Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Music Review

Since it was a typical Wednesday and nothing caught on fire, nothing worth reporting happened today so I thought I might give a music review instead.

Actually there was one small incident. It's kind of embarrassing, but I'll lay it out there anyway. I was up in the comm room thinking to myself that it was probably time to go out and smoke before the next rush hit when the phone rang.

It was Miz Fawkes, down at the front desk. She said:

"Hey Revvy, wanna go puff on one with me?"

There was this sound of tires screeching and a crash of metal and the tinkle of broken glass as the two halves of my mind locked up simultaneously. Summoning up the best of what witty repartee I had on hand I said "What?"

She said "Let's go smoke."

Okay. I can do that. Sometimes working in a prison puts your brain in a permanently bad place.

So anyway, JohnT loaned me a CD of Mad Season. Their album was called Above. I had never heard of them and I was pretty surprised when I liked their music.

The story is that Mike McCready from Pearl Jam met John Baker Saunders from the Lamont Cranston Band in a rehab clinic and they thought they might put together some music together. They got together with Barrett Martin from the Screaming Trees and pulled in Layne Staley from Alice In Chains in hopes that being around other musicians who were sober would do him some good.

I know it doesn't sound like a good basis for a band, but it turned out okay. I wasn't a big Alice In Chains fan but I did like Pearl Jam. Most of their stuff was pretty good. This album ends up being a mix of those styles.

The best song on the album was called 'River of Deceit'. I liked it. Check it out.

In other news, Vinnie turned me on to 'Ghost Chickens In The Sky'. It's worth watching.
I cackled. It cracked me up. Insert more bad egg puns here.

So that much sums up my day. Tomorrow is Bunsen Burner Day and National Clams On The Half Shell Day.

Wheee..... I have no idea what I'm going to do with that one. I'll leave it up to you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ask An Inmate

When I went through the academy Lo, these many years ago, one of the best pieces of advice they gave us was "If nobody else knows what to do, ask an inmate."

When I first heard that, I thought they were pulling my leg. Surely they weren't serious.

They weren't and they were.

Of course you do have to be careful about which inmate you ask. That's where experience comes in.

I misread the chrono and thought I was in Main Production today but instead I was in A-dining. In Main Production you have another officer with you in case you don't know what to do. In A-dining you are on your own.

The cooks are there, of course, and they are usually a great help. But they are often busy with their own thing and don't have time to babysit if you don't have a clue.

Most of the offenders who worked there knew me. They knew that I didn't know what was going on most of the time but they also knew that I would treat them fairly if they treated me fairly. And that worked out okay.

They kept me straight on what needed to happen when. They let me know when I needed to open the doors and unlock this and that and give them access to things they needed to do their jobs. Basically I was just a large ambulatory fairly amiable keyring. In return they did their jobs well and quickly and we actually got done about half an hour early.

There were a couple of times when they asked me to do things and I didn't do them right away and I found out later that it would have been much better if I had done them when first asked. And I was big enough to say "You were right. Next time we'll do it your way."

All in all, despite having to get up and go in early it was a pretty good day. Nobody got hurt and nobody escaped. And I got to wander the yard for half an hour and chat with a few people before going home. That was nice.

There was no need for Smoke and Mirrors today. Hopefully the festival suited some needy magician or down at the heels politician somewhere who needed the help.

Wednesday is I Am In Control Day. Wow. I'll feel just like Al Haig after the president got shot. Even if he was wrong.

A Twist Of Fate

So many things happened today and I only really have time to relate one of them. It was such a day that we had to spend half an hour in the parking lot filling each other in on all of the little details that we missed.

And here it it 12:30 am and I have to be at work in 10-1/2 hours. Pfui. Main production. What a pain. But at least I get off at 7:00.

Even though it's already tomorrow I'm going to pretend it's not so I can write all of this in the present tense. Time travel and the syntax required gives me the weevils.

This afternoon right after count an inmate in one of the houses tried, very earnestly, to rehabilitate himself. Don't exactly know why at this point and it's not really germane to the story.

For whatever reason, he waited until they went by his cell for count, then slipped down behind the door to hide. He then slit his wrists with a razor blade and hung his hands over the toilet.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, count was messed up somewhere and they had a recount. When they recounted, they couldn't see anybody in that cell. So they did it again and when they looked closer, they could see his hands and the blood in the toilet.

Apparently it was a very near thing. I was told that another minute or two and he would have gone to that great penitentiary in the sky. But they managed to save him and now he's sitting in the rubber room in the prison up the road with stitches in his wrists and a very disgruntled look on his face.

So with that to start our day off, since they were doing the paperwork for that (loads and loads of paperwork, many a might tree was felled this day) there was a fight on B-yard, a check-in form somewhere and another lock up from 10 house and some idiot in the Hive who needed to go on suicide watch but refused requiring large amounts of pepper spray and a movement team during the 10:00 pm count.

They kept us hopping and hopping mad, as temper were short everywhere. Plus we were already short people because of training and the dog team squad being out and we were shuffled around like cheap plastic dominoes on a finely waxed table all night long.

There are days when we certainly don't get paid enough for what we do and this was one of them.

And that, my friends, is about all I have to say about that. I need to get to bed and try to unwind so I can get up early and do it all over again.

But I will check the calendar before I go. Oh joy, this sounds tempting.

Tomorrow (today) is Festival Of Smoke and Mirrors Day.

That sounds an awful lot like how we generate paperwork. Hoo boy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Footsore Friday

I'm sure glad this week is over. I have walked and walked and walked! Except for my one day in the comm room, I have been on the yard every day this week. And even that day I had to trot down to 10 house because they smelled smoke.

The Fireman has been on vacation and they put me in his spot again today. And of course, it was his night to do the Del Norte walk. And because Sgt Uncle Buck made ET (also known as "The Boy") do count and relief at 3 house, I got to do that walk again tonight.

Ah well. I don't mind doing it so much. Gets me off by myself for twenty minutes or so. And it got me good and warmed up. Temps in the low 40's today and wet. It didn't actually rain on us but it was quite wet and cold.

Monday they have me scheduled for A-yard yet again but Tuesday I'm 11-7 in Main Production. Yuck. I hate going in early. It's not that it's alot of work. I have to walk around now and then and do alot of pat searches. It's just the getting there early part I don't care for.

I'll survive.

