Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good times, Bad times, you know I had my share

Allow me to spin you a tale, a tale of noble intentions, bad decisions, exercise habits, and of course...shallow pockets.

I, like many married men, wear a wedding band. This wedding band, in addition to the obvious symbolic significance, holds a considerable amount of sentimental value as it was a rather important part of nefarious marital ambuscade planned and executed by my smart, sexy, and sneaky wife.

We started going to Gold's gym nearby our home soon after moving to San Antonio. Now, our respective workout schedules have been erratic, but for a goodly number of months, my friend Clay and I were meeting at Gold's 3 days a week on a consistent basis. This was when I realized I was scratching up my wedding band on the aptly named dumbbells. -STOP

I have always been terrified of losing my wedding band. Although I have certainly gotten better as I've gotten older (really more like a worn-in pair of shoes than a good Cabernet) it was my fear that if I regularly removed my wedding ring (like my prettier half does on a daily basis) I would undoubtedly lose it. As a result, I never took it off for a number of years. It stayed on my finger through manual labor, paintball, shooting, even sparring (actually, rings make decent impact enhancing devices - but that's for a different entry).
-End Interlude-

COMMENCE- I tried wearing gloves whilst lifting weights but I found them very uncomfortable. I generally do not like putting gloves between my hands and their tools. I dislike shooting gloves, paintball gloves, driving gloves, and weight-lifting gloves. I have compromised when it comes do digging holes in our backyard's bedrock and fencing (learn from my mistakes - fencing gloves are crucial equipment). Anyhow, it bothered me to scratch up my ring on the weights. I initially tried keeping it on a key chain split ring, but that was hard on the ring as well. I finally decided to carry it in my pocket while I lifted, and immediately put it back on when I was finished. This worked fine for a while, until one fateful day when I skipped my post-lifting cardio and stopped by the 1/2 Price Bookstore on the way home. Once I arrived home, I showered as per my usual habit (I'm a flaky boy, but generally a cleanly one) and realized I had not put my ring back on. I promptly checked my workout pants - no ring. I checked the mustang - again, no ring. That's around the time I started freaking out a little bit. I called the gym, called the bookstore - nothing.

To her credit, my wife didn't give me even an iota of grief. I suspect she knew that nothing she could've said would have made me feel like even more of an irresponsible asshat.

Months passed.

Life went on.

Saturday evening, April 26th. In my duties as a Correctional Officer (yes - I know I've been remiss and as soon as I select some amusing yet wide-audience appropriate prison anecdotes I'll add my first Connally unit post) I was saying, in my duties as a Correctional Officer I carry a little notepad. This notepad, and pen which accompanies it, is one of the most important tools available to me. I use it to document everything from Offender behavior to assignment notes, to maintenance needs. Michelle needed the Connally unit switchboard number, so I went to fetch the notepad from the mustang. As I dug around under the driver's seat, I heard something metal clack against the front license plate that I have still not affixed to my front bumper. My initial thought was "my daughter leaves her rings and jewelry everywhere." Imagine my surprise when I retrieved not her ring but mine.

Remember those workout pants? I bought them for Krav Maga, they work great for the gym, but they have really shallow pockets. The mustang, for those of you unaware, is a relatively low to the ground car. The ring had apparently rolled out of the pocket, under the seat and gotten lodged in a nook (or possibly a cranny) for quite some time, before becoming dislodged in response to my evasive driving (required by the psychotic drivers here) wherein I made my happy discovery.

And there was much rejoicing.


For John Cusack fans, and other righteously cool folks

First off, let me say that if you are reading my Blog, and are not yet a John Cusack fan then you owe it to yourself to educate yourself about this excellent and under-utilized actor. He is, IMHO, one of the finest American actors of our generation.

So please allow me to set your feet on the path...
The Sure Thing
Better Off Dead
One Crazy Summer
Say Anything
The Grifters
Bullets over Broadway (despite its Woody Allen pedigree)
Grosse Pointe Blank (if you haven't seen this movie please give yourself a kick in the ass)
Con Air
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The Jack Bull
Being John Malkovich
High Fidelity
The Ice Harvest

Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, let's talk about War Inc.

This looks like it'll be a real blast. John and Joan Cusack as well as Dan Akroyd, reunited from GPB, plus [Sir] Ben Kingsley (see him facing off against Morgan Freeman in Lucky #Slevin) and Marisa Tomei...all together in a film that combines the best elements of The Lord of War and GPB (I know, it was ALL good).

So, it opens May 23rd. Well, maybe not in San Antonio. We'll likely need to wait a bit longer for the Wells Fargo coach to deliver to the reels. ;)


Sunday, April 13, 2008

School's Out for...err, the weekend!

I'm all finished with the Corrections Officer academy. Most of us passed/graduated. Everyone managed to pass the firearms qualifications, even if some folks needed an extra try with the AR15. No real surprise there, many of the trainees had never shouldered a rifle previously.

I'm afraid I'm out of snarky comments directed at my fellow trainees or organizational bloopers. Truth be told, the biggest problem the TDCJ faces is the catch-22 of their employment crisis. The TDCJ desperately needs mature, level-headed and clear-thinking Correctional Officers. Many of the prisons are grossly understaffed and the agency will take the help in whatever form it receives it, so long as the vestigial hiring requirements are met and the training academy is passed. The end result is that every 2 weeks the prisons receive a fresh crop of Correctional Officers. But how many of them will really stay on? Many of them are really too young, too immature, and most likely ill-equipped to maintain their composure while working 4(minimum) to 6(max overtime) twelve-hour shifts every 8 days. After all, many of these young men (and a few of the young women) habitually go out many nights every week, drinking hard, and staying up late. Are we expecting their habits to change merely because they attended the Academy?

One could argue, of course, that the TDCJ could increase/raise the hiring requirements. This would likely weed out many of the weaker sisters, however this would obviously mean fewer new Officers hitting the prisons.

As I said, something of a catch-22.

Regardless, Monday morning I report to the Connally Max-Sec prison for my on the job training, before being assigned to a shift.

See you all out in the world,

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Corrections Officer Academy, report 4

Almost done!

We've just got firearms training and qualification next week, one final cumulative exam, then we're finished with the academy.

Highlights from the week:

-We've lost two more trainees, this time due to academic problems (ie, they were failing the exams). A few others are having significant difficulties.

-I've been elected the class speaker. This means I need to deliver a little speech during the graduation ceremony.

-I've decided to make an assignment transfer request from the Torres unit to the Connally unit. After taking our tour of Connally I found myself very impressed with the unit, its staff and operation.

-A number of the trainees continue to ignore the maxim: It's better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool than to open it and remove any lingering doubt.

See you all out in the world,