*NEW* Journals - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
 Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The best is yet to come.”
Zig Ziglar
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June 1st, 2022

Yesterday was a really nice, stress free, day. We had an 'A' team of officers working and they ran recreation and there was no chaos at all. I was really fortunate to get outside and play about 20 games of basketball plus one over time game...Sadly I lost by a few points and I'm not up to par like I want to be, plus the guy I was playing was younger than me...not an excuse, but hey, it's hard to keep up with the youngsters when you're almost 45 years old! That being said, if we can keep getting out  more regularly, and I can play more ball, I'm going to whoop that youngster's butt.

The rest of the day was peaceful and I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of a new month...Until I woke up to a day of complete and utter madness...I was out of bed at 6am on the dot, had my cup of go go juice and started my exercises when something happened on the next section. The officers working the pod ran out and then ten minutes later the use of force team came marching in.

On our section we have a 70 year old man with COPD, and if they end up using gas on someone he cannot be anywhere near it because he will literally suffocate. We could see the ranking officers, a nurse standing outside of the section next door, and so we began to yell,

“Hey! You can't gas anyone yet! Aranda has COPD! You need to get him out of the area! HEY!!”

They looked over at us, then went back to watching the unfolding situation on E-section. They were ignoring us! That's when I just started to yell at the top of my lungs, “Medical emergency! Medical emergency! Help! Medical emergency!” The other guys around me began the same chant and that's when an officer ran into the section to see what was going on. Someone yelled out,

“Aranda has COPD! Get him out of here!”

The guy ran up to his cell and said,

“Shit! I didn't think about that...”

Then he rolled the door and ushered Aranda outside as quickly as possible, and just in time too because they unleashed the can of gas on the guy next door and let me tell you, even being at a fair distance away from that area, we were coughing and hacking and sneezing – they gassed the dude twice!

When they finally got him out of the cell, they were supposed to turn on the surge vents that suck the gas out of the area, but it wasn't working so it settled on us like a thick fog and I was sneezing like crazy. After about an hour the gas dissipated and things slowly went back to normal. It was not the way I expected to start the day.

I was hoping that because there's no recreation, there would be a movie, but it doesn't look like the Field Minister is going to be coming by, but that's okay. I've been catching up on some things, and trying to remain positive and keep busy. Hopefully we'll have some recreation tomorrow and if we do, I'm definitely trying to get outside.

For anyone reading this who has loved ones on Texas death row, we've been told 100% absolutely that we'll have the phone app on the tablets. However, and this is very important, if you're registered to talk to your friend or loved one, when we have the tablets and can make calls, you CANNOT pass the phone off to someone else at all. Nor can you try to use speaker phone or make a three way call. If you do, you run the risk of being removed from the phone call list, and the person you call will receive a disciplinary case, so definitely be mindful of that. I get it...TDCJ is trying to assure the general public that the tablets and phone system are being handled in a way that is safe and secure for everyone. Don't be a fool and do something dumb because you are only going to hurt you and your loved on in the long run. These tablets will be a gift...a true blessing, and a game changer for all of us. To be in real time with the people you care about is something I have hoped for and prayed for for years, as most of us have. We shouldn't take it for granted or abuse it.

And that's my public service announcement (ha ha).

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


May 30th, 2022

Memorial Day weekend...27 years ago I made an impulsive and very foolish decision to leave home, not necessarily run away, but leave to spend my school summer break with my girlfriend at the time, and this rash choice set off a chain of events that have ultimately lead me to here and now...I've said it often, but it's weird when you can pin point one EXACT point in time that forever alters your destiny. Sure, there were opportunities missed to course correct, but had I just gotten in that damn Suburban with my dad and gone grocery shopping, letting bygones be bygones...I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn't be sitting in a cell right now, fighting for my life.

It's been a relatively boring weekend...I've listened to some good movies and on Friday we were fortunate enough to get a double feature when Field Minister Troop brought in the TVs and we watched The Fast and the Furious as well as The Incredible Hulk. The first one was donated by a kind person from Poland, and the other was donated by the loved one of another guy back here...Thank you!

I encourage people to help both the prison radio station, The Tank, as well as 12 Building as a whole (both Ad-Seg and Death Row get to watch movies every couple of weeks as an offset to the lack of recreation). Keep in mind that movies must be 13 or under, and it must come from a legitimate store. You can donate both music and DVDs to:

Chaplain Department
C/O Chaplain Martin
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston
TX 77351

Anyways, I was surprised at how decent Fast and Furious was...yeah, it's a bit corney and cliched at times, but the car scenes and chases were pretty cool. For the longest time I hadn't really understood WHY that franchise was so popular, but I have to admit that the action was pretty cool. The Incredible Hulk wasn't too bad, but the CGI looked really cheesy and fake at times and I don't really like how they made the Hulk look. I've seen pictures of the Mark Ruffalo 'Hulk' and it looks like they ironed out the kinks in that.

I had the fright of my life this weekend...I'd been laying down, treading a book, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed something scurry under my door. I jumped up and said, “What the...?” and noticed there was a cockroach the size of a field mouse headed my way! I let out a stream of profanities that would make a sailor blush, throwing a shoe at it. The cockroach sensed it and did a matrix movie and ran under my bed. My heart pounded and I shuddered at the thought of having to battle with this...this thing. But here's the thing – it vanished! No way can something that big just disappear, I thought, when all of a sudden it popped back up at the side of my bed and dashed off. I screamed like a little girl, grabbed my shoe and chucked it at it...It spun out of the way and stopped in its place. I stared at it, and it stared back, moving its antennae around wildly.

“Come on you ugly son of a b****,” I whispered, inching closer to it. “Me and you mutant...Me and you...”

It took off straight at me! I swung my shoe in a wild arch, missing it as it shot up the wall and froze again, wiggling its antenna in a taunting manner. I swung again, and hit it! It dropped to the ground, stunned, and still alive! Then, it took off again after a second or two, and I let out a piercing scream all but certain I was about to meet my end....I'd made this beast angry! I threw my shoe at it again, knocking it back, and to my elation it ran off in the other direction and right back out the door.

“That's right,” I crowed. “Go terrorise someone else!”

I hope this thing doesn't come back...It was really creepy looking.

And that was pretty much my weekend.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


May 26th, 2022

Questions on my mind: How can you be pro-life if you believe in unregulated guns? How can you be pro-life if you believe in the death penalty? How can you be pro-life if you're for slashing social programs that feed the hungry or help those in poverty? How can you be pro-life if you take from the foster care system to build a border unit?  

The list of questions goes on and on...

I'm also confused about how some conservative politicians will fight tooth and nail to ban books in libraries, try to restrict or deny trans/homosexual rights, deny women autonomy over their own bodies...and the list again goes on and on...But sensible gun control seems to be a line that cannot be crossed? Oh, no problem in restricting your constitutional freedom of speech for banning books, but heaven forbid you try to save lives by banning assault rifles or other 'weapons of war'?

