Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bolstering My Immune System

After the rainy cold soaking wet night last night I stopped on my way home and bought me a box of this Emergen-C Immune Plus System Booster.

It claims to be able to ward off colds and I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

Good thing I didn't drink one last night before I went to bed. The vitamins alone would have given me wild dreams. But the B-Complex stuff had me buzzy like an overly large hummingbird. About the equivalent of a pot of coffee, I'm thinking.

I was in 4 house with Sgt Duck and Ms Trees and Moon. It had been going pretty well. I hadn't done much of anything other than hand out mail and count. Ms Trees did most of the stuff and kept telling me "Sit down. Take a break. I'll do it!"

Hey, I could do that.

There was a lot of traffic going over the radio and something happening down in the sally port but since nobody was excited or calling my name, I paid little attention. Then about 7:30 Sgt Duck gets a call and after he hangs up he points at me and says "You are going to the P-car."

Aww, snap.

It turns out that Grasshopper had tried to turn the P-car around down by sallyport #3 and wasn't paying attention. He dropped a tire over the edge of the culvert and hung the car up on the stump of an ex telephone pole sticking up out of the concrete. They couldn't just pull it out because the stump would have ripped the front end of the car off. They had to leave it there for the time being.

So I got in the jeep and went down and got the shotgun and ammo from Grasshopper (now officially dubbed "stumpy") and drove around for awhile, watching the fences. They pulled Stumpy inside to get reamed out by Capt Fluffy and pee in a bottle (because he had an accident with a state vehicle and it's required) and do paperwork.

An hour later I switched out with Model A and spent the last two hours of my shift wandering around the sally port by myself.

What a wonderful way to spend the evening. But what the hey. It's my Friday.

Just as a ridiculous side note: While I was down in the sally port shack looking for something to read, I came across a copy of the local paper. On the back was an ad for some pharmacy touting their medical equipment rentals. trying to drum up business for those C-Pap machines that are getting so popular.

In a big banner at the top of the ad it states "There's also some evidence that heart failure leads to sleep apnea."

Yeah, I suppose being dead would make you breathe funny. Do you think they got something backwards there?

So here's the lineup for the weekend. Saturday is National Pistachio Day. Yum!

Sunday is International Polar Bear Day. Okey dokey. Somebody else can have mine thanks. I'm full.

And Monday is Public Sleeping Day.

Public Sleeping Day.

Even when I say it twice it doesn't make any sense. What twit thought that one up? Good gravy.....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cold And Rainy

Like the title says, it was a cold and rainy night. All freaking night long.

And of course, I was on the yard.

And of course, it was my night to do the Del Norte walk. Yeah.

I looked at the weather this morning and it said highs in the lower forties (it never got there) and lows dropping down into the twenties with a 100% chance of rain all night, possibly turning to snow some time tomorrow morning. Oh, and winds from 10-25 mph all evening.

That wind was a killer.

So on the bottom half I had my silk long johns (Mmmmm! Silk!) and a regular pair of long johns over them. And my uniform pants, of course. One pair of regular socks with a pair of hiking socks over them.

On the top I had a pair of long johns, my t-shirt, a black turtleneck, my uniform shirt, my hoodie, my coat and then my raincoat covering all of that. I had my hat on so the brim would keep the rain off of my glasses (somewhat) and my tuque over my hat to keep my head warm.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror up in central and I looked like some sort of blue collar bag lady with all of those layers going on.

But they did the trick. My face and hands got a bit cold because sometimes wearing thick gloves isn't a good idea. There are just some things you can't do with gloves, if you know what I mean. For the most part I stayed warm and dry. I'm happy with the result, even if I was bundled up like a toddler in a snow suit.

They said we might get up to an inch of rain in 12 hours and I suspect we got every bit of that and maybe even more.

Turned every bit of the camp that isn't concrete into a swamp. I thought I was going to lose a boot a couple of times, there. Unfortunately there are bits of working the yard that require we don't stick to the sidewalks at all times. Once or twice I thought I might end up getting sucked under.

Ah well, I survived. Didn't get a chance to eat my tortilla chips, tho. That was a bummer.

So what exciting holiday is tomorrow? Let's check the magic chalkboard and see!

Hmm.... flip flip.... scroll.... scroll.... scroll.... Hey! Tomorrow is Pistol Patent Day. Apparently it's the day Samuel Colt applied for his patent on the revolver. It was in 1832 and Colt was a mere lad of 18 at the time.

Oh, I really do hope that's not an omen. Hope. Hope. Hope.....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And Ah He'ped!!!

I was accidentally useful today. That was so startling that I almost decided to take the rest of the day off in shock.

