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

 
Wednesday, March 02, 2005  
Gosh, Trill, you've been a real wet blanket lately.
Yeah, I know. Sorry. Here's something fun! Today is Yahoo!'s 10th birthday. Wow. Where'd the time go? Anyway, you can get free ice cream at Baskin-Robbins all over the world. Click here, print and go have a scoop on Yahoo!.

And while you're at Yahoo!, here's a little game you folks at home can play. Go to the Yahoo! search bar. Type in nice ass. You heard me. nice ass. No quotes, just nice ass.

Check out the first three or four hits.

Anything look familiar? Recognize anyone?

Yeah. Right under Mega Hottie Yolanda. Please don't ask me how, but this has been going on for a few months.

Happy birthday Yahoo!, nice ass.

1:56 PM

 
Get a Job, Part II
I'm still looking, feverishly, for a new job, a new career, a new way to keep a roof over my head and food in Furry Creature's dish. You know, before I lose my job because of a little issue brewing which could turn into a rather nasty scandal which has caused me to summon every ounce of personal integrity and ethics I have and hope just this once there is a God or Karma givers who will reward me for doing The Right Thing. Because if not, if I'm just being all good and just and above reproach for no reason other than that's just how I am, and how I am is going to get me into a position I don't deserve, like the unemployment line, I'm going to be in a lot of financial trouble.

Oh sure, my integrity and ethics and morality will be a bright, shiny beacon of inspiration for those who will hear my tale or come after me. But since burning women for their high moral standards has gone out of fashion, even in France, the whole holier-than-thou-ethical-high-ground-above-reproach thing tends to leave people alive and unemployed and unemployable.

"Whistle blower, eh? We can't take any chances with a live wire like that." Which is exactly what would have happened to Ms. Arc, Ms. Maid of Orleans and Ethics Snoot, if burning uppity girls hadn't been all the rage back then. Yeah. Burned at the stake. She got off easy. She didn't have to trot home and find a job and feed her cat with that reputation. She didn't have to awkwardly explain the gap in her employment history because she learned it's best to keep quiet and not have any prospective employers poking around in her personnel file.

But the good news is that there are lots of jobs "out there."

Don't let anyone tell you there are no jobs "out there." They're there. Lots of 'em.

And not jobs like dishwasher, busperson and day laborer. In fact, I see very few postings for those jobs. Oh yeah, that's why we have illegal immigrants. I keep forgetting.

But it doesn't matter because even though I'm not an illegal immigrant the world of work is my oyster. Many oysters. Enough to make a lovely string of pearls.

It is amazing what jobs are advertised when you set no limits whatsoever on your search criteria. You should try it sometime. Just enter "any" in all the specification search fields. You'll get every job posted. It's sort of like being a teenager again and trying out a different profession every day. No. I never did that, either. I should have. I might not be in the situation I am now if I'd given more thought to how I wanted to spend my life 40+ hours a week. 52 weeks a year. Year after year after year... That "do what you love, and the money will follow/it won't seem like work" thing? It's the biggest lie and new age hippie crap ever spoken. I've been "doing what I love" for a lot of years now, and the money has not followed and it does seem like work. Work is work. Period. No one is going to pay me to go shoe shopping. Okay. Someone might. But not enough to sustain life. And eventually the job of shoe shopping would become just work. Anything you are required to do, day after day, eventually becomes work. No matter how intrinsically gifted you are or how much you enjoy it. Which is why the whole career change thing should be better received among employers. Nothing like a jaded, burned out on their once burning passion professional in search of something new to fuel their gray matter and time to set fire to that vacant position which has been so difficult to fill. Some day HR people will catch onto this. So I'm trying on some new professions now. Better late than never, right? Never too late to reinvent yourself.

Here are some of this week's highlights. The descriptions are exactly as found.

Roofing Supervisor
Hey! I can supervise a roof! Seriously, how hard can it be? I watch This Old House, if you're not afraid of heights and don't suffer from vertigo and can say flange without laughing, it looks like a blast! Anyone can do it, right?

Don't answer until you read the job description.

Job Summary: Foreman is the "MAN ON THE JOB" (their quotes and all upper case emphasis added, not mine) , with full responsibility while the job is in progress. He (again with the sexist assumption...) is responsible for the installation to project specifications, job safety, customer relations, checking estimator's quantities, maintaining job records, documenting change orders, payroll reporting and verification, bringing the job within budget, and job quality control. (sounds like a production coordinator, I've done that. Okay, not with roofs, but with printing, I mean, really, can it be that different?)

Equipment and material invoices are kept by the foreman. Job Costing paperwork stating labor and material used, and material returned are kept by the Foreman and submitted to the Production Manager at completion of the job. The Foreman will notify the estimator of Change Order requirements on a daily basis. Leads from neighbors are recorded by the foreman and turned into the Front Office on a daily basis.

