Tuesday, April 29, 2014

9 Dollars And Change Monday

Originals Are My Future
Back To Earth
Jazzfest Time; I see $12-$18/hr. here...
Last night, it was "back to earth," after a few lucrative days which I now must concede were so, due to the presence of people here for the Jazzfest; and, in my case, I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't Phish fans, who were tipping me for what had just become space jams along with avante-garde harmonica solos and improvised lyrics; after I had made enough money to feel like I had earned the freedom to fire one up behind the school on Saint Phillips Street where Lee Harvey Oswald, Richard Simmons and Lenny Kravitz all went, and where Elvis Presley fought a kid in the parking lot in like, 7th grade -the mule cart tour guides know these things...and then to return to the Lilly spot (...this is when I always ran to Sydneys for another beer...) and to enjoy the 75 degree, only humid enough so that the fingers can get a better grip on the strings, temperatures; with a breeze, but one not quite strong enough to blow a dollar away if it is folded a certain way (In "Busking For Dummies," I'll include a sidebar with a photo) and to work on originals.  
Originals are the future...
I am listening to myself recorded on mp3 at my spot, on the night that I made about 60 bucks as a matter of fact; on the media player; as background music...doing "Computer Geek Blues" another work in progress -the labor being remembering all the lyrics, and then memorizing them...
Moving Like A Tortoise Towards Solving Hair Problem 
7 Years Ago
I am about to buy some sharp scissors and cut my own hair, to remove the huge, dred-locked knots.
It's Been 8 Years...
This will leave me with short hair, like I started out with in August of 2006, which was the last time that I had scissors laid to my hair. In Jacksonville, Fl. 
Teresa was the name of the stylist; she lived in Saint Augustine, and through talking to me about that tourist town and its opportunities for buskers, she became instrumental in my decision to move to that place and live there for about 2 years before the cops (with their bias against homeless street performers; along with the increasingly restrictive, upon such, laws which were being passed there) compelled me to leave there.
That is where I met Karrie, and where I wrote "Crazy About A Crazy Girl," about a different girl, named Brittany.
My favorite thing that Brittany did, was, when she left me a note at the spot where I usually played, in front of a stairwell at the Episcopal church (now prohibited by law*) she wrote on the outside envelope: "Please leave here. (The note, not whoever you are) ."
*Busking, not the Episcopal church.
Stream of Consciousness...
 Flashback: From The Lost Blog (preceding this one)...
Top 10 Differences Between Daniel And Larry:
#10.
Daniel:
 -Tourists come to Saint Augustine to hear music played by by the old fort (right).

Larry:
Tourists come to Saint Augustine to hear music played by the old fart (below).

...I rearranged the rocks of my bed this morning, thinking that I could lower the head of it, I did, but now it is a lot bumpier...I bit off more than I could chew...will have to start practicing masonry again to get it flat...how long do I think I am going to live under there when, every night I am visible for about 5 seconds going under...the night shift workers are almost never watching; they work somewhere out of sight on the boat, prepping food or something...laundry; I have to do laundry as soon as I leave here; will get a dollar something bottle of dish washing liquid with grease cutter -just as good as laundry soap and your clothes smell like clean plates...am drinking a lot of energy drinks....day 21 without alcohol consumption....am placating my "addictive personality" with a lot of caffeine, guarana and B vitamins saw Leslie Thompson on the way here by Mickey Skeeze (McDonalds). Our conversation kind of got mired

after I told him that I hadn't drank in 21 days...almost time for a new harmonica...want to get a laptop of some kind...can probably hook up a power inverter or some other way to extend the battery life while under the dock...this blog will get better almost immediately...



