Sunday, December 25, 2011

‎"I am patriotic I think. I fact I know I am. And like most people who truly love their country, I don’t think it perfect but want it always to strive to be better, nobler, kinder, smarter. I want to be proud of it." —Stephen Fry

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dream Archive 20: Bank Scam

I had figured out a way to scam my bank into giving me a thousand dollars every month. They would leave it in an envelope in my locker at the health club I belonged to but never used. Other members of the health club had decorated their lockers to show what generous philanthropists they were. One of the lockers lit up from the inside to show the silhouette of construction paper letters that the owner had cut out. In order to open my locker, I had to use metal Legos. The lockers were magnetic, so that the Legos would stick to them. My brother had come in from Michigan. He was wandering around outside the health club. He seemed very lost.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dream Archive 19: Jigsaw of Death

Came into possession of a jigsaw puzzle that was cursed like the video in Ring. Anyone who finished it would supposedly die within fourteen days. We didn't believe it at first, so we decided to do it. The puzzle itself was huge, several yards across, with big wooden pieces. It was more like a model train landscape. It showed a seaside village with underwater caves beneath it.

As we finished more and more of the puzzle, weird things started to happen. One person was wiping the graffiti off the inside of a window, and someone else saw her reach up and erase her own face. There was another face underneath. Someone else was chased by something into the caves under the village. She saw the thing there; it was some kind of oddly-shaped skeleton with colored lights playing over it, which was then inhaled like smoke by a Venus-Flytrap-like mouth with sharp teeth. Just to be clear, the creature wasn't just the skeleton or the mouth, it was both in combination with each other and the act of one inhaling the other. It was implied that these were the creatures that had originally made the puzzle.

The puzzle was clever. It only showed its true self to people who were alone, and it only did it at certain times. When we started to realize that something strange was going on, the puzzle stopped doing anything for a while, so that we would assume that the people who had seen strange things were just imagining them. Eventually, we figured this out, and we knew that there was something bad happening; however, we knew we would finish the puzzle anyway, because we were the kind of people who couldn't not finish a jigsaw puzzle.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dream Archive 18: The Return of the King James Version

Found a Bible that had lenticular images of Sir Ian McKellan as Gandalf on each page, so that it looked like Gandalf was looking at you through the text. There was another layer of text which explained why gay people weren't real people. So, in other words, a normal Bible.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dream Archive 17: Charles Something

In a distorted version of the house on Long Avenue, my dad kept calling and asking if I was going to fly to Japan with my step-family. The flight was at 2AM that night. My mom kept asking if I was going to drive to the airport and pick up some other people who were flying in at 2AM. Someone was messing with my electric train, making the tracks longer and more complicated. I knew the name of the person who was doing it. I was pretty sure it was my brother's friend, who was hiding out in the shower. I got a couple of girls to pull him out, and asked if the name I had was actually his real name. Instead of answering, he began to fly into the sky, getting smaller and smaller like a kite. I went down to where Spencer and some other guys were flying their model planes to see if they could help me get him back on the ground. They were being too crazy, though, making the planes dive-bomb each other and stuff. I told Katy not to go out there. A bunch of other people were trying to convince me to fly to Japan. I told them I didn't have the money.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dream Archive 16: Andrew's Death

Dreamed that my brother died. Now I have proof that, emotionally speaking, that is the worst thing that could ever happen to me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dream Archive 15: Scavenger Hunt

In some kind of endless gallery / museum / indoor city, there were families with strange animals. There was a type of small dog called something like a "Beltr" that looked exactly like a hand puppet made of corduroy and felt, but it was alive. It had a naturally-occurring South American rug pattern in its fur. A lot of the other animals had similar patterns on them. Many of them were sheep. Outside, there were two huge round men as big as cars that were wearing sheep costumes made of felt. They rolled back and forth on each other and made terrifying faces for money. Inside, crowds of people drifted here and there. A man carrying a small child on his shoulders sold me a tambourine the size of a penny for twenty-six cents. I had to ask my grandmother for money. I couldn't find her, but I found what I thought might be her purse. I was digging through it, and it turned out to be someone else's. There was a piece of paper in there with instructions for a scavenger hunt. There was a note written on the paper saying they had found it pinned above a urinal. As I was going through the purse on a table, people dressed in strange combinations of dirty rags and fancy Soviet-looking uniforms started coming up and asking me for change. Some of them wanted a handout, but some of them wanted to me to make change for them. One man in a bright red coat with gold tassels on the shoulders held one hand inside his coat and gestured at me to put the money in that hand secretly, as though I was reaching inside his coat for some other reason. Apparently, the authorities didn't approve of begging or making change for people.

