Sunday, April 29, 2012

Posted By Laptop, Your Mileage May Vary

Hypster.com
At the top of the screen is my first attempt at posting music on this blog.
I was able to find Hypster, which promises that I will be able to upload mp3 files and put them on my playlist, though, when I click on "upload" I am brought to a screen asking me for the "u-tube url" of the "video" that I want to upload...so I don't know...I might have to ask Matthew, the musician/technician, if I see him tomorrow.
Now I go back to the Hypster site, to try to figure out how I am going to get my songs from the little stairwell by the church, to the rest of the world...
This Just In: I found a site called kiwi6.com, which has an upload button to take files off your computer OR U-tube...I'm getting closer, I can smell blood in the water!!
Sunday's Lost Post 
The following was done Sunday, in the park in downtown Baton Rouge, using city electricity...
And so it came to be the next day and in the morning I woke up and walked past the Episcopalians, none of whom even acknowledged me as I walked past them where they stood. They were there at the entrance to their church to greet people, hand them misslets and bless them in general.
Then I went to the convenience store on Government Street, where I was greeted by the foreigner with "Bag outside!."
I was able to leave my bag by the door, rather than outside, after I protested that it would get likely stolen if I left it unattended outside. I had been to that store about a dozen times, always buying something each time.
I drank the energy drink, which put my food card balance at the miserable level of $5.67, and it gave me the energy to go find the 8 guitar picks which were laying on the ground at the spot where I had played. I have no idea how they managed to fall out of the little plastic bag in which they came and then to escape out of the pocket of my case and then scatter themselves on the ground. My theory is that, after I took the bag out, ripped it open to get the pick that I played with, and replaced the now ripped open little plastic bag back in the pocket, I failed to zip the pocket back up. Then, when I flipped open the case to gather the miserable tip amount of probably $5.67, the picks fell out, and scattered themselves like seeds on the marble. Then, when I went to leave, in a state of emergency because I had to relieve my bladder at the portolet across the street, I didn't see them in the semi-darkness.
There they were, scattered like seeds this morning. Now I have back all 12 picks, which I paid about $5.67 for, yesterday.
I also paid $6.41 during that spree, for a new set of headphones, which are slightly larger than ear buds and have a little more bass and more power handling capacity. Madonna hasn't sounded so good in a while, coming from my FM radio.
"You Creep!"
I now sit in the little downtown park, where bums circle like sharks. I can see their reflections behind me off of this computers screen. They have this impatient look about them, like they want to interupt me to beg for something, yet, they probably see the folly in putting me in an ill mood right off the bat. I'm waiting to hear "Excuse me..." any second now, out of any one of them.
I was already begged by a guy who walked up, and whom, I would have drawn, if given a pencil and some parchment and asked to draw a typical bum.
He was wearing the typical kind of clothing which is given away for free by charitable organizations, to wit: an Izod golf shirt, and some shorts, which were probably fashionable a few years ago, before they became stained with God only knows what.
The Izod shirt is ostensibly the thing that people donate who are sincere in their hope of helping someone out. It is a shirt that people who can actually afford to play golf might wear, and it theoretically makes the wearer look like the image of upper class. Hence, it would be a nice shirt to put on, after cleaning oneself up and go to a job interview in. This is the wishful thinking of the donator of the shirt. People who want to acheive upper class status are behoven to try to look and act sucessful, even before the fruits of their endeavors manifest themselves.
So, the bum walks up and I look at him and I see him for exactly what he is, and what he probably is (someone jonesing for a beer at 8:53 a.m.) and I know what he is going to say right off the bat.
He glanced at this laptop, and it seemed to register with him that, since I have a laptop, then surely I could give him his beer money.
He grinned sheepishly, as I took him in. His grin seemed to say "Yeah, I live off of the charity of others."
He wondered if I could help he and his "buddy," (who was probably "working" another area) to get something to eat.
He went on to explain "Because St. James isn't feeding until 11:30, because they've got 'that hamburger thing' going on, and we're hungry!" When he said the word "hungry," his voice cracked a bit, implying that he was on the verge of tears.
I couldn't believe my ears. "No" was all I said.
"No, you said?" he asked.
"I don't give my stuff away," I said.
He walked off, saying "You creep," before he was out of earshot.
There was a black man sitting at the next table over to me, who had his phone plugged into the next plug over from me. He had a backpack and was similarly dressed, though clean and well shaven. The bum didn't ask him for anything, but half directed his creep comment to the man, perhaps warning him not to ask me for anything. Maybe "creep" is the new code word amongst people who live off the charity of others for "those that never give you anything for free out of their hard earned posessions."
"I hope you make it 'til 11:30 without starving to death!" I yelled to him when he was about 25 feet away.
"What?!?" he said, stopping to turn towards me, putting on a show of belligerence, as if he thought I might have insulted him (back) and, if that had been the case, he was ready for a confrontation.
I repeated that I hoped that he didn't starve to death, amending it to "before you get your hamburger!"
It irked me, for one, that he used the word "feeding" in reference to what St. James will be doing at 11:30. He has been so conditioned by, and so resigned to, a life of mooching, that he unconciously used the lingo of the "entitlement" class, "feeding." Easy to walk into any urban area, approach someone who "looks homeless" and ask, "Hey, where are they feeding?" wherupon you will probably get a whole itinery laid out for you, which could have you shuttling around town from church to mission, back to other church, to Salvation Army, to parks and under bridges, taking up the whole day, stuffing your face along the way. Then, of course there are the clothing, blanket and backpack giveaways, which are often kept "under wraps," as supplies are limited and it's every bum for himself; certainly a creep isn't going to be made privy to such a rare and special occasion as a blanket giveaway -maybe as he lies on the ground shivering he might have a change of heart and re-evaluate his creepiness and start to go around, handing out his hard earned stuff to people for free.
At 8:53, the #47 bus went by. It is Sunday, and that bus might run every hour or hour and a half, not any more frequently, I'm pretty sure. That's the one that goes back to the LSU campus, and ol' Howard.
I might try to get the next one, or I might walk about 3 miles in order to save $1.75.
the 150 dollar one, the 70 dollar one, and the 100 dollar one...
Introducing, from the left,
the 150 dollar one, the 70 dollar one and the 100 dollar one...
I've got a nice set of headphones, which will help me to record some tracks, there by the church. I listened back to the first recording that I made and had to smile at how "not bad" it was, for a first effort, and for not yet having discovered all of the tweaks and levels and microphone positioning tricks, which will eventually make them "not bad at all."
They had USB microphones at the Guitar Center. "The cheapest one is this one (pointing to a 70 dollar one) but this one is better (pointing to a 100 dollar one [the "Yetti"] but if you really want to go all out there's this (pointing to a 150 one [a better Yetti) one," said Lenny, in the Pro Sound section of the Baton Rouge Guitar Center.
This laptop also has a front jack next to the headphone jack, labelled "mic." I imagine that I could realise a modest improvement in sound quality, just by plugging in an external analog microphone which is better than the built in condenser mic next to the computers keyboard.
I want to achieve a certain minimum level of sound quality before I start to e-mail or send songs to my Facebook friends.
One of my friends has almost a thousand friends, and she will almost certainly send each one of them the songs, and I don't want her to have to add a comment like "It's really hard to hear, I hope you can make out the lyrics, because it's a funny song," and I don't want there to be a thousand young people, with another few thousand of THEIR friends, who will never click on a link to another one of my songs, because "his songs sound really shitty; I got a headache the last time I listened to one.."
That being said, it is now 10 a.m. and apparently the ol' #47 to LSU doesn't run hourly, and so I will now go and position myself to be able to intercept it in one half hour, as that is the interval of which I am guessing is its frequency.
Bus Ride Blown Off
I decided to spend the day downtown because there were a couple of concerts going on, but, they ended just in time for a rain shower to come and empty the streets of all people. I spent myself down to a little over two bucks.
This morning, I walked back to campus. It was only a couple of miles.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

