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Dream of walking through a tunnel to sit at a table laden with books. French people were milling about. I saw grafitti about the war which troubled me greatly, but I turned my attention back to the books, which were cloth and canvas, like the kind of masekhthoth they were putting out in the 60's, but appeared much older, damaged. Inside were woodcuts of subtely wrong animals. The books were opened, set aside, opened, set aside.


Jul. 26th, 2013 05:45 pm
cremains: (Default)
Last night, I heard Hisda start to fuss, and so I picked him up from the crib (which is right beside me) and began to nurse him. Then suddenly I heard crying -- from the crib. I woke up and realised that my entire reaction had been a dream.

I dreamt that an ex-boyfriend, who in reality is extremely anti-religious, had a change of heart and called me to help him prepare festive meal for the tree holiday. I went over to help him cook and saw underdone eggs sitting in a pot. I turned on the burner. A few minutes later, the pot was foaming and spitting up scum. He came and shouted, "Now I lost all those eggs!" I said, "Calm down, I'll buy you a new carton." "It took my five hours to boil those eggs!" I said, "If it took you five hours, you were doing something very wrong anyway." He continued to be furious. As he shouted, I looked around his kitchen and saw it hadn't been kashered properly anyway, so I left.

Later in the dream I ran into a woman with no basis in reality, who told me that the Sanhedrin coerced confessions from people in order to put them to death. I told her that this was impossible, since confessions are never admissable evidence under Jewish law, even in the best circumstances (true). She thought this was interesting and took me to show me something in a second-hand bookstore. "It's in here," she said, opening a little iron door, which looked a little like a wood oven door. I woke up.


Today I wrote a mezuzah requested by someone who wanted to give it (along with an appropriate box) as a wedding present. In order to fit the box, I wrote it on smaller parchment than I am used to:

Now that I look at it, it isn't very small at all, but it felt like it at the time. I have to get used to writing well at smaller and smaller sizes if I am going to write good tefilin (which I very much would like to do). A big picture of the mezuzah scaled on Torah writing instead of my hand is here. Some disappointments include lack of neatness in a few lines and a crunched lamedh, but the writing is still better than many mezuzoth I have seen (unfortunately).


Jul. 5th, 2013 12:24 pm
cremains: (always rain)
I dreamt I was walking through a fairy fair. There was a wide, dusty yellow road, and on either side stretched little wooden booths as far as the eye could see, selling jewellery, perfumes, and all manner of foods. I saw people I knew buying food from the booths and warned them, "Don't eat fairy food! Don't buy from fairies at all!" but nobody paid me much attention. I thought it wouldn't be so bad if they bought a beautiful necklace and in the morning it turned out to be a little pile of rocks, but to eat fairy food meant you would get stuck in their kingdom forever.

Finally I came to a building that the kids and I used to walk past when I brought them home, which we called "hajungel" because it had a swimming pool inside and great big vents on the outside which blew very hot and humid air. In the dream I was walking to this "jungle" because class was about to start with my teacher, all about kashruth. At the door I suddenly realised I hadn't been wearing my arm tefilin, which was alarming. I found it in my satchel and pulled it out, but just then my teacher came walking by. "Hello, Yonah," he said to me. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of him by showing myself to be weird and extremist, so I put the tefilin back in my satchel. As I did so, I noticed it had a little tear in the strap. I wanted to ask about it, but we went inside (where it was Pardes) and class began.
cremains: (ד"ר פראנק נ פורטר)
I dreamt that the world was dying of drought. I lived with H. and the stepkids and we were in the final stages, all lying on the ground and waiting for the end. The government had a small amount of water available by lottery for children only, but the stepkids had lost the draw. I wasn't scared or upset, just drained.

In another dream, I improved a black and white oil painting I did by adding a layer of unrealistic colour. When I woke up I tried it - I don't have oils beyond lamp black and china white, so I used watercolour, which was better anyway because the tints are transparent and the resistance between media was something I could use. Is it great? No. But the dream was right that it is actually marginally better.

cremains: (drunken vulcan)
I had a dream I was struggling to cross a desert with a train of Christians. The thirst was overwhelming and people were beginning to drop. "We have no water; we're going to die," one of them said. "If we have no water, how have you been baptising your new members?" I retorted in a j'accuse moment. They protested that they found that water in cemeteries along the way and it was therefore not proper to drink. "Well, you have a choice: to be improper or to die," I said. They exchanged glances. At that point, Cleocatra the obese calico came and started gnawing at my foot until it was horribly bloody. I woke up to find her dozing peaceably by my side. I had no signs of injury (or desert adventure).
cremains: (always rain)
A dream about abusing H. horribly, a dream about being a Nazi counterintelligence agent, a dream about immersion in a miqwah in a rat-infested hotel room in Frankfurt, a dream about Yishmael, a dream about naming the kid.

