All posts by jemeans

The Bell Place

The Bell Place:
This is an attempt to pay homage to the late home of a few of my best friends. I never lived there, though the couch was long my second home. It served us well over the course of two years and left a lasting impact on our small group of brothers. May she do the same for her next family.
House, business headquarters, community epicenter and man cave, this place on the corner of 40th and Bell (lovingly known as “The Bell Place”) provided whatever we asked of it for two years. When some of my best friends in the world moved in, our community dynamic changed forever. We were finally all reunited in one of the greatest cities on the planet (except for me, which would change soon after that). 

This is one of the first fights Justin and Steven had at the Bell place!
Chris, Steven, Justin, and Ryan moved in June 1, 2012. Steven and Justin (brothers) moved from the country, both watching over two of their properties. Chris and Ryan were both already in the city and decided it was time to get under one roof to reduce cost. I was living in Topeka, KS and was happy to find that they had a comfy couch/futon in the living room with my name on it.

I still remember the first time I walked through the doors to that big old house. I was invited over by my friends who had just moved in two weeks prior. I remember standing in the middle of the living area on the same old original hardwood floors, circa 1903. It was a Saturday afternoon. I simply stepped in, walked around and thought to myself, “this place is perfect”. Funny enough, they thought the same thing when they stepped through those doors. There was never a question that this was the place for them. It wasn’t a pretty home, but it was full of life and charm. 
This house is centrally located in midtown, the heart of Kansas City. Within one block you can find great eats, drinks, music, art, history, and homeless people. What else could you really want?
The friend group really hit the ground running, making this home the center of almost every major event. We had birthday parties, sports watch parties, cook outs, gamer nights (for obvious reasons, I was never really involved in these), and the list goes on.
Awkwardly sending Justin off to a Holiday Party

More importantly, this place served as the grounds where some of the most impact-full relationships of our lives were created. The team used this house as a conduit to create friendships (and end some) with people from all over the city. It was almost ritual for us to stay up too late hanging out on the porch or taking a walk, smoking a cigar and talking about life, sometimes with the strangers walking by.

Ritual walk to the liquor store down the street

Some drinks on the porch
One of our best collective memories of this place is when we celebrated Justin’s 30th birthday (video below. Don’t hold it against us!).

If you have a good memory of this place, leave it in the comments. May she ever be a vessel of good times to her captives!

Just so you know

To whomever it may concern.

Hi. I am Jeffrey Means. If you are wondering, “who the hell is Jeff Means and why do I care?” then you are just like most of the people in the world.

That is because there are nearly seven billion of us and I am nowhere near the top of the important list, if that list even exists…

No, really I’m just a normal guy. I have normal feelings, I eat normal foods, and I read normal books, so it is probably safe to say that I have something in common with you.

But, I didn’t write this to talk about myself. That was merely an introduction into a larger truth, one superior to the brave and daring, the normal and abnormal, even the social and political truths of this world. Most people know this truth and don’t think much of it, but if you are one of those who has never heard this good news, your earth will be shattered forever. So, I am ethically obligated to warn you; if you are not ready for the kind of life change described above, I advise you not read any further.

Are you ready? You are still reading, so I must assume that you are. Without any further protest, here it is.

Everybody poops. If there is anyone out there who does not poop, that person is not to be trusted.

Was this juvenile? Yes.
Immature? Maybe.
Necessary? Absolutely, and you will thank me for this insight when you meet a man (or woman) who does not poop, for you will know.

Another song to pass the time. Not done. Enjoy!

There’s a prime anesthetic to which we all desire. I have bottled the serum and sent it to scientists,
to ration the doses, and bring all of us most our reserve.
We play with our toys and ignore all the quiet, clash symbols and drums with our words to give comfort, but the silence is wrought,
to kill our meaningless conversations, conversation, conversation.

To solve all the world’s great troubles and fears is what, I sought to do, with cleverly placed mirrors to,
Reflect the good and sooth all our hearts give us affirmation.
But despite the hard trying toil I spent there was, little to nothing, left with empty mint,
Never to see a day of work, hope as we know it was just sensation, sub-elation, I’m out of patience.

This is the natural reaction

Warning: This note makes drastic generalizations and, therefore, may not be relevant in any way to your situation or actions. If this is true, congratulations, but I am not speaking to you. Please take this note with a grain of salt.

Do you recall that era of your life when your biggest worry was whether or not the rib sandwich was going to be served for lunch in the cafeteria that day? I do, but barely. I remember sitting at the lunch table, eating that sandwich triumphantly, knowing this was a good day; this is opposed to a bad day, which was normally caused by overcooked meatloaf and fake potatoes. I may be stepping over my boundaries by saying this, but I bet most of us wish our bad days consisted of sub-par cafeteria food and a little too much homework.

