Category Archives: Dreamtime

Drunk in San Francisco

A dreamtime post

I was back in San Francisco yesterday afternoon, doing some more volunteer work at a legal clinic. I talked to one of my favorite clients there, and older black gentleman who made his living as a door-to-door salesman. He’s one of the nicest, smoothest-talking people you’ll ever meet, and he did a great job of selling, too, until he got “downsized” about eight months before he retired from the company.

He wanted to talk with me about some legal trouble he was in, but he didn’t tell me about the charges hanging over him from when he went back to his old company one day. No, his current trouble started with a fishing trip down the river and ended in a disaster on someone’s farm. As he told his fish story, the salesman used my electronic sketch board to paint an overhead view of the farm at the bend of the river and how each thing happened in a way that led to his arrest and the confiscation of two keeper catfish.

While there wasn’t a whole lot I could do for him legally, I marveled at the quality of his drawing. “Have you ever thought about selling your drawings?” I asked the salesman.

“Naw – who’d ever buy the meager scribblings of an old, broken-down salesman?” he replied. I gave him fifty bucks for the drawing of the farm and went on my way to a pub next door to meet up with some friends.

We had dinner; we had drinks; we all moved from our table up to the bar and started joking and flirting with the bartender, and asked for a walking map of San Fran since we were planning on being too drunk to even catch a trolly. Then her Morose Stalker showed up and proceeded to drone on about what an awful day he had. We settled our bill, over-tipped, and headed out the door with our map-on-a-napkin.

We headed down a few blocks, then turned right because, according to the napkin, that’s where the bay was. We went over a hill, and sure enough, there was water – and waterfront – down there. Half-way down the hill, my idiot friends decided that the open door to the staircase going to the second floor of the All Things Occult shop was an open invitation that looked too inviting to pass up. But of course, being an idiot myself, I couldn’t very well let them go up and get into who-knows-what trouble by themselves. We got half-way up the stairs, when I turned around to say something to one of my idiot friends. And of course, I missed the door at the top of the stairs opening, and missed hearing what the woman up there said.

“We’ve been cursed!” my friend said with a drunken giggle. “What a great night!” I immediately felt ashamed of us and tried telling my friends that Circle is where a coven of witches goes to get in touch with the holy; it’s just like when they go to church.

“There’s nothing holy about witches!” one of them retorted. “They’re heathens, and they tried to curse us! That’s so cool…”

I sighed and started pushing them back down the stairs. “You’re just lucky they didn’t turn you into newts.”

We got to the downhill corner, and the other two were still arguing about the coven and weather they should go back and try to see what’s going on, and weather life as a newt or a toad would be better. I just turned the corner and kept heading down toward the bay. I came across a storefront styled as an old-west general store, complete with a porch, a hitching post, and ads in the windows for all sorts of ways to wear fancy ropework.

I heard swearing and banging from the back of the shop, so even though it was getting on toward full dark, I decided that the open door must be an invitation, and headed inside. There was a huge, burly man dressed in brown Carhart bibs, boots, and a bushy dust-filled beard chopping at an ice-filled water trough with a shovel.

“Goddamned internet!” he shouted. “Always freezing up when I’m trying to do something!”

I took a couple steps closer for a better look when the man noticed me. “What the hell do you want?”

“Well, I work in tech support, so I thought maybe I could give you a hand.” I grabbed a pick-axe leaning against the wall, and together, the burly man and I made short work of the ice.

“Well, shoot, friend, that was mighty nice of you to lend a hand. Now people’ll be able to find my store from the Interweb again.”

I waved goodbye, and headed out into the street, only to see my friends had made up their minds to use their powers for good, and were coming around the corner toward me. We had a hale reunion in the middle of the street, then headed, once again, for the waterfront.

We were on the homestretch – just a plaza to cross – when something smacked me square in the butt. I turned around to see my high school friend standing there in 19th century garb, holding her furled umbrella in a decidedly unladlylike grip.

“So, there ye are, Billy The Goat, y’ ol scoundrel,” she said in a lilting brogue. “I once spent a night in his bed,” she added in a stage whisper to her similarly-dressed friends, “as a prisoner of rape!”

I stuttered and sputtered and made a hasty departure.* And then, finally, we made it to the bay. But more importantly, to the Holiday Inn on the Bay. Ah, comfortable bed, I have come home to you.

* Here’s what I’ll say the next time I’m accosted with innuendo by a period street performance artist: “Ah, Molly ‘Iron Britches’ Malone, ‘twern’t rape, seein’ as how you were on top and I was willin’. If I remember rightly, you was wantin’ to keep on all the way from the Golden Gate to Hong Kong. Somethin’ bout bestin’ yer ol’ record. Thank God for yer exhaustion on the second day, though, when even the Captain with his cat-o-nine tails couldn’t drive you off me.

