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Dream Journal

Across Hand Island

Traversing an island shaped like a hand, an island choked in dense jungle and enclosed by steep rocky cliffs and lengthy white-sand beaches, an island which feels isolated on a vast and rarely-traveled ocean. This isn’t the Caribbean or anywhere of the Pacific which I’ve known so well (I’ve never touched any ocean except the Pacific, as I discussed only yesterday — relevant because my wife recently returned from a trip to Florida). I wonder if this unfamiliar hand-shaped dot on a map is somewhere southeast Asian, or even out in the Indian Ocean, somewhere I’ve never dreamt of before. Perhaps I had this impression because my sprightly companion was a Vietnamese woman. I’m glad to have her as the terrain is dense and confusing, and I’ve unthinkingly chosen a needlessly convoluted route. We opt instead for her suggested shortcut through one of the creases between what would be the palm and the ring finger — a piece of human anatomy that I’m sure has a name, but a name which apparently I’ve never learned and so can’t use. It’s hand-shaped, down to the lines.

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Dream Journal

Rewatching Avonlea

Show up to get a ticket on a Russian train. I’ve been staying at a hostel nearby so I can leave when convenient. I show up as it’s pulling into the station, but the interface of the ticket machine proves fiddly and I have difficulty working with the Russian interface. I’m trying to select St Petersburg, getting the shorthand wrong, having to swap destination with current location. The train is unusually prompt and pulls away in an absurdly brief one or two minutes. Last time it was in the station for about half an hour. I’m very, very mad, finding myself awake in bed at 6 a.m. I quell my rage with a sleep mask.


In a pool (a specific corner of a pool much like my family’s in my childhood home) doing a baptism ritual for an infant — something to bless America, I think. A wedge of lime is carefully melted down on all the exposed surfaces to make it smooth as possible. The lime is delicately anointed on the baby’s forehead. Perhaps it was my own disinterest, but I wish it had been better explained.

Watching episodes of the old TV show “Avonlea” pen-pal style with my wife. There’s a scene where the plucky kids start on a gravelly Canadian beach and cross an open water channel on a dingy, following the fin of a whale cutting through the water. It’s a scene that I made and filmed myself, somehow. I remember not realizing how pretty summers are in that part of Canada.

Meanwhile I’m trying to explain something to my wife after she inquires how to do it, The solution I attempt is to send her a gray t-shirt, scrawling a message across it in pencil. Proves itself difficult to write on though; I end up making the lines too close together, and the capital letters are too blocky. While this is going on, I think I can hear her listening to Kate Bush songs.

Dream ends with me wanting to get back the three microphones I lent her. She’s never ended up using them, and I want them again to use in programming my code. My wife wakes me up to bid farewell on her way to work, and I inquire about these microphones. She jokingly confirms she won’t be giving them back.

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Dream Journal

Third Trip back to Australia

My wife and I manage to cobble together enough money to take a 6-day vacation to Melbourne, Australia. It’s now my third trip to the continent, also the shortest (I must be counting some other dream I’ve had in the past, perhaps I can even remember which one). I relish showing my wife around some of the old places I used to go, but it’s difficult to remember exactly where they are now as it’s been so long — if they’re still there at all. The Friendlies Hostel somewhere in the CBD comes to mind. So does Mt. Helen, which somehow seems like one single pioneer-era street.

In the far back of a long narrow resort, I help myself to the cups in the back storeroom. Service cups for the on-site restaurant, that is. I run into my friend Oz and we do some opportunistic kissing.

Seen from resting position on a couch (but not my couch) I spot my rat Bertie. Also a checkerboard pattern rat, some rattie associate which somehow doesn’t strike me as odd.

I tale bounding leaps across a courtyard up to the grid-pane windows of a Victorian house. In that brief moment, I spot two old cats keeping watch.

In our apartment, I have to distract my wife to keep her from looking in our bathroom. I just saw that her girlfriend has left an N64 cartridge which is supposed to be a surprise present.

