Friday, February 25, 2011

Polka Dot Society

Yesterday's parade of the "polka dot" people, (or something,) was not very productive.
At one point, Jimmy Lee (Underhill) and the artist formerly known as the girl in the fishnet stockings, walked by. They were probably on their way to Island Thyme for the open mic event.
I chose to stay on my spot, where I got 4 more dollars. Not a productive evening, moneywise; but the artist mentioned above, who I will abreviate to Miss Underhill, spoke to me when I was walking towards my spot. She asked me if I was going to play on the street (as opposed to playing at Island Thyme, I guess.) I couldn't figure out if she was hoping that I would play at Island Thyme, or if she was hoping that I wouldn't.
Probably the former, as, she hasn't deigned to speak to me much, in the past, and could have just walked by and ignored me.
Becca is trying to get a gig at Serda's and has asked me to appear at some point in the proceedings and do some songs. This gives me incentive to pull some more music out of the sea, polish it up and get it ready. ("polish" as in shine, not as in turn them into polkas)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

House Cleaning

It's Wednesday. There is some activity in town. I think I will go play on the ramp, since I am pretty much broke.
If I make enough this weekend, and can avoid spending it on friends, I will go to New Orleans on the train.
There are Spring Breaks going on, also, in some of the beach communities.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Tuesday

Making adjustments to MoonpieVac. Big enough intake for pies; not big enough for pigeons.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Part Of My Excuse

It Was Tough On Grease And Stains
Yesterday was laundry day. I ran into Terry, the 54 year old black man on my way to the laundromat.
Terry wanted to throw some of his stuff into the washer, and so he grabbed some of his stuff.
He told me that he has solved the problem of the manager where he works throwing his clothes away when she finds them. Since the manager is 4 foot tall, as he describes her, he now puts his clothes up high, where she cannot see them (above 7 feet).
He also had two cold beers, which had been given to him that morning, as part of his compensation for helping someone clean up their club after a fight the previous night between a 300 pound woman and some man, left the place trashed.
We got our clothes clean and dry, and then stopped at a little store, where I got Terry and I each a cheap beer; the ones that come to 61 cents, tax included.
From there, I went into town, attempting to play music, which I did. I don't recall seeing very many people out on that Sunday night.
Terry pretty much accompanied me in all my comings and goings; especially the "goings" to the beer and cigarette store, and later, to "the food store that takes food cards" store.
At one point, I broke away from him, after thinking it peculiar how close he kept himself by me on this night when I was sharing everything, and still had more money left.  At one point in the evening, he became angry after we had lost track of each other, after a misunderstanding which Terry labored under in thinking that I was still in the Shell, when, in fact I was walkiing down Dauphin Street, thinking that Terry had already left the store and done the same.
He threw sort of a tantrum, and became almost more determined to not let me elude him again.
It was later, when I became hungry and and was adding up the the expense of two cheeseburgers, at $3.19 each, and two beers to wash them down, and then two cigarettes smoked afterwards, that I managed to think up the excuse "I was so drunk that I just went off and passed out somewhere," as a merciful way of sneaking away from Terry. I went and got food for one, and one more beer, and then smoked one more cigarette, and passed out somewhere, so, part of my excuse is true... 

Friday, February 18, 2011

English 101

Second Paper: Surprise Reversal
The second paper, which I have helped a certain student with was a "surprise reversal" paper, in which a common misconception is refuted. It starts out by stating the misconception. The majority of it is to come from personal experience, and is meant to convey knowledge gained thereby, which will (hopefully) come as a surprise to a lot of readers.
I ran into Ben the ambulance driver Wednesday afternoon. He said that there are programs which college professors can run which will detect if a student's paper appears anywhere on the worldwide web. If more than two words match a document somewhere, it will be flagged as plageurism. Ben said that it would even include this blog.
It seems to me that such a program would take hours to run, even using today's giga-fast processors. We doubted that an English 101 professor would take the time to run several papers through such a filter. If she was very suspicious of certain ones, then she might possibly check them. The Bangladeshi guy left very little room for suspicion, in my opinion, by using topics very specific to his little corner of Mobile.
I am going to post the finished paper which the Bangladeshi guy wrote, because I think he did a pretty good job on it. He really seems to know a lot about the subject of homelessness, probably because he sees a lot of them during the course of his workday.
Volunteering To Help The Needy: by The Bangladeshi Guy
Many people think that volunteering to feed and clothe the homeless would be a wonderful, heartwarming experience, which would make them feel good about themselves; like they were “making a difference” in helping someone “less fortunate” than them get “back on their feet.” They see the physical condition of certain homeless people, who skulk through the streets with dirty, unkempt bodies in dirty, ragged clothing, and think that it would be nice to help restore dignity and self esteem to them by donating their time and resources. This is a misconception in almost every instance, and they have probably never volunteered to help the homeless.


Volunteers often leave feeling unappreciated, disrespected, and disillusioned after witnessing a dark side of humanity. They have “the wool pulled over their eyes” by the flock that they are trying to feed, and don’t always realize it.

True, there are good and decent people who have suffered hardships who need a little bit of help to get through a rough time. I call these “Class A” homeless people. They have a support network of friends and family, and perhaps a church, where they can receive help from people who know them and value their character. They haven’t directly destroyed their lives through irresponsible behavior, and usually aren’t homeless for very long. They are not likely to be standing in line for a free meal in a park.


