Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Name Calling

Sometimes given names aren't the worst. Parents can saddle their children with some hideous burdens for names, but occasionally the names we give ourselves are the worst. Almost everybody on the prison grounds has a "yard name". It's either something they've thought up themselves or sometimes it's something they've gotten stuck with unintentionally. We see alot of the gang-related hip-hop sort of handles like D-Boy and J-Dawg (everybody wants to be named something-dawg for some stupid reason) and E-Cat. And regional names like Eastside and Detroit and Los Angeles. There was a kid once who called himself Russia, trying to sound exotic. I know a couple of words in russian and they are insults and he didn't understand either one of them. Turned out he was from Ohio. And of course, there's a thousand guys named Slim. And we gots a bazillion Big this and Little that.

Occasionally someone will try to make up a name for themselves and it comes out sounding completely stupid. We had a couple of guys several years ago who called themselves Sandman and White Knight. Sounded like CB handles. They slung those names around like they were somebody and everyone should know who they were. We did. They were two of the most pathetic losers I had ever come across.

Some of the names are self-explanatory. When you meet a man named Miss Anne, or Kiki or Precious or Lucy then you know exactly who you are talking to. If you run across some buzzed out freak with no teeth calling himself Meth Head you can just say "Yup" and move on.

But some of the names are repulsive to say the least and would be insulting under any circumstances. If you walked up to someone out on the streets and called them Fat Bastard or Donkey Mouth or Creep they'd probably smack you right in the beezer. But inside the fence it's just fine. I've been called some nasty names, but none of them ever stuck.

In the old days nicknames weren't quite so harsh. Of course there was Creepy Carpis and Fat Tony (who could forget Fat Tony?) but we also had Pretty Boy Floyd and Machine Gun Kelly and Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano and Bugs Moran. Just don't call him Bugs to his face.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Watching People Work

We have someone new in our house. One of the yard dogs has come to play with us. I'll call him "Big H", or just BH for short. Seems like a decent enough cat. When he was out on the yard he was always coming down to do our escorts and stuff and he appears to not mind working, which is a good thing. Yesterday I had the desk job and today he took it. I asked him if he really wanted it, tuesday being one of our busiest days. He said he'd give it a try. "But" he said "If we get slammed, you'll have to help me out, probably." I said I would help if he needed it and toddled off to start AdSeg committee and such. The things we get hammered with on tuesdays. I looked in now and then and BH seemed to be doing fine.

It turns out that I really don't like watching other people work. It drives me crackers. Not that was doing a bad job or anything. He was doing fine. But he wasn't doing things in the order that I would have done them and in the time I would have done them. I kept seeing things not done and running in and doing them for him. And I had forgotten that he'd only done the desk two or three times and didn't know everything. I'd run in and say "Where's the (insert thing here)?" And he'd say "I didn't know we did that!" That happened several times during the day.

I'm not a very good teacher, either. I don't have the patience. I'd rather just do it myself than teach someone how and I shouldn't be like that. Alot of that stems from having so many staff there who don't give a rats a** and are more than happy for you to do it if you know how. BH is trying to learn the job and I should have more patience. Unfortunately, patience is not something I have an overabundance of at this time.

I really should do something about that. I think I need to relax.

Yeah. I'll write that on my "to do" list.

We got through the day okay and nothing got screwed up. Well, not more than usual, anyway. I think BH will work out fine. But I purely do hate watching someone else work.

Man! I'm glad it's my friday......

Monday, December 29, 2008

And Time Flies Like An Arrow

Five years and six months ago I started work with the DOC. Seven moths ago I went from evening shift to days. Only four months ago I discovered blogs, blogging, and all the merry blogsterizers out there. It seems much longer than that. I feel like I've been sitting here doing this for years. Of course, if I had been, I'd probably be able to think of much more things to say.

I need to start keeping notes and occasionally writing a few entries ahead for these dry days when nothing much happens.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Blustery Day

No poo. Or Pooh. No bees, hunny, rabbit, piglet or owl either. But a blustery day nonetheless. Last week this time we had freezing rain and sleet. Today was almost seventy degrees outside. Unseasonably warm and unseasonably dangerous. I believe we might still be under a tornado warning. Was hotter than hell out in the wings and I went down to turn the big heaters off. The whinebags in the cells started crying and cursing me. Quoth one knucklehead "Hey you fat bit**! Turn the fu**ing heat back on!" I hope the poor wee lad isn't too cold tonight. There's a few CO's that don't know where the heat controls are. I hope they are all on shift tonight.

