defrog: (Default)
I am in an episode of The X Files, tagging along with Mulder and Scully as they investigate strange events occurring in a grocery store in Stockholm. The store is part of a national chain of grocery stores, which operates under several different brands targeting different clientele (upper market, deli, import brands, etc).

Mulder and Scully discover that in fact, the mysterious occurrences are not limited to that one store, but across the entire franchise. Finally in one store we encounter a talking border collie who looks at Mulder and says, “It’s time to go home, Fox.”

“Do I know you?” Mulder asks.

“No, I’m just the emissary. But they’ve been waiting for you to remember.”

“Remember what?”

“Who you are.”

“Who am I? And who are they?”

“So you still don’t know. No wonder it took you so long to find your way here. You’d better follow me.”

The dog leads us to the back of the store, where I expect to find a stockroom or loading bay or something. Instead it’s a high-tech operations center with lots of screens – it’s also apparently automated, as there is no one inside. The dog barks a command and a large screen displays a map of Sweden that shows every store in the grocery chain.

Essentially, the stores serve as outposts for aliens to monitor Earth’s activities and determine when First Contact is feasible. Each brand of the grocery store chain represents a different alien species, identifiable by a slight difference in sign design (at the top of the sign is a cross, a circle, an “S”, etc). All the different species coordinate with each other and share information.

“Why did you tell me it’s time to come home?” asks Mulder.

“We’ve been looking everywhere for you, but we were unsuccessful. We took shapeshifting into account but your memory loss complicated things, to say nothing of your career choices.”

“Okay, enough of this vague riddle crap,” says Scully. “For once, just tell us straight – what is going on.”

The dog shakes her head. “That never works. You’re humans. You won't believe anything outside of your preconceptions unless you see it for yourself. Go to the produce section and pick up a vegetable. Any vegetable. Then all your questions will be answered.” She looks at Mulder and adds, “Your sister will be so pleased to see you.”

Mulder looks at Scully and dashes out of the control room into the store. He arrives in the produce section, picks up a stalk of broccoli, and suddenly transforms into a triffid.

The triffid turns to a shocked Scully. “I remember everything,” he says.

What he remembers is this:

Fox Mulder and his sister are both triffid-like aliens who can also shapeshift to imitate other lifeforms. They were visiting Earth with their family when suddenly the US government discovered the existence of aliens on their turf and dispatched agents to capture some and kill the rest. This triggered a mass evacuation of all alien species, and somehow in the confusion Mulder was left behind. The memory of his sister being abducted is a distortion of the truth – he saw her get on the ship but was too late to get onboard himself.

To evade capture, Mulder was forced to maintain his human form for so long that he eventually forgot that he was a triffid and the memory of his sister was distorted over time. His decision to become an FBI agent and hunt for UFOs was a subconscious effort to return home, and he never knew.

It was only years later that the aliens set up the monitoring outposts, having learned the hard way that humans were not ready for alien contact. The triffids searched for Mulder, but because he was disguised as a human and had no idea he wasn’t a human, this made him difficult to find. Once they did find him, extraction was complicated by the fact that the US govt was watching him extremely closely because of his investigations that threatened to uncover its various conspiracies.

The produce shelves slide aside to reveal a hidden tunnel that leads to some kind of teleportation device. Mulder turns to Scully and holds out his hand. Scully takes it and they step into the tunnel together. The shelves slide back into place.

And then I woke up.

I want to believe,

This is dF
defrog: (mooseburgers)
I am in Singapore, sitting on a street corner listening to “Freewill” by Rush in my headphones and trying not to play air drums to it.

When the song finishes, I get up to go back to my hotel. I pass a Jumbotron screen that is displaying Fox News. Sean Hannity is arguing with some female guest about something, but I don’t pay attention.

I take a shortcut down a side street, and when I re-emerge on the main road, I hear some kind of commotion. I look to see what’s going on and I see Hannity chasing the woman he’d been arguing with on TV. He is brandishing what looks like bright orange toy lightsabers –one in each hand – and swatting her across the back, shouting, “Insult me on MY show, will you, you liberal Commie bitch!!!”

One of the Fox News women (not sure which one, so we’ll say Laura Ingraham to keep it simple) is right behind him, apparently egging him on. They are all being chased by a stray dog who thinks they’re playing and wants Hannity to throw one of the lightsabers to play Fetch.

I get out my phone to take some pictures, because wouldn’t you? It’s hard to get a good focused picture, of course, because Hannity and the woman are running up and down the street. Also, Laura Ingraham is running interference, trying to block the lens and shouting “No pictures!” But by now a crowd has gathered and they’re all taking pics and video now.

Finally Hannity gives up, lets his guest go and tries to push his way through the crowd, presumably to get back to the studio and finish his show. The dog follows him, barking, still hoping Hannity will throw a lightsaber for him to chase. Hannity turns angrily and kicks the dog. The crowd boos him and starts to chase him down the street.

