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Dream Journal

Mad at the Sunset at Mustard Truck Ranch

Throughout these dreams there’s an indescribable water park vibe. No theories why, just imagine there’s a waterpark involved. And: a certain man’s wife features in every scene.


Staying as a guest at a ranch. On an outdoor table with benches I notice that the pepper I planted has grown wildly, sucking all the goodness out of its soil. At its base it’s produced a big wrinkly pepper fruit. An unruly stem of 50 cloned plantlets hangs so long it droops over the table’s edge.

Holed up at the semi-remote ranch I defer going to school all day. Counting the hours, missing one class after another, bargaining with myself the whole time. Step outside and look between the gateposts — just in time to catch the sunset framed between them, just touching the horizon. I yell at the sun in frustration, “I wanted to have a day! Fuck you!” It’s like a picture I saw of a sunset in an old vinyl album — evocative in its plainness somehow.

From behind me, I hear the main front door to the ranch open. I don’t wish to interact with anyone at the moment; there’s a baseball hat dude and his wife that I’m not fond of either. They’ve not done anything actually rude yet but I don’t want to give them the chance to.

Along one of the side streets bordering the big compound a group and I encounter a charming little food truck. It’s an old woody station wagon, green and yellow, called The Mustard Truck. They serve warm pretzels and beer and English bar snacks. Surprised, I observe that it wouldn’t actually be that bad living here if there’s things like this to be found.

From the winding sidewalk of small park near a courthouse, I step into the street. I pass a woman I recognize, the wife of Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. This would be Rosie Cotton as per the books — then again but I might instead be thinking of the actor who played Sam Gamgee. A little down the road I watch a car struggling to pass a lady dragging a cart as they’re all in a tunnel. She shouts “passenger!” as it overtakes her. A roundabout way of claiming her rights to use the road (just as a car) but avoiding shouting “car” because that’d only reinforce a second-class ideology. Car, apparently, being the traditional shout.

I’m sitting across the table with some female YouTuber, someone whose stuff I watch (can’t recall who though). We discover we both know this cart lady. I relate this story of her shouting in the tunnel and we share a good laugh. I list a bunch of other YouTubers who might know her (this is why I can’t pin down who I’m talking to: I mention everyone I might be talking to).

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Dream Journal

’36, Night Crashers 2

“Night Crasher” was a famous storm (perhaps even hurricane) which — you might be surprised to learn — was actually promoted by Hollywood and its movie stars in 1936. There are posters and other artifacts which I find fascinating and puzzling. Why promote a storm, and how did they know it was coming? Was it a real storm? I’m fairly certain it was a real film, as was alive to remember its decades-late sequel “Night Crasher 2”, released in the early ’90s.

A quaint, yellowed old-timey map shows a staggered row of island groups between the latitude above Australia and south of the equator. Never before have I seen these islands so presented (either grouped, or as a timeline) showing the odd order they were discovered, claimed, and settled. The map is even illustrated with cute icons to be helpful and memorable. Once again, this map was actually promoted by Hollywood media types at the time (so perhaps also from the 1930s).


I’m a small spry man of indeterminate age riding as a passenger in a car’s backseat. My companions and I travel at night in drizzly rain through an unfamiliar neighborhood. I’m not too familiar with my companions either, but they’ve also never been here. There’s an unacknowledged tension — as if we are all on a mission none of us signed up for. I weigh the balance of providing directions versus disturbing the group dynamic.

Soon it must be tested anyway; we arrive at our first destination. I tromp up a steep hillside of industrial scree to the curved wall of a concrete bunker. I’m the only one to have dealt with these people before, at some village-scale trade negotiations. With the vantage from climbing I now can see into their unobscured control room — no ceiling, disorderly but oft-used, a place of daily work for the overworked. We are summarily buzzed in and I must hop quickly after my taller male companion, as the timed doors close promptly after me.

An insouciant gray-haired lady greets us by suggesting we wait and go play table tennis. My companion is young and likes tasks requiring only brawn. He needs handholding, so I try to assure him that he simply doesn’t understand their ways here: they mean no disrespect, neither is it some kind of test. We really do only have to kill time. And pleasantly there is an actual pool table (or close enough).

After a while I leave through a different door within this compound, wanting to go outside to break up the time. Unexpectedly I encounter what must be the concert of the season going on… many people I know in wider social circles are seated across loads of metal balconies in this half stadium, all reveling. I’m glad I’m there: a few friends start hanging off the balcony rails; by chance I know the structure’s particular weaknesses. Once again I weigh the prudence of sharing advice. I’m glad I do share it this time, though.

Returning to the main room of the place, this industrial business compound, I meet up with my occasional friend Chloe. A great song starts playing and we spontaneously dance around the pool table. Turned away, with our butts pressed together, she offers a friendly warning: “don’t think this means any more than what it really does”. While playfully bumping/humping her from behind I respond in kind by quoting Rick Astley, “you know the game, and so do I.” This response lands well and I’m glad we’re on the level.

In my wallet I save keepsake political art made to look like dollar bills. These are even valid currency in some odd cases. I am only reminded when I go to pay for something (maybe the jukebox?) and I notice a $39 bill. It’s collectible, a feminist pro-union message as I recall, supporting daycare access for working women. Another one is an otherwise normal boring $10 bill. It’s design is so incredibly plain and modern that the overall effect strangely exotic. A sleeper hit, I guess we’d call it.

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Dream Journal

5th grade, Last Day

It’s the last day before summer in a fifth grade classroom. The teacher is reading Harry Potter aloud. I’m sweeping up and re-shaping the sand mount the classroom is located on, like a little city on a bluff.

