January 1st, 2006
Happy New Years! I start this out with hope that this year will be the year of peace, love, understanding. Where humans can learn to co-exist, where we can learn to respect and appreciate other world cultures. Where we can love and respect each other as the humans we all are.
I haven't written anything in my journal for the last couple of weeks because honestly, I just wasn't feeling it. I don't ever want my writing to be forced. And when I do it's very half hearted and bland. I had the holiday blues and so much on my mind. Christmas Eve was especially difficult for me as it marked the five year anniversary of what lead to my being put on death row. Mary had called into the Christmas show KDOL Radio was holding, and that call made me very happy. It was nice hearing someone tell you they love you and are thinking of you. Earlier that day I had been called out for a telephone call to her, which surprised the hell out of me. Unfortunately no one answered, so I missed out on that call.
To make a phone call here you have to put in for a request to use a phone. Sometimes that process takes months to go through and I sure as hell didn't expect to be allowed to call on the holiday. At least Mary was able to call into the radio program. Later that evening I forced my self to look at my disfigured toes on my left foot as a reminder of the incident on Christmas Eve in 2000. I was shot that night, the bullet passing through four toes, damaging two to the point that they no longer move. I then thought of how things went horribly wrong that night and how a life was lost. Something that should've never happened. While, I didn't personally pull or shoot a gun, I can't help but feel shame, disgusted in myself for not trying to be more forceful in refusing to participate in a robbery – or for even allowing a robbery to happen on Christmas…And saying sorry just doesn't seem enough – it isn't enough and at times maybe I think I should pay with my life. I don't know.
Christmas day we had a very spectacular meal. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, smoked ham (I don't eat ham though…), sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, cole slaw, three sweet pickles, two deviled eggs, a celery stick with peanut butter, spread on it. We had two rolls, corn, and peas. Then (!) we had three pieces of pie, two big cookies, an apple and orange. To my astonishment, no one complained! I mean, how could you complain about a meal such as that? It was too much to eat.
Christmas day lead into the first night of Chanukah for me, which Mary called me once again on Sunday on KDOL to wish me a happy Chanukah. This warmed my heart. I love her so much. Monday morning everything here (on the 26th of December 2005) was very slow. No mail services, no visits etc. But I was called out for a phone call once again – no luck in getting hold of Mary though. I'm not sure if she went to work that day or not. I probably had just missed her as it was around eight in the morning. The rest of the week I just zoned out. Sulked mainly. I was getting over a cold and knew I wouldn't be getting a visit from my wife which sucked. I miss getting visits from her every single week, but I know money is still tight, so I'm patient and understanding.
Last night on New Year's Eve it was relatively calm. Things got a bit loud at midnight and then it quieted down. I spent most of the night listening to the top 94 alternative rock songs of the year. Then, I drew a picture for my wife and wrote a couple of poems. I was in bed by one in the morning. I woke up this morning and was called out once again for a phone call and another try to get hold of Mary. I hoped upon hope I would get through to her, but to no avail. Ugh. I was so disappointed. This being my third try – it would be my last. They have a three strikes your out rule and so I chose to instead call my friend David. We talked for about five minutes and it was very nice phone call. I was pleased. Now I have to wait 90 days until I can make a call again. I came back, had lunch which was mystery meat – seriously, it looked so strange and had such a peculiar smell to it…I'm inching further towards becoming a vegetarian. After I ate, I exercised for an hour. I really have to get back in shape. I'm starting to get these love handles on my waist. But that's neither here nor there. Yeah, I can be vain at times.
Today here in Livingston, Texas, it's very humid and 80°. It's freakin' January for crying out loud! This weather is insane – if we can't get our heads out of our butts and try to figure out a way for better energy policies and cleaning up our planet…I can't imagine how much more nuts this planet and weather will get. Just last week I heard news reports that fires broke out all over my hometown in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Then, in California, torrential rains started flash floods and mud slides. NUTS! I'm rambling…Right now I'm listening to KDOL and all of the messages sent to inmates here. I'm about to get to some other writing. And then later I'll do some catching up on reading. I'm slacking. I suppose that does it for now.
Happy New Year!
January 2nd, 2006
What a cop out! Okay, I admit, if I was free I'd love an extra day of no work and of the holidays, but I'm not, so I'm upset that the federal government is closed and there will be no mail today. I mean, it's not New Year's Day so why say everything is shut down for new years? Sorry, I want my mail.
Another day in this pit. It's been warm – again. Global warming at it's finest and I'm listening to KTRU as I write this. Whoever is the DJ right now is playing some really good stuff. I got into an argument with my neighbor last night because he was gay bashing. I decided to throw my two cents in because listening to it was irking the hell out of me. I was already irritable because I'm worried about my wife. It was the first time she's never called into the radio show or sent an email. So I say, "You don't think some people are born gay?" Of course he said "no" and called it an abomination God, and if I defended gays I must be queer myself. I couldn't help but laugh at that. Then I basically said his views were right winged and fundamental. "Ah, hell no! I can't stand Bush!" I said, "Well, that's what his views are…" He got mad and called me a queer again, so I said, "I hear you, Pat Robertson." Yes, life on death row is wonderful. Not really.
Today I've been writing mainly. yped up some poems and wrote a letter to my wife. I hope she can come tomorrow. Right now I don't know because like I said, I didn't hear her call yesterday so I'm clueless. I feel she will be here though. It's a picture week and we keep missing our chance to get some more pictures so I don't think she'll miss it. They only do pictures in visitation one week each month and it's usually the first week of the month. They cost three bucks each, which is pretty ridiculous (This singer "Annie" is awesome! I love this music – very pop, but irresistible!), if you ask me. They are Polaroid's, too. But saying that, I do like getting them. Any picture of my friends and wife is always a blessing. I just I hope I'll be able to get one tomorrow. To be continued..
I was listening to the program earlier on KPFT called "Go Vegan Texas". It's a vegan show and they discuss all of the pros about going vegetarian or vegan. I want to dive in. I really do, but having eaten meat my whole life, it's like quitting drugs. I'm addicted. I doubt seriously if I could stop cold turkey (no pun intended). I determined to eventually stop eating meat for health and moral reasons, but I think it has to be a gradual process. My wife and I had decided to stop eating pork a while ago and we both did it. I have no craving for ham or anything and if it's served I can easily turn it down. I think hamburger or chicken will be a little more difficult. But I will! One of these days.
I'm reading a fantasy book called A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It's pretty good, but there's four books to the series. I very rarely get a chance to read a whole series or I lose interest after the first couple of books. I think the only series I followed completely were Ann Rice's and the Harry Potter books (though, I haven't read the latest).
Okay, that does it for today.
January 3rd, 2006
What a day, what a day…I've pretty much been stressing the whole blasted day. I got up this morning with a positive feeling. Made some tea, exercised real early. The sun was shining bright and it was a very calm and clear morning. After working out and feeling good, I went ahead and shaved and asked the guard to allow me a shower because I wouldn't be going to recreation. All in the hopes of having a visit today.
My window to the cell I'm in right now faces the parking lot and entrance to the prison compound. In the distance is a giant red and white checkered water tower and just under that is a guard tower. Inside the compound you can see the side walk from the parking lot and entrance to the main visiting building. So, you can see all of the families coming in. Whenever I'm in a cell with this view I like to watch for my wife to come walking down the side walk. I can always pick her out from her very elegant and distinct walk.
I watched and watched out the window as the day passed, knowing that if she didn't come by three I probably wouldn't be getting a visit. The minutes passed and became hours and all closer and closer to three in the afternoon. At three I climbed off my bed and drooped my head in sadness. I wouldn't be getting a visit today.
I'm very worried right now because I just don't know what's going on. I hate not having regular access to a phone or whatever. The mail takes too long and I just feel so out of touch right now. The KDOL program they do is always a good way to know what's up, but Mary never sent an email or even called (and if she did it didn't go through…) so I'm clueless. All kinds of crazy thoughts pour through my head. I mostly worry that she's okay. For her safety. All of these crazy scenarios start popping up – and my imagination is bad enough controlled – imagine when it runs wild… Sigh. Well, there's always the hope of her coming tomorrow. If not I won't know what's going on until Friday or Sunday. That's too long away. Tonight I plan on listening to some programs on PBS. One about mummies and then another about how Wal-
Mart conducts business. Should be interesting.
January 4th, 2006
Another long day. I hoped that Mary would show up this morning, but she didn't come. I guess things are tight back home. I do worry though. I did get a letter later last night from her but it was mailed out on the 28th. So, I still worry for her. My thoughts are pretty crazy right now. I'm just hoping she's safe.
My other neighbor, nick named "Ghost" is a really good neighbor. We've been talking through a hole in the back part of our walls. I like the guy a lot. He's very straight up and an excellent artist. He shared some of his poetry with me and while some is not my style, one did stick out very much, because it was filled with a lot of emotion. I want to include it with my journal entry and he's given me his permission, so it will be printed up here.
The Important Question
(by William Berkley; printed with his permission)
This must be an illusion;
It can't be happening to me.
Can't you all see?
What's blinding you?
The legal system is not true.
It's extremely manipulative.
Whatever happened to the people who use to care and give?
The topic is death!
What gives you the right to cause the last breath?
You gripe and complain, "To take life is wrong";
Yet, we lead in execution, and take life all day long.
Why don't you practice what you preach?
Remember, it is the little ones we must teach.
What kind of example do we set for them.
"To take life is wrong!"
Yet we do it again.
"What about the innocently executed?"
A voice in the crowd once said,
It wasn't a knife in the stomach,
Or a gunshot to the head.
It was a needle that caused this person to be dead.
And you put them there on purpose just to do that!
Doesn't anyone give a crap?
It's an insult, a slap in the face!
I wonder, are you going to make me walk the corridor to that awful place??
Is life that meaningless?
Or could you all just care less?
Shouldn't we stand up and fight!?!
Nah, just sentence them to death tonight.
Oh, my bad, as long as it's not you, right?
One last thought before I'm off and trot away,
For this one simple answer I hope and pray.
It is the most important question of all.
Because God only knows and heaven forbids,
So let me ask all you people:
What are we teaching our kids????
Ghost has an innocence claim. I can usually tell when people are feeding me a crock of crap, but I believed him. None of his story seemed false and usually when a person tells their story things don't add up. I wish the best for him and hopefully I can catch up with him again.
January 5th, 2006
I thought maybe I'd be moved tonight, but I wasn't. I'm not complaining. I went outside pretty late with my neighbor "Ghost". We talked for while and just thought back to the days we were free. One thing I admire about Ghost is that even though he says he's innocent, he recognizes that had he not made bad choices in his life and did things he shouldn't have done, he may not be here on death row. I respect that and it takes a lot to acknowledge that.
I didn't get any mail from Mary, so now I'm really freaking out. I just don't know what's going on. It's driving me nuts and consuming all of my thoughts and now I have this really bad feeling about things…Like, we could be going back to early September territory. I don't think I could go through that again. Well, at least tomorrow is the show on KDOL and I should hear something.
January 6th, 2006
I hate being right. I hate getting these weird feelings and then have something happen.
Today is Friday. It started off well enough. I wrote a little and then spent the afternoon drawing this Bucky The Katt from the comic strip called "Get Fuzzy", my favorite comic strip. My friend David had sent me this calendar full of Bucky Katts, so I found one I wanted to draw for Mary. I was listening to KTRU Rice university and they were playing some awesome music. My afternoon felt like it was going good. At four p.m. I turned on the "Shout Out Show" on KDOL and began to listen. I heard a wonderful message from Josef and David. Things were feeling good. And then I heard one from Mary…
Most things she writes to me or to be read to me have this spark to them. They're full of life and love and this one was flat. She said she didn't write the station or call in because she forgot and couldn't promise to call this week because she'd be busy Sunday night. Then there was the classic "We have a lot to talk about" line. Boom. Bomb shell dropped, gut instinct proven right. It was the same in a letter I recieved around 7pm. She said she had a lot on her mind and well, we'd talk whenever she could come down to see me, but there's no promise she can come this coming up week. It would've been simpler to take, had she closed the letter with her cute little love symbols, but she didn't. Nothing. My heart dropped. I don't know how to feel right now. I'm sad and I spent a little time talking to Ghost, but he said I had to do what I felt was best. I just don't know. I doubt I'll write anything to her until tomorrow, once I can organize my thoughts, but I think we may be over. I don't want that. I really don't, but I don't see how I can go through the pain and agony of trying to fight for what I may not be able to keep. It's too much for me.
I realize that Mary is young. It's why I really didn't want to get married at first, because I knew eventually she would have these longings for more. More than I can give. I don't doubt she loves me, but in this situation, it's a lot of work and effort. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. I could be. My head's fogging up and I think I should sit back and think.
To be continued…
January 8th, 2006
Sigh… I wish I could write today, tonight, with a light heart, but I cannot. I've had very little sleep this weekend and I've been turning over and over my current predicament inside my head. Searching my soul, my heart on what I should do, how I should handle my situation.
I'm doing something I've never done before. I've decided to face down my worries and own the situation. Instead of letting the year control me, I'm going to control the beginning of this year.. And so, I decided to end it with Mary. I wrote her a letter late Friday night after midnight, but I wasn't sure if that was going to be how I felt two days later. I still feel the same way. My mind hasn't changed and so with a heavy heart I will be sending my letter out tonight to her and letting her know what's on my heart and mind. Believe me, I don't want this. She is all of my heart and I hadn't loved someone, been in love with a person in so long. I've known her for almost five years and we've been in love for almost four. It's not like you can just sweep it under the rug. Plus, we're married…I never thought I'd be a failure in that, if I ever got married. I never wanted to be a statistic. I married for an eternity. I didn't marry for a fling. But the odds were against me, I guess. I'm not out of love with her. Not at all. I love her now more than ever. I really do, but it's so difficult for her – for me, going through this. She is my best friend and as long as I can at least keep that much I think we'll be okay. It will take time to adjust, but I will give it my best. It's not like I'm just writing her off. Truth be told, I just don't have any more strength emotionally to keep fighting for something she can't put her all into. I'm pooped. I've been fighting for the past four months, giving my all. Pouring every ounce of love and devotion into our marriage, I just can't do it anymore. Yeah, all of my poems for while are going to be pretty depressing…It'll do good for my creative process. Ha. Ha. Not really funny. I just don't have it in me anymore. I need to talk to her and we have a lot to talk about. If she could give me her all 100% I could change my mind, but even if she could, I don't think it's fair for me to ask that of her. I don't want to be a selfish person. If she wants more and it makes her happy, I will let her have it. I want her to be happy more than anything – even at the expense of my happiness. I will always be there for her. I will be her best friend. She can always confide in me. I'm going to write her and still be a part of her. Love never really truly dies. Sometimes absence makes it grow stronger, as the poet once said.
I don't know if she will come this week or not. I hope at least she will come soon. I will of course write about it and I'll probably have more to reflect on during this coming week. My life the soap opera. My life, never a dull moment. I just ask for those reading just keep me and Mary in your prayers. I ask for healing and for this to be as painless as possible.
And so I send this out in the hopes for the best. And if you're reading this, Mary, I do and will love you no matter what. That could never change.
January 9th, 2006
It's 7:53pm...now and my day is starting to come to an end. I'm sitting here listening to the Radio station "The Buzz". I actually just came back from a shower about five minutes ago. The water was very nice and warm and I kind of just let the stress rinse right off of me.
I woke up this morning in a daze. Last night after I straightened up my cell and put my mail in the door to be picked up in the morning, I got ready for bed, but had planned on lying in the dark just thinking and listening to music. I crawled into bed, pulled my blanket over me and sat my head phones onto my desk. I began to say my nightly prayer and then found myself waking up at 6:30am. My head phones were still sitting in the same place I left them. I looked at the door and the mail was still sitting in the side. I thought about the letter I wrote Friday night to Mary and said to myself, if I wanted to change my mind here's the chance to yank it out of the door… About a second after that, a mail lady grabbed my letters. It was on it's way out. No going back now.
I stayed in bed until about 7:50am and I was wide awake. I thought about Mary. It's weird because every morning there's this commercial that comes on at about that time with an inspirational message. This one was about moving on from a relationship. Was it a sign? I thought it was one hell of a coincidence…
I planned on doing a bunch of writing today, but honestly I had major blockage. I couldn't get anything to come out. My neighbor, Ghost, somehow managed to talk the guards into letting us go outside and so at about one we went out. Talk about a beautiful day. Warm and perfect. We talked about if I was doing the right thing in my decision to end things with Mary. I feel I am, but before I can talk to her in person I've decided to keep my comments to myself. It's a very private moment and some things should be respected as such. All I can say now is that I do hurt, but I am going to try to heal.
I thought I would be moved tonight, but I wasn't. I'm surprised, because I've been on this pod for so long. I can't believe it. Right now all of my thoughts are on tomorrow and if Mary will come. It is our visitation day. I hope she does, so we can discuss things. I would much rather speak to her before she gets the letter I wrote. The letter wasn't harsh, it was very delicate, I would just feel better discussing it.
I'm tired and I'm waiting on mail to be passed out. To be honest, I don't expect anything, but maybe I'll have a surprise. After that I'll probably go to sleep. I have to get up at 6 tomorrow. I'll be first round for ecreation. It's our outside day, too.
And so, that was today in a nut shell. Tomorrow should be interesting…
January 11th, 2006
Today has been a long and straining day. It started yesterday and carried on into today. I had hoped on a visit from Mary. We still have so much to discuss and I really need to talk to her so I can start the healing process in this. No, my mind still hasn't changed, but it doesn't mean I don't hurt. Man, do I ever.
I was moved to F-
pod last night. I really didn't feel like going here – especially since I'm stressed and depressed as it is. It's so loud and annoying. You can feel the hatred and negativity towards each other. You can cut it with a knife. I should've started off with how I began my day yesterday. I woke up at about one in the morning with a terrible tooth ache. No amount of Tylenols helped. Well, they don't give us real Tylenol but this generic stuff that I have a sneaking suspicion is a placebo. I didn't get much sleep the whole day. Then I came to the loudest pod in the building. I was able to score some Ibuprofen eventually and crashed out at about 11 p.m.
I woke up this morning extremely depressed. My tooth still ached, but not as badly. I made some tea and then just sat around in my boxer shorts and thought. I really missed Mary and wish things hadn't spun so out of control like they have. At noon I was told to get ready for a media visit. I was surprised and completely not prepared. Turns out the documentary crew was here and ready to do an interview and filming. I was picked up, handcuffed and walked down to have my interview. George Rivas, my co-
defendant was there, too. I was polite to him, as he was with me. When the director showed up he briefly spoke with Rivas and then came down to the booth I was in and spoke to me. He assured me that he wasn't trying to sensationalize anything and that he wanted honesty from me. He seemed really nice and straight up. I enjoyed speaking with him. The crew was from the UK and all very nice.
They set up the cameras and filmed Rivas first. I could hear everything that was being said and I'll just say all I could do was roll my eyes at what he was telling them – or more like how he was telling them. If I've ever met a narcissist, "me, me, me… I, I, I"…that's all I ever heard. And then the poor little sob story at the end. Give me a break. But that's him I guess.
My interview was a little short because the guards were trying to shut down early. They filmed me and the director said I gave a good interview. We didn't get to talk about much, but I think I expressed myself well enough. They took some pictures and did a shot of me holding a picture of Mary and I that I still had in my ID holder. That shot pained me because it was saying I love her so much, but the sadness in my eyes was that it was over.
I have no idea when the program will be aired or on what channel still quite yet. The paper work said the History Channel for the UK. I'll try to find out and keep you posted. I came back and was exhausted. I turned down recreation and listened to the hearings for the supreme court appointment. Quite boring in itself and so I zoned out.
They just passed out mail. I didn't get any. Figures...that means Mary hasn't written any since at least Saturday. So nice of her to care. Like I said, I'm no longer a priority so why even bother? Why put myself through that hoping and begging for her to come around…
Shit. I'm going to sleep.
January 12th, 2006
Today was a grey and very humid day. I spent most of it listening to the Judge Alito hearings on deciding if he can be appointed to the Supreme Court. He will be appointed because the Republicans have more votes and unless the Democrats filibuster there's not much else one can do. I have to say if he does get appointed you can guarantee the death penalty in the U.S. won't end. Also, the court will be stacked with conservatives and a lot of things in this country will change and I have a sneaking suspicion it won't be for the better. Scary times indeed.
You know, since I've been on this pod I have not talked to a single person. I just haven't, and really have no desire to. Saying that, though I feel like I need to talk to someone because I'm very depressed right now and would just like to pour my guts out to someone. I feel so alone. I feel like I'm on a deserted island.
I think today I gave up in the belief of true love or soul mates. I feel like it's an illusion. Make believe. Something we trick our hearts into thinking might be real. It doesn't mean I don't want it, though. I do wish I could find that person who doesn't put restrictions on love or how to love. I wish I could find someone who could look beyond the physical aspects of a relationship and enjoy the love that comes from inside. I think I'll always be a hopeless romantic and I'll always hope for that person. But my time is running out. I love the feeling of being in love and I think I might be addicted to love. I know I love being loved. Does any of this make sense?
This is just a random thought. I wonder what ever happened to my friend Jennifer Roe? We were pretty tight all the way up until about 2004. I was focused on my marriage so I let that get into the way of our friendship. I mean, I had my reasons why. I was very loyal and in love with Mary, but still maybe I did the wrong thing?
