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Dream Journal

My Old Camera-on-the-Curb Project

Setting is some low-slung community living/art space that feels like a janky maze — almost a stock location for me. I notice there’s some high-ranking politician here on an official visit, along with his security. I don’t even think about it; I immediately navigate a back route. There room he’s in was made from a shipping container box, with a wall of various switches near the unguarded rear door where I emerge. I walk directly past a secret service guard without him even having time to get off his phone call.

I take an Orc-lord up on a standing offer. Given a nominal fee, I am allowed to eat any orc from the Orc-band I choose. Several distinct and varied orcs line up for me by height. The catch is that the orc I choose won’t just sacrifice itself, it will fight me — but if I win, eating it’s fair game. The trick then is to choose the right size orc. I stand in front of them one-by-one.

Finally, I successfully download a rare Russian track I’ve been searching for forever. It’s album art — or maybe it’s actual shape? — is a bulbous grey game controller.

Walking through my neighborhood here in the Mission, the streets near Cesar Chavez are like a calm colorful French Quarter. Despite having passed by it many times over the years today I stumble upon one of my projects from long ago: a point-and-shoot camera mounted on curb. It’s remarkable that it’s still there considering I installed it in… 2013? People can take whatever photos they want, then retreive them or give them to others. Some are given a surf background — now faded to a dingy grey.

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Dream Journal

Cafes and Street Crossings, A Queen, Sexy Teens

In a recent tabloid news cycle, the question arises of whether teen stars Alia Shawkat and Michael Cera slept together while filming on location for Arrested Development. I happen to know they did — because one of my earlist jobs was as their adult minder on set. Obviously this makes me reticent to confirm it to anyone, but I’m excited to know something relevant.

In fact, I’m inspired to try to find the beautiful valley where we filmed, just inland from the Bay Area in California. It had a unique self-contained ecology. I have intense memories of clambering through dense acacia-like trees not far from the dusty road. Their branches and trunks were covered in short leaves. Everything had an impossibly sunny cast, like the ideal of a summer day.

There’s a cafe in Portland I frequent, a place with tall glass windows and wood banisters seperating the booths. After getting the attention of one of the baristas (who know me) I suggest that I might set up a little mini-golf installation. This would be mutually beneficial, as the cafe needs regular changes of its decor to keep things fresh, and I would get a bit of income from renting equipment. I think they’re going to agree to the deal — I don’t tell them I don’t have any of the materials yet.

Leaving the cafe I cross the street outside, noticing halfway across there’s a throng of people and unusual hubbub ahead. Unknown to me, Queen Elizabeth is making a visit in town and just passed this way. I cross a sidewalk (and a little hedgerow maze entrance) that was quite recently occupied by royalty.

Another sidewalk cafe, this one a touristy cafe in downtown San Francisco. Normally it has computers for travelers to use but it’s been under renovation. One day I start pretending I work there — I just keep showing up and no one questions it. I’m fond of the place, but I also want to keep an eye out and surreptitiously learn anything I can.

After working (for free) one day, I get tired and decide to take off for the evening. I ask my new work friend if they fancy a bit of the Irish Castle, a 102 year old entertainment venue across the street. They’re game, but instead of crossing directly they lead me the longer way around the block. We arrive through the entrance of a quaint 80s mall (still much postdating the Irish Castle, though) and I notice our flat fancy shoes are slidey on the tile floor. We can use them almost like roller skates. My friend and I race and they’re in first the whole time. I couldn’t tell if I’m letting them win or they’re simply very talented at this.

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Dream Journal

Single Question from Energy Vampire

A kind-hearted Colin Robinson (from the TV show What We Do In The Shadows) asks “why do you see yourself more rooted in the past than you do in the future?”

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Dream Journal

Hotels in Strange Places (Initiative to Work)

The whole dream is somehow about work. Feels like dealing with being overworked the last week, and how I view my own attitude.

