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

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

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

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

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

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State

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



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

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

200i: iPodyssey

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

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

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

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

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

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

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

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

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


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

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

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

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

Lap Dance of the Cripple

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

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

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

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

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

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

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

Mail Trillian here

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


Alliance for the Great Lakes

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

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

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

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

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

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


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


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

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

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

< chicago blogs >

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010  
So, this is disturbing.

I met with my real estate lawyer this morning. Discussing options. The end result of the discussion is that if I don't find a job in the next four weeks there aren't options. Bankruptcy then foreclosure then homelessness. Okay, then. Hey, at least I had the discussion, asked the questions, tried.

Oh well.

But that's not the disturbing part. I've known for the last few months that this is where I'm heading.

The disturbing part is that my lawyer's office is a few blocks from my old office and on the way to the train station from meeting with him, one of my former coworkers nearly spilled four cups of Coughuppalottebucks on me as she came out of the corner Coughuppalottebucks. Ah, the mid-morning caffeine run. I never partook. But I knew it existed. It was a ritual among the in-crowd at my old office. They took turns making the run and then spent 30 - 45 minutes in the break room wallowing in their $4 stinky drinks.

I was never particularly close to the coworker who nearly smashed into me coffee first. She was one of the cool girls who hung out with my boss and the other cool girls at lunch and for drinks after work. She was never out-and-out mean to me, but it was a given that the cool girls my boss liked did not associate with me and yes I am very aware of how that sounds but you didn't work there, you have no idea how juvenile, unprofessional and downright weird the office culture and politics were. I was there to do my job, other people were there to augment their social life and pad their resumes.

Okay, so suddenly this woman - who was at best distant and aloof to me when we worked two office away from each other - acted like I was her long lost best friend. She set down the coffee and did that cutesy little girl squeal thing and gave me a hug.


"Ohmygawd Trillian! It's sooooooo good to see you! How are you?! Is your new office around here?!"

"Um, I don't have a new office. I'm unemployed. I got laid off about a year ago, remember?"

"Yes, silly, I know, that sucked, we were all so shocked! We lost so many good people. It's just not the same. (overly exaggerated frowny pouty face) But (my former nincompoop lying sycophantic boss) said you got a new job! So great that you landed on your feet. You know, that's always the way. God closes a door and opens a window."

"Uh, nope. No new job. The doors and windows are all closed."

"Oh. (look of confusion which isn't a stretch, she's easily confused) You're not even consulting with (former client)?"

"Nope. Non-compete clause in my severance. And they're in a hiring freeze, anyway."

"Oh. (look of further confusion) But they pulled their contract with us. Then (my former nincompoop lying sycophantic boss) said you were working for them, account exec or something like that."

"She's misinformed and she misinformed you. The rumors of my success are highly exaggerated."

"Oh. What about (another former coworker)? Is she working there?"

"Not that I am aware. I'm guessing she has the same non-compete clause and the hiring freeze would prohibit hiring her, too."

"Oh. Because (my former nincompoop lying sycophantic boss) said you both got hired right away and that's why we lost the contract."

"I'm not going to speculate on why they pulled the contract but I can say with a high degree of accuracy that no one, former client or otherwise, has hired me. And as for (the other former coworker) I presume she's having as much difficulty finding a new job as the rest of us."

"Oh. Yeah. Things are bad. We're all worried we'll be next. I mean, really, Trill, you're lucky. You got out."

And that's where I got angry. Lucky? Lucky? This ignorant, immature, silly, unaware, lazy, ass kissing moron in a cashmere twin-set stood there and had the gall to tell me I'm lucky? She has a job, a paycheck, her home, her husband and two toddlers, a cashmere twin-set and money left over for Coughuppalottebucks while I've sold or donated pretty much all of my possessions and am about to lose my home and she's calling me lucky?

I'm not an angry person. Really I'm not. And I'm keeping a remarkably positive attitude considering what I'm going through. Shockingly positive. To the point friends are worried I'm in a form of psychotic denial. But. This really tested my attitude. Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Deep breath in, slowly exhale out. Higher plane of enlightenment. Serenity now. All that.

"I didn't 'get out.' I was laid off. There was no escape involved." I tried really hard to not affect a tone, to just make that sound matter-of-fact.

