CURRENT STATUS

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, July 22, 2010

RESPONSES TO BLOG COMMENTS

I've been working on responding to blog comments for awhile, and sorry some of them didn't come sooner, but it seems like there were so few that I was expecting a flurry of them to arrive so I could send a big response back, but I never got the flurry...just a few here and there...but of course I was very happy to get them and am always happy to receive word from the outside.  I look forward to responding to all these comments and to reading more.  As I perused the comments, I looked at a couple of them with particular interest and began to get the feeling that there was still some confusion as to the details of the crime I committed to get here.  I guess I never have really explained it that well, and there are even some points to it that are still unknown to me.  I’m wondering how many of my close friends really know.  I try to downplay it most of the time when it comes up, but I think it’s finally time to get everything about it down in writing.  I believe I’ll start on that soon.  Probably after I get through with all these comments.  Everything is going well for me in here.  I’m awaiting the parole vote.  I did get to play a softball game yesterday which was fun.  Thanks for reading and thanks for all of your support.
COMMENTS
WAMP
I completely agree with you about selling the trailer and that’s exactly what I would have done had I been given the chance.  Funny, the comment that Shane left just after yours is almost exactly the same thing. When Shane and I were in college, he almost got us both arrested because he tackled some poor girl’s mo-ped. The police had the handcuffs out and we were both going to jail, until I agreed to just buy the mo-ped from her.  Shane still particularly blames this on me because I did dare him to do it.  Shucks, I really didn’t think he’d follow through with it, though!   To Shane’s credit, he was hammered, but still managed to cause damage to the mo-ped. I think we were 20 years old when this happened.  In reference to your sighting of Lacey, I must make a couple of remarks.  First, I am only in jail, I didn’t have my memory erased.  It is not necessary to place the word “hot” in from of her name.  That thought is simply a constant in the equation.  Secondly, there are things that make me smile and keep my spirits up while I’m, in here.  Three of those things are free range minidonks, the thought of a chocolate and orange daiquiri, and Lacey @Pub.
SHANE
See my remark to Wamp about the mo-ped. You are still way too much to blame for your obnoxious behavior. If not for me that night, you might still be locked up!

SHANE -  What were you doing in Panama? Can’t you sell computers over the phone?  I hope it was hot, humid, and miserable!

MARIA
Awesome! Teach all the Scottish kids American prison slang and words describing funny animals.  Maybe I can visit for a “show and tell” type of field trip.  If you can manage to get to the states next year, we’ll take your picture standing next to, or riding a Longhorn.

EDDIE
I am raising three Ridgeback Thorny Pelicans.  All of them had the oily film covering their feathers like you mentioned.  If I can pledge to adopt eleven more, the parole board has agreed to let me go home early.  If you think you can cap the well, then put your money where your mouth is.  It will not bother me too much to eat tuna caught ‘post oil spill’ from the Gulf.  I fear no fish.

COOL DUDE
If I’m interpreting Jill’s comments correctly, then it was an employee named Ben that stole the trailer.  No payment issues.  It would definitely not have had anything to do with my ex.  What I did in the past was to make were some careless, poor, borderline decisions.  Stealing an employer’s trailer and selling it is a conscience act of breaking the law.  The two are very similar and probably represent the same outcome, but in my mind there are many differences between the two.

BROOKE
LMAO! I’m pretty much ready for Dolly to treat me at Pappasito’s.  Can the margarita’s please be served in pitchers and the Goldschlager, plenty?  Can Greer come?

JEFF B.
Glad to hear you’re still alive and kicking.  I’ve pretty much overcome my lake withdrawals, but it’s been tough.  I’m glad you had a good time, and please continue to enjoy the water until I get back.  Google…. Sunseeker Manhattan.  That is the next boat in line.  LOL.  Well, it would be nice anyway. Guess we would need to hire a private skipper to go with it.  I’ll see you soon.

ANONYMOUS
Letters from friends are definitely important.  Since I have no spouse, kids, or girlfriend, I can’t really speak on the importance of communication with those three, but I imagine the longing for communication is even more intense.  The letters that I enjoy reading the most (and I think this is just about a consensus with my friends in here, too) are letters that just tell normal day to day stories about what is happening in someone’s life.  Just hearing that someone went to work, played with their dog, and then went out to eat is very pleasant to read about.  It’s very important and elevates hope when you can imagine being re-involved with normal life on the outside.  I have been very fortunate that my friends have continued to write to me on a regular basis. I thoroughly enjoy writing all of my friends and spend a lot of time doing just that. Many guys in here feel that letters in here ought to be a tit for tat sort of bargain, but I disagree.  I don’t need a return letter each time I send one out. On a related, but different topic, I am surprised at how many guys here write terrible and hateful letters to their wives and girlfriends while they are in here. I can’t figure that out.
How is your son doing?  I hope all is well.

