david j. sperling BIO
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Mark David Allen has been arrested over 500 times...
This page updates his current adventures & whereabouts...

(most recent entry on TOP)

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

UPDATE 2/8/2012 -- The MEMORIAL for Mark David Allen will be this Saturday, 2/11/2012 from 11am to 2pm at the Newport Beach Pier. 
There is a "PADDLE OUT" that will take place directly in front of Blackie's (22nd Street).  If you don't wish to get wet and just want to show up with a pic, a snack, or a memory to share -- PLEASE DO!  This is the time to show up.  I apologize for the late notice but the paddle out materialized and I didn't wish to be redundant by having multiple memories.  So please try to make it anytime in that window and take lots of pictures.  Thanks for everything and spread the word to anyone you think might be interested -- DJS

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
UPDATE 2/1/2012 -- Today is a sad day for those who have followed and been interested in Mark's life.  I spoke with an officer who talked to Mark earlier this morning.  Mark sang him some Bob Marley (Get Up, Stand Up) and some Van Halen (Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love) while he ate some food bought by the officer.  After visiting Mark went on his way.  A few hours later a radio call went out that of a "MAN DOWN" at 43rd and Seashore Drive.  Officers and Medics responded and attempted to revive Mark to no avail.  Mark was taken to the hospital (where he has been many times) and more attempts were made without success.  His loss has been immediately felt by all who have dealt with him over the years.
At this time it appears Mark fell and was NOT hit by a vehicle.  Mark may have had a cardiac issue, a seizure from lack of alcohol (ironically highlighting the risks of alcohol withdrawal), sustained an injury to his head (although preliminary reports suggest no blunt force traumas), or another medical issue due to his alcoholism that had finally run it's course.  I will report further details when I can manage to collect them. 
Mark touched us all and remained an enigma of significance.  So many identified with his struggle and felt touched by his story -- for his story was often theirs, or their brothers and sister, or other significant others, or friends...  Mark specifically impacted those that struggle with addiction and inspired many to claim sobriety (even though he rarely had such success).  This lends to Mark's legend as well as the notion that every person matters.  Society labeled him a throw away, but the 1000's of emails and tens of 1000's of people I have met over the years suggest Mark had more impact that most could hope for themselves.  A true irony as society sees it.  Mark was an icon and his impact will further grow beyond his death. I will now post what may have been a few of the last lyrics Mark sang earlier this morning: 
"AIN'T 'TALKIN' 'BOUT LOVE" by Van Halen
...I've been to the edge
And then I stood and looked down
You know I lost a lot of friends there baby
I've got no time to mess around... 
(Mark also sang some Bob Marley...Right about now we all wish Mark could "Get Up" but he has found his peace and will "Stand up" and carry his message in his place).
Please check and visit the Facebook page (see link above) to leave your thoughts as well as updates on a casual memorial in the future for Mark.
R.I.P.  -  MARK DAVID ALLEN  -  (6/27/1961 - 2/1/2012)

Saturday, January 14th, 2012
UPDATE 1/14/2012 -- In the last year Mark David Allen has been in and out of city jails, county jail and the hospital a number of times.  There have been a handful of attempts to gain him some assistance or even a trip back to United Community Outreach in Lake Elsinore (who have said they would take Mark back if he was truly willing to work on his sobriety).  Mark has refused all assistance. I was able to meet with Mark a half dozen times in and out of custody, often sharing some pizza or just company.  His spirits for the most part have been “relatively” good, but functionally, Mark seemed to be a bit dialed down.  He is back to a lot of repetitive monologues as well as some more frequent outbursts laced with anger.  Although Mark is intoxicated on most days, he seems to be doing everything a bit slower.  Mark has recently fallen (it is unknown if it was because he was drunk—or not drunk and had a seizure and fell), but he did cause injury to his face.I was able to release Mark on his own recognizance on his most recent arrest (1/5/2012) for being drunk in public.  It was 6:45 AM and Mark had thrown up about an hour before I arrived at work.  This is not common for Mark.  He seemed very quiet and conversation was minimal.  I asked Mark if he recognized me—and he shook his head and said, “I don’t know.”  Mark responded this way a few times.  This has not happened in 8 or 9 years, but then Mark did finally address me by my name. Mark seemed uneasy and was pre-occupied with leaving.  There was a brief moment where he turned back and seemed like he wanted to talk, but I was having a busy morning and had to let him go.  I was also aware he was coming up on that magic 6 hour mark and needed to be released.  I didn’t want to gamble with Mark having a seizure.So, Mark starts 2012 just like he started 2011, on the streets.  But he is doing everything a bit slower.  He was even arrested less (although he did a few stints in county jail for unattended court appearances and trespassing).  I counted 10 new arrests for Mark in the past year putting his informal total at 520 arrests.  I will keep trying to help him as well as keep documenting his story and whereabouts.  I will also keep spending time with him when I can—because I enjoy it.

DECEMBER 2010  &  JANUARY 2011
     Upon his release, Mark was picked up from County Jail and driven to a temporary home in Anaheim, California to await a neurological evaluation. 

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
     Mark was drunk and got arrested.  For reasons yet to be understood, his warrants were not dealt with during his previous trip to County Jail.  Mark was transported to County Jail.

Saturday, September 11th, 2010
     Mark's adventures and lack of memory caught up with him...Again.  He was drunk in public and arrested for warrants.  He was transported to Couny Jail. 

Monday, September 6th, 2010 - 2:00PM
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  He was released 6 hours later. 

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
     I heard that Mark might have been picked up on Sunday, August 15th, but this has not been confirmed.  I did receive some information that Mark was out and about at the end of August and I did go look for him on September 1st but had no luck finding him (it was another unusually cold day for Southern California).  Anyway, I have not found him listed in custody in any of the places I've looked.  So maybe he's simply lying low. 

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  The report I received was that Mark's hygiene was horrible and his feet were even more atrocious than "normal". 

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.


Monday, August 9th, 2010
     Mark spent a little over a month in County Jail.  He was released on August 9th and promptly made his way back to Newport Beach.


Saturday, July 3rd, 2010
     Mark went over a month as was arrested only twice.  Not too bad (for him).  Still, today he was arrested for the 500th time.  Mark was intoxicated and transported to Orange County Jail due to the nature of his charge (an indeceny charge--Mark was intoxicated and exposed--which happens sometimes with him).


Mark David Allen's 500th arrest...
Mark David Allen's 500th arrest...

Saturday, June 26th, 2010 - 10:00am
     Spent some time looking for Mark.  It was actually pretty cold and misty out, so I bet Mark was hunkered down somewhere.  I never found him.

Friday, June 25th, 2010
     Mark was arrested for being drunk.  He was released 6 hours later.  I made plans to find Mark the next morning (the 26th).

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 - 2:30pm
     I found Mark sitting down on the 100 block of 21st street down near the Newport Beach Pier.  He was drunk but "okay".  I hung out with him and bought him a cheeseburger (at his request -- he also wanted to pay, which I denied).  He was pretty funny, singing songs (which seemed to be stuck in the "Extended Play" version), and overall in a good mood (I noticed he politely said 'Hello' to nearly every single person that passed him).

     I only imagine it's a short amount of time before he wobbles into trouble.

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
     Spent some time looking for Mark.  No luck at all. 

Monday, June 14th, 2010
     Mark has been on the streets for two weeks.  I don't have any information that indicates he's been arrested.  He's been seen a few times.  He's asked for alcohol.  But for some reason he hasn't been falling apart like he has in the past.  There have been a few stints where Mark goes a few weeks to a month without being arrested.  This doesn't necessarily mean he isn't drinking, but it is interesting.  I plan and locating and visiting with him this weekend. 

Friday, June 11th, 2010 - NOON
     Today, I attempted to locate Mark.  He had been seen earlier in the day near the pier.  I spent two hours walking and driving around the penninsula.  No luck. 

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 - 8:00 AM
     Mark was spotted and spoken to in Newport Beach today.  He was cordial and conversational...He claimed he had been hit by drunk driver and wasn't "doing very good".  Mark was offered the chance to go to a meeting but declined.  Instead he asked for a pint of vodka.  He did compliment my generous reporter's teeth, saying he "loved" them as well as commenting she looked very very fine in his illogical jurisdiction. 

Thanks for the sighting and report update B.B.!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
     Mark David Allen was released from County Jail today (about 6 weeks earlier than the date I was previously had calculated).  Not really sure where the calculations went wrong or whether he was released early. 

Wednesday, March 10th 2010
     According to the OC Court Website, Mark was senteced to 180 days in jail on 3/10/2010.  This means he'll probably be released mid-July due to good time/work time calculations.  There are some interventions planned from a mental health standpoint.  Dates and times pending.  I'll post what I can when I learn more.  I want to thank everyone for their inquires, updates and support. 

Friday, February, 12th 2010 - 3:30pm
     I called the social worker and left a message inquiring what the outcome of her attempts to get Mark into The Salvation Army yielded.  I received a phone message from the social worker telling me that Mark "decided" he did not want to go to ANY shelter.  He simply stated, "I want to go to an AA meeting."

     Mark said he wants to go to an AA meeting in Newport Beach, on 32nd Street, at The Newport Club.  In fact, she told me she put Mark in a taxi and sent him there, adding, "I hope he went." 

     I tried to explain that this is what he always says...and has been saying for years...I know she was busy and had other concerns than to listen my many MDA stories...Nevertheless, I sent her a copy of the film.  We'll see if there are yields.

     So, Mark lies on death's doorstep one more time, only to be lifted to his feet and literally taxi'd right back into the epicenter of where his self destructive debauchery lives...

     At least that's what she thought she did...

     I heard a few days later that Mark never quite made it down to that Newport Beach AA meeting.  In fact, Mark never made it out of Orange.  Mark was arrested for a drunk in public warrant out of Central Court on February 11th.  Not only is this a new arrest, but it notes a citation for an earlier undocumented arrrest.

     There is also news that another warrant, for his arrests down in Newport is about to go into effect.

     Last I heard was that Mark is looking at 6 months in county jail.

Wednesday, February, 10th 2010 - 1:30pm
     I received a phone message from the social worker that said something to the effect of, "Mark is ready to be released, I'm just wondering where you want me to take him."

     I called her back and asked her what happened.  She said he was fine and ready to go, and mentioned that there was no reason for him to stay in the hospital.  She then asked me again where I thought he could go.  I told her that I was hoping that she would be the one with that answer.

     I tried to explain Mark's history to her, but she was interested in getting him in a shelter.  I agreed, that's a start, but Mark will not stay.  If he is not held against his will, he'll escape, fast. 
She then said,  "Mark told me he's been sober for one month."  I then asked, "Did he say, 36 days?"  And she said, "Yeah."  I added that he says that all the time.

     She wanted to take Mark to The Salvation Army (Mark has been through there before -- only lasting 11 days).  Even then, it was a hard sell to The Salvation Army because of Mark's seizure issues.  And now that Mark has little short term memory, following their program would be next to impossible.  It's better than putting him right back out on the street, but I don't believe they will accept him.

     So that's how we left it.  She was going to have Mark taken there, first thing in the morning.  I actually present the film there--have many times...It would be very interesting to see him there again...If it works out.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 - 5:00pm (3 hours later)
     I received a phone call that Mark was in the hospital and a social worker was trying to contact me (I'm listed in Mark's paperwork as a person of contact).  I called the social worker who stated that mark was found in the gutter in Anaheim.  He was unresponsive and currently unconscious as well as intubated at the medical center.  
     Mark was do for a CAT scan to determine if there was any brain activity.  I was told I could call them back in a couple of hours to check on Mark's status.

     I called back, but they were still working on Mark.  I was told I'd be called "later". 

     It didn't appear to look good for Mark.  We've heard some stuff like this before, but the tone of the social worker's voice in concjunction with the circumstances (it was even a gloomy rainy day)...Just didn't paint a very positive picture.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 - 2:00pm (9 hours later)
Mark was released from county jail.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 - 4:50am
Mark went a full two weeks without an arrest before today when was arrested for tresspassing and taken to county jail.

