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
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.)



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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.

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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

Saturday, November 15, 2008  
Have you seen the movie 27 Dresses?

I didn't see it at the theater. I didn't want to see it.

It seemed like the sort of forced, contrived chick flick I don't usually enjoy.

But some of my friends have started to love forced, contrived chick flicks. Yes. These are the same friends who now like Lifetime.

I don't know when it happened. One day my friends were the kinds of women who read the Wall Street Journal, trade publications and non-fiction books for their professions, and used vacation days to go to in-depth courses pertaining to their jobs. We had long discussions about politics, religion, the environment, our place in the world and our responsibility to make it a better place. We didn't just talk. We brainstormed ideas, launched plans, got involved. For fun we went to concerts and movies. We liked to go to small (usually grimy) clubs to hear new bands. We saw bands whose music we liked, good music, meaningful music, music with depth, music that mattered. Not the slick, overproduced cute front-man bands at the arenas and cool clubs. When we went to movies we chose indie releases. Moves that mattered. Movies that made us think. Movies that explored concepts. Movies with great art direction. And subtitles. Yes. Often they were pretentious or reaching or affected or just stupid. (Hint: Just because a movie is French with subtitles doesn't automatically qualify it as important or art.) But. We liked stepping away from the pabulum that the big production houses served up as entertainment. We liked seeing actors other than the media-darling cookie cutters Hollywood flaunts as hot, new, young or popular. We liked seeing movies which were not financed via megaconglomerate corporations. We liked seeing movies that were something other than vehicles for selling products, clothes, cars, actors...

One by one those friends got married. And bought condos. And started having children. And quit their jobs. And moved to suburbs.

And the next day their interests changed. They stopped caring about their professions. The careers they spent years in college studying for and years working, striving and enjoying were abandoned and forgotten. These were smart women. I mean, they are smart women. Magna and summa cum laudes. Most have advanced (masters or above) degrees from top tier universities. They had big ideas, big aspirations for their lives - they were going to take on the world and change it. And yes, they did. They've impacted and changed the world by populating it with new people. In a few cases I know parenthood is just a hiatus - they will one day return to work and impact the world in ways other than producing new people.

But. In a lot of cases the women openly admit they have no intention of ever returning to work. Like alcoholics they swear they could stop being stay at home moms whenever they want. But when I talk about something in my life, a work related issue, they shudder and say things like, "I am so glad I don't have to put up with that sort of stuff anymore. I could never stand all the stress anymore."

The brainstorming and hard work on charities has been replaced with organizing PTA fundraisers, bake sales and family vacations.

Along with stopping their careers, they stopped going to concerts. They lost interest in music altogether. They became those people we said we'd never be: The people who stop listening to music in a certain year. And henceforth in their lives listen only to music recorded prior to that year. I call this the Whitesnake Phenomenon. Or the REO Phenomenon. Depending on the age/era of the person in question. Those bands also stopped exploring new music, but because of some fans also stuck in a time warp, they exist and even thrive on their moment of popularity. They would be forgotten were it not for the legions of people who stopped listening to music the year they were popular. (This phenomenon also explains why you still see acid wash jeans, flannel shirts, and mullets. And not to be confused with The Pink Floyd Syndrome wherein some victims (usually male) stopped listening to new music in 1978, but many new victims are still claimed on college campuses annually. Boys go into college listening to all kinds of music, and graduate fixated on Pink Floyd. It's sad, really.) My friends used to laugh at The Whitesnake Phenomenon. And now they're suffering from The Gin Blossoms Phenomenon. They started reading books they heard about on Oprah!. Wait. They watch Oprah!? Yep. They started watching Oprah!. They read Parents magazine. They "don't have time" to read national newspapers but devour the lifestyle section of the local newspapers. They love the parenting and marriage advice columns. They watch Lifetime. And. They like formulaic, contrived, always-a-happy ending, "romantic" chick flicks featuring the popular actress du jour and a couple random good looking men.

Consequently in recent years I started to dismiss most of their movie recommendations. Every now and then, on the increasingly rare occasions they have time and desire to see a movie in the evening or on a weekend (the only time I can go to a movie because I have a job which requires me to work during the days Monday - Friday (and often weekends)) they want to see chick-flicks. Lame, predictable chick-flicks. I go because I want to spend time with my friends, not because I want to see the movies they want to see. But. When they recommend a movie to me I just smile and nod like I'm trying to be polite to someone whose language I don't speak.

That's how I feel most of the time: I don't speak their language. They're foreigners to me.

