Monday, June 19, 2017

Catching Up

It is Monday, and I have less than 10 bucks, so, I am going to repeat last night's actions and busk for a couple hours at the Lilly Pad.

That netted me 15 bucks, starting at about 9:30PM, and playing for about 2 hours.
Monday night promises to be about the same, but I could use the 15 bucks.

Today's Quiz
What famous album cover did I distort pretty badly to produce the work to the left?
Answer below...

I can't see getting anything accomplished at home during those same hours that is any more important than getting some money flowing.
The strings that I ordered arrived, but I think I'll throw them in the backpack and continue to play on the one's that I have on now. Any one of them is due to break tonight.

As far as harmonicas; I'm playing on an old one that is in the key of G, from back in the days when I could afford to have harps in 2 different keys.

Three weeks of reduced wages due to impaired hearing have taken their toll.

My ears are better, with the right one being clear enough so that I can hear my fingers being rubbed together about and inch from the ear -that is some kind of test of hearing, though I can't remember where I "heard" it- and my left one still being plugged up and ringing.

I can just barely busk.

People were telling me that I sounded good, last night, with one young lady stipulating "very" good.

It's quite possible that, in focusing upon the fundamental tones, which are the ones that vibrate in the head, I am achieving more accurate pitches and the harmonics (that are muffled out to me) are taking care of themselves.

I now understand what Ludwig Van Beethoven's "deafness" was probably about. Along with the legend of him placing his hand on the piano and being able to "hear" that way.

When I rest my chin on the top of the guitar, I hear it probably about 3 times louder than when I take it away, so, this tells me that my hearing isn't "back" yet.

The latest trip to the hospital (the third one in a month) had them releasing me with a prescription for a Claritin type of drug, and yet a third kind of ear drop.
This ear drop stuff is "carbonic peroxide," and is 7 bucks for a small bottle, "over the counter," and I haven't bought it yet.

My friend Lancaster said that carbonic peroxide was "the stuff" that had worked miracles on his ears, when he was younger and an avid surfer.

Of course, he was the one who had originally told me that I needed to ram a Q-tip as far as I could into the ear that was blocked "you'll know it when you hit the ear drum," an action that may have made matters worse at the time.

Answer to Quiz:

The work to the left was made by scrambling the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
You just have to look at it closely. LOL!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Quaker

I'm in Starbucks; it is Sunday night, a couple days after the house majority whip guy was shot on the baseball field, and the same day that a U.S. led coalition shot down a plane in Syria.

Closer to home, as I sat here a bit earlier, the crazy looking skinny black guy who is sitting next to me with one of his legs in spasmodic motion asked me for the code to unlock the restroom.

I have seen nervous looking people who rhythmically tap a foot or make one of their knees hop; but this guy is almost epileptic in that one leg.

When he first entered, he came straight over to me and asked me for the code.

"I don't know," I told him. "I haven't had to use the bathroom..."

He then wanted me to pause what I was doing, and go up to the counter and ask one of the baristas for it.

If he asked, they would inform him that he needed to make a purchase.

So, he wanted me to get up, walk over to the counter, out of view of my guitar and my laptop and my backpack, for however long it took me to get the attention of the girl, just so I could give the code to someone who had not made a purchase, and for whose shitting on the floor I would be blamed for, as I would be the last person to have asked for the code.

"I'm busy right now, just go up and ask them..."

He mumbled something, but I feigned being "busy right now" by burying my nose in the laptop.

It was then that he took a seat about 6 feet down the bench from me, and began the annoying quaking of his leg. He put it up on one of the footstools and began the almost comical "try to ignore this and stay busy" twitching of it.

I can only think that he is angry and figures that he is going to distract me, and exact his revenge that way.

Either that, or he is contemplating trying to suddenly grab this laptop and run out the door with it, and he is just getting his leg warmed up.

It's odd how he approached me looking for the code, but has not asked anyone else; not even people who apparently know it, because they are coming out of the restroom.

