Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There's Always One

Well, here we go again. A new Poop Boy in da' house!!! And not very artistic or original, either. Though you have to admire his convictions (so to speak).

He refuses to shower when we take him out to clean his cell, so he's still painted when he goes back into it. Bleagh. I'm surmising he's another one trying to prove that he's too crazy to be in prison and hasn't figured out that it doesn't work like that.

He can be coherent when he wants to be, or when he thinks we're not listening. But he's figured out that being coherent isn't going to get him out of the Hive, so he thinks being crazy will do it.

That's just not going to work out too good for him. I told him that while he was alternately painting the wall and himself. That nothing he was doing was startling or original and that he better find a new act. I said that the best one I saw was a guy who had written the first chapter of his autobiography on the wall in poop. So his random smearing was uninspired and just old hat. And I saw one guy who could stand in one place in the same pose for eight full hours so his "I'm not going to pay attention to you" act was just sort of pitiful.

He either didn't believe me or just wasn't listening. I didn't really care, either way. We cannot force him to shower. Unfortunately. When he develops sores from all of that, I'll remind him that he was offered a shower and it was his fault he didn't get clean.

Luckily for me, I didn't get picked for the cleanup crew. Chuck and the new kid got to suit up and do that. Since he had it all over him, they got to climb into the tyvek coveralls and the little booties with the face shields and go get him out for the shower. I stayed in the office under the air conditioner and answered the phones. It's probably the first time that I can recall that I didn't have to get involved.

BTW.... this was the second time today he had done that. Day shift was just getting done with one cleanup when we got there. Those poor biohazard schmucks are really starting to hate hearing us call, I'm sure.

This stuff is playing hob with my rec schedule, tho. The rec yard is outside of C-wing and we can't take the offenders through there when the bio guys are cleaning up the poop. They think I'm just being lazy and not doing any rec. Hell, if it was up to me, I'd take them right into that cell before taking them out on the rec yard. I've been down there so long that the smell doesn't even really bother me anymore. That, and I dab a little vicks under my nose before I go in there... nothing but a thing.

Ah well. Tomorrow's another day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

No Blogging Zone

Just going to go on about my statcounter again. I'm keeping a running tally of where I get hits from. It amuses me and keeps me off the streets and out of your email boxes.

I have now registered hits from every state in the U.S. and on every continent except for Africa. I have never had a solitary hit from anywhere inside continental Africa. Strange.

And Antarctica, of course.

But it's the U.S. that surprises me. How the hits run. When I first started of course, nobody but me was reading it. Then my relatives started hitting it out on the west coast. Then a few more here in the midwest. Then it went nuts.

But I've noticed this odd corridor down the western middle of the country where nobody hardly ever hits. Anywhere west of Dallas, Texas and east of Riverside, California I never get any repeat readers. The odd hit now and then from Idaho and Las Vegas and Colorado but they never come back.

I guess I don't have must West Mid-West appeal.

I've got readers all up and down the west coast and my hardcore group in Michigan and Wisconsin and Minnesota and all around Kansas City and down into Arkansas. And there's a fairly new cluster formed up in and around Washington D.C. which makes me nervous. (grin) You never know what those people are up to. Hopefully, they just need a laugh now and then.

I try to provide.

I even have a few repeat readers in the U.K. and Belgium and in France, if you can believe it.

You guys just make my day.

Ok, enough of that.

I was right about my prediction yesterday. When they came down to read the violation on the guy they had called the 10-5 on, he went nuts. They wrote him for a #2 Assault on staff since that officer broke his thumb in the fracas and he could be facing more time. He came all unglued and smeared his cell with poop.

What a twit.

When we got there they had him out of the shower and the biohazard guys were cleaning it up. So we hung out and put him up when they were done. He was calm and polite and went right back in to his cell with no problem.

An excitable fellow, it seems. I can't wait to see what sets him off next.

And we got the Stork back today on suicide watch. Cutting himself superficially for the attention. Hoo boy.

Here we go again.....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm Not "Bouncy"

The bastards made me run.

I hadn't even made it down to the house yet and they made me run.

The savage swine.

On my monday, yet.

Just tooling down the walk, me and BG. Getting caught up on what happened during the weekend. He was giving me all the skinny on the inmates and all the good gossip on the staff. I heard a call for the B-yard Sarge to come to the wobblehead house. Sounded a bit excited and I perked my ears up. Then they called it! 10-5!!

Oh snap! I ran through medical and flung my lunchbox at the C.O. working there while he open the doors for us. Got through medical and down the ramp outside and onto the walk....

And they 10-6'ed it. Just like that.

Pfui. Back through and down to the house I went....

Turns out they sprayed the guy and one of ours got hurt in the process. I hear he broke his thumb and will be out of commission for several weeks. Too bad. He's a good cat to have around. Steady and not too excitable. He'll be missed.

Anyway, they get this knucklehead down to the house and get him stripped out and he immediately says he's going to cover the walls of his cell with poop and be a general nuisance. He covers the camera in the cell (turns out it was just a piece of paper) and starts screaming and kicking the cell door.

Supposedly the Lieutenant calls down and tells one of the day shift officers (I'll call her Ms Bright Eyes, for lack of a better nickname) that if he doesn't calm down and stop kicking, to spray him again. So when I walk into the office she grabs me by the arm and says "Come on!" and starts bouncing around like a chihuahua puppy after drinking a grande cappuccino. "Come on!" she says and drags me into C-wing.

Well, by then the guy has calmed down a bit and when we look through the window he gets mad all over again and comes up and slaps the door. She starts bouncing around again and is ready to open the chuck hole and hose him down. And I just said "No. There's no reason to open that chuck hole and have a use of force. Let's let him calm down and see if he can act like a civilized human being."

Safe to say that I am no longer a favorite with Ms Bright Eyes. That's too bad, but I can live with that. She's still young and heals fast and thinks she's immortal. Me, I bang a toe on the couch and I hurt for days.

And how in the hell did I ever end up being the voice of reason? What the snap? That's like Timothy Leary lecturing on temperance and self control.

I don't get it.

Anyway, so far the knucklehead has behaved himself. He'll probably get mad all over again when they read him his violation and he realizes that he could be facing more prison time for an assault on a staff member. Hell, he might lose it completely. You just never know.

But I survived my monday and nobody else got hurt.

That's what counts, I guess.

It Was Too Fracking Hot

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far. Temps nearing 100. I felt sorry for those poor schlubs at work.

And it was too hot to be in my office. The wife has a little travel alarm thing with a temperature gauge on it. It said it was 89 degrees in the office, which is a converted two car garage. Even with the fan blowing right on me, it was just too hot to stay out here.

So instead I went and got a haircut (really short) and sat in the house and watched teevee.

Nothing very exciting, I'm afraid. And nothing at all work related.

The haircut is giving me issues. I haven't had my hair this short since I was in basic training in Ft. Dix, New Jersey back in (what?) 1982? Forever ago. It makes me look and feel different. But it's definitely cooler. I'll probably have to resize my hat.

So the heat has broken for the time being. It's not supposed to get back up above 90 for a few days, anyway. I'm pretty happy about that. I don't handle the heat well. I'd take cold and nasty outside over the blistering heat any day.

Plus, we get more rec done when it's cold. During the summer, they all want to come out of their cells for some fresh air. When it's cold, they just want to stay inside.

