Lots of updates.

I finished the iHelp program last November. WOOHOO! I received the official discharge paperwork earlier this month and now I’m just waiting on my parole board review in March. If things go as I hope, I will get a 2 year “final” in March which basically says they expect they’ll parole me in March of 2023 at my first parole eligibility date. With a 2 year final I can get reclassified to go to Community Custody (aka Work Release) where I can get passes to go out and visit friends and family. I really look forward to that. I also plan to try and get into some IT training classes while I’m in here and maybe continue them when I get to Community Custody if I go to CCCO.

The reason it took over a month to get my discharge paperwork from the program is that we were on quarantine/lockdown from Nov. 16th through Dec. 23rd for Covid19. They had tried to ignore the problem of it spreading in here by not testing but eventually it got so wide spread that they had to acknowledge it. Once they started offering tests they found over 100 in the first round. That was a serious undercount because there were a lot of people who refused the test. There were also a lot of people like me. I tested negative but only because I had it 3 weeks prior. I had three days of feverish weakness and a headache the last day. I would have thought it was the flu but Jay, a buddy that lives with me in the same room and hangs out with me all the time was sick at the same time and lost his sense of taste and smell for weeks.

The lockdown really sucked. We are in 8 man dorm rooms with only 16 square feet of unencumbered space per person and we could only leave our rooms to get water/ice after each meal was served in clamshells in our room, to go to the restroom, to shower once a day, and for 20 min. per day to use the email kiosks. Otherwise, we were stuck in our rooms for 37 days straight. Most of that time I spent on my bunk. At least I was still able to do 1-2 hours of yin yoga every day. Because I tested negative I was moved out of my regular room to a “negative” wing but now that everyone seems clear I have been moved back.

The other news that I got just as we went into lockdown is that the ACLU decided to withdraw from representing me in my 191 good time lawsuit. I am very disappointed in them but at least they were kind enough to file the necessary paperwork to initiate my appeal as I wouldn’t have had time to get it in on time otherwise. However, I have to write my own Brief for the NE Supreme Court and make my own oral arguments in front of them. While on lockdown I didn’t have access to the Law Library to do any research but I’ve spent the past few weeks doing research and the last week writing the Brief. I just emailed it to my father and will be working with him to get it formatted properly. I look forward to using my years of Debate practice when I do the oral arguments. *smile*

Recently I saw a PEB show on slime molds. One of the oldest and most rudimentary life forms around and yet they can learn?!? Ok, I understand that even plants can learn to expect light at a certain time from a certain direction so they bend that way on cue. But a slime mold doesn’t have specialized cells or set “systems” so how the heck does it even remember anything in order to learn from it? They do though. They showed several experiments including teaching a slime mold to cross a salty bridge, which it would normally avoid, in order to get to food it had learned to expect. HOW? Does this not redefine our understanding of what intelligent life or consciousness means? Heck, there was even a recent Cosmos where they talked about the complex communication system among bees and the mycelial network between trees in a forest that communicates between them. If complexity creates consciousness, surely a forest network is approximating the complexity of the brain. We are not alone, the forests are listening. *chuckle*