Sunday, July 26th, 2020

You want to know what’s been stuck in my head on a loop all morning? Probably not, but I’m going to answer that rhetorical question anyway:

person woman man camera TV

I went paddling on the lake this morning. I put in early, before all the bleepheads started roaring around in their power boats, so I could enjoy the stillness. And I did. It was very quiet, very calming. And the whole time, my brain kept repeating:

person woman man camera TV

I paddled around for about two hours, paddling across Wicawak Bay after putting in on Frost Woods Beach. I used one of the channels through the Belle Isle neighborhood to get to Lake Monona, turned south to cut back across the mouth of Wicawak Bay to the southern shore, then followed the shore to the Yahara River. All around the bay I enjoyed the sight of ducks with their ducklings, turtles basking on logs in the sun, herons sweeping through the skies after launching themselves from low-hanging branches, and

person woman man camera TV

godDAMNit!

I just want a little peace and quiet on my day off. A day where the idiot in chief doesn’t mess with my head. I guess that’s not possible now.

I even dreamed about him last night. I dreamed we were watching him on TV. He was falling from a great height, many hundreds of feet. I don’t know what he fell out of or why, but the cameras were zoomed in on him tumbling through the air. He wasn’t flailing or yelling or doing any of the dramatic things falling people do in movies; he was falling like a sack of potatoes, tossed one way, then the other by the passing wind. Then, just before he hit the ground, the camera pulled back. We could somehow hear the thump he made, even though he was quite a long distance from the camera.

I turned to My Darling B and said, “You realize this means Pelosi is president now.” She nodded, speechless because of what we had seen. (I don’t remember any part of the dream that would have explained what happened to Pence.)

The dream was so startling that I woke up right after that, and it was so vivid that I almost woke up My Darling B, still slumbering next to me, to ask her, “Did Trump fall out of a plane or something today?” But I was also still so confused by the sudden juxtaposition of my dream on reality that I simply laid there thinking about it for several minutes, and it eventually dawned on me that it was only a dream and Trump was still very much alive.

And probably still bragging to anyone who will listen about passing that stupid test two years ago.

pwmctv | 10:36 am CDT
Category: current events, dreams, random idiocy, sleeplessness, yet another rant
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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Woke up from a dream this morning in which I was taking turns driving a truck. I was supposed to be off-duty, catching some sack time in the back, but the guy driving the truck needed help navigating, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and joined him in the cab with a map.

The cab of the truck was more like the bridge of a cargo ship. Really big. I was standing next to the driver with lots of dead air between the top of my head and the roof of the cab. There was enough floor space to play hockey. It was a big cab.

The map I was using was full-size. Scale was 1:1. I mean, I was looking at a map that was the same size of the road we were driving. It was like I was in a plane looking down at the countryside, only I was in the cab, looking at a map I could hold in my hands that was the actual size of the world. Even in the dream, this seemed a little outlandish to me.

full-size | 3:47 pm CDT
Category: dreams, random idiocy
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Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Woke up this morning from a dream about living in a pandemic (wonder why I had *that* dream?). It must have been a really bad pandemic, because everyone was wearing MOPP gear.

MOPP gear is the protective clothing the military wears to protect themselves against nuclear, biological, and chemical attack. There was a gas mask with a hood that covered your head, neck, and shoulders; a coat and pants; thick rubber gloves and boots; and a set of high-octane epipens we were expected to inject ourselves with if we were exposed to nerve gas.

Every time I was stationed overseas, I was issued a duffel bag filled with MOPP gear, and I had to take refresher training in how to use it. In refresher training, we buddied up and practiced how to put on and take off MOPP gear in such a way that we would not contaminate ourselves with nerve gas.

They never actually gassed us in these training sessions, except for the very first training I went through, and in that case it was some pretty low-grade tear gas. Everybody in every training I went to had a pretty relaxed attitude about how to wear MOPP gear. If they’d used full-strength tear gas on us in any of those training sessions, I’m pretty sure ninety percent of us would have been incapacitated.

And if we’d had to live in MOPP gear for days or weeks on end, the way you might have to in a pandemic, I’d bet money that the ten percent who weren’t incapacitated for being lax would go crazy from wearing the mask all the time. Maybe the new masks aren’t so bad, but the mask I had to wear was like smooshing your face between the cold butt cheeks of a hippopotamus. And the visibility through the tiny goggle lenses was about the same. Claustrophobia doesn’t begin to describe the experience.

contagion | 4:35 pm CDT
Category: current events, dreams
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Thursday, June 4th, 2020

I’ve been awake since three oh nine this morning, after a dream in which I backed myself into a grey, airless void I couldn’t get out of. I kind of don’t want to go back to sleep when you can clearly remember a dream about suffocating, so I made myself stay awake for a couple minutes, then a couple minutes longer, and … you know how *that* goes.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t me who got sucked into the void, it was Tom Cruise – I mean, *I* was Tom Cruise because y’know dream logic – and if anybody should be able to escape a nightmare scenario it’s Tom Cruise, so really I should have let myself fall right back into sleep to see how he got out of it. Now I’ll never know.

three oh nine | 6:01 am CDT
Category: dreams, sleeplessness
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Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

I dreamed I was back in Bedford, England, the town I lived in when the Air Force stationed me at the nearby Royal Air Force base, Chicksands, in 1985. I had just arrived, one might almost say materialized in the apartment I used to live in, which I somehow recognized despite the fact that it looked nothing like my apartment. For a start, it was way too clean. Not that I lived in a pigsty, it just wasn’t painted an antiseptic white on all surfaces. Also, the rooms were only half the size they should have been, so that I could barely move around and had to walk hunched over. Finally, it was on the third floor, and I know damned well I lived on the second floor. Several people I didn’t know were in the apartment with me; I gave them the nickel tour, then went for a walk.

I thought it would be neat to take a look around Bedford, to see if I could recognize anything, so I climbed on the first bus that came along and rode it through town. Couldn’t recognize a thing, but stayed on the bus anyway because it was such an enjoyable ride. Not even a little sarcastic, there; I was genuinely enjoying myself. About halfway through town, though, I realized I didn’t have any money to pay for my fare. I moved to the front of the bus and told the driver, who pulled up in front of an official-looking building and said, “Go find the room marked ‘Medical,’ they’ll take care of it.” I asked him to repeat that, to make sure I’d heard it right. I had.

