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:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
Create Your Badge


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
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

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.)



<< current
4/27/03 - 5/4/03 5/4/03 - 5/11/03 8/3/03 - 8/10/03 8/10/03 - 8/17/03 8/17/03 - 8/24/03 8/24/03 - 8/31/03 8/31/03 - 9/7/03 9/7/03 - 9/14/03 9/14/03 - 9/21/03 9/21/03 - 9/28/03 9/28/03 - 10/5/03 10/5/03 - 10/12/03 10/12/03 - 10/19/03 10/19/03 - 10/26/03 10/26/03 - 11/2/03 11/2/03 - 11/9/03 11/9/03 - 11/16/03 11/16/03 - 11/23/03 11/23/03 - 11/30/03 11/30/03 - 12/7/03 12/7/03 - 12/14/03 12/14/03 - 12/21/03 12/21/03 - 12/28/03 12/28/03 - 1/4/04 1/4/04 - 1/11/04 1/11/04 - 1/18/04 1/18/04 - 1/25/04 1/25/04 - 2/1/04 2/1/04 - 2/8/04 2/8/04 - 2/15/04 2/15/04 - 2/22/04 2/22/04 - 2/29/04 2/29/04 - 3/7/04 3/7/04 - 3/14/04 3/14/04 - 3/21/04 3/21/04 - 3/28/04 3/28/04 - 4/4/04 4/4/04 - 4/11/04 4/11/04 - 4/18/04 4/18/04 - 4/25/04 4/25/04 - 5/2/04 5/2/04 - 5/9/04 5/9/04 - 5/16/04 5/16/04 - 5/23/04 5/23/04 - 5/30/04 6/6/04 - 6/13/04 6/13/04 - 6/20/04 6/20/04 - 6/27/04 6/27/04 - 7/4/04 7/4/04 - 7/11/04 7/11/04 - 7/18/04 7/18/04 - 7/25/04 7/25/04 - 8/1/04 8/1/04 - 8/8/04 8/8/04 - 8/15/04 8/15/04 - 8/22/04 8/22/04 - 8/29/04 8/29/04 - 9/5/04 9/5/04 - 9/12/04 9/12/04 - 9/19/04 9/19/04 - 9/26/04 9/26/04 - 10/3/04 10/3/04 - 10/10/04 10/10/04 - 10/17/04 10/17/04 - 10/24/04 10/24/04 - 10/31/04 10/31/04 - 11/7/04 11/14/04 - 11/21/04 11/21/04 - 11/28/04 11/28/04 - 12/5/04 12/5/04 - 12/12/04 12/12/04 - 12/19/04 12/19/04 - 12/26/04 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 1/2/05 - 1/9/05 1/9/05 - 1/16/05 1/16/05 - 1/23/05 1/23/05 - 1/30/05 1/30/05 - 2/6/05 2/6/05 - 2/13/05 2/13/05 - 2/20/05 2/20/05 - 2/27/05 2/27/05 - 3/6/05 3/6/05 - 3/13/05 3/13/05 - 3/20/05 3/20/05 - 3/27/05 3/27/05 - 4/3/05 4/3/05 - 4/10/05 4/10/05 - 4/17/05 4/17/05 - 4/24/05 4/24/05 - 5/1/05 5/1/05 - 5/8/05 5/15/05 - 5/22/05 6/5/05 - 6/12/05 7/24/05 - 7/31/05 7/31/05 - 8/7/05 8/7/05 - 8/14/05 8/14/05 - 8/21/05 8/21/05 - 8/28/05 9/4/05 - 9/11/05 9/11/05 - 9/18/05 9/18/05 - 9/25/05 9/25/05 - 10/2/05 10/2/05 - 10/9/05 10/9/05 - 10/16/05 10/16/05 - 10/23/05 10/23/05 - 10/30/05 10/30/05 - 11/6/05 11/6/05 - 11/13/05 11/13/05 - 11/20/05 11/20/05 - 11/27/05 12/4/05 - 12/11/05 12/11/05 - 12/18/05 1/1/06 - 1/8/06 1/8/06 - 1/15/06 1/15/06 - 1/22/06 1/22/06 - 1/29/06 1/29/06 - 2/5/06 2/5/06 - 2/12/06 2/12/06 - 2/19/06 2/19/06 - 2/26/06 2/26/06 - 3/5/06 3/5/06 - 3/12/06 3/12/06 - 3/19/06 3/19/06 - 3/26/06 3/26/06 - 4/2/06 4/2/06 - 4/9/06 4/9/06 - 4/16/06 4/23/06 - 4/30/06 4/30/06 - 5/7/06 5/7/06 - 5/14/06 5/14/06 - 5/21/06 5/21/06 - 5/28/06 6/11/06 - 6/18/06 6/18/06 - 6/25/06 6/25/06 - 7/2/06 7/2/06 - 7/9/06 7/30/06 - 8/6/06 9/10/06 - 9/17/06 9/17/06 - 9/24/06 10/8/06 - 10/15/06 10/29/06 - 11/5/06 11/5/06 - 11/12/06 11/12/06 - 11/19/06 11/26/06 - 12/3/06 12/3/06 - 12/10/06 12/17/06 - 12/24/06 12/24/06 - 12/31/06 12/31/06 - 1/7/07 1/21/07 - 1/28/07 1/28/07 - 2/4/07 2/4/07 - 2/11/07 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 2/18/07 - 2/25/07 2/25/07 - 3/4/07 3/4/07 - 3/11/07 3/11/07 - 3/18/07 3/18/07 - 3/25/07 3/25/07 - 4/1/07 6/24/07 - 7/1/07 7/1/07 - 7/8/07 7/8/07 - 7/15/07 7/15/07 - 7/22/07 7/22/07 - 7/29/07 7/29/07 - 8/5/07 8/5/07 - 8/12/07 8/12/07 - 8/19/07 8/19/07 - 8/26/07 8/26/07 - 9/2/07 9/9/07 - 9/16/07 9/16/07 - 9/23/07 9/23/07 - 9/30/07 9/30/07 - 10/7/07 10/7/07 - 10/14/07 10/14/07 - 10/21/07 11/4/07 - 11/11/07 11/11/07 - 11/18/07 12/9/07 - 12/16/07 1/6/08 - 1/13/08 1/13/08 - 1/20/08 1/27/08 - 2/3/08 2/3/08 - 2/10/08 2/10/08 - 2/17/08 2/24/08 - 3/2/08 3/2/08 - 3/9/08 3/9/08 - 3/16/08 3/16/08 - 3/23/08 3/23/08 - 3/30/08 3/30/08 - 4/6/08 4/6/08 - 4/13/08 4/13/08 - 4/20/08 4/20/08 - 4/27/08 4/27/08 - 5/4/08 5/4/08 - 5/11/08 5/11/08 - 5/18/08 5/18/08 - 5/25/08 5/25/08 - 6/1/08 6/1/08 - 6/8/08 6/15/08 - 6/22/08 6/22/08 - 6/29/08 6/29/08 - 7/6/08 7/13/08 - 7/20/08 7/20/08 - 7/27/08 8/3/08 - 8/10/08 8/10/08 - 8/17/08 8/17/08 - 8/24/08 8/24/08 - 8/31/08 8/31/08 - 9/7/08 9/7/08 - 9/14/08 9/21/08 - 9/28/08 9/28/08 - 10/5/08 10/5/08 - 10/12/08 10/12/08 - 10/19/08 10/19/08 - 10/26/08 10/26/08 - 11/2/08 11/2/08 - 11/9/08 11/9/08 - 11/16/08 11/16/08 - 11/23/08 11/30/08 - 12/7/08 12/7/08 - 12/14/08 12/14/08 - 12/21/08 12/28/08 - 1/4/09 1/4/09 - 1/11/09 1/11/09 - 1/18/09 1/18/09 - 1/25/09 2/1/09 - 2/8/09 2/8/09 - 2/15/09 2/15/09 - 2/22/09 3/29/09 - 4/5/09 5/3/09 - 5/10/09 5/10/09 - 5/17/09 5/17/09 - 5/24/09 5/24/09 - 5/31/09 5/31/09 - 6/7/09 6/7/09 - 6/14/09 6/14/09 - 6/21/09 7/12/09 - 7/19/09 7/19/09 - 7/26/09 7/26/09 - 8/2/09 8/2/09 - 8/9/09 8/9/09 - 8/16/09 8/16/09 - 8/23/09 8/23/09 - 8/30/09 8/30/09 - 9/6/09 9/20/09 - 9/27/09 9/27/09 - 10/4/09 10/4/09 - 10/11/09 10/11/09 - 10/18/09 10/18/09 - 10/25/09 10/25/09 - 11/1/09 11/1/09 - 11/8/09 11/8/09 - 11/15/09 11/15/09 - 11/22/09 11/22/09 - 11/29/09 11/29/09 - 12/6/09 12/6/09 - 12/13/09 12/13/09 - 12/20/09 12/20/09 - 12/27/09 12/27/09 - 1/3/10 1/3/10 - 1/10/10 1/10/10 - 1/17/10 1/17/10 - 1/24/10 1/24/10 - 1/31/10 1/31/10 - 2/7/10 2/7/10 - 2/14/10 2/14/10 - 2/21/10 2/21/10 - 2/28/10 3/14/10 - 3/21/10 3/21/10 - 3/28/10 3/28/10 - 4/4/10 4/4/10 - 4/11/10 4/11/10 - 4/18/10 4/18/10 - 4/25/10 4/25/10 - 5/2/10 5/2/10 - 5/9/10 5/9/10 - 5/16/10 5/16/10 - 5/23/10 5/23/10 - 5/30/10 5/30/10 - 6/6/10 6/6/10 - 6/13/10 6/13/10 - 6/20/10 6/20/10 - 6/27/10 6/27/10 - 7/4/10 7/4/10 - 7/11/10 7/11/10 - 7/18/10 7/18/10 - 7/25/10 7/25/10 - 8/1/10 9/19/10 - 9/26/10 10/3/10 - 10/10/10 10/10/10 - 10/17/10 10/17/10 - 10/24/10 10/24/10 - 10/31/10 10/31/10 - 11/7/10 11/14/10 - 11/21/10 11/28/10 - 12/5/10 12/5/10 - 12/12/10 12/12/10 - 12/19/10 12/19/10 - 12/26/10 12/26/10 - 1/2/11 1/2/11 - 1/9/11 1/9/11 - 1/16/11 1/16/11 - 1/23/11 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 1/30/11 - 2/6/11 2/6/11 - 2/13/11 2/13/11 - 2/20/11 2/20/11 - 2/27/11 2/27/11 - 3/6/11 3/6/11 - 3/13/11 3/13/11 - 3/20/11 3/20/11 - 3/27/11 3/27/11 - 4/3/11 4/3/11 - 4/10/11 4/10/11 - 4/17/11 4/17/11 - 4/24/11 4/24/11 - 5/1/11 5/1/11 - 5/8/11 5/15/11 - 5/22/11 5/22/11 - 5/29/11 5/29/11 - 6/5/11 6/12/11 - 6/19/11 6/19/11 - 6/26/11 6/26/11 - 7/3/11 7/10/11 - 7/17/11 7/31/11 - 8/7/11 8/21/11 - 8/28/11 8/28/11 - 9/4/11 9/18/11 - 9/25/11 9/25/11 - 10/2/11 10/2/11 - 10/9/11 10/9/11 - 10/16/11 10/16/11 - 10/23/11 10/23/11 - 10/30/11 11/6/11 - 11/13/11 11/13/11 - 11/20/11 11/20/11 - 11/27/11 11/27/11 - 12/4/11 12/4/11 - 12/11/11 12/11/11 - 12/18/11 12/25/11 - 1/1/12 1/1/12 - 1/8/12 2/5/12 - 2/12/12 2/19/12 - 2/26/12 3/4/12 - 3/11/12 4/1/12 - 4/8/12 4/15/12 - 4/22/12 4/29/12 - 5/6/12 5/13/12 - 5/20/12 5/20/12 - 5/27/12 6/24/12 - 7/1/12 7/1/12 - 7/8/12 7/8/12 - 7/15/12 7/15/12 - 7/22/12 7/22/12 - 7/29/12 7/29/12 - 8/5/12 8/5/12 - 8/12/12 8/12/12 - 8/19/12 8/19/12 - 8/26/12 8/26/12 - 9/2/12 9/2/12 - 9/9/12 9/9/12 - 9/16/12 9/16/12 - 9/23/12 9/23/12 - 9/30/12 10/7/12 - 10/14/12 10/21/12 - 10/28/12 11/4/12 - 11/11/12 12/9/12 - 12/16/12 12/23/12 - 12/30/12 1/6/13 - 1/13/13 1/13/13 - 1/20/13 1/20/13 - 1/27/13 1/27/13 - 2/3/13 2/3/13 - 2/10/13 2/10/13 - 2/17/13 2/17/13 - 2/24/13 3/3/13 - 3/10/13 3/17/13 - 3/24/13 3/31/13 - 4/7/13 4/7/13 - 4/14/13 4/21/13 - 4/28/13 4/28/13 - 5/5/13 5/5/13 - 5/12/13 5/12/13 - 5/19/13 5/19/13 - 5/26/13 6/16/13 - 6/23/13 6/23/13 - 6/30/13 7/14/13 - 7/21/13 8/11/13 - 8/18/13 8/25/13 - 9/1/13 9/8/13 - 9/15/13 9/22/13 - 9/29/13 10/13/13 - 10/20/13 10/20/13 - 10/27/13 11/10/13 - 11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16

