Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

Remote Avatar

I’m meeting with a guy from Google. He enters the board room and starts to talk to me about the long flight he just took from San Francisco. There’s something strange in his voice and I don’t quite believe that he just got off a plane.
He quizzes me with a few programming challenges but they are all elementary and I suspect he’s toying with me.
“Well, give me the answers to your questions in a week and I’ll start the evaluation. Then you can take part in whatever project you want or start making whatever project you can imagine.” He says.
“I’ve got some great ideas for Google Calendar,” I exclaim. I’m an eager little puppy. “It should be able to log your life, like sleep and work hours and generate a report for you of what you spend your time doing.” I give him an eyebrow raise, hoping he’ll agree vehemently that I should start modifying the calendar code right now. Instead, he begins to cough.
And cough. And he stands, walking toward the door, coughing more violently.
“I need to call in an engineer!” He says, hurriedly. “I’m sorry for this.”
He heads out the door and around the corner. I follow him and point him the way to the Men’s room. As he rounds the circuitous pathway of the building in search of respite, he continues his expulsion of airy fluids. Even through the walls and back in the conference room, I can hear him. It sounds viscous and hoarse, as if he’s on the verge of exploding his insides out onto the floor. I worry that I didn’t respond quickly enough to his needs. Perhaps he would hold that against me. Perhaps he would not be OK.
Minutes later, he returns with an engineer from Adobe Labs. The engineer is talking to him in a language I don’t understand and looks up at me with disapproving eyes.
“You can stay, but this is confidential.”
“Um, ok, sure…” I’m not really sure to what ‘this’ is alluding.
“Ok, let’s take of the helm…” The engineer says, pulling at the Google man’s chest.
The chest comes off, clean and with a few delicate clicks.
“A robot! AI? But then… He passed the Turing test! I didn’t have a clue!” I’m in shock and I’m mumbling and stuttering.
The Adobe engineer holds up his hands to me. “Don’t freak out, he’s a robot but it’s not AI.”
“I’m actually still in San Fransisco.” Smiles the Google man. “This is a prototype, I thought I give a try. It’s called a Mobile Avatar. I have three of them in different cities around the world. Makes arriving to meetings a bit more bearable–saves fuel, and I get to stay at home :)” He actually draws a smiley face in the air, two dots followed by a swoosh. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a gesticon. It’s the new trend with kids these days. Evidently, Google man wants to be hip.
I marvel at the smoothness of movement and the realism of the robot.
The engineer tinkers with the inside of the Avatar’s chest as he explains, “We realized it wasn’t worth making the AI to go along with our bots, but we could market them as vessels for people to be halfway around the world without actually going anywhere. Our clients, stay at home, step into a suit that picks up on every movement and transfers those signals to this machine.”

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Wild Life

I am trying to be quiet, hiding between some thin trees in the forest. There is a lion somewhere around here and I have evaded him with great care. Just when I start to get comfortable, this giant Turkey-Dog™ growls at me from only a few meters away. I stopped eating mammals years ago. The genetic similarities with humans are too great and it feels too much like cannibalism. Something about meat growing hair and having live birth just doesn’t taste right to me anyway. I’ve wrestled with the notion that these lab grown Turkey-Dog™ types are not really mammals. Even though they have a head of a dog, they still lay eggs and are covered (even on the head) in feathers.

While I’m pondering if my hunger is great enough to attempt to eat this thing–assuming I can stop it from eating me, the beast starts to dig in the ground with it’s thin, sharp talons. Everything in this forest is ravenous. I can hear the sweet little birds in the trees, muttering to each other and placing bets. They would be frothing with hunger if they could.

Time is up. The Turkey-Dog™ runs at me and I have no choice but to scamper backwards through the loud autumn leaves. They crunch under my feet and I am certain the lion will hear us. Maybe I can outrun my pursuer and leave him to the lion.
I turn, facing the direction of my departure and notice a shallow but frantic stream. Wading into it, the water attempts to topple me over. I’m too big to succumb to the furious but diminutive rapids but the Turkey-Dog™ is not. He follows me in and is quickly and unwittingly pulled in by the stream. He isn’t drowning but he can’t fight away the water, which is carrying him swiftly away from me. I trudge after him. That’s my meal. It’s been decided. That beast is mine.