I also have a question to fundamentalists...I went to a fundamental Baptist Boarding school where they had a list of what they deemed 'Satanic' which was about 6 feet long. Some of the 'Satanic' items were, and I'm not joking: The Smurfs, Guess Jeans (something to do with an upside down triangle with a question  mark in it), Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath, The Cure (yes, my beloved Cure, and all because they wore make-up), Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', ACDC, yoga/meditational material, Dungeons and Dragons, 'Magic: The Gathering', and the list went on and on.  

I've since heard on a fundamentalist radio station – AFR – that Harry Potter is Satanic, as well as Pokemon, vaccines, social programs, and lots more.  

Do you know what is not EVER mentioned as Satanic? Guns. Something that can kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds. As far as I know, no one has ever been killed by a Harry Potter book. Maybe I'm wrong...I guess it's possible if one gets hit on the head hard enough.  

Forgive me for my bluntness here...but what the f*** is wrong with people? Why is it okay for an 18 year old to get an assault rifle and body armour days after his birthday, and then kill 19 children? Beto O'Rourke was right to interrupt Greg Abbot's press meeting. Finally someone had the balls to tell the truth.  

I'm still so angry I can't get my thoughts straight...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.  


May 22nd, 2022

I was in the shower this morning and I had a thought pop up – I'll leave it open ended and up for interpretation, but offer it here...I was wondering why there are certain segments of the population that are overly concerned about where a person's soul is going to end up, but they're not all that concerned about systemic racism, the broken health care system (or even the idea of universal health care) the foster care system, the infrastructure and various other social programs and systems that desperately need attention, because hey...we ain't dead yet so why not try and figure out a fix? But...heaven forbid we pass away and face eternal damnation. It's confusing...Why are you worried about the next person's soul, but not about the walls falling down around you in the present?

Anywho...it's Sunday and we're having a brief reprieve from the heat wave due to a lovely storm that's passing through. It's been a good weekend. On Friday night I listened to the five hour Alternative show that I produced. I was really happy and grateful for the opportunity and it seems to have gone over pretty well. I was up until 3.30am listening to it, and then fell asleep and got back up at around 7.30am, and muddled through the day. Field Minister Troop was on the pod showing A section the  movie, The Incredible Hulk and I talked to him about the possibility of me returning to Dallas and the classes I'm enrolled in. I wanted to know if I'd lose my place in all of that and he said,

“Look, if you've started before you leave, you'll be safe. But if you leave before the classes begin, we're going to have to give the spot to someone else.”

I was a bit disappointed by that, but if it does happen, at least it's on record that I'm doing all I can to better myself – and I'll just re-enrol.

I was able to phone Taffy last night which has my heart in the clouds, and I crashed out shortly after that. I'm looking forward to a new week...I can't believe this month is already close to being done!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


May 20th, 2022

Friday...I'm wondering if things are opening back up and the lockdown is over? I'm starting today's entry early in the morning so I suppose I will know if we receive a hot meal...

I started my day off on a positive note and heard a really good Flaming Lips album that I've never heard before. Flaming Lips are one of those bands that takes me back to the summer of 1995. The song She Don't Use Jelly was all over alternative radio (it still holds up in my opinion) and that summer at the school I went to, one of my friends, Daniel, played the album incessantly. When I was kicked out of school that summer, some of my friends gave me parting gifts, and Daniel gave me his CD which meant a lot to me. I later learned he committed suicide which made me really sad to hear, but I remember him going through a lot in those days. His father had died two years previously, his mother passed away when he was a child, and he was practically being raised by his older brother who was a doctor. You could see the sadness in Daniel's eyes, and he was always welcome as a friend, but in your teens you miss the 'tells'...I guess the sad irony in all of that was he was hiding his suicidal thoughts whilst the school was interpreting my isolation and sadness (which was more to do with being misunderstood, trying to find myself, and typical teenage angst) as 'suicidal' when I hadn't even considered it, while the person that really needed help and intervention was Daniel. May his soul be at peace...

So, I worked out to that album and I heard an amazing cover of Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. If you're into alternative music, definitely check out The Flaming Lips' cover of that song. It blew me away. You know when a song stops you in your tracks and you stop everything you're doing to listen to it? It was that good!

Well, it looks like we're not getting a hot meal today which sucks, but who knows...maybe tomorrow?

Here's to hoping for a good weekend!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


May 19th, 2022

Thursday...Still in this weird little security lockdown. I've been doing my best to keep busy, but sometimes being stuck in a cell 24/7 produces a creative stagnation, but I'll get past it. One thing I do know is that it's HOT! The AC has been acting funky, but I don't know if it's just an old system or that there seems to be some free world people outside of the building working on things...one minute the AC is perfect, and the next it's blasting out hot air.  

So, something  cool that has recently happened at the prison radio station – The Tank – is that they've had someone donate a stereo transmitter. For over two years now the station has been broadcasting in mono, and while it has been awesome to listen to movies and music we wouldn't normally get to hear, having the  music in mono for an audiophile like myself is a slight 'irritant', but only because I love hearing music as it's intended to be listened to. I love hearing all of the instruments, the effects of moving certain sounds from the left channel to the right channel...and when I'd tell guys,  

“This song is awesome, but you really need to hear it in stereo...that guitar doesn't sound as jangly as it sounds in mono.”

I'd get eye rolls and responses,  

“I can't tell the difference.”

Well, the other day when I was listening to the movie, Elysium, I noticed the sound was fuller and the sound effects were full of life. I thought,  

“Did they do it? Is the station broadcasting in stereo?”

When the movie ended and some music came on, I knew without a doubt and I was jumping up and down with excitement! Hearing deep cuts of some favourite music as it was intended to be heard was amazing. I quickly wrote a note to the DJ, dropped it in the mail, and sure enough later that next afternoon, he came over the airwaves and said,  

“Yes, Randy...we are in stereo. The clouds have parted and prayers were answered.”

So, whoever donated that piece of equipment: THANK YOU!

Hearing these movies in stereo is so cool because besides the amazing sound effects, I'm a big fan of movie scores. To hear the full orchestral compositions in the movie as it was intended to be heard gives it additional flavor. I can't wait to hear some Cure in stereo. I've only caught one song – Catch – so far, but I want to hear a song that has a lot going on musically...something like, Pictures of You, or Plain Song.

Okay...geek out over! All else is okay for today. I'm getting through it.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


May 16th, 2022

It's been a blistering hot Monday and we're still on this little lockdown because of an escape that happened last week. Some guys have been giving me a hard time by saying,  

“See...this is how it felt to us when YOU escaped. Not fun, is it?”

