Dream Journal

Surviving Zombie Apocalypse / Revisiting Grandma’s House

I’m proudly surviving the zombie apocalypse. I can zap around, I’m vigilant and quick. These zombies aren’t mindless but seem to hunt together as if controlled by an overlord somewhere. Despite my cocksure attitude I’m keenly aware of being constantly in danger. The world is changed and though I’m getting on, I know this isn’t what it should be. There’s a moment where I (or someone controlling the teleporter) accidentally teleport into a classic officer’s club/New Orleans style place called the G.A.&G — which happens now to be a zombie headquarters.

Staying up the night before on a writing spree of five stories, completing an assignment from 8th grade. Could be the same year; could be decades later. I’ve cobbled together two complete stories so far, maybe three. I consider for a moment how the teacher should’ve made the deadlines spaced out. But something clicks and I realize it’s my teacher from 9th grade, while the classroom is from sixth. An idea begins to form of why it was silly to re-do the assignment. Could be the beginnings of lucidity.

I’ve collected my pet rats together in a box. These are a new set of hybrids made from recombined pieces of earlier pets (giving reality to a metaphor I’ve been using lately for when all our older rats died off last year). I carry their box as far as inside a massive building and against a partially destroyed wall of the zombie-haunted zone. The gesture is carefree, but I’m also tired. My wife points out that they can now get loose, and there are many other rats roaming here. This is exactly the idea though — they have their little gang group, a home base in the form of the box, they won’t have a better chance than this. They need to survive in the world just like us.

In the basement bowels of this apocalyptic interior I find myself nostalgically watching a TV program from the 80s. I’m lounging in a disguise. Someone next to me is apparently in a new bodysuit. I say “you must be Chris then” assuming it’s my brother. I never am sure, though.

Revisiting the neighborhood of my maternal grandma’s house. It used to be exactly 10 minutes drive from my home when I was small, maybe 4 years old. I gradually piece together how it was on Fritz street, itself a branch off Glenn street where we lived in Santa Rosa (note: we did live there but these places aren’t real). It’s been redeveloped, that much I knew — but I never guessed how I wouldn’t even recognize it. It was once an overgrown single lane like you might find in the English countryside. Due to its convenience just off transit routes now it’s a thoroughly chopped up suburban neighborhood. There’s a poorly selling development of built-out treehouses. My Nana’s house back then was a compact little warm wooden space, like the inside of a boat. It was perched on the ridge of a hill overlooking the foggy pine forests of a wide valley beyond. Even that shows scattered signs of human colonization now.

I recall the flooded channel between two ridges as I saw it as a child in the 1980s. Smoking men used to paddle across in dinghies. I witness one instance where a wheelchair was transported off the back of the boat, dragging in the water, using its electric motor as an improvised outboard. I think then, certainly not all the regulatory changes since my youth haven’t been improvements.

Dream Journal

First Visit to Russia, Photographing Derelict City from Peninsula

Journeying in Russia for the first time. Exploring a little on my own, taking lots of pictures of signs and beautiful worn-out stuff. It’s strange to get around as I can’t read the street signs, but I memorize locations (I think about this as I take photos, which I will later geotag). It’s bright out and there’s a lot to explore. I can remember being on the airplane earlier, perhaps this is still on the first day.

I lead the rest of our large family group out on a flat rocky peninsula to see this cool derelict industrial city on the horizon, hyping them up telling them it reminds me of ancient ruins. On the way there I even realize it’s translated as “Stonehenge” on one map. The sun is starting to get low in the sky and although we’re walking slow (because it’s a group) I reckon we’ll be able to catch the sunset over the city, which means some cool pictures.

I’m having to carry the cage with my rats Spork and Puff, though luckily I can use magic to teleport it. I set it between rocks near the end of our trek… but continue to worry about it. I encounter the strange realization that we have both a rat named Puff and a newer rat that we named Puffy, quite unintentionally.

We’ve reached the end of the peninsula and are gazing at the beautiful dusk skyline. As I’m taking picture after picture I notice the curve of a Russian freeway nearby on what must be a causeway. A motorcycle buzzes past and it seems like there should be many chances to photograph it, but I just can’t get my focus correct in try after try.

Dream Journal

Feeding Tiny Snakes

Humans live in high tech skyscrapers. But a team led by Penny  from Inspector Gadget detects a monitoring device just out of frame. When I move around the camera, like in a third-person video game, I just barely spot it.

In the home of my parents, I re-enter the master bedroom where our rat cage is right now. I see my rat Spork emerge from the bathroom yet I remember seeing Pierre, another of our rats who doesn’t get along with him, in there not long ago. Worry mixed with relief when I realize they must’ve simply not run into each other.

Shower with two of my chairs, one with stripes of leather. This doesn’t actually work and I abort. Found my wife has bought nitrous, and there’s still half a box under the bed.

Feeding tiny snakes (or pet snails) from a bin of little escapees. I’m trying to re-home them into a bigger tank on a wooden shelf, like one in my bedroom. I question my wife, the Star Trek meme expert, about the idea of Q being a fey (fairy).

