August 2018 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
 "We tend to see a person in the moment, not as the journey they travelled to get here."  Kat Lehmann

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August 30th, 2018

Today was another one of those crazy days...not nearly as nuts as the past few days, but another very disorganized day.  It started when, after going to bed at 1am, I fully expected to be able to sleep in until about 8am because I wasn't supposed to be going out to first round of recreation...Wrong! I was asked if I'd go out first round, so I dragged my butt out of bed, slammed a cold cup of coffee, and got ready.  It was an absolutely lovely morning though...Kind of cool, with a nice breeze. I could see about a third of the moon in the sky, and it was beautiful. The guy I was outside with asked me if I wanted to play some ball, and I told him I was really tired, but I'd play anyway. Quite honestly, I should have beat this guy, but he gave me a pretty bad whooping!

When I came back in around 8.30am, I waited on a shower that never came, so I decided to bathe in my sink before taking a nap...I was woken up by the mail room, then commissary....I finally managed to take a short nap into the afternoon, and it got me through the rest of the day.  

Meanwhile, these guards are just running around trying to look busy! I mean, if I was just a passer by I would easily think, “Damn...they're busting ass!” But I'd be sadly mistaken! It's 4.31pm at the time of writing this, and they've done very little in the way of showers, and they've not even pulled out 4th round of rec. yet! There is still a 5th round waiting to go as well...

Anyway, I'm sitting here contemplating the filing my attorneys made which I received last night, and it was good! I thought it was very good to be honest, but still...I'm in the hands of the universe now.  I'm in no position to demand anything from God, the universe – whatever...All I can do is ask for mercy and a chance....Just a chance...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace!



**Warning: This entry contains foul and offensive language**

August 29th, 2018

Yesterday I was focused on writing part 4 of my new memoir, “Falling Down", which should be posted in chapters quite soon...I'm going to keep on writing each part and have them posted individually as I've got a lot to write about for those particular moments in my life...Stay tuned!

I was also waiting on a legal visit for most of the day...I was particularly eager (and a bit anxious) to talk to my attorney as I knew we were facing a filing deadline. Thankfully, we've made the filing and I'm officially in the hands of fate. I could use all of the prayers and positive vibes anyone is willing to throw my way, and of course, I hugely appreciate it. I don't know how long it is going to take to receive a response from the Fifth Circuit as it varies from case to case, but again, every prayer towards the granting of my Certificate of Appeal so that I can continue the fight, would mean the world to me.  

For the most part, yesterday was calm, and today, whilst it started out okay, it deteriorated into chaos after lunch. We pretty much had the exact same crew that we had on Monday, but early on they were on top of things. I ended up going to rec. at about 5.55am...I had it in my mind to try a sort of social experiment for my own humor, but first a little back story...

At the front of each pod is a normal door with a glass window. To the side on the wall is a doorbell and intercom button for the officer in the control center or “picket”. For whatever reason over the past few years, the guards have been ignoring the button and just kicking the door, banging on the frame with a baton, or hitting the glass window. In turn, the glass has been cracked and replaced MANY times...I used to work maintenance and I know that those glass panes cost HUNDREDS of dollars to replace! But over and over again they pound on the glass...So, here's the thing – the button actually works! The other effect of pounding on the door is the picket officer assumes it is an inmate pounding on their cell door, and so they just ignore the beating on the front door. It can take several minutes for the picket officer to realize that it is the front door!  

After coming back from my legal visit yesterday, I stood in front of the door with the two officers at my side. One officer began to pound on the door with his baton, and I didn't say anything...I wanted to see how long it would take for the officer in the picket to actually open the door. We waited for almost 3 ½ minutes, then I said, “The button works.” The other officer pushed and the picket officer immediately opened the door. “Isn't technology amazing?” I said.  

