Prison Pete

Friday, February 25, 2005
  Hey, what an hour it was.
Yes, there was no handball and only three other inmates went out so I had the whole outer edge of the yard to myself! About halfway into my power walk, I was called back inside to receive mail. I received a package of five paperback books (I wonder who sent them?) and also some legal mail.

The mail was from the federal court with forms for me to file a notice of appeal within thirty days of entry of judgment. I was hoping to get some information before I filed anything, but I guess I will go ahead and send this in. At this point I only have to fill in my name and case number. Then they will expect a bunch of paperwork. Maybe at that point I can get an extension until I get a handle on my options.

For the next batch of books, go ahead and send ten. They do not have limits like the fed. There is no rush; these five books will hold me for a bit considering the NY Times should start coming tomorrow. What an eclectic mix, the NY Times and cheesy romances. Well, nothing like covering the basics.

Boy the walk really does get the creative part of my brain going. Now let see what the mail brings. Yeah, I am just a little greedy and needy. I actually wish I could be watching the TV instead of just sort of listening to it, but hey, I will get the highlights on the 6:00 PM news. I can hear them playing Hail to the Chief. Oops, they are now playing "Monkey wrapped his tail around the flag pole." "Be kind to your web footed friends" whatever that Sousa march is. Now, Yankee Doodle with fife and drum.

I am going to finish this letter tonight, and then I will start on the five books you sent. It is so nice to have a friend who works near a thrift store that sells cheesy used books.

So let’s see, I think I deserve a snack. The sun is almost out of direct sight of my window so I am going to stick one of my two Milky Way bars out on the ledge.

One of the inmates had the chaplain call him out of his cell right before dinner. His father apparently attempted suicide and is in an ICU unit down in the city. He did not come out for dinner.

I took back the four slices of white bread from my dinner and I offered to make John some tuna salad sandwich with a choice of Hershey or M&M’s for dessert. He said he could not eat anything. I will offer again at 7:30 PM after Rec.

The goomba Italian guy who is right next door to me told me his wife is dying. I said wasn’t that a blessing! He laughed! So that’s all for now. I am going to fill out that appeal form now.

Hi Lucy, I’m home! Well I watched an hour of TV news and decided NOT to torture myself with another hour of the idiot box. Yeah, OK, the Milky Way bar sitting on the windowsill is calling my name too. So let me go answer its call. Look out Milky Way, here I come! The anticipation. How could I last almost nine years without a frozen Milky Way? Easy, just do it!

Damn it. It is not frozen; firm, but not rock hard. I guess I could have waited. But then again I should probably close the window to stop the warm draft. Well, it will get cold again and I still have one more. Even not frozen solid it is still good.

So let me get this ready to mail. I will probably sleep well tonight. Tomorrow we have morning Rec outside. The weather forecast is for very cold temperatures and snow is predicted for this weekend. I hope you get a chance to ski in some of it!
Thursday, February 24, 2005
  My kingdom for a radio.
So, next on the agenda, since I missed the clock for the morning Rec, will be the 11:45 AM count and then lunch. Then I will definitely be going outside at 1:00 PM with my nice new "woolen" cap.

Oh, I did get a bottle of 100 vitamins. Not quite as many "vitas" as in my last bottle; less than half it looks like from the label on the bottle.

Wow. 11:30 AM already. Since commissary was so late, Rec was short. So now it is time for count and lunch. Lunch was three meatballs and pasta.

I can hear, but not clearly, the TV. Boy I sure continue to miss NPR. But if my NY Times arrives as it is supposed to tomorrow, I will at least have something to read. My kingdom for a radio.

Well I will soon go outside for first time in many days. The Rec yard is on the opposite side of the building, so while my cell is more on the sunny side, the yard is more shaded.

I think they said something about there is too much ice to play handball. This will be good for me for walking. Plus tomorrow morning is shower day, but I may have to sponge off later tonight. Three days without a shower and my skin gets all clammy.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
  NY State Commissary Order.
Well, commissary has been here. I am trying some different items.

The pickles are listed as "hot pickles" or "dill pickles" but it is only one large pickle in a bag. Club Fed sold them for 60¢; I paid only 37¢. I was hoping it was a plastic jar, so instead I will use my soon-to-be-finished peanut butter jar to hold the pickle. I do not know if they frown on using, or should I say reusing containers, but that was a no-no with the Feds.

Okay, see I also got some real paper! So this should be a little easier for you to read. I purchased twenty 37¢ stamps and a five 23¢ stamps in case I need to send more than seven pages in an envelope! I still have one more week of five free letters, I think.

So, I also bought some candy. I hadn't thought of this before, but since I have the open window and it is cold outside I can freeze the Milky Way bar! I am on the sunny side of the building so I will wait until dark, around 5:00 PM or so, and put out one bar on window ledge and I should have a frozen bar by 10:00 PM maybe.

The V8 and orange juice are five and a half ounce and six ounce containers respectively. Cute size. Forget big gulps, these are one gulp.

Once I get the hotpot, I suppose I could heat the V8 and a can of clams and make Manhattan clam chowder. They do sell a chunky clam chowder at the commissary also.

The "smoothie" candy turns out to be a 3.7 ounce bag of Jolly Ranchers. I was hoping for more of a taffy-type candy. So I will pass these out to my neighbors. I will also share the generic chocolate chip cookies and the Pete Rose Snack Legends "fake" Oreos. I do not want to eat them all. Two Pete Roses’ are 110 calories!

So I did buy with the idea to share. Three or four of the six guys (including me) did not have any money, so while I usually do not sweat it, in this current jail, I will share a little.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
  Naked Feet.
I have been napping and reading so far this morning. We have to be dressed for the 7:15 AM pre-breakfast count. That means both green shirt and pants.

Usually I could strip back down to whites and dive under the covers, but since I have such a full schedule this morning, I have stayed dressed and was lying down on top of all but one of my three blankets. I even have my socks on.

I usually prefer to sleep with naked feet. I really prefer two sets of naked feet: his and hers! But for now I have to settle for just one pair. Notice I did not just say "his!" One must be "wery" careful when in prison; I do not want anything I say to be misconstrued. As I mentioned to my fellow inmates on the tier, prison has only served to verify my heterosexuality!

Oops, I was wrong; even cells have morning Rec (I am in cell 9) so my outside Rec time is 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM today. Hmmm, by then it might be warm enough for the handball guys. Bummer. I still might go for a walk anyway. I do not want to get too soft.

Commissary is still not here and it is almost 10:00 AM.
I saw the doctor today and he says yes, I have sinusitis. So now he says he vill [sic] prescribe antibiotic, "I am afraid you are going to have to take some antibiotic." He says that like it’s a bad thing.

The pharmacy here is closed, so he will have to send out the prescription, meaning I might not get it till Monday. He also wants to give me Sudafed and Flonase nasal spray but all I want is the damn antibiotic. Screw all the other stuff.

This will almost be going on for eight weeks now. It will be great to fully taste food again.

We are now waiting the doling out of commissary. Then I think we have outside Rec this morning, so I think I will go out and try out my new hat. Maybe if no one else goes out I could actually walk the whole rectangle, but probably we'll have a few idiots that play the handball. But I need to walk off some of this stress.

No response yet from the law library. I will have to write another request. Until I read both the Supreme Court decision and the two cases used to deny my latest appeal I cannot begin to know what to do next. Plus I need the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual.

Tomorrow should the first day of my New York Times delivery. I hope Dad got me the seven-day subscription. When I spoke to him on the phone he did not say what he ordered.

No, we do not have Saturday mail delivery, so each Monday I would presumably get Saturday, Sunday and Monday newspapers. Could be real sweet.

Well, I will go back to reading; I am still awaiting the commissary. It is a different type of rhythm in the book I am now reading. The title is "Before I Wake" by Eric Bowman. I do not know if I have read anything by him before. So off I go.
Friday, February 18, 2005
  All about Pete.
Well, if do not write at all for one day does it still count as a day?

I had to walk away from my two hours of TV tonight. Okay, so I did watch for one hour and forty minutes, but in my quest to numb myself, Girlfriends on UPN did not make the grade, even with one character’s nipples showing clearly through her tight knit top!

I have eaten all the food they served me today. I guess I was pretty hungry.

Breakfast was crumb cake, oatmeal, two milks, and orange juice.

Lunch was four slices of white bread with one pat of butter, egg noodles in a red tomato and meat sauce with grape ice for dessert, and dinner (now four hours ago) was three hotdogs, a handful of potato puffs, and Jell-O for dessert. I did toss out the three hotdog buns.

I am going to break out a mackerel in a few minutes and I will also eat one of my last two oranges.

I did fill out my commissary sheet tonight and will have two pads of paper tomorrow morning along with my own supply of stamps. I also bought a hat so I will actually try to go outside tomorrow.

The law library failed to produce the two cases that the court cited in denying my case. So to date they have failed to produce anything I need.

Here is hoping that my Dad has ordered the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual and you or he has found the text for the US Supreme Court ruling on the federal sentencing guidelines.

I am not going to mail this out tonight but instead I will add tomorrow’s news from here and then post it as the last piece of mail for this bang-up week.

We had a nice long bitching session about how prison sucks. Beam me up Scotty; no intelligent life here!

Well, the doors are all slamming, so it is now 8:00 PM.

I am going to fill out a sick call slip. I had an x-ray of my nose on Friday so hopefully by tomorrow I should get some drugs that work. I will fill out the sick call slip just to jog their memory.

