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

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

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

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

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

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

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

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



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

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

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

200i: iPodyssey

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

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

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

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

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

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

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

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

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


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

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

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

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

Lap Dance of the Cripple

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

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

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

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

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

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

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

Mail Trillian here

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


Alliance for the Great Lakes

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

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

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

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

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

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


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life(?) of Trillian

Saturday, July 24, 2004  
Several months after 9/11 I remember the wife of one of the passengers on a 9/11 plane saying she couldn't bring herself to wash her husbands clothes or pillow case. His scent still lingered on those items and she was clinging to them for comfort, to feel a connection to him.

I was with a friend at the time this interview aired, and her response was, "Ewww. Gross. It's been months. I feel bad for her but this reminds me of Monica Lewinsky not getting The Dress cleaned."

My friend is a bit of a neat freak and has no sentimental attachments to things.

But I understood exactly what the widow meant. I went through the very same thing every time HWNMNBS would leave and swut knew when I'd see him again. His scent once lingered on his pillow for two full months. I would bury my face in the pillow and breathe in as deeply as I could. For those moments he was there with me. At least part of him. And no, it's not because he's a big, smelly ogre. (even though he does look like Shrek) I am so tuned into him, so connected to him, I am programmed to sense his smell. It's probably a very basic biological thing.

Part of our animalism is our sensory system. And while we're feeble, bumbling amebas compared to other animals' sensory systems, we humans are gifted with some amazing powers.

Current Person of Interest (POI) remarked, on one of our oppressively hot and sticky days last week, that the smell of the hot tar reminded him of Summer and working with his father. He couldn't shake the memory.

I knew exactly what he meant. Smells can trigger such deeply embedded memories it can be difficult to tell memory from current time. It's not deja vu, but it feels similar. In this case, the event has already happened. But it wasn't fully remembered until the exact combination of smells were mixed and offered. The results can be staggering.

I've had it happen to me. I knew exactly what he meant.

Every time I go to an airport, which has been many, many times in my life. (someday just for kicks I should try to figure out just how many trips to airports I have made in my life) But every time I get that first whiff of diesel and tar, I am instantly transported to when I was four years old and my grandparents flew in for a visit.

Way back then, you could stand outside on a deck type thing, equipped with those binocular/telescopy, 10 minute view for a dime things, and scope the incoming airplanes. Entire families would come from church, in their Sunday best clothes, and assemble up there on Sunday afternoons presumably to just watch the planes land and take off. My family didn't do this, but we'd arrive early so we could watch the arriving airplane carrying our guest. (or more frequently, my father home from a business trip) But for some reason, this one particular outing is the one always conjured the second I smell that mix of airplane diesel and tar. My mum telling me what to look for on the tail, my father holding me, the yellow gingham sundress with the wide white rick rack trim I was wearing, my brother mimicking a submarine captain on the binocular/telescopy, 10 minute view for a dime thing, my dad pointing to a seemingly empty sky announcing, "This must be them! Right on time!" Me gazing into the clear blue sky and seeing nothing but fluffy white clouds, my brother announcing he had them locked in the scope, me feeling stupid and little because I couldn't see the plane, any plane, my father still holding me with one arm, grasping the back of my head and turning it to the direction of the incoming airplane with his other hand, my mum asking if I saw it, if I could read the tail wing, "Yes! Yes! I see it! I see them! Can they see us?!" my mum telling me to wave to gran and grandad because they could see us, watching the airplane gracefully land and glide to a stop on the tarmac, the breeze from the jets blowing my hair into my face, and then the anticipation of watching each of the passengers walk down the steps of the plane onto the tarmac (yes, it was way back then, before all airplanes and all flights deplaned through a gangway) while the captain and crew said good-bye to all the passengers. Then finally, finally! My gran appeared in the door, I screamed and waved at her. She heard me. She saw me. She saw me first out of all of us. I know this because she waved right back to me and said something to my granddad who ducked his head through the door of the plane, squinted and then waved at me.

We then ran at breakneck speed to greet my grandparents in the reception area of the airport. A nice, pleasant, modern, exciting place. Nothing like airports now.

All these years, all these flights and trips to the airport later, and still, to this day, that is the one trip I always, always remember, in a split second, when I get the first whiff of airport.

Sentimental attachments to smells. Bred and adapted to our human condition.

