Living Unwell in the Paradise Shit Show and Time-To-Live Numbers

Living too poorly to get over prison

Recently the sense of a lack of traction puts me on a quest for adjectives. The current metaphor for how I exist is: zero gravity with no handholds. So, what are my cocktail party concise adjectives? I really want to use unwell, which as a state of being is not an adjective. The title of this piece may be punchier if titled “Living too unwell to get over prison.” If I’m going for concise grammar be fucked.

So what I’m going for is how to describe living in my parent’s (finished and nice basement) at 56 and aspiring to move into a fourteen foot travel trailer in the spring. Yeeha! There really are no concise adjectives that describe this position of stagnation, instead of rebound, after incarceration. Prison is all grandiose thoughts of all the projects and things you should have done before running into the prosecution gristmill. Well all those things didn’t happen then for lack of time and resources; and that condition continuous egregiously after prison.

I’ll say that it breaks down to how well people can create opportunity for themselves. Oh shit, that’s exactly what prison does: kills all future opportunity. Opportunity to return to your chosen profession, opportunity to exploit any positive attribute you have, opportunity to get an interview or ever make any clean first impression. The expression, “A felony is for life,” applies.

Woe is me for believing that upfront acknowledgment of prison time would wash the stigma into a an alluvial fan of run off water from a forgotten upstream rainstorm. Done, fini, ancient history…when can you start work? Not so!

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[Previous started piece of about 3 weeks ago, when really raining – I mean seven inches on a Sunday and still raining on the Monday drive into work. Let’s retitle and document up to today; thursday 11 May 2023.]

Paradise Shit Show

Recap…home in Maine. Sober. Working, but not in chosen (and well remunerated) engineering profession. Trying to build something with no mortgage on the family property.

The ground dried somewhat and a friend with a four wheel drive pickup was able to pull my trailer out of my aunt’s side yard, with zero damage to the lawn. Yeay. [in progress from here]

;You wanna talk about blowing some opportunities….born to good parents, only three quarters insane. Concept of happiness that encompasses all philosophy ever thought , within the course of at least one generation of humans. Who knows what that is. Definitely an imagined nirvana not to pursue. There is satiety and the fools errand of extending that base sensation too far into happiness, bliss, or any exultation. Alright hedonism sucessfully argued against…maybe a thought experiment of people before the diversionary concept of happiness…maybe those beats from the mid-1400’s – a few centuries of retrograde thinking to really set the milieu. Good crew then, survivalists who still enjoyed fucking and fighting as much as not being dead. Oh yeah, good times my generation. So yeah, moment by moment living as a lifestyle became a rock bog. But, that is what there is; now.

Now for a review of living in relative safety, but not real social/financial security.

Sat. 27 May

———— I’m hiding out in the fortress of “how the fuck did I end up here” My paradise boat shelter 400 feet into the woods from my father’s house. Fuck man, I’m turning 57…probably less than three quarters insane – that’s progress from a few paragraphs ago. Aimless, assetless, partially disabled and breaking down. Added an aged 14’ travel trailer to the menagerie of mud hole prepper hell scape. I’m not a prepper. This is maine mo-fo … too cold for winter survival practice. The trailer is eau-de-mouse-balls stink pit. I sit in there to eat breakfast and cook some, but move in and live is not what this fucking 70’s hillbilly murder scene of a travel trailer is. Uh-uh. I almost hope that I can gut and rehabilitate this thing. I’ll get under it tomorrow …to jack it up and see what is its most (and possibly only redeeming) value; the frame and floor.

Inventory: no assets, no physical structure called home, family (oh, that’s good), land on which the family let’s me squat (fuck man that’s everything), money (low end of skilled labor) and late career prospects (oh shit.).

Mon. 25 Dec

—–2023 Summer/Fall in review: Pulled the trailer out past the cemetary, the S-turn at the yacht club, and almost to the spot I envisioned for it.