The “Class B” homeless are another story.


They are in their particular situations due to drug dependency, alcoholism and other destructive habits, which have caused them to “lose everything.” These are the “bottom of the barrel” homeless people. They have let their drug of choice become more important than their friends and family, and have alienated themselves from them through their incorrigibility. This class of individual will spend their every penny on his addiction in lieu of buying necessities. They will sleep on the ground, or on a piece of cardboard, and it won’t bother them, as long as they stay drunk and/or high. Some of them have incomes; yet, choose to be homeless so that money which would otherwise go for room and board can instead be used to feed their habits.


They sleep free of worry, though, because the generous folks from the churches come around regularly to bail them out and supply the things that they have neglected to acquire themselves. Hallelujah!!


When these people line up for a free meal which is graciously being served by a church group or other individuals, it is common to see a fight break out, as pushing and shoving escalates to violence.


Very often the food is criticized. If a group can only afford to serve rice and beans, for instance, there will be those who will yell something derogatory to the servers. These servers often have their young children with them, trying to teach them about being charitable. They probably aren’t accustomed to, nor want their kids to be subjected to, the foul language from the mouths of the drunken masses, some who are feeling depressed and angry because they are “coming down” off of drugs.
I saw a man throw his bowl of soup on the ground, surprising many of us servers, because he didn’t think that it had enough chicken in it. I have heard loud voices demanding that we speed things up, citing “I’m starving!,” as their argument. There are those who will say “give me more” after being served, despite the fact that it may be close to running out and the line behind them may be long.


I have also seen tensions rise, after one racial group tried to push their way past another, citing the disadvantages that they burden under as a member of their race as a reason for being entitled to be fed first.

Some believe that they have been wronged in life by outside forces, beyond their control, and that they are owed compensation. The resultant attitude is brought to bear upon the volunteers, as food is virtually demanded of us.


The result is that many who come to show love and kindness to “The Needy,” leave shocked by the whole experience, and with a whole new opinion of “the homeless.”


Many people think that, without our help, these people would starve. This is another misconception.


Along with the thriving practice of panhandling, whereby many beggars “make” more money than a minimum wage worker, there is the rampant abuse of the food stamp program by the Class B homeless.


572 thousand people received food stamps in Alabama alone in 2008, according to the Statistical Abstract published by the Census Bureau, at a cost of 647 million dollars to the tax payers. The Class B will commonly sell theirs at “50 cents on the dollar” to people who visit the shelters on just this errand. The aid recipient accompanies them to the supermarket and pays for their purchase using his “EBT” card. Afterward, in the parking lot, an amount of cash equal to about half the value of the food is handed to the beneficiary, who now has a zero balance for the remainder of the month, but has around a hundred dollars to party with (for a day or two).

He/she won’t worry about starving because there will be plenty of free food, thanks to volunteers.


In a sense, these kind-hearted volunteers are enabling people to destroy their health and their lives, making them ultimately even bigger burdens on the tax payers. Intent upon helping them “get back on their feet,” and “saving them” from their miserable conditions, they are actually providing them with a safety net, and allowing them to continue being irresponsible. A poster in the window of a restaurant on Dauphin Street likens giving money to the beggars to giving a loaded gun to a suicidal person.

Works Cited

U.S. Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States:

2010: 361. Print.
Wednesday
I don't believe in "days when everything goes wrong," because of the existence of blessings in disguise, so I guess Wednesday never happened.
I was so totally focused upon helping the Bangladeshi guy with his paper, that I spent right up until the middle of the afternoon on it.
I had pushed out of my mind all of the other pressing matters. They were things like, putting on clean clothes, calling my friend Ted from Boston, grabbing my bible from my sleeping spot, putting a song together for Serda's in the evening, and making some money on the street, because I was down to 12 bucks.
I helped the Bangladeshi guy finish most of his paper, then noticed that it was time to call Jeff the Potter, about going to church. I should have let him know that I was way behind on everything and couldn't squeeze the service into my schedule. I went to drink a beer. I hadn't had one all day. I called him from Ben's phone and, before I knew it, he was on his way.
I didn't feel like going to church in my dirty clothes. Things like that usually don't bother me, as I have worked hard upon paying no heed to what people think.
But, as the thought occured to me that it might be rude to accept a ride to church and then change one's mind about going in, I began to wonder if that was right. Then I wondered why I felt that way. 
Once I was inside and the service started, it would be awkward to get up and walk out.
I have no need to feel awkward, ever. I've paid enough dues (and what I haven't, Jesus has.) 
I just wanted to shuck the whole issue, and so I went and got 3 Steel Reserves and sat by the river and drank them, and thought about things.
I wasn't going to not enjoy them, for feeling guilty, and I wasn't going to sit in the service, wishing that I could sit by the river instead.
Jeff the Potter was very understanding about it afterwards.
Island Thyme
Thursday night, I was in position to go to Island Thyme for their open mic. I happened to be walking up Dauphin, thought about it, checked the time, which was right on; and so I went. That's the way I like things to happen.
I got there as a girl was playing keyboard and singing Christian songs. She came over to me after she finished, and asked me if she had seen me at The Christian Fellowship church. I told her that she probably had, because I had been there. I mentioned being there the previous night, and deciding not to go in, because I didn't feel right, and tried to explain. She wished me well and walked off with a confused look on her face. She might not be comfortable thinking. Some people aren't.

