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

 
Tuesday, January 23, 2007  
Words are cool. Communication. It rocks.

It's incredible how letters and words strung together can convey universally understood messages.

They can completely change the course of history. Four score and seven years ago...

A few words put together can invoke great joy and elation. I love you.

Or they can heal deep wounds. I'm sorry.

Or they can launch great dreams. Do what you love, the money will follow.

Or bring a smile. A horse walks into a bar...

Or change lives. Congratulations, you're hired.

Or they can set off a lifetime of therapy. You're ugly.

Or they can kill a soul. I hate you.

Or they can strike fear in the hearts of mankind. The building's going condo.

Yep. There are words which are scarier, sure, words like: this is war, George Bush, fire, we're going to crash. Those are scary words.

But. To the normal Joe or Jane living in a city where affordable apartments are growing more scarce every month, few words strike fear deeper in their hearts. The building's going condo means: Cough up a lot of money to buy a condo which is currently an apartment occupied by one of your neighbors, yes, even the creepy smelly guy in 719, or move.

My building management is being "nice" about this process. We've all been offered "generous" buy-in prices. We've been given three weeks to decide if we want to buy our current apartment or another apartment which may become available after the generous buy-in offer ends. The second option comes with some risk, of course, because if we don't want to buy our current apartment but want to get in on the generous buy-in offer we have to commit to plunking down money for an apartment, erm, condo without knowing where it is or its condition. We could end up in 719 with a suspiciously loose tile in the bathroom and an odd odor permeating the whole apartment.

If we choose to opt out of the generous buy-in offer (or can't afford it) we have a generous leasing option to stay in our apartments through one year after the end of our current lease cycle. Most of us have April 1 leases, so most of us have ~14 months to find another place to live if we decide to opt out of the generous buy-in offer. Or if we can't afford or qualify for a mortgage high enough to rub shoulders with the new Trump Tower. Believe me, if I could afford the price of the "generous" buy-in offer I a) would already own a home and b) certainly wouldn't buy an apartment in that building. For the same price there are much nicer, larger and newer condos readily available throughout the city.

I have befriended a few single women in my building. We all have similar situations: Professionally employed but not professionally salaried enough to pay rent and save money for a down payment. We're all "older," and we don't rely on our parents to pay our bills or bail us out of financial problems. One of these women is far more financially savvy than I am. She knows about real estate. She gets it. She can speak the language. She's set up a savings situation which will put her in a mortgage in 2009. This plan was based on her staying in her current apartment until 2009. Unfortunately she is now forced to re-evaluate and revise her plans. The building's going condo news has forced her to take that fateful step, some more universally symbolic words: she's going to have to move back home to her parents' house in the far-flung suburbs, commute an hour and a half to work every day, for a year, so she can save up enough money for a qualifying down payment.

The other woman just moved in last month. Had she known the building was going condo she would have moved into a different building. She's moved three times in the past five years. She's no stranger to the building going condo situation. This is third time it's happened to her. She doesn't want to buy a condo. She travels a lot for work and is gone for extended periods of time and doesn't want the responsibility of a home sitting empty much of the time.

And then there's me. Sure, I'd love to buy a place. The tax savings would be tremendously helpful. And knowing exactly what my monthly living expenses are going to be every year for the next 30 years is not without a strong appeal. It would certainly make arranging and sticking to a budget a lot easier. But I pay rent. And I'm a middle income single zero so I'm taxed at the highest rate possible for a US citizen. So most of my income goes to paying rent and taxes. The small amount left over is what I use to pay utilities, medical bills, and if there's anything left after that: Food.

I've done the numbers, gone to all the web sites, talked to financial planners and mortgage brokers. And the answer is always the same: You don't make enough money to qualify for a low down payment loan. You need a higher down payment. But. I can't save more money than a meager amount because a huge chunk of what's left of my salary after I pay taxes goes toward rent. And I'm currently paying rent which is lower than the average price for rent in my area.

Well. I was paying lower than average rent.

