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I had a dream early this morning that clearly emanated from a recent rereading of the scene early in Samuel Delany's Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders in which the protagonist Eric contrives to get his dad to make a pit-stop at the Turpens gas station/convenience store so that he can investigate a lead on a strange and amazing secret fag-sex restroom venue in the back of the place. In the eighteen minutes or so he is the store, he manages to hook up sexually with a bunch of men who later become his friends and lovers later on. In my dream I found myself in a place kind of like this, a public restroom that was particularly scabrous (this actually recurs in my dream a lot for some reason) with dudes going about various business. I saw a Latino dude seated on a toilet getting head from a fat older naked white man; I saw several dudes pissing at urinals and talking to each other; I saw a boy of maybe sixteen or eighteen years old squatting over a toilet, hovering over it without letting the skin of his ass touch the seat, trying to take a dump. He wore a Turpens baseball cap like the one I had bought in order to have a reason to be in the place, blades of blond hair falling over his oily forehead. I had the thought that I just needed to take a piss and leave because I wasn't going to be interesting to any of the guys for sex. Because, I realized, as I approach my 46th birthday, I have become really unattractive and schlubby. The reality is that I am consistently about 20 to 30 pounds overweight with wild swings one way and the other. Because I am on my feet most of the day for long days and usually seven days a week during high seasons at work, I have a lot muscle stamina (and awesome calves!), but it is undermined by my abusive drinking and erratic diet. I am starting to feel older and out of shape and kind of like shit. This is how I felt in the dream in the Turpens rest/sexroom and how I really feel. This is a pic of me from today in a real restroom. I enhanced it to emphasize my flaws. That weird blackness on my chest is the scruffy result of not doing anything to remove my patchy gross chest hair for the last year. I am only talking about this to myself because I think I might be getting more okay with all this.

Annoying Dream:
For some reason, I've lately been having dreams in which I somehow end up in a wooded park and find myself getting lost and running into dead ends as I try to navigate its trails and roads. This park is a real place from my boyhood, a fairly large and heavily wooded park in the town in which I was born and lived until I was thirteen. It had (and I presume still has) hidden trails, a couple of weird bodies of water, an old stadium, a police shooting range, some assorted attractions like a public swimming pool and a dirt-and-gravel road that cuts through its back regions, but which doesn't really go anywhere--it just loops back around to where you started. But in some iterations of this dream, I am either walking or driving that road and somehow just can't quite find my way back out of the park. The road forks in strange ways, generates long sidepaths that dead-end in the woods or run into a large lake (there was in real life swampy flooded lake-like algae-choked area of water there that one could get to by following a dead-end path from the main road--and where it was believed that teenagers would go to fuck in their cars--but nothing nearly so large as the dream lake). In last night's version of the dream, instead of following the endless ever-changing road, I got similarly disoriented on a trail that cut through the woods and followed a narrow shallow stream. This trail and that stream were real things back in those days, too. During the summer when I was twelve, I frequently ventured down this trail by myself and masturbated. I enjoyed doing this outside so much that it became a nearly daily habit that summer even on rainy days, always standing in the same hidden spot and squirting on a clump of milkweed. It's amazing that I was never caught doing this because, while the path itself and my favorite spot on it were quite hidden from view, it was still traveled pretty frequently by other kids who liked to use it to cut aross the deep foresty middle of the park and feel some kind of sense of adventure from doing so. But I always got away with it. In fact, the only thing I was ever seen doing with my fly open was pissing in the stream that ran next to the trail, but that was totally non-controversial as it was absolutely standard for every boy who ever went to that part of the park to piss in that stream as if it were a long public trough-style urinal. In this dream from last night, I was on that same path, and I remember so many vivid details of it that makes me feel like my old impressions of it had risen whole and unchanged from some deep geological layer of memory. In the dream, I didnt jerk off and wasn't in the least bit horny enough to want to do so anyway, because I was intensely frustrated at how long circuitous the trail had become, and how it seemed that no matter which direction I went, I was just getting farther and farther away from the park's exit. At one point, I decided it would somehow be faster to simply go back the way I came and quit trying to find the end of the trail, but then the way back had changed, as if the path had been reworking itself behind me as I trod the woods' depths. Eventually, I made myself wake up. I can't always do this, but occasionally I have the ability to realize while in dream-space that I am probably dreaming and can just put an end to whatever dumb situation is going on by waking myself up.

New book project:
I am well into the editing and revision phase of a long project that I will probably release through (the long dormant) M-Brane Press hopefully later this year as both a series of ebooks and a single big print volume. It's a gay pornographic science fiction thing with elements of planetary romance and cosmic horror, set in a fantasy version of the Solar System several centuries from now, centered around a cast of specially-endowed characters that work almost like a Doc Savage-type secret organization to save the world again and again from various insidious threats (while continually getting their rocks off). I started it last summer, and added over fifty thousand words to it as my NaNoWriMo project last November, and it's been kind of growing gradually since then. I may release it pseudonymously, not because of its content but more because its built on the conceit that it's an assembly of several dudes' diary entries put together by an editor many years after the events described. So I think I will credit the book to its imaginary editor. It's become a lot more complicated, elaborate, nuanced, weird and just plain longer than what I had intended at the outset (which was just to knock out some quickie Kindle porn really fast and see if anyone would actually buy it), so I am months behind my own deadlines on it. The original idea was to release it as a bunch of ebooks, each "book" really just being a chapter in a serial. Typically these erotic Kindle books on Amazon tend to really just be four or five thousand-word short stories, and sometimes even shorter than that. My project is currently mapped out to have twenty-seven of these "books", each with a number and a lurid subtitle (I was kind of inspired to that number by Mark Danielwski's The Familiar, which he intends to tell in twenty-seven massive volumes). These individual book segments tend to be clocking in at around ten to twelve thousand words (and they get longer as I lard them up with "scholarly" footnotes) so a bit longer than is typical for the Kinde erotica format, but that's for the best, I think. I find a lot of that stuff to be too brief and not sufficiently fleshed out (and just plain awful) anyway. The final number of chapters may change by the time I am done, because a few of the unfinished ones seem to not need to exist anymore, while a couple of new ones that weren't even in the original outline have grown up and become important to the story arc. Also, I a few months ago, I had more or less decided to kill off one of the characters and excise him from the whole storyline because he didn't seem to be doing much of anything important, and I thought I maybe had too many major characters anyway (nine of them). But more recently, I kind of fell in love with the lad when he suddenly needed to be at the center of a couple new plot threads due to his special ability (he paints and draws stuff derived from prophetic visions). So he stays.
Feeling need to talk to my journal about random topics, no particular logic to it:

Jeffy and I are going to Curacao next Thursday. This is the first actual vacation we have taken since 2002 when we went to Mexico. Curacao was a somewhat last-minute choice. We'd been planning a trip to France, but it got all off the rails for reasons too tedious to recount. Basically, we procrastinated our planning too long, weren't going to meet J's requirements for that particular trip, decided not to spend the money if it wasn't going to be right. But I was still determined to go somewhere completely away from home. We'd heard of this former Dutch colony just a few miles off the shore of Venezuela but we knew nothing about it. Now we are very excited about it. We have a suite in the capital Willemstad, which town evidently looks like this:


I certainly didn't need a new one of these to start up just now, but that's the way it goes. This is the opening segment of what turns into a haunted house tale of sorts later on:

