way for Ford to get in there with their Mustang. Nothing against the 60's Mustang project, fine vehicles, very fine, but the Corvair project could have been great." Dumb Grrrl mouthing along
with this, too.

"I know Daddy, I know. It was too bad. And now he's running for president."

"Don't think that wasn't his plan all along. Think about it: Get the public all worried about vehicle safety, blows in acting like Superman saving the public from the big horrible menace, they won't buy small cars, so we had to build big, bulky, gas gulping vehicles, which of course led to the oil shortage, and that just opened the door to Japanese imports, but where was Ralph Nader then? By that time he was off at Consumer Reports, taking on airlines and microwave ovens. Laying low while the US car companies struggled to get back to where they were headed before Nader scared everyone, and then POW! Nader runs for president, all that Florida business happened, and here we are at war in Iraq with our boys coming home in body bags....

"Um, Daddy, do you really think Unsafe at Any Speed is actually an anti Iraq manifesto? That Nader masterminded the war in Iraq back in '65? "

"Well maybe not all by himself."

"Iococa?"

"I'm just saying..."

"Nevermind. About my car."

"Right. I drove down Woodward last week, played a good round at Bloomfield, by the way."

"Congratulations."

"Thanks. I noticed Al's got a full lot, so does Bob."

"Daddy! I don't want a Buick!"

"Of course not. Something sporty, young, grrrl about town."

"Right."

"That's exactly what I thought. So I took a look online and gave Jim a call."

"He already gave 'Jim' a call? I only let it slip to Mum an hour ago!" Dumb Grrrl screams at the home viewing audience, muting the phone as she does so.

"Jim did a quick dealer inventory check and told me North is overstocked, not making their numbers, so by the end of next month they are going to be all but giving those cars away."

"Okay." conceding that for all her exasperation, Daddy is useful and knows some helpful people when it comes to car buying.

"I was thinking if you could get yourself home this weekend we could go over and take a look."

"Oh geeze. Take a look. I'm not sure I'm ready to take a look! I've only just started thinking about this." Dumb Grrrl says to the home viewing audience.

"Show a little interest, let 'em know you're considering a purchase, get them interested in YOU."

"I know the drill, Daddy, I'm just not sure I'm ready or that I can get over there this weekend. I was thinking I'd buy it here, in the City,"

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

"Daddy?"

"Of course, of course, there, in the City, I suppose that would make some sense. I can have Jim do a check on dealers there. But you know we always buy here in Detroit."

"Because you LIVE there!"

"No, no, it's not just that."

"I have to go, Daddy, sorry, I really have to get going."

Three hours later.

The phone rings.

Dumb Grrrl: "Hello?"

"Hiya Dumb Grrrl. I gave George a call. He worked with the City district, you know. He said none of those dealers there are any good. You're better off buying here. You'll save sales tax, too."

"I'm supposed to report it to the State Department of Treasury and pay the difference on my income taxes. It's the law."

"Are you sure about that? People drive from all over the country to buy here in Detroit. Can't imagine they're making all that effort if they're paying the difference in sales tax on their income taxes. I gave North a call. They've got three vehicles I think should be just what you want. Sure you can't get here this weekend?"

"Maybe."

"Right. We'll go over Saturday."

Two days later.

Cut to an interior shot of a car.

Daddy and Dumb Grrrl are in the front.

"Now remember, don't let them think you're too interested. Cool and indifferent. Because you are..."

"Cool and indifferent. I'm good at that Daddy. I do aloof really well, too."

"That's my girl!"

We see Dumb Grrrl via a reflection in the car window. She is nonplussed. She IS cool and indifferent.

Daddy, trying to get into Terminator persona, however, is hot and eager.

"I printed out all the specs, did you see them? Take a look!"

"I looked at them online. I try not to print much, the whole point of computers is to save paper and trees."

"I know, I know, but you ask any dealer, or any sociologist. They'll all tell you. If you walk into one of these situations empty handed they immediately think you haven't done your homework. Empty hands mark you out as a potential sucker. You want to go in there with list prices, deals from other lots, safety reports, insurance quotes...let them know you're no fool. Because if you're empty handed that's what they'll assume."

"Wouldn't that be a good reverse psychology ploy - go in empty handed when in actuality you've got all those details memorized?"