Monday, January 25th, 2010 - 10:33pm
Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010 - 5:15am
Mark was released from county jail.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Mark was picked up for tresspassing.  It was the same location of his last arrest for tresspassing exactly 10 days ago.  Mark wasn't ultra hammered like he can be.  He was sent to county jail.

Friday, January 15th, 2010
Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  Reports are that he smelled worse than ever.  He was released when sober.


Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
Mark left a message on my cell phone...Simple, yet classic:

Mark's voicemail message 1/13/2010

Sunday, January 10th, 2010
Mark was tresspassing on a resident's property.  He seems to be fixated on this particular residence.  With Mark's inability to retain memories, it is very difficult to get him to change what he's used to doing.  It's frustrating for everyone involved, particularly the resident of the property.

Mark David Allen - January 2010
Mark David Allen - June 6th, 2010

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 - 1:00pm
Mark was picked up for being drunk in public.  This time in our neighbor city of Costa Mesa.  Strange.  This is only his 7th arrest in Costa Mesa since 1993.  Reports were he sang a Van Halen song in the tank...Which would make sense.  He was unsteady, but pretty calm.

Monday, January 4th, 2010 - 5:15pm
Mark was seen near the Newport Pier.  Mark commented that the scabs on his forehead were from being beaten.  He also asked for a few dollars and quickly became impatient.  He said, "Come on man, just buy me a pint!"

    Mark was confused with some of the local landmarks, referring to them as they used to be.  Eventually, when he didn't receive his pint, he stormed off.  He smelled bad and was in need of a shower.

Tuesday Night, December 22nd, 2009
Mark was picked up his first arrest for being drunk in public since his release 11 days ago.  He was pretty ripe and quickly launched into a variation on his well worn phrase, "You look very good in my illogical social distortion, Dave."  The problem is, he wasn't talking to me.  I wasn't even working.  It could be habit, because he does tell me this a lot. Or it could total confusion, brain damage, you name it.  Or it could simply be that he was intoxicated.  It's hard to know.  Like anything else, it's a combination of problematic things that make Mark who he is today.

     Mark was release upon
him sobering up.  I am going to see if I can find him and spend a little time with around Christmas.  If anyone sees him, tell him, "Sperling says Merry Christmas".

Saturday, December 18th, 2009 - 10:00pm
I received an email from a man who saw Mark in the West Oceanfront parking lot in front of Blackie's and Perry's Pizza around 10pm.  He claims Mark had a small bottle of vodk and fresh cuts around his eyes.  We all know it's inevitable that Mark will hit the ground at some point, but still, after a "healing" stint at county jail, we hope his stability lasts...  It appears Mark is already degrading less than 2 weeks out...

     The man did mention Mark seemed to be in good spirits and that he bought him a slice of pizza.  Both this man and the lady I spoke of prior to this get it.  People just need care...Whether it's Mark or anyone else--time is the gift to give.  Great gestures on their parts.  Neat stuff.

     I want to thank you in advance, if you happen to run into Mark and you decide to give him a little bit of your time.  He's happy to meet people and he usually responds well if you mention me.  Just be careful, play it cool, and treat him like you would like to be treated.  Keep it simple.  Please always tell him I say hello and think about him often.  Mark is very grateful for "regular" contacts with fans of the film and those empathetic with this frustrating story.


Friday, December 17th, 2009
I spoke with a woman in recovery who mentioned she bought Mark a cup of coffee and spent some time talking with him the night before.  She said it was very interesting because Mark seemed to be very involved with her while they spoke but then moments later he would be staring at a trash can totally zoned out.  That seems to be the way he is these days...One moment-okay, the next moment-toast.   


Mid-December 2009
Mark has been spotted around town, doing his usual thing, drinking, sleeping on benches, and urinating on himself while passed out.  A number people have mentioned seeing him out and about.  He has not been arrested yet, but I can't imagine it being much longer...


Friday, December 11th, 2009
Mark was released by county jail.  I cannot get any information as to whether he accepted any assistance from the group he spoke with back in September.  It appears he has simply gotten on the bus headed toward Newport Beach...

Early December 2009
I spoke with someone who spoke to Mark at county jail.  They said Mark still remembered me and told them to tell me hello.  This is a good sign from the standpoint that you just never know when his memory will totally vanish.  Mark is due to be released on December 11th, 2009.

Friday, September 17th, 2009
I spoke with a woman after a presentation I gave at the T.I.A.C. (Training Institute for Addiction Counselors) who claimed she was interested in visiting Mark in custody at OCJ as a part of her organization which deals with mentally ill and at risk individuals.  I was happy to hear a few weeks later that she actually did visit with Mark.  She claimed he agreed to meet with members of her organization when he is to be released from custody in December of 2009.

     Now, I know Mark may be just going along, but I also know that he never agrees to official assistance, so, it's a decent sign for him to at least agree at this point. 

Friday, July 31st, 2009
Mark was sentenced to 180 days in county jail for a lesser charge of lewd conduct.  No jury trial.  I am not aware of any assessment.  I would've loved to see him answer a few questions in court so that the system could witness the damage to his cognitive functioning, but it did not happen.
     Mark should be released around the beginning of December.

Sunday, July 20th, 2009 - 11:30am
Mark was arrested for indecent exposure.  Apparently Mark was sitting on a bench, masturbating--in broad daylight--in front of many.  When Mark arrived in the jail (after being medically cleared at the hospital) he appeared sober, yet confused.  Mark was not intoxicated and was as cleared headed as I've seen in years.  He appeared to be very much like someone who suffers from Alzheimer's or Dementia.  He happily changed out of his clothes and immediately asked to lie down.  Mark seemed a little anxious and I believe (but do not know) that it had to do with him not being drunk.  I think he was concerned that he was going to have a seizure.  In fact, he even mentioned it, but since he was cleared at the hospital and adminstered his medication, I reassured him he would be fine.  Mark accepted this, but then soon forgot.  We had the same conversation many times.

     Mark slept for an hour or so before he ate lunch.  He then slept some more.  Eventually, after being in custody for 4 hours, he just sat staring at the jail door.  When I went to check on him, he looked right at me.  Seconds later, while I was looking back at him, Mark had a seizure.  Mark slowly slid down the wall and continued to seize.  I had the paramedics notified and then helped untangle Mark from the blanket that seemed to be restraining him.  His seizure continued for a good 2 minutes, which seemed a bit longer than the previous seizures I've seen Mark endure.

     I checked to make sure Mark's airway was clear (in 2 of the 3 seizures I've witnessed him have, I have had to clear out his airway in order for him to regain regular breathing) and this time Mark was clear of vomit and mucus.  He was breathing fine.  Still, he didn't seem to be able to open his eyes, even when the paramedics arrived a few minutes later, Mark's eyes seemed to be rolling around in his head.  Evenutally Mark did regain some sort of normal semblence about him although he seemed thoroughly confused as they transported him to the hospital.  He looked at me as they loaded him into the ambulance.  We exchanged nods.

     Later, Mark was transported to county jail where he awaits the unfolding process that may actually be a jury trial.  This will be interesting.  I only hope the public defender can ask Mark a few questions in front of the powers that be in order to illuminate the issues Mark faces.  Now we have behavior that illustrates something is not right with Mark as it relates to the community.  And yet, when asked, Mark will not be able to accurately tell anyone anything.  I would think these two co-existing conditions might be a factor in what kind of sentence or alternative sentence Mark receives.  Sure, Mark might realize his behavior is wrong, but moments later, his memory may preclude him from acting on what he knows.  He can be reminded, but he can't remember he has been reminded.

     If Mark ends up being a sex registrant due to this case, it's automatic that he will never follow the requirements of registering.  He can't even appear in court for his drunk in public cases.  Therefore it will be an automatic violation every time.  The conclusion is forgone.  Mark will stay in jail and return to jail.  Maybe this is the way it goes.  But do we really want to spend even more money "warehousing" Mark in a county jail?  Isn't there an institution somewhere that would be more cost effective and suit everyone's needs a bit better?  Realistically, Mark will still get out and violate his terms, which means more drunk in public arrests, transportation costs (medics and officers), hospital visits, etc...  It's all very unnecessary.  And yes, Mark will still be a nuisance (perhaps even more of one) to the residents who tolerate his unintentional but nevertheless disturbing behavior. 

     I hope the courts see the bigger picture and issues at hand.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 - 10:30pm
Mark has managed to stay out of jail for an entire week, which is pretty amazing considering his current condition and the number of people at the beach these days (usually someone will find him blasted passed out in the sand)...Today, Mark's streak of freedom ended.  He was arrested again for being drunk in public.  His path of destruction seems to be hovering in place--he's not necessarily gotten worse in the past week, but he certainly hasn't gotten any better.

     This time, Mark was arrested back in his old cruising area--down by the pier.  The "warrant God" has yet to summon him.  Mark was released early Monday morning.

Sunday, July 12th, 2009 - 10:00pm
Mark was arrested again for being drunk in public.  This time he was arrested out of his "area" just like he was back in December of 2008.  My first thought was that Mark's few weeks on the street was wearing down what little mind he's had left, but then I received some information that made interesting sense. 

     After a few weeks on the street, Mark naturally wears thin on his stomping grounds.  The liquor store owners eventually clue in that Mark is derailing...and possibly scaring off customers with his pan handling and malodorous presence.  So...what it appears Mark has travel.  Mark is seeking out new areas that are unfamilar with his modus operandi.  Nevertheless, Mark's days are numbered due to his pending warrants for missed court dates.

     Mark has now spent 38 days on the street.  He's racked up 9 arrests.  His face is the evidence of his behavior.
     Mark was released when sober.

MDA in June & July, 2009
Mark degrades after 38 days on the street...

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 - 11:10pm
Mark was arrested again for being drunk in public.  Each time he comes in, he looks worse and worse...

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 - 9:40pm
Mark was arrested again for being drunk in public.  He seemed like he always does when he hits it hard.  Broken and worn out.  There doesn't seem to be anything different about Mark in terms of his head injury 2 days prior.

                                               Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 - 12:00pm 

     Mark had a seizure and wiped out--hitting his head on the pavement.  Mark was transported to the hospital by medics for treatment.  I haven't heard anything about Mark's medical status.

Saturday, June 27th, 2009 - 1:15pm
     Today is Mark's 48th birthday.  Today also marked his 484th arrest.  Mark has been out of custody for 24 days now.  He's been arrested 6 times.  Like usual, his bloated, blistered and charred journey looks like it will end with a missed court date and a warrant that sends him to county jail to regenerate. 

     It's no surprise that I enjoy marveling at Mark's indestructibility.  I've fondly referred to him in many ways that highlight his physical reslience.  It ocurred to me today, that if Mark was an animal, he'd be a STARFISH.  Not only do starfish live at the beach but they also have the ability to re-grow limbs.  They also weather their environment, hanging on while being pounded by waves.  Mark hangs on.  It's what he does.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 - 8:50pm
     Again, Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.

 Saturday, June 20th, 2009 - 7:47pm
     Mark came in again--he was pretty trashed.

 Thursday, June 18th, 2009 - 10:30pm
     Mark was arrested again for being drunk in public.  He did manage to stay out of custody for 11 days, but you can see that his drinking and days in the sun are quickly catching up with him.

 Sunday, June 7th, 2009 - 8:00am
     Mark Not only did he get arrested for being drunk in public again (his 480th total arrest), but he got arrested at the park where I first shot footage of him back in 1994 (this has also been a common stomping ground for him).  So, it appears his January lack of arrests and new geography was an aberration.  

     What was even more alarming was Mark's odor.  He was already clocking in at a level of stench that doesn't usually show itself until the 2nd or 3rd week out of custody.  Mark also had that 10,000 yard stare he gets upon release from county jail and immediate intoxication.  His pupils go pinpoint and he just has this "hit in the head" sort of look about him.  Nevertheless, he was actually more verbal and lucid than I would've expected.  Mark told me he was "...hanging with John and Paul, you know, the Beatles."  He said this with sincerity, in a way that said, duh, where else would I be?

     Mark was so-so on relinquishing his soiled and urinated upon clothing which was quite gnarly.  Mark did tell me, "You are going to give those back to me, right?"  I told him I would.  He did add that he didn't need the socks, that his socks were, "...Disgusted and DE-habilitated."