45 Bucks

Third Street abuzz with my anticipated arrival
Take The B Bus
Yesterday afternoon, I took the "Night B" bus downtown.
Sitting at the stop was the guy who had told me Thursday night that the Night B would "B" running that night, causing me to sit there for an hour, during which I saw no buses, and no students waiting for no buses.
However, this Friday night, the B dropped me off downtown and assured me that it was to run until 3 in the morning.
I could hear a band playing on the "Friday Night Live" stage, as I sat in a parking lot, drinking my third Hurricane Lager of the day. 
First Track Cut
I had had one in the morning, back at the campus, as I sat with my laptop plugged into an outside outlet, outside the Baptist Student Center/church/pizza party place and made my first recording using Audacity program and the built-in microphone on this here laptop that I am now using to post, for the first time, on this here blog.
Thanks to Matthew the Classical Musician, having set up the Audacity program for me, all I had to do was click on the record button, before playing guitar and singing and composing a song called "Theres A Creepy Guy Walking Around The Campus."
I am taking my time figuring out how to put the music on this blog. 
I think that I might have to post it somewhere else (like Facebook, or some other blogging site which allows the posting of mp3 files, maybe [yikes!] MySpace?!? -I would be afraid of losing all my music if, and when, that social networking site dies from neglect, though) and then "link" to it.
Maybe I'll have a sidebar, where I could use a playlist gadget type thing, sort of where my top-ten lists are now.*
*The top-ten lists are not complete because I can't remember them in their original forms, which were lost a few years ago, when my whole blog got deleted- at one time the Lidgleys of London had sent me them from a cached copy that they had on their computer, and I will have to someday see if they still have them; I'll eventually reconstruct them from memory; or think of new and better ones.
Adult Guitar Adventures
Supposedly 3rd Street in 1960
Did they have color film back then??
The band which was playing, as I drank my third Hurricane in the parking lot of the courthouse, sitting on the steps right by the police Captain's parking space, was playing stuff like "Roadhouse Blues," by The Doors, "Pour Some Sugar On Me," by Def Leopard, and "Tonight Is Gonna Be A Good Night," by the Red Hot Split Yellow Peas, or whatever that groups name is...
As I sat there, I realized that I knew every chord that they were playing. I knew every fret position that the lead guitarist was on, just by the fact that certain hackneyed riffs and string bends were so tell tale, because they are guitar-specific and executed at certain fret locations.
My point being, that it led me to lament something like ...how many musicians the world over are capable of playing those songs...rock and roll is easy, especially for someone with a little jazz theory training, I mean that's an E minor chord, now a G major, and they're probably going to go to one of three other chords now, (D major, A major, maybe C major to totally surprise the audience with something out of left field...) and I wondered...I wondered how will I ever be able to make MY E minor to G chords stand out, and grab attention and spread a message of hope, when there are so many blokes out there that can play a Tom Petty song, excepting maybe Tom himself...
Time To Make The Dough, You Nut 
Then, I walked up Third Street, which was pretty crowded; found my spot in front of the AT&T store and began to tune up and play. Immediately two little girls came and each put a hand full of change in my case. They had little hands, but the omen was good.
I was still using the plastic picks which were given free at the Guitar Center  -the ones that snap after about 3 minutes of soloing, or 10 minutes of strumming- and snapped the last of the Cleartone strings from Alex in California (the bottom E) which happened to be the last of the new strings not already put on, which was fortunate.
I made it through the night, doing it in three sets and made about 45 bucks.
I splurged on a 3 dollar hot dog from the cart across the street. I couldn't find the medicinal herb man, and so, I went to sleep in the courtyard of the Saint James Church, amongst the plants.
Now it is Saturday and time to get an all day bus pass and go to the Guitar Center, where I now can afford a whole packet of the kind of picks that I like, in at least one of the gauges that I like .73
One More Night
I plan to stay over one more night, downtown, and see if a Saturday night might yield some more "traveling" money as, I can say with 99% certainty that I will have my thumb out Monday morning, at the latest; Howard or no Howard in tow...