Lovingly patting Dumb Grrrl's knee, "All those years at University, all that training in marketing...I suppose naturally you would think that. Good thing you have me. See, you're too logical, too textbook, too educated. Dealers Dumb Grrrl, dealers. We're dealing with dealers here. All your double reverse psychology falls to the wayside out on the lot. You'll see. Once you're in that situation, there, on the lot, the slick salesman wanting to run the numbers, all that knowledge stored in your head will evaporate. Even the good ones choke under the pressure.
Remember the Electra?"

"Is that a car?"

"Yes. A big, ugly Buick. It was a horrible vehicle. Hated it. But that's what happened. Did all my research, certain I wanted the Bonneville, just stopped in to see what Buick was offering, a little comparison shopping, naturally I went in empty handed, I wasn't buying! Next thing I remember the numbers had been run and I was explaining to your Mum why we had a big ugly car sitting in the driveway. Temporarily memory loss and stupidity. Never before, never since. Never go empty handed. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone."

"Okay." Dumb Grrrl absently flips through the papers, noticing some of the pages have nothing to do with cars or dealerships.

"I think you have some other stuff mixed in here," pulling out Map Quest directions to Albany. "Are you going to New York?"

"Just filler. Needed a few colorful pages to flip, figured Albany was good for three or four pages."

"Oh. Of course. Why didn't I think of that."

The two drive by a row of several car dealerships.

The Terminator (recently Daddy) pulls in a side entrance.

Dumb Grrrl has been present at too many of these trips to question this maneuver. 'Pretend you're just going back to the service center. The salespeople won't realize you're shopping at first. It buys you a few minutes, maybe more if they're busy.'

"The thing is, as stupid as it sounds, he's right, it works." Dumb Grrrl tells the home viewing audience. "It requires a pre strike fact finding mission to find the service entrance, but it's worth it."

The Terminator and Dumb Grrrl look at a few cars. Dumb Grrrl is visibly taken with one.

"What are you doing? Don't linger there too long! They'll see you! They'll know you're interested. Too interested!" The Terminator whisper-yells to Dumb Grrrl. "Quick! Over there! That ugly sedan! Go! Show equal interest in that one!"

Dumb Grrrl does as she's told, feigning delight and arousal at a four door mid size generic car.

She sees his reflection first.

She is startled.

Like a snake, quietly slithering and stalking its prey, its prey not knowing what hit it until it's too late, (insert Jaws! attack sound effects here) Dumb Grrrl is frozen, struck down by the polyester plaid sportcoat, orange tanned, toupeé wearing car salesman. The Dealer. "Fine looking car!"

That's his opening gambit? Really? That's the best he can do? Dumb Grrrl must look dumber than she thinks.

"mmm, yeah, it's a nice color." she says, remembering everything her father has taught her and suddenly wishing she wasn't empty handed.

"Real good on gas, too." The Dealer enthuses with a smarmy smile.

Dumb Grrrl smiles and nods. Thinking that by feigning indifference for a car she is truly indifferent about will throw The Dealer off his game.

"He'll think I'm feigning apathy in order to try to finagle a good deal out of him on this car, when in fact I truly couldn't care less about this car, so the joke's on him." Dumb Grrrl explains to the home viewing audience.

The temperature drops. The sky darkens. No wait. The sun is still shining, we're just in the shadow of: The Terminator. Six feet two inches and 275 pounds of ex Marine (and retired automotive executive) ready to kick polyester plaid sportcoat, toupeé wearing car salesman butt.

He is not empty handed. Of course. He puts out his hand in greeting to The Dealer, and the other on the shoulder of Dumb Grrrl. He is: Claiming his territory.

There are a couple of issues at play here, they are subtle so we'll watch in slow motion replay.

The Terminator beat The Dealer at his own silent stalking game. The moment the temperature dropped, Dumb Grrrl knew she was safe within the shadow of The Terminator. She let down her guard (right there, see? right there she's letting down her guard). The Dealer, sensing guard being let down (dealers, salespeople, they all have The Gift. The Gift of knowing when guard has been let down) and ready to claim another victory has a moment of elation. Elation which is just as quickly daunted with the appearance of The Terminator.

Right there you'll see the smarmy smile on The Dealer turn to resigned indignation. If you look very closely you might catch him saying, "The Terminator. Oh swut. The Terminator. Why me? Why God, why me?"

