Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Concerned Face

I'm not sure how much time I have spent in my life wondering about people. I'm suspecting it's a good percentage of it.

In my line of work, you would think I would have gotten past that by now.

But people still amaze me every day. Well, maybe amaze isn't exactly the right word. Astound. Confound. Flabbergast.

And occasionally amaze. That's cool, too. It's a nice change now and then.

But I really have to wonder about whoever that is in Tulsa, Oklahoma who has been reading my blog steadily for a day and a half straight.

It was kind of startling. I usually average 30-40 hits a day on here. On a real good day 50-60. Nothing earth shattering, but I'm not trying to be the next Paul Harvey or Rush Limbaugh (whoever). I just get on here to rant and get this stuff out of my head.

But yesterday I looked at my stats and had 170 hits. I thought "Wow!" And when I looked most of them were from the same person in Tulsa. I could see them going through each post one at a time. And just now when I got home I checked again and today I had 193 hits! And there it was, that same poor person slogging through this mess one post at a time.

Dude..... are you okay over there?

Do you need me to call anybody?

This really isn't very safe, you know. The inside of my head isn't very pretty sometimes. I can't be held responsible if something in your head breaks from this. You might like it better with a little moderation.

Let's be careful out there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How To Win Friends.......

You know, there is a way to deal with people when you want something. You learn it in school and you learn it from your friends and you learn it from your parents. You share. You ask politely. You wait your turn.

Most of us have this down pat by the time we are say..... six years old or so.

Some people, it seems, never get the concept.

Take, for example, this idiot that was up in B-23. I say was because even tho the Boss said not to move him, he is now in C-1 on suicide watch.

Every time we put him in a cell with someone else he would either get in a fight with them or declare them an enemy and demand to be moved. He threatens to kill anybody who gets near him when he is behind the door. So we stuck him in a cell where his cellie has been on outcount for two years and isn't likely to come back anytime soon.

He didn't seem to like that much and has been demanding to be put in a cell with someone else. And he's been being an ass about everything in hopes we will move him. The game he has been playing lately is not giving up his tray after the meals. That got him put first on styrofoam trays and then today on sack meals.

Nobody ordered his sack meal from the chow hall, so when we got the food we didn't have anything to give him. I called and they said they would send something down with the truck when it came back. Chuck fed the wing (everybody but him) and told him he would get his sack meal when the truck came back.

I went into the wing awhile later to do something and he was kicking on his door calling me bi*ch-a*s this and mother fuc*ing that and I had better give him his motherfuc*ing food right motherfuc*king now! I told him (politely, but I don't know why I bothered) that his food was coming. He didn't like that answer and kept up with the kicking and the screaming and calling me names.

He never did manage to hurt my feelings and I think that pissed him off a little bit.

After awhile Chuck went into B-wing to pick up the trays and he was still in there singing the same old song demanding his food and calling Chuck everything but his nephew. Chuck treats temper tantrums the same way I do: he ignores them. That just pissed this little idiot off so he said the one phrase that is bound to catch our attention: "I'm gonna kill myself!"

Yup. That got our attention. Chuck, Ms. Dorothy, Ms. W and I were all at the door when it came open and Ms. W and I each took an arm to "escort" him to C-wing. He tried to pull away once and it almost went bad from there but we got him in the cell and stripped out and gave him a smock and made the calls to put him on suicide watch for the night.

And as soon as the door was shut he started kicking and screaming and demanding his food.

Took it awhile for it to get there. The um...... truck was late. Yeah....

I think his parents need a talking to as well. They did a lousy job raising that boy.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The term "bedlam" which means uproar, noise and confusion, was first coined from the Bethlehem Royal Hospital in Beckenham, London. Apparently many people there had trouble pronouncing Bethlehem so they shortened the name to Bedlam. It was a mental hospital first opened in 1247 and it was one of the first of it's kind in the world. People likened the word to the sound of the screaming inmates. Ergo a cacophonous noise is now referred to as "sounding like bedlam!"

I just worked a shift in bedlam.

After we came in from rec I went into C-wing to go through the laundry bags for any incoming contraband. Nine times out of ten we find something. This must have been the tenth time. I didn't find anything. But as I was standing there searching the 160+ laundry bags I got to listen to everyone in the wing screaming at the same time.

To begin with, we have the dude in c-7 that sounds just like one of the hillbillies from Bugs Bunny's "Hillbilly Hare" doing an hour long impromptu bluegrass rap where he alternated between threatening the other offenders in the wing, calling them all child molesters and homosexuals and offering to sleep with them or any member of their family they choose. It was pretty good for an off the cuff performance. He also would occasionally praise god and/or jesus and offer to sleep with them too.

The guy in 2 cell was just praising god and singing hymns at the top of his lungs while beating on the cell door.

9 cell went back and forth between singing a medley of Rod Stewart songs and offering me exorbitant amounts of money if I would let him out to beat up somebody else in the wing. I never was exactly clear who it was he wanted to beat up, but the offer reached into the billions of dollars at one point.

The two lovebirds in 13 and 25 were screaming sweet nothings at each other and promising their eternal love. Of course, when he wasn't screaming at 13 cell, 25 was screaming out the window at D-wing and looking for someone to sleep with over there if he could get moved. I don't foresee a long and happy romance for those two.

