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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Webcomic WTF

At one time it was my practice to send as much in one envelope as I possibly could, and so every letter I sent out had two sided pages. I got away from that at some time in the depths of my depression.

So that can fall will also rise, and I have rekindled the practice. Now if I sent one envelope every day I’d be back on track in one week.

15th November 2011
Dear Cassi,
If there is one thing I have an affinity for it is projects, and today I’m introducing you to the latest of these. In an effort to get things in order I have been putting my webcomics together in a book. As I have no record of what comics I sent out to you I have no real alternative but to send you the whole thing page by page. If nothing else this should be an easy read for you, and it will get me motivated to get the thing squared away.
I want to send a nice letter to the old website designer asking him to remove my work from his site. I want to have all the original post dates well logged in by then, but with over two hundred comics to go now I have my work cut out for me.
If there is one thing I should do it is set the story strait to that fellow. I imagine your ex-husband/my ex-friend had words with him. It had to have gone something like “he won’t talk to me so don’t talk to him,” but the web geek was in the room when I told your ex that I wouldn’t come see him again unless he called first and left me a voice mail. A ten second call was too much to ask.
In any case, I need to cut ties with this fellow and anyone that thinks that I was so wrong in making those small requests. Honestly, I sat over your ex-husband’s bed side when he was in the hospital, sent him two letters a week when he was deployed in Iraq, and even let him move in with me, but none of that was enough for him to simply be polite.
You will see comics on the back of my letters once again. I hope you and Scott gets a kick out of them.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Intimidating Job Interview

Some time I need to get the list of common job interview questions and post them with my responses.

14th November 2011
Dear Cassi,

I have gone on the most intimidating job interview of my life. It was the second interview with these folks, and it was conducted by no less than three people. It was like facing a firing squad. Apparently, I was not only to be interview by their head of security but by the heads of two other departments.
The questions they asked were no different than those asked in the first interview. How do you deal with de-escalating a fight? What do you like in a supervisor? Basic things for security really, but it was more that I had to answer to the satisfaction of all three people that put me so off center.
I have to admit that I went in there not wanting the job. Sure, I wanted to work, but my unemployment is still coming in. The only reason I went on the interview was because I want to stop living on the state dollar.
If I didn’t walk in that little room and give it my best effort I would be no better than the people who I can’t stand. My college professors lived off tax dollars and didn’t think about who they were hurting. Their job is to imbue the economy with able minded workers, and they do that so poorly. I know there are people who could have returned to work but didn’t, and I understand turning down a job that is a step lower than a government check. This was a step up.
I walked out of there hoping that the other folks they interviewed were better off than I. I knew they had trouble with my references and thought the job was out of reach.
That was last week and my first day of work is today.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Heater Rat

13th November 2011
Dear Cassi,
I gave you the run down on my crazy bills. Well just as crazy as the bills was the story of my heater. I think it must have been on the frits for two years but most of the time I was at work so it made little difference. However, with the new developments I felt it was time to get the thing repaired.
First I called a company that sent me something in the mail. They said they would come in five days and it would cost me a hundred dollars for them just to look. They said it would be a fifty dollar fee if I canceled in less than 48 hours.
Smelling a rat, I pulled out the old paperwork from when the heater was installed in 92 and called the company that had installed it in the first place. They said it would be sixty nine dollars, and they would be here within the day. Getting warmer, but still not great.
Then my neighbor came across the street and told me that he was getting his air unit worked on, and the repair man would come over and look at my heater for free. That was the first bit of good luck I’ve had in a long time. This fellow came over and looked at my heater and said it was the fan exactly what I had thought. He said he had to check on part availability and that he would call me in a few hours.
I called the second company back and told them that I had already found the problem. I gave them the whole story. They asked if I wanted a second opinion. ‘I wouldn’t mind one,’ I said, ‘but I’m not paying sixty nine dollars for it.’
You have to figure that they would have been better off taking down what information they could have over the phone and giving me a price, but if they want to be stubborn they can lose business.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sharing Grief