Now we are at the bottom of the river, which ends abruptly next to a large granite rock. There are sharp granite stones all around my feet and I grab one the size of a grapefruit, with the intent to lob it at my meal’s head. The Turkey-Dog™ inches out of the water, tired and beaten by the force of gravity. He curls up next to my feet and whimpers. I heave the rock firmly, aiming straight for the head. It misses. It misses by almost a meter. The thing is right next to me and my arms are weak and useless. That’s how hungry I am. I pick up the rock and try again several times. Each time, the rock flies over the beast’s head by such a distance as to make me seem incompetent. Meanwhile, the animal just lays there, looking at me, as if I’ve saved it’s life.

Before I’m ready to give up eating this thing, I realize that I’m not alone. A woman is here at the bottom of the river and she’s laughing at my attempts to kill the creature at my feet.
“What are you doing?” She snickers.
“I’m trying to eat this thing.”
“If you are that hungry, we have food.” She says, sincerely.
The Turkey-Dog looks up at me with wide obedient eyes. It seems I have a new friend.

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Girl in a Dream Sings:

You had plenty money in the dot com boom
You let all the startups make a fool of you
Why don’t you do right?
Go write a version 2.
Sitting there writing all those lines of code
If the Perl unfurls we’re going to
Why don’t you do right?
Invest in Google too.

Get out of here and
make it for iPhones too.

I fell for your JavaScript and PHP
Now all that you’ve written is obscurity
Why don’t you do right?
Write me a version 3.
Why don’t you get out of here and
subversion check-in please?

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Drugstore Warfare

It’s early in the morning, or late at night. You can’t tell if the sun is rising or setting from inside the drugstore. I’m way in back holding up a rectangular, silver box with a circular button on it’s side. It’s supposed to look like an external hard drive but I know it’s a weapon. It takes some time before I figure out that it’s just folded up and compressed in a few places. Some of the parts need to be twisted and turned like a Rubik’s Cube.
I’m standing there with my head down, fumbling with the gadget when I hear, rather than see, the buffer overflow. They’ve come in through the front entrance and already taken a few hostages. Looking up, I see the leader with a long black coat and sunglasses. Cute…[insert sardonic emoticon here]. The flyboys with him are Turkish squatters, leaking out into the aisles like waves of animated baggy corduroy. They move quickly but the aisles are long.
I see another like me, with a weapon like mine. He smoothly launches it in the air where the box unfolds against the air resistance, mechanically recompiling itself into a firearm. As he begins his assault, I give mine the same treatment. It doesn’t work for me the first time because I don’t throw it high enough. I have to launch it into the air a couple of times before it completely unfolds. On the final spin and catch I pull it close to my face, careful to aim at the leader. Through the circular lens in the front I can see him closely. My left hand steadies my right arm but he’s too far away. I can’t get a dead lock but I fire anyway for practice. It’s the first time I’ve used one of these contraptions. It misses, spraying a payload of half a dozen holes in the wall, several meters from my target.
The activity alerts the pack of my location and I tally ho, back and forth, unsure where to maneuver. The flyboy rats are descending quickly and I decide to make a stand. The weapon aimed, I fire right at the adrenaline infused miscreant mass. The gun does nothing. Not even a click, click, click as I frantically and insanely try again and again to riddle with holes the scurrying forces of ill intent.

