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

Wednesday, February 14, 2007  
Oh boy! It's Valentine's Day! Woo hoo! Isn't that great?! Don't you just love Valentine's Day? It's the best. Really. It's just the best holiday. It's all about love and romance. What could be better than that? Nothing!

Unless of course you are the only single person in your office and you are forced to endure having your nose and ego rubbed in it with each delivery of roses and whatever else people dream up to have delivered to an office. I don't really care about Valentine's Day. It's not a big deal to me. Any tiny romantic tendencies I had were snuffed out by the men I've dated who "refuse to be forced into another commercialization of emotion." Which is another way of saying one or all of the following: Cheap, unromantic, not really into you, stubborn, selfish, thoughtless. Because even though most of us chicks truly, honestly, do not need or care about flowers, candy, cards or fancy restaurants on Valentine's Day, the fact is that some women do care about this stuff on this day, and they find men who oblige them (and yes, some men are really into it, which is sweet as long as they're into it for the right reasons and not the tacky uncomfortable lingerie reasons) Anyway, some people are really into it. Which means offices are thrown back in time to junior high school. Some girls, the popular ones, get loads of showy Valentine's, while others get, well, nothing. And even back then we didn't really care, but, the fact is, then, as now, once in a while it would be nice to have a man make a public gesture showing his affections toward us. It would be nice to have other people know someone cares enough to send the very best or at least a couple of carnations. Kind of like prom, no one really has a good time, and truth be told, no one really wants to go that badly. But. Not going, not having a date, is, well, it is what it is. It hurts. It causes self doubt. Some of us never get Valentine's, never go to prom, don't get to be bride and go through life completely unacknowledged regarding love and romance and some of the girlier things in life.

I've had a couple of memorable Valentine's Days, and that's cool. Whatever. The romances died and the end result is that I'm alone so, a few guys capable of making romantic gestures on cue doesn't really endear me to the spirit of Valentine's Day. Though I openly admit I was a little, well, I don't really know what the feeling is, but I felt something negative year after year when HWNMNBS completely ignored Valentine's Day as if it didn't exist and mocked and ridiculed me for giving him small tokens and gestures of romance on the day. He just didn't get it, or didn't want to get it, or whatever he was. I refused to let it get to me, because really, I didn't care and I don't care. But. Still. The absence of any kind of acknowledgment leaves this weird thing hanging out there. An, "Oh, okay then, just another day, no big deal, I don't mind, really, it's okay, it's a stupid day and you're right, flowers are a waste of money and cards are too manufactured, yep, yep, totally, it's a stupid day, g'night then" kind of thing.

So. Here we are. Us singles, we'll get through this together. Just another day. Think of the money we've saved. Think of the uncomfortable scratchy ugly lingerie we didn't have to endure, think of the bottle of wine we can have all to ourselves, think of the quality time we can spend with our cats. And hey, it's Wednesday, and that means LOST and that means enough eye candy packed into one hour to satisfy any craving and provide fodder for more than a few fantasies.

I was in a waiting room last week, forced to hear music apparently chosen by someone with more problems and more depressed than I am. In worse shape than me, actually, because they also have really bad taste in music. And no, this is not a matter of personal taste and music being subjective. We're talking Lite Adult
Contemporary. We're talking Babs, Kenny G., PhilCollinsEltonJohnRandyNewman Disney, Neil Diamond circa 1979, Jewel, Celine Dion (seriously, just typing her name triggers my gag reflex and if she doesn't have this affect on you you might want to see a doctor) and a bunch of other generic pabulum lacking any redeeming musical, lyrical or so bad it's good quality "artists." (It pains me to dignify them with the term artist because it cheapens and takes so much away from actual music artists.)

I sat there thinking, "Well, this is it, the war's over, Simon Cowell has won. Churning out prettily packaged, safe, tried and true crap every week has finally taken a toll on the American public’s musical psyche. The disposable, insert the new Idol here over pre-recorded all-sounds-the-same-because-it-is-the-same background filler music genre has seeped into the subconscious of America like Agent Orange oozing into pores, lurking silently, undetected, and slowly killing. No cure, no hope, not covered by medical insurance plans, so just roll over and get used to it."