When one-by-one they sent me emails telling me I had to see 27 Dresses I just hit delete.

Why so much prodding for this particular movie?

My "number."

Apparently I have an above average "number." They tell me the average woman's "number" is three, but I recall reading a survey saying the average "number" for normal, healthy women has increased to five.

My "number" is 13.

Which is 14 less than 27. But still on the high side for times down the aisle as a bridesmaid.

If I include flower girl duty and obligatory sibling wedding party participation I've logged 19 trips down the aisle. But I don't count those. Being a flower girl is the first base of wedding party participation, and siblings' weddings are like second base.

Oh, I saw the ads for 27 Dresses. I was aware of it. I knew the premise. And yes, I did chuckle at the idea.

But when my friends started sending emails saying, "OMG! You could have written that! It's a movie about you...well...except you haven't found a great guy yet,” I felt that familiar tug at my heart. I’m single. I have no boyfriend and no prospects. I haven’t even had a good date in, well, a long time. My friends’ lives are moving forward in the usual progression. Mine is not.

Thanks, pals. Twist that knife in my heart, why dontcha.

Married women, I'm talking to you. Once and for all: Single women know they're single. Single women do not need reminders that they're single from married friends.

I shunned 27 Dresses even more vehemently that I shun other chick-flick recommendations.

And then a ton of really awful stuff happened and I didn't see any movies for several months.

My condo assessment includes satellite tv. I have a bunch of movie channels. I rarely watch them. Not because I'm a movie snob. But. They do show a lot of 27 Dresses types of movies.

So. I had my first weekend home in a long time. I vowed I would do all the things I've been putting off since I've been helping my mother every weekend. The dishes piled in the sink would be washed. Groceries, real food would be procured. The pile of magazines and catalogs would be sorted and recycled. Summer clothes would be put in storage. Friday and Saturday nights would be spent on the couch with facial treatments, glasses of wine, magazines and movies.

I checked the lineup on my movie channels. There staring back at me in heavy rotation was: 27 Dresses.

I was deep into my second glass of wine, feeling lonely and down anyway, so I decided to seal the deal by watching a movie sure to make me feel emotionally worse but intellectually superior. In the comfort of my home, alone, I could talk back at the tv and make fun of how insipid and insulting the plot, dialog and acting is in the movie.

And, at any point in the movie, I could simply change the channel.

27 Dresses did not disappoint. It lived up to my expectations. In fact it exceeded them. It managed to not only make single women look like sad, desperate, emotional wrecks until they meet Mr. Right and have a wonderfully romantic wedding, it also covered the single woman as conniving, manipulative, single-minded mission to get a man liars angle, too.

Yay 27 Dresses producers, directors and actors. Applause, applause.

Yes. I have been in 13 weddings. I have worn three really, truly laughable dresses (pink and/or butt bows and/or taffeta), six not awful but straight out of the "make the bride look stunning in comparison" school dresses, and four very nice "regular" dresses (which, yes, I have indeed worn again). Eleven of those dresses required special accoutrements, and all of them cost a lot more money than I could afford to spend on any garment, let alone a dress I didn't need or want. Attached to those dresses were a lot of obligations. Bridal showers. Bachelorette parties. Gifts. Plane tickets. Hotel rooms. Hair appointments. Affixing a pleasant but not show stealing smile on your face and keeping it there at all times when the bride is present. Sitting at whatever table is available - usually with the groom's bitter aunt and two of the grooms drunk fraternity buddies.

One point 27 Dresses did make was that the lead character, Jane, wasn't bitter about "being there" for her friends. She defended her friends and claimed she had fun at their weddings. (Though the flashback sequence of those "fun weddings" showed her looking like a fool, cringing with embarrassment an generally not having fun. Ahhhh. Hollywood.) Flashback sequences aside, I agree with the sentiment about "being there" for friends and having fun at their weddings.

No. I didn't have fun at all 13 weddings. I had fun at some of them. Some of them were torturous. A couple of them have become fuzzy, distant memories. Much like the brides, my friends. Interesting how, the better the friend, the more likely it is that I had fun at, and being in, her wedding.

At the happy, obvious end of 27 Dresses (spoiler alert) Jane marries the male friend who was there for her all along but she was too wrapped up being mad/jealous of the bride and/or in love with the bride's fiance that she never noticed her own Mr. Right was right there all along. I know! What a surprise ending! No, really, there is a surprise twist! All of the 27 women for whom Jane served as a bridesmaid were bridesmaids in Jane's wedding! But wait! I mean, this ending is just such a priceless surprise! They're all wearing the dresses Jane wore as a bridesmaid in their weddings! I know! I didn't see that coming, either! So cute! So funny! So sweet! So romantic! Such a happy feel good movie.