"I really have to go to the bathroom," he had told me, as if that was going to motivate me. He said it in his best "I need to cook my patetti" voice, I imagine.

They will tell you in any Salesmanship 101 seminar worth its salt, not to attempt to create value in the product by telling the prospective customer what is in it for you, the salesman. "Man, one more sale and I make my monthly bonus; please buy the car, sir!"

I'm tired of lying skeezers, that is all.
As I sit here writing, he as since gotten into the restroom, and has been in there the past 20 minutes. He didn't "really have to go to the bathroom," he really had to go in there and do whatever it is he's doing. But, he had to lie, I guess.

Yeah, I suppose Starbucks thinks that it would be a courtesy to the people who have plunked down almost 10 bucks for a beverage, if the (only) bathroom was available.

The GIMP Editor 

The image to the left, I did by applying special effects to, and manipulating, the next photo, of the Mel Bay Guitar Method book covers....(below)
 OK, One More...
This one, was, of course, a re-working of the photo of "Uncle" Louie which appeared in the newspaper along with the story of him being arrested for a murder that he apparently committed 43 years ago.
The New Orleans police are a bit slow in getting around to things like sifting through old fingerprints...
And, yeah, the hat is kind of a "hangman" symbol...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Harold And I's Ears

My ears are still stuffed up and ringing.

Third Visit To Hospital For Ears

I am going on a juice fast and have stopped taking Kratom.
I am also going to eat one more time, before the fast, the meal which was my go-to meal for years, during which I was so healthy that it was a pleasure just to lay back and enjoy being in my own body.

That would be sea bass fried/smoked over a red oak fire in olive oil with garlic and basil, and steamed broccoli and, for like 12 straight years, a bottle of red wine. Actually, 7/8ths of a bottle -I drank down to about the bottom of the label, re-corked it, and that was it for the night. The last couple gulps, below the label, would be used for comparison against whatever different kind of cheap red wine I got the next night, in my never ending search for the best value in red wines.

I would have put the fish on tin foil that was curled up at the edges, and then doused it in olive oil and apple cider vinegar, to marinate it while I was building the fire, which be subsequently allowed to flame up and then die down to a bed of embers, whereupon small pieces of wood would be added so when they caught on fire it would only flare up about 6 inches. This was the perfect cooking/smoking fire, and the fish would get to marinate for almost a half hour while waiting for it to come about.

I would put a grill cover over it so that it would cook just as much from the hot air and smoke that it was trapped in as from the heat from the embers below.

Healthiest diet that I've discovered
Something like this...

I used my ear to adjust the cooking temperature. I would try to let it go for about 20 minutes with the sputtering of the olive oil sounding like a babbling brook. If it sounded more like a white water river, I would pull some wood off the fire below it. I cooked at night, most of the time and so, learned to cook by sound.

I'm going to skip the red wine. If I had enough cash to get a bottle of non alcoholic stuff (about $12) I would, just to more accurately reconstruct the meal that I ate almost every night for 12 years when I was very healthy and went out each day to do landscaping work in the Florida summer sun.  And I might have to skip the red oak fire, but am not giving up on that idea just yet. I might walk around the neighborhood in the Latino section and find someone who is already grilling, whom I could ask if I can put my fish (pescado) on their grill (parilla) for about 20 minutes (minutos).

I believe that if I get a small grill of my own, I can use it in the lot adjacent to the Sacred Heart parking lot, where grilling is proscribed. The lot is where the closed down Sacred Heart church sits, and is kind of roped off.

I think that the buildings where we live, which used to be the Sacred Heart school (my building) and a convent (Lancaster, my weed guy's building) were the ones that were bought in order to be used to house homeless veterans and their ilk. The church and another building (a rectory) were not part of the deal, although the former might have made a nice recreation center for us -take out the pews; put in a basketball court; hang a backboard over the crucified Jesus- and I'm not sure if it is incumbent upon the security detail which work here as "courtesy" officers to enforce any trespassing issues surrounding the empty, boarded up church and rectory.

