If you have any questions for Andy about the prison system, what it is like, what goes on there, or anything, please leave the question in a blog comment and Andy would be happy to answer it. It keeps him occupied and allow us to learn about the system.

Also, for his friends, he would LOVE to get pictures of anything, so if you have his address, please send them to him, or if you would like to email them to the blog editor, you can do that and he will print out the pics and mail them to him.

He is now attending the class he must take before his release, and he will mention the journal entry memo they discussed that day in class.

Even if you don't know Andy, feel free to comment on his blog entries, which he gets and will respond to.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boredom, exercise, and thoughts of parole

It’s Sunday morning in here, and I find myself without much to say and with little inspiration to write.  Please don’t mistake this for me being in a bad mood.  I simply don’t know what to write about.  This will probably be short, but, at least, you’ll know what I am up to. Maybe a jolt of creativity will strike this afternoon and I’ll fill ten pages with mindless blog barter.  Who knows?

Yesterday, Saturday, went by faster than any previous Saturday for me.  I’m not sure why.  I definitely hope that the trend continues because, on consensus, Saturdays are the most dreaded days in here.  For me, there is just too much idle time which spurs me to start wishing I wasn’t in here.  I also tend to let my mind wander and try to imagine the fun things I’d be doing instead of exercising on a hard concrete floor or writing a blog from an uncomfortable steel stool/seat thing.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the weekends drag on now, does it?

I spent a couple hours yesterday thumbing through “Men’s Health” magazines trying to find any and all exercises described that I can do in here without needing any peripheral equipment.  I came up with some stuff that was new to me, and I worked up a complete 7 day program.  I started it yesterday afternoon, but it was difficult to motivate myself to begin.  Nonetheless, I did begin.  After I finish writing here on the Blog, I’m going to make a nice concise chart, so I can record what I’m doing (sets, reps, etc.)   For the most part (in the real world), I’m not one of those people who walks around the gym with pen and note card in hand charting my workout.  However, in the spirit of keeping things interesting, I thought I would try it this way and see if it helps out any.  More than likely, I’ll get tired of messing with it and just move on. 

I just got back from lunch.  It’s barely 10:30am.  I’m not complaining, I’m just letting you know.  I was able to sleep late this morning.  I woke up at 8:52 am, which I think is just about the longest I’ve slept since leaving County.  For lunch I had a piece of meatloaf (the portion was generous for in here), some mashed potatoes, a piece of corn on the cob, and some beans.  I traded away my biscuit for an additional piece of corn.  I’ll have to say that it was all pretty tasty.  It really just felt like I was getting to eat a big breakfast.  It’s hard not to snack while just hanging out pointlessly here in the dorm, but hopefully I’ll be tided over until dinner which will probably be between 3:45 and 4:15 pm.  I plan on exercising today starting at 2 pm.

There is not a wealth of extra food floating around in our dorm right now.  It’s been 24 days since we were last able to go with the spend limit that is imposed on us at the commissary. 24 days is too long of a period to stretch our purchases and remain comfortable.  Is anyone going to starve to death?  Absolutely not.  Does it make inmates agitated for no purpose?  Absolutely yes. Does it cost the already cash deprived TDCJ system valuable additional monies?  Absolutely yes.  In a very small nutshell, I would compare the commissary system here to a fully stocked and competent convenience store that is only open to the public 4 days out of the week and for only half of the day.  The owner of the convenience store and his fixed costs are set and include his enormous monthly rent.  By limiting his hours, he is now only exposed to about 2/3 of his potential gross revenue.  Although there is probably more to this than meets my eyes, I do not think that it is a sound operating procedure for the commissary to operate as it does on this low security unit.  My gosh, I’m not sure where all my ranting just came from!  I still have food in my locker, so why am I worried?