No...not it isn't, and believe me, if I could go back in time and change things, I would! I know they're just doing it in jest, but it still makes me think how a stupid act can affect so many lives. I recognise that and I do have a ton of remorse for my past stupidity.  

We at least had showers today. I had a full night of sleep and woke up at 5.20am to get the day on the move, began my work out, and was only able to to do half of it before I went to the shower. I've been doing exercises throughout the day to make up for the rest. For the most part, though, I've been getting things together in case I have to return to Dallas for another summer. I don't mind having to go back, and outside of the noise last year in the jail, it was a pleasant time. Everyone was kind, I enjoyed being able to chat with some friends, and my Taffy, and see down town Dallas when I went to the gym. I'd love to return to another trip and the only thing that would hold me back is being enrolled in a couple of programs.  

They've got everything shut down right now and no visits, no legal calls or visits, and right now I just want to talk to my attorneys. I mean, how much evidence do you need that my trial judge was biased? We've got newspaper articles, his own words on record admitting he had a trust fund for his children and they could only receive the money if they married white, straight Christians....We have affidavits, text messages, letters...I mean what on earth does the CCA want? I do take comfort that it wasn't a denial but it still feels like a big waste of time. The Judge gave her recommendation...she gave her recommendation based on the FACTS...So, who knows what's going on? I just want to keep calm and keep patient and have hope and faith.  

I know that if I do return to Dallas anytime soon, information will be posted and kept up to date here on this website...Thank G-d I have Taffy to keep everything up to date, and to keep people informed with the accurate facts, and not the gossip mill. Some people actually thought I had a new trial already, which I don't...So, to know what's really going on, you'll find 100% reliable news right here.  

My mind is all over the place with regard to the mass shootings...I could rant on and on about how easy it is to get guns and how a lot of republican states make it very easy for people to have guns...No wonder violence is on the rise. I find it ironic that people will say,  

“Gun owners are law abiding citizens”

Yeah...until they're not, and they shoot up a church, a school, a grocery store...

Anyways, I'm going to keep hope alive and have a heart full of peace and love.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


May 11th, 2020

The 'every day' recreation statement didn't last very long. I woke up at 5.30am, ready to get the day started, planning my schedule around getting out of my cell for a bit, when a guard came by for a security check. He said they were short staffed today and I asked,

“Seriously? There was like 6 officers working the pod yesterday.”  

He said, “Look, these new officers and OJTs [on the job trainees] are complaining about being on their feet all day. I think they're treating them like babies, but it's not my call. Y'all will have your tablets soon anyways.”

“It's a job!” I said, frustrated. “And besides, the tablets won't be here until September!”

The guard looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and walked off. “Apathy” - Pee Wee Herman's word of the day! Arrrrgggghhhh!!!!

What can you do? I refuse to let it spoil the day and so I started exercising and just got on with it. It's too easy to let the frustration – even anger – consume you. It's out of my control, but as my Taffy says,  

“Don't worry about what you can't control, and focus on what you CAN.”

That's a good philosophy...I choose positivity.  

It's CCA day so I'm a little stressed, but I say my prayers, do my little mantras, and monitor the news. We'll see what happens. I started this entry a bit early in the morning, well, it's later now and the CCA sort of ruled! On one hand I'm releived that it wasn't a denial, on the other hand, it appears this is going to drag out for the foreseeable future...The CCA says that it wants a new hearing with witnesses in the court room. Why? Who knows? It won't change a single thing unless they [the CCA] is going to then take the 'live' testimony and say it's not credible. But it IS credible! They ARE credible! Why can't they just do what's right? I mean, honestly, it's wasting time. The facts are irrefutable...Sigh...Who knows how long this will take to hash out.  

Oh well...I'll just keep trucking and set myself up for success and bettering myself.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


May 10th, 2022

Yesterday was pure unadulterated madness. At first, everyone was happy that recreation was going to return to normal. We have a new Major – a guy that started on Death Row as an officer over 20 years ago – and he could be a bit of a hard ass, but he was always fair. If you were in the right he'd consider that, and never went out of his way to screw people over. And from the sounds of it, now that he's our Major, he's on board with a lot of the positive changes going on with 12 Building.

His first act of order was to tell three officers that they weren't going to sit around all day and do nothing. If they have the man power they're going to run recreation. So, while we will only receive one hour a day, we should receive at least two days outside and three days inside.  

So. at first, things were running smoothly, but we had a new officer working – one that had been starting trouble last week. Around 9am he was telling another inmate the routine of 'spread your butt cheeks, lift your nuts, etc' which, I mean...look, if you're suspected of trying to hide something up your rump, whatever...but if you're going to recreation – a place where people can just pass you contraband or a weapon anyways, it's ridiculous to go to the that extreme. Of course, some guys, when asked to spread their butt cheeks, feel like their manhood is being checked out and then the homophobic slurs fly at the officer. Most officers can be professional and ignore it – it's prison after all, but this new guy took it personally and told a black inmate,  

“Shut your mouth boy or I'll put you down like a dog.”

Well...no need to explain the racial connotations of that. Quite rightly, it angered other black inmates and lead to a use of force in which the jerk of a guard slammed a guy and then tried to do a 'George Floyd' on him. Rank and guards came running in from everywhere!! I've not seen that  many people in a long, long time. For that matter, we've not witnessed a use of force in quite some time.  

They took the guard out (we've since learned that he is in a lot of trouble for how things were handled, and has been removed from 12 Building) and put the dude back in his cell. Later on they sent him to discipline, even though many officers spoke up for him. Just a messed up situation all the way round.  

I finally made it outside a little after 11am and thinking I'd only be outside for an hour, I didn't properly prepare myself to be cooked like a Thanksgiving turkey. I played a little basketball and then walked around and it turned into three whole hours!!! I was baked....Deep fried! I think I had more sun in three hours than I have since the beginning of the pandemic. I'm beet red as I type this...I've been complaining about being pasty white...well no more!

Second shift came on – well, one officer came on and no one else. We didn't have our mail until 5am the following morning which is crazy. From what we heard only six Officers and a couple of sergeants came to work. That's crazy in and out of itself. They just hired a bunch of people for night shift and they've already quit!

I learned that the course I signed up for begins next Monday, and I'm looking forward to it. I wonder if I'll be able to complete it, but now that Death Row is able to participate in several programs, I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


May 8th, 2022

A very peaceful, but hot Sunday! Geeze, if it's this hot in May, I don't even want to imagine what July or August is going to feel like. It's been a great day for music because for most of the day the alternative college rock station, out of Austin – 101X – has been coming in crystal clear, and I've been hearing bands and music I've never heard before...It only reminds me of HOW BADLY CORPORATE MUSIC SUCKS!!! I've been writing down band after band so I can explore them even more WHENEVER we receive our tablets. There's so much great music out there to be discovered, and I'm really liking this band called, Wetleg...They're really cool. It has me so excited and hopeful for music. Good tunes still exist!

