Hmmm...The last day of the month. I can't believe that next month marks the anniversary of the beginning of all the troubles that began last year. Who knew it's been that long? It also marks the anniversary of this journal. I was rereading all that I've written and I started out with really no direction or voice. But as the months went on my voice became stronger and more confident and the writing got better. Pretty cool to see the progress.
I just got back from the shower a few minutes ago. Right now I'm listening to some British sitcom on PBS and it's just a little after one in the afternoon. I didn't write any weekend entries because honestly it was very boring and I decided to take a break from writing. I wrote a couple of people, including my brother Wesley to see how he was doing. It's been a while since I've heard from him, which makes me sad. I think I'll write about him a little bit today…
Wesley is my biological brother. I'm three years older than him, and I've always loved and protected him the best that I could, but we used to fight a whole lot. I'm not trying to paint myself in a better light, 'cause there were times I’d go off and smack him for no reason, but generally he started the fights and arguments and he used to set me up to take the blame on many things.
He was always a little more hyper and aggressive than me, and sometimes he was like a little pit bull, but if anyone ever tried to hurt him, I was all over them. It was cool if I beat him up, but nobody else could lay a hand a him. Sometimes Wesley would take advantage of that and pick fights with the neighborhood kids or kids from our school and I'd have to clean up the mess. I used to say, "Wes, one of these days I'm just going to let someone kick the crap out of you...You need to learn the lesson that I'm not going to always be there to get you out of trouble.." That was my brotherly version of tough love. (shrug) But being the oldest meant that no matter what he did at home, I'd take the heat. There was one time me and him were painting the gate around our swimming pool for our Dad. Later that afternoon dad comes screaming around the house, "Randy! Randy, get your ass here right now!" "Man, whatever it is, I didn't do it! Why are you yelling at me?" "Wesley said you put a hand print in paint on the riding lawn mower." Dad yelled. "What!? I didn't do anything. I've been watching T.V." I protested. "Go out to the garage and we'll see." Dad said.
I went out to the garage and looked at the hood of the red riding lawn mower. Sure enough there was a black hand print smacked against it. "That's not my hand print." I said. "Do you want me to compare sizes? That’s Wes' hand print." Then I slapped my hand down on top, my hand clearly larger than his.. "Well, fine. You can clean it up, then." "What?' Thats not fair!" I cried. "Life's not fair." Dad said and walked off. Needless to say Wesley paid for it when I got finished. He didn’t even get in trouble for it. There were countless times I took the fall for him. Then there were times when we were like best friends. Whenever we'd go on vacations, I was in charge of watching him and surprisingly he would behave. We'd have a blast. We had an inside joke we used to do when at Disney World or Six Flags Amusement Park...It won’t translate well on paper - you'd have to see us do it, but we’d walk around for hours speaking gibberish, like a foreign language to make people think we were from another country. People would look at us crazy, but we’d laugh and laugh the rest of the day.
Two times that stand out the the most between him and I was when I was defending him. On a school break one day we were walking back from the mall. Between our neighborhood was a large elementary school and we'd always cut across the property to save time. When school was out their people would use the schools field to practice golf on. That day there was a man practicing his drive and balls were scattered everywhere. Wesley saw a ball and grabbed it, held it up in the air and yelled, "I got your ball mother fucker! "I thought it was pretty funny and neither of us even thought the man was paying attention.
We crossed the street and all of a sudden a car comes flying out of nowhere, cuts us off, and the golfer jumps out screaming at Wesley. I didn’t know what he was going to do, so I stepped in front of Wesley and said, "What the hell's wrong with you? He's just a kid.." "You son of a bitch I’ll kill you both!" The stranger barked. "Get back in your car. I don’t think you want to threaten us. I'm just a minor. You touch me, your ass is going to jail and I don’t think Chief Waybourn would like that too much either.." Chief Waybourn was my karate/boxing teacher, Wesley's little league coach, my Dad’s best friend, and the Chief Of Police in the town I lived in. "I don’t give a rat's ass, you two were stealing my golf balls." He lunged towards me and I pushed Wesley back. I brought my hands up to defend myself and then he stopped short. My whole body was shaking and I was mad as hell. "Get back in your car or we're going to press charges." He looked at me and Wesley and then turned around and got back in his car. When we got back home we told our parents what happened and my Dad called Chief Waybourn. Not five minutes later a police officer was talking to me nd my brother. They wanted to arrest the guy on terroristic threats. I don't think they found him.
Another time was when my brother Wesley had his finger chopped off at school. (I’m sure you remember this well, don't you Chris? Haha..) I was off in the gym for our school's free time. The gym had been pretty empty and I was flirting with this girl Daphne, who I was trying to go out with. Suddenly the gym doors swing open and Wesley walks through calling out my name. I look at him and then see the blood spurting from his hand. I ran over to him and things became like tunnel vision. Everyone around me said I picked him up and carried him, though I don't remember that part. I remember taking him over to the monitors, Ms. awson and Mrs. Garret. Mrs. Garret had the nerve to say, "Is this some kind of joke?" I looked at her wild eyed and said, "His fucking finger has been cut off! Does this look like a freakin' joke?" Ms. Lawson intervened and told me to calm down. She told someone to get his finger and they took off with Wesley to get a van to take him to the hospital. I ran back up to the dorm and started asking who did it. Somebody said Wesley had his hand in the frame of the door, when a kid named Scott kicked it from behind. The door slammed and popped my brother's middle finger off. "Where is Scott!?" I yelled. I wanted to wrap my hands around his neck.
I found the room he was in and kicked the door open. I was going right after him when about five or six kids grabbed me and held me back. Scott kept saying it was an accident. I turned around and went back into the hallway. Everyone getting out of my way. There was a big mounted water fountain and I kicked it as hard as I could about four times, warping the fountain and leaving it standing at a weird angle (It remained like that all the way until I left OBI). I walked outside to calm down. I looked down at my shirt and my brother's blood was all over it.
The van pulled up in front of the dormitory and Ms. Lawson told me to hop in and so I went to the hospital with Wesley. When we got there I called Dad back at home and told him what happened. "Do I need to fly down there?" "No, it's not that bad. They’re sewing it back on right now." I told him. I look back at those moments and kind of laugh. I just wish I could've been a better brother, not gotten locked up, not ended up on Death Row. You don't realize how important family is until you no longer have it. Especially with Wes 'cause I'm his blood brother. I'm all he's got in that area and it could be taken away from him if I'm to be killed…I hate to think about that, but it’s the grim reality of things. I can understand any anger and resentment he might have for me. Sigh...My life. No, can't say I’ve ever really had a dull moment in it.
I need to jog. I totally forgot to do my cardiovascular workout today. I’ve already showered so if I run in this hot cell I'm just going to sweat all over the place, but yet I have to do it so…guess I’ll just take a bath in my sink whenever I finish. Argh…!
I will return later and write about whatever there is to write about. Okay, so a few days ago I asked for excitement and now I’ve got it…I'm foggy on all of the details, but just a short while ago an inmate in the day room started arguing with another guy in his cell. Both are in different gangs…One White, one Mexican. They start calling each other bitches and ho’s, etc. All insults that are considered the highest level of disrespect in prison. Things chill out and it seems the fight is over when the guy in the day room climbs the bars up to two row to pass something…right when he gets to the top of the bars he's hit with a stream of urine. Yeah, very gross, I know. The white guy pissed in a bottle and then waited for the right moment to spray it on him…I live in a zoo!
Well now things are very tense. You can feel it in the air. In gangs this could be considered an act of war and more than likely the two gangs will probably go at it with each other for a while. Basically trying to throw poop and urine at each other. No telling. You know, this is how things can become out of control...Problems manifest themselves and turn into monsters. I guess if you’ve read the book The Lord Of The Flies, that's the best description I can give. We’re all humans, but why do we regress into animalistic behaviors? What in us is so primitive that results in murder, war or throwing piss and poop at each other? Have we just not shaken off that gene from the cave man days? Hmmm.
It’s calmed down a bit now, but I know it’s not dead. Somebody will try to do something when the moment is right. Now is the waiting game. Plotting, planning, waiting for an opportunity to strike back…Remember, it’s more about mental then physical…Should be close to dinner time. I can guess what I’m having. Haha. I think I’m going to eat some corn chips. I'm kind of hungry right now…
July 28th, 2006
Another day. A hot one at that. I haven't really accomplished much today. I was screwed out of my recreation and I suppose I could've thrown a big fit about it, but I let it go. I was moved to F-pod last night and I'm c-section. Their no rec. day is on Fridays and I just left B-pod d-section yesterday and their no rec. day is on Thursdays so…I asked the guard today if I could get my recreation, as I had none yesterday, and he flat out said, "No, they moved you here and we don't change the rules for inmates. You're not special…"So, I asked to speak to a supervising sergeant and I was given the run around on that. I just didn't feel like having a row about it today. Too hot and I'm in a pretty mellow zone… Plus, I'm extremely tired.
