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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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

 
Saturday, July 17, 2010  
Have you seen I Write Like? It's kinda fun. I'm not addicted but I did give it a whirl with some different types of blogs and a few chapters of Just Drive, She Said.

I'm not all ego tripping on it. Mainly because it says I write like some, um, well, you know, some authors that, well, hmmm, how to say this, um, some authors that I like but give me cause for reflection on how I think. Because I write what I think, exactly how I think it. And if these authors were the same, then, well, I mean, okay. Let's take a quick look at the list.

Dan Brown
J.D. Salinger
William Gibson
William Foster Wallace
Kurt Vonnegut
Chuck Palahnuik
Margaret Atwood

Dan Brown? Huh? And not just once. A lot of times. Huh? Okay. True confession. I read Angels and Demons and the Da Vinci Code. I know. I know. I know. I know this is a surprising revelation. Look, I read a lot, okay? I don't date. I don't watch a lot of television. I read. And yes, sometimes I read some not-so-great books, okay? (I promise I've never read Sidney Sheldon or Jackie Collins.) I don't understand the I Write Like algorithm, maybe it's a super simple one and merely mentioning God or Jesus automatically puts you in the Dan Brown result category. Or maybe I'm just a very predictable, trite, conventional thinker. (Sorry, Dan, you seem like a nice person, I'm just sayin', you know, we're not talking Dickens, Faulkner, Twain or Adams when we speak of your writing.) Because that's where I'm going with this - not with the writing, but the thinking. I don't give a toss who I write like, but, because I write exactly how I think I am mildly curious to any insight I might glean from it. Apparently I think like a Dan Brown book.

Except for when I think like a J.D. Salinger book.

I mean, really, who doesn't admire, respect and love Catcher in the Rye? No one, right? Everyone loves that book. Everyone loves J. D. Salinger. No arguing that he was a gifted original. And a recluse and apparently an uptight perfectionist. Nice. Reclusive, yeah, I'll buy that, I'm becoming more that way every day and I'm really not bothered by it. But uptight perfectionist? I hope not.

But apparently Matthew and the gang in Just Drive, She Said, are very Salinger-esque because 10 chapters put in the I Write Like-ubator all produced the same result. J.D. Salinger. I suspect it has more to do with the first person narrative than anything else. Algorithms are not subjective. But if that were the case everything written in first person would garner a J.D. Salinger result. So, there are other defining criteria. A few other chapters scored me a William Gibson. Okay...um. You know, Neuromancer's pretty cool, actually really cool, but, um, cyberpunk? Me? Huh?

I like Infinite Jest. A lot. A lot. (O.N.A.N.? Come on, that's gotta be one of the sharpest, funniest, saddest comments on modern society to date.) But. Um. Okay. Um. Well. Huh. It was a sad day when David Foster Wallace killed himself.  Life is excruciatingly painful for some people. I do not condemn people who kill themselves. I only hope they find peace in their final decision. I give them the same respect I give anyone else. However. A few suicides have deeply affected me beyond sorrow and left huge irreconcilable voids in my life and heart. A college friend. Kurt Cobain. And David Foster Wallace. So much more to give the world and so much sadness, leaving us all wondering and longing for what might have been. While the possibility of thinking like a David Foster Wallace book is humbling and interesting, it also kind of annoys me. 1) I'm not worthy; 2) It makes me gut wrenchingly sad; 3) Huh? 

This is when I thought, "This is stupid. It's a dumb algorithm which has nothing to do with actual writing or thinking. It's merely processing patterns and spitting out the highest matching result. I may have written, thought, one sentence that shares similar characteristics of some of these authors' prose and ta dah, result. Pffft."

But of course I forged ahead.

And the Universe said, "Mock us and we will mock you in ways you cannot imagine."

Chuck Palahniuk. Fight Club? Swutting Fight Club? I think like swutting Fight Club? Jane, stop this crazy thing. I'm not going to discuss this because there's no need to say more.

But I had to try it again in order to cleanse myself of the growing paranoia and concern I had over how I think. "No wonder I can't find a job or man, I think like a Dan Brown, J.D. Salinger and Chuck Palahniuk book. Who's going to hire or date that psychotic mix of a personality type?" What started out as a fun little game was turning into a trip to a self-introspection maelstrom. It's like throwing dice, just one more time, the next roll will be better, then I'll quit, after a good roll I'll quit. (Not that I know a lot about throwing dice. I'm just saying, you know, that kind of a game.)

And it was really starting to bother/concern me that every author was male. Not one woman in the bunch. Okay, maybe they just haven't loaded many female authors' stylemarks into the database. And really, if Jackie Collins came up I'd be a) greatly amused and b) petrified. Still. There are plenty of great female authors surely some are in the data base. And at the very least I like to think I think like a woman, or that I have female characteristic in my thought processes.

Okay, here we go. C'mon, sixes, or whatever the double six writing style equivalent is. Uh-oh. Here we go. That made me think, "Who would I want to think like, in literary terms?" Sure, there are loads of characters I like and admire, but we're not necessarily talking about specific characters. Like I said, algorithms are objective and I'm pretty sure the J.D. Salinger thing keeps popping up because of the first person narrative. Not because of any subjective similarities to Holden Caulfield. So it's more about the essence, the feel for the entire book and the characters in it that would "match" my thought process.