Yeah, well, okay, I'm in a bit of a mood. But still. You know what I mean. There's no denying we've got a problem on our hands in the form of a heck of a lot of really, really, boring music being hurled at us. What scares me is that someone's buying this stuff, or at least pirating it and listening to it. If there weren't money to be made it wouldn't be produced and we wouldn't be tortured with it. Someone, someone, a lot of someones like this stuff. Tragic.

Anyway.

I was forced to listen to this maudlin adult contemporary fare for almost an hour while I waited. A hit parade of some of the most morose songs ever recorded. The kicker in this was that I was in a hospital waiting room, a waiting room where people wait for confirmation of bad news, clinging to a last hope that the results will be good, knowing full well statistically it will be bad.

After the second Jewel song it occurred to me that it's not just that these songs are lyrically depressing and musically simple, it's that they don't even tug at an overly melodramatic so-bad-it's-good guilty pleasure tear.

Seasons in the Sun, Shannon, Honey, Don't Walk Away Renée, you know, songs we love to hate, someone's dead or dying, forgiveness and letting go are all that matter now kinds of songs.

And of course the unrequited love self indulgent just give me a bullet to the head dittes like All By Myself (the Eric Carmen version), Alone Again,
Naturally
, Can We Still Be Friends, Mandy (oh Mandy, you came and you gave without taking).

Notice a pattern here? All the really, truly morose good ones are from the mid-'70s. My theory? Not on the Dark Side of the Moon, not yet on The Wall. While I'm not blaming Pink Floyd for the maudlin pop crap of the mid-'70s, history does clearly indicate a trend sandwiched between the release of those albums. Pop music was confused and floundering in Pink Floyd's late adolescence like Britney Spears dating Justin Timberlake.

I could not wait to get home and cleanse my aural nerves with some really depressing stuff. After all, it is Valentine's Day, and for me that's all about depression and loneliness so what better way to get into the spirit than by putting on a few timeless holiday classics?

And I’m not talking about the obvious and easy quick fixes. There are plenty of choices if you just need a super quick and easy fix, obvious choices, Nick Cave, Staind, His Infernal Majesty, Johnny Cash...of course any Cure song will instantly blend in with any lonely Valentine environment. Even comparitively perky Friday I’m in Love has strong “something’s not quite right with Bobby” overtones. The Cure is to Valentine's Day as roses are to uninspired men. An easy, available and obvious quick fix to problem. Ditto any Evanescence song. Or.Well.At least any Evanescence song I’ve heard, and to be fair I haven’t heard all of them. I don’t have the emotional fortitude to attempt that. But somehow I doubt there are any happy-go-lucky tunes lurking in the catalog. The Smiths can provide a few good cathartic moments, but Morrissey’s omnipresent wordplay takes some of the edge off some of the obvious choices and forces a knowing smile to crack even the most jaded single. Opt for Unloveable, How Soon is Now? or I Know It’s Over where young Steven’s despair is deep and the sneer is still cynical. Lyrics like, “Mother I can feel the soil falling over my head...and if I climb into an empty bed, oh well, enough said...” is a sure fire trip to despair. (if you prefer Sardonic Sneer Morrissey opt for solo works like Trouble Loves Me or Satan Rejected My Soul (you can’t miss with lyrics like “Satan rejected my soul/As low as he goes/He never quite goes this low” Yep, that’s ol’ Moz in full sardonically sneering regalia.)

What I’m talking about are post-mid -’70s-buzzkill-classics songs by bands who do not necessarily specialize in buzzkill which will provide a symbiotic soundtrack for those of us just trying to find solace in the saddest, loneliest season. A sympathetic place to escape the forced romance of the holiday which, rather than feeling all hopeful makes us feel a bazillion times worse. These are songs by people, probably a bit like “us” who are normally fairly well adjusted but and emotionally stable, but have moments, days, of despair and loneliness. They haven’t built careers around being morose or self indulgent poets, but give into once in a while, because, well, that’s life. Most of us don’t rebound out of a break-up like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson, or Brad Pitt, for that matter, though, I mean, rebounding into the arms of Angelina Jolie probably takes off the edge off the sting of depression. Most of us feel like absolute crap, crap’s crap, in fact, and dealing with something like Valentine's Day is tough.

Want to share in the depression of the season?! Read on and get that downloading software revved up and ready!