And here's where I sound like a bitter, resentful, jealous shrew.

Seven of the 13 women, the brides, my friends, have drifted from my life. I moved. They moved. They changed jobs. Had kids. Quit jobs. Moved. We've just fallen out of touch. It happens.


If I were to get married I have no way of getting retribution. I couldn't put them in a questionable and expensive dress. I couldn't even send them an invitation to the wedding and tell them where I'm registered.

Those 13 dresses and affiliated expenses for the weddings cost me a lot of money. I agreed to participate in those weddings and therefore agreed to take on the financial responsibility. I didn't agree because I thought, "One day I'll get married and I will expect you, bride, to repay this favor." I agreed because the women were my friends. They thought enough of me to want me in their wedding or they needed a "fill in" to round out the wedding party where there were more groomsmen and ushers than bridesmaids. I thought enough of them to agree to take on the responsibility.

But 27 Dresses gave me pause for thought about this. I tallied the estimated outlay of money for each of the dresses, the affiliated expenses, the shoes, the hair, the gifts, the airfare, the hotel room expense.

Holy matrimonial expense. Sheesh.I try not to think of friends in terms of money and expenses. Or debts. But. I've had a lot of medical and unexpected expenses in the past year. The money I spent on those 13 weddings would come in really handy.

I'm not married. There is no wedding on my horizon. Those 13 women got a free-ride with me in terms of wedding expenses. They've never had to repay the favor it it's looking very unlikely that they ever will. Certainly those seven women who've drifted out of my life came out ahead in the financial aspect of our friendship. They got a bridesmaid who bought a dress she didn't like, plus accoutrements, and gave bridal shower, bachelorette and wedding gifts, and in a few of those cases, also gave baby shower presents, too. I got nothing, nothing financially in return.

I know. I know. That sounds petty. Calculating. Jealous. Bitter. And I'm not any of those things. I don't go around thinking, "They owe me." But. Ya know. Um. It would be nice if they acknowledged the unbalanced financial outlay scale. I don't have a lot of things. I bought my first home last year. I need everything. Heck, forget the usual wedding presents of china and crystal. The sort of gifts you get at a bridal shower would be really helpful for me. Some towels and sheets would be awesome. A spoon that doesn't bend when I mix cookie dough would be really helpful. Heck, while I'm dreaming, why not dream big and fantasize about an electric mixer?! Every one of those bridesmaid dresses cost more than $100. Most were over $200. Putting aside the cost of the gifts, the expenses for just one of the dresses, shoes, accoutrements, hair and travel expenses would pay for just about everything I need for my new home. If just one of those brides gave me Bed, Bath and Beyond and Lowe's giftcards totaling the amount I spent to be in her wedding I could make a nice little comfortable home for myself. Instead I make do without home goods or use hand-me-downs from my mother and stuff I've schlepped from apartment to apartment. Stuff I bought to get by with until I could afford better quality versions. Somehow I've managed to keep house without a zester. No, they're not that expensive, but make do with an olive fork I won playing a bridal shower game. It would be really nice to have real home goods. It would be nice to register at stores and have people buy exactly what I want for me.

But. Since I haven't achieved the success of finding a man to marry me, I do not deserve gifts. I understand. However. I have been a good, uncomplaining, supportive, responsible friend and bridesmaid. 13 times.

6:34 PM

Wednesday, November 12, 2008  
I have boobs. Two of ‘em. I have the sort of boobs which are described in polite company (e.g.: Playtex commercials, mom’s “foundations” catalogs, church potlucks) with words like ample, full, well endowed and buxom. Pendulous is sometimes used in an effort to remain polite, too. In less polite company words like bazongas, knockers, hooters, ta tas, jugs, melons, magumbos, and rack come up a lot. I’ve heard ‘em all. I could write a pages long list of the terms I’ve heard applied to boobs. My boobs.


I’m not bragging.

Note the long list of derogatory slang for breasts compared to the relatively short list of “polite” slang for breasts. Having derogatory sexual slang applied to you on a regular basis is not cause for bragging.

When I was young I vowed that breasts would always be called breasts and nothing else. Especially my breasts. Anything else would be childish, rude and offensive.