Monday, April 28, 2014

33 Dollar Sunday

I'm at the library.
I read the Sunday paper until almost dawn. Then, I read some more of "Rose Madder," by Stephen King (about 30 pages left) until I was doing it by orange sunlight; but I still managed to sit up at about 1:30 p.m. and swill down some instant coffee and go.
The night before, I had eaten another huge tub of salad (field greens, spinach, lettuce, olive oil, vinegar, cajun mustard and a splash of strawberry jam as the "secret ingredient").
Before that, I had had a 33 dollar night.
I sat down before sundown, and was really just tuning up and had my case next to me but not open and with none of my own money to seed it.
I was playing alright, I thought, when a well dressed man approached and I could see his eyes scanning for a tip jar and him biting his lower lip a bit on the side in an expression which said: No tip jar?!" before he stuffed a folded up 10 dollar bill in between the zippers of the case.
After that start, I set up the sharks and everything, seeded them with 3 of my own dollars, and managed to get about 3 more, in the hour and a half leading up to when a lady sat and listened and cried at one point, and shot a video which she said that I could find on Facebook (she friended me right then and there), and then gave me 20 dollars.
It was only 10 p.m., the crowd was small (though anything can happen with my biggest [$170] tip coming on such a night when that tipper pretty much had the block to himself) and I decided to give myself the luxury of knocking of and getting an early start on my reading and then an earlier start to the day. *why, look how much I have written compared to yesterday*  I figured that I had gotten lucky in making 33 bucks in less than 2 hours and took it as a sign that the universe was giving me some time off to do other things.
I woke up with 40 bucks on me, 120 stashed, and about 40 in the "3%" jar-which-under-no-circumstances-will-or-can-ever-be-tapped-into.
Dear Readers
I am thinking of getting another laptop of some sort, so that I can put more into this blog, dear readers. I look at this blog like a Victorian house that needs a lot of sanding and painting, and I might even have to use a lathe to create replacements for the bannisters around the porch....
"Monsters," The Song
I puffed a little on a blunt; and was soon adding to an original of mine called: "Monsters." 
It is tentatively about the fraternity of Catholic high school "brothers in Christ," who were once my classmates, whose parents, like mine, ponied up the tuition in order to create "Christian Leaders" out of us. You get what you pay for...
I remember one day, looking around from a vantage point near the middle of the classroom (My last name beginning with the letter "M," I often found myself situated near the middle of the room, somewhere near Lisa Miller) I think it was Mrs. Cottingsworths* English class -she was rumored to have had a senior boy or two "crash at her place," on certain occasions, by the way.
My gaze fell upon Michael Sullivan, and especially his shiny brown leather shoes, not even broken in looking because he only wore them for school and most of that was sitting.
I looked at his sport coat, haircut, but mostly his posture.
We were having some kind of quiz and he was covering his answers with hands, forearms, torso, and had even unbuttoned and opened his jacket, to block out the view from that angle.
He had apparently done his homework; was confident in his answers; knew that some other weaker, less disciplined students had not done their homework, and Michael surely wasn't going to piss away that advantage by letting anyone cheat off of him.
Because college scholarships were at stake here.
To good schools. 
Kids that don't do their homework shouldn't get to go to those schools, period; and since Mike had done the work, why should he not get the spoils.
So, the song "Monsters," is tentatively about how my Christian brothers in cuddly sweater vests were already in competition with me; and were poised to to escalate matters to trying to chew me up and spit me out  in the real world, and would, after beating me in business; have my head stuffed and mounted on an office wall; with the others...
*Name changed to protect Mrs. Gorton.
The Cost Of A Charge
I am charging my mp3 player in the computer. The manual said to charge it for 6 hours when it is totally drained.
It came totally drained right out of Radio Shack.
The most charging/babysitting the thing that I have been able to stand has been about 2 hours. After 2 hours, I had written some lyrics, smoked a blunt, listened back to the recordings that I had made at the Lilly spot; and the Ghost of Opportunity Lost was telling me that, on such a beautiful 80 degree day with light dry breezes, there could very well be happy tourists walking past my spot.
I am thinking of getting some kind of power inverter, along with a plastic battery harness type thing, into which I could stuff like 8 AA batteries, and maybe be able to listen for hours off them.
The Usefulness Of The Mp3 Player
Critique
The small charges, which I have been able to administer to the thing, in between living life, have only been enough to power it through about an hour of recording, roosted upon my left thigh as I sit Indian style, but not enough to then, listen back while lying at my sleeping spot; trying to totally detach my ego from it and using it as a sound track for daydreams; or sometimes actually picturing myself  hearing what I am hearing somewhere, and it being someone else; and wondering if I would dig the music; if it were someone else
Scratchpad
Then, there are the spontaneous lyrics which I might add to a song which I am writing/compiling, such as "Purple Heart," which I have a lot of lyrics for, and a few chord changes but with which I am not finished.
It is about Fred*, a disabled Veteran, whom I met as he was hobbling across San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida., leaning on a cane, back in 2007.
He asked me for assistance in getting across (He was putting his life on the line; wearing that olive green camouflaged jacket; all in quest of a pint of vodka) "It's like they don't even see me!"
"They don't want me back there, no more. I'll have to go to this other store," continue the lyrics (hats off to Dr. Seuss).
He wanted to panhandle up a pint of the cheap stuff; 'Cause the VA clinic never seems to do enough...to help him ease his pain "...Hey, it's my medicine!"
But Fred has a Purple Heart in his backpack
With something torn up; which might once have been a snack pack.
A metal pin on his chest from the president; metal pins for the rest from a resident,
That's all Fred got;
And, oh yeah, Fred got shot..

Well, Fred proceeds in the song to get booted from the other parking lot because he was knocking upon drivers windows  "Can you help a disabled Vet?; I'm in pain, I need vodka, I've got pins in my legs, I don't get my check until next Wednesday..."
They don't want me over there, they don't like me over here
His face becomes like granite.
Where to they want me to do; go to another planet?!?

It should be a cool song, if I keep it simple, in tribute to the way Fred played the guitar. He was an excellent pianist, but played every song on the guitar using the same 3 chords.

to be cont

Sunday, April 27, 2014

59 Dollar Saturday

4 Solid Hours Of Busking
Fueled By Kombucha!
Saturday night, I got to the Lilly spot before sundown.
There was a group of 3 lady tourists on the stoop, so I sat on the next one down and broke out the guitar to tune up, while talking to a skeezer.
This particular ones skeeze seems to be to compliment any and all ladies who are accompanied by men; by complementing the man upon his acquisition of the woman...no, really! You're lucky....skeeze....skeeze...I could never get a woman like that because I'm so down and out that I can't even get a beer right now; well, you enjoy your evening; I'm gonna have sweet dreams tonight, for sure....skeeze....skeeze...
He always seemed like a socially inept nerd, the times I've seen him when he was looking for his first or second drink, late morning, early afternoon.
He always seemed like a crass, obnoxious, extroverted shameless skeezer, the times I've seen him holding Hand Grenades in each hand and staggering past me at mindnight...You know, you're with one of the finest ladies on the planet, sir, I envy you...
Eventually the stoop cleared, and I began to play, while it was still daylight and under such a a condition was also able to don my new blue plastic sunglasses which fit neatly over my existing eyeglasses, affording me the extra element of being able to see approaching tourists in detal, and giving me a third thing which matches the color of the Indiana Scout guitar (the sharks and the mardi gras beads being the other two).
The Whole Notion Of Me
I was trying to gauge the effect of wearing the sunglasses upon the tip sharks.
I know I looked "cool as fuck," with the shades matching the guitar, yet presenting a vivid contrast with the earth tones of my brownish hat -kind of like Country Man Goes To Tinsletown, yeah...photos forthcoming...
I did get tips which seemed to come in clumps of 2 to 5 dollars.
I thought I was playing well; but I am going to go out on a limb and say that the glasses did not hurt me; and, in the case of teen aged tourists, I believe they encouraged tipping in the following manner:
These teens, in groups of 3 or 4, always have an alpha male. If the alpha male trows me a tip, the rest are very prone to follow suit; and a glance at me in my cool shades that match the sharks (which purpose or significance might elude them) and the guitar and the beads.
The subliminal perception in the immature mind of the teen is that the alpha male is tipping the whole notion of me...
When I knocked off the first time, at about 9 p.m., after having switched to the spotlight and ditched the shades, I had stuffed enough money into the shark tank to cover everything which I would spend the entire day.
I started heading for Sydneys to buy some kind of juice drink as a form of taking a break, but then remembered that I had found an unopened bottle of "Kombucha" which is something that I really have no idea what is, but which cost $3.99 each, which I still had in my pack. It had been in Rouses trash -perhaps when the things get warm, they cannot be re-refrigerated and then sold, but, there was the Kombucha, and so, I took a kombucha break and then returned to the spot where I played until 12:30 a.m., and would have played longer and made more than 59 bucks, if I didn't want to run to Rouses Market before they closed, in order to get a gallon of water, some raisins and a big canister of oatmeal...
In the future, I will have to pick up these items earlier in the evening and just lug them around a bit; the spot was swarming with promising tourists at the time I packed up to run for provisions...
I later found tons of salads in their airtight bags, along with some fresh catfish, still cold. I also found some sushi, and ate my first flesh in 19 days, by eating just the steelhead and tuna off the top, not all the imitation eels and the like....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