Every Day is Like Sunday, Chrissie Hynde cover. Morrissey lyrics, Chrissie’s sad breathy voice nearly breaking into tears in a few places, begging for armegeddon, I mean, this is just a Holiday Hellers classic. Morrissey’s version is good, but for full bloody Valentine effect go for Chrissie. I mean, you know, when in doubt, always go with Chrissie. While you’re digging for her Everyday is like Sunday, also try to find her cover of Radiohead’s Creep “What the Hell am I doing here?” has never been sung with more honesty, confusion and pain than Chrissie gives in this cover. We are not worthy, but we are
nonetheless blessed to live in the time of Chrissie.

Monday Morning Pulp I like Pulp. Mostly. Some Pulp more than others. But generally I like Pulp. I wasn't a big fan at first, I had to warm up to them. I blame Disco 2000. Fortunately Disco 2000 hasn't been around much since, well, December 31, 1999. So I've been free to enjoy the other (and better) songs with reckless abandon. I like how Jarvis Cocker's cynicism and sarcasm are whipped at us, the listeners, through an audible sardonic sneer often cloaked as a smarmy lounge act. This is a love child borne of Morrissey and Wayne Newton. You have to get it to get it, it takes a little work sometimes, but once you get it, you get it good. Different Class offers some great disaffected social commentary delivered via fake pop “sensibility” which is in fact insensible and therefore supremely ironic. A la Wayne Newton's evil and cleverer clone. But Monday Morning never fails to fill me with despair and despondency for not
only my future, but the future of the entire human race. By the end of this faux perky number I’m so full of despondency that I do as he suggests and go to bed because there’s no real point to, well, anything when you spend most of your life struggling through the work week and spending your free time alone trying to make the best of being alone but ultimately going home alone and wishing you weren’t alone and arguing with yourself about the point of any of it.

There's nothing to do so you just stay in bed, (Open with despair and depression, off to a rollicking festive start)
oh poor thing,
why live in the world when you can live in your head?
(Insanity in the third line, way to go, Jarvis)

When you can go out late from Monday,
till Saturday turns into Sunday,
and now you're back here at Monday,
so we can do it all over again.
And you go aah ah ah
I want a refund,
I want a light,
I want a reason,
to make it through the night, alright.

And so you finally left school,
so now what are you going to do?
Now you're so grown up,
yeah you're oh oh oh oh oh so mature oh.
Going out late from Monday,
chuck up in the street on Sunday,
you don't want to live till Monday,
and have to do it all again.
and you go aah ah ah
I want a refund,
I want a light,
I want a reason for all this night after night after
night after night.
Oh I know that it's stupid but,
I just can't seem to spend a night at home,
cos my friends left town,
and I'm here all alone ow.

Oh yeah they say the past must die for the future to
be born,
in that case die little mother, die - ooh.
Stomach in,
chest out,
on your marks,
get set, go.
Now, now that you're free,
what are you going to be?
And who are you going to see?
And where, where will you go?
And how will you know,
You didn't get it all wrong?
Is this the light of a new day dawning?
A future bright that you can walk in?
No it's just another Monday morning.
Do it all over again, oh baby.
La la la la la la
Do do do do do do



Superstar Sonic Youth Cover of the Carpenters’ depressing mega hit whine about a woman being stupid enough to believe it when he said he loved her and clinging to the false hope he’ll come back to her. It has to be the Sonic Youth version, though. The Carpenter’s version is too Carpentersy to achieve full holiday depressoin climax. No matter what the song I always expect Karen to burst into “I’m on the top of the world, looking down on creation...” This problem is eliminated altogether withThurston Moore’s breathy borderline psychokiller treatment. I always get the feeling he’s singing this song in preparation for a night of stalking an innocent victim. Or o-d-ing on sleeping pills and Drain-o. I listened to this song a few after The Break-up. I nearly killed myself. Twice. Yes, it made me feel bad and I still went back for more. Then I decided in order to save myself I had to ban this from my apartment. I can listen to it now and quite enjoy wallowing in the pain, feeling proud of myself for making it to the end alive. But if you’re facing the holiday fresh from a painful break-up or harboring a crush on a musician people tell you (in their overly gentle trying to be tactful voice) is a little fanatic, you should avoid listening to this.