21st November 2011
Dear Cassi,

So now I have written about the day my mother gave up on life and the day death claimed her. Now another moment, if you will permit me, is my return to school after the funeral.
It was a Monday, I will never forget that, and I attended class thinking that the world would go on. By this time I had turned ten, and at ten I was no wiser than I was at nine. Now I believe we put so much into the time of death that it is harder for us to return to our lives, but at the time I was unprepared for what would happen.
My mother’s death was terrible not that in it happened, but in those things that happened because of its happening. This would be the first of those sad events. I entered the class room thinking that all would be as it was when my 5th grade teacher called me to the front.
She told me, with the whole class watching, that if I needed to excuse myself to cry I could. I told her that I felt there would be no need for that, and to my surprise she broke down at that moment. She fell into my arms, and I as a young man had no idea how to react.
In my confusion I patted her on the back not truly understanding what was happening. I still fail to understand why she was overwhelmed by emotion. Why my own pain was felt so strongly by others I cannot say, but I assure you it didn’t help things.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal

Letting Things Go

Some days you just have too many bills

12th November 2011
Dear Cassi,

In recent weeks I’ve felt the sting of letting things go so more deeply than before that it has become a topic of note. I had to send in a payment for grad school, pay my property tax, replace my oven, and have my heater repaired all in the same week. Doing so lefty me behind in my finances though the four digit output of a single week was not braking to my bank.
I will say that the chief expense was my oven and even as the cheapest of its kind with installation it would run more than a thousand dollars. That’s one of those things about ovens. They do make smaller ovens, but not gas, and the little ones are really not worth using.
I could have bought my oven for a few dollars less if I wanted to wait until December to have it installed. However, the saving totaling less than fifty dollars was more than it would have cost to live without the device. I make more than a few things for my salads with the oven and to buy them I would have to settle for less healthy more expensive alternatives.
I was in luck on one point. One of my neighbors installs ovens for a living. He built a cradle for the thing to sit on in its cabinet because this oven was shorter than the last. I could have got one with a full sized broiler, but I’ve never used a broiler and have no idea what one does with a full sized one.
The oven came in and he put it in the wall for me the next day. It looks a bit ugly but I’ll stain the wood to match soon. I knew I couldn’t keep using the old oven. The side wall had bent and the screws that held the door on had fallen out. I just wish I didn’t have to pay for all this at once.

Stay Safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal

Saturday, November 26, 2011


In this economy they can ask for more work and credentials for less pay. I was once told that the way things are going one day we will all need Ph.D.’s to work at the local fast food restaurant

11th November 2011
Dear Cassi,

It was some time ago that I ran into a job post that I thought was a joke. I really thought it was either that or a misprint of some kind, because it advertised a security job needing a Bachelor’s Degree preferably in Social Work.
I sent in an application to this place and found that it was no joke. The pay was better than my unemployment so I went in for an interview. I’ve never waited for an interview that long past the appointment time. Not that I had anything better to do or that I failed to keep myself properly occupied, but job interviews always get my kiddies going.
I must have gone to the head at least five times before someone came out to see me and this place had those hot air machines. I guess they are better for the environment but they just fall short of paper towels.
I was met by a mature woman who took me to her office, and through her voice inflections and body language I could tell that she was quite taken with my credentials. I would say that she exhibited some enthusiasm for us to work together even before the interview.
When we had completed our proceedings she asked me to wait for the head of security to come and conduct my second interview. She came back a few minutes later and told me that he was at dinner, but that I should come back Monday at three.
More than two and a half hours after my interview appointment I walked out of that place feeling tired; tired, old, and weary for what lies ahead.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal 

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Innocent

This poem was transcribed from paper in nineteen ninety five but written when I was in Junior High School. I believe this style is called diamante. I recall studying it in class back then.

What happened is that I first worked on a PC in nineteen ninety four, and the work processor I had before then did not translate into the new format so I transcribed things.

You tell me if this is right for the mind of a 13 year old.

Sometime between 1992 and 1994

The Innocent


fragile, precious

growing, reaching, blooming,

soldiers, boots, guns, blood,

wilting, braking, falling

tattered, Bloody


Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have no idea who this letter was sent to or if it was sent at all. I imagine it never was and a good thing given how much I ramble.

By “finished a play” I mean closed a production where I was an extra. My part evolved to become the angel of death, because I came to put death masks on everyone.

I have no less than thirty eight documents from nineteen ninety five to go through now and most look like they should be posted.

That is more remembering who I was than anyone can be comfortable with, but I will press on.

