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

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






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

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

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

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




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

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

200i: iPodyssey

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

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

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

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

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

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

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

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

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

Slanglish

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


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

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

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

Lap Dance of the Cripple

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

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

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

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

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

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

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


















 
Mail Trillian here





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

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


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

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

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

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


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



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

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




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





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







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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, May 07, 2010  
 Have you seen this?! Beaver dam visible from space

INCREDIBLE.

It's like a Pulte McMansion development - it just springs up one day, sprawling as far as the eye can see, and it all looks the same.

I wonder what the bears, moose and other displaced water animals think?

Moose to bear: "Dam it, you let one beaver in and look what happens...there goes the neighborhood."

Bear to moose: "I'm afraid to hibernate, you can't turn your back on beavers for a minute. They're crafty and eager, can't be trusted."


Moose to bear: "Yeah, I was talking to goose and he said they're having encroachment problems. They were nesting and a beaver hooked up a branch right to their nest! That's going a step too far, there are little ones involved, there. As soon as the little ones can fly they're moving and renesting outside of Edmonton."


Bear to moose: "Aw, that's a shame. I mean, you want to take a stand, but I understand why they're leaving, you're just one goose, you know? And you have to consider your family, the little ones. They grow up next door to beavers and the next thing you know they're dating them...I mean, I'm all for beaver rights, but I don't want one dating my daughter."

Moose to bear: "Yep, yep. Sad day when families are chased farther away. Soon they'll be everywhere, just one big beaver nation." 


Bear to moose: "I have a cousin down in the states, you remember, Ben? Well, he's got a nice place on protected land in Florida, one of those gated communities. We're thinking of going down there."

Labels: , , , , ,


8:03 AM

Wednesday, May 05, 2010  
Moment of silence for Ernie Harwell. If you're not a baseball fan or you're a non-Detroiter ignore this post.

The problem with good guys, strong voices that can be trusted and respected, is that they are, in fact mortal. And they die. They leave great memories, but their voices are silenced and somehow that doesn't seem, well, right. The world seems quieter, but not in a good way. A "something's missing" way.

Ernie Harwell.

Synonymous with the Tigers and Summer. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the words The Tigers or Summer is Ernie's voice coming from a small portable radio in the garage. Or car radio or transistor radios on boats and beaches. He's so woven into the fabric of summer it's an instantaneous reaction.

My dad always turned on that old, beat up portable radio in the garage as he worked in the yard and puttered around the garage in summer. If he was in the back yard, he'd make periodic treks to the garage to catch up with the game. My dad grew up a Norwegian immigrant in Minnesota. Hockey, skiing and football were the only sports that mattered up there, but he was curious about baseball, he wanted to love it because it's so American. My dad loved anything that screamed American. When GM called my dad to Detroit (also because it didn't get any more American than General Motors) he never let go of his allegiance to the Vikings, but, he latched onto the Red Wings and Tigers like a newborn baby. He was a Tigers' fan, loyal and proud. And that was due, in large part, to Ernie Harwell. When he and my mother moved to Detroit they tuned their radios into WJR. There was Ernie, announcing the games. They used to go to the games with friends. Both my parents were enthusiastic about having a home team. It fed their craving to be just like any other American. And Ernie, the voice of the Tigers, was so enthusiastic and seemed like such a nice guy...how could you not be a Tigers fan? How could you not love baseball?

Ernie's voice drifted from the radio in the garage through the screen doors and throughout the house. Other dads in the neighborhood did the same thing. So as you rode your bike around the neighborhood on a sunny early Summer afternoon, drifting on the warm breeze were the prisms of water drops spewed from sprinklers spinning in spirals, the smell of barbecues and lilacs, the sound of lawn mowers...and Ernie's voice calling the Tigers' game. As you rode between houses Ernie would fade in and out, in a sort of Doppler effect. Bucolic. It's the definition of modern bucolic.