Stepped Outside But Could Still Hear Me
 Skye walked over and handed me a cigarette, making me feel welcome.
A guy whom I have seen before played a couple of songs. After he finished he said he didn't have anything else to play, but wanted to hear a song about a guy who couldn't decide what flavor he wanted.
I did two songs. I approached them seriously and didn't rely upon the "creative muse" to supply lyrics out of thin air (or my ass, depending upon the perspective.)
They went over pretty well. I think the audience was happy to see me stick to the script for a change, and not try, though fail, to invent something. You really have to be right with the universe to do that well.
I did "The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted" second. The girl formerly known as the artist in the fishnet stockings stepped outside during that rendition, but I could tell that she was still listening.
The guy who said that he wanted to hear the song, sat on the floor and played his guitar along with me (but to himself.) He's trying to learn the song, I think. That made me feel the best I had felt all week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Write On

It's Monday. I have spent about an hour working on my autobiography. I probably should be working on the next paper for the Bangladeshi guy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lo

Art Walk
Friday, I was flat broke. The "Art Walk" was scheduled to take place that evening, bringing me hope of making some money.
I arranged to be on my favorite spot by 6 pm.
As I approached it, I kept my ears pealed for the sound of a trumpet, because I feared that Don, the trumpet guy, would be there. It would not surprise me if he took his cue from myself in choosing where to play.
I sat down and began to play, noticing as I did that the people walking by were different from the one's that I had seen during previous art walks. They were "well" dressed enough, but they also (art) walked by and didn't even give me but one dollar, the whole night.
The next day (Saturday), there was to be a big chilli cookoff in Bienville Park. I think a lot of those folk were there, setting up and hoping for a lucrative go of it the next day. I only made one dollar, as I've stated, and it wasn't from any one of the them.
I was next to a place where art was being displayed as part of the "walk." They had had sangria the previous month. This month, they had bottles of red and white wine. They let me fill my cup at will, especially after I told them about the lack of support from the people walking by.
I left, cursing Mobile, intent upon going to New Orleans, and slept in my spot with one dollar in my pocket and thinking angry and vile thoughts.
I slept pretty late, waiting as I did for the sun to rise up and warm things. It had been a 25 degree night, or so.
The Chili Cookoff
I got into town to see the chili cookoff in progress. There were people everywhere.
I sat on Royal Street, perfectly sober, and began to play. I chose a lot of Beatles songs, but played for a full half hour without a tip. There was a 10 euro cent piece in my case, by itself.
Finally, someone came and put a dollar in my case, and, as often is the case, seemed to open up the floodgates of wealth (to exagerate). I played a little better, as if spurred by it. My strings felt tight, as I was tuned to standard pitch, because of tuning on Thursday night to the cello player (Skye Johansen) in hopes that I would be able to play something with her, (and make her fall in love with me).
Then, someone gave me a ticket to the chili cookoff (worth 10 bucks), which I sold for 4 bucks to a passerby. And then, I thought I played pretty decently and made 16 bucks.
I took a break and was on my way to the coffee shop, to drink coffee and work on my next paper for the Bangladeshi guy, when I changed my mind and went to get a 4 Loco drink from the Dauphin Store.
Emerging from the store, I saw a guy drinking the same thing in plain sight of the cops, and noticed that "everyone" seemed to be drinking in public.
I struck up a conversation with the guy, who turned out to be Angelo, who went by "Lo."
He invited me to go for "a shot" at the Seaman's Lounge, where we went, and had about 5 shots, played pool, and then, Angelo wanted to find some "speed."
I told him that I had the number of one drug dealer, in my wallet thing, but that I had gotten it long ago and the guy might be dead, or in jail, or both.
To make a long story short, I tried to call the guy who wasn't "there."
Angelo got me a room at the Budget Inn, saying that he used to be homeless, and that his company would pay for it.
I went to Save-A-Lot and got some fish and stuff to cook in the microwave at the room, returned to the room and had a feast of it. That was not before running into two of my friends at McDonalds, who I invited to crash at the room. That plan didn't work out as the Indians who run the place came running out of the office at the sight of the three of us heading towards room 173, and hollered that there were no visitors allowed at the Budget Inn. What do expect for "budget" rates?!?
I ate and then went out on the street, knowing that I had a warm room, TV and a shower waiting for me.
I played with the looseness of someone who had a room and a hot shower waiting for him, come what may.
My favorite spot only yielded a bit of money. I headed towards my late-night spot, by the hot dog cart guy, and I could hear the trumpet before I even got close to it.
The trumpet guy was there, as he was the previous week.
I sat down on my spot, right next to him. He turned to me and said "Let's play something together."
I thought that he was just patronising me, since he had taken my spot.
I got up and walked down to where I sat right next to the club Atlantis.
This is the spot where a bunch of kids line up and wait in the cold to go in that club. I don't know what the attraction is to them, except for themselves. They go there because so many people go there.
This is the spot where a preacher often stands, with his bible in hand and shouts out things to them which seem to make them ashamed of themselves. It seems like condemnation to me, whenever I hear it.
A white guy with a guitar is just asking for trouble to sit there and play. At the least, the mostly black kids would request things that they were pretty sure I have never heard of, or just heckle, in general.
Last week, I was pissed off at the trumpet guy and thinking of attacking him. Somehow, after making the bold move to sit in front of the Atlantis, I felt superior to him, thinking that even he hadn't the courage to play in front of a mob of young kids, whose role models are thugs.
Then, I began to play, and thought about the preacher guy, and how he tried to shame them.
I hit a couple of chord and created a song which went something like
"Acknowledge God in everything you do and give Him thanks. Have fun, dance and sing and party because  pleasure comes from God, as does all of heaven and earth..."
It was my first "gospel" type song that I composed spontaneously, (ok, I didn't really make it up entirely, I can recall reading it somewhere...) and, surprisingly, none of the young punks gentlemen came and mocked me by dancing sarcastically in front of me.
At one point, some girls walked by and one of them said "Hi, Daniel." I didn't recognize them. They might have thought that I had a lot of guts to sit right in front of a mob of 100 teenagers and play.
Before long, though, one of the security guys from the club told me to move down the sidewalk, stating that he had to expand the line in my direction (because it was already two blocks long and around the corner in the other direction).
I picked up and left, having felt that I had exorcised the demon of the trumpet guy.
When I got back to my room, there was an extra 10 dollar bill in my case, which I hadn't seen thrown. It must have come while I was singing my "gospel song".
This doesn't necessarily mean that my gospel song was good, because, people say that Christians are persecuted, and people don't persecute by throwing 10 dollar bills.
That was about it. I am kind of excited about doing more music based upon scripture, now that I know that I can do it with "bad to the bone" riffs behind it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You Can't Turn Back The Clock; But You Can Rewind It

