Categories
Dream Journal

Spider-Man and the Body Snatchers

In a theatre watching a new Spider-Man movie. My seat is round and spins, a beige leather “fashion” chair like my Nana might’ve had in the 1980s. It’s difficult to get the angle where I can look comfortably at the screen and also get my feet up. Not to mention I won’t block anyone’s view.

There’s an important character scene in the movie which occurs at the lip of a waterfall at night; the setting reminds me of one that could be in Jurassic Park game. Two group members (who resemble my friends Ani N. and Safire) go off for a minute to exchange info. Only Ani comes back. I’m the only one — watching the movie, but also now in the movie as teenage Spider-Man — who immediately realizes that it wasn’t Safire, but a body snatcher. And that isn’t Ani either. I grab a trusted friend and attempt to inform them of the danger, pulling them aside into a pitch black garage (note: only in rewriting do I notice the similarity to the previous situation).

But before that, in the ’70s paneled wood living room of our shared house, I encounter a housemate bottle-feeding her baby. She shares an appearance with my childhood friend Christy T. Someone (perhaps her, perhaps not her) has left on a very unpleasant overhead fluorescent light. I feel this light should never be on, and say so to the mother. I don’t think I came across as nice.

An old tape recorder with a Bluetooth app. When I install it, my phone spits an error and starts installing every app I ever downloaded. All the ones I’ve deleted, too. There are whole series of them, as I can spot several donut icons among the many screens-worth of unwanted apps. In addition, a bunch of books I didn’t know I still owned are taking up entire pages. The phone has now become a square book. Many of the pages will now need to be ripped out or blanked out. It’s a strange difference to actually see how much physical space these wasted apps can take up… not that it makes it any easier to get rid of them

Categories
Dream Journal

’36, Night Crashers 2

“Night Crasher” was a famous storm (perhaps even hurricane) which — you might be surprised to learn — was actually promoted by Hollywood and its movie stars in 1936. There are posters and other artifacts which I find fascinating and puzzling. Why promote a storm, and how did they know it was coming? Was it a real storm? I’m fairly certain it was a real film, as was alive to remember its decades-late sequel “Night Crasher 2”, released in the early ’90s.

A quaint, yellowed old-timey map shows a staggered row of island groups between the latitude above Australia and south of the equator. Never before have I seen these islands so presented (either grouped, or as a timeline) showing the odd order they were discovered, claimed, and settled. The map is even illustrated with cute icons to be helpful and memorable. Once again, this map was actually promoted by Hollywood media types at the time (so perhaps also from the 1930s).


I’m a small spry man of indeterminate age riding as a passenger in a car’s backseat. My companions and I travel at night in drizzly rain through an unfamiliar neighborhood. I’m not too familiar with my companions either, but they’ve also never been here. There’s an unacknowledged tension — as if we are all on a mission none of us signed up for. I weigh the balance of providing directions versus disturbing the group dynamic.

Soon it must be tested anyway; we arrive at our first destination. I tromp up a steep hillside of industrial scree to the curved wall of a concrete bunker. I’m the only one to have dealt with these people before, at some village-scale trade negotiations. With the vantage from climbing I now can see into their unobscured control room — no ceiling, disorderly but oft-used, a place of daily work for the overworked. We are summarily buzzed in and I must hop quickly after my taller male companion, as the timed doors close promptly after me.

An insouciant gray-haired lady greets us by suggesting we wait and go play table tennis. My companion is young and likes tasks requiring only brawn. He needs handholding, so I try to assure him that he simply doesn’t understand their ways here: they mean no disrespect, neither is it some kind of test. We really do only have to kill time. And pleasantly there is an actual pool table (or close enough).

After a while I leave through a different door within this compound, wanting to go outside to break up the time. Unexpectedly I encounter what must be the concert of the season going on… many people I know in wider social circles are seated across loads of metal balconies in this half stadium, all reveling. I’m glad I’m there: a few friends start hanging off the balcony rails; by chance I know the structure’s particular weaknesses. Once again I weigh the prudence of sharing advice. I’m glad I do share it this time, though.

Returning to the main room of the place, this industrial business compound, I meet up with my occasional friend Chloe. A great song starts playing and we spontaneously dance around the pool table. Turned away, with our butts pressed together, she offers a friendly warning: “don’t think this means any more than what it really does”. While playfully bumping/humping her from behind I respond in kind by quoting Rick Astley, “you know the game, and so do I.” This response lands well and I’m glad we’re on the level.