I send a rich acquaintance, C. Wood, a few pics while messing with my phone. The first is accidental, the second sent to make up for that with something humorously related. Later I realize she’s sent a response which reads only “?” — a clear warning sign. I realize that for her there’s no context. So both photos don’t make sense, and now they definitely seem intentional.

My family is staying at a sprawling roadside attraction complex somewhere flat and empty (I’d bet Nebraska). It’s the only thing around. Looking from above, as if from our hotel room, I see the layout of the waterpark. In retrospect it must be like a lot of dream-places near the waterside, or the highway. I go out on my own and perform a bunch of tasks of my own volition, none of which anyone has told me they wanted done. Maybe in the dream I’m only a teenager, yet I know I’ve been to this place before and I know how I want it to be.

In my house is a spikemoss plant which lives in a glass jar; it’s thrived and is nearly filling the container (to be clear, this is a real plant which is very much doing this right now). We call it a jarrarium. The plant is a Selaginella kraussiana which I got for my birthday, the first fern/moss I’ve been able to keep alive. I realize it’s so overgrown I really should split it into another glass container, a tall one which I’ve kept in reserve. In order to get it to stand up I have to arrange a styrofoam column down the center.

On a lightly forested hill is a different hotel. The area reminds me of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon. I’ve only seen a small bit and the pine smells lovely, but I’m already part of the crew working the back area of the kitchen. It’s a long narrow space which slopes steeply, ending in garage door and loading dock. I’m the only one with the initiative to walk all the way down and outside; I end up where I first arrived at the hotel. The slope on the way back up is much worse, almost impractical. I get the sense that most workers do this trip at infrequently as possible. But I again take the initiative and start fixing the concrete floor so it’s not so awful to climb up on. I look up and see the head chef watching me. I wait to see if he gives any sign of approval, or if I’ve taken too much initiative. Interesting to note that so far, no one has called me on it.

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Dream Journal

Map-Parachuting, Lawyer-Attacking, Megaphone-Speakering

An interesting exercise in Physical Education class. In tall grass, a huge area is flattened in the shape of the lower 48 states of America. This shape is repeated identically in a line. The class then performs parachuting practice and we land all over the maps (mostly at random, as we don’t have excellent control). The multiple maps “cancel out” and then, as it’s PE of course, we all jog back into the first field and stand at our newly-determined spots.

I landed north of San Diego. I expect I’ll be so close to the border with Mexico that I’ll be standing right next to it. However, the map is of great scale and I’m impressed when I end up outside throwing distance. While my back is turned and I’m listening to instructions from the stage to the north (i.e. Canada) a smooth-haired guy that looks like a lawyer sneaks up on me from somewhere south unseen.

I have to take cover among the big crown in the front row of the America-auditorium, a the section categorized “Express” for reasons I don’t understand. Panicked, I seize an empty theater chair in the middle of the row. It feels like he won’t mess with me with this many people and I calm down. But soon I’m requested to move to the outside of the row, on the more empty left side. I psych myself into being ok with it. My flank feels exposed and it’s still too much; I move around among the audience to assuage my worries.

On the far edge of the big USA room is a park-like setting. People chilling, listening to music. A Scottish guy with a thick accent yells something pretty clever, and I realize I’m the only one that understands his voice and slang. I happen to have a Bluetooth speaker that I can use as a megaphone so I translate. As it turns out though, my translation is treated as equally informal and idiosyncratic. Only the Scottish guy and me get the meaning, but at least I get his humor. Might’ve made a friend.

By now the coast is clear and I’ve stopped worrying about aggro lawyer guy. The event ends and I stay for clean-up. I’m asked by a younger black girl if I can help find her speaker — once again I use mine to address a wider crowd. I but manage, surprisingly, to find an identical speaker also broadcasting my signal. She says that one’s not hers, though. Hers has four funnels, kind of like rectangular air horns, arranged in a spiral. I manage to find something fitting that description but no, she says that one is for use amplifying timbales (the Latin percussion instrument).