Last night, I was considering going to Starbucks to sell some coffee off of my gift card, so that I would have a couple of bucks in my pocket, and feel better about taking time off from street playing, to go to church, instead.
I called Jeff The Potter and told him of my dilemma. He mentioned eating, and possibly washing clothes, and that his youngest daughter, Lilly* was not feeling well, and wouldn't be going along with them.
I decided to go to church, but asked him if we could stop at Starbucks quickly, where I would buy a cup of coffee, and, if there were any people in line with me, I would just as quickly try to get some cash.  
I then went to Save-A-Lot to get my guitar and my bag.
There was a large black lady with a little boy just emerging from the store who were rearranging the items in their cart. On the sidewalk under their cart was a dime and two pennies.
I reached down and picked up the 12 cents and asked the lady if she had dropped it.
"No," she replied.
"Well, now I have a dollar and 61 cents!," I said, adding .12 plus 1.49 in my head, and started into the store.
The boy said "Excuse me, mister." I returned outside and the lady handed me two dollars. I then had the $3.62, which made me feel more comfortable about taking the night off to go to church; this being about the right amount for a pack of cigarettes, but I wasn't admitting to myself, even, that this was my source of "comfort."
Jeff The Potter arrived, and told me that he was in a hurry because he had to go to a certain "paper store" and exchange some colored paper which was not colored in hues which were to the liking of his art students.
I told him that it wasn't important, anymore, to stop at Starbucks; I would survive.
The church service was "good," (for lack of a better word); though, I became absorbed in reading my study bible, (especially the section about Paul writing Philippians while in prison for two years), during the sermon.
Confidence Shaken
I was pondering the open mic night at Serda's, which I usually go to after the service, and wondering why my confidence level has waned in recent weeks, and I have become skeptical about people liking my songs. Sometimes their applause seems hollow or mocking or patronizing, or any combination of the three, with "non existent" running a close second.
I looked around the congregation and pictured them as the audience at Serda's and felt even more unsure of my prospects of entertaining an audience with "The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted," or "The Carcass Song." I wished I could do Gospel music, but do it in a way that wouldn't make me feel like I was selling out, or trying to get "brownie points" from the Lord, or trying to put myself on a pedestal and exalt my "holiness" in front of Man. In short, I would want it to be as good, if not better, than what I am already doing.
This has become a recurring "Wednesday Night Dilemma."
The sermon ended. I came out of my daydream.
The pastor prayed for us all to be more "confident" (honest to God).
Night Of The Jackal
It was raining "cats and dogs" after the service.
Jeff dropped me off at the trolley spot. I planned upon ducking under and waiting to see if the rain abated while the open mic was still in progress at Serda's.
Soon, I decided to leave all my stuff under cover and walk up to the Shell, to get a beer, a morning energy drink and a middle-of-the-night-waking-up thirsty drink.
There was a large black man in a camouflaged jacket standing in a spot which is frequented by beggars. It is out of sight of the cashier on duty, but within begging distance of the customers.
I came out of the store with my 3 drinks in a bag, and went over by his "begging post" to pop open my beer, out of sight of the cashier and out of the rain.
He greeted me with affected friendliness. His mouth smiled but his eyes looked like he was thinking of eating me.
"Let me drink one with you," he said, thinking that the other two drinks in my bag were two more beers.
I told him otherwise. I said that I was drinking the beer there in case one was not satisfying enough. I could easily pop back into the store for another.
He asked once more to drink one "with" me.
I re informed him of what was in my bag, and even showed him the two beverages.
"You said you might go in and get another one."
"I've decided not to"
I walked away shaking my head in amazement over how everything you say to a (possibly drug-addicted) beggar can, and will, be used against you.
The rain had lessened, by the time I got to the trolley spot. I grabbed my guitar and started walking towards Serda's. I was craving a cigarette.
Even if I didn't play, there would be people there who would either sell me one for a quarter, or give me one; as a way of supporting a struggling musician.
I was almost to Cathedral Park when I noticed the beggar following me.
He was gaining on me, leading me to think that he was trying to do just that.
He probably reasoned that, since I mentioned getting a second beer, I had at least 98 cents on me; (blood in the water); plus, I had my guitar on my back, and it was a dark, rainy night with hardly a soul on the street. Only those desperate for a cigarette and their ilk were out.
I used a subterfuge of cutting diagonally through Cathedral Park, making it appear as if I might be going towards Government Street. Then, I waited until I estimated his arrival at the corner of the park, to see if he would follow my unorthodox route. He was standing motionless, looking in my direction.
I cut through the alley behind the Saenger Theater (the one which I wrote a paper about), and came out the other end and onto Dauphin Street, just as the beggar was passing by. He said something unintelligible to me, with a scowl on his lips, matching his eyes. His whole expression was now that of a jackal which hadn't eaten in three weeks.
When I passed him further along, he was standing over a middle aged man saying (or rather barking) into his face: "I ain't got no cash, NO CASH!!"
I went along and picked the ashtray at the tattoo shop. It was replete with unsmoked tobacco. It sits back off the street a ways, in a foyer which is decorated with scary, tattoo shop-style trimmings; there are always motorcycles parked in front; and the street people leave their ashtray alone. Except for myself.
Now that I had plenty of tobacco, and it was still raining, and the large black beggar was still at large, I opted to go to Serda's.
It was 10 pm. when I got there. Someone with hair the size of a beach ball was singing on the stage, his accompaniment of drums, bass and keyboard being supplied by a boom box.
I went inside and was greeted warmly by the artist formerly known as the girl in the fishnet stockings, who smiled and said "Hi."
Jimmy Lee and I spoke briefly. I told him of the one component of my being there; to give the slip to "The Jackal," who I described.
The stage was pretty much booked up for the night at that point.
I waited a bit for the rain to let up, and then walked down to the Exxon, for the second beer, which I drank in a spot sheltered from the rain and from where I could see a Jackal approaching a way's off.
I made it back to the trolley without being eaten and then listened to AM radio and thought about what it means to "turn from your sins," as smoked the last of my tobacco, realized that I was almost broke, and that the lingerie catalog which I left at the other sleeping spot, was surely underwater by then...
Island Thyme
This morning, I woke up, drank the morning energy drink and then went to McDonalds to use their hand dryer to dry out my guitar case, thinking as I did that the case wouldn't have been half as wet, if I hadn't felt it necessary to go out in the rain in pursuit of cigarettes.
A guy came out of the stall and handed me a tin of chewing tobacco, which he said someone had left in there.
It is cold outside. Tonight is the open mic at Island Thyme. I have 4 hours to come up with a song.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Wayne Dyer


