Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chilly Inside And Out

I knew there was a reason that I really wanted to call in today. It wasn't one of those major "oh snap" feelings, it was just a nagging suspicion in the back of my mind that made me think I really didn't want to show up for work.

But I showed up anyway. I'm a fool like that.

They had me scheduled for 2 house, which is the calmest house on the camp. I'm still not real used to calm. I tend to fidget.

I was supposed to be there with Biggest B and some noob.

Unfortunately eight or ten other people had the same feeling I had earlier and they acted on it, so we were real short. They held over a handful of day shift people to make up for our lack of staff. Little B said they were pulling the noob out to the yard and send us Ms Frost fro day shift.

When Biggest B heard that he said "Oh f*ck that. I'm feeling sick. I'm going home." I told him if he left me alone with her I'd break his other arm. He decided to stay. He knew I wouldn't break his arm anyway.

Hell, Biggest B retires at the end of next month after 26 years with the department. Someone who is either that dedicated or that insane or both deserves my respect.

It wasn't as bad as we thought it might be. She was pretty tired and didn't really know us or the shift or the house and spent a good part of her time on the phone with her hubby, who was staying over somewhere else.

Biggest and I spent a good part of the night telling bad jokes and reminiscing about people who used to work here.

And, as usual, nothing at all happened in 2 house.

I guess that's not a bad way to end my week.

Tomorrow is National Candy Corn Day. I'll be accepting donations.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Surely He Didn't Say That!

Weird weird weird sh*t going on. Strangeness and foreboding. Odd rumors.

I have doubts about what to believe. Imagine that.

Remember when I wrote about the inmate who almost rehabilitated himself the other day? The one who I suspected was a drug mule with leaky balloons?

It turns out that he had been sucking on a Fentanyl patch. One of those that is supposed to go on your skin. If he was french, I would call him Dumas. But he aint french.

Today there were two more OD's over on B-side. And apparently one of them turned into a 10-5. I have read that there are cases of reported aggression associated with Fentanyl.

Now we have another case to report.

At first we figured that it was coming from the laundry or visiting, because that's where most of the drugs tend to come from.

But it was whispered to me that the stuff was stolen from......

Ummmmm..... maybe I don't want to go there after all.

I really don't want to get sued.

I'm just wondering. Why was it there at all?

I was also told that there was a total of 20 of those patches loose inside the fence somewhere. They would be viciously easy to hide almost anywhere. The chances of finding them are slim to none.

I sure hope we don't have to have 17 more OD's before we are sure they are all gone.

Rumor has it that the inmates are tearing small pieces off and steeping them in hot water and drinking it like tea. Holy snap.

One more ugly rumor then I'll let it go.

Our Warden is retiring at the end of the month. I have heard no rumors about who is replacing him. I'm not holding my breath hoping for someone better.

What I was told was that he was approached by the Acting Major about what to do about these 17 still to be found patches. Reportedly he said "I don't care. It's my last day."

I really really hope he didn't say that. I would be severely disappointed in him.

On that note I am going to crawl back into my hidey hole and tell you that tomorrow is Hermit Day. If I don't come outside tomorrow, you'll know why. You kids get off my lawn!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Diggin' The Oldies

Tonight I was out in the P-car again. As is usual on Wednesday night. Boring, but not confusing.

Yeah, I can do that.

In two hours I checked two zones and drove about eighteen miles. Mostly I stayed about eight or nine miles an hour but once I got up to almost 20.


So there I was, driving around in the car eating candy orange slices and listening to the Greg Kihn show on the radio. He was playing some good old rock, like he always does. I was digging it and it was helping me stay alert, which is good. It's easy to get bored and sleepy out there on the calm nights.

Of course, at one point he played "Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy. One of my faves but the one I want to hear the least while I'm driving around the outside of a prison with a shotgun, if you know what I mean. As soon as I heard those opening chords I got a chill and said "Oh snap!"

Sgt Uncle T and I are close to the same age (but I'm a bit younger and way cuter, just in case you were wondering) and we like the same era of music. And Goosey isn't far behind, so he is able to keep up with us.

Except one evening I mentioned the song "The Troglodyte" by The Jimmy Castor Bunch and neither one of them remembered it. That song was one of my favorites from way back when.

So I looked around You tube and found the video. Way back before anybody was really making music videos, they made this one. You can see it here: The troglodyte. Check it out!

I have had so much fun looking up old and weird stuff on You tube that I get lost in there for half a day sometimes.

Now if I could just get somebody to pay me for that......

And tomorrow we have a twofer! It is both Plush Animal Lovers Day and National Chocolate Day! Let's not get confused and have alot of plush chocolate animals made up. That would be a friggin' mess!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Odd Movements

As of the weekend, we have been on the winter schedule for movements. For those of you who don't work here, let me explain a moment. Those of you who know what I'm talking about, just skip the next couple of paragraphs. Bear with me.

In the spring and summer, while the daylight lasts longer, the offenders get open yards in the evening. That means that while the yards are open they can come and go as they wish. They can go to the gym or the library or out on the yard or down to the chapel and they can wander about as they wish. Until it gets dark enough and the Sarge closes the yards. Then they have to go back inside their housing units.

It's a little different in fall and winter. In the evenings there are no open yards and we have what are called "controlled movements". Once an hour. They usually only get a couple of those a night. When chow is over and we are ready for movement, usually at or around 6:00 pm, the control center calls a five minute recreation movement. That means that during the next five minutes, anybody who wants to go to the gym can go there. This movement is for the gym and nowhere else.