I stepped off the bus into the lobby, because it was parked in the lobby. A big lobby. I crossed the lobby floor and found a door marked ‘Medical,’ stepped through it and walked up to the counter, showed them my ticket and explained my predicament. One of the ladies behind the counter took my ticket while another listened to my story. They both disappeared immediately after I finished my tale and I never saw them again.

I waited while the rest of the clerks left and were replaced by other clerks. Day passed into night. I asked one of the new clerks if this was the night shift. “Night shift,” she scoffed, but didn’t explain any further. I wandered around in ‘Medical’ but couldn’t find anyone who would help me straighten out my by-now irrelevant gaffe, so I left.

Walked around a little bit in a neighborhood I didn’t recognize, got on another bus and rode through town a bit more. Ended up at the airport where I ran into some old friends from language school. And this is where I started to wake up, so the dream because less chaotic and more like random memories of people I knew in language school.

bedford | 6:15 am CDT
Category: dreams, My Glorious Air Force Career, random idiocy
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Saturday, May 9th, 2020

I had to visit the personnel office to get a new ID card. The clerk behind the counter was wearing her blue uniform and mushroom hat; I think those were phased out twenty years ago. My dreams of being in the Air Force are not aging well. I’m almost surprised I can still watch them in color instead of black-and-white.

“My ID card’s about to expire,” I said, to get her attention. “I need a new one.”

She glanced up at me before going back to ‘keyboarding’ at her IBM 3660 work station. “Are you a Baptist?” she asked me.

“I’m sorry, what?”

She put her hands in her lap, looked up at me. “A Baptist. I can’t stand Baptists.”

“Uh, no?”

She frowned. “Aren’t you sure?”

I frowned right back at her. “I am. Sure. I’m sure I’m not a Baptist. How’s that relevant?”

She smiled. “I just like to get that out of the way right off the bat.” Rummaging through some paperwork, she snatched up a couple of forms and laid them out on the counter in front of me. “So, are you an atheist, then?”

That made me cock my head and continue to frown. “Are those my two choices? Baptist or atheist?”

“No, of course not,” she said with the tiniest chuckle of amusement, “but the first one will get you nowhere with me, while the other one will get you to home plate.”

*crickets chirping*

“Say something, sport, or close your mouth before you catch a fly.”

The only thing I could think of to say was, “This is the most unusual conversation I’ve ever had with anybody.”

“You don’t get around much, then, do you?”

I picked up a pen. “I’m just going to fill out these forms while I get my bearings.”

She turned back to her keyboard, started batting at the keys. “Fine with me. I’ll be here all day.”

baptist or atheist | 8:03 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

George Takei shot me in the face last night. (This was in a dream. Obviously.) I was in one of those countries where they beat you with a cane for saying “shit,” and apparently I had done something pretty egregious because I was required to clean all the barnacles off the hull of a sailboat and then George came to wherever I was being held and he had to point a revolver with one bullet in it, Russian-roulette style, at my face and pull the trigger. The first time I was like, Okay, whatever I have to do to get out of here. The second time I was a little nervous, not gonna lie. The third time he took me outside, just for a change, I guess, and I said, Can we do this after lunch? I need a break. He was okay with that. I woke up before he came back to shoot me in the face a third time. Dreams are so weird.

oh myyy | 6:26 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Author Chuck Wendig asked: “What is a weird or prominent dream or nightmare you can still remember vividly no matter how much time has passed – a real dream, from sleep, not an aspiration or metaphor?”

When I was about five years old, I used to stay up past my bed time to watch whatever television show my parents were watching. It was hard for them to stop me, because my bedroom was right off the living room. All I had to do was sit in the doorway and peek around the corner.

One night, they watched the old Twilight Zone. When I saw the introduction, it scared the shit out of me. That crazy music, weird things floating around in a dark void, a slowly-opening, disembodied floating eyeball – A DISEMBODIED FLOATING EYEBALL!

I had nightmares about eyeballs staring at me from out of a dark void for years after that. YEARS. My screams woke up everyone in the house.

Not long after that, my grandmother innocently got me one of those clocks that looks like a cat with a tail for a pendulum and eyes that wig-wag back and forth as the clock goes tick-tock. My mom hung it in my bedroom because, you know, it was a gift and she wanted to show my grandma we appreciated it. It was on the wall just one day and part of one night. Those big, round eyes constantly scanning the dark room, looking for a soul to eat were too much for me. Screamed for mom, who took it down and probably had to spend at least a few hours with her arm around me, trying to get me to stop crying.

Twilight Zone opening still gives me the shivers.

oldest nightmare | 7:18 am CDT
Category: dreams, random idiocy, sleeplessness, story time
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Friday, April 3rd, 2020

I had that dream where I was back in a college class, the teacher was discussing the final exam, and I had no idea what was going on.

It wasn’t the dream I usually have, where I show up in class for the first time but it turns out they’ve been holding class for weeks and I haven’t been going. In this morning’s dream, I’d been going to class and I knew what had been going on, but it seemed I believed I wouldn’t have to take the final exam until the teacher went around the room talking with each student about what they would have to do. When she got to me, she said I would have to demonstrate how I took care of my fingernails. At least, I think that’s what she wanted, because I was thinking it was very odd she would want me to show everyone how I clipped and filed my nails. I was so puzzled by this assignment that I asked her, “Are you talking to me?” Yes, she said, she was. So I said okay, I’ll show you but I don’t see how that’ll be of interest to anyone, and she said great and went on around the room assigning other tasking to the rest of the students.

