Tuesday, September 30, 2014

You Should See His Face!

The Patriots
Bilal (pronounced Bill-ahl)
I Hurt Myself
Last (Monday) night, I had about 25 dollars on me.
I have typically managed to get ahead something close to this amount after each weekend.
Then, I am faced with the decision to spend a good chunk of it on something which I want, like a USB cable to charge my mp3 player, so I can record myself live; or a new battery for this laptop, which is now running off of the outlet at the emergency room at the LSU Interim Hospital.
The Hospital, What Happened?!?
I watched the Patriots game last night, from outside the Royal 
Sonesta Hotel, on Bourbon Street.
I figured that I had earned the right to treat myself to such a frolic, since I had managed to clear the 27 dollars, or so, after the weekend...
I was watching the game for free from the sidewalk, and only running to the beer store during halftime and long official reviews of plays.
At one point, when the Patriots were already down 17 to 0, a man called to me from across the street, whom I at first didn't recognize, as he was dressed up even more "to the tee" than is his custom.
It was Balil.

He motioned me across the street, whereupon he introduced me to his companion who was none other than his mother, Victoria, visiting from Dayton, Ohio.
She shook my hand warmly as Bilal bestowed encomiums upon me as being "a great guitarist," and, more pointedly, one whom he could jam with seamlessly.
They were very supportive and encouraging, both in words and deeds, telling me not to give up; and repeatedly laying their hands on my shoulders, as if praying over me.
Balil left a 20 dollar bill with me, which let me breath a sigh of relief over the fact that, taking time out to watch my favorite team lose miserably was not going to wipe me out, financially.
After the game, I drifted around, running into a musician whose name escapes me; a middle aged black guy with an acoustic guitar who said that he had come to New Orleans "to learn" from other musicians.
I may have taught him a couple of things, but we weren't thrown any money as we sat there and played for almost an hour. This was a little bit disturbing, because I thought that we sounded alright.
Then, I went to get food at Rouses Market.
I found copious amounts of it and then, to celebrate the bonanze, grabbed my final beer of the night at The Unique Grocery,  before heading to the sign spot.
Once at the sign spot, I realized that I had no utensils to eat with.
I took my box cutter and cut the plastic lid off of a salad container, and was in the process of slicing it up, in order to fashion some kind of crude eating implement when the blade came free of the lid and slashed through the flesh of my leg with an audible and sickening sound as the fabric of my jeans was rent and the blood gurgled forth.
All I could think of doing was to just eat my salad and go to sleep. It was dark and I couldn't see how much blood was seeping out of me until the morning light came and I found myself on a red-stained cardboard bed in red-stained jeans.
Had I gone immediately to the emergency room, the gash could have been stitched, but, as I sit here now 16 hours later, they are telling me that all they will be able to do is clean the wound; as it is too late to stitch it.
I guess I will have a hideous scar on my leg which I can tell people that I got during a knife fight with someone who jumped me trying to steal my guitar; and then add something like: you should see his face!"

Monday, September 29, 2014

If The Mood Strikes

Friday, I manged to drink nothing but water, until well into the evening when I found a cold cup of Abita, as I was coming up upon John, the classical guitarist, who was sitting with Marshall, the classical tenor (who sounds like Caruso) and who (the latter) was drunk, and that spirit kind of infused me and I drank of the cup.
I went to the Lilly spot and soon arrived a guy who worked "in the oil field" and his wife, who tipped me 20 dollars as we smoked a joint provided by a young black guy with a Haitian accent whom I thought was trying to skeeze my audience until he lit up the weed.
I finished the night with about 40 dollars, found a lot of food, went under the dock to sleep (so that I could grab my can opener and a sweater or a sweatshirt, as it is starting to get cold here at night).
I slept well into Saturday, as rain poured down outside.
I had a return of some of the respiratory ailment symptoms, like a tight chest, confirming my opinion that it is something that is under the dock which contributes to this.
Sunday night, I slept at the sign spot but wore the sweater which I had retrieved from under the dock which was redolent with the smell of rats and night herons and my symptoms worsened to the point where I was even starting to wheeze a bit.
I took the sweater off as soon as it warmed up a bit in the morning.
Saturday, I made some decent money, having bought batteries for the spotlight, which I employed.
It was one of those weekends where everything that I had want of kind of fell out of the sky.
Tonight, Monday; I will be able to watch the Patriots game from outside the Royal Sonesta without going broke in the process.
And, who knows, I might play afterwards if the mood strikes.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Not Very Funny

