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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

Flowerpot Micturator, Property Lines from Above

I get a sneaking suspicion, a strange feeling to check the backyard. I just catch someone who looks like the landlord’s soon peeing in a potted plant downstairs in the corner. Though I race down, whoever he is has gone into one of the disorganized downstairs storage rooms. Even though I have access to them, I’ve already lost the trail.


From a view high above what might be the English countryside, studying the distribution of settlement. Perceive the compounding of development, long stretches encompassing multiple human lifetimes. Switching to a view the property lines, I notice a spot where the markings are smaller and crowded together, a little lake in the middle distance. The architecture is a bit strange, fitting on to misshapen hexagonal plots, catering to the whims of the wealthy who could build at such location. A modernist concrete barn with few windows cited close to a low point near the lake.

Recently, I was closely examining satellite photos of a sheltered neighborhood in my city whose streets I never knew existed.

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Dream Journal

New Ladders Up to the Roof

Wait in line to climb a new ladder landlord has installed. To watch brand new episode of Voyager on the roof. Finally I spot the new ladder below and to the side from where I expected. A kid lays down near the edge of the roof, getting fit for an eye mask. The mask glue is crunchy around their eyes and they smile. Not everything on the roof is fully done yet. There’s an area of edging of two 45° bends where I try to glue trim, fussing for a long while with a piece that is a little too short and is hard to center.

On the roof I find bag while walking and check it for free stuff. Always check these things, in case there’s something useful.

An unfamiliar homeless guy in front of my wife and I in line. He drops a quarter. Pick it up for him but he doesn’t want to take it back. I set it on the table.

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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.

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Dream Journal

They’re Painting My Home, Badly

Landlord has started painting our apartment building. I discover this sporadically, noticing the sudden changes, and never see his workers. Ugly strange patterns in garish colors, dappled sponges (like in the ’90s). I have to find him and complain, having this lack of control and this poor taste is unlivable. Usually he doesn’t do much work — and usually we don’t even complain about serious stuff. But before I can get him, I peek out into the entrance hallway and it’s transformed by a second coat into a surprisingly acceptable if bland two-tone blue.

A couple teenagers steal a bag of UK Pound coins. They dash haphazardly out into the street and spill it on the pathway of a public park, inviting everyone to grab one.

An advertisement navigates down a scenic but underdeveloped street in San Francisco, a slight slope with scrubby greenbelt on either side. Though the ad substitutes a silly marketing phrase, I eventually imagine looking to a street sign and recognize it as Jones from my time as delivery man. I picture what a single land plot would be, snug perhaps, but the kind of multi-level house that would be built in SF would accommodate several people. And it’s a few long, long rows.

Inspecting my art aquaintence Colin Fahrion’s collection of old banknotes. Ones from Bolivia, Brazil, others. In their pleasant little folios they have a fine canvas texture, yet seem to feel like tragedy, as if they bare the weight of political events long ago that they could’ve changed. Beautiful, cursed money.

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Dream Journal

A Day at our New Home in the Country

A country house just off a main road somewhere small, rural California, where we’ve moved. My wife and I still have a landlord but are overall happy finally settled into the new place.

It’s bright midday and I seal up our younger rats, Pierre & Roscoe, making sure to stretch the three wire cage doors so the locks are tight.

Outside it’s so much quieter than the city. I ponder the neighborhood as I gaze down the dusty street where ours is the corner house. I haven’t fully explored the area yet. Feels like a hot day, summer. I observe a distinction with the city I never thought of before: here, people are spread out enough that you kind of miss them, back in the city it was so packed that you often like people less because there’s already too many of them.

All our old stuff made it there but most things still need arranging. A few items are out on the grassy brown lawn, or under a covered porch with built-in brick planting beds. Our building is old, and has a name on a vertical sign with green letters — something that sounds like a Chinese restaurant. There’s a smaller sign underneath for wayward out-of-towners, clarifying that it’s just an old name, this is a house, and they can find an actual restaurant a couple lanes down.

Back inside, I see Roscoe is out of his cage. I’m sure I locked it securely, and sure enough I see he’s managed to bend several wire metal bars at the side of the cage! I tell my wife and we’re not sure what to do. There’s a square patch of grass on the lawn where the cage would fit, and be blocked off securely, but the ratties might easily get overheated in the sun.

Someone reveals something about my parents I didn’t know (this part is confusing in retrospect as it’s a persona shift, perspective remains continuous, but the backstory isn’t from my l life). When I was first adopted, my parents kept me in this very house. They were inept, and couldn’t keep things up, to the point where they couldn’t keep me either. They only got me back much later, though I was too young to remember any of this.

Inside a few of us (guests and I) are playing around, searching through storage areas in the house. We’re also in part of a lobby for some unnamed organization, a nexus accessible from many locations. There’s a dried mud sculpture, arched and abstract, looking like the letter Π hunkering in the near distance. Old refrigerators containing long-term food stocks hold many curious root vegetables. Some are still viable, and I take one from the drawer with a 3-foot long taproot and swallow it down to the base as a trick.

Danny Glover is there among us, and soon after I’m beside him at a stone sink (I can think of no connection I have with Danny Glover, his presence is puzzling upon consideration). When I pull the long root out of my throat, the thin length ending in a tangled clump, I realize that it could still be planted in the dirt outside. Whether it’s the worse for wear being in contact with my stomach acid for an extended time, I simply won’t know until I bury it in a garden bed.

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Dream Journal

A Nice Neighborhood Stroll, Pretty Femboy Look , & Our Newer Place

Walking back from Mission Street, the main street in my neighborhood, I spot the panel of a lone phone booth that might still work. I idly start wondering about how many of those used to be around — how I’ve witnessed the changeover during the relatively time I’ve lived in San Francisco — how not long ago, wherever I was on the street, I’d have a mental map and know exactly where the nearest payphone would be. I also idly wonder how much it would cost to get one installed as a novelty, say in in a rich person’s backyard.