"It's just so awful at work now. It used to be so fun. Now..." she pulled the exaggerated pouty frowny face and let the sentence trail, as if the pouty frowny face said it all.

I finished her sentence, "And now you have to actually do something when you're at work? Oh the humanity. What a world, what a world.'

Oooops. That kinda slipped out before I could filter it. I didn't intend to say that out loud.

"You know, it's not easy, we've lost a lot clients and there are a lot of budget cutbacks and we're not even having our staff retreat this summer."

"Oh, that is a shame. (dammit, what's wrong with my filter? Make nice Trillian, now!) I know being one of the ones left behind is no picnic. Things are bad for everyone."

"I hope you find a job soon," she said and picked up the carry-out tray of Coughuppalottebucks.


What really disturbs me is the my former nincompoop lying sycophantic boss told everyone that two of the people she laid off landed new jobs with one of our former clients. My former nincompoop lying sycophantic boss is very well aware of the non-compete clause in my severance because she signed my "release" agreement. And she swutting well knows that I cannot work for any of my former clients and therefore she knows I'm not working for them! And yet she apparently felt some need to either a) make me look bad, that I violated the non-compete clause and "stole" the client; or b) take some of the guilty stink off her for laying off the two people who did the bulk of the work in the office by painting a rosy picture of our "great new jobs."

I know.

I know.

Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love.

I know.

I will. I promise. I do.

But it bugs me, you know, for other people. I wonder how many times middle and senior managers have used that lie about laid-off former coworkers to calm the remaining troops in the office?

I don't have the luxury of becoming a "discouraged" worker. I have to continue to look for work, with or without a home or money, I have to continue to look for work. I cannot "give up," take myself out of the race, because it's just me. Even when I move home with my mother I have to continue the job hunt. I'm getting (and feeling) older every day, but I still have a lot of years until retirement. (A lot more years until retirement now that I've raided every penny I can from my 401K.)

But here's a snippet on the latest unemployment numbers:
"The unemployed who stop looking for work become classified as "discouraged," and the number of discouraged workers continues to grow. And these discouraged workers are an added twist to the nation's unemployment problem: Discouraged workers are no longer considered unemployed, which is part of why the 9.5 percent rate of unemployment understates our current crisis. It's also one of the reasons the unemployment rate dropped in June from 9.7 to 9.5 percent. If you add the 1.2 million "discouraged" workers to the 14.6 million unemployed, you have 15.8 million out-of-work Americans.
So when will it end? Estimates vary, but the Federal Reserve says that unless job growth rates improve, it will take five years for the unemployment to return to pre-crisis levels."

Keep in mind this does not include consultants, freelancers, contractors, part timers who were never eligible for unemployment and therefore never counted. When Frankie's company downsized they started with consultants. She worked there three years on contract because Benjy had a job and benefits. They kept renewing her contract, she was considered an employee. But when her contract was terminated she got the two month buyout clause money and that was it. She never filed for unemployment because she was ineligible and therefore she's not counted as unemployed.

Okay. Okay. Sorry. I try really hard to not go down this road because it's a pointless dead end.

But apparently, like my former betwin-setted coworker, some people just don't get it. They believe we're recovering and that those of us who are unemployed are just not trying hard enough or are dinosaurs who didn't keep up with the times, that in some way we're responsible for our unemployment, we did something wrong or didn't do something good enough. And yes, some days and a lot of nights, I think that, too. If I'd been more sycophantic, paid more attention to office politics than my job and clients, I might still be employed. I kinda doubt it, but maybe. And no, that's not who I am and I'm better off away from there. But pride, dignity and professionalism don't pay the mortgage.

And, I know I'm not entirely to blame. There aren't 15.8 million jobs available so obviously some, most of us, are going to remain unemployed.

"Why aren't people able to return to the workforce? Economists and analysts say there are currently "five job seekers for every job." There simply aren't jobs out there to be filled. Since the current recession began in December 2007, it's estimated that nearly 8 million jobs have been lost. As long as the economy is suffering, employers aren't increasing their staffs and are leaving empty positions vacant."

Hey, I'm not alone. There are 15.8 of us. All applying and hoping for the same few jobs. It is discouraging. But I continue my job hunt anyway. I'm sure most of us, even the "officially" discouraged, have to continue, we can't give up even though many of us have lost or will lose our homes and pretty much everything we ever owned.

