Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Dinner With Leslie

Leslie showed up at the library; just before it closed.
He had very short hair; almost a crew cut; which he said that he had cut himself.
This was in response to my

remarking upon it with my first utterance/greeting toward him; after he had greeted me in what I am starting to believe is his customary manner; in essence, a fancy kind of hand communication somewhere between a low 5 and a fist pump and a regular shake.
I think he uses this to give himself the ultimate in flexibility in responding to what he reads is the other persons preferred mode of handshake.
I was trying to establish that, perhaps his radically alterred appearance was a harbinger of a radically altered disposition in he; and that we might thus proceed as if he was no longer the Leslie of old.
We walked towards The Head where, after balking a bit at the sight of Leslie and his crew cut; the dealers there sold me a 5 dollar sack, which had been financed by Leslie.
Leslie informed me that there was to be a Saints game at the Super Dome that very night.
I was darned; I did not know that.
We stopped at the sign spot and burned a joint; after which I was aware of a certain reticence in Leslie toward doing anything but sitting there and bestowing glowing encomiums upon the earth and all its inhabitants.
I knew that to get to the stadium in time to play music to the influx; we would have to hurry.
Leslie had offered to buy beer.
We got beer and headed towards the stadium with Leslie seeming to become slower and more confused as we marched in that direction.
We finally got there and I found a spot and began to play while Leslie lingered nearby.
It just wasn't happening money-wise; and now I sit at the huge Rouses Market and watch the Saints game out of the corner of one eye and the Patriots game out of the other; and look forward to getting back by the stadium and making at least something.
Leslie reached the all-too-familiar-to-me point of just wanting to go home and sleep; and I tactfully steered him towards the bus which would help him geographically to further that design; and now I am on my own; but he smoked me up and gave me beer...

Notes On Osmosis In NOLA

  • 7 Dollar Tuesday
  • 3 Dollar Wednesday
  • Leslie Calls

One Year Ago Today:
One year ago, my friend Ted Broughey in Boston had wired me 70 dollars after we had talked on the phone and he had gleaned how slow it was here.
I had befriended The Guy Who Paints Himself Red (left, unpainted) and I made $17.50 that night on tips from 4 people (one of which was a 10 spot). 
Two Years Ago Today
Two years ago, I was in jail in Baton Rouge after having fled to that city to escape the slowness here....
We are in the middle of the season which; my posts from last year and the year before corroborate; is the slowest time of the year in New Orleans.
I slept until past noon at the sign spot; I was almost flat broke, after a miserable night, when I had made only a dollar at the Jake Spot and then 2 more at the Lilly Spot.
I was surrounded by the aftermath of a feast which I had consumed the night before, to include a whole pineapple.
I had trouble deciding where I would sleep, as, the dock offered plenty of water, olive oil and vinegar and hot sauce, along with my FM radio, candles and the chance to sleep undisturbed (except for the occasional heron causing a ruckus or the turtle rattling in the tin pans) for as long as I wanted. It also has "Nicholas Nickelby," by Charles Dickens, which I am reading.
The sign spot had plenty of water and my instant coffee, as well as the other book that I am reading; "The Oregon Trail," by Parkman.
I opted for the sign spot and its proximity to the library and the VA Center, should I have been ambitious enough to do some laundry in the morning; and pick up a razor while there.
True to form, when the money flow dries up here; the food and other things seem to replace it, through osmosis.
Tuesday night, after digging up a lot of food at Rouses Market, I heard a group of young people from across the street in front of Pat O' Briens, who were talking about women who sleep with celebrities; and they were soon on the subject of Coby Bryant, the basketball player and his infamous exploits with white women.
I had to throw in my 2 cents and said something like: "They (the women) are hoping that they will become impregnated with a child who will one day lead the NBA in scoring."
This lead to one of them asking me to play something on the guitar on my back.
That lead to me playing the Tom Petty song, "You Don't Know How It Feels," which lead to the girl, whom had been in the most adamant agreement with my Coby Bryant comment of the group, putting 5 dollars on my case, advising me to pocket it before a skeezer came along and tried to skeeze it (I paraphrase) and then an almost full bottle of very good red wine from Argentina was given to me by them before they went into O' Briens.
So, Tuesday night, I dined upon gourmet food and excellent wine; after having made only about 7 dollars the entire night -the 5 dollar bill included. 
The Jake Spot
Wednesday (last) night, I had started out at the Jake Spot.
Jake is the guy who died about 6 months ago, who used to sit there nightly, from about 7:30 p.m. until about 11 p.m., sipping whiskey and with his guitar leaning against the wall next to him.
He would rarely pick it up and play.
His approach was to wait until someone; seeing the guitar; would make a comment like: "Do you play that thing, or just sit next to it?" to which his response would be something like: "Well, what do you want to hear?"
If the person then requested something, then Jake was pretty much assured of getting a tip. That way,  he would cut out the "crap" of performing for people walking by and ignoring him; and save his fingers for when it counted.
Then, To The Recording Spot...
I stayed up until almost sunup, messing around with a recording which I had made there the other night, when my voice was still crapped out from lack of use and the lingering effects of the bronchitis.
As always, I'm not sure it will play; and I'm not sure that the mix, which I monitored through tiny ear-buds will sound good through speakers. And, as usual, it has mistakes and kind of starts and stops in spots, but it features 2 harmonicas of the key of G, playing over an A minor thing; and hopefully shows improvement in my ability to play and record harmonicas...
I am sitting here at the library with 59 cents in my pocket; pondering a trade of something off my food card in exchange for my first 24 ounce beer of the night to get me started, and wondering if I will play at the Jake Spot and then move to the Lilly Spot, as I did last night; when my phone rings.
This, in itself was amazing, because my phone had stopped ringing; stopped beeping when texts came in; and stopped letting me hear whomever is on the other end.
The words "Car Kit" were emblazoned on the front and no sound emanated from the thing.
I discovered the problem as I was trying to make a call to "911" when I couldn't breath about 3 weeks ago.
My surprise at hearing the phone ring; and then noticing that "Car Kit" was no longer displayed on the front panel; was carried over when I opened the thing and discovered that Leslie Thompson was on the other end.
"Hey, can we get some weed, I have money!" said Leslie.
I told him to meet me here in another half hour; and then put the phone back in the pocket with the 59 cents in it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Things Money Just Can't Buy

