As dreams go, it was rather normal; I was a Roman citizen in a distant settlement, helping to gather supplies for the coming campaign. I suspected something was wrong; I had a dim memory of a different life, one with less horseshite between my toes, but that seemed like a dream itself. I was in good cheer, singing as I walked down the path with a bundle of spears. I passed a truck. Its owners had tried to conceal its anachronistic design, but there was no mistaking the rivets on the hubcaps. A narrow window showed stacks of kegs for Monster Energy Juice. I smiled, relieved. I was right.

I woke; a jet was passing overhead. Then silence; then birds. The damned birds. Rachel Carlson’s revenge. I drifted off, and it was something about Titanic, but nothing sank. Maybe it was a dream about the Olympic.

What if the Olympic had hit a berg its first time out, and sunk by the stern? It would have made an excellent sequel to Titanic, but no one would have believed it. Oh right. Like they made two. (Actually, they made three, and the third one sank, too. The fourth, the RMS Moronic, actually sank before it was built.)

Good day. Spent the night with Gnat, since Wife was at the Fringe Festival with Mother-in-Law. (They really ought to put a warning in the paper – this overwrought piece of amateurish autobiography contains interminable ruminations about penises, but then again, it doesn’t bill itself as the Square Dead Center Middle of the Road Festival.) After I picked Gnat up from her day camp, we went to Southdale, aka Emptyville, and had a meal at Ruby Tuesday’s. (Her favorite.) It gave me the usual urgh-bloat sensation, even though I had but a fourth of the meal presented. No matter what I order in chain restaurants, it sits like a pig-iron cud. Then we went to Macy’s, which used to be Marshall Fields, and will always be Dayton’s, to look for items to put in the china-thing. That’s adulthood: having defined a new enclosed space with transparent walls, we must secure possessions to place within the walls, where they will be safe from practical application. I bought a Fiesta pitcher. (On sale, remarkably enough. The Fiesta sale only runs January through November, and I’m glad I caught it.) A brief stop at the Apple Store, then home.

Gnat laid on the floor and signed her thank-you cards while I doodled on Garageband. Today’s exercise: E minor. Within seconds it was apparent that I’d just come up with a cheap Moby clone, so I decided to go all out and really make it a Moby ripoff. And how, you ask? Simple! Sample a few pained words from an old blues tune, drop them in at crucial moments, and voila: Moby. Bonus points: the words were “Hard Times,” which is perfect.  I’d put it up but it’s too good, and people might mistake it for the real thing. (Kidding.)

Now she’s asleep, and I’m in the gazebo. Crickets everywhere; light breeze. Perfect summer night. I’m catching up on mail, which has been made easier by some sort of glitch on my server – nothing came through the last two days. I have the usual spam problems, but the load hasn’t been onerous. The one thing I’ll say for spam: it generates great character names. I’ll never be able to use Throckmorton G. Pervious in a novel, but the average-sounding names are invaluable. Parker Ortega, Kevin Hooker, Winnie Armstrong,  Hannah Abernathy. Bless the robots.

I have to write a column – gosh, I say that a lot, don’t I? – so I’ll check out early this edition, and leave you with the first installment of the new Fargo site. In a way, it’s useless and moot. For the last few years I’ve been up against a collector of Fargo postcards who had the gelt to buy everything, and he donated everything to a NoDak university. They put up a site using his cards, and much to my molar-grinding annoyance the URL is engraved in several of the new historical markers in downtown Fargo. Ah well. The site is comprehensive, but it’s as ugly as a bathroom floor in a Mexican dystentary ward, so at least I can claim a small aesthetic edge.

Why should you care? No reason. Except that it’s an archetypical smallish-medium town that sprang from nothing in the middle of nowhere. For millennia nothing happened here, just as nothing happened in the trackless plains beyond. Then: civilization. Laws and glass, curbs and churches, pipes and statues. I think I’ll provide a better sense of the town this time. I've included a map with graphic aids to show what you're looking at. The links eventually dead-end, because I haven’t built anything other than the Main Street – to – NP Avenue section. I hope you like it. If you liked ACME, you'll enjoy some of the real-photo pictures.

See you tomorrow.



c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.