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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

Mayan Revival Mall in Berlin

In a six-story mall in Berlin. Exotic, asymmetrical, grand Mayan revival architecture, with tall vertical metal pylons repeated in a semicircle over an open courtyard. Comfortable walking spaces outside stores with benches and landscape detailing — almost a zen garden feel. The bottom-most floor has a moat-like pool environment with fantastical fossils embedded in the wall, giving an impression of the underworld. A restaurant with glass windows sits at that level, affording views both above and below water. Watching a promotional 3D documentary that zooms through the space excitingly as if from the perspective of a quadcopter, lurching so dramatically it’s regarded as an accomplishment to finish watching. It would’ve been so much simpler to see a human dive instead.

I’m wandering by myself on the ground floor of the atrium courtyard, trying to navigate by learning about the place in the past. I’m able to spot escalators that are closed, blocked off and partially demolished, with a meager sign at the top. I travel some distance riding a smooth-bottomed sledge across an almost too quiet expanse of open mall, at one point skidding noisily over the grating around a single tree planter. The Germans around me politely pretend not to notice.

Just up a single fight of stairs, I come across an isolated second floor balcony where I can appreciate the gauzy indoor sunlight illuminating the large space. Available there is a specialty video service which I peruse, almost all documentaries. I scroll through the acting credits, looking to confirm someone’s claim from an earlier conversation — that even in an ego-centric milieu like Hollywood there’s always going to be one ego that sticks out for every project. On this list I find an elaborate headshot of William Shatner posed with his dogs, which seems to prove the adage.

There’s also an organized section with global syndicated newspapers, even one from Sacramento in fact. I open up the interface and the very first story is about North San Juan (a small town I visited in June to look at a house). The District Attorney’s office is being refurbished in anticipation of a new DA, and someone is writing to complain. Apparently, although the office is the size of a shack, it has a large flat yard where someone has been scraping out valuable ashes for agriculture. Tragedy of the commons type thing, but with the twist that the DA that would prosecute isn’t there yet. It kind of blows my mind that I immediately find such a local story in such a faraway place.

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Dream Journal

Retiring Rich in a Communist State

Climbing a metal tree I’m older, almost retired. Might be moving to India soon. I climb twice as high as I have before; the metal tree has two identical levels. In my living will are plans to donate all my possessions to the state (a communist state), for official commemoration and redistribution — on reflection though, I need more conditions in case I still need to use it.

In a bit I’m dropping off thousands of dollars (or perhaps picking up) from a locked room. It’s one in a long public hallway, stuffy 1970s construction (but not without its charm) a residence of my friend Dara Vinne. I’m one of the very few rich in this society, and so I worry about the risk of stepping out the door. So many people could know I’m here by now.

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Dream Journal

Suzie the Mechanical Brass Goat

I’m playing tuba in a marching band. Have to haul it back from the field in pieces. When I get to the enclosed, beige, semi-circular practice room I have lengthy difficulties assembling it — the band has already started playing. The pieces for a brand new percussion drum the size of a person are laid out on the floor. Since those are clearly present, I consider playing that instead.

The brass of the instruments reminds me of a friendly goat, Suzie. She’s mechanical, also brass, and we amble together down a tree-lined sidewalk in a archetypical sunny American suburb (away from the band). I spot some Halloween stuff in the branches of a tree between the sidewalk and the street, forgotten so long ago that the tree is now growing through the plastic decorations. Reminds me of an image I saw recently, of a Barbie doll placed by someone’s granddaughter being engulfed by branches. Even though it’s enjoyably bizarre, I climb the tree to retrieve the spooky plastic junk. Suzie watches (perhaps giving commentary) and it’s a shiny, fresh, sunny experience, abnormally wholesome.

I’m later cruising on my motorbike down a curvy dirt road, fast. Hand-tilled grain fields border it. I narrowly dodge Indian pedestrians carving around corners, following the road’s course between blocky grey utilitarian buildings (like the setting from a fair dream on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:29 am). I get as far as a narrow corridor whose walls are made of train cars. I can’t reverse, and have to navigate back through twice. It feels like I’m towing a trailer or three. Headed back where I came now, I pull off a few wheelies — having the thought that I’ve only ever done that in dreams before (this is true). I soon notice (due to another person’s recent use of it) some pieces have shaken off the bike as I’m riding, importantly 3/4 of the front instrument panel. I manage to see a bit fly off over a fence and decide to hunt it down.

This neglected industrial area is officially off-limits, but also officially abandoned. I suspect it’s still quite inhabited though and used for all sorts of under-the-radar activity. This seems confirmed when I discover rows of diagonal pews inside one decayed warehouse, carefully draped in elegant purple fabric. I hide between these pews as I hear fumbling at the bolted front door. A few furtive-looking priests enter, and I consider announcing myself to avoid a potentially worse situation startling them. Yet I seem to overhear them talking about me without using my name, wishing perhaps to recruit me.