Dream Archive 14: Model Solar System

Dreamed I had bought a model solar system with scale replicas of all the planets. I had set it up inside a huge department store or bookstore of some kind. I wanted the distances to be to-scale, so some of the planets were miles apart from each other. Some of them had to be placed in the forest outside the store. Then, for whatever reason, I had to go find them all. This wasn't easy, since several of them were the size of a pea.

Dream Archive 13: Basement Ruin

Dreamed I was in a bombed-out basement in the middle of a former war-zone. The basement was filled with my toys and drawings from when I was a child. I wanted to rescue them from the wreckage, but someone told me they were irradiated and therefore poisonous. I started gathering them together anyway, and then my hair started to fall out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dream Archive 12: James Bond vs. Them

Dreamed we were all driving around looking for a Halloween store. We stopped in a parking lot in front of a restaurant. All these people—adults and children—came out of the restaurant dressed as cats. Their Halloween idea was a restaurant run by cats. There was a fog machine inside, and a weird ghostly light. I could see cat-shapes crawling all over the tables. It was just part of the show, though.

A car full of people pulled into the parking lot. It was James Bond's car. James Bond was being played by beloved English character actor Jim Broadbent. I remember thinking he was not a very good James Bond, because he would momentarily pass out after doing anything strenuous, and his entourage would have to catch him. He had some sort of projectile weapon which he aimed at the inside of the car window. When he fired it, it made a small, perfectly round hole in the glass. After he passed out and regained consciousness, he began pouring gasoline through the hole, down the side of the car, and onto the street. The gasoline spread across the parking lot into the restaurant. James Bond and his entourage got out of the car and began walking away. We followed them. James Bond lit a match and tossed it back over his shoulder. The car and the restaurant exploded in a huge fireball, killing all the adults and children inside.

I asked James Bond why he had to murder all those innocent people working in the restaurant, and he said it was the only way to keep "them" from following us. He wasn't clear about who "they" were, but he seemed very serious about it, so I decided to trust him.

Apparently, murdering all the cat-people wasn't enough, because "they" caught up with us anyways. We were on a train heading somewhere. Suddenly, other trains began catching up with us on either side. They were all black, with no windows. James Bond told the engineer to reverse the train immediately. We stopped, and then started going backwards, they way we had come. We seemed to be outrunning the black trains. Then, we came to the end of the line. There was a sofa tied to a metal post to provide cushioning in case we couldn't stop in time. It seemed like we were going to smash into the post, but when we actually did, it was just a gentle tap.

We looked around and realized it was too late. "They" had caught up to us. There were hundreds of "them," standing in silent regiments. "They" didn't move or make a sound. "They" wore long black or brown robes, with masks that looked like the one from Amadeus. Some of "them" had curled horns like rams' horns.

We didn't know what "they" were going to do to us. What "they" did was put us into some kind of dream where we were controlling the actions of a farmer who lived on a desolate plain. There were huge prehistoric boulders scattered across the landscape near the farmer's home. One day, out of nowhere, the Nazg├╗l witch-king appeared and began murdering the farmer's family in front of him. It took the farmer's wife and hurled her hundreds on feet into the air; we heard the sickening thud when she hit the ground somewhere nearby. The farmer had to give into some demand in order to save his children, but we didn't know what the demand was or how to give into it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"If you're telling me how great Transformers is… the fact of the matter is, it's horrible. It's almost unfathomably horrible. You see it—it expands your brain, how terrible it is."

Jesse Thorn, America's Radio Sweetheart

So, 13 miles is as many miles as someone should run, in my opinion. Now, 26 miles—at 26 miles, I think you're no longer an athlete, you're just kind of willful. At 26 miles, it starts to turn for me, where I don't like people running marathons. I'm not ready to oppose it, but I don't like it. … Half-marathon is a number of miles where, at the end of it, you're exhausted, and you feel like you've run too far, but you're not thinking that you're gonna die. It's not a distance that people were designed to run, and so the whole point of it is to prove that you are better than God. … Now, an ultra-marathon runner will run for 36 hours straight. And, to me, there comes a point where you're no longer participating in a sport, you're just taunting God. It's no longer about any kind of athletic achievement—it's no longer about stretching your body or making yourself the ultimate expression of your body, it's about telling your body, "Hey, fuck you. Look what I'm gonna do." … One of the top ultra-marathoners had written a book about ultra-marathoning, and they pitched this book to me, and I said, "No, sir. I'm not participating in this. I'm not encouraging this. It's wrong." To me, a marathon is kind of distasteful, and I don't like it; ultra-marathon is simply wrong.