JILL
I guess we’ve pretty much addressed the entire trailer situation.  Do you think it was Ben?  As you already know, I finally received the packet.  Thank you!
Thanks for your offer to help with the blog.  I think you’ve communicated with my mom and I understand that all is good at this time.  But I’m sorry your life is boring. I’m not sure I totally believe you, though.  Certainly there is something fun going on.  Head on over to the nudist colony for a fun filled weekend, if you can’t think of anything else!

MAMA B
My initial thoughts on the trailer were very similar to yours.  As time passed, I began to realize that it was not my obligation to punish or to rehab the person who stole the trailer.  For me to have to involve myself in that would place further inconvenience on me now, and it would also leave me wondering if I had made the right choice.  I’m thinking just give me my trailer back, and the punishment phase of what happens to the person who took it is beyond my control.  I’m not trying to be apathetic, only realistic.
I think every time I went to medical, it was about my blood pressure.  It finally came down to within the normal range.  Quite some time after it was normal, they called me back into medical so that an actual doctor could explain to me that it was indeed normal.  Every previous occasion, I had dealt with a nurse.   She was very pretty, and the only attractive female in the whole unit, but she was married.  Unfortunately, I have no funny tale to tell you about secret meetings in the clinic.  Tucker Max would not be proud.

MAMA B - I don’t remember the exact changes I made to improve the letter you mentioned.  The letter contained my pleas and goals once I am released and was addressed to the parole board.  Originally, I wrote the letter with a lighter tone than what ended up in the final version.  Although my first version was not at all humorous, I did try to let some of my personality melt through to the reader.  Apparently, I either did a poor job of it, or my attorney didn’t like it, because he suggested that I rewrite it and make it sound less “friendly” and more “business like”.   I rewrote the letter and I liked the final product better.  My attorney approved the 2nd version and it is included in my parole packet.  If I’m denied parole, it certainly won’t be due to a lack of quantity or quality of letters written by myself or by friends to the parole board.  I’m certain we have our bases covered in that arena.
   I’m still missing my dogs.  They are sooo loving it at the farm, though.  They are well taken care of and are having a blast.
Story #1: There isn’t a lot of sympathy handed out in here.  It’s easy to give inmates space, but to give much sympathy is a little too personal.  It’s very easy to make “friends” in here, but no one is terribly close to another.  It’s just the nature of the beast.
Story #2: I really have no more clue about it now than I did back then.  He acted as though nothing even happened.  Part of it had to be an act and part of it was probably due to the fact he was so far and so long removed from his daughter’s life.  It would be difficult to be locked up for a long time and not distance yourself emotionally from the outside.  I think that the human mind would force you to be distant even if you didn’t intend to.  It seems it would be just a basic human adaptation and survival mechanism.
Story #3:  I’m sorry, I can’t remember which person this concerned.  I do wish I had some blackened alligator to eat right now.
MAMA B 
1) The iron goat is elusive, but he pretty much can fend for himself.  He knows much more than he lets on.  
2) My dad picked up the trailer and it is being stored at his farm.  He had to pay $300-$400 for the towing and storage.
3) I don’t think anyone else was too jealous of my job or mail.  I don’t have a nickname for I have never been a nickname type person. I write personal letters back and forth to about 10 friends outside of the blog.  The buildings are indeed hot and unpleasant, but they’re not as bad as everyone makes them out to be.  They are constructed with elevated ceilings to let the heat rise up out of our path and there is a huge exhaust fan in each tank.  There is a central ventilation system that circulates air and there are two huge oscillating fans per tank.  Is it uncomfortable?  Definitely, yes.   Is it the worst thing in the world?  No, far from it. I still used a sheet to cover up with at night.
    Speaking of units, I hope your son is not still at the same unit.  That unit is the most uncomfortable of the three that I have seen. The guards are more strict there, and I think that might increase the apprehension and stress level of the inmates quite a bit.  Also, since it is the unit where inmates usually spend the night  immediately prior to being released home, it is very transient, at least in some areas.  The recent 15 hour period I just spent there was like a constant “nails down the chalkboard” type of feeling.
(But keep in mind, that I was a transient.) Also, the cafeteria there has no windows, and I felt like I was eating in a cave, but maybe I would have gotten used to it.

