Monthly Archives: January 2021

On Dreams and Dreaming

Dreams can be weird. We all know this, right? This isn’t news. Dreams jump from one place to another, people act strangely and out of character, and objects can be different and frustrating. The stories we experience in our dreams rarely hold together logically, at least in my experience.

I had a dream this morning. I woke up right before a guy in the dream punched me in the face. So much of it didn’t make sense, so of course I thought I’d document it here.

I was at Wrigley Field when I realized that my phone wasn’t working, because it wasn’t my phone! First I had to try to find MY phone. Did I lose it? Did I leave it at home? How would I find out, without a phone? So I “borrowed” a phone from the guys who were sitting behind me, called my office, where my mother-in-law answered, but of course it’s not my office, she’s at my house with my wife. My wife calls my phone and locates it by my son’s room. Why was I back there? Why was his room “back there?” (I have no idea.)

So now it’s “what to do” with the phone I have, which doesn’t work. It’s in the pocket of my sweat pants (I rarely wear sweat pants and certainly wouldn’t wear them to Wrigley Field). It starts buzzing but stops before I can answer it. Then the phone’s owner is somehow standing right in front of me. I give him his phone back, but he’s mad because I picked it up mistakenly from a counter where he set it down. “Where?” I ask. He won’t answer; instead, he demands money. Why? I gave him the phone back. If anything, I tell him, he should give me money for finding it and returning it. He doesn’t like that idea much, and before he attacks me, I wake up.

Strange things about the dream:

Our seats. They are tiered, but they face OUT of the stadium, and are quite obstructed-view – I can hardly see the game.

The number I give the guy to call. It was almost my second line at the office, and almost my fax number. It is off by one number from each.

Why was I at a baseball game? Before that, in the ‘foggier’ part of the dream, I was at work, referring a patient’s daughter so she could play soccer at high school. (???)

In the few minutes that this phone stuff all happened, the game progressed four innings. I looked around the pole to see the score and it was 10-0, Cubs losing. Three in the first, one in the second, two in the third, and three in the bottom of the fourth with the opponent still batting. And that was strange, too — the Cubs were the home team but they had batted first?

The guys behind me were wearing masks, but no one else was. They would not give me their phone to dial, but dialed it for me. (That’s how I remembered the number I gave them so exactly.) When he handed me the phone to talk, he’d wrapped it in some sort of cloth sleeve so it wouldn’t touch my face or hand while I was talking on it.

The phone I had wouldn’t do anything for me. I couldn’t even shut it off or power it down. It continued to play odd videos which seemed to switch often.

Some people dream of stories. I have had that experience twice. I dreamed once of a psychic (I think mostly it was someone else, but sometimes the guy was me or I was experiencing what he was as he went through it). This guy owed money to a loan shark or something, and needed to contact the ghost of an old bank robber to find out where he’d hidden the money he’d stolen. That dream ended up becoming a 5K short story. (It is in my collection DIE 6, and is called “Blood Ties.”)

The second time was for a short story called “Garage Sale.” That started life as part of a dream where we were hosting a garage sale disappeared from view and we were certain she’d somehow slipped past my wife and entered our house. (That story is in the current version of the three-short-story collection called THE STRIKER FILES.)

Is there a point to this post? Not really, beyond the creativity that the mind can show during our dream-filled sleep. It won’t usually lead to anything that is cohesive, but maybe, just maybe, it provides tidbits for our conscious creativity.

It’s A Wrap!

I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time. I wanted to do a sort of “best of 2020” post with the books, movies and music I finally read, saw and heard. But I didn’t keep a list of books, so I really don’t remember what I read. Or listened to. Or watched.

2020 was a bad year for new movies. I love me some blockbusters, you know? But COVID-19 pretty much killed the theater business last year, and it remains to be seen if it is able to come back or not. Instead we spent our money on Disney Plus, and we were already paying for Prime. My son gets Hulu with his college Spotify package, and Peacock and HBO Max came with our cable package. So we watched at home. Disney released two Pixar movies, ONWARD and SOUL, and both were available in 2020 from the streaming service. Both were good; SOUL was definitely the better of the two, but both entertained. They also released MULAN direct to streaming with something called “Premium Access.” Odd that they didn’t do that with SOUL. I would have paid extra to see it immediately (we watched it when it was released on Christmas Day) but I didn’t want to see MULAN so much that I’d pay a premium for it.

We also watched WONDER WOMAN 1984 on HBO Max on Christmas Day, and I’m glad I didn’t have to pay extra for that one either. It just wasn’t that good. I finally watched the series “The Boys” on Prime, and we went through the two seasons of Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy.” Both were kind of superhero-ish, but neither was a Marvel- or DC-like story. I’m hooked on both.

I don’t really remember a single book standing out in 2020. I read a lot, mostly on Kindle, but a handful in hardcover and paperback as well. I’ll have to pay better attention in 2021. I continued to read Ray Garton, John Everson, Jeff Strand, Duncan Ralston, Howard Odentz, Russell C. Connor, and Bryan Smith. Found a new author: Bella Dean Joyner. And I continued to read outside of the horror genre, especially Steven M. Moore’s latest works in both his Esther Brookstone series and his Penny Castro series. Many of those books were very good (Odentz’s book WHAT WE KILL jumps out in my memory) but there wasn’t that “one” book that said, “this is THE book of 2020.”

Music was interesting. My son has Spotify, and he introduced me to a bunch of cool bands that I would never have known about. I won’t remember all the names here, but the ones that stand out for me are Lawrence, a R&B combo from NYC, and Jukebox The Ghost, a power pop band. I also liked The Happy Fits and a few others. Of course, old standby Paul McCartney released his album MC CARTNEY III at the end of the year. Mixed bag on it. I recognize the songwriting skill and the musical skill, but there are only a few songs (so far) that make me want to listen to them multiple times.

One more thing I want to mention on my year-end wrap. I started watching some YouTube channels. This was new to me. I thought it was all gamers streaming Minecraft or whatever they’re playing at the moment. But there is some great programming. They make you laugh and sometimes teach you something. One film guy I’ve enjoyed is Patrick (H) Willems. He’s a nerdy fan of the big blockbusters like Marvel and such, but he knows filmmaking and his video essays have given me new ways to look at films and movies I enjoyed. Another is Mr. Beast, who makes videos about giving away tons of money. He’s philanthropic at times and entertaining at others. Often the two (philanthropy and entertainment) intersect. The last one I want to mention is Mark Rober, an ex-NASA engineer who does interesting and educational videos about all sorts of science-type stuff. Rober was part of the team that landed Curiosity on Mars, and some of his engineering creations for his videos are quite ingenious (and funny). But others were inspirational. I really like watching him.

So that’s it for 2020. As they say in the movies, “That’s A Wrap!”