     I put Mark on the phone with his grandmother and they had a reasonable conversation.  She was very happy to hear from him and he went on and on afterward about how thankful he was to get to talk to her.

     I released Mark after 6 hours and he went on his way, stressing to me that he, "...didn't need any more alcohol."

 Thursday, June 4th, 2009 - 5:00pm
     Mark didn't take long to resume his old ways.  He was out of custody 39 hours before he got picked up for being drunk in public.  Mark was picked up on the east side of the city, which suggests that he may be a little lost.  I can't think of any time in his history where he has been arrested on the east side of the city.  Seeing where he ends up will be very interesting this time around.  He was released 6 hours later.

MDA - June 4th, 2009
Mark gets out--ready for Summer...

 Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 - 2:22am
     Mark was released from county jail and spotted entering Newport around 9am.  I'm curious to see if he returns to the pier and surrounding areas, or if he wanders into other new areas.  It must also be mentioned that Mark had gone an entire month without being picked up for being drunk in public prior to his arreste in February (for a warrant for not appearing on a few December drunk in public charges).  I was extremely interested to see if Mark had actually gotten to the point of "not remembering to drink" which does happen.

 Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 - 2:15pm
     Mark was arrested for a warrant (Mark has not appeared on any of his three arrests in the past two and a half months).  Mark has been lying low...Actually, he hasn't been arrested in a month--this is pretty remarkable for him.  Still, he didn't look good--and had that "2 months on the street bloated and fried" look about him.
     He was transported to county jail to serve time on the warrant.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009
     I received a message that Mark had been to the hospital twice in one day...yesterday.  Mark was not arrested either time.  It appears to be a straight medical aid.  More details later.
Friday, January 22nd, 2009
     Mark has not been back to jail for 3 weeks.  It could be that he's rambling around in a part of town and not being noticed, but I just can't imagine that he could stay sober or not collapse for such a long period of time.  Especially considering the condition he was in when I last released him.  I haven't even heard anyone in the field talk about seeing him.

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 - 11:10am
     Mark got arrested again.  He was really spaced.  I noticed that his last 3 arrests, since his release in December of 2008, have come from an area of the peninsula that Mark rarely frequents.  When I asked him, he couldn't articulate why he was where he was. 
     I released Mark right before I got off duty.  He had a bit of a spring to his step, but not much.

Saturday, December 27th, 2008 - 9:30pm
     Mark came in, drunk in public again.  He looked even worse tonight.  Mark doesn't seem like asks for food much anymore.  At least like he used to.  There wasn't a lot of conversation, at least conversation that wasn't overabundantly innundated with Mark's prolific catchphrase, "You look very very sophisticated in my ecological (a new substitute for illogical) jurisdiction, my friend!"
     When Mark was released, it was frigid.  Mark had no concept of the temperature as he changed out of the clean warm clothes I had given him and into the soaking wet clothes and soiled clothes that he was wearing when he was arrested.  Eventually, I was able to convince him to cover up the wet clothes with the clean clothes I had given him earlier.

Friday, December 26th, 2008 - 8:10pm
     Mark's been out of custody for 10 days...Until now.  He came in for being drunk in public.  He is disentegrating at a much more rapid rate than usual.  He had that dazed and distant stare he gets when he's really intoxicated.  His face had scrapes and scabs indicating a recent meeting with the pavement.
     I released Mark early in the morning and it was cold.  He didn't seem to know the difference.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 - 9:30am
     Mark's 14 arrests in the past 43 days finally caught up with him--he was booked for having a warrant from his first arrest back when he was released from county jail in early October.  He was also drunk in public.  Mark was transported to couny jail and will await sentencing.
     I was told Mark was sentenced to 45 days, due to be released toward the end of December.  Mark may have additional warrants at the time of his release due to his 13 other pending drunk in public cases.  I figure his time out of jail upon release to be minimal.

Monday, November 17th, 2008 - 7:30am
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  We talked briefly when I released him.  As always, he had nowhere to go, except the beach.  Upon his departure, Mark said something I found fascinating and sad.  Although it was a question, he flatly stated, "I'm still alive, aren't I?"

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 - 5:15pm
     Mark's following his usual decompensating course.  He seems miserable, but still puts on a happy face when we talk.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008 - 11:40am
     Mark came in again for being drunk in public.  He's now been arrested 11 times in the last month for a grand total of 470 arrests in his lifetime.

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 - 8:10am
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  He ended up having a seizure and was taken to the hospital.

Friday, October 31st, 2008 - 4:40pm
     Three days later, Mark had returned from county jail and was arrested for being drunk in public. 

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 - 8:05am
     Mark was found in a public bathroom, drunk.  He was also masturbating to an "adult" magazine.  Mark was arrested for a lewd act in public and transported to county jail.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 - 2:20pm
     Mark made his way back from county jail and was arrested for being drunk in public again.

Monday, October 20th, 2008 - 1:20pm
     Mark was arrested for tresspassing in the laundromat.  He was very reluctant to comprehend that he was on his way to county jail.  He was more interested in his filthy clothes and explaining to me that he is not allowed to go in the laundromat.  I'm guessing Mark will make his way back from county jail in a few days.

Friday, October 17th, 2008 - 11:55pm
     Mark came in for being drunk again.  His brief time (earlier this year) of not wanting his soiled clothes has ended.  Today, he is repeatedly asking for his clothes back.  He's fixated beyond obsession.  His clothes are amongst the worst I've ever smelled.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 - 10:50am
     Once again, Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 - 11:40am
     Mark was pretty destroyed when he got picked up for being drunk again.  He was very sloppy and his clothes appear to have been urinated through a number of times. 

Friday, October 10th, 2008 - 3:05pm
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  He's fairly lucid, but he smells as if he's been on the streets for a month.  Mark's feet were in horrid condition and he actually complained that his feet "weren't doing too good."  This is a first. 

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 - 3:30pm (6 hours later)
     Extremely intoxicated, Mark was arrested for being drunk in public and brought to jail.
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008  - 9:30am
     I received a phone call from a friend who happened to be standing right next to Mark David Allen.  Mark had been released from county jail about 9 hours earlier and he had made his way into Newport.  My friend put Mark on the phone:
     SPERLING:   Hey Mark, how you doin'?
     MDA:          Hey Dave!
     SPERLING:   How are you feeling?
     MDA:          Uh...I'm okay.
     SPERLING:   When did you get out?
     MDA:          Earlier today.
     SPERLING:   So, you feelin' alright?
     MDA:           Yeah...I suppose so.  I'm just hangin' in there--I'm gonna go to an AA meeting.  What else am I gonna do?! (a loud happy laugh).
     SPERLING:   Right on. 
     MDA:           Yep...
     SPERLING:   Good deal--I'm looking forward to seeing you.
     MDA:           You know what?--You look awfully comprehendable in my technological systematic juris-procrastination! (followed by another loud happy laugh--but with a dash of "crazy").
     We ended our conversation a short time later.  Mark looked leaner and not so obliterated (which makes sense since he's spent the last 4 months in jail).  He actually sounded more clear-headed than I remember him and he was certainly able to carry on a conversation with much more competence than he did back in June.   I imagine it will be a short time before he ends up in jail again... 

Mark David Allen - October 8th, 2008
After 4 months in custody, MDA is back...

Saturday, June 14th, 2008  - 11:45am
     Mark stayed out of jail for 8 days.  Today he came in for being drunk in public and also had a warrant for not following the judge's recommendation.  Mark's summer is over and the warrant saves him from himself.
     Mark was transported to county jail.
     It is estimated that Mark will be sentenced to 6 months (and do 4) in county jail and be released sometime in early October 2008.

Friday, June 6th, 2008  - 9:00am
     Mark came in.  Drunk.  As far as I know, he has not been making attempts to honor the judge's request.  No meetings.  No program.  Mark has 2 weeks to make this happen.  If he doesn't, he'll have a warrant.  Mark doesn't look so hot, so, a warrant about now would be a Godsend.

June 6th, 2008
Mark rolls in again...

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008  - 9:25pm
     Mark laid low for almost 2 weeks.  Was he actually attending meetings?  Was he interested in recovery?  Actually, no.  But not getting arrested is always a good thing.  Today he got arrested for being drunk in public.  He's red and bloated.
     Certainly this summer has the potential to break Mark David Allen.  Mark's got roughly 2 months to destroy himself even further--and due to the early release on the 12 warrants (2 days time served), Mark is already in a shaky state. 

June 4th, 2008
"Time served" for his warrants...

Friday, May 23rd, 2008  - 8:30am
     Today Mark appeared in front of the judge to answer for his streak of 12 alcohol related arrests.  The prediction is that the cases would be combined and Mark would be sentenced to county jail for a chunk of time to give everyone a break (including himself) from his self destruction.
     Turns out, certain people at the court were off duty, or mis-informed, or simply disagreed with the process of dealing with a chronic inebriate such as Mark David Allen.  The conclusion is that Mark was let go with a promise to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or even check into a recovery program!
     Apparently, Mark was somewhat enthusiastic about this opportunity...Verbally, he almost always is...I heard that while Mark awaited release, he had a medical issue at the courthouse.  He was unconscious, but breathing.  Mark was transported to the hospital and was expected to be released later tonight.

One of Mark's arrests FINALLY goes to warrant...
Mark heads to county jail...

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008  - 7:40am
     Mark stayed out of jail for 2 straight weeks...With multiple warrants pending, I was very surprised he didn't get picked up.  My guess is the warrants had not become active yet, until today.  Mark was drunk in public as well as wanted.  Finally, one of his many pending warrants kicked in.  A bit of respite was a long time coming for the residents who find Mark to be more than a public nuisance.  Their point is well made and well taken. 
     Furthermore, the longer Mark stays on the streets, the greater the chance he'll work toward obliterating his existence, whether inadvertantly by collapsing in front of a car, or purposely in the way he only knows.
     Once again, it's the warrants that save him--letting him regain his stamina at County Jail, which is where he was taken.  In two days, he'll be in front of a judge to answer for a very productive spring on the streets.

Where are the warrants?
Mark continues to rack up arrrests...

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008  - 10:23am
     I talked to Mark in the morning.  He sounded good.  He said he was checking out the waves at the river jetty.  Mark said the waves were small and he was thinking of going to an A.A. meeting at The Newport Club.  I asked Mark if he remembered vomiting last night and he said, "No...I'm fine."   I then mentioned to Mark that he has a whole bunch of warrants that are ready to kick in at any moment and he responded, "No...I have my written promise to appear...I'm okay."
     A few hours after I spoke to Mark, he rolled in for a tresspassing charge.  Apparently he was on someone's private property and not really movtivated to leave.
     When Mark was getting released, I showed Mark 2 pictures of his artwork (pictures drawn by him many years ago) and he simply stared at them--he had zero recollection of either of them.  I asked him if he knew who drew the pictures and he said, 'Looks like some wino.'  Mark was actually referring to one of the pictures (which was of a wino) not the artist.  As Mark left, I put the pictures in Mark's property and told him that he drew the pictures many years ago.
     His simple reply was, "Okay."

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008  - 9:17pm
     Mark was seen getting off of a bus in Newport in the middle of the day.  All information points to this being impossible as Mark is up at County Jail.  After a cursory check, it was discovered Mark served the weekend for the warrant and had been released.  None of the other warrants had showed up yet.
     A dozen hours later, Mark showed up at jail--trashed.  He urinated everywhere and actualy vomited.  This is something Mark rarely does.  This was evidenced by the way he quizzically studied the contents of his stomach piled in the middle of the drunk tank floor.
     I don't recall Mark vomiting in custody for a good 5 years...And at that time he induced vomiting and then went into a seizure.
     With no warrants in the system...yet...Mark was released.

Friday, May 2nd, 2008  - 12:05pm
     One of Mark's warrants finally popped up.  They seem to be overdue.  He's going to have at least 7 hit all at once.  Mark was drunk, arrested and transported to County Jail.  I'm guessing his warrants will be combined and he'll spend the Summer in jail...drying out.

Saturday, April 26th, 2008  - 10:00pm
     Mark pulled off another 5 days without being arrested before he came into tonight.  He was drunk and refusing to leave a resident's property.  Mark was arrested and booked.  He is looking more haggard by the day.  We wait for the warrant god to kick in for the warrants will not only save him, but give respite to those who deal with his Mark's relentless and single-minded presence.

