18 Jan 07

Kat

Howls and wolf whistles outside of my cell announced Kat's arrival. Kat opened the door, and batted his long eyelashes as if he were striking a pose for a Mabeline ad. Turning towards his admirers, he waved and blew kisses, before coming in.
“That was my Marilyn Monroe wave,” Kat said.
“Just look at those teeth,” I said.
“They’re my Farrah Fawcett teeth,” said Kat.
“So whose are the brows?”
“Angelina Jolie’s. And not’s let forget my Cindy Crawford beauty mark.” Kat pointed to a mole below his left cheek.
Xena spoke highly of you,” I said.
“I love Xena! She’s such a crazy person, you know, she’s so out there in her own way. If she wants to express something she doesn’t hold back.”
“Xena’s not one to hold back. So how can I help you, Kat?”
“I’ve got a question for you?”
“OK. What is it?”
“Did you tell someone you had a crush on me?”

To be continued…

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
Flashback to Yard 4

A Frankie Day

“What’s a typical day like for you?” I asked Frankie.
“First thing in the mornin’, I read the Bible. A chapter a day. After breakfast, I do a little school. A coupla chapters 'cause I’m doin’ mandatory school. Durin’ mornin' rec, I play spades with my homies. I kick back and bullshit with the fellas, and time flies. I've gotta give my homies a little time or else they get butt-hurt. They’re very sensitive. I’ve gotta spread my love.
During count, me and my celly, Speedy, play rummy and argue 'cause he don’t like to lose. After lunch chow, I go to school. Sometimes in the afternoon recs, I come over here and beat you down at chess. Then I go home, get a shower, and watch news and sports.
At six o’clock rec, I watch American Idol.”
“Is that your favourite show?”
The Charmed Ones is my favourite show. It’s about three sisters fightin’ evil demons an’ stuff. At night I’m back at my Bible, sayin’ a prayer by nine o’clock. By ten I’m out.
That’s how my day goes if I can avoid the bullshit.”
“What bullshit are you trying to avoid?”
“You know what I mean, homey. There’s too much drama here. The guys in prison are worse than girls. They’re always talkin’ behind people’s backs.”
“You’ve caused some drama in your time. Now it sounds like you’re trying to be well-behaved?”
“That makes me feel good. I’m tryin’ to lay low, homey. I’m tryin’ to get out. I’m divorced and heartbroken, and in need of cheetos.”
“What about Mochalicious?”
“She won’t mess with a strong man.”
“Gracia’ por su ayuda con mi diario.”
“No probelma, homey.”





Jon answers more readers questions

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
London Metro Blog Awards

Here is a great chance for Jonsjailjournal to have some recognition and to reach a wider audience. The London Metro is sponsoring the best of British blogs awards 2007.

The awards will recognise the very best in British blogging - nominated by the public, and decided by an expert panel of judges including Creation Records founder Alan McGee and Channel Five's Jason Bradbury.

For those of the readers who would like to nominate Jon for one of these awards, click here – it takes a moment to register with an email address in order to vote. A category suggestion might be the ‘Weird and Wonderful’.
14 Jan 07

Psychotherapy with Dr. O’Malley (8)

Dr. O read my homework: my awareness of who I was and who I’m going to be.

I was:
Immature. Hedonistic. Materialistic. Nihilistic. A philistine. Sometimes selfish. Sometimes overgenerous. Smart in some ways and naïve in others. Hard working. Prone to mood swings from depression to euphoria. Goal orientated, albeit grandiose. Sometimes extremely focussed, other times devil-may-care. A sexaholic. A party person. A thrill seeker. Sometimes mellow and reserved when sober, othertimes happy hypomanic.

I’m going to be:
More mature. A better reasoner. Goal and success orientated without ostentation. More fulfilled via writing, yoga, philosophy, music, healthy relationships. Less naïve about certain things and more knowledgeable. Generous to the right people. Able to cope with and manage mood extremes. More cultured. Motivated, but not in an unhealthy fashion. Hard working. Optimistic. More skillful, and more able to apply myself without messing up.