Right now I am at Starbucks.
I have a gallon of spring water and 55 cents on me....oh, and a fake 10 dollar bill.
The water is indicative of another attempt at sobriety.
Last night, things had spiraled downward to the "Popeye point" when I decided "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!"
It is Friday and the thought of going out and playing is a slightly daunting and depressing one, as I had been using alcohol as a means of masking the fears and apprehensions pursuant to sitting on a spot, uninvited, and playing music for people who might not tip.
My latest idea for a sign is one which will read: "Stay calm and tip me." 
Mind If I Sit Here?
Wednesday night, I made money at the Lilly spot, despite playing without the benefit of my spotlight, which forced me to move down the sidewalk, closer to the forbidden zones of Lillys soon-to-be-ex husbands bedroom; and the condo of the lawyer with whom Lilly feuds with over my being allowed to play at all in that residential neighborhood, after the 8 p.m. curfew.
I was beleaguered by 3 people who wanted to sit next to me and listen.
The first guy requested Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots songs; lamented that he didn't have anything to tip me, but had cigarettes (yes, I am smoking again) and a drink for me.
The second guy came along and just wanted "to hear some good music."
He was a heroin addict who also enjoyed crystal methamphetamine and told me his name is "Loki," adding "I never give people my real name, because that is something that you should keep sacred and only let people that are close to you know."
By the time a third guy had showed up, an elderly guy walking with a cane, I had made close to 20 dollars for the night (I had started on Canal Street near Royal, then moved to Royal and Orleans, or the Late Jake spot, and had made a few dollars at each, before winding up at Lillys) and decided that my prospects for making more had been dimmed by the presence of my present audience.
They were skeezer-esque in nature.
I walked off to look for a 5 dollar bag of weed.
The Hero And The Heroin
Loki offered to pitch in on weed and wanted to come with me. We walked off together. He had a wad of money on him.
Along the way down Bourbon Street, he told me that he had been on the street since the age of 13 and enjoyed heroin, mostly because he was able to not do it "all the time," and thus, hadn't built up a tolerance to it, and thus could stay high all day on just one dose. "Like tonight, I'm just going to smoke a little weed and mellow out," he added.
When we got to The Unique Grocery, there was a tall black man in a striped shirt, who said that he had good weed. 
He also had heroin.
Off walked he and Loki to around the corner somewhere to conduct business. 
Weed is passed off right in front of the cops noses, usually transferred through a handshake. The fact that possession of it is a felony in Louisiana leads to the irony that they, hence, rarely enforce the law. Heroin is a different story.
Loki soon returned to where I stood drinking a beer with the news that he hadn't had his needle and spoon and had had to snort it, but that it was good; and the guy in the striped shirt had done him right, God bless him. He was Lokis hero.
The heroin was so good that Loki wanted a hug.
I hugged Loki, and then went off to my sleeping spot, deciding to forgo the weed and save 5 dollars of the money, which is a blessing on a Wednesday night; and thinking that the pot might be contributing to the general lack of direction in life which has beset me lately. ("Lately" being defined as the past 15 years or so).
As Long As It Is "Away!"
Coming out on Thursday, I noticed swarms of parents with young girls in tow flowing in the direction of the Super Dome.
A band called "One Direction," were performing in that venue and the word on the street was that they had sold the show out; drawing 80,000 young girls and their parents. 
This didn't bode well for there being a big crowd on Bourbon Street that night, as I felt that the parents would opt for McDonalds or the ice cream places after the concert; rather than trot the little ones past the strip clubs and the skeezers. 
A Bad Light
My new cheap spotlight had sucked the energy out of the last of my AA batteries, making me think that it might have a short circuit inside of it. The thing has to be wiggled around and smacked against my palm in order to bring it to what seems its brightest level, but then it will dim on its own accord; as if not all 3 batteries are always engaged.
I played at the Lilly spot, after having spent myself down to 0 dollars while standing outside The Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street sipping beer and watching Thursday Night Football.
I Am Faked Out
I arrived at the Lilly Spot around 10 p.m. and made about 7 dollars, ran for a beer and back, and had 5 dollars in my case when, up walked a young man whom I didn't take particular note of who said "I want to tip you, man, but all I have is a 10; can I have those 5 ones and I'll give it to you?"
I made the exchange and then played a little longer, and then knocked off, thinking that 10 dollars was not a bad take, considering that I had watched football for half of the night.
I got to The Unique Grocery and pulled the 10 dollar bill out to pay for a beer and noticed that it looked funny. 
The cashier noticed that it looked funny.
"This is fake," he said after inspecting it under the light.
It wasn't funny..

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday's Gone

Not much to write about.
I got out and played and sang pretty well last night, until after an hour or so of not making any money, I decided to save my strings, which are still fairly new; for a better time.
I don't know when that time might be, as Wednesdays are infamously slow.
Not Shown
I wound up drinking all the money that I had last night, and ran into people such as Blue, the stripper and the guy who plays the water jug; who bought me more.

Jesse, From The Hokum Highrollers
I had a good conversation with Jesse, who plays guitar and harmonica, and who jams with the likes of Yes Ma'am and The Hokum Highrollers when such musicians are in town.
He was across the street from Rouses Market at the spot shown in the photo and had made about 21 dollars after being there at least 2 hours.
The musicians that he usually plays with are at more lucrative places right now, such as Denver, Colorado; which, I hear, is really hopping in the summer months when we are suffering here.
Clearing The Whole Place Out
Jesse talked about how he started to make his own instruments when he was a kid.
He made something which resembled an electric guitar, but he put all the frets the same distance apart, something like an inch; rather than trying to use the logarithmic spacing which produces the 12 tone scale which we are all familiar with (unless we are cloistered away in India with only a sitar to play).
He said the result was the most horrendous sound imaginable.
"But, even though it wasn't pleasing to the ear, I thought it was interesting and I liked it," he said
He and a percussionist friend went into a crowded coffeehouse in California with the thing and they "cleared the whole place out," he added with a smile.
He wears a plaid shirt, work pants and a baseball cap with the name of some construction company or something on it -looks like he just got off work at a farm- when he plays.
His harmonica playing is very crisp and accurate because he has the parts memorized and doesn't try to improvise anything on the spot; as opposed to my method of jumping in on a note and then tryng to take it wherever it wants to go.
We got on the subject of musical notation.
He told me that he pens a lot of his songs on manuscript paper, practicing an ancient art which is in danger of becoming lost; due to the emergence of "tablature" as the preferred medium of a lazy new generation -too lazy to want to deal with sharps and flats and double sharps and flats and 12 different keys.
This morning there was a cart with at least 100 back issues of Sheet Music Magazine sitting in the "free" section of the library.
I am tempted to try to stuff every one of them in my backpack.
This can't help but to expand my repertoire.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Day At The DMV

Please send parcels, pepper spray, amplifiers, other electronics and garlic, to this address..
One step closer to re-joining the human race..

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yellow Headed Man

With his own theme song...
ID Tuesday
Tomorrow, if I am at the Rebuild Center early enough, I might get to ride on the van driven by "Bebe," the officer from the homeless task force, or whatever they are called.
Bebe might have to give me an updated "proof of homelessness" paper, as mine is more than a year old. It has been that long since my "pursuit" of a Unity house began.
I am thinking of giving the hat, which has served proudly atop my head for more than a year now, a rest....
And, becoming "Yellow Headed Man" and the decision is tearing me up and churning my stomach and I feel like a man at the edge of a cliff holding a hang glider and all I have to do is take that plunge and, in this case, become Yellow Headed Man (coming into your town; spreading love and music).
The Girl Who Pushes The Bike Who Conned Me And Then Slapped Me, walked past me late last night, around the the corner from The Unique Grocery Store, pushing her bike and she said "You dirty bitch; get a house!" to me.
I had just urinated French Quarter style into one of the culverts which empties into the river.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

More On The Lady Who Pushes A Bike

United States
United Kingdom

I must give a shout out to my readers in France, who have out-read my contemporaries, here on this side of the Atlantic.
 "Pants Girl seems to be just plain crazy, I'd avoid her even if she does offer to sell you more pants, you can always get pants somewhere else.

