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<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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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
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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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.)



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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 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2007  
So, here’s a milestone I didn’t think I’d mark for a while. At least a few years, anyway.

I have to hire a nurse.

The kind of nurse lonely rich old spinsters have when they are not able to care for themselves and have no one to help them go to the bathroom and take their medications.

I recently came to the realization it would happen some day. I was just starting to try to accept that I'm on my own. Really, truly on my own. No one wants to date me let alone give me a chance, love me and marry me. So whether I want it that way or not, it's the single life for me.

I’m still working on firmly planting it in my brain that I am, and always will be, alone. And I think I’m doing a pretty darned good job of it for someone who never wanted to or thought she’d spend her life single and childless.

I’m not happy about it but I’ve accepted that I have to stop trying to fight it. And that’s a huge hurdle. Admitting it is the first step.

Acceptance is a process not an event.

But I am not far enough along in the process to casually deal with the fact that, because I live alone and have no one at home or close by to help me, I have to hire a nurse.

The ramifications of trying to accept a life alone haven’t really hit home, yet. I mean, not all of them. The big picture is clear: Loneliness.

But the other stuff, like a lifetime of dealing with life’s unexpected situations on my own, hasn’t really sunk in yet. I mean, I’ve dealt with all of it alone thus far in my life, there have been plenty of difficult situations I've handled on my own, but you know, you kind of think, “hey, I’m young, this was a fluke, it builds character, helps me appreciate the people in my life that much more, it won’t always be this way, some day I’ll have someone by my side and we’ll help each other…”

“Any questions about your surgery?” the surgeon asked me.

“Nope. You’ve covered every possible angle. I think I could teach a class on torn tendons in the foot and ankle.”

“Okay, then talk to the nurse about scheduling the surgery and I’ll see you in the O.R. Keep in mind we won’t release you without someone over the age of 18 to take you home and stay with you for 24 hours after the surgery.”

“Wait. Whoa. You didn’t mention that.”

“Sorry. With surgery of this nature we’ll sedate you quite heavily and because the surgery is on your foot and ankle you need to be extremely careful. You have to take your medications on schedule for the first few days. And if you’re woozy or tired after the surgery and off balance from the pain you’re liable to fall and injure yourself or rupture the surgery. Remember how I told you you’re almost literally treading on eggs for two weeks after the surgery? Very, very limited mobility means only absolutely necessary time standing vertical, little or no walking. We discussed this.”

“Yes, but not the ‘no being alone for 24 hours’ aspect!”

Affecting a ‘now now, it’s okay, this is all normal, don’t panic’ tone, “It’s common surgical procedure. You may be under the influence of the sedation and unable to practice good judgment for a few hours after the surgery. We can’t just put you in a cab and send you home, you need assistance.”

(Thinking back to the days following the broken ankle and concussion and remembering very little and realizing all told I was in ER 16 hours before they’d let me leave.) “But, but, but…oh. Erm. Okay. I see. Thanks.”

As the nurse started going over all the pre-operation paperwork and procedures I was in a daze. First I find out I have to have surgery to repair a torn tendon, then I have to deal with the fact that the surgery is invasive and painful and will require me to be off my feet and oh crap I live alone what am I going to do? My mind was racing through all the possible candidates for transportation and tucking in and bathroom assistance duty and coming up pretty much empty.

The nurse was reiterating the rule that I would not be released without an adult over 18 to take me home as I mentally checked off the last person on the possibility list. Tears started welling. It was one of those small, insignificant moments where the poignancy hits you and you are suddenly way, way too aware. The weight of the world crashes on you.

I don’t feel or say this very often. A few times in my life at most. I try accept stuff, deal with stuff, devise plans, solve problems. I am not, and do not want to become, a damsel in distress type of girl. But all I could think, over and over in a cacophony of tones and inflection, was “What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do?”

Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. What am I going to do? Think, Trillian, think.

The nurse stood there looking at me, waiting for me to answer her question.

“I’m sorry, what? What was the question?”

“Do you need assistance? I have a form for social services. If you don’t have someone to take you home and help you social services can arrange that for you.”

Social services? Social services??! Me? Social services? Has it come to this? I need forms for social services??

“Oh. Right. Erm. Yeah. Maybe I should take that form. You know, just in case.”

