Who's Next?

Dear you, reading this,

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel angry and energetic because I’ve fallen into a negative thought loop where I’m just along for a ride that never ends. My Grammy told me to start from a place of gratitude so here we go. First off, I am grateful that my family loves me enough to put up with me. I’m grateful that all my limbs work. I am grateful for all the women and dudes who have shared physical intimacy with me. I’m grateful for the house I live in. I like watching the fishies swim around. I am grateful that I have the Rocky Mountains so close by and that I can look at them as I drive and hike them on my off time. I’m grateful for all the traveling I’ve been able to do, the friends I met along the way, and everyone who welcomed me back. If you talk to me, it helped.

With that being said, there’s still a ton of nightmares out there. Life is amazing, yes, but it’s incredibly tedious and it’s really hard to be happy about that when so much of it is only here because of terrorism. When people think of terrorism, they probably think beheadings and suicide bombings. Terrorism is so much more than that. It’s any instance of using terror to advance an agenda. America is doing unfavorable stuff in your country? Fly Planes into their buildings. Countries hold political systems that restrict your access to their resources? Overthrow the government. People aren’t praising God enough? Kill them. Citizens treat each other and their bodies disrespectfully? Lock them up. Kill some of them. You think somebody knows something? Torture them. People are coming into your country after fleeing violence your country had a hand in creating? Separate them, lock them up, let some die. Kids at school make fun of you for being an asshole who hates women? Shoot em. Rich making life miserable? Chop their heads off in the town square. Poor people aren’t supporting your agenda? Let them starve. Your parents don’t understand? Yell at them. Your kids are acting up? Beat them. You don’t like life but have social media? Type slurs, insults and epithets till you get carpal tunnel and your fingers bleed. It’s all just different levels of the same thought. “Fear will stop this. Once they see what we do to them and people like them, they will stop.” Some times it works, other times it doesn’t. The truth is, it only holds something back for so long or creates a new monster to destroy. Even when it comes to solving terrorism itself, most of the efforts are terrorism. What really kills me is the people who think life has to be this way. If you want it to be this way, yikes, but oh well. If you think it has to be this way, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t believe it does. Although, I want to blast the loudest noise possible at the people who run the detention centers so maybe I’m contributing to the problem.

For years I’ve felt like the problem. All those things that I’m grateful for came at a cost. My nation was built on savage people treating others like animals. My nations current economic system relies on a disposable work force. I just want to get high and befuddle trolls on the internet. I’ve met people who are fine with all that and still want to keep living. Most people I’ve talked to just want food, water, shelter, family, friends, a community, reliable transportation, and entertainment. I thought we had the resources to give everyone that. I suppose on some level it would be nice. It’d be nice to fall in love with someone. It’d be nice to watch my offspring grow and flourish. It’d be nice to be able to go somewhere every week, see the same people, and take care of each other. If you have that, please know that I don’t want to take that away. I’m happy for you. However, I would like you to examine the cost. Does that require people being terrorized for trying to live and express themselves? If so, It’s probably not worth it in the long run. If not, WHY ARE WE STILL TERRORIZING PEOPLE?! CLEARLY WE DON’T NEED TO!!! Once you’ve examined the costs get back to me. I’ve seen them and I want no part in that shit. Why raise kids when we live in a country that doesn’t care about them? Why join a community if it hinges upon the defamation of another? Why inflict my blood curdling rage on another person?

So that’s where I’m at. I can’t take this anymore. I’m looking at vans to go around the country and find out what the real problem here is. I want to know why people are so intent on harming each other. I want to know what they would prefer people to do. I want to know why they don’t achieve their dreams. I’m so sick of living in this perpetual state of things being fine but shitty. Sick of people telling me that I can’t do anything about it. Sick of hearing kids on the internet spend their time trying to chase down which ethnic group to blame their problems on. Sick of watching some people have everything while my friends and family circle the drain. I’m sick of people thinking that therapy would solve this. Therapy isn’t going to stop people from shooting up the cities where my friends live. Therapy isn’t going to free families from concentration camps. Most of all I’m sick of living. I’m sick of waking up every day to problems I can’t solve, delivering pizza’s to people who couldn’t care less, and getting stoned till I’m just like them. I’m sick of being told to buy. Sick of being told to save what I don’t have. Where’s the 12 step program for life? I’m basically still trying to plan a future because my family and friends want me to. None of them like the guy that is constantly begging for death. That being said if you want someone to stay alive, you’ve got to give them something worth living for. Something more than “Make others a fortune so their kids can drive sports cars while you slowly die” and I haven’t seen anything that breaks out of that besides “hire others to make you a fortune so you and your kids can drive sports cars.” Mind you. I come from the generation that has been told all our wacky moments on the internet will live on forever. I don’t have to go and secure a legacy. That shit is quite secure. So before I leave on a suicide mission to help people on the border, what’s so great about staying here and letting the atrocities continue?

As always, Thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

J say of the day: Even if you feel good, it doesn’t mean you are. When you take the time to listen, it will always take you far

A World Without Fire

Dear you, reading this,

Another month has gone by and now it really seems like I’m blowing smoke up everyone’s ass. For three and a half years I’ve been telling people that I am going to play Red Rocks on April 1st 2020. I’m not doubting it’s going to happen; however, it’s not going to happen like you think it will. I have reason to believe this and I think it’s time for a little assessment of what it is, what’s holding it back, and what’s possible.

We’re Legitimately Trying To Party

Look I like a big ol concert or event as much as the next guy, but I can’t help but to think we’ve got the system backwards. To me, Parties ought to be everyone chipping in to make an unforgettable experience despite the fact that some people will be so messed up that they won’t remember anything. Lately, it seems as if everyone is trying to be the center of attention at the center of attention. You all hear stories of fire fest and coachella. People are paying out the ass to be swindled, robbed, and riddled with Sti’s. What is so great about the promises made to these people that they will shell out hundreds of dollars? What besides being at the thing that everyone’s talking about? That’s not why we party. We party to celebrate. We celebrate unions of lovers, new lives being brought into the world, old lives well lived, and historical events that made us who we are. Partying is being part of something bigger than yourself. When you find yourself at a cool party, you aren’t merely a consumer of awesomeness but part of what makes it so awesome!!! So when I talk about this Red Rocks show on April 1st 2020, I’m not thinking that somehow we’re going to amass enough fame and fortune to throw a show as If I were Haim or Vulfpeck. I’m telling you that if enough people show up and we have a good plan of how to organize and get them all fed and sheltered, It really won’t matter what happens, You won’t be able to look around you without something cool going on. This show, at it’s core, is a mix between Field of Dreams, Woodstock, and Burning Man. The genius of a really really good party is showing the world just how quickly people can be taken out of their daily lives and thrown into chaos without losing their humanity. This brings me to why this is going to be so difficult.