It's amazing how everyone seems to know that you were wronged and are showing you some love." -Alex In California
I, myself am baffled by the apparent "outpouring" of love and, almost respect, which may just be randomly coincident with my brush with the young black lady, who pushes a bike, and who slapped me.
I really think that she had perhaps perpetrated a fraud that she was a woman of moral rectitude; and people were at a loss to find fault with her, all the while, in the back of their minds, suspecting her, but her being so sly and slick and clever that she was always one step ahead of them.
For example; the way the she "ripped me off:"
She kept asking me for more and more money, all the while promising things which she may very well have been capable of delivering.
I was in a situation that I decided to bail out of, after cutting my losses.
I envisioned arriving at her house (where I was always welcome at, because I seemed like a nice guy) where would be another person; perhaps a large black man.

Some drama would ensue; the large black man accusing the lady that pushed a bike around of having stolen from him. He would then make like he was intent upon doing bodily harm to the lady, whereupon, she would cry out to me: "He's ready to kill me over 75 stinking dollars! Give him your guitar, and he can pawn it and get his money, and I swear to God (and have money in my bible) that I'll buy you another guitar tomorrow....He's going to kill me, Daniel!!!"
That is a just a rough sketch of what I envisioned awaited me at her place in the projects....
So, I had just let her have the 25 dollars and I walked off.
But, I told the story to whomever was concerned; and it got around.
The Bag Of Change

The Unique Grocery Store "Where Everyone Knows Your Name"

In the Unique Grocery Store, in the area behind the counters where the 3 Ethiopian cashiers work, on the floor sits a huge plastic bag full of change.
It is not made of ordinary plastic, but rather of a very thick industrial grade kind which very heavy objects like automotive parts may very well be shipped in.
I estimate the bag to weigh about 85 pounds, from looking at it.
It sits there and the plastic is transparent, so everyone who enters the store can see that there is probably 500 dollars worth of change sitting there.
Well, on the particular morning that I ran into the lady who pushes the bike who ripped me off, when she was standing in front of the store with me, Sam came out of the store and accosted her.
I heard the words "my money," out of what he said.
"They told me to do that, go ask them!" said the lady.
Well, it seemed that the subject of the huge bag (about the size of a bag of potatoes) had come up and, teasing her, one of the cashiers had said to the lady: "If you can pick that bag up and carry it off, then you can have it!"
She couldn't pick the bag up and neither could Sam understand why she was trying to do so, from his vantage point at the back of the store, and hence he accosted her.
My Take On The Situation
My take on the situation was that she was someone whom they were trying to catch in some wrong-doing, yet had not yet; much to their vexation.
You Try To Steal My Money?!?
After I had related my story of being conned out of money by her (not by theft, but by breach of contract) that seemed to give them some satisfaction; and after she slapped me, whereupon I retaliated no more than to have made a joke; that seemed to confirm some of their suspicions about the true nature of the lady, to their further satisfaction.
After all, this is a lady who has 30 (or 50, depending upon what the circumstances want) dollars in her bible. At her house.
More on The Young Black Lady Who Pushes A Bike And Who Has Sold Me Clothing Before:
TYBLWPABAWHSMCB, as I  will abbreviate her, Is about 5 feet tall and weighs no more than 120 pounds.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Great Community Service

A Hug And Kiss From Out Of The Blue
I went out after having spent the night at the dock spot for the first time in a couple weeks.
I decided not to sleep at the sign spot, despite the fact that I have been slowly been becoming acquainted with the people from the apartments across the street from it, and who seem to have room in their hearts for one homeless guy (up to 150 pounds) to be sleeping in the stand of trees across the street from them.
They, of course, are the dog owners.
They come carefully across Basin Street with their leashed dogs in the mornings, on a "business" trip, if you will, and, the short time that I had the Jack Russell Terrier, I drew a lot of their sympathies and some gifts of doggie treats.
Now there are two (2) white cats that have been coming closer to me by degrees, and I was told by one dog walker that the cats lay upon my sleeping spot during the day, prompting him to ask: "Have you been taking care of those cats?"
To Mix Things Up
I slept at the dock spot just to mix things up and to be unpredictable and to retrieve anything which might be there, like some heavier clothing (as we have seen the temperature drop below 60 degrees for the first time since May recently) and to thwart any attempt by the black girl who pushes a bike and who ripped me off and then struck me in the face Wednesday night to pursue and further designs in bringing about my destruction.
I figure that, after she cools off, she will turn her attention towards apologizing to me, perhaps offering me some free new clothes; after coming to her senses and realizing that I make about 15 bucks an hour playing music; and that that would provide her most direct route towards worming her way back into my favor, paving the way for more and grander rip offs in the future.
The shortest distance between two points being to worm in a straight line; she will probably come and apologize to me as soon as she thinks that I have more than replaced the 25 dollars that she beat me for, so that I have gotten over the whole episode and am ripe for the picking again.
But, I spent a night under the dock.
I came out in the morning and went to the Unique store for my first beer, and was consuming it on the corner of Iberville and Royal when, up walked Blue, who kissed me on both sides of my neck, perhaps trying to give me bruises, the way she sucked upon my skin.
I hadn't seen Blue in about 2 years. She is the last girl that I have had sex with.
She said then, that she used to be a stripper.
She said yesterday that she is once again a stripper.
Sue, The Colombian Lady was in my life at the time of our first encounter, and I remember blogging a title something like: "Will Sue see red because I am seeing Blue?"
Then, I heard a voice call from across the street, and it turned out to belong to none other than Tanya Huang, who was on her bicycle, with a hood pulled over her head and dark glasses on and was apparently just out for a ride (but still traveling incognito because of her fame and the fame of her big baskets full of money). She hesitated a few seconds as if giving me the option of running across the street to chat. She was all smiles.
Then, before coming here to Starbucks to blog, I walked down the sidewalk a ways to snipe some tobacco and from out of the AT&T store came none other than Dorise Blackmon, who greeted me.
"I just saw your hoodied partner," said I.
"Yeah, I ran into her by accident myself," said Dorise.
I hung out and "helped" her get a new phone of some kind.
The screen on her old one was so bubbled up that she had missed a few chord changes which she had been reading off of it, using a "fakebook" application which allows her and Tanya to potentially play "anything."
Dorise shook my hand as I walked off to be approached by yet another young lady whom I didn't quite recognize who greeted me like we were old friends.
More On The Previous Night
All I could think about was how I was slapped in the face, the previous night, by the girl who pushes the bike, who had ripped me off, and who the police had carted off.
The Police Carted Her Off?!?
Yes, she called them on me after she had slapped me in the Unique store and then had enlisted the services of some goon who turned out to be a good friend of the guy I was hanging out with and who consequently refused to provoke me up based upon that relationship.
I was drunk then, and pulled my knife out of my backpack to place it in my pocket; ostensibly to have it handy should the situation "escalate."

