Aug 31

Dear Readers,

I’m a chronic oscillator. Not a “circuit that produces an alternating output current of a certain frequency determined by the characteristics of the circuit components” (courtesy of, nor the fan kind that moves from side to side while blowing. Rather, I am an oscillator in that I “waver, as between conflicting opinions or courses of action; vacillate” (also courtesy of

I oscillate regarding whether a relationship is worth it.

Imagine that you frequent a particular restaurant and you order a burger and while you immensely enjoy the experience of eating your burger, you wind up with food poisoning after. And imagine that you then continue to order the very same burger, and it perpetually produces the same miserable result. What sane person would repeatedly continue to place this order?

None! Because nobody who consistently experiences a gut-wrenchingly painful reaction to a specific event continues to infinitely invite that same gut-wrenchingly painful repercussion.

So why do we exempt ourselves from this most basic common-sense principle of operant conditioning in forging new romantic relationships? Why do we think our odds are better this time around?

And this is where I oscillate. The angel on my right shoulder (actually I envision her as a carton of Tillamook mint chocolate chip ice cream with wings, but don’t tell anybody, because that’s weird) says to release my reluctance and expose everything—-everything that is rated PG—-because to anticipate failure is already to have failed. And I listen to her, and I actually manage to entrust entirely my heart to somebody else.

Which gives the devil on my left shoulder (actually, I envision him as a corporate businessman wearing a red suit with the underdog suspended from the prongs of his pitchfork, but don’t tell anybody, because that’s weird) just cause to tap dance over the remaining shards of my heart, belting out his Dr. Evil laugh as he berates my lapse into unconditional love of another person and marks another tally on the Board of Failed Relationships (I’m actually the chairperson of that Board; they wanted somebody with extensive experience).

And I have to give him his due credit. Because he remembered that love given promises no returns, and I forgot.

So I oscillate from side to side like a rotating fan. Oh yeah, and I waver, as between conflicting opinions or courses of action (still courtesy of Between on the one hand believing that the burger is worth the food poisoning—-for those less discerning members of my readership, I don’t actually eat burgers, so that’s a metaphor—-and on the other hand deciding to forgo all future trips to restaurants to permanently obviate potential food poisoning.

Give me one good reason to eat a burger.

–Troi out

Aug 29

Dear Readers,

We’ve all heard that New York is a scary place, the likes of which few—-and by few I mean 19,490,297 by a 2008 population estimate—-have dared to approach.  And we all know that scary places are best avoided entirely unless one is equipped with a sound guidebook.  Therefore, Readers, I have taken it upon myself to venture where few (19,490,297) have gone to explore this practically undiscovered territory (discovered by only 19,490,297 people), and pave the way for future explorers, like myself, to similarly experience this new land (discovered only recently in 1524 A.D.). My most stunning observations can be found exclusively here on this blog site, because they have not been deemed sufficiently stunning to make it into any of the tourist guidebooks. Which stuns me.

In my hometown of Portland, Oregon, there is one main train that runs east to west through the city and its suburbs, and a more recent one that goes north to south. This simple train is divided into three primary colors: the red line, the blue line, and the yellow line. This simple setup excludes nobody, not even a two year-old child who wanders outside and decides to head downtown to the Baby Gap, because even a toddler can identify primary colors. New York, on the other hand, has underground trains called “subways.” As you can imagine their very name causes mass chaos and confusion as it leads one (me) to believe there are sandwiches down there. But once you (I) accept that you won’t be purchasing your favorite cold cut trio on the subway, you’ll never find an actual sandwich shop, because you’ll get lost in an an overwhelming multitude of subway lines, ambiguously labeled with, not primary colors, but alphabet letters such as “A” and “E.” These New York subway lines are thus prejudiced against illiterate or preliterate persons—-toddlers searching for the Baby Gap being only one example—-and even against literate persons like myself who made it through the entire alphabet of subway lines without arriving at my attempted destination.

