Kickstarters for Dummies


If you’ve ever had to ask for a favor, or given one with no chance of reward or recognition – you are the person to whom a “kickstarter” speaks. I have to put it in quotes like that because, just like not all tissues are Kleenex, not all crowdsourcers are Kickstarters. Kickstarter is one of several platforms available for people seeking a kind-of unconventional financing for a dream, or a life-saving surgery or a funeral, or.or.or. There are as many reason to launch a kickstarter (I’m just going to keep it easy and default to the term everybody seems to know) as there are people launching them.

I don’t have the time or inclination to school you on what all is involved in these campaigns. I know you can Google the words I am using here and find the answers you’re looking for. Suffice to say, with but very few exceptions – the people who utilize these tools do not do so lightly. It’s a colossal pain in the butt and it’s humbling and difficult. (Unless you’re one of the few guys like the potato salad guy who went viral and raised almost $70k when he was looking for $10. THAT was one killer campaign and proved that crowdsourcing can be a wicked-cool way to raise money.)

A lot of people ask me why they would or should donate to a kickstarter, especially the ones that are not saving lives or seemingly promoting a greater good than one person’s well being. I only know why I donate and encourage others to do so with me. I also know, fo.sho and without doubt, that if it doesn’t make you feel good – Do NOT do it. If you’re on the fence, look into it and if you get the whole Pay it Forward vibe, on a fundamental level – we so SO should talk.

What follows are basically my top few kickstarters for this day, maybe week. I get to see and help with enough of these to know that I could share a new one every day for a year and not make all the people happy all the time.

1. My Friend Karen was a peaceful Rock Star who left too soon and her sons are trying to gather resources to recover from an unexpected and prolonged hospital stay. I’ve got a shirt from this ride, a few times over, and it’s impossible to explain to anybody how much debt can be accrued (how quickly!) when this happens to a family. I am all for lightening their load, if at all possible and Karen was important to my tapestry in my hometown.

2. My buddies Brian and Mel have a baby Rose who has presented them with extra opportunities to be strong and resilient and brave, When I was too young to process it, one of my cousins died from similar conditions and it’s made me super-sensitive to the quality of life these guys get. We take so much for granted and it seems to me that throwing a $10 bill into that mix would make way more difference than if I squandered it on candy and gum.

3. Journalism student, Scoop Nemeth has just recently entered my orbit and I am absolutely intrigued with his flavor of candor. He is On The Spectrum and speaks with a truthfulness that is pretty much unprecedented in broadcast journalism. I just want to see how far this guy goes. I think he’s got the spark inside him and my life is made better by his creativity and perspective. I paid to watch Monty Python, back in the day; Now I throw down on kickstarters to make my life more colorful. And, truthfully – I want to live in a world where people like Scoop can realize their dreams, so if I get to split my lunch with him to make it happen, it’s all good.

4. Me. And, omg – for real. Hardest.Thing.Ever. Longest ever story made as short as possible: I might or might not have had a hand in relegating myself to a second-class position for maybe a decade or three. My bad. I was an early-adopter on all today’s most popular life changers: Cancer, identity theft, poverty … blah blah blah. That’s all ancient history now, but it’s about a world away from the way I saw things working out when I was a 30 year old. As luck (mostly mine) would have it: All my gear is threatening to shoot craps and either I get new seeing-eye glasses or learn Braile. Not your problem, I know. BUT, I think I fill a void in your day and, just like pledging $10 to your local public radio station, I am worth it. I’m not asking for a burger today that I pay for tomorrow, I’ll send you snail mail that will rock your day. Not like the other snail mails much at all, the mail I send falls into the “Epic” camp. You could be part of this fabulously unconventional life I’ve chosen to chart for all of us. Y’never know – if there’s a Zombie apocalypse, you’re gonna be looking for a trail guide with maps.

(just for the record: I do make money and manage to not die, week after week. I need new glasses and gear in order to do the work I do, and we’ve got such a sweet thing going here – you and me. I love how  you always let me pick the music and you don’t make me go to bed too early, I was hoping we’d just see where this takes us. No pressure, y’know – just friends.)

If you’re in a position to donate to somebody who has gone through the bone-grinding and soul-searching that setting up a kickstarter requires – DO that. If it pisses you off or makes you want to pull out a soapbox and use the word “entitlement” a lot, move on. For the love of all things holy: Really. Just please.Stop. Let it go. OR, sleep more soundly knowing your $10 donation helped change a life that you care about. Your call.


Dear Kansas: Wanna Get High? Bring Cash. Love, Colorado

Dear Kansas,

I can’t tell you how much I wish you were here!

The creeks are all huge with runoff and the sun is on vacation.
The creeks are all huge with runoff and the sun is on vacation.

While it’s still mostly Winter, it’s only mostly Winter, like mostly dead, it’s not that bad. Some of the flowers are blooming, the birds are ready to party and it smells like the perfect combination of Christmas tree farm and freshly tilled garden soil. It’s every bit as incredible as you remember. In fact, if you can get away – come over! I’ve found some truly sweet spots to show you.

