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Dream Journal

Australia is My Backyard

Where I live, we have a large and expansive backyard. It’s shaped like Australia, split into sections much like the various states, with the back of the house where the Great Australian Bight would be. But also: the backyard is Australia. It has the same features, because it’s the same place — if perhaps not in an explainable way.

A good example is when my family (including my dad and sister) visit. The travel time and distance is great so it’s very kind of them to come all this way. As we’re walking along and I’m showing them around, we all make the same mistake. We get east and west backwards, and soon figure out that’s because the midday sun is actually in the north here, not the south — this is the southern hemisphere after all.

There are portions of the dream where I replay and recall things I already know. The feeling is consistently nostalgic, comfortable, only occasionally bittersweet. I’m fondly reflecting, replaying things I already know. Australia — the island continent — formed 100s of millions of years ago from the agglomeration of several ancient island groups drifting together. They each have their own vibe and color (the memory here almost veering into another dream remembered from long back, navigating the isolated Pacific isles to the north, as if I’m on a catamaran on the colored surface of an old paper map). You can just barely perceive the seams where the land was sintered together. Those sections roughly correspond to the states, in fact.

One large area we have is a mud pond in the east, around where Queensland and New South Wales might be. It’s like a big swimming pool, which I keep accessible for my neighbors. Incidentally, that’s one thing I really like about living here, is that I can keep the space an asset for the whole neighborhood. I’m crossing the mud pond to say hello to some folks on the far side (Great Barrier Reef) when I spot a stuck turtle. I lift it over to the nearest edge and leave it there to recover, but it seems it didn’t need to be rescued. It scrambles away and dives back into the mud. I just live here; I don’t know everything.

Meanwhile I still am renting. I live on the ground floor, and the previously unused space now sometimes has the landlord’s relatives. Could be the above floor, could be an attached building behind ours. They’re having a gathering so it’s a curious time to explore. It’s not exactly sneaking around, but I just blend into their party guests. No one interacts with me. By happenstance, I find my wife’s coffee cup forgotten at a dark corner of their smooth granite bar. She does this sometimes. I know I’ll be reminding my wife to try not to leave it places like that; there’s little chance we would’ve found it otherwise.

The dream is capped off when we throw a crafting party one nice sunny weekend. There are stations all over the large backyard for making arts and crafts, our community socializing together. I squat on the flat, dry Northern Territory assembling a thematic decorative hanging with native materials like wood, arranging it into a naturalistic design that reminds me of some aboriginal styles.

There’s a memory that’s sparked, from when we first moved in more than a decade ago. When we moved in, the landlord (same landlord as in waking life, actually) asked me to break down the former tenant’s greenhouse on the western side of the backyard. Was just some corrugated green plastic balanced on cheap wooden pillars, nothing that ought to be lamented. But it was so much space for plants, plants we would’ve loved. Western Australia is a big and wild place. Someone worked to make that space useful and we didn’t even consider that we might’ve used it too. I was in my early 20s and had more energy than forethought. I remember having a nice day working outside, chopping down the supports posts.

There was something else that I hadn’t thought about at all till now, the neighborhood hardware store that the old tenants hosted. Stacks of tires, bins of tools and equipment that you could pop in and borrow. I don’t even know what happened to it, but I know at some point people stopped visiting for it. And there was this badger that visited every week. Big flat docile waddling creature named Mitch. We never set food out and I guess at some point he stopped visiting too.

So there’s this lament, as I realize the my artwork is becoming what I’ll call finished. Seeing how we’ve lost these nice things in the past because we didn’t even know they were things we were losing. But the artwork is done, and it’s actually quite nice.
(what would be Western Australia)

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Dream Journal

My Childhood Home is Ours Again, but Changed

My family has bought back my childhood home. I’m puzzled to discover that several small things that I left behind are still in place. For the entire time they lived here, the former owners took care of my plant wall (which is actually the back window of my current home). Everything has been kept in place, and the plants are still healthy. It’s been 16 years!

