Dream Journal

Surviving Zombie Apocalypse / Revisiting Grandma’s House

I’m proudly surviving the zombie apocalypse. I can zap around, I’m vigilant and quick. These zombies aren’t mindless but seem to hunt together as if controlled by an overlord somewhere. Despite my cocksure attitude I’m keenly aware of being constantly in danger. The world is changed and though I’m getting on, I know this isn’t what it should be. There’s a moment where I (or someone controlling the teleporter) accidentally teleport into a classic officer’s club/New Orleans style place called the G.A.&G — which happens now to be a zombie headquarters.

Staying up the night before on a writing spree of five stories, completing an assignment from 8th grade. Could be the same year; could be decades later. I’ve cobbled together two complete stories so far, maybe three. I consider for a moment how the teacher should’ve made the deadlines spaced out. But something clicks and I realize it’s my teacher from 9th grade, while the classroom is from sixth. An idea begins to form of why it was silly to re-do the assignment. Could be the beginnings of lucidity.

I’ve collected my pet rats together in a box. These are a new set of hybrids made from recombined pieces of earlier pets (giving reality to a metaphor I’ve been using lately for when all our older rats died off last year). I carry their box as far as inside a massive building and against a partially destroyed wall of the zombie-haunted zone. The gesture is carefree, but I’m also tired. My wife points out that they can now get loose, and there are many other rats roaming here. This is exactly the idea though — they have their little gang group, a home base in the form of the box, they won’t have a better chance than this. They need to survive in the world just like us.

In the basement bowels of this apocalyptic interior I find myself nostalgically watching a TV program from the 80s. I’m lounging in a disguise. Someone next to me is apparently in a new bodysuit. I say “you must be Chris then” assuming it’s my brother. I never am sure, though.

Revisiting the neighborhood of my maternal grandma’s house. It used to be exactly 10 minutes drive from my home when I was small, maybe 4 years old. I gradually piece together how it was on Fritz street, itself a branch off Glenn street where we lived in Santa Rosa (note: we did live there but these places aren’t real). It’s been redeveloped, that much I knew — but I never guessed how I wouldn’t even recognize it. It was once an overgrown single lane like you might find in the English countryside. Due to its convenience just off transit routes now it’s a thoroughly chopped up suburban neighborhood. There’s a poorly selling development of built-out treehouses. My Nana’s house back then was a compact little warm wooden space, like the inside of a boat. It was perched on the ridge of a hill overlooking the foggy pine forests of a wide valley beyond. Even that shows scattered signs of human colonization now.

I recall the flooded channel between two ridges as I saw it as a child in the 1980s. Smoking men used to paddle across in dinghies. I witness one instance where a wheelchair was transported off the back of the boat, dragging in the water, using its electric motor as an improvised outboard. I think then, certainly not all the regulatory changes since my youth haven’t been improvements.

Dream Journal

Kokomo River, Red Circle Island

“Kokomo Slow” is both a lifestyle as well as a decent descriptor of the Kokomo River somewhere down in Florida. After kayaking part of it, we try to follow our granny guide’s boat upriver. But it’s too swift (comically so, almost a waterfall) which is exactly what I predicated as soon as I saw it. The old lady’s nice, just a bit of a hippie who hasn’t faced how much nature has changed in her lifetime.

A YouTuber I’m watching has camped out in a spot marked by a red circle, a concrete slab at the end of a row of buildings near New Orleans. I can find the place on Google Maps’ Street View (still with the conspicuous red circle) and show several friends — especially my brother Chris who’s wearing VR goggles. On the map I can tell that he’s on an island, though it used to be something you could walk to. So much of the swampland on the map has moved around quickly; big swathes of it to the south are underwater.

I consider if I should play Chris a song by the rapper Mike Ladd as it might show him a bit of his future.

Dream Journal

Treehouse Neighborhood, Grandma’s Backyard

Exploring a classy in a spread-out plot of cleared forest. Rounding a corner, out the window I see identical treehouses oriented in a ring. Turns out this is an expensive neighborhood developed by a couple I know. My enchantment is instantly dulled. They named their development the vaguely evocative “Crested Walnut” and haven’t even had much luck with people interested. Makes it less special and all.

In the backyard of my grandmother-in-law I take letters nailed into backyard fence. They moved to that house in the sixties and the notes have never been cleaned up or looked through. Grams mentions that they weren’t the first buyers; another owner lived here before them. While hollering at folks further in the yard there’s an odd moment where I notice the color of the walls. They aren’t all a single color as I remembered, but painted wild strokes of faded blue and orange, crosshatched in a surprisingly sophisticated artistic gradient.

Next door, a compact Victorian house is sometimes covered in a tarp, hiding its secrets. On TV, two celebrities (re)enact a skit they improvised. The host is rich and famous, well-regarded like Oprah. I’m suspicious of their motives, but everything seems innocuous.

Dream Journal

Hot Vampire, Bedroom Rain, Hardware Construction

A vampire demonstrates some of his heating powers. First round isn’t too hot, then he has his girlfriend back up. Guess he’s a Twilight-kinda vampire, having someone called a girlfriend and all. The next time he glows bright red. This is a family entertainment show, and I remember thinking how rare it is to see people just comfortably naked (on TV). Someone brings up the idea of using the ultra-cool morgue refrigerator to keep them chill, but aren’t sure if it would kill them.