Quick rooster I drew for the ruling member of the community "olders' home" - working at the daycare in Jerusalem taught me how to draw animals in five minutes or less that are just decent enough not to be insulting on a thank you card:

cremains: (drunken vulcan)
I had a nightmare that I was getting divorced thanks to an awful downspiral in my relationship. At the same time I had to take care of this giant rabbit coop filled with all sorts of small barnyard animals. My cat ran on to the freeway and got his head run over by a truck. With the divorce paper still in my hand I went to see if he was still alive but saw his brains splattered on the tar. I didn't even have time to retrieve his body since there was heavy traffic and a huge litter of kittens and piglets which needed to be scooped out of the way first.
cremains: (always rain)
There was a sect of Hasidim who handled snakes, like some Pentecostal people. They drove around Jerusalem in trucks loaded with snakes and handed out giant ones to passers-by. I wrote to one of my teachers about this in disbelief and he told me he used to be involved with them himself.

I was travelling lost through fallen San Fransisco (a city I know next to nothing about). It was at once crowded and empty, highly industrial and filthy, with garbage strewn everywhere. From time to time massive iron trams would glide by, as tall as skyscrapers and long as dragons, made completely of a dull, unpainted metal. There was actually only one floor for passengers, the height being comprised of an almost endless staircase from the entrance to the benches, again made only of metal. At first I got on one to go home to my tiny, messy apartment, but the dream changed, and I was homeless, wandering through the streets. As the sun went down, I calculated that I was going North, and worried about how I would know that once night fell. The North Star? I didn't think I could actually recognise it. I fell asleep in a micro-alley for trash between two huge stores. Although when I was awake I was alone, when I slept, H. and my grandfather would appear beside me and sleep also.

I dreamt I was teaching at my old yeshivah, a course in Ein Yaaqov. The first hour was to be spent on learning the stories, and the second hour was spent producing "real art" that would emblemise the tale. I was trying to convince the students to see with their inner eye. At the very end everyone would show the images they had made. This was supposed to make memorisation easier. This was in the version of my yeshivah which has appeared a few times in my dreams, where it is always night and the only light comes from the walls, which are made of aquariums.
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Circumstances compel me to note a few things about Les Miserables and what bothers me about it. Saltedpin and I had a conversation before where she pointed out that Jean Valjean and Javert are actually supposed to be morally complicated characters -- and they are, just not in the way I think Hugo intended.

Here is what annoys me about Jean Valjean. He gets out of prison and immediately recreates a similar environment for his workers (Saltedpin actually did I get this idea from you?). He pays them relatively well, but imposes overinvolved morality codes on their private lives, creating the workplace atmosphere that ends in Fantine getting fired for having a child out of wedlock. While he surely ends up very sorry for this tragic event, Fantine's situation inspires no reflection whatsoever on whether or not he should change things at the factory. What he gets from the situation is this: his moral standards are fine, but sometimes there are special people and they warrant special treatment.

Fantine dies and leaves Jean Valjean to take care of her daughter, Cosette. This time Jean Valjean creates the most prisonesque environment of all, controlling every aspect of her life. He enrolls her in a nunnery and limits her access to the outside world to supervised soup kitchen volunteering. He keeps her from her own past, as well as his. I don't know. The soup kitchen thing too seems so emblematic of his approach to social problems. He will feed people once they become poor, but these encounters with poverty don't leave him wondering about social change, even in the politically-charged atmosphere of a brewing revolution.

One scene really stands out to me, when Javert thinks that he has falsely denounced Valjean as a convict (in reality, he was correct). Javert asks for dismissal, and explains to Valjean that he expects upright behaviour from all police officers, himself no exception. Since he acted out of pettiness, he must be discharged. Valjean tells him he should go easy on himself, and this shocks Javert, who tries to explain that you just can't make an exception for someone because you personally have a good feeling for them: "if I were not severe towards myself, all the justice that I have done would become injustice." This is maybe my favourite line in the whole book, but it goes over Valjean's head -- he really does not see that selective pity (available only to those who catch the eye of power) makes those arrests which did go through arbitrary and unfair.

