Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Smile Or Two

Yesterday, I was out in the afternoon and played the Bourbon Street spot and made about 11 bucks between 3 and 5 p.m.
Then, I knocked off before 8 o' clock so as to not even call the bluff of the girl who said that she would call the law on me if I played past 8.
I wound up on Canal Street, where I added about 5 bucks in an hour to my case and then, somehow I went off in the direction of Tanya and Dorise.
I got to them as they were winding down around 9 p.m. and they were in good spirits.
Somehow the conversation turned to Mariah Carey after I used her lyrics as an example of poor grammar in popular music...
"Nothing can stop these endless tears from falling..." was the line I pointed out in this regard.
If the tears are "endless," then, well, of course nothing can stop them...
And, lines like: "Oh, boy, you know you'll never shake me...('cause I'll always be your baby)"
Well, it sounds like she is a flea on a dog; and the poor guy is never going to "shake" her off...
It was at this point that I learned from Dorise that I had just insulted one of Tanyas idols, if not the top one of all.
"She's always trying to get me to do Mariah Carey songs, but I refuse:" said Dorise.
Well, soon, Tanya started playing "Love Takes Time" by that very same artist; and I sang, using my "Prince" style of voice to find some of the notes in Mariahs register.
After the jam (during which Tanya had her eyes closed and a look of ecstasy on her face), Dorise looked at me in astonishment and said: "I think you're a closet Mariah Carey fan!"
Well, that particular song came out back when I had nothing pressing me to take time away from driving around and singing to the songs on the radio.
It is an understatement to say that that song was on the radio, back in 1982...a lot.
I knew every note and every harmony; and I think I might have garnered the next level of respect from those musicians.
There was a lady hanging out, who mentioned to me that we had met before.
I didn't recognize her, nor the name of Sara which she told me that she had introduced herself to me by.
Maybe I was so focused upon Tanya at that time that I didn't even see Sara, even as I was being introduced to her.
She is an interesting looking pale skinned but with brown eyes girl.
Sara requested "My Girl," the temptations? song, and Tanya and Dorise complied; a group of three drunken black men began to sing along, poorly, and I eventually jumped in, doing more Prince-like harmonies and bringing a smile to Tanyas face by inserting random doo wop type ad-libs...
And that was enough to make it a very good night.
I then went and made 0 more dollars in about 45 minutes right up Royal Street where an excellent older guy and a black lady who sings and plays mandolin and a box with shims of metal attached to it which she plucks; were just packing up.
It kind of sucked to not have made any more money; but I had found two pair of socks, washed and folded and sitting atop a trash can near Popeyes earlier that day; and socks were at the top of my list of things to get; and so I am not going to stress out about being broke again; I am just going to walk Dauphin Street finishing drinks and cigarettes for people who have gone into the "no outside drinks; no smoking" clubs.
I will walk past Tanya and Dorise; just to make sure that last night wasn't a dream and I really did sing as well as Mariah Carey...
I made a hasty cardboard sign with a caricature of Mariah and "Daniels Amazing Tribute To Mariah" written on it.
I will just casually hold it as I walk past them; in a way that I know they will see it; but not as if I am actually trying to show it to them....
...should get a smile or two....

