Dream Journal

John Waters Stage Show

Reflecting on that time I went to jail for 7 months when I was 19 or 20. As I remember it, the District Attorney needlessly chose to prosecute me for fraud because I received three free college credits. Such a waste… just impulsively interrupting a vulnerable young person’s life at such an important age. I’m remembering it now because in the dream I’m now going back to school later in life. It’s different than it used to be: sometimes I pass classes, sometimes I don’t, but I sense that you just have to accrue the credits over time and not sweat it.

Then again… I recall a different occasion when I was very distraught and held up a LensCrafters at gunpoint. Serving jail for this sort of thing makes more sense, but I no longer have the paperwork. Turns out I can’t even remember what I went to jail for!

A John Waters stage show, hosted by the man himself. He takes a break for the sake of the televised audience and cuts to commercial. But as I’m actually present I get to witness all the wild behind-the-scenes action — performers exploding into rants, random blowjobs on/off stage, many different hijinks. Those of us there in the room are treated to Waters twirling around on stage during a costume change. His look is a stylized foil cutout of a multi-faceted paper doll, framed between two panes of glass, made in the likeness of the musician Prince. I’m very excited for the next portion and want to video-record it for myself. It’ll be a big file as I’m betting it’ll be a long segment, but at this point I’m certain I’ll actually want to watch it again. I try to wedge my phone upright against some bulky theater equipment and hope for the best as the countdown to re-air begins.

Dream Journal

Three Wines: Hard, Mineral, Spicy

At the end of an unpaved road in the desert, dunes on either side. Searching for a spot to park and sleep in the overland SUV. Up a short side road is a private campground, but they’re full of long term RVs after recent redevelopment. I get the impression people aren’t even staying there.

Viewed from above, I survey another hilltop location once a vantage for scenic stark beauty, recently built up with houses. A bit of the outback lost to civilization. Overpriced houses, packed tight, the parking all in the center of a cul-de-sac. They cite new houses right up against fences built the year before, knowing the residents only work in offices nearby and couldn’t care less.

We leave the end of the dusty unpaved road, passing through a rough-hewn log gateway — something you might see built by the orcs of Warcraft, yet having the semblance of an old English gallows gaol. We’re waved on; everyone here knows us. Past this point the car accelerates, as if on a track, rocketing toward a towering city. Sooner then expected we pass under vine-laden bridges and all manner of infrastructure. It’s so sudden that while I’m zoning out looking at an apartment building I’m struck by the baffling thought of just how many human lives are now within my eyeline.

An unexpected bit of FOMO while camping at an event that occurs during Burning Man. Cited on a hill with acres of underground bunker to be explored, dirty, dangerous, and wild. A total of ten levels. I’m warned that the lowermost has toxic mud that can get tracked up when trod by the unwary.

Sharing a house with longtime roommates. The suggestion of renovating the walls comes up while I’m off nearby playing on the floor, and I notice that behind each of the wall panels — and I deliberately check them one by one — is pressure treated wood. We couldn’t replace them if we wanted. I’ve been quiet for a while and wait for the opportunity to speak up, hoping I needn’t wait too long.

A man is hoping for a new income stream by advertising his well-trained dog as a performer. The dog is loyal and easily performs for the scheduled entertainment industry boffs who’ve come to scout for talent. I’m pleased to watch him do so well, but understand there’s only so many roles one dog can get; he will always still look like himself. I can already imagine the man (who reminds me of my cousin Ricky) pushing his dog into more absurd and dangerous stunts with the goal of getting more business. I can imagine it getting bad enough to border on animal abuse.

Ensign Tilly fakes her death at an airlock. She lands underneath in a metal rack.

Three wines: hard, mineral, spicy. No explanation left of this detail, a curiously distinct detail nonetheless.

Dream Journal

3 of 6 Dreamcards

Waking up hours earlier than I should, with only 5 hours sleep. I remember having six distinct dreams, but I know from past experience if I wake up to write them down I won’t be able to fall back asleep. But if I fall asleep, I almost certainly won’t remember them. On returning to sleep I envision the dreams as a row of cards, each with a title and the single most powerful image from it. I managed to remember half of them, though strangely they are not in any order or sequence. Typically, I can remember one part of a dream and reconstruct the narrative.

I’m attending a stage reading event where my Nana is one of the presenters. We have a pleasant conversation across the table from each other under the big tent. We depart together at the end.

Sitting backwards on a bus, a kid has a hand over his face. Kids are keeping other kids in strict lines this way. There’s a social order aspect I don’t fully understand, but find troublesome.

RFC. is a “request for comments” and an in-joke. Among internet engineering nerds, it alludes to the idea of elderly people’s life stories being absorbed into a universal hive mind (or Akashic records) at the end of their lives. It’s an old trope creatively and bizarrely mapped onto a modern interface. Lives, in this sense, are additional “comments”.

