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Friday, March 29, 2013

When we Feel at Ease


01 25 2013

As a note on perception, Randi, it is my understanding that we can examine two kinds of stimulus the familiar and the foreign. A familiar stimulus sets us at ease as it is something we know and understand. Think of it this way, if you were a primitive person searching for food for your tribe and you saw figs, and new them to be edible, you would be happy as this notes that you will now feed your tribe.

Further, on arriving home it would be calming to see familiar faces to great you and knowing were thins are in your environment is settling.  If all people disappeared from this earth but me and I was near my home I would know where the nearest lake and river is so I can find water. If I was in the middle of Los Angeles, twenty five miles away, I would have much more trouble unless the plumbing was still running.  If some calamity were to take LA my first instinct would be to return home to ground I am familiar with so that I can find what I need.

This is why it puts a person at easy when they see a name they remember in a reference list. It sets us on ground we know and can understand through past experience.

Foreign stimulus has a greater impact on the mind as a matter of survival. If you were foraging for food to feed your tribe and ran across gooseberries, and had never seen them before, this would draw interest because they have all the similarities to fruit that you know of and eat. Gooseberries kind of look like prickly green or red plumbs and grow in a bush like many fruits. The fruit hangs like grapes and sometimes appear in bunches.

If the gooseberry is the only thing that appears edible you may wind up trying one out of hunger or curiosity. You may see another animal eat them and so think that they are edible.  Still it would be wise to sniff them, break them open, and lick the exposed bits before eating one. When the berries are returned to the tribe they would be greeted with apprehension.  You would eat one showing the tribe that they are edible and slowly they would all join you.

Further, because you had never eaten the berries before they would stay distinct in memory so that knowledge of them will be strong when next they are encountered.  Even today, if you introduce a friend to gooseberries they would be more likely to remember them than if you had eaten grapes. They would be more likely to remember funny looking grapes than grapes with which they are more familiar.

This would be why you felt as you did when reading the chapter and you probably already knew that so I sound like an idiot.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tell Me if this is True


I couldn’t tell you where they dug up the fellow I was writing to in this case but he killed my desire to get my master’s. I have no further faith in education. Education appears to be what a man does with his time when he is honestly incapable of anything useful.

It comes to me that I often talked about education as my backup plan but spend more time and energy on it than any other investment. Do I want that time back? Yes, I do, I wish I had the time back to go and do things that I wanted to do with my life instead of throwing my time away with people like Doctor Charley here.

If a man wants to spend his life with his head tucked firmly between his butt cheeks that’s his business but asking me to do the same for a grade is just more than I can take.

01/21/2013
One of the things we learn in physics, Dr. Charley, is that often the same event can be viewed and described more than one way and that both descriptions can be rather accurate.  You are right in calling me a skeptic only if you mean it in the classic sense. I question for the sake of questioning facts long held so that in doing so I will understand them.

From my studies in psychology I have learned that the good parent does not simply tell their children how to act but explains the reason behind those actions. I have learned this to also be the case with a good supervisor or anyone so placed to lead others. As I have worked with those who have anger problems I have found it quite helpful to explained the biological mechanisms for anger management and in doing so I have given my clients more freedom with which to help themselves.  The engineer need know the how and why of his workings and so the mechanic to do their work well.

In the world of mental health I prefer not to tell clients what to do but rather help them come to a conclusion they can live with comfortably.  Were I to be so overbearing as to tell clients how to live their lives there future problems would fall on my head and not theirs. Thus we permit them to move in what way they will and give them the skills with which to decide for themselves.

In my passing, I have worked with many true believers and found them to be a hard to help bunch. The true believer who believes in god is often no more of good folk than the one who is a true believer in no god. Further, I am no Christian but have explained Christianity to good Christian folk who hungrily wanted to know and found their faith affirmed by my words.

An examination of history, the history of science most clearly, will yield a point that even the most ridiculous ideas often should be discounted not off hand but by the same logic we deduce any other thing as right and wrong. Did we not at one time think the sun revolved around the earth and now see it differently? History is littered with fact becoming fiction and fiction becoming fact. By looking deeper I believe I get more out of my studies, and by reading my work you can tell me if this is true.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Strange Energy


01/20/2013
I confess, Elmarie, that this idea of “Einsteinian Medicine” still escapes me. The concept of the living system as a “network of complex energy fields that interface with physical/cellular systems” (Gerber 1996 as cited by Mayer 2009, p.8) sounds loosely connected to special relativity where energy and mass are two expressions of the same thing. Einstein’s famous E=MC2 gives us the idea that if we could separate mass into energy the output would be very large.

