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

 
Saturday, April 23, 2005  
It does pay to study the seemingly stupid studies.

Ugly girls: Stare. Stare at men and don't avert your gaze. This will apparently turn the perception of you into that of a breathtaking love goddess. It may feel like you're coming across as a sociopathic freak pointing a gaze of death at men, what with your wide eyed unblinking stare in their direction, but apparently men will find you to be more attractive if you don't stop looking at them.

Funny, I thought it was rude to stare. I thought making eye contact, batting a lash or two to signify interest and then a polite (and coy) break of eye contact was how the game was played. I thought you're supposed to avert your gaze to give the other person an out if they're not interested or drive them wild with "I gotta have her now because she's aloof" if they are interested.

But apparently guerilla tactics, take 'em by force of non averting stare is a good way to increase the perception of your beauty.

And boost the male ego.

Ugly people don't need extreme makeovers or DNA replacement treatments, we just have to stare.

Sure, some people may find us creepy and weird (and impolite) but at least they'll find us less ugly.

I'll just be off to go stare at men now.

Have a nice day.

Labels: ,


9:15 AM

Thursday, April 21, 2005  
Trying to get the hang of Thursday...
Today, a Very Special Trillian

Trillian finds herself in an unusual dilemma and realizes she may have to take steps backward to go forward. In this compelling installment Trillian faces herself and her reality as she attempts to grow as a person and a woman and what it means to be both.

So I met this guy.

We didn’t hit it off, but we didn’t hate each other, either.

Which is pretty good for me.

Have you looked at my 50 First Dates Score Card lately? Abysmal. I’m a loser, baby, why don’t you kill me.

Not having mutual loathing, contempt and disdain for each other is quite an accomplishment for me and a man. I am more certain than ever the good ones are taken or gay. Cliché as that sounds, I am suspecting it to be true. Not that I’m first prize in the love contest. I’m just saying the pool of eligible men who I can tolerate and who will bother to talk to me or dare I dream, consider me as a romantic possibility even for a one night stand is more of a puddle than a pool.

Anyway. This guy I met.

Well. (heavy and long sigh of exasperation, hand run through hair, head hung, hand rubbing eyes and face)

Don’t get excited for me.

He’s all wrong for me.

At best it would have been a one night, or maybe two night stand.

He’s the kind of guy I used to date. The kind of guy I am attracted to but am no longer allowed to date. (There are people with strict shoot to kill orders if I so much as bat a lash at: an artist, musician, writer, poet, charming bastard, ne'er do well, nefarious but intriguing men with a sardonic smirk and sexy swagger. This is for my own good and protection as well as that of the would be suitors.)

I’ve grown up. I’ve matured. I’ve learned there are certain types of men I am attracted to but who are very, very bad for me. I learned from my failed past relationships. I learned a lot. Hooo boy have I learned a lot. I’ve learned so much I may actually be the leading expert on learning from past relationships. I could write a users guide on dating the above mentioned types of guys. (Okay, a certain HWNMNBS notwithstanding but that’s a different book entirely.) The crux of the issue is: These men are too much like me. Therefore I am too understanding, too sympathetic, too empathetic, too accepting, too deeply involved on levels below the surface.

Why too much of all those things? Aren’t those all good things? Isn’t that what love is all about?

No. Learn from me people, learn.

Understanding is good for a relationship, but being taken advantage of, being the agony aunt, whipping girl and bridge over troubled waters is bad for self esteem and consequently a relationship. Being used, whether via a conscious effort on the user and usee’s part or not, is unhealthy, unwise and unsafe at any speed.

The thing is, these sorts of men find me. Sometimes even seek me out. Like abandoned puppies and kittens, they know how to spot a sucker and turn on their unusual and unconventional brand of charm. I’m not implying there is always premeditated usury. Sometimes that’s the case (very often the case in the case of musicians). It’s one of those things unique to the humans. There’s an innate homing device inside all of us which without conscious effort on our part leads us to people who will accept and like us. It’s how we make friends. It’s how we socialize. The shy among us are lacking strong homing devices. We have to work harder and make more conscious efforts to socialize and make friends. (I know, it’s so unfair. Blame your DNA. It’s all the rage these days.)

Making friends and socializing is one thing. Forming romantic liaisons is another.

One day I (literally and figuratively) woke up to is dawn of realization: I don’t like me. Why would I want to date someone who is like me? It makes no sense.