So, you know, obviously, Douglas Adams. Okay, the whole woman thing. My name is Trillian but I am Arthur Dent struggling and confused and wondering and trying to make the best of the weird situations in which I find myself on this trip that is my life(?). That really is me in a nutshell and hence my affinity and fascination with HGTG. But nope, Douglas Adams is either not in the I Write Like database or the one thing I thought I knew for sure about myself is, actually, wrong. Which, ironically, comically poignantly, would be very much an Arthur thing.

Awww crap. Kurt Vonnegut. Really? Kurt Vonnegut? Another man and Kurt Vonnegut? I mean, again, I love his books, and obviously he is another gifted individual whom everyone respects and admires. Brilliant, clever, imaginative yet real. I could go on for days about Vonnegut's books and insight and the raw, pure genius of his gift and what he gave the world. And oh yeah, heh heh, he just happened to be a graphic artist...and he was an agnostic who lauded the lessons of Jesus...so, yeah, that's interesting. Maybe agnostic graphic artists all think alike, even the one's who write Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five.

Feeling slightly concerned but buoyed, maybe I was onto something with the whole essence of the author thing, I forged ahead.

Finally, finally my results netted a female author. Finally, I think like a woman! Margaret Atwood. Handmaid's Tale. Decent book, horrible movie. And another Canadian. That's it, we're done. I'm outta here. This is a stupid.

And I walked away. I just walked away from it.



And then I walked back to it. And wrote about my I Write Like experience. And fed what I wrote about I Write Like into the I Write Like-ubator and:


I write like
Kurt Vonnegut
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

And you know, hey, I guess there are worse things than thinking like a Kurt Vonnegut book. I guess cool with that. And now I'm wondering how to use this insight about myself to find a job and a man.

I cut and pasted a few job/company descriptions and online dating profiles into the I Write Like-cubator. Heh heh. Well, this could explain why I'm unemployed and single. None of the jobs I applied to or men I found resulted in a Kurt Vonnegut result. Not that I want a Kurt Vonnegut-esque job or boyfriend, but I thought it might be a good place to start, some common ground, if we think alike, like Kurt Vonnegut, then maybe we'd at least understand each other.

However. The job description for a job I recently applied to netted this result:


I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Okay, okay, well, that's something. I had a David Foster Wallace result so maybe the writer of the job description and I have enough in common to form a good working relationship. Fingers crossed. I actually really want a shot at that job, it sounds like a good one for me. Here's hoping David Foster Wallace will be the tie that unites me with an employer and we'll work happily ever after.

So now, instead of using I Write Like for it's intended purpose it's become my new Magic 8 Ball. I'm cutting and pasting all sorts of text into it and looking at the results. Job descriptions and online dating profiles were just the beginning. I pasted in email from my sister, my friends, my mortgage company...I won't say I'm obsessed, but, uh, there is an addictive quality to it.

My sister writes like Raymond Chandler, one friend writes like Stephanie Meyer (a-ha! So there are women in the database!), another friend (male) writes like James Fenimore Cooper and my mortgage company writes like David Foster Wallace, which I find infinitely jest-ful.

And on that note, if you're feeling J.D. Salinger-esque, chapter VI of Just Drive, She Said is now live. It's one of the William Gibson-esque chapters. I have no idea why, I cannot crack that code. (See, I'm so not Dan Brown!)

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9:29 PM

Friday, July 16, 2010  
So I had another interview. Woo hoo. Winnowed the candidates down to 10 from over 1,000 applicants, I was lucky enough to get a golden ticket for a phone interview and made it to the semi-finals, the in-person interview, where the interviewer's opening comment was, "You're lucky to be here, we're only bringing in five people. My associates tells me you had a nice chat a few days ago. Let's see what makes you such a shining star among the hundreds of others who want this job."

Niiiiiiiice.

I've heard similar at almost all my interviews. I think most people in the world know there are 14+ million unemployed people in America and that most of us are experienced, educated and eager to work. And most people in the world are aware that there are only a few jobs available. So most people can logically sort out that there are hundreds or thousands of applicants for most jobs, particularly in large cities. So is it really necessary to begin an interview reiterating all those known facts?

Yes. It's an honor to be nominated. I am grateful, extremely grateful, for every interview I've had. I am humbled and full of gratitude to the hiring managers who deem me worthy. I don't have a smug or negative demeanor. I'm friendly, polite, interested, engaged, and appreciative. So please, interviewers, there's no need to assert your authority and power by telling me what I already know: I'm lucky to make it to the semi-finals, the in-person interview, and there are plenty of other willing contenders chomping at the bit for an opportunity for this job.

Instead, can we please talk about the job, the actual responsibilities and goals for the position and my qualifications? Please? Pretty please?

The interviewer in question was my would-be manager. Maybe it was just a bad day. Maybe there's a lot of stress due to the vacancy in the department. Maybe they're just a really insecure and negative person. Which could explain the oppressive pall in the office.

But they don't know who they're dealing with, here. No matter how negative, how overworked, how insecure, how deceptive, how unqualified, how stupid, insipid, lazy or callous the manager of that department is, I spent time under one of the worst managers in America so I'm not scared. I've seen and heard it all. Negative and insecure manager? Bah. That's a good day in my old office.

