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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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

 
Friday, July 30, 2004  
Dear Mr. Edwards,
Hi! How are you? Busy, right?!

I am okay. Can't complain. Well. I can, but I try not to complain too much except on my blogs and even then I try to keep it to a minimum.

I know you're busy right now so I'll try to keep this brief.

You said you are Mr. Kerry are going to work hard to eliminate the two different Americas, the rich one and the everyone else one.

That's a swell idea.

Those are some very pretty words you got there, Mr. Edwards. Did your daughter at Princeton help you come up with those words?

Speaking of Catherine, are you going to make her pay her own way to Princeton or make her go to an in-state college as Step One of the One America, One Class resolution? (That's my term for your plan. I know, maybe not a good as what your well paid think tank could come up with, but you can use it as a working title if you'd like. Consider it my contribution to the democratic party.) Because the thing is, Mr. Edwards, if you want to really eliminate the two Americas, a good place to begin would be the education system in America.

I was really, really lucky. My parents helped me pay to acquire degrees from some very good universities. And I had the test scores to get into those very good universities because my parents lived in "good" school districts which allowed me, from kindergarten on, access to very good teachers, the latest books and technology, and extra curricular programs designed to enlighten and stimulate my growing brain. Because of those advantages, I did very, very well on my college entrance exams. at 17 years old the educational world was my oyster. I was so lucky, in fact, that I was offered many scholarships to offset the cost of my university education. You'll be happy to know, most of those scholarships, even one called a National MERIT Scholarship, were taken away from me because my parents were deemed too rich for me to be allowed to accept scholarship money. Even though all the scholarships were based on MY academic and personal achievements my parents' income was the deciding factor in whether or not I received the money. Do you see the irony here, Mr. Edwards? If I'd been allowed to use those scholarships my parents wouldn't have had to help pay for my university education. I know, I know. Fair is fair. And I don't for a minute mean to imply I should have been given scholarships when there were needy, hungry students with the smarts and desire for college but not the money. I was disappointed to lose the scholarships because I was very proud to have earned them, and was very excited about attending university without my parents financial aid. I fantasized about them being able to retire early, travel, do lots of cool stuff with the money they'd saved for my education. I could have gone independent of my parents. But get this: We did the math, my parents and I. And the money they saved by keeping me on their taxes was of greater benefit than the scholarships I could have received. That realization hit me hardest of all. Apparently, in America, it's of financial benefit to have children. The lesson I learned that evening as we did the math? If you want to get a good tax break, have children.

Why is that, Mr. Edwards? Why do those of us who don't have children not receive a tax credit for not burdening society with more people?

I digress. I know I was very, very lucky. Most kids in America aren't as lucky as I was. Many kids in America consider themselves lucky if they don't get knifed or molested at school. Thousands of kids right here in Chicago are allowed to graduate from Chicago Public Schools unable to read or write or even speak English. I'm not certain, but I suspect the Ivy League requires a working understanding of the English language as part of the admissions policy. Those kids are already living in a different America than your daughter. Most don't even know what Princeton is, let alone consider attending it.

Is that part of the two Americas you are going to eliminate? How are you going to do that? I'm very interested to know your plan.

I'm not sure which America I live in so a little further explanation would be helpful.

I suspect I might fall into the rich America. Because I have a job and earn above minimum wage and have healthier provided by my employer. And there's all that fancy university schooling of mine.

And there's that new iPod. (which is still not functioning - I simply cannot write about it today)

This is an open invitation to come on over to my place the next time you swing through Chicago. I'd like you to see how one of the rich live. I'd like you to see my charming vintage apartment which takes nearly half of my annual salary to afford. I'd like you to see my circa 1972 avocado green fridge which leaks. I'd like you to see what happens when I turn on both my Mac and my air conditioner. I'd like you to accompany me while I change a fuse in the outlawed fuse box in the basement. I'd like you to see the scar I have from the first time I did this and was blown to the basement floor by the live voltage. I'd like you to use my bathroom. I'm not proud of it but maybe you'd like to see what MY America looks like. Maybe you could have a word with Mr. Daley about the incentives and blind eyes which get turned to landlords and building codes in this town. Then I'll take you across the street to an open house in one of the new condo buildings. I'd like you to see what $425K gets you for a home here in Chicago. Then maybe you can help me crunch some numbers and figure out how I, one of the rich in America, can afford to own a home. Or rather, three rooms backing up to the el. With faux granite countertops. Because if I'm so rich, Mr. Edwards, why can't I afford a home, or even a car?

After your visit you can then tell me in which of your Americas I reside.