Dear God, I started this post full of self-righteousness and have no steam left to edit it to non-shitty, well-supported English, or to bring it to any sort of point. I have this whole other thing where Eponine and Javert are basically the same people who made the opposite decision at a critical moment in life...

Never mind, I'm tired and confused.

I also dreamt that I was chasing after my sister trying to tell her that cheetahs were going extinct, but she dismissed this as a "middle-class concern."
cremains: (Default)
I dreamt that I was in a squad of four devoted to fighting monsters. The squad included Buffy, Dawn, Xander, and Inspector Javert (me). We were in an ancient manor with tall, semi-solid iron gates, discussing our plans in low tones, when two haggard nuns came by and threw grenades of poison gas into the courtyard through a little square hole in the gate. We ran over to throw them back but were not completely successful and many people, including myself, were hurt.

Buffy was completely out of commission and so I had no idea what to do. However, a Thompson twin appeared by my side and said "You and I can solve this through good old-fashioned police work." We jumped into a black taxi and he ducked and wove through crazy traffic, following the decrepit yet surprisingly spry wagon the nuns were using. We tracked them back to their giant, expensive-looking abbey.

Some of the nuns were swarthed in raggedy black robes. Some of them were dressed as Twilek jesters, apparently also a legit habit. I quickly dressed as such a jester and infiltrated their grounds. As I wandered their humid gardens, which were filled with large and lovely carnivorous flowers, I realised many of them had mysterious powers and were clearly planning something nefarious. However, looking like a nun was not enough: you also had to give passwords at regular intervals. A nun stopped me and asked for the password, and I fled, thankfully able to leap and glide distances in the air and balance on a single leaf of a tree to recharge.

Although it doesn't sound like it even to my own self, this part of the dream was actually so terrifying that I woke with a start and had to turn the lights on.
cremains: (always rain)
After a horrible error to my scribal work (the parchment slipped to the floor and in the process lines of new letters smudged), I went to bed at six, depressed and not completely trusting myself. I had this vivid dream: I was in the night court of the Fairy Queen, in an arena filled with strange creatures. They were half-human, but distorted into the features of beasts or even of candy. They were engaged in combat with one another.

My task was to fight a hulking man clad in black, with a black hood over his face. I knew him, and knew he was stronger than me. Somehow, though, I made all the right moves to unbalance him, and leapt onto his shoulders from behind. After a struggle, I was able to rip off his mask and expose his face to the Night Court, although I myself never saw his features. Once I was sure they had seen him, I somehow dispatched him and walked over his body to approach the throne.

The Fairy Queen took my chin in her hand and smiled at me. She was beautiful, washed in white light. "You fought bravely for one of impure ancestry," she said, which in the context of the dream was a big compliment but waking up seems pretty insulting. She expressed scorn for the other creatures in the arena but said I was not so animalistic as they were. I asked if she would kiss me and she condescended to do so, and the kiss lit me up from inside so spectacularly that nothing happening in the world about us seemed interesting or even perceptible.
cremains: (ד"ר פראנק נ פורטר)
Dream #1:

I dreamt that I was transported back in time to sixteenth century England and had the opportunity to join Shakespeare's company, which was at the moment playing drama games in the Rose theatre. I walked towards the door, but someone stopped me and said, "No, the Jews' entrance is over there." He pointed to a dirty metal chute in the wall. I inspected it and found that it was full of giant, translucent spiders. It was also about as narrow as my foot, so even if I were to brave the spiders, it would be useless.

Eventually I decided that they couldn't mean that Jews had to use this specific entrance, rather just that Jews couldn't go through the normal one. I also decided that Jews could even use the main door as long as they didn't go through it a normal way. So instead of opening the door and walking through it, I climbed up the side and crawled through a crack at the very top of the door, and fell into the theatre.

They were playing switch. As I watched, I saw that actually there was already another Jewish member of the company, and that he was super annoying and stupid. I felt embarrassment on behalf of my people. I hoped they didn't judge me by him.

Dream #2:

I was having an undescribed terrible day in a bright neon metropolis which my dream mind often claims is Hong Kong. As I was trudging home, a fellow student of my esteemed teacher caught me by the elbow and said "Eddie Izzard invites all who have a terrible day over to his house in Bermuda." She gave me a pamphlet with his address on it. The address said "Bermuda Street, Bermuda."