Yesterday, I had felt too depressed to even write a blog post.
My outlook was somewhat bolstered after I checked my e-mail and saw that my mother had asked for an address to which to send documents in order that I can get a Louisiana state ID; which would be an important step towards my re-joining the human race, from which I have been disenfranchised for the past 7 years or so.
This told me, not only that my mom reads this blog, but also fanned a tiny spark of hope which I hold that I might someday be able to hold a job and avail myself to housing and medical care and other things which are linked to the documentation of citizenship in the human race.
Last night, I was at the Lilly Spot just after sundown.
It being a Sunday night, I was prepared for a slow night, which might die off earlier than usual.

I was in a pretty good mood for playing for one of the few times in the past couple weeks.
I had woken up with only 5 dollars on me, but had a brand new pair of Wrangler jeans which I had bought off of a petite black lady, who rides a bike with a large basket on the handlebars, and who had wanted only 4 dollars for them early Sunday morning.
They are the second pair which I have bought off her and both were within an inch of my size. She has a good eye for body sizes and had sought me out with this pair, intercepting me by the Unique Boutique at about 2 a.m.
I had only 9 dollars on me, but couldn't resist a pair of 30x32 jeans which had a price tag of $15.50 (compare at $28.00) still on them.
11 Dollar Saturday
I had 9 dollars on me after having made 11 that night.
I had drank the 5 dollars which I had woken up with, along with 2 more, reducing my cash reserve to that amount.
I would be waking up again with 5 dollars on Sunday, but I wasn't too discouraged.
I had made strides in getting my playing and singing back up to speed, after having had lackluster nights, following my illness and then, while toting the dog around, which netted so much money that I really didn't have to busk.
At one point, a young couple came by and asked me if I could play the M.I.T. fight song.
"The M.I.T. fight song? Are you kidding me?!? Those techno-dweebs don't fight, unless it's in cyberspace!"
This brought a laugh from them.
"I could make one up," I said, and then played the University of Michigan fight song, while singing something like "We're not so athletic; we're mostly into technology; but if we can outsmart you on the field we will...ta da da da da da da...." (sung to the tune of the Michigan fight song).
They dropped me 3 of what would turn out to be the 11 dollars and then walked off, with a video of me doing the fight song on their phone.
The very next couple of young guys to come along stopped and said "Hey, we just heard you doing our fight song; we go to Michigan!" and dropped 2 more of what would turn out to be 11 dollars.
This was the kind of busking magic which can make the total amount of earnings not matter as much at the end of the night; and infuse you with a sense that you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.....still 11 bucks kind of sucks on a Saturday night....but it is August....
I then went to the sign spot, where I began to be bothered by ants and two different varieties of flies soon after the sun came up.
I was surrounded by goodies, in the form of Cliff Bars, oatmeal with flax packets, a gallon of water and all kinds of food. I slept fitfully for as long as I could stand it; which was until about noon.
Sunday night, I kicked myself in the ass, pulled myself up by the bootstraps and asked myself: "Are you going to just give up and fade away; or are you going to try to play your ass off; despite the circumstances?!?"
I decided, at one point to "stay in the moment and not give up."
I felt like someone who is at the gym, but is just staring out a window, debating with himself whether or not he even wants to work out that day.
I decided to give it my "all" and probably made only about another 11 dollars; but I felt great in a brand new pair of black Wrangler relax fit jeans. Some things money just can't buy

Friday, August 22, 2014

Things To Do

Craigs List Re: Free Puppies
Have Mom Send Documents so that I can get ID through Rebuild Center, which can then be used for things like landing a job; perhaps sweeping peanut shells out of the Superdome...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1 A.D.