Um. We all know the lyrics, right? So I won’t dissect the creepy/sad/pathetic/weird/lonely/despondent lines. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard this (or if you’ve never heard it) it’s totally worth a listen, even if you’re not looking for Valentine's Buzzkill.

I think we can sum it up thusly:
don't you remember you told me you love me baby (No.S/He doesn’t remember. Because s/he tells this to all the people s/he has sex with while on tour. Like every other musician who ever took the act on the road. Duh.)
you said you'd be coming back this way again baby (Well, yeah, technically not a lie, s/he’ll be back, and s/he might even call, a booty call, that is.)
baby baby baby baby oh baby (this is just classic, the best “oh baby” treatment ever recorded. For my money it tops even any Robert Plant oooo baby, even the Whole Lotta Love oooo babies.)
I love you, I really do (And you think I’ve got unrequited love issues?! There have been some bad days, worse nights and a heck of a lot of tears and despair, but I’ve never been stupid enough to not know a one night stand when I see it, and only once did I allow myself to trust and believe obvious lies. This is part of the beauty of the song. You can listen to it, feel the pain and if you manage to make it to the end without killing yourself you can walk away smugly superior that a) You survived Superstar and b) You’re in a bad way, but you’re not that bad. Bonus deeper cuts idea: If you can unearth it, there’s a Joe Cocker version recorded several years prior to the Carpenters’ version, and it’s, um, interesting. Soulful, better than the Carpenters’ version, but lacking the creepiness of the Sonic Youth version. I avoid the Bette Midler version at all cost.)

Porcelain, Moby.
I have a love/hate relationship with Moby. I generally respect him for at the very least daring to push a boundary or two once every 10 years. The guy’s got talent. Sometimes misappropriated talent, but he can compose a mean bit of (albeit synthesized) orchestration when he puts his mind to it. I've seen him live a few times (free shows, which indicates my level of interest: I'll see him if it's free, but I won't pay actual money to see him) I like his attitude about "selling out" to advertising. He’s got a good handle on marketing and marketing himself. He seems like a pretty okay guy. The Real Slim Shady disses him and that makes me like him even more. So. Yeah. But the hate part of the relationship. Well, it's songs like Porcelain which make me hate him. A lot. Pompous, self indulgent (often self-righteous) guilt cliché cloaked as deep yet humble poetry lyrics over dirge-like electronica. Makes me scream, "Ohfercryingoutloud, dude, no one is that fey, not even Sting, and especially not even you you by the fourth line. Not so much a bullet to the head ditty as a slow, dull serrated knife to the wrist. I love the irony that this one song, this anthem to immature, cliché spewing jerkface lying, cheating men everywhere was churned out by Moby, the guy who's supposed to be to sensitive and enlightened. But during this season of good sneer, it's an all time classic.)
In my dreams I'm dying all the time (Death right there in the opening line, way to go, Moby, rock on, somewhere in a cold damp dark room in England Robert Smith is hating himself and having a good pout because there was never a Cure song with death, dying all the time, no less, right in the first line.)
As I wake its kaleidoscopic mind (Here he’s trying to be all metaphoric and visual. Oooo, ahhhhh, we’re all so impressed.)
I never meant to hurt you
I never meant to lie ("I never meant to lie." Huh? If you're lying, you know you're lying. It takes conscious effort to lie. It's impossible to unintentionally lie. read: "It's not you, it's me." And since you know you’re lying, you know it’s going to hurt this person, clearly you meant to hurt them. Otherwise you never would have lied in the first place. This is one of my all time most hated lines used by a lying/cheating partner. By virtue of it's impossibility you're lying about lying which makes the lies worse. Liar, liar pants on fire. You've taken me for a ride, don't further insult me by taking me for an idiot. What are you supposed to think or say when someone says, "I never meant to lie." "Oh, of course not dear, of course you didn't mean to lie, it's not you, it's me, I pushed you to it, it's all my fault?" Pfft. This is pissing me off already and I'm only four lines into it. It's the hap-happiest time of the year.)
So this is goodbye (Kinda harsh coming from a guy who claims to have never meant to hurt this person, never meant to lie to them. read: "It's not me, it's you, and it's you in a big way. This is definitely good-bye. We can't be friends because I don't want to be friends. I never, ever want to see you again.)
This is goodbye (Once again for reinforcement, looking deeply in eyes, "This is good-bye. Really. This is good-bye. I've got a box of your stuff out in the car. This is good-bye.")
Tell the truth you never wanted me (Seriously, Moby, this line always surprises me coming from you. Two serious offenses in one sentence. “Tell the truth,” ugh. Well. We’ve established he’s a liar and he lies about lying, so nice of him to inform us when he’s being honest. Nice to have a little warning, a disclaimer, “Assume I’m lying all the time unless I begin a sentence with “to tell the truth” or “honestly.” Urgggggggggggh that bothers me in a big way. The presumption I make is that people who say, “to tell the truth” or “honestly” go around lying all the time. Big pet peeve. And then, then he stoops to an all time human low and insinuates he knows what another person wants. Telepathic are we now, Moby? How dare you stoop to telling anyone what they wanted? How dare you? You're supposed to be all enlightened and really sensitive and yet you put this line in a song? Dude, no wonder you're always writing break-up songs, somehow you manage to get laid but with lines like this no one's going to stick around very long, and no, we can't still be friends. )
Tell me
In my dreams I'm jealous all the time (Ah, okay, so this is either projecting guilt with a passive aggressive dig. "I wouldn't feel jealous if you didn't give me a reason to feel jealous" or you're doing the whole, "I know they're going to break up with me so I'm going to manufacture a reason for a break up with them first ploy." Either way, ick.)
As I wake I'm going out of my mind (Insanity. And there you have it, the guilty pleasure maudlin song trifecta. Death, deception and insanity. Nice work, Moby, happy Valentine's Day.)
Going out of my mind