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“Hey man, if you get this mod, it adds a 1/4-inch jack to your computer so you can record the instrument with no prob. It also has this 1/8th-inch jack that receives bootleg radio–all the music shows going on right now in the world, man, all there for you to record with a simple turn of the dial. It’ll tear up your available storage, man, you’ll run out in no time. You’re music collection is dust compared to what you will capture with this baby!” The music shop boy laughs in a semi-maniacal technolust.
“Well,” I waver, “I don’t really need to add anything else to my music collection–that’ll just suck up my time. I’ve already got so much I haven’t listened to.”
“Get the instrument, man. For a hundred bucks you can’t pass it up. You’ll never find another like it. Say it with me man, Electric-Guitar. Nobody has seen one of these things in forever man! It’s claa-ssic, man! It’s got strings and all.”
He tempts me with the antique but I’m here looking for some new tech–something I have never seen. But this guy hasn’t got anything like that. I was syncing musical DNA before this little terminal stain was suckling his first drop of Infojuice™.
I walk out into the bright Thai sunlight and met up with my friends. “Let’s swim through this mess,” I say in the cool vernacular of my day. My friends agree, but we need a map. We’ve never been to this part but Lena knows a bookshop in the area where we can get a secret map.
“It’s hidden in the cover of The Beach. I put it there last summer. Nobody will find it.” She assures.
“What if someone bought the book?” I query.
“Don’t worry, I had some cheap labor make copies in all the versions of the book–but even if someone finds it, they won’t understand it :)” She points at the air making two dots and a swish. She doesn’t need to smile anymore, her hands can do it for her. It’s the new rave that all the kids are doing, gestures for emotions. They say it let’s you stay young by never needing to wrinkle your face. Emote with your hands and never need ironing.
When we get to the bookshop, there’s only one copy of The Beach left. I fish under the cover of the book and find it. “Is this it?” The map doesn’t look all that special. It’s like a theme park map, something you would pick up at Space World with all the attractions in big cartoon pictures.
“That’s it. Let’s run.”
We literally get lost so we can test out the map.
“OK, 3rd and Franklin, look it up.”
“There is no 3rd on this map, it’s 10 years old. We’re standing on a dirt road. This was obviously built recently.”
“Let’s walk up a block then.” She suggests. We get up another block and end up in a stream, swimming with guppies and huge schools of little round fish. I snap photos while the tide carries us downstream.
“Hey, check out the walls around the river, they look like gargoyles.” I point and click. Around the mountains, half way in the water are midget sized gargoyles with octopus tentacle hair and huge alien eyes. Their bodies are fish like but they have little arms, no bigger than the tentacles on their heads. As I photograph and float on by, they start to lift their heads and watch us. One heads over and I realize it has a humongous head. “Does it speak telepathically,” I ask, to nobody in particular.
“How did you know.” My friend answers.
“Just a lucky guess, it doesn’t have a mouth but obviously they have bigger brains than we do.”
The creature swims around me. It’s not threatening, just curious and eventually we exit it’s domain. The water carries us far.

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Thor in a Hurricane

I spent the night looking for my cat. At one point, after I fell asleep, I found him hanging out on the street, cleaning himself, with a blue collar and a new name tag. He had been catnapped by a neighbor and given away as a gift. We found the people who took him through some clues left behind at the scene. We took it home and pieced together who they were and why they did it.
Half-way through the night, I woke up disappointed, realizing it didn’t really happen.
Later, I dreamed that I found him across the street, in a dark cave-like crevasse. I could see his green eyes light up inside it and when I meowed at him, he came running out. I woke again, several times, disappointed that the place I found him in my dream doesn’t really exist. I dreamed and awoke not realizing that I was still asleep in each waking. After dream frustration, I got up and ran out to find the area that I had dreamed about. It was just across the street from the house. I found the small cave underneath a pond and surely he was there. I woke up Lena with him in my arms and she was amazed to see him. She wanted to know where I found him so we went out to the spot, Thor still held tight.
As Lena was examining the area, the wind started blowing extremely hard.
“Is this where you found him?” Lena shouted over the wind.
“Come over here, we need to head back.” I screamed.
We were only a couple blocks away from the house and I hit the crosswalk button with my foot, clutching Thor with my hands.
“The wind is picking up, we need to get out of this hurricane! I don’t want to lose him again!” This last part felt strange, like a sappy movie quote.
The cars and trucks driving past us started to drive much faster. A massive truck went by, floating several feet off the ground. A Metro bus passed us with only one wheel remaining, floating in the middle of the undercarriage. It had lost all the others from skidding over the sidewalks at magnificent speeds and smashing it’s parts into the sides of the concrete. Pieces of vehicles started to glide by us and drift off the cars and trucks as they came by.
I pushed against the wind, holding myself on the ground with the weight of my guilt for losing Thor.
A car went by sideways, parts flying and riping off it. Lena exclaimed, “yes, you are dangerous,” to the driver, as if he was spinning out for fun–and he may have been.
Time slowed and we used it to our advantage, navigating between parts of the flying wreckage, like a giant 3D Frogger but instead of cars and logs, it was massive pieces of automotive shrapnel.
We eventually made it inside the house but then I realized I must still be asleep. Thor was home and the world outside was in windy chaos. The streets were coming up off the road and telephone polls where I had stuck the “Missing Cat” posters were being eaten by the Nothing.
I woke up for the last time, “I’m working from home today–so I can look for Thor…” I told Lena.
We’ll find him.

