Monday, October 31, 2011

I Think We Made Him Nervous

They stuck me up in the control center again tonight. I guess it's good. I still need the experience. The place is becoming less scary to me now that I've been up there a few times.

And there's a chance that I'll get to do at least a six month stint up there. Poor Stubby is going out for some major back surgery and he might be out at least three months if he gets to come back at all. I am thinking about putting in a memo to the Major to take his spot until he returns.

Just thinking about it. I haven't made up my mind just yet.

Though it probably would do my bones some good to spend the winter indoors where it's warm.

I dunno.

Anyway, it was Vinnie and I and a fairly new Sergeant that I nicknamed "Nerves" for now. He'd only worked up there a time or two before and knew very little. Just how to run the panels and the doors and phones and such. I told him that we would take care of him.

I checked him out. Young guy. Kinda pretty. With one of those skater boy haircuts. Looked like he should be coaching volleyball or something. And he looked nervous. Hence the nickname.

Sgt Nerves had never been around either Vinnie or I vary much before. And never the two of us together. The two of us together are one dangerously bad joke machine. Like a badly made robot constructed of chain saws and rubber dog poop careening out of control through your living room, heading for the china cabinet.

At times he just sat there in his chair, his eyes moving back and forth between us like he was watching a tennis match as we did our jobs and kept up a steady stream of horrible jokes and gut wrenching puns. And his face had this rictus of a grin like he was inwardly screaming "What the snap did I do to deserve this? And who are these crazed maniacs?"

And of course that look on his face did little more than spur us on like wolves spotting a wounded gazelle.

He loosened up after awhile when it finally dawned on him that we were yanking his chain. And once he loosened up we relented a little and let him breathe again. By the time we left he was almost back to normal.

But I'll bet he felt like he'd been sandpapered all over and part of his brain was probably still curled in a fetal position sucking it's thumb and whimpering.

It was a cruel thing to do, but in the end he'll be the better man for it. Anything the inmates can dish out will seem like child's play after that.

It was a good day.

Tuesday they have me scheduled for the front desk again. Ah well. And on such a day as Plan Your Epitaph Day. It will also be the beginning of National Fig Week, All Saints Day, National Authors Day and Go Cook For Your Pets Day.

It's a Bacchanalia!

Friday, October 28, 2011

He Didn't Run Away

One of my favorite movies of all time, probably second only to "Resident Evil" is "The 13th Warrior." It's one of those movies I have to watch at least once a year.

If you haven't seen it, it's the story of Ahmed ibn Fahdlan, a soft and spoiled Arab poet who is banished from his home by the Sultan and made an emissary to the wild men of the north; the vikings.

He goes on a quest with twelve vikings to rid the land of a great evil and Ahmed learns to be a warrior in the process.

After his first battle ever they find him knocked cold on the floor and one of the vikings remarks "Well, he didn't run!"

The same thing can be said about The Kid. He saw a fight in his wing and he called it on the radio and actually stayed put and pepper sprayed both fighters. And he didn't run.

I have to give him kudos for that. He didn't run.

I heard a rumor that he didn't because Sgt Moon was standing in between him and the exit, but that's unconfirmed.

Hopefully this new found courage doesn't go to his head.

I had some other things to say but I think I'll just shut up now and give you the lineup for the weekend before I get myself into trouble.

Saturday: Hermit Day, Internet Day, National Cat Day, National Forgiveness Day and Visit A Cemetery Day. Don't think I'm ready for that, just yet.

Sunday: National Candy Corn Day (Yay! Candy corn! Yum!), Checklist Day and Haunted Refrigerator Day. Really?

Monday: Halloween, of course. As well as National Magic Day and Increase Your Psychic Powers Day, Beggars Night, National Knock-Knock Jokes Day and Samhain. Man! Don't you just love Wikipedia?


I've never really been all that much of a sports fan. It just never grabbed me like it does some people.

Oh sure, I watch a little football now and then. I love it when they play outdoors in bad weather especially. When you hit a guy and he goes "splat!" and slides twenty feet through the mud before he stops and everybody is tackling their team mates because they are so muddy you can't tell one from another. To me, that's football.

But I can't tell you who played for what team in 1909 and what his stats were and all of that nonsense. Or who won the World Series in 1893 when Portugal played against Athens.

Or was it 1894? I forget.

At any rate, I like to watch a good game now and then when I can get away with it. But once it's over, I delete it from my memory and get on with my life. I don't let it be the lynch pin around which everything else rotates.

I remember my grandparents had a long running argument about a boxing match that went on for years. I can't remember if it was Max Schmeling or Jersey Joe Walcott that would get them going. But if I was ever in trouble all I had to do was mention one of those names and they would start screaming at each other for hours and I had a chance to slip away.

Right now everybody is wrapped up in the World Series. And of course now that it's gone to game seven we will have to put up with one more night of this craziness.

We should just shut the place down from 7:05pm central time, because nobody is doing anything until the dang game is over.

Several times during the evening I was startled by screams of rage or shouts of joy coming from the housing units. I hadn't even been aware the game was on until I was part way around the perimeter doing my Del Norte walk. Suddenly I heard these whoops and cheers coming from 1 and 2 house. I had no idea what was going on. Then the guy at rec got on his PA system and said "Cards lead one to nothing."

Of course we no longer have a radio out in the shack so everybody (everybody but me) kept finding excuses to run here and there to check the score.

Sgt Uncle T kept messing with peoples heads. He'd walk into Central and say "The Rangers won it! 10-6!" And they would all jump up and say "NO! No way! Where did you hear that?" He'd just walk away laughing.