After all of the offenders are in the gym and the yard is clear, they call a secondary movement. Also five minutes long. During secondary is when they can go to the chapel or the library or to work, wherever that is. You cannot go to they gym during the secondary movement.

The first week or so of this is always a little screwed up. They neglect to tell the offenders that the first movement is for rec only so we have guys trying to go to work or to the chapel at that time. They either get sent back to the house or stuck in the gym. Some people just don't care and send everybody out on the rec movement. It gets to be a cluster frack.

And for those of us who are somewhat new to this whole controlled movement thing it's a little confusing as well. Being down in the Hive since Adam was a lad, I never really had to deal with such nonsense. I got inmates when they sent them to me and I released them when i was told to. The rest of the camp was like another world.

So anyway I'm out on A-yard tonight. Just a little lost. Trying to get a grip on the whole movement deal and how different A-side is from B-side. Sgt Buck is growling because things are screwed up, as usual, and he has a couple of officers (like me) who aint got a grip on it.

And I have to take a moment right now and apologize to Miz Archer. Yes dear, I was on A-side and I didn't come down to visit. I am sorry. But in truth I was so lost and trying to keep Buck from skinning me alive that it just slipped my mind. Captain Jabba was out on A-side riding Buck over something stupid and the bad mood was rolling downhill.

And guess who was at the bottom of the hill? Yup, it was me.

I am sorry, luv. I didn't mean it.

So anyway I let a couple of the inmates walk past me during the rec movement. Buck goes flying down there on the cart and asks them where they're going. To the chapel.

"Oh hell no, you aint!" he roars, making me flinch. "You're going to the gym! That's the only place you can go, so get to the gym!"

"Can we go back to the house?"

"No, dammit! Get to the dang gym now and I don't want to hear any more lip!"

Oh snap. Then Buck drives up on the cart and starts giving me the hairy eyeball. What could I say or do? I just said "Yup, I did it. I let them by. It won't happen again."

I got the hang of it a little and spent most of the night trying to be useful and invisible at the same time. And if you don't think that's bloody difficult, just try it some time.

On the whole, I didn't screw anything up any worse than anybody else did, so once again I guess I can count this night as a success in the ledger books.

Tomorrow, which by the way is Sylvia Plath Day (She was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet), I will be back in the com room on familiar ground once again.

Thank freaking goodness for that. At least there I know what to do, for the most part.

Until something changes.

Context.... Who Needs it?

Today class, we will be discussing the word context and it's meaning. According to the dictionary, the word context means:

Definition of CONTEXT

1: the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning
2: the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs .

When (by the way, this is me now, and no longer the dictionary).... When you take something in context, you are getting the whole picture. You understand fully what you are seeing or hearing or otherwise experiencing.

When you take something out of context, however, it's a whole new ball game. Then, anything goes.

And when you put what you are experiencing in the context of being in a prison...... well, the whole thing just tends to get skewed all over the place.

Here's a good example of something being in context. During shift tonight we were directed to search one of the buildings. We picked out the one building that I had never been into as of yet. They call it the Mattress Factory. But they make more than mattresses in there. I wonder why they don't call it the Mattress And Other Things Factory.

Okay, never mind.

So in the Mattress Factory the inmates all have little stations that they work at. Usually in front of a big industrial sewing machine. And almost every single one of them has devised some sort of pouch or pocket sewn out of scraps and hung on the front of their station to keep pens and pencils and personal items in. We went through and searched the whole building (what we had the keys for, anyway) and one of the things we did was turn out all those little pockets to see what was in them.

For the most part, it was nothing. Like I said, pens and pencils. Little containers of instant coffee and sugar and creamer. Maybe a lighter and small bag of tobacco. No real contraband to speak of, just stuff.

Then there was this one pouch. It held a handful of notes and other things folded together. I flipped through them just to make sure they contained no escape plans or anything and my eyes fell on a note that said:

"My penis is engorged & all the blood has rushed from my head. I'm lightheaded & feel I will not be able to unload the truck."

And it was signed at the bottom with a little smiley face.

Obviously the context of this being that this inmate is a smarta** who thinks he's cute. I'd like to solve that little "engorgement" problem for him permanently. I'm positive that making the thing much much smaller will settle that problem once and for all.


Here's a couple examples of being out of context. While doing the B-yard inner perimeter check (which we do twice a night) I was walking by some open windows in one of the housing units and overheard the following statement:

"What the f**k? Yours is made of wood! Mine isn't this comfortable to sit on..."

I just had to stop dead in my tracks and ponder that one for a moment. Then I realized that he was probably talking about another inmate's footlocker. At least I'm hoping he was. But for a few seconds my mind was somewhere else completely....

And my second example took place not an hour later. Another one of those wonderful "Open mike" moments. Those are always precious. Somebody's mike clicked open and we could hear two voices. The first one said:
"What are you saying? We can put good sh*t in there?"

To which the second voice replied:
"Fu*kin' right!"

And of course, taken out of context.... Well, you draw your own conclusions. But I felt for a moment like I had picked up an old "Cheech and Chong" movie over my radio.

So you can clearly see that context is very important in understand what is happening around you. Context helps you understand your surroundings and the input you are receiving.

