Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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

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




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

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

200i: iPodyssey

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

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

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

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

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

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

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

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

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

Slanglish

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


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

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

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

Lap Dance of the Cripple

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

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

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

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

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

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

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


















 
Mail Trillian here





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

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


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

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

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

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


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



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

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




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





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







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


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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, September 03, 2008  
There’s so much to learn about death.

Practical stuff.

My dad had barely stopped breathing when the nurses asked us what funeral home we were using. And that we needed to call the funeral home. The nurses told us, in rote graciousness – affected kindness with a pronounced air of practical efficiency - there was no hurry. We could let them know by 9 the next morning, but after that the hospital would charge a holding fee.

Yes.

A holding fee.

Um.

Okay.

I know, many people pre-plan their final “arrangements.” The plans are made, known amongst the family, and when the time comes, one or two phone calls to the right people...and away you go. Job done. But apart from legal documents (meaning: a will) my dad didn’t pre-plan his “arrangements.”

I know why he didn’t pre-plan.

My dad decided long ago that he didn’t want to follow his family’s funeral traditions. While completely normal for them and their, um, kind (their kind meaning: a bit olde worlde and a bit questionable to us people living in modern times in the modern world) that side of my family’s death customs are, um, well, you know.

Kind of weird.

And illegal in 49 states.

So after my dad hooked up with my mother and met her family and experienced my mother’s family’s death customs, he made it known to my mother that he preferred her family’s way to his family’s way. He and my mother had a verbal understanding. But apparently he was conflicted. He didn’t want to upset his family by letting them know he was opting out of their death customs, yet he wanted to go with my mother’s family’s way. Apparently he figured because he was the youngest child in his generation he’d surely be the last to go and so when the time came his last wishes wouldn’t matter, wouldn’t upset anyone in his family, because none of them would be alive to see it.

He almost got away with it.

Almost.

My dad died prematurely. A bacterial infection attacked his heart valve and got the best of him before he could regain strength and have the required heart surgery. We knew he was sick and the whole thing was a nightmare.

But.

No one saw It coming.

One minute we were making jokes about gall bladders and all the money doctors, labs and pharmaceutical companies make on useless parts of our anatomy like spleens, appendixes and gall bladders. The next minute his vitals were fading and the doctors were telling us there was nothing they could do.

And he was gone.

That fast.

I blinked and I missed it.

I just stood there holding the ice cream sandwich the nurses said he could have after his gall bladder scan. I was completely confused. My mother was holding his hand, talking to him when I bounced in the room with the ice cream sandwich. The doctors pointed to the monitors showing the declining vital signs.

Someone urgently screamed, very loudly, “Don’t just stand there looking at the monitors, do something!”

I think that someone might have been me.

A doctor put his arm around me and told me there was nothing they could do.

I stood there holding an ice cream sandwich in one hand and my mother’s arm with the other.

“Dad! I have an ice cream sandwich for you!”

I know. I know. It sounds lame. Callous, even. But I thought it would buoy him, turn those failing vitals around. I expected him to say, “Oh boy! Ice cream!”

But he didn’t.

Then my mother gasped and started sobbing. Then a doctor said “he’s gone.”

I fell backward and apparently some nurses caught me and got me into a chair because I didn't crash to the floor.

I sat there in a chair, confused, looking around the room for an explanation and reasoning, “But I brought him an ice cream sandwich.”

My dad died.

I had a frozen treat for him.

I couldn’t reconcile the two facts. He couldn’t die. I brought him ice cream. People don’t die having gall bladder scans. They just don’t. People don’t die when a promised ice cream treat is within sight. They just don’t.

But my dad did.

Yes. The last thing I said to my dad was "Dad! I have an ice cream sandwich for you!"


Cut to the most pathetic thing you’ll probably ever read on this blog.

I knew my dad died. I know about the monitors. I know my mother felt the last beat of his heart and his last breath. I know what all that means.

But the shock of it left me confused. And I just sat there as doctors and nurses set about the business of death. Signing forms and asking us questions and holding hands and putting arms around our shoulders. And I just sat there with a squished and dripping ice cream sandwich.

One of the doctors had his arm around me telling me the infection had spread rapidly and thoroughly in 6 or 7 hours and they couldn’t keep up with the advance and spread of the infection.