Biological systems run off chemical energy not nuclear energy and so have a much smaller output rate. Moreover, it takes energy to convert input to energy output. In terms of mental health it is safe to say that energy production has a lower priority than a direct interface with major problems. The idea is biologically sound because in primitive life a major problem would be hiding from or running from a predator. Longer term stressors may have been drought or famine.

One of the behaviors I have noted in my more mentally disturbed clients is the tendency to wander the hallways at night as they cannot sleep or sit still. Light sleep would make the approach of a predator easier to detect giving the life form time to react. Wandering may be a way of searching for food and water in the case of a shortage. In short, depression and anxiety may be the most appropriate biological response to simple environmental problems.

In the modern day problems are much more complicated. Finding a job is much harder than finding food in the wild for those who know how to perform these actions. In order to find food or water all that is needed is to locate and recognize. To find a job requires having the right skills and experience along with the ability to establish yourself as a good candidate.

There are education commercials, I believe of the University of Phoenix, that state there are more open jobs than jobless people in the United States.  Many Americans have more than one job and still we have both major unemployment and a large number of open positions. Even at my own work the large number of open positions does nothing to drive up wages, as would be natural, and even with a large work force to draw from qualified candidates are still hard to find.

I guess this would mean that energy psychology is a fight against our primitive selves in order to function in a more complicated world. Can anyone add to this or give me some clarity?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear EA Games


2nd March 2013
Dear EA Games,

Have you ever considered a real time strategy counterpart to your Dead Space franchise? I’ve never been a shooter fan, but I love your Dead Space title and would very much like to play in that universe.


Large components for the design and writing of a strategy game are completed for you and the maps to play on could be the existing setting of the Dead Space game. After all, at some point security teams had to take back the star ship Ishimura from the necromorphs. This would have taken man power and strategy as any team sent in could have simply increased the number of undead aboard the ship.  Not to mention the other outbreaks that must have come about.

A real time strategy game would open the Dead Space experience to a new audience and expand the titles coveted by fans. In other words, you’re looking at a minimal investment in expanding the existing franchise. Video games are often good investments to begin with, but adding titles in another genre has yielded some of the most profitable games to date.

Taking and holding areas in a Dead Space strategy game would be the primary goal in addition to protecting or capturing human populations. A poorly laid attack for the humans would lead to a stronger enemy and moving in groups that are too dense would leave humans open to attack from their own who are susceptible to the marker’s influence. Further, the longer troupes stay in the combat zone the less stable they would become.

On the other side, necromorph strategy would be more along the lines of evading and holding as human troupes will turn in time.  Necromorph have all the time in the world. They could prove a new dynamic for the real time strategy.

Play like you mean it,

Richard Leland Neal




Monday, March 18, 2013

Last Day of Leland


27th July 2012
Dear Cassi,

It comes to me that I have not told you of the last note in Grandpa Leland’s life that was played so many years ago. Leland was a man who had little love for doctors and even less for medication. He would crush pills and mix them with honey to get them down, because he had trouble swallowing them. Still he lived to be seventy five from what I understand. In his last years he had a sixty inch waste and did little moving.
       
I’m told once one of my aunts came over to help him with his laundry and found in his sheets blood. Not spots of red, mind, but deep puddles that had stained the bed itself.  The family insisted he go to see a doctor and only after some pushing Leland agreed. They found that he had colon cancer, but he lived for many years after that discovery. 
       
When Leland finally passed he did so in his sleep. He was found the next morning with the number of his undertaker on his bed stand. The old man knew he wasn’t long for this world, but he had that number because this undertaker was a friend. It would appear as if this man in question had retired from the business of the dead some years before but not saw those he had fondness for to the other side. Thus, grandpa went to the darkness gently touched by old hands that cared for him.
       
Family came out of the woodwork to go to the funeral but Alan refused to let them see his father’s body. “You pay your respect when a man is alive” he would say. Alan thought most of those folks just wanted to have a run at his father’s things. People can get greedy when folks die and will go about taking what they are not welcome to have.  The funeral was a small affair from what I gather but I have no recollection of this event.
       
There is much to be learned from this, Cassi, both from the passing of Leland and the actions of Alan. Firstly, it is good to have your affairs well in order when you pass. Sounds morbid I guess, but in this world a person has to look after things as best they can.

Secondly, to this we learn that the time is now to see things dealt with in our lives and loved ones. In the time of our lives we should see disputes settle if we want them to be so and never let the little things turn bad. That is a lesson everyone in my genetic similarity should learn as we have never been folks to get on. In the fragile nature of our lives we should never live for someday. Living for someday only means that we had laid today aside.

When I look over my life I see so much preparation for the future but so little joy and light. I have wallowed in darkness for so many years that I forgot the sight of the sun. For so much of my life I have been nothing but a walking ghost because I never learned from Grandpa Leland.


