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Dream Journal

Last Zipline with Mom

I have a saved memory with my late Mom that I didn’t know I had, that I’ve never seen. It’s comparable to a voicemail one has never reviewed. It’s a zipline experience (something I’ve never done), over an old gold mining area with hand-hewn wooden posts, and pines; looks something like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It’s long, with the cable suspended across several pillars, big circular pulleys, looping back in places. There are tasks to complete sometimes. It plays through and at the end my mom disappears — the file auto-deletes and that was the only time I’ll get to see it.

I have a moderately intense good cathartic cry then wake up. It’s still early. Usually I have a dilemma at this point, since this seemed like a unique and important dream, yet writing it down will probably wake me up for the day. But when asking myself if I would forget it completely should I fall back to sleep, the answer was… no, no I won’t. And so I didn’t.


I’m one of a privileged few able to attend a new archeological attraction in Afghanistan. The ground is dusty and broken out of shape. There’s a special feeling crisping the air, a feeling like this could be the same as it was thousands of years ago when the artifacts were buried.

While in Arizona for unrelated reasons, I rediscover a railroad museum I visited as a kid. I use the opportunity to pull around the narrow side road and into their back parking lot, which has quite a view. It’s on a gentle clear slope overlooking a valley. The lot itself is a rounded square which I have repeated difficulty pulling into with my big class field trip van. The museum is having an outdoor thrift sale day. Alone among the liminal grassy area of the museum’s backside I peruse stacks of colorful boxes on shelves. Occasionally I find one worthy of carrying around like a talisman, maybe to buy. There’s one odd steam engine which I locate in two pieces separately, clicking into place the oversized cabin. I’m rewarded for this with much interest from museum staff and other shoppers. Yet I find myself most comfortable around the shallow pond, with the distant view. I’m there when it begins to snow.

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Dream Journal

Witch’s Hidden Jungle Bar in the Rock

Testing bulbs in a possibly broken glass double lamp. Appears that one side works, I try in the other side a more modern bulky electronic bulb, which has the problem of staying lit after unscrewed.

Pull what appears to be a minidisc MDLP deck from a garbage bin, in the center of a roundabout room. I ask my mom, who likely threw it away there, if I can keep it and if she kept minidiscs. She responds saying she doesn’t know why I want it, ejecting a thin bluish CD that’s apparently called MDLP. Next to it, I still see the little rectangular minidisc slot, and a number counter.

Walking along a deserted upper floor hallway of a long mall, a light rain in the pre-dawn hour (a highly sensory experience, near lucid). Days are much longer here and soon we can expect 20 hours of sunlight.

I reach the end of the corridor and a set of papered double doors, behind which is an Adobe-branded shop. There’s cutesy displays of different stores nearby and well-trained staff behind desks answering questions. I inquire about a friend’s craft store and eventually locate it myself, listed on a handmade sign in an upturned suitcase decorated with paper flowers. The attendant continues to try to help me so I must mime finding it again.

Sometime later I’m with my wife, driving a car via orange rope pulleys from the back seat. Might even have a tape deck playing. Eventually I’m convinced to take a more active “safe” position and climb into the front, and find that the rope wrapped steering wheel is much stiffer than expected. The car, like a stripped-down Volkswagen bug, is cruising atop a thin clearing of ridge in a scenic rocky jungle landscape below along all sides. In our path, we navigate through a large hole in a rock outcrop with a sophisticated obstacle: a giant rotating stone gear that lifts the car in its teeth. At its greatest height the car gets stuck; we have to scrabble down the granite rockface.

Our car essentially lost, we descend to the base of the outcrop. Another person now seems with us (perhaps the Olson twins little brother?). Improvising what we have, we project a homemade video onto the rock face, craning our heads upward to see through the foliage as best we can. It’s footage made from elements of the jungle around us, but altered/crafted by a human perspective — one striking image is of green parrots flapping through the canopy, parrots cleverly remade of lush green leaves. Though we’re still stranded, it’s nice to have created some cool art, something recognizably purposeful. We want to attract the right rescuers. I hope it’s bright enough in the tropical daylight, spread thin as it is across the huge formation of stone.

We’re not waiting long before I notice an unusual feature nearby our display. There’s a thin ledge high up the face with a partially-hidden door. We deduce this must be a famously remote establishment, retro-country themed, run by semi-legendary singer/witch Marni Knox (no relation to Marnie Noxon of Buffy, more like Stevie Knicks of Fleetwood Mac). This is an exciting opportunity and we enter the door post-haste.