26th March 1995

Dear Veronica,
I just finished a play called "The Language of Flowers". It was tiring, but it was worth it. My grades Suffered a bit but you know how it is. I still haven't gotten in to TV that is what I wish I was doing. There is more money in TV. I got in touch with an actor friend of mine. He said that I can be represented, but at he had lost the agents number.
The room of my dwelling is too small for a 15 year old. All I can think of some times is a bigger room. I have a dream a two story house and neighbors that live 1\4 mile from the place. It’s too much to ask for at this age, but a man can dream can't he.

To dream
a warm embrace in the night
that you wish would never end
if it is humble
or impossible
it is still a sliver of heaven
not easily left in the dust
of the human mind
like an echo
it returns
to hold the mind prisoner
for another time
I apologize for the bad poetry it just gets in my blood that's all. Never been very good at it, but I will get better with practice. Sometimes I get some words in my skull and they stick there like I need to use them. It’s not a crime to be bad at something; it’s just a burden we must endure.
In good health,

R.L. Neal

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pen Pal Ish

I remember this well. We had pen pals for Spanish and I never made the connection that I was only supposed to write in Spanish for them.

What can I say? I lived in a home where I had to accept violence as a way of life. I came to school and was harassed and berated. At no point was there even one voice to cut the hell storm.

I had identity problems then, and I have identity problems now. I wrote letters as R.L.N., and Leland, and Richard, and so forth.

It comes to me that I should have some refrains as to what was so wrong with me at that time so I can let any new readers know. Then again, I may just want to do that to settle my own mind.

18th January 1995
Dear Lydia,

How does it go in Trinidad, I am Richard L. Neal, but you can call me Leland. I am also known to my friends as Mr. Neal, and by a girl I know as Neal.
I’m always typing on my computer, it dominates my life. Most of the work I do is for school, but school never really helps me. It seems to get harder every time I walk through those gates the 1st day of school.
My friends are little company they seem to not understand my actions or my words, so the insults rag on, and I feel bad. It just seems that there spiteful, and they know it. So I feel strange and I seem to study everything that they do. Then I feel like I'm above them all.                
If I am not mistaken they speak Spanish in Trinidad, do you want letters in Spanish? It will be challenging, but doable.
I believe that it is harder to get mad at a pen pal because you really do not have the opportunity. I must continue searching for the best way to have a friend, despite the advantages of a pen pal it would be expensive if you had a lot of them.
So much for that, tell me about you, everything, anything, all I know is your name and where you live. Hope to write weekly, but that plan may be compromised. I fear that my letters will be short; because most of the things I write are, you will see this in all probability.
All I can say is that I will move in 6 years, and I have a lot of name labels to use, but that is not important. What is important is that we will be communicating in the time to come, and I hope it will be stimulating. The normal company I keep is my cat, and all she has to say is Food, out, and milk, so you can imagine how important your letters will be to me. Not to mention the growth of the stamp collection that is to become a family tradition if past on, you will find me a man with lots of hobbies in time it is all too obvious how I attempt to cloud my mind with possessions that are worthless. All I have said is that my life is anything but plain, and that all my friends think I am insane.
If you have any questions I would love to hear them and answer them to my greatest ability. I will be waiting for your letters. It will be up lifting to get more mail. It is not often that I get anything but junk, and it is boring. I think I would prefer if you wanted the letters in Spanish now that I think about it. It gives me a reason to learn the language better, and if it helps you to understand it helps us both.
I am afraid I must go now.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What was I Thinking?

If there is one thing that truly messes with a man it is his own face in the mirror made clear. That’s why it so hard for me to look back at these old essays.

That would lead to the question: “so why are you posting this online?” To be honest, I’m not all that sure. There are things I find that I will refrain from posting, but that is due to the work involved.

I believe that date is incorrect or that this was an essay for my freshman English class. I think I must have been the dumbest fifteen year old in all the state of California at the time, and I still have no idea how I graduated from high school.

Well this is an essay where I tried to say that we need good teachers, well written text books, and motivated students to teach mathematics. At the time I couldn’t even spell mathematics, what did I know?   

