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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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Wednesday, August 29, 2007  
There are a lot of types of marketing and advertising which are, well, not so fun. I’d hate to be on the creative marketing team for viscometers for instance. Or sump pumps. No one wants to buy a sump pump and if you need one you’ll buy whatever’s fast, easy and cheap. Ask anyone in Chicago about that - right now the sump pump people don’t even have to worry about marketing, those things are flying out of the home appliance stores. But in the non-rainy seasons, during draughts, those are some lean times for sump pump people and drumming up sales can’t be easy.

I always said I would draw the line at being involved with any marketing or advertising which had anything to do with smoking. That line of integrity cost me a job at an agency. I stood firm and said no. (It wasn't that great of a job anyway.) Now I've added a new line to my professional integrity. Prescription medication.

My initial reaction to pharmaceutical advertising was: Ugh. Why? Why advertise this stuff on television? You can't get up and run to 7-11 and buy it. “Ask your doctor...” Yes, ask your swutting doctor what to do about your restless legs and the sudden urge to gamble and drink after you took Mirapex. Seriously, the disclaimer for Mirapex says, “Discontinue use if you have urges to gamble or consume alcohol.” There’s a pill for that?! Really?! I’ve been looking to spice up my life and have been lamenting the fact that I don’t have any good addictions. I want to need to gamble and drink and ingest risky chemicals prescribed by a doctor. Side effect schmide effect, curing those restless legs is just a bonus, the “side effects” of gambling and drinking are the main event. Maybe I will ask my doctor if Mirapex is right for me. "Doc, as you know I owe a lot of money to you and other doctors for out of pocket healthcare costs. I was thinking maybe I could turn that $175 monthly payment into $1,1750 at a casino. Problem is, I don't have an urge to gamble. I heard on television that Mirapex may cause an urge to gamble. I'm thinking this is a win-win for both of us. I gamble your monthly $175 payment and if I win, you get paid off almost a year sooner than if I keep plodding away with the monthly payments. Whattaya say? Vegas baby?" If I were marketing this medication I’d play up those side effects and down-play the restless leg angle. How many people have restless legs, anyway?

Actually, by riding the CTA I’ve discovered there are many, many people who shake, bounce and tap their legs incessantly. I thought they were just rude and annoying people, maybe nervous people or people craving a cigarette, but apparently they may be suffering from restless leg syndrome. Mirapex needs to advertise on the CTA, not on television.

And why is this is stuff advertised on prime time national television? Getting copious amounts of free samples into the hands of doctors, clinics and hospitals isn’t enough marketing?
“Doc, doc, you gotta help me, my legs, man, my legs, they’re restless!”
“Why, I just happen to have some free samples of a new medication the nice sales rep from the pharmaceutical company gave me to give to patients with just your problem!”
I mean, isn’t that enough marketing? Free samples. It’s the oldest gimmick in the book. It’s been a huge success with crack dealers for years. Give the kids a little free sample, get ‘em hooked and you’ve got a client for life.

The idea of pharmaceutical companies going straight for the patient, cutting out the middle-man, the doctor who went to med school not chemistry school, seems a bit, well, disconcerting to me. But it must work because there are a lot of prescription medications hawked on television. Which I find odd. I don’t know anyone who’s been so inspired by a drug ad that they ring up their doctor the next day to ask them about that drug they saw on television. “Doc, the announcer fella on the tee vee said I should ask you if Paxylzygotamaxyz is right for me. Is it doc, is it?” I feel for the medical community, the doctors and nurses who have to field the questions from patients asking about all sorts of medications they see advertised on television. I'm guessing most doctors cringe when they see those ads and then spend the night cramming for information online, bracing themselves for the calls they'll get from patients asking about the drugs. Like I said, I don't know anyone who's asked their doctor about an advertised medication, but I am sure there are people who do. Those premium advertising dollars would not be spent if there weren't some return on the investment.

