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

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






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

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

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

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




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

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

200i: iPodyssey

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

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

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

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

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

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

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

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

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

Slanglish

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


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

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

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

Lap Dance of the Cripple

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

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

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

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

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

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

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


















 
Mail Trillian here





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

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


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

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

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

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


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



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

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




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





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







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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, June 29, 2012  
I need advice. I think maybe I'm confused or have an unrealistic outlook or something...

You're smart. You can shed helpful insight.

So I am asking. For help.

Here's some background info. 

I have a friend whose husband (okay, he's kind of a friend, too, but only by association through his wife) who works for a large international company (household name type of company). He's in "upper middle management." Whatever that means. I've known the guy for almost 12 years and I have zero clue what he actually does when he's at work. And not because I'm apathetic, I have asked him about his job, and the little information he's given me leads me to believe it has something to do with budget analysis. And his wife, my friend, seems equally in the dark. She knows very little about his work other than that he goes to one of the company offices five days a week and every couple of weeks the company deposits a large amount of money in their bank account with a bonus in September. My friend once divulged that the reason she no longer works is because her husband makes "more than" twice what she earned in her former career. I know she earned around $80K 10 years ago, so let's figure the guy is bringing in at least $160K, conservatively. (I know, not a bad haul for someone who can't even articulate exactly what it is he does to earn that money.) His company also provides health insurance and 401K and pension plans so my friend doesn't have too many sleepless nights over money or healthcare. And that's pretty much the extent of her interest in her husband's career and the company for whom he works.

Okay.

So.

Last my friend called me, all excited and frantic. After a four year hiring freeze, her husband's company is hiring a handful of people to fill a few critical positions. Her husband happens to be friendly with an HR person and yadda yadda yadda my friend's husband gave me a recommendation to the HR person.

I know! I know! This is that networking connection thing you hear about! Cool!

So, the HR person emailed me and asked for my resume. I emailed it within 15 minutes of receiving the request. The next day the HR person called me and we had an impromptu phone interview.

And that's where things get difficult.

The positions they're filling are indeed critical. Facility services are very underrated. No one respects janitors until the toilet doesn't work or the smelly garbage in the breakroom isn't removed or the smudges on the window are there for more than two days.

Don't get me wrong. I do not feel that I am above pushing a mop or scrubbing toilets. Overqualified, yes, but above it? No. I have zero pride about that sort of thing. I probably should, but I don't.

And obviously I'm in no position to be choosey. I should be happy and grateful for any full-time job opportunity I'm offered. 

And honestly, after a career in an industry where everyone (and I mean everyone) is critical and has an opinion, and image is crucial, and goals are subjective and nebulous, often vague at best, and plans are long-range and projects sometimes drag on infinitely, the idea of being an anonymous, faceless, nameless cleaning person with specific tasks to complete each day is not without appeal.

But.

The pay is $9.96/hour. Based on a 40 hour work week that's $20,716.80/year. Factor in my single/zero state and federal tax status, $7,665.21 would be taken from me every year, giving me a net profit of $13,051.59 per year, or $1,087.63. This job is in a suburb, accessible by Metra if I'm willing to walk 1.5 miles to and from the station closest to the office. Presuming I live in the city I have to get to Union Station from home. So, I'd need a monthly CTA pass and a monthly Metra pass to get to and from this job. A monthly CTA pass is $86 and a Metra pass in the zone I need is $163.75/month. That eats into my profit margin to the tune of $249.75/month, bringing my usable income down to $837.88. There are pre-tax transit programs that will whittle that down to about $200/month, so let's go with $887.63 to live on a month. I am not an extravagant person, and after the last few years I'm used to living on potatoes and rice and beans and occasionally pasta. Not a healthy diet, but it's cheap and filling. So my food costs are minimal. My expenses in general are minimal - cell phone and internet service are my luxurious splurges, and those are on a month-to-month-if-I-can-scrape-the-money-together basis. But rent, well, that's a killer. Even if I find a closet-sized studio apartment with a landlord who's willing to overlook a foreclosure and unemployment in my financial history, I'm still looking at a minimum of $500/month, and that's in a scary neighborhood with a long commute to Union Station. Move to the suburbs, nearer to the office, you say? That's an idea. There are no apartments within 8 miles of the office. I could ride my bike16 miles every day, but those apartments start at $875/month. There are less expensive apartments 15 miles from the office, around $700/month, and 30 roundtrip miles on my bike isn't a big deal for me...until it starts to snow, and then it's a bit problematic. Snow/rain mean a bus and that 1.5 mile (each way) walk. The walk isn't a big deal but that suburban bus fare puts a gouge in the monthly budget.

The solution to living in the suburbs is getting a car. Which means paying for a car. Even if someone gives me a car, the monthly expenses for insurance and gas, combined with rent, put me over my monthly income.

You may be thinking, "Duh, Trillian, have you not crunched these numbers in the past?"

Yes, yes I have. I know that $10/hour is not a liveable wage in the greater metropolitan Chicago area - at least not for a single/zero without a roommate or outside financial assistance.

But my friend's husband's HR person was generously talking about giving me this great opportunity to mop floors and so I was trying figure out a way to make it work.