I'm going to try to get into the rectory building, in order to use it for recording music. There, I would be able to warm up like Pavarotti without being besotted with a "fuck you, in advance" mindset towards anyone who might bang on a floor or wall with a broomstick.

It isn't as tightly secured on the side that faces us, as it is on the side that faces Lopez Street. This stands to reason, as our parking lot is fenced in, acting as a front-line defense.

There is one door on the former rectory which is covered in plywood, probably three quarters of an inch thick. I plan to cut through the wood down one side of it, close to the edge, and then to screw in a few hinges, so that the plywood could be closed back up like a door, leaving the appearance that it is still boarded up tightly and hasn't been breached, so that nobody would suspect anyone of using the place as a recording studio.

I would be bringing my own "juice" in the form of my laptop battery, and maybe an led flashlight to use at night, away from any windows, of course.

I'll make it so I can close and lock the plywood behind me, so as to not be unpleasantly surprised by skeezers coming in behind me.

Now, I have stiffness in my neck; and have gone through a period of about 12 hours, where I felt quite lousy.

My ears are in a constantly ringing and half hearing state. They just feel warm and fuzzy and puffed up with fluid, like I just came out of a loud rock concert and am back in my quiet room. It's kind of comfortable, ironically, since I might be losing my hearing.

I am starting to have a strong suspicion that Kratom might compromise the body's defenses against certain things. Or that it might, more directly, cause a fluid build up behind the eardrums of some "patients."

The question would be: "Do the benefits of Kratom outweigh the drawbacks?"

Obviously, hearing loss in a musician might be considered a no-brainer for discontinuing its use.

The fact that I can sit down and type away at however many words per minute for 11 hours straight, pumping out a 14,000 word story with hardly a revision on the stuff, pausing only to refill my coffee cup, doesn't necessarily recommend it; at least not until a re-reading of the story from the distance of a few days later reveals it to be a pretty good one.

Tonight, I will have gone 3 days without any kratom.

I still sit here typing away, and shooing away like flies, any distracting thoughts or impulses to stop writing and do something else.

If I were working on a song, it would be the same discipline. It might not be evident from listening to the last song I posted, with the video of my drawings; but that represented about 9 hours of "solid" work. And when the sun came up, and the computer room opened, and it was time for me to upload the thing and put it on this blog, I was still chomping at the bit to re-do several parts of it, tweaking each measure; that could have gone on until sundown.

So, I wonder if I am still under the influence of the stuff.

I felt so dead tired the past couple days, after having busked Friday and Saturday nights with maybe 3 hours of sleep in between; but having taken a couple grams each night before leaving out on my bike.

I reminded myself of a guy I once knew who would lay on his bed moaning and groaning, and not eating, for 2 or 3 days every so often, withdrawing from heroin. He was the type of guy who could get pretty strung out on the stuff and then put himself through the ringer of withdrawal, take a shower, put on clean clothes and then go back into society for a few weeks or even months, until the next time; if there is such a type of guy.

I'm sure the "pros" like my friend Lancaster would tell you: "You can do that for a while, but it'll get you in the end; and you'll wind up stealing heavy equipment off construction sites in broad daylight and trying to sell it on the street."

Such is life.

I was hooked on the peanut flavored marshmallow candy called "Circus Peanuts," when I was about 10 years old. I found them so delicious that I begged my mom to get me some when she went grocery shopping. She didn't disappoint, and in fact, delivered big time, as the market only had the candy by the big "party size" bag.

And, so there I was, with a whole bag of my favorite candy at the time.

I ate about 3 quarters of the bag; became sick of the things; never finished the bag; and haven't eaten another Circus Peanut since.

Maybe that is how this Kratom story will end.

I wound up feeling pretty good by about noon, after I had gone to the Family Dollar and had gotten a Monster Energy drink, which I consumed, shortly before starting to feel better.

I'm wondering if there is any kind of withdrawal from it. It stands to reason that one is always robbing Peter to pay Paul when dealing with any kind of thing that one puts in the body.