In this dream, Bermuda was actually in Africa, but no worries, the subway went there. There were a whole series of stops where each one was named for a nation in Africa, culminating in Bermuda. I missed the stop several times and was worried about having enough money to get there, but the subway operators were very forgiving and let me get on for free when they saw I'd run out of money.

I finally got off at Bermuda Station, and discovered that it was a hot, sandy place, with only a very few and small buildings. It looked sort of like an Israeli settlement. I found myself at a rickety train crossroads. Eddie Izzard was standing under the rusty "Bermuda Station" sign and was wearing a Chinese dress and bright lipstick. When he saw me, he said, "So you've come about a terrible day -- splendid, we will have a lovely time together." He talked to me as if we were old friends, which was a relief since I was afraid the whole thing was going to be very awkward.

He took me on a splintery wooden boxcar to his house, where he met his friends, a woman and her 5-year-old son. The woman told me that it was the son's birthday, and Eddie Izzard had given him a present of a giant kidney to eat. "Normally kids are very picky eaters, but you loved it, didn't you, Daniel?" she asked. Her son smiled and put his head in her lap. "Yes well kidneys are very healthy you know," said Eddie Izzard.

We chatted all the way to Eddie Izzard's house, and then I woke up.
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It was unbelievable seeing my stepkids for the first time in three months. It's hard to express how happy I was to see them jumping up and down from the minute they opened the door. I had had a dream previously that in the interim, Y. had grown a bristly beard (but was otherwise still a child of 9). When I told him this, he related the following (obviously fake, whatever) dream:

"I dreamt you had a big moustache and lots of chest hair." (I interjected to affirm that this is awesome) "You were otherwise bald. Lots of people gathered round to laugh at you, but I had the solution. It was to make you blind. JUST KIDDING, I gave you an eye operation to give you amazing eyes to see through everything, the best eyes, much better than your eyes now. I also gave you beautiful pajamas. You took off the pajamas and had nice clothes underneath and were beautiful."

M. actually seemed younger in appearance than before -- I must have exaggerated how much she should have grown. She was guarding a present for her dad all day, a coin she'd crushed under the light rail, wrapped in infinite tissues, with a handwritten note tied on.

S. was exactly the same as he was when we left, in fact exactly the same as he's always been since the day I first met him.

The leopard print, foulmouthed slouchiness of Jerusalem is a breath of fresh air after manicured Sweden.
cremains: (Spock)
I dreamt that H. and I went to visit "Canada's National Park," which was a sort of mountain shrine enclosed all around by giant gates. The attraction was a roaring river that twisted over the park, sometimes whirling in impossible formations. The government had built white marble all around, covering the ground and rising up in beautiful walls around the water, giving the impression that the river was actually artificially-driven and composed of fountains, but it was explained to us that all of this was merely ornamental, and did not in any way inflect the natural flow of water.

Once we finished looking at the water, we went back to the main gate, where you could see huge bolts of lightning coming down from the sky so rapidly that it appeared to form human figures in armor. This special kind of lightning was the other reason people came to see the park.

I attribute this dream to overdosing on Tao Te Ching. No Lovecraft dreams yet, though... I think because his fears (seafood, knowledge, lack of white people) are so different from mine, they don't really play on my subconscious.


Oct. 11th, 2012 10:17 am
cremains: (always rain)
I dreamt I was the high priestess of a country which had just begun recovery from a long, devastating war. Among the consequences was that our river, which flowed from the highest peak of the country to its lowest point (it was a very slanty country) had run dry. In order to set it flowing again, I had to have sex in the riverbed. This worked, and the water came down from the mountain, but the problem was that it was such a gentle flow and such a pleasant temperature that all the citizens of the kingdom came out to bathe in the river. This was bad because they clogged it up and threw garbage into it; as well, there was a sense that this was improper given the role of the river, which was spiritually significant. So I pulled a hair from my head, tied a knot in it, and threw it into the water. It became a salmon. The salmon swam upstream as frigid water crashed and surged around it, flooding the banks and scaring away the people. Finally, the salmon leapt up the waterfall at the top edge of the mountain and disappeared into the rocky pools above.
cremains: (drunken vulcan)
I dreamt I was the captain of an all-baby genius strike force whose mission was to infiltrate a submarine and destroy it from within. We sunk into the ocean carrying large tupperware containers; if we failed to find one of the ocean's oxygen bubbles (which laced the water, but were undetectable except by trial breathing), we could always peel up one of the tupperware containers and breathe in its air.