Asking someone to take a day off work and wait in a surgery waiting room and then schlep a woozy patient on crutches home and babysit them for 24 hours, sleeping on a small couch, administering medications, making sure they don’t fall down and helping them to and from the bathroom is, well, asking a lot.

The logical candidate is my mother. But she can’t. She’s physically unable. Oh, I know she’d be fine, I know she’d take great care of me, but, she’s dealing with physical limitations of her own. My dad and I are looking after her.

My dad, well, my dad. He could do it. But my mother needs him to look after her. And there’s not room for both of them in my teeny tiny itty bitty apartment.

Frankie. Frankie would do it. And I wouldn’t feel “bad” asking her. But. She starts a new job the week prior to the surgery. She can’t just up and take a couple days off at that juncture at her new job.

Other friends: They have children they can’t leave that long, they have jobs, they live too far away…they’re busy. Excuse, I mean reason after reason, friends bowed out of my request for help. “Sorry, Trill…”

This is why I don’t ask for help. Apparently everyone except me has learned how to say no.

My brother has a huge assignment otherwise he’d come to my aid.

My sister.

My irresponsible, unreliable, clueless, selfish sister. Hey. Any port in a storm and how many times have I bailed her out of trouble? How many times have I helped her? Too many to count. She rose to the occasion and promised to make it “fun.”

“I’ll take the train over and we’ll get a bunch of movies and magazines and order take-out and make cupcakes and do mud masks, it’ll be fun!”

I knew it wouldn’t be “fun” but I had to give her credit for jumping in and agreeing to help me. She’s over 18 and that’s all that mattered. If she forgot to give me a pill or didn’t hear me fall on the way to the bathroom, well, so be it. At least she meets the required age limit and I could be released from surgery and go home. And I wouldn't require assistance from social services.

Whew. Okay. Problem solved. Weight off my mind. I’m a spinster, but I’m not entirely alone. And I don’t have to hire a nurse. I bought stuff to make cupcakes and some of those fancy frozen girlie pastries and gathered up all the home spa supplies I could find from the box of bathroom stuff I hadn't unpacked yet. I unpacked the cute tea pot. "This might be nice," I thought, "some alone time with my sister. Maybe this will be good for us."

Then the email arrived. “Trill, guess what?! I met this really great guy and I’m going to Sante Fe with him for a week! I can’t wait for you to meet him!”

No apology. Not even an acknowledgement of the fact that the dates of her week of sun and seduction in Sante Fe with new Mr. Perfect coincides with my surgery.

This is so like her. This is her M.O. I couldn’t even be angry. I deserved this for trusting her. I know better. She has never risen to any occasion. No one expects anything of her and that’s exactly how she likes it, she’s crafted it that way. Without expectations or responsibilities she’s free to do exactly as she pleases without any guilt or consequences. No one relies on you so you never let anyone down. It’s all a very neat and tidy little way of life.

Okay. Maybe I’m being a little harsh.

But. You might think your sister’s surgery would take a higher priority than going to Sante Fe with a man you just met. And let me add for the record, my sister “meets” many, many “perfect” men. This isn’t like someone like, oh, say, me meeting a man, any man, perfect or otherwise, which would be a huge deal.

So I was back at square one and a form requesting aid from a social worker.

I’ve had some bleak days. Dark hours. Long lonely nights. (way too many of those) But this ranks right near the top on the list of things which made me feel really, really pathetic and alone.

Even my own sister won’t help me for 24 hours.

(Here I stop to reason with myself, it’s not that other people won’t help me. Frankie would. My brother would. My mother and father would. MAF would. But for valid and serious reasons, they can’t. Bad timing. Physical limitations. Those things can’t be helped. Just so we’re clear. There are a few people who would help me if they could.)

Still. (Feeling pathetic again) Even my own sister won’t help me for 24 hours.

The social services people were a lot nicer and more understanding than I thought they’d be. One of them talked in that condescending “we” tone which I find irritating and ingratiating, but other than that they were actually quite helpful.

That is until they called to inform me that my health insurance won’t cover home health care. They delivered this news quite abruptly and said, “Do you still want to schedule a nurse?”

“Erm, well, how much will it cost me? I mean, I don’t really have a choice, they won’t release me without someone over 18 to care for me for 24 hours.”