It is tiring to only be able to clear, or should I say, attempt to clear my nose by "aheming" up a bunch of phlegm, sort of from the inside out. Six weeks of clogged sinuses is certainly enough already! So I am off to munch a bit.

I finished off a novel on insider trading between last night and 3:00 PM today. Maybe I will sleep tonight. So many choices, so little time. Yeah, right.

The preceding two pages were certainly all about Pete. More varied stuff to follow.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
  Comedy of Errors.
OK, I just watched two hours of TV and I still feel like shit. I think you understand why after reading my latest letters: Mom and Dad incommunicado, my appeal lost.

Hey, Dad even screwed up mailing my letter to my friend and fellow inmate, Dave. If it wasn't so annoying it would be funny.

What happened was I sent a letter to my Dad to forward to Dave, because prisoners are not allowed to have direct contact with prisoners in other institutions.

Dad apparently got confused and mailed my letter to Dave back to me at the county jail, but since I had already moved, they returned it to him. So then he mailed it back to me here! So, a letter that should have already gotten to Dave in FCI Atlanta is now sitting in my cell in New York.

At this point, until I get a letter from Mom and Dad with their Georgia location, I cannot even send them letters. So, I am about as low as I can get. Saying that, just watch what tomorrow brings.

I will be buying regular writing paper when they let me shop. They have moved commissary day back one, so I will place my order Wednesday for delivery on Thursday. I am going to try and eat some protein, tuna or mackerel, and read till I sleep.

I know some of the Feds know where I am since probation in Raleigh has apparently violated me already. And unlike innocent till proven guilty, what they do is put you in jail, transport you to the judge, and then figure out what is wrong. Nice!

So basically the last seven days or so, everyone that can take a poke at me has! And I do mean everyone! OK, stand by I am sucking it up and remembering where I am!

At this point, I need to really fight to get out of here. I have zero direct access to law books, and am not sure if I can get anything typed once I find out where I should fight, and yet life goes on.

Your letters, now that I have read all of them, are still a bright spot. BTW, the zip code thing, as they say here, "My Bad." God, I hate to even write it as a joke.

As the Marx Brothers say, "We don’t need that clause; everyone knows there is no sanity clause!"
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
  New Arrival.
We have a new arrival, this middle age goomba-type who likes telling stupid jokes. He also did some federal time and is now doing state time.

OK, let me start with my blog idea. Since it looks like now I will certainly be doing some time, which means the typewriter is a definite. So, then I will do all the work. We would just need to keep the blog sort of up till then.

I will write as neatly and correctly as possible, and we will just post it. But do not sweat it even if you do not think that will work. At the least, if you can't keep it up, post something to say it will be resumed when I get a typewriter.

I see, you did get the "I moved" letter, I was just not clear where I moved to. Duh. I did send two letters with the wrong zip code. One was about my initial day here. Have you gotten it yet? If not, I will rewrite it, although it will not have the same urgency.

Hopefully you are clearer on the communications breakdown. It started with my incomplete envelope, then I put the wrong zip code on two letters and you only got the second of them.

BTW my mail is still opened before I get it, but I do not think it is read, so the naked pictures in a blog would no longer be a problem. If you ever want to send something that has nudes, you do not have to worry.

I am sorry this is getting so messy. I’m still a bundle of nerves.

I want you to know I was sort of wondering about the phone calls. I had called Mom and Dad two times. One call, twenty minutes, they were charged $3.00 per minute. They had a $90 bill! I thought maybe you got hit too. I am glad your phone bill was not too high.

Why no call now? I cannot make any calls during the daytime and I am basically locked in most of the day. I can only call collect, and I only get one call every other Friday between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. They decide the time.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
  I am still writing.
Lying down just does not seem to be an option right now.

The key to this case seems to be which parts of the guidelines the Supreme Court ruled were illegal and how they were illegal. If they in any way lean toward the option that they are no longer judge's discretion, which is how the judge characterized them in my denial, but merely the effect of indictments, thus need to be ruled on by a jury, then perhaps I have a shot.

The key might come down to which parts of sentencing are no longer the judge's sole discretion. There are lots of specific points that a judge could use. The one downside is most were specific in terms of what they applied to. For example, one was for a drug kingpin, one was for lying to feds, etc. The one my federal judge used was a catch-all; i.e. if you want to specify a sentence and cannot find a specific category, use this case number and state your reasons.

The one good thing on my second reading of the denial seems to be it’s exactness in what the judge hung his decision on. The enhancement is not considered a matter of law to be double jeopardy. That is what I hope I can combat with the recent Supreme Court ruling. The other good point is since this is dated prior to the Supreme Court ruling, they cannot say they used it already.

I see how my brain is working. I am building up little hopeful signs of my way out of this. Welcome to the rollercoaster that is my life! And to think, I used to love rollercoaster's.

Well it is 3:00 PM, the shift is changing, and I have yet to try to lie down. I have been pacing most of the time. I am watching through the door to see if they brought the mail up yet. It could be a little late today since yesterday was a holiday. It usually took a little longer at FCI on Mondays and after holidays.

Our two cops are here and I do not see any mail. I am still pacing. Dinner looks to be almost here, so I guess eating will be before mail.

Cool, your letter finally arrived.

We were fed in our rooms tonight since they are working on one of the cells, so I ate the vegetables, took the four slices of wheat bread, and slid the tray back out. I passed on the rubber bread pudding and pork mystery goulash meal. Oh yeah, we got eight ounces of cold milk instead of Kool-Aid.

Now to read the mail. Stand by for some responses.
Monday, February 14, 2005
  What's Up Doc?
I have destroyed with a vengeance two carrots. Now I feel like a bunny rabbit and I want to hop on out of here. So, let’s see if I strip down to my T-shirt and boxers and snuggle under the covers if I can escape to a better place.

God, I wish I had a radio now. I know the world is a better place than I am feeling right now. I have to watch it, since tonight is commissary order night. To make a perfect capper, let me see if they swiped all my money to pay my fine.

Cheer up I says, things could be worse, so I cheered up and they got worse. Even the stupid jokes do not make me laugh at this point. I hope I do not drive myself to have an asthma attack.

I should continue to write since it is good to put my feelings on paper, but the stress level is making it downright impossible to be neat at all. See, it is the not knowing that drives me crazy and the confirmation that life sucks (court denial) that just about puts me around the bend and over the edge of a nice deep gorge.

The cell next door to mine was painted today because the inmate said it was too dirty, so in addition to all the other stress, I have that hideous new paint smell mixed with all the cigarette smoke from the cigarettes-that-you-cannot-smoke, right? I love the rules.

Funny, even with the super low temperatures, I still get mostly the exhaust effect. Closing my window just stagnates the air, so it is another one of those no-win situations. Just wait till I get into a hot and humid situation with no A/C. Then I will be really miserable, so I guess I should be grateful that it is cold out now.

Well, they just locked everyone in. It is 2:00 PM and we have one and a half hours till dinner and maybe mail? More to follow, although I doubt it will be anything worth the paper it is printed on.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Lunch is done. It was two pieces bologna and two pieces of cheese. I scored two extra slices of cheese and passed on the bologna. We also had a side of coleslaw (yeah the cabbage is still here) and eight ounces of tomato soup.

The law library still does not have a copy of the Supreme Court case. They must not have internet access. This is really pissing me off.

I need to see what that case says. I could be out of here and every additional day I serve could be illegal! So it is my time they are messing with.

Well, maybe you or my Dad will come through. I know there must be hundreds of copies in the federal joints to be sure. There must be some massive partying going on there. It almost makes me wish I was back at Club Fed.

If it is truly retroactive, I just need to find which procedure I am best filing under and to which court, and off I go. This would mean a trip back to county jail, unless I get released right from here. Then I need to wait for the US Marshal since Raleigh has filed a detainer on me. Hopefully, they remove that ASAP so it does not become an issue.

I ended up sending a handwritten letter last night so they should have it by Thursday. Then if they answer by Friday’s mail, I might have an answer by next Tuesday. I wonder if I can call them. I do not even know who to ask.

It is now around 2:00 PM. So, I thought life sucked. Well, my hopefulness on my federal appeal just died. I just received word that the federal court denied my request.

They stated that my counsel was effective and that my federal sentence did not constitute "double punishment." See what happens when you have hope? And now I cannot even call anyone; Mom and Dad have gone south and I do not have an address yet for their Georgia location. Life is really sucky.

I hate to even thing about a possible bright spot. Yeah, now the Supreme Court ruling becomes more important, but since I have yet to read it, I truly have no idea how it will apply to me. This is probably one of the worst days since my arrest, and I have no music, no phone, no walking buddy, NOTHING. Just some raw carrots, mackerel, and tuna, and I did manage to save one Hershey bar.

Now is the time I could really use a visit. I am sorry, but I know I am not your responsibility and I have put my life in the fucked up position it is in. So now I am free to deal with it. I know I have often said that life is NOT FAIR (and that is a good thing), but I just wish I could catch a break somewhere.

I am going to have to read the court decision several more times to truly get the arguments they used and then read the Supreme Court ruling to hopefully see some possible light!
  Tuesday morning.
Breakfast was cheese-flavored grits and a peanut butter sandwich. All the morning activities have been completed: cell cleaned, toilet scrubbed, floor swept and mopped, body soaped and scrubbed, and oh yeah, following breakfast was the twice a week shave. So much activity.

And today is a legal work day as opposed to a legal holiday, so perhaps the law library will deliver what I seek. Who knows, maybe I will get some mail too. After all that activity I am off to bed to read.

Tonight is also commissary order time, so provided they have not kidnapped all of my money, I will be able to buy $25.00 worth of stuff, which will include a cap for my almost bald head and additional money for stamps.