The movie “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is connected somehow to a secret message made with a sharpie and a stencil on someone’s back. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m already dreaming about it.

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Dream Journal

Replaying

Replaying the same video game level repeatedly. It’s a military campaign, like a map from Command & Conquer. Re-learning with each failure, avoiding certain areas. The only way to win is to fail — repeatedly.

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Dream Journal

Following the Purple Sign Circuit

A city split evenly in halves by a river. I’m near the shore and perusing a map of the area’s bridges when I receive what feels like bold headline news: Margaret Thatcher Is Dead. In this case Margaret Thatcher is, of course, the famous nesting falcon named after the former Prime Minister. Most likely one of the last animals that will be named after her.

Soon afterwards, I’m in one of the white tall-ceilinged hallways of a nearly empty mall. It’s sometime in the off-season and the lights are off; there’s a calm artificial chill from AC. Purple signs are hung at regular intervals, something I noticed but never considered before. I understand they’re meant to be followed in sequence as a guide for security officers patrolling the grounds — one always has a view of the next sign once one approaches any of them. The route is permanent and meant to followed as a circuit every day. I become mischievously curious imigining what such a repetitive daily existence must be like.

Out though an exterior door, I follow purple signs through a darkened T-intersection of the mall. It’s a semi-outdoor area of closed windowed storefronts and sunny courtyards typically filled with patio furniture. I recognize the place from at least one previous dream. The setting seems based off Palm Springs and has a wealthy tourist vibe: potted palm trees, Mid-Century Modern leisure space. I still haven’t seen a single person.

Off behind a side door the route ascends a set of stairs that feel off-limits and un-public. Upstairs is a space I’d never expect compared to the ostentatiousness below, dirty, basic, neglected, like a cheap mall in some Chinatown. I don’t see many customers, but several stores are actually open and I spot retail workers inside shops. One is called “Caches Played” and has a feeling of bareness, as if the shelves were set up by a single person only recently. Another is called “Bazza Kazza” which is an Austalian-ization of the letters B & K, those being consonants extracted from the word “bitch”. They sell a variety of equipment for small terrariums & aquariums yet the space is scuzzy.

My wife and I spend an extended time browsing. The single round room feels like being inside a tower, but the carpets are torn and the walls are scratched-up. There’s a few shady characters loitering aimlessly. My wife presents me with a Triops culture she just bought while I was distracted worrying about the random dudes. I’m skeptical that the container will work, and annoyed that she bought it without talking to me first. But after fiddling with the two interlocking enamelware bowls I’m pleasantly surprised that the thing seems reasonably useful.

I could swear someone stole my shoes while I was looking away. I manage to find them elsewhere in the store (no way to know who left them there). The shoes are structured as a big piece of taut fabric and are a bit tricky. I have to remember how to hold my heel tight against the end and pull/fold them over. The thoughtfulness of it is reminiscent of my tabi shoes.


I spend a lot of time embedding all these memories enough to write them down. To the point that I recall how, currently, my computer’s photo storage is on the fritz — and that the program I will use to write my dreams down only loads the top 10% of the background image. This is exactly as my desktop usually appears when it can’t read the drive.

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Dream Journal

Fragment of Boombox & Toes Dream

A white-colored Dutch boombox radio. I realize it’s supposed to be a breeding machine for something, producing offspring (or helping produce offspring).

Examining my toes, I see that the middle toe is actually smaller than all the rest.

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Dream Journal

Finch Finch? Nope, just Finch

I navigate up a river flowing over large rocks. People walking up it. Find refuge at a covered patio belonging to a women who set it up as a rescue facility. She’s a traveler like myself and I’m not currently in need of a rescue. I see myself as more of an ornamental garden hermit.

Playing a card game to pass the time on a bus — where the cards are made of cash money. Digging in the compost bin, I rediscovery modified dollar bills with cute names written on them: Ankylosaurus, Potato, Peanut

Doing a cleaning job. A martini glass holding, instead of ice cubes, a single huge ice cube is being sold.

A woman introduces herself as named Finch. “Finch Finch?” (first and last), I ask. “Nope, just Finch.”

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Discover a Secret About Former Roommate

Reading in a magazine by the side of my bed when I accidentally stumble on a bit in an article about someone I know. My old roommate, long after she had moved out, met someone for sex every Tuesday. Incidentally their fathers met and became professional friends. It was then revealed: the two of them were secret siblings.

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Dream Journal

Old Family Home Rebuilt, Nicely

Showing some people my family’s former house in Santa Rosa. It’s been rebuilt since the fire in 2017 (this did happen) None of the inside is the same. I don’t know the family that lives there now, but they seem like they have good taste. The walls are Japanese style shoji, made of paper, light glowing behind them. I don’t know the family that lives there now.

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Dream Journal

Flowerpot Micturator, Property Lines from Above

I get a sneaking suspicion, a strange feeling to check the backyard. I just catch someone who looks like the landlord’s soon peeing in a potted plant downstairs in the corner. Though I race down, whoever he is has gone into one of the disorganized downstairs storage rooms. Even though I have access to them, I’ve already lost the trail.


From a view high above what might be the English countryside, studying the distribution of settlement. Perceive the compounding of development, long stretches encompassing multiple human lifetimes. Switching to a view the property lines, I notice a spot where the markings are smaller and crowded together, a little lake in the middle distance. The architecture is a bit strange, fitting on to misshapen hexagonal plots, catering to the whims of the wealthy who could build at such location. A modernist concrete barn with few windows cited close to a low point near the lake.

Recently, I was closely examining satellite photos of a sheltered neighborhood in my city whose streets I never knew existed.