I think of Ernie as the narrator of my childhood summers. Even though he only called Tigers' games, in my memory, in my imagination, he called my entire Summer vacation. It's his voice I hear when I think about anything related to The Tigers or Summer. "And she's off, Trillian takes to the sand, it's a lovely day here on Lake Huron, it looks like Trillian's ready for a big day, oh yes, here she goes, she's winding up, going for a third pail of water, yes, yes, that's it, she's done it! She has a moat! She made a sand castle fit for the highest nobility! Right there on the banks of Lake Huron, oh my goodness the stands are going wild!"

You know the song, "Boys of Summer?" Of course you do. I like that song. Maybe I'm weird (no comment necessary) but whenever I hear it, in the faint, distant background of the melody I swear I hear Ernie Harwell calling a Tigers' game. Logically I know it's just my imagination captured by the aural incense of a well crafted song, but still...when I mention that phenomenon to anyone from Michigan they get a faraway look in their eye and agree with me. "You're right, Trill, I do hear Ernie!" (I wonder if Glenn Frey, also a suburban Detroit native, feels the same way about his band mate's solo hit...)

One of my earliest memories is riding home from a Tigers' game in the backseat of the family Pontiac. It was a hot mid-Summer night. We'd been to a Tigers' game, possibly my first, I was probably four-years-old. The game must have gone extra innings because it was really late. I fell asleep at the game, I vaguely remember my dad carrying me out of the old Tigers' stadium and my brother protesting that I ruined everything, it wasn't fair that we had to leave early because I was tired. (As an adult I can see his point - it wasn't fair to him that his tired little sister couldn't hack an extra inning game.)

As we drove on I-75 there was a moment of sensual serendipity that has stayed with me ever since. It is my happy place. When I can't sleep, when I'm stressed (which is a lot, these days) I take a second to go to my happy place, and this is it, this is the one safe, beautiful, happy place I rely on to calm me.

I was pulled out of my drowsy backseat slumber by my mother gently saying to my dad, "Oh look, the Northern Lights are spectacular tonight." I vaguely remember seeing her gently reach over and touch my dad's elbow, her arm silhouetted against the dashboard lights. Back then (which makes me sound really old, "Back then...") once you got a few miles out of the city there wasn't much light pollution. Anyone from Michigan knows - night is dark in Michigan, really dark. The Michigan night sky is uniquely dark, though. Deep blue velvety hues, not a solid color, there are subtle variations to the deep blues. And dotted with stars of all sizes and luminosity. I presume it has something to do with the lakes, being surrounded by huge bodies of water must have some effect on the color of the sky. I dunno. It's different, it's pretty, who cares why? But, back then, especially when the heat index was at its peak and the Northern sky was especially clear, you could see the Northern Lights. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes faint, sometimes really colorful, sometimes just soft shades of white, but for a few magical nights you could see them flickering in the Northern sky. We'd all go out into the backyard, all the neighbors would, too, and just stand there in the silent, hot Summer night looking at them.

Okay, so there we were driving home from a Tigers' game, heading North on I-75.  My mother spotted the Northern Lights, the excitement of which woke me. I was in a sleepy cotton candy/Cracker Jack/Vernor's daze. I remember this vividly: I turned my head from my left shoulder to the right, to rest it on the car door (this was before car seats or even seat belt laws). My head felt like lead but I wanted to see the Northern Lights, so I managed to rest my head on the car door, positioned so that I could look up and out the car window at the Northern Lights. My eyes were at sleepy half mast but the sky was so beautiful I couldn't close them, I couldn't stop looking at the Northern Lights. The Pontiac's tires on the pavement made a gentle hum in my ear resting on the car door. And from the other side of the back seat my brother, with his mitt in his lap, was practicing his Ernie Harwell impersonation, re-calling the game we'd just seen, word-for-word, inning by inning. My brother was replaying the Tigers' game, impersonating Ernie Harwell's narration. Driving through the night on I-75, the Northern Lights flickering so bright and so close you could almost touch them, the hum of the Pontiac's tires steady and strong, my parents in the front seat, a belly full of cotton candy, Cracker Jacks and Vernor's, and my brother impersonating Ernie Harwell. Even then, even as a young kid, I knew this was a special kind of bliss. Everything, right then, at that moment, was perfect. And it's Ernie's voice I hear narrating that perfect moment.