“$500 - $1,500 depending on how involved the care is. That will be specified by your physician.”

“I see. Okay. Well. I guess I better talk to my doctor.”

The conversation with my doctor about what sort of nurse I’d need after surgery was interesting. I could tell he was trying not to sound surprised when he said, “You don’t have anyone who can help you?” He said it as if he’d never had a patient in this situation, as if he was questioning his hearing rather than my ability to get someone to help me. I envisioned him on the other end of the phone with eyebrows furrowed in thought, “she seemed like a nice person, she seemed like someone who would have family or friends…”

So now I’m waiting for a nurse to be assigned to me. The surgery was postponed until I could scrape up the money to pay for the nurse. And I’m in a tremendous amount of pain. With a throbbing swollen foot and ankle due to a torn tendon.

I can’t be the only one to ever be in this situation. A lot of people are single and living far away from their families. A lot of people are single and have friends who can’t take time off work or away from kids. Right? I mean, I’m not the only one in this situation. I can’t be. Or. Maybe I am.

The doctor gave me one of those long exasperated sighs when I told him I have to postpone the surgery until I can afford to pay the nurse. “I understand, but this tear is quite large and quite serious, you can’t let this go on indefinitely. There are already signs of secondary affiliated damage in your ankle and toes.”

I knew he wasn’t just saying that to scare me. My ankle is swollen, stiff and sore and two of my toes have gone completely numb. Sometimes I have uncontrollable spasms from the knee down.

But the home health care agents require payment up front. And my insurance isn’t going to cover much of my surgery. There’s only so much money coming in and only so much credit left on the credit cards. Rob Peter, pay Paul, rinse, lather, repeat.

I could blame my sister. She’s an easy target. But the fact about her is that she lives 6 hours away and realistically she can’t be expected to traipse to my aid. If she lived down the block or even an hour away that would be different. But she doesn’t.

The real fact is: I’m on my own. Period. I live a long way from family and good friends. The kind of friends who will sleep on your couch and help you go to the bathroom for 24 hours.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, my buddies, my friends, the people who I relied on and who relied on me for this sort of thing, all got married. They all have significant others, spouses, partners, to help rely on for this kind of stuff. They don’t need me, our “reciprocal pledge of help” has been voided because they have someone else to help them. Which is great for them, but what about the lone single person left without someone to rely on for this kind of stuff? I certainly don’t want to be the mercy friend, the recipient of pity help. “Oh, honey, I know it’s Friday and it’s our date night, but Trillian, poor old Trillian is all alone and has to have surgery and needs someone to take her home and help her go to the bathroom. She doesn’t have a great husband like you to help her.” Ye gads. When did I become that girl?

I’ve been trying to make friends here, but I keep running into the same stories. Women my age are married and have or are planning to have children. They’re buying homes in the burbs or very busy with their husbands/boyfriends/jobs. The women I meet who are single have not accepted life as a single person and are wrapped up (Hellbent) in trying to meet a man with whom they can marry, move to the burbs and have children.

It’s really hard to meet people once you reach a certain age and aren’t married or don’t have children. I met a woman who is my age and single, she’s nice, we get along well, but she lives in the suburbs and has a very, very busy social life. She doesn't have a lot of time for new friendships. Why? She has two children from a former marriage. She has loads of friends via her kids and their activities. She even was offered a great job and met a new guy via connections she made with parents of her kids’ friends.

I should have thought about all of this when I was younger. I should have had a Plan B. Well. In fairness to me, I did have a Plan B, it was actually my Plan A, I call it: a job, a career. It never occurred to me to depend on a husband for money. But. Unfortunately it never occurred to me I might need to depend on a husband to bring me home from surgery, either.

It never occurred to me that I wouldn't meet someone who would want to marry me.

It never occurred to me that I might end up so alone that I’d have to hire a nurse.

And I'm not even one of those rich mean bitter old dowager women in old movies who hires some sweet young girl as an aid/nurse and treats her horribly but the young aid hangs in there and takes the abuse and helps the old woman out of pure and kind heart and then ends up falling in love with the gardener or lawyer who has it in for the mean old bitty and the innocent young aid ends up unwittingly playing a role in the murder of the old shrew dowager...You have to be old, rich and (I believe) widowed to be a dowager. (note to self: Do dowagers have to be widowed? Are never-married old rich lonely women merely spinsters?)I'm neither rich or old and certainly not widowed. So even though that formula could provide some shred of interest to my life story, sadly, it's not possible.