Mud, made of red clay and the inches of rain that had deluged the land for the previous two days, finally stopped the driver of the old truck that was to have conveyed me the last few klicks to the Sanitorium Melancthon. It was not that his tires were yet mired, but rather that he wished to avoid that hassle, which he saw coming too soon down a road the pavement of which was probably two centuries decayed and which had been getting gradually more so as we drove. You’ll need to finish on foot, sir, he said. I’m sorry, but I’ll go no further in this mess. I paid him the full fare, pulled on my rucksack and trudged forward between ruts full of black water. The rain didn’t fall hard, but it was insistent and a bit too cold for that hot season.Read more... )

The water dreams are back. In these dreams, I am usually driving somewhere that I don't want to go and I find that as I proceed the road that I am on is too close to edges of bodies of water or that there are vast expanses of water to either side, and eventually the road starts to get washed out and I am trapped in some hopelessly cut-off swampy or oceanic area with no possibility of going forward nor any chance of retreating the way I came. I have been bothered by these dreams for most of my adult life. I went for a while without remembering one, but they recur a lot lately. I don't like it at all. I hope that when I am in Curacao by the ocean and on the floating bridge and in the floating market and driving a rental car within view of the ocean that some switch will flip back off and get rid of these dreams for a while.

Another ongoing work-in-progress caused me to do some quick Googling to determine if I could easily get an answer as  to whether, in the real world, something could somehow change with the genetic information transmitted in a human male's sperm as to make it somehow not really his genetic info anymore but rather that of an exomorphic entity.Read more only for TMI... )
220px-Luke_Halpin_publicity_photo_2Lately I have been having a lot of media-related dreams. My last entry here was about an imaginary Rod Serling-produced TV show based on Faulkner's books. The other night I had another one about a TV show based on Frank Herbert's Dune--which of course never happened. But I decided to try to integrate this into the current work-in-progress. It fits in this way: there is a plot point that makes a lot more sense if the protag has for some reason a large and geeky social network. It needed some reason why a lot of people on the story's equivalents of Facebook and Twitter were available to observe it and react when he posts a pic of himself online with the words "THE END?" written on his chest with a marker upon the occasion of his twenty-first birthday. So, the long and exceedingly geeky paragraph below is the condensation of the dream cast into the world of the work-in-progress:

"I am A-R, a Boy Who Loves Dune"
That Arthur-Rimbaud even had such a large—and rather nerdy—social network extant to respond to his perceived suicide-distress-call was due mostly to his role as the curator of Bene Tleilax, a web-haven devoted to the fandom of the old TV series Dune. Derived loosely from the novel by Frank Herbert, the show ran from 1966 to 1986 on broadcast and then later on cable, inspiring a small but persistent following of people given to doing things like making costumes, attending conventions and writing fan fiction. Like its major TV sf-genre rival, the British show Doctor Who, the Dune series was composed of a long string of complex story arcs and it was marked by changes in its cast and characters as time passed, sometimes informed by Herbert’s occasional new entries into the novel series. Its “golden age” was generally considered to be its first three seasons, in part because of its remarkable cast ensemble: James Dean as the Duke Leto Atreides and Dean’s real-life young son Luke-Henry as his fictional son, the hero Paul Atreides; Tallulah Bankhead as the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam and Joan Collins as the Lady Jessica; the surrealist artist Salvador Dali as the Emperor Shaddam IV; John Colicos as the corrupt and sadistic Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, and Luke Halpin (also of Flipper fame) as his troubled heir Feyd-Rautha. Because of the vast scope and depth of its storyline and the constant need for new characters that might only appear once or twice, Dune became a routine stop for nearly every actor in Hollywood during the period as well as for every up-and-coming director. Anyone who’d ever touched Yoknapatawpha County or The Twilight Zone or Star Trek or Night Gallery ended up involved with Dune as well. By 1990, there was literally no one under consideration for an Emmy or an Oscar that hadn't had at least some contact with Dune. A-R’s father had been a huge fan of the show, and he’d indoctrinated his boy into it from an early age. Several years ago, looking for something to do as web-based media project for a class in high school, A-R started Bene Tleilax as a sort of personal blog combined with Dune content. Dune-enthusiasm had waned a bit over the years, in part as a result of a number of botched feature film attempts and a string of widely panned novels by Herbert’s son, but A-R still loved it all, even the weak early-1980s seasons and the bad movies and the sketchy novels, and he was delighted when his site readily gained a large following. Eventually, despite his efforts to keep the site focused on his “front-page” content, it gradually turned into a huge library of fan-written fiction, most of it “slash” in character. Accepting this natural inevitability, A-R’d spent much of his time with the site over the previous few years carefully organizing all of this slash fiction into easily searchable archives, and occasionally posting an editorial on his main page about the state of it all. This satisfied in him an urge to organize data. Occasionally he’d bust out fifty cents per word—on his dad’s dime—for original sf/fantasy fiction with a “Dune-ethos” (but without using Dune’s copyrighted property), which got him some notice as a “professional” publisher of sf/fantasy, and a lot of the stories that he’d published on Bene Tleilax later re-appeared in the various annual “Best Of” books. Despite this success, he never invested fully and personally into its cachet, instead sticking with the sensibility of his site’s original subtitle: “I’m A-R, a Boy Who Loves Dune,” and never trying to make it anything more grand than what he’d originally envisioned.
Early this morning I had a dream that I discovered on Netlfix a 1950s-era TV series produced by Rod Serling and based on William Faulkner's work. This was so cool that I had to write it down, but instead of just recounting the dream, I decided to splice it into the work-in-progress (my still-ongoing NaNoWriMo project). A new excerpt from it:

...but after this release, A-R did not return to the book. Instead he turned on the TV, selected his Netflix queue. He’d become rather interested in an old TV series called Yoknapatawpha County. It was a creepy Southern Gothic soap opera of sorts, with a lot of horror elements. Rod Serling had produced it (same guy who also made The Twilight Zone) with teleplays penned mostly by William Faulkner, and it had run on TV in the late 1950s. It had been quite popular despite its opaque plotlines and densely written scripts and its often-macabre subject matter. But evidently it also had been heavily censored during its original run, many of its episodes bowdlerized in the cutting room or never aired at all in order to protect the sensitivities of 1950s TV viewers from moral offense. But the show’s current studio owner had recently undertaken to restore it to the TV show that Serling and Faulkner had intended it to be. Never-aired episodes were unearthed. Scenes were restored to other episodes. The whole thing was meticulously re-mastered, its black-and-white imagery newly crisp and mesmerizing on a hi-def screen, its shades of grey rendered into a glistening plasma of strangeness from another era, its soundtrack music once again like a transfixing Circe-call.

        The show was built around a series of story arcs centered upon the rivalry between two decayed families of the series’ eponymous fictional county, the Snopes and the Compsons, the former being relatively low-brow newcomers to the county and the latter being the remnants of an antebellum aristocracy. Interspersed among these ongoing storylines were many stand-alone episodes about various incidents of mystery, horror and evil chicanery. One of the “lost” episodes that had run afoul of 1950s censors focused on one of the Compson boys—a “mental defective” named Benjy—who tried to sexually assault a girl and was then castrated for it. The story was unspooled almost languidly by way of Faulkner’s ornate language, and filtered through camerawork that made the whole thing look like something seen through shifting black-and-white stained glass. But the result was a thing both stunningly frank and surprisingly graphic. A-R wondered if it would meet broadcast standards even now, and he was not at all surprised that it’d been suppressed back in 1959. Another episode uncovered a group of social outliers—some frightful white trash, relatives of the county’s Klan-involved sheriff—who were processing dead humans, some murdered and some grave-robbed, into smoked sausage and decorating their unspeakably filthy pine woods hovel with desiccated and tanned human remains. Some of the series’ horror even ventured fully into the supernatural, with acknowledgements of vampires, specters and voodoo zombies afoot in the county, these made even creepier by the way the characters never seemed to regard any of these goings-on as things outside their ordinary experience.

