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, January 04, 2007  
I haven't actually been fired yet. But it feels immanent. There have been hints and allegations. I've done nothing to ingratiate myself with them, I haven't put forth any sycophantic energy. Oh. And. I've been causing trouble again, too. Trouble in the form of raising topics which are uncomfortable for senior management. Trouble in the form of a sarcastic comment or two slipping out at rather unfortunate timing for my boss. And so I'm starting to sense it shall come to pass that I will be fired.

Illinois is an "at will" state which means employers can fire anyone for “a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.” Employment is entirely at the will of the employer.

Depending on who you are, there is a bad reason and a good reason for me to be fired.

The bad reason for me to be fired is that after a glowing review, the highest degree of accolade possible, I was granted a mere 2% annual pay increase. Since I've lived in Chicago I have never received a raise that has covered my rent increase. This year will be no exception. In fact, this year is going to be one of the worst years in my Chicago history in terms of the rent increase:pay increase deficit. And so help me Ty Pennington, if one, just one person suggests I buy a home instead of renting I will go off on you like you cannot imagine. Believe me, if I could afford a down payment and a mortgage I would have one. But because more than half my salary goes toward rent and utilities (and now a lot more than more than half, I estimate in 2007 about 67% of my take-home pay will go toward rent) saving even a few pennies is a pipe dream. Oh. And. By the way: I didn’t get the one room studio apartment. I’m on the list for the next available, but, get this, the rent is increasing on them so if I am lucky enough to downsize to one room I’ll be paying almost what I pay for my current slightly larger compartment.

And thus begins the downward spiral of fear and despair. I hate that when you really get down to it everything really is about money. No, it doesn’t buy happiness. But. It buys a roof and warm bed and medicine and hospital visits and if you’re lucky: Food other than peanut butter and macaroni and cheese.

I try not to think about money, it’s just not my focus in life. But. I’m forced to think about it because I don’t have enough of the stuff. And I don’t mean enough money to buy a new pair of boots or go on vacation. I mean I literally do not have enough money to pay my living and medical expenses. It makes me realize my inadequacies – I am a university educated professional with several years of solid and impressive experience in demanding jobs and yet I cannot even afford rent much less the things other people consider basic necessities like: a car and nutritionally balanced food and health care.

I always devour articles on ways to save money. They always make me laugh. They list things like cutting coupons, downsizing to basic cable, wait for best sellers to go to the bargain table or use the library instead of buying books, shopping at bulk warehouse clubs, scaling back vacations, and using generic medications. Cut coupons? I don’t just cut coupons, it’s elevated to a high stakes game of bargaining. Wanna see my coupon swap account? I’ll trade you a $1 Milk Bone for a 50¢ Crest. Cable? Huh? What’s cable? You mean there are more channels than the four local ones my television shows? People actually pay full retail for books? As for warehouse clubs, I’ve got such a racket going with that it’s probably illegal. Five people. One membership. The savings we’ve garnered by splitting the expense and multi-jumbo-packs is staggering. Vacation? Vacation?! I haven't had more than a long weekend since 2001. Those long weekends have been spent in hospitals and nursing homes and veterinary offices and doctor offices. Generic medication? I’d be thrilled if all it took to reduce medical expenses was using generic medication. Shame they don’t have generic lab tests or generic equipment. I’d gladly take my chances with a generic x-ray or generic MRI. I realize these might be innovative cost cutting measures for some people, but what I (and I suspect a lot of other people) need are innovative ways beyond scaling back and scrimping on modern "luxuries." I never see articles about how to live on a salary which doesn't cover basic housing and medical expenses.

This is my glamorous life. And yes, I have it better than a lot of people. I recognize that and I try to not dwell or complain about my financial difficulties. But. 2 swutting percent pay increase? Again? I mean, is it worth the crap I deal with and the long hours I spend in the office? No. It is not.

Sure, I could move to a slightly less expensive apartment outside the city. And I’d have to buy a car and pay car insurance, and pay commuting costs, and at that point I’d be paying more than what I’m paying now just to keep a roof over my head and get to and from work every day. So, no real financial savings there. Again, believe me, I’ve done every kind of possible math on this. I’ve looked at apartments in almost every zip code in the city and yes, even some outside the city. Rent isn’t cheap. And it isn’t fixed. It increases every year.

My part-time job has ended so I’m not rolling in an extra $40/week like I was for a few months. And that’s when the personal meltdown occurred. That’s the point of realization that I am failing at life, badly. I have reached the point that I cannot live on one full-time income and the lack of an extra $40/week from a back-breaking moonlighting job is causing me to consider bankruptcy. This is it, folks, the bottom of the barrel has been scraped.