I figured that was probably going to be the high point of my day.

It turned out that seeing Peggy Sue was actually the high point of my day, but that came later. But boy! That was nice.

Even though I have a radio (or several hundred of them) up in the comm room, I get a little disconnected from what is going on in the camp while I'm up there. I don't get to see any of the hustle and bustle and all the comings and goings. Heck, I don't even have a window.

Or a pot to pee in, for that matter. I have to go downstairs for that.

The first thing I knew that something had gone bad was when I heard Vinnie call over the radio for everybody to send their workers back to their housing units and prepare for a name and number count.

Oh snap. That means that somebody either screwed up or somebody was actually missing.

I hoped nobody was missing.

The phone rings and Sgt Puddle asks me to go down to the visiting room and send the barber back to his house. That entailed doing a quick inventory of the barber tools and strip searching him before sending him out.

Yeah, I could do that. No worries.

So I get the inventory and the strip search done and as I'm about to call him out to the yard, he says "I live in eight house now." No big deal. I thought he was in thirty house, but they move around all the time.

So I get on the radio and tell the yard that I'm sending the barber back to eight house and off he goes.

When I go back up front Sgt Puddle says "You sent the barber to eight house?"

I nodded and said "Yup. That's where he lives now."

Sgt Puddles eyes get real big and he says "Oh-oh..."

I said "Let me guess. The problem with count was a difference of one between eight and thirty?"


It was about then that I notice Capt Fluffy sitting in the control center nodding his head going "Ah-hah!" He points at Puddle and says "This is your fault!"

Even though we had figured out the problem we had already sent everybody back to their houses so we went ahead and did the name and number count anyway. Just to make sure we had the problem fixed.

I should have went ahead and gone home at that point but then Peggy Sue popped by to visit and I got one of those spectacular hugs of hers. Made me see little twinkly things in my eyes for about twenty minutes, she did. Made my whole night.

So, my dogs really enjoyed International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. Between the two of them they appreciated quite a few biscuits.

Tomorrow is National Tortilla Chip Day. Hmm... a little salt and some mild salsa..... yeah. I'm all over that! Ole!

Whatever You Call It, It's Over

I was originally going to name this post "Indian Summer" because I thought that was what we just went through.

The winter started out fairly mild, then that huge long arctic blast blew in from the north....

Note to self: Send a message to Canada and tell them to keep their weather to themselves, thank you.

Anyway, we got all that wind and snow and ice and it got real nasty here for awhile. And then I got sick and didn't get to enjoy it much, but hey, at least I burned up vacation time instead of my sick time, right?

Then all of the sudden it turned off warm and all the ice melted and it was freaking seventy degrees outside and I was actually sweating out on the yard. And all the inmates cried that it was too hot in the houses and would we turn the heat off, please?

Well, it's a good thing they didn't turn it off because whether that was an indian summer or not, it's over. Frickin' blinkin' cold outside. Thought I was going to freeze to death out there on the yard tonight waiting for dinner to get over. And by eight o'clock there was already a frost on the freaking grass!

What the snap! By Gawd if it's those Canadians again.....

Before I wrote about indian summer I thought I should do a little research and see if I was talking about the right thing or just making a fool of myself again.

Not that I have any qualms against making a fool of myself again, mind you.

So I went to Wikipedia and searched Indian Summer. You can read their entry on the subject there if you like. It's educational. Apparently the phrase has been in use for about three centuries and, depending on where you live, it can take place any time between October and March or so.

So I guess you could call this an Indian Summer and get away with it. The Grammar Police won't show up at your door and whack you with a stick.

In France and England they referred to it as "Saint Martin's Summer" after something amusing that happened when somebody swiped the corpse of the saint and made off with it.

In Russia and alot of the Slavic-type countries they refer to it as "Old Ladies Summer". I'm guessing because the old ladies would all flock outside for a brief spell of stoop sweeping only to disappear back inside when it cooled off again.

But the one that got me best was in Turkey they call it "Pastrami Summer".

I got really tickled at that one. There was no explanation about the pastrami. I guess they just left it to your imagination.

But I do kind of want a sandwich right now..... Odd...

Well, I hope everyone managed to be Humble today. I was counting on you guys because I had to work A-side yard and it's so very hard to be humble around those guys. You know how it is.

But tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for all month. It's International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. My dogs are going to be so very happy about this one!

Hey, I hear they're good for your teeth....

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Warned Them It Wasn't A Good Idea!

I succeeded in moments where it took others months. I'm proud of my accomplishments.

When Vinnie first bid into the control center they tried forever to get him to crack on the radio and he wouldn't. He was a rock. A stoic. Old Stone Face Himself. No matter what they did.

