Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today

Tuesday began much as Monday had. I woke up around 8:45 am., and went to the Shell to get an energy drink. Then I came here to to library.
Last night, there was some kind of Christmas thing going on in town, and I noticed the people exiting the theatre in time to make about 7 bucks off of them. This broke me about even for the day.
As I was playing, a guy whom I have seen before, who goes by "Mike," and who always begs me; was begging me for one of the 4 dollars that I had in my case at the time. He persisted for about 10 minutes. I told him that all I had was 4 dollars to my name, and that if he wanted to take one of them, it was a poor reflection upon him. I suggested that he beg any one of the finely dressed citizens, walking around in the Christmas Spirit.
He then told me that he was getting 800 dollars "tommorow" (today) and that he would pay me back handsomely.
I sure hope his "disability" check comes in today, for his sake. I wish he was "unable" to beg, as well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Three Guys With Guitars

I was a little bit depressed this morning. The long weekend had ended on a sour note.
I was in town and played a bit and made a few bucks. Then I ran into 3 guys, who all had guitars. They wanted to play. I looked up and down Dauphing Street, and saw very few souls out in the 45 degree air.
'We played for a little while. They were drinking beer and talking about going to get some more beer and some pot. One of them used to work at one of the rescue missions, where people are rescued from bondage to alcohol and drugs. He was the one who wanted to buy some weed. I guess he could rescue others, but not himself...
To make a long story short, one of them was talking about going to Florida to play music somewhere, saying that they already had a gig. He said that he knew people with a lot of clout in the music industry, and said that he didn't want to drop names, before he "reluctantly" dropped the names of Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.
We jammed more, enough to convince them that I could drop everything and go with them to Florida, to be in their "band."
Then, up rode my friend Terry on his bicycle. Terry is a 54 year old black man, whom I have befriended. He was pretty wobbly and almost teetered over on his bike. Soon it was settled that Terry would take 5 dollars and ride to a certain neighborhood to buy pot, then would meet the rest of us at the Shell.
Us four musicians walked the mile to the Shell, while along the way, the other three kept voicing their concern that Terry was going to abscond with the 5 dollars. I had to reassure them about 3 times that I trusted Terry. The three said they were from Mississippi. I almost wanted to say "He's not like most niggers," to calm them down and get them to stop worrying. I would reassure them and they would quiet down, then a minute would pass and one of them would say "f*** it, it's only 5 bucks. He probably needs it more than us."
To continue making a long story short, Terry returned with the 5 bucks still in his hand, and said that he had failed to get pot. The one who used to work at the rescue mission went into the Shell and bought all kinds of food, using a food stamp card, like soup and cheesburgers and chips and gave to all of us who were hungry. I ate a cheesburger.
Terry kept asking me for sips off my beer, which I shouldn't have bought in the first place, because I didn't need it, neither did he. The 5 bucks was redistibuted to a guy in a silver car, who returned, and, after exacting 2 more dollars from the guy who used to work at the rescue mission, produced a bag of pot, taking which, the 3 guys made a hasty exodus for "home," wherever that was to them. They didn't offer to smoke pot with either Terry or I. I felt bad on his account, as, the snubbing of him probably had "racial undertones." I walked to the trolley and went to sleep. I don't miss things that I never had.
I woke up, feeling the cheap cheeseburger in my stomach and a heaviness in my heart, that only two energy drinks could begin to allieve.
I had $10.19. down from $14 the day before, and $19 the day before that.
I will play the street tonight and hope that I don't have competition from three guys high on pot.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Cave In


I went to The Cave, after waiting in Bienville Park for about an hour past the time that had been specified, until "the van" arrived and I was whisked off to that place. There were about 6 souls in the van, total, but it was to return for more. Christian "heavy metal" music was playing on the van's stereo.
I had waited until 2 pm. before imbibing in my first beer. I was drinking it when the van arrived and up walked Charlton, who was the guy that invited me to The Cave on Thanksgiving day, after giving me 20 dollars.
I felt that I should at least check the place out, after he had made that gesture. It didn't feel like I had sold my soul, and Charlton didn't flinch at the sight of a beer can in my hand. He offered us riders cigarettes on the way to the place.
Simulation Of Corrie
Upon arriving, I was greeted by a lot of friendly people, some of whom I already knew, only a couple that I regret knowing, and one guy named Howard, whom I hadn't seen in a while. When I last saw him he was falling-down drunk and so persistent in begging me for whatever I had, that I distanced myself from him. Yesterday, though, he seemed sober and was calm and pleasant to be around. He must have had some kind of change in his life; perhaps the people at The Cave have helped him.
Then, I was greeted by none other than Corrie and Billy, who sat at my table as we ate what was my 4th Thanksgiving meal, consisting of turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes and a roll. Chocolate ice cream cake was the finale.
Corrie refused it, citing a hatred of cake. It was suggested to her that she could eat the ice cream and leave the cake alone, but she was certain that some of the cake flavor would have seeped into the ice cream, and she held firm.
The Cave is a place where most of the people there have recovered from drugs and alcohol and riding with outlaw motorcycle gangs, doing things worse than drugs and alcohol. They assured us that they have "been there and done that," and that we could certainly be saved if they could be saved. Corrie became upset when Billy was prevailed upon to approach the altar and be prayed over, but she wasn't. "That was rude," she stated. I told her "Just bring your soul up there, anyways!" She decided to hold out in protest, though, and went unprayed over, (at least publicly).
Sleeping In, Under
This morning, I woke up at 10 am. under the trolley, crawled out and then went to the Shell for an energy drink.
It was too late then to get in touch with Jeff The Potter about going to the morning service at his church. I had run into Taylor, his oldest daughter, and her boyfriend, the night before. It was after I was dropped off by the van from The Cave.
The Cave men had been trying to talk me into checking into a shelter, because of the forecast for freezing temperatures. They argued that there would be hardly any people out, due to the conditions. There were a goodly number of people out, Taylor and her boyfriend included, and I made enough to cover expenses, which was about 3 more cans of  beer and a pack of cigarettes.
I was able to talk to Taylor and ascertain that the reason that she hadn't given me a sip of her wine, when I saw her at Serda's, was because she is a bit of a germophobe. I told her that I understood and felt a lot better. I asked her if she had seen me the night before at The Music Box, and she said that she hadn't. She asked me if I was playing my guitar onstage that night. Apparently she hadn't seen the band, either.
She must be blinded by love. I hope she isn't doing any heavy partying, as that would also explain that kind of "blindness."
First Baptist Church
So, after my energy drink this morning, I was in the vicinity of The First Baptist Church, on Government Street, I saw people entering that edifice. I remembered that the church had been recommended to me by Porsha (the ambulance driver) as being "a good one." That was about 4 months ago, and she never mentioned it again. I figured that she had left it in the hands of God, (who is long suffering,)  to lead me there. Porsha wasn't there, herself.
The men at the front door were well dressed. They could have been financial advisors, or undertakers. The look on their faces as I mounted the granite steps, leading up to the door where they were posted, seemed to say "We need to do something about that 'All Welcome' part of the sign out front," but they didn't voice anything of the sort, nor did they exactly invite me in, even after I dropped Porsha's name. They told me that Porsha was often on duty Sundays, and wasn't a consistent attendee. I guess they thought that they had satisfied my curiosity and that I would leave.
I Know You're Not Supposed To Start A Sentence With "But,"