41 Dollar Friday

I have only 37 minutes here, as, I have done it again (staying up from 1:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. reading; ancient Greek history, the daily newspaper and Steven King' "Rose Madder").
I thought about starting today (Saturday) without sleeping first, thinking about doing my laundry at the VA and then getting a full 4 hours of blogging in here, but decided to just try to sleep about 6 hours, with a strong coffee ready by my side.
You're staying up too late in
the mornings; do you read me?!?
Last night, I ate a huge salad with oil and vinegar and spices, along with instant potatoes and then sipped instant coffee in coconut milk as I read all night by the light of 4 candles.
The numbness and tingling in my arms and fingers, along with the stiffness in my neck, which had subsided during my 7 day fast, has started to creep back into my life and commenced at about the same time that I resumed consuming energy drinks, like Rip-It energy, which have a lot of high fructose corn syrup; but also artificial colors and flavors, in order to make their 1 dollar drinks taste like the real deal, I suppose.
I still am addicted to the things; they are a great mood elevator in the mornings, making me want to seize the day; and are the only "substance" which I (ab)use while busking for the 3 or 4 hours which I now do; besides weed...
I am thinking of another fast pretty soon (the only thing that I have found thus effective)
One Monster For Another...
to try to conquer the tobacco and caffeine monster; as I seem to be substituting one monster for another. Soon, I will be busking on bananas alone, like Dorise Blackmon does... 
I had 70 bucks in my pocket, 58 stashed, and the 3% jar was pushing 40 bucks...I thought a lot about getting a used laptop somewhere, for the sake of this blog, as well for downloading music, watching DVDs (if I ever have time -I want to watch all of the movies set in NOLA, of which there is soon to be a new installment of "Terminator," with Arnold Swartzenegger being in town now filming).
Socks, candles, guitar strings, harmonicas, guitar repair, haircut, clothes, patchouli oil, new eyeglass frames, batteries for the spotlight...all conspire against me spending every cent on a laptop right now, though...
Food Card Scare
I noticed, at about midnight, that my little card holding wallet was not in its usual back right pocket. I kind of panicked; and the look on my face drew the attention of the rookie cop who was working Rouses Market, as I stood at the register patting my pocket and turning pale -my mind doing a quick inventory of just what I might have lost; any and all ID that I have, phone numbers, business cards of record producers, and my food card, which had about 7 dollars left on it to last me the next 8 days...The cop might have thought that I was trying to sneak something out of the store under my sweatshirt and was turning pale and having cold feet at the crucial moment...
Today, I was out from under the dock at about 3 p.m., after rolling up the sleeping bag and stashing it up in the girders (the rats like to shit on it, as a way of claiming me and the food I bring as their "territory," I think) and folding up the under-quilt (same reason), bagging up the trash, throwing the garbage in the river, placing all the food condiments out of sight; and then, emerging like someone who likes to sit under the dock and strum his guitar while having a little picnic.
I know that there are skeezers who go through the trash cans who are probably envious of my lifestyle, especially when they see discarded containers with "rib eye steak; $14.55" and such on them; and then see the charred bottom tin foil basting pans and all the accoutrement to go with a great barbequed dinner...
I found my card at CVs

Friday, April 25, 2014

$58.28 Thursday

Thursday, morning, I stayed up and read until I could do it by sunlight.

I then slept off and on, before emerging a bit after 4 p.m., after the Natchez had come in; the calliope was playing, and I was able to blend into the swarm of people de-boating.
I still come out from under the dock, holding a prop of some kind; i.e. a liquor bottle which washed up on the rocks...he must have gone under there to sit and drink for a while; or a plastic bag, into which I place little pieces of driftwood as I walk the rocks along the bank...I guess he went under the dock to look for driftwood, etc....
I had about 20 dollars on me, the 11 something which I had made the previous night, along with the 9 dollars which I had left over from the previous days. About 58 bucks are stashed at my spot, as well as about 35 dollars in the 3% jar-which-can-never-be-taken-from.
I hit Uniques for a pack of American Spirits and an energy drink: $6.78, then went to Walgreens to buy candles: $2.71, and then bought a 5 dollar sack of weed and an 83 cent blunt wrap and another energy drink on my way to the Lilly spot just before sundown.
I had 3 dollars and change left on me to start the sharks out with...20 bucks just don't buy what it used to...
This had grown to about 12 bucks, after I had come into tune and found a bit of a rhythm.
My mp3 player was sitting in front of me and recording; which kept me on my toes musically; being able to play for the device, even when no humans seemed to be within earshot. This paid off again, as I sensed the "look at that guy playing his ass off for no one," sentiment in a few people.
Every time I looked down, there were things like a 5 dollar bill which had fluttered down and landed out of my sight underneath my leg; and, at one point a 20 dollar bill which I never saw the origin of.
The security of that bill, which replenished all that I would spend the entire day; allowed me to relax and amass about 58 bucks the whole night; not bad for a Thursday...
I didn't find much food outside Rouses, though an almost full bag of pitted dates, which had a tear in it big enough to have allowed a couple of them to fall out was a nice find.
I went under the dock and ate a huge lettuce, kale, broccoli and purple cabbage salad, doused in olive oil and vinegar with some spicy mustard and pitted dates stirred in (yum) then sipped an energy drink along the way to reading 100 pages of "Rose Madder," by Steven King, stopping at one point to make instant potatoes which I consumed with the last of the huge salad. This lasted until the sun came up at 7 o' clock.
I had a notion to start this (Friday) day without sleeping, taking my laundry to the VA center and spending a lot of time here blogging; but allowed myself to drift off after sunup; finally sitting up at 2 p.m., straightening up the place, bagging the trash, throwing the garbage in the river and emerging.
I now have no time to blog; and am thinking about finding a laptop...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Where Did That Day Go?