Ahhh, youth. At some point in my college years I gave up the fight for anatomically correct and mature reference to that part of the female anatomy. It’s no coincidence that my breasts came into their (pardon the pun) full development when I was in college. I was a late bloomer. And boy did I bloom. My body made up for lost time over the course of a semester of college. People find it difficult to believe that until I was 18 I was flat as a board, and it wasn’t until I was 19/20 that they started taking on proportions which gave them a life of their own. It’s also no coincidence that also was when I began my journey through anorexia.

As my breasts became ever fuller, I suddenly started getting a lot of attention from boys. Unwanted attention. Negative attention. Sexually objectified attention. Boys who never noticed me when I was flat as a board, and even the boys who used to mock me suddenly began making sexual comments or “jokes” about me. Or more specifically: about my breasts. More difficult than those taunts, though, was the reaction from the boys who were once my friends. Boys who hadn't wanted to date me prior to the advent of my breasts, but liked me as a friend, for my personality, suddenly became crude, salivating testosterone driven jerks who stared at my breasts instead of talking about new bands and sharing laughs and ideas for homework assignments.

It seemed like it happened overnight. One day I was the quiet, unpopular nerdy girl and the next day I was the subject of jokes and sexual taunts regarding my breasts. Boys were crude and girls were catty. Girls thought I got breast implants. Girls I didn’t even know made eye contact then poignantly dropped their gaze to my breasts, then rolled their eyes at me. Some were more vocal, accusing me of selling out to the male stereotypes of women.

At the time I was in art school. One evening I returned home after a long day of classes, dumped out my tote bag, and along with tubes of paint, pens and pencils were two kneaded erasers formed into the shape of breasts. On a weekly basis there were drawings of me, or, well, mainly my breasts, circulated around classes. If “caught,” the illustrators would say, “Geesh, can’t you take a joke?” The blame for their disrespectful antics was placed on me. One of my teachers, a person I deeply admired and respected, lost all respect and credibility with one statement to me, “Well, Trillian, they are enormous. What do you expect?”

I expect respect. I expect to attend college without being openly harassed.

The message I heard was: You have large breasts so you deserve (and should expect) a lot of sexual attention and jokes. No one called them breasts. I eventually came to the realization that the “kindest” term I heard about them, the term that was said with the least crudity, was boobs. So. Boobs they were. I hate boobies. But made peace with the term boobs. I liked it because boob is the term for an idiot. And people seemed to assume that I was an idiot because I had large boobs. It was appropriately ironic. I grew breasts and suddenly the perception of my IQ dropped several points. But the biggest reason I made peace with the term boobs is that my breasts turned men into ignorant boobs. It was my joke on the entire male population.
Since then the term boob and has come and gone and come and gone in and out of favor with me, but generally I’m okay with it. They’re boobs. Once I made peace with them (which took a long, long time) I made peace with the term boobs. I’m even okay with rack. Probably because those terms don’t specifically imply size or sexuality. Most women have boobs or a rack. Some boobs/racks are small, some are medium, some are large, but we all have boobs/racks. Any adjective can be placed in front of the words boobs or rack to fit the appropriate description of the boobs or rack up for discussion.

Back then I hated my breasts. Absolutely hated them. I did everything I could to minimize them and camouflage them. I wore two and sometimes three jogging bras in an attempt to flatten them into my lungs. I wore the baggiest sweatshirts I could find. Consequently I spent years walking around looking like the Michelin Man’s daughter. I did every possible form of chest/pectoral exercise and weight lifting. They didn’t get smaller, but for a while they were the firmest DDs on the planet. I was one of the few women with DDs who didn’t “need” to wear a bra.

I talked to a doctor about reduction surgery. She empathized but said until I developed physical problems due to my breasts (back and neck problems) insurance wouldn’t pay for any portion of the surgery. Back and neck problems??? At that age I hadn't considered that possibility. I was athletic and fit. Strong and healthy. The physics of the added weight in front pulling on my back and neck hadn't occurred to me. The doctor attempted to console me by telling me that since I was tall, broad shouldered, strong and fit I probably didn't need to worry about back and neck problems. "This is the way nature intended - you can carry them, you have the stature and strength for them." Oh lucky me. I begged my parents to help me pay for breast reduction surgery. It was extremely expensive. I didn’t have the surgery.

