July 2007 - 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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Journals

July 31st, 2007

The last day of the month...This summer has gone by so fast. I heard a "Back to School" advertisement on the radio this morning and thought, wow! August is typically the hottest month in Texas, but it’s been such an odd summer - it seems to be starting late, and I wonder if it won’t be September and October that are the hot months.

I finished reading "Communion" this morning. I was surprised how well this abduction account was written. It’s a convincing argument, but we as humans have barely begun to figure ourselves out. I don’t think we could handle trying to figure out something like a sentient being more evolved and intelligent that ourselves. If they are here then I wish they would come and abduct my ass from here. Perform all the rectal exams you want! Ha-ha.

I haven’t been moved in about ten days now, so I’m expecting a guard to show up any minute to pack my stuff. Today I got on a couple of my fellow inmates' butts for joining the guards in teasing and aggravating my neighbor to the right of me. He is a bit mentally troubled, and has bouts of paranoia and bursts of anger. One guard kept antagonizing him all day and it was really irritating me. I do not like to see people picked on. I can tell my neighbor is close to an outburst and is agitated; I hear him shuffling his feet, pacing back and forth, murmuring inarticulate words. I tried to calm him down by giving him my cereal that was thrown in my cell at breakfast, and also a magazine. Still, every time the guard passed by he would make a comment.

About 30 minutes later the guard passes by again and my neighbor erupts: kicking his door, screaming profanities and so forth. Well, then other guards and inmates start cussing him out and such. So things chill down and I come to my door and address those who were putting down the troubled guy. I said, "You know, I don’t see how y’all justify belittling someone and having the same mentality as the guard. That’s why we have the problems we have now. No freakin’ unity. You see a guy down, you’re supposed to pick him up, not cuss him out and put him down. The dude didn’t do anything. He was quiet until the guard wired him up…"

Sometimes people forget where they are, as if we’re not all in the same boat. I live in a strange world. One moment I see kinder acts than one would see on the outside, another moment it’s "Lord of the Flies".

Peace and love.



July 30th, 2007

Today shot right on by. I went to recreation at 6:30am into a hot and humid sunrise. It was a bit overcast, but as we began to play basketball, the skies cleared and came up a beautiful blue. But, man, did I sweat like a pig! My socks, shorts/boxers/t-shirt were drenched in a sticky, greasy sweat...yuck! Oh, and I got my butt beat down 15 games to five. I just couldn’t find any rhythm this morning.  

When I was outside I was thinking about when I was a kid and I had a fascination (and fear) of aliens. It became an obsession at one point and one night my friend from the synagogue, Jason, and I, swore we saw something when I was sleeping over at his house. My parents became worried and sent me to a shrink after finding my detailed journal on my so-called "research". I admit, my imagination was beyond over-active in those days and things probably did get a little out of hand. Still, to this day, things like UFO’s fascinate me. I think it’s because as a human I want to believe — and do believe — that it’s just not us in this universe. It can’t be possible, and how boring it would be if we are the only ones? Who knows?

Guess I’ll spend the rest of the night reading.

Peace.



July 29th, 2007

Sunday. It’s sunny outside and I’m listening to the radio. Yesterday I pretty much spent reading. Today will be much of the same. Nothing to report or write about. I’m just wasting time ha-ha.

Peace.



July 27th, 2007

Well, I wasn’t moved today so I suppose the officials are trying to get a normal move schedule back on track, post lockdown. Tonight I received some really touching emails and it always moves me when I’ve convinced people to change their view on the death penalty. It brings a lot of hope to me because the fight isn’t about me. Odds are that I will get away from this place, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over for the rest of the men that sit here.

Right now I’m reading a book about the Innocence Project called Actual Innocence. It’s insane the number of people who are wrongly accused, from false testimony, mistaken witness identification, DNA, and all sorts of other errors, sometimes malicious, sometimes not. Other than that it’s been a dry day.

Peace.