—Jesse Thorn, America's Radio Sweetheart

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dream Archive 11: "The Secret of Chronos"

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Dreamed I was reading a Lovecraft story called “The Secret of Chronos” to my dad and my brother. I was reading it out of a huge Tales of Lovecraft omnibus that I had bought two months earlier. Apparently, in the 1920s, artists would make paintings of scenes from popular stories and publish them as little sticky trading cards. I had found some of these, and had pasted them into the book on various pages.

The Secret of Chronos” was the one story in the volume that someone had turned into an elaborate pop-up book. The title page showed a great dark mansion with tentacles coming out of the doors and windows, and cultists running around worshipping things. The story was about a professor of arcane knowledge who was teaching his students about the Mysteries of the Deep. He described the time when Gojira had emerged from the sea, but said Gojira was actually a rather small specimen. There was a black-and-white pop-up picture of Gojira swimming the ocean. Then he described the legends of the Kraken, and there was a picture of the Kraken that looked far more sinister than usual. Finally, he told his students about the island of Chronos, which was hidden from men, but which they could find if they used the right charts and outwitted the cultists trying to protect it.

At the point where they found the island, my dad, my brother, and I found ourselves transported there through a quirk of dream logic. The island turned out to be off the southern coast of Manhattan, and it was bizarrely decorated to resemble someone's whimsical conception of a Greek island. There were little plastic temples everywhere, and fish ponds, and stone benches, and life-size plastic statues of gods and goddesses, and carefully-trimmed hedges, and well-tended patches of grass and gravel. In the center of the long promenade that ran down the middle of the island, there was a reflecting pool with a tower rising out of it.

As the story came to a close, the professor and his students found some discarded masks, gloves, and cloaks in one of the service tunnels beneath the island. Apparently, the cultists had tricked them into coming there, and then fled. This was the end of the professor's narrative, and the end of the pop-up book, but there was a folded letter pasted into the book on the last page, Griffin-and-Sabine-style. The letter was from one of the professor's students, and it detailed what really happened on Chronos after they found the discarded clothes. The tower in the center of the island began to rise into the air, and it became clear that the tower was only an unlit torch, and that the torch was being held by a colossal hand, which continued to rise into the air until the creature's entire body was revealed!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dream Archive 10: Exorcist Bugs

We were all in some kind of real-life version of The Exorcist. It was like a theme park ride, but much more real and much more dangerous. We were trying to find our way out. There were demons everywhere. People kept looking at their hands and seeing little bugs crawling all over them. This drove a lot of people insane. Eventually, we discovered that the world we were in was a shared hallucination created by the bugs. The bugs had swarmed in through our mouths and filled our bodies. They were symbiotic. Once we learned to accept them and live with them, we didn't see them anymore, and the world became less frightening. It was still an hallucination, but they made it a nicer one, once we stopped fighting them.

Dream Archive 9: No More iPads

I dreamed that some catastrophe made it impossible for Apple to produce any more iPads, ever. In the dream, this seemed to matter. Why did I dream this? I don't own an iPad or even an iPhone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dream Archive 8: Barenaked Ladies

Me and a bunch of people I didn't know were at a Barenaked Ladies show. The band got in trouble for some comment that people thought was racist. Somehow, we were implicated. We had to leave the show by making our way through the crowd. The crowd became an outdoor river filled with otters and reindeer. As usual, there was an horrific crime involved. A Vietnamese family found out their son was gay and tried to murder him. I don't know if they succeeded.

Sic semper tyrannis.

The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.

⎯Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dream Archive 7: Death Mask

Tom and I were planning to remake a film called Death Mask. I don't know what it was about. It could have been one of the following (taken from IMDb):

Death Mask (1998) Wilbur works in an old carnival and shows some gruesome things to the puplic. He covered his face because he had a sadistic father who burned his face. Everybody makes jokes about his scars and when the new boss fired him, he go to an old swamp-witch who gives him a peace of wood from a hanging tree and Wilbur makes a mask from this piece of wood and put all his anger in this mask. When he puts the mask on, everybody who looks on this mask commits suicide. He has created the Death-Mask.

Death Mask (1984) Haunted by the drowning death of his own daughter, a police investigator embarks on an obsessive 10-year hunt for the identity of a dead boy, to the detriment of his family life.

Halloween Night A.K.A. Death Mask (1988) A kindly old grandfather is actually the leader of a murderous satanic cult which sacrifices its victims on Halloween.

