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Friday, September 30, 2011

An Old Cover Letter


I found this letter in the very old archives that I pulled off 3.5 disks. A large number of that stuff was unrecoverable, but what has survived is of some interest.  

This letter is just as relevant to events today as it was back when it was written.


23rd October 2004
My dearest friends at (electronics retailer),

You may note from my application that I have spent nearly five years as a Security Officer and am now looking for a change. The truth is that although I was happy as a guard, the industry is changing. The last two companies I have worked for no longer exist. The last one I was with for only eight months. Despite an impeccable level of service, never being late or absent, working overtime when ever asked, and having two accommodations of good service, I am looking for another job.
           
I’m looking for something more long term. I have been told that a Security Officer can expect to change jobs after three months, and that security is the second most cut back aspect of any company in a bad economy.

I’ve always loved electronics, I have two PDAs and two Presarios, and I’m working on building my first computer from scratch. In addition, I have done work as a Videographer and won awards for my work in photography. In short, I think I’d fit in at (your company) perfectly. After all, I am used to being on my feet for up to 16 hours at a time, looking sharp, answering questions, and taking on extra responsibilities. 

I hope that my qualifications are adequate, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Honestly,


Richard L. Neal

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bad 4th of July


Here we are with another old letter and one of the letters I want to get off my hard drive.

I went about describing the events of my life as a reporter in the hope that it would make a man’s life better only to have him turn into a toxic force in my life.

If anything is true it’s that we should watch who we call friends.

7th July 2007 
Dear (Soldier deployed in Iraq),

The fourth of July was my first day off in two months. That probably doesn’t mean much given what you are going through, my friend, but it means little to me as well. I spent it cleaning the house. That’s a funny thing to do when you think of it, but I have not learned to clean as I go. I tried tracing back the moments to find when I started such bad habits. Probably when they started tearing up my home. Yes, I think that was it, it’s hard to think of cleaning a thing that is broken.

That is a point you probably can’t see. One of the strange truths of life is how much can change with a point of view. As a young man I was taught to value certain things, and then I was made to watch as they were destroyed in front of my eyes. Now I have a difficult problem to solve. Well, without suffering what is joy?

We have lost another guard. He was a small man. I think that it’s better for him because he got something closer to home. We gained one more guard, an older man who was removed from this post once for getting too chummy with the employees. He doesn’t look like he’s going to last but that’s no concern. Whatever comes with the new day will come and there is nothing I can do about such things.

I filled out my federal application for student aid. I don’t think I’ll get anything out of it, but then what can one do to change what they have made? If I do get anything out of the government then I’ll try to put in less hours because this and school are too much. Funny how you need the good job to get your degree, but the point of the degree is to get a good job.

Come to think of it I wrote another one act I can show you. I’ll put it in the envelope with this letter. I call it “Welcome to the Gurd Shack” I’m not going to include the first page, as that might be too heavy for one stamp. If it gets to you with more than one stamp on it then they sent it back to me.  

“A Mind Bending” Is coming along. It looks like it will turn out to be a full length play two male, three female, three voices. Funny thing is it’s almost the same story as “House Broken” only the events are totally different. It’s a play that is violent and dark giving a different perspective of the human mind. 

Anyway, old friend, don’t let the heat get to you,

Richard Leland Neal 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Teachers Should be Made to do Better


This is a group of four emails dating back to 2009. I don’t like the dating system used here, but it’s what came with the emails so I will leave it in place.

I want to make it clear that the teacher we talked about was never given any retraining or reprimand. She clearly misunderstood the nature of her obligations. She had never dealt with a student with a disability before and responded as if she thought I was malingering.  

Given the theater folk are in the art of telling lies her belief was understandable. However, nothing gave this teacher the right to be rude to me regarding my legally defined learning disability.

Teachers should be made to do better.