I stayed up until four in the morning listening to some program on an AM channel on my radio. Okay, don't laugh, but it was about aliens – an alien autopsy. And no, I don't mean alien as an immigrant. Haha. We're talking of the outer space sorts…Now, at first I thought it was going to be some cheesy talk show with all sorts of conspiracies and loonies calling in, but this turned into a four hour, overwhelmingly convincing piece. Whether it's real or not, it was presented in such a way YOU WANTED TO BELIEVE. Haha. The jury is still out with me on whether, "They've visited earth…" or not (stop rolling your eyes or laughing uncontrollably…!) BUT I do have to say that I believe there is something out there in this universe. It's incredibly naive for us to believe, as humans, that we are the only intelligent life in this NEVER ENDING UNIVERSE… But hey, that's just me
So, today I thought about telling this story of how I pulled a "mission impossible" to retrieve a note that was confiscated by my school's vice principle, Mr. Robinson (I pulled a similar move to retrieve my confiscated walkman from the Principle's office…Ugh.) The memory occurred when I was thinking about my impulsiveness and how out of control it was for a long, long time. My friend Dave once asked me if I just like to take risks, if I was that sort of person, and the answer is and was, NO. I just never thought about my actions before I did them. Something popped into my head and I wouldn't weigh the outcome. Would anybody be hurt in the process? Would it hurt me? Etc…
So, this particular time was the summer of 1994. I had returned from a school break at my friend Wayne's home in Ohio and my girlfriend of the time lived close to Wayne also, so we all spent time together. I lost my irginity to Amy on that school break…In one of my little notes to Amy I was talking about what having sex with her meant to me, blah, blah, blah and trying to figure out when we were going to do it again.
In our school we have a sort of assembly forty five minutes before lunch. This takes place in the school's chapel and we're usually given a real dry southern Baptist sermon about how we're all going to hell if we don't accept Christ…I called this "Nap Time"; ha-ha. Amy was in a different class than me and when we went to chapel we were only allowed to sit with our class. I had the note so I asked someone to pass it to her. Mr. Robinson intercepted it as it was traveling through different hands. Now, this letter said we had sex and I was talking about having sex again…That was more than enough incriminating evidence to get us both kicked out. I completely panicked …
At the end of chapel I went directly to Amy. "Mr. Robinson confiscated a note I wrote to you." "So?" "Uhh; I'm talking about the sex we had over our break." Her eyes got real big and she looked panicked for a second. But an idea popped into my head. I knew Mr. Robinson would drop his bible off at his office and more than likely put the note with his other stuff. I was banking on the hopes that he hadn't read the note. I told Amy to dig through her back pack and find an old letter I wrote her. She did and handed it to me. I took off to the school building and the Vice Principal's office. Fortunately the building was empty. I looked through the glass of his office and saw the bible and the note sitting DIRECTLY ON TOP of it. I twisted the door knob and to my luck it was unlocked. I slipped in James Bond style and quickly switched notes. I exited quickly breathing a sigh of relief.
In hindsight and as funny as the story is, looking back, that was just a stupid, stupid thing for me to have done. Had I been caught I surely would've been kicked out of school… Yet, I didn't even bother to think about that. I look back and think about all the times I acted out without thinking about things. I try to figure out where the impulsiveness came from. I wish it wouldn't have taken so long for me to figure out how to control it. The wake up call was after the escape and somebody had been killed. I feel ashamed of myself for not having the foresight to think about those that could have been hurt, not just physically, but as a result of my escape. I only thought of myself.
These days I do think about things before I do them. Something will pop up into my head and now I have a check and balance system I give myself. How will it affect me, is it worth the chance or risk, and will anyone else be affected by this …? Not every psychological thing can be overcome by sheer will, but in this fashion I used self-reflection to solve the problem, or at least get me through the tough spots.
Well, now I'm just waiting on the mail to be passed out. Then I'm going to read and listen to the radio.
So, as always… Peace.
July 27th, 2006
It seems the rain has stopped for good. I hope so, 'cause this cell has a leak and I'm tired of trying to monitor the leakage so I don't drown. Sheesh.
I woke up this morning very sore and worn out. I don't know what the deal was 'cause I didn't really do any exercising yesterday. Might be this worn out mattress. Hmmm. I'll probably stretch out here in a bit.
Very blah day. My brain is functioning on the level of a cashew. Haha. Don't know what to write about or even if I should be writing anything at all. I told myself I was going to start writing 2-4 pages a day on this thing, but who knows. My mind is blank…I think I'll pause for about thirty minutes. Drink some coffee and see if I can't get going. If not, then this is going to be one boring entry. We need some excitement around this place. I mean, it's good that the majority of everyone is behaving, but I need something to write about!
While I'm waiting on this water to heat up, let me describe this funny comic I read earlier…In the first frame there's this guy with a USA hat on and he's reading a newspaper with a headline about the Israeli conflict. He says, "It's hard for me to get worked up about the Middle East conflict that doesn't really affect me or my---." Then in the next frame he looks up at a gas price sign that says, "Regular $4.09" and he's startled and xclaims, "Oh, the humanity! Give peace a chance!" Haha. So, true…
I'm back…Nope. Nothing happening in my brain. Guess I'll call today a loss to writers block. Sorry…
(A little writer's scream therapy and a waste of ribbon…)
July 26th, 2006
It seems that it's stopped raining for a little bit. That's good 'cause I was supposed to go outside. I'd still go if it's raining, but I'd prefer to be dry for a little bit.
So where does one begin today??? My cell has a leak. What makes it even odder is the fact that I'm one row so how is the cell leaking through the ceiling when there's a cell right above me? I've been wiping up water all morning long 'cause I don't want to drown in here. Craziness, I tell you. This whole building is falling apart!
Something just happened an hour ago that shocked – SHOCKED – the heck out of me. A jury found Andrea Yates NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY, for the capital murder of her five children. I mean, they actually came to the absolute conclusion that something seriously was wrong with her mentally. I was all but sure a TEXAS JURY would blow it off as hog wash and send her to prison. Instead, she is now going to get the help she needs. IT'S ABOUT TIME! It's about time that folks pull their head out of their asses and realize that there's something to psychology and mental health in general. People need to understand, she is not going home or being set free, but will instead get the help she needs until a judge can decide whether she's ready to be set free or not. Mind you, politics will come into play there and more than likely she may never get that chance, but to me it's more about the principle of all of this. That a jury could actually consider mental health as a factor should be considered a factor.
For the last several years I've been reading/studying a lot about psychology and how the mind works, how we work as human beings – more so to understand myself than anything, but it's opened me up to a whole other world of logic. And when you accept this reality of things, that genetics, up bringing/environment do play a part in your behaviors...as a human it seems so obvious. It's in plain sight – you wonder why others can't or refuse to see it.
Well, I'll save the whole soap box lecture for another time, but I'm really happy and surprised to see that not all of us Texans are so back wooded as I thought. The odds of twelve jurors coming to this conclusion are just phenomenal…Oh, I had a pretty mind blowing theory on capital punishment last night and I wrote some notes on it down, but I want to think on it a little bit more, but I got the idea from a part of the book "Field Notes On The Compassionate Life". I was re-reading a chapter on how behaviors can manifest into other behaviours, such as war, violence etc… Yet, in the same way if one strives for peace, that behavior can manifest itself within others also and change a violent perception into a peaceful one. So, if one was to apply the same logic to the death penalty – that the reason so many people support it is a manifestation of what's to be thought of as a completely moral and acceptable form of punishment… Death for Death…BUT if you were to get a large number of people to bring about change and find a more sound/non-violent solution, then it would more than likely manifest itself throughout the rest of society and the majority would no longer view Capital Punishment as a moral and acceptable form of punishment.
Well, I'm not entirely sure if this makes sense to anyone, but I'll work the kinks out of it and write a more articulate version later. I've read this book about five times now and each time I find a new nugget of logic and wisdom in it. It completely blows me away each time and you've got to READ IT. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE… Field Notes On The Compassionate Life by March Ian Barasch…
Hold tight… it's time for me to go to recreation… I shall return.
Jesus. I didn't think I'd return in 6½ hours! Right now, I'm standing here at my desk, it's 7:10 pm, and I'm soaking wet to the bone. Argh. Right when I got outside it started to pour for the next few hours and then some incident occurred on another pod and we were stuck out there until now. I'm hungry, I'm wet and frustrated. While I was outside I started some scream therapy thinking the guards would go out and see what's up, but it didn't even faze them. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "GET ME OUTTA HERE…AHHHHHHHH! ". Needless to say, I'm a little sore in the throat. Now I want to be FED and I want a SHOWER. But first, let's get my feet dried out. They're like big ol' prunes. Yech!