We successfully broke inside the giant brass submarine, but one by one all my baby commandos died, mostly of oxygen deprivation and phosphorus burns. Some were also shot. Finally I managed to escape, together with my right hand baby. We cut our losses and snuck out through the airlock, and quickly took some tiny pills to prevent ourselves from getting the bends. Then we rapidly ascended through the water, finally surfacing by a cobbly shore reminiscent of MarioWorld. The mission was a disastrous failure.


Oct. 4th, 2012 07:20 am
cremains: (drunken vulcan)
I dreamt that I was a clerk in an Israeli supermarket which appeared to be not anywhere near Israel, as my friend Cassandra came up holding a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and asked me to read the ingredients for her. I translated and she made a face, saying, "That means it's only 15% flour!" I replied, "Yes, but on the plus side, only five ingredients."

I got back on my clerk's skateboard and was rolling down one of the aisles when suddenly muzak began to pipe in. This was the signal that all the patrons had to randomly pair up and have sex with each other. I noticed Michelle and Barak Obama having sex in the corner, which at the time was cause for concern to me because they were married to other people.
cremains: (kafka's grave)
I was doing my undergraduate when one of my childhood friends, Bethany, sent out invitations to her Horse Party. This was a yearly event of such excitement that even the month prior to the Horse Party was filled with anticipation and planning. I lived in a giant, run-down house, where I slept on the floor and ate from one dish. My childhood best friend, Becky, was boarding with me (unclear if this was normal or in order to prepare for the party).

The night before the party, I sat on my blanket on the splintery floor and unwrapped a parcel from my parents, which they sent just for the occasion. It was a tiny, knitted, one-piece horse suit. At first its size dismayed me, but it easily stretched to accommodate me.

On the appointed day, Becky and I arrived at the house of Bethany's parents. We gasped in amazement to see that their living room had been transformed into a giant antechamber lined floor to ceiling with luminous aquariums. K-pop boomed from state-of-the-art speakers which they'd rented. Becky and the other partygoers progressed into the next room, where there were supposedly even more wonders, but I went up to one of the aquariums and put my hand against the glass where a little red fish swam. I sank down to the floor and put my head in my hands and was desperately upset.

I finally fell asleep by that same tank.
cremains: (always rain)
I dreamt that I was woken up by Mercutio the cat, who had been shaved to keep cool. I felt that my gums had almost entirely grown over one of my front teeth. When I tried to break the skin to free it, the whole tooth came loose, and I slowly drew it out. It was incredibly long and turned out to be shaped like a shark's, and was covered in blood. I tried running down the stairs to the subway to get to a dentist, but a man I passed took the tooth from me and snapped it in two, ruining my chances of getting it put back in. In the Gemara, dreams of falling teeth are not a good sign.

I dreamt that I was living with my aunt and uncle in Toronto, but soon moving to Jerusalem. As I took the subway to their house, crowds of "subway people" in colourful jackets made way for the train. They lived in the tunnels. The operator, who in real life was a surly bus driver, a middle-aged butchit, made some disparaging remarks about them and said they were a pest to maintenance workers. Then we began to have a fantastic discussion, but I don't remember about what.

When I got off the subway, I found my friend from yeshivah, Danny, lying in a ditch near my house. It was the early morning and he was covered in dew. I asked him if he needed a place to stay but he seemed fine, so after he said he would visit sometime I left him. In reality, who showed up to my house was not Danny but some completely imaginary rabbi in a grey suit. He carried a gleaming black rectangular prism between his hands which could change shape. In a minute he put it on his feet and they became the shiniest of black shoes.
cremains: (Spock)
I dreamt I was leaving my old yeshivah and saying goodbye to everyone there. In the dream, the yeshivah, underground and somewhat cave-like as in real life, had its walls lined with aquariums, which provided the only light. The Rosh Yeshivah was not the real one, but two women, havrutha partners from before my time, one of whom teaches there today. It was old-school in that I had to ask their permission to leave, but they were completely gracious with me, almost otherworldly, not so much as I experience these people in real life but a little more like Galadriels.

My old Gemara teacher did write to me though, using his signature address of "Yoneleh." That makes life for today 1% less alienating.

For no reason, I'm learning a few pseudomagical alphabets, my favourite being the one invented by the amazing Theophrastus Bombastus van Hohenheim.
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