Dream Journal

Away & Again, Round th’ Healing Isles of Coumbernauld

It was more than 27 hours since I slept last. And bad sleep at that. My wife helpfully let me sleep on our couch, in our living room, in the center of our home. There were many dreams — I seem to remember more than usual given my slow luxurious wakeup in the wee hours of the morning.

A clubhouse place. Like a giant orange mushroom formed of plastic, something very 70s in design, but made as a skill-building project by one of a close group of friends who all live nearby. Their social atmosphere is perfect: intimate, congenial, familiar yet inviting, a shifting and easy mix of people. I think it was like a commune of folks who all shared a single professional background expertise but many different disciplines. Perhaps botany. My friends P & S could be among them.

An end of season or end of semester party with the clan of Ms. Fitz., my high school creative writing teacher. From out of a long metal block container in a semi-covered building, I scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream and share with street kids and refugee Indian women. Quickly  knocking it out of the container though I am, they grab it grabbily.

Sent to recover in the Coumbernauld isles of Scotland. Round little bumps of land, with a characteristic flat divot off the side. That might be the shape of the islands or even a symbol they’ve gained over the years. They’re quite small and clustered together in a narrow channel near the town of Coumbernauld (or Cumbernald). You could row between them all with just a dingy. But the round grass covered domes with comfortable well-made and reassuringly traditional structures give off almost a generic olde British isles vibe. It comforts me through all the dreams. This is the frame dream: it is here in the middle, but rests behind the others.

Encountering a small girl, maybe 5 or 6, at an outdoor bookstore. She’s looking for Euripides, which I thoughtlessly pronounce the proper Greek way. That doesn’t confuse her at all though, and I locate on the rough-hewn shelves the scratched and dirty name from ancient Greek. It’s clear The Bacchae ought to be here, but maybe it’s sold out, or… I try to see if the little kid would like to search more, or is interested in something else, but while we’re talking it seems like the precocious bookworm wanders off elsewhere.

There’s more store to look though. It might even be cited around the hill at the base of the Parthenon. Unfamiliar but sight, but famed. The windows behind the shelves (which are really just frames, as it’s all outside) look out on a mysterious creek. I find the store has a good collection of scented items: incense sticks, candles, etc. They’ve set up a display particularly for Christmas smells, since that’s a very distinct and large category of smells that people might be interested in buying. They’ve used it as an excuse really to set up all their Christmas stuff. Without realizing, everyone seems to have slipping into acting as though it’s almost Christmas, that the year is almost over, and we must spend and stress for the season like always. But I’m confused. I could swear I never had a September, or fall, the year has skipped to the end. I start a protest chant against Christmas, “it’s still June!”

My wife and I are alone in a home that is like a sparsely furnished version of my teenage home. It’s sometimes second home (mostly vacation home) of one of our family. But this is a different time we aren’t husband and wife. Or the same name, appearance. Only are insides are the same. I make sure to grab towels and place them near the bed for afterwards. But the bed sits in full view of the front door. No one but us is home. We don’t know if or when anyone else may come. The afternoon is what it is, and it’s for us. The dream ends here.

Closing note at 12:02 am, 20 hrs later: a full day. I looked and listened and stayed in motion. Flow like water. Flow like a rapper. Today’s tarot: the emperor. So worn out. Soothing myself to sleep by hitting publish at the bottom of this form.

Dream Journal

Hardware Store Naps thru Greek Island Graphs

I’m enlightened and free. I’m also younger than I am currently in the waking world. Because I can, I take a nap in a hardware store. Something to do isn’t it? (I remember sleeping in dreams more often than I used to — perhaps a sign that I’m able to recall more of the story from a complete REM cycle.)

Wandering over to the Christmas discounts section, but I can’t get through because my cart blocks the aisle. I’m wearing my favorite fleece-lined burgundy winter hoodie (which I’ve only had since this October). I pass through a section at the back of the store, near the underground parking lot, which is special for today, similar to a craft fair: many vendors behind tables each sell individual items for model train sets. The sellers (all redheads) are arranged in a square-ish gradient by the shade of their hair, a peculiar effect I don’t think I’ve noticed anywhere before.