“From what you’ve written, you’ve identified the vast fluctuations between your emotional extremes. A hard worker versus devil-may-care. Depression versus euphoria. The way you over respond into grandiosity. The way you under respond into depression. You need to remain mindful of your polar opposites. As you tend toward one pole, pressure builds and you explode. Toward the other pole, pressure builds and you get depressed. Consider a water bottle at 5000 feet. You empty the bottle and seal the cap. At 14,000 feet pressure on the inside will expand the bottle and make a violent explosion. At sea level, with atmospheric pressure of 101,325 pascals the bottle is fine, but plunge the bottle deep into the ocean and it is crushed flat.”
“Good analogy,” I said.
“You need a constant awareness of how you interact with the environment. It’s the same as what you do during yoga. There’s an expansiveness into your environment, into the universe. If your alignment and breathing are right, you’re having a good experience that’s not for the glory of you. Don’t get caught up in ambition. Constantly remind yourself of this. Don’t be too front focussed. In yoga, the front is you, and your back is the universal. That’s what the back-orientated friend-of-the-universe pose is about. Lean back into things, and your universe will open and expand.”
“Can’t ambition and success be compatible with yoga philosophy?”
“Yes. When awareness goes with it. Look at B.K.S. Iyengar, author of Light on Life.”
“The yoga master with the huge eyebrows who's always smiling?”
“Yes. When he goes on tour, he’s expansive. He has a happy presence, but it’s not him.”
“What do you mean it’s not him? Who is it then?”
“It represents energy. Compare Iyengar’s behaviour to the actions of a politician. A politician’s actions are about the person’s ego. If you don’t recognise the politician, he or she ceases to exist. Compare a politician with the Dalai Lama, a person who represents universal consciousness. What’s contained within the Dalai Lama isn’t ego and the individual - it’s energy much larger than the person. It dwarfs the average politician.”
“The politician’s aura is sleazy and shallow.”
“Yes, but other people project something real. Cultivate that.”
“Isn’t that a goal in itself?”
“I don’t know. Should there be a goal on the path you are designating for yourself? The only thing that matters is to keep doing it. A goal implies potential failure. It’s better to break the task into little pieces. Alignment. Breathing. Awareness of now. Sense of contentment. Think in terms of what’s going on here and now, right at this moment. Not in terms of, ‘In four hours I’m hosting a meeting where VIPs are going to recognise me and pat me on the back.’ Don’t be seduced by thinking you are bigger than you are.”
“What if I have big goals to make some positive changes in the world?”
“Mother Teresa had to be hardnosed to help the poor of Calcutta. She didn’t do it to win the Nobel Peace Price. Her goal was to help others. Having big goals to help others is a good way to direct your energy. By all means keep working toward that form of dedication.”
“I will.”
“For your homework, I’d like you to select some quotes from your studies of philosophy and describe them in the context of your character development and aspirations.”
“Right.”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
10 Jan 07

Question Time for T-Bone

Anonymous asked where the name T-Bone came from.

My big brother called me that when I was a kid 'cause I T-boned a guy on the football field. The guy was laid out with his arms wide open in the shape of a T.

Christine, John, and Anon. asked about staying strong, working out, nourishment and sleep.

The workout is nothin’ without conditionin’ of the mind, body, and spirit. With the mind you obtain faith and confidence. With the body you bring all that into fruition. The spirit, the core, the essence of a man gives you inner and outer insight. When you learn to look at yourself with a positive attitude, in a positive light, you’ll increase your physical attributes immensely but it takes time and patience.
With nourishment you hafta understand that food becomes part of your body and mind. Things you ingest become you. Don’t eat just to eat. Eat for strength, nourishment, and spiritual growth. With sleep, six to seven hours per night is efficient for spiritual growth.
You should exercise to increase your testosterone. Work your legs, glutes, and lats. They’re the three big muscle masses of the body. Havin’ muscle and size shouldn’t be viewed as a means to beat people up.
It’s most important to stay natural. Have faith and confidence and you will succeed. You must stay strong and healthy for many many years.
Peace and good health.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
06 Jan 07