MDA hangs on...
MDA's 9th arrest this month.

Monday, April 21st, 2008  - 10:45am
     Mark has just gone another full week without being arrested...Until today.  Mark got picked up for being drunk in public.  I thought one of his court dates, issued from earlier in the month should have turned into a warrant by now, but it has not.  It is estimated that when it does, Mark will be in jail most of the summer.
     According to the radio call that went out on Mark, he was described as a "black man...maybe a Mexican" by the reporting person.  When I saw Mark, I knew why.  He's been baking in the sun for almost a month now and his skin is pretty charred.

7 days in the sun...
MDA stayed out of jail for one week.

Monday, April 14th, 2008 - 11:00am
     A radio call went out of a man down, bleeding profusely from his head and having a seizure.  It was Mark.  An officer told me he thought this was it.  Mark was transported to the hospital.  As is nearly always the case, Mark survived and was released shortly after he was stabilized.  It appears he hadn't been able to procure any alcohol and had an alcohol withdrawal seizures which, of course sends him to the pavement where his head has been many times before.
     This type of accident has killed many people (and a few of our transients)before.  But is it foolish for us to think that Mark will ever die?  Mark David Allen's continuing existence defies common logic and explanation. 

Thursday, April 10th, 2008
     It's been a full week and I have not seen Mark since his 7 day run. 

Friday, March 28th, 2008 - 2:00am
     After serving a 90 day sentence, Mark was released from county jail.  As he usually does, Mark made his way down to Newport and promptly got drunk and promptly got arrested.
     While in jail, Mark made a mess of things.  He somehow got a hold of his own feces and smeared it all over himself and the drunk tank. 
     Mark's spirits seemed to be alright, but he clearly attacked the drink and wasn't prepared for it due to his two and a half months up at county jail.
     After Mark gained enough sobriety to be released, he was, back to his own crumbling thoughts and ways...
March 28th THROUGH April 3rd, 2008
     Mark came back to jail, again...And again...In a week, Mark amassed 7 arrests...7 arrests in 7 days...This is something Mark had never accomplished in his previous alarming and tragic stat totals.  He even got picked up, drunk, while lying in someone's doorway.  This arrest sent him to county jail--but this didn't slow Mark down at all.  He made his way back to Newport--and back to jail.
     Throughout his many upcoming arrests, Mark had been found in a few parts of the city that he normally avoids...It struck me that maybe he was disoriented or lost, (his mental state growing more feeble by the year) or is it possible Mark is trying to avoid detection?  The former is more likely, but Mark, nor anyone else had any explanation for his change of scenery.
     The 2nd time Mark came in, he left a giant pool of urine in the drunk tank.  Shortly after this, he began to scoop his hands through the urine and use it to slick back his hair.  Obviously, Mark is drunk, but even more obvious, his brain is more compromised than ever. 
     When Mark fully and completely derails, the system will then view him as unable to care for himself.  Currently, he still is not bad enough.  Mark is still too functional and still recites all the right answers, even if he does not know what he is really saying.  These are system definitions of functionality, not my own.
     Mark came back again and again...The days seemed to blur together.  Some of his mugshots appeared to be near duplicates--only his mildly growing facial hair seemed to be changing.
     The 6th time Mark came in, he really surprised me.  While sleeping in the drunk tank, he urinated in his pants (nothing new here).  It was Mark's reaction to this that I found fascinating. 
     Mark freaked out and began removing his pants as if they were on fire, "I urinated on myself.  Get 'em off of me!  I'm sorry, David, I'm sorry! YUCK!  This is gross!  I'm sorry!"
     I offered Mark a new pair of pants and he gladly accepted them.  This is major change from the days that were marked by his extreme agitation when he was asked to remove his soilded clothes--even when I provided him with clean clothes.  He never wanted to part ways with his clothes no matter how filthy they were.
     Mark acted like a shamed little boy and quickly put on the new jeans and socks I gave him.  It was a nice change of behavior for Mark.  One that I couldn't quite figure out.  Maybe it was some kind of regression, maybe he was operating out of a new less damaged portion of his brain?  I'm eager to see if this behavior continues.
     On the 7th day, I put Mark on the phone with his grandmother.  They had a simple, yet rewarding conversation primarily limited to repetitive exchange of "I love you's".  After this, I released him.
     Just before Mark headed back down to the beach, I asked him if he'd ever seen the film and he replied, "I think so."  I asked him if he wanted to watch it right now.  He replied, "Sure."  I explained to him how many people the film has helped and tried to convey the monumental impact he has had in so many peoples lives.  He just sort of stared at me...It seemed like a possible recognition on a nuclear level, but I will never truly ever know.
     Outside the jail, I popped a shortened version of the film (9 minutes) into a portable DVD player (as predicted, his attention span could not handle the hour and 21 minute version of the film--actually it couldn't handle this version either).
     His first reaction was fascination, as he said, "That guy."  Moments later he followed that up with, "That's me."  When he saw his grandmother (a shot nearly 10 years old), he happily said, "There's my granny!"
     About 45 seconds into the film, Mark lost interest and bent down to tie his shoes (which had no laces--they were slip-ons).  Mark then stood up and looked around.  Then, oddly, he turned and looked at the DVD player and said, "That's me."  Then the part came on where he sings, "PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE" by Depeche Mode.  Mark watched it, grew emotional, turned toward me and said, "I hate that fucking song!"  Mark turned back to the DVD player and watched himself sing.  When he was finished, I quickly asked him, "Do you like that song?"  He nodded, "Yeah!"
     Mark lost interest 2 or 3 more times, then was grabbed 2 or 3 more times by the films many shots of Mark in various stages of decomposition.  He made a few comments like, "Oh God.  Look at that.  I'm wasted." 
     The previous time I had attempted to show Mark a version of the film, it was in 2001 and he grew very agitated (he was about to be released but was still in custody) therefore I aborted the attempt due to his limited ability to walk away.  He only made it through about 30 seconds of the film.
     This time, he was much more calm and didn't seem to be as "bothered" by it.  He also directly recognized himself (or at least verbalized it) whereas in 2001, he only referred to himself by saying, "Look at that wino".  And he said it in a very disgusted way.
     Mark and I exchanged goodbyes and then Mark headed back toward the beach.  

A new record for Mark...
7 arrests in 7 days...

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 - 9:58am
     Mark was drunk today, but his warrants for not appearing on previous arrests kicked into action--so Mark was arrested and transported to county jail.  Mark has now been arrested 445 times.  He is 46 years old.

January 7th, 2008
Mark is on the ropes...

Monday, January 7th, 2008 - 8:20am
     Mark pulled in for another drunk in public arrest.  He looks worn out.  He's had enough arrests over time, so I believe his warrants should be kicking in any day now.  I find it interesting that Mark has not been frequenting the laundromat especially since it's been cold and rainy at night. 
     Is it possible that Mark's memory is so bad that he's forgotten to forget about the place he's supposed to avoid?

January 2nd, 2008
Mark's days blur together...

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 - 7:25pm
     Mark went nearly 2 weeks without getting arrested.  Today he came in for being drunk in public and I noticed he was markedly out of it.  He wasn't any more intoxicated than normal--He just seemed cognitively "feeble".  For instance, when I spoke to Mark for awhile, then had to tend to some other duties, I had to shut the tank door.  Mark said, "See ya later, thanks for stopping by, okay then."  It was as if I was at the front door to Mark's imaginary home.  The tone in which he spoke and the look on his face told me that he really didn't grasp where he was or why he was there.  It was like he was trying to act in a way that he felt would fit in--ironically it was just out of place.
     I spoke with him 2 hours later and it was like the first time we'd spoken in weeks.  Same conversation, same everything.  It was like Groundhog Day.
     Mark's feet were nightmarish (of course he said they were fine).  It appears the only time his shoes have been removed have been at the hospital and here in jail, other than that they never come off...And after tonight's experience, maybe they shouldn't...(VIDEOCLIP COMING SOON)

December 21st, 2007
Mark begins to resume old form...

Friday, December 21st, 2007 - 7:50pm
     Mark was apparently seen relieving himself on someone's car.  Even more disturbing were details that he was defecating (not urinating) and also "playing with himself as he left his waste on the vehicle.  The owner did not press charges.  Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  He was released 6 hours later.
     Officers and citizens alike have informed me that they've seen Mark out and about and that many times he doesn't appear to be too intoxciated (which these days is evidenced by his posture, demeanor, slurred-speech, etc...those are the only indicators--his general cognitive functioning isn't great drunk or sober).  Mark does appear to be slowing down, not only in his arrests, but in all he does. 
     I do believe the events prior to his recent arrest is a disturbing harbinger of Mark David Allen's future.

Sunday, December 9th, 2007 - 6:00pm
     Mark was released at 2:00 am this morning.  16 hours later he was arrested at the beach for being drunk in public.  Mark had been serving a sentence for drunkenly entering a laundromat that he is court ordered to avoid.  Tonight's arrest is Mark's 441st.  Due to his two month stay at county jail, Mark looked alright.  His physical conditon wasn't busted down like it can be after a few weeks on the streets.  Mark did have a disturbing look in his eyes only seen in poorly made stuffed animals and people who are comatose.
     Mark was released on his own recognizance. 

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007 - 10:30pm
     Mark was spotted numerous times out and about...He lasted just about 2 weeks without getting arrested.  Tonight that all ended.  Mark once again wandered within 100 yards of the laundromat.  Therefore he was in violation of the rrestraining order.
     When Mark came into the jail, he smelled awful.  He was drunk and multi-layered with urine drenched clothing.  He needed assistance removing his socks (which were attached to his swollen feet like sausage casings).  He had two pairs of socks on and I helped pull them off.  His feet were a mess and he walked gingerly. 
     Interestingly, Mark didn't resist a change out of clothing.  He seemed to accept whatever I was willing to offer him (clean EVERYTHING!--except a pair of shorts and a jacket only Mark could be fond of).  The clothing swap was completed without incident.
     Mark appeared to excited to see me, we talked, and he repeated "Illogical Jurisdiction" in a dozen different ways.  Nevertheless, it was sad to see him so mentally broken down.  There were moments when a little glimmer of awareness would slip out, but for the most part, he appeared dim.
     He did come alive with a burst of emotion when I took his photo, an almost celebratory display.

A quick burst--Mark lives...

     A couple of hours later, Mark was transported up to county jail, where he will serve his sentence for his latest violation.

Monday, October 15th, 2007 - 10:00pm
     Mark went to court, served his time, and was released, all within a week.  He has been arrested yet, but I spoke with an officer who talked with Mark out in the field.  The officer said Mark was in great spirits.  This is a nice change of pace.

Monday, October 8th, 2007 - 1:00am
     Two days ago, Mark completed his two months at county jail and promptly made his way back to the beach.  He was arrested today, a little buzzed, but not totally dismantled like he does.  Still, he was not real cleared headed.  Sober, not sober, he's just very limited in the things he says.  Then again, the brain is a crazy thing.  There are moments where clarity IS present...But it's fleeting and frustrating.  He's very repetitive, always relying on the old standby, "You look very very sophisticated in my EEE-logical jurisdiction, sir!"  This of course is followed by a hearty chortle.
     Mark was arrested for violating his restraining order preventing him from entering the laundromat.  Of course he couldn't quite grasp all of this...One moment he was angry he had to go to county jail, the next moment he didn't know why he was in jail.
     I know there are many who feel he deserves this plight he's drank himself into, but it's a fascinating and tragic paradox.  If a man makes a lifetime of horrible choices, which in fact destroy his memory and identity, his burden becomes unknown to him.  He is no longer the cognizant recipient of his self destructive justice.  There is no justice.  There is no lesson.  There is just confusion and despair. 
      I expect to see Mark get another two months at county.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007 - 3:50am
     Mark's summer comes to an end...In typical fashion.  Mark once again wandered into the laundromat (drunk) and was violated for the restraining order that prohibits him from visiting. 
    Since the beating, a week ago, Mark seemed to be even more depressed than he had been in the previous months...It's difficult to say whether the new head injury was one too many or whether it's an accumulation of the damage he's put himself through.  Or both.  Either way, the first half of 2007 has shown some pretty dramatic changes in the man that never changes.
     Mark was transported to county jail where he will stay until mid-September.