I'm in a poor mood; will write more when belly is full… Okay… Just ate some dried up nasty beans and a dried up peanut butter sandwich. Oh yum. I think this does it for me for the day.
July 25th, 2006
I don't know what happened, but today started off sunny and bright, then, about an hour ago a storm came in out of nowhere. The plus side of things is that it's cooled down tremendously. It actually feels nice in this cell for a change.
I don't know why, but I didn't get much sleep last night. I tossed and turned, but figured that I'd be able to make up for it by sleeping in until 9 or ten in the morning. I'm in cell 49 and the first cell on this row is 43. So usually the guards start recreation with cell 43. But no, this guard today had to switch things up this morning and start on 49… So I got up at six for my recreation. I thought I'd be able to catch a nap, but it's been too noisy all day long to do so.
Last night they moved one of my friends, Jonathan, to "Death Watch". He was just issued an execution date for January. Death Watch is a section on A-pod that they keep all of those with execution dates. I think I've said this before, but to me, doing it like that, is a form of psychological torture and mental anguish. I mean, how would you feel, if every week you watched a person be taken away to never return, all the while knowing your day is coming up. It's as if you can physically see Death creeping up on you; standing there with his sickle in hand, inching towards your cell door. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. What a freakin' sick ass society we live in…Well, at least it's not the old days where folks would gather around with picnic baskets and their children. Though, I'm not entirely sure that if they were allowed to still do that, they wouldn't…
I was looking at this picture of me and an ex-girlfriend I got recently. It really sent me back…Amazing how pictures can be little time machines. I don't remember when or who took this photo, but I remember the T-shirt she's wearing and the necklace (actually a heart shaped locket with a picture of me and her brother inside…) The T-shirt was mine. Calvin and Hobbes used to be my very favorite comic strip, and the shirt was one of my faves; I gave it to her right before we started going out… I look kind of chunky in this photo, though. I don't remember being that fat. Haha. It's weird. She looks really pretty in this photo. I always remember her being beautiful to me. I was pretty much smitten, you know; that first love kind of thing. Ha Ha.
I guess what's crazy about it all is that I did always like her in high school. Kind of had a crush, but I was with this girl Amy at the time and then Amy and I had a bad break up. She and Amy were best friends and I was good friends with her and I thought that this split would cause the friendship to turn, because you know chicks stay loyal to their girlfriends and all. Haha…I remember trying to catch up with Amy, just to get some closure on things but she was avoiding me and so I found her in the dining hall. She was with the dude she dumped me for and I waited until he left. Then I went directly to the table she was sitting at and sat right next to her. We got into heated argument and then Amy said, "Do you want to make my life miserable?" And I said something like, "What the hell do you want me to do? Or do you want me to?" Then Amy got up and just started hitting me. It really shook me up and she ran off. To be fair, the day before, she and I were talking about everything in the grill (a school hang out) and when I found out she was cheating on me I got real mad, called her a bitch and pushed a table, then walked out of the grill…So, after Amy takes off I get up and start leaving, when I see Theresa standing by where we turned in our trays. I just go up to her and start crying and I put my head on her shoulder and she gives me some comfort and I say, "Don't let her get in the way of our friendship…" Theresa says, "I won't."
After that, I started hanging out with her more often. At first, my intent was not to go out with her or anything like that. I didn't even know if she liked me in that way. We were just enjoying ourselves. She had the lead role in a production of "The Phantom Of The Opera" and so at the end of the day I'd walk her to her practice. The rumor mill was that we were going to get together, but neither she nor I had expressed any of those thoughts. In a sense I also saw the opportunity to kind of get Amy back. Make her jealous and so one day she went home on a weekend break and I gave Theresa the Calvin and Hobbes T-shirt. I knew Amy would flip, because I wouldn't ever give Amy that shirt and for her to see Theresa wearing it…But then some time during this, I realized I was starting to really like Theresa. I told her brother, Jim, and he got excited. "Dude, y'all are going to get married!" he said. "So…You're cool with this?" "Yeah! I'll even talk to her for you." Jim was like a brother to me and for him to say he approved of me wanting to hook up with his sister, was saying a lot.
Theresa and I talked about the idea of us going out and Amy had told her that I just wanted to make her jealous, which was in a way true, but also my crush on Theresa had manifested in a gigantic way. The only thing that was holding us back was that we were afraid to ruin the friendship should things not work…Then one day I decided I was going to ask her. I told my room mates and some others what I was going to do and I wrote a cute little thing on a napkin, just like a kid in elementary school would do. On the napkin I wrote … "Will you go out with me? Check one please…" Then, I drew two boxes; one with "Yes" and one with "No". I was just trying to be cute. And so, here she came into the grill, on the way to drama practice. I was nervous as hell and we talked for a minute and then I slid her the napkin. She looked at it for a second and then smiled and asked for a pen. She checked a box and then gave it to me. I opened the napkin up and it said… "Yes." I was quite relieved. Haha.
After that we were pretty much inseparable. I just wish I could've been myself through a lot of that relationship, but I was constantly lying for no good reason. I wanted to impress her, because to me she was the smartest person I'd ever met or known; awesome writer, awesome person. I was just such a confused insecure kid then. And she'd always tell me how good of a musician I was, what she saw in my eyes… And I didn't believe it enough within myself to be the person her and my friends loved. It's sad that it took me so long to figure that out, though. None of my actions were necessary. None of my lies were ever warranted. I just couldn't be me. So, this is what I see when I look at this picture right now. Why am I getting teary eyed??? Sheesh.
I think I always limit myself – to an extent – in any relationship I have, whether romantic or friendship, because I always wonder, "How long will this last??" And then I focus the wrong energy into doing all it takes for it to last. If that makes any sense…Instead, I shouldn't worry about whether a person is going to bail out on me, or what I have to do to sustain it. I should embrace it and live in the moment and accept it for what it is. Things happen for reasons and if it's not meant to be, it just isn't. This "life", universe, world, dimension has a way of coming through in the end – or at least opening up for you if you allow it to. Life is full of opportunities. Okay, so that doesn't entirely make sense on paper, but I see it clearly in this little peanut brain of mine. Haha.
Don't know if I'll be moved tonight or not. I've got a feeling I am, but it doesn't matter one way or the other. I'm just going to kick back and relax, read a book and think on things…
July 24th, 2006
Last night I had the ultimate dream… I fought Darth Vader! It was surreal. Haha. Some of the details are foggy, but I remember being in one of those Star Destroyer space ships like in the movie. I was trying to hide from some storm troopers who caught me on some sort of observation deck. Don't ask how I even got in the space ship in the first place…I just don't know! But the vividness of everything was beyond my conscious imagination…
So…Here I am looking at all of these stars and planets in this huge room when all of a sudden a storm trooper walks in and says, "Who are you?", and then he raises his blaster at me. I take off running and the next thing I know I'm running down these huge corridors…I shake off the storm troopers who are chasing me and I run down this one hallway that has a black shiny floor and electronics all along the walls. I see what looks like a black light saber and I pick it up and try to turn it on, but it won't work. When all of a sudden I hear that familiar breathing of what sounds like scuba gear. I turn around and try again to turn on the light saber, but it won't work and I'm looking right at Darth Vader…"Do you really think I would allow you to have a working light saber? You can never be a Jedi Knight." He says and then fires up his light saber. Now, I'm thinking, this is the end of Randy as we know it. He's going to cut right through my neck and my head's going to pop right off! So, I do a surprise leg sweep on him that throws him off balance. Then I take off running. Mind you, I still have the broken light saber in my hand.
I get to some area where I feel I'm safe and I begin to examine the light saber. Somehow, I remember they're powered by a crystal and I open it up (don't laugh, but the end screwed off just like a flash light…), and the crystal falls out of the bottom. I look at the red crystal and decide that it was in the light saber upside down. I push it back into the handle. I close it up and hit the power button. A red bolt of lightning bursts from it and it's alive. I can feel the vibrations of it in my hand. Then I get a crazy idea that I'm going to confront Darth Vader…Next thing I know I'm in some sort of chamber walking on red carpet. All around me are different electronic lights, buttons etc. Then, that breathing sound. Darth Vader is waiting on me with his light saber at the ready...
"So… You've mastered your light saber. Very well then… I can sense your confidence in the force is weak."
"I'm still going to kick your ass."
"So it begins."
All of a sudden we're going at it. I'm giving it all I have, but I know it's not enough. He's right, I'm no Jedi Knight. I weaken and he laughs. I try the leg sweep again, but this time he's ready and swings down at my leg with his light saber. I block his strike with mine. And then he starts using the dark side on my butt and I'm no match. He gets the light saber out of my hand and is getting ready to take my head off…I wake up. So, yeah, Darth Vader kicked my buttocks, but it was still a very cool dream!