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Hex On My Guitar

  • My First Recording
  • Another 7 dollar night
I don't know why, but I am in a foul mood.
I am sick of the way that the LSU students (both male and female) look at me as I walk the campus and the neighboring streets.
I am pretty sure that they have hidden insecurities about their college degrees eventually helping them to land jobs.
They probably think that some evil spirit has fabricated me (conjured me up, if you will) and made me appear to them as a form of a taunt to them to exacerbate their uncertainties about their futures, as if to say "This will be you, in twenty years, mark my words!!" -like I'm the ghost from Christmas future.
I think that is why I am getting an attitude from a lot of students that I walk by on the sidewalk, whose faces scrunch up in an expression of annoyance.
It is similar to the "NOLA scowl," seen in New Orleans, which communicated, "just get away from me...I don't want to hear it, whatever your deal is!"
7 bucks
I made about 7 bucks again, the apparent default amount in Baton Rouge.
I waited for the bus downtown, after being told that there was a bus downtown (the "Downtown B") by a bum at the Circle K.
Maybe there is, but it didn't apparently stop where I waited for almost an hour.
I went back into the Chime Street area, where Leroy was playing in front of the Varsity Theater. I didn't really have to play. A guy who was in town working a construction job gave me five bucks for letting him play my guitar. Then I played a couple songs and got another couple bucks off them, before going off to plug my new laptop computer in at the church and mess with it.
When I played the couple songs, it was the worst that I have sounded in years; just wasn't right; I think the guy put a hex on my guitar, or something...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Up On The Computer

  • Laptop Picked Up
  • Help From Matthew
Yesterday afternoon, I took the free "teal" bus to downtown, where I got the package with the laptop, a guitar strap and 16 bucks in it.
I was totally psyched about the 16 bucks and the fact that it meant that I could spend time plugging in the laptop somewhere and seeing what was on it, rather than having to go busk, on a Wednesday night, at that.
This is what my music will soon look like...
I got back to the church where Howard was already asleep in the foyer (as it was after 9 p.m.) and went into the sanctuary, or whatever they call the place with the altar and all the pew, plus a piano and several electrical outlets.
I was unable to bring it up in "Command Prompt" mode, which is what I am familiar with, from back in the 90's with all the Linux programming that I was studying back then, but managed to find an excellent text editor and wrote my first little blurb and saved it.
I plan upon finding, here at the LSU library, a book on Ubuntu Linux, and going through it, to see if I will be able to do UNIX programming for fun.
Matthew The Musician
Then, this morning I came to this library, where there was a guy playing a nylon string guitar in the "quad," which is a generally square shaped courtyard which sits right in front of the Middleton Library.
I started to talk to him about music, and it turns out that he is a classical musician, who went to UL (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and studied music there.
His playing was excellent. He uses a lot of dissonance and unorthodox techniques. 
I played a little for him on my guitar which is missing the G string. He seemed to like the song that I had composed for "guitar minus G string," called "My Favorite Mule."
Matthew The Technician