And oh, the beauty of AM radio. Sometimes you can pick up an AM signal from a freakishly far distance. On car trips, family vacations, my dad tried to tune in WJR to keep up with the Tigers. No matter where we were, all over the country, I'd prod him to tune in WJR to see if we could hear Ernie (or J.P. McCarthy) in far flung places. Once my dad was able to tune in WJR as we drove through Kansas City (must have been a clear day with good trade winds). That was the thrill of that vacation. I even wrote about it as a highlight to my summer vacation when I returned to school in the fall.

When my parents had friends over for barbecues, if the Tigers were playing, the radio was tuned into WJR and Ernie Harwell was a guest at the party. It wasn't just the men who were interested in the game. The women would cheer and raise a glass in toast when there was a score. The sound of the crack of a ball on bat made everyone listening at the barbecue go silent and hold their breath, listening to Ernie calling the subsequent play, hoping for a jubilant Ernie proclaiming a home run. All across the neighborhoods all across the city and state, this backyard scenario was played out  - the question might not be how many games did Ernie call, but how many barbecues did Ernie entertain? Millions, I'm certain of it.

And so many boys, not just my brother, grew up impersonating Ernie. My brother still does this - play-by-play commentary of everything, anything,  while impersonating Ernie, "Mum opens the oven door, and ahhh, yes, there we have it, it's, it's PIE!!! The fans are going crazy tonight!"

Some things are so special, so unique to Detroit, that unless you grew up there, lived it, it's probably difficult to understand the romance, fondness and affection those of privileged to live have for the sounds of Detroit. It's because Detroit had such strong voices, such distinct sounds. J.P. McCarthy's Music Hall and Focus, Sir Graves Ghastly's laugh, Bill Bonds' alcoholic on-air rants, Olly Fretter tempting with five pounds of coffee, the rev of engines on Woodward or Eight Mile, local musicians getting played on the radio and getting national fame, music drifting into the night from Pine Knob...but Ernie Harwell, his voice is the one we hear as the steady, sure, reliable voice of Detroit.

Thanks, Ernie.

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10:52 AM

Tuesday, May 04, 2010  
You know how self respect = self control? I'm going to start my own research study on that.

Because obviously I'm losing self respect. I'm a fully trained telemarketer, now. It's not humanly possible to be a telemarketer and not lose self respect. At least it's not humanly possible for me. A couple people in my telemarketing training remarked that I have too much class to be "doing this." I don't know about class, but I do know that desperate people do desperate things and dignity does go straight out the window in desperate situations. You can only strive to preserve some integrity and hope the desperate situation improves quickly enough to salvage some self respect.

I likened telemarketing to the porn industry because the parallels are alarming. I'm not intimate with the porn industry. I'm basing my knowledge of the porn industry on conjecture, personal opinion and a couple 20/20 and Jerry Springer shows.

You hear women, porn actresses, say that to get through their sex scenes they  a) get high and/or b) emotionally shut-down, "go blank" to the point they disassociate their brains, their souls, from their bodies. They prefer to be "unaware" during the taping. I know, I know, there are other women who say they love it and find nothing wrong with it and rave about how much they enjoy sex and are proud of their work in porn. Rock on for them. I'm not judging. Really, I'm not. If someone is of sound, sober mind and wants to make porn movies, rock on, sister. There are people who claim they like being a telemarketer, too. But having met some of those people, I can say with complete authority, the second they're offered a better job, a "legit acting" job, they'll throw off their headset, disconnect their call phone and be nothing but a blur out of the call center. The love the profess for telemarketing will in hindsight be a short-lived affair, a fling, rather than a lifetime commitment built on mutual respect, trust, devotion and love. I presume the same is true for the women who love being porn actresses.

A lot of times, particularly in desperate situations, it's not so much compromising self-respect as it is leveraging it. But the symptom of self-control is the same, regardless of the semantics.

I had a friend/roommate years ago. I have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings about her, then and now. She was a blast. She's the kind of roommate everyone should have in their early 20s. She was nice, funny, non-judgmental, crazy, up for anything, always knew where the best parties were and always paid her share of the rent on time. We'll call her IDDD. We'll get to that in a minute.

