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

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






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

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

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

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




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

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

200i: iPodyssey

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

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

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

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

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

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

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

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

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

Slanglish

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


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

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

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

Lap Dance of the Cripple

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

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

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

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

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

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

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


















 
Mail Trillian here





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

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


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

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

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

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


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



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

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




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





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







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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Thursday, March 17, 2011  
I am in desperate need for any and all ideas about to come up with $3,800 by April 15. I'm open to anything that doesn't involve doing anything sexual, selling anything illegal or gambling/lottery.

You may be thinking, "Trillian's unemployed. How does someone with no income amass a $3,800 federal tax bill?"

Set your wayback machine to January of 2007. I was renting an apartment in a building that was going condo. I could not afford the starting price for the condos in that building, which meant I had 9 weeks to find a new place to live. Rent rates were high (still are) in Chicago, yadda yadda yadda I bought a very small, (at the time) reasonably priced condo. In order to make a down payment and pay the tax and moving expense I took out a residential loan from my 401K. It was a low interest loan and since I was "borrowing" my own money, the interest was being paid to me. This is how fund managers spin it, this is how employers spin it. I'd considered and dismissed this option several times in the previous years. I was trying to buy a home for a while but I wanted to do it without raiding my 401K so I wouldn't be tied to that job by a 401K loan ball and chain.

But, I with deadline of 9 weeks looming, a dismal apartment hunt and a mortgage approval, I played out the scenarios, the pros and cons, and decided I could tough out my job a few more years. The problems at work were inconsequential compared to what I could gain by buying a home. It wasn't just a mortgage and a home, it was the first crucial step toward adoption. Besides, I reasonably reasoned, if I left that job I would be going to another company who offered a 401K, I'd rollover my old company 401K to the new one and pay off the balance of the loan. So, I took out a residential loan from my 401K, closed on my condo and I was still money ahead in terms of the apartment rental rates, plus, woo hoo, I finally owned my own home and wasn't providing income for some slimy slumlord or greedy property management company. And, woo hoo, this allowed me to finally start the steps toward adoption. Buy a small condo, live there five years, then sell it for enough profit to buy a bigger, child social worker approved home so I could show that while I am single, I am capable of providing a home and life for a child.

(Insert: Death of a pet, complications from foot and ankle surgery and death of a parent here.)

Now set your wayback machine to August 2009. Two years and four months into my mortgage and life plans and, oh yeah, that residential loan from my 401K, I was laid-off.

Here's what happens when you lose your job and you have an outstanding loan in your 401K and lose your job: You have 90 days to pay off the balance. If you don't (or can't) pay off the loan balance in that time frame it's considered in default, the loan is now considered an early withdrawal, and you are required to pay the early withdrawal tax penalties.

I'm sure Suze Orman covers this in her seminars, books, DVDs and software. I'm sure there are copious chapters covering this in books titled things like, "Dumb Things Women Do to Screw Up Their Lives." I'm sure a lot of people are tut-tutting me.

Let me remind Suze Orman and those tut-tutting people: I am single. I have always been single. One income. No trust fund. No rich uncle. No monthly "help" from my parents. No financial help from boyfriends or men in general. I earn(ed) a salary on the low end of the average national income and in the middle of low income for the city of Chicago. My company's 401K was a great deal - 100% vesting and 100% match - and it was the most viable (and easy) way for me to turn my meager savings into an actual financial investment. It was my best option. And for a while, there, my 401K was turning into a nice little nest egg. It was definitely the best perk of my job and for more years than I'm comfortable admitting publicly, it was the main reason I stayed. I was embarrassingly underpaid but with the 100% company match, my meager pre-tax deposits were earning more money than a lot of my friends were earning in their 401Ks, even though they were depositing higher amounts of money.

Back to August 2009: I was told to clear out my office and leave my company without so much as a stop in the bathroom on August 3, 2009. But because of the WARN Act and my company's massive staff reduction we were well into WARN Act territory. So, by order of federal law I was kept on the payroll until October 2009.