1:23 PM

Thursday, July 22, 2004  
Trilian's Guide to Evolution, Part I
If the Universe had intended for humans to live in this climate it would have populated the area with evolutionary DNA which would have led to the sprouting of humans in this area.

This can be said for lots of areas around the globe. Some of which I have inhabited. Many which, Universe help me, I never will. I may be comprised of questionable helix matter, but I consider myself to be of a slightly more clever gene swamp in that I have the ability to reason and rationalize that I was never meant to live in Florida...Texas...Ethiopia...Cicero. I keep my DNA as far away as possible from those places. I was never meant to be there, they don't want me or my kind there.

Other people fight evolution and DNA and move to these places.

There are places all over the globe which were not populated by humans until humans got sick enough of the others in their clan to bother to figure out how to ride a horse, build a wagon or sea worthy boat.


Disdain and loathing drove the human race on a quest to fight evolution.

Some will argue that's part of the process of evolution.

Meaning, we've been bred to hate our neighbors.

To the point of moving half way round the world to get away from them.

To the point of living in a climate not fit nor ever meant for human habitation.

If you haven't guessed, this is a rant about the humidity we're suffering with in Chicago this week.

They promise an end as soon as tomorrow.

I know, as Summers in Chicago go, this one has been a breeze. Literally. A cooler at the Lake chilly breeze. And I have been grateful for every day under 80 degrees with low humidity and a chilly breeze off the Lake.

I have thanked the Universe and appropriate gods and goddesses. I've left offerings at the Shrine of Michelle Leigh on the FOX Plaza.

And now this.

Apparently I have not appropriately appeased the weather gods and goddesses.

So now I suffer.

What do you want Michelle? What?!

I don't like to complain about the weather. I don't like it when other people complain about the weather.

Deal with it, I think and say.

But dammit it's making me miserable and that makes me cranky and that does not make me very attractive to anyone least of all the current Person of Interest.

To say nothing of the rather unattractive perspiration which beads up on me within ten seconds of stepping into anyplace which is above 80 degrees and 80% humidity.

I don't envy the people I see who appear to be completely unaware or unbothered by the rise in temperature and humidity. Apparently their DNA is faster adapting than mine. I know. I should heed my own words: Adapt and evolve or be quiet or go away. But being able to comfortably walk about in 80+ degree temps and humidity is not a goal I have for myself. I, nor other humans, were simply not meant to be here. If some freak of genetics enables these people to endure and even thrive in this sort of climate, it's not evolution, it's a duck billed platypus. There is no reason why they should not only survive but thrive in this sort of climate. Yet there they are. And I have no desire to be a duck billed platypus. I'll stick to the evolution high road, thank you very much. I'm sure some scientist somewhere will write to tell me all the reasons why certain people can tolerate certain climates and others cannot. That's all fine and well, points well taken, but really, seriously, if nature intended for humans to live here, wouldn't nature, biology, have planted our alpha microbes in Lake Michigan back when it was a glacier?

This makes me ponder my gene pool. Again.

My DNA does appear to want to evolve to adapt to hot, humid climates. It is: Stubborn. Or as my mum defends of me, "determined." (Ask her. She'll tell anyone, "Trillian's not stubborn. She's just very, very determined." Thanks Mum.) My DNA has determined this climate was not intended for human habitation, and my DNA is determined to keep me miserable until I return to the climate in which nature intended me to live. Or it's just too lazy or too stupid to adapt and evolve.

Whatever the case, I am miserable.

My "charming vintage" apartment of course does not have central air conditioning. It barely has radiant heat. There is no duct work to convert the building to central air and heat. This is the case with many, many buildings and houses. Another product of adaptation and subsequent evolution: Ductwork and the entire HVAC industry.

I have a window air conditioning unit in the bedroom which does a very good job of keeping me from committing homicidal acts.

That is when Furry Creature isn't sprawled in front of it blocking the release of air. (He's very big. Very, very big. And very furry. Very, very furry. I feel sorry for him in this heat with all that fur, so I don't move him. I also prefer to keep my blood in my body, so I do not move him.)

But try to apply make-up in 135% humidity.

Try putting on hose in 135% humidity.

I've had to resort to my most hated of all office crimes: Assembling oneself at work.

I arrive at the office extra early to do this, unlike the habitual office assembling women who feel it is appropriate to spend up to an hour after their scheduled work start time dressing, making-up and hair styling themselves.