I thought by losing weight I’d lose some breast. At the time I was already 10 pounds underweight. That was not a huge deal – I was very active and riding a lot of bike marathons at the time, and all those chest/pec exercises were giving me well toned arms, so there was no cause for alarm. I looked healthy. I was healthy. So when I dropped another 10 pounds no one noticed – the baggy sweatshirts I’d taken to wearing to hide my boobs helped conceal some of the weight loss. (I later learned this is an anorexia “trick” girls use around parents to hide their weight loss.) But even though I was then 20 pounds underweight, my breasts remained swollen mounds of flesh on my otherwise lean (and getting scrawny) body. I stopped eating everything except a small portion of oatmeal, some tofu and an apple a day. I was taking in about 400 – 500 calories a day and burning many more calories than that in bike training. Before anorexia hit I could build muscle quite easily, particularly on my legs and arms. Thanks to a lot of bike riding I had thighs and calves of steel. But. Anorexia robs you of fat and muscle. I used to clock great times in marathons. Within a few months I’d lost so much weight and muscle that my times dropped to shockingly long levels. Within a year I dropped out of competitive riding altogether. I craved the bike riding and exercise but didn’t have the muscle or energy to power the bike at a time that wasn’t ridiculously embarrassing. I’m not a competitive person, and I don’t “mind” coming in last, someone has to lose. But. When I was coming in not only last, but long after everyone had left, it was time to call it quits. I made a painful conscious choice: I wanted to be thin with smaller breasts more than I wanted to continue doing an activity I loved.

Do I blame my breasts for this? Not entirely. But they were a factor in my becoming anorexic. I remember the triumphant day that I fit comfortably into a bra which was a cup size smaller. Many anorexic girls mark their “triumphs” with smaller jeans or a number on the scale. For me it was cup size. When I got down to a C cup I felt that I was almost normal. I started to wear clothes other than baggy sweatshirts.

The boys who’d teased me were now replaced by men who tried to seduce me, or rather, my breasts. I didn’t completely comprehend this at first. They didn’t tease or crudely comment on my breasts. Instead they’d cloak their desire to see my breasts as interest in me. It took some horrible heartbreak to learn these men were not interested in me, they were interested in my breasts. They did not find me attractive, they didn't care about me or my personality, they just liked my boobs. I felt stupid, ashamed and indignant that a) men could be as shallow, hurtful and stupid and b) that I was naive and stupid enough to not see through them from the get-go.

I started wearing loose shirts again and lost another 17 pounds. At this point I was fasting three days/week. I ate every other day. And still the boobs were filling C cups to the rims. At the worst point I was 53 pounds underweight.

Eventually I got so malnourished that I was sick. Really sick. If I used my asthma inhaler I’d get dry heaves – there was nothing to throw up – and that would make me dizzy and I’d pass out. I knew I was sick, that it was more than a bout of asthma but I didn’t want to see a doctor. A doctor would make me eat.

Eventually I collapsed and was hospitalized with double pneumonia. The attending physician sized me up and knew I had anorexia. He treated the pneumonia and wouldn’t let me leave hospital until I gained 15 pounds. He spent a lot of time talking to me about health and fitness and how fragile the balance is – and how ridiculous and unattainable the modern image of the ideal woman is and how sad it is that intelligent women fall prey to media images. He told me he’d bring me anything I wanted to eat - non-hospital food. It had been so long since I’d eaten “real” food. I’d been forcing away cravings for so long that I didn’t even know what I liked to eat.

Every day he brought in something different and would make me try it. When I was well enough to talk without coughing up what appeared to be vital organs I confided my plight to him. All of it, including the breast issues. He’d been treating my lungs, listening to them, he’d seen my breasts. I figured he knew better than just about anyone what I was dealing with in that area.

We talked a lot about the negative attention my boobs garnered. We talked about what purpose boobs serve. We talked about how stupid men can be. We talked about how competitive women can be. We talked about how insecure both genders are. We talked about what I wanted to do with my life. My goals, my dreams, my hopes, my interests, my likes and dislikes. None of my aspirations or likes involved anything remotely to do with men who covet large breasts or women who criticize other women. Nothing I enjoyed or wanted to try required smaller breasts. Anyone who was petty and superficial enough to use, hurt, insult or judge me by my breasts was not worthy of a second of my time or consideration. When we talked, when he pointed out those obvious facts, I felt reassured and relieved. I knew all of that all along, but no one else had ever confirmed any of it.

My breasts were either a source of negative attention or were simply not discussed in polite company. Finally someone, a man, no less, spoke the realistic and sane perspective on breasts. My breasts. This guy was probably 15 years older than me, intelligent, funny, kind, educated and respectful. I trusted him and I trusted his opinion. I thought, “Okay, this guy respects me. He’s an intelligent, kind man. The sort of guy I’d want to date. If he feels this way surely there are others like him.” I started eating. He saved my life and I’m grateful for his intervention and help.

