Say hello to my little friend…
I’m starting CPAP tonight for my sleep apnea. Now if I can just get to sleep…
Sink at the Empowerment Center/ OSH/ where I work; things to do when sitting on the toilet with a blackberry camera-
Say hello to my little friend…
I’m starting CPAP tonight for my sleep apnea. Now if I can just get to sleep…
Sink at the Empowerment Center/ OSH/ where I work; things to do when sitting on the toilet with a blackberry camera-
Filed under animated gif, animation, comedy relief, Music, personal story, silly
Last Week at Work
I thought last week would be easy. I expected a quiet workplace with most activities on hold and many people (including my supervisor) gone.
Not to be. Life comes at you fast. Best to slow it down from the inside, the outside not being reliable.
I guess the most shocking thing was that someone killed themselves. Someone I knew. Someone I had seen earlier in that same day. Someone who appeared to be in a better mood than usual.
It isn’t like this is an odd occurrence here. It’s happened a couple times before since I’ve been working here. It’s still very hard on people. I spent a lot of time hanging out with folks who were especially effected. Mostly just being available. Some wanted to talk, some wanted to sit next to someone who understood.
The effects were not contained just within the ward where the suicide happened. Lots of people knew the woman. She’s been there awhile. She’s wanted to die for as long as anyone remembers.
Another event, a much better one, came at midweek; also unexpected. On Monday I met someone who was new- that is new to the environment where I work. They found themselves locked up through December and their landlord sent a letter saying that they were throwing out her stuff, cleaning out her room and… well, tough luck landing in psychiatric prison.
I was able to take a state car up to Portland and along with a very nice nurse we went through the garbage in the compactor room and saved, retrieved much of her stuff. Probably the unit staff will throw most of it out but we got her some clothes, some personal papers and many many technical manuals in English and Chinese. We did not find some of the papers she wanted- her citizenship documents.
In the new hospital there will not be any real storage room to speak of. An oversight, I guess. But it means that people admitted here will basically lose everything.
Enough about work. There were several good moments and many useful ones.
Some of What I’ve Been Thinking
The wave of fear has strong momentum but if you stop pushing it, it subsides. So maybe I don’t need to worry about fear, although it’s hold on me still scares me 😉 -It dies of starvation when I’m done feeding it.
My most intrusive fears have to do with my sense of self-worth. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I’m not okay- not adequate, not acceptable. It comes out in interpersonal communication when somebody is angry with me or thinks the worst of me. Not always, just sometimes. I’m trying to be aware- this seems to help. When I see what it is I can stop pushing the wave.
I half know my connection with everything. I say “half” because I notice it only intermittently and I’m often completely oblivious. When I look, it emerges from the edges of my self-perception- my wholeness withing the world is made real through the very same spaces/ surfaces/ thoughts that separate me. For example: My skin would seem to be both my boundary and my bridge to the world. Same thing for eyes/ vision, sound, speech, breath… I can’t really speak this adequately so it’s time to stop.
“I felt a suddenness.”
Maybe I’m not done- I am falling slowly through an intangible screen. The screen is the surface upon which the movie of time is being played/ shown. Behind the screen is the light, the projector that creates the illusion of movement, shape and everything else that can be named- the movie. As I am passing through the screen, the projector, the light and … it all disappears.
Once, following a particularly high meditative state, I found that I could not look at anything, any separate thing, without losing myself in oneness with the Big Picture. Then I would find there was no picture at all. I would lose any awareness of self and regain self-consciousness much later. Then I would look at something again, or have a thought, or breathe- and it would start all over again. Sometimes I am still passing through that screen, or just about to- clumsily- falling into reality as though by tripping over my shoelaces.
How things work- from various sources
(click if it doesn’t animate automatically)
Wikipedia says: The atmospheric engine invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1712, today referred to as a Newcomen steam engine (or simply Newcomen engine), was the first practical device to harness the power of steam to produce mechanical work. Newcomen engines were used throughout Britain and Europe, principally to pump water out ofmines, starting in the early 18th century. James Watt‘s later engine was an improved version. Although Watt is far more famous today, Newcomen rightly deserves the first credit for the widespread introduction of steam power.