I do a double-take at a drinking fountain after I notice that someone (maybe me) put a discarded penis in the drainage hole up top. You can just make out the glans. Shortly after, I meet a cute femme enby named MidJourney who is riding bike. Reminds me of a very put-together clean new Tilde Ann (someone I knew and shared a hot tub with long ago. I ride along behind her. She’s notably meaner than most people I’d consider being around, but we converse and make fun repartee. An unusually caustic friendship but it seems we do like each other.

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Dream Journal

Bad Sleep: Sutra of BigBlueBirds

Repeatedly throughout the night, I startle myself into wakefulness. I seem to unerringly repeat a cycle of soothing myself and finding at the end of that process that I’ve now fully pieced together an abstract but alarming self-truth — a truth which worries me enough to rouse myself. Perhaps in fewer words, I keep just getting to sleep but then thinking I’m probably just a big loser. Even fewer words: the sleep? Real bad.

But with diligence, once my “morning-like” arising becomes inevitable and imminent, I manage to establish: well, I must’ve slept a little, because I can remember at least a few different scraps from my dream. Or was it two dreams? Note: how long have I been writing these, and I never worried myself about dream plurals? I captured a little dreamtime, from the other side, and here that just means I really went there.


The ledge of a steep, scenic, tropical vista. I’m on a bus, riding up a road to a zoo. Bit like the road up to the Oakland Zoo, where I went not long ago with a few friends and their babies. The bus is moving toward the left (relative to my view out the window). Finally, I spot what I came here to see: giant birds nesting on the edge of the cliff, the same cliff on whose ledge our bus is driving up, with the cliff’s face behind us. It sounds silly but these birds look like… like giant puffy bluebirds. I’ll never get this across to anyone but myself (no one else has seen this, unless I’m mistaken) so this part is only for future me: dude those fuckers were fucking majestic.

I had a brief moment of surprise at how impressive they were. I mean, I came all this way for them but I couldn’t know till I was really there. And I called out impulsively like a kid, “It’s Marahute! Just like Marahute in the movie!” It immediately occurred to me that the other passengers on the bus, mostly young kids under ten, probably had no idea what I meant. It’s from when I was a kid. So for those kids: Marahute was the name of a gigantic eagle who was in a cartoon movie called Rescuers Down Under. I liked it as a kid. I mean, I still like it, but I liked it then too. Marahute had this great nest on a steep cliff that seemed surprisingly cozy (well, cozy for a giant eagle). So she really was kinda like these birds. Giant bluebirds nesting right in front of me, and me riding comfortably past so many different ones all in a long row. Man, that still sounds so cool. It kinda was.

The other dream parts were less spectacular. Once off the bus, someone took my hammock (or chair?) and put it as part of an exclusive luxury area of parked buses. I wasn’t supposed to go there necessarily; everything about the situation was confusing. So I’m processing this annoying tiny dilemma instead of seeing stuff at this cool zoo. Well I assume it’s cool; those BigBlueBirds were all I saw of it as far as I remember. Hey, does anyone know if the people in charge of this bus area, this area, that people know that hammock there is just being borrowed? Would it be possible for someone, preferably with authority to — sorry I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t, I’m having a hard time sorting out my understanding here, I didn’t mean… just, do you think someone could please make sure the private renters know I should get that hammock back? I can come back later if I know when.


This transitions somehow. If I’m guessing, I went back on a bus and the interior of the bus became the interior of a narrow apartment living room. A new apartment, my apartment, an apartment which specifically is not the one I’m living in now in non-dreamtime. But it had the same name. And we got it through some kind of arrangement, a swap or deal or something, giving up the old one. That old one is where I’m currently writing this dream down in bed. And I’m crying. Big pitiful tears, crying in my own living room, sad because I feel like this place is so, so much worse. Worse for me. Because I had the old one, once. The room here has smaller windows that nevertheless look out from every corner. A robust table, some generic vases. I think of it not as a living room, my living room, but the room with the mural. The bottom half of every wall is painted with a repeating design, of tropical leaves with each leaf a different color — but it just strikes me as amateurish, or incomplete, maybe abandoned. I feel like it should spark joy but it doesn’t. Coincidentally the mural was painted by this Jewish musician here in SF, somebody cool who I used to think I could be friends with, but our lives have since drifted so far apart I simply know: “friends” isn’t in the cards.