I think I told you that one of my friends received news from his family that his parole was denied.  We do not get a timely notice in here on whether or not we have been granted parole.  You readers on the outside have much quicker access to the information than we do.  My friend was denied parole by the board around the end of May.  His family informed him via Jpay of the decision on June 3rd.   He still has not received word via the prison system of the board’s decision.  The official word via the prison system is relayed to us in here when we receive a lay in to visit the IPO.  The IPO then gives us a letter that indicates the parole board’s decision.  Not that it’s much consequence in my situation, since I have plenty of available communication with my attorney and family, but it appears that most of the guys in here have to wait over two weeks after the board has voted, to learn of their answer.  I’ll let you know when my friend is delivered his official denial letter, so that we can determine exactly how long the lag time really is.  Yes, I know that I think about math and numbers too much.  Sorry.  The boredom in here doesn’t help matters.

Another one of my friends is due to see the IPO tomorrow morning to learn his fate and parole answer.  His family on the outside has not pre-discovered his answer for him.  He has been to prison at least one time previous to now and I’m guessing he will not be granted parole.  I don’t even remember his charges or his background story, but I’ll let you know how things turn out once I know myself.

I met another guy in here this week that was recently shipped here from another unit.  He’s in here for a violation of his probation and a 3rd DWI. I’m not sure of his original charges or how they relate to the DWI.  He was originally arrested last July 2009 and received a 3 year sentence.  In November 2009, the parole board set the date as June 1, 2010.  He will be released sometime within the 60 day period following June 1st .  His reactions to his “any day now” freedom are very intriguing.  Keep in mind, he has no idea how long after June 1st that he’ll  go home.  Unless someone from the outside notifies him, he will be totally surprised when his name is called to catch train and go home.  To say he is extremely anxious is a mild understatement.  If he has family on the outside to check on his release status, I know that they will have some sort of advance notice, but I don’t know how much.

OK, now, this is too much jail talk. I’m even boring myself.  Someone tell me about an interesting summer vacation that you’ve already taken or about one that you might have planned.  Has anyone played golf lately?  I’ve been craving a round or two of golf.  They don’t even have putt-putt in here!

June 13th is the day I am officially proclaiming the heat to be a non issue.  I don’t know what the exact temperature was yesterday, and I not sure what it will rise to this afternoon.  I think it’s probably mid 90’s and pretty darn humid.  Point is, that it’s gonna get much hotter.  Maybe it will climb to high 90’s or low 100’s, but that’s it.  Also, the humidity factor should start improving in about ten days or so.  The heat has not been the death of me, and I am declaring victory over it.

Although I’ve missed my two dogs, the entire time I’ve been on vacation, I’ve really been wanting to see them badly for the past week or so.   I missed both of their birthdays at the beginning of last month, so I’m sure they’d like to express several not so kind words to me.  Actually, that’s not true at all.  They are still loving it on our farm.  They’re in dog heaven descended.  What more could you want as a chocolate lab?  Goats, chickens, stock tanks, and pickup rides must feel like Disney World.  Hey, my dogs get the fun summer camp, and I get the crappy one!  I am looking forward to being able to run with my dog, Tank, again on a regular basis.

As of last Thursday, the parole board had still not scheduled a meeting with my attorney.  I think that by this Thursday there will be a meeting scheduled, and I am going to be very happy to finally know that for sure.  It’s going to be a little weird.  Once there is a meeting scheduled, I will be able to determine almost an exact date as to when I will know my parole answer.  All the dates up to this point have been completely ambiguous, so my reaction to knowing a specific date is going to be interesting.  Hopefully, I’ll be nervous and stressed out.  Most any kind of different emotion would be nice to feel at this point.  More than likely, I won’t be stressed out, though. I think my confidence is up high enough to the point where I’ll just wait until the fat lady enters the building. 

I read that the ring finger of a female is shorter than her index finger, and the ring finger of a male is longer than his index finger.  Did you know that? Does everyone remember that he/she thing from Saturday Night Live named Pat?  What is the scientific name for not knowing the sex of a human?  Words that I use entirely too much in here and on this Blog are (amongst many others) definitely, hopefully, ambiguous, and really.  I really definitely need a thesaurus!

I think that’s going to wrap this up.  I’m glad I got the time to write and I'm glad everyone is back up to date with what’s going on. Thanks for all your letters and support, and I look forward to talking to you again.