But it's nowhere near as fun as being out of context and letting your imagination run wild.

Class dismissed!

Oh! One more thing before you go! Tomorrow is Mule Day! Let's not make asses of ourselves out there, people!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Like Herding Cats

They sent me to B-dining today. Holy crap what a goat rope!

It was just me and another utility officer there so the workers ran amok and basically got away with just less than murder.

Neither one of us really had a handle on how to run the place so things got pretty screwed up. Not bad enough that anybody escaped or got hurt or even bad enough that we had to do paperwork, but it got pretty screwed up.

Half of the crew is screw-ups and the other half is prima donnas. What a mess.

But I have a plan for those slick punks the next time I go down there.

I now know who works and who just screws off when they think they can get away with it. So the next time I go down there I'm going to pick out one or two of the slackers and nail them hard, either with just violations or maybe locking a couple of them up right off the bat.

That will accomplish two things. One: The rest of them will know I mean business. And Two: The slackers will be somebody else's problem for awhile.

Sorry, Drew!

We should have been done by seven o'clock at the latest. But stuff got so messed up I was there until almost eight.

Snap on that business!

So tomorrow is National Mole Day. The list doesn't specify if they are moles on your skin or moles in your yard. Might want to go ahead and have a quiet festival for both, just to be on the safe side.

Gift Box!!!

I got a box of stuff from my sister in Oregon today. It was for my birthday.

Just a little late, but I didn't mind one bit.

And I'm not saying when it was or how old I am, so don't ask.

But here's a list of what was in it:

A. A hat that looks like a brain. Obviously a "thinking cap". It's about time I got one of those. I promise I'll put it to good use. Now if I just had a place to hang it up.... (grin)

B. What looks like a garden gnome holding a shotgun. He'll go up over my office door for protection.

C. A large fly with wheels. Everybody needs one of those, right?

D. A little skeletonized soldier with a parachute. Remember those from when you were a kid? I lost more of those things on windy days..... he's going up on the wall.

E. Fifteen glow in the dark bracelets. I'm sure I'll find a good use for them when the time is right.

F. Hand Blasters. Haven't tried them out yet, but it looks like we might have another fun thing to do in the dark. Hey, honey?.......

G. Another dragon! Yay! I do love dragons. I think this makes number 15 or 16 for my collection. Boo-wah!

H. Zombie Mints. It says on the tin "brain flavored". I'm in the process of working up my nerve.

I. A wind-up ear. It walks across the table or floor. Just in case you need to lend it to someone...

J. One very cool skull with a flame paint job. That sucker is going right next to the Maltese Falcon!

K. Okay, I know what that looks like, but you're wrong. It's actually a pen that looks like a finger. And when you pull it, it makes a fart noise. Pull my finger! Whoop!

L & M. Not like the cigarettes. These two are those trendy little rubber bracelets. But instead of promoting peace or breast cancer awareness or some churchy saying, these are two of the seven deadly sins collection. Sloth and Envy. Man, I'd really want those if they weren't so far away....

N. One package of Slugworths Gummy Slugs! I guess you wouldn't eat them with salt.....

O. One gummy roadkill skunk. You just don't see those every day!

And finally, item P. One jar of bacon salt. Because, as it says right on the jar "everything should taste like bacon!"

I don't think I could have put together a better package myself if I had tried. And you just can't get that kind of stuff around here! I feel like I'm on another planet, sometimes.

Anyway, I just thought I'd show you exactly how cool my sister is. She treats me well and keeps me supplied with the right amount of imported insanity that keeps me ticking along and not chewing my own foot off in frustration.

Thanks, sis! You rock!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not Too Bad At All

I'll just have to admit, that tonight wasn't too bad at all. I spent a good part of the night up in the com room with my feet up on the desk flipping through the teevee channels.

I've gotten good enough at doing the inventory that I can get through it in just a few minutes or so and I get extra time to just sit and relax in between the rushes of people coming and going.

Brother D brought me in a small bag of deer sausage from his successful hunting this season. He also included some sliced cheese and Ritz crackers. And a handwritten blessing on the bag.

That man is so nice sometimes that it makes me feel bad.

Hmm... That's a bit of an oxymoron or something, eh?

Let's see you explain that one, Rev!

Aww.... snap.

He's so nice and cheerful all of the time that he makes me feel like I'm a mean crotchety old man because..... well.... because I am a mean crotchety old man.

But being nice is Brother D's nature and being a rude bas*ard is mine. And after eating that deer sausage I'm vowing to be a lot nicer to him. That stuff was awesome.

There was a little bit of excitement down in the wobblehead yard. Not sure exactly what but there were a couple of excited radio calls and then somebody was sent to the Hive in cuffs. But I sat there, perched up on the chair ready to spring forward just in case something happened.

Of course if something kicked off I would have gotten as far as the sally port and Sgt Puddle would have just knocked on the glass and said "You can't go! Get back up there!"

What the hey, I got a little adrenaline buzz for awhile. But, wow! When I came back down off of it I had to walk around and slap myself in the face to stay awake up there.

Before I forget (again) let me look and see what tomorrow is. Just for FYI, today was Brandied Fruit Day. I hope you all enjoyed it, speaking of getting a buzz.

Ah, yes. Tomorrow is Babbling Day. I hope they are referring to streams and brooks and not lunatics. That could be interesting....

Is anybody interested in this "Day" stuff or should I just drop the concept? Let me know your thoughts!