Description:
• Supervises and coordinates activities of roof mechanics engaged in covering roofs with roofing materials. (hmmm, so my job would require watching young nubile roof mechanics engaged...)
• Assigns duties to roof mechanics. (hmmmmm, telling young nubile engaged roof mechanics what to do...)
• Coordinates movement of materials from distributor or company warehouse to the job site, and directs job site storage. (Makes a bunch of phone calls. I can do that.)
• Keeps listings of manpower and materials used on the project on a daily basis, and turns them in to the company's accounting department daily. (Paperwork. Forms. Job tracking. Okay. Yeah. I can do that.)
• Demonstrates techniques of applying various types of roofing materials to new workers. (This could be a problem, but maybe Home Depot has one of those weekend courses.)
• Inspects work in progress and, when completed, determines conformance to specifications. (Roof mechanic #3, yes, you with the mullet, oh wait, you all have mullets, okay, you with the plaid shirt jacket thing, oh wait, you all have plaid shirt jacket things, okay, you with the nice eyes, get up there and let me determine the conformance. Yes. I think I could like this job.)
• Keeps order and safety on the project and disciplines when necessary. Oversees the training of new employees on power equipment and tools. (Roof mechanic #3, mullet, plaid shirt jacket thing, nice eyes, great bum, I'm afraid I'm going to have to discipline you (snapping in a tape measure) you've been a very bad roof mechanic. Your shingles don't conform. What are we going to do about that? Hmmmm? What? (suggestively foisting shingles as pasties) I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to stay late on the job site and do a little one on one training. With power equipment and tools. (torques a drill into the air) Get out your power tool and let me show you the true meaning of pneumatic.)

Erm. Yeah. Okay. Hey. You wanted Reality Wednesday. You got it.

First, apparently you have to be male to apply for this job. Secondly, there is actually quite a bit to know about roofing in order to supervise one. I'm not daunted by either of those issues.

No, what daunts me about this job is the fact that the salary is $20,000/year. 20K a year to supervise a bunch of guys who were not smart enough to be roofing supervisor, make sure they don't fall off roofs, in the lovely changing climate of the Midwest: 100 degrees in Summer, 18 degrees in Winter. And you're out there enjoying every minute, coordinating materials from distributors or warehouses who, and I'm guessing by the small home improvement projects I've helped my father with, are not the most reliable or expedient people. And then, once the crap shows up you get to figure out where to store it on the job site.

Oh! And! You get to be micromanaged by people who can't be bothered to leave the cushy office so they ring you nonstop on the mobile and demand that you fill out forms and paperwork every day, and you get to micromanage the crew with lists and forms which you have to turn in every day to a pencil pusher back at the cushy climate controlled office. Gosh that sounds like fun, and they'll pay you 20K a year to do it! I bet a lot of people would do it for free! That must explain the less than $10/hour rate of pay.

Next!

Welder
Hey! Did you ever see the episode of The Munsters when Lily goes to work as a welder at Herman's company to earn a little extra cash, and Herman flirts with her but he doesn't know it's Lily because of her welder's mask but she knows it's Herman? Or was it the other way around. Funny. Suddenly I can't remember the details. But. Still. I love that episode. Yeah. Welder. I'm handy. I could use a few sparks in my life. And it is entry level. Take your passion, make it happen! Oh. Wait. It's in a suburb I didn't even know existed. I had to go to Mapquest to figure out where it is. Further than the $7 wage will compensate. Darn, darn, darn, darn. I'm not that much of a maniac, maniac.

Wait! What's this?

Nuclear Scientist! Hey! Now that sounds interesting. Albany, New York...hmmm. I like upstate New York, they want a PhD but will accept a masters degree, hey! I've got one of those! They don't specify what area of study, so I'm in! Seriously, read this description:
Nuclear Scientist needed for leading research and development center. We are currently involved in building a nuclear reactor for deep space exploration. We are in need of Scientists with an expertise in nuclear fuel development. A PHD is preferred, masters will be accepted. U.S. citizenship is required. All positions are based in Albany, NY. Relocation assistance is available. We offer a very comprehensive benefits package , and competitive compensation. (erm, just how much competition is there in the nuclear scientist field? "Smithers, we're prepared to make you an offer. We think you will find it very generous, much better than those other nuclear scientist jobs are offering. We're very competitive here. We want the best, so we offer the best. We're not just another pretty nuclear test facility. We not only offer armed guards and security dogs trained in North Korea, but state of the art biohazard suits, too. Thinking about starting a family? Not to worry! We're very family oriented here, we offer a lifetime membership at the area's best sperm bank! Your children could be the progeny of many intelligent, wealthy and prominant men who do not work in a radioactive industry! No, we don't offer just a great salary, but the little perks which make day to day life in the reactor business so special. Perks like a little alone time in the core, you know, don't ask, don't tell, wink wink, nudge nudge. And I think you'll find a few hot numbers in data control who are always happy to help with any cold fusion issues you might have or ready to explore their deep space, wink wink, nudge nudge. And what goes on in the decontamination chamber, stays in the decontamination chamber. If you know what I mean...har har. Nothing like splitting a few atoms after a long day in the lab, eh Smithers, har har.")

"Nuclear reactor for deep space exploration..." "Relocation assistance is available..." I'm just going to leave that one for the moment.