If you can't bear to put yourself through that kind of torture, here are some "lighter" numbers I find to be helpful around February 14. Queen, Somebody to Love. There's a lot of potential catharsis in singing along with Freddie on this one. Chris Isaak is always good for lending a ditty to the lonely, I like Heart Shaped World and Lonely with a Broken Heart. Detroit Cobras, sweet, swwet, gutsy, fabulous Rachel and Cry On will resonate with anyone who's got a hole in their heart. An oldie but goodie that always gets me is The Left Banke's Walk Away Renee. This is my vote for the saddest song ever. And if you're feeling like you need a little empowerment, a little boost to the determination sector, try Beck's Go it Alone.

Okay. Right. So. Another year, another Valentine's Day X-ed off the calendar.

For those of you who do have special someone, here are a few evening soundtrack possibilities which should get things moving along nicely. If you've been having a rough patch in your relationship and are hoping to use Valentine's Day as a way to reignite the spark, I suggest starting with the Detroit Cobras' Let's Forget about the Past. Sing it, Rachel, sing it. From there, or, if there are no past issues, start with Reigning Sounds Pretty Girl. This will help establish exactly where things stand. Guys, if you play this and the girl doesn't go all gooey eyed, you can still save face - it's uptempo enough and not obvious enough that it will look like you were trying to set some sort of player soundstage. If she does go gooey eyed, it's the all clear to proceed with the hard stuff. Move along to Roxy Music's Take a Chance with Me. This is a better option than the ever popular More than This. Good song, too overdone. Go with a deeper cut and a) impress your intended with your musical depth, and b) avoid looking like a cliché player wannabe. From here, move to Shugie Otis' Strawberry Letter 23. Just trust me on this. The Brother's Johnston version will do, but Shugie will take into a whole new playing field and will cement your cred as someone who knows their way around a music store and around the magical seductive power of music. Move into John Lennon's #9 Dream Okay, okay, we all know how I feel about that band. But. I've recently rediscovered this and have come to the conclusion that this is a great song, especially if you haven't heard it for a while and there's no denying the woozy sexiness to it. Okay. Now. This next suggestion is a little more advanced. You should be over the age of 27 and have established some sure fire moves and have a supply of "provisions," including contingency "provisions" ready, because in the right hands, this song is like a lethal weapon. Entire countries could be reduced to bleary eyed piles of mush with this. Bob Welch, Hypnotized. You're welcome. Hey. Just because I don't have a romantic life doesn't mean I would selfishly hoard this knowledge. I'm lonely, not mean and bitter.