Speaking of the tablets...Ugh...the rumor mill is out of control around here and it's not difficult to discern fact from fiction. You can ask two guards the same question and get completely different answers. Some are saying we're close. Some are saying it won't be until July, and some say we'll have the phone app, others say we won't. Some want us to have the tablet, some don't. Some think it'll be a solution for recreation, others don't care one way or the other. Then...when you tell this information to deprived inmates all of that gets turned up to ELEVEN! Guys can be worse than clucking hens in a hen house. Nuts! We really just don't have good solid information. Heck, some of the rumors have gotten so out of control that people said,  

“Oh, they've got the tablets stored in the Major's office! I saw the boxes with my own eyes.”

Not true....Actually, those boxes were files (ha ha). It's just crazy.  

I'll say this...I've never seen such a poorly run outfit like Securus...You'd think they'd have it together, but they are the most rinky dinky tech company I've ever seen! Let me put it like this: when they installed the camera system on the unit – we're talking about MILES of conduit, wiring, several cameras, drilling, mounting, installing servers and monitors...They did it in MONTHS. It's going on half a year now with what Securus has to do and it's like, “WHEN WILL THEY FINISH?”

I should've known this though. When I was in Dallas, I watched much of the same with the Securus people in the jail. It was like watching the minions bouncing around.  

On a positive note, we surprisingly had recreation yesterday and our 'new' rec schedule is going to be Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. I'll take it. I'm going to adjust my exercising on those days to do my cardio, and hopefully on one of them I can at least get outside and get some sunshine. I almost had a chance to get out and I should have asked. But my friend, Mark, got to the guards first and he took the opening. He came in looking like a deep boiled lobster, and said,  

“Man...I think I got enough vitamin D for the rest of the year!”

Anyways...Blessings and positivity for the week, and hopefully good will happen.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


May 6th, 2022

What a day...It was pretty slow, but I did get out of my cell for a legal call that lasted an hour and a half. It was really good to chat with a couple of people from my team, and to congratulate them on a recent win with another client. The call was only supposed to last about 30 minutes, but we were afforded an extra hour which was awesome. I have such wonderful people behind me.  

I was shocked that no officer was telling me to hang up the phone. People kept walking past me, looking at me kicked back on a stool, legs on the counter, like I was cool as can be, and kept walking on.  

I'll tell you one thing 12 building isn't – short staffed! I counted more than 20 officers!

Well, here's to hoping for better days...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


May 5th, 2022

Not a bad day at all despite being trapped in the cell all day long. I woke up, went to the shower, and started the day with a bit of pep. Something I've been doing almost every day now is check my AM on the radio because when they show  movies to the various pods, they've added a low powered AM transmitter to the equipment so that we can better hear the movies in our cells. I was excited when I could hear a movie playing and wondered if they'd  make it to our section. I called out to my friend, Mark, and said,  

“Hey, you want to knock out a game of Scrabble just in case they bring the TVs in?”

We normally play in the afternoon, but he said, “yeah” and so we began our game.  

Just as we finished, the TVs came rolling in and it was a Field Minister, Gomez, AKA Shredder, because the dude can play the guitar really well. He also had one of the new life coaches with him, Little Eddie, to show him the ropes. They started to set up the equipment, but where my cell is and because the length of the TV cord is really short, they really can't move it much to where I can see it. I asked if they could back it up just a little bit more and it wasn't working, so Gomez told Little Eddie,  

“Hey, run down the property officer's room and see if she'll let us get an extension cord of some kind.”

Eddie is new and he said,  

“I can do that?”  

Gomez laughed and said,

“Yeah, you're a life coach now. You can move around without permission.”

He left, was gone for about ten minutes, and came back with a power cord. They hooked it up and said,  

“Tell us where to move the TV.”

When it was where both my neighbour and I could see it, we let them know, and what a difference!

The movie was Pacific Rim: Uprising, and while the new plot was a bit silly, HOLY MOLY the special effects and computer graphics were NUTS! There was a couple of times I was dizzy and nauseous. The way they do the camera work these days...my brain isn't used to it. The camera doesn't do slow pans. Things spin around 360 degrees, they jump, go down, around, jump cuts, smash cuts...all very cool, but for a guy that hasn't seen a movie in forever...it was a bit much. Even a couple of guys down the run said they felt a bit queasy at times. Long after the movie, I felt like I was still moving, like you would after a long car ride.

Something else that made the day good was later on the property officer came through and gave us a Securus update. Apparently 12 building is just about finished being wired up! We thought that they'd have to put wifi routers on each section, but from the way it was explained, they're setting things up on the outside of the building, turning the entire building into a hot spot. Often, it's hard to distinguish the facts from the rumors...these guys back here make things up, sometimes. Some do it out of boredom, some because they think it's funny, and others out of negativity. But I'm trusting the property officer. Hopefully, we'll hear more tomorrow. Who knows, we might just hit that June 1st target after all! We'll see...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


May 3rd, 2022

Today started off on track. It's Tuesday, and our recreation day, so I knew it would be a bit chaotic, but things were running smoothly. I made it to rec at about 10.30am, and I figured I'd be out there about an hour, so I did some exercises and chatted with a few of the guys on my section. That's about when the chaos bomb exploded. I should have expected it...ha ha.

I didn't mind being out at rec until almost 1pm...that was fine. We're so recreation deprived that it wouldn't matter if I was trapped out there for 12 hours! Any time out of the cell is a blessing...But it was coming at the cost of others' misery, and eventually mine when this real jerk of a guard started riling everyone up and taking his time by doing every little thing “by the book.” I mean, the dude wanted guys to lift up their nutsacks so he could have a looksie and see if anyone was hiding anything. This created tension and a slew of homophobic slurs were hurled every which way at the guy. But more than anything else, it slowed things down to the pace of a snail. When my recreation was finished, the female officer asked if I wanted to go straight to the shower, which I did, but then I sort of regretted it because I was trapped in there for an hour...It's okay to be out in the day room for a considerable amount of time (although there has been times when that has its limitations...) but the shower is a whole other ball game! A small closet-like hot box with almost no air flow...Ugh...But hey, I made it out and back to my cell alive, so I'll take it.

The day did end on a remarkable note though....I was overwhelmed and touched very much. Last week Carl Buntion was executed, and somehow he had heard that I've been having problems with my typewriter. So he asked the property officer if it would be okay to let me get what was needed to properly fix my typewriter (his was a bit banged up as well, and on its last legs) as well as give me all of his remaining ribbons and correction tape, extra paper etc. I was shocked when the property lady came to my door and explained everything, saying,

“Look, I'll give you an hour to get what you need to get to fix your typewriter and give you this other stuff he left for you. He said he was doing it because you have always helped others in need, and some time ago you helped him get some medical attention he needed. This is his way of saying 'thanks'.”