I do volunteer for some project cleaning up a diesel locomotive covered in grass. I scrub it’s side skirt clean of flecks and debris, leaving tall stalks of grass to grow proud and green over the engine’s back/top. It’s taken on an expedition up a marshy stream to study dinosaurs living nearby, blending in with the flora. Back in the yard we hide as a few mafia guys come to inspect the locomotive. A goon tears off the grass in one cohesive layer, saddening me even though I’m still proud of how healthy the greenery I helped grow turned out. We’re trying to trick these mafiosos somehow, and I know all my plants were integral to the plan.

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Dream Journal

Heromum on the Seashore

A high wall, like a seawall, and behind it people I went to high school, walking. Reminds me of a gigantic pool I’ve been to in many dreams over the years.

Dropped into an alcove/alley with a plaque, a weird little oddly sided polygonal space. Behind a disused door I gain access to the 2nd-story of an RV house. My key fits in the ignition of the complicated control panel. A quick jump in narrative to the aftermath of driving/flying/crashing it into a burned-out tree (which is practically charcoal).

As I awake I have a fantasy of a place called Heromum: on the seashore, a hot spring on the edge of the ocean in the Greek province of Laystatia.

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Dream Journal

Dawn Redwood Seed Packet

Paper pulp with a rough image screened on it, charmingly hand-painted, of the dawn redwood plant Metasequoia glyptostroboides. I accidentally discovered a cache of them in a grow kit labelled “Grow a Living Fossil! Jurassic Tree” — something I got as a gift years ago and forgot about until I read an article abut China’s reforestation efforts on Atlas Obscura. This packet is actually part of a series of seed pulp packets, each one labeled as the one before in a round-robin so to encourage you to collect them all.

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Dream Journal

Borrowed Lambo, Twin Mistake, Prime Distraction

My wife is on the phone. While I happen to be listening in, I hear a family member on the other side say very specifically “hey, your dad has lost his life”. I have an instantaneous reaction of FUCK, followed by (embarrassingly) a feeling that at least now things are closed. Maybe we can inherit something now, even. I bolt awake at 3:21 am.


I park a borrowed Lamborghini on the street outside a hotel on the waterfront of the bay. Perhaps I used to work there. It’s fancy and expensive, but the neighborhood next to it isn’t. I spend a good long time exploring inside during the uncrowded early morning golden hour — traversing interior suspended walkways, decorating for Christmas, and discovering a second-floor gender-neutral bathroom labeled “Theirs”. One curiosity I come across in this mall-like atrium-like space is a very amusing bird sculpture/toy, finding one cleverly hidden mechanism after another to press with my fingers.

In the back row of a wedding, in an upstairs conference room overlooking the bay, I run into my friend Meredith. I show her the nifty bird sculpture (now transformed into an owl) and offer it to her. I also mention that someone trusted me with the Lamborghini out front. But when I go outside again it’s not there. I orient with the nearby landmarks and the saved location on my phone, inspect around and find a note in hard-to-read scrawl — something about average monthly insurance for it being $1200, about “only 12 inches of cocaine” — the obvious implication being that the car will be returned if I pay them what they erroneously believe I actually pay.


Walking up an indeterminate slope, behind my college girlfriend Jenna & my actual wife, others, but for a moment I can’t remember who it was I married. Finally I do remember, and am thankful. I lay down next to my sleeping wife (now more like a long-ago redhead classmate of mine Lauren Wycoff, or the cartoon redhead hottie Jessica Rabbit) and as fond surprise snuggle behind her in bed, and we have sex. The dream actually proceeds through the whole experience: I lube up, it’s quiet and intimate, I finish inside. But for some reason my wife has never told me before that she has a twin! This is very embarrassing (for all of us) yet no one seems upset. Just a never-talk-about-it thing I suppose, although the twin seems… less upset than you’d expect. Perhaps a happy mistake.


A former British prime minister (like Theresa May), exchanging questions with a circle of Americans about things we’ve done. Tangential to her question — something she almost certainly didn’t bargain for — I tell a bizarre rambling story both fascinating and true (within the dream) of a town I visited in Oregon. Not finding our way in despite detailed instructions; driving past a graveyard to get in; discovering the winding dirt roadway between two other roads along a grassy and forested flat area. Picturesque clouds, children’s book sun, mountains in the distance; a rustic cabin near a pixie-haunted broadleaf tree; the wilderness beyond like a dewy lawn.

The next day I text the Prime Minister, having remembered the name of the place: Rasp, Oregon. While it does bear some resemblance to the town of Sisters, Oregon (which I visited this summer), I’m almost sure this was a place I’ve been before. It all may have come from another dream another night, one unwritten, remembered only in other dreams.