1/30/09
Dear Doctor (at the Disabled Students Services),
You have now received my first request for accommodations. I assure you that this was not my idea. There is a one Doctor(Theater History Professor) of the theatre arts department that has requested that I verify that I have a disability despite the fact that I have not asked her for accommodations. You may recall from our last meeting that I have had issues with theatre teachers in the past and their attitudes regarding my problem.  
All I require is that you inform her that I am indeed registered with DSS, and I will be out of your hair. I'm told that you will be very busy for the next few weeks, so I don't want to take up to much of your time, but I will meet with you if that is what will accomplish my needs. 
Thank you and best wishes   
Richard Leland Neal
2/2/09
Richard,
We only communicate with professors when one of our students requires some kind of reasonable accommodations for a course.  The only way a professor would know a student has a disability, other than a visible disability, is when the student discloses that information orally or by presenting documentation from our office. If you didn’t disclose that information, and from your comments I think you would choose not to disclose, then I would be concerned as to how the professor came to know. In any event, it is inappropriate for a professor to ask for documentation when no accommodations are requested. If she persists with this request I want you to have her contact me directly.
Doctor (at the Disable Students Services)
2/2/09
I did mention it, but I did not ask for accommodation however. Theater teachers have poor responses to students like myself, and I almost always mention it. You may recall that this is why I updated my registry. Even after I repeatedly stated that I had never asked for accommodation, and only have them at the discretion of the instructor's she insisted. I don't know if I will need anything for this class and it is likely that I will not, but if she gives me problems such as teachers have given me in the past I'd like to be able to say that I made things clear beforehand.    
2/3/09
Richard,
Please call me or schedule an appointment with me so we can discuss this.
Thanks
Doctor (at the Disable Students Services) 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Wedding Invitation from Hell


Every now and again I write a letter based on an event from memories from a few years ago. I do this for my own mental health. Writing about painful experiences can give a man some closure.

In behaviorist theory this would be called systematic desensitization. In this case it would be the act of accessing the memory and assigning it a different emotional response.

If there is one thing I’d like you to take from this letter it is that if you wrong someone make amends without making demands. I don’t believe that my family had any interest in making amends, but what they did only served to make the situation worse.

9th September 2011
Dear Cassi,

Did I ever tell you about my sister’s wedding? It was a telling event from my past that illustrates why I have so little to do with my family.

It started with the appearance of my uncle. The only uncle I actually know. On my mom’s side it was a big family, but they never got along. Legacy of pain, I think you understand. I hadn’t seen the man for more than ten years. The last time I saw him was at my mother’s funeral.
    
He said he wanted to reconnect with me after all the years we had been apart. He lied. His real goal was the get me to go to my sister’s wedding.
    
I remember getting my old high school yearbooks, and thinking that I was going to go over them with him. We went to some pizza place, and he spends the time trying to convince me that I needed to go to my sister’s wedding.
    
My uncle explained to me that there was an occasion where his brother had wanted him to walk away from some property, and he had beaten his brother within an inch of his life. As my sister had tried to have my name removed from my mother’s estate I understood how he felt. Then he told me that he hadn’t spoken to his brother since. Again, I see no problem with this as now I think it’s been four or five years since I spoke to my sister.
    
This gave him no pause and it made no difference what I told the man, he just wouldn’t stop asking me to go to my sister’s wedding. He had no other goal, and, to put it bluntly, was willing to test our relationship to the point of destruction to get me there.
    
Over all the family history I’ve gone through all I ever see is my family hurting the people the claim to love. In this case rather than make emends they chose to put pressure on the victim. I believe I haven’t spoken to my uncle in nine months. The next time I do I know what he will say. It’s all the same with these people, they scheme and lie, steal and desecrate. The only thing they never do to try to get what they want is to be a decent human being.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Acting Outside of Confidence


I think this letter is as clear as it can be so I have no reason to elaborate. Hope you enjoy reading it.
7th September 2011
Dear Cassi,

One of my latest misadventures was a search for letters of recommendation. One of these involved the department chair for Radio Television and Film from my old college. This became an awkward encounter when I mention that I had gotten an A+ in RTVF 455 Screenwriting. This was all in emails mind you so it makes for interesting records.  
    
The department chair told me that I should seek a letter of recommendation from the 455 teacher. I replied that the teacher in question had failed to fulfill many of his promises, and that one of these had been to send my work to a production house. That would mean that a professor had made and broken a hundred thousand dollar contract.
    
The department chair ignored this, but raised no further suggestion as to my contacting other teachers. So here we see that rather than dealing with the situation he would prefer to sweep it under the rug. I find this to be the common case be it business people or professors.
    
I wonder if he truly thinks that polite discourse will in anyway absolve him from his crimes. The funny thing about this is that if he tried to make amends I would almost certainly have to take what he offered, but so long as this issue remains reported and un-acted upon they will have no bargaining power. The question remains ‘why did they not investigate if they didn’t believe the teacher innocent?’
    
Whereas this is far from proof positive I believe it is referred to as ‘acting outside of confidence’ and would be grounds for disciplinary action.
    