In that two-month time frame I frantically did everything I could to find a job, assess the worst case scenarios and sort out a financial plan. No matter how I crunched the numbers I couldn't come up with the money to pay off the 401K residential loan in the allotted 90 day time frame. Keep in mind, I was paying off huge (and I mean enormous) medical bills from my ongoing foot and ankle saga, so most of my severance went to paying off: Medical bills, credit cards (also used to pay medical expenses and travel expenses during my father's illness and death). The money remaining was such a meager amount that it would barely cover a couple months' living expenses, and certainly not the full amount of the 401K loan-come-default amount. And in terms of the 401K fund and the IRS, the 401K loan repayment is all or nothing.

Oh. And. For those of you saying, "But wait! Wait! There's usually a hardship clause in early withdrawals!!! Trill, you certainly qualify for hardship!!!"

Nope. I do not. The IRS kindly takes three situations into consideration with retirement fund early withdrawals: Death of a spouse, college tuition for a child, or if you're already losing your home and are facing eviction due to a foreclosure. Since I was not in foreclosure when I took out the loan, and nor would I be in foreclosure within the 90 day repayment time frame, no hardship clause for me. (On the plus side, now that I'm losing my home I could take advantage of the IRS's generous hardship forgiveness to drain the rest of my 401K at a reduced tax penalty. Yay. Unemployment totally rocks.)


The 90 day 401K loan repayment deadline was January 4, 2010. So. I didn't get hit with the early withdrawal penalty on my 2009 taxes. I felt relief for the stay of tax execution. And I thought surely I'd have a full time job soon and I'd sock away every spare penny toward the tax penalty I'd have to pay on my 2010 taxes.

Wellllll, yeah, here it is March 2011 and I'm still unemployed, I've had no pennies to save and that 401K penalty is hitting me...and voila, that is how someone with no job or income can amass a $3,800 tax bill.

Ta dah! I am officially living my worst case scenario. As my unemployment dragged on this tax bill nagged at me. In my worst case scenarios this is when contingencies and hopes end, the money and options are exhausted and really horrible, nasty things start hitting the fan.

Brace for impact.

Sad to say, in spite of the enormity of this tax bill, it's the least of my problems.  

Sure, I can set up a five year payment plan. At the generous 12% interest rate the IRS charges my $3,800 debt will only cost me $5,071.80. Yay. Of course, I still don't have a job and those payments start on April 15, and I can barely pay my phone bill so coming up with $84.53/month to give to the IRS will be interesting.

I'm not asking for sympathy or a handout. I knew what I was doing. Back in 2007 when I first contemplated the loan I knew it was a gamble and I took the chance with eyes wide open about the penalties. I didn't have a crystal ball so I couldn't know what was about to happen to me in the coming months, so I chose "reasonable optimism," meaning, I knew there was a risk but it wasn't bad judgment. I never could have predicted my foot/ankle surgery, my father's death and my lay-off. I never could have predicted my "great" health insurance wouldn't cover a staggering portion of my medical expenses and I would blow through my emergency savings account in one MRI bill and two weeks of physical therapy. Or that the remaining five months of physical therapy, lab fees, prescriptions and tests would force me to nearly max out a credit card. Never, ever again will I choose to be optimistic about my life. Even if it seems reasonable and in good judgment I will now always, always assume the worst will happen. That's the financial lesson I've learned from all of this. So, yes, Suze, yes, I've learned my lesson. So leave me - and everyone else like me - alone. We made the best decisions we could at the time we made the decisions. We are clearly not as smart, savvy or wealthy as you and we never will be, and unfortunately now we're so broke we can't afford to buy your books or DVDs or attend your seminars. (I wonder how much she makes on all of that - and further, what would she say to someone spending money on those products if they weren't hers?)


But, never let it be said that I didn't try everything possible to generate some, any, money. I'm taking a page out of Suze's book and hawking merchandise.

I know I'm not the only single/zero out there. I know a lot of people find humor and insult in the IRS status demarcation: Single/zero or married/zero.  Me? I've embraced it. It's one of many labels assigned to me, it is who I am. It's the only sure thing about me. It's the only status I have. Single. Zero. Single in every way possible. Zero in every way possible.


For those who embrace and find humor in their tax form status, that two word label that defines us, Trillian Enterprises Ltd. has launched a line of products for tax season. April 15 is right around the corner. Stock up on single/zero or married/zero merchandise for your tax day celebration!