So today will be a busy day to be sure. Stay tuned for updates and lots of other useless information, but hey, what else can one expect from my mostly useless existence?

By the way, I am not sure if I mentioned the pre-op transsexual we have here. Pre-op because as far as I have heard (or can figure) it still has a dick but it also has some pretty cute tits and a very feminine looking face. She has been showing an 8x10 of herself all dressed up, and while she is no Pamela Anderson, one might be fooled from a distance.

Anyhow, she usually wears both a green sweatshirt and a coat so her chest is somewhat deemphasized, but it is like having one girl among all the boys.

This unit is so mellow though; there is no loud name calling or teasing at all. It is very strange and unique compared to all the previous locations I have been in, both federal and various county jails.

So that is all for now from here.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
  A Slow Day.
Yep, a really slow day; we just had the 5:15 PM count. Dinner tonight was the fake McRib meat and baked potato. I passed on the meat and had the potato, which was actually almost restaurant quality. No sour cream though.

I do not know if I mentioned that the US Marshals have a hold on me. It appears they already have me down as having violating my three-year federal supervised release! Although I would normally have had twenty-four to forty-eight hours to report to the probation department in Raleigh, NC, since I was taken in custody directly from federal prison to NY State prison, there was no way for me to report to Raleigh.

Now, if I happen to win release soon (hope, hope, hope) from my NY sentence, NY will hold me till the US Marshals come and get me and toss my ass in the nearest federal prison to get shipped to Raleigh, NC via Oklahoma City and Atlanta, etc., etc.

That would also mean they would be in no hurry to get me to Raleigh, so we could be talking four to eight weeks, all the time in federal prisons, just to get there! That would really suck! See, my life just keeps getting full of wonderful surprises.

My case manager at Club Fed said the only thing I would have to do is to call, or go to the federal office if I was released from New York anytime in next three years. So, I wrote a letter to ask the feds in Raleigh, NC what is up. Never a dull moment to be sure.

So now I will go out to watch some news at 6:00 PM and then come back to finish off this letter and stick it in the mail.

It is now 8:00 PM. Tonight’s activity consisted of sitting and watching two hours of TV while one or more fellow inmates lets loose gas. We had raw cabbage for dinner last night, raw cabbage for lunch today with rice and beans, and cooked cabbage for dinner tonight. Great fun.

So off this letter goes. Maybe tomorrow will bring the antibiotics I need to clear my nose up. It has now been over six weeks of not having any ability to breathe through my nose.
  Holiday Morning.
Good Morning! I was actually awake before the verbal warning to wake up. It is a Monday, but due to the MLK holiday, they did not pull anyone out at 5:00 AM. Also, unfortunately, there will not be any mail today.

I did fill out a law library request again, as the clerk told me to check back on Monday, but I do not know if they are working today. They do have a civilian law clerk in addition to an inmate clerk, so that might help me to get the Supreme Court case.

I have also asked Dad (and you) to get a copy of it. Hopefully one source will come through soon. Dad did not (as of Friday) order the Jailhouse Lawyers Manual, but I hope he will do that before he leaves for Georgia.

From what little I know of the Supreme Court ruling (UNITED STATES v. BOOKER [04-104]) so far, it only makes my argument of double punishment stronger, to the point of me being able to bring a new appeal, but I do not know till I read the actual ruling. Damn, it does look like the law library is closed today. The CO is checking.

It is "count" time. Usually they collect books from the previous day at count time, but the CO just told one of my neighbors to keep his book. So that means today will be another null day. Nothing will happen in terms of new information coming in.

I notice we got a dusting of snow, and it was snowing during the New England football game yesterday.

So I will probably do a lot of reading today, and then write enough to make a nice FAT envelope to tax the strength of your local mail carrier and your mail box. After all, this is "heavyweight" paper!

Tomorrow should be Commissary order day and I will order a writing pad and some of my own stamps. I might even order my own pen. I just checked this one and I have actually used all the ink visible in the tube, so I am now writing on "fumes." Wow.

How often do you actually empty all the ink out of a pen? Usually they get lost first or you have more than one and keep rotating them, but I will use this pen till the bitter end. Waste not, want not.

So, let me eat my breakfast and then go take my morning read, nap, and break. No showers or shaving today, so it really will be a slow day.
Friday, February 11, 2005
  Don't Call Me Late for Dinner.
It is another day, or rather night, since it is 7:30 PM on Sunday. I slept a lot today.

I was actually late for dinner. The twenty-four other doors slamming woke me up.

I did get three magazines Saturday night: PC, CFO, and Inc. I am enclosing some pages from them for the archives.

I am going to read and toss the magazines, so I am saving the pages that might mean something if I get out any time soon.

Now back to bed.

Nite, nite.
  From the "Thanks For Telling Me Now File"
I actually did reach Mom and Dad last night around 8:15 PM for my biweekly five-minute phone call. I told them I sent a shopping list, and Mom blurts out, "Well, you better send another one to my cousin Bill in Georgia, since as of Monday we have put a hold on our mail."

So, I guess the letter I sent out Thursday evening will sit in their post office for a while.

Dad did order the NY Times for me and it starts on Friday. I do not quite understand how it takes over seven days to start a daily newspaper subscription. Go figure, what efficient computers!

Speaking of computers, how about the FBI computer system that has been under development and is not worth one cent, never mind the millions of dollars they have spent! Boy, I wish I had a piece of that contract! Oh well, former felons cannot work for the FBI. Their loss.

Lunch is making its way up now.

I realized that on the one hand I have been accused of lacking empathy. They also say empathy may indeed be a learned response. So although I write my feelings out in real time, like all prisoners, I do not get any empathetic feedback till much later when the incident has already passed into history.

So the question is how does this help teach me to be more empathetic toward others? Does it simply teach one to buck up, carry on, and plow through, feelings be damned? I know a lot of what I write does not seem all that important a day or so later when I reread a letter before I mail it.

On the other hand, the romance books make clear to me how important the little things can be in a relationship. Usually they show how the clueless male (clueless because he does not see the clues) screws up to the point of a major fuck-up in a relationship because he missed a small thing.

Well, lunch is done. My next scheduled activity is indoor Rec at 1:00 PM.

I passed on outside Rec this morning due to the fact that I took one of those Claritin 24-hour pills last night and it definitely gives me sleepless nights, more so than the usual prison demons, sleep inhibitors, noise, etc., so I knew I would never last one half hour of circle walking.

I am going to relax and read some more, actually not a romance, John Sanford’s Mortal Prey.
  Test Results.
Well, it is now 9:30 AM on Thursday morning. I only know the time because the CO just said it to someone else.

I just "saw" the doctor. "Saw" is the operative word. I was in my cell and we talked through the three-inch wide by three-foot high windowless window slot in the door.

He asked me how long I had a stuffed nose. I told him it has been six weeks now.

He told me to keep taking the Claritin (which I had stopped taking) and he said he would put me in for an X-ray and see if I have sinusitis. That would take him another two to three days. Then he would give me a prescription for an antibiotic.

Well, it is lunchtime. I just got back from Rec. I spent one-and-a-half hours walking in the twenty-eight foot oval. The trick is not getting dizzy.

I saw my regular counselor today and he gave me my new timesheet and confirmed that I am now a medium. He also gave me the printout of my test scores.

My Beta score of 111 is the result of the IQ test. Beta, I believe, is an actual name, Beta IQ test, so I wonder if you can find anything about the test on the Internet; 111 is probably a moron score!

I really need to see a copy of the recent Supreme Court ruling (UNITED STATES v. BOOKER Decided January 12, 2005). Boy, I wish I had a typewriter now. I am not sure exactly what I need to file, but I know I need to file something.

It sounds like, provided the court ruled that it applies retroactive, there is no question then that my NY State time would be considered double punishment under NY State law. And since it is a new law, the fact that I pled guilty would become irrelevant! Oh boy, oh boy!

The argument I need to present is not to make Federal time go away, but that they now carry the weight of being on the indictment so as to meet the state law about being charged previously for the same crime.

I really need to see how the legal minds are working on this. What this could mean is that I get out of NY State prison ASAP and then I finish serving the three year supervised release of my Federal sentence. Things are looking up and up!

Now is the time I wish I could call on the phone, but I will have to work this one through the mail. Not much else matters right now.

Mom and Dad are ordering the Jailhouse Lawyer Manual for me and between that and any stuff you find on the Internet, I will be good to go. "Go where?" is the question, but as long as I am going. Freedom is coming I hope!

I am already wound up tight on this Supreme Court ruling, and on top of that, it looks like I have now been cited as having violated my three year Federal supervised release!

I have a Southern District of NY US Marshall warrant filed against me, and all I can do is sit in this cell and ponder what the hell is going on out there.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Okay, things just got a little brighter, I just met with the head counselor. He was actually very pleasant and not only did my time get corrected, but I have been downgraded to medium. Yeah!

So since this place is maximum, apparently I will be heading off to a different place in the near future. The head counselor asked if my regular counselor had told me about this change in my classification, but I said he had not. So the head counselor gets my vote for Human Being of the Week Award.

So by assuming the worst, even the regular treatment looks good. Damn, I get tweaked so easily!

I skipped my chocolate fix yesterday, and might make it today. I ate a carrot a little bit ago.

Tonight's dinner will be cold cuts. I had asked for some pepperoni or sausage-type meats, but Mom and Dad brought one of those eight ounce Oscar Mayer fat free sliced turkey and ham packs. I have it out on the windowsill, but tomorrow is supposed to be warm and I think once I break the seal, I do not think they will keep.