Almost lost one today to his own stupidity. One of our outside workers. Came back inside the fence from being out there... somewhere... doing something.

The yard dawgs on day shift found him wandering up by rec apparently stoned out of his gourd. Sgt Strings said the dudes pupils were like pinpoints.

They took him to Central and they said "Yup. He's toasted. Lock his as* up! Send him to the Hive to sober up for a few days."

They got him cuffed up and took him to medical and he just fell out.

Then he stopped breathing.

So they ended up doing CPR on him right there in the lobby of medical and calling an ambulance. Got him breathing again and rushed him to the hospital.

I never did hear what it was he was high on or if they got anything when they pumped his stomach.

My considered guess was that he had several balloons of something, most likely heroin, in his stomach and he was muling them inside when one of the balloons broke.

He came pretty close to completely rehabilitating himself, there.

I've got things to say about this whole outside work stuff and how it's run, but I'll just keep my pie hole shut. All I would do is rant and rave and nothing would ever change.

I just hope it was his own drugs he was bringing in and not someone else's that they gave him. That would mean it could happen again and again real soon.

And of course, if an inmate dies in prison of a drug overdose it's all our fault for not watching them closely enough. We'll suffer and look bad in the public's eye because we were doing what we were told to do.

Like we don't look bad enough, most days. Sheesh.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Expecting The Worst

I was going to write about what a night we had, but it seems I've already been there and done that lately. We had a really calm night so after the yards closed we sat around and tortured each other with amusing stories and really bad jokes.

Just me and Sgt Uncle T and some guy who is so new I haven't made up a nickname for him yet.

It was a good night. Or parts of it was, anyway.

Uncle T had several "meetings" with Captain Jabba and none of them turned out nicely. It seems they just haven't taken a shine to each other.

Just as soon as the Cap would call on the radio Uncle T would cringe and say "God damn it! Here we go again! More skin off my butt!"

And it's true, mostly. The man never has anything positive to say to anybody. He just criticizes and makes veiled threats. I guess it's his leadership style. He apparently likes being a bully because that is all he ever does.

And if you stay calm and use logic to refute his (usually) inane statements, he gets mad and throws you out of the office.

Unfortunately, alot of the leadership around here is like that. And we get used to being criticized and always assume that we have done something wrong.

For example: Last week I was out on the yard. Yards were closed so we were at leisure for a few moments. Out of the blue I get a radio call from Sgt Archer, who was working over on A-side. he tells me to come to central.

My immediate reaction is "Oh snap, what did I do?" All the way there my mind raced over the events of the last few days. I didn't think I had done anything wrong. And I know Archer and he wouldn't get me off in a wreck on purpose. He's a good cat. But I worried the whole way up there. And when I walked into the office there was an evaluation sheet with my name on it laying on the desk.

And once again the paranoid part of my mind thought "What did I do?"

But since Sgt Archer is my rating Sergeant he does my annual evaluations. And he had actually written up a good entry to put into my file. It basically said that I showed up to work more often than not and was on time when I did and was sensible enough not to run with scissors on the yard.

Or something nice like that. It was positive, anyway.

I almost fainted. But I restrained myself and thanked him instead.

We almost never get that kind of positive reinforcement from our leadership. Sure, there are a few, like Uncle T and Sgt Archer and a couple of others who will tell you now and then you are doing a good job and actually thank you for what you did manage to do right.

That always feels good and makes coming to work a positive thing.

The rest of them just want to concentrate on the negative stuff. "Oh sure, you just saved the Wardens life but your name tag is on crooked! That's going in your file and if it happens again you're fired!"

Okay, so I exaggerate a little. But you get the gist of it.

So many of the upper echelons want to forget that we are here to manage the inmates. They feel that since this is a prison they have to punish somebody and since they no longer have any direct contact with the inmates except for emergencies, they must punish us for any trifling or imagined derelictions.

Yeah, let's piss off the front line troops. Make them regret they ever came to work in the first place! The beatings will continue until morale improves!

By Gawd it worked for Leona Helmsley and it will work for me!

Whups. Almost forgot. Tomorrow is Evaluate Your Life Day!

Yeah. Sure. I hope there's no paperwork involved.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dang Tunes Stuck In My Head!

I get songs stuck in my head all the time. Heck, I get alot of things stuck in there all the time. And not always good things. Crap just gets in there and whirls around and around like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.

Last week we were out in front of dining and Goosey started humming the music from the Slinky commercials. You know the one... "Slinky, slinky, for fun it's a wonderful toy..."

I said "Oh great! That's gonna be stuck in my head all day!" And I wandered up the hill to watch the knuckleheads go to chow.

About ten minutes later Sgt Uncle T calls me on the radio and tells me to go to channel two.

I switch over to two and say "Yeah?"

He just says "Slinky, slinky...." click!

Aaaaargh! You evil bast*rd! I was rid of it!

Today in the com room line somebody said something about seventy six trombones.

And there it went.... "Seventy six trombones led the big parade...."

And on and on.

I just about got shut of that one by the time I got down to 6 house. Worked there with the Menace and Pretty Boy. Was doing okay until PB starts humming "Hmm hmm hmm hmm... Here in my car, I can go where I want...."

And there it went....

I was glad to get back out to the truck at the end of the night. I had a CD that was nothing but instrumental stuff and I cranked it up on the way home. Glad to get my mind clear for a change.