The space is emptying out, and I’m in the wooden rafters still searching. I come across a brown extension cord strung deliberately through the beams, with an odd note attached. It’s a copy of something the judge (and DoJ head) Merrick Garland said about a bill, recently written, that restricts many people’s freedoms. While it’s not his bill he’s plainly complacent enough to just explain it without also saying how it can be fought.

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Dream Journal

John Waters Stage Show

Reflecting on that time I went to jail for 7 months when I was 19 or 20. As I remember it, the District Attorney needlessly chose to prosecute me for fraud because I received three free college credits. Such a waste… just impulsively interrupting a vulnerable young person’s life at such an important age. I’m remembering it now because in the dream I’m now going back to school later in life. It’s different than it used to be: sometimes I pass classes, sometimes I don’t, but I sense that you just have to accrue the credits over time and not sweat it.

Then again… I recall a different occasion when I was very distraught and held up a LensCrafters at gunpoint. Serving jail for this sort of thing makes more sense, but I no longer have the paperwork. Turns out I can’t even remember what I went to jail for!


A John Waters stage show, hosted by the man himself. He takes a break for the sake of the televised audience and cuts to commercial. But as I’m actually present I get to witness all the wild behind-the-scenes action — performers exploding into rants, random blowjobs on/off stage, many different hijinks. Those of us there in the room are treated to Waters twirling around on stage during a costume change. His look is a stylized foil cutout of a multi-faceted paper doll, framed between two panes of glass, made in the likeness of the musician Prince. I’m very excited for the next portion and want to video-record it for myself. It’ll be a big file as I’m betting it’ll be a long segment, but at this point I’m certain I’ll actually want to watch it again. I try to wedge my phone upright against some bulky theater equipment and hope for the best as the countdown to re-air begins.

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Dream Journal

Spider-Man and the Body Snatchers

In a theatre watching a new Spider-Man movie. My seat is round and spins, a beige leather “fashion” chair like my Nana might’ve had in the 1980s. It’s difficult to get the angle where I can look comfortably at the screen and also get my feet up. Not to mention I won’t block anyone’s view.

There’s an important character scene in the movie which occurs at the lip of a waterfall at night; the setting reminds me of one that could be in Jurassic Park game. Two group members (who resemble my friends Ani N. and Safire) go off for a minute to exchange info. Only Ani comes back. I’m the only one — watching the movie, but also now in the movie as teenage Spider-Man — who immediately realizes that it wasn’t Safire, but a body snatcher. And that isn’t Ani either. I grab a trusted friend and attempt to inform them of the danger, pulling them aside into a pitch black garage (note: only in rewriting do I notice the similarity to the previous situation).

But before that, in the ’70s paneled wood living room of our shared house, I encounter a housemate bottle-feeding her baby. She shares an appearance with my childhood friend Christy T. Someone (perhaps her, perhaps not her) has left on a very unpleasant overhead fluorescent light. I feel this light should never be on, and say so to the mother. I don’t think I came across as nice.

An old tape recorder with a Bluetooth app. When I install it, my phone spits an error and starts installing every app I ever downloaded. All the ones I’ve deleted, too. There are whole series of them, as I can spot several donut icons among the many screens-worth of unwanted apps. In addition, a bunch of books I didn’t know I still owned are taking up entire pages. The phone has now become a square book. Many of the pages will now need to be ripped out or blanked out. It’s a strange difference to actually see how much physical space these wasted apps can take up… not that it makes it any easier to get rid of them

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Dream Journal

Evil Ph. & Sh.

A pair of new friends, who I’ll call “evil Ph. & Sh.”, lead me through a series of enclosed spaces. There’s some end goal, and we’re engaged and friendly as we progress through colonnades and sandboxes and garages.

Near the end of our journey I peer down a narrow gap into a long dim wooden hallway with stacks of repair materials, or perhaps boat equipment. An old man focuses on his work a far way down.