July 26th, 2007
(note: this entry contains harsh language)

I went outside at 6:30am and, boy, was it an interesting recreation. I’ve met quite a few characters since being imprisoned, but this guy I was out with today was definitely one of the top assholes I’ve ever met. I knew of him, but I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like to pass judgment or listen to others until I know for myself. So, I’m outside and I ask the guy, "Do you play basketball?" He says, "Yeah, I play nigger ball from time to time". I cringe at the comment and say, "Hey, I’d appreciate it if you don’t talk like that around me. He sort of grunts and we begin to play. I win every game and I can tell he’s getting aggravated so I actually throw a few games so he won’t quit on me. I like to play so that I can run. It’s more about the exercise and rush than it is about winning.

So, then after letting him win three games back to back he starts trash talking and says, "Yeah, it’s good to see you ain’t got no nigger in you. I was beginning to worry about you". I say, "Dude, chill out on the language, man. You’re starting to piss me off. We go back to playing and I start winning again. I mean, I demolish him, winning games 10-1- 10-2, 10-0. He gets mad and kicks the ball against the wall and then throws a temper tantrum, beating up the ball. I say, "You know, there are others who come out and play. You might not want to destroy the ball. He says, "Well, why the fuck should I care? Ain’t nobody gonna care about me". I then tell him that if he’s selfish like that what did he expect? The rest of the recreation time was spent listening to racial comments, etc. Then something funny happened. Two mail room ladies showed, one of them being a pretty black woman.  He goes up to the glass and says, "Boys, look at that. I’d like to get me a shot of that pussy. I look at him in disbelief and say, "Man, you just spent almost two hours degrading black people and now you’re talking about how you want to have sex with a black woman? How does that make sense in your warped head?" He gets serious and says, "I like pussy". I say, "You’re an ass, man, a real ass. Needless to say I’ll never be going to recreation with this yahoo again.

The rest of the day I’ve just been reading and relaxing.

Peace and love.



July 25th, 2007

Ever since I’ve run out of coffee and decided not to drink it anymore (for like the hundredth time, I know…) my energy level has rocketed sky high. I’ve  also been having some weird dreams. I just had a dream that took place in colonial times and I was dressed up like an Indian. The scenery was very similar to that in the movie, "The Last of the Mohicans."

I remember being with a female and another guy who were in the same garb I was. Some of the dream is fuzzy now, but the part that got to me the most was somehow we’d gotten into trouble and one of us would have to talk to another tribe. The chief of the tribe wanted to talk to me specifically, but I was too afraid to go out for fear of being killed, so the female offered to go. Time passed and she never returned. We ran into a scout and asked the deal was. The scout told us that she had been killed and sacrificed herself for the sake of me because the chief was offended that I would not talk to him. The chief ordered my head be brought back to him and she stopped him, giving up her life. The other guy and I began to weep and I felt ashamed of myself. Then I woke up.

Peace.



July 24th, 2007

Not entirely a boring day...I woke up a little after 8:00am, and exercised. Shortly before 10:30am, the guards stopped recreation to serve lunch. When they started to load the tray carrier they realized the food was cold so they had to return the food cart back to the kitchen. They brought a new cart back and that cart was also cold. So the guards say, "Well, maybe it just needs to heat up a bit. Thirty minutes later the food is still cold. One guard replies, "Damn, this cart is broken too! I get one of the guard’s attention and say "Maybe it’s the outlet that’s not working." Of course he ignores me. They wait longer to see if the food will somehow magically warm itself up.

At this time it’s inching up on 1:00pm. Kicks on cells doors and calls of "Feed us! We’re hungry!" erupt all over the pod. A sergeant comes onto the pod to investigate the noise and after he learns that we’ve not been fed, he starts yelling at the guards. It was pretty crazy. The guards take off with the food cart and then disappear for about thirty minutes. Now everyone is super mad. Dudes are cussing, screaming, yelling. The sergeant comes back down and says, "Jesus Christ! Where are my goddamn officers at?"

Finally lunch is served at 2:00pm or so. All that mess for some burritos! Sheesh. Dinner came at around 4:30 P.M. so lunch was like an appetizer.