Ok, I'm rambling. Obviously I have nothing at all to talk about so I'm just filling space and so I'll quit. I'll come home tonight (it's my monday) and talk about what happened at work. Maybe something interesting will have happened. I'm sure something has.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Butterfly Effect

Like sand through an hourglass go the days of our....

No, that's not it.

I was trying to come up with a good "cause and effect" analogy and I got lost. Wheee! There goes my brain again, Martha! See if you can catch it and bring it back.

There was a fight out on the yard the other day. Word is that there was only two guys fighting... one white and one black. They claim it wasn't a racial thing, that was just a coincidence. They were cellies and they weren't getting along and things got out of hand.

Funny thing is, there are seven people locked up over this two man fight. After they locked up the fighters, they locked up two more guys who they thought might be in on it. Under Investigation. Ah, yes. We're going to have them for awhile.

Then the next day two more guys jumped on one guy because he didn't help one of the guys who was fighting. So they locked up those two for assault and the third one under Admin P.C. And I heard that they might be locking some more people up for that first fight.

And the funny thing is, nobody really saw that first fight. They all saw what I saw. There was something going on out on the yard and I saw dust flying and a crowd gathered. From where I stood it looked just like a football game. It was right there where they play football. All of the sudden, everyone started to disperse. And they scattered in all directions. I thought to myself: "Uh-oh..... something just happened there..." I was just about to get on the radio and call the yard dogs when someone else up the row did just that. They went out to investigate and found some guy who had just gotten his clock cleaned. A little while later they found a guy with busted up knuckles and knew they had their man.

Obviously I don't have all the information. I leave that kind of thing to the yard dogs and the big hats up in central. Inmates in general lie with such ease that telling the truth would cause them considerable effort. I usually can't tell the difference. That's why I stay in Adseg.

All of these people locked up for a fight that nobody really saw. Why do we make this so hard on ourselves? Should we really care?

Yes, I suppose we should. If nothing else, but to keep the statistics down.

I wonder how many more there will be when I get back to work.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mad As A Wet hen

Those of you who have been reading this know the kind of relationship I tend to have with our staff Pshrinks. I don't always agree with them, but I do support them. The ones that actually "work", anyway. There's a few of the pencil-pusher Pshrinks that I am at odds with, but that's another matter.

Today, however, I'm a little pissed at one of ours.

Last night we got "Gumby" back in the house again. Apparently he picked the wrong officer to get stupid with down by the wobblehead house. They brought him in with a few bumps and bruises and put him on suicide watch (of course).

Today when I came in he had painted his cell with poop. Not a real original thinker, our Gumby. They had taken him out and put him in the shower while the biohazard guys came down to scrub out the cell. The dipsnap refused to give up his cuffs, refused to shower (!) (ewwww!) and then refused to come out of the shower when his cell was ready.

I kept an ear on him while they were out discussing the matter and I realized that he had slipped one of his cuffs and put it back much looser on his wrist. I reported this as soon as someone came back in the wing. I didn't want to take a chance on getting clocked in the head with a handcuff. That sort of thing would sting a bit, I believe.

So Sarge got him to turn around and let him tighten the cuffs and double lock them. He's not so stupid he wants to catch another case for an assault on staff. The Big Pshrinks up at the Mental Hospital have already decreed that most of his problem is behavioral, not psychological.

In other words, he's just an a**hole.

They send down one of the Pshrinks to talk to him and get him out of the shower. He (Gumby) is putting on this show about not feeling safe in the cell and that someone is out to hurt him in there. We all know it's just a bunch of crap. He just wants to be let out of the hole so he can go out on the yard and continue to be an a**hole.

We wait and wait and wait and I'm starting to get the feeling that we are going to have to just go in there and drag him back to the cell, one way or another. Finally, I get fed up and go out to smoke. While I'm gone they go in there and just calmly walk him back into the cell. And before they shut the door, they put a mattress in the cell!

I'm thinking "What the snap?"

I get back inside and they tell me "He said he'd go back in the cell if we gave him a mattress and his clothes back, so the Pshrink said okay."

There's a big sign up in the Control Center that states "We do not negotiate in hostage situations."

Well, you can just throw that thing out the window, I guess. Because apparently you can get damn near anything you want by holding a piece of this prison hostage. Even a damn shower stall. Even yourself.

No wonder this country is in such lousy shape. Nobody is allowed to spank the baby when baby is being bad. All you can do is say "No-no!" before you give them what they want.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Irritating Little Pests

No, not the inmates. Well, they are irritating little pests and all. But I'm talking about the sweet little critter pictured above.

Yes, it's a scabies mite. And they are loose in our house again.

Isn't that just lovely? I know I'm tickled pink over the idea.

And of course we didn't find out about it until the two offenders who had it got released back out on the hill today. So we had to get the biohazard guy down with his spray to hose down the cell and the pile of mattresses, since we could not identify which belonged to the two who got out.

And just when we thought we had it under control, we might have another case. While Chuck and I were doing rec, we spotted an inmate with welts all over his torso. He either had something or his cellie had been giving him lots of small hickeys.

I don't know and I don't want to know.

I told the nurse about it when she came in, but of course it was that nurse and she didn't want to hear it and wasn't about to even look, let alone do anything about it. I figure they can take him up in the morning and hose him down.

Of course, as soon as we heard the word "scabies", several people (but one in particular) got a gawdawful case of the heebie jeebies and started dousing themselves with hand sanitizer and scratching like mad.

The power of suggestion. It's amazing the reaction you get from saying one little word. Too bad I can't say the word "horny" and get as good a reaction.....

All I get is giggling....


Ok, for some reason, my scheduled posts aren't posting. I'll just skip trying this anymore and post at night from now on. So if you see a post pop up after 10 pm, don't read it til the next morning, K?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Great Escape

Thanks to Guy for reminding me of a good post subject. Escapes. There hasn't been a successful escape from our camp since I have been here.

I take absolutely no credit for that. Just making a statement.

But there were a couple of young knuckleheads who gave it the old college try a few years back. These two idiots were so stupid they couldn't have successfully escaped from a day care center.

Several years ago, when there were some major renovations at the prison going on, they moved the entire Adseg unit one house up the row, leaving our house completely empty for the workmen.

While we were gone they decided to replace all of the good sturdy Masterlocks on our windows with these cheap brass things that you could bend with one hand. Once we got back into the house the knuckleheads figured this out and they were regularly breaking or bending the locks open and opening and shutting their windows.

Not really that big of a deal, except to open the window you first had to pull out a steel frame that weighed about ten pounds.

So who wants to deal with a pissed off inmate with a ten pound steel frame in their hands?

Not me, that's for sure.

We complained and called it a security issue and they didn't do anything for years. I worried that one of my crew was going to get hurt. I fretted and hounded the higher ups to do something and they refused.

Then one night these two dipsnaps over in B-wing broke the lock off the window and decided they were going to use the frame to tunnel through the wall. What they didn't know was that there is a layer of steel rebar just behind the cinder blocks before you get tothe brick outer wall.

They managed to get most of the way through the cinder blocks before they got caught. The fact that the fans were sucking concrete dust out from under their door gave them away.

And their reasoning? They weren't trying to escape, they claimed. They were going to go up to the next housing unit and get some tobacco and bring it back and sell it in the Adseg unit. They thought that they could hide that two foot wide hole in the wall for months and make alot of money.

Well, that didn't work.

And apprently a judge and jury didn't buy their story either. I looked them up and they both recieved an additional eight more years for attempted escape. Two more nineteen year old bada**es (I'm a C-5! You better check my file!) that will probably be spending the rest of their lives in prison.