The onion and chickpea mix is definitely smoking now, so next time I will not use a whole onion. But at least I have tried something new!

Boy, the weight of being in a medium instead of max is a big weight off my mind. The odds of running into murderers there are greatly reduced. So the typewriter is also getting closer. Ah, the simple things in life.

It is that strange time of night, sometime between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM, and I have no way of knowing what time it actually is. My sinuses are completely clogged to the point of being painful!
  Parent's Visit Day Two.
Well, I just got back from my second visit.

Mom and Dad arrived around 10:00 AM. They wanted to leave at noon, but they had to wait for a count to clear. They count every day at 11:30 AM. So if (when) you come to visit, you would want to arrive prior to 11:30 AM, say 11:00 AM, to allow for processing.

The count could clear any time between noon and 1:00 PM. They do let people in earlier than 1:00 PM, but you cannot leave until the count is official.

Mom and Dad went to the store last night, and by the time I got back to my cell, my two bags of groceries were waiting for me! I already ate one of the carrots! Yum, yum.

I have mixed a can of chick peas with a purple onion and will either eat some tonight and the rest tomorrow or I might mix some with the mackerel.

The CO's would not let the Toblerone bars in because they were not hermetically sealed, so lucky Dad gets to eat them!

I got two monster grapefruit and six large oranges! It came to nineteen pounds, so I can still get six more pounds this month. Dad also said that he will be ordering the NY Times for me.

It is really snowing pretty hard here now at 3:30 PM. I hope they make it home okay. They have a new all wheel drive vehicle and they will be taking mostly Interstates.

They called a neighbor, and although the neighbor’s lights are not on, Mom and Dad’s were. So they were anxious to get home.

The snow looks really nice but they were saying it is supposed to get into the 50’s too. I do not know. We’ll see what they on the news tonight.

Wow, I mixed some fresh chopped onion, extra sharp cheddar cheese, chick peas, and mustard with the mackerel Mom and Dad brought, and bingo, I am all revved up and ready to go at 8:30 PM.

The food here seems to be even lower in protein than Federal prison or even the County Jail. So now I can also have a nice fresh orange. They also brought me a couple bunches of carrots so I had one of those for a snack today too.

It is looking like I can narrow the shopping list down to five or six items. I may try the tuna with oil they sell here and forgo the mackerel. With the fresh onion (I use the can lid to slice), cheddar cheese, and mustard, the tuna might not be too bad taste-wise.

I might see how the tuna in oil works when mixing, since mustard is basically vinegar based, the oil in tuna would make a sort of salad dressing. I will experiment a bit.

Yeah! One good piece of news; they fixed my time computation. That is a good thing. I was afraid I would have to ask Mom and Dad to track down my paperwork.

So now my earliest release date is November 2009.
  Little Green Men.
Well, good morning, it is sometime around 5:00 AM I believe, because there are little green men starting to flow toward the departure point!

I got six or so hours of solid sleep thus far, since I slept through the shift change at 11:00 PM.

This is the first time here that I have been really awake and I feel fairly well rested compared to most other nights so far. So yeah, I guess a hug from Mom and Dad does help sooth the troubled soul.

I think I will probably stay up now and read a bit awaiting the arrival of breakfast, and then I will have to see how the call for my visit this morning falls in with the normal Tuesday shaving, cell cleaning, and shower schedule.

I was going to see if I could shower first. But since the rule is you may shower when you get called for a visit, and I am number two for shower, and each shower is only ten minutes, that means (this is a nice run-on sentence) that worst case scenario, I am delayed by ten minutes, but if I do get called for visit early, say 8:50 AM or 9:00 AM, well, then I could jump in the shower first, or else I would just wait my turn and not cause any ripples in the system.

Well four CO’s, two of whom were carrying milk crates full of cuffs and chains, just headed up the stairs toward the SHU (Special Housing Unit), so I guess it is now sometime between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM. Official wake-up is not for another one or two hours, 7:00 AM, so I guess I will relax and read a bit.

It's a good thing I have my own room and can turn the light on whenever I want. Ah the joys and privileges of single living.

Yeah, if you believe that, I got some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you. So for now that is the way it is.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
  The mournful horn.
I do not know how interesting you find this "Dear Diary" stuff. It will be good background for a book and is somewhat comforting, but I know you probably could use something with a little more meat to it.

I have now gone over twenty four hours without the Claritin and I notice no major change. My nose clears and clogs at will.

I did not sleep very well last night. I had a really vivid nightmare. I pictured myself asleep in a cell and felt someone about to attack me! I am talking about a bone chilling, real feeling.

I woke up and it took a few seconds to realize that I was truly alone. God bless the power of a really freaked out mind. And all this without the benefit of any pharmaceuticals!

So now at 8:30 PM I am off to read and try to unwind just a little. I have a feeling that I will be writing some more tonight.

See, I knew I would write some more tonight! It is now sometime between 9:00 PM (quiet time) and 11:00 PM (shift change). My window is open and the train whistles are moaning in the distance.

I can also hear the road noise of the cars and trucks whizzing by on the interstate several hundred yards away. I can see the headlights of the cars going southish and the red taillights of those going northish. I say "ish" because I think it is actually an east/west Interstate, but the sun comes up over the hill that seems to cast its rays perpendicular to the highway.

Anyhow, I just finished reading "The Thin Man" by Dashiell Hammett. I do not know if I mentioned earlier that this is one of those series that Karen turned me on to. They are great period pieces if you ever come across them. BTW Dashiell Hammett also wrote The Maltese Falcon. Maybe I should read that too.

Hammett's bio states that he was born in 1894, left school at 14 years of age, held a bunch of jobs, and eventually worked as an operative for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency. He served in both World Wars, and died in 1961. Although the book says the original copyright of 1933 by Alfred Knopf, Inc. was renewed in 1961 and 1962 by Dashiell Hammett, that’s tough to do if you were six feet under at the time!

So, now I will finish reading the bio of his lover and partner, Lillian Hellman, which is mostly about the 1940’s and 1950’s and the McCarthy hearings. Talk about eclectic book collections that actually connect, not only to each other, but in this case to me the reader and my former life as a free person. (Who'da thunk it?)

I will certainly try and do some blog post writing later this week on this interesting connection of The Thin Man and also to provide a list of what I learned about better way to rob banks from the In Bad Company book (the one about the Oklahoma City bombing).

That’s all for now folks. I am off to lie down some more and read and then to sleep I hope. It is still not 11:00 PM since the shift has not changed yet.

The mournful horn wails on!
  Time Lapse Photos.
When I arrived at visiting today, I found Mom and Dad sitting on opposite sides of a four foot square table. The table was covered with playing cards, about four or five decks, and they were sorting them out to make some complete decks. They wanted to teach me a card game.

After I sort of said OK, they then were deciding if they needed one or two decks since this would be a three person game. Then we finally get one deck and Mom says Dad and I should play while she sees how many more decks she can make.

Then after I get Mom to give it up, Dad is trying to give the second deck we managed to put together to one of the other people who was looking for cards and who had already put a couple of incomplete decks back.

It really is sort of typical and funny to watch. Each time Dad got up to hit the vending machines, Mom would say "See, his hip is hurting him. I am going to send him to my hip doctor." Then when Mom got up to return the extra cards, Dad tells me how Mom’s hearing is getting worse.

I really wonder, what I am supposed to do? Plus, I am not sure, even if I could help, how much help Mom and Dad are willing to accept. But it conflicts somewhat with the consistent ratting out of each other I get each and every visit.

Then again, I was always close with Mom and Dad. So maybe this is just what is left over of our relationship.

I only saw them once last year. Strange, they do look older. Talk about time lapse photos.
  Parent's Visit Day One.
It is 3:30 PM, and I just got back from visiting with Mom and Dad! It was soooo good to see them and get a couple BIG hugs. Mom thought I looked good with my short, short haircut.

Unfortunately, they did not get my second letter with my shopping list since after the big snow storm, they have had no electricity all week at home. We were not allowed pen and paper, so they had to memorize the shopping list. They are going shopping tonight and will bring food in tomorrow.

We had an okay visit, with me doing a lot of talking. But between Dad’s nodding off and Mom's hearing limitation, maybe they didn’t really hear too much.

Dad has agreed to order the NY Times for me and is going to send the Hamilton catalog too. I am not sure how the shopping thing will work, but I think they can do it even while on the road.

It is always good to be in an environment with real people, though I was jealous of all the other inmates who seemed to have GIRL FRIENDS! Not that Mom and Dad were not acceptable. And you would be very appreciated if you came up!

So now I have to wait like a kid at Christmas until tomorrow evening to get my package. I do not know if they gave out the mail yet, so I do not know if I have any letters yet. My parents never got a single piece of mail forwarded from Club Fed.

So, dinner is gone. Three dry meatballs, a boiled potato, and more vanilla pudding. I passed on the pudding. I did have two pastrami and cheese heroes and two iced teas from the vending machine in the visiting area. They were not too bad.

So, now I get to bounce around the cell for a bit, watch the news, and then wait for tomorrow’s visit and the delivery of the Care package.

Ah, the simple things in life!
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
  T-Minus 12 Hours.
It is now Sunday at 7:00 PM and only twelve hours or so till my parents visit.

I did not take the Claritin today at 3:00 PM. I'll see if I sleep any better. RIGHT.

Another two-candy day. I've got to get my diet under control.

I am enclosing a couple posts if you care to do anything with them. If not, no problem, they will eventually show up in some future writing.