Saturday, July 21st, 2007 - 7:30am
     Mark gets arrested again...And defecated in his pants...Again.  The only difference this time, was his attitude, which seemed to be upbeat.  Oh, and the fact that it was 7:30 in the morning and his breakfast was a pint of vodka.

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 - 12:25am
     Unfortunately, Mark seems to be hitting his stride...Another drunk arrest...

Saturday, July 14th, 2007 - 2:10pm
     Mark has been seen by a number of officers wandering around down by the beach.  It's the peak of Summer and he's happy to be out of jail.  For the most part, officers have commented that he's not too drunk and fairly well behaved.  It appears he isn't bother too many people, residents (whom I sympathize with because they are an often unnotice part of this equation when Mark decides to camp out on their propterty) and beach goers alike.
     One of the officers did comment that Mark appears to be "slipping".  He said that Mark appears unusually depressed at times, "zoned out" and sluggish.
     Mark was released from county jail over 2 weeks ago and he still hadn't been arrested until today.  For being drunk, which he definitely was.  He was released 6 hours later.

Friday, June 29th, 2007 - 2:00am
     Mark was released from county jail...The countdown begins...

Thursday, May 31st, 2007 - 10:45pm
     Mark ventured into the laundromat again.  Instant violation of the restraining order.  He's been out of County Jail for 8 days--but he looks like he's been on the streets for a few weeks.  He's still as tough as the river jetty, but I think he deteriorates quicker these days...
     When Mark arrived at the jail, he was wearing 4 pairs of the exact same shorts--all four of them soaked with urine.  It was not a cold night.  Mark also wore 3 shirts and a jacket.  His shoes were atrocious, like something handmade from an old dinner.
     I explained to Mark that he would be headed to County Jail very shortly.  He answered, "No, I won't be."  We talked it out and he grumbled, seemingly aware this was something out of his control.  His focus shifted back to his reluctance to remove his clothes.
     Mark was clocking in at about 900 Hobo-units, so it was only fair to Mark and everyone else on Earth, that I do something about his clothing.  I had fresh clothes (brand new) waiting for him.  He wanted nothing to do with my gift.  I didn't need Mark experiencing any unnecessary grief at County Jail, so we struck a deal and did a clothes swap.  Besides, his clothes were clearly a biohazard and I had all the legal recourse in the world to dispose of them in an appropriate manner. 
     A career in diplomacy awaits me.
     Recently I had wondered if Mark could still read.  Tonight I showed him one of the postcards and he read it perfectly.  Did he understnad what he read?  I can't be certain, but I believe so.

     Mark was transported to County Jail to await sentencing.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 - 8:00pm
     Paramedics responded to a medical aid.  A "man down".  It was Mark.  He apparently had a seizure from a low blood alcohol level.  This is the first time anyone has had contact with Mark in a week.  He was taken to the hospital and stabilized.
     Has Mark been unsuccessful at panhandling and not been able to drink as much as he wishes?  Or has he simply lost count of how long it's been since he last had a drink...Or how much he recently drank?  Is there some other medical issue showing itself?  Mark has no idea when to take his medication if he can hold onto it.  His memory is so awful that he knows nothing new in the terms of his own sobriety.  In other words, in the likely scenario that Mark does not drink--a seizure awaits.  These are the challenges Mark faces today--in his world. 
     Due to the fact that Mark was not drunk, he did not come to the jail.  He was released from the hospital.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 - 2:00am
     Mark was released from County Jail.  He no doubtedly will make his way down the river trail and back to Newport.  I've mentioned this before, but it's very much a "GROUNDHOG DAY" or "MARCH OF THE PENGUINS" type of existence for Mark. 

Mark degrades quickly...

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 - 11:30pm
     Mark managed to stay out of custody for nearly two weeks, but then "for some odd reason" ventured into the laundromat where he has the restraining order.  Mark was arrested for violating this order and sent to County Jail.
     Mark will most likely be sentenced to 30 days (he'll get get credit for the time he serves prior to his court appearance and then do about 20 days before his release).

Mark rides it hard...

Friday, April 20th, 2007 - 11:35pm
     Mark managed to stay out of sight and trouble, but today, was once again arrested for being drunk in public.  He was released 6 hours later.

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 - 9:30pm
     I presented the film at Orange Coast College and was headed home when I had a hunch to go look for Mark since he'd been released from County a couple of days ago and no one had seen him.  I put in a call to the jail and they told me Mark had been booked earlier in the day and had just been released.  The on-duty jailer told me to prepare myself, because Mark looked, "Awful."
     I got a description of Mark clothing and went looking for him in all his usual places.  I drove around for about a half an hour before getting a blowout on Pacific Coast Highway...A spare tire and an hour later I was trying to find him again.
     As I drove the peninsula, I kept seeing a man who resembled Mark, but looked nothing like him.  I kept getting glances as the man stood on the street corner, smoking a cigarette.
     I didn't think this man was Mark, until he started walking.  Then I knew in an instant that it was him.  Like the fan of a punch drunk champion, I knew Mark's every mannerism, his famous and methodical gait, his presence.
     I followed him on foot for awhile, watching, wondering where was he going?  Mark walked across a dark and busy street, and then did it again...And again.  It's as if Mark was playing the world's slowest game of "FROGGER". 
     Mark had no destination.  He was simply walking nowhere in particular, killing time.  Head down, feet shuffling, rarely stopping, rarely looking for oncoming traffic.
     I caught up with him, "Hey Mark, it's Sperling." 
     He turned, lit up, and said, "Hey!  I'm Mark David Allen who was in David P. Sperling's documentary film 'Drunk In Public' for being totally incoherent incorrigable and arrested more than 621 times for 647(f)pc drunk in public alcohol intoxicated."
     Mark then hugged me and whimpered, "Hi Steve...Sperling."
     Aside from Mark's amazing speech (with numerous errors), the thing that startled me was his head.  He looked like someone had stuck and air hose in his ear and inflated his face.  No wonder I could not recognize him.  Mark looked like an eskimo and he was ironically very aware of it.

Only Mark's 2nd intoxication in 14 months...
Swollen, even by Mark's standards...

     The fact that Mark so readily verbalized the film and his awareness of his physical condition was promising.  He rattled on and on about the deputies and inmates at County Jail on how they hammered daily about the film and his cut of money, etc...  Mark's response to this was, "No, Peter Sperling is my friend!" 
     It seemed to me that Mark had a few new converstational pieces added to his repetoire, but not much.  I got the impression that if you repeated something over adn over to him on a daily basis, he could retain parts of it, but not quite understand what he was retaining and therefore it would come out jumbled and non-sensical at times.
     After a few minutes of talking and reminiscing, I asked Mark if he had seen the documentary and he said yes that he saw the film 3 years ago and just sat there and watched this "Mark David Allen who has been arrested 619 times" and didn't care...His thoughts seemed to trail off to nowhere...  For the record, as far as I know, Mark has NOT seen the film.  He certainly couldn't tell me anything about it. 
     Back in 2001, I did try to show him an excerpt of the film when I released him from jail and he grew agitated and didn't seem to want to recognize he was watching himself.  It was awkward and I wasn't going to force him to watch it.  After he turned away a few times, I aborted the attempt.  I want to present it to him in a neutral atmosphere.  This is one of my current goals, although with a damaged short term memory, I don't know what kind of response to expect.
     I spent the next 6 hours on the street with Mark.  I shared a number of stories on how people have been impacted by the film, read some emails to him, talked about other arrestees I was concerned about as far as taking the same tragic steps Mark has and continues to take.  Mark seemed touched and would at times spontaneously reach out and grab my hand or bear hug me.  There was always a somber whimper accompanied by these displays of desperate affection.
     At no time in my life have I felt more useful and significant.
     At no time in my life have I felt like a helpless failure.
     Mark and I walked through the night and ended up at the donut shop seen at the end of the documentary.  I bought him a bran muffin and a milk.  I then showed him a postcard with numerous pictures of  himself  on the front.  He was mesmerized, pointing out various moments in his life with terriffic inaccuracy.  There was an odd sense of purpose in his life as he recited his new mantra, "I'm Mark David Allen in David P. Sperling's 'Drunk In Public'!"
     As dawn broke, it was time for me to return home for 2 hours of sleep.  I watched Mark walk into the morning, once again with nowhere to go, in no particular direction.  My stomach dropped--This seemed so wrong.  He was like a developmentally disabled 8 year old...Or street savvy toddler.  If Mark was 60 years old and was not an alcoholic, wouldn't he be a radio call of wandering adult with dementia?
     I just couldn't plug this into my framework.  Mark continues to battle along, as I do -- on his behalf...  Despite my failures to find a solution or achieve success--I accept and embrace the significance of this process as my reward and my fuel.
     Mark's story continues sledgehammer it's way into people's hearts across the world:
     - After watching the film, a woman in the United Kingdom pulls a homeless man into her car and drives a him to treatment center before he has a seizure.  She attempts to show him the film.  She later shows it to others who are in the same stumbling shoes as Mark.
     - A California man in just completing treatment for the first time purchases a copy of the film to remind him where he came from.
     - A man in Colorado says he has used the film in his recovery program and comments that it changes people's lives--some with 5 years of sobriety under their belts.
     - A man in Texas says he's been through treatment twice, but nothing has affected his recovery more than seeing this film.
     - Directors and Counselors from treatment centers across the country comment on how they and their patients are stunned, affected and astonished every time they see it.
     - Families, addicts, counselors, teachers, police officers, CEO's, nurses, professors, doctors and many more in Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Arizona, New York, Kentucky, Louisianna, Maryland, Tennessee, and the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa, Italy, Australia, Scotland and France are thinking and praying for Mark David Allen.
     It's comments, emails and letters like these (over 100 pages now) that remind me that as much conflict as this brings as well as the time, energy and money it takes to do this--IT'S THE RIGHT THING... 
     The delapitdated and miraculous purpose of Mark David Allen is a wake up call that love is patient and love is kind and once again, a reminder that it's never a mistake to care.
     As I returned to my truck, I noticed I had ANOTHER flat tire...

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 - 2:00am
     Mark David Allen was released from Orange County Jail today.  He has spent all but 4 days of the last 14 months behind bars.  Of those 4 days of freedom, he was arrested 4 times, but only once was he intoxicated (he was arrested each time for violating terms of his probation which prohibits him from entering certain areas and establishments in the city).
     In essence, Mark has been intoxicated once in 14 months, he's had regular meals, he's slept in a bed, he's had contact with people on a daily basis.  If his problem was simply his addiction (which is certainly a formidable problem on its own) then I imagine there would be a noticeable change in his cognitive presence, behavior...Anything.
     I am eager to see him and the changes I have been hoping and praying for since he has been in jail.

Monday, December 11th, 2006 - 11:20pm
     Mark was released from County Jail at 1:30am and made his way back to Newport Beach, not knowing about the terms of his probation due to his memory issues.
     Mark was arrested 22 hours later for violating his probation by entering the "NO FLY ZONE".  He was not intoxicated and didn't really understand why he was in violation.  Once again, his mind had not improved, despite having only been drunk once in the last 10 months.
     Mark is now at county jail and will be released in April 2007.

