Today I am just emotionally worn out form all the excitement of the last four days. I thought I'd be all right, but at times it just can wear you down. It's really wild when you can see and feel the psychological effects of being isolated in a single cell environment going on almost seven years now. I don't think a single soul back here is "perfectly fine." If they say that, they are liars or in denial.
I was going to go to recreation today, but I knew I'd be receiving a phone call on KDOL and it always bugs the hell out of me when guys who have their friends or loved ones call in don't ever listen, so as luck would have it the guards decide to start on the other end of the row of cells for recreation, which would put me out last and around seven or eight at night so I just stayed in. Oh well. It seems they never do that when I'm going out at six in the morning. Ha-
Something did happen at dinner that I thought was kind of oddly funny, I guess for my weird sense of humor anyway
Well, time to listen to the wonderful PBS documentary "The War."
My neighbor has to be one of the best basketball players on death row. We went out again today and he demolished me 20 games to 2. Definitely not pretty. I mean, we were neck and neck almost every game, but he never missed a shot, so if and when I missed I'd have to run my ass off and try to get two in to make up for it. It was a slaughter…
I've spent most of the day reading a book called God's Harvard about a college that trains its students to be warriors for Christ and to take the country back…
It's bringing back all of these wacky memories from going to school in Kentucky. I mean, there were some teachers with exactly same views, and the rules concerning music and the dress code were identical. What's really striking about some of the views expressed in this book are how they are so similar with the views ideologically of, say, extreme Is-
Which leads me to something else… Tonight I received an article talking about how the Supreme Court was going to hear arguments about the unconstitutionality of the lethal injection method of the death penalty. The article was taken from USA Today and I guess on their website you can leave comments for or against the matter. So there are two comments that struck out and were just ignorant. One comments said, "Death penalty is not for the poor…it is for murderers and those that cannot live in a civil society." Okay, first, civil societies don't execute their citizens. The U.S. is the ONLY "civil" society that still does. Canada? Nope. Europe? Nope. England? Nope. Secondly, to say that the death penalty is not for the poor loses the point altogether. A poor person is less likely to re-
Wonderful! Mail just came and I received copies of the photos taken during my wonderful visit last week. They came out great and make me smile. I have to pick out a few to get more copies made and send them to friends.
Geeze, this week is already shooting by. Today is a no recreation day and I'm trying to get motivated to do something. It's pretty hot and I'm in a corner cell that has two walls that face the sun, so I'm cooking. Fall needs to come on in.
I'm going to sound like a dork, but I'm looking forward to Kid Nation tonight on CBS. I've listened to every episode and it's surprisingly good. The kids haven't gone "lord of the flies" yet and I'm really surprised at how they are all working together so well. There are a few spoiled brats, but my favorite kid is this girl who stood up for the chickens last week. A complete 10 year old little activist! They had a choice to kill and eat the chickens in their town or not. The kids took a vote and decided to eat them, so the girl locked her-
Not much else going on around here. I'll probably finish the rest of the book I started reading yesterday and get caught up on some mail.
I think my cell is haunted! I really don't believe in ghosts, but ever since I've been in this cell strange things have been happening. I'm on a pod where there have been a few sui-
a little bit. It was a very strange series of events. I tossed and turned the rest of the night.
It's been a relatively uneventful day.
I went outside today and once again was beat down in basketball by my neighbor. I told him it was no fun playing anymore… I was kidding, of course. Earlier this morning I re-
If the World War II book gets too heavy, I can always pick up the last book in the Harry Potter series, which has finally landed in my hot little hands. I really hope it's not a dis-
It's a lame holiday weekend which translates to long and boring. I hope I'll stay occupied.
So I began the book The War and I cannot put it down. It's a thousand times better than even the documentary. The narrative is intense and it flows, but rather than just reading something and have vague images flash through your mind you actually see the battles as they play out. I've never read a historical book (other than that historical fiction) that puts an event so clear and focused in the mind. It's odd because as I'm reading it I feel like I'm actually there. Even when the book steps away from the front lines and back into 'everyday normal life' back in Mobile or Waterbury in the U.S.
I knew I would end up spending all of my weekend on this book, so I took my writing supplies out to the day room at six in the morning and during my recreation wrote a few letters.