So I guess I'll go over the weekend lineup and toddle off to night-night land.

Saturday is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day and Spinach Festival Day. I guess if I lived closer I'd cruise over to Chester, Illinois for the Spinach Festival. I've always been a Popeye fan. I'd be interested to know what holidays anybody made up.

Sunday is National "Joe" Day . Think I'll have a big cup of Joe to celebrate.

And Monday is Something On A Stick Day. I'll bet Jeff Dunham likes this one! Ole!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Our Poor Toolbox!

Disclaimer: The following statements are based on unsubstantiated rumors and may not have any basis at all in fact.

There is a rumor going around that at one of the other prisons in this state an inmate has died after a use of the stun shield. Apparently of a massive coronary arrest.

By policy we are allowed to..... I can't think of any other word other than 'zap', so that's what I'm going to use. By policy we are allowed to zap them up to three times for a period of no more than five to eight (or three to five, I forget) seconds each time if they continue to resist. If, after three applications of the stun effect, they continue to resist, you can no longer use the electricity as a tool. It just becomes a shield after that.

Of course at any time they stop resisting you are required to stop zapping them.

It's the rule.

Anyway, the rumor mill has it that this offender was zapped twice with the shield, given some injections ordered by medical staff, and placed in one of the rubber rooms.

And the next time somebody checked on him he was....... no longer spiritually incarcerated.

But you know how these places work. They won't possibly blame it on natural causes. How could they? And they can't blame the medical staff of the doctor who ordered the injections. Don't be ludicrous.

They will blame it on us and our use of the stun shield. And possibly the movement team.

If there is any truth to this, they will be sending out a stiff memo and all of the stun shields will be pulled from armories all over the state. And there's a good chance that all movement team activities will be suspended pending a review. And some of their reviews take years.

So there go a few more tools out of our box.

The day they finally take away my pepper spray and my personal cuffs I'm going home.

Ya just gotta wonder about this business sometimes. Sheesh!

Well, I screwed up again and I forgot to get any Raisinettes, so I didn't get to celebrate Chocolate Covered Raisin Day. And I was so looking forward to that.

And tomorrow (well, today, actually. It's after midnight) is Pecan Day and Waffle Day. I'm not a big pecan fan but I do love waffles. But the way things have been going I'm not going to get any of those either. Pfui!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Did My Duty

Being Wednesday, it was my comm room night, of course. I was hoping for a calm night, or at least one with little or no walking involved after spending the last two nights on the yard.

Alas, it was not to be.

I usually listen to the radio up there with half an ear. I'm not really supposed to respond to anything from up there since I'm the only one.

So when they called the Code 70 (fire) in 10 house, I didn't really pay that much attention. But after a few seconds passed and I did some mental math in my head, a small dim light went on in my brain.

Who is on the fire brigade other than me? Sgt's McGiggles, Homer and Archer. The watcher and me.

Oh snap. I'm the only one here!

Called the Lt and told him where I was and that I was going. Grabbed a set of yard keys in case I needed to get through any gates, tossed the comm room keys in the chuck hole in the control center and burned out.

On the way a bazillion thoughts were running through my mind:

"Man, I hope nothing's really on fire!"

"I wish they had given me some sort of freaking training on what I was supposed to do!"

"I really hope nothing's actually on fire!"

"Should I have gotten a different set of keys?"

"I really really hope nothing is on fire down there! Snap!"

Fortunately it took me so long to trot down there that several people beat me to it. They had already evacuated all of the inmates and were outside counting them. Lt Farmer and Sgt Time and Miz Fawkes were searching the building.

Somebody had smelled what they thought was something electrical burning and made the call. By the time I got there, it had dissipated. Not surprising, considering we had 22 mph winds outside.

We checked the place over pretty thoroughly and couldn't find anything burning. With a huge sigh of relief, I called over the radio to cancel the Code 70.

Man! I was glad nothing was actually on fire! They might have expected me to do something about it!

I gotta get me some training. Soon.

Since I didn't get to organize my office (more on that later) and I did have chips but no dip, I can only consider today to be a partial victory.

However, tomorrow is National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day. I'm stopping on the way in and getting me a big box of Raisinettes on the way to work. I'll be able to get this one right, I just know it!

Complaint Department

We have a complaint process for the offenders to follow when they feel that they have been wronged or even slighted.

Short of filing a lawsuit, they can file an "Informal Resolution Request" , or IRR as it is known. They jot down their grievance and send it to whoever is higher up the food chain than whoever they are complaining about, usually their caseworker or FUM. That person then routs it to whoever the grievance is directed to and they have to write an answer to how the problem can be resolved.

A lot of inmates abuse this process. They file over and over about piddly things or make stuff up to try and get rid of a staff member who is doing their job maybe a little zealously. They also threaten to file them on us, expecting that to intimidate us. Unfortunately we can't write them up for threats when they do that. Oh lawsy that would be sweet!

I found part of an IRR out on the yard tonight. It had been torn up and only part of it was left. I didn't get the offenders name or number, but I did get his housing unit and the part with his complaint.

His complaint was that the housing unit staff were "constantly harassing" him verbally and "cursing and threatening" him for no reason.

I could tell that he was trying to make his complaint sound as valid and coherent as possible. There were a couple of phrases that stuck in my mind:

"With this predicated authority, they are utilizing themselves as a hoe to weed out the offenders that they feel could be or are problematic."


"It is fundamental principle that reasonably competent officers would look at this as being an abuse of discretion and made in bad faith."


I think somebody borrowed a thesaurus. Or maybe a copy of the Declaration.

But the best part of it was the part where he was supposed to write down what he thought would solve his dilemma. He wrote:

"To elevate any further problems, I would like to be moved to another house."

I repeat, huh? Elevate? Maybe you should have borrowed a dictionary too, bub!

I just love it when they try to sound official because most of them do it so poorly. Ah well. If it wasn't for the dimwitted, I'd be out of a job.

It wasn't much of a Goof Off Day for me. They walked my legs off out on the yard with escorts and such. maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow.

Oh, that's just somewhat cruel.

Tomorrow is National Organize Your Home Office Day and National Chip and Dip Day.

I hope I have chips and dip, because my office is still screwed up and likely to stay that way for awhile. Pfui. Chips, anyone?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We Survived

When I left Friday night they had me scheduled to be in the Moon Room when I came in today. That usually means the I get to go to B-yard when I'm done.