It was still going on as we were leaving work. We looked over and Miz T was parked there waiting and there was some guy standing at her window. I said "Hey! Some dude is over there flirting with your wife!"

Turns out she had the game on and he stopped on his way in to check the score. I can't remember who it was. Some guy on midnights who looks like a retired porn star. She claimed he was just listening to the score. But I don't know..... (grin)

A few minutes later there were five or six of us gathered around the open doors listening to the game. If it had gone on much longer I'm sure a spontaneous tail gate party would have erupted.

And on the way home I did something I have never done before. I turned on the radio and listened to the end of the game. It ended just as I pulled into my driveway.

So we get to do it all again tomorrow. **sigh** It will be difficult if not impossible to get anybody to do anything except on commercial breaks. And I am sure all of the housing unit officers will be doing extended "cell searches" during the game.

Then it will be all over until the football playoff games start up again.

Then hockey.

Then basketball.

The it will be baseball season again!

Yay! **sigh**

Thursday is going to be Plush Animal Lover's Day and National Chocolate Day. Hmm... sounds like a sticky combination. It will also be St Jude's Day, Frankenstein Friday (?), International Bandanna Day and National Bread Sticks Day.

Really. Bread Sticks?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Is How It Starts....

Okay, I'm going to slip back into my old Resident Evil theme here for at least one post.

If you haven't seen any of the movies, then you might not get it.

I'm just saying....

So the Watcher came up to the Comm Room and said he needed the keys for the Employee Health Nurses office. Transportation had brought in a box of flu shots for our nurse and they needed to be refrigerated so they needed the keys.

My first thought was "I don't have those keys up here."

Turns out I was right. But we spent a good hour digging through the key rings and the books and lists of the key rings and trying this and that and getting pretty pissed off. After digging through all the key rings I said "This key is one of those hidden secrets, passed down father to son. You have to be initiated into the Lodge before you can know which keys you need."

I was kind of right about that, too.

After a fruitless search I had an idea. There's a fridge with a lock on it down the hall. They use it for samples that need to be stored. If they take blood or urine for testing and can't send it out right away, they lock it in that fridge. Why not put it there?

I thought it was a grand idea. So we did it. Then later someone didn't like the idea anymore so they put it in the fridge in the comm room.

I just thought "Oh what the snap."

Then a little while later it hit me.

A box of live flu virus vaccine.

It was in the fridge where we store blood and urine samples.

Now it's in the fridge where we put our food.

Oh snap.

This is how it starts..... This is how it always starts....

We are going to be hip deep in zombies inside of a week. All because of some Secret Squirrel bullsnap with the keys.

I am never putting my food in there again.

Thursday is going to be cold and bliskery and I'll be out on the yard, of course. I'll have to bring lots of coffee and hot cocoa.

It's also going to be Sylvia Plath Day, Cranky Co-Workers Day (because they got turned into zombies, duh!) and Navy Day.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vaguely Helpful

That's what I get for coming in early and being visible. Somebody called out at the last minute from the sex offender treatment house and so I got sent over there.

Not my favorite bunch of inmates or my favorite place to work.

Since our camp has the biggest sex offender treatment center in the state, almost all of them come through at least once during their incarceration. And working in that house just kind of rubs your nose in it a little. I have to try hard to keep the curl out of my lip when I go there, which thankfully, isn't too often.

I have issues.

Mostly I stayed down by the bubble and kept Big Mac entertained. He's a good guy and has been around since the early 90's and knew my wife when they were both just kids so he's kind of like hanging out with family. Well, the nicer part of the family, anyway.

Miz H and Miz S had an OJT to tend to so they let him do a majority of the running around, which was nice. Every time I volunteered to do anything they already had him taking care of it.

Then new people got to be good for something!

I helped Big Mac design some forms on the computer and set him up a file to save them in just in case he needed them again. The man could kill a flea with a crossbow at nine million yards but didn't have a clue that "Undo" is much better than deleting everything and starting over again.

To thank me for my help he tried to sell me a crossbow and a couple of extra shotguns he had laying around the house unused.

I think I may be the only person on this camp who doesn't own a different firearm for every day of the week. Sometimes I'm surprised the streets outside don't look like a rerun of "Mad Max".

This would be a very bad area to be a zombie in.

I'm just saying....

So Wednesday is going to be Mule Day, Diwali and the Perigean Spring Tides Day.

Just a great day for odd holidays, it seems.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Something Different

I thought I'd post something different today. I found this site a few weeks ago and I know several people who might be keenly interested.

Like the logo says, it's called Holy Smoke. It's a service that was thought up by a couple of game wardens in Alabama. A couple of hard core outdoorsmen with an ironic twist to their sense of humor.

It seems for starting around $800.00, they will load cremated ashes of you or your loved one into rifle or shotgun shells (I'm assuming mixed in with the shot and the powder) so you can go to your final sendoff with a real bang.

Okay, that was bad, I know. But it was there. I had to use it.

I can think of several people right offhand who would love to have this as their last hurrah. As a matter of fact, I can think of maybe a dozen people who, after reading this will saying "Babe! I'm changing my will!"

Heck, if they could think of a way to make cremains into arrow shafts I think they could get almost the entire place to sign up. I'll have to suggest that...

But as far as my night on the front desk went, I got nothing. I mean, I spent most of the night as an extra in the control center with Vinnie and Miz Twang and Sgt Loompa. Didn't really do much. I actually volunteered to do things just so I would have something to do.

Aside from almost choking to death while eating a pear (that's pear, not pair) once or twice.... I got nothing.