President.
Just: President.
Hey everyone! Bush is leaving! There's an ad for president on Career Builder.com!
Oh.
I see.
It's not actually The President (of the United States). But it does have a similarly vague job description and about the same salary.

Please note: Must be able to Relocate. (Have cat, will travel.)

This President (not to be confused with that President) is responsible for the direct supervision and mentoring of all site Executive Directors/Directors/Assistant Directors.
.Responsible for cross-site outcomes with an acquired understanding of departmental roles and functions, policies and procedures. (Seen one org chart, seen 'em all)
. Responsible for financial security and operational solvency of all sites. (Hire an accountant.)
. Develop strategic plans and goals. (Oooh, I'm good at that!)
• Facilitate and participate in tactical execution of regional goals. (I have absolutely no idea what they're talking about but I like the idea of tactical execution)
. Assure preparation and presentation of accurate and timely forecasts of expenses. (Budget reports. Have cat and Excel, will travel.)
. Monitor actual expenses vs. budgets as appropriate through analysis of accounting reports and assure financial controls and direction are implemented at the site level. (Make sure you hire a really good accountant.)
. Establish accountabilities and performance expectations for all direct reports. (Tell people what to do, boss 'em around a lot. Yeah. I can probably do that. Sure, it might not be as fun as bossing around roof mechanics, but the pay is better.)
. Performance appraisals are conducted on time. (Seriously? This is honestly a key requirement? Isn't it a standard business function? No really, it seems weird to the point of bizarre they've listed this as a key requirement.)
. Identify needs and promote both in-house and off-site training for direct reports to foster their personal and professional development and growth. (Ooooh, more telling people what to do, where to go and how to get there!)
. Be cognizant of the company’s EEO/legal objectives and select staff with objectives in mind without sacrificing the integrity or quality of the selection process. (This is just a bunch of EEO required jargon the HR guy threw in because he's all hopped up high from the last Up! With HR People! Convention. All presidents know that. Besides, for this job you only have to be "cognizant" of it, you don't have to actually practice it.)
. Ensure development of top managers at each site to build a viable succession strategy within each region. (Viable. Succession. Strategy. Viable. Succession. Strategy. Viable. Succession. Strategy. Right. We'll get the top managers at each site right on that.)
. Recruit and hire new talent for the various sites to ensure a steady stream of qualified replacements exists at each location. (Revolving door problem? Employee retention issues? Tut tut, trick question. Every good president knows the most valuable asset to a company is its existing employees.)
. Conduct regular site visits within region to evaluate needs and issues, and ensure that actions to rectify those are undertaken in a timely fashion. (Pop quiz! Think fast!)
. Evaluate staffing levels, divisions of responsibility, and organizational structure with respect to the number of potential recruits and marketing activity across region. (Pop quiz! Think fast!)
. Conduct regular evaluations of operations at each location to ensure quality management of student, course and financial outcomes. (A ha! The one and only hint as to what this job may (or may not, we don't want to be too committal here in this job description) actually involve. Students. Courses. Financial outcomes. Hmmmm. I'm good at school. I've paid a lot of tuition. Surely that qualifies me to evaluate Students. Courses. And Financial Outcomes.)

REQUIREMENTS Non-negotiable requirements:
Must currently oversee all aspects (sales, operations, P&L, etc) of many entities.
ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE a Master’s degree and preferably from a top 10 school.
Critical: Must have true senior level, multi-unit / multi-facility management experience.

Must be willing to relocate.

General Requirements:
The President will have led a service business (B2C), in multiple locations to sustained growth and profitability-and/or will have been a senior operating executive with profit and loss accountability in an entrepreneurial environment. (Run-on sentence in the passive tense much? First thing I'll do as president is send the HR coordinator to a good writing class, and not one of those idiot "business" writing courses, a good writing class at a top 10 school. You pay by the word for these ads, we can sustain growth and profitability by cutting out the words in employment ads. There you go, there's an idea right there. My gift to you.) Candidates will have experience in marketing and business development along with a strong foundation of operations management. (Oh boy! I actually have this experience!) The candidate will ensure the fulfillment of customer requirements and satisfy the company's mission statement, operating principles and strategic short-term and long-term business plans. (Yessir. Just, yes, sir. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.) Candidates must have a strong financial acumen, knowledge of general business laws, and extensive experience building strong teams and managing a diverse staff. (Oh boy! I actually have this experience, too! Just ask my boss! She sent me to a meeting to explain how my company operates just inside the business practice laws of the state of Illinois! And financial acumen? Ha! Take a look at my check book, my last pay stub, last year's W2 and my bills! Yeah, I know, it doesn't seem like there's enough money there, but somehow I manage to pay rent and keep one step ahead of collection agencies! And diverse staff?! In just the last year I have managed a woman during her breast augmentation, a woman who didn't show up for work during the last four months of her pregnancy, and was threatened by an IRA sympathizer!) Must have the presence and adaptability to deal with a broad spectrum of people from field personnel to corporate executives. (See above.) Must possess outstanding managerial, leadership and interpersonal and communication skills. (Note the glint off my straight and white teeth when I smile proudly into the dawn of a bright new day.) A strong leader with charisma. (Ask not what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company! I did not have sex with that man! It's a 'friendly' call. Of course it's a friendly call... Listen, if it wasn't friendly... you probably wouldn't have even got it... D'oh!)