Not much has been going on today. I'm trying to keep my mind occupied, 'cause today would've been my marriage anniversary and that kind of sucks, but…life goes on. I'm waiting to go to recreation so that I can exercise and get out of this cell. I'm feeling kind of stir crazy right now. I need to burn off some of this nervous energy I've got. I don't know what I really want to write about today. Hmmm. I'll tell a pity story. Ha. Ha. It happened when I was about 14. Yeah, I was fourteen. I had just gotten done with my first year of school at Oneida which actually ended pretty well. I left that year becoming a room monitor over one of the dorm rooms at Baker Hall, the Middle school dormitory. Every year my parents took our family to Florida, but along the way this time we were going to go to a beach in Alabama called Gulf Shores. It turned out to be a gorgeous beach. Not very crowded and had plenty of things for Wesley and me to do. I'd spend the day times with my brothers and then mom and dad would allow me to walk around by myself on the beach at night time.
I was always too shy to walk up to a girl by myself, lacked the confidence or whatever. But every now and then I'd get lucky and I'd talk to a few girls. I think though, had I not been so insecure and had the ability to walk up of my own will, I would've gotten far more lucky. Most of the times, though, I think people thought I was stuck up or a snob, though – and I really wasn't! So, this one particular day I'm playing with my brothers, building sand castles, chasing them around on the beach, just being a big brother and having a really good time, when a kid that looked about eleven or twelve walks up to me...
"Hey, my sister thinks you're cute and wants to meet up with you tonight at six, in this exact spot."
"Oh, yeah? Where is she?" I ask.
"She's hiding right now, but just show up."
"Is this a joke?" I asked.
"No, I'm serious", he said.
I get kind of excited, but in the back of my mind. I'm thinking I'm being set up for a joke. I tell my parents a girl wants to meet me at six and they say it's cool for me to go out for the night. Now I'm really excited. I count down the hours until it's time to go to that same spot. I put on some nice clothing and drown my head in hair spray (Ahh yes, the days when I had thick wiley hair…) and I spritz on some cologne. Six finally comes and I wait at the same spot. I'm nervous, getting a little sweaty, and no one has yet to arrive. Right when I'm about to give up, a cute brown haired girl comes up to me. "Hey", I say. "Hey", she says. There was an awkward moment and then she said, "I didn't think you were going to show up." "Yeah, I thought this was going to be a joke on me so I thought the same thing about you." I remember after talking for a few minutes we took off down the beach and I thought things were going well. When she grabbed my hand, I thought VICTORY! I met her family at her condo and then we watched the sun set from a pier. As we were walking up and down the beach a kid ran by and told us there was going to be a beach party later on that night. She said she'd be there, but I had to ask my parents first. We headed back down the condos I was staying at and I told her I was going to run upstairs to ask my dad if I could go. She said alright and waited. Maybe I should've invited her up, I don't know…She introduced me to her family so in hindsight, all I did was leave her waiting.
I ended up working out the details with my dad, trying to get him to okay me going to the party, for about 10-15 minutes. He finally said I could go so long as I was back by mid-night. I agreed and took off back downstairs. When I got back out to the beach she wasn't there. I waited for about thirty minutes and nothing. I took off down the beach looking for her, but nothing. So, I decided to go down to the area, where the party was and sure enough she was there. I watched as some dude kissed her and she kissed him back and threw her arms around his neck…I was crushed. She didn't even notice me. What could I do? I turned around and went back to my condo. When I got inside, dad was surprised to see me. "What happened to the party?" he asked. "I don't want to go. I'm just going to sit out on the balcony." The next day, I saw her out on the beach with her brother, but she just ignored me. I thought about going up to her, but decided to leave it alone. It sucked being rejected, but what could I do? I just continued to play with my brothers on the beach and hoped she didn't notice me.
It's now 5:48 pm. I just got done listening to some of the major world news and I'm out raged at Israel's behaviors towards civilian targets Lebanon… They were bombing ambulances from the Red Cross etc. I can't accept this no matter whether a terrorist group kicked off this whole mess or not. So…until the conflict ends, I've removed my Star of David from my necklace in protest of this war. You can't punish everyone in a country for another's actions; and certainly not civilians…
I went to rec a little while ago and had a really good, sweaty workout.
July 19th, 2006
Today started off kind of odd. A mailroom lady woke me up this morning and gave me back last weeks journal entries that I mailed out on Monday. This is the first time this has ever happened, but she said I didn't have enough postage on it. I was like, "What?" It has only ever cost 84c to mail something to Germany, unless it's very heavy, but she was telling me it'd cost $1.70. So…I'm going to make it worth the dollar seventy and mail the last few days with it, too.
Damn. Gotta pause. I was just told I was moving to B-pod. I'll get back to this when I get moved. Later. Argh.
I'm back and it's now 10:47 pm. It's still very hot and they moved me into a very nasty cell. I spent the last hour cleaning it up. I'm sooo tired now, but I need to finish typing this up.
I went outside today and got my buttocks beat at basket ball. I lost 19-11 which kind of stole my thunder. Okay, it's getting late and I still have things to do.
July 18th, 2006
Lord, is it exceptionally hot. I think with the heat index we've got to be pushing the 100's. They finally shut the purge fan off an hour ago. It was on all last night and it was impossible to sleep. I can't comprehend how they did it in the old days. There's just no "getting used" to this.
I don't know what happened last night, but it seemed all hell broke loose; as soon as this one particular guard came on duty. He's not entirely a bad guard, but sometimes he brings his personal problems to work and takes them out on inmates. If he's in one of these moods…Ugh. So, some inmate decided to set his cell on fire and from what I learned this morning several other guys set fires…Now you're wondering how they're able to set fires…They basically build up a little bonfire with newspapers and toilet paper. Then they soak it in baby oil (yes, baby oil is highly flammable…); then they go to their electric socket and create a spark by using metal and a pencil lead. I would guess you'd have to be pretty good at getting it right the first time or you're going to end up frying yourself. So the rest of us had to suffer while the purge vents sucked out our little bit of tempered air…
I'm very tired now. I was getting spoiled on this 7-8 hours of sleep thing! I've been able to sleep pretty good the past two weeks or so; much better than the last few months. I had to get up at six for recreation and then I exercised for a little over an hour. As I type this, I'm waiting on a shower. After that I'm going to catch a little cat nap and then I'll type some more. Haven't quite figured out what I'll type, but I'm thinking…
I'm back. That shower felt pretty good. I may just end up taking my little cat nap around four or so. It's a little noisy right now. You know, being the oldest kid in our house, I tended to take the most heat for even the littlest things, but my father had a way of really overreacting to things. I don't know what sprung this memory, but I had to be about 14 or 15 years old. Yeah, I had just turned fifteen and was home on a break from school in Kentucky. Earlier that summer me and my hometown best friend, Chad, had been at the mall one night looking for "Babes". Chad was a good looking kid and much more outward than I was, so he usually was able to start up the conversations with any girls we ran across. Though, that evening our luck was pretty dry. The whole day at the mall we hadn't scored a single phone number and we were just about to leave the mall empty handed. As we were coming down the escalators we noticed two girls walk by and look at us. One waved and before they could get away, Chad yelled, "Hey!" We ran down the escalators and hoped they were going to stop – which they did. I'll never be able to explain it, but Chad and I would automatically focus on one of them that fit him or me the best. He picked the cute blonde and I picked the pretty brown head. We got some phone numbers and left the mall very happy.
That summer turned out good for me. I ended up going out with the pretty brown haired girl, named Jennifer. Chad unfortunately couldn't get the blonde to go out with him. I felt bad for Chad, because usually he got the girl he wanted and that summer was not turning out well for him. Right before I had to return to Oneida for the fall semester we all got together and went to six flags. I still hadn't kissed Jennifer and I was determined to do so. We rode the rides and goofed around and Jennifer and I were very touchy feely and Chad had enough and ditched us. I was kind of pissed he ran off like that, but then I again, I could understand how he felt. I still hadn't made my move so as we were standing at the exits waiting for Chad to show up and a crowd of people standing around us, I grabbed her waist gently and pulled her to me. Our lips locked and we were making out in front of a whole bunch of people! I was never one who was afraid of any public display of affection. I liked getting caught up in the moment…Chad showed up and we waited on his mom to come and pick us up. When she finally arrived I kissed her again and we said our good byes, knowing this would be the last time we would see each other until I came back on a fall school break.
During the fist half of the semester we talked on the phone and wrote each other letters and even broke up, but then when I came back to Texas she called and said she wanted to see me at the mall and go see a movie. Chad and I talked about this and I decided why not. "And besides, she told me on the phone one time she would let you stick your hand up her shirt if you wanted", Chad said excitedly. "She told you this?" I asked. "Yeah, we were talking about things and I asked her, what would you let Randy do? Cool, huh?" "Dude, I've gotta meet up with her then!"