A little hash treat

For a while now, I haven’t been remembering my dreams, which is unusual. But things are back in sync now; to wit:

I went to a rock concert; I don’t remember the name. I had a backstage pass, and the lead guitarist looked like a cross of Michael McKean and Alan Rickman, but in a red velour jacket. With gold trim.

These guys took the stage and did something like heavy rock mixed with classical music, complete with guys dressed in nothing but boxers and flack jackets in the mosh pit. And speaking of dress, there were lots of naked people around, especially women (for some reason, they seemed more comfortable with being naked at the concert; don’t ask me, I was just there, right?)

Before the concert, as I and a thousand of my closest friends were sitting at the cafeteria tables in the school the concert was at, the lead singer came out and asked everyone to take one of the styrofoam “to-go” containers that were in a big pile at the side.

“I’ve given you cookies,” he announced into the mike with a big grin, “some potato salad, and a little hash treat.” I looked in my white box, and sure enough, there was a small, sticky, green cube. And potato salad. “Some of you might balk at taking drugs from a stranger,” the guy continued, “and that’s probably a good thing. After all, if you eat this little hash treat you might just…” he drifted off, staring at the clock in the silence. A few heartbeats later, people started to get his joke, and laughter rippled through the cafeteria.

“And now…” The singer paused for dramatic effect. “Photographs! You all know the drill.”

And they did, indeed all know the drill. It was $200 a crack to pose with the band, bring your own camera, maximum of three shots. And while the band was in costume, that in no way affected the state of dress of any of the concert goers posing with them.

PS: If you feel like I wussed out on the hash treat link, please keep two things in mind:

  • The Internet is (mostly) forever
  • It’s way funnier to us geeks this way

See what happens?

I spend seven hours in the car (not all at once, thank god) yesterday, ace my general exam, then spend all night dreaming of the collapse of society due to compromised computer networks and panicky people.

And now I’m cuckoo for coax, trying to figure out all the little details of my first couple homebrew antennas. I think there’s going to be a copper J-pole and a smallish variety of wire antennas (say, one end-fed longwire, a couple inverted-Vs, and maybe a dipole or two for the higher HF bands.

Well, now, isn’t that nice

I don’t know about you, but I just spent the last hour as a member of elite unit of bobbies in London using my newly-developing psychokinetic powers to battle an evil, psychotic killer. Oh, and he also had psychokinetic powers, and was maybe possessed.

Oddly, only the ending of the dream – the part where most of the other bobbies and I were cut in a thousand places, beaten, burned, and left paralyzed in a house filling with natural gas while the killer assumed the form of a wild boar with glowing eyes to take care of the last of our group – had any nightmare qualities.

The rest of the dream was spent playing baseball (without ever touching the “ball,” of course) with giant crystals, or sometimes granite boulders, wandering around the quaint little town of London, and playing free skee ball at the county fair.

I guess that’s what I get for watching Miyazaki when I’m tired.


but just the end so as to cut to the chase with a minimum of paragraphs

Jim, apparently we’ve started a band. We’re writing beautiful, lyrical songs and have a small but growing and very appreciative audience. Think of us like Moxie Fruvous, but with more piano. We’re not playing playing stadiums yet, but we are selling out the venus we go to.

Dream Rapper

with ‘tude

Last night, I put up an antenna. Not just a little, “oh, isn’t that cute sitting on top of your T.V.” antenna, but a “need crew of guys and a damn big crane” antenna. It went up next to the store, and once it was all guyed up, Paul and I climbed it partway. It only took us a couple minutes to get about a thousand feet up, and that’s all the further I wanted to go. Houses and stuff were already getting small, but I found the place we’re (Meg and Alden and I) going to move to: a little craftsman-style bungalow with a boat-truss barn pretty much right on the shore of a big lake (maybe Superior, but probably not). Then we climbed back down, one metal step at a time, for a long time.

I woke up in the minivan with Dad driving us west along some backcountry “road” that was sometimes pavement and sometimes just sand between the trees. We got “there” and I had to play two-on-two baseball in some kid’s basement with him and his brother for the first round of a national science competition. I know. When the kid “pitched” by tossing the ball up, then hitting it at me with his bat, I got pissed and beat him with my bat, but then we all mellowed out and talked about how stressed we were feeling with the competition, especially about the talent show that was coming up in a week, so we decided to get a pitching machine and go to a ball diamond the next day and try things again. They went much better and we wound up cheering for each other and sharing fielding tips.