Fall 2023

Tried some new things – kind of a force change in my life thing. Could it be attributed to a car, happenstance, ennui, frustration…who knows? Spring was going to bring progress and even if the events of the past two seasons are not considered progress they are change. That seems to be the trick – the prime mover for living – to move on to whatever is next. In the grand scheme of living it may be folly; why build and accumulate when living simply could be better.

I feel that I’m simultaneously on two levels of Mazlow’s hierracrachy. Base level…survival needs is living in a tented shelter (on a raised platform) for the summer. Carrying water from the house, pooping in the woods [a reference to a favorite bumper sticker: I love to poop in the woods]. But, feeling shamefully hoboish about the whole thing. On one hand I couldn’t be more at home falling asleep to the sounds of the forest – sometimes eerily quiet and often soothing rain on the vinyl tent material. The absolute diametric dream of prison: outside and free.

The more time out there, the more incremental changes; that almost seem like progress; but I’m doodling in the margins. The addition of a fourteen foot beater trailer added a kitchen and dining table, but I’m still without a bathroom, desk, office type space, bookcase – all the things that come with a hard structure. A dwelling that is considered permanent in the terms of human lifespan.

The two Maine Coon Cats pushed their boundries past the cemetery / yacht club – an S-turn in the logging road with a concrete walled cemetery on one side and a beached sailboat on the other – to live with me in the hobo paradise. One did clear the trailer of mice for me but neither would use the installed cat door, and didn’t really take to the trailer any better than I did.

The upshot to this doodling in the margins, of which I speak, is that I got end of summer urgency: not enough fire wood cut for winter, to many projects to fulfill whatever future I can paste together, work demands, small engines needing tune ups, aching knees and back… I quit my job going in and out of basements for water treatment systems and started scheming. Exactly what all floundering anxiety cases like myself do it such moments of stasis – perfect existential castle move, swap the rook and the king and see what shakes out. Next, figure best expenditure of savings. In this case I had an excavation contractor look at the old (100+ years) access road for improvement, to gain access to property.

October through end of ’23 saw a driveway entrance type of road installed, for half of a year’s wages. Concurrently I began dish washing at a new outlet of a regional chain restaurant, for the same money as the more technical water treatment job but without 401K match or benefits. It is indoors and on flat surface. So, fade in to this winter season existential crisis – a now semi-annual phenomena 4th year running.

So, let’s do the numbers.

I have typed the birth and death dates of my shortest lived grandparent into a spread sheet and added his life span to my birth date. I’m 470 days beyond. Hmm… Next I take the dates of my incarceration (to include eleven months not behind a fence in Durango, Colorado) and add that to the date of my return home to Maine: 01 August 2039. This is the day upon which I will have been home for as long as I was away. I stare at this single point of future datum. Will I be alive? That will probably be a function of financial solvency more that genetics and health. So, will I have money for food? Probably not. Oof.

Well that catches up to winter ’23/’24. I’m 1160 days (one sixth of the way) into the 7173 day run until 01 August 2039. Stay tuned as we count down the days 😉

[note: the movies Looper and In Time present good time-to-live existential premises.]

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2023 Look Back…hmmm

There exists about four text files of started entries, since March 2023, that I always want to paste together to sum up summer/fall of 2023. Maybe I will sit and type and actually do that. For now I’ll upload a video of the latest and biggest event of the year: construction of road access to a parking spot for a travel trailer and who knows…hopefully a build site for a permanent dwelling. So, in reverse order here is that; and maybe later I’ll post the build up/progress(?) of the Near Reach site with a barely usable 14′ travel trailer, covering of that trailer, vehicle and job changes, time off, stress, joy, cutting wood, joining facebook, upcoming 40th high school reunion et cetera.

Walk-in and look-back of the completed Next Reach project.
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Can a convict get a job?

Below is graphic of the homemade job seeking card I’ve printed. I am pinned in to gigs that don’t require a background check. Hopefully renewables — wind, solar etc. — has enough of a boom that need of a reliable, educated employee out weighs protocol. All I know is that when I get to work with people first; the fact of having been incarcerated (for murder) doesn’t carry an ounce to the ton of built impression.