It's been grey and raining all day today, but it gives atmosphere to the book. Right now the allied forces are gearing up to invade the beaches of Normandy…
Just a hundred pages to go. I really didn't want to stop, but I had to catch up on my chores. Clean my cell, do laundry, and listen to KDOL. I had some dreams last night about the war… It was crazy. This book has consumed my whole weekend. It officially goes into my top ten.
It's still grey outside, but warm and humid. I wish we could have some normal autumn weather…
It's Columbus Day today. I didn't think they would run visits or mail but I just saw some guys go out to visit and the mail room ladies were hear earlier.
I finished The War last night and was really impressed. I took it out to recreation today and gave it to one of my friends, "Big Foot." I know that he'll enjoy it and I asked him to share it with those he knows would also read it. I wish I could donate it to the library, as that is a very important book, but oddly enough they won't accept most donations from inmates. Well, I think they will, but what happens is the prisoners who work in the library keep books they like for themselves. Kind of a first dibs on the good books system.
A funny thing happened a little bit earlier. Big Foot was in our dayroom and there were about four or five of us having a sort of roundtable debate on the death penalty and such, and then it drifted into politics and about George Bush. Now, for the stranger who walks into a prison they probably have a preconceived notion that we are all uneducated dumb ass criminals. So, as we're all talking a small group of about three women and four men all dressed up in business attire come strolling onto our pod. They stop in front of our dayroom while a bunch of prisoners are talking about politics. I swear you could see a wave of puzzlement wash over their faces and then one of the men leaned to another man and began to whisper. They all looked stunned. I love it when things like that hap-
Whoohoo! They are actually passing out mail right now. Guess I'll close here.
Yes, my cell is haunted… It happened again early in the morning. I usually don't get up for breakfast, but for whatever reason I crawled out of bed and decided to get the bis-
Today is an outside day and I plan on going outside and playing some ball. I'm deter-
Not much to report around here. I'm trying to stay busy.
It's Wednesday afternoon and it's been relatively uneventful. I was moved last night and I like the cell that I am in, but I didn't like it at first. For some reason they're been mov-
I wish I had something to write about, but it's been so slow recently and I haven't been in much of a writing mood
Today feels exactly the same as yesterday. Exciting, huh?
Today was kind of odd. I woke up at six in the morning for recreation, but because guys have been getting busted with cell phones, etc. they've been doing these surprise shake-
When I was outside they put out a guy with me who I had gotten into it about eight months ago. See, this dude had been masturbating in the dayroom and I found that very disrespectful. He and his lover were doing it to each other, one from the cell and one standing across from the door. When I went to look out of my door I was like, "Oh, shit!" and went and sat back down on my bed. When they were done I got up and told the guy he was disrespectful and disgusting. That spread like wild fire and suddenly I had been the one who "outed" that he was gay. Now, I could care less if he's gay. I was only upset that he did his business out in the open and where others recreate.
So I'm outside and here he comes. He looks at me with this, "You
We talked back and forth for a bit and he calmed down and said he didn't care if people knew he was gay or not. I said that was good. Be yourself. Stop trying to be someone you're not. You'll find life a lot easier. After that we got along fine.
That was today in a nutshell. Odd.
It's Saturday evening and I'm about to get back into Harry Potter. Yes, I know, I'm a dork, but the book and series are good and I don't care. Ha! Earlier I made some tuna tacos for my neighbor's birthday. We enjoyed them. I liked doing something for him, too. He doesn't have a lot of support so to bring him a decent birthday made me feel good. I told him that whenever we go to the store that I'd get him an ice cream, too. He's only 19 and I feel bad because that's just too damn young to be on death row. I don't see how a jury can say that a person that young is beyond rehabilitation. Nuts.
I can't wait for Austin City Limits to come on in a bit. Tonight is the band Explosions in the Sky. Woohoo! I know it's going to be good.
Not much else has been going on today. It's been pretty laid back.
I just finished listening to the radio show called "This American Life." Today the program was about rehabilitation in prison and a particular program in St. Louis that allows pris-
It's really lovely outside. I'm once again in a cell where I can look out and see horses. I bet they are loving this cool weather. Though it's supposed to warm back up and storms are moving in. Mother Nature is going through menopause. Crazy.
I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I got a full night's sleep and when I got up I just got to my daily duties. Now I'm fully caught up and waiting for KDOL's program to start, though the reception is messed up right now. It's not even coming in.
Today I should finish Harry Potter. Man, this book is violent
Well, I'm just rambling about and wanted to type up something for today.