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bluesette In My Head

Big Source Of Stress
Barnabys Condo
I am sitting with a pile of stuff at the library; it is already a quarter past 3.
Last night, I played at the Bourbon Street spot until shortly after 8 p.m. when a random heavyset black girl in her early twenties approached and said "Esscuse me, but it's after 8 o' clock and your not supposed to be playing music. I live here." informing me of the curfew which had previously only been mentioned by the police.
I can't imagine that I was bothering her in her house; because, she walked off quite a distance to wherever it was. But people are strange, sometimes; a loud and constant noise like a nearby club; they can block out; but the tiny far away sound of someone playing an acoustic guitar can get under their skin; especially if they develop a paranoia that the person is TRYING to bother them...
I was pretty pissed off and almost yelled "I didn't think they had Section 8 on Bourbon Street!" or some other insult..
It seemed like she was just trying to wield power in any way possible; or that the whole purpose of the encounter was so that she could tell me that she lived where condos can go for up to $2,500 per month.
I couldn't think of a good positive reason for her to have done that; and now, I have to worry about playing there late at night; after the cops have done their ride through; but maybe not before she is asleep.
I just hope she is "living there" short-term.
Dividing Time
I have the Perl Programming guide, which I am using to write a program which will automatically format my text files into what you see on the blog (i.e. the first 3 words of a paragraph larger and in a different font; and different coloured paragraphs).
All the program will do is: 
  • Read the text file; one line at a time; 
  • and then break each line into an array of words; 
  • and then insert the HTML tags before and after the first three words
  • and generate random colours for each paragraph, which don't repeat; and which are light enough to show up against my dark background
I should have the thing done pretty soon, however, not really soon, because of my schedule.
This morning, I woke up and noticed that the temperature was warm enough for me to actually sit there and do some things without having to have my blankets wrapped around me.
I:
  • Drank an energy drink
  • Used the nearby porto-let
  • Shook out my sleeping bag and found the dollar which fell out of my pocket during the night
  • Warmed up with some scales and broken chord exercises.
  • Put all my stuff up in the trees
  • Went to the terminal and plugged in this laptop to charge
  • Loaded "Bluesette," by Toots Theileman into the Audacity window and changed its pitch (and key) down one step to "A," then slowed it down 40%, in order to better hear what Hal Leonard played as his illustrative solo.
  • Tried to fit a vocal melody over a chordal riff which I came up with, tentatively entitled: "She Comes From A Place Where All The Girls Are Pretty."
  • Came across the river to the library; after having another energy drink.
  • Ripped a Clay Aiken CD; and a Beatles CD onto my hard drive.
  • Studied Cyclical Quadruplets, out of "Comprehensive Technique For Jazz Musicians"
  • Started this blog post
This is only the tip of the iceberg.
I still need to:
  • Get an online manual for my "image manipulation" program (which is the Linus version of like Photoshop) so I can once again create pictures to put on this blog like the one of myself and Tanya Huang (right)
  • Study the Audacity manual which I downloaded, and which already has me making better sounding recordings
  • Go on some forum and ask anybody there how I can link the mp3 codex to the Audacity Program; so I can, once again post music...
  • Write out some exercises to practice tomorrow morning
  • Work on my Master List of every song that I know; so as not to forget that I know them
And this is not to mention getting my laundry done; buying some more socks; getting a hot shower etc., getting food and eating it...
The only reading I do is on the 5 minute ferry ride each way; at this rate, I should finish "Les Miserables" around the 4th of July...
I may start to post a "Week In Review," once a week on this blog; to free up the 1 or 2 hours daily, which I spend blogging.
(1 Hour And 2 Minutes spent on this post...) 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Learning The Guitar At 50

My Latest Wallpaper
4:04 P.M.
It's 4:04 in the afternoon and I am at the library with a pile of stuff to work on this Wednesday.
Learning Music
I am holding myself to the standards of the likes of Tanya and Dorise and Paul, the guitarist for Doreens Jazz band, and, as such am being very critical of my own music and am digging into Jazz Method books, as well as Scott Joplin piano rags.
There are guitarists (Giovanni Chiaro) who play the rags on guitar; and, while I used to think that was just making things hard on oneself; I can see how it could open the door to learning Bluegrass and other styles.
I went through the chords this morning for "Bluesette," by Toots Thieleman, which is in the unfriendly guitar key of B-flat; and it made me realize how always playing in my "pet" keys, and never in the "horn keys" such as B-flat has made me pretty much ignorant of those keys.
It is "back to the drawing board" for me; with scales and arpeggios; and studying Jazz standards; like "Satin Doll," by Duke Ellington; and "Sir Duke" by Steveland Morris (Stevie Wonder).
A Better Guitar
I have reached the point where my Jasmine guitar, as much as I love it; is holding me back, musically.
Dorise (of Tanya and Dorise) was playing her second guitar this past weekend, because hers in in the shop having the electronics worked on, and she was complaining about how hard it was for her on that particular steel string after having played so long on her nylon stringed poly carbon fiber (or whatever it is) guitar, which she described as such: "With that guitar, I don't have to do anything..." meaning that she only has to do about half as much as I do to get notes to sound.
Take her onus of that steel string (which was still a nice guitar) and multiply it by 3, and I think that is where I am at with the Jasmine.
I recently took a recording that I made in the ferry terminal and sped it up digitally by 30% and it sounded good and made sense.
I think I am just laboring a bit with the Jasmine. I might take the bridge piece out and file it down to lower the action; and not worry about any intonation issues that might arise; I have enough of those now that I am becoming good at working around them...
Can't Share Music Yet
Speaking of the recordings that I am making in the ferry terminal; it is MUCH more quiet than previous recording spots, and has a nice natural reverb.
I have not found a way to hook up an mp3 converter (or have mine in the wrong directory) and so I can't share any of these early recordings.
This is probably a good thing, because now I can take them out and refine them and take a few days instead of a few hours to finish them.
Luck Grows Cold
I am broke again, but don't care.
We have had 3 days of very chilly air; and somebody said that it had gotten down to 28 degrees the other morning.
I don't believe that, as, none of our drinks froze, but it was definitely close.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Post Title