Then I have a few friends we can visit.

Until then I'll be waiting for further explanation of your plan for One America, One Class.

By the way, Truman college here in Chicago has some great programs, maybe Catherine would like to come here. I think her credits should transfer from Princeton.

9:30 AM

Thursday, July 29, 2004  
Macs are from Venus, Windows is from Mars
Jack Torrance: Wendy, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. You understand?
Wendy Torrance: Yeah.
Jack Torrance: Now, we're going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing (typing) or whether you don't hear me typing, or whatever the fuck you hear me doing; when I'm in here, it means that I am working, that means don't come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?
Wendy Torrance: Yeah.
Jack Torrance: Good. Now why don't you start right now and get the fuck out of here?

Men. Women.

We're not really different. Right?

Wrong.

I've spent my life resisting the easy excuses of gender to dismiss behavior.

That the difference in chromosomes is purely biological. Purely necessary for reproduction and continuation of the species. That any psychological or behavioral differences are not a result of chromosome composition, but a byproduct. Any differences in personality are due to nurture, not nature.

I have no doubt boys and girls have been (and probably still are) treated and taught very differently in schools. Way back when it was deliberate. Intentional. It was assumed the boys would be going off to work or wars and the girls would be pumping out babies and keeping the home fires burning. Their educations were based on that. Oh sure, in the '50s things began to change, but it's still a fact boys score higher on math and science tests while girls score higher in language and arts tests. I adhere to my stance that this is not because the XY chromosome contains some sort of math and science power of intelligence but because boys are conditioned from a very early age to develop math and science related skills. Go to Toys R Us. Look at the "boy" toys. Even the infant toys are mechanical in nature. Cars, trains, trucks, machine related toys. Things in bright colors with sharp edges and millions of pieces which all have to work together in an exact order. Then look at the "girl" toys. You can't miss them. They're in the aisles which are pink. And they are soft, round, pastel colored and generally focused on fashion or mimicking home "arts." ("baby" dolls, mini household appliances, and of course, Barbie)

Of course enlightened parents allow or even force their children to play with non-gender specific toys, or encourage their boys to play with dolls or their girls to play with trains. But sooner or later, those boys and girls are going to make friends with other boys and girls. And the socializing begins.

Be honest: What would you think if you saw a 5 year old boy playing with a Barbie?

Or a five year old girl playing with a mini monster truck?

I'm not saying it doesn't happen, or that kids who play with toys "outside of their gender" are destined to become gay or lesbian.

I'm saying the subtle messages are sent loud and clear from a very early age. The most enlightened parents and teachers in the world cannot compete against a gender based society.

But deep down we're all the same, really.

Right?

I have scoffed at "advice" columns and books offering insight and understanding on the inner workings of the mind of the opposite sex. "What women want," I thought, was really "what humans want."

Right?

Wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

We're different.

Period.

My "soulmate," (another concept I always eschewed until I was proven wrong by being presented with one) the man who is male version of me, is like me in many ways. We think alike, we approach life and its challenges with the same attitude and strategies, we see the obtuse and bizarre, we react with the same feelings, we understand each other because we are alike in the ways which matter.

"Ha!" said I, loudly scoffing the concept that men and women are different, "See? We're not different at all. The people who blame gender for their partner's issues are just looking for an easy excuse for not working out a solution to their issues as a couple."

And then POI and I bought a new iPod.

And life as I knew it changed.

The gender issue never occurred to me.

There has always been a bigger issue. Though we are very much alike in many ways, we do have our differences. The main one being: I'm a Mac person. He's a Windows person.
I assumed much of the frustration and hostility he has been exhibiting over the new iPod had its roots in the fact that he is a Windows person. He has scoffed me and my Macs, tried to get me to change, and otherwise cursed our cross platform relationship. We compromised. He spent some time getting to know my Macs. I installed a few MS programs. I taught him a few things about Macs. He taught me a few things about Windows. We grew as people and as a couple. We overcame our platform biases and bravely faced the world together as a cross platform couple.

Oh sure, every now and then there have been issues. The easy excuse is always platform related. He'll curse Macs in general. I'll curse Bill Gates. These things are bound to happen in a cross platform relationship. What matters is how you deal with them as a couple. It's important to accept and embrace your differences. Learn as much as you can about your different backgrounds. When the inevitable issues arise, and they will arise, we live in a very segregated platform society, that knowledge will keep you focused on the other person. It will help you understand where they're coming from and how they are approaching the issue.