I don’t bother to follow them. I head back to my hotel and stop in the convenience store next to the lobby to buy some drinks and snacks. But it’s a small store and the line is very long.

When I fnally get back to my hotel room, I turn on the TV, open my laptop and get online, and I see that all of the pics and videos of the Hannity incident have gone viral, especially the dog-kicking scene.

Just about everyone at Fox goes on air to defend Hannity’s behavior, claiming that the lightsabers were inflatable, not plastic, so he wasn’t really hurting his guest when he was whacking her with them. They also blame the Liberal Media for making a bigger deal out of it than it is, and how it says a lot about liberal priorities that no one cared what Hannity was doing until he kicked the dog, which by the way is okay and unhurt. (Luckily this has been verified by independent news sources.)

And then I woke up.

Bonfire of the Hannities,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am staying in a hotel that is outfitted with lots of TV screens in the public areas. They are all tuned into the US presidential election – it’s Election Day and the voting has just started. The big news story is that Donald Trump is having some kind of dramatic public meltdown over new allegations of sexual harassment.

I am taking a lift down to the lobby. The lift stops and an elegant looking woman gets on, accompanied by two bodyguards. She looks familiar but I can’t place her. She looks slightly troubled. I ask her if she’s okay – she says yes.

The lift descends and stops. When the doors open, a man tries to charge his way in past the bodyguards, hands clawing at the woman as he screams rabidly, “YOU FUCKING BITCH I’LL GET YOU FOR THIS! YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING! TWO YEARS DOWN THE FUCKING DRAIN! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!”

I get a good look at him. It’s Donald Trump. His face is a mask of orange rage and his hair is a wild mess. There’s a team of paparazzi behind him, documenting the whole thing on live television and Facebook. The bodyguards shove him back and the lift doors close.

That’s when I realize I just happen to be staying in the same hotel where Trump’s campaign team has holed up for the election.

I arrive in the lobby, which looks more like a shopping mall atrium with a network of escalators. I see Trump going up one of the escalators, talking to the press as they follow him. He says that he’s received word from the Federal Election Commission that his nomination has been revoked and that he has to hand in his American Flag lapel pin, which means he’s no longer eligible to run for office.

“I’m done, I’m out, nothing I can do,” he says, looking haggard and exhausted but also somewhat relieved. “Talk to Crooked Hillary’s friends in the FEC. It’s out of my hands. I told you this would happen.”

As he rises out of earshot, I look at the nearest TV screen. The media is naturally going crazy about this development, as it’s literally unprecedented in US presidential election history – so much so that no one is sure what it means or what the consequence is, especially since voting has already started.

Possible options offered by talking heads:
  1. Mike Pence will simply be bumped up on the ticket and inherit whatever votes Trump gets, although as Pence has no running mate, that could disqualify him
  2. The FEC decision will probably trigger a constitutional convention that the GOP-controlled Congress will use to prevent Hillary from taking office
  3. Or perhaps we’ll just have to do the whole thing over again and postpone the election to 2018, which would give Obama another two years in office, which has conservative pundits convinced he engineered the whole thing and hired those women to set Trump up. Liberal pundits respond that Trump probably staged the whole thing because he knew he was going to lose – being stripped of his candidacy by the FEC means no one can say he lost.
The only thing everyone is sure about is that Trump is finally out of the race.

And then I woke up – momentarily thinking, “Wow, so he’s finally out.”


This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am on a business trip covering a major telecoms event. Every year the organizers book some entertainment for the last night of the conference. This year’s entertainment: Rush

Unfortunately I can’t go to the concert because I have a deadline to meet, but we have a flatscreen installed in the press office so we can watch the concert. They play great, but the lighting isn’t very good and whoever is operating the cameras isn’t that skilled, so it’s hard to actually see the band playing.

At one point Rush start playing a medley of songs where they only spend about 30 seconds on a song before moving on. It ends with the spacy keyboard section of “Jacob’s Ladder”, which turns out to be on tape so the band can leave the stage and take a break.

We decide we’ve got enough work done to take a break ourselves, so we head to the auditorium to catch the second half of the show. When we get there it looks like what we last saw on the TV – pulsating purple lights and humming synths. While we’re waiting, I get into a conversation with one of the delegates about how much better the entertainment has become at these shows.

I explain that they used to avoid booking bands because they wanted to go with something with as much mass appeal as possible – which generally meant all-purpose dance acts or magic shows, something generic and safe. “But then they realized that people really want to see bands like this who can play and put on a good show.”

Eventually the lights and synth droning fade out, and the president of the telecoms association goes up on the stage to give a short speech before the second half. It ends up being more than a speech – a bunch of PR people get up on stage with him and perform a sort of dance based on Drunken Master kung fu. I’m starting to wonder whether there is actually going to be a second half for the Rush concert – maybe that was the ending we saw on TV.

And then I woke up.


This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am traveling in Malaysia to edit a daily newspaper for a telephones convention that week. A PR person I know tells me that somewhere in town a South Korean tire dealer is planning to give away its entire stock. I tell her I don’t really need tires for my car, but she says, “Hey, free tires.”