Your tax status isn't just an IRS category, it's a way of life! You earned it, declared it and paid for it, why not wear it proudly?! Nothing says, "Proud to be an American" like an IRS tax form designation.

For extra tax season fun I set all prices to an IRS tax form number. Fun and educational! One of my favorites is the single/zero shot glass priced at $8.86 which is the number of the "Supporting Documents to Prove American Opportunity Credit" IRS form. Yep. There's a deduction and a form to prove American opportunity. IRS form #886. Sure, pricing the merchandise to tax form numbers eats into my tiny profit margin, but I'd rather list a t-shirt for $10.40 than make an extra 20¢ on it. Marketing baby, marketing.

Also perfect gifts for all those hard-to-buy-for accountants and tax preparers out there! And if you are an accountant or tax preparer or IRS agent, these are fun customer giveaways! Contact me for bulk pricing!


Trillian Enterprises Ltd.
Where your status is the bottom line.®


On a serious note, while you're visiting CafePress check out their Japan Relief fund raising t-shirt. It's $15 which includes a $10 donation to Red Cross Japan. It's a pretty cool design and speaking of the IRS, gives you a $10 charitable tax deduction.

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5:34 PM

Monday, March 14, 2011  
 Open Apology to Japan

Sometimes I have huge regrets about my youth. Some of what was formed in my formative years has proved to be...well...difficult. I'm not blaming anyone, especially not my parents. Sure, I suppose they could have been a little more, oh, I dunno, judicious about my television viewing. But, I mean, it was just a lunkhead moose and a flying squirrel, how were they to know most of what I knew about Russia and the Cold War I learned from Boris and Natasha? So much so that until I was 10 or 11 I kind of didn't understand all the hullabaloo over Russia, I mean, how could we be afraid of bumbling, inept people who talked funny and carried around big black balls with a sparkler on the end labeled in big white letters, "BOMB?"

In the '80s, when MTV arrived and brought with it music videos themed around Cold War apocalypse I didn't understand why so much fear-based imagery was used. "We're talking about people who go around trying to catch moose and squirrel with a giant sparking black ball clearly labeled 'BOMB' for crying out loud."

I watched an '80s music video rewind thing a few weeks ago (don't ask). It made me remember why I hated the '80s. I forgot how many music videos tried to be über political by portraying war, evil dictators, something sorrowful related to East Germany or grim post apocalyptic life. Were we really that scared in the '80s? I remember, now, why the Pixies were such a big stinking deal to me. There was a lot of really, really, really bad music but the same could be said for any decade. There's just a lot of really, really, really bad music out there. But what made it worse in the '80s was the self-important, way over-the-top apocalyptic videos. Apparently every band producing music in the '80s was heavily influenced by one of two movies: Mad Max (Road Warrior) or Das Boot. I happen to like both of those movies but not so much so that I want every band producing a music video to allude to or blatantly copy themes and imagery from them.

But I digress and that's my point: Sometimes I regret my youth. 

Sure, I can't be faulted for the content of what was shown on television. And as I said, my parents are not to blame. Considering "the times" I was not allowed to watch much television. Compared to other kids I knew, my parents were very strict about what and how much television I watched.

Unfortunately, now, though, I realize the relatively small amount of '80s MTV is the least of my concerns.

As the horrific news and images emerge from Japan I read and watch in horror and sorrow.

And  I realize, with much embarrassing, shameful regret,  I watched way, way, way too many Godzilla movies as a kid.

Because as the tragedy unfolds in Japan, and I read and watch in overwhelming horror and sorrow, there's a synapse in my brain that fires this formula: Japan + Natural Disaster ÷ Nuclear or Atomic Accident = Fire Breathing Monster in Tokyo Bay.

So along with the overwhelming sadness, shock, horror, compassion and ineptitude, I feel equally ashamed.

I'm sorry, Japan. But really, at its core it speaks to a level of love and respect. Those Godzilla movies gave me a lot more than after school and Saturday afternoon entertainment. They provided limitless bonding with my much older brother, who is responsible for introducing me to the franchise at a very early age. In fact, I can't remember life without Godzilla movies. My brother used to babysit me and I am certain even as a toddler he passed the time stuck watching me parked in front of the television watching Godzilla movies.