The Stirling engine cycle can also be used “in reverse”, to convert rotating motion into a temperature differential (and thus provide refrigeration).”
Stirlings can be made inexpensively, are robust, and can use a variety of fuel sources, such as animal dung, which makes them valuable for areas which lack forests or other common fuel sources.
A pretty high revving engine, but the low compression ratio meant stinky efficiency. Even in racing, better fuel efficiency means you don’t stop for fuel as often. (larryrose11)
“a lot of the issues people associate with wankels have been pretty well suppressed or solved entirely in the current generation (renesis), but you still can’t park an RX8 on grass, and they do still need a bit of special treatment.” (Akaishi)
Above: Torpedo- boat destroyer system- Also how Transformers poop.
Constant Velocity (CV) Joint. They’re in pretty much every front wheel drive car. This is a very simplified diagram of how a CV joint works- the real thing is hella durable.
Manual Transmission Mechanism- Wikipedia says: ”
A manual transmission, also known as a manual gearbox or standard transmission (informally, a “manual”, “straight shift”, “stick (shift)”, or “straight drive”) is a type of transmission used in motor vehicle applications. It generally uses a driver-operated clutch, typically operated by a pedal or lever, for regulating torque transfer from the internal combustion engine to the transmission, and a gear stick, either operated by hand (as in a car) or by foot (as on a motorcycle).
A conventional manual transmission is frequently the base equipment in a car; other options include automated transmissions such as an automatic transmission (often a manumatic), a semi-automatic transmission, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).”
I have always wondered how this worked. This is so cool.
“it doesn’t get better when you realize there were versions of this where the driveshaft was hard-mounted to the plane and the propeller was bolted to the crank case.”
“Radials don’t leak oil they mark their territory. A little contancorous but so sooo nice!”
“Some of the finest piston engines ever built were radials. Perhaps most notably the Pratt & Whitney R-2800, without which, it can easily be argued, the Allies would have lost the air war in the Pacific.”
blandoon sez: “I would agree with that assessment – from what I hear, there are only a handful of shops left, at most, that can overhaul something like an R-3350 (Anderson Airmotive is the one I know of).
The R-3350 in particular has always been a troubled beast, because it was pushed into wartime service when not altogether ready (primarily to power the B-29), and it had a long and painful early life before it became something close to reliable. But it has never been as dependable as its smaller, older stepbrother, the R-2800. From what I understand this is why there are a good number of Pratt-powered Douglas DC-6s left, but almost no DC-7s – they used the Wright engine, and were discarded almost as soon as jets became available.
FIFI, the only remaining flyable B-29, had its four early-model 3350s replaced with later units that are not authentic to the airplane, but were custom-built (by the aforementioned Anderson Airmotive) out of a hybrid of different later-model parts, with custom engine mounts and exhaust and so forth. It cost something like $4 million to do this, but otherwise it would have been impossible to get the airplane reliable enough to tour the airshow circuit.”
Comment: “Nicholson Baker wrote a fantastic essay about the Maltese Cross mechanism and its use in film projectors/cameras in his book The Size of Thoughts.” -vidiot
Unrelated, so far
Click the pictures below for full size-
Some pictures I’ve found. Click for full size these are big.
Keck observatory, related landscapes:
Filed under animated gif, animation, Mental Hell Treatment, mp3, personal story, pictures, silly, Spirituality
This morning I walked to get some coffee, trying to perk up before being in a day long interviewing panel for my department at work. I was wearing the light jacket lining of my double layer coat because it wasn’t too cold. It’s a bright morning, no drizzle. I felt in the pocket of my coat I found a sea shell fragment. Fairly small, it must be something I picked up at the beach last summer. It reminded me of another coat I wore 15-20 years ago.
That coat was a leather jacket- nothing at all like the cloth coat I’m wearing this morning. I lost it one day when I left it in our unlocked car while watching a movie with my family. It was a winter day something like today. I brought the coat along but decided that it was too warm to wear and so left it behind when we went into the theater. I didn’t lock the car- I rarely locked anything in those days.
After the movie I immediately became frantic trying to find it. Had I put it in the trunk? Was it behind a seat? Nope, it was gone. Gone gone gone.
