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, January 28, 2005  
What happens when the Michelin Man gets Dora the Explorer liquored up and has his way with her?

Apparently, Trillian.

I present to you Trillian: In soft plush format.

Apparently the fine folks at Disney "collectibles" feel that Trillian should resemble the spawn of the Michelin Man and Dora the Explorer. Which could make an interesting movie.

I wasn't going to make one single comment about the movie or anything remotely affiliated with it.

But these are just too swutting funny/pathetic/in incredibly bad taste to let sit silent without comment. Oh Doug, Doug, what fools these mortal creatures are...I hope somewhere in the Universe you are able to have a good laugh about all of this.

I can hardly wait for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Ice.

Thanks to UIM for the link.

Thanks as well to the many who sent me various links regarding Asteroid Adams, here's the scoop.

11:50 AM

 
Well that's it. It's all in the past. The old place is officially The Old Place. I moved the few remaining boxes of odd bits and cleaning supplies out of the old apartment last night. Then I dropped off the keys at the slumlord's office.

I spent a day at The Old Place last weekend, cleaning and throwing out stuff which didn't make the cut on moving day (someday, after the medication kicks in and I have a few drinks in me, I'll tell you about Moving Day. It's just all too fresh, too painful, too...too...too much everything right now) so all I had left were a few things which were too fragile or odd shaped to fit into a box or schlep on the bus or up to the corner to get a cab.

I didn't feel melancholy about leaving on moving day (someday, after the medication kicks in and I have a few drinks in me, I'll tell you about Moving Day...) I didn't feel melancholy on clean-up day. I didn't feel melancholy closing the door for the last time. I had my cry over leaving  a few weeks ago, got it out of my system.

Or so I thought.

I thought wrong.

Because now, here I am, missing my old place.

It was really cold yesterday. And true to form, the old place was freezing. During the few minutes I was there, I couldn't wait to get out of there and get home to my warm and cozy compartment. Which I took as a good sign that I was over the old place. I didn't have much there, but all the items were odd shaped or heavy, so I had to make a few trips up and down those four flights of stairs. I don't miss dragging groceries, kitty litter and other odd/heavy stuff up or down four flights of stairs. Which I took as a good sign I was over the old place. For effect, one of the handles on a bag containing cleaning supplies broke while going down the first flight of stairs, causing bottles and sponges and you name it to spew out and roll down the stairs. Nice touch, Universe. Don't think I didn't realize what you were doing with that little message. The bare apartment, big as it was, was old. After a week in my gleaming new kitchen with full sized brand new appliances which actually work and Italian marble floor, my crappy old kitchen seemed even more shabby. The avocado refrigerator looked really pathetic and stupid without my adornments of photos and art and messages and recipes magneted all over it. And that oven. Urgh. The wood floor which was worn and stained and warped. The whole kitchen just made me wonder how the swut I dealt with that place as long as I did. Which I took as a good sign I was over the old place. The bathroom, I mean, well, I won't gross you out. That old, never rehabbed bathroom was disgusting. It smacked me in the face just how bad it is when I saw it without the benefit of my cute shower curtain and towels and Close Shave poster. Which I took as a good sign I was over the old place. When I took the last bag of trash out to the dumpster I almost stepped on a used condom. I used to instinctively “sense” these things and avoided them, almost not even noticing them. Gone one week and my spent condom reflex has already laxed. Which I took as a good sign I was over the old place. While I was waiting for Arthur to arrive, two bass thumping ghetto mobiles pulled up to the park, several gangsta boyz materialized from somewhere in the park, seriously, they just appeared on the snowy basketball court, it was empty and a second later there were two groups of boyz shuffling in their waist at the knees jeans to the bass booming cars. I then watched what I hope will be the last drug deal I ever see. (that’s what Neighborhood Watch means: You watch what goes on in the neighborhood because no one in any position of authority will do anything about it) Which I took as a good sign I was over the old place.

But.

Then.

For some reason, after dropping off the keys and settling into my cozy, mod, nice new compartment, I suddenly really miss the old place.