Gotta hand it to the Cialis people, though, they’ve come up with some great advertising for the weekend hard-on pill. The whole ad is shot in dreamy soft focus, Gramps and Gran share a loving look, the old boy’s still got that devilish gleam in his eye and Gran’s looking pretty hot for a card carrying AARP member. Their marriage hasn’t lost that spark of youth, oh no, not them. Thanks to Cialis Gramps is primed and ready to go whenever Gran gives the all clear. Since they’re retired they have lots of time to practice their art of seduction, they have time to be coy and cute, and thanks to Cialis Gramps can just take his sweet time wooing Gran. The old cat’s still got it, she can play hard to get all afternoon but his boner’s not going anywhere.This is all very charming and thanks to the Cialis marketing group we get to feel good about getting older. We don’t have to dread the loss of our youth. I think the message they’re hoping to send to the geriatric crowd is that older doesn’t have to mean chaster. Yep, all very charming. That is, until the grandkids show up unexpectedly. And this is where, if I had been able to initially suspend my smirking annoyance at Cialis advertising, I jump ship on the concept of marketing Cialis. Just as Gramps and Gran are heading upstairs with that look in their eyes, the doorbell rings and, surprise! It’s the grandkids. Gran is the one who looks a little annoyed. "Oh! The grandkids, how nice, what a lovely surprise." You can tell that smile is fake, she’s thinking, “%$(^ grandkids, coulda called first, Gramps has been chasing me around with that thing all day...&%#!* Cialis.” But Gramps isn’t bothered, in fact he’s thrilled to see the grandkids! He loves the grandkids! And thanks to Cialis his boner will last another two days! “C’mon kids, come on over to Gramps’ easy chair and let Gramps give you a very special pony ride!” Every time I see that ad I cringe. Maybe I’m overly sensitive but the whole turn of events with the grandkids is just creepy to me. “Ask your doctor if a three day hard-on while the grandkids visit is right for you!” I mean, ewwww, right?

Right. So, I’m really fortunate I’ve never had to market or design anything related to something weird or creepy. But I have sympathy for people who do.

For instance, the people who are charged with finding participants in pharmaceutical studies and clinical treatment analysis.

Let’s say a leading hospital or clinic has been given a research grant to study the effects of a particular medication on depression and another grant to study schizophrenia. Where, oh where, are you going to find a random group of test participants who are depressed or schizophrenic and desperate or poor enough that they have forgone treatment with a doctor or treatment center? I mean, depressed and schizophrenic people who want treatment but don’t have it don’t just grow on trees and you can hardly go around just asking people, “Do you think you’re clinically depressed?” “Gosh, you seem a little schizophrenic today...” It’s a real conundrum. I mean, you need people, depressed or schizophrenic people, for this clinical evaluation. If you don’t find them you’ll lose the research grant. There’s a lot riding on this. Better call in the folks from the marketing department. They’ll know what to do.

Boy do they.

Where best to entice depressed and schizophrenic people who haven’t already sought medical help to join a research group? Where best to pinpoint that target audience? Har, har, why, it’s obvious isn’t it? No, not the Lifetime network. (Though that's a great place to start looking for depressed women.)

Why of course, the CTA, silly! Everyone who rides the CTA is depressed and probably looking to save a little money. And schizophrenics?! Why, more crazy people ride the CTA than any other form of transportation! Bam! Target audience locked, trapped and hit!

During my many years riding mass transportation in Chicago I’ve seen countless ads - calls for research study participants - on trains and buses. Most of them involve depression, anger management or infertility. Apparently these are the problems plaguing society, the issues pharmaceutical companies are investing a lot of research dollars into at various hospitals and clinics. I call them “Who Wants to be a Guinea Pig?!” ads. Usually they offer free “treatments,” free medications and free transportation to and from the test site. What a deal!

But the schizophrenic study was new to me. The first time I saw it I was on my way home from a long day at work. It was next to an ad for Second City so I thought it was a joke, or maybe something left over from a movie filmed in Chicago. Then I saw it again on a bus. It’s real. There’s a clinic in Chicago doing research on schizophrenia and they’re hoping to find participants on the trains and buses. Couldn’t make it up if I tried. (And I couldn't snap a photo of it because the train and bus were cram packed with people, someone's bum was in my face and I couldn't snap a shot without getting an innocent person in the shot. Oh. And, heh heh, taking photos of, on, in, or around CTA buses, trains and stations may or may not be a criminal offense, depending on who's on duty in the station or on the train. I limit my possible criminal activity to once a week and I'd already taken a photo of the water-logged stairway of my L station for insurance purposes. You know, just in case I slipped and fell and broke something I wanted evidence, proof of the deep puddles of water on the only stairs leading to the platform.) The issue at hand is, especially lately, anyone who rides the CTA is depressed, angry and mentally unbalanced. And given the daily exposure to who-knows-what wafting in the filth and stench of the stations and trains I’m guessing infertility is rampant among mass transit riders, too. Come to think of it, I haven’t noticed as many pregnant women on the trains and buses lately.

We’re looking at fare increases for public transportation in a few weeks. Doomsday is near. Daley held a rally. Good ‘ol Daley. So quick with the rally, bumbling platitude slogan speech and finger pointing. Really gets the pride in democracy heart pumping, or in his case the forehead vein throbbing. But it’s obvious to most of us that we’ll be paying more for our train and bus fares in a few weeks.