Then one day in the middle of count, Sgt Puddle tossed something innocuous on the desk in front of him.

Quoth Vinnie: "All it took was a moist towelette on the right day. I just lost it."

This evening I was an extra so they put me on the front desk. Being as how it was both Presidents Day and Card Reading Day (I should have known that!) the place was both overstaffed and under-eventful. No case workers, no admin, no mail, no education, no library. And hip deep in CO's.

I quickly grew very bored. That's never a good thing.

Them Mr Strangle up in the comm room convinced the lieutenant on the books that he should be allowed to go home and told me I was taking his place. Snap! I was looking forward to going out on the yard for a few hours instead of more boredom in the comm room.

So Vinnie invited me to hang out in the control center for a little while until I had to go up there.

That just wasn't a good idea. On several levels. First thing I did was lean back on the wrong counter. My radio case hit a button on one of the printers and it started spewing out paper. When I moved away from the printer one of the phones rang right in my ear and startled me and I almost fell down the stairs into the bathroom.

Everybody in the room pointed to a vacant chair and told me to sit and behave myself.

Well, I sat.

When Vinnie started to call count over the radio I started quacking in the background. And when he raised an eyebrow and shot me a dirty look (while still talking on the radio) I gave him my best sheep imitation.

That did it.

He started laughing in the middle of our radio call sign and just kind of lost it after that. And when he tried to call count clear I sat there and quietly muttered in a Groucho Marx-esque imitation of his voice.

It was a good thing I was out or arms reach.

See? It isn't a good thing for there to be too many of us in one place with nothing to do. It can get hazardous.

About fifteen minutes after they tossed me out of the control center, Vinnie calls and tells me "I have that item ready for you to pick up." It's kind of like code. He'd written me something and wanted me to read it. That's always fun. I write odd things now and then and just print them off on the printer in the control center. Somehow they always know it's me.

Quoth Vinnie:

"It isn't mine to wonder why, tis only mine to weep and cry.
Or rather ponder or to try,
While the wife plays 'Yellow Submarine'.
The jack of all trades is the master of none,
But at what great length could work be done,
As he steals and burgles just for fun,
Like the pirates of Tortuga.
When at last the workday is done,
I hope that I can call on you,
And rejoice we shall 'Koo Koo Kachoo!' as if we knew each other.
And 'Chew the fat!' the fat man shouted,
Until he ran and we rerouted,
Not knowing what he said undoubted, no attention to the end.
This is the bridge which should sum up,
Where all this nonsense should end up,
Like reading teal leaves in your cup,
It's over there is no more."

And all of that because one of us said something silly and I said he should write it down.

I'm telling you, with his head on my shoulders, we could wreck civilization.

Tomorrow is Be Humble Day. I wish I could tell everybody I invented that. It would be so cool! Oh, and it's also Washington's Birthday. Happy Birthday George!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Taking A Day

I had to take a day and go get another shot. Getting that flooring done did a number on my arm.

Oh yeah. I got the floor in the living room done. The project I was supposed to do that week I took vacation and got sick? That's the one.

Pulled up all of the old carpeting that had been down for about twenty years. Yuck. Prized up all of the tack strips. Patched a few holes here and there with what I could.

If I was Bob Vila and wanted to do the job right, I would have stripped it all the way down to the floor joists and went back up from there. But I couldn't afford that. It was all we could do to buy the cheap laminate flooring strips as it was. So we made do.

Mentally, I cursed whoever built this place. I don't think they owned a level or a square. Because it aint neither one.

And they used the old cheap particle board for the subfloor that dissolves in water and pulls out in big chunks when you pull a nail. Aargh.

It took a little more effort to make it come out but we pulled it off. I have maybe half a dozen pieces to put in here and there to be completely done. Inside the closet and on the sides of the fireplace.

I'll hurt less tomorrow and I can finish it up. In the meantime I'm going to slip back into the fuzzy pink painkiller glow and go night night.

So here's the line up for this weekend.

Saturday is National Chocolate Mint Day. Yum! Just in time for Girl Scout cookies to be coming around again. Mmmmmm....... Thin mints.........

Sunday is Hoodie Hoo Day. Is that anything like Ho Dee Doo Dah Day? If anybody has any input on this, let me know.

And of course Monday is Card Reading Day. But I'll bet you saw that one coming, didn't you?

Should We Flee?

I heard Lt Rodeo talking about how one of the political parties in Wisconsin had fled the state to keep a vote from happening. I had never heard of anything like that before. But then I usually don't pay much attention to politics.