         A-R had thought about that a lot lately: weird goings-on that weren’t regarded as anything outside the humdrum of day-to-day life on Earth. He’d observed that the “heat bubble” phenomenon that had been blanketing Wisconsin—where Chris persisted in staying for far too long—was generally commented upon as being rather unexpected, but also that no one was particularly concerned with explaining it. Indeed, the only media attention he’d seen devoted to its basic weirdness was on a single broadcast of NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show when Rehm and a climate scientist discussed the topic, the scientist wearily dismissing the whole thing as just another symptom of the world winding down and suggesting that humanity ought to just lie back and accept its obvious impotence over the natural affairs of the universe.

         One multi-episode arc of Yoknapatawpha County’s second season featured in its background a steady rainstorm that had persisted for months without a break. The eeriness of the phenomenon laid not so much with the bare fact of it but rather the characters’ complete nonchalance about it. It was a detail that impinged only incidentally on the events of the main storyline. A truck tire might be mired in mud because of it, or a woman’s hair might be soaked when otherwise it might not have been. But that was all. This reminded A-R of Wisconsin, the heat bubble, and now the temporal disconnect between Wisconsin and the rest of the planet. No one seemed to care about it. It was in front of no one’s attention.

      A-R had had reached season three of the show. The sixth item on the episode guide caught his eye, an episode titled “The Cabinet of Cthulhu.” Its summary stated: “A visiting researcher (Robert Culp) befriends Benjy (Billy Gray) and presses Quentin (James Dean) for the secrets of an ancient seaman’s chest and a hidden cult.”

“WTF?” said A-R aloud, sitting upright, fully articulating it as double-you-tee-eff. Just as the blunt depictions of unvarnished racism, social decay, cannibalism and incest from other episodes seemed out of synch with the utopian cultural mindset of the era in which this show had been made, so, too, did a reference to the Cult Cthulhu, a thing you heard about and encountered routinely nowadays but which did not seem like a thing that could even have existed in the made-up halcyon myth age of 1950s America. Like Mormons, he thought. They were certainly around back then, but you didn’t see boys on bicycles wearing ties every single day like you do now. Nor boys with tentacle chains around their necks stocking weird-looking fruit in the grocery store.

    He clicked WATCH.

I am past the half-way point of Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders (Samuel Delany) and still liking it a lot. It's actually become easier to enjoy as it's gone on, but one side-effect is that its characters and locations are seeping into my dreamscape. But what's really weird is that it somehow seems to have somehow seeped into my boyfriend's dreamscape as well, and he has never read a word of the book! And I hadn't told him anything about it either (he finds it intensely tedious if I try to explain to him what I am reading). We were in the living room a few nights ago and I dozed on the couch. During this short nap, I had experienced a fleeting snippet of a dream set in what my mind has constructed to be the house that the main characters live in, a small, shabby thing in a small coastal Georgia town. When I awoke, I told him that I was heading to bed and that I'd just had a dream about this shack in Georgia, a setting of that novel. Then J said, "I had a dream last night that was in some kind of shack like that." Then he described how, in the dream, he became involved with people who were having all kinds of incestuous and kinky sex. I asked him if there as an older white guy there. He said there was and added that there was also a younger mixed-race dude and a young blond guy. In other words, he saw the book's lead characters in their home. Not sure how or why he managed to have this dream, but it's super-weird. I am not aware of any past situation where have shared dream-content like this but now I want to encourage him to talk about his dreams more often. He doesn't like to do that, always says he can't remember much, but I am going to ask a lot more now. 
I have been so busy with my work and with M-Brane projects that I keep putting off--and then never doing--a lot of entries that I've meant to make in the journal, (especially dream posts since remembering dreams and recording what I recall tends to fertilize my writer mind. Hence, no posts over the last four weeks). I've been trying to sleep a bit more. I have no trouble sleeping, but I get into phases, especially when work is demanding, of staying up too late trying to work on side projects, read, listen to podcasts or just jack around on the web. So I have been making myself most nights get at least seven hours in bed. When I get enough sleep, and get closer to well-rested, I tend to have clearer recall of dream situations and imagery. Unfortunately a lot of what I have been remembering lately is drearily realistic, literal rehashes of events from work or dream extrapolations of what might happen tomorrow at work. But there have been a few oddities worth remembering centered on three very common themes in my dream state.

Food dreams: Most of these lately have been literal and work-related, but a couple notable exceptions: 1) I dreamt that I visited a new restaurant located in a small corner of an ancient colluseum-style building which specialized entirely in egg salad. They had dozens of formulations of egg salad and many different styles of bread. There was an egg salad with copious smoked trout and capers and dill in it, served on a toasted rye bagel. There was another one mixed with pulled pork and chili pepper mayonnaise, wrapped in a thick fresh flour tortilla with avocados. Another one was a mixture containing yogurt, cucumber, mint and "gyro meat" served with wedges of grilled pita. I could go on and on, but you get the point. A total egg salad concept restaurant. I wonder if such a thing exists. As one who loves egg salad, I think it's a brilliant idea; 2) I prepared a cookbook for publication, compiling its text and images on a large device like an iPad, but huge. It was embedded in the steel surface of a work table and was probably at least a meter wide. In a larger version of my home kitchen, Jeff assembled show plates of our new dishes and photographed them. As he took pictures they instantly appeared on my table-sized screen and I slid them into place on pages with my fingers.

Sex dreams: These happen constantly, but are usually unremarkable unless there is an odd juxtaposition of sex and location, or an unexpected partner. 1) One recent dream involved a sex act with a non-human phenomenon which is difficult to describe. In the dream, it was called a "variable state wave," and it took the form of a hazy reddish-orange, luminous field in which I was partially enveloped. It responded to my actions, and me to its, but it was not an item of technology, not some kind of strange sex toy. I understood it to have a sentience though I could not communicate verbally with it. But it was totally interactive: I wanted something from it, but it also wanted something from me, and I intuitively understood its desires. It made sense in the dream context, and even though it seemed like nonsense after I awoke, I kept remembering it with some enthusiasm later in the day. 2) I found on a website a series of black-and-white videos of myself engaged in various auto-erotic activities. It developed that various people that I know in real life were aware of the site containing these videos and had seen them. I felt some anxiety that I did not know how these videos were made nor how they got posted online. But a conversation with a friend allayed any fears I had about it when he assured me that the videos had been up for years and that they were well regarded as examples of my "creativity" by everyone who knew me. 

