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Dream Journal

Time Travel Gift, Footrace with Borrowed Kid

Meeting my late twenties friend Jimmy near an empty triangular lot. A lone fancy metal fence is all that remains of whatever was here before. Almost like a neighborhood in my town of San Francisco I don’t go to very often, maybe North Beach. Worn in, familiar, yet strange and novel. Jimmy proceeds to explain an unusual offer — him volunteering to travel back in time to when I was in college in 2004, leaving a very specific object for me to find. It’s a set of skinny and colorful tarot cards (that I didn’t consider much at the time but that proved important over the years since). This is an exciting possibility and explains so much — I gave those cards to myself! I relive my younger experience on a back road, taking an officially closed rural roadway, livestock paddocks on both sides, unfolding a beat-up cardboard box and scavenging the stuff inside. Holding up one of the special holographic cards in the pack. This act will pass it on to my past self, forming a causal loop.

In the dream this is a real history and I feel it is prophetic… perhaps prophetic in reverse, in that it reveals the past. I bolt awake at 6 am, knowing the details are important and this is a valuable dream to remember. But I managed to get back to sleep and continue some of the narrative, the feeling, the aesthetic.

In a partially outdoor auditorium walking amidst a large audience. Talking with my wife about Star wars in a quiet way but I still get shushed by a single person. Chagrined that anyone thinks it’s inappropriate, but also angry at the single complainer, I loudly announce I’ll be quiet if whoever shushed me shows themselves. A slightly older man on the balcony (perhaps a long-ago punk in his, reminds me of a few Gen Xers I know) seems to acknowledge me by being extra grumpy. I rise up to his balcony level seat and confront his crossed arms with a challenging look. It ends in a stalemate; the rest of the auditorium seems to ignore us.

While seated in the auditorium watching whatever performance or presentation is happening, someone’s young toddler sits decides (unannounced) to sit just below my knees. There’s a feeling of being in the 1980s, though it’s difficult to pin down why, perhaps the moment reminding me inexplicably of my own childhood — as if I could have done the same thing. Though at first I’m hesitant on account of whatever the parents could think, once I make known that I don’t mind, the kid turns out to be pretty fun. The parents seem happy to have her off their hands for a bit, but none of us have an idea why she picked me to hang out with. I end up participating with her (on behalf of a parent) in a footrace/obstacle course down a mountainside. Sometimes I carry her on my shoulders but I also manage the tight rocky turns with a stroller.

I decide near the end of the race to give up. Jenn Alex, an artist friend I know, nearest the finish line of this skating/skiing race, soon wins. Reflecting on how the race has changed things, my home seems emptier now; I can imagine leaving and not minding much. I idly discuss a certain brand of hardware store and how it’s different at every location, stocked with different items at different locations for a personal touch. I like it but the person I’m talking to is frustrated they can’t just go anywhere and find what they expect. No one is around as I return back through a window in standalone wall, this part of obstacle course having been passed already and now empty of other competitors.

I’m proceeding in reverse through the course as if to undo the entire thread. It’s now treated more like a video game, with levels and challenges I’m supposed to complete. I peek from underneath a table to examine a distinct checkered cap, at this point expecting and wishing to avoid another challenge. Sure enough there are new enemies to defeat, ones I recognize as the palette-swapped game assets from an earlier class of undead enemies. Now
they are supposedly flying Hogwarts wizards, with the unique trait of being named individuals. They disappear as they’re defeated just the same. The name that sticks with me: Peter Tarn.

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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

On the Origin of Terminators

An incident on November 18. 1970: an unpaved side road in Japan. Gritty, tan, a little downhill and out of sight from the main road. A few joggers, maybe military, going one direction, while a vehicle travels another. The nature of that vehicle is unclear; could be a forklift, some military specialty unit, utility/construction equipment. It’s driven by a single driver who sits not quite in front… with not quite a clear view. What happens next is the subject of years of investigation and litigation. The vehicle and the joggers collide head-on, full speed, in the middle of a clear day, on a straight stretch of road, with adequate signage, no intoxicants involved… the list goes on.

I’m there to watch it in some abstract form. I don’t get the impression that I’m viewing a re-enactment or simulation, rather I feel like the scene I view is in fact better than any from the years of inquiry — that is, better than what those present saw. And I feel like I know what caused it, because in my time it’s been fixed: human inattention. My purpose in viewing these records is to write an unobtrusive message to send back in time via the obscurity of the early internet, yet an obvious warning for those looking for it. It can’t be too specific, though it might change events; this may or may not be paradoxical. But the reason I can send things back in time (and the reason this incident is so important) is that I live in a world with Terminators, a superior general artificial intelligence. In their exponentially sophisticated causal analysis, this is the inflection point where they determined AI became a priority for humanity. This is their own origin story.