We ask you to please remove your hats, crowns of thorns, etc.
But, I went in and they had a very nice choir that sang some very nice music. The people were overly friendly, in that manner that I have become accustomed to, whereby the people say something like "It's nice to see you," but press no further out of fear that they will be at a loss for a rejoinder should you mention that you slept under a trolley the previous night. "That's nice," one of their staples, wouldn't quite do, they would suppose.
It was a good experience. The preacher talked about how John, the apostle, went around in ragged clothes and with some part of a camel as a garment and a leather belt. I wondered if he threw that in for my benefit.
When the collection plate came around, I had my choice of envelopes to stuff my 50 cents into. One of them was earmarked for feeding "the needy." I figured that dropping my coins in one of those would be like depositing it, only to withdraw it the next time I ate at their soup kitchen. I put it in one of the other envelopes to go towards their "deficit."
As I sat there after that, I had a daydream that after the service, someone would make a comment like "Boy, that 50 cents that I heard rattling out of the homeless guy's pocket is really going to take a bite out of the deficit!" and a billionare, who was just visiting the church, being just passing through town, would hear him and quote the scripture about the lady who gave all of her farthings as being the one who gave the most out of anyone. He would then take out his checkbook and saying "I will match the contribution of the homeless guy with transmission fluid in his hair 10,000-fold," would utter a check for $50,000.00 and the day would be saved for The First Baptist Church. One of the men who were standing at the front door would say "I had a good feeling about him," and the other would say "So, did I!"
That kind of thing happens all the time, in my daydreams. Soon, it was time to stand up and sing, and I snapped back to "waking consciousness," as the Hindus would say.
I was invited to return "every Sunday," and couldn't help thinking that it was like when people say "We'll have to get together sometime," and then never do. Of course I was also invited to eat there on Wednesday nights at 5 pm, which is the same time that Jeff The Potter's church meets. It's a "dog eat dog" world in the soul saving game...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanks

I Am Invited To The Cave
I was sitting in the park on Thanksgiving day, when some guys came around and asked me if I played my guitar. They asked me if I needed anything. One of them held a bible.
I hate that question, because the answers are myriad. Of course, I need oxygen, etc.
They gave me 20 bucks, and invited me to go to the church which is called "The Cave." That gave me about 24 bucks, total. There were hardly any people walking around on Dauphin Street.
Supposedly, there is great Christian music played there. I will have to leave here in a few minutes, if I am to meet them in Bienville Park.
I Am Invited To The Music Box
Last night, as I walked around in the frigid air, noticing that there were hardly any people on the street. I ran into none other than the nice Becca, and her friend. She invited me to go to The Music Box, to hear some band play. She handed me 20 bucks, to cover the entrance fee, which wound up being 12 bucks, although the guy at the door let me in for 5. I think he knew me from Serda's Open Mic Night.
The band playing inside consisted of members, all of whom I had seen at Serda's before. I knew their original songs already. I didn't see Becca there. I hadn't gone in right after my meeting her on the sidewalk, but sat and played for about 30 minutes and made only a couple bucks.
I did see Taylor, oldest daughter of Jeff The Potter, and was not acknowleged by her or her boyfriend.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Rainy Day Women #1 and #2
My Attempt To Return The Bags
After giving the purse which had information about Michelle (to whom I will give a fictitious name, and heretofore refer to as "Liz" (to protect her privacy and save keystrokes) to a cop at the Shell station (which every local calls the BP station, because it once was,) and seeing no signs of enthusiasm in his deportment, and hearing him tell me that I "might as well throw it in the dumpster," I decided to try to find Liz on Facebook.
Finding her was easy, as there was only one person on Facebook with the same first and last names and middle initial, who mentioned "having my pocketbook stolen" as one of her "interests."
I left a message in which I mentioned that I play at a certain time each night, more or less, at a certain spot, which is the acoustically superior spot.
It began to rain profusely, as I left the library and prepared to listen to Monday night football. (I would capitalize all of the preceding, but I think that is no longer the trademark of that particular broadcast. I think now it is called "Football For Those Who Have Digital Televisions, And Who Have Purchased Certain Add-On Packages To Go With Their Basic Cable Subscriptions," but anyways...)
The rainfall kept me confined to sitting on one of the trolleys, under its roof, and listening to the game on my cheap AM radio, for at least an hour, after which I sallied forth and turned my steps towards the bright lights of Downtown Mobile.
It Is I, Come Follow Me To Your Bags
The Story Of How I Returned The Bags
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were hardly any people out, and I decided to get a beer and continue to listen to the game inside the gazebo in Bienville Park. It was there that I heard a young lady's voice call "Daniel?"
I answered hesitantly, thinking that the owner of the voice probably wanted a cigarette. The fact that she had somehow learned my name was kind of  curious, and the thought ran through my mind that she may have read some book like How To Win Friends And Influence People, and made it a point to know my name and include it in her request for a cigarette, as a means of garnering my favor and making me feel important and flattered, thus putting me in a generous mood. I was on guard against this play upon my ego, when I answered from the bowel of the gazebo, 'Yes?"
"Are you the guy that Facebooked my mother," asked the same voice. "
"About the bags?" I asked, and this had the immediate effect of causing two teen aged girls to materialize and come bounding up the steps and to the gate of the gazebo. They were dressed as some teenage girls do, in short skirts and in tee shirts which  had communications written artistically upon them, affording anyone to look upon their bosoms for an inappropriate amount of time, so long as the gawker speaks the words "What does your shirt say??" while doing so, types of shirts. There hair seemed to be dyed, and they each had a tasteful amount of body piercings and tattoos. Neither one was carrying a handbag.
It was decided, following their suggestion, that we would walk to the place where I had hidden the bags, and we did so, while along the way, I told them the adventure of me finding them. They told me that they already knew that the phone was gone out of one of the bags, because they had called it and it was answered by someone who told them that; No, they couldn't have their phone back.
It began to rain lightly as we were about half way to the spot where I had hidden the bags, and I lamented that this was my third incident of being caught in the rain that day.
We got to the dark road which ran alongside the abandoned building alongside of which I had found the bags. The girls walked with me, and as we distanced ourselves from the neon light of the Shell sign, they stepped up their inquiries, as as to the exact location of the bags. I pointed to the spot, behind the abandoned warehouse; a clump of trees growing up out of a patch of tall grass. The spot was almost occluded entirely by the shadows and the fog. It would have been easier to discern it, had it had some yellow crime-scene tape strung up around it, I wondered if the girls were thinking. 
Ahead, about a quarter mile, glowing eerily in the fog and drizzle was the loading dock, from which emanates the constant hum of machinery (just loud enough to drown out the sound of a young girl's scream).
I stopped short of the spot, and suggested that the girls wait there, by a large puddle in the road, while I went into the stand of trees, which was now just 30 feet away, and retrieved the bags. My boots were waterproof, I said.
I found the bags where I had laid them the day before and, as I pulled them out of the tall grass and into enough light so that the girl and her friend recognised them, I was applauded and thanked, and also got to hear some pretty heartfelt sounding gratitude expressed towards God, by both of them. It seemed like a veil over the road behind the warehouse by the loading dock lifted for a second, and it suddenly seemed less of  "God Forsaken" place.
We then hurriedly got the hell out of there, before someone came along and murdered us.
The girls took inventory of the remains of their once proud handbags, as we walked back towards Bienville Park. There was a general consensus among them that, despite losing cash and a cell phone, the lost thereof was satisfactorily compensated by having present their "make-up."
"Oh, yes, my makeup is still here!!" said the friend, who hadn't spoken much, throughout the frolic.
We got back to Bienville Park, where it was revealed that they had a car parked on Dauphin Street. I told them that they had done a prudent thing, in not offering to let a stranger into their car to ride him to a desolate spot where handbags had purportedly been hidden. They gave me 5 dollars. The friend hugged me. They said that they would have liked to have given me more, but that they had lost cash which had been in the bags.
I said that that was alright, as they had given me a great idea for a story about someone who steals teenage girl's bags and then uses them to lure them to their kidnappings and enslavement in the sex trade.
They expressed that they thought that this was a good premise for a story. They must have suddenly remembered a commitment somewhere else, as they then got into the car and left rather abruptly.
And that is how I returned the bags. THE END
The Garage
After returning the bags, I went to The Garage, thinking that I might have some material to play at their open mic. I wasn't going to spend money on beer there, preferring instead to run to the store and buy it at a discount. I figured that I would offer some music as compensation for sitting and watching the end of the game on their TV. If I could get one or two people to come back to the bar to hear me again, and those people spent money, then I would have paid my way, in my estimation. But, there were a lot of musicians, and they "hogged" the stage playing Blues, after Blues, and I eventually left.
Tuesday
I Play Chess Like A Turkey
There was a Thanksgiving service at Jeff The Potter's church. He came and got me at the library, and we hung out at his house, went to the service after eating turkey and cranberry and pecan pie before hand.
Jeff and I wound up playing chess at his house afterwards and I lost a small advantage that I had in the middle game, by making a move which I had initially thought would lead to his demise, then noticed that it wouldn't (necessarily) but then made anyways, without having analysed it. I wound up losing the game.
I slept until about 10am. this morning. Now I contemplate getting some spring water and raisins and having oatmeal by the railroad tracks with honey, and maybe something else like cinnamon or ginger added, because it is Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, after all.
Lidgley's Parcel
The Lidgleys may send a Christmas parcel from London. It will not have to have any Karrie related items in it this year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bags Under My Eyes

Sunday morning, I woke up at about 9 am. I went down to the Dauphin Fellowship, where I was accosted by someone who informed me that he had walked past me when I was playing the previous night, and had seen that I had some money in my case; therefore, he reasoned that I had to have cigarettes, and that I should give him one. He offered, as his reasoning, the tired argument of "us all" being out on the street "together," and needing to share whatever we may have with each other. This belief is more firmly held by those who never seem to have anything to share, than by those who do.
This has happened each week that I have attended the service at that particular church, where free coffee is available. The previous week, it put me in a bad mood, and it took me a full half hour to forgive the beggars their trespasses, as they forgave me for trespassing against them by not giving them cigarettes.
At the Fellowship Baptist church, I seem to be tho only one there who smokes, and I wind up standing by my lonesome in the parking lot, feeling ashamed and ostrisized. Nobody asks me for a cigarette.
The feelings are about equal, and will be non issues whenever I quit smoking.

