Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I was living in a home on a hill overlooking a large body of water. The architectural style was 1970s retro modern... basically a large cube with massive tinted glass windows, lots of exposed steel structural elements and a huge cantilevered deck. It rested on a tall, angular concrete foundation. It's a style known as Brutalist architecture, which flourished from the 1950s to the mid 1970s, spawned from the modernist architectural movement. Most brutalist building are constructed from cast concrete, but this home was built from steel and heavy red cedar panels. I made a rough sketch of the exterior after I awoke.

I was sitting on a sofa looking at brightly colored picture postcards friends have sent over the years. I hummed the first line of a song called "The Patriot Game." My friend M.R. was in another part of the house, I think in an upstairs open loft. She hummed back the second line of the song. I answered with the third line, we both laughed and then finished humming the song in sweet two-part harmony.


The Patriot Game is an Irish ballad about an incident during the Border Campaign launched by the Irish Republican Army during the 1950s to bring about the reunification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. It was written by Dominic Behan, younger brother of playwright Brendan Behan, to the tune of an earlier folksong, The Merry Month Of May. I haven't thought of the song in years, but used to perform it with M.R..

Also from the 1970 album "Wales and Nightingales" by Judy Collins

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Music box tour bus jetliner

My dream world is as active as ever these days. Last night I was on a flight in a sort of cross between a jetliner and a tour bus with about a dozen passengers I don't know.

This plane had huge curved windows so you could really see out. Not like the little peepholes in a jetliner. We took off from an airport in a canyon and had to dodge power lines and shear rock walls for a while until we broke out into a sort of alpine landscape. The pilot gunned it and we rose sharply toward some Sierra-like mountains. Then we were flying along a little road in a Hoofhaven-like landscape... curving along the roadway under the trees like a car. Heh.

We came across an old ramshackle abandoned house and stopped to tour it. It was like a museum ghost town house... all the furniture was there, plates on the table in the kitchen as if whoever had lived there just walked away one afternoon. There was a huge red 1930s O'Keefe and Merit range in the kitchen, surrounded by cheap 1970s 'wood-grain' kitchen cabinets -- like a bad remodeling job had been attempted at some point in the home's rather humble past. Somebody said, "If these walls could only talk."

There was a photo album on a small dusty table. This photo album was full of everyday snapshots from the family who had lived in the house... card games at the table, holiday and birthday dinners, kids clowning around, you know, just regular family snapshot stuff. Nothing special, but really sweet. Now here's an interesting thing: The album had an audio narration! Each snapshot had an audio recording of what the people were saying when each photo was snapped. So, in essence, those walls *were* talking. I suddenly realized that the narration was actually coming from a little ornate music box next to the photo album. This fancy music box looked out of place in the otherwise rundown room and I thought it must be a treasured family heirloom.

I could write for hours about the running dialogue coming from that music box, but I decided that I really wanted to take it with me so I could bring it home and digitize it on the computer. It was such a lovely little documentary about the family who had lived here and I wanted to preserve it. The music box was mechanical and I knew that it would inevitably break down some day. If I could digitize it and upload it to the net, it might be preserved and shared.

I didn't want to just take it... that felt disrespectful. I put the idea to a vote among the other passengers and the consensus was that it was worth preserving. So, I left a note on the table explaining what I was doing and included my name and address, in case the family came back some day. I promised to take good care of the music box and mail it back to the house when I was done. We all piled back into the plane/tour-bus and took off.


I LOVE dreamtime. It's the best part of the day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I’ve taken a full-time job and shut down my business. Apparently, the economy’s gotten so bad that a former high-end graphic design firm has taken in a bunch of former freelance designers in order to pool resources. It’s a sort of design cooperative, known unofficially as The Firm. We all contribute our computers, art supplies, office equipment and so on. We share our skills and client contacts, splitting the cost of rent for the office space from our combined commissions. We receive room and board in return, a little spending money, and have access to other member equipment and expertise.

The building is a rambling 1920s storefront with exposed brick interior walls, in a downtown neighborhood. It was once upscale and fancy, but it’s a bit run down these days. There’s a room in front which used to be a reception area. It’s been converted to a conference room for client meetings. Behind it are individual offices for co-op members. Bedrooms, a kitchen and living spaces are at the rear of the building... we call that “the dorm.” I have a small, cluttered bedroom back there.

It’s lunch time. Something special has happened. I don’t remember exactly what, but it seems to have something to do with a lucrative new contract. Instead of eating in the co-op kitchen, everyone has gathered at a nearby diner. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a nice break from our routine.

I’m in a booth with some friends, ready to order, when an old man comes in with a couple and their infant. They’re carrying the baby in a beat up yellow car seat. They’re poor and disheveled and the old man -- a sort of carnival hawker -- grandly announces a “spellbinding big show for your dinning pleasure!” The couple move through the diner collecting donations. This bothers me. It feels invasive and I tell my friends that we should leave. “There’s a mediterranean deli across the street,” I say. “The food’s great. Let’s go eat there.”