I do an abbreviated version. It's the office, after all. Do I really want anyone to know what all I actually do to myself every morning? Do I want to risk my beauty secrets being exposed? Do I want to be considered one of the morning bathroom women? No. No. No!

But do I want to look like a hot, tired, cranky woman? Not exactly a confidence inspiring image to present to colleagues and clients.

Adapt and evolve.

The good news for everyone who has to (or for whatever reason chooses to) deal with me, is that there is an anticipated near 20 degree drop in temp and decrease in humidity occurring this evening.

All will then be well again with my determined DNA.

Skies will be more clear and so will my mind. Everything just feels better with lower humidity. The way nature and evolution intended.

2:40 PM

Wednesday, July 21, 2004  
Reality Wednesday
Hire Me!
Contestants will vie for an opportunity to be employed by a Super Megacorp All Consumers Know (SMACK).

The jobs will vary in required skills and rate of pay.

Rate of pay is not necessarily based on required skills.

Contestants are required to make their own way to SMACK headquarters. A sprawling megaplex facility in the middle of nowhere. Maps of the area indicate only green expanse and one marked road.

Upon arrival at the pre-assigned date and time, the contestants who have found the SMACK headquarters are given a card with a number on it and ushered into an auditorium.
Show opens with a pan of the auditorium. There are at least 250 contestants.

We then cut to a generic executive office. Tom, the HR manager explains, "We utilize the latest and most cutting edge hiring philosophy. Part of the applicant screening process is finding out how well they work on their own, how well they are able to take a ball and run with it. We purposely give them very little information in the initial dialog. We don't tell them anything about the job for which they are being considered, we don't offer detailed directions to the facility and we give them only one contact telephone number which is set to automatic voice prompt with very few information options. All they know is what they learned from the job description posted on our website. Which, har har, is all human resource babble. We have a guy, Al, who does nothing but compose bull BLEEEEEP, I mean, lengthy prose on the requirements for jobs. Al's a pro, he used to be an ad copywriter. He's been in the business of making mundane things sound irresistible for his entire 35 year career.

"We purposely do not give the applicants anything but the time and date of their (air quote) interview (un-air quote) and the address of their (air quote) interview (un-air quote) facility to screen out the individuals who lack desperation, I mean, curiosity and motivation. Anyone who is resourceful enough to find their way to SMACK headquarters with nothing but an address in the middle of nowhere has SMACK potential."

Cut back to the auditorium.

A few contestants are talking amongst themselves. "It took me three hours to get here, and I only live 30 miles away."

"Mapquest couldn't map the address..."

"If my car didn't have onboard GPS I never would have found the place."

"My sister-in-law works for SMACK so she asked around and found out where today's program would be held."

"I was runner-up on The Amazing Race last year, and it was easier than getting here today."

An image springs to life on the IMAX-ish screen in the front of the auditorium.

"SMACK and you. A winning combination." a voiceover blares through the surround sound system.

A propaganda movie about the benevolence of SMACK to it's employees and it's commitment to quality on the outside AND inside ensues. The movie could easily be mistaken for a 1950s era employee training film or a communist regime worker motivational film.

The camera pans the audience.

The contestant's expressions range from mild disinterest and glazed eye boredom to shocked horror and gape mouthed disbelief. A few are watching with rapt attention. A few have little cartoon spirals whirling in their eyes and are repeating "SMACK good...SMACK good..."

When the film ends, 45 minutes later, the auditorium is silent. Nothing happens. An uneasy shuffle begins to stir in the audience. A few coughs and clearing of throats. And then some whispers.

One contestant leans to the guy seated next to her. The camera picks up her voice on it's hidden microphone. "I'm confused. I must be in the wrong place. I am applying for a Senior Creative Genius job, not membership in the communist party."

The guy laughs out loud. A few people turn to look at He Who Dared Break the Silence with Mirth. The guy then catches himself and stifles his laughter. The contestant whispers an apology.

