October 2015 - 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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October 21st, 2015

It's a very warm and sticky day...It kind of makes things uncomfortable in here, but that's Texas for you...So, I'm sitting here trying to get in the mood to write. I don't know why, but it's been difficult of late; my mind has just been on the foggy side of things...maybe it's stress, maybe it's this place...Maybe it's the stress of this place. I can't seem to focus as clearly as I usually do.

Anyway, I'm waiting to go outside today, but it won't be until much later.

I've been reading this book that someone gave to me, and it has some wonderful photographs with stories attached to them. In one of them there was a picture of an elderly woman who writes poetry, and one of her poems was printed in the book as well...I thought I'd add it here because it really touched me:

Were I to dream,
Then dream I would
Of days gone by.
Your eyes would gleam
And so would mine,
But joys remembered are no longer mine.
I walk in a garden of memory,
Reliving the joys and the sorrows as well.
I walk with a cane down memory lane.
Perhaps there, joys remembered will remain.
Perhaps when my hair has turned to gray
And my face is etched with pain, I'll walk with a cane down memory lane.
Perhaps there, joys remembered will remain.

I really liked that.  

So, what does the rest of the day hold for me? I'm still waiting for recreation and they've got me scheduled for really late. I'm going to go regardless, but man...the other night when I went out I was really worried that I wouldn't make it back in time for the "Star Wars Force Awakens" preview...So, at about 7:30pm I asked the guards if I could go back to my cell early. They were cool about it and let me come back straight back in. Whew...what I didn't know is that it didn't really matter because they didn't preview it until half time and I would've made it back to my cell anyways. But...that commercial gave me goose bumps! I seriously was so excited. The theme music, the sound effects, the dark ominous dialogue...I'm just wondering what the deal is with Luke Skywalker. They've showed images of all of the major characters in the movie from old and new, but no Luke! There's a reason for that and if it is because he's a freakin sith lord now...I am not going to be happy. But there's definitely a reason for being so secretive about him and his role in the new movie. I am such a dork. Haha...


October 19th, 2015

This place is falling apart at the seams. It is Monday morning and I can't say for sure that I'll even make it out to recreation because I haven't been able to go since last Tuesday. For two days in a row there were power outages that shut everything down for the day. They said "security threats", and wouldn't allow anyone to go to recreation for the rest of the day. Then, they had shortages in staff and shut everything down over the weekend so we couldn't get recreation then either. I woke up this morning and it looks like it was going to be the same problem, and technically could still be...They ran the first round of recreation but I'm not set up until the fourth round, and that is late this afternoon...ANYTHING can happen. Very, very frustrating. More so because it is throwing my workout routine all out of whack...We had the three weeks lockdown and then all of this crap so I'm not able to do any jogging!

I know some people are like "Well, if I had my way you'd never leave the cell. You need to sit there and rot!" And that is fine that people feel that way but I'm still going to vent...For me, as much as I once hated working out - and a part of me still does - that feeling of "Ugh...I really don't want to do this...", is there almost every day, but once I get into it I'm like damn this feels good! I'm actually starting to enjoy it and I'm trying not to let all of these roadblocks make me slip back into lethargy. When I get to the dayroom and jog, this place disappears in my mind; I focus on my breathing, positive energy and thoughts, and lose myself for a bit. It really is a form of meditation for me.

Anyways...these problems with officer shortages and everything else...it was bound to happen. The chickens have come home to roost! If anyone thought the penal system (as it has been run for these past 30 plus years in Texas) was remotely sustainable, they wrong! They can't keep guards anymore, and that is mostly due to the arbitrary policies they have in place, and an apathetic administration who sees working class people as a warm body to fill a spot, and enforce rules that are going to put their own safety at risk. Working class doesn't mean dumb. These people who work here, for the most part, are beginning to realize that the state views them through the same eyes as they view us, the inmates...When you tell an officer to enforce a rule that prevents an inmate from sharing a book, and then the inmate becomes irate because you went all Hawaii Five-O on their ass...you can expect problems. When you tell an inmate to hand over his tennis shoes before going to recreation, then place them outside the door and order the inmate to step out BACKWARDS into the shoe, without tying it...you can anticipate that there just might be a problem with the wrong individual. Guards don't want to be subjected to that. Yes, there are those who take their job waaaaay too seriously; they come to work with their official Batman utility belt and flashlight...But most of them? They're trying to feed their families, and I totally respect that. It makes me feel bad that they're treated as less than an equal as well.

Tonight is a very important night! Not because of the football game, but because the official "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" movie trailer is premiered!!! Yeah, they have had a few before but none on the radio! Last night I heard the familiar theme music and jumped up, ready for excitement but it turned out to be an advertisement for the new Star Wars video game...Can't wait for tonight. Can you tell I'm easily excitable?


13th October, 2015

People. People. People...I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, but sometimes I get frustrated by the so called "anti death penalty" movement. The infghting, the bickering about who may have a better idea or strategy...I mean, we're all on the same side. Another thing I do not understand is the need to express who is more of a friend to this guy or that guy, who does more for who, and who is part of a couple with whoever back here...It's all very stupid, distracting, and just like high-school drama...I mean, geeze...C'mon people! The anti death penalty movement should be a serious organization...People should look at the movement and know we are about the serious stuff - NOT people who create drama over whatever guy they're down with back here! Grow the fuck up and focus on fighting the death penalty!! Please...!! I've been adamant about not being part of this immature drama in the past, and I'm keeping it that way...As far as I can tell, the vile virus that is "drama", hasn't really happened on my FB page...yet, but I would hope that people like that respect my wish to keep it off my page! Thank you!