Jim Hogg is a Surfer Dude

“So you and Two Tonys were cellies?” I asked.
“I lived with him for eighteen months,” Jim Hogg said. “He’s the most interesting person I’ve ever met inside. He became like a father to me. He has so much love for me. He always looked out for me.”
“He looked out for me too. How long have you been down?”
“Eleven years, two months, and one week. I go home soon.”
“What are you in for?”
“Trafficking in stolen property. I bought a quarter-million dollars of diamonds for fifty gees at the Tucson Gem Show. I knew they were stolen, and I got caught selling some of them, but I’ve still got sixty-four left.”
“How can you still have some of the stolen property?”
“The prosecutor said I can keep 'em 'cause I’m doin’ time for 'em. The insurance company paid the victim. I’ve got ten two-and-a-half carats, seventeen marquis cuts - one carat, ten halves, the rest are all baguettes.”
“Two Tonys said you’re a surfer.”
“Yeah. I’ve surfed all my life. I’m from Huntington Beach. I lived at Huntington Harbor. I went to the local high school. I started surfing at age twelve. By fourteen, I was in the NSSA. At eighteen, I was doing the professional circuit. And then I moved to Hawaii. I lived in Waikiki, Honolulu on Oahu Island, and Kaanapali Shores on Maui. I surfed on the north shore of Oahu. I came in second place in ’84 in the OP Pro, an Ocean Pacific surf contest.”
“Do surfers have their own language?”
“Yeah. A dude who’s a goofball is called a Barney. If a wave is narly, it’s huge. A hot chick – I might say, ‘Dude, she’s so nectar I want to sauce her.’ ‘Shoots brodda’ is like ‘Hey brother.’ ‘Shoots brodda, you like beef or you like scrap?’ is calling someone out. If I say, ‘You fuckin’ haulie, you come to the Islands and you think you’re da kindbra,’ I’m telling a white person from the Inland, how come he thinks he’s the shit. If you’re a Kamehameha, you’ve been accepted by the locals. Boutu is ice, speed, or meth amphetamine. Pakalolo is weed. And there's Maui wowie, kono gold, or puna bud. Coke smoked like rock is called the shuttle. It’s not all about smoking weed and surfing though.”
“What is it about? What do you enjoy most about it?”
“It’s the only sport in the world that’s free, and every wave is different in the challenge against Mother Nature 'cause every day she brings different waves. There’s two times during the day most exciting to me for surfing: dawn patrol and glass off (night)."
“Where have you surfed?”
“Bali. Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa, the longest break in the world, where it juts out above Cape Town. Up and down all of Baja, California and Mexico: K38, K55, San Felipe, Todos Santos, La Fonda, La Paz, Cabo San Lucas – which is the point of Scorpion Bay, the only place in the world where you can’t use surf wax 'cause the water’s so warm it melts the wax right off the board, so you have to use Gorilla Grip, it’s like neoprene.”
“Where in Cali is best for surfing?”
“Newport or Huntington.”
“Not Venice Beach?”
“No. It’s too walled in. There’s no point breaks. The three spots in Huntington are Lake Street, The Pier, or Golden West (The Bluffs).”
“What do you think of Point Break with Patrick Swayze?”
“Way to go Hollywood! There’s no way you can surf those waves on a six by seven board. You’d need a nine-foot gun with tapers in the back, specially made with three fins called a thruster. Four fins are a quad. There’s no way you can get out to the breakwater in-between the bluff 'cause you can’t swim over the soup, the whitewash, and you definitely can’t duck dive under the whitewash 'cause it’ll pin you down to the rock and you’ll drown.”
“You get out in three weeks. Will you be coming back?”
“I’m not coming back.”
“Where will you live and what will you do?”
“I’m going to open up a Maryland crabhouse called Fin & Claw in Tucson.”
“Using the money from diamond sales?”
“No, I inherited a crabhouse back East, in Maryland, called Captain Billy’s. I’m selling it, and opening up in Tucson.”
“Good luck with that, Jim Hogg.”