Tuesday (on the bench, could be anywhere) is going to be Punk For A Day Day. Oh, that is so not cool. Not in orison, anyway. It's also going to be Sourest Day (as opposed to Sweetest Day, I assume?) and the XTERRA World Championships.

Don't forget to clean your muzzle afterwards!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Different Perspective

They had me down in Sallyport 3 tonight. You couldn't give me that job with twice the pension and a gold watch.


I spent four hours driving around in circles in the P-car and four hours alternately sitting in that smelly shack reading a book and walking around and around and around and around the sallyport.

The only difference with doing that half of the P-car circuit is there are more critters down at that end. I counted fifteen deer (mostly does, one or two young bucks) out in the field and some even up by the road.

There was one fat something eating acorns off the road for awhile. A woodchuck or a groundhog or a marmot or an ibex or something. Whatever it was it was fuzzy and rotund and if it had come inside the fence somebody probably would have promoted it.

At one point I stopped and checked out four or five deer up under the trees eating. I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye and saw, not ten feet away behind a tree, this small black cat watching the deer.

It was all crouched down behind the tree roots and had that tail just twitching back and forth like it was trying to figure out which one of those deer it was going to eat. I just had to laugh.

When I came back around again the cat was across the road behind the fence and still watching the deer but from a much safer distance. It had this look in it's eyes like "Man! Those things are bigger than I thought! Maybe I'll wait here for a smaller one to come by."

Sitting in the car with my duty belt on has got my back hurting. Took my pain and sleepytime drugs.

Here's the weekend lineup before my brains turn to moosh.

Saturday:National Nut Day, International Stuttering Awareness Day (leave it alone!), CAPS LOCK DAY and Make A Difference Day.

Sunday: National Mole Day, Ipod Day and Mother In Law Day.

Monday: National Bologna Day, United Nations Day and National Mole Day.

Quote of the week:
"They say I'm worth 3.4 million dollars. If I really had all that money
I wouldn't have visited Vietnam. I'd have sent for it."
-Bob Hope

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Escape From The Noise

I though last night was bad enough. Sore, who is on light duty, decided to camp at the front desk, rather than over in the Admin building by himself. The man has a pathological need to chatter to anyone and everyone about any subject.

He's also another one of those "Experts" I talked about a little while ago. Anything you have done or even thought about doing, he's already done. Better and longer and made more money at it than you would ever dream of. He's been a millionaire many times over.

And there must have been a conga line of women dancing in and out of his bedroom for many many years. If he'd notched his bedpost, it would be nothing but splinters right now.

He waits like a trapdoor spider and will leap out of his lair and pounce on the unsuspecting victim and proceed to talk them into submission.

I stayed in the Comm room until my bladder was going to burst then rushed past him and shouted "Gotta pee!" to escape his clutches. Then the rotten swine would wait outside the bathroom until I came back out and begin his chattering. He'd always preface his stories by saying "You'll enjoy this....."

I never do.

And then tonight, even though my ears were still stinging from being batter by Sore, I had to be out on the yard with both Sausage and Gray Ham, both of whom are pathological chatterers. Between the two of them I'm surprised the shack didn't explode or just crumble to dust from the incessant noise.

Sgt Uncle T and I spent a good part of our evening and quite a bit of energy ditching them like dorky little brothers so we wouldn't have to listen to it. Even though it was warm and cozy in the shack I would go outside in the wind and chill, ostensibly to smoke, just to get away. And those two rotten turds would follow me out into the cold because they were tired of listening to each other and chatter at me from both sides. Egad.

Finally we had enough and Uncle T and I got onto the cart and spent the evening taking care of certain "details" and doing "security checks" in order to keep away from the shack. We could have been warm and cozy in the shack, but we both would rather have been outside and freezing cold.

At least it was quiet out there.

And we could have a quiet conversation without somebody interrupting by singing old show tunes or talking about what movies John Wayne had bit parts in when he was three and his buddy in Germany who is apparently a nuclear physicist in his spare time who invented an automatic rocket belt that would bring him beautiful nekkid women regularly while he drove around in every single make of car ever invented which are all in mint condition and kept in his grandfathers barn in Estonia.

While we were spending our time saving our hearing and what shreds of our sanity remained, The Kid managed to get himself pulled out of his house again. Sgt Moon got tired of him not doing his job, like frequent security checks, and wrote him up yet again. So, in response, The Kid put down on paper that Sgt Moon was "harassing" him and that working down there was a "hostile work environment".

Captain CJ, who also seems to be tired of his crap, had him banned from the house. He's now on utility and can be put anywhere but there. He walked around for the rest of the night with a smug little smile on his face like he'd won something.

But I got news for him. Nobody else is going to want to put up with his laziness any more than Sgt Moon was. Very soon he's going to discover that the whole place is a hostile work environment if you are not willing to get up off of your butt and do some work now and then.

Other than that, it was a nice calm night.

Friday I'm schedule to be down in the Sallyport. I'm sure that's going to be a bundle of laughs.

And Friday is going to be Babbling Day. Oh Lawsy. Not again! It's also going to be Mammography Day and Reptile Awareness Day.

All I can say is.... have fun with that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Passing The Torch (Literally!)

I've known Sgt Uncle T for a good long time now. He worked in the control center when my wife worked up there and he was her sergeant. And she always made him fancier food than she made me, most of the time. (grin)

I'm probably going to get whacked for that one. Ah, well.

About three weeks ago he quit smoking. Just woke up one morning and said "Frack it! I'm done!" And hasn't smoked since.

I didn't really let on how proud of him I was for that. Proud and impressed. It takes a large sack of coconuts to pull that off cold turkey. Me, I couldn't do it. Not like that, anyway.

