I did it. Well at least I started to. I did not plan to finish it today, but I did spend all afternoon, 12:30 PM to 3:45 PM working at it. Does it show that I spent the time on it? Can you see a visible difference? Well sort of.
One of my basic faults, which is a real problem in prison, is my lifetime membership in the Pack Rat Association.
I started by tossing out, (actually passed on to another inmate) the last twelve or so issues of my PC magazine. Next to go was eight months of Electronic Musician and CFO magazines.
I'm really getting into the spirit of dumping stuff, I pulled the remaining New York Times Sunday Magazines and Week in Review sections that were still waiting my attention to save the important articles. Out it all went. Not even a minute wasted checking for articles.
It was also at this point that I decided to not save the Sunday crosswords. Honestly, I am trying to cut down on what I will actually be able to use as opposed to just hanging on to things.
Next it was time to attack the clipping files. As you may know, I had several subject files for news stories that I would collect as research for things to write about. Well the first to go was the overstuffed envelope of the stories about Social Security Reform. I did hold on to the envelope, but the couple inch thick stack of clippings is now on its way to the dump.
I was going to count the number of articles I had accumulated on what has now become a non-issue, (which was what I thought would happen anyhow) but did not want to take any chance of becoming sidetracked. I emptied out three or four other envelopes, the 9 x 12 Kraft type, and have decided to keep the following files:
1. Monday - Saturday Crossword Puzzles
2. Legal Articles: Includes various high profile cases and 'shocking' reports of prison conditions.
3. Education: Special reports on teachers, and schools.
4. The One Person File: This is the area I have continually threatened to write about but have not really started yet. The articles I have included are illustrative of how one individual has decided to make his or her mark on things, often going it alone with out any outside support, or just being willing to consistently go above and beyond.
5. I am keeping one general file, but am thinking of dumping that file at the end of each week. Any articles that have not been dealt with will be tossed.
I am hoping by drastically paring down the number of articles I am trying to keep track of, I will actually become more prolific and there will be less to overwhelm and distract me.
Let me make this a to-do letter. I spent most of this afternoon clearing out my rats nest. See enclosed blog post.
In doing so I found a couple things I had clipped to share with you. Of course to share is not entirely accurate since each article prompts me to ask you to check something out for me. There is no rush. When you feel motivated pick one of the following and that will be fine with me.
"In Unexpected Medicare Benefit, U.S. Will Offer Doctors Free Electronic Records System
" This is the article I had previously mentioned. I am also including one of those how they work articles on the Flash Drive.
Special features available on Yahoo and Google. Could you check out Goggle Scholar and see if you could find the Ph.D. thesis for Susan Westinghouse? I do not know if any of the other features would be of interest.Going to School by Way of the Net.
Could you see what the MIT site looks like? I would be interested in some math and programming classes. Could you see if this is something you might be able to print out for me or would it be too much work? Please do not spend too much time on it. Feel free to let me know that it is not practical for you to print out the stuff. I am thinking maybe can use the only the course outlines and find the books they recommend.
Enclosed is the article that I would appreciate you copying.
Well that is all the to-do stuff for now. Will work on some additional post, and I did find all your letters, so I will work on answers to them too. I received a letter from Calulu
today. I had written her about five weeks ago. She said she owed me a 'huge apology'. I thought she had given out up writing to me. Go figure. Hurricane Katrina apparently wiped out the homes of her extended family and friends. She did not mention the town in the letter. I have not read all her blog pages yet.
It is now 3:45 and this has not been one of the most efficient times for typing. My fingers are just not doing what they are supposed to do! Not sure exactly what the problem is.
Let me see if Bill wants to share anything he got in his package from his visit yesterday. We (Bill and I) are weaning Tommy off from expecting to be included in all the meals. He is now getting close to $20.00 a commissary from his job, and is not asking if he could kick in more than the one box of rice.
Okay, I am beck. I did my random act of kindness. Went through the chow line and gave Tom the meatballs. Bill and I are cooking pasta, cream of mushroom soup, and a can of chicken. Hmm I might try to add that other pack of parmesan cheese. Stay tuned for updates.
It is now 7:44 PM and I have just finished printing out all the pages that have been entered in the memory. I am enclosing a post that I am not sure if I ever sent. It was sitting in the memory and I do not see any draft copy of it.
I need to call it a night on the typing now; I can not pay any attention anyhow. Looks like I will be up writing another penpal letter. I will pay for it tomorrow, but I need to devote some serious time to getting stuff to you for the blog. I am really going to have to learn to balance my time.
I have at least spent the last few hours finishing what I started with this letter.
I need to start cooking, but am going to try and jump in the shower.
I read five Times yesterday and received Friday and Saturday today. I am going to read Friday tonight, do or die. I will need to keep at least one paper of what I receive each day out of the locker. This way if I read at least one a day, I will not increase the backlog, and then if I bang out a bunch in one day, I will really see a difference.
Guess I will be getting a Friday letter from you this week? Or are you going to stretch it to the end of the week so that I will not get it till next Monday?
Whatever you can manage is okay with me. Thanks for all the work.
I sent mental condolences your way. I was listening to the last innings of the Yankees
demise in the Fall Classic, 2005. Knew you would be in mourning. Sure am glad they settled the hockey strike.
I had flash backs to all the times of being at (and listening to) NY Mets
games. Always getting down to the ninth inning and hoping they would pull out the win. Yes they did it once, the infamous ball between the legs
in Game Six
of the World Series
I guess after sitting through all the disappointments, that became the one comeback to remember. Then they, the Mets, have resumed the traditional racing to the cellar, a couple bright spots along the way, but I have certainly not followed them closely since. Of course it was after that magic year
that the divorce happened and since the Mets were actually something the wife and I did as a couple, it did not have the same pull for me any longer.
I was going to mention about website for Electronic Musician
. It seems a shame to just toss out the magazines but I really have to learn to toss them. I got searched this past Sunday and it could have been real trouble with all the papers, magazines, and books I have in my locker. I really need to pare it down.
That reminds me, I will have my Dad check out if there is a discount for the electronic access to the Times
that might apply since we pay for the mail subscription rate.
I will probably use the smaller envelopes for anything up to eight pages and the larger envelopes for anything over that. The postal weights are a real good tool. Thank you. Normally it would not matter but it appears the prison mail room feels it is its duty to make sure we inmates pay all the postage that is due the government. This way I will be able to put on the proper postage and not have to end up with the envelope coming back the next day.
Paying for news articles without being able to see them first is not a very effective way to do any kind of research. Do you have any access to these types of sites via the public library? I remember the excitement of looking up old stories on the microfilm. They were advertising a new electronic edition. Is it anything earth shaking? On the flipside at least anyone wanting to read old news stories will have to help pay for the cost of archiving them.
