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Dream Journal

Cleaning Up After Burning Man

I volunteer to clean up after Burning Man. It’s a camp I used to belong to, people I used to be friends with who I haven’t seen in years. Now I’m idly cataloging the junk left behind — piecing together the stories of what happened at the week-long party. Specifically I recall searching under flip-up style Murphy beds that are semi-permanent and remain in desert for the year (an unusual change since everything used to be completely leave-no-trace). Sponsorship in the camp is by Ritual Coffee, naturally. I still drink Ritual to this day.

Perhaps an object I find, perhaps a different dream: a golden metal orb with triangular holes lining its surface. Thin tetrahedral slices which fit exactly through the holes, as if it were a 3D puzzle to be assembled through the tiny gates. But it seems too elegant and precious to be a toy.

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Dream Journal

Encouraging A Young Girl’s Campground Waterfall Recitation

I’m in a house with my brother Patrick. The house is built with half walls, quarter walls. It’s modernist but neglected, and we are guests without a host. Reminds me of darkened apartments from other dreams, places I’ve lived where I’ve discovered unused rooms. Patrick takes up the task of picking a new animal to represent the Inca Empire, to replace the llama.

I’m later flying around the neighborhood, skipping along a narrow brick wall at the edge of a religious building’s property. Idly I fantasize of visiting each and all of the different denominations nearby. Reminds me of my childhood street in Eureka, California between ages 4 and 8.

I fly back to a campsite where we recently stayed, just off the road. I have to retrieve three items my group left behind because they “couldn’t pack it all” without my help. I have a view through pillars at the edge of the camp, and spot my mentor and his young daughter approaching. Unseen, I wait behind a waterfall window between pillars. The daughter begins a classical poetic recitation to an audience. I’m able to crouch/slide onto the floor in front of her mid-performance, giving her a reassuring nod and encouragement that steers her performance toward success. I can’t tell if her dad was withholding this kind of approval until the end, but I’m able to swoop in and give guidance she was lacking.

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Dream Journal

The Justice of Salvador Balthazar

Attending a movie night with a big projected screen in a great hall. Without warning, a large heavy object crashes down near the front. It hurts one girl who happened to be in center of aisle, and I’m the first to offer her assistance. She limps away though a side chamber, and it feels good to help, but odd that no one else seemed to think they should try.

On the street, I run into my former mentor dressed as a fireman. Tell him about how I recently saw him as a fireman in a dream (whoa, meta). Interaction goes well and it seems we’re both left with a positive impression. I wonder what he’ll tell his wife.


Salvador Balthazar is a historical character from the days of American revolution. He shows up to collect on justice for a reformed character. Brock Samson (from the show the Venture Bros) has to adjudicate. He’s surreptitiously tied himself to the handle of a giant-sized brown cart, waiting for an opportune moment to cut it off, launching over a high wall. He’s then able to attack Salvador, having made his ruling.

I wait for everyone involved to come through my front door. I have to delete episodes of Star Trek Voyager, worried they are corrupted and won’t obey computer commands, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s no trouble. My wife walks in behind everyone else and asks me “what happened here?”

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Dream Journal

Documenting Early Space Ecosystem

I have let several rats stay in our house while we’re away. When we return, we collect as many as we can — a cute disorderly pile of all different ages, since they unexpectedly bred. We now have a huge new assortment of genetic diversity, though not all of it good. Some even have exposed parts of their skulls, jawlines sticking through flesh. I spot one youngster in the center who already appears mummified.

Outside I film a bunch of short clips documenting the early 1960s ecosystem of space — all the different planes and support craft, the flight patterns, surprising new noises, ground facilities. Finally I spot an aircraft that has a steep trajectory, going higher than the others, and you can see it break an unseen barrier in the sky. Gauzy ripples spread out as if on the surface of a plastic greenhouse tent.

I’m standing near a gate in a chainlink fence when I suddenly notice my old boss Chicken John approaching. He’s grumbling to himself and basically ignores me. He starts barking instructions to his assistant (maybe Jimmy). There’s something nefarious in the tone of what I overhear and I start to suspect he’s planning to burn down his bar/grocery store, The Odeon. I begin to record audio on my phone, uncertain what I’d want to do with it if I were right.

