Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tattoos, Coney Island and Nahautl

Ahhhh...Western Pennsylvania, such a love/hate relationship we have. As my time here comes to a close I am at peace with this little slice of hell. Though I was too young to really remember it, this is where I formed my first memories.
Big Kev DEK will be here in a matter of weeks to do a guest spot at Electric Empire tattoos, to that end I am looking forward to getting a chest piece from Kev and a throat piece/cover up from Jonnie Frederick...and after that I am officially calling it quits with Pa. Thanx for the good times, tattoos, kids and time in jail...but its time for this Dead End Kid to move on.
Luckily I have a homie in Brooklyn that is helping me roll up there...getting down promoting shows, doing merch for Merauder, painting and working with PorVida clothing. Of course I will be working to progress my own art and music as well as pushing Dead End Kids and Stay Fast.
I am looking forward to working with new people, I have a top secret collabo in the works with a mad notorious clothing label...and some acoustic shit dropping soon as well.
Not much else to say...I'll drop another post before leaving. Tiahui!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely

Lightweight re-addressing the goings on at Butler County Prison...It was a point that I was trying to make that it was the unchecked power at BCP that created the current mess they are dealing with. You are bound to have some corrupt individuals at any work place, and to think this isn't the case just because these people wear badges to work is naive. Added to this is that prisoners are looked at as low caste individuals in this county and we have our unpleasantness at BCP. 

I have seen too much over the years to believe that this local power structure is built on benevolence. I am not under the impression either that we are dealing with a group of people who are intentionally bad or evil. They are neither, they are simply human...Humans with unchecked power over the lives of other humans with no real voice. 

The more I look at it, the more I am glad for the investigation. Too long have the staff of the BCP felt secure to behave in a way that disrespects not only themselves but the people they are paid to look after. Maybe once the FBI drops the hammer down on a few corrupt individuals, then the rest of the staff and administration will mind their actions...and behave more like human beings. 


Monday, January 30, 2012

Phenam Graphics

When I was doing work for the Ill Roc Records street team I ended up linking up with this homie Juanito Dorre from Phenam Graphics, an art collective in Bandung, Indonesia. These cats are dedicated to graphic design and music to the fullest...the work is super clean, professional and most importantly 110% original.

Something that makes Phenam unique in design is that they are part of the scene...they aren't just artists taking jobs for bands they've never heard of, they live the life. That makes them stand out in a world where a lot of graphic designers are just doing jobs for whoever. They put as much dedication into work for new artists as they do for hardcore veterans like Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law.

I just wanted to give these guys a plug...if you need some design work done for a punk/hXc/hip hop/metal project, let Phenam lace you up. In my eyes, they are THE ILLEST graphic design collective right now!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Way of the Buffalo

What the fuck happened to individuality? Maybe I just sound like a crabby old man, but I'm sick of cookie cutter hip hop and punk. What happened to taking chances and being yourself. Fuck uniformity, fuck conformity. You want that shit, go be a fucking nazi or a fratboy...suckaz!!

Scandal @ Butler County Prison

I can't say I was surprised when the Butler Eagle ran a story about alleged indiscretions on the part of staff at Butler County Prison. As someone who has unfortunately spent a lot of time at the facility I have heard many rumors over the years about guards, counselors, and even administrators taking advantage of their positions at the jail. It's common practice in that world for a bad seed to creep through once in a while...and it doesn't take a genius to calculate supply & demand in jail is higher in such a restricted environment. But strangely enough the scandal at Butler County Prison doesn't involve staff bringing in drugs...or any money making at all. No, BCP is embroiled in an even slimier situation. We have us a sex scandal.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have ALWAYS been of the mind and the opinion that the less I know about that sort of thing the better. Especially when doing time...I DON'T WANT dirt on the staff, it's a dangerous road to be on. That doesn't stop me from now having an opinion on the matter. And I definitely have a little something to say about the goings on at the old BCP. Of course ALL I have is OPINION, I know NOTHING first hand about the allegations, don't know the people making the allegations and have no interest in the accused.

Over the years I have heard of staff having inappropriate relations with female inmates. In general I ignore these that's what I take them as, stories. It's hard to dismiss allegations however when they consistently involve the same one or two staff members, and the same story over and over again.

For the sake of my readers who are not privy to the Butler Eagle, or Butler County and don't know the story I will lay out a brief version of my understanding of it: Recently some female prisoners have come forward claiming that as of now unnamed guards/counselors have approached the prisoners for sex, engaging in sexual relations with some of them. At some point the FBI became involved in the investigation and is currently pursuing the case.

That, as loose as it is, is what I know. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, and what happened with who I think that the bigger picture here is the attitude of dominion that is fostered by the staff at the Butler County Prison. When individuals are given unchecked power over other individuals it creates a scary dynamic. In this situation, without the involvement of the FBI I have serious doubts that the investigation would have gone anywhere. In most jails, but more so @ BCP staff's word is taken as gospel, while anything any prisoner says is assumed to be untrue.