I'm kind of glad I didn't end up over there, cos they sounded really busy.

I came in and asked where I was and Lt Baby Boy said "A-yard."

Cool! I get to work with the Watcher!

"Whose spot am I in?"

"The Watcher's. But it doesn't matter, because neither him nor the Fireman are here today."

"Well, who have I got?" I had this panicky feeling in my spine.

"Miz Fawkes."

"Okay, we can make that work just fine. Umm... Sgt Uncle Buck is here, right?"

"No. You got Sgt Duck."

Okey dokey. All three of us utilities. But we've all worked the yard before. We can do this. If we can just keep everything between the mayonnaise and the mustard, we'll be all right.

And things went fine until an inmate over on B-yard had what they thought was a possible stroke out on the basketball court. Then things went to hell from there.

Called in an ambulance so they decided that since it had to come in on A-side (since that is where the sally port is), that we would close A-yard until it was gone. But they dithered around until it got to the gate, then called the yards closed.

And since it was a nice cool evening and very pleasant outside, all of the inmates took their sweet time going back to their houses no matter how loud we yelled.

Finally got the yard clear and got the ambulance in and the inmate loaded up and they sat there forever doing tests and getting vitals and such.

And of course they had to pull two people to go on the outcount. One to ride in the ambulance and one to follow along in a car. So they pulled Sausage off of B-yard and somebody from somewhere else. We were already short people anyway. So then we had to switch people all over to cover the two they sent out on outcount and it made us even shorter.

We managed to ride out the rest of the evening sharing the work between Miz Fawkes and myself. Did alot of walking and alot of running back and forth.

At one point I stopped in central to go to the bathroom. It had been awhile since I had gone and I really needed the break.

Just as I had gotten a good flow going, Sgt Duck called me on the radio. Didn't want to be audibly peeing when I had my mike keyed so I stopped. Not the easiest thing to do sometimes.

"69 to 68"

piddle piddle piddle... stop! "68"

"68, are you in central?"

piddle piddle piddle... stop! "10-4"

"Stand by up there. I'm send a lost inmate who needs to be on B-side."

piddle piddle piddle... stop! "10-4"

I very nearly lost track of what I was doing. Really really didn't want to be audibly peeing or flushing the toilet with my radio live. But I managed. It was a close thing.

Like I said, we survived. Between the three of us we managed to fake knowing what we were doing enough to pull it off. And I'm on A-yard again tomorrow. Again, in the Watcher's spot. he's out doing training. Hopefully Sgt Uncle Buck will be there. And I have no idea who my help will be. I hope it's someone as good as Miz Fawkes.

But I doubt I'd be that lucky two nights in a row.

Aaahhhh.... I was hoping I'd get to see this day soon! Tomorrow is National Goof-off Day.

But with Buck around, I doubt I'll get to goof off much. Pfui. I'll give it my best, tho.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Poor Office

I had decided that this was going to be the weekend that I tore out the nasty old carpeting in my office and replace it with tile. I wasn't even going to try to do the laminate flooring thing like I did in the living room. It was just going to be a simple rip out and self adhesive tile job.

No big deal.
Started packing up my junk and hauling it into the spare bedroom. Unloading the book shelf and carrying in the piles of books, gathering up all of the tools in one place, packing up piles of comic books and loose papers I had scattered all over the joint.

That alone took quite a few trips.
Obviously I saved my desk and computer for last. I had no intention of being without internet access for an extended time. I saved it and the small desk and the adirondack chair. The small desk became a work bench and staging area. And the chair is where the wife sits when she comes in to visit and remember who this strange man in the other room is.

I don't get out much, you see.

I thought to myself "Before I go ahead and break everything down and tear out the carpet, I'll go pick up the tile I need. That way I can just do it all at once and be done with it."

Well, that didn't work too well, as you can see.

I had some pretty specific ideas about what I wanted in the way of tile and apparently that's not readily available around here. I figured that basic colors, like red and black and white, would be regular stock. Okay, maybe not the red so much, but just plain black? And just plain white?

Come on! What's the deal here?

So I changed my plans and figured out a way to do what I wanted with a nice neutral gray. That would have worked, except they didn't have enough of that. I would have been one box short and would have had to wait until their next shipment came in next week.

What do you want to bet that if I had started with the gray and waited to finish it the company would have discontinued that color or changed the formula by the time the next shipment came in? Five will get you twenty.

So now I'm back to square one. Got a tore up office. Can't find any of my stuff. Aint got no freaking tile, neither!

There's a flooring place up the road that isn't open on weekends. I'm gonna try there when I can. There's an outside chance I can run with my original plan.

If not, I'll back up and think of something else.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Looking Down

One thing that working in the prison has taught me is not only to keep my eyes on my surroundings, but also to keep a close eye on the ground.

It's amazing how a few yards of difference can make in the most innocuous thing. I can walk by rusty nails and bits of glass all day long in my own yard (well, I usually do pick them up and casually throw them away at home) and they don't bother me one bit. I'll just say "Whups! Don't wanna run that over with the lawnmower now, do we?" and take care of it.

But inside the fence finding a rusty nail or chunk of glass and it becomes a potential weapon and scares the crap out of me. And I gather them up whenever I see them and make sure that they end up outside the fence.

The prison up north where I started was all built on fill dirt and they weren't all that picky about where it came from. Every time it rained more and more junk and metal shards floated to the surface. Bricks, glass, old tin cans. One day there I pulled an eighteen inch chunk of that metal strapping they use for crates out of the ground. And it was partially rusted on the edges and I couldn't hardly handle it without cutting myself.

It's a dang good thing I keep up on my tetanus shots, eh?

The last week or so since all the snow melted and it's been raining, I have been finding lots of screws and nails out on the yard. Tonight I pulled five of them out of my coat pocket when i got home and threw them in the trash.

And of course, there's still a thousand rocks big enough to bash your head in inside the fence. I could bring one home every day and build a foundation for my shop. A little time and a little cement and there you are...

Hmm.... not a bad idea when you think about it.

On the way out tonight I saw something shiny and picked it up. A chunk of a broken bottle about the size of a silver dollar. And sharp and raggedy all down one side. I said "Oh snap!" and started looking for a place to get rid of it, since I didn't want to stick it in my coat pocket.