Life after the dog has done gone is slowly returning to "normal."
 Pretty Big Show Saturday
Saturday evening (August 23rd) we have Crosby Stills and Nash coming to the Saenger Theater, directly across the street from where I have been sleeping lately, without the dog.
I am brushing up upon the couple of their songs which I do. 
I don't usually enjoy doings songs which are based upon 3 part harmony, but it is sometimes fun to jump from the Nash part to the Crosby part between verses. It is hard enough to find Beatles songs to do which aren't compromised by the absence of McCartney or Lennon.
I am trying to memorize "Marrakesh Express" the way a student might cram for a test. I never did know all the words. I will add that to "Teach (your children well)" and maybe try to make some money off of those who are my age and who stayed the course and became wealthy in the 80's rather than jumping ship like myself, and who will recognize most of what I play outside of the 2 or 3 CSN tunes that I will have ready.
The Dog
I still sense its presence. When I am distracted by some kind of loud noise, and I turn my head to see where it came from; I can still imagine out of the corner of my eye, Shamoo perking his ears up and turning his head right along with me.
I have had 2 miserable days of busking to coincide with the drying up of the dog-skeezing money, which random people were just handing me after they petted Shamoo.
I have not been up and down Bourbon Street much since he ran off; but I half expect to see some skeezer sitting on the sidewalk with a crude rope around the dogs neck (he escaped the leash and collar which I still have) and a sign with words to the effect of "my little pooch is hungry and thirsty and needs a 30 dollar flea bath at the dog parlor..."
All I will do is tell the person: "I used to have this dog," and then greet Shamoo, who might respond in a way that the person will believe that I once had the dog; but probably won't give him back to me because of the up to 50 dollars per night that the dog/sign combo is bringing in.
I must admit that I held on to the dog longer than I should have; to the detriment of my personal life and the discomfort of the animal, which I think had been living in an air conditioned place before I found it; for that same reason.
It's hard to let that kind of money off the leash, so to speak; and the young ladies cooing and ooh-ing and aww-ing gets kind of addictive, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Friend Profile#16: Lynda DePanicis

Soon to be moved to the "Bio" section on the right sidebar:
Dividing my 76 friends into the winning Louisiana Cash 3 number yielded Lynda DePanicis, as the next to be profiled as The Great Daniel Friend Vote-Off resumes!
Friend #14 (of 76)
Lynda is probably my most improbable friend.
She lives pretty much Katy-corner to the spot on Bourbon Street where I have made my living these past 2 years.
It was first suggested to me that it would be cool to play there by Barnaby Chancellor, who lives almost directly across from where I play.
He came out of his place one night and walked across the street holding a guitar which costs about 6 months of what I make; and said that he had always wanted to busk on the street, but had never seen the opportunity which was afforded by the fact that I was playing Grateful Dead songs, which he knew.
I became friends with Barnaby.
One night, Barnaby was sitting with his next door neighbor, Lynda.
I went over and joined the conversation and was introduced to her, but kind of thought that she received me in a kind of cool way.
"You have to understand that she's a Republican; and mentioning that you are on food stamps probably wasn't a good idea," offered Barnaby.
I came to understand that these residents of Bourbon Street are beset with all kinds of street people as soon as they sit themselves on their stoops.
After subsequent conversations at times when Lynda and her husband, were out, either walking their dogs or sitting with Barnaby; it seemed that  Lynda had developed an appreciation for me in some sense.
She actually said "Hi, Daniel" when I passed her on St. Phillips street about a month after I had been introduced to her and I felt at a such a loss to even remember her name, and that helped me to resolve to try to remember peoples names, which I believe I am better at, these days
But, that was cool.
Someone who has so many houses that she sells them (she is a realtor here in NOLA) is able to hang out and talk to the homeless guy who plays music across the street, and it really seems like she loses herself in the conversation, especially when it is intelligent and evocative and she never seems to check herself with "OMG, what am I doing talking to a homeless guy?!!"
And, that is just one of the cool things about Bourbon Street, where people expound a philosophy of "Hey, if I wasn't into this kind of stuff, I would move to Idaho!"
Lynda is not moving to Idaho and has been a very supportive friend, and has even offered to let me play on her stoop; should I want to change sides of the street.
And that is friend #16 (of 76) in the Great Vote Off  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Dog Gone Dog Done Gone