People Don’t Like Parties, They like Community

be honest with yourself. Do you like parties? If so why? Most of us go through some sort of phase where we want to party all the time party all the time party all the tiiiiiiimmmmmeeeeee and that’s great. As you get older, you realize how unsustainable that is. Some people turn it into their livelyhood, others reduce the amount of partying they do, and some give it up entirely. If you’re lucky you’ll find a tribe of some sort with a regular gathering. Right now, I have the open mic on Thursday’s at the Corner Beet. Before that, it was Taco Tuesday’s in Maine. For a lot of people, I assume you have some sort of religious affiliation that suits this purpose. Regardless of how you do it, you sort yourself into a community. The question becomes what does your community want to do? Surely, some isolation for your group is going to be achieved but total isolation is impossible. Eventually your group is going to want to be part of something bigger than itself or grow and swallow other groups; however, as a member of one of these groups, you probably want things to stay the same. After all, this is where you found happiness. This is what you know. This saved you when your life became unsustainable and taught you how to live well and prosper. A party of sufficient size will damage that. So The Red Rocks Show is in this weird space where if no one shows up, it wouldn’t be worth it to go, and if everyone shows up, your community will be altered. If we end up doing a giant wall of death the night before as planned, some people in your community might very well die. Not to mention, I’m poor and unknown. I’ve tried to organize events in the past that simply fell through. Most of what I try and do is given up on at some point. Still, I have every reason to believe this is the right track to stick on and I’ll tell you why.

Parties Breed Community.

A good party is incredibly wasteful. You waste your time, body, mind and a whole lot of single serving plastic. IT IS NOT EASY TO RAGE. A rager is almost akin to a war zone when done properly, and yet, there is very little fighting. Most of the casualties come in the form of accidents. There is definitely a point to be made about thievery and sexual assault. That shit is not cool. However, Much like a war zone, a rager is something that wasn’t supposed to happen. Drugs are illegal. Fighting is illegal. Public spaces require you to wear clothes. Sure the current system is designed so you can get a little loose. Every now and then you can go to your local club or concert hall, get a little messed up, mosh a little, and wear skimpy outfits. However, name one event outside of burning man or the original Woodstock where all that flies out the window and nobody knew what would happen next. Anyone who wants to make a living off of throwing events wouldn’t dream of putting such an event together. Part of the industry is keeping good relations with venues and artists and you can’t really do that being known as the person who throws events that get people killed and lose money. That being said who wouldn’t want to be part of it? Who wouldn’t at least want to watch the shitshow? Look at the way we consume war footage and porn. Look at the way we search to be part of something greater than ourselves. Look at the way Game of Thrones combines sex and violence to create a shared experience that even people who don’t like the show want to be part of. Look at the way people get themselves into debt chasing a feeling. People love this stuff. People need this stuff. It gives us something to talk about and a reason to remember. 1984 states these qualities of humanity as the reason for perpetual war. These qualities are what makes The Purge series hit so close to home. These are also the qualities that gave us Project X. We all know they exist and motivate us. They’re why minute men cling to politics to justify blood lust. They’re why women dress in practically nothing knowing that some asshole will take it as a request for assault. They’re why people addicted to money will sacrifice scores of human lives to cling to a fortune. We’ve always been ashamed of these qualities, but despite or best efforts to eliminate them, we can’t get rid of them. A true party gives us both a chance to express these and learn how to channel them into something that creates joy. The world needs something like this that isn’t put together by money addicts. We need a party for the people, by the people. A giant middle finger to ethical and moral authorities that says “we would be fine without you and we’re tired of killing each other for your benefit. To prove this, we are going to disregard your rules and make it through the night.”

When I was in high school, one day we decided to have a conga line. All we did was tell everyone it was going to happen and brought speakers. We didn’t ask the school. We didn’t have permission. We couldn’t even get the right song to work but we had that line going all up and down a 150ft hall. On April 1st 2020 we’re making new friends at Red Rocks. They don’t know yet. No acts are booked. I hope you’ll be there.

As always, Thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

P.s. again I don’t really want to get famous so please excuse me if I don’t do all the try hard stuff of creating a sustainable brand. This whole concept was born to die to be born again to die again and so on.

It's My Birthday!!!!!

Dear you, Reading this,

These past months have been eventful; however, I haven’t been motivated to write. I’ve been doing daily blog posts on Youtube. Most of the episodes get deleted after 2 months or so. This may seem foolish. I think it is much more condusive to the way we live our lives.

Memory in the human brain is not exact. Each time you remember something, the memory is changed. You aren’t so much reading a file in your brain so much as reinnacting a play. The lines may be the same, but they’re not said the same or the costumes are different or vise versa. In a way, this is how the brain does everything. your eyes don’t see nearly everything in your field of vision. Your ears can be primed to hear things that aren’t there. Your tongue is easily tricked by toothpaste in the morning. We are always making our best guess. Your memory is your brains best guess based on what neural pathways remain after an event. I submit that the internet works in a similar fashion.

Most of my internet life has been destroyed in one form or another. My favorite site as a kid was Sheezyart and that is defunct. Anything I would’ve posted on Myspace has been lost to a file clearing algorithm. Some of my favorite videos have been scrubbed from the internet so hard that my friends and I tell legends of them popping up again. People seem to have this idea that the internet never forgets and I’m here to tell you it does. Much like a goldfish, If something is left unattended on the internet, it will die. Is this a problem? No not really.