Things like this are like cracks in the foundation of a building. You can paint them over, and pretend they are not there, but one day the building will come crashing down.

Stay safe, Cassi,


Richard Leland Neal


Monday, September 19, 2011

Letter to a Soldier on Deployment: “The Gurd Chack”


I haven’t posted one of these in some time mostly because I’ve been writing so many cover letters that I have no need to go back into archives.

This is one of those letters where I need to censer out the names. I sent these letters to a soldier on deployment in Iraq back in 2007. At the time I thought he was a friend of mine, but as I learned later the better of a friend I was to him the worse he was to me. Ah, well, shit happens.

1st July 2007
Dear (Soldier),

Another week has passed, and it appears that we have a stable situation at work. Strange the difference fifty cents an hour can make, but the change in geographical location is a big deal as well. I still don’t have a breaker so I’m going to be on seven days, but as the only thing for me to do right now is spend time with (a few mutual friends) I don’t need time off. 

The new morning guard is a real card. He comes right on time or just slightly late. He doesn’t look like he is going to last, man’s got useless written all over him, but that’s what guards are all about. He may end up working here for the next ten years.

He told me all about his crazy uncle who let a train run over his leg. The uncle named his fake leg Keado. He once hid in the bushes with a paper bag over his hand and ambushed some Police Officers screaming “I’ve got a gun! You’d better shoot me before I shoot you!”  He took eleven rounds and is still ticking.

For a wile there was a sign in the Shack that said, “Keep clean the gurd chack”. I don’t know what a gurd is, but we all had a laugh about it, and (one of the guards) put up a sign over the door that read “The Gurd Chack”. I’m putting that line in my next short play “Welcome to the Gurd Chack. We’re so Glad You Came.”

I finished reading Dune for the second time. I still note that the writing style is in contrary to what people say is good but the originality of the story. Consistence is not one of Herbert’s things.  His Freman have more than one wife but Choni thinks that Paul should devote himself to one woman. If she were a real Freman she would think nothing of him getting with the princes.

The other thing about Dune is that there is a two-year gap in the story. It’s funny when you actually start to break things down how many fuzzy spots they have in them.  I think I may give the Tax hierarchy in my novel a title of nobility. The Secliconion Domain presided over by the Dominick and the war with Deam brought about by forces within the Domain hungry for more power. Even if the war is short lived the interruption of the Deam trade routes will cause a vacuum for other trading companies to fill.

What happened with Dune was a flood of information. Small stories that illustrated points. Paul riding a worm for the first time told us about worm riding. Fade fighting a gladiator expressed his tactics in personal combat. I think Rabban only appeared in one chapter but was talked about through the rest of the book. Every page brought so much about that the story as long as it was had more information than other stories of the same length. Fascinating.

My car has still got an annoying leak that (your stepfather) can’t find. I have a puddle under it the size of my palm every time I park. I’m going to take it to (another mechanic) but I have to find a place to be wile he works on it and no one appears willing to pick me up. If I can’t get this pile of crap working right in another twenty thousand miles it’s time to give up, but by that time I should have enough for a new car.

In other news your father is being a real pill lately. He’s upset because you don’t call him thinks you’re mad at him. Well, he should get it by now that mad or not it’s hard for you to get messages out to us and frankly if I were in your shoes I’d think him mad at me. Has he written like me, no, can he talk to you as often as (your wife), no. So other then bugging (her) about it how has he tried to contact his son? In no way at all.

Then there’s the issue of your student loans. He won’t even respond to questions about them. He could say they were with the school, and that would put the issue out of his hands. Then (your wife) would have to deal with financial aid. (Your wife) just wants to stay on top of things. It’s an admirable quality. (Your Father) should be happy that she’s getting this taken care of.

Stay safe, old friend

Richard Leland Neal


Friday, September 16, 2011

College?


What is this? Three letters to Cassi in a row, and I have even been posting irregularly. Not that any of the people who read this take the opportunity to comment.

In any case, I’m hoping that I’ve broken my depression and started recovery. That’s not an easy thing in this economy.

Well, this is about private colleges and their level of suck. Student beware.

5th September 2011
Dear Cassi,

Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking to further my education by attending a grad school. The only problem with this idea is that the school I have the most chance of attending are the private universities. These schools are a world apart from what they were before the online integration.
    