15 cell went back and forth between riling up anybody who would listen to him and screaming profanity at me. I think he was the only one who noticed I was in there. I think it pissed him off that he wasn't pissing me off. That's funny.

10 cell was standing at his door listening to all of this and would say "That's sick!" when there was a lull in the conversation.

3 cell is our old pal Gunny and he was laying on his bunk screaming "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu*k Nooo! Fuuuuuuuuuuuu*k Noooo!" over and over again.

And 5 cell was beating on his door and screaming for water and he wanted clothes and a blanket and some soap and some toilet paper and something to eat.......

And the guy in 9 cell finally noticed I was there with the laundry and started describing his laundry bag so I could find it for him. He said "It's blue and I had two sheets, three boxers, two pair of socks and a towel. No wait, it's a blue bag and I had two sheets, two pair of boxers, a towel.... no wait. It was blue......"

I have a headache.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Time Is It?

This one little phrase "Hey CO! What time is it?" is almost invariably the first thing I hear when I arrive and the last thing I hear when I leave.

I counted one day. I got asked that question fifty-two times in eight hours. I think if someone was to come up to me on the streets and ask me that I would probably punch them in the eye.

They know what time it is. They know that I get there at the same time every day and I leave there at the same time every day. They know what time it is. They don't really care what time it is. It's just a way of trying to get me to acknowledge their existence. They just want some individual attention. I understand that in my brain but it still drives me nuts.

I've gotten to the point where I don't answer most of the time. I just tune them out into the general background noise like they never even spoke. I'm seriously thinking about losing my watch altogether so I'll just wave my bare wrist and shake my head.

It did get to me once, tho.

I'd already had a bad day for one reason or another (use of force, paperwork, I dunno) and I was already in a crabby mood. I was walking through the wing and maybe ten offenders had asked me the question and even though I had answered it ten times in an increasingly loud voice this one numbnuts decided he just had to ask me again what time it was. I went up to his door and said "Why? Does it matter? Do you have a date? Are you going somewhere? Is there a bus coming? Is a bomb fixing to go off? Are you going to miss your plane? Is anything important at all going to happen this afternoon? Does it make you feel any better that even though you are going to spend the next ten years in prison a measly ten minutes have passed since the last time you asked me? Is it really that freaking important to find out that it is two-freaking-thirty in the afternoon that you are willing to piss me off this bad? Is it that freaking important?"

He just looked at me with kind of a shocked look and said "Sorry."

On the upside, nobody in that wing asked me the question for the rest of the evening.

Maybe I should do that more often. Do you think?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Off Topic Rant

Just want to slide off of the topic of working in a prison full of stupid people here for a moment and dive into a quick rant.

The country is in bad shape. There are jobs being lost and businesses being shut down every day. The economy sucks and nobody has any money to fix any of our domestic problems. Those of us lucky to have jobs aren't being paid very much with no hope of any relief in the future.

So why are we spending billions of dollars to wage war in at least two different countries where we are not wanted? Why are we spending that money over there when we have so many problems over here?

What would happen in Iraq and Afghanistan if we just took our people out of there and said "Figure it out for yourself, we don't want to play anymore."? Would they self destruct? And why should we care?

Luckily for me, there was no wars on when I was enlisted and by the time they got rolling I was too old and too fat to go back in. I gave my country seven years of my life and managed to make it out in one piece. I consider myself extremely lucky. Many many of my friends carry scars inside and out from their service.

Veterans are not getting a fair shake in this country, either. There was a time not so many years ago when being a veteran was something that everyone could be proud of. A man in uniform was honored and revered as a hero. When we lost that, we lost a big piece of our national pride.

It's time for America to stop looking out for the rest of the world and start looking after itself. This is our home and no other country is going to step in and say "Wow. Things are looking a little rough there. Here's a few billion dollars in aid. Will that help?" Even our supposed allies aren't going to do that.

Let's stay home for the next ten years and fix some of the problems in our own house. Let the rest of the world tend to their own knitting for awhile.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


In CO speak, (for those of you who don't know already) 10-45 means "On the way" or "In transit" to whatever location. If someone calls me on my way in and asks for my 10-20 (my location) I will reply "I am 10-45 the Hive".

It seems like there is always somebody going somewhere in the prison. Especially the inmates. They are either going where they want to go or going where they are supposed to go. It depends on the time of day. But there is very little time during any day when they are all locked down in their cells and accounted for all at the same time.

It sounds like a dicey way to run a prison, I know. But it usually works out. Not too many of them have wandered off.

When I come in most afternoons there are "porters" (read inmates) running around all over the place outside the fence. There are porters that work up front in the front desk/ admin building/ parking lot area cleaning offices and emptying trash and picking up trash and repainting the lines in the parking lot and there are porters that work down in the training building doing pretty much the same thing and there are porters that work with outside maintenance changing the lights on the perimeter and mowing the lawns. There are also numerous outside work crews that go out with the highway department and other people. There are also inmates that go out with the laundry truck drivers to pick up and deliver laundry from the places all over that we have bulk laundry contracts from.

For the most part, these inmates have shown that they are at least temporarily trustworthy and can do work outside the fence unsupervised. And many of them, for the most part, are unsupervised. We just do not have the staff to keep a physical eye on every single one of them every minute of the day.

Heck, we don't have enough resources to watch them 24-7 on the inside let alone outside.