Not looking at candidates in any consulting, technical or engineering industries. Not looking at a problem for me!

(Someone, please, take mercy on me, hire me. Please. I'll be good. Really I will. I swear. I'm hardly any trouble at all. Please hire me. Dick, Mr. Branson, really, now would be a really good time to hire me. Please. Okay. Fine. I'll beg. I'm on my knees. Behind my desk. See? I can type while I'm down here. Begging. I'll do this every day in your office if you will please just hire me.)

8:08 AM

Tuesday, March 01, 2005  
The future sent me another message.

Yeah. I know. It’s getting kind of weird.

And this message is really sad, and the whole wedding dress thing was a huge buzz kill, and Kilgore’s shutting down his blog, what appeared to be a bona fide long hair did a pretty darned good Allman Brothers cover on American Idol no really, seriously, Whipping Post. Right there in front of all those prepubescent girls and gay guys and the home viewing audience. (I didn't believe it either, Frankie rang screaming, 'you won't believe this, you've got to see it, turn on FOX NOW!' and there it was. I think I saw a couple of horsemen with big 'A's on their chests saddling up and lighting a fire just before they cut to Paula), and everyone’s all like, “this is it, the world really is coming to an end.”

Which would be fine with me, but I know there are a few people who would be annoyed if the world ended tomorrow.

Eh. Whatever. It’s just the world. And if we all go at once there won’t be anyone left to be sad or lonely or remorseful or guilty. Really, in the big picture, the world coming to an end is the best possible demise for everyone involved. Hopefully it will happen before Clay Aiken covers Molly Hatchet.

I, for one, will go peacefully and with a huge sense of relief.

However.

Meanwhile.

Things are happening to people. Bad, mean, stupid, thoughtless, pointless things. Things which make me go, “swut you, Universe.”

A woman was murdered.

Yeah, okay, it happens every day.

Which is wrong, and the jaded complacency “society” has about it is worse than wrong.

Living in Mayor Daley’s cesspool has it’s ups and downs. There’s that huge body of water called Lake Michigan which is a definite up. But there’s the rest of the city riddled with crime and poverty, which is a definite down. There are some stunning examples of architecture which are huge, phallic ups. But there’s the rest of the city filled with dilapidated buildings, The Projects, and loft condos bulging the Big Shoulders’ out of their jacket, which is a huge down. There are some great restaurants and very good shopping, which are big ups. But most people who live here cannot afford to eat or shop at those places, which is a huge down, especially since we’re the ones paying the elevated sales tax on everything, everywhere in the city, even our local fast food place or dollar store. You get the picture. It’s the same in any large city. Good and bad. Up and down. Gleaming facade and ugly underbelly.

A huge down is the violent crime. I have been a victim. But I have been “lucky,” I lived and recovered from my injuries. (though the affiliated identity theft I am told will linger for about a year.)

Norma Dart was not as “lucky” as me.

I am stepping out of character of the blog and letting you into a part of myself I vowed to keep off the blog. I try to refrain from commenting on politics, news and anything you should be keeping up with as a daily matter of course. I believe, and assume, you are aware and intelligent enough to read and watch and listen and decipher The News. You don’t need my point of view or take on any of it. I’m not trying to change your world or The World. I know I can’t. I try in my own small ways and hope you do the same, but this blog ain’t about that. Per se. Those small ways are part of who I am, and I trust/assume they are part of most of you, too, so naturally they sort of creep in here, typically on Reality Wednesday (yeah, remember that? I know, I’m sorry, things are not so great right now) Anyway, this is a real news story, a tragedy, and something which makes me angry. Yes. Angry. Anger, the other emotion. It touches me on a lot of personal levels. It’s a horrible, horrible thing and I am using my blog to say: Fuck you Universe, you suck, there is nothing sacred or fair or just.

Norma Dart was 81-years-old. She worked as a typist, was retired, living in the same small apartment for the past 40 years. She never married, never had children. She had family and friends who describe her as very active; a nice, vibrant woman. She kept to herself but neighbors recall Norma as an active, lively woman who recently took up piano lessons and painting.

"She was healthy. She was vibrant. She'd run every day, unless she was sick or the weather was too bad a couple of days that she didn't go anywhere. Otherwise, Norma was always doing her thing," a neighbor said.

Neighbors also said Norma was concerned for her safety. Her apartment and those of other area residents recently were burglarized.

Dart had asked for her door to be reinforced and at times moved a chair in front of it out of fear someone might try to break in.

Some of her mail had been stolen and her apartment and those of other area residents had been recently burglarized.

There was no sign of forced entry. But she was found beaten, cause of death was multiple severe head trauma.

Her apartment was not ransacked, and as yet, details about whether or not anything was taken have not been established.

Yeah. There are some loose ends here.

But.

This is wrong.

This is really, really wrong.

Norma doesn’t seem like the sort of senior sitting around waiting for death. She seems like the sort of person who tried to keep healthy, wanted to maintain her independence, and had interests. She did things.