I talked to my mom and dad and asked if I could go to the mall and meet a girl. Mom had to take Jimmy and Kevin to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and said that if I went with her and helped out with my brothers she'd drop me off at the mall. I called Jennifer up and told her when I'd be there and then went out with my mom. I helped with my brothers at the birthday party and we played some video games and I helped them win some game tickets. Looking back, it was a lot of fun to do those things with my little brothers. Mom told me to call dad and let him know when I wanted to be picked up. I called dad and said I wanted to stay until closing time around 9pm. I know he heard me correctly, 'cause I remember him saying, "Okay, I'll pick you up near closing time; where I always drop you and Chad off. Behave, Randy, we're trusting you without a chaperone…" "I'm cool, dad. We're just going to see a movie and walk around."
Mom dropped me off and I met up with Jennifer. She had a small gift for me that she had gotten for my birthday a month earlier. We hugged and gave each other a little peck. I was very nervous for some reason and we started walking around the mall. We went into some shops and laughed, got some ice cream; you know, did teenage things. I went to a phone and got some movie times for few films and we decided to see the original "Buffy the Vampire Slyer" movie. The theater was right across the street from the mall and we headed over there. I was excited and nervous, 'cause I knew we'd be kissing and if I got the nerves…doing what Chad talked about.
The movie was horrible. We spent most of the time kissing and such, and in my head I kept thinking, "Do it, Randy, go ahead…" But I could never get the nerve. I chickened out. I would later have to explain to Chad and he wouldn't let me live it down for a while. The day passed and before we knew it, it was getting close to closing time. We were walking back to the spot where our parents would pick us up; when all of a sudden I see my dad walking straight towards us. He's very upset and taking large strides...
"C'mere", he says in a very stern voice.
"Dad, what are you doing here early?"
"Who's this?" he says.
"It's my girlfriend, Jennifer."
"Well, tell her goodbye and tell her that you'll no longer be able to see her."
"What?!?" I didn't believe he just said that.
"I told you 8 pm. I've been walking around this damn mall for an hour looking for you."
"I told you closing time!"
"No, you said eight and I was here at eight."
"Dad, you asked me when I wanted you to pick me up. I said nine."
Jennifer just looked at us wide-eyed. I looked back at her with an expression that said, "I can't believe this." "I'll call you. Okay?" I said and tried to give her a goodbye kiss. My dad stopped that and said, "Go, get in the suburban. Now!" I was so embarrassed I wanted to cry. I choked on my goodbye to Jennifer and left with my head down.
Back at home my dad told me that I wouldn't be allowed to go to the mall the rest of the break. I couldn't believe he was acting so irrational. I tried to plead and beg and tell him we agreed on nine. When I asked my mom she only said, "It's your dad's choice…" Even to this day I can never figure out why my dad, as much as I love him would be so rigid with certain things. A lot of the little fights we got into were always over, what I felt, trivial things; or because I didn't meet his approval of something. He had done that to me numerous times. I think sometimes my dad didn't want to be wrong or admit he was wrong on things. Granted, he was very intelligent and I looked up to him for so many things, his wisdom was impeccable – things he would say when I was a kid happened later in my life, just like he said would…But still, I don't think he had to be so into the tough love thing.
Another memory I remember was when I was home on a thanksgiving break – maybe the same year as the mall incident. Wesley and I flew to San Antonio, Texas, to meet up with my family. On that short break we went to Sea World, which is sort of amusement park and aquarium. It was chilly, but not cold; nothing like a Kentucky November. I didn't feel I needed to wear a jacket and definitely not the bright neon green one my parents had bought for me. I was not going to look like a geek in front of hundreds of potential "Babes". We argued and argued until my dad said...
"Fine. I'm going to get tickets. If you want to get into this park you'll stand with your nose to one of those columns until I return."
"What!?!" I cried.
"Get your nose against a column until I return."
"No buts, just do it."
Knowing my dad, he really would've gotten tickets for everyone but me, so I walked up to a column with hundreds of people walking by and stuck my nose to it. I felt so humiliated and I was trying to keep from crying. I felt my self esteem burst like a balloon. I'm not trying to demonize my dad. It's just the way it was in our home. I know they felt that what they were doing was right, but you know you can't take that approach to every kid in the world. We're all not built the same. My dad's best tool of discipline was humiliation. It hurt much worse than any smack on the butt.
Just took a time out to listen to Thom Yorke of the band Radiohead's solo album called "The Eraser". KTRU just did a special premiere…My verdict. MIND BLOWING!!! It's very dark, very bleak. It has a sense of hopelessness…The style is Radiohead's typical guitar driven sound. Thom Yorke built the album around a lot of synthesized and electronic music. I really liked it. So, if you like electronic music…CHECK IT OUT!!! Now I'm on KPFT listening to some different stuff on their program called "Sound Awakes". They're playing a new wave sounding band. I dig it. I can hear some Cure influences in this. Oh! Siouxie and the Banshees is on now; looks like it's going to be a good afternoon for music.
Well, guess I'm going to kick back and do some reading and maybe I'll write a little bit more, later. Just went down to KTRU and they're playing Explosions In The Sky, "Your Hand in Mine" YES! YES! YES!
July 17th, 2006
I'm sitting here with sun pouring through my window. I'm sipping on a hot cup of tea in 100° weather. I know, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Yet, it's comforting in some peculiar way.
Death is on my mind; no, not the evil, horror kind of death, but my death. No, not in some depression induced way. I just wonder what my death will be like. Sometimes, when I'm staring at these blank white walls that hold me in this cell, I daydream a lot. I see little movies inside my mind's eye and I get a kick out of watching them play out. Maybe I'm just crazy, but it helps me to manage and cope in an odd sort of way.
Earlier this morning a thought popped in my head and I wondered what my funeral would be like. I could see myself lying in a casket, sleeping peacefully. (Just for the record I haven't decided whether or not I want to be cremated or slowly decompose under six feet of dirt…I like the idea of cremation better. Plus, it's more environmentally sound…Though, I do find it a tad bit disturbing to have your remains crammed into some glorified jar…But I digress!) I see all sorts of people at my funeral, but I don't know what they're saying, if they are talking about me or their own lives. And then, I see people walking by my casket; touching my face. The first time a human hand has rested on my cheek in years…Though, I'm dead I can still feel the touch and it's warm and pleasant. It sends a warm fuzzy sensation coursing through me, touching the very depths of my soul. I'm watching this from a distance. I'm a ghost. Yet, I can still FEEL it. I still feel ALIVE!
I really no longer fear death, but I still fear the thought of dying alone; of having no one there, or no one to care. What if I watched my own funeral and it was an…empty room? Me in a casket and a vase full of flowers. I watch and hope for ANYONE to come through the funeral parlor doors to tell my body, my vessel, something. A simple goodbye. To me, that's a scary thought. Maybe I romanticize that part of death. I really don't think our spirits linger around or care. I think that's more Hollywood than reality, but it's a nice thought. Romantic in a way. I think we just go on to wherever. I'm hoping we get a chance to start over and try to get it right the next time around. Would explain the whole Deja-vu thing...Don't you think?
I think it's cool. I don't believe in the whole reincarnation thing as we come back around as a fly or shrimp, or cow…Maybe more so as ourselves and surely not in the "I was a roman soldier who made passionate love to Cleopatra" kind of way…But as ourselves… I can see that. We just keep doing it over until we get it right. Maybe our souls are so tortured that they can't move on to the WHATEVER until it finds peace in knowing that it got it right. Of course, I could be just a guy sitting at a typewriter with way too big of an imagination. Spitting out a whole bunch of nonsense, because to be completely honest I don't even know what I'm writing about in this regard half of the time.
I was just re-reading a letter I received from an old friend who lived in my neighborhood and a part of it really jumped out at me. I hope he doesn't mind that I write this sentence, but it made me think of some things...He wrote: "It's all well and good for people like me to feel comfortable in our own sense of moral goodness, but in truth we don't really know who we are… "
I think people are afraid to really look at themselves. Or maybe they really believe that their values' system is the right one and they get so caught up in their everyday life that they never really have to confront themselves, whereas with myself, I've had to confront myself. Am I really a monster? Am I evil like the prosecutor made me out to be, or society has labeled me as…
But really, if one looks into their own selves, their own hearts, what will they find? I'll give a few examples…Let's take some prison guards for example. There are some who are so disgustingly horrible that if you have any kind of heart and compassion, you would see it like a red flag. Yet, they truly believe deep inside they are doing what's right by mistreating inmates. After all, the inmates are the scum, the guards are the law abiding, church going citizens. Situations like mine can bring out the best or worst in people. Or take war for example. The death and destruction sometimes awakens something deep inside people and causes them to do truly evil things. Who are we deep inside? What is the true human condition? What is our "values'" system based upon? Is it truly love and kindness, forgiveness and understanding? Or is it because we SAY this is good or that is bad…that makes it good or bad? I wasn't always as liberal minded and such as I am now. I once was a homophobe I couldn't stand being touched by any man. My friend Jason and roommate was a very touchy feely kind of guy and when he got excited he liked to hug and it would creep me out. He'd say,"Dude, you are sooo a homophobe." "No I'm not…", I'd say weakly. Anyways, I have no idea where I'm going with my thoughts, I'm kind of rambling, but my point is, I think the reason we don't truly look inside ourselves is because we're afraid of what we might see.