Live at least a little every day, little sister,



Richard Leland Neal

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sad News


25th July 2012
Dear Cassi,

I received sad news with my coffee today. The long drive into Yorba Linda to by my equal exchange coffee put me in an ill spirit as the road had been packed with traffic. As I think I have said, the proceeds from this coffee go to a hospital so I find it worth the drive.

Still when I arrived at the home of my supplier I learned that one of his cats had passed in the time since my last case. This cat had been an orange tabby and a friendly old fellow at that as he would put his front paws up on my leg to ask me to pick him up. I grant that I have a tendency to pick up cats and small dogs but few are so enthusiastic about the affair.

On my last visit he had turned to bone and fur. He was lighter than a kitten. The animal was so frail I was afraid to hold him as I feared I might injure him. I sat down on a bench in the back yard and let him sit on my lap. He was no less eager for my company than he had ever been and he brushed his head against my arm as he always would when I came over.

The old cat was a talker, who would never be silent in my company, but his call had gone soft and so had his fur. The once strong passes of his forehead against my arm had turned to gentle nudges. I could tell that there was almost no life left in him.

Saver what moments that you have, little sister,


Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Digital Cruelty


24th July 2012
Dear Cassi,

Today Pickles told me a story about Turtle Nose. It was a point I only have some vague recollection of and it may have been more than ten years ago. It was a story regarding Turtle Nose’s sadistic nature.
       
It would seem that Turtle Nose put his hands on one of those cheap digital toys called a Giga Pet. Giga Pets are the American name for a Japanese toy called a Tamagotchi. These are digital pets that are as annoying as real pets without any of the cuddly bits. Turtle Nose would to carry that thing on his backpack when he went to college. I think it was red but that was a long time ago and I can only but some cloudy images together on the subject.

In any case, these things are a good amount like a real pet in that they need to be fed, have to sleep, can be disciplined, and can learn tricks. Pickles account of Turtle Nose’s time with the toy was that he refused to feed it and kept disciplining the poor thing until it died. There are some video games that are by their nature sadistic. There are more video games that can be played sadistically.

As for the Giga Pets they were pulled and rereleased because they needed twenty-four hour care. These things became a disruption in the school room and some folks said that they bothered them when they tried to sleep. Modern Tamagotchi can be turned off and reset and I think that’s what Turtle Nose had because they came out in the early part of this century. Strange how they made digital things that can suffer and Turtle nose found a way to make that happen, took joy in doing so.

Then I have to say that Turtle Nose was sadistic in most of his video game playing. I recall him wiping out whole towns of innocent people in games. I remember there was one game that he kept killing everyone and the game sent bounty hunters after him. They had weapons that should have just bounced off the in game armor but killed him on the first shot just the same. I guess the game was feeling abused.

Further, he took games into real life. He had been a pick pocket and thief in many games and one day started doing that in real life. We both can attest to his thievery. He would steal things from stores just to do so and say ‘I’m leveling up my thief skill’. Then one day he was apprehended steeling batteries. He got off with a fine but from then on went about stealing from folks who trusted him.

Those who take joy in the pain of others, even virtual others, should be ashamed of themselves. Those more genteelly disposed cannot be so only at times but should always be of gentler substance. Anyone can have good moments in their life, but good people have a nature that shines through in all they do even in the digital world.

Keep a good heart, little sister,


Richard Leland Neal

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Devil’s Victim


19th July 2012
Dear Cassi,

Today the oddest thing happened to me, a man came to my desk asking for medical attention as he thought the devil had burnt his eyes. He was no client of mine but a call to the authorities is one service I provide to anyone. Working with the homeless you see strange things, working in Hollywood you see stranger things, working with the homeless of Hollywood you see the strangest things humanity has to offer.
       
When he came to the desk I could tell something was wrong. His eyes were not burnt but he had torn most of his lashes out. This gave him a sick infected appearance as the damaged skin shown pink against his brown. I’m not sure what causes this condition. I believe it is some kind of addiction behavior but I honestly am without the knowledge.
       
On his request for water I reached into my work bag and gave him the one liter bottle I brought from home. This is against the rules but no one would fault me for looking after a man in so bad a situation. He accepted the bottle but did not break the seal. He simply went on talking.
       
He told me that his brother and mother had sacrificed him to the devil one night. There was pain in his words at saying this because he believed ever syllable he said to me. It was then that he said the devil had burnt his eyes and so I asked if he needed an ambulance. Calling nine, one, one was the relief it has become for me these last few months.
       
He said that he needed to go to a hospital and that he needed help. He asked me to kill him because he was afraid to do it himself. “How could they do that,” he asked me, and all I could do was hope the authorities would arrive soon.
       