IDDD and I hit it off straight away. You know how sometimes you meet someone and there's no pretense, no awkwardness? Nothing but understanding, respect and a mutual awareness that you both see things from the same perspective? Yeah. Kind of like falling in love. A meeting of minds. And hearts, too.

At first glance we were kind of an unlikely pair. I was tall, anorexic, clinically shy and on the Winona Rider in Beetlejuice side. I recently found a few photos of those days and noticed that I bore a striking resemblance to a Beau Brummelstone. You know the Beau Brummelstones, the Flintstones version of the Beau Brummels.  (The Beau Brummelstones, oddly, feature a left handed lead guitarist/singer who looks like John Lennon and a right handed bassist who looks like Paul McCartney. See for yourself.)

 
(You're welcome.) 

Yeah. Those Beau Brummelstones. I resembled the tambourinist. (Shockingly, I had dates back then. Men, real guys, who asked me out on dates. I dunno. I got nothin', no explanation other than we were all young and men are weird.)  IDDD was a short blond bombshell who thrived on meeting people, she'd initiate conversations with anyone. We hit it off straight away.

IDDD worked in the recording industry. The legit recording industry. Well, as legit as the recording industry gets, anyway. She pursued and got that coveted job by networking. And yes, by networking I mean partying. She never slept with anyone in the company management (that I know of) but she made sure she got to their parties and connected with them. She orchestrated her assault like a five-star general. She researched, knew who was who, found out everything she could about them and got herself in front of them at parties. Next thing you know she had a good job at a leading label.

Okay. So. Those parties. Yeah. Well. You know, they were a lot of fun. IDDD dragged me along for the ride. Not entirely against my will, but, I was in college and double majoring and actually cared about learning and my grades. (I know, silly me, had I only known how useless that education and grades would turn out to be in my later life.) No one other than IDDD could have persuaded me to a) put aside my studies and b) socialize with cool people.  The first weekend of roommating with IDDD I learned that she was kind of slutty. Okay, a lot slutty. Okay, a nympho. Not judging, not judging at all. Just stating a fact. She could have just about any guy she fancied, and, so, she had them. IDDD working in the recording industry was like a tech geek working at Apple. She loved the industry and was dedicated to it, but she was just a little too close, a little too involved with her work. Okay, I'll just say it, IDDD had an affinity for rock musicians. She wasn't a groupie, but, if he was in a band and she found him attractive, nothing was out of the question.

Unless.

Unless he was a drummer.

IDDD refused to have anything to do with drummers. I Don't Do Drummers. I soon learned this is a common theme among groupies and recording industry insiders. I've never figured out why. Strong arguments can be made for the skills required - rhythm, energy, biceps, momentum, stamina - I mean, a girl could do worse. People say drummers are by definition crazy, too crazy, even for the rock industry and point to Keith Moon and John Bonham. Okay, but, you know, they were good drummers. IDDD flat out refused to have anything to do with drummers. Much the way I refuse to date smokers. Every woman has her point of intolerance, the line she won't cross.

For IDDD that staunch refusal to do drummers was her way of leveraging her self-respect. She was slutty. She did sleep around, a lot, indiscriminately. She made no excuses or lies about her sex life. Unlike another of our roommates who was sleeping with a Catholic priest at the time (it was all very Thornbirds) who tried to convince everyone she was a virgin and that the priest was merely counseling her on issues with her father (every Friday and Sunday night. In her bedroom.) We were never sure if her issues were with her actual biological father or The Father. He'd shriek out "Oh God, Mother Mary may I? May I?!" she'd shriek out "Oh God, oh God, oh sweet Jesus yes!"  so we presumed she had issues with The Father and the friendly neighborhood priest was just doing his job counseling her. (Eventually even the priest openly admitted they were having sex - of course the fact that I was having breakfast one morning and he came into the kitchen sleepy-eyed from our roommate's bedroom, wearing only in his underwear, kind of dictated the acknowledgment, but our roommate maintained that there was no sex involved because she was, of course, a virgin and would never sleep with anyone who wasn't her husband.) That girl had the audacity and self-unawareness to judge and criticize IDDD about her sex life. She routinely called her a whore and told her she was going to Hell - all the while she was sleeping with a Catholic priest and proclaiming to be a virgin. Glass houses. Stones. (I know, I could write a book.) But if anyone insinuated to IDDD that she was easy or slutty she held her head high and proclaimed that she wasn't that easy, she wouldn't sleep with anyone. She would never sleep with a drummer. (Or a priest.) In her mind she had self control because she would not sleep with a drummer.  (Or a priest.)

