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Dream Journal

Cafes and Street Crossings, A Queen, Sexy Teens

In a recent tabloid news cycle, the question arises of whether teen stars Alia Shawkat and Michael Cera slept together while filming on location for Arrested Development. I happen to know they did — because one of my earlist jobs was as their adult minder on set. Obviously this makes me reticent to confirm it to anyone, but I’m excited to know something relevant.

In fact, I’m inspired to try to find the beautiful valley where we filmed, just inland from the Bay Area in California. It had a unique self-contained ecology. I have intense memories of clambering through dense acacia-like trees not far from the dusty road. Their branches and trunks were covered in short leaves. Everything had an impossibly sunny cast, like the ideal of a summer day.

There’s a cafe in Portland I frequent, a place with tall glass windows and wood banisters seperating the booths. After getting the attention of one of the baristas (who know me) I suggest that I might set up a little mini-golf installation. This would be mutually beneficial, as the cafe needs regular changes of its decor to keep things fresh, and I would get a bit of income from renting equipment. I think they’re going to agree to the deal — I don’t tell them I don’t have any of the materials yet.

Leaving the cafe I cross the street outside, noticing halfway across there’s a throng of people and unusual hubbub ahead. Unknown to me, Queen Elizabeth is making a visit in town and just passed this way. I cross a sidewalk (and a little hedgerow maze entrance) that was quite recently occupied by royalty.

Another sidewalk cafe, this one a touristy cafe in downtown San Francisco. Normally it has computers for travelers to use but it’s been under renovation. One day I start pretending I work there — I just keep showing up and no one questions it. I’m fond of the place, but I also want to keep an eye out and surreptitiously learn anything I can.

After working (for free) one day, I get tired and decide to take off for the evening. I ask my new work friend if they fancy a bit of the Irish Castle, a 102 year old entertainment venue across the street. They’re game, but instead of crossing directly they lead me the longer way around the block. We arrive through the entrance of a quaint 80s mall (still much postdating the Irish Castle, though) and I notice our flat fancy shoes are slidey on the tile floor. We can use them almost like roller skates. My friend and I race and they’re in first the whole time. I couldn’t tell if I’m letting them win or they’re simply very talented at this.

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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

Underbed Time Travel Shoes

“Darkside”, a chunky playful goth girl with a repeated color theme of black and red. Posing for a very cool elaborate portrait above a planet, red stars in the background of space.


Shoes are lined up underneath the far edge of a bed in a specially-rented hotel room. The room is open on two sides (perhaps glass walls) overlooking a gorge. The shoes each represent a different person’s important incident in the past, an accident, a drive-by, a threesome, an adoption. Having just discovered them incidentally I’m surprised when my work partner tells me they’re what we came for: they can be used to time travel. Each pair can flip into a specific instance of the far future.


I’m a detective in a long, darkened townhouse belonging to a married Armenian couple named Kevita ( kev-it-uh) & Kevita. Next door, they also run a shop that sells the drink, Kevita. We’re searching the home as part of their arrest, though I don’t consider them criminals and I’m not particularly concerned.

My partner passes through the space between a bed and a wall no problem. But I instinctively feel its too narrow. Crawling underneath the bed I follow a cord, where I notice it glows. Sure enough it leads to something dangerous though I don’t remember anything of its nature.

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Dream Journal

Nightmare Picking Out Clothes

My wife is in the cab of our semitruck parked on 24th Street in our neighborhood, trying to start it up. It’s cargo is filled with furniture and things, could be a resale company or perhaps a home. As I watch from a distance safe to give directions, it quickly spins out of control, circling into stuff nearby and jumping the sidewalk.

Visiting a docked boat restaurant when I discover it’s owned by someone I know and watch on YouTube. His first name is Eduardo. In the adjoining walled sideyard, he raises livestock fowl. I count and observe groups of birds of various ages before I realize how many there are. The number I recall is 2000! He sets up to broadcast a YouTube video of eight hours of ducks marching in a huge circle — at which point I sneak out, to avoid explaining why I myself am not going to watch ducks marching that long.

On my way off the boat I encounter Chicken John, who is located behind me while I wait for the bathroom. I take the initiative and, in such a way that we don’t have to acknowledge how we know each other, I give him a hug. This cleverly avoids any possible awkwardness.

Some time later I’m in a long group cabin. Two rows of squares are taped on the floor to mark out individual sleeping areas. There’s a vibe similar to in the movie “Midsommar”, kind of culty, and the sun barely sets. Before bed my wife asks for me to fetch the teardrop-shaped blue shoes from the window ledge. Exasperated, I eventually find what she meant, though they’re neither shaped like teardrops or blue.

I awake feeling as if I’ve barely slept. A group gathering is about to begin up the hill from cabin, visible beyond an open wall. Everyone else has already left. There are vague instructions to “dress comfortably and nice” but they pointedly don’t tell us what the event will actually entail. Quickly, I feel overwhelmed –by the number of decisions so early, and the knowledge that everyone is already waiting for me to show up. It’s a feeling that I’ve failed before I’ve begun. Why would anyone force you into a situation like this as soon as you woke up? I wake up myself then, convulsing and dry-crying against one of the pillows in bed.