P.S. I don't know what went wrong with this post. It was supposed to go at 2:00 am. this morning. Sorry about that.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Always Expect The Unexpected

Being surprised by anything in this job is a bad idea. This is not a field where you take surprises of any sort with good grace.

It only took my kid a month to figure out that sneaking up on Dad is a very bad idea. Once or twice of hitting the floor and hearing bones grind together is a good impetus to learn new traits. I didn't really hurt anybody, but I made sure that the lesson was learned.

Today was full of just all kind of surprises. And none of them were really pleasant.

One of our wobbleheads decided to not respond to anybody so we had to go in and make sure he was okay. I thought for a minute that the old S.O.B. was dead. And when I realized he was just playing a game, I wanted to kick his a**. He refused to take his meds, and they are ordered buy the court. All he would do when the Lieutenant came down is scream "Go to hell! Get away from my door!"

So they sent down a movement team. It's ninety five degrees outside and these guys are wearing black coveralls and body armor, gloves and helmets and sweating their cojones off. They are good and aggravated and old wobble head is screaming and banging on his door. I figure... hey, this might be a good one. Even if I can't kick his a**, I can watch it done. That should be good enough.

And when they get to his door he sticks his hands out the chuck hole and cuffs up and goes to medical docile as a little wobbly lamb and takes his meds. And they walk him back and put him in his cell.

The old snaphead.

Held up our business. Made us late for rec. And all for nothing. Jerk.

A little while later I hear some calls on the radio talking about lack of power. Apparently it's out in some places. But I'm out on the rec yard, so I don't notice. So we bring them back in from rec and take another round out and we're just sitting out there, hoping it will cool off soon.

And then we hear on the radio: "Attention all radio units: Code 20, Code 20. 9:06 pm."

Holy snap. We're out on the rec yard, dammit! No warning whatsoever.

A Code 20 is a count, by the way. All of the offenders have be be secured in their cells at count time.

So we cuff them back up early and bring them back in and listen to them bitch and whine about their rec being cut short. And as we are putting them back in their cells, someone else is going around to count them.

I think to myself: "Maybe they think someone escaped!"

No, they were just being paranoid.

So on the way out I formulate a snide remark for the guys in the Control Center. But I'm hot and tired and it's been a long day and all I can come up with is "Hey! Thanks for the warning Butthead!" I knew Vinnie was up there and would take it with the spirit in which it was intended. And as I go around to shout that through the chuck hole I glance in and see the Captain sitting in the Control Center.

So I think to myself: "Better come up with something different to say."

And as I walk around the other side of the window I look in and see the Warden Himself sitting next to the Captain.

And I think (yet again) to myself: "Best just keep your pie hole shut and go home and call this one a draw."

So I did.

No surprise there. For the first time in the evening.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What I Am And What I Do

I am a Correction s Officer.

You may have guessed that already.

But as someone pointed out on The Sally Port, we are much much more than that. It's not enough to be just a C.O. To be really effective you have to wear as many hats as there are inmates in the prison.

The academy teaches us that our watchwords are "firm, fair and consistent". But to be truly a working piece of the corrections world you also have to be malleable, harsh and unpredictable.

You have to learn to change with not only the rules, which change every day but also with the offenders, who also vary from day to day. It's not like you deal with exactly the same people every day. The old offenders leave and new ones come in. Sometimes the old ones come back after awhile. But the dynamics are always in flux.

The rules are constantly changing. Sometimes they change from the top down. The Governor has a new project he wants to try; so, we try it. The Warden doesn't like the way a certain thing is done, so we don't do it that way anymore. The FUM wants to do this, the Captain wants to do that. And depending on which Lieutenant is working your side of the camp that day is how things get done that day.

Sometimes they change in the opposite direction. We find something that works and we go with it. It works and the Sarge says it's cool and we go. Sometimes our changes work their way up to the top and things get the official Sherman T. Potter okey-dokey stamped on them.

We have to be fair and attempt to treat all of the offenders exactly the same. As human beings, rather than representatives of their crimes. We have to treat child molesters the same as we treat alcoholics or drug abusers. We have to treat multiple murderers the same as car thieves.

And if you don't think that's difficult, give it a try sometime.

We have to be cruel when the occasion calls for it. We have to pick up that cigarette off the walk and throw it away rather than slide it under a cell door. We have to suit up and go in and forcibly restrain someone who doesn't want to take their psych meds anymore. And we hold them down and hurt them if necessary and let a nurse stick a needle in their butt because a judge somewhere said that they had to take it.

We have to act the same and do the same things every day, yet at times remain unpredictable so they don't learn your routine and get around behind you. Because if they do learn how to get around behind you, 99% of them will just sneak a cigarette. But the last 1% will come up and slit your throat.

I go to work every day knowing that most of the people on the inside would happily kill me of they could. And I go to work every day knowing that most of the people on the outside think I'm an uneducated goon.

Luckily for me, I know there are a few people on the outside who think otherwise.

Even though I get the privilege of wearing a highly flammable polyester uniform, I also get to be a fireman and a first responder if things go bad.

I am trained to save lives and I am trained to kill if the situation calls for it. One day in recertification training they teach us first aid and CPR. The next day we train with shotguns and pistols. It is possible that one day I could save the life of an offender choking or having a heart attack and the next day shoot him dead if he tried to climb the fence.

I am a plumber and maintenance man. I am a teacher and a counselor. I am a babysitter and a hospice worker. I am a food service worker and a housekeeping supervisor. I am a psychiatrist and a grief couselor. I am a beat cop and a detective. I am a cryptologist and an expert on slang and symbols. I am a physical fitness coach and a nurse practitioner. I am a soldier and I am a negotiator. I am a trained killer and an EMT.

This all sounds like I'm trying to come off as some sort of bada**. I'm not. If I were, I'd actually use words like "bada**" every now and then instead of using asterisks.

These are what I am and what every single Corrections Officer in this country is. All of these things and more.

This is what I am.... what we are. And this is what we do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hot Hot Hot!

Whew! After a couple of weeks of thunderstorms and some pretty amazing and alarming lightning, it has just settled down to be hotter than a ten dollar Rolex.

I don't know if I'm going to make it.

This will be my fifth summer out there on the ol' rec yard. And yesterday BG and I went out at 2:00 for a round and by the time we came back in, I almost fell out. I was sweating buckets and apparently looking pretty bad. Everybody kept asking me if I was all right and telling me to sit down.

I had stuff to do. Things need to get done.

Eventually I sat down and guzzled an entire 32 oz. gatorade in about a minute flat. Started to feel a little better after that.

I guess I'm going to have to bring less food and more liquids in my lunchbox. I drank that whole gatorade, three twelve ounce bottles of water and maybe ten cups of the nasty purple that people mistakenly refer to as Koolaid. It's not Koolaid. It's just water and purple.

But the summer is just beginning. More hot days ahead.

This is going to cost me a fortune in drinkables. I don't drink the water at the prison. That stuff will make you glow in the dark and damage your chromosomes so that all yer babies will be born nekkid.

It's like a very slow lethal injection.

I just don't do well at all in hot weather. I got heat stroke once down in Central America and ever since then I just can't handle the heat well.

I'll survive, but I won't be happy about it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

We Are Not An Airport

Nowadays, getting into prison is just as hard as getting out. They have re-installed our metal detector for staff and are using it religiously, no matter how long it takes to get through.

Here's the routine:

Walk in and put your bag (if you carry one, I do) and your duty belt on the counter. Walk through the detector.