For a little while afterwards, I’m separating coffee beans from big chunks of salt mixed in. While my hands are busy I discuss something with my friend Sherilyn (who I’ve not seen in several years). We’re talking as though I had once had a crush on her. I wish I understood better what we were talking about.

My wife mentions hope of one day soon vacationing in Greek islands. I take it upon myself, with a new insight that moment, to plan this trip thoroughly based on transfers between islands — ie, if make it here by 4:00 we go here this day, otherwise stay at this hotel leave 10:00 tomorrow, etc. I can make priorities and possibilities completely that way, almost like graph theory upon reflection

My wife mentions her hope of one day vacationing in the Greek islands — perhaps soon. I take it upon myself, with spur-of-the-moment insight, to thoroughly plan a trip based on timed transfers between islands. For instance, if we made it to a certain island by 4pm we could visit a certain place — but if we missed our ETA, we’d stay at a particular hotel, then leave at 10 the next morning. There were fallbacks and chains of causality laid out quite clearly. Upon reflection, it felt like exploring graph theory to prioritize and plan the trip.

Dream Journal

Dream of a Spanish-style Chez Poulet

Back in my parents old bathroom. Sitting in a long, empty bathtub. I’ve found an old grooming toolkit (self-care) package of mine in the cupboard, birch or cedar-scented, but the important applicator tool is missing. I’m disappointed. A family member says we can order it online but when I scan it reads off as bipolar something-or-other. Lynae, who hasn’t been paying attention, suddenly asks what she can do.

Roaming through a nostalgia-scape, reviewing the past… November 2013 if I recall. It’s like the streets are numbered years. Looking to find (buy) a replacement for the lost part of the toolkit. Death Valley-like place, great view, fresh dry smell, isolated but well-tended semi-open-air store. Guy rides in on cow (or bull). Retracing his entrance, driving or walking along, I see the narrow strip of fenced natural desert he would’ve taken. There’s an expansive view of the valley floor. Drippy watered roads flow into rivulets and, further downhill, that water shoots from the mountainside in a powerful spout.

Going to artsy movie theater, think it’s not the movie I’m there to see but instead Lake Placid. In the opening scene (still looking for a seat and I’m standing near the right wall) people turn themselves into “pets”. Epic girl hero riding a dragon through a videogame-y fantastical castlescape. Boast that they have three Golden Gate Bridges. Screen is too high up, beyond it is an under-screen room, but there the main stage picture is off (while a live show is trying to get ready) and even that room’s secondary screens are relatively small. A Mortal Combat fight is playing. One fighter (the “good guy”) is just a badass tattooed-and-pierced arm, but his superpower is slowing time and taking 8 hours to finally hit the ground — his opponents usually become exhausted.

I leave the theater but am still watching a movie somehow, and I’m sitting next to big girl. I’m leaning on her we’re packed so close. As long as I don’t think that intimacy with a stranger is weird, she doesn’t either. We introduce ourselves; her name is Monica. She’s still on good terms with Chicken, which I discover by reading a handwritten mail over her shoulder. We get to talking, about a 14-year-old on Mission Street who’s just starting to experiment with makeup, and has garish outlined black lips. I like Monica and (though there is some attraction) we’re friends all of a sudden.

I go into Chez Poulet with her. It’s bigger, a converted funeral home that used to be for the many Mexican families here. Saltillo tile and arched stucco ceilings. Big room in the back where a community market is happening. She’s friends with one seller, we talk at a booth with them, making fun of another seller next to them we don’t know as well. That person is selling intricate carved wooden bowls, placed on shiny woven Asian mats. Monica and her Chicken friends decide to smoke pot in a back room, one with a Christmas tree. I start snooping around and discover that many of the signs I’d last left around the place were still in the same spot. At the far end of the right-hand wing, near the next-door radio station, I discover a neglected door and follow a secret passage. I can see through narrow high windows onto the tiled roof. The hallway passage leads to the Christmas tree room and I surprise the gathered friends.

The Chez Poulet has three bedrooms on the top floor, former accommodations for staff. As third person perspective, in the corner one I locate Chicken John. Instead of being angry because it’s me back in his place, time stops and I gaze at his true face. It’s both softer and younger than I noticed before, and also more old and damaged. His left eyebrow is janky, his forehead wrinkled, his hair is gray and sparse. No mustache. It’s like looking at an old kid. I realize the only way to get such a face is by doing art projects with people you choose to care about for years and years. I admire it and see in it the innocence that it really has. I float away, he turns into pissy mustachioed and porkpie-hatted Chicken again, yelling at me to go away, Orin. The other bedroom residents seem to be yelling it, too. This is when I wake up.