The police soon showed up and asked me to stand up.
One officer handcuffed me, telling me "You're being detained; you're not under arrest."
My buddy kept playing his water jug, nonplussed.
They searched my pack, seeing mostly food from Rouses Market, then patted me down, removing the knife (which also has a spoon and a fork attached) from my pocket.
"Is this the shiny object?" he asked the girl, who had by then been told to sit on the curb.
She had been told to sit on the curb because she was being detained also, after a second officer arrived with the news from the staff of Uniques that she had "smacked" me in their store minutes earlier.
My cuffs were removed, my knife/spoon/fork returned and I resumed jamming with the water jug drummer and his friend (the goon who defected) as if nothing had occurred.
"He (the cop) is going to look at you and see what you have; and then look at her and see what she has; and then make a judgement...and there she goes," said the water jug player as the cruiser pulled off into the night with the bike pushing hustler in the back seat.

And so, the next day (today) I was greeted fervently by no less than 4 people; one of them kissing me passionately on the neck; and I felt like I must have done some great community service the night before.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Someone Else To Kick My Ass

I Am Robbed By A Black Girl On A Bike
There is a young black lady who rides, or more often pushes, a bike around the Quarter.
She has sold me clothes before. She sold me jeans once; for 4 dollars; and then not long after that, had a pair of brand new Wrangler jeans in my exact size (of 31X32) with the price tag still on them.
She only had wanted 4 dollars for each pair.
Tuesday morning, I woke up with 31 dollars on me.
I had had 51 dollars Monday morning, and could not recall where I had spent the money that day, except for 10 dollars on a USB cable which I found didn't fit my MP3 player.
Some other musician (I guess) whom I had never seen before asked me if I had an extra low "e" string when I was walking Bourbon Street after not having made much money that night; he said "I'll give you 20 dollars for it.
That was the only string which I had an extra of on me, as a matter of fact. It seemed fated.
I sold it for 20 dollars, reminding myself that I had paid $2.17 for the thing and was only profiting $17.83 on the deal, and to not go hog-wild in spending the money on an expensive beer or anything.
Tuesday morning, the same girl was by her bike (which I recognized more than I did her face, because I am terrible with faces) in front of The Unique Grocery Store.
"Didn't I buy clothes off of you once?" I asked.
I wasn't sure that it was her because her countenance was distorted by a scowl on her face.
She said "Yeah, why, what's up?"
Well, I had 31 dollars, and maybe she could smell it on me, because she immediately asked me what size shoe I wore.
She started to tell me about all the clothes that she had at her house "My old man went to prison for 8 years and he is your exact size," she offered.
I then made what would be my second mistake of that morning.
The first one was not reading in her face that she was angry and desperate.
The second one was, after she started to itemize all of the clothing that she had which she could sell me, I said: "Well, I had a rough night and woke up with only 31 dollars this morning; and can't for the life of me remember where I spent the rest."
She began to lead me towards her house, telling me along the way that she had tennis shoes, 5 shirts, pants, socks and underwear.
She then told me that she thought that I was a nice guy and that I was welcome in her house anytime, as long as I didn't do drugs.
I said that I only drank and smoked weed.
Then, she seemed to have a brainstorm.
We would swing by Basin Street, where they sell weed; buy some weed and then go and hang out at her place, where I could stock up on clothing.
We got to the spot near Basin Street and she asked me for 5 dollars to throw in on a 10 dollar sack.
I pulled my money out, and gave her 5 dollars, but then she asked me for 5 one dollar bills, "Because, I might be able to get the dime for 8 or 9, instead of 10.
She went across the street, while I watched her bike, as if it were collateral.
She returned about 5 minutes later and asked me for 10 more dollars, saying that the guy had half ounces and they were fat and she could get one for 20 dollars and that she would pay me back, as soon as we got to her house, out of 30 dollars which she had in her bible.
This was the third red flag, for those who are counting.
Did she really think that the mentioning of the fact that she had a bible (with money in it) was going to paint her as a morally upright person in my mind.
I should have just cut my losses and left right then, but I was thinking that she was at least going to have to come off of a lot of brand new clothes, should we get to her apartment only to discover that her bible had been pillaged by a roommate or someone (they are going to burn in hell!).