Mark is arrested 22 hours after his release...
Mark's 428th arrest - 12/11/2006

Thursday October 12th, 2006 - 8:20am
     Mark was released from county jail on Wednesday October 11th, 2006 at 1:00am...
     Thirty-three hours later Mark was arrested in Newport Beach, pretty much at the epicenter of his court-mandated 'no fly zone'. 
     I don't know how Mark lasted so long in the city without being noticed, but he lasted a bit longer than he had the past two times he'd been released under the terms of his new probation.
     Knowing that Mark would be immediately arrested every time he crosses the forbidden boundary of our city, drunk or not, I created an informal goal, more of an internal wish.  This wish was the Mark would somehow remain sober before he was spotted by the police.  The point being that if Mark could immediately be returned to county jail sober, he would be dry for as long as possible.  I was aiming for one year.
     I figured if I could say that Mark has not had a single drop of alcohol for a full calendar year and then institute a full neurological exam, this would be the perfect evidence to show he's beyond self management and needs a 'caretaker'.
     Mark destroyed any hopes of this coming to fruition.  He was once again arrested for being drunk in public and violating his probation...On many levels.
     Mark did remain sober (because he was in jail) for 226 days.  During that time, I saw him twice and neither time did he seem like he really knew what was going on.  I couldn't point to any improvement in his comprehension of his circumstances.  Mark delivered the same old dialogue (with a few new variations in word order and a bit more understandably--because he was not intoxicated) with the same old sincerity.
     When they found him passed out, he was hammered and had urinated through his clothes.  Apparently this had happened a number of times since his release.
     By the time he made it back to the jail, he'd been reminded a dozen times that his probation forbids him from entering the city and that he agreed to such probation.  With an incredulous, but salty glare, he retorted, "You mean I can't go into Newport Beach?"  It all just seemed to be a ridiculous to him.

Mark is sent back to County Jail on 10/12/2006
Mark was somewhat clear-eyed--yet clueless...

     Mark was transported back to county jail and is awaiting sentencing for this most recent violation of his probation.

Thursday August 24th, 2006 - 12:00pm
     I was invited to present the film and speak in front of 30 social work professionals who serve disabled adults in the community.
     The group was touched and amazed.  The consensus seems to be that the power of Mark's story is the story of so many.  The futility of the system and the tragedy that enfolds before us is heartwrenching and poses important questions for us all.
     I am thoroughly impressed by the hard working people, who in the face of so much adversity, beauracracy, and tragedy, continually keep a good attitude and fight on, for as Viktor Frankel surmised (and I have paraphrased) in MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING, "Our attitude is the only thing we can completely control."
     We've all heard the saying, "ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING", and most of us probably agree that this is the case.  But does attitude just happen?  How?  It doesn't.  Your attitude doesn't "just change".  Something must occur for it to change.  Either a crisis, or an event that causes you to look at things differently.  Whether it's simply to avoid the pain of the situation or to gain something that is a perceived want or more likely, need.  Need is the ultimate monkey.  Real learning occurs when needs are present.  Period.
     So how do we 'learn' to have a great attitude?  The only way to forge a new attitude is to shift your perspective.  Your perspective determines your attitude.  Step back, look up, move aside, go forward, craw underneath, you must look at the concept from a different perspective.  Only then will your attitude be able to improve.
     Example:  You get arrested.  You can either look at it as major inconvenience, an injustice...Or, if you change your focus, a reminder to do something different.  You may even be able to share your experience with someone else and prevent them the misery that has touched you.  Clearly it's a matter of perspective...And attitude.
     Dealing with Mark David Allen and these concepts of perspective and attitude, and process (as I mentioned previously), are a few of the major points that have shaped my life's education. 
     As the end of the presentation neared, it became clear that, today, answers would not be found. 
     There are more questions than ever and even more work to be done...Nevertheless, Mark's story carries on, and those who take the time to experience it have a chance to be forever changed.

Monday August 21st, 2006 - 12:00pm
     Mark pleaded "GUILTY" and was sentenced to 90 days in county jail.  He'll do 60 and be out around Halloween. 
     I do know that there are some positive things happening because I've received letters and emails telling me so.
     The film continues to circulate slowly around the nation and even to remote parts of the world.  I'm getting very moving stories from treatment centers, halfway houses, individuals, counselors and more.  I've had a request to have the film translated into Spanish.  I'm doing everything myself, in a financial hole, and still giving away too many copies, but the few I sell help me keep going and shine some light on the potential.
     I received an email a little while back from a woman who's husband was in jail with Mark.  She bought the film online and then contacted me with a remarkable story of this film affects others and good things can seemingly grow from the smallest acts of kindness.
     This woman told me her husband noticed that some of the other inmates were picking on Mark simply because they can.  Mark was being forced to take a top bunk (the bottom bunk is preferred in jail), which is tough on Mark and his limited mobility.  Mark also has urination problems.  The cruelness of the inmates continued when Mark began to urinate in his bunk because he couldn't get down in time to use the bathroom at night. 
     Essentially, the husband of the woman who sent me this email took Mark under his wing and swapped bunks with him.  This woman then made copies of Mark's stories from this website and took them to the county jail.  The stories were passed around and the inmates have changed their perspective on Mark and are now treating Mark with a little more humanity.
     Positive feedback and touching stories continue to trickle in and continue to illustrate Mark's impact and purpose where it is least likely expected.
     Never underestimate anyone.  Purpose abounds.  Even for you.  Find yours now.

Tuesday August 15th, 2006 - 12:00pm
     Mark's public defender indicated a possible jury trial as Mark pleaded "NOT GUILTY" today in court.  Interesting.  Is there someone out there that also understands that Mark does not understand his probation terms?  If so, what is the goal?  Then what do you do with Mark?  Fascinating development. 
     I can actually see Mark in court, on the stand, being totally baffled as to his probation guidlines or even what day of the week it is--then diving into a throaty rendition of "HOT LEGS" by Rod Stewart.
     I have a feeling a jury trial will not happen...What bothers me even more is that I wonder what reasonable alternative there is to Mark's current probation situation, because, like I've mentioned so many times before, this is saving his life.

Mark David Allen - August 12th, 2006
Mark violates his probation...

Saturday August 12th, 2006 - 7:30pm
     Mark was released at 1:00am today.  He was arrested at 7:30pm today.  He was not drunk.  He was in the forbidden area of his probation terms.  He was violated and returned to the warehouse (county jail).  He looked decent and appeared clueless.

Thursday August 3rd, 2006 - 5:50pm
     I put in a few calls in order find out the results of Mark's court hearing and the length of his sentence regarding his probation violation. 
     Mark was sentenced to 60 days, concurrent sentence, credit for time served, blah, blah, blah--mish-mash, mish-mash...His release date is supposed to be August 12th.
     I expect Mark to be arrested shortly after his release...On August 12th.

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006 - 11:30am
     From what I've heard, probation was unable to find any treatment center that would accept Mark David Allen by today's deadline.  Therefore Mark was released from county jail at 1:30 in the morning today. 
     Mark was arrested 10 hours later in Newport Beach within the forbidden boundary of his probation terms.  Mark was sober.  He was also, as predicted, completely clueless of his terms of probation.
     When he arrived at the jail, Mark instantly recognized me with a robust, "There's my friend, David Sperling, over there."  Certainly it was nice to hear Mark's voice and check in with him.  It was also nice to see him not totally destroyed, like the last time I had seen him.  Additionally this was an important opportunity to get a read on Mark's state of mind.  After all, he'd been in jail, which means meals, no alcohol and shelter...He even gets his medication there.
     Since Mark remembered me, this indicated that his long term memory seemed to be okay.  He had also lost a little weight and didn't seem as bloated.  His teeth did appear to be a little less...present--I suppose, would be the way to describe it.  Mark now had a more pronounced lisp.  Still, his body movements appeared stiff and his shuffling ways were still with him. 
     The last time I had seen Mark, he was a shell of himself, virtually unable to communicate.  After his 4+ months of drying out in jail, Mark spoke with vitality.  Still, there was no new information, no new sayings or slogans.  He repeated all of the old "illogical jurisdiction" mantras.  It was nice, but kind of sad, as if he was stuck in time...Like the Great White shark...I suppose.   

Mark David Allen on July 4th, 2006
Released and arrested...On the same day.

     Most importantly, when I asked Mark about his probation, he looked at me blankly and just said, "No."  I then asked him if he knew how long he'd recently spent up at county jail.  Mark responded, "I have no idea...Anyway, David, you look very very sophisticated in my illogical correspondance, sir."  I asked Mark about the probation, the boundaries, the court, his time in jail...Each time I got a blank look...As if he knew he was supposed to know, but the information just wasn't available. 
     What makes this more alarming is that this is the best condition Mark has been in for 5 years.  He's had time to think about this, he's had paperwork and constant reminders, he's been assigned a probation officer...Nothing is sticking with him, new memories are just not at his disposal.
     So this appears to be the course for Mark David Allen.  Get out, cross the line, go back.  One of the key problems I have with this "Groundhog Day" approach, is that resources and money are still being wasted on Mark.  It cost roughly $25,000 to keep someone without medical issues in custody...More for Mark.  It becomes even more inefficient because Mark is now taking up a bed space in county jail that could be used for an inmate that really belongs in jail. 
     Why can't we take this money, this $25,000 and all of these resources and put them to use in a facility that would more appropriately address the needs of Mark and others like him?
     Because facilities like this are a fantasy--They do not exist.  There is no "other" place.  Why?  I'm not quite sure.  But I'm looking into it.   I'm also looking into using Mark's story to ignite a path toward legislation that may create such a place for Mark and those like him, those that cannot be quantified and constantly slip through the cracks.
     Mark was transported back to county jail and is currently awaiting sentencing for violating his probation.

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006
     45 years ago today, Mark David Allen was born.  He spent another birthday behind bars...But as Richard Lovelace once said, "Stone wall, nor iron bars do not a prison make."
     Mark David Allen has been awaiting placement in a treatment program since his May 15th sentence of 114 days (76 days actual time).  Part of his sentence included a good faith attempt by probation to try to find a treatment program that would house Mark.  These treatment programs are voluntary and it was explained to Mark that if he chose to leave, it would be considered a violation of his probation. 
     Of course, everyone involved understands that Mark has brain damage and a seizure disorder, therefore this is not an easy task for probation...Or anyone for that matter.  It's extremely time consuming and de-energizing to pursue this course of action.  I applaud the courts for the attempt, even though I also disagree with the attempt without an official neurological evaluation.  To penalize Mark for not following through, when his ability to follow through is, to a degree, in question.
     We need to answer the question.  Can he or can he not follow through?  If not, a different course of action must be pursued.  This will benefit everyone.  But it is not realistic.
     Apparently, I am not alone in my opinion on this because not a single treatment center could be found that would take him.  Those programs that were somewhat interested, but understandably wanted a neurolgical evaluation to determine his rehabilitative prognosis.  Rightly so, I feel.
     Either way, the period of time has eclipsed and Mark is to be released on July 4th with very strict probation guidelines.  The terms of his formal probation prohibit him from entering certain areas in the city, possessing alcohol, or being intoxicated.  This is a tall order for Mark, whose ancient routine of wandering into town and drowning himself in vodka has only been interrupted by forced stays in jail (stays that no doubt have saved and extended Mark's troubled existence). 
     Mark apparently agreed to the new terms of his probation in court, fully sober, having spent the last 2 and a half months in county jail.  He verbally agreeed with the judge, who admonished him of the penalty of violating the probation (up to 9 months in county jail).  Mark also signed on the terms and conditions sheet, claiming to understand everything.
     Probation, the police department, the courts and the residents of our city are hoping the stiff terms and penalties will somehow snap Mark out of his destructive cycle.  This would ideal, but I predict otherwise.   I understand that Mark is an agreeable person and would appear to understand these terms, but I see him being incapable of making alterations to his behavior.  Only time will tell.
     Other interesting questions arise; upon his release from county jail and magnetic approach to the coast--Will he instead turn north and head into Huntington Beach?  "SURF CITY" would seem a very natural fit for him with his legendary surfing background...Or will he head south to Laguna Beach where there are many more available services to the homeless? 
     I see Mark doing neither.  It would be silly to think he will change.  Why would he?  I think he will simply offend the terms and be violated.  I think this will happen over and over until things in the circumstance and things in the system change. 
     Like a Great White shark, Mark will endure the test of time, remaining predictable and unadulterated by the system's attempt to make him clean.  Mark will outlast everything in his radius.  Judges, probation officers, doctors, counselors, cops, medics, nurses and jailers will all end their careers before Mark ends his. 
     This is not to say that change is impossible, or that I don't have hope.  I just don't believe there are the proper agents in place to enact the expected change.  I pray.  I have hope.  That will never change either.  Once again, all of our efforts must match Mark's endurance.  Anything less equals failure.
     What this really means is that Mark will live out the rest of his days in county jail..."Warehoused" as they say...With brief excursions to the lands end--for a quick hit of a the salty breeze upon his sun-starved face...And if he's out long enough a guzzle of poison to re-awaken his death march. 
     The jail time will simultaneously continue to keep Mark alive and kill him as well.