Let’s briefly talk about image board culture. It doesn’t particularly matter which one because while there are some tweaks in each algorithm, this concept I’m about to outline stays pretty much intact. This isn’t even new information, I just think we need to remember it.

NOTHING MATTERS EXCEPT FOR NOW… IF THERE WAS SUCH A THING AS “WINNING,” YOU WON’T…

Let me explain Image boards. Internet interaction is not that far removed from normal human interaction. There is an extra layer of protection, however, it is often more visible than a polite face to face. That happens with any technology though. Clothes can protect you from knives, they can also hide knives and signal status. There are probably still people out there who don’t trust people with sleeves. An Image board is like a mosh pit in a quiet room. Anyone casually observing would probably feel indifferent or entertained. Maybe they might try and interviene or join in. Anyone randomly swept up in it would probably hate it. The people moshing would probably be aware of the fact that the room is silent, but not really mind. Who is honestly going to try and stop a mosh pit in a quiet room? There is no band to stop playing. Image boards like facebook, imgur, reddit, tumblr, or instagram are the rooms and I garauntee somewhere in each of them, the mosh pit is raging. Whether it be some form of bigotry or brand loyalty, someone is there just to keep the mosh pit of ideas going. Get swept in and you may not lose, but your ego will get bruised and it’s probably not worth it. I love a good mosh pit. I go onto image boards primarily to have a nice conversation with a total stranger, but I am always ready to tweak someone’s brain. There are plenty of other people like me and honestly… nothing matters much anymore.

If you are the kind of person who seeks to duke it out with words on the internet, you’ve probably seen almost every angle of most debates. Sure you could talk about the news, but that normally filters down to the same arguments you’ve rehashed a million times. If you are on one of the sites that isn’t anonymous and people start to follow you, you have a nice echo chamber to protect yourself. If you don’t have followers, it’s an easy reason to dismiss your views. If you are on an anonymous site, any post could be a lie for fun. What’s the point of engaging unless you want to practice for when you come face to face with that viewpoint? When I say “nothing matters except for now” I mean it the way a yogi or shawoman would tell you that the most important person is the one standing in front of you. The other people on the image board may be robots. Some people are there just to create rage. Some have made bots JUST FOR creating outrage. They are the mosh pit. If you see that happening and you don’t want to get beat up DON’T RUSH IN. That being said. The pit will forget everything eventually. Until then it will keep track of mistakes you thought were long buried. It will bring Harassment to your doorstep. It will tell you to kill yourself. It might try and kill you. It might succeed. It will take others content and claim it as it’s own. it will act like there is a good and evil to be sussed out when we all know it’s just a release of pent up aggression. It will put you on a path of an impossible goal and tell you that you were always failing and continue to fail. You are always wrong just for participating. Even if you think you’ve won for a while, kids will defy you just because authority sucks man.

plenty of thought pieces say that internet culture has given the monsters of the world a voice. To an actual monster it may seem that way. Plenty others say the internet has shown that the way you get power is by making people angry whether out of jealousy or repulsion. I say this. Without knowing how to be content, we will settle for tired. Without knowing how to connect, will settle for slamming into each other. This isn’t a problem. It’s part of what makes us fun. Nothing matters until it does, now. One day this will all be forgotten. There will be no image boards. No mosh pits in quiet rooms. If you doubt me just ask my old internet life. Oh wait… you can’t.

As always, thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

Danger Isn't My Middle Name. It's His

Dear you, reading this,

Life sure has been more eventful since starting the vlog. Unfortunately, I have been slacking off on the podcast. In addition, I’m starting to fall into the trap where I’m paying more attention to view count on the videos than how I like the content. In this modern world, it’s never been more important to take ownership of your craft. Because of this, I deleted some of my old mixtapes. The OG Wullums fan reached out and asked for them. So in the spirit of getting through the winter, here’s some old school K-Wullums foor y’all

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/11SUZP_SSw6_ffm1VVoWvZno_OQYfcvau?usp=sharing

as always, Thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

Not Dead Yet

Dear You, Reading This,

We’re still doing stuff. I started a vlog and A-Wullums and I keep recording the podcast. Meanwhile I’m Slowly typing up lyrics and figuring out new avenues to finaince the journey. I’m a little unmotivated to put out the podcast because we started incorperating music and I’m unsure of the legality of it. It’s not that I’m worried about getting sued. I would just prefer to know how to make the recording artists and labels happy. I know this is short but I just wanted to let y’all know we are out in the relative vicinity of these streets. I tried to hook up an outlet yesterday in my room because I run everything off an extension cord and that’s a fire hazard. The outlet isn’t working.

As always, Thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

Cancer and Car Crashes

Dear you, reading this,

Do you ever think that maybe like, marijuana, like hinders you a bit? I only bring this up because since getting my med card, I have felt much better, but our podcast release and band practice schedule has fallen to pieces. In all fairness, it's more the party scene than anything. I've been going to a ton of shows and when I'm not at shows, I'm at open mics and the one night of the week where I'm not out, I'm in a 14hr hibernation. Every night there is the hope of making a connection that will lead to more content, but the content is getting harder and harder to produce. Free time is a rare commodity for the working class. I don't expect anyone to be sympathetic though. Party culture seems decadent and superfluous. You don't hear about ants partying. There's also the element of sexual promiscuity and recreational drug use that is frankly dangerous.

You know what else is dangerous? Driving. I got rear ended into another car a few days ago and now my trunk and the drivers side rear door won't open. Apparently, the car is totaled. While waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the accident, I began chatting with the other drivers. The man who got hit by my car had just bought his 2019 Subaru STI and was lamenting the prospect of having to get his bumper repainted. According to him, you can't get the factory Subaru blue after market. I must admit, my heart goes out to the guy. Buying a new car is somewhat scary because of how much value it loses. You have to have personal reasons, probably tied up in pride, to buy one. Now it is damaged. Sure it's new but, the bumper doesn't even match. He had his cool car for 3 weeks before it was suddenly just another pile on the road. At least he had his health. I can't say the same for the woman who hit me. She had breast cancer. Of course I could see it. From the moment she got out of the car, I knew, but how do you approach something like that? Am I supposed to say "Hello, you've just caused an accident and oh gee, looky there, you seem to have gone a few rounds with chemo!?" I let her bring it up.  It didn't have anything to do with the accident. It just made me sad.