Ben Is Reclusive
Ben, The Paramedic
Ben, the paramedic, who has made previous appearances on this blog, as "Ben, the ambulance driver," (until he informed me of his true title) was in town with a lady friend whose name I've probably only been told a few times.
They were here to see the Eric Clapton concert somewhere in town.
Ben is an excellent guitar player; and one who single handedly sold me on the "open G" guitar tuning which is used by the likes of Ben, the paramedic; who has played in Nashville, with the likes of Willie Nelson.
I don't know if hanging around the are of The Unique Boutique was part of their strategy for running into me, but we met in front of WalGreens on Royal Street (the one that I thought was bought out by the R&B artist Al Green. when the "W" burned out, once).
They took a picture and asked me where I was going to be later, but I couldn't form a clear picture of where I might be at any given time later on that Saturday night. In fact I wondered where I might be many times that night, it turned out...
I did play at the spot on Royal which Tanya and Dorise vacated, but that was not at great length.
Day Shift On Bourbon
Yesterday afternoon, I played on Bourbon Street, across from Barnaby's condo.
Barnaby has just landed a job, he told me.
"I know the feeling; I had it in 2006," I told him.
He is going to work for some organization very similar in scope to Unity; and he is going to "council addicts" among other things.
I had a thought about Unity sending me to Barnaby as part of my evaluation to see if I qualify for an empty house.
I made almost 10 bucks and then took a break; returned about a half hour later as it was getting dark; but didn't make anything in the 45 minutes or so that I played.
There Ain't No One Up There!!
So, I went on my way down Royal Street past the guy who plays an electric guitar through a little Roland Cube amp and who used to have a stuffed moose in his guitar case; and who wrote a song called "Mr. Moose" which he sang  whenever people asked him what the deal with the stuffed moose was; which they inevitably will..
Well, Mr. Moose, as soon as he saw me; pointed in the direction of Rouses Market and said: "There ain't no one up there!"
And. he said it with an incredulity as if he thought that some group; of musicians must have taken ill or something or there was a grave misunderstanding of the time allotment and they each thought that the other group; was there.
Park Place And Boardwalk
I walked on and figured, why not sit on that particular coveted spot.
It was actually slow enough to be about as quiet as it gets there.
I played and had a few people stand and listen; as they are prone to do at that location; and brought my money total up; to about 20 bucks for the whole day; which ran about 8 hours.
Recording At The Terminal
I caught the ferry; after making a distorted recording on the west bank terminal which had some fleeting moments of good jamming on it.
I am holding myself to the standard of Tanya and Dorise now, and especially after having played at the spot that they have had a hand in making famous for people who like to stand and listen to street performers.
Bens Band
*Ben, the paramedic has a band; and they can be "liked" on Facebook.
"The Ben Jernigan Band from Mobile, Alabama" should be a search term that would put them near the top of the Google results...
I haven't been able to find his music though; except for a Youtube of his band doing "Folsom Prison Blues" live somewhere.


 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Living Like Jean Valjean

Friday afternoon, I went into New Orleans and proceeded with 5 dollars in my pocket to pick my way up Canal Street, brushing by the Harrahs Casino, with its always interesting music from the 1970s, and then along to The Unique Boutique, where I began to exercise my new found resolve to not drink Hurricane Lager, and bought a Red Dog beer; and was standing almost out in front; taking valuable space from a bum when up walked none other than the guy who gave me the copy of Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, which I am now enjoying immensely.
Lost Pick
I got to Canal Street to discover that my pick was gone; lost.
It had fallen out somewhere off of the neck, where I wedge it between the strings.
I learned a lot of the styles of Paul Simon and Mark Knopfler in the next hour or so and made 6 bucks; but didn't want to continue because I knew I wasn't at my best; trying a foreign approach to the instrument. I got a lot better at fingerstyle guitar out of sheer determination, though.
Gave Me A Pick
I Buy A Pick
This morning, I bought a pick.
I had forgotten that Dorise gave me one on Royal Street; after I encountered her on a spot about 3 blocks down from Rouses Market.
Dorise said that she was tired and didn't smile her normal smile. They were done playing and she had her hands inside one of their tip baskets as I took my guitar out and started to play with pick that she'd given me; which took a little getting used to.
Tanya arrived and wasn't smiling her normal smile.
They might have had a bad day; having played 3 blocks down from Rouses, which is considered the "hot" spot.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cut!!

