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.

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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, January 09, 2010  
Go cat, go.

3:13 PM

Thursday, January 07, 2010  
And so, the new year, the new decade begins with Trillian wondering what the heck she's going to do. About everything.

Building a reputation is a myth. What you've done in the past, especially in the form of steadily growth, is meaningless and is forgotten in a nanosecond.

Is it just me or is this a Universal truth that I'm just now learning to accept?

I was exemplary employee. Reliable. Responsible. A team player. Dedicated. Crap, loyal to the bitter end. Arrived early, stayed late, worked weekends. Dealt with the difficult clients no one else wanted to handle. Took on projects far removed from my job description. Went to the less than glamorous locations for business trips without complaining when I could have made a valid argument for sending a more junior staffer to those smaller clients in far flung locations. No matter the profit margin or exposure a client's project offered, I gave it my all, I treated every project, every client, as if they were spending a ton of money on a global campaign. The result is that a lot of small, low-budget companies have image and branding that rivals the Big Guys. I didn't have to do that, I could have phoned it in, knocked out some pedestrian art school 101 imaging and they'd have been just as happy. But I didn't and it wasn't about my ego or pride. Integrity? Yes. It was about my integrity. I'm not a half-ass kind of person. You do your job and you do your best. Period. That's just how I am. But ultimately it was for the client, for their integrity. Their image, their business, their marketing. It wasn't just a job for me, I invested myself in the client's business, I wanted to help them look good and succeed in their marketing. That's why I endured the crap from my boss, the bull shit from my coworkers, the office politics nonsense that rivaled a junior high school cafeteria clique. They wore me down sometimes, but I was always buoyed by the higher purpose, the ultimate reason I was there: The clients.

I know, I know, that sounds great, what a great employee. You want to hire me, don't you? Or maybe you work with someone like me and find her dedication and integrity and purpose driven attitude annoying. Either way, someone like that, someone who proves herself and her loyalty over a course of several years, "should" be kept on board even in the midst of huge lay-offs, right?


What I did, all that I did, for many years, counted for nothing. I was let go, laid off, and kicked out. All those late nights, vending machine dinners, crappy red-eye flights and demanding client meetings...mean nothing. It pains me to admit that my slacker, bad-attitude, unprofessional coworkers who were more wrapped up in where to have their two hour lunch and evaporating at 4:30 to make their train every day no matter what and refused to work with the clients they deemed less sexy got more out of the company than I did. They took advantage of the situation and didn't compromise their goals. They wanted long lunches, the early train home and impressive clients on their resume, and that's what they got.

I got laid off. My unwavering loyalty and dedication to the projects and clients meant, and mean, nothing. It was a waste of time. I certainly wasn't earning a cushy salary, in fact we were in an indefinite salary freeze for two years. (Were I still employed I'd be looking at no pay increase until at least 2011, so, ultimately staying there would have caused me a lot of financial hardship, too.) So why? Why give so much of myself when I got so little in return?

That's just how I am. It's my personality. Knowing what I know now I would do everything the same. I know that should disturb me, bother me, scare me, convince me to seek counseling. But it doesn't. The alternative is to emerge tougher and more selfish. Bitter, jaded, cynical, disloyal and give far less of myself.



Even if I could pull that off, I wouldn't want to.

I'd like to think there's a happy medium. Strike a comfortable balance that works for everyone involved. I'm working on that. But it's tough - it seems to be all or nothing. When you're the type of person whose default setting is, "Do your best, don't compromise your integrity because you're being paid in good faith to do your best," it's really difficult to reset to, "meh, whatever, marginal effort and creativity are okay, they're not paying you that much and they won't know the difference anyway."

