Monday, November 23, 2015

Dream Log: Steven Saul Bollinger Berenson Of The Wrong Homeland Monkey

I dreamed that I, Steven Bollinger, also known as The Wrong Monkey, author of this blog and perenniel contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, was also, to a certain extent, the fictional Saul Berenson, big CIA muckety-muck portrayed by Mandy Patinkin on the TV series "Homeland." I wrote this blog and was myself, but I also had a huge magnificent beard like Saul's, and I worked at CIA headquarters in Langley. Working on this blog was my job at the CIA. No-one seemed to have any doubt that success on the blog, high readership and my professional success as a writer, equaled a good job done for the CIA and better security for the US.

However, at the moment my methods were unpopular. I was working on a computer program which, I was convinced, would bring more traffic to the blog and greater safety to the world. However, my colleagues -- young punks, most of them -- had very little if any confidence in my abilities as a programmer. It seemed clear to me that my program was working, but mysteriously, no one else seemed to notice that traffic on my blog had sharply increased.

A man who resembled Dar Adal, the fictional colleague of the fictional Berenson on "Homeland," came to invite me to have some waffles for brunch with him. I'd recently started jogging and didn't feel the need for all of that syrup and butter, but Dar was very insistent.

Everything seemed connected: the blog, espionage, jogging, waffles -- it all seemed like one seamless thing.

Walking to the restaurant which Dar had recently discovered to get our waffle brunch, the topic of conversation gradually turned from Dar raving about the waffles at this place, which Dar assured me would blow my mind, to Dar complaining about Carrie Mathison (the fictional character portrayed by Claire Danes on "Homeland," Saul's protégé and friend). Carrie was convinced that some vital intelligence was being passed at dog shows, and was spending a lot of time among the people who showed dogs, despite the CIA director threatening her with suspension or worse if she didn't stop this line of inquiry. Carrie herself had gotten a dog for the first time in her life and was bonding with it. As usual, many people seemed to think that Carrie had finally gone permanently insane, and very few people besides me/Saul could see that she was continuing to function at genius level.

The neighborhood we were walking through on our way to the restaurant was beautiful: full of high-end shops, with broad sidewalks which had recently been paved with tiles in dark earth-tones. Many trees lined both sides of the street, it was a pleasantly brisk autumn morning, there were a few leafs in various bright colors on the sidewalks, the laughter of schoolchildren on recess was faintly aubible. The whole area was like an embodiment of the very principles of prosperity, calm, good health and other good things.

But before we reached the restaurant, the dispute about Carrie had become so heated that Dar began to grab and push me in anger, and I turned around and headed back to the office rather than risk getting into an actual fistfight with Dar, who was also a friend as well as a colleague.

Everything seemed connected in my mind: the blog, the CIA, computer programs, jogging and eating healthy, waffles, the beautiful neighborhood, the laughter of children, dogs -- everything. As I walked back to the office I felt very frustrated, because I thought that Carrie could understand such connections much more clearly than I. I wanted to talk to her and ask her to explain the connectedness, or at least try to make it more comprehensible to me. But at the moment she was undercover with the show-dog people, and very hard to reach.

At the office I checked the stats for the traffic on my blog, and it seemed as clear as could be that my programming had increased the traffic tremendously.

Then it occurred to me that no-one else had looked at the stats on the terminal in my office. The blog stats were classified and encrypted and tightly controlled, I couldn't access them on a phone, and neither could anyone else, unless they were an excellent hacker, or had some kind of clearance which I didn't know for sure that anyone had.

Otherwise, the blog stats were only accessible on the terminals at Langley and a few other CIA offices around the world. I had assumed that my snot-nosed young colleagues, who had remained so strangely unimpressed by my program and its effect on the blog's traffic, had been looking at the same data as I -- but now it occurred to me that perhaps an enemy hacker had separated my terminal from the others, so that either I was looking at falsified stats about the blog, or everyone else was, or maybe even both.

Then I woke up.

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