So, no, hiring manager, no, your opening gambit attempt to throw me off didn't work. I'll see your feeble attempt to rattle my nerves and put me in my place and raise you a warm smile and friendly response.

And when it's over I'll send you a nice thank you letter espousing my gratitude for your time and reiterating my qualifications and interest in the job.

I'm pretty sure I won't get the job, though. The interview continued along with the interviewer's disdain and contempt seething through every question and discussion point. Either this is a really crappy place to work and the manager is just reflecting the company culture or I was not in the running for the job and effectively wasting their time. Or maybe they just didn't like me. I need a job, desperately, and I think I would like that job, I think I'm a good candidate for it...but...clearly there's an attitude issue in the office. Very negative vibes. Emanating from the department manager who would be my boss.

Still, I'd jump at the opportunity. Not just because I'm desperate for a job, but because the job, the actual role I'd play, greatly appeals to me. I'm qualified, I have good insight into their client-base, I have the technical expertise and professional savvy to do a good job at the job.

Attitude schmattitude. I spent a lot of years in a soul-sucking, brain-dumbing, ethics-questioning office under the management of a sycophantic nincompoop who lied about her education and credentials to get the job, offended clients and anyone who didn't agree with her, and then covered up her inadequacies by blaming underlings for not giving her the proper information or by taking credit for other peoples' work. ("We're a team, there's no I in T-E-A-M" was her motto until she was called into question and then boy oh boy was there an I in the T-E-A-M.) I worked for years in a company where the office culture was social politicking and posturing above all else, the job, the actual work product, was way down on the list of priorities for anyone looking to succeed in the company.

Nothing surprises, shocks or scares me. Nothing.

So bring it on, negative manager interviewer, bring it on, throw me your worst and I'll rise to the challenge.

But please, can we please focus on the job, the reason people are hired and given paychecks?

On my way home from the interview a friend called. I barely said hello and she was griping about the traffic, moaning about the car dealership, complain about her husband, bitching about her kid's little league coach.

On the heels of the interview with the negative manager I was not in the mood to hear more negative snarkiness.

Employed people! Married people with homes and families! Please! I'm begging you! Be grateful for what you have and enjoy it!

You hate your job so much you ooze loathsome dread from every pore? Quit and give me a chance! Your husband forgot to pick up the dry cleaning again and that makes you so angry you "want to kill him?" Divorce him and give me a chance!

I know there were plenty of days when I was employed that I complained about my work, my manager, my coworkers...I know. I'm not perfect. And in the moment, on those days, I suppose we all need to vent. And no, honestly, no, now that I've been unemployed for almost a year I do not "miss" the irritants in the office. It was a soul-sapping, brain-dumbing, cesspool of immature, unprofessional behavior. I do not miss it and I would never, ever go back there.

But. I liked my work. I liked my clients. I liked what I did, the work I produced to earn a paycheck. I do miss that. And even when I was having a bad day I was grateful for it. Yes I vented now and then, I suppose it's human nature and hey, that's what friends are for and all that. But. I was grateful for a job. I never took it for granted. There was no lesson in gratitude and humility to be learned. 

And I find it sad and kind of offensive that other people don't see or have gratitude for what they do have. My friend ranted and rallied for 20 minutes straight, voice rising in anger, I could feel her elevated blood pressure through the phone, she was truly feeling a lot of hostility. Because her husband forgot to pick up the dry cleaning and her kid's little league coach is an asshole because he didn't start her son because the kid missed two week's of practice and games due to their family trip to Tuscany. How about a little self awareness? How about checking in with the reality the rest of the world, including your pal Trillian, is handling? How about a more gratitude and less hostility?

I got the feeling the interviewer was a similar type as my friend. Perfection driven and angry that "no one" lives up to her expectations. That's a shame. Because from where I was sitting, in the the interviewee seat, the manager of a thriving marketing department in a Fortune 100 company looks like a really nice place to be. Stressful, I'm sure, but that's a given. If you've reached a senior management level you should be well aware of job stress and have developed coping techniques.

Here's one that I find works wonders:

Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Duh.


I write like
Chuck Palahniuk
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

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10:05 AM

Thursday, July 15, 2010  
But hey, at least I'm not alone. Too bad all of us single jobless, homeless, car-less people can't find a place to share, a commune sort of thing. Based on the stories I've read and heard we have the skills, education, experience and expertise to achieve world domination if we could all just get together in one place . And yes, there's some comfort in that. It's not personal. Loads - millions - of educated, professional people are unemployed and can't find jobs and are losing their homes. It's bad for everyone but I contend it's worse for singles - we live alone, we make it or break it on our own and we spend long, scary, lonely nights worrying and crying and trying to think of a plan...on our own.

When we lose everything we truly lose everything because we don't have the intrinsic things married  couples rely on to console themselves. "We haven't lost everything, we still have each other..."