But. All those years only to be laid off, ultimately amounting to nothing, are nagging at me. For what? For what? Nothing except a meager paycheck that barely covered living expenses. I thought I was building a career, or at the very least a solid reputation. Pffft. Nah. One of my slacker former coworkers has been hired by a great company to do a job he is absolutely not qualified to handle. He has a notoriously bad reputation for not making deadlines and rescheduling client meetings. And yet, three months after we were laid off he was hired and I, the one who built a good reputation, was, and remain, unemployed. The company who hired him also got in touch with me. I was considered for the job and he and I both knew it. And we both knew I had a solid track record of professionalism and he...didn't. I won't say I thought I had the job in the bag, but, I did think that if the choice came down to us two that I would be chosen. My suspicion was that they wouldn't hire either of us. I was waiting to hear from them, expecting a rejection letter, when I got a Christmas card from my former coworker. Sure enough, he got the job.

Ouch? Oh yes.

My former company is losing clients since I left but even now, even after "what they did to me," I'm not feeling smug. I feel bad that the clients were treated so badly that they pulled their account and went elsewhere. Other former clients have approached me to do some work on the sly for them. There are issues around this and we all have to be careful to not breach any contractual rules. The company who hired my former coworker left over a year ago so there weren't any "contractual concerns." But. In respect to some of the others who've contacted me, ultimately I feel "bad" about going behind the back of my former company.

I know, I know, integrity isn't going to pay my mortgage. I know. Okay? I know. But. I'm losing enough sleep at night, I don't need to add a spiral into moral decline to the list of things keeping me awake at night. Even though it clearly doesn't matter to anyone else, I did build a solid reputation of professionalism. No one else cares about it, and many people even find fault with it. ("you need to be more cut-throat, look out for yourself and no one else") But. What disturbs me is that in the blink of an eye, one word, "yes," to a former client who is still under contract with my former company, I could annihilate years of my professional reputation. And there could be lawsuits. So. You know. There's that.

But what really scares me is how quickly all those years of working and building could be obliterated. Sure, when it came time to lay off employees no one cared about the effort and loyalty I put into that job so why should I care about them? I don't, really. But I do care about me and for some bizarre reason I'm still concerned about my professional integrity and reputation. I know, silly me.

Dating. Uggggh. Why uggggh? Because it's me. And men. And dating. And I suck at it.

Or do I?

Obviously my perpetually single status, lack of interested men, and lack of sex would lead me and everyone else to conclude that I suck at dating.

Fair enough.

And yet...why?

Why do I suck at dating? Hmmmmm. I spent a lot of time trying to answer that question in hopes of learning and then not sucking at dating.

Here's the thing. I'm a really, really, really good girlfriend. And that's not just me and some weirdo skewed false perception.

All the effort and loyalty I gave to my job/career? Yeah, that's what I give to relationships. I'm supportive, fun, loyal, up for adventure, down with staying home, genuine, sincere, compassionate, and giving. I'm polite and considerate to their bosses and parents, fun-loving and a little raucous with their friends. I don't nag, I don't mind a dirty sock or two on the floor, I don't make demands or give ultimatums, and I'm not averse to trying new things in bed...

Every former boyfriend will at least vouch for this: I'll stroke his ego when appropriate, laugh at his jokes - really laugh at them - and I'm trustworthy beyond all realm of imagination, and yes, it's been tested, and yes, I passed the test. And when I discovered it was a test I was appropriately offended but kept my anger in check and instead talked about why he felt a need to test me - had I done or said something to make him feel insecure in the stability of our relationship? I then stroked his ego, and by ego I mean penis and assured him that he was The Man. I know, see? I think I'm a pretty darned good girlfriend. A guy goes so far as to test my trustworthiness, manipulates a situation and me, and instead of getting mad and huff away all indignant I assert my intelligence and feelings by acknowledging that what he did was offensive to me, but talk about it, get to the heart of the matter without humiliating him.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was smart like me?

Apparently not.

That guy, like all the others, eventually broke up with me. Turns out he was the one who couldn't be trusted.

I'm a relationship kind of girl. Even with the 50 First Date project and the "just go out and meet new people" attitude, the fact is that if I like a man and he likes me and we want to date (and yes, this is dusting off cobwebs of my memory because it's been so long...) I commit to it. I go forward with the attitude that we're building a relationship. To be clear, I'm not talking about looking at bridal magazines after two dates. I'm talking after several dates and/or months and clear indication that there's forward momentum, that "we" are becoming a "we" and want to continue to see each other. I'm in it to build a good, strong, healthy partnership. In spite of my horrendous abysmality in dating since HWNMNBS, prior to (and including) him I had some good relationships. Obviously they didn't work out in the end, but, I have sustained some long term relationships which were good until they went bad. I am capable of being in and maintaining a long term relationship with a man. Or. Well. I used to be.