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


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?!)


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.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


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

Thursday, March 08, 2007  
Guess that this must be the place.

I can't tell one from another

Once I gave in and gave up on my hopes for a decent (or at least safe) neighborhood and a place larger than 600 sq feet and, well, an habitable place, the real estate market became a vast opportunity for home ownership. Sure, most of the places would best be described as hovels and situated in ghettos or gang turf, but hey, you wanna play the home ownership game, you gotta have the bucks or be able to make tough choices. I've looked at so many apartments and condos (and one really frightening house) in the past month that they've become a blur. They're all small, they're all far away from the work and the places I go when I'm not at work. None of them are "worth" the asking price and make me feel like a sucker for even considering taking out a mortgage on the place. None of them have any standout features to make them memorable. Well, actually, that's not true. Some of them have standout features burned in my retinas - features like mold in and on the walls, obvious signs of bugs, wiring which doesn't work or looks like Dr. Frankenstein's lab, or odd smells permeating the place. Apart from the really, really bad ones, though, they've all become a blur. Oh, I printed the listing sheets, took notes and photos, crossed the obvious "no way can I or anyone else live there" off the list. Ditto the "no way can I afford to live there" places. Because even though I've got a mortgage, the mortgage payment is just a portion of the monthly housing bill.

Here's the math:

Chicago = Condo. Condo = Assessment fees. Assessment fees + mortgage payment + utilities + ever increasing "fees" = broke before you even sign on the bottom line of the mortgage agreement.

I've made a very organized assault on the real estate market. And yet, they've all become a blended concoction of blurred "I don't think so..." I am, a low income buyer, after all, and low income buyers don't exactly have their pick of the real estate litter.