It beeps, of course.

Walk back out and put all of the stuff from your pockets in the little plastic tub and walk through again.

It beeps again, because you are wearing a belt with a metal buckle, a badge and a name tag. Not to mention your boots probably have steel shanks (not those kind, the good kind) in the soles. And, if you are like 90% of all americans, you have fillings in your teeth. And maybe even a metal plate and a few surgical pins.

It's set that high. Lovely.

So you raise your arms and wait til a grumpy person with a hand held detector runs it over you and verifies that you are wearing a badge and name tag and there's metal in your boots and your belt and your zipper and your head.

Only then can you retrieve all the stuff that was formerly in your pockets and put your duty belt on and get your lunchbox. After that you are free to go get your radio and keys and whatever you need to start your day.

So instead of waiting to get all the way down to the house to get aggravated, they get you started as soon as you walk in the door.

Aint that lovely?

And all because someone else somewhere else did something stupid.

Well, Attila the Hun once conquered all of the known world and slaughtered thousands of people. I don't see any freaking metal detectors in the mongolian plateaus trying to prevent that from happening again!


But we'll endure. That's what we do. Illegitemati non carborundum. Don't let the bastards grind you down. We do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Even if it's aggravating.

Snap! I meant to set this one up to post at 2:00 AM and I forgot and posted the damn thing. Pfui. I'm a nitwit.

No Treatment Necessary

Let us dispense with the crap, shall we? The economy has gone to hell and we are sucking hind tit for money yet we are throwing it away like it's candy from a decades old pinata.

Anybody who goes to prison for a drug or alcohol related crime must go through a "treatment program" as a requirement for being released. Some of them will get out early if they pass the program. Some of them will actually get out.

But down in the Hive we get to see the ones who cannot or will not pass that program. And when I see them I just have to ask myself : who thought it was a good idea to put this nimrod in a treatment program? Let's see... he's loud and belligerent, barely literate, been nothing but a problem the whole time he's been in prison and has everything but the word "dumba**" tattooed across his forehead. Oh yeah, he's a good candidate for a treatment program to let him back out in society. That will make him a model citizen.

So we waste days and weeks, sometimes only hours, getting this dipsnap enrolled in the treatment house. They usually have to transfer from another camp (at state expense, of course) just to stick us with them when they go nuts and assault someone. And then we're stuck with another raving snaphole for weeks or months until they get transferred again.

I don't know how much it costs to transfer an inmate. I'm sure there's a fixed dollar amount tucked away in some bean-counters ledger book somewhere. And we do transfers twice a week, 52 weeks a year. I'm sure the amount is staggering. More than I make in a year, I'm certain.

Who decides which inmate is a candidate for this drug and alcohol treatment? It's probably mandated by the judge at his sentencing. Like an added surtax. "Mr Dipsnap, you are hereby sentenced to twenty years for murder and child molestation and reckless endangerment and manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance and armed criminal action and driving with a suspended license and littering. Oh yeah, and you have to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program before you can be released as a requirement for your parole."


There should be a codicil in the law that will let somebody screen these morons. If they have spent more than 10% of their time in prison in the Adseg unit: denied. If they have been locked up for a violent crime against staff or another inmate or for dangerous contraband ie, a weapon or drugs: denied. We could save the state a bundle of cash just by a simple review of their record.

We got one such moron in the Hive the other night. Got in a fight in the chow hall with another offender and they both got sprayed. They were both crying for a shower and whining that they couldn't see. This moron just kept his eyes closed and pretended he was blind the whole way down. And when he got in the cell and finally decided to open his eyes, he decided he couldn't stay in that cell. He was fifteen years younger than his cellie and outweighed him by at least fifty pounds but declared he was in fear for his life because they were not the same color. I just barely know the cellie. He's quiet and is just laying down doing his time. never hear a peep out of him. But this young punk just couldn't stay in that cell.

So we had to move him. I'm sure that when I next get into the Hive he will have been moved at least twice. He's another one of those "I'm a C-5, you better check my file!" types. He's big and bad behind the door, especially if he is in the cell by himself.

Somebody should have come to his door a few weeks ago (at whatever camp he was at) and said "Mr Dipsnap, you have been ordered by the court to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program as a condition of your early parole. However, a review of your record shows that you are a complete moron and a scumbag so your treatment has been denied. You will be serving your whole sentence in prison." And then they could add "Have a nice day." if they felt so inclined.

Then a polite note could be sent to the judge stating:
Your Honor,
Despite whatever Offender Dipsnaps' demeanor may have been during the five minutes he was in your courtroom, the Department of Corrections has determined that he is not suitable for either the drug and alcohol treatment program or for early release. However, if you still insist, please enclose a personal check payable to the state for the amount of $25,000 to cover transportation, housing and miscellaneous expenses.
Thank you, -The State

At that point the comptroller or whoever controls the budget would go "Ka-ching!" and tote up a substantial saving on his little ledger book.

Much more of that coomon sense breaking out kind of stuff and we could actually afford some new gear for a change.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Skating, Anybody?

Oh yeah, here's my favorite time of year. Hot as hell and muggy like you put your head in a pot of broccoli soup. And I hate broccoli soup.

I come home from work dripping wet and I smell like the backseat of a New York cab. My hair is matted to my forehead and my eyelids are sore from wiping the sweat away.

And the worst of all, is my legs and back hurt from walking around on the slippery concrete floors. When it gets hot and humid the floors just start oozing moisture and they get slick slick slick. And it doesn't matter what sort of shoes you are wearing, if you move wrong, you are going down.

One year I spent the extra dough and bought me a pair of those "No Slip" work boots. They weren't worth a damn on that wet concrete.

It's usually not too bad during the day. In the evening though, that stuff starts oozing up and it gets slick as hell. If anything ever goes down in the middle of one of our wings when the floors are like that, we're going to have alot of people hurt.

I worry about stuff like that. I try to position myself by the wall so if something happened I could push off and hopefully slide either out of the way, or into it, depending on what was called for.

I think I think too much.

And basically, there's not a damn thing we can do about it. We've tried everything and nothing helps.

So we try to walk carefully and endure.

Hey! Check This Out!

For those of you who want a better look at what life is like for Corrections Officers, there's another place you can go besides listening to me drone on and on.

It's a site called The Sally Port. Pretty good site and it seems to be gaining new members all the time. I just got a real good look at it the other morning and I was impressed by what I saw. There's alot of good pics and some hair-raising stories and awesome videos.

I watched one video of a CERT team going into a cell block to search that scared the pants off of me. Me, I don't want to work anywhere that the first man in the cell block carries a shotgun. I'm not one to run from danger, but I'm too old and too beat up and too mindful of my own skin to work in a place like that.

Kudos to those who can do it, tho. Those people are awesome.

Anyway, if you get the time, go check them out.

Tell 'em Darev sent ya!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Say What Again???

I had one of the strangest conversations out on the rec yard today. It just caught me all sideways.

An offender pointed out past the fence and towards the horizon and said:

"What is them hills over there?"

I'll have to admit to one and all that I stood there with my brain flapping open. I could not for the life of me understand what his question meant. I asked him to repeat himself and it came out exactly the same way:

"What is them hills over there?"

To which I nimbly replied "Just hills, that's all." thinking that would be the end of it and I could nurse my wounded brain. But the bastard persisted.

"What is they called?"

Who the hell do I look like, Amerigo Vespucci?