In case you were wondering, tomorrow is Dictionary Day. Whatever that means....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prophecy Is Not A Gift

Man, I really hope that I am not a soothsayer. Or a prophet, oracle or even a half-as*ed fortune teller. If I am anywhere near being any of those things, it might be a good idea to think about colonizing Mars.

Up the road a small piece from Raccoon City is a sexual predator unit. It's a place where inmates who have served their time for sex crimes but have been identified as sexual predators are confined until the state decides that they are "rehabilitated".

For almost all of them, that means never.

Since they have served out their sentences, they are not really in prison. It's more like a long term treatment center. But it has a fence with razor wire and if they try to escape we can shoot them.

But I heard a rumor the other evening that some genius over there has decided to start sending a select few of them out of the place on work release. And that they are building a halfway house on the grounds just for that purpose.

So let me get this straight...... They were imprisoned for sex crimes. And when their sentences were finished it was determined that they were such a danger to society that they should be confined indefinitely until the vague and unquantifiable state of "rehabilitation" is reached.

But now it has been decided that we are to be sending some of them out into the community to pick up trash alongside the highway and run lawn mowers for the city and wash the police cars and such.

Giving them once again an opportunity to come in contact with whatever their favorite sexual prey may be, whether it's little boys or little girls or adults or the elderly or whatever.

And since they are not technically in "prison" if they just walk away the first chance they get, they can't actually be charged with escape. Or so I'm told. The worst they could be charged with is "absconding" or "fleeing confinement" which is a minor crime.

If that is so, then why would we be able to shoot them if they went over the fence?

Because they are Dangerous Sexual Predators. That's why!

Then why are we allowing them out into our community?

My guess is because it's an election year and some freaking genius got federal funding for his brilliant idea.

I'll make you a deal. Cut their funding for this harebrained idea, give me half of it and I'll pay my bills, thus improving the local economy. And for that I will agree not to rape or molest anybody.

But this idea...... It's lunacy.

So I had angry frustrated dreams all night long. There were inmates running amok in the city everywhere and there was not a single thing I could do about it. I woke up several times grinding my teeth and so mad I could spit.

Obviously, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep.

A sign of the future? I sure hope not. Mars might not be far enough away.

Just in case you were wondering... tomorrow is White Cane Safety Day. Watch out for blind people because.... well, obviously they can't.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Existentialism In The Com Room

You have to work pretty hard to get any excitement working in the com room. About the only thing that could liven that place up is a fire or a massive screwup by the preceding shift.

And of course, none of that happened tonight.

So I was left with several hours of free time to ponder The Meaning of Life (which was a fairly good movie, I thought) and the truth behind existence.

I asked myself "Why am I here?"

Of course the immediate answer was "Because you're broke, dimwit. You are here to get a paycheck and get out of your wife's hair for eight hours."

Oh yeah.

Mostly, it seemed, I was there to help others. Partly because they couldn't reach the radios with the door shut and partly because a really lot of them don't remember what it is they want.

Alot of people will walk up to the window and say "Uh.... I need uh...... Uh... hmmmm..." And I'll say "Keys 63 and a radio with a mike and case, no swivel?"

"Uh.... yeah! Thanks!"

Sometimes I can pull that off just right. It always leaves them shaking their heads going "How did he do that?" That makes my night.

So I stand behind the window and try to be helpful and jovial and understanding when they're confused. Some nights are easier than others.

Tonight was an easy one.

Nobody died and nobody escaped.

We'll count it as a victory in the books.

For all of you chrome-domers out there tomorrow is Be Bald and Free Day! Whoo hoo! Let it shine!

Ghost Stories

Yee haw. I got to be the education/library officer tonight. Oh yeah, that was more fun than a duffel bag full of Slinkys!

Yeah, I said Slinkys. It's an inside joke.

All you have to know how to do to perform that job is count and sit down. Release them from education when you can and let them in and out of the library.

At one point, when it was starting to thunder and lightning a little bit outside, Sgt Uncle T call me on the radio and tells me to go to channel two. When I get there he sounds just like one of the McKenzie brothers when he says "Got a big one rollin' in, eh?"

I guess that meant he read the blog about him. At least he takes it well. Some people haven't from time to time.

Finally get done with the library and shut it down around 8:30 and wander out onto A-yard. Uncle Buck looks at me and says "Go count 2 house."

Sure thing, Buck. In about an hour.

So I hang out on the yard with Miz Double H and we end up telling ghost stories. At first she's just kidding and thinks I am too. Then I start telling her that I've seen the dang ghosts around Raccoon City and she starts getting nervous. I guess that's why she wandered off so early.

Then I go up to 2 house and hang out with Miz Fawkes and Mr Coffee and end up telling the same stories over again. Neither one of them had heard my ghost stories before. I don't think either one of them will ever go down to 10 house and be comfortable again.

For those of you who haven't been reading this from the beginning, it's like the premise of a really bad B movie. Raccoon City Prison was built on the grounds of an old abandoned mental hospital.

No, seriously.

I know that if you went to the video store and read that on the back of a DVD, you'd put it back on the shelf and say "Yeah, right. Whatever."

Sometimes it boggles me that I work in such an unlikely place.

I'm actually surprised that we aren't hip deep in ghosts some night. There's even a graveyard from the mental hospital right outside the fence.