The whole time I knew him as a smoker he always carried this old battered Zippo lighter in a leather case hanging on his duty belt. I always admired the case and that Zippo looked like it was an antique. Old brass and battered and dented with an Indian on the face of it. The hinge is loose and held together with a chunk of paperclip and the lid wobbles like crazy when you open it.

That's it there. It looks like something found at Little Big Horn after Custer bit the big wazoo there. So well used and obviously it was his favorite. Imagine the stories it could tell...

Anyway, after he quit smoking, I asked him if I could have his lighter and case. Or just the lighter. Or just the case. I was just being silly, figuring he would never part with it. When I asked he called me a few choice names, like I was asking for his first born or something.

Actually, he probably would have given me his first born easier than his favorite Zippo.

So today he walks up to me and says "I gave it alot of thought." I hadn't a clue what he was talking about. That conversation was a couple of weeks ago.

Then he said "Here you go." and laid the lighter in the case up on the counter. At first I thought he was just fracking with me. Uncle T is known for that sort of thing.

But he was serious. "I don't need it anymore. It's yours." Then he showed me how it clips onto my duty belt.

I was touched. I even got a little misty-eyed there for a moment, but I didn't let it show. That would have embarrassed the snap out of both of us. But I felt like I had passed a test and was being initiated into the Secret Mysteries. Like Thomas Gates learning the first clue to the Templar Treasure.

That lighter is so old and beat up and battered and neat that I'm almost afraid to carry it to work. It's almost like a sacred relic of Raccoon City history. I feel like I should enshrine it in a velvet lined case and let it live out it's days in comfort. Maybe I'll trade off between that and my plain simple brushed chrome lighter. It's still young and can take the abuse better.

Okay, ladies. It's a Guy Thing. But it meant alot to me.

I just wanted to say "Thanks, Uncle T!" You really made my day.

Now I'm going to stomp on a glass and shout "Mazel Tov!"

Thursday is going to be National Brandied Fruit Day. Umm... Yick. That is definitely not my cup of cheese. It's also going to be Miss American Rose Day and Get To Know Your Customers Day.

Yeah. Most of them know me already.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

N Is For Nothing

N is for nothing, which is what I got.

Just me and Sgt Puddle and Vinnie The Bagman (his new mafia name) eating pizza and telling bad jokes and acting the fool which is pretty much normal for us.

About the only thing out of the ordinary was one odd phone call:

"Raccoon City Correctional Center!"

"Yeah. Do you have a car for sale?"

"No Ma'am. This is a prison."

"It is?"

"Yes, Ma'am. Raccoon City Correctional Center."

"Oh! I'm sorry. Umm... Do you have a car for sale?"

"No, Ma'am, I don't."

"Okay, bye!"

And we wonder why the prison population keeps increasing.

Wednesday is going to be Evaluate Your Life Day. Hmmm... Maybe I shouldn't. It's also going to be Hagfish Day (really?) and Medical Assistants Recognition Day.

Break out the decorations!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Then The Phone Rings

There are, I believe, seven phones in the control center. And at any given time any or all of them can be ringing.

It really sucks when they all ring at the same time. Especially if there are only two of us up there. Things get nuts when that happens.

If you are working "the desk", meaning doing count and running the radio and all, you have two phones to keep track of. One of them is the switchboard phone where all of the outside calls come in. 33% of the calls on that phone are other staff calling in sick. 33% of the calls are staff on the inside trying to make an outside call. The last 33% are the families of inmates making complaints or asking questions or trying to get us to give their little felon a message.

The other phone is the "Desk Phone". That is the line where the houses call in their numbers for count. And that is primarily all that it is used for.

If there isn't an actual count going on, you don't want that phone ringing. Usually that spells trouble or extra paperwork.

I've talked alot about the urge to misbehave on the radio. It's always there, like a barely controlled addiction, just waiting for me to slip and do something stupid. Last Friday I succumbed to a weak moment. Things were kinda busy and Sgt Banty was sitting at the desk doing something with the paperwork. I was right there and hear someone call to close the yards.

Without thinking I leaned over, pushed the button and in my very best Boston accent said "The yahhds ah closed! The yahhds ah closed!"

Just as soon as my finger came off the button the desk phone rang. It was Captain CJ.

"Do we have to use a New York accent on the radio?"

"Actually it was more Boston, Ma'am."


"I've been a bit nasally, is all."


"I won't do it again."

"Thank you!"

Ah, well. I could have been worse. I've heard her give some pretty awesome tongue lashings and hope I am never the recipient of one. I think I got off easy.

Tonight I lost all of my composure. Right in the middle of mainline somebody (that evil swine Vinnie) said something that caught me completely sideways and suddenly in the middle of a sentence I completely forgot how to speak English. My face cramped up hard to keep from bursting out with the giggles and the more I tried to speak the more gibberish came out.

I stopped and took a breath and tried again. Nope. Just gibberish and nonsense. I've heard clearer statements from people OD'ing on Liquid Wrench.

Then the phone rang.

"Yah yah yah! What you smoking up there?" Click!

Then the phone rang again.

"What the frack was all of that? Did any of that actually mean anything?" Click!

Then the phone rang again....

You get the idea.

I would have happily flushed that phone and the radio down the toilet and gone home. Instead I spent the rest of the night making fun of myself and saying as little as possible on the radio.

And while I was doing the radio check those other two miscreants, Vinnie and Puddle, were making remarks and odd noises behind my back to see if they could crack my composure again.

I made it through, but it was a close call.

Tomorrow Vinnie can have the desk all to himself. I'll just run the doors and try to behave myself the best I can. I have been thoroughly chastised enough.