I said "We call them 'Them hills over there' " and walked away as fast as I could.

I hate it when they do that to me. BG and I discussed the matter and suggested we call them the "Lesser Tetons" for lack of a better name. We are nowhere near the Tetons but we figured it might stop them from asking stupid questions. I imagine that they are actually part of the tail end of the Ozark range but couldn't say that with any authority.

Hell, they might be the Lesser Tetons for all I know.

What the snap is a Teton anyway?

I'm a little tired, if you can't tell.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stupid Stupid Stupid!!!

Ooooooo..... I got myself pretty worked up over this one. Somebody made a really really stupid decision and then didn't back it up themselves and one of my partners ended up getting hurt. It made me so mad I used language I don't use here.

And quite a bit of it.

There's this inmate.... he's almost infamous on our camp. I'll refer to him as "Wilt" because he looks kind of like a young Wilt Chamberlain. Crazy as a pocket full of crawdads. A real lint for brains. He's well known for causing uses of force in the past. Although Wilt is "Psychologically challenged", he is still young and quite strong. He's been a regular inhabitant of the Hive for as long as I have been there.

Well, sometime earlier in the day, young Wilt decided that today was the day he gets out of prison and nothing would change his mind. This is the day, this is the time, he's leaving and there's no discussion necessary.

They convinced him he needed to go up and talk to the captain first. So he went. Not in restraints or anything, he was just walking. On the way up to see the captain this bright eyed little chipmunk of a lieutenant makes a command decision and whispers and gestures to the officers to take him on down to the Hive. "No handcuffs necessary" he says. "It will be fine."

Right there he is directing the officers to violate at least three kinds of policy.

While they are on their way down the decision is made to put him on suicide watch so lieutenant chipmunk calls down to the Hive and tells them that. "And" he adds "you can put cuffs on him when he gets down there."

Another policy or two scoffed at and tossed aside.

Naturally, since Wilt has decided that he is actually getting out of prison, he resents the fact that they are trying to put him on suicide watch and lashes out. He ends up clocking my pal B.A. in the head. A fight ensues and he gets sprayed and slammed and wrestled and stripped out and finally left in the cell with a smock.

A bad, bad decision. B.A. didn't seem to be seriously hurt, but the fact that one of ours got hurt by one of ours making a bad call just makes it worse. We are supposed to be looking out for each other here, not just for ourselves. And because the lieutenant was too chickensh*t to tell Wilt to his face he was going on suicide watch and put him in cuffs then and there it made the situation worse.

The use of force was going to happen. What with the mindset that Wilt was in and the decision to put him on suicide watch it was inevitable. But the decision not to put him in cuffs as soon as he left the wobblehead house was intolerable. They knew what was going to happen and they just let it happen.

As long as that stuff happens down in the Hive, nobody cares. They expect that from us. They expect them from us. So if they see one about to happen, they want it to happen in the Hive. Not out on the yard or (gawds forbid) up in Central Suck where one of the big cheeses might get hurt.

I refuse to be expendable.

And my crew isn't expendable, either. We aren't roughnecks for hire. We aren't hired guns. We are professional, seasoned Adseg officers and expected to be treated us such.

If you have a problem, you deal with it yourself. If you stand up, we will stand behind you 100%. But if you want to yell "Charge!" and then duck down in a hole....

You might just find yourself in that hole by your self.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In The Dark 2

There I was, just minding my own business.... reading "Crock" on the Seattle PI's website, drinking coffee and trying to wake up. My morning routine.

Suddenly there was a large explosion outside and all of our power went out.

Snap! It very nearly scared the pee out of me. That was about 8:30 this morning. The power just came back on a few minutes ago.

I spent most of the morning out on the front porch reading a book and wishing I had a coffee pot that I could throw on the barbecue grill. May have to invest in one of those. Like the one in Sportsman's Guide.

I went in early to take a shower before the hot water cooled off too much. Fortunately, one of the purchases the wife made at that auction we went to a few months ago (aside from hundreds of books) was two boxes of little battery operated lanterns. One of them was almost enough light to shower by. I should have taken two. It's a good thing I shave by touch and not with a mirror or it would have turned into the shower scene from Psycho.

So now my routine is all thrown off. Pfui.

I'm going to go finish reading the comics.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Last weekend, while we had company, I decided to back myself into my little corner and read a book. They didn't need me for anything and it was too hot to go outside so I took the time out to read.

I don't get that opportunity very often. Not to sit and read an entire book, anyway. And it was a good one. "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein. My favorite author. And the book is ten times better than the movie was.

The book takes place sometime in the distant future when we have discovered space travel between stars and are using it regularly. This leads us to discover that there is at least one race out there who disputes our "right" to colonize the whole universe and this leads to interstellar war.

And what does this have to do with working in a prison, you ask? I'm getting to that.

At one point out hero Johnny Rico remembers a class he took in high school with a particularly tough teacher. An irascible bastard who forced his students to think instead of just absorbing data like little sponges. Mr. Dubois, the teacher, was discussing the end of our present way of government and one of the symptoms leading up to its downfall. He discussed the way we treated our criminals. I'll edit it just a little:

"Back to these young criminals- They were probably not spanked as babies; they certainly weren't flogged for their crimes. The usual sequence was: for the first offense, a warning- a scolding, often without trial. After several offenses a sentence of confinement but with sentence suspended and the youngster placed on probation. A boy might be arrested many times and convicted several times before he was punished- and then it would be merely confinement, with others like him from whom he learned still more criminal habits. If he kept out of major trouble while confined, he could usually evade most of even that mild punishment, be given probation- 'paroled' in the jargon of the times.
This incredible sequence could go on for years, while his crimes increased in frequency and viciousness, with no punishment whatsoever save rare dull-but-comfortable confinements. Then suddenly, usually by law on his eighteenth birthday, this so-called 'juvenile delinquent' becomes an adult criminal- and sometimes wound up in only weeks or months in a death cell awaiting execution for murder."

You know, when you look at it in that perspective, it makes our whole criminal justice system look completely insane. We certainly aren't "correcting" any behavior. All we are doing is keeping them off the streets so the citizens aren't bothered by them until they get out again. Every day there are more and more people going to prison and the recidivism rate is on the order of 70%.

In any other line of work, if you were wrong 70% of the time, you would be fired. They would say "Sorry Jim, but this is obviously not the right job for you. Maybe you should try McDonalds or something. Maybe you can become a meteorologist."

Shouldn't this be telling us something?

Robert Heinlein should have run for president. He wouldn't have wanted the job but I think he would have changed this country for the better.

Going to prison should be a punishment.... something to be feared and avoided. Not just a dull vacation.

I'll climb down off the soapbox now....

Friday, June 12, 2009


I know I've said this before, but I have to just let it out one more time:


There, I feel better. I didn't really want to shout that out in the wings so I thought I would say it here. If I said it at work some numbnuts inmate would file paperwork on me because I shouted at him and called him a pu**y.

I hope I didn't offend anyone's sensitive nature.

It just kills me. These guys are supposed to be criminals. The Billy Bad A**es that were so horrible that they can no longer be allowed to walk the streets. Yet one of them today threw a temper tantrum because someone else got 1/8 of an inch more juice in their glass than he did at dinner.

Yesterday it was because they didn't put enough dressing on his salad.

Give me a break.

And he said "Don't make me get a punk a** write up over some salad dressing."