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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
01 Jan 07

Year End Acknowledgements

Being computerless and incarcerated, I rely on outside help to maintain this blog. Fortunately, I have the help of my mother, father, and sister. I would like to thank them for their hard work, and for putting up with my nonsense.

I am grateful as well to a number of people who have helped me in various ways: Barry-H, Guy Goo and M2, Sue Scam, Mr. D, B2 and Naomi, Babsy, Lorraine, Paula, Mr. and Mrs. Reeves (congrats by the way on your recent addition), Pat, One Tony the Cockney, Linda B, Pearl W, and Alan S.

I also want to thank my fellow prisoner Jack H without whose mentorship and encouragement I would never have submitted "Pee Tested" to Writers Digest.

Finally, I owe a big thank you to you, my readers, for maintaining an appetite for my descriptions of life in a place I hope none of you ever get to see first hand. Thank you for your letters, cards, books, emails, comments and support.

Good lookin’ out, dawgs!

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

The Christmas Spirit of Two Tonys

Two Tonys - A whacker of men and Mafia associate serving multiple life sentences for murders and violent crimes. Left bodies from Tucson to Alaska, but claims all his victims "had it coming." Has his own brand of philosophy. Recently diagnosed with cancer and has months to live.

“Howthafuck was your Christmas?” Two Tonys asked.
“Not bad,” I said. “I got an unexpected visit from Royo Girl over the weekend, which gave me a boost. I got a little kissing action in. How was your Christmas?”
“Good,” Two Tonys said, “’cause I ain’t got no beefs. Lemmeaskyasomethin’: you ever heard of Chad or Somalia or Sudan?”
“Yeah.”
“Well how nice a fuckin’ Christmas do you think those poor motherfuckers had? Do you know how many pieces of apple pie I got?”
“No.”
“Three, and two issues of roast beef. It might have looked like shoe leather and tasted like shoe leather, but that’s OK 'cause guess what?”
“What?”
“Ivan Denisovich woulda snorted those motherfuckers up with his left nostril and been as happy as if he were havin’ supper with Mikhail fuckin’ Gorbachev. That’s my barometer now: how rough Ivan had it. Imagine bein’ happy to lick some carrot gruel off a spoon. Or havin’ to ride the cook’s leg to come up on some extra gills and tails in yer fish-eyeball soup. Or Slingblade grabbin’ yer bowl of groats mush, and you’ve gotta go toe to toe with that fuckin’ Neanderthal or starve to fuckin’ death. My point is this: howthafuck can I complain when there’s always someone worse off? Of course I’d like to be chowin’ down on a Caesar salad, some escargot, a little bowl of scungille, and some ravioli stuffed with spinach. But I ain’t gonna let those thoughts get me down.”
“What did you do on Christmas Day?”
“Played a little casino card game with Frankie. Watched a little TV. Sang some fuckin’ Christmas carols to myself: Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and all that shit. Howthafuck can I get depressed in here? This is my retirement home. Not just any motherfucker qualifies to be in here you know. You don’t just hop on a bus and say, ‘Driver, take me to the big house.’ This is an exclusive club. You’ve got to put some serious work in to get here. And what’s good about it is they can’t ever kick me out, 'cause I’m doin’ life. If things get shitty in here I just tell myself, ‘Get a grip, man. What would Ivan Denisovich be thinkin? Would he be raisin’ hell about his waffles bein’ cold in the mornin?' Would he fuck. Like I’ve said before, that’s PMA, bro. That’s a positive mental attitude."

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
24 Dec 06

The Royo Romance (4)

Click here for Part 3.

Royo Girl visited today. Here’s some of what I wrote to her following the visit:

What a pleasant surprise! You made my Christmas.

I tried to be less of a loon during this visit, but I must admit, as soon as I saw you, your looks made me melt. I’d forgotten how beautiful you are. Those big eyes. Those full lips. The face full of freckles. And your wit and good nature and whatever it is that is so bloody soothing about you. When we hugged and I enjoyed the scent of your neck I felt so wonderful.