Another thing for me to do. Write a letter to the Deputy Superintendent for programs about the DVD reception. Just like at Club Fed
, they have one DVD player for the entire prison. Not sure how many televisions are involved. I still have no idea how many inmates are here. It would be great to have our own DVD/TV but then there would be all kinds of fights over how to show the movies, which features to look at etc. They do run the DVD through some sort of 'switch' since we view it on channel 88. I assume all they have to do at this point is put some sort of signal amplifier as the signal comes out the player and bingo, clear picture.
I do keep up on the DVD format wars, either what appears in the New York Times or the columns in PC Magazine.
I have seen the Howard Stern E!
show a few times while at Club Fed. It is more tease then anything else. I am curious about Stern's latest project
on On Demand TV
. From what he has said about it, it is all the E! shows unscrambled. Part of me would love to see all the stuff he gets to see, but on the other hand I think that is part of what makes him the 'star' he is. The ability to paint the scene with words. Helping the listener use his mind. If you could see everything live, why would you need his words or his 'creative talent?' It has already been proven with the glut of reality programs on the boob tube, that for a given amount of money you can find a human who will do just about anything.
Creativity is the key. I read about the woman kicked off the plane
for wearing the Fuckers t-shirt
, and is one I agree with and I can say that not being a fan of Mr. Bush. The book I was reading had a scene set at the annual Yale vs. Harvard football game and someone is wearing a shirt 'Yuck Fale
' The point is the same in both cases but the letter swapping is certainly a lot less offensive and certainly more creative. The movie Meet the Fockers
is another cheap and not very creative use of the English language.
Music. How much is too much. I remember the days I used to ride my bike through the streets of Brooklyn. You needed to have all your senses attuned to what is going on at all times. Blotting off the ears could be a fatal mistake. Hey even walking the perimeter of the yard at Club Fed, it was impossible to have both ears fully covered and be able to maintain a sense of knowing what was going on around you. About the only exception to that were the times when I would be the only one walking the track as described in the post "Walking in the rain with the one you love
[Well here it is Monday afternoon, and I am just now starting to type page three of this letter that was started Friday night. I punked out typing Sunday evening yet ended staying up all night, and finishing off a book. By all night, I mean I was still awake at 7:00 AM when I went into breakfast. I came back from breakfast and slept right up till the 11:15 AM count, lay back down and awoke again at 12:30 PM. Now I have had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and will hopefully get some serious typing done.]
I read through your letter Friday and was cursing you out. You included one email from a "hot looking Spanish chick
", but how did you know that and not send me a picture?
I am wondering if what I might do is go ahead and draft out a letter to you, type it out then go back and pick out the issues that I want to actually post. Who knows, but let me see if I can get this drafted out tonight. [So much for that plan. I will probably just get this letter out tonight, with no specific posts. So go ahead and post this letter as you see fit.]
About to hear Bach's Brandenburg Concerto
# 4 performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Can I write and listen at the same time? Got to love the magic of good old FM radio technology and Public Radio
9:20 PM and getting sensory overload, ADD, and distracted... Trying to stay focused. I have forty pages to finish in "Blue Blood
", another of those books that I would never picked up on my own. I really hate to start picking and choosing which books to read. But do not stop sending them. I no sooner put ten books into the library the other day and some of them are already turning up in other inmate’s hands.
The thing that I have to keep in mind is that my workload here in NY State prison
is different from the one in Club Fed
. While I had a 'job' in Club Fed, I still had time to type you letters and do plenty of reading in the books you sent.
The major difference is now I receive the New York Times
each and every day, and the blog has taken on a higher degree of effort on my part. I need to focus my energies on daily reading of the New York Times. While I do not always get one paper each day, they tend to come in groups of two or three. Any day I do not read at lest one paper means I am creating a backlog. I need to obtain a level of consistency that I have never really had before.
I have a creative idea for a birthday card for your wife. It will not be a birthday card, but an anniversary card, celebrating the unlabeled anniversary of her twenty-first birthday. Forever young.
The movie Friday evening was 'Legends of the Fall
'. This was actually an interesting anti-government epic that follows the fortunes of a Montana ranching family, during the period of the First World War and the politics of prohibition
. Probably would look really good on a big screen. Great vistas from out west.
Aluminum foiled again.
8:30 PM. Received your letter today. Yeah! I am going to start the draft writing now and then, just maybe, I can say all that I have to say.
Your letter was another one of those letters that really clicked. I am not sure if I am being clear but while all of your letters are appreciated, some really feed my soul an endless banquet of good vibrations. It may be just the time when I receive them? This one is five days late based on your latest post-vacation spurt of getting something in the mail so that I get it on Mondays. That does not mean you should continue to stretch the time between letter writing!
But I think it is more than that. Could it be based on me writing you a better letter? But then which comes first? My letter is better so you write a great letter, or your letter is great so I write better? Chicken or the egg, which comes first?
Hopefully by writing now as opposed to putting it off I can capture all the things I want to write. [It is now Sunday, 5:50 PM and I am starting to type. I did write up eleven pages Friday evening, but that was as far as I got.]
It is funny matching the letters to me and my letters to others. It is part of this isolation I feel that I still have failed to articulate. I have no other point of communication with the world at large except good old snail mail. Yes in the old days that was all there was, but now that I am limited, I do not think the rest of the world understands.
I am not complaining about my time in prison. In today's world with all the various types of communication at one's fingertips, the mail remains the lone method that does not allow for some type of rapid feedback.
This leaves me with two approaches in how I write. The first way is, I can write a really brief message about a subject, end up with one or two questions, and await a letter back with those answers to then tell me what direction I should go next.
I am currently taking this approach with my parents. I wrote out some really simple questions that I need answers for, to be able to choose the proper style/size boots. I had sent this out around the first of this month, I received back some answers on the twelfth of the month, needed to add another question based on the answers and sent it back out. Hopefully I might get those answers back by next Friday (10/21/05).
Then I still need to write a memo to the staff here to get a waiver to the rules that allow you to spend no more than $50.00 per pair of shoes. My wonderfully uniquely sized feet, 11 6E (yes that is EEEEEE wide) require special shoes and the one company that I have dealt with in the past, Hitchcock Shoes
, sells the boots I need for $90.00 to $130.00.
The simple act of ordering shoes will take over thirty days. Ironically, I could have gotten a staff member at Club Fed
to call the company directly, but there we were not allowed to order shoes from the outside. Here where I can order from the outside, there is no way the staff here would help you with getting answers!
The other method of communicating has me writing out several paragraphs (or even pages) and then find out I wrote something wrong in the beginning. With today's modern communication systems, one either is in a direct simultaneous link so that one party can actually interrupt the other person. If using email or talking to voice mail, you will leave a short message that the other person responds to, and a conversation can still take place. The latter may take at most a day or two to resolve, but certainly less than the month or more I am stuck with.