I have been reading an autobiography of Lillian Hellman covering the 1940’s and 1950’s, specifically the McCarthy Hearings. Between this and the Bad Company book, (about the Oklahoma City Federal building bombing) I am going to try to write some "political" observations.

I have plenty of time to write, although I still have too much stress to think clearly for too long.

More news of my personal hell to follow.
  Moving on Up.
Well, it is Friday morning and I just got kicked upstairs. I was in Cell 3, now I am in Cell 9.

This cell has all the kinks and bugs worked out. The window stays up all by itself and looks out due east. I know this because if you stand in front of the window, the sun is right smack in front of you.

I just got the two minute warning for my turn to shower, so I will come back to you all buffed and polished and smelling Zestfully Clean. (Shameless commercial)

Okay, my shower is completed. I can also see over the roofs of the other buildings and am looking at some nice hills.

The hot and cold water actually makes a nice upwards arc out of the faucet, so I do not need to use both hot and cold to get a drink of water.

The sink and toilet are "electric." Yes, I guess in case of malfunction that could lead to a shocking result!

You hit this round disk and you get one flush, and fifteen seconds of hot water, or fifteen seconds of cold. The toilet can only be flushed two times each hour.

Since there is no flow control on hot and cold water, hitting both at the same time gives you a "fountain" that overshoots the sink.

Not to worry. The toilet bowl is attached to the front of sink so any overshoot goes into the toilet.

This room is the mirror image of my other room, so my little 18" wide by 11" deep "desk" which is attached to the wall, makes it a little hard for a right-handed person to write. Especially so for me with my long arms.

This room is also missing the swastikas that were scratched into the mirror over the sink.

This, too, is good!
  Another Saturday night.
Okay, I watched Fox 5 News’ all-female cast. What a joke. They were whining over Jennifer’s (Friends) breakup. Then, I suffered through two King of Queens shows, and left when Girlfriends started.

No fair. I spent eight and a half years finding out who I am, and then they leave me without the resources to exist. No NPR, no classical music, no computer systems to design.

I did write the three in-house requests tonight even though they could have been done tomorrow. Wow, a whole twenty-four hours ahead of deadline. Yeah, I got no life.

Even though I ate both lunch and dinner, I came back at 7:30 PM and cracked open a can of tuna. I mixed in some mustard and the artificial lemon juice and ate it right out of the can.

It could be all in my head, but I feel somewhat "up" from the protein boost. And it's less calories than a second shot of chocolate.

Just the simple act of being able to eat something of my own could be all I am boosted up from. On the other hand, had I eaten another chocolate, that would have certainly raised my blood sugar by now (9:00 PM), but I would then crash.

So, while I certainly would rather have chocolate, the tuna is better and I usually do not feel like having two. Fat vs. protein.

The damn 24-hour Claritin sucks! I still have a clogged nose and I actually read the box today. It says if symptoms do not lessen in seven days, see a doctor. So, why did they only give me a four-day supply?

It says if I experience sleeplessness, I should contact a doctor. So, I am experiencing sleeplessness but is it the Claritin or just the jail?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Monday, February 07, 2005
  Rainy Day, Dream Away.
I did not do much today besides lie under the blankets. It was raining all day, so going out was a non-issue. I do not know what tomorrow will bring.

I have got to figure out what to do about shaving. They give the razors out at 7:00 AM on shower days, (Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday) but they collect them before the shower. The sinks here do not deliver enough hot water and I am suffering still from Friday’s razor burn.

I usually have no problem shaving after a shower with a good razor, but using these cheap razors with only "State soap" to lather-up is a bitch. I might skip Sunday’s shave even though Mom and Dad are supposed to be here Monday and Tuesday. I think I will have to try baby oil before I shave. I have never purchased any my entire time in prison but I may have to now. I know, such problems.

I have tried to encourage the Spades players to drop the wild cards and play more like the official way. Their response was, "You want to play that way? You play alone." This is another one of those areas where the "brain part" of the game is lowered so those of us that want to use it are bored. The way they play is based much more on what cards you are dealt than how you play the cards.

This is what has really bummed me out, even though it has only been one week: I need more intellectual stimulation. I know it is only my first week, but I have worked so hard at being able to maintain myself (with a little help from my friends) that now, when I am stripped bare of all my resources, I even drive myself crazy.

So, hopefully I will get some word from you in the coming week and I will also see what Mom and Dad are up for before they go away. Maybe Dad can send me in a Hamilton catalog and I could order some of the dictionary puzzle books before they go. If you think of it, could you put my name on their mailing list? (I think the web site is www.hamiltonbook.com.) Then, maybe by the time my parents resurface, I will have gotten a catalog.

So, for now that is enough drivel. Hopefully I get some more stimulation so I can write something besides this rather mundane and boring and redundant crap.
  Trains in the night.
I actually looked at the clock as I walked back to my room after tonight’s "mystery meat with potatoes" dinner. It was only 4:00 PM, so this means that all of our meals are eaten between 7:30 AM and 4:00 PM.

I still have not opened up a can of tuna yet, but I have stated to skip the white bread and butter. Next, I will leave the desserts like tonight’s blob of vanilla pudding.

I have got to discipline myself better. I have already had a pack of M&M peanuts, so if I get hungry I better open a tuna. It's not the same, but I will be treat-less in New York if I do not slow the sugar down.

Well, this Monday and Tuesday when my parents visit I will see how the food package thing works and, if all goes well, I will take to munching carrots. One of the other inmates said as a maximum inmate you only get two packages a year. That would suck. But I am writing to the senior counselor to ask him to review my file.

The thought of being around guys "with bodies" as the saying goes, does not make me feel very comfortable. I know. It is prison. Yeah, that saying is never far from my mind. It is akin to having it tattooed (in reverse) on my forehead, so each time I look in the mirror it is as plain as day.

One of the tidbits of gossip that I heard while taking those tests were the thoughts of one CO that one of the other institutions around here seemed to have a high incidence of staff getting cancer! Yeah, that is what I want to hear, sitting five to ten years in a toxic waste dump! Please, someone give me something hopeful to live for.

There is a railroad line close enough to where I am that I can hear the train horn every now and then. There is something about a train horn in prison that is a "Kodak moment".

It was also heard down in Atlanta, and also in the County Jail in NC. That one would mournfully wail every night off in the distance as I lay in my single cell, without any direct view of the outside world.
Well, I went out today. I managed to carve out a 24’ x 4’ area to walk in and not disturb the handball players. Four guys play handball and four other guys basically stood around and watched.

While I was out I got called back inside to see Mr. C., the counselor. He basically says absolutely nothing and hands me a piece of paper saying I am classified as Maximum.

He has my note about the sentence error in front of him and still he asks me what the problem is. I explain that my sentence should be five to fifteen, not fifteen to thirty.

He says well I would have to write to the Feds to get it straightened out. Duh. I explain one more time. It is not a Federal problem. He then says I should write to Inmate Records for a clarification. What means this, clarification?

This guy has sunk the level of staff helpfulness to a new low. I asked him if my sentence was five to fifteen would I still be Max, and he said yes.

That certainly scares the shit out of me. Here I am in prison with guys doing life sentences. Yeah, I feel safe.

So, today I will write to Inmate Records and the Head Counselor. I will ask the Head Counselor if my custody can be lowered based on both the corrected sentence and the fact that I have completed ten years in a Federal Medium Security institution without any infractions or discipline problems.

I could also spit into the wind and tug on Superman’s cape! And all this before 11:00 AM on Friday.

Oh, I guess I will write to the Counselor and also ask him about getting my test scores just for laughs. I could use one right about now.

Although it is a little long to be outdoors without any music or conversation, and the cold makes one want to piss, (not an option) I guess I will try it for a few more days. I have got to do something.

Since I think they follow the meatless Friday thing here, I will see which meal I will substitute the tuna for. Last Friday night was a really vile salmon cake, so I will probably eat lunch.

Lunch was actually pretty tasty - stewed tomatoes, mac & cheese with plenty of cheese sauce, applesauce, and four slices of white bread. Yeah, the walking helped.

Gulp, gulp, gulp. I have started bringing a glass of water to the meal and passing on the bug juice. That has stopped my coughing fits while eating.

They placed the bread right on top of the macaroni, so I left the one slice in there and added the tomatoes. The meals are served to us on a 10" x 8" x 4"deep tray divided into three sections. One section is half the tray and the other half is divided in half again. They kind of lay the bread and spoon on top of the entrée.

At least in the Feds they had two of those trays, one hot and one cold. The cold tray usually had the dessert, salad, napkin, and "spork."

Here we do not get salad unless it is one of the sides, and we get no napkin either. Although I could have taken the tray back to my cell and mixed in tuna, I have decided to wait to see what tonight’s dinner brings.

For now I am going to read a bit and then go out at the afternoon Rec just to get writing supplies, paper and some more envelopes to do all the staff writing I need to do.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Well, it is sometime after 11:00 PM. The shift has changed and certainly it’s not time for breakfast. Other than that, who knows what time it is.

So, as I sit here between Thursday night/Friday morning, not sleeping and giving myself an asthma attack, I thought I should probably be vertical instead of horizontal. I have two things on my mind, running around in the old gray matter, disturbing my shot at escaping into the land of Nora Roberts.

The first is how lucky your kids are to have a dad like you. I know I have said this before, but it came on strong again tonight as I lay in bed reading. Your Dad was always there for you. Okay, maybe not always, but things like the notes you said he sent you at college are the way I surely like to think of him.

Now, your kids still have a dad that is there for them. Yeah, I know I wanted things to be better for my kids and to some extent in the early years I was really there for them. But, with the divorce and then my illegal activity, well I certainly blew any chance of doing a better job than my dad. It is not something I am proud of or certainly planned on doing.