I heard the words and understood them. But I couldn’t relate them to my father.

I looked up at the doctor, tears starting to well in my eyes, and said, meekly, again,

“But I brought him ice cream.”

As if that was justification for the doctor to perform a miracle and bring my dad back from death. As if the doctor would say, “Oh, ice cream. Why didn't you say so? Well, in that case I’ll just go save him.” As if ice cream was some secret code for "pull out the big guns and resurrect the patient."

My mother heard me say "but I brought him ice cream," and came over to me and started sobbing harder.

The doctor led me out of the room and took me into The Special Room.The Special Room is the small room at the end of a hospital corridor which has a closed door, a small couch, a chair, a Bible, a crisis counseling hotline poster, a water color painting of a garden with sun streaming on it, several boxes of tissues and a small table with a telephone and phone numbers of local churches and funeral homes. A nurse who came with us tried to get the ice cream sandwich out of my hand but I clutched it harder. It dripped on the floor. The doctor took my other hand in his and grabbed my chin to make me look him in the eyes. “You must be strong for your mother. You have to take a deep breath and be strong. Your mother needs you to be strong.”

It occurred to me that this seemed and sounded like a scene from a cheesy soap opera. Which normally would have made me giggle. But now it made me mad. How dare he be so trite? How dare he tell me what my mother needs? What my mother needs is my dad.

As all that was going through my mind I heard some meek little voice in the room say, “okay.”

I think it might have been me.

Then the doctor said, “Good, that’s a good girl. Now give me the ice cream.”

I relaxed my grip on the ice cream sandwich and pieces of the chocolate cookie part of the sandwich fell to the floor. As I unfolded my fingers I realized I was clenching it so tightly my knuckles were sore.

The doctor took a wad of Kleenxes, swabbed up the pieces and threw it in a small trash can.

Hey. I told you it was the most pathetic thing you’d ever read on this blog. So there it is.

Another doctor, a guy who’d become a pal with my dad, materialized as we left The Special Room. The two doctors each took one of my arms and led me back to my mother and dad. The “get a grip” doctor gave me a stern “keep it together, girl” look before I re-entered the room. My mother was sitting there with their minister.

So.

There it was.

One minute we were making jokes about gall bladders. The next minute my dad was dead.

So.

He didn’t have plans in place. Like the rest of us he thought he had plenty of time to take care of that. So he died with a verbal agreement with my mother that he didn’t want his funeral arrangements to be in line with his family’s customs.

So we had to “take care” of all that.

And it went fine. People keep telling me it was a “lovely” service. Hundreds of people came to the visitation at the funeral home. The church was full for the funeral, even with all the spare folding chairs from the fellowship hall, and the foyer was crammed with those who arrived too late to get a seat. Yep, the funeral was SRO.

A good friend, a former colleague, the designated spokescousin and the minister all gave great eulogies, each one visibly fighting back the lump in his throat. The church's funeral singer happens to be a friend of the family and told my mother that he’d do his best to sing at the funeral, but, he admitted that he was so shocked and upset he wasn’t sure he could get through it. My mother told him she understood and so we opted for a couple hymns. The voices of the cram-packed church nearly shook the rafters.

The relatives from my dad’s side of the family didn’t seem upset by the proceedings. They didn’t seem to object to the departure of their customs. I think they were all in shock that my dad was dead. (It wasn’t just me. No one saw this coming.)

And then one by one, day by day, the family and friends departed and then we all started getting on with life without my dad.

The thing is, even though death is final for the deceased it goes on for those left behind.

Death is big business.

And what I’m learning is that for all their weirdness and olde worlde-ness, my dad’s family’s death and funeral customs are, well, efficient. Perhaps a bit abrupt. And kind of weird. And illegal in 49 states. But efficient. And budget friendly.

My mother’s family’s way, the “traditional” way, is expensive and goes on and on. Just when you think it’s all done, something else has to be done, more things have to be procured, more decisions have to be made.

It’s a process not an event.

My mother says the process is cathartic.

I get that. She’s right.

But still.

The big business aspect of it is appalling. Perhaps that’s part of the catharsis. If you’re feeling strong enough to be jaded about the ridiculously overpriced versions of everything to do with funerals and burials, then you’re probably “getting better” and you can take comfort in the fact that you aren’t vulnerable to the sales pitches of death’s salesmen.