MAMA B I may be completely disillusioned, but I thought your son was awaiting his shortway release date after being given a serve-all at his first parole.  From what you mentioned here in this comment, I think I got confused somewhere.  In any case, I hope he gets to go home ASAP. (Like tomorrow!)
    I am not taking any business courses.  I was only writing a business plan with the guidance of some appropriate literature. One of my friends was transferred to a unit in Cleveland which does offer a business type of program that is six months in duration.  I don’t know many details about the unit or program in Cleveland.  There are two levels of a CAD class in the last unit I was in, and there is also a basic computer course that, as I understand it, teaches you to use Microsoft office and some other necessities.
    I don’t plan to make a career change.  I’m not opposed to one, per say, but in my estimation, I will be happier and be able to obtain my financial goals quicker, if I stick with the same career.
    I can see how your son wants to begin with something completely new.  Immediately upon leaving prison would be the perfect time to take action.  There is already a sense of revival in me that I think most people in here experience.  If I could make a lot of money next year and go back to school, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
    We hear all the early release rumors here, too.  Truthfully, it is impossible for us to see a broad enough spectrum to see any patterns.  We are simply too isolated in our own tank of 50 guys.  Here, almost every single person gets their shortway or makes parole.  I’d say five to ten people walk out of the lock gates of this place each weekday morning to go home.  I’m pretty sure that has little to do with any drastic changes, though.  Rather, I think, that the inmates they send here are pretty much pre-slated to go home soon.  In my room of 8, one is going home next week, one is going home in August, and one should be leaving in October.  Hopefully, I’ll be going home next month, also.

MAMA B - Although the death of that inmate was unfortunate, the nitwit shouldn’t have been messing with electricity and suspending two hot wires in a bowl of water to mellow the current.  I mean, come on!  Once again, Darwin prevails.
      Weekends are so much longer for the exact reasons you mention. Anything here that takes you out of your normal routine slows the clock.
      My friend, Jeff, received a one year set off after serving 10 months on a 4 year sentence.  Turns out he had an aggressive juvenile record and holds dual citizenship with the US and Greece.  He moved to Greece for 3 years when he was trying to avoid being arrested for his probation violation.  I’m sure this factored into the parole board’s decision more than he realized.
    I feel that God has already given me every asset and tool necessary to get out of prison and begin to lead a productive life.  It’s up to me to take advantage of what he has offered. Fortunately, if I mess it up, he will offer me unlimited chances to atone, but if it’s all the same to everyone else, I think I’ll go ahead and land this one on the first try.  I do, however, grasp your point completely.
     I already have a weekly exercise sheet that I use to plan 7 days in advance.  I’ve found that I don’t like planning for more than a week in advance, because I can’t accurately predict what I’m going to become bored with.  My planning here at Mineral Wells is still a work in progress, too.  I’m only planning about 2 days in advance right now, because my body is still getting used to exercising 3 times a day, and I’m still coming up with new exercises to do. Believe me when I say that vigorous exercise 3 times daily is unlike any normal or other exercising that I have ever done.

MAMA B - I think if I had a parrot I would name him Skeg. If I had a parrot, that means I would be a pirate and I’d live on a boat.  Skeg would spend most of his day sitting atop his perch and I think he’d have a fairly nasty demeanor.  He would be primarily green, yellow, and gray in color and each of his eyes would be a different hue, lending to his mysterious, yet cunning existence.
     The vehicle thing you mention is very accurate.  I’m certain there is a logical psychological reason for it.  I just hate it when I see a bunch of other red Ferraris like mine.
     Don’t worry about needing to descend from “High Life” while intoxicated.  There will be free taxis (a Sirdar led alpaca) for all of those in need. And you can really never have too many ‘touristy’ theme bars.  There will always be someone willing to pay twice as much for a drink and to buy an expensive, silly souvenir.

MAMA B - I did not get to eat any crawfish.  A couple of the guards brought some back to where I worked, but I didn’t want to stick around for the extra 4 or 5 hours it took for them to finally return.  At the last unit we got limited ice water.  Here, the supply is endless and air conditioning and fans are allowed, but they don’t sell them at the commissary. Fans have to be bought from other units, as do radios.
     My plan after selling my business after 3 years would be to begin another business venture.  I have no idea what that would be at this time but it would certainly be done in an effort to make more money and /or let me move out to the lake or spend more time on the lake.
     Going back to an earlier point….I’ll tell you about what I did yesterday as an example of how much better it is here.  From 8:00 am to 12:30 pm yesterday, I stayed outside at the softball field.  There was no count, and no guards came to mess with me or anyone around me.  I watched one game. I got to play in another and got sunburned. Very normal stuff!  
II thank everyone for the comments that you make.  It is very supportive and means a lot to me.  I definitely plan on responding quicker to comments in the future, even if there are only a few that I get. I’ll talk to you soon.

4 comments:

  1. Matt,
    Looking forward to having a shot of goldschlager with you when you get out and we move back to the states!! I will try to round up Greer, Meredith and Mandy and maybe Brooke can drive us around!! Take good care of yourself!!!
    xo
    Frankie

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