Randy Halprin

Go to content

Main menu

October 2015

Randys Journals

Journal 10/1/2015
Life is strange...It rides on the ebb and flow of the ocean. In comes the tide sometimes a soft swoosh onto the shore and sometimes the waters crest and come crashing in, sweeping you off of your feet. Each day different.
I've had a bit of distressing turmoil in the past couple of days, but I'm getting through it all and I know it'll even out. I'm good and holding strong trying not to slip into a mild depression. Being on lockdown for over 2 1/2 weeks isn't helping any, but I'm trying to stay distracted...I'm hoping Ms. Cox or even my new Rabbi will visit me soon just so I can get away from this environment. Clear my head. See the strangers that come and go at visit. Watch the kids play around in the visiting area...that almost always bring a smile. You want to watch and stare in wonder, but then you don't want to stare too hard in fear of someone thinking you're some predator or something. But whenever I see kids running and goofing around I just smile.
The Major and Captain came walking around today and someone asked when the lockdown is supposed to end and the Major said probably tomorrow so that will be nice, but geeze, every single day when we ask "when is it over ?" EVERYONE says "probably tomorrow". We shall see. I thought of a fun moment, though that happened the day of my birthday when I saw the Captain...I can't tell this story funny enough because you have to hear his voice...Just imagine a person who talks through his nose. Very nasally...So, on September 13th, I was going to make birthday tacos for me and a couple of guys. A light celebration. I had my back to my cell door, pulling out food items to cook and I hear this nasally murmur "MEMERMEMEMUR MEMED ME DIBLIGGITYBLOOP". Like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets was talking to me. I turned around and said "Huh ? and then he said again, this time from what I could decipher "You ain't eating what we're having on the trays ?" I said "I don't even know what we're having". The Captain said "BLICKENBATTYS". "Huh ?" I replied. "Chicken patties !" Now, I can be the sarcastic type and this seemed like the opportune time for a dose of Randy sarcasm and so I said "Oh, well let me just put all of this food right back into my locker !" But the dude thought I was serious and said "That's what I like to hear !" hahaha...
What a crazy world I live in...
They've turned the water off for some reason. I don't know what the deal is but they've been having problems with the water since Sunday. I hope they figure out what the problem is. This unit is truly falling apart. I know this new administration is trying to fix everything and get it all back up to speck, but when it has been neglected for so many years, you can only do so much.

Journal 10/5/2015
Stressed...so very stressed. Dealing with the same issues I was dealing with in my last entry and while deep down inside I know-eventually- I'll get through it, I have to wait and wait. Weeks possibly. And that what is killing me because I'm neurotic and I just go through things over and over in my head. Even when I know there's nothing I can do about it but just ride it about...But the fact remains: I'm a class A fuck up sometimes and even when I'm not intentionally trying to do something stupid, just the act of trying not to lends itself to a catastrophe. But basically what has happened and where the problem lies is in trying to protect myself and keeping to some certain promises I made myself many years ago...It created a problem within itself when just straight up openess and not keeping things secret totally blew up in my face. In trying to protect myself, I was careless with others...Why do I do stupid shit ?
I don't even know sometimes...
Sigh...so the lockdown ended on Saturday. It was nice to get out of my cell. I went out first round in the morning and caught up with a friend and then came back in my cell and tried to distract myself. Sunday is an off day so there was no recreation and then once again I went out early this morning and because it was so quiet and everyone was still asleep I could exercise uninterrupted. I had a good jog and work out. I'll probably be sore tomorrow as I haven't done anything in a few weeks, but it is good to be able to get out of the cell.
And fall is most definitely here ! Yay ! Waking up to a very cool cell has been nice. I bet it feels great outside and tomorrow is an outside for the section I'm currently living on so I can't wait.
I wish I had something of substance to write, but my mind is just too jumbled still. I'm supposed to be working on my book and I took to writing a screen play with a guy back here called "Interstate 10" and I haven't touched that. The screen play is supposed to be an ode to Quentin Tarantino...A good idea we both cooked up about trucker, prostitutes, drug cartels and brother getting his vengeance...Very over the top and quick dialogue. It was fun getting it started, but I have been in this funk and the brain is just...blah.
Gonna go read now...