That generous ~14 month leasing option we've been given? Well. Yeah. There's just one thing. If we opt to sign a lease for the final year our rent is increased by $160/month.

The message in those words is clear: If you're not buying into the building as a condo, GET OUT NOW. WE DON'T WANT YOU HERE.

Unfortunately my parents live five hours away and that would make commuting difficult. The job market is horrible where they live, so finding a job close to them would be difficult, too.

Wait a minute. Wait a stinking minute. I'm an educated, experienced, professionally employed person. Why am I forced to even consider the pros and cons of moving home with my parents to mooch off them while I save money for a down payment or simply because I can't afford to live on my own? When did this become the accepted norm?

And yes. It is a norm. The building's going condo news has emboldened me to ask a lot of people questions about how they either afford their rent or were able to save money for a down payment on a mortgage. Overwhelmingly the answer is: Parents. Parents either loaned/gave them the money, offered a basement or old bedroom to live in rent-free while money was saved for a down payment, help subsidize monthly expenses, or died and left them enough inheritance to bankroll a mortgage. There are also more trust funds out there than I realized. I have two friends whom I knew had trust funds. By casually asking, "How'd you get into your first place? What was your secret to finding a way to save money for a down payment?" I've learned I know seven people who have trust funds. I found that to be a startling revelation. There really are a lot of rich kids out there.

And there are a lot of poor kids out there.

My inquiries also netted some startling results on the other end of the scale: A lot of people worked low paying jobs - low paying enough that they qualified for special housing assistance for low income families. The operative word here is family. If you work a low paying job and have at least one child you qualify for a lot of programs designed to help low income families get out of the never ending rent cycle and into home ownership. They were also receiving tax breaks for those children and were paying a low percent of income tax, so percentage-wise they had more working capital in each paycheck. Turns out I work with two people who figured out it was to their advantage to work low paying jobs for a few years in order to qualify for government assistance and tax breaks so they could buy a house. Once they got their first mortgage they moved to better paying jobs and soon sold their first house and moved to a bigger, nicer house. One of my coworkers laughed and scoffed at the process and US government. "They never once questioned why a guy with a master's degree in finance would be working a minimum wage data entry job. You gotta learn how to work the system, Trill. Make it work for you. I lived with three friends and borrowed cash from my parents for two years. When I got my low income mortgage grants and loan I waited a few months, got a better paying job and gave my parents back the cash they gave me while I was 'low income.'"

Ahhhh. The American dream. Working the system. I guess that's what people learn in graduate courses in finance.

Another woman simply didn't bother to marry the father of her three children. As a lower income earning single mother of three she qualified for a mortgage as a low income single mother. Never mind the fact that her man was pulling in a hefty salary as, get this, a bank manager and the five of them were not exactly struggling to survive on his salary. But it was in their best financial interest for them to remain unmarried until after she secured a low interest mortgage with nearly no down payment. And she pumped out three little tax deductions which further helped her down the road of lower tax rates and higher priority mortgage assistance. They may not bother to get married until their kids are grown because she's getting such generous tax cuts and assistance as a single mother that it's better value for him to take the tax hit as a single zero than for them to get married and lose out on their government benefits because of his high salary.

Oh yes. The American dream at work. Working the system.

I don't happen to have a bank manager boyfriend who wants to have children so that's problematic for me. And I also value the institution of marriage and parenthood enough that I don't want to mock it to get extra tax breaks or mortgage assistance. And I don't happen to have single friends to roommate with for a year or two. And I don't happen to have a trust fund. Or a low enough income job.

I am, as ever, a single zero.

If I could find someone willing to have sex with me I discovered I do have a low enough income to be eligible for housing and food assistance should I become pregnant. I can't adopt or foster a child, though, because I don't earn enough money.

There's a lot of irony packed into those words.

Government agencies deem me unfit to adopt or foster care a child solely because I do not earn enough money. Or own a home.

But this same government will give me housing and food assistance if I get knocked up and give birth to a child without the benefit and income of a husband.