In that moment, however, I thought...”You know what? Tomorrow I'm going to make a sign that says “button works,” and see if I can get a guard to tape it to the front window.  I was curious to see how many people would push the button or just kick the door. So, early this morning I made my sign, folded it up, and took it to recreation. It took about an hour to get the sign taped up, but after that, every guard that came to the pod pushed the button! But it was short lived...Another officer saw the sign and demanded to know who put it there. I told her I got an officer to tape it up because it made no sense to kick and bang on the door when the button works. She said, and I quote, “I hate that button! If you've got to hear it all fuckin' day long...beep beep beep...it'll drive you nuts!” And she ripped it down. I said, “Wow...you'd rather have your officers kick and bang on the door rather than put up with a beep?”

So, now I was curious to see how long it would take for the officers to start kicking and banging on the door again, and it was immediate! It was like the sign never existed, and some of the very same officers who had read the sign, then pushed the button, went right back to kicking and banging on the door like they'd never seen the sign!

My neighbor was kidding with me and said, “That didn't last very long, Randy.” And I said, “No, it didn't...But I'm going to keep putting up a new sign every day if I have to!” ha ha.   

Well, the day got progressively worse when not too long ago, a guy they call “Turk”, had just come back from a follow up appointment at the hospital in Galveston. A couple of years ago he had his prostate removed...They send all inmates with serious medical problems to Galveston, no matter where they are in Texas...Anyway, he'd had some kind of scope inserted because he was telling the guards he had rectal bleeding and it wouldn't stop.  He needed the nurse, but the guards, thinking it was funny, were not taking it seriously...They were walking around telling everyone, “so and so's asshole is bleeding.” One of the female officers walked by laughing, and both my neighbor and I said something to her...It just really pissed me off.  

Anyway, please pray and send positive vibes my way!  I need it!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.  



**Warning: This entry contains foul and offensive language which I do NOT condone, but this is what happened...**

August 27th, 2018

I don't know what they put into the breakfast this morning, but this has been one of the craziest and most chaotic of days I've experienced in a long time. I woke up feeling pretty good, and looking forward to the end of the week as it's Labour Day Weekend, and the possibility of a really good meal is always something to look forward to in this place.  

So, I started my day off by getting everything in order for second round of recreation. I knew it was going to be a long day in the sense that nothing was going to get done with the two officers I noticed “working” on the pod. They weren't known for doing much, but they're not assholes like some, so I suppose it's the trade off for a shower later that evening...it happens! You take the good with the bad in a place like this.  

However, what I hadn't noticed is that we also had two training officers, and the two “senior” officers weren't training them! They were literally letting them do all of the work. They had no idea how to read a rec or shower sheet, which leaves them directionless if they can't do those simple things...That particular paper work tells the guards who is out at rec, those who have already been out to rec or have had a shower, and generally, where each inmate is at that rotation. Anyway, because these guards in training don't know what they're doing, inmates are getting frustrated – some are yelling at them, and they're scared and don't know what to do! I've seen a lot of crazy things in this place, but never something like this; it was on a par with the fire drill I witnessed last week.  

I finally made it out to recreation at about 9am. On the way out, I was going to kick out my laundry in front of my door to exchange for a clean towel and socks, but I was told it was a state holiday today and there wouldn't be any clean laundry.  I was like, “What holiday? It better not be one of those BS confederate celebrations!” TJ, a guy from down the run, told the guards it couldn't be a holiday because he had a legal visit scheduled for today – his attorneys told him so last week. The guards shrugged their shoulders, and taking their word for it, I kicked my laundry back into my cell.  

Out at rec I started exercising and I'm kind of getting a kick out of all of these guards running around like headless chickens! Apparently, the female officer is on some kind of meds and properly doped up because she kept nodding off at the control panel, and the only way the other guards could get the cell doors or other doors open was to scream at the top of their lungs. I even contributed with a, “Hey!!! PAAAAYYY ATTTEEENNNTTTIIIOOOONNN! FOCUS!!!” It was comical.  

An officer showed up with an ice bucket to pass out to everyone, and he saw the chaos and was like, “Hell no...this is insanity!” He left the pod and went to notify a sergeant. When the sergeant showed up I asked, “Hey, Sarge? What holiday is today 'cause the guards said there's no laundry.” He told me it was Lydon B Johnson's birthday...a Texas political giant who ushered in the civil rights bill as president (but also wouldn't get us out of the mess that Vietnam was, and actually escalated that war...) but he said there would be laundry anyway. I thought, “great...my crap is stuck in my cell now!”