I gave her 10 dollars more, still thinking that she was the nice young lady that sold me discount clothes.
When she returned a third time asking for "the six dollars," which made me realize that the amount of 31 dollars, which I had told her that I had on me had sunken into her brain and that she was hell bent upon taking all of it from me, I told her that she had gotten me.
"Nice hustle, I never saw it coming," I said, as I walked away.
"That's on you!" she called after me, as if to say that if I were to jump ship at that point then I would be forfeiting my money and wouldn't get any clothes at all.
I went off with the 6 dollars that I had left and decided to drink it; which I did.
I told everyone that I met about how the girl who pushes a bike around but doesn't ride it, had ripped me off.
I went to Rouses Market to sell food stamps to my friend, so as to replace the money and not miss a beat; although it might become a hardship towards the end of the month.
I Am Struck In The Face
At the end of the night, I got to the Unique store. She was there.
The staff of the Unique Boutique had encountered her about my accusation that she had ripped me off.
They had had doubts about her integrity in the past, and had related my story to her, presenting it as having come from someone whom they believe.
The young lade walked into the store, and in full view of the cashiers and the security officer, slapped me in the face.
Her point seemed to have been that, since she had sold me 30 dollar jeans for 5 dollars, then I had no right to object to her having ripped me off for 25 dollars -do the math....
Well, it didn't end there.
I went around the corner and encountered a new friend, The Guy Who Plays The Water Jug, who was playing his water jug.
I sat down next to him and we talked. I took my guitar out and played.
Then, around the corner from the direction of Uniques came the lady, pushing her bike, and with her was what I assume was a goon from her gang, who she had recruited in order to do violence upon me.
Well, it so happened that, when the goon saw the guy who plays the water jug, they embraced as if they were old friends who hadn't seen each other in a while.
"This is my friend," said the water jug guy to him, at which point there was a change in his attitude, and he sat down to join us; and the lady with the bike looked on in exasperation for a minute and then went off, probably trying to find someone else to kick my ass.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday Night In The Quarter