If you make it out of the alphabetized subway lines alive, you’ll find an unexpected odor waiting for you above ground. To describe its pungence: Imagine that the mouse residing in my friend’s apartment in New York mated with a skunk, and its offspring subsisted on a diet of asparagus and prune juice, and then defecated. That would have smelled better than the streets in my friend’s neighborhood.

Despite the befuddling subway lines and scented streets, there were several advantages to New York City that are unparalleled by Portland. Most notable was that in New York I possessed a superpower; that of invisibility. This was awesome, because I’ve always wanted to have my very own superpower. As I traversed congested sidewalks and attempted to dart passersby, I discovered that not a single New Yorker attempted to dart me. In fact some walked right into me, and yet neither their paced was slowed nor their progress deterred as they passed over my flailing body scrambling to upright itself in the midst of the crowd. And while my friend Ricardo declared that I was in fact still visible and that I was simply experiencing pedestrian propriety in typical New York fashion, I am fairly certain that he’s just jealous because he is not invisible, too.

Readers, I hope that these thoughts help you in preparing your first trip to New York. While I understand that New York might still sound daunting, I encourage you to read through my cubic zirconiums of wisdom as frequently as you’d like prior to plotting your own travels toward New York, and I think you’ll find New York to be a pungently pleasant vacation destination.*

–Troi out

*Troi believes that all states are created equally and she assures you that all inoffensive material found here reflects her opinion, whereas any potentially offensive material reflects the opinion of somebody else.

Aug 19

Dear Readers,

Today’s vocabulary lesson is inspired by my belief that a big vocabulary is a happy vocabulary. Not because I’m a speech pathologist (although I am), but because every time I argued with my ex-boyfriend, he felt the need to throw me off by using big words. At which point I’d have to pull out my pocket dictionary, look up the word, and by the time I had integrated it into my vocabulary sufficiently to formulate a response, I had forgotten the sentence in which the word had been used. Usually I would have forgotten the whole conversation. Readers, don’t let this happen to you. Study my vocabulary lessons carefully, and you’ll not only improve your debate skills, your increased vocabulary will actually increase your job pay, lower your body mass index, and end world hunger!*

*Other restrictions and considerations apply.

Today’s vocabulary word: Exanimate

To define this word, Readers, I looked it up in my trusty American Century Dictionary, which boasts “more than 60,000 Entries reflecting the English of Today” as well as “fully updated geographical and biographical entries” according to the cover. So when I tell you this I want you to understand the implications: The word exanimate is NOT to be found in my dictionary. I know what you’re thinking, “Troi, it’s under “e” and you just were unable to locate it do to your poor overall sense of direction” but no, I implore you not to fall prey to this sort of blame game. I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but I know how to navigate my way around a dictionary and I assure you, exanimate is either not in my dictionary, or it’s written in invisible ink.

There is one other possibility for its absence. The word could have been removed due to the fact that the 60,000 entries reflecting the English of Today may have necessitated the removal of some more archaic terminology, thereby leaving room for today’s rapidly expanding vocabulary. Or at least, the rapid expansion of meanings for individual words. For example, I am currently blogging. I just finished talking on my cell phone which did not have enough bars to maintain reception. Life “sucks” but you can “google” ways to make yourself happier. I just read an interview in which Jessica Simpson called her sister’s body sick. I thought this was rude until I discovered that sick now means “cool.” (FYI: I’ve been told by a friend this is actually supposed to be spelled sic but apparently the interviewer was not aware of this, being like me, very very old and out of touch with modern pop culture lingo). My point being that surely the powers that be, the gods of the dictionary, if you will, have had to make some life-altering decisions to allow us a complete and modern dictionary, reflecting the English of Today, rather than the Exanimate Vocabulary of Yesterday.