Another example of this time delay. I was lucky one day a couple weeks ago to receive the New York Times only one day delayed. I believe it was a Wednesday paper and it was here on Thursday. While I still have almost a month's worth of papers to read I was scanning this paper the day it came in and found an article that would really be helpful to a bunch of my fellow inmates. It was continued on to a second page and was not something that ends up neatly in an 8 1/2 x 11 size.
Unfortunately we do not have any access to a copier. I knew that my editor could access the electronic edition of the paper for up to seven days for free. After that there was a per article charge to reprint an article. I was very efficient and had four other inmates that wanted copies of the article give me stamped self addressed envelopes and put them together with one of my own and sent them off to my editor. It would get into the mail Friday, and with luck he would receive it Monday and be within the seven day window.
OOPS. That Monday was Columbus Day, no mail delivery. By the time he got home from work Tuesday, it was too late for the free access. I knew the rules; I did not expect him to pay the $3.95 charge to access the article. I did not delay or procrastinate, yet despite even my best efforts, "Aluminum foiled again."
Dear Diary, or Here We Go Again.
Until October 7, the last entry in my day to day composition notebook was May 5. Yes 2005, I am not that far behind.
I am currently on track for every other day. I have made entries on October 7, 9, 11 and 13. It is the ramblings from the 13th that I am including below:
7:20 AM Went to breakfast. Special treat today was doughnuts. They were two individually wrapped small cinnamon bun style items, only there was no cinnamon in them and they only had a thin later of clear glaze on them.
I am setting a goal of ridding my locker of old New York Times. Since I now allow two other inmates to read them first, and they too have discovered the challenge to stay current, I have been able to read all the papers that come in on the same day basis when they are given to me.
This is currently not all that much of a challenge since the most recent paper I have gotten was 9/15/05. Yes, one of the inmates has a way too big stack of papers in his locker to read. I have enjoyed the 'rest` and not feeling pressured to get them out of my locker, but I am going to have to take over and read them first soon.
I must not allow the body to become horizontal. No nap today. I have to wash out the bowl from last night's dinner.
9:30 AM finished 9/15 Times. Cut out eight articles and one crossword. Going to wash the bowl now.
11:00 AM finished 9/16 New York Times. Clipped three articles of interest for Mom and Dad, three for me and one crossword puzzle. Was not able to wash bowl earlier. I am going to see if the sink is clear now.
11:35 AM now what to do? I have papers from August 17 and 27 to 30 to read. All right let us finish all the papers today. Will spend afternoon reading the real old ones mentioned above. Will set additional goal to send the articles I have clipped out to my parents. Go for it Pete.
Going to see if I can get by on lunch from chow hall - pepper steak with egg noodles.
Last chance for mail to go out for this week. I might get something tomorrow, but the next outgoing mail is Monday morning, after tonight (Thursday).
Taking break till noon.
Scanned "Own Worst Enemy" last night. I have to get back to the lessons the book teaches. Some of the points raised are certainly in my subconscience and I need to bring them to the forefront.
Lunch is done. An inmate somehow lost some gold teeth and if they are not found in the next half hour they are going to come in and tear this place apart. [Well they have not yet done that today, but it might still happen in the next couple of days.]
Ended up trying to be sure my locker was in some semblance of order if the shake down came.
Decided to go out to yard at 1:00 PM and get in an hour walk. I did and completed 45 laps.
While taking my shower upon returning from my walk, we lost power. There are no emergency lights in the shower room and no windows. It was very, very dark. After five minutes of total darkness, one of the officers came in with a flashlight to chase us all out of the showers.
Will make this my rambling post for today. Never did get back to the papers.
Received three New York Times today, Monday through Wednesday and a letter from Mom and Dad.
Ending up making a spaghetti and clam sauce dinner for myself tonight, and then spent some time working on a legal issue for a fellow inmate. If I can 'help' him file the right paperwork, he gets to go home now, instead of one year from now. At least if I am stuck here, I can help others.
Well it is now 9:30 PM and time to call it a night. I’m stumbling along here and will continue in my plan to become a more efficient and prolific writer.
Thanks for hanging around, and I promise not to resort to this rambling about my day too often. There are certainly much more interesting things to write about. They just require a little more (okay maybe in my case a lot more) effort and that is the quest I am working on. As the song says: "You know it don't come easy."
The Latest in Trash Comments.
[Editor] After a rash of garbage comments earlier this year, including many that were hateful and some that were simply spam, I first disabled comments entirely, and then later reenabled comments but disabled anonymous comments, allowing comments only from registered Blogger users. This has worked well for a while.
But now spammers have apparently found a way to generate comments and we have recently started getting many spam comments, so I have decided to turn on Blogger's comment verification.
Now in order to post a comment you will have to type in some letters, usually displayed in a blurred or a strange font, into a verification window.
I am sorry for this minor inconvenience, but I'm as sick of spammers as you are, and if this saves me even a little time spent dealing with this garbage, I'm all for it.
Yes But This Time It Is Different.
Well this post is not. It is being prepared the old fashion way. I am typing out the draft and will go through the proof and print steps next.
I just got done straightening out my locker. I have several to-do projects and the number is increasing not decreasing.
What I am attempting to do is drastically alter the way I approach my writing. The big difference between what I am reaching for and where I am coming from is that I need to spend more effort on drafting the things I want to write about. The thing I am still sticking to is that I MUST change the approach, if I am to not only improve my writing, but also to be better able to choose where to expend my time and talents.
As most of you know by now, I am really good at coming up with new ideas and spouting off on individual articles from the paper. There are currently two major stumbling blocks to fully implementing my new strategy.
The first is my collection of way to many articles that I think I would like to write about. This is a physical problem that could lead into some serious problems with the officers in our housing unit. I have accumulated hundreds of separate articles and have them in various large manila envelopes in my locker and the box that I am allowed to keep under my bed.
The amount of clippings I have retained is part of the unrealistic goals I set for myself and lack of realistic time management. There is no way I will ever be able to use all the articles I now have in the next three months. That assumes that I do not clip out any more along the way. While I have already cut back on the amount of articles I clip, I am still collecting at a far faster rate than I am writing about.
The second block is that the time that I actually spend writing on all the articles is too dependent on how I 'feel' at any given moment. Here is where the abundance of articles also adds to the problem. It is way too easy for me to become 'overwhelmed" or 'distracted' (words that probably mean lazy) from the task of first choosing an article to write about, and then still maintain the energy level for me to do the actual writing.
I have two posts I started to write out by hand that type as is.
They are both the product of a positive, high energy start that as you will see, quickly became a smoldering heap of ash as the fires of inspiration fizzled out.
Can I Be Me, or Am I Just Another Inmate?
I am still sitting on my bunk wanting to get my thoughts gown on paper so I can then type them up and get them on to the blog.
I have collected many articles that highlight what individuals have been able to accomplish by not allowing normal standards, expectations or rules and regulations to limit them in the approach to something that they feel strongly about.
