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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gnome 15 Lead the Way


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Words of a Man on the Edge


I had honestly hoped my first “Letters to Cassi” post would be a letter to Cassi, but I was poking through my old files and trying to get things organized when I found this old email. 

This was a case of the world and I being very stupid, and I had thought that reason would hold out over madness but the addressee, whose name has been removed, saw me as no more than a uniform.

This was a letter that cost me a job with a company I didn’t want to work for to begin with. It was written after a period of extreme sleep deprivation from overworking. I have to say that sleep deprivation made me do a good number of stupid things, and this isn’t the worst.

Here are the words of a man on the edge.

The date is when it was mailed four years ago.

24th of April 2007

Dear (Security director),

I noted in the post orders of (Unnamed Terminal) procedures
contrary to the safety protocols of the older post orders.
We are having problems with security officers having been
assigned to the post who are unwilling or incapable of
performing the post duties. The orders we had did not
contribute to the problem.

Your belief that security personnel not having at least a high school education are capable of doing my job merely compounds the problem. Many of the security procedures stated in the old post orders had never been properly enforced. There are two reasons for this happening.

The first is an inability to establish a long-term relationship with officers willing and capable of doing the job. This is a result of poor pay and bad conditions. Note that in the five years that (Security Company) serviced your terminal they received a pay raise of fifty cents. I learned from other officers that you had a seniority raise program but that it had been canceled. The two senior security officers assigned to the post had both given two weeks notice by the time I had arrived. My supervisor after two years of working for (your company) made less than a starting dockworker. When I brought this pay issue up with (Local Security Director) he told me to talk with (My Company).

Sir, honestly, every security company gave you what you paid for, no more, no less. Why would they give you a level of service that the contract fails to warrant? As it stands, you will pay more for security as a result of changes in California law. It is only a question of do you want to end the problems you have now or let them get more out of hand? Right now the difference may be as little as a dollar an hour. Paying this will save (the terminal) thousands in the upcoming months in driver and dock worker over time. Yes, that’s right, what you are doing is costing (your company) money.

The second component to the overall breakdown of security at (this terminal) is a failure by management in supporting security officers. I had employees threaten to have me terminated when I asked them to sign in. When I reported this the employees were not reprimanded. Other officers noted this and refused to ask employees to sign in sighting that if it were an issue a reprimand would have been in order.

To resolve the security issues that you have I would need to sit down with the post orders and update your outdated procedures. Then write a proposal to enact your grossly derelict policies. Frankly, that’s not what you pay me for, and my English skills are that of a man educated in the state of California at the end of the twentieth century, rather bad.

The problems I have described are not localized to (This terminal), the state or the region. They are the problems of (your company) as reported by Line Hall drivers.

Let me put this another way: like a detective, I have question suspects and witnesses, compiled evidence, and consulted with experts. My opinion is that security within (your company) is in need of major changes.

With nearly ten years of security experience, I can tell you what those changes should be, but I have to look after myself. (My company) has made me another offer, no better than yours, but I can’t just give up my seniority in the company.

I put my life on hold in the belief that people like (Local Security Director) and yourself would listen to reason. Then you smacked me in the face by contracting a security company that doesn’t even require a high school education. Had we  retained those guards that refused to work than (the old company) might still have this contract and you would get no better or worse service.     

Time is short,

Richard Leland Neal


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hydnellum peckii

Hydnellum Peckii or Bleeding tooth Fungus is none toxic but considered inedible because of it's flavor. The red spots are sap that 'bleeds' out of the fungus when it absorbs water.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amanita Muscaria

Amanita Muscaria or the Fly Agaric is the mushroom known from the Super Mario Brothers franchise as the 'Super Mushroom'. This mushroom is not safe for eating an is unlikely to give you super powers, but it may give you a bad psychedelic episode.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Letters to Cassi and Other Folks



One of the most memorable conversations in my life is one I had with my friend Cassi. I believe it was in two thousand ten that I came about to ask her if the real paper letters I write her have any worth. She said that not only did they lift her spirits, but that she kept a few of them with her wherever she went to read when she felt down. That was a statement that made a lasting impact on me.

 From the time I was eight I had wanted to be a writer, and the last thing my mother gave me before her death had been a microphone so I could record my ideas on tape. The written word and I had a love-hate relationship back then and, well, we still do, but even in the darkest hours of my life some form of written art seep from my soul like blood from a wound. Here those words had finally had an impact on someone. More importantly, they had brought comfort to the pained, even if in a small way, and that was what stayed with me.

I’ve always like the feeling of helping people and that is what made me decide to start posting my letters on the internet. Will they ever truly help people? Probably not, unless you count the aforementioned Cassi, but as the letters abound I’ve nothing to lose...