Eventually I happen to be nearby the tire dealer when the giveaway starts, but when I get there most of the stock is already gone. They do have some 12” tires, which is the size I would need (at least I think it is – I’m not 100% sure) but they're not in great condition – not used, just shabby.

Shift: the B-52s are playing the convention this year, and I get a chance to interview them. Somehow this evolves into me going on tour with them while they play various shows in Malaysia. Kate Pierson and I end up being good friends, and we hang out a lot and talk about various things, though I remember mostly telling her how much I love the B-52s, and how I wish I could talk like Fred Schneider.

I also ask her how they came up with some of their stage antics, to include a “kissy doll” routine where she and Cindy Wilson would make themselves up as china dolls and kiss each other on stage (pecking style, not sexy lesbian style). Kate says she doesn’t remember, since a lot of what they did was improvised, and if it went over well, they’d repeat it for a few shows.

On the last day of the tour, the narrative shifts into a pulp-fiction novel in which Kate and I are supposed to meet the rest of the band on the other side of a river. The bridge we need to cross is a rickety wooden affair. It’s raining and the river is rising, so we figure we’d better hurry. We go back to my hotel to get my stuff, but we take a wrong turn and go the long way around to the side entrance.

We catch the hotel manager rummaging around in my room. The hotel is a bit of a fleabag, and the manager looks like Harvey Pekar.  At first I think he’s crabby because he thinks I was skipping my bill, even though that doesn’t make sense because all my stuff is still in the room. But then Kate notices that he is turning on all the gas outlets in the room, as well as a large fan to circulate the gas around the whole floor.

Belligerently he shoves a matchbook in my rear jeans pocket. That’s when we realize he’s planning to burn down the hotel, collect the insurance and blame it on me (and I will have conveniently died in the explosion so I can’t contradict his story).

We make a run for it, and the manager blocks our way. I shove him and he falls onto the fan, which shreds him to pieces. I don’t actually see this, and when I look back the manager is gone but there’s no blood or indeed any sign of him at all.

“That’s not a very convincing ending,” I remark.

“I’ll take it,” says Kate. “C’mon, this place could still blow up any second.”

We leave the hotel hurriedly and head for the bridge. I suddenly realize I have no shirt and no shoes. “Damn, I left my stuff behind.”

“Got it right here,” says Kate as she pats a duffel bag I hadn’t noticed her carrying. She hands me a shirt and shoes. I put them on and we cross the bridge.

And then I woke up.

My own private Idaho,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am in a hotel or restaurant, and I realize I am supposed to be in the office later that day. I run to the nearest bus stop trying to remember which bus is the most direct route to my office. That’s when I also remember I’m not even in the same city as my office.

Shift: I am driving down a highway at top speed. I come into a small town with a strictly enforced speed limit, but it seems like the car is taking forever to slow down. The speed zone is marked by rows of orange construction barriers that channel the road into a single lane. By the time I pass a police officer stationed on the side of the road, I am doing 5 mph over the speed limit. I’m hoping I get an A for effort.

I am directed to a checkpoint of some kind. I remember passing through this town before, and that the checkpoint is routine, regardless of whether you were caught speeding.

The checkpoint is more like an interstate rest area, although there are no other drivers. In fact, the place seems deserted. When I walk into the main reception area, there’s no one on duty, and no one to report to. But they’re obviously expecting me because there’s a binder on the desk that I gather is my driving record. Since no one’s around, I pick up the binder and wander around cluttered hallways to see if anyone is there.

At one point I look in the binder, and realize I may be in trouble. The report is full of copies of articles and photos I’ve posted on Facebook, including a series of Family Circus and Marmaduke cartoons with rewritten captions. I look at the front page of the report, and it describes me as a wanted professional car thief named Stuart Carlaw.

Uh oh.

At the time I discover this, I am standing near some shelves with various janitorial items and junk on them. I put the binder on one of the shelves and head back to the reception area. There’s a cop standing there, and he asks me where I’ve been. I explain I was looking for him. He directs me to a desk and a chair where he will conduct a brief interview. I remember this is SOP.

I wonder if I should be worried, but it occurs to me that I have identity cards, so that should be enough to prove I’m not Stuart Carlaw. Also, since the cop doesn't seem to know who I am in the first place, he may not think I’m Carlaw anyway.

On the other hand, it also dawns on me that I can’t remember where I got the car from, and I’m not sure I can prove I didn’t steal it.

It also occurs to me that I have a potentially bigger problem: why are there copies of my Facebook content in Carlaw’s folder? Maybe they got it from Carlaw’s Facebook page? In which case, what was he doing with it? Is he trying to steal my online identity? And if so, what can I do about it?

And then I woke up.

The wrong man,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
It’s the zombie apocalypse, and we are waiting for it to arrive in Disco Bay.