I didn't even know this person existed before she inconvenienced me. Now, I can't stop thinking about her. On some level, I know there are plenty of women suffering from breast cancer in my community. Five Years ago I lost a great aunt to it. However, It's not something I think about. I keep thinking about this lady. I want to ask her questions. What do you think about when that is your life? Sure, I could look up youtube videos of people with breast cancer and see what they have to say, but none of them rear ended my car. I don't care about them. It's not comfortable to say that the only reason I care is because I saw something alive in her. There was something in the way she acted that was immediately relatable. It's hard to transmit that in large numbers or over great distances. We've gotten pretty good at it. More people care about more stuff than ever. That should be a sign that we understand the humanity in others.

Trepidation comes with the knowledge that I most likely will never speak to her again. Ideas and actions both are often compared to fire. There's a spark. It catches on. A great Idea or a momentous action are often compared to lightning striking. In our modern world where so many ideas and prompts for action are thrown at us each day, it seems like every one's head is on fire. Much like one cannot see the forest for the trees, we can no longer see the fire for the sparks. We get all these statements about new ideas, individual actions, and trends, but what is actually spreading? Is it love,fear, knowledge, truth, lies or is each dialectic being shifted? Is everything just being amplified? I don't know, but I wonder if the lady who rear ended me thinks about that stuff. Maybe she was thinking about it when she didn't see my car stopped. I think about that stuff when I'm driving. It could've just as easily have been me. The fire would've danced the same.

 

As always, thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

 

J Say of the Day: Creating a future is inevitable. Why not imagine the possibilities?

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Flop, Friend

Dear you, reading this,

After my court hearing today, I spent all day sleeping. I woke up and went downtown for a couple of hours and now I am ready for sleep again. During my drives, I listened to podcasts about the news and the cocaine queenpin who invented the motorcycle drive-by shooting. I'd like to talk about fear in the modern first world.

I'm not afraid of death itself. In fact, for years now I've contemplated suicide. This is not a cry for help nor an attempt to be edgy. In my mind, it's not even depressing. There are many people living today who fear their life may end sooner than they'd like. I'm not a parent, but from what I hear that fear extends to their children. Millions are starving in Yemen.  Thousands of people are getting gunned down in the Philippines. Hell, even in America, cops are shooting hundreds and disproportionately attacking people of color. Gun violence is scaring kids away from schools and gang violence is terrifying people in their neighborhoods. I'm sheltered from all of that. I have huge confidence that I'll see several years to come. This is the privilege of being a white male in middle-class suburban America. In my mind death is a choice. Either I want to keep living or not. No one is going to take it from me. That doesn't mean I'm immune to fear. I'm afraid of debt, lack of social mobility, and losing relationships. Lately, I've been afraid of what the courts might do to me based on what amounts to a frivolous charge. My greatest fear is not doing enough. It used to be not being great or remembered after I die, but what does any of that matter if people aren't excited about life?

From a very young age, I was told that I was special and smart. I was literally told I was going to change the world. I've heard pundits and media personalities refer to people in my generation as "snowflakes" and I can definitely see where they're coming from. I can't be the only one who was given every opportunity to find success and let it fall by the wayside because they believed they were meant for something more. When something better didn't fall into my lap, I did what was easiest. It's only now looking back that I realize how misguided I was and to a large extent still am. This post isn't going to change anything. That terrifies me. I'm so scared that this is what my life amounts to. I'm scared that I came into this world with the ability to make it better for the ones who need help and I squandered it because I couldn't and can't see past my own hubris. Some days this fear paralyzes me. I see people out there fighting for change and then, I get scared that they will fail because people like me exist and won't put their ego's aside and do what it takes to make the world better.

We used to believe there were two responses to fear: fight or flight. I know I have engaged in both of these. I have lashed out at the ones I love because I was afraid they were holding me back. I have left relationships, homes, states, and countries, because I was afraid that I couldn't succeed within them. Recently, I've learned that there are more recognized responses to fear: freeze, flop, and friend. These have been my responses lately. I get scared of my own inabilities and instead of focusing on fixing them, I hide in my room. I sleep. I speak less. I become oddly proud of how detached I be. When I look back at these times and note how it has caused me to slip into inaction, I get scared. The fear leads once again into hiding, sleeping, and detaching.

There is another response to fear which I don't think gets talked about nearly enough: acceptance. When I accept that I'm afraid, I no longer feed into it. Fear becomes just another observable part of life and I can choose whether or not to focus on it. Focusing on fear can be wonderful. Knowing why you're afraid and observing it from a distance can allow you to determine what is causing it and whether or not it's serving you. Being afraid of the hole in my tooth leading to greater tooth decay will compel me to sign up for medicaid and see a dentist. That's good. Being afraid of socializing compels me to stay home when my friends put on shows and could use the support. Often, that particular fear is useless because I've successfully socialized throughout my whole life and always have fun doing it. What's important to note is those conclusions aren't reached when reacting to fear by fighting, fleeing, freezing, flopping, or submitting to the cause. In order to make a beneficial change, fear must be accepted. It's a part of life that can be studied and acted upon, not an unstoppable force. If it seems that way, accept it as such and see if it changes.

I'm not a medical professional and by no means a role model. My life, although difficult at times, has been sheltered and privileged. In life or death situations, I assume biology will overtake the body and cause one of the five responses listed in the title; However, what may seem like life or death isn't always and my sincere hope is that by accepting your fear, you will be able to manage it whatever the cause may be.

as always, thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

J say of the day: I'd say those who stigmatize mental illness are mentality ill, but I try not to stigmatize mental illness.

 

P.S. If this seems like I'm contradicting my earlier claims of nonexistence I'd like to note that the body I inhabit came with memories, family, and friends. Just because I know I'm not supposed to be here doesn't mean they accept it and it's easier to just let them believe I'm the same guy they knew and love. Please bare with the slipping in and out of a constant life narrative. This is confusing for me too. If it makes it easier, the switch happened August 30th 2015.

Help I'm Alive

Dear you, reading this,

I'd like to tell you some stories about right and wrong, sobriety and intoxication, and intentions betraying results.