My lawyer tried to help me look on the bright side. There's a certain freedom in losing everything. Once I'm not tethered to my mortgage and hence my home, I'm free to go anywhere, do anything. And hey, I do have a gazillion air miles. But you have to sleep somewhere and eat something, so it's not the total free and easy vagabonding life of fun and adventure that it sounds like. Unfortunately it's difficult for me to see homelessness ending in any result other than living under expressway overpasses and pushing a grocery cart around collecting cans and bottles and eating at soup kitchens.

I know. I need to be more optimistic, more adventurous, more open to the possibilities my new "freedom" will bring. Working on that. Accept.


3:45 PM

Tuesday, July 20, 2010  
Since my dad died my mother doesn't travel. My parents spent their entire courtship and marriage traveling. It's what they did. All the time.

After my dad died my mother wasn't interested in traveling. But lately she's been up for little road trips. So a couple weeks ago I took my mother for a drive. We took provisions in case we decided to stay overnight somewhere.

I pulled out of suburban Detroit, hopped on I-75 and drove north. Next thing we knew we were Upnorth.

There are as many definitions of where Upnorth is as there are Michiganders. But I use my dad's definition (because he extolled it with such convincing authority): Anyplace above the 45th Parallel is Upnorth. It makes logical sense to me, not just because of my dad's authoritarian tone. The 45th Parallel is the halfway mark between the Equator and the North Pole. Technically anyplace above the Equator is up and North, but when people say they're going Upnorth for the weekend they're generally not referring to Libya or Cuba or even Tallahassee. Where, then, is the line in the sand, erm, snow, the demarcation of Upnorth? Well, logically dividing the Northern hemisphere into two parts makes sense, nest'ce-pas? (Yeah, I'm still doing that.) And where is the halfway point in the Northern hemisphere? Ta-dah, the 45th Parallel. Other people believe this makes sense, too. There are even official green and white interstate signs noting it. "45th Parallel Halfway Between the Equator - North Pole." If they put an official green and white interstate informational highway sign on the interstate, then it's true.

We're no strangers to Upnorth. We used to go Upnorth a lot. And. On the countless trips to visit family in Minnesota we took the UP (Upper Peninsula) route which took us straight through Upnorth, over the bridge, through the UP and Wisconsin.

When I think of those trips and Upnorth I think of three things: The Mackinac Bridge, Sea Shell City and the Mystery Spot.

When I was a kid The Mystery Spot posted billboards (what seemed like) every mile along the interstate leading to the UP. The billboards alluded to spooky mysterious goings on at the Mystery Spot. I used to beg my dad to stop at the Mystery Spot. And I mean shameless begging. "Please Daddy, please can we go to the Mystery Spot? I promise I won't ever ask to go anywhere ever again if we stop at the Mystery Spot!" "Please, Daddy, please, Mum, please make Daddy stop at the Mystery Spot, I'll never ask for another thing ever again as long as I live!"

Then I'd start The Chant.

"We wanna stop at the Mystery Spot. Stop the car at the Mystery Spot. We wanna stop at the Mystery Spot. Stop the car at the Mystery Spot. Stop, stop, stop at the Mystery Spot."

Even though The Chant was accompanied by hypnotically rhythmic beating of hands on the car seat, it had no effect on my dad. I'm the youngest. By the time I started backseat chanting and hypnotic drum beating my parents were so completely immune to backseat chanting that they were deaf to it. Backseat chants simply didn't register in their auditory recognition sense.

The Mystery Spot is located in St. Ignace, just across the bridge and directly on our route to Minnesota. But my dad never stopped at the Mystery Spot. He stopped for gas in St. Ignace, sometimes he'd stop at a roadside park and we ate the sandwiches my mother packed, gazing at the splendor of the Mackinac Bridge, and a couple times my dad stopped at this place that has an "observatory" on the roof (a telescope aimed at the Mackinac Bridge, lame). Once we went to Castle Rock, the rock itself is kinda cool but Paul Bunyan and Babe are lame, once he stopped at the Injun Trading Post (I'm not making that up, political correctness wasn't an issue in the UP), sometimes he stopped for 'original' pasties and he and my brother would scarf down a pasty (then, as now, I hate pasties) and sometimes he stopped for ice cream. But we never went to the Mystery Spot. "Tourist trap," my dad scoffed. Sometimes he say to my mother, "Never should have taught her to read. Billboards. They're a conspiracy against parents."