Apparently Wisconsin is in deep doo doo over their deficits (like every other state) so they are trying to make changes in how state workers benefits are paid in order to make up some of that money. The bill proposes that they pay more into their pension and raise the rates of their insurance. This will supposedly save the state some umpteen million dollars in the next year.

According to Lt Rodeo, this will make their benefits package about equal to ours here, even if they are making more money per hour than we are.

So if a state like Wisconsin that pays more and has the unions working for them for decades is suddenly going to start treating their state employees like us, what is our state going to do?

Maybe we should start making plans to flee as well. It won't stop any voting from happening, but at least we won't be here when it does.

Man, if I don't win the lottery soon, I'm going to be screwed.

Ah well. I guess going to Wisconsin is out of the question, hey?

So tomorrow is National Battery Day. That's an odd one. I sure hope they are talking about energy type batteries and not about beating each other up. Although it might relieve some tension around the country, if you know what I mean. I guess either way it will all work out.

Might be a good idea to stay inside tomorrow and play with your flashlights just in case.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Free Food! Yum!

Every couple of months or so they have what is called a "catered event" for one group of inmates or another. It's usually one of the religious groups. They order in a bunch of food from some place local and they have a get together in the visiting room sponsored and supervised by one of the chaplains.

The money for these comes from the inmate canteen fund. When inmates buy things at the canteen they get charged a certain percentage over cost. I'm not sure what the percentage is, but it's much lower than what we pay out on the streets. A percentage of that percentage goes into the canteen fund, which is then disbursed to various activity directors throughout the state. It pays for the cable they watch and the recreation equipment and library books and things like that.

Some of it is set aside for the chaplains who use it to buy books and musical instruments and once in awhile food for these events.

Nine times out of ten the inmates devour every scrap of this food. Heck, I don't really blame them for that even though I grumble about it. Most of the state food in the chow halls is bordering on nasty.

But tonight apparently not as many inmates showed up as they thought so there was a bunch of stuff left over. After the service the chaplain wheeled a cart out to the front desk and said "Here ya go! help yourselves!" and he left.

Yum! Boneless BBQ chicken wings. Chicken strips. Fried fish. Potato wedges. Lasagna. Rolls. Cake. Soda and a couple of pies. Wow! We hit the jackpot.

The Control Center crew fell on it like a pack of wolves. Me and Brother D and the weird little dude at the front desk all got plates full. Even Chuck in the other P-car got fed. I suspect that a bit of it got tucked away and taken home for later.

I ate some chicken wings and a couple of rolls and some taters and saved the dinner I packed in for tomorrow. What the hey? I just got a pretty good dinner for free. That just doesn't happen very often around here at all.

And I got a chance to reinforce the fact that I don't belong in the control center. Vinnie asked me to help out while he took care of something outside. So I went up with Ms Odd and kept her company until he came back. Unfortunately for her, she decided to try and do the radio check while I was up there. While she was on the radio I was in the background making weird noises and strange comments and giving her the giggles.

I don't think they'll ask me up there again any time soon.

So I guess the chaplain did a grouch a favor today. That was good. I wasn't really all that grouchy to start with, but I would have pretended to be for more of that chicken. And tomorrow is Champion Crab Races Day.

Champion crabs? I'm not sure...... Do they mean..... Wouldn't you just...... How do they.....

Oh never mind.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can I Phone A Friend?

One of the really great things about working where I do is the number of different people that work there and the great expanse of their accumulated knowledge.

Almost any subject you can name (within reasonable limits, of course) and you can find someone working at the prison with at least a working knowledge of that subject.

Of course, there are a few people there who are experts in any subject you can happen to name. Even if they can't pronounce it, they know all there is to know about that.

You know the type. Almost every office has one.

Sometimes odd questions pop into my mind and I want to know the answer. Tonight I was scanning through one of the local want ad papers that somebody left in the comm room and there was an ad for a livestock auction house.

Now, I know absolutely nothing about cattle. Well, I know that grass and stuff goes in the front, poop comes out the end and there's meat in the middle somewhere. That's about the extent of my knowledge. Give me a break, I grew up in the suburbs!

But this ad was saying that you could buy a 400 pound young bull for $185.00. And I think it said a 1000 pound Holstein bull was only going for $88.00!

That just didn't seem right, considering what we have been paying for meat at the store. Heck, for that kind of money I'd drive down to that auction with a big knife and hundred dollar bill and alot of big baggies and we'd be eating good for a year!

Okay, those of you who know about these things go ahead and laugh. No, go ahead!

I knew those prices couldn't be right, so I called KP down in 6 house and explained it to him. he knows about these things.

And he laughed at me. I expected it. That was part of why I called him.