The sergeant attempted to get things back under control on the pod, and had to call for another sergeant to come down as well. They were pissed...I'm watching, humorously, when an ongoing issue that has been building on my section boiled over between two dudes...This problem began when a white dude got mad at a black female officer on the 4th of July, because he didn't get a hot dog on his tray like everyone else. The female officer told him she didn't care, and he could stick the hot dog up his “white ass”...to which he replied, “Oh yeah? Fuck you ****** bitch”, using the “N” word, which quite understandably pissed off some of the black dudes on my section.  He said he wasn't directing it at THEM, only her, because she told him to stick the hot dog up his WHITE ass.  So, he felt that opened the door for him to say what he said to her. I told him he didn't have to use that particular word - it really is the most offensive of words. To the dude's credit, he apologised to everyone, and emphasised it wasn't directed at them. But...they still took if offensively, and refused to pass anything he was sending to other people. I told him that in light of using that word, he would have to respect and accept the consequences.  

Well, a couple of weeks ago one of the black guys came to our dayroom and was going off on one of the guards, and called him a “bitch ass white boy,” and this set off the guy who had used the racial slur back on 4th of July...The black dude said he wasn't directing it at him, but since he jumped in the car he called him a bitch ass white boy as well. This provoked the other guy and he said, “If I'm a bitch ass white boy, you're a bitch ass black boy.” (See how childish this is??)

Fast forward to today...The white guy was in F-section and some of the guys over here asked me if I'd see if this dude they call “Ippy” had any 'crack bars' – a crack bar is a homemade chocolate candy concoction that is admittedly delicious, and will have you hooked like you're on crack...I said, “You know, dude is over there...” There was a silence and then one of the black dudes said, “Ho ass mother fucker...” Well, white dude heard him and yelled back over, “Fuck you bitch!” I had enough...I said, “It's bad enough we all have to fight the State just to try and freakin' live! We're fighting for our lives! And you guys are getting into it over childish shit! You are all acting like kids. Dude over there was wrong for using the “N” word. You are wring for calling him a “white boy”. This tit for tat shit is going to solve nothing. Okay, feelings were hurt...It's in the past. What are y'all going to do now? Fighting like kids is going to accomplish nothing. Y'all get along, or ignore each other. Simple as that. If y'all don't want to fuck with each other, then ignore each other. But stop with the insults...It's over...”

After that, nothing was said and I went back to working out. My neighbor opted out of rec today and said to me, “I'm glad I didn't go! Better you than me!” I just shook my head and laughed...About another 20 minutes passed when the white dude called me over to the bars near his section. He handed me some wrapped crack bars and said, “Here...give them to dude...It's a peace offering. I bought them for him...You're right, this is childish.”

I grabbed them and hollered the other guy's name and he came to the bars, “Shoot your fishing line to the day room. I've got something for you,” I said.  

“Where did it come from?” He asked.
“From dude...do you want them? He said it is a peace offering.”

A few moments of silence passed, and then, “Yeah...tell him I appreciate it.”

Now, whether this continues on is to be seen, but in that moment I was glad that hopefully I was able to talk a little sense into them because geeze, we've got a much bigger battle to fight, and it's stupid. Racial strife is stupid. Period.  

After another ten minutes of exercising, laundry showed up. I told the guard passing out the towels that I needed him to get my cell door open and exchange my towel. He said he would. He went to my door and began to yell, “Open 57 cell!” No response. “Roll 57 door!” Again, no response. I walk over to the bars directly across from the control center and try to see if I can get the officer's attention, when I see her, head down on the panel and fast asleep! I told the other officer, “She's apparently taking a nap,” and he was like, “She's WHAT???” I shrugged my shoulders and started laughing. “She's  on that good shit!” another inmate yelled. Which had the whole entire section laughing so hard. The guard began to bang and scream to get her attention, and another inmate was yelling, “Help! Officer down! Officer down! But she didn't budge. About that same time, the sergeants came back through and they had this look like, “What now?” on their faces, and couldn't believe it when they looked and saw the female officer passed out. The sergeant had the food slot bar in his hand, and began to slam it down on the bars extremely hard, and her head jerked up and her eyes went wide!  