I gave Shamoo a bit of freedom last night by letting him off his leash as I sat on this laptop which was plugged into an outside outlet.
The thing took off and I haven't seen it.
This is a mixed blessing.
Sure, a lady had handed me 20 dollars, telling me that she had seen me earlier with the dog in front of Rouses Market and that the money was intended to improve our mutual existence.
I think she observed the dog and I for a while covertly and then, seeing the rapport between us as we licked each others faces and shared the same chicken; became assured that we deserved the 20 dollars.
I was handed a total of 32 dollars just on Monday; all in relation to the dog.
So, why did I not have its precious ass tethered to the nearest tree, as I sat for a couple hours on this computer?
Probably because I really did feel for the dog and wanted to give it some room to roam. It HAD come back the previous time that I did so.
And probably because I am just not a dog skeezer at heart; and my blog and my music and a lot of other things were taking a back seat to caring for the pet.
Travelers Aid?
Thoughts about traveling had to have factored in the presence of the dog.
Of course there would be people who could give a guy and his dog a lift to the next city in his extended cab pickup.
More than one person had told me: "If you don't think you can take care of the dog, then give it to someone who can.." and that was the decision that I was teetering upon making when Shamoo made it for me by running towards the Central Banking District and never being seen again.
A dog like that without a collar is free pickin's in the eyes of a dog napper.
The Bionic Dog
I had erred by asking "600 dollars" for the dog after one of cashiers at The Unique Boutique asked me "How much you want for that puppy?"
"This is a thoroughbred which can be used to breed puppies which can be sold for hundreds of dollars," I had told him.
From that point on; I began walking a "600 dollar dog" around the quarter; and so it was probably just a matter of time before the thing disappeared from some lamp post.
I probably should have tried to unload it for 100 bucks instead of letting it run off.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dog Skeezing 101

I might as well make my post about dog skeezing; which is another term pending insertion into the English dictionary which this blog will have been instrumental in bringing about when it happens.
Why are tourists so enchanted by the most common domesticated animal in the world?
Don't worry about it, skeezers:
"Yours is not to wonder why; yours is just to skeeze or die."
Pedestrian Animal
OK. You walk through the French Quarter with a Jack Russell Terrier on a leash.
You know it's a Jack Russell Terrier because knowledgeable, intelligent people who h
ave demonstrated such by dint of their having the resources to come to New Orleans on a vacation have told you so.
You have not had to crack open a book or go to Google or Wikipedia to find out what the hell is at the end of your leash; the knowledge was just handed to you on the street.
How skeezy is that?!?

Knowledge and intelligence is as knowledge and intelligence does...
And, knowledge can be earning power.
You will learn that another common name for the dog is a "rat" terrier.
You will hear women coo something like "awwwww," as they are asking you if they can pet the thing while in the process of squatting down, preparing to do just that; like a cobra hypnotized by a horn.
The Dog Left Behind
You will hear things like: "This is just like our dog Rex, that is 2,000 miles away right now and which we miss so much that the sight of this dog makes us instantly homesick; and could we please assuage those feelings by giving you 20 dollars for the dog and yourself; so it will be like our little long distance dedication to ol' Rex who is probably laying on our leather couch right now...."

A Dogged Determination
You will hear people express a kind of appreciation for the fact that you are giving the dog a more authentic and satisfying experience as it goes through life literally guarding you against rats at night -very satisfying for the dog at a genetic level; and they will give you money in order to support the whole scene.
Then, there will be gifts of 2 dollars on average which will come with a simple "Get that dog something to eat..."
The Downside
The downside is that the dog requires basically 24 hours of attention, in one capacity or other.
The dog has to wait outside while you go into the VA for 2 hours to shower and do laundry; or 3 hours while you blog inside the air conditioned library; or the Starbucks...
The dog has to be bathed at least half as frequently as yourself, in order to prove that it is being well taken care of. 
A Special Skeeze
A neglected looking dog would need to have a special skeeze to go along with it, such as "I just found this dog and I am outraged by the condition that someone let it fall into; but as soon as I can, I'm gonna buy some flea soap and some wormer and...."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dog Days

Myself, and Shamoo, and the dirt that he had just kicked up and scattered

Connections To Pets

Dog Days
The dog has been such a chore to keep that I have fallen off on almost every other area of my life.
I would like to write a lot more right now, but poor Shamu is out there waiting for me in the heat.
Last night Lilly came out to complain that she could hear Shamu barking "all the way to the back of the yard."
I am handed money by people who tell me that they are glad that I am taking care of the dog. Yes, sleeping n the same hole in the ground; pissing in the same bush; how many dog owners can boast such a connection to their pets???