We’ve been watching on the news how the zombie virus is spreading globally, but hasn’t yet made it to Hong Kong. However, the experts say it will inevitably be everywhere and the world’s governments need to take steps now to ensure that the uninfected can stay that way until the zombies are eradicated. However, most world leaders are too busy either blaming their political enemies for the outbreak, or pretending it isn’t happening at all.

“This is stupid,” says KT as she picks up her smartphone to call one of her church sisters, who happens to know someone who has been posting conspiracy theories about govt-manufactured zombie viruses for years, predicting that eventually the virus would get out in the wild, either accidentally or deliberately. KT figures they will have a back-up plan to survive an outbreak.

We go to meet the conspiracy guy and his wife in Tung Chung. They are waiting in a black armored van. They explain that they have secretly built a safe haven to shelter survivors somewhere in the New Territories.

“But we have to go there now,” the man says. “The govt has been feeding the media misinformation – the virus is already in Hong Kong, so we don’t have much time.”

“Okay, but we need to go back to DB first,” KT says. “My dogs and my mom are still at home.”

“No way,” the man says. “We don’t have time.”

“We have to get them,” KT insists. “My mom can’t look after the dogs by herself. She can’t even cook her own food, she’ll just sit there and eat Pocky all day.”

“We can’t go into DB,” the man argues. “This is a private vehicle. They’re not allowed in DB.”

KT gives him a warning look. “Dude, it’s the zombie apocalypse, society is collapsing, and yr worried about vehicle rules in DB?”

The man nods. “Good point.”

We drive to DB and collect our family. No one tries to stop us. We don’t see any zombies on the way, so we decide to prepare food for the dogs before we go.

Shift: we are in the safe haven, which is equipped with a pirate TV studio that is meant to broadcast survival information to people outside. Since I have broadcast experience, I’m hired to do onscreen interviews with various experts. But the scripts are badly edited, so I have to improvise my way through them. It doesn't help that my panel of experts have hard-to-pronounce names, and I don’t have the chance to meet or talk with any of them prior to broadcast, so I’m not even sure who is who when I introduce them.

The director says it doesn’t matter – it’s not meant to be professional, it’s just to give people information. I start the interview. None of the panelists seem interested in being there, except for one guy who is trying to give an elaborate presentation (with stage props) on how telephone companies can make money using their customers’ personal data.

“But what does that have to do with zombies?” I ask.

“I’m getting to that,” he assures me.

And then I woke up.

Off topic,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am on my way to a conference somewhere. I get off the plane and I find myself in a driverless car on a muddy road. The BBC World Service is playing on the radio.

The ride is a bit nerve-wracking because there seems to be no hard rule about which side of the road to drive on, so oncoming traffic is a constant concern. The car is supposed to be smart enough to figure out the intentions of the other drivers, but it seems to me we're having a lot of close calls.

I eventually get to the hotel in one piece. Up to this point I haven't been sure about what country I'm in exactly, but upon arrival at the hotel, I find that I’m in mainland China somewhere. The hosts who meet me in the lobby claim we’re in Shenzhen, but I feel like I’ve traveled too far for that. Also, I can see that it has started snowing outside, which doesn’t happen in Shenzhen.

I am led through the lobby to the reception desk, but I get sidetracked and go out the back of the hotel to look around. The surrounding town is a mishmash of old and new buildings, the latter of which seem to be the usual tourist-trap places. The older buildings are more interesting – lots of square marble pillars with Chinese characters on them, as though someone carved them out of marble and glued them to the pillars.

After a lot of back and forth I get to my room, which is actually a series of interlocked rooms connected by a common anteroom. The doorways keep changing so you have to know a secret code to find the room you want.

And then I woke up.

Big trouble in little China,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
1. Teleporting zombies

I am living in the zombie apocalypse. The twist: zombies have teleportation powers. A zombie that looks far enough away to escape from can then suddenly be right behind you, ready to bite a chunk out of you. Even better: the zombie virus is transmittable by touch. So even if you don’t get bitten, if the zombie so much as lays a hand on you, yr doomed. The only thing working in favor of the living is that the zombie teleportation is highly inaccurate. They can’t do targeted arrivals – they end up where they end up. So if one gets within biting/grabbing range, it’s dumb luck.

2. Poetry slam

I am involved with some kind of performance project with Henry Rollins. It started as a discussion group in which I had read one of his poems aloud. He was impressed with my delivery and wanted to do a show with different people doing readings of his work. When it’s time for my reading, however, I find myself disorganized – I am juggling several different books, and I am distracted enough that I get off to several false starts. Henry is watching from the sidelines, and he seems patient with me, but I feel bad for fumbling it, especially when I did it so well the first time.

3. Fact checking: the virtual reality app

At a trade show, someone from the BBC shows me a new augmented reality app for the iPad. You open the app and hold the iPad up to a TV screen showing a newscast, and the app will fact-check everything the newscaster or commentator is saying, and provide the results – as well as contextual background info – in an overlay grid in real time. The idea is that you can use the app to tell when the speaker is wrong, exaggerating or outright lying. The app also makes the newscaster look like one of the aliens in They Live.