Okay I am now doing what it fairly easy for me. I am helping another inmate decipher the latest information he received regarding his ability to receive good time and get out of here sooner rather than later.
This has caused the abandonment of this post for tonight. Two for two. This is why I really need to do the writing in the evening after lights out when there are fewer distractions.
I did help another inmate earlier this afternoon by typing up four pages he needed to present to the court that might actually result in him getting out of here and be a free person while the court is deciding on his appeal. That would be good for him and I would feel good that I helped him get that relief.
It is now 9:15 PM. I have completed three pages that are direct posts. I would like to also write a letter to the editor, and promised a couple of fellow inmates that there would be some black beans and rice yet tonight. I should also take a shower.
That is all not going to happen by 11:00 PM.
Okay here is the deal. I will start cooking now. Should be done by 10:15 PM and then have time for a quick shower.
I will include a handwritten note to my editor and keep a carbon copy to type out in the morning, or maybe the afternoon tomorrow.
Stomach is growling. Dinner tonight was one overcooked, crunchy rectangle of pizza. Need something more substantial to eat NOW! But even now means about forty-five minutes from the time I start.
Capture the Moment.
It is now 5:20 PM Wednesday, no letters in mail call. None yesterday either. Monday was Columbus Day, so I have not gotten a letter since Friday and that was a letter from one of the blog readers, Thank You.
But wait - I did get two magazines and two catalogs. Yes sir, I can get people to send me mail if I send them money.
I have said that I would attack my laziness and learn to use the resources at hand to lift my spirits. I did that. I went through one of my many clipping envelopes and I came across a great article and got all fired up. But by the time I got out the pad to write out this draft, the energy level is already beginning to fade. I need to expend energy to write out my thoughts. It would be easier to just talk about the feelings and ideas the article brings up but in order to write out those same thoughts ... it seems to take forever.
As I write, I need to freeze the state of mind to enable me to write out the thoughts. Again one might begin to curse the A.D.D.
The article is from the New York Times (Sept. 7, 2005). It is the ON EDUCATION column by Michael Winerip. The headline is "A Standout Teacher Who Also Stands Out"
I know in my soul that it is the individual spirit that exists inside each one of us that allows us to really make a difference in this world. It is that same spirit that enables us to feed the spirit of others, and this is especially true of teachers.
In education you can have the testing you want but it is the power to excite and create the desire to learn that can really make an individual teacher worth more than any high test scores could ever reveal.
Yet it seems it sometimes our reliance on the 'system’ and encouraging teachers to follow a standard lesson plan that works against the chance to of freeing those teachers that truly have the gift to unleash the desire inside all students to learn for the sake of the learning, not to be able to fill in the proper little boxes on some computerized answer sheet.
I am rapidly losing steam. I want to just lay back and read. I am going to do just that and then start again. This has been a test. Had this been an actual post, you would have been able to read why I was lifted up by this article. Since I have obviously failed in this objective, I will try again to complete this post. Stand by more to follow.
11:15 PM. Just finished eating rice and beams. Spicy hot, drank two 20 oz. water mugs. Now I will be up all night pissing. Boy I was hungry.
It is finally cool in here. I am sitting in my shorts but will probably be able to use both blankets tonight. I need to expand on this but for last week or so I have been snuggling up with the velour blanket folded inside the extra pillow case. Actually it is very comforting. Nine years and I finally figure it out.
Legally you were only supposed to have one pillow case at Club Fed. Here you could have three. One from the state plus the two you can provide. Maybe I will have Mom and Dad find a king size pillow case. I could stuff it with my clean clothes and really snuggle with it.
I just picked up the Your Own Worst Enemy book and scanned through some of the parts I have highlighted. Guess even though it has been many months since I looked at it, I see I highlighted exactly some of the issues and stumbling blocks I am now facing. Going to have to put this book back on the active reading list.
I am enclosing a page from the Sony Catalog I received today with an ad for a $19.95 music program. It does mention you could add mike for kids to sing or (God forbid) rap to the music.
I am sitting on my bunk. Walter one bed to my left is reading the New York Times. Tom and Bill to my right just finished rice and beans cooked (and paid for) by me. Bill is also reading the New York Times. Both Bill and Walter get to read the paper before I do. That way they get to see all the stories.
I typed four pages for Roger today and spent thirty minutes painfully explaining to our own law clerk what his latest paperwork means.
It has been a good day. Just need to start earlier and get more of my own stuff done.
Missing your weekly letter. Hope you still have a job.
I am going to continue consolidating my files and will get to all questions you are due answers for soon. I was going to send this in a large envelope but since I needed this post 11 PM time to write, it will have to go folded. Sorry. I will work on getting it done sooner. As usual, more to follow.
P.S. I have carbon copy, will send typed copy next day (or two) Ha Ha
Why the last post was titled 'Keep Trying'.
The title of the previous post did not match the content but that can be blamed on the continuing battle with the self diagnosed ADD.
The point I meant to make is that I am working on improving the consistency of my writing. The self designed plan calls for handwritten drafts that can then be typed without needing the time consuming additional 'Proof and Print' step.
The one result of this new process is that if I wrote nothing out, the typewriter did not even leave its home in my locker.
This afternoon instead of 'thinking' of what I wanted to write, and putting yet another item in the round-to-it file I am writing out my thoughts so a little later on this evening I can just type them up. I was realizing that while I am usually quick to expound on various subjects verbally, the patience needed to write out those thoughts is something I am not always willing to commit to.
Yes I have admitted to LAZINESS and that is the label I am sticking to for now.
I know better, but the difference between knowing and doing is sometimes an insurmountable roadblock on the road to personal improvement.
I did manage to type out twelve handwritten pages yesterday and by the time I was down to the last page the fingers were no longer under operator control. That means I need to be more consistent and be sure to give these errant fingers more frequent exercise. Practice makes perfect.
I will let this sit and ferment for a bit and probably write out a few more posts before I take out the typewriter and begin to put these thoughts into blog worthy format. Stay tuned for more confessions.[Truth telling time. It is now 8:30 PM and I have just finished typing all the handwritten notes. Be careful what you promise. No, I never did get around to adding any more posts. Tomorrow is yet another day. I am going to keep at it; it does seem to be an efficient way to divide the workload. Stay tuned.]
Well it is just after 2:00 PM here at my place. It is a holiday here, Monday, Columbus Day, so that meant sleeping till 10:00 AM for the third day in a row. Brunch was two hamburgers for the lunch portion of the meal, and two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. In addition I had six of the eight ounce milks and two orange juices, four ounce size.
That certainly made up for yesterday's protein-deprived brunch where the edible entrees consisted of a double helping of soggy mini size waffles, with syrup. The waffles have the consistency of an artificial sponge. The other food item was oven half-baked French fries which were soggy and under cooked. Yes this type of food preparation is usually the fault of fellow inmate, so is yet another area of prison life where we inmates shoot ourselves in the foot. At least at Club Fed they still actually fried the French fries.