Dream Journal

Swimming through Election Chaos

It’s shortly after the election, and the Cult of the Dead Cow has hacked A documentary now posted there with a French-language title exposes exactly how Trump has stolen the election. I swim in a deep natural pool at the road’s end of my childhood home on Kemper court. Beto O’Rourke (a.k.a. Psychedelic Warlord) is sworn in as president by Mike Pence. I see the military on a double-decker bus, unsure who to take orders from.

Spot my old blue truck parked down the street, make sure it’s mine (yup, dents are the same), and I worry about moving it for street sweeping. Soon I realize my neighbor now owns it by some coincidence. Narrow windy sand-bottomed channels are the unique pool outside this home, my father-in-law’s old home, evocative of hot springs. The neighbor volunteers how police officers often get deeper, sandier waterworks as they can skirt regulations.

I watch more of the documentary and it’s actually rather daring, exposing all manner of American government corruption — no matter what side wins I figure a lot of people are going to jail. Wasn’t aware any libs still had this much bravery.

At the end of the court I swim past a driveway hosting an Avenue Q-style Broadway play. A fat Alex Jones puppet dressed as a king heckles Trump and his crony walking up the steps of the White House, as they slam the door. I manage to get in a quip of appreciation, telling him I didn’t expect some puppet guy would do such a good job.

The documentary continues. The movie is being streamed from or — I marvel at the incredible amount of pressure their servers must be under right now. Watching more I realize there’s a call to action at the end and I’m actually behind most people, which explains the largely empty street.

I bust my way through a set of double doors, a backstage area that feels like New York, during some performance. They won’t let me through between the audience bleachers. So to get through this big donut-shaped arena building, at knifepoint I make them open the rear doors so I can go around outside. I avoid a murderous knife-wielding Donald Duck (could I have been the Donald Duck?) and reach a hospital emergency ward that’s been hit hard with the recent public revelation/call to action and the righteous chaos that has followed. There’s Mickey Mouse graffiti written in blood. Inside, the documentary plays on whiteboards, with handwritten explainer notes jotted next to it.

Just such an amazing job overall, the whole story and especially the documentary central to it. I awoke suddenly pre-dawn with a fascinated “huuuuuh”, wrote down pretty much all of it, then managed several more hours sleep.

Dream Journal

The Best Place in the World [for] Chinese Restaurant

Twilight in my home city of San Francisco, watching down a street as a bicyclist rides uphill on a sidewalk. I yell at then, manage to get one good “don’t ride bike on sidewalk” as they ride right through a group of pedestrians. Afterward, one good “fuck you” for good measure.

Soon after I find the person, a gray haired but well-put-together lady, a woman of a certain age, while I’m walking crosswalk. I listen to her, get her to tell me what’s wrong: she’s a tourist, a meeting soon. Yet something is switched around in these dream streets. It’s the same setting as other dreams of San Francisco, ones with canals, or social revolutions, or maybe in the southeastern neighborhoods years before my time.

I escort her to her meeting, around a strangely colorful yet hostile SF. The streets bright yet cloudy. She enters her meeting in a plastic-walled tent, a dining establishment just off the sidewalk, while I maintain eye contact. She still doesn’t like how I called her on her riding behavior, but I’ve also been nothing but helpful since. “Good luck, be well,” I say through the window, pausing before mouthing “God bless”. I don’t know her well enough to know how it’ll be received — it feels customary, almost too automatic, tonally off-the-mark.

By coincidence, I’ve also arrived at a destination of my own. I used to work at a Chinese restaurant (in waking life too), and it’s in the building adjacent to the tent. The elaborate yet homey sign outside proclaims “The Best Place in the World [for] Chinese Restaurant”. In truth it’s more of a neighborhood cafe/novelty museum. I walk in and they immediately remember me; I ask them to refresh me on my job since this is the first time in 15-18 years I’ve been there (I worked at Kitty Ko’s Golden Phoenix in 2002 irl, thereafter dreamed of it for a few years after perhaps, so this may be unusually accurate). The chef and chef’s husband still don’t speak any English, but greet me enthusiastically nonetheless. Behind the cash register nothing seems to have changed either, and I’m re-warned about the black electrical cord dangling inconveniently in the walkway behind the front counter.

Reacquainting with the place, I remember there are two sections of novelties, plus a back room. They’re separated by age-appropriateness (or morbidness depending on who you ask). One item in the collection that I remember distinctly is a Victorian-era ambulance for the disabled — it’s an open-air carriage with the cheery “spinach-leaf green” color of a hospital, with robin’s-egg blue accent stripes. However, the coverings for passengers, jet-black and shroud-like, made for the privacy of hiding disfigurement and/or pain, are 100% what a modern person would recognize as the Grim Reaper.