"NO!!!"

I went to Starbuck's yesterday afternoon, to see if I could put someone's coffee on my gift card, which I got as a gift from The Lidgleys (and which still has 34 bucks on it) in exchange for cash of an equal (or lesser) value.
The first guy I asked, said "no" and said it in such a way that one might think that I had asked to borrow his car.
I was merely offering to save him money, as well as help myself out.
I sat and worked upon music, and noticed that the same guy, after getting his coffee, said something to the barrister in hushed tones.
When another customer entered, I started to ask her the same thing, and was interupted by the barrister, who said "Don't approach my customers."
I walked back into town with about 5 bucks on me.
It took me a while to stop imagining beating the brains out of the guy who, in addition to not wanting to help me out, went out of his way to see that I wouldn't get help from anyone else with whatever he whispered to the barrister.
I've read somewhere that everybody everywhere acts in their own self interest. Even when they give charitably to others, people get some kind of payoff from the act.
The guy was acting in his own self interest, that's all. He felt better after making sure that I couldn't sell a cup of coffee to someone, in order to have a few bucks in my pocket. He left Starbucks a happier man, I guess.
In A Puddle Of His Own Blood And Latte
I imagined him laying by his vehicle with a broken jaw and aching testicles in a puddle of his own latte frappicino.
But then, I theorised that the guy may have thought that I had stolen the gift card, and was letting the victim vicariously punish me through him.
Then, I theorised that he may have thought that I was going to use the money to buy crack and then run amok in town, slitting throats with my stolen gift card; a horrible death.
I eventually forgave the little dweeb. Maybe I was a total jerk once, and now the karma has come full circle.
I didn't make any money in town. It was cold. There were hardly any souls out.
Will They Care?
I am going now back to Starbuck's to see if the same barrister is working or not. I will ask whoever IS working if it is alright for me to put someone's coffee on my gift card. The last time I asked I was told "Sure, we don't care what happens to the coffee after we sell it. People can do whatever they want."
Tonight is the night that Jeff The Potter's church meets. If I have at least a couple bucks on me, I will feel better about taking the time off from playing the street to attend.
I'm not implying that if God wants me to go to church, He will see to it that someone lets me buy them their coffee in exchange for cash of an equal or lesser value; He may have other plans for me...I'm just saying...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Didn't Sound Right, To Me