Dreams are so weird.

fingernails | 6:05 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

I dreamed it was my birthday. I got two things: My dad gave me an electric car, and the US Air Force recalled me to active duty. So I got into my new electric car at oh dark thirty and drove to the nearest air force base, which looked a lot like Buckley (I was stationed there for a looong time) except that the main gate was closed, so I had to park my car on the road and walk in on a twisty, overgrown footpath. When I got to the gate and they asked me for some ID, I patted down all my pockets looking for my wallet but they were empty. I dressed in a hurry and forgot to grab my wallet. I had to trudge back to my car and head home again, keeping my social distance from everyone else walking to work that morning.

reporting for duty | 5:51 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Monday, September 30th, 2019

Woke up way too early this morning after a dream about work. Weird thing was, whatever it was I was doing it didn’t look anything like the work I normally do. Well, it looked sort of like what I do: I was finding computer records that were supposed to be updated but weren’t, and then I was updating them. Sometimes I do that first thing, but I don’t ever do that second thing. I woke up feeling a little confused and I kept thinking about it while I went to visit the bathroom and by the time I was headed back to bed I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it, so I just didn’t go back to bed. What a great way to start Monday.

that second thing | 6:09 am CDT
Category: dreams, office work
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Monday, September 23rd, 2019

In my dream last night I was driving to Canada in a truck-top camper. The roads were snow-covered and mostly dirt, but straight as an arrow; I don’t know if this is what rural roads in Canada are really like, but in my dream they were so straight I would frequently be in the back of the camper with whoever was with me at the time (my traveling companions changed several times over the course of the dream) while the truck sailed down the road at high speed with no one at the wheel. Very occasionally it would occur to me how cuckoo bananapants it was to do this. At one point I was eating a meal in the back with my brother and after an extended conversation I asked him, “Why aren’t you driving?” Suddenly worried, I climbed into the driver’s seat and took the wheel, whereupon the truck wandered off the road into the ditch. If that’s not a metaphor for something, I’ll eat my socks.

to the yukon | 6:21 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Thursday, April 18th, 2019

I don’t know if I was subconsciously looking forward to the Mueller report today — consciously, I don’t care much — but last night I dreamed I was yelling at Trump. Not only was I yelling at him, I was able to express perfectly every kind of disgust I felt towards him and his ilk. It was so satisfying.

mueller day | 5:58 am CDT
Category: dreams | Tags: ,
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Monday, January 1st, 2018

I dreamed a friend asked me to be the official photographer at his wedding.  I said sure, I’d be honored. Then my friend asked another guy to also be the official wedding photographer.  Not only that, he paid the other guy 500 dollars.  When I asked my friend why the other guy got 500 dollars, he told me the other guy was just someone he knew from the office, but I was his friend and I was doing it as a favor to him.  I said no, I wasn’t, and got the hell outta Dodge.

pro bono | 8:33 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

In my dream, I was an astronaut on my way to Jupiter with two other guys.  We were stopped at a space station about halfway there to get out of the capsule for a while and stretch our legs.

The capsule was about the size of a canoe and it appeared to be made of the kind of cheap fiberglass you can shine a light through.  One of the guys fixing it was doing that so he could find the cracks more easily.

I didn’t want to get back into the capsule ever again.  The astronaut in command of the mission to Jupiter, who reminded me a bit of Apollo astronaut  Frank Borman – he wasn’t Borman; he didn’t even look like Borman; but for some reason that’s who I thought he reminded me of – was trying to convince me to get back into the capsule with some “importance of the mission” talk.  I wasn’t buying it.

But eventually I did get back into the capsule, although it wasn’t easy.  I had to wedge my butt into the space between the bulkhead and the commander’s seat, wiggle a lot until I slipped through and settled in to the narrow space between his seat and the wall, and fold my arms across my chest to fit into my own chair. And that was only after dropping a couple of downers with a glass of water so I wouldn’t get claustrophobic. Not exactly what I imagined being an astronaut would be like.

Then, off to Jupiter!

Capsule | 9:16 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Saturday, October 21st, 2017

In my dream last night, I was riding to work in the company of science fiction author John Scalzi, who asked if we could pull over at a local coffee shop to pick up a cuppa joe to go, which surprised me because he’s a well-known drinker of Coke Zero. I’m under the impression he drinks nothing else, maybe not even water. But it was a dream. Talking goats are not uncommon in my dreams, so whatever. I pulled over to the curb and he popped out, but before he went in he asked me if I wanted anything, and I asked him if he’d get me a ultra-double venti double-spiced vanilla chai latte. I’m not sure that’s a thing. I’ve heard those words before, but I don’t know if they go together even in theory. I drink black coffee and that’s it. But it’s a dream, so. Scalzi said no problem, ducked inside and came out a couple minutes later with two of those gallon-sized coffee thermoses that dispense coffee when you press down on the pump built into the top. And then we hit the road with enough coffee to get us to Sacramento, California.

coffee break | 8:17 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Saturday, March 4th, 2017

First, let’s get the dream out of the way.

I was piloting a needle-nosed jet plane. My Darling B was in the passenger seat beside me and I think somebody was in the back seat, too, but I’m a little fuzzy about that. I was on final approach, meaning the plane was pointed at the runway, the wheels were down, the engine was throttled all the way back and we were minutes from landing. When we passed over the end of the runway and were about to touch down the air traffic controller asked me to go around, so I opened the throttle and, as the plane surged forward on the increased thrust from the engines, I pulled up and started into the air again.

We were landing at a pretty big airport, big enough for it to have two runways side by side. I was landing on the right-hand runway. Just as we lifted off again, I recognized the shape of a space shuttle in the distance, coming towards us. It came on so very fast that it landed on the left-hand runway before we even passed over the other end of our runway. All I wanted to do was geek out over seeing a space shuttle land next to me, but I had to concentrate all my attention on flying the plane. That dream’s been bugging me all morning.

geeking out | 5:44 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Friday, February 24th, 2017

I dreamed that we came home from work and found that our little red house had been moved so that it now sat shoulder-to-shoulder, as it were, with the house next door. “Didn’t there used to be a lot more room between our houses?” I asked My Darling B, possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever dreamed of myself saying because obviously there was a lot more than a finger’s width between the houses when we left for work that morning. Also, the spot where our house used to be was now a slab of concrete.