What? Are you threatening to make me do paperwork? Hmm... let's see... I can spend the next two hours running up and down the stairs doing my job and feeding the house or I can go sit down for fifteen minutes and give you that punk a** write up because you wanted to act like a spoiled child over some salad dressing.

No fracking contest, dude! I can do that! In the meantime GROW THE FRACK UP!

That jagoff kind of irritated me, can you tell?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I was going to post about an offender who has been giving us some problems. But he's not really all that interesting.

The man has bad hemorrhoids and he's been making a real ass of himself.

Ooops... did I just say that?

Guess I did. Nothing to do but go on from there.

We have tried to get to the bottom of his complaint, but he just ends up the butt of our jokes. He's being a real pain in the......

Well, you get it. I'll stop now.

Instead of the above drivel, let me tell you about my drive home last night.

It started out as a hot and humid day. As muggy as an oven full of wet bears. I was sweating even before I got down to the house and it didn't get much better from there. There were two lockups sitting on the bench and more on the walk and Peggy Sue was releasing some of hers at the same time. Chuck and I had to hit the ground running just to keep up.

In a nutshell, it sucked. I hate hot humid weather. It doesn't agree with me. If I had my druthers, I'd spend my summers in Alaska. Even if they do have mosquitoes the size of small children.

So after all the craziness had passed, Chuck and I did some rec. We sat out on the rec yard and wondered how long we would be able to keep them out. We could see the lightning coming closer and closer. We got sprinkled on a little bit, but not so bad we had to get raincoats or go inside. It was the lightning we were concerned with.

But we made it. It was a near thing.... the storm got a little close but seemed to be passing us by on one side.

Until it was time to go home, anyway.

As I was walking out of the parking lot it started raining harder and harder. Got pretty wet by the time I got to the truck but no big deal. The wind started picking up and as I was driving out I could see the stop signs shaking around on their poles. Going down the road the wind kept pushing the truck over to the side of the road.

Got onto the highway and the gusts were blowing me back and forth in and out of my lane. And the lightning kept flashing and dazzling me so I drove most of the way home with only one eye open. Had spots in the other one.

Every now and then I would hear a hailstone go "tink!" off of my windshield and every time the lightning flashed I expected to see a tornado. I thought about pulling off the side and waiting a couple of times, but I figured "What the heck?" I'd just try to get home.

I made it home (obviously) in one piece. And I never spotted a tornado. Nasty violent little storm, tho. Had my dogs all upset when I got home. Had to get them out and make them feel safe and give them a treat before they would go back on their beds.

My dogs think I'm a good dad.

And as to the picture at the top, "Stormwatch" is an awesome album. I was listening to it on the way home tonight as a matter of fact. Fitting. If you are a Jethro Tull fan or even if you aren't, this is good music.

Stay dry!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Not In My Chain Of Command

You know.... there's alot of people at work who can tell me what to do. Other officers. sergeants, lieutenants, captains, the major, FUMs, caseworkers, the warden, assistant wardens.... even the nurses tell me what to do and I generally do what they tell me to.

I'm pretty much at the bottom of the food chain as far as being ordered to do things. Anybody who isn't an inmate can tell me what to do.

It's my job. I'm cool with it.

But the fracking inmates are not in my chain of command. And they haven't figured that out yet.

"Go get me the sergeant."

"Get me some toilet paper."

"Go tell that nurse to come talk to me."

To which I generally reply "Go frack yourself."

But not in those exact words.

Any conversation that begins with a demand or an order pretty much ends up the same way. And they act all offended when I tell them to go get stuffed. It mystifies them. Many of them seem to be under the impression that because I am supposed to be nominally looking out for their well being, that I should be catering to their needs all the time.

Well, I got some sad news for ya, Binky! As long as you don't die on my shift, I could really care less about your welfare. And as for the rest of your demands:

Write a kite to the sergeant and he will see you or not as is his will when and if he gets around to it.

Toilet paper gets handed out on fridays. Hold it til then.

Fill out a medical request and the nurse will see you when you get on her schedule.

And until the day comes when you start signing my paychecks......

Go frack yourself.

But not in those exact words.

Thanks. I just needed to get that off my chest.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lightning Strikes

And it struck again on day shift. Another use of force on the same guy as yesterday. Gunny. They took him up to medical to get x-rays since he seemed to have calmed down a bit. But on the way back into the house he started bucking again.

So he got sprayed again.

And put on the floor again.

At least it was inside on the smooth concrete and not out in the gravel like yesterday.


And now he's limping like he's horribly crippled up and in severe pain. He can hardly move and it takes him several minutes just to get up off his bunk for his dinner.

The problem with that is that I have seen him do this same thing before. And before it was just an act. He would act like he was in terrible pain for whatever... sympathy and extra pain meds, I guess.... But when he thought that you weren't looking, he'd be just fine. One minute he couldn't walk and the next he'd be doing jumping jacks.

So I don't know if it's an act or not. He's pretty banged up. But he did cause it himself so I don't really have much sympathy for him. As a matter of fact, there are two business cards I keep in my wallet and I tuck my sympathy for the inmates between those two cards. Keeps it fresh and wrinkle free.

There were some pretty active storms rolling through the area. I heard the warning tones on the radio and someone said possibility of tornadoes down south of us. We never got hit other than a little rain, but BG and I sat out on the rec yard and watched the lightning. Some of it was pretty spectacular. We went "Ooh!" and "Aah!" and "Wow!" like it was the 4th of July. But it was all pretty far away so we didn't have to quit doing rec.

A fair to middlin' good night, all in all.

And thanks to that blogging genius Guy, I am setting my posts to publish at 2:00 am. This way I don't have to try to be witty and brilliant first thing in the morning while I'm pouring coffee down my neck. I learned the trick from him. One of these days I'm going to discover exactly what time of the day I am witty and brilliant. I keep looking. Don't lose hope!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Someone Took The Wrong Meds

Hoo boy, day shift had them a time. One of our old knuckleheads from the wobblehead house whom we hadn't seen in awhile came completely unhinged. They found him sitting in his cell with his pants and boxers around his knees yelling "Hey, look at this!!!" over and over again. He refused to respond to orders and refused to be restrained and it just turned into a donnybrook from there.

Apparently they sprayed him at least twice and put him on the ground at least twice after they got him out of the house because he started kicking and fighting the CO's that were escorting him. Someone up front told me they rinsed the gravel out of his face with pepper spray.


He fought them for a good distance and then at one point refused to walk at all. So they called for the medical cart and they put him on the back of that rather than drag him all the way across the camp.

He refused to be treated by medical, even though the nurses said he needed stitches. He was still bleeding and still fighting when they got to the Hive and he refused to cooperate at all so they had to cut his clothes off. Then he refused to give up his handcuffs.

This was around 7:30 in the morning. When I got there at 2:00 pm, he was still naked in the cell wearing the cuffs. Refused to give them up.

Now, before anybody gets the idea that they beat this guy up for fun, let me give you a little background and description. We'll call him "Gunny", since he claims he was a marine and a Vietnam vet.

I know for a fact that that part is bullsh*t because he is younger than I am and I was twelve when that one ended. So unless he was drafted at eight, his "three tours of vietnam" were all in his head. He may or may not have seen some military service somewhere, but I don't know for sure.

Anyway, Gunny is about five foot ten and maybe two hundred twenty pounds of pretty much solid muscle. And what isn't solid muscle leaks crazy like a sieve full of catterpillars. When he is in his right mind, he works out and keeps himself pretty fit. And he is strong like only those who are elementally crazy can be. A very dangerous and unstable individual. Very volatile and prone to sudden bouts of manic screaming lunacy. And he apparently has a real bad case of OCD and if you throw him off his routine or displace the things in his cell as he has them arranged or knock him off his square just a little bit, you have a fight on your hands.