And The World Grew One Day Older...
I left the library, and then went to the Shell and bought a microwaveable cheesburger. I added two turkey patties, from my 3 pound supply of them, and then heated it all up, poured hot sauce on it and ate it.
Apparently, "Father" Shauris Has A New "Commision..."
There were two guys standing by the side of the store who asked me for 20 cents and then acted as if they couldn't believe that I wouldn't give it to them; looking at me as if I was the most uncaring and selfish person they had ever seen. I only had paper money, no "20 cents" at all. Do you think they would have brought me back change?
John The Street Preacher
I then ran into John The Street Preacher, whom I haven't seen since before I got my glasses. He didn't recognize me at first, because of the glasses. He has been working in exchange for rent at the Adventure Inn hotel, where he was headed with some provisions from Save-A-Lot. He gave me 6 dollars.
I then went downtown and made one more dollar, playing in the cold, gusty winds which threatened to carry that dollar away, never to be seen again.
Rig Won't Sail
I then went to The Garage for the open mic night.
The blues guy played, and then let me play.
I opted to use his "rig" when he offered. I probably shouldn't have, because the blues guy's rig would require a couple of hours of experimentation to get a good sound, if unfamiliar with it, which I was.
I stepped on a few pedals, one of which was labelled an "Eric Clapton" pedal, and tried to decide what song would sound good through the combinations of switches and knobs, concluding, at some level, that it just didn't sound good. The "clean" settings weren't clean, and the distorted settings drowned any hopes of the audience hearing lyrics as anything other than a guy singing "something."
It wasn't an advantageous setup for me. The audience was drunk to the point where they were just dancing sloppily to everything. I should have taken a cue from that and just done "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones and then gotten out of there.
Instead, I tried a couple originals, which weren't written with the blues guy's rig in mind and they didn't sound right to me...

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Monday, February 7, 2011

What Happens In My Imagination Stays In My Imagination

Last night, the Superbowl.
Music Played By The Old Fort
I was allowed to hang around the patio area of Heroes Pub, and watch.
Then, I tried to go to sleep early, but was kept awake by the silliness which is the late night radio talk shows, until about 4:30 am., I kid you not.

The "world famous" Bill Henry Show is the silliest. I think that every "guest" of that show is the same guy, disguising his voice, and then spewing the most convoluted, provoking and incendiary opinions, so that one listens on, curious to see what the heck the he will say next. Most of the callers are either stirred up like a hornet's nest or are relatively calm and try to reason with him.
A couple nights ago "the guest" was supposedly some kind of figure in the school system who was allowing a student who was of the Siik (sp?) religion, to wear a symbolic dagger around his neck, but yet would not allow a Christian to pray in the classroom. It was enough to keep me awake way too long; I KNOW it's the same guy, disguising his voice and trying to "stir the pot."
Children's Book
I have decided that I am going to write music to go along with my upcoming Children's Book, "It's The Hat They Hate", as a companion to it.
It would be cool to have those litte chips, like the one's that they put in stuffed animals to make them sing when you poke them in the stomach, or such, inserted into each page, so that when the tike turns the page, the next song starts. Though, that begs the question; why not a full-blown "e" book?
The songs I have begun are "I Found A Hat (Imagine That!,)" and "It's The Hat They Hate (the title song.)
Other than that, pretty quiet here...