  • 11 Dollars And Change Wednesday
Yesterday, I had thought that it was Tuesday all day, until I saw the newspaper at Uniques, after knocking off at about 11:45, after making 11 Dollars and change.
I was thinking about picking up a copy of the paper, but decided not to, figuring that I could pull the sports news off of my radio, as well as the weather and whatever couple of "big" new items that they decided to cull out of the thousands of news stories happening out there.
I had made 11 dollars and change on a pretty slow night (I didn't have to push my way through a crowd at Laffits Tavern when I used the restroom; and the portly middle-aged lady was on the piano and not the regular guy).
It's Supposed To Sound Raw
I had made a few recordings on the mp3 player, placing it in different spots in relationship to my voice/guitar/harmonica; finding that putting it atop an Arizona Energy can, standing on the sidewalk just off my left knee yielded good results.
The fact that it was at an extreme angle to the guitar took out its booming bass and heightened the "twang" of it; while having it face my voice directly captured the booming bass of which my voice can use all that it can get.
Listening back at night through my expensive ear buds; I concluded that I actually could use the tracks to load into a program like Audacity and doctor up and overdub other parts and come out with a CD which people could excuse the quality of as "its a street musician, it's supposed to sound 'raw.'"
Day 18 Without Drinking
I have kind of substituted mass quantities of coffee, sitting up and reading; along with American Spirit (all natural, no additives; organic) cigarettes for alcohol; along with becoming a pot-head.
I am still playing music at my highest level ever; but occasionally will forget a chord here and there, as I draw from the creative side of my brain and subdue the part that has chords memorized.
Last (Wednesday) night, a lady came by; after I had made a 5 dollar bill and a few ones; and placed a cold, just opened Abita Strawberry beer next to me; and said "enjoy."
I gave it to a female skeezer after knocking off shortly thereafter.
Then a man handed me a (at least 4 pounds) Styrofoam containing a huge sirloin burger topped with bacon and cheddar cheese, along with a baked potato with another white cheese melted in its schism, still hot and "right out of Big Mamas Kitchen," as I was digging through Rouses trash, looking for fruits and vegetables. I wound up feeding it to the rats; having not seen any skeezers on the way to the dock; and not even wanting to have contact with them in Jackson Square, not even to hand them free food; they might take that as a sign of weakness and start in with "...do you have a cigarette, too...I really need a couple bucks; I'm sure you made some money with that guitar....where are you off to now (with an almost full pack of smoke, and who knows what else in your bag), can I come with you?
I wound up feeding it to the rats.
It was in my bag underneath fruits and vegetables and fresh fish, which I never cooked because the driftwood was so wet...
 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Daniel Business*

* Still Under Construction
Since I am covering a larger (4 days) span of time; I am going to successively update, pad and embellish and add to this post; possibly taking 7 days to flesh out the 4 day period which I am referring to and; and maybe an additional day to flesh out the day that I spent writing about the 4 days...
  • 11 Dollar Wednesday
  • The-guy-who-wants-to-play-your-guitar a mixed blessing.
  • 12 Dollar Thursday
  • 14 Dollar Friday
  • 41 Dollar Saturday
  • Mp3 Player bought; charger soon to follow
  •  8 Dollar Sunday
  • Day 15 Without Alcohol (today)
  • 22 Dollar Monday
  • 10 Dollar tip from man, who said "Nice Chinadoll" (Grateful Dead song) as he placed it within the blue Mardi Gras beads which I was using as a substitute for the sharks, which I had forgotten at the dock. 
  • Daniel satisfied with the fruits of a such a night, handicapped by sharks absence.
  • Day 16 Without Alcohol (today)
My Latest Passion,
Reading by candlelight until dawn, has caused an encroachment upon the time available to me for blogging, by altering my sleep schedule, so that I would have, at most, a couple hours to blog after waking up on a typical day; and that only if I scrambled to pack up and secure the place -i.e. lock grains and nuts in the cooler- and then make a beeline dash for this library.
Passion Update
Right now, it is the Stephen King novel, "Rose Madder," and I read 65 pages of it last night, by the light of 3 candles; and didn't go to sleep until after it was bright enough by the reflection of the very low sun coming off the river. There is about a 20 minute window where the more fire orange than yellow reflection of the sun comes off the water; blindingly. A good time to shave, then.
Around this time, I blew out the candles and went to sleep until about 3 p.m. It is 5 p.m. right now.
The previous (Sunday) morning, I had been up reading about 110 pages of that same book.
An A For Fyodor
Crime And Punishment, by Dostoyevski was excellent -94 pts.* It was a pleasure to be up all night reading that one.
Carrot Substitute
Since I discovered that sitting up all morning with a good (Crime And Punishment, by Dostoyevski) book and instant coffee stirred into coconut milk has replaced sitting over meat (and all kinds of stuff) on a grill and swilling alcohol as the "carrot in front of my nose" at the end of the day, and I have been doing just that.
When sitting at my spot, I am able to set a time for when to knock off; and use the anticipation of sitting and reading by candlelight as a mood enhancer, keeping me chipper and my music lively...
Day 15 Without Alcohol
Charge!!
Is today, Monday.
I have spent 40 bucks on an mp3 player.
This money comes out of Daniels Research and Development fund, since it is intended to be used as a tool to help along my musical development by giving me access to to tons of songs which I can learn by playing along with.
I can also record myself at the busking spot in order to critique my playing. The sounds quality would limit itself from going any further up the audio food chain, though, in my opinion it is not too horrible...think scratchy 78 rpm record...on a Victrola...of the dog barking...
The sound quality of the mp3 players recordings,
using the built-in mic...