Jascha, that guy was you. I think you’re still in the city. Is this weird? I’m sorry if I made it weird, Jascha. I suddenly got too intimate with myself so pivoted by talking to you for a bit if that’s all good. To my knowledge you’ve never even done any murals. “Jascha needs mural-painting like a fish needs a bicycle”, that’s what I always say. Which is a terrible thing to say if you’re a full-time muralist instead of a musician now, eep. I’m sorry I never got the chance to perform my due diligence before I used your actual name this way. I hope that never causes you an issue; it’s just that I took an intentional detour as I wanted to avoid wallowing again just now exactly as I did in that dream. Maybe I said that before; I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself here. This just feels important so thank you for understanding. This conversation wasn’t your idea and I’m trying not to repeat myself — I’m sorry again — (keep it together, man) — it seems obvious that your involvement in this narrative was always rather incidental until I needed a, a, aaaaa device that’s the word and your name was right there, ready, when I reached for one. I hope that’s a decent way to treat a real person.

I really do remember such a dude (if anyone besides him is reading this).

A curiosity then, that since I happen to know he painted that boring mural (in my dream, this is about my dream last night remember?), that I also know that Jascha had once been in that same room, in that new place, painting what became a plant mural that some acquaintance would later find merely mediocre, while this (this to you, Jascha) rando indulgently wracked the depths of his self-contemptible despair. It’s not even a coincidence, your involvement in this story Jascha, as our times in that place didn’t co-incide. We both merely existed in that less-good place with its mere similarities, that place which reminded us of better places. The tropics, maybe, but that stretches belief doesn’t it. That “new” living room and that “new” apartment. Probably, it wasn’t even all that worse for you or for me. Maybe it was almost not bad. But I wouldn’t know, because the truth is I just missed the old place and was powerless to do anything about it — except go ahead and miss it, miss it so %#&{@!!! much, in privacy, alone. Alone but willfully haunted. So many ghosts yet feeling never enough.

And that was when I was sitting crying in that (tinier) living room; sad, but also sad about being sad. Because that’s something I could do. Centered among all those household things with which I was newly familiar, that I had no want to ever touch, all that innocent garbage, I simply sat with and experienced that feeling of missing my old things which were gone, which I could never again see or smell or hold or be inside, but which I still wanted with me as however I imagined. Such a terrible power. I lied to myself to make it feel worse on purpose. I wanted to intensify everything and thereby use it all up. Maybe I only hoped I was lying, that it was just such wallowing, not real at all, and I instinctively circled around actual release because I knew it would mean I’d lose one more thing. The last thing, maybe keeping me alive, because here I am.

I was piteous then, and all this is piteous now tbh, yet how incredible and how startling, that even my own pity I never wanted. I never did accept it. My pity.

I think we can be correct when we do that. Some people don’t do that. People are able to take in every other misfortune and regret and pile of shit they’ve trodden upon in their lives and say, it’s ok for me to be sad about this, and oh btw all those once-happy things. But the sadness itself, accepting our own regrets for who we were all along: it’s possible to just nope out at the last second and say “don’t give me my own pity — I’m not giving up hope — I’m not writing that down — I’m not interested in making a dream journal about this one.” What is that, some cheat code? What’s it supposed to do, keep the pity you don’t want? We do the wrong thing, the wrongest wrong thing in some situation, but weirdly because it could be the best right thing to do? Right and wrong aren’t opposites. Wait they’re not? When we define them as only opposites we miss the edge cases like this, which says to me: right and wrong aren’t opposites. You don’t always have to choose one. Maybe they’re irrelevant, or maybe you get both (which is more unusual). So maybe do what you fucking want and want what you do. Or some other confusing justification that only I seem to view as valid. None of this makes sense anymore to you dear Jascha, I sure do hope. Language is limiting, and it’s-ain’t-no-fault-a-mined.