Just another day on Polunsky Unit...

I actually made it to the shower fairly early because the sergeants regained control and order, and the rest of the day, whilst emotionally exhausting, was peaceful.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.  



August 26th, 2018

I live for the weekends...the peace and quiet after a week of non-stop noise and commotion. However, weekends can also be incredibly boring because the only thing we can leave our cells for is a shower, or if you're one of the fortunate ones, a Saturday night visit. This weekend has been another mind-numbingly boring one...but hey, at least it's been super quiet.

My neighbour was kind enough to give me a set of novels that all tie into the Alien movie series - a series I love tremendously - so I was eager to start reading them, and I've been doing that all weekend. I'm two books in!

I just heard on the news that there was another mass shooting in Florida, and it makes me shake my head...Hopefully young Florida voters will come out in November and elect people who will actually address the issue of guns instead of protecting special interest groups that care little about the constitution, and everything about money and power. I find it ironic that a lot of conservative politicians, pundits, and evangelicals, blame these shootings on the so-called fact that we no longer value life, but it's blaringly obvious that profit and politics have eclipsed the "value of life" that they claim to want to protect...Hypocrites - all of them!

Hopefully I'll have a week of inspirational writing...my brain is kind of stuck on pause, and focused on my court filings right now.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.



August 23rd, 2018

This has not been one of the greatest days...I woke up feeling pretty good and pumped up that I would be getting outside to enjoy some quality sunshine! I was going to be playing some basketball with my neighbor; he's really, really good, and forces me to step up my game. His encouragement has improved my game ten fold, so I was looking forward to playing ball with him again. I've been playing basketball for 15 years now, and it just never gets old...I enjoy it so much.  

I started my day with writing and listening to the news, and then some music programs. Around 10am I stretched, got my bottle of water ready to go outside, and around 10.30am we headed out. It was hot, but the sun wasn't right over us quite yet, so we started playing. I come out really strong and win the first couple of games, but I feel the tendons in the back of my leg getting tight...I'm pretty good with pain and can block it out, so we continue to go at it...He starts winning and really just kicking my ass; it's getting hotter and I'm getting slower, and my leg is screaming at me! I don't want to be a guy who makes excuses as to why I can't win, so at 40 games we call it quits and he gave me a royal ass kicking with a score of 35-3 :-( Ugh...we laugh about it, talk for a while, and lay in the sun until the guards take us in at 1pm, and by then it was scorching. By that time I just wanted to rinse off and get under the air conditioning.  

As I'm entering our section, this guy down the run says, “Hey, Randy...the warden, Major, Captain, Lieutenant and Sergeant were all in your cell for about ten minutes!” I was like, “What?!?” Now, I know there's nothing to worry about, but I'm thinking, “why me?” By the time my cell door opens and I see the inside of my cell...my jaw just hits the floor! It was a mess. Things were strewn about everywhere! My lamp was on the floor, all of my electronics were unplugged, and clothes, books, and papers were everywhere. I really didn't understand it and the guard said, “Hey, your clothes line was up, you know?” I'm like, “Okay...so that's an excuse to tear the shit out of my cell?” I'm looking around my cell and I don't see anything missing, but it's like sheesh! The guard did make me laugh though...He said, “Dude, it could've been a lot worse you know? You're lucky the Warden is a huge Star Wars fan and saw all of your Star Wars stuff...” So, I was saved by Yoda!