Water dreams: While I generally like the food dreams and the sex dreams, I do not like the water dreams and I do not like that I seem to be in a new phase of them. "Water dreams" is my name for a broad category of dreams in which almost anything can be happening, but they always involve traveling somewhere, usually by car, and finding myself in some kind of swamped terrain where the road gradually becomes covered by water and where bodies of water appear and widen around me and make it constantly more difficult to get anywhere. The mood of these dreams ranges from merely frustrating to truly terrifying. I don't know why these happen, but they have recurred my entire life. I wonder if the water is some kind of archetype that my subconscious employs to illustrate stress or feelings of not being in control of things. Whatever it is, I don't like it. When one of these occurs during early morning sleep, when I am getting closer to wakefulness, I can sometimes wake myself out of it. Yesterday morning, I was stuck in one of these situations, and within the dream itself, I looked at myself as if in a mirror and said, "You're not having this dream anymore. It's not happening. You don't need to find a way around the water. Just wake up." And I woke up.

I'm not sure that I've mined much inspiration out of any recent dream activity, but I may add the egg salad restaurant into my current work-in-progress. And I if I ever had a bunch of extra money and wanted to open a restaurant again, I just might make it real!
I had a remarkable dream early yesterday morning, a vivid and bizarre farrago of images and events, connected by a very strong and coherent narrative thread. I am away from home this weekend, visiting family in Wisconsin, and I wasn't able to pull away to write this post right away like I normally like to do with a dream post. But it was so vivid that most of the important elements are still strong in memory. 

I was at work, in a place that was a complex mixture of some of my current work locations with my current job and some past ones, including the little restaurant that J and I used to own. Co-workers present and past were there, and we were engaged in a number of busy activities such as preparing a restaurant to open, prepping food for an off-premise catered event, and prepping food to supply another restaurant. I was in the role of executive chef, directing all this food activity, while one of my co-workers was in the role of a dining room manager, supervising front-of-the-house operations. I cannot name this person, but we'll call him "Seth," just to have something to call him.

A situation arose where we needed to supply a bunch of quiche to one of our other locations, and I was trying to organize the prep on it and make sure we had the ingredients we needed (and that a gigantic steampunkish kitchen contraption called a "quiche engine" was ready for use) but Seth approached me and placed an arm around my shoulders, leaned in and kissed me on my cheeks and then lightly on my lips. I wasn't sure if this was some kind of mistake and was afraid to respond. As far as I knew, the guy was straight, and even if he weren't, I doubted that he would want to display such attention toward me in front of our co-workers. I considered that his judgment might be impaired or that he had intended to kiss someone else. But then he kissed me full-on (tongue) and I was pretty sure that he intended to do this, but I was still nervous about all this going in front of everyone in the middle of my kitchen. I was worried that he was creating an embarrassment more for himself than for me, and I didn't want to see him put himself in such a situation. But no one seemed to notice. Another co-worker (let's call her Elspeth) told me that we didn't need to make the crusts for the quiche because she had brought in a bunch "Libyan quiche crusts." With Seth still semi-hanging on me, biting at my neck and ears, I followed her to a loading dock where sat a huge heap of clear plastic take-out boxes each containing a pre-made quiche crust. These were a "Product of Libya." As Seth continued to try to make out with me, I told Elspeth that we probably couldn't use those crusts because of economic and political reasons.

Elspeth assured me that Libyan crusts were perfectly legal nowadays "after normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Jamahiriya." Seth kissed me more, getting me intensely, crazily aroused despite my determination to conduct professional business. I wanted to just take him away somewhere private and have at it, but the quiche crust situation could not be left alone. I told Elspeth that I didn't think that Libyan quiche crusts were legal even after normalization of relations. "Also," I said, "we absolutely cannot use a pre-fabricated crust for our quiche. If we are going to send quiches over there, then it needs to be the exact same quiche we serve here." Elspeth seemed to not get this very important point. Seth didn't care either. I told Elspeth that if she used the Libyan crusts and our boss found out about it, "he would freak right the fuck out."  This threat got her attention and she said, "OK, OK, I hear you," and she scurried away to make our normal quiches. "Now," Seth said, mouth more or less against mine, "can you forget about the fucking quiche for a minute and pay attention to me?"

From that point on, the dream became more or less pornographic, so I won't recount its details here except to say that we did some of our getting-it-on in a space underneath the massive "quiche engine," which was kind of like a combination of a steam locomotive and ferris wheel.

Sometimes I wonder what, if anything, a dream might "mean." Sometimes, as weird as they are, they make a kind of sense as a sort of subconscious organizational scheme. Sometimes they seem to "file" stuff into their proper folders and tidy up some kind of clutter that's been lying loose in the back of the mind. Aside from the weird elements--the jumbled physical space of the dream, Seth wanting to make out with me, the quiche engine, Libya--much of it was a fairly mundane and realistic work dream. The issue of the quiche crust being right is an expression of a real issue at real work--not quiche in particular, but food quality and consistency in general. How I interact with these coworkers is a real-world consideration, too. The wildly implausible dream rendition of Seth asking me to forget about the quiche for a minute rings true even though it would never play out like that in reality. The total message of the dream, if there was one, was that I needed to relax a bit about some work-related concerns and see a clearer picture of some small things that had been nagging at me. It worked pretty well, and the fact that my subconscious sorted through these things in the mode of an erotic dream rather than a nightmare seems like a bonus. If I rated my dreams with a star scale, I'd give this one four out of five stars.
Does anyone know of any alt-history fiction where the Pacific Theater of World War II did not end the way it really did but with the United States still more or less victorious (not wondering about Axis-victorious stuff like Man in the High Castle)? The reason I ask is that I had a dream last night where such an alternate ending was fact of life.

It seems like any time someone discusses how the Allies Vs. Japan phase of the war could have gone, there are only two alternatives: the way it really did happen, or a horrendous Plan B involving an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands at an estimated cost of hundreds of thousands of American troops' lives, not too mention massive Japanese military and civilian casualties as well. Either one or the other. Which sounds worse? I think this is a way to make Americans feel better about the enormity that was the atomic bombing of civilian populations in Japan. That was awful, yeah, but Plan B was a hell of a lot worse they say. But was there ever any serious consideration of a Plan C: don't drop atomic bombs and don't invade Japan itself, but instead roll them back to the Home Islands and contain them there for a while. This had largely been achieved by the summer of 1945. That was a thing that showed up in my dream. In that dream's real history, that's what happened. The United States military planners decided that pressing toward final victory and Japan's unconditional surrender was not worth the cost. Instead they threw a naval and air cordon around Japan, interdicting any further efforts at military aggression and conducting air strikes aimed at further eroding the Japanese regime's war-making ability (which was already basically gone anyway by the point in real history where my dream-history diverges). Eventually, a negotiated armistice and treaty with the United States was reached similar to the one with Germany that ended the First World War in 1918 and there was no occupation of Japan nor was the Japanese political and military elite entirely removed from power. 

So I wonder if anyone knows of any speculative fiction where a scenario like this played out and what course this alternate Japan took. I have to think that modern Japan would be a very, very different thing now if it had gone this way because what it is now is very much the result of the way the war ended. I'm not, by the way, advocating for it or suggesting that I think it would have necessarily been a good or better thing if history had gone this way. I just find it an interesting avenue for speculation because it is so very different than real history. 