When I went to city hall to ask what happened to our house, they said they had to move it because of a plan, and that’s about as far as they could explain it. “What did you do with all of the stuff that was in our basement?” I asked, and the nice lady told me, “Oh, it’s all still down there.” She didn’t offer to get it out of its subterranean tomb.

slab | 5:47 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Sunday, November 27th, 2016

I woke up from both of these dreams early this morning, thinking, “What the hell was that?”

In the first dream, I was free-diving with Sheena Easton. Apparently Sheena had abandoned her one-hit career as a pop star and taken up free diving, the sport where you take one deep breath and swim deeper than most human beings can go. She had a pool in her back yard that was hundreds of feet deep where she practiced. When we came to the top, we walked dripping wet to the restaurant where My Darling B was having dinner with Tim. “Hey, look, that’s Sheena Easton,” I said to B, pointing at a table on the other side of the restaurant. Sheena stood up in a spotlight and began to sing “9 to 5 (Morning Train),” probably because that’s the only song I know by Sheena Easton.

In the other dream, I was watching a horror movie, but it wasn’t on screen, it was right in front of me, as if I was in the room where the scene was taking place. But it was definitely a scene from a movie, composed of different shots with creepy background music. A bunch of kids were sitting on a king-sized bed drinking soda pop when their dad walked into the room. His sudden appearance frightened them all so badly that they all swallowed their cans of soda. With a whole aluminum can full of soda in their stomachs, they couldn’t breathe and they all slowly suffocated to death while their dad wailed and moaned.

After I woke up from that dream I had to get out of bed to ask the Google if swallowing a can of soda was even a thing. It’s not, thank goodness.

wakey-wakey | 5:42 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Monday, March 21st, 2016

Here’s another dream: I was wandering the streets of a moderately large city. All the buildings were closed up. Some looked like they hadn’t been open in years. I could see through the windows that there was nothing inside any of them. Then it gradually dawned on me that there was nobody else on the street but me. No other pedestrians, no cars, no street cars running down the tracks … and that’s when the nickel dropped. I was wandering down the streets of a model train set. As soon as I realized it, I could see that the buildings were made of plastic and there were huge gaps in the pavement where the Bristol board hadn’t matched up. Not only that, I knew what all the buildings were, even though there were no signs on any of them. I recognized the hardware store, the tavern, city hall. I had built all these buildings myself. It was like being in an episode of Twilight Zone.

teeny weenie | 7:46 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Sunday, March 20th, 2016

I was eating a sandwich late at night under a tree at the crossroads of a rural village with two teenaged kids I didn’t know. Across the street there was a gas and two-bay service station, closed for the night, with a couple of old cars parked out front of the garage doors. The kids chatted with each other while I stared across the street at the cars.

A sudden gust of wind came through the trees overhead, blew a plume of dust across the road, and when it got to the other side fo the street it picked one of the cars up off the ground and shoved it through the garage door into the pile of boxes inside the service bay, crushing them. The wind came up again, picked up another car parked out front and shoved it into the other service bay, wrecking the car and everything inside. Another gust flipped both cars on end, smashing the overhead fluorescents. The wind kept gusting and the cars kept on smashing until both cars and everything in both service bays was reduced to junk.

When the wind finally died down and the dust began to settle, I had finished my sandwich. “Well, that was weird,” I remarked out loud.

“What was?” one of the kids asked.

“The way that wind blew those cars around,” I explained, pointing at the garage across the street. They both turned to look at the twisted remains of the cars in the service bay, but didn’t seem to think anything was weird about it.

“You mean you didn’t hear the wind …” I began to ask, looking up through the trees. “Whoa. Now there’s something I haven’t seen for a long, long time.”

Through the tree’s branches, the Milky Way lit up the night sky. I backed out from under the branches of the tree to get a better look. As I stepped out into the street, the Milky Way became a fat salamander, its head at the eastern horizon, its tail stretching to the western horizon. It wriggled across the sky, turning to face north-south, then scuttled away into the distance, to be replaced by starfish, a barracuda, a giant squid, a school of tuna.

I walked along the road smiling up at a parade of fish that went on and on. The road became the street of a shopping mall. The sky became the ceiling. The starry fish became colorful pinatas made of papier mache.

I can’t remember how this dream ended, but the sight of the Milky Way is still vivid in my memory.

fish parade | 7:26 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Saturday, October 31st, 2015

In my dream, I could feel the earwax shift in my left ear, and I could tell that it was a lot of wax, because it blocked my ear enough to make the world seem just a bit more quiet.

I was talking to someone, so I waited for them to be distracted by something, maybe a passing giraffe, before I stuck my pinky finger into my ear as far as it would go and used my fingernail to scoop out a chunk of wax. It was the color of honey and thick enough to caulk a boat. I wiped it on my handkerchief.

There was still more in there, though. The world did not get any louder by scooping out that little blob, so the next chance I got, I gouged another chunk of wax from the deepest recesses of my ear. A much bigger chunk this time. It was so sticky that it kind of globbed together on the end of my finger, like tar or pine pitch. Or the snot of Satan. I had to work at wiping it all off my finger onto my handkerchief this time.

But I still didn’t get it all. There was still enough wax left in my ear to completely block it now. I couldn’t hear a thing with that ear. I was just about panicked to get it out of there, so I didn’t wait for anybody to be distracted by anything. I ducked my head and reached in as far as my pinky would go. I could feel a gooey glob with the tip of my finger. It got stuck on my fingernail so that I could slowly drag the damned thing out whole.

It was huge. I mean, a lot bigger than it should have been possible for a blob of earwax to be, but dreams are like cartoons: anything’s possible. Pulling it out was like slowly dragging a dead, sticky mouse out of my ear, and there’s no discreet way of doing that. I wrapped it up in my handkerchief with an embarrassed smile and a little roll of my eyes. Whaddar ya gonna do, eh?

waxy | 6:00 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Monday, May 11th, 2015

In my other dream last night, I was asked to drive a bus, one of those big sixty-footers, on a snow-covered road because the regular driver wouldn’t do it. Thought it was too tricky. I didn’t see what the big deal was, even though I’d never driven a big passenger bus before. Didn’t seem all that complicated. You got a steering wheel, you got a gas pedal, just like any other motor vehicle. How tricky could it be?