Now apparently not. Or. The bigger issue is that I don't meet men who like me or are attracted to me. (One really good thing about not dating, not even attempting to meet men, is that you never, ever have to hear a guy say, "There's just no spark." I have no idea what sort of ignition, fuel, oxygen and heat men need to combust, but apparently I don't have it. I notice petite 22-year-old blonds fuel a lot of sparks.) So. You know, okay. That's that. So much for love and partnership and sharing and not being lonely and mating and building a relationship together.

But when I think about how much I put into past relationships I think, "why?" Why was I so loyal and trustworthy, when back then, I had 'opportunities?'" Ultimately those guys broke up with me anyway. I could have had a few "interesting" liaisons if I hadn't been loyal and trustworthy. Instead I stayed true to myself, true to my men and true to the relationship we were building. No regrets at the time, and really, not even now.

But why? Given that the end result is that I'm alone and lonely, I should regret not seizing opportunities when I had them. Had any of those relationships worked out for the long haul I would very, very, very smugly and staunchly hold my head high and proud over my trustworthiness and dedication to the man and the relationship. I'd say, "Fooling around on the side might seem harmless and fun, but I'm here to tell you it's so much better to focus all your attention on the one man who matters most to you. You build a strong relationship by establishing trust, without it you have nothing." That's what I'd say because that's how I want to feel. But having been burned, badly, I know I have no credibility in touting that theory. I get the response of, "You were trustworthy and did everything right and he dumped you anyway."

So yeah. Even though I've had some long term relationships, I don't know anything about relationships. Which is why, for a while there, I contemplated a life of sleeping around, not giving anything of myself other than my vagina. Unappealing to me. Not that I had opportunities anyway.

One of my friends thinks I have a wall around my heart since HWNMNBS. I disagree. A wall keeps people out and me in. That's not how I am. I let people in and I get out. Occasionally. I do get out. Even in my unemployment I'm not barricading myself.

But. I do have suit of armor around my heart since HWNMNBS. I'm willing to ride out into the fray, but, now I'm at least wearing protection. The weak spot in the armor is the knowledge that I spent a lot of time and emotion building what I thought were good, long term relationships only to have all that time and established trust mean: Nothing. I was deemed completely insignificant, useless and unnecessary. Even though I did everything "right" and even though men swear up and down I possess every quality they want in a woman (smart, funny, genuine, nice but not too nice, kind...the list goes on and on) ultimately they want more or: There's no spark. Okay, that's life. Love is always, always a gamble and everyone is at risk of getting hurt. But. To have all the time I spent building those relationships end up meaningless has been nagging at me lately. It really was all for nothing. It was all completely insignificant.

Ouch. Ouch.

Years, years of paying bills on time, establishing credit, sometimes forgoing food in order to pay bills on time, never, ever so much as a day late with a rent or mortgage payment...but does it matter? Nope. Lose your job, call your credit card company and explain your unemployed situation to them and see how quickly they forget 10 years of on time payments. The conventional advice from "experts" is that when you find yourself unemployed or in a financial "situation" that you call your credit card company, explain the situation and work out a revised payment plan. So I did that. Those nice people who every other month for the past 10 years sent me offers for more and different lines of credit are unwilling to "work with me" through this difficult financial period. 10, almost 11 years of a perfect payment record means nothing, nothing. I don't have much of a balance on the card but even that doesn't mean anything. They want their money and they want it now, on time, just like I've given it to them for 10 years. No leeway on this.

And further, they raised my interest rate to 32%. Oh yes, you read that correctly, 32%. When I first got the card the rate was 4%. A few years ago it went up to 9%. I considered changing credit card companies, called to cancel my account, and, so eager to keep a good customer like me on board they lowered my rate to 5%. Last month my statement came with a note on the bottom (in miniscule type) informing me that the reason my balance increased so much is due to the fact that my interest rate has been raised to 32%.