She seems like the sort of woman who was prepared. She obviously had a friend or relative clued into the whole, "if something happens to me, give the news crew a decent photo of me, please, here, use this one" drill. I look at that photo and I see bright, alert, wise eyes. And maybe it's just me projecting, but a see a hint of a smirk on those lips which look like they are about to dispense a bit of sage advice or a joke or compliment on your new shoes. She kept her hair "done" and obviously took care of the rest of herself, too.

As soon as I heard about this my heart ached. I can fill in the gaps the eyewitness news team at 9 didn’t report.

I’m guessing her career as a typist didn’t afford her a lot of material opportunities in life - hence the same small apartment for 40 years - but she sounds like she made the best of it. It’s never been easy to make it in a large city on one income, but she did it. 40 years ago, 1965, things were really different than they are now. Think about it: That was pre-women’s movement, NOW wasn’t formed until 1967. And there was Norma, 41 and single and boy do I pity her. Over 30 and single is rough now, but back then, a single 41-year-old typist might as well have worn a sign saying: “Plague ridden leper with VD, bad breath, a nagging mother and 25 cats.” (You know, like the one I wear) I wonder if that’s why she opted for the small second floor apartment in Harvey. A little place because, heck, that’s all she needed. And most likely all she could afford. She probably thought it would be a temporary place to live until she found something better, got a different job or met a great guy. I’m sure she had a few Ramen noodle or cheese sandwich meals in her lifetime, like all of us who have one income and find ourselves a bit short prior to pay day. I’m sure she “splurged” on a treat or two now and then, a new lipstick, a nice pair of sneakers for her jog, something for her nieces and nephews, maybe a little trip if she was careful with her budget. She filled her days not with television or blank hours at the senior center, but jogging and painting and deciding to finally take those piano lessons she’d been talking about for so long.

The alarm for her safety was raised when she didn’t show up for a standing luncheon date.

Yes.

This was a woman with a standing Sunday luncheon date with family.

And what a really horrible, crappy, unjust, unfitting, wrong way for her life to end.

I have a slightly different perspective on this than a lot of people. I’m single and have come to the realization I will be single for the rest of my life. I know what it’s like to live alone in a bad neighborhood. I know what it’s like to not get your mail for days or sometimes even weeks, and the concern and paranoia that can cause. I know what it’s like to put a chair under your door knobs before you go to bed at night because the building’s been broken into a lot in the past few months. I know what it’s like to sleep only partially, too afraid to let yourself go into a deep sleep where you might not hear “something.” I know what it’s like to have your landline phone and cell phone never out of reach. I know what it’s like to know you are high on the potential victim profile list by the mere fact you are a woman who lives alone. I know what it’s like to try to not let those things consume you, to be careful, not take stupid risks and yet still get out there and live your life.

And I know what it’s like to be assaulted.

I know all the precautions in the world, all the rehearsed maneuvers, the pepper spray, the well placed kicks, the screaming, the trying to dial 9-1-1, are useless when someone, someone unnaturally strong and violent, wants to hurt you.

I know how it feels to know you are being attacked, to fight back while trying to “stay calm” and practice everything you learned in all those safety classes. I know how it feels to try to figure out if the guy bashing your head in the ground merely wants to kill you or if he wants to rape you, too. I know what it feels like to finally, after the beating doesn’t stop and you’re pinned down so hard you are numb and unable to move, to hope you just die right then, there, because there’s no way you’re going to live your life the same after this. And it’s going to hurt a lot, too. And I know how it feels to think, “you know what? This is fitting. A crappy life alone struggling with jobs and men and money and rent and slumlords, and now this. So typical. But better me than a woman with a husband and children who need her. And after all, I gave it my best shot, I did what I could, I had some good times and some laughs.” Yes. That really goes through your mind. It goes through your mind really fast and is more of a general, all encompassing thought with a lot of other thoughts, but if the assailant assaults you long enough and hard enough, it’s there. Even for a non-quitter like me. And Norma.

Yep. I know how Norma died. And lots of other people die this way. And it’s wrong.

Which is why I’m okay with the whole end of the world thing. Sure, it’s a bummer for the world and all of that. But at least that way never again will anyone have to die the way Norma did.

I bought a "good" bottle of wine and tonight I am raising a toast in salute to Norma Dart. You go, girl.

norma dart

10:54 AM

Monday, February 28, 2005  
Wedding Dress 4 Sale, New, Never Worn
You Must Do The Thing Which You Think You Cannot

Or some pith like that. I'm not a big Eleanor Roosevelt devotee.

But. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

I guess it's good to do the thing you think you cannot or the thing you don't want to do even though you know it's probably the logical or best thing to do.

I finally sold my wedding dress.

Seriously.

It's been hanging new in it's chic and protective bag, never worn down the aisle, in a closet at my parents' house.

My parents never, not once, brought up the topic of the dress. I'm sure they didn't want to hurt me. I'm sure they didn't know what to say, how to approach the topic, or what the right thing to do with the dress was.

What do you do with your daughter's wedding dress she never wore because the wedding was canceled because her fiancé broke-up with her?