In the dream itself, the topic was not discussed much and the dream was not even primarily about this. But I brought it up to a dream character as an example of how one does not always have to either win or lose, and that acceptable outcomes can sometimes happen by taking a third way. While I was trying to make this point to someone in a dream, I am considering right now in my waking world that this is a point that I might benefit from taking to heart myself. I think that I sometimes think too often in victory vs. defeat terms, and that it is actually more often the case that neither needs to be the final outcome. Also, when I am unhappy with a circumstance it is probably good to remind myself of something that I have observed so many times that it seems to be a truism: the System will eat itself.
On those rare occasions when I just say "fuck it, I'm sleeping for a long time tonight," and I end up getting about eight or nine more or less uninterrupted hours (usually a couple on the couch until Maus, the cat, ushers me to bed), I tend to have very weird and very long and drawn-out dreams of great detail and complexity (and usually with frustrating story-lines) during the last hour or two in bed. I haven't kept up on these dream journal entries lately (though old ones can be found by the tag below) but this morning's sleep-borne vision was so crazy and so genre-related that I must report it. Readers of more sensitive tastes should leave the room now, for this dream was imbued with the essence of Picard/Riker slash.

I'd imagine that anyone geeky enough to read my LiveJournal knows about slash fiction. But if not, a working definition: a fan-written fiction based on characters from TV, movies, and books centered around a couple of those characters having a (usually homo)sexual relationship with one another. Star Trek slash, centered on Kirk and Spock (K/S was the fanzine genre abbreviation in the old Universal Translator and Datazine guides, and that's where the "slash" came from), dates back almost to the beginning of Trek. 

So, back to my dream...I don't remember everything that happened during the several subjective days that this dream transpired over, but I vividly recall a sequence where I was in bed and naked with another dude. In the dream context, I understood without any difficulty that I was Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D. And I knew that my bed partner--while he did not look anything at all like actor Jonathan Frakes--was, in fact, Commander Riker, my "Number One." So while I looked basically like I do in real life, and while my bed partner looked basically like he does in real life (will not be saying who that real life person is publicly), we were, in fact, Picard and Riker. Except we also had a LOT of tattoos, way more than in real life. But here's where it gets weird and frustrating and starts to bear all the hallmarks of an early-morning dream: I am trying to, ya know, get it on with my Number One but the fact that our bedroom opens into the bridge of the Enterprise proves a constant distraction. People are continually trying to report stuff about the Romulans and some kind of nonsense from the Judge Advocate General's office and facts about the Medusans and shit about the DS9 wormhole, and my "Riker" is very, very interested in all of this minutiae, and I am continually cock-blocked. Until I finally woke up from this crazed Trek-sexual fantasia.

I hope someone reads this and then writes the slash-fic based on it.
I need to keep up on these dream journal posts better. I've had some interesting dreams lately but never get around to writing them down. The one I'm going to talk about now also illustrates another waking-world issue that I have been wanting to spout off about anyway, so the timing is perfect.

I dreamt that my mother had started a campaign to be elected governor of the state of Wisconsin. In real life, my mother has never run for office nor been involved in public activism, nor ever expressed any interest in doing so. She's not a joiner like that, and not interested in being a leader like that. Yet, within the dream context, it seemed like a logical development, and I felt as if I had seen the growth of her political career from the beginning. Much of the actual action of the dream was a phone conversation with her (seen in a weird split-screen mode, where I was on the phone with her at my own home in St. Louis, but I could still see her in her home in Wisconsin, also on the phone). She was trying to impress upon me the importance that I not speak to the media about certain things, particularly not the "sizement tax issue."  No idea in the waking world what the "sizement tax issue" might be, but in the dream it made sense, and was evidently a hot-button issue in her political campaign and one with which see seemed concerned about my opinion or what I might say to others about it (because she suspected that I opposed her position on the sizement tax). And it went on and on in a fairly nonsensical mode like this until I finally dragged myself back into wakefulness.

This dream is interesting to me in the sense that it highlights something that it is true about me but which I try to not say in a super-blunt way because I don't want to sound like a haranguing dick all the time or make people think that I am incapable of a civil conversation. But this is it: Until the Republican Party at the national level drops its objections to marriage equality (and a number of other offensive positions), there is no way, under any circumstances, that I would vote for, or even consider voting for, anyone for any office at any level of government who calls him or herself a Republican. Not President, not Governor, not Senator nor Congressman. Not state assemblyman nor state senator, nor city mayor, nor small-town mayor. Not for excise commissioner, nor city councilwoman, nor president of a garage sale, nor judge of a barbecue cook-off. No office whatsoever, until they quit, at their highest levels, their irrational bigotry. This includes my own mom.

My mom is a Sean-Hannity-watching, Bush-voting GOPer. While I love my Mom and while she has many wonderful attributes, if she were to run for high office, I would without a second thought come out publicly against her candidacy unless she repudiated this Fox News ideology. Because people who support that party's inflexible position in support of irrational, anti-science-based dumbassity should not be elected for anything for any reason. I don't care who they are or for what office they are running. 

And that was a good example of a dream that leaves me crabby the next day. Hate those!
I haven't posted  a new "Dream Journal" entry in a while. My dreamscape since the move back to STL has been fairly prosaic and literalistic without a lot of weirdness that's worth noting. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It may just be a symptom of a generally more balanced, even-keeled, calm mental state in recent weeks.  But I did experience this sleep-borne oddity last night:

I was in an electronics store, like Best Buy. And I was tasked with assisting none other than Isaac Asimov (the late author, if somehow you didn't know) in selecting a television to purchase. He looked much as he does in this picture:

As we considered various models of TV, I somehow became uncomfortably aware of the fact that Asimov might not have enough money to buy any of the TVs that he was considering and became concerned that I might need to find a way to gracefully and discreetly cover the cost of it without embarrassing him. Why Asimov was broke in this dream, I have no idea. I also had the sense that he wasn't all there mentally either, as if he were displaying symptoms of the onset of Alzheimer's. A salesperson approached us and I found myself under great stress, thinking I needed to protect Asimov from people finding out that he was shopping with no money and was in mental decline. To make matters more uncomfortable, Asimov insisted that he wanted to look at a "gas TV," and neither the salesman nor I knew what that was. [ Waking world note: could he have meant a plasma screen? I remember my father considering whether to get an LCD or plasma TV a few years ago, and he said he had heard that the plasma models have some kind of gas that can leak out--whether this is true, I have no idea, I still own a cathrode ray tube TV.]  My discomfort increased as Asimov started getting agitated over our ignorance of the gas TV, and I felt a flash of anger when I realized that the salesman seemed to smirking and chuckling at the old man's behavior.  I'm not quite sure how this ended, but that seems to have been the end of it, and I woke up much pleased to be done with that situation.

So...what the hell's up with that? That tendency to want to guard the feelings and dignity of an elderly person who isn't functioning very well is very natural to me, so that part makes sense, and the dream felt very realistic in that way. But why Isaac Asimov? My mind could have dredged up a lot of older people that I actually know to play out that same scenario, so why an author who's been dead for a couple of decades and whom I never met? I wonder if the reader/literary part of my subconscious was puzzling over something to do with the literature or generation of writer that Asimov represents. Very, very odd, whatever it's about.

While I never met Asimov, I was very proud as a teenager to have received a handwritten note from him in response to a letter that I had written to him. During the period when I was publishing my Star Trek fanzine, I did some coverage of a campaign that a bunch of Trek fans were running to induce the Postal Service to issue a stamp with the starship Enterprise on it. Back then, they generally didn't do stamps with media images like that, so it was an uphill battle. Someone in that stamp committee claimed that a lot of notable sf folks were backers of the Trek stamp campaign (and some indeed were), and that one such supporter was Asimov. So, wanting to get first-hand quotes for my article, I wrote to Asimov asking if he'd care to comment on this effort. In the margins of my letter, he wrote, "I am afraid I have no knowledge of the stamp campaign." For a long time after that, I'd pick up that letter and look at it, dazzled that the man who had written Foundation put pen to my piece of paper!
This morning's pre-waking dream combined two recurring elements from my dream world: a tedious task that resists completion and from which I keep getting sidetracked, and "lost" episodes of original-series Star Trek.