Yes, I’ve had a ridiculously staggering amount of medical bills and veterinary bills in the past six months. Yes. But. I was barely scraping by before all that. The additional medical expenses for me and my cat are unexpected and enormous. I drained my 401K to pay them. So now not only can I barely afford rent, don’t own a car and have a mere 2% raise to manage a rent increase, I also have no paltry savings for retirement, and I had to pay a huge penalty for using it. I know, bad money management. But there simply was no other way apart from bankruptcy. It was the last possible resort, the "worst case scenario" and I was there. It had to be used to pay mounting medical bills for tests, procedures and medications my health insurance doesn't cover.

Something’s seriously not right here. I kept thinking it was me, I must be bad at managing money or stupid or something. But. No. The answer is simple: I don’t earn enough money to sustain myself. As I learned from unexpected medical expenses: a few hospital visits and trips to the vet can bring a person to their financial knees. And, even if I had been lucky enough to stay healthy the cost of living steadily increases and my salary doesn’t keep pace with that. And of course the final nail in the cost of living coffin: I am a single person living in a two-income society. I am a single/zero without real estate and consequently I am taxed at the highest rate possible. Not quite poor enough for a tax credit, not rich enough for a tax break. Not married, no kids, no real estate, nothing to "allow" me an income tax credit. In the eyes of the IRS I am a cash cow.

I was stupid. I should have: Married young, bought a house as soon as our two incomes would allow it and either lived so dangerously that if I got ill or hurt it would have been terminal and fast, or, lived in a bubble wrapped anti-germ bubble. At least I would have died or, if I'd stayed healthy and the marriage ended in divorce (and it probably would have if I'd married young) at least we'd have money in real estate to split and roll into a new singles pad.

The financial burden I’ve been carrying has been weighing me down for a long time. Money, or lack thereof, is a daily and constant stress factor in my life. I try to not think about it, I try to focus on intrinsic things, look within myself and all that, try not to let it get me down or color my perspective on life. Give of myself rather than of my wallet, help other people, all that stuff. And that does help keep the focus off money. But when I've got $9 to live on for 8 days, the whole giving of oneself intrinsic priority thing is a little hard to hold onto.

I keep applying for new, better paying jobs but so far the few nibbles I've had are from far flung suburban based companies which would require me to have a car to commute to work - even if I moved to the suburbs I would need a car to get to their gleaming industrial compounds in the cornfields. The expense of a car would eat up the salary increase. So. So far I have not been able to make a big new viable opportunity for myself. And I'm really going to need one soon because I may be fired any day.

I'd really like to know what other people in my situation do to make ends meet. And I mean people who are self sufficient and do not rely on their parents or a spouse (or anyone else) or credit cards for financial or housing assistance.

I was feeling hopeless, afraid and otherwise depressed about this whole cost of living issue. So, seeking a way to reconcile my negative feelings about my low pay increase I went seeking wisdom. I generally avoid those salary calculators on employment websites. I avoid them because they depress me. When I enter my zip code, years of experience, level of education and my profession the salary calculators indicate I should be earning at least double my salary. Minimally.

Yes. Really.

But. Those calculators, I always assume, are inflated so that you sit there feeling all bad about your puny salary. Then you’re supposed to get all ignited and excited to find a new, better paying job, and since you're already on their site, why not use their online employment service to find a new and better paying job? (Working in marketing is such a buzzkill. Knowing the behind the scenes mindset of these seemingly benevolent help tools really saps the innocent joy out of everything. Jaded? Cynical? Work a few months in advertising and let's see how cynical your sneer is.)

Right. I avoid those salary calculators. But After receiving news of yet another paltry to the point of insulting wage increase, I turned to those calculators for support. I printed several of them and attached them to my performance review. In the comments area, just above the signature area, I wrote, "I achieved all the goals set for me by my supervisor and senior management, as well as my personal stated job related goals. I also went beyond the set goals and accomplished more assignments. I researched new technology and saved the company money and increased revenue by re-establishing lost business. I have been granted the highest rank possible in this performance process. And yet I have been granted a salary increase of only 2%. Attached are figures and charts depicting local average salaries for my level and job assignment. Also attached is data on this year's increase for Social Security recipients and inflation statistics. Senior management should note both the local salary averages and Social Security benefit increase are far more significant than a 2% increase in my current salary."

I've yet to have a response from anyone regarding my comments and back-up data. I am left to assume I will take my 2% and shut up about salary. Which is the response I expected. I know I did the "right" thing by pointing out the huge and embarrassing gap between my salary and the average salary. I know in terms of standing up for myself this was the "right" thing to do. But. This is the sort of thing which makes senior management uncomfortable. Every time we have a meeting or pass in the hallway they will have to look at me and feel something. Something embarrassing. An "I know you know I know" kind of embarrassing something. The kind of embarrassing something which gets people fired.

Well. Maybe not that in itself.

But.

When the same source of the embarrassing something (which, by the way, I think is a great band name) to senior management also hurls insubordinate sarcastic remarks, well, that gets people fired. And that's the "good" reason to be fired. When the embarrassing something starts lipping off it's never good for senior management. Which usually equates to someone being fired.