With persistent alcohol consumption there develops a situation where the person wakes up as an inversion of who he was before passing out drunk the night before.

He might have been caught up in the euphoric state of drunkenness and "resolved" to be up bright and early and to go see about a job, or something; and then woke up feeling like his brain had coagulated like Jello into a slow thinking, slow moving, barely jiggling mass; his extroverted personality had gone into a deep sleep, and his body ached, because his threshold of pain had come down commensurate with his blood/alcohol level and now he was feeling pain and recalling things like: "Oh, yeah; I punched that wall, didn't I; when the bouncer wouldn't let me in the club 'cause he said I was too 'intoxicated.'"

And so, he blows off the job search and goes back to sleep, only to awaken in the early afternoon, ridden by guilt over having gotten drunk again, and messed up another opportunity

And then finds that after a couple drinks he feels better.

The difference with Kratom is waking up and seeing a pile of money in front of you because you played like a machine for 5 or 6 straight hours, rather than seeing no money but bruises on your body that you can't account for.

And there is the wondering why your ears have been stuffed up and ringing throughout the entire month since you first started messing with Kratom...

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Hearing Now

  • 59 Dollar Friday
  • 24 Dollar Saturday
  • Sunday Off

Monday morning, bright and early, up and ready to jog to the Family Dollar for cat food, and for exercise.

From the Kratom Series of GIMP art

I "needed the rest," I suppose, as I had been too lazy to hop on my bike and go out to get cat food for Harold's 2 AM feeding.

Choosing not to go out and play last (Sunday) night caused a bit of guilt in me, especially when thinking that now is the time that I need to save up for my trip up north, which I should embark upon within the next 3 weeks.

At the bare minimum, I need to supply Rose and Ed with enough cat food and litter box stuff for a few weeks.

I haven't talked to them about me giving them my key so that they could allow Harold to continue his routine, letting him in before they go to bed, putting food and fresh water out for him, and then basically locking him in for the night, and letting him out in morning.

I am sure that they will jump on the opportunity. The key to my place will be a resource for them, and I wouldn't put it past them to rent it out for 20 bucks a night, here and there, on the sly (to include myself). But, I am sure that they would have "vetted" the people, and wouldn't allow anyone that they hardly know into the place. That would be the main "risk" in that arrangement. I'm not comfortable with leaving Harold outside the whole (4?) weeks, even if Rose was to be placing food out there for him regularly.

My attention has been drawn to the lottery, lately. Myself having been playing number 427 on the Pick 3 for almost the whole year, 50 cents a day. The number hasn't come up since December 2, 2009. It statistically should have come up 2.6 times since then. I realize though that, even beginning to play at such a time in the number's history doesn't make the odds any less crappy. But, it's hard to stop playing such a number. There is a feeling that it would be a forefeiture of all that I have paid into the system so far.

Every employee at The Unique Grocery knows that 427 is my number (I'm even thinking of composing a little ditty about the number that I can pull my guitar off my back and sing when I'm in there getting my ticket) and so, it wouldn't escape their notice if it came up one night, and they would undoubtedly greet me when I came in with great enthusiasm, but cautious enthusiasm, as they know that I will occasionally "gamble" by not playing the thing, so as to put the 50 cents in my pocket.

One of the (all Ethiopian) workers in there has given me the advice to skip playing every now and then, following my hunches, but then to parlay that money into the next ticket that I do play.

That makes a lot of sense to me, as a matter of fact. After having dodged a bullet by seeing a number other than mine come up on a night when I didn't play, I could double up on the next night's play.

Another attempt to visually describe Kratom...

But there have been nights when I just didn't feel the vibe of the number, but played anyways, thinking about the nights I had gone out busking when I wasn't feeling anything, that turned out to be "magical" ones. But when the number came up as far from 427 as can be; like 959; I realized that my gut had been right.

Funny how "Though shalt not gamble" never found its way onto Moses' tablets.

Other than that and it is Monday and my ears are still ringing and my hearing hovers around 50%.

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