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Dream Journal

Dinosaur Footprints and Thrift Store Gift

Viewed from above, I can see that my childhood friend Robbie T.’s house on Desert Inn road is only a few hundred feet, by air, from a dinosaur excavation exhibit/museum. The several blocks in between are separated by a main thoroughfare but it’s still surprising that we never realized when we were kids.

My wife and I take the subway there (a short trip) and while exiting the station on a short connecting dirt path, with scrubby but pretty green nature on the side, I momentarily think we’ve angered a guy walking behind us. He’s muttering something loudly and it takes an anxious second to realize he’s talking to his directions via headset.

The museum is outdoors, the ground muddy under a sky of brisk blue. There’s preserved dinosaur footprints and maybe puddles. I prod downward with a stick as to measure depth. A detectable but unidentifiable smell is then on the stick, a nearby elder volunteers the information that they smell like The Devil (like the tarot card, not anything recognizably satanic or evil).

A sizable chunk of my back molar comes out and I sigh, looking at it in my hand. It’s been going on awhile without being addressed, falling away in pieces so it’s down to nub. No one around me seems to care or notice.

We set our pet rats to free roam loose in our home, halfway hoping they can find some wild ones. (Yesterday I saw a whole group of rats in the New York subway.)

In a thrift store I run, I prevent an old friend from buying my warm comfy German army jacket for $4. I actually chase her off, hoping she isn’t too upset despite appearances. The friend is either Meg from college (who played Columbia in Rocky Horror) or Amy Pollard from middle school (whose birthday was on Christmas). Soon I reveal a surprise gift for her — the jacket, which had a hole in the lining around the armpit, I completely repaired. Now I can give a perfectly functional jacket to her for free! Which might even make up for how I treated her in the store before. (The large atrium room reminds me of the Temple of Dendur in The Met, which I didn’t visit until today. And hadn’t even planned on seeing today.)

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Dream Journal

Doing Nothing, Variations

In a shared closet passing in-between rooms I discover a few very cute baby rats. It’s in a house that resembles my childhood home, making this my parent’s master bedroom closet.

I go to search for my buzz razor. My sister Alia is using it to cut her hair in the hallway using a mirror. I know better than to interrupt something like that. Still the same house.

Leaving a hotel, while our arms are full of travel gear, my wife decides she wants to check out the inside of a specific hotel room. She jimmies open the lock and saunters around, proceeding to lie down on a bed. We’re spending a little too long and I start to get worried that she’ll fall asleep, and begin complaining to her. I’m starting to suspect that there’s more to her motives than mere idle curiosity.


Map-based naval video game where the strategy to advance is unclear. A long featureless coast with a small inland lagoon. Beach waves endlessly repeating. Patiently, I expend a disgraceful time not doing much in the game. Not particularly minding, either. I don’t notice the blocks of cash at southeast corner until after I exit the map, immediately realizing that was probably the way to win.

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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.

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Dream Journal

Vacuuming as a Distraction

I’m on my way to vacuum our multi-story rat cage. On the way I get distracted by vacuuming the subway. A good deed for sure, but also a way to avoid cleaning the rat cage for now. Across the wide open tile floor near a set of frozen cement stairs, an official walks toward me. I think I’m about to get a talking to but he just walks past me. He picks up a suction attachment I unknowingly dropped when I switched to my weed whacking attachment, handing it back to me.

Occasionally I find thick squarish mussels with meat still inside. Recently someone received them as a scavenging reward, but didn’t/couldn’t open them.


The hobbit, Frodo, is excited to visit his favorite bar, The Green Dragon.

Kristin McConnell is helpfully demonstrating an exercise for strippers, flipping gymnastically off of a corner countertop.

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Dream Journal

Pet Store Rattie Daycare Thievery

Cozy inside during a bright summer day. Watching pleasant projector slides (letters with cool patterns punched within) hanging out with a kid just to pass the time. It could be babysitting, but we’re chill enough it doesn’t feel that way. Elsewhere, other adults fret and work preparing for something while we have an idyll.

