Dream Journal Selections
(Snack Related), Feb-Oct 2014

By Casper Kelly

Casper Kelly co-creates the TV show “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” and wrote the book “More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer”. His favorite snack alternates between nachos, pistachios, miniature cupcakes, and peanut butter crackers and milk depending on the specific type of anxiety he is escaping.


My wife and I discover a third floor to our house we have never noticed before. It is dusty, has a couple of pieces of old furniture from the previous owners, open space, large windows, great light. How did we never notice these windows from the outside? Confusion is tempered by excitement about all the extra space!

We hire a carpenter to fix some of the rotted floorboards – a salt of the earth redneck named Ricky. He asks if he can borrow our toaster for a snack. I say of course. He puts in what looks like a Pop Tart as we talk casually about old houses, has he had other people suddenly discover rooms or floors they never noticed before, etc. Soon I smell the most delicious chicken pot pie and he reveals he is cooking a CHICKEN POT PIE POP TART. I marvel that this is a fantastic idea and ask if this is new. He laughs and says no, he’s enjoyed them with his grandmother since he was a little boy. I ask to break off a piece with a fork. It is every bit as flavorful and rich as it smelled.

Later at the grocery store I buy some Chicken Pot Pie Pop Tarts, but when I toast one it is not nearly as good. The inside is a textureless chicken-flavored paste rather than hearty chunks of chicken, carrot, and potato in Ricky’s. I realize his chicken pot pie Pop Tart must have been home made, perhaps by his mother or grandmother from some long-standing recipe.

I ruminate for a moment if the people who buy these mushy, oniony, store bought Chicken Pot Pie Pop Tarts actually enjoy them, or if they instead enjoy the memories and flavors they invoke: a savory homemade treat from childhood, shared with a grandparent, long since passed away.

I’m living in the Clockwork Orange dystopia (of the Kubrick film) and although I’m not a member of Alex’s gang we’re friendly enough to nod at each other while passing in the rundown apartment lobby. Apparently we live in the same building. Later, I’m at some sort of dreary 70’s government job that’s all file cabinets and wood paneling. In the break room snack machine I notice a thing called Marshmallow Yarbles. They are like Marshmallow Peeps but shaped like a scrotum. I can’t resist buying it (them?) but look around rather guiltily when it falls from the rotating metal spiral and plops noisily into the bottom tray.

It has an approximated fleshy pink and has (I believe) toasted coconut to simulate hair. When biting into one of the two “Yarbles”, between the exterior flesh marshmallow and the interior white marshmallow is a thin chocolate and toffee coating, like a Heath bar, which adds a satisfying crunch.

As I eat, the pretty girl I work with sees me and I feel like I need to hide what I’m eating with some embarrassment – although I’m not sure why because it was, after all, for sale in the work snack machine and I do enjoy Marshmallow Peeps. She mentions that I should try the Yarbles microwaved, it makes them gooey, and it’s a really great way to enjoy Yarbles, and she kind of leans on the word yarbles, and we share a smile and a charged look like we are too sophisticates bantering with a subtext of inexpressible sexual desire. But maybe that’s my interpretation and she was really just saying they were better microwaved. I think of offering her one but she is already gone and the moment passed.

I chew silently, ruminating about the course oversexualization of our society such that our candy corporations must create genital shaped foodstuffs to appeal to an ever jaded youth. But again, that layer of chocolate crunch in the middle is satisfying. Four stars.

I’m at the grocery store in the cereal aisle and notice a new cereal called Inherent Vice Krispies. I feel both amusement and disgust at this crass commercial tie-in of a work of art but also the stupidity and misguidedness of tying Paul Thomas Anderson to a breakfast cereal. It feels “off brand”. They should have done a beer. Like Miller Vice for Miller Light. Shame at myself for thinking the term “off brand”.

I ruminate about the decline of the independent film industry under the tide of blockbusters and franchise films and feel bad that a great director like Paul Thomas Anderson must demean his art just to try to break even.

I opt to buy a box just to support film. Plus Snap, Crackle, and Pop are on the box done up to look like characters of the film which I think is kind of cool.

Later while eating it (and they are exactly like regular Rice Krispies) I notice a hair. Without reading anything on the box saying such, I deduce, in typical dream logic, that each box must contain one of the pronounced side burn hairs from the main character Doc (played by Joaquin Phoenix) as a sort of a tongue in cheek “prize”. I wonder if this is, in fact, Joaquin Phoenix’s hair. I mean, surely he wouldn’t have enough hair to supply all the cereal boxes in the world and probably they would have to use the hair of low paid workers with similar hair color, or perhaps it is synthetic.

But I am tantalized by the possibility that Joaquin donated his hair for some of the boxes, as many as he reasonably could until his face was clean shaven, just because he seems like that sort of actor who would want that sort of verisimilitude. I would guess maybe 2% of the boxes would have Joaquin Phoenix hair but that is only a guess.

I spend twenty minutes researching how much it might cost to DNA test the hair to see if it is really Joaquin Phoenix until I am slightly late for work.

…something to do with buying Ben & Jerry’s brand Chubby Hubby ice cream but then realizing I had bought a seasonal variation. Instead of peanut butter infused pretzels in a chocolate ribboned vanilla ice cream like regular Chubby Hubby, this variation features Snyder honey mustard pretzels.

It sounds disgusting but upon trying it I am delighted that it creates a wonderful and truly unique flavor, nothing like its parts, no hint of honey mustard or chocolate, but something truly new and wonderful.

I wake up with a hint of this delicious invented flavor in my mind, and I try to hold onto it, straining my brain to try to figure out if it is similar to anything at all that I could recreate, but the taste soon evaporates and cannot be retrieved.

I marvel that when my dream called for a completely new flavor somehow my imagination was able to do it. I wonder if my imagination could even create a brand new color if it had to.

In this dream I am single and am hanging out in a bar and I see that there is a new trend: body modification into candy. I see a beautiful girl with eyes striped liked a candy cane, no pupils, and real red licorice hair. It is at once shocking and horrifying, but she is still sexy. I think about how fashion works. There are these ridiculous things but then sexy people do them and it doesn’t prevent them from being sexy. In fact, it makes them even sexier because they are showing they are so sexy they can be hot even with the handicap of this ridiculous thing. Sort of like a strong man doing a one-armed push up. Then you start associating their sexiness with the ridiculous thing, and then eventually the ridiculous thing seems sexy just on its own. And then you try it for yourself but by then it doesn’t seem sexy any more and people have moved onto something else.

I go into the bathroom to pee and discover I apparently had already modified my penis into a Snickers bar. Or possibly a 3 Musketeers. I can’t be sure, but I certainly wasn’t going to break a piece off to find out.