The School for Oprah's! Girls (SFOG) is causing a lot of talk in Chicago, and a lot of talk in our office. People in my office really love Oprah!. Well. People who are not me. People who deliberately don't invite me to a department lunch. People who have formed a gang called “Nordies Girls” – named for their lunchtime shopping trips to Nordstrom. The Nordies Girls just love Oprah! and they follow her every word. Consequently Africa is the topic of a lot of the socializing in my office lately. What with Oprah!'s school and Madonna's Justify-My-Existence-and-Maybe-This-Will-Make-Everyone-Forget-about-the-Ridiculous-Songs-I’ve-Recorded Baby there's a lot of sudden charitable interest in Africa. Instead of the usual gossip and talk of long exotic vacations and the latest "it" skirt or shoes or bag and color trends, it's been impossible to be in a break room or conference room without people affecting that somber "oh, I really care deeply about Africa now that Madonna and Oprah! care" look and tone. That "it's time to get serious and forget about all the celebrity interviews and massive overpriced luxury goods Oprah! promotes on her show and in her magazine, forget about all the over the top sex and money themed songs, videos and books Madonna bestowed upon the world, forget all that and take these two very important women seriously" tone.

Charity is the new black for the fashionable girls in my office.

We were getting settled around a conference table with other staff and two clients when, once again, my boss and her merry band of Coughuppalottabucks guzzling, Charity is the New Black Nordies Girls were all serious and affecting this somber reverie when one of them announced, presumably to impress each other and perhaps the clients, she was going to donate money to Oprah!'s school. My boss, never one to be outdone, then said she and her husband were thinking about adopting an African orphan. She announced this with such affected mock humility that the only thing missing was an overaffected weird fake British accent and the Tanakh spread open in front of her. For a few moments there I believed, I believed she was Madonna.

I've been really good about keeping my mouth shut through all of the past weeks of the Let's All Save Africa Now that Oprah! and Madonna Give it their Approval hysteria. Apparently a lot of something wasn't quite repressed enough, or maybe there's been too much repression and too much depression and fatigue and illness. Whatever the reason, during the somber pause of reverent awe over my boss' African baby adoption news I heard someone say, also in a somber tone of total seriousness, "I'm thinking about adopting a Canadian baby."

Then I realized it was me who said that. And that everyone in the room was staring at me, well, actually, glaring at me. All except two people: Our clients. One of them was cracking up and the other was giving me a conspiratorial smirk.

My boss said, in what I think might have been sincere confusion, "Why would you do that? Is there a problem in Canada?"

That was too funny on too many levels for me to ignore and burst out laughing. As did our clients.

After we stopped laughing one of the Nordies Girls, one of the brighter ones who was able to detect a hint of sarcasm in the remark, told me I should be more charitable. She said this with, "because it's cool to be charitable now" strongly implied, the way I have so many times heard her say, "You should get the new Kate Spade bag” Yes. This admonishing came from a woman who wears head to toe designer logo embossed clothing, brags about it and the fact that her fiance bankrolls her Nordstrom habit, looks down on anyone who doesn't dress in her version of affluent suburban chic, and won't contribute so much as a can of soup to our holiday charity drives. This is the same woman who never, ever contributes to group flowers, cards, gifts or pot-lucks. And she has the nerve to tell me I need to be more charitable?

Save it for Madonna's next appearance on Oprah! darling. Meanwhile the rest of us will continue on with our unhip volunteer organizations. Fortunately one of the clients and I have worked together on a fundraiser for several years. They're very aware that I am a charitable person and that I do a lot more than talk the affected fake accented talk. And they were the one who spoke next.

"Trillian's very charitable. She's out there doing the work. I've seen her. But I've never seen you volunteering your time."

Ooooooo, ouch. That's gotta hurt.

Yep. It was getting ugly. Real ugly. And while I appreciate the support from our client, I knew when the meeting adjourned and it was just me, my boss and the "Charity is the New Black" gals it was going to be even worse than it already was. I knew this. I know this. And I was really mad at myself for not keeping my mouth on a shorter leash. We quickly started the meeting and accomplished some business.

But.

After the meeting, after the clients were gone, as predicted, the real ugliness began. I was unpopular before this, but now it's open hostility against me. My boss went out of her way to avoid me while the Nordies Girls made a Coughuppalottabucks run and tried to make me feel bad because they brought back something for everyone except me. Which is another total joke because I don't even drink coffee and I certainly don't need or want a $5 cup of tea. I'd rather give that money to charity. Or pay my rent.

So. Now I've switched from wondering if to wondering when I'll be fired. Happy new year. Thanks Oprah! and Madonna. Either of you want to send me to school or adopt me or just pay some of my medical expenses?

11:17 PM

 
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