Having gotten the letter from Mom and Dad today did cheer me up a bit. The news of their impending visit is met with initial elation, but around now the anxiety is sinking in. This breeds some stress, causing coughing fits and precludes all hope of a peaceful sleep.

I have popped open a Hershey’s with almonds and I am munching on that as I write this.

I know you have expressed your frustrations on various life plans, but my anxiety is due more to the little boy inside me that hopes, for once I will get a Mom and Dad who love me! I know they love me, if in their own way, but I have tried to express lots of ways that they can share their love with me in a meaningful way, but alas nothing changes.

As you can see from their letter they are already setting the visit length, one and a half days. They only made one trip to see me all of last year. They used to average three trips a year. Yes, I know it was a long trip. But now even though it’s a much easier trip, all Interstates, and much closer, I am still getting the one and a half day thing, and then they will be away for over two months. Argh!

This is more related to that passage from the book. My parents (since Dad writes most of the letters) both exhibit the "sunny side of life" approach, except for the one time when I mistakenly asked Dad to tell me how he really felt and he got sore, made a fist, and told me how he wanted to punch me into a wall!

Well, the alternative is this sugary sweet thing. Even during the visits, Dad tends to nod off and Mom runs down the list of activities of her extended family.

So, you might ask why wish for visits? Well, on the one hand any visit is better than no visit. Also, I hope someday for a breakthrough. Yeah, still a dreamer, I am.

Part of it arises out of the conflict of ‘my Dad’ and ‘my Dad the preacher’. Why can’t he forgive me? Yet, if I turn my back on my faith (still strong) and remove ‘Dad the pastor’, I then find myself stuck with, how do you see a man who has spent his whole life doing something that you do not believe in?

I may not be making myself very clear, but to oversimplify: If there is no redemption or forgiveness possible, why go on living? No, DO NOT be alarmed. I am not going to hurt myself!

The point is, if ‘my Dad the preacher’ cannot forgive me, where is my future? OK, I can understand limits being placed, (although even that is not necessarily foolproof) but a denial of my worth as a person? Sometimes I think that the longer I am in prison, the easier it is for my Mom and Dad.

Like the last visit when they turned down my offer to become their caregiver. I then said in that case, no, I did not want to live in their town. I might as well live in North Carolina.

The second day of the visit Mom was all so smiley and stuff, saying how good my ideas for North Carolina were. I tried to say they were not all that great; I would still be facing a ton of obstacles.

But, hey, that is what I find missing, the inability to acknowledge a less than perfect situation.

I know (the hard way) that life is unfair. I live with that belief finally and am actually grateful for it. That is what I think somehow I missed in growing up like the book says the thought that I must be crazy because what I see and feel is not real according to my Mom (and Dad too, but mainly I was raised by Mom) and the really tough part is I never gave up the hope that Mom would finally see what I was feeling. Now, although I can tell you I understand it, it still is tough to swallow, especially when I know Mom and Dad are coming to see me.

So, what does the preceding background stuff mean? Well, if I think about it, it fucked up my ability to maintain a decent relationship with my ex. I do not really want to rehash my marriage because it is not really as simple as my fuck-up of a relationship with Karen.

As I have related to you, Karen was, on most counts, the dream girl for me. How did I screw it up from the get go? Well, if what I was feeling was always turned around to the good, or corrected so that I should not be feeling the way I was feeling, how could I do anything different with Karen? She says she is feeling neglected, unloved, and having a tough few days and bingo I say, "No, you’re not. Your feelings are wrong." And, off I go to do what I want.

Yes, in the romance novels most of the happy endings end up with one or both of the main characters being independently wealthy but the road to the end is usually marked by the feelings of the woman finally being recognized by the male. At some point he stops thinking with his dick. So, if I have no empathy and was never on the receiving end of empathy, how could my life be anything but fucked up?

I express this stuff to you now in hopes that you might be sure you do not shut off the empathy in your kids. I do not think you have; you have expressed to me some of your concerns such as them not giving 100%, but as long as you are open with them in some way i.e. "I am happy with where you are, but I think or feel that you could do better", they will someday come to realize the gift you gave them. Just because you think or feel that your kids can do better does not automatically translate into them feeling it.

Jump ahead ten or more years; your kid comes back and says, "Hey Dad, why didn’t you push me harder?" You can say, and I bet he will remember, "I did tell you I thought you could do better, but you did not feel it!"

Does that make any sense? Is this perfectly clear to you and I am just getting it after forty-something years? Or do you see the problem in my life?

So, now that the chocolate is gone and I think I have laid out the problem, let me try and get some sleep.

Thanks for listening to me. It does make me feel a little better. Or maybe that is just the chocolate working its magic. Ha ha ha!
  Living in the Chimney.
Since I am now living on the top tier of this dorm I have wondered why, when I opened the window, no cool air came in despite all the snow on the ground.

Holding a strip of toilet paper by the open window clearly shows the air flow is going out.

Yes, of course, hot air rises!

Since my door is full of holes and there is no door at all for the bottom six inches, my only other choice is to close the window and have the minimal air flow from the 8" by 4" vent that I assume blows air, and then hope some gets forced out through the holes in the door.

Leaving the window open draws all the germs and the cigarette smoke from the cigarettes-you-are-not-allowed-to-smoke-indoors right past my face on its way out the window.

Oh, well, I know I am in prison, so suck it up. Thanks for the support.
  Done with the tests.
Well, I am all done with the tests so my days should be really free now.

I have got to establish some kind of schedule. I went to sleep before 10:00 PM last night but ended up awake at some point during the early morning hours, between 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM I think. Since I do not have any idea of time, I probably should figure out if I want to nap during the day or just sleep at night.

They move people out of here five days a week and I have no idea how many inmates this place holds. I know only that when I came in last Thursday, they had seventy-five new inmates.

Most days I have seen three to six or more inmates pass my window on the way to the Special Housing Unit (SHU), still walking in handcuffs, so I know new people come in every day.

I guess the good thing about being here is if you can get to see me. I thought it would be good for Mom and Dad too, but since they will be away for the next two months that will not matter. I guess that kills the five minute phone call too. So, it looks like you and me.

Do not panic, I will write to keep the files up to date and I appreciate any and all bits of time you can give. For your sake, my going to a State prison will be a good thing since once I get a typewriter, I can really handle not only neater letters to you but the blog will be less work for you.

They apparently have jail catalogues that show exactly those items we can buy. I figure if I can get something with at least some spellchecking and maybe a one-page memory, boy then I could really cook. So let us just wait and see.

I hope the New Year brings you some answers and stability in your life. Please do not think I am not constantly thinking of you and your job and its pressures. I would hope it gets fixed, but I have certainly learned that if life was that easy, everyone would get it right. I am always putting out the positive vibes and you are not something I am willing to toss around.

Hindsight is 20/20 and I am sorry I did not work harder at keeping our friendship alive. But now that we have covered a lot of ground, I am grateful for the opportunity to share. I know you feel it has been a lot of work on your side, and it has, but believe me, it is very worthwhile.

Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will be out of here and who knows what we could accomplish together. The times we share now will form a strong foundation for any future involvement.

Well, for now that is all.

PS If you just scan and store these letters, look at all the work you can send me and keep me busy and out of your hair! Ha ha.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
  Wrong Zip Code.
I am waiting for the doors to open.

They are supposed to open at 6:00 PM but last night they did not open till 6:40 PM. The six o'clock hour is for news, and then I sometimes sit through the King of Queens until 7:30 PM or else head back to the room. So, those "wonderful" Rec times are bummers.

I do not want you to misunderstand me; I am hopefully not putting pressure on you. I am trying to explain my thoughts. Feel free to challenge them, but know that whatever you do, I appreciate it. Your concern has certainly gotten me through this time and I truly value the road we have traveled. Thanks for being my friend.

Well, I guess I will go watch the news and add a few notes. It seems strange that no mail got forwarded from Club Fed.

Oh shit. Now that I got my address list back, I see your zip code is not what I wrote on my first two letters! What the hell was I thinking? Now I wonder if you got my letters. I had put 11706 on them. Dum dum. Well, this one should be OK and maybe you are reading this on Saturday?

It is now after the news, 7:30 PM. We got out at 6:15 PM tonight; I watched Channel 7 local news, then Peter Jennings, and then most of King of Queens. Boy is that a stupid show.

I just opened the peanut butter. I had four imitation-Ritz crackers with peanut butter. What a difference in taste between the crap at Riverhead and Skippy!

So today’s treat count was a handful of pretzels, half of a Hershey bar, one Slim Jim, M&M peanuts, and the peanut butter with crackers. God bless the Commissary.

I hope the fruit holds for two weeks as I asked for grapefruits and oranges. I do miss my Diet Coke, but hey, I probably will go for the hot pot and make some herbal teas.

I am not sure what to do, but I know I need some more interactive stuff. I have to get back to my crosswords and logic puzzles. Otherwise all I have is writing these sappy letters to you.

Hopefully they let in the paperbacks you send. I think I am allowed ten, but if you have not sent any yet, let us try five first. I might be able to get better information after visiting with Mom and Dad on Monday and Tuesday. Maybe they could buy some crossword books Monday after their visit and bring them back in on Tuesday.

Damn, sorry, I lost control of my pen. I have not written the letter to Summer. Hmmm, maybe I should start that tonight.
In order to save water, I guess, I am currently only able to shower three times a week, Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday.

This being Friday, the past three days was the longest I have gone without a shower since I do not know when!