So Jascha you’re are a musician, huh. Do you remember that song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and how it goes? It’s an old one, yeah. Do you still like singing it?

Here I’ll add the little nugget of wisdom which has helped so much of my own insight over previous years: you are the room you’re in. Whatever that means. If it seems important, try to remember it. Repeat it if you have to.

You are the room you’re in.

Fuck this. Fuck him. That poor fucker… sorry, not you Jascha. I refer to whatever fellow might feel like he still needs to be in that private misery room. Get your fucking shit together or keep crying: those are some options my guy. Really have my sympathies dude, but I’m also not sure what to do about this situation and so I think it’s best for us both if we just stop here.

Yikes. Um, that’s sounds like the end. Well then. The dream did not have a proper ending anyway, as I recall.

Ok wait. To the real Jascha: hello again ???? I was inspired to include in the title here the word “Sutra”, both because it just felt so chill and righteous and apropos, and I’m like from California — can you tell? — and because it obviously jibes with what I can guess is (how I’m gonna put this?) your whole Buddhism deal. I’m not usually this weird I don’t think. I dunno. Still feel weird though. Thank you for letting me borrow your name. It was unexpected for me also.


Maybe this is one of those dreams I can remember long afterwards. Honestly though, maybe not. I get flashes and impressions from past dreams a lot, more since I started writing them down. It’s hardly a predictable pattern though. I’m glad this one got inscribed, you know. I’m really surprised I was able to remember it as well as I did — right now it’s 24 hours later as I’m finishing this up. Might’ve even been good writing for once [future Orin will make that evaluation at such-and-such time].

But who cares. Trying to make this exercise for something? I personally haven’t found much success with that. If I do it though, usually something somewhere in my life gets affected in interesting small ways (not so randomly), and I’ve generally liked the way it affects things. There are always exceptions. Just something to do.

Hopefully this motivates me to write down more dreams in future. Those bluebirds were cool.

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Dream Journal

First to Arrive in India, Drip Basket in Back Room

Travel to India. I’m the first to arrive and start figuring out the Airbnb, which is like a drained indoor pool with a shallow ceiling. The feeling of being outside, looking at the totally different architecture and streetscape, thinking about all the humans who made it (and it being a whole different society) is memorable. Trippy even. We are asked for our passports and realize we didn’t even have them on the packing list. Luckily, I find mine — and two more I didn’t intend to pack — in the sunglasses pocket of my wife’s backpack.

Laying in bed with my wife and suddenly get the urge to have sex. Somehow know what to do with the right timing to get it really nice.

I lay out a receipt for my friend Dara to sign. Some kind of reimbursement from 2017, in the period we were broken up and didn’t talk to each other. It’s next to another similar receipt for my neighbor friends the Goldies.

At the same time, the mother/daughter pair are sleeping in the back room of my apartment. Birds are playing outside the back window. A water dripper designed to be calming streams down into a wicker basket above their heads. It’s a bit too fast and I keep trying to figure how to slow it down, with no success.

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Dream Journal

Train Got Problems

I’m trying to get off a passenger train (a tram, really) with an unwieldy bag slung over my shoulder. Heedless of my struggle, the train starts along again quickly — the cowcatcher in front scoops me right back on board, like a set of stairs lunging at me.

In the station a giant diesel locomotive idles noisily, producing an overpowering mechanical smell. There’s no indication what it’s here for. Maybe I climb around on it.

I become angry that they spent a bunch of time and effort renovating and rearranging rooms on the next train. They all seem patently inferior to me. I storm off after hearing again of the coveted exercise classes for adult men.

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Dream Journal

Flying Carpet Travels

Waiting in line to get passport approved. Get my paperwork back, and I try not to be rude as I remain standing at the counter looking for the seal of the Queen of England — which I’ve been told is necessary. Very soon though the office is closed anyway, and they tell me if I have any other business I must go to their Denali office.