Right now I’m sitting here waiting to see if I will be moved or not. I was listening to a news report earlier on how President Bush keeps on saying Iraq is the focus of "The War on Terror." He keeps bringing up al Qaeda in Iraq and how we must fight them to win and I’m thinking, "Geeze, al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq until we tore the country up. Now it’s the perfect place for a training ground. Bush can’t be that naïve, can he?" It’s pretty disturbing to think about. I remember listening to an interview on PBS and the Charlie Rose Show, and they had an Iraqi official on at the time of the Virginia Tech shootings. He said, "Today you mourn students killed at Virginia Tech…Everyday is Virginia Tech for my people. Very sobering words that fall upon deaf ears.

Peace and love.



July 23rd, 2007

Today has been pretty good. After a month and a half I finally got some sunshine and played basketball, although we had a minor incident as we were playing. Apparently the outside recreation yard next to us had a use of force incident because as we were playing we were hit with a burst of riot gas. It took the breath right out of me and I hit the concrete on my knees gagging and choking. Then our skin and eyes burned. This lasted for about 20 seconds and I thought I was going to puke and then it passed. It took us about ten minutes to recuperate and we started playing ball again. I won seven games to six.

I was at a huge disadvantage, too. I started off losing four games in a row because the goal I was shooting at was about four feet higher than my opponent’s  goal. Then I was out of practice and had done a workout about an hour before I played so my arms were worn out. Still, I came back and it was good to run. I need a good cardio plan and playing speed ball is the best there is because you play in bursts or sprints. Even if I can’t find someone to play ball with I’m going to start jogging from now on.

Right now as I write this I’m waiting on a shower…and dinner. I’m hungry as a horse...Well, so much for a shower any time soon! The meal cart just showed up. It’s a big metal hotbox on wheels that they plug into an outlet near the control center and then load blue cafeteria style trays into a food carrier that holds the trays - one carrier for each floor on a section. They do give us juice or tea each meal also. It’s not the best tasting stuff, but when it’s 95 degrees outside and just as hot in the cells, cold juice or tea is delicious no matter how nasty.

I think I’m going to bust out my homemade shower and wash off in my cell. I do not like sitting around in my filth and sweat.

Peace!



July 21st, 2007

We are off lock down! Woo-hoo! I had a really good workout today, it’s finally real sunny and soon I’ll be going to recreation. Finally a Saturday that hasn’t been so boring.

Peace and love!



July 20th, 2007

Today I was surprised to be told that I was being moved, but apparently the lock down is over. So I had to pack it up. The new cell was by far the nastiest cell I’d ever been moved to. It was horrible. I spent two-and-a-half hours scrubbing and cleaning. I was so pissed, and then afterwards I was so dirty that I had to rinse off with my hose. Other than that the pod is an okay pod.

It’s been raining the past two days. This rain is starting to get to Biblical proportions. It’s really crazy. Can we please get a long stretch of sunshine, God? Sheesh.

Peace and love!



July 19th, 2007

A funny thing happened tonight. My neighbor gave me a jalapeno pepper and we were so hungry we decided to eat them as is. So, I take the first bite and the sucker is hot! As I take each bite I begin to moan, "Ohhh! Ahhh! Shit! Ohhh!" My mouth was on fire. So I keep making these moans and groans of pain, unaware that it could sound erotic to others nearby. Finally my neighbor says, "Jesus, Randy, what are you doing over there - wait, I don’t want to know!" I start to laugh uncontrollably and say, "Man, that sucker is hot! I can’t help it!" He says, "Yeah, well, it sounds like you’re doing some kinky stuff with that pepper!" We laughed so hard...

Peace!



July 18th, 2007

It’s been a nice, warm and quiet day. I got out of bed at nine in the morning and drank what I hope is my very last cup of coffee because I ran out and I really want to give up caffeine. Then I began to go through print-outs of my journal over the past two years. I have an idea of turning the best entries and some of my stories into a book, so that’s my project. I organized about half of it. Then, once I complete that and decide what I where I want to go direction-wise, I’ll edit, and hopefully stitch together something interesting. I’m really excited about that.  

Right now, as I write this, I’m listening to Dr. Phil because nothing good is on the radio. It’s been nice today but so slow. I need to pick up a book, but I’m not in a reading mood today.

Peace.