I just finished watching the "Longest Yard
", the remake. I think it is funny that among the previews included with the movie was an ad to buy the original
one, now in its special lockdown edition.
I have to admit I actually did enjoy myself. There are some movies where the audience enhances the movie watching experience. In this case, watching a movie where the goal is for inmates to be able to beat up on their guards, well let us just say that is certainly an enticing thought to inmates in general.
I remember seeing Animal House
for the first time and being one of a very few people in the theatre at the time. It is eerie to hear the echoes of your own laughter in an empty theatre.
One of the ad-hoc audience participation games turned out to be matching some of the inmates in the movie with some of our own. In one case the name of the character was the same as the inmate we would nominate from our group to match. At one point in the movie one of the inmates that was allowed to come see the game in person, gets so excited he yells from the stands, "Group hug tonight in the shower." There is a momentary silence, then he adds, "Or not."
One of the story lines in the movie actually scares the living **** out of prison officials all across this land. It is the idea of inmates being able to work together on anything. Any hint of an occurrence of inmates working together and the varied groups, gangs or clicks might actually start to play nice with one another and before you could say "Correction System", instant mass transfers and other nefarious group busting techniques begin to take place.
Since this movie did not depend on visual detail that other movies this weekend did, it was certainly a more enjoyable time. It is very distracting to watch any movie with nighttime scenes or minute details through the snowy picture we get for the in-house VHS or DVD movies. All the broadcast channels come in clear as can be, so this seems to be a signal strength problem or perhaps copy protection conflicting with the splitters or other conflicts in the wiring of the televisions.
Although the fries might be better at Club Fed, this movie would not have been shown in its current release as it carries an 'R' rating. All movies in the federal system that are shown to inmates must carry a rating of "PG-13" or less. This was result of a law that was passed by the United States Congress, ever vigilant legislators that they are.
I have gotten a little better at taking care of myself. By that I mean if I am feeling down, I have resources to lift my spirits. The one aspect I am having trouble with at this point is when a particular activity does not produce the result I was hoping for. Under that condition, I need to be able to totally switch tracks and take up an entirely different activity to bring my self back out of the low point.
For example when I decide to try and relax and watch one of the movies that they show here on weekends. Sometimes the movies not only fail to entertain me, but add yet another level of sadness to fight through. This sadness is nothing that I can not dig my way out of but as my post a few days back clearly states I may just put it off. I am too often willing to accept the sadness and not expend the effort I know is needed to pick myself back up and rise above the funk.
I am serious about not waiting for a letter or blog comment to come through and say poor Pete, he is feeling blue. The truth I know is that without the blues there is not up times. I do have good days. True they are not everyday, I am in prison after all, but I want to be able to continue to be my own internal skills at spirit lifting.
This is not to say that I do not need others. I do and appreciate all blog comments and the snail mail I do get. I want to be able to use those resources as kindling to start my own fires of inspiration and spirit lifting. In the past it was more likely that I was depending on others not only to be the kindling, but they had better have the matches and logs to keep the fire going.
The cool part about kindling is that it takes up very little room; I can store it for when the fires of life are all but burned out, and thus will hopefully never be without it.
One of the recurrent problems I have is the built in delay of this blog and. letter writing in general. Yes it is a system that has existed for ages, but now that people have gotten used to the idea of being able to get instant answers to questions, waiting for weeks to send letters back and forth seems positively barbaric.
This is what I mean by saving up kindling. If I can reach out when my fires are burned out and pick up a tidbit received earlier but not needed at that time, life would be pretty good.
If this makes any sense, maybe you could drop off some kindling as a blog comment from time to time. I promise to do my part and not waste them. I will keep the fire going on my own as much as possible and not spend days in the old funk
I have so frequently written about waiting for an entire bonfire to come along and rescue me.
Another week shot to hell.
It is now 10:00 PM and I am typing this letter directly out with the ribbon, no draft of this letter has been done. I know I said that I would be doing the handwritten drafts and that is still my plan. In the past whenever I would come up with a new 'plan', I would usually give it up before it ever had a chance. Not so any more.
I realize that just because I wish something, I am not the captain of the Enterprise. I can not turn to my minions and say, "Make it so!"
This letter will be an attempt to at least allow some of my thoughts to arrive for the blog, while the 'new system’ is under construction.
In the process of reorganizing my 'files' I have misplaced your latest letter. Drat. I will find it, and will be sure to answer it soon.
I am curious as to the 'silence' that seems to have fallen upon the blog. While the counter still shows people stopping by to read, the comments have been few and far between.
The silence can be a good thing I guess but to be honest I am wondering if it means my writing is failing to stir any emotions among the readers. Have I become passé? Are all the readers in agreement with my positions? Am I failing to truly entertain them? What is it?
I am still not receiving much mail and in the last four weeks have only received letters from two pen pals. I am not complaining so much as wondering what is going on.
I am willing to accept the position that readers of the blog are mildly interested in my writing to check in from time to time but it does not raise to the level of them posting a comment.
I am working at treating my writing more along the lines of a traditional book writer, in that he or she does not get much feedback as he writes and it is only when he finishes the process and actually publishes the book that one finds out if it was worth the effort.
I will take this three day weekend to further narrow my focus of things I want to write about. I allow myself to collect hundreds of articles that I would like to comment on and then end up paralyzed into inaction, overwhelmed again.
Inmates screw things up.
Well, it is a new day. I am sitting on my bunk getting pissed off at the world.
The air conditioner was working fine. The room was just comfortable for a good night's sleep and bingo! Some asshole shuts off the compressor part of the system. Now one hour later and it is already at least five degrees warmer and still going up.
Damn the idiots! Every other prisoner in the NY system would give his or her right arm to have AC. We are the only ones and then some inmates complain about being too cold and off it goes. It just confirms my belief that it is the for themselves.
The lighting in our dorm is a grid of four lights by six lights. Each light contains two eight-foot long florescent bulbs. There were at least nine of the twenty-four fixtures that were not working, needing bulb replacement. Today they were fixed. Three of the fixtures were in the row of four that are directly over my bed. The difference is amazing. If we had fourteen working fixtures and now have twenty-four that is around a 65% increase in light output for the entire dorm.
It is like an oven in here. The place is getting warmer by the minute. Another hour or so and I might as well not bother getting under the covers. Being on the top bunk the blankets just end up lying on the floor by morning.
I am waiting for Beethoven's Midnight Piano Sonata. Think of Linus of Charlie Brown fame.
I got a letter from my dad today and he is really trying to cover some of the ground I mentioned en the recent visit, but I think he missed something. He says he will try to send two letters a week. I hope it works out. I am very worried about both Mom and him, although there is not much I can really do at this point.