The church service inside focused upon "thanksgiving." When it was my turn to mention something that I was thankful for, I resisted the temptation to say "for the almost full pack of cigarettes in my pocket." Instead, I gave thanks for having another day and another opportunity to try to quit smoking and drinking. It had a positive effect in my life until the football games started in the afternoon, and I had a couple "football game beers."
I had been down by the railroad tracks, grabbing some clothes to wash at Cooper's Park, when a slow moving train reminded me that I could grab onto it and get an easy ride down to the Exxon, to grab beer and then go behind it to listen to the football broadcast on my cheap AM radio.
I didn't catch the train, but I stashed my backpack in the bushes, to lighten my load, and was satisfied that I would have an easy walk to the Exxon.
I Find Two Handbags
I got a Steel Reserve, and an Earthquake, and walked past the beggar in front of the store, who didn't ask me for anything, because he has been conditioned by my repeated refusals to yield to his petitions in the past. These refusals usually come with a wisecrack, which I try to make up on the spot. I try to be original and not use the same wisecrack twice on any bum. This at least turns the experience of being harassed into a mental exercise and thus sharpens my mind.
I walked around the back of the store, having stored "I was just going to ask YOU for one, bro" in my memory banks for future reference, when I found two large handbags, laying on the side of the road, where only those who are trying to hide and drink beer and listen to football, go.
They were full of things other than money or credit cards. I hid them in the tall grass, after pulling out a small purse which had information about the owner.
I didn't want to be seen carrying them down Water Street, especially if they had been freshly stolen, or freshly reported stolen. I resolved to find the owner of the bags, who seems to be a white (tanning booth receipts) lady (named "Michelle" Tallent) who has two cars (a 2003, and a 2007, both insured by Progressive until 2011) and who buys eggs, perhaps even eats them, and has a daughter named Autumn, who's health is insured.
The bags seemed expensive, made of soft leather like what is used to make sofas, and and smelled of expensive-smelling perfume. There was a Marlboro Light cigarette box with two cigarettes in it, leading me to think that nobody from the Dauphin Fellowship was the thief.
After the finding and hiding of the bags, I began my easy walk back to where my own backpack was hidden. I thought it ironic that, while I was safeguarding Michelle Tallent's bag, some scum"bag" may have been pilfering MY bag. I figured that, if I was worried about mine, then Michelle may have been worrying about hers, provided she is still alive, after being robbed of her bags.
I then directed my steps towards Cathedral Park, to continue listening to the games, and to share my cheap AM radio's output with the guy who carries everything he owns around in a huge quintupled-lined trash bag. He is usually at that spot on Sundays, watching the games on the TV across the street, in Heroes Pub.
I picked up a third beer, and went to the park to find the guy who carries everything he owns around in a huge quintuple-lined trash bag, sitting on a bench, next to his huge trash bag. He is one of the few homeless guys who have little fear of anybody running off with their bags, as, there are few people who are strong enough to actually run, carrying a 50 pound bag, the size of the one Santa Claus' carries.
Jeff Shows Up, Leaves In Disgust
Along came Jeff, who had his youngest son, Jarod with him. They were walking their little dog, which is part Dachshund.
I immediately felt guilty about the can of beer, which I had hidden behind Gerald's bag, and was drinking off of. (Gerald is the name of T.G.W.C.E.H.O.I.A.H.Q.L.T.B., and is easier to type. I have previously referred to Gerald as "The poor man's Santa Clause," but this was before I knew his Christian name, and was never intended to be derogatory.)
Jeff mentioned that we still had time to make the evening service at his church. I thought that I would have to gulp down the rest of my beer pretty fast in order to make it to the church on time.
Then, along came John The Street Preacher, who exchanged pleasantries with Jeff, and who was already acquainted with Gerald.
I sipped my beer and lit up a cigarette and wondered which one of us was the worst role model for young Jarod. I'm sure Jeff The Potter doesn't want to see him grow up drinking and smoking, nor speaking in tongues, nor carrying everything he owns in a huge bag.
Jeff The Potter soon left, and didn't return.
John The Street Preacher theorised that he left because he felt uncomfortable about inviting me to church, without inviting him.
Gerald just said that, a lot of times he himself just walks away without really saying anything.
I figured that he didn't want to bring me to church smelling like beer, or that he didn't want to drag me away from the game, with the Giants on the 32 yard line and going for it on 4th down and 3.
I Try To Return The Bags
I ran into a cop at the Shell station and gave him the little purse, explaining how I had found it. He was the same officer who told me that I couldn't play on Water Street, in the median strip. He questioned me suspiciously about why I hadn't brought the thing to the police the day before, and accused me of having gone through the bags and removed all the money and credit cards. He didn't seem too concerned about getting the bags back to Michelle Tallent.
Only I know where they are hidden.
I just hope that she hasn't been the victim of any foul play, for her sake, and for my own, in case they want to lock me up and interrogate me about the bags.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just A Nice Photo