Pretty much a nothing day. I needed one of those.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Time Well Spent

Time well, spent, indeed. This is where the big bada** CO turns into a little kid. My dad and stepmom know that I have kind of a thing for dragons. SO I get alot of dragon stuff. They got me the big dragon book on the lower left for my birthday back in october and the other two for christmas. The other big one contained twelve cardboard dragon models. The kind you have to fit the slots together.... you know. They were kind of a pain to do with these big clummocky fingers I got but my daughter has long slender fingers and she helped out "poor old dad" with his toys. Together we spent a few hours going through the books and putting the models together. I think she actually had more fun doing that than playing guitar hero. But she wouldn't admit to that in a bazillion years.

Tomorrow I get to go back to being a professional jerk. Today I got to play with models and figure out puzzles and get beat at wii bowling by my daughter. Snap, she even beat me at wii golf! Me! I may never live it down.......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

The first time in five years I have had off for christmas. If you don't count the year I was sick for two days. I'm just glad I'm here and not there, for a change.

Hope you all have a very merry christmas, hanukkah, kwanzaa, or whatever it is you celebrate.

I'm looking forward to a silent night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Black Tuesday

'Twas the day before the day before Christmas and all through the house....... everything and everybody was freaking nuts. I have a real love/hate relationship with tuesdays. Tuesday is my friday, and it's the busiest day of my week.

The head pshrink lady came down and saw all the offenders on suicide watch and close obs. She released three of them completely off watch, since their actions were mostly behavioral rather than actual mental issues, and left the one guy with real mental issues on close obs. This included PB, who got all of his clothes and his property back. We thought maybe he had learned his lesson and was going to behave himself and lay down and do his time.

As soon as she was done we started the AdSeg committee. Whew. Twenty four inmates to pull out and interview. Only one of them got stupid and had to be "escorted" back into his cell. I kept waiting to hear a "thump"...... but he went back fairly peacefully despite the fact that his pie hole flapped open the whole way back. Some people never learn not to bite that hand the "literally" feeds them.

I was on the desk, btw. The whole boards and breakdowns and computers and number juggling thing. Snap. I've still got eraser spoogles under my fingernails.

As soon as they are done they bring me the list of those offenders being released from the house. Seventeen of them. Yikes!

Oh, and while all this was going on, the phone kept ringing and they were steadily locking people up. I believe ten lockups while I was there with two more on the way as I was leaving. It was a real juggling act going on out in the sallyport and another involving numbers and files and paperwork in the office. My numbers changed so many times I almost erased through the paper and I have a crick in my neck from writing and holding the phone to my ear at the same time.

And during all of this PB gets the idea first that he's going to be released, since he's no longer on suicide watch. He demands to go to a regular house. When we explain that he's racked up enough violations to be with us until march, he's not real happy. Then he says there are other people in the cell with him (there aren't and he knows it) and he demands to be moved to another cell with a real cellie. This kid has just not figured out that making demands isn't going to work for him. That doesn't work either. So he smears food (just peanut butter this time) on his cell camera. It's my guess he'll be back on suicide watch before I come back on friday.

I could have kissed the third shift guys when they came in. If I didn't think they'd like it and get the wrong idea, I might have. (grin)

Thus ended tuesday/friday. Me, I'm gonna hibernate for the next two days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quite A Fine Mess!

Oh what a day we had. The regular bubble guy took another day off, the evil basticule, and I got stuck up there again. And we were busy. Nothing crazy, just one thing after another. People coming and going. And I firmly believe they watch from the office for my butt to hit that chair and they all decided to run in different directions. I hit the ground running from the word "go" and didn't stop until I left.

About nine thirty I noticed there was water dripping from the ceiling right above my door. I climbed up above the bathroom and stuck my head up through the ceiling tiles and could see a valve that was leaking pretty fast. I called and let the Sarge know and he called maintenance. They show up about 11:45, right when we're in the middle of feeding lunch and doing med pass, of course. They shut off all the water in the house (which they had to do, there being insufficient cut-off valves anywhere) and drain down the lines. Well, it's a big building and it takes awhile for the lines to drain down. Eventually one guy says "It should be okay, go ahead and cut it." The dude up top cuts the line and water proceeds to spew everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It floods out the bathroom and maybe a quarter of the bubble where I'm standing. And of course the bubble is full of all kinds of electrical equipment, including the main breaker panels for the whole house. Oh snap! I'm looking down at the little rubber mat I'm standing on and hope it will protect me.