No one else wants to leave. A co-op member tells me to ‘chill.’ He’s a tall, good-looking guy in a pale blue denim shirt. “It’s just like going to the movies!” he says.

“No,” I reply. “No, it isn’t. If I go to the movies, I’m making a choice. I choose to go to the movies, decide which movie I want to see, and buy a ticket. They’re trying to guilt me into paying for something I didn’t request. It’s completely different.”

I get up alone to leave. As I pass the old man, I turn to him and say, “This is bull shit.” He doesn’t skip a beat... he continues to pitch his captive audience.

Outside, I see a man and a woman on their bicycles. They’re wearing colorful bike togs and there’s a dog with them, following along on a leash. The dog’s really cute... a tan and white mutt with a cheerful disposition.

“What a great dog!” I say to them. “What’s his name?”

“We just found him,” the woman replies. “We haven’t named him yet.”
I’m wearing a black T-shirt with the word “Bleaker” printed in white garamond book condensed type.

The woman looks at it and says, “That’s great! We’ll call him Bleaker! Hi, Bleaker! What a good dog!” Bleaker wags his tail and smiles.

I laugh and say, “How’s your ride going? Where are you riding today?”

“Oh, my legs are so tired,” the woman replies. “I better get used to it. We’re riding all the way around the world. We signed up all these sponsors and we’re donating all the money to charity.”

“That’s fantastic!” I say. “Do you have a website were you’re posting photos and stories? I’d love to follow your progress.”

“Well, we do have a site,” the man tentatively says, “but we don’t really know how to build it... so it’s not very good.”

“What’s the domain?” I ask.

He pulls a manilla envelope out of his backpack, writes something on it, and hands it to me. It reads “”.

“Listen,” I say, “I’m a designer. I’m broke, so I can’t make a donation... but maybe I can help fix up your site. That could be my donation.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Presidential Dream

I’m in the military, stationed in a sort of wild west frontier town in a northern climate. It might be Alaska, but I don’t remember. The town is, well, “rustic” would be a polite way to put it; “run-down” is more accurate. Weathered Victorian buildings -- very ornate, but unpainted and in disrepair -- line a single main street. Corrugated tin awnings along the street shelter a sidewalk of rough-sawn wooden planks. It’s late at night and bitterly cold. It’s snowing, hard. Snow is drifting in the street and piling up everywhere.

I’m stationed at an especially run-down building -- a sort of barrack. (Is that a dream pun about the Democratic nominee? Maybe.) Despite the late hour, there’s a lot of activity by lamp light. Twenty or thirty people are rushing around, sweeping snow that’s blown in and setting a long table. We’re preparing for a visit from “General McCain” and my sergeant is barking orders. He’s a gruff, kind old goat who reminds me of the actor, Jack Palance.

He assigns me the job of going to a hotel down the street to collect firewood. “We’re all out and we’ve got to get this room warmed up for the General,” he tells me. “And you need to be quick.”

I’m donning a sort of protective snow suit made of heavily padded blue and white striped cotton. There’s a basket of gloves made of the same fabric by the door, but none of them match. It’s very frustrating. I give up after a few minutes, put on some mismatched gloves and a neon blue ski cap. I head out into the blowing snow and crunch down the sidewalk.

The hotel is very shabby, but one can tell that it was once quite fancy. I suddenly realize that I have nothing to carry firewood and decide to go back for a wheelbarrow. I remember that there’s a rusty old yellow wheelbarrow behind the barracks. Another soldier appears out of the snow with the wheelbarrow and informs me that she too has been assigned to bring firewood.

“It’s for the fireplace in the General’s room,” she announces, “and I have priority.” I suddenly realize it’s Sarah Palin. I don’t like her and I don’t like this situation. She refuses to share the wheelbarrow and this really annoys me because it means I’ll need to make several trips in the blizzard.

“You’re going to regret this,” I say.

“Oh? And why is that?”

“Because some day you’re going to need something and I won’t be there for you.”

She giggles sarcastically and says, “God bless you!”

“Go to hell,” I reply.

The firewood is stored by a stone fireplace in a mezzanine restaurant on the second floor. The carpet on the stairs is red, dirty and threadbare. There’s a bar next to the fireplace, tended by a tall African American guy (not you-know-who, but with a similar build).

“My boss told me you have some firewood you can spare,” I tell him.

“Help yourself,” he says flatly and turns away to wipe down some dirty beer glasses.

I drag firewood to a window, open it and start tossing it to the street below, one log at a time. It thuds into the blowing snow and disappears. I’m thinking that this is going to take forever and I’m rather ticked off.