And that was when I knew I was an adult. I accepted the things about me I don’t like, dealt with them, learned to change or live with them and vowed to stay away from romantic prospects who exhibited the characteristics or behaviors I don’t like.

And it just so happens those traits and behaviors are benchmarks of artists, musicians, writers, poets, charming bastards, ne'er do wells and nefarious but intriguing men with a sardonic smirks and sexy swaggers. There are certain things I absolutely need, things I don’t like about myself but accept and need in myself and in a partner. Fortunately this is a small, semi-manageable list of traits. Traits also inherent in the above group of people. I won’t list the short list of acceptable unacceptable traits. It’s not important to anyone except me.

The issue is trying to find a man who has the short list of qualifying traits but is not one of the above. After eliminating those men from my dating pool, there was exactly one man on the planet who was right for me. Lucky for me, just when I gave up, I met him. Unfortunately I wasn’t the one girl on the planet for him. Ah. There’s the rub.

So I’ve been toying with the idea of allowing myself to date someone in the above categories. I haven’t actually done it for fear one of my close and well intentioned friends might actually shoot to kill.

But then I donned the magic boots last weekend. Took them out for their first night out. I thought I was safe because I was with a friend who has the shoot to kill orders.

Apparently the magic is strong in this pair, too. (Consider yourself warned.)

For the first time in ages, since I can’t even remember when, a guy, of his own semi-sober and conscious accord, sought out my company. And, and this is an enormous and, the friend I was with is one of my former model but could still be modeling if she didn’t want an actual cerebral and purposeful career and life. (She's happily married and not interested in fooling around, guys, spare me the email.)

This is what I’m talking about with the homing device. Any straight male with functioning eyes and libido would immediately notice my friend and not even notice me sitting next to her. Even gay guys would see her, applaud her, aspire to her beauty and style.

But this guy, Danger Boy, who did notice her, of course, and noticed the mega carat ring and double wide band on her left hand, as well, (he actually knows her, too, remotely, so, there was already an established “no way” situation between them) bothered to check out her loser friend, and what do you know? The magic boots and his on-board homing device led him to me.

For the uninitiated, this is how it starts. It always starts this way:

“Cool boots.”

“Thanks.”

Guy shuffles onto a chair, (without an invitation or inquiry if he can sit there, without any further words spoken by either party) he may even schlump into the chair as if in the company of old friends, then he does the guy hair thing (hand briefly scratching frontal lobe of head and tousling his bad boy unkempt but not gross hair), motions to the bartender, pulls out a bunch of singles and orders two shots and a beer.

This is now a defining moment. Some will pull out a cigarette. At which point I will be annoyed and either leave, or if he’s intuitive, he will give a sulky apology but continue light up and blow smoke in a purposely theatrical (and what these guys deem as fetching and sexy and thoughtful) in the opposite direction of me. Oh. So thoughtful and sensitive. And annoying. This guy will not be getting Trillian.

Others will pull out the cigarette, at which point I will be annoyed and either leave, or, if he’s truly interested, will put the cigarette away. This guy might have a chance with Trillian if he is otherwise acceptably unacceptable.

Others don’t smoke and head straight to:

Part II

“You see the show?” he’ll ask (if there was a live act preceding his arrival)

“Yeah.”

Without asking any further, he talks about how it wasn’t as good as the gig two weeks ago, that the acoustics are bad here and the crowd wasn’t great. This isn’t limited to guys actually in the band. Random guys in the above group will make these remarks about the band.

Within moments, a few minutes, after an exchange of music banter and the downing of one of the shots, the dialog will turn to deep philosophical thoughts on a not so deep topic (who knew pencils were a hotbed of controversy and philosophy. Yes, these guys can (and will) be passionate, introspect, debate and eventually brood over anything) and then the conversation will turn to soul baring confession (on his part).

Yes. It happens that fast.

And if a girl is a willing and (shudder) eager co-philosopher/introspector/debater, an alliance will be formed which may or may not end in a romantic liaison.

It’s up to the girl. She can have him if she wants him, but he doesn’t care either way. If it’s not her, it will be another co-philosopher/introspector/debater. Or his roommate’s girlfriend.

And he’ll keep appearing, he might even occasionally call, he might even occasionally pay for drinks, he might even occasionally claim to “need” her.