Apparently they misplaced a few decimals in printing that ad. The young bulls were supposed to be marked $1.85 per pound and not $185.00 each. And you don't want to buy a 1000 pound bull to eat and you sure as heck don't get 1000 pounds of meat off of one. Even if it is only 88 cents a pound.

And KP explained about the different kinds of cattle and which ones you eat and which ones end up in fast food places and on the trays in the prison. There seems to be a big difference.

So, if nothing else, a few people got a few good laughs and I learned something.

Hey, the night wasn't wasted after all.

So tomorrow is Do A Grouch A Favor Day. I wonder if they just mean Oscar or and old grouch? I guess I'll see what I can do there.

Changing Of The Guard

Yesterday was the first day of the supervisor's rotation. Everybody above Sergeant (except the Major, of course) rotates shifts and assignments every year.

So now I'm going to have to come up with a whole new slew of nicknames. Pfui.

We kept Captain Jabba (meh), and picked up Captain Calamity Jane (or just CJ for short). She's hardcore and no nonsense and I could see her packing a pair of pistols on her hip. Tough as nails and she's like Texas toilet paper. Doesn't take snit off of anybody. But I do like her, don't get me wrong. She's one of my favorite Captains.

We also picked up Lt's Strong, Chipmunk, Baby Boy, Fidel and Rodeo. A couple of those nicknames are probationary. We'll see if they grow into them.

They are all pretty much new to evening shift as none of them have been here in quite some time. So we are all wandering around trying to get a feel for how this is going to work. Heck, tonight was the first time I can ever recall having two lieutenants and a captain show up at the chow hall during main line. It was odd and it threw everybody off.

It will take a couple of weeks for us all to settle into the new routine with the new supervisors. Hopefully it won't be a painful transition. You just never know.

I'm afraid I may have gotten Vinnie mad at me this evening. There was an inmate out at one of the hospitals up in The City. About sixty miles away. When there's one out like that we always have to have two CO's there at all times. Sausage used to go on all of those out-counts to rack up the over time.

But that was when he was a utility officer. Once you get assigned a post you aren't supposed to go on those anymore. I had been sent out to B-yard and Vinnie called me and said "You and me are going on out-count to The City." So I went out and told Sgt Uncle T. He looked at Sausage and said "Didn't you want to go?" When Sausage nodded, he sent him in my place.

So now Vinnie got to spend eight or twelve hours in a hospital room with Sausage instead of me. I suspect he's going to be a little irritated with me.

Vinnie, I didn't bail on you on purpose, I promise!

Still friends?

So! On to bigger and better things. Today of course, was Valentines Day. A really odd holiday as nobody is really sure if this St. Valentine ever really existed or what it was he was supposed to have done to become a saint. He just kind of showed up in the churches rosters of martyred saints somewhere between 400 and 800 a.d.

Today was also my 24th wedding anniversary. Poor Ms. Rev has been putting up with my nonsense for half of her life. Take pity on the poor woman.

And today was also Ferris Wheel Day and National Heart to Heart Day.

Tomorrow is National Gum Drop Day. I'll bet dentists all over the country are seeing dollar signs in their sleep right now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Top Secrets Revealed!

I finally got the skinny on the big secret meeting they had the other night. I'm glad I left early that night because the participants were told not to talk about it and that would have aggravated the poodles out of me.

Apparently they chose the participants pretty much at random. Just so they got a good cross-section of the people who worked here. They wanted one lieutenant, one sergeant and four CO's.

The scenario was that a 6.4 (or so) earthquake hit centered on the border of one of the neighboring states. It lasted for about 35 seconds or so. A little while later there was an aftershock almost that large. This happened during mainline.

Both dining halls and part of the control center collapsed. 10 house and 28 house were on fire and the stairwells had collapsed. The smoke stack from the power plant collapsed onto the laundry building and while the biggest water tower was still standing, the main outflow pipe was cracked and spewing water at a phenomenal rate.

The shift commander is dead and both the phones and the radios are out. I never heard if the fences were still intact or not.

I was apparently killed in the comm room when the upper floor collapsed. Now way to get to me or the armory. The whole floor was inaccessible. That left us with two shotguns with 15 rounds each out in the P-cars as our only available weapons.

Lots of inmates dead. Lots of staff dead. No way to call for help and with that kind of disaster going on, not much hope of getting any outside help anyway. And more people were killed during the aftershock.

Quite the ugly little scenario they had going there. Why they thought that we were required to go over something like that I have no idea. Most of the people who heard about it when the participants were allowed to talk just shrugged and said "We're screwed."

Which kinds of sums it up in a nutshell.