In my wallet I save keepsake political art made to look like dollar bills. These are even valid currency in some odd cases. I am only reminded when I go to pay for something (maybe the jukebox?) and I notice a $39 bill. It’s collectible, a feminist pro-union message as I recall, supporting daycare access for working women. Another one is an otherwise normal boring $10 bill. It’s design is so incredibly plain and modern that the overall effect strangely exotic. A sleeper hit, I guess we’d call it.

Categories
Dream Journal

5th grade, Last Day

It’s the last day before summer in a fifth grade classroom. The teacher is reading Harry Potter aloud. I’m sweeping up and re-shaping the sand mount the classroom is located on, like a little city on a bluff.

The movie “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is connected somehow to a secret message made with a sharpie and a stencil on someone’s back. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m already dreaming about it.

Categories
Dream Journal

The Amazing Spider-Man (1930)

This movie has been remade several times over the decades. The first one remains controversial, not for it’s content, but for the revelation that its main actress contracted syphilis. The film was funded by Catholics and (in order to deflect blame from themselves) producers claimed she caught it in a different film from 1922, that it had been incubating this entire time. I figure out by checking and corroborating different sources that she did in fact get it from doing a stunt on set.

“Boboomba!” is a memorable idiosyncratic onomatopoeia from the movie, written on screen in the style of a comic book just like later movies and TV shows. Only on waking do I realize Spider-Man wasn’t invented until the sixties.

Categories
Dream Journal

The Justice of Salvador Balthazar

Attending a movie night with a big projected screen in a great hall. Without warning, a large heavy object crashes down near the front. It hurts one girl who happened to be in center of aisle, and I’m the first to offer her assistance. She limps away though a side chamber, and it feels good to help, but odd that no one else seemed to think they should try.

On the street, I run into my former mentor dressed as a fireman. Tell him about how I recently saw him as a fireman in a dream (whoa, meta). Interaction goes well and it seems we’re both left with a positive impression. I wonder what he’ll tell his wife.


Salvador Balthazar is a historical character from the days of American revolution. He shows up to collect on justice for a reformed character. Brock Samson (from the show the Venture Bros) has to adjudicate. He’s surreptitiously tied himself to the handle of a giant-sized brown cart, waiting for an opportune moment to cut it off, launching over a high wall. He’s then able to attack Salvador, having made his ruling.

I wait for everyone involved to come through my front door. I have to delete episodes of Star Trek Voyager, worried they are corrupted and won’t obey computer commands, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s no trouble. My wife walks in behind everyone else and asks me “what happened here?”

Categories
Dream Journal

Gremlins Do-Over

My persona takes the form of Bobby Hill (from the King of the Hill cartoon), playing a lengthy game all the way through — making terrible choices in difficult situations the entire time. But as the game is about to end, I return to the first level and change my original actions… following a pair of invisible girls through a gateway I’d rejected previously as being an obvious trap. Surprisingly, everything clicks into place smoothly after that. It’s as if I’m playing on easy mode now. Because of this, I don’t know whether the rest of this dream narrative comes before or after…

Gremlins are released into the dream. Present in every scene, they somehow represent failings and hindrances I’ve acquired in adult life and have diverse transmogrified forms, perhaps a tequila bottle, or computer hardware. That would make this akin to Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The original gremlin isn’t cuddly either (like the Mogwai named Gizmo in the original), more like a small green papier-mâché spider one might imagine as a New Orleans parade float.

Another scene, an apartment set for a 1920s movie, an earlier era of Hollywood. It’s made to look like a sitcom that’s an agglomeration of cultures and ideas. One odd detail is a string of koosh balls garlanded around the kitchen island. The young actress who is playing the director has to have explained to her (given the inclusion of several “sensitive” African elements) why the scene is problematic. This is the first time the word is used this way on film, fairly early for when the actual movie was made in the year 2000.

Zooming out from this setting to a reality TV intro showing the cast next to another cast, meant to demonstrate their relative honesty and humble character.

In the same set, an iMac is brought in with a VHS slot to be repaired. There’s a minidisc or two inside and I offer to transfer it to digital by introducing myself to the cool woman who brought it in. I say I’ll get her contact info from my homepie friend Josh (also standing nearby). I have to prevent gremlin-rats from crawling inside the slot. What they represent, I’m not sure, but surely they represent something.

A Schwarzenegger-dad type stands on the steps at the top of a hallway giving ultimatums; it’s like having an angry Zeus for a father. I’m a small petulant boy, a bit like John Connor in the Terminator, stamping my feet in defiant rebellion. I purposefully walk up the steps to pass this dad of mine to express my frustration, only for his façade of tough love to crack into love and forgiveness for me.