He then happened to mention that he records music, using Audacity, a program which comes with Linux based computers, or can be downloaded for free onto them.
I happened to mention that, at the very moment, inside the library was a laptop which I had just gotten, which had Audacity on it, but that I hadn't been able to do much with it yet.
Matthew then accompanied me back into the library, where, after sitting at my laptop for about 15 minutes, was able to get the Audacity program to record, using the built in microphone, and then showed me how to save the result as an mp3, so that it can be posted on a blog.
He also connected the "hidden" wireless card and found a signal, but it was the LSU signal and was password protected. He said that I shouldn't have that same problem at Starbucks, or other places.
He wasn't able to bring up the command prompt, but assured me that "its on there, somewhere..."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brazil Checks In (up)

  • Parts Of Latin America Reclaimed
  • Laptop Arrives
  • Busking For Bus Fare
 
As my "weekly" stats show, I have re-claimed parts of Latin America (ready to launch an offensive upon Paraguay and Uruguay).
Upon pondering my Brazilian "reader," though, I think it is someone related to Caveman Guru, the Shamin in New Orleans, whom I posted about, and who later confronted me on the street, demanding that I remove everything that I wrote about him -or "fix it" to reflect him in a more positive, non-Sue touching light.
They must have a direct link to just that post and must check it once a week, they don't check my daily "front page," and probably think that that particular post is my entire blog; they are probably somewhere around the rainforest, where the Shamin said that he was from.
I didn't actually delete the paragraphs about the Shamin, only cut them out and pasted them into a separate post, which I saved as a draft. I thought it was a humorous story, more about Sue, the Colombian lady than the guru, himself.
The guru had been telling people he met to Google him, to find out what he was "all about," expecting that they would be directed to his yoga and spiritual guidance stuff, and pictures of him in his cave, holding a picture of the Goddess Shiva; instead, my blog popped up higher in the search results and they read about our misadventure at his "shrine."
Its kind of an incongruity when someone whose "job" it is to guide people in connecting with the universe, gets in your face with his fists clenched, grabs you by the guitar case, to prevent your escape and then threatens you; but apparently he hasn't seen THAT post, published a few days after Sue and I's visit...
Back At LSU
Howard and I, (tigers at heart that we are) took the bus yesterday afternoon, out of Scotlandville, and back to the LSU campus.
I busked for about 45 minutes last evening, and got a five dollar bill, and a one dollar bill, then I heard the sounds of Leroy playing across the street, and decided to call it a night.
I had originally walked up to the spot where he plays in front of the Varsity Theater, around 9:30 p.m. There were standing around, a few college kids. I told them that I was thinking about playing there but that there was an older black guy who sometimes..
"Leroy!" a couple of them said in unison. "Yeah, he's pretty territorial, he would probably freak if he walked up and saw you playing here!" one of them continued. 
They added, though, that one can see him coming "a mile away," pointing in the direction of his nightly approach.
I decided not to put myself in a position where I would have to jump up, put away my harmonica, scoop up and pocket my tip money, put away the guitar and then run like a dog with its tail between its legs upon sighting 67 year old Leroy, ambling up Highland Avenue.
I went across the street and made the 6 bucks off of two of the few people that walked by. I was playing blues in the key of D, learning as I went on the harp, and managing to find some hellacious blue notes to "bend" to. "Leroy Blues," it was called...
I suppose it gets busier there, later on (hence Leroys ETA) but I sacrificed the extra couple of bucks I might have made, in exchange for a good nights rest, an early start, and a planned 5 hour computer session, working on a Flashback Friday feature, which I am publishing in installments (like Charles Dickens used to do, I like to remind myself :)
Laptop Pickup
I will soon leave here, in order to catch the Tiger Trails "teal" bus, which is free, and which will take me to within walking distance of the downtown post office where, it has been confirmed online that the package from Martin W. in West Virginia, has arrived, containing a laptop computer, and possibly a guitar strap.
Then, for all intents and purposes, it will be time to stand out on Airline Highway with a sign which reads "Port Allen Truck Stop," a specific and not-too-far-away location on the other side of the Mississippi River, where I am pretty confident that we can get a ride into Texas. There is no need to wait around Louisiana for "the other shoe to drop."
Flashback Friday
Coming Friday morning at 1 a.m. Central Standard Time, Chapter 4 of the saga of The Girl Who (Owned A House, Yet) Slept In A Mustang

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reasons Dwindling For Staying