What I find interesting is that there are several places in my budget. I have friends, a married couple, who are also in the real estate market right now. They're looking to buy their third home. With another baby on the way they feel a need for more space. Apparently their current 3,000 sq foot home isn't large enough to accomodate two adults and two children so they're looking for at least 3,600 sq feet of real estate. They've got a nice budget on their hands thanks to previous real estate luck and a trust fund and a high income job. They have a lot of parameters, though. School district is important, the yard is important, and it needs to "feel like a home" as my friend keeps insisting. She's big on feelings. She has the luxury of being able to afford choices based on feelings. Still, at present they only have three choices. Compared to the plethora of abodes I've seen in the last month, they're starved for choices.

The difference is that their choices are things like, "are the granite counters in the kitchen the 'right' color and do each of the children's bedrooms have private bathrooms?" My choices are things like, "does the (one) toilet work and is it on gang turf?" Without exception, all of the places I've looked at, even the scary house, would fit in 1/4 of their proposed home. Sure, that's life in the city, right? Right. Still, kind of interesting that I, the low income buyer, have looked at dozens of places I can 'afford' while they, the high income buyer, have looked at three. How is this possible? Here's how: They can afford to be choosey. They can afford to discriminate. I cannot afford those luxuries. I'll take what I can get and 'feel' lucky to have that.

The other difference is that while yes, there are a lot of low income properties, the fact is that most of them will not pass a building inspection. Which means you take the risk of buying the property "as is" without an inspection. Which means: You're in for it. Big time. I'm told these properties are usually sold to people who intend to tear them down and build something else on the lot. Or, they're sold to "flippers" who are going to invest a little time, money and sweat equity on the place and hope to re-sell it at a higher price. I am not a developer or a "flipper." I just need a place for the Furry Creature and I to sleep and hang out together. And I need it now. I don't have the luxury of time or money to make an inhabitable place habitable. Functioning plumbing and electricity are crucial. And yes, I have looked at several places which would not qualify based on the need for plumbing and electricity.

And then there are the assessment fees. If you're not familiar with the condo market, you might not know much about assessment fees. Assessment fees are "rent" you pay to the building managment. Assessment fees cover either very little or a lot. The more prime the real estate, the higher the assessment. Also, the bigger the building, the higher the assessment. Which makes no sense to me. Seems like bigger buildings with more condo owners sharing the expense of maintaining the building would mean a lower assessment. Oh silly, silly, Trillian trying to apply logic to an illogical situation. Fair enough, larger buildings require more upkeep and generally offer their residents "more" - full time door staff, exercise rooms, roof decks, maybe a swimming pool or community room, on site maintenance staff, that sort of thing.

But I've found an alarming and illogical weirness about assessments: There is little rhyme or reason to the fees. Some buildings have very low assessments which cover a lot - heat, air conditioning, maybe even electricity, cable television, all the utilities that can cost a homeowner a lot of monthly expense are included in a low assessment. While on the other hand, there are buildings with very high assessments which don't include any of those utilities. I can only assume the buildings require a lot of maintenance and: They're trying to keep out the rif-raf. The condo association has little control over to whom an owner sells their condo or the selling price. However, by keeping assessments high, they ensure that all buyers at least have the money to cover a high assessment fee and their units will maintain or increase in perceived (or actual) value. If that's the case, their ploy works: I've been discouraged from even looking at several condos simply because the assessment fees were astronomical. My real estate agent might have been able to work magic with the selling price, but there's no negotiating the assessment fee. One promising condo was being sold at a reduced rate. It was a relatively large space in an okay neighborhood and definitely interested me. The mortgage payment would have been well within my budget and for all that space and the location it was an incredible bargain. However. The assessment fees for the unit were hundreds of dollars higher than the mortgage payment would have been. Seriously. The assessment fee alone was higher than rent on a very nice apartment. Sure, the condo itself didn't cost much and it was a bargain based on the space and neighborhood. But add in that monthly assessment fee and you've got a monster of a monthly living expense on your hands. All those amenities and landscaping and perceived value cost money. And the high assessment makes sure low income buyers like me stay far away from the hoi paloi who apparently live in that building. I'm sure they're trying to protect their investment. They want their condo value to increase. If someone sells their unit at a low or undervalue price that could bring down the appraisal value of other units in the building. The assessments make darned sure the message is clear: We don't want just anyone moving into our building, even if someone should decide or need to sell at a drastically reduced price. We can't have bargain basement shoppers living among us. I might be a little extreme in those assumptions, but having been in the real estate market long enough to see some pretty weird and extreme things, I doubt I'm too far off the mark.