So I know that you are dying to know what exanimate means now that I have riveted you with this fascinating expose. (Um, either that or you’re thinking to yourself “This girl is a moron! Of course I know what “exanimate” means! It was the first word I spoke as a toddler! I came out of my mother’s womb saying “Waaahh! Exanimate!!”) However, for those of you who are also desperate to discern the meaning of this term, I offer two invaluable suggestions. (And I mean invaluable in that they are not very valuable). First, you could try googling the term. I could have done this too, but then what would I have blogged about? If you, like I, choose not to google this word, then feel free to listen to my clever thoughts about what this word might mean. (Literally, feel free. I will not charge you for these pearls of wisdom, as long as you promise not to charge me for having lost five minutes of your life that you can never get back reading this blog.) Well, animate means in motion, or I think at least having the ability to be in motion. For example “That mouse is sure animate on his wheel!” Ex of course means no longer, as in “He is my ex-boyfriend” or “That was my ex-life before I had that gender reversal operation.” Therefore, it follows that exanimate must mean “once in motion but no longer so.” Here are some practice sentences for you:

“When my car broke down the other day, it became exanimate.” **

“My stomach is exanimate after having digested my latest meal.” **

“Boy, it sure is fun to be exanimate.” **

**The previous sentences are original sentences trademarked by Troi. In order to reproduce these sentences, royalties must be paid to the Troi Foundation, also known as the Foundation to Pay Back Troi’s Graduate School Loans. Each time you utter one of these sentences, several thousand dollars will be transferred from your bank account to Troi’s. Please use these sentences sparingly to maintain your minimum checking balance and avoid overdrawn charges.

Now that you have a better understanding of the way the English language works, and most certainly of this mysterious word “exanimate” you can go about your day knowing that you have just become a bit smarter. For the two of you who consistently read my blog, there is no need to thank me for imparting this wisdom, just knowing you sat there and took time out of your day to read this is thanks enough.

—-Troi out

Aug 17

Dear Reader,

Today we take a short break from our regularly-scheduled programming of discussing the slaughtering of relationships to discuss the slaughtering of animals who may or may not be in relationships. Today’s discussion specifically focuses on livestock animals, how they’re treated prior to slaughter, and the direct effects of that treatment on the human body. Therefore, whether you’re a concerned cow, or a human concerned with what’s in the cow you’re about to consume, this blog post is for you.

Humans who have experienced the need for antibiotics in the past can appreciate how powerfully and rapidly they target harmful bacteria and eliminate them. To maintain their effectiveness in humans, they need to be used to treat bacterial infections (as opposed to viral infections, against which they are powerless), and they need to be completed as prescribed, regardless of whether the patient feels better after just a few doses. Using less than the prescribed amount kills only the weakest bacteria. The strongest get to stick around and party. At the party, they’re going to have a few too many drinks, start flirting with other bacteria, and next thing you know they’re procreating, or in more scientific terms, passing on their antibiotic resistance to future generations. Through this promiscuous process the rebellious bacteria evolve new defenses that no longer respond to traditional antibiotic therapy. Given that bacteria can reproduce in as little as 20 minutes—-and don’t need to waste time with foreplay—-once set in motion this process can evolve impressive numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Vigilant use of antibiotics in humans, however, is no longer sufficient to eliminate the propagation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If you’re a livestock animal (which happens to be my blog’s biggest fan base), and you’re not living on a socially-responsible, sustainable farm, you might be interested to know that your farmer might be spiking your feed with a hearty helping of penicillin.

“But why would my farmer do that?” you ask. “I’m as healthy as a horse! I don’t want to eat penicillin unless I have a bacterial infection!”

Because antibiotics are regularly fed to perfectly healthy livestock—-like you—-to promote negligibly faster growth and to compensate for increasingly unsanitary conditions in highly crowded farms. In fact a 2001 Union of Concerned Scientists study estimated that 70% of antibiotics in the U.S. are used as additives in the feed of pigs, poultry, and beef cattle.