Well the water finally quits and the whole bubble is steamy and of course, nothing stopped in the house while I was dealing with that. I didn't really expect it to, but it would have made my life a whole lot easier. My windows were foggy and I couldn't hear above the noise of the water and the stupid inmates were all screaming "Turn our water back on, a**hole!"

I was so pleased.

Took them a couple of hours, but they finally got it fixed and the water turned back on and they left to go deal with some frozen pipes. I got a mop from our dorm worker and started trying to clean up the mess. I mopped and wrung and mopped and wrung and swept water and bits of soggy ceiling tile and insulation out the door until the next shift came on. And of course, people were still running in and out like it was all I had to do was open the freaking doors for them. Finally I got BA to come up and run the bubble while I cleaned. (your secret's out btw, dude) With his help I managed to get most of the carnage swept away.

I'm tired.

Tomorrow I get to go do it all over again. Yay!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Keeping My Hopes Up

My old job on evening shift has come back up for bid. Still in the Adseg unit, just on a different shift and doing different things. Taking the knuckleheads outside for recreation. It was what I did for four years before coming to day shift. It's not a bad job, in retrospect. I was getting pretty tired of doing rec all the time. But after the craziness of day shift it will probably seem like a vacation.

It's funny. I think in the long run I worked harder and more constantly on evenings. And I had alot more "hands on" contact with the offenders (and thus more uses of force) than I have right now on day shift. On an average day we took out four rounds of eight offenders out to the rec yard. That's thirty two times putting the cuffs on and taking them off. Add a medication pass or sometimes two and you might double that. One real busy day I counted that I applied and removed seventy sets of handcuffs.

But I'm alot more stressed on day shift. Too many eyes watching to see if all the i's are crossed and the t's are dotted, I guess. On evenings if we didn't screw up, we never saw anybody else all shift some nights. A lieutenant might wander down every now and then if the weather's nice to see how things are going. But for the most part, they left us to do our job because they knew we knew how to do it. There's only a couple people left out of my old crew down there now. If I get the job, I'll have to see how they work and how I can work myself back in with them. And I'd have to change my sleeping habits all over again. Gonna be a cranky Rev.

I hope I get the job. It will probably be at least a week before I know if I got it or not and another two weeks after that before I start.

It's going to be a long week. Or possibly three.

A Lesson Learned (maybe)

A lesson learned on both sides of the door. PB (The inmate formerly known as Poop Boy), has laid down and behaved himself for right about twenty four hours, so far. Maybe the combination of being naked except for his home made garnish for several hours and the meal loaf has taught him that being an idiot will not look good on his resume'. And we, apparently, in the business of the day, neglected to fill out the Alternate Meals Request Form yesterday. Snap! I'm not pointing fingers or blaming anyone. I'm as much at fault as anyone for not catching it and making sure it was done. So PB gets to go back to bag lunches with cheese sandwiches and cookies. He only got nine meals of the loaf instead of going on to eighteen more. Our fault. Now that we've caught it, that won't happen again.

And, if the lesson gets forgotten in the next thirty days, we can go right back to the loaf again with no problems. Hopefully we won't have to. Most days I can do without the extra drama. Having to raise 175 of someone else's children for eight hours a day is often enough drama for me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Poop Boy Strikes Again!!!

The little snit was at it again this morning. Right after the Pshrink came down to see him and he went back into the cell. I looked up at the camera, and there he was painting again. And on my monday, too. The little creep. We called the lieutenant who said "We'll get it cleaned up... eventually." Let him sit in the stink for awhile and then about the time we were going to get him out for a shower and cleaning, he covered the window of his cell door with his smock and blanket. Nobody really wanted to rush in on him, since he was covered in poop, so they did the next best thing: They opened the chuckhole in the door and pulled the smock and blanket out and left him in there wearing nothing but poop.

Plus, he got himself on the meal loaf. I'll bet that was a new experience for him. Don't know if I've mentioned the loaf before. Here's the recipe:
Take EVERYTHING that goes in the meal, ie: entree, salad, soup, starch, dessert and drink.
Put it ALL in a blender set on "puree" and whizzz it into a soupy glop.
Pour the resulting gunk into a loaf pan and bake until golden brown.
Place into the freezer until almost frozen.
Serve cold.