The first and foremost problem is that most of these schools are not as reputable as there state and nonprofit counterparts, and tend to take a factory look at education. Their goal is to get as many people enrolled as possible. Many of these students are unprepared for college, and they pay their way through student loans. The average student comes away from these programs with more than thirty thousand dollars in debt. Once more, the online schools have the highest default rate on those loans.
    
These schools gear there cost to student loans and make their money from the generosity of the government. The only problem with this is that it’s harder to get a job with a degree from one of these universities. These schools are a stepladder up from the lower levels of society, but a stepladder with rungs missing that shakes when you try to climb.
    
Now I have three of these schools calling after me, and still they may be the best option I have to better myself. This world is a mess of bad ideas and faint hopes. I have no idea what to do with my life, but then neither does the rest of the world.

Stay safe, Cassi,


Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lost Dog Comes Home


Let me remind you that I send these letters as a means of making someone feel better so if this is too candy for you my apologies. I thought this was a nice anecdote, and I hope you do as well.

3rd September 2011
Dear Cassi,

A few days ago the most curious event took place that I know you would like to hear about. The darkness of night had well taken my neighborhood, but the heat of the day had not yet given up its hold. I trod out the front door to water the flowerbed when I saw a black shape at the end of my street.
    
At first I thought it was a child shrouded in the darkness with the street lamps to dim to give it shape. As the thing moved I could see that it was in fact a large black and white dog. I stood without moving as the animal approached. It sniffed at me but gave me little notice.
    
I walked after it as it passed, and I could see a collar on the animal’s neck. Finding him friendly, I examined his ornament to find that he had no tag. I went and got a few dog biscuits to see if the dog had been out long, and as he took no interest in food I could tell he had recently gone astray.
    
On his caller there was a handle which I took into my hand and the dog responded the way my own August would by walking along with me on the path he knew so well. I figured his best chance was for me to let him lead the way home. If I turned him into the animal authority he would have no chance unless he had a microchip in his back. I had to find the old dog’s home or abandon him to euthanasia.
    
We walked together for half a mile, and as I passed along I asked whoever I came across. You find folks all over at that time of night where I live. Finally I found a family who said the dog lived next door to them, and that his name was Alex. However, when I tried to take the dog to that house he resisted. I let go of his caller, and he ran.
    
He went across the street and scratched at a white gate. I grabbed his caller again and took him to the front door. I rang the bell and two men answered. I asked if they knew the dog and the first man said, “Yeah, how did you find me?” I told him that the dog had just brought me there. He told me that he had named the dog after the Spanish word for wanderer.
    
Old dogs just need understanding as do most folks. We don’t need guides but gentle souls to walk with us and we can find our way home.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal


Monday, September 12, 2011

Word Twisting


Okay, so I haven’t been writing Cassi as diligently as I should. I don’t know if her boyfriend would be to keen on a man writing her letters three times a week.

This letter details a situation from my perspective. Tell me what you think.

1st September 2011
Dear Cassi,

Something happened two weeks ago that left a bad taste in my mouth. I was over at (a Family’s) House for their two week family dinner, and I had been told by the patriarch of the (Families) that his youngest son would be making hamburgers that night. Finding that as good food is best accompanied by good drink, and bad food to be inedible without it, I took it on myself to provide some beer.

The old man of (this family) calls himself most happy when he has a dark brew in his hand so I made this to be the day we would learn if he more fancied Black Heart or Black Toad. I arrived at this event with all twelve bottles in hand two hours early to make sure the beer was cold, and I learned then that this was a birthday party for the old man.
    
His youngest son was to “make” hamburgers as a gift to his father. The thing that bothered me so much about this event was that a distinction was made between make and cook. It came that the job of cooking had been moved from (the son) to his sister, and then his sister had refused. It came to his sister’s best friend who was made to flip ground meat on a grill for our dinner.
    
To add a few more notes of broken music to this whole thing (the son) had a young lady with him who I took to be his girl. I imagine she had a dim view of a man who wouldn’t flip a few patties for his old man. When he said “I said I would make you burgers not cook you burgers” I can imagine opinions of the man went anywhere but up.
    
This business of word twisting may appear humorous to (the son), but I feel sickened by it, his hamburgers didn’t help with that, and I lost what little respect I had for the man.
    
Here is a man who had all the advantages one could have in life and still repays those advantages with insolence. He turned his back on his father and looked to lesser folks like his idiot friends for guidance. If I called (the son) a friend I would have to say something. If he was worthy of such a condition he would listen.

Stay safe, Cassi,


Richard Leland Neal

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Story


Saturday is normally off limits for Letters to Cassi, but this experience is one I will never forget.