Other things are sadly missing. Much of the backyard has been cleared down because of the sale. There’s no sign of the cactus garden, the row of agaves by the side-yard, anything near the sheltered window of my teenage bedroom. All over, there’s a lingering tinge of The Other, those unseen people who lived here for years. The property feels hollowed-out, barren, despite all the uncannily familiar landscaping and fences and everything else.

I run along the top edge of the back brick wall as fast as I can. The wall isn’t as narrow as it felt when I was a kid — there’s an odd mixture of delight and melancholy, as I consider how I never thought I’d be able to do this again. How I can do it as many times as I want now.

Near the furthest corner of the wall I survey the horizon of the desert valley. In the distance there’s an area I can clearly make out a strange red cloud. I indicate it to one of my companions, wondering if it’s a concern — I’m told it’s just a high amount of large particulates, suspended dust from desert winds.

As I’m going through inspecting rooms I come to the garage. I’m sure it only used to hold three cars, but the darkened empty space appears to have at least four spaces. Little bits of random ephemera can be found across seemingly every surface; I wonder what else changed. Near the water heater I find a funnel attached to a tube. It’s attached to a small device making a high-pitched noise — I guess it must be for controlling roaches. (I’ve never lived in a place that had roaches, that I know of.)

Outside, the air is clear and oppressive. Although I grew up around here, I sense that I’ll need a period of adjustment where I can get used to these environs again. Everything has changed and grown different than what it was, but I still remember how it used to be. Myself, too — my adult senses perceive the world differently than I once did. I know I have to get to work soon. At high noon, I feel like an alien on a strange planet.

An isolated snippet, perhaps from a separate dream: soft plush shelving at the base of a stairway in a little room at the bottom of the stairwell. In it are kept pet rodents, or perhaps more likely material for their keeping. All stacked within. Very reminiscent of a weird meme I saw recently, of plush shelving.

Departing much later, I locate a three-piece visor — curved plastic semi-circles joined together at the temples. It takes some adjusting but I figure out how to wear it below my chin and above the crown of my head, with a light-up box close over my eyes. This obscures them like some cyborg ninja from a video game, one I can’t place correctly.

A mysterious final sentence, left over from notes and not reviewed in time to make sense of it: “Discovering receipt inside book which proves it was the same guy.”

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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

New House, Bathrooms, Basement, Banana

At night in new unfamiliar family home, still in my neighborhood the mission. With my mom, I spot what looks like a stunt plane outside the window, against the houses and hills of the neighborhood, but it’s too difficult to see in the nighttime. I resolve to check tomorrow.

Eating a banana in the morning as I walk around. Punk rock aspect. As I was instructed earlier, things are solved by eating this banana. I inquire about the airplane.

Crossing freeway at pedestrian street and inspecting garishly plain grass field. Considering that it may be useful to host a blindman’s bluff type game for Sam Francisco art people.

New multi-level house after moving in with several family members. I’m the bathroom, I stare at the wall with the confusing tub, easily mistaken for a near identical bathroom on other level with no tub. I sigh; there’s so much work needed to make it nice and feel like ours. So much decorating especially. I know I’ll be doing it frequently and it’ll get done, it’s in my nature, there are just… so many blank walls.

Living in a house next door to my friend Oz. I walk up the stoop outside the mirror-layout house and check out the basement rooms downstairs. I find a resident, dumpy hat and ruffled hair, one of those Bay Area dudes who looks like he’s used to co-living situations. I ask him if he’s seen my friend Meredith — the kind of person I’d expect to live here. He knows her but she’s not in right now. I didn’t even need to find her, I needed an excuse to be in his house.

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Dream Journal

Dad’s Converted Drawbridge Cottage

I possess a gigantic condom as big as an arm, though it’s almost completely dried out. While trying to demonstrate to my little brother how to use it, the ring at the base chips off immediately. It’d be a waste of a unique object to simply throw it away… but this is difficult. It’s so large it’s useless for anything but a demonstration anyway.


A cottage my dad worked on when he was young, in his twenties. Situated at the left edge of a canal gate, it’s a former industrial drawbridge operator’s cabin, narrow as as a subway line, somewhere in Los Angeles near a museum. Dad was a “2sq/fter”: someone who could take two square feet of soil from their home (in this case Illinois, though my Dad is actually from LA) and transform all the ground on their farm with it. Dad didn’t do that though, he’s just taken care of the native soil and built a charming and solid little shack just above the water level.