On the the kitchen counter (like my childhood home) I find the last crab claw left out. I clean it out and wonder if I should ask if it was left there for a reason.

At a pet store, I’ve dropped off
my rats Martin and his same-age buddies in a high wooden display cage. We successfully bet no one would try to buy them. I break them out despite being directly across from the young clerk, essentially treating the store like rattie day care. I walk right out — stealing my own rats back from where I didn’t even ask to stash them.

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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.

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Dream Journal

Documenting Early Space Ecosystem

I have let several rats stay in our house while we’re away. When we return, we collect as many as we can — a cute disorderly pile of all different ages, since they unexpectedly bred. We now have a huge new assortment of genetic diversity, though not all of it good. Some even have exposed parts of their skulls, jawlines sticking through flesh. I spot one youngster in the center who already appears mummified.

Outside I film a bunch of short clips documenting the early 1960s ecosystem of space — all the different planes and support craft, the flight patterns, surprising new noises, ground facilities. Finally I spot an aircraft that has a steep trajectory, going higher than the others, and you can see it break an unseen barrier in the sky. Gauzy ripples spread out as if on the surface of a plastic greenhouse tent.

I’m standing near a gate in a chainlink fence when I suddenly notice my old boss Chicken John approaching. He’s grumbling to himself and basically ignores me. He starts barking instructions to his assistant (maybe Jimmy). There’s something nefarious in the tone of what I overhear and I start to suspect he’s planning to burn down his bar/grocery store, The Odeon. I begin to record audio on my phone, uncertain what I’d want to do with it if I were right.

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Dream Journal

A Day at our New Home in the Country

A country house just off a main road somewhere small, rural California, where we’ve moved. My wife and I still have a landlord but are overall happy finally settled into the new place.

It’s bright midday and I seal up our younger rats, Pierre & Roscoe, making sure to stretch the three wire cage doors so the locks are tight.

Outside it’s so much quieter than the city. I ponder the neighborhood as I gaze down the dusty street where ours is the corner house. I haven’t fully explored the area yet. Feels like a hot day, summer. I observe a distinction with the city I never thought of before: here, people are spread out enough that you kind of miss them, back in the city it was so packed that you often like people less because there’s already too many of them.

All our old stuff made it there but most things still need arranging. A few items are out on the grassy brown lawn, or under a covered porch with built-in brick planting beds. Our building is old, and has a name on a vertical sign with green letters — something that sounds like a Chinese restaurant. There’s a smaller sign underneath for wayward out-of-towners, clarifying that it’s just an old name, this is a house, and they can find an actual restaurant a couple lanes down.

Back inside, I see Roscoe is out of his cage. I’m sure I locked it securely, and sure enough I see he’s managed to bend several wire metal bars at the side of the cage! I tell my wife and we’re not sure what to do. There’s a square patch of grass on the lawn where the cage would fit, and be blocked off securely, but the ratties might easily get overheated in the sun.

Someone reveals something about my parents I didn’t know (this part is confusing in retrospect as it’s a persona shift, perspective remains continuous, but the backstory isn’t from my l life). When I was first adopted, my parents kept me in this very house. They were inept, and couldn’t keep things up, to the point where they couldn’t keep me either. They only got me back much later, though I was too young to remember any of this.

Inside a few of us (guests and I) are playing around, searching through storage areas in the house. We’re also in part of a lobby for some unnamed organization, a nexus accessible from many locations. There’s a dried mud sculpture, arched and abstract, looking like the letter Π hunkering in the near distance. Old refrigerators containing long-term food stocks hold many curious root vegetables. Some are still viable, and I take one from the drawer with a 3-foot long taproot and swallow it down to the base as a trick.

Danny Glover is there among us, and soon after I’m beside him at a stone sink (I can think of no connection I have with Danny Glover, his presence is puzzling upon consideration). When I pull the long root out of my throat, the thin length ending in a tangled clump, I realize that it could still be planted in the dirt outside. Whether it’s the worse for wear being in contact with my stomach acid for an extended time, I simply won’t know until I bury it in a garden bed.

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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).

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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.