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

 
Thursday, December 21, 2006  
Jarts anyone?
Sometimes I look back on my childhood and marvel at the fact that I survived to adulthood. I did some stupid stuff. My brother did some stupid stuff. I was often the “assistant” in his stupid stuff endeavors. Our friends and neighbors did stupid stuff. And yet somehow we all made it, we survived childhood.

"It's unclear what effects the Uranium-bearing ores might have had on those few lucky children who received the set, but exposure to the same isotope—U-238—has been linked to Gulf War syndrome, cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma, among other serious ailments. Even more uncertain is the longterm impact of being raised by the kind of nerds who would give their kid an Atomic Energy Lab. "

This fact is now even more amazing to me. Between the two of us (and some hand-me-down toys from older cousins and gifts given to my nieces) my brother and I had almost all of the toys on this list. Our friends and neighbors and nieces had other toys on this list. Suffice to say, with the exception of the Atomic Energy Lab, Power Wheels Motorcycle and Mini Hammock (seriously, you have to see the illustration for this thing. What amazes me is not that kids died in the hammock but that anyone bought the things based on that illustration in the first place), I have close personal experience with most of the toys on this list. The kind of weird thing to me is that neither my brother or I or our parents (or aunts and uncles) were apparently concerned about the safety features (or lack thereof) with these toys. Though for the record I staged a protest over the Cabbage Patch doll. Okay, sure, it was more of a protest on principle than on safety concerns of a chewing doll. Still. I didn't like the thing and didn't like the idea of our family buying into the Cabbage Patch empire. I'm happy to report my niece survived the chewing Cabbage Patch doll with all her digits, nose and hair unscathed. I'm guessing if she doesn't already have recurring nightmares about a demonic doll chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing and gnawing and chewing, she will one day. But because my sister didn't get rid of the doll when it was recalled there's little recourse now. Unless Mattel sees fit to pay for therapy for the emotionally scarred kids who had to deal with the evil maniacally chewing doll at too young of an age.

My nieces (and the rest of my familly) also survived the assault of the Sky Dancers with body parts, a semblance of sanity and most of the household goods unharmed. I will say though, I remember thinking those things might not be appropriate for very young girls unaccustomed to dealing with whirling blades of death. This is the advantage those of us with older brothers have over the girls who live in soft pink cushy households with nothing scarier than a My Little Pony. Those of us with older brothers learn very early that life is not one pink powder puff trip and you better learn how to either duck, fast, or catch objects hurling at you without maiming yourself in the process.

My brother was a Star Wars geek for two weeks back in the '70s. Riding his wave of enthusiasm, my dad made the presumption that my brother also liked Battlestar Gallactica. I don't think my brother actually liked the show, but, he sure did love the rocketeering/missile toys my dad got for him that year. My brother was nearly of legal drinking age when he received this airborne gift, but that didn't stop him and my dad and I from spending countless hours launching Battlestar Gallactica missiles at each other. It brought back all the happy memories of the delightful family bonding time we spent playing with the Star Trek disc launcher, which I notice didn't make the dangerous toys list. Which really surprised me because those things really hurt when they hit you. Those discs packed a powerful amount of velocity punch. My parents replaced the rain gutters on their house a few years ago. My dad took a look at the old gutters when they were on the ground waiting to be hauled away. In the gutter from the second story of the house he found one of those Star Trek discs and a Cylon Ranger among other toys just the right size to be ensnared by a rain gutter when thrown, launched or otherwise set aloft by enthusiastic kids trying to push velocity and height records.


We survived. We became adults. With the exception of me, we've spawned progeny who live in a gentler, more litigious society. Even my brother and cousin escaped the perils of the Bat Masterson Derringer Gun Belt Buckle and went on to father four children between them. And so far none of those children seems to be mutated in ways which might be directly linked to playing with the chemistry lab we all loved to abuse, I mean make educational experiments and fill our heads with scientific wonder. All's well that ends well.

Darwinism at work.