When I got old enough to reason and affect sarcasm I countered his dismissive 'tourist trap'  comment with, "Oh, and Castle Rock isn't a tourist trap? The roof 'observatory' isn't a tourist trap? The 'Injun Trading Post' isn't a tourist trap?"

That didn't help my case. We never went to the Mystery Spot. I quit begging and began attempting to make one, poignant statement that cut straight to their heart and implied child abuse, "Of course we won't be stopping at the Mystery Spot." (Sometimes I'd say it snarkily, sometimes I'd say it all pathetic, as in, "please sir, may I have more gruel.") "Of course we won't be stopping at the Mystery Spot." "Of course we won't be stopping at the Mystery Spot."

Of course not. We'll stop at the lame 'observatory' or get a putrid pasty but we never stop at the Mystery Spot.

And then my grandmother died. And we, the whole family, all us kids included, made another trek to Minnesota and dealt with a lot of family stuff and generally lived through a weeklong family ordeal.

It was also the last time all of us kids were smooshed into the backseat for a family trip. My sister was in college, my brother was heading to college the next year. Maybe my dad sensed the changing dynamic in the family - maybe he sensed that the family road trips as we knew them were coming to an end. Or maybe he just felt sorry for us kids after all the family crap we endured during our week in Minnesota at his mother's funeral. Whatever the reason, much to our collective shock and amazement on the the way home - without prodding or begging or chanting - my dad pulled into the Mystery Spot.

Oh holy mother of all that's weird!

The biggest mystery of the Mystery Spot was that my dad actually, finally stopped there. I won't divulge what goes on at the Mystery Spot. There's a code. It's mysterious. It's a spot. A spot filled with mystery.* I will say this, though, it was pouring down rain the day we finally stopped at the Mystery Spot and the gloomy weather exponentially added to the air of mystery.

When I took my mother Upnorth a few weeks ago I drove into the Mystery Spot on the return trip. I wanted to get postcards and a t-shirt for my brother's birthday. (Oh yes, the Mystery Spot has a gift shop. Of course the Mystery Spot has a gift shop.) I even did the chant, "We wanna stop at the Mystery Spot. Stop the car at the Mystery Spot. We wanna stop at the Mystery Spot. Stop the car at the Mystery Spot. Stop, stop, stop at the Mystery Spot." Now, as then, my mother was deaf to my chanting. It looks exactly the same as when I was a kid. I didn't take the tour but I presume it's the same as it was when I was a kid. The Mystery Spot still pulls in the tourists. The parking lot was full, a small line was waiting for the next tour and the gift shop was bustling. "Ahhhhh, Michigan's down, but it's not out. The Mystery Spot is still going strong." The Mystery Spot's success made me happy. The automotive industry has been hurting, Michigan's job and economic woes are internationally known. But by golly, the Mystery Spot is going strong. (And for that matter so is Castle Rock.) I left feeling content, even happy, that the Mystery Spot endures, even with far fewer billboards than they used to have.

Once back on the road home there was a back up on the bridge and snarled traffic heading south. My mother had to go to the bathroom. So, we stopped at one of the places we used to stop on the way North. Sea Shell City.

For reasons I can't explain, my parents used to stop at Sea Shell City. For reasons I can't explain, there's a place called Sea Shell City in Cheboygan, Michigan. The Sea Shell City in Cheboygan, Michigan, sells sea shells from seas made of salt water. Even though Cheboygan, Michigan is nestled on Lake Huron, a huge body of fresh water. I dunno. It's been there forever, apparently thriving. Tourist trap.

My mother said she and my dad used to stop there because they had clean bathrooms and my parents figured if they stopped there, prior to St. Ignace, us kids would tone down the begging to stop at all the other tourist traps around the bridge and St. Ignace. I don't recall the clean bathrooms, nor do I recall their diversionary tactic working. In my memory stopping at Sea Shell City only buoyed our hopes of stopping other places - if our dad stopped at Sea Shell City then surely he'd stop at the Mystery Spot! "We wanna stop at the Mystery Spot. Stop the car at the Mystery Spot. We wanna stop at the Mystery Spot. Stop the car at the Mystery Spot. Stop, stop, stop at the Mystery Spot." Chant chant chant!