Short of that, you gotta know: Now would be the ideal time to check out what Colorado is doing with all this legal weed. FOR.real. I thought I knew more than I did and feel like I can make some things easier for you. I share because I’m hopeful that you won’t handle this the same way you did that whole Prohibition thing. That was embarrassing for all of us and I wasn’t even born yet.

If you’re not familiar with the whole history of weed and have the patience of a saint with burning all-night kinda curiosity, check out this piece. I think it’s fairly legit, but I believe nothing, so the diligence is on you. I think we’ve talked about this, so I know that you know and I trust your ability to think critically.

I’ll try to tell you all the good stuff… I’ll Try mightily to not talk too much.

GOING TO THE WEED SHOP (or Rec Store, depending on who you ask)

I felt dorky and awkward and saw people in suits and soccer moms and hippies and skater punks. It was all good, I didn’t look like it was my first time.

There was a security guard standing in the parking lot and the adjacent 7-11 is fat with signs that threaten to tow cars within nanoseconds if the drivers dare park there to shop weed. Seemed kinda intense and we hadn’t even gone in yet. It kinda looked like a renovated gas station with crazy locking doors installed indoors to keep people in and out of protected areas.

Business is brisk from open to close and all exchanges are done in cash, just like the last 40 years in America, but the business model is clinical and way more impersonal than going to see your buddy a couple blocks over. I’ve been told there is most often a line that wraps around the outside of the buildings, but that wasn’t the case when I was there.

This one had a big entry with a counter along the wall and two certified weed workers (you have to be registered to work in the industry, apparently. Cost $150) standing at ASUS laptops, next to a kinda gigantic ATM. Made me wonder what they charged for transaction fees and how happy they were with those laptops and if they got insurance and how they were paid.

Once they’ve put your driver’s license information into their system, you sit for a couple minutes on the benches that line the room. When the Clipboard Person comes through a door and calls your name, you go through a different set of locking doors to sit on another long bench facing a bunch of doors with all kinds of signs about what to do and what not to do, on them. Before too terribly long, a person comes through the door and calls your name and points you to one of the doors and says “Go in there and have your ID in your hand.”

Our Weed Concierge (That was not his formal title, but that’s what he did) was one of those quintessential young Colorado men with chiseled features and a flavor of handsome that speaks to good breeding and life outdoors. He had the enthusiasm of a cheer-leader and had either memorized his patter, or he truly had done his research and spoke from truth. Regardless, he was more than able to field all the questions and he was a treat to work with.

This is one purchase that averaged out to exactly more than expected.
This is one purchase that averaged out to exactly more than expected.

Sativa or Indica? (I have a preference, but wondered what the company line was on this) He recommended Indica for 1) Creativity 2) Pain Relief and 3) Focus

How much are lollipops? $5/each

gummibears? $38/package

chocolate bars? $22/$35

weed? $55/ish for an eighth PLUS tax. If you’ve got an out-of-state driver’s license, your tax is going to be way higher, CO residents are taxed less and Medical Card carriers are taxed even less. Maybe way less, like none. Regardless, if you’re coming all the way here from KS, with cash – bring more than you think you need. (Colorado will gladly relieve you of all that extra cash and turn it into smarter kids, or something.)

What’s the difference between Medical and Recreational: 1) Medical is typically stronger 2) You have to have a card to get Medical (that involved a whole’nother cattle call and some days of patience, supposedly, wherein you go see a recommended physician who DOES NOT give you a prescription for weed, but a note that says something about something and the quality of your life improving. Essentially.) The important parts are right in that sentence.

When you decide what you want, he uses a walkie-talkie to tell the workers in the weed packaging room to be looking for you. You wind through some skinny places to a door with a waist-high window that looks pretty Shawshank Hollywoody, and some mysterious hands reach through the opening with your order. I think there was a one-way mirror involved and lots of cameras. Then you’re in a darker room with another counter and 3 more workers, checking people out at a pretty good clip, on Mac Books. These people had some crazy.good.gear.

In retrospect, I wished I’d asked more about the grow practices because I suspect that, like food, it won’t be long until Monsanto becomes a buzz kill in the mix. I could be wrong and didn’t ask, so I can’t say for sure, but I know the locals say they trust only themselves and can legally keep 2 plants going to meet their needs for about $20/month after the $500 initial set-up.

There are about a bazillion more slices to this pie, that I am way too curious about, so I’ll write again soon. Remind me to tell you about the mountains of cash. No. FOR real. Cash that can’t be put in an FDIC insured bank. Yea. Think about it. This is a trip! There is SO much to tell you.

I love you and miss you and hope you’re eating out at local restaurants, buying locally made art and no longer changing in phone booths. That was always kinda awkward for me.


PS: If you find my shoes, just give them to Bobby or CeeCee. Xoxo