Anyway, I cleaned everything up, washed my clothes, and took a bath in my sink...Then I took a long nap! I was mentally and physically exhausted. The only think that sucks right now is how sore my leg is, and I'm hobbling around like a cripple...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace



August 22nd, 2018

Woo hoo! Cool air!!! I can finally focus, and get back to work...The air went out last week, and it seemed to get progressively hotter as the time passed. We're in the  midst of another heat wave...Thankfully, yesterday afternoon, the air (slowly) kicked back in. It was insane!...Right now, it once again feels like a meat locker, and I love it!

There comes a point when the heat gets so stiffling that you cannot focus on anything else. It's just this feeling of...misery! I honestly don't know how they did it pre-air conditioning days. I suppose they were just really used to it, and because they knew nothing else, they dealt with it. We're just spoiled, whining bastards!

Not much has really been going on. Last Wednesday I wanted to write about the most insane fire drill I've ever witnessed, and I'll get to that in a minute, but for now...my mind is just thinking about my appeals and when the final response will be filed, and then...it is truly in the hands of fate. It could drop any time now and I'm just praying for mercy and a miracle. I really do thank everyone who has been sending love and positive thoughts my way...It means more than you'll ever know.

So, the fire drill...It was a little after 9pm on Wednesday night, when a sergeant, and a pretty plain clothes woman entered our section. Of course, everyone was like, "Who is that?", and there was the typical cat calls etc...but then, weirdly, they locked themselves in the day room. They both sat down at the table, and the lady began to jot notes down on a clip board. We assumed it was some kind of inspection which was kind of odd for so late at night.

Anyway, the sergeant pulled out his walkie-talkie and said, "Fire Drill! Fire Drill! C-Pod E-Section day room. Electrical fire! All available officers respond."

A couple of minutes later, a few guards show up, then a couple more. NONE of them are prepared! No fire extinguishers or anything. Meanwhile, the guard who is running the control center isn't even paying attention, so other guards are trying to get INTO the section, and they can't because he's not opening the gate! So, the sergeant who is locked in the day room is hollering, and trying to get his attention by yelling, "Fire! There's a fire!", and the officer is just spaced out, looking at the other side of the pod. Then, a woman sergeant shows up on the pod (the same one who wrote me up on a bogus case for a broken coax cable) and she's barking orders at the guards saying, "Get the fire hose! Get the fire hose!" A couple of guards run off the section to go to this little metal cabinet where the hose is housed. The sergeant in the day room is yelling, "No! It's an electrical fire. NO WATER! It's an ELECTRICAL FIRE!!!" but the female sergeant is steadily yelling, "Get the hose! Get the hose!"

The woman in the day room is just looking at them like, "You've got to be kidding me" and so I start yelling, "We're dead! We're all dead! We're burning up and crispy critters..." and someone else starts singing Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire".

This goes on for like 10 minutes, and I'm thinking, "What? Do they actually train these people?" They're just running around, no organisation whatsoever, no leadership, and not even the ranking officers know how to handle the situation. It's funny, and I was laughing my ass off, but if it had been a real and serious fire, we'd all be dead...and that's no joke!

Well, here's to getting things back on track and keeping positive, focused, and full of...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace!



August 13th, 2018

Today is a special day for me...a day in which a year ago, my life would go in a direction I never expected it to. And it couldn't have come at a better time either, because I was facing a lot of uncertainty. My attorney at the time was piss sorry, and hadn't talked to me in over a year, and my website was floundering, and not taking the creative direction that I really wanted it to go...I was also becoming embroiled in unnecessary drama and crap from other peoples' lives, and then...things suddenly improved, and I was filled with a sense of courage, strength, hope and faith. We often don't know in which direction the river of life will flow, but in those moments...when life hands you a sturdy life raft, it is wise to climb up on it and let it get you to safety.

So, the past few days I've been a bit down, but I'm feeling better today. I'm just...I can be an idiot sometimes, and whilst I don't mean to take things for granted or assume anything, I did just that, and I should've just talked about things and explained things a bit better. You live and learn (or at least "should" learn...) and I've used it as a learning experience, and will definitely be more mindful of things in the future. We should never take our friends, and people we love, for granted on anything...or fail to take into account their feelings and concerns. We can't assume them to be mind readers or read between the lines with certain things, and we should definitely communicate...So, it's a learning experience for me, and I have definitely taken the lesson on board!