I was floored! I knew exactly what I needed to fix, got the part out quickly, fixed my typewriter, and now it's purring like a kitten. Thank you, CB...

Because I've been on death watch before, and I detest what I call “vulturing”, I'd have never asked for anything from anyone over there. I don't know who told CB that I was having typewriter trouble, but I'm touched that CB thought of me. I'll remember his kindness for the rest of my life.

What a great way to end the day!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace!


  
May 2nd, 2022

I woke up this morning feeling pretty positive about the day and the week ahead. I noticed for the past few days that we've had showers every day, and a full staff, and so I asked one of the guards why, if it appears that we have enough people to return things to normal, like getting recreation every day, why aren't we? He told me that, yes, they have enough officers to run the building as it used to be run. They've got a bunch of new guards and each pod has had three officers, but the reason why they're not doing rec is because the Ranking Officers have told them that they don't want to 'overwork' the new officers in fear of running them off and having them all quit. He said,  

“Halprin...I'm just being honest with you. You guys will probably never receive recreation like you used to. Not with the supervisors we have. The way that some of the officers feel – not all, but some – is that you guys are getting movies every couple of weeks, and you'll have your tablets, and your time will be occupied, and they feel that's enough for you.”

I was like,  

“I'd take getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air over movies any day. The tablet is cool, but it can't replace those things. It can't replace getting out and stretching your legs, and getting proper exercise. As it stands, we're only getting one hour of rec, once a week! And we have to practically beg to get outside.”

He told me that it's just the way things are now...But it shouldn't be! I don't know any place or business that says,  

“Hey...don't work too hard. We don't want you to quit.”

What the heck, man?

Anyways...So, outside of that it would appear that there's some positive news concerning the tablets that would show that things are moving in the right direction. Months ago, when TDCJ had announced that there would be a law library app on the tablet, so that inmates would no longer need to go to the physical library to check out case law etc, they would be downsizing the department. It required several officers to be in there to watch inmates, but to also bring Death Row/Ad Seg any  material they needed to check out. They weren't going to be needed and were told they'd be shifted back out to other areas of the unit where they're needed, and replaced by civilian clerks...Well, they've done that now. They're still operating as they have been, but are already starting to phase out the guards. Once everyone has their tablet, the only things that the civilian clerks will do is send out documents that need to be signed or notorised...That's a good sign! I hope things are moving quicker than we think. If they weren't, I don't think they'd have already started to re-organise the law library.  

Here's hoping, and so looking forward to the tablets!

Courage. Strength. Hope and  Faith.  

Peace.


May 1st, 2022

Wow...It's already May, and a new week. Time is flying by even if it seems, at times, that it's trickling through a water spout that won't stop dripping. Drip...Drip...Drip...It's been a really weird week, and especially the last couple of days. The news of Melissa Lucio's stay was wonderful, and yet, the machinery of death keeps moving. It doesn't stop, even when there's been a lull. Several guys are either facing an execution date at any time, while others are in the pipeline just waiting for their Judges to sign the order. Don't fool yourself into thinking Texas is easing up. Opinions are changing and the majority of people are turning against the idea of executing someone, but there are still politicians out there that see the death penalty as a means to an end to further their own political careers...Don't forget that.

So, Friday night I was a nervous wreck and an emotional mess when I received the news that my Taffy had a bad accident, landing in hospital, and needed surgery. I knew I'd have the opportunity to call on Saturday night, but those things can turn screwy on a dime, and my mind was all over the place. The day was just dragging on and then the Field Minister 'Troop' and a new Life Coach – a cool guy named Jimmy – came in to show us a movie. It was James Bond: Quantum of Solace...but I couldn't really focus on it. I was watching it and it looked cool, but my mind was on Taffy. I'll have to watch it again on the tablet whenever it gets here.

Anyways, the day DRIPPED DRIPPED DRIPPED by and finally the evening arrived and phone calls started. My friend downstairs knew I was a nervous wreck, and so he asked the guard doing the calls to start upstairs up at my cell, and the guard did come upstairs first...But then he started the other way. I figured I'd have my call around 6.40pm. He starts the calls and then the battery dies! I was like, “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING??? ARRGGHHHHH!!” So, he has to stop and put the phone in the charging cradle for an hour, and then he comes back upstairs, starts the calls again, and finally gets to me...We make the call and it doesn't go through the first time. My heart is thumping and I'm thinking, “Please pick up! Please pick up!” The second call was made and it went through flawlessly, thank G-d!!. It was a wonderful call, and thankfully she's doing okay...A little bashed up, but okay. Actually, she was quite chipper, and that warmed my heart, and nothing beats hearing and saying, “I love you” in real time. I could get to sleep peacefully.

I have some great friends back here and as soon as I finished the call they were asking if everything was all good and if they could do anything, which was really kind. Yeah, “the worst of the worst” making sure that my girl and I were okay...really awful people, huh?

So, it's a new month, a new week, and hopefully the countdown for the tablets has officially begun! TWO months ago it was supposed to be at the end of April, then it was pushed back to the 1st of June. On Friday, The Tank DJ, Megamind, said there had been a setback for some kind of special drill bit that was on order, which – and I'm not joking – brought on a collective groan across the pod! I even said out loud,

“Get in your dang truck and go get it at Lowes or Home Depot!!!”

This must be some rare diamond tipped drill bit made out of vibranium (shout out to Wakanda!) that you can't pick up at any hardware store. I don't think many of us can take anymore setbacks with this...I don't even care about being able to listen to music or watch movies...I just want to be in real time with Taffy and my friends. Mail takes weeks now, and five minute phone calls aren't a guarantee...Plus, we never get out of our cells anymore either, so being able to actually know things in real time, instead of these crazy weird interdimensional time loops...I can't take it anymore!! Ha ha.

Here's to hoping May is a great month, and a great week is on the way. I'm entering into the week and month full of positivity and light!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 25th, 2022

Today is worth celebrating...I heard of Melissa Lucio's stay granted by the CCA and I smiled and did a big fist pump! Some of my attorneys worked on her case so I know they're celebrating as well, and I knew she was in very good hands. I'm really  happy that she got a stay because I had zero faith in Greg Abbott doing the right thing. I have one concern though...It's easy to get complacent and feel like the fight is over. It's not. There are a hundred other Melissas all throughout the country, and there's no better time than now to be vocal either on behalf of those struggling for their lives, or against the death penalty as a whole. Surprisingly, more and more conservative politicians are seeing the flaws, or understand that the costs are too steep to continue.