I went to a Watsky show at the Odgen Theater. If you've never been, it has a tiered dance floor and a balcony. Watsky put on a hell of a show, but that's not what I want to talk about. During the song "Woah Woah Woah," it became apparent I had to get on that stage. It didn't happen during that song because the crowd in the first tier of the dance floor was too packed and the fence between the crowd and stage would've been too high to effectively climb before jumping the gap onto the stage. The dream would have to wait until the encore. When his earlier hit "Sloppy Seconds" started playing, I knew I had to make my move. Stage right was guarded by a hulking bouncer standing next to the stairs. Stage left was guarded by an elderly man standing in front of the stairs. During the second chorus I opted to try and get past the former. As I hopped the railing of the staircase to the stage I felt his fingers brush along my pant leg. Had I not been wearing skinny jeans, he might've caught me. Before I knew it, I was face to face with Raquel Rodriguez who was in the process of singing the chorus. Our eyes locked and she gave me a look that seemed to say "what are you doing here?" without missing a beat. I'm sure the look in my eyes replied with "I don't know." Security guards were closing in on all sides and I did what I had come to do.  I lunged off the stage into the hands of the unprepared crowd. Hands slapped my shoulders and unfamiliar voices congratulated me as I made my way into the crowd. I got as far as the back of the first tier before the sausage like fingers of the bouncer I had evaded grabbed  my lapel. This time it was clear there was no getting past him. The bouncer sat me down in the lobby across from a police officer which was, in its own way, terrifying. Part of my pretrial arrangement requires me to disclose any recent encounters with the police. I'm not sure they would be understanding of this particular type of risk taking. Luckily, another bouncer arrived and told the grabby meat sack to ask me kindly to leave. Outside the venue, a homeless man grabbed my friends beard while we discussed what had just happened. That was an odd way to cap off the night. What I find odd about this experience is I'm not so sure I would have attempted the stage dive if I had not been sober. Most people who care to comment seem to think that intoxication leads to bolder decisions and looser morality; however, I find it to be quite the opposite. There is nothing to humble you in a clear state of mind, except perhaps, the threat of retribution. I don't have the data to back this up so take it with a grain of salt. What I can say with confidence is the stage dive made me feel alive. It's a feeling that seems to be appearing in my life in short intervals that are becoming fewer and farther in between.

Between that story and the next, my friend Robb and I went to Kumasi Washington and Vulfpeck at Red Rocks. It felt great to be back. The show was amazing and that's all I'll say about that because the drive up might've been more memorable than the concert. We rode in my Grammy's car which has a handicapped placard hanging from the mirror. Seeing this, the Parking attendants started waving us up even though there were cars parking down by the box office. For those who don't know, the box office is about a mile away from any entrance. As we wound our way up the road, a keen eyed parking attendant noticed that Robb and I were able bodied. He asked us to kindly turn right at the next fork into a side lot. When we made it to the fork, about halfway to the entrance, the next parking attendant waved us forward. We ended up in a handicapped spot right next to the gate. We were trembling at this point, thinking that at any moment someone would call our bluff. I walked out of the car with a limp just to sell it. There is no moral here, just know Red Rocks will give you a free soda if you agree to be the designated driver. No problem for a man who is legally barred from drinking.

Speaking of legal issues. I had my first court date on May 11th. It was what's known as a filing of charges and basically they asked me if I had a lawyer and gave me a sheet of paper informing me that I am being put on trail for a felony. What interests me about this is the lawyer situation. Believe or not, I don't make any money of my art or music and, in fact, invest quite heavily in it. If my income was based on my pay before taxes, I would qualify for a public defender. Because it is based on gross pay (before taxes). My options are to take less hours at work or hire a private attorney which would cost me five months salary. Can you guess which option I'm going to choose? The American Justice system makes fools of us all.

A few days later, Lauren and Kate from episode 9 of our podcast, Ye Ultimate Party, threw a birthday party for Lauren and it was awesome. They had amazing food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Initially, I felt a little alienated because I couldn't take place in the libations or ganja. I had to do a little soul searching to figure out why this was. In high school I had no problem going to parties without drinking or smoking. At the time, it was a point of personal pride to be the sober kid. At Lauren and Kate's party it only served to remind me that I am currently being thought of as a felon by the state. Several psychologists and guru's will tell you that it is not our circumstances, but rather what we think about our circumstances that control our emotions and feelings. This was certainly the case for me. Both in high school and at current parties, I do not need drugs or alcohol to have a good time. I am no longer of the belief that they would only serve to do me harm or decrease my enjoyment of an evening; However, I am all too aware of the risk intoxication poses. I can get past small feelings of alienation if it keeps me out of jail. The only thing real difference between the past and now is pride has turned to shame. At this point, I just want to be a free person again.

However, do I deserve to be? This last story occurs in the not to distant past and has been haunting me recently. Several prominent figures have been arrested or denounced for sexual misconduct. I could tell you the story about how a woman got me drunk with the intention of getting me to sleep with her or several stories about a man I slept with who continued to harass me after our affair. Instead, here is the story about one of the biggest mistakes of my life. A woman I was dating was not having a good day. Her work was stressing her out so we went on a hike before she had to go in, but it didn't seem to help. In the past, I had been able to cheer her up with some physical pleasure. At this point in time, it's clear that everyone has moods and what worked in one situation may not work in future endeavors.  After the hike, we drove to her work and had about a half hour to chill. I asked if she wanted to cuddle in the back of the car. While there, under a blanket, I slid down our pants and proceeded to penetrate her. I could tell it was uncomfortable, but I thought it was my fault for not doing it right. Maybe the angle was off? It wasn't the angle. When I had finished she ran out of the car crying. I had messed up bad. I could say something about how she didn't tell me to stop but I don't want to put blame on her. I should have known that I wasn't doing the right thing. We continued to date for a time. Afterwards we had a few chance encounters. For a time she sent me postcards. Now she doesn't speak to me. There are probably any number of things I did in that time that are responsible for her excommunicating me from her life. There's a chance that this is all water under the bridge and I'm just scared of what would happen to me if people thought I was hiding this. Putting this information out in public may make her resent me more. Who knows? I'd like to believe that this is the right thing to do. Other people need to know how important it is to be absolutely sure that your partner is consenting. You may end up making a huge mistake and regretting it for years to come even after the relationship ends. To this day I'm scared of jumping into relationships for fear that I'll make this mistake again, even though I've had successful relationships since. It's strange. The state is charging me for possession of psilocybin.  Even if I had, I would not feel guilty. Mushrooms have benefited many and the laws against them are unjust and ignorant. No retribution was taken for what I did to a girl whom I loved very deeply, and yet, I've carried it as a stain on my character ever since. I can't speak for her. I know she's living a life without me that is probably much happier. Still I can't shake the image of those tears and how remorseful I felt. Please treat those you love with all the care and decency you can muster.