Why does this concern humans who eat meat? Unless your meat comes exclusively from sustainable farms that practice humane and sanitary conditions for livestock, use vegetarian feed, and limit the use of antibiotics to those animals requiring antibiotic therapy, you’re susceptible to antibiotic-resistant bacteria coming your way courtesy of the meat that you eat. Not only are your meat products likely to contain antibiotic residues, but antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be transmitted to you via the consumption of contaminated undercooked meat. And when farms are unable to properly manage the massive quantities of manure they produce, soil and groundwater can also become contaminated through improper handling and disposal of waste, exposing people who swim or fish in lakes or rivers, or drink untreated water, to this bacteria.

It should also be noted that the routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock animals was estimated in a 1999 National Academy of Sciences report to save only $5-10 in meat prices per person annually, a price offset considerably by the cost of treating antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, which runs at approximately $4 billion per year.

As for the concerned livestock out there, you’re probably wondering at this point, as you pack your belongings into the getaway tractor to head for greener pastures, exactly where you should be heading to protect yourself and the humans who eat you. At my earliest convenience, I will be providing you with some information regarding SPOs (smart pasture operations) that will serve as your map of the farms to which you may want to consider migrating. In the meantime, drive away from the smell of manure. Good luck!

—-Troi out

Aug 12

Dear Readers,

At a recent get-together with friends, I chatted with an acquaintance about her recent foray into a detox diet. Inspired by the book Body Ecology Diet, her eating philosophy eliminates preserved foods, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar, and wheat (that’s my diet in a nutshell right there), and embraces whole foods, vegetables, select grains, and complete proteins. Besides just being a healthy way to live, this diet also helps expel toxins built up from food allergies, and is touted as healing the digestive system, paving the way toward the eventual consumption foods currently rejected by the body.

While I was interested in adopting some of these more healthful eating practices, I felt that my sanity would be preserved —-much like my foods—- if I borrowed just one or two of these smart eating practices and incorporated them into my daily regimen.

I chose sugar. God has given me a gift for consuming an entire half-gallon of tillamook mint chocolate chip ice cream on an almost daily basis (it’s affordable if it’s the only thing you buy), and during our discussion about the book, I began to think I might be abusing this gift. And with it, my body.

I began my sugarless safari on April 20th, 2009, and I chronicled my attempted emancipation in a journal.

April 20th, 2009 6:00am
Today I begin my sugar-free lifestyle. I feel healthy just thinking about it! Better go make my coffee!

April 20th, 2009 6:09am
Well, obviously I can’t drink this delectable coffee without just a bit of sugar. I’ll just drop in a teaspoon, and nobody will be the wiser. After all, it’s not like this personal confidential diary is going to make its way onto the internet!

April 20th, 2009 6:17am
That was my only sugar for the day. From here on out, it’s smooth sailing!

April 20th, 2009 7:38am
This granola bar and boiled egg I’m consuming at work is such a healthy breakfast combination! I’m going to live forever!

April 20th, 2009 11:06am
I made it to lunch! I”ll eat this healthy granola and soy milk and two more boiled eggs. For dessert, this crunchy organic apple!

April 20th, 2009 11:06am
Has it really only been 30 seconds since I ate lunch? I’m starving!

April 20th, 2009 1:13pm
I’m too exhausted to work. This miniature-size york peppermint patty in the faculty lounge is our little secret, Personal Confidential Diary. Its life-giving energy will energize me for the remainder of the day. Besides, it’s too small to contain calories. I’m probably expending energy just by chewing it!

April 20th, 2009 6:01pm
Safe at home. No more temptations here. Wait a minute…..I can smell the sweet scent of donuts from VooDoo Donuts. Whose %$#& idea was it to build a VooDoo Donuts right underneath my nose??

April 20th 2009 6:09pm
&%%$#@!! I can’t take this @#$% donut-y scent wafting into my apartment building anymore. I’m going to have to %#&% move.

April 20th 2009 6:13pm
I moved into VooDoo donuts. It’s nice here. Thank goodness this utter failure of an attempt won’t ever make it onto my blog site—-I have a reputation to uphold!

–Troi out

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