Now, I’m not saying we all had perfect lives back then. Almost everyone I know has some sort of sudo-repressed memory from their childhood that makes them cringe. Crap happens, even when you’re young. I’m just saying our innocence candy-coated the bad stuff to the point where we were able to continue basic function; even when things at home were hopeless, we could still argue about what kind of food we had that day. Back then, we were so good at letting things roll off our shoulders that we had to make drama up just to keep life interesting.

Have you ever pondered the evolution of how we cope with hard stuff throughout our lives? I found myself considering the succession of our coping process just the other day, and the conclusion I came to initially caught me off guard. Here is the concise version of my thought process:

When infants find themselves in stressful or potentially dangerous situations, they simply go to sleep. That is their natural reaction. Their brain gets overloaded, so they go to sleep, a simple but effective way to cope.
As infants become toddlers and so forth, they begin to repress things; forgetting sensitive details and artificially holding on to their innocence.
Once they hit the age of thirteen or so, his/her mind is too complex and it can no longer rely solely on repression. Coincidentally enough, this is also the time where he/she will start to question everything about life, and this doesn’t stop for a considerable amount of time. Actually, I’m not sure if it ever stops.

What I find the most interesting about the evolution is this: after going through the entire process, we end where we started. The progression is formed in the shape of a circle. After growth and enlightenment, repression and contention, we find ourselves within the same state we instinctively began at birth.

We simply go back to sleep.

I would love to move forward by saying that we just didn’t sleep enough in high school and college due to poor time-management, prompting a logical excuse for some much needed nap-time, but it isn’t that simple. It may start out as a reaction, but it quickly progresses to the level of obsession.

The truth is, when the going gets tough and depression starts to set in, the developed and logical brain runs straight back to its fundamental root. It seems harmless at first, but we eventually start to pray for sleep; we yearn, even fantasize about it with a false hope that sleep cures all illness: like if we could just sleep a little more, we would find joy upon waking. This Wizard of Oz hope is impartial to the type of suffering one may be experiencing, and it is fuel to the fire of hopeless detention.

“So, Jeff, what do you propose we do about it?” you may be asking.

The answer is, I don’t have a clue.

Seriously though, Why so Corporeal?

To put it simply, it was my poor attempt at being coincidentally indistinct. The truth is that we live, on the surface, a corporeal life. The twist comes when you try to dig further than skin color or active habits, for that is when we discover that everything else stems fundamentally from your soul. Your spirit is the driving force behind all love, reason, ambition, and confusion in this world.

The corporeal life of Jeff, at its core, could be summed up in a few short sentences. I am a brown haired, brown eyed, 6’1”, white, and middle class male. I have size 12 shoes and a 34” inseam; I sleep six hours most nights and have an unpredictable sweet tooth.
Yep. That’s about it.

This blog is an attempt, a poor attempt at bringing everything else: the ambiguity of life caused by a wicked heart and a mislead spirit: into the corporeal. Meaning, I am forcing myself to create a tangible setting for the intangible, so that we all may better understand what we do not see.

Maybe we’ll learn, maybe we won’t, but to quote the late local band The Aimless Pursuit, “I still gotta try.”

Some words I wrote “I’ll never win this battle”

Enjoy.

Oh, I fought through this war and I fought like my life was dependent on winning the fight.
Cause’ to live in a world that if free of you is my own right.
so, I charged with the cavalry, spear, and the sword and the, archers gave preemptive strike,
But you gave all your troops rum and guns and screamed, “Show him the Light!”

Oh I wasn’t, prepared, for the slaughter, that was waiting for me, and I listened, to your demands
But the problem, is this, I’m more stubborn than the cattle of mule, and I’ll never, give you your lamb

In the face of reality, you seem to scorn and ignore the presumptive design,
And you live in your own world that lacks any thought of sublime.
such a powerful hold, such a sorrowful love, and my life was a foil to your plot,
But like nothing has changed, you hand me the life that you want.

Although selfish, I am, I just want out, like a cat in the stream, so I give you proposals to leave.
We know this just, won’t work, and I’ll find out, what’s really happening, so i want you, to let me be.

And I won’t speak another word without, your approval,
If you just let me sing my songs and remove, all your doubt.
Cause’ nothing will be, okay, if you act like your doubts, are fake.
Just play by the rules, and you will find you are not alone, you’re not alone, you’re not alone, you were never alone.