I know. It sounds good and reasonable when you read it. I thought I was prepared. I thought we had already endured the roughest obstacles in our cross platform relationship and would, could, together, boldly face our future and the world as a cross platform couple.

But nothing could have prepared us for: The Curse of the iPod.

Day 7
Outside the dawn breaks. It is a normal day for the rest of the world. But here, inside, in the world we have created, our isolated world of iPods and iTunes without music, yesterday never ended. The day, like the six prior, blends sleeplessly into night and the difference becomes blurred. I awoke this morning to the sound of swearing. As I opened my eyes from my fitful slumber, I was disoriented. Where was I? Everything seemed familiar yet not quite normal. I soon realized it was because I was not in my bed. My bed. When did I last sleep in my bed? Has it been a week? I remember toiling with downloads and firewire ports...I remember reading support data bases...I remember, I think it was around 1:30 AM, suggesting returning the second iPod. I remember the look. The Look. That look. Oh God, that look. The beads of perspiration on his brow. The disheveled hair. And that wild, crazed look in his eyes. I knew well enough to keep quiet and obediantly do as he wished. I was a fool to suggest another return to the Apple store. Even though I suspected a software problem combined with perhaps another blown chip, I dared not mention my suspicions for fear of arousing the beast I saw growing inside him. I remained quiet and dutiful. I must have given in to slumber around 2 AM. It is obvious he did not do the same. He is plagued by fits of cursing. He is relentless in his pursuit of conquering the iPod. He has developed a twitch in his left eye. When spoken to he responds alternately in monosyllabic grunts and rapid fire tirades of hostility. He sees this as his personal
Leyte Gulf. There is no reasoning. Because there is no reason in this situation. I know he has been taken over, consumed by the iPod. The beast lurks within him waiting to pounce and attack me. I remain quiet. Even food cannot tear him away. He is now taking his meals in front of the computers. He, normally of a voracious appetite, barely nibbles at his food and leaves most of it cast aside, uneaten. I have tried my most captivating powers of distraction. I have used my heavy artillary, the deep crimson negligeé, the insanely expensive perfume available only in a tiny village in remote France, lip gloss, yes, lip gloss, and even, oh, the shame of it, Space Invaders. But my weapons are useless. The beast rages inside him, relentlessly nagging him. I created this beast. It is the child I created with this man. I brought it into being with my sinful desires. I did not need another iPod and yet I was overtaken with gluttony and desire for a new one. Like Eve, the mother of all weak willed, easily swayed by a pretty face with a guitar women, I bit the forbidden Apple and exposed him, heretofore innocent of the ways of Apple, to the dark side. The ugly underbelly. I took his innocence in my weakness and evil desires for a good time and music. I took advantage of him, seduced him with a new Apple (40G with a click wheel with a $100 price reduction! Of course he couldn't resist! What man could?), exploiting his craving and weakness for new and faster technology, and together in a moment of weakness and passion we created this, this...beast which now lurks within him. And now I must live with it. I try to maintain some semblance of normality. I pray this will keep us both from slipping over the precipice of sanity. I cling to routines as if they were lifelines. We both know there is something very wrong, something evil between us, that we have created this beast which can only be tamed by music loaded onto the iPod. We know this without words. It is a type of "shining" we have between us. I take comfort in knowing at least that bond remains. But I worry even that will erode if the beast is not conquered. We both know there will be no rest, no peace, no end to the fits of swearing and cursing of our platform differences until the iPod sings...

Meanwhile, I've just ordered "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus."

9:30 AM

Wednesday, July 28, 2004  
Dave Bowman: You know, of course, though he's right about the 9000 series having a perfect operational record--they do.
Frank Poole: Unfortunately, that sounds a little like famous last words.

Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious. — Dr. Strangelove

Ladies and gentlemen: We had iPod.

Now we do not.

Apparently the new click wheel iPods also require several resets (3 - 7) before they operate at what users hope is their designed optimum potential.

Oh, you think it’s working. You load some mp3s, you sing, you dance, you think the last four days of strife and frustration were all worth it, you think if everyone in the world had a new click wheel iPod there would be no more wars or fighting...and then you remember a song you want to load.

And you can’t.

Because Do Not Disconnect is again stuck flashing on the iPod screen.

Or worse: It's completely blank.

"No!" you scream, "damn them, damn them all to Hell!"

You troll the apple message boards. Hundreds of pleas for help are pouring in on the support boards. You learn a guy in Italy has had good success after resetting precisely three times. You learn a woman in Newark reset five times and hasn’t had a problem since. So you reset. Once. Twice. Three times a lady. Luck, be a lady tonight. Please.