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Dog A Day

I have owned 2 dogs in my entire life. Both of them in the past 4 days.
Yes, after returning the Shetland Sheepdog to Jason at Sydneys, via Kermit and "Dirty," et al.
I was at this Starbucks where there was a dog tied up in front of the place; and I soon learned that the dog had been tied up there for a while and that an inquiry had been made of all the patrons at Starbucks and that had come up empty as far as establishing who the owner of the dog was. ...Hey, has anyone been in here sipping coffee for the past 3 hours while your little dog wilts in the heat? The inquisition had then been extended to an encompassing of "the whole block" after which the dog was designated "abandoned," and I stepped in and left a note at the spot where the dog had been abandoned, which had my number and a short "Text me about the dog." upon it.
The Dog

Without further ado, here is the dog (above) which is the second dog which I have ever owned in my life; and which replaces the Shetland Sheepdog, which turned out to be "an excellent adoption prospect" of a dog. So much so that the place waived the 25 dollar fee which most have to pay in order to turn a dog in to the place; for Jason, who turned the dog in.
I don't know if I will keep this dog either. I am leaning towards trying to get Jason to turn it in to wherever he turned the other one in.
I have already "made" about 30 bucks off of people handing me money for the dog.
It is a "Jack Russell" Terrier.
It chases mules, cars, motorcycles and, basically anything larger than itself.
It digs a hole in the ground to lie down in at the sign spot; often covering me in dirt in the process.
It pulls vigorously on the leash in order to rush to a tree which it will sniff and then urinate upon.
It is a picky eater.
It barks very loudly at times like this when I come into Starbucks just to do a blog post. I can hear it now; and the doors are closed and have quarter inch glass in them.....


Thursday, August 7, 2014

I See London, I See France

I am being read by someone in France, and I assume that whomever it is might be trying to read the whole blog; at 30 pages a day.
Things like this make me want to review and re-write and edit and cut and try to make the blog more coherent to someone who wants to read the whole thing.
I'm hoping that someone recommends me for a job providing "content" for some web site which would be a paying job; and might move me to France, even...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Place I'm At

  • 12 Dollar Friday
  • 20 Dollar Saturday
  • Favorite Mule Sunday
  • Dog Day Monday

Right now, I have a bit of a lingering cough, but it is a loose cough. I'm taking the antibiotics (which are for a separate bladder infection which they found while they were testing away) and using the inhaler roughly every 6 hours (as needed), and have increased the amount of liquids that I am drinking. My food stamp card just got charged with 189 dollars this morning; and so I can add a dietary element to the stretching and deep breathing and acupressure and possibly jogging in the near future, routines designed to return my health to the level which it was at in recent years.
A Little Bit of Stuffiness In Lungs After Night Under Dock
I slept under the dock last night, for the first time in 3 days, after having come out of there gasping for air and not thinking that I would make it up the bank of rock before I expired.
I was not in a hurry to test the theory that there might be something that I was breathing in under there (like heron down) which was inflaming the inner lining of my lungs.
After feeling better enough (and not having had a cigarette in over a week now) so that  am not daunted by the prospect of toting my 20+ pound backpack around in the 90 degree heat; I decided to sleep under there last (Monday) night.
I spread my sleeping bag out over the quilt for extra padding and was out like a light. I had lit one candle from Lafitts Blacksmith Shop, and one "olive oil and wick" invention of my own and passed out some time around 1:30 a.m., not regaining consciousness until about 10 a.m., when the turtle woke me up by rattling around in a tin pan in which I had left some fresh tilapia fish that I hadn't stayed awake long enough to cook.
I am still feeling tired upon waking up and returned to sleep for an additional 3 hours. It is my body still fighting whatever virus this is which has had my number.
My cough was a little bit exacerbated in the morning which is probably just a result of the humidity which hangs in the air due to the proximity from the river and the enclosed aspect of the dock. But I had not violent reactions. I didn't see the herons at all. Perhaps, since I haven't been under there feeding the rodents; they haven't been under there feeding upon the rodents. There was no sign of the alligator, either.

I almost was going to have a dog with me (see: The Dog, below).
Lilly has warned me that if the alligator gets "hungry enough" it will attack me. I will have to be sure to grab a few pieces of Popeyes chicken off the top of their dumpster each night on my way past there and toss it in the water where the gator likes to wait for the heron; which hasn't been stupid enough to think that its head (the gators) is a rock yet.
First Night Back Yields 12 Dollars
My return to busking after quite a few days off, due to illness, was Friday night; when it took me a while to get my voice warmed up. I was able to breath much better than when I was nearly suffocating under the dock a day earlier; but my volume level was compromised a bit. I just tried to sing with more finesse and style, and softer.
I have been taking note of the singers who sing very loudly; and have noticed, of course that they, for the most part have a certain frequency range which they stay in; and a certain bellowing style.