Many of us singles pour the energy we would channel into a relationship with a significant other into our careers. Our careers matter to us, a lot. Some argue too much, and I agree to a certain extent. But when no one wants to date us and the one thing we have going for us is a successful career, naturally we throw ourselves into it. So when we lose our jobs...well...it's devastating. And we have to deal with being unemployed on our own and deal with the emotional upheaval and anxiety on our own. There's no intrinsic consoling, no getting in touch with what really matters: Spending time with the spouse and kids and forming stronger familial bonds.*

Instead we console ourselves with the stories we hear about other jobless, homeless singles. "Hey, it's not just me. There are loads of other jobless, homeless, loveless singles out there struggling, too." Because that's what people tell us. Married people. People with jobs. People with homes. They quickly tell about someone they know, a former coworker or friend, who's "just like" me. Or they forward links to stories about people "just like" me. That's how I came across this. A friend (married, new house, just back from vacation in Italy) forwarded it to me. "See Trill? This sounds just like you except you didn't have a car to repossess. At least you're not alone."  Oh. Right. I'm not alone. (Looks around emptied condo for signs of someone else there. Looks at the meager boxes of possessions - socks and underwear, mainly - for signs of someone else's stuff.  Looks at dwindling bank account, solitary signature on mortgage and income tax return for signs of someone else there, too.)


*And there's that pesky religion issue. I know, if I just let Jesus into my heart I would never be alone. But remember, I'm the kid who had Jesus as an imaginary friend for a lot of years. When Jesus was my best friend I still felt alone, though. (Which explains why I had an imaginary friend.) And back then I Believed, oh man how I Believed. But I still felt alone. So. Ya know. I'm just sayin'.

Apparently God and Jesus dislike unemployed single people more than unemployed married people because there are more single unemployed people than married unemployed people. That or Satan has more tricks up his sleeve to use against us unemployed singles. Maybe when it comes to Satan there is safety in numbers.


I write like
Kurt Vonnegut
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

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12:05 AM

Wednesday, July 14, 2010  
I was out of town for a couple weeks. Funeral planning and Cherry Festivaling and my sister took me to see Eric Clapton, which was, you know, really cool. She does that - she says or does something brutally hurtful and then redeems herself by saying or doing something completely unexpected and nice.

I had to return to Chicago. I'm still unemployed, I'm not even on the telemarketing schedule, and I'm about a month away from not being able to pay my mortgage. So I have stuff to do. Box up the rest of my stuff, donate what won't fit in my storage unit and then wait for what happens when you can't find a job and can't pay your mortgage. I've never been in this situation so I'm not exactly sure what happens, but I'm sure it's unpleasant and I'm sure it happens quickly. My real estate agent told me foreclosures are not taking as long as they were a few months ago. A sad reflection on society: Banks and mortgage companies have dealt with so many foreclosures in the past few years that they've finally organized personnel and systems to handle foreclosures more efficiently. My real estate agent said it was taking 6 months to a year for most people to be kicked out of their homes but now, especially in the city, it's happening in about two months. So. Yeah. I guess that's what happens next.

So, you know, I wasn't returning home to happy times.

I picked up my mail from the post office. Three job rejection post cards. (It's unusual to get these - it used to be SOP but not many companies do this anymore so that was kind of surprising.) A couple bills. A few postcards from friends on vacation. Some catalogs. And a mailing tube.

A mailing tube? Really? For me? I didn't order anything. Who sent it to me?! What is it?! What could it be?!

I checked the return address.

Oh crap.

Remember the Most Affected Man in the World?

I haven't seen him or heard from him since the date. I'll be honest, if he called me after the date and wanted to see me again I was thinking I'd go out with him again. I mean, you know, I can't be picky and maybe under all that surface stuff he's a good guy. The fake esoterica might be getting in the way of his sense of humor. And maybe under all the phony façade of catalog trendiness he's in possession of an actual personality. But, as was made obvious on our date, we're not right for each other. And I presumed he was as sure of that as I was because I never heard from him.

That is until the tube arrived.

You might think I was so overcome with excitement that I ripped open that mailing tube right there in the post office.

I didn't.

Because I wasn't overcome with excitement. I was filled with apprehension. What's The World's Most Affected Man sending me...in a tube?

I got home, went through all the mail, read the postcards a few times, read the catalogs cover to cover, took out the garbage, did some laundry, checked job boards, applied to a couple jobs, packed my sock drawer in a box for storage, threw out some socks I deemed unworthy of storage space, took off the nail polish on my toenails, and took out my neighbor's dirty cat box litter.

The mailing tube sat there getting more conspicuous by the minute. Every time I re-read a postcard, did another chore, went to the bathroom, it loomed more ominously. It even started to look bigger. It became an entity.

I shored up my courage, gritted my teeth and opened it because I was afraid to go to bed with it sitting there all ominous and unopened.

Sidebar. I know there are people out there thinking, "What an insensitive bitch! She goes around saying how lonely and Mayor of Singlton-y she is and a guy sent her something and she's all callously indifferent. Pffft. She should be jumping up and down, ripping open that tube and calling all her friends about whatever awesomeness The Most Affected Man in the World sent her. I have no patience for her and her singleness. She needs to just shut up and be happy a man is interested in her." I understand that sentiment. I said those exact words to myself. But ye gads, you didn't see this guy's house, his traveling electronic thermocooled wine carrier with carrying harness. Or the forced esoterica in his house. And his lack of sense of humor. And apparent unawareness about himself. It's not about me being too picky. It's about me being totally wrong for this guy.