Staying Broke
...to protect myself from myself; (how pathetic is that?)
I am sitting at the library, studying Perl scripting and ripping more CDs onto my drive.
I haven't drank in almost 24 hours.
"Get Dat Bum With The Guitah Outta Here!!"
Last night, I didn't even want to play, as I walked around sober, noticing that the revellers seemed particularly stupid and immature as seen through my eyes.
Lights, Camera...Hey, Buddy!!
They were shooting a movie on Bourbon Street and it was kind of disgraceful to see the throngs of gawking celebrity worshippers who couldn't seem to take their eyes off of the "action."
To me, It  was just a bunch of people with cameras and lights and truckloads  of equipment, filming things like a guy getting into a car and driving off (several times until he got it right) but the crowd hung in awe. There were literally stars in their eyes; yes actual terra-ton masses of mostly carbon from billions of light years away were shrunken down and in their eyes, I don't know how Hollywood did that...
I walked through, annoyed by the inconvenience and not even thinking that I would have to Google "New Orleans" and "Shooting some film on Bourbon" just to see if whoever I was walking past was famous enough so that I would have either heard of them; or heard of one of their films or heard of someone whom they acted alongside of once; or more.
At one point, I tried to duck under a kind of crane thing and cut around a barrier and must have come too close to the action or of being seen in the "shot;" prompting some Hollywood type to whistle curtly and motion for me to go back the other way (like shooing a fly).
This was reverberated by several random tourists, nearby, who all had their cam phones rolling; and who piped in with variations of "Get out of the way!,"
I was getting in their shots, for crying out loud!
Everything in their deportment communicated the fact that "some nobody" almost got in the way of the Great Actors (who matter).
"I haven't been to a theater since 1996," I truthfully shot back at them; feeling like I was telling some Polynesian tribe on a South Pacific Island hundreds of years ago that I didn't pray to their huge carved wooden stature.
I went around the other way.
There was apparently no reference to any street musician in the screen-play and, besides,  I probably would have been out of period(.)
My 1960's era army backpack hadn't even been invented, perhaps, when Rob Lowe, or whomever, ran around Bourbon Street, acting like a guy from the 1950s.
 
Music Review
I have 12 gigabytes of music now; most notable of the new discoveries that I have made being The Dave Matthews Band, and Adele (yeah, THAT Adele...kind of Bonnie Raitte meets Tracy Chapman...) and Tom Waits.

The disappointments have been, to some degree Steve Vai (he is excellent technically but so are Joe Satriani and the guy from Dream Theatre.
Steve just plays music from another planet which I'm not sure I want to visit...),
The Grateful Dead "Workingmans Dead" (is a studio album from before the era of sound production which has spoiled us all with surround sound; and from an era when "Pigpen" was a vocalist/harmonica player; and I have always thought that he just sounds like a drunken gutter-punk -even before I had ever heard the term, and he either clips his microphone during live performances -blame the soundman- or whatever Deadheads were recording onto their normal-bias 1970 vintage cassettes had their levels too high..either way, Pigpen comes off sounding like and amateur.)

*interesting note: I haven't had any trouble ripping CDs onto my hard drive which *technically* is pirating and might be against Federal Law. 
I thought that I had read somewhere that artists had come up with some way to encode CDs so that they couldn't be copied, but maybe technology has caught up with them...
The Grateful Dead CD, which I copied on March 14, I played that night.
At the conclusion of the music, a rather obnoxious voice is heard to say something like "Workingmans Dead, available March 14th [that days date]...Go ahead and STEAL IT!!"
I think I just coincidentally ripped it on the same day of its release, back in 1970...because...they can't do that, can they??
Now, the library is closing.
I guess I will walk the Quarter to see if I am inspired to sit and play somewhere. I have so much new music that I want to learn and to re-invent myself in a way; but it will have to be done on-the-job; unless I establish a much more disciplined practice schedule...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We Came For The Music