And then I realized that I was already outside the fence and it didn't matter. Made me feel like a downright fool. But I tossed it down the storm drain anyhow, just to be safe.

So the lineup for this weekend: Saturday is Poultry Day. This is good because we are having chicken and dumplings for dinner. Even though I'm more of an as* man, I never met a chicken breast I didn't like.

And Sunday is (Ta-tat-ta-ta-ta!!!!!) Proposal Day and Festival Of Extraterrestrial Abductions Day. What a marvelous combination, don't you think? Should we just propose to the first alien we see and get it over with? Without all the extraneous probing?

Monday is Fragrance Day. I'm not a big fan of most fragrances. The commercially made ones, anyway. About the only fragrance I can stand is patchouli. It reminds me of some of the coolest people....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not So Silent Night

It was like the odd "Night of the strange noises" all over again. Just one thing after another.

First thing out they send us and OJT out on the yard, since Sausage is a trainer and he can sign off on the kids book. The new kid calls him on the radio and completely slaughters his name out there on the open channel. You can hear snickers from all over the camp.

Sausage has one of those unpronounceable french sounding names that sounds like it should be an expensive cologne or fancy toilet paper. People get it wrong all of the time. But then I have a completely obvious name and they mispronounce it half the time too.

And most of the night Sausage got called different things on the radio and in person. Me, I stayed off the radio because my voice is distinctive (apparently) and everybody would know who did it.

Later on I'm out on the yard and a couple if inmates walk by and one says to the other "What do you think about that (I'm going to spell it as it sounded) tuh-saw-nuh-mee in Japan?"

It was so horrible that my mind refused to make the connection.

I just stood there, locked up, repeating: tuh-saw-nuh-mee.



Finally the little light blinked on in my head and I said "Oh snap! Tsunami!"

I wanted to run after him and beat the crap out of him for wasting three minutes of my life like that. Obviously he doesn't have a teevee and isn't real literate either. That made me head hurt.

Later on after the yards were closed we were all sitting in the shack and Sgt Uncle T's stomach starts rumbling hard and loud. Loud enough that it would drown out Sausage while he's talking.

And that takes some doing. I've heard Sausage drown out a thunderstorm before.

It seemed that something Sgt Uncle T ate wasn't agreeing with him at all. Not only was it not agreeing with him, it was arguing loudly and calling us all dirty names. It sounded like there were two pissed off cats with bullhorns in there going at it.

I offered him a Tums but it didn't seem to help much. It was kind of comical there for awhile until the pressure started bleeding off. Then we had to hastily abandon the shack. From a safe distance I offered him a pair of Stick-Ups or an Airwick Solid but he didn't seem too interested. So I just tossed a box of baking soda in the shack and fled for higher ground and didn't return until after count.

When I returned the box of baking soda had given up in despair and fled for it's life.

All in all, an interesting night. To say the least. And if nothing else it made me appreciate the fact that Sgt Uncle T doesn't use my bathroom.

Hmm... this is ominous. March 18th is Supreme Sacrifice Day. Now, I'd be more than willing to take one for a staff member in trouble, but I'm not quite ready to throw in the big towel just yet. Let's hope this day is misnamed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Wide Vocabulary

I hadn't really realized until I got this new computer exactly how many words I had added to the dictionary of the old one over the last five or six years.

But it seems like almost every other sentence contains a word that I had to go ahead and add.

Those that are spelled correctly, anyway.

'Course, alot of the words I use aint correct. Like 'alot' and 'aint' for example.

I will usually cruise right along and hammer out two or three sentences before I look up at the 'puter screen to see what it is I have done. And then I'll see all of these squiggly red lines under half of the words I have used. Then I go back and add them to the dang dictionary.

And if I go back and pull up an old post or a story, there they are again. And instead of waltzing down memory lane with an old tale, I'll be grumbling and updating my dictionary again.

I'll be glad when I get most of my favorite words in this thing so it will quit making me grumble.

It would have been interesting to have kept track of the number of words I have added. Alot of the admittedly are names and don't really count. The other day I used the phrase "a classic beauty, like Hepburn" and it didn't hiccup at all on her name. But if I put in Banty or Gums or Frankenjerk.... there are those squiggly lines again....

Ah well. It keeps me off the streets I guess. Probably a good thing, in the long run.

March 17th is, as you surely know, St. Patricks day. (had to add Patricks there) And it is also Submarine Day. I guess it will be a wild day of celebration for the Irish Submarine Fleet. The thought of a hangover at sea gives me the heebie-jeebies.

And then I added heebie-jeebies. Joy.

Life Savers

Well, it was about as bad as I thought it might be, but nowhere as bad as I'd feared it would be. Six house with no KP, no Walleye, no Anakin.... just me and the Menace and Miz Trainwreck.


Sgt Uncle T and St Francis got to be life savers twice tonight. Once right after shift change some inmate in our house slipped coming out of the shower and fell flat on his back. I didn't see it but I heard him hit over the intercom. It was a pretty meaty thump and when i looked there was nobody near him so I know he didn't get thumped by someone else.

Sent the Menace and Trainwreck in there and they called the code 16. Sgt Uncle T and St Francis showed up to direct traffic and help get the guy on a stretcher. They ended up keeping him in medical over night so I guess it was legit.

Then, after I had been alone with those two all night, Sarge and the Saint showed up right before count to keep me company and help me decompress for about an hour.

Man, did I need that! I was close to falling on the floor and gnawing my own foot off. And I suspect my brain was about to chew it's way out through my ear to escape.

Thanks guys. You saved me.

I have been looking forward to tomorrow for a long time. It's Everything You Do Is Right Day.

Gawd, I hope it's true.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Somebody's Snit List

I may have pissed somebody off. I'm not exactly sure. But the way things have been going on the schedule, I suspect I have made the list.

When I left Friday I was penciled in to be on the front desk. That usually means that you stay there til 5 or so, then go out to the yard. Sometimes you have to go back at 9, and sometimes they send somebody else.

So, since it was snowing this morning, I dressed for the yard. When i got in, all bundled up, Lt Baby Boy looks at me and says "30 house."

Aww.... snap.

I hate 30 house. It's the 'outside workers' house. The 'honor' house. The cells are just rooms and you can't lock the doors. Well, you can, but not so they can't get out. Only so other people can't get in. Each inmate there carries a key to his cell door so he can get in and out as they please.