In this dream, I was attempting to record a VHS duplicate copy of a set of never-before-seen Trek episodes. As I recall, the complete plan was to record the VHS dupe from a DVD, and then later take the tape home and somehow transfer it again, this time to a DVD. Why I wasn't just copying the DVD in the first place, or just stealing the original, I have no idea. This kind of stuff doesn't make sense after I wake up. But it did in the dream. I was using a VHS recorder that evidently belonged to Jeff's mother (we were at her house, combined with elements of a school). It was very large, like one of those really old ones from the late 1970s that was about as big and heavy as a small car. At one point I noticed that I was working with it outside and it had melting snow on top of it, with ice dripping on it from above. Realizing that this might ruin the machine and end my plans for it, I brushed away the snow and then tipped the whole machine upside down and poured a lot of water out of it.

Later, I was indoors with it trying to link it to the machine that I was copying from and also trying to get the picture to display on a TV. Then there were about a dozen TVs and other devices arrayed around me, and I was plugging a coaxial cable into one and then the next for a long time trying to get things set up the right way. Then when I was finally ready to record my copy, I discovered that I didn't have a blank tape. Jeff's mom had a bunch of tapes sitting around, but they were all obviously used. None were labeled but I could see that they had all been stopped in the middle of the tape after playing or recording something. I really wanted a fresh new tape for this project. Then I saw she had some tapes still in their original cello packaging. But then my hopes were dashed again when I realized that they weren't VHS tapes but rather audio cassettes. I asked J's mom if I could record over one of her used tapes. She was OK with it but she wanted to play each one of them to make sure that there was nothing important on them, which for some reason involved re-wiring my whole co-ax cable set-up. And it continued in this exasperating mode for a while, and the dream ended with the "lost" episodes of Trek tantalizingly close but still outside my grasp.

The seed for this dream might have been planted the other day when we started packing for our move and I decided to once and for all get rid of the last of VHS tapes, the audio cassettes and the machines that play them. I haven't had these devices in service for about a decade and I let go of the vast majority of the tapes a couple of moves ago, but I was still hanging on to the machines and a few of the most treasured tapes just in case I someday felt like I "needed" them. This is too much like hoarding behavior, and I made the decision that I wasn't going to haul around this junk anymore. Also, it fits with my current attitude about obsolete storage media. Budgetary restrictions of recent years have made it impossible for me to continue my habit of days bygone of buying CDs and DVDs. I have not acquired a brand new one, using my own money, of either in about five years. I have gotten a handful of DVDs as gifts, and I have a pretty cool little collection of movies from back when I was a buyer of discs. After I start my new day job, my income will increase a bit, and it would be perhaps affordable again to buy discs once in a while. But I won't be doing it. All those DVDs and CDs (and yes, soon the brand new BlueRay discs, too) are almost as obsolete already as those VHS tapes that I canned a couple days ago. I was browsing Netflix the other day and discovered a bunch of movies that I own DVD copies of that I can stream online at essentially zero cost since unlimited use of the streaming service is included in the minimal amount we pay Netflix for our one-disc-at-a-time version of their mail delivery service. Why would I even bother to get the disc out ever again?  If it were to ever happen in real life that those dream episodes of lost Star Trek finally appear, I hope that instead of screwing around with machines and physical media to get at them, I can just stream them online.

A couple of things I should mention before describing this dream: I am something of an Anglophile, and while I don't take the time to follow all the minutiae of British politics, I follow their general elections with some interest and am always excited to see the result. It's election time again soon. Labour hopes to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in government, but the opposition Conservatives seem to be favored for victory this year, with the Liberal Democrats in good position to make some gains (though an outright victory by them seems exceedingly unlikely). Personally, I favour Labour, but I don't view a Tory victory as the kind of disaster for Britain that, for example, a restoration of complete Republican government would be in the US. More on why in a minute, but first the dream fragment:

I was standing in a crowd London's Hyde Park. A political campaign rally was going on. I said to Jeff, "Oh, they must have called for the election!" Then the imagery seemed to shift  from a sense of being there live to watching it on TV and the back again. Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a brief statement to the crowd, but then Prince Harry took the microphone from Brown and said that the Conservatives are "a bunch of suicide-bombing lunatics!" and that Britain would be a land of fools to put them in government. This statement by the Prince cast a gloomy pall over the Labour rally as they realized that their chances in the election had just suffered a major setback. Jeff said to me that he didn't see what the big deal was, and then the rest of the dream consisted of me explaining to him that protocol would require that the royals stay out of electoral politics and refrain from statements intended to sway the outcome of the vote [I don't even know if this true in real life, but I assume it is, and I can't remember a British royal ever blatantly attacking or endorsing a party or candidate]. So the Prince's denunciation of the Tories as suicide bombers while standing next to Brown could have the effect of riling the public against Labour and inspiring voters to send a strong rebuke both to Labour and the royal family. "I'm afraid he's just lost us the election," I said gloomily. Then I think I woke up.

In real life, if the Tories win I won't be happy about it, but it won't bring me to tears either. The UK will not fall into a radical right-wing condition under a David Cameron regime. What most Americans don't seem to know is that almost the entire British political spectrum is located to the left of ours. American Republicans might hear about a Conservative Party victory in Britain and feel all warm and gooey because they hear the word "conservative" and mistakenly imagine that the British equivalent of Sarah Palin has been elected. In fact, I suspect that Cameron's government, if it is in fact elected, will be about as "conservative" at most as President Obama's administration in the US (which is being blasted as a socialist, communist and Nazi regime). Ideologically, our present-day Democratic party is probably more comparable to the present-day British Conservatives than Labour. Britain doesn't even have a major political party as right-wing as what our Republicans have become, but their neo-fascist and racist British National Party is a lot like some elected Republican members of Congress and very much like a lot of members of the teabagger movement. The US has become so reactionary in recent years, that an election here will eventually be comparable to a British election if the only major UK parties were the Tories and BNP. 

A notable thing about the present-day Tories is that their leadership seems have undergone a conversion on gay rights, and Cameron has been falling over himself trying to make the case that British gays ought to abandon Labour and the Lib Dems and vote blue this year. This interesting table, however, shows the voting record of the three largest parties on some issues important to gays, and you can see that the Conservatives overwhelmingly went against the interests of gay voters on all of them except for civil partnerships, whilst Labour and the Lib Dems voted almost 100 percent in favor of each. I will give at least some of the Tories credit, however: if votes on comparable issues were held in the US Congress now, 100 percent of Republicans would vote against the gays on every one of them. I hope it's true that the Conservatives are no longer an overwhelmingly homophobic party, but I don't trust them. If Cameron and his crew win in May, he can prove it by doing something good. They already have civil partnerships, but how about adding samesex marriage? 
We're visiting STL this week to do the search for our new home. Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed tends to do interesting things to my dreams. The dreamscape during the last hour or so of sleep this morning was an especially vivid and especially confusing jumble of images and scenarios drawn from a huge number of sources. It's too much to recount in full, and much of the detail is slipping out of memory, but several items that I do recall seem to have the same underlying anxiety:

1) During a scene where I was part of a large group with a number of cars among us, and where we were all in a hurry to leave where we were and meet up at another location, I spilled a take-out container of kim chee on the floor of the passenger side of my car. I wanted to take a minute to clean it up because I thought it would spoil, soak into the carpet, make the interior of the car smell like kim chee forever. Then I realized that it wasn't actually in my own car that I spilled the food, but in a friend's car which was identical to mine. So I decided to just leave it since I hadn't been caught.