So, on occasion, as you may guess, one of them does something stupid. Like today for example. One of the outside porters got on one of the little "gator" utv golfcart things and disappears for over an hour. I guess he couldn't come up with a good story about where he had been so now he's sitting in the dry cell waiting to see if he was trying to smuggle something in. Look back for a post about the dry cell for the whole process there. It's a load of laughs.

Is there a solution to this problem? Well, no. We can either hire staff to do the trash work outside that the inmates are doing (which isn't going to happen) or outfit them with high-tech tracking devices so we can keep track of them wherever they are (which isn't going to happen either) or just hope that nothing bad happens and keep going the way we are (which is probably going to happen).

All we can do is stay alert and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. At least somebody noticed that this joker was missing.

And whether or not numbnuts manages to produce anything contraband-wise or not, I'm sure we will be having him down in the Hive for a good long time. And when he gets out he will have to find a job inside the fence from now on.

Job security.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shocking Developments

Well, I went. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I did anyway. Was feeling a bit better this morning but I think I got a little overheated and over-exerted myself.

Got those little sparkly things in my eyes you get right before you pass out.

That wasn't cool.

Made me feel weak and I hate that. I'm not overly macho, but I hate being the weak link in the chain. It pisses me off.

I didn't know that they were going to actually zap us with the stun shield, either. That wasn't as bead as I thought it was going to be. Working in neon shops I actually got stronger shocks from the transformers for signs than I did from that thing.

The shield was higher voltage than your average neon transformer (75,000 v as compared to 15,000 to 25,000 v) but lower amperage ( 3ma opposed to 30ma for neon). I'm not exactly clear on how that works. I'm no electrical engineer.

The shield will make you jump and want to get away or do whatever it takes to make it to stop. It's very uncomfortable and not something I would want to go through willingly. After a few seconds it made your muscles want to seize up. Getting hit with a neon transformer will almost make you pee on yourself. Even if you are expecting it.

Anyway, I survived. Got zapped four or five times and did a few mock movement teams. They made me sit out the last half an hour of the class, tho. Apparently I went fairly white. Dang.

I imagine I will go back to work tomorrow. As long as I try not to overdo it, I should be fine. There's always the chance I will have to do something crazy, but that's the chance you take.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not Sure I'm Well Enough Yet

Actually, I'm sure I'm not. But I have been home sick for a day and a half now and it is driving me crazy.

I don't have the energy to get up and do anything. I either sit here at my desk beside a growing mound of used kleenex or sit in my recliner and stare blankly at the teevee because I can't follow what is going on.

I'm supposed to be down at the training building at 8:00 am for movement team training. There are serious doubts in my mind that I will actually show up. Unless my fever breaks overnight.

Besides, if I came in this sick the rest of the class would kick my butt for coming around them. And I have been to movement team training before. There's not much chance I will get through the day without breathing on someone.

Gad! This is the thing I hate worst about working in that toxic waste dump we call the Hive. Way too much of other peoples funk blowing in my face all the time. If there's something going around, I'm going to get it. It's a damn good thing that some of the stuff those guys have is not airborne.

We'll see what happens in the morning, I guess.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sick Day

I really thought about calling in sick, but I didn't.

I should have though.

I went in to work. I tried!

But the longer I was there the worse I felt. I got to the point where I thought they were going to find me face down in the laundry cart I was searching. I was soaked in sweat and my head was pounding.

I gave up and went home.

Even typing this is hard work. My hands feel like they weight ten pounds apiece.

I believe I'll go to bed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Biohazardous Post

We have a new poop boy in the house again. Actually, it's an old one, up to his old tricks again.


We went out to rec at 2:00 and I heard some of the offenders saying that it smelled like poop in C-wing as we went through.

I couldn't smell a thing, as I have a bad cold or the flu or possibly anthrax or something. Whatever it is I got is harsh and kicking my butt and my head is full of snot. I guess that I am somewhat of a biohazard myself.

Not necessarily a bad thing today, but the headache and the chills and hot sweats are driving me crazy.

I didn't think anything about it until Chuck and the Cowboy went out to do med pass. They came back in saying C-10 had smeared poop on his cell walls and it really reeked in there. We figured we would have to do something eventually.

Then at dinner time BG came in and told me he wouldn't give his tray back up. I went and got Chuck and we went to his cell door. I told him to give me his tray and he said "No. I been telling you people all day that I am hearing voices and you won't do anything about it so f*ck y'all." I told him to come cuff up and he refused and wouldn't get off his bunk.

So I figured "What the hell?" If he won't get off his bunk then we have to go in. Unsnapped my pepper spray and signaled for the door to open. I could smell it a little (Theraflu is a mixed blessing) but it wasn't too bad. Chuck grabbed the tray and I covered him. Got the tray and shut the door. He had painted a nice abstract mural on two of the walls. Maye a little avant-garde. I don't know. When it comes to that sort of thing, I'm more of a minimalist.

So we had to get him out and get the cell cleaned up. A gaggle of Lieutenants came down and talked him in to coming out for a cleaning.

Here's how I know this punk is just doing it for the attention: All of the times he has smeared poop in our house, he has never got any of it on himself. He always uses a piece of paper or a scrap of sheet or a sock. But when he comes out of the cell, he's always clean. Well, as clean as an inmate can be I guess. The really crazy ones always get it all over themselves, too. We weren't paying him any attention so he decided to get some no matter what.