Eureka! Success!

But then again no...

The saga continues.

Reality Wednesday
Hire Me! Part II (Part I can be found here)

The nine remaining contestants sit in the room.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader addresses them. Her tone is slightly more cordial. Slightly. "You have applied to jobs requiring detailed and specific technical skills. You will have 45 minutes to complete your next tests. We will then have a half hour break. We will be going to the computer training area for your next assignments. There is a break room outside the training room." She crosses the room and begins reading names from a stack of various sized and colored packets. One by one she distributes the next portion of the tests.

We look over the shoulder of Contestant 6. There is a yellow folder on her desk containing what appear to be Sunday paper advertising supplements, critique and printer proof questions and three essay questions.

She spreads out the design concepts and the proof sheets which accompany them. She quickly assesses the concepts and completes the proof tests for each concept. She then moves onto the essay questions.

She feverishly begins writing.

She finishes her tests in 35 minutes.

The remaining eight contestants are still working.

None seem to have Contestant 6's tests. A few have blue folders containing electrical schematics.
At the 45 minute mark, only Contestant 6 has completed her tests.

Cut to a behind the scenes interview where she remarks, "I thought the tests were easy, at least mine were, or I thought mine were...this is what happens...they want you to doubt yourself. Or they want to see if you doubt yourself. Or something. I felt confident and comfortable as I answered the questions. But when I finished early, and everyone else was obviously struggling with their tests, I began to doubt myself and wondered if I had actually done poorly on the tests. There's no such thing as blissful ignorance when it comes to job interviewing. No matter how confident you are or how much you actually know, there's always the possibility it won't be enough, or worse, that it will be too much. It's very much like dating. You have to be yourself, and you have to have the confidence to be yourself and relax, and be comfortable with that, but there is always a good chance you won't be what they want, and that knowledge can gnaw at your confidence. It's all such a huge game, particularly at a company like SMACK. I was kind of surprised at how old school corporate they are. I didn't expect that from them. I was excited about the opportunity to interview with them. I drove 7 hours and stayed overnight, at my own expense, to go to the interview. Obviously I had a high level of commitment and dedication to the potential job with SMACK. During our lunch break I learned there's a thin line between commitment and desperation. Again, very much like dating."

Cut to a generic break room where the nine contestants are discussing their tests, the day thus far and SMACK.

Contestant 1: "I applied for an electrical component designer job last year and they’re just now
interviewing me. I assume it’s for the same job, or something similar."

Contestant 6: "I applied to two jobs in the past six months. They didn’t tell me which job I am
interviewing for or any other details. I like SMACK a lot, you know, as a consumer, but this process is a little scary."

Contestant 5: "No kidding. If this is their management style I don’t think I would fit in here. I’m sure that will be very obvious when they get a look at my Myers-Briggs results."

Contestant 6: "Why? Are you a loner, a rebel?"

Contestant 5: (Chuckles) "No, an information services manager."

Contestant 6: (Incredulous) "Tech support?!"

Contestant 5: (Chuckles again) "We prefer information services."

Contestant 6: "Of course you do."

Contestant 4: "Are you employed now?"

Contestant 5: "Yeah, but only for two more weeks. I’ve been consulting at (Big Blue Electronics Retailer Headquarters) for two years and my contract ends in two weeks."

Contestant 1: "Really? I heard they were hiring, I’ve been hoping to get a shot at something there."

Contestants 1 and 5 begin an in-depth geek speak hiring discussion.

Contestant 8 queries Contestant 6: "Are you from here? I got lost getting here today and I’m not certain I know how to get back to my hotel."

Contestant 6: "No, I’m not from here, I drove in yesterday from Chicago. Mapquest got me close, I had to rely on my powers of navigation and instinct from there on in."

Contestant 8: "Chicago? Really? You know anyone at Abbott?"

Contestant 6: "Part of their Nutritional group used to be a client for my company, so I knew some of the brand managers, but I think everyone I knew there has since left the company. They had lay offs last year."

Contestant 8: "I'd like to get into their pharmaceutical team."

Contestant 6: "Are you a chemist?"

Contestant 8: "Biomedical research engineer. Eight years of college, two years at Dow, one year unemployed and currently a part time pharmacist at Walgreen’s in Tenafly, New Jersey."

Contestant 6: "And you’re applying at SMACK?!"

Contestant 8: "I’m desperate. I want to help cure the world of fatal diseases, but right now I’ll settle for SMACK brand over the counter home health care products."

Contestant 6: "ou mean like making SMACKanol and SMACKa Seltzer?"