Not a position which I would want to find myself, and one in which I really hate to have put my parents.

And really, apart from the heartache and loneliness, that's the worst part about canceling a marriage. Other people are disappointed and hurt. It's not just the personal humiliation. Other people have pride and feelings at stake, too. And no, I am not saying a bad or problematic marriage should happen for everyone other than the bride and groom. Of course not.

But.

In my case, my parents liked him. They were really happy for me and for us.

And they were really sad and hurt and disappointed for me when it didn't happen.

And I was embarrassed for them. They had to tell all their friends and extended family that their daughter was left nearly at the altar.

Those are not phone calls I would like to make. Because no matter how sympathetic and caring, the unspoken (and sometimes spoken, in the case of a few relatives) are: "What's wrong with her?" or "I knew it." or "Your daughter's a loser, and you're a failure as a parent."

In the old days my father would have been in the position of forcing, shotgun in hand, HWNMNBS to marry me. But fortunately for my father we don't live in the old days. My father's not the violent type. Even when it comes to defending his daughter's honor.

"Son, I hate to do this to you. You know Trillian's mother and I always liked you. That's what makes this so difficult. It's going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you. Or you could just marry her..."

Oh swut.

Anyway, the dress.

I didn't know what to do with it. Every time I visited my parents it was hanging in the closet. My mother tried to push it to the back, hang other clothes around it to try to conceal it.

But it's a swutting wedding dress. Those things are not easy to hide. Even at their tiniest, they're Real Dresses and come in big protective garment bags and take up a lot of space.

Mine was somewhere in the middle on the scale of Big Dresses. It took me a really long time to find it. My mother and friends and I performed exhaustive searches. Nothing quite suited me. This was complicated by the fact that I wasn't one of those girls who fantasized about her wedding day every day from the time she was three years old. I had only a vague notion of what I wanted in a wedding dress, but very concrete opinions about what I did not want. It was easy to find what I did not want. Much like finding the groom.

Brides are allegedly getting older, but the wedding dress industry is still catering to 18-year-olds fresh from prom with Cinderella fantasies. Tulle and bows, bows and tulle. Mountains of tulle. It was either a frothy mountain of tulle, or a stiff satin sheath cut so tight the bride would walk down the aisle reminiscent of a bound foot Japanese girl. Very little in-between these extremes. And apparently there are a lot of women who really like lace. Scratchy, ugly, Madonna circa 1983 lace. A few shops carry one or two token bridal "suits" for the second or third or fourth time bride. A few of these were actually quite stylish. For the office. I didn't want to look like I was on my way to work and stopped in for a marriage.

My mother and I reached the point we could dismiss a bridal shop within five minutes of entering.

We spoke with several seamstresses and custom shops about making a dress. None "got it." One woman, a self described better than Vera Wang designer, thought my ideas were "valid" and worth "looking into" but didn't want to tackle the project because she had other projects demanding her attention.

And finally, after a global search, we found the dress.

Or.

Well.

Almost the dress.

I won't bore you with the details.

But.

It was almost perfect. But was insanely expensive. The expense made even more insane because it was only "almost" perfect. The price put it on the "no way" list.

My mother and friends and I continued our search. It always came back to The Almost Perfect Ridiculously Expensive One.

Finally, exasperated and bored and sick of looking at wedding dresses, I returned to the "better than Vera Wang" woman if should would lower herself to changing a dress I'd found which was more than a little shy of perfect. She was intrigued. I gave her some sketches. She made her own sketches. We talked money.

I left, once again hit with my practical logic and brought to my senses before spending ridiculous money on something I would wear. Once.

Then I didn't think about it. I just didn't think about it. It hadn't been consuming me anyway, so I just didn't think about it at all. I would find something, even if at the last minute, there a loads of wedding dresses out there, worse case scenario, I thought, I would just choose the least expensive one which had the fewest details I did not want. Or one of those matronly second time around suit things. It was looking like I was not going to find a dress I really liked anyway, so why bother wasting time, energy and gray matter on hoping/trying to find The One?

Then one weekend I visited my parents.

They had bought The Almost Perfect Ridiculously Expensive Dress.

My mother was as sick of the whole thing as I was, my father was sick of hearing about it, so about the time I just up and stopped thinking about it, they put an end to the madness and ordered the Almost Perfect Ridiculously Expensive Dress.

I was stunned. Not that my parents would just go out and spend an insane amount of money on my wedding dress, but that they would do it behind my back, as a surprise. I mean, it's a wedding dress.

I tried it on. I had lost a few pounds since the first time I'd tried on the sample dress, so the new dress, my dress, fit almost perfectly. During our outings looking for a dress, my mother had learned my measurements to the millimeter.* And knew I'd require extra length (at extra cost, of course). The dress was even better than I'd remembered, and better still in my parents' living room. Was I a princess? No. Did I feel like a princess? I have no idea what a princess feels like so I cannot comment. But I don't think I felt like a princess. Because this was not a princess dress. This was a real dress, a dress of style and substance and incredible fabric and detail. I felt like me in a wedding dress. Which is exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

My mother had made an appointment with the better than Vera Wang woman the next day. We started the day shoe shopping. In 15 minutes I had my bridal shoes. (Oh come on, that was a no brainer for me, you didn't think I'd have a problem with shoes, did you?) We then went to the better than Vera Wang woman. Dress, shoes and sketches in hand, we marched in and began the modification process. I had to leave my dress with her, which turned out to be more of a wrench that I could have ever imagined - I was already feeling mother hawk-like over the dress.

