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.


< chicago blogs >





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

 
Friday, February 16, 2007  
I'm just an animal looking for a home...

Oh. My. Swutting. Deity. I knew there were housing "issues" in Chicago. I knew, that just like the "middle class," affordable housing for low to moderate income employed people was vestige of a bygone era. If you have a lot of money to rent or buy a place to live in Chicago there are many lovely options. There are also many housing options if you are on the lower end of the income scale and willing to share your home with rats and termites and the occasional crime perp/gang member/drug dealer. If you are unemployed or receiving public assistance there are some very nice options. And some pretty crappy choices, too. It's luck of the draw and who you know in the public housing game. It can be the best of times or the worst of times depending on who you know and what deal you're able to make.

And then there are the rest of us. Those of us with jobs which pay us a low or middle income salary. Just enough to keep us ineligible for public housing, but not enough to actually afford rent in a safe, clean apartment in the city.

No surprise at all - there's barely a middle class anymore, so why would there be a need for middle class level housing? The assumption is that if even if you're just squeaking into a middle income salary you will buy a piece of the dream and become a homeowner. Unfortunately the assumption is also that if you somehow manage to qualify for a mortgage on your low to moderate income, there will be housing to buy in your approved budget. The people who make those assumptions have apparently not priced housing in Chicago.

The best of times, the worst of times indeed.

I have been pre-approved for a mortgage. Woo hoo. Yay me. I rock. It's been a long, long, long time and ordeal, but finally, by finding a savvy and sympathetic mortgage broker who went out of her way to find every first time buyer program and every lower income buyer program (more on that in a minute) as well as a couple of "hidden" resources for single women homebuyers, I finally got pre-approved for a mortgage. That's the "good" news.

The bad news is that it's such a pittance of a sum that there are exactly 7 small condos in the city limits from which I can choose. Well, yes, there are a few more than that, but, um, well, not that I have much value for my life, but I really don't want to invest what to me is a lot of money in a place where I know the value will never increase and I will be hearing the sound of gunfire and living on gang turf. Call me a coward. Call me a snob. Call me a white girl. Call me part of the problem. But. No thanks. This is a lot of money to me and I am not going to throw it away on a bad investment, especially when that investment requires me to live in fear. Cripes, I got mugged just looking at an apartment in a "good" neighborhood. I am not stupid enough to risk buying in a known bad neighborhood. My situation is further worsened by the fact that I do not have a car. Public transportation is a factor in my housing situation, or, buying a car is a factor in my already negative budget. So, after eliminating the "bad" zip codes from the search, I am left with 7 choices. I think you can guess what those choices are like. Still in "difficult" neighborhoods. Very small. In need of major renovation.

But hey! There's at least a shred of forward motion in my life, I actually got pre-approved which is more than I've been able to do until now.

If you've never been through the pre-approval process, let me tell you, it's not for the faint of heart. You know credit checks? Multiply a credit check by 1,000 and you've got the pre-approval process. People have told me if you have two incomes or a higher income this process doesn't take as long and isn't as involved. Which is probably why some mortgage companies don't want to deal with single or less than upper middle income people. That's been my mortgage approval experience in the past. Mortgage companies, brokers and banks simply have not wanted to talk to me after I tell them a) I'm single and b) my salary. A few years ago a rep at an allegedly generous mortgage company laughed at me. Literally laughed at me and told me to look into public housing. So I haven't been exactly eager to reinvestigate the possibility of home ownership. My self esteem has suffered enough and I really don't want to go looking for more rejection. But, my soon to be homeless status has made me do the things I think I cannot. Or at leas the things I don't want to do. "Desperation: Getting single women in therapy for generations." Getting approved for a mortgage is a lot like finding a date. You go in with big hopes, a positive attitude and an open mind and you come out disappointed, depressed and disillusioned.