2 1/2 Hours Late
It is the Wednesday of my big appearance in Homeless Court.
Phone Alarm Blamed
As I had predicted, I was about 2 and a half hours late (I set my cellphones "alarm clock" feature, but didn't notice that I was setting it to "p.m." -it will go off this evening at 6:45 to remind me that I was an idiot..).
I went to sleep early last night, after purposely spending the last of my cash on a couple beers (to help me get to sleep; and so that I would be forced into sobriety today).
I woke up at one point when the sky was starting to lighten up, and was expecting my alarm to sound any second (Howard was doing his 6:05 a.m. stir).
I drifted back to sleep.
I had a high power (Bawls) energy drink next to me, which I was prepared to gulp down; had I been roused out of a deep sleep at the sounding of the alarm.
It was 7:58 when I next woke up.
I had 2 minutes to get across the river and 2 more miles to the courthouse. 
I decided to just slow down and take my time.
The people from Unity were not there when I got there. I don't know if they had been there earlier and left, or if they had never been there.
Nobody asked me why I hadn't been there at 8 o' clock.
Another Month?
I was given another date of April 17th, about a month from now.
...for something that I might decide not to even pursue.
I will talk to as many people as I can about Unity and how they operate.
They don't allow "walk ins" at their office; they only interview people at the courthouse; the Homeless Court house...
A Freakishly Bizarre Coincidence
About a week ago, I posted about my having found a CD which was released by an old ex-girlfriend, named Xanna.
We were in a relationship once; and I lived with her for about a year in 2002 and 2003.*
*There is a long story on this blog; in the 2002 archives; which deals with strange occurrences at that "haunted" house in Virginia where we lived.
As I walked the 2 miles from the courthouse towards The Rebuild Center, where I was to inquire more about Unity, my mind wandered through many things.
I started thinking back 11 years to Xanna and her piano playing.
I remembered when she got me an Ibanez acoustic guitar as a birthday gift and when I took it out of the case and tried to play (for the first time in 2 years), she asked me if I really knew how to play the guitar; so out of practice was I and tender in the fingertips at the time.
As I walked further, still on this train of thought, I passed the Tulane Medical Center where, parked in front was a turquoise Ford Mustang, just like the one Xanna drove when I knew her.
I got to Rebuild and was told by one of the nuns that the Unity people can only be seen at the courthouse; they don't visit Rebuild.
I thanked her and was turning to leave when I saw, standing about 12 feet away from me, none other than Xanna
I've Gotten Better
11 Years Older
She was wearing a black winter jacket, fit for a Virginia winter.
I had to look for a second to make sure it wasn't someone who just looked an awful lot like Xanna, but, the recent photo of her which I had seen along with her CD on line was the spitting image of her.
"I just came upon one of your CDs; 'Winter (something)'" I reported; thinking that she would be happy to think that her music had gotten around so well.
The truth is that someone would have to Google the name "Xanna" -a name that came to her in a dream which she legally changed to- like I did in order to find her "needle in a haystack" of a CD in the expanse of the www- but I had just happened to have done that a week earlier.
And there she was, at the Rebuld Center...
She asked me how I was doing and what brought me to New Orleans.
I asked the same and our answers were identical on the point that it was "the music" which brought us here.
Xanna seemed a little bit distant (which isn't surprising given our history) but seemed eager to know what I thought of her music.
I told her that I was impressed and we talked bit about music.
"I've put out 3 more since then," she said. "I've gotten better."
...I know I have...
Strawberries And Olive Oil
We talked a bit more.
Her "14 year old" son, Emory, is 25 now and "works at Kroger and has a college degree." I had to smile at the recollection of Charlottesville, Virginia and all the Masters Degree holders there who flipped hamburgers and delivered newspapers...
She mentioned that she (is now) autistic (but only learned that fact about 4 years ago) and that she also has food allergies "just like you" and rattled off a few foods of which I remember "strawberries" and "olive oil."
"Maybe I'll see you in town," I said.
She wasn't very committal in her response.
Then, I left to come here to the library, but stopped at the Shell station for an energy drink.
I almost bumped into her on my way out.
"Are we going to keep running into each other?" I asked.
"I guess so, said Xanna."
And that was my Freakish Coincidental Meeting of the year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1 In 5 (odds of me showing up on time...)

Homeless Court
Tomorrow is the day for me to appear in "Homeless Court."
They are going to want some kind of commitment by me (in lieau of the 200 dollar fine) to one of their programs which are state funded and designed to get people off of the street and into any one of the empty houses which are here in NOLA.
I think that the population here went from one million to 400 thousand after hurricane Katrina almost 8 years ago. 
If I can pass myself off as a real "fixer upper" then they might help me to reconstruct my life.
I'm Not Signing Anything...
It is possible that I might go through their program, becoming more clean cut in the process; and sign some kind of lease to put me in a house; and then I could still travel. 
I could be like the guy that Alex from California has met in California, who is a street musician and who claims to have a house in New Orleans. 
I guess a house would always be nice to come back to; to rest ones bones after touring the nation and living off of music. 
I might even find a friend; perhaps Howard; who could pay a modest amount of rent to live in my house. 
Woke Up Depressed
That is about the main thing that is bugging me this morning. 
I woke up kind of depressed, for the first time in weeks (I'll have to search this blog for the word "depressed" to see when the last time was...) I'm pretty sure that, then; I was pretty much broke. 
I lent Rob (the new guy in the stand of trees with us) 2 dollars the other night; and he told me that he could pay me back on Thursday. 
Today is Tuesday. 
I am at the ferry terminal; plugged in and writing this as I wait for the ferry, which was just pulling away when I got here. 
The French Quarter, (Hanoi, Vietnam...)
The trip across the river is just out of the general principle that I am likely to find something over there; tobacco, food, alcohol, money...eventually a job, perhaps. 
Maybe I can sign on with those crews who come and sweep the streets with their little brooms and dustpans...I could sweep up all the trash around Tanya and Dorise as they play; and as I save up for amps and mixers.
Some of these business owners have seen me off and on for almost 2 years now; and I have exchanged friendly words with many of them... At this point, my plan is to try to follow through with the program that the Homeless Court will prescribe for me; knowing that I can bail out at any time..and at some point in the future; to travel.
I just hope they don't tell me that I have to stay in a shelter while I am seeking employment and waiting for a house to become available... That would try my patience....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Algerians Make Contact


And, so I have changed my background of my desktop to the photo to the left.


