Dream Journal : Sky High Living

December 27, 2019 2:02pm
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It’s not uncommon for me to have dreams where I’m suddenly back living in my hometown and I have to essentially figure out how to move out all over again. Sometimes my job has also vanished, however this time I was still working remotely for my current employer, so money apparently wasn’t a concern.

After cycling through the usual options – find an apartment of my own in my hometown, move downstate in Michigan, or again move to Florida – I found myself also branching out in a new direction by deciding that I’d always wanted to live in a high rise, so now was the time to do it…

It started with exploring a skyscraper in downtown Tampa that was surprisingly similar to the one that I worked in (Tampa City Center) when I actually moved to Florida. The “apartment” that I looked at was pretty ridiculous, spanning two floors with massive, floor-to-ceiling windows looking out across the rest of downtown. It even had a fireman’s pole to slide down from the loft to the main level!

Once we had gawked at the incredible views that said ridiculous apartment somehow afforded on a meager software engineer’s salary, we went to explore the rest of the building of which quite a bit was actually accessible as we were able to ride up and down in elevators and take staircases and sometimes even climbing ropes between the various floors.

It was when we came to a rather large and ornate ballroom, we found an artist painting a beautiful mosaic on the floor. I asked her if she was creating something new, to which the woman explained that she was merely doing touch-ups because the building had recently been sold.

I can’t remember if it was being sold by or being sold to, but I recall that one of the parties involved was none other than Donald Trump.

…and needless to say, it made me very mad!

After brooding for a while and hoping Trump was losing money on the deal, me and my friend found ourselves being chased by a group of security guards … presumably for wandering around in places where we weren’t exactly supposed to be. Luckily we managed to put more and more distance between us as we ducked in and out of secret passages and even more strange mechanisms to move us from one floor to another – the latest being a sort of platform on a track that winded between floors and around a bar that overlooked a restaurant on the floor below.

It was never clear whether I ended up renting that incredible apartment high in the sky, or if I ran into Mr. Impeachment himself. I still think it would be neat to live in a skyscraper, though family life … and the salary that it entails … makes that lifestyle pretty impractical anyways… 😉

Dream Journal : Passholder Kerfuffle

March 21, 2019 9:47am
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Last night I dreamed that I was trying to renew my Disney World Annual Pass, but the girl at the counter couldn’t figure out how to ring it up and thought that I was making up the name of what I wanted and was generally just being a pest.

After four or five different cast members tried to help, with the line growing larger and larger behind us … consisting mostly of strollers, a manager wanted us to just charge it to our room to get the transaction over with.

Which wouldn’t work because I explained that I wanted monthly payments and I wasn’t planning on staying at the resort for the next 12 months… 😛

We finally gave up and walked away, shortly thereafter realizing that we’d left one of the kids sleeping in his stroller under the Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom and had to go find him!

We were at a fancy, tropical resort nearing the end of our vacation.

Apparently said vacation had also been combined with a scout trip, which was now over, but some of their equipment had been left behind for us to bring back because we had rented a van that had lots of room. Still, it wasn’t something that I was looking forward to because they needed to be broken down in order to fit in our van – for some reason, they had big sheets of glass that needed to be cut and a couple of chairs that we needed to take saws to in order to make it all fit.

We stalled at the resort for a while because for the last night of our vacation we’d gotten put in a really nice room with a huge hot tub, and it was right next to the tiki bar, so you could hear the band playing Jimmy Buffett music from pretty much anywhere in the suite.

I really wanted to just lay around and relax because the last week had been spent doing stuff every day with the scout group, but we couldn’t afford to extend our trip by another day, so eventually we begrudgingly left our swanky resort behind and headed back to where the van had been left to deal with loading it.

But not before stopping off at Toys ‘R Us to kill another hour or two, of course!

So now we’re driving in LA in separate cars – I’ve got my wife and kids in my car – and traffic is really heavy, so we pull up to a light and I look out the window to surprisingly see Paul Rudd on a bike like I almost hit him.

After struggling to get the window down, I finally asked if he was ok and if he wanted a ride, even though the car was completely packed and there was no room for him or his bike. Instead, he instructed me to follow him and we drove a short ways down the street before pulling into a small parking lot with several large tents setup in it.

It was only then that I noticed he had been dressed like a pizza delivery driver and had several boxes of pizza on the back of his bike.