This is going off in a completely different direction, but I just thought about how I was a homophobe, yet I've always been a very emotional, melodramatic, maybe even effeminate kind of guy…I'm thinking maybe the homophobe thing comes from my childhood. My biological mother has hinted that I might have been sexually abused, but she would never give me a straight up answer always kind of avoiding the subject. Just like I know she's abused me, I have the memories, you know? The nightmares…Yet, she always says she never touched me.
Well, I still need to exercise and attend other things. It's two in the afternoon, so I'll probably write more a little bit later. I'll be going to recreation around five or six… Later.
It's now 9:32 pm. I just got back from recreation and my shower a few minutes ago. It's beyond HOT. Some idiot wanted to start a fire in his cell so they had to turn on the purge vents, which suck out any and all air that might be here. It feels like we're suffocating and it's very uncomfortable. This is how my day ends.
Well, good night…
July 16th, 2006
Boring, boring, Sunday. It's very hot and I've got to do a lot, so…I'll just take this space to say…Peace!
July 15th, 2006
Today hasn't been too bad. I started my day off listening to this program on NPR called, "Wait, wait! Don't tell me." It's very funny. After lunch I went outside and played some basketball, beating one of the best players around on Death Row. The final score? 24 to 14. It was so hot, I thought the sun would do me in, but I just kept pushing. It got a little too close for comfort around game ten. He was right behind me at nine games. Then we had an overtime game and I turned on the after burners and took off after that. I think the overtime game was what gave me a jolt of confidence and I said to myself, "I can beat this guy, I know I can…"
After we played all of those games I just soaked up some sun and sweated about a gallon. My T-shirt was completely soaked. It looked as if someone poured a bucket of water onto me. Haha. When I came back in I was lucky to get a shower right away. Came back from the shower and took a nap.
Right now I'm just sitting here listening to the radio, channel surfing and looking for something worth listening to. No good movies on tonight. Well, I was actually going to listen to this movie called "Unbreakable", but I couldn't get my ABC to come in good.
Guess I'll just pick up a book and do some reading.
July 14th, 2006
I can't believe this week is just about done. Today is a no recreation day so I didn't too much. Okay, I really didn't do anything at all. I got up at about 7 in the morning, drank some coffee (I drink way too much!! Especially for someone who can't stand the taste. Haha…) I listened to the radio and then did a little thirty minute workout. Kept it light, 'cause I'm so sore!
After that I just listened to the news about the escalating problems in Israel. I swear that whole area is not going to rest until they just completely kill each other. When I listened to the American news their focus was on the oil. Never mind about people killing each other, bombing, war etc… "What will this do to our gas prices?" Jesus, people are dying and you're worried about some gas? Get a bike, ride a horse or something. Walk, even. That's why we have two feet…We can send a satellite to Pluto, but we can't figure out a better way to get around? People need to get their heads out of their rear ends …
It's getting late now. Close to eleven and I'm not really even tired. But my head is in a thousand different places. I suppose I'll close here for the night and write something decent tomorrow. I have a craving for a pickle. Where does that come from????
July 13th, 2006
I was moved last night. Right now I'm currently on E-pod 39 cell. It's okay here; I've gotta good view out my window and I'm around some good friends.
Man, I'm sooo pooped. I went outside for four hours, played some ball and won all of those games. Then we exercised until we almost dropped dead. I'm very sore right now as I type this. On the plus side, I heard from Josef tonight; I was getting very worried about him, so it's good to know he's okay.
I'm very scatter brained right now! I have no idea, if I even want to write anything. I guess I'm going to read my mail and chill out for a bit. I'm in a strange place right now…
Take care and peace!
July 12th, 2006
Well, these officers are sure dragging their butts today. We've got a very, very lazy crew. It's after one on the afternoon and they are just starting on the 3rd round of recreation. I'm supposed to go fourth round and it'll be good to get out of this cell, 'cause to be honest, I feel like I'm being suffocated. I'm kind of on the borderline of extreme anger…
The day started out peaceful enough and I was feeling good. I started working on some new ideas for my MySpace page and was typing away. The morning was beautiful and all of that good stuff. Well, just about forty five minutes ago I got into it with the guy I got into it with last night… again. Argh!! Let me tell you what happened last night. I was talking to this guy in the dayroom. He was at the bars and I was standing at my door. Just talking about everything in general, when this old paranoid guy thought we were talking about him. So he comes to the door screaming and hollering and cussing us out. I say...
"Man, no one was talking to you or about you..."
"I know what I heard. You two are talking about me…"
"Man, go lay down. Get some sleep", I said.
Okay, in hindsight, I should've just stopped before I let it get to this point. That's what I normally would've done. Well, after I said that he just let loose, I ignored him until he started majorly disrespecting me. And I got mad when I heard some people laugh at his comment and well…So, me and my dumb butt…I couldn't let it go. He went to the dayroom. At first I just try to ignore it, and I'm typing away, enjoying my morning and then like an itch that wouldn't go away: pride, being disrespected etc…I went up to my door and basically just started cussing him out.
Now I feel like a child for doing so…I'm still mad! When I go to recreation I'll just exercise it off. I'm finished with it. If he says anything else I'll just let it go. I just feel stupid and don't hold grudges so I'm trying to figure out where that came from. Maybe it just woke up some old frustrations with other things going on. Who knows? I'm not perfect, but I should be better than that. Only human…
It's getting really hot in here. My guess is it's about 94 or 95°. Whew. It'd be a nice day to get out and play some ball, but I don't get to do that until tomorrow – that is if they don't move me to another pod tonight. Hmmm. What else? Guess I should pause here… Huh…The paranoid guy is trying to bait me in a trap again. I can hear him taunting me again. Miserable ass…Ugh. Just let it go, man. Okay, time out. I'll write more later on. Now I hope I DO get moved. I've gotta get off this section. What I just realized is this is where they originally housed inmates with execution dates and it has a permeating feeling of death and negativity in it. I don't really believe in ghosts etc., but man it feels like something is literally poking at me to just start cussing this guy out again. Haha. I think I'll read some psalms. They have a soothing effect.
July 11th, 2006
Hmmm. Still no mail from Josef. Very worried. I did get something else dealing with my MySpace page and it's been updated and looks bad to the bone! I still have much to do with it. I want a lot of anti death penalty stuff up, but as far as my personality etc…It's there. It's really cool...I was blown away.
Not much happened today. Well, I did get into an argument with this guy. He's just a miserable old, paranoid man. I don't even know why I let myself get sucked into arguing with him. I don't ever really allow myself to get caught up in other people's BS, but he disrespected me and I guess some of that old prison mentality of being disrespected kind of sprung up. I'm still mad about it, but I'm trying to let the peacefulness wash over me…
I think I will close here for the night and kind of think, relax, meditate whatever you want to call it. It's getting late and I just want to lie down. But first...I must put my mail in the door co be picked up!
Good night and peaceful dreams.
July 10th, 2006
Right now it's 8:53 am. I've brushed my teeth, had some coffee (well, did that before I brushed my teeth!) and I'm enjoying this beautiful sunrise that is pouring through my window. Man, it's so gorgeous outside. I was pulled out of my peaceful sleep by the mailroom and I guess that's why I'm in such a good mood right now. No, I don't particularly like being awakened to be denied something, but it was the nice compliment I received.
There were two mailroom ladies. One is generally pretty stern...No-nonsense. The other one is quite a nice person. Anyway, the stern one had the paperwork for me to sign and said, "Do you know how to fill this out?" And then, the other says, "Yeah, he does, but you don't have to sound so mean to him…He's really nice. Never complains or cusses us out" When she said that, the stern one started being nice to me! So I say, "Shhh. Don't let anyone hear you say I'm nice. Remember, we're all monsters back here." They both laughed. After I signed the paperwork they told me to have a nice day. It's little exchanges like this that make you feel human. I can't explain the feeling, but just to know that someone you don't communicate with or really even talk to can see a positive quality in you and point it out...Kind of reassures you, it's an awesome feeling. Kindness can go a long way.