On the way out Ms. Dorothy told me about an offender out in GP who is actively dying of a couple of nasty never-get-over type diseases who is going from his house up to medical several times a day for last-ditch meds. I won't comment on how they are administering them. It's just..... never mind. And she told me that he gets sick several times a day in the house and out on the yard. So here he is spreading more biohazardous waste all over the camp and they won't put him in the infirmary because he can still walk from his house down to medical.

Isn't that nice?

Anybody need a job? This one stinks.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Slinging Mud

In this area there are several prisons. If you were Orel Herscheiser, you could probably throw a rock from one to the other. I don't have the arms for that.

I live kind of in between two of them. I started out at the one in the north, then transferred to the one in the south because I didn't like the way the first place was being run.

Instead of being about prison and the inmates, it was all about staff. There were little groups that ran the place and if you weren't a member of one of these groups you were nobody. And if you were one of the nobodies, you got screwed at every available opportunity.

So I transferred. The new place was much better. Still as screwed up as a soup sandwich (thanks to Midtown Miscreant for the metaphor) but it was much better. As long as you showed up regularly and did your job with a modicum of confidence, they made you feel right at home.

I worried about a couple of the decent people I left behind. Apparently, not soon after I left, the rest of them did, too. I would get occasional updates from sources I had over there.

Some of the stupid things going on over there attracted the wrong kind of attention and finally the large brains up in the capital building decided Something Must Be Done. So they went in and made the major retire and fired a few people and said "There! It's all fixed!"

But it wasn't.

The new major is apparently as bad as the old one was and picked up right where he left off. And he took the old majors harem of groupies and made them his own. And things are getting worse over there again.

The mud slinging is reaching a fevered pitch. Snide comments and outrageous pictures are being posted on the internet. There are a few brave souls protesting the way they are being treated and there seems to be a manhunt on to discover who they are and make their lives miserable. As if working there wasn't miserable enough.

It's going to get out. And when it does get out it is going to be another black eye for the department. And we really need something else to make us look bad, if you know what I mean.

The next housecleaning probably won't be as surgical as the last one.

Ooooooo snap, I am so happy that I transferred!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tribute Chair

Thanks to Guy for giving me another project to do! Not only did he get me blogging, but he keeps giving me ideas for things to make.

The other day he posted about making an Adirondack chair. I thought to myself "My Grampa made a couple of those and they were really comfy!" Of course, Grampa was a master craftsman when it came to wood and his chairs folded up. I'm lucky this one sits flat on the floor.

Anyway, I though this was a great idea and I looked around for some plans online. I found a set and ran off the patterns and nipped off this morning to buy me some wood and things.

Just FYI.... me going into Lowes with a checkbook and an unclear set of objectives is not a good thing. I came this ][ close to spending waaay too much money there. Just saying.

Got home about 9:30 this morning and went down and started cutting wood. Took a few small breaks here and there. Fed the dogs and such. Finished putting it together about 5:00 this evening. Took another break and went out for dinner with the wife and daughter and the daughters boyfriend, came home and watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not a bad flick, as far as suerhero movies go. I had no idea Wolverine was that old.

Anyway, it's now 10:00pm and I just cleaned up after slapping a coat of wood sealer on it. It doesn't look too bad if you don't look at it too close, anyway. I made a few mistakes but I took notes and I'll do better on the next one. The wife already requested another one for her to sit in. Hoo boy.

I did get to sit in it before I sealed it. They are some pretty comfy chairs, I must admit.

Thanks Guy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watching Me, Watching You

Here we go again. It wasn't bad enough when it was just the Captain watching us. And calling down every five minutes asking why we were doing what we were doing. Now they have the same setup in the Wardens office. So now we have two layers of busybody lookie-loos trying to run the house by remote control.

And I'm sure all of the assistant wardens will get their own access if they don't have it by now. And they all want to call down and complain about how we are doing our jobs.

If we call up every five minutes and tell them what we are doing, it's bothering them. But if they call down and ask us what is going on every five minutes, they are doing their job.

And of course, you can't tell the warden or one of his assistants or even the captain to go jump in a lake. That doesn't look good on a resume'. I've done it a time or two and it tends to piss them off.

There was a time one day when all hell was breaking loose and I was up in the bubble. There was a use of force and I think a movement team and we were still trying to get the house fed and back under control and the damn phone kept ringing off the hook. I'm up in the bubble running back and forth opening and closing doors and trying to keep an eye on all of the staff in the house and at that time there was plenty of them all running in different directions. And the phone kept ringing and ringing. Three times I can remember picking up the phone and barking "I'm busy! Call back later!" and slamming the phone back down.

It's bad enough when they micromanage, but it's even worse when they micromanage from a comfy desk chair on the other side of the camp.

Like I said the other day, I will be glad when they finally break their new toys and there isn't any money to replace them. I have all kinds of money saving ideas but I won't give them any of them. They would probably spend the money to put in more cameras with audio and then we would all be screwed.

I am so glad it's friday.

I'm going to try and build me a comfy chair to sit in. If nothing else, I will build an ugly chair to laugh about.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Kept My Mouth Shut

I behaved myself. Isn't that startling?

Let me back up a bit. Yesterday I got a letter in my mailbox at work that said I had to be up in the Admin building at 3:15 because I was getting an award.