Fortunately we haven’t endured too much pressure or even too much ridiculousness. I guess they see us coming and size us up as practical and jaded. Or, well, at least that’s how they must be sizing up me. The doctor’s words keep ringing in my ears. “You must be strong for your mother. Now give me the ice cream.” Every time we have to make a decision requiring a salesperson of death I take a deep breath, square my shoulders and put on my most jaded and cynical face.

Hey. It works. Unless you’ve been through this you wouldn’t believe what’s available and how much it costs. And the fake beatific sympathy death’s salesmen have is annoying, condescending and unbelievable. I’m convinced it’s drug induced. They all have the same demeanor – the good ones mask the affectation, the novices, well, not so much.

Sure, selling what they sell they’re in a perpetual state of forced sensitivity (“at this difficult time”) toward the bereaved so they probably do feel something for the customers. Maybe sympathy.

But I dunno. I find it difficult to believe they all are moved to feel the same way: head slightly cocked, pursed smile (not a grin, not a toothy smile, a forced sympathetic smile), a warm handshake that lingers (sympathetically) and a calm tone in their voice. Drugs must be involved. Or a really, really intense sales course. “Remember, your customers are grieving. They’re vulnerable and prone to emotional purchases, they’re feeling confused and scared. When you consider the market this stuff sells itself! So let them do the work for you. The more trustworthy and sympathetic you come across, the bigger your sale. Let’s watch this training video on affecting the right smile and smarmy voice tone then we’ll break into practice groups.” I can't lose sight of the fact that they're making a profit on death - in some cases they may even be earning a commission on it. I realize it has to be done and someone's got to do it, but profiting from death takes a special kind of nerve. Or desperation. Or apathy. Or something I don't understand. I can't get my head around the fact that these people, death's salespeople, purposely choose to go into the death market.

The latest adventure in my dad’s death is the headstone for the cemetery.

Cemeteries don’t bug me. Now that my dad is in one I have a slightly different feeling about them, but not too much. At best cemeteries are peaceful places with a lot of history and interesting sculptures. At worst they’re neglected places with a lot of history and worn down reminders of decay.

I was the one who went with my mother to clean up the plot at the cemetery a few days after the funeral. I’m not saying it was fun, but it wasn’t awful. My dad’s body is there but…he’s not there. It’s his body’s final resting spot and the place where a physical monument will be left to mark his life for future generations. I’ve now made three trips to the cemetery since the funeral. Cleaning up, putting a couple plants in the ground and a fact finding mission.

My mother and I went visiting other people at the cemetery to take a good look at what other people do for headstones in the cemetery. Seems that pretty much anything goes in that cemetery, so the only concern regarding the headstone is size. I went out with a measuring tape and measured the space available for the headstone and then, at my mother's bequest, measured stones around the cemetery. She doesn’t want to seem ostentatious so she wants to be sure the headstone we choose is smaller than some of the “showy” stones on a few graves in the neighborhood of their plot. However, she made it very clear that she didn’t want something too small. We’re literally keeping up with the Joneses. The neighbors to the south of my parents’ plot have a nice headstone but it’s small in comparison to some of the showier neighbors to the east of their plot. Hence the concern about being ostentatious. And the concern about looking cheap.

My mother’s not one to worry about appearances. But. The whole “this is forever, a monument for all time” aspect has her concerned about giving the right impression in the cemetery. Forever is a mighty long time and that adds an element of pressure. This thing has to stand the test of time so it better be good. And, after all, it’s going to be her headstone, too.

Yikes.

Complete. Utter. Total. Breakown. In 3 – 2 – 1.

I’m dealing with the finality of my dad’s death and now I have to deal with literally carving my mother’s mortality in stone, too?

Nobody told me there’d be days like these.

Be strong for your mother. Give me the ice cream.

Fortunately, for once the fact that my parents live in a really, really small town comes in handy. When it comes to The Big Decisions there aren’t a lot of choices. Though, funnily enough much to my surprise there are now four funeral homes to choose from in the immediate area, and two more “good” choices a couple towns over. Things are changing, growing. There are three new subdivisions and two new elementary schools. I suppose it stands to reason there’d be new funeral homes, too. Still. I would have thought there’d be a new grocery and a decent restaurant, maybe a new traffic light before new funeral homes would be a priority.