There are boxes and things everywhere in the new place. I doubt I'll ever get settled in here. It feels temporary here. Maybe that's why I'm not exactly rushing to unpack and organize. My old place was temporary. I never did anything to the old place, never "decorated" or bought any real furniture. It never "felt" like home.

But now that I'm here, in my new compartment, the old place felt a lot more like home than I realized. A lot of pivotal stuff happened to me while I lived there. A lot of memories there. You never know what you've got 'til it's gone.

Change is good. Everyone keeps telling me change is good, changes will be good for me. That I should have done this long ago. (And to be fair to the I told you so-ers, friends were begging me to move from the old 'hood for the past few years. Sooner or later I usually take advice.) I do agree that yes, change can be good. There are good things about the new place. It’s small, but it’s very nice. I’m not crazy about the new neighborhood, but, everyone in the ‘hood is super nice. Everyone in the building and on the streets says hello or good morning or “gosh what a storm, eh? January in Chicago, har har.” No one except the delinquent boyz in the park telling me what they were gonna’ do to my whi’ cunt, the 7-11 guys, a bartender or two and Po and Lani at the Thai place in my old neighborhood spoke to me. Everyone in the old ‘hood is too cool to say hello or too afraid to speak to a stranger. I am really enjoying walking to and from work, yes, even in January in Chicago. Especially in January in Chicago. It’s a great way to start and end the work day. The people who work in the Walgreens and groceries in the new 'hood not only speak English, but they look you in the eye, count your change back to you and, OMG, say thank you. I thought that sort of thing only happened in the suburbs. So yeah, the new place is better in a lot of ways. Okay. Most ways. Okay. Just about every way.

So why do I suddenly miss the old place?

The space? Yes.

The cute architectural details? Yes.

But I there’s a lot more to it than that.

I miss the memories.

I know, I know, no one can take those away from me. But there are little things which fade from memory. Even though I was only gone a week, when I returned a few small memories flooded back to me as if they were much more distant than just a week. I cleaned the bathroom mirror one last time and I remembered HWNMNBS leaving me a funny, sweet message written in lipstick and how difficult it was to clean it off after I left it there for a week. I turned off the pantry light and remembered my dad and I installing the new fixture. I cleaned out the fridge and I remembered the night I had a party and everyone brought beer and cheese because they didn't think I’d have beer and because they know I love cheese, and someone brought a super aged Stilton and didn’t tell me and weeks later the entire fridge smelled like spilled beer and Stilton. I pulled the blinds in the bedroom and remembered lazy Spring and Fall Sunday afternoons spent with the window open, a gentle breeze, sun streaming in filtered through the leaves of the trees outside the window, birds and squirrels chasing casting occasionally darting shadows, Furry Creature lolling beside me and the Sunday paper spread out in bed. I noticed a small drip of wax in the fireplace, left from a long ago candle from a long ago romantic evening. I know those memories don’t mean anything, really. But I’m going to miss them when they’re gone. And they will go. Without the daily reminders, they’ll fade and eventually leave. Heck, I lost my condom avoidance reflex in just a week. If I can lose that so quickly, surely the small memories will be lost, too.

Somehow, the new compartment doesn’t seem like the sort of place where memories are made. Which is probably the best thing for someone like me.

Attachments to people and places has caused a lot of heartache and pain in my life.

My new mod, sleek sterile compartment is symbolic of the next phase of my life. Just another single, never married, no children, professional woman in a big city, living in a small compartment because that’s all she can afford and moreover, because that’s all she needs. No husband, no kids, none of their stuff, few friends visit because they’re all married and busy with children. Nope. Don’t need a lot of space. Nothing to see here, folks, just a pathetic single woman who still rents and has a cat. You know the story.

Ah ha. That’s it. That’s what I miss.

The hope I had when I lived in my old life in my old apartment. The new compartment says: "That's it. I tried. I failed. My friends have all moved away to move on with their lives. I'm getting older. I only need a small place in a safe neighborhood. After all, it's just me and my cat."