I returned to visit my parents a few weeks later. I was to review the modifications and have my final fitting.

Let's just say: It was beyond anyone's wildest dreams of The Perfect Wedding Dress for Me. This woman truly is better than Vera Wang. She got it. She got me. She did it. I loved it. I really, really loved that dress. I had true, real, emotional love for that dress. When I appeared in it in her little sun room/office/show room, my mother cried. Better than Vera Wang wiped away a tear. No one said anything for a really long time. It got awkward. I thought maybe I looked ridiculous or hideous or didn't do the dress justice. I got upset. The whole sow's ear, silk purse thing. My mother and better than Vera Better than Vera took a bunch of photos. We paid her and I threw in a generous tip.

We took the dress to my parents' house. My sister and nieces came over for a viewing. My mother called in a few of the neighbors and served tea and sandwiches.

I put on the dress, with my shoes and my mother's bridal veil. My mother helped me as I gingerly made my way down to their living room for the debut.

"Trillian, it's perfect. It's you." they all exclaimed with teary eyes. My nieces, still young, unjaded and in possession of the ability to be awed, were afraid to get too near me for fear of what they might do to the dress. "Aunt Trillian, you look better than Barbie!" one of them exclaimed. (Which became the family line. "I saw Trudy at the market last week." "Oh yeah, how is she?" "Fine." "How does she look?" "Not better than Barbie...")

Many photos were taken. One of the photos of my father and I turned out really well. My mother even got an enlargement and a special frame and put it on her dresser. She gave me one and I taped it to my closet door.

Yeah. I know it doesn't sound like me.

You didn't know me then. That was back when I was happy and optimistic and, well, really swutting happy and excited about the future and spending my life with HWNMNBS. In my mind was already Mrs. HWNMNBS and I was thrilled not by the fact that I'd done it, that I'd become a Mrs. but because I was so excited about our life and future together, Mr. and Mrs. HWNMNBS. And that dress and those shoes and that veil would be the symbol that we were committed to each other and our future. That's why weddings and wedding dresses matter. Symbolic? You bet. Necessary? Oh yes.

I couldn't wait for the wedding so that HWNMNBS could see it.

But of course he never did.

Sometimes I ridiculously waste gray matter wondering if we'd made it to the altar if he would have liked it and if he would have seen the tear inducing vision my family and friends saw when they viewed me in it.

He probably wouldn't have liked it. He probably would have found something to not like about it. Or several somethings. He probably had a very different vision in mind.

After all, that's why he dumped me.

He had a very different vision in mind.

There is no dress in the world which is going to make me pretty enough for him to want to marry me. Sow's ear/silk purse.

And that is the lesson I learned the hard way and why I am sharing this with the world. A pretty woman can wear a hideous dress on her wedding day and still manage to be a vision of marital symbolism. Ugly women are still ugly women, no matter how pretty the dress.

I should have just bought the ugliest, cheapest rag we saw on the first trip to find a wedding dress. It simply does not matter how perfect or nice or beautiful the dress is. If the bride who's in it doesn't measure up to it's quality, it doesn't matter. In fact, she'll bring the dress down. You've seen those "same dress, different women" photos meant to teach women to dress for their bodies, not for trends. A less than pretty woman uglies up a dress just by wearing it. It's the same dress on the pretty woman who looks stunning, but the perception is completely different on the less than stunning woman.

And so it was that I rang my parents and said, "I'm going to put the dress on eBay and see if it sells. Valentine's Day is coming up, there will be a new crop of newly engaged women looking for dresses."

And with that I became another pathetic statistic.

A "Wedding Dress for Sale, New, Never Worn" statistic.

Yep.

That's me.

Seeing it in print, or well, on eBay, was the thing I thought I couldn't do.

That's it. Show's over folks. Go home.

I knew it would stir up a lot of issues for me. (It did.)

I knew my mother would be upset. (She was. And yes, I do hate HWNMNBS for that, I hate him for hurting my parents and for making them go through this, especially because of everything's that happened since.)

I set a high reserve. It was met on the first day.

This surprised me.

Yes. It's a beautiful dress.

Stunning, actually.

Tear inducing.

Made by a very exclusive label.

With custom modifications by a woman who has since garnered a very haute reputation.

But who buys a wedding dress on eBay?

A lot of women.

I wouldn't want the bad karma.

But apparently a lot of other women are not worried about a dress with emotion and karma so bad tied to it that an entire league Gods and Goddesses couldn't bless it and change it's karma.

A bidding war between 28 hopefuls broke out two days prior to the close of the auction.

The last half hour bidding can only be described as a frenzy.

The dress did well.

A very excited and eager young bride to be was jubilant about being the winning bidder. She sent me gushing and enthusiastic emails about the dress.