Mp3 Woes
The thing came with a dead battery out of the box; and a manual which said that it would take 6 hours to charge a totally drained one.
I went and spent 20 bucks on a USB charger, so that I won't have to babysit the thing at the library for 6 hours, but can plug it into one of the discreet outlets in the quarter and then go off on other business while it charges.
Now I am having trouble getting mp3 songs onto it. 
I Plan To Come Alive!
The library computers reject its software; asking for administrative approval...
I have placed "Frampton Comes Alive!" in this one and will now try to rip it...be right back.......
....OK, the CD is whirring in the tray; and the player indicates that it is "ripping."
I happened to ask a librarian if it were possible to rip CDs here on these library computers. He demonstrated that indeed one can, by popping in, as a prop, the one CD which he happened to have at his desk, which was the Frampton classic from around the summer of '78; which was a time when, if you were to scan your FM dial; a song from Peters album might you hear on 2 or 3 different stations simultaneously.
I asked to borrow it.
Now my virgin mp3 player is going to conceive Frampton Comes Alive!*, hopefully.
*the exclamation point is part of the title, I think that may have been novel in '78.
It Is Now Tuesday
22 Dollar Monday
Tuesday, after an 8 dollar Sunday night, which was nixed relatively early at 10:45 p.m., so that I could go and read by candlelight under the dock, and then a 22 dollar Monday (last) night, it now is.
I had picked up Steven Kings, Rose Madder for a dollar out of the box in front of a book store on Dauphine Street; noticing a lot of hardcovers on the shelves inside along with a very friendly man, who thanked me apparently sincerely for either my one dollar purchase or for the witticism which I made about reading Ann Tyler directly after Dostoyevsky.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

37 Minutes Worth Of Blog...

17 Dollar Tuesday Night Marred By Lost Five Spot
Tuesday night, on the 9th day without drinking, I managed to make 17 dollars and change.
This outcome was, I felt, helped by the fact that I made no runs (of 20 minutes) to Sydneys Beer, Wine, Liquor and Cigar store, and only took 2 bathroom breaks.
There was one stretch of about 45 minutes through which I might have made only a dollar.
I told "Hey, you got like a hundred bucks saved; make it a hundred and one, and let's get the hell out of here and...." At this point, what the brain supplies, out of habit, is "...and go get some good beer or liquor; and get so buzzed that you will wait around for Rouses Market to push their trash out; maybe even making a run to The Unique Boutique to kill time and probably getting something to chase the whiskey, like an expensive delicious beer; since you're there..."
to shut up.
I then remembered that, these past 12 days of alcohol abstinence, I have taken breaks from playing right there at the Lilly spot; and there have been times I have gotten to the point where, while not being exactly "sick of playing," I did have the inclination to put the guitar down (for a while) as I would have if sitting in a remote meadow somewhere in the grass, and strumming away for the edification of nothing but wildlife.
I have been putting the instrument down, but leaning it against the wall beside me, facing the passing tourist in all its blue glory, like something in a toy store window; as I just sit there and "catch my breath"* (if the last harmonica song was almost all "draw" notes, as opposed to "blow" notes; this phrase could be taken more literal) my radar is on for the-guy-who-will-give-you-at-least-10-bucks-if-he-can-play-a-song-on-your-guitar-to-impress-the-young-lady-whom-he-is-escorting
*i.e. smoke an American Spirit
Bathroom breaks have become 8 minute ordeals, as I have to pack up the sharks and the money and the harp and all the glory; grab my spotlight out of the vine above me, zip up the guitar in the case and then squeeze my way through the Laffits Blacksmith Shop Tavern crowd thus equipped, before returning to set the whole thing back up again. But, they are only 8 minute ordeals, as I have not been attaching a run to Sydneys to them (since I already had my rig packed up; why make a separate trip).
Sometimes, after these trips to the beer store, and the ensuing consumption of the beer in front of the store, using that as an excuse to discreetly stare at the "traveling kids" and their dogs and girlfriends and dog dishes and cans and bottles of some pretty expensive stuff, all strewn around them; and their one ukelele which one of them might actually know how to play. Sometimes I would call it quits for the night, right then and there....
Coming soon: 11 Dollar Wednesday
12 Dollar Thursday
14 Dollar Friday...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday Rained Out

  • 8th Alcohol-less Day Commences
  • Minus 30 Dollar Monday
  • Hair Raising Concerns
Can I borrow your comb??
Not having drank in 8 days has probably been the biggest blessing of the 6 day juice fast and cleanse, which is still ending in stages.
Friday night, I mixed in honey and apple cider vinegar and molasses and cayenne pepper, then had oatmeal Sunday morning.
Monday, I bought roasted peanuts and raisins, during my stint in the quarter, braving rains which were heavy at times.
The peanuts seemed to cause a bit of eczema to flare up, accompanied by a slight tension headache around the temples and in the back of the neck.
It would be a revelation to discover that peanuts are an allergen for me. Symptoms usually don't appear until 8 to 12 hours after I eat an offending food, and this might be how peanuts could have slipped under the radar.
Plus, I have usually consumed peanuts along with beer, and the alcohol would have subdued the reaction, like an antihistimine.
This (Monday) morning, I put the peanuts up on the rat remote shelf, where they will sit for now, as I continue with the limited diet that I am on.
After feeling great for a while, I may give them another try, to see if they make my skin itch and leave red blotches where I scratch too hard...
My Hair
Is hopelessly dread locked. I have been told by a professional hair stylist that it must be cut off and I must "start again." (bald -the way I came into the world).
I am procrastinating. It wouldn't make sense to pay a professional 20 dollars just to hack it off, like I could do with a sharp pair of 3 dollar scissors.
We ARE hiring for the position of Customer Service Rep., yes, sir!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Stormy Monday After The Festival

  • Fast Broken
  • 22 Dollar Saturday (continued)
  • 22 Dollar Sunday
Monday Afternoon, Right Now...