Well, that just sucks… It had been relatively nice outside when a storm came from no-
That was pretty much our excitement for the day
The sun is finally out, but radio reception is out completely as of now. General population is without TV so I don't imagine the antenna being messed up for much longer. They have to keep those guys pacified or they'll begin to have trouble.
I went outside early this morning and then was called out for an attorney visit. I was told that I'll be returning to Dallas County, where my trial was held, for a hearing in which one of my co-
from now to January so I'll keep you posted. Though, things are looking good for now. I'm optimistic about everything.
Not much else is happening. I just finished reading the last Harry Potter book and my neighbor has me a World War II book called D-
They fixed the main antenna today so everything is back to normal with our radio recep-
I've spent most of the day reading another WW2 book called D-
The sun is out and bright after a semi-
I really don't have anything else to say or write about so I will close here.
The radio antenna has been fixed. Some guys actually cheered and one guy began to scream, "My radio works!" The things we get excited over back here. I finished reading D-
My next book is on music and the brain by Oliver Sachs. He writes mainly about neuro-
The sun is out and it's a lovely day. I was supposed to go outside, but if I had it would've been at night and I didn't really feel like going out to recreation real late, so I asked the guards if I could go to a dayroom. They put me in A-
The first time I snuck around and watched a horror movie, I think I was about 11 or 12. I wanted to hang out with my best friends Blake and Chad. At first we were at Chad's house and then Blake said a really good movie was coming on Cinemax. Chad didn't have Cinemax so we went across the street to Blake's house. He put it on and a preview for "The Gate" came on with the announcement, "Coming up next." I looked at them and said, "Uh
I was crazy and started to make fun of me. "What are you, scared, Randy?" (I was, to be honest!) I said, "No! But my parents will ground me if they find out!" I didn't want to go home so I told them I would play outside until the movie ended. They teased me some more and I went out to the front yard. After about ten minutes I began to feel really stu-
When the HBO series "Tales from the Crypt" came on it was at the same time my family would go swimming in the back yard and if it wasn't a re-
It's a really pretty and cool Saturday morning. They are passing out lunch right now and I'm sitting here waiting to go to recreation. I slept pretty well last night and got up with plenty of energy and happiness.
When I return from recreation I will write more.
While I wait for recreation I've decided to write about this thing I just heard on the radio. It was a re-
So, this lady calls in who is all but sure her husband is cheating on her. She says, "He's been hiding his cell phone and every time he's on the computer he turns it off if I walk near him or ask what he's doing
I just got back from recreation. I picked up a horror book that looks to be very good. I can't wait to start it up here in a bit. Right now I'm listening to some crazy movie on the radio. It has Cameron Diaz. It's pretty strange. Hope you have a good evening.
Today has been a busy day for me. I've been typing all day long and I'm just now on my last item-
called City Infernal. It's kind of a rip off of Neil Gaiman's NeverWhere, but it has some Clive Barker elements in the shock of its horror. I'm enjoying it, though. It's written well.
Last night I heard on the news (CBS 11 out of Houston) that they are tying to get people riled up that prisoners, especially death row prisoners, have blogs or journals online. They had the every-
That's what has my ire today.
I've been thinking about an odd phenomenon back here
If you look out of my window you'll see the buildings damp with rain. A light mist is com-
Today is the first real day of fall we've had. I have to say it's about 65 degrees right now and just a little past noon time. It's supposed to get even cooler. I love it. I had to start writing this early to take my mind off of Rush Limbaugh. He kind of pissed me off bashing liberals. I very rarely listen to AM radio, as reception is very weak during the daytime, but someone told me a simple way of "boosting" the AM signal without doing anything severe to the radio and without risking the guards taking it. I kind of questioned his reliability in this, but as soon as I did it the AM jumped to life. Amazing what you learn in this place. A place where they hold us down, yet knowledge and experimentation can thrive. Anyway, I digress
Something funny happened early this morning around 6:30 AM. I was sleeping soundly (if not having a very strange dream) when all of a sudden I heard a lot of commotion coming from out in the dayroom area. At first I thought it was just a guy being loud at recreation. It turns out he had been pulled out of his cell to be searched, but refused to let the sergeant strip search him. He kept saying, "Nah, man, you just want to see my ass!" So, they went and called the riot team. Now, I don't like it when they gas and beat up a guy, but the gas they sprayed at this guy didn't have the effect they wanted it to have. He only sneezed and said, "Hey, I can't see, Homies!" After a couple more bursts
of gas he stripped out. Now, usually at this point most people who would be sprayed would be coughing and gagging. Now this guy! He stepped out of the day room after they handcuffed him and was walking with a strut and said, "I knew it wouldn't be no fair fight. That's the only reason I came out." Everyone was laughing so hard. It was quite comic.