                              2nd January 1995                           
M Forward

Math is the subject of today's essay. You all, I am sure, have taken it under different titles. So it must be explored good points, bad points, and flaws in application, so that it is understood.
Math enables us to do almost everything in life that we do now, it is considered by some to be more than or as essential as reading. This is perfectly true as I can see it. Math is a tool in business, and the more you know the better you can do, depending on how you use it, if you use it. It can and will give you a better understanding of what you do. Inside of all this are the bad points that always exist.
Common bad points are in un-learnable nature of math, it is confusing. In theory the equation for math learning is teacher X materiel plus study equals result or TM+S=R and the best to have is 25(2)+50=100 the teacher is a very important part as you can see. However math's greatest enemy is bad books, I have never seen good math books in fact. Not to mention that to teach math appropriately is thought to be too hard to do, or at least impractical. Can you detect the confusion?
The greatest problem with math as far as uses is that Math has attributed to the damaging things of today. Math gives us the ability to do bad and good and the two are inseparable. This is a topic that is not commonly brought up. However, you can counter math with itself. They used math to build the missal and to detect it.
until next time R.L.N.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fools and Believers

I recall this situation and think it is far more interesting than the letter I wrote. Little known to me that the person I was writing to had no intention of putting my work on stage. It turns out that this person had a policy that only play writes from as far from the college as possible would have their work produced.

Given that the recipient of this letter was a Theater Teacher at a community college, and that we pay this person to better the students they teach I have to call that dereliction of duty.

In the classroom I have found so many little tyrants that I can no longer count them. Education loses its usefulness when the educators preach their gospel and declare a private kingdom. We end up with fools and believers rather than thinkers and doers.

31st October 2006
Dear (Community) College,

I’m submitting this script at the insistent request of some of my colleagues. I can only hope that their praise of my work comes from honesty rather than friendship, but one can never tell. If nothing else you should find the material different and engaging. 

I wrote this play with a large stage in mind and in such a way that it would not bore designers. However, I believe the special effects can be omitted and up to seven characters can be removed without damaging the script. In truth the reasoning behind suck a large cast as this was to give all of the “cat fish men,” as my readers have come to call them, speaking roles.

One of the strongest aspects of this play is that the scenes run in two directions in time, odd scenes moving forward and even moving backward. This gives the play a mystery feel with a “what did they do?” to go along with the “who done it?”


Richard Leland Neal

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rebel at the End of the World: and Essay

I have no date for this, it was written sometime in the first three months of 2011 for a Radio Television and Film class at a state school.

The assignment was “Rebel Without a Cause” and I got an A- for my work. I have included my references for your approval. 