And they do wander in and out of their rooms 24/7. Going to get ice or the bathroom or the showers or the microwaves. And there's not alot you can do about it.

Plus it's so hot in that place it's like spending the night in an EZ-Bake Oven.

It was a hot and boring and aggravating night, but nothing exceptional happened. I'm glad of that.

On the way out I checked the chrono to see where I was tomorrow.

And I very nearly gnawed my own lips off. They have me scheduled to be the bubble in 6 house with The Menace and Miz Train Wreck. Oh snap again!

Now either he's thinking "Let's put someone in there who can run a house and keep things moving on an even keel and maybe the place won't burn down."

Or he's thinking "I'm gonna get that lousy so and so and teach him a lesson!"

I hope it's the first, but fear it's the latter.

Whatever it was I did I promise I will never do it again!

Tomorrow is both Buzzard's Day and Everything You Think Is Wrong Day, as well as the Ides of March.

None of those bode real good auspices for my future happiness.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Windows 7

For a real startling change we decided to upgrade our computers before one of us had a major crash. This is a new direction for us, being proactive.

The wife's computer was a couple of years newer and much faster then mine. She'd spent the money to upgrade her ram and hard drive a while back. But since she does hard core digital scrapbooking, often using three different design programs at the same time all the while chatting on Skype with her friends all over the world, it was overloading her system.

She would complain that her computer was too slow and I would look and see her whole task bar jammed with open windows and she would be voice chatting and type chatting in messenger and designing new products all at the same time.

Me, I'd get more than three tabs open and my machine would lock up tighter than a congressman's wallet. Pfui.

So yesterday she was talking to her friend in Scotland (a wonderfully tech-savvy lady with an outrageous accent) and they were looking at computers online. They came across an Office Max ad depicting an HP computer with a 750 terabyte hard drive for $400.00.

It was a typo, of course. But it was fun to imagine having that much room to play with. At this point there are no commercially available units with that big a hard drive.

Being temporarily flush after my last comp time payout we decided to get us both new computers and not wait for disaster to strike. It was a spendy move but instead of having more useless junk we need to get rid of, we now have two extra computers to use as backup in case something bad happens.

Spent most of the day yesterday transferring files to my measly 1 terabyte external, deleting all of the extra unnecessary junk that came with the new unit and replacing all of my games and programs and bookmarks.

I'm having a hard time getting used to Windows 7. Things aren't where I am used to them being and I am spending alot of time looking for my stuff. I'm sure I'll get used to it. I'm all for technology, but why do they have to rearrange everything and rename the old standbys?

Just to be difficult, I suppose.

Today is, of course, Jewel Day and Daylight Savings Day. Changing all of the clocks in the house is going to occupy a good portion of my morning.

And Monday is National Potato Chip Day. I wonder... do we have a designated National Potato Chip?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Even More Maintenance Issues

Well, I have to give them props. Our maintenance guys came back and fixed the shack window today and finished the trim.

Sgt Woof on days was bragging that it looked like a fishing lodge or something for deer camp, it was so nice. And I'll admit it looks snappy. All that dark stained trim really puts a shine on the place.

And we can open the window slowly and part of the way. Hey, it's better than it was. We'll take it. Don't want to wait another six months.

But then, amazingly enough, I found something else to complain about.

I had to run down to the Hive with some property and BG urged me to go into B-wing and check out their new strip cage.

Now, according to Adseg policy, each offender coming into the Hive is to be strip searched before he is secured in the cell to make sure he isn't carrying any contraband. Sure, it gets carried in every day. And we know exactly how it's getting carried in.

But I'm not looking in there. I'm not paid enough for that. No way, no how.

Usually, if the offender is being cooperative, he is taken to the cell and stripped out. Or if he's being a little bit of a problem, we take him to the barber shop next door to the Sgt's office and do it there. That way there can be more of us handy.

Their solution to this was to build a metal cage in each wing and lock them in the cage, have them strip out and hand out their clothes while it is being searched. That way if he gets nuts or stuck on stupid we can just spray him and he'll be locked in a cage and unable to harm any staff.

A semi-reasonable idea at first glance.

Our fearless maintenance crew brought down a prototype cage and installed it the other day. Right away I saw several flaws. The wire they used for the door and cage walls is thin and flexible. Somebody wearing state boots could kick a hole in it in a couple of minutes of determined effort. Maybe quicker if they were pretty strong. The door frame didn't have very much metal in it and I could bend it with my foot far enough to crawl out underneath. And the thin metal for the walls was pretty sharp on the edges. If someone broke off a piece it would make a pretty awesome slashing weapon.

And the lock on the door was one of the sliding bar types they use for the showers. It makes a dandy pivot for bending the door against and they break pretty often.

After I went and looked and snorted in disgust, they told me that the Major and the Warden had been down to inspect and neither one of them liked the design and told them to get that thing out of there and try again.

The stupid thing might have contained my sisters chickens. But not for long.


Oh yeah. Jewel Day and Alfred Hitchcock Day. I said that yesterday. Duh.

It's been a long week. I need some serious sleep.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maintenance Issues

Ya gotta just wonder about our maintenance department some times. And just what, or if, they think about what they are doing before they do it.

We got our new yard shack back in October. It already had two cracked windows, one of which broke completely out the first week. They broke them when they were building the shack.

When they declared it done, there was no trim around the insides of the windows. So if you sat back in a chair you got drywall chalk all over your black coat.

This afternoon they came and started putting trim around the windows. They got about half of it done and it looks nice.

At first glance, anyway.

One end of the shack has a door and the other had an openable window. So on nice nights we could let a breeze through. You will not the past tense I used there. We had an openable window.

But when they came to trim it out they jammed the trim into the extrusions on the window frame until they bit about a quarter of an inch into the wood. Then they screwed them in tightly, effectively jamming the window completely shut. As a matter of fact, they forced them in so tight that you can't even unlock it anymore let alone open it. I suspect that they warped the frame.

Sometimes I honestly wonder who they hire for these jobs. Now I know that the inmates do alot of the maintenance work around the camp. I suspect that they did that on purpose just because they are inmates and we are officers and they know it will piss us off.

But if they are doing that kind of crap work and getting away with it, somebody obviously isn't supervising them very well.

So many things around the camp are a hundred years old and falling apart. And the one thing we have that's new they have made worse by trying to fix it.