I went back to work and grad school. I gained a few pounds and within a few weeks was right back up to a D cup. I focused on being healthy. Eating healthy. Exercising healthy. Gaining muscle and energy. Feeling healthy. For the first time since they “grew in” I thought of my breasts in terms of their function. One day those boobs would nourish a baby or two. I thought of them as useful, purposeful and for the first time ever: I still didn’t see the need for such large ones, but I was proud of what they would one day do for my babies. I wanted to be healthy so they would be healthy so my eventual babies would be healthy. (Cue The Circle of Life.)

A few months later, as if on cue, I met a guy who wasn’t a “boob guy.” He liked my personality. It was the first sane, rational, healthy, respectful dating relationship I’d ever had with a man. He liked me. When he talked to me he looked at me, my eyes, not my boobs. When I talked he listened to what I was saying, and gave thoughtful responses. When he touched me he touched my hand, my arm, my face, my neck, my waist – and never “slipped” and “accidentally” touched my breasts. He encouraged me to gain weight. We cooked meals together and I learned to enjoy food again. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.

And then we broke up. For a lot of reasons.

Then I moved. And moved on.

Many years later via a friend of a friend, he contacted me. And we talked. I found out one of the reasons on his “list” of reasons why we didn’t make it as a couple was that his friends made a lot of sexual jokes and remarks about my breasts. It bothered him that his friends were fixated on his girlfriend’s breasts. It bothered him that when we went out together other men stared at my breasts. It bothered him that women thought he was a stupid superficial man because he was dating a woman with breast implants.

Yes. My breasts embarrassed him.

When we were dating he never mentioned any of this to me. But, there he was, years later, “coming clean” about it. He said at the time he didn’t know how to approach the topic without hurting my feelings. So instead we broke up. Which hurt my feelings.

So there’s the back-story on my boobs.

I’m older and a lot more jaded and don’t care what anyone thinks about my body. Sure, I’d rather not be objectified. I'd rather not have men stare at my boobs. But I’ve learned that’s unrealistic. I do the best I can to minimize them, keep them covered and draped so as to deflect attention away from them. But if I feel like wearing a t-shirt, I wear a t-shirt. Negative attention be damned.

After HWNMNBS dumped me I was devastated. Emotionally dead. The fact that he dumped me because I’m ugly left very deep wounds. I vowed I wouldn’t let them be permanent wounds. But. As time has passed and repeatedly men tell me they’re not attracted to me (in varying tones of disgust and bluntness) I’ve learned that it wasn’t just HWNMNBS. One guy said, “Nice rack, shame about the rest of you.” It was at a concert and he was drunk so it’s not as if coming from him I was insulted. But. Remarks like that chink away and take their toll. I understand. I’ve heard it all. I know. Many, many men do not find me attractive. Okay. Whatever. I’m going to spend my life alone and loveless. I’m learning to accept that. I was dealt this set of DNA. It is what it is. And it is apparently not attractive to men. And I’m not getting any younger and whatever positive physical aspects I might have had are waning.

But. Har har. Gotta laugh at this. If I wear a t-shirt or top that isn’t loose/baggy/draped men look at my boobs. Then they look up at my face and quickly turn away and continue on their way. But. The boobs snare them for a few seconds.

Yes. It has occurred to me to put them out there more, to use them to attract men. I’ve tried it. And yes, it attracts a few men. Men who stare at women’s breasts. Men who are interested in breasts and nothing else. Men who think conversation is a necessary nuisance to get past so the real fun can begin with the boobs. I prefer to remain alone and loveless, thanks.

Complicating the boob issue is my height. At 5’11” I’m taller than a lot of men. If I wear even a 1” heel I’m 6’ tall. Very often men have to look up to me to make eye contact. My boobs are more in their line of vision than my eyes. Shorter men can’t help but “notice” my boobs. It can be awkward and embarrassing for everyone involved. If the guy is polite and bothers to try to pay attention to me and not my boobs, the resulting awkwardness pretty much kills all hope for getting to know each other. One shorter man I met via an online dating site finally just came out and said, “I didn’t think this height difference through as well as I should have, I don’t think this is going to work out…” he nodded toward my chest calling my attention to the fact that his chin was exactly at cleavage level.

Apart from dating issues I don’t mind, now, that I have them. I still wish they were smaller. I wish instead of noticing my breasts people would notice my brain, my creativity, my eyes or my smile. I wish I didn't have to compensate or make adjustments to some of the things smaller breasted women don't even have to consider.