I spent most of Sunday just listening to music, and thinking. It was a fairly peaceful day, and some rain storms moved in...Hearing the thunder in the distance, and the rain patter against the concrete was really meditative, and so today I feel peaceful and positive. I didn't even get irritated when the guard threw my clothes and book across my cell when I came back from recreation. I just shook my head and was like, "Wow..."

I just looked out of my window and there's a huge flock of white herons out there! Oh man...I initially was just going to see if any wild flowers or pretty weeds had popped up after the rain, and that's when I saw them near 8 Building, scattered across the lush green grass (must be so green and vibrant after yesterday's rain). They're just pecking around...I love their walk! It's so goofy, and their body moves ahead of their heads, and then the head swings forward. They'll stop, look around, then dive their beak into the grass. Unlike other birds, I haven't seen them try to "steal" one another's food...If a heron comes up with a tasty morsel, the other ones look at it like, "Good catch, dude!" And they dive their beaks back into the ground.

Some time ago, I was watching a different type of bird at sunset, and they were scattered across the grass looking for dinner I suppose, and they would literally charge at one another and try to steal food from another's beak. It was crazy! They looked like they had all gone mad.

Well, here's to a positive week anyway!

Courage. Strength, Hope and Faith!

Peace.



** Warning...Contains strong language**

August 8th, 2018

Man...at some point they've got to move me off this pod! The negativity amongst some of these dudes is like an open, festering wound, and ever since they moved the guys from F-Section A-Pod over here (and they're here to stay) it's only gotten worse for several reasons: Now C-Pod is filled up completely, and where rec. used to be done in 4 rounds, it's not jumped to 6 rounds of recreation. Guys set up for second shift were screwed - well, not all, but a handful - out of their recreation because the guards have to shut everything down before 10.30pm. They didn't get 5th round out until close to 8pm, and it was just a royal mess...But that is only part of the problem. A couple of the guys they moved from A-Pod are notorious shit starters, and it started up today...We'd been relatively peaceful and drama free, but as soon as they started up...And when you couple that with some of the guys over here who are sooooo freakin' negative, but were being calm...things erupted, like someone threw gasoline on a pile of smouldering ashes. It just blew up. I'm trying really hard to not let it get to me today...but I'm already irritated because it is looking more and more like I'm the one who is going to get screwed out of recreation tonight. It's already 1.19pm and I'm not even scheduled for recreation...Sigh!

On a more positive note, this guy they call "Old School" came to our section last night, and was telling everyone it was his birthday. Some people don't like him because he can be a bit grumpy, but he makes me laugh, and I can do a spot on impression of him that makes other people laugh. So, he's in the dayroom and says, "I'm 59 today!" And I said, "59??? Well, that's cause for a celebration! I'm going to make you something to eat." I cooked up a quick batch of tacos for him and sent them to him while he was in the dayroom. He ate them so fast I thought he was going to choke on them...I was saying, "Dude...damn Old School! Slow down and enjoy them." And his reply was sooooo funny...He got really serious and said, "I am mother fucking enjoying them. If I wasn't, I'd have spit that shit out!" I couldn't help but laugh! He is known for speaking what is on his mind, and so who am I to argue with him? ha ha.

Earlier, I was listening to AFR, and they shot my blood pressure up...I've really got to stop listening to that station! They were on the gun debate, and mental health care access, and the host made the comment "If liberals cared about mental health, they wouldn't block legislation that would allow homosexuals to receive psychiatric care to help them get over being gay!" I almost started cussing at the radio because I am thinking, is she really equating being gay with mental illness? Wow!...Ignorance has no boundaries, I suppose.

Otherwise, I'm holding up!...Got to stay focused. As Qui Gon Jin said in the "Phantom Menace"..."Your focus determines your reality".

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.