Works every time. It's hideous. Worse than Borscht, which if you don't know is a cold beet soup. Vile stuff. Hardly anybody can eat it and not gag. Maybe russians or hardcore Scots. I imagine anyone who could eat haggis could eat the loaf. But not me. Tried a bite once. Phew! Nassy.

Anyway, as it turns out we had a hard time locating the biohazard worker and it took a couple of hours before we could get him there to clean up the mess. And poor PB was in there with nothing but his birthday suit and chocolate frosting to keep him warm. It was so pitiful it was like watching christmas shows on Lifetime Channel. I nearly had to smile, I felt so bad.

Lunch today would have been his last meal on the loaf, but his little trick this morning earned him another eighteen meals of it! Oh, the humanity! (grin)

And the little snit better behave tomorrow because I'm going to be down there dealing with him myself. Not in the mood for poop, thank you....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And I'd Like To Thank.....

Everyone who has been reading this.  You guys have really kept me going.  This thing first started out as just a rant and relief to let me blow off steam.  Now thanks to you guys it's become something a little more. 

The picture above is from my Statcounter account.  My "recent visitors" map.  It shows me who has been visiting and where they are from.  I check it from time to time and it always makes me smile.  I'm getting to where I can recognize some of my regular readers, like Bad Actor and Auntie and Donna and Loopy and g and Guy by their isp.  And I see alot of repeat readers who are there regularly, even if I don't know who they are.

It seems I have some hardcore readers up in Michigan.  I've seen many repeat visits from Talor, Detroit (Go Motor City!), Eastpointe, Flint and Lapeer.  Yeah!  Hope you guys aint frozen in up there.

And in the Great Pacific Northwet I've got regular readers in Washington from Kennewick, Arlington, Everett, Mukilteo, Kent, Elma, Onalaska (Onalaska?), PeEll (?), and Winlock.  And down in Oregon I've got my regulars all the way from Warrenton (warntn), Astoria (of course) and all the way down to Brownsville.

And of course, I've got my regulars here in the Midwest Lead Bible Belt.  Kansas and Missouri and Arkansas and Kentucky and Illinois.  Even a few more here and there from Toronto and Gatineau Canada and all the way down to Houston, Texas, Spring Hill and Hobe Sound, Florida and Torrance and Sunnyvale, California.

I just want to say you guys rock and thanks for letting me vent.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't Get Me Wrong

I may have come off a little heavy-handed on that last post.  Reading back and it looks like all I want to do is beat up inmates.  That's not me at all.  If you ask anyone I work with, I'm usually the last one to resort to violence.  I spend wayyy more time avoiding that kind of thing than I do condoning it.  I consider that to be the very last resort.  There's a thing called the "Use of Force Continuum" and it outlines the steps that should be taken in dealing with an offender.  The steps are:

Psychological (when just being there is enough)

Verbal (saying "Stop!" and making it work)

Soft Empty Hand (taking them by the arm and pulling them away without resistance)

Hard Empty Hand (grabbing, bending, putting on the ground, etc)

Pepper Spray (making them cry)

Intermediate (hard blows, kicks and "environmental" weapons)

Deadly (self-explanatory.  Really hope I never have to use that one)

In all my time I've never gotten past Pepper Spray.  Hope to never need to.  But I'm always prepared, just in case.  You just never know how some of these knuckleheads are going to react.  A few of my felloow staff have been hurt severely because they weren't prepared to react.  Not like I'm always "on guard" because sometimes I get caught off base and don't react in time, at least in retrospect.  That last little fracas, for example.  The one where I hurt my finger with the cuffs.  If I would have contained him a little sooner, it wouldn't have happened.  A couple of people who watched the video remarked on that and I agreed.  But hindsight is always 20/20.

The point of it is, I don't go inside every day looking to kick a** and take names.  I go in looking to go home in eight hours with all of my skin still intact.  But I also go in with an eye towards making things easier for both myself and other staff and if that includes making one of those little knuckleheads cry and maybe even bleed, then so be it.  They make their choices and we have to make ours.  I'm not going to go in and beat up an inmate just because he pisses me off.  But if he makes a choice that endangers myself, other staff or even state property and chooses to escalate or refuses to de-escalate the situation, then I'm going to do my damndest to make sure that he pays the consequences for his actions.

I just wanted to clear that up.  I'm not a violent person.  But even a pacifist will come out swinging if you back him into a corner.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He's Just Misunderstood

Yeah, right.

Got really really pissed off today. Really mad. Managed not to break anything or anyone. Just went outside and smoked and paced and froze and paced and smoked until I was too cold to be mad anymore and went back inside.