To make it even easier, I would only have to follow another guy driving a similar bus. If he could do it, then I could too, obviously. I had to pull off the road at the corner to let him by, so my bus ended up pointed almost backward, but I made lemonade out of those lemons by putting the transmission in reverse and giving her the gas. We went up the road backwards!

And it went smooth as silk. The bus handled well on the snow, even in reverse. I must’ve got it up to forty or fifty miles per hour as we backed down a long hill, so I let off the gas and coasted up the other side. As we neared the top and I could see we were gaining on the other bus, I slid my foot off the gas pedal across the floor, feeling for the brake. My foot kept on sliding until it ran into my other foot. I slid it back to the gas pedal, then over to the left again. Still couldn’t find a brake pedal. Now both my feet were sweeping side to side across the floor and finding nothing but the gas pedal. “WHERE THE HELL IS THE BRAKE?” I shouted in the cool, competent way that’s always sure to set a bus full of passengers at ease.

So, to recap: I was driving a bus backward at forty miles an hour (or so) on a snow-covered road, and had mere seconds to find the brakes before we plowed into another bus. Naturally, that’s when my legs got tangled up in the quilt that had been laying across my lap. I have never been so grateful to wake up before the alarm went off.

backwards | 10:05 pm CDT
Category: dreams
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In my dream last night, I had to go to the store to get something. I knew exactly what I wanted and I even knew where in the store they stocked it, but when I got to the store I discovered they were remodeling. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get to the part of the store I needed. I even tried climbing a dark, dusty staircase and crossing over the store through the attic, but that was blocked, too. Finally, I went outside the store and circled around the back to see if I could make my way back inside through a fire exit. When I got to the corner of the store where I knew they usually kept the thing I needed, I could see that it had been demolished. There was nothing but a gaping hole in the ground where the thing I needed was supposed to be. So. I won’t be getting that thing I need then, I guess.

hole | 6:28 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Deckard was having trouble driving on the narrow mountain road. Replicants don’t usually drive, and even though the old Volkswagen was part of his memory, he wasn’t sure how to handle the stick shift, so I volunteered to take over. He pulled into a wayside stop where we could do the swap.

I walked into the brush a ways, looking for a place to pee, same as everyone else was doing. With so many people beating the bushes, I kept going back, looking for some privacy, until I ended up wandering through the lanes of a campground that was hidden back there. I asked somebody for directions to the front office, and followed the road they pointed up.

The men’s bathroom was separate from the front office and was in an old ruin of a building with sandstone walls and a dirt floor. There was a single pissoir on the near wall that was already in use when I got there, so I headed for one of the three stall doors on the far wall. They were joke doors, nothing but blank walls behind them. I briefly considered pissing in the sink, then left in disgust.

The walk back to the car was up a steep hill and the road was under construction. Actually, it had been washed out and temporarily replaced by railroad ties covered in sand, which made walking on it very hard as I couldn’t get much traction. There was a car creeping along impatiently behind me as I picked my way along the ties but he would just have to wait because there was no where for me to step off the road to let him by.

But I could let the three older ladies by who were making their way down the hill. They asked about the bathrooms as they stepped gingerly from tie to tie. I pointed to the campground office at the bottom of the hill and they thanked me.

And that’s when my alarm went off. I’m not sure why I had an alarm set for Saturday morning.

decard | 6:59 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Saturday, December 27th, 2014

We were figuring out how to split the bill at the Denny’s on Tau Ceti Prime when Spock called. Distress signal, naturally. Can hardly finish a cup of coffee and a slice of pecan pie in this sector before you have to fly off to stop some crazy Romulan warlord from attacking an outpost of colonists. I told Spock we’d be ready in half a minute and started to get up, but Bones gave me the old stink eye and wouldn’t let me out of the booth until I left a tip. One of the responsibilities of command, he says. Made sure I left a big one, too. He thinks I skimp on tips.

chintzy | 3:20 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Saturday, December 13th, 2014

A bit and a piece of the last dream I had this morning:

A drainage ditch filled with carrots, a river of carrots, running under the bridge I’m standing on and inexplicably emerging from the other side as an orange slurry that rushes like a whitewater rapids away from me.

A teddy bear wearing a red t-shirt emblazoned with bold white letters that spell out FUCK CAT ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?

More like shards, really, than bits and pieces, am I right?

shards | 8:21 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Bits and pieces of the dream I was having came back to me while I was washing up this morning. None of it made sense. Climbing onto the roof of a beat-up old brownstone building. Walking through empty, dusty rooms until I found the stairs. Peering over the rail to see how deep the stairwell was. Pretty deep. The rail was oak or walnut, polished to a high gloss. The balusters were brass. The treads of each step were hewn from granite. I followed them down, looking back over my shoulder at the ruins of the top floor. Soon enough, I found myself in a splendidly-appointed lobby, all granite and whitewashed plaster with just a touch of chrome in an art deco style. The crowd in the lobby seemed to be headed for an event down the hall. I followed them to a vast natatorium with high walls filled with broad windows that threw sunlight across the length of a turquoise pool that seemed as wide and deep as a lake. Some kids asked me to join them in the game they were playing by the side of the pool, but they wouldn’t tell me how. They were playing with a football, but they weren’t playing football. I stopped asking them to show me how, and left. Cue alarm clock …

natatorium | 6:09 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Friday, December 5th, 2014

There were about thirty people eating dinner in the pub, and they were all sitting at the tables by the front door. One of them had the only loaf of bread in the whole place, but he wasn’t doing anything with it. The loaf was on the floor next to his chair, and one of the legs was standing on the wrapper. I asked him if he’d move so I could have the loaf. He looked at me but didn’t say anything. I asked him again but he just went back to eating his dinner.

I went to the kitchen where Neil Patrick Harris asked if he could help me with anything. I said I wanted the loaf of bread but the guy out front wouldn’t give it to me. Neil asked me to wait a second, went into the back and came out with a pair of loaves, one roughly the size of a sofa cushion. The other one was ten feet long and looked like it had been extruded from one of those Pla-Doh toys with the L-shaped form. I said I’d take the big one, thanks, and asked him for a bread knife. He said they didn’t have one, tore off a chunk and said I could have more if I wanted as he handed it to me.

bread | 6:27 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Friday, November 28th, 2014

In my dream, I was driving my triple-decker bus onto a military base and had to stop at the front gate, where the gate guards didn’t so much check it for explosives as much as they pointed and asked a lot of questions about where I got it and how I fixed it up with bunk beds and a galley kitchen and a home theater system with quadrophonic sound.