Inside it’s dim and empty, feels like it could be at least 100 years old. Victorian woodwork has undergone numerous repairs and coats of paint. It feels cozy, rustic, special, yet uninhabited. I immediately want to explore. Despite protestations from my wife (and Reecy, who came in with us somehow) I climb through a small low food order window in the front foyer into the cramped but orderly kitchen. It’s an oddly-shaped room, everything carefully stowed away for what I assume is the off-season. I quickly find a stairway in the back, leading down to the cook’s bathroom, more levels for their living quarters, storage for holiday decorations (everything in its place)… I even look through a wall-sized set of white drawers in the bathroom, like something from a ship, and find supplies inside parceled out in neat little rows. From somewhere above I hear a companion yell something along the lines “that’s not how you thought Guinan would live?!” I leave everything as it was and continue down, the stairway built at odd angles to accommodate the narrow tower-like arrangement of rooms. Startled, in one corner I come across a pair of cardboard cutouts made to look like workmen or painters against a glass-brick wall, silhouetted with diffuse light and plants growing on the other side. I realize this is exactly the intended effect, except for curious intruders on the outside of the building.

Finally I come to the bottom of the stairs. They end in an unsupported diagonal span leading into an open courtyard behind Marni Knox’s inn, so far I can’t see the back. I spot my wife before she spots me, having found her own way down to the back garden. I lay low in the disused space behind the stairs, hoping to evade her so she’ll explore the tower herself (much more novel than having me share my findings, perhaps deciding not to even look).

I succeed, smiling wryly after I see her go upstairs. I only get a few steps into a plot of the garden, though, before a witch materializes close behind me. She regards me with a smirk, apparently having observed my sneaking about. She makes a brief pronouncement, phrased ironically as a question, to the effect of “now would you like to show me your true form perhaps?” My body vibrates and shakes off what looks like a layer of snow, revealing — or was it sloughing off perhaps? — the form of a long-haired dark housecat. While not as confusing in the dream, either way it’s obvious that the jig is up. I’ll be going along with whatever the witch wants. I realize on waking she must be none other than the proprietor, Marni Knox.

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Dream Journal

Civic-Minded Unusual Dilemmas

A voting station is located at a sunny plant-lined street corner in my neighborhood, near the Five Markets grocery. A older mom is setting a bad example by parking herself in her camping chair too close to where voting is happening, advocating her causes, believing she’s not breaking the law because as an experienced mom she only has good intentions.


I’m volunteered/recruited to serve in an official capacity on a committee fulfilling the protocols of French justice. We’re brought into a long narrow indoor space with all manner of investigatory equipment stowed away in compartments. One such instrument activates a reenactment of the perpetrator’s statement. It’s a gray-haired Jewish lady, older but not elderly, who appears very evidently happier locked away and isolated in her own boxed-in world. Inconveniently, the transgression she is accused of committing seems both 1) intended to have gotten her locked away, and 2) not serious enough to merit such “punishment”. An ethical conundrum thus results for we judicial volunteers.


Inhabiting an odd communal outdoor space comprised of a large wave pool interspersed with metal tool lockers as tall as a man. Periodically other men and I rummage around in the wire-walled lockers to fetch tools for one job or another. I’m less experienced than most of them and might be doing an apprenticeship. One of the friendlier and artier guys demonstrates his solution to moving audio between distant parts of the wave pool, crossfading between top speakers and bottom speakers, creating an illusion of living sound.

I’m assigned a certain one of the locker-tops close to the wave machine, where sea creatures like starfish and barnacles crust heaviest. I am to use the roof for lounging and my home base. A teenage girl named Megan is randomly paired with me to share it. She’s lanky and skimpily dressed, stylishly suntanned, with a breathy unpolished voice. On first meeting she’s immediately suspicious of my maleness, giving a speech about how we’ll never sleep together and don’t get any ideas, et cetera. She says this to me while laying on her stomach in a bikini, sunglasses pushed down her nose, gazing at my shirtless torso. We’ll be sharing this intimate little room-sized island for several months… and this is the first thing she says to me. Whether Megan realizes it or not, the two of us having sex has become an immediately apparent eventuality. I respond to her haughty pronouncements with only a wolfish grin.

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Dream Journal

Motorcycling the Hills, Shopping Ice Cream

Rounding a rarely-visited corner on the rocky coast of San Francisco, a road built around a dirt hill. In the ’50s it was used in a bank promotion, which is how most people know it.