That is still the hardest thing to handle. How helpless I really am. The one manifestation of this is the obsessive desire to respond instantly to any letters I get (mostly yours). At the same time if I relax and put off an immediate response it is real easy to let the letters grow mold before I finally write back, because after a few days I give up the thought that anything I have to say is of any importance. Look how easy it was to not send you anything typed last week. Yes sometimes it is just plain laziness.
I want to consider myself a writer. I need to be able to write without expecting direct, instant feedback.
I have been toying with trying to explain how there are two different types of things that I am good at. I can apparently write to the point of stirring up emotions in others.
I can program a computer with ease and make those machines dance. The writing takes a lot more effort to achieve the end product; computer programming provides instant feedback and quite honestly requires less "knowledge". Once you get down the syntax and commands, off you go. Writing requires a constant awareness of spelling, grammar, style etc.
Okay that's all for now I just hit the wall and it is now beddy bye time.
I spent most of Thursday and Friday evening (6-9 PM) doing legal research for other inmates. Some of was to help Frank better understand what issues he might raise on the next step in the appeal process.
He has still not told me all the specifics of his case but he is seeking definitive and positive results from me. He has now been turned down by the NY Appeals Court and is at a place where he needs to pay more lawyers to raise his issues in the Federal Court. This is the same thing I have done without any lawyers.[Just got back from doing yet more legal research for Frank. About 90 minutes or so.]
I am doing the research primarily to add to my own legal research experience. Working on his stuff does not really benefit me directly as far as my own appeals process go.
When I do legal research I tend to get wound up and frustrated at the same time. It is amazing how while you read actual appeal cases, you can find one case that says yes, the sky is blue, but a few cases later they say yes, the sky is green.
I was attempting to decompress and got into an interesting debate with Walter (fellow inmate) about the hopelessness of the whole system. The whole thing that started me off was the connection between the level recommended by the review board and the actual level assigned by the judge.
Based on my research tonight, it appears that no matter what the formula comes up with, the judge has full discretion to assign what level he feels is appropriate.
While discussing the issues with Walter, he asked the question, "Okay what would happen if you came home from work one day and you discovered..."
I was saved answering by the 9:45 PM count.
By the time the count was done I came to the decision that it was time to tell Walter something about my case. I pulled him aside in the courtyard and told him that the question he asked is a tough one. Now I do not know if you are about this whole discussion or not and I am writing to save the moment for future research.
From what Walter has said, he has an MSW. I do not want any actual information on Walter. You can look him up if you want but do not send me any specifics. If you do pull up anything, maybe you could 'file' a copy of it with this letter.
By 11 PM we had some decent discussion and Walter said he would like to talk more from time to time. One of the things we were discussing was a thirty year study that was done in Canada.
My point was that even if it was historically accurate 95% of the time that means you would be wrong with five out of every hundred persons if you were to set up conditions for those hundred persons. The idea of predicting the future behavior of any one person is certainly not a science, and certainly not a principle our justice system is based on. Once you decide to get into the crystal ball business you stop.
Again this was an intellectual discussion and we did not have to deal with the reality of the world around us.
Walter also conceded that my nine plus years of prison experience does begin to come in handy against his one year of dealing with the system.
I think there was a thing on the web
about Hitler, Beethoven and one other famous person that describes their personalities without disclosing their names and what you would do with those persons. The result was Hitler smelt like a rose and you would have advised Beethoven's mother to have an abortion since this was her umpteenth child and it was going to have some birth defects.
I am not sure if any of this makes any sense to you. Walter said it showed that I trusted him. I said that it was not that at all.
Over the last several months, mostly through the blog, I have been dealing with people who know my legal background and as such I can take the position of testing various relationships with my true self. I told him I would appreciate him not sharing our talk with anyone else, but had not extracted any promises before I told him. Nor did I tell him to get him to tell me his crimes and I actually cut him off when he starts to confess to me. I told him I did not need to know the details.
Anyhow I am going to write you asother letter and some more posts this weekend. [Maybe if I say it enough it will come true.]
I received your Friday letter today.
I wrote the following letter out over the weekend and am typing it out now. I did send out seven or eight pages last night but it came back for lack of proper postage. It needed one more 23 cent stamp. But you know this since you will probably get two envelopes on the same day.
I have typed the two enclosed posts directly without first using the carbon paper and memory. I did have a handwritten draft to follow and think it came out pretty well.
I am going to switch to the jagged right margin since it will make corrections easier. The typewriter actually uses proportional spaces to make the words fit on the line and going back up to correct an error is difficult to line up.
The main reason to type this way is it will save the time it takes to reprint out each page. Also while I can edit work I put into the memory, it would be more efficient to use a pencil draft to make those corrections before I type them. The spell checker should catch most of the errors and hopefully I will not do too many word swaps.
I did notice that on the 'Hole in my tooth' post I typed "cruched" instead of crunched. If I get too many uncorrectable errors I will go back to typing out the draft first.
Although this letter so far is typed without any draft, I will not as a rule type this way since even if the words are spelled right, without the draft to go by there are likely to be unconnected words.
Doctor, there is a hole in my tooth.
Several weeks ago I had the awful feeling that comes when you are basically chewing soft food and something goes crunch. I assumed what I crunched on was a filling. I filled out a request to see the dentist and four days later I was ushered into the dental chair.
The dentist mentioned that I appeared to have an untreated cavity on the right side of my mouth but no fillings appeared to be missing. He said that what I may have felt was a piece of tartar that had come loose. He said he would put me on the list for a cleaning and on another list for the cavity that needed filling. I asked him how long the wait was for both those lists and he said he could not tell me.
While waiting for either of those two events to happen, I felt that crunchy feeling again. This time it was definitely not a loose piece of tartar as I was able to recover the actual filling. I was able to do this BEFORE it was swallowed in case anyone is wondering just exactly I mean by 'recover'. I retrieved a Dental Sick Call form and taped the 'lost' filling to the form along with a request to see the dentist.
This past Thursday, seven days after reporting the problem, I again climb into the dental chair. The dentist looks into my mouth and confirms that yes I have indeed lost a filling. The fact that I have spent the last seven plus days chewing only on the left side of my mouth was good enough for me. He said it looked like I had some decay under the filling and a small piece of the tooth might have broken off, causing the filling to come loose.
He confirmed I was already on the list to have the cavity filled and he could probably do both of them at the same time. Whenever that time would be, he did not seem to have a clue.
At least in Club Fed, lost filings were treated as an emergency and the two or three lost fillings I had over the years I was there were all filled the same day I reported them.
Meanwhile I have a nice dull ache in the tooth with the missing filling, and I am hoping that I do not do further damage to the tooth while I wait to have the filling replaced.
This hurry up and wait approach to dental care might end up with me being toothless by the time I get out of the New York State system.
What the Funk?
Time for some brutal honesty. Time to ask the tough questions.
I do not know about you, but I am tired of hearing (or seeing) myself talk about being in a funk. The result of this funk is that I do not feel like writing. I have used this lame excuse both for explaining a delay in writing to my pen pals and also in getting posts for this blog done.