Over the years I have seen and heard some strange stuff. And I'm not talking about the live people, either. Although they tend to be much stranger than the dead ones.

This is just a very very strange place. I just hope they never decide to make a movie about it. Nobody would ever rent the dang thing.

So for a Moment of Frustration Day, there wasn't much frustration. At least, not for me.

And tomorrow is International Skeptics Day.

Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Talk Like An Egyptian

Amazingly enough, some days it's fairly fun to work in a prison.

I know how odd that sounds. It even felt unnatural to write such a thing. But it's true. And I can see that phrase winning the first prize in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Look it up.

Tonight our evening yard lasted about 32 minutes. So for a change, from 6:32 until 11:30 we had very little to do and alot of time to do it in.

And when we know we are going to have alot of time on our hands, we tend to start early. We'll start ranging around for topics of discussion. Music, movies, bad puns, fart jokes. Whatever seems to strike a chord at the time.

Get Sgt Uncle T going on accents some time. Now he claims that he's from Detroit. I haven't seen anything to prove or disprove that. But get him going on Bob and Doug McKenzie and see how pissed off he gets. "That sh*t aint funny." And start throwing the word "eh" at the end of your sentences and see how easily he slips into that pattern.

"Drivin' around in the ol' golf cart, eh?"

"Oh, you know it, eh!"

Works every time.

You see, I suspect he's a closet Canadian. Everything fits.

Be aware of your surroundings! Keep an eye on your neighbors. Look out for strangers in the neighborhood. It might be one of them. Anyone who wears a Tuke (or even a Tuque) should bear close scrutiny.

Hee hee hee!

So a small rain squall rolled in right before mainline and stayed a good part of the night. Just sprinkles at first. A little bit of thunder and lightning but nothing to close the yards over. I was driving around on the cart with Uncle T and I adopted my best Maine accent and said "Looks like a stahm rollin' in, Mahtha! Bettah batten down the lobstah pahts!"

Okay, that accent is difficult to write. But you get the idea.

Anyway a few minutes later we close the yards. Sgt Uncle T leans out of the cart and yells "The Yahds Ah Closed!" Then he looks at me and says "Frack, did I just say that?" Then he smacks me on the shoulder and says "See what you did to me, you bahstid!"

Hee hee hee!

And luckily for us the rain started coming down just as we announced the yards were closed and the inmates all scattered. I think we may have set some kind of record for clearing the yard tonight.

And pretty much as soon as the yards were clear the rain stopped again. I guess it was destined that we were to be allowed to relax for an evening.

It can be fun, some times.

Oh snap. I almost forgot. Today was both Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving. How serendipitous was that? Also today was It's My Party day and Take Your Teddy Bear To Work Day. I realize now that since I post so late in the evening, I should tell what the next day is going to be so I'll start doing that and see how it goes.

Tomorrow is Moment Of Frustration Day. Hmmm... That just doesn't sound good...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What A Glorious Day

Just in case you were wondering.......

Today is National Angel Food Cake Day.

Though why anybody would dub that dry spongy mostly tasteless glop "Angel Food" is beyond me. It's the Melba Toast of cakes.

Anyway, I just thought you should know.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I was supposed to start out my day in the Moon Room. Also known a B-strips. Whenever inmates that work outside the prison come back in, they have to be strip searched.

And when I have to start my day by strip searching twenty or thirty guys who have been out mowing lawns and running weed eaters all day and they are all hot and sweaty and nasty....

Let's just say it puts quite a damper on my day. And my appetite, as well. Bleagh.

So when Lt Gerber grabbed me and said "I forgot that the visiting room staff is still here. They can handle the strips.", I was pretty happy about it. And he sent me out on B-yard to spend my friday evening. I could have kissed him, but he would have sent me someplace icky then so I left it alone.

With the added provision of course, that if anything were to happen then I would get pulled.

What I forgot was that both Sgt Uncle T and Goosey were off on fridays. We had Sgt Billygoat (I know it's not a real good nickname. trying to come up with a better one) and Uncle Scary and St. Francis.

At forty-six-seven-ish (I forget) I was the youngest one of the group. They all had me by a few years. That didn't happen very often.

What I forgot was when Uncle Scary and St Francis got together they were like Statler and Waldorf off of the Muppet Show. With maybe a dash of Don Rickles and Foghorn Leghorn thrown in for good measure. They rode around on the cart for awhile terrorizing the inmates and when they came back by Uncle Scary said "We just went from one end of the camp to the other and were rude to everyone we saw!"

Yeah, that's them.

I spent most of the evening listening to them two go at each other and everybody else in their "I'm a crotchety old guy and I can do what I want." thing. I couldn't hold a candle to either of them, even if I could have gotten a word in edgewise.

They'd rattle back and forth for awhile and now and then Uncle Scary would look at me and say "S'matter son? You sick? You aint talking!"

I'd just raise my hands and smile. "You old fellers go on. I'm just listening here."

That went on pretty much all evening.

It felt good to get back home where I could talk as much as I wanted to without being interrupted by somebody calling me "Son" or "Junior."

Even if everybody here is already asleep.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Vanishing CO Mystery

I managed to luck out and get out on the yard twice this week. And for a change, neither night was very bad or busy at all. I have a feeling that there will be times I will look back on these calm nights with great nostalgia.

For some strange reason or twist of bizarre fate, both tonight and Tuesday night we had extra people on the yard with us. On Tuesday we have five CO's and the Sarge out there! Unheard of! Inconceivable!