So she’ll make excuses for him and his often bad behavior in front of or to her friends and family. That’s not to say he’ll turn up at any function or even a night out with her friends or family. He will not. The excuses she makes will often be more for his lack of appearance than his behavior if he does appear. “He’s got a gig.” (could be legit) “He’s working on a submission deadline.” (could be legit, even though he’s had 10 months to write his submission and blew the advance in the first month) “He’s not feeling well.” (Could be legit even though his sickness was caused by substance consumption.) “He’s with a potential backer/client” (Could be legit even though his sales and marketing technique includes bedding potential backers/clients.)

And she’ll dutifully appear at every gig/opening/signing/charity dinner and also be sure her friends are there to make him look good, too. As a side note, these men rarely have friends of their own, or at least real friends they’ve known more than two weeks. They may talk about friends, but when pressed you will find these friends are hangers on/ bar tenders/sex buddies/people to whom they owe favors. Huge clue to their personalities. They’re either loners or people who are not capable of cultivating and maintaining lasting relationships. Many of them haven’t seen their parents in years.

Yes. These things will always, always, always end badly and often in tears.

Relationships, if you can call them that, with these guys is like booze. Sure, a drink is good. Two is better. But an entire bottle of booze signals a problem. Sometimes, some people need a drink. But no one ever needs an entire bottle of booze. Especially people who have pre-existing drinking problems.

Yes. When it comes to deep, introspective, brooding, misunderstood, depressed, sardonic, wise, insightful, funny men I have a problem. A serious problem.

I learned this about myself. I had a few experiences. My friends were given orders to shoot to kill if I so much as bat a lash at one of those guys.

So when the boy (and they are all boys, no matter what their calendar age is. These are not men. They are boys and will go to their graves as such) and I began the philosophy/introspection/debate dance, my friend, a good friend, because I have good friends, pulled me away. She got me out of there. Removed me from the situation. She saved me from myself.

“Trill, I know it’s been, erm, well, a while, but really, you do not want to get involved with him in any way.”

“There’s no ‘any’ way. He’s just a guy. Besides, you know him. He’s technically your client. Do you honestly think I’d get involved with one of your clients?!” (parish the thought implied)

“Yes. I do. If I hadn’t got you out of there you’d be making sacrifices right now. Face it Trill, you’re a lamb to the slaughter.”

She’s right. I would have. Because he was intelligent. And funny. And capable of speaking in complete sentences containing actual complex thoughts and opinions. And morose. And aware. And jaded. And snarly. And completely what I do not need in my life because I have grown and matured beyond boys like him. But it’s been so long and he liked my boots and he was even tall and everything...(everything being all his physical characteristics which were suddenly my most favorite physical characteristics in a man. Yes. I am suddenly sheet rippingly attracted to men with thin but crooked noses, longish dark blonde hair cut dangerously close to a mullet, angley shoulders and long skinny thighs.)

But thanks to my friend, I have grown yet again. Watch me as I grow. See me mature. See me be a responsible adult. See me realize I was right to hand out shoot to kill orders. See me realize I knew more about myself and what was best for me 8 years ago than I do now.

Watch me go home alone, again. Naturally.

Here’s the evolving bit.

I knew I had to stay away from those guys. I have been good about keeping my distance. It’s best for everyone involved. Me. Him. My friends. My family. You.

And it was easy when, you know, I met HWNMNBS, because he had the right combination of required traits, all of the pleasure, none of the pain. Well, I mean, until there at the end.

Since then it hasn’t been as easy to stay away from guys like that. Because in my vulnerable, okay, desperate state, the easy option for a quick fix which wouldn’t last would be to don my magic boots and go out and pull myself one of those guys. I could have done it at any point after any of the break ups. Ugly as I am, with my magic boots and my “come on over here and cry on my shoulder I’ll understand and take care of you” vibe, there are certain men who cannot resist the easy target.

But I’ve been strong. I’ve been smart. I’ve been mature. I’ve been responsible.

I’ve been alone a lot.

The attention from this particular Danger Boy was nice. It felt good. Real good. I felt like a viable member of the human race.

Before you start flinching and the feminazis start dashing off emails, let me continue.

The maturation I’m talking about is that I know I need acceptance from a man to feel viable. And I know that sounds stupid and pathetic and we’ve come a lot further, as women, as humans, than to take steps 100 years back.