August 7th, 2018

I've noticed a weird phenomenon back here; in the past couple of days, and due to the moves from A-Pod to C-Pod F-Section, I've been talking to guys who I've not seen in almost a year, and as I was talking to a guy earlier, it dawned on me that our conversation pretty much took off from where we left a year ago. It kind of freaked me out when I realised that we both (and others talking to one another) were talking as if no time lapse existed. As if the moment I left A-Pod last year, froze in time.

It isn't like being away from friends in the world, or family, and reconnecting with them for some kind of holiday or gathering. When you do that, you've got milestones in your life to talk about. Things to brag about...a life to share. Here, we've nothing...And so conversations freeze in time, and you just pick back up from where you left off...Really strange!

Today has been okay...I woke up at about 6.30am, and went outside a little after 8 in the morning. It felt great outside and while it was hot and humid, I loved seeing the morning blue sky. A flock of white herons even passed over us, which is really cool to see. I've been noticing more and more of them lately. Polunsky Unit must be some good eatin' for insects because they land here often by the dozens. Maybe word is getting out to their other comrads. I think they're beautiful birds, and their walk is just sooooo funny!

It's just been one of those coasting days. The guards aren't bad, and things are just moving along...

Courage. Strength. Faith and Hope!

Peace.



August 6th, 2018

I didn't write anything in the past week because I really didn't have much to say. I'm back at it this week though, and I'm feeling good, even if today was a bit on the chaotic side. This place never ceases to amaze me, and make me shake my head...

It actually started last night when they moved all of the guys off of A Pod, F-Section. Now, F-Section for A-Pod is known as the "cripple" section, because several of the guys who have lived on that section for over a decade(!) are in wheelchairs, have walkers, or have other medical conditions which are serious. The showers on F-Section are also equipped for those guys who are disabled (even though they do still have to step over a large chunk of concrete to get in the shower). There are hand rails, and a nifty little bench, as well as a lower shower head for those sitting on the bench. I've actually showered in it before, and thinking it would be cool to have two shower heads run at the same time, pressed the buttons, and the lower shower head hit me right in the nuts!...Never did that again! And I have never had the mettle to sit on the little bench, because my bare butt cheeks are not going to share the same space that another pair of warm, wet cheeks have sat on...just saying...

Anyway, they're installing new shower doors, and someone decided that it would be a great idea to move those guys all the way to C-Pod, even though B-Pod has TWO empty sections, and is directly across the hall from A-Pod! Now, as if that wasn't bad enough, they have to trek all the way up the hall - one inmate at a time - to let the cripples (please don't be offended by that term...they call themselves by that word, and it is actually a term of endearment in this place...freakin' cripples...) use the handicap equipped showers. Brilliant!

Having the 14 extra guys here - even if only temporary - has sent the guards into a tizzy! Thankfully, they sent some other guards to help out, or else it would've been really bad!

I was fortunate though; I was able to spend some time outside today with one of my closest friends who I haven't seen since before Thanksgiving of last year. He has heart problems, and that is why he lives on the cripple section. He was telling me that he has just had a stent put into his heart, and even though he was shackled up the entire time he was in the hospital, he did get to watch a few days of tv, and saw a bunch of cool movies. I was happy to hear that. He said that one of the strangest things about watching tv after not seeing it for 18 years, was having his eyes catch up with how fast the images were. He'd have to close his eyes sometimes and just listen to it. It was also strange for him to actually see movies that he had only ever listened to on his radio before, and the images he made up in his imagination were quite different from the actual images, which was a strange feeling for him...Like being blind all your life, and seeing for the first time.

In other news, we've got a new warden back here. It seems like we have a new guy every year...Well, this guy is a particular hardass, and has already been stirring the pot with inmates and officers alike. He's ordered guards to write bogus cases (one guy was shaving and he ordered the officer to write him up for being "out of compliance" for having a beard with no pass...even though the inmate was in the process of shaving the stubble off!) and I guess the place is just too peaceful for him. We've had relatively little dust ups over the past couple of years because whilst you'll always have some officers who get off on stirring up trouble, but for the most part the ranking officers and wardens had been staying out of the way. To be continued...I don't see him lasting that long...They never really do.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.


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