Rebel at the End of the World

“Rebel Without a Cause” was an act of Hollywood addressing the breakdown of family in the light of the cold war. The failure of family is the most overt theme. The three main characters all have grossly dysfunctional families and all three suffer some abandonment. However, the theme of the world ending in nuclear fire is a looming cloud over the heads of the characters and their families. If one were not familiar with the time in witch “Rebel Without a Cause” was set and written the references to the cold war might be missed. None the less, the end of the world was something people truly thought they might see living in the time of the film.
The three characters of Jim, Judy, and Plato start the movie as troubled youths all hauled into a police station for varying reasons. Plato’s reason is the most heinous because it involves the destruction of something innocent, puppies, and is the foreshadowing of his own end.  The idea that Plato kills these puppies because they never knew their father and would be abandoned by their mother(Wood) is a tempting one. However, the actions of the world around Plato are more of note here than his own actions. The crime Plato has committed is cruelty to animals, and if nothing else he should have been held by police because of his mental instability.
An underage boy with a firearm who has just killed puppies is certainly a danger to himself and others.  Yet, it is unclear if the police have taken any action whatsoever other than just calling his home and having his made come get him. As we learn later in the film Plato still has access to the firearm, and this access proves to be his death. This would imply that all charges were dropped. Plato’s mother and father are absent from this movie and he, needing that parent figure, called out for help by committing a crime. His call was denied by the authorities, and instead of taking interest in his case he was sent home to deal with his problems on his own.
It is implied that this happens often to Plato when Jim offers him his Jacket. Plato refuses the act of kindness by refusing to speak to Jim. This act of mistrust comes up again later in the story when Plato is cornered by Buzz’s thugs in the old mansion. Plato screams “why did you leave me?” and “You’re not my father” rejecting Jim seeing this as another act of betrayal.  The strength of Plato’s response is one excepted by the audience because of his previous neurotic actions. Plato is a nervous character living on a knife’s edge of emotion.
This knife’s edge would have resonated in the audience of the time. One of the most important events preceding the film was the death of Josef Stalin and the ceasefire of the Korean War. It was a ceasefire not a victory, a momentary end to aggression that could start up again at any moment. Korea was a situation as volatile as the mind of Plato through the course of the movie. Moreover, Plato is a Greek name and the Greek Civil War was the first major conflict in the overall Cold War (Hermes 6-9). It is tempting to say that without the United States Greece would have fallen to the communists just as without intervention Plato is doomed, but this is reading too far into the reference. It is enough to say that Americans should have looked at Plato and his gun and been reminded of a war that ended only five years earlier. The Greek Civil War was a major victory for NATO and the United States but it was dissention among the communists that led to our victory. Again it is a long shot to say that there is a paralleled between the in family disagreements of the communists and the family problems of the character but the connection would resonate with the audience of the day.
Another tempting idea is that the presence of the red dress and jacket are symbolic for the red of communism. This idea is almost completely ridiculous given that the red jacket worn by Jim was an afterthought. Red, however, is an important symbol in the movie. In the first scene Judy is wearing a red dress and has red lipstick. She talks about her father rubbing her lipstick off. This is her moment of greatest distress and it is dominated by red. Red for Judy has the double meaning of gaining her father’s attention and drawing his anger (Wood). In her final words in this scene “My mother, you said it would be my father!” This indicates that her acting out is a bid for his attention. It is a commonly held idea that to the deprived any attention is good attention.
Judy’s father’s response is anything but encouraging. When we see her at home there is no mention of the event. Moreover, her father’s violent reaction to her affection tells us of his own mixed emotions. In this time period there would be nothing wrong with a daughter kissing her father. It is he that feels there is something dirty about this and his lashing out, his striking his own daughter, is an act of guilt. This man is attracted to his own little girl and rather than admit that something is wrong he turns his affections to anger.
Red in this scene is muted and pushed into the fore and background. Its strongest place is on Judy’s brother’s clothes, and it resides there because likewise residing there is Judy’s father’s affection. The embrace Judy’s father gives her brother is coveted by Judy. In the same moment we see his coldness towards her and his warmth toward his son. Judy looks cold in pale blue and her brother warm in bright red. If red is the symbol of Judy’s desire than her brother has what she wants.
Red in the film is desire and the desire driving the characters is the “search for the father” (Eisenschitz 254) then the act of Jim putting the red jacket on is the act of him accepting the role as object of desire. Jim is first rejected by Judy and the jacket is lost but red is never missing from his character. His pants at the planetarium are maroon and his tie a dark red. Red is often seen in the background of the chickie run scene implying that desire is in the air, and the red slash, signaling the death of Buzz, is desire permeating the air.
In the very end of the film Jim takes off his red jacket and gives it to Plato. This is because desire is transferred onto Plato as the focus of the action. Jim is trying to save Plato at the end. The desire to have saved the poor boy will live on forever in the lives of Jim and Judy.
It is indeed symbolic that the death takes place at the planetarium. The planetarium is connected with death and is the place where the plans that lead to the death of Buzz were laid. Both times the planetarium is visited the end of the world is discussed. The first time the earth is regarded to have already been destroyed by the planetarium director and his gross failure to intervene in the fight between Buzz and Jim leads to destruction.  The second time they arrive at the planetarium Plato asks Jim when he thinks the end of the world will happen. Jim tells him “At dawn.” Shortly after Plato is killed by police.
The planetarium is the symbol for technology and where as the space race will not kick off until Sputnik in 57 the American people would have been aware of the capture of German scientists to further the US and Soviet missile programs. Technology was the main battle ground of the Cold War and the mansion, so close to it in the world of the film, resembles a post apocalyptic ruin.
The mansion is one of the most symbolic sequences in the film. When the three teens arrive they begin to mimic their parent figures. Plato becomes a servant as he is raised by a nanny. Jim and Judy become a married couple who talk about children as if they are an inconvenience much as they must feel treated as one by their parents. They even talk about drowning children “like puppies” reminding us of Plato’s crime at the beginning of the film. As they play their game they are unaware of the danger lurking right outside. This could be the feeling of the public looking the other way in the light of a looming war with The USSR.  In short time the dilapidated building becomes a battle ground. In the ending action of the play Jim must dodge bullets, make peace, and watch that peace be once again shattered by an un-understanding world. 
Dean’s character of Jim may be seen as the most straight forward. James Dean lost his mother and had a falling out with his father making him like the Jim character (Sanjuro). Jim is looking for his father to stand up to his mother. “If only he had the guts to knock her cold just once. Then maybe she would be happy.” He feels that his family can’t be happy without a strong father figure and his mother’s verbal jabbing emasculates the man.
We can see the emasculated side of Jim’s father when Jim comes home from the chickie run to find his father preparing a meal for his mother wearing a woman’s frilly apron. Jim’s father is now literally wearing his wife’s clothes. Unless Jim’s mother is a working woman, unlikely in the fifties, she should normally do the cooking in the home. Jim’s father is now as much mother as father in this scene. Jim even comments that he thought his father was his mother and why not he is wearing her dress?