I had a nice sum in my PayPal account. Which I sent to my parents, yes, every penny. About half what the dress and modifications cost, but not a bad rate of depreciation considering the normal going rate for a wedding dress.

I made the trip to my parents' house to box the dress and ship it out to it's new owner.

Turns out the bride and I are the same shoe size so I threw in the wedding shoes for her. Just in case she might want those, too. It's not as if I'm going to have occasion to wear them. Might as well at least give them to someone who is actually getting married.

I waited for my father to take my mother to her round of doctor and therapy appointments to do the deed.

I did it fast. I knew I couldn't spend more than a second more than necessary on this project. Swoop it out of the closet, dash it downstairs, into the car and drive at break neck speed to the UPS store.

I thought once I got it out of the house, once it wasn't "home" I would be able to disassociate myself from it. It was no longer mine. A happy, jubilant bride to be was waiting for her dress, and I was on a mission to get it to her. I had to force myself to think of it as her dress. I focused on the image of my PayPal balance after she paid for the dress. I hoped that would make me think of this as merely a financial transaction.

It didn't. I cried all the way to the UPS store. I cried in the UPS store. The guy working in the UPS store probably wished he hadn't offered to work that day to earn a little extra money for his kid's birthday presents. He helped me carefully pack it in a box seemingly custom made for it. I paid the fee and ran out of the store.

I sat in the car sobbing for a really long time. A really, really long time.

Oh yes, that dress is symbolic, all right. Symbolic of my failure. And because of that, I know ultimately it's good that it's finally gone. I know common sense and practical psychology point to the logic and health in doing what I did.

But.

It was rough.

A lot of people will say, "It's just a dress!"

And that's exactly the frame of mind I am trying to get.

I didn't notice the local cop in the parking lot, stopping for lunch at Subway. Holding his half glass of soda in one hand, he rapped on the fogged up window, "Everything okay ma'am?"

"Yes" snork, "yes, I'm fine."

He lingered for a few seconds than got in his patrol car. And slowly pulled away, watching me the whole time. (It's a really, really swutting small town and I think he is the brother of the girl who was second chair clarinet and vice president of French club. What was her name...Andrea? Angela? Angie? Amy? Andy. Andrea. Andy. That's it. Andy. I wonder if Andy's married. I wonder if she's spent her life being second and vice-everything.

When I finally returned to my parents' house my parents were home. No one said anything. We just sat in the kitchen silently, pretending to drink tea. It felt like when you return home after a funeral. My mother in her wheelchair, my father working his Commit lozenge over and over which would normally annoy the crap out of me.

He finally feebly broke the silence, "Why don't you take a vacation with some of the money?"

"Naw. I don't have much time off and I'm really busy at work anyway. Thanks, though."
My mother smoothed a napkin over and over with her good hand. Her eyes were brimming with tears.

I have never hated anyone more than I hated HWNMNBS at that moment.

A few days later, back at work, I got an email from the bride-to-be who will be wearing a lovely dress at her wedding.

"I knew it was a nice dress, but I never imagined the fabric could be that great. (sumptuous is the word you're searching for, sweetie) And the beads are really nice. (They're pearls and Czech glass, you know, like I wrote in the description?) It fits like it's custom made for me! We must be exactly the same size and height except I'm going to have to take in the top a little, I'm not as lucky as you up there! (Yeah, lucky me.) And the shoes, what a surprise! Thank you! They're amazing! I've never had any shoes that nice! I never thought heels that tall could be so comfortable! Thank you!"

"Do you want to see photos of the wedding?" she innocently asked in her naive pre wedded euphoric the world is one big fluffy cloud mental state.

I know she was just being nice and thoughtful. In her own, deluded, naive, romance haze induced way.

Why would anyone want to see what was to be their dress for their happiest day on someone else on their happiest day instead?

Wanted to say:
"Sure. I didn't get to have a wedding or, you know, wedding photos, so please, send me yours. Show me how spectacular you, a complete stranger, look in my dress. Show me how everyone was teary eyed at the vision of you, a complete stranger, in my dress. I'll put it on my fridge. Or maybe pin it to my closet door. It will make the whole thing final and I can just get on with my miserable, lonely life, never worn wedding-dress free."

Instead said,
"No thanks, I'm sure you'll be a lovely bride. I hope you love the dress and you have a long and happy marriage."



*The humiliating side of wedding dress shopping: Nothing is sacred. Nothing. Those dressing rooms are a cross between the Spanish Inquisition, an architect's engineering room and Fear Factor. The women who work in those places can size you up to the last Tic Tac the second you walk through the door, but will whip out the tape measure for the sake of decorum, to make it seem like they don't know your exact measurements or that you'll need the next size up. And they will proclaim loudly in mock surprise, to the entire shop, "You're going to need a two and a half extra inches in the bust" as they wrap their tape of doom around your waist, your hips and your boobs. (and they all have icy cold hands) While leaving one dressing room, I heard two women discussing my boobs. "No, Marge, they're real, I saw them..." the woman who measured me and compromised my modesty with her tape measure and "assistance" in trying on the gowns said to another shop worker. Yeah. Good times.

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