The Terminator's double handed play of handshake greeting and simultaneous hand on Dumb Grrrl's shoulder establishes several things: The Terminator is much bigger than The Dealer. The Terminator is willing to be friendly or at least go through the motions. The Terminator owns Dumb Grrrl and all she will ever possess so if The Dealer has any plans on screwing her over he might just as well go stalk some other less fortunate prey. And in placing his hand on Dumb Grrrl's shoulder, he also makes a big show of the fact that he is not empty handed, that he has facts, figures and directions to Albany.

So don't even try to take advantage of her, Dealer. Don't even try it.

The Dealer, trying to regain enough territory to escape The Terminator and Dumb Grrrl, shakes The Terminator's hand (much too vigorously) and enthuses about the weather.

"Very nice day." The Terminator agrees in a faint, unrecognizable accent which causes Dumb Grrrl to roll her eyes. "Dumb Grrrl is visiting us this weekend, she lives in The City, came to see her mother for Mother's Day (The Dealer smiles a really phony awwww that's nice smile). We were on the way to pick up a bouquet at Schmale's, saw you had a full lot, thought we'd have a look around."

Which of course leaves the stack of facts, figures and directions to Albany unaccounted for, but The Terminator isn't interested in details. He assumes The Dealer is too stupid to sort it all out anyway.

And this is where Dumb Grrrl shows us how she got her name.

"I saw the silver-with-grey-interior-all-option-except-sunroof-but-that's-okay-I-don't-want-a-sunroof-over-there-and-wondered-what-you're-asking-for-it."

The Terminator is in shock.

The Dealer is in shock.

Dumb Grrrl is in shock.

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

The Dealer is the first to speak. "You mean THAT silver-with-grey-interior-all-option-except-sunroof-but-that's-okay-you-don't-want-a-sunroof-over-there?" pointing toward the exact car Dumb Grrrl has been coveting online.

"Yeah, or you know, that one," Dumb Grrrl says, sensing the wrath of The Terminator and trying to back peddle out of her blunder, pointing to a blue-with-tan-interior-no-options-with-sunroof.

Stepping in to try to clean up the mess Dumb Grrrl has made, The Terminator uses his weapon of Dealer Destruction: Paperwork. Insurance quotes. MSRP figures. A few emails from Jim at HQ. Tips on getting though Canadian customs on your way to Albany.

We're of course just looking, want to check out the safety features.

"Why don't I go get the keys and we can take her for a spin. Let her do the talking?" The Dealer asks.

Smooth, Dealer, real smooth.

Do you think you're dealing with amateurs here? Okay, yes, Dumb Grrrl, but The Terminator will never fall for that.

"I'd like to take a look under the hood." The Terminator says.

The Dealer stops dead in his tracks.

"Under the hood." he deadpans. "Yessir, of course, you want to look under the hood. I'll just go get the keys."

The Terminator and Dumb Grrrl head to the silver-with-grey-interior-all-option-except-sunroof-but-that's-okay-I-don't-want-a-sunroof.

"Ooooh, I like it even better up close!" Dumb Grrrl whispers to The
Terminator.

"Sssshh." he snaps. Then, "it is a good looking vehicle, isn't it?"

The Dealer returns with the keys. "Here we are, we'll just pop the hood for you Dad, and you, little lady can see how she feels behind the wheel!"

Scratch of record. Dad? Little? Lady? See how she feels?

What the heck did you inhale in there Dealer? Did you huff an entire can of over familiarity on your way out here? You know you're dealing with The Terminator, why take stupid chances with the textbook salesman jargon? Are those Sans-a-belt slacks? Do they still make those?

This is where The Terminator earns HIS name. He begins pointing and rattling off engine facts and figures, all peppered with name dropping from people at HQ. As if The Dealer knows anyone remotely affiliated with anything to do with the actual car other than the other salespeople.

Dumb Grrrl is over her Feminazi indignation and is making vroom vroom noises and imitating Racer X in the parked vehicle. With the door open. So everyone can hear her. Hey. She IS Dumb Grrrl.

The Dealer says to The Terminator, "I think she'd like to take her for a spin."

The Terminator, apparently satisfied for the moment, closes the hood. "You want to drive it, see how it handles?" he asks, giving Dumb Grrrl a look which says, "The only appropriate answer is no."