About this strange dream…I dreamt that a church group came to bring everyone cookies back here, as every now and then a church group will do. Though, it didn't stop there. All of a sudden I was given a full bag of candy bars, then a huge bag filled with chips and all sorts of other candies. It just kept coming, bag after bag. Then a guy pulled out a CD player from a box and gave me that. Soon my cell was filled with food and all sorts of other things like art supplies and paper and such. They were doing this for every cell. I just found it very strange, especially since it seemed so realistic.
I guess I'm going to spend the rest of the day listening to the radio and reading.
Man, today is just gorgeous. I went outside and it felt like an early spring. There was a nice breeze and it wasn't too cold. Just right. When I was out I ended up talking to a new guy who just arrived on death row last night. Everyone on this section gave him food, snacks, writing supplies and hygiene items. He was very surprised and told me, "Death row is not what I expected." I told him how I was just as shocked when I first arrived. I said that I had expected silence of the lambs type stuff.
We went on to talk about the death penalty in general and I told him that he could waste away his time back here and get caught up in the negative aspects, or start fighting and working on his appeals. I mentioned that I've seen some pretty miraculous stuff and that nothing is final until the very end. Most important, I told him, was to try to use this time to reflect on his life and make positive changes. The jury said you couldn't change and therefore deserved to be killed. Prove them wrong. I can only hope those words inspired him.
He did tell me something I found to be odd. During his sentencing phase he said that the prosecutors used the "Texas 7" as one of the reasons he should be killed. I asked how this was relative to his case, and he said that they said a person with a lot of time or a life sentence would have nothing to lose and would figure out a way to escape and hurt or kill more people. I find it odd that the prosecutor would not address why someone would feel hopeless in the first place. I told the guy, regardless, they should not be allowed to use something that doesn't pertain to him or his case against him. Apparently this is standard and acceptable in a capital murder trial. Anything to make a juror have fear.
Another beautiful day. I'm about to go to recreation and then I have to get ready in case I get moved. There's not a lot to write about today, as it's pretty average. Though, I'm sick and tired of this vegetarian tray I get. I mean, sick and tired! For the past two days I've had the same exact meal: black eyed peas, collard greens, carrots and three slices of bread. Nothing else. That's it. So what do I end up doing? Eating a bag of chips to counter that and screw up my body. I'm just so tired of this. There's no healthy alterna-
What's so wild about it is that there's a growing trend of obesity and diabetes in prison, and TDCJ can't cover the growing medical expenses of guys who are locked up for life, yet who they are obligated by the Constitution to take care of. Instead of offering healthy alternatives it just continues to get worse. Craziness. I'm living in crazy town.
I just had to vent. Ha-
Once again, I thought I would be moved, but it didn't happen. Tonight has to be the night.
It's been a slow day. I did hear that they're shipping a bunch of AD-
I'm just getting settled into my new cell. I'm on B-
Today was very nice, though. I ended up skipping recreation. Don't ask me why, 'cause I really don't know myself. When I turned it down I thought, why did I just do that? I think I'm going a little crazy.
On top of that, the more I think about returning to Dallas County for my new hearing, the more I dread it. I was thinking it would be just my luck to be stuck there over the holidays. That place put some genuine fear in me. I can't even begin to describe what they did to us emotionally, psychologically. Two and a half years of hell and isolation. I lost forty freakin' pounds in that place. When I came to Death Row, I was so skinny that people thought I was sick. One time I wrote our judge to complain and my trial attorney told me not to do that again, because it looked like I was whining and in light of the bigger picture was bad for me. I thought to myself, I'm whining because I can't get health care? I'm whining because they won't let me leave my cell for recreation? I'm whining 'cause the guards are only giving me half of a food tray to eat? Ugh. I hated that place. If it weren't for a few true friends I probably would've lost my mind. So
It's getting late now and I have to get up early for recreation.
A beautiful Saturday afternoon. It's a little cold, but I'm loving this fall weather. I really am.