Cut to the HR office. Tom interjects, "We show them the SMACK film for several reasons. We have hidden cameras planted in the auditorium. We watch every applicant. (cut to a shot of a bank of black and white monitors, one applicant's every move fixed on a monitor.) As you can see, it will motivate and enthuse some applicants (zoom to a monitor shot of a very enthused, gung ho woman, eagerness obvious in her eyes), bore others (zoom to a monitor shot of a man sleeping), anger some (cut to a monitor shot of a man getting up and hastily leaving the auditorium) and others will question the purpose. (cut to a monitor shot of the contestant making the communist party remark) Depending on what job the applicant is being screened to fill, their reaction to this film is a key indicator of their suitability for the job. That woman, there, questioning and mocking the film (points to the monitor) is applying for a leadership role in our creative department. Normally instigating and undermining authority would not be favorable traits in a potential applicant. However, she apparently has the ability to make people laugh. And we've learned humor can be a valuable bonding skill useful in senior level management, particularly in creative areas. If we she were interested in finance or policy, we would eliminate her immediately. There is no place for humor or authority undermining in finance or policy. But we're keeping an eye on her. She could be a loose canon, but we'll put her through to the next round where she will be thoroughly tested. We'll find out what makes her tick and what her true motivations are in that round. Yes (squinting his eyes almost evilly), we'll be tracking that one very closely."

Cut back to the auditorium.

A spotlight springs to view. A Tahari be-suited woman stands in the center of the spotlight.

"When you checked in this morning you were given a number. That is your group number. I will now call out group numbers. When I call your group number, exit the rear doors. SMACK group leaders will be waiting for you at assigned group gathering points. Look for your group number and assemble with your assigned group number. It is absolutely essential you assemble with your assigned group."

The woman then begins calling out numbers. 20 - 30 people at a time exit.

Contestants carefully gather at their assigned group assembly points.

Cut to the HR office. Tom explains, "This is another test. There will always be a few renegades and a few truly confused applicants who will gather with the wrong group. They are immediately eliminated. SMACK has no time or use for renegade or easily confused employees."

Cut back to Group 6. 25 professional looking contestants have gathered at the Group 6 assembly point. There is no apparent SMACK group leader present. Other groups are being greeted by pleasant, jocular SMACK group leaders. Other groups appear to be having fun. Trivia questions and light banter regarding the propaganda film are thrown out to the groups by the SMACK group leaders. Members of Group 6 shyly look around at other groups.

One by one the groups depart in different directions. After all the groups but their have left, the members of Group 6 begin to talk amongst themselves.

"What job did you apply for?" (In the tone usually used for the statement, "What are you in for?"

"When did you apply?" (In the tone usually used for the statement, "How long are you in?")

"Do you know anyone who works at SMACK?" (In the tone usually used for the statement, "Are you getting an appeal?"

Some members are agitated.

"What does this mean?"

"Why don't we gave a SMACK group leader?"

"Not very well organized, are they?"

"I should have gone with my friend in Group 3."

"NO! It's crucial you stay in your assigned groups!" a woman's voice booms from behind Group 6. The Tahari be-suited woman approaches the group.

She is not pleasant or jocular.

She does not throw out trivia questions or jokes about the propaganda film.

"I need to take a headcount. We appear to be missing a few group members." the Kommandant, erm, group leader barks, insinuating it is the present group members' fault some of the group has gone missing. "I'm going to do a quick roll call. Answer 'present' when I call your name."
She calls off last names only from a list clipped to her clipboard. All present respond "present" when their last name is called.

"We are missing four group members." Long, awkward expectant pause where apparently someone from the group is supposed to respond with an explanation. When there is none, the Kommandant, erm, group leader continues, "I will be your group leader. You are all being considered for senior level positions, therefore the rest of your time at SMACK today will be spent in senior level hiring activities. While the other groups are on a tour of the facility you will begin your testing. If, after you have completed your tests, you would like to tour the facility, a group rendezvous location and time will be made available to you."

"Tests? No one mentioned anything about tests." one outspoken contestant pleads at the Kommandant, erm, group leader.

"As a senior level applicant, you are required to complete extra testing, above and beyond our normal hiring tests. As a senior level applicant, you will probably be familiar with the tests from your previous work experience." the Kommandant, erm, group leader snaps back at him.
"Follow me into the testing facility."

Group 6 falls into a single file line behind the Kommandant, erm, group leader.

They are led into a classroom.

There are rows of individual desks with stacks of papers on them.

"Take a seat. Your first tests are placed on the desks. You will have one hour to complete the test. Starting now."

There is a quick but organized rush to the desks.