Can Be Heard 3 Blocks Away
One can find his own such range by starting out yelling as if calling to a friend who is a quarter mile away. After achieving maximum volume (and hopefully attracting his attention) one will find that he is yelling at a certain pitch, which can be found on the piano keyboard; and which is a byproduct of the physical size and shape
This would be a starting point for singing very loudly. The rest would have to do with embrachure(sp?) or the way that the throat and mouth are positioned in order to shape them like the bell of a trumpet or other horn. This changes the tone of the note; removing a lot of the harmonics (which give a voice its individualistic timbre) and making one belter-out sound like the next; but it makes one sound like they have a "deep" voice; like an opera singer who is of the loudest ilk out there.
This would not serve a singer like a Bob Dylan or Andy Gibb or Paul Simon; but listen to Melissa Ethridge for an example of how to sing loudly or Jay, The Loud Guy on Royal Street across from the Hotel Monteleone each evening, who has a tone like Johnny Cash and amplified just his guitar so that it can compete with his voice, volume-wise.
I hadn't drank in 3 days; but brought a 24 ounce Tecate Lager with me; which was sufficient; as I was on the medication which I was able to get after nearly dying of the C.O.P.D attack early Thursday morning.
Even though my performance was a bit lacking; I had the positive attitude of someone who went through such an ordeal as to have caused him to wonder, in the midst of it, if he had any future at all and would ever be able to look back upon the incident.
Nothing could dampen my spirits as I sat there and played music; and I eked out 12 one dollar bills from not more than 12 people who walked past; not counting the skeezers and the the "shoe shine" men.
20 Dollar Saturday
Saturday night, I got back a bit of my stamina; was a bit light-headed during harmonica solos; but was able to make 20 dollars in a couple hours.
The Dog
Sunday night, I was given a dog by Jason, who works at Sydneys on Decatur Street.
He had been standing there, holding the thing which he said was 10 years old -70 years old in "dog years."
It was a Shetland, or Sheep Dog.
After some consideration, I took the thing by the leash and headed back to the Lilly Spot with it.
In its 10 years on earth, it had been owned by no less than 10 skeezers.
"It's a great homeless dog," I was reassured.
It came with paperwork, listing its name as "Doogie," (that had to be changed immediately) and a bag of dry dog food.
As, advertised, the dog took its place by me as I played the guitar and didn't seem to freak out at the sudden burst of harmonica notes which came in the middle of "Little Wing," the Jimi Hendrix song.
Lilly and Angelique showed up with Angelique, who became fascinated with the animal.
I had been asked by Jason to return the dog to him, if it didn't work out and not give it to any "asshole on the street who is just going to try to make money off of it..."
The ever wary Lilly cautioned me that if the dog bit anybody then I would be in big trouble...maybe the alligator will eat the dog if it gets hungry enough then I won't have to worry about that...
The Thing (right)
The dog did jump up barking and nipping at one particular group of two ladies and a guy as one of the ladies went to pet it. "Good luck with that," said the guy a
"Cuteness" is such a commodity that....
ey walked off. His implication was clearly that the dog wasn't going to help me make money by nipping at people.
But, the dog was friendly towards most of the tourists with only a few exceptions; and I was handed a 5 dollar bill by one young lady whom I encountered on my way to Rouses Market with the dog to get food. The dog didn't like the dry food which it came with.
Thanks for letting me pet your dog, she said.
Then another person handed me 5 dollars and told me to feed the dog.
Everybody seemed to love the Shetland in its heavy fir coat on an 85 degree night.
The dog waited excitedly as I dug through the trash at Rouses Market. I was the only one there at 1 a.m..
It being the 3rd of the month, the skeezers all either had their own disability checks or were skeezing off of those that had.
They were eating large at McDonalds and Krystals and were nowhere near Rouses reject-amentia. They wouldn't reappear for a few more days.
That would be when their entire months worth of disability money would out. They seem to be un"able" to fathom that phenomena.
Doogie and I went to the sign spot, and chowed down upon people food.
At some point in the night, its leash came unhooked from the shrub that I had wrapped it around; but the dog never bolted; rather, it dug itself a little bed, showering me with mulch in the process and lay down next to me. A good homeless dog, which had been owned at one time or other by every living skeezer in the quarter, I would find out the next day.
The next day, I woke up and was still a bit tired due to the lingering effects of the virus which had nearly killed me 4 days prior.
The temperature was creeping towards its eventual high of 90 as noon approached. The dog was panting.
I gave the dog all of the water which we had, which it gulped down.
I thought about how I wanted to blog for at least 3 hours in the air conditioned Starbucks; and how I would have to leave the dog tied up outside in the heat, to do so.
This was necessary since the battery has died on this 3 month old Toshiba laptop.
I may be able to get the battery replaced but will have to call their customer service number on the Obama phone, which crapped out in the middle of my 911 call when I was trying to call an ambulance Wednesday night.
Then, as I was walking down Canal Street ruminating upon these problems, the dog squatted and did its business right in the middle of the sidewalk right in front of the carpet which welcomed people to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Ooops, let me get that;  just need to fish some cardboard out of the trash can here, and then I can scrape up the bulk of it and just wipe up the rest with the napkins that  need to get out of restroom; -always wanted to see what it looked like in there... I must tell you that I just got this dog last night and the runny-ness of the stool that it just dropped on your "welcome to the Ritz-Carlton" rug is all about the previous owner which the dog had who fed the thing God knows what; I just wanted to say that; let me go into your restroom and grab some napkins (wash my face and shave real quick while in there) and come out and clean this mess up...