2) In another sequence, I was apparently living in a college housing situation, much like the on-campus house that I shared with a few other kids during my second year of college. My father visited and for some reason I didn't want my housemates to see him, as if I were embarrassed by his presence. So I ushered him into the house as quickly and surreptitiously as possible. But then he asked if I had any food in the house, which seemed very out of character for him. I looked in a refrigerator which was stuffed with what looked like old fast food bags and wrappers and other trash. In this mess was a full sandwich from Subway. I handed that to my dad, certain that I was probably stealing someone's else's lunch, and ushered him upstairs to my quarters to get him and the evidence of my theft out of sight. Then, in my room, evidence was strewn about that I had recently had a lover in my room: pants and a shirt that were not mine lying on the floor, underwear that was not mine on the rumpled bed, and the sound of a shower running in the next room. I struggled to find a way to distract attention from this evidence, not wanting to be caught.

3) Later, I was in a building that was a mash-up of both the middle school and high school that I attended in real life, with elements of the Saint Louis Art Museum. This was one of the longest and most tedious sequences of this morning's dreams, as I navigated through claustrophobic corridors and rooms with impossible angles and walls too close together. But eventually I was in a gym locker room (one equipped with industrial kitchen appliances) with a dude that I used to know from college days. I was supposed to boil water for pasta, but he was undressing to take a shower and I decided that I needed to do that, too. It was really just a flimsy pretext to get up close and naked with him, and I decided to hurry up and do it because I knew that Jeff and other people would soon arrive for dinner and I didn't want him to see me in the shower with this other dude because I knew he would know that I was doing it for reasons other than just getting clean.

And there was more of this, but too much and too tedious to recount. For some reason, these dreams all had something to do with me sneaking about and trying to conceal bad behavior or facts that would be embarrassing. I have no idea why this would be subconscious theme today. In real life, I don't behave like this. I would never consider leaving a kim chee spill in someone else's car. I wouldn't steal food from a roommate, nor would I invite my parents into my bedroom if there was evidence of my romantic activities lying about (nor would I ever consider having guests in my room at all with the bed unmade or anything out of place--we are very neat in real life). Were something like the school gym/kitchen/shower scenario to become available in real life, far from hiding it from Jeff, I would probably try to convince him to join in. I feel rather unsettled with all of this, and hope that my next sleep session is not similar.
A lot of weird and extremely confusing and jumbled things went on in the dreamscape early this morning. This tends to happen when I "sleep in" which I did this morning, and spend more time in that pre-waking state. I remember a lot more than what I have time to document right now, so I'll confine this entry to the most striking element.

One sequence of the dream seemed to begin with me trying to get somewhere quickly in a car that I used to own (a black Mini Cooper) at night in an unfamiliar city, but I was frustrated by heavy snow and ice on the streets, and the car kept spinning out of control and when I would regain control, I was forced to go in directions not of my choosing. I drove down a narrow street in a district with very tall buildings and approached a crowd of people milling about in the street. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop and end up running over someone, but the car slowed of its own accord and turned into a pedestrian mall located in the space between two buildings. This was covered with a translucent canopy that kept out the weather. This place was crowded with people engaged in all kinds of wild carnival-type activity, and it resembled in appearance the "Flesh Fair" in the movie AI: 


The car stopped and I got out of it, glad for the crazy drive to be over, but wondering what was going on in this place. WIldly costumed people gathered in little groups. Some of them danced and cavorted about. Everyone seemed to be speaking in the style of dialogue from a Shakespeare play, and a mood of general mirth pervaded the place. I wandered through the crowd and soon saw something rather startling: myself. "Uh oh!" I heard someone say. "He's not supposed to see you yet!" My twin approached me and said, "It's all right. It was almost time anyway." For some reason this image of me spoke in an English accent, and sounded pretty much exactly like Malcolm McDowell. While I was surprised to encounter this situation, it didn't feel as creepy as it seems to me now as I write about it. "Are you exactly the same?" I said to him. "Exactly," he replied, "Except for being artificial." I touched his face and his skin felt warm but perhaps a bit too smooth, probably because it was some kind of android skin. I felt through his clothing to see if he also had the same body piercings that I do. He did. "This is bloody brilliant," I said. And I think it was here that I woke up  up, or at least enough for the dreamscape to fade away.

I really dig this idea of having a passable double to help me live my life. How great it would be if I could send him off to work a day job while I remained here to concentrate full-time on my publishing and writing activities. What would be even better is if it were a replica like those in David Brin's novel Kiln People where I could send him out in the world and then, when he returns at the end of the day, download his experiences into my own memory so that I would always know exactly what "I" was doing all day.
Two unrelated fragments from different dreams, each with one thing in common: I consciously put a stop to what was going on these dreams.

1) I worked in a professional kitchen that was an amalgam of where I work currently and where I used to work at the Saint Louis Art Museum, complete with some of the staff from the latter. I owned a small car--I think it was an old MG--and I had parked it awkwardly outside of my place of work. I was boxed in by other cars, but there was  a way out if I drove over some grass and around the back of the building. This transitioned into Jeff and me driving away, with him doing the driving. We raced down a rural highway late at night, and now we were being chased by someone hostile in another car. As we raced down the road, trying to lose our pursuer, the road became ever narrower and in continually poorer condition. Soon it degraded into a gravel road and then a dirt path that soon terminated inside of a horse barn lit with lanterns. We found ourselves trapped inside this barn, still in the car, me screaming at Jeff to get us the hell out of there before our pursuer caught up while Jeff was desperately trying to turn the vehicle in the cramped space. I became aware of the fact that I could end this scenario by waking up. I told him that it was a dream, and then I did wake up, quite relieved. This situation with driving somewhere and the road becoming ever more impassable or leading somewhere impossible recurs frequently in my dreams. Very often it also involves water: I will be driving somewhere far out in the country and start to notice that there are bodies of water to either side of the road, and that they are getting larger and closer to the road, and then eventually the road itself is washed out and I have nowhere to go. Waking up myself up from this one was a happy thing.

2) No idea what was basically happening in this dream, but at least some of it was set at a rural house where my mother and her husband used to live when I was teenager. It was farmhouse with a big turnaround driveway behind it, and here some kind of wedding or funeral was happening. My own point-of-view kept shifting, realigning with various other people in the dream, as if I was getting behind the eyes of several different characters. Ronald Reagan was there briefly and, for a moment, that made sense because Reagan was my step-father's father. But, no. That's not true: my step-dad is an admirer of Ronald Reagan but not his son. And then I somehow edited Reagan out of the scene because he didn't make sense there. Then my POV was aligned with someone--don't know who, maybe it was just me--who was old and infirm and moved about in a motorized wheel chair that was, in fact, just a standard living room recliner, like a big puffy Lazy Boy. I had the unpleasant sensation that the chair was going to become unbalanced as it rolled into a low spot of the driveway. I felt it start to spin around outside of my control and I was certain it would tip backwards. Again, as in the dream above, I decided that I'd had enough of this and willed myself awake.