Following Paul into one of the tents, it was there that he revealed that the whole stunt had just been promotion for his new movie in which he played a bicycle delivery driver. The tents had several catering stations in them and we were invited to have some food. Dominos was a big sponsor, so there was lots of pizza and wings and some other dishes that they were experimenting with, along with candy and these giant peanut butter cups that cost $5.15 a piece and just all sorts of stuff.

We explored and snacked for a while until eventually it started to rain and we realized we really needed to get back to work because I was worried that it was going to take a lot longer than we thought to pack everything up.

Before we left, I wanted to get a picture with Paul because I thought that it would make for a neat Instagram post, and someone pointed out where other people had started lining up for pictures. Unfortunately when we got to the front of the line, Paul was nowhere to be seen and instead we took pictures with Dave Franco who was apparently promoting his own movie where people hung from ropes with their feet off the ground and whoever was the last to touch the ground won a car or something.

We all hung from pipes and other things in the ceiling of the tent using these ropes that the staff gave us, and I could barely keep myself up for the picture, so it quickly became clear that I wouldn’t have been able to win the car anyways…

Dream Journal : Vicodin Dreams, Pt. 4

July 26, 2018 6:42pm
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This week I’ve been relying heavily on Vicodin to help me sleep while trying to pass a kidney stone, which has resulted in some particularly lucid, albeit still pretty weird dreams…

I had been watching an episode of The Game Chasers when I noticed something that seemed a little familiar.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until we went to visit my Grandpa later on that day and at random, I asked if anyone had been through the neighborhood recently asking about old video games.

I expected a quick dismissal, but instead he admitted that a couple of guys had been by the other day, and he took me into the back room where I quickly recognized the trim on the wall from the same that I’d seen in the video!

Although the guys had gotten an old school NES top-loader, thank god they hadn’t gotten everything because what was left was AMAZING!!!

It seemed like there were just stacks upon stacks of NES games everywhere – on tables and falling out of cupboards.

There were old systems and piles of controllers – where Grandpa had come up with all of this stuff, I had no idea!

My cousins had always been into Sega Game Gear, so at first I thought I’d just found their old handheld system in its case, but upon closer inspection there were three or four other units in this much larger display case like it was some sort of demo unit for a bunch of add-ons that had never even made it to market.

My luckiest find, though, was this unopened cart in a shiny, metallic purple box that I knew just from looking at it had to have been some sort of rare import, however while I fumbled to look it up online, the game box changed into a metallic purple VHS tape box, almost like those hologram cards where you could tilt them at an angle to make a crude animation of sorts.

I struggled with what to tell my Grandpa because it quickly became clear that he wasn’t just going to give all of it to me, but I made sure to mention that he shouldn’t sell anything else without checking with me first and at least he agreed to that! 😉

Dream Journal : Vicodin Dreams, Pt. 3

July 26, 2018 10:41am
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This week I’ve been relying heavily on Vicodin to help me sleep while trying to pass a kidney stone, which has resulted in some particularly lucid, albeit still pretty weird dreams…

The day started out in my office, which would’ve been fairly ordinary except that somehow I had an office much bigger than the cubicle that I actually have at work!

It was the size that’s usually reserved for directors and above. I didn’t have a door for some reason, but I had multiple desk areas and lots of room to spread out, to the extent that apparently I very much had because there were dirty clothes all over the floor.

As I was working to clean things up so the cleaning people at night could vacuum, a former co-worker with a fairly high-pitched voice was there chatting … I have no idea about what.

* * * * * * * * * *

I was a senior in high school, or possibly just graduated.

We were going to a party – hosted on a rooftop – and also strangely attending a wedding that one of our parents were hosting at their extremely elaborate home.

The first party was fairly uneventful, except that I noted finding it satisfying to actually be accepted by the popular kids by association with my friend who was more one of them than I was.

The wedding, on the other hand, was amazing namely for the cakes because instead of only having a single wedding cake, one of our other friends who ran a cake company brought her entire company to the wedding, with the couple getting to pick their favorite cake on the spot.

…and being our friend, we got to pick out some treats before even the wedding couple did…

The most notable was the frosting, which was just to die for, and I stalked the various dessert cases for several minutes as the crowds began to gather before finally making my selection(s)!

* * * * * * * * * *

This same weekend there was also a camping trip with the Boy Scouts that I was supposed to go on.

It was my first outing where I was old enough to go as an adult leader, so I wanted to go up after our parties even if it meant being a day late.

Hitching a ride with a semi-truck driver, we drove over a very questionable bridge into the UP that was honestly amazing that we even crossed, considering the end of the bridge had this disconnected incline where the driver almost had to jump the truck up a ramp and then wiggle the rest of the truck behind us across.