This entire ordeal has not endeared me to the real estate business. It's only confirmed what I already knew: It's not a business, it's a racket. People have a need to live in a dwelling safe from the elements and danger. Going into any type of housing for sale or lease situation is like selling your soul to the devil. You obviously need a place to live because you are going out of your way in search of a home. By the very virtue of the fact that you chased up a for rent or for sale ad, you are put in a submissive and vulnerable position. You obviously need a place to live, they know this, and therefor you are at their mercy.

Mercy. Pffft.

I've seen more fake smiles and passive aggression in the past month than I have in my entire lifetime. And I've seen a lot of fake smiles and passive aggression. I date and have a job, remember? But even online dating and a job with a bunch of nobrain trend victims didn't prepare me for what I've encountered in the real estate racket.

I'm "lucky." So far I like my real estate agent. But. Let us never forget: He's in this to make money. He's making money from me. He's profiting on my real estate transaction. I swutting well better like him and he better do everything in his power to make me happy. That's his job. He took this assignment, accepted the mission, and if he wants to make any money from me he's going to have to see it through to the bitter end.

He has been extremely patient and he has steered me away from some places which would have been an economic stretch for me, even though he would have made more money off me had I leaped at the higher priced condos. And he's protected me from the really bad ones. I've seen what I thought are really bad ones, but he keeps telling me there are actually much worse places out there. I begged him to show me one place which I thought held promise. He warned me, he told me I wouldn't like it, he said it would be a bad investment, but I wanted to see it. So he took me to see it. I have now walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Horrific. Nightmare. It's this close to being condemned by the city, so the owner is trying to unload it as quickly as possible. Oh. And. There was a gang execution in the condo below it, so no one's living there, either. Yep, two condos available in a three flat, both going at bargain rates. Sure the water comes out brown and there's an odd and unpleasant smell, and the walls are either cracked or, um partially missing, or are moist (and look as though warnings spelled out in blood could appear at night), and the windows need replacing and the wiring needs some updating, and the kitchen and bathroom need "some" work (like appliances, sinks, and potable water) they're both large condos with a lot of space, and heck, pull up that shag carpet and you might find lovely wood floors, or maybe Jimmy Hoffa. Just think creative, use your imagination, these could be great places. Anyone? Anyone?

That was the worst of the worst. But. Most of the places I've seen have been, well, pretty bad. And by pretty bad I mean: Not fit for human or domestic animal habitation. Mold, bugs and questionable wiring are the common denominators. My guess is that the owners can't rent these places because they're not up to city codes so they try to unload them on someone who is in a desperate situation and will buy it thinking they can fix it up and make it better.

There was one place I liked a lot. And I lost the opportunity because I didn't have all the required money in enough time to put it on contract before someone else snatched it up.

That happens a lot. There are a lot of people like me. Not really looking to buy a place, but being bitten badly by the high rent increase bug and realizing the better option is to try to find a place to buy. The thing is, there are so many of us out there right now that the low priced places in decent neighborhoods get snatched up in days.