On the way home I started crying. It wasn’t because it was an expensive coat, although it was. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t get attached to things because they have some material value.
This is the thing: In that coat was a small drawstring pouch. In the pouch were some rather ordinary looking beach rocks and shell fragments. These are what I mourned; mourn is not too strong a word.
Going even further back in time I can see myself walking on the beach with my daughter. First born, these memories begin before my two sons entered the world. She would see rocks and shells she liked everywhere. Then she would hand them to me to carry, not wanting to fill her pockets- for reasons I still don’t understand.
Over a dozen or so years this pattern never changed. She always found many things of all sizes that she just had to have and I just had to carry.
When she was about 13 and she was nearly full-grown, a sassy teenager, we were once again walking on the beach. This time her younger brothers were along. They found things on the beach and put them in their own pockets.
In those days Erin and I argued often and I found myself often annoyed. She found stones and shells- and told me to carry them.
I responded with irritation. I said, no, I wouldn’t carry them- she should carry them herself. She took my hand and looked me in the eye with a very serious expression. For once she didn’t respond to my irritation with her own. She said these words: “Really, Dad. Please take these. You will want them later.”
These days I look back and wonder how I had become so hard.
A bit confused I put the “beach treasures” and others she found in my pocket. She didn’t ask for them when we got back to the room and somehow they stayed in my pocket. That was our last trip to the beach with Erin.
I don’t know how many times I have revisited that day- thousands?- at least. Wishing I could go back and be a different, more understanding father.
Within a few months Erin was dead. She completed suicide in her room on April 5th, 1993. The small stones and shells became very precious to me.
I put these in a small cloth drawstring pouch and carried them everywhere. They helped me remember her but even more they helped me remember how precious was each moment, how irreplaceable was each opportunity to be gentle, compassionate.
Different coat today. No stones, just one shell. I still cried.
Filed under personal story
Second day of not feeling well. Yesterday I felt like I was swimming through Jello all day long. Today starts much the same. A sensation of weariness, unwellness, being generally unsatisfactory in all realms. Normally I would attribute these sensations to diabetic issues such as prolonged high blood sugar (something I have a great deal of experience with, as I am a Type 1 diabetic). But, no, blood sugar has been between 90 and 150 all week; good for me, very good.
Work today will involve first a group in the 50 building on “problem solving”. Not actually a topic I proposed but the good people in charge of the 50 Bldg Treatment Mall misunderstood my proposal. So it goes.
As everything feels hard but still I am functioning, I ask myself: “who is dragging this corpse around?” Not me, I assure you. I am pooped out.
Blah blah blah- wait- something good: My friend Arthur (who was once known as Arun) sent me a book by Robert Rankin. Something new to look at (not that I don’t have many books).
I need to review some things, pray/ meditate: not necessarily in that order; before my group. Today will be busy. Not one moment unscheduled it seems. Whomsoever it is that is walking me through this world can do what they want with me, as usual. I’ll try to just watch.
Filed under personal story
Oh where is the one I seek?
the night is lonely and
when the daylight comes
I am still yearning
my journey not done
I ask for your patience
I have run
out of time
there will be no debate
and I will
so I cannot be late
I have learned
in this world
has been wrong
When this breath
there will be no one
I have been smoke
I have been rain
I am a thread
that waits to be pulled
I have no words
that are true
no name that is mine
along with all things
under the sky
joined be the stars
moved by the wind
on the ocean of time
I will wait
this vast pain
I will bear it
is all I have
to offer you
Filed under personal story, poetry, Spirituality
Happy Father’s Day, all you fathers. May your day be sweet. May you forgive yourself for all the things, big and small, that cause you shame and suffering. May you be at peace.
In My Life, part 1
My relationship with fatherhood is complicated. It’s complicated in origin- my dad was a good man plagued by bad demons. He could not be the father he wanted to be. It’s complicated also in it’s fruition of the parenthood experience- I am the parent of a dead girl, a suicide. I can’t claim to have been the father I wanted to be.
My dad struggled. He was deeply guilty, shamed by his mistakes. For many years I resented him. It took me a long time to see him as a “man”- subject to error and utterly worthy of absolution. I am so glad I came to understand that before he died. I am so sorry he died so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to really tell him. In the end, I was proud of him for everything he endured and overcame. I pray he is at peace.