I kick off 4 of the 6 teammates on my canoe. The only ones left are one Finnish guy (looks like Willem Dafoe plus angry/sad Moe from the Simpsons) plus my dad. A theme song plays while we watch a betrayal.

Replacing the stove in my house after finding a more matching 1970s stove. The back control panel slides off separately, with my normal spice rack on top of it. I set up a hanging fluorescent click light at the back, near the vent (like the one above my kitchen table in waking life).

I discover RobertBLalonde.com, a web domain of my grandfather’s name, still registered by my dad. I make a phone call to the associated number but hang up when someone answers who’s obviously waking up from sleep.

A character named Jean Auern (an alias of Jean Grey from Marvel) has been alive for 14 billion years. She’s been involved in US politics for 300 million, non-linearly. I learn in depth of these events while traveling through a box of charcoal.

The person I called when investigating RobertBLalonde.com calls back. Jean confesses the truth of shutting down his home, punishing him. She then restores power to the narrow tube apartment, the same one my dad built, just like flipping a switch. I watch as he throws a few stray items out of the way in the narrow kitchen, before a train comes through at a T junction near the end. So he didn’t have to move the things out of the way — he’s been here since before the trains stopped running, before the place’s powers were cut off. So whose was it before him?

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Dream Journal

Art Burned into the Wall

In a hallway of a home I share, someone has left a piece of art pinned to the wall with a burning stick of incense. Left unattended, the art’s image has been burned into the wall paint. It has the feel of a traditional East Asian woodcut, the impression of elegant architecture clinging to a foggy mountainside. I’m annoyed that I seem to be the only one responsible enough to avoid this kind of damage, annoyed that I’ll have to clean it up to get our security deposit back. Yet it’s a unique print, a unique story, and the image can remain as something contemplative until we do move out. Who knows when that might be…


I awake in the night and realize I’ve just had some dream with Dara. Though not remembered, I’m pleased to realize it — their mere presence being a good sign.

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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

Spork the Cat has Kittens in a Traveling Home

My Dad sits under tree. We sit together under a tree and watch a film projected on a portable screen, sharing in sadness.

Spork the cat (normally my male rat, mind you) has had kittens. She’s young and this is her first litter, and in a weird space. It’s shared with a number of people (all of whom I know in waking life), a large travelling quarantine structure. Perhaps it’s a bit like a hostel, but of people who all know each other. The gate is tall double doors like a church door, in the far corner of an open high-ceiling room, with sloping edges near the walls in a flattened “V”. The next room is an light airy bunk bed sleeping/lounging area, billowy drapes and a grid of rafters. I find a conch shell similar to my own under the blankets of an middle-aged Asian acquaintance, Dav. It has a narrower stem/tip and blows easier and louder. Childhood friend Robby T. is also in this dream, chatting lazily from his bunk with me during sunny midday.

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Dream Journal

Tree Cottage in Washington State

A group of about 6 girls charge into the boy’s locker room, in towels, to officially request better treatment from a coach/official. Unexpectedly, they take the intrusion seriously and treat it the same as if boys had charged into the boys locker room, and have the police arrest them. They sit in a row in jail looking dejected and shocked.


Two sisters, one on a motorbike. Experience of sucking one’s own penis, but from the perspective of slutty sister. Feels like a baton or walking stick.


Watching what seems like a pricey daycare service van with a male driver yell at a few of the toddlers. I raise my eyebrows trying not to show my disapproval — it’s hard enough being male in childcare, I think, and the woman working with him looks like just as much a pill. I use a back door through the messy garage.

Tree in a grassy fenced backyard somewhere in sparsely-populated rural Washington state. I consider it for the site of a cottage-sized tiny home. But if instead I put it in the chain-link fenced lot next door, it looks like it would fit snugly, even have a backyard of its own.

There’s a zombie outbreak. Only one survivor, the smartest man there (someone who appears as the Deep Space 9 character of Chief O’Brien). The town has to be abandoned and they reboot the series.