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

 
Tuesday, March 22, 2011  
From the, "What Not to Do to/for/with/in front of Your Unemployed Friends and Family" rulebook:

Do not, under any circumstances, forward your unemployed friends newsclips like this:
He-Covery

I think this was sent to me (by three different, unrelated people) in hopes of making me feel "better" about my unsuccessful job hunt, or maybe it was sent in an effort to "explain" why I'm having such dismal results. In one case it was sent to me in a rage of feminist outrage, "How dare they?! This is so wrong! When did Earth change rotational direction, reversing time and taking us back to 1956?"

Okay, I mean, you know, solidarity to the working sisterhood and all that, but, clips like these don't make me "feel better." And they may explain a small portion, a factor, of "why" I'm still unemployed. But. Believe me, I've already figured out that there are biases in hiring. I am already well aware that the jobs "out there" are in industries for which I am utterly unqualified. I don't mind learning construction jobs or auto mechanic jobs or any other "traditional" male job. But a) the training is expensive or nonexistent and b) I am physically unable to do many of those jobs and c) the reality is that traditionally male industries are traditionally male for a lot of valid and sound reasons. Gender bias in hiring is one of them.

I am seriously considering getting an over-the-road license. Yep. Truck drivin' Trillian. I'm going to be homeless, and being a long haul truck driver doesn't require a home, I like to travel, and I don't mind long drives, so, I'm looking into legit truck driving instruction. But even in my inquiry calls and emails I've been ignored or even flat out told, "We only take a limited number of women in the program and we're already at capacity."

As for the huge increase in men in the retail workforce, some of it is probably gender related, but, it speaks to a much more significant employment crisis not covered in that clip: Many (most) of the jobs "out there" are low-paying, part-time retail. Many (most) people cannot pay for rent/gas/food working a low-paying retail job. But many will grab one of those jobs if offered because it's something.

But that's not my point today. Today I just want to remind you that your unemployed friends and family don't need to see news clips like this. We know what's going on the the job market because we're in the job market and experiencing the hurdles firsthand. When we get an email that isn't a job rejection letter we hope that it's something interesting or funny or cute from a friend, something that will give us a few minutes respite from our constant searches/fears/hopes in the dismal job market. If I hadn't already encountered gender bias (or suspected it), this clip would have only further depressed me. But, because I am treating the job market as if it were my full time job (because until I find a full time job the job market is my full time job) I have already read the statistics and experienced outright, blatant discrimination. So this wasn't "news" to me. Either way, I didn't need three people (or even one) sending me the link.

Labels: ,


2:41 PM

Sunday, March 20, 2011  
Blogs.

Loaded word.

I've been blogging a long time. Too long, I think. All these years later I still have no idea "why" I do it other than word catharsis. Self indulgence is a factor, but mostly, for me, it's cathartic.

I've had ups and downs with blogging. I've experienced the good, the bad, the ugly and the bizarre.

It's been mostly friendly and generally positive.

I've "met" a lot of people. Mostly friendly and generally interesting people.

But there's an odd, disjointed aspect to friends met via the blog.

Sure, they, you, are nice people, we obviously have something in common, and I consider them, you, friends. People who don't blog, or read blogs, don't understand this. They defend their opinion saying, "They're not real friends, they're not even people you know. They're just people who read a blog and maybe send an email or two. They're not helping you fix your closet door that keeps coming off the track, they're not taking you out to dinner when you're skint, or sharing jumbo packages of toilet paper from Costco, or having marathon phone conversations with you when you're upset. And they're not the first people you tell when something really exciting happens, you don't go shoe shopping with them, you don't show up with a power screwdriver and put their IKEA together, you don't tell them those jeans aren't doing their ass any favors and you don't babysit their kids when you and your husband really need a night out. They're just people who read a few select tales of your life. They don't know you and you don't know them. Not really."

And I kind of agree with that. There is a difference in the friendship. But mainly due to logistics and/or a certain level of personal internet safety.

I don't feel a need to make distinctions in my relationships. If you're my friend, you're my friend. I don't classify you as, "My friend from work," or "my friend from college," or, "my friend who loves live music," or "my friend who used to date my friend's brother."

But other people argue that blog friends are, if not not-real-friendships, at least different friendships. See above, sharing jumbo packages of toilet paper, assembling IKEA, et al.

So let's do something I don't like to do. Let's define friendship.

1 a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
b : acquaintance
2 a : one that is not hostile
b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3 : one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4 : a favored companion
5 capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker
Hmmmmm. Okay. Well, apart from #5 (although, strong arguments could be made...), the people I know via the blog all qualify as friends. Don't worry. I don't expect you to fix my closet door or share jumbo packages or toilet paper. Some would interject here saying, "Because you have real friends for that." 


There are people who use their blogs to meet people. There are blog meet-up groups.

I am not one of those people.

There are myriad reasons why.

I have met a few readers. But generally I refuse. And in doing so I've hurt some feelings. And I feel bad about that.

