Dream Journal

Mini Plesiosaur is Silly

In our large, outdoor aquarium setup (taking up about as much space as a shipping container) I remove one of the former centrally-important fish, replacing it with a very nervous mini-plesiosaur. The thing has a pleasingly silly dark green appearance, darting and swimming around like a toy from a cartoon (or perhaps some Midjourney images I’ve made).

In the open water of a lake with many boats, I’m directed to catch a kid wearing floaties and suspended by the chords of a parachute. I drag him over to the Relentless — a boat I used to crew once upon a time. I tell my friend Anton (reminding him actually) that if something you do is “stealing” from a billionaire… you’re just stealing it back.

At some point I left behind my motorcycle clothing somewhere. It’s since been moved, and I navigate stations of a library scattered about an outdoor terraced environment, collecting it piece by piece.

Dream Journal

Mall Empty, Different Owners

Over visiting someone else’s place, a rental. I run across the landlord in the downstairs garage, with his tools out, fixing some old Victorian equipment. I quickly get buddy-buddy with Mr. Landlord since I seem to understand what he’s working on. The light in the garage / front room has a gauzy look from being filtered through dusty windows.

An aquarium sits on its side such that I can dip my fingers through where the front glass would be. Working out how to get a filter to work, I flip it back and forth over different surfaces of the water. The water remains cloudy and dirty, despite that I’m confident the filter is now working. It will just take a while to clear.

I walk all the way down the ramp of a mall lined with storefronts. Then back up. During the time I walked down many stores have closed, and the place feels much emptier. Maybe like SF’s Chinatown.

Across a mall parking lot (different from above, I suppose) there’s an abandoned store which is poorly renovated. The owners perception was it just seemed any good buyer would consider it dated. I think it looked fine, warm and nostalgic even, but they insisted on renovating it for whatever fad they imagine business owners want this year.

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.

Dream Journal

Strange Forms of Water in Coves

Observing shapes of water in a bay from cliffside above. A lighthouse or dock sits amidst what seems like turbulent waves, which coalesce into nearly vertical walls of water rising from the estuary floor. They form sophisticated mirrored patterns. An informational picture-in-picture appears in the corner and I scroll around a wider view, examining the next cove over — where the shapes are less grandiose but more distinct. The sharp outlines of the PIP really help discern the unusual forms, which are mesmerizing.

Riding in the backseat with my dad driving down a road in Palm Desert. A tiny bit on edge as I’d normally be driving myself, but I’m handling it ok. We round a slight curve and he has to brake hard and quickly merge out of the left lane as there’s a wicker bench in the road. Briefly I mention how lucky it is he was only going 22 mph, the same speed I choose to go on that particular stretch. I volunteer to get out and move the bench aside if he stops at next place to pull over. But that’s a country club, and instead of just stopping by the side of the road in the little turnout my dad drives around their big complicated parking lot for a bit till I tell him to just pause. I jog along under some lush overhanging foliage along the outside of the road, mindful of cars that could be coming. I realize I’m not fast like I used to be, and the turnout was pretty far from the bench. I finally round the bend and see it’s actually a parked car without even blinkers on. The task now changed, I dash across the road to see if I can find the driver. I do, on the second floor of a weird little ski slope store. Despite much patience on my part they seem disinterested in even listening. I realize, oh, this person just feels entitled — I can’t rationalize the problem to them because they don’t care about other people.

Running airline tubing in a long narrow kink club space where I work/volunteer. I remember the first time I went there, the entry corridor (made up of personal side rooms for storage/changing) seemed to take forever to walk down; now I barely notice. While fixing something in-between the gate and the front door I get locked out. I was half-expecting this so I’m not stressed, I just climb carefully over the old corrugated roof, taking my time. Spot landlord of the building down ina courtyard and pause, not wanting to meet him. Thereafter, examining the tank, I decide we can’t have a keyboard in the aquarium despite that it looks pretty cool.

Special event room with bunch of kids partying. It’s like a home movie night, with pull-out beds in a bleacher stand configuration, popcorn and snacks provided too. But it’s a small space finished in bamboo, smaller than 10′ x 10′, and I consider the COVID air problem. There’s a nitrous dispenser stocked on the bed, but I’m not going to point it out to the kids — one of them seems to know, and calls it a whippet.

Not long after, I’m cleaning up a couch in what is kinda the top floor flop pad of a hostel. It mirrors the previous space, but I can’t say if it’s the same. I manage to dislodge an old plate that’s been wedged into the cushions for a good long while, discovering in the process it was put there by someone I like. Although I’ve done a great job cleaning the couch, if I report this find I know my bearded and newsboy-capped friend might get in trouble.