Finding Dimes
A New String
Leslie Calls
A New Light
20 Dollar Night
ID In The Works
Picking Up Pennies
3 Years Ago Today
When I rode the freight train,  just about 3 years ago, from Mobile, Alabama to here; I followed the instructions which had been given to me by a hobo.
I jumped off when it stopped at Reed Road, and then walked up Reed Road, until I had gotten to Chef Monateur Highway, where I saw the diner that he had mentioned; and the convenience store sitting across the street diagonal to it.
It was almost 1 o' clock in the morning -not a good hour to be white and carrying a guitar and a backpack in that neighborhood, but one can't be picky about which train to hop, due to their availability.
Rail yards, like hospitals often (and The White House, I've heard) are invariably situated in "bad" neighborhoods; probably because the property values are slumping due to the constant sounds of locomotives humming and boxcars clanging together as they couple (I don't know what the White House' excuse is...).
I had my first couple of New Orleans experiences when I got to the convenience store.
The first of which was finding five (5) pennies laying on the ground in the parking lot, which I picked up, wondering as I did if they portended Great Wealth here.
The second was when I then asked a black man, who was milling about that store at 1 o' clock in the morning, which direction the French Quarter was in, and he pointed me in the wrong direction. I wondered what that portended.
(I caught the error by asking the workers inside the store the same question. Oh, hell no, ain't nothing that way for another 20 miles! He told you that?!? and the rest of that story is in that particular post from August of 2010)
Buy crack behind Obamas back; right around back!!
The point of today's story is that, I continued to pick pennies off of the ground here (even the "bad luck" ones laying face down) and to keep a casual tally of them; and in 3 years, I have picked up approximately $13.20. I may not have gained a lot of sense during that time span, but I have gained a lot of cents. *groan*
And Now, Dimes
The past month or so, I have started to find 1 dime per day, laying on the ground somewhere. Only one, yet hardly a day has passed when I haven't found one. I'm not sure if this is a sign of an improving economy or not.
I got to Starbucks to make yesterdays post, and laying by the side of the road was a crumbled fast-food bag, a few fries and 2 dimes. An omen?
That gave me a grand total of $9.90, as I left there and hit the Unique Grocery store for my first beer of the day. I consumed it as I stood talking to Jay (the guy who sings really loud), returned for a second one and then headed for Louisiana Music Factory, to replace my broken string.
I intended to spend 2 bucks on the string and then find a very cheap spotlight as a temporary replacement for the one which I lost Wednesday night.
I decided to walk Bourbon Street, instead of taking my habitual route down Royal Street. Stopping to talk to every street musician and tarot card reader along the way, plus whomever is hanging around at Rouses Market could have made me miss the closing of the music store.
Someone handed me a cold beer as I was about in the 500 block of that storied street; my third one.
Leslie T.
Then, I began to get text messages from Leslie Thompson. The first one which I noticed was almost an hour old and said something like "F*** it, I guess you're not answering ~?"
He wanted to get a sack of weed and to hang out -the usual- and he wanted to know where I was.
I was at the very opposite end of the quarter.
This did not daunt him. I told him that I was leaving the music store and heading to Sydneys (for my 4th beer).
I got there to find Jason (the guy who had given me the first dog which I had; the Shetland; and who works there) hanging out in front with "Shaman," who is kind of a skeezer, but who talks to tourists and entertains them, giving them something in return for their money. They were preparing to go across the street and smoke a joint by the Joan of Arc statue.
Jason bought me my 4th beer.
Then, up walked Leslie, who introduced himself as "Leslie T." to my friends.
Leslie had money, and offered to go inside and get us each a beer, which he did (my 5th, if you're keeping score).
I had switched to Pabst Blue Ribbon by then, which is not as strong as most, as it would be my 5th one of a night which had barely even started. It was about 8:30 p.m.
The four of us smoked and drank by the Joan of Arc statue.
True to form, Leslie was "the life of the party," and even bought Shaman a pack of cigarettes and all of us another beer before he became somewhat addled and wanted nothing more than to get on the bus, go back to his apartment and crash.
I left there, addled enough myself to have forgotten about the spotlight until I was all the way to the Lilly spot.
I played there, on her other stoop, which is a little better illuminated, and made nothing in about 45 minutes; until such a time that Lilly and her younger daughter, Angelique emerged from out the gate with Lilly asking me why I was playing on that particular stoop which is closer to where her soon-to-be-ex husband sleeps.
He can't see over there, mother...
I told her about losing my spotlight.
"He can't see," said Angelique in defense of me, yet Lilly still asked me to move to the other stoop, whereupon I decided to take my 6-beers-and-a-joint self off to find another spotlight.
I left, and started heading towards the Walgreens which is open all night, to resume my search.
20 Dollar Jam
I ran into a young guy who had an acoustic guitar and we wound up jamming on a couple songs, the first one being "Black Magic Woman."
A woman came by and asking if the empty hat in front of us was our hat, placed money in it.
We finished the song and she asked "Do you know any Creedence? Come on, I just put 35 dollars in your hat...I want to hear some Creedence!"
That was good news; that she had just put 35 bucks in the hat; and that she wanted to hear Creedence.
A couple verses of "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" had her walking off a satisfied customer.
The young guy handed me the 20 dollar bill, saying that he was well satisfied with the 15 dollars, which is an amount that he has never made in the short time that he has been busking.
I think we made a pretty good combination, with him just trying to play a simple rhythm part and myself playing the "Carlos" part. The woman just heard the end result and didn't seem to distinguish between us.
The Flute Player Guy
There is a black guy who plays the flute and has been doing so for years. He has a shaven head; is about 50 but looks 35 and has been all around the world living on his busking abilities.
He has a skill set which puts him in proximity to being the Tanya Huang of the flute.
He can rip through a solo and make the songs very recognizable while spicing them up a lot.
He was tearing it up across from Rouses Market and I wound up talking to him.
We got on the subject of the very same Santana song that I had made 20 bucks off of.
"Do you play it in D minor?" asked the flute guy.
"Yeah," I said and then took my guitar out to demonstrate.
We played for about 45 minutes with myself trying to take the role of a Dorise Blackmon type of player.
"I like the way you strum," he said after we had finished.
We sounded good because I was in tune with my harp which put me in tune with his flute.
We only had a dollar thrown to us, but it was from another musician, a very good singer who is a kind of heavyset black girl in her early twenties.
"You guys sound good together," she said.
As Rouses Market was within 20 minutes of closing by then, there were few other people to hear us; except for the people who were waiting to tear into the trash bins; and they aren't typically (excuse the pun) the best audience.
Needless to say; I am (re)familiarizing myself with the music of Jethro Tull; and have "California Dreaming" in my back pocket, for when I run into him again.
Some Kind Of Oxymoron, Or Something...
Leslie T. has been calling me. He wants me to get a sack and then take the bus to his apartment. He sounded drunk already. I have to go to court tomorrow on a charge of trespassing under the dock (something I didn't blog about because I was too depressed to blog about anything at the time) and it would be a recipe for disaster if Leslie were to flip out on me like he has done every single time, so far.
I am hoping that the trespassing incident will get the ball rolling, once again, towards the Unity people finding housing for me ...otherwise he is going to be out there, trespassing, your honor...
Being there on time in clean clothes and sober is and crashing at Leslies' place is some kind of oxymoron or something....like oil and water; and mutually exclusive....
The Security Guard At The Windham
Yesterday, as I was cutting through the lower level of the garage at the hotel named above, there were a couple of older women sitting on the bench in the smoking area.
One of them asked me if I was hungry. I wasn't terribly hungry, but after she proffered a fat hotdog type thing (one quarter eaten) and said "I can't eat another bite; I'm stuffed. I'm just going to throw it away; do you want it?" I took the thing.
Suddenly the door flew open and out came the security lady whom I had thought that I had a decent relationship with, who basically asserted that I had pan-handled "her" guests and that if I returned there, I would be going to jail.
At that time, I didn't even have the energy to try to explain that the lady had offered me the food.
Today, one whole day later; this same guard made it a point to walk across the street from the hotel to where I stood outside Uniques and tell me "If you ever do that shit again; you will be going to jail, I guarantee it! You've got that guitar on your back and you're a grown man; you should be able to make your own money and you don't need to be begging my guests!"
I started to explain that the lady had offered me the food and that it was going to go to waste, but she held her hand up and cut me off, saying "I don't want to hear it!"
Here we were, right across the street from Uniques.
I got pissed off, and said in the loudest voice I could muster: "I don't beg, I never beg: I HATE panhandlers; I hate their guts; I've been here for 3 years and I have NEVER asked anyone for anything for free, only a weak pussy who can't make his way in the world would do that; and I have never given them a cent; that would only encourage them!
It got worse.
She didn't want to hear me. She went inside the hotel. I yelled "You are a cunt!!" Since she couldn't hear me.
A black guy standing on the other side of the street told me that he wanted to talk to me.
He was dressed like and looked like a cab driver. All the cab drivers are from the same middle eastern country and dress and look the same.
He got in my face and told me that he was a police officer and that he could take me to jail if he wanted to. He told me that I needed to "stop messing" with the female security guard across the street who is white, but whose dialect sounds ghetto, who had falsely accused me of panhandling "her" guests.
I asked him which Police Academy he had graduated from.
He replied "New York," and then looked at me expectantly.
I asked "Bronx, Yonkers, Queens, Brooklyn?" at which point, he told me that I needed to stop talking shit. (?)
Then, I realized what he was doing. He was trying to be the big black superhero for the benefit of the security guard, who had come back outside and was watching as this guy placed his hand on my shoulder and started to point down the street, saying as he did, that I needed to walk that way.
"Really? what if my business takes me the other way?" I asked.
Then, he began to point that way and said "Bye!" all for the benefit of the white female security guard. He wanted to make it look to her like he was running me off of a public sidewalk.
I walked away to a distance from where it was appropriate for me to raise my voice, and said sarcastically "Yeah, I'm leaving because you said to; no other reason! Then I added: "Is this your way of trying to pick up a white woman?!?"
I could have gone on; but I didn't. I had some things that I could have said.
I think she wanted me to say something that would have allowed her to call the law on me; like (insert thing that would make her)
She was trying to provoke me.
If she is so much against people panhandling, then she has plenty of fish to fry, right across the street at Uniques.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

At A Loss

  • I Err On The Side Of Caution
  • Zero Dollar Session
  • I Lost My Spotlight
  • 10 Dollars On Bourbon Street
I've Got A Feeling...
Lost Spotlight, Broken String And 10 Dollar Take Mar Evening
Tuesday night, September 9th, I played at the Lilly spot for about an hour and a half and made nothing, although one guy sat on the stoop and listened for about a half an hour, and said "That was awesome!" at one point.
He introduced himself and chatted for a bit, a conversation during which I failed to convey my need for money, so that I could continue being awesome. He wasn't a skeezer, as far as I could tell.
As he walked off,  I could have said "Say, you wouldn't have a buck or two, I haven't made anything tonight...especially with you sitting there, making it look like you were getting a private concert and would most assuredly be "hooking me up" well.
I am so anti-skeeze that I err on the side of caution and it costs me sometimes.