4. That blowed up real good

I am involved with some film project in my mom’s old house. I need to film something exploding. I’ve set up the cameras and models and explosives in my bedroom, and will run everything by remote in the hallway for safety (though this means I can’t actually see the explosion). It’s not supposed to be a big explosion, but it sounds louder than I expected. I go back into the room, and it’s been semi-detached from the house. I step onto the floor and the weight sends it tilting to the ground. I start wondering if there’s any way for me to fix it up enough so Mom won’t notice the damage.

5. Star Wars product placement

I buy a Star Wars branded katana that comes with a cut-out of Yoda. If you put the katana in a special sleeve in the cut-out, it looks like Yoda is wielding the katana. The shopkeeper also tries to interest me in some new comic books that are rare prequels of a well-known series with lots of background info on the characters. I’m not interested, but I listen to her pitch politely.

6. What a bargain

I am traveling somewhere with KT. We see a smartphone at an electronics store that looks like a pretty good deal. After we tell the salesperson we’ll take one, he demonstrates that in fact the smartphone is a remote control for a complicated hi-fi system, which also comes with a tablet. They all snap together somehow. I’m trying to explain to the guy that I didn’t want a hi-fi, just a smartphone. He’s mystified by my comments, because he’s basically offering me an entire hi-fi system and two smart devices for the price of a smartphone (and a low price at that). The problem is that the hi-fi is pretty bulky and I have no idea how I’m going to get it back to the hotel, let alone fit it in my luggage for the flight back home.

A man’s got to know his baggage weight limitations,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am watching a film that involves a heist on a mansion. I don’t remember what they are there to steal, but they find out the hard way that the mansion is protected by mutant dolphin-shark hybrids.

Essentially, they’re either mammalian sharks with the intelligence of a dolphin, or dolphins with shark-like predatory instincts and teeth. They can also move around on land, despite having no legs. They’re also surprisingly fast. The dolphin-sharks come crashing through the windows, picking off the heist team one by one and eating them.

I leave the cinema, which turns out to be in Indonesia somewhere. I remember I am here because Telephones! magazine has a local office. I walk to the street where the office is. A large crowd has gathered in the street for some reason, and there are a lot of people standing on the balconies overlooking it.

I am talking to someone trying to find out what’s going on when some gravel falls next to us. At first I think a cat or something has knocked over some loose masonry from the balcony above us. Then I look up and see the whole front wall of the building beneath the balcony is starting to crack. I warn everyone to get back and get off the balcony fast. Just as we get everyone on the street clear, the entire front of the building collapses. Amazingly, the people on the balcony aren’t hurt.

This was the building my office was in, so the management offers to put us up temporarily in another building on the other side of the block. However, the building isn’t nearly as nice as the previous one – it’s fairly ancient, and looks like an abandoned govt building. Also, in order to move in, all employees are required to provide samples of bodily fluids. We are each given a tray with different compartments on it, each one labeled to show what goes where. Some are obvious – some otherwise (one is labeled “sand”).

And then I woke up.

Moving in,

This is dF

defrog: (Default)
I need me one of these.

Frank R. Paul. Dream Viewer. 1953.

[Via Magic Transistor]

Insert NSA joke here.

Electric dreams,

This is dF

defrog: (Default)
I am in Singapore or someplace, waiting in a taxi queue. I have been waiting almost an hour.

I am about to give up when a taxi pulls up at a crooked angle. Inside is a female driver and two more women in the backseat – they are all dressed as sexy anime characters. The backseat girls are there to give passengers a “Mashido” massage.

I ask the driver if this is a real taxi service or just a rolling massage parlour. She just smiles as though she gets asked stupid questions all the time. I don't know how much longer I’ll have to wait for another taxi, so I get in.

It turns out the massage is optional.

And then I woke up.

Hands on,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am somewhere in America, walking across a large shopping mall campus. I need to get to the Parkroyal Hotel to meet some friends, but I’m not sure where it is or of it’s within walking distance. I see a taxi and decide to flag it down.

The taxi is more like a van, and there are already some people inside, but the driver tells me it’s cool – it’s more like a mini-bus service than a taxi service. The driver looks familiar but I can’t place him. He hands me a business card – his name is Tom Petty.

Well that explains it.

The people in the van are a mix of passengers and friends (most of whom I assume are the Heartbreakers), and Petty jokes around with them – it’s like a party, though with no drinks. He pulls up to the front of what I assume is the main shopping mall building and drops off the last of the passengers, then drives off.

As we go up some kind of ramp next to the mall, I ask him if we’re going to the Parkroyal next. He says, “Oh, it’s over there on the left.”

I look out the window. From the elevated vantage point of the ramp I can see that the building we just left has a courtyard in the front, and the courtyard is the lobby of the Parkroyal. So we were already in front of it when he dropped off the last passengers.

“Okay, then just let me out here,” I say.