On the way back to my apartment I take a rest, laying down in the mouth of a slide, gazing at the sky while my waist is through the middle of part of a clothes hamper. I ponder the bemusing question of what time of year it’s best to arrive in Antarctica: the 6 months leading out of winter, or the 6 months leading into it? I have a playful argument with someone unseen about the sacrifices I’ve made going to Antarctica when I did (worth noting: I haven’t actually been to Antarctica).

I get up from my rest, floating above the trashed out grass-overgrown parking space, noticing as a car pulls in that I forgot part of the plastic hamper which I wear around my head. I float down to nab it quickly as the rumbling car takes the space. I’m dressed today in an aesthetically-pleasing purple velour lapel shirt, worn underneath a pair of white overalls shorts. I look glamorous. I recognize that with my pretty long hair this is what someone would probably call a “femboy” look. Meanwhile I’m already late for an exercise class I occasionally take at 2:00 pm to the north near Potrero Mall. I’m not worried about being late, even though at this point I either arrive in the middle of class or miss the whole thing. I remember that the hamper hat (that I just picked up from the ground) has in its brim an empty glass bottle; I decide to store it on the balcony of my apartment. Floating up to the landing, it’s been recently replaced with a metal grating and is still packed with disorganized chairs (a short bamboo one, three rocking chairs of two different types), etc. Realizing I can organize it slightly differently, I pull a chair or two into the sideyard just beyond. The sideyard is narrow, with a fence of prickly pear cactus, exercise equipment which came with the place, and a view of the Latino neighbor’s wide lawn just beyond (despite being on the third floor). This is the second place owned by our landlord where my wife and I have lived, having made the decision to move out of the Fartpartment a few years ago — while making a deal that we still get to visit the old place now and then. But the reality is that this new place is much harder to get nice, there hasn’t been an organic long-time progression of acquiring stuff and finding a place for it. This place has a backyard, it’s a better layout, but it’s been months or even years and it still feels like we’re moving in. It’d be nice to visit the old place again soon.

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Dream Journal

Hitting it Off with Art Girl, bit of a Pokémon

Twilight in a round mid-sized stone cathedral, an art show of one girl’s work is displayed in every direction at eye-level height. I find it enthralling, wanting to know more.

Back in my own building, the grubby ground floor apartment of the girl includes a living room half open to the outside, cute little plants on the exposed basement walls. Her sideboards in the disused interior still have the landlord’s old stuff such as 80s radio scattered about. Next door (in apartment #306?) where the landlord’s family has just moved in recently, it’s a lot less grubby than expected, like an 80s nightclub in a mall — colored plexiglass panels, plush diner booths, knocked out walls — a multi-level living space big enough for the family not to have to see each other.

My wife introduces me to the girl who made the art, repeating her name like a Pokémon. We really hit it off; before I know it I’ve been pimped out and the girl is making out with me.


A twisty beige ground-floor office in the process of being decommissioned. As a stop-gap measure we often lock things in place so they don’t move — for example, a log in the hallway, or a heavy military-style desk made of enameled metal (like something I’d see on old Fort Ord during college). We’re setting little plants out on the exposed retaining walls outside, going back and forth down the unlit hallways even as someone pulls up in a red sports car outside, looking for someone I don’t know.


In a rolling almost artificial landscape, unfinished-looking, grid-like. Myself and a few associates are trying to get to a power plant I now own. In our way is a locked gate and barbed wire-topped wall abutting a rocky outcrop of a hill. Trading property here is like trading cards, and I only recently acquired the power plant (sight unseen) from a Mr. Burns-type character.

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Dream Journal

Scorpion Fright

Landlord showing apartment next door to one little black kid, representing his family. Landlord elected not to finish the bathroom in the middle, which is huge, and has at least two working toilets for every person who could live there. One in particular sits in the middle of the room near the courtyard window and has had it’s stall walls removed. You could use it as a chair now.


At beginning of night, I’m watching a video while sitting back straight upright in a chair. The video is of two rust-colored puppies playing amongst matching red rocks, while it rains. Val lies on couch. I’m half-lucid and think I’m actually asleep on the living room couch (I’m in bed).

I get up to go to the kitchen. At the bottom corner of the kitchen table a tiny cute spider emerges — followed by a tiny scorpion. As soon as I notice it, thinking I should warn others, it incredibly quickly scrambles across the floor, up my body, and to the left side of my neck.

I wake up, my heart pounding, and remember to set my sleep tracker.

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Dream Journal

Hovering Presence and Menacing Cow

Skin writing is used as apunishment on someone suspected of human trafficking, marking them for later.

A dog-sized cow is acting menacingly at the property line of my childhood home, just at the edge of the neighbor’s lawn. I walk all the way down the street trying to read its dog tag, with no real plan how to make it go away.

Discover I’ve moved in together in the same ground floor apartment as some people I know in real life, but mainly from Twitter — KC Crowell, Feral, all Oakland peeps. I myself am an observer, but unusually, one with an identity — a hovering presence dwelling mostly in the rafters, where a glowing horizontal level divides my space from the everyday living space. The easily discerned border of the ceiling has curved buttresses, marking its construction in the early 1900s. On one section of old wood paneling, I spot a poster advertising old-timey glassware, lab glass perhaps. My roommates begin reinstalling some authentic hand-blown stained glass fixtures, decorative colored filigrees that have been in storage for almost a century. The landlord likes the residents so much he was convinced to let them haul it out from storage. The square ends of the curvy abstract forms fit perfectly flush against the buttresses.