Well, I'm on standby to see if I've got mail…My tooth still hurts a bit. I put in for a dental request but they don't always answer right away. In fact during Hurricane Rita I had cracked a molar and because they lost power I recieved my request back with the words: non serious medical request, please submit at a later time. I was like, "Huh? Cracking a tooth in half isn't a serious issue?" That reminds me of this news report I heard a month or two ago about how prisoners recieved top notch medical care. They would interview average citizens and ask how well their own medical care was and then they'd say "Well, did you know prisoners get etc…" They would be outraged and say we didn't deserve to be given that good of a medical option. Huh? I'll put it like this: The common cure is Tylenol and lots of water. Unless you are dying it takes an act of congress to get any type of treatment. And sometimes when you're dying you don't get help and die. I witnessed a man die in the bed next to me when I first arrived in prison. I'll have to tell that story sometime soon. His death could've been avoided I believe, but the nurses refused to listen to his complaints and sent him back to the dormitory.
There are some songs I hear that just make me say, "Man! I wish I would've written that!" I just heard a song by My Chemical Romance called "Ghost's Of You" or ghosts or something like that…Perfect. The band is so-
so, but this song is awesome. The melody, the lyrics, all perfect. Even the singer's vocals and pitch fit the song – and I usually think his vocals are annoying. They nailed it. Bravo!
I sure will be happy when I'm moved off of this pod. Argh!! Well, maybe I'll have something more interesting to write about tomorrow. Good night and sweet dreams…
January 13th, 2006
Friday, the thirteenth. Who said don't be superstitious about this day? Ugh…Well, I heard an email from Mary about thirty minutes ago. It's settled. We are officially over. She got my letter and well, wanted to end things. I'm not going to lie. I cried. I cried for about 15 minutes, because I never wanted to be a failure at marriage. I didn't want us to end because I am still very much in love with her. It's something you just don't get over.
The only thing about it that really bothered me was that she was a little too happy in it. It kind of hurt my feelings. I don't know. My mind is kind of drawing a blank right now. I won't know anything until I can at least talk to her. I really wish things didn't have to be so difficult. I wish my life wasn't so difficult at times. Never a dull moment turns out to be a curse. For the first time in my life I'm de-
mystified by love. I believe in love as in giving love to others in acts of kindness and such, but as in romantic love, falling in love etc…I don't know what I believe. I'll put it like this: I've got about 3 to 4 years left in my life if the worst happens. Is it possible to fall in love, meet someone, go through all of that – again…I don't know if I want someone after Mary. It took five years to even meet her, then another four of us being together. That's a long ass time. Time is something that's working against me, though. The clock is ticking… Tick… Tock… Tick…I am addicted to love and I love being in love, but I just don't see it happening. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. I don't know. She said she might be here on the 17th. I hope it happens. I may end up seeing my friend, Ilene, the following week if she makes it down. I haven't seen her in something like 15 years? I was 13 or 14 the last time I saw her. That'll be a neat visit.
My head is really not all there so I'll try to write a little more Saturday and Sunday. I'm going to sit back and try to relax and listen to PBS, feed my brain a little food for thought.
January 15th, 2006
Man. I cannot believe this month is half way through. I can't believe I've been going through all this garbage for 2 weeks. I didn't write any because I was in a zone. My thoughts were in a far off land. I woke up this morning and said to myself, you gotta stop moping around and get over it. Easier said than done, of course, but at least I have stayed busy today.
Yesterday there was a little incident with an inmate down the run. It was sad that things had to go to such extremes when the problem could've been solved easily. It all started with the inmate (non death row inmate) and he was trying to get the guards' attention because he was sick. They just kept ignoring him. He then began to kick the door to get their attention. This pissed the guards off and so they came out of the control center and came to his door, "Stop whining like a little bitch. Sit your faggot ass on your bunk…" One said. Yes, the inmate is gay. "I'm sick! I need to go to medical!" the inmate cried. "You shut your punk ass up. You ain't getting no medical attention."
They exchanged words back and forth and finally the inmate said, "Well, if you refuse me the attention I'm asking for I'll just cut myself until I have to go to medical…" And then he proceeded to cut his arm with little nicks. Nothing serious, just enough to draw some blood. The guards couldn't do anything but call medical now. Boy, they were pissed. One kept threatening to pepper spray him. It didn't have to get to that and I often wonder why these guards make things harder than they need to be. Now they had to fill out paper work and get a sergeant involved and then get a clean up crew to wipe up the blood…When all they had to do was send him to medical from the beginning. Nuts.
Today I spent most of it doing laundry. I then exercised and got caught up in some writing. Right now I'm waiting to see, if Mary will call through. It's 5:18pm right now and she doesn't get off of work until after 5:30 or so. I guess we'll see. I try to tell myself to not hold my breath, but again, easier said than done. I planned on sending this out tonight, but tomorrow is a federal holiday (Martin Luther King Day) so they probably won't pick up the mail. It'll for sure go out tomorrow night. One thing I'm happy about is my time on this pod is almost up. Man, I hope they move my sorry butt Tuesday night. I'll be so upset if not. I can't stand it here. It's another reason why I've been so out of it this week. If I was on another pod I could deal with everything that's going on because I could talk about it with someone or at least talk about something else another topic or something.
Okay. I'm on standby to see, if she calls in. We will see. I really would like to hear her sweet voice. I need some soul comfort. It's 6:30 pm now. I just took down my laundry. It only took 6 hours to dry. I sure do miss electric dryers and washing machines. I've got a clothes line that extends from my light fixture to my window. Usually I just turn my fan on and let the fan dry it, but I've been using my type writer so I have to choose between my radio and fan, or radio and type writer. I only have two outlets in the cell. I guess I'll wait until about 7 or so to see if I get a phone call or not. Right now the odds are against me. When she used to call all the time it was always around 6pm, so…
Sigh… No call. KDOL is shutting the program down. Either the line was too busy or she couldn't call. Now I will be in suspense until Tuesday to see if she comes or not. This really does mess with my head at times…On a closing note, there is a new song by the Houston, Texas band, Blue October called "Hate me". I love this band and this song is really good. I think this band will break through this year. I highly suggest them for anyone who's into good, smart alternative rock.
January 17th, 2006
It's 1:21pm, and I'm sitting here on this Tuesday, wondering if Mary will be here within the next hour and a half or so…l looked outside and it is a beautiful day. It would be perfect for a visit, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high.
The strangest thing happened yesterday – well, last night to be specific. My ear had felt like it had water in it so I kind of rubbed and shook my ear lobe and I heard this popping sound. Suddenly all of my hearing came back in that ear. See, way back in July, I woke up one morning and could barely hear out of that ear. My right ear. It improved over the months, but there was still a slight muffle to it. I couldn't hear the way I wanted to hear and being a musician and relying heavily on my ears it was driving me nuts and I could never quite get used to it. But now, it's perfect. Everything is really intense in my right ear. I can hear the slightest of sounds. Even this typewriter pounding away sounds very loud. I'm almost giddy about it. I wonder what the problem was? Could it have been a lot of pressure build up? Or maybe somehow my ear drum shifted in the canal somehow? I just don't know, but I am sure glad that it's back to normal. Let's hope it lasts.
I had started part three of my "The Beginning of the End" memoir piece, but honestly I wasn't feeling like doing any serious writing right now. Mary is on my mind and I am very anxious. I think my patience is running out on things. We haven't discussed anything major and well, I just want to move on, but I can't because I'm stuck in this emotional limbo. I'm trying to be as patient as I can be, but I'm getting anxious and frustrated. I don't feel it's fair for her to do this to me. It's like, okay tell me how you feel, let's talk and move on from here. But we can't. I'm stuck with my tires in the mud. I think if nothing is resolved by the 31st I'm just going to move on. I don't want that because I do want to salvage a friendship or something out of us. I've spent almost five years knowing her and I just couldn't kick her out of my life, but I feel like it's what she's doing to me so…Sometimes you have to be selfish. Right? Well, we'll see what's going on by three won't we? I will definitely do some writing about what ever happens…
3:22pm...Nothing. She didn't show up. It has been officially a month since I've seen her now. I'm sick. I'm literally sick to the stomach. Pain, anger. I don't know what's going on. I feel out of control. She won't talk to me. What the hell did I do wrong? I was honest. I was supportive. I was loving. I went way beyond the means I even had. I made her a priority and structured my life around us. I've wasted 3 years since I've been on death row. 3 years that could've been focused on other thing …3 years on a marriage that didn't even work out. I feel so stupid right now. I'll never trust my heart again.
January 18th, 2006
Another depressing day. Well, it wasn't terribly bad, but bad enough. If that makes sense. My attorney, Bruce, stopped by today which was a nice surprise. He got me a salad and Mountain Dew, which is always nice of him. We talked a little about my wife and the situation at hand, but really he didn't have any advice to offer other than getting in touch with her.
The latest legal update is basically an add on to what he told me last month. Not only is the judge of my case running for D. A., but also my lead prosecutor, Toby Shook. I think there's one democrat running, but Bruce thinks my judge will be the one who wins because he has a political background. I would put my money on Toby Shook, only because he is a tough ass prosecutor – I know from experience. He may have helped get me a death sentence, but I'll give him his dues. He's good. But both will be playing the Texas 7 card. Lovely.
The good news is that the judge who is in to replace judge Cunningham is a female and a democrat. My lawyer feels until she wins the seat permanently she probably won't even look at our appeals and just let them sit. They're trying to get me last in line even after that all happens so I still have a long ways. Maybe over a year. Not bad, I suppose.
I wrote my mother-
in- law a letter today, too. Just to let her know how I feel about everything that's going on. I asked her – begged her – to talk Mary into coming down and see me on the 31st. I really hope she will. I just have so many questions. So many things that are just bugging the hell out of me. My thoughts are like a billion tiny cockroaches running around in my brain and it's bugging me to death. I don't think I've ever felt this way before in my life. It's horrible.
So, it's close to nine at night and they still haven't passed out mail. I'm listening to this computer show on KPFT. I haven't touched a computer since 1996, but I still like to keep up with the technology and how things are working and such. I'm fascinated by it. I really am a geek at heart.
Tomorrow I will write about the guy I watched die back in 1997, right next to me. It's a terrifying story and the first time I had actually seen with my own eyes a person die. The thing is, I really believe he could've been saved, if only the nurses would've treated his complaints seriously. A really horrible story.
I suppose I will close this up for the night and sit back and wallow in my own despair. After this program is over I'm going to put it on the love song station and torture myself and maybe have a real good cry. I'm a glutton for pain.
January 19th, 2006
Well, I just got finished writing my wife and mother-
in- law...I didn't recieve any mail from Mary last night, but I did from my mother- in- law and it was a sweet letter. She's very torn about the current situation. She wants us to work things out, yet she also realizes it's a hard life for her daughter so – I just don't know. Every day I feel like I'm sinking further into the abyss. Every day that goes by that I don't get feed back from my wife I feel more lost, more hurt, more confused…
Today has been extremely boring. I'm waiting on a shower right now, but it's getting late in the day and this shift probably won't get to me. The day has been grey, but not too humid, which is nice. So, today I want to write about the incident in which I watched a man die. I'm thinking about it now and trying to bring back all of the details. It's not hard for me to remember, because it was my first time to watch someone pass away in front of me.
I hadn't been in prison too long. Maybe about five or six months. At the time I was on a transfer facility that was located not far outside of Dallas, Texas, in the small town of Bonham. The unit was basically a series of dorms made of aluminum. Almost like some sort of concentration camp. Basically, you stayed there until the prison administration figured out which prison facility they would place you in. I ended up staying there for two years, until I was sent to the facility that I escaped from.
Inside the dorms there was an area filled with bunk beds. On the perimeter of the bunk beds was a series of single beds that we called islands. I had one of these beds. On my right side was an older man, named Ferrina. The bed next to me on the left side was empty and then on the other side of that bed was a younger guy, we called "Bundy" because he looked like the character "Al Bundy" from the television series, "Married with Children". That day an older black man who just came back from the hospital was given the bed that was empty on my left side. He made his bed and laid down to get some rest, obviously not feeling well. About mid afternoon he sat up complaining of some chest pains, so asked the guards, if he could go to medical. They sent him down. He came back about ten minutes later with a couple of Tylenols and laid on his bed. "Hey, old man. What did they tell you? You still look sick." I asked. He mumbled that they said there wasn't anything wrong with him if he was released from the hospital. He then fell back to sleep.
Dinner time came and we all filed into line. Seeing the old man still asleep, Bundy and I woke him up to see if he was going to dinner. He said "no" and so we went out to the chow hall. When we came back he was still sleeping. I think maybe a couple of hours had passed. I was in the day room watching T.V. when I got bored and decided to go lay on my bed. Bundy and Ferrina were reading books. I had a song on my mind and so began to beat on my chest, just kind of singing to myself. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the old black man stir a little restlessly. I turned to look at him as he was stretching his arms. His eyes were wide open and he let out a little yawn. And this is no hyperbole – a tear fell from one of his eyes.
His arms fell back down and his eyes remained open. I didn't know what to think at first and so I jokingly said to Bundy, "Hey, I think this guy just died." Bundy put his book down for a second and looked at him, "Nah, people sleep with their eyes open all the time." I looked at him closely at his chest to see if the old man was breathing and saw nothing. "No, I really think he just died!" Bundy shot up and then Ferrina came over and we all started shaking him, "Say, old school! Wake up, man, you okay?" Ferrina checked for a pulse and then began giving him CPR. Bundy and I ran to the window and started banging for the guard's attention. "A man is dying, we need help! Call medical!" We kept screaming until a guard noticed.
We went back to the bunk area and noticed a crowd gathering around Ferrina and having taken life guard classes I knew he needed his space, so I started pushing everyone away. Then I asked, if Ferrina needed help. He said "no" and kept working. A sergeant showed up first and he walked up to us. "What's going on?" he asked. Bundy and I were astonished. He wasn't trying to help or even make an attempt. "A man is fucking dying!" Bundy yelled at the Sergeant. The sergeant only looked at everyone with slight amusement. Finally about twenty minutes later the nurses – the same nurses who turned the black man away – showed up. The sergeant ordered Ferrina off of the dead man and then began to act like he was giving CPR. It was a truly disgusting spectacle. I could see panic in the nurses eyes, like, "Oh crap, we really messed up on this one."
Later that week Ferrina, Bundy and I were interviewed by Internal Affairs. The sergeant and nurses were fired and Ferrina was given an early parole for trying to save a man's life. He was a substance abuse offender and in prison for a nonviolent crime, so they let him go, which I think was a good thing for the state to do.
I've seen many others die in prison, but this is the one that stuck with me the most. I've heard that so many problems like that could've been avoided had only medical taken the complaints seriously. I'm not saying some inmates don't take advantage of the system and try to come up with fake complaints and such, but when you're a professional medical practitioner all should be taken seriously.
January 22nd, 2006
It's a little after two in the morning and I can't sleep. I just finished writing my wife a letter that's almost ten pages long. I just couldn't get to sleep and so I just poured my heart and soul onto the pages. I guess it came from everything that's happened over the weeks.
Earlier today it was strange. The weather was horrible and I was listening to the program on KDOL. I had to use the bathroom and so I took my head phones off and then I put them back on, all I caught was "...forever yours, Mary". I wasn't sure who the message was from and/or for and I assumed it wasn't for me, because on the Friday program Mary did send a message in and it was kind of insensitive, I felt. She didn't even close it with anything just, "Mary". It kind of pissed me off, to be honest. So, in response to that I wrote a kind of angry letter. All of a sudden on the Sunday program the station goes off the air. It stays off until 5:45pm; they had lost power from a lightning strike. At about 5:50pm, Mary calls in. She, well, the call broke my heart...She sounded so sad and conflicted. I could hear so much in her voice, but what really just made me burst out into tears was she said, I had been on her mind a lot and she missed me and she even said, "I love you". I haven't heard from her in weeks, in letters or her voice, so hearing her call… I just lost it. I couldn't stop crying. But, she said, she did send a second email, but I don't have a clue what it was or said, because I missed it! I'm an idiot!
Well, the call made me think about things and I just tossed and turned and I realized at about 1:15am I was not ready to give up on us quite yet. I'm going to fight until I just fall over and can't fight anymore. I love her and I'm not going to give up. So, I wrote this letter, but I realized it may be too much at once. What I'm going to do is later today write a shorter version with the core of how I felt at the heart of it. I will tell her I want her and I'm not willing to give up, just yet. I still have hope. It's still there. My love for her is unconditional and there's nothing she could do, no amount of pain or hurt that could make me stop loving her. Because I know, deep inside she still wants me and loves me. I heard it in her words, on the call. I felt it in her voice. Maybe I'm crazy, but I know her better than anyone on this earth. I won't be pressuring. I'm not even going to bring it up past the letter I write. I put it into her hands. If she comes back, then we were meant to be, if not, well, then I'm an idiot, but at least I know I didn't quit and that I tried. So, Mary, if you are reading this: I still want you, baby. I still have hope. I still love you.
January 24th, 2006
Another day has passed. It really wasn't too bad. When I woke up it was a little gloomy outside, but around noon everything cleared up and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. I started the day doing this new exercise for called "Isometrics". I actually started doing these on Sunday and I really liked them. They're so simple, but then later on you really can feel it all over. Basically you're using your body as a form of resistance against you. After that, I wrote Mary a letter. I was in a pretty good mood, so I thought, "Why not?" Every letter can't be full of heartache. And besides, until I have real answers of what's going on, I'm not going to dwell on it. I have a, or am trying to put a different light on my life. I decided to make some changes in my on going evolution of myself. (More on that in a bit…). So, I wrote Mary a sweet letter and then I did a straight hour of my normal work out routine. After that, I went outside to play some football. Well, the Death Row version. What you do is try to throw the ball, one handed in-
between the chin up bar. If it makes it in, that's 3 points. If the ball bounces off the bar and you manage to catch it, that's 7 points. The first to 50 wins. What makes it so tricky is when the ball hits the bar and it goes flying it could go anywhere so the catches are trickier than you might think. I ended up scratching my knee up pretty good today, because one ball bounced low and I dived for it. As I was falling to the concrete I realized I could hold the ball and land on my face, or let go and try to break my fall so I had to let go and tried to break my fall with my hands and then skinned my knees up in the process. I ended up losing the games. I then jogged for about five minutes and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. That was pretty much my day. Right now I'm just waiting for mail to come around. Hope- fully I'll have something.
So for my new changes...I've decided to become a vegetarian. Yep. I made the commitment. What I'm going to have to do now is send a request to someone who runs the kitchen and ask that I recieve an all vegetable tray. Boy, this is going to take some getting used to. I did good with dinner and only ate the black-
eyed peas and the green beans, but I'm so hungry! Ugh. I'm determined to be successful. I asked my friend Susan to help me out with some tips, because she's a vegetarian, too. I just hope I don't break weak!
I'm also going to try to pay people more compliments and encourage others. I've generally been nice to everyone here, but I see some need lifting up, so I'm going to try to just, you know, be better. Sometimes I get aggravated and irritated by a lot of things that go on around here, but maybe I'll feel better if I help someone else feel better. Does that make sense?
Oh, I've got to tell you about this ingenuous system people use to talk to each other now...Unfortunately, I can't because it's top secret. I love it, though. It's really cool because you don't have to yell over the walk ways. I swear, there are some really brilliant people locked up. It's really a shame that so much talent goes to waste. It always amazes me. If only some of us had the resources or desire to have put this stuff to good use.
I'm really excited about meeting my friend, Ilene. Hopefully this weekend. I think she's going to try to be here Saturday evening. I really dislike visits on Saturdays, but because it's been fifteen years since I've last seen her, it's all good. I wonder what she will be like? I wonder what we'll talk about? Maybe I'm a little nervous, too. Just four more days. And then hopefully, Lord willingly, my wife will come next week. I NEED TO SEE HER SOOOOO BAD!!!! I miss her so much and despite everything, I'm still so in love with her. Do you hear me, Mary? I'm still so in love with you! I want you. I need you.
Okay, I'll stop here. I'm being goofy.
January 26th, 2006
I am so tired! Really, today has been quite a busy day. I started off the day feeling quite lazy. I was waiting for commissary to come so that I could eat my ice cream and then go back to being lazy. I was so sore from yesterdays work out that I didn't really feel like doing anything. Plus, I admit, I was a little bit blue because I started thinking about my problems with my wife again. At about 11:00 a.m. I said, "Screw it, I'll do a light work out." I exercised for about 30 minutes and then commissary showed up. I ate my ice cream and then I went to recreation with the intentions of being lazy. Somehow I ended up jogging for ten minutes and then ended up doing these things this black dude showed me called "Mountain climbs". Oh boy. Those about killed me. He pushed me to do two hundred and promised I would be really hurting tomorrow. Wonderful. I can't wait to see how sore I am. Ugh.
I ended up staying at recreation for almost three hours, which is two hours past the time we're supposed to get. That was cool, though. Trust me, I do not mind being out of my cell for three hours. The more the better.
I came back in around four or so and just got my shower a little past seven at night. Right now I'm waiting on mail. Mary did promise a letter this week, so I'm hoping. We will see. I'm actually kind of nervous about it. I should sleep pretty darn good tonight. I have to get up at six in the morning because I'll be first round and it's an outside day. Nice chilly mornings. Love them. Hopefully it won't rain. I heard rain was headed this way again. Okay, we'll see if I get any mail… Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No mail whatsoever. If I don't get a letter from Mary tomorrow it will be three weeks now without a single letter. That would be pretty messed up. Actually, that would probably cause me to use my nuclear option; but I'm trying real hard to be PATIENT. It's just really, really, really hard…
January 27th, 2006
I'm just getting settled into my new cell. I was moved a short while ago and right now it's a little after nine at night. I was kind of disappointed to be moved because I liked where I was at. Here, it's so-
so. Not horrible, but I don't particularly care to be on this section. The cell I'm in, doesn't have a shelf either! Argh…
I finally recieved a letter from Mary. Hmmm. I was pleased to get one, but it kind of, well, it upset me, but I'm okay. Her email she sent into the KDOL program was kind of strange. I can't explain it, but she called me "aloof"; I think we've both been aloof. I know what she means, because I sent several contradictory letters, too, but it's only because I'm very conflicted right now. I know what my heart wants, though. The good news is, she did promise to come on the 31st. I really hope, she will. I need to see her so badly.