Jim becomes the father figure in this family when his own father is wearing that apron. When Jim’s father drop the tray of food he says he needs to clean it up before his wife sees it placing his wife at the center of his concern. Jim tells him to let his mother see the mess asking him to abandon his fear of her. Other instances of this are Jim telling his father he wants a straight answer out of him throughout the film. Jim’s father, unable to act on his own, refuses time and time again failing Jim as he has done time and time over.

One of the most important moments between Jim’s family is the fight over weather Jim should go to the police over the death of Buzz. During this scene Jim grabs his father and shoves him towards his mother. Jim has already proved that he is no cowered in the world of the film by participating in the game of chicken. He has now set the example for his father to follow and is asking his father to be the man that he has proven himself to be. Jim does get his wish in some form at the end when his father runs to the body of Plato thinking it is Jim. This transformation is incomplete and sad, but whatever Jim’s father is Jim has come to grips with this finding the family he wanted in Judy.

The sad world of the film is one that permits no reliance on the family or the state to resolve problems. When any of the characters looked to authority they found only empty promises and gestures.  This ending idea is that resolution will come only when the characters find in themselves what they need and stop looking for it in family and authority.


Eisenschitz, Bernard. Nicholas Ray: An American Journey. London: Faber, 1993.

Hermes, Jr., Walter. Truce Tent and Fighting Front. WASHINGTON, D. C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 2002. 2, 6-9.

Rebel without a Cause, Dir. Nicholas Ray, Warner Brothers, 1955

Sanjuro, Erik A. Reviw of Rebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, 2006.

Wood, Chris. Finding the Father: A Psychoanalytic Study of Rebel Without a Cause. The Canadian Journal Of Irish Studies, Spring 2000

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Dumb Essay

I should have done better for Freshman College English, but I believe this was for English 60 Pre College English, and I’m ashamed of this document. I’ve written worse mind, oh have I written worse, and some testament to my mental durability can be found in the fact that my mind could function at all with the disease I had.   

I have no recollection of the grade I earned for this assignment. I can tell you I should have failed. I counted no less than four spelling errors in the first paragraph. I wish I found it hard to believe that my teachers ignored my problems without insisting that I take steps to correct the defects in my mind.

I will grant that celebrates and celebrities or celebrate and celebrity have a very similar spelling, but a High School graduates and freshman in college have no business getting it wrong.

A few other spelling errors

categories categorize, role vs. roll, excepts accepts, stores stories.

Now let me grant that this is no great piece of literature. Then if you want to get a close look into my life reading my old school papers is one way of doing that, and if you don’t like this I should have something you will like tomorrow.  

7th April 1999

And We Look To

We as a people categorize the individuals we look up to in three ways heroes, celebrities, and role models. One can perhaps be all of these at once or any combination of the three. However, often the criteria for celebrity and hero are too different to merge for any amount of time.
First, we have the hero, one who puts themselves at risk for the safety of others. Some very good examples of heroes are the persons of law enforcement. Take for example my friend Joe, Joe works for the LAPD and from what I understand he is one of them more at risk officers. He leaves his home knowing that he may never return. He leaves his home every morning knowing that he may die in the line of duty and never see his wife again. Every day he risks his life for the good of the people he serves and accepts only his unsubstantial paycheck for it, and so Joe is the true definition of a hero.

