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Dream Journal

There Went the Neighborhood (lot of cooking in this one)

It’s the first day in prison for a “The Joker” type character. He’s older, finally skidding to a stop after years of getting away with it. Resigned to finally giving up public mayhem, and fading from public fame. Escorted across a tall prison courtyard structured around catwalks by single elderly guard played by Jim Carrey. And then hosted in his home like a guest, surprisingly.

Proceed to cooking dinner of eggs and ham in a single pot. It’s styled after the show Kitchen Nightmares, which I’ve never seen actually. The cooking takes a long time, and the timing isn’t easy to get right. All the while there’s the gloomy vibe of being inside a big reinforced concrete block.

Driving a borrowed SUV near my hometown of Palm Springs. Veering off along the way into a little cul-de-sac of dumpy houses, I attempt to drive up a steep berm and take a shortcut across a boring rocky plain. Instead I’m immediately flying a small airplane, demonstrating for my wife that they aren’t hard to fly — or maybe that even though they’re not hard, they’re still practically useless.

I discover a phone in my pocket, rubbery and square-cornered and slightly smaller than mine. Only then do I remember how happy I am to have this spare so I don’t have to put as much wear and tear on my normal “good phone”

I don’t know how we got together, but I’m driving Eileen H. back to her secondary home in Santa Rosa. We used to be friends a decade ago — I babysat her kid many times. Now we sit parked in her driveway finally catching up. In front of us there’s kids playing and crawling on the façade of the house, which is decorated with graffiti. In the course of getting out of the car I find two similar-looking USB sticks in her middle car divider, noticing that they have the wrong cap on each. Helping her by swapping the caps back correctly gives me great satisfaction somehow. Across the street, there’s a house on the lot next door to where my parents’ old place would’ve been. The house is smoking profusely. I happen to know this is normal, for this house at least (just some problematic cooking habits of the residents)… and yet it’s a bit unsettling isn’t it? It’s very obviously reminiscent of a wildfire that swept through the neighborhood 7 years ago. I ask Eileen what happened to her home here back then, and she answers that it was just fine, actually; the fire didn’t get that far. But my parents’ house, which burned down, it was… Right. Across. The street.


I’m programming. Trying to place correctly a code block dealing with Chinese police. Am I dealing with the Chinese police, or does the code block have something to do with them? Then I wake up imagining my wife has cooked with a wok, and I’m eager to scrape it out with a spatula. It reminds me of a dream… but none of these. Ironically, I forgot that one. Whatever it was.

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Dream Journal

June means Bright Desert

While watching an old video from my collection, I notice it appears to have new weird AI-based compression. Letters on signs in a Palm Springs parking lot in are hard to discern. Makes me sad, because I realize this is probably how companies will be encoding our stuff now (whether we like it or not) and I can no longer use it as a reference. The names are squashed down so much they turn out as gibberish.

Across the street from the parking lot is a line of brushy sand dunes. Like the bare desert across from my old middle school when I was a student, once upon a time. Looking at them is almost painful as everything has an * * extra bright * * overexposed look, which I recognize as the look of June. Today, not uncoincidentally, marks June 1st.

As I’m staring into space, down a hallway at a slight angle, an unpleasantly familiar face appears. Plarvolia peeks forward from a booth at a table. She now fully embodies my avatar of rejection and loneliness. Who knows why she’s here. It’s not important, except that now I have to deal with this reminder of her. (My wife is leaving for a trip today, and I tell her how seeing old Plarvolia made me feel.)

Because of Plarvolia I find out about a new rising artist named Margaret Gerulo in Indianapolis. Her schtick is that she cries as performance art, giving ritual catharsis to the entire community that witnesses the act. She’s become a very successful streamer (it works over the internet, apparently). But there are a few curious conditions: the day before, she needs to visit a haunted place of some kind. And the day after, she needs to receive presents from people. Those presents, and the haunted house, determine what trauma and catharsis she can process for her community of viewers.

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Dream Journal

Following the Purple Sign Circuit

A city split evenly in halves by a river. I’m near the shore and perusing a map of the area’s bridges when I receive what feels like bold headline news: Margaret Thatcher Is Dead. In this case Margaret Thatcher is, of course, the famous nesting falcon named after the former Prime Minister. Most likely one of the last animals that will be named after her.