In other news, my friend Ilene, who I haven't seen in so long, is coming tomorrow night. That's going to be cool and I will write about it. Right now I'm emotionally and physically pooped!
January 28th, 2006
Just got back from my visit with Ilene. Wow. That was really cool! It had been fifteen years, and she wasn't what I remembered, but still she was cooler than I could've imagined. We talked about our parents. She made me remember this time when her mom pulled me out in Sunday school class and made me cry. We talked about my dad and a bunch of other stuff. Such memories. Like, I actually remembered the station wagon they had and I remembered making out with a couple of girls from my Hebrew class in the back of the station wagon. Really crazy!
She won't be able to come again for a while, but it was really cool. I had a lot of fun. Today was actually pretty boring up until that point. It had been raining all day long and was just so slow. Saturdays are like that, though.
January 29th, 2006
Hello...I just finished writing some letters and I'm sitting here listening to KDOL. The day has been absolutely gorgeous! The exact opposite of yesterday. I got up and exercised about 9am and then I went out to play some basketball and won 20 games to 2. I was running my butt off! But it felt good to win.
It's still early in the afternoon, so I have much to wait on. I will see, if Mary calls in later. I hope so. I'm kind of anticipating a response on a very important letter I wrote her. We'll see, if she comments on it. Okay, well, I'm going to relax and do some reading right now, while I listen to the show. More later!
It's later now. Just got done listening to the show on KDOL. My wife didn't call, but it's all good. She was probably out doing whatever. Hope she had fun, though I still wonder what in the world you can do on a Sunday night. I guess, I will find out on Tuesday – if she comes!
I think I will close here and write more as the week passes. I don't plan on sending this out tonight, because I don't have enough substance this week. Maybe something interesting will happen this week.
January 31st, 2006
What a day…It started off slowly...I got up, made some tea and did a little reading. Shortly after I received some books and a magazine on space which I absolutely loved. It took me back to the days of being a child and in complete awe and love of the cosmos. Then, I washed my sheets and did my exercises…
About 2:55pm, I was called out to a visit with Mary. I had not gotten my hopes up that she would come today, but I was more than happy to see her. Standing in front of the visiting booth I could see her through the mesh. I smiled at her and mouthed the words, "you're beautiful." Because she really did look so good. Our eyes locked and she was starting to get teary eyed. I came pretty close myself…When I was let into the booth, the first few minutes with us were odd. I didn't know what to say, but then my pain and anger came out and we kind of went back and forth at each other. No yelling or arguing, but still we were both kind of hurtful. But I didn't want that. I just wanted to resolve the matter. And so we talked and talked and I saw that she was hurting just as much. I told her I wasn't upset that she wanted more out of life. I mean, yes, I hurt that our marriage didn't work, but I didn't fault her for that. What I was upset about is, it just seemed she didn't care, and when she explained and we had our little cry fest and got it all worked out, I felt so much better. We both came to the conclusion that, no matter what, we would remain the closest of friends and allow the love we have for each other, to use that energy and focus on being friends. I can deal with that. I just don't want to lose her completely. We both ended the visit with smiles on our faces, and she promised, she would not close down on me again. Yes, things will be weird for a bit, but we can pull it off, I think. She'll always be dear to my heart. I guess, we ended up having a happy ending after all and I'm just glad it didn't end bitter, like it almost did. Dangerously so…
She promised to come and see me in a couple of weeks or so. It's all good. I think, I can sleep peacefully tonight. In other, sad news, they executed another man tonight. I didn't know the guy too well, but I heard he was trying to help someone who was innocent. The system is so screwed that they might just try to keep the guy locked up and admit to no wrong doing. Who knows. That's Texas for ya.
I will close this up and mail it off tonight. Peace, and as they say on this vegetarian show on KPFT… "Show compassion and stop eating meat, because every animal killed was running for it's life…" (My goodness, I still can't believe I'm a vegetarian now. Smiles…)
June 1st, 2006
It's June. Yeehaw! I went to medical this morning...I'm not that badly off… I've got high blood pressure from stress and eating too much salty foods (i.e. peanuts, nuts and chips…Hey! What else can I eat? That's about all there is for me.) I'm not getting enough sleep from depression and so he referred me to their wonderful psychiatric department in which they offered to dope me up so I could sleep and I said nope, ain't happening. I have low iron, which just means I've got to take a vitamin that has iron in it. I have to stop eating salty foods. The worst news was I have a ruptured ear canal and some fluid leakage. I got some ear drop antibiotics for that. He thinks I'll probably have some permanent hearing loss. That sucks, because I rely on my ears for so much. I mean, sound is my world. I'll get a check up in about 4-
6 weeks. If I want then, I can have a hearing test, but they don't offer them on this unit, so I will probably be sent to another unit for a day or so. That's a long ways away, though. Sigh…What can you do?
What a wonderful start to the month!
June 2nd, 2006
Friday. At least this week went by fast. It still is raining though, when they swore it was going to stop. What is the deal!?
I wish I had more to say than that, but I'm kind of in a funk.
June 3rd, 2006
Wow! The sun is finally out! It looks gorgeous outside. Although, it's sad that I can't get out today. I tried asking the guards, but she said no. Oh well. I haven't gotten any sun all week. I need sunshine!
My day is still early. I'll be going to recreation in a short while. I've just been spending my time reading this awesome book called "Confederate In The Attic". It's about how the civil war affected the American south and how it still affects most southerners to this day.
I was born and raised in the south, but I've never had a hold on it. I'm a Yankee at heart, though I do like the generosity of the south. Well, some of us have it anyways. In most ways I just think southerners are a bunch of right winged fanatics. But Southern Liberals are the best! This book is really good, though, and I like it a lot.
Got some laundry out of the way. My jumper is hanging up to dry right now. By the time I get back from rec. it should be dry, I'm hoping. I'm the worlds biggest klutz! I was getting ready to go to recreation when I decided I wanted some coffee. I made some and poured it into a small milk bottle that had a snap on lid. As the guard showed up to pull me out, I sat the bottle on the ledge of my sink and as the guard put the handcuffs on me, the bottle falls off the ledge and bursts on the floor sending coffee everywhere! What could I do? I had cuffs on and so I couldn't clean it up until I returned from recreation. Which during that time had dried up into a great brown mess. Plus, it smelled so bad. This instant freeze dried coffee smells like piss when it dries out. Ugh.
Right now I'm listening to the Disney movie "Toy Story". I remember seeing this in the theaters way back in 1995. It blew me away. Listening to it now, I'm reminded at how good this movie is. Hey! The Dallas Mavericks basketball team beat the Phoenix Suns and are going to the NBA Finals! Woohoo! That's my team. hey'll be playing The Miami Heat. Should be a good championship. For those who don't know about American Basketball: they will play seven games. Whoever wins four games wins the whole deal.
Okay, I think I'll turn in now. More tomorrow!
June 4th, 2006
Hey…Sundays are so drab. Actually it hasn't been terribly bad. I've managed to stay busy. It's a little after two in the afternoon right now a little over 90 ° outside. I looked out my window and it seems to be really nice. Not too many clouds. I wish I could open it up and get some fresh air. That would be a real pleasure.
I think I pulled a shoulder muscle yesterday, 'cause my right shoulder is killing me. I can't remember what I wanted to write about today. I was going to tell a funny story, but now I can't remember… I need to start writing different thoughts down. Sometimes when I'm cleaning my cell or shaving or doing other things I'll think, "Hey! That'll be good to tell in my journal, but then I don't write it down. Sheesh. I did want to write about a memory of being in prison that was inspired by the book I am reading. The author is talking to various people in the south and how the American Civil War still affects them. Well, there's this one loony guy, he's interviewing and he's spouting off how the Jews are taking over the world etc. Yet, the author is Jewish. He asks the loony guy, "Well have you met a Jew?" He says, "No, but I could pick them out." The author says, "Well, I'm Jewish." So, the crazy guy goes, "Huh. Well, you seem okay to me. I just don't like them Zionists…"
When I was in general population I had been approached by many different racist gangs and such. I was never afraid to tell people I was Jewish and most were shocked, when I told them, 'cause they had never really met a Jew. It was pretty funny. Almost every single response was always, "Well, you seem cool to me." Like they expected this big nosed, money hungry Semite. And then, whenever they were around me they would stop talking their anti-
Semitic trash. It was pretty funny.
That's nuts…It's not even 2:20 pm, and they're passing out dinner. Huh. I guess I'll close up kind of early. I still have to finish some letters and stuff.
June 5th, 2006
Okay, I'm going to say this again: mainstream radio sucks! Yes, I like some of the music that is out that is played often on the radio, but some songs I can't figure out for the life of me how they get played as much as they do. I cannot believe that the majority of listeners have such awful taste in music! Maybe I'm being a snob, but man…I've heard a few songs on this Alternative Rock station that for one thing aren't even "Alternative" and also that they are so annoying and sound so alike and they've been playing them for almost a year now and I could hear them probably about three or four times an hour. Let it die man… Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Right now Rice University doesn't have a DJ in so I'm stuck listening to crap!
Today is a no recreation day. It's hot and I've been trying to keep my mind off of the mail for tonight. I don't think I've ever dreaded the mail, but I'm actually dreading the mail for tonight. Long, private story as to why, and I'm not going to tell it all here...don't worry. Well, either tonight's mail or tomorrow's mail.
I got up about 6:30 am this morning for a shower and have spent most of the day reading. I'm not in much of a writing mood, but I figured I'd get something down. Hey, wow…The Buzz is actually playing a decent song. "Terrible Lie" by Nine Inch Nails. There's a part in this song where Trent Reznor sings, "Don't turn away from me, I need you to hold onto…" This is probably one of my faves by NIN.
Well, I think that does it for now. We'll see if I have anything to write about concerning the mail tonight. I hope it's not as bad as I'm anticipating.
June 6th, 2006
Holy cow! It's the day of the devil. Ohhhhh. I'm so freaking scared! No, seriously, I'm tripping out listening to all of these news reports and some evangelical program talking about today could be the day. Well, I sure wish it was so I could leave this forsaken planet.
Don't have much planned for the day. I need to clean my cell and do some laundry. Think I'll do that right now. Well, it's seven at night now. I was just moved to B-
pod 30 cell. It's a pretty nice cell. It's just very echoy. If that's even a word. I've got a good neighbor.
June 7th, 2006
Another day. It's been very busy today. I got caught up on a lot of things and I even got into another argument over the whole gay amendment thing. Another gay basher. Ignorance and intolerance really chap my hide.
Remember my ear problem? Well, this like never happens, but for some reason the doctor called me back down to medical to take another look at my ear. Turns out I don't have a ruptured ear canal…He said I just have a giant ball of wax blocking the path, so they're going to clean it out tomorrow. I should get my hearing back then. That'll be awesome!
Okay, I will close here.
June 8th, 2006
Well, that was very strange and disgusting. I went to medical to get my ear cleaned out and so they put this little tube with a big giant syringe type deal and fill it up with hot water and shoot the water directly in to my ear canal. They did this for a few minutes to break the wax up and little pieces were gushing out and then PLOP this giant ball of nasty wax came out and I could hear everything crystal clear. I was soooo happy! I've 100% hearing back and when I turned on my radio and put the head phones on, it was like hearing brand new songs.
The day, otherwise has been long and uneventful. I'm just waiting on the mail...
June 9th, 2006
My attorney came today. Nothing really new to report. My appeals are on hold still and I've got a long ways to go. I learned that one of my co-
defendants may be trying to drop his appeals. What that means is that he will no longer fight the death sentence and they will issue him an execution date. My lawyers are going to try to stop him from doing this for several reasons, but also because he's crucial to my case. He has to testify that I had no role in the shootings.
I just really don't feel like writing much. I'm tired...
June 10th, 2006
I woke up with a lot of energy. I did some cleaning up and exercixed. When lunch came I didn't eat much, just the mashed potatoes and the green beans. At about 10:45 am I went outside with my neighbor and we exercised for about an hour. Then I laid out in the sun and got toasted. Man, you should see my dome. It's like a bright pink! My nose is crispy and tender. Luckily, we got a little bit of extra time and so decided to play a game of basketball. First one to fifty points. I lost by ten. I was holding the lead until I tripped on the ball (I'm a natural born klutz…) and it threw my whole mojo off. Well, that's my excuse and they come a dime a dozen.
I'm getting ready to listen to the movie "Toy Story 2". I hope it's funny. I need some laughs. I never got a chance to watch it. I'm missing a lot of good movies. The buzz right now is that KDOL was on the Houston CBS news report last night. I missed it 'cause I listen to NBC news, but everyone is saying it's really good and it doesn't bash the radio station. I think that's pretty cool. Maybe it'll help bring them more donations and outside help. I'm sure that would be nice. I wonder how they got interviewed.
I think I'll close here for the night. I've got some other writing to do and I want to check out this movie.
June 18th, 2006
I think I'm going to have a lot to say this next week. I've been contemplating a lot of things and have some new theories on love and life. I can't figure out why I'm so obsessed with the idea of soulmates and that never ending quest of "true" love. It's crazy, but I'm determined to figure it all out before I leave this planet...
I'll get back to normal writing tomorrow. I've got much to say, so stay tuned.
June 19th, 2006
Hmmm. Where to begin? Today was pretty uneventful. Lots of rain, lots of boredom. I went to recreation today at six in the morning. It was an outside day for me. I had no clue, really that it was going to rain so I was greeted by a light mist as I stepped onto the recreation yard. I wanted to exercise, but it was too wet to do what I wanted to do. Tomorrow will be a no-
recreation day for me so that should be even more boring than today. I can't wait.
Right now it's 6:44 pm and I'm sitting here listening to "Entertainment Tonight" on NBC. Nothing decent is playing on the radio. I'm supposed to get a visit this week. I've got mixed emotions about it. On one hand I look forward to it, on the othe…I know it's not going to be a whole lot of fun, because I have serious things to talk about so…I will just make the best of it that I can.
You ever wonder why the news only ever reports "bad" news? This is kind of a random thought that sprang from a little news update that came on to get people to tune in later tonight… I can't believe that people want to hear all about the latest murders and tragedies. That's what you want to go to bed to? Kind of creepy. It's like they do 10 minutes of horrible news and then they do a little upbeat segment and then the weather, and right before the sports they give you one more bad story just for good measure. Crazy.
There's a song out now by the group TOOL called "Vicarious" and it's really good. It's basically a commentary on how people watch all of this suffering from their couches. The line where he says, "I like to watch things die …Vicariously I live while the whole world dies…" Some idiot back here said that it was cool that he was singing that and I said, "Dude, do you even know what he's talking about?" He said, "Yeah, he's talking about killing and stuff." I just kind of looked at him in pity wondering if I should even really bother explaining the song to him. I guess my point is: I just think it's strange that we as a society or culture would take so much pleasure in another's misery. I know I don't want to see a mother on T.V. in agony over losing a loved one. Man, we're strange people. We really are. It's like the other day a guard asked me why I didn't eat meat and didn't I get tired of eating just beans and vegetables. Yeah, I do get tired of having the same meal everyday, but I take comfort in the fact that I don't have to eat some poor animal. Then the guard says, "Hey, I like animals, too. I love them, but so long as I don't have to kill them I'll eat them." That logic just left me standing at my door dumbfounded. And why do people look down on vegetarians like we're abnormal? I haven't solved that mystery yet…Am I just rambling or what?
I just took a look out my window. It's still overcast, but the rain has let up. There are some birds pecking around for dinner on the grass out there. It's neat to watch them. I've noticed they have a grid system they use. Each bird will be in what seems a square foot section of grass. They all walk in line together pecking away at the ground. When one finds a fruitful area they all immediately fly/hop to that area and begin to peck. It's pretty neat.
Mail should come anytime now. Here recently everything seems to be on time, but that's subject to change. Honestly, I really don't expect anything tonight, Mondays are generally a no mail day. I think that does it for today. But before I leave, I have to recommend two new songs from the group Snow Patrol: "Hands Open" and "Chasing Cars". The latter is a tear jerker. Both excellent.
Good night and Peace.
June 20th, 2006
"No I won't do it again. I don't want to pretend. If it can't be like before I've got to let it end. I don't care what I want, I've had a change of head…" – The Cure.
Don't ask me why I started this entry with that, but it's what's been going around in my head for the past few hours…The rain finally ended and now the sun is poking it's bright and sunny little head out. I turned my cell light out, because I prefer natural light to fluorescent. Plus, I look at it as doing my part for the environment. Yeah, yeah…, I know, I'm nuts, but still…Just like I do to save paper and trees now, I utilize both sides. I think everyone should do that.
Well, here's the latest Polunsky Unit / Death Row news: there is a toilet paper shortage! I kid you not. They posted a notice up saying we had to make what we have last for awhile. Man, that's not going to be a pretty situation for some. Haha. Today was a non-
recreation day and was just as boring as yesterday. I got up at 6:30 pm for a shower and then crawled back into bed until a little after eight in the morning. I spent a little time talking with my neighbor, then we learned that there's an execution today. The guy they're going to kill (murder) is only like 22 or 23. He came to death row early 2000 or so. I know him well. I'm kind of pissed, because, while I don't know his case, from what I've gathered from him he's a product of his environment. Never had a stable family, in and out of state schools and boys homes…Yet, he said the prosecutors in his trial made it seem like he had every chance available to him to do right or better himself…This argument pisses me off so badly. I mean, when are people going to wake up and realize that regardless of the opportunities, not everybody works the same? You take all of the psychological problems of never having a family and his childhood…Some people just can't beat that. It affects the rest of their life. I'm pretty sure it's a safe bet that anyone who undergoes childhood damage, whether mentally or physically, will be affected for the rest of their lives. Whether or not it's apparent on the outside. I can be the most successful business man in the world, but could be addicted to drugs or worse. It's all out of sight, no one sees it so they say or think, "Wow! He really overcame his childhood tragedies…" My point is that I don't think it's fair for any prosecutor to say he had a fair chance in life, when he really didn't. Plus, the even more obvious observation to me would be that he is so young. You're telling me he's beyond redemption? That he's just so far gone, such a monster, that never in his life would he be able to change? I know this man. And to me he was always kind and friendly as a box of kittens: a big kid is what he was. I'd seen officers talk bad to him and treat him in all sorts of ways and he never even so much as barked back. "Even I will smart back if one of the guards are out of line. I'd never seen him do any of that. It really makes me angry. When are people going to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that this is WRONG??? You can't justify killing anyone (maybe, in honest to goodness, self- defense would be the ONLY allowance I could perceive …) for any reason. Argh! Sigh… It's all so sad.
I can smell dinner. It actually smells good, but I guarantee it's not what I'm having…Hmm…What do I predict? Beans, vegetables and peanut butter and jelly. Hold on, it's here… Yep. The only item I got wrong was I had corn bread, too. Do you ever find it odd when certain things trigger memories from years ago? Things you forgot or just never thought about? I don't know why, but my cornbread did that to me. I started cracking up and saying to myself, "How on earth did a piece of cornbread trigger that memory?" I guess it's because when the corn bread crumbled it looked like grits. I've never really liked grits and I thought, "Yuck! My corn bread looks like grits", and that's when the memory hit. It had to do with me and my girl friend of the time in the summer of '95. Whenever I would go to Louisville (I was living in Lexington, Kentucky), I always met her at the end of the day at the frozen yogurt place she worked at. Sometimes they'd let me into the back (yeah, I was that boyfriend everyone loved) of the place and I'd help out and wash the dishes and pans and stuff. Then after they closed up we would take the bus back to her place. A lot of the times I would get an ice cream or soda before we left or she'd surprise me with a new flavor. As we were waiting for the bus she pulls this little white cup out and tells me to close my eyes and open my mouth. Now, I was always very afraid to do this, because she had a bad habit of putting odd things in my mouth, but being "in love" I always ended up doing it for her. So, here I am thinking she's going to feed me some new flavor of ice cream or something, I open my mouth up and she slides the spoon in and I taste something nasty. "Agh! What the hell is that?" I cry out. She's laughing and says, "Grits!" "Man, I thought it was going to be ice cream or something…", I said. But it was all in good fun. Huh. That brought up another memory. I used to have this mushroom necklace she gave to me. It's hard to describe it, basically it was a tear drop shaped piece of glass with a tiny glass mushroom inside of the tear drop. Really pretty. Well, she would take the necklace and put it in her mouth while it was still around my neck. This made me immobile and the only way I could move around again was that I had to kiss her, to make her drop the necklace out of her mouth. Man, were we some crazy kids or what? Haha. Good times.
There's a really good song on the buzz right now called "Hard To Beat" by the band Hard Fi. It's got a kind of dancy feel to it. I like it. I will more than likely be moved in a little while so I should close this up for now. Plus, I need to do some push ups. I've been slacking today from boredom. Maybe I'll write a little more. I can feel my words coming back and I'm starting to thaw out from all of the B*S* of the past few months. Oh yeah, Randy is coming back...
I'll write some more if I can, later. Okay, wait, I have to write about this!! There's a guy who just took all of his clothing off in the dayroom and is running around in circles going, "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!" What the hell is going on around here? I can't stop laughing, this is complete insanity! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! It's 7:00 pm on the dot. I could be wrong, but it looks like I won't be moving tonight.