First of all, you have to disclose everything - starting with your salary. My mortgage broker made an audible sigh when she heard my gory salary details, but then she took a determined deep breath and soldiered on. I knew right then if there was ever going to be a mortgage for me, this was the lone person who could help me get it. Instead of just saying no, instead of spending her time on more attractive clients with loads of potential money to exchange, she squared her shoulders and dug out memos and looked up loopholes and program specifications and made phone calls. She took me on and stuck with me, even though we both knew full well the amount of money involved wasn't really "worth" her time. I know I don't earn a lot of money, I know this. But. I thought I earned a "normal" salary.

I do not.

After I disclosed by salary my mortgage broker, who is kind but very matter of fact, has been referring to me as low income. "There are lot's of programs for low income buyers." "You qualify for a low interest such in such because you're low income." "Let me call down to the City office, I heard about a new program for low income women." She isn't trying to insult me, she's trying to help me. But. Um. Wow. That's not only a slap on the face but a straight to the heart dagger of insult. At least it was at first. Now I embrace it. I kind of knew it anyway, and hearing it over and over and over and over and over again has made me not only accept it, but forced me to deal with it. If you think you're not low income, you might want to check into the mortgage income brackets. You might be surprised to learn you, too, are low income. Because lemme tell ya, I know, even as low income as I am, a lot of people earn the same or less. The difference is that many of those people are married and so they have a combined income which just puts them over the "low income" range.

Finally, oh glory be, all the numbers were crunched, all the painful disclosures were made, all the sordid truth about where my money goes*, I got the golden ticket to give to a real estate agent. I got a pre-approval. Unbeswuttinglievable.

It's pretty much been downhill from there, but, the fact remains, I attained that elusive piece of paper.

I am on what seems like a never ending real estate tour of the city. I "interviewed" real estate agents, which, is a topic for another day. A day when I have a little more distance from the subject and a better sense of humor about it. I do not like real estate agents. Never have. Never will. And this experience has done nothing by solidify those feelings. However, after a painful process of elimination and a lot more rejection, many of the real estate agents didn't want to deal with me because my pre-approval amount is so low. They know they're not going to make much money on me, and worse, there's very little they can offer me, so it's a lose-lose situation for everyone and they simply do not want to deal with me. I finally stumbled upon my new best friend and real estate agent. He's not like the others, or, well, at least not quite as much like the others. He has some of the traits, to be sure, and one day he may be just like the others, but right now he's still got traces of a normal, decent personality. That will be beaten out of him, I'm sure, but I'm lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of his real estate career.

My first interview question is, "Have you seen Glengarry, Glen Ross?" Hey. Be quiet. I'm not mean, I'm just experienced. I've met one too many real estate agents to be nice about something as serious as spending a lot of money on real estate. I try to keep a jovial tone when I ask this, but, I most certainly am not joking. Most real estate agents who have seen it or heard about with either exaggeratedly wince in mock pain and say, "Oh, it's nothing like that, really. Really. I mean it, really, it's nothing like that at all. Seriously, believe me, trust me, really, it's nothing like that. I swear, really." Or they'll swallow hard and try to quickly change the subject by dismissing it with, "The Real Estate Association could have sued them for slander, you know." If they haven't seen it or heard enough about it to know they are probably very young, very inexperienced or very good at lying.