Last night I guess I proved that I can make at least something if within a group of people and playing my ass off.
Easily 10 Bucks Per Box
A couple handed me a bag of what they referred to as "sweets," as in their question of "Do you eat sweets," by the lady.
"I actually started to say that I in fact avoided "sweets;" envisioning pecan brittle by the pound, or something.
It turned out, after they still gave me the bag after I promised that I would give them to my friend Howard "who LOVES sweets" that it contained pastries which were small and were sweet enough to compensate for their size by being filled with stuff which was like heavy cream whipped together with marmalade (I tried a couple). 
Food Security
I came into an abundance of food; to wit: chunks of a lasagna type food; accompanied by a garlic bread which was almost supernaturally sweet; and corn; corn soaked in butter; just good yellow corn, not too crispy nor soft.
I think I know what the deal is with that particular location.
The security people get free meals, right out of the hotel kitchen; and half of them throw the things away; or rather, place them in a clean plastic bag and set them upright, next to the trash can outside.
It's as if they put them there just for Stephen...
I had three heavy Styrofoam containers, each one containing about 4 pounds of lasanga and corn and bread; I thought about Howard.
It was about 10 p.m. and he would be out like a light.
I ate two of them; washing them down with a Hurricane Lager.
"Wake Up, It's Cold Lasagna!"
I got to the other side and set a lasagna near Howard, and then, remembering the sweets; went back and was placing them next to the lasagna when he stirred and, after he seemed to orient himself, I told him that the two containers which I had just placed by him was "food."
I heard him fumbling with the carton briefly and then; silence. ...I could have eaten all three...
This morning, I woke up with enough money for a new .26mm guitar string, and I will soon buy one to replace the one that I really finished off last night, and to cover most of my other "expenses."
I am now off to get the Audacity manual on line so I can hopefully start messing with it. 
Algerians Make Contact
Beautiful Algiers

A Man Of Great Resource
This morning, as I sat in ferry terminal on the Algiers side, with my laptop plugged in and charging; and my mp3 player plugged into it and charging (and being loaded with mp3 songs), I was approached by a young black man who looked no more than 20 and who was a bit heavy set and friendly.
He wound up telling me about all of the "homeless resources" on the Algiers side of the river.
He said that he could take me to a place which gave out clothing; "nice clothing" and which was only a 20 minute walk to, on the Algiers side of the river.
He seemed alright; and gave me quite a run-down on where one could eat "good food" for free; and where one could trade their food stamps for cash.*
*This puts even more money into the local economy because the government pays for the 200/month worth of food, and then the card holder goes out and pumps the cash into the economy; letting the beer and wine stores in on the bonanza; it's a win-win situation.
It drives the wheels of the food industry, keeps the economy stable.
Business owners do pay taxes; but I'm sure that the amount of revenue which comes in their door in the form of food stamps more than compensates them for whatever taxes they paid.
Algiers, Louisianna
I will probably take him up on his offer to give me such a tour; once I'm sure that he's alright.
The Side Of Caution
Something just told me that it wasn't prudent to be walking through Algiers, carrying my bag with my laptop and mp3 player along with my guitar and being lead by some dude whom I just met and who was just a bit insistent that I go along with him.
One must use a little more caution on that side of the river.
They don't have the billion dollar tourist industry; nor the web cams to cover every inch of it; like they do on the NOLA side...
Besides, he was describing things that I had no desire to eat when talking about the cornucopia of plenty which was some place a 20 minutes walk away. Through Algiers...
 Xanna
In the meantime, one of my ex-girlfriends now has a CD out; of piano music.
See 2002 for more about Xanna...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Quiet Tuesday

Music
I am growing my music collection here at the library on this Wednesday morning. The Hubbell Branch, (right) down the street from where we sleep.
Yesterday was forgettable, as it was chilly and breezy and I could have played because there were people out; but decided to mess around with computer stuff; and relax for at least a day, instead.
One must choose a day to take off and relax; with Monday or Tuesday not always the obvious choices.
There is "always something going on" here, even on Tuesdays; and if the weather permits; one might want to take the opportunity to make something of a day such as that. The weekend might bring thunder and lighting...
I am now adding:
  • Grateful Dead - Workingmans Dead
  • Jeff Beck - Emotion and Commotion
  • Bob Dylan - Tempest
  • Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night
to the collection on the hard drive of my laptop.
So far, Elvis Costellos "National Ransom" has been the new music that has been ringing in my head, lately.
Last night, I ate English Muffins dipped in olive oil with artichoke hearts.
I was surprised to see the birds attacking the scraps of artichoke that I had left on the ground.
I have begun to make primitive "test" recordings on this computer, having installed the Audacity program which came with Fedora 15. 
Other than that, it was a quiet Tuesday...
Elvis Costello Carries One...
I want to get a composition notebook; and to start the task of making a list of the songs that I know; so that I can refresh my memory of them; and the songs that I want to learn; plus the lyrics for all my originals; especially the ones that I had verses to each time I improvise them, like "Hubert's Trip," -a song about a friend of mine who drove a 1978 Plymouth Fury around the nation, taking pictures and writing in a journal (stopping at McDonalds to use a urinal...)