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Dream Journal

Good Old Burning Man, I Suppose

Invited back to Burning Man, with the camp my sister stays at. They last stayed in 2015 — it doesn’t seem so long ago.

When I first get into camp I find a few emblems lying on the ground at he entrance. My old rabbit fur bag of elfstones (that I carried in middle school) appears to be there, as well as some important books from my past.

The camp is indoor and outdoor. There’s a book counter in our camp, and the bookseller asks me if I know that a photo of mine is currently first place in a competition. He seems to be clued in to the unusualness of the situation, and I can’t fully recall if it’s a photo I did take, but I definitely can’t remember submitting it. He reminds me of my wife’s dad’s friend, Loren.

Nice slow conversation with friends in our camp about bringing a good smartphone camera to Burning Man. Mickey is there, my sister Alia too, I even notice my dad sitting at the end of a table — had hung out with him without even realizing he was my dad.

The photo from the competition comes out: a very clear photo of statuary in a twisting wood, the lighting a deep velvety eerie calm midnight. Studying it closely, the sensation forms of how the angle, framing, color treatment, and more are recognizably my style. It must have been made several years ago now.

I help haul out stuff we’ve brought this year, much of it packed into a rundown old ’70s luxury car (one of those big fat Buicks or Cadillacs) parked on the roadside exactly behind the spot where I parked last time. After that long discussion on phone cameras earlier I happen to uncover an old Motorola flip-phone. Though only here for novelty purposes, it proves worthy of close examination — a true artifact. Somehow I finally appreciate just how many individual technological bits and pieces were sorted out in its making.

The chaos of the festival is just coming into swing, though it’s early yet… and a bit more reserved than I remember. I watch a procession of long mechanical costumes march up a slope toward us. An articulated worm-dragon, I realize, was probably made with help from my friends Don & Tracy.

Mickey is futzing around camp, pensively searching for a special spiritual emblem of his that’s missing. Meanwhile I’m feeling annoyed as the bookseller has closed shop early, and without notice. I could’ve asked him about the emblem — I’m worried a book I traded could’ve contained (or perhaps was) Mickey’s cherished talisman.

We settle down together at a table, playing some emulated old video games. Mickey brings my heavy motorcycle boots over and sets them nearby, which bothers me until I understand he wants them as a cool prop for his fighter jet game. Following that is yet another emotional conversation, both of us worried about different things. It strikes me suddenly that we’re both distraught somehow yet still doing exactly what we want — this is a true vacation, with no genuine adult responsibilities, and we’re both literally playing Nintendo just as we would in our childhood. (Though, odd detail: I have a Steam Controller and he’s still using a keyboard and mouse.) Our mood improves immensely after this observation is made. Ironically but perhaps unsurprisingly, when I unpause my game it crashes to the JavaScript backend. One can only sigh, or laugh, and wonder at the predictability of such things.

The bookseller returns unexpectedly soon afterward, having only taken an evening break.


The music playing in my head, as I woke up and tried to remember as much as I could: N.O.H.A. – Do You Know

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Dream Journal

Going to a Beachside Dentist, Much Preparation

I’m getting woken up for a dentist appointment, by a guy I barely know, who’s been asked to do it as a favor. I tell him I’ve got to write my dreams down first and I’ll be 15 minutes. (Coincidentally, I’m actually woken about 15 minutes later by a loud, stinky truck outside my bedroom window.)

I speak with a therapist in a little room pod, in preparation for the procedure. I feel the need rather quickly to break professional courtesy to actually talk philosophy with her as an individual. She seems visibly exhausted to be forced to engage as vulnerable and human, and to delve into her personal views.

Thereafter, a big black girl helps walk me to (or from) the seaside in the evening — where the dentist procedure will be. I expect it’ll be really nice to watch the sunset during the course of it. I notice that she has the same limp as I do at this moment, in her left leg, and I offer to massage it once we find a stopping point to take a break. She forgoes a chair for whatever reason, lying down, and I start at her still shoe-clad feet and move around to her stiff calves and thighs. I tell her to let me know if she wants more or less pressure. She keeps asking for lighter and lighter touches, as if the massage is making her more sensitive and tense, but she never expresses any desire for me to stop.

I gather shoes I’ll need during and after the procedure. One pair is green and yellow, like a thrift store pair from Brazil I had long ago. I spot an old classic iPod of mine on the ground, wrapped in earbuds. While picking up my mail, I notice that a postbox near the top (for the group hostel/school I’m associated with) has been overstuffed, too full to close. I inspect the economy size bag of incense inside, labelled “Frogge & Kastom”, pilfering a few sticks, feeling that they won’t be missed. I try not to feel too guilty about it.

Bang! The truck outside my window loudly backfires. I’m irredeemably awake.

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Dream Journal

Bathroom Hummingbird

I come out of the bathroom, and a hummingbird follows me out, perching on my shoulder.

$36 shoes. Comes with an abuse form filled out during a factory inspection.