10, almost 11 years of absolutely perfect credit and a low balance means nothing - nothing. I might as well have maxed out the card and defaulted on it. The regulation laws coming into effect in February are obviously prompting a lot of this, I understand credit card companies are in business to make money, lots of money, and they're in a "grab whatever you can and run" mentality right now.* I get that. Customer service isn't exactly foremost on their mind, and customers who are unemployed and struggling (but trying) to make payments are the sick and elderly of the herd that the credit card jackals are preying upon. I get that.

But in hind sight, now that I've been wounded and now under attack, I kind of regret that I was such a good girl. When I think about the times I literally didn't eat in order to pay my credit cards on time it makes me sick. For what? For what? Instead of forgoing food I might as well have been running up a huge balance and not paying it on time. Ultimately I would have ended up...exactly where I am now.

My mortgage company has been slightly, ever so slightly, more "sympathetic." Obviously they stand to have a greater problem on their hands than the credit card company. They don't want to get stuck with a condo in a building where there are already four foreclosures. But still...all that advice you hear from credible experts about "working with" your mortgage company? Yeah. Uhhhh. Just for fun, call your mortgage company and tell them you lost your job and see what happens. I am avoiding foreclosure on a month-to-month basis. Barely. The mortgage company isn't "helping" me or cutting me slack, they're simply willing to delay foreclosure proceedings a few months and if/when I get a job I'll have to pay a ton of extra interest or extend my mortgage payments by a few years. They're not benevolently helping me out of the kindness of their heart and sympathy for my situation. Ultimately they're profiting from it. I've paid my rent and mortgage on time, usually early my entire adult life. And it counts for nothing. I'm no better off than people who pay late.

I know, I know, you're saying, "Yeah, but Trill, your credit history will show that this all happened in a short period time, it's a temporary blip, it will be obvious something out of the ordinary happened. So you are better off than people who never pay on time." Hmmmmm. We'll see. Time will tell. I kinda doubt it.

I was physically active my entire life. An energetic kid who swam and rode bikes and hiked and zealously embraced all that a playground had to offer. When I got older I kept active - rode bikes, hiked, went to the gym, worked out with weights, kept fit, you know, not crazy buff but fit. I broke my ankle and foot, tore a tendon, suffered terminal nerve damage, had to cut back on the activity, and blam! the lifetime of fitness counted for nothing. Okay, maybe it counted for something, heart health, I suppose. But sheesh, it is amazing how quickly I lost muscle and tone. And keep in mind, throughout all of this foot and ankle ordeal I have kept as active as possible. My physical therapists said I push myself a lot harder than other people in "my situation." And yet...all those years of activity and fitness don't show - looking at me struggling in pain limping along at a snail's pace on a treadmill or seeing me lose my balance and fall walking down a smooth sidewalk you'd never guess that until a few years ago I was strong and fit. All those years of physical effort, pushing myself harder all for the sake of health and strength were: wasted.

Okay, maybe not totally wasted, I have a healthy (albeit broken and armored) heart. But still. It doesn't count for much and unless I find a way to kick it up more notches the little bit of physical activity I can manage isn't going to be enough - I will start to reap the effects of reduced activity. It's not about losing what some used to call killer gams. It's about not getting enough cardio to keep my heart healthy and strong.

When I think about all the time (years, years) logged on bikes and treadmills and stretching and toning and contorting and look at myself, now, it's staggeringly incongruous. How is it possible to build such a strong body over years and lose it so quickly? Do I regret the time spent in physical activity? No...not really...but then again...had I known what I know now I might have opted for a few more drinks after work instead of a yoga or spinning class. I might have taken a vacation lounging around galleries and going to a spa rather than always opting for hiking and active adventures. I might have been slightly more accepting of my hips and butt instead of spending hours climbing nowhere on a stairmaster.