As the group members read their tests audible groans and complaints are uttered.

"Myers-Briggs? Who uses Myers-Briggs anymore?" (Warning, opening photo on Myers-Briggs links may cause heart palpitations, migraine headaches, severe agitation and intestinal disorders. It may also cause a lot of very funny caption contests.)


"I came all this way for THIS?"

Cut to Tom in HR. "This part of the screening process is very important. The initial reaction to the tests are as important as the results. Resistance against set policy and procedures is not a trait we look for in our applicants. Those three are now eliminated. We will keep them here for the duration, put them through all the other tests, but we will not be hiring them. Their applications have already been filed in the 'never, ever hire but have to keep on file for 6 months' file. Along with the four applicants who went with groups other than their assigned group."

The group completes their test. (fast motion clock hands spin an hour)

The Kommandant, erm, group leader announces, "Time's up. Bring your completed tests to the front of the room. If you need to use the lavatory, we will now have a 10 minute break. You will find the facilities to the left of this room. Note the time and return to this room in ten minutes. Be sure you have filled out the name and data information on the first page of the test."

"Is there a smoking area?" one brave contestant inquires.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader looks up with grave concern. "There is a smoking lounge. Do we have more than one smoker in the group?"

One other contestant raises her hand.
The Kommandant, erm, group leader picks up a cell phone type device and pushes a button. "I've got smokers." pause as she listens "Yes. Send Anthony."

The Kommandant, erm, group leader sets down the cell phone type device and says nothing.

The group silently casts uncertain glances at each other. No one moves.

A large, bouncer looking man appears at the door. Apparently this is Anthony.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader says, "Smokers, Anthony will escort you to a designated smoking area."

The smokers leave, dropping their tests with the Kommandant, erm, group leader as they leave.
The rest of the group quickly follows suit.

In the hall there is an audible sigh of collective relief.

"Twenty bucks says we never see them again." one contestant remarks to another.

At the exact 10 minute mark, the group members have returned and are seated in the classroom.

Anthony appears with the smokers.

The smokers look pale. And have a faraway, slightly frightened look in their eyes. One is twitching.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader announces the second test will now begin. It will be a three section test. 30 minutes will be allotted for each section. Scrap paper will be provided with the test.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader hands the test to each group member.

Audible gasps and sighs are heard as each group member receives their test.

No one says anything.

It is a standard IQ test.

The contestants toil through the first section. The second section is then administered, and then the third.

"Time's up, you may now take another 10 minute break. Smokers, do I need to call Anthony?" the Kommandant, erm, group leader commands, not asks.

The smokers feverishly shake their heads "no."

The contestants lunge for the door and the lavatories. They reconvene in the hall in front of the classroom. The corridor is bare apart from Group 6.

"Can you believe this BLEEEEEEEP?"

"BLEEEEEEEPing Myers-Briggs AND an IQ? What next?"

"Don't ask."

"I've already decided I don't want to work for SMACK. Can you imagine how the rest of the organization is?"

Several members of the group shudder.

One checks her watch, "Oh! 10 minutes is almost up!" as she makes a dash for the classroom.

"She's going to fit in very well here at SMACK." the contestant who does not want to work for SMACK snidely comments. The remaining members of the group look over their shoulders to see if anyone heard him and then return to the classroom.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader once again addresses the group. "This will be the last standard test. You will be given 45 minutes to complete it. I am going to call a list of names. If I do not call your name you are free to leave after this test." the Commandant, erm, group leader calls 9 names. "If have called your name, remain in the classroom after you have completed this test."

She then hands out the next test.

It is a hypothetical situation test.

It is multiple choice. The choices offered are often not the "best" or "normal" or "ethical" or even "legal." The contestants are in many cases forced to choose the lesser of four evils. Many contestants shift uncomfortably in their chairs as they assess the inappropriate answer choices.
A few wince upon reading the options.

One contestant breaks the silence.

"Excuse me Kommandant, erm, group leader, I don't seen a none of the above choice. Should we leave a question blank if we don't feel there is an appropriate answer?"

The Kommandant, erm, group leader barely looks up from her desk. She has clearly dealt with this question before today.

"You should choose the answer closest to what you believe is correct. Failure to select an answer could result in inappropriate analysis of your test." she replies in a somewhat bored tone.

The contestants cast sly, furtive glances at each other.