I note all this to my sibling Patrick/Alia, who’s sitting at the bar counter. They seem mildly interested but ask instead about the back room. I’m curious also, squeezing through a narrow opening of blocks in the back wall. There are stacks of boxed-up unused novelties. There’s also the entrance to a vast underground performance chamber, something little-used in my time there, which I’d nearly forgotten about.

A group of string-instrument musicians along the back wall of this cavernous hidden space immediately begin playing (reminds me of Azerbaijani cover band Bizimkilər). Looking over toward the stage, there’s also a dance troupe waiting patiently. In hope of introducing them so they don’t have to continue waiting, I go over and ask the first girl I saunter up to what her name is. She answers “Jeanne Artas”. I have to ask if they are the Artas, or if it’s her personal name.

Another group of audience members, a school group of kids, clambers down the improvised brick blocks in the walls — nothing like a stairway and certainly not considered ‘accessible’ by conventional building standards. But this is technically a private area of the business. I reflect for a minute how this huge enclosed space is completely unapparent from the street, and how many of these hidden human spaces there must be, collectively, across the city and the world. I ponder this aloud to the girl, Jeanne, how such a large space could be secreted away, how it even fit. She ponders too, and notes that Kitty, the owner, also owns the coffee shop next door, and perhaps a small corner of it had been used so as in making the entrance of the tall auditorium. To me this is hardly an explanation, and I regard her incredulously.

I kept the dream alive to write down despite/because of the name “Lenipobra” repeating in my head while hypnogogic. A name from my current book, Consider Phlebas, which I had previously forgotten.

Dream Journal

Redheaded Mermaid Romance

Sitting in an audience. Conan O’Brian sits in it too, and insults a celebrity guest and her kid. I’m cringing, but he has commitment to keep going with his bit until it’s funny. Reminds me of Chicken John.

While part of some kind of battle or mission, I’m underwater and spot a mermaid with a full head of wavy red hair, but I don’t approach or bother her. I’m not sure she even notices me.

Later my wife and I are sitting in a large semi-outdoor movie theater. This must be toward the end of the war/conflict that’s been going on — posters and screens begin flashing ‘PROGRESSIVE’, as we’ve unwittingly sat in the ‘far left’ of the auditorium. As she’s pulled from her seat by the Conan/Chicken leader, I tell my wife to play along, as if we’d sat there as part of a dramatization (which is indeed what it is). I pretend I can’t be lifted out of my chair, and the performance moves on with us separated.

The rows of chairs rotate, such that I’m now sitting with a row in front of me. I spot the mermaid (now with legs) walk over and nonchalantly sit in front of me. Her hair is huge and rests in my lap, engulfing my face. I have to wonder how intentional she’s being. As we sit through the show, it becomes more obvious that she’s non-verbally seducing me — I’m smelling her hair, she wraps my hands around her waist, and we snuggle our heads together.

We’re also sharing a few sodas, and my wife asks me to pass her the Dr. Pepper. I manage to reach down and behind me, but I don’t notice it’s a half-size can that’s barely got any left in it. I’m a bit embarrassed by this, but I’m thoroughly occupied — even glamoured, maybe.

The redheaded mermaid and I go off alone into a wide, dimly-lit stairway alcove. I take the chance to ask her now that we’re alone… something important. Did she see me? Does she know I know she’s a mermaid? Was all the seduction on purpose? But not her name. I now realize I never learned her name.

Meanwhile, the war is in it’s last days. Members of our side are roaming the streets here and there, solidifying the narrative of our victory. Neither of us is committed to the cause, but are interested in the pretending to for our own survival. The mermaid and I join a group to go hunt for rats, venturing off a New Orleans-style street into a disused sideyard full of groundskeeping equipment. I see some jumping across stacks of tiles, and I know we’ll probably let them go while continuing the pretense. It’s an odd sort of romance, but these are unusual times.

Dream Journal

Grams Remarriage, Galactic Spinner Game

Grams plays drums on stage during play-reenactment of her wedding, Pa is there. student reps passing close between chair rows.

Patrick’s bedroom is my old bedroom, the one by the cactus garden. One side opens into a kitchen. He plays video games sitting on his bed with a friend. The bed is positioned where our old bunk beds were when we first moved into the Cat City house.

In the game you control the directional thrust of a spaceship spinning at great speed around the center of the galaxy, with the goal of covering as much space as possible. Patrick seems pretty skilled at this and the level ends with him skidding out into intergalactic space.

Dad operates an orange juice machine and tells me mom is still alive… or is alive again? Hm.