I cleaned it up, under the watchful eyes of the doormen, and then bent our tracks towards Sydneys, where I planned upon giving the dog back to Jason, telling him that I had not had to foresight to see that I spent too much time indoors, between showers at the VA, and computer time at the library or Starbucks; in order to give the dog the life that it deserved. It didn't deserve to spend half the day tied to a lamp post...
Before I had gotten half way to Sydneys, I noticed that Doogie was pulling me either left or right at each fork in the road. I decided to humor him and allow him to lead me by the leash, rather than the other way around.
We went through alleys and down side streets, encountering water fountains that I had never noticed before and which Doogie drank from; and encountering no less than 3 skeezers, all of which told me that they once owned Doogie. They petted him as they told me their histories with the dog ...lost him when I went to jail; then bought him back off of so and so for 5 packs of cigarettes; then he got stolen but we beat up the guy and stole him back; but then lost him when I went back to jail for beating up the guy on camera; and then sold him to so and so when I had to go to Tennessee and I couldn't take him on the Greyhound...this a good dog; just don't give him dry food; you know what he likes is those Dollar Store treats -the ones shaped like bones- don't you, Doogie, yeah good boy!
Then, I ran into one skeezer who was drunk and who physically grabbed the leash saying "I know whose dog this is!! This ain't your stole this dog...I've known this dog since it was a puppy!!!
After I produced the paperwork, witnessed by a couple of tourists, that skeezer was prevailed upon to let the leash go. I wasn't going to let him take it just on matter of principle. He was drunk and no shape to have resisted me; but on Doogie and I walked towards Rouses.
To Kermit, The Dog
Then, at Rouses Market, I encountered yet another skeezer whom I was somewhat acquainted with, named Kermit.
I had an iota of respect for Kermit because he is friends with Doreens Jazz Band members and has helped them out by holding their spot for them; and is has also helped Tanya and Dorise in some capacity which caused me to think that he might be a trustworthy person.
After deciding that I just couldn't keep the dog because of my lifestyle; the fact that it nipped at a couple tourists; crapped on the sidewalk and couldn't come inside buildings with me; I was thinking that the dog needed to be placed with someone who had a back yard that the dog could run around in.
Kermit also knew Doogie.
I told him that I was on my way to return the dog for the reasons outlined above.
Kermit told me that he was staying at a house and even gave me the address of it; then he said the "magic words" that he had "a back yard" with a fence around it, where the dog could run around.
Against my better judgement and my promise to Jason that I would bring it back to him if things didn't work out, I handed the dog over to Kermit, along with the paperwork.
I went on to see Jason at Sydneys, who asked immediately "Wheres the dog?"
I explained the above.
Jason said that he wasn't angry (which was kind of a veiled allusion to the fact that he may have felt that he had a right to be) but that he just wanted to meet this "Kermit," to make sure that he was a decent guy.
He was just getting off work, and so I bought a beer and accompanied him in a search for Kermit and the dog.
I had narrowed down the possible locations that we may have found him to a patch of land bordered by Rouses Market, which sells beer, on one end. And the spots where skeezers skeeze on Bourbon Street at the other extreme.
Getting to Rouses Market, we encountered a group of about 3 guys who, based upon their general appearances and the fact that they tried to skeeze us for a dollar as soon as we walked up; seemed like they might know the whereabouts of Kermit.
"Have you seen Kermit?" asked Jason of the first one.
"Kermit's in jail," said the second one.
"No he ain't. I saw him this morning," said the third one.
"I gotta get this dog back!," said Jason.
We headed in the direction of where all 3 of them agreed that he would probably be: "Up by Krazy Korner."
"There he is," I said to Jason as I spotted him on the corner in front of Krazy Korner, standing there but not holding a dog.
We approached him and Jason made a brief introduction and asked about the dog.
Kermit had sold the dog to "Dirty."
"I'm really sorry, I misread Kermit totally," I said to Jason as we stalked off in the direction of where "Dirty" sat on the sidewalk with another skeezer.
Dirty Dog Dealings
There was Doogie, laying in between them, near a cardboard sign which read something like: "My dog is starving; anything helps" and apparently appointed to guard a bottle of whiskey.
Dirty didn't want to give up the dog, even after Jason and I explained that the dog belonged to Jason and that I had (admittedly) made a mistake in giving it away; and that all (we) wanted to do was to place the dog in a better situation.
"I bought this dog," said Dirty, who was apparently not a very good liar.
"How much did you pay?" asked Jason, reaching for his wallet.
Dirty was in a quandry. Of course he wanted to skeeze the maximum value out of the situation; but if the amount he gave was too high, as in: "Where the hell did you get your hands on (insert implausible amount here) bucks, dirty?" then he wouldn't be believable. And, plus:
"I can just go ask Kermit how much he sold it for..." said Jason, who wasn't born yesterday...
Dirty started to mumble something about Kermit having owed him a debt which was cancelled as part of a deal which......
And Jason cut him short by pulling out a 20 dollar bill and asking: "How about 20 bucks? And, you won't owe Kermit anymore," he added not without a trace of sarcasm.
We walked off with Doogie, Dirty walked off to acquire a backup bottle of whiskey, and only one issue was left unresolved.
"It looks like I cost you 20 dollars by giving the dog to Kermit," I said to Jason.
"Just catch it up here and there," he said; which seemed fair.
The Skeezing Kettles
After all I did have 10 dollars just handed to me out of the blue in just one night of walking the dog.
I used that, in part, to get fresh batteries for my spotlight, to fix the 2 tuning machines on my guitar and to buy one new string...and to keep myself in beer, admittedly; lest I be the skeezing pot calling the skeezing kettles black.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life Is Breath Taking