As always, Thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

J say or the day: There's enough important things going on to make everything unimportant.

Dorian Grey's Great Expectations in Jail

Dear you, reading this,

All names have been changed to protect the innocent.

It finally happened. I, the man who doesn't exist, got arrested and went to jail. I don't recommend it. During the in-processing, I had to speak to a medical examiner who told me I was in "the Hilton of jails." Let me tell you that I am grateful the facility functioned as well as it did. The stories I heard about other jails horrified me. With that being said, it was one of the worst experiences I've been through. A word to the wise: If you have a choice, don't get arrested on a Friday.

Courts don't run on the weekends. So, if you are unable to see a judge on Friday, you'll be locked up until at least Monday unless you can get released on a bond. If this is the first time you're hearing about this beyond crime dramas, as was the case for me while in jail, let me explain some things. When you get arrested, a bond can be determined immediately based on your charge and prior offenses; however, at some point, at least in the county in which I was held, a judge must determine your bond. The bond hearing normally should take place the day of or next business day. If you decide not to wait for your bond hearing, you have two options. Either someone can show up with cash for the total amount of your bond plus a processing fee, or you can pay a bondsperson (they refer to them as bondsman, but it's 2018). If someone shows up with cash, the amount should be returned, minus the processing fee, when you show up to court. If you go to a bondsperson, you must pay them 10-15% of the bond. The bond needs to be $1000 or more for them to take any interest and you never see that money again. Plus, If you don't show up to court, whoever paid the bondsperson will owe the bondsperson the full amount of the bond and a warrant will be put out for your arrest. Regardless of which path you choose, your bond hearing will be pushed back and that means you have to go back to court which is hard if you didn't get locked up in your home county and don't have a car. If you see a judge to establish your bond, they may issue what's known as a personal recognizance bond. That means they will let you out FOR FREE, but if you don't show up to court, you'll have to pay the full cash value of the bond and a warrant will be put out for your arrest. Because of this, I elected to spend the weekend in jail as to expedite the whole process. The shifts I would've worked while in the joint would not have covered the 10% of the bond to get me out. Plus, I might've had to miss work to show up to my bond hearing. I won't get into the bond hearing in too much detail. It was a lot like the in-processing except you got to hear people being told that they would be restrained from their accusers and put on random urine screens. Occasionally, a bond reduction would be refused on the basis of prior arrests. One woman had somehow racked up 19 felonies, 31 misdemeanors, and had well over 50 missed court dates. You wouldn't have known it looking at her. 

Quick aside: As I'm typing this, I hear police sirens and have a feeling of dread that they're coming for me. They're getting fainter though.

The in-processing took about seven hours. Two of the seven were spent in handcuffs in a small room, during which I spoke to the medical examiner and got strip searched. The remaining five hours were spent in a large room with two railed off areas in the center, each containing several chairs, a telephone, and a drinking fountain. The railed off areas separated women and men. The genders were forbidden from talking to each other for what, I hope, are obvious reasons. In the first room, I met Schmitty. Schmitty showed up with his ankles shackled and his hands cuffed to his waist which was circumnavigated by chains. I asked if they had him like that from the start or if he had pissed someone off. I only had my hands cuffed behind my back. He told me it was the former and I assumed it was racial profiling. When we both got into the holding area, sans chains and handcuffs, he started to tell me his story.

Schmitty had gotten arrested for assault. According to him, his girlfriend had been raped. He decided to take matters into his own hands and bashed the rapist in the face with an axe. Don't do that. The whole reason we have a justice system is so people don't need to commit acts like that (unless you believe that it's yet another way for the rich to control the poor. I honestly can't fault you for thinking that way; however, I will say that particular train of thought is particularly unproductive). A few days after the axe bashing, a SWAT team busted into Schmitty's house and arrested him. He spent two weeks in jail before they called him down to the office and told him he was being released. Unfortunately for Schmitty, he was being released into the hands of the federal police. The feds put him in chains and took him to the room where I asked if he had pissed someone off. I understand the added security now. While Schmitty was being transported, the federales blasted cold air in his face and when Schmitty complained, they just cranked up the radio. At this point, I'd like to mention it was snowing that day and the harassment seemed unnecessary and cruel. Good luck convincing the 5-0 of that. Why treat a violent criminal with respect? It's not like they're scared of him or anything.

I only saw Schmitty once through a window after that in-processing. The last thing he was asking as I left him was who would protect his girlfriend. Would it surprise you to learn that Schmitty and his girlfriend were both on meth in the months leading up to Schmitty's arrest and as of my meeting Schmitty, the girlfriend was still using? It certainly didn't surprise me. This was when I realized how scared everyone is in a security facility. Make no mistake, there are dangerous people in jail. Both convicts and guards have the capability to escalate a situation at a moments notice. This leaves everyone on edge. I don't believe anyone who says they aren't scared. Sure you may be ready for, and even want, a fight, but that doesn't mean you aren't scared. It just means you're resolved to fight and you know that looking weak will bring more fights than looking tough. Much the same way life has convinced me that no matter what I do, I will always be doing something illegal, life has convinced others that they will, at some point, need to prove themselves with violence. I haven't lived their life, so I can't say for sure that they are wrong. Things were calm in our pod of cells, but a man we'll call Walter told me about his previous cell pod in another jail where a fight would break out once every five or six hours between Latinos and white supremacists. Walter was in the other jail for 10 days while coming off of heroin with no medication to help his comedown. He relayed this to me during the first meal his body would let him eat after five days of his food never reaching his small intestine. 