This Is Just A Nice Photo
I haven't blogged all week. Things are different, now that I no longer have the songwriting contest to occupy me.
Serda's, Round Three
Wednesday, I went to see the third round of the competition. The performers were better than on any previous round, I thought. Maybe they had the same idea as myself, in letting people get knocked out in the earlier rounds, leaving less competition in the latter ones. I guess it backfired, because all the best competition seemed to have had the same idea, if that makes any sense...
Jeff, The Potter And Erin, His Daughter
Until I Get A Photo Of Erin...
I was joined by Jeff, the Potter, and Erin, his daughter.
We had come from the Fellowship Baptist church service, where pork and chicken was eaten, and the book of James digested afterwards.
There was a lot of jockeying for the seating in the music room, which was at a premium. Many people sat on the carpet, where they were able to get the camera angles that they wanted for their various devices.
Several people greeted me warmly, having seen me play there before, or at The Garage. They all seemed upbeat and to be hoping that I was going to play that night. It is encouraging to have the respect of your peers, if not of the judges. I plan upon asking the judges, after the thing is over with, about their decision making process, in hopes of finding out how close I came to making the finals, and whatever strong points that they may have seen in my songs.
Mornings On Royal
One of the reasons for the gap in this blog has to do with a change in my routine, whereby I have been playing on Royal Street in the mornings. Thursday morning, I managed to get about 17 bucks from the passers by, most of whom seemed to be "business" people. I sat next to the big clock, in front of the bank.
Friday, I only made about 11 bucks there, before a lady came out of the bank and asked me to move, because someone had supposedly felt uncomfortable using the ATM while I was sitting 30 feet away, playing music. I can only guess at the motives of that person, if he or she actually exists. It seems like some people just want others to be at their mercy, or that they get some kind of payoff by preventing someone else from prospering.
I went up to Cathedral Park, on my way to the music store to use almost all of my money for a new set of strings. There were several busses from different high schools, bringing kids to some kind of 'Internation" festival, or something. A group from Leflore High School, where Jeff, The Potter teaches art, asked me to play something. They gave me about 5 bucks, to go with the 11 that I already had, after I played something. This turned out to be just about enough to finance the excursion to the music store, with the cost of a pack of smokes and a couple of beers taking up the balance.
I got back into town and put the new strings on and sounded great for the handful of people who were there. People must be reserving money for the Thanksgiving holiday, which is approaching.
I went to sleep rather early (for a Friday) and woke up this morning with the battery dead on my cell phone/alarm clock, and about 90 cents in my pocket. I have lost my guitar pick, to add to my troubles.
I am keeping the option of moving from Mobile open.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Facebooking, Perhaps

Tonight is the night when I make more money on the street with my little tunes than any other, provided that I am conscious.
I'll miss my "friends," like this one from Garden Grove, CA
I am so far behind on my writings. Must I eliminate an activity, like Facebooking, perhaps???
Why is my progress so slow on my novels and songs and book reading, when I have ALL DAY EVERYDAY, to work on stuff??
Maybe Rebekah, from Garden Grove, California holds the answer to that question.

Last night was the Artwalk, and I managed to do a little better than the other musicians, who were plentiful enough to create an environment where tourists were retaining their money, wanting to see all of the performers, before returning to tip the ones that they thought were groovy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just As Well That Nobody Recorded

Quetzel (bird)
I didn't make the finals
of the songwriting competion at Serda's.
I woke up Wednesday morning with my songs already in my head. I was well rested and ready for battle. I spent a lot of time in the graveyard, running through my songs and was surprised to find that some of the verses had to be re-arranged, while others were easier to sing over different chord sections. I felt pretty confident in my ability to fill in gaps with ad-libbing and glue the verses together. I wasn't actually timing myself and was guessing that the song was about 5 or 6 minutes long, as written.
I got to Serda's at 7pm. to see that the entire back area, where the music usually happens, was full of bags of coffee beans. Some institution had ordered 1,800 pounds of coffee, I think was the weight. The "stage" had been moved to the front, and the audience were crowded around the coffee bar. This went counter to some preparations that I made, whereby I sat in the back room some mornings, and visualized winning the contest by sitting in the chair, which I would be playing in if the room wasn't full of bags of coffee beans, and imagining my songs coming off perfectly.
I was told that the contest would take place in the front part of the place, where I noticed chairs and microphones. I was an hour early. I decided to try to augment the 32 cents which I had in my pocket and warm up by playing on the street. I was thrown 4 dollars by the time 7:40 rolled around. I went and had my first beer of the day, to "loosen up."
I got to Serda's and was asked by Jimmy Lee if I wanted to go on "third." I told him that that would be fine, as, if one of the first two got on base, I could bat them in.
The Invisible Watch
I wasn't prepared for the "10 minute" format, whereby everyone is given that amount of time to do their (2) songs. I had been in the back room, with the coffee beans, tuning my guitar to the girl who was playing second. She was using a capo, and so, tuning to my "normal" e-flat was easy. I just about had it right when the girl finished abruptly, and I was making my way through the crowd when Jimmy Lee was introducing me. He added something about us having our instruments tuned before coming on stage.
I still had to tweek some strings (while Jimmy Lee squirmed) before starting. After introducing the first song and making some patter about the thremal underwear top that I was wearing ("This first piece is from a collection of songs of mine, called 'Music to Play In Your Long Johns'"), I probably had about 8 minutes to play.
The first song went pretty well, maybe 76 out of 100 points. I heard someone say "That was pretty good," after I finished.
The second song, which would have been all of 8 minutes by itself, ran too long and was interupted by a guy in a yellow shirt, who pointed to the spot on his wrist where a watch would be, had he been wearing one, and said "time," as Jimmy Lee pulled back on the vocal mic and gave me an "I told you so" look.
I don't know how close I came to being selected for the finals. They may have flipped a coin to choose between myself and the guy who played two chords and jumped around like a monkey, while singing about how "misunderstood" he is.
Yesterday, I was mildly depressed and deciding between trying harder, and using the experience as a learning one; or giving up altogether and just basically drinking and drugging myself to death like our heros from the 60's did.
Instant Coffee Stolen, Along With Seasoned Salt
I discovered the morning after the contest, that my instant coffee and my seasoned salt had been stolen from under the straw, where I had hidden them. The honey and the quick oats were still there, as were my clothes. I suspect the young black guy, who sleeps in the front area, and who comes around to our area ocasionally and acts like he is looking to see if a certain person is present, for example, and who then just leaves without speaking. He may have seen my instant coffee out the other night (a slip-up on my part,) and then came back to overturn the straw in hopes of stealing it. I am not sure that it was him, though, and I hesitate to slice his throat open O. J. Simpson style, as he sleeps tonight. I would feel bad if it wasn't him.
I saw the theft of my coffee as a symbol of losing the competition at Serda's (coffeehouse).
Desire To Play Diminished
I didn't feel like playing that night after I first sat down. I didn't like my songs anymore, since the judges didn't like them. I was aware of all the artists coming to the area, whom I have never heard of; a lot of whom are "known" for their acumen in certain styles of music. Musicians seem to be multiplying exponentially. Looking at the listings, one would think that they are all great, and bring their eclectic blends of music, fused together by an underlying soul, wherever they play. I wonder how they would "bill" me -acoustic psychedelic improv with humorous lyrics, fused together by an underlying soul??
I somehow sat down for a couple hours and was surprised to see people throwing money in my case, as if they could sense that I was trying to decide between suicide and working harder on music.
I got close to 20 bucks in an hour and a half, and knocked off at midnight.
Church Spot "Blown Up"
I slept late at the church spot (until 7:30) this morning, when along came one of the Community Watchdog type guys in his yellow shirt, and told me that I had to get my stuff and leave, and that I couldn't sleep there anymore.
I couldn't help seeing a parallel between he and the guy in the yellow shirt at Serda's, who had told me that time was up. I had stayed at the spot too long, becayse I didn't want to get up when I first woke up.
I have a reluctancy towards getting up with the sun, now that we have set the clocks back one hour for "daylight savings." This now makes 6:05 am. the time when the sun breaks over the horizon, leaving a full hour and a half to mill about, awaiting the opening of the doors of the Presbyterian church, for the giving of the eggs and grits and blueberries.
I have chosen lately to sleep until 7:05 am., even though it means getting up under daylighted conditions. This was my undoing this morning.
I have already found another spot, and moved my stuff there. I hope the Community Watchdog type guy returns to the church spot tonight, to see if I have followed his directive to evacualte, and he catches whoeveer stole my coffee and my seasoned salt.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hubert's Trip Lyrics In Progress