Today was the first shower since I left the County Jail that I had some real soap and a real washcloth, so this one felt even better than usual.

Having arrived here three weeks ago, during my previous three showers I was forced to use the "State soap." This stuff is great for hand washing, washing clothes, etc., but can be very tough on the skin.

For a washcloth I used one of the three handkerchiefs I was issued, and that is not the best use for them.

So, today I had my 100% cotton washcloth and nice, fresh bar of Zest soap.

I feel nice and clean all over!
I had come across the following passage in Brass Ring and was going to send it to you with some comments. I think the recent letter from my parents sort of illustrates the point the book makes. I ask you to send me back a copy of the Mom and Dad letter in case I end up talking to a shrink in here.

So, back to the book; the main couple is separated. They have an 18-year-old daughter who comes home from college one weekend, drops in on Mom at her apartment, and dumps the following on her. (One M&M peanut is now open.)

Daughter: I hate you right now. Do you know that? I really know that.

Mom: Oh honey, you don’t mean that. You...

Daughter: Yes, Mother I do mean it. You’ve always been like that.

Mom: What do you mean?

Daughter: I’d say I hated someone and you’d say, "Oh honey, no, you don’t." I’d say my teacher wasn’t fair to me and you’d say "Oh honey, of course she is." I’d say I was sick, and you’d say "No, you’re not." I’d say my arm was broken and you’d say "Oh Susie, it is just a sprain."

Daughter: You know, I thought I was crazy. According to you what I felt, I wasn’t really feeling. What I was thinking was all wrong. Well, somewhere along the way I figured out it was you who were crazy!

While it was not a broken arm, I remember the time I sliced my foot open on a leftover tent stake while we were jumping over a sprinkler in my backyard. Mom was in the house, and I hobbled over to the picnic table and yelled to Mom that I cut my foot. She yelled through the window, "Well, just sit down for a bit, it will be okay."

I took another look at my foot and saw all the blood and up inside the rather deep cut and called again to my Mom, "Hey Mom, I think we need to go to the doctor!"

Now, I am not saying my Mom was denying my medical needs, but as I read this passage, bells started to go off.

Besides my Dad’s mimic of my whining "It’s not fair!" Mom was always saying my feelings were wrong. Even in the attached letter they make one statement about the abusive words, but all the other comments are about how good things must be.

I could be wrong here, but although you have made clear you do not condone my crimes, you generally acknowledge that my current situation is no picnic. Yes, I put myself here and am responsible for my current predicament, but don't I deserve some sympathy from Mom and Dad?

I know they understand my situation but it makes me hurt that they try to sugarcoat everything. I think you are more empathetic. Empathy is one of the things I am supposedly lacking. Although I am better now, perhaps one can see where I got my traits from.

I see, or should say I feel, the difference in the letters from you and Dave vs. those from my parents. Even the letters where you are angry at me, you usually acknowledge my pain.

I guess that is probably the most important human touch that I can get. Like all those touchy feely blog comments, they mean more than money. But, M&Ms like the ones I am munching now can still soothe the soul.
Friday, February 04, 2005
  Surprise Quiz Part II.
Well, I finished the rest of the standardized math test this morning, and then had to sit there waiting for over thirty minutes while the other guy finished his test.

Meanwhile the CO and test giver gossiped the whole time. Give me a break. Besides it being incredibly distracting to someone taking a test, for me having nothing else to do but sit there and listen to someone else's personal drivel made me feel like barfing. Get a life!

Now I am in my room till lunch time and the sheets are out for cleaning. I am going to finish off the book "In Bad Company."

It is now almost lunch time and my sheets are back. Oops, the count is before lunch. Count times are strange here in that they have a stand up count, and ten minutes later you are having lunch.

I just got back in from the afternoon Rec and the TV was tuned to some dumb makeover show. One woman was getting stomach surgery, and another, 16 years old, was getting a makeover. Or maybe it was the same person? I don't know. So instead of watching TV I scanned the bookcase and came up with a Nora Roberts book I had not read.

Well, I am now starting my second week here in NY State Prison. I really need to start writing, but the bed seems so inviting. I will probably feel better once I start beefing up on the protein.

Lunch today was not too bad, tuna salad with pita bread. Tuna was OK, and considering that I now have eight cans of it, I better get to like it!

I am wondering if the mail will be kind to me today. I do not think they deliver mail on Saturday here, so if I do get a letter today I will see if it needs any quick answers and send this out. Otherwise, I will probably hold this letter till Sunday. You should have two nice, long letters from to keep you company. So let me do a little reading with Nora.

I must stay away from chocolate. I had the stupid thought that I would take one little rectangle of a plain Hershey bar like a mint on a pillow, but instead I knocked off the entire bar between last night and 1:00 PM today. So that is either my one shot for today or the one of two extras I allowed myself. I think it will be the extra. Later.

Well, the first letter has arrived; Mom and Dad have written. I am enclosing their letter. I had written them a letter upon my arrival, so it hit the mail Friday and they got it Monday. The letter was basically my first impressions, but was pretty similar to the one I wrote to you.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit this Monday and Tuesday, and then leaving town for two months. Hopefully they will take care of my magazines and maybe the NY Times subscription before they leave town.

My only concern is if I get transferred during that time I would have no way to contact them. Watch, I get transferred upstate, then it will not be as easy to come visit.
  Commissary Order.
Good morning, my commissary order came today. I am enclosing my receipt for the archives.

The tuna is a six ounce can for 48¢. Wow, at Club Fed it was $1.10. Crackers are full size boxes. The Hi-Ho’s are Ritz-like. The peanut butter is Skippy and the mustard is Gulden’s. But, alas the lemon juice is imitation. The washcloth at 19¢ looks like it will last only two or three uses. The baby clams are the smoked kind and I get them for a treat. I usually do not care for smoked, but will give it a try.

The trick is going to be making stuff last two weeks. They do not sell mackerel but with the mustard and lemon I can eat the tuna. Next time I will get some hot (spicy) pickles. The shampoo and TOP (tobacco) are for the guy next to me. Random acts of kindness.

The Slim Jims are the smaller ones; forty-five calories each, thirty-five of which are fat. I just get them for an occasional taste of spice. So, now I can skip a gross meal now and then and have tuna. I do not have any bowls yet, but once I drain the water from the tuna I should be able to mix in some mustard and lemon.

I just went and got my three sets of white wash back. They put six cells all together and then dump it all on a table and you pick yours out. So, now we have completed laundry, made two phone calls (no answer), commissary, sick call with meds, a couple of counselor visits, and mailing out. Three biggies await now: (1) visits, (2) incoming mail, and (3) incoming packages. So, that is where it's at for now.

I am going to play with my nail clippers and toes a little bit before lunch. I can actually get tweezers sent in. They do not sell them here in the Commissary. This will help with my ingrown toenails.

It is snowing lightly out and only one person went out this morning, so I could probably go out this afternoon and walk circles since there is no handball. But without a hat and no hair it could be cold! Next commissary, I will buy a hat. Be back.

On second thought, the toe clipping will wait till after lunch. It is being served up now. I have not cut my toenails since I left Club Fed. I also got a pair of flip-flops for showering. No more bare feet in the shower. So, off to lunch I go.

I am back from lunch. It was some beef stuff with noodles. I actually found one piece of beef. I will have to figure out when to eat my tuna. Since the last meal of the day is at 4:30 PM, I should certainly not snack out till after dinner.

Now for the feet. Toenails are going down.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
  Surprise quiz!
Dammit, man, they sprung a surprise quiz on me.

I just got back from taking an IQ test and then a standardized reading and math test. It should be interesting to see if my IQ comes out high.

I doubt it. Besides lack of sleep and living on a no-protein diet, I just ate a starch-filled lunch. Plus, I am taking that damned sinus medicine.

But I think I did OK on the reading and the math, except that I had a mental block today about dividing fractions. For example, ¼ divided ¾ equals what?

I looked at it and I started to laugh. There were only two of us taking the test, so the "teacher" said they had a place for me if I was losing my mind.

I found out we are having more math tests tomorrow morning.

I took a heavy battery of tests when I was first arrested in 1996. They were psych-type, but I scored high on the intelligence parts.

Too bad they did not give me a warning on the IQ test. Bah humbug. Bitch, bitch, bitch. But, then again, maybe it's not such a bad thing that they do not know how smart I is.

The other serious bitch I have was her and our "babysitter" talking while I was taking the IQ and the reading test. It is really tough to take a timed test like an IQ test while someone is carrying on personal chat.

I think I will treat myself to chocolate now. Maybe I should have tuna tonight. Hey, the clams are a product of Thailand. My bit for tsunami relief.

By the way, we are only allowed to spend $25 every two weeks, but that does not include stamps. Stamps have a limit of $18 separate from the $25. Good thing, it’s a tough choice between M&Ms, Hershey’s bars, or 37¢ stamps. (SMILE)

I broke open a bag of plain M&M’s. So, it is one Slim Jim and one M&M down. I bought sixteen candies to last me two weeks, so I have two days where I can have two bags in a day.

Okay, it is 3:00 PM and we just had mail call. I got nothing from the outside, but I did get my request for status correction from the Superintendent. So, I guess that is a good thing. Hopefully sometime tomorrow I will get back a corrected copy of my time sheet.

I finished the M&M’s (plain) and checked out the Ritz wannabes. They are not bad. They come in a one pound box. In the County Jail, I paid $1.35 for only a three ounce sleeve. At least I can eat cheaper and healthier here.

I asked Mom and Dad to send fruit, carrots, and my mackerel. So, I will be in fairly good shape, eventually.

