Viral Perspective

Viral Perspective:

With the recent news on the Zika Virus, and before that Ebola, and MERS, and SARS, and Avian flu etc, etc, it’s instructive to contemplate these entities. I am doing research for my next novel, which is about a professor who wants to create a new virus; the novel is in initial editing phase. It’s actual a literary satire, so nothing apocalyptic. Anyhow, I found a little bit of information on virus that really puts these entities into perspective.

“The virion of a herpesvirus, which is a fairly large virus, is about ten million times smaller than a large balloon, while the balloon is smaller than the Earth by the same factor.” Virology, Principles and Applications, John B. Carter and Venetia A. Saunders.

virology amm nick totem






Undiscovered Self

The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung


                  I ran across this little book. I was astounded by how much this book encapsulates the various themes in A M M. This book offers a method for understanding the world today. After having encountered thousands upon thousands of patients and seeing the level of their understanding of human psyche (especially their own psyche), I would definitely recommend this book for everyone.

Heart of Angel

Heart of Angel

Just plain worn out the other day from writing too long, I went to the beach for a walk. And I saw. Boy, did I see?



An angel in flight. The wing spanned across the sky. A heart of gold.

I couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t been there to take the picture, I would think that it had been photo-shopped. Awesome, isn’t it? In this case, words failed.

heartofangelcloseuby nick totem


This is a close-up of the angel’s heart. It was as if the heaven opened up. I stood there for a long time, taking pictures until the sun set. And no, it was not a UFO, but something altogether extra-mundane.



Writer’s block.

Writer’s Block


writer under a boulder

Sometimes, the block weighing down a writer’s creativity is considerable, and the writer feels like a child. No matter what he does, nothing seems right.

Maybe, he should get away from the written words for a while. Find a desolate place to rediscover why he had bothered with it all in the first place.


snow country for writer's block

And if he is lucky enough to remember why he started with all this nonsense in the first place and finds that he can actually write another sentence, then he should reward himself with a bowl of Ramen.

japanese ramen for writer's block

Is this where the soul lives?

Happy New Year to all.


Is this where the soul lives?

This was my last case for 2015. The patient is a 68 yo man, who will be called Mr. M. Now, Mr. M is a boisterous man, full of something that’s not so much life as loudness, anger, and impatience. His voice is always booming, and he seems to never have the least regard for those around. My staffs are often weary of him. Why this is so could possibly be explained by his size; he stands at six feet five inches and is burdened by two hundreds and fifty pounds. He is often out of breaths. Anyhow, he had an innocent looking lump on his neck that has been observed and monitored with needle biopsy for years.

thyroid nodule


After all the years, Mr. M finally wanted to have this lump out. This lump was in fact a cyst his right thyroid gland. The cyst has been getting bigger. After the discussion of the risks and complications, which did not seem to faze him at all, he consented to have the surgery.

Easier than it seems

He underwent the surgery rather well. And here was his right thyroid gland.

Is this where the soul lives

The question is: Is this where the soul resides? And another question that follows: Is that why the man has been ill-tempered, boisterous to the point of rudeness, angry at times for no obvious reasons, impatient as though his time on earth is almost out?

The ancient wise men had thought that the soul resides in the heart, the pituitary gland, the brain, or even the thyroid gland; whereas the eyes have only been thought of as portal to the soul, not its place of habitat. Notice, however, that no one ever thought that the soul resides in the stomach, the tongue, or the gonads. Therefore, perhaps those, who seek only the satisfaction of the stomach, the tongue, or the gonads, have no soul.

At last, unhappily for Mr. M the pathology of this cyst showed papillary thyroid cancer, which means more treatment still. Could this cancer be the cause of a disturbance in his soul and thus explain his behavior? No one will ever know.

Downtown Los Angeles Scene

I was out this morning, walking Los Angeles downtown around the Biltmore Hotel and Pershing Square, fishing for materials and stories. Gentrification is blasting away with full force, cleansing what, only a few years ago, was blight, and in doing so resurrecting the old glory of Los Angeles. The Biltmore Hotel, The Theater, the Old Jewelry District, all around the streets are alive with pedestrians parsing through weekend farmers market, students from the local FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) ambulating as if on catwalks, and indispensable transients making permanent scenes along the pavements.


Biltmore Hotel

The art deco façade of Downtown Los Angeles Buildings.
The art deco façade of Downtown Los Angeles Buildings.
Downtown Los Angeles Scenes.
Downtown Los Angeles Scenes.