Sea Shell City also used to get in on the billboard extravaganza. They, too, have scaled back on the roadside advertising, now. However, one of the most enticing billboards remains. The billboard showcasing the Giant Man Killer Clam on display at Sea Shell City. Never mind that the closest thing to a scary clam in the Great Lakes are infesting zebra muscles. Sea Shell City has a giant man killing clam on display.

Okay. When I was a kid I was both awed and petrified of the giant man killing clam. Okay? I thought it was enormous and I totally bought the schtick about the clam killing a man. So great was the giant clam's impact that it features prominently in a lot of my early artwork. My brother played a big role in my awe and fear of the giant clam. You know the scene in Roman Holiday where Gregory Peck puts his hand in the Mouth of Truth sculpture and pretends his hand is bitten off? My brother pulled that trick with the clam. Every time we stopped at Sea Shell City. And every time I fell for it. Look, I was little. My brother's a lot older than me. His performances were very convincing. He'd stick his hand in the giant man killing clam's "mouth" and then pantomime trying to pull it out, screaming that the clam was eating him. I either tried to go to his aid and pulled on his arm, or I ran screaming to my parents. Because the clam was huge, giant enough to kill a man, or at least my brother.

I have not been to Sea Shell City since I was a kid. But I've told people, adults, friends, about the Giant Man Killer Clam at Sea Shell City. "You gotta see this thing, it's HUGE!! Enormous!!!"

So I was kind of excited about stopping at the home of the Giant Man Killer Clam so my mother could use the clean bathroom.

I was even kind of, you know, giddy, as I pulled into the parking lot.

My mother made a beeline to the clean bathroom.

I made a  beeline to the Giant Man Killer Clam.

Sad fact of life learned in 3-2-1. You know, it's true. You can never go home again.

I couldn't find it. Finally I asked a Sea Shell City worker where to find the Giant Man Killer Clam. She pointed to a shell perched on a shelf about five feet away from me.

There was a slightly dusty large-ish clamshell, top and bottom parts, sitting with its "mouth" slightly open and the cheapest plastic dusty seaweed I've ever seen coming out of its mouth.

Okay, sure, yes, as mollusks go it's, you know, big. But. Um. Not exactly big enough to kill a man. That never would have scared me when I was a kid. I would have cracked up at the thought of it eating my brother's  hand. It would have been comedic to me, even as a small child. It would have sent me into a fit of little girl giggles. This, this impostor clam was an abomination of all that's sacred Upnorth.

"What?! They replaced the Giant Man Killer Clam with its baby?! What happened to the Giant Man Killer Clam? Is the real one out on loan or something?"

I said that to no one in particular, but the Sea Shell City worker was still standing there so she thought I was talking to her.

She just looked at me with a, "huh?" look. "I worked here last Summer. It's the same one."

I was crestfallen. Heartbroken. I wanted to see the Giant Man Killer Clam of my youth and instead I saw a dusty, puny stand-in.

But I wondered what happened to the Giant Man Killer Clam. I thought  maybe it went to the Smithsonian or maybe on a world tour of Museums of Natural History. I mused about all the places it might be and all the awe and fear it was exhorting. Apparently I stood there with a faraway look for quite a while because I was shaken out of my reverie by my mother.

"Look! Look what happened!" I exclaimed, "The Giant Man Killer Clam was replaced by this puny shell!"

My mother looked at the dusty clam. And then at me. And then at the clam.

"Uh, darling, that's the same clam."

I couldn't believe her ridiculous attempt to hoodwink me. "No, no it's not! The Giant Man Killer Clam is huge! Remember? It's man killing size! This thing couldn't bite the fingernail of a man."

"You were a little girl, honey, it must have seemed a lot bigger to you. And your brother always used to torment you so. Looks like they haven't dusted that thing since the last time we were here. The bathrooms aren't as clean as they used to be, either."

Great. So Sea Shell City is going downhill. And the Giant Man Killer Clam is really just a moderately large dusty shell with fake plastic seaweed spewing out of its mouth.


I should have quit at the Mystery Spot. I should have been sated with that perfectly preserved sweet taste of my childhood. Solid, unwavering, reliable, the Mystery Spot should have quenched my thirst for clinging to something stable in my troubled, turbulent time of need.