So, you're probably wondering what happened to the naked guy running around the day-
room. Haha. It still is funny. They had to get a sergeant to come down and talk him into putting his clothing back on. After a few threats from the sergeant saying he would have to force him to get dressed, he stopped. Someone from the psych department had to come down and talk to him and they took the inmate off somewhere. Nobody knows what happened after that. I hope they don't treat him badly. You know, some people just mentally break back here. It gets very difficult holding onto your sanity when you're locked up in your cell 22- 23 hours a day. Hold on, I'm going to jump into this debate that's going on. It sounds interesting!
Man, time flies! It's already 11pm. I just got done reading my mail, and having a little debate. I've got to get up at six in the morning, so I really need to get into bed, but I will go into the conversation we had, tomorrow. Wow, it was really good. I love some really good, intelligent debates and this one is one of the best I've had in a while.
Alright. Good night and peaceful dreams!
June 21st, 2006
It really looks beautiful outside. I wish I could've gone out...
Well, it's another day in this dump. Actually today has flown by pretty fast. I went to recreation at 6 in the morning and then came in, did some laundry, took a nap. Wrote a friend…Now I'm just waiting for the guards to tell me I'm moving. I'm sure it'll be tonight.
I wanted to talk about the debate some of us guys had last night and it carried over into this morning. Really good stuff, but first I wanted to clear some things up about my interview with ABC that's posted on my MySpace page…My friend brought up some really good questions and issues about it and I've been wanting to let people know that not all of that report was true. Firstly, I was not second in charge or the second leader. I've got a document that I will post very soon, that shows me SEVENTH in the pecking order of things. Now while, I disagree with the comments in the document about me not being very bright, I was never a leader or decision maker in our escape or any other actions. The report says I was second in charge, that's false.
I never said me and my girlfriend wanted to be like "Bonnie and Clyde". That was an inside joke between my girlfriend and me, back in '95, that my dad took out of context. Obviously, my father told Chief Waybourn (his best friend and my karate teacher and mentor) and he ran with it. I felt very betrayed by many of the things Chief Waybourn said about me, because they simply weren't true. Was I liar? Yes. I've never denied that I used to be a very bad liar and I've deceived my friends and family. I've done my best to get that part of my past out of the present. I don't think I was ever a con man. What would I con anyone for? What did I ever really need? Later, in like 2003, my attorneys confronted Chief Waybourn on why he said many bad things about me and lied about me. He simply stated, "I had to do it to protect his parents…" I was very hurt by his actions when I had so much respect for him. I looked up to him and thought he was a wonderful man. So, he called me a liar and a con man, but he was one too in that video. I've stated since day one, as naive and foolish/impulsive as I was I did escape ONLY to have a second chance. I know now that it was stupid of me to even think I could do it, but it's the truth. That is the ONLY reason why I escaped.
So, I just wanted to get that out of the way. Most of that was a false report, but the reason I wanted it posted was so that people could put a voice and face to my writings. I know some will judge me, but hopefully most won't. I just want to be considered a human being.
Now, to our debate last night…I don't know how it all started. Some other dudes were getting into a heated argument and I over heard pieces of it while I was typing my journal. It sounded interesting so I went to my door to listen. When I heard an opening in the conversation I took the chance to jump in. See, there are many people back here that do believe in the death penalty and think that only those who have actual innocent claims should be given any fair treatment by the system. Yet, they want to rely on groups that are for the abolishment of the death penalty. In doing so this uses many of their resources up and they can't fight for everyone when they focus on just one person or the most high profile case. And then those who are actually guilty and maybe have changed or bettered themselves, when they ask for help, the abolishment movement turns them down. They won't get involved. I think this is wrong. I think it's not just wrong, but it's malicious in the over all picture of things. How can you say that you want to abolish the death penalty, but you're not willing to fight for everyone? And most of these groups won't fight for everyone. I don't know why they can't, but I don't think you can say your mission statement is for abolition when your actions show otherwise. To me, if they're really going to start making a dent they should be protesting every execution. On a high profile case or an innocent claim hundreds show up to protest. But when little ol' Billy Bob is going to be executed and no one knows anything about him how many people show up to oppose his execution? How many people showed up to oppose my buddy Chuy's execution? Maybe a hand full. It really pisses me off. I think hundreds should show up to EVERY execution. Guilty, innocent, high profile, unknown. Prove you're for the abolition of the Death Penalty. Surprisingly so, many back here disagree with me. But when their time comes they'll be wondering how come no one's speaking out for them. It's just not right or fair to pick a select few to speak up for. It's just not right. But hey, who am I?
Well, I've gotta see if I'll be moved or not. I may or may not write some more later on...
The dreaded day that was not to be…Well, the very important conversation I was dreading, but needing, never happened today. Hmmm. Anyways, it's of no concern to me. I've picked up the pieces and I'm doing just fine thank you.
Last night I was moved. It's okay where I'm at. Kind of noisy. My neighbors are always fighting with each other. Always over gambling debts and such. Boy I'm glad I never picked up that vice.
It started out to be a very beautiful day. The sun was out, it looked perfect, but then around 2 or so in the afternoon it just started storming. Kind of like an omen. Once it happened I pretty much realized I wouldn't be getting a visit.
June 23rd, 2006
I was supposed to go outside and play some basketball today, but that didn't end up happening. Someone turned down recreation and so it screwed up the order of things and the guy I wanted to play ball with ended up going before me, then I didn't end up getting outside until 7:00pm...man, I really wanted to play some ball. At least I had some mail. I got a Vegetarian magazine that's pretty neat. There was a very interesting quote in it that I wanted to repeat here: "I must interpret the life around me as I interpret the life that is my own. My life is full of meaning to me, the life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the life I see, however strange it may be to mine…" (Albert Schweitzer). I think this can be applied to the application of the Death Penalty also. Think about it.
Today was hot and gorgeous, though. I'm glad we didn't have any rain today. It seems that the weather has been so out of wack. I really want to see that documentary Al Gore put out on global warming. I'm sure it's pretty good. I mean, how can you deny it? I think we as humans need to realize that this is the only home we have. It's not like we can hop on a rocket ship and fly off to some nearby planet. This is all we've got. Anyways, I'll spare you the lecture...
I'll go ahead and close this up for the night. Peaceful dreams!
June 24th, 2006
I really didn't have anything to write about today. It's been a typical Saturday.
As you know, back in January, I knew something was wrong with my marriage. And so my wife and I separated and began to go through the process of divorce. As painful as that was and still having feelings of love and hope, I pushed on. But then I started to get mixed signals. I hoped once again maybe we would be able to save everything. I kept fighting and I kept loving, even though I suspected, she wasn't being honest with me and not giving me the complete story. She was telling me she loved me and missed me and all sorts of confusing things and I didn't want to damage what I felt could be saved, so I wouldn't pursue my questions and suspicions. Though in the back of my mind things didn't add up. She would slip a few times and I'd be like, "What is she doing? What's that all about? …"
Well, three weeks ago, I received hard evidence that my wife was cheating on me...As you can imagine, first came pain, then anger. I don't know if it was karma or what, but I suddenly truly grasped what it probably felt like to those I lied to in my past and hurt. I've always felt that emotional pain is far worse than any physical pain could ever be. I just really wanted it to work out. She didn't have to lie to me. I could've accepted the fact that she found someone. I'm not a controlling guy and I would not keep anyone from living their life. I understand people have their wants and needs. We all do. But I can no longer believe in "true" love. Maybe love, but not true love…I really don't know what I'm getting at, but my point is that all I want is to find someone who can love me, truly love me, despite the physical limitations. True love, soulmates, whatever should exceed mere physical boundaries. Love is not a physical thing. Sure, it can be expressed in physical forms, desires etc. But that TRUE feeling is something deep inside, something that stirs the soul, awakens you, stirs you in ways that you can't express in words. It just saddens me to think I may never have that, because the odds are just too much against me. People put too much reliance on the physical realms and their own selfishness…But true love should be spiritual. Maybe I should be a monk or something. Hahahaha… Well, feel free to disregard my nonsense.
I do forgive my wife, but she didn't have to lie to me. I could've handled and accepted the truth. And now, it's sad because there is permanent damage. Sometimes life is like a giant man eating shark. It devours you whole.
Okay, so here's a really corny joke I heard on the radio, but I laughed for about 30 minutes…One reason, it made me think of the guy who was running around the dayroom a few days ago, but then also, if you knew my imagination… Let me tell the joke first:
What did the snail riding the turtles back say??? "Weeeeeeeeee!!!" Haha.
Get it? I told you it was corny, but just imagine this little snail sitting on the shell and the turtle is just slowly trucking along…The snail's face is flying back all contorted and slime is flying everywhere! Well, it's funny to me.
On that note I will close for the day. Just one more day to the weekend.
June 25th, 2006
Another gorgeous day. It'd be a nice day for a drive. I don't have a lot to comment on today. Just saying hello and hopefully everyone is safe and doing well.
June 26th, 2006
I don't know why, but today I have had a huge surge of energy. My overall feeling today has been really good. Not an ounce of depression, nothing. The sun is outshining and bright and I just feel good. I mean, technically speaking, today had every reason to start bad, but it didn't.
I'm usually in a bad mood when my day starts off with being denied something from the mail room, but it didn't even phase me. I was in a dead sleep when I heard a knock on my door. I looked up and she said, "I've got a denial form for you to sign…" I jumped out of bed, grabbed my pen and went to the door thinking, "Man … this sucks." She hands me the slip and says, "Sorry I had to wake you up for this. It's stupid." I said, "No big deal. I need to get up now anyways." (sigh)
It was stupid what I was denied, though…Some Newsweek magazine that had a picture of a child naked. Ridiculous. Look, I know there's child molesters and pervs back here, but they always take things out of context. How is Newsweek even close to pornography or exploitive? It's craziness. Oh well.
The rest of the day I've just been reading and relaxing. I've got to tell you this dream I had last night, very vivid. One of those ones that felt real. It had to do with my wife's boyfriend. Somehow I was at some bar drinking a coke with some friends. I overhear a conversation and the dude is with a girlfriend and it's not Mary. He's cheating on Mary and she doesn't know, which is kind of poetic justice in a way…So, I'm thinking, "Is this the guy she cheated on me with? Huh, well, I'll just go over and talk to him…" I walk over to the booth he's sitting at and I tell his girlfriend that maybe she should leave. He looks up at me and says...
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Mary's husband", I said.
"Husband? Stop bullshitting me…"
"Look, dude I don't want to fight you, but I think you should know that she's married and married to me. Maybe it's best ya'll talk about things, 'cause it's obvious you have some issues… "
Weird. But as crazy my dreams can be, I love them.
Right now I'm waiting to go outside. It looks very pretty out and I should be playing some basketball. I'm ready to go right now! I think I need a nap and it's only a little after nine in the morning! I went to bed close to two am, and got back up at six or so…I'm really tired. If I expect to win any games I've got to charge up! Sheesh. I've talked too much trash to the guy I'm going to play to not be able to back my mouth up! Hahaha.
So, I also got an awesome email from an old friend from school. Chris Lee. I'm going to reply to him, but reading his email brought back memories that were long lost...I met Chris through my dad and his dad. My dad designed and built these computer tables for the Postal Service. Most of the time, my dad built them right out of our garage. I think Chris' dad owned a moving company or something like that and so he'd ship these tables for my dad's business. His family had decided to send him to Oneida and it became my job to tell Chris about what to expect and about the school. I ended up taking him under my wing and looking out for him, because it turned out he was kind of a momma's boy (sorry, Chris! But you know it was true…) I was a room monitor in the middle school dormitory and basically was in charge of ten kids. I had to make sure everyone did their laundry, cleaned, was doing okay. Kind of like a camp counselor. Chris moved into my room. I liked the guy a lot, but, man, he could be bratty and a handful! But I did my best to look out for him. We had some good laughs and great times. I really tried to be a good room monitor to all the kids I was in charge of. Though I did run a monopoly on the music. Haha. If I was in the room it would be The Cure or U2 playing. No exceptions.
Well, in the email I received from Chris, he remembers the Daphne incident, where I got caught with her in the chapel bathroom. As it turns out he was the kid who woke me up! I couldn't remember who did it, but now looking back I see him tapping my foot and saying, "Daphne is in the chapel and wants to talk to you…" Crazy!
On my sixteenth birthday his mom and dad had sent me a little care package with some cookies and snacks and U2's "The Joshua Tree". I can't believe I still remember that. That was very cool of them. So, Chris, I will be writing to you very soon, but I wanted to thank you for that awesome email. It brought some tears and I thank you for not judging me and still remembering the good things about me. I'm proud to call you my little brother. It really touched me that you called me your big brother. I hope one day soon we can see each other face to face and talk about the past and now…Hey, Chris, do you remember this: "Ahh man, I need some absorbine junior…"? Or: "I like to put sun tan lotion on my buttocks…" Do you remember who said that? Or how about that one dude we had as a room mate for like a week who said, "Man! That cockroach was the size of a water melon!!" But it was how he said it that had has cracking up non-
June 28th, 2006
Another day flies away…I was moved last night. Right now as I write this I'm on D-
pod 69 cell. It's pretty quiet and clean over here. For some reason the administration always puts me on this section (it seems) every other week. I don't mind, I just find it peculiar that if they move me for so called "security reasons" why on earth would they keep bouncing me around to the same place? I'll never understand half of what these folks do…
I got up this morning at six thirty to take a shower; then I crawled back into bed for about another hour. Today was a no-
recreation day for this section, so I figured why not get a little extra sleep? A funny thing happened at lunch…Usually my vegetarian tray isn't on the food cart, so a guard has to go to the kitchen and get me one. I kind of take a little pleasure in them having to go the extra mile to get my food. Especially the real mean guards. So, today we had one of those real mean guards working and here he comes with the food. I ask, "Is my tray on the cart this time? He smirks at me and says, "Yep. You thought I'd have to go and fetch you one from the kitchen, huh?" I just smirk back at him. Well, they load the trays into this metal food carrier that has 7 slots for the trays. He's going to each cell and gets to mine and I see a fish patty on the main course compartment. I say, "What's that?" He say's, "Fish!" "Well, I don't eat fish." All of a sudden he's an expert on vegetarianism and say's, "Vegetarians eat fish." "I don't. It's alive, I don't eat it." "But…", he protests. "Nope, looks like you're going to have to go to the kitchen after all and get me a tray." Man, he was so pissed. He slammed my food slot door closed and his face was red… But for the record, I didn't become a vegetarian to make the guards do extra work. I do value all life; that just comes as an added bonus :)
The rest of the day I just relaxed and read some. I was thinking a lot about my days at Oneida and an old friend, Chris, who had sent me a message the other day. I don't know, it just makes me feel really good when old friends from my past remember the good things about me. I think in this place sometimes you convince yourself that you really were a bad person or are and that you're just getting what you deserve… But then people from your past come out and say, "No, you were a really good guy. You did this for me, or you watched out for me…" And it's like, "Wow, I guess I'm not a bad person …" Why is it, though that when you're in a situation where you can be judged, people tend to look more at the bad than the good? I don't know…
They had an execution last night. The press dubbed the guy "The Railroad Killer". They said he asked for forgiveness right before the state killed him. I didn't really know the guy, but I heard he was pretty crazy. At least he did ask for forgiveness. I know that can't take away the victims' families' pain, but hopefully it will have brought some peace in the end. I just hate how the media exploits these executions…They make it a big festival. Like, yesterday on the six pm news they were doing this wicked/sick countdown. They opened the show with, "We're only minutes away from The Railroad Killer's execution…" What the hell is wrong with people? They exploit both sides' families; they hype it up like a carnival. They even had a reporter out in Huntsville, Texas, where they do the executions, who was saying, "And if you look behind this white curtain, that's hanging up on this fence, you'll see the hearse that will take his body away…" What kind of whack job reporting is that? It's freakin' nuts, if you ask me. An endless cycle of pain. Death begets death begets death be gets death begets death begets death. This is the world we live in.
Okay, I've got to lighten this entry up a bit. I'm going to talk about this time I got busted smuggling two pounds of sugar back from the kitchen. Basically, I had to "hustle" to have the things I needed in prison. I was always paid in stamps and in return I would trade the stamps with someone who needed them for food, hygiene items, (and yes, sometimes drugs?) I did various little things at the time. Sold cheeseburgers, cookies, food from the kitchen, but for a few months I fell into the riskiest hustle of them all: making 'hooch'. I guess the main reason was it made a lot of money. I could easily make ten bucks a gallon. Somebody taught me how to do it, they would give me the supplies and then I would mix it all into plastic jugs and hold them in my locker. The trick was keeping the smell down so the guards wouldn't notice it, 'cause these babies would get to reeking bad! If the guards found it, well, that was automatic Medium Custody. And Medium Custody is nothing nice – especially for a Jew.
I had almost been caught once before. Someone had snitched me off, and as the sergeant was going to my cell to search it, a guy in another cell started having a seizure and fell off his bunk. The sergeant was called over to that incident. Now, I still couldn't get into my cell, because the guard in the control center was given orders to not allow me into my cell, but fortunately my cellmate was in there, sleeping. I had to wake him up, tell him to go into my locker and dump everything down the toilet, crush the jug and throw it out the side of the door. I barely got off the hook. Well, this particular time, I had to go to the kitchen, pick up a lunch bag filled with two pounds of sugar, smuggle it all the way back to the cell blocks without getting stopped for a pat down. For every five people that walked by the Sergeants and Lieutenants, three inmates would be stopped and patted down. The odds were not in my favor. I made it into the kitchen, picked up the bag of sugar, slid it under my arm pit, then closed my jacket up. My only problem was the jacket's zipper was broken, so I had to hold the jacket shut. I can't explain what happened next, because it was a damn near windless day, but just as I made it outside of the kitchen a blast of air hit me and blew my jacket wide open. A lieutenant saw the brown bag and pointed at me...
"You get your ass over here right now!" I knew that was it. People only smuggle sugar out for one reason. I walked up to him.
"Give me that bag." I handed him the sack.
"What the hell is this, inmate?"
"My hustle." I said.
"You making wine?" he asked.
"No sir. I'm just doing my hustle."
"You know this is medium custody action right here?"
"Do you owe somebody something? You riding?" (Riding meant that you were paying for protection. You would do sexual services or give money or do hustles for other people…)
"No, sir. I'm just trying to get by", I said.
"Who's this for? Who's buying?"
"Can't say, sir. I'm not going to be killed over a bag of sugar."
"Huh. Give me your I.D.! I'll call you to my office after I write your case."
I handed him my I.D. and headed back to the cell blocks. When I got in, some guys gathered around me and asked about the sugar. I explained the situation and got different takes on my outcome. Some said the lieutenant was cool and would probably let me make it, some were sure I'd be sent to medium custody. I was scared crapless, I won't lie. I knew that I would be fighting everyday on medium custody. That's where they kept a lot of the racist gangs and bad apples at. As soon as they found out I was Jewish, oh man, it was all over. I started to pray in my head. Seriously.
About an hour passed and I was called to go to the lieutenant's office. I left the cell blocks and walked there, my heart pounding. "Please, God, let me get out of this, please, God, oh God… ", I kept thinking over and over. I knocked on the door and someone called me in. A sergeant was sitting behind the desk. "You Halprin?" he asked. "Yes, sir", I replied. He picked up my I.D. and handed it to me. "The Lieutenant says, get a different hustle. He's going to let you make it, but next time he catches you even sneezing wrong, he's going to bust your ass. Go back to your cell." "Yes, sir!" I said, barely containing my relief. I got out of that office fast!
I always gave G-d the credit on that one, because really I should've been sent to Medium Custody. When I got back to the cell blocks, everyone asked me what happened. "I got off with a warning." Some couldn't believe it, some said, "I told you he was cool…" After that I never made wine again (not to say I didn't drink it a whole lot!)
Now the sun is disappearing behind a line of trees in the distance. I didn't get any mail :( Maybe I'll tell another prison story tomorrow. I've got about a billion of them.
June 29th, 2006
I feel so drained. Must be this heat. I went to bed around one in the morning, because I was listening to Rice University (KTRU), but I slept in until eight; so I was well rested. Boy, it's good to finally be able to sleep again. I've been doing well this whole week.
It's 5:26 pm, and our whole section is still waiting on showers. We had extremely lazy guards today, so they're putting all of their work off on the second shift that comes in at six in the evening. This is always bad news, because then the second shift guards are angry, that first shift didn't do their work and they take their anger out on us. This then creates a chain reaction and pisses off the inmates and the whole evening is unpleasant. My life…
So, I was looking into the whole divorce process today and learned that I could probably qualify for an annulment because I was married by proxy. I think if this is possible, it's probably what I will do. I never intended to be divorced; so now that it's inevitable, I might as well do it like the marriage never happened. That might come across as harsh to some, but I mean, when your marriage is built upon lies, what good is it anyways? Sorry…My anger is coming out. I still feel betrayed. (Shrugs…)
I didn't really do a whole lot today. I exercised, read, went to recreation and talked to a few people. Not a whole lot of excitement. I know my neighbor is getting on my nerves. He just stands at his door and raps the whole day long. I don't know if he just wants attention or is lonely…But it's like, damn dude, give it a rest. Go read a book or something. He keeps it up I might ask if he NEEDS something to read. Haha. Sheesh.
I just jumped on my bed and looked out the window. Not much going out there either. I can't see any birds. It's probably too hot for them to be flying around. You know, prison is a scary place and the movies do a good job of showing all of the horrible things that go on, but for once they should make a movie that has all of the crazy funny things. Trust me; there were plenty of loony things that happened. Well, now it's after six. They still have not started showers. Ugh.
I suppose I will close this here and wait for my shower and any mail I might get.