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 - 8:30am
     Today, I was invited to speak at a multi-disciplinary meeting that consisted of a multiple agencies regarding the frustation of dealing with "difficult" cases...There were about 40 professionals from various fields.  Numerous social service agencies, Adult Protective Services, county & city caseworkers, probate, medical experts and a handful of other entities I've never even heard of.  It was a fantastic opportunity and I wondered what it was that I could provide them, being as my formal training in these areas is very limited.  Apparently, my film, is a pefect case study showing this frustration.  Additionally, I am an expert in frustration and slamming into obstacles.  No arguments here.
     The meeting was affirming, educational and very sobering...
     I was officially informed that there is NO place for Mark David Allen in his current state of health.  Officially, unless a person exhibits signs of brain damage AND dementia, they are ineligible for resouces. 
     The problem, once again, is that when Mark is cleaned up and sober (after a jail stint), his long term memory spoils it for him.  Unless he starts really acting out, he is not going to raise any flags that will signal he needs help.  The 400+ arrests appear to be a non-issue, as are the 400+ E.R. visits.  Absurd.
     Shocking as it is, the reality is that the system that prosecutes and evaluates Mark David Allen, has declared "he is not bad enough yet".
     To wrap up this chapter, I must state that I do not believe Mark is capable of understanding the terms of his court orders, restraining orders and treatment center agreements.  Even a neurological exam--If ever ordered by the courts--Would not help the situation.  Official proof of Mark's condition would not alter the course of Mark's existence because his behavior is still considered "acceptable".  A facility does not exist for those with this "middle-ground" behavior, it's a classic "CATCH-22".
     On top of all this, those involved in these process have verbalized "we know he's messed up" and that the only alternatives are to "warehouse him".  It is only possible to utter such comments and not sound horribly callous because the reality is that those involved have realized there is no place for Mark David Allen.
     But it's not over.  I'm not done.  The members of this multi-disciniplary meeting were touched by my project--thankfully, most people cannot walk away from the film unchanged...  These are professionals who've spent decades in social service.  I pretty much expected them to be sensitized to these types of issues.  I was wrong.  The emotional impact was phenomenal.  In the end, this shines a positive light on those in law enforcement and social service--Because they are still capable of feeling.  It's not too late for them, either. 
     The people in the meeting starting using the phrase, "firestarter" in a sincere manner as they referred to me and the film...  They suggested I pursue legislation and change the system.  What started out as a project about a man whom no one cares about is now possibly the ignition button on changing the system?  Unimaginable. 
     Additionally, numerous treatment centers have viewed the film...Word is getting out...The response is exhilarating.  Audiences are stunned.  Program directors are calling me.  Everyone wants to see it...
     And feel it.
     At this time, my efforts to get Mark David Allen the help he needs can be labeled a failure.  This is an argument I cannot win....But I've succeeded in opening the eyes of the world...And the hearts of the blind.  Asking questions.  The lives changed, enlighted, and saved are too numerous to count...
     Furthermore, this is only half of the story.  The other half of the story really has nothing to do with addiction.  This may be the point of the whole project...Because what has unfolded is a bigger story than just addiction...  The story is about the process and the adjustments of our meager perspectives.
     The things people tell me about how this film affected them, brings me to tears, and has forever changed me...The friends I've made and the people I've touched...Who do I thank?  Mark David Allen?
     This project is a legend of personal wreckage and perseverence...It is a transformation of the expectations and the definitions we have of success and failure...
     ...A practice in compassion where it seems futile, and least warranted...  Wasted.
     It is evidence that our human understanding of purposefulness is not yet fully actualized.  How do you explain Mark's purpose when he appears to be a shell of a human?  You can't.  Only God works like this.  Romans 8:28 talks about God using our failure as His success.  Okay.  I suppose it's time we all accept this.  Why can't we?  Why do we fight it?  Why can't we see that our narrow vision limits everyone?
     People tell me their perspectives on transients and law enforcement have improved because of the time I've spent with a man who no one no longer cares about.
     This film reminds us that life is a process, a journey...And that the ends never will justify the means.
     Finally, this film is evidence that it is never a mistake to care.  The process of caring is worth it.  Even if the conclusion is not in line with our goals and the is never met...
     Mark David Allen has not quit...And neither have I.  I don't believe I have the right to say that any of this is over.

Monday, May 15th, 2006 - 8:30am


     Mark appeared in court today. His days of wandering the beach are over.  A number of entities have been searching for a solution that might meet a list of everyone's needs.  Of course, Mark's needs are not at the top of this list...But he has made some choices over the years that have permanently affected his freedom to choose his destiny--Then again, with serious brain damage, drawing the line on responsibility gets to be very tricky. 


     What makes matters even more frustrating is that I do not believe that ANYONE on this list who actually knows a thing or two about Mark thinks that jail is the answer.


     Nevertheless, jail IS going to be the answer right now.  Frustration is imminent, especially since I don't think anyone has it out for Mark...He is simply a victim of circumstance.  A victim of the system that has no place for someone like him...There are many others that slip through the cracks, as well.  Mark does not fit into a pretty little box or convenient solution.


     The courts have decided in order to protect the citizens from Mark's presence and harrassing nature, as well as better utilize the local police, fire and hospital resources, it would serve to have Mark not around...


     I can see this point of view--Mark should not be around.  Mark should be in a facility that can meet his needs.  If one existed.  Mark is not a criminal.  I think this point has been stressed enough. 


     Now, it's time to take a vacation from idealistic planning and unfortunately venture down a path known as reality... 


     Mark's next court hearing is June 16th, 2006.  At this time Mark will be placed in rehabilitation/treatment facility.  This will be a voluntary facility (as all rehabilitation-type facilities are).  If Mark leaves the facility before completion of the program it will be a probation violation and a jail sentence will decided by the courts will be implemented.


     Once Mark finishes this jail sentence (which I know he will have to do because HE WILL leave that program--if he knows he can), then he will be free.  But there are now new terms of his probation.  No alcohol is one of them.  If Mark is caught with alcohol, it will be another probation violation.


     In addition to the restraining order at the laundromat, Mark will have a court order preventing him from going within ONE MILE of 27th street in Newport Beach.  This essentially bars Mark from going anywhere near his typical wandering grounds.  No visits to the triangle lot, no visits to the pier, no Seashore drive...Essentially, no Newport.  If he crosses these boundaries--A probation violation = Jail time.


     The goal is to keep Mark away from those that have been bothered by him.  Mark will either go elsewhere (doubtful because this is all he knows...or he may not understand the circumstances), or he will be spending a lot more time in jail...


     The term "warehousing" is an ugly one, but I think everyone agrees that is what is going on here.  Legally, there are no other alternatives.


     Initially, it was thought that Mark would get state prison time for numerous probation violations (which is quite common).  This is an alarming notion, considering drunk in public is hardly a crime.  Nevertheless, this concept dissolved in reality because the offense an individual is on probation for must be felony, in order for state prison to be a consideration.


     Prison time is the last thing Mark needs, unless, ironically, it's the only place he could find some sort of alternative treatment.  Such a muddled web inefficiency all of this is turning out to be even though people want to help, which I think is true.  But humanity gets in the way of humanity, because I just think energies evaporate that much quicker when those that need the most help, seem unable or refuse to even help themselves.  I see and understand why it breeds a touch of contempt.  Why wouldn't it?  Wasted effort always makes people respond in this manner.  It's a matter of perspective and process.

Monday, May 1st, 2006 - 8:00am


     Mark has been in county jail since February 28th, 2006.  Today he was supposed to have a court hearing regarding his future, enforcement issues and other legal scenarios, but the hearing has been postponed until Monday, May 15th, 2006.


     The previous few months have yielded a number of meetings...Informative and once again frustrating...The premiere of the feature-length “DRUNK IN PUBLIC” film at the 2006 NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL was a grand success.  Not only have I met with members from the city and the police department, but I've also met with Probation and Adult Protective Services personnel.  Furthermore, I've met a few friends via the screening that have been touched by the story and are willing and inspired to aid in finding a solution for Mark David Allen...IF THERE IS ONE...


     After 12 years of following Mark, it appears that the only situation that would work for him is one that would hold him against his will.  Personally, I don't believe jail is the correct environment for Mark--But I'd be foolish to ignore its life-saving benefits...Especially for him.  Had it not been for the number of times Mark has been arrested, he would've been dead long ago.  I'm also aware that there are many people out there that would be fine with his death.


     The perspective that Mark is better off dead, while appealing for some, is truly a limited perspective.  Yes, there are those with a callous disregard for anything that doesn't fit into today's definition of success, but I don't necessarily think that this point of view is selfish or mean-spirited in all cases.  I do know that it is myopic. 


     I know the perspective is limited because I realize most people want everything in their lives compacted into a nice little pill that goes down easy.  Everything is a 90 second news-bite.  The issue is surface glazed, tight and neat, which is the opposite of real life.  There are levels, issues, gray areas...Things that don’t sell and test the patience.


     If you are willing to look below the surface, you will find the truth.  Most people say they want the truth, but really don’t.  They don’t want to be lied to...They want something the middle.  The truth hurts sometimes.  The truth also liberates. 


     I've seen the other side...I'm on the front line and I see the impact Mark has had and continues to have on people.  He's just the person to deliver this kind of message.  Mark may be the ONLY person capable of delivering this message, albeit a message of self-destruction...A message, which reaps a horrifying existence as its reward...


     Despite his inability to tell the truth, Mark’s story doesn’t get any more real.  Life isn't always gift-wrapped in pretty little package.  Life can be ugly.  What do we see in it?  How does it challenge us to think, feel, narrow our vision?  There's more to this than "You're wasting your time with this drunk loser, who should be dead in the gutter..." which is something I've been told more times than necessary.


     Although I like to treat people how they should be, at their potential, at their best, should've I expected any other response?  I want to see the best in everyone.  Despite Mark's obvious shortcomings, if you look a little deeper--there is more.  Much more.


I've seen how Mark affects the dependent, the lost, the addicts... 


I've seen how Mark affects everyday people with struggling loved ones...


I've seen how Mark affects the common person unaffected by addiction and clueless to the world of brutal day by day existence to just "get well"...who simply asks, "Why?" or "What might have been?" or any other question that provokes thought...Or God forbid, feeling...


I've seen how Mark impacts those in the field, those who've spent a lifetime dealing with every kind of person imaginable and unimaginable.  People in a ridiculous state of dire need...These are workers that are often unfortunately, yet understandably "de-sensitized" to human anguish...The ones that have "seen it all"...Well, I've seen Mark impact even them...GREATLY...I hear their stories...I read their emails...I'm talking nurses and cops and doctors and firefighters and social workers and counselors and paramedics...Those that deal with the traumatized every single day...


I've seen how Mark is like other people.  People recognize him in their families--where unheard of tragedy has unfolded—and been shared with me...People recognize Mark in their friends and co-workers...People recognize him in the mirror.




     As hopeless as Mark appears, by telling his story he grows more purposeful everyday...As do I.


     It's never a mistake to care for someone.  The process of compassion trickles into every aspect of your life.  The act of perseverance toward a goal of helping another human being is never wrong--No matter how successful, or God forbid unsuccessful, the outcome may seem.


     Success is typically defined by society.  I know dozens of people who are less effective at impacting the world than Mark David Allen, yet they are deemed a “success” and he is deemed a “failure”.  This project has made me think about the definitions of success.  What is a success?


     Are you a success because you have Corian counters in your 3-car garage or a kick ass stock portfolio or a set of teeth and tits made from materials that will last longer than your marriage?


     We cannot forget the process of living, learning and growing.  I've heard that God is more concerned about our character, than our comfort...That certainly applies to this situation...In a world where struggle and tragedy and human suffering take a backseat to who’s dating who in Hollywood, this concept makes sense, too.


     When I started this film, 12 years ago, it was primarily about helping Mark...Over time, I realized how much I was growing and being helped by being part of the process of trying to help Mark.  Now, I see how much the film and the project are helping others and am embracing the perspective that many great things are happening that are happening simply because I’m trying.  The effort has yielded saved lives.  More remarkably, I can only comment on the many things I’ve witnessed.  How many more people has Mark and this project affected that I will never know about?  The picture is bigger than ever...And growing.