I thought to myself "This has got to be a trick. I haven't done anything." I figured it was like a sting operation and they were getting me outside the fence to put me on investigation or something.

But what could I do? I went. Turns out it wasn't a trick, after all. Some fool put me in for a Lifesaver Award for that last time when the Stork wrapped his bandages around his neck and almost strangled himself. The Squid and GM got one too. I was glad they were there, they made me feel less crabby about the whole thing.

An award for saving the Stork. Holy crap.

So I got to shake hands with the Warden and say "cheese" and get my picture taken. What I really wanted to say was "You want to reward me? Get me enough staff to work with! Hire some people! Go find me some equipment I can use that isn't already falling apart!"

But I kept my mouth shut. I was a good boy.


And when I get back to the house the first thing I see is Chuck and KP and Sausage going in on somebody in C-wing. And it looked like they were going in hard. So I hightailed my butt in there and dived into the fray. By the time I got there they hadn't left anything uncovered but his legs so I jumped on them. And believe me, those legs weren't going anywhere by the time I had him wrapped up.

Chuck and KP and Sausage had the top half and I had the bottom half and right about then Sgt. LB came in and planted his not inconsiderable frame on the guys legs with me.

He wasn't going anywhere.

Apparently he made suicidal statements and then resisted being put on suicide watch. He's the same little punk that sat on the bench for hours because we wouldn't cell him with his boyfriend. He was trying to get his boyfriend to go on suicide watch with him so they could be next door to each other.

That wasn't going to happen, either. They are going to be kept as far apart as possible just because they have been such idiots about it.

So, between the award ceremony and the use of force paperwork, I only had to spend about three hours actually in the house tonight.

And I got to have some fun, to boot.

I guess it was a good thing I kept my mouth shut, after all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Your Tax Dollars At Work!

Had an interesting conversation with one of our nurses this evening. Not Super D or Nancynurse, one of the other ones.

He had brought out a few medical refusal slips for KP to sign. Every time one of the offenders refuses his medication one of these slips has to be filled out and documented in their file and in the computer. He usually has a handful of them to sign.

Once they pull these meds for the offenders to take, if they refuse them, they cannot be put back into stock. They get thrown away.

And if an offender continuously refuses his meds, do the doctors take him off of it? Nooooo... They keep trying to get him to take them, day after day.

I asked this nurse how much money was wasted on refused meds. He said "Thousands of dollars a month. Per inmate."

Just guessing, off the top of my head (math is not my strong suit), but I'm willing to bet that if we discontinued all of these expensive medications (that you and I and everyone else in the state is paying for, by the way) that the offenders are refusing to take, we could have enough money to solve our staffing problem.

Combine that with all of the other camps all over the state and we might even be able to get a small raise out of the deal! Boy howdy, wouldn't THAT be nice!

But no, that's not the DOC way. We'll just keep throwing all of those pills either into the toilet or into the landfill (and poisoning our land and water while we are at it) and using great gobs of money to make sure that they don't get stuck in the drain.

If the townies knew how easy a life most of these punks had inside and exactly how much of their tax money was being flushed away every day, we'd have frenzied mobs at the gates. Half of them would want to shut the place down (like that would help) and the other half would be wanting in.

Jiminy Freaking Christmas.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Remote Control Captain

Apparently when the put all of the new cameras everywhere they installed some new whiz-bang item in the captains office that we just found out about. Or maybe they just hooked it up, I'm not sure which.

But the Cap can sit in his comfy chair and flip through all the cameras that are wired into the system and see what is going on in real time.

And Captain Crane (see Ichabod over there) is the worst. He will sit and watch and then call down to the house and ask "Why is that officer out there doing that?" and "Why aren't they doing this?" or "Where are they?"

He hasn't quite figured out all of the camera angles like we have. There are blind spots you can stand in and they can't tell where you are. The bubble officer can see where you are, but the cameras can't.

We do that because we know he is up there watching and it drives him crazy when he can't see what we are doing.

If I had a long stick that would reach the cameras I would make up random signs and stick them up in front of the cameras for a few minutes. Like "EAT AT JOES CHILI BARN" and "THIS SPACE FOR RENT" and things like that.

He'd go berserk.

If the man wants to know what we are doing, he should just wait for us to call him. If it was anything important that he needed to know about, we would call. If he wants to run the Hive, he can get busted back down to Sergeant and come run the thing. I guarantee we would run him out in a week.

If he would just realize that he would be much happier if he left us alone to do our jobs. We always tell him about the important stuff. I'm sure the man is driving himself to ulcers or worse.

Most likely scenario is one of those fumble fingered geniuses will break the doodad up there in the office in a few weeks and it will solve our problem since there won't be any money to fix it. One thing for sure about DOC employees. If we have it for very long, it will get broken.

In the meantime, just go back to watching the regular teevee up there and leave us alone. You'll be much happier in the long run, I assure you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So Freaking Happy To Be Back

Holy snap.

I think they were saving up stupidity and craziness.... just waiting for me to come back. How I got through this night without having to do a bunch of paperwork is beyond me.

Everything was okay when I got in. Normal everyday Hive stuff. BG and I went out and did a round of rec when we came in. No big deal. Came back in at 3:00 and put them back in their cells. Did my checks.... no big deal. Just like always.

There had been little or no radio traffic during most of this time. It was a typical sunday, nothing going on. Then I heard them call the P-car to check about four or five zones all at the same time. A bit odd, but it does happen. It's usually a flock or two of birds.