My new best friend and real estate agent responded completely differently than any real estate agent I've ever met. He smiled, let out a guffaw, and said, "Of course I've seen it. I love it. It's like a documentary of the office where I first worked. The only thing that kept me sane when I worked there was comparing my colleagues to the different characters in the movie." Okay. That might have been a line. But. It was a good line. Perhaps a very well rehearsed line. Because I know real estate agents get a lot of crap from normal people, and a lot of that crap involves citing Glengarry, Glen Ross as an example of why people hate real estate agents. But. At least, unlike the others I've met, he didn't get defensive and had a good comeback prepared. Or, possibly, he really is different from the others. After a few more questions and some small talk, I decided this was my guy in the field. I told him right up front that if I didn't find a place I deemed "worth it" I wasn't going to buy, because I'm right on the edge of being one of those people who is better of renting. He fully understands that. He isn't counting on my sale to pay for his island vacation or new BMW. He knows he'll be lucky if my sale buys him dinner. And he's still willing to help me. He's still nice to me. He still calls. He always calls when he says he will. He's always upbeat and always helpful. He never sighs, at least in front of me, and he isn't, well, you know, gross. He isn't real estate agent gross. He isn't smarmy or fake or slick and he doesn't wear jewelry or drive an expensive car or chew gum or talk in lingo. He's, you know, normal. I never in a million years in three lifetimes thought I would say this about a real estate agent, but, well, I'd date him. That's how un-real estate agenty he is. And no, I don't have a crush on him. I'm just saying, I refuse to date real estate agents, so much so that they are a written exclusion on 50 First Dates, so as a point of comparison, this guy is so much not like real estate agent that I would date him. If I were in fact interested in him in other capacities and he was interested in me. But I'm not and he doesn't seem to be, so, no. It's nothing more than a point of comparison.

I keep thinking I've either hit on an unprecedented "lucky" streak, first a helpful mortgage broker, now a real estate agent unlike all the other real estate agents, or, this is all just a big wind up for really bad disappointment. You know, like everything else in my life. "Here's a great guy! Love him! He loves you! You're getting married! PSYCH!! No you're not! Sucker!" "Here's a high IQ and perception! Here's a great education! You'll have a great rewarding and lucrative career! PSYCH!! No you won't! Sucker!" "Here's a great mortgage broker! Here's a nice real estate agent! You'll have a nice home you can afford! PSYCH!! No you won't! Sucker!"

And that's actually how it's looking. Because of those 7 condos in my price range in viable neighborhoods, three of them have more than one room and a bathroom. Of those three, only one doesn't require a major investment of time and more money to make it "worth" anything, and by "worth" anything, I mean, habitable.

So renting is seeming like the more viable option for me. Which means homelessness until I have money to move into a place. Sadly, you can't get loans for things like security deposits and moving expenses when you're renting. It's supremely ironic that I can get what seems like a huge amount of money loaned to me to buy a home, but I can't get a dime to help me move into an apartment, a new apartment I need because my current building is going condo. The irony in that triptych conundrum makes my head hurt.

The problem is that rental properties are not unlike real estate for sale: Lots of super fab expensive places, lots of icky scary places, and not a whole lot in the middle. And the few places in the middle are snapped up quickly. Every apartment I've looked at has had other people there looking at it, too. There's this competitive tension, a sort of cat and mouse thing - "is he going to take it? Does he like the pink bathroom?" - which colors the whole process. So far I've found two viable possibilities for June. Which leaves me homeless in April and May.

I have found a nice storage unit, so that's something. And a local re-sale charity shop came to our building last week and left flyers for all us tenants who are being displaced. They'll make weekly pick-ups and have a representative on site to give us receipts for large donated items. Hey, you know, a tax deduction is always helpful, and since it looks like I'll have to get rid of most of my remaining possessions I might as well get a tax deduction. Oh sure, kind of hard to put a price on sentimental items, a little painful to reduce Aunt Betty's crystal to bulk line item on an IRS form, but, it's just stuff, they're just things. Without a home it's kind of pointless to have stuff, much less stuff weighted with emotional attachments. Especially when you're low income. And a single zero. A soon to be homeless single zero.

* My money goes mainly to medical expenses for me and my cat, and if you think mortgage companies don't care about your health, guess again - excessive medical expenses ring warning bells about potentially too ill or terminally ill people who would be "too risky" to set up with a long term mortgage. I am so thankful my savior in this process is a woman because having to explain my recent female health issues to a man who will probably never have a cervical exam or mammogram (let alone three of them in a span of four months) would have added more insult to this process. I told you this was a full disclosure and my recent medical problems very nearly came between me and a pre-approval.

6:54 PM

 
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