They’re a pain at the gym – even a mild clip on the treadmill requires wearing two jogging bras. Buying blouses is difficult – I have to buy tops to fit my boobs, which means going up a couple sizes larger than the rest of me. And forget trying to find a dress that fits without a ton of tailoring. Bathing suit shopping is universally dreaded, but adding a long torso and disproportionate boobs to the equation makes for comedy worthy of the good seasons on Saturday Night Live.

The pretty, dainty bras sold at popular shops aren’t made in my size. Or, rather, the few pretty dainty ones which are made in my size don’t do anything a bra is supposed to do. One of the popular “intimates” stores has a special drawer in the back of the store for women my size. Yes. They hide the bra, singular, they have one style of bra for us, in a drawer in the back of the store. It’s not a pretty bra. It’s not dainty or sexy or lacy or see-through. It’s not quite as bad as a ‘50s Sears catalog bra, but it’s close. And even that bra at that store doesn’t really “work.” It’s better than the ridiculous lack of support and accentuation the other bras they try to pass off as my size offer, but, that’s not saying much. So instead I buy utilitarian bras which are packaged in boxes (as opposed to pretty dainty little hangers) and conjure images of Communist regime work camps and “mature” women named Helga.

My breast exams are always a treat, I do them in the shower while conditioning my hair. I get a really deep condition treatment on breast exam days. I often wonder and worry if I've missed a spot. When a doctor does it it takes so long it gets kind of awkward laying there for a prolonged period of time while she works away at my breasts. But I’m used to it, now. I don’t really mind anymore. The compensations I make and the negative attention they attract is just part of my life. I’m used to it. They are bigger than average. I should expect it. So far my back and neck are pain-free. Apparently I can carry them, I am built to handle them.

It's becoming obvious I won't be a mother. I won't have babies and my breasts will not perform the function they're intended to perform. The reason, their reason, which gave me perspective and solace, won't be actualized. The sting and sorrow of not having children is amplified twice as much. Not only am I trying to accept and come to some sort of peace with not having children, I have to find other forms of solace in "dealing" with my breasts. There they are, ready and waiting...and waiting...and waiting...the biology which I found so much comfort and pride in is losing its purpose and hence its calming influence on me. They're no longer sources of life and nourishment for my babies. They're just boobs.

Why all this boob talk? Why not? Why the fascination with boobs? Why not demystify them?

Plus, I forgot to post this in October for breast cancer month. ooops. I'm such a boob sometimes.

3:25 PM

Tuesday, November 11, 2008  

Being an indie filmmaker is hard.

The Barack Obama Owes Me Money project is stalled due to a lack of funding. And resources. And time.

Renting equipment and people who know how to use it is really expensive. I have a new…something, I’m not sure what…a new awareness, I guess, for publicity and media desperate “stars” who hire crews to follow them around for a day. It ain't cheap. Or easy. Getting equipment is very expensive, hiring a crew to use it is even more expensive. If you're down, and out, and desperate enough to want or "need" to resort to that sort of publicity you can't be on your last $20. You have to at least have some goods to pawn to hire the crew.

I’ve always admired the pioneering and creative spirits who toil away at their project, driven by creativity, integrity and a diet of Ramen noodles. The ones who see it through to the end and make great, well, okay, good, films on shoestring budgets with no studio or commercial or trust fund financial backing. Real independents. Not the faux independents. The real independents who have day jobs, a second weekend/night job, crappy apartments and barely running cars because every penny they earn goes toward The Project.

The internet is a boon to those filmmakers. (Thanks, Al Gore.) Remember The Blair Witch Project? All internet. Minimal investment compared to studio films. It looks cheesy and stupid, now, but, back then it was huge. And heck yes, I paid money to see it – and heck, yes, I got a couple good scares. YouTube gives those types of filmmakers a free venue to showcase or premier their films. There are a ton of “film in progress” YouTubers who post segments of their film as they are able to shoot it. Beware: Some of those “indie” filmmakers are actually backed by studios or commercial sponsors. Not a big deal unless you don’t like being taken in by gimmicks. If you were a) surprised and b) bothered to learn that LonelyGirl was actually a paid actress, then the faux indie films aren’t for you. YouTube is a buyer beware, swim at your own risk zone.

I thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I actually tried to make Barack Obama Owes Me Money?” After a couple glasses of wine with MAF it started to sound like a really funny idea. It also sounded viable, what with YouTube and everything. Make it super cheap and cheesy. Which isn’t a problem for me. I’m the real deal. I’m authentic. I have no money. I have no choice but to make it cheap and cheesy. Authentically cheap and cheesy.