Okay, so I gingerly opened the mailing tube. It's from The World's Most Affected Man so anything could have popped out of there.

I saw a piece of parchment rolled up in the tube and something at the bottom of the tube. I slowly tilted the tube and out slid a USB drive. I'd plug that in later. Maybe. Let's see what's up with the rolled up parchment.

Of course The Most Affected Man in the World sent me a parchment scroll. Sheesh, you would expect anything less from him? 

It was tied with a piece of twine with coin and a bead threaded through it. It looked like one of the things he uses to tie up his pony tail. Huh. Okay. I have an old Scrunchy I can part with, I could send him a response scroll bound with a Scrunchy.

When was the last time someone sent you a scroll? Yeah, it's been a while for me, too.

You know what's coming. Parchment. The twine-coin-bead hair tie thing. The Most Affected Man in the World.

He wrote a poem, in calligraphy, on the parchment and adorned it with what appeared to be Sumi ink drawings.

It wasn't an ode, thankfully. Or a sonnet, even more thankfully. But nor was it Haiku. It was a five stanza poem. The iambic pentameter was complexly studied and measured. Of course it is. He is, after all, The Most Affected Man in the World. And yes, yes, I noticed the iambic pentameter, which makes me almost as affected as he is. But: I'm not the one painstakingly writing a poem in calligraphy on a parchment scroll.

Okay. I'm just going to say it, rip it off fast like taking off a bandage. 

The gist of the poem was that he was asking me to go to Lilith with him.

You heard me.

Lilith.  

The Lilith Fair.

Though not surprising. Of course The Most Affected Man in the World has tickets to Lilith Fair.

I'm sure he's a feminist. Deeply devoted to women's issues. Probably took an Emily Dickinson course as his literature elective in college so he can better understand what it's like to be a woman.

But really. Lilith? Me? I mean, you know me, do I give off any remote impression that I might be the Lilith Fair type?

I looked at the lineup. Huh. Well. You know. I like a couple early Heart songs. And that pretty much covers my interest in the music on offer at this year's Chicago Lilith Fair.

And I don't like those few Heart songs enough to spend a deliriously hot day baking in an outdoor arena in the middle of a cornfield an hour and 30 minute drive from Chicago with Lilith Fairies. I mean, you know, rock on, sisters, girl power and all that. I'm pro girl rock in general, but an entire festival devoted to "women's music" doesn't really interest me. Plus the Chicago lineup is kind of lame. And it's in a cornfield. Or, well, next to one. It's on The Prairie, the official Prairie. And even if they magically transform it to a blissful oasis of harmony and empowerment, it's still Lilith.

Can you see me at Lilith? With The Most Affected Man in the World?

Me, either.

It was at this point I grew anxious about that USB drive. He alluded to it in the poem. Good grief, what's on that thing?

Shored up more stamina and courage and took a look at the drive's contents.

Playlists. Of course there were playlists. MP3s featuring all the Lilith musicians' music. Lilith Music. Awww crap.

I mean, it's a nice gesture, of course it is, but...even if I really liked this guy isn't this all a bit much considering we only went on one not so great date (wherein booze had to be applied to make conversation happen) and I haven't heard from him in a month?

And then I listened to a couple of the MP3s.

It was now 1 AM. I was tired and depressed and in my general state of fear that I'm in all the time these days. Based on the file names I expected to hear some Mary J. Blige.

Picture this: Me. 1 AM. Tired. Depressed. Unemployed. Soon to be homeless. Scared. On the heels of planning my mother's funeral and choosing a cemetery plot for myself. Curled up fetal in my bed, alone, in a dark bedroom, a siren and the distant roar and whistle of the L breaking the night silence. I load up a little music to keep me company and tune out the nagging fear and anxiety-ridden voices in my head. I hit play on Mary J. Blige.

And a loud, male voice starts reciting a lesson on the Kabbalah and the origins of Lilith. It would remind you of the Late Lament intro to Nights in White Satin. "Breathe deep, the gathering gloom..." (Speaking of pretentious affectations, have I ever mentioned that I don't like the Moody Blues?) I thought, "That's kind of a weird intro on a Mary J. Blige song, but okay, whatever."

And then it hit me. I recognized the voice.

Oh yes. It was The Most Affected Man in the World. And he recorded informative or inspirational introductions to each of the songs. He removed all doubt about whether or not he's a feminist. He most definitely is and he most definitely takes women's issues very seriously. And he talks about women's sexuality and their bountiful wombs and the succulent abyss of joy. Oh yes, he actually used the terms "bountiful womb" and "succulent abyss of joy." And apparently with a straight face because I didn't hear a hint of humorous inflection when he said it. More than once. And it was swutting freaky. Okay? It's freaky. Especially in the middle of the night. Alone. In my bedroom.

Up to that point I was wondering how to let the guy down easy. Prior to hearing the oral recitations on the condition woman I was thinking, "Before the scroll arrived I would have gone out with him again, so maybe if I just excuse the scroll I'll go out with him again, but  not to Lilith. Maybe I can give him a call and explain that I was out of town and just got back, already have plans the day of Lilith..."