July 17th, 2007

I am so exhausted. I’ll probably be going to bed early tonight. I had a really great visit today with a friend, but it seemed to go by really fast...I got back to my cell around one in the afternoon, and took a nap. Then a huge thunder storm hit and woke me up. Later I listened to a show called "Democracy Now" and they were talking about the death penalty and recently found some execution audio recordings from Georgia. They were really disgusting and disturbing, but I think very important to hear. I want to see if I can get the audio on my site or put on a Youtube video. But you can go to soundportrait.org and look up Georgia execution tapes and probably listen to the audio there.

Not much else to write about.  I need to get these entries out and posted.

Peace.



July 16th, 2007

Today was a good day. I got up, exercised and we had showers. It was getting close to 8:00am and my friend was about to show up, so I asked a guy if I could skip in front of him for a shower. He said it was cool so when the guards came I went ahead. While I was in the shower the visit escort came to pull me out. It was a nice visit. My friend, David, is a remarkable man - compassionate, loyal and a mentor. As Jewish folks would call him, a Mensch. He’s family to me and I love him dearly.

Peace and love!



July 15th, 2007

Jeez, am I tired. I talked all night until 3:00am, then went to sleep only to have a sergeant wake me up at 6:00am..."Get up, get your shit packed. Everything comes out of your cell!" You know how when you don’t get enough sleep you can be a bit delirious? I started acting goofy along with my neighbor, so as they were pulling guys out of their cells he began to tease and poke fun at them. Then I started to go into graphic description of the main kinds of diarrhea you can get eating nothing but cheese, bread, peanut butter and raisins. I said to one of the guards, "You ever had bone rattling diarrhea? The kind of shits where ain’t nothin’ coming out. It’s like the dry heaves in reverse!" I just went on and on…Talk about getting some crazy looks.

I fared well in the search and spent the rest of the day doing laundry and listening to the radio. I’ve got to get up at 6:00am tomorrow for a visit with my friend so I’m about to crash out.

Peace and love!



July 14th, 2007

Well it has been an interesting day indeed. All cell searches have been halted due to two uses of force. Apparently the guards confiscated two radios so the inmates who the radios belonged to - I was implicated in a relationship with one of the radios, but I pleaded the fifth - got mad and refused to return to their cells. Well, we were packed up and ready to go but then it all stopped. Now we’re set for Sunday.

The best part of today was when I was called out for a Saturday night visit to see a friend. I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to show up as he would be flying in today, so it was a nice surprise.

As I write this my neighbor is calling me to talk, so I’ll see what he’s up to. His back is feeling a bit better but he’s still in pain.

Peace and love.



July 13th, 2007

Today has been slow but they’ve begun to cell search our pod. If all goes fast we should have our section (I’m on F-Section) searched tomorrow. Then we can all relax. I’ve been spending most of my day going through my property and throwing away things of non-importance.

Peace!



July 12th, 2007

It’s Thursday and feels like eternity. Lord, the boredom... If this is purgatory then I repent…

Peace.



July 11th, 2007

"How Are Things on the West Coast?" by Interpol Man. I cannot get this song out of my head. It’s awesome!

Well, it’s been another very hot day and I’ve been extremely bored. They were supposed to shake down this pod today, but some ranking officer decided to change things up. I’m guessing that I won’t be moved until after the shakedown. If I don’t get moved tonight that’ll be a safe assumption.

Today I’ve been so bored that I actually spent it listening to TV shows like The View and Judge Hatchet and Judge Joe Brown. You’ve gotta be careful with programs like that because it can be very addictive. Mind rot is what I like to call them, but damn they’re like crack! What is it about the human psyche that loves to watch a train wreck, or to see other people air their own private problems (like me and my journal!)? Oh and that blonde on the view, she’s an idiot! She claims to be Republican conservative but can’t even form an educated opinion of her own views. It was like listening to a shiatsu yap away. So annoying. Still…I listened. This is what the lockdown has reduced me to. If I had a bowl full of ice cream it would be complete. Next thing you know I’ll be listening to the soap operas. Stay here, Randy. Don’t turn to the dark side.

Peace and love.