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Dream Journal

Nightmare Picking Out Clothes

My wife is in the cab of our semitruck parked on 24th Street in our neighborhood, trying to start it up. It’s cargo is filled with furniture and things, could be a resale company or perhaps a home. As I watch from a distance safe to give directions, it quickly spins out of control, circling into stuff nearby and jumping the sidewalk.

Visiting a docked boat restaurant when I discover it’s owned by someone I know and watch on YouTube. His first name is Eduardo. In the adjoining walled sideyard, he raises livestock fowl. I count and observe groups of birds of various ages before I realize how many there are. The number I recall is 2000! He sets up to broadcast a YouTube video of eight hours of ducks marching in a huge circle — at which point I sneak out, to avoid explaining why I myself am not going to watch ducks marching that long.

On my way off the boat I encounter Chicken John, who is located behind me while I wait for the bathroom. I take the initiative and, in such a way that we don’t have to acknowledge how we know each other, I give him a hug. This cleverly avoids any possible awkwardness.

Some time later I’m in a long group cabin. Two rows of squares are taped on the floor to mark out individual sleeping areas. There’s a vibe similar to in the movie “Midsommar”, kind of culty, and the sun barely sets. Before bed my wife asks for me to fetch the teardrop-shaped blue shoes from the window ledge. Exasperated, I eventually find what she meant, though they’re neither shaped like teardrops or blue.

I awake feeling as if I’ve barely slept. A group gathering is about to begin up the hill from cabin, visible beyond an open wall. Everyone else has already left. There are vague instructions to “dress comfortably and nice” but they pointedly don’t tell us what the event will actually entail. Quickly, I feel overwhelmed –by the number of decisions so early, and the knowledge that everyone is already waiting for me to show up. It’s a feeling that I’ve failed before I’ve begun. Why would anyone force you into a situation like this as soon as you woke up? I wake up myself then, convulsing and dry-crying against one of the pillows in bed.

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Dream Journal

Not So Far from Home

A feeling like being in a house across the street from my house where I grew up, yet far away from home, like on a road trip. Inside, this narrow open house is a special rest stop worthy of a pilgrimage. They sell sodas there, a long row of flat pallets with dozens of rare varieties. I’m looking for my childhood favorite Cherry Coke and I’ve searched the whole length with no luck. Finally a kid slightly older than me gives me a single can and I’m delighted; I don’t know where to drink it though.

I need a ride to get home — despite looking out the window and seeing my house two doors down. Later I wake up along a roadside under a comfy camping bed, naked as it’s also comfy, as many cars pass by on the busy road and I still have to find a ride.

Later I’m getting off a bus, not expecting it, walking down the bus doorsteps and see my old boss Chicken John right outside to greet me. Someone has set us up to meet again, an act of reconciliation. Looking him in the eye as if to forgive him.

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Dream Journal

Belle Delphine’s Tiny Skull Machine Concert

Belle Delphine invites me to her concert, from a corner balcony at the edge of the venue. She seems really nice and I’m even considering joining her Patreon/Onlyfans for $5. Held inside walled-in park grounds that usually hosts metal shows, once I’m inside I’m not surprised the crowd is mostly guys. It’s a pretty good concert for someone not otherwise known as a singer/musician.

Random piles of cool little toy skulls can be found in stacks, many different shapes & colors. I collect as many kinds as I can. In a confined screened-off space I come across a squat bulky machine totally covered in controls and meters, like Dalek steampunk art or fused-together antique medical devices. But my boating friend Marc Roper comments that to him it “doesn’t look like they’re just kludges” (a.k.a. greeblies, that is to say not just for show). Chicken John does an explanatory bit in the middle of the show for Belle in order to explain the machine: we are to drop the skulls into the top of the device to collect a variety of corresponding prizes. I’m happy that I’m set to collect a lot.

It’s now very crowded with fans behind the machine, among some open-air shelves. Crouched in a small ball near a top shelf, I try to cheer up a sad withdrawn little Triceratops (like Sarah from The Land Before Time).