Everyone has some variety of superpowers. My friends leave me, suddenly, in a low-walled oval. It’s designed to steal some of my powers. It’s a trap, but I’m not even surprised. I’ve been carefully faking camaraderie for awhile since I sensed something amiss. Having expected something, I break free relatively easily. But I’ve been betrayed, which is why I call them “evil Ph. & Sh.”

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Dream Journal

Doing Nothing, Variations

In a shared closet passing in-between rooms I discover a few very cute baby rats. It’s in a house that resembles my childhood home, making this my parent’s master bedroom closet.

I go to search for my buzz razor. My sister Alia is using it to cut her hair in the hallway using a mirror. I know better than to interrupt something like that. Still the same house.

Leaving a hotel, while our arms are full of travel gear, my wife decides she wants to check out the inside of a specific hotel room. She jimmies open the lock and saunters around, proceeding to lie down on a bed. We’re spending a little too long and I start to get worried that she’ll fall asleep, and begin complaining to her. I’m starting to suspect that there’s more to her motives than mere idle curiosity.


Map-based naval video game where the strategy to advance is unclear. A long featureless coast with a small inland lagoon. Beach waves endlessly repeating. Patiently, I expend a disgraceful time not doing much in the game. Not particularly minding, either. I don’t notice the blocks of cash at southeast corner until after I exit the map, immediately realizing that was probably the way to win.

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Dream Journal

My Childhood Home is Ours Again, but Changed

My family has bought back my childhood home. I’m puzzled to discover that several small things that I left behind are still in place. For the entire time they lived here, the former owners took care of my plant wall (which is actually the back window of my current home). Everything has been kept in place, and the plants are still healthy. It’s been 16 years!

Other things are sadly missing. Much of the backyard has been cleared down because of the sale. There’s no sign of the cactus garden, the row of agaves by the side-yard, anything near the sheltered window of my teenage bedroom. All over, there’s a lingering tinge of The Other, those unseen people who lived here for years. The property feels hollowed-out, barren, despite all the uncannily familiar landscaping and fences and everything else.

I run along the top edge of the back brick wall as fast as I can. The wall isn’t as narrow as it felt when I was a kid — there’s an odd mixture of delight and melancholy, as I consider how I never thought I’d be able to do this again. How I can do it as many times as I want now.

Near the furthest corner of the wall I survey the horizon of the desert valley. In the distance there’s an area I can clearly make out a strange red cloud. I indicate it to one of my companions, wondering if it’s a concern — I’m told it’s just a high amount of large particulates, suspended dust from desert winds.

As I’m going through inspecting rooms I come to the garage. I’m sure it only used to hold three cars, but the darkened empty space appears to have at least four spaces. Little bits of random ephemera can be found across seemingly every surface; I wonder what else changed. Near the water heater I find a funnel attached to a tube. It’s attached to a small device making a high-pitched noise — I guess it must be for controlling roaches. (I’ve never lived in a place that had roaches, that I know of.)

Outside, the air is clear and oppressive. Although I grew up around here, I sense that I’ll need a period of adjustment where I can get used to these environs again. Everything has changed and grown different than what it was, but I still remember how it used to be. Myself, too — my adult senses perceive the world differently than I once did. I know I have to get to work soon. At high noon, I feel like an alien on a strange planet.

An isolated snippet, perhaps from a separate dream: soft plush shelving at the base of a stairway in a little room at the bottom of the stairwell. In it are kept pet rodents, or perhaps more likely material for their keeping. All stacked within. Very reminiscent of a weird meme I saw recently, of plush shelving.

Departing much later, I locate a three-piece visor — curved plastic semi-circles joined together at the temples. It takes some adjusting but I figure out how to wear it below my chin and above the crown of my head, with a light-up box close over my eyes. This obscures them like some cyborg ninja from a video game, one I can’t place correctly.

A mysterious final sentence, left over from notes and not reviewed in time to make sense of it: “Discovering receipt inside book which proves it was the same guy.”