But no. No. I had to tempt fate. I got greedy. I wanted more. I wanted a Giant Man Killing Clam.

And I got what I deserved. Dashed memories. Everything I thought I knew about mega mollusks was wrong. Disillusioned, dejected and depressed, and grossed out by shambles that was the once former splendorous clean bathroom, we left.

When we got in the car my mother handed me a small bag. Inside were those fancy guest soaps you're not supposed to actually use to wash your hands. They were shaped into a starfish, seahorse, octopus and a mermaid.

"Awww, they're cute. Thanks!"

"I didn't get you the clam. I didn't want to upset you more," my mother joked.

Okay, yes, it's funny. And I know, it's just a stupid tourist trap and a clam shell. But. Still. I was kind of crushed. In my mind's eye, my memory, the Giant Man Killer Clam was awe, or at least art, inspiring. I never, ever should have gone to Sea Shell City.

It's me, it's my fault. I did this to myself. I grew up. The Giant Man Killer Clam didn't change, I did. Then again not really. I just grew taller. Older, more miles on my odometer, a lot more experienced in the crap of life. But I'm still that goofy little kid excited and a little scared to see a Giant Man Killing Clam.

I was still clinging to the wonder and awe of things mysterious and giant. I was still going around all in awe and wonder of all the remarkable creatures in the world.

And now, well, now that memory is dashed. Pretty much like everything else in my life. First stability, then hopes and now memories. Obviously it's not a huge deal, but I feel stupid and a little more empty. Was I that gullible as a kid? And so much for going around with the vision of a Giant Man Killing Clam in my memory. The place in my memory where that enormous mollusk was lodged now has a lot of empty space - the puny, dusty mediocre clam shell with fake plastic seaweed just sits there looking lame with all the extra space around it where the memory of a much more giant clam used to be.

Lesson learned: Don't go back. Leave the past in the past, savor the good memories. I got lucky with the Mystery Spot but never should have been greedy enough to go for the the clam.

*Whenever I read an article about g-spots and the word mystery is used to describe men's feelings about it (which is surprisingly often, apparently a lot of men are utterly mystified by g-spots), I crack up out loud. Because all I can think about is the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace, Michigan.

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3:58 PM

Sunday, July 18, 2010  
Oh crap. I think I'm old. I mean, you know, like, old.

I feel like I've seen and heard it all.

And that is the mindset that makes a person officially old. Because when you think you've seen and heard it all you have nothing to look forward to, no wonder, no curiosity, no "wow, look at that!" moments.



When did that happen?

I'm hoping it's just a temporary thing. Unemployed. Almost homeless. Yeah. That kind of colors one's perspective.

However. I've been thinking, "You know, at least there's some good new music around, we seem to be coming out of a bleak musical era..."

But now I dunno about that.

It was early Sunday morning. I woke up determined to fill the empty boxes in my living room, preparing for the descent into homelessness, boxing up stuff, purging stuff, donating stuff (anyone want a breadmaker? it's like new, only used three or four times.). Even though I wanted to crank some tunes to brighten my spirits during the dismal chore of packing, I resisted the urge to exact a little audio revenge on my neighbor. So, I turned on the television and did some channel surfing. What do you know?! I found actual music videos on VH1!! Holy crap! Music? On VH1?!! Okay, that'll do. So I was  packing and purging and thinking a lot of the music sucks, which is what I used to think when VH1 played music videos 24 hours a day.

I did notice that Eminem, older, apparently more wiser, is, um, well, there's no easy way to say this, he's turning into quite a handsome man.

I've seen a few snippets of a certain someone's "controversial" video. You know who I'm talking about. She's everywhere, more famous for her outfits than her musical talent. No, not Madonna. Just a new version, Madonna 2.0. She has this big stinking new video that's supposed to be a big scandalous artsy deal. I didn't see the big deal, it's just a redux of a couple Madonna videos. Naked writhing among militant male dancers, a huge arrow pointing to her vagina, nun/religious iconography, machine gun boob bra all set to a disco beat...meh, yawn. Mock provocative, contrived controversy, staged sedition. Spin. I thought, "Maybe I missed the controversial part, so since it's playing I'll watch the whole thing." My original opinion rests. Naked writhing woman falling around militant male dancers with Mo from the Three Stooges haircuts, a huge red arrow pointing to her vagina, nun/religious iconography, machine gun boob bra all set to a disco beat...meh, yawn.What, no python emerging from her vagina? Or did I miss that part?