While they were looking it over, inside and out, I grabbed one of the little mirrors on a stick and checked the undercarriage for bombs, then I went inside the gate to the garage and got something, but I can’t remember what.

When I went back to the bus the guards were done and there was a line of impatient people behind the bus waiting to get on base, so I climbed back up to the top floor of the bus where the driver’s seat was, fired up the engine and drove away.

FYI, there really have been triple-decker buses, but not many.

triple-decker | 7:30 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

I made an important discovery last night as I put my hands under the kitchen faucet to wash them: When the water touched my skin, a thin whisp of steam came wafting up from the webbing between my fingers.

“What’s so important about that?” My Darling B asked, when I showed her.

“Just watch this,” I said and, by way of explanation, I put my head under the faucet and turned the water all the way on, then stood up, drenched. My head was smoking like a blown-out match. More important than that, though, was that it restored my memory.

I ran out the front door and down to the lake, which was somehow at the edge of our front lawn instead of three blocks to the west, and stripped to my skivvies because, even when you’re doing something outrageously nuts, you’ve got to maintain some kind of decorum. “Sorry,” I turned and shouted to B, who was standing on the front stoop now, “I love you, but I gotta go now! You’ll understand in a minute!” And I jumped into the lake.

Completely submerged now, my entire body began to restructure itself, using the water as a catalyst, until I was about the size of a gnat. Well, the part of me that existed in three dimensions, anyway. The rest of me was so diffuse and existed through so many other universes that it was perceptible only as a rainbow stream of pastel colors that filled visible space and dazzled everyone around me into cataleptic shock. Oops. Well, guess I’d better get back to the mothership toot sweet, then. Toodles, all!

toodles | 5:47 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Friday, November 7th, 2014

Ugh, I’ve been up half the night because of a recurring dream in which I’m interviewing witnesses for a court case, which wouldn’t be so bad if it was an interesting case, but it was about something so boring and stupid that I don’t even remember what it was. Every time I woke up I would think, Jesus Christ, that was like a bad day at work, and then I’d lie awake obsessing over every detail, just like when my mind gets spinning about something at work, until I dozed off and had the dream again, except this time with another witness in another place, usually pretty weird. I interviewed one of them while I was sitting on a chair just outside their barely-opened bathroom door while they were having a squat. Even that was dull. If being a paralegal is anything like that, I’m glad I’m not one of them, that’s all I’ve got to say.

witness for the boredom | 4:32 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams, sleeplessness
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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

I was in a big hurry to get across town, but the traffic was horrendous and it seemed to be the day for every obnoxious driver to practice his particular brand of antagonism, like the guy behind me who cut me off when I tried to merge right. That pissed me off so much that I wasn’t paying attention to the light at the intersection we were approaching. I didn’t see it turn red and that didn’t leave me enough time to stop when the guy in the pickup truck in front of me stopped. I hit the brakes as soon as I saw what was happening but I still ended up tapping him. Not hard. Not much more than a nudge, really. Certainly not hard enough to leave a mark on the solid steel bumper of a big damn pickup truck.

He didn’t care how hard it was. All that mattered to him was that I tapped his truck. To show me how much he disliked that, he shifted into reverse, gunned his engine and began to push me backwards up the street. I stood on the brake pedal but it didn’t matter. He was in a really big truck with a really big diesel engine. He probably could have pushed a school house uphill in knee-deep snow. My wheels were locked up, rubber was burning off my tires and he was still pushing me backwards so fast that I couldn’t safely jump out of my car, although I was still thinking of doing it …

… and then I woke up, heart pounding. Man, I hate dreams like that.

smokin | 6:10 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Monday, March 31st, 2014

I had just finished tuning up the engine on my Datsun 4-wheel-drive pickup truck and wanted to see how it sounded, so I hit the button on the garage door opener, then grabbed a rag to wipe the grease off my hands while I waited for the door to open.

The truck, however, did not want to wait. It backed out of the garage almost before it had enough room to get under the opening door, and because the doorway was so narrow, I couldn’t chase it until it was out the door and backing down the driveway. It made it practically all the way to the street before I had a chance to go after it.

After it crossed the street, it went straight up the neighbors’ driveway and into their garage, shoving their old Ford pickup against one of the family cars. Then all three vehicles kept going on through the back door of their garage into the yard where they just missed the chicken coop.

Right about then was when I finally caught up with my truck, opened the door and jumped into the driver’s seat, mashing the brake pedal to the floor. That’s when I realized the engine wasn’t even running. It had backed across the street and shoved two cars out of the way using only the starter. Now that’s some pretty awesome engineering. I only hoped the neighbors would be as impressed as I was.

getting started | 6:19 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

In last night’s dream it was the first day of class. All the seats were assigned, our names written on note cards laid on the seats of the hundreds of chairs packed into the classroom, all written in an alphabet I’d never seen before. The teacher wouldn’t allow anyone to talk, so I couldn’t ask if anybody saw my name on the chair next to them and even if I could, they couldn’t tell me. I had to start at the front of the room and pretend to read each and every one of the cards on the empty chairs while I tried to figure out how I was going to recognize my name when I came to it. I’ve never been so relieved to hear my alarm clock.

seats | 6:08 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Monday, February 3rd, 2014

I dreamed we were living in the garage of our house, for reasons that never became clear. It was a huge garage, big enough to park a couple of fire trucks in and have room left over for us to mill around. There weren’t any fire trucks in it, though, just shelves all around the walls and lots and lots of empty space in the middle. All our stuff was piled up on the shelves and I walked through the dream picking through the stuff on the shelves for the pots and hoses I used to brew beer, but couldn’t find any of it. “Where could they be?” I kept asking nobody in particular. “It’s not like they’re small pots.”

garaged | 5:59 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Saturday, January 25th, 2014

I have this recurring dream that I live in an enormous house and I’m walking through room after room to get something from one particular room that seems to be somewhere on the other side of the county line. Sometimes the house is almost completely empty of people and sometimes there isn’t so much as a stick of furniture in any of the rooms, but sometimes, like last night, the rooms were sumptuously furnished with post-modern sofas, wingback chairs, pianos and so on, and the many people gathered in every room said hi to me or just waved so as not to interrupt the conversation that was going on as I passed by.