Going forward in the fight, we must be educated on the facts of each case, and also polite, respectful, and welcoming to all in the fight, regardless of any of our differences.

Anyway, it's been a relatively quiet and peaceful day.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 24th, 2022

A quiet Sunday...I'm trying to find my way through the day doing chores and catching up on odds and ends. Weekends of late have been incredibly boring. It's hard to believe that we're entering into the last week of the month...April has really shot by!

The news has been covering the upcoming execution of Melissa Lucio, and I think it'll be a test of both the clemency's ability to discern those who truly deserve it, and if recommended, the heart of Greg Abbott, our Governor. He's the worst kind of politician so I am thinking he'll not look at it from a point of humanity, but whether or not it's politically expedient (another reason why the DP needs to go) for him. I guess we'll know within the next few days.

That's really all there is this weekend.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 22nd, 2022

Congratulations Texas! You killed a 78 year old man who was wheelchair bound, and probably one of the most quiet, passive people on Death Row. That's really something to hang your ten gallon hat on...Sigh...I was so completely and utterly disgusted by yesterday's news coverage of the execution. To have the media put people on their program saying things like,

"This is a long time coming."

Or

"Carl Buntion was a rabid dog...and what do you do with rabid dogs? You put them down!"

Those are direct quotes, people!

What does that say about our society and its lust for blood, vengeance and death? It borders on psychopathy...And people really wonder why the US has the problems it has. No wonder other countries with horrible human rights records laugh at us and scoff when we chastise them on their abuses. Their response?

"Clean up your own  house first before you tell us to clean up ours."

Anyways...I'm upset because I don't see how it does society any justice by 'putting down' a 78 year old frail man. Is that really justice?

I wasn't going to listen to the Execution Watch show on KPFT yesterday because they generally upset me and get me into a state of depression. But someone yelled at me to listen because Clinton Young was on. It was good to hear his voice, and I was especially touched when he mentioned my name in his interview. It means a lot. It means a lot to us back here when someone who knows what it's like to be in this situation, knows what an execution day does to our spirit and has been here and lived this experience...Clinton was always one of the few people that treated execution days with the solemnity it deserves...I'm proud of him that he has stood on his promise when he left that no matter where he was in his life, he'd still act as an advocate and voice for us all back here. Many of the guys that have gotten off of death row make all of these promises...but rarely follow through. I get it, and hold no animosity towards them. People just want to get back to their lives and try to forget this place. Clinton has remained true to his words even when he's trying to rebuild his own life...and just as he had given his promise, no matter where I'm at if I should be blessed at another chance at life, I will use my voice to speak up for the guys back here as well. He's inspiring and I'm just really proud.

As we listened to him, we were laughing because he was getting fired up and I can hear him smacking his hand on the counter, and I said, "Yep...there he is!" I could see his mannerisms and body language in my mind's eye. It made me smile.

Entering into the weekend, I'm not sure what tasks I'll take on...No recreation and the same ol', same ol'...I'll figure something out.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 20th, 2022

As I write this it's a warm Wednesday morning. I'm starting a bit early because I've been a little irritated – okay, more than a little irritated – and I'm flat out disgusted with the way politicians, and especially a lot of District Attorneys, play politics with a person's life when it comes to the death penalty. There are few of them that actually stand on principal and have the back bone to say, “The system is broken,” ESPECIALLY when it comes to the application of the Death Penalty.

Two things happened yesterday that sent my mind racing. The first was an interview on NPR with the District Attorney of Corpus Christi in regards to John Henry Ramirez. He first set a date for him, and then, cancelled the execution date after coming to the conclusion that he had that authority under Texas State Law, and also deciding to stand on principal instead of politics. He said that after much 'soul searching' he realised he is 100% against the death penalty and doesn't think government should be deciding who gets to live or die. AMEN! Finally, a DA that can stand on moral conviction. He said he doesn't care if it hurts him politically; he doesn't believe he should be saying to gets to live and who doesn't.

Now, the exact opposite of that is happening in countless other counties across Texas – especially in Harris County and District Attorney Kim Ogh....There are numerous, and I mean numerous exhausted capital murder appeals out of Harris County. Probably close to 50 – give or take. This means every avenue of appeal afforded to a defendant has run its course. There is nothing left for them. Some of these men have been finished for years. What does Kim Ogh do? She cherry picks particular cases that give her political coverage to say she's 'Tough on Crime' and wants to bring 'closure' to victims' families by seeking an execution date for them. This all but proves that the death penalty and how it's applied is not only cruel, but arbitrary and capricious. You are a fool if you believe that the Death Penalty is fair. It's anything but!

Ask yourself this question: Should a politician have that kind of power in which they can use a LIFE as a political pawn or tool? The Death Penalty cannot be applied equally or fairly, so how is it JUSTICE? How does this not show how broken the system really is?

Well, it's a fairly peaceful morning. I woke up a little before 6am and did my normal routine of exercising, and having to bird bath as they didn't showers today. I'm in a positive and hopeful mood as today is what I've been calling “CCA Day” and so I pray and try to keep positive and hopeful for a favorable ruling. Stressful? YEP. But nothing I can't handle. It'll come when it comes. It could still come today, who knows? I'll monitor the news and go about the day.

You know, it's always nice when this place, or a particularly cruel person, surprises you with an act of kindness. This morning when I got up for breakfast, we were having eggs, oatmeal, and apple sauce. Eggs are a rarity so usually almost everyone gets their tray, but this time round there had been an extra tray on the carrier. Now, I wouldn't have dared ask the officer passing out the trays because she has never and I mean NEVER given anyone an extra tray. If I were to skip breakfast and say, “Just give it to my neighbor” she'd still say “no” and the tray would get dumped in a slop bucket. She handed me my tray and I silently said, “goodbye delicious eggs...” to the lone tray remaining on the carrier. And then...she unexpectedly reached down, grabbed that tray without even asking if I wanted it, and put it on my food slot. I looked at it in shock and before she could change her mind or yank it back from me, I grabbed it and said, “Thank you.” I couldn't believe it.

I put the eggs in a bag and then into my hotpot to eat later after I worked out. An act of kindness can really get the day off on the right foot.

Well, on with the day and monitoring the news!

The day has now come to an end, and another week with no decision from the CCA. Well, my prayers and thoughts now turn towards the scheduled execution tomorrow. May it one day end.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 19th, 2022

I woke up at 5.25am this morning and was going to hit the ground running and exercise, when they began to run recreation. It was to be our day outside and I thought, “Great! By the time they get to me I'll get some sunshine!” But everyone downstairs skipped it which made me first round. I was a bit disappointed I wouldn't be getting sunlight, but still happy I'd be getting the fresh air.

It was wonderful! I jogged for 30 minutes and exercised, and stayed out until almost 8am. Then I came back in and went straight to the shower. I had my breakfast in my hotpot, ate that, and set to the day.