But. As I gently explain to them, the times I've met blog readers in person I've disappointed them. I don't meet their expectations or, more usually (and more confusingly for me)  they're surprised to learn that I am exactly what/how/who I am on the blog...and that's disappointing to them. I dunno. I don't get it, either, but it's happened enough times for me to make quantifiable conclusions. With notable few exceptions it's best for everyone involved if the forum in which our lives collide and friendships form remains the only forum in which the friendship continues.

"Ahhh, see?" the opposition will say, pointing an accusing Henry Higgins'-esque finger in my face, "They're not friends! These are not friends! There are conditions, and real friendships do not have conditions, real friendships know no bounds."

And that's when I dismiss the whole theoretical conversation by saying, "Labels are treacherous. The best and most complex things in life cannot be defined and categorized and neatly organized. Some things, the best things, just are. Friends are friends, period."

I refuse to think about it. For whatever reason there are people who read my blog. I've given up trying to figure out why. But let me tell you, the variety amongst people who read it is staggering. Age, race, gender, financial status, location, marital status, child status...one thing that remains utterly mysterious and bizarre to me is the extreme diversity in the people who read this blog, and thus the diversity in friends I've made herein.

There are a few demographics that score slightly higher on the reader profile bar charts, but not enough higher to launch a definitive marketing campaign. Which is why it's good I've never tried to market the blog. I wouldn't have a clue where to start because there is no obvious target audience.

I love that. It's like a Googlewhack. I call it Demogwhack®. The product or service that is so diverse it defies all demographic definition.

It's a nice, blissful, label-free, anonymous-but-intimate little world. People reach out to me to congratulate, commiserate and just say hi or suggest a book, a band or a movie. Rockin' on.

Way, way, way, way back when this was primarily a geeks and freaks place on another bloghost, there was this guy who was as awkwardly geeky, socially stupid and as much of a music fan as I am.

I know.

Scary and yet oddly compelling that there would be two of us on one planet at the same time. He was the first person who ever sent me an email via the blog. He was the one who made me aware that my blog was, in fact, public, not private. (Hey, back then the public/private settings area was more than a little vague, there were no dashboards or account settings pages. There were parameters with toggle buttons and several "saves" required to toggle parameters where you wanted them. Just because you selected "private" in one area didn't mean your blog was actually, fully, private. And "public" had a couple definitions. You could be "public" within the confines of a selected group, but private to the rest of the world, or, you could be public to the whole world.)  I thought I was public within the confines of a select group, but, heh heh, I was telling the whole world about level 6 of "Starship Titanic." Live and learn. This guy was kind and helpful. He ascertained that I didn't realize I was publicly posting my love and hatred of the game and how much I hated a certain band.

This guy lived in a land far, far away so meeting in person was never going to happen. There's a certain amount of freedom in that knowledge. You can say anything you want because you are never going to meet this person in person. He already knew I was a SuperGeek and it was obvious he was, too. Why pretend, or even try, to be someone I'm not? He already knew some embarrassing things about me, the "damage" was done, so the whole warts and all aspect was nice.

We emailed now and then. He wasn't much of a reader in general. Other than tech manuals and HTML code he didn't read much of anything, so for him to read the blog was kind of unusual. After a few emails he confided that the only "great" work of literature he'd read cover to cover was Don Quixote, and he only slogged through that so that he could perform well on his debate team. He faked his way though his school lit classes by reading a few paragraphs from each chapter and looking up the themes and characters of the story in encyclopedias. But he knew Don Quixote so well that he could reference to it on enough significant levels that it seemed like he knew a lot about literature in general.

When he confided this to me I was a little surprised that someone who, by his own admission, didn't like to read anything that was not technical was reading my blog. I was more surprised to learn that someone could fake their way through college entrance exams, undergrad and grad school having only ever read one real piece of literature cover-to-cover, and even more staggering, that that one book was Don Quixote. Sure, it's a good book and it explores a lot of significant themes...but...could that really work? The more I thought about it the more I realized the genius of his choice. If you're a guy and you're going to read only one fiction book cover to cover, and you want to get into a decent college, Don Quixote is the best choice. There's enough material to a) explore in essay questions, b) quote during interviews with college deans, and c) impress the ladies and d) do all of that without arrogance.  This guy was brilliant. 

So I wrote back with one question, "So, you're an idiot Cervantes?!"

And thus a beautiful friendship and nickname were born. IC and I shared occasional emails, sometimes containing nothing more than a link, other times containing "real" friendship kinds of correspondence.

We both love music in almost every form and '50s science fiction . You might find it surprising to learn that finding someone who likes Hank Williams, Sr., Screaming Blue Messiahs and Prince is not easy. (I can't believe I'm single, either.) And when that person also owns more than one Severed Heads LP (yes, vinyl)? That's a demogwhack® to the third power. Unless you have something bordering on mental illness to confess I'm fairly certain the only two people on the planet who can point to purchases of all those artists in their physical music collection (or digital for that matter) are me and IC.

Then he met a girl he really liked. She was an editor at a magazine. He told me he used the "idiot Cervantes" line on her. "My friend calls me an idiot Cervantes." I won't take all the credit, but, six months later they were married. A bunch of years later they have a house, a dog and two kids.