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Head Tree

I’m on an unknown island with a bunch of tourists. The trees are strange, like a cross between Palms and Redwoods. Sometimes they look upside down, fruit on the bottom and roots in the high sky.

I have come to this place for treatment. I have a tree growing in my scull. It was planted there to aid in the destruction of a parasite that would have killed me. But now, I worry that the tree might do the same.

“What kind of tree is it?” asks a fellow traveler.
“You see those Redwoods? kind of like that, only thin. Really tall, but not wide enough to break my scull. Someday it will be up to 10 times my height and I don’t think I will be able to stand up any longer to carry it.” As moments transition, sometimes the tree is already partially grown out of my head and I feel it’s weight.
“Where are we anyway,” he continues.
“Isn’t this the redwood forest? That’s where they film all the movies with redwood trees. See there… wait the trees are changing. None of these are Redwoods… they look odd, like no tree I know…” I continue in baffled amazement, staring at the changing landscape. A well dressed man walks over to our group and begins to explain.
“Welcome,” he begins with a smile. “You all have many questions, I am sure, and you have all come from different places. You will find that barely anyone here speaks the same language and most find it best to speak in raw tones rather than familiar words. You will find that over time, you will understand perfectly everyone’s thoughts and intentions. Merely listen and what you have come for will be granted.”
My hopes do not increase but the landscape and buildings remain impressive. Most of the man-made structures appear Greek. Pillars and open public swimming pools with people falling into them fully clothed.

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I’m in London, infiltrating a Scientology community. They’ve taken over the city, claiming all of London’s precious history as their own. I ride the free Scientology train across the city, pretending to be one of them.
A big English man stops me as I exit the tubes.
“Where you headed boy?”
“Oh, I’m just seeing the sites, taking it in… you know. Hey, how do we prevent people from using this free tube service if they aren’t involved?”
“We don’t have to worry about that. Nobody has yet taken advantage of our system without soon entering the ranks.”
“Oh,” I raise my eyebrows, “good then, I’ll just be on my way.”
I have a feeling he’s on to me so I take off running up a broken marble staircase. The whole city is in ruins. Every attraction looks like the Colosseum, broken and disheveled.
“What happened here,” I ask myself. A passerby stops, looks right into my eyes and speaks in a slow drone.
“We are building the new mecca. It’ll be like Disneyland, only better. We just had to tear down some old things that were in our way. We might use some of the parts for the rides.”

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Cthulhu Tentacle Mesh

In the shallow ocean, I’m lifting mussels and sea-snails from the bed. Multicolored, shiny, they swim away, extending thin pneumatocyst filled anemone strands, like little Cthulu tentacles reaching for freedom. They roll in and out of the shells, extending with great length and gracefulness, gliding around the water.
“Look at that.” I point to a bright orange one I just picked up.
“When do we get to dive into the water?” Says a member of the group. I’m teaching a diving course and for some reason everyone thinks I mean Olympic diving rather than scuba diving. I give in and drag a tall diving platform out into the water and everyone climbs up to the top. It’s just floating on the water, somehow buoyant, unanchored. I check the water level and note that we are still too shallow to have someone dive off the platform. They would certainly see some great shellfish but too quickly and with an abrupt end.
I push the platform further out into the ocean and then realize that we aren’t tied to anything on shore. We could float away with the tide. There is no tide. That is the strange part about this ocean. Perfectly calm, it has no waves, like a vast and open salt-water swimming pool. I tie the platform up to something on the shore, but only a little bit. The divers are so eager, I don’t have time to do it properly.