Because what I'm finally realizing is that most things that are supposed to matter, things that consume our time, dedication and effort, become meaningless. And it happens fast. Doing a good job, paying bills, building a relationship, taking care of your body are where we're supposed to put our energy and effort and it's supposed to matter, they're significant, important and worthwhile pursuits. But. In the blink of an eye I lost my job, got bad credit, failed in relationships and lost physical strength and health. Justlikethat. All the years of effort, dedication and doing the right thing don't matter. My employer, my creditors, my boyfriends and my body don't care that I spent years working hard and doing right by them. What I did in the past doesn't matter now, there's no resting on laurels.

What surprises me as I assess all this is that I'm apparently one of the few who didn't know this is a natural law of the Universe. I look at my former employer, creditors, boyfriends, and body and feel betrayed. "After all I did for you????" But it's not that I'm being betrayed. It's just life. The "make minimal effort, grab all you can, screw whomever you have to in order to get what you want and take no prisoners" attitude is the way to avoid betrayal. I see that now. I don't like it, but I understand that's how it works.

I know, I know, you'll point out loads of examples to the contrary. You'll say, "Yeah, but integrity, Trill, integrity, doing the right thing, that's what matters." Believe me, I know. I used to be that way, too. I used to, you know, believe that putting in genuine dedication for all the right reasons was its own reward. Deeply fulfilling and all that. And it was. Until, in one instant, everything changes. And then all that time and effort and purposeful dedication mean nothing.

So here I I rededicate myself to a new way of being, a new way of operating, thinking and functioning? Refuse to dedicate myself to anything or anyone? Throw out the suit of armor and wall myself in?

Using relationships as a study model, I'm "happier" since giving up on a relationship with a man. I'm not getting rejected or hurt or betrayed. That's good. I like that. Those are all positives. And I'm not wasting time in a meaningless, empty, lonely, painful pursuit. But. I am lonely. There's an infinitessimal teeeeeny tiny part of me that occasionally...hopes. (usually after a couple glasses of wine on a long, dark night) So the leopard hasn't really changed her spots. She's just repressed them, deeply.

If I refuse to dedicate myself to a company or job, I won't get laid off. I won't have money to pay my way, either, but since my mortgage company and creditors have already written me off, does it even matter? I'm starting realize the sad answer is: No. But there are the long, dark nights when the teeeeny tiny bit of hope sneaks in and makes you think, "well, would be nice...I did like was nice to have a roof over my head..."

The bigger issue I'm struggling with is how to change. How to be apathetic, how to not want to be dedicated and responsible. How do you honestly change your spots instead of just repressing them, especially when your spots are the socially acceptable, centuries-old standard virtuous spots? It's one thing for a "bad" person to see the light and turn themselves and their life around. We like that. Redemption is hard earned but when someone really makes big changes for the better, starts towing the socially acceptable line, we like that. But what about the other way around? What about a good person turning bad? We see this in villains all the time. It's the same old story, nice kid/guy/office girl gets deeply betrayed and turns evil. But in the end, as they lay dying, there's some moment of innocence, recognition, a nod to who they really are, deep down, the nice kid/guy/office girl re-emerges in a touching death scene. Redemption and all that. They didn't really change, they were just frustrated/scared/bullied into different behaviors.

What I need is advice on how to really, truly, absolutely change. I need to not care.

I'm not talking about being apathetic toward other people. I love doling out metaphoric blankets of compassion, sympathy and understanding. I love that. And I don't care that I'm getting very little compassion and understanding in return. That's the beauty of the Snuggie® of compassion - even when someone gives you a Snuggie® you don't really want it, but you know someone who secretly wants or needs one and it's nice to have one to give them. (I'm tellin' ya, if I can't find a job, soon, I'm going to hit the airport hotel seminar circuit with this metaphoric Snuggie® thing.) I want to care about other people. I just don't want to care about myself. Truly not care. I mean, really, honestly, completely rid myself of care over myself, my future and my life. Not just a wild weekend or two of debauchery and carelessness, I mean just completely not care. The way my former company, my creditors, my former boyfriends and my body don't care about me. Take their lead and follow suit. My dedication, loyalty, hard work and responsibility meant nothing, nothing. Callously, flippantly, apathetically rid themselves of me without a second of hesitation or acknowledgment of what I gave them for so many years. If they can be so apathetic toward me, after all I gave them, surely I can be apathetic about me, too. I'm sure there has to be a way, people, someone, must have done this. I don't mean the whole hippie drop-out and live on a commune kind of apathy. I mean truly not care about yourself. I suspect most of the crazy homeless people know the secret.