Oh yeah. Change is good. Change is really swutting good.

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10:29 AM

Thursday, January 27, 2005  
You all read blogs. Or at least a blog. Many of you blog, too, or know people who do. So maybe you've encountered this situation.

There I was, awake at 1 AM, unable to sleep because I couldn't remember the name of the woman who played Leela in Dr. Who. (Yes, okay, I'm a dork and a geek, I love that stupid show, okay? And no, I don't lay awake nights thinking about Leela or Dr. Who except for this one particular night because the concept of a TARDIS has been on my mind a lot lately what with the move to a small compartment and the need for space and wouldn't it be really great if TARDIS were possible?

Friend receiving gift of sweaters from Trillian: "You don't want these sweaters? They're great and look! These still have tags on them!"

Trillian, downcast but resolute: "I love them, but I don't have space for them in the new compartment."

Friend, assuming the best about the compartment: "Aw, seriously? I mean, they're just sweaters, surely you can find a place for them?"

Trillian, getting annoyed: "I'm living in a compartment, not the TARDIS."

And if I were Leela I wouldn't have to worry about space for sweaters because I wouldn't have much of a wardrobe to store. Geeze, where is she now? What's her name again?)

Internet, sweet internet.

Google quickly produced Louise Jameson for me.

Google also produced 4,290 sites containing "Dr. Who" and Leela. Yeah. I know. I thought there would have been more than that, too.

Naturally I checked out a few of the more interesting looking hits.

Naturally I found the usual fan sites, episode critiques and Leela worship pages.
One site stood out among the others. It was a blog, and turned out to be someone's writing project site. Someone working on several science fantasy stories. Some of which were, you know, okay. For science fantasy. Among the science fantasy writing projects were several fan fic pieces. Fan fic about Leela. Not exactly my usual cup of tea, but it was now 1:30 AM and I was still nowhere near able to sleep, and you know, what the heck.

No big deal, right? There's a ton of fan fic out there, some of it not bad, most of it horrible, but all of it passionate. And at 1:45 AM in my lonely life, other peoples' fan fic is about as much passion as I'm going to get.

The thing about fan fic is that apart from most of it being utter crap, I find the enthusiasm and zeal the authors have for the object of their affections, and the "creativity" inspired by their idols very, well, I'm not sure. Refreshing, I guess. As long as there are fans, the world will have passion. Passion is good, so by association, fan fic is good.

The other thing about fan fic is that no matter how badly written, no matter how juvenile or stupid, it never fails to make me feel like a voyeur. Which never fails to make me feel a little dirty.

Not naughty.

Dirty.

Big difference.

Fortunatley for me, I usually end up feeling more embarrassed for the authors than for myself, so it all comes out clean in the end.

But.

Then.

One early sleepless morning found me reading someone's fan fic about Leela, and well, one post led to another, and, well, I started picking up on a few things, followed a few links, and finally, checked out the author's profile...

No. I haven't found love via Blogger.

I've found a dirty little secret about someone I know.

Someone from the office.

Someone who is the last person in the Universe I would have guessed would write fan fic about anyone, much less Leela from Dr. Who.

But.

After a little more snooping around and connecting dots, there's no doubt and no denying the author and the person from work are the same.

It wasn't difficult for me to suss out the author. It was all but spelled out, they're not exactly shy about their identity. Which is totally cool. I laud their unabashed, unashamed ability to pretty much say: "Hi! My name is_____! I work at______! And I write really naughty and vulgar fan fic about Leela from Dr. Who!"

But.

I have to work with this person.

And now, all I can think about when I have to see or talk to them are the images they spelled out in great, exhausting, titillating, XXX rated detail about what they want to do with Leela.

I have to face this person, every day, carrying on as if I have no idea they are passionate about Leela. That they not only think some very rude and banal thoughts about Leela, but write them and post them online for all the Universe to read. I have to keep quiet about it.