We regularly "played" Jarts, though I don't recall actual rules to the game ever being mentioned. Sometimes, if grandparents were joining in the Jart fun, we'd actually set up the plastic target ring. And stand clear. Way clear. In his later years Grandad had vision problems which were aggravated by Scotch consumption, so when there was a Jart in one hand and a tumbler of Scotch in the other we gave him plenty of space.

But usually we spent our Jart time trying to throw the Jarts over the house (two story) or into the neighbors' yards. I know we weren't the only ones who did this. I know this because seeing a lone Jart on someone's roof was not uncommon. Everyone knew it was the talisman of a failed attempt at an Over the House Jart toss. We were all going for feats of height and distance. And those babies could fly. No surprise, now that I have a few physics classes under my Bat Masterson Derringer Gun Belt, heavily weighted metal spears with fins can really go. Boy can they go. High, long and fast.

One of our Jarts had fin failure after several years of active play. The fin was cracked and eventually split off entirely. But we didn't let that stand in our way of hot Summer backyard fun, oh no, not us! We continued to "play" Jarts but prefaced the game with a pre-game of thumb wrestling. Whomever lost the thumb wrestle got The Bad Jart. The Bad Jart didn't fly very well. And it didn't spike into the earth with a smooth thwwip. It just kind of wobbled slowly and thunked on the ground. This is where I have to raise an eyebrow at my parents: Even after years of "play" (read: dangerous abuse) they tried to find a replacement set of Jarts so we wouldn't have to use the wobbly one. Because, get this, they thought the wobbly one was dangerous. They were disappointed to learn that Jarts were no longer available. I vividly remember my mother lamenting to the manager of the local hardware store which sold backyard Summer fun toys and games, "But our family loves Jarts!" Ahhhh. Simpler times. Times when you could send your kids out in the yard with flying metal spikes and know they wouldn't bug you for a few hours.

And that brings me to Creepy Crawlers. I was the assistant in the Creepy Crawler operation. Creepy Crawler manufacture was my brother's exclusive domain. Even (and probably especially) after he'd long outgrown the age range suggested by the Creepy Crawler people. He'd visit from college and crank up the ol' Creepy Crawler oven and that familiar smell of molten silicon would waft up from the basement. It was about this time I began to realize there's something different, something maybe not quite right about my brother. I was still young and in the specified age range for Creepy Crawlers, but, even I was bored with them. Maybe that's because I'd grown up with them and "assisted" in many Crawler Lab experiments. I was Igor to my brother's Dr. Frankenstein. I collected any small odd bits I could scavenge and gave them to my brother. He would then "enhance" the Creepy Crawler molds by adding the items (frequently broken pieces of Barbie playsets) to the molding process.

But my brother's artistic genius really revealed itself when he would combine pieces of differing Crawlers to create a new species. In his younger years he traded his "hybrid" (read: mutant) Crawlers for goods out on the street. At his peak the "hybrid" Crawlers trade was bringing in a steady supply of hockey cards, Hot Wheels and even a "good" yo-yo which my parents made him give back to the little kid who traded it to him.

My brother either had Teflon fingers or suffered for his art. Because on the few occasions I made Creepy Crawlers I burned my fingers to the level of blisters. Which is why I got into rock tumbling. Less chance of injury and blistering flesh wounds.

I'm kind of surprised at this list, though. My top ten would have included a few different toys. (Though I admit I didn't know anything about the Mini-Hammock or Atomic Energy Lab until I read the low-down on them.)

I'll leave off the snow and Winter related "toys" because they're more sporting equipment, and let's face it, any "toy" designed to be used with snow and ice carries with it intrinsic and assumed health risks and liabilities. If you don't fall on your ass or break a bone while using it you risk hypothermia by using it.

Slinkies. Yes. Really. Slinkies. In the old days Slinkies were metal. A metel coil. A flat edged metal coil. This was problematic because they would get tangled and then bend so the metal was not so much a smooth, slinking coil of steel as a crimped, lumbering misshapen band of metal. This was hazardous because it was a flat edge of metal in a coil. A sharp, flat egde of metal. My pinky still bears the scar of a metal Slinky incident. I was a young innocent victim in this one, I was not misusing the toy. I simply picked it up and it seared through the outside of my pinky. Fortunately it was a clean wound, you know, like the incision of a scalpel or X-acto knife. I never played with a Slinky after that and I still flinch whenever I see any kind of coil.