Then about 3:15 I heard them close the yards. I thought to myself "Hmmmm... something must be going on. I wonder what's up?" They usually don't close the yards until four.

A few minutes later out power went out. Not completely, just about half of it. Chuck and the Singing Cowboy were out with Ms Nancynurse doing medpass. About half of the lights are on in the wings. It's dim, but not too bad. Then Ms Maybe up in the bubble tells me she keeps popping the cell door they are standing at but it won't open. Hmmm.... bad news. We aren't getting enough power through the system to open the doors.

So we have to get out the keys. All of them. And I got to sign for them. It took me awhile to remember which keys we needed to get all the doors open. It turns out we needed about six rings of keys. They all did different things. I sounded like a car wreck walking down the walk with all of those stupid keys on my belt.

And C-wing was the worst. It has the slider doors. To open those without power you have to open a big box out in the sally port and throw a couple of big levers. There are four levers and if you throw the wrong two it will just open all of the doors at once. Not a good idea. The other two open little access panels above the doors and you use a little t-handle wrench to open each door individually. To close them you just drag them shut again and they lock.

Aint that just snappy?

So we get meds done and food passed and trays picked up and the workers out of the house and... the power goes out completely. No lights, no intercoms, no door controls, no fans, no computers to look up information. Nothing.

And then the lockups start. And of course we were completely full already. Running around in the dark getting property and kicking guys out just as fast as we were locking them up.

And as they bring one guy in he says to me "I'm not going in any cell you put me in. I will only cell with one person in this house." His boyfriend had just gotten locked up minutes before and he demanded to be put in a cell with him.

Well, that just wasn't going to happen. Not on my shift, anyway. And not if Sarge Miz P had anything to say about it. SO we put him on the bench and let him wait. And we start trying to move people around.

While this is going on the Cowboy is upstairs in C-wing and we hear him call the Sarge on the radio. We all go trotting up there and this knucklehead is apparently trying to drown himself in the toilet. Buck naked with his head in the toilet and shaking all over.

Hoo boy.

Grab him and put him on the floor and cuff him up. Breathing? Yes. Good. Now what?

Call medical. Call the Lieutenant. Put him on suicide watch. Where? The cells are all full. Oh snap. In the meantime we have loverboy on the bench in C-wing and his boyfriend on the bench in B-wing and neither one of them is going to go in a cell anywhere except together.

Oh my. And will you just look at the time? It's time for me to go.

I ask Sarge Miz P "Do you need me to stay and help?" She just shakes her head and says "Get out while you can! Run!!!"

So I did. Met Captain Woodman (he looks just like the grumpy principal from "Welcome back Kotter") on his way down to the Hive to fix all of our mistakes.

I told him "Good Luck" but I didn't really mean it.

What a night.....

Somewhere in the middle of all that snap the power came back on. I barely even noticed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rockin' The Shop

Here I go, breaking tradition again.

Well, I just had so much fun with my new toy that I had to share it.

When I first started working in sign shops almost twenty years ago, I always carried a tape deck to work. I work better when there is music playing. Problem is, tape decks have moving parts and shops are always full of dust. Sooo.... I went through a lot of tape decks.

Then along came cd players. Very cool, but even more susceptible to dust. Went through alot of those, as well. It doesn't take much dust to let the smoke out of a cd player, lemme tell you.

My cd player had just bit the big one during the clean up a couple of weeks ago. Right in the middle of Jethro Tulls' "Thick As A Brick". Pfui. Figured I was just going to be stuck with the radio until I could get a new cd player.

The wife went up to Big Lots this morning and came back with a powered mp3 speaker system. It's the black box with the silver circle and the two skinny things attached to it. The two skinny things are surprisingly powerful speakers and the big black box is the bass. She tried hers and liked it so I went and got me one too.

Spent the best part of the day with my mp3 player fully loaded and jacked in to the thing and rocking out. Actually made a few things.
This is a rack I made for the wife to hold her paper punches. They were all just laying in a drawer and she had to dig through them to see what she had. Now she can see them clearly. Actually, the idea was hers, (she's an organization whiz) but the sweat was mine. And mostly made from scrap junk I had already.

And I made another rack to hold the hundreds of rolls of ribbons she has piled in another drawer, but the paint isn't dry yet so I couldn't put it together to take a picture.

I spent the day jamming out and making things and breaking things and making a mess and cleaning it back up.

It was a good day.

P.S. I made 3.5 cents with my ads! Whoo Hoo!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which Came First?

Since I haven't been at work for a week and have no idea what's going on, I'm going to wander off topic. I do that sometimes. Don't be frightened.

I assume, since you are reading this, that you are a reader. As in books.

Me, I read all the time. If I'm not on this dang 'puter or out in the shop or at work, I'm reading. I also like to watch movies. To me, a good movie is almost as good as a good book.

But which one do you like first? The movie or the book?

Personally, I like to see the movie first. They always change things in the movie. They leave out details. They alter timelines. It's understandable. You only have two hours or so to impart this story in a movie. You are only going to sit so long to watch this before you have to go to the bathroom or go home to beat the kids. (grin)

But you can take days, even weeks to read a book if you wish. Just slip in a bookmark and the action will be right there waiting for you when you come back.