Fer gawds sakes. I can live with the white snit on my coat. Heck, I've put up with it for almost six months now. Just give us our window back!

Ah well. Tomorrow is Johnny Appleseed Day and Worship of Tools Day. Hoo yeah. I can worship me some tools, alright!

Saturday is Alfred Hitchcock Day. Yikes. As long as there are no birds in my rear window, I won't get vertigo.

And Sunday is Jewel Day. I don't know if it's pretty rocks or that pretty little singer. Either way, enjoy. Have a little of both.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I went home early last night, took my meds, went to bed and forgot to post anything.


Been fighting off a little sinusy thing for the last few days. The weather keeps changing from warm to cold and back again. Had a sore throat and some serious drippage going on and haven't slept good for a couple of nights. That OTC night time cold medication was giving me some of the weirdest dreams I've had since I tried Chantix. Woof!

Anyway, I went to bed at about 10:30 last night thinking I'd catch up on my sleep.


Woke up again at 3:00 am. Tossed and turned until about 5:00 and gave up. Apparently my internal clock is set for about five hours and won't let me slumber for any longer than that. I'm not exactly sure what that's all about, but it's pissing me off something fierce.

On to other things.

About three years ago the Watcher got me interested in a web comic called Dominic Deegan, Oracle For Hire. Interesting comic done in kind of a unique style and the characters use a lot of real bad puns and odd jokes and it's an entertaining read. Check it out here, if you like.

The artist, who calls himself Mookie, lives out on the east coast somewhere. I'm thinking Boston or somewhere like that. I always thought it would be fun to meet him if I ever got the chance, but I figured it would never happen.

It turns out that there's an anime convention about ninety miles away from here next month and Mookie is going to be there. I got hold of the Watcher and asked him if he wanted to go. Of course he did. So we are making plans.

Now the thought of the Watcher and I loose in a convention hall packed to the rafters with little teeny bopper cosplay girls and fanboys is a little disturbing. If it wasn't for Mookie I wouldn't get within ten kilometers of the place. It could turn out to be really fun or something that you will see on CNN later. I guess we'll see.

Today is Festival Of Life In The Cracks Day.

Not exactly sure which cracks they are referring to.

Maybe I don't want to know.

It's also National Telephone day.

At least that one I can understand.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lost My Rhythm

They sent me down to the Hive tonight. A perfect place to be on Be Nasty Day.

Unfortunately I was in the bubble so I could be as nasty as I wanted to be. At least, not to the inmates, anyway.

But it's been long enough since I was down there with any regularity that I have lost my handle on the flow of the house.

I gots no rhythm anymore.

Of course, with the exception of Sgt LB and BG (who wasn't in tonight) it's a whole new crew down there than the one I was used to. And, as people are prone to do, they have changed things and altered the routines to fit themselves.

I'm not saying anything bad about the crew down there. They have to modify things to fit their style so they can survive and do their jobs effectively. But it's different from the way we did things in my day down there.......

Oh snap. I just realized how old that makes me sound. "Well by golly in my day sonny, we did things alot different in the Adseg unit!"

Oooohhh... snap.

They kept me hopping up there, running back and forth and trying to keep up. I think I sat down for maybe ten minutes all night. And it was just like working the comm room. Every single time I tried to sit down or eat or go smoke or pee one of them was at a door banging on it to let them in or out.

Of course, some of them were doing it to me on purpose, just to be irritating. I expect that. If the situations were reversed, I would do the same. It's somewhat traditional.

Not being able to predict what they would be doing next, as I could with the old crew, kind of drove home the fact that the Hive isn't my house anymore. In a way it made me feel sort of sad. And in a way I'm content with that. I got away before it burned me out completely.

And there's no workman's comp or disability for burnout.

I'll be content to be an ex-Hive dawg and go on to other things and be myself. And I can visit the place for a day now and then to remind myself that I don't want to do that anymore and be happy.

Today was Be Nasty Day, as I mentioned before. Tomorrow is Panic Day, which worries me a little and also Ash Wednesday, which not being a Catholic I don't understand. Tomorrow is also Barbies birthday. She debuted in 1959 so she will be 52. Still looking hot, babe!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Property Issues

I'm stealing this story from KP, just because it needs to be told and because I can get away with it. He's got better stories than I do, anyway.

Whatever an inmate has in his cell in the way of property is always documented one way or another. Any state issued clothing is listed in his file and they are all pretty much issued the same amount of shoes, pants, socks, t-shirts and etc. If most of the inmates are issued five pairs of pants and one inmate has nine pairs, then you know something is hinky.

Anything he owns himself as personal property is all supposed to be listed on another sheet. Personal clothing, shoes, appliances, jewelry, photo albums, cassette tapes or CD's.... All of that goes on his property sheet.

And it is all supposed to be marked with the offenders name and number. Any appliances they buy, like teevees, radios, CD players, alarm clocks, etc are supposed to be engraved with their name and number before they can take them back to the house.

Of course, being inmates, they have learned ways around the system. I've seen a few cases where someone heated up a sewing needle and etched another name in an item that looked just like somebody did it with the engraver. They got nothing but time and nothing to do with their time but figure out ways to beat the system. It's a sad statement, but it's true.

Inmates are not allowed to buy, sell, lend, borrow or transfer property of any kind at any time. Within humane limits, of course. You can loan a guy a pencil when he doesn't have one. But if you loan him your CD player because his is broken, you both might end up in trouble.

But then again, they find ways around that, too. You only get into trouble if you get caught. And nobody is going to be out there checking every name on every Walkman and comparing them with ID cards out on the yard or even in the house most of the time.

And personal clothing items are a hot commodity out on the yard. All of them want hooded sweat shirts (hoodies), yet they were banned back in '91. Only offenders who have been in prison since before 1991 are allowed to have them because they were already on their property sheet. So if you want one and you just got locked up, be prepared to pay for one. I've heard they are going pretty high since they are wearing out and getting scarce.

If you see an old head with a four digit number wearing a hoodie, then it's probably his. If you see some 19 year old punk with a seven or eight digit number with one, you can be pretty sure it's not on his list. Then it gets confiscated and he gets a violation for contraband and the hoodie goes to the landfill at the end of the month.

Sometimes being in fashion carries a stiff price.

Anyway.... where was I ? Oh yeah... Not being able to type. Argh.