If all goes according to (doomsday) plan, most of us will be coughing up an extra $1/ride if we “want” to ride during peak hours, you know, to get to our jobs. Our jobs at companies which operate on the globally professional office standard hours of 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. If we can’t afford the extra $2/day to get to and from our jobs we’re supposed to avoid peak/rush hour and save 50¢/ride, or $1/day. “Boss, I have to come into work at 7 AM and leave at 2:30 PM because I can’t afford an extra $10/week to get to work during regular office hours.” Or, "Boss, I'm going to have to change my hours, I won't be in until 10:30, but I'll be working until 6:00 every night." I'm not sure what parents are supposed to do, though. I notice in my office most parents arrive after 8:30 because their day-care doesn't open until 7:30 or 8:00 and they have to vamoose out of the office no later than 5:00 because they get charged a huge penalty if they pick up their kids from day-care after the closing time of 6:00 PM. Because day-care is designed to work for working parents, parents who work 9-5. Avoiding the rush hour premium rate is going to be difficult for all of us, but parents are really going to feel the hit. Yeah. That’s going to go over real well. Great plan, guys. Glad you CTA folks are on it.

Tourists are going to love that, too. Trying to understand the Chicago transit system isn’t exactly easy for people who are unaccustomed to it. People who’ve ridden other public trains and buses in other cities find Chicago’s lack of information troubling. They find the network, route and fare systems confusing. Add another stipulation into the fare system and we'll see a lot of tourists trying to figure out how much money to put on their fare cards or into the bus meter. That's assuming they can figure out how to use a fare card. (As it stands right now the train stations all have fare card machines. You put in money and eventually, once you've figured out how to use it (they're not exactly intuitive and more accurately, they're often broken) out pops a fare card you can use on the train turnstiles or bus meter. Thing is, the rates aren't posted on most of the fare card machines so at the busier stations there is usually a pile-up of tourists trying to figure out a) how to use the fare card machines and b) how much money they need to apply to a fare card.

This is by design. I read some interesting facts about how much money the CTA makes on unused fares and overpaying bus riders. In the case of trains, let's say you arrive at O'Hare and go to the train. You face off with the fare card machine. You have no idea what a ride costs or how many rides you'll be taking. Doesn't matter - all you have is a $5, $10 or $20 bill. There are no change machines. So you end up putting $5, $10 or $20 on a fare card. You figure you'll use it during your visit. But then you realize how inconvenient, slow, filthy and crowded the CTA is and you discover you'd rather walk all over town. When you leave you realize you've lost your fare card or decide to take a cab to O'Hare. Net profit to the CTA: $3, $8 or $18 per tourist. Even if it's only a net profit of $1/tourist who takes the CTA from and to O'Hare, that's a lot of annual income for the CTA. No wonder they love those fare card machines. No wonder they don't clearly post the cost of a ride. As for the buses, they do accept cash, but, they don't give change. I regularly witness tourists on Michigan Avenue depositing $5 for a $2 ride. That's a net profit of $3 to the CTA for a rider who rides, at most, 10 blocks. Nice work if you can get it.

And now this.

Yeah, that’ll be great if we get the 2016 Olympics. The system is already buckling, already inefficient. It’s barely, just barely hanging by a thread in terms of doing what it’s supposed to do for daily commuters. The second something “unusual” is thrown into the mix, a thunderstorm, repair-work on a track, a Cubs game, fireworks...the second any of these “unusual” events happen chaos and very, very long delays ensue. Derailment? Take a cab to work or stay home. The “back-up plan” is to bring buses in to ferry people along the route the train would normally take. I tried this once. Once. Never, ever again. Had there been a schizophrenic research study looking for participants I would have been ready to sign up after that trip through ineptitude.

Ride public transportation long enough and when you see those Guinea Pig drug testing ads you think, “Yes! Yes I am depressed! And look at that guy, he looks really depressed. We've been stuck, unmoving, in this subway tunnel for 45 minutes! Of course we're depressed! And that crazy person ranting over there is depressing me even further! Drugs! I want drugs! Many, many drugs! Please! Please alter my reality! As soon as I get out of this subway tunnel I'm calling that depression research group!”

Marketing people are smart. They know this. They know where to target their advertising dollars. They know where the depressed people are. They know where the schizophrenic people are. They know where to find 'em. Right there on the CTA.

Riding the CTA? Depressed? Have we got a drug for you!
"You are experiencing sadness. Your mood is low. You constantly feel guilty and have no appetite. Your life is overwhelming. You have lost hope and feel helpless." Welcome to the CTA. We've been waiting for you. Call this number for help combating depression. Make sure you jot down the number. You're going to need it. Seriously. You are depressed. Why not call now? We're stuck and not going anywhere for another 20 minutes. You will be depressed. Call now and get your free over-the-phone evaluation.

11:02 AM

 
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