Which begs the question: Are they the crazy ones?

*Gotta warn you of a scam going on from the inside of credit card companies - MONITOR YOUR CREDIT CARD ACTIVITY EVERY DAY. I paid off one of my other credit cards, the one I used for work travel expenses only, when I got laid off. I put the card away and forgot about it. Until I got my statement a month later and discovered $3,800 charged 7 hours after I paid off the card. 22 consecutive charges in 35 minutes to the same place, get this, "The Hookah Market" in California. (How is it possible to spend $3,800 on hookahs? Are they that expensive?) And 10 consecutive charges to an online porn site. I kid you not. (That I understand and was actually kind of surprised "only" $800 was charged to the porn site.) My fault for not checking my account activity every day. I had to jump through some hoops with the fraud department, but, one of the managers admitted it was an inside job and immediately removed the charges, closed the account, opened a new account and gave me a $100 prepaid gift card for my trouble. Yes. They tried to placate me with $100. After the charges were removed I checked my account every day and sure enough, I was charged a month of interest on the $3,800. I complained, again, and finally got the interest removed. Now that it's all over I can laugh about the hookahs, and the initial phone calls I made about the fraud. The customer service center is in India. The fraudulent charges were for hookahs. Do the math. Had I not been in a state of panic and anger over being robbed the comedic aspect of that conversation was priceless. Someday I'll tell you about it. But for now, monitor your credit card activity like a hawk. The credit card companies have hired a lot of temporary employees in the past few months as they ramp up their last minute gouging efforts before the new laws go into effect. Some less than honest people have been employed in this frenzy, they know it's a temp job, and they have access to your credit card info. You have been warned.

9:24 AM

Sunday, January 03, 2010  
Okay. So. Here's the thing.

I realize I'm in a weird state of general confusion lately and I realize I'm not all hip and I realize I'm not really into big budget epic dramatizations. I am fully aware of all of this. And more.


Can we talk?


What the...???

I am one of the privileged millions who scored an IMAX 3D ticket to see Avatar. Don't be too impressed. I'm not the camp out for tickets type. My friend's mother scored the tickets by procuring them a week in advance.

So. At 9AM my friend, her mother and my 8-year-old godson arrived at the theater. My friend and godson arrived the night prior from three time zones away and were still in that bleary-eyed state of jet-lagged daze. And then...crash bang wallop we were wearing big funny glasses sitting in an auditorium with a huge screen.

This was to be big fun, the air was tinged with palpable anticipation. Like at a big rock concert. People were giddy and trembling with excitement.

And then the movie started.

A three hour tour, a three hour tour...

Spoiler alert.

Turns out the Smurf's tree house is planted on top of a rare and coveted mineral that apparently made them grow really tall. Which makes me think the mineral is a steroid. Phoebe's brother (from Friends) is now working for a mining company who wants the coveted mineral so he can make bazillions of dollars. The Marines sent a few good men to enforce order. The Smurfs, who, along with growing taller, have also grown attitudes. (But they still live in a magic forest, love their tree, speak a funny language and ride big birds. Some things never change. Oh those Smurfs.) Unfortunately the other inhabitants of the forest have been affected by the mineral (steroid), too. Gargamel's mean cat Azreal has now grown in size and shape similar to a rhinoceros and has a tough armor coating. And the Smurfs are not only wary of humans, they now cop attitudes against them. I guess because now that they're taller the fear and shyness has turned to hostility and aggression. Which also leads me to think the coveted mineral under their tree is actually a steroid.