Dream Journal

New Friends at Race Checkpoint, in Mexico

Running in a jogging race in Mexico. Doing well on position, I’m last before a drawbridge goes up, and have time to notice Rudy Giuliani in the front on the other side. I drop my drawers to moon my ass, to him especially. I catch up to my friend ahead (Mickey? Robby?) and I explain this, though I mention that maybe dropping pants more complicated than I thought. Smack his butt as we run along, though I normally wouldn’t perform such a bro-y gesture.

Further on, there’s a check-in space in the small courtyard of a fancy hotel that maybe looks like a Pueblo. Make quick friends with the checker.

Soon though, the dream is taken over by evil clowns — like something from the show Legion; time demons or the shadow king. I keep calm and just pay attention to the experience, allowing it to pass over me and simply be what’s happening. Eventually the moment passes; maybe they got bored of us.

I agree to stay on until the checker can leave. We talk about the coast of Mexico, the shoreland of Cancun which I view on the map as somehow on the west coast. Reminiscent of other dreams, the craggy coast of ancient Greece or rural northern California.

While waiting on my new friend, several of us start feeding guinea pigs chunks of baked potato. One is adorably an order of magnitude bigger than others, which is terribly endearing for all of them.

I end up staying on longer than expected. I ask how much longer My checker friend thinks we need to stay, as it seems all participants have passed. I don’t remember the answer, but it strikes me now how he reminds me the kid I knew in Middle School and haven’t really thought about since: Ted Takahashi. (Hm… a character from deep storage I suppose.)

Dream Journal

Suit of Armor of Precious Nacre

Heavily secretive exclusive museum of pandemics, owned by the Catholic Church (or somebody associated with it). I’m one of a pair of journalists granted brief precious access. It’s a little storefront-like space inside a larger building, perhaps a European-style pedestrian mall. The walls are covered with tiny writing (data) paired with genuine artifacts — floor to ceiling. In the forefront of our minds is trying to remember as much as possible in our short time inside. To me, the most beautiful object is articulated shell nacre armor, a full cowl top.

After: in the last century rich people built trendy castle houses — regarded for their ostentatious aesthetics, but lacking any credentials as a fortification. The one I spot, displayed off to the left side on a table like a school diorama, was called “the height of progress in castle tower building.” I notice angular zigzagging stairways between the indefensible stone towers. Curiously, the stairs leading up to them have occasional big vertical rises. Up to the top of the hill, secluded from public scrutiny, I visit the village of lower-class workers who mind the castle grounds. Descended from the first minders, they strike me as amiable and humble people, who I could imagine happily spending a great deal of time with.

On a 1940s-ish city street I pop into a heavily-frequented doorway atrium. I’ve been waiting to see when it’ll open, checking often. It’s been graffitied and painted over so many dozens of times… a place with an everyman vibe. But a place where I never realized (until it’s pointed out to me) I shouldn’t store my electronics, two of which have been incautiously stored under flimsy cardboard for some time. Despite this, they’re still there and I understand the likelihood of people finding it, thinking of stealing it, but giving me the grace of my ignorance — almost as an act of charity. I just never put together how rough and tumble this fondly-regarded neighborhood actually is.

In a small upstairs apartment where I’m staying, while my friend group is gone, I discover a small furry animal (perhaps a baby rat). I present it to them when they return, including, for some humorous reason, a small rock for comparison. I put the tiny rat into a hamster cage next to the big rat cages, which are stacked precariously five terrariums tall. At the small vibration of shutting the small “hamster cage” door, those glass terraria fall down and I immediately recognized their center of balance is far higher than their middle. I resolved to fix it next time, cursing.

Dream Journal

Jam Band Like an Accident

Red baby rats lined up to be picked out, males and females unseparated. Some turn in to guinea pigs, oddly. Those not picked will actually grow up to be deer, and future breeding stock. I pick them out in front of a girl with short hair, who reminds me of Allie (a rival of my wife who I recently accidentally matched on OkCupid).

I use the word “Dlv’je’DOY” in some kind of encoding, in French. I consider typing it out phonetically so only native speakers will get it as no automatic translation could hope to parse this double-encoding.

An improvised jam band challenge. Several instrumentalists sitting around playing what would appear to be incidentally placed instruments. Playing an OMFO mix. A double-reed single-spiral conical horn, ancient Arabic-looking instrument — a guy plays the first bar of his solo, quickly whips out a clanging metal belt and uses lubricant on the aluminum. Meanwhile the more traditional single-reed guy next to him covers this interruption. He excalims, inexplicably but with great gusto, “Bulpas!”

Dream Journal

Found and Lost, The Old House that was Ours

Revisiting the old house I sort of co-own, where I stored a lot of my stuff sometime in the last few years. Uncovering newspapers reveal records carefully arranged on the table, laying out a pattern of which ones I’ve already recorded. A big book, like a newspaper log, has something to do with Dr. Hal. The speaker cables running up the walls are thick and I remember they’re painted the color orange from their previous room.