Tuesday is going to be No Beard Day. That's an easy one for me. Not allowed and I can't grow a decent one to save my soul. It will also be National Chocolate Cupcake Day and World Menopause Day.

Except for the chocolate part, you may have to celebrate that one without me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just Had To Share This

I just had to share this with you guys. I was the lucky recipient of another one of those cool boxes of stuff from my sister. She lives in Portland, Oregon. And from the things she can buy there, that place must be as close to heaven as you can get.

First off is a box of handmade chocolates from a Chocolatier. We don't have any chocolatiers here in Raccoon City. All we have is Walmart. And don't you know that just sucks. The big thing in the upper right hand corner was a big marshmallow dipped in chocolate. The one in the front center was a Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Cookie also dipped in chocolate. Those were awesome. Saving the rest for later.

Scored a couple more dragons for my walls. Some large, some small. The medium sized one there is a Christmas tree ornament and made out of crepe paper. I'm going to have to build some more shelves!

This paper thing says it will make one of the pictured spheres and that it will take me about four hours to do. I suspect she's trying to kill me. Or drive me crazy. Or maybe both.

Got a handful of some neat rocks that are going to find their way into my fountain right by my reading chair. It's kind of peaceful to listen to while I read, but it does make me need to pee.

This is actually a pen, believe it or not. A little cheerleader and when you push on the thing on her back, she shakes her pom-poms. Hmm... I should have tried that when I was in school.....

Scored some bacony stuff and some Halloween stuff. Sweet! One can never have too much bacony stuff in ones life!

A couple of fairies (watch it!) some guy swinging something strange on a stick (he must be from California) and some of the smallest little critters I have ever seen. I tossed down a quarter there for size comparison.

And finally, the tribal design skull. This thing is so cool. If I weren't already doing my office in steampunk I would do it all in skulls. Hmm... Maybe I can find a cool way to combine the two...

Anyway, I just wanted to brag a bit and show you what a cool sister I have and what a lucky dawg I am. Since I rarely get visitors this is about the only place I have to show off my toys.

And I do love my toys.....

Friday, October 14, 2011

Static On The Line

Some phone company guys have been at the prison installing a new system for the inmate phones the last couple of days.

And boy, those guys have been whining like crazy because their phones aren't working correctly. I got several calls tonight about them. "Yes, the guys are working on the phones. They'll be back up soon." And we even got a few calls from outside from family members.

"My son hasn't called me in a couple of days. Can you check and see if he's all right and give him a message from me?"

"No Ma'am, we can't do that. They are working on the phones. They should be back up soon."

"Can't you go check on him? I can wait."

"No Ma'am, I can't do that. You can call between 8am and 3pm and talk to his caseworker if you like."

"Why can't you just go check on him? You're very rude, young man. Maybe I should talk to your supervisor!"

"Fine. My supervisor is here between 8am and 3pm. Call and talk to him then. Good bye."


The new phone company left a bunch of flyers to hand out to the family members when they come for visits. Very colorful brochures with happy smiling people talking on the phone.

I've heard alot of these knuckleheads and how they talk on the phone, whining for money and complaining because they don't get enough letters. I doubt the people back home are really smiling so much.

The best bit of news came when the phone guys were leaving for the night. He told me the new system limits them to fifteen minutes per call. It cuts them off automatically.

They are going to be pissed. I've seen them spend an hour or more glued to the phone at one time. Now each time they reconnect it will cost more money. Someone else's money, of course.

Ah, well.

Hee hee hee!

So here's the weekend lineup:
Saturday- White Cane Safety Day, National Grouch Day, Bridge Day and Sweetest Day.
Sunday- Dictionary Day, Feral Cat Day, National Toy Camera Day and World Food Day.
Monday- Gaudy Day, Bosses Day, Mulligan Day and International Day of Rev Appreciation.

Roll out the banners!

The Experts

Here's one of those times when I'm going to step away from talking about working in a prison (sort of, anyway) and go off on a tear about something else.

Just to rant a little and get something off of my chest. Don't mind me.

I'm talking about "Experts". I'm sure you all know one. At least one. Maybe more.

They are the people who, no matter what the subject matter is, they have been there done that and have the t-shirt hanging in their closet. They are obviously immortal beings because if you had kept track of their lengthy exploits they would have had to have been alive for centuries at least. And they look so well preserved, don't they?

Not only have they done everything, they also have at least one of every single thing in the world. You could say "It took me years, but I finally got the Louvre to sell me the Mona Lisa." The expert would say "Yours must be a copy. I have the original already." And if you ask for proof they would claim it was in a safe deposit box or stored in their grandfathers basement in Afghanistan or something.

But they already have one. Really.

No matter what you have ever done or thought or considered or saw on a teevee show, the expert has already done it. And perfectly, of course. Landed square on their feet with their toes pointed and got a perfect "10" from the judges.

What sad, empty little lives they must actually lead.

To have to pathologically make up such wild B.S. tales about what their life is like makes me wonder if they have ever actually done anything at all. And it makes you question everything about their life from the very first.

Does he really live in an apartment or in his mothers basement? He's told me for years about his wife and kids. Do they really even exist at all? If he really does own all of that stuff, why doesn't he sell at least some of it and move out of this rat-hole of a town? If he can really do all of those wild things he says, why is he working here for just a little more than minimum wage?

And one of the most amazing and perplexing aspects of the whole deal is that the people who talk so much obvious nonsense never seem to shut up and rest on their laurels. They have to constantly dominate any conversation with tales of their amazing feats when everybody in the room stands there and rolls their eyes, knowing full well he is completely full of crap.