Young knucklehead from the other day started playing his games again. The Head Pshrink came down to see him this morning and recommended that he be given a mattress so he can lay down and be more comfortable, but told him that his behavior would determine whether or not he got to keep it. So he had a suicide smock, a suicide blanket and a plain foam mattress in the cell and nothing else. But it was more than he had the night before. About an hour later we notice that his cell camera was covered with something. An officer went into the wing and came back to report he'd smeared the camera and his cell with his own brand of tempura paint. To be more precise, he used sh*t.

Sarge and I and another officer went in and he stated "If you touch me, I'll throw sh*t on you." I was ready to go in and show him that wasn't a real good idea, but cooler heads prevailed and we got him out and put on the restraint bench to get his cell cleaned. The decision was made to put him back in the cell once it was cleaned without the mattress. Well, just like the other day he refused to go back into the cell and started making demands. He wanted a shower, and a mattress and a new blanket and a cup to drink out of and something besides tap water to drink.

There's a big sign in the main control center that states "WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE IN HOSTAGE SITUATIONS". I've taken that to heart. When an inmate backs into a corner and starts making demands, I've always cut them off and said "No. You give me what I want and you won't get hurt. End of discussion." It's always worked up to this point.

So here was this little knucklehead basically taking my restraint bench hostage and making demands. Me, I was ready for almost any scenario from leaving him there til his legs froze off to picking him up and planting him firmly back in the cell. But I wasn't in charge. Another Pshrink was coming down to talk to him so they left it in his hands.

This other Pshrink finally comes wandering in and talks to the kid for half an hour or so and the upscut of it is, he's promised this punk everything he wanted! When I heard him say that I wanted to....... do something not good for my career in the department.

So they gave him a shower and his mattress back and a new blanket. The Captain called down and said "Do not give him a cup under any circumstances. If he's threatening to throw feces on staff, then he doesn't get a container to do it with." One of the very few times in my life I ever wanted to kiss a captain. The kid goes back into his cell and lays down for a nap. He got most of what he wanted, he's happy for the moment. Me, I'm not happy.

If I'm not mistaken, I hired into the Department of CORRECTIONS. Not the Department of ENABLERS. We're supposed to CORRECT their socially deviant behavior, not teach them it's OKAY to play in their feces and threaten to thrown them on people. We just gave that kid carte blanche to throw a temper tantrum so he'll get his way. I think we were slowly making him a believer before that. I think it was sinking in that he was in prison and that he could do hard time or he could just do time. There's a big difference. But that all just got blown out the f***ing window. That pshrink just created a monster and it's going to take more than an angry mob with torches and pitchforks to chase it away. Now somebody will probably get hurt before we can re-defuse that ticking time bomb. And of course, the pshrink probably won't be there when it happens and it won't be his fault in any way.

GRRRRAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! Snap! I'm making myself mad all over again. Stupid. I'm going to go play some video games and eat some dinner. I'm off for two days. To heck with that place.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Can Pee Farther Than You!

In the C.O. circles, it's called a "pissing contest" and I believe the outcome is to see who is the studliest. When cats do it they puff up and yowl and screech and whoever scares the other one away is the winner. All creatures seem to do it. They try to make themselves bigger than their opponent to frighten them away.

I think only humans do it on purpose. And here at the prison, they do it so often and for so little reason you'd think the walls would all be yellow.

OK, kind of icky visuals going on here, I know. Sorry. But for some reason this place seems to be worse than others. If you say the slightest thing to someone about how they do their job, they will puff up and sputter and demand their rights and make a big scene over practically nothing at all. And most of the time, if they don't win the contest (this is my favorite part) they'll get "sick" and have to go home.

OK, yeah. You just showed me. What a studmuffin you are.

I don't know, maybe I'm just weird. When I've screwed up and someone tells me about it, I'll say "OK, I screwed up. Won't do that again. Let's move on." And I've screwed up a few times, believe me. And if someone says I screwed up and I didn't, I'll tell them that, too. That's one of the things working in a prison has taught me. The ability to tell someone to go jump in a lake. There are times when someone just needs to vent and I happen to be there. I can take that, too. And when they wind down I'll ask "Are you done? Good. Now go dork yourself and quit yelling at me." It works out well, most of the time.

But even if I'm pissed off about some injustice or stupidity or another, I'm not just going to go off and leave my work for someone else to take care of. Jeeze. If I've said it once, I've said it a bazillion times: The job is hard enough. Why are you making it harder?