When I finally got to the room I was looking for, it was filled shoulder-to-shoulder with the kind of badly-painted plaster mannequins you’d find in a forgotten five-and-ten store, and one whole wall was a plate-glass window that faced on to a busy downtown street. The book I wanted was on the arm of a recliner by the window. Nobody walking by along the sidewalk seemed to notice me as I picked up the book, sat down and began to read.

picture this | 8:06 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

I had a really cool dream to tell you about. It was so cool that I laid awake for a while thinking about how I was going to describe it, and after I’d come up with a catchy phrase or two I drifted back to sleep, thinking I’d be able to get it all down in words later.

Well, it’s later and I can’t remember a damned thing except that there was a tennis court on the front lawn of our house with a cyclone fence around it and around our house. I was stuck on the outside of the fence until I could find the phone that was supposed to be hanging next to the gate. There aren’t a lot of places on a cyclone fence to hide a phone, though, so I wasn’t having much luck looking around outside until I noticed that the phone line had been pulled back inside the tennis court. I thought, How am I going to get into the court? when the wind blew the gate open. Very secure. Good thing we got that fence.

security | 5:48 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Friday, October 11th, 2013

“Did the goat who was a man turn into a goat in your house?” my mother asked me just before the alarm clock woke me up. It was such a lucid dream that the sound of the alarm zapped me out of sleep like an electric shock.

The rest of the dream slowly came back to me as I stood under a hot shower.

Right before I sat down at the breakfast table with Mom, where she asked me about the goat man, I was in my bedroom peeing into my shoe because my baby brother was using the bathroom. In real life, my brother’s just three years younger than I am, but in the dream he was a baby, not more than a year old, and he was trying to get the lid of the toilet open. “Excuse me,” he said. “I’ve really got to go. You’ll have to find another place to go.” So I went into my bedroom and, since there wasn’t anything else to use, I took off my shoe and peed in that.

Just before the shoe peeing, my brother and I were in a big red truck that we were trying to drive down a short flight of steps and around a tight corner in a farmyard. The corner was too tight and there was a low brick wall right at the corner, so we got out of the truck and were discussing how we might demolish it when the farmer came into the yard, grabbed a corner of the wall and pulled it back like a blanket. It was a blanket. And the heap of manure behind it was a bed. And the farmyard was a big, dark room with a high ceiling where he was apparently going to milk some cows because he brought a milking machine into the room after pulling all the blankets of manure off the floor. My brother turned into Tim and we sat on the blankets and waited for the milking to begin. It never did. Then I had to pee, and that’s when I peed in my shoe.

And just before that, I was on a beach, freezing my butt off. Everyone else on the beach seemed to think it was a beautiful day, but it wasn’t. It was cloudy and dark and cold and slightly rainy. They all wanted to frolic in the sand and waves and for a while I played along, but when I thought I’d put up with that long enough I took a long, hot shower in the beach house, then got in the big red truck and got the hell out of there. And drove to England. That’s where the farm was. The roads were very narrow and the truck was very big and I was having trouble getting to the farm until my brother appeared in the truck and told me how to get to the farm.

What happened before the beach? That never came back to me.

goat man | 6:00 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Sunday, September 1st, 2013

George ClooneyGeorge Clooney offered me a job last night. I think.

I was on vacation on a canal barge with a big family. They let me come along for free because I knew how to pilot the canal barge. I was in the pilot house with the father of the family and the owner of the barge, and the owner was giving us hell because we did something to the roof of the barge that made him very unhappy. He was going on and on about it for so long that I lost interest, turned to look around and there was George Clooney with an assistant, patiently waiting for a break in the conversation.

I was so astounded to see George Clooney that I couldn’t think of anything to say, not even “Hi,” so I smiled weakly and raised my hand in a sort of wave. He smiled in that jaunty way that only George Clooney can, shook my hand and said something I didn’t understand at all, but he turned and left before I could ask him what he meant. His assistant, however, remained behind, so I asked her, “Did he just offer me a job?”

“Yep,” she said.

“Well, what is the job?”

She didn’t know.

“How can I find out?”

She said she would ask, and she dug around in her tiny little purse until she found a slip of paper with George Clooney’s number on it, punched it up on her cell phone, and exchanged a few words with George. “He said he didn’t want to talk about it on the phone. He wants to meet you again.”

She led me to a children’s museum, then said she had to go but, before she left, gave me directions to the room where George Clooney would meet me. It was one of those children’s museums where I had to climb ladders, crawl through tunnels and feel my way through darkened rooms to get from one side of the museum to the other. At one point, I had to get down on my hands and knees to shuffle through a hobbit-like home. One of the kids ahead of me had puked on the floor and I thought, as I was trying to figure out how to get through without getting vomit all over me, This had better be one really awesome job.

And that’s when I woke up.

new job? | 8:17 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Sunday, March 17th, 2013

See if you can figure out what this dream is supposed to mean:

I was in the hallway of a hotel looking for the room that B asked me to meet her in. She said there was a surprise waiting for me there. When I found the room and opened the door, there was another hallway instead of a room on the other side. Puzzled, I walked down the hallway past rooms that were all numbered the same as the hallway I’d just come from. I found the room where B said I’d find her surprise, opened the door and saw another damn hallway with rooms numbered the same as before! This time, I opened the door of the first room I came to: Another hallway. I went to the room next door, opened it and found another hallway. I was in a Mandelbrot Hotel of infinitely recurring hallways leading to ever more rooms just like the ones I was walking into!