I just don't know how much longer I will be able to hold the attentions of my audience,
should I continue to live in and write about Baton Rouge....
I've already ceded parts of Latin America, and bored Africa to sleep...
All About My Nap
Yesterday, (Sunday) began with a nap.
I waited until the sun had come up and there was an appreciable rise in the air temperature. Then, and only then, did I drop into slumber, and was I not tormented by nightmares about having set my backpack and guitar down somewhere (last nights nightmare had me putting it down on a basketball court, and turning my back for just "one second..")
Second Store Let Me Busk
I went and played in front of the other convenience store in the immediate vicinity of the boarded up house. They allow me to play in front of their store as readily as the guys at the Chevron store.
I made a few bucks, while at the same time feeling like I had really earned them. I was getting on it full speed, in a way that I sometimes reserve (to save strings, if nothing else), and for times that I am in the perfect mood.
The few bucks were from people whose expressions said, "If you didn't have anything; you wouldn't be gettin' anything; you hear me?"
Teach me how to catch these, and I will
eat for life!!
Go, Fish!
It was then off to cook the two pounds of Whiting fillets, which I had bought in a frozen state from Wal-Mart, Saturday afternoon.
It has been a mixed blessing, the incredibly cold weather here the past couple days. It preserved my frozen Whiting fillets, so that they were just defrosted and still cold at 7 p.m., Sunday, when I started to build a fire behind the boarded up building to cook them. They came out stupendously, and the only thing that I realised I had forgotten was, garlic. The fish was garlic away from perfection.
Howard tried some, kind of scoffed it down, actually and said that it was "not bad."
But, also, the frigid air made it hard to sleep and gave me nightmares about being chased and eventually cornered by a homosexual, kind of a trade-off
Flashbacks Taking Time
I've actually been putting a lot of time into working on the Flashback Friday pieces ...pieces of what?
and have been scheduling them to post automatically on Friday mornings at 1 a.m. (CST).
I am kind of off to work on one now, Chapter 4, I believe....
Laptop In Mail
I have gotten a message from Martin W. in West Virginia, saying that he has mailed a loptop computer to me at the general delivery box downtown. This could have the effect of changing the face of this blog in the near future, perhaps bringing it into the 21st Century, with the addition of music, video, and posts which can be conceived and delivered at my own pace, and not governed by a one hour time limitation such as those at this li................(Session over; logging out....)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Too Much Far

Saturday, after leaving the downtown branch
of the library, I bent my steps towards the bus terminal, about a mile walk.
I needed to go to Guitar Center to purchase one guitar pick; the commisioned salesfolk would be overjoyed!
I walked to the bus terminal, past the ramp where I had played for about 20 minutes Friday, before breaking a string. I was tempted to break out my rig and wail for a while; there was nobody "flying a sign" at the time.
I continued to the station where I discovered that I had an hour and a half wait before the next #44 bus, headed toward the Cortana Mall would embark.
I went to the Oriental-run little convenience store, kaddy corner to the bus terminal, where I asked those far easterners, how far to the east was the Cortana Mall.
I was actually thinking about saving the bus fare and walking there; I had an hour and a half, after all...
"Oh, too much far!" which I was able to distill down to "10 miles, maybe more" was their estimation of the distance to the Cortana Mall. Even if they had confused kilometers with miles, I decided that a walk like that was not worth pocketing the $1.75 bus fare.
"I could walk 10 miles -I've walked about 40 miles, twice in my life- but, I think that, as soon as I got to the mall, the bus would pull up at the same time, making a mockery of my effort"
"Ya, too much far..."
The nice Asian lady behind the po-boy and fried other stuff window, was curious about my "job" as a busker.
"Why don't you join band?"
"Because band is like relationship; like family; It can be great, or it could be dysfunctional. When you're solo, you can always play to your highest level, other musicians can't hold you back, but it's hard to find people whose idea of what makes music great, jives with your own.."
"Ya, you want po-boy?"
"Naw, I'm good, just this beer..."
Downtown
I got the bus out to the mall, after reading a few chapters of  "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," which I recently acquired off of the librarys 25 cent table (I'm up to the second book of that series; should have all of them read by 2020) and returned to the downtown area with a handfull of the cheap plastic picks which they give you for free, because they have "Guitar Center" printed on them, and are thus free advertisement for the place.
The other picks, the Jim Dunlops in green and yellow, were only sold in like 12 packs, and I didn't inquire about the price of a pack, knowing that it would exceed the three bucks that I had budgeted for a pick and a G string (plus the bus rides, back and forth)
I got to Third Street and started playing across the street from where a hot dog cart has been setting up regularly. There was a saxophone player and a trumpet player on the corner diagonal to me, not loud enough to drown me out, but loud enough for me to determine that they must have been the musicians whom the hot dog cart guy had been talking about the previous night, describing them as "There's a couple guys who play over there sometimes, like two horns, but they really suck; I think they're trying to play jazz."
I hadn't even tuned up when a young black man and lady came and put 5 bucks in my case. I had to hastily tune and try to reward them with something. "China Cat Sunflower" by the Grateful Dead fit the bill, as I was able to stop my slightly out of tune playing in the middle of the second verse and appologise for the song being "kind of psychedelic, and the words don't really have much meaning, like some poetry" giving me an excuse to tune some more.
I had 13 bucks in my case, when I took my first break and walked the almost mile to the nearest open store, and back. It was about midnight, when I returned to find that the two horn players had moved from the corner "over there" to the spot where I had been playing, in the entranceway to a clothing store, which is cavernous and lined with glass (glass being a good reflector of upper mid-range frequencies).
I need to remember that I
know "Purple Rain..."
I thought it interesting that the guys who "usually" played in another spot, had taken over the place where I had been. Could they have been spying on me and noticing the 13 bucks going in my case, while they might not have been doing so well?
I decided to prove to myself that it isn't the spot, so much as the music, that earns tips, by moving to the next block up, in front of another clothing store with equally good acoustics, where I managed to make another 10 bucks, or so.
When I walked back by the hot dog cart, there was now, in addition to the horn players, another guitarist/vocalist almost across the street from them. He was singing "Purple Rain," by Prince, over some chords which bore a slight resemblance to the harmony in Purple Rain.
He seemed to have about 8 bucks in his case, I noticed, when I walked over to see if I might sing along for a few verses, since Prince's music is like a fertile field for harmonising (him being known to multitrack up to seven of his own voices, singing seven different parts -as in the song "All Seven") but the kid with the acoustic guitar, whose singing was a hybrid of singing and shouting, wasn't open to the idea of me trying to sing along and harmonise. I went back to the hot dog cart, where I met someone who was selling medicinal herbs, whom I spent 5 bucks with, and then retired to the courtyard of Saint James Church. I had made the most money of the three buskers on 3rd Street, and felt like the cat that ate the canary.
Early this morning, I took the #10 bus back to Scotlandville, where I took about a 3 hour nap behind the boarded up building. I then saw Howard, who asked me the same questions, "How'd you do last night?" and "How'd you do Friday night?"
The "booty" that I brought back from the weekend sojourn: A pack of (5) razors, one new G string, and a bit of medicinal herb, and a roll of tin foil to cook Whiting on, tonight..
Pretty Much Downhill, Now
I am going to bring up the subject of moving out of here in the next few days. I'm getting the feeling that I can make enough money to eek by, like I have been doing here the past few weeks, almost anywhere I "land," and Howard, of course can find a McDonalds and a store that sells Cheetoz and Pepsi, almost anywhere he lands.
And, should things take a turn for the worse, there is always the chance to come back here, though, I think that things are "pretty much downhill" from Scotlandville, Lousiana...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In A Rush