Many appear to be randomly selecting answers in attempt to quickly end what has become a scene out of 1984.

At the 45 minute mark, the only people remaining in the room are the 9 whose names were called at the start of the session. be continued next week. 

2:06 PM

Tuesday, July 20, 2004  
I’m not one for marking anniversaries of bad things.

Why remember painful events?

I’m always conflicted on holidays where we’re meant to mark the death of someone or a group of people.

Think fast! What day was Lincoln assassinated? ML King? Kennedy? (Some of you probably got Kennedy.) But case in point, the national holidays for Lincoln (now rolled in with Washington) and MLK are their birthdays. Not their assassination days. For once the US government got it right. Celebrate their life, not their tragic deaths.

Of course I, nor anyone currently over the age of 7, will ever forget 9/11. Of course not. And I’m certainly not suggesting we forget it.

Or any bigger picture event with historical ramifications.

Or anyone who died serving in any war.

Or a family member or friend who died.


All those people, all those lives which were lived prior to their catastrophic end, might want to be remembered on days other than the worst day of their life: The day they died. They might want to be remembered for things other than their death.

Yes, of course, those who died heroically deserve that recognition. Tree hugging, vegetarian pacifist that I am, I support every single person who has ever served in a military. As much as I get angry with and mock the police, I respect that they are putting their lives in danger by merely wearing their work clothes. Firepeople? EMTs? So many people owe them their lives and a debt of gratitude.

So this is not about disrespect.

It’s about remembering the positive things in a person’s life.

I am stating for the record loud and clear: When I die, regardless of the circumstances, I do not want to be remembered on the day of my death. Remember me on my birthday or better, any arbitrary day you feel like thinking about me in an upbeat way. I’ll be grateful and humbled if anyone remembers me at all. I’m not going to quibble about when. But I’d prefer it not to be for the reason of my death. Even if I die for a cause like ridding the world of white merlot, it’s not what I want to be the mark of my life .

One of my uncles died in The War. A pilot shot down over Germany. Obviously I never knew him. His own children were too young when he died to remember him. He is always remembered and talked about, not because of his airborne heroics, but because of his antics and compassion for other people. People have uttered that trite cliché, “He was a good man.” But more often anyone who knew him immediately smiles at the sound of his name and then breaks into a story about some funny quip he made or his goofball approach to courting my aunt. One of his brothers, another uncle (my father’s family is heavily XY chromosomed, there are four boys and one girl in my father’s family, and of their children, 13 of the 18 are boys) was in the same squadron and saw him get shot down, witnessed his death. Not something I, nor anyone else who's never been there, can imagine enduring. And not something anyone could ever forget. But instead of living the rest of his life recounting his horrific death, my surviving uncle talked about everything except his brother’s death.

Denial? Maybe a bit. But more an effort to remember his spirit and zest for life. To be certain his children and anyone else who cares or will listen know what he was like. What he liked. What made him laugh. What made him mad. What he did to make other people laugh. What he did to make other people angry.

There are photos of him, along with the rest of the family, doing regular things. Riding a bicycle with my aunt on the handlebars. Sitting around the lake on a hot Summer day. Showing off a newly purchased car. Pulling faces at the camera. Playing with the dog. Living life.

This is a man whom I never met, a man to whom my only connection is my father and a bunch of family lore and photos, a man who never could have imagined I would be born let alone blogging about him for the world to read.

What would be the better thing to do? Remember and write about his days in The War and how he died along with thousands of other people in that miserable war? Or write about what he did, how he lived his life until he died? I can safely say my uncle would not want to be remembered for being shot down in an air battle over Germany. Sure, The Cause was important to him. Sure, he went willingly into battle. Sure, he felt he was doing the right thing, an important thing.

Should he, in the bigger picture, be remembered for that? Of course. Along with all the thousands of other people who have died fighting for a just cause, his sacrifice was not in vain and it is important to remember. But also remember each of those people had a life, a personality, and a story or two in their life.

Gosh Trillian, what’s prompted all this? We thought you were still trying to open that blister pack.

One year ago today I was shoved down the subway stairs in an attempted mugging. One year ago today I broke, twisted, shoved, tore and every other way possible injured my ankle and foot. Oh. And there were the whiplash and concussion.

Whoa. Are you honestly comparing that to being shot down in a plane over war torn Germany?