The other night KP was up in the bubble with Walleye and the Menace when he looked up on the top walk of one of the wings and saw an inmate in front of his cell playing an air guitar. Just rocking out and jamming hard.

He brings it to the other guy's attention and they watch him for a minute in amusement. Then KP turns to the Menace (who is a real bug about ferreting out stolen or 'borrowed' property) and says "I wonder if that guitar is on his property list?" The Menace made a move like he was going to dig into the files for the list, but realized what KP had said and covered the move smoothly and replied "I dunno. Maybe you should check?" with that one raised eyebrow of his that said "You almost got me, smarta**."

And since they didn't have a Sergeant in the house, and KP being KP and not wanting a good joke to go to waste, called down to the 10 house Sarge and said "I have a property question."

Sarge said "Okay, shoot."

"If an inmate is in possession of an air guitar, where do they engrave his name and number?"

Luckily Sarge is no dumb bunny and said "Well, I don't know. I'll have to get back to you on that." and hung up.

The question, as of this writing, remains unanswered.

So Tuesday is both the beginning of Mardi Gras and is also Be Nasty Day and Aunts Day. If you have aunts like mine, I wouldn't try combining any of those three.

Most of my aunts would kick your a**.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

There's A New CO In The World!

I really hope I don't get whacked upside my head for that picture. But it's cute and a new mom showing off her baby is always something, isn't it?

I had meant to post this the other night but the storm threw the luggage in my head in all directions and I forgot. Do forgive me.

Sometime during the early hours of Friday morning Sgt and Miz Archer gave birth to a baby girl. Well, mostly she did.

I don't know all of the details about exact time and size and weight and all of that stuff that always seems so important. But I was told that her name is Abagail Lane Archer. Her and mommy are doing fine and daddy is expected to recover anytime in the next eighteen years or so.

Knowing those two she probably came out wearing a little camouflage diaper and clutching a tiny compound bow in her little fist. And I have no doubt that instead of that weird baby smell they all seem to have, she will be doused in scent blocker and smell like nothing at all so she doesn't scare off the deer.

Little Miss Abagail Lane is going to have an interesting life. As are her new proud parents. Let's all hope for the best for all of them and when you see Miz or the Sarge tell them congratulations.

And just for my own self preservation I will state right now that I'm pretty sure she looks nothing like the new baby in the picture above.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is There Any Justice?

I was going to write about the terrific thunderstorm we were presently surviving and how I managed to get through the night and the tarantula downpour and got home and my feet were still dry.

But right in between the words "about" and "the" lightning hit somewhere real close and made all my power flicker. I'm so happy that I invested a couple of years ago and bought those battery backup thingys for the computers and our wireless internet hub.

Anyway, I had the post all written in my head but when I got home, I found this email in my box from a guy who I used to work with in Raccoon City and has since retired.

It reads like this:


Let's put the seniors in jail and the criminals in nursing homes.

This would correct two things in one motion:

Seniors would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.

They would receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs, etc.

They would receive money instead of having to pay it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they would be helped instantly... if they fell or needed assistance.

Bedding would be washed twice a week and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes.

All meals and snacks would be brought to them.

They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.

They would have access to a library, weight / fitness room, spiritual counseling, a pool and education...and free admission to in-house concerts by nationally recognized entertainment artists. [Johnny Cash entertained often]

Simple clothing - i.e. shoes, slippers, pj's - and legal aid would be free , upon request.

There would be private, secure rooms provided for all with an outdoor exercise yard complete with gardens.

Each senior would have a TV, phone and radio in their room at no cost .

They would receive daily phone calls.

There would be a board of directors to hear any complaints and the ACLU would fight for their rights and protection.

The guards would have a code of conduct to be strictly adhered to, with attorneys available, at no charge to protect the seniors and their families from abuse or neglect.

As for the criminals:

They would receive cold food.

They would be left alone and unsupervised.

They would receive showers once a week.

They would live in tiny rooms, for which they would have to pay $5,000 per month.

They would have no hope of ever getting out.

"Sounds like justice to me!"

After reading that there's just not much more I could say. I'm all for it.

So tomorrow is Multiple Personalities Day. I almost wish I was going to be at work for that one. I know a few one man cells that are pretty crowded already.

Sunday is National Frozen Food Day. What could be better? Hey Ma! How about a big bag of Birdseye Frozen Peas?

And Monday will be National Crown Roast Of Pork Day. Hang on. Let me look that one up. Ah. It's one of those odd things where you wrap a rib roast around in a circle so it looks like a little crown. I get it. Does anybody even do that kind of thing anymore?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Copping Out

I'm taking a night, I think. It was a good but busy night at work. I'm tired and need to get up early in the morning, so I'm going to cop out on this one and leave you with the picture above to ponder.

By the by, tomorrow is Holy Experiment Day. I have no idea what that means. I'm thinking more in terms of Burt Ward as Robin saying "Holy Experiment Day, Batman!"

Otherwise we are going to need a whole load of test tubes....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm No Babysitter!!!

I gave up tolerating children in my home quite some time ago. I put my foot down and told the wife "No more. Never again."

It was one of the few times that I put my foot down and meant it and got away with it.

My wife is a former CO and she doesn't put up with much BS either. Especially from me.

The inmates have learned that when I'm around and they act like children they are either going to get ignored or thumped.

If you want to be around me and have a pleasant evening, act like an adult or I am going to thump you. It's a simple rule to live by. Everybody should have that posted in their living space somewhere prominent.

Tonight Sgt Puddle was trying to finish up doing the yearly ratings for his minions. Vinnie called out so the only one he had to do tonight was Miz Odd.

If he would have asked me, I would have told him to schedule more time, because it was going to go badly. Sgt Puddle and Miz Odd tend to butt heads quite often. They are both nice people and knowledgeable about the jobs, but hardheaded like nobody's business.

Since Vinnie was out they stuck Miz Pancakes up there and when the rating started going downhill, Sgt Puddle sent Miz Pancakes out of the control center. He said "Go up to the comm room and keep Rev company for awhile. I'm sure he's lonely up there."

Now, don't get me wrong. I like the girl. She seems to show up for work most of the time (I don't keep track) and seems to be able to do most anything you ask of her. She is pleasant and fairly capable. I don't know how she would be if trouble hit but that's just from lack of experience. She doesn't seem afraid of the inmates which is a good thing.