I can't. It's financially impossible for me, a single person, to pay rent and transportation costs in the Chicago area on $9.96/hour. Forget food, phone and internet - those are out of the question. Fortunately I'd have to wear a uniform at work, so I wouldn't have to worry about work clothes other than getting them clean - $10/month for laundry (quarters for the washer and dryer, $5 for detergent). And yes, I factor all of that into my budget. I budget to the penny.

This is all very obvious to most people. Most people know, without crunching the numbers, that $20,716.80 (gross) is not a livable wage.

Or is it? Am I wrong?

That's where I need help.

I didn't refuse the job, but I did have a heart to heart with the HR person about the pay rate and the hard facts of living expense life and that it would be difficult for me to put a roof over my head on that wage. They were sympathetic and said, "Well, you're way overqualified. I never would have considered you, or even talked to you, if it weren't for [my friend's husband]. I did this as a favor to him. I knew it was a waste of time for both of us, but I feel for your situation. I might be able to get you $10/hour, but that's top starting pay for these jobs, and I can't give you preferential treatment. You want to work in facility services, you're going to get the pay rate for facility services."

Okay, let's be realistic for a minute. I don't want to work in facility services. My career aspirations have never included toilets or mops or Windex. That doesn't mean I won't do it, or, like I said, that I'm above it, but, it's not what I want to do.

I was never officially offered the job so I never formally refused it.

But apparently my friend's husband got the word from HR that I didn't get the job. The HR person told him that they couldn't meet my salary expectations.

And that's when things got confusing.

I found out I "didn't get the job" via my friend, who was told via her husband, via the HR person, that I have unrealistic salary requirements.

So my friend got all high and mighty and pulled the, "that's what's wrong with 'you people', you just don't want to work" schpeel on me. And the "my husband went out on a limb for you and did you a huge favor and you had the nerve to come off all snobby about money?" schpeel.

I stayed calm and asked her if she could live on $9.96/hour.

Her immediate response was, "If I had to, yes!"

Her monthly country club fees are more than $1,000. I, somewhat erroneously, reminded her of this. And a childish tit-for-tat ensued. I didn't want to engage in it, but she pushed me over the edge. I regret that I didn't keep my cool, I lost it for a minute there. And then I apologized to her. 

But now she's all snarky about how I'm lazy and don't really want to work, that her husband did me a huge favor and got a job lined up for me and I didn't accept it because it didn't pay enough. The accusation was enhanced by the suggestion that I put her husband in a compromising position at work by having the nerve to turn down a full-time job over pay, a job for which he went out of his way to recommend me. I know all of this was said because one of our mutual friends told me I was the topic of conversation at a barbecue (I wasn't invited, of course) wherein I was judged, criticized and prosecuted for being an ungrateful lazy snob "who just doesn't want to work" by people who don't even know me. 

Our mutual friend said the scene was straight out of an episode of the Real Housewives of... I don't watch those shows (but most of my female friends do, which has called my friendships into question quite a lot lately) so I'm not exactly sure what she means by that, but if their behavior reflects what they "learn" on a Bravo show, then it's a safe assumption my friend and her Stepford Sisterhood are in a pretty low place in their lives. And consequently need to be treated with tolerance, patience and sympathy.

Bear in mind, none of these women have held a paying job for over 10 years. Some of them have never worked a paying job. They married established, wealthy husbands right out of college and became trophy wives. Even the ones who did work at some point, like my friend, have not worked since they had children. They are, and have been for some time, completely financially dependent on their husbands. And most of them have cleaning people. A few have nannies. They don't even mop their own floors or toilet train their own children, and yet they're calling me an ungrateful lazy snob because I couldn't figure out a way to live on $9.96/hour (as a janitor).

Turns out she left that last detail out of the mix at the barbecue. She never mentioned what the job or the pay actually was, which is why our mutual friend called me. She figured there had to be more to the story. 

It's easy to dismiss my friend and her Stepford Sisterhood as out of touch and silly. But. My friend is not a stupid person. At least she wasn't until she moved the suburbs and joined country clubs and started watching trash television. She is (or was) intelligent enough that I respect her and her opinion, so I have to consider her point of view. Maybe she's right.

Maybe I'm missing a point or two which is why I'm asking for help. Am I misunderstanding something about finance and living expenses? Is there a way to live on $9.96/hour? And by live I mean put a small roof over my head, transport myself to and from work (year round), have a telephone (and maybe internet) and, oh, you know, eat occasionally.

And more to my real concern: Did I put my friend's husband in a compromising position at work? I didn't ask him to recommend me to HR, he did that all on his own, without asking me if I was even interested in the job or his company. I think the fact that I'm unemployed comes with certain assumptions: The main one being that I no longer have free will, and that I must work any job, anywhere, and be grateful for it, and so, anyone who hears about a job feels the right thing to do is put their unemployed friend's name in front of the hiring manager. That's true to a certain extent, but giving the name of an unemployed friend to an HR person looking to hire a few janitors isn't exactly the sort of thing that calls professional ethics into question and compromises anyone to the point of jeopardizing careers. The only career in jeopardy is mine. I think. Maybe I'm wrong about that, too. Never, not once, did I act insulted or insinuate that I was anything other than grateful for the opportunity to discuss a janitorial job with HR. But apparently my friend thinks I'm lacking humility and gratitude.

I was willing to clean bathrooms. Isn't humility implied?

I would really love some insight on this.

8:36 AM

 
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