Good swut no.

I’m talking about marking anniversaries.

I hadn’t marked today as a day of remembrance because obviously I’d rather not remember The Incident.

But today I visit the doctor for what I hope will be the final assessment of the damage and recovery.

People usually think time flies.

For me it has not.

It’s been a long, long, haul and the journey’s not quite over.

A few weeks ago I was in the shower and suddenly, for no apparent reason, all feeling in my ankle vanished. As if there was no interior structure. I fell. Out of the shower and onto the tile bathroom floor. It hurt. The Mystery of the Vanishing Interior Ankle Structure has happened a few other times. The doctor tells me it will happen for a while. “You’re doing very well considering we didn’t do any surgery. Nerve damage is a funny thing,” he says. “It’s tricky. Keeps you on your toes.” Yuck yuck yuck. My doctor: Not the funniest guy in ER, but he knows his way around orthopedics. “Perhaps a few weeks of physical therapy?” he suggested.

“Perhaps a frontal lobotomy without anesthesia?” I countered. I have suffered enough. I cannot endure more Kimmie. Particularly when I can swutting well do the same exercises on my own.

I always thought of myself as a tough cookie. I have scoffed off scrapes and injuries. I’ve healed quickly and ahead of anticipated schedule. I’m built of sturdy stuff. Or so I thought.

One year.

One swutting year and my ankle is still visibly “different” from the other. I still get pain in my ankle and arch and I can’t quite rotate it the way I can rotate my healthy ankle. Every now and then it twitches in spasms. And there’s that Mystery of the Vanishing Interior Ankle Structure issue.

Hey, Trill, that which doesn’t kill us...

...makes us remember the days before it ever happened as blissful ignorance.

This is exactly what I mean about not remembering or marking anniversaries of painful events.

What’s the point?

“One year ago today I was a victim and life as I knew it changed course for the worse! Many months of pain, suffering, riding the swutting 666 bus, and Kimmie, oh swut, Kimmie, ensued.”

Is that a point I need pointed out to me?

“Has it really been a year?” my (needs a new nickname) boss asked when I told her I had to leave for a doctor appointment, “that time has flown by! And look at you!”

I stood there silently expecting her to finish the statement. Look at me? Why? Do I look different? Better? Worse? Compared to what? Before The Incident or after?

When it was obvious she had finished her statement, I said, “Yeah, look at me, all grown up, off crutches and in moderate heels! All in just one year!”

Point made. Again. One year later and I’m still not back to my full heel height, still not skating and still not completely confident in the strength or dexterity of my ankle. Still waking up in the night in pain and contorting myself into otherwise uncomfortable positions to relieve the pain in my ankle and foot.

I know, I know. It could have been so much worse. I know. And I have a firm grip on that reality. That is the one thing that keeps my attitude in check. I have healed. I will continue to heal. I am better. I will get even better. I'm hoping The Year of Living Precariously has ended. I do not want to blog, a year from now, about "Two years later and my ankle..."

9:52 AM

Monday, July 19, 2004  
Consumer Goods Manufacturers!
Do you want to safely transport your goods to retail outlets and direct home delivery?
Do you want a tamperproof method of packing?
Do you want to do all of this economically?
Do you want to frustrate and annoy your customers to the point of institutionalization?


Well have we got a packaging answer for you!

Blister Pack!

Do you produce an odd shaped but attractive consumer good?

Now you can quickly and economically tantalize your customers while annoying them!

Watch! As consumers excitedly view your products in retail establishments!
See! Them salivate with anticipation as they look at your product through clear plastic!
Thrill! As they excitedly pay for and leave the store with your item!
Laugh! As they try to open the swutting thing when they get home!
Cringe! As they injure themselves with sharp objects!

Yes, all this can be yours when you choose blister packing as your preferred method of packaging!

I understand why this method of packaging consumer goods is so popular. Safely transport items, tamperproof, relatively economical.


For those of us who do not actually own a Sawzall or any other heavy duty power cutting equipment, blister packs are the ultimate in consumer torture.

You go to a retail establishment. Or maybe one of those membership warehouse clubs. And there, in shining, vivid reality is an item you didn’t know existed but now cannot live without. You know you cannot live without it because you can see it.