Rush, minus the acoustic guitar and harmonica...
Yikes, look at the time!
Yesterday, (Friday) I got downtown in time for the start of the Friday Night Live concert, as part of that series.
Some band started off by playing "Pick Up The Pieces," by The Average White Band.
They mimicked the recording of that song; no improvisation at all. Some people like that and would say that they did a really good job on the song. Why not just put the CD on?
I played a bit as the concert was letting out, only made a few bucks. I went on the highway ramp where guys hold signs and made another few bucks.
My D string broke just as a truck pulled up and a guy handed me three bucks and asked me to play Tom Sawyer, by Rush....on an acoustic guitar...with a harmonica....Tom Sawyer, by Rush....my string breaking was a blessing from God.
I went back downtown and played yet again and made a few more bucks, but all in all it was only about half of what I'd made the previous Friday, and getting out on the ramp was un nerving, the Rush request not withstanding.....
....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Will This Even Post?

Technical Difficulties With Blogger?
I just tried to edit my "Flashback Friday" post,
to correct the chapter number from "2" to "3," and, after clicking on "update," the next button over told me that it was "saving" and one minute later, it was still "saving" and two minutes later, it still apparently hadn't "saved" anything...God save us all...
It is a pretty lengthy post. I think there is actually a 10 megabyte limit for each post, but I would be surprised if that one is even one megabyte, and besides; it posted yesterday; so why not today???
My friend Alex in California reported the same issue in a comment.
This morning, I woke up with $5.59 in my pocket. I had just finished counting it, and was on my way to the convenience store that lets me play, when along came Howard, from the direction of this library, headed in the direction of a bag of cheetoz and a Pepsi.
I waited for him to catch up, and when he did, he held out a five dollar bill and asked "Do you have five ones for this?"
I pulled out my five singles, and handed them to him without unfolding them.
"You don't even have to count them?" he asked.
"I'd just finished counting them when you walked up"
"Oh," said Howard.
I then said "Why don't you let me pay for your Cheetoz and Pepsi with my food card, and you just give me two bucks."
He handed back two bucks, never asking "How did you know I was on my way to get a bag of Cheetoz and a Pepsi?" ...because it's 10:15 a.m., Howard...
We got to the store, I purchased a Venom brand energy drink (to try one for the first time) along with Howards stuff.
My food card balance, divided by the number of days left before it becomes "recharged" leaves me a budget of less than five bucks per day...do I see a "five day fast and cleanse" on the horizon?
I could buy a jar of instant coffee, the good kind (Nescafe Classico) for about 5 bucks and change, (18 cents per cup, based upon a heaping tablespoon) and then buy a gallon of spring water for about two bucks every few days (adding 12 cents per cup) and thereby save about $59.70 dollars a month on energy drinks, assuming a month has 30 days.
I am sort of addicted to energy drinks though, not for the caffeine, because the instant coffee/spring water combo would satisfy that craving, but for the high fructose corn syrup, which supplies all of the calories that I consume the whole day, until evening comes and beer takes the baton and runs with it.
I find the drinks that have guarana in them to be more mood-elevating, and mind stimulating, than the ones without that particular ingredient -they really perk me up and motivate me to do my best blogging. ...so, I guess you haven't had any guarana today, then, huh?
Again, I could go to GNC and purchase a bottle of guarana capsules, which would probably work out to be about 8 cents each, and wash one down with the 30 cent instant coffee/spring water concoction, and still save about $57.30 per month, an amount which is 28.65% of my monhly food allowance (I dare not call it an "entitlement") -not to mention the time it takes to run to the convenience store and back each morning for energy drinks.
What about a sweetener? Crystaline Fructose can be found for around 10 cents per ounce, and is more pure than "high fructose corn syrup" which is stepped on, by the addition of glucose. I couldn't see adding a whole ounce of it to sweeten one 38 cent concoxion described above, maybe 5 cents worth...making for a 43 cent home-brew, heated up over a fire in an empty 24 oz. beer can (plenty of those laying around the campsite...) instead of a $2.29 energy drink.