But after he used the terms "bountiful womb" and "succulent abyss of joy" there was no way I was ever going to see this guy again. And, no, no, just just because of his affected vernacular. If we'd been dating and having sex and discussing having children for, I dunno months or years, then I'd be sort of okay with him talking about my succulent abyss of joy and bountiful womb. I'd even be okay with him talking about my vagina and eggs. But we went on one date. One not so great date. And here he is alluding to sex and baby making. Okay, sure, only in general terms. You're right, he didn't specifically mention my succulent abyss of joy and bountiful womb, you know, by name. He did refer to them only in general terms. He might have just been all hopped up high on Lilith fervor and so inspired was he that he felt compelled to wax poetic about vaginas and ovaries in general (hey, don't we all). And record his thoughts and send them to a woman he took on one date a month ago.

Sidebar, again: Yes, okay, yes. I do appreciate the effort he took. Duly noted, gratitude given. He didn't just go the extra mile, he ran an entire marathon. And yes, I do feel guilty thinking of him toiling away in his library at his replica King John Magna Carta desk, dipping his authentic reproduction Benjamin Franklin quill into a certified replica Dickens inkwell. Scribing original poetry to woo a lady, pausing reflectively, thoughtfully, to work out the perfect iambic pentameter seeking higher meaning from the view to his sundial and Zen garden through the window, then in a fit of inspiration getting it just right, feverishly penning his poetry, hoping she'll notice the care and precision of each word. Using just the right calligraphy style - not too formal, not too casual, on just the right parchment - delicate but strong. Then retiring to the studio to adorn it with illustrations, using the special ritual Sumi brushes received as a gift from a master brush artist to ink cranes, turtles, rabbits and delicate bamboo leaves - honor, protection, fertility and longevity. (And you thought I was a callous bitch. Yes I noticed, I get it. He's very into symbolism and aesthetics. And I happen to speak a little esoteric. Not fluent on his level, more tourist esoteric.) Yes, I do feel guilty dismissing him like this but c'mon. I mean, it's a bit much for a second date, n'est-ce pas? (Speaking (again) of stupid affectations, I'm peppering conversations with n'est-ce pas. By the way. I know it's obnoxious but for some reason I've been doing it lot lately. I can't seem to catch or help myself. I dunno.) Yes, yes, I have considered all of his effort and I am grateful that someone cares enough to bother to care. But, it's kind of a bit much, kind of creepy, kind of like Creepy Perfume Guy, n'est-ce pas?

So now I have to either just ignore the scroll and whatever you call was on that USB drive or let him know I don't want to go. We all know the right thing to do is let him know I don't want to go. He did put a lot of effort into the, um, scroll and, um, recordings. And he was kind enough to invite me to a music festival. I have to give him the courtesy of declining his offer.

Or, I could go with him. To Lilith. And talk about my succulent abyss of joy and bountiful womb.

What say you? Am I being too picky? Should I embrace this guy and his affectations? Render unto him my succulent abyss of joy?

Post-edit: Someone asked me if he'd invited me to Lollapalooza or Pitchfork instead of Lilith if I'd go - if it's merely Lilith that's the real issue. Assuming the invitation came via a phone call or email, and there was no scroll or creepy Moody Blues-esque spoken word song introductions containing the terms "bountiful womb" and "succulent abyss of joy," maybe, maybe I'd go. But that does bring up another point. Music festivals are long. An entire day and evening, 12 hours-ish or more when you factor commute and entry line time. That's a lot of time to spend with someone on a second date, especially someone you didn't hit it off with that well on the first date. But it's a moot point, n'est-ce pas? He did ask me to Lilith and he did do so via a parchment scroll bound with one of his twine-bead-coin hair ties and more to the creepy point, he did send me mp3s of him reciting educational and inspirational introductions to songs. Introductions alluding to sex and pregnancy using the terms "bountiful womb" and "succulent abyss of joy." Both the Lollapalooza and Pitchfork line-ups are pretty good this summer, but even so, they're not good enough to endure spending 12+ hours with The Most Affected Man in the World who unironically, unsarcastically, unhumorously uses the terms "bountiful womb" and "succulent abyss of joy." Right? 


I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

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12:13 PM

Monday, July 12, 2010  
Hi, it's me again, Trillian, asking for some advice.

This time I need advice on advice.

Someone generously offered advice and suggestions for my employment/foreclosure/relationship issues. The advice came with some judgment and opinion, which I respect. Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love.

The opinion was that all of my problems - being laid off, not being able to find a new job, losing my home, no man interested in me -stem from my agnosticism and open candor on my lack of faith in God and "Jesus jokes." God and Jesus are mad at me because I question and mock Them and They've turned me over to Satan. According to the advice giver, people who are unemployed and losing their homes are being punished by God and Satan is blocking our progress for new jobs and homes.

The advice given is that I need to accept Jesus into my heart and trust in God and then They will solve all my problems. They will take care of Satan for me, remove his barriers to my progress. It will be miraculous if I just Believe. The advice giver went on to say that the second I do this God, Jesus and President Obama will take care of me in ways I cannot imagine. "Riches will flow and love will envelope me."