I'm still not getting my Passover meals which is frustrating. I received a note from the lady I talked to yesterday and she said,

“There is no Passover meal list.”

I almost blew a gasket! If there's no list, how do they know who to give the meals to?? Some guys are getting meals! They don't pick names out of a hat and say, “Today were going to send Bill a Passover meal.” They have to have a list! Look, I may not be the smartest person on the planet, but I don't need to be treated like an idiot either.

I completely understand how some guys go crazy in this place...A human being can only take so much.

Sigh...Serenity now!

All in all, not a bad day...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 18th, 2022

I woke up at 5.20am this morning and hit the ground running. I worked out, ate the breakfast I put in my  hot pot and then had to bird bath because we didn't have any showers today, which was odd because we had three officers on the pod all day long.

I've been a little irritated because it's Passover and I'm supposed to have a meal without bread (or anything leavened). I've been eating Matzo in place of that but the kitchen is supposed to give me a specially prepared tray. For three nights – four tonight – they've not brought it to me. I'm on the list, and I was told by the Chaplain I'm on the list and they keep (they – the officers/kitchen) saying I'm not on the list, yet (and this is what gets my goat!)  guys that aren't Jewish by faith and only want special privileges, are getting their trays and it's like, “Wait! How does that work? The real Jewish guy doesn't get his Passover.” I have no leavened products in my cell. I'm keeping Kosher for Passover and I'm the one messed over? When I try to explain to these new officers (who are, like, 20 years old and probably have never been outside of Livingston) they look at me like I have a third eyeball growing out of my head.

I filed a grievance, but by the time it's processed, Passover will be long over...Sigh...

On a lighter note, the rest of the Pod was able to watch a movie today. Troop gave them a choice of Dirt, American Outlaw, or The Passion of the Christ. All of the other sections picked out American Outlaw – a Western about Jesse James. I could hear the movie on my radio and the further away the transmitter was, the better it sounded. It was okay. I'm not a big fan of Westerns, but I would have watched it.
The day has been peaceful though and I'm about to listen to Nathalie Merchant's Ophelia album on The Tank. I love Nathalie Merchant so I expect it to be good. Whether with 10000 Maniacs, or solo, she's never disappointed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and  Faith.

Peace.


April 17th, 2022

Passover/Easter Sunday...I slept in today until about 7.45am. It was so quiet and peaceful and with my fan blocking out any other noise, it was easy. As I write this they're passing out lunch which is baked chicken, cake (which I can't eat because it's Passover (sad face) beans, and carrots. The piece of chicken I have must be the size of a tyrannosaurus rex leg!

We just watched the movie Dirt. I was surprised the Field Minister actually brought the TVs in on Easter Sunday. He was going to show us a different movie, but there's a Muslim guy from Jordan on my section, and Field Minister 'Troop' told me it had some scenes that were disrespecting Muslims, so decided not to show it. I was happy to hear that from Troop and the fact he didn't want to upset someone of another faith.  

I'm in 84 cell, all the way in the corner of my section, and far from the day room. So it was difficult to watch the movie, but I stood there and and watched what I could and from what I could tell, it looked well shot. The movie is about a young black adult who gets arrested for stealing cars, after a high speed chase. One of the cops was impressed by the guy's driving skills and talks to his friend who owns a racing team. The owner agreed to take the guy under his wing to mentor him and keep him out of jail...The young guy goes on to be an awesome dirt road track racer and is redeemed. It was cool. They had an AM transmitter hooked up to the TVs so that we could listen to the movie on our radio, but the sound was a bit garbled. I think that was because the sound on the television was too loud. It was cool though, I mean, never in a thousand years would I have thought I'd have seen a total of 4 movies now on death row. Bring on the tablets! I have 21 years to catch up on...ha ha.

Troop told me that this 12 Building movie treat has been such a huge success in calming guys down, that a Major on another unit wants to start doing it for guys in solitary confinement on his unit. It goes to show that when you treat people with decency and they deserve that treatment, it makes people better all the way around. There's nothing wrong with rewarding good behaviour.

I'm still in the clouds after a fantastic phone call with my Taffy last night. That definitely got me through the rest of the weekend!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 12th, 2022

Tuesday...a chaotic day. We were able to get recreation, but a bunch of guys are really upset because they've already cut recreation down from about one day every week, to one day every two weeks. It had been for two hours, and it's been for two hours since 2004 or so. Well, now, they've told us we only get one hour and we should, and I quote, “Be happy that you get that.”

Yes, it's a blessing to get out of the cell and I'll take one hour over no hours, but there's no reason to cut our recreation time when there are three officers working the pod. They do it because they can and no one wants to push the issue or cause trouble because they don't want to lose tablet privileges before we even get them. They're already using the tablets as a carrot on a stick, and we don't even have them yet! Well...not much we can do about it.

Getting out of the cell was nice though. There are times when I get so restless and stir crazy I used to never pace the cell, and over the the past two years I've started to pace back and forth...back and forth, just to keep my body  moving and working off the stress. Exercise helps too, but nothing beats going to a larger space and getting out of the confines of the cell.

I was really lucky to get outside and have fresh air. A space opened up and I jumped on it it. It was a bit overcast, but the air...oh geeze...It's not natural to keep humans inside for long periods of time without fresh air and clean oxygen. It's no wonder so many guys have health and lung problems.

I hope they bring a movie around tomorrow. We were told that was the goal, so we'll see.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 10th, 2022

It's a brilliantly bright Sunday, and I'm glad the lockdown is finally over. I think it ended officially on Friday, and while we've yet to have any recreation, at least they're running showers regularly. The Field Minister 'Troop' stopped by yesterday and said he was going to try and bring a movie to B-Pod on Tuesday or Wednesday, so we have that to look forward to next week.

I had a phone call last night with my Taffy! We'd not been able to talk in so long it was a real treat and blessing, and brings a lot of positivity and energy going into the new week - especially as the holidays approach. I'm looking forward to Passover and I'll do my own little Seder in my cell.

This past week we've been watching a Securus crew dig some trenches and lay down some fiber optic cables leading up to our building. It has everyone excited, and while our projected date to receive the tablets is June 1st, most of us are keeping optimistic that we may have them sooner. Securus has been struggling with labor shortage issues, but they seem to now have a couple of large crews which means things will move much faster. When they pushed things back to June, they had a very small crew and they only had 50% left to do on the unit. Now, with a big crew, that will speed things up tremendously.

I listened to a really interesting movie last night called Another Earth and it's difficult to explain, but I know that if it's available on the tablet, I'm watching it again! The score was beautiful...I love great cinematic scores and some of my favorites are from Pete's Dragon, The Last of the Mohicans, Batman 1999, Edward Scissorhands, Interstellar, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, to name but a few...I'd love to write some music for movies one day. Gotta dream big, right?