I'm just me. A single woman, on my own, who needs surgery and has no one at home or close enough to home to help her.

And that’s a sobering reality. If this doesn’t force me to accept that I am single, really, really single, without a prospect in sight, with few (no) single friends, nothing will.

4:10 PM

Monday, October 08, 2007  
My possessions are causing me suspicion...

I’m not superstitious. In fact I’m the opposite of superstitious: Pragmatic, practical, logical, cynical, sane... I don’t believe in luck, bad or good. I don’t believe there is complete order in the Universe, either, but, luck? Pffft. Fate? Destiny? Well, those are other matters.

Destiny, yes, if there is any order in the Universe then we all have a destiny, some destiny, some purpose, if only to take up space, if only to provide a couple of seconds of something in order to prevent, or make, something else happen. Yeah, I can get on board with that, at least in theory. As for that theory making us all feel special and necessary, well, not so much. If a person’s sole purpose is to take 18 items into the 12 item or less line at the grocery, thus causing an uptight soccer mom to have a meltdown because it will make her 2 minutes late to Mommies Time Out coffee group, well, I mean, not exactly a life with purpose now, is it? I mean, sure, any twist of a screw to an uptight person is, well, kind of funny, in a mean, sadistic but tough love kind of way, but hardly enough of a purpose to make life worth living.

As opposed to someone whose destiny is to, oh, I dunno, cure cancer or travel to distant planets seeking answers to the Universe, the 18 item in the 12 item or less line person drew the destiny short straw. Oh sure, in the big picture we all play a part, even the 18 item in the 12 item or less line person. Every cog in the gear is important and all that, sure.

But. You know. If you’re the person with the tiny, truly insignificant, two minute purpose, well, you know, life isn’t exactly a rich tapestry of design and color, now is it? And so much crap happens to so many people, people who don’t “deserve” it that the whole destiny theory falls well into the cruel and unusual punishment side of things. I mean, the people who died in Hiroshima, for instance. What was the big picture there? What a crappy destiny. What a pointless purpose. I’d be mad if I were them. “That’s it?! That’s swutting it?! A mass annihilation, my purpose was to comprise a staggering statistic of death by atom bomb?! All this order in the Universe, each of us playing a key role, and my stupid role was to be a statistic of horrible genocide? So much for being kind to those less fortunate and paying my taxes on time. Lot of good that did me. If I’d known this was my destiny I’d have taken 18 items into the 12 item or less lane at the grocery.”

And of course that’s just it. If we get on board with the complete order in the Universe theory we can’t be certain what our true purpose is, but we have to believe we have one. For most of us it’s something insignificant to us. Something which causes or is part of a chain reaction, a domino effect, the end result of which we will typically remain unaware. We’re just going about our business. Little do we know what our small role is in the big picture. You know, like Global Warming, for instance. A lot of people are still unaware of the huge ramifications their small, seemingly insignificant and unrelated actions have on the planet.

One thing leads to another. And another. And so on, infinity.

I don’t sit around contemplating my place in the Universe very often. Maybe I should. Maybe that would “help” me. But I’m basically okay with my place in the Universe. I’m not going to change the world and I’m okay with that. I wasn’t born “destined” for greatness and I’m completely okay with that. And I understand my actions, even little ones, can be significant to someone else whom I don’t even know or maybe isn’t even born yet. I’m content with knowing that I don’t know a lot and never will. I understand there are a lot of things I can’t understand. And I’m okay with that. Knowledge is power but power comes with a lot of responsibility. If you knew all the secrets of the Universe could you handle the pressure and responsibility of that knowledge? I couldn’t. I’m not sure of much anymore, but I’m still quite certain there are things I do not want to know.

But sometimes...sometimes things happen. And you take that moment to reflect and ponder.

Coincidence. Or is it?

