Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 2

Since Morgan was released, on parole, from prison. One might argue that it's early days and I ought not to expect overmuch; certainly such would be Sonya's argument if we were prepared to discuss the issue. So far we don't seem prepared.

Nonetheless, on the evidence of two days I have to say not much has changed. I was treated to the dancing hippopatami during my afternoon nap (which I always take after I get home from the office and before dinner). I heard Sonya try to shush her and heard the response 'I didn't know he was home'. Which response was accepted by Sonya. When I arose I was more pointed 'of course you didn't know I was home. To know that would have required looking at a clock or out the front door at my car!'.

I'm advised that when one goes to prison one surrenders ones street clothes and, here at least, dons an orange jump suit. Sonya wasn't really open to my suggestion that we buy a pair and wear em when she returned. *shrug* She was even less responsive to a suggestion that we schedule a night of films, featuring such titles as Women in Chains[^] or Caged[^]. Well, *I* thought it was a good idea!

Now if you think about it, it's pretty obvious that one enters into custody at a place other than the prison itself. It also seem obvious that, once in custody, one must be 'marked' in some way if only to make it easy for the transport guards to know who's who and who isn't. Thus, Morgan, having been sentenced and taken down, had to change out of her street clothes into the orange jump suit aforementioned. I'd have imagined the street clothes would follow her but not a bit of it. To reclaim those she has to go down to the Fourth Avenue gaol.

Thinking this through a bit further and knowing the propensity of the state to hang onto what it owns I asked the next question; if her street clothes are at the Fourth Avenue gaol but she's at Perryville *and* she has to return the orange jump suit what does she wear out of prison? I mean literally, what does she wear as she walks through the gate and back into our world? The answer, it seems, is that if no one arrives with clothes, either nothing or whatever they can scavenge out of a charity bin of clothing.

Since the nothing option would probably lead to swift arrest and return to prison it seems the released felons are very much subject to charity. Interesting catch 22.

Now you understand that this is what I've gleaned from my wife. I'd sooner die than ask Morgan about it. Indeed, on Sunday Sonya was waxing enthusiastic on getting the 'lowdown' on prison life from Morgan. I stared at her aghast. 'Are you insane? The very last thing you should do is lend the faintest odour of glamour to her last month!'

The little princess was to be released sometime between 8 and 10 AM. Sonya, of course, planned to be there at 8. I counselled an arrival no earlier than 10. As I put it, whichever way it goes one of you will have to cool your heels waiting on the other. Why should it be you? I'll let you guess what time Sonya got there.

On a totally unrelated note, today marks my seven year anniversary of living in the USA. As I said to Sonya, 'I've done my time - atoned for that mirror I broke. Can I go home now?'. Permission not granted!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Demonstrating ones intelligence.

My wife continues, in the face of all the evidence, to insist that Morgan is highly intelligent. Perhaps she is but she certainly doesn't seem to want to *use* that intelligence. What use being intelligent if you're not prepared to exercise it at least some of the time?

I mentioned in my last post that the little princess is currently in prison. I have to admit that I don't fully grasp the differences between being in gaol (jail) and being in prison here in the US. Nor have I found anyone who could explain the subtleties to me; somehow or other gaol is 'less' than prison. And when I express surprise that someone has been to either place I'm always left with the feeling of being incredibly naive; as though having spent a night in gaol, in particular, is a rite of passage rather than something to be avoided if humanly possible.

Or perhaps that's just me; the idea of being behind bars for even a day is something I'd really rather avoid!

So here we are, in what is the last week (according to the Arizona Department of Corrections website) of peace and quiet. I mentioned in the last post that the inmates contact list has to be vetted before communication is permitted; it seems that at least her two home addresses (ours and her fathers) have been approved, for small pieces of card of the sort once used in library catalogues have arrived, with incredibly small print in pencil!

The first arrived a week or so ago; Sonya drew my attention to it with the forlorn hope that I might care to read it. I didn't.