I'm supposed to go outside today and I can't wait! To feel some sunshine, to hopefully play some basketball. I'm ready to go right now. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do today. What should I write about? I should make an outline of things I want to write about in my journal. Hmmmm. I'm trying to think of some funny school stories to tell. There's plenty of them.
Goodness!!! I managed to piss away a whole day! It's almost seven at night right now. I went outside and played some ball. Man, was it hot! I was winning fifteen games to four, but then I was getting lightheaded and had to stop. Yes, I drank plenty of water. I think with the humidity and heat index it had to be pushing a hundred degrees. I felt like I was baking alive. When I came back in, it was dinner time and a small storm came through. That has disappeared and now the sun is starting to get sleepy. After dinner I did a few push-ups and sit-ups and waited on my shower, which I just got back from and it felt soooooooooooo good! Lord, it felt good.
Well, guess I'll close here. Good night and peace.
July 9th, 2006
Well, my day has been so-so. I've spent most of it writing letters for my neighbor, because he's illiterate. I don't mind helping, but it can be tasking. Ugh. And draining.
I was listening to the Shout Out Show, and Mary sent a message…Kind of brought me down, but I'm cool. I mean, I guess she sounded sorry enough...Still...Oh, I don't know. I'm a forgiving person and I forgive her, but, man, it still kind of strikes a nerve.
It was a beautiful day and then later on a storm came. I'm thinking in sentences. Guess I'll get this out and send it off to Germany. I haven't heard from Josef in two weeks now, so I hope all is okay with him. I'm growing worried. Maybe I'll hear from him tomorrow night when they pass out mail. That would be alright …
Guess I'll go. Oh, I heard this Placebo song with some French in it today. It was awesome. I wish I knew the title. Another good song that's out right now is called "Is it any wonder?" by Keane. It sounds like a sonic U2 song.
July 7th, 2006
Today has been neither here nor there. I went to recreation this morning at a little after six and had planned on exercising, but then got wrapped up in a conversation and blew that…Had my shower shortly after and took a little nap, 'cause I went to bed kind of late last night.
I wanted to talk a little about my grandfather. He died when I was about 10 or 11, but I still remember him fondly. He had a heart of gold and accepted Wesley and me into the family with open arms. My grandfather's parents came to the United States as immigrants from Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century, escaping the Jewish persecution that was rising under the early starts of Russian Communism. They sailed into Ellis Island in New York City and he and his six other brothers eventually spread through out the U.S. Grandpa settled down in Union Town, Pennsylvania, and opened up a roofing and siding business with his brother Harry. I never met Harry, but had heard from various relatives that he was a very nasty man and took advantage of my grandpa. Eventually Grandpa Lester completely owned his business and became very successful.
I don't know how I can remember this so well, but our very first conversation was over the telephone. I had just been adopted and it was a late summer day. Dad was cooking hotdogs, and Wesley and I were watching Superman The Movie on T.V. in the living room. My mom called us to her and said, "Your grandpa is on the phone; he wants to say hello…" I grabbed the phone and he said, "Is this Randy? This is your grandpa! How are you doing?" He asked me about the things I liked, and I told him how we were about to go swimming. "Your mom says you are a really good swimmer; that's really great …" I told him I had to let Wesley talk now and was saying goodbye, and he say's "Well, Randy, welcome to the family and I love you…" I swelled with pride, said bye, and gave the phone to Wes. I took off flying like superman…That Thanksgiving I finally met grandpa face to face. We flew to Pennsylvania and arrived at his home as it began to snow lightly. He was waiting on us at the door and when we walked in, he wrapped me up in his arms and hugged me tightly, "So this the handsome grandson I have? Boy, look at that face!" He kissed my cheek and greeted Wesley.
When we were settled in, he told us to go to his basement, where he had a pool table and other neat things set up. I remember these carved coconut faces he had hanging on the wall, that became mine, when he passed away. I cherished them so much. He taught us how to play pool and gave us full attention. I trusted him completely. One thing that stood out was what seemed like some distance between him and my dad. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I look back at those moments they just seems apart. He seemed stern and rigid with my dad – just like my father was with me. I don't claim to have crystal clear memories, but it's what I see looking back.
There was one time when we went to grandpa's business. He had a Coca-Cola machine that had the old time bottles. Of course owning the business he had the keys to the machine and asked Wesley, my mom and me if we wanted a coke. He pulled out his key and gave us each one. My dad said, "What about me?" And grandpa said, "You've got the money to buy one…", and he closed the machine up. Looking back, it was odd…Grandpa had these company trucks and he led us to the garage and told Wes and me to climb inside. "Randy, you're going to drive." I couldn't believe it. He was going to let me drive? Of course he was only kidding and I realized this, but that didn't keep me from pretending and so we took off in his truck. Mom and dad took pictures and I pulled into the gas station and he asked if I needed any gas. He pretended to fill the truck up and off I went again driving the truck around. I remember playing in the snow – a first for me and Wes. We built a snowman, had hot chocolate and lots of fun. We did this every year until he had a stroke. I think I was 9 at the time of his stroke. Family flew in from all over the country to see him and help get him into a nursing home. He was confined to a wheel chair, lost his ability to speak and was paralyzed in most of his body. But, it didn't take his joy away. He wasn't any less of a man, because of the stroke.
Wesley and I were his main source of joy, so during this time everyone tried to get us down there as much as possible. Grandpa had a sort of Plexiglas table attached to his wheel chair and under the Plexiglas were pictures of Wesley and me. I would push him around and Wes would sit in his lap. He loved this. We would go outside and blow bubbles with him, which would make him laugh. I used to get him iced tea in the cafeteria and help him drink it. He was still very much alive.
When I was close to being eleven, my parents where going through the process of adopting Jimmy from Korea. I believe my grandfather was excited about this. His eyes would light up when my parents would tell him what they were doing, and just when we finally got Jimmy grandpa died. Wesley and I were in Daycare and I remember mom and dad rushing into the center and taking us out. Mom was crying and I asked what was wrong. Nobody said anything, but I already knew. It's amazing how kids are so more perceptive than we give them credit for. I don't think I fully understood death at this time, but I knew he was gone.
I remember crying, and I remember feeling sad he was gone, but my parents didn't think Wesley and I understood. Maybe I didn't, but I knew I lost a grandfather and a friend. It's strange at how something that happened almost twenty years ago can still bring tears to my eyes. I admit, when I pray these days he hasn't been in them. I think I will pray for him again. As a kid I used to pray for him every night, asking God to watch over him. To heal him. Sitting here writing this, I wonder what he's up to now. Is he watching over us still? Will I see him when I'm gone? I don't know, but it'd be nice to push that wheel chair around and see that wonderful smile of his. That happiness in his eyes…
July 6th, 2006
I was moved to A-pod last night. I'm always amazed at how clean this pod is compared to the other pods. Of course, it's where the house inmates with execution dates and therefore it is their exhibition piece or their "Ant Farm" and occasionally bring tours through of Huntsville Officials (Huntsville is the TDCJ head office) they always keep it freshly painted and cleaned. Saving that, it's always incredibly quiet. I like that.
I went out to recreation today. Outside. It was a gorgeous morning, if not a little humid, but all in all very lovely. Walked around, did a few exercises. Man, I've been slacking this past week. Not as intense as I usually do…Spent most of the time talking. Then, I came in, took a little nap, got a shower and read a little.
My buddy Bigfoot came by and we spent some time talking about Gandhi (yes, death row prisoners discussing Gandhi. Is that not odd? Haha…) and many of Gandhi's ways of activism. I really think that if I'm ever to be executed I will not walk to the gurney of my own will. When they take me to the van I will sit – without struggle – and make them pick me up, load me onto the van and they will have to carry me to my death. I won't lash out, I won't be violent. I won't curse and scream, but they will carry me. I won't walk of my own will. That would be accepting defeat. I wish every inmate would do that. I think it would make a powerful statement. I think every protester should sit outside the execution chambers until the very first light of the sun, protesting each and every execution. I think services should be held by true people of faith who oppose the death penalty. I don't believe you can be a true person of faith and believe in state sanctioned murder…Well, these are some of the things we discussed. You should hear me when I get really fired up about it. I start standing on my toes, swinging my hands everywhere. Bigfoot started to laugh, "I see you, Randy, standing on your toes!" Haha.
Man, I wonder what's up with Josef. I usually hear from him by now and haven't received anything from him in almost two weeks now. They just passed out the mail and he's really good about giving me updates from Germany each week. Hmmm. Maybe he has the blues, because Germany lost to Italy in the World Cup.
Mentally, I'm doing okay. I'm managing to keep depression at bay. I just have to stay focused, can't let my mind drift to the negativity. I'm going to be alright. In fact, I've been quite blessed of late, so I really can't complain. Right now I have my radio on and I'm listening to a Garbage concert on PBS. It's really good.