I have not sent out any typed pages to my editor this past week (Sunday - Thursday). Yes I did send two short handwritten notes. Both notes promised not only that I would send a typed copy of the notes, but would send pages of blog posts.
So here it is Saturday morning (12:45 AM) and now the next chance for anything to get in the good old snail mail will be Monday morning. [That is not even an issue since it is now Monday afternoon and I am just typing out the handwritten draft. It could have already been in the mail had I typed at any point Saturday or Sunday.]
This means the soonest this will reach my editor is Wednesday evening. [For now Thursday evening.]
You are now asking yourself so where is the tough question? Here it is. Am I really in a funk (and what is a funk anyhow?) or am I just being L-A-Z-Y ?
LAZY? I have challenged myself to prove that I am not wimping out, claiming 'funkdom' as a justifiable excuse to not set out the typewriter and expend the energy needed: physical, emotional and intellectual; to produce coherent, insightful or maybe funny commentary for the blog. The same holds true for letters that I need to write to the various individuals that are kind enough to write to me from time to time.
Bottom Line: I realize that an honest appraisal if my actions (on non-actions) shows that instead of doing the writing I was spending my time engrossed in fictional books and ignoring the world. It turned out as I thought about this, that while it was certainly easier to lay prone on my bunk and read, I was not being honest with myself.
There were no physical barriers to me typing. I have all the materials needed. I have enough good food to eat so I cannot claim protein deprivation. I have plenty of things to write about. I had a great visit with my Mom and Dad last weekend, I lost a filling in one of my bottom molars, and I have the plethora of articles clipped from the New York Times. That is just some of what needs to be dealt with.
Honestly I have to admit I am just being lazy. I do not deserve any pity or 'poor Pete' comments. No, I failed yet again to use the challenges before me to strengthen my character as opposed to lying down on the job and wallowing in a pool of self pity. It has pissed me off. I knew I was sliding backwards, taking the easy way out.
The penalty for my laziness is the risk of losing some of the regular readers of my blog. My pen pals will get tired of not getting letters back, and all of a sudden I will wake up and find myself "alone" and wonder what has happened.
Hopefully it is not too late. I will write out some drafts and then buckle down and get them typed. Even though I did not type this post on Sunday as planned, but I need to allow for some stumbling along the way. To allow the delay to throw off the task is yet another way I too easily accept defeat and give up.
I have been taking Friday off since no mail goes out till Sunday night/Monday morning. Then on Saturday I would resolve to get all the typing done on Sunday and by the time Sunday comes along and I am overwhelmed by the self-imposed amount of 'stuff' that needs to be typed.
The other behavior is to keep muddling along the way I have on Friday and Saturday. Along comes 11 PM Sunday evening and the lights go out and three days has gone by without anything being typed.
So let the writing begin.
Pack Rat and ADD Leads to Trouble.
I admit it; the visit with my parents lifted my spirits. This morning, Monday, when I woke up around 7:30 AM, I was feeling motivated! I did sleep through breakfast, but that only buys you a little extra sleep time as you have to have your bed made and not be under any blankets by 7:45 AM.
The pack rat part of the story: as most of you know, I have been receiving the New York Times seven days a week. The Sunday paper, for those not familiar with it, is a ten or more section, heavyweight collection of more information than any one individual could possible read from cover to cover.
Two of my favorite sections are the Week in Review and the Sunday Magazine.
Since I have no access to any type of historical resources, I felt that keeping the Week in Review would certainly give me a good basis for building a current events file.
In a spurt of inspiration, I have spent the morning going through the last seven months of magazines and Week in Review sections and cutting out those portions that I really do want to keep. Not only do I not need to keep the entire section or magazine, but there are some weeks where I did not even cut out one article.
The ADD part is having done this most of the morning, non-stop, by 11:30 AM,
I was ready to move on to another project. I think I managed to clear out six or seven of both the Sunday Magazines and Week in Reviews. After making my personal octopus with spaghetti, I decided to try and get an early start at typing out some long delayed blog posts.
Okay now that I have typed one and a half pages of post I am ready to lie down for a nice afternoon nap! I will try to fight that urge and continue typing.
[And if you believe there was even a chance of that last sentence coming true I have a bridge I own in New York City that I am willing to sell to you. Here it is Sunday evening a week later and this post is still not even out of the memory of the typewriter. I have not gone back in to the stack of papers to sort out the important stories. I have also given another inmate first crack at reading the papers and he is feeding them to me even slower than my previous reading rate. I just received the September 10, 2005 issue from him. So even this lighter workload in reading the current papers has not spilled over to getting some of the other backlog done. As a matter of fact, I did not send one page of typed letters or blog post to my editor all week! I have no excuse.]
Speaking of the "F" word.
They showed 'Team America, World Police" this Sunday. After my two days of visiting with Mom and Dad, I thought this might be a nice way to unwind.
I am certainly not a prude, nor do I claim to never resorting to the use of the infamous "Seven Dirty Words" but I do think this film went overboard.
The basic storyline was to show that the efforts of United States to bring democracy to other countries do more harm than good. While I applaud the use of movies to present alternative views and allow people to pose questions as to what our nation's policies do, I think this film failed to maintain a serious enough storyline to get their point across. Instead they resorted to cheap visual gags and the 'F' word as punctuation for every other sentence. Could be me? Maybe it appealed to a younger demographic.
Hopefully some viewers of this film were able to see beyond the coarse language and crude sexual lines to question if our foreign policy is meeting the goals set out by our elected officials.
Some, maybe most, of my fellow inmates watching the movie were more enraptured by the 'sex scene' between two of the marionettes.
If you have seen this movie, I would appreciate you posting a comment about your impression of the movie.
Weak Will Power.
I had the wonderful experience of spending most of Saturday and Sunday with my parents. They came up for a visit and it was really good to see them. They brought along some goodies to put in my locker.
On the sweet side, they included two packages of Double Stuff Oreos! One pound, two ounce package. I immediately gave one package to another inmate to hold for me to be sure I did not devour the two packages in less time than it is taking to type this.
I did not have any extra bread bags, so I did not want to open the cookies and risk them going stale (like that was really going to be a problem).
This morning I woke and felt motivated to clean out my locker. While straightening out the 'food' shelf in my locker, what should appear but an empty bread bag. From the time I made this earth shaking discovery till the Oreos were opened probably is only eligible for measurement with the most precise time tracking devices.
It is now a few hours later and I am happy to report that at least half of the package still exists. The odds of the remainder surviving till tomorrow morning are not too good. But they will be giving their life for a good cause. Cause I like them. [This post has been sitting in the memory all week. It is now Sunday evening, seven days later and not only did the first pack not make it till morning, the second package is about to become a fond memory. The second package did last a little longer in that it was opened on Friday evening and will make it till a little later this evening (Sunday). I have been sharing them with other inmates. Not only to be a nice guy, but I figure that saves me a few laps around the yard.]