Dream Journal

Early Morning, Up to Clean the Tanks

Living in my old room at my parents house in my hometown. It’s been awhile now, the once bright turquoise carpet is starting to grey with my walking patterns. I spend a lot of time here, in this 10’x10′ room. I’m thinking about taking the closet doors off so there’s more space to move my mostly bare work desk into. Maybe my clothes racks could take up the far wall, I’d stare at them while half asleep instead of the desk and its neglected aquarium. The desk itself is bare unfinished wood, and a chair from my grandfather with a bullet hole in it (this references a real chair, with family lore). The room’s drywall is partially stripped open and I can read the builder’s notes, examine how they made the house. Yet despite the circumstances I’m thankful.

It’s early morning, maybe 7:15, and I’m up after a fitful night. I’ve been awake intermittently, idly staring at my fish tanks opposite my bed. The one across from me has been set up a long time, and I realize I’ve not done a water change. The betta inside bobs at the surface, breathing through its mouth. Amazing that it’s still alive, really. I look up the proportions of water to peroxide to salt that I need to use, filling my arms with the supplies, hobbling back to my room in the dim interior of the pre-dawn house. I hear my wife laughing behind the door of the next room over and talking to our pet rats (I can’t recall why we’re separate, but this arrangement has also lasted a while). I realize it’s only been maybe three hours of interrupted sleep I’ve had. But I’m happy I’m finally taking care of the aquariums again, now that I noticed and had the energy. A humbling dream. Humbling, but grateful. I wake up with a smaller ego.

Dream Journal

Deep Dark Aquarium, Safe Again

Doing maintenance on a giant aquarium tank of mine, as tall as a two story building. I’ve nurtured it over years into a careful ecosystem. All the animals are fairly small for the size of the tank, nothing larger than the size of my hand perhaps. Most of them seem like they could be Paleozoic types, including some lateral swimming worms like Pikaia. The tank stays very dark and dim, making things intensely immersive when I dive to the bottom. I immediately notice there are fewer critters to be seen than usual. I’ve had it long enough that this has happened before and bounced back fine, but it is something worthy of concern.

On the way back down another time I notice and investigate my ability to breathe underwater. I realize it’s something I normally should only be able to do in dreams — it occurs to me that I could be dreaming of my tank, which isn’t exactly correct. Regardless, the realization does not increase lucidity.

Something about a jar for my friend Spanky with a yellow top. I recently did some home renovation for him.

Last part of the dream is about a thin yellow beetle that is accidentally released into my vulnerable aquarium biome. I’m greatly concerned, as it could tip off the kind of invasion that’d be devastating (especially to the creepy-crawly detrivores and roots in the dirt) especially now in it’s fragile state. I’m methodical though, and several people are enlisted to help. It’s caught with a bit of fanfare and exasperated relief.

[The event reminds me of a real story I heard of hundreds of oil company personnel paid to catch a single mouse on Barrow Island off the coast of Australia.]

Dream Journal

Interesting TV! Twin or Doppelganger?

We have a few aquariums, arranged in an L shape, and I’m taking care them. The small one (the oldest) is packed with fish and plants, like one currently in our actual kitchen. The other two are big ones savaged from the streets of Chinatown (maybe 55 gallons each) but hold only a single beloved fish each. As I go about their maintenance, I realize we’ve had them a while and at this point they’re probably underutilized. The personable pufferfish living there gets scritches as I consider what company to get him.

A few potted plants have been on automatic watering for a while, and I decide to check on them. At the base of a stem rests a big moss ball that’s somehow been watered only on top and bottom. I take care to soak the entire thing, knowing that I’m still in time to rescue the almost dirt-brown middle.

On TV, I randomly discover that SNL now has a department making short Public Service Announcements for kids. Tough subject matter, too; the one I catch is on understanding and dealing with horrible traumas from the news like genocide and death. There’s one shot in particular that really sticks out for being so well done: small plastic toy horses filmed from below in black and white. Inexpensive to make, as I also appreciate.

Idly watching a show starring Jon Hamm (as a Don Draper character) who has a twin he didn’t know about. There’s some discussion over whether the twin is a doppelganger. Intrigued, I rewind to before he found out. Karen Gillan is filling a role similar to Peggy on Mad Men, serving also as a judge/mediator. There’s such a strangely amusing dragged-out scene where Don is standing in front of a mirror where his twin is visible, but he keeps looking downward or elsewhere in the room. The tension and entire situation are so oddly surreal, and I watch having no idea if I rewound even close to the pivotal reveal.