She liked partying and sex and she worked in an industry where both were the expected norm of behavior, just another day at the office. True, IDDD lacked self-control. Ahhhh youth. Didn't we all, in some form or another, lack self-control when we were younger? You have to test your limits to know what your boundaries are. I believe that, staunchly. But. Even the youngest hooligan knows when they're reaching that limit. It just doesn't feel right. You know when your self-respect is being compromised, or when you're leveraging it. Once it's compromised, or even leveraged, self control is harder to maintain.

IDDD once told me she lost her virginity at a concert. It was also the first time she'd ever drank beer. She was 15 and went to the concert with an older boy from school. At the concert, some even older boys bought her and her date beer, she got drunk, the boy from school got drunk, they found an empty corridor on their way back from the bathroom, and that was that. She wasn't upset about it. "Hey, I enjoyed it, too, and we ended up dating for a year." 15-year-olds are not known for their self control. Or self respect. So I'm not comparing adult life choices to being 15, drunk and at a concert. But. IDDD also said that after the world didn't end because she got drunk and had sex, and further, she enjoyed it, she didn't see a need for controlling her sexual desire. She wanted it, she wasn't morally conflicted over it and so she embraced it.

All the television therapists would talk about a pattern of behavior being set at that concert, and unhealthy self esteem resulting and necessary breaking of the cycle. But I dunno. IDDD was one of the most well-adjusted people I've ever known. Sure, she slept around, a lot. But. Taking the sexual judgment out of it, if you didn't know about her sex life, you'd like her, you'd be impressed by her intelligence, humor, generosity, awareness and sincere kindness. (and truly, she somehow managed to be discreet, I was a roommate so I knew what was going on, but I don't think too many other people had a clue she was so, um, active) And she had her limit. She wouldn't do a drummer. That barrier helped her maintain her self-respect. She also knew she couldn't sleep around like that forever. She was well aware that she was young and able to attract men, easily, but that it wouldn't always be that way. She said she wanted to get it while she could, enjoy sex to its fullest potential while she had the opportunities. And she wouldn't sleep with a drummer. To my knowledge she never did, and so her self respect remained in tact. She didn't cross her boundary so in her mind, she didn't lose self control.

How many people do you know who say they "only" drink beer? They justify their alcohol intake by saying, "It's only beer, it's not hard liquor, I'm not doing tequila shots or pounding martinis." Or, their drug use, "Hey, it's only pot, I'm not dropping acid or smoking crack."

It's justifying behaviors. Leveraging self respect and losing a degree of self control. If you can and will stop at a couple beers or an occasional high, then you are exercising self control. Good for you, that's healthy self respect in my book. (And for the record, I'm not judging anyone because they drink beer or smoke pot, if you know your limits and it's not interfering with your life, and you are fully aware of the health risks, then rock on.)

But on those nights one drink turns into two or three, and you realize you're drunk or getting there, and you know another drink will put you over the edge of sobriety, you know you're making a choice to either stop drinking booze or you leverage your self respect, have another drink, get drunk, lose your self control and wake up wondering why your head hurts and who those people are on the floor of your bedroom. Okay, that's an extreme scenario. But once you choose to do something that will push you past your limits of self control your self respect is compromised, or leveraged.

Sometimes there's justification. Self respect is leveraged rather than compromised. Blowing off a little steam, having a little fun...sure. Why not have a few drinks and a little fun, escape your head and life for a while? Not a bad thing in moderation, right?

I am unemployed. I have to find a job doing something, anything, and telemarketing was a quick solution. Far from the best solution or really, even a viable solution. I don't want to do it, but I'm desperate. It's temporary and not a reflection of how I am normally, right? This is me justifying working in telemarketing.