The talent show was at the local Subway, which proved hard to find, what without any sort of signs or anything. Kids gave dry, note-card lectures on electron bubbles and surface tension and whatever. When my time came up, I jumped up, vaulted over my table, and started a rap – freestyle, of course – about how I’ve got the real love of science, how all these other kids don’t know what they’re missing, and how they gotta groove to feel the science. I kept going even when everyone, including the Subway staff, left the building, ’cause I’m hard-core like that.

I’m up already!

A Dreatime Post

I left Ashland and moved to the Cities to try to rebuild my life. I just gotten a job at a boutique downtown that sold Hondas with some assembly required. But they had really good deals. Until I could get my feet under me, I was living with my parents.

My Mom and I were arguing over what the best way for me to get to my job on the first day was. “I want something simple and straightforward,” I yelled. “I’m trying to give you the best way to go, but that map isn’t going to help at all,” she yelled back as I was online trying to plan my route.

I was already late and didn’t have the number of my boss at the new place, so I was freaking out about losing my job on the first day, not to mention making a bad impression. At the door of my folks’ house, I realized that I had no wheels. “Uh, I really need to use your car,” I called over my shoulder. “You just bought one; use your own!” came the reply. “Mom, my car is still in these,” I pointed to the boxes scattered over the floor. “Besides, we still don’t have any frozen broccoli to fill the seats.”

I was driving through the Cities in Mom’s Civic, and I was completely confused. I was now more than an hour late for my job, and it was snowing and traffic wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great, either. I headed up this huge, steep, snow covered hill on Minnesota State 80 (does that exist?), and went down the far side toward some small collection of farm implement dealerships and gas stations that had sprung up around and interchange. I was looking for a way to turn around and head back into the city, so I got off the highway and drove along the frontage road that went alongside the overpass.

Suddenly, a white Ford cargo van came plummeting off the side of the overpass, spun upside down, crushed the car just in front of me, but bounced over the Civic and disapeared. Yelling “Holy shit!” I slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car and ran over to the cruched car. There were already two people there, one holding the hand of some poor, mangled person in the driver’s seat and puking in the snow, the other inside the car, trying to get to the person in the passenger seat, screaming “Call an ambulance!”

I scrambled mack to the Civic, grabbed my phone, and realized I had no idea where I was.

By Freighter

A Dreamtime Post

I was traveling by freighter to England in wartime — one of those classy wars where guys with riffles pose on the tops of small rises to admire the rising sun after an all night march, and have a drag on their cigarette, and no one puts a bullet through their curly brown locks — to either take a message or bring back a message. I wasn’t clear on the specifics, and looking back on the mission, it seems like I was played for a dupe by my side and ignored by the other. Which is probably why I’m still alive this morning.

I was just a kid when I left; still wet behind the ears, my girlfriend all concerned about the French girl I was supposed to contct, my mother all ocncerned that she’d never see me again, and me telling them both that I’d be fine and unchanged when I came home for dinner next.

Dad was fretting in his own quiet way, and kept fussing over my clothes. They have to be just right, he kept saying. You don’t want to look too good, because then you’re a target, but you don’t want to look like a bum because then no one respects you. Dad, I’ve got it. My suit jacket, the spats, and my Cary Grant will be just fine. He kept trying to pick lint here and smooth an imaginary wrinkle there. I kept trying not to throw a tantrum; after all, I was an agent of the government, and government agents most certainly don’t throw tantrums. Not the cool ones, at least.

If someone had told me then what I know now to be the truth, I would have grinned a little, pointed my index finger at my forehead while turning it in a slow circle, and gone on about my Very Important Business completely unfazed, except maybe by the person’s eyes, but nohow would I admit that little bit of connection, even to myself. That’s youth for you.

I was traveling by freighter to England in time of war upon flat, star-lit seas, when I realized I had on grey socks. It’s not like an agent of the government would let something so obvious as grey — I mean come on; grey? — socks pass without notice or comment. But then, not every agent of the government has my family: my Irish father; my Italian mother; my shi-tzu of a sister. I probably wore the socks to appease somebody and then forgot about them.

But now, with my grey trousers and grey spats, I was like one big monochromatic blob standing at the rail, looking over the sea. I had no definition, no place for the eye to seperate foot from leg, no place for my bony ankles to hide. I fancied I looked like one of those photos you see in the windows of the uptown galleries during rush hour as the rip tide of commuters sweeps you from train station to station. I was Silver Chloride man, the government’s double secret weapon against the enemy, sneaking across the ocean in the black of night.

I sighed and turned from the railing and stumbled below into my bunk that I shared with the Engineer’s Third Mate’s assistant and wondered when I’d meet my lovely contact in France and would she recognize me even with my grey socks.

I traveled by freighter to England in time of war, and coming off the ship, at the end of the gang plank, I knew I was dead.