Grow up, take your weight and move on. There's always going to be someone who can pee farther than you and the further up the food chain you move, the liklier that is going to be. It's a fact of life.

Get over yourself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Job Security

"We will never run out of stupid people". -Darev2005

I quoted that to myself. Not enough people have said it before me, apparently. It's like P.T. Barnums' "There's a sucker born every minute." He found a niche market where the demand never decreases. As have I. Unfortunately, I got into the business too late to get rich off the idea like ol' P.T. did. But as long as stupid people are getting together and breeding stupid children I will have a job.
Case in point our newest knucklehead today. Teenager. Doing double digit time. Thinks if he can act crazy enough he'll get to spend his time in the "hospital" or in a nut hatch somewhere instead of out on the yard with the big bad inmates. In six months in prison so far he's spent a grand total of seven days out on the hill. The rest of the time has been on suicide watch or Protective Custody. Just transferred to our camp on thursday and they brought him down today for suicide watch because he was "hearing voices" telling him to hurt himself or someone else. SO we stripped him out and put him in a camera cell. He started kicking his door and punching the window, trying to hurt himself. The problem was, he was hurting himself. We watched him on the camera. He'd do a few practice swipes at the window screen, then punch it. Then he'd hold his hand to his stomach and hop around the cell in pain. It took awhile for it to sink in that if you want to hurt yourself, it hurts.
Watched him bang his head on the door a few times. Same result. He was hurting himself, but not enough to hurt himself. It was funny and painful to watch at the same time. Stupid kid. He'd bang his head then reel around the cell in pain. Never even hit hard enough to make a good lump.
When that didn't work out for him, he tried playing the "unresponsive" game. He laid on the floor in the front of his cell and wouldn't move or respond when someone came by. The problem was, he was laying on a cold concrete floor on a kevlar smock and couldn't get comfortable, so he'd have to move every now and then and we'd see him moving. Finally, when we decided we didn't want to play anymore, a couple officers went to his door and tried to get him to respond. When he wouldn't, they signalled and I opened the door. As it came open, one of the officers crouched down and said "Kid, if you move suddenly, we're going to pepper spray the s**t out of you." He kind of froze, then did everything they told him to do after that. Sarge went in and read him the riot act and after that he laid down and was calm for the rest of our shift.
Tomorrow might be a different story. Hell, next shift might be a different story. He's got this GREAT PLAN formulated in his head and he's determined it will work. I'm pretty sure it won't.
Job security.
Hey, maybe he'll finally get out and have a couple of stupid kids of his own.....
I got a golden parachute, after all. Wow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Training: A Retrospective

Well, I just completed five days of my annual recertification training. Three days worth of classroom stuff, one day getting banged up by my fellow staff and one day shooting the guns. Do I feel smarter? No, not really. Do I feel I have learned more tools to use? No, not really. It was all stuff that I pretty much already knew. Did I have a good time? For the most part, yes. For all the kvetching I did about it, it was fun and kind of relaxing. I got to wear comfy clothes to work and act like a ninny and got to meet some new people. There were a few people that I "knew", like my coach out on the range, but had never really spent much time with. I just knew that he did a good job up there in Central Suck (not going to explain that one) but I never really "knew" that he was such a good cat. And there were quite a few people that I recognized but never actually met before. So, all in all, it was good.

The end result? I'm a bit more relaxed. A bit banged up and a little sore, but not too bad. It was worth it, in my book. And for some of us, me especially, a bit more relaxed is a good thing.

I get uptight sometimes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Training Day #5 I Passed! Yay!!!

Range day. I did good. I didn't shoot anybody and nobody shot me. That's about as good as it gets. I know I'm no Annie Oakley. Never have been a good shot. I like to shoot, but I suck at it. Even when I've had the opportunity to shoot alot, I never get very good at it.

I can live with that.

Luckily, I had an excellent coach. We pair up on the range. Shooters and coaches. The people who suck and might have to reshoot (like me) shoot first with the coaches advising and keeping them focused and on track. My coach kept me from making some small errors and even helped with my shooting. Gave me some good tips and kept my magazines loaded and ready. I shot good enough to pass and a little extra and that's good enough for me. When it was his turn, all I had to do was keep his mags loaded and hand them to him at the right time. When it was all said and done, he turned to me and said "You were an excellent coach." I just shook my head. It was like helping my wife in the kitchen. I help best by keeping my mouth shut and staying mostly out of the way.

It's like that.