The emails between us ebbed and flowed. Sometimes sparse and sporadic, other times daily depending on what we each had going on in our lives. There was no need to explain or apologize - we were friends, after all, and we understood we lived full lives in places other than in front of our computers.

I didn't hear from the IC for a while but didn't think too much of it - he has a wife, two kids, an ever-higher-ranking demanding job, a house under seemingly constant renovation, a huge music collection to digitize and an ailing father. And I have my own crises-du-jour to manage.

I was happy when IC's name appeared in my in-box a couple weeks ago. I realized that it had been a while since I heard from him and I felt remiss that I hadn't emailed him, either. No matter, I was excited to see what links and new music he would surely have to share with me, and the paperclip icon next to the subject meant only one thing: photos of his kids. We never share photos of each other, I have zero clue what he looks like, but proud father that he is he sends me photos of the kids. And no, this doesn't fill me with dread, I love seeing photos of his kids.

"Dear Trill,
This isn't IC, it's me, [IC's wife]. I'm so sorry to have to tell you this, but IC is very ill. He didn't want you to know but I thought you would worry and be hurt if you never hear from him again without explanation. Yours is a unique relationship. Blogs are binging a new frontier of affection but the social complexities are still murky. How and when do you tell someone you've never met in person that you're dying? They don't cover this in internet etiquette books. I just thought you should know. The doctors feel there's no point in continuing the treatments and..."

I read on through a haze of dizziness and confusion and grief. The wind knocked out of my stomach like a kick in the gut feeling? The weak knees that buckled? The tears? The "nooooooo" that gasped from my mouth? If IC is not a real friend how do you explain all of that?

No. I've never shared a jumbo package of toilet paper from Costco with him or even gone to a concert with him. No. I've never met him in person. We've never taken a road trip or met for drinks after work. We've never even spoken to each other.

But. If we're not friends why did the news of his illness and the termination of treatment for it hurt me so badly? If he's just someone who reads my blog why am I worried about his wife and children? Why do I care? Only real friends have the capacity care with this depth.

I feel helpless because I am helpless. My friend is dying. There's nothing I or anyone else can do. It's "let go with dignity, peace and a steady drip of morphine" time.

He lives on the other side of the planet but even if he lived two miles away I would feel the same helplessness.

But it would certainly pose a new etiquette conundrum. As IC's wife said, we're in a new frontier of affection. What does one do at the death of a friend they've never met in person?

In this case logistics rule out any and all possibility of me racing to his deathbed or even the (gulp) funeral. (It took me four attempts over the span of an hour just to type that word. If he's not a real friend what is he and why am I feeling such grief?)

But if he lived locally, or within a time zone or two, would it make any difference?

Attending the funeral seems kind of insulting - the only time I "met" him in person was after he died? This takes "Too Late for Goodbyes" to a very different, far more complex level. It's too late for hellos.

After all these years (and he was there at the blog birth, so it's been a lot of years), now that he's dying, would I visit him or even speak to him on the phone before he dies?

If he wanted it, requested it, yes, I would. Of course. It wouldn't be easy for me and it would undoubtedly be weird or even awkward for both of us, but if he wanted to see or talk to me, yes, I would do it.

But he didn't even want me to know he was sick, let alone dying. So...I mean, you know, where do you go with that? Respect, dignity, silence = valor...it's been a huge emotional abyss for me. This is a new frontier.

The dynamic of our relationship is such that it's wholly cerebral to the exclusion of the physical. Ours is an entirely communicative relationship. We know each others' vernacular, slang, turns of phrases...yet we've never heard the sound of each others' voices. Wrap your head around that for a moment and then ponder this: Are we friends? And, if so, does the nature of our friendship (wholly cerebral) preclude all sensory contact with each other? 

It was exactly that thought that I stumbled over while making my way from grief to the blog.

True affection isn't sensory. It's cerebral, cognitive. And the internet, for all it's maddening limitations and dangers, is the only conduit by which friendships can form, take root and flourish on a purely cerebral level. All of the physical is stripped away. Sure, we may communicate to evoke the physical, "I love that song!" "I saw the most gorgeous sunset!" "They boiled the flavor out of the carrots." "I've never felt anything so soft as the baby's skin!" "...but those diapers really stink at 2 AM" But ultimately these friendships are purely cerebral. And one could argue that if both parties are honest, sincere, open and willing this is the most pure form friendship. There's no physical detritus. Or judgment.

I was trying to think of a good Don Quixote quote for IC and soon realized how very quixotic I was being. And that produced choking sobs. Not a lot of people would get the joke within an allegory within an allusion the way IC would get it. That understanding, that friendship, is irreplaceable.


So I responded to his wife, thanked her for overriding IC's request to keep me in the dark, and among other things, asked her to tell him, "I tried to think of a good Don Quixote quote but fortunately I realized how quixotic that is and thought better of it. Ultimately all I feel, and all I want to say is thank you for being such a good friend. The music is sometimes questionable, the insights are often obtuse, but the laughs are always out loud."

Last night I received another email "from" IC. His wife said he chastised her for telling me he was ill, but he wanted me to know he laughed when she read my email to him.

She also told me he died peacefully listening to the Clash a few nights ago.

If he's not a real friend why is my heart broken? 

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