Blister packed consumer goods are the masters/mistresses of seduction. They wink at you through the clear plastic. They beckon you with a curling finger. "Hey you. Where've you been all my life? Look at me. Oh yes. Look at me through the plastic. I know you want me. You want to touch me, don't you? Buy me and I will be your slave. I will do things for you which you have only fantasized about late at night. When you're all alone. Buy me. Take me home. You will never be alone."

The only thing keeping you from handling it is a thin sheet of plastic. Which in the store makes it all the more tantalizing. It's part of the seduction. Like a veiled woman. Only without the gossimer blurry effect. Because blister packed consumer goods have nothing to hide. They are perfect. The fluorescent lights shine and glint off the plastic, accentuating the features of the item encased inside the blister pack. The item, no matter what it is, takes on a newer than new, shinier than shiny, sleeker than sleek look. You may have thought you might like the item, but now you Must. Have. It.

You buy an item, anything. Name anything and there is a way to blister package it.

Blister packaged items tend to be exciting things. Things you cannot wait to get home to open. Things you need to open within 10 feet of exiting the store.

That’s part of the Blister Pack Experience. (oooooh. The good band names just keep on coming...) It’s right there, right under a flimsy piece of plastic. Open it! Open it now! Get it out of there! Set it free! It’s yours, you bought it, now get it out of there! Don’t just let it stay in it’s hermetically sealed, airtight, pristine environment! Let it out! Let it breathe! Touch it! Caress it! Play with it!

A frenzy will ensue as you try to tear open the package with your bare hands.

Silly human.

Don’t you know your mortal powers are useless against the blister package?

Some shaking and perhaps throwing down of the item may follow.

Some may engage human's oldest tool: Teeth.

Mortal vulnerabilities are now becoming apparent.

Some may give up (sensibly) until such time that a sharp object can be used in the extraction process.

Others, more eager, more Y chromosomed, will continue to toil, tug and tear at trying to open the blister pack. Even though they know their attempts are futile.

The item remains calm and aloof in it’s secure chamber of plastic.

It is smug and coy. It can wait for you. It is patient. It’s been hanging on a peg in a store for a long time. Another hour or two only adds to the game of seduction.


Blister Packs are: Consumer Goods Foreplay.

And be warned: Some of them are into the kinky stuff - they like it a bit rough. A little of your pain adds to their pleasure.

You made them wait on that peg in that store, now you will pay with pain.

Still other consumer goods use the blister pack as a chastity belt.

“I’m pristine and unused, fresh and new, a virgin. You bought me, I’m yours, but first you have to unlock my chastity belt. And there is no key. You’re on your own. I’ll be here waiting for you when you finally get it open. Until then, please be gentle with me.”

You get home. You get scissors. You think, “This’ll do it, oh boy! I can hardly wait to play with/use this really swell consumer good which has been tantalizing me all the way home.” Some people will carefully attempt to cut the perimeter of the blister package, thinking, “I better keep the packaging as in tact as possible just in case I need to return my consumer good.”

Silly human.

Your inferior powers of reasoning amuse us.

Don’t you know your mortal intelligence is nothing compared to that of the blister package?

If scissors actually cut the blister package (I have broken several pair of scissors attempting to open blister packs. Silly human, I should know my tools are inferior and useless.) shards of plastic will twist and protrude from the package. You might want to consider safety goggles. And a chainmail suit.

Be careful out there.

Because that thin layer of plastic can be deceptive.

It’s purpose is to protect the consumer good. It will die for the consumer good. It will fight and resist all attempts to break through its artillery. It will defend the consumer good to death.

But then, blister packages never really die.

Many, those on a quest of enlightenment, will be recycled and will once again defend a consumer good, working their way up the consumer good hierarchy, hoping to one day attain Nirvana: Blister packaging a consumer electronics good.

Others will go to the trash heap (The Rock, as it’s known to those on the blister pack inside) where they will wait for the day when enough members have been sent to the trash heap to form a blister pack army. They are working, training, becoming even stronger, developing new methods of shape twisting and adhesion. These are the tough, street wise blister packs. They look down upon the sissy blister packs who were recycled. Many of the trash heap blister packs don’t believe in recycling. They’re not into that new age crap. They are tough, get the job done blister packs united in a common goal: They will one day stage a revolt and will encase the human race in blister packs.

Until that day, however, they are content to maim and injure while seductively tantalizing consumers

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10:57 AM

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