I'm really and truly not being sarcastic when I say this, I swear this is an honest, heartfelt question: God, Jesus and President Obama are going to give me a job, pay my mortgage and find me a man?

Let's say this miraculous mystical lifting of burdens happens when you let Jesus into your heart and put your faith in God. Um, don't you kind of have to really believe? Don't They know if you have questions and doubts and can't apply rational logic to what reads, in places, like a really wacky fairy tale?

I'm guessing it's not enough to just say, "Oh, okay, I need to let Jesus into my heart and have faith in God. Jesus, come on into my heart, God, my faith is in your hands." I think you kind of need to, you know, really believe, fully and without question. And I don't think you can force that. I think it's called a divine calling. There's usually a catalyst or a quiet moment where it all just whooshes over a person. At least that's how it appears to me when people suddenly get religion. And honest, really, I think that rocks. But it's a very personal thing that cannot be forced. Or contrived. Or manipulated.

I'm not mocking faith. I have great faith in faith. People who have it, man, I mean, it rocks for them. I respect them and their beliefs. But here's the thing. I've said this, publicly, several times, Jesus, God, Mary, the whole family is welcome into my heart and living room any time. They don't even need to knock, the door is open and they can make Themselves at home, help Themselves to anything they want, have Their merry way with me. I'd welcome Them and it. Life(?) would be a lot easier for all of us if They'd enter into my heart and take the wheel for a while. (Jesus, the Brita pitcher in the fridge would make a nice batch of wine, I'm just sayin'. Ooops, there I go with the Jesus jokes again.) 

But unless/until I have some divine moment of enlightenment all I can do (I think) is be open to it, wait for it, and accept it if/when it happens. That's the best I can do without being a hypocritical liar. And my understanding is that Jesus and God aren't big on hypocritical liars. My take on it is that it's better to be honest about your feelings and questions, admit them, I mean, They allegedly know all anyway, no point in pretending you don't have questions. Better to be honest about your questions than to blindly follow even though you have questions and concerns, and yes, doubts, just go along with the flock because you want to believe and want Jesus and God to think you believe. If God and Jesus are as all knowing as suggested won't they be annoyed by religious poseurs?

And that's what I'd be: A religious poseur hoping for divine intervention in my time of personal struggle.

If I wake up tomorrow heart all filled with Jesus and God (and apparently President Obama) lighting my life, you know, awesome in the most pure sense, awe. You'll be the first to know.

But if not, what's the real deal with Jesus and God punishing me by having me laid off, losing my home and letting Satan block my chances for a new job and man? Are the 14.6+ million of us unemployed people really being punished by God and Jesus and thwarted by Satan? Is that how the lay-off selection process is made? In HR offices across the country (and world) is the decision based on religion? God's people get to retain their jobs, Satan's people get laid off? And repented sinners get to find new jobs and keep their homes while the still wayward sheep get thwarted by Satan?

And can someone explain to me if and how President Obama is in cahoots with Jesus and God? Does Jesus give Obama a naughty and nice list?

But probably my bigger questions are 1) Are we really supposed to look to God and Jesus (or Obama, for that matter) for earthly possessions and monetary gain? 2) Do they really deliver the goods? (I thought They are all about the deeper intrinsic types of wealth - wisdom, insight, enlightenment, peace, understanding, you know, spiritual sorts of things.) 3) Aren't greed and sloth sins? Expecting God, Jesus, (and Obama) to find me a job and pay my mortgage seems like the lazy way out and kind of greedy, particularly when so many people are unemployed and homeless and especially when compared to the people in the Third World who are starving and dying and being slaughtered by dictatorial regimes. My problems are insignificant and asking - expecting - God, Jesus and Obama to intervene and pay my mortgage seems really greedy and selfish. Somehow I think They have bigger fish to fry.

I can see asking for guidance, hoping for a nudge to the right path to a job, or a bolt of inspiration on where to meet the right guy, but sitting back and expecting them to do all the work? Yeah, that doesn't sit well with my conscience or what I read in the Bible. (yes, for the bizillionth time, I've read it) But maybe I'm completely wrong, I must be, because obviously I'm still unemployed and still going to go into foreclosure and still the Mayor of Singleton.

I know this sounds sarcastic, especially coming from me, but I'm honestly asking for advice on this advice because I don't fully understand it.

Advice on this advice? Anyone? Anyone?


I write like
Dan Brown
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9:03 PM

Sunday, July 11, 2010  
Chapter 5 of Just Drive, She Said is posted.

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3:18 PM

 
So now my mother's all bent out of shape with me because I want to be cremated.

What did I say about pre-planning a funeral providing peace of mind? I might want to amend that opinion.

My mother is all hopped up high on her post-pre-planning euphoria. She says a weight has been lifted. So unburdened is she that she wants me to share in the joy of sleeping soundly in the knowledge that you have your final arrangements "taken care of."

Yes. She wants to give me a funeral. And a cemetery plot. And a gravestone.

Which led to me saying, "Thanks, but I want to be cremated."

Which she knows, she knows how I feel about this. I made up my mind when I was 8 that I was donating organs and cremating the rest. My feelings haven't changed since - in fact the older I get the more steadfast I feel about what I want done with my body when it dies.

Apparently my mother thought I'd change my mind.