I find a long-lost brother of mine. He’s younger, without my knowledge of alcohol or drugs (this is filmed facetiously, a plate of dried leaves being snorted, something to throw the kiddies off) or really any of life’s inevitable mistakes. We search for a place I encountered earlier — a place which called me in my own father’s voice — as we walk through hallways in a near-symbolic (non-realistic) space. We suddenly find the same door again, leading to the command deck of an old-timey submarine. But my brother half-heartedly feigns some reason he doesn’t want to go in. I pretend not to understand his objections. However, when we enter it’s at an earlier stage than when I visited before; it’s still being constructed as it’s a stage set, the wooden ribs of the submarine exposed. One detail: someone has to go and manually rope something up outside, wrapping rope around their shoulders and torso, implied to be a suicide mission — they call it “happy man”.

The dream ends, or perhaps starts over.

Categories
Dream Journal

On the Origin of Terminators

An incident on November 18. 1970: an unpaved side road in Japan. Gritty, tan, a little downhill and out of sight from the main road. A few joggers, maybe military, going one direction, while a vehicle travels another. The nature of that vehicle is unclear; could be a forklift, some military specialty unit, utility/construction equipment. It’s driven by a single driver who sits not quite in front… with not quite a clear view. What happens next is the subject of years of investigation and litigation. The vehicle and the joggers collide head-on, full speed, in the middle of a clear day, on a straight stretch of road, with adequate signage, no intoxicants involved… the list goes on.

I’m there to watch it in some abstract form. I don’t get the impression that I’m viewing a re-enactment or simulation, rather I feel like the scene I view is in fact better than any from the years of inquiry — that is, better than what those present saw. And I feel like I know what caused it, because in my time it’s been fixed: human inattention. My purpose in viewing these records is to write an unobtrusive message to send back in time via the obscurity of the early internet, yet an obvious warning for those looking for it. It can’t be too specific, though it might change events; this may or may not be paradoxical. But the reason I can send things back in time (and the reason this incident is so important) is that I live in a world with Terminators, a superior general artificial intelligence. In their exponentially sophisticated causal analysis, this is the inflection point where they determined AI became a priority for humanity. This is their own origin story.

I’m now in the present day or near future, going with my wife to a gathering at our old stomping ground The Dark Room on Mission street, here in San Francisco. I’ve rarely been here during daylight. I notice a curious architectural detail: atop the Spanish-style façade is a short half-cylinder crowned with a short half dome. Adorned with a mosaic tile pattern, it turns to reflect light from any angle into the shaft of a skylight. A number of people show up about the same time as us, several old SF and Chicken John friends all with large bulk food boxes. I open one that my friend Abbie brought, a heavy flat of granola bars, and snack on some tasty loose grains that got compressed inside the box. My wife reminds me (in question form) if I know why we’re here — because our downstairs neighbor Rhiannon’s mom (Mable) has moved back to the country and wanted to go in on a bunch of bulk items. Rhiannon, who worked at the Dark Room with me once upon a time, puts on one of the Terminator movies on the Dark Room’s big screen for background ambiance. This is one I haven’t seen before, Terminator 5 or 6. I find it much much more ambling and philosophical than its predecessors.

Watching the film more intently, it shows how a Terminator always was a Terminator, and as an example shows two in their previous form: an alien’s massive tendril-like ribs vibrating in a museum, and a running almost toy-like tyrannosaur robot.

In my hypnogogic awakening state I piece together the logic and importance of the story, how the mass human suffering — the all the lengthy legal wrangling, the senselessness, from this and countless other cases — focused humanity’s intentions into the creation of intelligent machines. It strikes me also that the first Terminator movies were full of fear, but the later ones I saw were musing and exploring what it would mean if the idea were made real.

Categories
Dream Journal

Giving Chicken a Sling

Watching a movie, a small black shoulder sling is hidden under my shirt. As I’m leaving and out the doors first, I turned my left and make a comment to my wife, but it’s actually a random guy who answers in the negative. The timing of my walk back to my car works out such that I can’t help but pass Chicken John in the parking lot. The parking lot is somewhere upscale but strip mall-y, like Palm Desert CA near where I grew up. I see that Chicken is very tired and holding a baby. Trying to normalize things, and seeing an opportunity, I offer him my arm sling for the drive home — which to my surprise he accepts.