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Find Drawing "Sharis" Cartoons To Be Therepeutic
A Giant Centepede
Yesterday, I woke up with most of the 50 bucks which my old friend Ted (the one in imminent danger above) wired to me Wednesday. I had gone to Serda's after going to church with the *Daytons (name changed to protect their identity), and then watching a puppet show, performed by their son, *Issac (ditto).
The puppet show was about former President Bush having to call out the Army when a giant centepede starts to reek havoc upon the citizens. The centepede ate the Army though, and the Marines were called in. I won't ruin the ending for any of you who may at some time in the future, see the production in a theater.
After the puppet show, I noticed Issac's older half-sister, *Lilly curled up on the couch with only her feet protruding from the blanket which she was cowering under. I went to tickle her foot and their dog prevented me from doing so by growling.
Serda's Songwriter's Open Mic
Then, I was dropped off at Serda's and I went in.
It was about 10 pm., and I thought that I might be able to go on and play last, but, there were still about 5 people waiting to play. The guy who does two-handed tapping and plays very fast was playing very fast on a banjo, as another guy played guitar and sang. Then a girl played the ukelelee and sang, then Elizabeth Elliot read 5 of her poems, then an Aisian looking guy played guitar and sang, but, I noticed that not too many of the remaining people were listening to him.
I decided to leave rather than play and be ignored.
I was getting the cold shoulder from the artist formerly known as The Girl In The Fishnet Stockings, and Jimmy Lee never looked at me, which usually means that he is booked solid. I drank a Flying Dog Golden Ale and then trudged to my sleeping spot, very cautiously because of the 47 bucks in my pocket.
I Get Some Bucks
Thursday morning, I woke up pretty early and was at the library when it opened. I spent about 3 hours completing the paper for the Bangladeshi guy.
I then went to the beer and wine store on Dauphin Street where he works, which I cannot name here, in case his English professor reads my blog, to give him the finished paper.
I was happy to find him working, rather than the other Bangladeshi guy who works at the same store.
He was overjoyed to see me walk in and hand him the paper. He shook my hand and said "Thank you so very, very much!" He said that he had been afraid that I had forgotten to write it, or I had "fallen asleep." Homeless guys fall asleep a lot.
He produced 20 bucks, and promised that there would be more work to be done, in the future, in procuring him a 4.0 GPA in English.
I was going to ask him for 50 bucks, and argue that after he graduates he will land a job making at least 50 bucks more per year, due to his remarkable (perceived) proficiency with the English language.
I didn't argue though, because I learned a lot by writing the paper, and can now use rhetorical devices like a pro; nay, like a master of them (that was one just then). Plus, he sweetened the deal with 2 shots of Paul Masson brandy.
When it comes time for the next paper to be done, then I will play hardball and demand at least 30 bucks. I will argue that the papers become increasingly difficult and more time consuming as the semester goes on. I suggested that he leave this one on the professors desk and then run out of the classroom, before she tries to speak to him.
New Strings
I then had 66 bucks, and made a beeline for the music store, to get strings. It was the kind of "beeline" made by that certain genus of bees that zig-zag a little so they can hit liquor stores for shots of brandy.
I got to the music store, bought strings, played a couple pianos and a little tiny instrument like a zither (but without the keys to press,) bought another shot of brandy at a package store a couple doors down, which I had never noticed before (I think they may have built it that morning, after finding out that I had 66 dollars, but I can't be certain...)
I then took the bus back into town in time to go to...
Island Tyme
I went to Island Tyme, which has a Songwriter's Open Mic Night, just like Serda's, only on Thurdsay, instead of Wednesday.
There was a little girl singing and some guy accompanying her on guitar when I got there.
I sampled one of their Yuenling beers, and was soon asked up to play.
The guy who runs the thing, I suspect is a jealous sort who worries about a musician coming along and stealing his girlfriend's (Skye Johansen's) heart. He might be especially afraid that one who sings a song such as my "Carcass Song" is a bona-fide threat who has all the ingredients necessary to sweep Skye off her feet. At least that is the vibe that I have gotten from him in the past. He has never left us alone together for a minute, I've noticed. If I step outside for a cigarette and she steps outside for a cigarette; he will step outside for a cigarette, almost automatically.
I took my spot in front of the mic.
The guy who runs the thing started to "adjust" my sound. I'm not sure if he was trying to screw it up, or not, because (see above.)
He then leaned closer to me and asked me not to do "The Carcass Song," because of the presence of the little girl, who was singing when I got there.
I acquiesced and did "The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted," instead, which makes no mention of decaying animals.
I guess the girl's parents are trying to postpone the inevitable "Mommy, what's a carcass?" question as long as possible. She'll learn about carcasses soon enough.
During the song, Jimmy Lee went to the soundboard and brought my vocals up, and the guitar down, I imagine. Without the lyrics of my songs being comprehensible, they lose their meaning, I find. I think Jimmy Lee understands this. I then did "I Fell In Love On Facebook," which I kind of screwed up, but not so badly as to have had to stop in the middle of it, unless it was to add a witticism.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Give Me Some Bucks

First, thanks to Ted Broughey for sending me some bucks yesterday. Now I can get new strings in time for Mardi Gras.
This is how I have spent my entire morning; writing the essays below. I now go to give copies to the Bangladeshi Guy, who doesn't want to be named here, nor to be disclosed which store on Dauphin Street he works at.
I hope that he will renumerate me with the "some bucks" that was promised in regard to my completing the paper.
I am anxious to see if I can score a 4.0 at the University of South Alabama in English Comp 101, also. To see if I've "still got it." And, I can use the money.
I can still see the look of abject scepticism on the face of the Bangladeshi guy, as he was asking this homeless street musician if he was capable of writing a college level paper. I told him that I had majored in English, during my 7 year stint in colleget (but only an AA degree) and, as is often the case, his eyes travelled to my backpack, then my hair and then took in my attire. He was a picture of doubt and I could see him pondering trying to find someone else to write his darned paper..
I hope he pays me before he is given a failing grade after the professor reads the essay and concludes that there is no way on God's green earth that the Bangladeshi guy wrote it.
As a matter of fact, when he passes it in, he will probably say "Here is essay I write. Is compleatly I finish."
The assignment was to write a positive and negative description of the same place, using rhetorical devices to diferentiate, then, an analysis thereof.
Get it?

 The Alley Behind The Saenger Theater: Part One (positive)


It would be easy to overlook the secluded sanctuary, secreted away in the alley behind the Saenger Theater, and miss out on its idyllic charm.
I chanced upon it, one night, when trying to escape the chaos and cacophony of the street, and to better hear my phone.
As I retreated into it, I had a sense of going back in Time.
I found myself nestled between ancient brick walls, which stood there in defiance of gravity, defiance of progress and seemingly oblivious to the changing world at large; preserving history.
The concrete underfoot was a jigsaw puzzle of broken pieces, with a few pieces missing. How many people had tread upon it, over the years gone by? –People of Fame, known to every corner of the globe, those who have shaped the world; their influence being felt everywhere today.
Then, amongst the fissures, I discerned a face. One crack being the mouth and a couple of divots, the eyes. Were the "eyes" created when a roadie dropped Elvis Presley’s amplifier? Or Neil Young’s?
I could only wonder.
The face looked at me as if it knew.
A few empty soda cans and some cigarette butts scattered on the ground were evidence that this treasure had been found by others.