Hubert's Trip
Hubert always said that one day he was going to get in his ’71 Plymouth Fury and drive all the way around the country, looking at stuff and taking photos and writing in his journal
Since Hubert was never one to kid; one day he just up and did


Hubert’s Trip, yeah Hubert’s trip
What a trip was Hubert’s trip
A circumnavigation of the nation… is Hubert’s idea of a vacation


He's up at dawn, stifles a yawn
He wraps a sandwich in foil; checks his dipstick for signs of oil
He packs his clothes, and picks his nose… he loads his camera with film and then off he goes...


He goes to Toledo, and-say's... "Holy Cow"
12 hours of traveling to be-where... I am now
He stops in Cleveland and-he... takes a nap
Then on to Akron where-hetakes a crap


He drives northwestward and-he...sees Lake Michigan
He looks at the water and won-ders...if he’ll ever eat fish again
In Sioux Falls he sees some Siouxs-they’re... having a powwow
He wants to say hello-but… he doesn’t know ‘how’


But it’s Hubert’s trip; yeah, Hubert’s trip
Hubert’s multicultural sociological trip, yeah Hubert’s trip
He photographs stuff; and writes in a journal.
He Stops every now and then… to use a urinal


Across Dakota he mo-tors... through the Badlands
On his AM radio he-hears...a couple bad bands
He scans through the dial look-ing… for a good song
He hears Springsteen singing “Bad-lands”…and Hubert sings along


Then on into the big sky state...Hubert rode
He stops outside of Billings to wait-for...a moose in the road
He leans upon his Fury’s-horn.....trying to move it
If you don’t believe in loose-moose...he has photos to prove it


Because it’s Hubert’s trip; Hubert’s Hubert’s Northwestern leg


He finds Mt. Rushmore, one of the-more...interesting places
With his hammer and his chisel he etc-hes…worry lines on the faces
For it is the Founding Fath-ers...they're memorializing
So Hubert uses art as a way-of...editorializing


The Pacific Northwest is reall-y...quite a sight to see
Hubert drives his Fury; through a hol-lowed out... Redwood tree
He goes to San Francis-co…and while he is there
He buys some flour at a bake-ry…and puts it in his hair


He goes to L.A. where-hesees a symphony
He flashes his student ID-and...he gets in free
Hubert is inspired by the mu-sic… and pretty soon
He finishes his own composi-tion...called Bach at the moon


Then on across the California desert, towards Nevada Hubert does trek
Hubert marvels at the vastness of the landscape and is taken aback by the grandeur and splendor of it all; It kind of makes Hubert feel small, yet, at the same time he feels like he is an integral part of the cosmos…He realizes that he is at One with the universe and he’s in such awe that he can hardly speak
He pulls off to the side of the road for a couple minutes… to take a leak


He goes through Death Valley in-the...dead of night
With one eye on the road and the oth-er…on his temperature light
Then over the horizon he sees an… eerie sight
It looks like a spaceship or may-be…a neon light


Hubert’s aware that the des-ert… is where the aliens are
Drawing circles and beaming up cows-and...the occasional car
The strange light intensifies-andHubert does worry
About being abducted and hav-ing…experiments done on his Fury


Because it’s Hubert’s trip; Hubert’s paranormal trip Hubert’s supernatural trip which defies explanation ;


Hubert sees a road sign that puts the strange light… in a whole new light
As he descends into the valley he’s filled… with a whole new fright
He knows that the glow means that hesoon will be in
The jewel in the desert they call… the city of sin
Hubert thinks that this might just be one of the more exciting parts of his trip…(.not to take anything away from Billings Montana…)


He gets to Vegas and-he… walks the strip
He’s dazzled by the pageantry as he…let’s a fart rip
The temptation to gamble is so-strong...that Hubert can’t stand it
He takes out a quarter and plays-a...one armed bandit
He doubles his money; yeah-he...gives it a beating
He wins once more then leaves before-they...accuse him of cheating


Because it’s Hubert’s trip; yeah, Hubert’s high rolling trip; Hubert’s lurid and seedy foray into the underworld
Hubert is where the neon’s bright and the stakes are high and everything is for sale