Saturday evening, I was at the Lilly spot before sundown, sipping cranberry/ginger juice and slowly warming up on the guitar.
I had "broken' the water fast Friday night, by stirring honey and apple cider vinegar into some water; having a tablespoon of molasses on the side and then continuing to add cayenne pepper to Saturdays water.
I felt great, and had a lot of energy.
The Guy Who Wants To Hang Out
I took a break after about an hour, and a few dollars, to run to the store for more juice, and on the way back, ran into a guy whom I have hung out with before.
I can't remember his name, but can call him "smiley," as he is one of those afflicted with a facial tic whereby a smirk is frozen upon his lips. He just walks around with almost a nervous smile. He was born and raised in New Orleans, and has the attitude and the accent. The attitude seems to include being simple and taking amusement in simple things. He was drunk and wanted to hang out.
I told him that he could, remembering that he wasn't a skeezer, but forgot to add "for a little while."
He sat next to me. Every song that I played seemed to remind him of some other song, which he would ask me to play as soon as I was finished. That was OK, as it opened my mind to new possibilities, but, as tourists swarmed by; support was gained for my theory that "the dude playing guitar with another dude sitting next to him" doesn't make as much money as the "lonely troubadour" figure. ...Do we have to give them both a dollar? ...has that guy just dropped him a tip and wants his undivided attention? ...I know, he pretends to be a street performer while the other guy snatches my wallet and runs, then he plays dumb! ...is he just waiting to make another couple bucks and then that guy is going to run to the dope dealer? ...why is that guy smirking; what's so funny...does he think I'm a clown?!? etc.
Smiley has a job. He threw 2 dollars to the sharks, had his own cigarettes and weed and money and bike -said he just wasn't yet up for the 5 mile ride to where he is homeless; probably just didn't want to sit there by himself all drunk with nobody to tell stories to...
Then, he wanted to play the guitar.
"Hey, let me show you a song...I'll give you a couple more dollars!"
I let him show me a song. He played terribly. I felt like my brand was being besmirched as tourists walked past, probably thinking that we were both guitar skeezers, using the instrument like a Trojan Horse, to get us into the spot, so we could skeeze.
I almost wanted to turn my spotlight out while he was playing, so nobody would utter the words "...the guy with the sharks; yeah that guy was horrible!"
Eventually (and probably about 10 lost dollars later) I had to just tell him that I couldn't work with someone hanging out. He left rather graciously.
I made money here and there. I kept working on originals and obscure stuff and really wasn't playing "money" songs (like "Money," by Pink Floyd).
The highlight of the festival...

Anger
A secong guy-who-wants-to-play-your-guitar came along. A tall, lanky black guy with a shaven head.
"Remember me?" he asked, bumping fists with me.
He gave me his street moniker.
"Hey, let me show you some riffs," he said, reaching for the guitar. "I don't want your money; you can keep whatever I make, let my show you a few things."
That phrase brought back the memory of when he had played my guitar (horribly) before. He played a lot of bass lines, but hit all the unwanted strings out of sloppiness and, well, I wasn't interested in keeping everything he made, once I realized who he was.
"I just got this guitar and I'm still adjusting it and figuring out how to keep it in tune, I don't let anybody else play it." (I HAD let smiley play it; but was thinking that I would start that policy moving forward from there).
"That's cold!" said the guy as he walked off.
The fast and cleanse had really calmed my mind and body, but I almost became angry and yelled something like "Get a guitar, if you LOVE to play so much," or "Try walking up to a welder who is working and say 'Hey, let me show you a few things, let me hold your torch' and see where it gets you..."
I made 22 bucks, and had only spent 6 on a pack of American Spirit cigarettes.
Sunday
Sunday, I made about 22 dollars again.
I am now living on fruit juice and have instant oatmeal with honey and molasses in the morning. 
"How To Spend" Monday
It is Monday and it is raining.
I woke up with $127.50 in cash, and $32.50 in the-jar-that-can-never-be-touched.
I hadn't drank alcohol in an entire week. I had a ton of energy, ate my oatmeal, did my push ups and sit ups and then waited for the rain to let up, while I meditated upon how my "festival" money can best be spent.
The best investment might be in a little digital stereo hand held recorder, so that I could have a CD produced in short order, but, then I wouldn't have the capability to overdub anything; it would be just guitar/voice/harp and all done in one take; mistakes notwithstanding....but it would make a great practice tool...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beset By Demons

  • 7 Day Fast Over
  • 22 Dollar Saturday

Saturday, I was walking towards the library at about noon, to post here.
Leslie called me, and began to apologize profusely about having called me a loser and an a-hole, etc. and then hung up on me; the previous morning.
Then, he saw me.
He just happened to have been calling from where I just happened to be walking past.
He said "Turn your head to the right, and you'll see me! I'll be right there..."
He then adopted several behaviors which have become "old hat" to me.
First was the sulking.
How soon he forgets...
I turned my head to the right and saw him on a corner about 100 feet away.
He turned and walked toward me, with his head down, as if in shame. It took him almost a minute to close the 100 foot distance.
I saw the almost full pint of Evan Williams Whiskey in his hand, before he arrived. A prop.
He saw the bottle of spring water, laced with cayenne pepper in my hand.
"Oh, you're not drinking, that's right...since last Sunday...that was the last time I saw you, on the corner of Bourbon and Iberville.. you had an Old English.*
Leslie was always good with, maybe obsessed with, locations. He could tell you that the first time we ever jammed together with guitar and two harmonicas was on the steps of 624 Dauphine Street; that night, for example. He gives excellent directions, as a result "...Then, there will be a house with a hanging plant on the front porch, with orange flowers and with frogs in the design around the rim of the pot...keep going, and then you'll see...etc.
He gave every indication of wanting to hang out with me.
I told him that I was very busy. We were in the middle of the French Quarter Music Festival and the streets were jammed with tourists. I left out the detail that I had made about $140 off of it, with 2 days left...
I needed to get batteries for my spotlight, and see about replacing a second fried micro-sd card reader (I think computer number 13 at the library is frying them) picks for my guitar; maybe a new harmonica, I told him.
That was like telling him that I had money.
He became exasperated. Here I was, with money, but couldn't be duped into spending it upon a binge-for-two.
He dropped his head and said "We could break off, then. You don't have to hang out with me" -the guilt trip?
Then, as my intention to do just that became clear and I started to turn away, he actually offered me a sip of whiskey, before "remembering" that I hadn't been drinking, going on 6 days. "Oh, yeah that's right..."

Then, a change came over his countenance, and his face took on a darker aspect, with flashes of anger in his eyes. "Hmm," he said, biting his lower lip and looking me up and down. "So, you're just drinking spring water...that looks like a Bloody Mary," he said suspiciously, almost accusingly (you're deceiving me?!?) and with a bit of venom.
"I put cayenne pepper in it," I said and started walking away.
Then, he followed the script with: "Well, is it possible for us to smoke some weed?"
I had some; and part of me felt like a Scrooge, but I lied** and told him that I would have to go and get it. 
Was he going to shadow me, so he would be right there if and when that happened. 
He didn't...
Smoking him up would mean spending time with him. He would spend that time trying to prolong that time; probably holding the joint forever and talking instead of passing it; and the talking would all be of the insidiously manipulative kind -him trying to get me to cave in and drink; or cave in and agree to go check out his new place, or just cave in and spend my whole day with him, instead of checking things off my list of "things to do."
*a cheap malt liquor
**it was a "white" lie; I would have to go into my backpack to get it.
22 Dollar Saturday

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fast Money

  • Second Sober Night Lucrative
  • Day 6 Of Fast

I posted here yesterday and then walked toward the Lilly spot, after picking up a gallon of distilled water, and a canister of cayenne pepper at Rouses. I am still on distilled water (day 6) but am adding cayenne to it.