My sons would probably disagree with my eligibility to wear the above button. I would have to say that over all, I’ve done a good job; certainly the best I knew how. Still, in my heart, I feel that I have failed deeply in ways that are both vital and obscure.
Maybe we all fail. Maybe none of us can claim honestly
to have passed every test.
But wait! There’s more! In truth I have gained more peace as time moves along. Not just the peace of dimming memory but peace that comes from perspective. I see the essential rightness of even my worst mistakes. Like I said,
I was born in Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. My father was in the US Navy. He served aboard the class of ships referred to as “Destroyers”. His job, as a Gunner’s Mate and later a Chief Gunner’s Mate, eventually killed him. (He died over 30 years later from Mesothelioma). My dad was often gone during the first 5 years of my life. He would be “at sea”. That left my mom, bless her heart, to care for the 4 of us kids. She was tired. It was hard. It was probably harder and more tiring because she drank. Drinking enabled her to tune out my incessant crying (“colic”- my dad says I had the 6 month colic for 3 years but that it didn’t affect him much because he “would be at sea”.) My earliest memories are of standing in my crib, crying, and no one would come to pick me up or hold me. My oldest memories of my mom are of her seated at our cheap dining room table with a glass and a bottle of wine. Anyway, the thing is (this is the thing), I’ve been wanting to do some storytelling. As a subject, I find my life to have been extraordinarily interesting. This most likely means that it has been remarkably average. As average stories go, it has been chock full of twists, drama and dark humor; all the elements of a reasonably good strory. This is the start.
I just got a call from my oldest son. He lives near San Fransisco. He called to say “Happy Father’s Day”. I really can’t fault myself too much. He is the nicest, best, most gentle man I know. My younger son is also wonderful- smart, funny, creative and caring. They are both excellent men.
Filed under personal story, pictures
I just had a birthday last week. I was born in 1955, 55 years ago.That makes me 5,555 years old! Below is a twenty dollar bill in circulation at the time of my birth.
(click for full size, as usual; you know I never skimp on picture size-always the biggest pictures here at moonsoup!)
I have a variety of things to share today. Music, pictures, animated gifs, personal history, stories from where I work, other things.
Enjoy! or not.
Okay, some of the Mozart promised in the title:
So, this is an odd time of year for me. My birthday last weekend, April 11th will be my older son’s 25th birthday (he’s coming to visit from SF this weekend- riding the dog, ought to arrive by tomorrow morning), and smack in the middle of these things is the anniversary of my oldest/ youngest child’s death- April 6th. I often dread this time of year- if I’m going to be symptomatic mental health wise, this is the time I would do it. These days, however, I’m not expecting badness. She has mellowed in my heart. I experience her as a kind, gentle angel of death; reminding me of the preciousness in each moment. Thank you Erin.
Here’s a doodle by Andrew, the oldest living child,
and one of the most coolest people I know.
One of our cats- Blizzard, has been suffering from glaucoma for years, gradually going blind. Last month she had surgery to remove her eyes- it’s called “enucleation“. Anyway, these are some shots of her recuperation. By the way, she’s doing great. She’s way more comfortable and happy and since she’s been blind for a while she has no trouble finding her way around. My younger son paid for the surgery- over $1000- because he is also a really great guy. Blizz gets the cone off her head later today.
Here’s Blizzard today, sans cone head,
in the arms of my youngest son.
The Jupiter Symphony is one of my favorite Mozart compositions-
I wrote a while back, I think, about the death of a patient at Oregon State Hospital where I work. The Oregonian newspaper just did it’s first major story about it (better late than never).
From the article linked above:
The body of Moises Perez, 42, was discovered in this bed located just to the left of the door of a room he shared with four other men. The Oregon State Hospital patient had been dead several hours before he was discovered during evening medication checks.
Below- some great pictures of/ from the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile, high in the Andes. The top picture is a full-sky, 360 degree panorama. The other pictures are of the observatory itself in summer and winter.
Richard Harris is the state Director of Addictions and Mental Health. He wrote this to the Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition, our primary collective voice as survivors of the Mental Hell treatment system. I don’t know if it’s serious or comic relief. Time will tell. Anyone can yak yak yak.