I had one or more of the boys with me, so when we reached this small town nearby to the actual campground, we stopped at this tourist shop where we had been told that they were doing customized t-shirts for everyone who attended.

…themed around The Simpsons???

Anyways, we stood in line with quite a few other kids who were also late, but when we finally got up to the front, the clerk just shrugged us away and said that they’d run out. This really bothered me because they knew in advance how many shirts to order and the mistake was clearly on their part, but he didn’t want to admit it. The best he offered was that we could come back in a week and he’d have some more, which was ridiculous because I explained that nobody was going to drive two hours out into the middle of nowhere to get a stupid t-shirt…

When we finally arrived at the campground, we ran into my Dad who told us about everything that the kids had been doing.

I mentioned that two friends of mine were there, and they’d been posting on social media that they’d been having a blast … and also noted that they both happened to be in the middle of transitioning – one from female to male, and the other the opposite.

His response bothered me, as he just chuckled, “I’d like to see the looks on the other boys’ faces when they find out…”

To which I quickly interjected, “…because you’d step in and remind them that they’re all Boy Scouts, right???”

When he didn’t respond, I just added, “That’s ok – that’s why I’m here now…” looking down at the Assistant Scoutmaster badge that I wore on my arm.

The rest of the trip was surprisingly uneventful. I met some of the staff members who were from Canada, and we talked politics and I asked in particular what they thought of our current events, and if they could help us out!

This made them laugh, and we all shared stories of earning our highest rank as youth and what it meant to be leading a new group of boys now.

At one point another leader from our troop showed up with even more late boys in tow, and it was surprising how true to character he was … always strict, yet he’d go well beyond the extra mile for any scout in need, even if it meant driving him two hours into the middle of nowhere on a Saturday night so that he could catch the last few hours of a group outing.

Dream Journal : Vicodin Dreams, Pt. 2

July 25, 2018 1:44pm
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This week I’ve been relying heavily on Vicodin to help me sleep while trying to pass a kidney stone, which has resulted in some particularly lucid, albeit still pretty weird dreams…

Tonight’s dream sequence focused a lot around moving to Florida in various stages, beginning back in my hometown where I found myself getting ready to rent a uHaul truck to make the big journey down south.

The uHaul dealer that I visited also featured a number of areas aimed at cleaning your old place, so while I was there I decided to run a load of laundry – presumably of random items that I would need on my trip. I also wasn’t exactly sure which size of truck that I needed and was torn between renting one and somehow trying to “borrow” a van from the warehouse where I worked, so I ended up leaving the dealership to ponder this while my laundry continued to run.

* * * * * * * * * *

I ended up acquiring a van from work and was driving it around town when I ran across a couple of people who I follow for doing videos and podcasts about Disney World. I parked my van and rode around with them for a while, talking about Disney trivia until they finally had to get going back to California and me on my way to Florida.

It was pretty early in the morning, so I decided that I wanted donuts before I headed out.

Driving back through town, I was reminded all the more of why I wanted to leave because the city had since been built out in a very bizarre and somewhat confrontational way. With all of the houses at the interior, followed by small businesses, then industrious ones, followed by Walmart and almost a wall of sorts at the city’s edge, it felt very clear that my hometown wasn’t welcoming to new visitors at all. They had even built this elaborate water play area designed like a castle, which would’ve normally been very cool, but for some reason it was blocked at the street level by all sorts of other businesses so you could barely see it, which just seemed very dumb.

Anyways, I pulled up to sort of a makeshift Dunkin Donuts that was setup as a stand outside, but before I was able to order, one of my old scout leaders from my childhood approached me and said hello … which was very disturbing because he’d been dead for many years!

We talked for several minutes in which he attempted to explain what had happened and calm me down, until finally I was pulled aside by one of the Dunkin workers who had gotten a soda for me in a nice, big travel mug.

At least, I thought this was a nice gesture until she tried to ring me up for $14.99 for the mug and soda. And for some reason they didn’t have any donuts, only breakfast sandwiches. We hung around for a sandwich anyways, but ended up leaving about 10 minutes later when they still hadn’t managed to finish making our order…

* * * * * * * * * *

Fast forward to being on the road – I was traveling with Sara and we had just pulled up to my cousins’ house in Ohio to surprise them. We only stayed for a few minutes because it was Christmas morning and they had other guests – also friends that I knew – and all of their kids were getting ready to unwrap their presents underneath the biggest collection of decorated Christmas trees indoors that I had ever seen.