Business card announcing job seeking for an electrical engineering position.
Here’s to hope of an interview for merit…that disregards false impressions of crminality.

Stumps and Tall Trees in January Freezing Rain

Hacking away a stumps in the freezing rain. I did make some progress — hopefully ;you can see from the pictures that there is a crater around the two pictured. The goal is to get them hacked down — not entirely pulled — to the surrounding ground level, which will be filled about 6″ thick as a platform for the 14′ camper trailer. The trailer will go between the two big pines pictured, and since I don’t want them falling on me I am in the contemplation stage of how to drop them big mofo’s!! [The upper branches develop symetrically (cylindrical symmetry?), so the high lop sidedness requires an extra degree of consideration.]

Difficult to discern because the two stumps are hacked down, but be assured the broken axe was well earned hacking these stumps around and around; in freezing rain to boot.
I hope to drop these 45 degrees to the left of this perspective.
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If failure was adventure I’d be the most interesting guy in the world

Man do I get down about just trying to get shit done. Task… directed effort… accomplish… satisfaction. That’s for congenitally successful people not rolling failures comme moi. Grand scheme; one could say “who cares?” You did your eighteen plus years incarcerated now just live until you’re dead. Hmmmm…that sounds like the protocol for doing time inside, not outside.

Inside is: get a routine, stick to it. So, now outside there is what I feel is the “macro” routine of a job, meals, and maintenance of whatever (yard, house, cars, pets…). This, of course, neglects building up to the yard, car, dwelling, pets…all the accouterments of an actualized American; which is everything lost to incarceration.

The frustration of the lost building phase comes in, for me, by the little schemes — which keep following a failure pattern. The latest that has me torqued is trying to put mounted snow tires — full wheels — onto my car.

I had purchased the rim/tire set last spring from a person who did the same thing I was scheming: swap four wheels on the hubs of the car instead of the tire shop swapping tires on rims. Similar model of car and the rim specifications checked out — bolt pattern and offset. Thus I was following in a trod path. I got the wheels out of storage and balanced ($50) then last Sunday did the wheel swap: jack up the front left, remove, replace, torque bolts sequentially, let car down, repeat three more times and it’s getting dark and starting to snow. Just in time Jason puts all the equipment away, starts the car to drive it out of the woods back to civilization and … .[mechanical seizing screech sound]. The front brake rotors are seized. Something is egregiously wrong!

Abandon the car and walk back to the house. Eat something and think. Recalculate. The front rims have to come off, so back out with a head lamp and maximum frustration to swap back the radials on to the front. Take the below pictures and still leave the car because the front and rear wheels may not have the same circumference and it is an all wheel drive car. This frantic wheel swap is where the back pain starts.

The mating surfaces are the same “offset” into the dish of the rim, but the newer generation requires the one inch of clearance for brake pad assembly!

Drive not inspected truck to work Monday and order spacers ($85) to push out the rims the one inch to give the brake pad assembly clearance for the rim to turn. Get home before dark and swap the rear wheels. Back feeling more tweaked. After twisting and lifting plywood at work Wednesday back is blown out.

Here is where I’m thinking of the continuous failure of everything I try. I often use the expression: not getting any traction. Perfect fucking metaphor. Car, like my life, will not have any traction for winter weather.

Oh yeah; one of the front lugs snapped during the second wheel change. It paradoxically tightened in the loosening direction and just flat out broke off in the lug nut. Who knows what the metaphor is there, but it added $90 to the oil change on Tuesday. Tally is $225 and if my back is still nonfunctional when the spacers arrive the tire shop labor will bump that to $285.

The constant feeling of no traction belies all the effort. Maybe everyone is caught in their own failure loops…big, small, and in between. the only solution is to not mourn the failures and to acknowledge the occasional success. Often though, when there is a quantum change in the seasons from one day to another and I spin around in the woods to relish the moment it occurs that we’re mostly working for a tortured retribution false satisfaction fuck you moment before death, so why not make all moments such and be always ready for the final fuck you disappointment.

Happy Holidays
Justin Free 27 November 2022 17:50

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What really happened and trying to keep a patch of ground dry in Maine.