I leveraged my self respect for a minimal paycheck. A paltry sum of money that won't even make a dent in my mortgage payment, but it's the best I could do, quickly, now, and so here I am watching my self respect drain out of me.

And it's no surprise that my self control is losing the battle, too. I don't crutch on alcohol (really, I don't) but lately I'm wondering why not. I enjoy wine, I like a cocktail or two, and quite frankly I like the sense of relaxation I get from it. But I've always maintained a healthy respect for it. I have tested my limits. I know how much is too much for me. I have been utterly blotto and I don't like it, I don't like the complete loss of self control (or the way I feel the next day). But now I'm wondering why. Why not lose self control? I've already lost self respect by taking a telemarketing job. Dignity? That's gone, too. I don't feel good about myself or the choices I had to make. Justify it all you want, make excuses for me, but, I've slept with a drummer. My drummer is a crappy job in telemarketing. It's done, it's over, there's no going back, no matter how quickly I find another job. The fact will always remain: I sold my self respect to the lowest bidder. I slept with a drummer. Once it's done, it's done. So why not embrace losing self control, too? Once self respect is gone, is there a reason to care? I'm starting to understand what the women in porn movies mean by "tuning it out, just going to a blank place in their mind" and get through it.

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11:48 AM

Sunday, May 02, 2010  
Sooooo, I have question.

I live in the city. I prefer to work within the city limits, but, heh heh, funny, that. There are scant few jobs posted in the city limits these days. Of the job postings I find, 90% of them are at suburb-based companies. So, you know, while not my ideal employment scenario, I'm in no position to be picky. I'll happily, yes, really, happily, deal with the commute if there's a job and a company who wants to hire me. That's not desperation talking. Well, I mean, it is, kind of, but not really. Even before I was laid off I heard about job opportunities and more often than not they were in the suburbs. If they were in the far-flung suburbs I knew they were complete non-starters, but I long ago made my list of do-able suburbs commute-wise. Trying to meet men also helped form my commute limits. I spelled it all out in orange and black in the "Location, Location" section of my online dating tips. There's do-able and there's "are you crazy?" We all have our tipping point. I'm fairly patient and if there's a train or bus that goes there and I can spend the commute reading or watching a movie or working, I'm "okay" with it. It's not ideal, but I don't dwell on it.

My tipping point is any commute over two hours (one way), for a job or a date. After that I'm spending more than four hours commuting for said job (or date, not that that's an issue anymore). There are 24 hours in a day. Typically jobs require at least 8 hours of work-time. So that's 12 hours, half a day, spent dedicated to work and commuting to and from that job. Ideally we sleep 6 - 8 hours/night, so on a 6 hour sleep night that leaves 6 hours left "for me." Not ideal, leaves zero time for any real activities during the work-week, forget volunteering or going to dinner or movies with friends or doing laundry. Not gonna happen. Hence my 2-hour rule. Anything more than that and life honestly becomes nothing more than work and sleep. From where I'm sitting right now I say, "Okay, fine, I need a job and I'd be sleeping with a roof over my head, not in a homeless shelter, so, fine, work and sleep, fine by me." But that is desperation talking. So I have been pretty strict with myself about the 2-hour commute rule.

Thing is, where I live, a two hour commute can be as little as 20 miles. Especially on public transportation. My former job was a little under six miles, door to door. I always gave myself 45 minutes for the commute. There were days, Cubs game days, for instance, when that six mile commute took two hours. Because I live and worked in the city, I had the luxury of a bike-commute on weather-appropriate days. That was a sanity saver. So it's not just about looking at a map and calculating distance v. the posted speed limit or train schedule.

I will go anywhere for a job - anywhere realistic.

There are logistic issues to consider, especially since I don't own a car. A few days after I was laid off I started a tactical pursuit for employment. Part of that strategy was looking at maps, train routes, bus routes and figuring commute times for the more prevalent locations for jobs, factoring in what I know about snags and delays on the routes to those locations. Since I'm okay with up to a two-hour each way commute I have quite a few options, a pretty decent job search area. Which is good since the jobs in the city limits are waning more every day.