I think that my observance of my elevated emotions during your other visits has provided an inoculation against that happening again. I do feel strongly about you but not as insanely as over the summer.

There’s a genuineness, a sincerity to your character that I seemed to pick up signals from today. I think we’ve both learned and matured from the summer experience, and our friendship is on a stronger footing.

I know you still think I crave for certain aspects of my old lifestyle. And maybe part of me does. But an even bigger part of me wants to be happy and healthy and to succeed and to do right by my family and friends. Certain behaviour in my past will not to be repeated. What I want is peace of mind, to not let people down, and to not let myself down.

You are sweet and enjoyable to be around. I shall be thinking about you often.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood




20 Dec 06

Odds & Ends

Midnight collapsed. He was put on a stretcher and transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Frankie’s hearing went well. He signed a contract that allows him to stay at Tucson prison provided he behaves himself. In his latest letter he wrote: “Englandman, once I get out, fly me to England so I can bone you down.”

Just when the romance with Royo Girl seemed to be fizzling out, she sent a picture of Elisha Cuthbert with a letter saying she may visit here soon. The letter filled my cell with the scent of perfume.

Auntie Lily and Weird Al have exchanged letters and Al has offered to fly Lily to the US after his release in 2008.

Kat, a Navajo transsexual, brought over some trance tapes that included tracks by Alice Deejay, Drunkenmonkey, Aquagen, ATB, Serano, and more.

The discovery of a shank on Yard 4 caused a two-day lockdown and shakedown. Metal detectors were run over our mattresesses.

Xena and Two Tonys said they’ve been reading and enjoying your comments and questions. Shane and T-Bone get reclassified in ’07 and are hoping to be moved to minimum.

I've spent almost two years applying to Rio Salado College to do a course. Finally, I received one.
Unfortunately, I had applied for Modern Fiction and they sent Philosophy. My parents reported the error, and were told that I had applied for Philosophy. So my parents faxed the college copies of my application for Modern Fiction, and now the college won't return our e-mails or calls. I'm getting on with the philosophy course.

Yoga progress: I can now do peacock pose. But I still can’t put my feet behind my head, although I can put them above my head.

Thanks for sending books. The prison library is getting them after I read them. I've read over 200 so far this year.

My New Year’s resolution is to begin submitting short stories to literary magazines. I’m seeking advice from anyone familiar with the process.

I appreciate the concern some of you have expressed that I may get sad over Christmas. Christmas seems to be the roughest time of the year for most prisoners. But I must confess, it doesn’t affect me that much any more. It is lonely, but I have Marcus Aurelius keeping me company: Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
11 Dec 06

The Royo Romance (3)

Click here for Part 2.

From Royo Girl:

You and I can never happen and we both know that. I would never want to be in a relationship with someone with your past. And you would never be satisfied with someone who is not half as wild or ambitious as you. You have different goals in life than me and I respect that. So it is not just on my end that developing a relationship would be counter-productive to our friendship.

I’m not denying that visiting you confused me emotionally too. I like that we are the greatest of friends and have that chemistry. Nothing you have said has altered that.
Maybe fate does have some mischievous encounters in store for us. Who knows? I love our letter liaisons and being able to tell you everything. I can’t wait for you to get out. Until then I will keep on writing to you like a letter-crazed maniac.

p.s.this is sprayed with Ghost Cherish (one of my favourites)

To Royo Girl:

Now I see how I fall in love too easily. For a few weeks I was on such a high it was as if I were floating in the sky above the prison. It must be a chemical reaction I have. I know I sound like a loon but it wasn’t all bad. If only I could feel so happy every day. The emotional side of my mind took over. This episode has been a learning experience, and an eye-opener to my emotional immaturity. But even though I take full responsibility for being puddled in love, I would like to point out that if you weren’t so bloody gorgeous and intelligent this would never had happened.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

07 Dec 06

One Year Left

I have a year left to serve. It’s hard to believe I’m near the end of a sentence that once seemed so daunting. I used to wonder how I'd make it through the years.