I had 85 dollars on me. I decided to get some weed, since things had gone so well the previous night with smoking, but not drinking (or eating) and got 3 sacks for 10 bucks, instead of 1 for 5, as I usually do (Later, I would sell one to a tourist for 5 dollars, giving me 2 for 5 -the rich get richer).
I set the gallon down next to me at the spot, and then observed the husband of Lilly come out of the house and sit on the adjacent stoop, about 25 feet away. He is a rather large Portuguese man; probably about 60 years old, but pretty hale. I have seen him walking in the quarter; usually carrying a Rouses Market bag and headed towards the house; and he is always polite. He has a noticeable accent.
The two are separated, but still live together; through some arrangement.
I decided that I should try to play my best to try to impress him. I'm sure he has heard (a lot?) about me, and I wanted to do Lilly proud, as her "court composer," because I imagine her having heaped encomiums upon me as a person and musician.
Soon, Lilly joined him, in a black dress and drinking red wine from a large goblet.
A group of young black people walked by, with one of them yelling: "Can you play 'Baby Got Back?'"
I jumped into an improvisation and made up a song called the above, and dollar bills started to rain upon the sharks. I thought I continued to play well, and Lilly was probably happy to see me prospering, as I had to scoop up bills and remove them to my backpack several times, less skeezers be tempted, leaving 4 of them with the sharks.
The sharks have been provoking giggles from people
I think I may have been onto something with the spontaneously improvised thing, and did a heavier amount of that  the whole night. I made about 60 dollars.
I also went heavier on Paul McCartney songs; as he is coming to town soon.
I can't believe how much energy I have to play music, having not eaten in 6 days. And how easy it is to play.
The Economics of Sobriety
I made 60 dollars in about 4 hours last night. But I played almost a straight set, broken by a few 5 minute restroom runs.
When I was drinking, I would run to the beer store 3 times a night, taking 15 minutes each trip, and spending at least 5 bucks altogether. Then there would be 3 or 4 trips to the restroom after the beer consumption.
Based upon 15 dollars per hour, the trips to the store would cost me about 12 bucks in lost time; plus 5 bucks for the beer; effectively reducing my "4 hour" take from 60 dollars to 43 dollars. If I factor in a reduction in tips, due to sloppiness in playing after becoming too drunk, I might recognize the sum as being typical of what I have come to expect from playing drunk all this time...just food for thought....

When It Rains It Pours
I had packed up at about midnight (voice getting horse; otherwise I would have kept going) and was just sitting there; basking in contentment with the 41 dollars that I had made at that point.
I had nothing to look forward to except drinking water and going to sleep, and so wasn't in a hurry. I felt great, and just wanted to wallow in it. 
A group of 3 young men came along, and one sat next to me. "Play something good!," he said.
I took the guitar back out.
My Latest Tactic Against "Play Something"
"If you were stranded on a desert island and only had 3 albums, which ones would you wish they were?" I asked. I have been starting to use this question as a way of avoiding songs, or groups that people hate (and them waiting through the whole 4 minute song to say..."Yeah -I can't stand the Grateful Dead, do you know anything else? Or just walking off...) and as a way of hitting the jackpot by knowing songs that they love (Do I know any Jerry Garcia?!? Well, let's see...).
They seemed at a loss, so I "led the witness" with: "Surely The Beatles would be one of them..."
"I wouldn't cry if you played Beatles..." said the one next to me.
Well, I wound up playing about 5 Beatles songs, while the guy next to me sang (pretty good) harmonies. We seemed to have a tacit agreement that I would be John and he would be Paul. He seemed to immensely enjoy it; and his two friends seemed entertained, if the 20 dollars bill from the guy and the two 5's from his friends were any indication.
I called it a night after that, and walked past several barely touched drinks, on my way to Rouses Market, to get some molasses, when the doorman at the Bourbon Orleans hotel, offered me 5 dollars to run to that very same store for him (only a block further) and get him a drink and a snack. I was the only "skeezer" in sight whom he felt he could trust, as I have seen him several times throughout my almost 3 years (?!) here.

He let me keep the change, which was another 3 something. When it rains it pours.
I headed for the dock, and walked past a Styrofoam container sitting atop a trash bin which was laden with some kind of Mexican dish with corn chips (blue and yellow), cheese, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, guacamole...you know, that kind of salad; and it was still warm.
Someone might have seen that I was the next guy coming by and ditched it there. And I hadn't eaten in 5 days.
I tore myself away from it. That would have been the absolute worst (and most delicious) thing that I could have broken a fast with. I couldn't bring myself to feed it to the rats though; that might be a little cruel to the skeezers.
Add Natural Vitamins
I had some apple cider vinegar mixed with honey stirred into my water with a tablespoon of molasses on the side, and went to sleep, once I got my mind to stop racing about how I am going to manage the $144 that I now find myself with; and my appetites have just about vanished by now...

I woke up this (Saturday) morning to the sounds of Ghost Town, coming from the stage nearby; part of the festival.
It has been easy to emerge from under the dock and blend into the crowd which has been here for the festival.
I pondered what to do about the 144 dollars which I have.
I brought the 3% jar-that-can-never-be-touched up to date by putting 31 bucks in it.
I realize that, if things progress as they have been, I might be sitting on 200 bucks or more by the end of the festival.
Money
Haven't seen ol' Howard in a while...
I thought about getting some strong fishing line and a hook and going across the river to where Howard still camps in a wooded area alon the bank, with a sharp knife and some kind of tin foil pans, olive oil etc. and trying to catch one of the 3 foot long catfish that I see people pulling out of the river there all the time; and then just relaxing and cooking it up for Howard and I.
I thought about a harmonica in the key of C; fixing the tuning machine on the guitar; a nice set of headphones; getting my android phone to download music through Spotify by charging up my Walmart credit card then using it; a new pair of boots; maybe a hand-held stereo digital recorder; maybe a trip to Shermans to try to record a CD....maybe....