Spotlight On A Skeezer
Then, at about midnight, I was at Rouses Market, where I bought a bottle of vinegar to adorn the food which I already had at the sign spot; and whatever salads I might find outside after they closed.
Before they even closed, there was a skeezer who has become known to me, digging the bags out.
A Skeezer And I Become Civil
He had become known to me one night when we almost came to blows over the fact that I wouldn't hold my spotlight, and burn the batteries up therein, for him and another, so they could find food more readily.
I have encountered situations a few times when I had been shining my bright LED bulb into a bin which I was looking through, with the other 2 sitting in darkness nearby; only to have a skeezer materialize over my shoulder, availing himself to the illumination, who would then see a choice item, like a po-boy sandwich; and uttering something like "Oh, hell yeah!" would snatch it up, right in front of my nose, while I had my hands full, tearing the bag open with one, and holding the light with the other.
This is usually done with a "I saw it first; finders keepers, losers weepers" attitude, and a darting motion such as a wild cat would make.
"Hey, I'm looking through this one right now; why don't you check the other ones?"  ..Because it's hard to see in them....
"Hey, can you shine your light in here, real quick?" asked the friend of the skeezer whom I had a pushing and shoving incident with, on that particular night.
The friend was new in town and the skeezer was showing him the ropes; probably telling him how available food is here; and how "we all" (skeezers) are "out here together" and how we "look out for each other" and other favorite expressions of those who seem to take more than they give in life.
A Biblical Reference, Even
"Dude, you can get a light at the Dollar Store, probably for a dollar," I had said; recalling the biblical women who had no oil for their lamps when the proverbial bridegroom showed up and were asking the women who had prepared for that contingency for theirs.
They both had the skeezing mentality: Don't take responsibility for your own provision; just look around and find someone to skeeze off of...
Then, the first skeezer became angry and accused me of only caring about myself; and began to block my way to the bins. Pushing and shoving ensued and I was within one nerve synapse of clocking him in the head with the very same spotlight which had become a bone of contention when I realized that I had already gotten what I wanted out of the bins; and so I walked off. He was a scrawny 50 something year old whose only physical exercise is holding his hand out for money and lifting a beer can to his mouth; I could have beat him down.
The next day, he came up to me on Canal Street and appologized; and we have become civil.
I Lose My Spotlight
Last night, the same guy was there, but soon arrived another skinny black guy. I had already gotten some organic greens and other things which I could use the vinegar on. I had placed my spotlight down next to my bag before stuffing the bag with said items and was replacing the food bags in the bins; preparatory to leaving the area cleaner than I found it.
I recalled where there were some sandwiches, which I didn't want because they had mayonnaise; and I pulled them out and offered them to the skinny black guy who grabbed them rather perfunctorily without even saying "thanks." and then walked off, perhaps scooping my spotlight up from where it still stood next to my pack; as I was out of view of it for a few seconds as I bent down to pick up trash in cleaning up the area. I didn't notice its absence as I grabbed my pack and left.

Somehow the loss of the light bothered me more than anything else which went wrong Tuesday. It makes a crucial difference in the amount of money that I make at the Lilly Spot, along with being almost a "homeless necessity."
I Salvage 10 Dollars

I didn't noticed that I didn't have the light until after I had gotten to the sign spot almost a mile away.
I had passed Troy at the corner of Iberville and Royal Streets on the way.
He plays a guitar and harmonica, just like me but has a 5 year old girl often sitting next to him who is handed quite a bit of money as she sits there and sings a bit. Troy has been accused of being a "little girl skeezer."
He asked me how long I played and how much I had made; trying to ascertain if it had been as slow for me as it apparently had been for him. I had to tell him: a hour and a half and nothing at all.
At the sign spot, I decided to go back to the bins to see if the light was miraculously still there.
It wasn't.
"Play something for us!"
Then, as I walked Bourbon Street, headed back to the sign spot empty-handed; a young couple asked me to play something.
I played "Tequila Sunrise," by The Eagles (which they surprisingly had never heard before) until I snapped a string towards the end of it...
I then switched to "My Favorite Mule," after explaining that the song originated from my having snapped that same string before.
They gave me 10 dollars.
I got one last beer on the way to the sign spot, where I woke up rather depressed this morning with 9 dollars and 70 cents on me and needing to spend some of it on a new string and a new spotlight; one which will be a much cheaper version than the heavy-duty 16 dollar one which had served me so well, even as a bone of contention, and had probably been stolen by someone whom I had just gifted sandwiches to.

Monday, September 8, 2014

All Time Stats

My "all time" stats for this blog:
United States
United Kingdom
Who is interested in busking in New Orleans (or wanting to leer at my pictures of Sue, the Colombian lady) and where do they live?
Having just reached the milestone? of 71,872 page views, I will pause to consider this.
The most improbable result would have to be the 800 page views from Malaysia. The statistics are also a good indication of how much free time people in other lands have on their hands; and perhaps how boring it is in their country...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Leslie On Friday

Leslie texted me Friday afternoon, at about 3 p.m., and after I had attained about 8 hours of sleep.
It was the usual.
He wanted to get a sack of weed and then hang out together.
When he got to me, he had advanced to a certain point in his drinking cycle; whereby he was full of energy and quite animated; and very excited about getting some weed.
We accomplished that, after having stopped at Brothers Market, where I bought my first beer of the day; and where Leslie bought 2 Hurricane Lagers; the ones which would propel him into the next stage of his cycle; noticeable by the derision which he will heap upon women which he encounters on the street.
"She's hooking!" is  typical comment which would be spawned by seeing a young woman wearing certain types of clothing, followed by a graphic description of just what her "hooking" surely entails, in his opinion; in detail.
This is the early warning sign to ditch Leslie.
The second sign is (after the next Hurricane) when he will actually offer a separation from him by saying something like: "Well, we can break off after we get to Bourbon Street, if you have things you want to do..."
This is the opportunity which must be pounced upon, and I did just that, after telling him that I had enjoyed hanging out with him, shaking his hand and strolling off in a different direction as he.
The next stage would have him making a beeline to his apartment, so that he can pass out there; and viewing everyone in the way as malicious hindrances, deserving of being cussed out.
He was in this phase once, after I had first met him; when he was announcing loudly that he was ready to vomit; in order to clear a path for him through the swarms of people on Bourbon Street.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Would Need To Make 100 Dollars A Night...

