I head, with a sense of dread, to my four hour-long ecology discussion/lab. Strangely, Tiff and her boyfriend are there when I arrive. I ask them why they've come, and Tiff replies, "We wouldn't want to miss this." I am confused.

The reasons for their interest in my normally mundane class soon become clear. My TA, Sarah, is leading our lab in some sort of a s
éance. Surveying us with a black lace shawl wrapped around her head, she nods silently. Then Sarah dims the lights. Someone giggles, and she stares at them reprovingly. One girl has brought a snack of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies for the lab, which Sarah intercepts, reappropriating the cookies as holders for tapered white candles. These are placed with care around the room. Under Sarah's direction, we arrange our chairs in a large circle and drape black fabric over our laps. It seems as if the entire class is taken aback at how seriously Sarah's approaching this séance. We stifle our snickers and roll our eyes as she directs us to hold hands and, throwing her head back, begins to chant.


I am at a studio, where Scott is participating in some sort of Bravo reality show. Everyone is preparing for shooting of the inaugural episode of a singing competition, a la American Idol. Scott is really irritated at this point, as he didn't really understand what he was getting himself into. I think this whole situation is hilarious. They assign contestants songs, which pisses Scott off even more (No, you cannot sing "Holy Diver" as a joke.). He gets "Night Fever," and when wardrobe comes in with spangly bellbottoms and an afro wig, I know that it's time to leave. If this running joke of a participation in reality television goes any farther, Scott might be charged with assault.


I am on the lam. I can only vaguely recall the crime that I committed, but I do remember that it involved three separate tasks which I think were derived from a dungeon in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which I played before bed last night. Initially, Sarah is also on the run with me. As we know that a huge police force is after us, we leave my apartment (which is a snazzier version of my current place) as soon as possible. In an attempt to do the unexpected, we don't leave the building, but enter the apartment across the hallway from mine to hide. Luckily, the apartment is host to a handful of really stoned hippies and a few similarly stoned kittens, who couldn't care less about our intrusion. In fact, they're kind enough to lend us a change of clothes and help Sarah and I cut and dye our hair. I feel badly doing it, but I take a wad of cash off of a hippie's dresser. If we continue to run from the police, we won't be able to use plastic. After the theft, the kittens seem to be on to me, as they're biting and scratching me incessantly.

Over time, Sarah's no longer on the run with me, though I've no explanation for her departure. I go through a number of chase scenes somewhat similar to the Bourne Ultimatum foot chase through the city. Tightly followed by police, I'm entering apartments and houses in an attempt to lose my tail. These chases are taking place in a city similar to Madison; most of the housing I'm invading is leased to students, and later in the dream, I am being chased through buildings on a college campus. I hot-wire a few vehicles, and at one point, I almost get away with purchasing a ticket and boarding a plane with a false identity. I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of people willing to help me on the sly. Using public phones and code-speak, I am able to arrange several meetings with family and friends. One of these meetings takes place at a delicious Japanese restaurant, where I have a spread of sushi I've never before encountered. I am wary of land lines and surveillance systems.

Eventually, I illegally cross the border into Canada, adopt an alias, and emigrate to France. I run into Evan in Paris, and we talk about our blogs. I compliment him on his excellent writing. He says he hopes to continue reading about my dreams. The dream ends as I'm walking away from Evan down a beautiful Parisian street.


A friend of mine who's about to graduate but has no real career direction tells me that she's going to Thailand for a year. I'm happy for her, but I'm curious to hear what she'll be doing while in southeast Asia. "Plumbing!" she exclaims excitedly. Now I'm confused. I ask her why the hell she's going to be a plumber, as she's got no experience nor interest in the field; she replies that it was the only viable job she could find. That's a ludicrous claim, so I don't believe her. Our back-and-forth banter on the subject turns into an argument, and I'm accusing her of wasting her twenties dicking around when she should be focusing on career development. I let her know that someday her parents, richer than most, won't pay for her preferred lifestyle based on travel. She leaves in a flurry of anger. I sulk, determined that I'll ultimately be this argument's winner.


I've still been able to recall some of my dreams, but midterms and laziness have kept me from writing them down. Here are some from the last few days.