“Sure, just hold on a minute, I can’t stop right here on the ramp,” he says.

The ramp leads to a vast rooftop parking lot that is technically next to the Parkroyal but still a good distance away. He stops the van and everyone gets out – me, Petty, and the Heartbreakers.

“How come you didn’t just take me to the front entrance again?” I ask.

He scowls. “Because I didn’t want the reception that people were going to give me when I showed up! And they wouldn’t be saying ‘Cobalt!’ neither!”

I seem to remember that “Cobalt” was Petty’s nickname among his fans. I realize now what he’s talking about – he used to be a rock star, now he’s driving a cab, and he doesn’t like the assumptions people make about that.

“I got tired of the music business, and I have more fun driving a cab, but people see you go from rock star to taxi driver and they think it’s because you don’t have any talent anymore, or yr a loser! Well fuck that! I don’t need that shit!”

It’s at this point I realize two things: (1) he’s a little drunk and (2) he doesn’t look like Tom Petty so much as he looks like Gary Busey playing Tom Petty in a TV movie.

Petty sits down on a curb and starts to throw golf balls with enough spin that they rebound back to him. The golf balls keep hitting him in the crotch, but this is apparently on purpose, as he goes off on a monologue about how the only purpose of marriage is for a woman to legally and metaphorically kick a guy in the nuts.

I sit down next to him. “Bad marriage, huh?”

He gives me a look. “Like you don’t know. The media milked it for weeks.”

“I don’t know,” I shrug. “I don’t follow celebrity gossip or watch much TV. I don’t even know who you were married to.”

“Heather Locklear,” he says.

I nod. “Oh, right. I remember hearing about you two being a couple, but I didn’t follow the details. You wanna tell me about it?”

Petty proceeds to tell me about his marriage and divorce from Heather Locklear. The other Heartbreakers fill in some details as well. We all sit there casually throwing golf balls as the story unfolds, and by the end Petty seems to be feeling better.

“It helps to talk about this,” he say. “Especially to someone who didn’t hear the tabloid version first.”

“Yeah,” I say, “my experience is that it’s always good to talk to an outsider who doesn’t care.” When Petty frowns at this, I add, “What I mean is someone who has no stake in the game. Like when you know a couple that gets divorced and yr friends with both of them and they expect you to take a side, and they resent it if you try to stay neutral.”

He nods, then he gets to his feet. “C’mon, I’ll drive you to the lobby.”

And then I woke up.

DISCLAIMER: I'm pretty sure Petty's nickname in real life is not "Cobalt". But that's what he said.

Also, I have no idea if he was ever married to Heather Locklear.

Don’t do me like that,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am attending some kind of music camp run by David Bowie. One of the activities in the camp involves being woken up at 0600 by a Bowie song blasting over the PA. We all have to run out of our rooms and re-enact the video of whatever song is playing. The song I remember is “TVC-15”, which means we have to recreate the SNL appearance with Klaus Nomi and the TV monitor poodle.

I see Bowie parading purposefully down the corridor outside my room – he is sporting the same Bowie look as in the original video. I remember thinking he’s taller than I thought he would be.

Later in the same dream, during a break in the music camp activities, I am cutting images of Samantha Fox out of old magazines whilst watching a TV documentary about her recently revealed career as a secret agent for the British government. She apparently worked as an underground trade representative, going into Third World countries to negotiate secret trade deals with dictators.

Fox is onscreen talking about the time she went to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro, and hung out with him for a few weeks. The screen cuts to never-before-published photographs of Fox and Castro on a beach in Cayo Largo del Sur. Fox is posing topless and shiny with suntan lotion. Fidel is looking very pleased with himself, smoking a cigar and whacking golf balls into the Caribbean.

I make a note to search for the documentary on YouTube – I’m thinking I could use soundbites from her interview as drops in my Bowie camp project.

And then I woke up.

Have a cigar,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am involved in some kind of Monty Python reunion show. It’s a live show where everyone not only does the classic sketches, but also talk about how the sketches came about and related anecdotes. Steven Soderbergh is filming the show for a documentary.

At one point we are backstage in the green room talking. Soderbergh and his girlfriend (who is either Kristin Wiig or played by her) walk in. They are talking, but she is clearly upset about something, possibly unrelated to whatever they are talking about. They don’t fight, but they’re both obviously sad.

I look around at the Pythons, and they’ve all dozed off on the couches with their mouths open.

I chuckle at this. Eric Idle, who is sitting next to me, opens one eye. “What?” he asks.

I shrug. “I was just thinking how ironic it is that Steve and Kristin need cheering up, and there are five professional comedians available but they’re all asleep.”

Eric finds this amusing, and he wakes up the others. They break into an improvised routine about snack cakes. Soon Steve and Kristin are laughing and feeling much better.

At some point the show resumes, with Terry Gilliam appearing on a screen doing an impersonation of the Swedish Chef.