Which is why I have made an offer on a small (okay, teeny tiny) place so far away from the hub of my life that I can't believe it's even in the city limits. (It is, but I had no idea the city limits went that far, and I really thought I knew the limits of the city.) I don't love it, in fact I don't even really like it. It's okay. It's really, really small and I don't like the neighborhood. Oh wait, I mentioned those issues. I didn't mention that it's covered in mirrors. At some point in this little condo's life, someone heard that mirrors give the illusion of space and depth. They took that idea and ran with it. I mean really ran with it. They ran so far that I could earn a little extra money by hanging out a Fun House sign and charging admission. Or by setting up a velvet rope and hanging a disco ball from the bedroom ceiling fan, (yes, bedroom) dimming the lights and charging a cover charge. But, even with it's diminutive size and narcissist's fantasy decor, the House of Mirrors (HōM) is the biggest and best of what I've seen in my price range. The assessments are low because it's a no frills building. We're talking basic everything. But no frills is easy on the budget.

I should be excited, right? I know, I should. But I'm not. It's a purchase borne of desperation and frustration. It's a long, long, long way from even a remote dream home. It's walls, some windows and roof and that's what I need. They were going to have an open house and I knew what that meant. Someone would grab it. I've been to a lot of open houses lately and I know what goes on at those things. If I didn't put in an offer prior to the open house, I'd lose out on another place.

I'm a long way from closing on it, but, an offer has been made and the games have begun. Price, closing dates, and earnest money are being negotiated. Inspections are being made. Appraisals are being typed. Lawyers are going to be involved. And guess who pays for all of that? And lemme tell ya, none of it coms cheap. Everyone in the affiliated industries are there to leach off the home buyer. They know the situation. They know the desperation. They know the vulnerability. They know what would normally sound like outrageous pricing seems like a bargain compared to the other money congruently being discussed and changing hands. $200 to turn on the faucets to check the water pressure? Hey, that's nothing compared to the $450 the lawyer gets or the endless fees the mortgage company keeps requesting. What gets me is they, the mortgage company, know better than anyone, and in fact keep reminding me, that I am a low income buyer. Low income, people, low income. And getting lower every day.

You know you're getting a mortgage when: Every day you get at least four credit card offers in the mail. Credit card companies pounce on people in my situation. They, too, know the high stakes money grab known as real estate, and they, too, know preying on people in a vulnerable time in their lives is the best way to make a lot of money. All those real estate fees breaking your budget? Fear not! Get a credit card! Want to fix up the new place or buy furniture but don't have the money because of all the fees and expenses related to buying a home? Fear not! Get a credit card. What gets me is that people, lots of people, must take the bait. They wouldn't send out mailing after mailing if it weren't garnering results. But for crying out loud, I'm not even a home owner yet, The deal could fall through and I could be as homeless as ever. And the timing of these credit card mailings makes me suspicious about their motivations. They know it's not a done deal, yet. They know it could all go wrong. And that's when those credit cards are going to start to look even more attractive. Desperation.

Mainly, I cannot wait for this to be over. Tell me if I've "won" the place or send me back onto the streets looking for a place to live. The waiting truly is the hardest part. My life is still in limbo, but an expensive limbo. It's an odd situation: I have a mortgage but I don't actually have a home (HōM). I'm technically no further ahead in the house hunt than I was when I started all this. My real estate agent and lawyer both remind me, daily, that I shouldn't do anything rash like move my phone or internet service or notify the post office or even buy paint, because it's not a done deal and it's certainly not mine. I am as homeless as I ever was until everyone gets as much money as they can from me and the seller and I and our lawyers and real estate agents all sign the proper documents and exchange more money.

9:39 PM

Monday, March 05, 2007  
"Turn Cyberlosers into Social-networking Magnets”
I've never liked Myspace, Facebook or Friendster. Mainly because I'm not 14. And I have an aversion (perhaps even an allergy) to bad graphics, spam, infantile comments posted by complete strangers and pervy men trolling for, well, what pervy men troll for on those sites.