1. (last night) I'm riding my bike around the city. It feels a lot like the freedom and lightness you feel when you're flying in a dream, and I can't get enough. However, I've got some homework to finish before the next day of school, so I have to get back home. I head to the bike rack across from my apartment and am about to struggle (as I always do) to lock the bike up correctly when a young boy running by grabs the "u" part of my u-lock and takes off down State Street. I am furious, and I follow my first instinct; I chase that brat down and get my lock back. He appears to be embarrassed and runs away from me. However, as I walk back to the bike rack, I see the kid jump into a truck parked in the nearby cul-de-sac. His father is throwing my bike in the truckbed. They speed off. When I call the cops with his license plate number, they thank me, telling me that this scam has been going on for months.

2. I am at work in an office building, where I am
apparently filling some sort of clerical position during the summer. My boss is a singularly creepy individual; it's almost like he's a vampire dressing up to play human. There are no fangs or anything else that would be a dead giveaway, but he's pale and reclusive, preferring to work in an almost totally dark office (which seems as if it would be less than conducive to completion of said work). Today, he asks me to clean out his aquarium, which is placed in a window so that the fish don't have to adopt his light-disavowing habits. The aquarium is almost as creepy as the boss. Big beakers have been placed in the tank, floating above the water level, and they're filled with strange food products. One beaker's full of marinara sauce, while another has a couple of raw eggs in the bottom. Obviously, all of this food is rotting in the sun, and while fish don't really express emotion in a detectable way, I'm pretty sure that they're less than happy with their environmental situation. I'm unsure if I should just clean the tank, or if I should also clean up these bizarre food beakers. In an effort to reduce overall office creepiness, I throw out the beakers and clean the aquarium. My boss compliments me on my cleaning skills, and I fear that I'll be valued more as a maid than as an intellectual equal. I hate working for this misogynistic vampire guy, dammit. (Weird dream, huh?)

3. I'm buying a small bag of pot from a local dealer. He tells me to weigh out the bag on my own, and when I go to use the scale, I am positive that it's rigged to display a heavier than actual value. I am shocked that my supplier is trying to scam me, so I confront him. As he makes a claim for his innocence, I hear sirens outside his apartment. I take my suspiciously nlight bag, throw some money down, and sprint for the back door. If what I think is about to go down does, I might as well get some weed out of the situation.


1. (10/6) I am finishing up a solo dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant. I hand my credit card and the bill to my waiter and lean back in my seat, relaxing after my delicious meal. He returns in a moment, informing me that my card does not function. When I look at the front of the card, I can see that the numbers are worn down and blurry to the point of being illegible. Furthermore, the magnetic strip on the back is all scratched up. I am horribly embarrassed, as I've no way to pay for my dinner at this point. I am lowered to the point of dine-and-dash, and as soon as the waiter walks away, I scurry out the back door in shame.

2. (last night) My ecology lab is about to begin. These labs are almost always field trip hikes through southern Wisconsin forests, and I need a better way to take notes than writing against a tree or my thigh. I am looking for a clipboard; because I know I don't have one of my own, I'm rifling through Tiff's room. I come across a fancy notebook covered in textured black leather and, out of curiosity, I open it. The contents of the notebook are upsetting. Tiff has kept a log of my misdeeds since we started rooming together. She's cataloged everything I've done incorrectly in the past year by date. I am so depressed after reading this log, and I resolve to be a better person and roommate. I carefully replace the notebook in its not-so-hidden hiding place and abruptly stop my clipboard search.
(Note: Tiff, not being a crazy person, would never create such a notebook. However, this dream was so wildly self-critical that I would like to be a better human being as a result.)


1. (Nap, 9/30) I realize that someone has taken out my garbage. While this is a pleasant surprise, it's very strange. Even weirder are the two new receptacles placed next to the normal garbage can. Suddenly, my parents are next to me, smiling and proud. They explain that one of the new cans is there because they thought my current recycling bin was far too diminutive. The second can is the cat litter equivalent of a diaper genie. One is supposed to throw cat refuse into the bin and seal it off in the depths of the bin with a twist. I am glad that they helped me, but very confused by the odd gifts.

2. (10/1) Michael Franti and Spearhead (whom I saw at the Orpheum last night) are playing a free outdoor show at the Terrace. It seems like most of the student body has turned out for the event, and people are getting rowdy -- there is a lot of the jumping that Franti always calls for. I've come to the concert to meet up with Scott, who had some sort of meeting in the late afternoon. There's no hope finding him in all of the chaos of the show, so after they play East to the West, I head back to the apartment. As it turns out, Scott never went to the Terrace; he played with Vito for a couple of hours instead.