Guess I'll close here and say goodnight.
July 5th 2006
I've got to start this off with a book recommendation: "Back Road" by Tawney 0' Dell. Holy cow was that a good book! I started reading it around eight last night after giving up on seeing any fire works. It was her first novel and I could tell early on that it was a first novel, because the story started out very loose, the narrator's voice was unfocused, but after about fifty pages – wham! – the story hits you. She tightens everything up and each pager gets stronger. It's hard to describe the book, but I have to give a warning…Some of it is very violent and sexually graphic. I found a lot of it disturbing, but it wasn't gratuitous. All I can say is it was very good, though. Very good plot. Every character is a victim in some form or another.
I've managed to stay busy today. It's been raining most of the day, but for now we've got a little sunshine, but man it feels like a sauna. Very hot, very humid. Earlier today I was really missing my brothers. I was thinking about Jimmy and Kevin. I think Jimmy's personality was very much like mine and Kevin's much like Wesley's. Jimmy was very quiet and very passive, whereas Kevin was very hyper at times and a bit of a clown. I loved all my brothers equally. When I'd come home from Kentucky on breaks I gave them a lot of attention. Most of the time they were in school during the day, but at night we'd watch movies or play video games. Sometimes they'd sit with me while I talked to my girlfriend on the phone. Kevin and Jimmy liked to ask if they could say hello and then as soon as I'd give them the receiver they would blurt out, "Randy has polka dot underwear!" and start laughing away. They thought it was the funniest thing.
I used to make lemonade or orange juice from those frozen concentrated mixes and they loved helping me out on that. I'd let one hold the pitcher and another stir. Whenever I'd say, "Who wants to make juice?" they would come flying from nowhere yelling, "Me! Me! Me!" I loved to make them smile. At nighttime after my mom or dad would read them a story I'd go into their room. They shared a bedroom and both had very cool race car beds. I would go into their room and sit on a bed and they would always want me to tell a story. So, each night I'd make up one that any child would laugh at. Say "fart" or "poop" in a kids story and they can't get enough. I liked to use made up words that would find funny sounding. I once told a story about an alligator and I'd start out, "There once was an alligator named Rudy with a big fat booty from the tropical island of tooty fruity…" And they would just be giggling away. "How big was his booty?" Kevin would ask snickering. "Oh, bigger than the moon." I'd say. "And he loved to eat little boys up… but he thought that anyone with the name Jimmy or Kevin tasted gross. Oh, he might eat an ear or a hand, but never a whole Jimmy or Kevin." And this would carry on until they would calm down. Most of the time Jimmy always fell asleep first. Kevin was a handful. He'd never go to sleep right away. Probably the hyperness, but it took hours. Especially if he had a nap during the day time. Most of the time around ten at night mom and dad would be in the living room watching the news and Jay Leno. I'd watch T.V. in our game room, usually a movie or something. On that part of the house you had my room, Wesley's and Jimmy's and Kevin's. My parents always made us keep the doors to our rooms open at night. So, I'd be sitting on the couch in the game room and would feel the presence of someone else. Sure enough, here's Kevin inching up little by little on his butt until he's parallel with the couch, watching T.V. with me. I'd look down at him and say, "Kevin, if dad catches you you'll be in trouble, get back in bed…" But he wouldn't move. But sure enough, here comes dad, "Kevin! You better be in bed!" Zoom! Kevin would shoot off back into his room. It was hilarious.Then here he would come again inching up little by little to the couch…
I wonder if I'll be moved tonight. I went ahead and straightened my cell out just in case; organized some of my things. I can hear the food cart out in the hall way...almost dinner time.
Today was no recreation day, so I have to do little exercises here and there. That way I don't get too sweaty. Guess I'll stop here for the time being. Not sure if I'll write more or not. I can see I'm going to have to reuse this ribbon. I hope it works when I rewind it; it's always a pain in the butt and never prints dark enough. Sigh...
July 4th, 2006
Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I was kind of hoping to catch fireworks outside my window tonight, but it started raining again so…Doesn't look like any will be happening, which kind of sucks. Every year since I've been here I've been able to watch them. Guess not this year.
I went outside today and it was pretty nice; a little humid, but still nice enough. Then, some dark ominous clouds began moving and it began to sprinkle. This carried on for about five minutes and then the thunder came. Then, it began to pour. I loved it, but the guards made us come back in. Guess they didn't want us to be electrocuted, should a freak bolt of lighting hit the outside recreation yard. To be fair, it is surrounded by steel, so…I could see the headlines…, "Two Inmates fried when lightning bolt hits their rec. yard…Act of God?"
I wish I could say I had a productful day today, but it amounted to nothing. I haven't even read anything, which I will get my fifty pages in here in a short while. I've just been writing off and on and staring at the wall. My ribbon is so low and I don't know when I can get another one…I've got to be frugal with it. I do have a lot to say, just running short on ink…Look, I just wasted ribbon by doing that. I need to write some poems…I've made a few sketches of some; just random thoughts. Guess it'll give me something to do tomorrow.
Guess I'll stop here. I've wasted enough ribbon as it is. Happy fourth of July!
July 3rd, 2006
It's humid and rainy today. I'm kind of on the edge of depression, but I'm fighting it off. I can't quite describe the feeling, but it's not a whole lot different than a heavy wool blanket closing in around your head. I was feeling good the last week. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the fact that nothing decent is on the radio right now. Maybe it's because I got in an argument with some other guys today (more on that in a second…) Well, whatever it is, it sucks.
I just finished reading this book called "Monster". It's written in the form of a screen play. A sixteen year old is charged with capital murder and he basically describes the whole trial process and how everyone sees him as a monster. Yet, throughout the whole process he wishes people would see how he really was at heart. I can remember a part in my own trial as I was on the stand and the prosecutor was chopping me to pieces and I said out of the blue, "But I know my heart…" It's weird when people are basically judging you on a snap shot of your life. You think the whole time, "But this isn't me!!!" I don't know, I just found the book very touching.
Well, I managed to piss a couple of guys off on my section, but I don't regret it and I stand by my principles. Maybe it was wrong for me to jump in the conversation in the first place, but I felt a wrong was being done and had to speak on it. There's a mentally challenged man back here. He'll hold a normal conversation with you, but you can tell something's not right. Sometimes late at night he'll flip out and start screaming and yelling at nobody. Well, the guy ended up breaking his headphones, and in one of his saner moments asked this guy, they call "Kangaroo", if he had an extra set of headphones. Kangaroo is a pretty nice guy and said, yeah, he could let him have them. That's when one of Kangaroo's buddies speaks up and says...
"Say, Kangaroo. You're weak if you let that crazy fuck use your shit."
"No, it ain't cool. What's he done for you? He just keeps us up all night. The dude is fucked in the head. You let him use your shit and we ain't gonna fuck with you no more."
I was staying out of it at first, but then this jackass keeps talking to Kangaroo, making him feel bad for trying to help someone out. I know peer pressure and I know what it's like to want to fit in, but you have to draw a line in the sand. I think back to the night of that Christmas Eve robbery and how I chickened out and didn't draw my line in the sand. I didn't stand up for my principles and look where I'm at…I was hoping Kangaroo would speak up. Say something and then the jerk says, "Wish they would kill the crazy ass and save us all the headache." I couldn't bite my tongue anymore and walked up to my door. "Hey, last time I checked the state wanted to kill us all, dude. Some people want us all to die and save them the headache. How the hell are you going to hold the fact, that he's off in the head, against him? Wake the hell up man and look where you're at…Say, Kangaroo, you're not weak for letting that man borrow your headphones. To me that shows heart. Don't let anyone tell you what to do…" Then I heard...
"Randy, mind your own damn business. Nobody asked you to step in this car."
"Maybe not, but I just don't see how you're going to belittle a man for doing what he feels right. And I sure as hell don't see how you're going to hold your nuts over somebody to die, when you face the same fucking fate. Wake the fuck up man."
Well, after that I was called all sorts of bitches and ho's and everything else, but oh well. Oh, and Kangaroo let the man borrow his headphones. I could not care less what someone back here thinks of me. I just think people need to get their heads out of their asses…Life, of course goes on in this place. I hope I don't sound self-righteous. I'm really not, I've judged and made my many errs, but man some things just really get under your skin.
I had a weird dream last night. Something about walking a long deserted interstate. The sky was a bright blue, but everything else around the long stretch of road was pitch black. I didn't know where I was headed to. I just knew I had to get there. I wonder what that meant? Hmmm.
I want to talk about my grandfather, but my typing ribbon is very low. I've got to keep things short until I can get another one. With the holiday and all, there's no telling, so I may have to 'reuse' this one…