June 30th, 2006
Today has been sooo boring and it's probably an indication of what's to come for this Fourth of July weekend. Hmmm. What will I do? I went outside this morning and played some basketball. I won 15 games to 5...I wanted to keep playing, but the guy I was playing with started being a sore loser and making all sorts of excuses as to why we should stop. Usually when this happens I give my pep talk. You know, "C'mon! It's not about who's winning. It's about the run, man. Let's go!" If that doesn't work I do my little speech I stole from The Karate Kid. You know at the end of the movie when Daniel is starting to get in the groove of things and begins to kick some butt…and then the mean karate master guy says, "No mercy, Cobra kai. No mercy!" I say that and it usually gets a laugh and the other person will start playing ball again. But alas, it didn't work. He just wanted to pout and make excuses.
I've gotten my buttocks beaten quite a few times and it does steal the wind from your sails, but I enjoy the exercise. To me, it's not really about winning. It's about running and feeling alive.
I don't know where this came from, and I don't know where I was going with it, really…but sometimes when I'm working out these thoughts flash across my head. Maybe it's from the blood rushing through the brain. I don't know, but I'll stop for a second and jot it down on a piece of paper. (Same with my whacky inventions…trust me you don't want to know about that!) A lot of times I can't figure out where I was going and sometimes I'll think on it and it can turn out to be pretty profound.
So here's what flashed across my head: death is inevitable. It's what you get out of this life that's important. Learning and growing isn't exclusive to people who are 'free'. True freedom is an inside job. They may have your body, but they can never control your soul, your thoughts or dreams. What will you do with your life, before it's gone? What will you leave behind for others to learn from or see? And I stopped there. I guess maybe I'm saying that while it's futile to fight death (it comes at any time. I mean, I don't necessarily have to be killed by the state. I could fall down the stairs going to recreation and break my neck …), it's best to understand that it's mine and everyone else's duty to leave behind something positive for those who inherit this world after us. Something we tend to forget. We get caught up in all of these other things. And don't realize that someone is coming in after us. It becomes their mess to deal with. And just because I'm locked in a cell all day long, how does that prevent me from leaving something positive behind? Hmmm. What do you get from that thought?
Huh. Someone just gave me a Star Trek book...That's cool. I'm more of a Star Wars fan, though. I'll still read it. That was nice of him. I think I will stop here. Nothing exciting to talk about today.
July 3rd, 2006
It's humid and rainy today. I'm kind of on the edge of depression, but I'm fighting it off. I can't quite describe the feeling, but it's not a whole lot different than a heavy wool blanket closing in around your head. I was feeling good the last week. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the fact that nothing decent is on the radio right now. Maybe it's because I got in an argument with some other guys today (more on that in a second…) Well, whatever it is, it sucks.
I just finished reading this book called "Monster". It's written in the form of a screen play. A sixteen year old is charged with capital murder and he basically describes the whole trial process and how everyone sees him as a monster. Yet, throughout the whole process he wishes people would see how he really was at heart. I can remember a part in my own trial as I was on the stand and the prosecutor was chopping me to pieces and I said out of the blue, "But I know my heart…" It's weird when people are basically judging you on a snap shot of your life. You think the whole time, "But this isn't me!!!" I don't know, I just found the book very touching.
Well, I managed to piss a couple of guys off on my section, but I don't regret it and I stand by my principles. Maybe it was wrong for me to jump in the conversation in the first place, but I felt a wrong was being done and had to speak on it. There's a mentally challenged man back here. He'll hold a normal conversation with you, but you can tell something's not right. Sometimes late at night he'll flip out and start screaming and yelling at nobody. Well, the guy ended up breaking his headphones, and in one of his saner moments asked this guy, they call "Kangaroo", if he had an extra set of headphones. Kangaroo is a pretty nice guy and said, yeah, he could let him have them. That's when one of Kangaroo's buddies speaks up and says...
"Say, Kangaroo. You're weak if you let that crazy fuck use your shit."
"Nah, it isn't that…He ain't got none. It's cool", Kangaroo says.
"No, it ain't cool. What's he done for you? He just keeps us up all night. The dude is fucked in the head. You let him use your shit and we ain't gonna fuck with you no more."
I was staying out of it at first, but then this jackass keeps talking to Kangaroo, making him feel bad for trying to help someone out. I know peer pressure and I know what it's like to want to fit in, but you have to draw a line in the sand. I think back to the night of that Christmas Eve robbery and how I chickened out and didn't draw my line in the sand. I didn't stand up for my principles and look where I'm at…I was hoping Kangaroo would speak up. Say something and then the jerk says, "Wish they would kill the crazy ass and save us all the headache." I couldn't bite my tongue anymore and walked up to my door. "Hey, last time I checked the state wanted to kill us all, dude. Some people want us all to die and save them the headache. How the hell are you going to hold the fact, that he's off in the head, against him? Wake the hell up man and look where you're at…Say, Kangaroo, you're not weak for letting that man borrow your headphones. To me that shows heart. Don't let anyone tell you what to do…" Then I heard...
"Randy, mind your own damn business. Nobody asked you to step in this car."
"Maybe not, but I just don't see how you're going to belittle a man for doing what he feels right. And I sure as hell don't see how you're going to hold your nuts over somebody to die, when you face the same fucking fate. Wake the fuck up man."
Well, after that I was called all sorts of bitches and ho's and everything else, but oh well. Oh, and Kangaroo let the man borrow his headphones. I could not care less what someone back here thinks of me. I just think people need to get their heads out of their asses…Life, of course goes on in this place. I hope I don't sound self-
righteous. I'm really not, I've judged and made my many errs, but man some things just really get under your skin.
I had a weird dream last night. Something about walking a long deserted interstate. The sky was a bright blue, but everything else around the long stretch of road was pitch black. I didn't know where I was headed to. I just knew I had to get there. I wonder what that meant? Hmmm.
I want to talk about my grandfather, but my typing ribbon is very low. I've got to keep things short until I can get another one. With the holiday and all, there's no telling, so I may have to 'reuse' this one…
July 4th, 2006
Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I was kind of hoping to catch fireworks outside my window tonight, but it started raining again so…Doesn't look like any will be happening, which kind of sucks. Every year since I've been here I've been able to watch them. Guess not this year.
I went outside today and it was pretty nice; a little humid, but still nice enough. Then, some dark ominous clouds began moving and it began to sprinkle. This carried on for about five minutes and then the thunder came. Then, it began to pour. I loved it, but the guards made us come back in. Guess they didn't want us to be electrocuted, should a freak bolt of lighting hit the outside recreation yard. To be fair, it is surrounded by steel, so…I could see the headlines…, "Two Inmates fried when lightning bolt hits their rec. yard…Act of God?"
I wish I could say I had a productful day today, but it amounted to nothing. I haven't even read anything, which I will get my fifty pages in here in a short while. I've just been writing off and on and staring at the wall. My ribbon is so low and I don't know when I can get another one…I've got to be frugal with it. I do have a lot to say, just running short on ink…Look, I just wasted ribbon by doing that. I need to write some poems…I've made a few sketches of some; just random thoughts. Guess it'll give me something to do tomorrow.
Guess I'll stop here. I've wasted enough ribbon as it is. Happy fourth of July!
July 5th 2006
I've got to start this off with a book recommendation: "Back Road" by Tawney 0' Dell. Holy cow was that a good book! I started reading it around eight last night after giving up on seeing any fire works. It was her first novel and I could tell early on that it was a first novel, because the story started out very loose, the narrator's voice was unfocused, but after about fifty pages – wham! – the story hits you. She tightens everything up and each pager gets stronger. It's hard to describe the book, but I have to give a warning…Some of it is very violent and sexually graphic. I found a lot of it disturbing, but it wasn't gratuitous. All I can say is it was very good, though. Very good plot. Every character is a victim in some form or another.
I've managed to stay busy today. It's been raining most of the day, but for now we've got a little sunshine, but man it feels like a sauna. Very hot, very humid. Earlier today I was really missing my brothers. I was thinking about Jimmy and Kevin. I think Jimmy's personality was very much like mine and Kevin's much like Wesley's. Jimmy was very quiet and very passive, whereas Kevin was very hyper at times and a bit of a clown. I loved all my brothers equally. When I'd come home from Kentucky on breaks I gave them a lot of attention. Most of the time they were in school during the day, but at night we'd watch movies or play video games. Sometimes they'd sit with me while I talked to my girlfriend on the phone. Kevin and Jimmy liked to ask if they could say hello and then as soon as I'd give them the receiver they would blurt out, "Randy has polka dot underwear!" and start laughing away. They thought it was the funniest thing.
I used to make lemonade or orange juice from those frozen concentrated mixes and they loved helping me out on that. I'd let one hold the pitcher and another stir. Whenever I'd say, "Who wants to make juice?" they would come flying from nowhere yelling, "Me! Me! Me!" I loved to make them smile. At nighttime after my mom or dad would read them a story I'd go into their room. They shared a bedroom and both had very cool race car beds. I would go into their room and sit on a bed and they would always want me to tell a story. So, each night I'd make up one that any child would laugh at. Say "fart" or "poop" in a kids story and they can't get enough. I liked to use made up words that would find funny sounding. I once told a story about an alligator and I'd start out, "There once was an alligator named Rudy with a big fat booty from the tropical island of tooty fruity…" And they would just be giggling away. "How big was his booty?" Kevin would ask snickering. "Oh, bigger than the moon." I'd say. "And he loved to eat little boys up… but he thought that anyone with the name Jimmy or Kevin tasted gross. Oh, he might eat an ear or a hand, but never a whole Jimmy or Kevin." And this would carry on until they would calm down. Most of the time Jimmy always fell asleep first. Kevin was a handful. He'd never go to sleep right away. Probably the hyperness, but it took hours. Especially if he had a nap during the day time. Most of the time around ten at night mom and dad would be in the living room watching the news and Jay Leno. I'd watch T.V. in our game room, usually a movie or something. On that part of the house you had my room, Wesley's and Jimmy's and Kevin's. My parents always made us keep the doors to our rooms open at night. So, I'd be sitting on the couch in the game room and would feel the presence of someone else. Sure enough, here's Kevin inching up little by little on his butt until he's parallel with the couch, watching T.V. with me. I'd look down at him and say, "Kevin, if dad catches you you'll be in trouble, get back in bed…" But he wouldn't move. But sure enough, here comes dad, "Kevin! You better be in bed!" Zoom! Kevin would shoot off back into his room. It was hilarious.Then here he would come again inching up little by little to the couch…
I wonder if I'll be moved tonight. I went ahead and straightened my cell out just in case; organized some of my things. I can hear the food cart out in the hall way...almost dinner time.
Today was no recreation day, so I have to do little exercises here and there. That way I don't get too sweaty. Guess I'll stop here for the time being. Not sure if I'll write more or not. I can see I'm going to have to reuse this ribbon. I hope it works when I rewind it; it's always a pain in the butt and never prints dark enough. Sigh...
July 6th, 2006
I was moved to A-
pod last night. I'm always amazed at how clean this pod is compared to the other pods. Of course, it's where the house inmates with execution dates and therefore it is their exhibition piece or their "Ant Farm" and occasionally bring tours through of Huntsville Officials (Huntsville is the TDCJ head office) they always keep it freshly painted and cleaned. Saving that, it's always incredibly quiet. I like that.
I went out to recreation today. Outside. It was a gorgeous morning, if not a little humid, but all in all very lovely. Walked around, did a few exercises. Man, I've been slacking this past week. Not as intense as I usually do…Spent most of the time talking. Then, I came in, took a little nap, got a shower and read a little.
My buddy Bigfoot came by and we spent some time talking about Gandhi (yes, death row prisoners discussing Gandhi. Is that not odd? Haha…) and many of Gandhi's ways of activism. I really think that if I'm ever to be executed I will not walk to the gurney of my own will. When they take me to the van I will sit – without struggle – and make them pick me up, load me onto the van and they will have to carry me to my death. I won't lash out, I won't be violent. I won't curse and scream, but they will carry me. I won't walk of my own will. That would be accepting defeat. I wish every inmate would do that. I think it would make a powerful statement. I think every protester should sit outside the execution chambers until the very first light of the sun, protesting each and every execution. I think services should be held by true people of faith who oppose the death penalty. I don't believe you can be a true person of faith and believe in state sanctioned murder…Well, these are some of the things we discussed. You should hear me when I get really fired up about it. I start standing on my toes, swinging my hands everywhere. Bigfoot started to laugh, "I see you, Randy, standing on your toes!" Haha.
Man, I wonder what's up with Josef. I usually hear from him by now and haven't received anything from him in almost two weeks now. They just passed out the mail and he's really good about giving me updates from Germany each week. Hmmm. Maybe he has the blues, because Germany lost to Italy in the World Cup.
Mentally, I'm doing okay. I'm managing to keep depression at bay. I just have to stay focused, can't let my mind drift to the negativity. I'm going to be alright. In fact, I've been quite blessed of late, so I really can't complain. Right now I have my radio on and I'm listening to a Garbage concert on PBS. It's really good.
Guess I'll close here and say goodnight.
July 7th, 2006
Today has been neither here nor there. I went to recreation this morning at a little after six and had planned on exercising, but then got wrapped up in a conversation and blew that…Had my shower shortly after and took a little nap, 'cause I went to bed kind of late last night.
I wanted to talk a little about my grandfather. He died when I was about 10 or 11, but I still remember him fondly. He had a heart of gold and accepted Wesley and me into the family with open arms. My grandfather's parents came to the United States as immigrants from Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century, escaping the Jewish persecution that was rising under the early starts of Russian Communism. They sailed into Ellis Island in New York City and he and his six other brothers eventually spread through out the U.S. Grandpa settled down in Union Town, Pennsylvania, and opened up a roofing and siding business with his brother Harry. I never met Harry, but had heard from various relatives that he was a very nasty man and took advantage of my grandpa. Eventually Grandpa Lester completely owned his business and became very successful.
I don't know how I can remember this so well, but our very first conversation was over the telephone. I had just been adopted and it was a late summer day. Dad was cooking hotdogs, and Wesley and I were watching Superman The Movie on T.V. in the living room. My mom called us to her and said, "Your grandpa is on the phone; he wants to say hello…" I grabbed the phone and he said, "Is this Randy? This is your grandpa! How are you doing?" He asked me about the things I liked, and I told him how we were about to go swimming. "Your mom says you are a really good swimmer; that's really great …" I told him I had to let Wesley talk now and was saying goodbye, and he say's "Well, Randy, welcome to the family and I love you…" I swelled with pride, said bye, and gave the phone to Wes. I took off flying like superman…That Thanksgiving I finally met grandpa face to face. We flew to Pennsylvania and arrived at his home as it began to snow lightly. He was waiting on us at the door and when we walked in, he wrapped me up in his arms and hugged me tightly, "So this the handsome grandson I have? Boy, look at that face!" He kissed my cheek and greeted Wesley.
When we were settled in, he told us to go to his basement, where he had a pool table and other neat things set up. I remember these carved coconut faces he had hanging on the wall, that became mine, when he passed away. I cherished them so much. He taught us how to play pool and gave us full attention. I trusted him completely. One thing that stood out was what seemed like some distance between him and my dad. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I look back at those moments they just seems apart. He seemed stern and rigid with my dad – just like my father was with me. I don't claim to have crystal clear memories, but it's what I see looking back.
There was one time when we went to grandpa's business. He had a Coca-
Cola machine that had the old time bottles. Of course owning the business he had the keys to the machine and asked Wesley, my mom and me if we wanted a coke. He pulled out his key and gave us each one. My dad said, "What about me?" And grandpa said, "You've got the money to buy one…", and he closed the machine up. Looking back, it was odd…Grandpa had these company trucks and he led us to the garage and told Wes and me to climb inside. "Randy, you're going to drive." I couldn't believe it. He was going to let me drive? Of course he was only kidding and I realized this, but that didn't keep me from pretending and so we took off in his truck. Mom and dad took pictures and I pulled into the gas station and he asked if I needed any gas. He pretended to fill the truck up and off I went again driving the truck around. I remember playing in the snow – a first for me and Wes. We built a snowman, had hot chocolate and lots of fun. We did this every year until he had a stroke. I think I was 9 at the time of his stroke. Family flew in from all over the country to see him and help get him into a nursing home. He was confined to a wheel chair, lost his ability to speak and was paralyzed in most of his body. But, it didn't take his joy away. He wasn't any less of a man, because of the stroke.
Wesley and I were his main source of joy, so during this time everyone tried to get us down there as much as possible. Grandpa had a sort of Plexiglas table attached to his wheel chair and under the Plexiglas were pictures of Wesley and me. I would push him around and Wes would sit in his lap. He loved this. We would go outside and blow bubbles with him, which would make him laugh. I used to get him iced tea in the cafeteria and help him drink it. He was still very much alive.
When I was close to being eleven, my parents where going through the process of adopting Jimmy from Korea. I believe my grandfather was excited about this. His eyes would light up when my parents would tell him what they were doing, and just when we finally got Jimmy grandpa died. Wesley and I were in Daycare and I remember mom and dad rushing into the center and taking us out. Mom was crying and I asked what was wrong. Nobody said anything, but I already knew. It's amazing how kids are so more perceptive than we give them credit for. I don't think I fully understood death at this time, but I knew he was gone.
I remember crying, and I remember feeling sad he was gone, but my parents didn't think Wesley and I understood. Maybe I didn't, but I knew I lost a grandfather and a friend. It's strange at how something that happened almost twenty years ago can still bring tears to my eyes. I admit, when I pray these days he hasn't been in them. I think I will pray for him again. As a kid I used to pray for him every night, asking God to watch over him. To heal him. Sitting here writing this, I wonder what he's up to now. Is he watching over us still? Will I see him when I'm gone? I don't know, but it'd be nice to push that wheel chair around and see that wonderful smile of his. That happiness in his eyes…
July 9th, 2006
Well, my day has been so-
so. I've spent most of it writing letters for my neighbor, because he's illiterate. I don't mind helping, but it can be tasking. Ugh. And draining.
I was listening to the Shout Out Show, and Mary sent a message…Kind of brought me down, but I'm cool. I mean, I guess she sounded sorry enough...Still...Oh, I don't know. I'm a forgiving person and I forgive her, but, man, it still kind of strikes a nerve.
It was a beautiful day and then later on a storm came. I'm thinking in sentences. Guess I'll get this out and send it off to Germany. I haven't heard from Josef in two weeks now, so I hope all is okay with him. I'm growing worried. Maybe I'll hear from him tomorrow night when they pass out mail. That would be alright …
Guess I'll go. Oh, I heard this Placebo song with some French in it today. It was awesome. I wish I knew the title. Another good song that's out right now is called "Is it any wonder?" by Keane. It sounds like a sonic U2 song.
July 10th, 2006
Right now it's 8:53 am. I've brushed my teeth, had some coffee (well, did that before I brushed my teeth!) and I'm enjoying this beautiful sunrise that is pouring through my window. Man, it's so gorgeous outside. I was pulled out of my peaceful sleep by the mailroom and I guess that's why I'm in such a good mood right now. No, I don't particularly like being awakened to be denied something, but it was the nice compliment I received.
There were two mailroom ladies. One is generally pretty stern...No-
nonsense. The other one is quite a nice person. Anyway, the stern one had the paperwork for me to sign and said, "Do you know how to fill this out?" And then, the other says, "Yeah, he does, but you don't have to sound so mean to him…He's really nice. Never complains or cusses us out" When she said that, the stern one started being nice to me! So I say, "Shhh. Don't let anyone hear you say I'm nice. Remember, we're all monsters back here." They both laughed. After I signed the paperwork they told me to have a nice day. It's little exchanges like this that make you feel human. I can't explain the feeling, but just to know that someone you don't communicate with or really even talk to can see a positive quality in you and point it out...Kind of reassures you, it's an awesome feeling. Kindness can go a long way.
I'm supposed to go outside today and I can't wait! To feel some sunshine, to hopefully play some basketball. I'm ready to go right now. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do today. What should I write about? I should make an outline of things I want to write about in my journal. Hmmmm. I'm trying to think of some funny school stories to tell. There's plenty of them.
Goodness!!! I managed to piss away a whole day! It's almost seven at night right now. I went outside and played some ball. Man, was it hot! I was winning fifteen games to four, but then I was getting lightheaded and had to stop. Yes, I drank plenty of water. I think with the humidity and heat index it had to be pushing a hundred degrees. I felt like I was baking alive. When I came back in, it was dinner time and a small storm came through. That has disappeared and now the sun is starting to get sleepy. After dinner I did a few push-
ups and sit- ups and waited on my shower, which I just got back from and it felt soooooooooooo good! Lord, it felt good.
Well, guess I'll close here. Good night and peace.
July 11th, 2006
Hmmm. Still no mail from Josef. Very worried. I did get something else dealing with my MySpace page and it's been updated and looks bad to the bone! I still have much to do with it. I want a lot of anti death penalty stuff up, but as far as my personality etc…It's there. It's really cool...I was blown away.
Not much happened today. Well, I did get into an argument with this guy. He's just a miserable old, paranoid man. I don't even know why I let myself get sucked into arguing with him. I don't ever really allow myself to get caught up in other people's BS, but he disrespected me and I guess some of that old prison mentality of being disrespected kind of sprung up. I'm still mad about it, but I'm trying to let the peacefulness wash over me…
I think I will close here for the night and kind of think, relax, meditate whatever you want to call it. It's getting late and I just want to lie down. But first...I must put my mail in the door co be picked up!
Good night and peaceful dreams.
July 12th, 2006
Well, these officers are sure dragging their butts today. We've got a very, very lazy crew. It's after one on the afternoon and they are just starting on the 3rd round of recreation. I'm supposed to go fourth round and it'll be good to get out of this cell, 'cause to be honest, I feel like I'm being suffocated. I'm kind of on the borderline of extreme anger…
The day started out peaceful enough and I was feeling good. I started working on some new ideas for my MySpace page and was typing away. The morning was beautiful and all of that good stuff. Well, just about forty five minutes ago I got into it with the guy I got into it with last night… again. Argh!! Let me tell you what happened last night. I was talking to this guy in the dayroom. He was at the bars and I was standing at my door. Just talking about everything in general, when this old paranoid guy thought we were talking about him. So he comes to the door screaming and hollering and cussing us out. I say...