I am feeling almost back to normal.
I cannot help but think that I stumbled upon some exotic virus, or a combination of things which added up to the "perfect storm" of an ailment; which caused me to have an almost fatal attack of asthma; when I don't even have asthma.
I am chalking it up to a spiritual thing. I was humbled by a higher power; after I had gotten out of control and had sung blasphemous lyrics....

I am listening to Sarah Mclaclan, while writing this.
She is playing tonight, at the Saenger Theater, across the street from the sign spot, where I slept last night. 

I repaired to there pretty early last night; being pretty tired; from being up most of the previous night; dying and being saved and then being tossed out of the hospital at daybreak.
I decided to forgo a night of sleeping under the dock, in order to throw a control into an experiment upon my bird allergy theory.
Plus, with my sense of smell heightened, from not having smoked for about a week, the air really was redolent with bird down when I went under to try to retrieve my backpack.
The pack was right where I had left it, laptop still inside; the oil candle which I had lit had burned down to the wick. I couldn't help envisioning it burning out just as I was expiring from lack of oxygen on the rocks below.
The treatment at the hospital had cleared my lungs, and I was back to feeling like I just had a slight cold, but my breathing is back to normal. 
Still, I didn't want to hang out too long under there; in case I really was allergic to the bird. I can find out a bit later, after I have recovered a bit; and enjoyed some good health. I ate some instant oatmeal with honey, grabbed my pack, and then got out of there.
Up on the river walk, I took my guitar out as I sat on a bench and played a bit, along with The Dukes of Dixieland, whose music could be heard coming from the Natchez. Everything seemed new and fresh, as if I had been given a new lease on life; and I even appreciated being able to play simple melodies on the guitar. A young boy came over and put a dollar on top of my case. It was a crisp, fresh, brand new dollar bill, folded only once in the middle.
I went to Harrahs Casino and plugged this laptop in at Starbucks in order to finish off yesterdays post about the near death ordeal. Then, I noticed how tired I felt; and headed for the sign spot.
I walked past Sarah McLauclans 2 tour buses which were parked along Canal Street across from the theater at about 11 last night.
It was an ostentatious enough display to make me curious about her music. After all, Neil (friggin') Young only had one brand new shiny bus when he rolled up to the Saenger in Mobile, Alabama, and so I wanted to find out who this Sarah McLachlan is and to hear if her music sounded good enough to justify her having twice as many buses as Neil.
Plus, since I often sleep right across the street from the theater, it is part of my business strategy to brush up on the music of whomever is playing there so I could potentially work the people outside the place, waiting to get in. This worked well, for example, when I made 35 bucks off of playing "Big Ol' Jet Airliner" for a group who were waiting for the gates to open to let them in to see the Steve Miller Band.
Sarah, sings the "In the arms of the angel..." song, and the "I will remember you. Will you remember me?" song, and those two alone warrant two big new shiny buses, as I have heard them countless times on soft-rock FM radio. 
I won't be pouring too much energy into preparing to play her songs out front, because of the mismatching of her high, lilting voice with mine; but I might learn one line, such as "I will remember you...Will you remember me?" and the chords which go under it. Then, I can walk past with my guitar out and probably make a few bucks off of just that 10 seconds of music; smiling and saying something like: "I need to learn that song, that's a good song...." That is about enough for the attention span of most people these days....