In addition to the cookies, I also received three bricks of cheddar cheese, two triangles of parmesan cheese, one package of two ounce cheddar cheese sticks (one of those is gone) and four cans of diced tomatoes (one of those is gone also). [Okay, so all the cheese sticks are now gone, one brick of parmesan is finito, and another can of diced tomatoes will be sacrificed in tonight's black bean and rice meal.]
It was great to be able to carry on a conversation over several hours and not hear the "F" word or any of its compound forms. I was able to exert control over my own speech and did not embarrass myself in front of Mom and use any of the more colorful language that I am normally surrounded with.
Okay so I lied.
Okay so I lied. Here it is 11:30 PM and nothing typed made it into the mail yesterday or today. I could wait and so it is tomorrow, but then you would only get that one short letter for this whole week.
I did receive eleven books yesterday. Thank You. Was the pink book you referred to "Wifey" by Judy Blume? It is pretty funny in that it is written in the late 60's, early 70's and the styles etc. are so dated.
Thanks for the books. I will buckle down and read the classics that were included. Faulkner and Miller!
I will type this out so your (my) archives will be complete. I am thinking of going back once more to writing out stuff at night and then typing it out the next day. In theory if I have a handwritten draft and my improved touch typing I would be able to type out an original without the need to first type a draft. I would still have the spell checker and built in correction tape so that should not affect your ability to scan and OCR without any major editing on your part.
I will struggle to get back to my job, as I treated it back a while ago, of being the writer. I will spend the time each day at the table typing instead of my current style, which is spending way too much time on my bunk reading and napping.
I finally got my solid steel bed back and slept fairly deeply last night. Now the only problem is they insist on shutting off the AC unit around 10 PM each night and it gets progressively warmer till by 6 - 7 AM you are sweating on your bunk. The damn system does not regulate itself well and it is too cold for some of the inmates here.
Even though it is down in the 50's outside at night now, this damn system does not seem to draw in much of the outside air. That is bad on two counts. The first being that the body heat of 104 inmates seems to not only keep this place warm, but actually increases the room temperature. The second point this raises is how do we get fresh air in here?
It would be awesome to be able to have the steel bed and a cool temperature to really get the few hours of deep sleep I need to be running on all eight cylinders. I am hoping to get motivated to get my ass back out and walking the track tomorrow! It might be raining though. Well that is all for now.
I will get some more out tomorrow. Including the typed copy of this letter, the Monday typing still waiting for proof and printing. So until the next magic snail mail envelope lands in your mail box hope life is treating you well.
I have gotten pretty good at cooking with both the dried red chili peppers that Bill has recently gotten in and the jalapeno peppers they sell in commissary. They are $0.98 per can.
I have recently increased the amount of peppers I use in the bean and rice meal. I chop two up and cook them with the food, then add one more chopped with some more onions, raw on top. The black beans and tomato sauce with chopped onions fills the five cup hot pot and is split between Bill and I. Tom does not eat spicy food so his is cooked separately.
If you want to, you could send me a few of your home grown peppers! Put them in a plastic bag but do not seal it since the trapped in moisture tends to hurt rather than help keep the vegetables fresh. I would love to try some of the yellow peppers!
One page already done. Need to put some paragraphs in the first page. [You can see that I did that.] The draft has only two paragraphs and when I break it up it will be longer then one page, but I will handle it. Want to make it as easy as possible for you, now that I have the ability to actively contribute to the process.
I was reading an article about the collision course the electronic game industry seems to be on. The next generation machines will be so fast that they will require more and more labor intensive scene programming. I am still not clear on how the game software works but I got the impression that it is still like the old cartoon drawing technology where they have to have 'stills' for each incremental movement of the scene. The article hinted that the more detail the more bodies needed to create the content. Now if we would devote that same energy to cures for cancer and increased crop yields that might be really something.
I will take your word for the cool picture you are getting from the over the air high definition broadcast. Most of the movies we get are the DVD version and sometimes they use the 'full screen' instead of the letter box style. The main problem is that while all the cable stations come in clear, the DVD is distorted and grainy. I assume it has to do either with not a strong enough signal, or perhaps running through the various splitters or maybe the copy protection 'system' puts the fuzz in to prevent clear copying? I am thinking of writing a note to the head of the programming part of the prison, as opposed to security or administration and encourage a possible fix for the problem. I am not holding my breath.
I do understand TiVo and the DVR concept. I was surprised that Dad and Mom still do not have a DVD player. It would be good since most of the discs seem to have the closed caption option. I was thinking that they might be best buying a TV/DVD combo unit. Less wires, one remote KISS operation? Dad did say that local library is now carrying DVDs. Do you have any suggestions? I am wondering; can you get the wide screen HD type screen in a smaller size? In other words, they lost their main TV in the last big storm so they need a new TV anyhow. I'm not sure what they would spend but while Dad does like to watch TV more than Mom, it has to be really simply to operate.
Damn, 9:00 already and I still need a shower. Well I will try to finish typing one more page and if I run out of proof and print time will include post in next mailing.
Double damn, potty break and then might as well shower and then will see where I am at time wise. I need to probably just wait and send this whole thing tomorrow. My typing is rapidly degrading to some really unique word spellings. So that is it. This will wait till tomorrow, I will drop you a quick hand note tonight and then start this all much earlier tomorrow.
Well it turns out to have been a few tomorrows. Seven, but who is counting. It is now 10:30 PM Sunday evening, October 2 and I am just going to be able to get out this stuff that was already in the typewriter memory, along with the typed copies of the two handwritten letters I sent you last week. I already have a hand written draft that I wrote Friday and had great plans to type out. Oh well. As always more to come.
The typed copy of this letter will follow tomorrow. [Well it is following, just took a little longer] I worked on a couple of posts this afternoon and two pages of a letter to you but my mind gave up any hope of being functional so I will do all the proofing and printing tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know I got your letter today. I did get books last week but I guess the twentieth shipment is to come soon.
Mom and Dad visited this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. More details to follow.
Hey just a thought. Could you send some of the peppers from your garden? I use three jalapenos when cooking five cups of tomato sauce and black beans. Two of them are included while I cook the beans and one ends up chopped on top of the two bowls that the five cups make.
Bill got a package of the dried red chili peppers and I use five or so in the five cups of spaghetti sauce I make. This also serves two people.
Bill's tolerance for heat seems to be very high. I will have beads of sweat on my forehead and he wants to add more hot sauce! I suggest you put them in a plastic bag but so not seal it or twist it. Maybe poke some holes in it. The airtight bags tend to collect the moisture. Put some crumpled paper and they should be okay. Just a suggestion.
Lots more to follow. Sorry yet another delay but now with parental visit past, hopefully I can function at top speed for a bit. [Okay so maybe it is taking me a little longer to accelerate. Voom Voom...