Journal 10/13/2015
People. People. People...I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, but sometimes I get frustrated by the so called "anti death penalty" movement. The infghting, the bickering on who may have a better idea or strategy...I mean, we're all on the same side. Nor do I understand the need to express who is more of a friend to this guy or that guy and whom does more,etc...It is all silly and distracting. I've been fortunate that for as far as I can tell that hasn't really happened on my page...yet, but I would hope that people do respect it and leave it off of my comments etc...
I don't get to read every comment and sometimes I hear about things much later after they've been written. But I've heard the stories from other guys who have pages and it can be a bit crazy sounding. Also, this really isn't a place to declare "crushes" on people or who is with whom or not...when it comes to those things, I'm really clueless and my close friends KNOW I'm very private in terms of those things...I promised myself that after my marriage ended and the controversy that surrounded it, I would never again be "public" about that stuff...So no one will really know if I am or am not in a relationship. I don't use this page to find girls or penpals...I use it as a mean to get my thoughts out there, a form of expression and to share my world with others - if they're interested in hearing about it. I have little self interest other than trying to LIVE. And express, I feel, a life that is worth living and of value. I'd like to keep the focus on the substance that is written. Not drama and crushes and girlfriends or not girlfriends...Leave that stuff on your own pages. Thank you !
That being said, I'm feeling so much better...Life has kind of sucked for the past couple of weeks but I'm getting back into the groove of things and back to my normal self. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not having a mid-life crisis at times, though. I mean, crap, I'm 38 years old. I act like a 20 years old at times and I'm in this weird state of conflict where my part of my body and brain is like "Woohoo ! lets have fun !" and then this old geezer comes out and says "You had your time youngster...settle the fuck down and grow up". It is weird. Like I've said before, I feel like I'm going through another metamorphosis and there are things I feel that are changing and things I definitely do want to change. Still figuring it all out.
I went outside this morning really early. I was fortunate to get outside because recreation was shut down early due to staff shortages on death row...they can't keep workers here at all. But I think the problem is the way the administration and ranking officers actually treat the lower officers and some of the arbitrary rules they have in place that really only have a punitive effect and zero relevance towards security. I think the officers think "Why is this Sergeant making me put my own safety at risk by angering this inmate because he doesn't want to make his bed ?" Or whatever stupid rule put into place. Take this morning for example: we now have to hand our shoes to the officer and step out of the cell BACKWARDS with the shoes on the walkway instead of just putting our shoes on and stepping out of the cell. What purpose for this procedure does it serve ? Other than making a bunch of people angry...I believe this is the root of the problem. As we become a more agressive society and regardless of how you feel about crime and punishment...I think people find it increasingly more difficult as individuals to treat another human being-regardless of what they may have done-like crap. And who would want to risk their own personal safety in doing so ? I abhor any violence used and condemn it strongly, but typically an inmate doesn't attack a guard just because he feels like it. 99 % of the time it is because that inmate has been provoked. Right or wrong, it isn't just because...

Journal 10/19/2015
This place is falling apart at the seams. It is Monday morning and I can't say for sure that I'll even make it out to recreation because I haven't been able to go since last Tuesday. First, two days in a row there were 20 minutes power outages that shut everything down for the day. They said "security threats" so wouldn't allow anyone to go to recreation for the rest of the day. Then, they had shortages in staff and shut everything down over the weekend so we couldn't get recreation then, as well. I wake up this morning and it looks like it was going to be the same problem and technically could still be...They ran the first round of recreation but I'm not set up until the fourth and that is late this afternoon and ANYTHING can happen. Very very frustrating. More so because it is throwing my work out routine all out of whack...We had the three weeks lockdown and then all of this crap so I'm not able to do any jogging.
I know some people are like "Well, if I had my way you'd never leave the cell. You need to sit there and rot !" And that is fine that people feel that way but I'm still going to vent...For me, as much as I once hated working out - and a part of me still does ! That feeling of "Ugh...I really don't want to do this..." it is there almost every time. But once I get into it I'm like damn this feels good ! I'm actually starting to enjoy it and I'm trying not to let all of these roadblocks from letting me slip back into lethargy. When I get to the dayroom and jog, this place disappears in my mind. I focus on my breathing, positive energy and thoughts and lose myself for a bit. It really is a form of meditation for me.
Anyways...these problems with officer shortages and everything else...it was bound to happen. The chickens have come home to roost. If anyone thought the penal system as it has been run for these past 30 plus years in Texas was remotely sustainable was fooling themselves. That can't keep guards anymore - and that is mostly due to the arbitrary policies they have in place and an apathetic administration who sees working class people as a warm body to fill a spot and enforce rules that are goint to put their own safety at risk. Working class doesn't mean dumb. These people who work here, for the most part are beginning to realize that the state views them through the same eyes that they view us inmates through. When you tell an officer to enforce a rule that prevents an inmate from sharing a book and then the inmate gets irate because you went all Hawaii Five-O on their ass...you can expect problems. When you tell an inmate to hand over his tennis shoes before goint to recreation, then place them outside the door and order the inmate to step out BACKWARDS into the shoe, without tying it...you can anticipate that their just might be a problem with the wrong individual. Guards don't want to be subjected to that. Yes, there are those who take their job waaaaay too seriously. They come to work with their official Batman utility belt and mag flash light. But most of them ? They're trying to feed their families and I totally respect that. It makes me feel bad that they're treated as less than an equal as well.
Tonight is a very important night ! Not because of the game, either...I could care less about that. If it isn't the Dallas Cowboys, I really don't care. So, the football part is less important than the fact that tonight the first official Star Wars:The Force Awakens movie trailer is premiered !!! Yeah, they have had a few before but none on the radio! Last night I heard the familiar theme music and jumped up, ready for excitement but it turned out to be an advertisement for the new Star Wars video game...Can't wait for tonight. Can you tell I'm easily excitable ?