During our stay, there was some talk about our plans once we got to Florida. Somehow we’d left rather sporadically, so much was up in the air regarding places we’d lived and whether our belongings were still there to go back to. It wasn’t clear how long we’d been gone, but it seemed that we left without dealing with our house or the apartment we used to rent, so we both wondered if they were still available or the banks and landlords had put them back on the market again.

Walking back outside, a fresh layer of snow had fallen on the ground and covered the black sports car we had been driving … which was particularly low to the ground and very claustrophobic.

The status of our relationship together was unclear, as I suggested just driving on to Florida instead of turning around and heading home, to which Sara mentioned that her kid might not be too fond of that.

* * * * * * * * * *

I made it to Florida – by myself – and had settled in to my first day on a new job that seemed rather nice and flexible.

I still wasn’t sure where I was staying that night, but at lunchtime I ventured out to find something to eat and ended up at a HoneyBaked Ham store only a few blocks from my new office. Looking forward to a sandwich that I’d grown accustomed to getting elsewhere, I quickly found that their menu was completely different and I ended up trying a thai salad instead.

A particularly intriguing part of ordering was when the cashier asked if I had a Disney MagicBand with me because instead of using their loyalty cards, a lot of customers just got their points added right to the band so that they could spend them over at Disney World instead, which seemed very cool to me!

I sat eating my salad and thinking about how I was going to blog about my first day in my new city until eventually I had to get up to use the restroom. When I returned, I strangely found that my salad bowl had been emptied, but left on the table, and when I asked the guy at the next table what had happened, he told me to talk to the girl behind the counter who admitted that the manager had told her to clean my table.

I got mad because I wasn’t finished eating, so I demanded to speak to the manager who was very rude and explained that I’d been there too long and other customers needed my table, so it was time for me to go. I asked for a refund, which I was quickly given, but was more disturbed by how unconcerned they were about upsetting a new customer. The guy I had been sitting next to had been told he had to finish up and leave, too, but because he stayed at his table and hadn’t gone to the restroom, they otherwise just left him be.

I left vowing to write a letter to their district manager, however what happened next somewhat distracted me from that mission…

* * * * * * * * * *

After parking my car, on my walk back into the office I managed to get my pants unsalvageably dirty. Despite having all of my belongings there in my car, I didn’t have a second pair of pants, so I ran over to a nearby clothing store to see about finding a replacement.

They didn’t have much to offer, as they sold mostly women’s clothes, but as I left I found the saleswomen pushing dresses and jewelry on me nonetheless. As I tried to walk out the door, I suddenly found myself being dressed in their clothes just the same, with the clothes having some sort of witchcraft in their labels that proceeded to sew themselves into my skin so that they couldn’t be removed … a shiny, blue dress, some dangly jewelry, and even a long, brown wig.

I was speechless as I walked back into the office, yet my female boss gave me a look over with a raised eyebrow, then just shrugged and pointed me to my desk, as they were getting ready to begin a presentation. Looking around the room, a couple of other men had also fallen victim to the same clothing shop across the street, and nobody said a word about it.

* * * * * * * * * *

After work I ended up going home with the same guy from the salad place, whose wife said it was ok for me to crash with them for a few days until I figured out my bearings. They had some pinball machines in their basement which were a fun release after kind of a weird day, although eventually I just went to bed after I realized that my playing was keeping them awake upstairs.

Dream Journal : Vicodin Dreams, Pt. 1

July 24, 2018 9:44am
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This week I’ve been relying heavily on Vicodin to help me sleep while trying to pass a kidney stone, which has resulted in some particularly lucid, albeit still pretty weird dreams…

I was a member of Aerosmith!!!

…sort of…

I was visiting a group of friends at college and trying to find someplace where I could take a shower. They had these big, community locker rooms / showers, so I waited until everyone had left, borrowed someone else’s towel and shampoo that were left there, and did what I needed to do.

Later on that night when we were front and center for a show, somebody with the band pulled me aside and told me that I could be a big help to them, on account of how much I resembled lead guitarist Joe Perry with my long hair and all.

I stood out on the stage for a few minutes with one of Joe’s guitars while they adjusted lighting and whatnot, and when they were done the same guy asked if I wanted to work with them full time!

It felt like I’d been picked to be a part of the band, and for the next six months I toured with the group and stood in for Mr. Perry whenever he was too busy to be bothered with setting up shots and whatnot himself. It was amazing and I felt like a rockstar … even though I never actually played a note myself, despite standing in the shadows of giants seemingly every single night.