But they have a habit of vanishing, as into thin air. Just one minute we would look around and say "Hey, were did they go?" It's barely possible, of course, that they just so happened to be circling the yard in exactly the opposite way we were going and just stayed out of eye shot.

But I don't think so.

Tonight after education shut down they sent us Mr Coffee. He popped into the shack as I was eating my dinner and said "Here I am. Do we have Del Norte tonight?" When I nodded, he said "Ok, I'll do it." I told him he didn't have to and he insisted.

Then he vanished until the yards opened.

I saw him occasionally during the forty five minutes that yards were open then as soon as they closed... poof! He was gone again.

He shows up maybe an hour later and says he's going to do the Del Norte walk. I didn't mind that at all, since it was supposed to be my turn.

I saw him after that one time and then he was gone again.

The same thing went on Tuesday night. Two of the other extra officers we had (me being the third one) vanished for an hour or so after the yards closed and we had no idea where they were.

That was a little suspicious, if you ask me. But such an unlikely pair.

One of these days I'm going to have to figure out where these people disappear to. Wherever it is, it seems a pretty good hiding spot.

And I may need one of those some night.

P.S.- Goosey, I'm keeping the big rock you stuck in my lunchbox as a paperweight. Thanks!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Haven't Been Totally Idle

For a few years I have been into the steampunk thing. Not really active or anything. Just mostly a fan of the style.

That sort of thing takes time and money. Neither of which is in real big supply right now.

What I wanted was a hat rack. I collect hats and I have quite a few.

So I set about designing something along the steampunk style. Just to see what I could come up with. And when I had something I thought I liked, I headed out to the shop to see what materials I had on hand.

It turned out that I had several chunks of 3/8" pvc plastic left over from a sign that had gotten broken in a tornado.

So I laid my patterns out and set to cutting. And cutting, and cutting, and cutting....

Holy smokes, that was alot of cutting. Did it all with the jigsaw, as it was too big to get under the scroll saw with.

Made the thing in three separate pieces and ran 3" bolts through the top of each gear to hang the hats on. Painted the whole thing a golden yellow then misted on some gold metallic to give it kind of a sheen. Painted all of the outside edges black and then hand painted an 1/8" black stripe around each edge.

I could tell, right from the get-go that it had been close to ten years since I had held a paintbrush in my hands. Shaky shaky.

It turned out a little more cartoonish than I had imagined, but it wasn't bad. Had room for about fifteen of my hats.
Of course the problem now is that I have more hats still not hung on pegs. Probably about the same number again if I gathered them all in one place.

But I do have two more chunks of wall that need something on them. And I do still have a bit more pvc left down in the shop.....

I might make a couple more pieces or come up with something different.

Who knows?

So for those of you who think just because I'm neither blogging nor working on my weekends that I'm just lazing about swilling cheap wine and cavorting with nymphs......

Well, sometimes I wish.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Childish Humor

I've mentioned several times about our sense of humor there in the prison. It's pretty awful.

Part of it comes down to we have to laugh or we might start screaming and not be able to stop. Some of it boils down into a very simple mathematical equation.

Everybody knows that guy jokes (GJ) are bad.

And everybody knows that prison jokes (PJ) are terrible

Therefore: GJ + PJ = GAPGJ or (Gawd Awful Prison Guy Jokes)

We often have the most juvenile sense of humor. The worse the joke is, the funnier we find it. And, of course, a good fart can send us rolling on the floor in tears.

And, after my post last night, I'm almost wondering if some of us aren't actually suffering from some sort of weird twisted type of PTSD.

It makes sense. How else could we sit in thirty acres full of murderers and meth heads and child molesters and the clinically insane and crack bad jokes?

We laugh to make the pain go away.

We laugh to keep the ghosts at bay.

We laugh to show that we aren't scared.

We are "Whistling past the graveyard".

Sometimes I look around and think "These are the lunatics that have my back?"

Yup. And the ones that laugh the loudest and the longest are usually the ones who show up when there's trouble and the ones I can rely on the most.

Maybe they can get us a clown car to drive around the yard rather then those pathetic golf carts.

I'd feel much safer.

Go ahead and laugh. It's okay.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stepped Off Into It

Yes, it was one of those days. It seems that I am the favorite right now to get stuck wherever they need somebody at the last minute.

I was "on the bench" on friday when I left. It's like being on the second string team. If somebody doesn't show up or gets hurt then you get to play.

I don't mind being in the game, but I didn't care at all for the way it came about.

Not one little bitty bit.

I walk in the door and the Lt on the books holds up five fingers and says "You're going down to the Hive. Think you can handle it?"

Sure, I can handle it. I was down there for freaking ever. I left because I was tired of it. I don't have PTSD or something.

Not that I'm knocking those who do. I'm just saying I don't....

Then he says "Chucky called in and quit."



He nods and says it again. "Chucky call in today and quit. You're going down there in his spot."

Oh. What the.......

Well..................................................... Frack! (or something like that)

That just ruined my day. Sonuvva..... bleeeeeotch.

Walked under a dark cloud all the way to Central when I overheard Lt Crunch saying "Yeah, we had a 10-49, two 10-5's and they are locking up five or six from 6 house even as we speak! And, oh yeah, the Hive is full so they're doing one for one!"

Oh snap. Why didn't I call in today?