Walter had been prescribed pain pills for a back injury. You know where this story is heading, but I cannot express, and I must express, the level of human tragedy in our the current system of prescribing opioids. Pain is necessary for the body to function. The prolonged use of opioids will cause the brain to make more pain receptors. Eventually, you will need some form of drug to feel normal, hence treatment facilities giving recovering addicts methadone or suboxone. I have seen this happen. During the final stages of my Great Aunt's battle with breast cancer, she decided that she wanted to spend her remaining days without pain pills. Coming off of them put her in so much pain, she was seriously contemplating suicide. Through the chemo and Mastectomy, she stayed strong, but withdrawal from pills brought her down in a way nobody had seen before. Walter seemed to be handling well, but he made it very clear that the worst was behind him and the worst was something he never wanted to go through again. At that time, he was just worried about his children. They lived in northern Colorado and he didn't know if anyone had contacted them. He said they probably thought he was just out on a bender. Let the record show, I am not condoning raising kids in the home of a drug addict, but at this point Walter seemed incredibly dedicated to staying away from the drug that had taken so much from him. When we got released Monday afternoon, he made this comment: "You may not believe this, but at one point, I had my life together. I had a great job, a great relationship with a wonderful family, and 20 grand in my bank account at all times. Now, I don't have a car or money and I don't know how I'll get home when this is over." No bus went to his hometown. He lived three hours away if you were speeding.

Up until our release, we were on lock down for 21 hours of the day. We each had our own cell with a bed, a small desk and bolted stool, a toilet with a small sink attached, and a metal mirror for fear of broken glass. The mirror in my cell had dents in it that would distort your reflection's features as you looked into it. I got a kick out of making funny faces with my reflection, but somehow, I still missed Snapchat filters. On the wall of the cell was a hook to hang clothes. Putting any more than a pound or two on the hook would cause it to collapse. I'm sure this was to prevent self harm. Before going to our cells, the jail gave us a box with four socks, three bars of soap, two tubes of toothpaste, two sheets, two blankets, one towel, one stick of deodorant, one bottle of two in one shampoo/body wash, one toothbrush, one cup, one spork, and one comb. I rolled up the socks to practice juggling. I'd say my favorite item was the comb.

Time Spent in lock down was divided into 30 minute intervals when the guards would walk into the pod to check on us. I spent 20 minutes of each half hour reading and the remaining ten working out, juggling, or writing quick notes in my jail journal. My workout regimen consisted of pushups and lunges. Juggling was performed mostly to entertain the guards as they walked by or fellow inmates who could see my cell reflected in the windows to the recreation area opposite our cells. The journal was written on small scraps of paper and mostly documented whatever pain was present at the moment. Sitting and laying down as much as I did took about as much of a toll on my body as strenuous activity.

We were allotted one hour per meal in the common area that housed our cells. (three hots and a cot!) In the common area, there were nine hard foam chairs, four tables each with four attached stools, three showers, three kiosks to look over the rules or make calls, a television kept well out of reach, a clock, and a book cart. Attached to the common area was the aforementioned recreation area that we could request to be opened. The recreation area was about 30ft by 20ft, had a windowed wall to the common area and vents to let in fresh air. Under the vents were windows, about eight feet off the ground, to the outside world. You could peer out of those windows if you pulled yourself up to the ledge. The guards yelled at me for doing just that.

Comfort was the brass ring on the carousel of time in that place, ever just out of reach. The beds had the appearance of padding, but they felt like hard steel. The cells were kept just shy of a comfortable temperature so the blankets were necessary when sitting still or laying down. The lights were always on, automatically dimming at 9:30 every night, although you couldn't tell the difference with your eyes closed. Pulling something over your eyes was your only hope of the embrace of darkness. That left you with a choice of your blankets which would stifle your breathing, your towel which was being used as a pillow in combination with the sheets, your hand (good luck staying in that position), or laying on your stomach, in which case, gravity would do the work of slowly deforming your ribs against what I swore was supposed to be padding. Once you fell asleep, there were any number loud flushing toilets or guards walking by to arouse you from slumber. Sleep came in short random intervals throughout the days and nights, never for more than a couple hours at a time. The second night in there, the largest man in our pod had a panic attack and I awoke to a guard yelling "Sir, if we let you out, we'll have to lock down the entire facility!" In the morning he was gone. After that, I decided it was time for a shower. The shower water was actually the perfect temperature and got jettisoned out of a single nozzle in 20 second intervals. Showers didn't matter much though as you only had one set of clothes and had to immediately return to your filth and stench. Luckily, I like smelling like a beast. The food was never quite enough to satisfy your stomach and while it was unanimously agreed to be the best jail food anyone in that pod ever had, (one lunch was tacos!) it fell far short of the cheapest fast food. I learned I prefer butter to bologna. During lunch, we could ask for a basket ball that made you work for every dribble. The lack of a hoop made the exercise almost entirely pointless. The TV would turn on after we ate dinner until the nightly lock down. They had a habit of playing movies. I have yet to see a 30 minute movie. On Saturday, they actually let the TV play all of Justice League as if you could hear it from your cell or get a good view from the distorted glass that allowed the guards to monitor us. It was still a welcome surprise. Sunday, we saw the first 30 minutes of The Shawshank Redemption. Some of the other prisoners were upset when they turned it off for lock down. I was afraid it would give the guards some ideas and made no fuss when they turned it off. Whenever our cell doors clicked open, the communal times seemed to make us all realize that we were in this together. By the end of the hour, most of us realized we'd rather be alone in our cells. No one had to tell me twice it was time for lock down. Books were often better companions than fellow inmates. I read two fascinating books and started a third. Combined, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Great Expectations, and The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank gave me the chance to reflect on the importance of art and what it means to be moral. I'd like to discuss the lives of Dorian Grey and Pip in greater detail. All I will say about the third book is Erma Bombeck is incredibly charming and I found her humor to be quite enjoyable.