In each case, these dreams held too much tension and tedium, and I was happy to have them end. I think I have become better in recent years at stopping dreams that I don't like, particularly these road-runs-out ones. I do not recall any seriously bad nightmares that went on out of control for what seemed like any length of time in recent memory. When I was a teenager, I had frequent night terrors. As I have gotten older, those have all but stopped, though I did have one a few months ago. Night terrors are an entirely different phenomenon than normal dreams, however, and I don't know that they are controllable. Consciously editing the characters, as I did in the second dream, is interesting to me. I made the decision to delete the Reagan character, but stayed in the dream state. The character editing did not in itself make me aware of the dream state. That happened what seemed like a few minutes later when I felt I was in physical distress. 
This morning's last dream before waking consisted largely of my Twitter friend, the brilliant and bold Harrison Brace (aka "Vautrin"), and I devising a system of duping people into believing that we were satisfying requirements of being "regular church-goers," which in turn was going to allow us to gain all kinds of advantages in certain social situations. The whole narrative is unclear as to all the advantages we had hoped to gain, but part of it had to with the fact that we were about to head out on a long road trip through "church-controlled territories" and we wanted to somehow game the system set up by the dominant culture. It's interesting to me that my subconscious provided Harrison to me as my partner in the scheme because in real life (or at least from what I know of him in Twitter life) he possesses the qualities of clear and quick thinking, intellectual daring and iconoclasm that such a plot required in this dream environment.

The scheme seems to have hatched when Harrison and I found ourselves in attendance at what appeared, in its language and forms, to be a Catholic mass. We were dismayed to have landed ourselves in this situation, but Harrison perceived a quick way out of it: this service occurred not in a proper church but in a sort of open quadrangle located between a bunch of buildings on what looked to be a college campus, and the mass itself was conducted in a three-ring-circus style with different priests conducting different sections of it simultaneously, and the congregants were able to mill around the periphery of this and focus on whichever "ring" appeared the most interesting. Harrison chose for us the "ring" with the fewest people in attendance. "Everyone who is serious about this is over there," he said, pointing across the quad, "where the main priest is." We realized that the ring we were watching was being run by a lay person and that it would be considerably shorter than the portions going on elsewhere. "Brilliant," I said to him. "This will be over in two minutes but we'll still get full credit for having attended."

"Credit" consisted of being issued, upon leaving the quad, a metallic lapel pin with an image of a Christian cross superimposed over an American flag. It also bore a tiny date stamp. We collected our pins, quite delighted with how easily we had obtained them, chuckling about what a sham it was that going to church for two minutes and not even paying attention can get one as much "credit" as attending the whole thing and actually caring about it. What a bunch of dupes the latter group was, we thought! We walked through a pleasant tree-lined street where a bunch of vendors had set up tables and were hawking a wide range of wares. Harrison noticed that someone was selling plastic zip bags filled with blanks of those church lapel pins. "We could buy these and then just put stickers on them," he said. He said that we could print the cross/flag images at home on "glossine sticker paper" and even date them individually, thus creating "credit" for having attended church for any date we wished without going for even two minutes. We realized that when we did our cross-country trip we would be able to breeze through the checkpoints because our shirt collars and jackets would be festooned with church credit pins. I worried if the fraudulent pins would bear close scrutiny, but he pointed out how cheaply-made the real ones were. "That's all they're doing, just printing stickers." Then he started laughing raucously, while looking at his iPad (which I guess just appeared somehow). He showed me an image of an alternative church pin that someone online had created. It was a big round yellow smily face button with the words "I went to church today!" printed around the outer edge of it. The dream ended right there because this was so fucking funny in the dream environment that I started laughing for real and woke myself up, literally laughing so hard as to make tears stream down my cheeks. Fortunately Jeff was already up and about or he would have been pretty annoyed by this!
Last night's strangest dream was compiled out of science fictional geekiness, but with a strong overtone of secret, forbidden lust. I found myself traveling aboard (or was possibly an officer aboard) a space ship much like the Klingon ship from Star Trek pictured below. The interior of the vessel contained a bridge much like what one would see in movie/TNG-era Trek, but it also had portions of my home in it. For example, there was a library much like the room in which I am writing this post, but it was cast in a dim, reddish glow (I suppose an effect of it being a room on a Klingon spacecraft). I remember having an understanding that the library space was a primary purpose of this ship and that the books would be of major importance when we reached our destination. The captain of this vessel was actor Nick Stahl, looking much as he did in the 2001 film Bully

and he and I were evidently having an illicit sexual relationship, which required a lot of sneaking around to avoid the appearance of impropriety in the eyes of other members of the crew. The scene that I remember most clearly where this problem arose was one where we were on the bridge of the ship, and he told me that we needed to go to the library to discuss the planet Kaitain, and consider changing course for it. Evidently some elements of the Dune universe were working themselves into this dream milieu, since Kaitain is the homeworld of the Padishah Emperor. I had a strong feeling of anxiety that he was being too obvious. I thought that if any of the rest of bridge crew were paying attention, then they would see right through his scheme to get me alone in the library. But then we did manage to sneak away to the library, and once there started indulging our passion. He said, his mouth against mine, "Don't even talk about Kaitain. I don't want to hear about it." And that's about all I remember (without getting into a "too much information" situation), except that I noticed that the reddish glow in the library was actually caused by a hanging lamp that I built in wood shop class in eight grade. This lamp still exists at my father's house. It's basically a wooden box with a bunch of holes in it that I cut with drill press. Some translucent red plastic covers the holes from the inside, and it does indeed cast a reddish glow. 

When I decided to start noting some of my dreams in this Live Journal, my motivation was to record things that could one day inspire fiction, since I do indeed get such inspiration from dreams fairly frequently. This dream, however, does not seem to have a lot to offer in that regard, but it was such a weird amalgam of random stuff in my head from so many different sources that I decided to make note of it anyway. 
Last night's strangest and most vivid dream was set in a work-related situation, though most of its elements were unlike real life. I actually work in a residential facility for elderly people with dementia, but in this dream I was in charge of food service in an academic facility for autistic boys, a sort of boarding school designed for the education of boys from all over the autism spectrum. I'm not sure why girls were excluded (other than maybe just because they're not as often autistic), but this was specifically a boys' school, and I even remember seeing an old tarnished bronze plate on a brick building it identifying it in some sort of Deco lettering as THE SCHOOL FOR AUTISTIC BOYS EST. 1944.  

While the dream was focused mostly around me rushing to get a lunch prepared for everyone (recurring dream theme: I have a lot of cooking to do, and started way too late on it), I was constantly being asked by the head master, former President George HW Bush, to intervene in various situations where the boys were not getting along with each other or their teachers. Now here's the weirdest thing: I understood that the main reason that I was considered well-suited to work in this school is because my own Asperger's syndrome somehow makes me good at solving problems with these kids. I don't believe that I actually have Asperger's in real life, though whenever I hear it described, it does sound a bit like me, and actually a LOT like me when I was a kid. But anyway, I did have this characteristic in the dream and it was like some kind of superpower. I was able to approach a scene of distress, two of these students fighting with each other, and somehow magically smooth away all their anxiety by just passing a hand over their foreheads or tousling their hair. It was literally by touch that I could make things calm again, and this was somehow a characteristic of my own high-functioning autism. I was like one of the X-men, with my mutant power being the ability to make autistic kids calm down.

Also, headmaster George HW Bush had his office in small detached building which for some reason had its windows draped with Soviet flags.  That's about all I remember.