They say that we passed, which I guess is a good thing. The people that survived kept their heads and did the right thing.

On paper, anyway. Reality often tends to be something completely different.

Me, I guess I got off easy. Being dead, all that was required of me was to lay there and ooze a bit now and then. I can do that.

I guess I can list that experience as one of those that I hope never happens but on the off chance it does, I hope it happens on my day off.

So! On to happier things. Tomorrow, aside from being Lincoln's Birthday, is also National Plum Pudding Day. And Sunday is another twofer: Get A Different Name Day and Dream Your Sweet Day.

Sunday sounds like it's gonna be a good day. I hope I get a decent name out of the deal. With my luck I'd get stuck with an odd handle like "Alphonse" or "Fabian" or something like that. Pfui.

Friday, February 11, 2011

About The Names

The nicknames I use for people at work have gotten a bit of attention lately. Or at least several comments. I figured I would reiterate some of the stuff I said early on when I was first starting this blog to quell any confusion.

I suspect that if I came right out from the beginning and said "My name is John Jones and I work at the Steven King Correctional Center in Derry, Maine" (except using my real name and the real name of the prison) that the administration could find a way if not to force me to quit blogging than to make it really uncomfortable for me to continue. They are real touchy about people making public statements aside from their duly appointed PR people.

There was another blog.... well, it was actually a message board, run by some folk from the prison up the road that occasionally got confused with mine. Most of the people who commented there used handles, but when they were talking about staff and offenders there, they used real names. They named names and places and posted pictures (oh lawsy) and were very blunt and tended to be rather derogatory. They made no bones about who they were talking about and where they worked and what they thought.

It got kind of ugly, there for awhile. I'm a big believer in the freedom of speech, but you gotta use some sense. It didn't take too long before they got shut down a couple of times and then I believe they got closed down permanently by the big cheeses up in the capital.

I didn't want any part of that sort of action.

So I am just darev2005 or "Rev" for short. I work at the Raccoon City Correctional Center and I am an employee of the Umbrella Corporation. And every single name I use is a made up nickname. I started blogging because it looked like fun and a good way to vent off some steam now and then.

Sure, some days it's a chore to come up with something to write about five days a week. I'm sure you can tell the days when my attention is elsewhere or my meds have kicked in sooner than I thought they would.

Most of the names I use are in some way evocative of the person they represent. Either some physical or attitudinal trait or something that person does consistently. Most of the people who work here can look at the names and say "Oh yeah. I know who that is." right away. Some of them are a little tougher. Once in awhile someone will come up and ask "Who is so and so?" and when I tell them they'll nod and laugh.

Everybody there "knows" that I blog and alot of them have read it. But if someone official were to come up to me and say "We know this is your blog and we don't like it. Shut it down." I can say with a straight and completely truthful face that there isn't a blog anywhere on the internet with my name on it. They would have to get a federal warrant to link me with this blog for any legal purposes and I don't think any judge in his right mind would sign such a document.

I may be deluding myself, but it's what protection I have.

I have said for quite some time that I should have been keeping a list of which nickname I assigned to who, but I never did. So once in awhile somebody's name gets changed just because i couldn't remember what I called them last time. It's all good.

So that's where the odd names come from.

On to the calendar. Didn't need an umbrella today but I did spend the day working for Umbrella, so I guess it all worked out.

Tomorrow is another two-fer! It's both White Tee-Shirt Day and Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day. Hmm... are you allowed to cry if you spill milk on your white tee-shirt?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is This A Good Time?

I don't know what some people think. It's bad enough dealing with the inmates. They are inmates and you expect them to be stupid.

If you thought about it, you'd expect the people who run the place to be a little smarter than them. After all, they're in charge, right?

It's been a bad couple of weeks with the weather and all and we have been running short of people like crazy. And between this morning and this afternoon we got another two inches of snow dumped on us. Slippery slippery crap, lemme tell ya.

I left uber early just in case it was too bad and I got stuck someplace. It took me maybe an extra ten minutes to get to work and I was nearly crushed between a minivan and a semi truck on the way there. 'Twas a near thing.

We had twelve call-in's when I arrived. It doesn't sound like a lot, but that's about ten percent of our shift. I knew we'd be running skinny.

I noticed the Major was still there when I arrived. Usually he leaves not long after I get there most days. And yeah, before you even say it, I have that affect on alot of people. It was odd that he was still at work.

Then I saw a couple of the Assistant Wardens lurking around the Admin building. And not long after that the Warden Himself came strolling over. I thought "What the snap?" And the robot in the back of my brain was flailing it's short little arms and yelling "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!"