Despite the lows, I feel like I’ve become a better person. I’ve learned things I would have never learned without going through this. So in many ways it's good this happened.

Furthering my education has been on my mind. I wonder if this incarceration will prevent me from getting into a British university to do a master's degree? I'm also wondering, out of my main areas of interest – behavioural finance, philosophy, psychology, and writing – which master's should I apply for, and also, to which university? After spending time with my family, I would like to enrol in the second half of 2008.

Any advice?

Jon answers more readers questions here

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

01 Dec 06

Winter

On 90·5 KUAT-FM: Clear skies. Expect a low of 25 to 30 degrees. Highs in the upper 50s. Watch out for blowing dust this evening. There’s a possibility of winds gusting at 40 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service.

The cold weather sent the harvester ants underground. Some ravens invaded the turf of the pigeons that beg for bread by the chow hall. Coyotes are taking advantage of the darker mornings to extend their hunting hours. Throughout the night their yelps and howls sound like the cries of ghosts. Our outdoor walls are adorned with stink bugs.

Prefering the warmth of the control room, the guards are seldom seen walking the yard.

The swamp cooler was switched off, and hot air is flowing. The conversion caused what had gathered in the heater over the year to be suddenly blown into my cell. I was directly below the vent reading when the cloud of dust, bug parts, and pollen descended.

For Christmas, Keefe Commissary Network extended it's junk offerings to prisoners: Ferrara Pan Atomic Fire Balls, Tootsie Frooties etc.

On the radio: ‘What’s this?’ ‘Open it.’ ‘Oh, Jack, it’s beautiful!’ ‘And it’s a perfect match.’ Moments that sparkle brought to you by Helzberg Diamonds….Zia Records is the place to go this year for all your gift-giving needs…Toole…Dave Mathews Band…Foo Fighters….Safeway even has Blockbuster, and Barnes & Noble gift cards…and bananas, three pounds for ninety-nine cents….Santasgotgaming.com….Santa tried reaching up a neighbour’s blouse after drinking all the eggnog….camera phones, Bluetooth phones…get the Nokia Megapixel Slide Phone only at Cricket….bad boys get from Santa Claus a flaming bag of reindeer poo….iPods…Sony Playstation Portable…Dual Screen and Wii by Nintendo…Microsoft Xbox 360…digital SLR cameras…flat-panel TVs, plasma TVs, LCD-TVs, DVDs, MP3s, CDs….

At night, I sleep under two blankets with holes in them and a sheet. I had more blankets but they were deemed contraband and confiscated.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
23 Nov 06

Thanksgiving Day Blues

The usual fog of sadness covered the prison on Thanksgiving Day – a holiday important for family reunions and turkey dinners.
Most conspicuous was the inactivity: no basketball with endless hours of pitter-patter and trash talk, no work crews tending the landscape, no porters sweeping the runs, no GED classes, no mail call, no lunch. Even loudspeaker announcements were sparse.
Prisoners stayed in their cells watching TV - popular were a Thanksgiving Day parade, and episodes of The Closer starring Kyra Sedgwick. Booing and cheering interrupted the silence when two football games were shown: Miami at Detroit and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys.

Dinner consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Recent converts to Judaism declined their religious diet (cottage cheese, kosher beans, celery sticks, onion, green pepper, and bread) to obtain turkey and pumpkin pie.
“Thanksgiving Day dinner at DOC was a meal unseen since Yahweh rained down manna and quail from heaven on us Israelites as we fled across the wilderness from Egypt,” quoth Weird Al, himself a recent convert to Judaism. “And like the Jews of yore, us prison Jews complained about our meal, the only difference being Moses’ Jews complained about having too much, whereas we did not have enough.”
“These stupid-ass motherfuckers must be smokin’ crack to think stabbin’ our fruit stops us makin’ hooch,” a homey said. “It just means you gotta make the hooch quicker, before the fruit goes bad.”