I just finished listening to KDOL broadcast the Anti Death Penalty March that was held in Houston today. They had a few people attending it and they were calling into KDOL and giving updates and such about the march. One woman, who is a death row guy's mother, was front and center in the action and close to the speakers so she held up her phone and we heard several speeches. They were really inspiring. One speaker who has a show
on KPFT was talking about how one of the only ways to really get the policy makers at-
Now it's later in the evening and I've been listening to various TV stations to see if they would say anything about the success or turn out of the march… Nothing. Not one single second was talked about. Apparently there was an immigration march and also a gay pride march today. I think that was bad timing for the anti dp march. But… I think some-
Sunday morning. Man it got cold last night! I stayed up until 1:30 A.M. for non particular reason and then crashed out. When I got up I was freezing. I had to block my vents up, because the air coming through was like an artic blast. I should've exercised, but I don't feel like taking a cold wash after that so I'm going to hold off until I can get in the hot shower.
I keep thinking about how the holidays are rapidly approaching and I need to get to E-
Nothing to report about today. Just going to listen to KDOL and relax.
It's a little after nine at night. I just finished listening to the TV show "Heroes." Tonight's episode was pretty good. It had been dragging the last two episodes, but it's getting some feet now. Right before that I was listening to KDOL and got a really great phone call and some absolutely adorable Halloween wishes. It was great. Very cute and heart warming.
Today has been pretty boring. I was supposed to go to recreation at six this morning and had gone to sleep early last night. I woke up right at six and then a crew of guards showed up to do a surprise cell search on another section and they had to put the other inmates in the day rooms so I was pushed back until after eight in the morning, which was fine by me. I just went back to sleep until eight. I got up and went to recreation and I had planned on exercising until someone gave me a cherry pie snack and that went out the window. I ate the cherry pie snack in semi bliss and walked my fat ass around in circles in a daze of cherry filling and sweet sugar dusted crust.
The rest of the day I pretty much lounged around and did nothing.
A short while ago I was told by someone that they spent six hours reading my journals. At first I was surprised. It made me feel weird for a second, but I was told that some of it made them laugh so I felt a little bit better. I don't know, I hardly ever write this with an audience in mind. Most of the time I'm just rambling on to myself and so when someone tells me they read what I wrote…it's awkward.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the guards and I think sometimes I'm too critical of them. I think it has to do with having no control over your own life so it's natural to have a bit of resistance to them. True, there are some real jerks (same can be said of the inmates, too), but you know, there are genuinely nice people who work back here and are just doing their job. I can say that a good majority do treat us like humans and so long as no one's trying to hurt anyone or put their job at risk, we're really not yelled and barked at that much. I get frustrated with the lazy ones because I want to get out of this cell and do much of what they don't want to do myself. I don't know if this makes sense or not. But say I get frustrated if I can't get my shower because a guard is just sitting around and knows it irritates us to wait…I get more irritated because I wish I could just walk to the shower myself. Truth be told, as far as actual TDCJ ad-
I think there could be some serious changes to make life better for both the inmates and the guards, and this building could use some serious work done on it. The irony in all of that is we're all locked in our cells having to deal with the
So goes life on death row…
I have no idea how I went to rambling about all of this. Sorry!
I just started reading a horror novel called Night Life and here in a bit I'm going to listen to "Seinfeld" and "Family Guy." Ever since the antenna got zapped and then fixed, I've been listening to the station that plays them more often. I burnt out on Jay Leno. That guy lost his funny a long time ago. Though, I'll always be loyal to Conan O'Brien.
Geeze, I just wasted your time with a bunch of nonsense. So sorry again.
Man, today was really nice. I went outside and was able to play some basketball and ac-
I changed my diet today, also. I decided to get taken off of the vegetarian tray. I am just so sick and tired of beans and peanut butter and jelly. Now, don't misread me. I'm still a vegetarian. The regular trays have far more food and I plan on eating around the meat. It's the only way I'm going to be able to eat healthy because it seemed the trays I had been getting had been getting progressively worse. Beans and bread. That was it. I just wish I had better options, but in this place I don't. Maybe things will change in time.
Later on this evening I plan on listening to "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." It's a tradition I've been trying to keep. A way of staying in touch with the kid I once was. Whatever happened to that awesome Garfield Halloween special that used to always come on? The one where Garfield and Odie run into the pirate ghosts. My favorite line in
that was Garfield saying, "Candy candy candy candy candy!!" I used to run around our house and drive mom and dad nuts with that.
I can still remember my very first Halloween. It was strange. I had been with my adop-