Dream Journal

Spaceship Aquarium Competition No-go

Soon after I go to sleep, I realize I’m still looking at memes… but am dreaming. I become lucid and remain that way for some time, without any effort to charge the experience.

A three-fold joke, a tweet in 3 parts with three images. The most important section of the nights dream’s — which my rat Roscoe woke me up and got me to remember — but which were lost to forgetfulness long before waking in the morning.

Carrying a book with a black and white cover over a coastal region, a giant lake or seaside with an edge like a swimming pool. While trying to show it to my dad, I find another book with a similar cover. Along the wide paved shoreline is a curvy section where I explore a sloping sand beach. Getting back on shore from the other side proves difficult, holding the book(s) aloft as waves crash over me, the sand eroding in great thick layers ahead of me. Finally back on land, someone points out the many squid temporarily stranded, though the appear exactly like small octopuses in large snail shells.

I return to my personally programmed spaceship, which some disbelieve I truly have. In this sterile, futuristic, yet homey space I proceed to fill my complex aquarium setup: interlocking glass, rectangular brushed metal. I plant my “fish seeds” I’ve been saving and in only a moment they re-grow; I have a healthy and filled tank. However, someone inadvertently reminds me that I forget about the fish tank competition happening soon — I won’t be able to dismantle this setup to move it, I can’t disassemble it without ending the life of the fish early, and I won’t have any new fish seeds if I do. I’ve taken myself out of the competition without realizing.

Dream Journal


Projecting movies on a TV screen. A big group, of freedom fighters or friends, or something else.

A child is born in an unusual store. I view a gigantic turtle in a swim tank, bigger than Archelon, alongside its human trainers/companions.

Diachromazita” — a name/term out of a dream the night before, the only surviving fragment of it, and interesting enough to be worthy of naming something after.

Dream Journal

The Boss, The Barbarian, The Beast

Sharing a bed with a female boss, and a kid who joins us. It’s quality snuggle time but I have to be a good sport on account there’s an orange-lighted lamp behind us, one I just barely can’t reach while we’re ensconced together.

Female boss and I leave the relative comfort of this bedroom, a place which has the sensation of a single-room ground floor unit of a multi-story underground parking garage. The neighborhood is the dusty, sunny, oldest part of my hometown (although I don’t think of it as Cathedral City at any point, the architecture and streets are no other). We’re leading a class single-file while we roam the near-empty streets, searching for even one business compatible with ours. Finally, in a wider old-west-ish double collonnaded warehouse area, I suggest that the business there — in publishing — is close enough to journalism that it’s worth pursuing.

Unfortunately there’s a brutish barbarian who guards nearby; he manages to kill all of us before we even realize what’s going on. We’re left — not quite dead, but as good as dead — to perish slowly in the sun strung up on a tall post, like a ship’s crow’s nest. But there’s a saving grace — we’ve got a Brock Samson bodyguard just for such an occasion. He hides under a bridge until the hulking brute passes overhead, stabbing his machete through chipped slats and impaling the aggressor in brutal revenge. We’re taken down from our gallows and recover with no ill effects.

Going a little further in the small near-deserted town, there is a wide shallow lake to the right (something like I’ve seen before in dreams, a wistful view with balconies worthy for gazing in reflection) and to the left, what looks like what could be an ornate orthodox church. I’m pleased to go and explore, knowing I’m versed in how to behave in almost any religious building. Turns out it’s a Hindu shrine to Ganesh, one with specific obeisances to enter. My dad advances too quickly through the entryway crowded with votives. I watch him try to balance on two upturned djembe drums, not quite successfully.

Inside the building, I chat with a few close friends as we sit on barstools. Idly we gaze toward the adjacent wall, the only light in the room, adorned with a massive floor-to-ceiling aquarium — and at least one monstrous inhabitant. It looks like a swimming centipede, maybe a polychaete worm, as if from the Ordovician era. My sibling Patrick seems quite concerned — it’s large, aggressive, and very near. Yet I know something about the tank, reassuring him “that glass may look only 10, perhaps 12 inches thick, but it’s not. That’s what we may I’m call ‘arcane glass’, and for that thing it’s actual measure is [literally] infinity inches.” I’m quite serious with this assessment. As if to punctuate my point, the thing winds up to the glass again, bigger, meaner, with a frightening face, and hits it full speed — which makes a satisfyingly tiny donk sound.