Too much can blur your vision, though...
Why I don't do things like that is beyond me...maybe I am mentally disabled and should apply for benefits, because I can't manage my life.
Maybe I'm just enamored of the names that they give the commercial products; names like "Venom," "Radioactive," "Amp," or "Full Throttle..."
The solution that comes to mind for that problem, would be to get some masking tape and a magic marker, affix the tape around the soot-blackened beer can, and write "Daniels, Balls To The Wall, High Octane, "Hey, Now" Juice (Coffee Flavored)" on it, maybe even draw a skull with lightning bolts coming out of its eye sockets, beneath the name...yeah...
The instant coffee could be stored in a freezer bag, and the capsules in a smaller one, so no appreciable weight would be added to my backpack.
Procrastinay-ay-tion, It's Making Me Wait...
Why I don't do things like the above; I don't know...
Why I am blogging about this subject; I do know. I am procrastinating. It is time for me to take the $7.59 that I have in my pocket now, and use $1.75 to get on a bus and go downtown, where I made 28 bucks last Friday in about 2 hours. There, I need to play for more than two hours, or about as long as I can stand it, whichever comes first.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

All Written Out

I woke up flat broke, but
found a few pennies on the ground, which had fallen out of my pocket some other time.
I went to the convenience store to busk, but didn't hurry over there. I felt a sense of resignation, almost a giving up; an apathy.
I thought I sounded good. I started out with "Dock Of The Bay," by Otis Redding, which has the lines:
Preview from upcoming post (it's quartz)
I've got nothing to live for; looks like nothin's gonna come my way..
....which I was able to sing with some sincerity, and I think someone would have thrown me a tip, if they had any extra money. I really think that they were that broke. Maybe they hadn't even found any pennies like I had...
I kept at it, and soon had about 3 bucks, from about 11 until 12 in the morning.
I decided to stay "through lunch." The convenience store has some really good specials on chicken wings and things like that (I think you can get three wings, plus one free for $2.99 -check it out when you're in Baton Rouge)
I was happy to have made my bus fare to go downtown tomorrow (Friday) night, thought it would mean sacrificing cigarettes and beer.
Then, I made another few dollars, before these two brothers came along and were shooting a video of me. They wound up throwing me about 7 dollars, which is the amount that I had been repeatedly making each morning, in total, playing at that spot.
I then came to this library and put about 4 hours into the Flashback Friday feature, working on Chapter 4.
Chapter 3 comes out at 1 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) morning....
I'm pretty much all "written out" now

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Take The Money And Run?

 Clandestine Jaunts To New Orleans And Back Considered
Maybe the best way to get out of Baton Rouge would be to 
 dip into the "money pool" of New Orleans, to acquire
 traveling funds....
I look the "worse for wear" in this photo, taken the week before
my exodus; but; I was started to get 20 dollar tips, like the one
in my case, with regularity; at my "priviledged" spot...