"Man, no one was talking to you or about you..."
"I know what I heard. You two are talking about me…"
"Man, go lay down. Get some sleep", I said.
Okay, in hindsight, I should've just stopped before I let it get to this point. That's what I normally would've done. Well, after I said that he just let loose, I ignored him until he started majorly disrespecting me. And I got mad when I heard some people laugh at his comment and well…So, me and my dumb butt…I couldn't let it go. He went to the dayroom. At first I just try to ignore it, and I'm typing away, enjoying my morning and then like an itch that wouldn't go away: pride, being disrespected etc…I went up to my door and basically just started cussing him out.
Now I feel like a child for doing so…I'm still mad! When I go to recreation I'll just exercise it off. I'm finished with it. If he says anything else I'll just let it go. I just feel stupid and don't hold grudges so I'm trying to figure out where that came from. Maybe it just woke up some old frustrations with other things going on. Who knows? I'm not perfect, but I should be better than that. Only human…
It's getting really hot in here. My guess is it's about 94 or 95°. Whew. It'd be a nice day to get out and play some ball, but I don't get to do that until tomorrow – that is if they don't move me to another pod tonight. Hmmm. What else? Guess I should pause here… Huh…The paranoid guy is trying to bait me in a trap again. I can hear him taunting me again. Miserable ass…Ugh. Just let it go, man. Okay, time out. I'll write more later on. Now I hope I DO get moved. I've gotta get off this section. What I just realized is this is where they originally housed inmates with execution dates and it has a permeating feeling of death and negativity in it. I don't really believe in ghosts etc., but man it feels like something is literally poking at me to just start cussing this guy out again. Haha. I think I'll read some psalms. They have a soothing effect.
July 13th, 2006
I was moved last night. Right now I'm currently on E-
pod 39 cell. It's okay here; I've gotta good view out my window and I'm around some good friends.
Man, I'm sooo pooped. I went outside for four hours, played some ball and won all of those games. Then we exercised until we almost dropped dead. I'm very sore right now as I type this. On the plus side, I heard from Josef tonight; I was getting very worried about him, so it's good to know he's okay.
I'm very scatter brained right now! I have no idea, if I even want to write anything. I guess I'm going to read my mail and chill out for a bit. I'm in a strange place right now…
Take care and peace!
July 14th, 2006
I can't believe this week is just about done. Today is a no recreation day so I didn't too much. Okay, I really didn't do anything at all. I got up at about 7 in the morning, drank some coffee (I drink way too much!! Especially for someone who can't stand the taste. Haha…) I listened to the radio and then did a little thirty minute workout. Kept it light, 'cause I'm so sore!
After that I just listened to the news about the escalating problems in Israel. I swear that whole area is not going to rest until they just completely kill each other. When I listened to the American news their focus was on the oil. Never mind about people killing each other, bombing, war etc… "What will this do to our gas prices?" Jesus, people are dying and you're worried about some gas? Get a bike, ride a horse or something. Walk, even. That's why we have two feet…We can send a satellite to Pluto, but we can't figure out a better way to get around? People need to get their heads out of their rear ends …
It's getting late now. Close to eleven and I'm not really even tired. But my head is in a thousand different places. I suppose I'll close here for the night and write something decent tomorrow. I have a craving for a pickle. Where does that come from????
July 15th, 2006
Today hasn't been too bad. I started my day off listening to this program on NPR called, "Wait, wait! Don't tell me." It's very funny. After lunch I went outside and played some basketball, beating one of the best players around on Death Row. The final score? 24 to 14. It was so hot, I thought the sun would do me in, but I just kept pushing. It got a little too close for comfort around game ten. He was right behind me at nine games. Then we had an overtime game and I turned on the after burners and took off after that. I think the overtime game was what gave me a jolt of confidence and I said to myself, "I can beat this guy, I know I can…"
After we played all of those games I just soaked up some sun and sweated about a gallon. My T-
shirt was completely soaked. It looked as if someone poured a bucket of water onto me. Haha. When I came back in I was lucky to get a shower right away. Came back from the shower and took a nap.
Right now I'm just sitting here listening to the radio, channel surfing and looking for something worth listening to. No good movies on tonight. Well, I was actually going to listen to this movie called "Unbreakable", but I couldn't get my ABC to come in good.
Guess I'll just pick up a book and do some reading.
July 16th, 2006
Boring, boring, Sunday. It's very hot and I've got to do a lot, so…I'll just take this space to say…Peace!
July 17th, 2006
I'm sitting here with sun pouring through my window. I'm sipping on a hot cup of tea in 100° weather. I know, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Yet, it's comforting in some peculiar way.
Death is on my mind; no, not the evil, horror kind of death, but my death. No, not in some depression induced way. I just wonder what my death will be like. Sometimes, when I'm staring at these blank white walls that hold me in this cell, I daydream a lot. I see little movies inside my mind's eye and I get a kick out of watching them play out. Maybe I'm just crazy, but it helps me to manage and cope in an odd sort of way.
Earlier this morning a thought popped in my head and I wondered what my funeral would be like. I could see myself lying in a casket, sleeping peacefully. (Just for the record I haven't decided whether or not I want to be cremated or slowly decompose under six feet of dirt…I like the idea of cremation better. Plus, it's more environmentally sound…Though, I do find it a tad bit disturbing to have your remains crammed into some glorified jar…But I digress!) I see all sorts of people at my funeral, but I don't know what they're saying, if they are talking about me or their own lives. And then, I see people walking by my casket; touching my face. The first time a human hand has rested on my cheek in years…Though, I'm dead I can still feel the touch and it's warm and pleasant. It sends a warm fuzzy sensation coursing through me, touching the very depths of my soul. I'm watching this from a distance. I'm a ghost. Yet, I can still FEEL it. I still feel ALIVE!
I really no longer fear death, but I still fear the thought of dying alone; of having no one there, or no one to care. What if I watched my own funeral and it was an…empty room? Me in a casket and a vase full of flowers. I watch and hope for ANYONE to come through the funeral parlor doors to tell my body, my vessel, something. A simple goodbye. To me, that's a scary thought. Maybe I romanticize that part of death. I really don't think our spirits linger around or care. I think that's more Hollywood than reality, but it's a nice thought. Romantic in a way. I think we just go on to wherever. I'm hoping we get a chance to start over and try to get it right the next time around. Would explain the whole Deja-
vu thing...Don't you think?
I think it's cool. I don't believe in the whole reincarnation thing as we come back around as a fly or shrimp, or cow…Maybe more so as ourselves and surely not in the "I was a roman soldier who made passionate love to Cleopatra" kind of way…But as ourselves… I can see that. We just keep doing it over until we get it right. Maybe our souls are so tortured that they can't move on to the WHATEVER until it finds peace in knowing that it got it right. Of course, I could be just a guy sitting at a typewriter with way too big of an imagination. Spitting out a whole bunch of nonsense, because to be completely honest I don't even know what I'm writing about in this regard half of the time.
I was just re-
reading a letter I received from an old friend who lived in my neighborhood and a part of it really jumped out at me. I hope he doesn't mind that I write this sentence, but it made me think of some things...He wrote: "It's all well and good for people like me to feel comfortable in our own sense of moral goodness, but in truth we don't really know who we are… "
I think people are afraid to really look at themselves. Or maybe they really believe that their values' system is the right one and they get so caught up in their everyday life that they never really have to confront themselves, whereas with myself, I've had to confront myself. Am I really a monster? Am I evil like the prosecutor made me out to be, or society has labeled me as…
But really, if one looks into their own selves, their own hearts, what will they find? I'll give a few examples…Let's take some prison guards for example. There are some who are so disgustingly horrible that if you have any kind of heart and compassion, you would see it like a red flag. Yet, they truly believe deep inside they are doing what's right by mistreating inmates. After all, the inmates are the scum, the guards are the law abiding, church going citizens. Situations like mine can bring out the best or worst in people. Or take war for example. The death and destruction sometimes awakens something deep inside people and causes them to do truly evil things. Who are we deep inside? What is the true human condition? What is our "values'" system based upon? Is it truly love and kindness, forgiveness and understanding? Or is it because we SAY this is good or that is bad…that makes it good or bad? I wasn't always as liberal minded and such as I am now. I once was a homophobe I couldn't stand being touched by any man. My friend Jason and roommate was a very touchy feely kind of guy and when he got excited he liked to hug and it would creep me out. He'd say,"Dude, you are sooo a homophobe." "No I'm not…", I'd say weakly. Anyways, I have no idea where I'm going with my thoughts, I'm kind of rambling, but my point is, I think the reason we don't truly look inside ourselves is because we're afraid of what we might see.
This is going off in a completely different direction, but I just thought about how I was a homophobe, yet I've always been a very emotional, melodramatic, maybe even effeminate kind of guy…I'm thinking maybe the homophobe thing comes from my childhood. My biological mother has hinted that I might have been sexually abused, but she would never give me a straight up answer always kind of avoiding the subject. Just like I know she's abused me, I have the memories, you know? The nightmares…Yet, she always says she never touched me.
Well, I still need to exercise and attend other things. It's two in the afternoon, so I'll probably write more a little bit later. I'll be going to recreation around five or six… Later.
It's now 9:32 pm. I just got back from recreation and my shower a few minutes ago. It's beyond HOT. Some idiot wanted to start a fire in his cell so they had to turn on the purge vents, which suck out any and all air that might be here. It feels like we're suffocating and it's very uncomfortable. This is how my day ends.
Well, good night…
July 18th, 2006
Lord, is it exceptionally hot. I think with the heat index we've got to be pushing the 100's. They finally shut the purge fan off an hour ago. It was on all last night and it was impossible to sleep. I can't comprehend how they did it in the old days. There's just no "getting used" to this.
I don't know what happened last night, but it seemed all hell broke loose; as soon as this one particular guard came on duty. He's not entirely a bad guard, but sometimes he brings his personal problems to work and takes them out on inmates. If he's in one of these moods…Ugh. So, some inmate decided to set his cell on fire and from what I learned this morning several other guys set fires…Now you're wondering how they're able to set fires…They basically build up a little bonfire with newspapers and toilet paper. Then they soak it in baby oil (yes, baby oil is highly flammable…); then they go to their electric socket and create a spark by using metal and a pencil lead. I would guess you'd have to be pretty good at getting it right the first time or you're going to end up frying yourself. So the rest of us had to suffer while the purge vents sucked out our little bit of tempered air…
I'm very tired now. I was getting spoiled on this 7-
8 hours of sleep thing! I've been able to sleep pretty good the past two weeks or so; much better than the last few months. I had to get up at six for recreation and then I exercised for a little over an hour. As I type this, I'm waiting on a shower. After that I'm going to catch a little cat nap and then I'll type some more. Haven't quite figured out what I'll type, but I'm thinking…
I'm back. That shower felt pretty good. I may just end up taking my little cat nap around four or so. It's a little noisy right now. You know, being the oldest kid in our house, I tended to take the most heat for even the littlest things, but my father had a way of really overreacting to things. I don't know what sprung this memory, but I had to be about 14 or 15 years old. Yeah, I had just turned fifteen and was home on a break from school in Kentucky. Earlier that summer me and my hometown best friend, Chad, had been at the mall one night looking for "Babes". Chad was a good looking kid and much more outward than I was, so he usually was able to start up the conversations with any girls we ran across. Though, that evening our luck was pretty dry. The whole day at the mall we hadn't scored a single phone number and we were just about to leave the mall empty handed. As we were coming down the escalators we noticed two girls walk by and look at us. One waved and before they could get away, Chad yelled, "Hey!" We ran down the escalators and hoped they were going to stop – which they did. I'll never be able to explain it, but Chad and I would automatically focus on one of them that fit him or me the best. He picked the cute blonde and I picked the pretty brown head. We got some phone numbers and left the mall very happy.
That summer turned out good for me. I ended up going out with the pretty brown haired girl, named Jennifer. Chad unfortunately couldn't get the blonde to go out with him. I felt bad for Chad, because usually he got the girl he wanted and that summer was not turning out well for him. Right before I had to return to Oneida for the fall semester we all got together and went to six flags. I still hadn't kissed Jennifer and I was determined to do so. We rode the rides and goofed around and Jennifer and I were very touchy feely and Chad had enough and ditched us. I was kind of pissed he ran off like that, but then I again, I could understand how he felt. I still hadn't made my move so as we were standing at the exits waiting for Chad to show up and a crowd of people standing around us, I grabbed her waist gently and pulled her to me. Our lips locked and we were making out in front of a whole bunch of people! I was never one who was afraid of any public display of affection. I liked getting caught up in the moment…Chad showed up and we waited on his mom to come and pick us up. When she finally arrived I kissed her again and we said our good byes, knowing this would be the last time we would see each other until I came back on a fall school break.
During the fist half of the semester we talked on the phone and wrote each other letters and even broke up, but then when I came back to Texas she called and said she wanted to see me at the mall and go see a movie. Chad and I talked about this and I decided why not. "And besides, she told me on the phone one time she would let you stick your hand up her shirt if you wanted", Chad said excitedly. "She told you this?" I asked. "Yeah, we were talking about things and I asked her, what would you let Randy do? Cool, huh?" "Dude, I've gotta meet up with her then!"
I talked to my mom and dad and asked if I could go to the mall and meet a girl. Mom had to take Jimmy and Kevin to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and said that if I went with her and helped out with my brothers she'd drop me off at the mall. I called Jennifer up and told her when I'd be there and then went out with my mom. I helped with my brothers at the birthday party and we played some video games and I helped them win some game tickets. Looking back, it was a lot of fun to do those things with my little brothers. Mom told me to call dad and let him know when I wanted to be picked up. I called dad and said I wanted to stay until closing time around 9pm. I know he heard me correctly, 'cause I remember him saying, "Okay, I'll pick you up near closing time; where I always drop you and Chad off. Behave, Randy, we're trusting you without a chaperone…" "I'm cool, dad. We're just going to see a movie and walk around."
Mom dropped me off and I met up with Jennifer. She had a small gift for me that she had gotten for my birthday a month earlier. We hugged and gave each other a little peck. I was very nervous for some reason and we started walking around the mall. We went into some shops and laughed, got some ice cream; you know, did teenage things. I went to a phone and got some movie times for few films and we decided to see the original "Buffy the Vampire Slyer" movie. The theater was right across the street from the mall and we headed over there. I was excited and nervous, 'cause I knew we'd be kissing and if I got the nerves…doing what Chad talked about.
The movie was horrible. We spent most of the time kissing and such, and in my head I kept thinking, "Do it, Randy, go ahead…" But I could never get the nerve. I chickened out. I would later have to explain to Chad and he wouldn't let me live it down for a while. The day passed and before we knew it, it was getting close to closing time. We were walking back to the spot where our parents would pick us up; when all of a sudden I see my dad walking straight towards us. He's very upset and taking large strides...
"C'mere", he says in a very stern voice.
"Dad, what are you doing here early?"
"Who's this?" he says.
"It's my girlfriend, Jennifer."
"Well, tell her goodbye and tell her that you'll no longer be able to see her."
"What?!?" I didn't believe he just said that.
"I told you 8 pm. I've been walking around this damn mall for an hour looking for you."
"I told you closing time!"
"No, you said eight and I was here at eight."
"Dad, you asked me when I wanted you to pick me up. I said nine."
Jennifer just looked at us wide-
eyed. I looked back at her with an expression that said, "I can't believe this." "I'll call you. Okay?" I said and tried to give her a goodbye kiss. My dad stopped that and said, "Go, get in the suburban. Now!" I was so embarrassed I wanted to cry. I choked on my goodbye to Jennifer and left with my head down.
Back at home my dad told me that I wouldn't be allowed to go to the mall the rest of the break. I couldn't believe he was acting so irrational. I tried to plead and beg and tell him we agreed on nine. When I asked my mom she only said, "It's your dad's choice…" Even to this day I can never figure out why my dad, as much as I love him would be so rigid with certain things. A lot of the little fights we got into were always over, what I felt, trivial things; or because I didn't meet his approval of something. He had done that to me numerous times. I think sometimes my dad didn't want to be wrong or admit he was wrong on things. Granted, he was very intelligent and I looked up to him for so many things, his wisdom was impeccable – things he would say when I was a kid happened later in my life, just like he said would…But still, I don't think he had to be so into the tough love thing.
Another memory I remember was when I was home on a thanksgiving break – maybe the same year as the mall incident. Wesley and I flew to San Antonio, Texas, to meet up with my family. On that short break we went to Sea World, which is sort of amusement park and aquarium. It was chilly, but not cold; nothing like a Kentucky November. I didn't feel I needed to wear a jacket and definitely not the bright neon green one my parents had bought for me. I was not going to look like a geek in front of hundreds of potential "Babes". We argued and argued until my dad said...
"Fine. I'm going to get tickets. If you want to get into this park you'll stand with your nose to one of those columns until I return."
"What!?!" I cried.
"Get your nose against a column until I return."
"No buts, just do it."
Knowing my dad, he really would've gotten tickets for everyone but me, so I walked up to a column with hundreds of people walking by and stuck my nose to it. I felt so humiliated and I was trying to keep from crying. I felt my self esteem burst like a balloon. I'm not trying to demonize my dad. It's just the way it was in our home. I know they felt that what they were doing was right, but you know you can't take that approach to every kid in the world. We're all not built the same. My dad's best tool of discipline was humiliation. It hurt much worse than any smack on the butt.
Just took a time out to listen to Thom Yorke of the band Radiohead's solo album called "The Eraser". KTRU just did a special premiere…My verdict. MIND BLOWING!!! It's very dark, very bleak. It has a sense of hopelessness…The style is Radiohead's typical guitar driven sound. Thom Yorke built the album around a lot of synthesized and electronic music. I really liked it. So, if you like electronic music…CHECK IT OUT!!! Now I'm on KPFT listening to some different stuff on their program called "Sound Awakes". They're playing a new wave sounding band. I dig it. I can hear some Cure influences in this. Oh! Siouxie and the Banshees is on now; looks like it's going to be a good afternoon for music.
Well, guess I'm going to kick back and do some reading and maybe I'll write a little bit more, later. Just went down to KTRU and they're playing Explosions In The Sky, "Your Hand in Mine" YES! YES! YES!
July 19th, 2006
Today started off kind of odd. A mailroom lady woke me up this morning and gave me back last weeks journal entries that I mailed out on Monday. This is the first time this has ever happened, but she said I didn't have enough postage on it. I was like, "What?" It has only ever cost 84c to mail something to Germany, unless it's very heavy, but she was telling me it'd cost $1.70. So…I'm going to make it worth the dollar seventy and mail the last few days with it, too.
Damn. Gotta pause. I was just told I was moving to B-
pod. I'll get back to this when I get moved. Later. Argh.
I'm back and it's now 10:47 pm. It's still very hot and they moved me into a very nasty cell. I spent the last hour cleaning it up. I'm sooo tired now, but I need to finish typing this up.
I went outside today and got my buttocks beat at basket ball. I lost 19-
11 which kind of stole my thunder. Okay, it's getting late and I still have things to do.
July 24th, 2006
Last night I had the ultimate dream… I fought Darth Vader! It was surreal. Haha. Some of the details are foggy, but I remember being in one of those Star Destroyer space ships like in the movie. I was trying to hide from some storm troopers who caught me on some sort of observation deck. Don't ask how I even got in the space ship in the first place…I just don't know! But the vividness of everything was beyond my conscious imagination…
So…Here I am looking at all of these stars and planets in this huge room when all of a sudden a storm trooper walks in and says, "Who are you?", and then he raises his blaster at me. I take off running and the next thing I know I'm running down these huge corridors…I shake off the storm troopers who are chasing me and I run down this one hallway that has a black shiny floor and electronics all along the walls. I see what looks like a black light saber and I pick it up and try to turn it on, but it won't work. When all of a sudden I hear that familiar breathing of what sounds like scuba gear. I turn around and try again to turn on the light saber, but it won't work and I'm looking right at Darth Vader…"Do you really think I would allow you to have a working light saber? You can never be a Jedi Knight." He says and then fires up his light saber. Now, I'm thinking, this is the end of Randy as we know it. He's going to cut right through my neck and my head's going to pop right off! So, I do a surprise leg sweep on him that throws him off balance. Then I take off running. Mind you, I still have the broken light saber in my hand.
I get to some area where I feel I'm safe and I begin to examine the light saber. Somehow, I remember they're powered by a crystal and I open it up (don't laugh, but the end screwed off just like a flash light…), and the crystal falls out of the bottom. I look at the red crystal and decide that it was in the light saber upside down. I push it back into the handle. I close it up and hit the power button. A red bolt of lightning bursts from it and it's alive. I can feel the vibrations of it in my hand. Then I get a crazy idea that I'm going to confront Darth Vader…Next thing I know I'm in some sort of chamber walking on red carpet. All around me are different electronic lights, buttons etc. Then, that breathing sound. Darth Vader is waiting on me with his light saber at the ready...
"So… You've mastered your light saber. Very well then… I can sense your confidence in the force is weak."
"I'm still going to kick your ass."
"So it begins."
All of a sudden we're going at it. I'm giving it all I have, but I know it's not enough. He's right, I'm no Jedi Knight. I weaken and he laughs. I try the leg sweep again, but this time he's ready and swings down at my leg with his light saber. I block his strike with mine. And then he starts using the dark side on my butt and I'm no match. He gets the light saber out of my hand and is getting ready to take my head off…I wake up. So, yeah, Darth Vader kicked my buttocks, but it was still a very cool dream!