Someone please explain this to me.

Back to the issue at hand. Because I can't find anyone willing to have sex with me, and because of those pesky morals and ideals of mine regarding bringing a person into being, birthing a child is completely out of the question. So I have to figure out a way to pay rent or qualify for a mortgage the old fashioned way: Borrow money from my parents.

Or continue to move every time the building goes condo or the rent increases beyond what I can afford.

Apart from the tax advantage and relative security of a fixed monthly living expense, I really don't want a mortgage. But those are powerful enough motivators to make me need a mortgage. And yes, I do resent throwing money away on rent while landlords laugh all the way to the bank.

But.

Given equal taxes I'd choose to rent. It's just me and a dying cat. I don't need a lot of space or a yard or a huge showplace to entertain loads of friends and family. It's increasingly apparent I have no need for a "home." "Homes" are for families, couples and children. I don't have those things. Apparently I won't have those things. So I just need affordable elbow room, a roof, indoor plumbing and central heat and air. A place to exist and survive against the elements, a place to hang my hat and try to sleep for a few hours at night.

But I do need a tax break and a way to set a reasonable long term budget. And the only way to do that is to get a mortgage. Until then it's the renter's life for me.

Rent is a fact of life.

Unfortunately an expensive fact of life.

And getting more expensive all the time. Because a lot of buildings are going condo. This is not a new phenomenon. But this time it's personal. My building has 820 apartments. Let's generously say half of those people will take the generous buy-in offer. That's still 410 displaced renters out on the streets looking for apartments. Multiply that by the high number of buildings going condo throughout cities across the country and what you've got is a landlord's market where the landlords can name their asking price because there are a lot of renters who, for whatever reasons, can't afford or don't want a mortgage. But for this discussion there will be at least 410 renters in my neighborhood who've been displaced. Presumably they will want to stay in the same or adjacent neighborhood. Are there at least 410 apartments available? What if more than half the current tenants decide to pass on the generous buy-in offer? That's even more displaced renters looking for a place to live. And landlords just sit back with their sadistic "come to papa" smiles permanently spread across their faces.

Understand the fear and concern those words evoke?

I don't care what Oprah! does with her money. It's hers to do with as she pleases, wherever she pleases.

But I was thinking. Maybe she, (also a single zero, by the way) or someone like her, could fund a program to help single zero people who have middle income jobs buy their first mortgage.

I know, I know, this is really cavalier thinking, here. We're talking about people who can't find a spouse. And you know how weird and unreliable those people are. *Losers.* But on the other hand, they also take their jobs seriously. They're earning a middle income salary, very likely college educated, and pay a lot of money in taxes. And no, they don't have children because they've carefully refrained from having children because they don't want to be single parents or feel a child deserves a fighting chance at two full time parents. (Or they can't find anyone willing to have sex with them. *Losers.*) So they pay even more money into the tax system. Many of them pay taxes which directly support schools and educational programs for other peoples' children.

And yet they can't afford a mortgage because they can't save money for a down payment. Because they are cash cows to the US government. Which is why there are no programs to help this huge sector of the population get mortgages. Give single zeros a tax break? Are you kidding? And lose all that money to fund low income housing assistance? And lose those tax dollars for schools they will never take advantage of because they don't have children? Preposterous. If you haven't considered this aspect in the gay marriage debate, think about it now. Forget the debates on morality and Constitutional rights. There are a lot of financial reasons why it's good for US and state governments to ban same sex marriages. Allow otherwise lifelong single zeros to marry and qualify for tax deductions? That's a lot of tax dollars to lose. Think about all the tax dollars gay people have paid over the years because in the eyes of the IRS they are single zero. That's a lot of money being paid into the system with very little payback. HUGE cash cow to the IRS and state tax base. Allowing heretofore single zero gay citizens to qualify for marital tax status could take a lot of money away from the government. Can't have that, now, can we?

Okay. Right. Back to my idea.