I told the operator that I had a man who needed help and that he had told me that the devil burnt his eyes. They asked if he was getting violent and I said he was just excited. I learned later that they were asking if I needed the police or just and ambulance. Getting down and dirty with a mental case is something fire people tend not to like. 

If there is a wrong thing to do in a moment like this it would have to be to lose your cool. I kept calm because keeping calm is what keeps a man safe, but the devil’s victim was going crazy.
       
The wait for the ambulance was a long one but then that always feels long. As they came the man talked on about the “Blue Santerra”, whatever that is, and the subliminal messages that the devil had been sending. At some point he opened the bottle of water I gave him and poured it over his face. “That felt good!” he yelled and drank some then poured more over his eyes.
       
I stood up hoping to be able to see the fire people with him in the way and he told me that I was the devil because I was standing. “How can I be the devil,” I asked, “I’ve been trying to help you this whole time.” Help arrived and he thought they were the devil too. “They’re not firemen, they don’t have uniforms,” he said “and look, they’re wearing red!” The man in front had a bit of red electrical tape on his radio.
       
The devil’s victim tried to run from the rescue workers but he had no place to go. “Are you freaking out?” one of them asked and they shortly had him in an arm lock. I could hear him scream as they strapped him to a stretcher and carted him off.
       
As to what they did with him, I can only hope he found the help he needed. There are days I feel like the shepherd of lost souls. In the end we can only hope and wonder, but I know I did all I can for him.

Stay strong, little sister,


Richard Leland Neal

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Old Man and His Excuses


12th July 2012

Dear Cassi,

Over the past few months there has been a terrible eye sore on my block. Old Ken, who is obsessed with working on everyone’s lawn, has been mooning the neighborhood. This action has drawn complaints from his wife and Pickles, but other than myself no one took action.
         
On hearing the distaste of this action Ken would simply say, “It’s my hips” and go about showing the world his back end. His wife asked him to put on overalls and he would refuse, a belt did little good, and he refused to buy new shirts. At some point I took matters into my own hands and found him a half dozen long extra large shirts. He promptly folded these and put them in his closet looking after them because of their newness.
         
This state of affairs aggravated me so and I took the subject to him again asking why the shirts were gathering dust. “You see what’s hanging in my garage? I got paint on that one so I had to wash it,” he said. He further explained that his wife would not have him get them dirty. I’d have taken this to the neighborhood watch if I thought it would have addressed the issue, but you know I have distaste for asking for help. Asking for help has never served me.
         
It came then that my own long work shirts had taken one too many bleachings, and so, had holes. I replaced my work shirts and gave the old to Ken to which he stated that he couldn’t use that many shirts. “Then throw out the one’s that can’t cover your ass!” I shot back at him and made clear that I meant business.
         
Just yesterday I talked to his wife about this and said there should be no further issue as I had given Ken old shirts to put on when working in the yard. She looked at me as if I had said the sky was falling and asked what I meant. It turned out that she had never given her husband any flack about getting shirts dirty and knew nothing of the last batch I had given him.
         
“That’s horse shit,” his wife said to me when I told her that her husband had blamed her for the past few months of is back end hanging out. I guess that goes to show you that a good talk over something can carve away a lot of nonsense.
         
Everyone on the block is happy that this has been dealt with and we can all go about our business back end free. In this world there are problems that need to be seen to and many who will just huff about them. I’m not one of those folks.

Do more than talk, little sister,


                                                                                             
Richard Leland Neal

Friday, March 1, 2013

Resurrection


3rd July 2012
Dear Cassi,

I picked up my old Saturn today and found that all that was wrong was a broken ring seal. Where this ring seal was I cannot say but its damaged nature made my gears move to the side and not connect.

Further along, I learned that his was under warrantee and that my car had been repaired for free. Had I not replaced the car this would have been a blessed event. Then the ten days it took for them to work on my car makes me think that there is more to it than just a ring seal.
       
The mechanic had warned me that the transmission could fail soon rendering the repair I had paid nearly three thousand dollars for useless.

The car I got back from him drove poorly and was so far out of alignment that I could hardly drive it as far as my work. If ever there was a time to give pass on repairs and buy a new car it was then.

I was roused just before five in the evening by Pickles who had said that Ken asked him to waken me. I showered and dressed and we went to the bank to get more money for the repairs to my home. It was then to the mechanic to see again the car that I have driven for all the years of our knowing each other.

The drive home placed me in somber thought as to whether I had done the right thing. Then what difference did it make? Had all the universe come to me and said yes or no it still could not have undone what had been done.
       
There was finality in what I had done and I suppose that loomed in my mind. It’s funny though, the mechanic said that he had few clients as ‘mellow’ as I. He told me that he wished all his customers were like me and that some folk made him uncomfortable as soon as they walked in the door.

Never look back,



Richard Leland Neal