Journal 10/21/2015
It is a very warm and sticky day...It kind of makes things uncomfortable in here, but that's Texas for you...So, I'm sitting here trying to get in the mood to write...I don't know why but it has been difficult of late. My mind has just been on the foggy side of things...maybe it is stress, maybe it is the place. Maybe it is the stress of this place. I can't seem to focus as clearly as I usually do. I'm waiting to go outside today, but it won't be until much later.
I've been reading this book that a close friend sent to. It's actually a photography book called HONY
(Humans of New York). I've got the second book called "HONY Stories" and in this particular collection he lets the subject of his pictures tell a story, or a thing about their life. Some of them are just heartbreaking. But it is the faces of the people that get me. You can see a life time of stories in their faces. A good picture tells a story. Whether the picture and story are obvious or imagined. I've always loved photography because I can get lost in the image and worlds open up before me. So, with this book I find myself getting lost in each face presented. Some of the images don't need captions and they can bring upon tears because you just feel that look, you know that look. You've experienced that emotion expressed.
Well, in one of the pages there was a close up of an ederly woman and she says she writes poetry. The photographer asked her to recite one and I found it very poignant:
Were I to dream,
Then dream I would
Of days gone by.
Your eyes would gleam
And so would mine,
But joys remembered are no longer mine.
I walk in a garden of memory,
Reliving the joys and the sorrows as well.
I walk with a cane down memory lane.
Perhaps there, joys remembered will remain.
Perhaps when my hair has turned to gray
And my face is etched with pain, I'll walk with a cane down memory lane.
Perhaps there, joys remembered will remain.
I really liked that.
There were some other deep comments within each picture some of them made me think. Here is one from a philosophy professor:
"I tell my students: never make an exception of yourself. People like to make exceptions of themselves. They hold people to moral codes that aren't willing to follow themselves. For example, people tend to think that if they tell a lie, it's because it was absolutely necessary. But if someone else tells a lie, it means they're dishonest. So never make an exception of yourself. If you're a thief, don't complain about being robbed".
There is a real truth in this statement. Something I'm definitely guilty of - something we all probably are guilty of. We don't always hold ourselves to the same moral standards that we hold everyone else around us.
Anyways, it is just a damn good book.
What does the rest of the day hold for me ? I'm still waiting for recreation and they've got me scheduled for really late. I'm going to go regardless, but man...the other night when I went out I was really worried that I wouldn't make it back in time for the Star Wars Force Awakens preview...So, at about 7:30 p.m. I asked the guards if I could go back to my cell early. They were cool about it and let me come back straight back in. Whew...what I didn't know is that it didn't really matter because they didn't preview it until half time and I would've made it back to my cell anyways. But...that commercial gave me goose bumps ! I seriously was so excited. The theme music, the sound effects, the dark ominous dialogue...I'm just wondering what the deal is with Luke Skywalker. They've showed images of all of the major characters in the movie from old and new, but no Luke ! There's a reason for that and if it is because he's a freakin sith lord now...I am not going to be happy. But there's definitely a reason for being so secretive about him and his role in the new movie.I am such a dork. Haha...

Back to content | Back to main menu