 There is a corrolation between how much money I have
in my pocket when I lay down at night, and how depressed I feel the times I wake up during the night.
Yesterday, upon arriving back in Scotlandville, on the #10 bus, I encountered Howard, who was at the boarded up building, eating Cheetoz and drinking an IceHouse 24 oz. beer.
I had 41 cents on me.
He gave me a dollar, so I could have one beer.
I drank the beer and then came here to the library, to e-mail Martin in West Virginia the address of my "general delivery" post office box downtown.
Guy In PT Cruiser Doesn't Yield
I then went to the convenience store, where the guy who sells CDs and movies was cranking his music out the back of his PT Cruiser.
In the past, he had offered to turn the music down, so that I could set up further down the sidewalk and try to make a few tips. He didn't do so, and instead, seemed to be rapping along with the music and emphasizing lyrics which I could have construed as being directed at me, lines like "You need to get outta here!" come to mind....
I sat there anyway, thinking that someone might throw me a dollar after having heard me play another time, or by merely seeing me as someone who probably lives on the money he makes as a street musician, and thinking that, maybe I was just waiting for the guy who was cranking his music to leave, then I would play.
I took out my notebook and started composing some rhymes of my own, just to pass the time (with a ball point pen -that kind of notebook). The guy who owns the store stepped out for a minute and asked me if I was writting music.
I told him that I was, indeed and read him a little bit of what I had written. Something like:
I should be sittin' by the fire
wearing clean attire
instead of playing for bills
to get a beer to cure my ills
doing songs by Steven Stills... 
"You want a beer?" he asked. ...sure, that's about all I was hoping to get out of this....
Recipe For The Blues
After I drank the beer that he bought me, the guy with the CDs began to pack up his stuff, and he soon left.
It was 8:30 p.m. and I figured he was leaving because he knew that it was going to be pretty slow the rest of the night.
I did likewise, plannin upon an early start the next (this) morning.
I went back behind the boarded up building and grilled hamburgers, using seasoned salt, Tobbasco, catsup, and pickles, and barbeque sauce (not necessarily in that order) and ate them.
I went to sleep on a full stomach and with only 41 cents in my pocket. I had strange tortured nightmares all night, waking up several times feeling depressed.
Fox Highlight Of Night
At one point a fox or something was licking the grease off of the tin pan that I had cooked on; that was pretty cool. It took off like a rocket when I turned my head to look at it, whatever it was....
7 Dollars Highlight Of Morning
I woke up around the time that Howard did; drank down an energy drink; skipped reading the sports section of the paper, and went right to the convenience store, where, after a slow start, I made about 7 dollars and change in about an hour.
I bought a pack of cigarettes (having gone all night without one) and have about 5 bucks left.
I plan to go back and play some more, because Man cannot live on a pack of cigarettes alone...
This Friday and Saturday nights, I'll be going downtown to play as long as I can stand it; even if I have to take breaks in between.

I'm sure I had been playing for only about
an hour and a half to make about 45 bucks, plus,
free beer and food and...
 Nola Diamond In Rough?
I could take the 5 dollar bus to New Orleans, as the guy at The Guitar Center had suggested; play a few sets in The French Quarter, and then take the 5 dollar bus back here.
As long as I don't break any laws, the guy at The Guitar Center informed me, the cops would have no reason to ID me and discover that I have one unpaid ticket, and throw me in jail.
Maybe the best way to get out of Baton Rouge is by dipping into the money pool of New Orleans, to get travelling funds....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stormy Monday

I Went downtown
If you go there to sleep, enter through one of the two arched
openings on the left (not recommended on rainy nights).
yesterday afternoon, where I still am now.
I had wanted to play on 3rd street, and I did, but it was a ghost town. I only saw two people. One threw me some change, the other asked me for it, while the guy that threw it was still standing there.
It started raining, so I hopped a fence and slept under a roof on the "campus" of St. James Episcopal. In the morning, I had the notion of leaving at the crack of dawn, but then decided that, even if Christians found me on a piece of cardboard in a doorway, with my head on my backpack pillow and my guitar by my side, they would probably not call the police on me; and so I slept until about 7:30a.m.
I started the day with just enough money to take the bus back to Scotlandville, should I decide to.
I haven't decided anything. I've been working most of the day on a Flashback Friday installment (chapter 3 of The Girl Who (owned a house, yet) Slept In A Mustang..
Back in Scotlandville
All things being equal, I decided that, rather than stay downtown and face the limited Tuesday night prospects of making any money and the high probability that the police will be on high alert for a guitarist scaling the fence of the St. James Episcopal Church "campus," (I had mis-named it in a previous post) at the end of the night, that I would spend my last handful of change to take the bus back to Scotlandville and face the limited Tuesday night prospects of making any money here, rather than there; the "difference maker" being Howard's presence and the fact that he could at least lend me a buck to get me started...
I have gotten a "general delivery" postal box in downtown Baton Rouge, as Martin W. in West Virginia has notified me that he would send me his "beat up laptop," as well as a guitar strap, if I were to have such an address.
The nice lady at the post office (there was only one working, and she had a line of about 8 people behind me) accepted my tattered, expired paper ID from Mobile, Alabama as proof of my identity and thus qualified me to receive mail there.
I now go off to e-mail Martin W. and give him the address of the post office, so that he can send me the beat up laptop, which is probably 10 times more powerful than the last computer that I owned, which, as I recall was a 188 megahertz speedster, with all the bells and whistles which one could dream of having, back in 1999...Now, people are wearing watches with more computing power; when will it end??
After that, I believe I will go to the convenience store where they allow me to play and play for anything that I can get; anything.
I picked up some frozen ground beef and some hamburger buns at the Dollar General on my way back to the boarded up building. The beef is thawing, under the watchful eye of Howard. It seems to be thawing at just about the right speed to keep him fixated.
I have constructed a grill, using bricks and aluminum roasting trays, which I found laying around at the recycling place down the street. It is a luxury that we couldn't afford in The French Quarter of New Orleans, as, fire there would draw unwanted attention...
I suggested to Howard that he might want to get some food of his own to place on the fire; it would be a marvelous opportunity for him to roast an egg or heat up a can of soup.
"No, I....ah..." was his response.
I know -he doesn't want to sabotage the success of his "all Jack-In-The-Box, Cheeto and Pepsi" diet.
I might let him have a burger, but it's going to cost him a beer, especially if I don't make "jack" in front of the convenience store, using my brand new strings...