MAF and I outlined a to-do list.

1) Procure video recording equipment.
2) Send Barack Obama a copy of my $20 assessment fee for security during election night.
3) Wait for the check to arrive.
4) Video the glorious day the check arrives.
5) Find out where the election campaign financial headquarters is.
6) Call them and ask if they received my request for reimbursement.
7) Wait for response.
8) Request a meeting with Obama.
9) Wait for response.

That's as far as we got.

Yes. There’s a lot of waiting in this film. A lot of downtime. I figure I can fill in with all the ways the financial hardship of having to pay an extra $20 assessment effects my life, play out the what-if scenarios. A friend calls and wants to go to dinner. I can’t go because I had to pay an extra $20 assessment. I miss the opportunity to meet the friend’s husband’s brother-in-law who’s looking to hire someone exactly like me for a great job. Or, my online dating profile expires because I had to pay an extra $20, and finally, a great guy, Mr. Right, tries online dating and I miss the opportunity to meet him because my membership expired. Or, there’s a charity raffle for a new car but because I had to pay an extra $20 assessment I could only buy one raffle ticket. Had I bought two I would have won the car – the ticket sold after mine was the winner. Or, I’m $20 shy of the rental fee for decent video equipment and so I can’t shoot my indie movie and someone else takes my idea, launches a website, gets some buzz, shows it at Cannes and Sundance, makes enough money to quit their miserable day job and starts a charitable organization doing good all over the world and lives a life of a charitable, at times eccentric and sometimes reclusive philanthropist.

It’s not only a study in the bureaucratic process, it’s the age-old story telling technique of exploring: What if I hadn’t done this? What might have happened? Or not? What if being a day late and a dollar short (or $20 short) really does give someone else the opportunity to live the life you want, and could have had…if you weren’t a day late and a dollar short (or $20). It’s not about blame, it’s about choices. It’s not about fate, it’s about time. It’s not about failure, it’s about consequences. It’s not about Obama, it’s about the ramifications of unfulfilled promises.

No, you won’t find a lot of hope in this film And sure, it’s formulaic. But c’mon. It’s all been done. Ask Sylvester Stallone, George Lucas or the makers of the Saw movies if they are concerned about being formulaic.

So. Here’s my first hurdle. #1 on the list. Procuring video recording equipment. I have two cameras with video functionality. But. The sound is worse than cheap – and not in a cool indie film kind of way. In an annoying, “Huh? What did she say?” kind of way.

I have my dad’s 12-year-old video camera. In its day it was a good camera. But. Its day was 12 years ago. It’s not digital. Okay. Sure. That hurdle can be overcome, but not without more equipment and work and time. Equipment and time that I do not have.

I thought, briefly, about animating it.

Ahhhh, now, see, that would be something, wouldn’t it? An animated mockumentary. I’ve dabbled with animation software. I don’t actually own any, but I have access to it. And I’ve dabbled. Way back when, in the olden days when I was in college, I made an animated short feature. It was a long, labor intensive project which took an entire semester, all the school’s editing resources and resulted in a 3 minute clip. Times have changed and I’ve tried to at least read articles about animation developments, but I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of knowledge in that area. Nor do I have access to cutting edge technology. I only have access to dull edged technology.

And I dunno. It might lose some of its gritty punch.

So here I am, back where I started. Or, actually, I never really started. Which I guess means I’m just back. Way back. End of the line.

I could “shop” my idea. Write it up and send it out to all those studio execs who are always looking for something new and different…but…then…whoops, there goes the integrity.

And, har har, slight challenge there…I don’t actually know any studio execs who are looking for an indie mockumentary idea about Obama’s election night party promises and one citizen's literal interpretation and her attempt to get $20 from Barack Obama.

So, using my college animation short as an equation model, in 25 years (if I’m diligent and pursue this with dogged determination and single-minded focus) I might have a 30 minute mockumentary. You might want to set your fare watchers to France and Utah for the year 2033. It’ll be cool to be at the premier and say, “I remember reading about this on Trillian’s blog 25 years ago.”

MAF thinks I should make t-shirts, coffee mugs and tote bags and give them away as donation premiums, like on PBS. And sure, there is a certain “Frankie Says Relax”-ness to “Barack Obama Owes Me Money.” But people are so in love with him I’m not sure they’d be willing to risk the possible controversy. No one will say anything funny or remotely negative about Obama, let alone wear a t-shirt or sport a tote bag or coffee mug which could be construed as critical of Obama.

So. I dunno. Maybe I’ll test the market. Watch this space.

1:44 PM

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