One day off then it's back to the old grind. Hopefully there will be a spot open on evenings soon. But at least for this year I was on days for training and didn't have to change my schedule all up to get up in the mornings. Next year will be different.

NOTE: They are saying we might get a significant ice storm starting sunday night and on into the week. If y'all don't hear from me, that's what's going on. Stay safe and warm out there!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Training Day #4 Less Pain

Sorry about yesterday. My bones were making those little crunchy noises every time I moved. I could neither walk nor type well. My right hand hardly worked at all, so I was typing with my left. Luckily, my DT partner was pretty proficient in most of the moves and he helped me walk through the steps. Unluckily, my DT partner was only unsure on the one maneuver that was most likely to break an arm in training. T'was a near thing. You forget sometimes in the heat of the moment which way certain joints will bend. Suddenly I felt the bones in my forearm grating together and knew that wasn't supposed to happen. I managed a gasping squeak and it took him a second to notice I wasn't breathing correctly anymore. Luckily (again) no CPR was necessary.

A few minutes before that we were practicing escape from the full nelson, which requires you to basically fall backwards on your attacker. I went backwards, as the attacker, and went down and as he went down, he turned a hip and managed to plant the corner of said hip right atop Mr. Happy and the twins. All I'm going to say is purple is not a good color for me. Not around the face, anyway. Wow.

So, I came home, took a hot shower, painted myself with Ben Gay, took some drugs and went to bed. As Loopy said, I should have taken a hot bath instead but apparently our bathtubs were installed when human beings were much shorter than they are now. Only people under five feet tall can take a bath in my house. What I need is one of those huge japanese tubs you can get in up to your chin.

So today we covered Glock basics. And it didn't piss me off anywhere near as bad as it did last year. Holding out hope for going out to the range tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Training Day #3 Too Sore To Blog

Okay. I'm in pain. Four tylenol, half a zanex, a hot shower and half a tube of Ben Gay and my bones are still making that alarming noise. I'll put in some details tomorrow evening. Right now this is killing me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Training Day #2 A Pathway To Nowhere

Hoo boy. Day #2 down. Spent half the day in a classroom in which a very interesting man taught a very boring subject. "Pathways To Change". Apparently it teaches offenders what types of personalities they have and how they can stop and think about their actions, if they wanted to. It assigns color coding to the different personality types and is supposed to help you understand how different people think.

I can just imagine the conversation in my head... "See, this guy's coming at me with a shank in his meathook and he's acting awfully orange at this point. If I can just tone down my green-ness and be more blue to him withut going gold....... aw fug it. I'll just kick his butt instead. Turn all that angry orange to black and blue."

They said we had to take the class so we did. Your tax dollars at work!

The second part of the day was the beginning of Defensive Tactics (hereafter to be referred to as "DT"). It's where we review basic holds and breakaway techiniques and the "physical" part of the job that creates so much paperwork.

I'm so horrible at this stuff. I can remember it long enough to get through the class and that's it. In the classroom when a DT instructor says "Someone's got ahold of you this way, what do you do?" I can explain step by step how to break the hold and put the offender on the ground and keep hold of him once I get him there. Once inside the fence that sort of thing goes on autopilot and sometimes after a donnybrook I have to ask somebody how I did something. Like the last one where I hurt my finger. One moment I was behind the restraint bench and the next I was on the other side taking the offender to the ground. How the hell did I get there? I think I may have leapt over it. Nobody else was watching so I guess I'll never be sure. My goal in a use of force is to get control of the offender as quickly as possible before somebody gets hurt. Seriously hurt, anyway. And I do whatever it takes to do that. And as far as I can recall, I have never employed any of the stuff they teach us in DT. The scenarios they teach us have just never come up. My mind rejects those options and goes on to other things. I've learned bit and pieces of almost every martial art in the world and while I am horrible at them when I have to stop and think, I'm fairly good in a crisis situation. I'm not bragging about it, it's just the way this plum pudding of a brain I have works.

On the plus side, we got to see a three hundred pound C.O. come this [] close to taking out the christmas tree in the training room. The guy stumbled on the mat and just about carried the whole thing out the back door of the building. Notice: No Corrections Officers or Christmas Trees were harmed in the typing of this blog! T'was a near thing, tho.

Well, I'm a bit sore and tired. Going to rest up for the remainder of DT tomorrow.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Odd hits

I've got this thing from Statcounter which shows me a map of how many hits and the isp's and such of each visitor I get to the blog. It's kind of cool and I go there once in awhile to look. I just noticed someone whose last visit to my blog was over twenty seven hours! I think someone pulled it up and wandered off to bed and other things and I can imagine them coming back and saying "Geez! I'm still on that thing? What was I thinking?"