I woke up next to B, but didn’t ask her what the surprise was. I’m pretty sure if I’d woke her up and asked her that, it wouldn’t have been what I thought it was.

an hotel | 2:08 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams, My Darling B, O'Folks
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Friday, March 15th, 2013

I woke up this morning about a half hour before the alarm went off and thought to myself: Whoo-hoo! Saturday! Ain’t gotta get up today!

As I laid there, basking in happiness, a funny feeling came over me as I remembered that I’d set my alarm clock the night before. I should shut that off before it wakes My Darling B, I said to myself.

But, just before I reached an arm out from under the covers to see if, in fact, the alarm was set to go off, I remembered that it was Friday, not Saturday, and my great big bubble o’ joy popped.

And then the alarm clock started bleeping.

Friday. Whoo. Hoo.

woo to the hoo | 6:11 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams
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Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I had the strange experience of watching a rerun of a dream last night.

My Darling B stole about a trillion dollars that Jack Nicholson stole from a bank, and I helped her steal it by hiding it under the floorboards while Jack was sleeping in the bathtub. He went into a Nicholsonian rage when he discovered it was missing and ran off down the hall with an axe to find the guy who stole it from him. After he left, I pulled up all the floorboards, grabbed the money and ran off to Northern Canada with My Darling B where he buried the money in a meteor crater, making periodic withdrawals to pay the rent and buy the occasional case of Molson.

All of this was, as I said, a dream I had before. I wasn’t even the least bit worried when Jack got all mad and grabbed an axe, because I knew he wasn’t going to suspect me for a moment, even though I was the only guy around who knew where his money was.

rerun | 5:53 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams, My Darling B, O'Folks
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Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

I remember the very end of a dream as I woke up this morning: A gleaming steam locomotive, one with lots of pinstripes and shiny brass, easing away from the platform of a passenger station and out into the yards, chuffing away.

As it faded into the distance I was snapped into full wakefulness by My Darling B, who crooned directly into my ear the appropriate sound effect:

“ZOOOM!”

Now, how did she know to do that?

zoom | 7:33 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams, My Darling B, O'Folks | Tags:
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Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I was crouching on the very edge of a raw metal deck plate with my arms straight out on either side of me, reaching just far enough to hold on to the struts that were the only things connecting the deck plates to the ship. With the main engines running at full throttle my feet felt as thought they were not truly in contact with the deck. They felt, actually, as though they were repelled by the vibration of it. I had to ride it with my knees bent, skating back and forth with my feet to keep them under me. I clutched at the struts so tightly that my fingers hurt, really hurt, but I didn’t dare let go.

Sealed up tight inside the hull the darkness was total, not that it mattered. I kept my eyes clenched shut, as if that would somehow shut out the deafening noise of the engines. Silly, I know. Nothing could have blocked that sound. I could have filled my ears with cement, and the roar would still have come smashing through.

The darkness was suddenly shattered by a shower of sparks from left and right, front and back, and the space between the bulkheads was filled with exploding gas, and the hull split open, and the stern of the ship fell away. The explosion that blasted across my face was paradoxically cold, and when I opened my eyes I realized they would stay open forever, glazed by frozen tears, lids glued back, eyelashes stitched across the underside of my brow.

Blinding sunlight fell across the yellow bulkhead of the aft fuel tank as it parted from the ship. Stack gas billowed in its wake. The engines alongside me shuddered and shook, and in the propulsive blast of their efforts the stern section began to tumble end over end as it lost speed and fell.

Far below, the arc of the Earth shone like the blue and white curve of a neon sign behind a window trimmed with frost. And I thought, Wow. I may be frozen in place like a gargoyle right now, but nobody will ever see what I’ve seen today.

And the last thing I saw was a glitter of light as a sixteen millimeter camera was ejected from the hull of the ship to fall back to earth and be caught by a waiting airplane far below, its film eventually developed and analyzed and eventually posted on YouTube. Dammit.

nerd dream | 10:15 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams, hobby, play, space geekery
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Sunday, February 14th, 2010

I dreamed about a blood-sucking spider monkey last night. I went to a pet store and bought a spider monkey for a guy as a joke because he lost a bet with me, and while we were waiting in a bar for him to show up I let the spider monkey out of his box and he sat on the end of my shoe and wrapped his arms around my calf, which I thought was pretty cute until one of the people I was with pointed out that it looked like he was biting me.

“Naw, he’s not biting me,” I said, because I figured it would hurt a lot if a spider monkey bit me. I didn’t feel anything except the monkey hugging my leg, but I looked down anyway and just about pissed my pants when I saw gouts of blood streaming from the ragged hole the little bastard had chewed through my sock. That’s when I yanked him off and stuffed him back in his box, and then somebody drove me to the emergency room so I could get my leg sewn up and get a rabies shot. Fun.

It was one of those dreams you wake up from and can’t get back to sleep because you just can’t stop thinking about it. I dozed off several times only to find myself right back in the emergency room with a nurse cleaning out the wound on my leg. It made the rest of the night seem to last about a million years. “We’ll have to kill your monkey to find out if he has rabies,” the nurse informed me tentatively, as if I might object. In one of the later versions of the dream, after I got good and sick of turning up in the hospital again, I asked him, “Can I kill the monkey?”

gnawing feeling | 9:16 am CDT
Category: dreams
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Monday, January 25th, 2010

My Darling B had a bad dream the other night. She dreamed that she woke up and saw somebody standing in the doorway. It was one of those dreams where she knew she was dreaming, and she knew that if she called out to me I’d wake her up and everything would be all right, so she managed to murmur my name in a wan little voice …

Most of the time, B sleeps on her right side, facing away from me, but when she had this dream she was sleeping on her left side, facing me. I was sleeping on my back. And, as luck would have it, her face was just an inch, maybe two, from my ear, so what she murmured came to me as a howl. I woke scrambling to get untangled from the blankets to see who was yelling at me, and that woke B, and we both woke the cats, so that everybody was jumping around, throwing blankets everywhere and raising a wild ruckus.

When my heart slowed down to about 120 beats a minute from about a thousand, I managed to catch my breath and ask B, “What?”

“…I had a bad dream,” was all she could say. And all she needed to say, anyway.

tangled | 10:09 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, dreams, My Darling B, O'Folks
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