Dreams, my God, the dreams. First: newspaper cutbacks meant that everyone’s salary was reduced 90 percent, and since everyone had to sell their houses, we were housed in the newsroom itself. We showered under tarps and slept on cots. This moved immediately to a reprise of “300” – I was one of the Spartans, sort of, awaiting the million-strong Persian army. The main difference: I had the keys to a car. It was in the garage. We were waiting for the Persians in a suburban house on the edge of a woods. I kept explaining to everyone else that we didn’t have to make a glorious last stand and die and feast in heaven, etc. We could get in the car and go get some more guys. For that matter, we had telephones and radios and guns; we could hold them off while we called in air strikes. But everyone was in a mood to fight. I knew it was hopeless when my old radio producer, the Dark Chef, showed up in full Kabuki makeup and a Darth Vader robe.

Time to wake up, sir, the alarm clock said. Time to wake up, sir.

Really: that’s what it says. I mentioned this long ago, but I snipped the wake-up call from “The Andromeda Strain,” put it on an outdated iPod, and attached it to the alarm clock.

Then I went back to sleep. I was back at school. One of those dreams. You’re standing on a sidewalk wearing a stupid cap talking to a half-naked Dane, and then the producer asks if you could do it again because you sounded too much like MPR.

Actually, no,  that was reality.  This afternoon I did the ABC News segment with the fellow who can withstand temperature extremes of any sort; to prove it, he walked around the Mall at the U of M bare-chested in shorts and sandals. It was so fargin’ cold today that I had to run inside to restore feeling to my hands after five minutes outside; when I started shooting the video for buzz.mn – and there’ some meta-meta for you, shooting a video about some guys shooting video – my hands were still aching with the cold, even though I had gloves on, and I couldn’t operate the camera properly. It was like performing surgery a tree frog using oven mitts.

“The cold is a force,” said the Dane. The man knew what he was talking about.

The video’s up at buzz in the AM.

Afterwards I went home and warmed up. Took (G)Nat to McDonald’s for our monthly daddy’s-too-busy-to-cook treat, then hit Target. I needed a guitar pedal to increase the distortion, since I’ll be playing through an overly clean bass amp for Friday’s “gig.” Sure sig of hope: the first few spring items are on sale. Garden lights. We’re still four months out from garden-light season, but oh, the joy I felt; it was like being marooned on a desert island and hearing a plane go overhead. You couldn’t see it and it didn’t see you but at least you knew there was reason to hope. (G)Nat asked if she could have a three-dollar packet of Pokemon cards, and I agreed. She didn’t find any. She did find a $12 collection. I said no. She said she could buy them with her own savings. Why should I object? It wouldn’t be my money.

Well. Lesson time. I said it was her money, but it was also my job to make sure she spent it wisely. She might buy such a thing in the future, if she planned and saved, but this sort of impromptu expenditure was out of the question, or her meager savings would evaporate soon. If we agreed to the you-buy-it-I’ll-pay-you-back idea she’d buy everything.

No I wouldn’t, she insisted. This is special. Why do you care? It’s my money.

Pretty sure every parent has been here. If only I had the collective wisdom of my ancestors on which to draw. What did my mom tell me? No. Because. Didn’t quite work here. I had my iPhone; I could call up parenting sites on the browser. But the signal was poor. I was on my own.

I stuck to my position, ignored the pouting, tried to deflect her displeasure by offering a choice of flavors of Sun Chips for lunch. She went with Harvest Cheddar. Wonderful name; has all those fall-time connotations when the peasants head into the fields and harvest the cheddar. It didn’t improve her mood, though. When we got to the register she found a five-dollar pack of  Pokemon cards, and said they would do.

“You’ll have to pay me back,” I said. She was surprised. But you said I could have a three dollar pack.

“That was before you decided you could pay for things.”

She assented, grudgingly, and was miserable all the way home. The 12 dollar pack had a card she had wanted all her life. I told her she could make her case to Mommy, and if Mommy agreed with her, we’d have a discussion about this.

When we got home I told her to get the money to pay me. She brought down bills and change. I set it aside, pushed the pathetic pack of cards across the table, and noted that the $12 pack had four times as many cards. If she wished, we would return the five dollar pack, add the money to future savings, and I would kick in two dollars to help her buy the larger assortment. She looked at the five dollars, looked at the pack, made the calculus, and said she’d save for the bigger assortment.


I spent the rest of the evening editing and narrating and crunching the video, reading a book while the machinery did its work. It’s something I


I bought for the plane but didn’t crack – “The Ruins,” by Scott Smith, author of “A Simple Plan.”  Stephen King called it “The best horror novel of the new century.” I don’t have much against which to judge it, but it’s good, and if the right director handles the movie version we’re in “Shining” territory” for intelligent creepiness. No ghosts, no boogiemen, no haunted houses, no serial killers, no possessed televison sets. It’s more like “Lost,” except that it takes place over 48 hours.

(Note: have you been to amazon.com's main page lately? Why did it get so suddenly ugly?)

Speaking of "Lost": while TiVoing “Lost” tonight the show info said the program contained “on-screen info and backstory,” and sure enough: it’s like a Pop-Up Video version of “Lost.” Yes, that will help me immerse myself in the story once again: intrusive multimedia subtitles.

On the other hand, I have forgotten nearly everything that happened, so it might help.

Damndest day. So very cold. Busy. Tomorrow, band practice. Now, this. I’m going to finish the book  - gah, forgot Bleat Radio Theater. Well, tomorrow, and I’d like to bang out a Diner if I could as well. Make this a productive week. Earn that Friday evening Famous Grouse, eh? 

One page from the depths of 1973; new video up at buzz.mn, as well as some interesting Lance Lawson strips & revelations. Have a grand day!