"Uh huh." Dumb Grrrl trying to be indifferent, cool, aloof, but knowing she will be facing the wrath of The Terminator for admitting she wanted a test drive this early in the game.

"We'll just need a copy of your driver's license and away we go." The Dealer says.

Dumb Grrrl hands over her driver's license. The Dealer leaves. The Terminator says, "Test drive? We're just looking! Just testing the water! Now he knows we're interested, too interested. REMEMBER! Because you've forgotten everything else, remember DON'T TELL HIM I'M A RETIRED EMPLOYEE! We want him to give us his very best offer, we accept, and THEN we mention the employee family discount." Silence. Then: "Engine seems sound enough, it's well rated, glad to have a look at one. The boys did a few interesting things under there."

"Yeah dad, whatever."

The Dealer returns. The three set off on a test drive.

The dealership is located on the Dealer Strip - car dealerships of every brand are located on both sides of a miles long strip.

As Dumb Grrrl drives The Dealer points out features of the car. The Terminator points out cars at other dealerships. "Dumb Grrrl, there's the one I was telling you about at Al's. I see Smiths' has moved a lot of their inventory in the past few weeks. Dumb Grrrl, remember when we got your brother's Camero there? Got a great deal on that one."

The Terminator is trying to regain territory lost in the premature test drive.

Dumb Grrrl silently concentrates on maneuvering the heavily congested road and seeing "how she handles."

She handles just fine.

Dumb Grrrl puts her through her paces. Dumb Grrrl punches the accelerator and takes a sharp, fast turn when The Dealer isn't expecting it. He is thrown into the side of the door.

He (smartly for once) does not make a comment about this.

The Terminator smiles a "That's my girl" smile.

The trio returns to the dealership lot.

"Well? What do you think? You want to run the numbers?" The Dealer beams.

"No, no, we're going to have to think about it. We really weren't in the market today. Like I said, Dumb Grrrl is just visiting this weekend, when she's ready she'll probably buy in The City." The Terminator interjects.

The Dealer is crestfallen. "The City? Everyone comes HERE to buy, the Motor City! Ol' Motown. Deee Troit. I'm sure we've got a better deal than anything you'll find in The City. AND our sales tax is less."

"She'll have to pay the difference on her state income tax." The Terminator knowledgeably counters.

"No one does that." The Dealer rebuffs.

Dumb Grrrl and The Terminator (he, the newly, for the moment, sales tax convert) give The Dealer looks of shock.

"I wouldn't want to be the one to get caught." Dumb Grrrl says.

"No, that would be bad." The Terminator agrees. "Well, (offering a handshake, and simultaneously putting his other hand on Dumb Grrrl's shoulder) thank you, Dealer, good to have a look at the car."

Awkward silence.

Really awkward silence.

Annoying silence.

The Terminator finally speaks, "Right, Dumb Grrrl we have to get going, have to pick up those flowers!"

"Right, yes, we have to go. Now." Dumb Grrrl agrees. "Thanks Dealer. Bye."

The Dealer remains silent.

The Terminator and Dumb Grrrl Just Walk Away.

The Dealer doesn't offer so much as free undercoating.

He lets them go. They're off the lot.

Back in the car, The Terminator insists, "We've got him right where we want him. I'll keep an eye on the lot, see if they move any of these cars, especially this one, of course. If it's still here in a month I guarantee The Dealer will a few things to say then!"

"Next month is really better for me anyway. Besides, I really do want to buy in The City." Dumb Grrrl insists.

"No you don't. You'll get a better deal here." The Terminator insists.

"I don't know about that." Dumb Grrrl counter insists, casually looking at the route to Albany.

"I'm very surprised he didn't make some sort of offer."

"He DID want to run the numbers."

"If he really wanted to sell he wouldn't have bothered to run the numbers. He knows the numbers. The only number that matters is the sale price."

Dumb Grrrl cracks up.

Dumb Grrrl is glad she is not in immediate need of a car. She knows this could take a while. She knows The Terminator is leading in the car purchase dance. She is okay with this. Because she is too close to it. She can't see all the angles as clearly as she should. She knows she needs a Negotiator. She knows The Terminator is the Father of all Negotiators when it comes to cars. She will wait, patiently, and continue to do her own legwork, until the right car at the right price happens.

And it will happen. The Terminator is patient, but he is also relentless in his pursuit of a good deal on a good car.