Most people know this sort of stuff happens. It's been an accepted practice on online dating sites since the dawn of online dating. "Seeds" are planted - good looking, "fun" sounding people posing as members to lure in would-be dates. When they don't respond to email sent by prospective wooers, it's not a big deal. The wooer simply thinks the "member" is rude or not interested. The reliable dating sites have slowed this practice in the past few years because they have enough legit members and because they don't want to risk losing those credit card carrying members because of something as silly as their reputation as an honest service provider. But free and less reputable sites use this ploy. A lot.

It stands to reason the practice of renting fake friends for the sole purpose of misrepresenting yourself in a community where it's very difficult to get caught, and if you do get caught, it doesn't really matter, would latch onto this practice. These are not people you will probably ever meet face to face. If they get hurt or offended by a fake friend list, so what? What difference does it really make? There are loads of other people to meet online, sure, they were good for some comments and a twinkling fairy graphic now and then, but let's face it, they're hardly going to drive you home when you've had too much to drink or give you a place to stay when your apartment building goes condo.

This is an entire industry being built around Myspace et al, an industry based on lies and deception. At best it's spin doctoring, a little PR for the lonely and/or uncool, the people who just need a little nudge to get them started. I call this de Bergeracking. Sad but innocent attempts to fit into a community which values looks and "coolness" above all other things. It's the equivalent of trying to hang out with the cool kids in order to give off the perception of being cool. Deep down they're very cool, but a little socially awkward. Rent-a-friends give them the confidence to let their cool shine through their social awkwardness.

At worst it's fraud. It's fueling false self-esteem and perpetuating the bad reputation the online "community" has due to the scams, fraud and cyber stalkers who come with the territory. In either case, and every variation in-between, it's pathetic and sad that it's come to this. I call this lying.

Either because of Sims or the safety needs of anonymity, the line between reality and fantasy is blurred online.

People who are big in Sims worlds often have a distorted sense of their real life identity. For many people it is not just a late night diversion. Their persona in Sims world is attractive, popular, wealthy and in many cases oversexed. Heck, who wouldn't want to live in Sims? It's compensating for all the shortcomings in the real world. It's a trip to Fantasy Island without having to fly on that sea plane and deal with the unpredictable and sometimes hard nosed Mr. Roark. The "good" thing about Sims worlds is that everyone knows it's fake, everyone knows it's all a lie. The whole point of the thing is to lie. But when John Bigbucks leaves Sims and wanders over to Myspace, is he going to shift gears and become Percy Nobody? I strongly doubt it. He's on a popularity buzz from Sims, he's riding high on the drug of acceptance and power, he's going to want to take that with him to the next community website.

And then there are the safety issues. I'm big on online safety. Real big. I know of one too many people who've been badly burned by slacking with their anonymity online. I strongly believe in anonymous blog posts. If you can't lose your job or your significant other, do not blog about them with your actual name. So to some extent I'm guilty of perpetuating the online lying epidemic. I, and many other bloggers, blog away under a pseudonym for personal safety reasons. It's not important who we "really" are. We're not misrepresenting ourselves and most of us don't post fake friends or comments by fake friends. We're not blogging to gain popularity or get a date or widen our social circle with hot, cool friends. We blog some words, maybe a photo or two, and then resume our regularly scheduled lives. Basically, we don't live to blog or blog to live.

But then there are the others. The others who do exactly that. They've got some need to be accepted, some craving to be popular. Mainly I feel sorry for them. If they're suffering so badly that they need to rent "friends" well, I mean, ethics lessons are not the first reason why these people need to seek counseling.

As for the increasing attention the rent-a-friend services are getting, I see this as a good thing. Eventually word will spread and people will be more savvy about selecting friends online or even using those sites in the first place. People won't trust cyber "friends" as being reliable or honest and the popularity of the sites will decrease. Heck, people might even bother to get out in public and make face to face social connections.

3:06 PM

This page is powered by Blogger.