Contestant 8: (Guffaws) "Yeah. If the guys at Dow could see me now."

Contestant 6: "They’re probably looking for jobs, too."

Downcast silence fills the room. The bleak job market weighs on their shoulders.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader enters the break room. "There is a delay in the computing portion of your interview," she announces, "so we will now be taking a brief tour of SMACK. Kyle (a guy who looks like a better looking less buffoonish version of the first Darrin Stevens enters) will be leading your SMACK tour. Kyle, if you could have them in the training room in an hour, please."

Kyle smiles. Kyle smiles a smile which is an obvious attempt ingratiating himself to both The Kommandant, erm, group leader and the contestants. Kyle immediately gets on the nerves of the contestants. Kyle probably gets on everyone’s nerves. As the tour progresses it becomes obvious Kyle is an Up With People alumnus. Or Kyle may actually be a replicant. Kyle is programmed to be perky yet slightly smug. Kyle is also programmed to spit out seemingly random facts about every aspect of SMACK seen on the tour. These facts are often parlayed or scripted into futile attempts at corporate humor. There is nothing random about these facts. They are well rehearsed bits of information delivered to entice and impress but never offend. This is, after all, the Midwest. Minnesota Nice: Not just pretty words. And SMACK has a public image to defend.

As the group enters a manufacturing area, we notice a slight twitch in Kyle.

The environment is clean and sterile. Workers work efficiently with precisely timed movements in white lab suits. (Insert Oompa Loompa work floor scene. I’m not kidding.)

The contestants are all visibly uncertain about what they are seeing. Kyle’s attitude has become reverent.

(...I would think that uh, possibly uh... one hundred years... It would not be difficult Mein Fuehrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh... I'm sorry, Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country, but I would guess that dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.)

Cut to Contestant 6’s behind the scenes interview. "I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t that. It was a cross between Willie Wonka’s factory and what all us Westerners were led to believe Eastern blocked countries were doing during the Cold War. It was fascinating and scary. Sort of like Futureworld or Metropolis or, geeze, I don’t know what to compare it to in order to make you understand what we saw that day."

Cut back to the tour group, now exiting the manufacturing area. They are magically, mysteriously, and far too precisely at the door of the training room.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader is there to greet them. Naturally. "We’ll now go to the computer training area. You will be assigned a work station. Your login will be your last name and first initial, your password is 'begin.' Once you log in you should see a folder on the desktop with your name on it. It will contain various assignments and tasks. All support documents you will need are also in that folder. All programs you will need are installed on your assigned work station. When you have completed your assignments, return them to the folder with your name on it and log off your work station. Kyle will then escort you to the Human Resources department where you will have an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have about SMACK with an assigned representative. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in employment with SMACK. We wish you well in your job search and hope you will soon be part of our team."

There are glances exchanged between contestants.

The Kommandant, erm, group leader escorts each contestant to their assigned computer. Contestant 6 is the last to be escorted to her work station. She is seated apart from the rest of the group at station which has a Mac and a Compac. She knows what’s going on here. She knows it is common in large corporations for people in her position to be literate on both platforms. She has been tested like this in the past. She is not worried. The Kommandant, erm, group leader senses Contestant 6’s comfort level. "You will be required to complete tasks on both stations."

"Okay! No problem! Will do!" Contestant 6 says, so chipper and enthusiastic even she winces at her zeal.

The contestants begin their assignments.

Contestant 5 swears out loud. "Excuse me, The Kommandant, erm, group leader, I’ve had to reboot twice and I’m still not able to execute the applications I need."

The Kommandant, erm, group leader replies, "You will need to assess and repair the impeding issue as part of your assignment."

Contestant 6 is glad she is set apart from Contestant 5 so that he cannot see her trying to conceal her laughter at his assignment.

The other contestants either try to stifle their laughter or peer at their monitors with concern.

Cut to Contestant 6’s behind the scenes interview. "Just when I convince myself there is no supreme being, no God, nothing...something always happens to prove to me I need to keep that option open. Sometimes, every now and then, I do believe there is a God. That was one of those moments. The tech support guy was actually being tested on his ability to fix a computer as a condition of employment. This is the stuff of fantasies for people like me. If nothing else, I could walk away from that interview with the smug satisfaction that at least one tech guy was being called to task. Yes. There is a God. And he, she, whatever, has a fantastic sense of timing and irony. I’ve dealt with, battled with and otherwise had by professional existence baned by tech support people who know less than I do about computers. And then, there, right in front of me, one was being called to task. On a job interview. Where I was also applying for a job. Using two computers which both worked perfectly. They were both spiffy super smokin’ up to date models with perfectly functioning software and everything I needed to complete my assignments quickly and easily."