Later, I meet him and I tell him how I was recently in Stockholm and noticed Swedish accents don’t sound anything like the Swedish chef, so I wondered what his inspiration was for the accent. Before he can answer some lawyer interrupts us to give me some non-answer.

And then I woke up.

Now that’s comedy,

This is dF

defrog: (Default)
I am working at a volunteer firehouse in some large city. The people working there are all a bit larger than life, full of wisecracks and catchphrases so that it feels like I’ve actually joined a reality TV show (though there’s no evidence of cameras or anything).

I have various sessions where I learn different aspects of the job – which includes scuba diving. At one point I’m putting on a wetsuit, and there’s a pool on the roof for training and exercise purposes.

As a trainee I’m not expected to go out on calls yet. But that changes when some guy goes on a rampage. He’s a former volunteer fireman who was fired for what he feels are unjustified charges. Now he is getting revenge by setting cars on fire nearby, and by rewiring other cars to cause accidents and explode. Soon the cars are actively attacking people.

I’m just trying to stay out of their way, but one of the guys says I’ve just been promoted from trainee to full-on fireman. “All hands on deck, sport,” he says.

And then I woke up.

Put out the fire,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am living in a world where the zombie outbreak has happened. KT and I are traveling with a small group of people, going from town to town, looking for a good place to settle down. Along the way we encounter other groups of people, at which point we have to decide whether they’re trustworthy enough to join our group. We generally leave it to our dog Bonbon – if she likes them, they can join. (As I said, it's a small group.)

At some point we end up on a small island that resembles a small village in Taipa or Coloane. It is already populated, and has a small but functional economy. It is completely unaffected by the zombie outbreak, and some of us think it’s a good place to settle in, because zombies can’t swim or take boats. Others say it’s the equivalent of a fire trap – if an infected human or animal ever makes it to the island, the outbreak will happen fast because it’s a tiny island with only one pier, so an evacuation would be a mad and likely fruitless scramble for survival.

In any case, we're here, so we stay the night at a small hotel on a hill at the top of the island. I wander around and I notice that I can see most of the island’s coast from there. The hotel is basic, but comfortable. The most interesting feature is a “long dinner” buffet, which starts at noon and ends at 9pm. So you can eat, leave and come back pretty much all day, whenever you like.

Everyone else wants to eat, but I want to walk around the island some more and kick around. I try to decide where to go and how long it will take me to get back so I can meet the others later.

And then I woke up.

NOTE: I didn’t encounter one zombie in the entire dream.

Safe as milk,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am watching a Monty Python documentary that is giving a detailed history of the evolution of the Silly Walks sketch. This somehow evolves into a film featuring a mad scientist in a castle who is developing very elaborate (and sharp) edged weapons. He demonstrates one such weapon by throwing it at a henchman. His arm comes clean off at the shoulder.

Scene shift: I am now in the same film, and in the same room as the scientist. When the henchman loses his arm, I decide it’s time to leave. On my way out, the mad scientist throws another weapon at another henchman, cutting off the top of his skull. Then he targets me, and I feel something hit my head. There’s not much impact, and no pain, but I know that he has just cut off the top of my skull as well.

I know this because I can feel the air blowing on my brain. It’s pretty amazing, but I’m pretty sure it means I’m going to die.

I leave the castle and walk along the moat toward the front entrance. I was supposed to meet KT after the meeting with the scientist. I call her and tell her I may not be able to make it because I’ve just had the top of my head sliced off.

“How?” she asks.

“Mad scientist,” I explain.

“It’s really sliced off?”

“Yep. I can feel the air on my brain. I don’t think it’s survivable.”

“Don’t worry,” says KT, “I’ll call Crista. She’ll help.”

Crista is the pastor at KT’s church, and I'm not sure how she can help me at this stage. But I say “Ok,” and hang up. Then I fall into the moat. I feel the water enter my head, and I figure this is the end.

Scene shift: I am vaguely aware of a team of people pulling me out of the water and transporting me to a mysterious-looking church. The exterior is black, outlined in red, with four spires of different heights. It looks like something you'd see in a Samurai Jack cartoon. I don’t remember anything about my time inside, but the implication is that they healed me.

Scene shift: I am in an apartment, preparing to go to the airport to catch a flight. There is a knock on the door. I open it to find a woman. She comes in, and as she talks, I realize that I’m a freelance spy of some kind, and she’s my contact with the agency.

I give her the business cards of some people I met during my business trip. “These are the ones you’ll need to keep tabs on,” I tell her.

“Any idea what they’re after?” she asks.

“No, but they’re clearly after something, and they think I know what it is or how to get it.”

She nods. “Okay. Come with me, I’ll show you what we’ve prepared.”

She leads me to another apartment, and starts to give me a tour. “Everything has been arranged,” she says. “The entire apartment is clean, so the only fingerprints or DNA samples they find here will belong to you.”

“Too clean,” I observe. “There’s no clothes or belongings here – it doesn't look lived in.”

“Leave that to us,” she says. “We’ve arranged for clothes and various items to be placed here. It will look tidy but lived in.”