The problem is that she looks like she is about fourteen. Freaking young. I think she's twenty something. She'd have to be at least twenty one to be working here. And she acts real young too, at times. Not immature, just young. Young enough to drive me batty after awhile.

She chattered constantly and played with the teevee set and dug through the fridge and rifled through all the desk drawers and played with the stuff in there and ran around and chattered some more....

I was seriously thinking about breaking out some duct tape.

When I realized I didn't have any duct tape, I just rolled my eyes and tried to be nice. It was hard. I get used to the solitude up in the comm room. Comm room nights are my calm nights.

Maybe I was just having a crabby night. It didn't seem like it at first, but getting my space invaded got under my skin pretty quick.

Next time I'm telling Puddle that if he wants me to babysit, it's going to cost him one medium pepperoni pizza.

Maybe I should bring in some toys; some Lego's and stuff and keep them in one of the drawers. Just in case.

And just in case Miz Pancakes is reading this: You are not really that annoying, dear. I exaggerate just a little. Remember: Feed the Rev and he won't be so grouchy next time.

For tomorrow we have a hat trick. It's I Want You To Be Happy Day, Peach Blossom Day and National Anthem Day .

Hm... Was the National Anthem written on March 3rd? Anybody?

Sweeps Week

It's that all important time of year when we get our annual ratings from our supervisors. This involves multiple copies of several pages and covers all aspects of our professionalism.

In short, they kill thousands of trees to tell us were are not quite as dumb as the trees, but it's too close to call.

Sometimes I'm pretty sure they'd be much better off keeping the trees and printing on us.

Once a year we get rated on five different attributes:
1. Knowledge of work.
2. Quality of work.
3. Situational responsiveness
4. Initiative, and
5. Dependability

Your rating can go from Poor to Needs Improvement to Satisfactory to Highly Satisfactory to Outstanding.

As long as you get at least a Satisfactory on your rating they leave you alone. Anything below that for more than one rating period and they can start paperwork to get you fired.

But sometimes that is difficult to back up if it comes right down to it. There are Sergeants rating people who they have hardly ever met, let alone worked with. I suspect that's a little difficult to do.

My first rating when I was at the other camp up the road, was done by a Sergeant who worked on the other side of the camp and who had never seen me before in her life. She just walked in one day and had to ask somebody who I was, then said "Here's your yearly performance rating. I don't know you but I haven't heard any complaints, so you get a rating of Satisfactory."

Okey dokey. After she left I said "What the hell was that all about?" They were all about as new as me and nobody was quite sure. I just said "Okay. Whatever." and went on with my work.

Since I got to Raccoon City I have always known who my rating Sergeant was. For most of my career to this point, it was whoever was the Hive Sergeant at the time. I think I went through about eleven of those in six years. Well, ten. We ended up getting the same one twice.

Now, since I'm considered "utility" I got shifted to Sergeant Archer. I figured that was a good deal on my part. Archer and I spent many nights hip deep in the snit down in the Hive together back when he was a lowly peon like me.

And his lovely little wifey likes me. That always helps.

This year, for the second year in a row, I pulled off an Outstanding.

Those used to be pretty much impossible to get. You'd have to pay somebody or save the Wardens grand daughters life or something to get one of those. And apparently the line following her around waiting for the chance was pretty long.

But they've lowered the bar some and allowed supervisors to hand them out if they think it's suitable. So now if you show up 99% of the time and don't run with scissors too much, you can score an Outstanding.

Good thing I leave my scissors home most days, huh?

It is nice when a supervisor gives you props for doing something right, though. If the rating system went both ways, I'd give him an Outstanding right back again.

Gee, tomorrow is Old Stuff Day. We could hold the parade for that in my living room. Or would it be considered Old Yard Sale Junk Day? I get those confused. When does Stuff become Junk and when is Junk considered Stuff?

And where is George Carlin when we need him?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


We have a program here set up so that officers who have been here awhile are supposedly given skills to help them train the newer officers. Those who have been so trained are called "Field Training Officers" or FTO's for short.

There is supposed to be lots of FTO's in every position so the new people can get proper training wherever they go. It's a nice idea.

But since the budget went to heck in a handbasket and they cut all of those extra positions, there are times when you can't find an FTO anywhere on camp, let alone in the position the new person needs training on.

It's still better than the old system where everybody made out like whatever they did was some big lodge secret you had to earn.

"When you've been here as long as I have, you'll know how to do this."

Well, thanks alot Pops. But I don't plan on being the worlds oldest CO like you. I just want to get through this without getting killed and go home at the end of the day, if you don't mind.

Sorry. Sore spot. Anyway...

I came in today and they still had me slated to be an extra on B-yard. I didn't figure that would last long. Extra officers always ended up getting moved somewhere.

Lt Baby Boy told me I was still on the yard but I had to do the mail run first and I had to take one of the new guys with me and show him how it was done.

Okay, I could do that.

I told the new guy that the first thing you do is steal a cart somewhere. If you can't find one that isn't nailed down, you stamp your little feet until they find you one to use.

Once you find a cart then you come out to the Admin building and you hide and slack off for about thirty minutes because the mail won't be sorted and ready til at least 3:30.

He liked that part. I didn't mind it so much myself. By the time I got out to the yard most of the start of shift work would be done and I wouldn't have to mess with it. Sweet!

I went through the whole process step by step from where to find the mail and what order to stack it in the cart to delivering it and where to hide the cart when you're done.

So we drove all over the camp and chatted briefly with almost everybody we saw at each house, just tooling around on the cart and delivering the mail.

Every now and then he'd look at me like "You mean we really get paid to do this?"

An easy easy way to start off the shift, lemme tell you.

And my luck stayed with me all evening long. Not only did I get to stay on the yard all night, I didn't even have to do the Del Norte or count anywhere! Easy peezy.

I actually think the new guy learned a few things as well. Just an added bonus. And me without any formal training, either.

Oh Bummer! I was looking at the list and, if this were a leap year, tomorrow would be National Surf And Turf Day. Pfui. I was looking forward to that one.

But instead (this being a normal boring year) tomorrow is both National Pig Day and Peanut Butter Lover's Day.

Hmmm... why not combine the two? "Hey, you got your bacon in my peanut butter!"

Okay. Never mind. That sounds dirty.