Not much has been going on today. I'm trying to keep my mind occupied, 'cause today would've been my marriage anniversary and that kind of sucks, but…life goes on. I'm waiting to go to recreation so that I can exercise and get out of this cell. I'm feeling kind of stir crazy right now. I need to burn off some of this nervous energy I've got. I don't know what I really want to write about today. Hmmm. I'll tell a pity story. Ha. Ha. It happened when I was about 14. Yeah, I was fourteen. I had just gotten done with my first year of school at Oneida which actually ended pretty well. I left that year becoming a room monitor over one of the dorm rooms at Baker Hall, the Middle school dormitory. Every year my parents took our family to Florida, but along the way this time we were going to go to a beach in Alabama called Gulf Shores. It turned out to be a gorgeous beach. Not very crowded and had plenty of things for Wesley and me to do. I'd spend the day times with my brothers and then mom and dad would allow me to walk around by myself on the beach at night time.
I was always too shy to walk up to a girl by myself, lacked the confidence or whatever. But every now and then I'd get lucky and I'd talk to a few girls. I think though, had I not been so insecure and had the ability to walk up of my own will, I would've gotten far more lucky. Most of the times, though, I think people thought I was stuck up or a snob, though – and I really wasn't! So, this one particular day I'm playing with my brothers, building sand castles, chasing them around on the beach, just being a big brother and having a really good time, when a kid that looked about eleven or twelve walks up to me...
"Hey, my sister thinks you're cute and wants to meet up with you tonight at six, in this exact spot."
"Oh, yeah? Where is she?" I ask.
"She's hiding right now, but just show up."
"Is this a joke?" I asked.
"No, I'm serious", he said.
I get kind of excited, but in the back of my mind. I'm thinking I'm being set up for a joke. I tell my parents a girl wants to meet me at six and they say it's cool for me to go out for the night. Now I'm really excited. I count down the hours until it's time to go to that same spot. I put on some nice clothing and drown my head in hair spray (Ahh yes, the days when I had thick wiley hair…) and I spritz on some cologne. Six finally comes and I wait at the same spot. I'm nervous, getting a little sweaty, and no one has yet to arrive. Right when I'm about to give up, a cute brown haired girl comes up to me. "Hey", I say. "Hey", she says. There was an awkward moment and then she said, "I didn't think you were going to show up." "Yeah, I thought this was going to be a joke on me so I thought the same thing about you." I remember after talking for a few minutes we took off down the beach and I thought things were going well. When she grabbed my hand, I thought VICTORY! I met her family at her condo and then we watched the sun set from a pier. As we were walking up and down the beach a kid ran by and told us there was going to be a beach party later on that night. She said she'd be there, but I had to ask my parents first. We headed back down the condos I was staying at and I told her I was going to run upstairs to ask my dad if I could go. She said alright and waited. Maybe I should've invited her up, I don't know…She introduced me to her family so in hindsight, all I did was leave her waiting.
I ended up working out the details with my dad, trying to get him to okay me going to the party, for about 10-
15 minutes. He finally said I could go so long as I was back by mid- night. I agreed and took off back downstairs. When I got back out to the beach she wasn't there. I waited for about thirty minutes and nothing. I took off down the beach looking for her, but nothing. So, I decided to go down to the area, where the party was and sure enough she was there. I watched as some dude kissed her and she kissed him back and threw her arms around his neck…I was crushed. She didn't even notice me. What could I do? I turned around and went back to my condo. When I got inside, dad was surprised to see me. "What happened to the party?" he asked. "I don't want to go. I'm just going to sit out on the balcony." The next day, I saw her out on the beach with her brother, but she just ignored me. I thought about going up to her, but decided to leave it alone. It sucked being rejected, but what could I do? I just continued to play with my brothers on the beach and hoped she didn't notice me.
It's now 5:48 pm. I just got done listening to some of the major world news and I'm out raged at Israel's behaviors towards civilian targets Lebanon… They were bombing ambulances from the Red Cross etc. I can't accept this no matter whether a terrorist group kicked off this whole mess or not. So…until the conflict ends, I've removed my Star of David from my necklace in protest of this war. You can't punish everyone in a country for another's actions; and certainly not civilians…
I went to rec a little while ago and had a really good, sweaty workout.
July 25th, 2006
I don't know what happened, but today started off sunny and bright, then, about an hour ago a storm came in out of nowhere. The plus side of things is that it's cooled down tremendously. It actually feels nice in this cell for a change.
I don't know why, but I didn't get much sleep last night. I tossed and turned, but figured that I'd be able to make up for it by sleeping in until 9 or ten in the morning. I'm in cell 49 and the first cell on this row is 43. So usually the guards start recreation with cell 43. But no, this guard today had to switch things up this morning and start on 49… So I got up at six for my recreation. I thought I'd be able to catch a nap, but it's been too noisy all day long to do so.
Last night they moved one of my friends, Jonathan, to "Death Watch". He was just issued an execution date for January. Death Watch is a section on A-
pod that they keep all of those with execution dates. I think I've said this before, but to me, doing it like that, is a form of psychological torture and mental anguish. I mean, how would you feel, if every week you watched a person be taken away to never return, all the while knowing your day is coming up. It's as if you can physically see Death creeping up on you; standing there with his sickle in hand, inching towards your cell door. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. What a freakin' sick ass society we live in…Well, at least it's not the old days where folks would gather around with picnic baskets and their children. Though, I'm not entirely sure that if they were allowed to still do that, they wouldn't…
I was looking at this picture of me and an ex-girlfriend I got recently. It really sent me back…Amazing how pictures can be little time machines. I don't remember when or who took this photo, but I remember the T-
shirt she's wearing and the necklace (actually a heart shaped locket with a picture of me and her brother inside…) The T- shirt was mine. Calvin and Hobbes used to be my very favorite comic strip, and the shirt was one of my faves; I gave it to her right before we started going out… I look kind of chunky in this photo, though. I don't remember being that fat. Haha. It's weird. She looks really pretty in this photo. I always remember her being beautiful to me. I was pretty much smitten, you know; that first love kind of thing. Ha Ha.
I guess what's crazy about it all is that I did always like her in high school. Kind of had a crush, but I was with this girl Amy at the time and then Amy and I had a bad break up. She and Amy were best friends and I was good friends with her and I thought that this split would cause the friendship to turn, because you know chicks stay loyal to their girlfriends and all. Haha…I remember trying to catch up with Amy, just to get some closure on things but she was avoiding me and so I found her in the dining hall. She was with the dude she dumped me for and I waited until he left. Then I went directly to the table she was sitting at and sat right next to her. We got into heated argument and then Amy said, "Do you want to make my life miserable?" And I said something like, "What the hell do you want me to do? Or do you want me to?" Then Amy got up and just started hitting me. It really shook me up and she ran off. To be fair, the day before, she and I were talking about everything in the grill (a school hang out) and when I found out she was cheating on me I got real mad, called her a bitch and pushed a table, then walked out of the grill…So, after Amy takes off I get up and start leaving, when I see Theresa standing by where we turned in our trays. I just go up to her and start crying and I put my head on her shoulder and she gives me some comfort and I say, "Don't let her get in the way of our friendship…" Theresa says, "I won't."
After that, I started hanging out with her more often. At first, my intent was not to go out with her or anything like that. I didn't even know if she liked me in that way. We were just enjoying ourselves. She had the lead role in a production of "The Phantom Of The Opera" and so at the end of the day I'd walk her to her practice. The rumor mill was that we were going to get together, but neither she nor I had expressed any of those thoughts. In a sense I also saw the opportunity to kind of get Amy back. Make her jealous and so one day she went home on a weekend break and I gave Theresa the Calvin and Hobbes T-
shirt. I knew Amy would flip, because I wouldn't ever give Amy that shirt and for her to see Theresa wearing it…But then some time during this, I realized I was starting to really like Theresa. I told her brother, Jim, and he got excited. "Dude, y'all are going to get married!" he said. "So…You're cool with this?" "Yeah! I'll even talk to her for you." Jim was like a brother to me and for him to say he approved of me wanting to hook up with his sister, was saying a lot.
Theresa and I talked about the idea of us going out and Amy had told her that I just wanted to make her jealous, which was in a way true, but also my crush on Theresa had manifested in a gigantic way. The only thing that was holding us back was that we were afraid to ruin the friendship should things not work…Then one day I decided I was going to ask her. I told my room mates and some others what I was going to do and I wrote a cute little thing on a napkin, just like a kid in elementary school would do. On the napkin I wrote … "Will you go out with me? Check one please…" Then, I drew two boxes; one with "Yes" and one with "No". I was just trying to be cute. And so, here she came into the grill, on the way to drama practice. I was nervous as hell and we talked for a minute and then I slid her the napkin. She looked at it for a second and then smiled and asked for a pen. She checked a box and then gave it to me. I opened the napkin up and it said… "Yes." I was quite relieved. Haha.
After that we were pretty much inseparable. I just wish I could've been myself through a lot of that relationship, but I was constantly lying for no good reason. I wanted to impress her, because to me she was the smartest person I'd ever met or known; awesome writer, awesome person. I was just such a confused insecure kid then. And she'd always tell me how good of a musician I was, what she saw in my eyes… And I didn't believe it enough within myself to be the person her and my friends loved. It's sad that it took me so long to figure that out, though. None of my actions were necessary. None of my lies were ever warranted. I just couldn't be me. So, this is what I see when I look at this picture right now. Why am I getting teary eyed??? Sheesh.
I think I always limit myself – to an extent – in any relationship I have, whether romantic or friendship, because I always wonder, "How long will this last??" And then I focus the wrong energy into doing all it takes for it to last. If that makes any sense…Instead, I shouldn't worry about whether a person is going to bail out on me, or what I have to do to sustain it. I should embrace it and live in the moment and accept it for what it is. Things happen for reasons and if it's not meant to be, it just isn't. This "life", universe, world, dimension has a way of coming through in the end – or at least opening up for you if you allow it to. Life is full of opportunities. Okay, so that doesn't entirely make sense on paper, but I see it clearly in this little peanut brain of mine. Haha.
Don't know if I'll be moved tonight or not. I've got a feeling I am, but it doesn't matter one way or the other. I'm just going to kick back and relax, read a book and think on things…
July 26th, 2006
It seems that it's stopped raining for a little bit. That's good 'cause I was supposed to go outside. I'd still go if it's raining, but I'd prefer to be dry for a little bit.
So where does one begin today??? My cell has a leak. What makes it even odder is the fact that I'm one row so how is the cell leaking through the ceiling when there's a cell right above me? I've been wiping up water all morning long 'cause I don't want to drown in here. Craziness, I tell you. This whole building is falling apart!
Something just happened an hour ago that shocked – SHOCKED – the heck out of me. A jury found Andrea Yates NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY, for the capital murder of her five children. I mean, they actually came to the absolute conclusion that something seriously was wrong with her mentally. I was all but sure a TEXAS JURY would blow it off as hog wash and send her to prison. Instead, she is now going to get the help she needs. IT'S ABOUT TIME! It's about time that folks pull their head out of their asses and realize that there's something to psychology and mental health in general. People need to understand, she is not going home or being set free, but will instead get the help she needs until a judge can decide whether she's ready to be set free or not. Mind you, politics will come into play there and more than likely she may never get that chance, but to me it's more about the principle of all of this. That a jury could actually consider mental health as a factor should be considered a factor.
For the last several years I've been reading/studying a lot about psychology and how the mind works, how we work as human beings – more so to understand myself than anything, but it's opened me up to a whole other world of logic. And when you accept this reality of things, that genetics, up bringing/environment do play a part in your behaviors...as a human it seems so obvious. It's in plain sight – you wonder why others can't or refuse to see it.
Well, I'll save the whole soap box lecture for another time, but I'm really happy and surprised to see that not all of us Texans are so back wooded as I thought. The odds of twelve jurors coming to this conclusion are just phenomenal…Oh, I had a pretty mind blowing theory on capital punishment last night and I wrote some notes on it down, but I want to think on it a little bit more, but I got the idea from a part of the book "Field Notes On The Compassionate Life". I was re-
reading a chapter on how behaviors can manifest into other behaviours, such as war, violence etc… Yet, in the same way if one strives for peace, that behavior can manifest itself within others also and change a violent perception into a peaceful one. So, if one was to apply the same logic to the death penalty – that the reason so many people support it is a manifestation of what's to be thought of as a completely moral and acceptable form of punishment… Death for Death…BUT if you were to get a large number of people to bring about change and find a more sound/non- violent solution, then it would more than likely manifest itself throughout the rest of society and the majority would no longer view Capital Punishment as a moral and acceptable form of punishment.
Well, I'm not entirely sure if this makes sense to anyone, but I'll work the kinks out of it and write a more articulate version later. I've read this book about five times now and each time I find a new nugget of logic and wisdom in it. It completely blows me away each time and you've got to READ IT. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE… Field Notes On The Compassionate Life by March Ian Barasch…
Hold tight… it's time for me to go to recreation… I shall return.
Jesus. I didn't think I'd return in 6½ hours! Right now, I'm standing here at my desk, it's 7:10 pm, and I'm soaking wet to the bone. Argh. Right when I got outside it started to pour for the next few hours and then some incident occurred on another pod and we were stuck out there until now. I'm hungry, I'm wet and frustrated. While I was outside I started some scream therapy thinking the guards would go out and see what's up, but it didn't even faze them. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "GET ME OUTTA HERE…AHHHHHHHH! ". Needless to say, I'm a little sore in the throat. Now I want to be FED and I want a SHOWER. But first, let's get my feet dried out. They're like big ol' prunes. Yech!
I'm in a poor mood; will write more when belly is full… Okay… Just ate some dried up nasty beans and a dried up peanut butter sandwich. Oh yum. I think this does it for me for the day.
July 27th, 2006
It seems the rain has stopped for good. I hope so, 'cause this cell has a leak and I'm tired of trying to monitor the leakage so I don't drown. Sheesh.
I woke up this morning very sore and worn out. I don't know what the deal was 'cause I didn't really do any exercising yesterday. Might be this worn out mattress. Hmmm. I'll probably stretch out here in a bit.
Very blah day. My brain is functioning on the level of a cashew. Haha. Don't know what to write about or even if I should be writing anything at all. I told myself I was going to start writing 2-
4 pages a day on this thing, but who knows. My mind is blank…I think I'll pause for about thirty minutes. Drink some coffee and see if I can't get going. If not, then this is going to be one boring entry. We need some excitement around this place. I mean, it's good that the majority of everyone is behaving, but I need something to write about!
While I'm waiting on this water to heat up, let me describe this funny comic I read earlier…In the first frame there's this guy with a USA hat on and he's reading a newspaper with a headline about the Israeli conflict. He says, "It's hard for me to get worked up about the Middle East conflict that doesn't really affect me or my-
- - ." Then in the next frame he looks up at a gas price sign that says, "Regular $4.09" and he's startled and xclaims, "Oh, the humanity! Give peace a chance!" Haha. So, true…
I'm back…Nope. Nothing happening in my brain. Guess I'll call today a loss to writers block. Sorry…
(A little writer's scream therapy and a waste of ribbon…)
July 28th, 2006
Another day. A hot one at that. I haven't really accomplished much today. I was screwed out of my recreation and I suppose I could've thrown a big fit about it, but I let it go. I was moved to F-
pod last night and I'm c- section. Their no rec. day is on Fridays and I just left B- pod d- section yesterday and their no rec. day is on Thursdays so…I asked the guard today if I could get my recreation, as I had none yesterday, and he flat out said, "No, they moved you here and we don't change the rules for inmates. You're not special…"So, I asked to speak to a supervising sergeant and I was given the run around on that. I just didn't feel like having a row about it today. Too hot and I'm in a pretty mellow zone… Plus, I'm extremely tired.
I stayed up until four in the morning listening to some program on an AM channel on my radio. Okay, don't laugh, but it was about aliens – an alien autopsy. And no, I don't mean alien as an immigrant. Haha. We're talking of the outer space sorts…Now, at first I thought it was going to be some cheesy talk show with all sorts of conspiracies and loonies calling in, but this turned into a four hour, overwhelmingly convincing piece. Whether it's real or not, it was presented in such a way YOU WANTED TO BELIEVE. Haha. The jury is still out with me on whether, "They've visited earth…" or not (stop rolling your eyes or laughing uncontrollably…!) BUT I do have to say that I believe there is something out there in this universe. It's incredibly naive for us to believe, as humans, that we are the only intelligent life in this NEVER ENDING UNIVERSE… But hey, that's just me
So, today I thought about telling this story of how I pulled a "mission impossible" to retrieve a note that was confiscated by my school's vice principle, Mr. Robinson (I pulled a similar move to retrieve my confiscated walkman from the Principle's office…Ugh.) The memory occurred when I was thinking about my impulsiveness and how out of control it was for a long, long time. My friend Dave once asked me if I just like to take risks, if I was that sort of person, and the answer is and was, NO. I just never thought about my actions before I did them. Something popped into my head and I wouldn't weigh the outcome. Would anybody be hurt in the process? Would it hurt me? Etc…
So, this particular time was the summer of 1994. I had returned from a school break at my friend Wayne's home in Ohio and my girlfriend of the time lived close to Wayne also, so we all spent time together. I lost my irginity to Amy on that school break…In one of my little notes to Amy I was talking about what having sex with her meant to me, blah, blah, blah and trying to figure out when we were going to do it again.
In our school we have a sort of assembly forty five minutes before lunch. This takes place in the school's chapel and we're usually given a real dry southern Baptist sermon about how we're all going to hell if we don't accept Christ…I called this "Nap Time"; ha-
ha. Amy was in a different class than me and when we went to chapel we were only allowed to sit with our class. I had the note so I asked someone to pass it to her. Mr. Robinson intercepted it as it was traveling through different hands. Now, this letter said we had sex and I was talking about having sex again…That was more than enough incriminating evidence to get us both kicked out. I completely panicked …
At the end of chapel I went directly to Amy. "Mr. Robinson confiscated a note I wrote to you." "So?" "Uhh; I'm talking about the sex we had over our break." Her eyes got real big and she looked panicked for a second. But an idea popped into my head. I knew Mr. Robinson would drop his bible off at his office and more than likely put the note with his other stuff. I was banking on the hopes that he hadn't read the note. I told Amy to dig through her back pack and find an old letter I wrote her. She did and handed it to me. I took off to the school building and the Vice Principal's office. Fortunately the building was empty. I looked through the glass of his office and saw the bible and the note sitting DIRECTLY ON TOP of it. I twisted the door knob and to my luck it was unlocked. I slipped in James Bond style and quickly switched notes. I exited quickly breathing a sigh of relief.
In hindsight and as funny as the story is, looking back, that was just a stupid, stupid thing for me to have done. Had I been caught I surely would've been kicked out of school… Yet, I didn't even bother to think about that. I look back and think about all the times I acted out without thinking about things. I try to figure out where the impulsiveness came from. I wish it wouldn't have taken so long for me to figure out how to control it. The wake up call was after the escape and somebody had been killed. I feel ashamed of myself for not having the foresight to think about those that could have been hurt, not just physically, but as a result of my escape. I only thought of myself.
These days I do think about things before I do them. Something will pop up into my head and now I have a check and balance system I give myself. How will it affect me, is it worth the chance or risk, and will anyone else be affected by this …? Not every psychological thing can be overcome by sheer will, but in this fashion I used self-
reflection to solve the problem, or at least get me through the tough spots.
Well, now I'm just waiting on the mail to be passed out. Then I'm going to read and listen to the radio.
So, as always… Peace.
July 31st, 2006
Hmmm...The last day of the month. I can't believe that next month marks the anniversary of the beginning of all the troubles that began last year. Who knew it's been that long? It also marks the anniversary of this journal. I was rereading all that I've written and I started out with really no direction or voice. But as the months went on my voice became stronger and more confident and the writing got better. Pretty cool to see the progress.
I just got back from the shower a few minutes ago. Right now I'm listening to some British sitcom on PBS and it's just a little after one in the afternoon. I didn't write any weekend entries because honestly it was very boring and I decided to take a break from writing. I wrote a couple of people, including my brother Wesley to see how he was doing. It's been a while since I've heard from him, which makes me sad. I think I'll write about him a little bit today…
Wesley is my biological brother. I'm three years older than him, and I've always loved and protected him the best that I could, but we used to fight a whole lot. I'm not trying to paint myself in a better light, 'cause there were times I’d go off and smack him for no reason, but generally he started the fights and arguments and he used to set me up to take the blame on many things.
He was always a little more hyper and aggressive than me, and sometimes he was like a little pit bull, but if anyone ever tried to hurt him, I was all over them. It was cool if I beat him up, but nobody else could lay a hand a him. Sometimes Wesley would take advantage of that and pick fights with the neighborhood kids or kids from our school and I'd have to clean up the mess. I used to say, "Wes, one of these days I'm just going to let someone kick the crap out of you...You need to learn the lesson that I'm not going to always be there to get you out of trouble.." That was my brotherly version of tough love. (shrug) But being the oldest meant that no matter what he did at home, I'd take the heat. There was one time me and him were painting the gate around our swimming pool for our Dad. Later that afternoon dad comes screaming around the house, "Randy! Randy, get your ass here right now!" "Man, whatever it is, I didn't do it! Why are you yelling at me?" "Wesley said you put a hand print in paint on the riding lawn mower." Dad yelled. "What!? I didn't do anything. I've been watching T.V." I protested. "Go out to the garage and we'll see." Dad said.