I have to tell you. Walking back into the Hive after all this time is like stepping into a fresh cow pie in your socks. At first it feels warm and soft and kind of good. Then it quickly soaks through and you realize that you just stepped in poop.

They brought in three more lockups as I was coming through the door. I believe at the time I actually got keys and got into the wings we had five scattered on the restraint benches. The office was full of brass. Sgts Strings, Bumblebee and Banty were all in there with the Boss Man, trying to figure out what to do.

The Boss Man looks at me and says "Ah, good! You're here! You figure this out!"

Oh hell.

So the first thing we do is I grab Windows and we do a count of the house. Ignoring the knuckleheads on the benches. It comes out fairly close to what we need it to be, so I know it can't be that far screwed up.

Strings, Banty and the Boss Man beat it out of there. They leave us with one holdover CO from day shift (a transportation officer, of all things) and they send us Sgt Fluffy.

OK, whose brilliant idea was that?

Never mind. Just ignore him and he'll go away eventually.

While we are trying to put the rest of the lockups away, about half a dozen inmates were trying to check in from their cellies. Every time we got one put up, someone else would be taking their place on the bench.

Sgt Bumblebee is pulling out his hair. And to tell you the truth, he's not real big on taking advice or suggestions. I tried a few times and got pretty much ignored. So I just let him run with the ball.

It took us hours and bazillions of room moves to get everybody situated. Not all of them were happy with the accommodations, but hey, we're not really a service oriented folk, anyway. Customer satisfaction is far from our first priority.

If it were, I'd be in another line of work.

To be brutally honest, now that I don't work there anymore, I don't miss that place at all.

I miss working with BG like crazy. He and I worked pretty good together. We always (well, almost always) knew what the other one was doing and where the other one was.

I'd work with BG again in a flat second.

But not down there. Not for quite some time from now, anyway.

Of course, now that Chucky has bailed on us, I'm probably going to get stuck down there alot. I don't much care for that or the reason behind it.

Damn it! I'm going to miss him too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fed Up Already

Ooooooh......... snap. Just got home a little while ago and I'm already so mad I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep.

Today is the first day of "open enrollment" with our insurance. The one time a year when we can make changes to our lovely state medical insurance coverage.

I need to make changes. So why not do it online? Save the hassle of filling out paperwork and spending hours on hold over the phone with some pakistani clerk-for-hire trying to get my medical coverage straightened out.

After all, they send me ten emails a month reminding me that I can do this. And they tell me that by following their "lifestyle ladder" I can be healthier and happier!


And they also tell me I need to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, eat better, not be so stressed all of the time and quit being depressed.

Like that helps. Gee, all I need to do is quit being myself and I'll be happy!

I spent 45 minutes dinking around on their slow-as* website trying to change my medical coverage and could not get it done. It's designed to be as confusing and as difficult as possible, it seems. I found links that said "change your coverage here!" that led me nowhere.

What a bunch of crabfarrrgle.

When I finally decided to hit the little "x" in the corner and said "F*ck you" to their website I was plenty happy.

So I'll go in monday and fill out the paperwork like a good little drone.

I suspect it would have been cheaper and easier just to go to freaking medical school myself.

PS- I was going to write a post about spending the evening working with Ash and Coup. I was surprised that something almost happened in 2 house. Wasn't a bad night, but this internet thing got me down. Maybe later.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Off In His Own Little World

People say that about me alot. It's probably true. I'm just visiting this planet.

But I'm actually referring to someone else this time.

Thursdays is my day out on B-yard with Sgt Uncle T. Yeah, you. Ya big galoot. You know who I'm talking about, eh?

Goosey called in again today so they sent us Kermit in his place. Uncle T and I rolled our eyes just a smidgen when we heard that. Kermit is a little difficult to get along with at times.

I think the word that I am looking for is "misanthrope." Look it up. It's a good word to know. And I'll bet now that I know it, I'm going to throw it around a little and see who it sticks to.

Kermit pays very little attention to the world around him for the most part. He tends to focus on very small sections of life at a time.

For example: He's been with the department for well over ten years and most of it here in Raccoon City. Lieutenant Gerber has been here the same amount of time or even a little longer. Kermit was down in front of the chow hall at dinner and was supposed to be doing pat searches of the offenders as they came out. The Lt saw him just standing around and told him to get off his butt and do some pat searches. So he did a couple. Right after the Lt left, he went back to standing around. Sgt Uncle T went up to him and said "Didn't Lt Gerber just tell you that you needed to be doing pat searches?"

To which Kermit replied "Was that Lt Gerber?"

What can you do?

When the yard is open we are supposed to doing roving patrols. Moving around and keeping an eye on things. After all, it's damn near ten acres we have to be able to see. He knows this. He's been on the yard off and on forever.

So what does he do? Parks his butt against a lamp post in one corner of the yard and stays there the whole night.

What did we do?

"It's okay, man. We'll cover the rest of it. Don't worry about the other nine and a half acres."

Sarcasm is completely lost on him.

Other than that we had a remarkably uneventful night. Unlike A-side which stayed busy. I'm beginning to like B-side more and more these days.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to be in the 2 house bubble.

The slowest house on the camp.

I'm trying to remember the last time anything at all happened in 2 house.

If anything ever did.

If I think of something I'll let you know.

And Goosey? Even if you don't like your nickname, yer stuck with it!