But maybe not really. I am a person. I have wants and needs. I am not ashamed or embarrassed of them (a little uncertain of them from time to time, yes. Ashamed or embarrassed? No.) I’ve come a long way, baby, and I can do whatever I want with whomever I want whenever I want.

If I’m not doing whatever with whomever whenever, I am suppressing my wants and needs. Oh sure, that’s being responsible, and lets not forget I’m not the prettiest flower in the field and willing participants are not easy to come by, but by suppressing this part of me, this part which requires a man, I don’t feel like a fully viable, functioning human being.

I question anyone who doesn’t need a partner to feel fully, well, full. We’re meant to be paired up. It’s biology. It’s society. It’s government. Oh sure, people can manage on their own, swut knows I’ve done it. And yes, sure, I, my job, my friends, my family, my interests, my hobbies satisfy and fulfill me in a lot of ways. I do feel viable at work and in my relationships with friends and family. But to be a completely viable human being I need those wants and needs for a man fulfilled, too. And for me it has to be a man because that’s the way I swing. Sorry feminazis. I like men. A lot. I am neither ashamed or embarrassed of this fact.

So now I am at another point where I have to make a conscious choice. A mature choice. A grown up choice.

A) I can put on those magic boots and go out and find me one of those guys, this time around knowing full well it’s emotionally bad for me on one plane (the this will never lead to what I really want in a relationship plane), but emotionally good for me on another so it’s actually okay and I have the maturity to deal with that plane (the see? I can get a man and this makes me feel viable plane), or, B) I can keep repressing, keep trying to meet a guy who’s not one of those guys, keep hoping I will meet one, keep spending a lot of time alone (but cultivating myself, oh yes, always working on me!), keep getting older, keep getting farther away from what I’d really like in my life.

Yes. I can be a band slut because I want to be, or I can continue on my journey of enlightenment and wonder trying to find a man with whom I can share my life.

Yes. I could do both.

But bar time takes time and money which will greatly cut into the 50 First Dates/getting myself out there with activities time and money.

Right now, after this last “awakening,” and especially after the horrific first date I had a few nights ago, I’m leaning toward the boots and bar time. But do I really possess the maturity to keep things all surfacey and insignificant?

Ah. Well. Now. There, see, that can be a problem. Because like I said, I do have a problem with those guys. It’s very difficult for me to have just one or two drinks and not the whole bottle.

So the bottom line question of my growth and maturity is: Have I grown enough, am I mature and responsible enough to have one or two drinks and stop? Can I say “when” and walk away happy and satisfied?

Can anyone with my particular boy problem ever say “when” and walk away sated and feeling viable?

If that answer is no, then I’ve got my answer. And continuing to say no is the next step in my maturity and personal growth regime.

If that answer is yes, then I’ve got my answer. And putting on those boots and heading out to the bar is the next (albeit timid) step in my maturity and personal growth regime.

And so help me Universe, if one person says, “Ask yourself, WWJD?” or “Why don’t you ask your new friend Sara?”, even as a joke I will personally pox them with a curse of religious and clairvoyant spam.

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2:06 PM

Wednesday, April 20, 2005  
I could post a long awaited return of Reality Wednesday.

Or, I could let Darby Conley say it in three succinct panels.

7:33 AM

Tuesday, April 19, 2005  
Soooooo, is being hired because you are old and going to die soon age discrimination?

3:38 PM

 
I would like to take a minute to publicly thank whomever spammed me with Sara Freder.

Who's Sara Freder? you may be wondering.

I didn't know who she was either until last week. But now, thanks to the internet and spam, I am on a close, personal, first name basis with this charlatan.

Ms. Freder, apparently French and apparently a clairvoyant of some sort, is also apparently one of the leading charlatans of the internet. I was unaware and naive. Now I am aware and enlightened.

Ms. Freder is remarkable.

She's sent me several emails and set up two websites just for me! For your entertainment you can read them here and here.

She's caring and concerned about me. She's been having visions and doing charts and saying ruminations for me.

This annoyed me at first because I don't want people whom I do not know ruminating or having visions about me without my consent. So I ignored the emails, hit delete and never looked back.