In a span of three weeks my hard drive crashed, badly, irreparably; my mobile phone battery began it’s descent into death by only holding a charge for 35 minutes; one of my home telephone’s battery is also, apparently, dying (this has been acting up for a while, though, so not entirely new or unexpected, but, it’s officially not working now); my bedroom clock refuses to display accurate time, I set it to the correct time and two hours later it reads, I kid you not, an apparent arbitrary time. It’s not “slow” or “fast” in any pattern, it’s just some random time, always different, always inaccurate; my electric toothbrush has “something wrong” with it – it won’t spin and vibrate so it’s basically a small and useless hunk of plastic with some bristles; my DVD player started spitting out discs 45 minutes into any disc I insert; my television remote control batteries died (yeah, okay, that happens and is an easy “fix,” but still, the timing was odd); my CTA fare card stopped working – two bus drivers used the term “demagnetized,” the only solution was to buy a new card; and my take-everywhere-lost-without-it calculator flashed 333333333.333 went blank and refuses to calculate.

Okay. Apart from the hard drive, which is a HUGE problem and the loss of a week’s fare on the CTA card, the demise of all those devices is annoying, but life can continue. All of those things are designed with a particular product life cycle. They’re not designed for a lifetime of use. Whether or not they should be designed that way is another issue. They should be designed for the long haul, but technology changes so quickly that building a lifetime use product is not an issue most consumers consider when purchasing a product. No one buys any of those items expecting to use it for the next 50 years.

But still.

No one expects all the items they use on a daily basis to break-down or malfunction within a span of a few weeks.

None of them are the same age so it’s not as if they’re all on the same usage and death schedule. I thought it was weird and dared not contemplate, “what next?” But, I reasoned, “this stuff gets a lot of use, it’s just coincidence they all stopped working at the same time.”

But then I started to think about the past few weeks and realized: Other stuff broke while I was using it. The electric 3-hole drill at work jammed while I was using it. Nothing new there, but, this time I couldn’t un-jam it. It made a groaning noise and started smelling of burned plastic. The motor finally, after years of abuse, died. Not surprising, but, since I only use the thing about twice a year it’s more than a bit ironic it conked out while I was using it. The pulse switch on my friend’s blender ceased to function while I was pulsing smoothies. No warning or explanation there. I don’t think I was mis-using it. It simply stopped pulsing. Every other function switch produced results. But no more pulsing. Then I visited my parents. I loaded my mother into their new-ish car, drove her to a doctor appointment, got back in the car, turned the key in the ignition and the entire instrument cluster, the idiot lights, the dash light, the clock, everything started flashing and remained flashing. The chimes and bells were dinging in sync with the flashing. The engine turned over, but all the dash lights remained flashing. I called On-Star. They ran a diagnostic. They couldn’t find anything wrong. We risked the drive home with the flashing lights and dinging bells. We told my dad about it, he trotted out to see the display. He turned the key in the ignition and: No flashing. No ringing. Nothing. Everything normal.

It was at that point I began to ponder the possibility of something more than coincidence. What that something was I don’t know. I ran through the list of irrational possibilities.
  • A message from beyond, someone trying to send me a message from another realm. You might think they’d try something more precise like email. As it stands right now if it’s someone trying to send me a message I’ll I can assume is that the message from beyond the pale is: When you die you can have a lot of fun with people who are still alive by messing around with their electronics.
  • Possession, demonic or otherwise, causing me to psychicly, unconsciously, cause electrical disturbances. Not out of the realm of possibility…
  • We’ve had a lot of storms this Summer – lots of lightening. Maybe charged ions in the atmosphere found their way to me, attached themselves to me while I waited for the bus.
  • A surge in my personal energy causing electronic items to overcharge and break. I’ve heard about kids unwittingly causing “poltergeist” disturbances because of their highly charged emotions. I have been pretty down and out lately…lots of physical pain…lots of stress and worry…
  • A mostly harmless but highly annoying sprite or other small and imperceptible being playing jokes on me. (This one makes me laugh because I thought of it only due to Fred Flintstone when Hannah Barbara jumped the shark with Gazoo.)
  • The end of the Universe is nigh and I am the recipient of warnings from a distant planet. I’ll worry when my iPod starts flashing Mars. Needs. Women.
  • I unknowingly stepped through some curtain or force field of invisible energy and every electronic item I touch gets zapped by my new hyperwatt aura. Which would be kind of cool if I could figure out how to harness and focus the power. Except then I’d have to decide between using my powers for good or diabolical evil. And I'd have to come up with some really cool outfit and live in a secret lair.