Meanwhile Contestant 5 is sweating and feverishly typing. His monitor’s screen is filled completely with DOS codes. He is muttering profanities.

There is much rejoicing from the other contestants as they complete their assignments and exit the training room.

Kyle does indeed escort the contestants to a gleaming, posh, comfortable yet sleek, hip yet professional human resources area.

A pretty receptionist greets them as they enter. Kyle introduces the contestant to the receptionist. The receptionist smiles and asks the contestant if they would like coffee or tea or water. She appears to have received her training for this job as a Japan Air stewardess. She leads the contestants to their appointed human resources representative.

Cut to Contestant 6 in a plush office.

The human resources representative is only slightly less ingratiating than Kyle. He gives a corporate speech which is apparently entitled "SMACK Has Worked Very Hard to Earn and Maintain It’s Place in Consumer Retailing. We, Each and Every One of Us on the SMACK Team, All Play Crucial Roles in SMACK’s Future and Continued Growth and Success."

Contestant 6’s eyes take on a glossy, glazed look. At the end of the human resources representative’s speech he asks if Contestant 6 has any questions.

"How many people are employed in the Creative Services department?"

"I’m sorry Contestant 6, we’re not going to discuss specifics about the job in particular. Our meeting today is for you to have an opportunity to learn about SMACK. To get a feel for SMACK the company. To see if you think SMACK is right for you. Questions specific to the job you are considering will be addressed at a subsequent interview."

"So, there will be a second interview? As you know I live in Chicago. I am willing to come back for a second interview, but it would be helpful for me to have an idea if and when that might happen."

"Yes, of course. We will be in touch with you once all of your assignments have been reviewed. I can tell you this: (slightly more stern, conspiratorially, clasping his hands together and pointing with both index fingers) 1,200 people applied for the same positions you did. We are interviewing 80 at the level you experienced today. Once the assignment results are tallied, reviewed and compared, we’ll be bringing the best potential matches back for in-depth specific
interviews. Here’s a SMACK gift card. Thank you for your interest in employment at SMACK." (hands her the gift card and offers a dismissive handshake)

"Erm, um, okay, thanks (proffering the gift card at him) I hope to hear from you. It’s been an interesting day. It was great to see a bit of the inner workings of SMACK."

The receptionist magically appears.

She coolly escorts Contestant 6 to the door.

In the SMACK visitor parking lot, she sits in her rental car looking at the SMACK gift card.
Cut to Contestant 6’s behind the scenes interview. "$10? They gave me $10 for spending a day
‘interviewing’ with them? Is it a sick form of hush money? An attempt at further ingratiation? A consolation prize? ‘Thanks for playing Hire Me, you don’t get the prize of a job but everyone goes home a winner! Go buy yourself something nice, sweetheart.’ I mean, what the...? I earned more money on jury duty! (turnng more reflective, obviously contemplating) SMACK...I don’t know. I was so excited about the opportunity to work with SMACK and the possibilities for the jobs I applied to and that it could be a great move for me. Now I don’t know. They’re not what I
expected. Although I only saw their frontline. Still. I can’t imagine myself dealing with the HR crew. I don’t know. We’ll see. 1,200 people, 80 people...that’s a lot of people applying for a few jobs. I’m sure among them will be someone who played their Myers-Briggs cards better than I did. I know how to answer the way they want you to answer, lie, if you will, but part of my real personality always creeps in there. I’m sure other people are better at lying on those tests. Or a few who don’t have to lie at all. I guess that would really be the best person for SMACK.
If I have to lie on a personality test to be considered for a job maybe it’s not the job for me."


12:23 PM

Tuesday, July 27, 2004  
Cue Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey theme).
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL?
HAL: I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
 
Ladies and gentlemen:

We have iPod.

All systems go.

Rising like a monolithic metaphor in its dock, the new mighty iPod sprang to life.

The two weary and wary Applenauts held their breath as they gingerly plugged in the firewire cable.

Would it, too, burn the crucial chip?

Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this.

Did Nathan at the Apple store lie when he said the first batch released all had chip blowing problems?

It can only be attributed to human error.

Was this new replacement iPod going to sputter and fizz like the first?

I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal.

Would our weary Applenauts be once again stranded?

I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours.

Will their lives now be forever filled with personal musical entertainment and enjoyment?