On the radio, Sheriff Joe Arpaio boasted that the Thanksgiving Day meals at his jails cost only fifteen cents per prisoner with the most expensive item being mashed potatoes at seven cents. Arpaio said that the turkeys were all donated. Weird Al explained that Arpaio uses his non-profit organisation status to obtain turkeys intended for poor people from food banks.



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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
Jon has started writing for a new newspaper called The Citizen. Here is his first outing as a columnist

Prison Penned

Shaun Attwood
Contributing Writer

Shaun Attwood, Our writer on
“the inside” presents his humorous
and eye opening perspective
on the realities of life in prison.

Ecstasy, GHB, and Special
K. A foolish affinity for these
drugs—that accompanied my gluttony for the
sex kittens of clubland—landed
me behind bars. My pre-arrest
self firmly believed that the philosophic
meaning of life amounted
to partying. My time in prison
has been the most stressful and
soul-searching period of my life.
While incarcerated, I have fallen
in love with writing, and begun a
blog that has attracted more
attention than I deserve.

My slide into lawlessness took
an unconventional route. I am
a British business grad who became
a stockbroker in Phoenix.
I later quit the rat race to throw
raves. On May 16th, 2002, I was
arrested for money laundering
and a cornucopia of drug
charges.

From the media, I learned I was
facing life in prison and that we
had done enough designer drugs
to kill a herd of elephants. The
latter claim was grossly inaccurate,
as I alone had dumbly done
enough drugs to kill every elephant
in Africa, never mind some
itty-bitty herd. It was all fun and
games until some heavily-armed
gentlemen wearing SWAT garb
knocked my front door down.
Even though it was my behavior
and the harm I was causing that
had invited them, I was shocked.

Those who work for the justice
system have a propensity for crime
that dwarfs even my own. My
right to a speedy trial, a reasonable
bond, and humane living
conditions were nonexistent. I
was held for twenty-six months
without trial, and the bull market
in my bond peaked at $1.5
million (cash only). Here’s how
I described the conditions in my
July 13th, 2004 blog entry: “At
the weekend, two inmates on
my floor attempted to commit
suicide. One threw himself off a
balcony and survived. The other
was discovered trying to hang
himself. Sadder still, an inmate
housed in a medium-security pod
was found dead in the shower. Inmates
are often ‘smashed’ in the
shower area because it is out of
view of the cameras.

When I was a small child, I
imagined that hell consisted of
caves in which the damned were
trapped, tortured, and burned. I
imagined serpents and indescribable
creepy crawlies tormenting
the captives. I never imagined
that man’s nature could be so
hateful as to recreate these conditions
on earth.”

Friedrich Nietzsche was right
about thoughts of suicide being a
great consolation; they helped me
get through many a cockroach-
riddled night. But there is another
outlet that commenced freeing my
repressed emotions and has ultimately
enabled me to transcend
my punishment: writing.

When it felt as if the full
weight of the judicial apparatus
had crushed my mind (I was seeing
imaginary cockroaches and
hearing unsympathetic voices), I
sought solace in documenting the
minutiae of cellular living. I used
golf pencils sharpened on the
wall and paper that often became
drenched in sweat as I wrote. My
parents saw glimmers of hope in
my prose, and encouraged me to
expose what was going on via an online
blog.

We launched the blog covertly
due to fear of reprisals by the boss
of the jail, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and
his goons. Prisoners died mysteriously
each year, and Arpaio (the most
sued sheriff in America) has been
found responsible by the courts
for so many inmate deaths that he
qualifies for serial-killer
status. So my scrappy notes were
smuggled out of the Madison
Street jail by my aunt who visited
weekly. She then e-mailed them
to my parents who posted them
under a pseudonym.

The media caught wind of my
blog when I was out of Arpaio’s
reach, and in the custody of the
Arizona Department of Corrections
(serving the balance of the
nine-and-a-half-year sentence I
had signed a plea bargain for).
The subsequent outpouring of
support was staggering. Media
requests came in to publish blog
excerpts, and I teamed up with
Mothers Against Arpaio to campaign
against Sheriff Joe.