I don't get to read every single comment, and sometimes I hear about things much later after they've been written. But I've heard the stories from other guys who have pages, and it can be a bit crazy sounding. I can't stress enough that anti death penalty FB pages, and other websites or whatever, are NOT places to declare your fucking "crushes" on guys back here...Nobody should be airing their private life on these pages...It's freakin' stupid! Everyone knows I'm very private about that stuff, and after my marriage ended and the controversy that surrounded it, I swore I would never again be "public" about that stuff...So no one will really know if I am or am not in a relationship. Now, don't get me wrong...If the RIGHT woman EVER comes along (and she would have to be pretty awsesome!) I wouldn't think twice about publicly saying I was "WITH" her. I wouldn't be secretive about that, but I don't use this page or my website to find girls or penpals...I use this page ONLY as a means of getting my thoughts out there...a form of expression, and to share my world with others. If they're interested in hearing about it, that's cool, otherwise, go somewhere else...Please! I have little self interest other than trying to LIVE, and to show people that my life is worth living, and of value. I'd like to keep the focus on the substance that is written - not drama and crushes and girlfriends or not girlfriends...Leave that stuff on your own pages.  Thank you!

That being said and off of my chest, I'm feeling so much better...Life has kind of sucked for the past couple of weeks but I'm getting back into the groove of things and back to my normal self. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not having a mid-life crisis at times, though. I mean, crap, I'm 38 years old. I act like a 20 year old at times, and I'm in this weird state of conflict where part of my body and brain is like "Woohoo! lets have fun!" and then this old geezer comes out and says "You had your time youngster...settle the fuck down and grow up". It's weird. Like I've said before, I feel like I'm going through another metamorphosis and there are things I feel that are changing and things I definitely do want to change. Still figuring it all out...Still have that something "missing" in my life...

I went  outside this morning really early. I was fortunate to get outside because recreation was shut down early due to staff shortages on death  row...they can't keep workers here at all. But I think the problem is the way the administration and ranking officers actually treat the lower officers and some of the arbitrary rules they have in place that really only have a punitive effect and zero relevance towards security. I think the officers think "Why is this Sergeant making me put my own safety at risk by angering this inmate because he doesn't want to make  his bed?" Or whatever stupid rule put into place. Take this morning for example: we now have to hand our shoes to the officer and step out of the cell BACKWARDS into the shoes, on the walkway, instead of just putting our shoes on and stepping out of the cell. What purpose does this procedure serve, other than making a bunch of people angry? I believe this is the root of the problem. As we become a more agressive society, and regardless of how you feel about crime and punishment...I think people find it increasingly more easy to treat another human being - regardless of what they may have done - like crap. And who would want to risk their own personal safety in doing so? I abhor any violence used and condemn it strongly, but typically an inmate doesn't attack a guard just because he feels like it...99% of the time it is because that inmate has been provoked. Rightly or wrongly, it isn't just because...


October 5th, 2015

So, the lockdown ended on Saturday, and it was nice to get out of my cell.  I went out first round in the morning and caught up with a friend, and then came back to my cell and busied myself with a few things. I'll probably be sore tomorrow as I haven't done any exercise in a few weeks, but it is good to be able to get out of the cell. And fall is most definitely here! Yay! Waking up to a very cool cell has been nice. I bet it feels great outside and tomorrow is an outside day for the section I'm currently living on, so I can't wait.  

I wish I had something of substance to write...I'm supposed to be working on my book and I took to writing a screen play called "Interstate 10", with a guy back here, and I haven't touched that... The screen play is supposed to be an ode to Quentin Tarantino...A good idea we both cooked up about a trucker, prostitutes, drug cartels and a brother getting his vengeance...Very over the top and quick dialogue. It was fun getting it started, so I'll try and get back into it soon.

Gonna go read now...


October 1st, 2015

Life is strange...It rides on the ebb and flow of the ocean. It comes in with the tide, sometimes a soft swoosh onto the shore and sometimes the waters crest and come crashing in, sweeping you off of your feet. Each day is different.

I'm hoping Ms. Cox or even my new Rabbi will visit me soon just so I can get away from this environment. Clear my head. See the strangers that come and go at visit. Watch the kids play around in the visiting area...that always brings me a smile. You want to watch and stare in wonder, but then you don't want to stare too hard for fear of someone thinking you're some predator or something. But whenever I see kids running and goofing around, I just smile.

The Major and Captain came walking around today and someone asked when the lockdown is supposed to end; the Major said probably tomorrow so that will be nice, but geeze, every single day when we ask "when is it over?" EVERYONE says "probably tomorrow". We shall see. I thought of a fun moment, though that happened the day of my birthday when I saw the Captain...I can't tell this story funny enough because you have to hear his voice...Just imagine a person who talks through his nose. Very nasally...So, on September 13th, I was going to make birthday tacos for me and a couple of guys. A light celebration. I had my back to my cell door, pulling out food items to cook and I hear this nasally murmur "MEMERMEMEMUR MEMED ME DIBLIGGITYBLOOP". Like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets was talking to me. I turned around and said "Huh? and then he said again, this time from what I could decipher "You ain't eating what we're having on the trays?" I said "I don't even know what we're having".The Captain said "BLICKENBATTYS". "Huh?" I replied. "Chicken patties!" Now, I can be the sarcastic type and this seemed like the  opportune time for a dose of Randy sarcasm and so I said "Oh, well let me just put all of this food right back into my locker!" But the dude  thought I was serious and said "That's what I like to hear!" hahaha...What a crazy world I live in...

They've turned the water off for some reason. I don't know what the deal is but they've been having problems with the water since Sunday...I hope they figure out what the problem is. This unit is truly falling apart. I know this new administration is trying to fix everything and get it all back up to speck, but when it has been neglected for so many years, you can only do so much.


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