–>Just found this draft and am posting it now. the link to the text file of the blogspot entry should still be valid. As far as keeping a patch of ground dry; I had to replace the extra layer tarp cover on the marine vinyl shelter after a year. That is covered in the next entry. (JF, 26 Nov 2022, 20:40 EST)

This a text file of a 2013 blog entry that documents what really happened in the reckless homicide of Marc Bender. The URL of the original entry on is the first line of the file. It is titled “Materially False Information”

Latest Doings and Recap of the September Vacay Roadtrip

Prelude: It’s 22 October now. The below roadtrip story happened last week of September. Just like the first sentence of the story; I’m going at maximum consistent 56 year old pace and never beating the to-do list. So…fuck it. I’m a half a glass of wine and two hits of weed in, laundry needs folding, I may sleep out in the tent tonight (where typing doesn’t work in dark camping conditions), took last dip of the year in the pond, and will do some therapeutic typing for a few minutes. .;:.;:.;:>>>>

Week Off Road Trip

 Another quick essay, because I always feel that I’m behind the eight ball, not getting any traction, and just generally not coming out of the gate -- of time lost to prison -- effectively.   This year has been a lot of work at the small water treatment company, where my labor is necessary but my expertise in electronics/firmware is just not applicable.  Labor is not going to cut it at my age and transition is required.    As it was I was contemplating career move to my Air Force specialty of avionics or solar/wind renewable.  The result of the road trip is a big recalculation.

 I have intended to procure a not-corroded, cheap truck from my Durango contact in Colorado, for almost all of the two years that I’ve been back in Maine.  Nothing was really forthcoming until Tom suggested that I could buy his old work truck.  A somewhat mutually beneficial situation.  The truck is a manual -- which I like -- and not a kick around Denver vehicle.  Tom’s other vehicle is a get around Denver, and get anywhere fast, car.  Alright, the truck is on the table and I’m going to take a week off to go get it.  I’ve been working consistently all year and need some sort of time away.  So, I book a Saturday flight to Denver and the following week off of work; with the intention to drive the truck back.

First civilian flight experience since March 2001. [The 2007 con-air rendition flight in which I flew with 240 other shackled inmates is a whole other story!] Get to Denver at noon and rendezvous with Tom no problem.  I’m at a Tex-Mex cantina eating a savory burrito and feeling real weird about being 2000 miles from home base.  We discuss the truck, having dinner with friends, and driving back to Maine. It all follows the script – we have dinner with John and Ty at Twin Peaks ( ...hooters style joint where the waitress was just oh so perfectly glittered ;-)).  Tune up the truck Sunday...get up to Superior to visit a couple I know from the old days in Fort Collins...have breakfast, pack the truck, and start driving Monday morning.  Pull into the driveway in Maine Wednesday night.

The drive entailed pushing through the first night – all nighters at mine and Tom’s age...ugh.  This put us through Chicago at fuck-me-a.m. and we were so desperate to get around a pair of mated semi trucks causing a 8+ mile backup that we detoured through Gary Indiana.  Through Cleveland then Erie and rain the next night in New York.  By 8 p.m. the rain was fatiguing and a hotel in Brocksport – near Rochester was the remedy.  Leisurely breakfast at Tom Horton’s and fourteen hours to West Bath Maine.

Tom stayed until Saturday October first and flew out of Portland Jetport a week and 6 hours after I had flown out of the same.  We toured around town Bath and the coast at a place called Head Beach/Hermit Island.  Partied with the neighbors. Hiked around the family homestead.  Cooked and ate lobsters.  And, cut split some wood.  All in all it was a good week off of work and packed with memorable, a win.

Now, how am I going to get this truck up to state vehicle inspection standards?!
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How to best characterize a cat

A friend was unconvinced that a cat picture I sent him was of a baby linx. Thus, I sent the following reply:

On closer inspection I think it may be a Mongolian Civit…interdimensional time travelers… They sell insurance discounted by reincarnation potential.

Interdimensional Mongolian Civit on time traveling break from selling insurance.
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