Recommended By Jay
Wednesday: Too sedated to do anything but sit on Lillys stoop and entertain the idea of taking my guitar out when groups of tourists meandered by; but then reconsidering after seeing minutes elapse with no more in sight.
Some good weed and a lot of alcohol had me acting like those Mexicans whom I sometimes see who will just stand in a spot with a grin on their face and a can of beer in their hand; just standing there smiling.
A forgettable night, Wednesday...
Woke up with less than 5 bucks, this (Thursday) morning, after having found a 20 and a 1 dollar bill inside my guitar when I was replacing 2 broken strings on Tuesday night, making me realize that I had made about 40 on Sunday when I broke the 2 strings but continued to play and invent music for the 4 stringed guitar.
The Guy With The Really Loud Voice was doing pretty well on Royal Street last night; pushing his baritone vocals through a microphone and a Roland Street Cube amp. "I'm telling you; you'll make at least 100 bucks out here every night if you get an amp; I don't know why you don't," said Jay.
"Because then, I would need a place to stay where I could lock the door behind myself and my Roland Street cube, along with a little pull-cart to tote around the Roland Street Cube, and a microphone of a quality which would make it half as expensive as the amp...and cables, and batteries...I would need to make 100 dollars a night!," I countered. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Da Cadence Of Decadence

  • Decadence Festival Ends
  • I Break Through On Royal Street
  • I Sleep 24 Hours Monday To Tuesday
  • I drew this using the Paint program this morning, after having slept almost 24 hours
  • I Wake Up And Draw
Let's Get Right to that last article in the above head...
I am getting good with the Paint program....This one is called: "Only In America"
I stayed up Sunday night, after having played on Royal Street, at the spot where Jay (aka The Guy With The Really Loud Voice) has pretty much been a fixture.
So much so that I hesitated; upon seeing it vacant at about 10:30 p.m.; to just plop down there.
His milk crate was there; along with a crumbled up pack of Pyramid brand cigarettes; and an empty bottle of watermelon flavored soda -definite Jay "droppings," and, since Jay has been feuding with Jesse Sewell (aka The Grizzled Old Man With The Cowboy Hat) I could imagine Jay having a heightened sensibilty to having "his" spot taken over, should he arrive.
He arrived and I immediately offered to relinquish the place. I had had 3 people throw a total of about 7 dollars in my case in the space of less than a half hour; as I played "Marrakesh Express" by Crosby Stills and Nash, over and over; scatting the verses* and singing the chorus and adding little details each time through; putting "the little melodies" in.
Jay declined to take over the spot, but moved a mere 25 feet down the sidewalk, and soon he and his amp could be heard; pretty much "over" me.
Feuding with Jesse

Feuding With Jay
But, he would stop in between songs, seemingly to listen to what I was doing; which was playing the Crosby Stills and Nash over and over and.....
"Looking at the world through the sunset in your eyes
Traveling the train through clear Moroccan skies
Ducks and pigs and chickens call, animal carpet wall to wall
American ladies five-foot tall in blue
Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find
Hope the days that lie ahead bring us back to where they've led
Listen not to what's been said to you
Would you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express?"

Read more: Crosby Stills Nash - Marrakesh Express Lyrics | MetroLyrics

After I decided to move on, I sang a little ditty called "Let me see if I can make a buck before the guy with the amp does"; playing the same chords as him, yet singing the above.
A couple of guys who had been standing on the opposite sidewalk came across and dropped a 5 dollar bill in my case; which would be my last tip of the night at that spot. The sight of them walking across and making a beeline to my case would not have been lost upon Jay.
It could be that they liked Marrakesh Express, or that they saw that Jay had set up on top of me, or that they liked the line about seeing if I could make buck with him there..I'm not sure; and the busker never is sure.
Jay wants myself and he to work up an arrangement of "Lying Eyes," by the Eagles, a song which we somehow fell into singing together recently when I pass by. "Come on, hippie, lets do "Lying Eyes..." he will say.
The Hatrocks And The McCoys
Jesse and Jay are in an all-out "I'm gonna aim my amp right at you like the barrel of a shotgun and turn it up as loud as possible" type of feud.
Jay makes money with his booming voice; which sounds like Johnny Cash on steroids. He makes fun of Jesse, who has his own style and his own shtick.
His style is to sing very popular songs off of his "menu" of songs (not shown in photo). The purpose of the menu is not so much to suggest music to people, who stand as one peering through the glass of a juke box and flipping the cards; but it is also to prevent people from requesting any one of 100,000 songs that he doesn't know or doesn't want to know. "Listen buddy, this is what I play; if it ain't on there I don't play it!"
The typical song on his menu would have a reference to his dog upping and dying...
Then, he engages the tourist in a conversation during which the intelligence would be disseminated that Jesse has done a lot of things in his life; interesting things (he had Masters Degreed people working under him, once; even though he never attended college "Because I had common sense" for example).
Then, some bread would go into his basket and the tourists would walk off thinking "...interesting fella..."
Then, they would encounter Jay not 90 feet further; stop and listen and then drop a tip and walk off thinking "...what a deep booming voice..."
The two have a more symbiotic relationship than either might want to admit.
Plus, Jesse sits directly across from an ATM where people seem to take comfort in his presence, rather than feeling threatened. Jesse looks like a "good guy" who would pull out a pistol to thwart a robbery attempt.
And, indeed, he is "clean" enough to be able to carry one; though he opts for pepper spray.