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8:50 PM

Monday, February 12, 2007  
It’s raining, it’s pouring...

From the, you have to laugh or you’d kill yourself department...

I was mugged while apartment hunting.

I’m okay, sort of, due to huge bruise and cuts on my knee I look like Nancy Kerrigan after the Tonya Harding attack, and another blow to my diminishing faith in humanity, but okay.

She, yes, she didn’t get anything other than my license, $7, a lipstick, a pen and a few scraps of paper with phone numbers and addresses of potential apartments.

The details of the whole thing are so stupid it’s not worth the effort to discuss. It was 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon in a busy and “nice” part of town. Well. I know it’s not as nice as the real estate and retail establishment in the area would like everyone to believe. I know it’s not as “nice” as it appears because I used to live there.

Yes. Yes. Okay? Yes. I was considering moving back to the old ‘hood. I’m desperate and there was a moderately priced apartment available.

I don’t believe in signs from the Universe. I don’t believe in luck, good or bad. But. Even I cannot deny the loud and clear message in this. I moved out of the neighborhood because I was attacked, beaten and mugged. Two years later I’m forced to move so I go back to the old ‘hood to look at an apartment and I got mugged. Okay, Universe, okay, I hear you, loud and clear. Don’t move back there.

What really surprised me about this one (cracks me up the way I say that so casually, “this one” as opposed to all the other ones) is that there was a woman involved. Someone tripped me from behind as I exited a store. I fell. A woman who was talking on her cell phone saw me fall and came over to “help” me as I tried to stand up and figure out what the heck happened, and who tripped me. “I saw him! I saw him!” She yelled as the (apparent) attacker ran away. “Are you okay?” she asked as she came toward me.

Before I could answer, and as I was just getting back on my feet, she shoved her gloved hand in my face, grabbed my bag and ran.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t think women are capable of crime, violent crime or thievery. However, the fact that a woman would stoop so low as to employ the sisterhood “are you okay?” and then use it for bad purposes really, really bothers me. Us chicks understand how sacred our purses are. Most of us look out for each other’s purses, even if we don’t know each other. It’s just a thing we do, imprinted in our DNA is the sacred bond of the purse. Any woman, even a friend or sister, will steal, I mean “borrow” your boyfriend, your new top, your best shoes...but very few women would break the trust and bond of the purse.

What I find interesting is that out of all the other women coming in and out of that store and walking around that neighborhood, I was probably the most lowbrow in terms of value of my purse and looking like I might have a lot of money and high limit credit cards in that purse. I was also among the tallest and surely had the most, “don’t mess with me” attitude. Even the cops who appeared in seconds said I certainly wasn’t asking for it. One motioned to a woman dressed very expensively, wearing an iPod walking along with a cell phone in one hand and barely clutching her designer purse between two shopping bags in the other. “She’s asking for it,” the cop said. And I agree. And I don’t trounce around like that because I am street smart. But apparently not street smart enough to avoid this altogether.

Fortunately, street smart enough to not carry credit cards, checks or more than a few dollars in cash in my purse - my purse I paid all of $6 for three years ago. Smart enough to carry my keys, cell phone and transit pass in zipped coat pockets. Smart enough to get every detail about this woman’s appearance. But not smart enough to avoid the whole thing altogether.

The cops said this couple has been doing this all over the neighborhood for a few months. They strike on weekends during prime shopping times, mid-afternoon.

As he was explaining this to me, my phone rang. It was the landlord of the apartment I was on my way to view before I was so rudely interrupted.

I said, “Sorry, I’m running late, I got mugged on my way there...”

The guy didn’t skip a beat, just very matter of factly said, “You still wanna see the place?”

No, “Gosh, I’m sorry.” No, “Really? That’s horrible!” No, “OMG, where were you?” No, “Are you okay?” None of that from this obviously neighborhood wise landlord. Just, “you still wanna see the place?”

No. I told him no.

I don’t believe in signs or fate or any of that. But. The “great” neighborhood is still having the same problems it’s had for since before I moved from there. Gentrification makes everyone who isn’t a thug, drug dealer or prostitute a target of crime perpetrated by thugs, drug addicts and pimps.

So, bruised, battered, $7 poorer and one police report richer, my quest for a home I can afford continues.

1:51 PM

 
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