BTW-How many calories do all these activities burn per hour?
1.    Running/jogging  (8 ½ - 9 minute pace)
2.    Sprinting (40 yard sprint, walk 40 yards continue, etc.)
3.    Walking (fast, but not speed walking)
4.    Jumping jacks


  1. I understand about the weekend boredom. My son dreads weekends. No work, no school, late tv = boredom. I try to get him a book sent on Fridays as often as I can, or a letter sent with printouts etc. He always says theres nothing much new, so doesnt have much to say. Sometimes we do silly question and answer things.
    Your explanation of parole notification makes sense. I always wondered why people on PTO would say they call the parole line as often as they do. I had no idea that they waited as long as they do, to inform the inmate. Theres been some instances lately where the PRD is coming up, the inmate is moved to a pre-release facility, PO has visited the home, home plan approved, and within just a few days of release, they are suddenly denied. I find this completely horrific and uncalled for. To me the board should meet, vote, and go from there. How heartwrenching to go that far and be turned down. Makes me so nervous. Please do the math thing and let us know the lag time of how long it takes to get an answer. Also, Im interested in knowing the reason for the guys denial.
    Ok, I really dont get the 24 day commissary thing. Makes no sense to me. Theres money to be made, why not make it? Im bad about snacking at night, and if I was to eat my last meal as early as you do..well..oh man, would I be doing some snacking!
    Sorry, no golf here. Well, unless you count a game of goofy golf in the backyard with the kiddos....
    Sounds like your dogs are doing just fine. Thats the great thing about dogs, they adjust, and are having a great time, and when they see you again, they will be thrilled to see you and will fall right back into whatever routine you have with them.
    Um, I have to say I didnt know about the length difference of a man/womans ring finger to index finger...well..until you mentioned it...and yes, I looked...and yes, you are correct!
    I tried to look up calories burned for the different exercises, but it seems that it has to do with your weight, theres no cookie cutter range. Ill keep looking and see what I can find to condense down to send you, if someone else doesnt come along with a better answer.
    Good to hear from you! Take care!

  2. -Sorry that I haven't written to you in a while, but I definetly have been keeping up with you on-line. I've tried to set up the Jpay thing, but unfortunately I seenm to be the real dumb-ass and it has been quite a challenge setting it up. Turns out I have to have an inmate# to set it up. I don't think you gave give that out can you? It's good to read that you have been keeping yourself busy with the blog, work and reading. I gotta say the chugging water on Memorial Day was pretty funny. (Personally I think you underestimated yourself when you set the bar at 26! I've seen you in action!)On a side note pertaining to that, there was a lady I think about 2 years ago who died from drinking a bunch of water on a radio contest for tickets. Drowned I think. I really hop things turn out well with the parole review, Mrs Big Daddy and I keep you in our prayers. I wish it could be earlier, we started an annual Fourth of July party here at the house since we are just a stones throw from the parade route here in Small Town America. (Speaking of parade route here in small town America, I have never seen so many tractors and low-riders in the same parade as I have here). Back to the 4th party, we will have to shoot for next year to have you here. Last year was obviously the first year, but we had such a good time, I guess somewhere between the 20th and 21st beer and 2 and 3 a.m. we decided to have it again. I was thinking about you a lot a couple of weeks ago. My company had a training class at Lakeway Resort and Travis was looking pretty good. I really have not spent much time on the lake up there, but if I had a boat I can see the attraction. They decided to take us to the Oasis for dinner and I had not been there since the mrs. and I started dating. I forgot that it burned down. I guess when it burned the only thing that survived was the kitchen, because the food still sucks, but the sunset was as glorious as always. I have never had boiled fajitas! Too bad you couldn't have opened up a little taco stand on the lake many years ago and now have your own 5 story restaurant on the lake. I didn't realize that the owner lives next door in his own kick ass house? I'm going to sign-off for now, I hope you have a great Sunday and I promise I'll get this Jpay thing figured out and start shooting them to you direct. Probably about the time you get parole. Take care,
    Big Daddy