He snapped smooth the frack out.

I suspect, since he was just fine the other day and had been fine for some months, that he took someone else's meds and they just didn't agree with him. That happens now and then. We try our best to make sure they take them, but short of dissolving and injecting them twice or three times a day, there's not much more we can do.

So when I got there at 2:00 I naturally went in to look. He was back in the corner of the cell pacing in little circles and looked lie someone in a tiki mask had just gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Not that he was the most attractive person to begin with, mind you. Normally he looked like a shaven bulldog with a curly toupee. Still covered in blood and pepper spray and still wouldn't give up the cuffs. I used to have a fairly good repoire with him and I tried to get him to come over and take the cuffs off but he wouldn't even acknowledge me.

A little while later ol' CC (Class Clown, remember him?) came down and got him to talk, but no dice on the cuffs. When that didn't work he bounced an idea off Sergeant Strings and came out to me and said "Come on Rev. Let's just go in and take them off. If he fights, we'll back out quick. But if he don't that's one problem solved."

So we went into the cell and he was still pacing in circles. I held him still (no mean feat) and CC tooks the cuffs off and we backed out and shut the door. We got the cuffs and nobody got hurt. Any worse, anyway. Gunny still looked like ten square blocks of abandoned Projects but at least his hands were free and he could get a drink of water or lie down if he wanted to.

One problem solved.

And this all happened before my crew even came down for the evening. When they did show up, I got a pleasant surprise. We were short people so they pulled our old slightly damaged pal Vinnie out of the control center and sent him to us. Chuck looked so happy and smug that he got his old running partner back I thought his smile was going to wrap around the back of his head. Even if it was just for one evening. Those two together for any length of time could wreck civilization as we know it. And the Gawds know they have tried.

After a rocky start, we had a fairly calm evening. If you discount Gunny screaming at the top of his lungs and The Preacher in the cell next door beseeching Gawd to alternately save and damn our souls.

Just another normal night in the Hive..

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Talking To Themselves

Finally got all of the windows open in the house the other day. That has been a weeks-long ordeal. All of the windows in the cells are locked from the inside. Which is just as ignorant as hell. We have to cuff the inmates and pull them out of the cell and go inside to open their windows. Then we have to repeat the process in a few months to close them again.

And I always dread having the windows open. It's bad enough to hear them scream at each other in the house, but we could always go outside for a little peace and quiet. Now they are screaming out the windows not only at each other, but at other offenders out on the hill. Usually, they are trying to get someone to bring them something. Cigarettes and coffee for the most part. Sometimes more.

I was sitting out on the rec yard the other day and listening to some guy in C-wing yelling at someone. He was pretty angry. The conversation went like this:

"Man, you don't bring me nothing to smoke, you don't bring me no coffee..... you won't even send me any f**king pictures like I want! And you just sit there and you won't even look me in the eye! Ni**a, just get the f*ck out of my room!"

I thought to myself "Uh-oh... somebody is snapping out. We will probably have to do a room move to separate those two!"

And he's moved on to incoherent raving and screaming "Get the f*ck out of my room, ni**a!" Over and over again. "I'll beat your a**, ni**a! Get the f*ck out of my room, ni**a!"

And then a light dawns and I think to myself, "Holy snap! He's in C-wing in a cell by himself!"

I nipped inside and around the corner to see the name on the door and a peek in the window. It's a name I don't recognize but I have stored in my brain for future reference. The offender is standing in the corner by the window and seemed to be yelling at someone seated on the toilet. I looked to make sure there wasn't anybody else in the cell. There wasn't.

Just shook my head and walked away. Made a mental note to myself to make sure this guy was taking his meds. And to keep a closer eye on him if the door is ever open.

It's bad enough having to deal with the fairly sane inmates. Sometimes dealing with these wobbleheads is an adventure all by itself. And when they get out of control writing them conduct violations usually does no good at all. They still get released back to the house when they want them. They sent Gumby back to the wobblehead house the day after I wrote him a violation for covering his cell window. He sat on the restraint bench and peed his pants on purpose and they still sent him back to the house.

Nice. They can have him. I'm tired of his crap (literally!) already.

Just like working the Hive, working the wobblehead house takes a different breed of cat. I've been down there a few times. Sometimes it's like walking down the hall in a horror movie about an insane asylum. Or the basement in the film Thirteen Ghosts. It's best to just walk through and make sure nobody is hurting themselves or anybody else and not listen to what is being said.

Just shake it off and move on.

Luckily, none of them seem to be H.P. Lovecraft fans. I think if I hear someone chanting "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" in the cell, I would run screaming from the building.

A man can only take so much......

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Computer Training For Tards

So they threw out all of the "dumb terminals" and replaced them all with pc's. The Department of Social Services had all of these computers for years and when they upgraded we got them. Old Dells that are no longer made nor supported by the manufacturer.

Supposedly they were tidied up and reformatted and fixed.


And the new system wouldn't accept our old passwords from the old system so we were forced to go to training to get our new passwords.

They forced us to sit through this 45 minute video presentation that was so simple that single celled organisms could have understood it. It spent ten minutes explaining what a mouse was and what the monitor was and which button on the mouse was the left and the right.

I was a little more than mildly insulted.

So I had to spend 45 minutes to get a new password that took me 30 seconds to log on and verify. And I did it twice in 30 seconds just to be sure.

I am now able to access the new system and the old AS-400 system. This gives me two email accounts that fill up with garbage every day and I have to empty them before I can do anything else.

When you first log on to the AS-400 all of your email pops up to the front. You have to do something with each one, either delete it or ignore it, before you can do anything at all with the system. So if you have been gone on vacation for two weeks and you're in a hurry to get some information, you're just screwed. And we aren't allowed to change that setting.

Apparently, we are considered too stupid to pour pee out of a boot with the directions on the bottom.

But then, most of us are. Hence, the tard training.

I survived, and the trainer did too, so I guess it was a good thing. She seemed like a nice woman, even if her video was promoting extreme violence.

It remains to be seen if I can still get on the system when I go back to work tomorrow. It has already broken down on me twice. Last night I logged on and all of my icons were gone off the desktop. That sucked.

I'm off to enjoy my one day off this week. If I can. The wife has some out of state company visiting and my house is full to the gunwhales with cackling women. I'm gonna have to jam my earbuds in for my mp3 player and go out and mow the lawn just to get some peace and quiet.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Dodged A Bullet (Maybe)

Got down to the house late after going to my computer training class. I'll save a pithy description of the class for another post. It was insulting.

The whole way in I had this tight uncomfortable feeling between my shoulderblades like I was expecting someone to bury an axe there. But nobody even mentioned it. However, the Major wasn't even in, so I may have just bought a day. I don't know. When I got to the house there was a maintenance guy outside repairing the rec cages.

I went outside to observe and help him do a walk down afterwards to make sure no pieces of wire got left out there. He did a good job and we are secure again.

When we were outside doing rec last night I was hyper-aware of what the knuckleheads were doing. I was so alert that it was making them nervous. Especially the guys in the two last cages. They kept looking up at me watching them and saying "What???"

I think I'll go on the offensive. There is a set of yard lights between the rec yard and B-side rec that haven't worked for years. If they were repaired it would come close to doubling the light we have out there. It's not so bad in the summer when it's light later in the evening. But in the winter it gets positively dark out there.