Maybe if I had a husband...children. But I don't. And I won't. So why be buried somewhere, anywhere? I really do not want to be memorialized in a cemetery by myself. Walk around a cemetery sometime. I triple dog dare you to find a grave of an unmarried person over the age of 20. (Apart from military cemeteries and memorial.) Cemeteries are filled with gravestones shared by married couples. Often several generations of married couples are buried side-by-side in one big family plot. Apart from military graves that's where you are most likely to find a single person buried alone with a solitary headstone. The spinster aunt with her single headstone buried among her parents, grandparents, married siblings and married nieces and nephews with their double headstones. Sad, pitiful, conspicuous. In life as in death. I know this because I spent the better part of an afternoon walking around my parents' cemetery purposely looking for single people.

I don't want to be that person. It's difficult enough going through the living part of life as a single zero. Carving it in stone for the whole world to see long after I'm dead is not exactly comforting. It doesn't give me peace of mind. It swutting depresses me to the point of suicide which then scares me because it'll hasten the move to a cemetery in a plot all by myself with a single headstone marking the lonely, solitary existence that led me to suicide in the first place.

There is no space for me to be buried anywhere near my parents. And their cemetery is almost full. My mother inquired about single plots, and what do you know, yes, they have a few and at a reduced rate! Why the rate reduction? Because some family plots have one or two leftover spaces they're willing to sell. So a single person can glom onto some other family's plot, hitch a ride into eternal memorializing carved in stone with an entire family they don't even know, an adopted tagalong vagabond into eternity.

The two plots my mother and I looked at were in a much older section of the cemetery. One of the plots is at the end of a family plot of a very well-to-do family who spent a lot of money on a very splashy, very huge, very ornately carved, very angelic monument with their surname carved in huge, bold lettering on both sides along with a religious verse. They bought two full family plots prominently positioned by the cemetery's central monument and memorials and then they planted the gigantic family monument smack in the middle of the two plots. Then, as people died the plots were filled with headstones with the names and dates of all the generations of the family. It appears they had all sons, and it appears two of the sons had all sons because everyone buried in the family plot(s) all have the same surname. And all are couples buried side-by-side with the exception of a 22-year-old son killed in WWII. Hence the leftover single space at the end of the plot.

I could be buried with this family I don't know, next to a guy killed in WWII, mine would be the only headstone carved after 1958 and with a different last name than the rest of the clan. I mean, um, huh? While I like the stories and gossip this could generate 100 years from now as people stroll through the cemetery and speculate on the mystery woman buried with that family, it's too weird for even me.

And besides, I want to be cremated.

But that's upsetting my mother. She can't stand the thought of cremation. My dad's family goes the cremation route. It's what his family does. It's the Viking way. My mother suffers through every cremation in my dad's family cringing and getting upset over the thought of the whole process. So my dad broke tradition for my mother. He's in the ground, body embalmed, casketed and vaulted with a headstone built for two waiting for my mother to join him. Isn't that romantic.

Putting aside all the obvious conservancy and environmental aspects, there's no reason for me to take up a plot in a cemetery. No one, and I mean no one is ever going to visit my grave. Single zero means there's no one who cares enough or feels obligated enough to "tend" your grave. So why have one?

And bringing the conservancy and environmental issues back into it, save the space on a shrinking planet for something far more useful than a cemetery. (And yes, yes, on the plus side, at least many cemeteries are filled with trees and offer a peaceful place for birds and squirrels and rabbits.)

One of my friends suggested that I appease my mother by letting her buy me a cemetery plot then selling it and donating the money to the cemetery's upkeep fund. "Unless you die before her she'll never know. And if you do die before her there's no way she'll let you be cremated and she'll have the final say, so you're kind of stuck with her wishes anyway so you might as well let her buy your plot for that contingency." No denying the logic to that idea. And if it will make my mother happy, give her bonus peace of mind, then I suppose it's worth it.

Yadda yadda yadda after I go into foreclosure the only property I'll own is a cemetery plot.

I refused the plot with the prominent family. That was just too pathetic and bizarre and the plot was too prominently placed for my liking. Very showy. "We" opted for a space that's formed where the real estate of the cemetery curves, leaving a wedge shape not large enough for a family or even double plot. They can only fit in one vault so ta-dah! Perfect for a single zero.

I'm now so officially and forever single zero that I have a single cemetery plot. Clearly even my mother has given up any shred hope of me finding someone willing to marry me as well as the plan for me adopting a child or two. When even your own mother gives up on your ability to attract a mate or even adopt a child it's time to buy a cemetery plot.

The cemetery manager told us that because it's odd shaped and slightly larger than a single plot I can go nuts with a memorial monument. Lovely. Perhaps a Calder or Henry Moore?

I'm thinking of landscaping it. Planting trees, perhaps ornamental shrubbery of some sort, some annual flowers, maybe a water feature. Funny, HGTV doesn't have a show about landscaping graves and there are no diy magazines about it at the home and garden stores.

And I'm wondering if I can pitch a tent on my plot and live there. I mean, my mother bought it for me, my name is on it, it's mine, why should I only get to reap the benefits of landownership when I'm dead? And are you truly homeless if you own a cemetery plot?


I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

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2:28 AM

 
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