Here's to hoping this new week is full of great things, a ton of positivity and love...Happy Passover to my Jewish sisters and brothers, and Happy Easter to my Christian friends!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 6th, 2022

I was listening to the news yesterday, and they went on and on about the crime problem of late. What frustrated me though, is the common theme from the politicians and Houston Police Chief that "We've got to get these people off of the streets and put pressure on Judges to stop giving bail." And yes, it sounds great...You can even slap it on a bumper sticker, but locking everyone up doesn't work and has never worked. Unless you're trying to get to the root of the problem, all you're doing is filling up understaffed jails and prisons, and putting stresses on the state and country budgets, creating a revolving door that puts criminals in and spits them back out ad nauseam.

I just keep thinking, "why won't politicians and police just try to fix the problems?" I don't know what's so hard about that. Are you going to erase all crime? No...Humans are humans...but can you put in place policies that minimise the problems? Educational programs...addressing domestic and gun violence? When I wrote that stream of consciousness rant, I said that guns weren't the problem, but I should have clarified that they are definitely part of the problem. There are way too many of them, and they're too damn easy to get hold of. They are a vile mechanism - worst invention in the history of humankind! Their potential to be used for evil is unprecedented. But the fact remains that society has to get to the root of this issue. You can't just lock everyone up!

Well, today was our shakedown day...It really wasn't bad at all. Whenever I come back to my cell after a shakedown, I always expect it to be a mess, but everything was nice, neat, and orderly. Most of the time it looks as if a tornado passed through!

The CCA didn't rule today...My gut is telling me it's going to be a while longer. Not much I can do about that but wait...patiently.

Oh! We were watching Securus dig a ditch outside behind our pod, to lay a fiber optic cable. It brings us one day closer, and the excitement grows.

I wrote about how yesterday The Tank played a DVD my Taffy donated to the station, called Pete's Dragon. I was really surprised by how many guys back here liked the movie. I mean, I get it...I'm a Disney geek and a kid at heart, but I half expected to get teased and it's been the opposite of that! Someone actually requested that the station play it again...Who would've thought a movie about a dragon and a little boy would have pulled at the hearts of the "worst of the worst?"...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


April 5th, 2022

Today we're breaking 90F with the temperature...It's a bit hotter than that in the cell, and it feels miserable. Yes, the death row building has air conditioning and don't let anyone tell you that it doesn't...Now, population cells don't. I really feel for those guys because it's hotter than Hades there! They've got the AC blowing, but it's a trickle. I think there's something wrong with my vent, like there's a blockage or something because you can barely feel it. Oy!

We're still on lockdown as I write this. The rumor is that it should be over by the weekend. I certainly hope so. Speaking of rumors, someone said that they're taking the Polunsky Visitation schedule back to the way it was Monday-Friday, but I've not seen that anywhere. Someone's girlfriend told him and the guy kind of ran with it. I started to probe deeper and asked questions because no one went to visit yesterday, and so far as I can tell, the Tuesday/Thursday and Saturday night schedule is still in place. He got frustrated with me asking so many questions and I said,  

“Hey, I like to read the fine print. You just can't say something is so, when by all appearances it isn't so at all...I'm not being negative, but we do bad enough getting caught up in the rumor mill.”

He had also said special visits are going to resume, but again, that's yet to be seen.

It's been a fairly peaceful day. I was super excited when on the radio station today they played a narrated audio version of Pete's Dragon (the movie, which I love...even though I loved the original version that was a musical when I was a kid). My Taffy donated it to the station which is funny because she said she chose it on a whim because she knew I liked it and took a chance, hoping everyone would enjoy it...I had just sent her a letter suggesting it. It was a total hit with everyone, and guys around me were surprised as how good it was. One guy said,  

“Man...I didn't expect I'd get teary-eyed and dismissed Megamind when he gave us the warning it was a tear-jerker...And the next thing I know, I'm tearing up over a stupid effing drafon!!” Ha ha.

It got me exactly the same way!

And yes, the Prison Radio Station IS accepting DVDs and CDs. They must come from a legitimate store or online vendor like Amazon. They can be used, as long as they come from a legitimate source. They can only be PG-13 or under, and please steer clear of unrated movies as they might not make it through. If you send music, it cannot have an 'explicit lyrics' label on it...nothing violent...nothing Satanic...But again, the CDs can come via a legitimate store or online vendor. Don't worry about repeat CDs or DVDs either. They keep back ups in case music/movies are lost or the hard drives crash. They also send the music and movies to other prisons that are developing similar programs like on Polunsky.  

To donate music or movies, you can send them addressed as follows:

Chaplain Department/106.5 The Tank
C/O Chaplain Martin
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston
Texas 77351
USA

I highly recommend you get involved...You'll not only be putting a smile on many faces and making life just a little bit better, but you'll also be participating in a groundbreaking program that no one ever thought would be possible in Texas, where faith, rehabilitation, and a real focus on restorative justice is the primary focus...Please!  

And thank you :-)  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.


April 3rd, 2022

It's a very peaceful Sunday...Very quiet. The sky is perfect outside of my window, and it's a bit on the warm side, but that's okay. As I write this I'm listening to some Bollywood music on a Hindi station that has popped up out of nowhere on my radio. It's lively music and hard not to want to shimmy and shake to! Ha ha.

Yesterday the Field Minister 'Troop' came through and told me I had to wait on the the classes I'd signed up to until a new semester started. It was a bit disappointing to hear, but at least I know if I'm still here, and if the CCA takes a long time to rule, I can take them.

There was quite a bit of buzz over the weekend as Securus passed out papers with price lists for the tablet options. The subscription rates aren't too unreasonable, but I do think there are 'hidden fees'. I think the subscriptions only give you access to the content. I think that the inmate will have to pay individually to rent the games and movies, as well as the newspapers/magazines. That being said, there's a ton of free content – I mean free access to e-books/audio books and podcasts...Do you know how fantastic that is? Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about getting a program started so that indigent inmates have access to free radios, books etc. Now, with the tablets, every inmate in TDCJ will have a free FM radio, access to books/podcasts etc. Even a handful of free games! If you can't afford movies, I'm sure the guys that have a cellmate will share if they can. It's going to make life a little more bearable and ease so much tension. Watch and see...We're so close.

I love this section I now live on. What a blessing to have been moved over here! There's zero negativity...Everyone gets along...There no arguing...No noise...We can talk to each other and try to help one another. I liked where I was at on A-Section, but there was tension, negativity, and a lot of noise. It's night and day.

We should have our shakedown this coming week and I'm ready to get it over with. It'll be the 4th week of lockdown this week. I really need to get out of the cell, stretch my legs and hopefully have a chance to get fresh air and sunlight.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.


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