July 10th, 2007

It has been one hot day. I think it has hit about 97 degrees. I’ve got my fan on but it’s really just pushing hot air around. I’m listening to "The Four O’clock Flashback" on The Buzz and the DJ just announced The Cure’s latest album will be out in October. Apparently Robert Smith is fighting with his record label because he wants the album to be sold as a double disc at a relatively cheap price and the label is saying, "Nope." So it’ll probably be compiled on one disc. It’s being rumored as the best Cure album in a long time. I can’t wait to hear the first single.

Well, it’s the second day of the lockdown and I slept in until 10:00 A.M. I stayed up listening to South Park and went to sleep at 2:00am. Not too bad. At noon I exercised and then took a "shower". I swear this hose I have is a gift from God. After all that I cleaned my cell and now I’m just waiting to see if I get moved or not. Sometimes on a lockdown they won’t do any moves, but it’s so early it’s quite possible I will get moved.

Rumors have it A-Pod is being searched right now. That means B-Pod will be next (I’m currently on B-Pod). Nothing else to write about today. I’m about to pick up a book and read for a bit as I wait for my lunch sack and to see if I’ll be moved.

Didn’t get moved but we did get a hot dinner which surprised the hell out of all of us.

Peace!



July 9th, 2007

Today started off with the surprise of a lockdown...Well, it wasn’t necessarily a surprise as much as everyone was waiting for it to come. Thank God I stocked up on stamps a few weeks ago because it means no one will be able to go to the store for at least two-and-a-half weeks. Our pod was supposed to go last night, but due to the lockdown it was cancelled.

Basically on a lockdown the guards use the time to thoroughly search through your belongings for contraband, and to make sure you don’t have excess property. All of your personal belongings have to fit in a wooden box; anything that doesn’t fit is confiscated. For meals we are given sack lunches; no hot meals, no vegetables - just PB&J for me. Showers are only allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Oddly enough today they weren’t going to give us our shower but everyone began to raise hell.

I didn’t get much sleep last night at all so I spent today catching up. I had stayed up to listen to a movie until 1:00am, and then I was awakened by two female guards who were yelling, giggling, and being rowdy all night. They were horse-playing, which excited some of the inmates, and cat-calls and "Oh, yeah baby!" followed.

Right now things are really quiet. We’re just waiting on mail and I’m currently on hot water bottle duty for my neighbor and his back. We (his neighbors) have been rotating duties. My cell is a mess tonight because I’m going through things I want to keep and throw away for my turn on the cell search. Plus, I’ll more than likely be moved tomorrow. Got to whittle junk down.

Peace and love.



July 8th, 2007

Today was extremely boring. I woke up, exercised, did laundry, listened to the radio, and then some movies on TV (radio). It had been sunny all day, but it’s storming again. Figures. Well, at least this week I can look forward to seeing my friend, David, this weekend and next Monday and Tuesday.

Peace.



July 7th, 2007

It’s Saturday! And finally we have some sustaining sunshine. Woohoo! I woke up with the sunlight pouring into my cell, as if it were some heavenly glow, and thought, "What’s this?" It hasn’t gone away yet.

We had a little excitement earlier...Yesterday I wrote about how my neighbor was having back problems. Well, medical keeps refusing to see him and one of the inmates was fed up, so as he was returning from the shower he refused to return to his cell. He demanded that a sergeant come and talk to him. When the sergeant showed up he was huffing and puffing, yelling, "Goddammit, it better be good or your ass is going to Level 2!" The inmate explained that my neighbor has been having back problems and can barely walk. He needs medical attention. Get him help and I’ll go back to my cell.

Of course the inmate was risking disciplinary action for this guy, which I think all of us, including the sergeant thought was very honorable.  The  sergeant goes to my neighbor’s cell and asks what his problem is. They talk for a bit and the sergeant calls for a wheel-chair and they take him to medical. He hasn’t been back, but the guard said that he had a herniated disc. Yep. So the problem was serious after all and medical kept refusing him, saying he was faking it. Nice, huh?

Not much has happened since, and my neighbor hasn’t returned, so I can only guess he’ll probably be going to Galveston Medical Center. He’ll probably be gone for a while.

I’ll spend the rest of the day reading.