So I'll put in a work order to have those lights fixed. They'll bitch and squawk and scream and I'll cite "Safety and Security" and it'll get done eventually. And the offenders in D and C wings will bitch about too much light at night.

I'll tell them "Close your eyes when you sleep. Then you won't notice the light."

That'll make them happy, I'm sure.

Working my day off today. For some reason we are hellishly short of people again. I'm going to grab all the overtime I can get. I figure I'll get what I can before they cut it out again.

We'll see what happens, I guess. And I'll keep practicing those Matrix moves.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Stressed Out

In the corporate world there is a catchphrase: "Mistakes have been made, others will be blamed."

It's a nice thought, but I can't blame anybody but myself.

Something got missed and I didn't catch it. Somebody could potentially get hurt because I got complacent and wasn't being alert.

What happened was, on midnight shift they searched a cell in the Hive and found a shank. This little creep has had shanks before. That's why he's locked up. Another 19 year old C-5 punk who feels more like a man if he has access to a weapon.

What it was made of was a six inch piece of fence wire. Straightened out and sharpened to a point on the end. A dandy little sticking weapon. So the day shift sarge went out and checked the fences outside and didn't see anything wrong. But when he went out on the rec yard, he found a hole in the wire between two of the cages. The last two on the end. There's a hole in the wire about eight inches wide and about twelve inches tall. Down at the bottom.

And I never saw it.

Someone has been pulling at that wire for a long time and breaking off pieces. My first guess is they wanted a hole so they could touch each other down there. They tend to sit down and the others arrange themselves so we can't see down to the end.

It's not in the outside fence, so we know it's not an escape attempt. So there's only two real explanations. One, they wanted to be able to touch each other where we couldn't see. Or two, they wanted the wire for weapons. Or even three, because they were bored.

I'm hoping to the gods that most of that wire got thrown outside the fence because they didn't want to get caught with it like that little jagoff did last night. I'm hoping there's no more chunks of wire hidden somewhere waiting for an opportunity.

But I should have caught it before it got as big as it did. And I didn't. And I 'm mad as hell at myself and sick to my stomach over the whole deal.

I'll be lucky if they don't kick me out of the house. I'll take the blame for it, because I should have been more attentive. I should have caught it. I pride myself on being alert and paying attention to the details and I let one slip right past me. And because I did, there might be weapons in my house.


I'm sure the finger pointing and the butt chewing will start tomorrow. I just can't freaking wait.

I'm going to bed.

And I didn't see it until he pointed it out.

Slept In

Ack. I didn't wake up until ten o'clock. Now my day is going to be all off. We were short people last night, so they held some over from day shift. GM, who just went to days on sunday, got held over and sent down to our house. He was pissed.

So to get him out of the house as soon as possible, they sent him home at ten and asked me to stay until 11:30. Was sleepy as hell by the time I got home, but ended up not going to sleep until after 1 am.

It's cool that I got an hour and a half overtime, but man! that just throws my whole schedule off.

As soon as the wife gets back with our one working vehicle, I have to try to get my truck to a mechanic. Some guy my brother in law recommended. My whole morning is shot.

Sitting here slamming down the coffee and trying desperately to get awake. I hope I'm at least coherent by the time I get to work.

Luckily for everyone, my day at work went much better than my morning did. That was a close call.

Anyway, sorry about this rambling. I'll try to be more interesting tomorrow.

Update: I found a mechanic who will do the job and my truck should be done this afternoon! Yayyyyy! And a friend of ours in Scotland says that since we had three disasters yesterday, we should be done for awhile. Man, I sure hope so....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


They came and installed our new computers yesterday! Yayyyyy!!!!

Oh, wait..... I haven't been to the training yet.... I can't get on the system.. Has ANYBODY in this room had the training so we can get on the new system????

Oh snap.

Luckily, Sgt Miz P had been so she could get on and get us the information we needed. If she hadn't, we would have been screwed. Our bubble officer (who rarely uses the puter) is going to training today. Chuck goes tomorrow and I go thursday.


And we discovered that when they ran the lines for the new system (6 or more months ago) that they neglected to drop a line into the nurses office. So they can't hook her new computer up at all. And she hasn't been to the training, either.

What a great big steaming load of cheap state lowest bidder crap!!!!

On the way home last night the alternator in my truck died. All of the sudden my cd player died and my lights started to dim. Had to make it home on battery power. Hopefully I can jump it off and get it to the mechanic. There's at least $250.00 down the drain.

And this morning the wife asked me to take the aerator off the bathroom sink so we could clean the lime scrudge out of it. When I put a wrench on it to take it off, it was so jammed up that I broke the faucet. So I get to spend the morning running back and forth for parts and to the mechanic and replacing the bathroom faucet.


The inmates better hope my mood improves or somebody is going to have a bad day.

Update: I drove the little truck down to the mechanic to make sure they could get my big truck in today. I started smelling gasoline so bad it was making me nervous. When I got to the shop, I discovered that there is apparently a major hole in the gas tank. So now I am down two vehicles.

Ooooooooo........ SO not having a good day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Several Items On The Agenda

First off, I was almost word for word on about BG on yesterdays post. But instead of shrugging and saying "Nothing much", he said "Not a whole lot." So that was good. A decent augury for the week.

Maybe I should learn to read tarot cards or something. I'm getting a bit superstitious in my old age. That twit Hoppy was in the house again last night (rolls and rolls his eyes) and first thing out of the gate he uses the "Q" word. I wanted to slap him. Of course, I wanted to do that as soon as he walked into the house, but that's another issue.

Luckily for him, he didn't jinx us.

Second, it looks like Vinnie is going to be coming off of the injured reserve list very soon. This is a very good thing. He's getting buggy and stir crazy sitting over in the Admin building every night reading policy. The boredom tempts him to do things that get him frowned at. This is not a good thing. Plus, he only gets to talk to the same two people all night long so when I come out he falls on me like an ice cream truck in the desert. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. But it will be good for him to get back to work so he will have something to blog about.

Third, Gumby was back up to his old tricks again. After the several moments of coherence the other day, he's gone back to being a jagoff. Playing in his poop, etc. They put him on close observation and gave him his clothes. When I came in he had stuffed everything but his pants out from under the door (stickily smeared with an unknown odiferous substance) and was doing his floor show naked in the cell again. At one point during the night he covered the window of his cell door with his blanket. I told him to take it down and he refused. So I opened the chuck hole and pulled it down myself. I pulled it halfway out and he grabbed the other end and wouldn't let go. At this point I had several options open to me. I could get in a tug-of-war with this idiot and one or more of us could have gotten hurt. I could have sprayed him, as his face was right there. That would have been satisfying, but I would have had trouble justifying it as I hadn't actually been told to take it away from him. So I went with the third option and let him keep it. Not out of any feelings that he might be entitled to it, but due to the fact that it was getting late and I didn't want to do any paperwork. I just wrote him a conduct violation and called it good.

And finally, I ran across an article in the New Statesman the other day. A link from a link from a link sort of thing. There are some pretty startling statistics down towards the bottom of the page. It says that there are approximately 1.6 billion internet users worldwide. And out of those 1.6 billion users there are 109 million blogs floating around in cyberspace. That's alot of something to say. But it also states that 99% of those 109 million blogs have no readers at all. So I consider myself lucky to have some readers. Even repeat readers! That's just kind of startling. You guys make me feel proud.