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The inhabitants of the Mid California Highlands are a secluded and cautious tribe of loquacious and garrulous word smiths. Much of the previous research collected on this tribe of nere-do-wellers is inaccurate due to the researcher’s incapacity to be welcomed among the tribe and immerse themselves in the customs and rituals of what I have come to call the NoSocalNocal Phrenologists .

I assumed the garb and appearance that I believed matched the locals, hoping that there were no idiosyncrasies or social ranking that I had not missed in my initial, long range, evaluation. I made close acquaintance with one individual, whom I’ve taken to calling Bright Eyes, engaging him in an action of reciprocity that would link myself to him through the bonds of social interaction. He wasn’t the alpha, but a local sub-chieftain, and was close enough to the top of their hierarchy to gain my entrance without attracting too much attention.

Bright Eyes proudly displayed his abode, mate and some pack brothers before taking me on a tour of his domain. From atop one close hill he gestured and grunted in his own primitive language. His message was clear and his resolve was intent. This was his land, he controlled all who lived within the boundaries of our vision. I was honored to have shared this small token respect of from him.

Bright Eyes led me to the rest of his tribe mates. We exited his domain and entered into the realm of one he frequently referred to as Paq-nak. Upon entering Paq-nak’s fortification I was immediately assaulted. Many of the males made threatening calls from across the hall. One of the obvious leaders, a male I named Curly, began bellowing as soon as I entered his sight. They were clearly threatened by my masculinity. Strangely, my appearance had much the opposite reaction on the females, many of them seemed drawn either to some subtle hint of my sophistication, or to the power that so many of the males feared.

Curly approached me, and with much throwing of leaves and arm gesticulation, finally made it clear that he wished to share food with me. This was an important step in earning their trust and I quickly agreed. One of Bright Eyes' companions joined us and I began to fear that I was going to be involved in some political intrigue against Paq-nak, whom I had yet to meet. My fears were for not however, as their intent was innocent, and we shared a simple meal of grubs and berries.

I finally got to meet Paq-nak upon our return. He was an impressive specimen that towered over his minions. My fear must have been apparent, as they swiftly crowded around me. A brief but largely unintelligible interaction amongst all of the tribe members occurred then and I was led to a lower garden level. One of the females, Tulip, began grooming me as others forced me to consume a beverage that appeared to have a tremendous amount of spiritual value. The liquid was brown with a strong, but not unpleasant flavor. I was cautious not to anger my hosts and consumed as much of the “be-are” as they would provide, letting none go to waste, lest I appear ungrateful.

As the night pressed on I was forced into the duties of food preparation. It would seem that the tribe had no clear gender barriers, although I did witness several engage in mutual grooming. Late in the evening we all gathered around a roaring blaze attended by Curly and one of his apprentice fire makers, Bongles. Many of the tribesmen approached the fire and made grand whooping noises accompanied by elaborate dances before hurling an apparently random object into the heart of the flames. Some simply threw rocks, or tightly wrapped bundles of twigs and leaves, others had elaborate constructions of palm fronds and delicately carved wooden images. I was clearly witnessing a ritual of grand proportion.

A nest was prepared for me in the dungeon and I slept a few fitful hours, fearful that I was being held prisoner. The companionship of Tulip alleviated that fear a small amount. Upon awaking early the next morn I was treated to a collaborative hunt and finally a review of the noder’s technological accomplishments.

It was a satisfying two days of research, and I believe I have collected enough data to refute the conclusions of other noder researchers. My unique perspective and the noder’s acceptance of me as one of their own has allowed me to break through the barrier of cultural contamination that so hinders our science when viewing these more primitive, cloistered communities.

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