I drive past two flatbed trucks with massive reinforced metal plates for moving homes and other buildings. Watching an educational film on the subject of a motorcycle’s back case, addressing it being further from the center of gravity. Watching (or rewatching) a video of a Motorcycling Mom going backwards over a long patch of rocks in a canyon side road, laughing about how clumsy she is.

Visiting a destination ice cream shop whose flavors constantly change. Hugging my own mom, who wears several buttons of her favorite flavors — she has an idle fantasy that one day she can point to them, and that will serve as her request for a particular ice cream.

Having planned to go out, I end up shopping most of the day. I keep a stringy cactus attached to my ankle, while I trip over other plants. Drop off my childhood friend Robby T. at a sand-lot home he’s staying at somewhere in a working class neighborhood of our hometown. Two Rottweilers come out the front door as I’m parking my motorcycle. They immediately try to get the chocolate in my duffel bag, then jump up to the top of the closet to get a sausage hanging there.

A demo of someone who isn’t Italian but loves to cook Italian food; the man is buying $500 of ingredients on a grocery checkout belt. So much, the clerk can’t even let him pay for it and has to wait for a manager. She stands at the end of the line (per policy) to keep the customer from running. This wastes all of our time, so we waste hers explaining how stupid it is she that can’t accept our money. We could, if we knew, just split it into more than one checkout. A security guard comes out afterwards dressed in pink camo.

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Dream Journal

Ocean at the Window & Messages Sent by Past Self

Beginning with the strongest image: ocean waves suddenly lapping up the windows of a beachside bedroom. My mom lies sick in the bed closest the window. She’s half blind, nursed by the family for years, and today she asks me to get her a bar of white chocolate. I drive a pair of motor-scooters — like standing astride two horses –and retrieve one, then the other, from the room where my mom (who is also “Queen Anne”) is resting up with her eyes open.

I leave my friends and family in the beachside cottage (now much closer to the ocean). Searching the beach where I earlier helped organize a game of guys vs. girls volleyball — right up against the water’s edge — I looking for a computer which was recently inherited from when I lived in between bus seats. It’s a rack of outdated tech, box-shaped, a thin shiny black panel with Motorola wiring. It could’ve been from techie-artist friend Rich Humphrey. Now in the evening’s dark, fleeing rising waves, we instead rescue a dog that looks like Aislinn’s Catahoula hounddog Rose (we = me and I-don’t-know-who).


Makeouts in the large family garage of my childhood home, on a long massage platform, relaxed cool friends makeouts, with a tall athletic strawberry blonde friend from my Chicken John days. Laying on my side, happily killing time, I use a fully-sopped paintbrush to slather purple-to-grey paint over a piece of scrap cardstock. I paint from top-left to bottom-right, like Georgia O’Keefe.

I’m tasked with leading a group of my family/friends back to a ground floor hotel room I once stayed in as a kid. I observe my brother Chris attempt to carefully sneak under a low-hanging tree branch, hoping he’ll see what I see: the (sabertooth?) tiger just above eye level. After giving him the chance, when it feels almost too late, I shout out a clear warning. The look on his face as he made eye contact with the tiger! We get to the hotel room, where the quality of time seems a bit slippy — I’m able to simultaneously receive and send a message to myself, by gesturing to the 4-year-old me within the room. I tapped at the top of a large conch/whelk shell with my fingers joined (an upside-down “ma che vuoi” 🤌), holding the eye contact and attention of myself in the past. It is, I believe, what should be called a strange loop.

Back in the garage with my makeout friend, we’re joined by a recently victorious celebrity, a Chris Farley-like man. Together we hug him in a warm, cuddly friend sandwich. The situation is fond and intimately familiar, even somewhat sexual although I can’t touch my female friend over him (he’s a big guy just like Farley).

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Dream Journal

Story in Both Forward and Reverse

Someone designed a movie or video game that plays a story in both forward and reverse. Inspired, likely, by the game The Stanley Parable which I just learned about. Even the dialogue is somehow transposed. It’s a series of vignettes, and fascinating in how the story lines up different in either direction.

One I remember was a person in a room full of tortilla chip bags. They’re very quiet and anxious until they establish they have enough money to pay a water bill. Probably worried about how thirsty they’d get eating that many tortilla chips!