I spot my 92 year old Grandma walking away down a grassy sidewalk. I try to say goodbye to her as she leaves a gathering. Though I’m myself, fully grown, I still feel like an infant, like it’s still the 1980s, like my relationship to her has never changed.

In the smaller of my childhood bedrooms (second night in a row, here). I’m letting rain run down the walls, dripping from the white “cottage cheese” ceiling, flooding the hardwood floor in an inch of water. My original bedroom had neither that ceiling nor that floor. I remember to peek under the bed and inspect the spot where floorboards are cracked and missing. I reflect that I’m 36 and still live with my parents, gazing at my mannish arm hair. While I don’t precisely feel like a loser, I also don’t feel like someone to be envied.

There’s a hardware store under construction across the street from my home. It’s replacing a leaky warehouse where the second floor temporarily housed my favorite art store, SCRAP. Climbing down from peering over the wall, I notice that an AirBnB there has placed a painted post outside, horizontal rings of dull green and red. It’s a crude wayfinder for helping guests, and I’m sure unlawful, but the longer I look the more I admire it — and the matching ring-shaped gate made similarly. Crude, yet beautiful.

Dream Journal

Grandma Australian PM tours Medieval Monument Valley

Slept at a couple friends’ home in Oxnard, CA

In a familiar communal velvet plush gathering space, chairs and windows in an oval, I talk with Patrick who is a week out from graduating high school, very bright and proud. The building is long, with conveyor belts in the workshop/basement open to the air, reminiscent of the Acme Bread Co. Unfortunately an old sorceress grandma has recently put herself in charge. I’ve no recollection of why she was evil, but my co-conspirators and I concoct a plan to overthrow and kill her. I shapeshift and sneak over the back fence. My disguise seems to fail on the way down, and I land naked in a puddle. Luckily the enchantment only gives me the illusion of failure, and to others I appear as a football (the most similar object that would make sense coming over a fence and landing in a puddle). I’m thrown by a conspirator to nearby the witch/sorceress/grandma and successfully trap her face in a plastic bag.

My wife’s late grandfather, Pa, sitting peacefully on a chair in the middle of his old living room. Grams sits on his lap, both gazing at something I can’t see. They’re having a fond conversation, and although I watch their lips move, I hear nothing.

Malaysian news crew leaves a 200 ft. folding ladder in our student news studio. Of course, this is a great temptation for my lads and I. Later, on my way somewhere else, I climb a similar fire escape ladder. A bubbly, distressed blonde runs up and hugs me, surprisingly warm, then effusively apologizes for mistaking me for her close friend who regularly climbs that fire escape.

On the city’s jagged, street-level highway there’s a single minivan going the wrong way, but the cars manage to drive around it as though it were an extremely temporary one-way lane. Later the same thing happens while I’m riding a scooter on a one-way street, an entire line of cars that were diverted, with no notice from our direction.

Australian PM has a special rule, 612, where she can reject things based on being a grandmother. A door displaying the news is marked 612. Sitting around a table, Lynae gets up and a made-up but world-weary Asian girl sits in her chair. Despite the possible tension from bringing up politics, I solicit opinions by sharing the analogy of an internet response code, ‘4xx – machine on fire’. The Aussies seem properly amused. A newsstand reports “PM unhurt by nip dip”, and I learn this refers to the particulars of temporarily banning high-priced smart devices. Australia, after all, is the country exporting the raw materials to make them. Unbeknownst, the PM was sitting at the next table over, appreciates my gab, and takes me on a local tour.

The semi-arid town seems generic — there’s a central roundabout, off to the left is the industry, upslope to the right are short flat houses with fenced-in yards. In the distance is a chunky green promontory, much like Monument Valley USA. As we drive closer I see stunning medieval-imitation towers, ramparts, and fortifications. I can’t even fathom such artistic means, or their intent. This is what the area is famous for. I’m so awed by the beauty I begin to doubt its realness, even telling the PM it looks like a Myst game. This only exacerbates it’s majestic quality. Against the golden dusk light, the elegant stone buttresses on the far side of the hill spout waterfalls, the leafless trees clutching spherical mud-daub treehouses. Yet nothing degrades into unreality, it simply remains repentantly beautiful.

Dream Journal

Vixen Hunting, Submarine Escape

Out in a wintry, grey, spread-out urban environment. Spot three vixens (female foxes) of gigantic size, perhaps 6 feet tall. My companion — a woman who’s not quite my partner, but certainly a good friend — takes aim with her hunting rifle and makes a clean shot at the lead fox. It’s then I realize the other two are a detailed mural, trompe l’oeil. Writing this now, I realize it could’ve been painted there as a decoy for exactly this purpose.

Afterwards, my wife’s grandmother shows up and folds herself neatly into a bag for transport.

Aboard a submarine, the captain from Seaquest (Nathan Bridger) and the young tech guy (Lucas Wolenczak) are together in a gym shower having sex. Within the dream I find this surprisingly boring, though I’m not sure who/what my dream persona is. A bit later the submarine is evading capture through rough water and can be seen darting in between the peaks of two waves. This image is particularly memorable as, in a later dream inside a classroom with Mickey and Robby T., I actually take care to draw it in pen.