I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a...fraid. ...I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you....Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

Yesterday I told you to buy one of the "old" 40G iPods instead of the new smokin' click wheel models. I still stand by that advice. However, if you, like me, ran out and bought one of the click wheels the second they hit the shelves, and if you, like me, spent nearly the entire weekend frustrated, confused and disappointed in your iPod purchase, I urge you to return it to wherever you bought it (hopefully an Apple store). The line POI got yesterday was that the first batch (they had a range of serial numbers) had faulty chips and were being recalled and replaced. If you just purchased it and can't get the software to load, you obviously haven't registered the new iPod with Apple and they cannot contact you with recall info. Just take the swutting thing back and get a different one. They opened the back of my original iPod and found, as predicted, the telltale singe marks of a blown chip. No questions asked the iPod was replaced. Within seconds of plugging into the firewire port it was all systems go.

8:58 AM

Monday, July 26, 2004  
But it was Saturday night I guess that makes it all right
And U say what have I got 2 lose?
If you want to have an incredible night out and a concert experience you will never forget, check out Prince.

I know, right now many of you are conjuring varying images and ideas. Not all of them favorable.

Prince conjures very strong, very diverse immediate reactions from people.

There are few artists whom I would come out and advise everyone, anyone, to plunk down a lot of money to see live.

Prince is one of those few.

I will address a few of the common concerns:

"Yeah, but, I mean, all this time, does he still have it?"

Yes. Oh swut yes. The man has it. And then some.

"Yeah, but I don't really like any of his songs. I've just never been into him."

Trust me on this. You will enjoy the show regardless of your feelings toward his songs past and present. POI said it best, post show, "I've never liked Prince that much, I've certainly not been a Prince fan, but now I am." That's an endorsement to end all endorsements. Coming from POI that's swutting remarkable.

"Yeah, he's cool, I know he's really talented, but I'm really more into rock. I thought you were, too, Trillian."

You clearly do not realize what a swutting amazing guitar player Prince is. Go. Watch. Listen. Prepare to be blown out of your seat. FYI, there were some major metalheads a few rows down from me and they were super into the entire show. You will be hard pressed to find a better live guitarest (or musician in general) on the road right now than Prince.

"Yeah, but there's that whole dancy, sexy thing. That's just not my scene."

Okay, sure, there's that. It's Prince. But there's more straight up playing, too. Lighten up. Free your mind and your ass will follow.
 
"He's so explicit. He's the one who started the whole PMRC thing."

Yes. He did. And isn't that reason enough to see him live? What better way to get back at Tipper Gore than to see Prince live? Prince is still writing and performing to sold out crowds. Where's Tipper?

"The tickets are really expensive."

Yes. And Ticketmaster, the Evil Overlord of the Music Scene is right in there making it much more expensive. I know. It's a lot of money. I would normally boycott such an overpriced ticket price. But Prince, and the NPG, is one group I would wholeheartedly endorse as being "worth it."

The people watching is worth at least half the price of admission.

You will never see a more diverse crowd than that of a Prince concert. All races, genders, music types and ages are in attendance. Take your girl/boy, take your parents, take your neighbor, take your kids. Seriously. If your kids are over the age of 10 this is a "safe" show to take them to see, and something they will never, ever forget.

Everyone. Everyone will enjoy the show.

I've seen Prince live several times, and this is by far the best, tightest (or T-I-T-E titest) show I've seen. There is an acoustic set (yes. really. Prince: Unplugged) which is swutting inspired and fabulous.

Tour dates here.

1:03 PM

 
Now once, I was downhearted disappointment was my closest friend
I've been trying to be fiscally responsible. I've been watching my 401k to the point of obsession.

I hid my credit cards.

I have been very, very good.

I know I "bragged" about trying to be fiscally responsible. I told you watch your 401Ks. I publicly vowed to be better about my spending.

It's hot.

I've been working really hard.

I only bought ten pair of shoes (nine if you count the Payless two sizes of the same shoe as one pair) in one year.

Be quiet. That's really good for me. Or really bad, if you're a shoe retailer.

There was a certain pink flowered neckline top, but other than that I haven't been buying things I didn't really need. Okay, sure, this was due in large part to the fact that I was immobile. Still. I could have bought a lot more online than I did during my stint in the immobilizer.

(This is me trying to justify a recent rash of conspicuous consuming, by the way.)

I've been so good.

I've worked so hard.

Apple dropped the new 40G click wheel iPods.

At a $100 reduced price.

I mean, there's only so much a person can scrimp.

There's only so much a person can be expected to do without.

Only so much sacrifice a person can make.

Right?

No?

I know, I know.