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9:05 AM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004  
Fantasies of a Working Girl, Part 2, No Haiku
Places I'd rather be right now, at this exact moment:
Home.
The Highlands.
London.
Vancouver.
On a plane to Italy.
Having drinks after work.
Having drinks.
Catching the Tuesday night special movie deal at City North.
In bed.
Alone.
Or with my cat.
Or HWNMNBS.
Or both.
Riding my bike.
Anywhere.
Shopping.
Shoe shopping.
Negotiating a car purchase.
With a polyester plaid sportcoat wearing salesman.
With a toupee.
And a gold medallion necklace.
Talking to my lawyer @ $100/hour.
Having my yearly female exam.
Exposing my pathetic life on any FOX "reality" show.
Having my yearly female exam on a FOX "reality" show.
Having dinner at McDonalds. Big Mac with a side of McRibs.
Wearing a bikini eating slugs in a sealed coffin on Fear Factor.
Chained to a wall in the hottest corner of Hell for all eternity.

5:04 PM

 
Negotiating
I've said it before, and here I go again: Everyone needs a Negotiator in their life. Everyone probably needs several Negotiators in their life.

More importantly, everyone needs to know when they need their Negotiator(s).

A lot of people, and no, not just men, don't realize when they are too close to a situation or, their ego will not allow them to let go of "control" of the situation.

"Control" is of course relative. Because in situations requiring a Negotiator, control is never in your hands or those of your Negotiator. That is, except, for the Ultimate Control. The Ultimate Control is the power to Just Walk Away.

Most of us know when to Just Walk Away, but few of us do it.

Pride? Stupidity?

No: Good manners. It's our polite, "gosh I don't want to be rude Mom didn't raise me that way" manners which keeps our feet planted to the showroom floor or car lot pavement. Manners keep us from Just Walking Away. Because that seems rude. It doesn't seem nice to Just Walk Away from the guy trying to pawn off, erm, sell a car, television, apartment or other big ticket item. Like legal services.

I have spent $500 to have a lawyer "look" at my apartment lease to see if I can get out of it without paying 10 months of rent. (the time left on my lease.)

Sounds pretty basic, right? And given the facts that there was a drive-by shooting in front of my building, and that my bathroom and kitchen were to have been re-habbed two years ago (and have not seen as much as a paintbrush), and that oh yeah, by the way, the wiring is not "up to code" you might think I have two very sturdy legs to stand on in regards to getting out of my lease.

Guess again.

$500 later I have learned because the shooting did not occur in my building, and according to the police report, next door to my building and not directly in front of it, and because the landlord reserves all rights to building maintenance and repairs, and because the building is old enough to be grandfathered into the new codes (the codes re-written in the 60's) I am stuck in my lease.

You might think, after paying $500 for legal counsel I would just give up, walk away, shrug it off and say, "I'll move next Spring."

And I might. If it weren't for the fact that my ace counsel apparently didn't read all of my lease. Because when I brought up a few questions, a few, what I thought might be loopholes, my ace counsel replied, "Oh. I didn't read that part. Where is that?"

Here's where a Negotiator would have been helpful.

A Negotiator would have stood up, put their hands on their hips and said, "Whoa. Hang on there a minute. What have you done for $500? Hmmm? Since you clearly did not read the lease you owe us a refund. Or, several more hours of work included in that $500."

A Negotiator would have negotiated with a Negotiator (the lawyer).

But I didn't have a Negotiator with me. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So instead I began pointing out all the possible loopholes in my lease, you know, doing the lawyer's job. My paid Negotiator.

All said and done, the lawyer said, "We might be able to get you out of this, if your landlord will negotiate. That could be a lot of phone calls, perhaps even dealing with his lawyer. You do run the risk of incurring as much money in legal fees as if you bought out your lease."

A Negotiator would have said, "What? We've paid you $500, you didn't even read the lease, we did the work for you, and now you're telling us you're going to charge us upwards of $11,000 to get out of a lease? That's robbery! And stupidity! Come on, we're outta here."

Me and The Negotiator would Just Walk Away in an incensed huff.

The lawyer would feel guilty and concerned about all the slander The Negotiator would inflict, and would chase after us, begging us to allow her to represent us, at no further cost. "I'll get you out of that lease if it's the last thing I do!"