Finally the Fire and Safety Geek came in with some sort of VIP on his arm and they all went back into one of the visiting rooms.

Once they were all assembled they had a list of participants they needed for whatever it was they were doing. They called: Lt Wheelie (who was our only available zone lieutenant), Sgt IHOP from 1 house, Sausage (the only regular on B-yard), Walleye from 6 house (the bubble officer), Littlest B from the Hive and some new little dude from 10 house that I don't know very well but doesn't seem very bright.

We were already down twelve custody officers and their little meeting shorted us another six (two of which were critical spots) for about three hours. Uncle Scary from 9 yard and the Watcher from 30 yard had to keep popping back and forth to help cover B-yard. I don't know who helped cover the Hive and 1 house.

Supposedly it was some sort of preparedness scenario and they did it all on paper rather than try to run a live drill, which was a sort of blessing in disguise. I'm sure if they had tried to run something with the weather and staff shortages being what they were it could have gotten ugly quick.

But you would think somebody would have looked around and said "No. We are already too short on staff right now. Let's do this some other time."

Well, that didn't happen. We just had to grit our teeth and go with it. Shortages and all. It's no wonder I'm prematurely grey.

I got through Toothache Day without one, and I guess I'll manage on Umbrella Day tomorrow without one of those as well. Even if I had one, we aren't allowed to carry them inside the fence. But for those of you who might need an umbrella, tomorrow is the day to carry one.

Stay dry!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

Day two of training. The practical applications of defensive tactics. Such as it is.

I wonder who decided on this manual of things that we must show proficiency in?

It all looks very pretty and professional. If we were ever challenged in court, they could point to the book and say "These are the skills our officers are trained in." It's alot like the stuff they used to train soldiers with, except for the moves that are most likely to kill somebody.

As a matter of fact, I found an old hand to hand combat training manual one time from WWII. And it showed almost all of the moves that we train on even today. Except for, as I mentioned, those moves most likely to kill or maim. The snapping of the neck and driving the nose bones up into the brain sort that the general public tends to frown on. I can understand it. Those sort of things make most people a bit queasy.

But I'll have to tell you that in my (almost) eight years with the department and the dozens of times that I have had to put my hands on an inmate intent on mayhem, I have never once to my recollection ever used a single one of these techniques.

Because when the chips are down and you are fighting for your safety or the safety of someone else, you just do what you need to do. Unless you are some martial arts expert or a trained assassin or something, you never think to use techniques like these. You don't think about center of gravity and proper body mechanics and pressure points. All your world narrows down to is the need to thump this fool and make him stop acting stupid so I can get my butt out of this mess and go about my business.

And usually while I am in the middle of a donnybrook I'm yelling "You miserable so and so! Now I'm going to have to do hours of paperwork! And that really pisses me off!"

Occasionally, just yelling that makes them stop alot sooner. Especially if I yell it loud enough and they think I'm really pissed off. Alot of times at that point they just lay down on the floor and cover their heads and say "I'm sorry! Really! I quit!"

Maybe they should spend less time teaching body mechanics and more time teaching yelling.

Oh dear. For Kite Flying Day I didn't do any of that. It was way too freaking cold outside for such nonsense. And tomorrow is Toothache Day. I'm not much looking forward to that either, I must say.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Face Time With The Chief

As you may recall, my first two days back at work are comprising my yearly training.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned that earlier. But heck, as foggy as I was last week I could have told you I was flying off to Borneo to have my corneas waxed. Waaaay too many Nyquil Liqui-Caps.

Our annual training, which used to take an entire week of torture has been distilled down, by the grace of budget cuts, to two days.

The first day (today) was spent with CPR/AED (those portable defibrillator thingys), and the classroom part of defensive tactics.

In between those two gems of mysticism we got to have some face time with the new Warden.

This is new.

The old Warden you hardly ever saw unless you were in trouble or if he was showing some VIP around the camp. Sure, every now and then he'd light up a fat cigar and wander around the camp for awhile, but for the most part he stayed in his office.

This new Warden wants to get out and be seen. He says he wanted to hear our concerns and complaints. I can dig that. If he really means it, anyway. But if he really was a CO like us twenty five years ago, then he knows our concerns and complaints.

There aren't enough of us, we get paid jack, our benefits suck and everybody treats us like dumbsnits.

That's it in a nutshell. And there's not a damn thing he can do about any of that.

What we used to carry in a full tool bag as far as options with the offenders can now be carried in a wet tissue, thanks to the bleeding hearts in the legislature and complaints by the mostly felonious family members of career criminals.

And there's not a damn thing he can do about that either.