Another is a hosted retrospective of a little handheld pixel art game from the mid-2000s, something like Habbo Hotel (which I never played), being a pregnant teenager is an option. One window shows the close-up view in an anime style. The clip I saw was a series of teens stealing vegetables off a grill cooked by the rapper Drake. That video was presented by two people I know, people I did a favor for at some point — a hairy, pregnant, bearded trans-man and his husband.

One is in a plain, hilly little area by the sea where you fly around in a body, but like a spaceship. It’s artful and immersive but quite boring, feels unfinished as there’s not much to do except grind on the few animal units there are. Sort of like the game Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, which I just watched a preview of.


My mom has been inconveniently revived after several years of death. But she is just as old as she would be, and has a different set of problems now. My dad has a different house and a different girlfriend. She’s also having health problems, and relates her visits to a female prostate doctor. She’s altogether sad and not particularly happy to be back.

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Dream Journal

Security Line for Fat Statue of Liberty

I’m climbing up a Statue of Liberty — a fat Statue of Liberty, which may or may not be someone’s art project. Very shortly after, I’m going through a security checkpoint. I look at my ID through a paper towel on a desk, the bath towel around my waist falls off and I ask Lynae help me. I end up falling on my ass, but it’s damn funny so I don’t mind.

While still waiting in line, Chinese-speaking ladies are like “oh good he’s south Chinese!” and starting asking me about dinnerware. I answer by going on a little pontification about sentimentality, and veer into a dissertation about a gravy boat my mom hand-chipped when she was six years old.

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Dream Journal

Country of Bensbensvideo

Little part of Canada nestled in a shadowy river-side forest of Nebraska, a map of thin little medieval-like individual plots. Eventually this odd holdover secedes to America out of convenience.


Traveling along a road and I convince my mom that it’s a good idea to stop at the smallest country I’ve ever been to, Bensbensvideo. It’s essentially just an old building, ground floor bar, upstairs apartments, with a little side lot for me to leave my motorcycle while I go to the beach. In the thick undergrowth someone has left glasses of white wine covered with Tupperware tops. I discover decayed whale bones under a little alcove. My mom and I finish our wine as we see the tide has quickly come in, up to the wheels of my truck. Getting ready to leave, I can feel the psychic pressure from the grumpy old woman tending bar when I scurry through on my motorcycle.


Lying in bed on my side as a kid/teenager, wearing an oversized pajama shirt, in a house which belongs to my parents. Realizing how I’m not a real contributor to the household, even though I might be focused on how I work on stuff all the time.

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Dream Journal

Night After First Time 𓂀

In a forest and see a deep fryer by side of a dirt road. Like a barbecue grill, but red, with what looks like a red gas container connected to the side. My mom and I decide we don’t need to take it. We go over a small tree-lined ridge and down a steep hill. We pause to lie down and take a break, on our way to what looks like a rundown railyard below. Mom is large, maybe six times my size, like when I was young and much smaller. (This dream took much effort to remember.)

During 𓂀 I had a feeling I last felt when I was in my first bedroom, in Santa Rosa, maybe 1-4 years old. Flowing through the bars of a crib perhaps. The trainman clock on the wall, the one from Germany. Indoor lighting, not sunshine, nighttime. The wooden ‘Robert’ blocks, the ones with the rainbow letters. Some of these recollections were seen, others felt.

In a later dream, inside an abandoned train car, the side has a painted-over sign reading ‘FREE AIR’. A couple passes by the end of the narrow hall and I jokingly call out “Ah! Other people! Ah!” Another train car painted orange and green has an ad for a neighborhood Irish radio station/bar, 9.53 FM — I think it’s really 95.3, but the misplaced decimal point is for charm (and to throw off lazy authorities).

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Dream Journal

Being Nice to Grumpy Mom

I’m absorbed reading a math book in my old front bedroom of my childhood home. My family has stored three picnic benchs in there, and I’m sitting at the middle one quite unbothered by the crowded room.

In the family room now, I’m chewed out by my mom for not installing some speaker wires yet. But I’m being super nice about it. There’s a masked person standing there with us, reminded me of Boba Fett.

Organizing books in front of the bookcase immediately afterwards, I spank my Mom’s butt. She’s grumpy but again, I manage to be positive and kind despite her mood.

There’s a book I acquired, but didn’t read and forgot about at the near end, with vintage-looking chapters on the Quantum Ape, and also Doubts (with a real-seeming pic of the Queen of England surrounded by stacked beer bottles).