Peace



July 6th, 2007

Man, I am sick of this rain. It’s really getting out of hand. The sun will come out for an hour and then it’ll go right back to storming. I can’t play any basketball and I really need to jog. Running around in circles in the dayroom is so tiresome and boring. Playing basketball makes it a little livelier.

My neighbor pulled his back and has been trying to get to medical all day long. The guards keep ignoring his complaints and he has turned in about three medical requests, but they keep giving him the run-around. It has me a little aggravated that they don’t want to even look at him. He had to refuse his shower because he can barely walk or stand. So it’s obvious he’s not faking it. The good thing is that the inmates on one row have all pulled together to help him out. We rotate heating up water with our hot pots and then pour it into bottles to send down to him so he can put it on his back. It’s all we can do, but it’s cool that we’ve all come together to help him out. One guy had a box of ibuprofen that he gave to him also.

There’s not a lot going on today. It’s been pretty boring. I was going to talk to one of my friends, Big-Foot, but when I went to his section to recreate he was on another section recreating. D’oh! So much for that. We usually talk politics and discuss things about the death penalty and how to get people motivated in speaking out against  it.

Tonight I’ll listen to the movie Robo Cop. I haven’t seen the movie in ages, but it was a favorite as a kid. I remember when Wesley and I had asked our mom if we could watch it; half expecting her to say "no", I picked up the video at Block Buster and took it to mom. "Mom, can we watch this?" She looked at it for a second and read the box. "It’s pretty violent", she said. "I don’t know". I protested "But Mom! It’s not a scary movie. You said you only didn’t want us to watch scary movies. Please, Mom?" And then she said "I want to watch it first. If it’s not too bad I’ll let you watch it". Wesley and I both uttered a very excited "YES!"

This weekend I plan on listening to the Live Earth concerts. I hope they are good.

Peace and love.



July 5th, 2007

I went outside in the rain today; it was okay. Now I'm waiting on a shower. It's really hot and humid today, so everyone feels lethargic. Lunch was good...had a burrito and Spanish rice. If they don't come to do showers soon, I'm going to have to bust out the 'hose'. It's my new solution to when they sit on their butts. I hook this hollow coax cable to my sink and voila! Instant shower, and it's better than a bird bath. The only down side is having to clean up a lot of water off of the floor. Oh well.

Peace.



July 4th, 2007

Fourth of July and it's raining. Not only that, but the cell I've been moved to has a building behind me, so it'll be the first year since I've been on Death Row that I'll miss the fireworks. Kind of sucks. I've felt drained today, but managed to exercise anyways. I don't want to stop, 'cause if I miss one day, other than my rest day, I'll quit. I don't want to do that. I have to stay on it. Not much else to say. Nothing on my mind.

Peace.



July 3rd, 2007

It was complete madness yesterday and today. People were screaming and yelling, banging and beating. Thank God I've just been told to pack my things up and get ready for a move.  I'm ready to go.

Sheesh.



July 2nd, 2007

Wow. It's already July. I just can't believe it. I thought yesterday was still June, so I changed my calendar today and thought, damn…it's July. Crazy how the time is flying!

It's been raining today, which stinks. The rain moved in yesterday afternoon...I think everyone was bummed. It seems to not want to let up. I did start that book "The Grays" last night and finished it just awhile ago. I thought (for a thriller) it was quite good. The writing was very impressive. Plus, it was genuinely freaky. For the longest time I couldn't figure out if the aliens were benign or not, as they were doing some creepy things to their abductees, but it turns out they never intended harm humans. The author is Whitley Streiber, who, oddly enough claims to be a real life abductee. He wrote a book on it, called "Communion" I remember seeing the movie when I was 13 or 14, and it scared the crap out of me. That was in the days I was convinced aliens were coming to earth. Haha.

Not much has really happened today. It's amazing how a day will shoot by when you're reading a good book. Now it's time to get some sleep. Or try to anyway.

Peace and Love.



July 1st, 2007

It's Sunday, and for a change it's sunny and bright. I woke up feeling better than yesterday and got my workout knocked out. Now I just have to do laundry and catch up on a letter or two. Then, I want to read, I have to read…

Peace.


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