Outside, I unlock several latches of a wooden truck cabin — the topmost is the only locked. My wife helps, sitting on top of it, but I ask her not to make fun of me as I’m worried about my pets inside: a little arrangement carefully made of light bulbs, moss, and sticks, with a little spider sealed up in each one. It’s been so long that all the moss that which lived is dark green, and all that died is bleached white. One of the spiders comes out and waves, which warms my heart (but actually only proves the seal wasn’t good enough and this might not even be the same spider). I look inside a nearby bag and discover it’s full of my stuff I’d forgotten about, junk drawer items and the like. It’s been so long, I might use this stuff again.

I decide I’m going to find and buy this place. After this decision, what happens may be time travel, or it could be searching to repeat the luck of finding the place but with a similar house.

I get a hint to search near “Cold Key” creek, in southern California or Arizona. The climate isn’t what I’d want to settle down, but maybe the community I find will be a bit cooler. Peeking in through a window in the rocky canyonside, I spot my first girlfriend. I pause time by snapping my fingers; everything remains still except her — her head looks like my pet naked rat Nüdl, or an Afghan hound, although I don’t note her different appearance at the time.

Working my way down the track of the creek, I come across a run-down desert community with a few empty buildings. One beige chunky run-down Victorian seems exactly like the old place, but for some reason I pass it by (maybe I can’t follow the same timeline precisely?), looking around the rest of the dusty neighborhood. I spot what could be a futuristic mosque, emerging in rendered shapes piece-by-piece from the ground, black ovoids stacking through each other to build up something like a stepped classical colonnade.

Eventually I find a torn-up former restaurant kitchen, a little low-slung 1-story on a concrete lot, that I preternaturally perceive as correct. It’s crowded with people trying to plan things together, my friends and collaborators. I’m bustling in the middle with them, trying to squeeze through what was the kitchen service window and the hole in the structure (to it’s right) where a door was removed. There’s a cardboard box of stuff there which I recognize as mine, my first teapot from CostPlus, the white one, and an oddly shaped pitcher with a flat-top handle and beak-like pour-spout — one that has a name that I don’t recall.

Dream Journal


A group of tiny look-alike rats has sneaked their way into our home. I pick up a small one, it’s blocky, with chunky, almost gargoyle-like features. Henry chases one of them. I find many of them in a small 10-gallon plastic cage, noting that these wild intruders each appear be a different take on our existing rats.

Meanwhile, one of our own rats is missing (that we don’t have in waking reality) named Amethyst. I’d almost forgotten about him/her, but they haven’t been seen in weeks. We suspect it ran off.

Dream Journal

Freeing Pets of Many Sizes

A friendly stubby pet caterpillar, the last of my edible caterpillars. I release him in the rosebushes on the side of the Cathedral City house, near my parent’s bedroom, hoping that he reproduces someday. Later I find him in a planter in the very moist ground (so moist it’s nearly half-full with water). Nearby the hole, in the hedgerow, I find a pet parrot and hamsters that were also released some time ago.

I check on the status of a mouse cage, with very tiny mice — about the size of a pill capsule. The original two have indeed started breeding, with minuscule little mice crawlers lodged in the corners of their cotton-stuffed plexiglas half-shoebox cage.

A beluga whale in a backyard pool? Something like a Christmas wish I made as a child, which my parents had to convince me wasn’t a good idea.

Tracking a feral neighborhood horse outside the Cathedral City house. Driving with my dad in a Mercedes, his Mercedes, we finally find it upon reaching the end of our court, across from a wide lake on the other side of the main road. I say “Great! You know what you can do now? Leave it alone.” Dad leaves car idling at end of the street, takes off for work via different method. Patrick drives car back slowly along the narrow, overgrown court. The neighbor’s tree branches hang low enough that they block their house lights from reaching across the street. A neighbor woman has poor personal boundaries and tries to demonstrate where the light would be going, by entering into the house on the other side of the street.

Dream Journal

The New Apartment

On a public street near a riverbank somewhere downtown, things appear neglected and abandoned. Around the corner there’s a grand old white-columned courthouse that has seen better days. Old cars rust outside industrial-sized garages — no people can be seen. I’m there to move into the neighborhood. Eventually, with time, the residents show themselves. It’s a bit of an initiation they do.

In the living space I settle into there’s a rat cage, not much bigger than a 10-gallon terrarium, but which is decorated beautifully with plant clippings and dry moss. Around the corner in this strangely welcoming squat group-style apartment is a leopard in small cage. It’s at first unfriendly, even hostile. Then one day it asks to be handled and is so friendly I almost let it escape by rolling through a crunchy plastic carry-out box.

Working on a student project of some kind, I take figurines of the evil Mongol leader from Mulan and add a jet-pack. Mostly, this doesn’t result in its limbs being melted off — mostly. Heph, my partner, does a much more diligent job and regales us with a moving story (which I watch through a gap underneath the rat cage). Blake is also living here, and I recall it being her birthday. The dream ends outside in a oddly-shaped triangular parcel, cars parked tight, with stalagmites of rust rising out of the ground.