When I have read the book before I have seen the movie I am always just a little disappointed. Okay, sometimes I'm alot disappointed. Read "Battlefield Earth" which I think is a pretty good book then go see the abortion they produced as a movie. But get it free somewhere. If you pay money to watch it, you are going to be pissed off.

Watching the movie first gives me an idea of whether or not I want to know more. And if the story grabs me enough then I will read the book.

Unfortunately, it rarely works out like that. With me, the books almost always come first. I read "The Davinci Code" years before the movie. The movie was good, but the book had so much more flavor to it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be ambivalent about "Angels and Demons" when I see it.

I read the "Harry Potter" books before the movies came out. Actually, I think I was about halfway through when the first one came to the theaters. They did a fair job, as did the makers of "Lord of the Rings" which I would have bet couldn't be done. But then I was reading Tolkien back before movies existed. Well, almost.

Even though I like seeing the movie first doesn't stop me from reading the books. A good movie made from a good book is a tribute to the author and the story. It helps you give color and detail to the pictures in your head.

A book made from a movie however, is usually worthless. It's like reading the script. Blah. Nobody ever does those right.

So which do you like?

A- I like to see the movie first.
B- I like to read the book first.
C- I think Rev should stick to writing about prison stuff. He makes more sense there.

Let me know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Doing Okay

I'm doing good. Healing up nicely. My teeth don't hurt when I eat.

This is a good thing.

Yesterday was a bit painful and today was much less. Tomorrow I will be up to doing things again, I think.

I'm ready to go back to work. This vacation business isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Tomorrow I will walk a mile on the treadmill. And I will get some stuff done down in my shop. And mow the lawns again. Hopefully for the last time this year.

I'm feeling much better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Comfortably Numb

If anybody here needs a really good dentist, I will recommend mine. The man is a wizard. As I've probably said repeatedly the last couple of weeks, I was in alot of pain from a couple of really bad teeth. I finally manged to get in to see my dentist this morning.

He took a look at my x-rays and said "I recommend we pull those two.. whaddaya say?" I nodded enthusiastically. He gave me a couple of shots. Only one of them stung and only for a moment or two. Then he left me to get numb for about ten minutes.

My previous encounters with dentists have not been positive. One of my problems is that my teeth have hooked roots and they don't want to come out easily. Usually an extraction includes lots of grunting and cursing as they try to get them out. One dentist in the Army broke two other teeth trying to get one of my wisdom teeth out.

Not fun.

So anyway, I'm laying there in the chair listening to Tony Carey on my mp3 player expecting a major ordeal getting two pulled at once. The doc comes in and pokes and prods with a couple of tools and then next thing I know his assistant is pushing some gauze in my mouth and telling me to bite down.

Done! Five-six minutes tops.

The man is a genius.

So here I am, minus a few more teeth and buzzed to the gills on Darvocet. Typing like I know what I am doing. I have to keep going back and reading this to remember what i am writing about.

But my teeth don't hurt anymore. And that is a good thing.

Now I'd better save this before i get lost again. My recliner is calling me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Scene Of The Crime

All right. Don't know all of the details on this. Thanks be to The Squid that I know it happened at all. So let me just muck around in the dark a little and see what I can come up with here.

Apparently, some time around noon or a little before two inmates threw a third inmate on the ground in the shake out room down at the laundry and stabbed him three times in the back.

The wounds aren't life threatening, or so I am told. But he is up in medical.

Supposedly the two were caught and sent down to the Hive. No word yet on whether or not the weapon or weapons have been located.

No staff witnessed the actual event. There are no cameras down in laundry that I know of. There may be, I just don't know about them. Maybe they just found the one spot where there aren't any, I don't know. I suppose they just found the guy laying on the ground. Again, I don't know.

This sort of thing seems to be on the upswing. More violence than before. When I first got here, this was a pretty bad place to work. Kind of hairy, if you know what I mean. In the past few years it had tapered off and there was very little. Now it seems to be increasing again.

I called Vinnie to see if he had any more information. He hadn't much. He was all broken up about the recent death of his pet goldfish Angus. He named him after Angus Young of AC/DC, I think. Up until recently, they had been inseparable. Now... well, you know how it goes. Anyway, he's inconsolable and mostly incoherent and not much help.

But he did pass along a piece of data that I had not heard before. Apparently the inmates are getting pretty good at hiding their shanks. They have taken to gluing dirt and lint to them and sticking them up in the corners beneath the heater vents. If you don't actually stick your hands in there and dig through it, it just looks like some bad housekeeping and not a weapon.

And, of course, you don't really be wanting to stick your hands down in a spot where you cannot see what you are doing if you suspect there is a weapon down there. Despite some earlier close calls, I have made it this long with all ten of my fingers more or less intact and I would really like for the trend to continue, if you know what I mean.

So let us be thorough and careful in our searching, shall we?

And try to be a little more vigilant in our work.

This is probably the last time this week I am going to feel good enough to write. Going to the dentist tomorrow to have a couple of teeth pulled.

But do keep me informed, please.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dangerous Waters

I've spoken many times of the gang problem in our institution. It's certainly nothing new or unique. Every single prison all over the world has this very same problem. Wherever there are criminals in large numbers, there will be gangs trying to take advantage of the strength in numbers.

It's a fact of life in prison whether you are living there or working there. There's no changing it and there's no getting rid of it. The only possible way to get rid of the gang problem is to isolate every single offender from every other offender for the entire length of their incarceration.