I gathered, from hints dropped over the next few days, that the pencilled epistles were full of regret for a life gone wrong garnished with many promises to do better upon release.

I've heard it all before, and so has Sonya. Not being the miscreant's father I can wallow in the luxury of disbelief; not so my wife. Oh, I'll be civil enough when she returns; I might even, if I had a good day at the office and a better drive home, greet her with something approaching cordiality. If we shake hands I'll be sure to count my fingers afterward!

Over dinner tonight Sonya related some details of the latest epistle directed toward her father. It seems that smoking is forbidden in prison. Hmm, so much for all those British movies where 'snout' is traded! Ok, I couldn't resist the temptation to use the word 'snout'. So much for all those Hollywood movies where the defiant prisoner rolls a smoke in the exercise yard. Anyway, the princess was suffering nicotine withdrawal until she was advised by fellow inmates that there was a particular place in the yard just out of sight of the guards where one could snatch a smoke!

I can sympathise with this. I am, as you well know, a devout smoker and, apart from long flights over oceans, I don't go more than a sleep without a smoke. Another reason, methinks, to stay out of prison, if you can't smoke inside em!

But what struck me as comical was the naivety with which this information was imparted, on a small piece of stiff card, written in pencil. Does she not think her written communications are vetted?

Intelligence has to be demonstrated!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Inmate 123456789*

I'd be lying if I denied enjoying the last three weeks. Such a pleasure not having the dancing hippopotami in the room above. Such a pleasure not having to negotiate the lounge room floor with the kind of care one usually reserves for tiptoeing gently across a minefield*!

In short, Morgan is in prison!

It was a long time coming. I'm not going to rehash all the details; I only know some of them. I took my stance on Morgan some years ago and methinks my wife prefers not to fuel the fire by aquainting me with the full depths of depravity. This is probably a wise decision!

Suffice it to say the offences involved the possession and disposal of stolen goods. I think I've mentioned it before but ones suspicions have to be roused when an expensive laptop or palm computer (both) sudddenly appear and are explained away as a gift from a friend who no longer wants them. Must be friends not invited to this house because, based on ocular evidence, those who *are* invited here certainly couldn't afford such luxuries!

The months leading up to incarceration were punctuated with desperate attempts to avoid the legal consequences. The DA offered her a deal and, as far as I can tell, she spent the next month trying to find a lawyer who'd advise her that it was *not* the cheapest way out! Failing that she eventually agreed to the deal and appeared in court for sentencing.

Now I wouldn't mind that if it was being paid on someone elses wages but I have my suspicions. Dangerous subject; Sonya and I have had hot argument over the drain down which I believe my earnings are being poured. I pretend, these days, to believe otherwise but the evidence is against it.

You understand that it has never entered her head to actually get a job to earn the money to pay lawyers fees!

Indeed, I remember asking Sonya a few weeks ago if she believed Morgan was guilty as charged. The answer being in the affirmative I then asked the most futile question in the universe 'if that's so then why are you helping her wriggle out of it?'.

I know I'll never understand this; no one has sprung from my loins! I suppose, being 'in loco parentis' to Morgan, I should be more concerned than I am; certainly I ought not to be having feelings of Schadenfreude, but I do and there's an end of it. She's legally an adult; has theoretically been educated in the responsibilities as well as the freedoms of adulthood. How long does one make excuses?

Alas, all proceeding according to the schedule laid out on the Arizona Department of Corrections website, she's out of prison a week from now. Far too short I fear, not just for my enjoyment of peace. Far too short for her to have learned anything from the experience. I'll admit it here if I'm wrong but methinks she'll have been in just long enough to pick up some new slang and to establish 'street cred'.

I was selfish enough over it all; the news that she was going to accept the plea deal broke a couple of weeks before my most recent visit to Australia. My only comment was that I hoped she wouldn't go to prison until *after* I returned - I wanted the entire month of peace!