“The General should get his own damn firewood,” I announce to no one in particular. A few diners look up blankly, but no one helps.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Merciful Chickens

Part of a much longer dream:

There had been some cataclysmic event which had ground civilization to a halt... like a nuclear attack or something. Big explosion in the middle of the night. The house was all blown apart but still basically standing. We were all OK. KF and HL were here along with some other friends. Nobody knew exactly what had happened.

The electricity started coming back on; you could see house lights glowing faintly yellow in the debris of a few homes around the neighborhood. People started turning on their TV sets to see if there were any news reports.

I went across the street to see if some neighbors knew anything. “It’s real typical,” my neighbor said. “The news reports are just fluffy bs saying that something has happened but not what. There’s some pretty reporter live from the scene with absolutely nothing useful to say — and then they broke away for a commercial.” I put on an ironic little old lady voice and said, “Oh well, that’s a relief, dear, I guess I’ll be getting back home to bed now.” Everyone had a good chuckle.

My TV was an odd contraption that looked sort of like an old graphic design light box. The only way to properly display an image on it was to lay a piece of black graphics film over the white plexiglas surface. The TV image could then be viewed through the film. The film had been blown off in the explosion. I found it, dug it out of some rubble and blew the dust off. It was OK but a little crumpled. I needed something fairly heavy, flat and black to lay over the film to hold the edges down. I looked around and spotted a black leather-bound Bible in the debris.

“Hand me that Bible,” I said to KF.

“Why!?” said he. He had an odd expression and I realized he was thinking, “Oh, great, the end of the world comes and you’re getting all Christian on us.”

No, no, no,” I said, “I just need something flat to lay on top of the film. To hold it down, you know?”

Relieved, KF handed me the Bible, put on a little old lady southern belle voice and said, “Lord God Almighty and the blessings of His heavenly host of Merciful Chickens be upon you.”

We all had a good chuckle and I started working on the TV.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I was part of a work crew restoring an old Victorian home.

A previous attempt at restoration many years ago couldn't withstand time and bad weather. The foundation was crumbling. Rotted timbers and clapboards hadn't been replaced. Instead, the house was slathered in a coat of pretty pastel yellow paint. All the Victorian doodad trim was painted flat bright white.

Good paint job, lots of time and effort. The house looked ready for prospective buyers, but appearance was more important than substance or durability. If you picked at the paint with something as soft as a fingernail, you’d reveal the rotten brown wood beneath.

To be fair, the previous owner wasn't trying to cheat anybody. He wasn't trying to sell broken goods. He did the best he could with what he had at hand. He pretty much wanted to cut his losses and move.

So anyway, I was working on a second floor back porch... like one of those sleeping porches that people of means built before the advent of electricity and air conditioning. This sleeping porch was filled to the railing with broken, spongy brown chunks of bad wood.

I was using a small trowel (way too small for the job - should've brought a shovel) and throwing the bad wood over the railing into the back yard. Much sweating and swearing. I said to the crew, “We'll haul it all away later. Let's just clear it out for now.”

Digging down more, I discovered a rectangular box... maybe a foot square by about three feet high. It was pristine... a solid clapboard box painted the exact same pastel yellow as the rest of the house. I emptied it out and turned it over, upside down.

I woke up (delighted and laughing for the first time in a long time).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A faster mode of transportation

Dreaming is easily my favorite pastime. “To sleep, perchance to dream” (stole that phrase from William Shakespeare). I sleep as often as possible.

The real world is so nasty, so violent, so selfish and self-absorbed, that dreamtime offers a safe harbor... a glimpse into something more interesting, powerful, generally kind, and way more useful.

A new mode of travel cropped up repeatedly in recent dreams. I needed a faster mode of transportation to get from one place to another. “Necessity is the mother of invention” (Plato is said to have said that... whatever... I blatantly steal it here).

I often simply fly from place to place in dreamtime. Flying is fun, but it sometimes doesn’t satisfy. It’s too easy to fly. I want to feel my real meat and bones going somewhere. When that happens, it works like this:

I hunker down with both feet planted firmly on the ground and launch myself in a powerful leap. In the waking world, I could maybe leap 6 or 8 feet... but in dreamtime, I can leap maybe 50 or 60 yards, at an altitude of about 15 or 20 feet. As I arc down to the ground, I throw my arms forward and land on my hands.

In the real world, this would cause extreme and probably fatal damage to my hands, arms, and person. But in dreamtime, I simply push off again with my arms, travel maybe another 30 or 40 feet, curl my legs like a spring for the next leap, and take it.

Once you’ve tried it a few times, it becomes an easy, fluid motion. Sorta like the way a frog jumps. You can cover a lot of ground, real fast.

I employed this locomotion technique in a dream about Wal-Mart a few nights ago. I leapfrogged through the whole crazy store and back out to the parking lot... where I collapsed, exhausted and disgusted.