I took a day off from work. I had grand plans none of which were accomplished. But then, really, isn't that what days off are supposed to be? One thing I did do was clean out my junk mailbox. Even with filters set on high I get an appallingly high amount of junk mail, and a lot of it slips through to my "real" mail. Which is a whole other annoyance and blog. I have to slog through my "real" mail and look at the junk in there "just in case" it's a bona fide email from someone I know. It only takes a second or two to look and delete, I know, but multiply those few seconds by the ridiculous amount of spam that slips through the filters and junk box, and looking in the junk box to be sure there is no "real" email in there and you're looking at 10 or 15 minutes a day. 10 or 15 minutes which could be spent doing something else, or nothing at all.

Ms. Freder, Sara, if I may, found her way through my high filters, through my junk box and into my "real" mail box. As I scrolled through and deleted, up flashed the most recent emails from her. That's when I realized Ms. Freder has set me up with personal web sites. Which really annoyed me. Spam is one thing, but setting up an "account," is another entirely. According to the url I'm "client" # 15121739. Client? Oh no. No way. I have never given this outfit a penny and do not like them bandying about the term client in connection with me.

Before I dashed off an irate letter (I know, I've been doing that a lot lately) I decided to gather some facts to fuel my fires of contempt and accusation.

When it comes to business, making a buck, I am pretty lenient. Do what you do to make a living, buyer beware, blah blah blah. But I cannot tolerate charlatanism. Be it the likes of Sara Freder or an organized religion, sucking money from desperate, lonely or intelligence challenged people, usually people who are in the throes of a serious dilemma or situation and emotionally weak and vulnerable, is wrong, despicable and evil. It's a con game. Period.

Ms. Freder is sort of good at what she does. I say sort of because she's gone to the trouble of writing out the usual "something good and maybe something bad is going to happen to you" enticements in elaborate yet vague text, complete with "warnings" followed with the "I can help you bring on the good and fend off the bad" routine. Lots of ideas but no details. But she does add a few leading details, enticements, whetting the appetite of those who are vulnerable to her particular brand of marketing.

Which is what this really is. She's trying to make a buck online. She took a two day marketing seminar down at the extension center and she's online and ready to make big money. I'm not faulting her for that. Free enterprise. Love it, embrace or move to North Korea.

The subjects of my personal issues are money, luck and love. Wow. She really is good, isn't she? She knows my unique challenges with money, luck and love! Because no one else has trouble with money, luck and love! Her prophecies must therefore be true! OMG! I should believe her visions! It's true! "For some reason which we do not know, a superior force has established a link between us." I better give her the $29.99 so I know what to do on May 5 and May 11! She "has discovered the root of my current problem" Indeed! She knows "exactly why Love, Luck and Fortune seem to evade me--literally!" She knows why I "have never been truly lucky in my life (or only a little)," and she knows why "Love has never been part of my life and why I have all too often lacked money…" She then says "It goes without saying that, now that she knows the root of my problems, it will now be easy to find the Appropriate Remedy." Which is "the second piece of good news" that she has for me. She comes right out and says she "holds the Answer to all of my problems…"

Apparently Ms. Freder hasn't gone to a solutions for better management seminar. If she had, she'd know there are no problems, only challenges and opportunities. Maybe the extension center will offer that weekend course next month. Or now that we're such great friends maybe she can come with me on one of my mandatory drool inducing management sessions.

Here's my issue with Sara. She's trying to be all friendly and caring and insightful with me. (Marketing tool #1: Be on the side of the consumer, be their friend, establish trust.) But in true marketing fashion, she's not going to give away the goods.