I know more than a few of them. And in a way I feel sorry for them. Like I said, they must lead sad empty little lives in reality. I would feel sorry for them if I didn't constantly want to slap them hard about the chops and scream "Will you shut the frack up for two freaking seconds and quit telling me all this bullsnap nonsense? Nobody here believes a word you say anyway so just shut the frack up!!!"

**sigh** I'm sure that wouldn't work, anyway. He'd launch into some tale about how he got mad and told a five star general the very same thing and then threw him out of his office.

You know, he got the Congressional Medal of Honor for that.


Friday I am up in the Control Center again. And a few times next week. We'll see how that goes.

And Friday is going to be Be Bald and Free Day and National Dessert Day as well as Alternative Fuel Day and National Egg Day.

Hmm.. bald and eggs on the same day. Mere coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apt Monicker?

Some days I do a lot more listening than I do talking. Granted, once you get me talking it is sometimes difficult to get me to shut up again. I got things to say out loud now and then.

But I tend to do alot of listening. I guess I got one of those faces.

I don't tend to listen to the inmates so much. Although on occasion if one of them needs to vent and they aren't screaming or making threats I have been known to stand there and allow them to let off a little steam. That depends on my mood and their vocabulary.

But when it comes to those of us who are of the non-incarcerated variety, it seems like I am one of the people that get sought out when someone needs to rant about something. Or just bounce ideas around. Or talk about something cool.

Apparently I'm a fair to middlin' good listener.

I got talked to alot tonight. More than usual. Everybody I met had something they wanted to say.

Even on the way home. Normally I'll just crank up my music and drive home on autopilot. Lately I have been jamming to Tom Petty. Peggy Sue came by the other night and had on a Tom Petty concert shirt and that music stuck in my mind. Especially after that big squeezy hug.

Anyway, I gave the Watcher a ride home tonight and he had something on his mind. Something happened down in the Hive that had the potential to go very wrong and the situation got aggravated and almost made worse by people who try to make things more difficult than they should be. It didn't go bad but it was apparently quite aggravating and he needed to let some things go.

I was cool with that. I though to myself "Should I be Sigmund Freud or Father Confessor?" Since Sigmund had some unsavory and expensive habits I decided to go the other route.

I lowered my chin to my chest, eyes half closed. My hands folded across my chest. A perfect picture of someone listening and sympathizing. Nodding understandingly now and then and making little "yes, do go on" noises.

Then I suddenly realized "Oh snap! I'm driving!"

Real good thing I remembered that. Could have gone really bad.

But he got it all off of his chest and seemed happier by the time I let him off at home. A little more relieved, anyway. Not quite so aggravated and tightly wrapped.

I was glad to help. Especially if it's just to listen and agree.

And as soon as I drove off again I cranked Tom Petty back up and made myself happier all the way home.

Oh Yeah.

All right. Take it easy baby. Make it last all night.

She was.... An American girl....

So Thursday is going to be the National Peanut Festival as well as English Language Day, Natural Disaster Reduction Day and Navy Birthday.

Happy Birthday, Navy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Curse Of The Utility Officer

I get cut alot of slack around here. I know I do. Most of the Lieutenants like me because I show up for work almost all of the time and I'm always here early and I can and will do almost anything.

Almost anything.

I'm "dependable". Somebody told me that today. I was startled to hear somebody say that. But it is true, up to a point. I can be counted on to show up and do whatever they need me to and not screw it up too bad most of the time.

So I get some cake assignments now and then. Like when I got put up at the front desk last night. It's boring as heck and very little if any actual work to do and I spent most of the night up in the fishbowl with Sgt Puddle and Vinnie and Miz Twang.

Today I got the mail run, which is an easy way to start the day and then I went to A-yard. By the time I got there all the work was already done and all I had to do was walk around until the yard closed.

And once count cleared I stood around on the yard until chow was over and once the yards opened I stood around until they closed again about thirty minutes later.

But when the evening count came around I got hosed because I was the utility guy. The Fireman went to 4 house to count because he's assigned and gets first choice and I got stuck with the count and relief in 2 house with The Guy Who Is So Annoying I Can't Even Come Up With A Nickname For Him.

One and 1/2 hours locked in a bubble with him took years off of my life, I'm sure.

I though about gnawing off a limb to see if I could get away but decided against it. Once you start doing that you get a certain reputation, if you know what I mean.

I survived. My brain feels like it's been sandpapered, but I'm alive.

Sure took a hosing on that deal, though. And Sgt Banty is off my Christmas Card List.

Wednesday will be International Moment Of Frustration Scream Day. Oh, I could have so used that today. It will also be National Emergency Nurses Day, Free Thought Day and Bring Your Teddy Bear To Work Day.

I'm afraid my teddy bear would be considered NSFW, I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back To The Old Grind

Well, that lazy layabout Vinnie finally came back to work this weekend after being gone with a broken finger for over a month.

What with Stubby bidding back in and the delectable Miz Twang being back off light duty that means that my time in the fishbowl has probably come to an end for now.

I mean.... I'm glad Vinnie came back and Miz Twang is back at work and all... But I still have a lot to learn up there. Lots of things I don't know yet about working the control center.

But I learned enough to hopefully step up just in case we have a bad night and they need a pinch hitter, which is what I went up there for in the first place. Wasn't really looking to make a career of the place. But I am going to miss being up there in the thick of things.

On the other hand, the place was frightening and daunting and aggravating and sometimes very stressful. Things tend to happen quickly and there is a lot of responsibility up there when things go bad. You have to know how to make a decision and who to call when you don't have all the facts and all of the bazillion people who have to be kept in the loop at all times.