London lay smoking and ruined. Bricks and mortar made a crumbeled, crumpeled layer on the street two-and-a-half feet thick and made it impossible to move unless you were one of Them. The enemy. The things (People? Not people? You know now as much as we did then.) in the giant metal pods with segmented legs that dared us to look at them, much less attack in any way. People were running terrified in the rubble, trying to make sense of their new world. I stood still in my suit at the edge of the dock on soil that was more foreign than I knew and wished I was home.

Later, and I don’t know how much later because that all gets kind of jumbled when there’s no sun for all the smoke and stench of death, I was somewhere in Europe hiding in a ditch. I’d tell you where, because then maybe you’d have a chance of finding me, but I just don’t know.

I do know that I met the French girl. She was as pretty as my mind had made her out to be, if not more so. Pitty she couldn’t have survived long enough to give me the message she carried. I never did find that. I also know that I lost the suit. Not, oh, gee I can’t find my suit, whatever shall I do, lost it. More of a, huh, I guess I look like both an idiot and a target, sort of lost it. My socks are still grey, but that’s just dried mud with a splash of some guy’s vomit.

I know that none of us carry riffles any more. The only thing they do against the enemy is give away our location, not that they can be bothered killing a single puny man. Now, we don’t shoot unless we have one of the heavy mobile cav turrets that spews eighty-cal bullets like a tomcat marking his alley. The turrets can do some damage to the enemy, but only if they survive long enough.

The turrets are good, you gotta give ’em that. They can walk around and target pretty quickly and send a hail of spalling uranium that you just have to see to believe, but the fluid grace and grim, metalic joy with which the enemy counters and kills makes us look like a bunch of tottering, herky-jerky barbarians with bones in our beards and clubs in our hands. Which, I suppose we are, in so many ways.

There’s a theory going around in the ditches and trenches that the enemy doesn’t really want anything from us but war. They don’t seem to have any strategy but to engage us and keep us ragged. They don’t keep or use any of the objectives they take from us; just smash, burn, and move on. It’s almost as if the enemy wants only to fight and doesn’t really care who it fights or what happens as long as it fights. They haven’t, as far as we can tell, moved from Europe to any other continent, so we can at least keep getting ammo and sometimes food.

The sarge has a theory: he says maybe the war’s good for the world. Unemployment is down, fear and compliance are up. With all the manufacturing and funerals, the economy’s never been so good, he says. Maybe the enemy made sarge crazy, but at least he has something to fight for.

The sky is turning from black to a dim smokey red; sun must be rising. The camp is getting quieter, waiting for the whir of the enemy to come. It’s my turn in one of the turrets today. If you get this, tell my folks I’m gonna need another suit — grey is fine — to wear for the long ride home over the dark ocean.

The 34 Sholin Secrets of AJ

Dream Two

I was in school for a week, or maybe weeks, brushing up on some coursework – mostly math, starting with basic algebra and rapidly progressing through “huh?” – and living in the dorms, but at least this time I had a single room.

Most of the week was about what you’d expect, going back to school for things you haven’t seen in years and living in a dorm. The wierdest thing was that some group had come to the campus and left a series of books about Sholin everywhere. The books were in the dorm rooms and in the library and in classrooms. There were seven (I think) books in the series and they all had covers printed in red fading into some darker color (blak or blue, maybe?) and a badge on the spine with some sort of eastern script or kanji in it.

I kept looking at the books all week, but never opened one. I’d be sitting in class, my mind would wander off and I’d find myself staring at the books.

For some reason, at the end of the week (or maybe one of the weeks), the teacher decided to have class in a different town about an hour and a half away, and I had forgotten until about an hour before class started. I got dressed in black dress pants and a white shirt, and put a black Pilot G2, a fine-point sharpie, and a number-seven mechanical pencil in my shit pocket, even though I was worried about the pen leaking ink and making me look like an idiot.

For some reason (hmmm…), my room was a complete disaster, unmade bed piled with laundry and books and I couldn’t find the text book I needed, so I was rummaging around on the bed when Meagan came into the room. She had long black hair, but I still recognized her. I put my arms around her to give her a hug and was looking down into a large mostly dark hall from somewhere up near the top.

There was soft, gray light coming from somewhere shining on me in the middle of the hall. I was dressed in some sort of gray and black cloth that unsetteled the eye and made it hard to focus on any one thing. It was wierd watching myself, but I rapidly forgot about that because I started doing some sort of kata in the middle of the floor. The pool of dim light began to grow and there I was, again and again. Finally, the center of the hall was dimily lit, and there was a small crowd of me – 34 of me, to be precise – each doing a different kata.

There was one one old man on the floor with all of me, just to the right and back of the center of the hall, brilliantly lit and dressed all in white, ignoring the katas on the floor and looking at the me that was watching from the ceiling with a little smile at the corners of his mouth.