A nifty addition and another fun thing to play with and it's free! Might give it a try.

Now the Rev is off to nite-nite land....

Training: Day #1

Well, gee... that was fun. CPR and First Aid and the AED (Automatic Electronic Defibrillator) all day long. Lots of breaks, a long lunch and I managed to laugh until I cried a few times. It's so strange. I sat between two people. One who is like the perennial class clown and another who is this AJ Squared Away Mr. High & Tight Haircut who looks like he's all business. The class clown stayed pretty quiet during the whole class and Mr. Military Haircut managed to keep me in stitches all day. OK, I'll admit I was to blame for some of the silliness. He was just so easy. There were times when all I had to do was look at him out of the corner of my eye and he'd snort and a cackle would slip out and set me off. And make just the slightest innuendo and he'd turn beet red. And when the poor instructors would look our way, I'd point at him, which made it worse. I think it helped keep people awake and attentive.

And it wasn't just us. Our class clown kept his fingers in the pie every now and then. Which was cool and made me look even more innocent in the whole deal. While the attention was drawn to them, I sat there innocently doodling odd stuff in my notebook and trying to look aggrieved by the actions of my classmates. But now my secret's out so I'll have to come up with a new strategy.

Hmmmmmmmm...... what to do, what to do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stirring The Pot

There's always at least one in every workplace. A Disturber. Someone who just can't leave well enough alone and is only happy when things are in an uproar. I can imagine them coming in to work and being issued a six foot wooden spoon along with their keys and radio. They seem to delight in chaos and other peoples misery.

I just don't get it.

Isn't this job hard enough? Wouldn't it be nice to have things go smoothly without any drama?

But that just aint gonna happen with this group. The lieutenant stopped in today and asked me what went wrong. I told him the truth. This crew never came together as a cohesive unit and it's been actively falling apart since day one. Too many clashing personalities. He agreed and we both figure it will get much worse before it gets any better.

I remember when I first came on day shift and got a good look at the crew. I said to myself "This will never work. Too many Disturbers in one place."

Turns out I was right.

Doesn't feel as good as being right should.

Oh well. I made it out in one piece. That counts for something.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh, the humanity!

There's not much in this world, except maybe a fire in a brothel, that is more disturbing to watch than a crew self-destructing. This one has been going on for awhile, but today the ol' Drama-O-Meter pegged itself out and everything just went to snit. Drama everywhere... phone calls back and forth, lieutenants and captains involved, paperwork being written, people being moved around and pulled out of the house and threatened, the boss and the Assistant Warden (not the Big Cheese, one of the smaller cheeses) getting drug into it. And a few people (who will remain nameless) egging things on from the sidelines and watching it with glee. F***ing wonderful. Outf***ingstanding. Inf***ingcredible.

Drama Queens, every single one of them. Well, except for B.A. He and I were the only ones not directly involved in the whole mess. We just got swept along like old used soup cans in the flood.

There's an opening coming up, so it is rumored, on evening shift. In my old spot. Maybe in a couple of weeks or so I can slip back out on the rec yard and leave them to run the house like they do on evenings. It's really not what I wanted, but any old port in a storm...

And it was my monday, too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The best time of year

Well, it's coming up on annual recertification time again. I get to work (probably the bubble again) for two days and then I'm off to training for a whole week. Three days of sitting in an overheated classroom, one day of beating each other up learning Defensive Tactics and one day out in the snow and rain on the range with those POS plastic glock pistols.


I understand why we have to go. For the most part, it's a good thing. But some of the topics they choose for us to learn..... I just don't know. They've dropped the interesting classes, like "Controversial Groups" which is about gangs. But the state has chosen the stance that there are no gangs in our prison system. That's about the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I could go through my house alone (just one house out of twelve) and come up with at least seventy five offenders with prominent gang tattoos and almost every cell has got gang graffiti on the walls. Instead they have chosen we learn "Pathways To Change"... about teaching offenders positive skills they will use when they get out of prison. I don't really want to say anything negative about that. The last guy who did ended up getting chewed out by the Major. I get enough of that without help.

They even dropped Suicide Intervention. Why? Doesn't that seem like something we all need to know?

The state, it seems, like trees and butterflies, blows hither and yon with the wind.

I can't wait.