I nod. The point of this set-up is to provide me with an apartment that matches the address printed on my business cards. Anyone who decides to rumble this apartment while I’m gone will find only what we want them to find. The woman adds that if my current mission goes well, I will actually live in this apartment when I return, and use it as part of my cover.

As I leave for the airport, I find myself remembering the mysterious red/black church. It’s only then that I also remember what happened with the mad scientist. I start to wonder just how I was healed, and if that’s the reason I’m a spy now.

And then I woke up.

New world man,

This is dF

defrog: (sars)
I am recruited to act in a play. It’s a sort of improv guerilla theatre, where plays are staged in found spaces and actors are cast as you go along.

In this case, the “stage” is a sort of indoor Chinese garden, at the center of which is a huge rectangular pond full of koi carp. Chinese lanterns and other decorations are everywhere, and the railings are made of gold-trimmed teak.

As the point is to recruit actors on the fly, the play is already in progress when the director selects me. He hands me a creepy horsehead mask and a script with my lines. It's a monologue. According to the script I am “Horse”, a mythological manifestation of Native American vengeance, and at the end of my monologue I’m supposed to shoot one of the characters with a shotgun. It’s up to me which one to shoot, I just have to give him/her a verbal or visual cue before I do it.

The other actors don’t pay any attention to me. They stay in character and do whatever it is they’re supposed to do. They won’t acknowledge me until I begin.

The director gives me my cue. I put on the mask, pick up a prop shotgun lying on a stool and cock it dramatically, as though to get the attention of the other characters. It’s up to me how to play the character. Before starting, I thought about delivering the lines in a deadpan William Burroughs style, but when it’s my cue, I find myself giving it more gravitas.

I start the monologue. “I am vengeance, older than the world and angrier than all the gods. Time is my watchdog. And I have come to set the clock right.” Something like that.

I’m allowed to read from the script – no need to memorize the lines, since there’s no time for obvious reasons – but it’s only at this point that I notice half of it is printed on the back of a large potato chip bag. And it’s in Portuguese. So I wing it and mumble those parts as though talking to myself like a madman. I look around the stage trying to decide which actor to shoot.

But I wake up before I can shoot anyone.

Vengeance is mine,

This is dF
defrog: (Default)
I am in a bookstore, and I come across a small hardback book – no jacket, but the title is embossed on the clothbound cover. It looks like a short story dressed up as a limited edition printing. As I start to read it, the cinematic version plays in my head – it looks like a Wes Anderson movie.

The story starts with a woman (played by Scarlet Johansson) spotting a man riding in a hansom cab. He stops and they begin to talk. He says he is a student at Nanyang University in Singapore, and that he intends to kill himself. She asks why. He tells her a story about how his parents once made him butcher a pig (or something along those lines) – anyway, the result is he’s a pacifist who feels out of place in a violent world, and he doesn’t really want to live in it anymore.

Scarlet invites him to dinner to talk him out of it. The restaurant is lit exclusively by candlelight, and the tables are so tall you have to climb a ladder to reach them.

The man and Scarlet have dinner, and she tells him that suicide is just another form of violence. So if he kills himself, he will become part of the violent culture he abhors. He realizes she’s right, but apparently he takes this to mean if he has to live in a culture of violence, he might as well go ahead and embrace that culture, because in the next scene, he is chasing a waitress with a meat cleaver.

He kills the waitress, and then realizing what he’s done, he takes the cleaver and cuts his face off before slitting his throat.

The final scene takes place in a large mansion, where Scarlet works as a maid. She is preparing a meal of chopped roasted pig (head, hooves and all) and the man from Nanyang U. As she takes it to her master, the final line of the book reads:

“She was mildly amused to discover that the man and the pig took the same length of time to cook.”

Scene shift: It is nighttime, and I am reading the book in a hotel suite, which I am sharing with another man, though he’s not in the room at the moment. Outside a storm is brewing – wind starts to pound rain onto the windows. I can also hear/see Ronnie James Dio out by the pool singing opera in the rain. I don’t like opera, but he makes it sound bad-ass.

I look at the book for the author’s name – I don't see it, though I see that Neil Gaiman is quoted as liking the story. As I get up to stretch, I notice that my roommate’s side of the suite hasn’t been tidied up by housekeeping. The bed is unmade, and empty coffee cups are everywhere. However, my side of the room has been cleaned. I wonder if it’s because his side of the room has its own door, so the staff treat the rooms as separate. I start to wonder where he is.

The room has a sliding glass door that opens onto a large patio surrounded by trees. I watch the storm, and something suddenly occurs to me. I open the door and look outside. There’s no ambient light and the rain is heavy, so it’s hard to see, but when lightning flashes, I think I can see something in the branches of one of the trees – it looks like it might be a body of a man who hung himself.

I can’t see who it is, but it’s just then that I realize my roommate was the author of the book I just read.

And then I woke up.

Turn the page,

This is dF


defrog: (Default)

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