I went out to the garage and looked at the hood of the red riding lawn mower. Sure enough there was a black hand print smacked against it. "That's not my hand print." I said. "Do you want me to compare sizes? That’s Wes' hand print." Then I slapped my hand down on top, my hand clearly larger than his.. "Well, fine. You can clean it up, then." "What?' Thats not fair!" I cried. "Life's not fair." Dad said and walked off. Needless to say Wesley paid for it when I got finished. He didn’t even get in trouble for it. There were countless times I took the fall for him. Then there were times when we were like best friends. Whenever we'd go on vacations, I was in charge of watching him and surprisingly he would behave. We'd have a blast. We had an inside joke we used to do when at Disney World or Six Flags Amusement Park...It won’t translate well on paper - you'd have to see us do it, but we’d walk around for hours speaking gibberish, like a foreign language to make people think we were from another country. People would look at us crazy, but we’d laugh and laugh the rest of the day.
Two times that stand out the the most between him and I was when I was defending him. On a school break one day we were walking back from the mall. Between our neighborhood was a large elementary school and we'd always cut across the property to save time. When school was out their people would use the schools field to practice golf on. That day there was a man practicing his drive and balls were scattered everywhere. Wesley saw a ball and grabbed it, held it up in the air and yelled, "I got your ball mother fucker! "I thought it was pretty funny and neither of us even thought the man was paying attention.
We crossed the street and all of a sudden a car comes flying out of nowhere, cuts us off, and the golfer jumps out screaming at Wesley. I didn’t know what he was going to do, so I stepped in front of Wesley and said, "What the hell's wrong with you? He's just a kid.." "You son of a bitch I’ll kill you both!" The stranger barked. "Get back in your car. I don’t think you want to threaten us. I'm just a minor. You touch me, your ass is going to jail and I don’t think Chief Waybourn would like that too much either.." Chief Waybourn was my karate/boxing teacher, Wesley's little league coach, my Dad’s best friend, and the Chief Of Police in the town I lived in. "I don’t give a rat's ass, you two were stealing my golf balls." He lunged towards me and I pushed Wesley back. I brought my hands up to defend myself and then he stopped short. My whole body was shaking and I was mad as hell. "Get back in your car or we're going to press charges." He looked at me and Wesley and then turned around and got back in his car. When we got back home we told our parents what happened and my Dad called Chief Waybourn. Not five minutes later a police officer was talking to me nd my brother. They wanted to arrest the guy on terroristic threats. I don't think they found him.
Another time was when my brother Wesley had his finger chopped off at school. (I’m sure you remember this well, don't you Chris? Haha..) I was off in the gym for our school's free time. The gym had been pretty empty and I was flirting with this girl Daphne, who I was trying to go out with. Suddenly the gym doors swing open and Wesley walks through calling out my name. I look at him and then see the blood spurting from his hand. I ran over to him and things became like tunnel vision. Everyone around me said I picked him up and carried him, though I don't remember that part. I remember taking him over to the monitors, Ms. awson and Mrs. Garret. Mrs. Garret had the nerve to say, "Is this some kind of joke?" I looked at her wild eyed and said, "His fucking finger has been cut off! Does this look like a freakin' joke?" Ms. Lawson intervened and told me to calm down. She told someone to get his finger and they took off with Wesley to get a van to take him to the hospital. I ran back up to the dorm and started asking who did it. Somebody said Wesley had his hand in the frame of the door, when a kid named Scott kicked it from behind. The door slammed and popped my brother's middle finger off. "Where is Scott!?" I yelled. I wanted to wrap my hands around his neck.
I found the room he was in and kicked the door open. I was going right after him when about five or six kids grabbed me and held me back. Scott kept saying it was an accident. I turned around and went back into the hallway. Everyone getting out of my way. There was a big mounted water fountain and I kicked it as hard as I could about four times, warping the fountain and leaving it standing at a weird angle (It remained like that all the way until I left OBI). I walked outside to calm down. I looked down at my shirt and my brother's blood was all over it.
The van pulled up in front of the dormitory and Ms. Lawson told me to hop in and so I went to the hospital with Wesley. When we got there I called Dad back at home and told him what happened. "Do I need to fly down there?" "No, it's not that bad. They’re sewing it back on right now." I told him. I look back at those moments and kind of laugh. I just wish I could've been a better brother, not gotten locked up, not ended up on Death Row. You don't realize how important family is until you no longer have it. Especially with Wes 'cause I'm his blood brother. I'm all he's got in that area and it could be taken away from him if I'm to be killed…I hate to think about that, but it’s the grim reality of things. I can understand any anger and resentment he might have for me. Sigh...My life. No, can't say I’ve ever really had a dull moment in it.
I need to jog. I totally forgot to do my cardiovascular workout today. I’ve already showered so if I run in this hot cell I'm just going to sweat all over the place, but yet I have to do it so…guess I’ll just take a bath in my sink whenever I finish. Argh…!
I will return later and write about whatever there is to write about. Okay, so a few days ago I asked for excitement and now I’ve got it…I'm foggy on all of the details, but just a short while ago an inmate in the day room started arguing with another guy in his cell. Both are in different gangs…One White, one Mexican. They start calling each other bitches and ho’s, etc. All insults that are considered the highest level of disrespect in prison. Things chill out and it seems the fight is over when the guy in the day room climbs the bars up to two row to pass something…right when he gets to the top of the bars he's hit with a stream of urine. Yeah, very gross, I know. The white guy pissed in a bottle and then waited for the right moment to spray it on him…I live in a zoo!
Well now things are very tense. You can feel it in the air. In gangs this could be considered an act of war and more than likely the two gangs will probably go at it with each other for a while. Basically trying to throw poop and urine at each other. No telling. You know, this is how things can become out of control...Problems manifest themselves and turn into monsters. I guess if you’ve read the book The Lord Of The Flies, that's the best description I can give. We’re all humans, but why do we regress into animalistic behaviors? What in us is so primitive that results in murder, war or throwing piss and poop at each other? Have we just not shaken off that gene from the cave man days? Hmmm.
It’s calmed down a bit now, but I know it’s not dead. Somebody will try to do something when the moment is right. Now is the waiting game. Plotting, planning, waiting for an opportunity to strike back…Remember, it’s more about mental then physical…Should be close to dinner time. I can guess what I’m having. Haha. I think I’m going to eat some corn chips. I'm kind of hungry right now…
September 1st, 2006
We were finally served real cases -
they scaled back the language, no longer using "inciting offender to assault staff". I waived my 24 hour pre- hearing so I (should) go to court tonight on this mess. I know we will all be found guilty but hopefully the punishment will be minimal (it's now a minor infraction) and we will receive our level 1s back as it's no longer a level 2 offense. Still, I don't have much faith in that. I will write more on that when it happens.
Today was BORING. I didn't feel like doing squat. I was so depressed I just laid in bed and wished for the world to end (maybe it has and I'm just in purgatory). It's a holiday weekend so it's going to be super boring. I'm going to force myself to read/stay as busy as possible, but when you're as depressed as I am right now, it becomes very difficult. I almost didn't write a journal entry today. Not that what I'm writing right now is very spectacular or interesting. And so I scream to the heavens, WHY GOD WHY?!?!?! I wish I could join those horses across the field from this prison.
September 11th, 2006
I'm sorry I have not written an entry in about a week or so… Last week was kind of hard on me and I got really depressed. I couldn't really write anything at all. This whole situation is ridiculous. I mean, I feel like a possible 3 months of my life were just stolen right from me. I can't explain it. But being on death row; facing death each and every day… you value every little second of any sort of semi-
enjoyment. Whether it's listening to the radio or eating a bag of chips. It's not about any material want of something, more of a simple joy in simple pleasures.
My day started to the smell of riot gas; a guy over on level 3 refused to come in from outside. So, they gassed him and dragged him in. Once that happened, they did not allow the level 3 guys recreation and so they started some fires and flooded the walk ways by stopping up their toilets and sinks. It was so foggy with smoke throughout the pod. Madness ensued…I then went outside in hopes of playing some basketball. Well, when we got outside the rec yard was still covered in a white film of riot gas. We couldn't play 'cause every time you would bounce the ball, the gas would fly up in our faces causing us to sneeze a lot. Our skin had a mild burning sensation to it also.
I spent most of the day reading and now I'm just waiting on mail. I'm reading a really good book right now called "Ghost Road Blues" by Jonathan Maberry. It's a thriller/harder book and it's some of the best writing in this genre I've read in a long time. A very tightly woven story with plenty of suspense. Right now it's like a run away frieght train. I had trouble putting it down. It's supposed to be the first book in a trilogy - I can't wait for the next ones! So let's see, so far I've read…"The Taking" by Dean Koontz (crappy hog wash ending) "Pandora's Drive", various history books, a book of facts and knowledge, a medical thriller, "Off Season" a book about crazed cannibals...all sorts of good stuff! Anything to pass the time…
Got my mail and was really touched to receive a post card from the author/artist Jeffrey Brown; I wrote him a while back (on a whim) to say how much I enjoyed his book. I never expected to receive a reply, but it was so cool that he replied. If anyone wants to read some very touching, personal stuff, you must get his work. I'm debating on whether I should write him again...I feel I want to say, "thank you", but then I don't want to come off as some stalker fan/death row guy. So, if by chance he's reading this, thanks, Jeffrey. Thank you for saying my life is worthwhile. I do try to be the best person I can be these days, and I do hope that people can learn from my own bad choices and mistakes in life.
I suppose on that note I will get ready for bed and close this up.
Peace and love.
September 12th, 2006
It rained last night. It felt good to hear the pitter patter sound of the drops smack against the window. Too bad there was no thunder. I woke up this morning and began to write. Right now it's 1:50 p.m. and I was waiting to go outside, but that fell through and I'm going to go to B-
section to talk to a friend. I'm probably going to do a 30 minute work out real quick to get it out of the way.
I wish I had something to say, but I'm kind of drawing a blank. I just wanted to say that I'm okay and trying to hold my head up. It gets hard at times, more difficult than you could ever realize. You get tired, feel drained, but…it is my life and I have to deal with it, I suppose. I didn't intend on this being depressing so I will close this up. Maybe my writing will get better. I never expected that being on level 2 would have me feeling like this. I thought maybe my writing would be a little more inspiring. Guess I was wrong …
September 13th, 2006
"Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me…happy birthday to meeeee. Happy birth-
day to me." Had to sing it to myself ‘cause nobody else would. I told a female guard, "Hey, it’s my birthday can I get a "happy birthday"?" She kind of glared at me and snorted, "huh". Man...
Geeze, Im 29. At the door step of 30. I'm practically bald, got hair everywhere else on my body…yet, somehow I still feel trapped in 1996. Crazy. I thought I'd be depressed, but really I'm not. I've kept pretty busy today. Did some cross word puzzles, wrote a little, straightened out my cell, gave away some books that I read and were taking up space. And it's a beautiful day outside. It doesn’t even feel like we hit 90 degrees. Come on autumn. Please…let us have a normal autumn this year.
Things have been relatively calm today. I'm happy for that. It seems the past few weeks have been filled with so much chaos and unrest. I haven't been on a normal pod now in over a month so I don't know what the morale is like there. Most people on the discipline pod feed off of the madness. I wish I could study guys down here; talk to them, figure out what kind of backgrounds they come from. The thing that bothers me the most is seeing the severely mentally troubled people back here and how they are treated. I've never understood why the authorities even bother writing them discipline cases. They don't have the ability to comprehend that they are being punished. I doubt they even fully comprehend the fact that they are just cattle waiting to be slaughtered. For example, there's a black man they just moved to this section a few nights ago. Truly troubled. He's not aggressive, not violent. He has a mental disorder and is incapable of taking care of his own hygiene. He can’t clean up after himself and never cleaned his cell. So, what do they do? Write him a case for being dirty. And then, the "psych department" allows for the case to go through instead of explaining to the guards, "uh hey…he's kind of out there and can't take care of himself." I mean shit, the guy is so doped up he can barely talk as it is. To me this is just barbaric treatment. I’ll take my unfair punishment, but let this guy go back to level 1.
Dinner was alright. We basically had breakfast; pancakes, oatmeal, applesauce and cereal. Better than eating beans, that's for sure. Right now I'm waiting to see if I’ll be moved to another cell. I kind of hope I am. Well, guess I’ll stop here for the day. I just started a political book by P. J. O’Rourke called Parliament Of Whores. It’s about the U.S. government. Should be interesting.
As ever…Peace, and oh yeah, happy birthday to me.
September 15th, 2006
Ah...Another day in purgatory. Gotta love it! Can you tell I’m being sarcastic?? No, seriously…today was extremely boring. I had planned on doing some reading, but instead just stared at the wall and out my window. I’ve got the biggest caffeine withdrawal headache I’ve ever had! I was doing okay, but then…Wham! You would think I had been on a 20 day crack binge or something. No, I’ve never smoked crack! My coffee stash (I had to hide it from the authorities ‘cause on level 2 you’re not supposed to have any food or drinks) wasn’t going to last forever, I just didn’t expect it to run out so fast. Anyways, I’ve got a headache and I’m feeling very lethargic.
It’s 7:34 p.m. right now and the sun is setting. Not a very spectacular sunset, either. Most of the sky is a navy blue, except for a small slash of neon orange across the horizon.
I was moved to 38 cell last night. I’m still on E-
pod, as I’ve been for the past 3 ½ weeks now. The cell is alright, good view, but with the desk on the right side of the cell, so it’s messing up my feng shui. I don’t know, it’s kind of got me all off. That’s weird, isn’t it? Oh, and this is the section that all of the ‘trouble’ started on. Wouldn’t it be my wonderful luck if I was to be here and they got into trouble again? Haha?
I was talking to someone over here who said they talked to a lieutenant and the lieutenant promised we were only going to be punished for 30 days. I’m cautiously optimistic. It would be wonderful if it was the truth, though. If so, it would mean I’d be back on level 1 on the 25th or 26th. I can handle that. Lets hope its true.
Oh! I got my ‘happy birthday’ comments and such and I wanted to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday. You don't really ‘know’ me, yet still, you have the kind hearts to wish a stranger a happy birthday. Thank you.
Hmmm…not much else going on around here. Just waiting on the mail now. I really don’t expect much, but who knows?
Peace and bless you all.
September 17th, 2006
A boring weekend has finally come to a finish. I'm sitting here with a damp sheet hanging above my head. I did laundry today -
hand washed everything and now I’m winding down for the day. After I finish this entry I’ll read a bit. I just started another horror novel called "A House Divided". I’m kind of getting hooked on these hack books. They’re good for a quick read.
I wish I had something to write about, but I’m having writer's block again and I’ll just ramble on and on about nothing -
so I’ll spare this journal that waste of paper and time.
I know, I suck. Don’t remind me.
September 18th, 2006
I've been running a lot today. It's a little humid, but not all too uncomfortable.
My attorney stopped by, well he had to see someone else, but he pulled me out to buy me lunch, which was really kind of him. I had a salad, a bag of Funyuns, and a soda. He basically told me my appeals are still on hold and will be until after the first of January…I'm not complaining.
I got up about 6am this morning, went to recreation and jogged for a little bit, then came back in to read. I really haven't done a whole lot else. I was thinking about a comment someone sent to me in response to something I wrote, about how I said those who talk about being anti-
death penalty should get out and do more…they basically said they were limited in what they could do because of health problems…I think everyone does their part in their own way. Whether it's rallies, or sending out newsletters. That's great and awesome and most of us back here on Death Row are always grateful for the support. My point was that I just can't believe people would argue over being more "anti" than another. I think it's a waste of time and effort - and usually those who roar the loudest, tend to be the ones who actually don't do much at all. As we say in prison; "don't talk about it, be about it". There's no point in fighting amongst yourselves. Find some middle ground and work on a plausible solution together.
A friend recently told me that our society is more reaction than proaction. I completely agree. It's why our whole political system is so whacked today. Anyways, my point is every little bit counts, so do what you can.
September 20th, 2006
Hmmm…writer's block really sucks. I swear, I need to get motivated here. I think my middle name has become "Sloth" 'cause all I want to do is read, eat crap, and sleep. I know…pathetic.
Well, things have still been pretty uneventful. I'm reading a sci-
fi/medical thriller called "Gravity", and it's pretty good. I went outside and it was kind of chilly this morning. I was so happy! You have to understand this time last year it was still 80 degrees in the morning, so to step out into 63 degree weather is invigorating. Hopefully we will have some semblance of Autumn this year. I love fall weather. I love winter, also. I just wish I was back in Kentucky to experience it. *SIGH*
Okay. Okay. Okay… I promise to get back into normal writing more. Tell some stories, reflect on something. Stop whining. Stop being a complete bore! I will. I promise. Tomorrow I'll write about something. Hahaha. I'm losing it -
I really am...Level 2 is so much fun! Well, it's time for me to get back to being slothful so… I will close here.
Peace and Love
September 24th, 2006
It's a cool rainy Sunday. My window view stinks to high heaven, so I can't really see what it looks like outside. My view consists of the concrete back side of another pod, and a slash of gray and white hanging above that. Kind of depressing, to be honest.
I'm anticipating tomorrow and the big "review date" of whether I'm going to be unfairly punished for another 60 days or not. I'm trying to not dwell on the possible/half expected outcome, but who knows? Maybe a miracle will happen - that would be nice, but at this point, a pipe dream. In the meanwhile, I'm running out of books to read and occupy my time with. I just finished a thriller called "The Sinner" and a short story collection of folk tales called "The Man Who Swam With Beavers." That was pretty good. It gave a modern twist to old native American legends.
Over here, anytime you leave your cell for recreation or a shower or even to receive a food tray, a sergeant or ranking official has to be present. It kind of sucks. It's not as loud as I figured it might be so I deal with it. I'm still writing a grievance though. I thought I'd share this crazy thing I have with certain foods. I think I've shared my abhorrence of broccoli and cauliflower…the smell alone makes me want to gag, but even stranger is this weird thing I do with certain foods, even foods that I like…If a vegetable or food resembles anything that once was a slimy creature, lets say a slug or maybe an insect, I cannot eat it. And when I used to eat meat; if I could imagine what the animal once was in its lively state, I couldn't eat it…I'll give an example. Now, mushrooms are pretty tasty, right? They're good in certain soups and foods like pizza, but you know how when you sauté a mushroom it starts looking slimy and kind of resembles an earth worm being fried alive? Nope, can no longer eat it. Haha. Same with sautéed onions, etc. So long as I don't actually see it being cooked, it's all good. It's delicious, yum yum yummy for my tummy, but if I can imagine it being a slug, worm, etc. no way! It was the same way with things like lobsters and crabs. I found it very macabre to be cracking open a tail or snacking away on a pair of limbs, and if I saw a whole hen or turkey before me headless and plump… I'd have to block the image of it being a live breathing animal running around, content in it's little bird life until it's suddenly beheaded and plucked so that we can snack away on it in front of our televisions. Okay, so I exaggerated a little bit, but still when you think about it, it is kind of gross. Maybe I always had a budding vegetarian in me all this time and never recognized it? Hmmm. Still, I can be a little strange with my foods and having a crazy imagination never helped much at all.
I've got a couple of books left. I'm trying to figure out what I want to read next, and to be quite honest, I'm getting burnt out. I'm well over 20 something books in a 20 days period. Craziness. That's what a boring radio-
less life will do to you. I NEED MY MUSIC BACK!!! AHHHHHHHH!
Alright, well, think I'll close here...
September 25th, 2006
"Where there is love there is life"
Well, it's 7:55pm, and I should be depressed as hell, but oddly enough I'm not. Today was a beautiful autumn tinged day. I mean, it was perfect in a weather sense. The sky was blue, the sun was shining brightly…when I went outside a little before noon it was so cool. I'd guess high 70's. I felt so…energized…alive...as the cool fresh air filled my lungs. My caffeine withdrawal, lethargic feeling was gone. I was like a bolt of lightning with the amount of energy I had. The guy I played ball with ended up smashing me 29 to 1...I played horribly but I couldn't care less. It felt so good to play and run. To feel the first tell tale signs of autumn reaching her arms around me. I love autumn.
When I came in I did some laundry and read a little as I waited on my shower. I was anticipating the decision of whether mine and the others' punishment would be 30 or 90 days and as the day passed I realized it was going to be 90 days. It's messed up, and unfair that we should be punished for so long, but they have all of the control. It's sad that they (prison officials) can mess with someone's life in this way, but I know karma will catch up with them...
To add to what I should've been depressed about even more…It's been almost 2 weeks now that I've not heard from my ex-
wife. About 3 weeks ago we agreed to try to work equally to salvage our friendship and it seems I'm doing all of the work. I don't know how much patience I will have with this. Why try if the other side doesn't seem to want to try also? But…I'm not depressed...I still feel good, and I'm happy. I'm truly going to try to make the best of the next 60 days. I calculated when my punishment will end and I should be back on level 1 the day before Thanksgiving. Woohoo!! So maybe, just maybe I won't miss my yearly tradition of listening to the Maly's Thanksgiving Day parade on NBC. I know it sounds silly, but it's something I do. And hey, I may be Jewish, but I love the Christmas season. All the music, the commercials, the movies, the cookies!!! Oh yeah...
So, while some bad things happened today, I'm still going to remain focused and positive and try to plow on through the crap.
Guess I'll close here and say...Peace
September 26th, 2006
"Life is just a chance to grow a soul"
Well, today was a whole lot of nothing. I spent the day reading a book adaptation of the "X-
Men III" movie. It sucked. My neighbor just sent me the most recent Stephen King book "Cell". It's started out pretty weird, but it's not bad.
The weather is still fantastic. I wish I could've gone outside today, but I had my recreation inside. I'm 100% sure that I'm doing 90 days on level 2. It kind of had me a little bummed today. I guess I'm shocked that the officials can get away with this and they know it's unfair and wrong. But like I said, I guess I'll just have to make the best of a bad thing -
just 59 days left. Oh boy. I think I'm going to put up a counter on my MySpace page. Haha.
Much more to write tomorrow.
Peace and good night.