     The difficulties of Mark's situation are exacerbated by the fact that Mark does improve physically when in custody...Therefore when Mark has a preliminary evaluation, he often passes because his long term memory is filled with sincere promises of sobriety and personal rectification.  Once a person spends a little time with Mark, they realize, he really hasn't said anything dramatically new in the past 10 years... 


     The documentary does show Mark's physical improvement after even the briefest of jail sentences...What cannot be halted is the degradation of his mental abilities--which continue to de-rail.  In fact, mentally, Mark has been getting worse year after year--regardless of his environment.  The Organic Brain Syndrome and the Korsakoff's Syndrome are irreversible conditions.


     Nevertheless, isn't there a more appropriate option than jail available to meet Mark's needs?  Even those in probation, the courts, and many others that are faced with this case, agree that prison is not the best thing for Mark, but few alternatives seem to exist. 


     This problem has many angles, it's a fabric.  Each issue weaves through another—And everyone seems to have a somewhat valid argument.  There are no enemies.  Addiction could be considered the enemy.  Waging war on addiction is a tragic paradox.  When addiction is a part of each other, our loved ones and our lives—We’re waging war on ourselves.


     At one time or another, everyone has been fooled by Mark's charm and sincerity and ability to draw on old memories where he says exactly the right thing.  He's unique.  His case is unique.  To say the problem is frustrating is an understatement. 


     I don't believe that any one entity is fully at fault.  Arguably, I’ve spent 12 years documenting my own failure at finding real help for Mark.  I would probably join the chorus in saying this if I hadn’t seen the impact on others, as well as myself.  I see the big picture and it’s not just about Mark.  It’s about all of us.  Simply because we’re looking at this issue, means we’re on the right track.  But it’s still not enough.


     Everyone involved needs to bring their "A" game and perseverance.  If we're all on the same page, it's do-able...But then again, when people grow weary, or get busy, or get distracted with the beauracratic difficulties--the dialogue starts up, "he's "just a drunk" or "we have more important things to focus on"...Much of this dialogue has some truth to it.  Then again, what happens when the day comes when Mark steps out in front of a car and causes damage to someone other than himself?  Will he still be just a drunk?  Will there be anything more important than that moment?  How many lives will be impacted?  What is the cost of a preventable situation?  There always seems to be just enough interference to lull people away from a solution. 


     Mark simply does not fit into anyone's agenda.  He is not on anyone's priority.  There are times when I feel like there is more I could do.  I think it’s healthy to do so because it reminds me that I still care.  


     Clearly, Mark is a unique case.  The fact that his short-term memory is shot should at least point him in a different direction other that incarceration.  Does he even know what he's doing when he violates restraining orders or urinates and defecates in front of a crowd in broad daylight?  It's very clear he doesn't even know the date and time anymore--How is he supposed to appear in court?  Then again, the warrants issued for his arrest on “fail to appears” actually save his life because he is forced to sober up, eat a decent meal, get consistent medication for his brain injury related seizures.


     I'm eager to see what developments occur in court in 2 weeks.  I also have many more people to talk to...Presentations to make...There is a possibility that I may have a fundraiser if I find out that the roadblocks are simply financial in nature.  There also may be an opportunity to put forth some legislation.  This is wide open and there is no turning back.


     Life is about people and I have to admit, if it were not for Mark, I would not have met many of the people I now consider friends.


     I understand now that if I never find “the solution” to meeting Mark’s needs—the project, nor I will be considered a failure.  I believe I will only be considered a failure if I give up or realize I don’t care anymore.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006 - 12:28am

     Mark was arrested for violating the restraining order at the laundromat.  He smelled and looked awful...I’ve seen this too many times, but it still doesn't make it easy...Especially when his mental faculties are slipping. 

     Mark was transported to county jail.  He has a number of drunk in public cases, tickets, and the restraining order...I expect him to do a little time. 

Saturday, February 25th, 2006 - 12:30pm
     Mark apparently only did a day or two at county because he got picked up for being drunk in public again.  This makes Mark's 400th official E.R. visit. 

Monday, February 20th, 2006 - 6:50pm
     Mark made his way back to Newport after being released in Huntington.  He promptly got hammered and arrested.  The charge was tresspassing because he was on someone's private property.  Nevertheless, Mark seemed as detatched as I've ever seen him.  Mark's head was swollen, his legs multi-colored, and his attitude was as parched and fried as his skin.
     Mark couldn't generate any thoughts in regards to how or why he ended up in Huntington Beach.  All he could do was shrug.  I wish I knew if he was confused or made a purposeful decision to go there.  And yet, he had the wherewithall to find his way back to Newport.  Either way, Mark's inability to answer was not good.
     Upon Mark's arrival, he delivered an excited, "Hi Dave!".  But that was it.  He was a zombie.  One of the officers asked Mark if he had as song for him.  Mark's reaction was akin to kick starting an engine or an old juke box.  Mark roared to life with a raucous rendition of "HOT LEGS!" by Rod Stewart...This lasted about 45 seconds.  It was over.  Mark seemed like a dehydrated robot as he powered down, slipping back into a depressed funk.
     When I asked Mark if he'd ever been arrested in Huntington Beach, he said, "Never."  Then, when I asked him if he was arrested in Huntington Beach 2 days ago, he said, "Yes" and nodded.  I then asked him how many times he thinks he has been arrested in his entire life.  He couldn't answer.  Mark shook his head and said, "I don't know."  Finally he guessed, "107"?  This is a number he has said many times.  It's usually 107, 108, 115 or something close to that.  He's been giving this answer for 3 or 4 years now.  It's as if Mark's memory is frozen in time.
     We sent Mark to county, where I'm sure he'll be released and make his way down the frigid river trail and back to Newport.

Saturday, February 18th, 2006
     After serving less than a week for violating a restraining order, Mark was released from county jail and made back toward Newport.  Except this time things were different.  It appeared that Mark took a wrong turn and headed north when he reached Pacific Coast Highway.  Mark usually heads south into Newport.  This time he got drunk and arrested in Huntington Beach.  As far as I know, this is only the 2nd time Mark has ever been arrested in Huntington.

Saturday, February 11th, 2006 - 4:30pm
     I suppose it was just a matter of time before Mark wandered back into the laundromat and violated the restraining order against him.  Mark's awareness seems to come and go in regards to this restraining order.  The last thing Mark wants is to go to county jail and violating the order is a one way ticket.  The fact that he has been arrested over 20 times for violating this order tells me there are times when he doesn't quite get it.  In conversation, he has also illustrated that one moment he knows he shouldn't be in the laundromat and the next moment he swears he's never been in the place.
     Mark was transported to county jail.  He'll go to court on the 14th and then his other 6 appearances for being drunk in public will be handled from county jail or go to warrant.

Thursday, February 9th, 2006 - 9:10am
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  He's got a court date coming up, which means he's got just a few more days of freedom before he "no shows" and gets picked up for the warrant of failing to appear.  His awareness of the current date and time is nil.  He could afford to clean up with a county jail stint, which is inevitable. 

Saturday, February 4th, 2006 - 1:05pm
     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  There were numerous radio calls that of a "man down".  Mark was taken to the hospital again (his 394th visit), treated, brought to jail, and then released.  He looked horrible.  His feet looked like swollen sausages which causes him to walk like an 80 year old man.

Monday, January 30th, 2006 - 12:40pm
     Mark was brought in for being drunk in public.  Again.  He's starting to hit his stride in 2006, getting picked up 3 times in 8 days tells me his New Year's Resolution was memory moment now mangled.  Mark is starting to dial up the rancid odor as well, too.  He's already clocking in at about 700 Hobo-units on the Allenometer.
     Right before Mark was released, he had a seizure.  These days, 30 minutes one way or another makes all the difference whether he has a seizure or walks away unscathed...

Friday, January 27th, 2006 - 9:00pm
     Mark was brought in for being drunk in public.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006 - 8:45pm
     Mark has been seen numerous times in the past 18 days, but managed to stay out of trouble.  To suggest he'd been sober would be a reach.
     Mark returned to jail tonight.  Once again a little drunk, but actually arrested for tresspassing.  Mark has a bad habit finding refuge from the chilly nights on other people's property, whether it be their doorstep or their lawn furniture (which runs the risk of being urinated all over when Mark's in town). 
     I sympathize with the residents that have to put up with Mark because he always seems to bother the same people and always hovers within the same geographic, to borrow a classic MDA phrase, "jurisdiction".  So, with the way that Mark smells, I completely understand the reactions many people have when they find him curled up on their doorstep.
     The tresspassing charge is a charge that county jail will accept, therefore, Mark was transported to county jail.  All reports are that he smelled horrid and wasn't happy to go to county (contrary to what many assume about him seeking out jail for the famed, "3 hots and a cot", not Mark--his freedom is about the only thing he enjoys).
     I also found out that Mark had a seizure at the county jail and therefore made yet another trip to the E.R., marking it as his 390th hospital visit since 1981.  Again, I don't think there is any harm in mentioning the fact that despite Mark's moments of clarity, charisma and remarkable physical toughness, he simply cannot take care of himself.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006 - 1:00pm
     Mark was released from county jail today at 9am.  He walked 7.5 miles back to the beach, bought a 750 milliliter bottle of Smirnoff vodka and got hammered.  The radio call went out as a man sitting on the side of the road "eating dirt". 
     Mark was cleared for booking at the hospital and brought to jail for being drunk in public.  I was at the jail and spoke with him. He denies eating dirt and says, "That's ridiculous".
       He was more lucid than I expected he would be (I suppose spending 99% of the last 3 months in county jail would explain this, but I've spoken to him after he's spent much more time locked up and it didn't make the least bit of a difference).
     I released him from custody and caught up with him an hour later down on the highway.  He was still sober and was sipping from a bottle of "D.P." (Dr. Pepper).  He eagerly offered the bottle to me so that I could check the contents.  From a cursory glance and whiff, the bottle appeared unadulterated.
     The reason I say Mark appeared more lucid than usual was that his ability to respond to specific and varied stimulus, questions, and things going on in the environment seemed a bit more original.  Typically, all of Mark's responses are a series of memorizations that play endlessly like a recycled record.  Sure, this was still happening, but only 25% of the time--The rest of the time, he was relatively conversational.
     Mark also spent a great deal of time trying to convince me that he was reading his Bible and "The Blue Book" (from AA).  He showed me the books and talked about them with tremendous enthusiasim.  Sure, he has done this before, but his conversational aura had a renewed vigor. 
     I have long documented Mark's remarkable endurance and his uncanny ability to stay alive, but his current state puzzles me.
     Is it possible that Mark's unique resilience is enabling him to somehow recover from permament brain damage?  Or was this a temporary synaptic blip that shot across his reality like a burning star?
     How could he be improving?
     At the moment, I have no explanation for any of this. 
     I walked with Mark until we came to a donut shop.  We went inside and ate. 

MDA outside our donut destination...

MDA and me...Pre-fritter consumption...

MDA gettin' ready to chow down...Or sleep.

     While eating, Mark expressed his gratitude for the way I've treated him over the years (he actually said, "...the past 5 years", even though it had been 12).  He thanked me for being his friend.  I don't know if I can be objective at assessing my treatment of him, but there are many times when I feel like I'm not doing enough, or only help when it's is convenient for me.  I do know it's been hard. 
     I find it incredibly sad that a man is reduced to tears just because someone bought him a donut and spent a little time with him.
     I often wonder, how different would a person's life be if they would just do one little thing?  How would they be changed by caring?  How much more satisfying and signficant and "productive" (to reach you capitalitic readers) would their lives be?  Then, how would the recipient of  their "little things" be changed?  I believe the trickle down effects of such behavior is immensely powerful.
     As human beings, how much more effective and at peace would WE all be if we just took the time to care--without an expectation of solution or success?

     Mark David Allen has contractually agreed to be covered by David J. Sperling of Furious Love Inc., on this website, in all recording formats, in the ongoing documentary, and in a book or any other written or photographic materials.
Created & Copyrighted by David J. Sperling

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