The Alley Behind The Saenger Theater: Part Two (negative)

The noise on the street was such that I was forced into this alley behind the Saenger Theater, just to be able to hear the voice on the other end of my phone.
I ventured into its darkness. Darkness which, quite frankly, reminded me of a tomb.
The place was not exactly in good repair.
I found myself sandwiched between decrepit brick walls which threatened to collapse any second. I had a vision of tripping over the uneven concrete and then being buried where I lay, under an avalanche of falling theater.
wondered what impressions the performers, many of whom have traveled the world over, surrounded by glamour and luxury, would have upon exiting the Saenger and traversing this alley. It may not have exactly been the high point of Neil Young’s career.
Some of the fissures in the cement revealed what looked like a face. Like the tracing of the words “wash me” in the dust on dirty cars, the face in the concrete seemed to be imploring “Replace me.”
On the ground were scattered soda cans, cigarette butts, broken glass, other sordid trash. This was a warning that others had been creeping back there.
I left quickly, for fear of being accosted.


Rhetorical Analysis: Part 3




My strategy for presenting the encounter with the alley in two different lights involved setting the respective tones in the opening paragraphs of each description. The discovery of it was fortuitous in one; unfortunate in the other.

The contrast, I attempted to elucidate through the use of diction, alliteration, personification, metaphor, a sentential adverb, parallelism, a synecdoche, an asyndeton, and a litote, for good measure. Something I found called “The Law of Threes” also rears its head in one essay.

In the positive description, the desired effect was an implication that finding the alley was a lucky occurrence, and that the observer uncovered its “idyllic charm.”

The alliterative "secluded sanctuary, secreted away…" is used to lend the description a more poetic tone, to be congruent with the pleasantness described.

The observer “escaped” into it, implying that a certain freedom was attained; a liberation from the "chaos and cacophony" of the street; another alliteration, which parallels and balances the previous one, which it contrasts.

The word "retreat" was chosen to reinforce the idea of getting away from “it all.”

The brick walls were described as "ancient," which is more tactful than calling them “old.” They were then personified as “standing in defiance of...” The device used for emphasis was parallelism, whereby the word “defiance” was repeated and then the “seemingly oblivious” phrase appended to it, using the Law of Threes.

Then the metaphor of the concrete being “a jigsaw puzzle” aimed to plant a picture in the reader’s mind, and hopefully beg the rhetorical question which follows, about the countless people who have tread over it and turned it into a “puzzle.” The hope is that the reader will be puzzled, likewise.

This puzzlement is intended to put the reader in a state of reverie, concerning the human element connected to the alley, rather than its material condition, for in the human aspect lays its biggest charm.

The face in the cement was added for repetitive purposes and to “drive home the point,” as Winston Churchill was so fond of doing.

Finally, the place is called a “treasure,” implying that others had come there and had valued the experience.

The second description shows the observer feeling “forced” into the alley, which is here like a tomb. The sentential adverb “quite frankly” is used for emphasis. The sentences are linked by an anaphora, magnifying the word “darkness” by placing it at the end of the first and the beginning of the second sentence.

Other diction is changed from the first description: “Retreated” becomes “ventured,” implying that a risk is being taken. “Nestled” becomes “sandwiched,” as the observer feels closed in and pressured.

“An avalanche of theatre” is a synecdoche, where the whole of the theater is substituted for just the actual part of it which would literally fall upon the observer, should his fears came to fruition.

I used the litote "not exactly in good repair" "to help the reader imagine details which I omitted, for the sake of brevity.

The charm imparted by the human element associated with the alley, which is suggested in the first description is here dispelled by the rhetorical question about Neil Young, suggesting that he too may have been “creeped-out” by the place. The face in the concrete does not have enchanted thoughts in its countenance, here, either.

An asyndeton is finally used to list the items of litter, so they will pile up in the reader’s mind.

The droppers of it are implied to be a threat; as the litter is termed “a “warning,” heightening a sense of danger in this less than idyllically charming alley.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Go Around Us

A Fine Kettle Of Fish
Well, this is a fine kettle of fish. I'm looking over at the guy who probably took my umbrella, a couple of computers over.
It doesn't seem likely that the rain will go around us, unless it stops in its tracks and retreats in the other direction.
I'm working on the English paper for the guy who doesn't speak much English. He has assured me "I will give you some bucks."
The computers keep going down every time the lights go out for a few seconds here at the library, which has happened at least 6 times this afternoon.
One might think that this has the potential to be a miserable night. I won't be able to sleep at the trolley spot, due to flooding. I can't get any money advanced from the Bangladeshi guy, who doesn't speak much English, so I will be almost broke, damp but not hungry. There is a silver lining to every cloud.
This may be a good night to practice my neurolinguistic programming techniques, to rid myself of harmful habits, like smoking and drinking.
I can hear the rain hitting the roof of the library. So much for clouds reversing direction and going back to New Orleans, which is where, in my opinion, they belong.