Part of the show involves an experiment where the crowd is allowed to feel Belle’s outstretched leg. This seems to go well; perhaps something of the peer pressure of not wanting to be the guy that caused the fun to stop. She’s really engaged with her audience and seems to interact on the same level. Soon she is milling among the crowd after the performance and personally thanks me, using my name. I question aloud how she could’ve known my name, and my friends parrot back, perhaps mockingly, “I dunno Orin, how did she know your name?”


Driving a junker car through dusty parts of my hometown. As I drive along, alone, I chuck my signature ping-pong balls with skulls melted into them in the backseat. I’m listening to the radio (AM 1205?) because I don’t have my usual phone transmitter. Only just make a yellow light at a large intersection against a long line of cars going the perpendicular direction — while crossing, I maintain my eyeline on the tall tamarisk trees on the opposite corner.

From memory, I park in the driveway of the address I think I’m headed — 1284 — next to a woman parked in a car there already (it’s a long driveway so there’s room for me to pull right beside her, then back up). If this is the wrong address, I figure she’ll just have a close encounter and nothing will come of it.

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Dream Journal

Motorbikes, and the Bays of Australia

Have to retrieve my motorcycle from a public classroom (or small compound) where my old nemesis — well, former friend/boss — Chicken John is in charge. Red dusty walls, open entryways, stalls where kids learn. I try to be as quick and discreet as possible but we still exchange an unfriendly glance. Outside I have a bit of difficulty getting the kickstand down, and balanced, but leave the motorbike in a good location against a short retaining wall with line of shrubbery.

The compound is on on high ground above distant water. I survey the different bays of Australia, noting how their unique shapes have affected the developing character of their cities. Canter Bay is the one where I now am, the smallest, hanging out on a chunky narrow little peninsula near the water in Melbourne. From here my friends and I can view the ocean and the harbor going around, chatting and having a lovely time together. One of the people with me is a female singer of some fame; perhaps it might’ve even been the great opera diva Nelly Melba.

From out of the foggy ocean horizon I spot a stubby battered-looking orange military transport plane heading north to the compound visited earlier. I declare “oh that’d be our ride, time to get back.” A pallet of two motorcycles arrive delivered by tow truck, but there’s been a miscommunication: my wife can only ride a bicycle. This makes our time to get back quite tight. I offer to haul her on the bike on the trailer but my bike’s folding safety-yellow hitch extender just barely doesn’t reach. Instead, I kindly offer to go get her helmet and protective gear from outside the compound. I really out of view as I speed off to fetch them.

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Dream Journal

Idyllic Small-Town Plum Falls

A custom-designed webpage prototype with four alternate positive opinions for any submitted negative. Creates URLs for its suggestions. Created by a short girl wizard, who’s becoming a bit famous for it. (I’d guess this was D. Baskin, whom I just re-discovered after meeting her at a wizard party in March this year.)


My family’s got a new fridge, so big you swing open the door and have to walk up to the inside. I lean over the front shelf and discover rows of of wheeled container stacks that roll, and beyond that a half-size kitchen. Remember that I have PBR in my crappy tiny dorm-size fridge that I could now bring. While inside, a corner with twin stoves, I knock loose one electrical clip plugged into the counter wall outlet. I then try to figure how to let my dad know.

Outside, on a street underneath the highway & close to the doorway, I watch a long car pull up (against advice). From it emerge a color-coordinated pimp-styled group, orange and gold and white everything. I continue off without gawking, heading the direction of a town my wife texted me from, hoping to surprise her — Plum Falls (a semi-inversion of my hometown, Palm Springs). I pass unexpectedly through an underpopulated corner of San Francisco, near the wharf, somewhere called like “Southeast Neighborhood” I’ve visited in dreams before. I cross the street at an oddly shaped intersection at Winston Way downslope of a curvy hill, jogging across as a car abruptly pulls around the bend.