Which is not a problem in theory. I'm not a spoiler or an outer or even very social at the office. I am really good at keeping secrets and keeping my mouth shut. I honestly do not care that this person is a Leela fan and writes science fantasy short stories. If anything, I find this person a heck of a lot more interesting now that I know this facet of their personality.

But.

The code of secrecy, honor among bloggers and all that. I cannot and do not want to let them know I know. I'm not going to be tempted to jocularly elbow them and say, "Leela, eh, har har" and raise a sardonic eyebrow. But I am afraid of my mouth. Afraid I'll make some unintentional offhand remark about something remotely Dr. Who-ish in front of them and then catch myself and I will blush and then they'll know I know and it will be all awkward and see what happens when you're an insomniac with no love life? It's not all infomercials and chamomile tea.

I'm not shocked because at this point in my life nothing shocks me. That perpetual nonplussedness of mine.

I haven't lost respect for this person because, hey, we're all human, we all have our little fantasies and our little secrets. I blog and no one I know has a clue.

Or do they?

That's right: Paranoia.

I take great pains to be anonymous. Okay. Not always great pains. If anyone I know stumbled across my blog and read more than a few random entries they would probably suspect me. But that's giving my coworkers more credibility than most of them deserve. They're not the brightest bunch, nor the most aware, nor the most perceptive. Some of them might think, "Hey, she reminds me of what's her name at work" and that would be that. One or two of them, though, one who writes Leela fan fic and science fantasy short stories in particular, would assume the author is me.

So today I'm looking at everyone at work with new eyes. Evaluating their intelligence, perception and integrity. If they stumbled upon this blog, would they be able to figure out I'm the author? Would I care if they knew? Would I care if they read it?

Welcome to the dark side of blogging. Paranoia.

I'm not ashamed of any words I post. I'm not an author or writer or trying to be one. These are words I have to exorcise from my brain. Oh sure, many of them are words I would say if I had no diplomacy, tact or professional responsibility. Many of them are words I would say if I didn't care if I never had another date again in my life. Many of them are words I would say if I didn't care about whether or not I hurt someone's feelings.

But I do have diplomacy, tact and professional responsibility. I do care about dating. Well. Maybe not so much. I care about trying to date. I care about not wanting to be alone.

I care about other peoples' feelings.

There are people in this world who by nature of their personality or profession set themselves up for criticism or at least discussion.

Then there's everyone else.

And I'm not the sort of person who goes around wanting to hurt other peoples' feelings. I don't like a lot of people. A lot of people irritate the swut out of me. But. That's my issue, not theirs. I don't want to hurt them because they irritate me or do really annoying or stupid things. I might mock and ridicule them here, because, well...you know what? That's wrong of me.

Aw, Trill, you're just venting. You're just being a normal human being. You can't love or even like everyone, and besides, you work with and date some real losers, idiots and annoying people.

True enough. Thanks. But still. Just because I'm hiding behind relative anonymity doesn't make it right for me to ridicule and scorn those around me. If I had a spine, if I had real integrity, if I had a set of...

I wouldn't hide behind anonymity. I'd be out and proud. I say what I mean and mean what I say. Oh wait. I already do that. I just don't do it to anyone's face. I don't even do it so that it could be traced to me.

I'm a word wuss.

I already only post about 1/4 of the words fighting to get out of my head. Seriously. You wouldn't believe some of the words in there. You think you know me? Ha. My head's a weird, cluttered, scary place full of words. (Insert dark surreal Dr. Seussian animated sequence of words swirling and falling all over the place, fighting with each other, trying to get out of my head) Sometimes I scare myself when I read previous words I have produced in my personal journals. "What monster wrote that?" I'll say to myself. And I'll answer myself, "Oh. Me. I'm the monster. Sheesh, I really need therapy. Or a few years hard labor."

What? You thought I post all the words in my head? Really?

Huh.

I don't.

So, Trillian, tell me about yourself. How do you choose which words you will post here?

Good question.