You know the whole "it takes a village" philosophy? Well, let's apply it here. Except in a sort of reverse situation. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child to get a tax break. So how about using the child to give back a little something to the people in the village who don't have a child?

What if every person who has children in a public school contributed $5/child to a fund to help middle income single zero people get a mortgage? That would be a lot of money in the kitty for single zeros, right? Why should parents cough up $5 to some loser who can't find a spouse or get knocked up? Well. Guess what. The average US tax payer contributes $2,500 to K-12 education.

Parents, on behalf of single zeros, I say: You're welcome. I hope your child is the one who solves the world hunger problem or brings about world peace. That would be the best $2,500 I've ever spent.

You're also lucky we don't have a choice. And that we like children. And that we see education of all children as a vital need.

But. Still. It seems like you could give back to the community of single zeros who so selflessly contribute their tax dollars to the education of your children. Just $5/child. Or, if it's easier to swallow, how about giving single zeros a tax break for not having children? I'd happily contribute $1,200 of my taxes to education. Happily. I want to help fund the education of complete strangers' children. Call me crazy! Really, I don't mind paying into public education. Just not the staggering amount I pay. Give me half that $2,500 to save toward the purchase of a home and guess what?! Property tax revenue! Woo hoo!!!! Even better than income tax because in many areas property assessments tend to increase faster than income and in many communities property taxes are linked directly to school funding! Woo hoo! Everybody wins! Single zeros get a tax break to help save for a down payment on a mortgage, then, they pay property tax to help fund the schools in the community where they have that mortgage! It's genius in its simplicity, right?

I know, I know simplistic and idealistic and not in keeping with democratic or GOP fundamental philosophies. Both parties know the cash cow tax revenue value of middle income single zeros and therefore do not fund or promote programs to aid this segment of society. There's nothing to be gained by helping single zeros. We don't earn enough money to be of any clout or value when it's campaign contribution time. Yet we earn too much money to be of any altruistic value when it's campaign time. We're too poor to contribute money, too rich to invoke sympathy for a social cause. But when it comes to paying high tax rates, we're juuuust right. Clowns to the left, jokers to the right, here we are, stuck in the middle. Alone. And broke. And soon to be homeless.

There's a guy at my company who recently got "caught" living in his office. He went through a divorce a few years ago. There were no children and the settlement was to split the combined assets equally. They sold their condo and split the profit. After paying the fees and taxes involved with the divorce and profit of the condo he didn't have enough money to buy a home so he used his portion of the settlement to pay off his share of the credit cards, buy a used car and move into an apartment. This is a person who has been living a married, two income life for about 10 years. After a year of being single zero he couldn't afford his rent increase and was struggling to live on one income. He couldn't find a new less expensive apartment before his lease expired, so for three months he lived at work. Some of us suspected it. A few of us saw this happen to another coworker a few years ago. Once you've seen it happen once you recognize the tell-tale signs. It's not as uncommon as you might think. Adjusting to the higher taxes and increased expenses after living la vida married is difficult. Very difficult. It's why a lot of people don't get divorces. The marriage stinks but the taxes and expenses of single zero-dom stink worse.

But how can someone live in their office? Really very easy. Our office has a gym, so he simply made sure he was in the gym very early in the morning, about the time the security shift changes, worked out, took a shower, changed his clothes and went to work. At night he'd leave the office, go to his $50/month storage unit, repack his gym bag, hang out at the library or laundromat or drive around the city, then head back to his office about the time the night security shift was coming on duty. He'd catch a few hours sleep and start the process again. Occasionally he'd spend the weekend with friends or go out of town to visit relatives. And of course security was "onto him" for quite a while but apparently they, too, see a lot of this and he wasn't hurting anyone so they turned a blind eye and kept quiet about it. But charades like that can only go on so long before someone blows the whistle. So compounded with his already difficult situation he's had to deal with the embarrassment of everyone knowing he's homeless. All I can feel for the guy is sympathy and empathy. In a few months that could easily be me. Because my building's going condo.

8:50 PM

 
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