But instead, me, negotiator-less, just sat there dumbfounded, pondering the thought of coming up with $11,000 (my current lease buyout price) for the luxury of moving out of my apartment.

Into an as yet unfound new apartment.

Which will cost money. And require a Negotiator.

And then find movers, get my stuff packed and moved. Which will require a Negotiator (hey, you try to find movers in this city between April 1 - and July 31. I dare you.)

And so it was that I, tail between my legs, I took my lease, sulked home, examined the patch job on the chunks shot out of the million dollar condo building next to my building, tried to shrug it off, made my way up four flights of stairs to my un-rehabbed apartment, sighed and said, "I tried. Another year in this dump."

5:52 AM

Monday, May 10, 2004  
"PC Load Letter? What the f#@k does that mean?"

Once again the documentary of my life: Office Space.

Two days to The Big Move.

Two weeks before The Big Event.

And my printer refuses to print anything other than double images in a color which can only be described as: Not on any PMS chip chart I've ever seen.

More proof that I have the worst karma any human on the planet has ever possessed.

Tech support!

Right.

That'll happen.

So guess who's spending precious time preparing documents to be printed at a service bureau?

As if I need this aggravation in my life.

The bigger issue is of course our stellar tech support group.

I have tried to be patient, I have tried to be sympathetic, I have tried to understand.

But I have gone over, all the way over, to the other side.

The side where tech support, IS, IT, the whole lot of them, are reviled, loathed and hated more than Satan, George Bush and clowns.

Oh sure, in the past I have lamented and moaned and complained, but in practice I've always tried to play the game, the tech support guys are Gods game. I know these guys thrive on ego feed.

I know the ticket to resolving any computer related issue is cooing "oh Steve, you're so smart, I never would have figured out how to jiggle that cord" or "Turn it off? Then on? Really? That's all I had to do? Wow. No wonder you're the tech support guy!"

They were the nerds and geeks of every school they ever attended. They've probably never had a girlfriend. Because they spend their spare time (and money) on mother boards and Star Wars related paraphernalia and events. Some of them are actually really nice people. Let it be said, I know this to be true. I have encountered a few very clever, very nice tech support people. I really have. They do exist. But they are a rare breed. And as you might suspect, they are unpopular in the tech support circles. They don't fit in with the other jurkels. And I have seen this too: They are the first to be cut when (inevitably) the tech budget can no longer support a team the size of a NASA launch base crew to manage the company's network. The loud mouth don't know it all's are the ones who are spared, the ones with a job. The nice, quiet, efficient ones are axed without so much as a drink after work. Because they never fit in with the others. They solved problems. They didn't treat everyone like idiots. They didn't pull an air of superiority. They weren't afraid to admit they didn't know everything. They saw bigger pictures and grand workflow schemes. They were well liked by everyone not in the tech department.

They were simply not cut out to be tech support people.

And so it is most companies are left with loud mouthed jerks who know little more than the rest of us about computers, printers and networks, but feel they must maintain the upper hand at all cost.

And so it is I am adding more chaos and stress to my life because none of my four printers will print. Anything.

And all I get from tech support is attitude.

Go over their heads! you suggest.

Ah yes. The pulling rank ploy.

In any other department of any company, this last resort tactic might get something accomplished.

But tech support departments are granted Universal Immunity in this regard.

Even the President and Chairman of the company fear the tech support group, the virus, network downtime and computer chaos that "could" happen if they rock the tech department boat.

And the tech people know this. They know they are golden. Because they know people are not afraid of them, but afraid of what might happen without them, or more to the point, afraid of the little bit of inside knowledge they possess. They can't get a printer to print for three weeks, but they can download the entire financial statements and inside info on the company in a matter of minutes. They can read email. They "could" know something. Something which is best kept in the confines of the company. They plant hints and allegations that letting them go will unleash such computer devastation that the company will fold within weeks. They fancy themselves as the company Sword of Damocles, and go out of their way to perpetuate this myth.
Soon people, high ranking people, are afraid. They may know the tech group are loud mouthed idiots, that their 12 year old nephew could do a better job maintaining and updating the company's computers, but they're afraid. They gave away the keys to the kingdom and now they have to bow down at the altar of Jurkel.
And I am stuck re-doing a lot of work so that it can be printed at a service bureau.

Two days before The Big Move.

Two weeks before The Big Event.

10:06 AM

 
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