Back to packing. 

And then Snoop Dog caught my eye. I have a thing for Snoop Dog. A cultural, sociological interest in Snoop Dog. So I was kind of surprised to see him featured in another pop chick's music video. Huh. This is illustrating my point about the cultural/sociological interest in Snoop Dog. Why is he the socially acceptable thug rapper? What sets him apart from other thug rappers? (Let the record state, I dig Snoop Dog, I like his apparent sense of humor and self awareness. That's cool.) But this video, well, the song is lame pop fluff, and apparently the video producers felt the same way because it's like a 3D version of the game Candyland. The singer and her backup gurls ride huge candy canes that turn into brightly colored cartoon snakes. Ahhhh, finally, serpent-as-sexual-loss-of-innocence symbolism I was craving. Complete with girl dancers wearing cupcake frosted bras. And at the end the singer shoots whipped cream from faux Redi-whip cans smooshed into her cupcake Snoop.

This makes me curious. Why the upsurge in boob/nipple as projectile emitting source? I'm a chick, I have boobs and nipples, I see them every day, so there's no mystery in boobs and nipples to me, so maybe my opinion is biased.

I guess men like the idea of things shooting out of women's boobs/nipples. I guess it's provocative and seductive to men. Maybe that's why I'm single. I don't shoot bullets or whipped cream from my boobs.

Sidebar: Not that I've seen it done as often as the boob emission imagery, a guy shooting bullets or whipped cream or anything else from his penis in a music video or onstage or in general doesn't turn me on. Though let the record state, I'll sit on the review board for penis emission iconography music videos. Anyone up for a Tommy Lee solo video? I mean, he can drive a boat with it, just imagine what he could do with the aid of props and choreography. Still, a mock AK47 strapped atop a guy's penis doesn't often feature in my fantasies. But then I'm not really into mixing violence with sex. I'm a lover not a fighter. So maybe this just isn't my thing. Maybe plenty of other women are into Howitzers in the bedroom.

Here's the thing, though. Pop culture history is filled with boob shooting iconography. So much so that it's cliché. So why are these young video songstresses' producers relying on it?

Maybe if it were done comically, like the Fembots in Austin Powers. Now that's funny and apt use as boobs as firepower. And maybe the whipped cream cans shooting at Snoop Dog is funny. But I dunno. Yawn. Plus this songstress is young enough to be Snoop's daughter so there's a really creepy "ewwww" factor when two streams of whipped cream shoot from her boobs at Snoop. I'm sure he's in on the joke, I'm guessing he knows he's providing hope and vicarious fantasies for millions of mid-life-crisis-aged men, but still, ewwww. I'm just not down with the young 20s woman with middle aged man thing. Speaking of trite and cliché.

And that's when it occurred to me. I'm old. I have seen and heard it all. Even a young girl shooting whipped cream from her boobs at Snoop Dog seems trite and stupid. All I see is a mid-life-crisis inspired fantasy theme. Even a writhing naked young woman with big red arrow pointing at her vagina dancing among military inspired extras from a Three Stooges inspired production of Cabaret and laying in bed with a bright red nun costume bores me.

It's all so contrived. Which is why I never really cared for music videos. I'm just not a forced, contrived, big song and dance spectacle kind of person.

And maybe it's important for a new generation of kids to be exposed to over-the-top video production numbers so that they can decide if they like that sort of thing or not. Were it not for Madonna and Duran Duran I might not have known that I don't like that sort of thing. They did me a favor. By doing what they did they gave me the opportunity to listen, view and form a definitive opinion. Thanks to them I know, without a doubt, that I do not like overproduced, overimaged pop music. Thanks to them I learned, early on, that I'm a substance over style kind of person. So maybe this new slew of videos and trite overproduced pop music is important. Because without it there can't be a backlash.

The Madonna/Duran Duran backlash directly (and thankfully swiftly) resulted in The Pixies, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana among other notable anti-image, substance-over-style musicians. So maybe, maybe I do have something to look forward to, maybe the resulting backlash against this trite, over-produced spectacle-imagery-based "music" will rock my world.

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10:13 AM

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