Friday, April 11, 2014

First Friday Draft (but not of beer)

  • 29 Dollar Wednesday
  • 27 Dollar Thursday
Now, it is Friday, I have not eaten nor had alcohol since Sunday night -the night that I had run into Leslie, who tried to encourage me at 1 in the morning, to drink more. "No, I'm going to sleep.."
He seems intent upon worming his way back into my good grace.
The Call Of The Wild Man
He called this morning, when I was under the dock, wanting to meet somewhere and smoke weed. "I'll throw in a couple dollars."
I took this to mean that he wanted to smoke and only had a couple dollars, and needed me. He could have seen the money around the sharks, without my noticing it.
He called again  after I hadn't shown up where I told him that I would probably be "in 45 minutes or so" and I told him that I was clipping my toenails, which I was. I had started to leave and, when putting my boots on, remembered the clippers that I had bought the night before and decided to put them to use immediately. 
He got angry and started cussing me out. "You pissed me off, man; talking about clipping your nails; what are you, drunk, sitting there clipping your nails?!" ...Hey, they were getting long, dude!
He sounded drunk. He basically called me all the very same things which he had called me before we had a fistfight in the street about 3 months ago -verbatim- and then hung up, but not before I was able to get in: "I think I told you that I just wanted to get the hell away from you and stay there, that night that....(hangs up).
I felt like I should have hung up first.
27 Dollar Thursday
Yesterday, I posted here, and then made my way to Rouses Market for more water.
I am off of apple juice and drinking distilled water now.
I got to the Lilly spot, after passing by Paul (Doreens Jazz Band) who told me: "The best I've ever felt in my life was when I was on a 6 day juice fast...I had a juicer, so I was putting all kinds of fruit and vegetables in it"
I sat on the stoop; it was still light out.
Pot OK, Alcohol Bad?
Guy, a guy who works an ice cream cart in Jackson Square stopped and passed me a blunt. 
I took a few puffs, feeling that I wouldn't be breaking the fast, and remembering the words of Lloyd, the guy who was trying to learn telekinesis, who said pot was good; alcohol bad; for someone who is trying to line up their chakras and tap into the positive power of the universe.
I started to play, and felt extremely competent, and was hitting every note, unlike the previous night when I tried to play sober. I think it was the best that I have ever played...it started me thinking about making a CD soon.
I was sitting on the stoop and warming up; not believing how much energy and focus I had for someone who was sober and hadn't eaten in 4 days.
I didn't open my case, but a guy came along and put a dollar on top of it.
I didn't notice it blow off onto the sidewalk in front of me, but another guy came along and pointed it out to me "You've got a dollar there, ready to blow away."
I nodded a "thanks" to him, but kept playing. After all, I had woken up with 61 dollars and had spent none of it at all; no pint of vodka, no sack of weed, no cigarettes.
Maybe my apparent  lack of "attachment" to money prompted the guy to come back a minute later and listen some more.
He was dressed like a rich tourist, business haircut, sport coat, button up shirt, slacks and shiny shoes.
"I'll tell you what, I'm trying to cut down on gluten, do you want this?" he asked, showing me a bottle of Abita Amber beer.
I thought about taking it and putting it in my pack for such a time that my fast might end and I might appreciate such a fine expensive brew.
"I could save it for later, but, right now I'm doing this cleansing juice fast thing," I said "I'm only drinking water tonight."
That was all he had to hear; he instantly removed the bottle to the pocket that he had taken it out of, and said "Oh, that's cool...that's really cool; good for you!" and walked off.
I felt sufficiently warmed up after that and so, set up my sharks and moved a few feet to where I like to sit and resumed playing.
Pride
Within minutes, a young tall skinny guy came by and asked "Do you drink?"
Before I could answer, he said: "It's just that I have this card for free drinks at O'Briens, and it expires tonight and I won't be able to use it, because we're going somewhere else..." and showed me a black plastic card with probably a leprechaun on it.
I pictured myself walking into O'Briens and right up to the bar, not the restroom which I have used 100 times -the bar that I could never afford to walk up to; the land of 12 dollar shots and 17 dollar drinks, and the looks on the faces of the staff ...see, he's not a skeezer, he's got a little bit going on...and how big my head would swell as I came out of there holding the expensive drink and walked past the skeezers with their mouths agape. I thought about pocketing the card for the future, but, I would be carrying temptation around, then.
"No, I'm doing this juice fast thing...."
He walked off.
I couldn't help thinking that somehow word had gotten out that I wasn't drinking (this blog?) and that these people were testing me to see if it could really be true.
The only other explanations would be, coincidence, or the devil himself, pulling out all the stops, trying to sabotage my fast. I tend to not believe the latter, as the first guy seemed genuinely pleased to hear about what I was doing.
I have always entertained a theory that New Orleans is like a purgatory and that souls are sent here to see if they can resist myriad temptations, pass the test, and be promoted to the status of Tanya and Dorise.
Envy
They basically live the life of Abstinence; and, look how well they are doing....
I continued to play the best that I ever have, and at 11 p.m., I knocked off, after having made 27 dollars, bringing the amount in my pocket to about 85 bucks.
I went and spent $3.04 on a set of "deluxe" toenail clippers at Walgreens, right before they closed at midnight, then went under the dock, undetected, and slept until about noon, after a lot of tossing and turning and thinking. It seems one doesn't need as much sleep, or doesn't get as tired when there is no food to digest...
I had thought about picking up some 10 dollar ear buds, along with the clippers, to replace the ones that the rats chewed up, but then decided that I would wait and shop around for something much better, like headphones which would give me deep bass and clean highs. After all, a musician should splurge upon musical stuff, if nothing else.
Day 5 of the fast (today) started with me still having some stiffness in my neck and tension and the numbness in either hand, which I have been getting when I lay a "certain way."
The French Quarter Music Festival is going on, and there are a ton of tourists out and the "daytime buskers" are all at it.
Tanya was busy pulling money out of her basket and stacking it into bricks when I walked past her an hour ago.
I didn't say hello, neither did either of them, they averted their gazes. I think someone might be keeping them abreast of all the disparaging things that I write in this blog about them sometimes; before deleting or softening them the next morning.
Tanya does have a joyless expression on her face lately, and I wouldn't be surprised if she announced her retirement from street music.