 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

There Is A House In New Orleans

You blog readers are going to have to just sit tight; there is so much going on right now which is of so much more import than the taking of time out from these expolits in order to report on their ilk.
That being said;
Last night, I played on Canal Street and made enough money to pay for my entire day.*
*I made back what I had spent.
To me this is "standing still."
Because the money that I spent upon this particular day was not representative of the money that I "really" spend each day, once you factor in one-time expenses, like buying a camel to tote your music gear around, or getting new strings every 7 days.
There Probably Already Exists A Program, But
I am studying the UNIX book that I got at Goodwill; especially the section about the "stream editor" with which I am sure that I can write that program that I have been dreaming about; the one that I can feed the plain text of these posts to and it will change it into the final product by making the first three words of a paragraph stand out (enlarging it; different font) and changing the colour of each successive paragraph to a random* colour; like anyone sees when they read my posts.
Right now, I have to manual do the thing.
This takes 10 more minutes of formatting, on average.
I am working on a program which will do this for me. I will feed the text file in, and it will produce paragraphs which differ from each other in the color that they are rendered in.
*random: Ok, there are some colours that look "better" with other colours, I suppose.
You see yellow and purple adjacent to one another, for example.
When I manually change colours, I might do things like change a paragraph in which money is a subject to green.
Purple is for "forgiveness" and usually colours a paragraph which deals with the "forgiving" of some worthless piece of street trash, I mean, individual.
There are reasons that I choose certain colours for certain paragraphs and these reasons will be left to be negotiated by a totally randomly generated color by the program which I will soon write which will automate a huge blogging task which has been my bane; but only temporarily, I hope.
Soon, I will use keywords to influence the ultimate behaviour of the "random color generator" in a way that my brain does.
The program will search the vocabulary and be able to discern things like anger, for example, by scanning the words "pissed off" and will apply "red" (for anger; you know, like Mars, the (red) planet of "war") and such; "dollars" would prompt a green paragraph, to extend the illustration.
Neither May Lilly The Ukulele Players
Art Not To Be Recognized Until Posthumous
I don't think my art will be recognized until a substantial amount of years have passed after my demise....
Good Music Here
So, now I go to get more music and to burn it onto my laptop and by this action equip myself with a veritable portable entertainment system. I want to get really good headphones. What a joy to plug those into the laptop and listen to music under the American Redcedar trees (near the statue of Louis Armstrong)!
Larger Concerns In Life
So, I have even larger concerns in life..
The money is holding up. 
The great windfall of the 100+ dollar weekend is holding fast and only being eroded away by the occasional overspending upon unessesary items; like everything.
Findings Are In
I found a full pouch of American Spirit tobacco, which goes for 10 dollars; laying by the side of the road. It contains enough tobacco to last me until next week.
The Goodwill Store cashier entered some kind of program on the screen at her register and typed in something; when I was buying my pants and my Dave Matthews CD and my Unix book and they became half-priced. It was the homeless discount.
If I continue to buy nice clothes from there and at some point the line becomes blurred between weather I am homeless or not and they start to charge me full price at the Goodwill, I guess I will just have to dress accordingly and maybe not shave for a couple days before going there.
Well, that's it readers...
I might be in a *house soon.
I have "Homeless Court" on the 20th.
*I might rent the house to someone while a gall-avant a bit around the country this summer; paid in advance, of course...
Social Work To Be Done
They are going to try to help me.
They are going to get one of their professionals in the mental health trade to interview me and to determine that I for some reason am unable to manage my life and as a result sleep under a stand of cedar trees, and that I am an excellent candidate for their "program."
They might just give me some empty house somewhere that the owner cannot sell except to the agencies that house the homeless.
And then, who knows? The place will become a recording studio in short order.
I will surely have to pursue gainful employment in the New Orleans area...as a "stipulation," of course.
And, of course, as my income increases, so will the expectation that I will cover more of my rent; it may even add up to a situation where all the money that I make at my new job is usurped in order to pay my rent; but; that will give me a good feeling, so I suppose I would be cool with it.
Homeless Court: March 20th.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mondays Dreary Recapitulation