Reading my coworker's fan fic about Leela has given me a lot of pause for thought. They have a very real purpose for their blog, their writing. They're honing their science fantasy craft. (Leela fan fic aside) It's obviously a creative outlet for them, obviously they have very real interests and a desire to write. They're hoping maybe one day they'll be published and leave this company, their job, behind them.

Me? Well. I have no idea why I do this. I cannot, even with all the words in my head, tell you why I do this or how I choose what I post. Oh sure, there are obvious things I do not post, because I really do not want to hurt anyone's feelings.

But as for the rest of it, or why I even do any of it, I don't know. I have no aspirations for being a real writer or even a wordsmith. I hide behind anonymity because I don't want the notoriety, "fame" or credit (good or bad) for the words which fall out of my head. So basically, I get nothing out of it publicly posting words.

Except that along the way, I've met some really swell people. Amazingly swell people. Intelligent, funny, kind, sincere people.

That's what I get out of it.

But what do they get from me? I haven't a clue. I have no idea why you are reading these words. Not a clue. I mean, if you like them and you get something from them, great, have at it, glad to be here for you and thanks for stopping by, maybe we can have a drink sometime.

But I'm curious.

What if I turned out to be the woman in payroll you can't stand? Or the woman you met online who turned out to be the psycho date from Hell? Or your best friend? Or your sister?

Then what would you think of the words? What would you think of me? Would it change your perspective on the blog? Or would it change your perspective of the woman in payroll/date from Hell/best friend/sister?

I ask this because odds are very good someone you know, other than yourself, writes a blog. Perhaps even a salacious/stupid/controversial blog.

Most people have words they don't say. Some people have to or want to get those words out of their heads. Blogs are giving those words a home. Which is opening a whole new field of personal and professional ethics for the species human to navigate.

If you author a blog, remember, more people are reading blogs every day. Chances are very good someone you know will stumble across yours. Hopefully they'll be tactful and keep their mouths shut about the scary fan fic or rant about your wife you posted. But be prepared for the possibility that they won't be as tactful as me. Or that somehow, some way, some day, you are going to encounter a situation which reveals someone you know reads your blog.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice day.

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10:19 AM

Wednesday, January 26, 2005  
Local Woman to Receive Internet Service in Her Home

It was with rapt anticipation that Ms. Tricia McMillian arrived home Monday night. This was the night her internet service provider (ISP) told her she would have DSL service.

"I moved house 3.03 miles last week," Ms. McMillian explained, "and even though I spent a lot of time making arrangements for my internet service to move with me, well, there were issues."

Ms. McMillian is like many internet users. She uses her home internet connection for business and personal use.

"I'm a designer, so there are a lot of times I can work at home rather than stay late in the office. I just email my work files between home and the office," Ms. McMillian, Trillian, continues, "and a lot of times creative inspiration hits in the middle of the night or on weekends. My brain doesn't work 9 to 5. So my internet connectivity is a crucial component of my tool box. Also, my mother is ill and the internet helps me keep in contact with my parents, the rest of my family and research her various medical issues. Being offline for even a day could be serious for me right now. I don't like that my life has evolved to this point of internet dependency, but on the other hand, I cringe thinking about what my life would be like without the internet."

Poignant words.
Ms. McMillian's ISP did not meet their promised connectivity date. The phone company's move transition plan went off without a hitch. Even the US Postal Service was able to understand she had moved and delivered her mail to her new address. But her ISP fell far short of the mark. A mark they set, a plan they implemented.

When Ms. McMillian attempted to go online late on the night of her move, she had no service.

"I was tired anyway, but I wanted to dash off a quick email to family telling them I was safely at the new place. It was a long and difficult move, family and friends tried to reach me all day and evening but had difficulty because I was involved with the movers and various problems which arose with the move. I was disappointed I didn't have internet service, but too tired to care about it that night."

The following morning, Trillian again attempted to go online, but again, she had no service. That's when she began calling her ISP for assistance. She was met with conflicting claims by customer service agents and was told there was no record of her move request. When she recited the service request number to the customer service agents, she was told it was not a valid number. Furthermore, the phone number she had been given to ring for service for her "special move issues" was not in service.