This is where the sequel to Born on the Fourth of July portion of Avatar begins. Kovic, who, gratefully is not played by Tom Cruise this time around, is back suited up as a Marine ready to take on the Smurfs and help get at those steroids under the Smurf tree. He had a twin brother who was a scientist studying the Smurfs. The brother is dead, but, thanks to the exact DNA match and a Parent Trap plot twist, Kovic can wear his brother's Smurf suit and, glory be, using his brother's Smurf suit he can walk again. Among the Smurfs.

There's a film making rule that states: "Any theatrical dramatization including space travel in sleep coffins and giant beings shall feature Sigourney Weaver wearing a tank top and an attitude." So, enter, Ripley, who also has a Smurf suit and walks among the Smurfs. She's studying the plant life: Giant psychedelic glowing mushrooms. Rock on. Ya know, I really do like Sigourney Weaver so I'm not complaining, but were it not for the above mentioned film making rule I have no clue why her character was in this movie and I got the feeling she felt the same way. She didn't phone it in, but, she's done it so many times in the past it's got to be wearying for her. "Save the planet blah blah blah save yourselves blah blah blah sacrifice myself for the higher purpose and greater good blah blah blah noble dignity and fade to black." It's déjà vu all over again. I think, and I get the impression Sigourney would agree, it's time to revisit the Hollywood space travel/sleep coffin code and let Sigourney off the hook with that character story arc. Like I said, love her, s'all good, but kinda pointless in this movie which gives solid evidence that the rule needs to be updated.

Meanwhile, Kovic, in his Smurf suit and new-found able-bodied nimbleness and testosterone surge, goes all forbidden love with Smurfette. Which doesn't go over well with Papa Smurf and Hefty Smurf (who was apparently betrothed to Smurfette.) And here we begin the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner/The King and I portion of the film.

Pause for a (really) long musical interlude sequence

"Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.

Getting to know you,
Putting it my way,
But nicely,
You are precisely,
My cup of tea.

Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say

Haven't you noticed
Suddenly I'm bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I'm learning about you
Day by day.

Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say

Haven't you noticed
Suddenly I'm bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I'm learning about you
Day .. by ... day."

They "go to church" and we see the Smurf mating ritual. Not as kinky as I imagined. Pretty tame. But. It's PG 13. Maybe the DVD will have bonus material.

Obviously Kovic now has a real problem on his hands. His Born on the Fourth of July protest rebel-against-the-man-he-used-to-be mindset kicks in again. Now that he's able-bodied and gettin' Smurf nooky he's questioning the need to mine the steroids and enforce order. But he took an oath to do a job. And of course he still reports to The Man.

And what a man he is.

Imagine every stereotype of a Marine you've ever seen portrayed by Hollywood since the Viet Nam era.

Yeppp, that's pretty much all you need to know about this guy.

And the last 50 minutes of the movie.

Terminator and Rambo meet Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto for a Transformers finale. Ana Lucia from LOST even tries to help Kovic and the Smurfs, but she has to get back to the flashback/flashforward nuttiness for the series finale of LOST (or do jail time, I'm pretty sure I saw her government issued ankle bracelet in one scene) so ultimately Kovic and Smurfette have to deal with Terminator The Man as Transformer on their own.

Believe it or not, this is where I felt the movie jumped the shark. Borrowing heavily from the Smurfs notwithstanding, I was going along for the ride up to this point: Armor coated rhinoceros Azreal comes in to help save the Smurfs. C'mon. He's a stupid, mean-spirited, hateful armor plated killing machine with a taste for Smurf. He's not going suddenly grow a conscience and start thinking strategically or heroically.


Good triumphs over evil, love conquers all, blah blah blah.

And yeah, that's pretty much it.

There are some great visuals, the 3D is cool, not the usual cliché 3D stuff jabbing at you, but I expected more from the floating mountains. From all the press they get I was expecting, well, something pretty incredible. They're clumps of dirt with turnip-type weeds/roots floating around. I dunno. I must have missed something that the media reporters saw. Maybe there was a smudge on my giant funny 3D glasses.