A couple ladies approach-him...and they are really lookers
But Hubert... soon real-i-zes…that they are really hookers
They make a proposition to Hu-bert...that will have to stay in Vegas
Concerning a business arrange-ment...that’s been going on for ages


Hubert is doing math in his head as he looks over their figures
He’s trying to make a few calculations; and the ladies are pushing his buttons
He wonders if he can afford a little decadence
He’s dividing 500 by 45 seconds


Hu-bert is greatly tempt-ed...to indulge in romance
He's got a wad of bills and the la-dies...see the bulge in his pants
They were hot and they flirted but he decides...sex without love is overrated
To a spot that’s deserted he rides-where...Hubert masturbated


Because it’s Hubert’s trip; Hubert’s self gratifying trip. Hubert’s erotic trip where if it feels good then it is done
Yes Hubert thinks it appropriate to park by The Palms Hotel to take care of business
He has a good imagination and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than what the ladies were proposing. He spends a little on Vaseline; and saves a whole lot for gasoline…Then Hubert sets out for Arizona, now that he’s taken care of his….situation


He stops for gas in Tuc-son… and meets a hippie
He gives him a ride all the way-to....Mississippi
The hippie passes Hubert one-of...his funny cigarettes
Something happened after that-but...Hubert forgets


Because it’s Hubert’s trip, Hubert’s mind-altered trip; Hubert’s psychedelic ride, looking through red colored eyes; taking pictures of plaster scene porters with looking glass ties
Hubert wants to tune in, turn on and drop out,
So he tunes in his AM radio; turns on to the interstate and takes his eye drops out
Hubert is on his 5th Twinkie as he crosses into Alabama
He’s driving slowly (almost too slowly) ‘cause he’s afraid of going to the slammer


He gets to Mobile and-down...Ro-yal Street he does go
He’s looking for something to eat-and....a cup of Joe
‘Cause all he's had that day was… a day old pretzel
He sees a coffee house-and...on their sign is a Quetzal


Hubert goes inside for coff-ee… and grabs something light
He sees an ad in the win-dow… for Songwriters Open mic night
Hubert wonders if-heshould hang out
To see what kind of writers show-up...and what they sing about


Because it’s Hubert’s trip, yeah Hubert’s etc  He walks around Mobile, talking to folk. He gets a lot of practice saying: "Sorry, I don't smoke..." He picks up some granola, to go with the next verse...

He’s got a whole bag of grano-la…which he snacks on still
He buys a coke in Pensaco-la… then hits Jacksonville
He stops at a kiosk in Savan-nah...and buys a New York Times
Then through Charleston and Fayetteville and other pla-ces...with which nothing rhymes


He passes the Whitehouse in D.-C...then rides around back
Hubert is shocked to see peo-pleselling crack
The Lincoln Memorial he’s-seen... somewhere, he is sure
He wishes he had bucks for eve-ry…time he’s seen it before


He went to Philly and-hesaw a bell
No one was around, so he fig-ured...what the hell
He grabbed the clapper and-he... really smacked it
As it rang, Hubert ran because-he...thinks that he cracked it


He gets to New York and Hu-bert...visits a museum
The curator shakes his hand and say’s... that’ he’s happy to see him
Hubert gets carried away-and...touches a Van Gogh
And so, out of the museum Hu-bert... they do throw


Then into New England Hu-bert… continues to roam
In the interest of brevity Hu-bert… soon is home
He parks his Fury in his drive-way… and then reflects for a while
He thinks of all he’s done and seen and… it makes Hubert smile


Hubert’s trip is now done but the…ceaseless recounting of it…has only begun
He parks his ’71 Fury, which now has 317 thousand 208 miles and 3 10ths on it…
He picks the 57 newspapers up off his doorstep, goes into his house, drinks a glass of orange juice; burps and then lays down and sleeps for 10 hours, dreaming about the two hookers in Vegas….

Monday, November 8, 2010

Contest In Two Days

The contest is Wednesday night. I have some more memorizing and practicing to do.
I must run through my songs about 5 times each, or until I make no great mistake, make no mistake about it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beam Me Up