Theoretically possible, but not practical. But there you are.

For some odd reason, our state still maintains that we have no gang problems.

I don't get that.

We do have..... excuse me.... we did have a Gang Task Force Officer that kept track of who belonged to which gangs and attempted to keep any one group from getting too large in our institution. This officer spent hours and hours of personal time doing research and going to conferences whenever possible all over the country in order to keep abreast of the trends in gang activity and efforts to combat it.

Apparently, at a recent conference this officer complained about not getting enough support from the state (which, of course, still denies there's a gang problem) and the institution.

And that made them look bad. We can't have that, naturally.

So the officer was removed from the post and it was put up for bid.

And we all knew who was going to get the job.

I sure as hell didn't want it. Too high profile and too much work and too much personal time will have to go into that job to make it effective. I just wonder if this new officer will be as effective as the old one.

But it just goes to show how careful you have to be in criticizing the administration. They have long ears and longer egos.

And the Good Ole Boy Network only works for you if you are one of the Good Ole Boys.

And as long as you make all the rest of them look good.

I'm not all that good at behaving myself, apparently.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Poised And Ready

It hadn't been a bad night so far. We started out the shift with thirteen or fourteen beds empty. I've gotten to the point where I worry of we have no beds and I worry when we have too many. The way they have been locking them up lately it just keeps us running all night long.

There were a couple of lockups but KP and Ms. Straw seemed to have it under control. She's not real comfortable working in the Hive, but KP was keeping her too busy to get nervous about it. They were doing okay and I was keeping my ears open for anything out of the ordinary.

BG and I were out on the rec yard when I hear Lt. Strong come over the radio to our bubble to open the big gate and have a C-wing cell open and ready. Strong was shift commander tonight and I knew if he was bringing this guy down himself and wanted him taken straight to C-wing that there was trouble a-brewin'!

I hopped up and put on some gloves and watched Strong and two C.O.'s bringing this dude down. One of the officers was a female and since we needed to strip the guy out, KP stepped in and took over when they got into the cell. The other officer was Fireman.... not a bad guy at all to have at your back when something is going down.

Knucklehead starts acting like he's not going to cooperate until he gets a good look around at who is in the cell with him. KP and Fireman are holding him by the arms. Lt. Strong is right behind him. Sgt. LB and I are right behind the Lt. I can almost see him adding up the sheer weight alone, not even counting the pissed off expressions on our faces and suddenly he gets real compliant. I figure we had him outweighed by about eight hundred pounds. If he would have even flinched or sneezed he would have ended up looking like a toad run over by a semi.

And we were all just standing there, poised. Waiting for him to jump.

Behaving himself was probably the smartest thing that man ever did in his life.

I'm rather glad he did. That late at night.... on my friday... right before I started my last week of vacation... Ooohhh.... I would have really had to hurt somebody.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Institutional Mouth

It still amazes me sometimes how supposed "adults" will act and speak. I suppose it shouldn't after all of this time, but it still makes me shake my head now and then.

Supposedly, I'm one of the "cool" officers. I don't start any crap and if you ask me calmly and politely for something and you have it coming, I will do my best to get it. But some of them just don't get that. And they seem to think that I won't remember who talked to me like I was some sort of trash just the other day. But I do remember.

And when they don't get what they want, they cuss at me some more.

I wish we were allowed to bring recording devices inside the fence. I'd record what these little punks say to me through the door or the window and send a copy of it home to their mother.

Wouldn't she be proud of her boy then?

Sometimes I do cuss back. It's unprofessional of me, I know. But when you are in a foreign country, you have to learn the native language. The same thing applies. And what they don't realize is that I have been around alot longer than they have and have a much better command of the language and I can cuss them right into a corner and make them look very very young and very stupid.

But that's not really all that hard.

So let's sum the whole thing up. I'm the person who brings you your food. And your clothes. And your mail. And gets you on the telephone. And gives you recreation. And toilet paper. And gives you showers.

And you want to talk to me like I'm a dog and expect me not to do anything about it?

I don't fuc*ing think so.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

O' Sergeant, Where Art Thou?

Sarge didn't show up again today. So they sent the Colonel down to us for the evening. No, not a real Colonel, that's just what we call him.

And I'm not talking about Sarge Miz P, either. I mean Sarge LB. I call him that because he looks like a Light Bulb with a mustache. When I do that he gives me "the look".

I don't mean to complain.

No, I take that back. I do mean to complain. We are already short people in the Hive. We have two open slots that they won't put up for bid so they just fill them with whatever random yahoo that looks like they need as place to go.

And with Chucky out again that just left me and KP and Miz Maybe as regulars. Fortunately they shifted Little Tire Dude down to us. He's been down there often enough that he's picking up the routine and he's not at all afraid to work. Kind of a squirrel, but he's our kind of squirrel.

Tomorrow Miz Maybe is off on her two days and that will just leave me and KP. Most likely just standing there with our teeth in our mouth looking at the rest of the rented crew and going "What do we do now??"

I'm getting crabby again. I've still got a toothache and it will be another week or so before I can get into the dentist. And I got to hear all kinds of fun dentist stories today. Nice people, my coworkers are.

If I wasn't such a dedicated jerk, I'd call out. I'm going to have some rude things to say to Sarge when I see him next. Guaranteed.