It has now been two-and-a-
half years since the genesis of
the blog, and I continue to receive
positive feedback from a
steadily-growing, international
readership. These days, I mostly
post my own experiences that star
a colorful cast of prison characters.
Such stories include how I
dodge booty bandits, deal with
embarrassing medical problems,
and attempt to romance a young
woman called Royo Girl. Here’s
an excerpt written on April 24th,
2006: “In a diner full of prisoners
seething over their puny pizza
portions, the Machiavellian food-
dispenser dealt me a gargantuan
piece of pizza putting my life in
immediate danger…Word of my
massive pizza migrated to surrounding
diners, so I wolfed it
down to ease table tension.”

Through this column, I hope
to humanize prisoners, give you
a tasted of this netherworld, and
if all else fails, at least make you
laugh.

The paper can be viewed online here

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

20 Nov 06

Fasting

I’m on the nineteenth hour of a fast. My urine is clear, my mouth has a vile taste, and I’m dizzy with hunger.

I haven’t fasted for a while.

Xena answers readers questions


Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

Flashback to Yard 4

Xena’s Latest Tarot Readings

Deanna asked if she’ll ever get married?

“This is a shadowy readin’. Deanna takes on the pain and troubles of others. She needs to stop doin’ that. There is pain in her current relationship, same as in the past. She fears her family and friends disapprove of her relationships. The final outcome, the 10 of Swords, she won’t get married anytime soon, and she could suffer death if she doesn’t get out of the diseased relationship takin’ advantage of her.”

Should Jeff stay in New York or move to Maryland to start a whole new business?

“Jeff shall have abundance. He is a focussed and vigilant person. If he moves to Maryland he will make a lot more money, but he is being held back by his environment, his family and friends. The final outcome, the King of Swords, move, you’re gonna make it.”

Should Pippa stay in New Zealand or move to Holland? Which country is her man in?

“Pippa’s relationship in New Zealand is solid. She’s strugglin’, she doesn’t have a lotta money, and she’s carryin’ too much responsibility. The final outcome is the 3 of Pentacles. No matter which choice Pippa makes, she’ll regret not choosin’ the other. She should stay in New Zealand. That’s where she’ll eventually find peace but not a lotta money.”

Will Miss M’s dad get better?

“He’s not tryin’ to get better. It’s gonna take a lotta work, but you need to get focussed because you’re the only one committed to him. The final outcome, the 5 of Swords, he’s not gonna get better right away. It’s gonna be a long emotional journey for you. Stay strong, keep your chin up and I will pray to Great Mother Earth for your blessin’.”

Should Lady XoK stick with her Ph.D or become an ascetic?

“The Knight of Swords – whooo! – she’s fightin’ battles. She has to finish the bondage of her ongoin’ commitment, the Ph.D. She’s young and will have time and money to travel. In the meantime, its OK to dream.”

If you would like a tarot reading, leave your request in the comments section.

Some of you have written and asked what types of books Xena likes. Xena, a Wiccan, is interested in books on esoteric theology, especially witchcraft, and also Dungeons and Dragon books from which he and his friends play for hours on end. Used books are less expensive, but must be mailed from used-book vendors, not from private individuals.


Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
18 Nov 06

The Royo Romance (2)

Click here for Part 1.

Royo Girl wrote:

It was embarrassing rereading what I had written to you. What was I on? I agree that we have both gotten swept away in the moment. You for legitimate prisoner psychological reasons, and me … I don’t even know. Perhaps unobtainability has a role. You are most certainly the wrong guy for me.

I replied:

It seems we were too lovey-dovey in recent weeks. My love apparatus definitely went into operation around the time of your visits, but I’m almost back to normal now and somewhat glad you didn’t move to Tucson because I may have fallen for you hard and ended up in the miserable role of prison boyfriend. I don’t regret in any way how I felt for you because you generated a happiness that soothed me for several weeks. It was as if I were no longer in prison.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

Jon answers more readers’ questions here.