As I have mentioned, I have spent significant time at the Butler County Prison. I am a convict, I have made bad decisions, and owned my wrongdoing. I think this makes me more honest of a person. My mistakes are laid on the table...out in the open. I do not have the luxury of pretending to be infallible. I came up in the old school...word is bond and all that, and I live by that. To me a person's word is a valuable asset.

Bear with me while I build an example of the scrutiny one's word is put under by the staff at BCP.  Some years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the Krsna Consciousness movement. I have since then studied Krsna consciousness in an effort to positively change my life. It is an ongoing process, but it has effected me deeply as an individual. Part of the Krsna consciousness movement, a staple of it really is that one does not eat meat. This  is not an idle gesture, according to the law of karma, all life is precious...I do fall down but I try to keep my diet meat free. Upon being incarcerated last year I attempted to acquire a vegetarian diet while in Butler County Prison. I understand that this would come as a surprise to many of the staff there who know me as a street kid, when I was going to trial in o5, I had no spirituality. I was a trouble prisoner, in for aggravated assault, and spent much time in the hole. Coming back in 5 years later, much in my life had changed...Krsna consciousness had a profound effect on my demeanor, as had time. I went through literally MONTHS of meeting with various staff from guards to administration attempting to explain my conversion and my need to be on a vegetarian diet. Not only was I eventually flat out denied, the staff made it a point to express to me that they thought that I was lying about my beliefs simply to "get over" on the system by receiving vegetarian meals. Though I provided them with references to back my story, as well as receiving literature and studying Krsna consciousness daily, they scoffed at my claims. In the end a captain explained to me that though he was "familiar" with my beliefs they would not accommodate me because if they did, other prisoners might jump on the band wagon and request vegetarian diets.

I laid all that out simply to illustrate that no matter what, a prisoners word is going to be scrutinized...ultimately looked at as a lie no matter how irrational it would be for the prisoner to lie. So what we have is an environment where the staff knows that a prisoners word means basically nothing. To the average ethical individual this means little...but for a corrupt person this knowledge could give them a sense of security that they can do whatever they want with little or no chance that they will ever be caught. After all its their word against the prisoner's word.

So now we have this scandal where guards and/or counselors are being accused of sex with prisoners. Do I believe these allegations? I don't I mentioned before I have consistently heard a few staff member's names come up in the same type of stories for years, and I have witnessed that these people answer to no I think its possible.

To me it comes back to the attitude of dominion. Many of these prison workers feel that they are untouchable...unfortunately now for them the FBI is involved, and something will come out of it. And I think that its a shame that it has gotten to this point. There are many good people who work at BCP, hardworking and ethical men and women who will now be scrutinized because of a minorities indiscretion. But I guess thats a karma, no?

In closing I have to say that the staff at BCP would do better to police itself instead of turning a blind eye to misconduct. Have some pride in you character, and keep in mind that dirty laundry does surface...

Monday, January 9, 2012

20 Months of Parole

I am riding out 20 months parole currently. Things are going to be hard at times, but after a decade of jail and probation it seems like cake at this point. My biggest concern right now is getting back into the 9 to 5 world. Once I have the job thing covered, it'll be a cruise. 

I want to use this next 20 months to get organized, out together some executable plans and follow through with extreme prejudice. It is time for me to lay back, enjoy the simple things in life...having a good woman, good friends in my life. It is time to repair things with my family and just live. 

Some very good friends have been placed in my life that exposed me to Krsna consciousness...Its time for me to develop spiritually. Ultimately time to live up to my potential. 

I have 20 months of reflection and growth ahead. I look forward to this and embrace it.

Prison Rant

It is so easy, too easy really, for someone to sit back and talk tough about prison policy. I often come across rants online about how people think prisons and jails should be run..."They need to feed them less, more control that way." "Jails are like resorts...they have cable tv, air conditioning, wheres the punishment?" or "I can't believe these scumbags are afforded medical care and counseling...they should be locked down 24/7 until they are released." While these cartoonishly harsh ideas SHOULD be laughable, they are all too common, and spoken by people with NO frame of reference...people who have never worked at or lived in prison, people who have NO grasp on the concept of management.

As someone who has been to jail, and as a reasonably intelligent individual I feel like I have a strong grasp on what it takes to run a prison smoothly. For the armchair hard asses who think that prison should be worse...common sense dictates that people with nothing to lose are dangerous, more dangerous than they would be otherwise. It is amazing to me that people can't see this.

The point of jail is lack of freedom, for all intents and purposes that's it. That lack of freedom is punishment enough. For people who think jail life is vacation...You are morons, and willfully ignorant. If you think being locked in a box with cable tv and air conditioning is vacation, then you're a strange bird. The lack of freedom is a state that most people couldn't understand. Losing your freedom, even if only once and for a short time will forever change you.

Something to think on is this: Anyone can end up in jail or prison...especially now. Have you ever been in a fight? THAT could send you to jail...maybe prison, maybe for a great deal of time depending on what state you are in. Drive drunk... that's a jail time offense.