The prose within the first two books struck me. I had a pretty good understanding of their plots from various allusions in other media, but it wasn't until I read them firsthand that I understood what made them such enduring classics. (Great expectations is over 150 years old.) Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens both breathe brevity and wit into their dialogue and weave intricate threads through their narratives. I was left with more questions than answers after reading their books and isn't that what's most important for an audience? Time changes opinions whether it be on a personal level or in the public consciousness. Both these books presented a variety of opinions on their central topics, yet neither definitively answered their core questions. It's worth noting that both of these books feature white male protagonists and make a point to throw in antisemitic characters which I found to be troubling. The Picture of Dorian Grey spoke of what it means to be moral in the absence or presence of consequence. If you don't appear to suffer outwardly for your malevolence or neglect, are moral acts necessary? Is the pursuit of virtue after a life of immoral behavior redemption or hypocrisy?  Is life given to us to experience the full range of human sensation or to reinforce certain aspects of it? Dorian's two friends, Basil and Lord Henry, not only provide counterpoints to each other, but also to themselves. Dorian never fully commits to any of the ideals put forth to him and instead tries to form an original sense of morality. Later, we find that this ideal he supposedly formed is little more than confusion and perpetual dissatisfaction. Great expectations also has it's share of moral questions, but delves much deeper into questions of pride and satisfaction. Is pride foolish or endearing? Pip admires Joe the blacksmith for his pride in his lowly common status and rebukes the heiress Estella for the pride that allows her to be so condescending. Nevertheless, Pip abandons Joe and endlessly chases Estella. How are we to be content with our own lives when we know the world has so much more to offer us? Will what we strive for be worth the risk or the price we pay if it's not done with moral behavior? Is it only our knowledge and fear of our limitations that allows us to be satisfied or do we find satisfaction in making choices that suit aspects of our character? Regardless of Pip's wealth or status, he holds onto his unrequited "love" for Estella. So much so, it becomes the source of his own pride. These books allow the reader to judge for themselves what is moral and worthwhile. Because of that, they have endured as long as they have. These books continue to be read because they allow the reader to play in all the wonder that is the human experience from a distance. You could argue neither has endured like religious texts or state regulated law which do indeed take hard stances on these topics; however, I would argue that those aren't art, at least not as singular expressions of human creativity. Art provides a counterpoint to texts of that nature. Great art allows us to break free from the chains that those other texts provide. Fantastic art allows us a playful freedom that we can apply to real life, not tethered to the notion that there needs to be a right answer.

The laws that landed me in jail are not art. There was skill involved in writing them. They get creatively enforced. This blog post is not art. I put whatever skills I have into this. I got creative with some details and omissions. I didn't mention several of the people I met or the cause for my arrest. I cannot see this text lasting for centuries. I merely provided you with a tale of jail. All things considered, it's fairly unremarkable for how many remarks I've made about it. We could talk about whether or not the laws are just. We could ask if the two discussed books really have endured. (How many people have read or remember either?) What I pose to you and the public at large is this: are we richer for our negative experiences in life, or are they merely poor investments of our wealth that is our time on this planet?

As always, Thank you for reading,

-K-Wullums

J say or the day (Courtesy of Mike Gursky): Jail is exactly what you imagined it would be except worse because you're actually living it.

I Lost My Voice

Dear you, reading this,

I've been keeping journals for as long as I can remember. In fact, most of my memories are journal entries. I remember the words more than the actual event. The most recent journal is leather bound and I've been writing in it since I was 20. I don't keep up with it as much as I'd like. When I went to Germany, I gave it away. When I came back, it was given back to me. It will outlive this blog. One time I read a few pages to my Grammy. A couple of pages ranted about how drugs were keeping me from my dreams. I remember her asking me "If you know it's hurting you why do you keep doing it?"

I lost my voice and I honestly don't know if it'll heal. I'm confident it will. However; I haven't stopped smoking. I feel my throat ache as the bowl turns black and scorches my throat. It's as if I don't even care. I do though. This is an honest attempt at being genuine. What kind of person wants this kind of pain just to write about it? There's a part of me that's super glad I have something to write about. Lord knows I've tried to put up a blog post for the past two weeks and every time I do, there's no need for me to say anything.

That's important right? Do you feel like some one else has already said what you want to say better than you have? Does this blog annoy you because somehow you're reading it and you know you could do better if you just actually did it? I feel god awful sometimes just because it seems like I come from the least needed people in history. However, you play music and all of that goes away. Suddenly, it doesn't matter if you sound as good as so and so from the radio because you're tapped into a moment you help shape. It's just like sex. There's an incredible feeling you get when you feel loved and all your insecurity melts away. Come to think of it, you can probably get that feeling from a lot of things: Hearing a car purr for the first time after you fix it, making a winning play in some sport, taking the first bite of a new culinary delight you whipped up, seeing yourself in the new outfit you just made. Hell, I bet even salesman get that feeling after closing a big deal. It's the feeling that comes from doing what you like doing well at the highest level you can do it. The problem is you have to be doing what you do well to feel that. You have to be able to do something well to feel that. It's the best feeling in the world and various drugs approximate it really well. Sure actual accomplishment is great but, come on!! I can sit on my patio, smoke weed, and feel like I'm important and free.

Although, Now I've lost my voice. Who knows if it'll heal? If it does, I wonder If I'll be able to hit all the same notes. It's times like these, I'm reminded of a friend. There's an old Jewish woman who lives in Tucson, Arizona who was once a dancer. She won many awards and danced with several handsome partners. The world being what it is, she still had to keep a day job to support herself. One day, while she was operating some heavy machinery, her seat malfunctioned and broke her spine. She was never able to dance after that. When I met her, decades later, her roommate had just gotten her a new TV. I got to watch as her eyes lit up to the smiles of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars. I watched them close when faced with the reality of the couch she knew too well. She told me how she goes to synagogue every day because some prayers, such as those held in mourning, require a certain number of people to perform. I didn't follow her instructions at a pawn shop and she got so mad her voice went hoarse. I haven't spoken to her since I left Tucson but I'll probably tell that story as long as I'm alive. Who needs a voice to be an idol or to dance to be a star? You can always make life better by just being where you are.

 

As always, Thank you for reading,

J say of the day: I rarely see humiliation inspire humility.