In the meantime I've learned a lot about how the prison system works here. I never realised that the incarcaree (is that a word) is incommunicado while their contact list is being vetted. Nor did I know that after release on parole the parolee has to pay the costs of their supervision. (Want to guess who I think is going to be stuck with *that* bill?) Other things were more obvious; the new inmate goes into maximum security while their status is assessed.

*this is a reference to the fact that Morgan does not agree that it is her responsibility to tidy up after her offspring if they are too young or careless to clean up after themselves. I've lost count of the number of times I've kicked toys out of the way, long after their *owner* has departed. And no, I won't pick up after her or her children!

*I know the real inmate number but I made up one for this title. It's always been my policy never to reveal enough information about anyone other than myself that one could follow a trail on the 'net or in the real world.

Monday, November 02, 2009

My contribution to Halloween

It probably wouldn't surprise you overmuch to hear that I'm not impressed with Halloween. As I said to my wife the other day, 'so what it boils down to is that a bunch of ankle biters come to your door, demand lollies (candy) and have license to abuse you if you refuse! It all smacks of legalised extortion!'.

She shook her head sadly and we changed the subject.

I go for a walk most evenings through the back streets not far from here. Usually just after sunset for no more sinister a reason than that it's just after dinner and I enjoy walking at that hour. Last night, for the first time in the seven years that I've been here, I went walking on Halloween evening. Other years I've avoided it precisely because I don't want to have to put up with the ankle biters aforesaid. On the other hand, why should I allow them to cramp my enjoyment?

Normally one couldn't tell, by ocular evidence alone, that anyone occupied the houses lining those back streets. To be sure, the lights are on but it certainly looks like no one's at home. I could count on the thumbs of one foot the number of actual real people I encounter most nights. However, much like the graves that are supposed to yield up their dead, those houses yielded up many a reveler and the streets were awash with ankle biters and parents.

It would seem that the sight of a solitary middle aged bloke walking at a smart pace (I walk very fast by most peoples standards) was so far outside their experience that it could only portend evil. How else explain the number of ankle biters starting to cross the road such that they would intersect my path who were reined in by anxious parents eyeing me as I strolled past. Once I was safely past, however, the children were permitted to cross. *shrug*

I think, in future years, I'll eschew the walk on Halloween.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Now here's a puzzle

As you probably don't remember I'm a big fan of British Comedy, especially comedy from an earlier, more genteel period, the 1960's.

My wife is long inured to the sight of me, headphones clapped on my head, laughing heartily at the latest (40 year old) tomfoolery on Round the Horne[^], especially when Kenneth Williams[^] chuckles from the sidelines. Good stuff!

And so with other shows, such as The Goon Show, Hancock's Half Hour, Much Binding in the Marsh and many others that have run on BBC7 over the past year and a half since I discovered em. Indeed, if you have a very good memory you might even remember that I posted on that very subject on April 1 last year!

Back then I expressed some surprise that I was able to get the show over the internet given that I'm not in Britain, have never been in Britain and have never paid a cent in licensing fees. Well, apparently the restriction applies to TV over the 'net. I run into the same problem with Australian TV - I can listen to 3LO Melbourne no problems, but when I try and watch ABC TV I'm sternly told I'm not within their coverage area.

The mystery deepened today, when I noticed that the program I was listening to was listed as having been broadcast at 3:00 AM. Understand that I'm using their 'Listen Again' service, which makes all broadcasts available over the internet for the following seven days.

The program was Saturdays Comedy Controller, which first goes out at 10:00 AM London time, coincidentally 3:00 AM Phoenix time. A further check and I discover that they're listing all program times in the Real Player with a first broadcast time corrected for the Phoenix time zone.

Now I can understand that BBC management might want to know the geographical spread of their internet service, hence looking up my IP address. What I don't understand is why anyone thought it worth the coding, testing and deployment costs to convert original broadcast time from London time to the listeners local time!