The First Drummer I Ever Played With Is Back In My Life
Falling Off The Wagon
I left the library yesterday, thinking that I wanted some red wine. I questioned my decision of going into a state of complete abstinence from alcohol and wondered if the health benefits of red wine "in moderation" were something that I could benefit from.
I went to the CVS and ascertained that they indeed had a bottle of red wine for 4 bucks. I stood out in front of the store for about 10 minutes, before chickening out and opting to go to the liquor store and buy one 99 cent shot of Jim Beam Black Whiskey.
I stood across the street from the liquor store while an internal debate raged. I knew that I was throwing away a 10 day streak, and would be back to zero days without alcohol. I decided to go in and get one, and then put it in my pocket until I had made up my mind if I wanted it. And there it stayed, until I saw a spot, on my way to the Shell to get cigarettes, which looked like a perfect place to hide and drink it.
I held the whiskey in my mouth and tried to taste it and ask myself (my "silent witness," if you are Buddhist) if I really wanted to swallow. I concluded that I didn't want to waste a dollar, so I swallowed it. I went to get cigarettes and then back for a second shot, because one was never enough. I hardly felt the effects of the Jim Beam, even after the second one. I headed into town.
On the way in, at Cathedral Park, I ran into Mike, who plays guitar and who I had sat with in the park before, playing songs and teaching him some. Mike was on his way to get a cold beer, and I walked with him to the store, where I got a shot of brandy, just to be social.
I then sat on my spot and played and made about 4 bucks, just enough to cover my extravagance. Then, it was time to go to the revival, as I had planned to do.
The Revival
I got to the building, only half drunk, an improvement over my first foray into it, and followed the sound of someone yelling through a microphone, down into the basement, where the revival is held. (Maybe they are getting the people acclimated to being down in a pit...)
There were a few people on their way out, as I was arriving an hour and a half after the thing had started. I ran into a man as I stepped off the escalator (which wasn't moving.) He recognized me from my playing on the street and reminded me of who he was. He was part of a group which came by my spot one night and gave me about 25 dollars, after I had casually mentioned that I was trying to make that amount, so I could get my ID. The group; came again about 2 months after that, by my other spot, and gave me a hamburger. They may have seen at that time that I hadn't made any strides in the way of playing without drinking malt liquor also, and reduced my blessing from 25 dollars to a hamburger, I don't know for sure.
He gave me a prolonged hug and told me to go right in to the revival and have a wonderful, blessed, miraculous time.
I went into the auditorium and started to walk up the center aisle toward the front. I wanted to get an objective look at things from up close and see what the revival was all about.
I had made it no more than half way there, when I was grabbed by the arm by a guy in a gray suit with a name badge on his lapel. He started to pull me towards the side, in the same way a cop pulls someone who he has just arrested towards his cruiser. "Come this way," he almost ordered me. "Am I being arrested?" I joked. "No, we're...we're glad that you're here," he said.
He led me to a remote part of the room to the extreme right of the stage (I hesitate to call it an altar) where there was a row of chairs which weren't in use. In fact, he and another gentleman in a gray suit with a name tag on the lapel had to remove a chair, which had been inverted and stacked upon the one which they were putting me in, from the one that they were putting me in, before putting me in it.
I sat there, as one of them took the chair which had been taken off of the one that I was in and sat in it, by my right shoulder, as if guarding me. They asked me my name. I told them. One of them asked me if I had been there before. I said "Once," referring to my first visit when I stayed all of 15 minutes, before leaving in disgust over the music. Then I saw traces of suspicion on the face of the man guarding me, mingled with his underlying bemused expression. It was as if he was heavily sedated and confused, and now suspicious on top of that.
I noticed that every person in the foremost section was standing with arms raised overhead and facing the guy on the microphone, who was booming out things that sounded cliche, like 'Right here, Right now!!"
The man went on to mention that they were being broadcast to something like 5 million homes, worldwide (and that none of them would see a guy with a backpack and a guitar at any time during the broadcast). Whenever the man had something to say which he deemed worthy of it, he would yell to the crowd "Look up here!!" They would then open their eyes, (taking their gaze off of the face of God?), and look up there.
Hey, Let Me Get 16 Grand Off 'Ya
Then, I realized that my arrival had been timed interestingly. The broadcasting stopped in short order, as they had fished their limit of airtime, I suppose. Then, matters turned to "the offering." The man told the crowd, "quite honestly," that 16 thousand dollars was required each night to keep the revival going at its most heavenly level.
He instructed them to (Look up here and) give money. (This, in a city which just outlawed pan-handling on the street, incidentally). His speech included short bursts of unintelligible (at least to me) language, which I assumed was spoken "in tongues." I noticed that "tongues" had a distinctive and consistent accent about it, as if it actually is derived from an alphabet with a finite set of syllables. It didn't sound too random. I'm sure it could be 'faked" pretty easily by anyone who might endeavor to take up that particular practice, for whatever purpose they might have for doing so.
I started to feel a coldness in the place. Turning to the man who was guarding me, I saw a look on his face which was hard to read. He reiterated that he was glad that I was there. And not over there, where I would be on camera, right?  He asked me my name once again, as it apparently hadn't stuck in his memory, given the Jesus-based stupor that he seemed to be in.
Eventually (15 minutes later) I had had enough. I picked up my pack and my guitar and started to leave. I was immediately grabbed by the coat-tail by the guy who was guarding me. It may be that the luckiest thing that had happened to the guy that day was, that I hadn't decided to take an additional shot of booze before attending, as, I was .04% away from snapping around and whacking his arm off of my person with a violence which may have broken his 65 year old bones. I got in his face and said "Put a hand on me again!!" I believe he wanted his hand on me even less than I did, at that point.
I felt greatly affronted, being grabbed such, from behind. "Go out this way," he said, motioning away from where the cameras were pointing.
I went out, but not before giving the finger to whoever in the crowd might have been looking my way instead of looking up there.
I walked to the church spot, contemplating giving John the Preacher a piece of my mind over "his" revival. I was sure that he was going to be there laying in his spot, which used to be one of my spots. After imploring me to attend the revival, he himself wouldn't  be there, but rather, at his sleeping spot. He sure was.
I walked past him, not saying a word. I thought I heard him laugh as I walked past, but attributed it to something coming through his headphones which he found humorous. I could easily have imagined him to be laughing and thinking "got 'cha!" in reference to having lured me into the farcical scene which was The Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival, which costs 16 thousand dollars per night to put on.
I sat on my spot and meditated, and asked Jesus if I had been wrong to have lost my cool and almost thrown a hay maker at a guy in a gray suit, hard enough to knock the name tag off of it. By and by, what came to me was something about "In my father's house there are many mansions," and that I would be living in one far away from people who hold their arms over their heads and sway to dumbed-down Christian rock music, absorbing power from the speakers. He told me not to persecute them, and that their faith in Him was what was making them throw down their crutches and walk in front of the cameras.
What I learned was to seek people who are fun to be around and who also have received the Holy Ghost. Many Mansions, I like that.....
At breakfast, I saw John the Preacher, who asked me if I had drank the previous night. He had assumed that to be the case after I walked by him without speaking. I explained that, yes, I had drank 4 shots of liquor, ending a 10 day fast from alcohol, but that I had walked past because I hadn't had anything "nice' to say at the time, and was only going to denigrate his chosen religion. I then denigrated it over breakfast, instead.
John Not Offended 
John agreed that the "televised" aspect of the thing was "phony" because they edit the content before broadcasting, and they only leave in the "good" parts. So, it's a 5 minute broadcast, John?
And that is the story of the 15 minutes that I wasted last night. I now harbor strong doubts about the veracity of stories about people getting up out of their wheelchairs, which they have been in for 25 years, and dancing the meringue to cheesy music, which is sprinkled with biblical cliches.
I don't know if I will go back to the revival again. I might just catch it on TV.