Clackers. Yes. I survived years of Jarts misuse but within the first five minutes of holding those two giant marbles on a string I a) pinched my finger and b) knocked myself nearly unconscious with a high velocity blow to the forehead and undereye. It should be noted that these were not my Clackers, they belonged to the older sister of a friend. We waited for her to leave for gymnastic practice, sneaked into her bedroom and tried out the contraband toy. The things had long been banned but her sister was apparently one of the early users and had hung onto them long after their popularity had died. Her parents didn't know she still had them and certainly didn't know my friend could gain access to them.

So explaining to her mother and then mine how I managed to get an enormous welt on my forehead and a black eye while playing Junior Scrabble was especially tricky. In the end my friend cracked under the pressure and narked out her sister. Amazingly, my parents didn't punish me too horribly for sneaking into places I shouldn't have been, messing with someone else's stuff without their permission and playing with Clackers. Which my parents had strictly forbidden several years prior. I guess they were just happy I was alive. My mother held me up as an example to all the other mothers regarding the dangers of those ridiculous Clackers. I never bring up the Clacker incident because I'm afraid my parents will realize I really should have been severely punished for all the rules I broke during those few minutes of Clacker experimentation.

Next on the list is Skip-It. You put your foot through a plastic ring until it was tethered around your ankle. Attached to the ring was a rope or cord about 24" long. Attached to the end of the rope was a weighted ball. A weighted ball just large enough to trip over as you began or ended your session with the Skip-It. The basic principle is the old classic prisoner's ball and chain ankle tether. Which should be enough to suggest to parents this is not a toy you really want to give a child you love. Or at least a child under your care. The design of the toy did come in handy one year when my brother dressed up for Halloween as a prisoner. He painted the Skip-It black and wore a striped outfit and won second prize for his costume. The actual object of Skip-It is to set the ball in motion by jumping and spreading your legs faster and faster so that momentum builds and centrifugal force pulls the ball around the ankle to which it's tethered. You have to time your jumps just right or you get tangled in the rope or land on the ball. Either way, you're goin' down. Hard. And worse, once you're down (and probably suffering with a broken wrist or ankle) you've got this ring around your ankle and getting the thing off you is impossible. Oh the times I limped into the house dragging that thing, stuck to my ankle, behind me and then holding up my foot so one of my parents could a) take off my shoe, b) take off the Skip-It and c) assess the bodily damage inflicted while playing with that thing. My parents eventually got it down to a science. As soon as they heard the skipping stop and the tell-tale step, drag, step, drag, my mother would get out the ice pack and my dad would position kitchen chairs across from each other so I could sit down while he ran the damage inventory.

Jarts aren't sounding so bad now, are they?

My all time high ranking injury stat toy is the Slip and Slide. Or as it's more commonly known: The Widowmaker. Cripes. Back in the old days before water parks kids had to rely on their backyards and garden hoses as a way of refuge from the Summer heat. Prior to the Slip and Slide you had swimming pools and sprinklers and that was pretty much it. If you didn't have a pool you had to make the best of it with a spinkler. That is until Slip and Slide came along. My friend had a Slip and Slide. And sizable hill in her back yard. (Well, okay, sizable to a 7-year-old kid.) And three brothers. You do the math.

