Prison Pete

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
  Somewhat constant?
It is 6:00 PM here on a hot Tuesday evening and I am in my somewhat constant state of funk. Somewhat constant? Can you put those two words together?

Seriously, things here tend to be emotionally bruising, or just barely above even. This place can really put you in the dumps, and the best you can hope for is to be lifted out of the hole of despair and plunked down at the foot of the mountain of happiness. You are left with little energy to ascend the mountain, either through external stimulation, or strictly one's own internal resources.

That matches my physical surroundings to some extent. Our little taxpayer-supported secure location is nestled between two ranges of hills (mountain seems to be too big of a word). While the view at this time of year is miles of green rolling hills, the bottom border of the picture is the ever present fence and razor wire that keeps us (or you) safe and secure.

On the good news side of things I have put in some serious hours sitting in front of a computer and toying around with two database programs. This differences between the last time and this time is that I have been seen working on the computer by several sergeants and even the Superintendent (top dog).

Today however, the head of the maintenance department was in the mess hall (this is where I am working on the computer) and attempted to prove that I was doing something entirely beyond what I, as an inmate, was allowed to do.

Since I have very little interaction with him it is hard to tell how much of his trash talking was said with tongue in cheek. He is in a position to point out to other staff people that perhaps it is not a good idea to have me working on the computer.

Unlike in Club Fed there is no institution network, and this computer is a standalone unit that is used for generic word processing task and not at all for any secret information.

One problem is I never did much programming in the Windows environment, so I am forging ahead by the seat of my pants. The machine only has a copy of Microsoft Works and Lotus Approach. Both of these programs do not appear to have the flexibility I need to complete this project. The officer I am working with is working on getting a copy of Access which would solve that problem, but then I have to learn how to get Access to do what I need.

Currently there are two different sets of forms; each set contains a different form layout. Each set has a page for each day of the week. When an inmate moves beds, or is removed or added to food service, there are up to fourteen different places that need to be changed.

Is that clear?
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