Here's my confusion with this. Yes, it's visually cool. The "Getting to Know You" scenes were stunning in parts. (I really wish they'd used "Getting to Know You" on the soundtrack. It would have been a great and apt comedic relief moment.) But. The plot is contrived, tired, and borrowed from so many already cliché themes that it's comically predictable. The acting is marginal. The characters are lame and trite and speak ridiculously trite dialog. (I'm not blaming the actors, they did the best they could with what they were given and again, props to Sigourney Weaver who did her darnedest to redeem the bad dialog.) And. We're talking overgrown Smurfs with a nod to ecological conservation, here. Ummmm. What the...???? This thing is raking in gazillions of dollars. I'm not saying it isn't "fun" or that the "message" isn't worth while.


It's kinda lame.

Could I do better? Given $500 mil I could at the very least come up with a better developed story, make a stab at something original and deeper, less trite dialog.

I realize this isn't supposed to be a deep, thinking type of movie. I get that. I understand Big Blockbuster Movies by definition are not about the plot or acting skills or well-written dialog. I know that and I arrived a the theater in my most jovial "this'll be a fun romp" frame of mind. But. Apart from the nifty visual trickery it's an insult to intelligence. It's a glorified and violent retelling of the Smurfs with an attempt at an ecological conservation message. (Seriously, if you hear someone say, "Blue people who live in a tree in a magic forest, speak a funny language and ride big birds" what do you think? Smurfs, right? Right. I'm hoping part of that $500 mil was copyright money to the Smurf creators. If not, I hope they're suing.)

Is it truly asking too much to have Big Blockbuster Visuals and a decent story and good writing? For $500 mil can't we have, don't we deserve, both?

And there's another aspect that's nagging at my conscience. The "alleged" cost to make Avatar is $500 million. $500 million. For a movie. It's now grossed over $1 billion. Billion. We're in the throes of a serious recession. We're all cutting back on expenses and many of us are not only cutting back but cutting out...and many people are losing their homes and everything in them. Charitable contributions are way, way down and many good, humane charities are no longer able to do their work for those in need. We're angered and shocked by huge government bailouts. We're also envious because no one's bailing us out on a personal level. And yet, collectively, we coughed up over $1 billion - billion - to see a retelling of the Smurfs. And worse, that $1 billion means that only half the production cost has been recouped in its release.



Sure, $500 mil isn't chump change. But. Think about it. I'll say it again. The movie has taken in box office receipts of over $1 billion and yet that's only a $500 million profit the midst of a horrible recession when people are unemployed, losing their homes, and unable to get help from reliable charities because the people who are employed cannot afford to donate to charities.

Again I say...erm...huh?

The confusion all this causes me makes my head hurt. Badly. That $1 billion shows what we can do when we all pitch in a little bit. And what collective effort did we choose?

A $500 million retelling of the Smurfs.

I don't want to go all Bono, but I find this all staggeringly disturbing.

A few days after my three hour tour, three hour tour, I took some kids to see the Chipmunks Squeekuel. And it does pain me to say this, I had more fun with dancing chipmunks than warring Smurfs. I am certain that says more about me than the movies, but, I'm just sayin'...I went into the Squeekuel expecting, well, the Squeekuel. It's not high art and it's not deeply intellectual and it's not a Big Blockbuster. It's a fun kids' movie. And I wasn't disappointed. It is a fun kids' movie. And honestly? I enjoyed it. It's fun. It's funny. And I staunchly argue that the plot is no more idiotic or contrived than Avatar and the morality lessons are no less important.

I asked my 8-year-old godson what he liked about Avatar. "The hammocks the blue people sleep in are cool. And the Transformer robot man was neat." That's it. Three hours of Big Blockbuster Extravaganza in 3D, no less, and that's the sum total of an 8-year-old's opinion. Without any conversation or prodding from me, he then started reciting several jokes from the Chipmunks Squeekuel. He liked the Squeekuel better. Sure, he's 8. That explains a lot. I apparently have the mindset of an 8-year-old. But then again, if Avatar can't impress a very impressionable 8-year-old boy, one has to it the boy or is it the movie?

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8:51 AM

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