I don't think I'll miss that part of the job. Not so much. But I'll miss the people. Good folks, all of them. And if I had to be locked in a twelve foot square glass fish tank for eight hours, I don't think I could find a better crew to be locked in with.

Well, a couple of them could be more attractive, but that's neither here nor there. Just aesthetics. Ya know?

So I guess I'm just going back to being a utility infielder for now. The go anywhere and do anything and not complain too much about it guy. Well, except for those long distance outcounts, anyway. I'm not too good with those. I get lost easily. But other than that, I'm good.

I will kinda miss talking on the radio, though. Once I got used to it, that part was kind of fun.

Tuesday is going to be It's My Party Day, National Coming Out Day (oh, boy) and National Face Your Fears Day.

What if you're scared of coming out parties? That would be a tough one.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Go Ask The Old Man

Holy cats. There have been a few things lately that have made me feel really old. And tonight was definitely one of them.

They had me scheduled to work 2-10 at 2 house with Miz Chatterbox and Peachfuzz. I was planning on spending alot of time in the wings and outside. There's only so much information I want to absorb in one night And Miz C tends to fill me up quickly. But she called in so they sent us Beach Boy.

I think Peachfuzz and Beach Boy together are as old as I was when I first started with the department. Young as heck.

At one point I leaned over by Peachfuzz and sniffed and said "Yup! He's still got that new smell to him!" I'm surprised they didn't both smell like baby powder. Sheesh.

None of us really knew the house. Sure, we'd all worked there a few times. But all three of us were utility officers and didn't know the routines of how the house runs.

So every time something came up, they would both look at me. I'd stop and raise an eyebrow and look back at them, waiting for one of them to make a suggestion. Then I'd say "Okay, do it this way." Neither one of them wanted to make a decision.

That's fine. I can remember being new and running into things outside of my purview. And I can remember years ago hearing someone say "Go ask the old man. He'll know what to do!"

Now tonight I was the "Old Man" in a house I didn't know very well. It felt good that I made the seemingly correct decisions. After all, they weren't very hard to begin with. Nothing went bad and nobody got hurt, so it went well.

I suppose I should have tried to turn it into more of a learning experience for them. I could have asked "Well, what would you do?" and see if they came up with the same decision I had. I need to start trying to think more in the mode of a supervisor instead of being the guy who says "I know how to do this, I'll go do it."

If I put my mind to it, I can probably teach somebody something now and then.

It feels kind of funny. Part of the time I am up in the control center where I am new as can be. There's still a bazillion things I need to learn up there. I'm a control center newbie.

But in other places I'm the old man. Like I was one of the original settlers or something. Jeez.

Maybe next time I'll just try whacking them with my cane and see if that works.

Young whipper-snappers, anyway.

So here's the weekend lineup:
Saturday is going to be American Tag Day, Alvin C. York Day, National Depression Screening Day, Universal Music Day and National Pierogy Day.
Sunday will be Moldy Cheese Day, Lief Erikson Day, National Chess Day and Clergy Appreciation Day. Support your local Rev!
Monday is going to be National Angel Food Cake Day, International Newspaper Carrier Day, Native American Day, Naval Academy Day and World Mental Health Day.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Friday I am 2-10 at 2 house. Without a single regular person in the place. Hoo boy.

Luckily, it's 2 house. Nothing ever happens there.

And Friday is going to be National Frappe Day (whatever a frappe is) as well as Cephalopod Awareness Day, National Denim Day and World Smile Day.

That felt really strange.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Making Cutbacks

Due to the economic downturn we are regrettably going to be laying off a significant portion of the staff here at Attitude and Pepper Spray and making some hopefully temporary cutbacks in the postings.

Actually my life has gotten kind of boring and very little is happening. And I am tired of trying to do the Seinfeld "It's a blog about nothing!" deal. It's getting to be a chore.

So instead of posting every day and saying that nothing happened, I think I will just wait until something significant does happen or I get a good idea for something to write about, then write about it. I need to go back to taking notes again.

For those of you who were showing up every day, thank you. And don't worry. I'll be around.

If nothing more than to post the next days calendar.

Thursday (bacon and egg salad on the yard day!) is going to be German-American Day and Come and Take It Day and Mat Hatter Day.

More tea, anyone?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Forgot What I Was Going To Name This Post

Even though I am glad I am not down in the Hive anymore, I still miss the simplicity of being there every day. I knew when I had to come in and I had a reasonable idea of what I was going to do and when I would leave.

Of course I never went in thinking "Okay, I'm going to find some idiot and spray him and slam him and be here until 2:00 am doing paperwork."

Sometimes it happened that way, but I never planned for it. Hey, it's prison. Snit happens.

But now that I'm somewhat of a free agent there's people asking me to come work with them all the time. And I know that soon I am going to need to find a place to settle down in so I can get myself back in a routine. I really like knowing where I am going to be and what I am going to do every day.

It's kind of boring but it's comfortable. And I am all about personal comfort.

Heck, even when the Hive was at it's worst and craziest I was comfortable down there. It was my house and I knew what to do and when to do it and how to get it done.

I don't like change, so much. Even though things are changing constantly here I find my own personal comfort in my routines, even if they are small ones like when to show up and where to go. I could get comfortable in places I really don't like to work that much, like the regular housing units or the comm room or dining. They are not my favorite places to work but I could get comfortable there if I had to.

I'm trying not to rush into anything without thinking long and hard about it first. But I do need to find me a new home soon and quit all this wandering about.

Guess I'll just keep my eyes and my mind and my options open for the time being and see what happens.