We had names for all the various moves and styles which could be attempted on the Slip and Slide. Hang Ten, Tummy Rumble, Belly Whomp, Slick Spinaroo, Backbreaker Heartbreaker and Wave Good-bye are just a few which come to mind and are probably fairly self explanatory. Yes, we elevated mere slipping and sliding to an Olympic level. When we were lubed up with sunscreen and wetted down with the hose we were greased lightening. There was literally no stopping us. Literally, you couldn't stop until you hit the end of the plastic. And if the Slip and Slide had been in use for a while, the lawn around the plastic slide was drenched and also very slippery. So usually you didn't stop even when you hit the grass. I'd return home not only bruised and sunburned but also grass stained and ground scraped. It's interesting to note one of my friend's brothers grew up to be a pediatric brain surgeon and another is a Navy Engineer. I'm sure these career choices were made as a direct result of Summers spent abusing the Slip and Slide. (The Navy engineer also had the Johnny Reb Cannon. I remember this because he would sometimes launch cannon balls at us as we slid down the Slip and Slide. See what I mean about brothers lobbing stuff? Slip and Slide, toy cannon...Navy engineer...coincidence? I think not.) I gave up a tooth to the Slip and Slide, fortunately a baby tooth. Others weren't as lucky. By the end of an afternoon on the Slip and Slide the plastic would be glistening in the Sun, the greasy sunscreen slicks pooling with the water to create a blinding prism effect. Sort of like the Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez spill. Too many Slip and Slide related injuries occurred to detail here. Most of them occurred while attempting the Hang Ten maneuver wherein you were to stand all the way down the Slip and Slide, a la surfing. Many of them resulted in trips to the emergency room. None of them should ever have been attempted by anyone not actually employed by Cirque de Soleil.

What I'd really like to know is: What masochistic child hater came up with the idea of giving kids a long, narrow piece of plastic, wetting it down with the garden hose and letting young, barefoot, bathing suit clad kids lubed up with greasy sunscreen have at it? That Atomic Energy Lab with Uranium doesn't sound as maniacal when lined up next to something literally called: Slip. And slide. You slip. And you slide. These are not actions which in any other realm of life one seeks as a way of fun. Slipping and sliding are actions those of us on the higher end of the food chain try to avoid. Warning and safety hazard notes on the box? Why bother? The thing is literally named Slip. And. Slide. Play with this and you will slip and you will slide. Period. End of warning.

I haven't done any research because I don't think I need to dig up facts on this: I'm guessing the masochistic child hater who gave us the Slip and Slide also gave us the Sit and Spin. Here kid, sit yer ass on this lazy susan and see how fast you can spin and how long you can go before you puke. Who is this person who gave the world these evil "toys?" The Grinch?

ADDENDUM:
I spent the holiday with my parents. We shared memories of all the Christmases past. Mostly good memories. Mostly. A few sweetbitter memories which we tried to quickly sweep away with more pleasant memories. Ahhhh, repression.

Toys were discussed. And one of my favorite toys of all time was discussed and subsequently rated as an “eminent peril” toy.

Spirograph.

Yes. The innocent Spirograph. I love Spirograph. It’s undergone a lot of updates and transformations. The current iteration is pretty cool. I have one and gave a few to my mother and her friends in physical therapy. It’s been a terrific aid in my mother's rehabilitation. By the way. It's amazing what physical therapists don't think of in terms of rehabilitation aids. It's really surprising to me they're not very creative. They're all, "ooooh, here's a $200,000 'balance ball' and a $100 jar of Silly Putty." Meanwhile I'm like, "Hey, let's try painting or Spirograph or a game of Barrel of Monkeys!" and the physical therapists get all indignant like, "pssht. Whatever, I have $100 Silly Putty."

Right. Spirograph. It’s evolved into a plastic frame which holds plastic templates with abstract shapes cut into them. The frame holds the template in place. The Spirograph gears are then placed within the shapes and away you go on your dizzying voyage of design and point, line and plane theory.

However, this tame little art project toy has a sinister past. A few glasses of wine and a trip down memory lane dislodged a few repressed memories.

My siblings and cousins are several years older than me. Consequently I had a unique toy experience: My toys were: new and I didn’t have to share them with anyone other than friends; or, very old, very used or very unwanted toys cast off years prior by my siblings or cousins, either next-to-new because they were “stupid” or unwanted toys or dusty and ill working (or nonfunctioning) by the time I got them; or, my siblings’ and cousins’ toys which were meant for much older kids than me.

The Spirograph fell into the last category. Apart from crayons and all the paper I could color provided in steady streams by an uncle who worked at a paper plant in Canada, Spirograph was what launched my career in art. Technically I was much, much too young to attempt Spirographing when I first twirled those pen driven gears over paper. My sister received a Spirograph as a gift, tried it a few times and discarded it. My brother then stealthily snatched up the Spirograph and it resided in his possession for several years.