There are people homeless. People starving. People dying. Wars being fought. Animals dying. Entire species becoming extinct. And I'm spending money on a new iPod which I don't really need.

I did it.

Okay?

I just did it. POI and I walked into the Apple store and bought one of those spanking new click wheel 40G iPods.

It's so cool.

Well.

It would be so cool if we could get it to work.

Almost the entire weekend was spent in pursuit of getting the iPod to work.

Various issues arose.

There were a few unpleasantries between POI and I borne of frustration over the iPod.

My GSB ports weren't GSB 2. (I know, I know...but it hasn't been an issue so I haven't upgraded them.)

Out to Geek Central for GSB 2 ports.

Home again to strip down the G4 and install them.

Great! Everything should be perfect now!

Right?

Wrong.

The iPod doesn't respond. It doesn't even show up on the desktop.

Onto the Apple support site.

40G click wheel iPods apparently require OS 10.3.4.

Ahhhh.

Okay.

So we downloaded the upgrade.

No big deal, right?

Wrong.

The download from Apple was one of the longest and worst I've ever encountered. And I have smokin' DSL. Yet this upgrade took forever and crashed several times.

Turns out there are a lot of us who ran out and bought the new click wheel iPods at the new lower price. And most of us don't have OS 10.3.4. And we're all feverishly downloading it to use our new spiffy really cool iPods. And we're straining the Apple server.

Finally got it downloaded.

Great! All systems go, right?

Wrong.

Still no recognition of the iPod.

The iPod sits in its dock flashing "do not disconnect" while the desktop acts as if it's never heard of iPod and doesn't want to know anything about it.

Desperation.

Frustration.

Disillusionment.

Disappointment.

Smug silence from POI.

Once again, back to the Apple support site.

Many, many Help! posts from people experiencing the exact same issues.

No answers.

People are returning the new 40G click wheel iPods en masse because very few people can get them to function.

I am not writing this to rake Apple over the coals. I love Apple. I am a long time Mac user and supporter of all things Mac. I have been with them through good times and bad.

Which is why this is particularly disappointing.

They have a great product in the iPod.

But in their perhaps rush to release the new click wheels, at the newly reduced prices, something's gone wrong.

If www.apple/support/ipod weren't swamped with questions about the new Pods I would blame myself or my Mac.

But this time around it's not me. It's not my Mac.

POI is returning the iPod to the Apple store today for an explanation and probably, hopefully, a refund.

Disappointment was my only friend.

I really wanted a new iPod. It was a splurge. Something I didn't need but really wanted. For me the $100 reduction in price was all the incentive I needed to treat myself to a new toy which would bring hours of joy and entertainment into my life.

I hesitated, but POI, a long time Mac basher and PC enthusiast, by the way, whole heartedly enocouraged me to go for it. He even put up some of the front money. "You've had a rough year, come on, go for it. Just get it. You'll enjoy it. We'll get it set up. It'll be fun. I want to see how great these are, come on, let's go to the Apple store and get one."

As always, POI was right, or so I thought. Well, he was right, it's not his fault.

I trusted Apple.

And they let me down.

It's difficult to deal with disappointment, but even worse when it's at the hand of an old friend you trust who has never let you down like this in the past.

You forgive. You make excuses. You defend them to all the people who have been waiting for a moment like this to bash them. You know they didn't mean to do this.

But it still hurts.

Because this was something you really wanted.

This was a special treat for you.

You may have even had fantasy sequences revolving around yourself and the item.

And your trusted friend let you down.

"Oh well, I still have my old iPod, it's okay. I didn't really need a new one anyway. It was a flashy extravagance I didn't really need. I shouldn't have spent the money. The Universe is sending me a loud message...." you tell yourself in a putting a brave face on it sort of way. Tears welling in the corners of your eyes.

Apple, how could you do this to me? Why? What have I ever done to you? I've spent my entire career supporting you and defending your honor. And now this. All those years. All those Macs. All those late nights together. Just you and I.

I know you didn't mean to hurt me, but you did.

I still trust you, I still support you, I forgive you, but you're going to have to make this up to me.

I regret to publicly announce, if you're thinking of purchasing one of the spiffy new click wheel iPods at the new lower prices: Don't. Wait. Let them work out the kinks. Apple rushed them to drop before they were ready to hit the general consumer market. Turns out many of them have chips which melt when firewire is used. Others, like mine, have serious USB/software interface issues.

Apple will undoubtedly work out the issues in a few weeks or months, but I suggest grabbing one of the old 40G unclick wheel models at the also reduced price.

9:24 AM

 
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