Yes, Wednesday night, a guy gave me 20 bucks on Canal Street as I was playing...
Thursday night, a guy on Dauphine Street gave me 10 bucks after just talking to me about music. I then took out the Jasmine and played some very good stuff for him. He was from Philadelphia, and wished me luck. He said that he listened to "everything from Metalica to Yani." (to me...)
Then, Saturday night, I had my 55 dollar night, first one of those in about 5 weeks.
I was down on Decatur, looking for Brad, actually seeking the companionship of another musician; appraising it to be more valuable than any loss of revenue which might come after splitting the tip jar with another soul.
Brad was at "his" spot, which had once been my spot before I realized that it was a minimum wage kind of place.
Brad and I only made one (1) dollar after jamming for about a half hour.
I think we sounded good but I notice that Brad (like myself) goes into a "zone" when he plays and the zone is an end to itself.
One time I stood and listened to him play, standing almost in front of him; until such a point that I thought that he was ignoring me; maybe didn't want me to jam with him; but, after 29 minutes or so when he was bent over the fretboard entranced by himself; he looked up and saw me and became very animated and invited me to jam...
So, Brad goes into a "zone" and we have had some very interesting (to Deadheads sitting around the hearth at least) jams.
But, Saturday night, in an attempt to increase our odds of making money, I abandoned the totally random free style jams in favour of more recognizable songs, such as Beatles songs.
Brads playing became softer, as if deferring to me or not wanting to play the "wrong" notes. 
That is the "problem" inherent with playing Beatles songs, for example, which everyone has heard countless times the "definitive" version of, and that you are either parroting back what was recorded or you are NOT parotting it back and thus are playing it "wrong."
So, Brad came down from the astral plane and mentioned us splitting the 1 dollar that we had made; a gesture that I have learned to take to mean that he wanted to sit and play his astral music.
I then went up to the Bourbon Street spot and made the 55 dollars or so, aided by the cardboard sign which was propped behind my case, upon which was written a check list; items on the left and boxes on the right, some of which were checked off.
The items on the left read:
  • "New strings" [check]
  • "Laundry" [check]
  • "Coffee" [check]
  • "A Home" [not checked]
  • "Cigarettes" [not checked]
  • "Asian Massage" [not checked]
  • "Food" [the first box checked; second not]
  • "Razors" [not checked]
Well, one couple arrived and the guy, reading the sign said: "Well, here's 5 dollars for cigarettes. Here's another 5 for food...Asian massages are like 65 bucks, I don't think I can help you there, or buy you a house...but here's another 3 for razors"
And, in that way, the sign which took me 2 minutes to construct, made me 13 dollars...
It helps to have as much peripheral stuff as possible; not limited to stuffed animals. 
Lately, I have been putting a piggy bank in my case. If people put coins in it; I can't get at them unless I destroy the piggy bank....
Sunday
And so, Sunday was the day to go the the Great Goodwill Store and buy a pair of pants. I had become tired of the stained jeans and felt that I had garnered all the sympathy that they were good for; and so I got a nice pair of blue slacks which fit excellently.
I grabbed the Dave Matthews Band CD, which is something that I know the library doesn't have, having checked already.
And, a UNIX book, which will have me tweaking and geeking with this computer for fun, skill and health.
And so, last night (Sunday) I didn't make a plug nickel.
I played, and thought that I played well, but it just wasn't happening
Then, rain started to threaten.
By the time I was across the river and laying down, it had begun to sprinkle.
Rob, the new guy who has been camping with Howard and I, wanted to set up his (one man) tent immediately upon feeling the first few drops.
The problem was that I sleep upon the only spot which is flat and which conceals the tent from view.
I wanted to lay there longer to see if the shower was just a passing one; he was rattling his tent poles, ready to put the thing up.
The rainfall intensified until even the American Red cedar trees couldn't contain it; and so I relinquished the spot to he and his tent and went and found a place on the flanking balcony of the ferry terminal where I was out of the wind and out of the rain; even though I wasn't out of the cold; but was soon out cold and slept very well.
Howard stayed under the trees and, by the looks of his sleeping bag this morning, took on a lot of moisture; while Rob stayed dry in his one man tent.
It being Monday, now; I have a lot of plans, a lot of things to be done.


NOLA Law

I went to court on the 7th.
I spoke to the City Attorney for a while.
He has decided to (waive the 200 dollar fine and) send my case over to "homeless court."
Yes, they have a Homeless Court here, where they pair people up with organizations that evaluate them and try to pair them with organizations that can help them get off the street; possibly by giving them the key to a house somewhere, which is empty and which the government probably owns, or who knows.
Homeless Court
On March 20th, I have my date in Homeless Court.
Yes, they have a "Homeless Court" here.
They might send me for a psychological examination.
My only concern with a psychological examination is a fear that I might screw up the person who is interviewing me by talking to them at length and elucidating issues which might evoke things that they had buried in their subconscious minds, afraid to confront them...
Psychologists who evaluate me have a high suicide rate; is all I'm saying...
So, should Unity give me a house for free in Algiers; and help me get some kind of job; even washing dishes, which would ultimately give the means to get all of the stage gear necessary to succeed as a street performer; this would be good.
These are the same people who tried to help Sue (the Colombian Lady) and who made her very suspicious, especially at their mention of a psychological evaluation.
I could understand her concern that they might put her on some kind of drugs that would make her literally slap-ass-crazy; and thus justify the means by the end...
And so, that is where it stands.
I woke up with 25 of the dollars that I made throughout the weekend.
This coming week is Saint Patricks Day and yet another opportunity for the astute busker to profit. The astute busker will be playing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" across from the Hotel Monteleone after midnight...