Flying carpet above a river. Better at it than I used to be, flying between lamppost and building. A section of an onramp is closed, so I must fly over it instead. Piloting a semi trailer over scrubby plains and spotting occasional scrap below, like an abandoned dirt bike. Scavenging vintage yellow Dr Pepper headphones (with a broken-off microphone) as a gift for my wife.

Traveling across a city, going halfway and meeting myself, going back, in the middle. Passing a squat row of buildings like a rundown amusement park on one side of the road. Arriving at the important intersection, on the corner is a semi-famous long McDonald’s which takes up almost the whole block. Under an overcast sky I see bumper boats in the distance.

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Dream Journal

Colored Boulders of the Arctic

In the middle of an obscenely bright sunny day within the Arctic, I cross a bridge over a recently dug small boat channel. I watch a little outboard-powered dinghy pass toward the sea and I’m reminded of a radio story I just heard, about a worker for this company (oil or gas) that put endangered seabird eggs in harm’s way. Cynically I judge that nothing will change, the worker was fined but the company will never be punished. The stones making up the beach here look like huge boulders of sea glass, gobsmacking in the unusual daylight. Just heartbreakingly beautiful, large and small, stretching far into the distance, and I reflect on them being trade restricted by the government — it would seem this actually gets them sold only to the rich, creating an artificial shortage to boost prestige. Yet I also consider how each one ever bought was picked up by a human being, a person that came to this harsh climate and carried it out. The stones are indeed beautiful.


Hiding from Starfleet. I flee into the rafters behind ceiling tiles in order to technically serve a proscribed punishment (like “time served”) and avoid further investigation — investigation which would be recorded officially. I consider my tiny vial of an artificial drug, the one I keep in one of my personal round miniature bottles, and whether it was worth the price of faking insanity. I keep it hidden between pages of a book. It was a prize from some past devil’s bargain of mine, connected with why I now must hide.

A MTV-style “prank” entertainer (who reminds me of Jim Brewer) is getting strapped into the seat of a very long swing to perform a stunt. To great fanfare he’s suddenly released, plunging at a wide, dirty, graffiti-covered wall. His swing is perfectly measured and calculated — such as with a weight measurement taken immediately before — that his face barely stops impact. It’s close enough he could lick it. Honestly, an impressive stunt.


A feeling of flying on my motorcycle while I’m riding on a raised viaduct. I adjust an eyepiece I’m wearing slightly. It takes me a moment for my eyes to realign, and I have a scary moment of absolutely not knowing where the freeway is. I recover, shaken, understanding that my familiarity with the road helped save me.

I’m here visiting an out of town city (Seattle, or maybe Coachella Valley) and eager to see some fond old sights. Though… because of that I’m also conflicted about whether I want to see friends who live in town. I also get to listen to an old favorite radio station as I ride, which broadcasts in a couple of different cities. Granted, I am listening to it via internet radio and could do this any time, it’s still nostalgic. It reminds me I can go to a music store not far away a bit past where the viaduct curves then slopes down. It’s nice to recognize the layout of streets below which I remember from long ago.

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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

Not the Nicest Parts of Britain

I arrived from a long overseas flight in London with my wife. We set out on the next leg of our journey, having to catch a tube train closer into town. A series of mishaps ensues: misplacing luggage, catching the wrong train, getting on the right train only to get off as it leaves. One train is made of narrow little linked platforms just big enough for a person, each shaped like beige pyramids that one must balance to ride on. My wife finds it difficult to stay on and dismounts just as this small short train leaves. Finally I get mad and yell at her, harrumphing down the stairs to see if I can find someone to talk sense into her.

(There is a linking dream at this point in the night — forming a cohesive three-part story — but it’s been forgotten.)

I view a map of Scotland, highlighting a major province disconnected into three parts (similar to these dreams, I suppose). One might think this province was the nice part, given its reputation, but locals would rather you visit anywhere else. On the map, it’s almost camouflaged with a plaid pattern coloration shifting into a saturated pink, revealing how ungainly the thing is printed on the map. I notice that it’s shape seems to form the negative space on a Union Jack flag.