The Death Mask (1914) A silent film starring Sessue Hayakawa. No plot summary available.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dream Archive 6: Special Collections

Three nights ago:

Adam and I were sneaking around in part of a museum which was supposed to be closed to the public. We came to the Special Collections area. Adam wanted to see a particular book they had there. It was a piece of propaganda written by an old Middle Eastern general who declared himself king of a certain country. The book was very small, only a little larger than a matchbook. We had to turn the pages with a little pencil they gave us. The book got larger as we read it. We discovered that the museum had inserted notes to the reader between the book's pages. One of the notes was printed on a greeting card. When we were done looking at the book, the woman behind the counter said, "Now I'm going to play you a song. It's by the Velvet Underground." She started the song, which was the same one that had been in my head all day (in the dream), and then began to recite the names of the songwriters, musicians, and everyone involved in the song's production. She also gave very specific details about the time and place it was recorded.

Then Adam and I went to Philadelphia. It was very beautiful. I kept pointing out locations where they had filmed It's Always Sunny. We ended up at a show where some famous guy was playing his music live. He had apparently done the soundtrack to a popular video game. He was playing film clips on a screen during his performance. He got really involved in projecting the film clips, so I had to take over playing the music, which I knew for some reason.

Two nights ago:

We were playing some kind of festival. It took place on a hill by a river. We had a horn section. Erich and I were hanging out with the horn section on a concrete platform set into the side of the hill. There were low concrete walls surrounding it. We were looking down the hill towards the river. We saw Adam talking to some rather young-looking girls. We all fell asleep, and when we woke up, the sky had darkened and everyone was gone. 

Last night:

We were on tour. We stopped at some kind of punk commune in a trailer park. I was drinking two beers at once. I walked towards a gas station and saw a cop car pulling in. I quickly put the beers down and kept walking. The cops got out and came towards me. I thought for sure they were going to arrest me for drinking in public. Instead, they walked past me to where Adam was standing. The female cop told him to get on the ground. Adam said no. I tried to signal him to do as she said, but it was too late. She took out her taser and tased him for about ten seconds. He doubled over. She turned around and started walking towards me. I looked at Adam and saw a "fuck you" look come into his eyes. He stood up and said, "Not enough. Need more." The cop turned and looked at him. He said, "Need more electricity." I thought he was just taunting her, but apparently when you've been electrocuted as many times as he has, you gain special powers. He collected a cloud of energy Dragonball-Z-style and set all the cars and the gas station on fire.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dream Archive 5: The Thing, the Dream Thing

My brother saw something in the sky. It scared him very badly. It scared him so badly that he wouldn't talk about it. It looked like this:

Dream Archive 4: Living Statue

Walking through Hollywood, I met a woman who was paid by a movie star to put on a muscle suit and stand outside his house all day as a living statue. Apparently she was supposed to be a statue of him. He paid her enough that she flew in every morning from some other part of the country and flew home every night.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dream Archive 3

Visited the Washington Monument. It was apparently hollow and made of thin, very hard plastic about half an inch thick, with a grid of tiny holes in it. There was a door on each face. Inside, four stairways went down into a shallow rotunda. You could look up the whole length of the monument. More stairs spiraled up, allowing you to climb to the top. At the top, you went outside onto a huge rocky slab set at a forty-five degree angle. You had to scramble up the rocks in order to get to the very top. The very top was above the clouds. You could gaze down at the ground, which was apparently several miles below. A great ocean filled the horizon, and massive tsunami waves crashed over the monument at regular intervals. If you flattened yourself onto the ground, you could avoid getting swept away by them. Everyone was afraid of the waves, but they went to the top anyway to see the view. The stairs on the inside of the monument were littered with old junk and machine parts from the early days of the United States. The parts seemed to be complex, but were made of stone and wood.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dream Archive 2: Control Room

§here was a great city and we all woke up there it was filled with shadows and halogen and tungsten bulbs and moonlight (so many moons) and we could hear the howling in the distance where the mountains rose from the landscape and the water buried the shaft where some of us fell into the night which went for miles and we were transported through the pipes and hallways to a high castle filled with machines which ran the length of the world where we could look down on the landscape and see the twisted trees and the huge crocodile statues bending and reaching toward the place in the West where the light streamed down on the great city swallowed in mountains and where he told us he had made the world and he had complicated plans for what would happen there and the light shifted all day and the earthquakes rumbled and the storms were made in a huge chamber and the people roamed about in fear and confusion trying to find the ones they (we) had lost but he was made of shadows and his plans were wrong so we killed him and fled the control room and found a place which felt familiar and there was a house there with an open door and hollowed-out pumpkins and gourds with light inside that flickered in the darkness and we could see what we wanted but we were afraid to go in.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"My reputation as a ladies' man was a joke, and it caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I spent alone."
                                                                                                          ⎯Leonard Cohen