Soon afterwards, I’m in one of the white tall-ceilinged hallways of a nearly empty mall. It’s sometime in the off-season and the lights are off; there’s a calm artificial chill from AC. Purple signs are hung at regular intervals, something I noticed but never considered before. I understand they’re meant to be followed in sequence as a guide for security officers patrolling the grounds — one always has a view of the next sign once one approaches any of them. The route is permanent and meant to followed as a circuit every day. I become mischievously curious imigining what such a repetitive daily existence must be like.

Out though an exterior door, I follow purple signs through a darkened T-intersection of the mall. It’s a semi-outdoor area of closed windowed storefronts and sunny courtyards typically filled with patio furniture. I recognize the place from at least one previous dream. The setting seems based off Palm Springs and has a wealthy tourist vibe: potted palm trees, Mid-Century Modern leisure space. I still haven’t seen a single person.

Off behind a side door the route ascends a set of stairs that feel off-limits and un-public. Upstairs is a space I’d never expect compared to the ostentatiousness below, dirty, basic, neglected, like a cheap mall in some Chinatown. I don’t see many customers, but several stores are actually open and I spot retail workers inside shops. One is called “Caches Played” and has a feeling of bareness, as if the shelves were set up by a single person only recently. Another is called “Bazza Kazza” which is an Austalian-ization of the letters B & K, those being consonants extracted from the word “bitch”. They sell a variety of equipment for small terrariums & aquariums yet the space is scuzzy.

My wife and I spend an extended time browsing. The single round room feels like being inside a tower, but the carpets are torn and the walls are scratched-up. There’s a few shady characters loitering aimlessly. My wife presents me with a Triops culture she just bought while I was distracted worrying about the random dudes. I’m skeptical that the container will work, and annoyed that she bought it without talking to me first. But after fiddling with the two interlocking enamelware bowls I’m pleasantly surprised that the thing seems reasonably useful.

I could swear someone stole my shoes while I was looking away. I manage to find them elsewhere in the store (no way to know who left them there). The shoes are structured as a big piece of taut fabric and are a bit tricky. I have to remember how to hold my heel tight against the end and pull/fold them over. The thoughtfulness of it is reminiscent of my tabi shoes.


I spend a lot of time embedding all these memories enough to write them down. To the point that I recall how, currently, my computer’s photo storage is on the fritz — and that the program I will use to write my dreams down only loads the top 10% of the background image. This is exactly as my desktop usually appears when it can’t read the drive.

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Dream Journal

Mikl Em, the Hamster

A pleasant exercise with my wife planning for our next trip to Palm Springs, when quarantine is over. Visiting upscale nice art galleries in places like Palm Desert because we’re adults and damn well can now. We wear fancy clothes with my friend Lauren.

Driving up the tramway road, while considering how long it would take to walk. It’s quite steep. There are jackals or more likely coyotes nearby. I challenge my wife to a race up the sandy desert trail, giving her a headstart. She matches me speed for speed, until she makes one error in a turn and I gain on her just barely enough to leap and graze her behind, shouting “monch butt!”

I ponder the question of why we dream of certain people. I observe it’s often not who you first think of when you ask that question. In this case the first person I think of is Meredith Scheff.


I experienced the last moments of a soldier from a defeated army, from their perspective. A burning curved shield is placed over his face and he doesn’t even burn to death as you’d expect, the oxygen is completely sucked away and he suffocates as well as breathes burning hot gases.


My old friend Mikl Em transformed himself into a hamster, or claims to. I leave to get Rick (of Rick and Morty) and return in the middle of a conversation: “average is actually a size 40, everyone should start from 40.” I ask Rick if we can talk to him as a car. He flips some cage controls around, there’s nanotech hidden within the thin bars and the cage corner snaps. Starting from the top, he morphs into a Disney-ish green Cars character. “We don’t really believe you’re Mikl Em” he says.

EDIT: two and a half months later, Mikl Em passed away. R.I.P. you beautiful not-hamster.

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Dream Journal

Paul Addis on SNL

Paul Addis is hosting SNL. He has a lot of comedy chops, but it’s still a rough show.


Exploring the far west side of Palm Springs, near where I grew up, huddled around the side of the mountain, a building from the 1700s — something similar to the 16th century fort of Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.