So we got to listen to an hour of whining about things that we can't fix. But hey, it counted towards our training so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Tomorrow morning we go in for the practical part of the defensive tactics class and the test out session. There aren't that many of us so I envision taking lots of breaks and filling alot of time watching St Francis and the Mad Bomber suck at ping pong.

My goal for the next day is to get through it without re-injuring my arm. I have been mostly pain free for about two weeks now and I really hope to make that a continuing trend.

So let's see what the auguries for tomorrow read. Checking the old teal leaves, so to speak.

Dang! Today would have been a good one. Charles Dickens Day. I could have limped up to the Warden with my paycheck stub in hand and said "Please Sir..... I want more!"

That would have been good for a laugh, anyway.

Tomorrow is Kite Flying Day. I'm sure it will be windy enough, but I'm sure the ice would build up on the string pretty rapidly. Maybe I'll just tie a string to my hopes of things getting better and see how high I can get....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sorry, Sold Out!

According to the story on Yahoo news this evening, we are fresh out of internet addresses.

The Global Internet Address Warehouse (which doesn't really exist as a place so much as an idea or a system) is, as of this morning, completely empty.

When the internet started getting really big, they implemented the IP4V system, which contained four billion IP addresses. That's 4,000,000,000,000. I'm sure somebody looked at that number and said "Yeah. That should be plenty."

But since they made it so easy for anybody to snag an IP address and we end up with all of this useless nonsense (alot like this blog, for instance) floating around the internet for anybody to see, we have used them all up.

So now we're looking at changing over to the IP6V system, which hold trillions of new IP addresses.

Oh yeah. That should be plenty.

You can read the original story here, if you'd like. Enjoy.

Tomorrow is an unusual one. I think that Create A Vacuum Day is a little more suited for the great halls of government than the average person, but we should all give it a try, hey?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good, Bad And....

Well, it's about 16 degrees outside and blowing snow flurries with 15-20 mph wind gusts. We got maybe an inch, possibly inch and a half of combined snow and ice in the last couple of days.

It's the ice that was the real beeotch. It rained pretty good for half a day the the temperature dropped. What was already on the ground froze and what continued to fall was frozen when it hit. Both my truck and the minivan are encased in ice. It may take a few large hammers and maybe an immense bandsaw to extricate them. We'll see.

I've still got head and body aches like I went ten rounds with Sonny Liston and the occasional full-body sweats that are both embarrassing and more than slightly disgusting. Just all of the sudden I'll be soaking wet and smell like I just ran the Boston Marathon. Yack.

And these horrible sudden sneezing fits. Vicious and brutal. Something Rommel would have used in Africa. Or maybe what brought down the walls of Jericho. I'll get this sudden pain between my eyes like I'm being given a lobotomy with a stone axe. My face and body will contort for long seconds trying to fight off the attack and gasping for air at the same time. And when I finally do manage to get a lungful of air I'll scream out this horrible eldritch noise... some ancient chant or primal koan that I am pretty sure come close to summoning the elder Gawds back to our plane of existence each time.

I'm pretty sure the only thing that has saved humanity up to this point is that my wife had the forethought to buy plenty of kleenex. You should thank her for that. I have.

I wish I could have recorded some off the delirium dreams I have had the last couple of days. They were all a mixture of Poe and Lovecraft and Joyce with an admixture of Coleridge and H.R. Geiger mixed in. Mr. Escher couldn't have drawn some of the things I have seen. He would have eaten all of his pencils in despair had he tried.

But despite all of this nastiness, I am on the mend. Each day I wake up feeling just a skosh better than the day before. I am far from back to 100%, but I feel a damn sight better than I did a day or two ago.

So this is Wednesday, the pivotal day in my vacation. I still don't have the energy or wits to tackle any of the projects that I had planned for this time and it's too freaking cold and nasty to go out and do any of them anyway. I'm willing to bet that the door to my shop is frozen shut again, like my truck. There's five gallons of primer and a pile of boxes of laminate flooring in the garage waiting to be ensconced in the living room. I'm sure that the wife is going to start getting testy about that pretty soon. Her whole life/scrapbooking area is in disarray waiting for me to replace the flooring in there. She has the patience of a saint, that woman does. For awhile, anyway.

Well! I think I've about run out of words and energy for the moment. I'm still feeling quite fuzzy around the edges. But I had some things to get out of my head. Y'all are lucky I can't remember some of it. Me, too.

Today is February 2nd already? Ye gads. I have been so lost, not knowing what day or time it was and not really being sure if I was awake or asleep half the time. Today is Purification Day. And tomorrow is Cordova Ice Worm Day, which is something you should click on the link to read about. I really hope that purification part works!