Slowly realize that I’m in bed and just had an interesting complex dream that I can remember, but feeling wary of the laptop beside me that’s there for writing it down. Gradual boot-up process. Distraction from writing the dreams details, though they don’t seem to fade… sometimes the remembrance is like that. Wariness of posting publicly. Allowance to let it be cast.


Wishlist 2011

Alright, yes, I know I’m a little late. I know that I’m so late that there’s probably no chance of getting something on this list because there’s not enough time to have it shipped from Siberia. But oh well. I’ll list them anyway, and if I get one thing listed I’ll be surprised and pleased. Just like a real Christmas!


I like small musical instruments, unusual hats (size x-large or large), interesting vinyl records from the 50s and 60s, any sort of animal artwork, toy dinosaurs (and other prehistoric creatures), and cool sunglasses.


Noen av munnharpene mine - some of my jew's harpsKhomus (Jew’s Harp)

Why do I want one of these? They go ‘boing boing boyoyoy-wee-ooo-yoing’. I love tiny fun instruments in general. Awhile ago I got a Schylling brand Jew’s Harp and it didn’t work. At all. Sadface.

One made near the Altai mountains would be awesome. In the words of an ethnologist “the Altai region has perfected this ideophone as far as is humanly possible”. One from anywhere in Siberia would be ok, too. But location isn’t that important; just thought I’d mention.

A real cordless drill

Look at this one. It has a real battery, different speeds, you don’t need a chuck to tighten it, and there’s a neat little flashlight that comes on when you use it. This isn’t pictured, but it also clicks into place when it’s tightened enough.

Just like Pete Goldie’s.

Feather comforter, brown (or other non-white color), size: Queen

We’ve needed a new one for awhile. At this point, our ratty old comforter has more material outside than it does inside. We’ve determined that having bed linens in white is the fastest way to get them stained, which is why non-white.

Just a Microphone Stand

We do a radio show. Sometimes we record from home, but it’s really difficult because we don’t have one of these. Simpler would be better. Not too heavy. Just, you know, a mic stand.

An Orange Public M8 from Public Bicycles

Yeah, let’s be serious, I don’t really expect anyone to get me a $1000 bicycle. But my old bike is a P.O.S. and borrowing my mom’s Huffy is getting old.

I like the Mixte frame of this, and I appreciate the number of gears. I really appreciate that it’s advertised as “suitable for all cities, even for the hills of San Francisco.” And, of course… I love the color.

Not to say that if there were a similar one on sale in a different color that I’d be at all disappointed.

A Pair of Socks with Sharks on them that are Eating my Feet

Thanks Lauren!


Damn You Thingy!

Personification is a dangerous force.

The context isn’t important. But what the hell: I was standing on tiptoes in the hostel’s common room, balanced on one of the the blue wave-print benches I’d grown so used to. Christmas decorations were rising. It was festive, but still a damned hostel. We couldn’t change much about the porthole lights, much as we’d have liked to change them to green and red luminaries of their former yellow selves. Rachel sat at the desk. An English girl of my own age, she no longer stayed at the hostel but still worked there. She was a paradox in pink and black.

Allow me to mention that I love decorating. Wait—that sounds gay. In this sense gay may be taken to mean “something which is overly sentimental or cloying, saccharine; self-indulgently emotional.” It’s the eight-pound heartful of bonbons bought the day before Valentine’s. Even homophiles can agree with this definition on a conditional basis—as we all know, male-female couples are nearly always more gay than gay ones. Anyways, I love decorating… I mean interior design. More on that later. Later later.

So there I was, hanging colored lights over yellow porthole lamps I wished were green porthole lamps and red porthole lamps. And I’ll be a monkey’s gay uncle if the electrical outlet we were trying to use (me an’ Rachel) wasn’t blocked by our silly desk-barrier-thingy.

“Oh, that would be so cool. Oh no… Orin it’s blocked by the thingy!”

“…Damn you, Thingy!!!”