Eventually, though, I realized that my dream wasn’t really to be Joe Perry, but to be a famous musician like Joe Perry, and so reluctantly I handed my mantle down to another fan who sort of looked like the star to instead focus on actually making music myself.

If it turned out that I still sort of looked like Joe Perry doing it, then that would just be a bonus.

Dream Journal : I Was Supposed to Die Today…

July 7, 2018 10:45am
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It wasn’t clear exactly how I knew, but somehow doctors had pinpointed that my heart was going to give up and I was going to die that day.

My mood, I suppose, could be best described as quiet and nervous.

I walked around mostly in a stupor, trying my best to interact with all of the people I saw on a daily basis who didn’t know, yet with this sunken feeling that any moment … any footstep or spoken word … could easily be my last.

I hadn’t told anyone because I didn’t want them to worry, and yet myself I was completely petrified at my fate. I wanted to tell the people that I loved, but how does a conversation like that even start?

As the day grew on and I grew wearier, I began to mention my results to a few people, who walked around announcing it more like an interesting factoid than something so personal.

“You know, Scott was supposed to die today, but he hasn’t yet.”

Though at first I just went about my day, eventually I slipped away and just quietly walked around, with each step almost feeling my heart rate increase and being deathly aware of not wanting to provoke it in any way.

Then I began to wonder how my life would change if it didn’t happen like it was supposed to.

I wanted to talk to my doctor for answers, and I wanted to talk to my wife.

At one point I ran into a guy who was like a knock off version of one of my old supervisors at work, which was kind of weird. He made a joke that wasn’t really funny, but was almost immediately forgotten.

I didn’t end up dying, and yet by the end of the dream it didn’t really feel like I was alive anymore, either.

Dream Journal : Hacker

April 18, 2018 9:56am
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I’ve had a couple of this sort of dream lately – not sure why, but for a guy who lives on computers they’re almost more scary than things that creep in the night!

Somebody had hacked my computer.

They knew exactly the moment that I logged in because they messaged me vague threats about being watched every single time. It made it hard to troubleshoot, particularly once I started getting comments about my family … did they somehow have access to more than just my computer after all???

At one point I tried digging into the problem at work, enlisting the consulting advice of a few co-workers, but somehow the result was the same regardless of where I plugged the computer in. I briefly contemplated the steps to changing all of my passwords simultaneously in hopes of somehow locking the hacker out of my accounts, though ultimately I didn’t really even know what they had gotten access to aside from my Windows account itself.

Eventually I decided to wage a trap and turned the PC on back at home, with a handful of friends and family, along with a police officer, all there for support. The hacker wanted to chat with me – namely to intimidate me again, making comments about the safety of my sons, to the point where I realized that they must somehow be nearby. We all stood at our posts around house looking out into the yard like sentries around a castle wall until someone saw a figure moving in the distance.

It was then that I killed the power to the house and reassured the kids that everything was going to be ok while another person ran out and tackled the person lurking in the yard.

Who turned out to be a girl who I’d worked with a few years prior.

She made a lot of excuses about how she never meant to hurt anyone, and how looking around it was clear that “we lived in luxury” and probably had this sort of thing happen to us all of the time.

Somehow she even gained a little pity from several of the family, who gave her food and whatnot while we waited for the officer to arrest her.

Before that took place, however, I walked to the front door and noticed a strange car waiting outside. Realizing it was her getaway car, I sent someone over to take a look and the car suddenly bolted.

It turns out that her mother, of all people, had been her accomplice in our harassment.

When the officer finally asked what I wanted to do, I considered all of the trauma that we’d been put through and insisted on pressing charges for blackmail and stalking.

Dream Journal : Writing Fiction

March 28, 2018 7:56am
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I was sitting down to work on my next piece. And I wanted it to be BIG. So big, in fact, that I could already see the title card for the animated feature in my mind…

WILDFYRE

But what … was … Wildfyre???

Was it a place?

Was it a person?

No.

As I pictured the opening sequence, I saw something big come crashing over the horizon … with whitecaps breaking against its bow as the music of a thousand men men rhythmically chanting rang out.

Yes.

Wildfyre was a ship!

A massive ship – with a huge, stone mast and massive sails that carried a crew of crusaders back to their people in glorious victory. They were hunters, and they had just finished up a successful harvest that would keep their tribe hearty for another year. 

But there was a catch … as there always is.

Because these proud hunters scoured the land for exotic animals, and unbeknownst to them the animals that they took were the last of their kind.

They were about to find out the consequences of their pillaging in a very unsavory way.

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