From: “Richard HARRIS” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 18 March 2010 12:14:23 PM PDT
Subject: Re: Consumer Voice—-REVISED MEMO
DATE: March 18, 2010
TO: All AMH Staff
FROM: Richard L. Harris
RE: Consumer voice
Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to meet with
many people representing many mental health consumer groups. From
these meetings it has become clear to me that there is a need for
increased consumer voice within local and state government. Len and I
recently met with the Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition (OCSC) and
together we have identified four ways by which consumer voice can be
1. Increased public education on addiction and mental health issues;
2. Increased training for those providing addiction and mental
3. Continued and increased peer support services and;
4. Supporting and promoting an independent voice in the addictions
and mental health consumer community.
My initial commitment to increase consumer voice and to support and
promote peer delivered services will be for AMH to provide phone and
video support to the upcoming strategic planning summit sponsored by
OCSC. The summit will identify a clear pathway to establishing a
formal mechanism to support consumer voice statewide. In addition
Oregon’s Olmstead Plan calls for increased consumer participation in
all aspects of transition from residential facilities to independent
living with people having a key to their own home with access to
addiction and mental health services when needed.
To further consumer voice and increase consumer visibility in the
community, OCSC will reach out to the addictions community and attend
and participate in the OHA/DHS statewide budget forums scheduled
around the state later this spring.
These are important first steps in creating a solid foundation to
promote consumer voice and visibility within local communities and
local and state government. I look forward to continuing dialogue with
the OCSC and others to develop a highly visible and robust consumer
voice as part of AMH and the developing OHA.
Richard L. Harris
Addictions and Mental Health Division
500 Summer St NE E-86
Salem, OR 97301-1118
Heads up: may contain graphic violence–
By the way, you can’t outrun a Samurai!
My personal favorite by Mozart, his unfinished “requiem”. This is the whole shebang, huge file, high quality-
A couple weekends back my wife and I went hiking at Catherine Creek to look at the first wildflowers of spring. You get there by going to Hood River, Oregon, crossing the troll bridge (don’t look! you’ll turn to stone!) into Washington, driving east through the town of Bingen, Washington and at the second roadside lake take the old state road that climbs the hill. You’ll know you’re there when you get to it. There are a few waves of wildflowers that bloom and pass relatively quickly in the stony volcanic earth. By now there’s a whole new batch. By the middle of April they’ll almost all be gone. I hope we get back up there before the end of the season.
Mozart plays the bassoon!
Bye for now, have a great day.
Filed under animated gif, animation, cats, Family pictures, Free Music, Mental Hell Treatment, mp3, Music, Nature, personal story, pictures
Spent most of last week at the coast, Rockaway beach, with my wife and both sons. Number 1 son came up from SF/ California, went back Sunday. Wednesday we went to Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park.
About a half mile down from the road is a smallish beach between two capes. The trail is guarded by old, wonderful trees and green green green with a stream rushing alongside. Short Sands is prized by surfers for the way waves are focused into the narrow beach.
Also features a severe riptide/ undertow and “sneaker” waves. A friend of mine lost a child in 2000 who became trapped under a log that rolled in the surf. There is a bench dedicated to her.
Pictures are big. Click for full size, as per usual.
Filed under Family pictures, personal story, pictures
Filed under Family pictures, personal story, pictures
Moon not exactly full
Last nights show was great, though a week late. I’ll get the MP3 up as soon as possible for the archives. Only 3 callers who hung on (several hang-ups when lines were busy). Enough on that topic.
My Friend, Senor Ref. C. on Ward 34D
Yesterday I saw a man at the “hospital” where I work. Of course, the term hospital is not a true description of what happens to people there. So much suffering, so much torment. but enough of that- this is the story:
(For those of you who are unfamiliar with my work, I am a loose cannon patient support person at a “Forensic Mental Health Facility”- read: a place where people are kept who have been judged by the courts of Oregon to be “Guilty but Insane”.)
So, this guy, I’ll call him “Mr. Castle” for the purpose of confidentiality; I met him the first couple weeks I was there at a time I was doing Hospital Improvement Surveys as a tool for getting to know the place and it’s people. He live in a gero ward, 34D, with other older and physically limited folks. I really enjoyed talking with him. He is smart and very thoughtful, insightful (despite his current diagnosis of dementia and organic brain disease). He is a deeply spiritual man.