I’m now in the present day or near future, going with my wife to a gathering at our old stomping ground The Dark Room on Mission street, here in San Francisco. I’ve rarely been here during daylight. I notice a curious architectural detail: atop the Spanish-style façade is a short half-cylinder crowned with a short half dome. Adorned with a mosaic tile pattern, it turns to reflect light from any angle into the shaft of a skylight. A number of people show up about the same time as us, several old SF and Chicken John friends all with large bulk food boxes. I open one that my friend Abbie brought, a heavy flat of granola bars, and snack on some tasty loose grains that got compressed inside the box. My wife reminds me (in question form) if I know why we’re here — because our downstairs neighbor Rhiannon’s mom (Mable) has moved back to the country and wanted to go in on a bunch of bulk items. Rhiannon, who worked at the Dark Room with me once upon a time, puts on one of the Terminator movies on the Dark Room’s big screen for background ambiance. This is one I haven’t seen before, Terminator 5 or 6. I find it much much more ambling and philosophical than its predecessors.

Watching the film more intently, it shows how a Terminator always was a Terminator, and as an example shows two in their previous form: an alien’s massive tendril-like ribs vibrating in a museum, and a running almost toy-like tyrannosaur robot.

In my hypnogogic awakening state I piece together the logic and importance of the story, how the mass human suffering — the all the lengthy legal wrangling, the senselessness, from this and countless other cases — focused humanity’s intentions into the creation of intelligent machines. It strikes me also that the first Terminator movies were full of fear, but the later ones I saw were musing and exploring what it would mean if the idea were made real.

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Dream Journal

Russian LGBT, Cartoon Dog for Time Travelers

In my teenage bedroom. A river of ghosts, like a circular racetrack. From the direction of the closet someone says say “that’s us”, then two hand-carved reggae dolls kiss.

(I don’t remember what this means, but: reincarnated as ghost and as colored lights, eaten by a shark to complete the dream sequence.)

Accusing Putin of being gay due to his homophobia, but contemplating the ethics of outing someone even when they’re hurting their whole community. I think this while I’m scraping flakes and microSD cards off of my red metal thermos/cup. Congressional Democrats now have the push to reconsider a Russian LGBT bill, while I look over a box of bottles.

Still in the bedroom, I ask a future traveler as he prepares to return, “hey have you heard of the 80s cartoon — sorry, 1980s kid’s cartoon movie All Dogs Go To Heaven”? I gesture toward two stickers on a filling cabine, different characters named Union Jack: one an actual British person, one a floppy-eared dog from that movie. To prove my point, the time traveler does recognize the dog.

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Dream Journal

Ol’ Time-Traveling Kinky Mr. Rogers

Taking others to see a young paraplegic gymnast, someone I worked with in another dream or movie. She can land from cliffside high bars into a cliffside cave, it’s rock walls patched up with decrepit tile. It reminds me of secretive passages of the Moiety resistance from the game Riven.

I look into a mirror and I’m an older version of my friend Spy. I’m feeling happy, pleasantly humbled, and I speak of how it’s possible to time travel — although you always make a mess. Connects with a quote I read yesterday from Roseanne Barr (of all people) who said “I do Kabbalistic meditation. It’s not unlike time travel; it can change the past and not just the future. You can look at what was lost and go beyond the grief of what was lost.”

Another odd and wonderful segment of the dream: receiving advice on both leather-working and kink relationships from the one and only Mr. Fred “McFeely” Rogers.

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Dream Journal

A Timeless Dream, Rotating Like a Clock

Non-linear, a dream in many parts yet all the same part. A place that could be called a wonderland.

A walk up a long ramp, a balding Bartolomeo de Las Casas or Samuel Tonsure is there among rough-hewn and brightly painted railings, tables, chairs, like being in cuckoo clock made in Mexico. He is St. Jerome, as far as I know, but his bald head and toga remind me of Aeschylus. Though he is an old teacher, because of the strange non-linear nature of this dream (all is happening at once, or can be re-ordered) I’m able to provide learning to him. It is settled at some point that we are something like the same person, if time-dislocated… I am to become him, or him me.

South Park kids are in this dream too. Perhaps they are leading a philosophical insurrection, or turning the hands of a clock that does not itself move, but moves all the time around it. This is the pivot, and the story returns to St. Jerome, who through further work is now a glossy porcelain dinner tray. His venerable cranium emerges from a moat, a bit like a well-heeled origami boat.

It was a late night and I slept between my wife and a friend. Something like a distillation of beliefs, some out-of-bounds experience, a timeless time travel, suffused this dream. When I awoke I knew exactly what it meant (I still do) but not any words to describe or reflect its true structure. I had to wait for the opportunity to write it down, which was after I’d slipped unexpectedly into a fitful, hot nap in a replica Arctic hermit’s hut. On the undersized fur-covered bed, my foot jerked and kicked over a glass kerosene lamp, which shattered on the dusty floor. I cleaned it though, had the will to pay for it too. I’m suspicious enough to wonder about a subconscious motive for such an action…