Best wishes to all those who lost loved ones in the attack and the events that took place afterword.

11th September 2011
Dear Cassi,

America today sits and reflects on the events of ten years ago wondering how the world has changed. I can still recall the events of that day clearly.
   
I was painting the bed room so the bed was moved out and I was sleeping in my favorite chair when my brother-in-law, he was still my sister’s boyfriend at the time, woke me to show me the news of the towers going down. I didn’t understand at first.
   
Then I got the call to come into work. I was ordered to report to the department of public works. When I arrived I was enlisted in the evacuation of the building. I recall thinking to myself that the danger was small after the attack. The possibility of another attack the same day was a remote one, but in truth it was better to be safe than sorry.  
   
I was relieved by an armed security officer a few hours later, but was ordered to report to a chemical plant. I spent and uneventful day there. The attack had created a need for security officers. Everyone wanted to be safe, but the average pay for security personnel dropped after 9/11.
   
How did the world change? For the average Security Guard it’s still the same. It’s an under-appreciated but necessary job.


Stay safe, Cassi,




Richard Leland Neal

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Cover Letter


It’s a cover letter. I’ve posted a bunch of them so I’m not going into it, but I will say that I’m painting this situation in a better light.

Did my company take good care of me? Yes. However, I still believe that they didn’t do so willingly.

2nd September 2011
Dear (Broadcasting Company),

I have worked as a Security Officer since late 1998 until being laid off at the beginning of this year. For most of 2011 I spent my time finishing my undergraduate studies. 

(My previous employer) looked after me as best they could. They gave me so many hours before losing a major contract that my unemployment is nearly as high as my paycheck had been. I could likely finish my masters without returning to work, but that would be irresponsible in this economy. An honest man should work for a living and better himself on his own time.

(Your company)is a name people can remember, a name I would like to add to my Resume.

Thank you for your time

Richard Leland Neal 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Better Job than I’ve Ever Had is Beneath Me


So, here we have a cover letter for a janitorial position at a hospital. If this job is anything like the other jobs with this organization it pays better than any job I have ever had. The only thing is that a man with a BA shouldn’t go working as a janitor.

The last time I applied with the company I gave no cover letter. This time I’m sending one. Let’s hope it makes a difference.

2nd September 2011
Dear (Health Care Provider),

I was born in one of your hospitals, and my mother died in one. So it has been an aspiration of mine, a hope rather, to one day work at one of your facilities.

You might think it odd that a man with a BA in Psychology might apply for a job like this, and I would agree. Still, let me say that honest work will never be beneath me, and further I hope to go on to grad school, get my LPCC, and become a Mental Health Counselor.

I could do this without returning to work. I was laid off at the beginning of this year, but (my last employer) did right by me. They gave me every hour they could before the lay off, and my unemployment benefits were almost as much as my pay had been. However, I was raised to be a man that works for what he has. Student loans just sit on my mind, and I would nearly exhaust my retirement funds by the time I concluded my education.

I would like nothing more than honest work for honest pay. The way things look the state needs the unemployment check more than I do.  

Thank you for your time,

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, September 5, 2011

The CALPCC Not the BBS

Imagine my surprise when I learned that not the BBS, the agency that will license me to become a Mental Health Counselor, but the CALPCC website, which is named after the license, is the place to go for information about applicable education. Unlike the BBS the CALPCC answered me.

30th August 2011

Dear CALPCC,
I’m currently looking for a grad school to qualify me for a license in mental health counseling.

I’m told you do not recognize a master’s degree from an online school like Grand Canyon University or Capella. Is that true?

I’m presently looking at those two online schools and Argosy University. Each program has ups and downs, but I need to know if the two online schools are even worth considering.

Do I need to get an MS or will an MA do?

Thank you for your time,

Richard Leland Neal
Reply 


Richard,

Please look at the requirements for the new LPCC license in CA on our website <calpcc.org> under The LPCC. If you will begin your degree before August 1, 2012, look at the requirements under "Before 2012". After that date the requirements go up. You can use an online degree for licensure, as long as it is accredited by a regional accrediting agency and the degree fulfills the licensure requirements. The Board of Behavioral Sciences <www.bbs.ca.gov> will soon publish a list of programs that have submitted their programs and have been approved for the LPCC.

Dean Porter

Executive Director


In retrospect, I look like an idiot, but a big thanks to Dean Porter for answering me.