In a restaurant above the water, it’s valentine’s day and a couple celebrates. Their food is terrible and their service is worse. I am waiting tables there.
We are playing a board game and I put all the pieces in the wrong place. “It’s a game like Roborally but with bots”. Nobody is very excited because they don’t like Roborally.

At my grandmother’s house, a band wakes up early to jam. They are playing Beatles songs with a punk overtone and I wish I brought my accordion because I could certainly jam with them. They record on Protools and sing like demons. I worry that they will wake my grandparents but then I figure they have already left for the day.

I’m killing time in a book store. The shop keeper has several old and valuable books for quite reasonable prices but I cannot get them because I am moving. I’ll get them later, I promise myself. The back half of the book store is a comic shop. I step in to kill a few minutes but it’s closed. As I open the door a short punk girl comes over and asks if she can help me.
“I was just seeing if the comic store is open.”
“Oh, no it’s closed today, didn’t you know?”
“Oh, right, it’s Sunday,” I mumble, “or, no, it’s Monday but it’s a holiday, right…”
As I’m leaving a guy is pointing to some comics on a shelf in the bookstore. It’s Elfquest and he says he has digital copies of the series on his iPhone, but he says it in a French accent so I expect his comics were in French too.

Taking the bus home, I get off later than usual. I want to head further north. I take my shirt off in the summer heat and I grab up at a Thai style tree branch. There are countless birds in the trees and they swarm away from me from tree to tree.
Soon, I realize that they are not running away but leading me. They fly closer to my head and I reach out. They land on my shoulder, my hands. They try to teach me the best way to approach them but I’m slower than they are. Suddenly, I’m looking down at someone else. He’s acting very slow, some might say moronic. He doesn’t get the birds perspective–the birds-eye-view. They try to communicate but he doesn’t understand. They show him a calendar they made and he reads it wrong, looking at the French instead of the English side. He doesn’t know any french and thinks they must have invented a new language. He reads it horribly aloud. He becomes their protectorate knight. He recruits a half dozen followers, some of which think he is insane. He stays with the birds until the great bird Armageddon, wearing a knight suit and carrying a great sword.

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Umbrella Ride on a Cranberry River

I’m floating down a murky marsh on an umbrella. Cranberries float on each side, amidst the brown stink of it. There are trees, strange trees with raspberry things, clean, green and red, just at arms reach. I pick them into the umbrella, safe from the water around us.

A dam breaks and the water rushes quickly out from beneath, chasing gravity down a hill. The wind catches the umbrella and sweeps it out from under me. I grab on, spilling raspberries as it carries me into the air. We are moving fast, the umbrella and I, keeping pace with the flowing river, which is now turning clear as it rolls across fresh grass.
Farmers are picking fruit on each side of the river and I realize that the water is following an intentionally mowed path between them. This water was intended to feed their patches and now that it is the right time of year, it has been unleashed.

After about a mile or so, the water runs out, the river draining into the ground. I stay for a while in the summer sunshine, playing with the umbrella. I jump into the air, extremely high, only to float down slowly until the wind resistence finally snaps the umbrella inside out and I come rushing down. In my descent I thrust the umbrella out at the ground and it turns back into a floating boat, tick-tocking me to a safe landing. Farmers children laugh and wonder at my mastery of the umbrella so I show them some more tricks. Pealing back the wireframe so that it looks like an exploded tortoise shell, I rotate it quickly and throw the umbrella into the air. It twirls and on it’s way down, it rotates upside down, snaps back into it’s normal shape and rolls once more to land in my hand.

It seems I play like this until the sun goes down and everyone leaves. Then it’s just me and my umbrella, floating down the valley with the random wind.

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