Fortunately for me, my brother came out of the womb afflicted with OCD. Well. Maybe that’s harsh armchair pop psychology talking. We won’t Dr. Phil my poor brother. It’s not fair to all the people who have bona fide mental illness. My brother is just anal retentive about keeping things neat and orderly. So the Spirograph kit was always perfectly stored in its box. A lot of kids lost one or many of their gears, or they were cracked and the subsequent design would have bumps in it where the pen skipped over the crack. But not our Spirograph. Thanks to my sister who didn’t like it, my anal retentive brother and me, the kid who treated her art supplies like precious and rare metals, the Spirograph in our house had many years of steady use. I started playing with the Spirograph early in life. I watched my brother, studied his technique, and quickly learned how to manipulate the gears and create a dazzling and colorful gallery of modern art. Not bad for a three-year-old.

What’s dangerous about this, you’re thinking?

Well. Back in the old days, the early days of Spirographing, the kit was comprised of several gears which worked in conjunction with each other. All the gears could be mixed and matched to create a never ending stream of infinite design possibilities. But one gear had to be kept in place while the junior artist guided the pen and rotating gear around it.

How to keep that gear in place… How indeed.

Pins.

Short, sharp, pins. The pins were about two centimeters long and very, very sharp. They had a round red ball head on them, sort of like the pins you see on maps demarking battles and wild animal attacks on government display maps and dioramas at national parks.

The pins were pressed through the guide gear, paper and finally: A piece of Styrofoam.

You’re all intelligent people. I think you can figure out the fatal flaw in this system. Styrofoam. Moving, rotating pieces. Sharp pins. Small children’s fingers.

“Here kid, here’s a box of plastic gears, a ball point pen, a piece of Styrofoam and a load of small, sharp pins. Have a blast!”

True, I was a bit, okay, a lot younger than the intended age range of the Spirograph when I first started using it. But. Still. Even an eight or nine-year-old kid probably shouldn’t be playing with a box of small, sharp pins.

I don’t remember too many incidents with the pins, however I do remember pricking my fingers while attempting to pick up the pins from their space in the kit. And I remember a few blood stained Spirograph designs. The junior artist was supposed to reach into a large cluster of sharp pins and pull out a few to hold the gear in place. “Here kid, stick your hand in this mound of sharp pins, pull out a few small, sharp pins, and deftly stick them through miniscule holes in a gear and into Styrofoam.”

Where was DCFS when this toy hit the market?

My mother, however, recalled many surprising and potentially disastrous incidents involved the vacuum cleaner and those small, sharp pins. And shards of those pins shooting through the vacuum bag.

And there were a few incidents involving unsuspecting, un-shoed feet and those pins.

Even if the kid managed to escape those perils, I do remember this: the pins had a way of popping out of the Styrofoam when the pen in rotating gear action really got going.

Friction, plastic and static energy lesson, anyone?

Protective eyewear or perhaps a goalie mask, anyone?

Apparently the makers of the original Spirograph didn’t have a lot of physics classes. Because when things heated up on the circular design lab, the Styrofoam would literally get hot. I remember my hair flying wild all over the place from the static energy build-up. Even if a kid miraculously managed to escape an eye or facial injury from a pin popping up and hitting them, a Spirograph session often resulted in shock zapping sessions with siblings.

Using the Spirograph for 15 or twenty minutes was better than scuffing besocked feet across carpet. Unfortunately there were metal pins involved. The pins which didn’t pop out and disappear on the floor would serve as an electrical conduit for carrying the energy built up between the moving plastic gear and Styrofoam and straight to the unwitting kid’s fingers.

I do remember one particularly long and vigorous Spirographing session resulting in me being nearly thrown the the floor when I ran into the living room to show my designs to my mother. Somehow I escaped shock treatments when I removed the pins (perhaps those red plastic ball heads spared me). But when my mother asked me to turn up the light so she could get a better view of my art, the nano-second my Spirograph charged finger hit the light switch the shock zapped me so hard I felt it in my brain and left me weak in the knees. When my mother rushed to help me she also got shocked, badly.

3:31 PM

 
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