Godzilla also gave me an in with the older kids in the school yard. There was this one boy, a huge bullying brute of a kid, who was the menace of recess. He was so mean and so much bigger than the other kids that he was called Godzilla. He wasn't in my class and didn't live near me so I never knew his real name. He just went by Godzilla. Godzilla (the child bully) used to torture younger, smaller kids, especially the dorky ones, by chasing them to the tether ball pole and forcing the weaker, smaller kid to play tether ball with him. A rite of passage at my school was getting a broken nose or black eye by "playing" tether ball with Godzilla. Godzilla victimized boys and girls equally. One thing you can say about Godzilla (the child bully) is that he didn't discriminate.

Of course, eventually, it was my turn to be Godzilla's victim. I put up a good chase, I used The Monkey Bar diversion followed by a Reverse Slide Run-up, but even my wily tactics couldn't save me from tether ball with Godzilla. So, as he stood there, chained ball hoisted in one of his be-mittened paws (yes, Godzilla wore mittens), ready to slam the chained ball at my face, I looked up at him and said, "Did you watch Godzilla versus Mothra yesterday?"

I'd like to say I was so intellectually and emotionally superior to Godzilla (the child bully) that this was a cunning show of strategic wit and manipulation. But it wasn't. I was such a stupid dork that I honestly assumed that if Godzilla (the child bully) watched Godzilla movies he surely watched Mothra the day before, and he would surely have an opinion on Mothra.

And oh yes, indeed, he did. He started talking about the "surprise" ending with the two larvae, and his grip on the tether ball loosened.

Realizing I might be able to get him talking long enough to evade death by tether ball, summoning all my courage and confidence, I brought up Oodako. And that launched what would become known in our lunchroom as The Gamera Debate.

Godzilla and I stood there, my face to his belly, him holding the chained tether ball in his be-mittened paw, me in my purple snow boots, with the tether ball pole between us. We spent the remaining recess debating Godzilla v. Gamera, volleying movie knowledge punches at each other.

I was so into the discussion that I didn't realize a crowd of kids had formed. Undoubtedly they initially came to watch the daily tether ball beating. There was a core group of kids who turned out daily to watch another of Godzilla's victims fall. But the group was larger that day. Word of something unusual happening at the tether ball spread lightening fast from the monkey bars to the swings to the roundabout. Fairly quickly the "will he slam the tether ball in her face or not" speculation gave way to "whose side are you on? Godzilla (the Japanese monster and the child bully) or Gamera (the Japanese monster and me)." Yes. Sides were being taken. And then the recess bell rang and the crowd dispersed.

I successfully evaded a tether ball beating from Godzilla. I have two claims to school yard fame, but that is by far the most heralded. I always thought it deserved a plaque. "This tether ball court is the site where a dorky little girl escaped injury inflicted by the great child bully 'Godzilla.'"

The lessons are endless. Know your enemy. Find common ground. Know your Godzilla trivia.

It would be cute and nice to say Godzilla and I became friends. We did not. It would be even nicer to say Godzilla never bullied or attacked another kid again. He did. Routinely. And when other kids tried my approach "Talk about Godzilla movies!" he was not swayed. That tactic worked once. And only once. I was lucky. I was the first to stumble across his weak spot. After that he didn't succumb to such an easy ruse.

But. He had enough respect for me that he didn't bully me ever again, which is really the best I could possibly want.

So, see? I have warm, fuzzy, good feelings about the Godzilla (and other Japanese monster) movie franchise. I've never really bragged about my Japanese monster past, but I've never been ashamed of it, either.

But now...now I regret it.

So. I'm sorry, Japan.

I don't mean to manifest images of Mothra, Rodan, Oodaka, Godzilla and Gamera every time they show an image of the smoking reactor with the ocean in the background. I really don't mean to do it. And I feel horrible, just really awful that for a flicker of a second my brain superimposes those monsters into the images shown on television. It's not at all funny and I am appalled that I am capable of such a shameful thing. I'm doing everything I can to deprogram my brain and I am hopeful repeated readings of The Pearl Diver will override the monsters in my brain.

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12:07 PM

 
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