I reach the quaint rural community of Plum Falls, a tiny 3-or-4 street grid town from out of my past in Oregon and/or Australia, cast in foliage of bright autumnal orange. Reminiscent of many other dream locations. I amble into a garage sale inside the house of an elderly, thoroughly-countrified man. But I wear no pants or underwear, shuffling side-to-side hiding my naked lower half. An excuse I use is that I just woke up from dreaming (what!?). As I’m behind the man’s table, I take my chance and finally wrap a black t-shirt to cover myself. The man has a only a few items laid out sparely, each clearly special and treasured, and the one he’s pitching to me is an old hand-bound bible. It’s beautifully crafted, raw-edge leather, highly textured and deckled paper, embossed gold lettering (some of it in Ge’ez script)… but unfortunately the font gives away that it’s much newer than it might seem, especially with its deep modern-styled embossing. I find a way to turn him down gently, especially considering his high asking price, but I’m immediately distracted by another book sitting on the corner of his table. A stubby thick hardcover with glossy dustjacket, I remember thinking I’d glimpsed someone casually drop it there while we spoke. It’s a book by none other than Chicken John. I’m forced to improvise an explanation for how I know him, going into how we “collaborated” and why we “fell out with each other”. The experience is terrible: alienating, frustrating, embarrassing, and ultimately useless. I unwisely make the open claim that he must’ve put that book there himself, just recently. All rapport is gone now, and the countrified old man has lost interest in me.

The next day I’m idling along near (but not on) one of the few sidewalks in the dusky town. I spot a familiar figure from behind, and approach him from the side. Turning his shoulder, I stare into the face of Chicken John, who looks more ginger-haired and solidly mustached (almost like my 4th-grade teacher Roy Suggett — if you’re out there, Mr. Suggett, you’re still my favorite). I lead Chicken back to the house where I was yesterday and allow him to believe there’s no one there. He unlatches a small window and reaches in, only for the old man from the garage sale to poke his head out saying “Excuse me. Hello?” I gesture meaningfully, demonstrating that what I said yesterday was true, and exposing Chicken for whatever scheming he planned against me.

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Dream Journal

Redheaded Mermaid Romance

Sitting in an audience. Conan O’Brian sits in it too, and insults a celebrity guest and her kid. I’m cringing, but he has commitment to keep going with his bit until it’s funny. Reminds me of Chicken John.

While part of some kind of battle or mission, I’m underwater and spot a mermaid with a full head of wavy red hair, but I don’t approach or bother her. I’m not sure she even notices me.

Later my wife and I are sitting in a large semi-outdoor movie theater. This must be toward the end of the war/conflict that’s been going on — posters and screens begin flashing ‘PROGRESSIVE’, as we’ve unwittingly sat in the ‘far left’ of the auditorium. As she’s pulled from her seat by the Conan/Chicken leader, I tell my wife to play along, as if we’d sat there as part of a dramatization (which is indeed what it is). I pretend I can’t be lifted out of my chair, and the performance moves on with us separated.

The rows of chairs rotate, such that I’m now sitting with a row in front of me. I spot the mermaid (now with legs) walk over and nonchalantly sit in front of me. Her hair is huge and rests in my lap, engulfing my face. I have to wonder how intentional she’s being. As we sit through the show, it becomes more obvious that she’s non-verbally seducing me — I’m smelling her hair, she wraps my hands around her waist, and we snuggle our heads together.

We’re also sharing a few sodas, and my wife asks me to pass her the Dr. Pepper. I manage to reach down and behind me, but I don’t notice it’s a half-size can that’s barely got any left in it. I’m a bit embarrassed by this, but I’m thoroughly occupied — even glamoured, maybe.

The redheaded mermaid and I go off alone into a wide, dimly-lit stairway alcove. I take the chance to ask her now that we’re alone… something important. Did she see me? Does she know I know she’s a mermaid? Was all the seduction on purpose? But not her name. I now realize I never learned her name.

Meanwhile, the war is in it’s last days. Members of our side are roaming the streets here and there, solidifying the narrative of our victory. Neither of us is committed to the cause, but are interested in the pretending to for our own survival. The mermaid and I join a group to go hunt for rats, venturing off a New Orleans-style street into a disused sideyard full of groundskeeping equipment. I see some jumping across stacks of tiles, and I know we’ll probably let them go while continuing the pretense. It’s an odd sort of romance, but these are unusual times.