I'm no clairvoyant. But. If I had a vision, especially a vision which disturbed or touched me enough to wake up and write down the details, especially a vision which offered insight, wisdom or specific help, I would a) call my close friends and ask them to get me to a therapist ASAP, or b) run like Henny Penny to the subject of the visions and say, "I know you're going to think I'm crazy and I'm sorry for bothering you but I have to tell you about this vision I had about you. You can believe me or not, but it was so vivid I have to tell you about it. I saw you as a child, that time on the playground when Julie and her skanky cousin Beth were teasing you and waving invitations to their party in front of you and telling you that you weren't invited and that you were too young to attend a boy girl party because you still played with Barbies (man, what horrible little girls, I felt so sorry for you) and then I saw you home reading and doing stuff on your computer when the other kids were at school dances (really, I mean, no disrespect but you've cultivated this pathetic lifestyle of yours, if you'd just not be such a nerd all the time) and then I saw you having a really good time at what appeared to be a university and then another one and then another one (sheesh, even I was getting bored with this vision, I mean, how much school do you really need? Still, it looked like fun) and then there was this guy and he ohmygosh he had the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen and a tooth that was slightly out of align and sometimes caught his lower lip when he spoke and then I saw you crying a lot (wow, yeah, in my vision I was crying, too, it seemed really sad, it looked like you two were really close) and then, here's the important part, on May 5 you need to stay away from speeding trains and be sure to go to a bar dimly lit by cobalt blue lights where they serve Belvedere but you need to order a Christiania martini and when a guy walks by from the men's room be sure to give him a coy look and, oh yeah, be sure to wear that skirt with the high slit and really killer heels and show a little leg when the guy walks by because this man will change your life for the better. He is going to keep you in martinis and shoes and a lot of other things so, yeah, that was my vision. I know it sounds crazy but what could it hurt to go out on May 5 and have a drink?"

That's what I would do. Free of charge. Wouldn't you? It never hurts to help. But charging money or making ridiculous promises (in exchange for money) does hurt. I know, I know, I'm not prone to visions and I don't go around getting grand ideas about how other people should live their lives. So maybe I don't understand all the ins and outs of clairvoyancey. Maybe there needs to be an exchange of money for the advice to work. But, I mean, my childhood friend's Ouija board always gave us really good advice and never asked for money.

Then again, Sara is offering "a radically new solution...one which was best suited to my particular needs." Because the advice other people gave "could not be of any help in my particular case as the problem which is plaguing me is so unusual and extraordinary." Wow. See. Sara is insightful. All this time I thought I was just another lovelorn disillusioned person with an unrequited love trying to earn a living at a job I hate to keep a roof over my head and food in the cat bowl. I thought everyone was like that at some point in their lives. I thought this was all just, you know, life. Good thing I met Sara, just in the nick of time, too, because she is the person able to help me with my unique and special problems. That is if I give her my consent. And $29.95.

I can't wait for my life to change. Apparently neither can Sara. And lucky for us, in just a few short weeks things are really going to be looking up for me!

Meanwhile, if you know you are particularly vulnerable to charlatans, if you have ever found yourself fleeced of any amount of money after being promised quick and easy solutions to serious or heartbreaking issues, please, please, please think twice before handing over another penny to anyone.

Those extension centers which offer courses in marketing should simultaneously offer courses in avoiding scams. Here's my crash course, free of charge. If someone can and wants to help you, if they truly have your best interest in their heart, they will not even consider asking or taking money from you.

If you're sitting there thinking, "but what about church, they need money to continue their ministry..." True enough, but if you truly do not have money to give, and a church makes you feel guilty or shameful (passing the offering plate for all the community to see comes to mind) for not giving money, you might want to take a walk on the Trillian side of organized religion for an afternoon. WWJD? Don't ask me, ask someone in the know about things religious. But I am quite certain Jesus didn't go around making promises but only following through with those who gave him money.

"But what about my trained therapist? They make me pay or hand over my insurance card...." True enough, but most trained therapists do not offer quick and easy solutions to difficult and heartbreaking issues. (I know, I know, that's so they can make more money. What's the joke about a therapist's best patient? A lawyer: They never get better and never run out of money.) A therapist who is honest and reputable will not take your money or your business if they cannot help you or if you are in need of a 12 step program. Do your research, don't go to just any psychologist or psychiatrist, and if you don't like them, don't go back, don't pay them another dime.

Basically it comes down to thinking twice before you take out your wallet. Because once that wallet's out, there's no turning back. If you've been fleeced by a con artist charading as a healer or helper in the past, stay away from them. Don't go to the revival, don't go to the palm/tarot/aura reader, even on a lark with friends, do not click that button online. And most of all, please, I'm begging you, do not forward any email to me which promises good things if you do, and bad things if you do not. Even if there is no money involved. I'll take my chances that the angels will or will not bless me, my friends will or will not hate me whether or not I receive and forward that email. And if you think forwarding that email to at least ten of your friends is going to bring you happiness and friends, guess again. It's going to bring you a lot of sadness when your friends put your email address on their block list because you send them chain letters. Yes. Those angel/kitten/puppy/are you a friend emails are chain letters. They are illegal in the US. You can read more about them here.

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11:01 AM

 
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