Wednesday (my day in the hopefully calm Comm room) is going to be the National Storytelling Festival, World Teachers Day and Balloons Around The World Day.

It all sounds like alot of hot air to me!

Bad Image

I remember way back when I first started thinking about writing a blog. Other than having a place to rant and blow off steam (I really needed that then, more than I do now) was a chance to try and correct the image that people have of corrections officers in general.

Like most people, before I started working here I had absolutely no idea what it was like inside of a prison. All I knew what what I saw on movies and mainstream teevee. Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile and Big House and Lockup. And all I knew about corrections officers was that they all seemed to be either sadists or ex pro wrestlers or big bellied good ol' boys like the sheriff from "Smokey and the Bandit."

Then I actually got inside and found out that most of my preconceived notions were wrong. Sure, we have our share of idiots. A few hotheads and troublemakers and nogoodniks who do little more than cause trouble for everybody else and make us all look bad. Those are the ones who end up on the news and make people say "Those people are no better than the inmates!"

Because that is what alot of the public thinks about us. They watch the same teevee shows I did.

Often when I run into someone who doesn't know me and I tell them I work at the prison they look at me sideways like they are trying to see if I'm some sort of serial killer in disguise. Obviously I'm not big enough to be an ex wrestler. And my belly isn't quite big enough to run for sheriff.

And they are quite surprised to find that sometimes I can be quite pleasant when I'm not provoked. I can actually read and write. I'm not an alcoholic and I don't beat my wife (she'd kick my butt if I tried, anyway) and I'm not "on the take" for some drug cartel.

Like 99.9% of the rest of us, all over the country and probably all over the world. We are just here trying to do a job and support ourselves and our families the best we can and go home in one piece at the end of the night.

Fame? Nuh-uh. None to be had here. Not unless I do something phenomenally stupid. That's more like infamy, anyway. And people expect that from us.

Fortune? No way, Jose! Even if I were corrupt it wouldn't be worth the consequences. With our obviously ridiculously high pay and outrageous benefits package I should be happy to do my job at half the wages! (You'll note I have a very snarky look on my face right now.)

Survival? Yeah, that's about it. Like I said this evening talking to Sgt Banty, this is the only true growth industry left in this country. Until we start shipping our inmates to Mexico or Pakistan or China, there will always be jobs to be had with the DOC.

Man, I sure hope nobody takes that idea seriously. I think. Maybe.

But, unless this blog goes super mega viral and gets translated into a hundred languages, I suspect we will always be stuck with this horrible public image.

Maybe, if we're lucky, our image will keep a small handful of real morons from applying for the job. And that's always a plus, in my book.

Tuesday is going to be National Golf Day, World Animal Day, Improve Your Office Day, Cinnamon Roll Day and Ten-Four Day.


Saturday, October 1, 2011


What can I say about my friend Porgie?

Well, for one thing if you met him outside of work it would never even cross your mind that he might work in a prison. A toy factory, yes. A prison, no.

Of course it shows how bad my predictions are. When I first met Porgie I thought "That man won't last five minutes inside there! They will eat him alive!" But it's been what.... years now. And Porgie is still around. Just the same as he was that very first day.

I would say he's a "simple man" but that doesn't really describe him very well. There's sort of a connotation with that makes him sound like he's stupid. And Porgie is far from stupid.

But he does play that role very well. And he uses the fact that other people think he is stupid to get them to do his work for him. Luckily for us, we know better and make him do his own work.

Porgie is nice and mellow and a bit meek and mild. I don't think he would really be of any use at all in a major dustup but if there's normal ordinary things to do like wing walks and packing property of just generally "keeping an eye on things" then Porgie is your man. he's the guy you would leave in the bubble if something bad happened. He wouldn't get the doors open quickly, but he would get them open.

I was running a house bubble tonight around my least favorite time of the day. When all the inmates were coming back from chow. At first it's a trickle, then a stream of them. All coming in through the same door and going to four different wings and calling for their doors to be opened. I know I am supposed to be controlling the flow in the house when I am up there but it still gets to me. I get aggravated and I've had a lot on my mind lately anyway and I started getting pissed off.

Good old Porgie stepped in and said he would get them back in and that I should just sit down and relax for a few minutes. He sat down and started popping doors at the slow to medium pace he does everything at, letting them in gradually. Every now and then he would just stop and hit the intercom button and say "I'll get to ya as soon as I can, fellas. I'm doing the work of six men up here!"

And they would all laugh and he would go back to popping doors again, slowly but surely. I just shook my head.

Later on in the evening Porgie and I were out front having a smoke when somebody called a fight on the yard. Being the bubble officer, I wasn't supposed to go. I looked at Porgie and said "You going?" I should have known better. He looked at me and said "Well Rev, do you think I should?" It would have killed me if he had gone. He would have stuck his hands in his pockets and ambled that direction like he was looking for a flower shop.

Instead I said "I got this!" and took off running. The last thing I heard as I hit the end of the walk was "Rev, do you really think you should go? You're the bubble officer!" I just shook my head and ran anyway. Luckily I got there late and didn't have to get involved. I probably would have gotten a good frowning at for being out of the bubble.

And Porgie went back in the house and did things at his own pace and everything in the house went just fine.

Maybe I should try to be more like him.

Here's the weekend lineup:
Saturday- World Vegetarian Day and Magic Circles Day as well as World Card Making Day.
Sunday- Name Your Car Day, Change A Light Day and Techies Day.
Monday- Virus Appreciation Day (oh yeah, like that's gonna happen), Child Health Day and World Habitat Day.

Good luck stringing those together!