He transferred from the Oregon State Prison a few years back when they could no longer care for him adequately. He is serving a life sentence, convicted of a “terrible mis-deed” (his words), or, conversely, “Murder” according to his chart. (I once asked him about his treatment in prison compared to the Hospital- he said that Prison was where God had opened his eyes to the world of the spirit and the true purpose of his life. Here he was just surviving and trying to keep devotion to “God and The Mystery” while watching what he realized was a progressive condition that will eventually take away his mind.) In his former life he was a father of 9 children, a US war veteran and a social worker. He has studied psychology and is extremely smart. His memory sometimes fails him. He has had strokes that have affected his mobility. He has PTSD and traumatic brain injury from his military service.
I used to go see him every week the first few months I was working there- I enjoyed our talks. His religious devotion along with a penetrating insight is a joy. Lately I haven’t seen him in at least 2 months. I’ve been busy as I’ve had to work toward a balance in my efforts to be useful to the over 600 patients who live in that island of Mental Hell Treatment.
I decided to go see Mr. Castle yesterday in the morning after I finished some paperwork. I didn’t think he would remember me. I did not call ahead. I walked to 34D, across “campus” about a quarter mile or more from my office.
I walked into the downstairs lobby. Mr. Castle was with a small group of staff and patients waiting for the elevator to go back to the ward from “crafts class”. He saw me with a puzzled look. I said, “You might not remember me. Can you recall my name?”
He said, “Of course, Mr. Rick. You have arrived just in time. I will only need a small amount of your attention. We can be through in about 20 minutes.” I had a very strong feeling he was seeing me for what he considered an appointment and that he was glad I was not late. “This will work well because I have lunch in about a half an hour from now,” he added.
We went up the elevator, through the locked doors that get us eventually into 34D. He said, “It will only take me a few minutes to get my papers together.” He walked down the hall (with his walker) and gestured for me to follow him.
In his room, he rummaged through papers he had been keeping, seemingly for his anticipated discussion with me. The papers included print-outs from a group he had attended and some writings of his own (in Spanish, but he translated).
First he read to me the key points in his recent writings. Part had to do with a topic we had discussed before- the “purpose of Man in God’s plan and the Ultimate Penetration of the Holy Mystery”. As he translated his own writing he came to several places where he could not find an English equivalent. The most simplistic summary would be: Man is composed of 3 principles- Spirit, Soul (to this he included mind, emotion, habits, attachments) and Body (simply the physical form and it’s basic needs for survival- not the physical desires, which he insists are attributes of Mind). “So, these 3 things make a man. They are all required for Man to fulfill his purpose and promise in the world. One can not outweigh the others or there will be problems, illness and “mis-deeds”.
Then he pulled out a handout from a group he had attended on the ward. He said, “I am a college graduate with much training in psychology. So, you see, I am capable of focusing my mind in the study of this information. I have applied my concentration to understanding what is here.” He had marked up the pages in various parts- mostly underlines and asterisk.
“Psychology is a great and powerful science”, he said, “but it is flawed and does not have a complete understanding of who we are and why we are.” He went on to critique the handouts, respectfully but completely. I won’t go into detail.
In summary, Mr. Castle explained that too much emphasis on the mind and it’s needs and habits is detrimental to a Man in the fulfillment of God’s purpose. The Spirit and the Body must receive appropriate nourishment. Without proper sustenance of each element of our being we cannot penetrate the mystery. He told me a story from his life, the gist of which was that his mind had led him into “terrible misdeeds”. His eyes became red and he began to cry. “I have been locked up for 30 years and suffered great remorse because I did not know the proper balance of my whole being”.
Then he stopped crying. His eyes cleared. He said that everything that had happened was part of his education. He said, “Man always wants to blame God or blame anyone else for their own mistakes. Adam blamed Eve and God, Eve blamed the serpent and God. Ever since then all Man wants to do is place the blame on someone else.”
Then he said it was time for me to go. His lunch would be arriving soon.
Filed under animated gif, personal story, pictures, Spirituality