Anyway. That decision went smoothly and we’re all really “happy” with our mandated snap decision on a funeral home. That all worked out fine.

But. When it comes to headstones, well, you go with the funeral home's suggestion or you find your own. Our funeral director didn’t push their headstones on us. Why? Because our little town is home to a renowned monument/stone cutting business. People come far and wide for the quality selection and fine masonry available in my little town.

Thing is, they’re also known to be, well, you know, *pricey*. Worth it, everyone says, but pricey. (Prayer for Owen Meany anyone?) But the price issue is a non-issue for us. Not because my parents are spare-no-expense wealthy, but because the monument company is a generations old family business and my parents and the current generation-in-charge are friends. They met when the next heir to the monument empire and my brother were in school together. It would be, you know, *awkward*, to even consider getting a headstone anywhere other than the local monument company.

Everyone in town knows my dad died, heck, pretty much everyone in town was at the funeral. Including the monument people. In many other - larger - towns it might be considered weird or even tacky for the couple who own the monument business to attend a funeral. It could be seen as a sales call or they could be seen as grim specters of death. But not in a small town. Or at least not in my parents’ small town. There it would be rude for them to not show up.

There’s no urgency to get a headstone. Except. The cemetery told us the cut-off date for pouring foundations before the winter season is October 15. (frozen ground = can’t pour the foundation mix = you wait until spring thaw) So we have to get that done. My mother decided, practically, that we might as well go ahead and get the stone, too.

So off we trotted to the monument company. We stopped for donuts on the way. Sure, we were conducting business, but it was also a social call. We needed to be good guests. Donuts were a must. We were greeted with hugs and tears from Mrs. Monument. She was still so shocked about my dad. She stood there with an arm around my mother and holding my hand saying over and over, “I just cannot believe it.”

I hear that a lot these days.

One good thing about being long-time friends with people in the monument business is that they have a pretty good handle on what kind of people you are. They knew we’re not eerie photo etching on shiny black granite kind of people. They knew we’re not enormous obelisque kind of people. They knew we’re not entwined hearts and doves kind of people. They knew we’re not cheap Southern granite kind of people. They knew we’re not South African black granite kind of people.

They knew we’re Vermont or Norwegian gray kind of people. My mother was toying with the idea of South Carolina rose granite. And they didn’t try to steer her away from that. Mrs. Monument agreed that it's lovely, so much more soothing on the eyes than the gray. But after a cup of coffee, a cinnamon donut and a lot of talking about my dad and the types of monuments other friends have procured it was decided that the fine gray granite imported from Norway would be the rock which will mark my parents’ lives. They gave us a deal. Really. Norwegian granite for the price of a higher grade Vermont granite. Mr. Monument wanted it for my dad. "It's just...appropriate. I want you to have the best, I want him to have Norwegian granite. It's just...right. It's what's right for you."

It’s pretty. But manly and strong. Rare, but approachable. After I summarized the look of the rock in those words Mr. Monument looked at my mother and said, “We need her to write our brochures. No wonder she’s in marketing.”

No wonder.

The stone is ordered and Mr. Monument is drawing up the carving for the stone. I'm sure it will be lovely. I hope hundreds of years from now someone comes upon it and notes the pretty yet manly and strong, rare but approachable nature of the Norwegian granite. And then I hope they take a minute to notice my parents' names carved on it.

I'm a "cremate me and dump me somewhere" kind of person. But after this experience I now understand what my father apparently came to understand: I want my parents to have the chance to have someone notice them, if even for a few seconds, hundreds of years from now. I want them to have the chance to have someone notice their stone and think, "That's a nice monument, they must have been very special people."

What was I saying about the bereaved being vulnerable and making emotional decisions? Yeah. Well. Guilty.

One (of many) reasons why I'm a cremation kind of person is that I have no idea what I'd want my headstone to say. And it would have to say something because clearly I'm going to die as I lived: Alone. And a stone with just one lone name on it is sad and pathetic. That is not the message I want to linger about me after my death. So it would have to say something. Something profound and grand and wise. Epitaphs have to be really good. And I can't think of a good, fitting, wise, witty epitaph for myself.

Unless it's: Be strong for your mother. Give me the ice cream.

6:33 PM

 
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