I notice the lower paying jobs are in the city. I have theories, conspiracy and otherwise, about this. Daley, the root of all my conspiracy theories regarding the city, is of course to blame. There's no tax incentive for businesses to stay in the city and it's getting more and more difficult to attract workers into the city for jobs. I have applied to three jobs currently located in the city but with the caveat that "this job will relocate in Summer/Fall of 2010." Why? Because the companies are moving - to suburban locations. One job that I really wanted is going to be relocated to Wisconsin in a few months. I crunched every number I could trying to make the commute do-able, but even if I bought a car and the traffic gods smile on me, the commute is 3 hours each way. I can't realistically take on that responsibility, even for what sounds like a perfect job for me. And no, moving, at this juncture, isn't an option. Once I go into foreclosure, yes, at that point, location isn't an issue because I'll be homeless. But right now, while I'm still trying to keep a roof over my head, that roof is unsellable.

Here's a sidebar to unemployment that people don't seem to consider. Especially smug employed people. "There are plenty of jobs, unemployed people have to be more flexible and relocate." Sure, I get that, and for many of is it will come to that. But, it's not as easy as "just moving." For those of us with mortgages, heh heh, lots of luck selling. We have a new foreclosure in my building, that brings the total foreclosures to 6, and even the units that have been at bank auction for over a year are still vacant, no one's buying and the values on our condos are dropping like lead - selling and moving isn't a viable option for me or most other people right now. If, if I can sell my place it would be at such a loss that I'd still owe a lot of money on a mortgage - I, like most people who only have a couple years of equity into their mortgage, are under water. The value of real estate has dropped so drastically that I can't sell anywhere near what I paid for my place, and I got a bargain basement price at the time I bought. Add the foreclosures issue into the mix and yeah, "moving" isn't as easy as putting out the for sale sign, packing up and moving to a new job. I didn't bite off more than I could chew with my condo. If I hadn't been laid off I'd be fine, I could ride out this real estate downmarket, pay my mortgage and property tax for less than I'd pay for rent and maybe even have money to do that kitchen renovation I'd like. But. I did get laid off and that's where things get ugly. Because I'm frugal to an alarming degree I'm paying my mortgage and I paid my October and April property tax. Yay me. But if I don't get a full-time job, soon, even my extremely frugal ways won't help - the money I raided from my 401K will be gone and I'll be in foreclosure and homeless.

And in a perverse way, that may help my job search. Once I'm homeless, I'll be a true vagabond and the world is my oyster for job location. And because I will have lost everything, and I mean everything, moving expenses will be minimal - you don't need to rent a U-Haul when all you have is a couple suitcases of work clothes. But other people, normal people, who have things like beds, dishes, chairs and tables, they have to pay to move their stuff. And they have to pay deposits on apartments and utilities etc. etc. Moving is expensive. Relocating for a job sounds "easy" but it's not - even if the spirit is willing, the reality is that it's expensive and if you've been unemployed for a while, well, the relocation money for the start-up expenses just isn't there. Would I go anywhere for a job? Once I'm homeless, and lose everything I own? Yes. Until then, no. It's financially unrealistic.

But even focusing on a narrow area is fraught with issues. I notice the jobs in the city are waning, and the jobs that are readily available are low paying. Retail sales associates, fast-food workers, wait and bar staff, hotel housekeeping...service oriented jobs that don't provide very good salaries - at least not to start. 

Take my telemarketing job, for instance, a nice building with a "prestigious" city address, an easy commute on bus and train, but us workers make $8/hour. There was a woman in my training class who commuted in from a far suburb - took her 2.5 hours and cost her $7.00 round trip to commute on the train, if she drives she has to pay $8 - $20/day to park (if she's lucky and gets an early morning shift allowing her the early bird parking rates). At the $8/hour rate of pay, she's not really "making" money. Like me, unless she gets more than a two-hour shift, after taxes she's in a deficit situation, she's paying to work. And she's spending five hours to commute to that job. Is she crazy? No. She's been unemployed for a year and she's desperate for work.

This is where I live, now, until I go into foreclosure and I'm homeless. So I'm focusing on here and now, a realistic do-able commute. 