After reviewing the possibilities I just went on assuming it was all just a big, albeit weird and annoying, coincidence.

Then I had an MRI. A simple procedure. All I had to do was lay down on a platform and keep my foot and ankle still while an enormous pulsing magnet in a huge case swirled around my foot. The technician gave me headphones tuned into a radio station and away we went. Whish whish whish whish whish whirrrr whirrr whirrr whish whish whish whish whish whish whish whirrrr whirrr whirrr whish whish whish whish whish whish whish whirrrr whirrr whirrr whish whish whish whish whish whish whish whirrrr whirrr whirrr whish whish whish clank clank clank clop clank silence.

Eerie, something’s not right silence.

A few minutes later the technician came in and started fiddling with the digital display panel. He kept pressing numbers and nothing happened. I have no idea what was supposed to happen, but, whatever was supposed to happen wasn’t happening. After a half hour of his fiddling with the panel he said, “I don’t know what’s wrong. We’ll have to reschedule you for the other machine. Can you come in tomorrow?”

I could and I did and I walked out with an MRI from a fully functioning machine.

“A ha! This is finally over, the other machine didn’t break while I was in it! This is the end of the technical difficulties,” I thought.

I was wrong. Perhaps because I tempted "fate" and made assumptions about "luck."

Over the next few days the printer I use at work broke, two buses on two different commutes to work broke down (though that’s not surprising to anyone who uses the CTA, buses, especially express buses, habitually break down and leave passengers stranded), an ATM ate my debit card and the elevator in my building got stuck between floors, with me on it. I had to wait for the maintenance guy to pry open the door and I had to crawl up and out while he held the door pried open. Of course I was coming home from work and was wearing a skirt. And our maintenance guy is young and handsome and nice and the last person I want to look like an idiot oaf in front of while wearing a skirt and climbing out of an elevator stuck between floors.

So now I’m walking around feeling all jinxed but trying not to feel jinxed because that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And there are no such thing as jinxes. But how do you not feel jinxed, how do you not assume something else is going to happen when the past weeks have been filled with technical difficulties and mechanical failures, broken down buses and elevators and malfunctioning medical equipment?

It’s all coincidental, right?

Do I care? Not particularly, though it's become annoying. And I wanted the streak of whatever it was to end.

So I took fate into my own hands. I started small. I got a new hard drive. I fixed my toothbrush. I messed around with my 4-Shared account and finally sorted out the problems with the code (and loaded a bunch of songs, go on, go ahead, listen and download to your heart's content, there's a neato new funky visualizer if you listen to the songs while on 4-Shared.)

So far the only thing that's happened is the Cubs lost while I was re-programming my DVD player.

Yeah. I was feeling confident and sure of myself after the new hard drive and printer repair so I branched into DVD player repair. While the Cubs were playing Saturday night.

Maybe I should have waited. But how was I to know?

Nothing's happened to me since Saturday when I started fixing and re-programming broken or malfunctioning items which broke in the past few weeks.

So unless something happens in the the next day or two, a broken appliance, nuclear catastrophe or the like, anything to continue my string of mechanical failures, I may be this year's Bartman. My DVD player is working perfectly again, but the Cubs are licking wounds of another almost ran post-season.

If my resolving a string of weird mechanical problems during a crucial game is to blame, I'm sorry.

This is why I'm not a superstitious person. It's all ridiculous and coincidental. But there is the fact that we don't know what we don't know. And there is strong evidence to back theories of order in the Universe. Based on that, small, seemingly insignificant issues mean something. They can cause something else, and then something else, and then something else to happen. A small surge in power from my re-programmed DVD player could have caused a tiny spike in the electrical current in my building, which caused a neighbor's air conditioner to surge, which caused a fuse to blow, which caused a spike in power from our building out to the wires in the alley, down to Wrigley, where a beer tap hiccoughed and splattered beer onto a concession worker who then went on a break to clean up, and while his end of the line was closed a guy decided not to wait for beer and got a pop instead and went back to his seat where his buddies thought it would be funny to snap a photo of him drinking pop instead of beer and the flash from the camera was at precisely the right angle to cause a moment of green flash blindness in the pitcher winding up to throw...

2:47 PM

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