Then we have celebrities, people who are celebrated for whatever reason. Patrick Stewart the man who played Captain Picard is a celebrity because of his appearance on stage. They have conventions in honor of this man and his role in Star Trek. He could probably retire by selling his signature to many of his adoring fans. He is celebrated not for any valor or personal worth but for his acting ability. He is celebrated and loved for appearances. He stands in the public eye.

One good example of a role model (from what I hear) is Stephen King. He is a good family man, provider, and father. He is a disciplined writer that states “most of what I do is crap, but it’s all worth it because every once in a while I get to do something really worth righting.” Many of us never appreciate the real amount of work that goes in to putting stories together, and the amount of research he does allows the reader to really get a good look at the characters and their lives. The man does his homework so to speak. He is a shining example of talent and discipline.

I would like to note that I didn’t do my homework on Stephen King and so did not know that he had problems with drug addiction when I wrote this essay.

So the three forms of our admiration stand, we will love or hate the individuals that fill these names, but still they are what they are. My friend Joe could be a role model or Stephen King a celebrity. Like it or not, they all inspire, guide, and inform us with shining examples of right and wrong.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Radio People

Okay, this is a cover letter to a job search. Not much to say beyond that.
28th October 2011
Dear (radio people),

I am responding to your ad for radio voices as I have been commonly told that I have a great voice for the medium.

I have had a few years training in theater arts, but I abandoned this about three years ago feeling that theater persons in the state of California have too poor an understanding of the business side of things.  

You can get a good idea of my sound and personality at my YouTube channel . The sound equipment I use is rather simple, but you can still tell if you like what you hear.

Thank you for your time

Richard Leland Neal

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Short Stories

It comes a time in my life that I have to look at things from another standpoint, and where as I have always wanted to be a novelist novel writing is hard, hit or miss, and time consuming.

So it came to me that so long as I was hammering away on the latest draft of a novel I should try to market the parts that fail to fit as short stories.

Short story writing is only lucrative if you write a great volume of publishable work. I think if your work is really something it may get further publication, but this is an area of publishing I have yet to explore.

If this piece sells I will make about one hundred and thirty dollars. Not enough to make it minimum wage.

27th October 2011
Dear Editors at (Science Fiction Magazine),

I am an unpublished author in any paying market, but I did place a few poems in my High School publication back in the day.

My story is called ‘Live or Die’ and runs 2,427 words. It is science fiction in that it is set on an alien world and involves alien monsters.

You can probably guess that there is more from this universe and with this character, but I felt this to be a good point to start.

Thank you for your time

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


20th October 2011
Dear Fellows,

I’m responding to your job post for a set builder.

I built sets for theater in high school and college, but I was never paid for it.

I worked with (Instructor) at (Junior College), and he should remember me. I’ve cut wood and steel, painted, and assembled sets for college theater productions.

I understand that I’m under qualified for the job, but I can get the job done, and I know what it’s like to work under a deadline.

Thanks for your time,

Richard Leland Neal  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Love Kitties

I must say that I’m a sucker for a furry face, and this old tomcat was one that I will never forget. My sister took him when she moved out and left me with a hundred pounds of poop factory with teeth at one end.

What was going through my head when I wrote this I have no idea. I guess it was something I wanted to remember.  
23rd August 2006

So I just had one of those adult moments. You know the ones you always hear about like the first time you had to fish something out of the toilet yourself.

Okay, so everybody knows my first adult moment happened when I was nine, and I said, “I’m going to the story everybody make a list,” but this one was the first adult moment that didn’t suck.
My cat, Trouble, brought me a lizard. He just brought it in, plopped it down, and sat there as if to say “look what I did, daddy, aren’t you proud?” Well, he didn’t even kill the thing, but I just left it out in the garden with the hope of it running away.
That’s Trouble for you, my youngest cat, a big black beast with yellow eyes and strange red hair on his chest. I named him after me. He’s trying to be cuddly at the moment because someone (who is short lazy and of dubious hygiene) locked him in the garage all night and he left us a present in the laundry.  
All that business and it still gratifying to know that he thinks I’m the big cat.