"I was furious. A day I can understand. No big deal. But to find out they had done nothing in preparation for the move really annoyed and bothered me. I persisted and climbed higher up the chain of command. I finally got a technical advisor who 'found' my case notes and figured out what the problems were. Naturally they blamed the phone company. So I rang the phone company. Naturally, the phone company said they had done everything they were supposed to do. Which I actually believe because, well, my phone service worked just fine. So there I was, stuck in the middle, with no internet. I had taken a few days off work to settle into the new place, but had some work to do, email to check, and my mother's health issues," Trillian sniffles and wipes away a tear, "It was horrible, just horrible. I was reduced to going to Coughupalottabucks so I could go online. My ISP essentially made me pay insane amounts of money for tea and cider so that I could use Coughupalottabucks' internet service. Coughupalottabucks! Is my ISP going to refund me that money, that blood money? No! Of course they're not. They don't care."

Trillian's calls to her ISP were met with increasing insensitivity and apathy. One customer service agent told her she would have service in 10 days and that she was "lucky" to have service moved "that quickly."

"I couldn't believe it. The phone company and the swutting US Postal Service managed to grasp the concept of moving and transferred my information seamlessly. Yet my ISP, allegedly one of the leaders in technology and service, couldn't deliver what they promised and had the cheek to be rude to me. The swutting US Postal Service could figure it out for crying out loud!"

"I returned to work and I had to resort to staying late and using my company's network for some personal emails and to look up a few medical procedures for my mum, look up information on feline psychoses, when and how to sue a moving company, how to type with stitches in your knuckle, dealing with a slumlord who won't return phone calls, you know, the usual stuff. I'm not proud of this, I don't like to use my company's network for personal stuff. Our tech guys are not the most reputable people, they're bored and spend their days monitoring what we're doing online, even reading email sometimes. It's a huge privacy problem, but you know, I mean, it's work and we shouldn't be doing personal stuff there anyway, so none of us complain," Trillian confides. "Then I'd go home, check to see if I had service, and then spend hours, yes, HOURS on the phone with customer support at my ISP. Every night I got a different set of excuses, but ultimately, I didn't have service."

Finally, Ms. McMillian issued an ultimatum to her ISP. "I hate ultimatums. I don't issue them. I'm just not like that. But this is what they made me do. They forced me to stoop to a level which I do not stoop. I told them if I didn't have service Monday night, I wanted out of my contract with them because they were not delivering their end of the deal."

She then hung up on them.

"Yeah. I know. I'm not proud of that, either." Trillian quietly admits. "But what was I supposed to do? How long was I supposed to go on like that? There's only so much a person can take."

Then, The Storm hit.
When a blizzard hit Saturday, Trillian was certain that would be the next excuse, the next barrier to service. And sure enough, Monday night, when she arrived home from work, she had no internet service.

"I made my nightly call to my ISP, and was told because of the blizzard the crew who had to 'check my line' were running late, but that I should have service sometime that night." Trillian mimics, "I wasn't holding my breath."

But just before retiring for the evening, Ms. McMillian attempted to go online one more time. "My browser sprang to life. I couldn't believe my eyes. Internet. Dear, sweet, internet. It was like discovering fire. Of course, I couldn't think of one site I wanted to go to and wasn't in the mood to send email, but the mere fact that I could if I wanted or needed to was very reassuring."

Ms. McMillian is also a "blogger" (online journals, web logs) who had been posting sporadically from Coughupalottabucks. "I have some really great friends who read my blog. They knew I was going through a difficult move and many of them were concerned when I didn't post for a few days. I know. They're really swell people. I can't thank them enough for all their kind wishes and support."

When asked if she would publicly embarrass and ridicule her ISP via her blog, she said, "I'm sure it will be mentioned. Not by name, though, because, well, I mean, well, I'm not sure why, really..."

Ms. McMillian's blog can be found at www.triciamcmillian.blogspot.com Her ISP can be found at www.earthlink.net.

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8:26 AM

 
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