Until then I'm trying to find employment where I am, which, in a large urban area, should be easier than if I happened to live in a small rural area. But oddly enough, I'm finding that may not be the case.

There are the sheer numbers. Bigger city = more jobs, right? Yep. But. Bigger city also = more people who are unemployed. The competition for jobs, all jobs, is fierce. One of my former clients (who wants to hire me but can't thanks to that non-compete agreement...we're working on that...) told me that they hired someone for a particular job four years ago. They had a handful of people apply for the job and they weren't thrilled with the choices. But they finally found a suitable candidate, had to pay them a lot more than they budgeted because they had so few bites on the job posting. (It's not something a lot of people are qualified to do, and among those qualified, this isn't a particularly attractive company for that line of work.) Okay, well, a couple months ago the person they hired decided to not return from maternity leave (blog for another day) and they recently began looking for candidates. They used the exact job description and posting they used four years ago - the one that garnered them only a handful of lackluster candidates - and they have been overwhelmed with responses. They have thousands of resumes. They figure about half of them are not qualified, but, so far, there's merit and credibility to many of the people applying for that job - a job nobody wanted four years ago. My client's company is also "excited" because they can pay far less for someone in that position now. The job that was so boring and unattractive four years ago that they had to greatly increase the salary to attract a candidate is now so popular that they can cut the salary below their opening bid four years ago. Yes. They're going to pay someone less than their minimum salary range for the same job four years ago. Feel free to draw parallels to the real estate market.

What does this have to do with commuting? Well, a lot. My former client's company is based in a suburb - close into the city, though. A relatively "easy" commute. A lot of their job candidates are from far-flung places. One candidate who is very qualified and seems like a great match for the job, lives about three hours away from the office. My former client is shrugging it off, "What our employees do with their spare time is their business. If they choose to spend their spare time commuting to work, who are we to judge? If they want to deal with that commute, and they show up for work on time and don't leave early, it's none of our business. They know we're not paying relocation fees, they know they're expected to be here 8 hours a day, if they can't hack the commute we've got thousands of other applicants who can." That's a "good" attitude. They're not discriminating, they're seeing beyond the address. And besides, people lie. People use friends' and relatives' addresses, buy pay-per-use cell phones for that area-code...all in an attempt to appear to live close enough to qualify. These tactics are posted and touted all over the job-hunt advice sites. There's a good chance the candidate who appears to live walking distance from the office actually resides three hours away in their parents' basement.

And I can't blame people for lying. It's dog-eat-dog in the job market. Guerrilla tactics are the excepted and expected norm. All's fair in the job hunt. I don't condemn or condone any approach. If it works for someone, gets them employed, rock on. Ethics? Pfft. Whatever. Pride and ethics are fine when you have a job and can pay your mortgage or rent. When you've been unemployed a long time and are staring down the barrel of homelessness, pride and ethics seem a lot less important. Do whatever you have to do to get the job and then worry about ethics. Job hunt tactics that would have appalled me a few years ago are now met with blase indifference. "She slept with the HR director? Meh. Whatever. She's qualified for the job, her department was downsizing, they're both single and consenting adults and if putting out put her in that job it's more a reflection of the HR director than her. She got laid instead of being laid off. From where I'm sitting - in front of a computer looking for a job for the 271st day in a row - that sounds like a win-win."

Lying about where you live doesn't seem like a big deal in comparison to some of the things I've heard and witnessed in the job hunt over the past few months.

The thing is, though...I kind of suck at lying. I'm not judging others' morality, but for me, I can't see any merit in lying about where I live. Or at least I didn't. Now I'm reconsidering.

I found what appears to be a perfect job for me. Something I'd really enjoy and would be super good at, the company should salivate over my application.

Except there's one little catch. Always a catch, isn't there?

Must live in the western suburbs i.e. Schaumburg on north, Naperville on the south and St. Charles on the west.

Oh no they din't. Oh yes, they did. There's a map with a red zone, like the delivery zone on a Chinese take-out menu left in the door, of acceptable residency.

Suffice it to say I don't live within 30 miles of even the farthest parameters of their delivery, I mean residency zone.

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9:46 AM

 
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