Okay, it is 7:30 PM and I am going to finish this letter off and start another. I am thinking of enjoying the smoked clams tonight but I am not sure if I should hold them for another time.

Ah, the pressure of making decisions. That is what the commissary gives. Without it, my decisions are much more limited.
  Back to Polyester.
Having arrived here in a 100% all-cotton ensemble, excluding my leather boots, I am now back in the 50-65% polyester garb.

I am wearing the NY State-issued 50/50 boxers, 50/50 T-shirt, and the forest green uniform pants and shirt are 65 poly/35 cotton.

I can tell the difference. Cotton does breathe better.

I will apparently have to wait until I get to my next location to be able to buy and wear my 100% "tighty whitey". Sorry, if this falls under the "too much information" category.

I was issued five sets of underwear, three sets of "greens" (pants and shirt, my uniform), one long-sleeved green sweatshirt, one white shirt (for visiting use only), three handkerchiefs, one green coat, and one green towel.

Yeah, they are big on green here!

The interesting thing is that when you transfer to a new prison, all of your clothes go with you. In the Fed system, you were issued new clothes every time you moved.

I have a pair of size 14, lace-up, low-cut sneakers. I will need to wait till I get to my next stop to see about my special size 11 EEEEEE boots.

So, there you have it, all the dope on my prison clothes.
  All the time in the world.
It turns out I do have money in my account. I am not sure exactly how they figured it out, but as one Club Fed inmate used to say, "Don’t ask questions in the Big House!"

So, I ordered $24.68 worth of stuff, including eight cans of tuna. There is no mackerel on the commissary list. The thing is, I added the list up several different times and always came up with a different total. Love those fried brain cells.

I picked up a book on America’s terrorist underground. It talks specifically about Timothy McVeigh and the Aryan Republican Army. So I will try and read it. The title is "In Bad Company." It is copyright 2002.

I really need to get back to some "topical" writing but to be honest, I am just a little stressed out. I know that is a bullshit excuse but, man, without any creature comforts and being totally at the mercy of the system, life sort of sucks right now.

The commissary order should be here in the morning and then I will have some deodorant, real soap, washcloths (I have been using one of the nylon handkerchiefs), plus M&M’s, tuna, crackers, and peanut butter. So, that way I can be more selective in what I eat, and also have some flexibility as to when I eat.

The lack of outside world contact either via radio or, at this point, newspapers and magazines is also a missing link. So, I know a lot about delayed gratification now, and dammit, I do not like it one bit.

I am eagerly waiting receiving my first piece of real mail.

I did get generic "Claritin-D, 24-hour tablets" today from the doctor. I took one at around 4:00 PM. I think it is fucking up my eyesight a bit. Plus, my nose is still clogged.

One of the other inmates gave me two Hershey’s Kisses with the almond inside. Yum yum.

One guy next to me is back in jail on a parole violation. He served five years of a six year sentence, and was out for three months when he violated his parole. He is now doing an additional nine months to finish his six year total sentence.

So, that is about all for now from here. I wonder how long it will take them to correct my sentence computation.

I do need to send another letter to Federal Court giving them my new location. So, I have stuff to do, time to do it, but ab-so-fucking-lutely no desire!

Back to bed I go.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Hey, it's still Tuesday morning. I met my counselor again and got my sentence time computation. I did not bother to look at it till I got back to my cell.

Oops! You know the saying, "To err is human. To really screw things up you need a computer." Well, by the time I figured all the numbers, I realized they have me down for a 15-30 year sentence! My first possible parole date is in 2018 with a conditional release date in 2024! Yeah, that would make me want to live.

Now, I am hoping to get back to the counselor in the next ten minutes or else I have to write a note somehow. They say my current minimum sentence is 13 years, 10 months, and 27 days from today!

Well, that is one way to have the shit scared out of you!
  Drive-by Doctors.
It is now Tuesday morning about 9:00 AM, and since it is Tuesday, I was allowed my once-a-week shave at 7:00 AM this morning. Breakfast today was Cream of Wheat, four slices of white bread, two milks, apple juice, and the little old pat of butter.

I just had my ten minute shower and sick call exam; here we have drive-by doctors. Now that is efficiency.

I was in the shower and this male medical-type person walks by carrying an armful of files. My head shows above the shower curtain and I mention that I am in the shower as he looks in my door.

He commented that my nose was as crooked as could be and needs to be fixed. He said that was the source of my infections. Yet, he said he would give me decongestant, and if I did not get better I should let him know.

He asked me what over-the-counter decongestant worked for my nose and how often I used my pump. I told him three times a day. So, he said he would give me a new one and off he went.

I finished rinsing off, slipped on my clean underwear, and now I am jotting down my experience for posterity.

I slept better last night with the third blanket, so that was good. I finished the WV book, Brass Ring, and it raised some interesting ideas about parenting that I need to write out. I will need to play monk, and hand-copy a couple of pages of text, but I feel more like reading right now.

This morning is outside Rec, so for now I am free till lunch. So, I will go ahead and read and plan on doing some more writing this afternoon.

Tonight I find out if the Gods of the Commissary will allow me to shop. I hope so!

Meantime, I was reading some of the Lake Wobegon stories. Perhaps that might be something the kids would like? Not sure. Just a thought. Did you ever crack the book True Love by Robert Fulghum?

Well, enough for now. I shall return.
  Settling In.
It is Monday morning. Breakfast today was two hardboiled eggs already peeled, very well done, almost rubbery, one pat of oleo/butter, four slices of white bread, a serving of SNAP, CRACKLE, AND POP, two milks, and one grapefruit juice. All devoured.

It is a long time between dinner at 4:00 PM and breakfast at 7:30 AM. It will be a little better once I can get some extra food sent in. Then I can eat a little less of their stuff, and supplement it with some fruit, etc.

I was about to lie back down, but thought if I really want to write I ought to spend a little time each morning collecting my thoughts. I slept on and off through the night but without any reference to time. It is tough to figure out how much was sleep and how much I was awake. All I know is I am tired now.

I had some weird dreams with the theme of people who were willing to "speak out." I remember specifically linking into Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King in terms of people that went to prison for their convictions, and that made me feel small.

The Catherine Colter book, Hemlock Bay, has a female character who writes a Doonesbury-style cartoon and talks a lot about how long she works on one strip. That is what certainly seeded my dreams. I felt myself reading news and Federal Register stuff and then developing strips.

The thing that I have learned so far is that if I am to write it will not be as logical as my database programming was. But I liked the way I was having dreams of dueling subconscious. One side saying, Pete, you can do it and you even have the talent; the other side saying "Hell, roll over, no one cares and besides, you will never carry through! You never finish anything you start!" Yeah, it was a busy night in my head.

I figure that if I do the current event reading, and maybe eventually the Federal Register and even the Congressional Record, I would have so much information there would be no choice but to put some of it down on paper. Sort of like the way I have been writing to you.

I was going to lie down, but all of a sudden I have a full page to send you. True, this is not top notch, riveting reading, but I am thinking this is certainly the first step. Get the thoughts on paper, then go back, revise, edit and polish.

Besides the goal of this current letter writing is to enable to capture the startup of my NY State sentence, and hopefully give you some background on my current day-to-day stuff. It does feel pretty good to be able to write it out and take some of the pressure off the old gray matter.

I will have Rec in the afternoon today. I had to close my window last night as not only was it raining, but the temperature really dropped. I played more Spades during last nights Rec but towards the end, the other team was getting bored and started screwing up the cards.

Could you see if you can find me a free Linux magazine? Maybe one of the blog readers can recommend one.

There may not be any restrictions here in terms of publications I can receive. Maybe I could even get programming books? I am not sure yet, but I do not want to load up with too much stuff to transfer.

I cannot imagine how cool it would be to have my own room with a typewriter, music, and munchies. In NY State they can only double-bunk you for a period of sixty days without your consent. Of course you can choose a double bunk, but if it is not your choice, then it is not a permanent solution.

Boy, that is not at all like the Feds. It appears that the double standard is alive and living. The Feds make the rules, the states have to follow them, and the Feds get to break them!

I just got done putting my initials on all my clothes. They do the wash right here on the tier, six cells at a time; greens (that is the color of pants and shirts) one day, and whites another. So I have now marked five sets of whites (boxers, T-shirts, socks) three sets of greens, and one sweatshirt.

I also scored a third blanket. This one is wool and large enough to fold in half. So I should be able to sleep well tonight. The other blankets are of questionable fabric, six feet square, and in half did not provide full coverage. So now I will use those two single-ply, and the wool one double. Yeah, the simple joys of prison life.

I remember you lamenting when your mailbox was not leaning over from the weight of my mail. Well, let me see if I can get back on schedule. I certainly have enough to write about and will try to recap all questions on a single page so that if you scan my letters, you can just leave them till I get my typewriter.

As always, please do not feel the need to match my word count; all I ask is that you frequently drop me a line even if it is just to say "Hello, I am busy as a one-armed paper hanger, I will write more later." The silence is the hardest part.

I think I will take a break and read a bit. I have signed up for my Tuesday razor and do not think they will need me till lunch.

It is now after dinner, and it was almost filling. I am waiting for my 6:00 PM Rec time. I finished Hemlock Bays and slept most of the afternoon away. I still have some bags under my eyes.

I will probably write some more after 8:00 PM. I will not bother mailing this out since I mailed two letters yesterday and I am only allowed to send out five (for free). I will mail this Tuesday or Wednesday and then have two letters at the end of the week, one to you and one for Mom and Dad.

So for now, that is all from NY State prison.

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